Ex-Menu Foods Worker Describes Rushed Quality Control

Here are the highlights from an employee who claims to have worked in the Menu Foods Kansas plant. (qc stands for quality control) It was found in the Menu Foods Class Action Group on Yahoo! (Emphasis ours)

It wasn’t that, if you might be conjuring up pictures of Steven King’s Night Shift, the plant was filthy that bothered me or that I saw anything wrong with the production, although some of the meat products looked pretty green around the edges.

It had more to do with some shifts in the lead over qc in the pouch department. Our lead took another job in the plant and when they finally gave us a new lead we were qc’ing about 100 pallets of food per shift, not nearly enough time to do a thorough job. There were 108 to 136 boxes of 24 pouches on one pallet. The plant ran 24 7’s.

But if I had been thinking a bit more clearly at the time, recalling a large batch of food that was pulled that had dark flecks in it and later distributed, I don’t know why I would think that the plant would be profoundly concerned with qc. Except for the fact that Menu owned the Walmart account and it was highly coveted. Iams, Eukanuba, Mighty Dog, Special Kitty, were all regularly ran. (We did very little Science Diet, no Alpo.) The fleck situation happened, I might add, because a gravy employee put the wrong additive into the food and it reacted with another additive, or so I was told.

Again, no smoking gun, but it paints a picture of an industry that is more about marketing than better products, and a company that was rushing things through quality control. Despite what the CEO of the company may say, clearly, quality was not at the top of the list.

Full post after the jump. (Thanks to Howl911)

I was a temporary employee for Menu Foods in Emporia Kansas for
about 8 months. One of the, well the only “benefit” provided us
temps, was that we were allowed to take home one slat of pet food
per week. This was never pouches, it was damaged or mislabeled can
food. After several months of feeding this food to my cat, who had
always been extremely healthy, she got terribly sick in a short
period of time and died. I don’t have any proof of what she died of
because I didn’t take her to the vet because there was no reason for
her to become ill and I thought perhaps she was just under the
weather. — She had always been an indoor cat. I don’t know her
age but she was well into her adult years when I got her and I had
had her about six years and I might add, through some terribly
difficult years. We were very close.

I joked with my car pool at the time that it was probably the food
that killed her, but truthfully, I had concerns about the plant
conditions. Also, for those that don’t understand “manufacturing,”
all the brands that you are talking about are made by Menu. Menu, I
recall, had 5 or 6 plants, mostly in the Mid-North and the main one,
or head office, in Canada. As far as I am aware, none of which made
dry pet food. At the plant I worked in the main difference between
products was in additives to the gravy. But Menu had spent a great
deal of money putting in equipment to manufacture pouches in the
last 3 years. They believed that can food would eventually phase
out and they wanted to be on top of the game. The pouches had more
variance in product because dried vegatables were added into the
mixture. The meat products in all these foods was the same. But
even though the can food was ground meat in many cases, all food had
additives that were added according to recipes that were not even
allowed to be discussed by employees or shared with anyone outside
the plant. Even temps signed contracts to such at the beginning of
their employee. My concerns at the time were not so much about the
additives. I had heard about gluten not being good for cats, but I
didn’t think about the gluten in the gravy, although I had worked in
vegatables which was close to the gravy area and knew that there
were sacks of gluten added in the gravy. It wasn’t that, if you
might be conjuring up pictures of Steven King’s Night Shift, the
plant was filthy that bothered me or that I saw anything wrong with
the production, although some of the meat products looked pretty
green around the edges. It had more to do with some shifts in the
lead over qc in the pouch department. Our lead took another job in
the plant and when they finally gave us a new lead we were qc’ing
about 100 pallets of food per shift, not nearly enough time to do a
thorough job. There were 108 to 136 boxes of 24 pouches on one
pallet. The plant ran 24 7’s. But if I had been thinking a bit
more clearly at the time, recalling a large batch of food that was
pulled that had dark flecks in it and later distributed, I don’t
know why I would think that the plant would be profoundly concerned
with qc. Except for the fact that Menu owned the Walmart account
and it was highly coveted. Iams, Eukanuba, Mighty Dog, Special
Kitty, were all regularly ran. (We did very little Science Diet, no
Alpo.) The fleck situation happened, I might add, because a gravy
employee put the wrong additive into the food and it reacted with
another additive, or so I was told.

I left their employee in June of last year. I might add that they
failed their last inspection. I heard rumours about a theplon
coated container being too close to the production line was the
problem, but you know, it’s all so hush, hush. I assumed that the
corrected the situation.

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