FoodHACCP Newsletter

Food Safety Job Openings

06/02. Dir, National Food Safety & QA - Providence, RI
06/02. Director of Quality Assurance – Oakland, CA
06/02. Sr. Mgr, Quality & Food Safety – Oakland, CA
05/31. Mgr Food Safety & Health - Bentonville, AR
05/31. QA Supervisor – Bakery - Reno, NV
05/31.Mgr, Food Safety Compliance – Columbus, OH
05/29. Qual & Reg Compliance Specialist – Eugene, OR
05/29. Food Safety Manager – Reedley, CA
05/29. Quality Assurance Director – Lindon, UT


06/05 2017 ISSUE:759


Global Table Butter Market Expected to Exceed 5 Million Tons by 2022
By (June 04, 2017)
Applications are expanding with advancement and innovations in the food industry.
Table butter is obtained by churning fresh cream or milk which separates butterfat from the buttermilk. It remains solid under refrigeration, but melts into a liquid consistency at high temperature, and softens to a spreadable consistency at room temperature. Today, manufacturers are also introducing new varieties, flavors and packaging options of table butter to capture a wider consumer-base.
The latest report by IMARC Group titled, “Table Butter Market- Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2017-2022,” finds that the global table butter market reached a volume of more than four million tons in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 3% during 2009-2016. This report also provides historical volume, value and price trends, future forecast, industry performance, manufacturing requirements, project cost, project funding, project economics, expected returns on investment, profit margins, etc. of the global table butter market.
Table butter has been used as an important ingredient in different cultures for ages, and its applications are expanding with advancement and innovations in the food industry which are adding to the market growth. Apart from this, the presence of various nutritional elements such as manganese, chromium, iodine, zinc, copper, selenium and vitamins A, D, E and K are also contributing to its augmented demand.
According to IMARC, controlled intake of table butter reduces the chances of heart diseases, improves vision, boosts metabolism, prevents arthritis and cancer, and strengthens the immune system. Other factors, such as increasing population, rising disposable incomes and improving standards of living, are further expected to drive the growth of the market in the coming years, reaching a volume of more than five million tons by 2022.
The market has been segmented on a regional basis which includes the European Union, North America, Eastern Europe, Oceania, Latin America and Asia. Among these, the European Union represents the largest market for table butter, accounting for the majority of the share. An evaluation of the competitive landscape provides details of the key players operative in the market. Some of the major players are Lactalis Group, Nestle, Dairy Farmers of America, Arla Foods, Land O’Lakes and Amul.
Read the full report at

Keeping Food Safe using IoT in the Digital Supply Chain
Source :
By John Sammon III (June 02, 2017)
Technology advancement continues to mature at a fairly predictable rate in terms of processing speed, size, battery life and perhaps most importantly, costs. Whereas 100 years ago the telephone, followed by the radio, were just being invented, today we are steadily marching toward a 100 gigabyte / second transfer rate. These conditions are what originally launched the Information Age and it now clears a path for 50 billion connected devices in the next three to five years.
To me, “Internet of Things” (IoT) is one of those catch-all phrases that encompasses so many different technologies, value propositions and solution sets. This means that when we discuss IoT, we can be talking about a device in your home or a device used to monitor the stability of a section of the Alaskan pipeline between Coldfoot and Deadhorse. Therefore, we should condense the topic at hand down to cold chain logistics and IoT.
The cold chain is an uninterrupted supply chain we control so temperature is maintained to ensure both quality and safety of food. This includes all segments of food production, transport, warehousing, distribution, handling, preparation and storage.
Environmental conditions are essential in both quality and safety for proper food logistics, and therefore this industry was among the first to proliferate IoT. It began 15 years ago in the “over the road” and “rail” transport space when companies began to use satellite and cellular technologies to track and monitor the status, well-being and health of temperature-controlled cargos. The real-time nature of these solutions and the cloud-based historical records were the foundation of IoT as we understand it today.
Whereas these earlier solutions focused on the segments of supply chain where risks are most high, today IoT technology is implemented from source to destination. Smart devices are showing up all over the supply chain. These independent devices can work independently or collectively to capture and even halt food contamination before it happens. Temperature is essential, but more and more food safety IoT will detect gases, along with other environmental conditions that can predict and accurately report the evidence of pathogens.
But what is driving the IoT adoption? How do these disparate technologies come together in a cohesive way to build solutions that are proficient and economical? And perhaps most importantly, what is next?
