Letter From The Editor: Keeping an open mind not bad advice for all of us
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/06/letter-from-the-editor-keeping-an-open-mind-not-bad-advice-for-all-of-us/#.WT368WjyiUl
By DAN FLYNN (June 11, 2017)
Before the start of the BPI v. ABC trial this past Monday in Elk Point, SD, I read a story by Eriq Gardner in the Hollywood Reporter that boiled the case down to “whether preconceived negative spin in the media should result in massive punishment.”
I can answer that question right now after only hearing one week of testimony in a trial that is scheduled to last eight weeks. ABC did have a “preconceived negative spin” about BPI’s lean finely textured beef (LFTB) product. It would not have called the product “pink slime” more than 350 times in a month if it was trying to put a little positive tilt on their stories.
Massive punishment in this civil defamation case means only one thing — money.
The Walt Disney Co. is one of six corporations that control 90 percent of the media. It owns ABC Television, ESPN, Marvel and Pixar and had overall 2016 revenues of $55.63 billion. Who’s going to notice if Disney has to roll off nearly $6 billion for harming BPI?
But, wait, wait, wait. I almost forgot, this is why we are having the trial is it not?
“Preconceived negative spin” is one thing, but so is the use of truth as a defense. That’s why the trial is now in the fact-building phase, with BPI putting on expert witnesses to testify that LFTB is meat, and is beef, and is nutritious. And showing that comparisons to slime or jello are off target.
For every BPI expert, there is an ABC attorney ready with a cross examination, making it clear that whatever preconceived notions network reporters and producers had, they were getting confirmations for their reports from their own experts and generally following common journalistic practices.
It’s probably going to go on like this for a while. It’s a tedious process this search for justice, especially for those directly impacted.
BPI founder Eldon Roth and family sit on the right side of the courtroom in the front row, listening to every word. Roth is a South Dakota native. When times were tough, without a high school diploma or college degree, he discovered his own mechanical genius and demonstrated it at the patent office as he built the industrial plants that made his beef recovery processes an economic success.
Just a few feet away, to Roth’s left, sits Jim Avila, currently Senior Law and Justice Correspondent for ABC News. Amicable with a broad easy smile, Avila is from a broadcast family. He and his brothers adopted their maternal grandmother’s name as a way not relying on their father’s name. Their dad was Jim Simon of the Mutual Broadcasting Network fame who is often referred to as “the father of talk radio.” In addition to reporting, Avila frequently anchors ABC’s World News Saturday.
A 12-member jury with four alternates — 11 women and five men — are going to have to sort this all out. Each time they come and go from the court room, the judge gives them a stern warning not to talk to each other or anyone else about the case; and not to expose themselves to any media about it. Judge Cheryle Gering always ends it by telling jurors they need to keep an open mind.
Those repeated warnings aren’t the only sign that the judge is going to keep a tight rein. By mid-week, this reporter observed two grey vans that appeared to be providing transportation for the jurors to and from their homes. She also made it no secret that jurors could be sequestered once they begin deliberations.
The jury instructions were read aloud before opening statements. The instructions say jurors are to make decisions by using a preponderance of the evidence. But, it sounds like BPI has to prevail on every part of their complaint before they can move to the monetary awards phase where winnings could be tripled under South Dakota law.
If BPI can convince the jury to award its full claim of $1.9 billion, that amount theoretically could be tripled under the South Dakota Food Products Disparagement Act. That’s where the $5.7 billon number comes from that is associated with this litigation.
But, there’s a long way to go and some of it will be over new ground. ABC spread its “pink slime” broadcast reports across all available platforms — websites, Twitter, Facebook etc. We’ve probably seen the last time when a libel or disparagement lawsuit is going to be about a single program or news story. All those platforms added up by BPI is why it can say ABC called LFTB “pink slime” more than 350 times.
Using all those platforms is even more common now than it was in 2012, but until now it’s not been tested before a jury.
Editors Note: Attorney Bill Marler, publisher of Food Safety News, represented retired USDA scientists Gerald Zirnstein and Carl Custer until they were dismissed as defendants in this case. Writer/editor Dan Flynn was served with a subpoena from the plaintiffs during early stages of this litigation, but he was not required to provide any information or to testify. That subpoena is now thought to be inactive.
Several dozen sick after Rifle Rodeo; public asked for help
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/06/several-dozen-sick-after-rifle-rodeo-public-asked-for-help/#.WT36NmjyiUl
By CORAL BEACH (June 10, 2017)
Colorado public health officials have ruled out waterborne, airborne and person-to-person infection routes for an outbreak of illnesses among several dozen attendees of a rodeo, leaving food as a likely source.
The Garfield County Public Health Department repeated its plea Friday for help from everyone who attended the rodeo in Rifle, CO, at the county fairgrounds on Monday, June 5. About 200 people were at the Rifle Rodeo, according to the health department.
