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Valley Milk Products - Lessons Learned?

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pablo coronel

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 03:33 PM

As many of you have seen, FDA mandated a recall affecting Valley Milk Products.  


This recall had a great ripple effect, as those dairy products were used as ingredient in many other products (Chips, cake mixes, candy, etc)

As far as I have read, the problem was that during an inspection in the summer-2016 (jul-sep 2016), poor sanitary practices were observed and  record review showed the presence of Salmonella in the factory environment, which had been rpesent in several years (starting from 2010) and was thus deemed persistent.
VMP was asked to make a voluntary recall, they refused, and FDA filed a complaint through DOJ and the Courts ordered the  US Marshals to seize the product, which they did in late Nov-2016.
Dec-2016 saw the notification from FDA that products were adulterated and that all companies using this products without a kill-step must also recall.

What has me baffled is the fact that none of the products has tested possitive for Salmonella; none of the companies has received complains; and no ilnesses were reported.
Making this a cautionary recall, which was mandated by FDA.

My questions are?
- How could this be handled better?
- Why did MVP refuse to recall?
- Why did it take 3 months if the product was considered a danger to public health?
- Given that all the products have tested negative (so far) and that the cost of the recall is way over $1Billion; how can we handle recalls of what seems prefectly safe product?

Your thoughts and comments are appreciated


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Posted 08 February 2017 - 04:09 PM

Hi pablo coronel,


Perhaps  this may shed some further light on the event  -




Just as a technical note, microbial sampling/detection procedures are (by no means) guaranteed to detect low levels of pathogens in a product lot.

Kind Regards,



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Ryan M.

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 10:24 PM

Ultimately, the root cause was poor management.  Valley Milk handled this terribly and they didn't really handle anything up to the point where the FDA got involved.


They had their own testing records show positive for salmonella in their products.  What is not clear is if any of these products were shipped, even though they were positive...I wonder?  Typically, with these products it is a positive release based on all testing results.  Any powder that doesn't pass can be reworked into milk, condense, and ultimately re-dried so it isn't a total loss.  I just wonder if any finished product testing positive was ever released?


6 years of history showing Valley Milk did not stay on top and ultimately correct the issue.  That's a long time...


How to prevent this?  The management needs to take these issues seriously and correct them immediately with long-term corrections and not just band-aid fixes.  Poor top down management.

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