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02/13 2017 ISSUE:743

Efficacy of Sulfur Dioxide and Sulfur Discs against Wine-Spoilage Yeasts: In Vivo and In Vitro Trials
Source :
By Aguilar Solis Maria de Lourdes Alejandra, Ph.D., David M. Gadoury, Ph.D., and Randy W. Worobo, Ph.D.
Winemaking involves the multiplication and metabolism of numerous yeasts and bacteria in grape juice. After fermentation, the fermented juice is stabilized by the addition of sulfites (sulfur dioxide) to protect against refermentation or the growth of deleterious microorganisms that could spoil the wine through production of undesirable flavors and aromas.[1] Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is an antioxidant and antimicrobial,[2] and it is also used to sanitize and store empty barrels. SO2 has not been systematically evaluated to sanitize wine cooperage, and current knowledge of the use of SO2 is largely based upon studies performed in wine, where carbonyl compounds, sugars and other uncontrolled conditions may confound its observed antimicrobial effects. Glucose present in wine is one of the main SO2-binding compounds. Moreover, SO2 forms additional compounds with aldehydes and, to a lesser extent, with ketones.[3] SO2 exists in equilibrium in aqueous solutions between molecular SO2 (SO2•H2O), bisulfite (HSO3-) and sulfite (SO2-3) species, but this equilibrium is strictly dependent on pH.[2,4] It is generally believed that the molecular sulfur species is the antimicrobial form of SO2, which is predominant at low pH. Because SO2•H2O does not have a charge, the molecule enters the cell and undergoes rapid pH-driven dissociation at cytoplasmic pH (generally near 6.5) to yield bisulfite and sulfite. As the intracellular concentration of molecular SO2 decreases due to the internal equilibrium, more molecular SO2 enters the cell, further increasing intracellular concentrations.[4]
Oak barrels have been commonly used for aging wines and spirits due to their positive effects on the finished product that include increased color stability, spontaneous clarification and desirable complex aromas.[5] However, spoilage sometimes occurs during aging, or even after bottling, due to the continued growth or residual secondary metabolites of contaminant microorganisms, such as the yeast Dekkera/Brettanomyces, causing widespread losses in the wine industry due to degraded wine quality.[1] The growth of yeasts belonging to Dekkera⁄Brettanomyces during the production of red wine, especially during aging, can seriously affect the organoleptic quality of the finished product. These yeasts grow slowly during wine aging in wooden barrels, particularly when the SO2 concentration is low (molecular SO2 < 0.5 mg/L), the pH is high (> 3.8) and the temperature is above 15 °C.[6] Although barrel disinfection methods are becoming more sophisticated (water vapor, ozonization, etc.), the shape and microstructure of wooden barrels offer undesirable microorganisms niches that provide a great degree of protection from direct contact by sanitizers.[7] It is now generally accepted that control of Dekkera/Brettanomyces spp. cannot be achieved by mere cleaning or incomplete sanitization of all cellar equipment but demands much more stringent microbiological control and judicious utilization of sulfite or dimethyl dicarbonate.[8] The ability of yeast strains to survive high alcohol concentrations allows them to carry out refermentation in barrels or bottles, thereby modifying the alcohol/sugar balance and the aroma of the wine, reducing its quality. This process is mainly carried out by Zygosaccharomyces bailii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, due to their tolerance of high concentrations of alcohol and SO2[9] and their survival of primary alcoholic fermentation.[10] The presence of yeasts of the genus Zygosaccharomyces, in particular Z. bailii, is well known in wineries producing sweet or sparkling wines using juice concentrate or sulfited grape juice. Their high level of resistance to preservatives, particularly in Z. bailii, means that addition of high, but sublethal, doses decreases the incidence of competing microorganisms, making the survival of resistant strains even more problematic.[8] To reveal more precise indications of the true antimicrobial efficacy of SO2, we conducted in vitro experiments in which no other compound was added other than SO2 in the form of potassium metabisulfite (KMB). SO2 was also evaluated using 5-g sulfur discs in wine barrels (in vivo experiments). The purpose of the study was to test SO2 at three pH levels to assess its efficacy against wine-spoilage yeasts and then assess the use of sulfur discs (~5 g) in naturally contaminated barrels held for 3 and 6 weeks. The results from these experiments will serve as a guide to more efficient sanitization practices using SO2 as a sanitizer.
Three isolates of Dekkera/Brettanomyces bruxellensis (2080, CE149 and CE261), three isolates of S. cerevisiae (CE78, CE9 and CE81) and an isolate of Z. bailii (4A1) were obtained from the Department of Food Science collection at Cornell University.
Preparation of starter culture and inoculation
The yeasts, stored at -80 °C in 15% glycerol (w/v), were revitalized and maintained on YPD agar. All strains were grown until stationary phase (108 CFU/mL) or at least 106 CFU/mL (growth under agitation at 200 rpm, 30 °C). The growth time varied according to the strain. Each strain was grown in YPD broth adjusted to different pH levels (3.0, 3.2 and 3.4) with 1 M HCl and/or 1 M NaOH. Once the cultures reached 108 or 106 CFU/mL, the target inoculum was verified via a viability assessment. A 1-mL volume of culture was placed in sterile Eppendorf tubes and centrifuged (4,500 rpm, room temperature); the supernatant was discarded and resuspended in 1 mL McIlvaine buffer[11] at the different pH levels stated above. A 1-mL culture was inoculated into 99 mL McIlvaine buffer at the different pH levels mentioned above, reaching a concentration of 104–106 CFU/mL. Analyses were performed in triplicate.
Preparation of KMB solution
The solutions were prepared before each experiment by dissolving the required amount of KMB in McIlvaine buffer at the different pH values. The final concentrations of KMB were 0 and 300 mg/L. Each KMB solution was spiked with 1 mL cells to achieve a final volume of 100 mL and plugged with rubber stoppers.
Sampling and microbiological isolation
Each flask was aseptically sampled at different times. The flasks were incubated in a water bath at 30 °C with no agitation and sampled at 0, 15, 30, 60 and 90 minutes. At each sampling time, 1 mL was taken and properly diluted in 0.1% (w/v) buffered peptone water, immediately plated in duplicate onto YPD agar and incubated at 30 °C for 48–72 hours for Z. bailii and S. cerevisiae, and up to 3–4 weeks for D./B. bruxellensis. When necessary, direct plating from the flask was also performed to increase the level-of-detection threshold. The volume plated was 100 µL.
Microbiological enumeration
Plates were enumerated for total microbial count. The counts were averaged and expressed as log values. The log reduction was then calculated for each strain and expressed as log values. Each inactivation experiment and controls were performed in triplicate for each strain.
Sulfur disc treatment of barrels
The 20 donated barrels used for this study were identified with Dekkera/Brettanomyces by the wineries that donated them. These naturally contaminated barrels were split in two groups of 10 barrels each to identify both Brettanomyces and general yeast populations and were then treated with sulfur discs. Each barrel had an identification number. The treatments were conducted for 3 and 6 weeks. Briefly, 7 L distilled water were added to each barrel, before and after burning the sulfur discs inside the barrels. The barrels were rolled several times to enhance the contact of water with the inner surface of the barrel, stored bung side up for 24 hours and then sampled before and after burning the sulfur discs. Water samples were collected in sterile bottles. The first portion of the water was discarded to “rinse” the bunghole (outer portion of the bung), and then 70% ethanol was sprayed around the bunghole. The samples were placed at 4 °C until analysis. The samples were analyzed to determine the initial and final yeast populations, either by filtration using discs or pertinent dilutions of the samples, since the microbial loads varied for each barrel. If samples needed to be diluted, 0.1% (w/v) buffered peptone water was used.
The samples were divided into two groups and filtered through cellulose. The results of the two filters were then averaged. The maximum volume filtered was 100 mL, and the results were calculated as CFU/100 mL and then transformed into log10. The cellulose filters were aseptically placed onto WL and YPD agars. WL agar was used to detect D./B. bruxellensis and incubated at 30 °C for up to 3–4 weeks; colonies that grew before 3 days were discarded. Incubation time was also used to demonstrate growth, as nothing that grows before 3 days in WL with cycloheximide is D./B. bruxellensis. The WL agar contained 10 mg/L cycloheximide to allow for selection of D./B. bruxellensis (dissolved in 50% ethanol and filter-sterilized), 150 mg/L biphenyl to prevent the growth of mold, 30 mg/L chloramphenicol to prevent the growth of lactic acid bacteria and 25 mg/L kanamycin sulfate to inhibit the growth of acetic acid bacteria. YPD agar was used to detect general yeast populations and was incubated at 30 °C for 48–72 hours. The YPD agar contained all of the above selective agents except cycloheximide.