“It appears that people became ill approximately six hours following the end of the rodeo event Monday night,” Billy Harkins, county environmental health specialist, said in the pubic health alert.
“We are still investigating the cause of the outbreak, and are taking all possible factors into consideration. The total number of individuals who became ill and the duration of their illness has not been confirmed.”
Those who reported their illnesses helped investigators narrow possible causes significantly already. County officials reported Friday that the dozens of illnesses did not develop from a waterborne or airborne source and were not transferred by person-to-person contact.
The quick onset of symptoms ruled out those sources, as well as some specific pathogens. The common foodborne pathogens E. coli, Salmonella and Hepatitis A take longer after exposure to produce symptoms, according to the Garfield County alert update.
“Samples have, and are being sent to a state lab for testing. Public health staff hopes to receive data next week, but this depends on the number of investigations of both ill and well people that staff is still in the process of conducting,” according to the update.
“June 5 Rifle Rodeo attendees are asked to call 970-625-5200, Ext. 8128, and a public health representative will return the call to complete a brief questionnaire that will help to track down the source of the outbreak.”
The cooperation of rodeo attendees who did not become ill will help investigators rule out food sources because they will be able to compare foods eaten by outbreak victims with foods eaten by those who did not get sick.
So far symptoms reported by outbreak victims include nausea, cramping and diarrhea.
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Food Safety Talk 127: A five-second lather
Source : http://www.barfblog.com/2017/06/food-safety-talk-127-a-five-second-lather/
By Ben Chapman (June 10, 2017)
Don and Ben get down and dirty with shower habits, trips to Idaho and calendar best practices. They go in-depth on the science of handwashing, including temperatures and lathering styles including a creepy mechanical pigskin hand simulator. The show ends with a response to Roderick on the Line’s question on keeping bacon fat on the stove and listener followup on home pasteurized eggs.
Episode 127 can be found here and on iTunes.
Show notes so you can follow at home:
Sun Valley, Idaho – Wikipedia
What is Glamping? | Glamping.com
Yellowstone Under Canvas | Glamping.com
Good science is fucking hard: Handwashing sensation finds cool water as effective as hot water for removing germs | barfblog
Quantifying the Effects of Water Temperature, Soap Volume, Lather Time, and Antimicrobial Soap as Variables in the Removal of Escherichia coli ATCC 11229 from Hands | Journal of Food Protection
Food Code > Food Code 2013
Oxidative stability of lard and sunflower oil supplemented with coffee extracts under storage conditions
The Inhibition of Fat Oxidation Processes By N. M. Emanuel, Yu. N. Lyaskovskaya
Ep. 246: “Night Burrito” – Roderick on the Line – Merlin Mann
Unpack | Definition of Unpack by Merriam-Webster
What’s the Deal With Tuna Scrape? | Food Safety News
How to pasteurize eggs at home | Baking Bites
How (and Why) to Pasteurize Eggs With Your Sous Vide Cooker
Appendix A to Compliance Guidelines
FACT CHECK: Did a Tainted Buffet Cause a ‘Severe Diarrhea Incident’ at a Strip Club?
FOOD SAFETY: Breaded chicken products recalled
Source : http://www.crestviewbulletin.com/news/20170611/food-safety-breaded-chicken-products-recalled
By GateHouse Media
Gourmet Boutique LLC, with establishments in Jamaica, N.Y. and Phoenix, Ariz., is recalling approximately 294,744 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken products due to misbranding and undeclared allergens, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The products could contain milk, a known allergen, which is not declared on the product label.
The RTE breaded chicken products were produced on various dates from February 3 to June 2, 2017. The following products are subject to recall:
3.125-lb. frozen packages of “Breaded Chicken Cutlet” with lot codes J34 through J150 (for Est. number P-18799) and J53 through J153 (for Est. number P-32107).
3.125-lb. frozen packages of “All Natural Breaded Chicken Cutlet” with lot code J34 through J150 (for Est. number P-18799).
5-lb. frozen packages of “Diced Breaded Chicken Cutlet” with lot code J34 through J150 (for Est. number P-18799).
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-18799 or P-32107” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to institutional locations nationwide.
The problem was discovered on June 6, 2017, when the company received notification from an ingredient supplier that the bread crumbs the company received and used in the recalled products potentially contained undeclared milk.
There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.
Health advocates say FDA ignored law, science on perchlorate
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/06/health-advocates-say-fda-ignored-law-science-on-perchlorate/#.WT37P2jyiUl
By CORAL BEACH (June 8, 2017)
Agency won't ban chemical from food packaging despite evidence it causes infant brain damage
Using the same mechanism that resulted in the banning of cyclamates in 1970, a group of public health watchdog organizations is challenging the FDA’s decision not to ban perchlorate in food packaging.
