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Industry News: Organic Fertility Research, Controlling Listeria in Delis, and More
Organic Fertility Research Project
The LSU AgCenter and the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate LSU AgCenter’s organic fertility research project, located on property near the convention center. For the next two years, research on Bella Rosa tomatoes will be conducted on the one-quarter acre plot to evaluate the effectiveness and economics of organic fertilizer versus conventional fertilizer used in vegetable gardening, to monitor disease, and to study the microbial qualities of irrigation water over the growing season. The tomatoes will be harvested in June, and a preliminary report of the findings will be presented at the 2nd Annual Farm to Table International Symposium at New Orleans’ convention center in August.
Controlling Listeria in Delis
The FSIS released its “FSIS Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in Retail Delicatessens” that discusses steps retailers can take to prevent listeriosis associated with the consumption of certain ready-to-eat foods that are prepared or sliced in retail delis and consumed in the home, such as deli meats and deli salads. FSIS encourages retailers to review the guidance and evaluate the effectiveness of their retail practices and intervention strategies in reducing the risk of listeriosis to consumers from these meat and poultry deli products. The agency will consider all comments submitted and will revise the best-practices guidance as necessary.
Laundry Certification for Food Manufacturing/Processing
Developed from TRSA’s Hygienically Clean for Healthcare, the new Hygienically Clean Food Safety program emphasizes best practices for laundry processes and quality control practices verified through facility inspection and microbial testing of reusable textiles. Verified laundry practices include washing procedures (detergent formulas, temperature, disinfectant, pH, extraction), drying, garment inspection, and transportation. A certified laundry plant must follow an operational flowchart that maps these procedures as well as pickup, unloading and sorting of soiled items, and sorting of clean laundry. Employees’ use of personal protective equipment must be documented. HACCP practices will also be examined.
Food Ingredient Safety Research
The food, beverage, and consumer products industries, in association with the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Michigan State University (MSU), are partnering to create the Center for Research on Ingredient Safety (CRIS). An independent, academic, science-based center, CRIS will serve as a reliable and unbiased source for information, research, training, and analysis on the safe use of chemical ingredients in consumer packaged goods including foods, beverages, cosmetics, and household consumer products. It will be modeled after already existing centers of expertise at other academic institutions, which focus on allergen and microbiological safety. CRIS will be located at MSU and will be governed by an advisory board composed of multiple stakeholders, including academic, industry, nongovernmental organizations, and regulatory representatives.
Training Food Safety Professionals
The National Environmental Health Association’s newest credential is the Certified in Comprehensive Food Safety credential, which was instituted largely as a response of FSMA to educate food safety professionals in the new regulations. Holders of the credential are required to demonstrate expertise in how to assure food is safe for consumers throughout the manufacturing and processing sector. Also, the Certified Professional–Food Safety credential is designed for food safety professionals in both the public and private sectors whose primary responsibility is the protection and safety of food products. The course and exam to earn this credential focuses on topics such as food microbiology, regulatory requirements, and HACCP.