Jump to content

  • Quick Navigation
Photo
- - - - -

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

 


  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
93 replies to this topic

johnmcip

    Grade - MIFSQN

  • IFSQN Member
  • 93 posts
  • 15 thanks
19
Good

  • United States
    United States

Posted 03 June 2021 - 07:21 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.

 

"Oh boy I can't wait for lunch! I brought lemonade today!"



Marloes

    Grade - MIFSQN

  • IFSQN Member
  • 86 posts
  • 25 thanks
15
Good

  • Earth
    Earth
  • Gender:Female

Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:36 PM

Haha, I love reading these stories. To bad I don't really have a good story to add!

The most stand-out thing I can think of is that we used to find a lot of strange things in our ingrediënts. One year in December we found a small dehydrated lizard in the cardboardbox (no worry, the foodstuff was in a seperate bag). We kept it and made it our mascot that year. The ''christmas lizard''.

 

I also remember it raining so intense that the roof started leaking. Right when the auditor walked in. Oof :helpplease: .



olenazh

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 728 posts
  • 217 thanks
205
Excellent

  • Canada
    Canada
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Toronto
  • Interests:My job, church, reading, gym, horror movies

Posted 14 June 2021 - 06:17 PM

Let's refresh the topic, eh?

I hesitated whether this story was food-safety-related or not, and decided – yes, it was, as it all was about preparing for BRC certification. It’s not quite an encounter-type, but more a bitter memory sort of. Once upon a time, a long time ago I worked for a small bakery making amazing Italian-style goodies. Everything was quite ok with that company except for the owner, a guy with short temper and big self-esteem with the idea fix to get GFSI certification. He had pretty high QA staff turnover, so that idea had not been reachable – until I came. Fresh prey. Along with all the burden of sorting/reviewing/updating/creating/filing documentation, I was supposed to develop FSMS for BRC certification from scratch, literally. Because what the owner proudly presented me as “complete collection of BRC documentation - you'll just need to put company name on them!” (cost him 10K) appeared to be random unorganized inappropriate pieces of this and that. As per my contractor agreement, I was supposed to work 1 day a week – but oh boy how much more often I started coming! My enthusiasm pushed me to work overtime home, involve my husband and friends for help, spend my own money on this project – all to achieve my goal, BRC certification, with flying colours. Needless to say, all my efforts were taken for granted. Finally, long story short, all documents were created, trainings and audits done, inspections conducted, standard studied several times to make sure nothing’s missed – and the audit day had come. I was really proud of my creature, my baby FSMS. All 11 comments were minor, all were addressed shortly. We got a certificate, grade B. I was absolutely happy as I considered that quite an achievement for the beginner. And you know what the company owner said when I sent him my CONGRATS? “Well, it’s ok, but you could do better”.



Spidey

    Grade - MIFSQN

  • IFSQN Member
  • 142 posts
  • 42 thanks
56
Excellent

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Female

Posted 14 June 2021 - 06:26 PM

Let's refresh the topic, eh?

I hesitated whether this story was food-safety-related or not, and decided – yes, it was, as it all was about preparing for BRC certification. It’s not quite an encounter-type, but more a bitter memory sort of. Once upon a time, a long time ago I worked for a small bakery making amazing Italian-style goodies. Everything was quite ok with that company except for the owner, a guy with short temper and big self-esteem with the idea fix to get GFSI certification. He had pretty high QA staff turnover, so that idea had not been reachable – until I came. Fresh prey. Along with all the burden of sorting/reviewing/updating/creating/filing documentation, I was supposed to develop FSMS for BRC certification from scratch, literally. Because what the owner proudly presented me as “complete collection of BRC documentation - you'll just need to put company name on them!” (cost him 10K) appeared to be random unorganized inappropriate pieces of this and that. As per my contractor agreement, I was supposed to work 1 day a week – but oh boy how much more often I started coming! My enthusiasm pushed me to work overtime home, involve my husband and friends for help, spend my own money on this project – all to achieve my goal, BRC certification, with flying colours. Needless to say, all my efforts were taken for granted. Finally, long story short, all documents were created, trainings and audits done, inspections conducted, standard studied several times to make sure nothing’s missed – and the audit day had come. I was really proud of my creature, my baby FSMS. All 11 comments were minor, all were addressed shortly. We got a certificate, grade B. I was absolutely happy as I considered that quite an achievement for the beginner. And you know what the company owner said when I sent him my CONGRATS? “Well, it’s ok, but you could do better”.

 

That's heartbreaking, spirit crushing, and most definitely relevant to this topic.


Edited by Spidey, 14 June 2021 - 06:27 PM.


