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Saturday, 23 January 2016

What does food safety certification do for a food operation?

Cases of certified failures:

Check the history & the news: Although several years have passed since their inception, food safety & Quality certification schemes are still failing to deliver safer food with consistently reliable quality. Can they actually deliver what they are promising?

. . . the two-way BREAKING NEWS FROM NPR , April 16, 201810:44 AM ET, 

-  and the boasting: Apparently, the processing facilities of the named operation are SQF 2000 Level 3 certified. Note that, according to the SQF stipulations, an operation cannot attain the Level 3 certification if it does not have the GFSI-benchmarked Level 2 certification.

South Africa listeria: Source of 'world's worst outbreak' found
Whether food safety certification was attained by the manufacturing facility implicated is not certain. However, with a name like Enterprise Foods, one would expect it.

A certified failure report from the UK:

Metro News: “And quality assurance workers told the reporters that they felt intimidated by production managers, and worried that they would be sent home if they tried to enforce food hygiene rules.”

In the report by theguardian: “2SFG said it had not been given enough time or detail to investigate the allegations, but that ‘hygiene and food safety will always be the number one priority within the business, and they remain at its very core’.
It added: ‘We also successfully operate in one of the most tightly controlled and highly regulated food sectors in the world. We are subject to multiple and frequent unannounced audits from the FSA, BRC, Red Tractor, independent auditors as well as our customers. By example, our facility in the West Midlands under investigation received nine audits (five unannounced) in the months of July and August alone.’”

Apparently, they are still certified:
Site Details 
2 Sisters Food Group - Site D - West Bromwich 
BRC site code :2146131
Contact :
Commercial contact :
Dean Colcough
Telephone: +44 870 458 9700
Address :Dial Lane
City :West Bromwich
Zip Code :B70 0EB
Region / State :West Midlands
GPS coordinates :52.53457980000000000;-2.01832000000000000
Telephone :121 555 6661
Fax :121 522 7311
Web site :

Certification details :
Standard :Food
Grade : A
03 – Raw prepared products (meat and vegetarian)
Scope : Cutting and packing of bulk and retail fresh and frozen chicken portions; tumbling/marinating and flavour glazing of chicken preparations for value added products; bulk chicken skin and chicken carcase. Packing into MAP, vacuum pouches, trays, bags and lined boxes.
Exclusion : None
Issue Date : 17/05/2017
Expiry Date : 30/05/2018

Voluntary Module ( Meat supply chain assurance )

The JUNE 12, 2017 “Crummy situations” post by Food Safety News reports “Massive food recalls for labeling error.” The post indicates “Unidentified ingredient supplier” However, this report from Slade Gorton that is posted by the U.S. FDA may either be related or it is at least similar: “On June 6, 2017 Slade Gorton was notified by its breading vendor, Newly Weds Foods, Inc., that the pre-dust and breading it supplied to Slade Gorton & Co., Inc. from 3 product codes and 5 purchase orders may have a potential presence of milk. This was an expanded scope from an initial recall issued to other of Newly Weds Foods customers on May 10, 2017.” -

Newly Weds Foods Inc. states as follows on their website: “We maintain BRC “Superior” ratings across our entire manufacturing system.”- It further states: “The Standards guarantee the standardization of quality, safety and operational criteria and ensure that manufactures fulfill their legal obligations and provide protection for the end-user consumer. BRC Global Standards are now often a fundamental requirement of leading retailers.”- BRC certified sites (companies) are listed on their website:

Linked to: Guggisberg - Deutsch Kase Haus, LLC-supplied cheese

"Guggisberg Cheese, Inc has been recognized with a Gold Certificate for quality and food safety with the 2008 GMP and Food Safety System third party audit by Silliker" -

Food regulators seize adulterated milk products for food safety violations

November 30, 2016The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that the U.S. Marshals Service seized more than 4 million pounds of product produced by Valley Milk Products LLC (Valley Milk) of Strasburg, Virginia. The company is owned by the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Inc. in Reston, Virginia. The seized products include dry nonfat milk powder and buttermilk powder packaged in 40- and 50-pound bags for further manufacturing and are worth nearly $4 million. SQFI Certificate Information

Bar-S Foods Company Recalls Chicken and Pork Hot Dog and Corn Dog Products Due toPossible Listeria Contamination
The Bar-S Foods Claim:
“Our 5 production plants are SQF (Safe Quality Food) certified with Level 2 Certification in food safety and Level 3 Certification in food quality (both levels are the highest certification a company can achieve).

General Mills continues to collaborate with health officials to investigate a multistate outbreak of E. coli O121.

CRF Foods

CRF Frozen Foods, LLC, Pasco, Washington boasts about the BRC Certification of its  repack facility but ended up with a  widely expanded scope of recall - - This company's previously listed website is no longer functional.

