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Dr. Matilda Freund

Q&A on Food Safety

With Dr. Matilda Freund, Kraft Foods, Inc.

SN: More food recalls have been in the news in recent years. Does Kraft subscribe to the FMI Product Recall Portal? If so, has it been helpful? If not, does Kraft plan to subscribe? Briefly outline Kraft's recall procedures.

Freund: Kraft Foods subscribes to the FMI Product Recall Portal. In fact, we are part of a joint GMA/FMI initiative that is working on the portal.

When Kraft Foods detects a potential issue with any of our products, we immediately assemble a cross-functional team to begin gathering all of the facts. This includes identifying whether or not any product has left our control, if there are potential health or food safety risks and the source of the issue. As part of this, we have programs and systems in place to identify and trace all products and ingredients. If we determine that there is any potential for a Kraft Foods product to pose a healthy or food safety risk, we promptly notify FDA or USDA and implement a recall.

SN: What procedures does Kraft have in place to trace a food-borne illness to the source of the problem?

Freund: Kraft Foods maintains a centralized, computer based system that can trace finished product by SKU and code date from the plant to the distribution center. This process includes identification of materials, process conditions and the customers to whom the lot was distributed. To facilitate the traceability process back to ingredient suppliers, incoming materials are identified with a lot number. The lot number is clearly identified on the shipping container and recorded on manufacturing records of products in which the material is used. Kraft Foods suppliers are required to maintain a system to rapidly trace what ingredients they used and where they subsequently shipped their ingredients.

In addition, periodic mock recalls are conducted at least annually by production locations to validate the effectiveness of the traceability process.

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