David Mackay doesn’t look like Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall fame.
But Kellogg’s CEO Mackay did an outstanding impersonation of McDonald’s, “How the hell should I know” skit (below) in front of a U.S. Congressional committee today.
“When you look at Kellogg, we have 3,000 ingredients and 1,000 suppliers, I think it’s common industry practice to use a third party.”
Not common enough for Nestle North America, which rejected Peanut Corporation of America’s Blakely plant as a supplier in 2002 after it found the plant had no plans to address hazards like salmonella.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that in January 2006, Nestle also rejected the company’s Plainview, Texas, plant after finding dozens of dead mice rotting in and around the plant, dead pigeons near a peanut receiving door and live birds roosting inside the plant.
Congressional types also heard today that auditors AIB — also known as the American Institute of Baking based in Manhattan (sigh, Kansas) — were hired and paid by Peanut Corp. of America, notified the company in advance when they were coming, how to prepare for inspections and then gave its plants glowing reviews.
An inspector with AIB wrote to the manager of Peanut Corp.’s Blakely, Ga., in a December 2008 e-mail produced today by the committee that, “You lucky guy. I am your AIB auditor. So we need to get your plant set up for any audit.”
Mackay told the committee a version of, “how the hell could we know?” and that AIB is the most commonly used inspector by food companies in America.
Not for long. And for a company to say it meets industry standards ain’t so great when 700 are sick and nine dead.
PhD student Ben is cursing me. I know he’s just finished watching Top Chef. So did I. So he had to endure smug stock-fixer Martha Stewart, who is constantly touching her hair when cooking. And the pretentiousness of food porn that is Top Chef.
But give credit when deserved. Two weeks ago some of the chefs served lamb and used a food thermometer – they just didn’t say anything about proper temp or whether the thermometer helped decide whether the lamb was done.
But this week, a refrigerator door was left open overnight and a bunch of pork and duck was sent to the trashbin after hours at room temp.
Said one aspiring top cheffie:
“I cannot serve meat that is not at a safe temperature. I could kill or make very sick everybody in the room.”
Oh, and 15 years before Top Chef showed up, Toronto comedy fabs, Kids in the Hall, were skewering the fascination with all things food porn.