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#1 Simon

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 10:18 AM

I grabbed a shrink-wrapped four-pack of orange juice the other day whilst shopping completely unaware of the surprise that lurked within. Click the attached thumbnail to see a full sized image of Exhibit A. :o

Can you spot the problem?
Any ideas how it could have happened?
Is it a risk to food safety?
What control measures do you think they could / should have in place?
Is this a failure of a CCP?

I'm will send the image and batch details to the retailer which will test their traceability system if nothing else. Hopefully they will investigate and identify the root cause of the problem and take Corrective Action to Prevent the problem from occurring again in the future.

I will obviously be looking for appropriate Correction in the shape of some shopping vouchers. :D

Regards,
Simon

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#2 Charles Chew

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 02:38 PM

Simon,

You have got them by the xxlls and I am sure you will get your shopping vouchers all right, at least a significant replacement anyway......

But hold the horses mate! All these do not proof that the product is not safe for consumption. You may complain that the packaging does not quite measure up to your expectation, given you unnecessary inconvenience and certainly does not do their product / corporate image any good either BUT all the same, the product integrity is intact and not compromised (subject to further investigation on products) ...................just that you had to pierce it open from the bottom which is now the top?????? Therefore, my iinitial risk assessment is that it is not a loss of control on a CCP......rather a silly mistake of an operator.

Will I institute a recall - Definitely yes.
Reason - to protect brand and market share (NOT because of safey element at stake or for content volume infringement)

Option on disposal - rework and repackage if cost justifies or dispose off.

How did it happen?
This is a UHT packed product and the packaging comes in roll form which must had been wrongly inverted by the operator during set-up hence during the folding process, the overall wrap would have resulted in what you have got in hand.

Amazingly, not only the operators missed the mistakes, the QA has lots to answer for this.

Safe? - The hydrogen peroxide used to remove pathogens would have achieved its task during the cleansing of the packaging "paper" prior to filling and final wrap. Therefore, its safe.

Failure of CCP - No. But definitely a failure of verification activities.....a non-conformance desirable of management review with further preventative measure(s) for consideration. Maybe, there should be a UHT Filling Equipment Set-Up Form prior to production???

Verdict - Corrective Action..........100 pounds vouchers to Simon T. as trade penalty. :thumbup:

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#3 Simon

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 07:47 PM

Thanks for the fantastically detailed and expert answer Charles. If I get an answer half as thorough from the retailer I will be very happy…provided it's wrapping a fistful of vouchers. :yeahrite:

One question, what is all the gunge on the bottom, I mean the top of the carton? It was all over the 4 cartons so there must have been a leak somewhere either with these or some other cartons in the batch.

Whether it is or isn't I am not confident the orange juice is safe for consumption - are you? <_>
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#4 Charles Chew

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 03:35 AM

I had no idea at all. I thought that you had it "pierced" and left the gunk (probably leftover juice) behind. If this wasn't your doing, then there was definitely a LEAK.

If you realise that the 'opening" is supposedly to be protected by a plastic lid cover and that obviously is not at the right end which probably allowed other "sharp" objects to create a leak.............hypothetically!

I believe the situation remains to be a voluntary recall where no immediate threat to consumers is known BUT again, if I were to receive a Customer Complaint from you with regards to the nature of this "threat" to your safety due to the leaks, I would recommend that an advertisement be placed out with intention to recall, perhaps where no leaks are visible, studies have shown that products are deem safe for single use when opened, or return to the POS for a full refund or replacement.

However, with recent revelation of new evidence (from the complainant), risk assessment is made more complicated. It has now become arguable as in the case of a potential threat to consumer's health since there is a potential risk of contamination from potential leaks on all the product.

New Verdict: Its still a recall for a different reason.....one that may potentially inflict harm to consumers...........Simon, go make your kill and settle for nothing less than what you wish as "redemption"

Personally, I won't touch the product :thumbdown:

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#5 Charles Chew

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 04:16 AM

Simon,

Some thoughts just came into my mind.

YOUR ACTION:
The photograph should do just fine. Decide on your method of complain and CLEARLY mention the gunk that was at the bottom but is now the top as this "new" evidence will place greater emphasise on assessment of microbial contamination on the production batch. Now, the whole batch may have "micro leaks" and if found to be so, microbial proliferation is definitely an issue.