Statistical analysis
The reductions in yeast were calculated from the initial concentration of yeast cells (target inoculum) at time zero minus the last concentration of yeast at time 90 minutes for the in vitro experiments. All experiments, including the controls, were performed in triplicate. The analysis used was a three-way analysis of variance, and simple comparisons were performed using the Tukey’s test (P < 0.05). For reduction of Brettanomyces and general yeast populations using sulfur discs, a Fisher’s exact test was performed.
Results and Discussion
Effects of KMB on strains
Sulfite acts as a powerful antimicrobial agent and is highly toxic to most non-Saccharomyces yeasts.[12] In this work, we studied the effects of pH at a high concentration of KMB using a matrix with no SO2-binding compounds commonly found in wines. At pHs 3.0 and 3.2, total log reductions were observed for Z. bailii. However, at pH 3.4, there was no reduction, likely due to the decreased availability of SO2, which is the germicidal form of the sanitizer (Figure 1). Divol et al.[13] found that 200 mg/L SO2 did not affect the capacity of Z. bailii cells to grow on a solid medium, but did not mention pH as a factor, which has an important influence on the antimicrobial effect of SO2.
For strain 2080 (D./B. bruxellensis) (Figure 2), a 1.9-log reduction was achieved at pH 3.0. At pHs 3.2 and 3.4, there were log reductions of only 0.5 and 0.3, respectively. With regard to strain CE149 (D./B. bruxellensis) (Figure 3), there was a 3-log reduction at pH 3.0, and 2.5- and 2.4-log reductions at pHs 3.2 and 3.4, respectively. CE261 (D./B. bruxellensis) (Figure 4) was reduced 1.78 log units at pH 3.0, and 1.2 and 1.0 logs at pHs 3.2 and 3.4, respectively. Interestingly, reports about the effects of SO2 on D./B. bruxellensis inactivation are often contradictory. Some authors refer its sensitivity to values higher than 30 mg/L SO2, while others state it should be regarded as resistant and growth has been reported when values greater than 30 mg/L SO2 are used. This controversy probably arises from differences in experimental conditions and strain behavior variability.[14] Our results showed that 300 mg/L KMB was not sufficient to reduce the yeasts tested to undetectable levels.
At pH 3.0, only strain CE78 (S. cerevisiae) was reduced 1.0 log10 unit, and at pHs 3.2 and 3.4, there were reductions of only 0.7 and 0.5 log10 units, respectively (Figure 5). The two S. cerevisiae strains CE81 and CE9 were reduced only 0.2 and 0.1 log10 units, respectively, at pH 3.0 (Figures 6 and 7). No significant differences were found for either strain when three different pHs were compared using either 0 or 300 mg/L KMB, since we observed that KMB did not cause noticeable reductions in either strain. In fact, the effect of the sanitizer was expected to be negligible for S. cerevisiae strains. In reality, S. cerevisiae strains could be considered as controls since they are generally recognized as being sulfite-resistant yeasts. For S. cerevisiae, differences in resistance have been attributed to production of compounds, particularly acetaldehyde, that bind sulfite to form α-hydroxysulfonates.15 Indeed, S. cerevisiae strains produce relatively high levels of acetaldehyde.[16] However, the study of production of sulfite-binding compounds is beyond the scope of this study.
Reduction of Brettanomyces and general yeast populations using sulfur discs
The 6-week treatments were shown to be highly effective in decreasing both Brettanomyces and general yeast populations (Tables 1 and 2, respectively) with the exception of only one barrel that presented reminiscent yeast populations after the application of sulfur discs. Three barrels of general yeast populations from the 3-week treatment had reminiscent populations of yeast after treatment. The reminiscent populations of yeasts in some barrels after treatment with sulfur discs can be attributed to an incomplete burning of the sulfur discs, since data showed that there were barrels with higher initial microbial loads that had total elimination or undetectable levels of microorganisms, and others that had fewer microorganisms and did not have a total elimination. No statistical differences were found between the 3- and 6-week treatments for both Brettanomyces and general yeast populations, suggesting that the level of disinfection was the same. SO2 rings used and held for 3 or 6 weeks were sufficient to decrease the microbial loads to undetectable levels in the majority of the barrels. However, several variables can influence treatment effectiveness when microbial elimination is taken into consideration, that is, the amount of oxygen consumed inside the barrel, the initial microbial load, the presence of debris or residues of organic matter and how much of the sulfur disc was burned.
In this study, we considered the use of a noninterfering matrix to be an important variable to prove the maximum efficacy of SO2 whether in solution or in the headspace of a 225-L barrel. The highly variable results found in the literature make it difficult to precisely define an optimal protocol for the use of SO2 as a surface sanitizer in wineries. When used in solution, SO2 provides relative efficacy toward the strains and initial microbial concentration levels presented here. This fact is of substantial importance for winemakers when SO2 is to be used in the liquid form at a specific pH. However, under laboratory conditions, SO2 was under no other conditions other than the ones encountered in the barrel. This should be considered when sanitization protocols are going to be achieved. The lack of a systematic approach to evaluating SO2 in common protocols of winery sanitization has resulted in the generalized use of certain protocols that might not be applicable to all the surfaces in wineries. High microbial loads were used under laboratory conditions, representing the worst-case scenario of barrel contamination. However, when we extrapolated this same approach under winery conditions, we realized that the use of SO2 as a gas, although effective, was only challenged with up to 103 CFU/mL for general yeast populations and up to 108 CFU/mL for Brettanomyces populations. This should be taken into consideration by winemakers since microbial loads in naturally contaminated barrels may vary according to their previous sanitization practices.
Winemakers must keep in mind that prevention is more effective than correction. Presanitization practices (rinsing at the right temperatures to avoid thermally adhering debris on the surface) and the correct concentration of SO2 that is effective for the surface to be sanitized are the best approaches when optimal sanitization is desired. In general, winemakers and the wine industry should consider reassessing their practices in terms of the use of scientifically validated information and utilize it to protect their wine from future contamination.
This work was supported by CONACYT-Mexico, federal formula multi-state project under grant NC-1023 and Cornell University Research Travel Awards. The authors thank the industry donors at Constellation Brands, California. Some experimental details were omitted for brevity; please contact the authors for more information.
Aguilar Solis Maria de Lourdes Alejandra, Ph.D., is a technical compliance specialist who works in the wine industry.
David M. Gadoury, Ph.D., is a senior research associate in the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.
Randy W. Worobo, Ph.D., is an associate professor of food science and microbiologist in the Department of Food Science, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.
1. Lustrato, G et al. 2010. “Inactivation of Wine Spoilage Yeasts Dekkera bruxellensis Using Low Electric Current Treatment (LEC).” J Appl Microbiol 109:594–604.
2. Usseglio Tomasset, L. 1992. “Properties and Use of Sulphur Dioxide.” Food Addit Contam 9:399–404.
3. King, AD Jr. et al. 1981. “Factors Affecting Death of Yeast by Sulfur Dioxide.” J Food Prot 44:92–97.
4. Fugelsang, KC and CG Edwards. 2007. “Managing Microbial Growth,” in Wine Microbiology: Practical Applications and Procedures, eds. Fugelsang, KC and CG Edwards (New York: Springer Science Business Media), 66–67.
5. Rodriguez Rodriguez, P and E Gomez Plaza. 2011. “Effect of Volume and Toast Level of French Oak Barrels (Quercus petraea L.) on Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Characteristics.” Am J Enol Viticult 62:359–365.
6. Benito, S et al. 2009. “A Method for Estimating Dekkera⁄Brettanomyces Populations in Wines.” J Appl Microbiol 106:1743–1751.
7. Suarez, R et al. 2007. “The Production of Ethylphenols in Wine by Yeasts of the Genera Brettanomyces and Dekkera: A Review.” Food Chem 102:10–21.
8. Loureiro, V and M Malfeito-Ferreira. 2003. “Spoilage Yeasts in the Wine Industry.” Int J Food Microbiol 86:23–50.
9. Salinas, F et al. 2009. “Taqman Real-Time PCR for the Detection and Enumeration of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in Wine.” Food Microbiol 26:328–33.
10. Divol, B et al. 2006. “Genetic Characterization of Strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Responsible for Refermentation in Botrytis-Affected Wines.” J Appl Microbiol 100:516–526.
