Several of FSMA’s major rules are now in effect, but that doesn’t mean all food makers are clear on what is expected of them. There are thousands of pages of regulations for the law, which can be confusing and daunting, not to mention the rules present food companies with a plethora of new challenges. Here, Hilary Thesmar, Ph.D., RD, CFS, VP of food safety programs at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), answers my questions on what food makers need to know to comply with FSMA’s requirements and offers guidance on how they can achieve it.
Contract food testing laboratories have experienced a 9.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past five years, reaching $3.4B in 2013. One food contract testing laboratory was experiencing this rapid growth in pathogen testing volume first hand. It began exploring alternative testing options that could enable sustained growth while minimizing additional expenses associated with hiring additional staff, increased overtime, & facility expansion. This case study explores how the contract testing laboratory was able to grow its pathogen testing business within an existing footprint, with no additional resources, and provide a higher quality results to its clients.
Bigelow Tea has been making specialty teas for over seventy years. The company grows, blends, and packages hundreds of varieties of tea for distribution across the nation. Today, the company boasts the only U.S.-based industrial tea plantation, as well as three packaging sites that employ hundreds of workers. Because of the company’s size, it needed a consistent training program across all its location. This case study examines how interactive classroom training, course customization, and multilingual content helped Bigelow Tea create a companywide, consistent training program.
Bonduelle’s 500 vegetable varieties are processed at 58 facilities by over 10,000 workers. Safety is top of mind for the company, and with so many facilities and employees, creating a companywide culture of food safety is essential. This case study shows how Bonduelle used front-line workforce training, verification training, and automated recordkeeping and reporting to achieve its desired food safety goals.
Kisko Products, founded in 1977, is a family-owned business as well as the largest manufacturer of freeze pops in Canada. Its modern, 115,000 square-foot facility produces a variety of freezable kids treats under the Kisko and other recognized brands. The company focuses on high-quality products and needed a way to ensure safe and productive operations to maintain customer satisfaction. This case study shows how the company implemented standardized training and real-time reporting to improve it production efficiency and maintain customer satisfaction.
Since 1946, WW Johnson Meat Company has produced premium, quality ground beef distributed to retail and food service operations across the Midwest and beyond. As the company’s workforce continued to diversify, it needed a way to break the language barrier between employees and trainers and verify that employees understood training concepts. This case study shows how WW Johnson Meat implemented consistent, multilingual content and automated recordkeeping to overcome barriers of learning.
Ralcorp Holdings is a leading producer of private-label consumer packaged foods. Ralcorp also sells frozen bakery products to in-store bakeries, restaurants and food service customers. The company’s six divisions have about 9,000 employees. The company needed to improve its safety procedures to establish and ensure best practices across all its facilities. This case study shows how the company use group-based training and automated recordkeeping to achieve its safety goals.
The FDA recently released draft guidance (the “Guidance”) on controlling Listeria monocytogenes (LM) and ready-to-eat foods (RTE) in conjunction with the final rule, Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF rule). Any FDA-regulated facility that manufacturers, processes, packs, or holds RTE foods needs to take the time to read this new draft Guidance. Why? For three reasons. First, as we all know, draft guidance can often take years before it turns to final guidance, and in the interim, FDA inspectors still rely on it as gospel. Second, whether it’s considered draft or final by the FDA, we all know the reality is guidance is often treated like directive, which in turn is often treated just like regulation. If we don’t follow it, we have a lot of explaining to do. Third, there are a few waves contained in this guidance that we, as an industry, all need to be aware of now!
The Valley Milk Products recall resulted in a subsequent ripple effect of recalls affecting over 30 companies. As this food safety event has played out over the last several months, it has also raised several questions on how the industry should react and handle these types of chain-reaction-like recalls.
All departments of any company (food production or not) need training from several perspectives, such as safety, job-specific roles, business acumen, and human rights. And other departments — accounting, production, quality assurance, upper management — they all have their roles that need training. Of course, sanitation needs to know how to clean, maintenance needs to know how to repair and upkeep, warehouse needs to know how to ship and receive. But, how important is training in the role of food safety? In a word: vital.
