Kellogg’s® Honey Smacks® cereal has been linked to 73 cases of Salmonella Mbandaka illness in over 30 states across the USA, according to a report released on June 14th by CDC. Over the past two months, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued 24 recalls and alerts on their food safety page. In light of the recent surge in food recalls, it is essential for food processing facilities to exercise vigilance in maintaining critical control points for the prevention, elimination or reduction of public safety hazards.
Food Recall Hazards
Food recalls are not only a public health issue, but carry a significant cost to a food manufacturer. Direct and indirect costs include assembling a crisis team, product retrieval, investigating and addressing the root cause, litigation, fines, and loss in revenue. A facility’s reputation may also be on the line as news of a recall quickly goes viral with social media outlets. Food recalls can negatively affect a whole food industry, resulting in consumer avoidance of an entire product category. It is imperative to put preventative safeguards in place to ward off a food safety crisis before it ever occurs.
Contributing factors to recent recalls include deficiencies in production and process controls, such as failure to comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and weaknesses in critical control points. Time and temperature constitute critical control points in safely processing foods containing raw animal foods. Food processors must be stringent in properly monitoring time and temperature to avoid contamination.
Tools for Time Control
Commercial-grade food processing timers manage actions over a period of time or control how long actions last. A digital counter is used to trigger an action based on a predefined time, such as thawing or cooking activities. Large display digital timers provide a supplement to smaller panel or DIN rail mounted range timers. Expansive food processing plants and extensive production lines call for a highly visible time source. An ultra-bright, red LED digital display format provides optimum visibility with up to 250 ft (4" digit format) of viewing distance. A Digital Timer ensures precision in time-critical tasks with a visual indication of elapsed or remaining time during each timed process. Using a digital timer helps mitigate the risk of a food recall by accurately monitoring critical control points.
Read up on more timekeeping product applications for food processing facilities here.