FoodHACCP Newsletter



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09/23. Food Safety Regulation – San Diego, CA
09/23. QMS Lead Auditor, Food Safety - USA
09/23. Director of QA & Food Safety – Woburn, MA
09/21. Quality Assurance Manager - Vandalia, OH
09/21. Food Safety/Sr Qual Spec – E. Hanover, NJ
09/21. Food Safety Specialist - Newburyport, MA
09/20. Food Safety/QA Manager - Charlotte, NC
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09/19. QA Supervisor – San Leandro, CA

09/26 2016 ISSUE:723

Campylobacter Outbreak in Pueblo County CO Linked to Raw Milk
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/campylobacter-outbreak-in-pueblo-county-co-linked-to-raw-milk/
By News Desk (Sep 23, 2016)
A Campylobacter outbreak in Pueblo County, Colorado has sickened at least 20 people, according to news releases from El Paso County Public Health and the Pueblo City-County Department of Public Health. Twelve confirmed and eight probable cases of Campylobacter infections have been reported to public health officials since August 1, 2016. The most recent illness onset date was September 16, 2016.
All of those sickened reported drinking raw milk from Larga Vista Ranch in Pueblo County. All of those case patients live in Pueblo and El Paso counties.
The state health department has notified about 175 people who are participants in the Larga Vista cow share operation on September 8, 2016 about this problem and are doing so again today. These types of operations let people buy a share of a cow and then receive raw milk in return. Shareholding is the only way it is legal to obtain raw milk in Colorado.
Some of those who are sick were not shareholders in the cow share operation, but got the raw milk from those who were shareholders. Under the law, shareholders are not allowed to redistribute the raw milk they get from farmers.
Government officials are warning people not to consume raw milk and raw milk products from Larga Vista and to throw away any products from that ranch they may have in their homes. The risk of serious complications from consuming raw milk is greater for infants, young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic illnesses and weakened immune systems.
Both agencies warn consumers that drinking unpasteurized milk can endanger your health. There is no method available to assure the safety of raw milk. This product is only safe to consume if it is pasteurized.
Many animals, including cows, dogs, and pigs, carry this bacteria in their intestines.The Campylobacter bacteria is shed in feces. Since a cow’s teat is so close to its anus, feces can very easily get into milk, even if a farmer practices exceptional hygiene. The infectious dose for Campylobacter is less than 500 organisms, which easily fit on the head of a pin.
The illness caused by Campylobacter bacteria is called campylobacteriosis. This bacteria is the most commonly reported cause of diarrhea in this country. Symptoms include diarrhea which is often bloody, abdominal cramps and pain, nausea and vomiting, fever, headache, and tiredness. The illness usually lasts for two to five days, but some people may be sick for as long as 10 days. Most people recover without medical intervention, but some may develop serious complications.
One of the complications of this illness is Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which is the leading cause of paralysis in the United States. Other complications include meningitis and arthritis.
Guillain-Barré Syndrome usually develops a few weeks after the person first becomes sick. It causes paralysis of the limbs that can last for weeks. In more severe cases, people can stop breathing and require hospitalization for months or years. Some people are permanently paralyzed from this syndrome.
If you drank raw milk from Larga Vista Ranch in Pueblo County, Colorado and have experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor. Antibiotics can help reduce the severity of the infection.

Hospitals and care homes fail food safety inspections
Source : https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/25/hospitals-and-care-homes-fail-food-safety-inspections
By Kate Lyons and Helena Bengtsson (Sep 25, 2016)
Data shows more than 500 places caring for vulnerable people, including nurseries and playgroups, require improvement
More than 500 care providers in the UK, including 19 hospitals and other NHS facilities, have failed hygiene and food safety inspections, Guardian analysis reveals.
Food Standards Agency (FSA) data shows that care homes fail to meet food hygiene standards more than any other type of care provider, with more than 200 residential, nursing and care homes receiving low grades at their latest food safety inspections.
This was closely followed by nurseries, childcare centres, playgroups and out-of-school care providers, more than 200 of which failed to meet hygiene standards, as well as a handful of hospices, homeless shelters, churches and youth centres.
The FSA ranks all food providers, giving them a score of zero to five. Zero means the establishment “urgently requires improvement”, one or two is considered a failing grade, and three to five is satisfactory.
An overwhelming majority (more than 98%) of hospitals and other care providers achieve a food hygiene rating of three or better. Despite this overall success, Michael Harding, a food hygiene rating scheme support officer at the FSA, said any instance of a care organisation receiving a low score was “a cause for concern”, due to the fact that vulnerable people, including children, older people and people who are ill, were more likely to use their services.
“The food safety officer will be taking the necessary action to ensure that the issues identified at caring premises with a lower rating are addressed and that vulnerable people are not put at risk,” he said.
Eight care providers still in operation scored zero, including six residential care homes, one nursery and one after-school care facility, which has since stopped preparing food for children.
A ninth, Fairy Tales day nursery in Glen Parva, Leicestershire, received a score of zero in May after inspectors found a mouse infestation. The nursery closed and has since reopened under new management. The new business is yet to be inspected, but a spokesman from Blaby district council, which conducts inspections in the area, said Ofsted visited the site in mid-August and confirmed that it was clean and tidy with no evidence of mice.
The Stay and Play after-school care service at Millbrook primary school in Newport, south Wales, scored a zero rating in June after it provided high-risk food, such as ham and salad wraps, despite not having the facilities to safely prepare them, Newport city council’s environmental health team said. The centre has since stopped serving food that requires preparation and gives children cereal or biscuits instead.
Several care homes were given zero ratings for issues including mouldy and expired food found in fridges, evidence of cross-contamination between raw and cooked food, lack of hand-washing facilities, poor cooking equipment and no food safety management documentation.
Businesses awarded a zero rating are either immediately shut down or given 28 days to tackle urgent issues, with visits to check that work has been carried out. They can then either pay £160 to be rescored or wait until their next scheduled assessment, usually about six months later, to potentially be given a new score.
Nineteen hospitals nationwide received scores of between zero and two, or “improvement required” in the case of Scotland, which uses a different grading system.
According to the FSA, the hospital inspections look at meals served in canteens as well as those served to patients, but do not cover independent retailers based at hospitals, which are inspected separately.
In almost all cases, spokespeople for the low-scoring hospitals and the councils that inspected them said the hospital administrations had taken steps to improve food safety.
Eight hospitals in Scotland received the grade of “improvement required”, in some cases because of repeated minor contraventions, such as chipped plaster on kitchen walls, water damage on floor coverings and the lack of a thermometer to monitor fridge temperatures.
One of these hospitals, Albyn hospital in Aberdeen, a 30-bed private hospital run by BMI Healthcare, received a rating of “improvement required” in May, with the food safety inspector citing issues with cleanliness, temperature control and paperwork. The inspector also mentioned concerns with cross-contamination from the storage of raw and cooked foods together, use of the same aprons by staff throughout the day and in particular the use of the same machine to vacuum-pack raw food, such as sausages, and cooked food, such as chicken and smoked salmon.
“I am extremely concerned that … the vacuum packer was being used for ready-to-eat foods,” the inspector wrote in their report. “Your customers are patients of the hospital and as such have heightened vulnerability and may be immunocompromised [have a weakened immune system].”
Stuart Storrie, the interim executive director of BMI Healthcare, said that since the inspection the company had worked with suppliers and staff to “correct every single one of the problems cited in the report” and he was confident they had addressed all issues raised.
Two hospitals in Birmingham received failing grades at their inspections in March. The Royal Orthopaedic and West Heath hospitals were awarded scores of two and one respectively.
The catering company that prepares food for two units at Kingsley Green’s NHS site in Shenley, Hertfordshire – Oak unit, a 10-bed psychiatric intensive care facility, and Beech unit, a 15-bed rehabilitation ward – received a score of one in December 2015. Another inspection of the wards was imminent, St Albans city and district council said.
An NHS eating disorder unit in Stockton-on-Tees was given a score of one in March 2015. The facility runs shopping and cooking workshops with clients, and an inspection found that during these activities, there were problems with food hygiene, such as hand washing and not wearing aprons.
A spokesperson for the NHS trust said that since the inspection, it had had further talks with inspectors and put in place “robust actions” to improve food safety.

