QC Press: Canned surprise

J

joseph

Guest
LOL...I wonder what kind it was and how it got in there?
 
J

joan

Guest
I worked in a green bean factory for some time. They suck the green beans off the plants using a glorified vacuum. We get most critters out (I encountered TONS of frogs and toads, as well as the occasional snake, rabbit, or skunk), but small ones are the hardest to see.
 
J

joseph

Guest
Wow Joan: Did they go through some kind of screen sorter to remove the critters? I can only guess how many bugs slip through...yummy!
 
J

joan

Guest
I was the screen sorter. They went through various tumblers and what not. They're washed and boiled and frozen. But you always get an occasional bad batch.

Now here's the gross part. Batches are given grades, A-D, with D being very bad batches. So for big consumers, like Campbells soup, we'd mix in 3 parts A grade with 1 part D grade, and so forth.
 
J

joseph

Guest
What constitutes a D grade batch? Lots of critters in it?

Also, I'm assuming when the critters get to you they are dead do to some process...a snake or a skunk would be a pretty hair raising thing to pull out alive!(but still not appetizing dead).
 
J

joan

Guest
Lots of inclusions, usually weeds, rarely critters.

Most of the animals that come through are very much alive. The skunk was definately not happy, although I kept a snake-hook at my station, so that was pretty handy even for the skunk.

At the end of the shift, we collected the critters: frogs, toads, sals, and snakes (the bunnies were let go in the field behind the plant), and they were distributed at my farm. They kept the pests down (although the snakes often ate the frogs).
 
W

wes

Guest
<u>EDMONTON JOURNAL</u> (Alberta) 04 August 06 Mystery bits unwelcome in side dish: Possible frog parts in beans 'repulses' lawyer (Hanneke Brooymans )
Pork and beans from a can is an accepted dinner combination. Frogs and beans, less so.
Last week, Shannon Keehn allegedly found amphibian bits when she opened a can of green beans to add to her steak- and-potatoes dinner.
Keehn and her husband were on a fishing trip, staying in a bed and breakfast in Burmis in southern Alberta. She was preparing to heat a can of beans in the microwave.
She turned the can over into a bowl and then spotted what looked like a leaf. "I went to pick it out and as I did so I could tell it wasn't plant material."
Instead, she said she found herself holding the small head of an amphibian, its mouth agape and tongue visible. Some whitish material at the back of its head could have been its brains.
"It looked like the head of a frog or salamander."
Upset, Keehn dropped it into the sink.
"I was repulsed and shocked."
But her methodical training as an environmental lawyer took over. "I took a spoon to the rest of the beans to see what else was in it and found a limb."
She borrowed her husband's cellphone to call the customer service number on the can.
"What I was really concerned about was, what happened to the rest of it."
The name on the can said Del Monte. In Canada the licence for the brand is held by CanGro Foods Inc.
Keehn contacted CanGro, which asked her to send it the sample.
"We would check to see what it is," said Ken Mattis, a quality assurance specialist for the company. "If we were to confirm it is an amphibian, then we would check our records to see if anything unusual was noted that day."
The company offers compensation for the purchased item plus "somewhat more for their unpleasant experience," Mattis said. Almost 100 per cent of the time, a complaint like this turns out to be related to some other vegetable matter, he added.
But Keehn, who kept all the evidence, said she is more comfortable turning the items over to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
"They said they would initiate an investigation of their own," she said. "They would take the body parts and have the inspector visit the plant with the body parts."
The agency would investigate whether or not there is a risk, said Alain Charette, an agency spokesman.
From a food safety perspective, the risk is considered greater for things like metal or glass shards, or chemicals or microbiological contaminants, rather than these kinds of "extraneous objects," Charette said.
"Honestly, I understand you don't want to see that in your food," he said about the amphibian. But recalls are based on risk.
"If this type of animal is likely to carry disease, it leads us in one direction. If it isn't, it could lead us in another."
Charette said these decisions are made during the investigation. In the last 18 months, only three reports of extraneous items resulted in recalls, he said.
Roughly 30 per cent of extraneous-item incidents are labelled harmful at the onset of an investigation. In 2003-2004, the agency conducted 4,526 investigations and issued 343 recalls. Only 14 per cent of those recalls were due to extraneous items.
The agency does not discuss investigations which do not result in recalls.
Keehn said she is willing to turn over the items to the agency because she has no intention of suing. "My concern isn't to make money off this. It's to prevent this from happening again."
She also wants other people to know there is a process they can follow if this happens to them.
Keehn said she recognizes on a rational level why the food inspection agency can't do a recall every time a foreign item is found in canned food. She wishes they would anyway.
"If I was another consumer eating green beans, I think I would want that."
 
J

joan

Guest
What's the big deal? A little added protein to the beans! (I am just kidding; this would be pretty traumatic)
 
K

kara

Guest
hmmmm....if t was a salamander, a toxic one, would boiling prevent illness if ingested? This topic definately has my mind working....
 
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