Kellogg CEO testifies in Salmonella hearing

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3/20/2009-The House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation held a hearing on March 19, entitled “The Salmonella Outbreak: The Role of Industry in Protecting the Nation’s Food Supply.” David Mackay, President and CEO of Kellogg Co., was one of the people who offered testimony. Mackay expressed regret that Kellogg products were involved in the Salmonella outbreak associated with the Peanut Corp. of America (PCA). He went on to recount how the company handled news of the outbreak in Jan. 2009 by quickly recalling the food products linked with Salmonella. According to Mackay, “more than seven million cases of our products were recalled due to the PCA contamination at a cost of approximately $65–70 million.”

In addition, Mackay explained that the company has since taken actions to make their food safety systems and principles better. The company has established new cross-functional Kellogg audit teams, including the Quality, Food Safety, and Materials Management groups, to audit suppliers of high-risk ingredients, who have already completed on-site audits of Kellogg’s peanut and peanut paste ingredient suppliers. The company is requiring suppliers to conduct environmental testing and monitoring in their plants to assist in identifying, assessing, and correcting potential contamination before it becomes a food safety problem. In addition, Kellogg is strengthening its internal training and education across its supply chain.

To conclude his testimony, Mackay offered ways to enhance that safety of the nation’s food supply. They include:

• The formation of a single food safety authority under Health and Human Services that will give accountability to one agency leader for science, surveillance, research, and inspection, with support from a science-based Food Safety Advisory Council.

• A requirement that every food company conduct a risk analysis and document their preventative controls, verification systems, and testing results in a food safety plan that is subject to regular FDA review.

• Annual inspections by the FDA of facilities producing high-risk products.

• Working with industry and government to align around a single food safety standard for evaluating facilities, with appropriate training and accreditation of auditors and auditing firms.

• Ensuring that the FDA has the right mix of intervention and enforcement powers.

“The PCA situation has shown that if a company chooses to ignore even basic food safety principles, food safety systems and protections can be compromised, whether those are individual company systems or the U.S. food safety system generally,” said Mackay.

Hearing documents

David Mackay’s testimony (pdf)





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