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Articles by Topic - Laboratory

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Departments: The Water Audit as a Strategic Tool to Manage Operational Costs and Performance

Food and beverage plants generally focus strongly on two objectives: Producing high-quality product in an efficient and well-run production facility and reducing/controlling costs in the process, while maintaining effective investment planning.

Departments: Controlling Listeria

Recall of food products contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes are on the rise, due in part to federal regulatory agencies’ increased scrutiny of food processing plants. Each year in the United States, L. monocytogenes causes approximately 2,500 cases of illness, which result in 500 deaths (Mead, 1999). Susceptible persons include pregnant women and those with immune system compromise due to cancer, organ transplant therapy, kidney disease, diabetes, aging and AIDS.

Departments: Elusive E. Coli

Enterohemorrhagic E. coli O157:H7 gained great attention as a foodborne pathogen in 1982 after an outbreak from contaminated hamburgers in a fast-food chain. Although anyone can get ill from ingesting even low levels of this organism, the very young and the elderly are at greater risk for developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) as a result of an E. coli O157:H7 infection. HUS is a severe illness that can lead to permanent loss of kidney function and even death. According to estimates by the Centers for...

Departments: Traceability as a Tool

In June 2002, national manufacturer ConAgra Beef Co. voluntarily recalled more than 354,000 pounds of ground beef – 177 tons – that may have been contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. Within 20 days, USDA requested that the company further expand its recall to include 19 million pounds of product. Since ConAgra could not readily trace and identify the stores that bought the meat or the brands under which it was sold, it took days to pull all of the recalled product. Public awareness quickly...

Departments: Conquering Compliance Management

It’s no secret that FDA regulated industries are motivated to find better ways to comply with ever-increasing government regulations and formative industry standards. GMP requirements, 21 CFR Part 11, Sarbanes-Oxley, HACCP and other regulations have made compliance- and risk-management a key concern for any regulated organization.

Departments: Express Evaluation

Classical methodologies used for enumerating Staphylococcus in food are time consuming taking up to 78 hours. The 3M Petrifilm Staph Express Count System (STX) is a rapid test that has recently been commercialized in order to shorten the time. When using STX, the population of S. aureus in food samples can be determined in as soon as 22 hours because the identification of S. aureus is not based on coagulase production.

Departments: Tasty Technology

For the past six years, Copenhagen, Denmark-based Chr. Hansen, a manufacturer of blended seasonings, has operated a plant in Elyria, Ohio. There, the company manufactures custom flavor blends for a variety of food manufacturers, including Tyson Foods, Frito-Lay, Shearer’s Chips and Freshmark.

Departments: GMO Traceability–Making it Work

Mad cow disease hit the news again in June, fueling consumer fears about the safety of the food supply chain. Also, a recent report revealed that over a four-year period Swiss biotech firm Syngenta AG sold U.S. farmers an unapproved strain of genetically modified corn seed, which may have entered the food supply and international channels. These two incidents reveal how porous the U.S. agricultural supply system is to contamination. They also highlight the need for robust traceability technologies that...

Departments: New Generation Testing Platforms

In the last few years, technological advancements of DNA detection systems, more commonly known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, have been remarkable. In fact, parallels can be drawn to the computer industry, where technology that was cutting edge as little as four years ago, barely meets our most basic expectations today.

Departments: Meeting the Need for Speed

Collecting data in a busy lab is always important, and when that lab is testing product for potentially lethal microbes, obtaining accurate data is imperative to public health and commercial success. It is equally important to accurately record, store and report that data.

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October/November 2014

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