Food irradiation has proven to be a safe and effective non-thermal process for enhancing food safety and extending shelf life of a wide variety of foods. Nearly 50 countries have approved or allow food irradiation, although the foods and doses can differ by country. Gamma irradiation technology was patented more than a century ago (in 1906) and has been one of the first non-thermal technologies thoroughly tested, validated, and adopted by medical and food industry over the past 60 years. Despite this, there is a lot of misunderstanding and concerns associated with the consumer acceptance, transport, storage, occupational hazards, and disposal of radiation sources.
Food safety is a team sport; you can have the best programs in the world, but it takes people to carry out those programs. Many food safety programs fail for one very simple reason: there is not a culture fostered that promotes food safety at every level. From the very top, throughout the entire organization, there needs to be a commitment to food safety and a commitment to continuous improvement.
Earlier this year, the U.K. voted to leave the EU. Ensuing events of the Brexit vote have been characterized by frustration and uncertainty in the near and far future as the U.K. will now go at it on their own after 43 years in the EU. This represents a distinct turning point in European history and the implications on the U.K. are expected to be radical. One particular issue, food safety, did not receive much consideration during the Brexit campaign. What will be done to fill in where the EU left off? Ambivalence over what the U.K.’s legislative framework will resemble has caused more than a little anxiety, but along with the bigger political issues there is still opportunity for the U.K. to enhance food safety regulation and re-instill confidence in its food system.
A rapid, accurate, and reliable molecular test for STEC detection from a variety of food samples.
Food Safety in the Ready to Eat Market has become more complex. Not only is it more important than ever to control the processing environment, controlling the ingredient supply chain is paramount to ensuring your brand and more importantly ensuring your customers and brand are protected.
Globalization, regulatory pressures, and a shift in product complexity has driven rapid, profound change within the dairy industry. These changes require new solutions to ensure brand protection, product safety, and risk management. Previous, more dated technology cannot keep pace with this evolution and has created unneeded inefficiencies in the supply chain process. Roka Bioscience is the only technology that can deliver better process control and an automated solution that can more rapidly deliver high quality results and ensure a more efficient manufacturing, reduced refrigeration, and on-time delivery process.
Today's poultry supply chain is more complex, with stricter regulation than ever before. Maintaining high resolution to the manufacturing environment and subsequent interventions is paramount in meeting the new performance standards. Roka Bioscience and the Atlas Platform can offer a prevalence testing solution in addition to the Limits Testing application that provides the poultry industry solutions from grow houses through the storage of finished product. The Atlas System gives a rapid, semi-quantitative picture of the environment enabling better, more efficient, and more effective intervention strategies
The ingredients and flavorings market represents a key link in the supply chain in ensuring safety in the final product. Recent recalls have highlighted the need for improved control to minimize this vast impact and a better understanding of the results behind a COA.
Are you confident your front-line workforce is adhering to best practices that keep your food safe for consumers?
A new rapid yeast and mold test method for dairy applications, such as yogurt, soft cheese and cream, can dramatically improve speed-to-market and reduce economic impact from spoiled product.
A rapid, accurate, and reliable molecular assay for detecting Listeria species in food and environmental samples.
In this web chat, Jennifer McEntire, VP food safety & technology at United Fresh Produce Association joins Kristen Spotz, senior manager of food safety & quality assurance at GMA to talk all things traceability related to the food industry. In addition to providing leading traceability practices, the 45-minute session focuses heavily on McEntire and Spotz answering questions from the web chat’s audience.
The Atlas System is a fully automated molecular instrument that enhances the accuracy, speed, and efficiency of food safety testing through detection of molecular pathogens, including Listeria, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and other organisms commonly implicated in food contamination episodes.
Pathogen testing is often outsourced to Third Party Lab providers. It is important to ask the right questions to ensure the test method aligns with the quality goals of the organization.