H1N1 is on every front page and every news channel.

November 4th, 2009

At the same time we are hearing about another E.coli outbreak that is not getting the same type of attention. Should it?

Evidently at least 46 people have been affected with two resulting in two deaths to date in a new E.coli out break linked to ground beef produced by Fairbank Farms of New York. Fairbanks recalled over a half million pounds of its product on October 31st.

The issue now gets tricky for the CDC, involved retailers and Fairbanks of finding why and where the outbreak took place so as to not have it happen again. This may even involve tracing the product beyond the distributor. As such the proper traceability standards are still not in place to make this an easy task if required.

Precautions that procurement professionals can take to make sure they have necessary safeguards in place when buying meat products is to check the certifications their incumbent or future suppliers have on file? These may differ depending on the country of origin. Certainly SQF and GFSI certifications should be in place. Other potential certifications might include ISO 22000 as well as American Humane Certified, Certified Humane Raised & Handled and others. This should be a requirement of all supplier databases as well as the most recent certification dates and other practices that suppliers and processors may have in place that will mitigate risk that could lead to the cause of future outbreaks.

While meat products are a major contributor to E.coli outbreaks, other areas causing outbreaks? can be person to person contact, lake water and animal contact to name a few.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments

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