There should be of course immediate action ....like informing trade to isolate affected products (micro) and proposed action (macro). Lets wait and see.

THINGS WE SHOULD DO
Batch Number Usage
This is a classic case of how we can use production batching to minimise / control damges. Had each single roll of packaging or production run be individually batched, we would be looking at performing a product trace on a single batch run (saving us a lot of money) while other batch runs would be subject to inspecton and scrutiny.

If a single batch number was used for the DAY, we are in deep SHxT. We would need a total recall.

Customer Complaint
Evidently, without the revelation of new evidence, the risk assessment would have been so different. Thats what makes a customer complaint so essential in obtaining information that could lead to a recall.

Rsisk Assessment
Imagine the swing in the reason for the recall :dunno:

Great Real Life Study :rock: .... Charles Chew


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#6 Simon

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 12:01 PM

I sent the photo of the orange juice carton attached to the following email:

I purchase the attached carton of orange juice as part of a 4 pack last
weekend from your new store in ########.

The details are:

Batch ID: #########
Best before: September 2004

As well as the obvious problem with the closure being on the wrong end of
the carton, all of the cartons had discolouration / corrosion on the
underside. I would be grateful if you could investigate this issue and let
me know:

At which step in the process the fault occurred?
What (HACCP) control measures are in place at the relevant step to prevent this from occurring?
Is this a failure of a CCP?
Was the safety of the orange juice compromised by this failure?
What corrective action do you propose to prevent this from happening in the future?

I will be pleased to hear your response as soon as practicable.

Best Wishes,
Simon Timperley


Did I ask the right questions?

I will post the response when I receive it for interest.

Regards,
Simon


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#7 Charles Chew

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 04:17 PM

Thats not what a Customer Complain sounds like.....HACCP?, CCP?....wow!

You are sounding more like a "Food Auditor" or worse, a "health Inspector", mate!

I think with those sorts of questions raised, not only are you going to frighten the wits out of them & the vouchers for the vulture is ON for sure.

Proud of you, Simon. :thumbup:

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#8 Charles Chew

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 01:51 PM

Exhibit 'A' promptly brought to us by Simon T, our forum administrator, is a real classic marketplace situaton. Could happen to you, me and anybody out there.

So what should we do and what does it take to prepare for a real PRODUCT TRACE BACK / RECOVERY EXERCISE

Maybe, all of us may have a different approach but the end results must be the same.

My approach -
Details are just too much, therefore, summary of documentations only:
1. Got a Product Recall Committee. If not, may want to consider a specific team but not necessary the same number and persons as HACCP Team.
2. Communication Path - effective communication to get members together for crisis management is important hence this path. Note the need to record office and house telephone numbers including cell phones, email addresses and if leaving for overseas, immediate contact number(s) should be arranged for.
3. Product Recall Information form should be set up
4. Non-Conformance Report - deviation recorded as determined.
5. Type of recall should be determined by now - trade or customer recall level. In Simon's case, it is a customer level recall.
6. We must reconcile - Stock Reconcialiation Sheet
7. Affected Product Disposal Register
8. Post Recall Reporting
9. Others left out due to details

:off_topic:
I suspect Simon's complaint will receive a reply with only an apology and an intention to replace products but no details on CCPs and anything concerning the loss of control if any. Nobody admits to anything thats negative.

:oops: Charles Chew


Edited by Simon Timperley, 09 May 2004 - 08:14 PM.

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#9 Simon

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 03:12 PM

:off_topic:
I suspect Simon's complain will receive a reply with only an apology and an intention to replace products but no details on CCPs and anything concerning the loss of control if any. Nobody admits to anything thats negative.

:oops: Charles Chew

You better believe it Charles, it came through an hour or so ago:

Dear Simon,

Thank you for your e-mail.

I am very sorry to hear of the problem with the orange juice you bought from us recently. This really isn't up to our usual high standard and we would like to contact our supplier to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Can I please ask you to return the product and packaging to the Customer Services desk at your nearest store. We can then use the bar codes and other identification codes to identify the batch and find out what has caused the problem. The store will also be able to give you some goodwill for the inconvenience and disappointment.

