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Features: What's Right With the Food 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.

Features: The Great Melamine Scare

The recent crisis involving Chinese milk adulterated with melamine once again brings food safety into the public spotlight. The problem has quickly become an international one, with melamine detected in U.S.-produced baby formula, as well as in chocolates distributed in Canada, biscuits marketed in the Netherlands, condensed milk manufactured in Thailand, and eggs sold in Hong Kong. Chinese dairy exports have declined more than 90% since the contamination became public.

Features: Auditing Makes the World Go Round

Historically in the United States, supplier audits have been accepted as external verification that a company was producing safe food. These second party audits are conducted either by internal staff employed by retail and food service companies or by auditing firms that can conduct generic or customized food safety audits. Third party audits, backed by certification bodies and typically incorporating stringent international standards, haven’t been widely accepted or utilized in this country.

Features: Industry and Government Talk Food Safety

Government and industry don’t usually agree on much. But at the 10th annual Food Safety & Security Summit in Washington, D.C., in March, the consensus was clear: Food safety is not only good for the public’s health, it’s good for business. Food safety leaders from Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, the National Restaurant Association, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Association of Food and Drug Officials spoke at the meeting about ensuring food safety—and the bottom line.

Departments: Be Ready to Beat Listeria

The foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes has remained a major concern in all food markets but is especially problematic for ready-to-eat (RTE) products. Its high level of morbidity—nearly 30% in those at greatest risk (pregnant woman, the elderly, young children, and the immunocompromised)—makes it a high priority in RTE plants.

Features: Protect Against Food Contamination Losses

Salmonella. Escherichia coli. Listeria. These words strike fear in the hearts of in-house counsel and executives in the food industry. Outbreaks of foodborne illnesses—and other incidents involving tainted food—have received a great deal of attention in recent years. In 2007, they reached a new peak: an outbreak of botulism infections caused by canned chili, a recall of more than 21 million pounds of ground beef and hamburger patties due to fears of E. coli contamination, a peanut butter recall...

Features: Predict Safety

Predictive food microbiology, a well-established subdiscipline of food microbiology used for nearly 100 years, is reemerging. Its progress and impact on food safety practices and hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) systems will require the cooperation of industry, academia, and regulatory agencies.

Features: Food Safety in the Retail World

You could say everything old is new again when it comes to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and food security. In 2003, the FDA issued a set of five food and cosmetic security preventive measures guidance documents designed to help participants in virtually all sections of the food chain minimize the risk of malicious, criminal, or terrorist actions involving products under their control. Their target audience: operators of food and cosmetic establishments, along with businesses that produce,...

Features: It's Not Easy Bein' a Green

What can be a problem for an amphibian also pertains to produce. Consider this: The famous muppet Kermit the Frog appears to have it all—notoriety, popularity, and tremendous professional success. Yet, he sings, “It’s not easy bein’ green.”

Features: Take the Online Expressway to Food Safety

The next time you make a quick stop for a hamburger, take the family out for dinner at a nice restaurant, or run into the supermarket for salad greens and a pre-cooked chicken for dinner on a busy day, think for a moment about the food on your table. How safe is it to eat?

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April/May 2014

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