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From: Food Quality & Safety magazine, October/November 2013

News & Notes

Food Safety Education Materials for Kids

Developed by Partnership for Food Safety Education, the “Fight BAC! at Picnic Park” program helps kids, parents, and teachers get involved in learning about preventing food poisoning. It includes the Perfect Picnic game for iPhones and iPads and informational materials to help teach important food safety basics. The Partnership for Food Safety Education is supported by the Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, NSF International, the Produce Marketing Association, and ServSafe, among other industry associations, professional societies in food science, nutrition and health, and consumer groups.

Outbreak Guidelines for Food Establishments

The Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response’s (CIFOR) new CIFOR Foodborne Illness Response Guidelines for Owners, Operators, and Managers of Food Establishments helps outline, clarify, and explain the recommended role for retail food establishments during a foodborne illness outbreak investigation and what they can expect after being notified of an outbreak. It offers a step-by-step approach that companies can take during the different phases of an investigation, including preparing an establishment to respond should an outbreak occur, identifying signs of a potential outbreak, helping government officials to investigate, and following up after an investigation.

Changes to Pre-Harvest Harmonized Standards Now Official

The Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Technical Working Group approves changes to the Field Operations and Harvesting Harmonized Food Safety Standards. The new version of the Harmonized Standards will become obligatory on November 1, 2013. In order to have one audit by any credible third party and acceptable to all buyers, the Initiative developed food safety Good Agricultural Practices standards and audit checklists for pre- and post-harvest operations, applicable to all fresh produce commodities, all sizes of on-farm operations, and all U.S. regions.

FDA Defines ‘Gluten-Free’ for Food Labeling

The FDA publishes a new regulation defining the term “gluten-free” for voluntary food labeling to provide a uniform standard definition to help those Americans who have celiac disease. The definition requires that, in order to use the term “gluten-free” on its label, the food must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. The rule also requires foods with the claims “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten” to meet the definition for “gluten-free.” Food manufacturers will have a year to bring their labels into compliance with the new requirements.

Environmental Impact Statement on Produce Rule

The FDA intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will evaluate the potential environmental effects of the proposed rule Standards for Growing, Harvesting, Packing and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption. FDA is also announcing the beginning of a “scoping process” to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis. The Agency doesn’t anticipate that the EIS will delay final rule deliberations but will help by generating additional data and analysis and providing opportunity for stakeholder engagement. Comments are due by November 15, 2013.

Biosecurity: Understanding, Assessing, and Preventing the Threat

Published by Wiley, the new Biosecurity book is edited by Ryan Burnette, PhD, director of Alliance Biosciences. The book explores how to assess and prevent biosecurity threats to protect public health and national security. It discusses the nature of biosecurity threats to research laboratories as well as to agriculture and food. By exposing major flaws in global biosecurity thinking, the book sets forth a clear pathway to correct those errors and build stronger biosecurity programs.

 

 

Business Briefs

Eldon James Corp., manufacturer of plastic tubing and connectors, launches its food and beverage division EJ Beverage.

Kirkegaard & Perry Laboratories, Inc. forms new development relationship with Vivione Biosciences Inc. to allow Vivione to accelerate commercialization of the detection kits used in its RAPID-B platform.

D.D. Williamson receives certification by GFSI for its natural coloring manufacturing site in Port Washington, Wis.

Plascon Group’s flexible packaging manufacturing plant in Traverse City, Mich., achieves BRC Global Food Safety Certification.

GFSI launches new Retail/Wholesale Technical Working Group to draft key requirements for inclusion in the GFSI Guidance Document.

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