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From: Food Quality & Safety Magazine, December/January 2012

Features

Critical Clues from Clams

Samuel Cate Prescott and William Lyman Underwood made canned food safe

When William Lyman Underwood (1864-1929) sought advice about swollen cans of food from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor William T. Sedgwick in late 1895, he planted the seed for research that would become the scientific underpinnings of canned food safety.

Manage the Extreme Cold Chain

Ocean Beauty uses the PakSense temperature monitoring label to ensure the quality of shipments worldwide

Increased globalization and remote sourcing in the food industry have brought options and convenience closer to home for many consumers. Yet the boost in imports and exports of commodities has created new challenges for suppliers, shippers, and retailers. With the perishables industry constantly expanding, physical distances and shipping conditions are critical considerations in the supply chain.

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News

The Cantaloupe Crisis: What’s Next?

Fruit linked to unprecedented listeriosis outbreak sparks renewed efforts to ensure produce safety

In September, when Steve Patricio learned of the Listeria outbreak traced to cantaloupes from a farm in Colorado—an outbreak that killed 29 people as of Nov. 9, sickened dozens, and caused one miscarriage—his mind immediately raced back two decades to a similar outbreak.

Hold It There

An examination of the FDA’s increased administrative detention authority

Under FSMA, the FDA has increased authority to use administrative detention as an enforcement tool. For this reason, companies that manufacture, prepare, pack, or hold food should maintain strong record-keeping practices.

LIMS Benefits Beverage Sector

Bacardi complies with new federal requirements by improving sample management, data recording, and traceability

For a long time, the food and beverage industry has relied on manual processes and a paper-based system. The introduction of FSMA has introduced the need for greater scrutiny of data, however. Regulation and legislation are pressing companies to use a secure electronic data environment, increasing the need for laboratory information management systems. Many food and beverage companies are wary of this change due to potentially high costs; however, the cost of an electronic management system can generally...

FSMA and Labs

Laboratory information management systems make it easy to monitor safety procedures

FSMA’s effect on food production facilities and testing laboratories bears considerable analysis. The key technologies that can facilitate compliance with the new legislation, along with the subsequent need for the development of new analytical methods, are, in a sense, under the microscope.

New Tools in the Fight for Food Safety

As industry gears up to adhere to FSMA, manufacturers offer more equipment to meet compliance demands

In April, in direct response to FSMA requirements, the FDA launched an easier-to-use version of its food recall search engine. Under the new law, the FDA was required to create a more consumer-friendly version of the food recall search site within 90 days. The new version provides recall information organized by date and presented in table format going back to 2009, and includes product brand name, product description, reason for the recall, and the recalling firm, as well as whether the recall is ongoing...

Key Points of FSMA

The FDA has been given the authority to issue a food recall directly, without the requirement for hard evidence of contamination. The agency is now empowered to seize food that it has any reason to believe is contaminated, adulterated, or misbranded. This change was designed to focus the FDA on prevention, moving away from its current reactive role. If the FDA issues a food recall, it also has power to suspend any food facility’s production should the agency decide that there is an associated health...

Nuts and Bolts of FSMA

Essential elements of the Food Safety Modernization Act—and how organizations can get prepared

Because a breakdown at any point in the farm-to-table food supply chain can threaten the health and safety of consumers and cause serious financial repercussions for food manufacturers, the FSMA integrates with and expands the FDA’s currently established safety practices for poultry, seafood, juice, produce, and eggs, making prevention easier throughout the domestic and international food system.

Bumpy Path to Food Safety

Enforcement of FSMA faces hurdles as FDA funding and staffing are threatened

Under FSMA, enacted in January 2011, the FDA is responsible for mitigating food safety problems by using science- and risk-based approaches to oversee about 80% of the nation’s domestic and imported food supplies. The plan includes establishing minimum produce safety standards, exercising the authority to order mandatory recalls of suspected food products, conducting a broad range of food facility inspections, establishing a comprehensive product tracing system, holding imported food products to the...

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Departments

Move Over, Salmonella

Campylobacter joins the USDA’s “most wanted” list

You’re not likely to see a picture of Campylobacter in a post office lobby, but as of July 2011, the FSIS has introduced a new performance standard to reduce the prevalence of Campylobacter, similar to the one used for Salmonella for years.

Keep Refrigeration Units Clean

A little maintenance goes a long way toward saving money and avoiding food risks

The recent Listeria outbreak has brought to life a new set of questions for the retail food industry. One question involves the sanitation of refrigeration units. Commercial refrigeration/freezer units are the heart of every retail food business. Keeping these units cleaned and working properly ensures not only the safety but also the quality of each product.

Capitalize on Pest Technology

Use innovations and advancements to your advantage

Technology is constantly changing the way we live our lives and conduct business. In the past, technological inventions like canned goods, pasteurization, and freeze drying allowed for widespread distribution of goods and long-lasting food preservation. These innovations in food processing supported a newly developing culture of convenience.

All Hands on Deck

Planners and staff must cooperate to create sound process control for high-touch surfaces and safer hands

An observational study conducted by the CDC that 8.6 hand washes by restaurant staff per employee hour were required to comply with the FDA’s Model Food Code.1 Consensus among both operators and regulators is that that is never going to happen. However, the study’s results beg the question: If 8.6 is the ideal safe level, what is the risk when hand washing frequency is, on average, 0.5 times per employee hour? Based on foodborne illness data and the increasing frequency of shuttered...

Fine Tune Your Compliance

As the list of food safety requirements grows longer, effective time management is vital to effective auditing and validation

HACCP systems have been required in a number of food manufacturing categories for many years and continue to expand as the standard model for all categories in the food industry and supply chain. Validation, an important component of HACCP Principle 6 verification, is not a new concept to the food industry. However, the subject of validation is not always well understood by those individuals who perform food safety and quality audits to determine compliance with current regulatory and industry standards.

The Lab Revolution

How to speed results with advancements in microtechnology

Now, more than ever, food manufacturers are looking to lab science for safe and speedy answers, especially when it comes to allergens. Food allergies are a public health liability that affects both business and the consumer. More than 12 million Americans have food allergies, and many more are underdiagnosed or ignored.

The Highest Calling

After 100 years of safely feeding a nation, the U.S. food industry is poised to take another bold step in ensuring public health

Over the past 100 years, the ways in which our food is produced, distributed, and regulated have changed dramatically. We have witnessed the maturation of our nation and the industry that keeps it fed. And, today, the concept of food safety is at the forefront of our national discourse. To ensure success in the future, we must be committed to learning from each of the significant—and lasting—lessons learned from our past.

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