World Quality Day: Food Safety in the Spotlight After Supreme Court of Canada Decision

Food safety

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal that would have seen Maple Leaf Foods held responsible for financial and reputational losses that occurred during the listeriosis outbreak in 2008.

The outbreak at the Bartor Road plant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2008 resulted in 22 deaths and is considered one of the deadliest food safety outbreaks in Canadian history. The contamination affected a number of cold cut products produced at the plant. The cause of the outbreak was the cleaning procedures of two slicing machines that had meat residue lodged deeply inside their internal workings, which allowed the bacteria to grow unchecked over a long period of time despite the thorough cleaning and maintenance of the working surfaces. Maple Leaf Foods had an exemplary record for food safety up to that point and had demonstrated a high level of attention to food safety and quality for several years. … Read more...

25 Tips to Stay Safe While Celebrating the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July should be a fun family holiday, so follow these tips to avoid a trip to the emergency room.

The Fourth of July is the quintessential summer holiday in the United States. It’s a fun celebration, filled with picnics and barbecues, fireworks displays and time spent in pools and on beaches and on boats. It also can be a painful day for many, and results in thousands of trips to the emergency room each year. Injuries caused by mishandled fireworks, drownings and boating injuries, fires and burns related to grilling incidents, insect stings, food poisoning and car crashes are just some of the fun buzz kills seen by ER doctors and nurses.

This year, a new layer of safety concerns has been added. Celebrating Independence Day will be different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The American Red Cross offers these safety tips you can … Read more...

How Hello Fresh and Intelex Are Managing the Global Food Supply Chain

Today’s global food supply chains are more complex than they’ve ever been. Until recently, consumers ate the food they grew in their communities and would adjust their diet to suit the seasonal availability of various products like fruits and vegetables. Today, consumers can have food from any part of the world as part of their regular diet. In the United States alone, food travels on average 1,300 miles from farm to fork, with 33% of products and 80% of seafood imported from other countries. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food products that are processed by more than 300,000 different facilities in over 150 different countries.

In such a complex supply chain, food travels around the world in the custody of multiple agents, with variations in documentation and processing resulting in loss of critical information about food origins and authenticity. In many cases, the food itself goes … Read more...

How the Elliott Review Can Help You Protect Your Food Supply Chain

Most people have heard about the EU horsemeat scandal in 2013, in which supermarkets in the UK were found to be selling beef products adulterated with horse meat. While this is perhaps the most high-profile example of food crime in recent years, its visibility also serves to overshadow many other disturbing, and more common, examples of food crime. For example, in July 2013, North Yorkshire Trading Standards sampled lamb curries from 10 takeaways and discovered that seven contained lamb and chicken, one contained lamb and beef, and only one contained just lamb as advertised. In December 2013, West Yorkshire Joint Services conducted tests on 873 food samples from restaurants and takeaways. 38% of these samples failed the test for food authenticity and showed that they were adulterated by unlisted ingredients and substitutes, including the use of cheese analogue instead of real cheese and chicken substituted for beef. In an earlier sample, they tested 16 lamb … Read more...

Canadian Honey Producers Stung by Sophisticated Food Fraud

Food fraud is big business. Criminal organizations around the world earn millions of dollars annually by cutting high-quality food products with cheaper substitutes to increase profits. The practice is so ubiquitous throughout the food industry that food protection agencies refer to it as economically motivated adulteration (EMA) The consequences of this practice can include reputational damage to respected food brands, public health crises resulting from adulteration using hazardous elements designed to avoid standard integrity testing, and financial damage to legitimate producers who can’t compete with cheaper adulterated products.  

According to a recent news story, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been conducting targeted surveillance on international producers of adulterated honey entering the Canadian market since 2018. By analyzing 240 samples of imported honey, CFIA determined that one-fifth of the samples advertised as pure honey are adulterated with corn syrup, rice syrup, and cane sugar syrup. As a result of the inspection, … Read more...

Protecting the food supply chain from fraud and malicious attack

Every few years, an intentional adulteration of the food supply grabs headlines around the world. In 2008, Chinese dairy manufacturers added the chemical melamine, a plasticizing agent, to milk and infant formula to boost the detectable protein levels, resulting in the hospitalization of 54,000 children and six deaths. The 2013 EU horse meat scandal, in which horse meat was substituted for beef in products sold across the EU, severely damaged consumer confidence in traceability and testing standards for meat products. Perhaps even more disturbing is the possibility of intentional contamination of the food supply to cause harm, a possibility that has gained more attention in the age of global terrorism. 

With the complexity of today’s international food supply chain, it is vital that the food industry move beyond food safety and quality approaches to incorporate food fraud—to protect against intentional contamination for economic gain—and food defence—to protect against intentional contamination to cause harm. … Read more...

Food Integrity: The Case of Canadian Meat Imports to China

In late June 2019, the Chinese government suspended all imports of Canadian meat after having discovered a shipment of Canada-labeled pork that contained residue from a banned additive called Ractopamine. Ractopamine helps animals to grow larger and leaner on less food, which means farmers spend less money on raising the animals and make a larger profit after their sale. While Ractopamine is legal in Canada and the United States, it is banned in several other countries, including China. Chinese import officials detected the residue during normal sampling and testing procedures. 

The more disturbing discovery was that the accompanying veterinary certificate that testified to the origin and quality of the meat was falsified, which was confirmed by an inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). According to Canadian officials, the meat shipment is of unknown origin. The case has been referred to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for investigation. … Read more...

Processes and data-driven technology are protecting your food from contamination and adulteration

In the United States alone, food travels on average 1,300 miles from farm to fork, with 33% of produce and 80% of seafood imported from other countries. Food products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are processed by more than 300,000 different facilities in over 150 different countries. The complexity of this supply chain means that food can travel around the world in the custody of multiple agents along the way, with variations in documentation and processing resulting in loss of critical information about food authenticity and origin or even loss of the food itself. Approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost from the global supply chain annually without any understanding of where it goes. Traceability and authenticity in such a complex supply chain are therefore extremely difficult to manage, especially when consumers are increasingly concerned about those assurances, as well as about additional elements like sustainability and genetically modified … Read more...

Using food integrity to secure the global food supply chain

Today’s food supply chain stretches across the globe. While consumers used to eat the food they grew in their communities and adjusted their diets based on the availability of seasonal products, today’s consumers can have food from all over the world any day of the year. Although this has increased food choice and availability for consumers, it has also created a complex global supply chain with multiple points of vulnerability to both accidental and intentional events that impact food safety and quality. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne illness each year, with approximately 128,000 hospitalized and 3,000 deaths. The steady annual increase of this number is at least partially attributable to the complexities of the global food supply chain. 

To meet the challenges the food supply chain presents, the food and beverage industry must move towards the concept of food integrity. Food integrity is an approach that combines food safety and quality principles, … Read more...

Using QMS Software to Tame the Complexity of Food Regulations

Not many safety failures hit the headlines quite the way those in the food industry do. With high-profile incidents like the 2013 horse meat scandal in the EU, the listeria contamination at Maple Leaf Foods in 2008, and the seemingly constant cadence of recalls involving leafy greens, food safety failures have the potential to create foodborne illnesses that cause serious harm to human health and significant financial damage to the organizations at the heart of them.

Global supply chains for food products have only increased the complexity of the compliance requirements for food safety. Organizations in the international marketplace must consider standards and frameworks such as ISO 22000:2018, FSSC 22000, ISO 9001:2015, HAACP (Hazard Analysis and Control Points), and the many voluntary standards of Codex Alimentarius, as well as overseers such as GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative), the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and SQFI (Safe Quality Food Institute). In … Read more...