Dole is under criminal investigation Wall Street Journal. Are they still SQF certified (see certification information below) and will that help to alleviate criminal charges if found guilty? - 

. . . and we have another company boasting about its food safety program [ ] but recalling  220,450 pounds of fully cooked frozen chicken nuggets that may be contaminated with extraneous blue plastic and black rubber materials

What did the claim of food safety certification do for Pilgrim's Pride? 
Pilgrim's Pride: "All of our plants have been certified by the British Retailers Consortium (BRC), one of four audits recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative."


Announcements and News Reports about Dole Salad Recall:

CDC Update- Feb 25, 2016 - Rising Illness Count

See questions for discussion at the end of the post.

U.S FDA Announcement:
For Immediate Release January 22, 2016
Dole Fresh Vegetables Announces Voluntary Withdrawal for Salads

Canada – CFIA Announcement:
Recall date: January 22, 2016
Food Recall Warning - Certain Dole brand pre-packaged chopped salads, salad blends and kits and leafy greens and certain PC Organics brand leafy greens recalled due to Listeria monocytogenes -

In Public News Media
CTV News: January 22, 2016 7:32 PM EST.

NBC News: JAN 22 2016, 3:30 PM ET

The dole company reports that as far back as 2010 “. . . All value added plants received SQF (Safe Quality Food) 2000 level 2 certification” -

From SQF Database:
The Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., Springfield, Ohio production facility is SQF certified:
 Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc

  600 Benjamin Drive
  14. Fruit and Vegetable Processing : coleslaw
14. Fruit and Vegetable Processing : vegetable salad
14. Fruit and Vegetable Processing : salad mix
14. Fruit and Vegetable Processing : spring mix

Certificate Number
Certificate Expiration Date
  Mar 2, 2017
Certification Type
  Recertification Facility Audit Ed. 7.2 Lv. 2
Audit Rating
  E - Excellent

Questions For Discussion:
Judging by the scope and scale of the Dole recall announcements, one can reasonably ask what the SQF certification helped to prevent. Could the situation have been worse without it? With the certification experience reportedly going back to 2010, could enough have been learned from the process that could have prevented this situation from affecting as many products as reported to have been affected? 

What exactly was certified, and will the certifying body allow the certificate to remain valid since it does not expire until 2017? Will the certificate (if not withdrawn) absolve the company of accountability or lessen the degree to which the company is held accountable for the reported illness and death?

Friday, 15 January 2016

USDA Pesticide Safety Report - Monday, January 11, 2016

As with all reports, our reactions to the USDA pesticide report should be from an informed point of view. You may read a summary of the report.
The report concludes that "pesticide residues do not pose a safety concern for U.S. food". What is the basis for this conclusion? Here are some references to help you form your opinion. If there is one point that I would like to be more clearly stated, it is on how the pesticide tolerance levels are established. Although it is implicit in the pesticide registration process, the kinds of tests or safety evaluation that must be conducted before a tolerance level is established could be more clearly presented in the reference documents available to consumers. One is left to presume that the registration process forces applicants to submit convincing test results to support the safety claims about the pesticides at the established tolerance levels.
Pesticide Data Program: Annual Summary, Calendar Year 2014. You may Download Copy:
Additional References:

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

True Success

The term "success" is frequently used to describe the desired outcomes upon the completion of tasks or endeavours. For the purpose of this discussion, "success" refers to that which is better described as "success in life". This success may be derived from several "successfully" completed tasks or endeavours, but it is more overarching. 

The idea of success is also used in relation to life in general. Sadly, it is often wrongly focused on amassed wealth as the measure. Is "success in life" to be measured only according to accrued wealth or even according to that at all? Wealth can be fickle. Read this story: "Millionaire who spent 17 years battling divorce 'facing homelessness with just £5 left in bank" Similar stories of quickly-depleted wealth abound. It only takes one market crash at times.

Let's suppose that only the wealthy could afford to stock up food and survive a major catastrophe that affected the world's food supply, would this be success? What would most likely happen to such success? 
Successful people are satisfied but not independently so since we (humans) are social beings. True satisfaction is attended by contentment and peaceful co-existence with other people. Under these definitions, I am yet to see a satisfied wealthy person. Hence I am yet to see a truly successful wealthy person.
Wealth provides a measure of comfort. However, true comfort is attended by a peacefulness that involves good health, no rush, no stress, no fear of losing wealth, etc. I am yet to see a truly satisfied and comfortable wealthy person. Incidentally, good health, one of the marks of true peacefulness is somewhat jeopardized by what is typically involved in acquiring great wealth (the lack of contentment, the rush, the stress, enslavement or oppression of the less fortunate, etc.), and what is involved after great wealth is accumulated (the fear of losing wealth, the stress of keeping thieves out, etc.).
Wealthy people appear to have it all but are they successful according to these definitions? The “poor” admire "the wealthy". They (the “poor”) loath their “poverty” and strive for more wealth and/or fame. They may achieve wealth and fame and end up in the same place as the “wealthy” whom they had erstwhile admired. They end up in a place where true success with complete satisfaction and the attending peacefulness is equally elusive. Anyone who only seeks after the accumulation of wealth to the exclusion of that which produces true peacefulness ends up here - the place of elusive satisfaction and peacefulness. All selfishly wealthy and greedy people end up in a place of true and intimate poverty even with great wealth accumulated.

