Dangers of undeclared products in food


Dangers of undeclared products in food


Sunday, July 14, 2019

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YOU have purchased one of those delicious ice cream desserts and the only concern is to take care that the double or triple decker delight doesn't fall off that crusty cone before you dive in. But that shouldn't be the only concern, as there could be trouble in ice cream paradise.

Yes! Ice cream is now being counted among the troubling numbers of food recalls, among other products.

In 2018 there was a total of 382 recalls due to undeclared ingredients in foods such as allergens and additives, and also due to the presence of pathogens such as salmonella, listeria monocytogenes, E coli, cyclospora, clostridium botulinum, and others.

We are now in 2019 and the recalls continue with Little Red Rooster Ice Cream Company in the USA, being one of the recent ones. They announced a limited recall of approximately 26,000 pints of its “NadaMoo! Strawberry Cheesecake Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert”, due to an undeclared almond ingredient. An article in the April issue of Food Safety News reported that the recall was initiated by the company, as it was discovered that the pie crust inclusions in the strawberry cheesecake product (containing almond flour as an ingredient) were inadvertently filled into packaging that did not declare that ingredient.

This could potentially expose consumers to an undeclared allergen. According to a statement from manufacturers of the frozen desserts: “People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to almonds run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume the recalled products.”

Luckily for NadaMoo!, so far there have been no reported cases of adverse reactions being posted on the recall notice on the Food and Drug Administration's website. All the stores in the US that received the products were also listed.

But what is the real impact of recalls on the business of any manufacturer?

My company, Technological Solutions Limited, provides a wide range of technical support including: The design and implementation of traceability and recall systems; food safety and quality systems implementation and training, among other services, to help companies prevent recall of their products, which can have a major negative economic impact on their establishment.

Recalls: The food industry's biggest threat to profitability

Food recalls are most importantly a public health issue, but they are also significant economic issues.

The average cost of a recall to a food company is $10 million in direct costs, in addition to brand damage and lost sales, according to a joint industry study by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. However, the costs for larger brands may be significantly higher based on the preliminary recall costs reported by firms of some recent recalls.

And these are just the direct costs, which typically include notification (to regulatory bodies, supply chain, consumers), product retrieval (reverse logistics), storage, destruction, unsalable product, and, of course, the additional labour costs associated with these activities such as litigation costs as well as the investigation of the root cause.

Food recall causes

Unfortunately, almost every enterprise class food manufacturer, processor, and distributor has experienced the challenge of a recall.

Major contributing factors to recent recalls have been deficiencies in the food production and monitoring processes, such as non-compliance with current good manufacturing practices (GMPs), failure to maintain food processing facilities and equipment, non-compliance with their own standard operating procedures, weaknesses in their hazard analysis and critical control points analysis, and inability to track products through their supply chain.

Traceability can be an effective solution to mitigate risk when a recall occurs, but there are practices that can be effective in preventing recalls.

An effective food defence strategy is not simply a requirement to follow federal mandates, but is a proactive strategy to prevent the potential for significant costs to the business from an ineffective programme. Research tells us that a majority of the reasons for recalls are due to operational deficiencies

It is evident that intelligent application of technology can help prevent recalls from happening.

Dr Wendy-Gaye Thomas is group technical manager, Technological Solutions Limited, a Jamaican food technology company, email: wendy.thomas@tsltech.com

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