Thank you again for letting me know about this. We are always striving to maintain and where possible improve on our high standards so this sort of feedback is very important to us.

Kind regards,

##### ######
######### Customer Services


Do you think I should settle for this pat on the head? :uhm:
NO! Who the hell do they think they are dealing with? :cm:
I want answers, detailed answers and I'm gonna get em!

Regards,
Simon
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#10 Simon

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 03:35 PM

Simon,

I get the impression the Customer Services do not actually know what you were referring to !!

Now if you were to add that your heavily pregnant wife was distracted by your young twins and they had actually consumed some of the contents, and wee now feeling a tad poorly, that would cause a few problems !!

Just my naughty mind getting the better of me.

Puzzle


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#11 Simon

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 03:35 PM

Simon,

I would be very surprised if you would take this sort of answer to be the end of it. Never, never return the stock......that is your only evidence.

Batch number is given and thats sufficient for product trace. Bar code is for another purpose which is relevant to them but not to us.

You may want to go beyond customer service level to demand for an appropriate or at least a decent reply. Bet you, a threat to reach health department would certainly wake up a few blokes.

Whoever replied from customer services is certainly avoiding responsibilty. :thumbdown: Boy, talking about social accountability....I wonder if it does exist at all.

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#12 Simon

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 03:36 PM

I just sent this back:

Thank you for your prompt reply. However, I'm not at all happy with the pat response. I suggest you discuss this with your Manager as I want a full and detailed response providing technical answers to all of the questions I asked in the original email.

I look forward to your reply.

Kind Regards,
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#13 Simon

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 03:44 PM

:off_topic:

OK it looks as though I've been talking to myself on this thread. I haven't - I've been frantically merging, deleting, moving, and reshuffling posts so that it is in the correct order. :oops2:

Top and bottom of it I wasn't happy with their first response and have sent the above reply to them.

Let's see what happens next…

Regards,
Simon
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#14 Charles Chew

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 07:22 PM

The tone of the reply you received appears to suggest that customer services have no idea of the gravity of the situation with regards to the potential adverse effects it may have to public health.

If you follow Chris' logic, no body panics until something serious gets to happen and thats it becomes too late.

Hmmm......I wonder if they have bothered to perform a hazard risk assessment!

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#15 Simon

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 08:14 PM

Exhibit 'A' promptly brought to us by Simon T, our forum administrator, is a real classic marketplace situaton. Could happen to you, me and anybody out there.

So what should we do and what does it take to prepare for a real PRODUCT TRACE BACK / RECOVERY EXERCISE

Maybe, all of us may have a different approach but the end results must be the same.

My approach -
Details are just too much, therefore, summary of documentations only:
1. Got a Product Recall Committee. If not, may want to consider a specific team but not necessary the same number and persons as HACCP Team.
2. Communication Path - effective communication to get members together for crisis management is important hence this path. Note the need to record office and house telephone numbers including cell phones, email addresses and if leaving for overseas, immediate contact number(s) should be arranged for.
3. Product Recall  Information form should be set up
4. Non-Conformance Report - deviation recorded as determined.
5. Type of recall should be determined by now - trade or customer recall level. In Simon's case, it is a customer level recall.
6. We must reconcile - Stock Reconcialiation Sheet
7. Affected Product Disposal Register
8. Post Recall Reporting
9. Others left out due to details

Covers al the bases Charles, assuming that is the complaint makes it passed the inexperienced Customer Services Team. I mean how much time has been lost already? The poor consumer could already be dead. :huh:

Regards,
Simon
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#16 Charles Chew

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 04:36 AM

Well, if the issue of microbial hazard proliferation was subsequently detected to be serious (say Listeria M.), a lot of Pregnant Women and young children would be in deep shXt and the company will be in for bigger shxt.

The question to determining what is deemed an appropriate "response time" to complete a customer complaint or hazard risk assessment is really vital in any food safety systems. Haccp teams should look at this issue very seriously.

What could be just an endemic scenario could well become an epidemic if the situation was not addressed in a timely manner :crybaby:

Charles Chew


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#17 Simon

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 09:18 PM

Hello,

I've been prostrate in my sick bed for a few days with a severe bout of 'Oldham Flu.' It rendered me completely immobile, not nice at all.

