Food manufacturers must be careful when procuring product ingredients because suppliers may not be careful in assessing or preventing the risk of foodborne illness. However, manufacturers should also be aware of how their own facility may have an impact on the quality of their products before inferior products result in costly recalls or even in business interruptions. This is the case for Garden-Fresh Foods that announced it was closing a plant located in Milwaukee due to consecutive product recalls, The Associated Press reported.
Since the end of August, Garden-Fresh Foods has experienced eight recalls. The first was the result of an inspection by Michigan food safety officials who detected the presence of Listeria bacteria. This foodborne pathogen could cause severe or even fatal infections in people who are susceptible to these types of illnesses, including the elderly, children and pregnant women. Even healthy people may have symptoms of suffering from a foodborne illness such as high fever, nausea and abdominal pain.
Spokeswoman Mary Roberts said the plant will remain closed as the company handles multiple recalls and works to prevent the incident of contamination, according to the Journal Sentinel.
"We are working tirelessly to resolve the current issue and will make any changes necessary to ensure we are in compliance with food safety regulations and our own exacting standards for high quality," Roberts told the Journal Sentinel.
Recalls lead to business disruption
In one of the most recent recalls in early November, Garden-Fresh Foods had to recall a variety of products including vegetables, ready-to-eat salads and spreads, according to Food Safety News. Similar to the first recall on Aug. 30, these products were also found to have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. These products were sold in at least 10 states across the nation. Other products that have been recalled by Garden-Fresh Foods include ready-to-eat chicken and ham products, Food Safety News reported.
In establishing a risk management process, companies should take into account what may happen in the event of risks such as product recalls. While the company copes with its multiple recalls, the company has reassigned almost 100 employees as the Milwaukee plant halts production.
"We are confident that we will be able to find the source of the issue and resume operations," Roberts said. "However, we will not reopen until we are 100 percent satisfied that we can produce and maintain the safest, highest quality products possible."