"Extra-ordinary people are not driven by the anticipation of wealth, fame or power as ordinary people." 
                                                              Commonsense Update 64
What do you think is the cause of antagonism and wars that expose the true poverty of humanity? What do you think robs people and societies of true success? Individual success has been taken to absurd extremes that the vision of societal success is completely obscured from popular thinking. Where does one begin in exposing this travesty of virtual reality success? Should one begin with the financial sector that shifts virtual wealth (i.e. wealth on paper) from place to place or person to person? Is it the information gathering and exchange sector that has produced countless billionaires through big data management? Is it the sports and entertainment sectors that thrill us to the point of losing touch with the realities all around? Some good does come from all of these which is part of the decoy. One day we will wake up and realize that we may have gone too far in the pursuit of the virtual success sectors to the neglect of sectors that actually produce the essentials for our existence. In spite of all the individual “success” in the accrual of wealth from engaging in the numerous virtual reality sectors, we may discover too late that we have failed woefully in the real human survival sector. We may find that fleeting “success” has done us in when we have all the money in the world but no safe food to buy. We may learn our lesson too late when the bite of depleted renewable resources gets increasingly painful. Present laughter because of our fleeting success will turn to wailing. We can only hope that this is not the case but not without becoming reflective and realistic in our thinking about success. We must re-define success and engage in meaningful endeavors towards achieving real success - the true success in life.

"Death occurs wherever the pocketbook takes the place of the heart."  Commonsense Update 73

From a less money-minded point of view, one may say that success is measured according to the number and level of accomplishments or achievements. Some people may even say that attained good reputation (e.g. through altruistic or philanthropic involvements) is success. These are incorrect assumptions. Considering that a successful person is satisfied and true satisfaction is attended by contentment and peaceful co-existence with other people, a person's achievements, accomplishments, good reputation etc., only serve as means to attaining success.
All that we have considered: Wealth, accomplishments, fame, great reputation, etc. are frequently and broadly but incorrectly counted as success in life. True success in life is more of the reality experienced with or without these usual characterizations of success. As we have seen, great wealth and the other usual characterizations can even become hindrances to true success. Baskets full of accomplishment trophies and bags of money have the potential and tendency of becoming overburdening in some form or another. This can prevent the peacefulness that attends true success.

In every person’s life, true success is on a different plain than all of these characterizations. A more accurate view of true success is similar to the accurate view of happiness or joy. A person may have accumulated wealth, gathered accomplishment trophies, broadened his or her scope of good reputation and still be eluded by true success, happiness or joy. According to the more accurate definition of true success, the satisfaction and peaceful contentment and co-existence that attends true success can be attained at all levels of economic status, achievements or accomplishments. One simply needs to know where and how to seek this success.

Do you ever wonder why "successful" people continue to strive? Could it be that they are still seeking true success?
Posted by Felix Amiri

Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate. 

Recall – Case Studies

Case Study listing started in 2013
These recall study cases represent the two sectors of interest to GCSE-FHP (food & health).

Case Study 53:
Another infuriating report . . . while too many in the food industry are distracted by frivolous solutionsMillions of eggs removed from European shelves over toxicity fears 

Case Study 52:
Did the reports say manufacturing practices concerns during the past three years? Who has been sleeping? 

Case Study 51:
Detection of a Health Risk By a Regulatory Agency
According to the November 28, 2016 notice: “This recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test results.” Some information appeared to have been blanked out in the image posted by CFIA. By the way, with the Best Before date of 16 NO 25 shown on the label, it appears as though the product had expired before the CFIA notice. Does this expiration provide some justification on behalf of the manufacturer?

If the random test conducted by CFIA led to this recall should the company not have caught the issue from its monitoring program? The company may be at fault on two counts under U.S. regulations: 1. Negligence in failing to detect a significant food safety risk or 2. Knowingly selling product with detected evidence of possible contamination and health risk to consumers.

The label clearly indicates U.S.A. as the country of origin. Should the U.S. regulatory agency responsible for this category of product be notified by CFIA of the test results, or should they be left to independently detect the risk?

