Foodborne illness outbreaks come from multiple failures, not acts of god

My friend Roy Costa (right, pretty much as shown) writes that he has now been involved in over 60 investigations of foodborne illness as an expert, for both plaintiffs and defendants, and concludes:

• most outbreaks that result in lawsuits have evidence of multiple major sanitation deficiencies;

• most have pest problems as part of the documentation;

• many have serious time and temperature issues; and,

• many have personal hygiene issues.

It seems like to have an outbreak that results in a lawsuit requires a lot of negligence. It is usually not some failure at a CCP, or an invalid HACCP plan due to some error in thinking. It’s gross sanitation issues that put people in this spot more often than not. Those that have at least a semi-scientific program with oversight of any type and are managing basic sanitation adequately seem less likely to get into deep trouble with litigation, and if they do, there is less likely to be a smoking gun.

Totally agree. Multiple failures that make an investigator wonder, why didn’t this happen earlier?