The consumer advocates say the Food and Drug Administration ignored scientific evidence that shows the chemical disrupts fetal and infant brain development, causing permanent brain damage. The groups contend FDA’s own data shows perchlorate, which is used in rocket fuel, herbicides and explosives, “migrates” from packaging materials into foods.
“FDA approved its use in plastic packaging for food in 2005 — despite evidence that it harms fetal and infant brain development,” according to a news release from the Environmental Defense Fund, one of the groups seeking a formal evidentiary public hearing before an administrative law judge.
“An FDA report published in 2016 found that virtually all foods sampled had detectable levels of perchlorate. Even more concerning, the amount of perchlorate in foods infants and toddlers eat increased 36 percent and 24 percent, respectively, from 2008-2012 compared to 2005-2006. Dry rice cereal — often the first solid food given to a baby — and barley cereal showed the greatest increase from before and after the decision.
“Today’s objection filed with the FDA cites the agency’s refusal to acknowledge evidence that perchlorate exposure increased significantly after its 2005 decision to allow perchlorate in packaging. Additionally, the objection cites evidence that FDA’s initial decision to approve perchlorate grossly underestimated the amount of perchlorate migrating into dry food.”
Contamination of food by perchlorate is specifically referenced as one of the dangers of the chemical by the Environmental Protection Agency, which considers it to be a carcinogen.
Other groups joining in the call for a review of FDA’s decision include:
Breast Cancer Prevention Partners;
Center for Environmental Health;
Center for Science in the Public Interest;
Center for Food Safety;
Clean Water Action;
Environmental Working Group;
Natural Resources Defense Council; and
Improving Kids’ Environment.
Food companies add perchlorate to plastic packaging for dry food such as rice cereal, flour and spices to reduce the buildup of static charges. The consumer advocates say an industry study showed the toxic chemical migrates into the food inside the packages.
“Perchlorate threatens fetal and child brain development by impairing the thyroid’s ability to use iodine in the diet to make the thyroid hormone — T4 — that is essential to brain development,” according to the news release from the public health advocacy groups.
The advocacy groups are requesting the formal evidentiary public hearing in response to FDA’s announcement on May 4 that it would not ban the chemical from dry food packaging.
In their request, the advocacy groups say the FDA made numerous legal and scientific errors during the decision-making process.
“FDA relied on a single study using a test designed for small packaging that was conducted by a company with a vested interest in the outcome,” according to the request for a hearing.
“This migration test bears little relevance to the actual conditions of use of the perchlorate in bulk packaging allowed by FDA. It was not designed to assess the abrasive and compressive forces driving the migration of perchlorate into food from this use. It also was not relevant to the contribution of perchlorate into food from food handling equipment. Despite these serious shortcomings, the company’s test still showed that perchlorate migrates into food.”
Specifically, the groups want:
FDA to revoke its 2005 approval of Threshold of Regulation (TOR) exemption No. 2005–006 that allows up to 1.2 percent sodium perchlorate monohydrate in dry food packaging;
FDA to issue a new § 189.301 (21 CFR 189.301) prohibiting the use of perchlorate as a conductivity enhancer in the manufacture of antistatic agents to be used in food contact articles; and
FDA to remove potassium perchlorate as an allowed additive in sealing gaskets for food containers in existing § 177.1210 (21 CFR 177.1210).
Beef safety expert says ABC got it wrong, wrong and wrong
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/06/beef-safety-expert-says-abc-got-it-wrong-wrong-and-wrong/#.WT37tmjyiUl
By DAN FLYNN (June 8, 2017)
Texas Tech researcher testifies on behalf of BPI; says LFTB is beef not 'pink slime' and is safe
ELK POINT, SD – Mindy Brashears from Texas Tech University took the witness stand in the BPI v. ABC jury trial Wednesday. Under direct testimony, she was giving BPI a lot of traction, but that could change this morning when ABC’s attorneys get to continue their cross-examination.
Professor Brashears is director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University. She told the jury that BPI’s lean finely textured beef (LFTB) is meat, is beef, is nutritious and is entirely safe to eat.
Her testimony on behalf of BPI was designed to prove that almost everything ABC News reported from March 7 to April 3 in 2012 about the beef product — which the network referred to as “pink slime” more than 350 times — was totally false.
In the past four years, Brashears said, she not only examined everything she could find about BPI, but also conducted her own studies. Her time on the project totaled 1,250 hours and BPI paid her a private consulting rate of $250 an hour for a total of about $335,000.
In addition, she used textbook definitions to show that LFTB is not a filler, not a gelatin and not a “pink slime.” Further, she said, she conducted her own research to show trimmings used in production of BPI’s product are not more dangerous than those used by other beef processors.
Before Brashears knocked down an alleged falsehood, BPI attorneys each time would play another of the ABC newscasts to show how their clients were victims of “food disparagement.”
