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Departments: California Requires New Certification for Food Handlers

Effective July 1, California will require all employees who handle food in restaurants to earn a California Food Handlers Card. This legislation, modeled on successful programs in other states, will affect more than 1.4 million food industry jobs.

Columns: We’re Happy to Comply — But How?

Anyone involved in the food industry has now heard about the recent passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA. Although the FSMA imposes many new and, some might argue, exotic requirements on industry, the one that likely will have the greatest impact on food companies is the mandate that they “develop and implement written food safety plans.” Many companies are asking, what does this really mean? Although none of us can be certain until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration...

Features: A Key Figure in Food Safety

Mention the name Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), and most people think of the pasteurization process he invented to prevent beverage spoilage. But Pasteur was a true renaissance man, researching, teaching chemistry and physics, and ultimately making discoveries that revolutionized fields such as agriculture, hygiene, and industry.

Departments: Get a Documented Food Safety Plan

Get ready to meet your new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspector. On Jan. 4, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Food Safety Modernization Act, S. 510. The bill essentially takes provisions from the House-passed H.R. 2749 and combines it with S. 510 (Senate) to make one bill. The new bill will impose stiff penalties for known violations. To ensure enforcement, the House bill includes a minimum $1,000/year registration fee to be assessed to all food facilities to help pay for mandatory FDA...

Columns: Red, Yellow, Green, Go

Cultivating behavior change requires a specific communication strategy. The objectives of this strategy are to ensure that food employees and managers throughout the facility are familiar with food safety standards, their role in maintaining these standards, and the consequences of not maintaining these standards.

News: The Obama Administration and Food Safety

Two years into it term, the Obama administration gets a solid grade of B for overall food safety from a range of interest groups that includes consumer advocates, growers, processors, and manufacturers. But consensus is lacking on specific efforts, such as the conducting inspections, since different groups are impacted very differently by these activities. For instance, consumers applaud more frequent testing of fresh produce, but growers complain that the process takes too long and can hold up and even...

Departments: Start a Food Safety Management System

Businesses from all links in the food chain are increasingly challenged to implement a structured food safety management system (FSMS) that is incorporated into the overall management activities of the organization. This challenge comes from the requirement to comply with a growing number of regulations, as well as pressure from customers and the ethical obligation to protect consumers from illness and injury by providing safe food.

Departments: Regulations, Market up the Ante for Food Safety

If you subscribe to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts, you’re well aware that food recalls occur almost daily. Few of these product issues receive nationwide publicity like this summer’s recall of 380 million infected eggs or last year’s Salmonella-tainted peanut butter.

Departments: Is Food Nanotech Withering on the Vine?

As recently as 2005, food manufacturing giants like Kraft Foods and Nestlé were touting the food science breakthroughs they expected to make using nanotechnology. At the time, anticipated innovations included tiny chemical tongues and noses to sense spoilage, smart foods that could change composition to suit the consumer, and delicious junk foods with the nutritional profile of broccoli. Kraft even organized a consortium of government and academic institutions, called the Nanotek Consortium, to...

Columns: Food Safety Legislation: It's Alive!

Talk about bad timing. In last issue’s letter, which I wrote the day after the GOP spanked Democrats in the recent mid-term election, I pronounced food safety legislation, specifically the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510), effectively dead.

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