The beginning of the year brings a time to evaluate the previous year and set resolutions for the next twelve months. As you examine the internal processes at your facility, consider the environmental monitoring data that you put so much time and money into generating. How can you extract greater value from that data to improve your food safety program? Let’s resolve to go beyond reviewing “new” CoAs, updating a spreadsheet of “hot spots” and filing that information away where it’s unlikely to be reviewed again. Continue Reading

Are you experiencing shelf-life issues or increased numbers of Listeria findings in a Ready-to-Eat foods environment? If so, you may want to take a deep dive into your equipment.

Largely, as a consequence of Listeria control efforts, most of us have at least a basic knowledge of hygienic equipment design. In truth, though, we often find inadequacies in the design of the equipment in our facilities, which are magnified with age and/or inadequate maintenance. Couple this with the widespread use of high-pressure water hoses and their ability to drive product residue, microorganisms and water deep inside equipment, and you have all the components needed to create a microbial growth niche. Continue Reading

During my time working in the food industry, I’ve noticed that HACCP system verification and validation activities are rarely given the attention they deserve. Facilities typically meet the minimum regulatory requirements and do little beyond that. How does your company stack up? Have you implemented a variety of periodic verification activities to supplement routine verification measures in your facility? If not, it may be time to give HACCP verification and validation another look. Continue Reading

Since 2009, FSIS-inspected product recalls for undeclared allergens have accounted for more than one in five recalls. In 2014, for example, allergens accounted for nearly half (46.7%) of all FSIS recalls. While the importance of properly labeling major food allergens has grown in recent years, it’s clear that the meat and poultry industry still has work to do. Continue Reading

Required under both the FDA and USDA-FSIS regulations, the Hazard Analysis is arguably the most important component of any food manufacturer’s food safety system. Unless identification of CCPs or Preventive Controls is based on a scientifically sound, properly-supported hazard analysis, hazards may not be adequately controlled. Since microbial hazards often represent the greatest potential food safety risk for food products, it’s critical to understand the microbiological profile of ingredients. This requires both general knowledge of hazards applicable to a particular ingredient and specific information on the ingredients sourced from your suppliers. Continue Reading