Whilst I value the commentary of my friend and colleague, Doug Powell and agree almost 99% with his theory and thought, I have to question this aside at the conclusion of the story below.
Do we ask “who was the inspector” every time we have an outbreak in a regulated restaurant or meat plant? How is that relevant?
The auditor or inspector is not in charge of food safety. As a profession, we are there to evaluate either conformance with a prescribed set of rules written by a buyer (in the case of an auditor) or compliance with laws written and enacted by government.
The findings are useful for improving an operation, and the findings may point to risks inherent in a process or product or facility, but the inspection or audit process may not necessarily uncover every defect, hidden hazards or those of such a nature that they cannot be readily discerned through visual observation or records review. In any case, breakthrough events do not invalidate either inspections or audits, nor do they undermine their value or negate the need to continue such.
On the other hand, we have seen obvious defects and unsafe conditions left unchecked by an auditor or an inspector, and then a subsequent outbreak occur. We have to ask why that happens, and I believe that reporting and observational biases are a challenge for both inspectors and auditors. The biggest prejudices that such an expert has are lack of knowledge, time constraints, failure to see the entire operation, pressure from the operator, invalid audit or inspection protocol, faulty inspection report or method used to evaluate risks, politics, business concerns and self interest.
These flaws potentially exists in every inspection or audit process and the extent of which they manifest will invalidate the outcome.
Therefore, it is important to ask more than just who an inspector was; it is much more important to look at the whole auditing and inspection process. I believe these failures are not so much the result of “who was the auditor” but how well the audit process was able to uncover issues, and of course how well the operation cooperated with the auditor and responded to concerns.
29 sick with Salmonella linked to Trader Joe’s peanut butter; why is Penn. going public and others aren’t?
Now would be the usual time for some consumer education group to issue yet another jackass advisory, this time about how consumers should cook their peanut butter, or choose it with care, or something else they have no control over.
It is food safety education month, don’t ya know.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health today advised consumers that Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with sea salt may be related to a multi-state outbreak of salmonella.
The department is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health officials in several states to investigate the outbreak. Nationally, there have been 29 cases of illness with two cases reported in Pennsylvania.
Trader Joe’s has voluntarily removed the product for sale from its stores; however, consumers who have the product in their homes should discard it and should also be aware that this product is sold online through other retail outlets.
Additionally, the department advises anyone who recently consumed Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with sea salt and then became ill to consult their healthcare provider, local health department, or call the Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
Where did this peanut butter originate? Does hipster fave Trader Joe’s audit their suppliers? Who was the auditor?
Nothing yet on the Trader Joe’s website.