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Competition: Close Encounters of the Food Safety Kind


Best Answer , 01 October 2021 - 04:10 PM

Hi everyone, it's October 01, which means the competition is now closed.

 

We now enter the adjudication phase, which consists of me reading through all of your lovely stories.

 

Thanks for taking part and we'll be in touch with the results in due course.

 

In the meantime have a great weekend.

 

Best Wishes,
Simon

 

 

OK the long-awaited competition is finally here!
 
You’ve got food safety stories and we want to hear them.
 
Stories need to be more than a one liner and maybe have some photos, but apart from that just get creative.
  • Funny
  • Weird
  • Scary
  • Interesting
  • Sad
  • Odd
  • Bad
  • Happy
  • Amazing
 
How to enter:
 
Post a comment on this topic with a title / short summary of your story and then attach the full story as a Word document, PowerPoint, pdf etc.
 
You can submit as many stories as you like, but please keep one story to one post/attachment.
 
Competition starts now and ends September 30, 2021.
 
Prizes:
 
Winners will be announced on a live webinar and posted here mid-October.
 
  • 1st place - $250 Amazon Gift Card
  • 2nd place - $100 Amazon Gift Card 
  • 3rd place - $50 Amazon Gift Card
 
Winners will also receive a Close Encounters of the Food Safety Kind t-shirt

 


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Simon

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Posted 19 May 2021 - 10:33 AM

OK the long-awaited competition is finally here!
 
You’ve got food safety stories and we want to hear them.
 
Stories need to be more than a one liner and maybe have some photos, but apart from that just get creative.
  • Funny
  • Weird
  • Scary
  • Interesting
  • Sad
  • Odd
  • Bad
  • Happy
  • Amazing
 
How to enter:
 
Post a comment on this topic with a title / short summary of your story and then attach the full story as a Word document, PowerPoint, pdf etc.
 
You can submit as many stories as you like, but please keep one story to one post/attachment.
 
Competition starts now and ends September 30, 2021.
 
Prizes:
 
Winners will be announced on a live webinar and posted here mid-October.
 
  • 1st place - $250 Amazon Gift Card
  • 2nd place - $100 Amazon Gift Card 
  • 3rd place - $50 Amazon Gift Card
 
Winners will also receive a Close Encounters of the Food Safety Kind t-shirt

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Check out IFSQN’s extensive library of FREE food safety videos
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Setanta

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Posted 19 May 2021 - 12:34 PM

This sounds like FUN. I can't wait to read all of your stories!


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Posted 20 May 2021 - 07:40 PM

By the way feel free to chat about the competition here.


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Posted 20 May 2021 - 07:43 PM

Hmmmmm  looking forward to reading the submissions!        Now which story to choose..................


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Posted 25 May 2021 - 06:12 PM

Here's my story - just for a kickoff:)

I’m not sure if it relates completely to food safety, but this story was like a mystery for local bakery workers in my small town back in USSR. My neighbor, working at that bakery, told me the whole story. Here it is. The factory was making various goodies, using natural ingredients like fruit juice, honey, eggs and many others. And one day, the eggs started missing. I’m sure, not many of you know that back then in USSR every factory had guards at the exit – so no worker would be able to take anything out. No trust, yes. The egg inventory showed them missing every day, and workers sworn they didn’t take them. Then, who would? One night, the storage room was searched again and suddenly the guys noticed a very strange white pyramid on the wall offset. Closer look showed it was built of eggs. The only thing coming on mind was rats building a food stock for winter – especially, due to “rat evidence” scattered all over the scene. Yucky, eh?



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Posted 25 May 2021 - 06:58 PM

That is chilling!   I can only imagine the # of rats to have built such a stock pile!!  


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Posted 25 May 2021 - 07:12 PM

Here's one I posted quite a while back:

At a previous facility, we had customers suddenly complain of a few roaches on the product (in between super sack and liner, thankfully not IN the product). The complaint blindsided us, as this NEVER happened previously. Heck we never even had a roach found in this facility. Long story short, the culprit was brought to our attention when we were discussing how this could happen and another employee overheard us. The employee says "Customer found roaches, and you guys don't know where they are coming from? Here follow me, I'll show you." Of course in my head I'm thinking..well buckle up, this is going to be good. We walk in the employee lunch room; the employee leading us looks for a certain coat hung up on one of the coat racks, taps it a few times, and low and behold guess what falls out? Several live roaches!

