An integral part of choosing your ingredient suppliers is verifying the safety and quality of the product they’re sending you. Perhaps you work in a quality assurance or food safety role at an FDA-registered facility. Perhaps your facility’s hazard analysis states the ingredient in question is associated with a hazard that requires a supply chain-applied control. Do you know what to do if you’re volunteered to conduct the onsite audit of a potential ingredient supplier? Maybe you’re an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor, but you’ve never actually audited a supplier before. You may be panicking a bit… wondering where to start, yes? Of course you are!

To help with this process, I’ve broken down the seven steps you can take to ensure the successful audit of an ingredient supplier: Continue Reading

An Ever-Expanding List

California’s Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act, known more commonly as Proposition 65, is a law adopted by California voters in 1986. The goal of the new regulation was, to not only protect citizens from potential health hazards in water, but also protect them from exposure to any cancer-causing substances, in general. Since its enactment over three decades ago, the list of chemicals within the legislation has grown to include nearly 1,000 entries. The regulation requires businesses to publish a “clear and reasonable” warning prior to knowingly and intentionally exposing any consumer in California to a listed chemical. On food products, this warning must be placed somewhere on the food label. Keep in mind, Proposition 65 allows for a one-year grace period from the date a chemical is added to the list before a warning is required. Continue Reading

A recall is a potential source of anxiety for any food manufacturer, but, if conducted effectively, recalls can be an invaluable tool for protecting a company’s reputation, brand image and sales. However, a recent government study has identified deficiencies in the food recall processes of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has prompted the agency to propose new policies for improving the oversight, communication and implementation of its recall process.   Continue Reading

The infant formula market is growing rapidly as consumers decide to use powdered formulas as a supplement to, or in place of, breastfeeding. Formula typically serves as an infant’s sole source of nutrition, which poses unique challenges to infant food manufacturers. Because it serves as one of the only foods an infant consumes, it is vital to safeguard and protect infant formula against potential adulteration issues, whether that be physical, chemical or microbiological. Infant formula also contains more nutritional components than traditional foods, so the supply chain tends to be longer and more global than other commodities due to the procurement of many ingredients. 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

Hygienic zoning is a key critical preventive control that often does not get the attention that it deserves. The basic concept of hygienic zoning is to divide a food or feed manufacturing facility into defined areas based on food safety risks. This is commonly used to control microbiological risks but also for other segregation needs, such as allergen control, physical hazards or GMO versus non-GMO. 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

As consumers begin to pay closer attention to their health and wellness, they are also increasing their interest in the source and composition of the food they are eating. This can be seen in the 2008 book, by Michael Pollan, “In Defense of Food,” which offers several suggestions for healthy eating. One of the key rules informs readers, “don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce and your grandmother wouldn’t recognize.” Accordingly, a focus on short, simpler ingredient lists has become a major component of the trend known as clean label. Continue Reading