Thanked by 1 Member:

johnmcip

    Grade - MIFSQN

  • IFSQN Member
  • 93 posts
  • 15 thanks
19
Good

  • United States
    United States

Posted 14 June 2021 - 06:31 PM

We pack oranges into consumer size packages for supermarket chains.

On one line there was a gap between conveyors or something, so occasionally an orange would fall off the belt onto the floor. I talk to maintenance about this, "see all these oranges on the floor? I think it's coming from this gap because you can see right under that there's a few sitting on that support beam."

One of our techs response was something like "I guess we could loop some belting around that support beam so that the oranges fall on the floor instead of sitting on the beam."

 

Oh it's so fun working here!



johnmcip

    Grade - MIFSQN

  • IFSQN Member
  • 93 posts
  • 15 thanks
19
Good

  • United States
    United States

Posted 14 June 2021 - 06:37 PM

I also remember it raining so intense that the roof started leaking. Right when the auditor walked in. Oof :helpplease: .

 

Years back we had an audit the day of what had to be the worst storm in a decade. It was windier than you could believe. Well I guess the maintenance guys were a little warm inside the maintenance shop, so they opened a window. So we have the strongest wind I have ever seen blowing the heavier rain I've seen in decades into the maintenance shop window, flooding the floor, and seeping through a crack between the floor and the wall. Luckily the maintenance shop isn't above any production or storage areas.

Oh and also there was no screen on that window so we got dinged for that.



crystalQC

    Grade - MIFSQN

  • IFSQN Member
  • 51 posts
  • 9 thanks
10
Good

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:California
  • Interests:Traveling, Spanish + Mandarin + Korean language, Cosmetics, Nutrition.

Posted 14 June 2021 - 08:42 PM

goodness, what's up with customer's weird obsession with planting spiders to get free stuff / money?! Lol  :bug:



olenazh

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 728 posts
  • 217 thanks
205
Excellent

  • Canada
    Canada
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Toronto
  • Interests:My job, church, reading, gym, horror movies

Posted 18 June 2021 - 02:00 PM

Going back to foreign matter contamination, all those spiders, centipedes, roaches and other yummy stuff, I've just been told by my friend of another case. A company Z was producing packed whole chickens, and one day a consumer bought that chicken, brought home and cut it looking forward to a delicious soup. And guess what he found inside of that innocent chicken? A mouse! Not just a tail, paw or ear, but a whole corps. Well, the company faced a recall and all related troubles - but they were wondering how the hell that creature appeared inside a chicken? And they came up with an idea of reviewing the production surveillance cameras. All in all, they finally caught an employee stuffing a mouse into a chicken! The guy was about to be fired ad decided to say his final goodbye. Underline: never underestimate a creativity level of a disgruntled employee. Now I start understanding those companies commanding fired staff to leave immediately...



TimG

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 604 posts
  • 174 thanks
285
Excellent

  • United States
    United States

Posted 18 June 2021 - 02:28 PM

Oh man, I sure hope they alerted the authorities..



MMorse

    Grade - Active

  • IFSQN Active
  • 11 posts
  • 1 thanks
9
Neutral

  • United States
    United States

Posted 18 June 2021 - 02:52 PM

Years ago during an AIB Audit the inspector found what appeared to be a backbone in a mechanic's large rolling tool box.  The mechanic was questioned and admitted it was the backbone from a dead deer (it was clean bone, no flesh or fur).  He said that he was going to give it to his supervisor so he would have a backbone to stand up to management!  The inspector found other items to fail us and did not mention the backbone in the audit report.



olenazh

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 728 posts
  • 217 thanks
205
Excellent

  • Canada
    Canada
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Toronto
  • Interests:My job, church, reading, gym, horror movies

Posted 25 June 2021 - 02:10 PM

Rodents. They are everywhere, regardless how clean and neat your place, and how much effort you put in pest control - right, guys? There's always possibility for mice to sneak in: open loading docks, mechanical staff going back and forth, workers taking out garbage... So, another story about our little friends. It happened some time ago when I worked for a small dairy company. One day, the guys felt strange smell in a pasteurizing room, something similar to rotten flesh whiff. First, they thought of poorly cleaned equipment and everything was re-washed thoroughly. The smell seemed gone. Next day though it was back, stronger and more annoying. All equipment was disassembled to the ground and cleaned again. Guess what? Next day the stink seemed to reach its peak, and the worst part of the situation was that nobody knew what to do. Finally, one operator went sniffing closely each part of all equipment and found the source: it was a mixer motor. Yes, the only part which wasn't disassembled and cleaned. Who could imagine that stupid thing would squeeze in and never find way out? It found its last resting place inside a motor. 



