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Articles by Topic - Laboratory
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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.
Departments: Filtration Knocks Out Deadly Bacteria in Nursery
The presence of Enterobacter sakazakii in powdered infant formula has been of serious concern because of recent outbreaks of infectious diseases. The FDA has determined that powdered infant formula has been the source of one-half to two-thirds of the infections caused by this bacterium. One study that sampled 141 cans of various brands of powdered formula concluded that E. sakazakii was present in 14 percent of the samples. In 2002, the FDA recalled 1.5 million cans of powdered infant formula because of...
Departments: Separating the In from the Out
More than the people or the equipment, the one element virtually guaranteed to contact food during processing is the air inside the plant. Indoor air can become the vector that delivers contaminants to food and food contact surfaces. HVAC systems are critical control points (CCPs) in ensuring that food production remains safe from pathogens, allergens and other airborne contaminants.
Departments: Wine Producer Gets Efficient Scheduling with LIMS
The implementation of a new laboratory information management system (LIMS) has expedited sample logging, analysis and results distribution for a large wine producer, saving time and enabling more efficient scheduling. The custom LIMS used in the past was basically an electronic version of the company's previous paper-based system, requiring manual data entry at nearly every stage of the analysis cycle. The company, a customer of PerkinElmer Instruments (Shelton, Conn.) requesting anonymity in for this...
Departments: LIMS Fits Labs
Improving and advancing its information management system was the primary goal for DonLevy Laboratories, a Merrillville, Ind.-based contract microbiology lab and consulting organization dedicated to the food industry. That goal was the primary focus for laboratory manager Peg Exo, who supervises DonLevy's lab operations, including the production of sample labels, bench sheets, analytical reports and invoices. To meet customer expectations, Exo found herself maintaining an increasingly vast collection of...
Departments: Examples from the Real World
Food companies that produce ready-to-eat products face a special challenge related to Listeria testing and prevention. Food quality and safety must be maintained while improving efficiencies and lowering costs at the same time. As environmental Listeria testing requirements increase to meet regulatory pressures, the job has become a little tougher. The biggest challenges with Listeria in a production environment are obvious--assuring you can find Listeria if it is present, eliminating it and preventing its...
Departments: Isolation and Confirmation
In today's modern microbiology laboratory, many scientists recognize the benefits of rapid bacterial testing and identification methods for target pathogens. With the onset of technology, many rapid methods have been developed to significantly reduce time to detection, all the while reducing the cost of the testing process and allowing the release of time-sensitive products more quickly. Imagine a food lab with a time sensitive product. However, due to their traditional Listeria detection method, they...
Departments: Addressing Pesticide Residue
The European Union, through the newly formed European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), is widely recognized as one of the strictest regulatory agencies in the world governing the production and distribution of consumable agricultural products. Whether its zeal is driven by France’s long standing claim as the birthplace of gastronomy or the fact that many countries with different food traditions share patch-worked borders or by consumer concern for food safety fueled by well- publicized scares over BSE...