After rereading the FDA’s inspection reports (483’s) of the three Blue Bell ice cream plants this weekend, it made me wonder – other than the random inspections done by state departments of agriculture – if Blue Bell had been required to be inspected – audited – by a private auditor – the so-called third-party audit?
In nearly every major foodborne illness outbreak over the last decade – think Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella (714 sick, 9 dead) Outbreak, DeCoster Egg Salmonella Outbreak (nearly 2,000 sick) and the Jensen Farms Listeria Outbreak (147 sick, 33 dead) – retailers and/or purchasers of the peanut butter, eggs or cantaloupe required that private audits be performed – at the producer’s expense. All three of these producers got glowing audits and were eventually charged criminally with shipping tainted product.
“Someone” should ask Blue Bell for its audits over the years Listeria seemed to be ever present in at least one of its plants.
“Someone” should also call a few of the major retailers – Walmart and Kroger – and ask for the same.