Material Safety Data Sheets : revisited

A few months ago I posted an article on why professionals in the wider food handling/preparation/manufacturing industry, in responsible positions (from QA to MD) needed to ensure that they had a printed validated Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) available for every single product they utilised on their premises which product was formulated/derived from chemical, organic and even natural product origin.

The reason is two fold:

a. any company trading with a product that has the potential to cause harm to another, as innocuous as it could cause a “mild headache” when handled inappropriately, to more scary stuff like it is  highly inflammable and toxic when set alight, to even more scary stuff like it could (possibly/maybe/perhaps/potentially) cause cancer …. needs to be published on a public platform and no better place than that company’s web site

b. as a distributor/agent/franchisee/end user for such products you and/or your company could be held liable where it is proven that the product you are promoting/selling/using is harmful to the health/safety of your personnel and/or clientele – then prepare yourself for a hefty class/corporate action that could bankrupt you unless you protect yourself .. read further …

So, when faced with a ‘wonderful’ product/solution to any or all of your HACCP/safety/public health/sanitising  concerns/issues … be worried, no be very, very worried when the distributor/manufacturer of this marvellous ‘solution’ does not have a valid MSDS (tested independently by a well respected authority and not some in-house document) prominently display on their web site and does not make same available when requested.

The reason for this warning is that we have noted that a company in South Africa distributing an overseas manufactured chemical-based product, in the wider food industry, no longer displays their MSDS on their web site (perhaps because when it was first published it contained a caution that it had the long-term potential to cause cancer, or mutations thereof, which they published and then withdrew).

We will be appealing to the South Africa health authorities to adopt regulations that make it compulsory that companies/individuals distributing and/or manufacturing chemical/organic/natural products for use in the wider food industry (and even wider if need be) be compelled to publish their independently accessed MSDS documents on public platforms, apart from making it obligatory, that same be made available in printed format to their customers.