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From: Food Quality & Safety Magazine, February/March 2005


Auditing Advancements

Greater Efficiency and Real-Time Decision Support

Surviving in the world of food business takes intelligence, planning, attention to detail and, according to many industry leaders, the latest auditing technology. Mike Dunn, zone director for quality assurance and food safety at Sodexho Corp. (Houston, Texas), says auditing software has allowed the food and facilities management services company to proactively manage its auditing system and substantially increase efficiency and accuracy.

HACCP Horsepower

Under-the-hood technologies like electronic record-keeping software will not only boost HACCP's horsepower, the platforms will also provide food companies better handling when it comes to easily identifying recurring trends and taking corrective actions. That means greater visibility to upper management, a transparency throughout the company and, ultimately, compliance with forthcoming federal regulations.

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Security: Hit or Miss?

Are your employees gate keepers? They should be.

A couple of years ago, at an unnamed food processing facility in a Midwestern city, I entered through a propped open exterior door and, without benefit of any escort or identification, I strolled through the facility's raw material storage areas, mixing room, control room, executive offices and finished product storage without being stopped or questioned by even one employee. I then left by the same route. Although this was done with the client's approval, I could have been an irate ex-employee or a person...

Driving Value From RFID

Traceability is key in managing contamination and food safety issues.

Food manufacturers face growing challenges in maintaining a safe, secure and transparent supply chain. Today's supply chain environment has an increasing number of third party providers, principally in the warehousing and transportation areas, which enable manufacturers and packers to concentrate on their core competencies. While this creates efficiencies and is quite common in the industry, it also introduces many points of vulnerability across the supply chain. With the growing threat to food safety,...

Compliance Control

Product development software can maintain regulatory musts in the manufacturing environment

Food and beverage manufacturers must observe several broad-classes of compliance, with labeling perhaps being the most painful in terms of the number of errors and the impact on business. According to FDA, 51 percent of recent food and drug recalls were caused by a problem with the label, not with the product. Labeling has gotten more complicated in recent years as more federal and international requirements are added to an already long list of regulations. Most regulatory changes strive to balance the...

Certificates of Analysis Confirm Control

For process manufacturers, certificates of analysis allow suppliers to say, "I'm in compliance with your specifications.

With shipments arriving daily at a factory's dock, who has time to argue with the supplier, even if their materials do not meet the manufacturer's specification? The only way to determine if the inbound materials meet the specification for each lot is by either testing the incoming materials or by reacting when a problem shows up at the end of the manufacturing line (or even worse, from a customer complaint). Certificates of analysis (COAs) hold the key to improving quality and productivity and focusing on...

Can Sanitation be Considered Technical? (Part 2)

A second installment on how to make your sanitation program your own.

In the last issue, we covered some of the items that address the technical aspects of food plant sanitation. In this issue, we will cover some remaining items that a professional sanitation manager needs to know. Each processor is different, and the uniqueness of that operation is inherent within that individual process. It's like a human being. No one is the same. The same holds true for a food plant. That said, you can understand why there are so many things that need to be documented and tracked to be...

There's More to it at Hand

Glove effectiveness at reducing risk is built on the solid prerequisite of good and hygiene.

Each of the barriers to transmission available to food safety managers (deli papers, utensils or gloves) have differing efficacies and limitations with respect to actual risk reduction. Proper use of utensils or gloves must be monitored and prevented from being used in ways that result in cross-contamination. Various types of gloves are employed in the food industry both to protect the food worker from occupational exposures related to food product or process, as well as to prevent pathogen or spoilage...

Wine Producer Gets Efficient Scheduling with LIMS

Faster results mean speedy production to bottlers.

The implementation of a new laboratory information management system (LIMS) has expedited sample logging, analysis and results distribution for a large wine producer, saving time and enabling more efficient scheduling. The custom LIMS used in the past was basically an electronic version of the company's previous paper-based system, requiring manual data entry at nearly every stage of the analysis cycle. The company, a customer of PerkinElmer Instruments (Shelton, Conn.) requesting anonymity in for this...

LIMS Fits Labs

A complex problem meets a simple solution

Improving and advancing its information management system was the primary goal for DonLevy Laboratories, a Merrillville, Ind.-based contract microbiology lab and consulting organization dedicated to the food industry. That goal was the primary focus for laboratory manager Peg Exo, who supervises DonLevy's lab operations, including the production of sample labels, bench sheets, analytical reports and invoices. To meet customer expectations, Exo found herself maintaining an increasingly vast collection of...

The Lowdown on Lauric Arginate

Food antimicrobial eats at plasma membrane, disrupting a pathogen's metabolic process.

As more and more food products are produced on a large industrial scale and distributed over extensive geographic areas, the concerns regarding quality and food safety throughout the shelf life of the product have become more and more critical. Effective control of bacterial growth is a constant concern due to the risk of spoilage and food-borne disease. The federal government continually estimates that 76 million cases of foodborne illnesses occur each year in the U.S. alone, resulting in 300,000...

Examples from the Real World

Staying competitive with a quality testing solution

Food companies that produce ready-to-eat products face a special challenge related to Listeria testing and prevention. Food quality and safety must be maintained while improving efficiencies and lowering costs at the same time. As environmental Listeria testing requirements increase to meet regulatory pressures, the job has become a little tougher. The biggest challenges with Listeria in a production environment are obvious--assuring you can find Listeria if it is present, eliminating it and preventing its...

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