Consumer demand for fresher, safer and responsibly sourced foods are driving much of the IoT adoption. More retailers are focusing on customer loyalty and trust as key metrics for success. So whether it is blueberries 12 months out of the year, or whole meal replacements such as a vegetarian lasagna, people want more than low cost; they= want transparency and quality. This demand drives behavior throughout the supply chain.
The technology required to make this happen is ubiquitous and indeed, fascinating. Starting with the sensor technology first, we are seeing more “things” that can detect. In addition, the intelligence embedded in the devices provides accurate performance while preserving battery life, by reporting on exceptions.
The delivery of information has improved with multi- modes using cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RFID, and various other scan/read technologies. Wireless is everywhere.
We are also seeing the explosion of APIs in all IoT solution sets. API stands for “Application Programing Interface”. Web APIs are a framework that allows for future functionality within applications. APIs allow the building of HTTP services that are compatible with a broad range of clients (sensors, mobile devices and browsers). This framework sets a standard for how different components of software should interact with one another.
The development and advancement of cloud technology acts as the backbone of all IoT. These central repositories of data (which becomes information) virtually never go down, are endlessly scalable and elastic without which there would be no internet.
Lastly, we have mobility. Mobility can be wearable or a handheld. The app plays a critical role in the proliferation of IoT. Smart devices are essential to solutions when stakeholders are everywhere throughout the supply chain. The application to see real-time information and track progress lives in Google Play and iTunes stores. Mobility coupled with wireless allows for real-time alerting and alarming directly to responsible stakeholders.
What’s Next
I believe that we will begin to see more “Solutions of Solutions”: Systems created out of many different technologies that when brought together generate widespread value.
As an example, global sourcing coupled with sophisticated, informed consumers has yielded technologies such as IBM’s Blockchain, which is designed for a single version of truth about a product from source to origin. Similar to Bitcoin, this technology allows for a decentralized exchange of valuable information whereby all participants benefit in the sharing of data.
The largest U.S.-based retailers are investing millions of dollars in these traceability technologies, not just to protect their brands, but because consumers expect transparency, demand quality and seek sustainability. The laws of economics (supply and demand) dictate that those that source these foods, such as meats, fishes, fruits and vegetables, must then also invest in technologies that share data.
However, because the Blockchain concept is designed such that no one single entity controls enterprise-wide information, the entire supply chain becomes transparent, which yields trust that everyone owns access and visibility. Each source of data in the chain is interdependent upon other sources, therefore all are compelled to behave rationally and responsibly. At its foundation, Blockchain is a database of information from (n) sources whereby a decentralized structure yields shared values for all stakeholders.




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Why Is a Good Diet Important for People with HIV?
Source :
Good nutrition is important to all people—whether or not they are living with HIV. But some conditions related to treating HIV or AIDS (including wasting, diarrhea, and lipid abnormalities) mean that proper nutrition is really important to people with HIV. Eating well is key to maintaining strength, energy, and a healthy immune system. In addition, because HIV can lead to immune suppression, food safety and proper hygiene are concerns when it comes to preventing infections.
For more information, see the Department of Veterans Affairs’ HIV/AIDS: Diet and Nutrition
A healthy diet is essential to maintaining good health across your lifespan. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a healthy diet as one that: provides enough of each essential nutrient; contains a variety of foods from all of the basic food groups; provides adequate energy to maintain a healthy weight; and does not contain excess fat, sugar, salt, or alcohol. There are six essential nutrients:
Protein builds muscles and a strong immune system.
Carbohydrates (including starches and sugars) give you energy.
Fat gives you extra energy.
Vitamins regulate body processes.
Minerals regulate body processes and also make up body tissues.
Water gives cells shape and acts as a medium in which body processes can occur.
For more information about healthy eating, see FDA’s Smart Nutrition 101: FAQs.
Before you make major changes in your diet, however, contact your primary care provider, or a registered dietician who specializes in HIV care, to get a better assessment of your nutritional needs.
What Do I Need to Know About Food Safety?
Because HIV affects your immune system, you may be at greater risk for food-borne illness. So in addition to eating well, you need to eat safely. By following a few basic safety rules when you prepare and eat your meals, you can protect yourself from food-related illness:
Avoid eating raw eggs, meats, or seafood (including sushi and oysters/shellfish).
Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
Use a separate cutting board for raw meats.
Wash hands, utensils, and cutting boards with soap and water after each use.
