Back in early February, Kitchen by Brad Smoliak issued a voluntary recall of our Bacon Jam product after learning that certain batches may permit the growth of the bacteria that can cause botulism. This was a situation I took very seriously.
Since that time, I have been focused on managing the recall, working closely with CFIA, ensuring all product was returned or discarded, investigating what went wrong and determining how I can prevent this from happening again.
First, I must start by saying the support and encouragement I have received from customers, retail partners, family, food & chef friends has been overwhelming. The words, “thank you”, just don’t seem like enough. But from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
Next, I wanted to share with you what I have learned and what I am thinking about as I look to the future:
- The batches of Bacon Jam that were recalled were made in a licensed third-party manufacturing facility. Upon investigation, I learned the facility lacked the appropriate controls. In the future, any product I produce will only be manufactured in a federally inspected facility, such as Alberta Agriculture’s Food Processing Development Centre in Leduc, or in my own commercial kitchen here at KITCHEN. It is in these facilities that I can ensure the proper controls and processes are in place to keep my products safe for you.
- My retail partners: Save-On-Foods, ACME Meat Market, Italian Centre Shop, Cavern and Sandy View Farms, were outstanding. They removed my product from their shelves immediately after I contacted them, all while being incredibly supportive and understanding. Getting Bacon Jam into stores was the first time I dipped my toe into the retail market. I have learned a great deal about the opportunities, and the tremendous challenges, that come with getting into retail.
- I have a new appreciation for the value of transparent and timely communication – with customers and retailers. Every business, no matter how small, should prepare for the worst before it happens. And when something does go wrong, no matter how minor it might first seem, you must make every effort to share information quickly and clearly.
- As I am sure you can appreciate, a product recall carries significant financial costs. From retailer and customer refunds, to thrown out product for which I won’t recover costs, to the expense of a new production run – all of this can set any good business and entrepreneur on their heels.
Because of these costs, I am currently uncertain about whether or not Bacon Jam will be available for sale in the near future. Perhaps I need a little more time to let wounds heal and the dust settle. But I can promise you this. As soon as I decide if Bacon Jam and my other products will continue to be sold at KITCHEN and elsewhere, you will be the first to know.
Thank you for standing by me during a very difficult time. I am fortunate to have customers, partners and friends like you.