Food Safety & Quality Blog
Mérieux NutriSciences is dedicated to helping companies worldwide find practical solutions to today's food safety and quality challenges throughout the supply chain.

3 Food Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Posted by Katie Schott

December 7, 2016 at 1:00 PM

holiday_blog2.jpegThe holidays bring a month full of family, friends, gifts and food. While you're making wonderful memories this year, remember that food safety plays a critical role in the holiday fun. Keep your loved ones healthy by implementing safe food handling at your celebration. Reduce the occurrence of inadvertent foodborne illness with these three easy-to-follow food safety tips:

1. Use a Meat Thermometer

Whether you prefer turkey or ham for your holiday dinner, make sure any meat you serve is cooked to the proper internal temperature. Timing the meat while it cooks, or looking at it to determine if it's ready to eat isn’t going to cut it, Aunt Rosie! 

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Topics: Food Safety, Holiday, Cooking, Holiday Meals, Kitchen Safety

Is the Color of Your Spice up to Snuff?

Posted by Nick Price

December 5, 2016 at 10:00 AM

spices_blog.jpgThough it probably takes a back seat to taste, color is an important factor when consuming food. Society has assigned what we consider the “ideal color” for various food items. For example, consider the produce section in the grocery store, where you may find yourself attracted to particular items with the most desirable color. Those colors are desirable because you equate them to a fresher, more ripe, or higher quality product. You grab the bright yellow bananas and leave the green ones behind (unless you’re willing to wait for the green ones to ripen at home).

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Topics: spices, spice products, Turmeric, Color Method, ASTA, ASTA Methods

New to the Nutrition Label: What Are Added Sugars?

Posted by Katie Schott

November 30, 2016 at 10:00 AM

added_sugar_blog.jpgHow sweet is it? Beginning July 26, 2018, the true nature of your products’ sugar content will be on display with the new mandatory Added Sugars line on the Nutrition Facts Label. But how do you know what is considered an added sugar? To answer that question, we need to delve into the new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nutrition labeling requirements.

On July 26, 2016, the FDA released new nutrition labeling regulations, which includes an overhaul of the required Nutrition Facts Label. The new regulations go into effect in July 2018 for large food manufacturers, and July 2019 for food manufacturers with less that $10 million in annual food sales. One of the most notable differences on the new label is the Added Sugars line. This new addition will be located directly beneath the Total Sugars line, which will replace the Sugars line on the old label.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, FDA, Nutrition Facts Label, Added Sugars

Regulatory Round-Up: New FSMA Guidance Tackles Hazard Disclosure, VQIP

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

November 28, 2016 at 10:00 AM

regulatory_blog.jpegImplementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations will continue despite the outcome of the recent presidential election and suggestions to reduce federal oversight of the food industry. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently published two guidance documents to support industry compliance with upcoming FSMA regulations, including the controversial FSMA requirement for disclosing hazards, and the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP). 

Written disclosure statements for identifying hazards are mandated by four of the seven foundational FSMA rules, including the rules for preventive controls for human food, preventive controls for animal food, produce safety, and foreign supplier verification program (FSVP). 

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Topics: Food Safety, Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), FDA Regulation Updates, FDA, FSMA, Foreign Suppliers, Foreign Suppliers Verification Program, Voluntary Qualified Importer Program

A Beginner's Guide to GMOs

Posted by Katie Schott

November 16, 2016 at 1:00 PM

gmo_blog_photo.jpegGenetically Modified Organism (GMO) claims are being spotted more frequently on food labels as the debate over the health of GMO ingredients heats up. Many food manufactures are trying to get ahead of the regulations by either disclosing the use of GMOs in their products or getting products certified as “Non-GMO.”

Many consumers don’t realize how long GMO foods have been on the market. The first commercially available GMO food made available on the market was a tomato in the 1990s! The rise of GMO foods brought a parallel demand for disclosure on food labels.

