For more details of the following, please contact Dr Dinsdale.

Contamination of canned fruit and fruit juices in Africa

Large quantities of canned fruit and fruit juices produced in Africa were being stopped at the port of entry of a number of countries because of an unusual diesel-like taint. Extensive investigations revealed that the production line had been altered which resulted in small quantities of oil leaking from a gearbox ending up in the products. Had the correct oil been used, there would have been no problem, but sensitive chemical analysis pinpointed an unauthorised gearbox oil had been used which resulted in chemical changes occurring in the products during canning and the gradual development of the taint.

‘Chemical’ taint in foods in Nigeria

Expatriate workers in Nigeria complained that a range of foods had an unpleasant taint which not only spoiled the taste of the food but also caused concerns about health. Investigations built on those already carried out locally identified the source and nature of the contamination and demonstrated, by way of a risk assessment, there was no danger to human health. Measures were also recommended which would minimise any further risk of taint.

Malicious contamination of bottled water in Norway

A small number of bottles of mineral water were refilled with white spirit and placed back onto the shelf in supermarket stores, and the manufacturers decided on a full recall of product. A group of specialists was brought together to carry out an extensive investigation into the way the recall was handled. It concluded that the full recall was only one of several ways of dealing with the threat, and that the risk to human health was much less than claimed.

Poor temperature control in a cooked meat plant in the United States

Complaints about inadequately cooked meat products resulted in a loss of customers and triggered a complex insurance claim. An investigation showed that there was a serious lack of control during the manual cooking process, that record keeping was incomplete, and that this resulted in some product entering the market place only partially cooked. The investigation helped to form the basis of an agreed settlement.