This was in Michigan, an employment at will state. The offending person was also a temporary worker. I called him in immediately and we told him his services were no longer required. We had sanitation clean the heck out of the area where the coat racks were. The pest control company was already aware of the issue and had been on site to address it, we informed them we possibly found the 'source,' they renewed their treatments based on that possibility, and the roaches never again showed up.



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Posted 25 May 2021 - 07:14 PM

Now i'm itchy!


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Posted 25 May 2021 - 07:16 PM

Yes, that's right TimG: I had completely same situation several years ago at the bakery, the cockroaches were brought to the facility in one of the ladies' purse. 



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Posted 25 May 2021 - 08:00 PM

Scene: small town America. Old guy (70+) walks into the main office of the food facility. He's not there for any good reason but to talk to whomever will listen. That day, it was my co-worker in the front office. He went on for 1 hour or so just bragging about himself. During that time, he asked where the bathroom was. He left soon after. Come to find out, he wanted to tell his story so bad while at the same time not stop talking. He peed his pants. We had to clean it up along our hallway toward the bathroom.



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Posted 26 May 2021 - 05:02 AM

I was working in a bakery which manufactured sliced bread.  One morning I received a customer complaint of a wooden toothpick in a slice of bread.  As I am in  Queensland we are required by law to report all potential instances of sabotage to the authorities.  Which I dutifully did.  Not long after I received a call from the Criminal Investigative Branch (CIB - Which will always be known to me now as Crimes In Bread!).  An investigation was launched, footage was viewed at the store and the suspect found!  At the entrance to the store they were having a meat fry-up which was served with a ???  Your guessed it..A Wooden Toothpick.  The person enjoyed the piece of sausage, looked around for a bin to place the toothpick and did not find one.  So they plonked the toothpick straight into the loaf of bread.  

No more sausage fry ups for that store!



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Posted 26 May 2021 - 03:03 PM

So this is from before I was in food safety, but it's still a "did you just eat that?" horror story.

 

In my previous life I was a compliance office for a company that set-up and then provided QA support for urine drug testing labs.  It was my job to perform internal-audits before our actual audits.  On one such audit of a medical facility, I was going through the fridge and freezer where URINE samples were stored and I found FOOD stored in the same fridge and freezer.  For whatever reason, the receptionist used the URINE fridge and freezer to store her LUNCH instead of the breakroom fridge and freezer.  It was the grossest thing I've ever come across.



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Posted 26 May 2021 - 03:50 PM

I got into the longest email discussion with a customer who complained that our baking instructions were not clear enough and she baked our product with the plastic overwrap ON and that was somehow our fault.

 

Now, I immediately sent replacement coupons but she would NOT let go of the fact that 'unwrap the product' was the same as 'remove wrapper' (her preference). I sent her other, similar labels, sent dictionary definitions for unwrap, until finally I asked her what she did with Wrapped gifts? You UNwrap them.  Not this wasn't an English as a second or third language, this was someone that thought her way was the only right one.

 

Second quick story, we had a customer complain that they found a knife under the item they purchased. It had to be OUR FAULT, even though the pattern on the silverware matched hers.  :ejut:


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Posted 26 May 2021 - 05:31 PM

My second story - attached. Enjoy:)

Attached Files



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Posted 27 May 2021 - 06:23 PM

Going to read these over the holiday weekend. 

 

Thank you all.

 

Have a nice weekend.

 

Simon


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Posted 27 May 2021 - 06:40 PM

My second story - attached. Enjoy:)

Oh man I forgot all about that strawberry kefir stuff. It's pretty tasty, I am going to pick some up at the store this weekend.

Thanks for letting me know I don't have to strain it :P



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Posted 27 May 2021 - 06:50 PM

My second story - attached. Enjoy:)

 

Ha, this brought back a horrible memory. I had a customer do this with a whole intact spider – on the larger end of the scale by UK standards, perhaps 1x2cm for the body, and around 7-8cm leg span. They'd at least gone to the effort of putting the spider into some remaining product in the bottle, so it was kinda soggy when it arrived on my desk in the offending bottle. Not my favourite complaint as I'm something of an arachnophobe, but I dutifully extracted it, went outside and shook all my clothes out, gently placed it onto a grid to photograph, went outside to shake my clothes out, twitched at various imagined tickling sensations from the many spiders that probably weren’t present in my immaculately clean lab, emailed the photos to the relevant site etc.