Brashears also testified about BPI’s overall food safety record. She visited its facilities “18 to 20 times” during the past four years. She did numerous studies of her own because she said she wanted her own set of facts.
BPI’s lean finely textured beef is just that, she testified, lean beef that is entirely suitable for use in ground beef. As for BPI’s food safety programs and practices, Brashears had nothing but praise.
She said the company not only holds individual lots of meat until tests show they are clear for E. coli O157:H7 and the six other Shiga toxin producing strains, but also for Salmonella. The E. coli strains are banned from beef by federal law because they are defined as adulterants. Salmonella, however, under federal law, is not considered an adulterant in meat.
Brasiers said she knows of no beef processing company — except for BPI — that diverts lots that test positive for Salmonella to a cooked product, which kills the bacteria.
She also said that a 2009 New York Times report about BPI lean finely textured beef that tested positive for E. coli being used for the National School Lunch Program was not correct. The product went to the NSLP’s lab, the consultant said, and never reached a school lunchroom.
Only 10 minutes of court time remained Wednesday when ABC’s attorneys finally began their cross examination. Attorney Dane Butswinkas went back to his “hamburger hierarchy,” asking Brashears questions about how LFTB was approved by USDA prior to 1993 when agency scientists opposed.
Butswinkas pointedly asked Brashears if LFTB was not the same product BPI sold prior to 1993 that was not permitted in ground beef. The TTU professor said she did not look at products that existed prior to the 1993 adoption of LFTB by USDA. She also told Butswinkas she did not find much significance to there being opposition by some USDA scientists because there is always opposition in such situations.
Brashears research focuses on interventions in pre-and post-harvest environments and on the emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance. She’s worked with the beef industry in more 30 states.
Her interests have primarily been in meat and poultry products, with some work on spinach as well. Her work has resulted in the commercialization of pre-harvest feed additives that reduce E. coli and Salmonella in cattle.
The professor is currently working with the government and beef industry in Honduras to rebuild that nation’s herd. She’s also led international research teams to Mexico, Belize and Argentina to improve food safety and security in those sectors and to set up sustainable agriculture systems in impoverished areas.
She teaches courses in food microbiology and food safety and offers industry training in food sanitation, recalls and food security. She holds a bachelor’s degree in food technology from Texas Tech and master’s and doctoral degrees in food science from Oklahoma State University.
Editors Note: Attorney Bill Marler, publisher of Food Safety News, represented retired USDA scientists Gerald Zirnstein and Carl Custer until they were dismissed as defendants in this case. Writer/editor Dan Flynn was served with a subpoena from the plaintiffs during early stages of this litigation but was not required to provide any information or to testify. That subpoena is now thought to be inactive.
How Can I Engage My Team in Positive Food Safety Practices?
Source : http://www.qualityassurancemag.com/article/how-can-i-engage-my-team-in-positive-food-safety-practices/
By qualityassurancemag.com (June 6, 2017)
In food manufacturing, food safety has many competing areas, e.g., productivity, personnel safety, profitability. While food safety is a key factor in all of these, it may be seen as the enemy: adding verification steps can be seen as slowing down the process; added testing or equipment cuts into the bottom line. As food safety professionals, our magic is to develop practices without shining a spotlight on these concerns. Here are five ways to do this:
Set Objectives. Although food safety maturity of an organization is a subjective measurement, based on where the company or department is and where it wants to go, it is key in developing practices. An analysis can consider audit results, customer complaints, internal non-conformances, and industry news. It can be based on the training needs of the staff by identifying their education, experience, and knowledge. The length of time that the staff has been employed in the food industry also will play a factor in the overall food safety awareness. Newer employees may be well educated but may not have had an opportunity to put what they know into practice. Through practice and experience, staff members challenge their knowledge and food safety capabilities. Once the organization identifies its objectives and goals, management awareness takes on a whole new approach.
ENSURE MANAGEMENT SUPPORT.To engage your team in positive food safety practices, start at the top — including non-food-safety top management (human relations, operations, finance, etc.), all those who don’t really understand food safety by nature of their jobs. The more engaged top management appears, the more the staff will react. If top management walks the floor and only seems concerned about product waste or downtime, workers will ensure those areas are addressed. Top management is trained and coached on waste and downtime because these affect the bottom line; they also know food safety is very important, but they may not always know what to look for or what questions to ask. This is where the food safety professional comes into play. Building a partnership and strategy between management and the food safety team becomes a win/win for both sides. Walking through a production area allows managers to express any concerns in food safety. It also enables the food safety professional to hear concerns and explain why various food safety components are important; and it allows the food safety professional to demonstrate achievements and highlight next steps for improvement. Building this connection with top management allows for better understanding, awareness, suggestions, and collaboration, so management is a part of the results and has a positive impact.
