Writing for AOL News (and his blog, Cold Truth) Andrew Schneider writes that the hydrolyzed vegetable protein recall reminds us that, no matter what was said in the wake of last year’s peanut butter recall, the FDA still doesn’t have the ability to pay close attention to source foods that are destined to end up in hundreds of different products.
In this most recent case, it was a test by a supplier, not an FDA representative, that caught the contaminated additive.
The FDA conducted an investigation at the company’s Las Vegas facility after a food producer that bought the flavoring from Basic Food Flavors notified federal agents that it had found Salmonella Tennessee in the vegetable protein.
In answer to the criticism about its actions during the peanut episode, FDA officials said they have no way knowing to whom suppliers sell their food products, what those products are and where they’re sold. The FDA says it doesn’t have the personnel or the needed regulations to handle the millions of shipments made within the food industry every week.
But what was seen with the dangerous peanuts, and what we’re beginning to see with the flavoring agent, is that producers of end products — those items that actually reach store and warehouse shelves — are declaring their own voluntary recalls.