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Related Document
  • The PCA Situation


  • AIB GMP Inspection Program and Our Commitment to Continuous Improvement


  • Strengthening the FDA and the Nation’s Food Safety System


  • Setting the Record Straight

  • Statement from AIB on Peanut Corporation of America and Related Matters

    Third-party audit programs play a critical role in securing a safe food supply by helping companies implement and continually evaluate good manufacturing practices, risk management and quality system programs in their facilities.

    This belief, which until recently was widely accepted, has been challenged as never before in the wake of the tragedy surrounding Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), in which salmonella-tainted products have been linked to nine deaths and hundreds of cases of salmonella illness, prompting the largest food products recall in U.S. history. All of us involved in bringing food safely to consumers are troubled and saddened by this tragic situation.

    Starting in early February, much of the coverage of this matter in media across the country has included inaccurate and incomplete information. In the midst of all of this, AIB International has been harshly criticized as representing the shortcomings of third-party food safety audit programs as a result of our having audited PCA’s Blakely, Ga., facility using our GMP inspection in March 2008. As an outcome of this coverage, our reputation for quality of audit services has been tarnished, and the confidence of many of our customers shaken. At the same time, we have been gratified by the support we have received from those who know us well, and respect and understand the value of the food safety audit and the training and education services we have provided for the past 60 years.

    Another outcome of the situation involving PCA has been the call for aggressive reform of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the creation of an extensive regulatory overlay that could result in diminishing, or even replacing, the use of third-party programs. On March 19, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on the salmonella outbreak and the role of industry in protecting the nation’s food supply. During this hearing, AIB’s audit at PCA’s Blakely facility was referenced and generally mischaracterized.

    AIB has a responsibility to its customers and employees not to dwell on the negative aspects of the events of the past couple of months, but to take measure and move forward in a positive and constructive manner. Doing so requires us to correct the misconceptions that have arisen by clearly outlining our food safety audit services as well as the sequence of events at PCA. We will do so through communications that allow our customers and other stakeholders easy access to the information. We will frame these communications around the three following topics:

    • The PCA Situation: While we are deeply disturbed by the apparent lack of ethics displayed by PCA, we stand behind the audits we conducted at their facilities.
    • AIB GMP Inspection and Our Commitment to Continuous Improvement: AIB International is committed to the continuous improvement of all of its programs and services. We have recently introduced significant changes to the Consolidated Standards for our GMP inspection, which are the result of a comprehensive review and update that began in 2007.
    • Strengthening the FDA and the Nation’s Food Safety System: AIB strongly supports in principle the introduction of legislation and regulation that will strengthen the FDA and that will effectively leverage the indispensable third-party food safety audit work conducted not only by AIB but also by other audit firms in the United States and around the world.
    Any Questions?
    If you wish to discuss any of the items covered in these communications or if you have questions regarding recent events and AIB’s audit services, please email us at the following address bernst@aibonline.org. Your email should include your name, company or affiliation, and the topic to be covered. An AIB manager will respond to you by phone or email.

    AIB International
    April 2, 2009


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