TaraMcKinzie

    Grade - AIFSQN

  • IFSQN Associate
  • 28 posts
  • 2 thanks
6
Neutral

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:AZ

Posted 28 June 2021 - 10:33 PM

Oh boy, this is a fun one for me.  I was brought in as a Quality Manager of company X in during the middle of a hostile takeover with family members involved.  Long story short, due to the hiring process of the previous CEO and head of Ops approximately a year later we had a visit from a regulatory body (I was so grateful I had JUST completed the SOP and employee training on how to deal with federal agents the week before this happened.)  Employees were removed from the production floor with no warning or chance to seal up open product or raw materials.  Everyone was put into the breakroom and no one was allowed to get into the production area until we had permission from the agents.  

 

The CFO and myself were being as helpful as possible but then we realized they intended to go into production to search for anyone/thing that could be hiding.  At the time I had approximately 500k worth of raw materials and WIP for a brand new product launch on the production floor and here are these four large guys (shortest one was still over 6 feet) with beards down to their stomachs, long hair, dirty cameras, automatic weapons - you name it, if it was a food safety violation they had it.  CFO and I were BEGGING these guys to please gown up before going in and contaminating my WIP and staged raws. 

 

At this point every single other manager in the company had decided to go to the bar down the road to "wait it out" so CFO and I were trying to keep approximately 50 employees calm, keep these guys from contaminating everything and remain composed.  The biggest agent (luckily the one in charge) decided to take pity on us and compromised, hair nets, beard nets and lab coats.  We ended the day with an expensive lesson learned, but managed to dodge a food safety issue that would have shut down the company for sure.  

 

Oh, I have so so many more but this is the best one by far!  Fun fact, this happened on April 2nd - we all joke to this day that no one would have believed it had it been on April Fools Day.  Our poor EcoLab pest control person was in the warehouse when they walked through so he about had a heart attack.  After they ran his information and checked it against my records he went to go to his next stop, our competitor three buildings down from us and right as he was getting started they had a surprise FDA walk in.  Poor guy called it a day and just went home after that!



Marloes

    Grade - MIFSQN

  • IFSQN Member
  • 86 posts
  • 25 thanks
15
Good

  • Earth
    Earth
  • Gender:Female

Posted 29 June 2021 - 07:44 AM

Wait?!
The FDA comes in with automatic weapons?!

Could never imagine that happening were I am from :shutup:  :eek_yello: .



pHruit

    Grade - FIFSQN

  • IFSQN Fellow
  • 1,803 posts
  • 719 thanks
432
Excellent

  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:Composing/listening to classical music, electronics, mountain biking, science, sarcasm

Posted 29 June 2021 - 09:23 AM

The FDA comes in with automatic weapons?!

Can you really say you're taking the threat of Listeria seriously, if you're not willing to open fire on it with an M16 assault rifle? :ejut:



Scampi

    Fellow

  • IFSQN Fellow
  • 3,826 posts
  • 1034 thanks
694
Excellent

  • Canada
    Canada
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 29 June 2021 - 12:15 PM

notice Tara said "a regulatory" body....................she never said the FDA-----me thinks there was something else seriously afoot there!!!


Please stop referring to me as Sir/sirs


olenazh

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 728 posts
  • 217 thanks
205
Excellent

  • Canada
    Canada
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Toronto
  • Interests:My job, church, reading, gym, horror movies

Posted 29 June 2021 - 12:24 PM

The biggest agent (luckily the one in charge) decided to take pity on us and compromised, hair nets, beard nets and lab coats.

And luckily you found fitting size lab coats for the big guys. I remember, we had a customer audit and one of the ladies was.. hmmm.. over-size - so, we weren't able to find a coat for her. After that, we ordered the biggest coats the supplier had - just in case:)



TimG

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 604 posts
  • 174 thanks
285
Excellent

  • United States
    United States

Posted 29 June 2021 - 01:39 PM

Probably wasn't FDA. We would have random surprise visits by the port authority who would show up with homeland security. Big black 4 door SUV with all black windows would pull up; agents with suits/guns (like FBI) would come walk your facility. Sometimes they'd have other enforcer types with them, wearing fully kitted tactical gear with assault rifles.

I asked them once if they were looking for anything specific, one basically told me none of my business and the other one said "do you have anything specific for us to look for?"

I should have just kept my mouth shut from that point forward, but I MIGHT have tried to flirt with the female agent a bit. She wasn't amused..



TaraMcKinzie

    Grade - AIFSQN

  • IFSQN Associate
  • 28 posts
  • 2 thanks
6
Neutral

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:AZ

Posted 29 June 2021 - 04:37 PM

Oh no - it was not the FDA at our facility - they were down the road at our competition's facility that day.  We were dealing with a joint task force of the agency that rhymes with rice and another agency that enforces drugs (if you catch what I did there.)  Like I said, the CEO and Dir of Ops prior to my joining the team were not good people.  

 

Wait?!
The FDA comes in with automatic weapons?!

