From: Food Quality Magazine, April/May 2012
Larger producers provide model for success by adhering to 1999 FDA guidelines
While the rest of the world focused on the space race between Russia and the United States, Paul Lachance, PhD, an Air Force Aeromedical Laboratories biologist, worried about the safety of the food astronauts were eating during a mission.
First implicated in a 1993 U.S. outbreak caused by undercooked ground beef, the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) known as O157:H7 has become a familiar term associated with foodborne illness.
Although industry figures indicate that the latest crisis, which involved a rare and deadly strain of E. coli, has resulted in sales losses comparable to the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, only a handful of exhibitors and farmers at Berlin's International Green Week are willing to talk about the disaster openly. Nearly a year after the devastating outbreak, which killed more than 40 and sickened more than 4,000 people in Germany and other parts of Europe, it is business as usual.
Hans Kissle, a manufacturer of prepared foods, salads, and desserts, has been named the winner of the 11th annual Food Quality Award. This annual award, which recognizes companies for exceptional contributions to food safety and customer satisfaction with a positive impact on business results, will be presented April 18 at a special reception sponsored by DuPont Qualicon during the Food Safety Summit Expo and Conference at the Washington, D.C., Convention Center.
The proposed rules for fresh produce and preventive controls, which reportedly number in the hundreds of pages, have been held up under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget. They were expected during the first quarter of 2012 but, as of this issue of Food Quality, had not yet been released.
It’s been almost a year since the E. coli outbreak that originated in Germany in May last year killed more than 40 people. The frenzy to identify the strain responsible — the relatively rare O104:H4 — helped point out the increasing need for rapid and reliable pathogen testing in the food industry.
A longtime industry colleague and friend recently told me it was the things he couldn’t see that he feared most. Lurking somewhere in his processing equipment or on a product sitting in a sales cooler, there are a few colonies of pathogenic bacteria waiting to wreak havoc in our business and lives.
All too frequently, a story appears about tainted food that has traveled through the supply chain undetected until it causes illness and triggers a costly recall. This scenario not only puts the health of the consumer at risk but is also invariably expensive and can destroy a company’s reputation.
Imagine pointing your smart phone at a head of lettuce in the grocery store and having the phone tell you what farm the lettuce came from and the date the produce arrived in the grocery store. What if your phone could even tell you what temperatures the lettuce was exposed to in transit? If various sectors of the industry got on the same wavelength, consumers could stay healthier by tapping into a robust database of vital information.
Consumer information has helped understand outbreaks.
The most recent versions of the GFSI have intensified the importance of training in determining risk assessment, for seemingly obvious reasons. Poor training—or lack of training—places the plant and the company at risk for everything from non-conformance findings to product recalls and potential issues with public health.
Since its inception in 2000, the Global Food Safety Initiative has emerged as a high-impact presence in the food industry, touching multiple segments of the industry and creating a dynamic web of continuous improvement.
Analyze Organophosphorus Pesticides in the Apple Matrix by GC/MS/FPD Using an Agilent J&W DB-35ms Ultra Inert GC Column
Organophosphorus pesticides (OP) are widely used in the agricultural industry for crop protection. Human toxicities for this class of molecules have shown acute and chronic effects from pesticide poisoning. OP pesticides affect the nervous system of insects and mammals by inhibiting an enzyme, acetylcholinesterase, that is important in helping regulate nerve impulses.
Through my consulting work with various companies, I’ve observed how the effectiveness and impartiality of quality and food safety personnel can be influenced by the organizational structure. A non-food-related news story highlights this.