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Topics: Food Testing, Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, Label Claims, NonGMO

Regulatory Round-Up: Industry Seeks Harmonization of Nutrition Compliance Dates

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

November 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Industry Seeks Harmonization of FDA Nutrition Mandates 

regulatory_roundup_2.jpegResponding to food industry requests to harmonize the compliance dates of upcoming food labeling and nutrition initiatives, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently clarified that the compliance dates are already coordinated to take effect in summer 2018. 

Industry groups contend, however, that it will be difficult for manufacturers to comply with the revised nutrition labeling rules since the agency has not yet provided key pieces of the regulatory puzzle. 

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Topics: Food Safety, Nutritional Labeling, FDA Regulation Updates, FDA, Nutrition

How to Implement Menu Labeling Maintenance

Posted by Sophie Plummer

November 9, 2016 at 10:00 AM

menu_labeling_blog_3.jpgTake a deep breath. It’s May 5, 2017 and your menu labels are compliant with FDA menu labeling laws. You’re done!

But wait, suddenly you get that feeling - you know, that feeling that you’ve forgotten something...

Menu Maintenance!

Restaurant menu labeling is an ongoing process. After you initially post your nutrition information online and calories on the menu board, your work is not finished. But, we have good news! Menu maintenance doesn’t need to be a painful process for restaurants or food service establishments. To make menu maintenance easier, create a system that includes continuous monitoring and updating of your menu.

Mérieux NutriSciences recommends the following two steps to maintain your restaurant menu labeling program:

1. Develop a sustainable plan

Restaurants and food service establishments need someone accountable for menu labeling maintenance. Appoint one of your team members to this position. This individual will create a process for menu labeling moving forward, and keep up with changing label regulations.

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Topics: Restaurant Menu Labeling, Menu Labeling, Nutrition, Lab Analysis, Database Calculation

5 Steps to Finding Your Restaurant Menu Labeling Experts

Posted by Sophie Plummer

November 2, 2016 at 1:30 PM

shutterstock_231815896 [Converted].pngFeeling overwhelmed by new federal menu labeling laws? You’re not alone. Finding a 3rd party partner to work with for compliance can be stressful, but choosing the right partner will allow you to spend your time running your business while still meeting regulation deadlines.

When looking for a team of experts to utilize for your required FDA menu labeling updates, consider these five key attributes:

1. Experience

When choosing a menu labeling partner, evaluate whether they understand the restaurant menu labeling process, know the ABC’s of ever changing regulations and demonstrate an apt knowledge of the needed database software.

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Topics: Restaurant Menu Labeling, Menu Labeling, Nutrition, Lab Analysis, Database Calculation

Regulatory Round-Up: New Criteria for "Healthy" Foods

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

October 31, 2016 at 10:00 AM

FDA Revising Criteria for “Healthy” Food

regulatory_round_up_blog.jpegReflecting the latest scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final guidance in late September to stipulate the approved use of the labeling claim “healthy” on packaged foods and to request industry comments regarding the use of the term. Industry comments should inform FDA’s efforts to redefine the term “healthy” in order to align with the new final rules for updating the Nutrition Facts Panel and serving size information for packaged foods.

The final guidance advised food manufacturers of the agency’s intent to exercise enforcement discretion regarding use of the implied nutrient content claim “healthy” relative to the latest recommendations. The guidance highlights acceptable uses for the labeling term relative to low fat, and beneficial nutrients such as potassium and vitamin D.

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Topics: Food Safety, Nutritional Labeling, FDA Regulation Updates, FDA, Nutrition, Health Claims

Preventive Environmental Monitoring for Pet Food Facilities

Posted by Stephanie A. Wilkins

October 26, 2016 at 1:00 PM

shutterstock_177594395.jpgA picture taken in the early 1980s shows me at age 3 eating dog treats out of my grandparents’ food pantry. I think back on that picture and recognize how things have changed in the last 30+ years when it comes to Food Safety, most recently for the Pet Food Industry. Environmental Monitoring or Product Testing Programs rarely existed back then, and the few that did exist lacked planning. If I had gotten sick from consuming contaminated pet food, my parents or doctors would never have assumed eating dog food/treats caused it.