 

 


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Staff of life can pose food safety dangers
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/staff-of-life-can-pose-food-safety-dangers/#.V-hyqk5H2Ul
By Cookson Beecher (Sep 23, 2016)
Just as wheat is the staff of life in many human civilizations, it is as important to animals and insects. In fact, they love it, as anyone who has lived near or worked in the wheat fields very well knows. All manner of critters, including deer, birds and rodents, will seize the opportunity to dine on wheat, whether it is growing in fields or temporarily stored in huge piles on the ground after harvest.
And therein lies the problem — at least when it comes to food safety. Wildlife can carry E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria and other pathogens that can contaminate human foods via a variety of routes.
Leslie Smoot, a senior advisor in FDA’s Office of Food Safety, said it’s simply a matter of sharing the planet with other animals.
“Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria. So if an animal heeds the call of nature in the field, bacteria from the animal waste could contaminate the grain, which is then harvested and milled into flour,” Smoot said.
Although people don’t usually associate flour with foodborne diseases, a multi-state E. coli outbreak linked to contaminated flour sold by industry giant General Mills Inc. has sickened at least 46 people, with 13 people needing to be hospitalized. One of them has a life-threatening kidney condition known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS).
The first confirmed E. coli case in the General Mills recall was reported on Dec., 21, 2015, with the most recent victim falling ill on June 25, 2016. The flour giant recalled 45 million tons of flour and other companies issued secondary recalls because they used the flour to produce their foods.
The recall included three main brands of flour, Gold Medal, Signature Kitchens and Wondra. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the related recalled products ranged from bread and pancake mixes to meat and poultry products.
In addition to household consumers, General Mills also sells bulk flour to customers who use it to make other products. Some of those products, Marie Callender’s biscuit mix, Betty Crocker cake mix and Krusteaz pancake mix, also had to be recalled if they were made with flour in the recalled lots.
Not the first time, or the last — the cookie dough connection
An E. coli-related flour recall in 2009 was triggered when raw, prepackaged Nestlé cookie dough sickened 77 people. That happened when some of the people making the cookies nibbled on some of the raw cookie dough. In that outbreak, 35 people had to be hospitalized and 10 developed hemolytic-uremic syndrome.
That triggered Nestlé to switch to heat-treated flour for its refrigerated cookie dough.
“That’s the only way you can get rid of the microbes in a wheat flour,” Sunil Maheshwari, vice president of Siemer Specialty Ingredients, told a USA Today reporter, referring to heat treatment. He also said that heat-treated flour is what makes cookie dough found in ice cream or candy safe to eat.
Cookie dough and pathogens hit the headlines again this week with the recall of two flavors of Blue Bell Creameries’ cookie dough ice cream because of Listeria concerns. The cookie dough from third-party supplier Aspen Hills Inc. was recalled because of possible Listeria contamination, according to Blue Bell’s recall notice.
However, John Austin, a spokesman for the Iowa-based Aspen Hills, said the flour in the cookie dough had been heat-treated.
“Our testing didn’t find any Listeria,” he said.
Why not heat-treat all flour?
Don Trouba, marketing director for another mega-flour producer, Ardent Mills LLC, discussed flour-related microbiological risks in a special webinar earlier this month.
The Denver company hosted the online session to provide a step-by-step look at the milling process, as well as possible grain- and flour-related microbiological risks, beginning in the wheat field and ending in the grocery store baking aisle.
Ardent Mills developed a special flour, dubbed “Safeguard,” which has been treated using a “proprietary, all-natural process” to get rid of bacteria. The company says the process doesn’t harm the taste, color, appearance or “gluten functionality” of the flour. And because of its versatility, it can be used for refrigerated biscuit and cookie dough, pizza crusts, frozen doughs, cereals, and retail packaged flour. It’s primarily used by commercial customers.
As for irradiating the flour to kill the pathogens, industry officials say that option wouldn’t be acceptable to consumers, despite the effectiveness of the procedure.
Out in the field
Wheat fields often extend for miles and miles. People driving by them don’t actually see the individual wheat plants, which before producing tiny kernels, actually have tiny flowers. Instead, people see a broad swath of color — green when the wheat is young and golden yellow when it’s getting ready to be harvested.
Many people don’t equate the flour they use to make breads, cakes, muffins and tortillas with the wheat fields they may have driven past.
That’s why Ardent Mills officials wanted to provide a glimpse of the process, as well as to explain some of the food safety realities that go with it.
Kent Juliot, Ardent Mills vice president of research, quality and technical solutions, said during the webinar that in addition to wheat being subject to possible incursions from animals and birds, the previous use of cropland is part of the food-safety equation.
Even so, contamination rates are extremely low, he said.
Milling the wheat
When the wheat is taken to a mill, it is cleaned, milled and then sifted. The goal, of course, is to remove the outer layer of the wheat kernel and grind the interior endosperm into flour.
As for the cleaning of the wheat, itself, Ronald Burke, Ardent Mills senior director of food safety and quality, said the process involves removing unwanted objects, such as stones, pieces of metal, and kernels with color differences. It is, however, not designed to remove foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella.
In fact, nowhere in the milling process does that happen, although food safety standards are followed when it comes to keeping equipment and trucks clean, training employees, abiding by good manufacturing practices, and conducting an analysis of possible contamination points in the process.
Milling is a simple, mechanical process, Burke said. It doesn’t address microbial pathogens.
Even though CDC warns the public that flour is actually a raw, uncooked food, most people don’t see it that way.
Flour, especially white flour, doesn’t look raw. It looks processed. And the very process of milling wheat into flour can spread contamination from a few wheat kernels to large quantities of flour.
Even so, it’s extremely rare for people to become ill from eating flour for one simple reason: Flour is rarely eaten raw. Instead, it’s added to other ingredients and baked, fried, boiled or microwaved, which generally kills pathogens. But with raw dough, there is no kill step.
Yet it’s not uncommon for people making cookies, pie crusts and cakes to nibble on some of the dough or to let their children lick the bowl where cake batter was mixed. And some people actually eat defrosted frozen pizzas without cooking them first.
With that in mind, General Mills has repeatedly warned the public since its recalls: Do not eat uncooked dough or batter made with raw flour. Flour is made from wheat that is grown outdoors where bacteria are often present. Flour is typically not treated to kill bacteria during the normal milling process.
Warning labels considered
The General Mills recall and related outbreak has generated some discussion about how best to remind people to never eat raw flour and to always wash their hands with soap and water after handling raw flour, dough or batter.
During the Ardent Mills webinar, Juliot said that this is a topic of great interest to the industry.
“We expect warning statements to become more prevalent,” he said, conceding that there’s still room for improvement.
Melissa Kirkwood, spokesperson for AIB International, formerly known as the American Institute of Baking, said warnings are “on the forefront of industry concerns.”
Stephanie Lopez of Food Safety Services at AIB International in the Americas said there are no requirements for products to be labeled with warning statements for not-ready-to eat (NRTE) foods. However, food manufacturers are required to communicate to their customers and consumers any safe handling requirements, such as refrigeration and cooking instructions.
“It’s more about telling the consumer what to do, rather than what not to do,” Lopez said.
Some products already have warning labels. Pillsbury’s refrigerated pie crust contains this statement: DO NOT EAT RAW PIE CRUST DOUGH.
However, tubes of Western Family’s naturally flavored refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing carry no such label, although in bold letters at the end of the list of ingredients, it does warn that the product contains wheat, eggs and soy.
And not all products, such as fried fish that looks like it’s ready to eat because the flour-crust on it has been browned, carry that sort of warning.
In the end, it’s the consumer’s responsibility to make sure raw dough and flour in any form isn’t eaten. And that, of course, calls for more consumer education.
Slaying myths
In a white paper — “Flour Food Safety” — written for Ardent Mills by author Deann Akins, two prevailing misconceptions are put to rest.
MYTH: Pathogens such as Salmonella are not of importance to low-moisture ingredients such as flour simply because these ingredients do not support its growth.
FACT: Salmonella does not need to grow to cause illness. In some instances, infection has occurred from consuming low-moisture products contaminated with less that 1 cfu/g. It’s also important, says Akins, to note that flour may be added to ingredients such as batters and mixes that are more conducive to growth.
MYTH: Sample testing is a reliable way to assure food safety.
FACT: Microbiological testing of a production lot of a food product does not guarantee that the entire lot is pathogen-free. Production lots of flour are usually very large, so only a fraction of a lot can be tested. Pathogens generally are not homogeneously distributed throughout the lot; they tend to clump together in groups.
This means that a sample tested for a pathogen can test negative when other areas in the same lot may contain pathogens. Considering how much testing would be needed, said Akins, “testing to this magnitude is not realistic because it’s cost prohibitive.”
Looking ahead
Martin Wiedmann, a food safety professor at Cornell University, warns that companies cannot rely on the consumer to play it safe. Instead, they must understand what the consumer can do and will do with their products.
 “Every company has to think this through,” he said.
Another question posed by Wiedmann: “Is the risk so low that the risk to the consumer is low? Because you’ll never make food 100 percent safe. The challenge is where do you strike that balance?”
He said he’s seen companies make food safe to eat, but in some cases, it just doesn’t taste good. And while you can make flour safer, the risk you run is that it will lose some of its “behaviors,” such as the adequate rising of bread.
The other option is not to have a product.
“That’s the conundrum of food safety,” Wiedmann said. “It’s like life. If playing sports can be dangerous, does that mean we should sit on the couch and watch TV instead?”
And he predicts that “it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
“Consumers’ expectations are higher now,” he said. “They want food to be safe but they also want it to taste good, be affordable, be convenient, and have a low environmental impact. The challenge before us is ‘How do we help people make informed decisions?’”
Advice for consumers
FDA offers these tips for safe food handling of flour.
•Do not eat any raw cookie dough, cake mix, batter, or any other raw dough or batter product that is supposed to be cooked or baked.
•Follow package directions for cooking products containing flour at proper temperatures and for specified times.
•Wash hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough products.
•Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that may be present from spreading. Be aware that flour may spread easily due to its powdery nature.
•Follow label directions to chill products containing raw dough promptly after purchase until baked.

