prevention, not testing, at heart of contamination battle
of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Kraft-puts-prevention-not-testing-at-heart-of-contamination-battle
By Neil Merrett, 03-Apr-2009
Amidst ongoing amendments to improve
food safety after recent US contamination scares, Kraft Foods says that
system design and prevention remain central to its hygiene plans as opposed
to heightened testing.
While some trade groups seek to amend current food policy
legislation in the country through measures like federally set, enforceable
safety standards for fruit and vegetables, other processors believe that
solutions should be tailored to specific production environments.
Although Kraft said that a system of comprehensive auditing was
already in place through its operations, a group spokesperson claimed
rolling out a ‘one size fits all’ testing policy may not always be the best
means to improve product safety.
“To be effective, food safety plans must be tailored to each particular
product and manufacturing condition,” a group spokesperson told
Although the company did not say if it would look to ramp up
internal auditing of processors, the spokesperson said that no safety
system was perfect and that Kraft Foods
remained focused on continuous improvement.
“There is no one size fits all as every product has a unique need
and varying degree of risk associated with it,”
stated a spokesperson for the group. “Routine testing of ingredients and
finished products and environmental monitoring vary greatly from plant to
plant and product to product.”
The comments come after Kraft Foods was this week praised by the US
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for showing how the country’s food
safety systems should work, after it discovered a salmonella
outbreak in pistachios processed by one of its suppliers.
The discovery, which was uncovered during what the company called
routine third party testing that it was not legally required to undertake,
led central-California-based processor Setton Farms to voluntarily recall
its 2008 pistachio crop due to an unrelated salmonella contamination.
“This recall was not triggered because of an outbreak, in contrast
to the peanut butter,” FDA
associate commissioner for foods David Acheson told reporters in a
conference call. ”This is an example of the FDA getting out ahead
of the curve.”
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which represents
companies like Kraft, backed the FDA’s comments. However, the association
said it had suggested a number of amendments to the current FDA system in a
bid to ensure the risk assessor had sufficient funding and authority to
uphold safer food production.
The suggestions include requiring all food manufacturers to adopt
and update food safety plans so that they can be made available to the FDA.
To step up traceability, the GMA also suggested mandatory
documentation by importers on the steps being used to police foreign
suppliers, while also granting the FDA mandatory recall authority.
To back this increased scrutiny, the association said it also
believed US Congress should increase the spending budget of the FDA to at
least $900m as part of attempts to ‘rebuild’ its scientific capacity.