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Facility and Safety Identification

Apr 15 2016

Why IP69K & Ecolab Rating Standards Matter

Posted by Bill Hirschinger in Facility and Safety Identification

Products that carry the IP69K and Ecolab ratings are ideal for facilities where hygiene and cleanliness are critical, as they are proven to be durable and resistant against water, chemicals, high pressure and high temperatures associated with demanding cleaning and safety measures.  Meeting these qualifications has been further pushed by regulations from the Food Safety Modernization Act that has begun to take effect in 2016. The act takes into account the food and beverage industry, which includes animal products.

Having IP69K and Ecolab rated equipment is of upmost importance for more than just the food and beverage industry. However, many recent events within the food and beverage industry have brought to light the safety and compliance issues the products that hold this rating can help resolve and prevent.

Here are four serious cases large food manufacturers and distributors faced from various outbreaks.

  1. ­The sentencing of Peanut Corporation of America’s top former managers and peanut broker to a total of 62 years in federal prison for  the most severe punishment for food safety violations in U.S. history. U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands sentenced former PCA chief executive officer Stewart Parnell to 28 years in prison and his peanut broker brother, Michael Parnell, to 20 years.  Daniel Kilgore, Mary Wilkerson, and Samuel Lightsey, respectfully received sentences of 6, 5, and 3 years. They were managers in PCA’s Blakely, GA peanut processing plant, which was the source of a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak in 2008-09 that sickened thousands and resulted in nine deaths.
  2. The meltdown of Chipotle Mexican Grill, which experienced six outbreaks in the last half of 2015 of food borne illness being associated with the Denver-based burrito chain. Since July, Chipotle restaurants have been associated with a E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Washington State, a Salmonella Newport outbreak in Minnesota, norovirus outbreaks in Simi Valley, CA and Boston, and the larger 9-state E. coli O26 outbreak that has not yet been declared over by CDC. In the last half of 2015, it has sickened 514 customers in the six outbreaks. Some have required hospital stays, but none are known to have died.
  3. The recall of the iconic Blue Bell ice cream brand because of an outbreak caused by Listeria contamination along with plant closures after the product was associated with ten illnesses and three deaths made 2015 a low point in the company’s 108-year old history. The problem Blue Bell confronted in 2015 was Listeria monocytogenes, which the company found in multiple plant locations after doing enhanced sampling once it became aware of the problem. Production halts required about 37 percent of its 4,000 employees to be placed on furlough or layoffs.
  4. In January 2015, Bidart Bros. Apple Packing, Shafter, Calif., issued a recall of all Gala and Granny Smith apples it sold to food processors that may have been used in the making of caramel-coated apples after two strains of Listeria monocytogenes associated with a fatal outbreak were found at the company’s packing plant in Bakersfield, Calif.