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Potential cause of cross contamination of frozen carrots?


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#1 Donald Trump

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 02:52 AM

Hi there,

 

We procure frozen vegetables from all over the world including Europe, China, North&South America and so on.

These days, we have a relatively lot of complaints of cross contamination. Especially, contamination with carrot is the most.
I have no idea why we find a lot of cross contamination with carrot. Do you have any idea? Is there anyone who has the same experience as me?

 

Sorry, this is my first question in this forum. If you need more information, please let me know.



#2 pHruit

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:30 AM

Is this cross-contamination in terms of physical pieces of carrot, or as presence/potential presence in terms of allergen status (it's sometimes included on some of the extended allergen lists).
Are these processed vegetable? What sort of processing? Occuring at your site or your suppliers? Some more detail on the situation might be useful please ;)



#3 Donald Trump

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:58 AM

Dear pHruit,

 

Thanks for your reply. Sorry.

 

In this context, the cross-contamination means physical pieces of carrot (NOT in terms of allergen status because carrot is not registered as allergen i Japan.)

 

This question is regarding frozen vegetables at our suppliers.

For example, we procure frozen spinach from Europe. When our customer opens the spinach's bag, he/she finds a piece of carrot from inside of the bag. This is the complaint I want to discuss.

 

This kind of compaint (finding a piece of carrot) happens in various products in various suppliers. It's a mystery...



#4 mahantesh.micro

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 11:44 AM

Carrot in spinach! contamination in terms of what?? it will not affect your food safety, and also it is not an allergen to consider as cross contamination, it is just a quality complaint. You need to have controls in place for removing pieces of carrot in your product by visual inspection. 



#5 The Food Scientist

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 02:36 PM

So probably the machines being used to produce (bagging I assume since you mentioned bags) are not being sufficiently cleaned and not visually inspected for removal of carrots before producing spinach. I think? How is the process like?


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#6 pHruit

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 05:17 PM

This kind of compaint (finding a piece of carrot) happens in various products in various suppliers. It's a mystery...

 

In that case I agree with The Food Scientist - this may be due to ineffective cleaning / line clearance controls at your suppliers.

It does sound odd that the same problem is affecting different products from different sources though.

I think I'd do two things in your position:

1) Contact your suppliers, as if the problem is happening at their sites then they need to address it. Ask them to investigate the complaints, identify the root cause, and implement corrective action accordingly - it sounds like this may end up requiring a combination of an improvement to cleaning procedures and a more thorough sign-off after cleaning has been completed, but they'll need to determine that. I'd also ask them what the current cleaning regime is prior to packing each of the affected products.

2) I'd review the customer complaint details just to see if there is any apparent pattern in the names/addresses of those making the complaints. I'm a bit cynical (a life in the food industry can do that to you ;) ) but a spate of unusual complaints does make me slightly curious as to whether the issue is real, or if it could instead be being used by complainants as a way to try to get free products / refunds. This does sound somewhat unlikely here, given that your post suggests the numbers of complaints are large, but nonetheless it's worth checking.



#7 The Food Scientist

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 06:15 PM

In that case I agree with The Food Scientist - this may be due to ineffective cleaning / line clearance controls at your suppliers.

It does sound odd that the same problem is affecting different products from different sources though.

I think I'd do two things in your position:

1) Contact your suppliers, as if the problem is happening at their sites then they need to address it. Ask them to investigate the complaints, identify the root cause, and implement corrective action accordingly - it sounds like this may end up requiring a combination of an improvement to cleaning procedures and a more thorough sign-off after cleaning has been completed, but they'll need to determine that. I'd also ask them what the current cleaning regime is prior to packing each of the affected products.

2) I'd review the customer complaint details just to see if there is any apparent pattern in the names/addresses of those making the complaints. I'm a bit cynical (a life in the food industry can do that to you ;) ) but a spate of unusual complaints does make me slightly curious as to whether the issue is real, or if it could instead be being used by complainants as a way to try to get free products / refunds. This does sound somewhat unlikely here, given that your post suggests the numbers of complaints are large, but nonetheless it's worth checking.

 

I thought of it because we had the same issue. The product they send us is annatto seeds, we opened the bags and we see a few corn seeds in there! I contacted the supplier and they did say and admit their root cause was due to a cleaning issue and insufficient training of a new employee. They refunded us and sent us another bag without the corn seeds.


