Is The Auditor Responsible?

May 12, 2013

PrimusLabs’ audit shows a Superior rating for Jensen Farms.  Listeria monocytogenes from the Jensen cantaloupes caused the deaths of 37 and made 147 others sick, resulting in millions in medical bills.

When the FDA investigates they find a “smoking gun”.  The Jensens are using a used potato washer to wash their cantaloupes.  The washer is not designed for this task and just doesn’t do a good job.  To make matters worse, no sanitizers are added to the wash water.

Looking further into the audit we find that PrimusLabs had sub-contracted it to Bio Food Safety.  Earlier acting as a consultant, Bio Food Safety had pointed out to the Jensens the problem with the washer.  Bio Food Safety as the auditor found no problems.

Representing 44 of those that were sicken or lost love ones due to Jensen cantaloupes, the attorney, Bill Marler is going after the auditor.  A win by Marler will set legal precedent.  Although he is the very best at what he does, Marler will be facing an uphill battle.  The auditor did not contract to Marler’s 44 to do the audit.  Because of this, the auditor will argue that they are not responsible to the 44 for the food safety issues missed by the audit.


You Can Kill Somebody

October 7, 2012

Yesterday’s post by Bill Marler really brought home the idea that failing to do the right thing could kill somebody.  The attorney and food safety advocate made the  connection between the death  of a tiny baby boy and someone at a cheese company  not doing their job.  The baby had died from the complications of his extremely premature birth.  The premature birth was induced by his mother’s listeriosis infection.  She had eaten listeria contaminated cheese.

 When you read the FDA or CFIA report following a food safety disaster you find that somebody just didn’t do their job.  The FDA finds cantaloupes are left sitting in dirty water at Jensen Farms and hens and their eggs are surrounded by salmonella laden feces at Wright County Egg.  In Canada at Maple Leaf Foods, CFIA finds a slicer coated with listeria.  The procedure called for the frequent cleaning of this slicer.  Unfortunately no one was checking to see if this was being done and even worse no one knew how to take the slicer apart.

Never in these investigations does it turn out to be one employee or a small group, it’s always the company’s management’s failure to do the right thing – to put in systems to assure proper cleaning, systems to assure that equipment is properly inspected, systems to assure employees are trained properly.

 During the investigation the FDA or CFIA investigator asks to see the person that is in charge of food safety and then a middle aged, middle manager degreed in food science or one of the natural sciences is pushed out.  The only people, he or she has authority over is the small team of technicians they manage.  Never when the question is asked does the CEO step up and say I’m the one that is responsible for food safety her.  I’m the one that if they don’t lead this company in the right way it could make a product that kills somebody.