11. Dawson, RMC et al. 1986. Data for Biochemical Research (Oxford, UK: Oxford Science Publications).
12. Mendoza, LM et al. 2009. “Influence of Wine-Related Physicochemical Factors on the Growth and Metabolism of Non-Saccharomyces and Saccharomyces Yeasts in Mixed Culture.” J Indust Microbiol Biotechnol 36:229–237.
13. Divol, B et al. 2005. “Effectiveness of Dimethyldicarbonate to Stop Alcoholic Fermentation in Wine.” Food Microbiol 22:169–178.
14. Barata, A et al. 2008. “Survival Patterns of Dekkera bruxellensis in Wines and Inhibitory Effect of Sulfur Dioxide.” Int J Food Microbiol 121:201–207.
15. Pilkington, BJ and AH Rose. 1988. “Reactions of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Zygosaccharomyces bailii to Sulphite.” J Gen Microbiol 134:2823–2830.
16. Romano, P et al. 1994. “Acetaldehyde Production in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Wine Yeasts.” FEMS Microbiol Lett 118:213–218.

Changes to food safety plans
Source :
By (13 Feb, 2017)
The government is proposing changes to improve the written plans it provides for businesses to manage food safety.
A consultation process has begun calling on food businesses to decide if the new version is easier to use.
The plans – called template food control plans – are used by businesses like restaurants, cafes and delis to comply with the Food Act.
MPI food and beverage manager Sally Johnston says since the law came into effect last year, they have been asking for feedback from food businesses.
“The new plans are based on what businesses have told us would work better for them. The new plans don't change the rules. But they are shorter, simpler and easier to get to grips with.”
The Food Act takes a risk-based approach to managing food safety, introducing different rules for different businesses depending on what they do. Higher risk food businesses must use a food control plan. Plans set out what businesses will do to keep food safe and suitable.
Template food control plans are designed for food service businesses like restaurants, cafes and caterers, and food retailers like delis, butchers, fishmongers and bakeries. They are also for other organisations that make and serve food, like rest homes and schools, and mean businesses don't need to write their own plan from scratch.
“We think the new plans will be effective in achieving food safety and work better for those running busy food businesses. But we need businesses to tell us if we've got it right,” says Sally.
Full details on the consultation can be found on the MPI website.
The deadline for some businesses to register under the Food Act is coming up. The law came into effect on March 1, 2016, but existing businesses are moving to the new rules in stages. Some businesses, including licensed restaurants and cafes, need to apply by March 31 this year.
- See more at:



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Supply Chain and Food Safety Culture
Source :
By Lone Jespersen
The food supply chain is of global importance, not only to all of us as consumers but also for all of us fortunate to hold a job in the industry. Globally, 22 million people are employed in the food industry,[1] with Brazil, India, Japan, Russia and the U.S. accounting for 42 percent of worldwide employment. In the EU, 12 percent employment is directly generated across the food supply chain.[2]
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)[3] focuses on providing thought leadership and guidance on food safety management systems necessary along the food supply chain. It is recognized by this industry-driven initiative that food safety risks transcend the individual country, sector and company. GFSI’s thought leadership has extended outside the benchmarking requirements for making safe food to also include aspects of organizational and social sciences, as evidenced by its focus on auditor competencies and food safety culture.
In this introductory article, we will look at the importance of creating a culture of food safety; in five follow-up articles, we will summarize the perspectives of industry leaders and practitioners specific to their sector in the global food supply chain. We hope to provide a practical and integrated view of the strengthening of food safety culture through the eyes of these experts to elucidate the roles that you and your organization play in the global food supply chain.
Cultural Assumptions
Culture is number 1 on many CEOs’ priority lists for success in 2017.[4] For this reason, our ongoing focus on building food safety into the organizational culture of a food business is as relevant as ever. The food safety culture conversation sometimes assumes that culture (e.g., organizational, personnel safety, food safety, sustainability, etc.) is homogeneous and therefore more or less effective, independent of the composition and structure of the organization. Edgar Schein[5] helps us understand that this can be a false assumption, that organizations are made of subgroups and that cultures have subcultures. This is important for the food safety culture conversation, as we, those who make up these subcultures, can make very different assumptions related to the perceived value of food safety, magnitude of food safety risks, importance of the food safety learning programs, etc. Culture is made of assumptions that are deemed valid, taught to new members of a group or team, and used to guide behavior.[6] These assumptions can vary across nations, companies, functions and informal groups, as well as across the sectors of the food supply chain.
Trusting, Not Malicious
Assumptions are made daily for appropriate food safety actions. When all is running smoothly, these actions become routine; when irregularities occur, we rely on the knowledge and experience of individuals to make the right food safety decisions. As such, it is the author’s view that most of us come to work to do a good job: delivering against the assumptions and taking direction from others who are making decisions about food safety. In other words, we trust the culture within the companies in which we work and do not maliciously try to make consumers sick from the food produced. For example, the owners of Jensen Farms did not intentionally purchase and put an unfit piece of equipment in place; Maple Leaf Foods did not intentionally distribute Listeria-contaminated sliced meat. Some will argue that Cadbury knew of its Salmonella-contaminated chocolate and that XL Foods knew of its high Escherichia coli counts. These arguments would not be incorrect, and when examining the details of each of these cases after the fact, we see how incorrect actions were taken based on assumptions thought to be valid: assumptions such as good-enough cleaning practices, good-enough communication practices and business decisions trumping food safety facts. When the industry and academicians focus on the importance of culture, it is precisely to better understand such assumptions and how to change them, and the way we do things around here, before an accident happens. To illustrate this idea and the impact of food safety assumptions, we look at a simplified model of the food supply chain. This model shows the interconnectedness of each of the five sectors with a few of the subsectors mentioned (Figure 1).
Within each sector, there are specific inputs and outputs required to run a value-added organization. There are also millions of employees who make daily assumptions around the actions taken to produce safe food, balanced with ensuring the profitability of the organization and the employment of its staff. These assumptions are at the root of an organization’s food safety culture,[6–8] and as we look at any organization’s food safety maturity, this will be directly impacted by the prevailing assumptions of groups and teams in each organization. Assumptions are impacted by the organization’s values and mission, its people support systems, how consistently and adaptably the groups and teams act, and how the organization acts specific to risks and hazards in its sector and product categories.[9] Such cultural dimensions are foundational to understanding how to change and strengthen an organization’s food safety culture. When studying each dimension, you will discover the assumptions[10,11] that drive behaviors generally believed to be valid within the groups and teams of your organization and that are formally and informally taught to new colleagues.
Follow the Leafy Greens
To illustrate the importance of assumptions across the supply chain, we look from farming leafy greens to serving customers or selling to consumers through a food retail outlet (Table 1). There are clearly defined inputs/outputs/processes/food safety actions in each subsector of the supply chain. Where it sometimes becomes harder to define and understand is in the food safety behaviors of supervisors and how these behaviors drive the assumptions of associates. For example, does the supervisor have a regular formal/informal communication touch point with associates? Is there evidence of recognition of associates going above and beyond their assigned tasks? Do associates have any responsibility in driving the food safety communication? This is obviously only a small example of the system, from process input to associate assumption, and not a comprehensive supply chain example; however, it is intended to provide thoughts and inspiration to look both horizontally across the supply chain and vertically in the individual subsector when designing your food safety management system.
Collaborative Approach to Winning the Culture Game
When the great practitioners and scientists first cracked the method for controlling Listeria, it was not done by one person or one organization. It was a collaborative approach with rigor and candid, open and, I am told, at times loud discussions. We are and must keep adopting this collaborative approach to improve understanding and performance in the food safety culture domain. Lots of events are held every year where practitioners and scientists share new knowledge of food safety across the supply chain and openly tell their stories of what worked well and what we would not do again. We are fortunate that those before us have paved the path for assuming that food safety is a noncompetitive advantage through solving problems such as controlling Listeria. I am proud to be associated with two groups that have embraced this principle specific to food safety culture: the GFSI Food Safety Culture Technical Working Group and the research-oriented Science Group (see “Groups Involved in Food Safety Culture”).
