Food Safety / Packaging / Columns

Editor's Note: Product quality: Strange coincidence or harbinger?

June 1, 2011
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
OK,  readers, what’s going on out there? I am very surprised to report four food and beverage quality issues that occurred on consumer purchases I made in the past six weeks.

This morning, I discovered a 12-can fridge pack of carbonated beverages I purchased at a major supermarket chain contained one empty can.

A box of popsicles I purchased last week at Walmart displayed the normal nutrition panel, but the area that’s supposed to contain calories and nutritional percentages was blank.

A box of crackers I purchased recently at Redner’s Warehouse Markets that normally has two sleeves of crackers contained only one sleeve.

I found several pieces of empty foil material in the bottom of a package of chocolate foil-wrapped Easter eggs I brought at Genuardi’s in late April.

I began to wonder if my recent thrifty shopping habits at the discount chains had anything to do with the errors. Then, I noticed several non-food household items (paper towels for example) I purchased at a discount store seemed to have lower quality than the same brands I had purchased at Genuardi’s or CVS for years.

My nonscientific research shows slightly more than half of the defective or lower-quality items came from a discount chain. Everyone knows Walmart would not allow subpar performance from its suppliers, and I doubt the other retailers would either. Of these four food or beverage items I purchased, three were made by processors on the world’s top 100 food and beverage companies list.

Are budgets being stretched too thin? Are these companies short-staffed? Are operations moving too fast? Is operator performance a problem? Are processors sacrificing accuracy for the sake of food safety?

After receiving decades of quality products from the food and beverage manufacturing industry, I have to wonder what is happening. I hope this is just a strange coincidence and not a harbinger of quality problems. What do you think?

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Joyce Fassl, Editor-in-Chief

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts


Tyson Foods made headlines announcing the company intends to acquire Hillshire Brands in a deal valued at $8.55 billion. Do you think the acquisition will be beneficial for meat and poultry processors?
View Results Poll Archive

Food Engineering

FE August 2014

2014 August

The August 2014 issue of Food Engineering explores how your operation could be doing more to create a culture of employee engagement. Also, read more on how your business and insurance partners must know the basics of your business and its nuances as well.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +