Friday, September 16, 2005

Sara Lee's Preemptive Strike

Now, I don't mean to pick on Sara Lee (SL) exclusively for any other reason but that I saw this headline today:

Sara Lee Food & Beverage Issues Precautionary Recall Alert for Select Bagels, Artisan Bread, English Muffins And Pita Bread in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada

The FDA states that Sara Lee is recalling a whole whopper-load of their baked goods "because they may contain metal and plastic."

I have to say, I've never been obliged to recall even one of my batards for fear of foreign flecks. Why? Because I wipe my counters before I knead, I wash my hands, I sift my flour, and most importantly, I do not conduct baking preparation in a cloud of suspended metal and plastic fibers.

Again, I don't mean to pick just on SL. Quantity food prep is a challenging affair. Could it be that some manufacturers become so distraught at their failure to produce, say, virgin-white vanilla ice cream that they give up and just market the stuff as having "real vanilla bean specks?"

While I was on the FDA site I took a look at other Sara Lee recalls. They included products recalled for undeclared egg, undeclared nuts, undeclared FD&C Yellow No. 5, undeclared sifter screen wire, ... Maybe they were just oversights. Still, it doesn't boost my belief that everything I'm eating is reflected on the ingredient list.

To their defense, it looks like SL's move was preemptive. There are no consumer complaints on record yet, and SL probably wants to keep it that way. Long live quality assurance.

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