SM Fish Closed by FDA; Illnesses Linked to Facility
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/sm-fish-closed-by-fda-illnesses-linked-to-facility/
By Linda Larsen (Sep 22, 2016)
The FDA has suspended the food facility registration of SM Fish Corporation of Far Rockaway, New York after finding Listeria monocytogenes at that location during three different inspections. In addition, whole genome sequencing (WGS) matched one of the strains found at SM Fish to isolates from four people sickened with listeriosis.
Anyone with un-expired ready to eat food manufactured by SM Fish should not eat those products. This is an expansion of the July 29, 2016 recall of Ossie’s Herring Salads to include all RTE foods from that facility. Ossie’s ready to eat seafood salads were also recalled on September for possible Listeria contamination.
Listeria was first fond in the facility in 2015 and found Listeria bacteria in 15 of 105 locations swabbed throughout the building. An inspection on June 14, 2016 to July 6, 2016 found Listeria monocytogenes in the facility in 29 of 105 environmental samples. The company briefly closed to revise its cleaning and sanitation procedures.
Then, the facility was re-inspected and re-sampled from August 15, 2016 to September 9, 2016 and discovered that the cleaning and sanitation procedures were unsuccessful. Listeria was found in 12 of the 116 locations swabbed in the facility, including one on a direct food contact surface. The pathogenic bacteria was also found on non-contact food surfaces that are in “sufficient proximity” to the food and food contact surfaces to create an increased risk of contaminating the food.
Listeria bacteria was found in the kitchen, fish processing room, herring room, cheese slicing room, and the ice maker/machine area. One positive swab was found on the inner surface of a mixing bowl that comes into contact with food.
Whole genome sequencing matched the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria genetically to samples collected during both the 2015 and the June/July 2016 inspections. That means at least three strains of Listeria bacteria have been consistently present in this facility for two years.
One of the strains of Listeria monocytogenes found at the facility is a “genetic match for the pathogen found in four listeriosis clinical illness.” that means that “the strain of L. monocytogenes found in your facility is capable of causing life-threatening, invasive listeriosis,” according to the letter. There is no word on where those sick persons live, if they have been hospitalized, or their ages.
Listeria monocytogenes is very difficult to eradicate once it has made a foothold in a facility, especially in a wet processing environment with a high amount of manual packing. Cross contamiantion and transmission of the pathogen to the finished product is very common in those situations. And there is zero tolerance for Listeria monocytogenes in ready to eat foods.
Inspectors also found “serious violations of the current Good Manufacturing Practices requirements for food that cause your RTE seafood products to be adulterated.” A kill step is not performed on these seafood products before they are distributed, so there is a “reasonable probability of such food causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans,” according to the FDA.
Inspectors found employees used spray nozzles and squeegees to clean equipment and the floors. These cleaning techniques can cause the movement of Listeria throughout a facility. Aerosols from a high pressure hose used on floors or dirty equipment can linger in the air for hours and can re-contaminate previously sanitized food contact surfaces. And dead flies were found in liquid on the floor, flying insects were found in the cutting board and knife in the Prepared Food Kitchen area, and condensate from an air conditioning unit was leaking onto food preparation surfaces.
The symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes include high fever, severe headache, muscle aches, diarrhea, nausea, stiff neck, and vomiting. Anyone who has eaten any Ossie’s ready to eat seafood or egg salads and has experienced these symptoms should see a doctor. Listeriosis can be deadly. Pregnant women, especially, are vulnerable to serious complications from this illness. These women may only have a mild flu-like illness, but listeriosis can cause miscarriage and stillbirth.

The FDA Offers Tips on Tailgating Food Safety
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/the-fda-offers-tips-on-tailgating-food-safety/
By Linda Larsen (Sep 21, 2016)
Fall is football season, and that means a lot of eating. Tailgating is part of that sport; people set up grills and picnic tables in the parking lots of stadiums and chow down. The FDA is offering tips to make your tailgating event a food safety success.
Plan ahead for food safety. Make sure you have these items on hand to keep the food you serve safe: paper towels, moist towelettes or hand sanitizer, two coolers (one for food and one for beverages), ice, frozen gel packs, two sets of cooking utensils (one for raw foods and one to take cooked food off the grill), paper plates, disposable silverware, a food thermometer to check the temperature of burgers and chicken, and clean containers to hold leftovers.
Always wash your hands well with warm water and soap for at least 2o seconds before you start to prepare the food. And wash your hands again, for the same time and with the same method, after handling raw meat or poultry. Wipe down food tables with disinfecting wipes before setting the table or eating, and make sure your guests use moist towelettes or hand sanitizer before they eat.
Cross-contamination is a common way that food becomes contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. Always keep raw meats and poultry separate from ready to eat foods, such as produce or cooked foods.
When you pack your cooler before you leave the house, make sure that thoroughly wrapped raw meat and poultry is at the bottom. That way it will stay cold, and raw meat juices won’t drip onto other foods. And never ever put cooked food on a plate or tray that held raw meat. Don’t use utensils that touched raw meat to remove cooked meat from the grill. And clean the thermometer probe as you are testing meat so you don’t transfer bacteria from a burger to a chicken breast.
Always use a food thermometer before you serve meats. This is the only say to know if the food has been cooked enough to kill pathogenic bacteria. You can’t tell if meat is safe by the color or the cooking juices. The food thermometer also helps you not overcook meat. Different meats have different safe final temperatures, so print out the Minimum Cooking Temperatures chart to be on the safe side. Once meats have cooked, keep them warm with chafing dishes or put them in a clean pan on the warm side of the grill rack and cover.
When it’s time to go into the stadium, remember that your cooler can’t chill food down; it only keeps food cold. Keep cold foods cold during dinner by putting serving dishes in beds of ice. If the food stayed cold during your dinner, pack leftovers in clean containers and put them in the cooler again with ice. This is where having two coolers is handy. But if the perishable food is warm, throw it away.
And remember that you can call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854 to talk to a food safety specialist if you have questions. Stay food safe and enjoy the game. We hope your team wins!

