- ISB Food Group LLC has recalled two flavors each from top-shelf ice cream and gelato brands L.A. Creamery and Nancy’s Fancy, both of which were manufactured by a contractor. The announcements followed recall notices posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's website, Food Safety News reported.
- Dr. Bob’s of Upland LLC produced the recalled frozen dessert products, in addition to products linked to two other recalls earlier this month from McConnell's and AC Creamery Inc.
- All four recall notices contained identical language citing that the FDA found "samples positive for Listeria monocytogenes in the facility of the contract manufacturer, Dr. Bob’s of Upland LLC, and in finished product of an unrelated company’s brand that was manufactured at the Dr. Bob’s facility, leading the contract manufacturer to recall all ice cream products produced this year at its facility."
Manufacturers of all types and sizes run the risk of pathogen contamination and subsequent recalls, so this is no surprise. Startups with little experience in food regulation or food safety policies could be just as susceptible as a major legacy food company like General Mills, which has recently been entangled in a seemingly unending and ever-expanding flour recall.
However, these four recalls do suggest that contract manufacturing comes with both risks and rewards. Contracting manufacturing out to another facility is common, and even more common in certain industries, like canned tuna. This method can save a brand on overhead costs for the facility and labor that goes into manufacturing a finished product, allowing the brand to focus on marketing, branding and other tasks.
But brands also have to accept the reality that even if they adhere to certain food safety guidelines, their contract manufacturer may not. Even if the contract manufacturer does take necessary precautions, contamination can still occur, affecting other brands produced at the facility. Either way, the brand itself has to suffer the blow from the recall, even though the contamination didn't happen at the brand's own facility.
Blue Bell and its cookie dough supplier Aspen Hills are currently in a similar predicament. The two companies have yet to agree on when and where cookie dough ingredients became contaminated with listeria. Both are accusing the other side, so it's unclear whether Blue Bell is facing the same problems it did from its last major recall or whether it is embroiled in the food safety challenges of a third-party that happens to be a key ingredient supplier.