Yeast and mold get a bad rap, which is understandable in most cases. If yeast and mold appear in foods where they don’t belong, it can be a sign of a problem in the manufacturing process, or it could simply mean that you left your strawberries in the fridge for too long. No matter the case, there are some food and beverage items that we would not have without the aid of yeasts and molds.

These groups of organisms deserve our thanks for providing us with the following three foods: Continue Reading

Microbial identification and organism typing provide the food industry with a way to identify organisms and sub-species of those organisms. Laboratories specializing in this type of testing offer food companies a way to determine which harmful organisms may be present in their production plant ecology, as well as a particular ingredient or product that is out of specification. Additionally, this testing provides a way to confirm the presence of beneficial organisms in a product. Continue Reading

Our expert scientists are at the heart of everything we do at Mérieux NutriSciences, and they work hard every day to uphold our mission to protect consumers’ health. With that in mind, I recently interviewed Dr. Amy Parks, the Research Project Manager for Specialized Services at the Silliker Food Science Center (FSC), to learn about her background and expertise. She told me about her experience in the food industry, her role at Mérieux NutriSciences and why she enjoys working to ensure food safety and quality. Read on to learn more about Dr. Parks: Continue Reading

In addition to routine screening for harmful pathogens, bacterial species identification and further strain differentiation play an important role in food safety and quality investigations. These methods can offer an immediate classification of an existing or new problem in a given facility. Additionally, the resulting data gives manufacturers the ability to track contamination strains and map the bacterial flora present within their facility in order to monitor raw materials, surfaces, finished product and overall sanitation effectiveness. Continue Reading

When consumers purchase chicken from the grocery store, they could be bringing home more than just a drumstick. Campylobacter has crept its way up the charts to become the top bacterial cause of reported foodborne illnesses in the United States. Move over, Salmonella! But how does Campylobacter infiltrate the food supply, and why is it seemingly on the rise? We’ve answered five need-to-know questions about Campylobacter below: Continue Reading

I once jokingly said during a presentation that there were at least 10 ways to sabotage your food pathogen testing program. While no conscientious food safety leader would set out to negatively impact their own program, the high attention to detail and constant organizational discipline required for an effective testing program leave some room for error. If any small step is not well designed and expertly executed, then your entire program may be worthless – or worse – may cost you millions due to a recall or human illnesses. One factor in particular that manufacturers need to focus their attention on is the reliability of their pathogen sampling and compositing (pooling) strategy, as well as the applicability of their pathogen method. Specifically, what test portion should be taken to ensure accurate results, and what method should be used when testing for the presence of pathogens? Continue Reading

In 2016, various high profile recalls and minor scale recalls threatened the public safety of consumers across North America. Although it’s impossible to eliminate human error, and thus recalls entirely, it is paramount to understand the direct economic impact of recalls and related risks. Likewise, there are extensive efforts made by regulatory agencies to support food manufacturers as a supplement to the efforts your company should be making to ensure you remain off the recall lists in 2017. Continue Reading

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