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Owner blatantly breaking laws, what to do?

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Posted 04 June 2020 - 09:13 PM

Not sure where to post this, but I figured this forum what the most suitable.


I am asking for my fellow food safety professionals guidance in a tough situation:


We produce a variety of sauces, some use Parmesan cheese. Today I discovered our Parmesan Cheese used in our batches were contaminated with mold. The batch technician lied to me (QA MGR) and stated there was no mold on the cheese he used, which long story short is impossible. The owner got involved and defended the batch technician stating 'heat kills mold what is the big deal, we have been using moldy cheese since the 90's!'


This is a drop in the bucket of issues at our facility, but this is by far the most concerning. As a food safety professional I am sickened by this and am shocked by the owner encouraging this type of activity. I am posting this as I am not sure what to do next, other than look for a new place of employment. We are under the guidance of SQF and the FDA..


What would you do in this situation? 


Thank you in advance.


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Posted 04 June 2020 - 10:27 PM

If you're in a position where you can call out the owner privately, and show the risk to the business both financially and legally, that might be the best way.  Unfortunately the owner being the person who would hire the QA MGR that would lie/ignore the problem, and then defend such behavior, is a big issue.  If there was a relatively simple solution to the mold issue, that might make it easier for you, but the mold is not the underlying issue.


The only way I can see would be to appeal to $$--that is, to show how it would hurt the owner financially and legally if these issues aren't addressed.


That's a super tough spot to be in though for an employee.  That's not a place where I would want to be.


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Posted 04 June 2020 - 10:28 PM

Do you use antimycotic agents on the cheese? I'm not to familiar with that industry but food safety is much the same around industry. Microbiological Risk assessment and all. I wouldn't want to buy moldy parm. 



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Posted 05 June 2020 - 12:17 PM

Tell the owner to look up Peanut Corp of America if he wants to know the potential consequences of his actions.


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Posted 05 June 2020 - 01:12 PM

If you are exploring options for other employment already, then consider doing the following: 

1. Start documenting your conversations with your boss and other supervisors regarding food safety and plant matters, and keep a copy for yourself of your notes and emails.  This will come in handy if for some reason your employer decides to terminate you for raising hell and you need to seek unemployment and/or legal action. Be sure to note the monetary consequences of recall and FDA enforcement actions in your communications and responses.   

2. Make copies of all of your certifications that you have obtained (SQF practitioner, etc.) - those will follow you to your next place of employment. 


See this related recent thread also:



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Posted 05 June 2020 - 01:49 PM

Agreed with the previous post, to make sure that you retain copies of conversations for yourself.


Also, search the FDA website for warning letters issued and the cost associated with a warning/recall. Some management personnel only understand the $$ value associated with the issues.

Edited by FSQA, 05 June 2020 - 01:53 PM.

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