Susanne Posel, Contributor
In order to save money, some corporations will repackage older food into new packaging and resell it. One public school lunch supplier tried this with moldy apple sauce re-canned and was reprimanded to never try that “stunt” again.
“I was appalled that there were actually human beings that were OK with this,” said Kantha Shelke, a food scientist and spokeswoman for the Institute of Food Technologists. “This is a case of unsafe food. They are trying to salvage that to make a buck.”
Shockingly, Jay Cole, former federal inspector who works with the FDA Group, says, “Any food can be reconditioned.”
Perhaps pieces of pasta will be re-ground into semolina.
Mislabeled blueberry ice cream mixed with chocolate to avoid waste.
Insect parts discovered in cocoa beans.
Live bugs “left behind” in dried fruits packages.
Or salmonella bacteria found in hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) which is a flavor enhancer used in gravy mix, snack foods, dairy products, spices and soups (just to name a few).
“This is how people do their business,” says Shelke.
The FDA allowed food producers like Basic Food Flavors, Inc (BFF) to recondition their recalled items in 2010 by heat-treating their products to remove salmonella. BFF then reprocessed the food and distributed them for sale to the public.
The FDA justifies this unsafe practice by stating that it reduces water and saves money. Yet this occurs at the expense of public safety and health.
If the processes approved by the FDA were redering food safe for consumption, there would be less of an issue.
The Snokist officials found that the process the FDA permitted as safe for the reconditioning of the applesauce rendered the food sterile and effectively worthless as a nutritional substance by a common toxin produced by the mold in the apple sauce.
The FDA stands by its thermal process even though it does not protect against mycotoxins in the food.
“Mold is not an easily reconditionable product,” says William Correll, the FDA’s acting director of compliance.
The FDA admits they expect a certain level of contaminants and toxins to enter food during the processing process because they claim a zero-tolerance policy would be too difficult to achieve.
The FDA relies on defect action levels to define how dangerous a contaminant is in the food and how much enforcement of their policies they should engage the manufacturer in.
Basically, if making the food safe is too difficult, the FDA does not bother enforcing their safety policies.
Here are a few examples of allowable contaminants:
• In 8 ounces of macaroni there could be 225 insect fragments or 4.5 rodent hairs
• In 3.5 oz of canned mushrooms 20 or more maggots is ok
• In canned cranberry sauce there could be an average of 15% mold
The FDA finds these levels acceptable because there would be too much stress on food producers to adhere to a more stringent policy for food safety.
Correll plainly says, “You can’t cook the poop out of [food].”
The FDA begun the Reportable Food Registry in 2009 to handle the overwhelming notifications to human health hazards their relaxed policies produced.
The problems were hard to decipher with domestic food processing corporations, but foreign import food corporations added a cog in the wheel. These corporations generally go to greater lengths to preserve the safety of their food; more so than the FDA.
As it stands, the FDA reconditions food that we purchase in grocery stores.
There is no way to know what foods are genuine and which have been reconditioned.