Lettuce, spinach, peanut butter and pet food are part of
many Americans’ daily lives. As ordinary as these products may seem, we have
all seen in the past year how extraordinary circumstances can suddenly put
processors in a very unwanted spotlight. If your company finds itself on this
world stage, will you be ready to handle the recall, trace the source of
contamination swiftly and then recover financially?
Last Fall Taco Bell’s produce problems hit the Northeast hard. Stores were shut
down and some customers stayed away. To be quite honest, until a few weeks ago
when Food Engineering featured a speaker from Taco Bell at its annual Food
Automation & Manufacturing Conference, the 2006 problems at this QSR slipped
my mind. The week before the conference, I was working late and considered
making a fast-food stop on the way home at Taco Bell. At the last minute, I
decided to make due with what I might find at home in the freezer. If someone
this close to the food industry can forget about recent problems, so can many
My point is not to single out any one company. Product contamination can happen
to any processor or restaurant chain. The point is to learn from your
colleagues by watching out for leaky roofs, roosting birds, using trusted
sources of incoming raw materials, performing extensive testing and
implementing frequent audits of your operations.
Most manufacturers have implemented best practices to protect the public from
harm, but continuous improvement in food safety and sanitation is essential for
the well-being of consumers and the financial health of the food and beverage
Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Now is the time to take extraordinary
measures to continue to keep the world’s most abundant food supply in check.
One final note: Food Engineering’s strategic manufacturing solutions event,
ProcessTechnologyXchange, will take place this summer in Park
City, UT. Now in its fourth
year, PTX is the perfect venue to uncover the latest technologies to meet your
pressing manufacturing needs. From energy savings to recall prevention and
improving plant efficiencies, we can customize private meetings for you with
the industry’s technology experts. Attendance is by invitation only. Please
call 952-736-9373 or see page 15 in this issue for more information.