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Massive Food Flavoring Recall Underscores Need for New Tracking Technology to Contain Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness
Date:3/12/2010

ORLANDO, Fla., March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Cost-effective technology that allows products to be traced through the U.S. supply chain might have helped contain the spread of hydrolyzed vegetable protein products contaminated with Salmonella, Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS Company LLC) announced today. iGPS urged the U.S. Senate to mandate the latest tracking technology in legislation pending to overhaul the nation's food safety law.

The list of recalled products containing the contaminated HVP has now topped 100, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is expected to grow as the popular food additive is found in everything from soups, sauces, chili, stews, hot dogs, gravies, chips, dips and dressings.

"Fresh on the heels of the nationwide Tylenol recall, this HVP recall once again illustrates the need for tighter controls in the U.S. food supply chain.  In this case, we see how one common ingredient can disrupt the nation's food supply and potentially threaten millions of people. We hope this reality will hasten Senate consideration of product tracking technology and action on critically important food safety legislation," said Bob Moore Chairman & CEO of iGPS Company LLC. The Senate has not yet scheduled action on the food safety bill, which the House passed overwhelmingly last year.

According to reports, large batches of HVP may be contaminated with Salmonella, which causes at least 40,000 illnesses in the U.S. annually.  This recall began on February 26, and it is now being reported that contamination probably started as far back as September 2009, affecting millions of pounds of the flavoring already shipped into commerce.  

"The U.S. food supply chain is complex, and many ingredients often go from manufacturer to resellers or processors before ending up on store shelves.  It is therefore critical that congressional action touch on all areas of the supply chain where improvements can be made that ultimately make the American public safer," Moore added.

iGPS operates the world's first pallet rental service providing manufacturers with lightweight, recyclable all-plastic pallets embedded with RFID tags.  Unlike the more than one billion wood pallets in circulation, the RFID tags in iGPS plastic pallets allow products to be easily traced at numerous points along the supply chain, providing a way to pinpoint and contain contaminated products.

iGPS also is urging Congress to set uniform sanitary standards for all pallets.  According to Moore, "Pallets are an often overlooked, but key component of our nation's supply chain.  At one point, almost every food, pharmaceutical and countless other consumer products have been on a pallet.  We need to take all possible measures to ensure that pallets are not harboring bacteria or pathogens that can affect our food supply."

iGPS recently commissioned a series of independent tests in cities from Portland, Maine to New Orleans that found Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria and extremely high bacteria counts on scores of wood pallets pulled at random from public markets and retail food outlets.  In New Orleans, for example, 43 percent of wood pallets tested at an independent scientific laboratory came back positive for E. coli, Listeria and/or Salmonella.  One wood pallet tested positive for all three food-poisoning bacteria.  Our findings are consistent with other findings of the FDA and USDA that highlight the risks of wood in certain food-related circumstances.

The FDA's guidelines recommend using pallets that can easily be cleaned and that wood pallets not be used in areas where Refrigerated or Frozen Ready-To-Eat Foods are processed or exposed.

This HVP recall comes in the wake of a new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Georgetown University that estimates foodborne illness cost the U.S. $152 billion annually.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 76 million foodborne illness cases occur every year in the United States. Salmonella bacteria cause at least 40,000 illnesses a year in the U.S., and an estimated 400 deaths, the CDC reports. E. coli is a potentially lethal group of bacteria that every year sickens more than 70,000 Americans.  And Listeriosis is responsible for 2,500 illnesses and 500 deaths in the United States annually – the leading cause of death among foodborne bacterial pathogens.

About iGPS

iGPS operates the world's first pallet rental service providing shippers and receivers with all-plastic pallets with embedded RFID tags. iGPS' state-of-the-art pallets are 30 percent lighter than wood, which saves on transport costs and helps reduce green house gases. Its pallets are also more hygienic, easier to handle and, because they eliminate protruding nails and splinters, reduce workplace injuries and damaged equipment. Embedded RFID tags enable shippers and receivers to track and trace shipments. And iGPS pallets are 100% recyclable. Launched in March 2006, the company has created nearly 2,000 new green jobs in the U.S. and is led by pallet and supply chain veterans with decades of experience.  iGPS (www.igps.net) is headquartered in Orlando, FL.

SOURCE iGPS Company LLC

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SOURCE iGPS Company LLC
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