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Industry News: Food Contract Lab Report, Pilot Testing Program for Raw Milk Cheese, and More
Pilot Testing Program for Raw Milk Cheese
Launched in January, the FDA’s pilot program is sampling and testing domestic and imported raw milk cheese aged at least 60 days for Salmonella, L. monocytogenes, and E. coli O157:H7. The program is using a new microbiological sampling surveillance model, which is aimed at increasing FDA’s understanding of risks, contamination rates, and mitigation strategies. Sampling will last for approximately 12 months. It can take place at any point in the supply chain for domestic cheeses, including at cheese-making plants. For imported cheeses, sampling will occur at locations where the cheese normally enters the U.S.
GFSI Recognizes SQF Code 7th Edition Scope Extension for Feed
SQF has successfully added the scope of Feed to the scopes for which they have already achieved recognition against the GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition. This is the first GFSI recognized scheme to cover the scope of Feed, which includes the production of animal feed and processing of pet food products, the requirements for which were included in the GFSI Guidance Document on June 1, 2012.
‘Food Contract Lab Report’
According to Strategic Consulting’s “Food Contract Lab Report,” food companies around the world are sending increasing amounts of quality and safety testing to third-party contract testing laboratories. Total revenues for labs are estimated to reach $3.05 billion in 2013, up from $1.95 billion just five years ago, at a compound annual growth rate of 9.4 percent worldwide. The report includes revenues, test volumes, and growth rates by region (North America, Europe, Asia, and rest of the world) and by business area (microbiology, chemistry, and services). It also examines the drivers for the dramatic growth and provides market forecasts through 2018.
Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance
FDA is implementing a plan to help phase out the use of medically important antimicrobials in food animals for food production purposes, such as to enhance growth or improve feed efficiency. The plan would also phase in veterinary oversight of the remaining appropriate therapeutic uses of such drugs. The FDA is laying out a roadmap for animal pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily revise the FDA-approved use conditions on the labels of these products to remove production indications. Plan also calls for changing the current over-the-counter status to bring the remaining appropriate therapeutic uses under veterinary oversight.
Guide Safeguards Fresh Produce Operations Against Listeria
The United Fresh Food Safety & Technology Council’s Guidance on Environmental Monitoring and Control of Listeria for the Fresh Produce Industry assists in developing practical and scientifically sound “search and destroy” programs for Listeria. Guide is applicable to all fresh and fresh-cut produce operations, including field and field packing, packinghouse, and other produce handling operations such as repack, value-added, and transport/distribution to retail/foodservice. It can help companies determine an operations’ level of vulnerability to Listeria harborage that may lead to produce contamination, and also help develop and implement an effective Listeria monitoring and control program.
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association vs. Monsanto
On January 13, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by organic farmers and others asking Monsanto to promise never to sue farmers if their fields inadvertently have plants containing the company’s patented genetically modified traits. A company lawyer said Monsanto had not sued for inadvertent use of its biotech seeds and didn’t plan to, but that it wouldn’t make a blanket promise to that effect. Monsanto has sued more than 100 farmers for patent infringement, winning judgments against those found using its seed without paying required royalties. The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and a group of dozens of organic and conventional family farmers and seed companies sued Monsanto in March 2011 to prohibit the company from suing farmers whose fields became inadvertently contaminated with corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, and other crops containing Monsanto’s genetic modifications.