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.

Tim Freier, Ph.D.

Recent Posts

The Maturity Model for Environmental Monitoring – Making Existing Plans Better

Posted by Tim Freier, Ph.D.

February 28, 2017 at 1:00 PM

maturity_model_blog.jpgBack in 1999, I started contributing as a developer and instructor for the “Advanced Listeria monocytogenes Intervention and Control Workshop,” presented by the American Meat Institute, which is now called the North American Meat Institute (NAMI). During the first few meetings, I took great interest in learning how each of the major US meat and poultry Ready-to-eat (RTE) manufacturers were conducting their Environmental Monitoring Programs (EMPs). A pledge by industry executives to keep food safety a non-competitive issue enabled open sharing, which brought some intense discussions as we worked towards a consensus of what constituted the true best practices for EMPs. This open forum, combined with a close collaborative interaction with the USDA- FSIS, allowed the US RTE meat and poultry industry to make tremendous strides in reducing the risk of L. monocytogenes. 

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Topics: Environmental Monitoring, Preventive Environmental Monitoring, Listeria, Maturity Model

How FDA “Swabathons” Factor Into Environmental Monitoring

Posted by Tim Freier, Ph.D.

February 7, 2017 at 10:00 AM

swabathon_blog copy.jpgRecently, significant changes have been made to how the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducts investigations of food manufacturing facilities. For starters, note that I did not say FDA inspections; they are now investigations. This change in semantics indicates a shift from a superficial “look around” a facility to diving into records and sometimes taking hundreds of environmental pathogen samples. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has prompted many of these changes, and has given the FDA increased power and access to records. The FDA is also now much more likely than in the past to involve the Department of Justice if there is any possibility of criminal intent. Along with this significant new regulatory authority, the industry has seen major leaps forward in microbial strain tracking technology, the most important being Next Generation Sequencing and its use for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS). 

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Topics: Environmental Monitoring, FDA, Preventive Environmental Monitoring, Whole Genome Sequencing, Swabathons


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