Myths and facts about food safety
Source : http://buffaloreflex.com/living_better/myths-and-facts-about-food-safety/article_126684e0-7f92-11e6-a594-7311f007c96c.html
By buffaloreflex.com (Sep 20, 2016)
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost 50 million people get sick from foodborne diseases in the U.S. each year.
To help you and your family avoid joining those numbers, University of Missouri Extension nutrition and health education specialist Janet Hackert shares some myths and facts about food safety from Fight Bac!, the Partnership for Food Safety Education.
Myth: Cross-contamination does not happen in the refrigerator because it is too cold for germs to survive.
“Some microorganisms can survive, even at refrigerator temperatures,” says Hackert.
For example, listeria monocytogenes, which can be found in soft cheese, unpasteurized milk, hot dogs, deli meats and other foods, can live and continue to grow in temperatures as low as 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit. “That’s 4.4 degrees colder than the warmest a refrigerator should be,” she said. “Keep the refrigerator at 40 degrees or colder and the freezer at zero degrees or colder.
Myth: Leftovers are safe to eat until they smell bad.
“In fact, most contamination that can cause food poisoning does not affect the smell, taste or look of the food,” she said.
Know how long to safely keep foods at these temperatures. For example, keep leftovers in the refrigerator for only three to four days. Make a plan to eat them within that time. “If that is not possible or likely, freeze what would still be around beyond four days. Otherwise, toss them before they make anyone sick.”
Myth: If I microwave a food, the microwaves kill the bacteria, so the food is safe.
“The microwaves themselves do not kill the bacteria or viruses that can cause illness; the heat generated in the food by the microwaves is what is effective,” Hackert says. “Follow package instructions carefully, including turning and wait periods. Or use a cooking thermometer to make sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature.”
Go to www.FightBac.org for food safety tips and information about foodborne illness. More information from MU Extension is available at www.missourifamilies.org/foodsafety.
MU Extension also has a series of guides on storing food safely in the cupboard, refrigerator and freezer. Publications MP556, MP557 and MP558 are available online at www.extension.missouri.edu/publications and from your local MU Extension center.

Allergens & Cross-Contamination: Education vs. Ignorance
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/enewsletter/allergens-cross-contamination-education-vs-ignorance/
By Danielle M. Gleason, C.H.E., C.S.C (Sep 20, 2016)
. Approximately 15 million people live with food allergies, according to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) group. Restaurants today are filled with guests who have become more educated but who are also sometimes fueled by media-fueled misinformation. Employees are sometimes just as guilty of being uneducated or misinformed. Both need to become more educated so each is on the same page when necessary.
Food Allergies & Intolerances Explained
Let’s clear up some differences between allergies, intolerances, sensitivities and irritations as they relate to food. An allergy can be mild-to-severe, causing symptoms ranging from mild hives to breathing issues, and may result in death in severe cases. An intolerance or sensitivity can cause mild-to-severe discomfort, and medical attention is sometimes needed. In the case of an irritation, it is often an annoyance and may cause discomfort, but medical attention is rarely needed.
What are these sinister food items causing all the trouble? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) refer to the most common food allergens as the “Big 8”—milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts and tree nuts. Recently, corn and sesame have also been raising concerns.
In the case of an allergic reaction, physical symptoms are often apparent, and employees must be aware of these indications. Warning signs every foodservice employee should be aware of, and may need to call 911 about, are:
• Hives
• Itching
• Swelling
• Stomach pain
• Nausea or vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Sneezing
• Coughing or wheezing
• Shortness of breath
• Difficulty breathing or swallowing
• Swelling of airways
Restaurants always appreciate being provided with special dietary needs information ahead of time. By giving staff time to prepare, the wait will be lessened and the food will be handled properly. If a kitchen is limited on equipment or space, items may not be efficiently cleaned. Restaurants may not all carry products that meet a guests’ needs or exceptions. For severe allergies, guests must understand that cross-contamination cannot be avoided.
What Needs to Be Done?
Training and education are key. All hospitality organizations must make it a priority to train and educate their staff in sanitation and safety, including food allergy education. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) leads in training with the nationwide use of ServSafe, which certifies food service employees in safety, handling and sanitation. Organizations may choose—or may be required—to use a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plan, or they may create an allergen assessment risk program. With either program, the risk must first be assessed and all unintentional cross-contamination must be noted. Then solutions for dealing with the risk must be decided. After setting management guidelines for possible contamination, the solution must then be communicated to employees, and a correction made. It is crucial that this be repeated and reassessed throughout the flow of food handling.
Handling & Avoiding Cross-Contamination
Some food products can be contaminated before they are handled by employees. This should be labeled by the manufacturer. Common examples are products processed in a plant with other products containing wheat or nuts. It is our obligation to notify our guests that such products are used. This can be done with a menu note, tabletop advertisement, and/or relayed by the wait staff.
Most allergen contaminations happen due to mishandling and mislabeling of food products. As food handlers, there are important steps we can take. These steps are recognized by CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and NRA as ways to avoid cross-contamination:
• Use proper sanitary receiving guidelines (can be found at www.servsafe.com).
• Implement a personal hygiene program. Cross-contamination is possible from surfaces and people.
• Use reputable suppliers, and check all permits and licenses.
• Store all prepared food in areas separate from contaminants.
• Properly handle, clean and store products in areas away from contaminants.
• Wash and sanitize all equipment and small wares (use separate area or equipment when possible).
• Required training programs for front- and back-of-house employees.
• Inform guests of “secret” ingredients.
• Use visible disclaimer of possible allergens on menu.
Outcomes of Food Allergen Cross-Contamination
Food allergies are a major discomfort for those who have to deal with them. The guest may have symptoms noted previously, and they also have a financial commitment to doctor bills and medications, not to mention work missed. This is all very unfortunate, but have you considered the loss for the establishment that may have caused the cross-contamination that leads to the reaction? An establishment may experience lawsuits, monetary loss, loss of customers and reputation, negative media coverage, insurance liability, stakeholder liability and possible business failure—all because the night cook stored the rice near the shrimp bisque.
By training employees, they have more accountability in keeping guests with allergies safe, and they gain a level of confidence for having added knowledge when a guest asks about specific menu items.
How Do We Begin?
Each person involved must have a responsibility to the establishment and to the guest for food handling safety. With this knowledge, outbreaks can be minimized and avoiding them can be a part of the daily sanitation protocol.
I cannot express how many times I have heard, “What you teach your students isn’t the real world.” My response: “Well, yes, it is the real world—you have to make it that way. Set an example and follow through.”
“I don’t have the time or the pockets to do extra training for my staff. They should already know what to do.” Me: “There has to be time and money, just figure out when and where, because the outcome of a real issue will be much more expensive.”
Finally—best things last—“It is common sense! Just clean as you go!” Me: “Have you looked around lately? Common sense is not so common.”
As industry leaders, we must keep a clean, safe environment for all guests, regardless of their dining needs. It is crucial that we continue to educate both our staff and our guests.

