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

A new draft guidance, “Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-To-Eat Foods: Guidance for Industry” was published by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on January 13, 2017. Comments for this guidance were due July 26 and many trade associations and food manufacturers have submitted remarks. This draft guidance offers some excellent background information about Listeria control – more than simply using an environmental monitoring program (EMP). It also includes detailed coverage of many of the prerequisite programs (Good Manufacturing Practices) that are integral for Listeria control. In addition, it provides a comprehensive compilation of industry best practices and includes information about the validation of listeriostatic or listeriocidal formulations and processes. Continue Reading

 

I recently attended the annual meeting for the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) in Tampa, Florida. I always enjoy attending the food safety sessions, as well as seeing old friends from across the food industry. My presence at numerous IAFP meetings over the years has afforded me the chance to seek out new EnviroMap customers, but it has also given me the opportunity to speak with many legacy customers.

EnviroMap was developed several years ago, so our time at IAFP helps us move the product forward and provides insight on its real-world application. We have customers who use it for finished products as well as environmental testing. Some feel that the best feature of EnviroMap is reporting, while others claim it is the control/visibility over their local environmental program as well as their enterprise environmental management. I’m also fairly certain the local plant folks would all agree it has made their lives easier and freed up time to devote to other tasks.  Continue Reading

Many companies have Environmental Monitoring Programs (EMPs) setup to monitor the processing (and surrounding) environments for transient pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella. However, it is important to realize that growth niches are likely to occur from these transient guests. If your EMP does not include a “seek and destroy mission,” an event section, (i.e. increasing swab surveillance with roof leaks, construction, etc) or is simply not robust enough, then routine monitoring may be insufficient protection against an FDA swabathon. Additionally, if your site selection is fixed, new sites aren’t being rotated in, a low number of swabs are being taken, you have an infrequent swabbing schedule and corrective actions are not being implemented, the same result will surely occur.
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In May, the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) voted Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF) as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). The PMO sets forth standards and requirements to regulate dairy plants producing Grade “A” products. This includes milk, fluid cream products, sour cream, yogurt, manufactured products, such as cottage cheese and dry ingredients. Continue Reading

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

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

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