Water safety is extremely important, as water can carry a variety of parasites, bacteria, and viruses. To protect yourself against these infections, here are some helpful hints:
Do not drink water from lakes, ponds, rivers, or streams.
You may choose to use a store-bought water filter at home for your drinking water.
You can significantly reduce your risk of water-borne illness by using only boiled water for drinking and cooking.
When traveling abroad in areas where sanitation is poor or water safety is questionable, drink only bottled water and avoid ice or unpasteurized juices and drinks.

Ontario court could permanently shut down raw milk sales
Source :
BY DAN FLYNN (May 31, 2017)
Raw milk advocates on both sides of the 48th parallel are worried about the outcome of a trial in Ontario because they fear it could provide the template for ending sales of milk without pasteurization throughout Canada.
The trial almost seems like a re-run because it involves the Crown versus Ontario’s best known raw milk outlaw, Michael Schmidt or at least Schmidt’s Co-op at Glencolton Farm in Grey County. Schmidt has been no stranger to enforcement actions by the Province and the Crown over the past couple decades, winning as many rounds as he’s lost.
This time an Ontario judge, who could rule any day now, is being asked to issue a permanent injunction against Schmidt’s Coop, prohibiting both the sale and purchase of raw milk. The action might criminalize all distribution and potentially even the consumption of raw milk. All legal and court costs could immediately fall upon Schmidt and the co-op members, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. And payment by others won’t be permitted.
Sabrina Maddeaux, writing for News Canada, reports “Ontario’ nanny state is once again spiraling out of control.” On the U.S. side of the border, David Gumpert, author of  “The Raw Milk Answer Book: What You REALLY Need to Know About Our Most Controversial Food” says Ontario government “seems finally to have settled on its version of the ‘nuclear’ option.”
The Crown claims Schmidt’s Co-op is operating without a license and is violating the Canadian Milk Act. Schmidt and members of the farm co-op began presenting their case  Tuesday.
Already, there’s speculation on what happens if the judge issues an injunction. Schmidt told Gumpert it would mean “mothers can be criminally charged when they pick up the milk.”
Canada’s raw milk advocates often point out that theirs is the only G8 nation that completely bans raw milk. Injunctive action, they say, would shut down the raw milk dairy at Glencolton Farms and prevent distribution to Our Farm Our Food Coop members in the York Area. The injunctions might even criminalize the suggesting people drink raw milk.
A lively discussion on Gumpert’s Complete Patient blog debated whether acts of civil disobedience should follow any court injunction in Ontario. Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures in California, where sales of organic milk are permitted at retail locations, said “sometimes it takes a big ugly incident to make enough ugly news to create change.”
The Canadian Food and Drugs Act states:
“No person shall sell the normal lacteal secretion obtained from the mammary gland of the cow, genus Bos, or of any other animal, or sell a dairy product made with any such secretion, unless the secretion or dairy product has been pasteurized by being held at a temperature and for a period that ensure the reduction of the alkaline phosphatase activity so as to meet the tolerances specified in official method MFO-3, Determination of Phosphatase Activity in Dairy Products.”
According to Health Canada, the number of food poisoning incidents from milk has dramatically decreased since pasteurization of milk was made mandatory by Health Canada in 1991. Canada’s raw milk ban does not apply to cheese.

Study: Effective Handwashing Does Not Require Hot Water
Source :
By Staff (May 31, 2017)
Handwashing is a hot topic in the world of food safety. Lack of proper handwashing procedures in foodservice and other sectors can lead to the spread of foodborne illness. Are current handwashing rules in need of updating? A new study suggests it may be time.
According to research released by Rutgers University, cool water is apparently just as effective as hot water in terms of washing away harmful bacteria. For the study, 21 volunteers had their hands covered with a harmless bacteria multiple times over a 6 month period. Each time, the volunteers were instructed to wash their hands at varying water temperatures—60 °, 79 ° or 100 °. They were also asked to use 0.5 ml, 1 ml or 2 ml volumes of soap.
"People need to feel comfortable when they are washing their hands but as far as effectiveness, this study shows us that the temperature of the water used didn't matter," says Donald Schaffner, distinguished professor and extension specialist in food science.
"This study may have significant implications towards water energy, since using cold water saves more energy than warm or hot water," says Schaffner. "Also, we learned even washing for 10 seconds significantly removed bacteria from the hands."
