Recalls because of pest related contamination can be a real headache for food manufacturers. This is because it only takes one disease ridden rodent to cause a huge outbreak of illness or in worst case scenarios, death.
Recent pest recall
Discount German supermarket Aldi is learning the aforementioned lesson with their recent recall of snack treats due to a pest infestation in one of their manufacturing plants.The Baketime factory voluntarily closed down after an investigation found signs of rodents on the premises.
"Baketime Ltd. is recalling various branded biscuit, snack and confectionery products on a precautionary basis as they have been manufactured in unhygienic conditions," said the Food Standards Agency's recall statement.
This improper pest management caused public outrage. Consumers of the products took to Aldi's social media pages to voice their disgust - many even claimed that they, or their children had taken ill since ingesting the food, though Aldi denies anyone could get sick, reported BuzzFeed News. Their biggest issue however is the very name of the brand. Some customers questioned whether they would be able to trust them ever again.
Consequences for manufacturers
Big companies have recalls all the time, with little or no harm to their brand. Often they can get their products off the shelves before many people are harmed by the recall. Other times they just have too many other brands to really feel the impact. The damage therefore falls on the manufacturers' food processing and storage environments. But they do ultimately run the risk of losing consumer trust, like Aldi, especially if the sanitation issue is not disclosed and taken care of immediately.
Back in 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history when they came down on the Peanut Corporation of America for not disclosing information of several contamination violations, Food Safety Magazine explained. Inspections of the plant found mold, leaking rainwater, dead cockroaches and openings in the building which would allow more pests to enter the plant. To top it all off, management of the plant knew of these issues for over two years - they just didn't do anything about it. The PCA faced serious lawsuits and executives were threatened with jail time as a result.
Just so you have an idea of what types of pest problems there are in this industry, FSM reported that rodents like mice and rats are the biggest documented problem in processing and storage facilities. Flies and cockroaches are also known to cause serious issues, said the source. Researchers have found that the common house fly can carry up to 100 varieties of disease ridden germs. Cockroaches are just as bad if not worse - they are said to carry at leas 33 kinds of bacteria, 6 different parasitic worms and 7 other kinds of pathogens.
There are several health codes and regulations that processing facilities need to adhere to. A professional pest inspection of your facility is essential to keeping a good product and a trustworthy name for your business. At the end of the day, ignoring signs of pest infestations will hurt, if not ruin your business.