Milwaukee, WI- Garden Fresh Foods does not feel too good after eating almost 10 tons of lost profit. The Milwaukee company played it safe when it pro-actively discarded suspicious chicken and ham. The food manufacturer has been in business since 1978 in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area and is not to be confused with Garden Fresh Foods of Woodinville, Washington. The food in question was believed to have possible contamination from Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause food poisoning. The bacteria can typically be found in some water and soil. Many fresh produce foods are fertilized with manure and may not be completely washed in the processing plant, so it is most important to hand wash all fresh fruits and vegetables before consumption.
The symptoms of Listeria include fever, headache, nausea, muscle stiffness, and possible convulsions. The aches, pains and discomfort from being ill usually dissipate in a few weeks. Doctors basically will encourage the patient to get plenty of rest and wait it out. Staying in good health as a habit, also helps to fight off illnesses such as Listeria and recover more quickly. The best way to avoid food poisoning is to practice safe food handling and keep the food at proper temperatures. Cold foods should be kept at no more than 40 degrees and hot foods should be held at no lower than 140 degrees. Leftovers at home should be refrigerated quickly after each meal. Paying attention to expiration dates on food, especially dairy and lunchmeat is another important way to avoid food poisoning. Washing out the refrigerator on a regular basis is always a good idea.
The FDA has strict guidelines for food safety and is now able to recall foods directly. Up until the Food Safety Modernization Act was passed in 2011, recalls were left up to restaurants and food manufacturers. Grocery store salad bars, delis, seafood, and meat departments are inspected regularly, as well as any hot food bars. All cold cases are to be maintained at proper temperatures and are also inspected. Restaurants routinely have unannounced health department inspections to ensure their food is always safe.
Running a food business directly affects the consumer’s health. Many businesses voluntarily throw out suspected food without question and without action from the FDA. When large quantities of food is thrown out, such as Garden Fresh Foods, it greatly impacts the business both in profits and reputation. It will take a long time and a positive campaign to recover sales and customers. Garden Fresh Foods centers many of their recipes on produce, chicken and ham. The Milwaukee company played it safe when used the pitch fork. Taking a chance would have been a much larger disaster for the company and the health of those that would have consumed the tainted food.
Manufactured foods are anything processed in a company kitchen and sold to consumers. Garden Fresh Foods caters to the public as well as to area restaurants, so many people have been affected by the incident. They are a health conscious company that played it safe all the way around. In this case illnesses were prevented and the integrity of the company was protected. It was a hard lesson to learn, but we are confident their food preparation processes will only improve from here. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Written by: Roanne H. FitzGibbon