Anyway, I thought I'd bring you up to speed with the OJF (Orange Juice Fiasco). The latest email I received said:

'To enable to us to provide you with a detailed response relating to technical issues please write to the address below with your request.'
:wacko:

So I replied:

'I do not understand I've already made my complaint with customer services. If it needs to be forwarded to another department within your company in order to resolve it, then surely this is your responsibility. If you require further information please let me know.'

I fear that I may be in the process of flogging an expired hoss!

Regards,
Simon


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#18 Charles Chew

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 03:35 AM

Simon,

With regards to OJF, I have resigned to the fact that this facility does not a quality management system in place nor any sort of internal controls / systems at all....they are in for big trouble when legislation on traceability comes into force!

Time to introduce who you are?

Leaving behind trails of irresponsible statements in the email system is suicidal. It appears that the more you prolong this issue, the more mistakes they are going to make. :silly:

Get well soon, mate.

Charles Chew


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#19 rheath

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 05:41 PM

Charles,

The supermarket that supplied this product used to have a national role of "Packaging Innovation Manager" .

This man was a very strong character & one of the strong drivers / enforcers of the BRC/IOP standard.

If you listen to the high level rhetoric - they are 'the best' at environmental & hygiene management.

It will be interesting to see what responses Simon gets & where this thread goes..

Regards

Richard


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#20 Charles Chew

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 02:34 AM

Richard,

I really do hope you are joking about this "innovation packaging manager" because the replies that Simon had received so far is really not up to the mark and he is pursuing the issue further. After this fiasco, perhaps, they should now consider the role of a "customer care and safety manager"

Guess we are all waiting for the next episode of this OJF to unfold

Charles Chew


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#21 rheath

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 07:44 AM

Charles,

Afraid I'm not Joking - The organisation in question is one of the UK's largest Supermarket chains & were very strong on adding supply chain pressure to adopt the BRC/IOP standard.

In theory there should not be a single item of packaging supplied to them which has not been produced in accordance with BRC standards.. :oneeye:

Supermarkets are very good at asserting supply chain pressure, what I am not sure of is what standards, if any, they work to.

Does anyone know?

Regards

Richard


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#22 Charles Chew

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 09:38 AM

Richard,

Is Simon barking at the wrong tree? :uhm: A direct complaint to the manufacturer is not wrong, however, Point of Purchase is also a valid option.

Since this supermarket is a stakeholder in assuring its own customer service profile AND has that assertive pressure on their supplly chain, I believe you have opened up a very valid "window" for Simon.

Great insider news!

Charles Chew


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#23 Simon

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Posted 16 May 2004 - 10:26 PM

Hi Guys,

Latest reply:

Thank you for your e-mail.

Unfortunately I am unable to process or answer your e-mail without the previous attachment. I would be more than happy to offer further assistance if you could re-send your e-mail with any previous correspondence.

I am sorry for any inconvenience this causes.


To be honest I'm really losing the will to live on this charade. I believe it was entirely correct to take the complaint up with my direct supplier, in this case the supermarket. Anyway it said on the carton. "If you are dissatisfied with this product in any way please ring the customer care line...' :blahblah:

Although the complaint has not concluded satisfactorily, i.e. I still haven't got any vouchers, the exercise has highlighted something of far greater importance e.g. a dangerous deficiency in the complaint process of a major UK retailer. I think rather than continuing to pursue the complaint at this low level, it may be far more useful if I contacted someone within the organisation who might be interested in this deficiency and who also may be in a position to make the necessary changes to the customer complaints process.

I will look at their website and see if I can get the CEO's contact details.

Regards,
Simon


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#24 Charles Chew

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 03:19 AM

With legislation on traceability expected to come on stream by January 2005, there is indeed a presence of this dangerous deficiency in this area as you have highlighted.

Your intention to attempt further contacts at higher management level will confirm whether there is management commitment in addressing food safety issues once and for all in this company.

Charles Chew


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#25 Charles Chew

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Posted 01 June 2004 - 03:24 AM

Simon,

What had happen to this? Surely you are not taking this Shxt lying down.

Looking forward to adding further drama to this "exhibit A" issue.

CharlesChew


Edited by charleschew, 01 June 2004 - 03:26 AM.

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