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We’ve heard a lot about third-party audits of food producers and processors in recent years – usually in the context of a failure of the third-party audit system.

The Salmonella Braenderup outbreak that has been linked to consumption of mangos, and the massive recall of Daniella brand mangos in the USA and Canada, has thrown the spotlight on the third-party audit system once again.

It’s hard to look at the sticker that is affixed to Daniella mangos without also seeing the logo of PrimusLabs, and the accompanying slogan “when food safety counts.” Consumers can be pardoned for assuming that the presence of the PrimusLabs logo on Daniella’s mangos is analogous to the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”

But nothing can be further from the truth.

In fact, according to Ryan Fothergill, In-House Counsel for PrimusLabs, Daniella was using an outdated PrimusLabs logo, and doing so without permission. PrimusLabs offers a package of services to its clients that the company refers to as its Platinum Program. Daniella had been a participant in the Platinum Program in the past.

Agricola Daniella,” Fothergill said in an email to eFoodAlert, “was not using the logo with our permission, and even if it had been, it is what we would consider a misuse of the logo. I cannot tell you the exact date that they ceased to be a platinum client, but I believe it was sometime in 2005.

Fothergill also provided the following statement, which places the significance of the PrimusLab’s logo into context.

“PrimusLabs has always seen its function as facilitating the exchange of information; expectations from buyers and regulators, and performance of suppliers. There are many nuances or unique expectations among and between suppliers and buyers.

The PrimusLabs’ logo has never been a statement of performance but rather a statement of disclosure. This was connected to PrimusLabs’ DBA change from PrimusLabs to PrimusLabs.com circa 1997. The logo was the address and any buyer was invited to visit the web site to see what activity was observed and reported. For results the buyer needs to approach the supplier and request either an access to the supplier’s secured site or a release for data to be moved to a customized site developed for the buyer. PrimusLabs changed our logo a number of years ago dropping the .com and altering the design. All authorized user where sent camera ready art work for the new logo.

Those firms that are given authorization to use the logo which is simply granted when an operations signs what we refer to as a Platinum agreement agree to allow PrimusLabs to display their activity (e.g. number of audits, micro tests, residue tests, etc.) and they are authorized to use the logo.”

PrimusLabs displays a complete alphabetical list of its current Platinum Program participants on its website. Agricola Daniella is NOT on that list.