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Monday, 19 December 2016

More About: “Food regulators seize adulterated milk products for food safety violations”

Do you have any questions about this? You are likely to arrive at more conclusions about different things after reading the following information:

“During an FDA inspection of Valley Milk from July – September 2016, FDA investigators observed poor sanitary practices and reviewed the company’s records, which showed positive results for Salmonella in the plant’s internal environmental and finished product samples. FDA investigators observed residues on internal parts of the processing equipment after it had been cleaned by the company and water dripping from the ceiling onto food manufacturing equipment. In addition, environmental swabs collected during the inspection confirmed the presence of Salmonella meleagridis on surfaces food came into contact with after being pasteurized. Throughout the investigation, the FDA worked closely with the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.”

“These products are not sold directly to consumers, but are used as ingredients in a number of foods such as bakery products. While these milk and buttermilk powder products received extensive testing by Valley Milk and no harmful agents were identified, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has raised concerns regarding the cleaning records for the drying equipment used to produce these products, casting doubt on whether these products may have contained salmonella. Testing by FDA as well as the Commonwealth of Virginia did not identify salmonella in any of these products; however, in order to ensure that its customers receive the highest quality and safest products possible, Valley Milk is initiating this voluntary recall.”

“These products are not sold directly to consumers, but are used as ingredients in a number of foods such as bakery products and distributed by brokers. None of the recalled finished product tested positive for Salmonella but environmental sampling performed by the FDA was positive for Salmonella. Valley Milk is currently investigating the cause for the positive environmental samples.”

If this SQFI certificate was issued following an annual audit, one wonders if the audit found or missed the same things discovered during the FDA inspections from July – September 2016. One also wonders if the SQFI certification is still valid until July 2, 2017.
Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Food Import Restrictions

Caribbean Sub-regional Director of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Dr. Lystra Fletcher-Paul says Caribbean nations should seriously consider restricting the importation of certain foods once they are in a position to produce healthier substitutes. Is she right?

According to the article by Denis Chabrol in AgriculturBusinesNews October 27, 2016, Dr. Fletcher-Paul reportedly said: We are eating ourselves to death with the imported foods we eat.

If every country takes a similar approach, what will be the likely outcome for the global food market? Related thoughts are presented in this 2013 post on "National Food Safety Programs and Initiatives"

No country is completely self-sufficient. Even for wealthy countries, food import restrictions are bound to limit available varieties of food. 

In some instances, food import restrictions could potentially cost lives. Take, for instance, this June, 2016 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations report about food insecurity in Yemen. One of the reported causes of food insecurity is food import restrictions. War may have a big part to play in this instance but varied are the situations that necessitate global food trade and/or exchange. 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Honest Trade & Transactions: Genuine versus Mechanically-Sustained “Transparency”

I recently came across a posted article with this caption: “Creating Transparency and Trust in Global Food Chains”
Although the intention of this suggestion is clearly noble, the idea of "creating", an effort-reliant concept, is inconsistent with the concepts of transparency and trust that are character-reliant. Character (such as the honest and transparent character that is under examination) may be developed through practice but there must be a pre-existing disposition towards honesty in order for the development to go in that direction. As such, orchestrated and mechanically-sustained honesty or transparency only works to deceive. A forced exercise of honesty or transparency is a counter-reality to the very concepts of honesty, transparency and trustworthiness.
Even where other people are influenced by the honest and transparent behaviour of another to likewise be transparent and honest, the transparency and honesty are not “created”. These are only kindled in persons who are naturally predisposed to being transparent and honest. Those who are not this way inclined will only take advantage of those who are, and to their own detriment. Contrary to certain deceptive beliefs or assumptions, dishonesty and honesty are often rewarded accordingly.
Transparency is not so much an effort to be maintained in order to gain trust. As soon as it is an effort, it loses its authenticity (and perhaps its genuineness). Transparency or honesty is also not a skill to be learned and performed in order to gain trust. Transparency (i.e. honesty) is essentially a character pre-disposition that leads to behaving in trust-worthy ways that in turn lead to being trusted.
A person or organization that is naturally, characteristically, completely and consistently honest and transparent warrants trust and can be trusted.
For anyone or organization serving the public in any way, the matter goes beyond trust.  A selfless component goes with serving, as do humility, genuine care, etc. The foundation and driving force for all of these is a genuine sense of moral obligation and social responsibility. For honest and trustworthy food businesses owners, managers and workers, the SSQA Concept provides the inspiration to remain naturally genuine and socially responsible.
Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

What is a successful food safety and quality audit?

The correct answer may be either obvious or a surprise to you. Which do you think correctly describes a Successful Audit?

A. One with few non-conforming findings

B. One with many non-conforming findings

C. One that thoroughly examines against the goal or objectives of what is audited

You may also wish to read about the "Compliance" stupor that is overtaking the food industry.

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