BUILD AWARENESS. Building awareness takes on different forms. There are many types of people in a food facility and areas of focus in the organization. Each has different responsibilities, levels of experience, and approaches to learning. Each will need a different perspective of food safety as it relates to his or her role. Various awareness platforms can be used to build food safety knowledge for all personnel.
These could include dedicated message boards with one-point lessons to present food recalls of suppliers, customers, or other companies in your segment to create learning opportunities through others; posting of photos of internal findings, recognizing those who discover them to build motivation and esteem; sharing short food safety topics and news during team huddles; and monthly food safety emails related to best practices at home to take food safety awareness into their personal space. Include top managers so they can discuss them with the staff to make a food safety connection.
DEVELOP GAMES/CHALLENGES. Engaging positive food safety can have a very serious point of view or an element of fun. Some people will do things just because it’s the right thing to do; others like and thrive on winning. Games and other activities build employee engagement and maintain their interest. The structure behind the fun allows for employee learning and leads to stronger, better food safety practices.
PROVIDE FEEDBACK. Most people want to know what is right and need to know what right looks like. They also need to know what is not right and how to make it right. Knowing the how enables them to explore different ways to get it right and be a problem solver. The how will encourage positive practices, build esteem, and drive food safety practices to the next level.
SUMMARY. A facility’s food safety practices may be positive and strong or poor and weak. The way the organization shares its food safety values, attitudes, and behaviors are its food safety practices. A positive practice strives for improvement and works toward its next level of maturity. Developing objectives with management support, awareness, games or challenges, and providing feedback are key elements to building positive food safety practices.
Chinese food safety standards up with the best: NZ berry grower video
Source : http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/93380414/chinese-food-safety-standards-up-with-the-best-nz-berry-grower
By stuff.co.nz (June 06, 2017)
David Berry is a man on a mission - to change the negative view people have of Chinese food safety standards.
The United Kingdom-based Kiwi is the owner of a berry processing plant in Shandong province which has been caught up in food scares related to other berry exporters, although none of his products have ever been recalled.
Chief of the scares was the Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI) recall in 2015 of frozen blackberries and strawberries grown in China, because of a supposed risk of hepatitis A.
In fact, tests failed to reveal any problems with the berries. Australian company Patties Foods had $14 million wiped from its profits over similar claims, and it decided to exit the frozen berry business.
* Frozen berries recall widens in Hepatitis A scare
* Berry importer calls for mass recall of all China fruit
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said at the time it was the responsibility of businesses "not to poison their customers" after 18 Australians tested positive for Hepatitis A.
But the case against the berries was never proven, Berry said, and there was never a retraction from health authorities.
He said the likelihood of a Hepatitis A contamination was "extremely remote" for a number of reasons: * A very low level of Hepatitis A in the Chinese population at less than 1 case per 100,000 - similar to Australia and New Zealand; * A universal vaccination programme in place as there is in the United States but not in Australia and New Zealand;
* Compulsory health tests including liver fitness tests for all staff working in food factories - which does not happen in New Zealand;
* High factory hygiene standards;
* Pathogen kill steps in the production process which are not used in many other countries.
"These measures taken together bring China to the forefront of safe food producers as is increasingly recognised by some leading world fruit industry users. The unfortunate thing is these measures are not well communicated so public perception is lagging behind the reality.
"I'd like MPI to say it has studied the situation in depth and is satisfied there is not a problem."
In response, an MPI spokesman said: "MPI makes recall decisions based on a risk assessment of available scientific evidence and we remain satisfied with the decisions made to protect the New Zealand public during the imported frozen berries recall."
Chief executive of the NZ China Council, Stephen Jacobi, said that in China consumers were becoming more sensitive to issues of quality and "clearly suppliers are responding to this".
Berry said he started his berry growing and processing business in Shandong in the early 2000s because of lower costs and favourable growing conditions.
He and his Chinese business partner have developed a processing plant for their company Dragons Garden which he says is superior to most in New Zealand or Australia.
To clean the berries of pathogens, they use a chlorine bath and then wash any chlorine residue off completely. Ozone is then pumped into the packing room as a further safeguard.
His company has exported 46.8 million portions of berries to New Zealand and Australia without incident. He has an approved China Inspection and Quarantine laboratory on site, but tests are still conducted in New Zealand.
"MPI has a job to do. But by this stage they should have good confidence that the tests that are being carried out in China are a trustworthy assurance of the low micro counts on Chinese fruit."
In a recent submission to Australian food safety officials, Berry said examples he had seen of some Australian safety practices showed berry exporters were behind China.
"We can say for sure they would not be granted an export licence for frozen fruit if they were based in China. It is not just Australia that is behind however; in Europe it is standard practice to wash only with potable water without the chlorine kill step."
In Europe companies can export products that have E.coli counts as high as 1000 parts per million, whereas in China the maximum is 10ppm. MPI "pings" his products if they go to 3ppm.