The study appears to indicate that there is no difference between washing hands with cold or hot water, nor does it matter how much soap is used. However, further study would help to decipher what types of soap are most effective at removing harmful bacteria from hands.
"This is important because the biggest public health need is to increase handwashing or hand sanitizing by foodservice workers and the public before eating, preparing food and after using the restroom," says Jim Arbogast, study co-author and vice president of hygiene sciences and public health advancements for GOJO.
Rutgers’ study is an important one for the foodservice industry since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues handwashing guidelines to individual states about every 4 years or so. Currently, those guidelines instruct foodservice establishments to set plumbing systems at 100 °F for handwashing. If cold water handwashing becomes the norm, businesses could save significantly in terms of energy use.
FDA will convene in 2018 to discuss existing code and modifications. The authors of the study hope that the agency will revise water temperature policy at that time to avoid so much wasted energy on hot water usage.
The Rutgers study appears in the June 2017 issue of the Journal of Food Protection.

Food safety or food waste: Market food safety at retail
Source :
By Doug Powell (May 31, 2017)
I hate wasting food.
And I get frustrated making lunch for the kid and the wife
Not so much the wife, but the 8-year-old drives me crazy when she com home after school, has hardly eaten anything that we packed together, and says she’s hungry.
I tell her to make what she wants.
Tough house.
Jennifer McClellan of USA Today writes that Americans don’t set out to waste food (just like they don’t set out to shoot people).
People don’t buy an apple because they plan to throw it away. Instagram isn’t filled
A handful of scholars wanted to find the answer. They conducted studies and found, in essence, that Americans waste food because we don’t know another way, and because we can.
The first study to look at U.S. consumers’ attitudes about food waste came out of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in June 2015. One revelation was that having a leaky faucet or leaving lights on bothered people more than throwing away food did. But the gas created by food decay in landfills is a major environmental threat.
The second study, out of Ohio State University in 2016, found that a majority of Americans think food waste is a problem, but find it difficult to reduce their own waste. Indeed, a quarter of respondents said they’re too busy to change.
It’s not all bad, though. There’s hope for us yet.
Americans are “concerned about wasted food, and are interested in taking further action,” the Johns Hopkins study said.
Americans are conditioned to seek out the freshest, most nutritious food.
Grocery stores stock only the most beautiful fruits and vegetables on displays that give the feeling of abundance. And why not? The produce department has some of the biggest profit margins in a grocery store (tell that to the farmers).
Americans think they waste less than their neighbors.
More than 70 percent of people in the Johns Hopkins study and more than 85 percent in the Ohio State study said they toss fewer foods than others do.
Americans would rather be safe than sorry.
Sixty-five percent of people in the Ohio State study said they discarded food because they worry about food poisoning. Of those respondents, 91 percent said they pay attention to date labels on food.
People think older food and food that’s past its date will make them sick.
But more often than not those dates refer to quality, not safety. And most food-borne illness is caused by contamination along the supply line or improper food handling, not from expired food.
Food-date labeling is confusing at best. What do “use by,” “sell by” and “best before” mean anyway? Probably not “poisonous after.”
Infant formula is the only food product with federal regulation for label dates. Everything else is left up to a patchwork of state and local laws.
In most states, the date printed on milk cartons is 21 to 28 days after pasteurization. In Montana, that date is 12 days after pasteurization. When that date passes, retailers are not allowed to sell or donate the milk. Opponents of that law say it has led to an untold amount of milk poured down the drain and has caused milk prices to increase.
The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic examined Montana’s law in a documentary called “Expired? Food Waste in America.” They pointed out that since milk is pasteurized, which removes potential contaminants, it’s unlikely to make you sick if it’s spoiled.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) introduced the Food Date Labeling Act of 2016, which called for federal standardization of date labeling. It died in committee.
Late last year, the USDA released guidance for the food industry to adopt the phrase “Best If Used By” on date labels.
This year, two of the biggest trade groups in the grocery industry encouraged manufacturers to voluntarily adopt two standard phrases. The Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association urge producers to label food with “Use By” if it’s a highly perishable item for which there is a food-safety concern. Otherwise, food should be marked with a “Best If Used By” date to describe product quality, not safety.
Essentially, the complications around date labeling come back to affordability. Most Americans can afford the “extra layer of safety” of basing their actions on a date label while those with tighter budgets “look at a label twice, sniff three times and then make a decision,” said Roe, co-author of the Ohio State University study.