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Topics: Environmental Monitoring, Pet Food, EnviroMap, Pathogens, Preventive Environmental Monitoring

Help! A Guide to Upcoming Menu Label Regulations

Posted by Sophie Plummer

October 24, 2016 at 1:30 PM

shutterstock_193166291.jpgWith Halloween around the corner, don’t let the rapidly approaching deadline for menu labeling regulations scare you. You may not want to think about next May, but you must! Especially if you are in the restaurant or food service industries.

Beginning May 5th, 2017, all restaurants and food service providers with 20 or more establishments under the same name or that serve the same type of food are required to list calories on menus and menu boards. You may not think this is a big deal, but in addition to printed menus, consider the number of restaurants that offer online menus on their website, apps, and 3rd party websites such as GrubHub or Yelp. This project is a bit of a doozy!

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Topics: Restaurant Menu Labeling, Menu Labeling, Nutrition, Lab Analysis, Database Calculation

Are You Up-To-Date on Glyphosate?

Posted by Katie Schott

October 19, 2016 at 1:30 PM

shutterstock_378322951_copy.jpgIn case you haven’t noticed, consumer demand for transparency in food production has been the at the center of the news in the past few months. Most recently, you may have been hearing a lot about the herbicide glyphosate due to its presence in a number of oat and honey products.

According to the National Pesticide Information Center, glyphosate has been in use since 1974 and is now one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. It kills weeds by destroying proteins essential to their growth. 

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Topics: GMOs, Natural, Glyphosate, Herbicide, Label Claims, Oats

Regulatory Round-Up: Implementation of FSMA Produce Safety and Foreign Suppliers Verification Programs

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

October 17, 2016 at 10:00 AM

States Preparing to Implement Produce Safety Rule

fruit_and_vegetable.jpgA partnership between federal and state regulators is vital for the successful implementation of the produce safety programs mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). On September 9, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that 42 states will receive $21.8 million over a five-year period to facilitate the implementation of the produce safety rules. The participation of state regulators in the implementation of state produce safety programs is dependent upon federal funds, according to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). State and federal agencies will begin to coordinate efforts soon as certain produce safety requirements will take effect in January 2018 for large farms.

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Topics: Food Safety, FDA Regulation Updates, FDA, Produce, Foreign Suppliers, Foreign Suppliers Verification Program, Produce Safety

Digesting the New FDA Dietary Fiber Definition

Posted by Nick Price

October 12, 2016 at 10:00 AM

fiber_blog_photo.jpgDietary fiber has received a significant amount of attention recently as part of a series of updates made to nutrition facts labels rolled out by FDA earlier this spring. The agency’s new definition of dietary fiber is “non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with 3 or more monomeric units), and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants,” and “isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with 3 or more monomeric units) determined by FDA to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.” The key here being ‘beneficial fiber’ as defined by FDA.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, FDA Regulation Updates, Dietary Fiber, FDA

Analytical Association Recognizes Mérieux NutriSciences Scientist

Posted by Pam Coleman

October 10, 2016 at 1:30 PM

meat_analysis.jpgBack in 1984, as a very young scientist, I attended my first meeting of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC), now AOAC INTERNATIONAL. Established over a century ago, the association is dedicated to ensuring analytical methods address the needs of stakeholders in several industries, including the food industry.

Through its work, AOAC helps companies state the nutritional value of products with added confidence while minimizing health risks associated with microbiological and chemical contaminants. AOAC INTERNATIONAL conducts Expert Review Panels, publishes Official Methods of Analysis, and sets standards for analytical performance for methods. Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), AOAC is now addressing a broader scope of complex food safety issues than back in 1984. As a leader in the food safety industry, Mérieux NutriSciences scientists have been heavily involved in the association over the past three decades.