Many get more time to meet FSMA record-keeping challenges
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/happy-compliance-day-now-the-real-fsma-work-begins/#.V-h06U5H2Ul
By Dan Flynn (Sep 19, 2016)
(Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a four-part series. Subsequent parts will post on the next two Mondays.)
Some say today is why so many in the food industry missed out on summer. Today is the compliance day for two major elements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), meaning it’s time to begin dotting your documenting i’s and crossing your regulatory t’s.
And it’s best to celebrate compliance day now because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently moved off many fixed compliance dates in favor of dates that will give many smaller businesses more time to comply with the new law. FDA announced those changes about a month ago, but without drawing much attention.
FDA is moving forward today with these FSMA compliance requirements:
•Human food companies other than small and very small businesses will need to come into compliance with the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food rule.
•Animal food companies other than small and very small businesses will need to come into compliance with Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) under the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals rule. Preventive controls for animal food will follow on Sept. 18, 2017.
From the day President Obama signed FSMA to today’s first implementation of two sections, it’s been 6 years, 8 months and 16 days. And by the time the Act is fully implemented, the 1938 law it was designed to replace will have been in existence for 80 years.
While the food industry has been getting ready for this date since the FSMA was signed into law on Jan. 4, 2011, most acknowledge this past summer was crunch time. Almost every food safety unit reports using the past summer to prepare for FSMA compliance dates. Food safety conferences were overflowing and accredited courses offered through professional groups were turning people away.
Food companies were sending personnel from such varied areas as transportation, trade, and the executive suite to training on a FSMA they are now seeing as increasingly broad in its impacts. That was obvious during the lengthy rule-making process. FDA took time to gather thousands of written comments and meet with stakeholders in person.
This was the first summer since the final rules were all out and the last break before food safety personnel must deal with a rapid-fire series of compliance dates for the FSMA rules. In other words, reality is setting in.
Today’s compliance date for the first two FSMA rules — Preventive Controls for Human Food and Preventive Controls for Animal Food — gets the ball rolling. And it’s not going to stop. Until now, FSMA was used only in instances where rules were not required, such as giving FDA the authority to withdraw the registration of a food facility and thereby closing down its operations.
The sections for human and animal food are intended to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness. and there is no doubt they are going to mandate their share of record-keeping and red tape. From today on, food facilities must be able to document they have a food safety plan, have conducted a hazard analysis, implemented preventive controls to mitigate hazards, and are conducting environmental monitoring.
“There’s nothing to it as long as you have the right training, tools, and treasury all in place,” said one company food safety manager.
FDA has acknowledged that FSMA is imposing costs on the food industry, but it also makes the point that the goal is to eliminate foodborne illness outbreaks that are just as costly, or more so, for the food industry.
“We estimate that processed foods covered by this rulemaking are responsible for approximately 903,000 foodborne illnesses each year, at a total cost to the American public of approximately $2.2 billion,” FDA’s economic analysis of the rule explains.
“Our break-even analysis shows that for the rule to be cost effective, it would have to prevent $382 million worth of foodborne illnesses; approximately 17 percent of the total annual illnesses, or approximately 157,000 illnesses when using a discount rate of 7 percent. For the rule to be cost effective using a discount rate of 3 percent, it would have to prevent $381 million worth of foodborne illnesses (about 17 percent or 156,000 illnesses),” according to the agency’s number crunchers.
The Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food rule, issued on April 6, 2016, was to be the next to go live on March 21, 2017. This, however, is now among a number of compliance dates that are being stretched out in the name of giving small business more time to comply. Shippers and receivers with fewer than 500 employee and with annual revenues of less than $27.5 million will have two years after publication of the final rule. All others will get one year.
That means the first compliance date shifts to April 6, 2017.
The transportation rule includes new requirements for the sanitary transportation of both human and animal food and covers shippers, motor vehicle carriers, rail vehicles, loaders, receivers and other elements of the transportation system. It imposes lots of record-keeping, most of which will likely be handled electronically since that’s the norm for the transportation sector.
“Through improved data, information acquired through public comment, and an expert elicitation we have estimated expected costs of this final rule.” FDA economists stated. “Annualized costs over the first ten years of implementation of this final rule at seven percent are expected to be $117 million ($113 million at three percent). FDA does not have sufficient data or evidence to fully quantify the benefits of this regulation,” they added.
The Foreign Supplier Verification Programs rule, by which importers will verify that food imported to the U.S. has been produced according to FDA requirements, has a May 13, 2017 compliance date.
The total costs being imposed on importers are $434.7 million on an annualized basis. FDA could not quantify how much it might save.
It’s certain that the Foreign Supplier Verification rule is both complicated and the most changed in its final version. Should records be accepted only in English, or should importers be permitted to present records first in their native language and only later provide the English versions? The final rule went with giving importers more time to provide documents in English.
The compliance date for the Intentional Adulteration, or Food Defense, rule is July 31, 2017. This one is different from the others in that it does not have to do with food production or shipments, but with protecting food against outside threats.
“The annualized costs per entity due to this proposed rule are about $13,000 for a one-facility firm with 100 employees, and there are about 4,100 small businesses that would be affected by the proposed rule, so we tentatively conclude that the proposed rule could have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities,” FDA estimated.
Food defense requirements fall upon businesses with more than $10 million in annual sales “with significant vulnerabilities and food at a high risk for intentional adulteration caused by acts of terrorism.”
Manufacturers and processors of food might have such “vulnerabilities,” not farms, restaurants, or most warehouses or packers.
Covered facilities must create a food defense plan, identify actionable process steps, implement focused mitigation strategies and related monitoring, corrective actions, and verification activities to protect these steps, train designated employees in food defense, and document these actions.
FDA estimates the annualized costs of these measures to be about $370 million.
Third Party Certification’s compliance date was to be Nov. 21, 2017, but FDA moved it to 18 months after the final rule was published. That is going to shift compliance to the spring of 2018.
FDA has also stated:
•For the importation of food from a supplier that is subject to the preventive controls or produce safety rules, six months after the foreign supplier is required to meet the relevant regulations;
•For an importer that is itself a manufacturer or processor subject to the supply-chain program provisions in the preventive controls regulations, the date by which it has to comply with those provisions. A range of compliance dates were established in the preventive controls rules for the supply-chain program provisions, which vary based on the size of the receiving facility and when the receiving facility’s supplier is required to comply with the new FSMA regulations.
On that date, third-party auditors will inspect foreign food facilities under FSMA. The new program comes with a rather modest cost, estimated by FDA at $2.8 to $11.6 million per year. And those costs would apparently fall mostly on foreign companies.
The final Produce Safety Rule was to take effect on Jan. 13, 2018, but instead different-sized operations will now have different times to comply.
Produce safety is one of the most politically sensitive elements of FSMA. It not only has to do with water and testing, but also involves FDA with agriculture in a significant way for the first time.
Except for sprout growers, this schedule of compliance dates will be followed:
•Very small businesses, those with more than $25,000 but no more than $250,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three-year period: four years.
•Small businesses, those with more than $250,000 but no more than $500,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three-year period: three years.
•All other farms: two years.
•The compliance dates for certain aspects of the water quality standards, and related testing and record-keeping provisions, allow an additional two years beyond each of these compliance dates for the rest of the final rule.
Compliance dates for modified requirements for farms eligible for a qualified exemption are:
•For labeling requirement (if applicable): Jan. 1, 2020.
•For retention of records supporting eligibility for a qualified exemption: Effective date of the final rule.
•For all other modified requirements: •Very small businesses, four years after the effective date of the final rule.
•Small businesses, three years after the effective date of the final rule.
Very small sprout growers will get three years to comply, small sprout growers will get two years, and all others, one year.

