Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), food manufacturers are charged with employing processes that mitigate risks and aid in the delivery of safe and stable products. Manufacturers employ a wide range of thermal processes to inactivate spoilage microorganisms and pathogens that can affect product shelf-life. Verifying the effectiveness of these processes through well-designed and executed validation studies is essential in today’s regulatory environment.  Continue Reading

One of the centerpieces of The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) focuses on preventative sanitation control, requiring manufacturers to implement a food safety plan to control hazards that can potentially introduce microorganisms into the finished product. Due to the heightened emphasis on prevention, an effective environmental monitoring system (EMS) provides manufacturers with critical data and information on the microbiological condition of their plants. When these systems are not correctly implemented and maintained, plants are at a greater risk of encountering safety issues that can result in increased liability exposure. Continue Reading

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxin metabolites produced by numerous molds. There are over 300 mycotoxins that occur in food and feed, 20 of which occur at levels that pose safety concerns. Consequently, hundreds of countries have regulations regarding the levels of mycotoxins in food and feed. Aflatoxins, a class of mycotoxins, are of greatest concern due to their prevalence. Continue Reading

Yeast and mold are organisms of great importance to the food industry. These two species are very different from bacteria, which are more commonly associated with foodborne illness. Hundreds of yeast and mold species have been isolated from foods and due to their ability to grow over a wide spectrum of environmental conditions very few foods are entirely safe from fungal spoilage. Continue Reading

No matter how sophisticated a manufacturing and quality system may be, problems or failures occur. Crisis management programs are an essential element for organizations today.

Core Team
Ideally, crisis management teams ideally at plant operations should include a senior company executive, possibly the president, and representatives from each group involved in the manufacture, distribution, sales, marketing and public relations aspects of the business. Information on how each individual may be contacted at any hour should be available. This access is important as crises do not observe regular hours. People must be available to make decisions and take prompt action. Continue Reading

Microbial cross-contamination – the transfer of harmful bacteria to food products – remains a leading cause of foodborne illness and disease. To minimize the spread of microorganisms and protect the safety of finished products, processors are advised to adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), educate plant workers on the dangers of cross-contamination and implore how their activities can contribute to or prevent its occurrence. Continue Reading

Due to its presence in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and prevalence in Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) schemes, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control (HACCP) programs are very much vogue these days in the food industry.

Under FSMA’s preventive controls rule for human food, facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold human are charged with implementing a written food safety plan focused on controlling hazards. In nearly every GFSI certification scheme, including Safe Quality Food (SQF) and BRC, companies seeking accreditation to a particular Code are required to have validated and verified HACCP plans. Continue Reading

Doing your homework is essential in choosing the “right” contract laboratory. In many ways, the lab you choose speaks volumes about your commitment to the safety and quality of your products. The failure to select an organization that can consistently deliver reliable results and services can have a negative rippling effect throughout your supply chain and undermine your safety and quality initiatives.

The following checklist provides some “food for thought” as you deliver over this all important decision. Continue Reading