Berry does not deny China has experienced serious food safety problems, especially the scandal in 2008 when melamine was found to have been added to milk, causing the deaths of children.
Health regulators do not always get it right, he said, pointing to the 2011 case when German bean sprouts killed 22 people and made thousands ill. Initially the deaths were blamed on vegetables imported from Spain.
Berry's company, in which he has 55 per cent ownership, employs 150 at peak growing and packing time. It exports largely to the UK, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
The Future of Food Traceability
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/enewsletter/the-future-of-food-traceability/
By William Fisher (June 6, 2017)
So what’s on the horizon for food traceability? Let’s look at consumers, the food supply itself and technology.
First, the consumers. The consumers of the future are conscious consumers. No longer do they passively consume foods based on what’s available, nor do they consume in isolation without thinking about the broader repercussions of their lifestyles. The consumer of the future tends to think about the nexus of food, water and energy as well as health and wellness. Recognizing how challenges in one area affect all others, for example, how food insecurity drives poor health as does scarcity of water due to climate change. Consumers consciously think about the impact their choices are having on the world around them. This will put increasing pressure on regulators and industry to do the right thing by being socially responsible, engaging in fair trade and eliminating illegal or unsustainable food production practices. Without traceability, none of that would be possible.
At the same time, the next generation would like to track all aspects of their lives using personalized tracking. However, portability and tracking is not enough. They would also like it to be personalized to meet their tastes and lifestyles, for example, how an iPod or iPhone can be customized with apps to match one’s tastes. Even consider the new Coca Cola vending machines that can mix and match nearly 250 flavors on the spot: Can you imagine the epidemiological and traceability implications of an outbreak associated with such technologies?
Finally, there is the trend of citizen science. Consumers of the future through the internet and using social media are likely to decide what a fact is and what a myth is regardless of what peer-reviewed science has to say about it. This creates a void for trust, a void potentially filled by celebrities. Celebrity science also poses significant challenges and opportunities when it comes to differentiating beliefs from facts from plain wishful thinking. Consumer perception is a big driver today in driving innovation in the food industry: It will be even more so in the future because most importantly, the consumer of the future is empowered to impact change.
Let’s turn to food next.
As you know, it is a global food supply. For example, while the U.S. produces the most tomatoes, Mexico accounts for 71 percent of tomato imports and Canada accounts for 27 percent. Fourteen percent of the raw buffalo milk used for mozzarella is made in Italy, while 86 percent of buffalo milk is produced in Asia.
Additionally, China produces 47 percent of mushrooms across the globe, followed by the U.S., which produces only 11 percent. Fifty-six percent of our anchovies are produced in Peru, while pizza anchovies come from Argentina, Croatia, Spain and Italy.
More than 11 percent of India’s spices are exported to the United Arab Emirates, the U.S., Europe and Malaysia, and 95 percent of unprocessed peppers are exported through China, India and the U.S.
Furthermore, 2.5 billion pounds of beef were exported to top markets in Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Hong Kong.
Are the changes in the food supply evolutionary or revolutionary? Evolutionary changes are defined as slow gradual changes that over a long period of time result in a dramatic shift in the norm. Revolutionary changes are defined as those that disrupt the status quo and transform an idea, an industry or a way of life overnight. For example, 3D printing is one such revolutionary technology that has opened up whole new possibilities for the food industry. Imagine a world where consumers can print their own foods on-demand as needed and only as much as they need, essentially eliminating food waste and food loss! But along with those opportunities come a great deal of challenges. Can you imagine the food safety implications of 3D printed foods? Who is liable? Who is responsible for ensuring the safety and quality of those foods? What are the regulatory implications of overseeing 3D printed foods? The economics and dynamics of the food system would change if 3D printed foods ever became a mainstream source of nutrition. Finally, what are the traceability implications of such foods? Are we tracking and tracing the protein-based ink used in these printers? The future of foods is incredible and incredibly scary at the same time.
Finally, technology is on the horizon.
A typical food supply chain today is considered linear from suppliers of raw agricultural commodities through producers and processors through distributors to retailers and finally consumers. However, the reality is a complex system of systems with interconnected network of nodes and edges making a complex web of the value chain.
The number of interfaces and exchanges our food go through today is mind-boggling. Without technology and advances in technology, managing this complex web is not just difficult, it’s impossible.
Innovations in technology is going to result in a food traceability system that becomes ubiquitous, from nanochip implants that can autonomously track and trace its host—whether a food, its case, its carrier or its consumer—through smart carts that can detect those nanochips to automatically check a shopper out from a retail store. There are also smart refrigerators that can detect when a particular food item is running low (e.g., a milk carton based on a weight sensor) and automatically order fresh groceries through the Internet. What if we can also program the technology to detect for spoilage or contaminants that would automatically trigger an alert for the consumer? That could mean the end of the currently confusing code dating practice within the food industry. Now if only we can use this same technology to track and trace our foods as it flows through the global supply chain. Consumers could use their smartphones to scan a barcode or other communication tag to automatically identify the source of the foods they are eating as well as any other value added information.
