Creme Global

Product Recalls

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Courtesy of Creme Global

Product Recalls

Food product recalls have been a concern to consumers for many years. They incur immense direct costs for manufacturers and retailers, can shake consumer trust and may lead to consumers switching to competitors' brands. The number of food borne diseases that lead to mass product recalls is high - in the USA, over 17,000 cases of food poisoning were recorded for the year 2006.

Carcinogenic Ingredient - Sudan Red

Sudan Red is an industrial dye which is used for colouring solvents, fats, oils and waxes, hair dyes, shoe and floor polish and temporary tattoos. Before the Sudan Red issue was raised, the food colouring was an ingredient in almost 500 food products containing Worcester sauce (including sauces, salad dressings and ready meals). In Europe and many other Western countries the use of Sudan Red was banned after EFSA claimed that the substance could be carcinogenic and toxic. Imported dry, ground or crushed chilli from Asia (where Sudan Red is still used to colour chilli, curry and chutney in some areas) must now be accompanied by a food safety certificate.

Sudan Red has recently also become an issue in China, when almost 1,200 kg of eggs had to be pulled from the market, as the red colour of the egg yolk, which consumers thought to be a sign of superior quality of the eggs, was caused by dye with the help of Sudan Red, which had likely been added into the chicken feed. This and other food poisonings and scares have recently led to the Chinese government contemplating taking action and establish a country-wide Chinese Food Safety Authority.

Salmonella Contamination Scare

In June 2006 a major chocolate manufacturer was forced to withdraw over a million chocolate bars from stores in Ireland and the UK, when the UK Food Standards Agency discovered a rare stain of salmonella in one of its factories. As the UK Health Protection Agency recorded a large number of consumers that were taken ill with salmonella, investigations were led which identified the strain of bacteria as the one that had been present at the chocolate manufacturer's plant. Since only the most severe cases are reported to the HPA, it is likely that many more people experienced health-related problems due to the salmonella contamination.

The Advisory Committee on Microbiological Safety in Food (ACMSF) advised that there was no safe level for salmonella in food. One cell forming unit is sufficient to cause illness, in particular in children and the elderly. It is thought that salmonella in chocolate could be particularly harmful, as chocolate may help protect the salmonella from acid attack in the stomach and facilitate the bacteria's infiltration into the intestines, where they can multiply and cause damage.

Salmonella in Peanut Butter

Also in 2006, a famous US brand of peanut butter was found to contain strains of salmonella. Various lawsuits have been filed to gain compensation for the harm caused to consumers. This was the first incident where salmonella has been found in peanut butter. The manufacturer has appointed a food safety manager and is currently repairing the damage done by a leaky roof and sprinkler in one of its plants, which is believed to have caused the salmonella outbreak.

Contaminant - US E. Coli Scare

In the last six months, various food scares have shaken the American population. In September 2006, uncooked spinach was found to be contaminated with Escherichia coli (E. coli) in 26 US states. Lettuce, tomatoes and onions were also suspected of spreading the strains of E. coli. The E. coli outbreak was traced back to packaged spinach that originated in the state of California. According to officials, the E. coli strain that led to the outbreak was found in a stream and in wild pigs and cattle faeces close to a Californian spinach plantation. According to US FDA estimates, food borne diseases kill 5,000 people and cause illness in 76 million Americans every year. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that action was needed in order to prevent pathogen cross-contamination.

How You Can Handle Food Safety Crises Using CREMe

CREMe's detailed ingredient analysis can help you see the full picture for all ingredients, additives, flavourings and sweeteners that are contained in products on the market. More importantly, the levels of consumption of the population of these ingredients and chemicals can be quickly and easily assessed.

Scenario analysis allows you to be prepared for a range of potential occurrences. Where are the links in your food chain that are most susceptible to food safety issues? How will these impact your consumers? CREMe 2.0 allows you to efficiently perform analyses to allocate resources for optimal consumer health and safety.

In the case where a contamination issue arises or a legal framework change occurs, your target market will be affected. You will want timely and detailed information. With CREMe 2.0, you can quickly process the data in order to obtain the rapid answers you need in a crisis.

Furthermore, with CREMe 2.0 you can protect your company's reputation and assure your company's directors that you are using the best tools and the most detailed and up-to-date information available to determine the impact of potential food safety hazards.

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