One of the largest food recalls in U.S. history had direct—and devastating—impact on the snack and bakery industry. In 2009, peanut butter ingredients infected with Salmonella Typhimurium from the Peanut Corp. of America caused the recall of over 3,600 food products, causing reported illness in over 700 people. Many more affected people likely fell ill due to the outbreak, with countless cases going unreported.

Nine people are thought to have died as a direct result of the PCA Salmonella outbreak. And the economic impact has been estimated at $1 billion.

One month after the recall began, PCA declared bankruptcy. PCA’s CEO was eventually sentenced to 28 years in prison for knowingly permitting distribution of the tainted ingredients. This marked the first time a corporate executive was convicted of federal felony charges related to food poisoning.

While the PCA case is extreme—with documented neglect and willful wrongdoing—it’s far from unique. Food recalls are a constant fixture in the U.S., with undeclared allergens the leading cause of recalls today—and baked goods are often a top offender. Meanwhile, food allergies are on the rise. This is a powder keg just waiting for a match. (For a deeper look, see our Food Safety Report in this issue.)

Safety has risen to the fore of the food industry’s consciousness. Since 2015, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery has served as the exclusive media sponsor of the Sanitary Design Workshop, an annual event supported by every major association across snack and bakery. The workshop—led by experts in the field—brings best practices for sanitary design of equipment, sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOPs), avoiding cross-contamination of allergens and much more to emerging snack and bakery operations leaders.

Now we’re upping our game by introducing new feature articles—running in every regular issue of Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery starting this January—covering top issues like sanitary facility design, hygienic design of equipment, environmental control, water management, facility maintenance, regular sanitation procedures and more. We’re seeking to bring you the latest information on top sanitation equipment, tools, materials and technology, along with best practices, to help usher in a new, safer era of food … food that people can trust—and an environment that lets snack and bakery businesses thrive.