2008: the year ofmelamine and dioxin
What lessons can we learn?
The year 2008 witnessed two major food-safety incidents concerning chemical contaminants; melamine inChinese milk products and dioxins in Irish pork. The first incident was a consequence of attempts to conceal fraudulentactivity. The second, represented, to a large degree, failures in good manufacturing practice in a company producinganimal feed. In both cases the contaminants of concern were transferred through the food chain to finished productswhich presented either an actual or potential hazard to the consumer. These incidents give cause for food businesses toreflect on those aspects of their food safety management systems relating to chemically based hazards. This applies inparticular to the quality of their own good manufacturing practices (GMP); the robustness of their Supplier QualityAssurance (SQA) systems to protect against supplier GMP failures and/or potentially fraudulent activities and the adequacyof traceability systems.