Many get more time to meet FSMA record-keeping challenges
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/happy-compliance-day-now-the-real-fsma-work-begins/#.V-h2Nk5H2Ul
By Dan Flynn (Sep 19, 2016)
(Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a four-part series. Subsequent parts will post on the next two Mondays.)
Some say today is why so many in the food industry missed out on summer. Today is the compliance day for two major elements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), meaning it’s time to begin dotting your documenting i’s and crossing your regulatory t’s.
And it’s best to celebrate compliance day now because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently moved off many fixed compliance dates in favor of dates that will give many smaller businesses more time to comply with the new law. FDA announced those changes about a month ago, but without drawing much attention.
FDA is moving forward today with these FSMA compliance requirements:
•Human food companies other than small and very small businesses will need to come into compliance with the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food rule.
•Animal food companies other than small and very small businesses will need to come into compliance with Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) under the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals rule. Preventive controls for animal food will follow on Sept. 18, 2017.
From the day President Obama signed FSMA to today’s first implementation of two sections, it’s been 6 years, 8 months and 16 days. And by the time the Act is fully implemented, the 1938 law it was designed to replace will have been in existence for 80 years.
While the food industry has been getting ready for this date since the FSMA was signed into law on Jan. 4, 2011, most acknowledge this past summer was crunch time. Almost every food safety unit reports using the past summer to prepare for FSMA compliance dates. Food safety conferences were overflowing and accredited courses offered through professional groups were turning people away.
Food companies were sending personnel from such varied areas as transportation, trade, and the executive suite to training on a FSMA they are now seeing as increasingly broad in its impacts. That was obvious during the lengthy rule-making process. FDA took time to gather thousands of written comments and meet with stakeholders in person.
This was the first summer since the final rules were all out and the last break before food safety personnel must deal with a rapid-fire series of compliance dates for the FSMA rules. In other words, reality is setting in.
Today’s compliance date for the first two FSMA rules — Preventive Controls for Human Food and Preventive Controls for Animal Food — gets the ball rolling. And it’s not going to stop. Until now, FSMA was used only in instances where rules were not required, such as giving FDA the authority to withdraw the registration of a food facility and thereby closing down its operations.
The sections for human and animal food are intended to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness. and there is no doubt they are going to mandate their share of record-keeping and red tape. From today on, food facilities must be able to document they have a food safety plan, have conducted a hazard analysis, implemented preventive controls to mitigate hazards, and are conducting environmental monitoring.
“There’s nothing to it as long as you have the right training, tools, and treasury all in place,” said one company food safety manager.
FDA has acknowledged that FSMA is imposing costs on the food industry, but it also makes the point that the goal is to eliminate foodborne illness outbreaks that are just as costly, or more so, for the food industry.
“We estimate that processed foods covered by this rulemaking are responsible for approximately 903,000 foodborne illnesses each year, at a total cost to the American public of approximately $2.2 billion,” FDA’s economic analysis of the rule explains.
“Our break-even analysis shows that for the rule to be cost effective, it would have to prevent $382 million worth of foodborne illnesses; approximately 17 percent of the total annual illnesses, or approximately 157,000 illnesses when using a discount rate of 7 percent. For the rule to be cost effective using a discount rate of 3 percent, it would have to prevent $381 million worth of foodborne illnesses (about 17 percent or 156,000 illnesses),” according to the agency’s number crunchers.
The Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food rule, issued on April 6, 2016, was to be the next to go live on March 21, 2017. This, however, is now among a number of compliance dates that are being stretched out in the name of giving small business more time to comply. Shippers and receivers with fewer than 500 employee and with annual revenues of less than $27.5 million will have two years after publication of the final rule. All others will get one year.
That means the first compliance date shifts to April 6, 2017.
The transportation rule includes new requirements for the sanitary transportation of both human and animal food and covers shippers, motor vehicle carriers, rail vehicles, loaders, receivers and other elements of the transportation system. It imposes lots of record-keeping, most of which will likely be handled electronically since that’s the norm for the transportation sector.
“Through improved data, information acquired through public comment, and an expert elicitation we have estimated expected costs of this final rule.” FDA economists stated. “Annualized costs over the first ten years of implementation of this final rule at seven percent are expected to be $117 million ($113 million at three percent). FDA does not have sufficient data or evidence to fully quantify the benefits of this regulation,” they added.
The Foreign Supplier Verification Programs rule, by which importers will verify that food imported to the U.S. has been produced according to FDA requirements, has a May 13, 2017 compliance date.
The total costs being imposed on importers are $434.7 million on an annualized basis. FDA could not quantify how much it might save.
It’s certain that the Foreign Supplier Verification rule is both complicated and the most changed in its final version. Should records be accepted only in English, or should importers be permitted to present records first in their native language and only later provide the English versions? The final rule went with giving importers more time to provide documents in English.
The compliance date for the Intentional Adulteration, or Food Defense, rule is July 31, 2017. This one is different from the others in that it does not have to do with food production or shipments, but with protecting food against outside threats.
“The annualized costs per entity due to this proposed rule are about $13,000 for a one-facility firm with 100 employees, and there are about 4,100 small businesses that would be affected by the proposed rule, so we tentatively conclude that the proposed rule could have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities,” FDA estimated.
Food defense requirements fall upon businesses with more than $10 million in annual sales “with significant vulnerabilities and food at a high risk for intentional adulteration caused by acts of terrorism.”
Manufacturers and processors of food might have such “vulnerabilities,” not farms, restaurants, or most warehouses or packers.
Covered facilities must create a food defense plan, identify actionable process steps, implement focused mitigation strategies and related monitoring, corrective actions, and verification activities to protect these steps, train designated employees in food defense, and document these actions.
FDA estimates the annualized costs of these measures to be about $370 million.
Third Party Certification’s compliance date was to be Nov. 21, 2017, but FDA moved it to 18 months after the final rule was published. That is going to shift compliance to the spring of 2018.
FDA has also stated:
•For the importation of food from a supplier that is subject to the preventive controls or produce safety rules, six months after the foreign supplier is required to meet the relevant regulations;
•For an importer that is itself a manufacturer or processor subject to the supply-chain program provisions in the preventive controls regulations, the date by which it has to comply with those provisions. A range of compliance dates were established in the preventive controls rules for the supply-chain program provisions, which vary based on the size of the receiving facility and when the receiving facility’s supplier is required to comply with the new FSMA regulations.
On that date, third-party auditors will inspect foreign food facilities under FSMA. The new program comes with a rather modest cost, estimated by FDA at $2.8 to $11.6 million per year. And those costs would apparently fall mostly on foreign companies.
The final Produce Safety Rule was to take effect on Jan. 13, 2018, but instead different-sized operations will now have different times to comply.
Produce safety is one of the most politically sensitive elements of FSMA. It not only has to do with water and testing, but also involves FDA with agriculture in a significant way for the first time.
Except for sprout growers, this schedule of compliance dates will be followed:
•Very small businesses, those with more than $25,000 but no more than $250,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three-year period: four years.
•Small businesses, those with more than $250,000 but no more than $500,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three-year period: three years.
•All other farms: two years.
•The compliance dates for certain aspects of the water quality standards, and related testing and record-keeping provisions, allow an additional two years beyond each of these compliance dates for the rest of the final rule.
Compliance dates for modified requirements for farms eligible for a qualified exemption are:
•For labeling requirement (if applicable): Jan. 1, 2020.
•For retention of records supporting eligibility for a qualified exemption: Effective date of the final rule.
•For all other modified requirements: •Very small businesses, four years after the effective date of the final rule.
•Small businesses, three years after the effective date of the final rule.
Very small sprout growers will get three years to comply, small sprout growers will get two years, and all others, one year.