Case Study 50:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2016 – Piccadilly Fine Foods, a Santa Clara, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 144 pounds of beef products due to misbranding and undeclared allergens, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The products were produced with Worcestershire sauce that contains anchovies (fish), a known allergen which was not declared on the finished product label.
Who doesn’t know that this volume should be expanded? Read the full announcement and see what you think. 

How many other things are wrong with this picture? For example:

“The problem was discovered by FSIS inspection personnel during normal inspection activities. . .“ – What happened with the manufacturers routine verification/validation checks?

Products produced prior to September 29, 2016 used a different brand of Worcestershire sauce. . . “ – What happened with R&D material/supplier replacement evaluation and control procedures?

Case Study 49 - Clostridium-Caviar CFIA Notice 
 Even luxury food can kill and indifference can be the deadly mistake

Case Study 48 - Should have been labelled "LemonGLASS Basil Chicken”

. . . sickening in so many ways: "produced and packaged on March 17, March 18, April 30, and May 13, 2016 - a span of 2 months - "with extraneous materials, specifically glass or hard plastic. . . " What happened to the common pre-operational inspections and other daily food safety and quality control measures? 
This is not an issue of pathogenic bacteria contamination and evidence of illness may not be immediate. but is lead as significant a concern? How do you see or feel about the statement: “No illnesses have been reported to date” in these recall notices?
“While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not set a specific limit on lead in spices, there is a limit of 0.1 PPM in candy. The Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) has stated that lead levels of 0.015 PPM in drinking water require treatment. Lead can accumulate in the body over time and too much of it can cause serious and sometimes permanent adverse health consequences. No illnesses have been reported to date.

Case Study 46 – General Mills Expands Recall
Back in case study 43, the question was asked if more products could have been affected than were initially reported? This is a staple question in every recall exercise, even mock recalls. Given this July 25th announcement, how well would you say General Mills performed with respect to this question?
Included in the announcement in bold lettering is this statement: “Consumers are reminded not to eat uncooked dough or batter made with raw flour”. One would expect then that this warning has been previously communicated to the consumers of these products through the labels or other applicable means. This is at least implicitly (if not explicitly) required in the era of FSMA-HARPC. One wonders then, about how well General Mills is ready to meet FSMA-HARPC given their claims about food safety management provisions (in funds and staff). Granted, FSMA-HARPC enforcement may not yet be fully in effect for General Mills, but that is coming soon enough.
By the way, what is HAACP?

Case Study 45 - Chapel Hill Creamery 
Below are quotes from the recall announcement:
“Health officials have identified recent cases of Salmonella infection in persons who consumed Chapel Hill Creamery products.”
A matching strain of Salmonella has been identified in the milk from the creamery that was used during preparation of the cheese products.
“Portia McKnight, co-founder of the Creamery, saidAlthough there is not yet a definitive link between the CHC cheese and the illnesses, there is enough evidence to implicate the cheese and we are asking customers to not consume these cheeses or use them in food service.’”

What needless contradiction do you see?

Case Study 44: GLOBAL NEWS Video

Case Study 43Cake Mix Recall due to E. Coli O121 
What are the facts?
Brand Name: Betty Crocker Super Moist
Common Name: Cake Mix Rainbow Bit
Size: 432 g
Code(s) on Product: 27AL2017 PV,08JN2017 PV,09JN2017 PV
UPC: 0 65633 46589 3
Having a common name, common UPC but three codes is somewhat understandable but why more than one full month of production that has E. coli contamination in a company that claims as follows:
  • US$13 million food safety spending (more than 10 percent of essential capital investment on average each year for food safety-related projects)
  • 600+ trained quality professionals and 55+ certified quality engineers monitoring food safety worldwide
  • 100 percent of our facilities audited using globally recognized food safety criteria (excluding Yoki)
  • 90 percent of our facilities worldwide audited and/or certified by third parties
  • Across General Mills, we have achieved GFSI certification of 72 percent of our company-owned production facilities - General Mills Food Safety
It could get quite messy if these announcements are thoroughly examined:
Is it possible that more products than the Betty Crocker Super Moist using the affected brands of flour are affected?

Case Study 42:
June 5th Update: Take a look at this CFIA Recall Update and go back to the prior prediction below. This expansion that was predicted may not even be the end of the matter. We'll see if investigations reveal that only the June 5th listed lots are actually affected. I suspect that more products are likely to be affected if the usage trails of equipment, raw materials, work-in-process materials and/or rework are more thoroughly investigated.

Partly Skimmed Chocolate Milk Recall: 
This June 3rd recall notice listed only one lot of product. Watch for the recall to be expanded soon. Listeria is an environmental contaminant. It is very likely that more production batches than has been identified were affected in this instance. Technically, this June 3rd announcement should not have been made with only one batch of product identified. The L. m. detection test turn-around time and the production rate in a dairy operation are also some consideration to take into account in publishing such notices.

