Food safety requirements start young, even before a child starts eating solid food. Infant formula serves as a partial or complete substitute for breast milk and as a sole source of all nutrients for an infant. Because it comprises much or all of an infant’s diet, the contamination of powdered infant formula with a foodborne pathogen poses an extreme risk to the health of a child, as their immune systems are still developing. One bacterium often found to be the culprit in cases of contamination in powdered infant formula is Cronobacter sakazakii (Cronobacter). Continue Reading

Would you be prepared if the FDA showed up at your facility unexpectedly to perform a swabathon? The FDA is conducting these elevated inspections by swabbing ready-to-eat (RTE) and high-risk food manufacturing facilities in search of foodborne pathogens. To help prepare manufacturers for these swabathons, our subject matter expert, Tim Freier, Ph.D., sat down to answer some questions posed by food industry professionals following our recent swabathon webinar, which is available to stream on-demand for free. Continue Reading

Clients often ask me, “If I am certified to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), will I be ready for the FDA to inspect my operation for compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventive Controls Rule?” In the past, I have told many clients with certifications such as the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Code and British Retail Consortium (BRC) Standard, that because they went through the steps to become certified, they are well positioned to ensure compliance with the FSMA law requirements. However, there are similarities and differences between the two that must be taken into account. For companies that fall under the FDA regulatory jurisdiction and must become compliant with the FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule or the Animal Food Rule, taking the journey to become GFSI certified will help them meet the FSMA requirements. It will also change the working culture throughout the organization to prepare for FSMA implementation. Continue Reading

The Food Safety Modernization Act has introduced many new food safety requirements to the food industry. In particular, FSMA places a focus on performing a hazard analysis and using preventive measures in food manufacturing. The requirement to develop and implement supplier preventive controls for raw materials and ingredients to address hazards has renewed interest in methods for sampling and testing raw materials. In order for sampling and testing to be used to address pathogen concerns identified in the hazard analysis of raw materials, a valid sampling plan must be in place. Continue Reading

Recently,  multiple foodborne outbreaks caused by shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) have been epidemiologically linked to the consumption of wheat flour. This has been a hot topic of discussion with many of our flour milling clients as well as manufacturers and retailers who use flour as an ingredient or sell flour to consumers. Many in the food industry are wondering if they should be changing their hazard analyses, environmental monitoring programs, ingredient testing or finished product testing. Continue Reading

All natural. Gluten free. Low in fat. Organic. Peanut free. The number of claims available for use to describe a food seems endless, so how does a manufacturer or producer know which words they can and cannot use? Taking one quick trip down the grocery aisle bombards a consumer with confusing label call-outs, outrageous marketing promises and countless newly innovative products.

The food and beverage market is a multi-million dollar industry that just keeps growing, providing consumers with access to trendy or niche foods they have never heard of before. The fast-paced world of food research and new product introductions may even leave some consumers questioning how true some of these claims are on new products with their fancy marketing call-outs and implied promises of renewed health and energy. Continue Reading

As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) moves forward with Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) implementation, food companies are beginning to realize the need for effective environmental monitoring procedures to minimize microbial cross-contamination and allergen cross-contact. In developing the Preventive Controls Rule for Human Food, the FDA revised the antiquated Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) once contained in 21 CFR Part 110 and now published in 21 CFR Part 117. In doing so, the FDA has been very specific in addressing environmental contamination in the revised GMPs and in the new Preventive Control regulations.  Continue Reading