8 Food Industry Trends Fueled by FSMA
Source : https://foodsafetytech.com/feature_article/8-food-industry-trends-fueled-fsma/
By Lori Carlson (Sep 19, 2016)
FSMA is fostering a surge in technology solutions, analytical tools and training products marketed to the food industry in the name of achieving FSMA compliance. And while many of these products were available pre-FSMA (especially in other industries like the life sciences), FSMA’s momentum has fueled the adaptation of solutions to meet the specific needs of the food industry for achieving and maintaining regulatory compliance. This article is a summary of emerging trends in food safety management by producers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers through the application of technology, educational tools, monitoring and detection systems, and other support mechanisms.
Whether by the spark of FSMA or because it makes practical sense (and most likely, a bit of both), businesses are integrating their food safety programs with enterprise initiatives and systems for managing compliance and risk to achieve increased visibility and harmonization across the organization.  The most popular trends fueled by FSMA largely reflect technology solutions to achieve this integration.
Subsequently, solutions that support risk assessment, supply chain management, real-time monitoring, corrective action, self-assessment, traceability, and training management are most attractive and lucrative from an ROI perspective. And while it may be hard to find a one-size-fits-all technology solution depending upon the needs of the organization, technology service providers are quickly raising the bar to meet these growing needs as organizations strive to reduce risk and increase compliance. Other top trends at the periphery of technology solutions include the mobilization of food safety personnel and increased availability of on-demand training and detection tools to bring the FSMA movement full circle.
1. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology solutions quickly gained a following in the food industry in recent years to achieve an automated food safety and quality management system (FSQMS) solution.
The substantial management components and recordkeeping requirements of the FSMA rules has accelerated the food industry’s need for automated solutions to document program management, queue workflows and distribute notifications for corrective and preventive action (CAPA). Understanding this need, many SaaS providers evolved with FSMA to provide functionality that dovetails with new regulatory requirements.
2. Increased availability of risk and vulnerability assessment tools is of significant importance in meeting many requirements of FSMA’s rules.
The regulatory language of all FSMA rules is steeped in risk analysis to support the prevention of food safety hazards and threats. This creates a demand for user-friendly tools and training courses to help food businesses analyze and update their management systems within the context of these new requirements. Risk and vulnerability assessment tools currently available to the food industry are diverse in functionality and vary in scope and cost.
For example, FDA’s free online tool, FDA-iRISK 2.0, assesses chemical and microbiological hazards in foods through process models, which quantify risk across scenarios and predict the effectiveness of control strategies.  Commercially available food hazard assessment tools based on HACCP/ HARPC principles include Safefood 360° and EtQ, which provide risk assessment modules as a part of their SaaS platform.
Universities, trade associations, and commercial risk management and consulting firms came together to produce two very different food fraud vulnerability tools to support the industry. SSAFE by the University of Wageningen RIKILT, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is a free online tool and mobile app, which guides users through a decision tree and assessment questionnaire to determine fraud opportunities, motivators and gaps in existing controls. EMAlert by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Battelle is a subscription-based online tool to assess vulnerability from economically motivated adulterants (EMA’s). Individuals conducting vulnerability assessments are recommended to periodically access food risk databases such as the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s (USP) food fraud database to stay informed of historical and emerging threats to the supply chain.
And in support of FSMA’s Food Defense rule, the FDA developed a free food defense software tool, Food Defense Plan Builder (FDPB), to help food businesses identify vulnerability to intentional adulterants and terrorist attacks on the food supply chain.
3. SaaS platforms, app-friendly assessment tools and FSMA recordkeeping requirements are creating a natural pathway for the increased use of mobile devices and electronic recordkeeping and verification.
From supply chain management to effective traceability to regulatory compliance, efficient document management and on-demand data retrieval is a must have of the modern FSQMS. Food businesses recognize the inherent obstacles of paper-based systems and increasingly trend towards rugged mobile devices and electronic recordkeeping to make better use of personnel resources, technology solutions and data. FSMA is helping leverage this trend two-fold through increased requirements for documentation and verification of food safety management activities and by not requiring electronic records to additionally meet the provisions of 21 CFR part 11 (electronic recordkeeping).
4. An increased demand for more effective, frequent and accessible training must be met across an organization to maintain an adequately trained workforce responsible for implementing FSMA.
To keep up with this demand—as well as the training demand imparted by GFSI schemes and fact that a company’s FSQMS is only as good as those who develop and operate it—food businesses are turning to online and blended learning courses to increase training frequency and effectiveness. In Campden BRI’s 2016 Global Food Safety Training Survey, 70% of food processors and manufacturers responded that they received training deficiencies during audits as the result of a lack of refresher training and/or lack of employee understanding.
In an effort to help close this gap and meet new implementation requirements of FSMA, food safety training providers are increasing offerings of eLearning courses, which provide targeted content in shorter duration to meet users’ needs in an interactive (and often multilingual) format. Shorter and more frequent targeted training is proven to increase knowledge retention and job performance. E-Learning training solutions can be found through dedicated training service providers as well as universities, trade associations, regulatory agencies, scheme owners, certification bodies, and other compliance organizations.
Depending upon the training provider, online training may be distributed through a learning management system (LMS) to provide additional training tools, assess training effectiveness and manage the training activities and competencies of all participants.
5. Targeted monitoring and verification activities such as product testing, environmental monitoring or water quality testing are helping to increase the demand for pathogen testing and push the frontier of improved rapid pathogen detection methods.
In a recent Food Safety Tech article, Strategic Consulting, Inc. noted more than a 13% annual increase in pathogen testing by contract food laboratories as determined by a recent industry study conducted by the group. The study additionally identified turn-around-time as the second most important factor for suppliers when choosing a contract lab. Increased access to rapid pathogen testing—and in particular, detection without time-dependent cultural enrichment—are primary needs of food businesses as regulators and customers push for enhanced monitoring and verification via testing mechanisms.
Currently, there are numerous rapid methods based on DNA, immunological or biosensor techniques. These methods can detect foodborne pathogens in relatively short amounts of time ranging from a few minutes to a few hours. But they often require pre-processing strategies to reduce matrix interference or concentrate pathogens to meet the level of detection (LOD) of the assay.1 These strategies increase the overall time of the assay and are largely the next hurdle for improved rapid detection.
6.  Food businesses are experiencing a wave of self-assessment followed by CAPA as organizations work to analyze and update their food safety systems and protocols within the context of applicable FSMA rules.
This trend has the potential to be the most beneficial to the supply chain and consumers as it provides a distinct opportunity for food businesses to reconsider previously overlooked hazards and vulnerabilities and upgrade food safety controls along with the management system. Seeing the FSQMS with fresh eyes—outside of the framework of a familiar standard—can lead to significant improvements in food safety management, product safety and quality, and even operational efficiency.
7.  For many food businesses, heightened regulation has spurned the need for dedicated staff to support compliance efforts.
Many food businesses are subject to multiple rules—some of which require a dedicated individual such as the Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) to assume responsibility for the implementation of various provisions. And food businesses are not exempt from the acute need for qualified individuals with a food safety skill set. Across the industry, from service providers to retailers and everyone in between or at the fringe, executives understand that it takes tireless leadership and knowledgeable staff to produce safe food.
8. More than any other trend, communication on FSMA, food safety and related topics is easily the most prevalent exhibiting exponential activity over the past five years.
Whether in support or contention with the proposed (now final) rules, FSMA promulgates constant dialogue about food safety, what it means and how it should be implemented. The constant flurry of communication provides both benefits and deterrents to understanding the new regulations and identifying effective solutions for compliance. This dichotomy creates a significant need for authoritative and easy-to-understand information from consolidated sources within the industry such as trade associations, risk management organizations and food safety schemes. The divide has also helped fuel the need for information hubs like the Global Food Safety Resource (GFSR) that aggregate critical regulatory information, food safety solutions and best practices to reach a global community.
Reference

  1. Wang, Y. and Salazar, J.K. Culture-Independent Rapid Detection Methods for Bacterial Pathogens and Toxins in Food Matrices. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 2016; 15(1): 183-205.

