Spinach in the news again
Posted: August 29th, 2007 - 8:12pm by Ben Chapman
The New York Times reported this afternoon that Metz Fresh has recalled some bagged spinach due to a positive salmonella sample. FDA also has a press release about the recall here (with some pretty good quotes from Metz Fresh).
I visited the Metz Fresh website and came across their food safety commitment. I liked much of what they have there, and it fits with a lot of what Doug and I have been talking about for the last year when it comes to marketing food safety. They are saying all the right things, and (hopefully) removing products that might have salmonella shows that they are trying to follow through.
Some of the highlights (in italics):
- Pre-harvest tissue testing for dangerous microbial contamination including, at a minimum, E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella.
- Packaged product tissue testing for dangerous microbial contamination including, at a minimum, E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria and Anaerobic Plate Count.
- Every foot of each of our fields is checked by a crew of workers for foreign objects and possible sources of contamination once after planting and again just before harvest.
- Enhanced Good Agricultural Practices for farming and harvesting operations including regular testing of irrigation water and rigid certification of soil amendments.
Testing is a bit problematic when it comes to fresh produce. If it's done on its own it might promote a false sense of security, but in conjunction with GAPs it might be able to provide the company with some information on their growing/harvesting/packing systems
- All safety programs and testing certificates of analysis available for review upon request.
- All programs, fields and facilities inspected by third party auditors including Primus Labs.
- We have a full time food safety expert on staff who is available for questions from any user
of Metz Fresh products.
I really like the openness that Metz Fresh is promoting here -- not sure if customers ever call them on it, but having this here is as good as a promise that they will provide it. Because if they don't, they'll be fried.
Now it's not all perfect for Metz Fresh -- they really need to have something on their website that directs customers and journalists (because this no doubt will be picked up everywhere, as we're two weeks prior to the anniversary of the O157 outbreak) to information about how they are handling the outbreak, how to handle the product, etc. Much of this info is in the FDA's press release, and should be found somewhere at Metz Fresh by now (we're in the information vacuum time, a few hours after the recall, tomorrow is too late).