 

I ended up getting an opinion from an expert arachnologist, who confirmed the species and that it wasn't indigenous to the country in which the product was packed – unbeknown to the consumer, the product was imported rather than made in the UK. They also confirmed that it would not be likely to still have all its legs attached after being in a liquid product that was mixed in a large industrial mixing vessel, passed through a 1mm sieve after mixing, then a 0.2mm sieve immediately before filling, and then pasteurised in-pack. And even if it had, it was in suspiciously good condition for something that had sat in an acidic product for multiple weeks, been shipped internationally etc.

 

I was normally pretty generous with telling customer services to send a free case of product even for some moderately tenuous complaints, but these people made me poke a dead spider so they got nothing but a very formal letter advising that their claim was very obviously fictitious, and if they wished to pursue it further then we’d be appointing legal counsel to deal with them, the bill for which would almost certainly be footed by them.



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Posted 27 May 2021 - 07:51 PM

And that brought back a memory for me!  I was about 16 and I went into my moms bedroom for something, she had a very busy pattern on her bedspread.  I thought I saw something move, looked nope my eyes playing tricks on me

 

NONONNONO there was a very large spider of the furry variety walking across the bed. I scream bloody murder which brings in my mom.  We manage to get the creature into a container.  Take it to the vet to see if they can A) dispose of it and B) identify it

 

WHAT!  Its a baby tarantula---the vet thinks this is all very funny.  He says they come in on the bananas all of the time, you're not the first this year

 

How long did we commune with a tarantula before we saw it, and why didn't my cats care!

 

I inspect bananas thoroughly when I've bought them since


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Posted 27 May 2021 - 08:22 PM

I did the thing similar to the kefir experiment with Ibuprofen a customer claimed to have found in our product. I took the same exact product, some ibuprofen from my purse, baked it up and lo! it disappeared in the melted cheese. (As I suspected it would) 

 

But the photo sent by the customer, showed the pills sitting whole on the baked item.  How they missed them before baking is another question...The FDA liked my experiment, too. 

 

Have I mentioned that I love people?   :rolleyes:


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Posted 27 May 2021 - 08:30 PM

Tarantulas gotta live too. But wow, ok this actually brought back a memory for me since we're on spiders.

Let me preface this by saying, I am not afraid of spiders. I will hold a daddy long legs (I don't think those are really even spiders?) and let it crawl on me. Big whoop. Wolf spiders and banana spiders, I used to feed them ants as a kid. I'm not going to pick em up and play with em, but they don't freak me out.

Working in the sugar plant, we had LARGE storage areas of unrefined sugar. We had a vessel bring us almost a whole tanker full of unrefined sugar, and rented some warehouse space on the port to hold it until we could refine it.

One of my jobs because investors/insurance required it (not for food safety, our refining system got rid of any hazards) was to go to along with the plant manager to these huge warehouses and check on the sugar once a week and make sure it was still there. Think of HUGE dunes of dark brown sand all kept in by cement retaining blocks about waist high, with an outer pathway around the interior of the warehouse about 2 feet wide (almost enough to have to shuffle sideways in some spots). One week as I'm walking around the dark perimeter, I felt some creepy crawlies. No biggie, shake it off. But for some reason I decided to pull out my flashlight and shine it along the path I'm walking.. big mistake. Hundreds (I want to say thousands..) of beady reflective eyes were shining back at me, from along the floor, along the walls I am brushing, along the cement retaining wall.

I don't think I ever in my life felt that type of chill go down my spine. I turned around, and noped right the heck out of there. Once I got outside, I started paying a bit more attention to what these were. HUNDREDS of brown recluse spiders. Like..a spider den of brown recluse. I was walking through a GD spider den.

Took me an hour to get home and take a shower, that car ride back sucked.



