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Columns: Are We Almost There?

With the passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been tasked to create approximately 50 rules, guidance documents, reports, and studies—all of which all must be implemented within very specific time frames.

Departments: Get a Feel for Texture

The most important physical properties of food quality are probably those related to consumer perception. Freshness of bread is commonly evaluated by lightly squeezing the loaf on the shelf. Its density is evaluated by feeling its weight, from which a consumer may imply something about chewiness.

Departments: Get a Handle on Allergens

More than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions, and it is estimated that 5 million to 12 million Americans suffer from food allergies. This corresponds to 4% to 8% of children and 1% to 3% of adults. An allergic reaction to food occurs when a person’s immune system attacks a food substance, usually a protein. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 30,000 emergency room visits, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 150 deaths occur from food-related anaphylaxis annually.1 At present there...

Features: A Recipe for Hand Hygiene Process Control

Process control drives almost all food safety measures, with the exception of handwashing and hand hygiene. These remain a frontier without meaningful, measureable, and manageable standards.

Features: Eye on China

Glow-in-the-dark pork. Exploding watermelons. These recent oddities from China might seem comical were it not for the country’s abysmal food safety record, which includes deaths and illnesses caused by melamine-laced baby formula, Salmonella-tainted seafood, and clenbuterol-treated pork.

Departments: The 100% Solution to Worker Testing

Employee training has always posed challenges for food companies. Consider language, for example. English may be a second language for many employees, which raises the issue of worker comprehension. Do employees really understand the concepts and procedures being taught, particularly the importance of product safety?

Departments: On the Trail of Salmonella

Of all foodborne pathogens, Salmonella is one of the most difficult to isolate because of its homogeneity. Strains like Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella Montevideo are, genetically speaking, almost indistinguishable from one another using conventional tools of forensic microbiology.

Departments: CIP Spells Savings

Clean-in-place and sterilize-in-place (CIP/SIP) systems are essential to safe, efficient food production. Between different product runs and on a regular basis, product handling, processing, conveying, and packaging equipment components undergo crucial washdowns to eliminate contaminants. And regularly well-cleaned equipment also tends to enjoy extended operation life, providing an important cost benefit to food and beverage companies.

Columns: FSMA Takes Shape

In less than 12 months from now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will begin requiring regulated food companies to demonstrate that they have adopted and implemented written food safety plans, with defined preventive controls designed to reduce or prevent food safety hazards.

Features: Germany's E. coli Nightmare

With at least 40 dead and thousands sickened in more than a dozen nations, food investigation methods are once again under close scrutiny

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August/September 2014

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