Peanuts. Of all the things that might lead to a massive shift in the way food products are inspected in the United States, I wouldn’t have bet that peanuts would be the culprit. But of course, it wasn’t just peanuts that were recalled in the Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella recall, which was part of the problem. It was peanut butter, crackers, brownies, ice cream, chicken with peanut sauce and even more.

Between the size of the recall and all the products that were affected, to say nothing of the illnesses and deaths that have been attributed to the outbreak, you have a perfect setting to talk about a complete overhaul of the way food is inspected in this country. Will we see a Department of Food Safety, or will the USDA or FDA take on the other’s roles?

When I spoke with Scott Downing, president of the Southeastern Meat Association, he asked me if I knew of any other industry that has government inspectors in the plant every day. I couldn’t think of any. Maybe it’s time that the rest of the food industry catch up to the meat processors and deal with daily inspections.

Change is here
Starting with this issue, we’ll be delivering the magazine in a slightly different way, while keeping the editorial content unchanged. For those companies who have been receiving this magazine along with our sister publication, The National Provisioner, you’ll be receiving both magazines in one bagged package. We’re doing this to save a little on postage; just like you may be doing in your company, we’re trying to find ways to keep costs under control where possible. For those of you who receive just this magazine, you won’t be seeing any changes in how the magazine is delivered.

The other change, which is tied into the new delivery method, is that the magazine has been renamed Independent Processor. Believe me, if you think dealing with FSIS regulations is tough, try sorting out the U.S. Postal Service rules some time.

Speaking of changes, we’ve also improved the look and feel of our Web site, Check it out for daily news analysis, industry podcasts, webinars and videos, and issue archives. We also have the form for the Top 100 report, which will be in the May issue. Go to to fill out the online form, or send me the form found on page 33 of this magazine.
Thanks as always for reading. I hope you all have a great 2009 ahead of you.

Sam Gazdziak