Case Study 41:
Have you checked the price of cauliflower in the grocery store lately? Why would sulfite be used in the processing of cauliflower and not declared?

Case Study 40:
Wait a minute! Whom are they trying to fool?

  1. Soy and anchovies do not constitute “an allergen”; they are separate allergens: soy and anchovies.
  2. Reduced Sodium Worcestershire Sauce and Organic Ketchup should not be described as “an ingredient”; they are separate ingredients:
The inaccurate declarations are too obvious to ignore. It is not difficult at all to see that the implications within this recall case reach far beyond the possibility of reactions by allergy sufferers. What appeared to have happened is beyond a simple human error. I’ll have to be convinced that this is not a deliberate attempt to deceive first, in the product preparations involved,  and then in the recall announcement.  

Case Study 39:
Who do those making these kinds of announcements think they are fooling by redundant statements like the one highlighted and crossed out below? Deleting that statement does not take anything away from what consumers need to know about this notice. So why is the statement added, if it is not to temper reactions to the brand in the ever so frequent attempts to protect brands as the central consideration while the protection of consumers is treated as a side consideration or an after-thought?
"Today, Mars Chocolate North America announced a voluntary recall of its DOVE® Chocolate Assortment Snowflakes, 24.0 oz. bag - this is a seasonal item only sold at one major retailer with stores across the U.S.
Item# 10139802 - UPC# 400050521
LOT CODE: 537CG4PA30, 537DG4PA30, 538AG4PA30, 538AM4PA30, 541AG4PA20, 542EM4PA20
This item is a purple 24 oz. bag clearly marked with DOVE® Chocolate Assortment Snowflakes branding on the front of packaging. The code dates and UPC code are located on the back of the packaging on the lower right side. . . “ Read the full Notice

Case Study 38:
For Immediate Release - November 16, 2015 - FDA Orders Recall under Consent Decree
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today ordered Custom Ultrasonics to recall all of its automated endoscope reprocessors (AERs) from health care facilities due to the firm's continued violations of federal law and a consent decree entered with the company in 2007. The identified violations could result in an increased risk of infection transmission. The FDA ordered this recall under the terms of the consent decree. The agency also issued a safety communication today recommending that health care facilities currently using Custom Ultrasonics AERs transition away from their use to alternative methods to reprocess flexible endoscopes as soon as possible.
These actions are part of the FDA's commitment to patient safety . . .”
This leaves so many questions:
  1. Violations were noted in 2007 and action is being taken only now towards the end of 2015?
  2. “The identified violations could result in an increased risk of infection transmission” Does this statement mean the same thing as resulting in actual infection transmission? If so, how true is the added statement that “These actions are part of the FDA's commitment to patient safety . . .”
Case Study 37:
All at once or not sure which? - Apples with detected presence of Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and/or Enterohemorrhagic E. coli 

Case Study 36:
This recall affected more than one company. Clostridium botulinum is a serious enough concern but I would change the name of one of the companies involved since it resembles the description of another possible cause for recalls.
Case Study 35:
Is this a correct or an incorrect recall classification?
Is this glass in Spaghetti Sauce incident correctly or incorrectly classified as a "Class 2" recallAccording to the  CFIA Recall Guide, a "’Class II’ is a situation in which the use of, or exposure to, a violative product may cause temporary adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.

Case Study 34What do you see in this picture?

Case Study 33: Ice Cream Recalls
1. Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream, Inc.: Almost a full year (January 1, 2014 through December 15, 2014) production of ice cream products recalled in this instance -

2. Blue Bell Creameries recall underlining why SSQA way of thinking is a must:
Here is a vivid and painful lesson about proceeding with the false sense of security described in "The Standardized Food Industry Mistake". On what did this company rely? In the February 2015 article by Jim Carper titled “Blue Bell Blossoms with Flavors” you will find this statement:

“Blue Bell emphasizes food safety and employee safety. An in-house quality program is based on third-party certification standards by Silliker Laboratories Group, Chicago" - 
The New York Times reports:
“Inspection Found No Problem at Oklahoma Ice Cream Plant”
In his blog, and with good reason, Attorney Bill Marler said:
“I don’t feel bad for Mr. Kruse and his food safety people.”
What next? Blue Bell may be back and hopefully with a serious look at what gave them the false sense of security that led to the ignoring of some obvious signs (ignored test results) as Bill Marler pointed out in his blog. Other companies are still caught up with the widespread certification sense of security. They are ignoring "The Coming Shift" and are busy taking snap-shots of the scenery while the lava builds underground or are  sleeping certified.

Case Study 32CDC's Recommendation to U.S. Consumers Posted December 19, 2014 9:30 AM ET: “. . . do not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples.” At the time of this post, the producer or manufacturer of the products involved was yet to be identified.

