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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?


  1. I feel the addition of SQF could possibly have kept the situation from being worse. A full investigation would be required to determine any certainty. As for the certification, I would need more information to determine where fault lies. I would say that the company is ultimately responsible for all that happens under their roof.

  2. Have you seen this on-going debate?