How we can change
Market food safety at retail.
And then all this shit goes away.

Enhancing food safety with Next Generation Sequencing
Source :
By (May 30, 2017)
Mahni Ghorashi of Clear Labs in California, USA, describes a new food analytics platform that uses next generation sequencing to analyse the molecular makeup of food samples.
The impact of food product recalls
On May 31, 2016 Golden Valley-based General Mills voluntarily recalled 10 million pounds of Gold Medal flour, Wondra flour and Signature Kitchens flour after a potential E. coli outbreak in its products[1]. The company subsequently expanded the recall dates, first in June and again in July, adding another 20 million pounds to the recall list. Fortunately, the outbreak did not result in any fatalities, but it is expected to have cost the brand tens of millions of dollars[2].
Food recalls cost an average of $15m per incident and cause significant harm to brands’ reputation and credibility. They can also cause significant harm to individuals. In the United States alone, foodborne illnesses make 48 million people sick and are responsible for 3000 fatalities every year[3].
As Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer specialising in food poisoning lawsuits against food companies, remarked in response to the General Mills E.coli outbreak, ‘We are likely to continue to see ongoing recalls of other products. It looks like the wheels on the bus are coming off, but it's actually a positive thing. I see recalls as a sign the system is operating like it should. Recalls, in the long run, are a positive for food safety.’

Despite the fact that the majority of brands have maintained a strict adherence to food safety protocols and best practices, the negative publicity generated by a rising number of high-profile recalls continues to reinforce consumer scepticism regarding the food industry's ability to ensure safety.
Food analytics platform
Clear Labs was founded in 2014 by a group of software engineers and genomic scientists to set worldwide standards for food integrity. Its aim is to help customers mitigate risk through data-driven intelligence. It has developed a pioneering new food analytics platform, Clear View, which uses Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies to analyse the composition of DNA in food samples, allowing food manufacturers and retailers to improve the transparency of their supplier network and build stronger food safety programmes.
The US Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015[4] requires the labelling of genetically modified foods, known as GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Clear Labs offers a comprehensive GMO test with coverage of all known GMOs to allow manufacturers to label products as GMO-free.
The NGS-based food tests and software analytics have potential to significantly improve the scalability and accessibility of food safety and quality measures, by comparison with conventional technologies, such as PCR and Elisa-based testing, which have inherent limitations as highlighted by several high-profile outbreaks and recalls in 2016. Compared to 2015, recalls surged by 22%[5].
The food analytics platform can complement food manufacturers’ or retailers’ existing food safety programmes. Laboratories have the option to subcontract NGS testing to Clear Labs or license the technology to conduct their own tests (Figure 1).
Analytical programmes can be up and running with NGS in a matter of weeks. Clear Labs has developed APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow customers to work with food data across various sources and tools so as to not disturb a brand’s existing safety management processes.
In order to provide analytic insights, Clear Labs is building a massive molecular reference database. This would not have been possible a decade before the introduction of NGS in 2005. NGS technologies, developed at Illumina, Roche, Life Technologies, and a number of other firms, have dramatically reduced the time and cost of DNA and RNA sequencing, revolutionising both the study and application of genomics and molecular biology.
The technology has matured remarkably quickly. Late last year researchers at The University of Toronto launched a massive project to sequence the genomes of 10,000 people per year[6].
This is truly astounding considering that it took 13 years and $3b to sequence the first human genome and that as recently as 2012 there were only 69 whole human genomes that had ever been sequenced.
Food genomes are far less complex than human genomes, and since establishing Clear Labs in 2014, the company has continued to build its reference database for food. The world’s largest, it currently spans over 2 million entries and tens of thousands of food products and ingredients.
This database powers a unified, sample-to-answer, analytics platform that connects comprehensive testing results with product metadata: type, origin, ingredients, nutrition data and label claims.
The analytics platform can be leveraged to access the food database, a library of algorithms and customisable reporting tools.
Why NGS?
NGS is poised to replace PCR and Elisa as the standard in food safety testing. The technology is ready for food-industry applications including food safety, food-authenticity, GMO, and food-microbiome testing as well as Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS).
The primary limitation of PCR is that it is targeted, so it is necessary to know what you are looking for in order to test for it. It is also conducted one target at a time, so a separate run is needed for each target chosen. This is costly and difficult to scale up.