Groups Involved in Food Safety Culture
The GFSI Food Safety Culture Technical Working Group. I have the pleasure of chairing this great group of experienced and passionate practitioners. The members are Brian Bedard, Grocery Manufacturers Association Science and Education Foundation 22000; Megh Bhandari, Mucci Farms Ltd.; Ray Bowe, Musgrave Group Ltd.; David Brackston, British Retail Consortium; Kerry Bridges, Walmart; Laurent Camberou, AFNOR (Association Française De Normalisation); John Carter, Danone Gmbh; Leann Chuboff, Safe Quality Food Institute; Andrew Clarke, Subway; Bertrand Emond, Campden BRI; Dan Fone, NSF International; Joanna Gilbert, Fonterra; Charlean Gmunder, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.; Rolando Gonzalez, The Acheson Group; Megan Guilford, The Hershey Company; Dave Harlan, Cargill Inc.; Tony W. Huang, COFCO Corporation; Kentaro Ida, Suntory Holdings Limited; Lone Jespersen, Cultivate Food Safety; Fiona Kibby, Tesco; Michael Liewen, PepsiCo Inc.; Ellen Lopes, Food Design Consultants; Paola López, Sigma Alimentos; Pieternel Luning, Wageningen University; Jeff Miller, Mars Inc.; Sara Mortimore, Land O’Lakes Inc.; Ingo Mücke, Bahlsen GmbH & Co. KG; Laura Nelson, Alchemy Systems; Steve Parker, Mondelez; Bizhan Pourkomailian, McDonald’s; Rick Roop, Tyson; Fons Schmid, Foundation for Food Safety System Certification; Neshat Soofi, Bahlsen GmbH & Co. KG; Laurant Stoltzner, Osi Industries LLC; Linda Wesolowski, Nestlé; and Bob Whitaker, Produce Marketing Association. Our task is to create a GFSI guidance document for food safety culture and voluntary measurement systems. Both outcomes can be used by a wide spectrum of stakeholders to evaluate and improve their culture, to update food safety standards, to incorporate the guidelines into a supplier program, etc. The guidance document is anticipated in 2017 and the voluntary measurement system in 2018. The guiding principle for our work is that outcomes are science-based and based on practical knowledge of the practitioners in the group. Thanks to GFSI chair Mike Robach for his support in establishing this important group.
The Science Group. This group is chaired by Professor Carol Wallace at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and is the product of a passionate discussion at the International Association for Food Protection Europe meeting in 2015 between Liesbeth Jacxsens (Ghent University), Lone Jespersen (University of Guelph), Pieternel Luning (Wageningen University) and Carol Wallace (UCLAN). The members are Chris Griffith, Cardiff Metropolitan University; Louise Manning, Harper Adams University; Rounaq Nayak, Loughborough University; John Helferich, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ben Chapman, Clint Stevenson and Verlin Hinsz, North Carolina State University; Anne Sherod, South Dakota State University; Joanne Taylor, Taylor Shannon International and Campden BRI; Carol Wallace, UCLAN; Liesbeth Jacxsens, Elien de Boeck and Peter Vlerick, University of Ghent; Lone Jespersen, University of Guelph; Brita Ball, University of Guelph and Brita Ball Associates; and Pieternel Luning and Shingai Nyarugwe, Wageningen University. The group is, aside from sharing current research, working on a food safety culture framework to illustrate and explore the dynamics influencing an organization’s food safety culture; Ph.D. students in the group are finalizing a systemic literature review; and individually, members are engaged in detailed aspects of food safety culture research, such as evaluating food safety climate (Elien de Boeck, University of Ghent), management and communication (John Helferich, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), system impact on food safety culture (Rounag Nayak, Loughborough University), assessing food safety culture in Zimbabwe (Shingai Nyarugwe, Wageningen University) and evaluating food safety culture in China (Anne Sherod, South Dakota State University).
The two groups meet in person twice annually and have scheduled these meetings to advance each other’s work. As such, the guidance document being developed in the GFSI group is reviewed and discussed by the Science Group to provide input to the GFSI group’s next in-person meeting. This leapfrog principle accomplishes two things: Each group provides and receives input to and from the other to ensure scientifically based, practical results. It also allows each group to go deeper in their respective areas of expertise: the global food supply chain and social science research.
Our global industry is filled with examples like these; for example, Food Standards Agency Australia and New Zealand is leading continuous improvements in food safety culture with both the industry and regulators in their region. Maple Leaf Foods partnered with the Ontario Food Protection Association in driving the Canadian food industry to adopt higher standards through its annual symposium, dedicated to “Maturity, are you on the upraise or downslide?” In addition, the International Union of Food Science and Technology is defining a curriculum for food safety culture; GFSI is hosting its annual meeting in Houston this year; and a long list of food company CEOs will be sharing their thoughts on the future and food safety. There are many, many more examples of such supply chain collaboration where leaders are stepping up and actively sharing their food safety responsibility.
Help Your Senior Leaders Take Responsibility
In a paper published last year in Food Control,[12] we discovered a significant difference in leaders and supervisors when evaluating their organization’s food safety maturity. A significant difference was found between professionals in manufacturing functions (e.g., production, sanitation and maintenance) and professionals in food safety. Food safety professionals evaluated the maturity significantly higher than manufacturing professionals did. A similar difference was also found between senior leaders and supervisors. Senior leaders evaluated the maturity of their organization’s food safety significantly higher than did supervisors. So what, you might ask. This is not the only research showing this difference; a difference should, to some extent, be expected. It is increasingly important for senior leaders of any food organization to understand the magnitude of this gap and how to narrow it to build food safety into its organizational culture: a strong organizational culture where everybody understands their specific food safety responsibility (e.g., purchasing recognizes and selects suppliers with strong food safety cultures; finance places food safety risks on par with financial risks; production supplies resources to ensure all leaders are trained and certified, etc.). These role-specific responsibilities can be developed only if senior leaders acknowledge and execute an organizational strategy that includes developing and maintaining such role-specific food safety responsibilities. 
As a leader in any company, your every message and behavior is watched by those around you. By building your understanding of your company’s culture and specific food safety risks and hazards, you can narrow the often-perceived gap between message and behavior and show that you see food safety on par with people safety and financial performance for the prosperity of your company. Still, acting on your food safety responsibility can be a fearful act. Authors Francesca Gino and Bradley Staats[13] address such fear of failure as one of the main obstacles to learning. Some organizational cultures have internalized a fear of failure, in which learning is difficult, not to say impossible. Food safety is a serious domain, and our colleagues in other functions and roles can be fearful of engaging and showing that they are ready to take their food safety responsibility seriously. As food safety professionals, we must be creative in how we teach and coach others to minimize this fear and work collectively on strengthening our organization’s food safety culture. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)’s food safety course for senior leaders focuses on these exact points: acknowledging functional food safety responsibilities and deepening an understanding of risks and food safety maturity in your organization. To help you get a bit of a “timeout,” GMA offers this “leaders teaching leaders” seminar, where you meet other senior leaders who might be in situations like yours, to debate the complex situation of transforming food safety culture and have access to follow-up coaching once you are back in your own environment.
Five Sectors and Their Food Safety Assumptions and Challenges
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, we asked leaders and practitioners across the five supply chain sectors to describe food safety maturity within their sector and their perspectives related to building a culture of food safety. We asked about their perspectives on management versus frontline differences, and to describe the challenges they face in driving a culture of food safety. Over the coming months, we will bring in perspectives from leaders in these five sectors and present a perspective on how their maturity and challenges impact the safety of the food we all consume every day. If you are interested in providing your input to the articles or have any comments related to your organizational culture and its impact on food safety, please contact me at 
Lone Jespersen is the principal of Cultivate Food Safety and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Guelph in
Ontario, Canada.
5. Schein, EH. 1991. Organizational Culture and Leadership: A Dynamic View (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass).
6. Schein, EH. 2004. Organizational Culture and Leadership, 3rd ed. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass).
7. Schein, EH. 2009. The Corporate Culture Survival Guide, 2nd ed. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass).
8. Schein, EH 2016. Organizational Culture and Leadership, The Jossey-Bass Business & Management Series, 5th ed. (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley).
9. Jespersen, L et al. 2017. “Comparative Analysis of Existing Food Safety Culture Evaluation Systems.” Food Cont (submitted).
10. Denison, DR. 1997. Corporate Culture and Organizational Effectiveness, 2nd ed., Denison Consulting.
11. Denison, DR et al. 2012. Leading Culture Change in Global Organizations: Aligning Culture and Strategy (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley).
12. Jespersen, L et al. 2016. “Measurement of Food Safety Culture Using Survey and Maturity Profiling Tools.” Food Cont 66:174–182.

UPDATED: Organic dairy recalls raw milk for E. coli; two sick
Source :
BY CORAL BEACH (Feb 9, 2017)
UPDATED CONTENT: Washington state officials have clarified that the two illnesses that spurred their investigation at Pride & Joy Dairy were Salmonella infections in people who reported consuming the dairy’s raw milk before becoming ill. The state did not find Salmonella in the company’s milk, but it did find toxin-producing E. coli and asked the owners to voluntarily recall their unpasteurized milk.