Could never imagine that happening were I am from :shutup:  :eek_yello: .



TaraMcKinzie

    Grade - AIFSQN

  • IFSQN Associate
  • 28 posts
  • 2 thanks
6
Neutral

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:AZ

Posted 29 June 2021 - 04:42 PM

Two of my mixing operators were large men.  I had a good supply of 5x lab coats thankfully!

 

And luckily you found fitting size lab coats for the big guys. I remember, we had a customer audit and one of the ladies was.. hmmm.. over-size - so, we weren't able to find a coat for her. After that, we ordered the biggest coats the supplier had - just in case:)



TaraMcKinzie

    Grade - AIFSQN

  • IFSQN Associate
  • 28 posts
  • 2 thanks
6
Neutral

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:AZ

Posted 29 June 2021 - 04:47 PM

Exactly - my Lab Manager held the door open for these guys when he came back from his morning coffee run.  Imagine our surprise when approximately 20 armed agents walked into my production meeting in the conference room and let us know that we were to pull all employees into the break room immediately.  Clearly Lab Manager had to go through retraining!!!!!  When I asked why they handed me a 20 page warrant and I just remember thinking, "well this is going to be a long day."

 

Probably wasn't FDA. We would have random surprise visits by the port authority who would show up with homeland security. Big black 4 door SUV with all black windows would pull up; agents with suits/guns (like FBI) would come walk your facility. Sometimes they'd have other enforcer types with them, wearing fully kitted tactical gear with assault rifles.

I asked them once if they were looking for anything specific, one basically told me none of my business and the other one said "do you have anything specific for us to look for?"

I should have just kept my mouth shut from that point forward, but I MIGHT have tried to flirt with the female agent a bit. She wasn't amused..



Scampi

    Fellow

  • IFSQN Fellow
  • 3,826 posts
  • 1034 thanks
694
Excellent

  • Canada
    Canada
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 29 June 2021 - 05:17 PM

whoa..............................i'm going to go hug my country now


Please stop referring to me as Sir/sirs


olenazh

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 728 posts
  • 217 thanks
205
Excellent

  • Canada
    Canada
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Toronto
  • Interests:My job, church, reading, gym, horror movies

Posted 29 June 2021 - 05:30 PM

whoa..............................i'm going to go hug my country now

Agree: I've never experienced anything even remotely scary and frustrating here in Canada. The biggest problem was, as I recall, the CFIA inspector coming to the plant out of the blue several years ago - but on the other hand, the visit appeared to be just kind of inspection training for a young trainee and went very well.



TimG

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 604 posts
  • 174 thanks
285
Excellent

  • United States
    United States

Posted 29 June 2021 - 06:14 PM

It's not so bad. It sounds like we both had extenuating circumstances for our stories. Tara had sketchy previous owners, and I was in a major port back when they were kind of expecting bad things to come into the country via a port.

I'm in a different port now (Texas City) and things seem to have calmed down quite a bit. I've only seen the black SUV's roll through once since I've been here in 3 years and they didn't stop in our facility.



TaraMcKinzie

    Grade - AIFSQN

  • IFSQN Associate
  • 28 posts
  • 2 thanks
6
Neutral

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:AZ

Posted 29 June 2021 - 06:22 PM

Horribly extenuating circumstances.  Almost weekly I would come home and talk to my husband about my day and he just kept saying, "Babe that's not normal."  I finally hit the end of my rope and left - the company I am with now puts Food Safety above everything else and it is so much more fun and enjoyable to work in that environment.

 

It's not so bad. It sounds like we both had extenuating circumstances for our stories. Tara had sketchy previous owners, and I was in a major port back when they were kind of expecting bad things to come into the country via a port.

I'm in a different port now (Texas City) and things seem to have calmed down quite a bit. I've only seen the black SUV's roll through once since I've been here in 3 years and they didn't stop in our facility.

 

 

It's not so bad. It sounds like we both had extenuating circumstances for our stories. Tara had sketchy previous owners, and I was in a major port back when they were kind of expecting bad things to come into the country via a port.

I'm in a different port now (Texas City) and things seem to have calmed down quite a bit. I've only seen the black SUV's roll through once since I've been here in 3 years and they didn't stop in our facility.



AmeliaJacobs

    Grade - Active

  • IFSQN Active
  • 19 posts
  • 4 thanks
5
Neutral

  • United States
    United States

Posted 30 June 2021 - 09:20 PM

To add one that just happened and still has me scratching my head...

We contract towels, lab coats etc to a large national laundry company. Our local office has issues. This is an exchange with our new employee who is managing that account and my issues with them. Yes, including the top one...

Our facility does not process any of the big 9 allergens. We are a small RTE facility. They keep "retraining" the local manager and providing documentation to prove their cleaning.

 

 






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users