Today the FDA declared that the latest Romaine Outbreak investigation has concluded and published its findings in the: “Investigation Summary: Factors Potentially Contributing to the Contamination of Romaine Lettuce Implicated in the Fall 2018 Multi-State Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7”. I want to join the chorus of many food safety professionals commending Commissioner Gottlieb and Deputy Commissioner Yiannas for their diligent efforts to conclude this investigation during a time period that included the most recent government shutdown! The tl;dr (“too long - didn’t read” for those that don’t know all my abbreviations yet) from the statement is the focus on the root cause of the systems failure. I copy the relevant section in here (emphasis my own) because the explanation is well structured and highlights an important point I want to focus on: prevention.
A Kellogg’s cereal manufacturer was recently issued an official FDA Warning Letter, which cites a number of food safety infractions linked to consumer illnesses reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Kerry, Inc., the company that manufactures Honey Smacks, underwent an inspection at its Gridley, IL, facility after an outbreak of connected Salmonella infections spurred a voluntary product recall from Kellogg Co. As a result of the inspection, FDA investigators identified “serious violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation.”
Use this checklist to help avoid Tens of Millions in damage costs, severe brand equity loss, and unexpected food audits.
We’ve said it before: No food production process is perfect. There are immeasurable opportunities for the safety and quality of your product to be endangered at just one processing facility, let alone multiple. And as much as we’d like to think that good intentions prevail, there’s simply no way to thwart every single one of these risks. Even so, there’s good news for you and your company: Recalls can STILL be prevented!
Now that the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is fully embedded in the food processing and manufacturing industry, every food brand is called to elevate its approach to food safety and transform reactive efforts into proactive plans. But if FSMA compliance has you struggling to understand and implement the proper regulations within your operation, you probably have some important questions about what’s required of you.
Compliance is a hot topic in today’s food industry, as consumers push brands to demonstrate social responsibility and government agencies dig deeper into food safety realities. Companies all along the supply chain feel the pressure to ensure high-quality, compliant processes. In the C-Suite, executives are working to oversee these efforts and fulfill your organization’s compliance obligations. But have you taken the time to determine whether you truly understand your risk position in relation to compliance?
Food recalls happen much more often than the public typically realizes. However, when national attention spotlights a company recall, it has the potential to cause irreparable damage to the brand and even initiate liability consequences for decision makers. As consumers become more informed about food safety issues and government agencies tighten their regulations, the number of recalls occurring across the country continues to increase.