By contrast, NGS-based testing is universal. A single test exposes all potential threats, both expected and unexpected, because instead of testing for one gene at a time, millions of reads are sequenced at once. A single NGS test can reveal the presence and concentration of bacteria, fungi or allergens as well as the precise composition of ingredients in any given sample, helping to guarantee that hazards do not slip through the supply chain.
PCR-based tests have high limits of detection and cannot be used to distinguish between closely related species. NGS-based tests, on the other hand, have low limits of detection; the increased sensitivity of NGS produces more accurate results along with much higher levels of specificity. For example, a study conducted by the American Proficiency Institute[7] that analysed the results from 39,500 food proficiency tests conducted between 1999 and 2012 found that routine pathogen testing with NGS detected 100% of target genomes, while PCR or antigen/antibody based methods detected 98%-99% of target genomes. At scales of hundreds of thousands of tests per year, the reduction in number of false negative rates, each a potential recall, is substantial.
There is a concern that adopting new technologies, especially those which promise increased levels of transparency, will increase exposure to regulation and litigation. On the other hand, no stakeholder wants to signal that they are disregarding consumer concerns, especially at a time when consumer vigilance and awareness about food safety and quality are at an all-time high. Millennials are now the largest living generation[8], and, as consumers, they are more likely than their forbears to research what goes into the products they buy and to buy from brands that demonstrate a commitment to social good[9].
There are numerous ways to leverage NGS technologies in food safety applications that empower manufacturers without adding substantial risk. While WGS, for example, provides unprecedented levels of transparency, manufacturers who have access to analytics platforms can maintain control of what they voluntarily test for, customise internal reporting and create private, secure libraries for WGS. In other words, introducing new technologies does not preclude having to make hard decisions that weigh the risk of increased regulation against the risk of product recalls. Brands that have adopted NGS testing will simply be able to execute on these decisions more quickly and at less cost.
Among other solutions, NGS and WGS are driving the rapid development of microbial strain tracking technology in the food industry to identify persistent or resident pathogen strains and high-risk environments for pathogen growth.
These technologies are also proactively staying a step ahead of new regulatory protocols. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) (see page 36) now gives the FDA power to access records and conduct on-site ‘swabathons’. Manufacturers using NGS technologies can efficiently engage in intensive internal swabbing to better define microbial ecologies of facilities and take swift corrective actions.
NGS-powered environmental monitoring has been particularly useful in facilities that produce ready-to-eat (RTE) products, which are exposed to the environment and have no kill-step for pathogens after packaging.
Genomics powered environmental monitoring can also verify the effectiveness of routine monitoring programmes and surface insights that inform more effective and more efficient processes. A leading meat and poultry manufacturer, for example, is using Clear Labs to screen plants and houses for resident versus transient pathogens. The company has been able to more accurately identify pathogen strain types and their origin, reduce recall risk through proactive testing, as well as liability through encryption and data matching.
NGS technologies can also help brands dramatically reduce their exposure to food fraud and third-party contamination.  Food fraud, which occurs in up to 10% of all food types, precipitates serious public-health risks and costs the global food industry $10b-$15b annually. When an NGS-powered authenticity test reveals unexpected ingredients and contaminants, the platform automatically generates an internal report. The report depicted in Figure 2, alerted a Clear Labs customer to the fact that its supplier had engaged in economically motivated adulteration (EMA).
The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and FSMA now require food facilities to implement preventative controls to avoid fraud. Deploying traditional PCR-based tests for supplier verification is costly and the results are not reliable since PCR cannot distinguish between closely related species and has high false-positive rates. NGS-powered tests reveal episodes of contamination and adulteration that would be likely to remain undetected. The Clear Labs authenticity test can also be used for undeclared allergen and pathogen identification, which account for more food recalls than any other form of contamination[5].
Figure 3 is a report generated for an existing customer, which reveals both the presence of an undeclared allergen and the absence of listed ingredients. It clearly illustrates the difference between PCR and NGS testing. To detect the presence of an allergen that could easily trigger a recall using PCR-based tests, a brand would have had to specifically test for soy. Rather than wait for an outbreak before conducting a battery of tests to locate the source of an allergen or contaminant, a brand leveraging NGS testing can proactively analyse samples to mitigate risks.
Traditional thinking is that adopting high-transparency technologies might expose food products to liability and increased scrutiny, but food brand recalls are so exorbitantly expensive to manage that increased monitoring and transparency of the supply chain is essential.
