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

Food plays a large role in our daily lives, but choosing the right foods to fit our individual lifestyles is not always easy. For example, someone may need to eat more calories if they’re training for a triathlon or incorporate more vegetables and whole grains into their meals if they’re trying to increase their fiber intake. Other times, consumers may simply be trying to choose a nutritionally-sound option for a meal on-the-go.

The theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month is “Go Further with Food,” which places an emphasis on selecting the right foods to meet individual needs. For restaurants and food manufacturers, this month serves as a reminder to track your progress in complying with upcoming labeling regulations and examine opportunities to develop new products to meet consumer needs. The Food Drug Administration (FDA) is making it easier for consumers to find transparent nutrition information on the foods they eat with menu labeling and nutrition labeling regulations coming into compliance soon. Continue Reading

As most of you have heard, the Food Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed an extension to the compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts Label regulations announced in 2016. The proposed new deadlines will be January 1, 2020 for food manufacturers with $10 million or greater in annual food sales and January 1, 2021 for food manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales. Although the deadline has been pushed, many food manufacturers and retailers have already switched to the new nutrition label. If you are having trouble getting started, here is Mérieux NutriSciences easy guide with the 6 steps you should take to implement the new nutrition label. Continue Reading

The beginning of the year brings a time to evaluate the previous year and set resolutions for the next twelve months. As you examine the internal processes at your facility, consider the environmental monitoring data that you put so much time and money into generating. How can you extract greater value from that data to improve your food safety program? Let’s resolve to go beyond reviewing “new” CoAs, updating a spreadsheet of “hot spots” and filing that information away where it’s unlikely to be reviewed again. Continue Reading

With the new Nutrition Labeling Regulation deadline quickly approaching, the addition of one small line is creating a lot of buzz – added sugars. When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the changes to the Nutrition Facts Label in 2016, they included a requirement for the label to display added sugars, both in grams per serving and the percent Daily Value (%DV). Manufacturers have since been working to update their product specifications with added sugar values, companies are working to calculate the amount of added sugar in their products and consequently, consumers are beginning to see these values appear on the labels of the foods they eat. Although this new information is meant to help inform, both food manufacturers and consumers alike are unclear as to what counts as an added sugar and how much of it should be consumed. 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

This year, the Chicago Section IFT Symposium and Suppliers’ Night focused entirely on the hot topic of Clean Labels. During one popular session, a moderator asked a panel of consumers several questions regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) undefined term, “clean label,” and marketing claims surrounding the term such as natural, which has also not been defined by the FDA. Research from Mintel was presented demonstrating how claims like, “no additives,” “no preservatives” or “non-GMO,” are becoming more commonplace. Below are four key takeaways our experts found most valuable from Chicago IFT 2017. Continue Reading