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FT-May16 19 and public health staff. Ensuring food safety is a shared responsibility among producers, industry, government and consumers, and everyone deserves to eat food that is free not only from toxins, but pesticides, chemicals, physical contaminants; as well as microbiological pathogens like bacteria, parasites and viruses. In the United States alone, more than 13 million pounds of beef, pork, poultry and mixed-meat products were recalled last year. Many were packaged foods such as frozen meals and snacks, and the majority were removed from store shelves because of the presence of dangerous bacteria, including shiga toxin producing E.coli, listeria monocytogenes and salmonella. Other causes were the presence of undeclared allergens and foreign materials, and the recalls were costly to food and beverage brand owners…in the pocket shortterm and in brand reputation longterm. In an extremely crowded and competitive marketplace, brand owners need to bring their products to market in a hurry. But from processing and packaging to storage and shipping, the road to market is littered with potential sources of contamination that can jeopardise the safety and integrity of consumer food and beverage products. NO KIWI company is more aware of this than Fonterra. New Zealand will never forget the day in September 2008 when one of the biggest dairy companies in China, the Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group (43% owned by Fonterra), recalled more than 10,000 tonnes of infant formula, after the criminal contamination of raw milk supply with melamine. Fonterra first became aware of problems in August, and a trade recall began shortly afterwards. By the end, 300,000 Chinese babies were affected, with six dying from kidney problems as a result of drinking the formula. “We’ve learnt an incredibly painful lesson through this and we will be much, much more suspicious worldwide on ensuring the safety and integrity of our supply chain everywhere in the world,” then Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier said at the time. He also said that the company could never be 100% certain against a criminal contamination of the supply chain, which is what happened in this incident. This recall is only one of many for multi-nationals in China, where hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid in fines in recent years as regulation stiffens. McDonalds and KFC were two years ago forced to halt sales of some products after finding that one of their suppliers was selling expired meat in China. GlaxoSmithKline was a year later fined 300 million pounds by Chinese prosecutors for paying bribes. ONE NIGHT in October last year, web developer/photographer and dedicated organic food consumer Chris Collins went to his local Chipotle restaurant in Oregon for his regular chicken bowl. The dinner, made of 21 ingredients (including toasted cumin, sautéed garlic, fresh organic cilantro, finely-diced tomatoes, two kinds of onions, lettuce and kosher salt), was, by all accounts, delicious. Within 24 hours, however, the 32-year-old’s body was aching and his stomach bloated and upset. His excrement turned loose and bloody, and he was eventually admitted to hospital. Tests showed he’d contracted Shiga-toxin-producing E.coli 026, probably from one of the 21 ingredients in his Chipotle meal. Fearing kidney failure, and possible dialysis treatment, Collins took six weeks to recover. Later revelations showed that he was among 53 people in nine states sickened with the same strain of E.coli. Forty six had eaten at Chipotle in the week before they fell ill, with 20 hospitalised. (See what Chipotle did next on page 20) Becoming one of the mind-boggling 48 million Americans getting food poisoning each year (with 3000 dying), Collins later asked the question… why can we see billions of light years into space, but we can’t fix food poisoning? So what is happening? The most exciting new technology to enhance food shelf-life and guard against food contaminants is the use of ultraviolet light, pulsed light and LED lighting in eliminating bacteria from things like milk and juices. These lights are a cost-effective way RECALLED FOOD PRODUCTS This year alone, recalled food products in New Zealand have included some wellknown names: • New World (Thorndon) – baked-in-store ciabatta loaves and rolls • Southern Fresh Foods brand Delmark baby spinach • Jacobsen’s Bakery brand Disney Favourites and Disney Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookies • Delmaine brand pitted cherries • Signature Range brand chocolate icecream • Evergreen brand Manuka honey products • Garden of Life brand raw meal organic shake and meal replacement. Most recently has been the Zespri kiwifruit scare which put 1.7 million trays of fruit onhold after fears it could have been contaminated with mechanical lubricant from its Chinese plastics packaging agent. CHIPOTLE CASE STUDY

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