September 11, 2010
Through budgeting, the federal government has limited resources for food safety to $2 Billion. This is equally split between the FDA and the USDA. After the Wright County disaster isn’t it time to put all of our eggs in one basket?
If you want to find out what a company, or in this case, a government department holds as important all you have to do is follow the money. At the USDA food safety is less than 1% of the budget; at the FDA it is over one third. About 40% of the FDA’s efforts are devoted to food safety, it’s a big deal. While the USDA does have an Under Secretary for Food Safety, it’s sort of like being the ambassador to the UN from Togo.
There are congressional and senate hearings and proposed legislation regarding food safety and reorganizing for food safety, blah, blah, blah. It’s simple, just let the USDA go back to grading, counting, and giving away eggs and let the FDA alone worry about salmonella.
September 4, 2010
How concerned is a company about food safety? Look at their list of executives. In 2008 Maple Leaf Foods’ products killed 23 and caused 57 to be hospitalized. At the time their executives included a Senior Vice President of Communications, a Vice President of Six Sigma, a Vice President of Corporate Engineering, but no champion for food safety or quality. To the top guy at Maple Leaf, food safety and that other stuff should be the domain of somebody two or three layers down in the corporate food chain. Coke at the time had a Vice President of Product Integrity. How many times does anybody hear about a food safety issue at any of Coke’s operations?
In the aftermath of the 2008 listeria disaster, a Chief Food Safety Officer was named. This now seems to be more of a reaction than a shift in thinking about the importance of food safety. There were further recalls in 2009 with hot dogs with listeria and there were two recalls in three weeks this year because of undeclared allergens in their products. Hopefully, the shift in thinking comes to Maple Leaf Foods and there isn’t a repeat of 2008.