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#8 Charles.C

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 04:59 AM

Hi there,

 

We procure frozen vegetables from all over the world including Europe, China, North&South America and so on.

These days, we have a relatively lot of complaints of cross contamination. Especially, contamination with carrot is the most.
I have no idea why we find a lot of cross contamination with carrot. Do you have any idea? Is there anyone who has the same experience as me?

 

Sorry, this is my first question in this forum. If you need more information, please let me know.

 

Hi DT,

 

As you can see from previous posts it would be helpful to provide some idea of specifics since, as already noted,  multiple sources is rather surprising.  EG - source/levels/frequencies of contamination.

 

IMEX of different but somewhat related incidents, extracting useful responses at long distance is often, unfortunately, problematic. Hence the 3rd party audit Industry :smile:.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#9 Donald Trump

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 11:58 AM

Carrot in spinach! contamination in terms of what?? it will not affect your food safety, and also it is not an allergen to consider as cross contamination, it is just a quality complaint. You need to have controls in place for removing pieces of carrot in your product by visual inspection. 

 

Thanks.

It's just a quality complaint, but this kind of complaint like contamination will cause a serious problem in Japanese market.

 

I told our suppliers again and again to remove pieces of other vegetables by visual inspection and sorting. However, contamination is still existing... 



#10 Donald Trump

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 06:09 PM

So probably the machines being used to produce (bagging I assume since you mentioned bags) are not being sufficiently cleaned and not visually inspected for removal of carrots before producing spinach. I think? How is the process like?

Thanks. 

 

The process is as follows: receiving raw material, cutting, washing,  sorting, blanching, cooling, freezing, sorting, and bagging&packaging.

 

I told my our suppliers again and again to clean the line thoroughly, but the contamination is still existing.

Do you know any effective way of cleaning??



#11 Donald Trump

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 06:14 PM

In that case I agree with The Food Scientist - this may be due to ineffective cleaning / line clearance controls at your suppliers.

It does sound odd that the same problem is affecting different products from different sources though.

I think I'd do two things in your position:

1) Contact your suppliers, as if the problem is happening at their sites then they need to address it. Ask them to investigate the complaints, identify the root cause, and implement corrective action accordingly - it sounds like this may end up requiring a combination of an improvement to cleaning procedures and a more thorough sign-off after cleaning has been completed, but they'll need to determine that. I'd also ask them what the current cleaning regime is prior to packing each of the affected products.

2) I'd review the customer complaint details just to see if there is any apparent pattern in the names/addresses of those making the complaints. I'm a bit cynical (a life in the food industry can do that to you ;) ) but a spate of unusual complaints does make me slightly curious as to whether the issue is real, or if it could instead be being used by complainants as a way to try to get free products / refunds. This does sound somewhat unlikely here, given that your post suggests the numbers of complaints are large, but nonetheless it's worth checking.

 

Thanks.

 

Yes, I had contacted our suppliers, and asked them to investigate and implement corrective actions.

However, contamination is still existing....

 

Do you know any effective way of cleaning to exterminate the contamination??



#12 pHruit

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 08:52 PM

Thanks.

 

Yes, I had contacted our suppliers, and asked them to investigate and implement corrective actions.

However, contamination is still existing....

 

Do you know any effective way of cleaning to exterminate the contamination??

 

At present cleaning is simply one hypothesis, and only your suppliers will be able to tell if it's correct.

As for what would need to be done to improve it, that would also be something that really only your suppliers can determine - it will depend on what equipment they're using etc.

I've not done a huge amount of work with IQF fruit/veg but did work with a few suppliers, and never once saw anything like this. It remains rather puzzling that it seems to be affecting multiple suppliers.



#13 Andy_Yellows

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 11:44 AM

Would it be possible for you or someone from your department to audit your supplier? Or send someone to do it on your behalf? Clearly if this is happening frequently there's a big flaw in the supplier's practices


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#14 The Food Scientist

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 01:43 PM

Would it be possible for you or someone from your department to audit your supplier? Or send someone to do it on your behalf? Clearly if this is happening frequently there's a big flaw in the supplier's practices

 

Exactly my response to this. Perhaps next step would have them pay a visit to the supplier and audit them.


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#15 Charles.C

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 10:17 AM

Exactly my response to this. Perhaps next step would have them pay a visit to the supplier and audit them.

 

See Post 8


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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