The technology of the future is not just smart, it’s eerily intelligent. There are currently in development traceability technologies that use DNA, genetic, molecular or radioisotope tracking to automatically track, trace and test foods as they move through their value chain. The key to the future of possibilities is turning all this data into meaningful information; to use this information to gain knowledge; and to act upon that knowledge to gain an understanding of the way we produce and consume our foods. No easy task, but it’s coming our way, whether we like it or not.
The bottom line to the future of food technology is reflected by the following list of clichés: “the future is coming,” “nothing is permanent but change” and “surprise is inevitable being unprepared is not.” There are several regulatory, industry and technology drivers that will influence this change. Most importantly, the future of traceability is in a revolutionary phase that will be about much more than merely keeping track of foods. It will be about using collaborative ubiquitous artificially intelligent system of systems to transform the way we live our lives and sustain ourselves though the foods we eat.
Food Safety Testing Market to Reach US$1304.5 mn by the end of 2025; Rising Incidences of Food Contamination Compel Food Manufacturers to Implement Safety Measures, Says TMR
Source : http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/food-safety-testing-market-to-reach-us13045-mn-by-the-end-of-2025-rising-incidences-of-food-contamination-compel-food-manufacturers-to-implement-safety-measures-says-tmr-626749321.html
By prnewswire.com (June 6, 2017)
According to the latest market report published by Transparency Market Research titled 'Food Safety Testing Market': Global Industry Analysis and Forecast 2017-2025', globally the revenue generated from food safety testing has been estimated to be valued over US$ 658.5 Mn in 2017, which is projected to increase at a CAGR of 8.9% during the forecast period (2017-2025).
Various factors, right from the rising incidence of food contamination there is a growing demand for food safety testing by food manufacturers. Owing to increasing awareness about foodborne diseases and various technologically advanced techniques and equipment deployed for food safety testing, boosting market growth. The significant expansion of the food and beverage industry, coupled with the growth of the food service industry, has been the primary factor driving the growth of the global food safety testing market, by 2025 end
Over the last decade, key players in the market have emphasized on garnering the attention of the consumers by keeping pace with their ever-changing testing patterns. Product innovation to perform more accurate tests has seen an increasing demand from the supply side, to increase the brand appeal and also to provide better services, which is one of the most important parameters considered by consumers. Various macroeconomic factors such as rising disposable income and increasing food trade in Asia Pacific region and other developing regions are expected to fuel the demand for food safety testing over the forecast period. Diagnostic test products are primed for sturdy growth over the forecast period, aiding the expansion of the market. The growth of these products can be attributed to the increased inspection of food plants by regulatory bodies.
There are certain factors which might hamper the growth of the global food safety testing market such as lack of uniformity in global regulatory guidelines. Different regions have different guidelines for trading of consumer goods including food and feed, agricultural products, and other products. This is expected to adversely affect the growth of the global food safety testing market. Another factor adversely affecting the market growth is budget constraints. Food testing laboratories in developing countries allot low budget and resources due to budget constraints for upgrading food testing equipment and software.
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By contaminants type, the global food safety testing market is segmented into pathogens, genetically modified organisms, chemicals and toxins, and others. Among all the segments, Pathogens segment is estimated to account for 42.5% of market Share, in the overall global food safety testing market, in 2017.
By end-use, the global food safety testing market is segmented into food, agriculture and environment. Among all the segments, food segment is expected to dominate the global food safety testing market by the end of forecast period. Factors such as Increasing awareness regarding genetically modified fruits and vegetables and increasing regulatory restrictions on GMO-derived foods are factors expected to drive growth of this segment over the forecast period.
By technology, the global food safety testing market is segmented into q-PCR and d-PCR. Among technology type, the d-PCR segment is expected to account for high CAGR in the market over the forecast period. q-PCR is expected to closely follow the d-PCR segment during the forecast period.
Some of the major companies operating in the global food safety testing market are Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., Intertek Group Plc, SGS SA, Eurofins Scientific SE, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., ALS Limited. Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings, AsureQuality Limited, Bureau Veritas SA, and Scientific Analysis Laboratories Limited.
Browse Research Press Release: http://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/pressrelease/food-safety-products-market.htm
The market has been segmented as below:
Global Food Safety Testing market - By Contaminants
Genetically Modified Organisms
Chemicals and toxins
Global Food Safety Testing market - By End-use
Meat, Poultry & Sea Food
Bakery & Confectionery
Fresh & Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
Pesticide & Residue Analysis
Global Food Safety Testing market - By Technology
Global Food Safety Testing market - By Region
Middle East & Africa (MEA)
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Transparency Market Research (TMR) is a global market intelligence company providing business information reports and services. The company's exclusive blend of quantitative forecasting and trend analysis provides forward-looking insight for thousands of decision makers. TMR's experienced team of analysts, researchers, and consultants use proprietary data sources and various tools and techniques to gather and analyze information.