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Posted 28 May 2021 - 07:24 AM

Ok, I regret my part in the spidery direction this thread seems to have taken. Now really looking forward to a day of "Is that my hairnet tickling my ear, or the tender caress of a Goliath spider?"  :oops2:  :helpplease:



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Posted 03 June 2021 - 02:28 PM

Hey, nobody's posted in here for several days - so, I decided to refresh this thread a bit:)

I've been receiving different kinds of complaints (strange, funny, embarrassing, frustrating, etc.) through all these years I've been working in dairy industry. My favorite ones so far:

1. One lady complaint about our kefir triggering grand mal seizure on her dog: "10 hours after giving her dog the XX Kefir the dog had a 4min grand mal seizure. At that point she didn't think it was an issue with the kefir, she gave dog more kefir and 9 hrs later same thing another grand mal seizure. She ruled out everything she gave her dog and basically pinpointed that it was the kefir. She took dog to vet, vet took samples from dog to send off. She came in here with her vet bills saying that we should pay for the vet bills that total around $800. I told her that any product issues that aren't produced in store need to be submitted, I also informed her that the item was not passed the best before date. She was upset and said if she doesn't get compensated she will hire a lawyer." 

2. This one is about coconut yogurt (at that time, it was pretty new product at the market): "I live Ucluelet and wont be bothered to return the product to the closest store ( 1.5 hr drive). However I did think I should let you know it really was terrible. Also, I do not mean to be crude, but it looks like a container of semen. We had a good laugh, but honestly, perhaps you should rethink this one. Thank you for your time!"



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Posted 03 June 2021 - 03:03 PM

When excuse for being late is crazy but you believe it. So you laugh and don't count it against them. They were driving early in the morning to work (before 5am and had to pull over to call 911. There was a half naked man walking in and out of traffic. He was playing Frogger (kudos for those who get this reference). For the area the employee was driving through, I believed them. Sadly the person was most likely high on drugs and didn't know what they were doing.



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Posted 03 June 2021 - 03:09 PM

When excuse for being late is crazy but you believe it. So you laugh and don't count it against them. They were driving early in the morning to work (before 5am and had to pull over to call 911. There was a half naked man walking in and out of traffic. He was playing Frogger (kudos for those who get this reference). For the area the employee was driving through, I believed them. Sadly the person was most likely high on drugs and didn't know what they were doing.

Oh, that's very sad to hear this type of stories, poor man - I mean, the Frogger one...



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Posted 03 June 2021 - 03:37 PM

It pays to ask questions---alot of questions,  when spending millions of dollars on new equipment

 

Brand new turkey facility---Canadian regulations require viscera to accompany (in tandem) the carcass it originated from. USA regs (at least at that time) did not have such a requirement

 

We try running----nothing worked (naturally) we only ran 50 birds that day   zero carcasses make it to the cooler

 

Technician from manufacturer tries in vain to adjust

 

Next day 50 more birds, same result

 

Facility is already way behind schedule and wayyyyyyyy over budget, no vp of ops is getting serious pressure from on high

We schedule 250 birds---------we think, maybe it's from the equipment starting and stopping, we run them altogether..........................carcasses absolutely everywhere...vp is in business wear, covered in unmentionables..........we are tripping over carcasses, nothing is working properly

 

Technician now has back up-----they are furiously trying to get this equipment to work 

 

2 weeks pass, the mess is now larger, everyone is chucking carcasses over shoulders just to keep the machine running.............

 

All because of the differences in regulations.........the equipment was NEVER going to be capable of presenting the viscera with the originating carcass.

 

So some modifications were designed, fabbed and installed.........it's as good as it's going to get

 

Fast forward a couple of months..........we've now commissioned the boning side of the plant, and small shards of blue plastic keep showing up in deboned meat.......can't "find the source"............processing plants under the same corporate umbrella have stopped accepting the deboned meat.  I ask the engineer repeatedly.........is the boning line conveyor cut resistant?  He, being an engineer thinks me a moron and dodges the question.........for 2 months!!!!

 

Finally in a meeting-----we are replacing the conveyor with cut resistant material------------to the tune of 250K, and he never accepted responsibility

 

QA MUST be involved in equipment purchases!  Because QA was not, it cost the company millions of dollars in lost time/product and replacements

 

Some folks will never learn


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