USDA Investigating Claim Sysco Kept Meat in Sheds
And yes, the claim is they were unrefrigerated sheds
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2013 6:03 AM CDT
Larry Pulliam, Sysco Corporation   (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

(Newser) – In July, an NBC Bay Area investigation discovered that Sysco, the world's largest food distributor, was storing raw meat, dairy, and produce in unrefrigerated sheds in the US and Canada. Now the same station reports the USDA is investigating. A local meat trade association reportedly complained to the USDA after seeing the initial NBC report (which said its cameras spotted food left in sheds for up to five hours before heading out for delivery, with outside temps hitting 81 degrees), prompting the federal investigation. The state had already gotten involved: In July, California health inspectors found 21 sheds used by Sysco in the state. Canadian investigators found 15 more in Ontario last month.

Sources told NBC the food stored in the sheds was part of orders that were too small, and therefore not profitable enough, to merit a refrigerated truck from start to finish. Food safety experts have sounded the alarm for years about the lack of enforcement over what happens to food between the farm and the consumer. "When food enters a transportation arena, it basically becomes invisible. Nobody knows where it is. Nobody knows what conditions it’s being shipped under," says one such expert, who adds that there's currently no federal certification for proper food handling by food distributors. Sysco says it is cooperating with the investigations, and has stopped using sheds to store food.

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Showing 3 of 13 comments
SusanBAnthony
Oct 23, 2013 9:53 AM CDT
I think Wendy's serves mostly fresh food cooked to order.
HMD-SMD-ITY
Oct 7, 2013 9:08 PM CDT
Having been in the facility management field for more than 30 years, I can tell you how it works with Sysco, US Foods, Ben E. Keith, Sodexho, Mariott, etc. First of all, economy of size if the key. Manufacturing also helps a lot. Buying in quantities of millions is the key. Next, these companies have divisions of service such as institution and restaurant. Want to know how many top tier restaurants buy 90 percent cooked NY steaks from these companies? Highly guarded secret. Why is a steak at an old timey, single unit home type steakhouse so good when you go to a top tier restaurant and pay three times the amount and its not as good? Well, your top tier chain owned restaurant takes your order and then uses a box knife to open up the vacuum sealed package. You have a 90 percent fire cooked steak that you just toss on the smoker or grill and you get a fairly good tasting steak to the table. You cover it in some moist mushrooms or au juice and its all good. Better to get a steak that was never frozen and never cooked and totally cooked on an open fire before it reaches your table. How about the institution division. Well, that's my division. You can't afford to hire cooks or your Food Workers Union negotiations a no-cooking policy for your district. Your SYSCO rep will hook you up with RTS food. The only cooking utensil your kitchen staff need are box knives, which Sysco will give you by the 100-pack. Need to feed 300 kids? Easy, that's an established formula. Go to the cooler and remove 1 case boil in bag eggs, 3 cases of frozen ready biscuits, 2 cases of ready cooked bacon,3 cases of boxed assorted fruit juices (random juices from China, Chile, Guatemala, Argentina, S. Africa, Mali), case of sporks, case of plates, napkins, butter, and honey/HFCS blend. Boil the eggs, cut open, place in steam table. Dump ready cooked bacon right into steam table. Heat biscuits in oven, convection oven, or (preferred) a proofer. Exert minimum effort in all processes. Feed your group.
TomFlores
Oct 7, 2013 12:41 AM CDT
It seems to me there was a video post about Golden Corral storing meat outside by a dumpster a few months ago too. Sorry can not buy this something is a little screwy Sysco has a lot at stake as they do supply a lot of restaurants as well as other institutions They may send out a loaded semi but the truck may have more than one stop too.