Progress for food safety

05/25/2012 09:32:00 AM
The Packer Editorial Board

It wasn’t a good week for food safety for fresh produce.

Or was it?

While news of a handful of recalls generated buzz in the produce industry before Memorial Day, it was notable that they all lacked much outrage in the media or among consumers.

That’s probably because no illnesses were reported in any of the recalls.

This may be the beginning of the maturity of food safety.

Product was routinely tested, and when it was found to be tainted with a pathogen, it was pulled from the market. The recalls were conducted in an orderly and professional manner, while retail and foodservice customers, consumers and media were notified by government agencies and the companies involved.

These companies should be able to continue to produce and ship those labels after the food safety issues are addressed.

It’s as if everyone involved acknowledges that outbreaks will occur, and the important thing is getting product out of the market as soon as possible so the least number of people get sick.

No doubt the companies — River Ranch Fresh Foods with listeria found on its bagged salads, Taylor Farms’ organic baby spinach with salmonella, Gills Onions’ diced red onions with listeria and several Mexican papaya importers with positive salmonella tests — didn’t have stress-free times dealing with the recalls.

But collectively they showed the system is working.

That’s not to say there still aren’t issues, most notably the Food Safety Modernization Act, which may be caught up in politics.

At least there is progress.

Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.



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