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Lack of food safety sours consumer confidence

More than half (57%) of Americans surveyed in a recent Deloitte Consulting LLP study said they have actually stopped eating a particular food, temporarily or permanently, because of recent recalls.

In addition, 73% of Americans say they believe the number of food-related recalls has increased in the past year. An even higher percentage (76%) of consumers is more concerned about the foods they eat than they were five years ago.

Concerns are particularly high concerning meat product recalls. Specifically, consumers say they are most troubled by beef recalls (78%), followed by chicken (67%), fresh fruits and vegetables (53%) and dairy product (53%) recalls.

“These findings underscore how urgent it is for food manufacturers to do all they can to address the problem of food recalls head-on,” says Pat Conroy, Deloitte vice chairman and US consumer products practice leader. “Over half of consumers say they may drop your product if they believe you are not doing what it takes to protect them and their families.”

Americans are not so sure about foods produced outside the US either. More than half (56%) think imported foods are not at all or only somewhat safe. In contrast, 80% of Americans think domestically produced foods are safe. However, one-third of Americans believe fresh fish is not at all or is somewhat safe.

Overwhelmingly, 89% of American consumers would like to be able to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables in food stores.

E. coli. Source: FSIS

FSIS releases E coli notice

FSIS has released Notice 39-08, Collecting Information on Receiving Establishment Escherichia coli O157:H7, which instructs inspection program personnel to collect information about the results of E. coli O157:H7 testing performed by receiving establishments on incoming trim and other raw, ground-beef components supplied by another establishment. FSIS is developing this new program in response to the increased positive findings for E. coli O157:H7 and the increase in recalls associated with E. coli in 2007. More information can be found on the FSIS Web site, regulations and policies, FSIS Notices Index. The June 2008 document expires July 1, 2009.

Salmonella. Source: USDA

Consolidate food inspection agencies?

Food safety remains a potent issue in Congress. In the wake of a salmonella outbreak involving tomatoes, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) renewed her call for Congress to revamp the nation’s food safety system. Among the measures presented to Congress so far is a consolidation of food inspection responsibilities into one “super” food inspection agency.

DeLauro is in a position to advance this issue, as she chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.

FDA expanded its warning to consumers nationwide that a salmonellosis outbreak has been linked to consumption of certain raw, red plum, red Roma and red round tomatoes, and products containing these raw, red tomatoes. Consumers should continue to eat cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached or tomatoes grown at home.

Farm Bill has no friends

It turns out the Bush Administration isn’t alone in its dislike of the newly passed Farm Bill. Pascal Lamy, head of the World Trade Organization, has told some US lawmakers the measure sends the “wrong signal” to the WTO member nations working to adopt new trade rules.Lamy told House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and other US lawmakers the final make-up of the Farm Bill suggests the US isn’t serious about curtailing agricultural subsidies. Food processors are not particularly pleased with the bill either. “With today’s high global food prices, the new Farm Bill was a missed opportunity for the US to reform dairy and sugar subsidies and to reinforce US commitment to a successful outcome in world trade negotiations,” says Clay Hough, senior group vice president of the International Dairy Foods Association.

New regs on tap for combustible dust explosions

Former regulations covered only grain dust, but all dust types would be covered under the new law.


31st annual plant construction survey

LEED provides the tools to measure sustainability in new and existing projects.

Food Automation conference report

Best practices in food safety, asset utilization and sustainability were front and center at this year’s industry idea-exchange.

Tech Update: Post-production solutions

The integrated-plant concept works great, up until the finished product is filled. Machines may do the repetitive tasks, but coordinated activity remains elusive.

Is it possible to control chemical hazards in food?

It is imperative buyers establish programs to verify the quality of all purchased lots.

Space station greens

Rocky Mountain inventors and engineers have guided aeroponics technology into niche applications around the globe and into outer space. Now they’re targeting commercial crops.

A&B Process Systems' 53,000-sq.-ft. ASME-certified plant. (See below.)

People, Plant and Industry News

The J. M. Smucker Company and The Procter & Gamble Company announced the signing of a definitive agreement to merge the Folgers coffee business into The J. M. Smucker Company in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $3.3 billion, including the assumption of an estimated $350 million of Folgers debt.


Marty Hudak-Roos, vice president of global quality and food safety for Golden State Foods was appointed to the 2008 Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award by Dr. James M. Turner, acting director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).


SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Company announced the new MillerCoors leadership team. Leo Kiely, current CEO of Molson Coors, will be the CEO of MillerCoors; Tom Long, current CEO of Miller Brewing Company, will serve as president and chief commercial officer; Tim Wolf, current CFO of Molson Coors, will be the chief integration officer; and Gavin Hattersley, current senior vice president of finance at Miller, will be the chief financial officer.


Dole Food Company, Inc. was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for a second year in a row by Ethisphere Magazine, a national publication. Ethisphere is a think-tank dedicated to the research and promotion of profitable best practices in global governance, business ethics, compliance and corporate responsibility.


Cargill today announced the election of David MacLennan as chief financial officer (CFO) by Cargill’s board of directors. MacLennan succeeds the late William Veazey, who passed away May 16.


A&B Process Systems opened its new 53,000-sq.-ft. ASME-certified plant, which is specially designed to produce large-scale process vessels and super skids for the food, beverage and pharma industries.


Reiser successfully completed a sales agreement between Repak BV and Reiser UK. The agreement names Reiser UK as sales agent for Repak packaging machines in the UK.


Festo Corporation has named Mike Cybulski as its new CEO and president. Cybulski has an educational background in mechanical engineering, and he has vast experience in operations and sales.


Shuttleworth Inc., a conveyor automation and material handling machinery manufacturer, promoted Bret Ranc to chief operating officer, responsible for sales/marketing, engineering and manufacturing.


Serac Group, French manufacturer of filling and capping machines, promoted Marc Binet to group vice president. He will oversee sales and operations for North and South America.


The Partnership for Food Safety Education announced an expanded board of directors and the addition of two food industry organizations as new contributing members. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) join the partnership at a time of increased attention to consumer outreach. Appointed to the board are Robert E. Brackett, PhD, GMA senior vice president and chief science and regulatory affairs officer; and Leslie G. Sarasin, AFFI president and CEO.


Seegrid Corp., provider of industrial mobile robots for the material handling industry, appointed Jack Antounian as VP of operations, Michael Clark as director of engineering and Domenic Niro as director of sales.


The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) appointed Ed Diehl, cofounder and executive director of Concept Systems Inc., as its new chairperson. Diehl replaces Bob Zeigenfuse, whose term has expired.


Myers Industries named Joel Grant as managing director, North American material handling segment; and Matthew Gerstner as director of operations.


The Raymond Corporation, a manufacturer of materials handling solutions, was named Warehouse Capital Equipment 2007 Operations Supplier of the Year by SYSCO Corporation.