Trump Sends Mixed Message on Food Safety Standards
Source : http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/09/19/426842.htm
By Mary Clare Jalonick (Sep 19, 2016)
The Trump campaign pitched rolling back food safety regulations in a fact sheet, arguing they are burdensome to farmers and “overkill.” But the campaign later deleted the proposal from its website and offered no explanation.
After sending out the fact sheet Thursday, the campaign issued a new release that did not include the food safety language. The fact sheet was sent out to supplement a speech the billionaire businessman gave to the New York Economic Club that touted fewer regulations but did not specifically mention food safety.
In the original fact sheet, the campaign said that Trump would eliminate several regulations, including the “food police” at the Food and Drug Administration. The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the food safety proposal or why it was deleted.
The handout said the FDA food safety rules “govern the soil farmers use, farm and food production hygiene, food packaging, food temperatures” and other ways farmers and food companies do business. It also criticizes increased inspections of food manufacturing facilities as “inspection overkill.”
The description matches new food safety regulations passed by Congress in 2010 in response to an outbreak of salmonella linked to a Georgia peanut company that killed nine and sickened more than 700 people in 46 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 48 million people — or 1 in 6 in the United States — are sickened each year from foodborne diseases, and an estimated 3,000 people die.
The final food safety rules for produce issued last year and supported by the food industry require farmers to test irrigation water quality, regularly train workers on the best health and hygiene practices and monitor wildlife that may intrude on growing fields, among other measures. The rules are designed to focus on the riskiest foods.
The idea is to put more focus on prevention in a system that for decades has been primarily reactive to outbreaks after they sicken or kill people. In addition to the peanut outbreak, a 2011 outbreak of listeria linked to cantaloupes killed 33 people. Other large scale outbreaks in fresh spinach, cucumbers and eggs have sickened hundreds.
Last year, an outbreak of listeria linked to Blue Bell ice cream was linked to three deaths. FDA inspectors found many violations at a company plant, including dirty equipment, inadequate food storage, food held at improper temperatures and employees not washing hands appropriately.
Michael Taylor, the former FDA deputy commissioner for foods who led the effort to put the rules in place, says it is one area of agreement in the country, since both the food industry and consumers want safe food.
“Eliminating FDA’s food safety role would make more consumers sick, destroy consumer confidence at home, and damage American competitiveness in global food markets,” he says.
The language in the Trump campaign fact sheet mirrors, almost word for word, parts of a May report from The Heritage Foundation that criticizes increased regulation under President Barack Obama. That report said the FDA rules cast an “exceedingly broad regulatory net.”
While some Republicans in Congress have made similar arguments about overly burdensome regulations, the FDA worked to tweak the rules to appease farmers and companies that voiced concern about the rules. Since then, congressional opposition has died down and the Republican House and Senate have given the FDA an increased amount of money to put the rules in place.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who has been Trump’s biggest supporter in the Senate, said on Thursday that he hadn’t yet seen the nominee’s proposal on food safety, but he said farmers feel like there are too many federal rules and all regulation needs to be evaluated.
“In Washington, if you propose to pull back any regulation that has a good title, like food safety, then somebody says you want to poison the American people, and so forth,” Sessions said. “But if it can be established that they are not really beneficial, oftentimes the regulations can actually make things more unsafe.”
Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the top Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, also said she had not seen the proposal, but criticized the idea of rolling back the rules.
“I think the public certainly wants basic food safety standards,” she said.
Despite the campaign’s apparent desire to roll back the standards, Trump himself has expressed a personal interest in the topic. Trump is a self-professed germaphobe who prefers eating at fast-food restaurants because he believes they have higher food safety standards.

3 steps to better restaurant food safety
Source : http://www.qsrweb.com/blogs/3-steps-to-better-restaurant-food-safety/
By Betsy Craig (Sept 19, 2016)
The focus on food safety throughout the nation's food supply chain is at all-time high. Between consumer health issues brought about by the ingestion of unsafe products, and the outbreak of diseases that impact the food supply, it's imperative that operators continue to focus on protecting the lives and health of their guests. In short, in today's operating environment, restaurant owners simply must use food products and supplies from credible sources.
According to a June 2016 article in Economy in Crisis, 15 to 20 percent of the U.S. food supply comes from overseas, including two-thirds of our fruits and vegetables. While the Food Safety Modernization Act — passed by Congress in January 2011 — included provisions to improve the quality and safety of imported and domestically supplied food products, recalls and food-borne illnesses are still occurring at an alarming rate today as the result of tainted foods purchased from both groceries and restaurants.
For example, General Mills recently recalled 45 million pounds of flour, while the USDA called back 8,000 pounds of beef from a New Hampshire farm. For proof of the prevalence of tainted and otherwise problematic foods in circulation today, you need look no further than the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has an ongoing list of recalls and status alerts related to the problem.
These outbreaks occur for numerous reasons, including everything from improper food handling temperatures and procedures, to the unknowingly introducing diseased animals products into the food chain. In most cases, the disease isn't uncovered until someone gets sick.
The last thing farmers, restaurateurs or suppliers want to do is become the headline of a story highlighting one of these outbreaks. Here's what restaurant operators can do to protect their brand even when an outbreak occurs:
Step 1. Have a food safety plan in place.
This plan should begin with the original producer of the product a restaurant uses and then filter into all areas of the operation, according Fresh Concepts CEO David Liesenfelt. His company procures produce for restaurants and he said restaurateurs must have a way to trace the path of their products as they wind their way from farm to table.
Traceability is key to protecting your brand because it allows restaurant operators to track the type of produce used in a product pulled out of the location's pantry, all the way back to the original cultivator. From there, the farmer or rancher can determine where specifically in his or her operation the product came from and when and by whom it was shipped. 
Step 2. Use a trusted, credible supplier.
The best suppliers and manufacturers today use a third-party, and sometimes even a second-party, audit system to ensure food safety protocols are both in place and followed. These types of reliable, well-documented suppliers can make the difference between disaster and delight for a restaurant's reputation, since they assure the restaurant operator their products have come from safe, disease-free sources. 
Step 3. Properly train employees:
A 2013 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection says that inadequate chicken preparation and cooking practices is commonly reported by managers at 448 restaurants studied. In fact, 40 percent of those restaurants' managers reported they do not always assign specific cutting boards for use with raw meat. In the same study, 43 percent of managers said they did not know the correct temperature for cooking raw chicken.
Though those harrowing findings are derived from a 3-year-old study, the information still highlights the huge opportunity food service has for greater and more detailed food safety education across the industry. In fact, ongoing education about proper handling of all raw food products, like eggs, fruits and vegetables, is a measure of insurance that savvy restaurant operators will likely put in place across their operations.

 

 

Internet Journal of Food Safety (Operated by FoodHACCP)
[2015] Current Issues

Vol 17.64-74
Sanitation and Hygiene Meat Handling Practices in Small and Medium Enterprise butcheries in Kenya - Case Study of Nairobi and Isiolo Counties
Sharon Chepkemoi, Peter Obimbo Lamuka, George Ooko Abong’ and Joseph Matofari

Vol 17.25-31
Combined Effect Of Disinfectant And Phage On The Survivality Of S. Typhimurium And Its Biofilm Phenotype
Mudit Chandra, Sunita Thakur, Satish S Chougule, Deepti Narang, Gurpreet Kaur and N S Sharma

Vol 17.21-24
Quality analysis of milk and milk products collected from Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Shalini Singh, Vinay Chandel, Pranav Soni

Vol 17.10-20
Functional and Nutraceutical Bread prepared by using Aqueous Garlic Extract
H.A.R. Suleria, N. Khalid, S. Sultan, A. Raza, A. Muhammad and M. Abbas


Vol 17.6-9
Microbiological Assessment of Street Foods of Gangtok And Nainital, Popular Hill Resorts of India
Niki Kharel, Uma Palni and Jyoti Prakash Tamang


Vol 17.1-5
Assessment of the Microbial Quality of Locally Produced Meat (Beef and Pork) in Bolgatanga Municipal of Ghana
Innocent Allan Anachinaba, Frederick Adzitey and Gabriel Ayum Teye


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