Case Study 31Wait, that can’t be true: Traces of date rape drug detected in European baby food? Edmonton Sun Story, December 12, 2014

Case Study 30: General Mills Settles Suit Over '100% Natural' Claim

by Karlene Lukovitz, November 20, 2014, 7:26 AM

Was there or should there be a recall of products mislabeled as “natural” on the grounds of legality?

The report by Karlene includes as follows:

General Mills has stated that it changed the disputed wording even before the lawsuits were filed in 2012. Steve Gardner, CSPI's litigation director, told The Wall Street Journal that CSPI disputes that timing. CSPI has also said that it raised its concerns about the "100% natural" claims with General Mills in private as early as 2005.
Gardner said that the consumer plaintiffs received small payments in the settlement, partly to cover legal costs.
General Mills joins a growing number of food makers that have dropped or changed the wording of natural claims as a result of lawsuits or the threat of such suits. Previous threats or actions by CSPI have resulted in changes in claims used by 7Up, Capri Sun, Crystal Light, Edy's and Dreyer's ice creams, and Izze soft drinks. Pop Chips, Kashi and Trader Joe's have also agreed to settle similar cases without admitting wrongdoing.
CSPI said that the latest settlement, with General Mills, should help "nudge the marketplace, otherwise awash in varyingly flimsy 'natural' claims, in the right direction."
"CSPI" stands for: Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Natural product claims may not pose immediate health concerns to a majority of people. Only a few individuals have been known to react to certain artificial food components such as colors, flavor enhancers, etc. Although, the level of concern about food additives appears to be low, there is a general recognition that some health issues may exist hence the enforcement regulated levels by most regulatory agencies. The World Health Organization also provides the safety evaluation of certain food additivesOn the basis of the forgoing examination of possible health concerns, was there or should there be a recall of products mislabeled as “natural” on the grounds of health concerns?

Case Study 29 - Uneviscerated Dried Roach Recalled.
No, this is not cockroah; it is fish. The sale of uneviscerated processed fish is prohibited under New York State Agriculture and Markets regulations. Who would ordinarily permit the sale of such a product? 

Case Study 28 - Another Peanut Butter Recall in 2014?
Has the peanut butter and similar product industry learned anything from what happened to two of its big players in the past because of Salmonella contamination?

Case Study 27 - Tattoos have recently been hit:
 According to the recall notification on July 11, 2014, the identified company is “ . . . . recalling all lots of tattoo Inks and tattoo needles due to pathogenic bacterial contamination. Use of these products may cause bacterial infection and can lead to sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. . .”  FDA Release -

Case Study 26: 
Bill identifies pathogens associated with serious illness or death or that are resistant to two or more critically important antibiotics for human medicine.

"Bill Would Strengthen Existing Food Safety Laws to Ensure USDA Knows It Can Recall Products Contaminated with Dangerous Pathogens, Including Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria"

Case Study 25: Recall due to “unsuitable ingredients”
What is the most likely cause?

Case Study 24: A Voluntary Cheese Product Recall
What is the most likely cause?

Case Study 23:Close to a ton of Sliced Smoked Atlantic Salmon recalled due to possiblecontamination of Listeria monocytogenes.

What do you see as the purpose of the following statement in the announcement?

A single lot of 4oz Vita Classic Premium Sliced Smoked Atlantic Salmon packages is the subject of this public announcement and recall as the result of one package of salmon that tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Case Study 22: Food Service Plates - Recall of Appetizer Plates Due to Cadmium and Lead Levels:

Case Study 20
A reasonably well managed recall situation if an expanded scope is not announced at a later date. However, these questions come to mind: 
What circumstances could lead to this kind of a misbranding error over a 2-day (96,000 pounds) run of Hot Dog products?
What measures (QC inspections , etc.) could have prevented it?
MissouriFirm Recalls Hot Dog Products Due To Misbranding and Undeclared Allergens -

Case Study 19

This recall affects quite a wide scope (US and Canada). I wonder if the affected manufacturing site has a food safety / HACCP program in place and whether the hazard analysis identified Listeria monocytogenes. Ice cream certainly falls under the “high risk” category that requires tight hazard controls.

Case Study 18: What and how many questions does this recall notice raise?

