Here is some food for thought for food processors: How would an $11 million fine fit into the operating budget? The guess is not very well.
In December a U.S. District Judge in Savannah, Georgia signed off on a settlement agreement that levied the largest criminal fine for a food safety case in United States history. A subsidiary of Conagra Brands pleaded guilty and agreed to pay an $8 million dollar fine plus an additional $3.2 million in cash forfeitures for its role in the decade-old Peter Pan peanut butter salmonella case that sickened hundreds of consumers.
Other notable food safety-related fines in 2016 included Blue Bell Creameries ($800,000) and Quality Egg Corp. ($46.8 million). And when it comes to a double header of damage – brand and financial - consider that fast food giant Chipotle watched its net income for Q3 2016 drop to $7.8 million vs. $144.9 million during the same period in 2015.
While cases like this are rare it should serve as a reminder of the expanded power of the U.S. FDA to recall and quarantine food products, randomly inspect, and fine and even shutter food processing, transportation or storage facilities. These expanded powers were granted under the guise of the Food Safety Modernization Act and make the FDA a regulatory body to be reckoned with.
Developing and implementing a food safety plan that includes pest management, is a task the Sprague Pest Experts are well-versed in. We can assist food processors – big and small - with risk assessments, documentation procedures, and practice audits and day-to-day pest prevention strategies that protect their brands, customers and bottom-line.