Pride & Joy Dairy is recalling its organic, unpasteurized, raw milk after state inspectors investigating illnesses found toxin-producing E. coli bacteria in the dairy’s milk. The recalled milk has best-by dates of Feb. 10 through 24.
Two illnesses, one in Pierce County and one in Clark County, both involve people who consumed raw milk from Pride & Joy, agriculture communications director Hector Castro told Food Safety News this morning. He said the state collected samples of Pride & Joy milk from retail locations on Jan. 30. Some tested positive for E. coli and the test results were confirmed Tuesday, Castro said.
“It is my understanding they have ceased production,” Castro said this morning. “We are continuing to investigate to find the source of the contamination.”
Castro said when state inspectors believe it is again safe for the dairy to resume sales, the state will notify the businesses that carry Pride & Joy milk that it’s OK to resume sales.
Dairy owner Cheryl Voortman posted comments on the Food Safety News website suggesting the unpasteurized raw milk was contaminated by another link in the supply chain.
“The facility was not contaminated with E. coli, the samples that were taken that supposedly tested positive, were purchased from stores in Vancouver and Battleground, WA, and were handled by many people before tested, Voortman said in her written comments. “They took six samples and only two samples showed any possible contamination. No E. coli has been found at the farm.
“… Pride and Joy Creamery sends out independent samples of every batch of milk that is sent out to customers before any milk leaves the farm. These tests are done through AG Health lab in Sunnyside, WA, as well as the batch in question was also tested by Silliker Inc., which is a California state-approved lab and both labs confirmed E. coli at the lowest possible levels. They have confirmed absolutely no contamination in the samples we have given them straight from the facility.”
Current and previous recalls
Notices posted Wednesday by dairy owners Allen and Cheryl Voortman, and the Washington State Department of Agriculture urged consumers to check their homes for the recalled raw milk, which poses a serious public health risk, according to the state’s Department of Health.
“The recalled milk was sold at the on-farm store and online as well as at drop off locations and retail stores throughout Washington state,” according to the recall notice.
“Consumers who have purchased Pride & Joy Creamery organic retail raw milk with Best By dates of FEB 10 through FEB 24 are urged not to drink the milk and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.”
The recalled Pride & Joy branded unpasteurized milk is sold in pint, quart, half-gallon and one-gallon plastic containers. Other than the best-by dates, no label codes or other information was included in the recall notice for consumers to use to identify the recalled milk.
No confirmed illnesses had been linked to the recalled milk as of the publication of the recall notice Wednesday afternoon. However, in 2011 the Pride & Joy Dairy, Toppenish, WA, recalled its raw milk because of E. coli contamination that was discovered during the investigation of infections that hospitalized four children.
Anyone who has consumed raw milk and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should contact their health care providers and tell them of the possible exposure to the pathogen.

“Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections may cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps and bloody stool,” according to the recall notice from the company owners.
“Symptoms generally appear three to four days after exposure, but can take as long as nine days to appear. The infection sometimes causes hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious disease in which red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail. Infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk.”
The Washington state Department of Health notified health care providers and institutions about the raw milk recall Wednesday, urging that all medical staff be made aware of the recall and potential for E. coli infections.
“WSDA (Washington State Department of Agriculture) staff intend to conduct recall audit checks,” public health advisor Susan Shelton wrote in an email. “Local Health Jurisdictions in Washington State are not being asked to participate in any formal recall verification activities at this time, but appropriate staff should be aware of the recall.”
The dairy owners and state agriculture department are investigating how the E. coli contamination happened. Raw milk does not undergo the pasteurization process, which automatically kills bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter frequently found in raw milk.
Washington is one of only 13 states that allow sale of unpasteurized, raw milk at retail stores, but even the owners of the Pride & Joy Dairy stressed the possible dangers of consuming raw milk in their recall notice.
“… the potential health risks are serious. Consumers should read the warning label on the retail raw milk container carefully and ask their retailer to verify the milk was produced and processed by a WSDA-licensed operation,” according to the dairy’s recall notice.
Consumers with questions may contact the company at 509-854-1389.

ORDERS DISHED OUT Food Safety Authority of Ireland issue five closure orders during the month of January
Source :
By MICHAEL DOYLE (Feb 9, 2017)
The orders were served for breaches of safety legislation which the FSAI say puts the health of consumers at risk
FIVE closure orders were issued by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) for breaches of safety legislation during the month of January.
Hot Spot takeaway, of Parnell Street, Limerick; retailer Polonez, of 20 Moore Street, Dublin 1; Pacinos Restaurant of 18 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2 and Beachview Tandoori, of Strand Road, Laytown, Meath were all issued with closure orders.
Meanwhile, Kavanagh’s Fine Foods Cork Ltd of 9 Pearse Street, Ballyphehane, Cork, was issued with a closure order for a standalone manufacturing unit located to rear of 9 Pearse Square.
FSAI chief Dr Pamela Byrne said: “The vast majority of Irish food businesses are aware of the importance of food safety requirements and are complying with food safety legislation.”

Food Safety Testing Market (by Contaminants, Pathogens, Type of Food Tested, Technology/Method and Regional Analysis) - Global Forecast to 2021
Source :
By (Feb 09, 2017)
The food safety testing market is gaining growing level of importance worldwide owing to continual increase in number of food-borne disease outbreaks, increasingly stringent regulations on food safety, globalization of food trade, sustained number of food recalls, among others. Food safety is threatened by microbial pathogens, viruses, toxins, genetically modified organism content, pesticides, food allergens and others. Food contamination now-a-days is quickly becoming a worldwide issue, that is raising the concern for adequate food safety testing methods and procedures. Food-related queries and complaints are continuously rising with time, which reflects a growing concern of government authorities and consumers. These reasons put a huge pressure on food companies to ensure food safety. The global food safety testing market is anticipated to expand at a steady rate through 2021.
Food Safety Testing Market by Contaminant - Among contaminant, testing for pathogens dominated the food safety testing market. Toxins represents the second largest segment within the food safety testing market being followed by Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) at the third spot in 2015. Pesticide is the fourth leading contaminant with around XX% share of the food safety testing market in 2015.
Food Safety Testing Market by Pathogen - In 2015, salmonella testing dominated the global market for food pathogen testing owing to the large number of foodborne outbreaks due to Salmonella in foods such as meat & poultry, dairy, processed food, and fruits & vegetables. E-coli testing is the second leading segment of the food pathogen testing market being followed by Campylobacter and Listeria. Campylobacter and Listeria food testing segment is competing closely with each other to grab maximum share of the global food pathogen testing market.
Food Safety Testing Market by Food Type - The global food safety testing market is dominated by processed food and meat & poultry products as maximum number of illnesses have been associated with these applications globally. These two segment together accounted for over 60% share of the total food safety testing market in 2015. Dairy and dairy products is the third leading application of food safety testing market being followed by fruits and vegetables.
Food Safety Testing Market by Region - Geographically, North America is at the forefront of food safety testing market, accounting for lion's share of the market in 2015. Western Europe is the second leading region for food safety testing market and it is likely to remain at this position throughout the forecasting period. Japan captured third highest share of the global food safety testing market in 2015 being followed by China. The Asia-Pacific market is driven by stringent food safety regulations and the trend of globalization in food supply trade.
Food Safety Testing Market by Method / Technology - Immunodiagnostics accounted for largest share of the food safety testing market being followed by traditional microbiology. Traditional microbiology market share is declining year on year owing to the time consuming and labor intensive factors associated with the traditional methods. Molecular diagnostics have the potential to revolutionize quality testing in food production. It is anticipated that molecular diagnostics will capture XX% share of the food safety testing market by 2021. Due to the health and safety risks posed by chemical, microbiological and environmental contaminants, analytical methods are increasingly becoming a centerpiece of food safety programs.
iGATE RESEARCH report titled "Food Safety Testing Market (by Contaminants, Pathogens, Type of Food Tested, Technology/Method and Regional Analysis) - Global Forecast to 2021" provides a comprehensive assessment of the fast-evolving, high-growth global food safety testing Market. This report covers various aspects of the food safety testing market including Contaminants, Pathogen Segment, Food Type, Method / Technology, Regional Market, Company Analysis, Major Acquisitions in Food Safety Testing Market Landscape, and Growth Drivers and Challenges influencing Global Food Safety Testing Market.
