Tapping the Admiral

Posted by Kelly J. Cassutt on Dec 16, 2015 11:24:00 AM

Horatio_ImageFollowing the Battle of Trafalgar, Horatio Nelson’s body was preserved in a Brandy cask for transport to England, according to Wikipedia. The yarn continues that when the cask was opened only the pickled body remained; all brandy was siphoned off by the crew!

Earlier this year, at the 2015 Feed & Pet Food Joint Conference, an anecdote was shared regarding the FDA discovering aflatoxin in released product. Employees had dutifully performed the proper detection assay for aflatoxin and recorded the lack of detection of same. The test method requires 100% ethanol, the stock of which was kept onsite.

This stock ethanol was discovered to be somewhat less than 100%, being diluted with water. Someone was “Tapping the Admiral.”

This story highlights the importance of two key concepts:

  1. In any preventative control strategy such as HACCP, step 5 requires the verification and monitoring of hazards in any given process. Having a clear & resolute picture of your process and potential risk is pivotal in ensuring an effective & manageable control plan.  No stone can be left unturned.
  2. An effective way to quantitate these risks is the Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) which takes into account the severity, frequency and likelihood of any given risk.  In this case the severity of the risk was high creating the Aflatoxin in the release product.

To learn more about FMEA, HACCP, and the importance of tests behind Certificates of Analysis click here to download a presentation that provides an overview of these concepts and applications in Food Safety.


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Topics: FMEA