Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Letter From The Editor: Recalls & Warnings

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announces food recalls and issues warnings about them in a single news release.

We were wishing that was the practice at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week.  A company called Nurture Inc. had a packaging problem with some of its organic baby food.

Because we received an e-mail alert about FDA’s warning about ten hours before we received one about Nurture’s recall notice, we made the government’s apparent faster action than the company the lead of our story on Friday.

This led to my spending a large percentage of my very limited email time on Friday with Trish Scorpio, who handles the Nurture Inc. account for Kohnstamm Communications in St. Paul, MN.

After a couple of email exchanges and my looking at everything again, I realized the only gap that existed was in my receipt of an email alert for the Nurture recall notice.  The company, located next to the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, issued the recall notice about six hours before FDA got the public warning out.

We ran a corrected story on Saturday.  We are not in the future going to put our trust in those email alerts, at least as it concerns the time when something happens.

The reason we highlighted the time issue to begin with is that if FDA issues a public warning before there is a recall, it pretty much forces the company’s hand.  But that was not what was happening in this case.

In fact, to its credit, Nurture has also provided a detailed list on its Web site of the Whole Foods and Target Stores that received the baby food with the package problems.  Hopefully the day is coming when making the retail list public will be standard practice in a recall, but it is not now and Nurture is providing some leadership on an important issue.

We can and do correct important factual errors, but we cannot make everybody happy.

Someone at the National Peanut Board wrote us to object that we’d led with peanut butter being one of several items recalled by Parker Farms. She wanted us to revise the headline and make it clear that most of the recalled stuff wasn’t peanut butter.

Sorry, no.  We’ve been to Blakely several times. We’ve talked to peanut farmers.   We know the peanut industry cares about food safety.

And we also know consumers want to trust peanut butter again.  So we know they do NOT want to see peanut butter on anymore recall lists.  That’s whom we are watching out for.

Until next time.

© Food Safety News