Daily Archives: July 7, 2008

Serious Public Health Questions About Barbados BICO Milk and Ice Cream

Barbados News Media Fails To Print Credible Letter About Serious Public Health Issue

The editor
The Barbados Advocate
Bridgetown, Barbados
Dear Sir/madam,

On Friday the 27th.June 2008, an item of news was aired at 5.30 pm on the radio, which dealt with the recent recall of milk and ice-cream products manufactured by BICO. The chief executive officer of BICO Mr. Edwin Thirlwell, down played the incident and commented on the fact that, testing of the products was done at one of the polyclinics, whereas, in fact, testing ought to have been done at the government laboratories. The inference given was that, the polyclinics were not validated by the located authorities to do such tests. I want to correct the misconceptions which Thirlwell have been disseminating to the listening public.

First of all, let me disclose an interest, since the environmental officer with responsibility for the area, was trained by me in HACCP at the Barbados Community College and as recent as November 2007, under went an intense training course sponsored by the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization, over a two-week period. I was the course instructor for the training program, which dealt with HACCP and Food Safety Auditing. Included in the program was a section dealing with food recalls. Examples of recalls from the USA were obtained from the Institute of Food Technologists daily news bulletin board for the period July-November 2008 and where appropriate, as far as 2007.

Contrary to what Thirlwell would like the consuming public to believe, a product recall is a serious indictment about the food safety standards of a food processing organization. This is especially so, if as in the case of BICO, the food establishment is HACCP certified. According to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA): food Recalls: Distributor’s Guide. September 14th. 2007 page 2: “Sometimes, for many different reasons, a product may be manufactured and sold which may make some people ill or injure them, or is in violation of food safety legislation. When an unsafe or violative food has left the control of manufacturer…you must recall the product. If you choose not to conduct a recall, the regulatory agencies must order a recall.”

In the case with which we are dealing, testing was done on five appropriately labeled samples of each of the suspected contaminated products at about three different local facilities. Batch numbers, name of product and manufacturer as well as dated manufactured were noted. Positives results were obtained. The products were found to be contaminated with E.coli, Klebsiella spp.and other enteric organisms. In some cases, colonies were to numerous to count (TNC). BICO then voluntary recalled the defective products.

The organisms found are associated with fecal contamination and are indicative of the fact that, standard sanitary operating procedures (SSOPs) either have broken down or are non-existent.

Two samples of products were then sent by BICO to the Diagnostic Laboratory for further testing. These samples were not coded for batch number, date of manufacture and time of manufacture. These samples passed inspection.

The questions the consuming public must ask itself are: when were these samples taken? Were they taken subsequent to the instructions issued by the environmental officer that, equipment used for milk production, should be stripped, cleaned and sanitized before being used for ice cream manufacture? Were the samples taken from the same batches that were sampled by the environmental officers, or were the samples obtained from newly manufactured products? Also, the consuming public must also ask, was the sampling done statistically, according to methods outline by the American Public Association’s Compendium for the microbiological testing of foods?

It would appear that good manufacturing practices (GMP’s) were not in effect. The condemn products are to be dumped.

Sincerely

Robert D. Lucas, PH.D.
Food Biotechnologist
Bridgetown, Barbados
July 1, 2008

Barbados Free Press Comments…

To our knowledge, none of the unethical lapdog Barbados news media printed this very credible letter that calls into question the capabilities and willingness of BICO to maintain healthy standards for the public.

Should BICO wish to communicate their side of the story with our readers, we would be pleased to prominently publish their letter unedited as it is received.

Barbados Free Press

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Filed under Barbados, Ethics, Health, News Media

Fox News Television Deliberately Alters Photos In News Segment

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“Professional” News Media Has A History Of Lies And Manipulation

Once again critics of blogging like Mia Mottley and Ezra Alleyne are reminded that the so-called “professional media” often distorts, lies and manipulates the news to suit corporate, political, religious and individual agendas.

That is reality, folks. Reporters and editors are people like all the rest of us – and sometimes people forget their duty to the truth and to the public. So we end up with media corporations like Reuters News publishing hundreds of faked news photos. We have supposedly-ethical television journalists like Dan Rather who knowingly published forged documents in support of a story even though experts informed Rather that the documents were fakes before his story went to air. Not to mention that both the New York Times and the L.A. Times have been caught publishing fake news stories.

Barbados News Media Can’t Be Trusted Either!

Closer to home in Barbados, we have reporters and editors at The Nation News ignoring important stories like Ronja Juman and how a Barbados Government Minister built a house on land that he expropriated! We have a radio station vowing to never again ask how a Government Minister became a millionaire in a short time on his government salary.

In Barbados we have cowardly news media that still won’t mention the story of how a flyover contractor admitted to paying huge bribes on other government projects. The Barbados news media wouldn’t print the original story for weeks until they were shamed into it by citizen bloggers like BFP and Barbados Underground.

We also have our famous “disappearing Barbados news stories” where the cowardly and corrupt news media simply never mention a major story again and even remove news stories from their archives to make it like it never even happened.

At least with the blogs we now have a chance to hold the news media accountable and to expose their wrong-doing… the same as our readers do with us when they disagree with something we’ve said or find any errors.

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Disgusting Deceit By Fox News Television

The latest proof that the public needs to look at “professional news media” with a questioning mind comes from Fox News Television – who aired a supposedly “fair and balanced” story on two New York Times journalists and altered their photos to lower their images in the eyes of the viewers. Fox News used software like PhotoShop to alter the facial features of the two including yellowing their teeth and making their ears stick out. Noses and foreheads were enlarged and dark circles were placed under their eyes.

Will Fox News admit to the deceit and publish an apology?

Guess again…

There is as much chance of Fox News apologising as there is of the Nation News apologising for covering up the Ronja Juman story or confirming if they hired a plagiarist to be their newest columnist. And don’t expect the Nation News to publish a story questioning what Owen Arthur did with that $75,000 “campaign donation” cheque he corruptly deposited into his personal bank account.

The next time that someone says that blogs aren’t reliable like the “professional” news media is…

Let your friends know that each of us must look with an inquisitive mind at everything that is presented everywhere – but at least on the blogs an individual has a chance to set the record straight and present contrary facts and opinions.

Further reading – click on the photos and various links within our story.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Blogging, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, News Media