Technical Tuesday: The Importance of Using Valid Sampling Plans

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 Technical Tuesday: The Importance of Using Valid Sampling Plans

Dr. Steve L. Taylor to Present Allergen-Focused John H. Silliker Lecture at IAFP 2017

Each year, we at Mérieux NutriSciences get excited about the opportunity to honor our founder, Dr. John H Silliker, through the sponsorship of The John H. Silliker Lecture as part of the annual IAFP program. This year marks the 50th anniversary of when Dr. Silliker, already known for his work on Salmonella, began his own small business dedicated to food safety and quality. That small business has grown to operate nearly 100 laboratories in 21 countries. Dr. Silliker’s leadership established a culture that places consumer health and well-being at the heart of all Mérieux NutriSciences initiatives across the globe. Continue reading Dr. Steve L. Taylor to Present Allergen-Focused John H. Silliker Lecture at IAFP 2017

Technical Tuesdays: What’s So SMART About Food Safety and Quality Objectives?

Over the years, I have heard horror stories about companies that were not improving daily operations, but instead experiencing massive chaos in the day-to-day management of their businesses. Those situations can lead to disaster for companies and, in some cases, even death for consumers. Having an effective food safety and quality management system in place will help reduce the chaos and create a system for continuous improvement. Creating goals is crucial to an effective food safety and quality management system. Does your company utilize food safety or quality objectives? Have you ever heard of SMART objectives? Let us take a journey into creating SMART-er objectives:  Continue reading Technical Tuesdays: What’s So SMART About Food Safety and Quality Objectives?

Technical Tuesdays: Where is Listeria Lurking in The Food Industry?

Those with lengthy careers or students of food microbiology history may recall the original Listeria Hysteria in the 1980s. While Listeria monocytogenes was responsible for an outbreak associated with fluid milk earlier in the decade, the Jalisco Cheese-related outbreak in 1985 was a major eye opener for the food industry. In the ensuing years, multiple dairy products were found to contain Listeria monocytogenes. A few years after that, the Ready-to-Eat (RTE) meat industry was the center of attention relative to reported incidents of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Over the next few years, fruits, vegetables, seafood, deli salads and other products were also found to contain Listeria monocytogenes. Continue reading Technical Tuesdays: Where is Listeria Lurking in The Food Industry?

Technical Tuesdays: Digging Deeper to Find the Root Cause of Food Safety Issues

Food manufacturers who find an issue during an internal food safety audit need to perform a root cause analysis and take corrective actions in order to eliminate the problem. But what if subsequent internal audits reveal the same repeating issue? That is a good indication that the company did not find all of the root causes to place corrective actions against. And for many companies, the issue comes back repeatedly despite corrective actions.  Continue reading Technical Tuesdays: Digging Deeper to Find the Root Cause of Food Safety Issues

Technical Tuesdays: HACCP Program Use in Dairy Operations

Using Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles to manage food safety in the dairy industry is not a new concept. Most dairy manufacturers have already implemented HACCP as a process to manage food safety in addition to regulatory requirements.

Although the FDA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule is not required for Grade A dairies until September 2018, customers and retailers continue to require their suppliers to have an effective and operational HACCP Plan in place that is overseen by a trained individual. Additionally, Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) schemes such as Safe Quality Food Institute (SQF) and British Retail Consortium (BRC) also require HACCP implementation overseen by a trained individual. Finally, global organizations, such as The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), continue to recognize HACCP (Codex HACCP) as a system which identifies, evaluates and controls hazards which are significant for food safety.  Continue reading Technical Tuesdays: HACCP Program Use in Dairy Operations

Technical Tuesdays: Essential Hazard Analysis – Understanding the Microbiological Profile of Ingredients

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 Technical Tuesdays: Essential Hazard Analysis – Understanding the Microbiological Profile of Ingredients

Technical Tuesdays: Analyzing Government Reports on Illness Outbreaks and Recalls

Governmental agencies overseeing the food industry have traditionally had a love/hate relationship with the sector. With the advent of new regulations, this relationship is sure to face its share of future challenges as well. However, government agencies ultimately take responsibility for the public’s health, and they provide support to the industry to keep consumers safe. Some of the tools made available to the public, as well as food safety professionals, identify public health issues related to various etiologic agents.

Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provide daily updates on food recall events, as well as recalls of dietary supplements. Additionally, a compilation of both FDA and USDA events is available to the public. In keeping up with the Joneses, apps and widgets also offer a way the food industry or consumers in general to stay informed. The information available from these sources includes the etiologic agent involved, product type and other important data. Continue reading Technical Tuesdays: Analyzing Government Reports on Illness Outbreaks and Recalls

Technical Tuesdays: Protect It – It’s Going to Animal Food

Years ago, I was in a production facility, and a worker threw some trash into a barrel of product destined for a local pig farmer. The worker thought his actions were acceptable because of the common belief that pigs eat anything.

Over the years, many production facilities have taken products and by-products failing to meet finished product specifications and have sold them to “pig farmers” or other animal food companies. As I witnessed, sometimes employees would throw foreign material into the “pig food” or “animal food” container. Often, this product would be offered for “free” to farmers, as long as they picked it up frequently. Commonly, these containers on the back dock or in a walk-in refrigerator would not be labeled. Workers would throw trash in them because they were not trained about the risk of mixing trash with potential animal feed. Continue reading Technical Tuesdays: Protect It – It’s Going to Animal Food