Recall Summary:
Roughly over 1 million pouches of freeze-dried snacks (sliced fruit) are affected by this recall. The manufacturing company is reportedly committed to strict quality control, with experience processing under SQF(Level 2) and a variety of regulatory requirements, including USDA and FDA. The company is also said to have the ability to freeze dry over 400 different food and pharmaceutical products.
The notice indicated that the company issued the recall after determining the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella but no confirmed cases of Salmonella poisoning from consumption of this product have been reported.
The affected product may have been distributed to: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico. . . .
Affected products: Best Before Date: FEB 14 2015 - MAR 11 2015 

Case Study 17: Recall & GFSI Certification
No operation is exempt from recalls simply because it is world class and has GFSI certification:
Lucerne Foods – Quality Assurance & GFSI (BRC) Certification

Case Study 16: Would you say this is a voluntary recall, or is it compelled due to reported reactions?
View the recall statement by the company:

Case Study 15: It’s a small world after all: Eye Drops Made in Vietnam, identified with a “V” in the lot number on the bottom panel of the carton, used in the USA

Case Study 14: Poisoned Soda Alert in Greece and the Obvious Question: Are other countries affected?

Case Study 13:
November 11, 2013, 6:36 AM - CBS News
How many people could 90 Tons of ready to eat salads and wrapped products potentially affect?
Further expansion of previous recalls of fresh cut vegetables, ready-to-eat salads, slaws, dips and spreads – take a look at the FDA List:

Are killer salads the next big thing out of the US and Canada – Case studies 10, 11 & 12?

Are all of these recall notices related to a common source of the problem? A good traceability system within the affected facilities should provide the answer to this question.
Thankfully, “NO illnesses have been reported to date.” BUT HOW METICULOUSLY HAS THIS BEEN INVESTIGATED?
Listeria is an organism which can cause serious and sometime fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and individuals with weakened immune systems. Healthy people may suffer only short term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea  – AND LOST DAYS FROM WORK. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant woman – WHO USUALLY WANT TO EAT SALADS BECAUSE THEY ARE DEEMED TO BE “HEALTHY” FOOD.


United States - USDA

11/01/2013 05:53 PM EDT
Following the Reser’s Fine Foods (“Reser’s”) recall where select Reser’s products were recalled due to the potential of being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, Dutch Treat Salads, LLC, of Zeeland, MI, is voluntarily recalling one product, Mexicali Dip, that contains one ingredient recalled by Reser’s.
11/01/2013 04:07 PM EDT
Winn-Dixie today announced an immediate recall in all Winn-Dixie stores of the Taylor Farms Broccoli Crunch Salad sold in the full-service case in the deli department. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the reason for the recall is the potential that the product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The recall is part of a larger recall issued by Taylor Farms Tennessee, Inc. and Taylor Farms Maryland, Inc. as a result of a recall of Reser's Fine Food Inc. products.
For detailed information pertaining to this Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts message, please click the link at the beginning of this bulletin.
11/01/2013 04:10 PM EDT
Winn-Dixie today announced an immediate recall of the Taylor Farms Spinach Antipasta Salad in all Winn-Dixie stores. This recall is an expansion of an earlier recall announced by Reser's Fine Foods, Inc.
11/04/2013 12:33 PM EST
Ghiringhelli Specialty Foods of Vallejo, California is voluntarily recalling one specific lot of Trader Giotto’s Caesar Salad (SKU 05161) with a "Use By 11/03" date, because it may not list wheat, soy and fish (anchovy) in the ingredients. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to wheat, soy and/or anchovy run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.
11/04/2013 01:07 PM EST
Reser’s Fine Foods, Inc. of Beaverton, Oregon is voluntarily expanding its October 22, 2013 recall of refrigerated ready-to-eat products because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria is an organism which can cause serious and sometime fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and individuals with weakened immune systems.
11/04/2013 01:32 PM EST
October 30, 2013 - Garden-Fresh Foods is initiating an expansion to our voluntary recall on various ready-to-eat salads, slaw, and dip products sold under various brands and code dates (see attachment). The products included in the expanded recall were produced between the dates of September 5, 2013 through October 16, 2013.

Canada – CFIA
November 3, 2013

Case Study 12
USDA EST. 17256 or Est. P-17256 - So highly inspected and audited  – USDA, HACCP and SQF  - yet so lowly treated by several recalls and expanded recalls
Search for “Garden-Fresh”: Facility at 726 South 12th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204-1211, Phone (414) 645-1000  to view SQF Certificate with - E – Excellent rating and Expiration Dateof Nov 25, 2013.

Case Study 11: 

Case Study 10: 
Reality speaks much louder than exaggerated promises to ensure food safety: 
The Company’s Food Safety Promise - "Ushering In a New Era of Food Safety" - Food Safety Tab.
You can do a public search for the Third Party certification status of this company here Certified Suppliers – Public Search. As using the full company name does not appear to be working for the search, you may need to simply type the first 5 letters of the company’s name in the "Site Name' field at the bottom of the page to get the search to work.
The reality that followed the Food Safety Promise:
CFIA (Canada Recalls)
FDA & USDA (U.S. Recalls)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 22, 2013 - approximately 109,000 cases of refrigerated ready-to-eat products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2013 – approximately 22,800 pounds of chicken, ham and beef products due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Case Study 9:
Another Real-life Case of Botched Traceability:
Updated Health Hazard Alert - Certain Uncooked Lean Ground Beef may contain E. coli O157:H7 bacteria Ottawa, October 20, 2013 – “The public warning issued on October 8, 2013 has been updated to include an additional product.”
Why did it take this long to expand the scope of affected products? In the background of this and the related earlier recall is the CFIA requirement for pathogen testing in raw meats – Modified 2013-06-07:

Case Study 8:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 4, 2013If no other product with a shelf life date outside of the identified shelf life date span is later implicated, this recall notice shows a good identification of problem, cause and scope of affected products.

