What is a Swabathon?: Understanding the FDA Investigations

The top priority for most food manufacturers is protecting the food consumers eat. Yet, one of the major causes of product recalls in the food industry is product contamination in the processing environment by pathogens such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. These pathogens take up residence within the structure of food plants and within the processing equipment itself. Once it makes a home there, it can contaminate the food products it comes into contact with as they make their way through the production process. Continue reading What is a Swabathon?: Understanding the FDA Investigations

Channel Your Inner Jerry Maguire and “Show Me the Money”

Last month, our blog, “How Much for That Doggie in the Window?” helped you determine whether your company should implement an automated environmental monitoring solution. So now you’ve decided that your company should move forward with an automated solution. Great! But how do you convince your internal stakeholders to get on board? Doing so many seem tricky because an automated program will bring various benefits to stakeholders at different levels of the organization. Instead of focusing on individual functions, the answer lies in highlighting the specific return on investment (ROI) that your company will gain from using an automated EMP solution. Continue reading Channel Your Inner Jerry Maguire and “Show Me the Money”

How Much for That Doggie in the Window?

Over that past few months, our team has presented hundreds of product demonstrations of our digital solution, EnviroMap. In all of these demos, two common themes arose. First, EnviroMap provides the solution that the user needs to automate their environmental monitoring program (EMP). And second, often the person we’re talking to needs help to convince management to approve the project. How can Mérieux NutriSciences assist with that step?  Continue reading How Much for That Doggie in the Window?

Technical Tuesday: 5 Steps to Establish an Effective Environmental Monitoring Program

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 Technical Tuesday: 5 Steps to Establish an Effective Environmental Monitoring Program

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?

To Compliance and Beyond: Finding Intangibles Through Environmental Monitoring

Sales of our new software, EnviroMap, have continued to grow over the last few years, and this growth has allowed me the opportunity to visit a number of our customers’ plants. I have visited plants that produce pet food, peanut butter, jelly, fresh vegetables, poultry and many more. These visits have given me the opportunity to speak directly with our EnviroMap users. I have seen firsthand how their sampling plans are improving over time and how they are using data that has been produced by EnviroMap to respond to contamination. Overall, I found it gratifying to see how the implementation and use of EnviroMap not only improves the operations by cutting cost, but also greatly enhances the overall productivity of the environmental programs. Corporate Quality teams were reporting how game-changing it was to be able to monitor, change and react to local environmental issues, whether at that particular plant or off-site. All of these factors make me proud of the significant contribution to food safety that EnviroMap is making. Continue reading To Compliance and Beyond: Finding Intangibles Through Environmental Monitoring

#ScrapTheWaste in Your Environmental Monitoring Program

We are constantly challenged to do more with less: trim the fat, reduce costs, eliminate the scrap, etc. Simply look at your environmental monitoring program; the amount of time and money organizations spend clinging to manual, paper-based systems may surprise you.

The process at 30,000 feet doesn’t seem very complicated: sample your sites/locations, send the samples to the lab, receive the results, and report the findings. No problem, right?

It’s not until we examine the individual steps of the process that we discover the waste. Continue reading #ScrapTheWaste in Your Environmental Monitoring Program

Technical Tuesday: Using Whole Genome Sequencing to Better Decode Listeria Outbreaks

The practice of whole genome sequencing (WGS) has received a great deal of attention in the food industry and among industry trade associations in recent years. Whole genome sequencing is a process that uses laboratory methods to determine or map the complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genome. Each microorganism has a unique genetic fingerprint that can be identified and traced using WGS. Continue reading Technical Tuesday: Using Whole Genome Sequencing to Better Decode Listeria Outbreaks

The Maturity Model for Environmental Monitoring – Making Existing Plans Better

Back 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.  Continue reading The Maturity Model for Environmental Monitoring – Making Existing Plans Better