Food Safety & Quality Blog
Mérieux NutriSciences is dedicated to helping companies worldwide find practical solutions to today's food safety and quality challenges throughout the supply chain.

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

Posted by Jeff Strout

April 11, 2017 at 1:00 PM

root_cause_blog.jpgFood 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. 

Recurring issues exist because food manufacturers often stop the process of root cause analysis after finding only one root cause. Root causes in food production facilities are much like a weed growing up through the crack in a sidewalk. The part of the weed visible above the sidewalk can be referred to as the “symptom.” Someone may use a Weed Wacker to remove the visible portion, but detaching this does not remove the roots below the surface. So, over time the weed grows back through the sidewalk because the roots were not eliminated. The same holds true for problems found in a food production facility. For example, say an internal audit finds forklift damage to a wall in a facility. The damage you can physically see in the wall would be known as the symptom, but the root cause lies in what caused the damage to the wall in first place. If the company repairs the damaged wall and thinks the problem is solved without addressing the root cause, then the wall will likely be damaged again and again. 

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Topics: Food Safety, Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Preventive Controls, Food Production, Facilities, Food Manufacturing, Root Cause, Root Cause Analysis

Technical Tuesdays: The Role of Sanitation in the Preventive Controls Rule For Human Food

Posted by Jeff Lucas

March 28, 2017 at 10:00 AM

sanitation_blog.jpgFor over 20 years, the food industry has been steadfast in our view of the role of sanitation in classical Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs. Our experience with meat and poultry HACCP by way of the International HACCP Alliance and what came later with Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) HACCP requirements solidified the supportive role of sanitation as a food safety prerequisite program. We have managed sanitation as a separate prerequisite program, and then used these programs to eliminate the need for sanitation critical control points. However, compliance with the Preventive Controls Rule for Human Food (PCHF) as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act requires a different approach in how we manage sanitation procedures that directly addresses a food safety hazard identified in the hazard analysis.  

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Topics: Food Safety, HACCP, FSMA, Preventive Controls, FSMA Compliance, Hazard Analysis, Sanitation

Regulatory Round-Up: New Canadian Food Safety Regulations Target International Harmonization

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

February 9, 2017 at 10:00 AM

sfca_blog.jpgBelieve it or not, it's been nearly five years since Canada approved its comprehensive food safety legislation known as the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA). The legislation was developed to streamline Canada’s food safety regulations, improve regulatory oversight, and increase international regulatory alignment with its key trading partners, particularly the United States. To implement the legislation, Canada recently published the proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. 

Foodborne illness affects an estimated four million Canadians annually, resulting in 238 deaths and nearly 12,000 hospitalizations. Since 2011, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has reported 84 recalls related to fresh fruits and vegetables, and more than 1,500 food product recalls attributed to non-federally registered establishments not covered by the existing commodity-based regulations. Health Canada has suggested the increasing incidents of food safety issues have been attributed to expanding consumer preferences for minimally processed foods (e.g. bagged salads) as well as new production and distribution systems.

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Topics: Food Safety, Regulations, Canada, CFIA, Preventive Controls, Safe Food for Canadians Act, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, SFCA

Regulatory Round-Up: Strategies for Controlling Listeria in Ready-To-Eat Foods

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

January 26, 2017 at 10:00 AM

rte regulatory blog.jpgIf you are subject to the final rule, Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF rule), then you should be aware of FDA’s new recommendations for controlling Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods. Manufacturers, processors, packers and holders of RTE foods will benefit from an understanding of the strategies and recommendations described within the new draft guidance. 

Released this month, the draft guidance sheds light on the agency’s thinking regarding effective strategies for controlling L. monocytogenes in RTE foods, including identifying the risks associated with raw materials and ingredients, listericidal process control, environmental monitoring, product testing, and the analysis of verification data trends.

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Topics: FDA Regulation Updates, FDA, Pathogens, Preventive Controls, Listeria, Ready-to-Eat Foods, CGMPs, Hazard Analysis

The Hidden Cost of Product Recalls

Posted by Seth Keller

January 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM

hidden_cost_recalls_blog.jpegIn 2016, various high profile recalls and minor scale recalls threatened the public safety of consumers across North America. Although it’s impossible to eliminate human error, and thus recalls entirely, it is paramount to understand the direct economic impact of recalls and related risks. Likewise, there are extensive efforts made by regulatory agencies to support food manufacturers as a supplement to the efforts your company should be making to ensure you remain off the recall lists in 2017.

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Topics: Food Safety, Environmental Monitoring, Recalls, FDA, Preventive Controls, Product Recalls

FSMA Roadmap: 5 Steps to Preventive Control Compliance

Posted by Jeff Lucas

December 14, 2016 at 10:00 AM

fsma_blog.jpgAre you trying to determine where to start on your journey to Preventive Controls Compliance? Well, you are not alone. It seems every day uncovers a new, little nuance that does not fit in a neat FSMA box. Start on the path to Preventive Controls compliance with our five steps below: 

1. Focus on what we already know. Many rules have yet to be implemented, and the guidelines are not available. So, focus on finding a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) training program. Attending a PCQI training program will jump start your efforts toward Preventive Controls compliance. After training, assemble your team to review the process flow chart, your raw material(s) and an ingredient hazard analysis. If a flow chart or hazard analysis has not been developed, this should be your first step. It is important to note that the preventive control rule does not require a flow chart, but it is almost impossible to perform a hazard analysis without one. 

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Topics: Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), FSMA, Preventive Controls, FSMA Compliance


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