This 160 Page report with 52 Figures and 10 Tables has been analyzed from 9 viewpoints:
1. Global - Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast (2008 - 2021)
2. Global Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - By Contaminant (2010 - 2021)
3. Global Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - By Pathogen (2010 - 2021)
4. Global Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - By Food Type (2015 - 2021)
5. Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - Regional Analysis (2010 - 2021)
6. Global Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - By Method / Technology (2012 - 2021)
7. Global Food Safety Testing Market - Major Acquisitions (2004 - 2016)
8. Global Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - Key Players Analysis
9. Global Food Safety Testing Market - Growth Drivers and Challenges
Global Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - By Contaminant
1. Pathogens
2. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
3. Toxins
4. Pesticides
5. Other (Food Allergens and Chemical Residues)
Global Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - By Pathogen
1. Salmonella
2. E-Coli
3. Listeria
4. Campylobacter
5. Others
Global Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - By Food Type
1. Meat and Poultry
2. Dairy and Dairy Products
3. Processed Food
4. Fruits and Vegetables
5. Others (Cereals, Grains and Sauce)
Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - Regional Analysis
1. North America
2. Central and South America
3. Western Europe
4. Eastern Europe
5. Japan
6. China
7. Rest of Asia Pacific
8. Middle East and Africa
Global Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - By Method / Technology
1. Traditional Microbiology
2. Immunodiagnostics
3. Molecular Diagnostics
4. Analytical Chemistry
Global Food Safety Testing Market and Forecast - Key Players Analysis
1. Agilent Technologies
2. bioMerieux SA
3. DuPont
4. 3M
5. Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc
6. Bio-Rad
8. Eurofins
9. Intertek
10. Bureau Veritas
11. Neogen Corporation
Research Methodologies
Primary Research Methodologies: Questionnaires, Surveys, Interviews with Individuals, Small Groups, Telephonic Interview, etc.
Secondary Research Methodologies: Printable and Non-printable sources, Newspaper, Magazine and Journal Content, Government and NGO Statistics, white Papers, Information on the Web, Information from Agencies Such as Industry Bodies, Companies Annual Report, Government Agencies, Libraries and Local Councils and a large number of Paid Databases.
Download the full report:
About Reportbuyer
Reportbuyer is a leading industry intelligence solution that provides all market research reports from top publishers
For more information:
Sarah Smith
Research Advisor at
Tel: +44 208 816 85 48
SOURCE ReportBuyer

Food Safety dept. launches ‘Operation Sagar Rani’
Source :
By (Feb 9, 2017)
The objective is to ensure safety and hygiene at markets
KOCHI: To ensure safety and hygiene at fish handling and distribution centres, Food Safety officials in the district have launched an initiative named ‘Operation Sagar Rani’.
The inspections conducted under programme followed complaints about lack of food safety measures at fish handling centres, said a statement issued by Food Safety Department, Ernakulam Circle.
The team led by Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety (Intelligence) Reji C. George, following the inspections, decided to organise awareness sessions on food safety during handling and distribution at various harbours and markets.
Inspections were conducted at Aluva, Paravur, Kalady, Muvattupuzha, Varappuzha, Chambakkara, and Ernakulam markets as well as Thoppumpady and Munambam harbours, and instructions were issued to workers to abide by food safety norms. The sessions will be organised at Munambam (February 10, Friday), Thoppumpady (February 14) and Champakkara market (February 16).
The team of officials from Food Safety and Fisheries departments comprised Food Safety Officers P.B. Dileep, Jose Lawrence, Zakeer Husain, Fisheries sub-inspectors Devi Chandran, and Leena.

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations Open for Public Comment
Source :
By Staff (Feb 8, 2017)
Safe Food for Canadians Regulations Open for Public Comment
The proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) will introduce modern food safety requirements for businesses that either import food, or prepare food to be exported or sold across provinces. The regulations are meant to strengthen Canada’s food safety system and safeguard the health of Canadian families and businesses.
Because food safety regulations can be difficult for the average person to understand, CFIA has provided educational resources about the proposed SFCR. Canadians--including consumers and food business owners--can then submit written feedback during an open comment period. The resources will help to clarify what the regulations are all about, how those regulations came to fruition, and how the agency will help businesses to comply with those new regulations once they become enforceable by law.
CFIA’s resources are all easily accessible online. The materials include videos, handbooks, fact sheets, glossaries for unfamiliar terms, interactive tools, infographics, step-by-step guides and more.
CFIA will be accepting comments from Canadian citizens on the proposed regulations and documents up until April 21, 2017. The resources can be found on CFIA’s official website.
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A Look Back at 2016 Food Recalls
Source :
By Tiffany Maberry (Feb 7, 2017)
For the second consecutive year, Food Safety Magazine has tracked food product recalls issued in the U.S. and Canada. Just as in 2015, we cannot guarantee that our list includes every single recall that was issued--it’s always possible that some fly under the radar. But the following summary includes what we have been able to conclude based on notices issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
For 2016, we counted 764 food recalls, a 22 percent surge compared to 2015. Two of the main culprits were undeclared allergens, along with Listeria contamination.
Undeclared Allergens
Foods recalled for undeclared allergens has once again caused more food recalls than any other form of contamination, 305 recalls to be exact. The largest offenders include milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat.
Milk - 101 recalls in 2016 vs. 82 recalls in 2015
Eggs - 82 recalls in 2016 vs. 42 recalls in 2015
Peanuts - 51 recalls in 2016 vs. 49 recalls in 2015
Wheat - 40 recalls in 2016 vs. 34 recalls in 2015
A smaller--but still significant--number of recalls were also issued for other allergens, primarily soy and various tree nuts.
The food industry is well aware that Listeria is a headache that just doesn’t seem to go away. In 2016, 196 recalls were attributed to Listeria contamination. A staggering number of these--over 50--were due to sunflower seeds and products containing sunflower kernels throughout the second quarter. Various recalls were issued by Kashi, General Mills, Hershey, Atkins, Quaker, Publix, Kroger and dozens of other companies. Recalled products included trail mixes, protein, energy and granola bars, nut butters and salad toppings.
To a lesser extent but also in the second quarter, nearly 30 recalls were issued after frozen vegetables and fruits were flagged for Listeria contamination. Although Pasco, WA-based CRF Frozen Foods issued a number of notices for its frozen organic and traditional fruits and vegetables, their announcement trickled down to a number of brands their products were sold under--Kroger, Publix, Hy-Vee, Trader Joe’s, Target and Walmart, among others. CRF says that the recall included approximately 358 consumer products sold under 42 separate brand names.[1]
Foreign Matter Contamination
Pieces of glass, metal, plastic, rubber and wood certainly had an impact on last year’s food recalls. A total of 44 foreign matter recalls were tallied in 2016. While most were due to the aforementioned materials, one stood out for the presence of sand and black soil while two others had unidentified foreign materials. Foods affected by these recalls included everything from meat to fruit to ice cream. What do these recalls mean? One on hand, it could be a sign that more food companies are investing in the right tools (metal detectors, X-ray machines, etc.) to detect contaminants. But it could also be quite the opposite--food processing mistakes are occurring more frequently.