The perceived value of food-industry goods is determined by consumer demand and while the food industry’s decisions on operational and process innovation have traditionally been based on legal and regulatory counsel, gaining consumer trust by employing technologies, such as NGS, that enhance transparency, will be increasingly important in the future.
Now, more than ever before, it is the food-industry’s scientists and researchers, those charged with applying new technologies to solve real problems, who can best help endow our products with value.
Mahni Ghorashi, co-founder Clear Labs, 3565 Haven Ave. Suite 2, Menlo Park, CA 94025, US

Build Stronger Food Safety Programs With Next-Generation Sequencing
Source :
By Akhila Vasan, Mahni Ghorashi (May 30, 2017)
According to a survey by retail consulting firm Daymon Worldwide, 50% of today’s consumers are more concerned about food safety and quality than they were five years ago. Their concerns are not unfounded. Recalls are on the rise, and consumer health is put at risk by undetected cases of food adulteration and contamination.
While consumers are concerned about the quality of the food they eat, buy and sell, the brands responsible for making and selling these products also face serious consequences if their food safety programs don’t safeguard against devastating recalls.
A key cause of recalls, food fraud, or the deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, continues to be an issue for the food safety industry. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, food fraud is estimated to be a $10–15 billion a year problem.
Some of the more notorious examples include wood shavings in Parmesan cheese, the 2013 horsemeat scandal in the United Kingdom, and Oceana’s landmark 2013 study, which revealed that a whopping 33% of seafood sold in the United States is mislabeled. While international organizations like Interpol have stepped up to tackle food fraud, which is exacerbated by the complexity of globalization, academics estimate that 4% of all food is adulterated in some way.
High-profile outbreaks due to undetected pathogens are also a serious risk for consumers and the food industry alike. The United States’ economy alone loses about $55 billion each year due to food illnesses. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 1 in 10 people become ill every year from eating contaminated food. In 2016 alone, several high-profile outbreaks rocked the industry, harming consumers and brands alike. From the E. coli O26 outbreak at Chipotle to Salmonella in live poultry to Hepatitis A in raw scallops to the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak at Blue Bell ice cream, the food industry has dealt with many challenges on this front.
What’s Being Done?
Both food fraud and undetected contamination can cause massive, expensive and damaging recalls for brands. Each recall can cost a brand about $10 million in direct costs, and that doesn’t include the cost of brand damage and lost sales.
Frustratingly, more recalls due to food fraud and contamination are happening at a time when regulation and policy is stronger than ever. As the global food system evolves, regulatory agencies around the world are fine-tuning or overhauling their food safety systems, taking a more preventive approach.
At the core of these changes is HACCP, the long implemented and well-understood method of evaluating and controlling food safety hazards. In the United States, while HACCP is still used in some sectors, the move to FSMA is apparent in others. In many ways, 2017 is dubbed the year of FSMA compliance.
There is also the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a private industry conformance standard for certification, which was established proactively by industry to improve food safety throughout the supply chain. It is important to note that all regulatory drivers, be they public or private, work together to ensure the common goal of delivering safe food for consumers. However, more is needed to ensure that nothing slips through the food safety programs.
Now, bolstered by regulatory efforts, advancements in technology make it easier than ever to update food safety programs to better safeguard against food safety risks and recalls and to explore what’s next in food.
Powering the Food Safety Programs of Tomorrow
Today, food safety programs are being bolstered by new technologies as well, including genomic sequencing techniques like NGS. NGS, which stands for next-generation sequencing, is an automated DNA sequencing technology that generates and analyzes millions of sequences per run, allowing researchers to sequence, re-sequence and compare data at a rate previously not possible.
The traditional methods of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are quickly being replaced by faster and more accurate solutions. The benefit of NGS over PCR is that PCR is targeted, meaning you have to know what you’re looking for. It is also conducted one target at a time, meaning that each target you wish to test requires a separate run. This is costly and does not scale.
Next-generation sequencing, by contrast, is universal. A single test exposes all potential threats, both expected and unexpected. From bacteria and fungi to the precise composition of ingredients in a given sample, a single NGS test guarantees that hazards cannot slip through your supply chain.  In the not-too-distant future, the cost and speed of NGS will meet and then quickly surpass legacy technologies; you can expect the technology to be adopted with increasing speed the moment it becomes price-competitive with PCR.
Applications of NGS
Even today’s NGS technologies are deployment-ready for applications including food safety and supplier verification. With the bottom line protected, food brands are also able to leverage NGS to build the food chain of tomorrow, and focus funding and resources on research and development.
