Over the past decade, the food testing industry has adopted new methods and strategies to reduce turn-around-time and the total duration of testing methods. In addition to the tests themselves, many other factors must be considered when referencing total turn-around-time and the amount of time spent by your staff in filling out and submitting laboratory testing forms.

For a majority of laboratories, turn-around-time begins when the sample is received to start testing. Turn-around-time can be reduced logistically by the use of expedited shipping services and couriers, but the laboratory itself must manage processing the samples in a timely fashion once they hit the laboratory door. Continue Reading

For more than four years, food industry stakeholders have been eagerly awaiting publication of the final versions of the “seven foundational rules” mandated by FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the two final rules requiring facilities to identify potential hazards and implement controls for human food and animal food.

In the simplest terms, the final rule for human food requires firms to identify significant food safety risks, implement controls to mitigate the risks, monitor and verify the effectiveness of the processes, manage supply chain risks, and document activities. Continue Reading

An upward trend in U.S food recalls during the past decade and a recent spike in recalls due to hidden allergens underscore the importance of global food supply chain management and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).

The complex global food supply chain, involving the sourcing of multiple ingredients from numerous suppliers, is often linked to a higher risk of recalls due to microbial or chemical hazards. To combat the upward trend in recalls and improve the safety of imports, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to implement several key regulations of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) this year to bolster preventive controls and supplier verification. Continue Reading

Detection methods for foodborne pathogens and spoilage organisms have come a long way from traditional cultural methods. Advances in technology have led the evolution into rapid detection methods, whether they are antibody-based or nucleic acid-based (i.e., DNA or RNA). These rapid detection methods have been widely adopted by the food industry. However, with so many assays, kits, and methods available, it can be daunting to know where to start when choosing a rapid detection method that fits all your needs and requirements.  While there are many factors to consider, here are five to keep in mind: Continue Reading

Mérieux NutriSciences renamed its North American flagship laboratory in Crete, IL, the Dr. John H. Silliker Solution Center in honor of the late founder of Silliker Laboratories. The special rededication was held on the opening day of 2015 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo. Mérieux NutriSciences acquired Silliker Laboratories in 1997. Dr. Silliker, 92, died in March of this year following a lifetime of distinguished service to food science. Continue Reading

“In school, we’re rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question.” – Richard Saul Wurman

We have all done it. At some point in our careers as food industry professionals, we have set up a sensory test only to find that the information we gathered was not the answer to the question we intended to ask. So what went wrong?

Somewhere along the way, we strayed from our project objective and did not hold fast to the statistical principles that would provide robust, actionable data. Let’s review the steps in test design that will ensure a fulfilled project objective. Continue Reading

We have all heard that “4 out of 5 dentists prefer….”—-you can fill in the blank.  But did they really only ask 5 dentists?  Were they young?  Old?  Do they live on the east coast?  West coast?  Who are these dentists anyway?

Choosing appropriate demographics in market research and sensory evaluations is paramount when designing a sensory study. If we are asking questions of the wrong people, we might as well have not come to work that day. Putting time and thought into proper panelist recruiting and screening ensures usable, actionable data will prevail. Continue Reading

Late in 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of cumin samples for undeclared allergens. Adventitious presence of allergens is common, and the agency has conducted frequent recalls in this category. The number of allergen-related recalls that year was 34%, surpassing recalls of products caused by microbiological issues (30%).[1]

This small-scale recall soon snowballed into a widespread series of allergy-related recalls since the 2006 passage of the U.S. Food Allergen Labelling and Consumer Protection Act. A single Pennsylvania company recalled more than 35,000 pounds of its chili products; another company recalled more than 500 of its spice products from shelves nationwide. [2] Continue Reading