Pilgrim’s Pride--The Waco, TX-based chicken producer issued a number of recalls after discovering that some fully cooked chicken products may have been contaminated with extraneous materials--metal, plastic, rubber and wood. The first recall, issued on April 7, 2016, recalled 40,780 pounds of product. That was followed by a notice on April 26 that recalled an additional 4.5 million pounds of chicken products. On May 6, another 608,764 pounds was added to the list. This was followed by another 376,380 pounds of recalled product announced on May 19. The total weight of Pilgrim’s Pride recalled product was over 5.5 million pounds. The implicated chicken nuggets and patties were sold under various brand names--Gold Kist Farms, Pierce Chicken and Sweet Georgia. The initial recall was prompted after several consumer complaints were logged, and additional recalls were issued after consumer complaints continued to roll in. At the time of the recalls there were no reported adverse reactions, illnesses or injuries in relation to the recall.[2, 3]
Other notable foreign contamination recalls in 2016 include the following:
Nestle USA--In March, the Swiss food and beverage company recalled more than 267,000 pounds of frozen food products. Two different Nestle products--Digiorno Pizza and Stouffer’s chicken lasagna--were both pulled from shelves nationwide after multiple consumer complaints regarding small pieces of glass found in the frozen food products.[4]
Foster Farms--Based in Livingston, CA, the well-known poultry processor recalled approximately 220,450 pounds of fully cooked frozen chicken nuggets last April due to extraneous materials, specifically blue plastic and black rubber materials.[5]
ConAgra--In July, the Chicago, IL-based food company that boasts many iconic brands issued two recalls for its P.F. Chang’s frozen chicken and beef entree products, totalling 195,597 pounds of food. The foreign contamination included curled, shiny, malleable metal fragments ranging in size between 2 and 9 millimeters in diameter.[6]
Tyson Foods--The Springdale, AR-based meat company recalled 132,520 pounds of fully cooked chicken nugget products in September due to the presence of hard plastic first discovered by consumers. The metal pieces measured between 21 mm long and 6.5 mm wide. Tyson believes the plastic may have come from a plastic rod used to connect a plastic transfer belt, saying that the products pass through a metal detector, but the plastic is not detectable via that technology.[7]
A total of 99 Salmonella-related food recalls were tallied for all of 2016. Most of these were attributed to contaminated nuts, primarily pistachios, macadamia nuts and derived products. In March, Lost Hills, CA-based Wonderful Pistachios recalled various flavors and sizes of both in-shell and shelled pistachios due to Salmonella contamination. The nuts were sold in the U.S. Canada, Mexico and Peru under a variety of popular brand names--Wonderful, Paramount Farms and Trader Joe’s. Two specific strains of Salmonella--Montevideo and Senftenberg--sickened at least 11 individuals in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Virginia and Washington.[8]
Escherichia coli
Thirty-one E. coli recalls were tallied for 2016, more than half of them occurring in the third quarter. For the most part, beef products were mostly to blame (four recalls total), followed by pork products (three recalls total). The most well-known of last year’s E. coli recalls was issued in May by food giant General Mills. The company’s Gold Medal and Signature Kitchens flour brands were pulled from shelves after 38 individuals became ill with E. coli. Oddly, at the time of the recall, the E. coli O121 strain had not been detected in any of General Mills’ flour brands nor was it found in the company’s manufacturing plant despite the reports of sickened consumers.
Big Names Issue Recalls
In January 2016, Dole Fresh Vegetables recalled it’s branded and private label packaged salads processed in its Springfield, OH facility due to the possibility of Listeria contamination. In fact, operations at the Ohio production plant were temporarily suspended as a result of the recall.[9]
Bumble Bee Foods recalled over 31,000 cases of its popular canned chunk light tuna in March 2016. The cause, according to the company, was “accidental deviation in the sterilization process” that could result in spoilage or the growth of dangerous pathogens. The process deviation reportedly occurred in a co-packing facility not owned or operated by Bumble Bee itself.[10]
Hostess Brands recalled 710,000 cases of certain snack cakes and donuts in June due to undeclared peanut residue in the flour supplied by a third party.[11]
Kellogg Company voluntarily recalled 10,000 cases of its Eggo Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat Waffles in September 2016. The frozen breakfast foods were potentially contaminated with Listeria.[12]
Sabra Dipping Company recalled some of their hummus products in November after concerns surfaced over the presence of Listeria found in a manufacturing facility, but not in any tested finished product.[13]
It is clear that food recalls occur due to a number of reasons--inadequate food production and monitoring processes, failure to maintain food processing facilities and equipment, noncompliance with various federal food safety regulations, inability to track products and ingredients through a complex supply chain--the list goes on. So what can food companies do to curb these incidents? Be proactive. Invest in the tools needed now to prevent negative impacts on consumers, employees and the bottom line in the future.
Tiffany Maberry is Food Safety Magazine's digital editor.
More on food recalls:
A Look Back at 2015 Food Recalls
Undeclared Allergens and Automation: The Crossroad of Food Safety and the Reduction of Recalls
Ready-to-Eat Foods: Preserving the Trust of the Consumer
Listeria, Salmonella and Escherichia coli: Oh My!
Avoiding Allergens: It's the Right Thing to Do
Protecting Your Customers from Foodborne Illness
Food Recalls from the Perspective of the Retailer

Cane Juice Litigation Shows No Signs of Evaporating
Source :
By Paul Stoehr, Esq., Sue Werstak, Esq., and Heather Counts, Esq. (Feb 7, 2017)
Food and beverage manufacturers’ use of the term “evaporated cane juice” has faced scrutiny for a number of years. The phrase—which is used to describe a sweetener derived from sugar cane through a crystallization process—was the subject of draft guidance first issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2009. It was also the source of a number of lawsuits filed against food and beverage manufacturers who used the term on their labels, which plaintiffs claimed misled consumers regarding the presence of added sugar. A long-running lawsuit against yogurt-maker Chobani, for instance, garnered significant publicity.
Earlier this year, FDA brought the issue to a head by issuing final guidance that differed markedly from its earlier guidance. While the 2009 draft guidance had advised against the use of the phrase, suggesting instead that companies use a term like “dried cane syrup,” the 2016 guidance specifically stated that companies should not use the term “evaporated cane juice.” According to the agency, the use of “evaporated cane juice” on a food label “does not accurately describe the basic nature of the food and its characterizing properties (i.e., that the ingredients are sugars or syrups)” and is confusing because the “common use of the term ‘juice’” is a “liquid extracted from one or more fruits or vegetables….” While FDA’s guidance is nonbinding (and “do[es] not establish legally enforceable responsibilities”), the new guidance expressed the opinion that the use of the phrase was “false and misleading” and that, as a result, its use could constitute a violation of federal law. FDA recommended that, to avoid deceiving consumers, companies should simply use the word “sugar” or some variation of that word.
In the 2 years preceding the issuance of FDA’s new guidance, evaporated cane juice litigation had largely ground to a halt. Essentially all pending cases were stayed under the primary jurisdiction doctrine after FDA reopened the comment period for its draft guidance on the issue. But all that changed when FDA issued the new guidance. Cases that had been on hold began to move forward. In August, the district court in Swearingen v. Santa Cruz Natural, Inc., which was pending in the Northern District of California, lifted the stay that had been in place and ruled on defendant’s motion to dismiss. In its opinion, the court held, inter alia, that plaintiffs had adequately pled actual reliance and economic injury, and that while the “Court has some reservations as to whether a reasonable consumer would be misled as regarding added sugars” in certain of the soda brands at issue given the disclosure of over 30 grams of sugar on the label, the court would allow the case to proceed under the “reasonable consumer test,” at this stage in the litigation.
Much of the evaporated cane juice labeling litigation continues to be focused in state and federal courts in California. In addition to a number previously filed lawsuits that have again begun to move forward, multiple new putative class actions have been filed in various California courts. However, plaintiffs are also filing in other venues. In the last quarter of 2016, for example, a number of lawsuits were filed in state court in Missouri. Missouri is becoming increasingly well-known as a plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction following outsized verdicts in other products litigation. Regarding food litigation and labeling claims, a Missouri state court of appeals recently issued an opinion rejecting the ingredient list defense. Now, at least 16 cases have recently been filed in St. Louis on the topic of evaporated cane juice alone. Moreover, the complaints contain allegations specifically designed to keep the cases out of federal court. For instance, in an evaporated cane juice complaint filed in St. Louis against Hain Celestial, which quoted from the FDA guidance, plaintiffs made the allegation that the value of their claims was, at most, the refund price of the product (< $5), and that defendant’s sales in the state could not establish an amount in controversy to exceed the Class Action Fairness Act threshold for federal jurisdiction.  Cases like these could be a part of a growing trend toward the filing of these types of cases in state courts across the country.
Going forward, the easiest way for companies to avoid the risk of evaporated cane juice litigation, of course, is to avoid using the term at all. Barring that option, companies already facing litigation or potential litigation have a number of potential defenses. They can seek to establish, as a number of defendants in these types of cases have asserted, that the term is not in fact misleading (despite what FDA has stated), or that consumers were not actually deceived or did not actually rely on the labeling at issue (a defense that may be bolstered in the future by the requirement that producers separately disclose added sugar on the nutritional facts panel). Defendants should also explore whether express or implied preemption might provide a defense to at least certain claims. Finally, defendants sued in state court must consider not only any unique defenses available under a particular state’s consumer protection laws, but also potential grounds for removal.

Deadly barbiturates preceded by 9 years of pet food problems
Source :
By PHYLLIS ENTIS (Feb 7, 2017)
Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. Inc. no stranger to FDA warnings, enforcement actions
It was inevitable.
When I began eFoodAlert more than nine years ago, the first pet food safety problem that crossed my keyboard was Evanger’s brush with FDA.
