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Departments: Recall Lessons Learned From the Beef Industry

In just the first few months of 2009, two high-profile foodborne illness outbreaks associated with peanuts and pistachios have drawn attention to the safety of our food supply. As a result, various food safety-related proposals are flooding the halls of Congress.

Departments: Improve Your Sanitation Training Program

Across the food industry, legions of plant sanitarians would swear they could comfortably retire if they had a sawbuck for every time they have heard this axiom. While battle fatigue associated with this oft-used adage is understandable, its underlying message—that effective cleaning and sanitizing are essential prerequisites for producing safe, quality food—remains at the core of sanitation training programs.

Departments: Critical Sanitation Issues in Food Service

This is the first in a two-part series. Part two, which will appear in our December/January issue, will focus on the targets for pathogen and spoilage microbes in the food contact zones.

Departments: Tracking Food Safety

U.S. food safety legislation is in the works to create a national food traceability system that would help to protect consumers from foodborne illness and would enable food manufacturers to increase their responsiveness and ability to participate in the recall process. The objective of the food traceability system is to find tainted food and remove it from the shelves as quickly as possible. If the new food safety legislation is signed into law, many participants in the food supply chain will be affected...

Departments: A Checklist for Vendor Quality Assurance

Large, multi-plant, and international food companies typically have the capital and technical resources to manage their supply chains. Many of these companies have one or more departments dedicated to evaluating, selecting, and monitoring their suppliers and associated raw materials. This is generally not the case for small- to mid-size food processors. In some cases, on-site audits of suppliers to smaller food companies are not economically or technically feasible.

Departments: Detect Pesticides With Mass Spec

More than once in my marriage—in fact, more than once in the last month—my significant other has presented me with a mysterious substance and asked, “Does this taste funny to you?” I generally decline these invitations to explore the unknown, not because I lack the courage, though that is true, but as someone with a science background, I feel I lack the proper instrumentation.

Departments: Avoid Auditing Pitfalls

Food companies routinely conduct food quality and safety audits to qualify vendors both on an initial and ongoing basis. Over the years, many different audit schemes have been developed, resulting in significant improvements in food quality and safety. Recent high profile recalls, however, such as the one involving the Peanut Corporation of America, raise many questions about the purpose and credibility of third-party audits.

Departments: Routine, Reliable Mercury Screeing

Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in air, water and soil. It exists in three different forms, elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. Coal-burning power plants are the largest source of mercury emissions to the air caused by humans in the United States, accounting for more than 40% of all domestic anthropogenic mercury emissions.1 Additional mercury emission sources include the burning of hazardous waste, chlorine production, mercury product...

Departments: Accurate Testing of Complicated Food Matrices

Worldwide food safety concerns have risen dramatically as the number of food contamination incidents and product recalls has increased. Accurately monitoring contaminant levels in food and agricultural products is essential to assure the safety of the food supply and to manage human health risks.

Departments: A Sweet Recipe for Safety

Ellison Bakery, a family-owned and operated manufacturer of cookies and cookie-based crunch and inclusion products in Fort Wayne, Ind., has found a sweet recipe for success. Despite today’s challenging economic environment, Ellison Bakery is thriving. Sales grew 39% in 2008 and are already up 24% this year. The company attributes its success to its focus on superior customer care and its dedication to producing premium quality product. To ensure the highest level of food safety, the bakery relies on...

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