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Topics: Food Safety, Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Research, Food Science, Method Validations, AOAC

Regulatory Round-Up: Proposition 65 and Infant Formula Health Claims

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

October 3, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Proposition 65 Update – Aspartame, Vinyl Acetate, Nitrite 

regulatory_compliance-3.jpgAn upcoming meeting of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) will consider the carcinogenic risks of several food, pesticide and packaging chemicals, including aspartame. OEHHA, the agency responsible for maintaining the state’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer, recently released hazard identification materials for several chemicals to facilitate public consultation. Under Proposition 65, products containing a listed chemical in excess of the regulatory threshold must display a warning label indicating the presence of a known carcinogen or toxin.

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Topics: Food Safety, FDA Regulation Updates, FDA, Infant Formula, Proposition 65, Health Claims

Preventing Listeria and Other Pathogens in Food Production

Posted by Paige Krzysko

September 26, 2016 at 2:00 PM

dreamstime_m_79316.jpgIn preventing foodborne illnesses, several different factors play a pivotal role in safeguarding final products. Several recent recalls associated with Listeria monocytogenes are prompting food manufacturers to ensure their food safety management plans address all possible sources of in-plant contamination.

Listeria can be life-threatening to individuals with weakened immune systems, pregnant women or older adults. Dairy, prepared foods, produce and seafood were the matrices most commonly contaminated with Listeria over the past five years, according to data from the latest FDA Reportable Food Registry (RFR) report.

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Topics: Food Safety, Environmental Monitoring, Microbiology,, Food Testing, Pathogens

4 Nutrition Must-Reads This Fall

Posted by Pam Coleman

September 14, 2016 at 10:00 AM

shutterstock_355492397.jpgOver the summer, Biofortis nutrition science experts authored four articles detailing how specific ingredients and foods impact health. Cranberries, corn starch fiber and partially hydrogenated oils were featured prominently in our contributions to industry publications over the past few months as part of a larger examination of how food affects health.

Beyond the primary foods featured in these studies, the methods used to study them also offer useful insight. These studies use three different tools: meta-analysis, randomized clinical trials and evidence mapping.

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Topics: Research Methods, Evidence Mapping, Research, Randomized Clinical Trials, Reading List, Food Science, Meta Analysis, Nutrition Research

Nutrition & Menu Labeling: Understanding Database Calculation vs Analytical Testing

Posted by Camilla Sugiarta

September 1, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Regulations, Regulations
calories_in_breakfast_200px.jpegWith food and beverage labeling regulations being passed down by FDA, many retailers, manufacturers and restaurants have to rethink their labeling strategy to comply with these new rules. Some of these new and updated regulations include nutrition facts labeling regulations and menu labeling regulations. In order to comply with these requirements, nutritional analysis may need to be performed. These nutritional results could be used for nutrition facts labels for US and Canadian food and beverage packaging, or calorie and nutrition information for menu labeling. Manufacturers, retailers and restaurants alike must factor in how they will update their nutrition and menu labels when planning their compliance strategies.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, Restaurant Menu Labeling, Menu Labeling, Nutrition, Analytical Testing, Database Calculation

The New GMO Law: 4 Takeaways for Food Manufacturers

Posted by Seth Keller

August 26, 2016 at 10:45 AM

female_scientist_look_at_plant_sample.jpgA majority of consumers find the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) debate complex and confusing, especially with regulations varying from country to country. With the growing push to eat more “all natural” and “organic” foods comes increased concerns about products that are manufactured with genetically modified ingredients, irregardless of concrete evidence that GMOs are either good or bad for human health.

After months of debate in Congress, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law requiring the labeling of food containing genetically modified ingredients on July 29th. To make more sense of the new law, below is a brief list of the main takeaways from the legislation:

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Topics: Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs


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