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From: Food Quality & Safety magazine, August/September 2014

Industry News: ‘Top Ten’ List of Foodborne Parasites, Food Fraud, and More

Food Safety & Traceability Report: FSMA Perceptions

Many industry stakeholders are still confused about the proposed FSMA, according to a study from PMMI. The “Food Safety & Traceability 2014” report, based on 64 interviews with manufacturing professionals, includes details about the impact of FSMA and how equipment manufacturers can best prepare for the upcoming regulations. It identifies the industries most affected by the anticipated rules. Fresh produce manufacturers are expected to see the greatest impact. The report also expands on ways that manufacturers affected by FSMA can make strides towards compliance. These steps include reducing liability with greater traceability capabilities, evaluating equipment design for improved sanitary construction and easy cleaning, and training operators thoroughly and often.

Retailers to Track Sources of Ground Meats

The USDA’s FSIS is proposing to require that all makers of raw ground beef products keep records in order to further protect consumers by ensuring retailers can trace sources of ground meats. Retail outlets regularly make ground beef by mixing cuts of beef from various sources. This proposal, if finalized, will require them to keep clear records identifying the source, supplier, and names of all materials used in the preparation of raw ground beef products. When foodborne illness outbreaks occur, traceback investigations can be hindered when retail outlets fail to keep clear records that would allow investigators to determine which supplier produced the unsafe product.

GFSI’s Food Fraud Position Paper

The GFSI Guidance Document Working Group and the Food Fraud Think Tank have released a paper on the position of the GFSI on food fraud mitigation. Companies are urged to perform a food fraud vulnerability assessment and to have a food fraud vulnerability control plan in place to mitigate the identified vulnerabilities. In order to ensure transparency, the GFSI Board believes that the mitigation of food fraud is an integral part of a company’s food safety management system, and has therefore decided to include new requirements specific to food fraud mitigation in the next full revision of the GFSI Guidance Document 7th Edition, which will be released in early 2016.

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Wholesaler-Distributor Operations Benchmarking Report

United Fresh’s “Wholesaler-Distributor Operations Benchmarking Report” is designed specifically to help produce wholesalers and distributors evaluate the effectiveness of their operations. Prepared by research firm Industry Insights, the report allows produce companies to compare their labor practices, sales practices, procurement and inventory management, warehouse metrics and outbound transportation by ownership type (family or private), primary customer business segment, produce sales and case volume, number of full-time employees, and warehouse square footage.

‘Top Ten’ List of Foodborne Parasites

A report issued by the UN’s FAO and WHO details the dangers of foodborne parasites in various parts of the world. It highlighted the top 10 parasites: Taenia solium (pork tapeworm), Echinococcus granulosus (hydatid worm or dog tapeworm found in produce), Echinococcus multilocularis (a type of tapeworm in produce), Toxoplasma gondii (protozoa in red meat), Cryptosporidium spp. (protozoa in produce, juice, and milk), Entamoeba histolytica (protozoa in produce), Trichinella spiralis (pork worm), Opisthorchiidae (family of flatworms in freshwater fish), Ascaris spp. (roundworms in produce), and Trypanosoma cruzi (protozoa in fruit juices). The Codex Committee on Food Hygiene is now developing a set of guidelines to help tackle these parasites with a new set of standards.

Antibiotic Resistance

The CDC’s new report details the progress and problems of antibiotic-resistant foodborne microorganisms. It shows that multi-drug resistant Salmonella decreased during the past 10 years and resistance to two important groups of drugs—cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones—remained low in 2012. However, in Salmonella typhi, the germ that causes typhoid fever, resistance to quinolone drugs increased to 68 percent in 2012, raising concerns that one of the common treatments for typhoid fever may not work in many cases. Meanwhile, Campylobacter resistance to ciprofloxacin remained at 25 percent, despite FDA’s 2005 withdrawal of its approval for the use of enrofloxacin in poultry.

HACCP Online Course

AIB International’s new 60-day HACCP online course is a hands-on instruction intended for food professionals to learn the history and formation of HACCP. Participants learn the seven HACCP principles; how to recognize biological, chemical, and physical hazards; and how to develop a HACCP plan. The course will prepare individuals on how to contribute to a HACCP team and meet their requirements for audits. A certificate of completion as well as Continuing Education Units will be provided.

Business Briefs

Cherney Microbiological Services plans to open a new testing facility in Clovis, N.M. in August.

Mérieux NutriSciences acquires Total Quality Food Consultants to expand its global offer for regulatory, scientific, and marketing services to the food and non-food industries.

Quality Certification Services is now an approved and accredited certification body to the GLOBALG.A.P. scheme.

FSNS C&A adds SQF capabilities to its body of auditing work.

The new IFS Food United Fresh Produce Program provides a method of certifying fruit and vegetable packing companies using the Harmonized Standard from United Fresh during an IFS Food audit.

NSF International earns IFS Logistics Standard Accreditation.

Retail Grocery Initiative

A new Retail Grocery Initiative facilitated by GS1 US aims to address industry challenges with broad adoption and implementation of GS1 Standards. Uniting suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, solution providers, and industry associations, the GS1 US Retail Grocery Initiative gathered industry stakeholders for its inaugural meeting on June 10 during the GS1 Connect 2014 conference. During the initial meeting, more than 150 stakeholders gathered and identified high priority topics impacting their businesses that could be addressed by the Initiative, including alignment on product information for business and consumer use, and standardized usage of images and adherence to regulations from FSMA.

Helping Small Businesses Comply with Gluten-Free Labeling

The FDA’s “Small Entity Compliance Guide” helps small businesses comply with gluten-free labeling requirements. It provides a plain-language question and answer overview of the regulatory requirements for using the words “gluten-free” on labels for food products subject to the rule; the definitions of the terms “gluten” and “gluten­-free”; and when FDA considers a food labeled “gluten-free” to be misbranded. Beginning August 5, all food distributors hoping to use that word must comply with FDA restrictions. The rule is designed to assist those with celiac disease, a severe sensitivity to gluten, in choosing products that are safe to eat.

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