In April 2008, FDA (the Food and Drug Administration) ordered Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. Inc. to obtain an emergency operating permit after an FDA inspection uncovered “…significant deviations from prescribed documentation of processes, equipment, and recordkeeping …” in the production of the Company’s canned pet food products. The deviations, according to FDA’s news release, could potentially result in underprocessing and permit the survival and growth of Clostridium botulinum in the canned food products.
Holly Sher, president of Evanger’s, replied to my April 2008 post with the following comment that disputed the accuracy of the FDA news release:
“The FDA news release is highly inaccurate and misleading. Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company is not under emergency permit and is currently manufacturing and distributing its products worldwide with FDA approval. There have been no allegations for unsafe product or recalls. Please go to for company statement.”
The temporary operating permit, which — notwithstanding Sher’s protestations to the contrary — was issued in 2008, was suspended in June 2009 after FDA determined that Evanger’s was not operating in conformity with “. . . prescribed process, equipment, product shipment, and recordkeeping requirements . . .” as required under the permit. After Evanger’s promised to provide FDA with a new set of Standard Operating Procedures, the agency reinstated the temporary operating permit.
In 2011, Evanger’s was back on FDA’s radar screen. Following an inspection of the company’s manufacturing facility that began in December 2010 and was completed in January 2011, FDA issued a warning letter dated May 5, 2011. The letter advised Evanger’s that FDA had discovered violations of the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act, including product adulteration and mislabeling.
Specifically, a sample of “Lamb and Rice Dog Food” contained beef instead of lamb, and a sample of “Grain-free Duck Pet Food” did not contain any duck meat.
In addition, according to the FDA warning letter, Evanger’s was unable to “…provide processing and production records … for products manufactured in 2009.” As I pointed out in my May 17, 2011, blog post, the period for which records were not available was a time during which the company was operating under its temporary permit.
Once again, Evanger’s disputed FDA’s findings, releasing a set of what we would now call “alternative facts.” The company submitted a sample of a completely different Duck meat product to an independent lab for analysis, and reported those findings in rebuttal to FDA’s lab results.
Now, here we are in 2017, talking about Evanger’s once again. Most of the following information was first reported by Mollie Morrisette of Poisoned Pets.
On New Year’s Eve, Nikki Mael opened a can of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Au Jus and fed it to her four pugs as a special treat. Within 15 minutes, the dogs were acting strangely, unable to walk. She took all four to the emergency vet immediately; by the time she arrived at the veterinary hospital, all four were limp and unresponsive. All of the pugs were placed in the ICU. Three of them survived and are back home. The fourth dog, Talula, died.
Talula’s remains, and the remainder of the opened can of food, were conveyed to Oregon State University (OSU) for testing. OSU carried out post-mortem analysis on the dog’s remains and submitted samples to Michigan State University (MSU) for toxicological analysis. MSU found a “large quantity” of pentobarbitol — a euthanasia agent — in both the remnant of the dog food and in Talula’s stomach contents. Dr. John P. Buchweitz, the clinical toxicologist who signed off on the report, recommended that FDA’s Feed Safety Portal be notified on an urgent basis.
As the results of the testing became known, Evanger’s reacted in its usual manner, posting this update on their website on Jan. 30:
“With our common love for pets and unwavering commitment to pet health, we need to enlist your partnership in sharing true, substantiated information. It has come to our attention today that there are claims about the FDA and our food, but, as of 1:30 PM CST, the FDA has not completed any additional tests (than what has already been published and publicly posted/shared by our company HERE).
“Anything else that you have read online is not what has been published from the FDA.  These ‘claims’ are simply fear tactics and either unrelated or unsubstantiated claims against our company and our foods.
“It has been almost once month since the incident, likely with an additional 100,000 cans of Hunk of Beef consumed by pets since the alleged incident, and Evanger’s has received no other complaints from owners whose pets experienced any similar reactions to that of the pugs.  As far as Evanger’s is aware and, we believe, the FDA is aware, none of our foods have been reported to contain pentobarbital or any other contaminant.
“For all testing conducted by Evanger’s, an independent third party lab has been used, and Evanger’s was never in control of the product when it was released and sent for testing. FDA uses its own in-house laboratory and has tested intact cans. Please understand the importance of that as new reports surface.
“We must ask you to please access the results that have been published and substantiated from all testing to-date and share this link of confirmed and certified information instead of sharing unsubstantiated information.”
Well, the “fear tactics” derided in the Evanger’s update proved to be based on solid scientific evidence. I was informed this evening (Feb. 5) by a spokesperson at FDA that testing carried out in the agency’s Forensic Chemistry Center and Vet-LIRN labs detected pentobarbital in Talula’s stomach contents, in an open can of food collected from the dog’s owner, and in closed cans of food collected from the dog’s owner and from the retail location where the food had been purchased.
With those results in hand, FDA requested that Evanger’s issue the recall notice that was released late in the afternoon of Friday, Feb 3.
As of Feb. 3, the recall was limited to five production lots of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef product — lot numbers starting with 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB — distributed to retailers and online in Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. However, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the recall expand as FDA’s investigation into this incident of toxic pet food proceeds.

Effective Supplier/Retailer Communication Eases Pain of Food Recalls
Source :
By Holly Mockus (Feb 7, 2017)
Food recalls are not 100% avoidable, and they are costly. The hit to an individual food company or retailer, on average, can run to tens of millions of dollars. Annually, millions of consumers become ill as a result of contaminated food products, and the dollar costs in terms of lost productivity, medical treatment and deaths run into the tens of billions.1 More than 20% of consumers have said that they would not purchase any brands from a company suffering a food recall.2 At best, damage to a company’s brand and reputation could take a long time to repair. Clearly, the need to prevent food contamination is obvious and should be the ultimate goal of all food safety professionals.
But despite the best industry efforts, recalls inevitably occur. And since they aren’t 100% avoidable, suppliers and retailers must continue to look for ways to minimize the safety and financial impact of the recall events that do occur. It’s good to begin that process by understanding some statistics surrounding the most common recalls. Globally, 46% of food recalls are for chemical hazards or the introduction of non-food-grade ingredients. 79% of these are due to undeclared allergens. 26% of recalls are for food-borne pathogens, and 8% are due to physical hazards (metal, glass, plastic, paper, wood, etc.). The remaining 20% are generally quality-based recalls and withdrawals.3
Head Off Recalls Before They Occur
Knowing the numbers helps suppliers and retailers home in on their most likely problem areas and get a leg up on potential product contamination problems. Since chemical hazards are the single biggest culprit, and because most of these instances are due to allergens, food companies should closely examine their cleaning and sanitation practices during production line changeovers. Keep in mind the potential role of contract service providers as sources of adulteration. Regarding pathogens, evaluate raw and ready-to-eat segregation procedures, staff access points, and  good manufacturing practices and employee traffic patterns.
Many companies focus their efforts on passing food safety certification audits, but faithful adherence to food safety measures just to pass an audit misses the point. Focus on the development and implementation of comprehensive food safety systems to guard against contamination and food safety incidents, and not just avoid non-conformances to certification codes. Preventing food safety incidents and recalls before they happen must be the priority.
Supplier Best Practice: The Mock Trace
Manufacturers, suppliers and certification bodies have evolved a set of best-practice recommendations that will go a long way toward reducing the number of food safety incidents and recalls. These include conducting regular internal audits of food safety plans and procedures, including approved supplier programs and environmental monitoring programs, both to re-evaluate their effectiveness and discover new or previously overlooked gaps.
Suppliers should consider taking things to the next level. SQFI’s LeAnn Chuboff suggests that suppliers “make their retailers happy” through the use of mock trace exercises.3 These “dry runs” are invaluable for reinforcing the close examination and evaluation of recall plans and to become intimately familiar with the necessary procedures in the event of an actual adulteration event. Mock trace exercises should be intensive: They are particularly effective in identifying gaps when they occur during off shifts. Making the exercise challenging rather than check-the-box easy helps companies reveal and close critical gaps. Conduct the mock trace in both directions, from raw materials to finished goods, and vice versa.
Include every department in the company. For mock trace exercises to be completely effective, review all documentation for errors or omissions. All employees should be interviewed to determine whether they fully understand food safety and documentation procedures. Review training modules and observe manufacturing procedures for evidence of knowledge or operational gaps. Examine bulk material receiving and storage, employee and material traffic patterns, packaging materials and procedures, and cleaning and maintenance chemicals.
Speed as well as accuracy and thoroughness are critical in the event of an actual recall event. Companies should practice rapid response. Take advantage of all the accumulated experiences from the mock exercise to improve every aspect of the company’s food contamination response tools and practices.





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