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

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

Yeast and mold are organisms of great importance to the food industry. These two species are very different from bacteria, which are more commonly associated with foodborne illness. Hundreds of yeast and mold species have been isolated from foods and due to their ability to grow over a wide spectrum of environmental conditions very few foods are entirely safe from fungal spoilage. Continue Reading

Billions of tons of food are lost in the United States each year to fungal contamination, most notably mold damage. Often working in combination with yeast and bacteria, molds are essential in the production of numerous indigenous fermented foods and are heavily used in industrial processes to produce organic acids and enzymes. At the same time, molds are a leading concern in the food plant environment. Under certain conditions, some molds may produce mycotoxins which are toxic to man and animals. Continue Reading