Case Study 7:

 Even big companies find it difficult to recover from hazardous product recalls:

October 2012: Sunland voluntarily recalled all of its products due to Salmonella contamination.

November 2012: The Food and Drug Administration suspended the Sunland’s food facility registration.

May 2013: Sunland received authorization from the F.D.A. to resume full operations.

October 9, 2013: Despite resuming operations, the company said ongoing financial and liquidity challenges made it necessary for management to file for bankruptcy: Sunland, Inc. files for bankruptcy protection 

Case Study 6:
A barrage of recalls notices in Canada & US within two weeks (September 30 – October 8, 2013):
October 8, 2013 - frozen beef burgers - E. coli O157:H7 
October 5, 2013 - cheesy macaroni salad – Listeria 
October 4, 2013 - Pizza Pack - Listeria 
October 2, 2013 - Halloween Kiss Candies – Metal 
October 2, 2013 - Beef Burgers -  E. coli O157:H7 
September 30, 2013 -  A Fisheries Company  -  ALL smoked products from all lots and codes, various sizes, in vacuum packages because the products may not have been properly cooked and have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum 

Case Study 5:
 Uncertainty about the national distribution indicates a small gap in the traceability information.

Case Study 4:
Here is a recall announcement that is infuriating on different levels: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Sept. 13, 2013
The expanded scope was delayed for more than one month from July 12, 2013 to August 29, 2013 – a clear evidence of a failed traceability system
The announcement states: “no received reports of any adverse events associated with this issue for this lot”. - This is infuriating. The reporting of adverse events is likely to be conveniently hushed under the circumstances in which the affected Bupivacaine HCl Injection lots are most likely to be used.
The last paragraph in the announcement boasts of the affected company’s leading role in the industry and the company is said to be “positioned to Advance Wellness™ by improving patient and caregiver safety while reducing healthcare costs”. – This is an out-of-place boasting since it follows a recall announcement.

Case Study 3:
More Recall Updates with statements that reveal more than might have been intended by the affected supplier: 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 3, 2013
The following statement in this recall can be annoying to consumers:
“The following is a revised list of product lots that are included in the voluntary recall; please disregard the original list found in the September 1, 2013 recall press release.”
Why were the affected products not correctly listed in the first instance? The statement reveals the lack of a properly developed and implemented traceability program and controls.  You may view the updated press release here:

Case Study 2:
Here is another interesting recall situation:

“. . . in a recent inspection . . . FDA investigators observed methods used . . .  to assess sterility and other qualities (e.g., strength and stability) may have resulted in  . . .  inaccurate sterility test results . . . If there is microbial contamination in medications intended to be sterile, patients are at risk of serious infections which may be life threatening. . .”

The manufacturer may have done the right thing but it appears to rely heavily on testing for its confidence in the safety and potency of its manufactured medications. The product design and manufacturing controls should normally have been the bases for this confidence. Testing only verifies the safety and potency.
On the other hand, how many other manufacturers did this one lab affect? The press release does not mention any other pharmaceutical company that may have been affected by the inaccurate testing methods used by the laboratory in question. It makes one wonder if due diligence has been exercised by all parties involved in this instance to provide adequate safeguard for consumers. Should the laboratory be notifying other pharmaceutical companies that it serves and should these companies be issuing recalls as well? It also begs the question about the reliability of the accreditation program under which this laboratory operates.
Inexcusable Late Reaction
The following recent recall announcements clearly show the infuriating tardiness in some recall situations. If on August 26, I raised the question about other possibly affected companies, why were these recent announcements delayed for more than one week?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 9, 2013 - 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –September 10, 2013 -
How many more of these kinds of “new” notices will we see?
Affected Companies Update:
1. Another pharmaceutical company has initiated a recall due to the the inaccurate testing methods used by the contracted laboratory -

Case Study 1:
After reading the announcement and noting how the issue was discovered, the intended use of the product, the target users, the label information, etc., do you suspect that this recall was due to: unexpected system failure, minor human error, a deliberate action that may or may not have been sanctioned by the company, or any other cause?

You are invited to provide comments. The following radio interview and posts may also be of interest to you:
Designing quality and safety into food products -