The FDA has issued a list of observations made during an April 20, 2012 inspection of the Diamond Pet Foods plant in Gaston, SC. The sloppiness of how the plant is maintained provides for numerous ways for the food they manufacture to become contaminated. Here’s the bulk of the report:
All reasonable precautions are not taken to ensure that production procedures do not contribute contamination from any source.
Specifically, no microbiological analysis is conducted or there is no assurance that incoming animal fat will not introduce pathogens into their production and cause contamination of finished product. Also, the firm’s current sampling procedure for animal digest does preclude potential for adulteration after sampling and during storage in warehouse. On 4/13/12, an employee was observed touching in-line filter oil with bare hands.
Failure to provide hand washing and sanitizing facilities at each location in the plant where needed.
Specifically, there are no facilities for hand washing or hand sanitizing in the production areas where there is direct contact with exposed finished feed/food.
Failure to maintain equipment, containers and utensils used to convey, hold, and store food in a manner that protects against contamination.
Specifically, paddles conveyor (South or Middle conveyor leading to the screeners going to packaging) were observed to have gouges and cuts, which exhibited feed residues. The damage to the paddles may allow for harborage areas for microorganisms and are difficult to clean and sanitize.
Failure to maintain equipment so as facilitate cleaning of the equipment.
Specifically, firm utilizes cardboard, duct tape, and other non cleanable surfaces on equipment. These materials were observed to have residues adhering. The foam gaskets around access doors to the bucket elevators were observed in deteriorating condition exhibited an accumulation of feed residues and dust.
Despite Diamond’s touted 151 Quality Checks, according to the report, the Diamond plant is a total mess. And obviously, the things mentioned in the report don’t just happen overnight – deteriorating gaskets, duct tape, lack of cleanliness, etc. With a manufacturing plant in that condition, it only makes sense that this has been an ongoing problem. So, how many people and pets have become ill over the past – who knows how long – as a result of contaminated food manufactured by Diamond?
My guess is that all of the Diamonds plants are a total mess. They still have openings in all three of of them for Quality Control Technicians. But it seems to me they’re going to need a heck of a lot more than a few new technicians to clean things up. They need to overhaul their entire company and learn to walk the talk they display so proudly on their website:
All of us take pride in our work, our departments and our company as a whole. Pride that manifests itself in uncompromising product quality and unsurpassed customer service. Pride that helps our company overcome any short-term obstacles and achieve long-term success.
If the observations made by the FDA inspectors represent Diamond’s “uncompromising product quality,” Diamond needs to take a serious look at how they’re doing things. From what’s in the report, it sounds like there’s plenty of room for improvement. And, I suppose the people and pets who have become sick due to their sloppiness are simply a “short-term obstacle.”