Peanut Corporation of America
A Salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 700 people and killed 9 in late 2008 and early 2009 was traced back to the Peanut Corporation of America. In February, four executives from the company pleaded innocent to federal criminal charges that included fraud, conspiracy, and the introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead. Former CEO Stewart Parnell’s infamous email, in which he wrote “S---, just ship it,” in reference to a customer’s shipment that was being help up pending results of a Salmonella test, didn’t help the company’s case in the court of public opinion.
Lean finely textured beef (LFTB) doesn’t exactly sound unappetizing, but when it’s called by its other name, Pink Slime, the response is “Yuck!” A report by ABC News in March 2012 found that 70 percent of ground beef sold in American supermarkets contains Pink Slime, which is added to ground beef as filler. It’s made from “low-grade beef trimmings and other meat by-products such as cartilage, connective tissue and sinew,” states Wikipedia, which is heated, liquefied, treated with gaseous ammonia, ground up and compressed into pellets or blocks then flash frozen before being shipped off for use as an additive.
ABC News’ report not only exposed what all goes in to America’s ground beef, it demonstrated the power of social media and how quickly a potentially damaging story can go viral. Beef Products Inc. (BPI), one of the largest producers of Pink Slime, has since filed a lawsuit against ABC News.
Produce Marketing Association
The industry group, which represents companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain, is keen on helping members navigate complex regulations and understand and use the latest food safety research. In 2008, the PMA established the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) in conjunction with United Fresh Produce Association and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association.
One of the most promising developments related to food safety is the growing number of quick, affordable testing kits on the market. Celsis International, DuPont Qualicon and others offer products that not only keep consumers safe from tainted food, but help food manufacturers more quickly get new products to the marketplace. For example, a rapid product release screening test from Celsis International delivers definitive results 80 percent faster than traditional microbial methods. In addition, the company’s Rapid Detection system helps manage data and recordkeeping for reporting and compliance purposes.
Rocky Ford Growers Association
The Rocky Ford Growers Association wins the prize for successfully turning around a public relations nightmare and reestablishing consumer confidence in the cantaloupe industry following an outbreak of Listeria in 2011 that killed 33 people and sickened dozens more. Although the outbreak was traced back to Colorado’s Jensen Farms, about 90 miles from the Rocky Ford growing region in the southeastern part of the state, the damage to the cantaloupe industry at large was severe. Rather than keep a low profile until the news item faded from consumers’ memory, the Rocky Ford Growers Association launched a campaign to educate consumers while simultaneously investing in better oversight and food safety measures at the farms and packing houses.
Packaging is a critical component when it comes to food safety, and Sealed Air’s Cryovac and Diversey brands are aimed at extending shelf life, reducing food waste and protecting brand image. Sealed Air’s Grip & Tear packaging materials not only help extend shelf life, it improves user safety and reduces cross-contamination at home, and in the foodservice and deli environments by reducing the use of knives for opening packages.