Safety Testing. Advances in NGS allow retailers and manufacturers to securely identify specific pathogens down to the strain level, test environmental samples, verify authenticity and ultimately reduce the risk of outbreaks or counterfeit incidents.
Compared to legacy PCR methods, brands leveraging NGS are able to test for multiple pathogens with a single test, at a lower cost and higher accuracy. This universality is key to protecting brands against all pathogens, not just the ones for which they know to look.
Supplier Verification. NGS technologies can be used to combat economically motivated food fraud and mislabeling, and verify supplier claims. Undeclared allergens are the number one reason for recalls.
As a result of FSMA, the FDA now requires food facilities to implement preventative controls to avoid food fraud, which today occurs in up to 10% of all food types. Traditional PCR-based tests cannot distinguish between closely related species and have high false-positive rates. NGS offers high-resolution, scalable testing so that you can verify suppliers and authenticate product claims, mitigating risk at every level.
R&D. NGS-based metagenomics analysis can be used in R&D and new product development to build the next-generation of health foods and nutritional products, as well as to perform competitive benchmarking and formulation consistency monitoring.
As the consumer takes more and more control over what goes into their food, brands have the opportunity to differentiate not only on transparency, but on personalization, novel approaches and better consistency.
A Brighter Future for Food Safety
With advances in genomic techniques and analysis, we are now better than ever equipped to safeguard against food safety risks, protect brands from having to issue costly recalls, and even explore the next frontier for food. As the technology gets better, faster and cheaper, we are going to experience a tectonic shift in the way we manage our food safety programs and supply chains at large.
We will be discussing this topic, “Building Stronger Food Safety Programs through Next-Generation Sequencing”, during a live conversation on June 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm ET. Microbiologists, testing personnel, food industry management, and anyone interested in how to leverage these new technologies to fortify their food safety programs will learn how NGS is going to transform the future of food safety.

Food safety: Possible risk to reputations provides motivation
Source :
By ECOLAB (May 29, 2017)
Over Ecolab’s many decades of support to the food service industry, we have seen considerable progress in the execution of sanitation and hygiene programs that protect public health. But each new food safety incident or norovirus outbreak, and the accompanying headlines, remind us that we dare not take our eyes off the ball. The public health risks continue to evolve, the stakes in terms of reputations only seem to rise and the potential for negative financial impact keeps increasing.
Because we do thousands of audits each year, we know the importance of continual vigilance on the basics – good personal hygiene, safe food handling, and effective cleaning and sanitizing.
In our on-site service visits, we also see emerging concerns. Consumers are asking for more local, organic and so-called clean label foods that can, if not carefully vetted and handled, present increased food safety risks. On the analytical side, advanced technologies capable of identifying pathogens at miniscule levels are contributing to public misperceptions. And social media is amplifying the risk of violations – actual and perceived.
The good news is that, as the challenges evolve, new technologies also are emerging to help mitigate and manage these risks. Tools such as digital monitoring and predictive analytics are enabling greater insight and control over key risk factors across food operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For example, there are programs to monitor dish machines remotely, ensuring that all key metrics are achieved for optimal sanitation.
However, as much as technology can help, operational excellence continues to depend, first and foremost, on human behaviors – behaviors shaped largely by culture. And this is where food service leaders have a critical role: They are in the best position to inspire a culture in which employees perform the correct hygiene and sanitation behaviors all the time, even when no one is looking. Leaders can and must demand high standards, reinforce that the public health and safety must be a top priority, and demonstrate no tolerance for corner-cutting.
As employees well know, talk can be empty without action. To demonstrate the importance of proper sanitation and hygiene, leaders can invest in tools that make it easier for workers to follow best practices. They can provide continuous training to reinforce key behaviors. They can conduct audits of their operations – and use the findings to build on good behaviors and highlight areas for improvement.  And they can recognize high-performing teams and celebrate their vigilance.
The cost of not fostering a culture that supports food safety and public health strikes where it hurts: The bottom line. National Restaurant Association studies show that, after a food safety incident, food service companies experience, on average, a double-digit decline in sales and per-establishment costs of $75,000 for legal fees, medical claims, lost wages and sanitizing costs. That does not include the high price of damage to a company name or brand.
Careful attention to sanitation and hygiene clearly is a key factor in the success of any food service organization – a factor upon which leadership can exert considerable influence.






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