Internal Docs Reveal that “Beyond Meat” Products at PA Plant Test Positive for Listeria  - The Jewish Voice
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Internal Docs Reveal that “Beyond Meat” Products at PA Plant Test Positive for Listeria 

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Internal Docs Reveal that “Beyond Meat” Products at PA Plant Test Positive for Listeria 

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A former employee of the Beyond Meat company revealed in leaked documents that one of the company’s key factories was reportedly riddled with mold, bacteria and other health-related concerns, the New York Post recently reported.

On Monday, Bloomberg reported that a leaked internal document revealed Beyond Meat products manufactured at the plant had tested positive for the harmful bacteria Listeria at least 11 times in the second half of 2021 and the first half of this year, according to the Post report.

The document was reportedly provided by a former employee who was worried about conditions in the plant, which is located within an hour of Philadelphia. The Post reported that two other ex-employees confirmed that bacteria had been found at the facility.

The outlet also obtained internal documents stating that various contaminants, including string, metal, wood and plastic, had been found in Beyond Meat products produced at the plant as recently as last December, the Post reported.

Bloomberg reported that published photos from inside the facility that were provided by a former employee showed “what appear to be spills, unsafe use of equipment, and mold on walls and ingredient containers,” according to the report.

Mold can be seen growing on some containers in the Beyond Meat plant, the Post reported. One picture shows a wheeled cart that was placed upside-down inside a large mixer.

After viewing some of  the photos, Bill Marler, a food-safety attorney told Bloomberg that, “mold growth takes a while — that underscores a lack of cleanliness.“If neat and tidy is 1 and filthy is 10, I’d put this at an 8.”

The Post reported that one food safety expert, William Madden of Whole Brain Consulting, told Bloomberg that placing a trolley that had moved around the factory floor into a mixer was essentially “begging for contamination.”

Bloomberg reported that Inspections by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in March and September “found no instances of nonconformance with regulations,” and the company’s food-safety protocols “go above and beyond industry and regulatory standards,” a spokesperson for Beyond Meat said.  The company didn’t comment on its internal documents or specific details about the conditions in its plant, such as the apparent presence of mold and references to safety violations, according to the Bloomberg report.

A spokeswoman for Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture said that a September 21st visit to the facility, which was referenced by the company in its response to questions from Bloomberg, wasn’t a complete plant inspection. Rather, it was regarding the plant’s unpaid registration — a required, annual $35 fee that had been outstanding for almost a year. The fee has now been paid, Bloomberg reported.

The US Food and Drug Administration hasn’t inspected the plant since Beyond Meat purchased it, an FDA spokesperson told Bloomberg. An internal spreadsheet that spans August 2020 through June 2021 shows dozens of instances of product being slated for destruction because of cross contamination, expiration dates being passed and quality issues such as plastic being found in them. Bloomberg reported that other products were tagged for destruction because they were the wrong color or weight.

Martin Bucknavage, a food-safety expert at Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Food Science, said it “would be highly unusual” to have the level of Listeria reported in the internal document, according to the Bloomberg reported. “Although we’re seeing snapshots, there’s enough there that we’re seeing a lot of cleanup that needs to get done,” Bucknavage said after viewing photos from inside the plant and the list tracking Listeria tests.

The Post indicated that the report is the latest headache for Beyond Meat, shares of which have declined nearly 80% since January as demand for plant-based meats cools.

Sales of refrigerated meat alternatives sold at retail plunged 11.9% for the 52 weeks ending on Oct. 9, according to data from IRI Worldwide.

In October, Beyond Meat revealed it would lay off about 200 employees, or roughly 20% of its global workforce, as part of cost-cutting measures. The firm also slashed its revenue guidance.


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