A South San Francisco company that last week inadvertently distributed chicken noodle soup with glass shards in it to long-term care facilities immediately banned jar containers in order to prevent it from happening again.
Bob Dunn, president of FoodService Partners of California, called the incident “inexcusable” and said more strict standards have been implemented in the production room including increased safety tests before, during and after production.
“We all regret this incident and have sincerely expressed a promise to do what we can to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.
According to Dunn, a glass jar had broken in the company’s production room and small pieces had fallen into a 40-gallon soup kettle. The jar was not associated with this batch of soup, he said, but was left over from another food item.
Dunn said an employee noticed the break and immediately discarded the contaminated soup and attempted to clean the kettle.
“But not thoroughly enough,” Dunn said. “The next time the kettle was used, there were still small fragments of glass.”
Dunn said the employee has been suspended for failing to tell a supervisor of the incident immediately.
This is the first time in the company’s 12-year history that harmful materials have been found in food that has been distributed to a customer.
FoodService delivers 2.5 million meals each year to more than 25 hospitals and long-term care facilities in Northern California, Dunn said.
In addition to soup, FoodService has dozens of food productions to choose from.
An estimated 82 people are employed by the South San Francisco company.
The affected soup was served to at least four patients in Kaiser Permanente hospitals.
According to a statement from Kaiser, those patients did not report any adverse affects from eating the soup. Hospital officials said once the glass was found, the soup was immediately removed.
Kaiser officials called the incident “unusual.”
Kaiser is contacting the 1,400 patients who might have been affected to warn them of the occurrence. Dunn said FoodService also notified its customers of the potential hazard.
The California Department of Public Health is investigating the incident.
A glass jar broke and fell into a pot of soup.
4 Patients who found glass in soup
1 40-gallon kettle affected
25 Long-term care facilities or hospitals served
2.5 million Meals served each year
Source: FoodService Partners of California