Inspectors going 'overboard' on peanut recall: Industry

 Source of Article:  http://www.vancouversun.com/Health/Inspectors+going+overboard+peanut+recall+Industry/1258057/story.html

 

By Sarah Schmidt, Canwest News ServiceFebruary 5, 2009

  

Some Canadian companies swept up in the growing peanut recall are blasting the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for going 'overboard' because their own test results showed their products were not contaminated with salmonella.

OTTAWA — Some Canadian companies swept up in the growing peanut recall are blasting the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for going “overboard” because their own test results showed their products were not contaminated with salmonella.

Since Jan. 19, the agency has announced the voluntary recall of more than 120 snack foods, saying they may be contaminated with salmonella. All the products contain an ingredient sourced from the Georgia-based plant of the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), which U.S. authorities have determined is the source of a salmonella outbreak linked to at least eight deaths and 575 illnesses across 43 states.

Martin Vidal, executive vice-president of Pro-Amino International Inc., based in St.-Eustache, Que., says there is no good reason CFIA included two of his company’s ProtiLife peanut butter bars in the latest round of recalls announced this week.

“It’s a preventive recall, sure, but it’s imposed by them,” Vital said of the CFIA.

“I think the agency went overboard. We have all the tests, and it’s a process that is so clean, you can lick the floor. We have all the tests of every lot of products, from raw material, to production, to end of production, that showed that there is (no salmonella contamination),” said Vidal.

“I call this ‘The Maple Leaf syndrome.’ ”

Last summer, Maple Leaf Foods initially announced a voluntary recall of a particular meat product produced on two production lines of its Toronto plant after tests showed the product traced to one of these lines had tested positive for listeria.

Within days, the company expanded the recall to all products produced at the plant as a “precautionary” measure, when the CFIA concluded the strain of bacteria linked to the illness and death of several consumers matched the strain identified in Maple Leaf food products.

The agency later confirmed that the listeria detected in finished product samples came from one of the two production lines initially flagged.

Warren Bernstein, director of operations at Dr. Bernstein Diet & Clinics, said the supplier of two of his company’s protein bars got “caught up in the recall web,” even though all tests results show all the products are safe and free from contamination.

“In all of their channels, all of their ingredients are all tested, and all of their end products are always tested. There is no contamination in the products. It’s very heavy-handed. And they end up eating the costs for all of this. They can’t go to the supplier, because the product wasn’t defective,” Bernstein, based in Toronto, said Thursday.

Vidal said while he “fully understands that the health of the consumer has to be protected,” he said steps to protect the quality of the product were discounted.

“We will be waiting to get some answers from the CFIA, after the fact, of course, and after all the financial damages.”

 

 

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