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From: Food Quality & Safety Magazine, April/May 2010

Features

Rapid Micro Rolls On

The technology continues to revolutionize food safety

This article on the history and impact of advances in rapid food microbiology is the second in a new series for Food Quality. In “FoodTech: Tools That Changed the Industry,” we look at various technologies and tools, such as rapid microbiological testing, that have played a key role in and had an indelible impact on the food industry.

What's Right With the Food Industry

Food safety remains top priority in the industry

Recent food recalls—from pet food to peanut paste to bagged spinach—and the increased media attention to those recalls have seemingly tarnished the image of the food industry. Consumers are, for the most part, unaware of the effort, time, talent, and resources that go into making their food supply safe.

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News

BPA Exposure May Cause Permanent Fertility Defects

Study is first of its kind

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have discovered that exposure during pregnancy to Bisphenol A (BPA), a common component of plastics, causes permanent abnormalities in the uterus of offspring, including altered DNA. The findings were reported in the March issue of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal.

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Departments

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: You, Pests, and a Food Safety Audit

Know the basics of GFSI, SQF, and BRC

Audit. It’s not a word many like to hear, but audits are necessary to maintain food safety within any food processing business. When audit is paired with pests, however, the association is even more unfavorable.

Product Spotlight

Food Lab Titrator; Easy-to-Maneuver Forming Machine; Screening Tool for Food Products and Waste; Automatic Bacterial Plater; Portable, Rechargeable UV Lamp; Checkweighing Scale; Combination Weight Check and X-ray; Metal Halide Lamp Line; Test Kit for Beta-Lactam Antibiotics; Metal Pumps For Handling Food Products

Detect Melamine With ELISA Assays

This simple, high-throughput screening method permits large-scale screening at low cost

With common industrial uses, melamine is frequently mixed with formaldehyde to produce melamine-formaldehyde resin, a type of plastic known for its flame retardant properties. Used in the manufacture of countertops, dry-erase boards, laminates, glues, adhesives, paper and textiles, melamine has more recently been identified in some food products. Investigations have identified raw materials suppliers who have been illegally adding this nitrogen-rich chemical to food sources in order to increase its...

Moisture Content Analysis

A new method may offer improved precision and reliability

Like many products, nuts have a moisture content (MC) “sweet spot” where they’re dry enough to meet customer quality specs but not so dry that they break during shipment. To check quality reliably as the nuts are processed, shipped, stored, and used as ingredients, manufacturers need a moisture method that is…

Leverage the Power of Information

Fragmented processes, disconnected systems lead to loss of quality

The proliferation of new information technologies has brought numerous benefits to the food processing industry, including improvements in overall productivity and efficiency. At the same time, the industry continues to experience major lapses in safety and quality, magnified in recent months by several highly publicized product recalls.

LIMS in Food Safety Traceability Efforts

System to gather, manage data helps ensure quality

Globalization of the food supply chain is a driving factor behind the increasing number of food safety incidents. Producers and importers must perform precise, real-time product safety testing at all stages of production, processing, and distribution to ensure quality and compliance with food safety legislation. Each step in the food chain has its own challenges. Laboratory information management systems (LIMS) play a critical role in the workflow of food producers, ensuring that test data from all parts...

Smaller, Stronger, Faster Labs

Innovations in food safety labs leading the industry

In these non-Dickensian times, the availability of food is not as much of an issue as concerns about food safety. Food is pouring in from all over the world, but ensuring its safety is a complex task. Food safety is inherently bound up in issues related to time, such as how long it takes to detect a problem or contaminant. And because time is money, there’s money to be made—or granted—in exploring the future of rapid detection.

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Columns

A Realistic Approach to Food Safety Regulation

Rather than establishing a single regulatory body, let’s create a foodborne illness database

The United States is often said to have a two-pronged food safety regulatory system, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) responsible for inspecting meat, poultry, and eggs, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the other fresh and processed foods that make up 80% of the food supply. This system leads to frequently cited inspection gaps and overlaps that critics say contribute to food safety problems: The FDA oversees fresh eggs, but the USDA inspects processed egg products;...

Pump Up Your Prerequisite Programs

The foundation of the HACCP program

This column is the first of two parts. Part two, which will run in our June/July issue, will discuss understanding and applying effective tools to ensure that your prerequisite programs are well defined and effective.

Overcome the Language Barrier

Bridging the culture and language gap is key

No matter where I travel in the United States, from large metropolitan cities to small rural towns, I experience the sounds, sights, smells, and tastes of different ethnic cultures. I enjoy the fact that our country is so richly populated with people from many different cultures. I may not be fluent in languages other than English, but I believe that food is a universal language. It is the one thing that binds all of us together. The proper practice of safe food preparation, however, is not universal...

What's Right Redux

At the risk of seeming like a food industry Pollyanna, I wanted to publish an article that considers all the good things our industry does to produce safe, quality food, and that is just what we feature in this issue’s cover article.

Let's Work Together

A retired food quality and safety industry veteran wrote to me after reading my February/March column, “QA/QC Finally Gets Some Respect.” His food industry experience was impressive. But what really struck me was his outlook and foresight. He wrote that in his experience, wake-up calls in the food safety field never seem to last. He cited many food safety examples gone wrong and expressed the opinion that food safety is not an arena for politics, because bugs don’t care which party is in...

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