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Food Production is a Risky Business

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Food Production is a Risky Business. Competitive Markets Wall Street and Stockholder Pressures for Increasing Profits Lack of Clear Reward For Marketing and Practicing Food Safety Brand Awareness Risk of Litigation. Litigation as Incentive. Odwalla. Jack in the Box. Worthless Excuse No. 1.

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food production is a risky business
Food Production is a Risky Business
  • Competitive Markets
  • Wall Street and Stockholder Pressures for Increasing Profits
  • Lack of Clear Reward For Marketing and Practicing Food Safety
  • Brand Awareness
  • Risk of Litigation
litigation as incentive
Litigation as Incentive


Jack in the Box

worthless excuse no 1
Worthless Excuse No. 1

If a document contains damning information, the jury will assume you read it, understood it, and ignored it

“I never read the memo.”

an example conagra 2002
An Example - ConAgra 2002

On June 30, 2002, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall of 354,200 poundsof ground beef manufactured at the ConAgra.

The contaminated ground beef was produced at the plant on May 31, thirty days prior to the recall, and was distributed nationally to retailers and institutions.

E. coli O157:H7 was found at the Greeley slaughterhouse on May 9, 2002, yet they apparently did nothing with this information. The bacteria were detected several more times at the slaughterhouse over the next month, the last time being June 20, 2002.

Over 19 Million Pounds of meat recalled.

  • More than 40 sickened, 5 HUS and 1 Death.
  • In November 2002, the ConAgra plant in Greeley closed, due to repeated failures to prevent fecal contamination of carcasses.
2004 2007 peanut butter salmonella outbreak
2004-2007 Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak

CDC Figures as of June, 2007

714 culture-positive illnesses from 44 states

71 hospitalized

Illnesses reported 2005 to late 2007


2004-2007 Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak

CDC estimates that over 30 times the number of confirmed cases are never reported. Likely number of cases from peanut butter:

38.6 X 714 = 27,560

establishment inspection report february 23 2005
Establishment Inspection Report February 23, 2005

“Inspection revealed the following concerns:2 areas on production lines where filled containers of peanut butter were not completely covered from overhead contamination, an accumulation of spillage and or dust at wall/floor juncture around air handling cabinet in the ingredients room, and a temporary baffle made of cardboard in use on an empty jar line.”


Establishment Inspection Report February 23, 2005

“. . . Inspection found the lot in question had been shipped and management cited corporate policy in refusing to allow review of production and shipping records.

The current inspection was conducted in response to several complaints including most recently, number 29134, an anonymous complaint alleging poor sanitation, poor facilities maintenance, and poor quality program management. Specifics in that complaint include an alleged episode of positive findings of Salmonella in peanut butter in October of 2004 that was related to new equipment and that the firm didn’t react to, insects in some equipment, water leaking onto product, & inability to track some product.”


Establishment Inspection Report February 23, 2005

These complaints include:

29134 dated 1/13/05, an anonymous complaint reporting several issues at the firm that in summary allege poor sanitation practices, poor quality program management and poor facilities maintenance.

planning against litigation what is really important
Planning AGAINSTLitigation – What Is Really Important

1. Identify Hazards


Do you have qualified and committed people?

What is the Culture?

Involve Vendors and Suppliers

Do they really have a plan?

Ever visit them?

lessons learned from an outbreak
Lessons Learned From An Outbreak

You can insure the brand’s and the company’s reputation

Arm yourself with good, current information

Since you have a choice between doing nothing or being proactive, be proactive

Make food safety part of everything you do

Treat your customers with respect