When an outbreak of a foodborne illness stemming from a manufacturing facility occurs, negligence to follow regulatory standards and simple error are typically to blame. But there are also some instances where a manufacturer refuses to acknowledge Food and Drug Administration warnings, or worse, employees knowingly endanger consumers.
The FDA has come out with a tool that aims to cut down on instances of the latter situation, willful contamination. Known as the Food Defense Plan Builder, the software program enables food manufacturers to put together plans which aim to identify shortcomings in the production process so that consumers can be protected.
By turning to the planner, those responsible for instituting safety measures at restaurants and manufacturing facilities are asked to answer questions about processing, packaging, and the food and the facility themselves. The planner will then put together an analysis of potential vulnerabilities and ways that those safety shortfalls could be combatted.
The FDA notes that purposeful contamination incidents are not all that typical, but when they do occur, the results can be catastrophic. In Texas back in 1996, a dozen workers were sickened because pastries they had consumed were infected with a certain Shigellabacteria. And a few years ago, employees with a bone to pick with a certain restaurant put pesticide into the salsa, leading 40 people to become sick.
Hopefully, manufacturers will take advantage of this important resource from the FDA.