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Keep Food Safety Out of AIB, Kansas State Proposal

Opinion

(This was posted April 10, 2014, at barfblog.com and is reposted here by permission.)

A former colleague at Kansas State University asked me yesterday if I would deliver my annual talk with summer public health students despite being unceremoniously dumped last year.

I said, “Sure, I’ll always talk with students: they shouldn’t have to suffer from administration incompetence.” (I pre-record the talk, send a bunch of background material and then Skype in for discussion; it works for most of the world, just not Kansas administrators).

But I also had to wonder when Kansas State announced they were proposing a $60-million partnership with AIB International (that’s the American Institute of Baking, also in Manhattan, KS) to create a Global Center for Grain-Based Foods.

What marketing geniuses come up with these names?

“We are looking at our shared expertise to help enable the grain-based food industry, both from a learning/technical application, and from a food safety perspective,” said Andre Biane, president and CEO of AIB International.

Having AIB and food safety in the same sentence should shock anyone.

AIB is the third-party auditor that approved Salmonella-tainted peanut paste that killed nine and sickened 600, gave DeCoster egg operations a “superior” rating and “recognition of achievement” in June 2010, just as thousands of Americans began barfing from Salmonella in DeCoster eggs, and a big thumbs-up to Veggie Booty before Salmonella started making people sick.

As has been documented, although AIB considered the Peanut Corporation of America plant “Superior,” Nestlé twice inspected PCA plants and chose not to take on PCA as a supplier because it didn’t meet Nestlé’s food-safety standards, according to Nestlé’s audit reports in 2002 and 2006.

I also wonder when the KState administration goes on about its Australian ties and clearly knows nothing about the culture here, even with two former KState profs sitting here.

Keep believing your own press releases: it’s what universities are good at.

Audits and inspections are never enough: A critique to enhance food safety

30.aug.12

Food Control

D.A. Powell, S. Erdozain, C. Dodd, R. Costa, K. Morley, B.J. Chapman

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713512004409?v=s5

Abstract

Internal and external food safety audits are conducted to assess the safety and quality of food, including on-farm production, manufacturing practices, sanitation and hygiene. Some auditors are direct stakeholders that are employed by food establishments to conduct internal audits, while other auditors may represent the interests of a second-party purchaser or a third-party auditing agency. Some buyers conduct their own audits or additional testing, while some buyers trust the results of third-party audits or inspections. Third-party auditors, however, use various food safety audit standards and most do not have a vested interest in the products being sold. Audits are conducted under a proprietary standard, while food safety inspections are generally conducted within a legal framework. There have been many foodborne illness outbreaks linked to food processors that have passed third-party audits and inspections, raising questions about the utility of both. Supporters argue third-party audits are a way to ensure food safety in an era of dwindling economic resources. Critics contend that while external audits and inspections can be a valuable tool to help ensure safe food, such activities represent only a snapshot in time. This paper identifies limitations of food safety inspections and audits and provides recommendations for strengthening the system, based on developing a strong food safety culture, including risk-based verification steps, throughout the food safety system.

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