TMR's data repository is continuously updated and revised by a team of research experts so that it always reflects the latest trends and information. With extensive research and analysis capabilities, Transparency Market Research employs rigorous primary and secondary research techniques to develop distinctive data sets and research material for business reports.
How LFTB gained USDA approval disputed on first day of trial
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/06/how-lftb-gained-usda-approval-disputed-on-first-day-of-trial/#.WT4SxGiLSUl
By DAN FLYNN (JUNE 6, 2017)
ELK POINT, SD —It did not take long after Judge Cheryle Gering opened the BPI v. ABC civil defamation trial with a one-hour reading of jury instructions for the proceedings to head for weeds.
The trial got underway Monday in the basement of Union County Court House, which was remodeled to accommodate the large number of participants. The courtroom seats 132, and lawyers and their stuff take up about half the space. At least for the first day, the two armies of attorneys were polite to one another.
In his opening statement for BPI, attorney Dan Webb challenged ABC’s historical perspective on just how in the first place lean finely textured beef (LFTB) came to be approved for use in ground beef without any special labeling.
On March 7, 2012, ABC News reported that Jo Ann Smith, USDA’s assistant secretary for marketing and inspection services, approved the project over the objection of then-USDA scientists Gerald Zirnstein and Carl Custer.
Smith, according to the network report, then left government for a board position at one of BPI’s suppliers. The job netted her more than $1 million over a dozen years, according to the report.
Webb said none of that was true.
He said Ziernstein and Custer never made any recommendations in the process that led to LFTB winning approval. Webb said Zirnstein was not even working for USDA at the time and did not join the agency until eight years later.
In addition, he said Smith was out of government by the time the decision was made. She served during the administration of President George H. W. Bush, from 1988 to January 1993. The product was approved the following fall. Zirnstein and Custer, both now retired, were sources for the 131 news reports on BPI’s lean finely textured beef product that some have come to call “pink slime.”
The reports, which ran on ABC News platforms from March 7, 2012, to April 3, 2012, are the centerpieces of the civil defamation case that started here Monday. The Dakota Dunes, SD-based BPI (Beef Products Inc.) and two of its associated companies have sued the Disney-owned ABC Television network for $1.9 billion over those news reports, which included two segments on “ABC’s World News Tonight” and 10 more on “Good Morning America.” Webb said BPI and its product were defamed more than 350 times by ABC’s on-air reporters, mostly Jim Avila, who referred to its LFTB as “pink slime.”
But Dane Butswinkas, who delivered the opening statement for ABC, said Webb was not telling the whole story in his depiction of how LFTB gain USDA approval. It was a more complicated story, according to Butswinkas.
During Smith’s tenure, Butswinkas said, there was a USDA task force named to study the issue. He said the evidence will show the task force did not want to approve LFTB as equal to ground beef. BPI’s lobbyist continued to work the issue and engaged a Texas researcher with ties to Smith. Butswinkas said Smith is the USDA officials who gave LFTB its temporary approval before she left office.
Opening statements are not evidence, according to the jury instructions outlined by Judge Gering. In their openings, both Webb and Butswinkas promised to present evidence to make the case about how LFTB got its USDA approval. Butswinkas, however, cautioned the jury not to expect much from Smith because she claimed in her deposition not to remember one of her key meetings on the issue.
ABC didn’t break the story or coin the term
Webb said it took Eldon Roth and his family 30 years to build BPI into a successful business, which he charged, ABC took less than 30 days to nearly destroy.
Butswinkas countered by claiming BPI’s demise was well underway before ABC aired its news stories. McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell had already stopped using LFTB in their hamburgers and tacos. They were BPI’s three largest purchasers until they dropped lean finely textured beef.
Also, there were both print and television news reports on the “pink slime” issue before ABC aired its reports. Most notable was the 2009 New York Times report by Michael Moss that won the Pulitzer Prize. BPI was one of the product manufacturers of a single hamburger contaminated with E. coliO157:H7 that severely injured a Minnesota dance instructor. During his reporting for that story Moss found the email where USDA’s Zirnstein coined the “pink slime” term.
Webb depicted ABC’s reports as a “media attack” on BPI and said evidence will show the journalists and their producers bragged about how their stories were causing major retailers and others to drop the product.
As this occurred, he said, BPI saw its sales of 5 million pounds a week shrink in a matter of days to 1.3 million pounds. It had to lay off at least 650 people and shut down production at three plants. Webb said destruction of BPI business was ABC’s goal and that evidence will show it knowingly made false statements to advance its agenda.
Webb said ABC frequently repeated “pink slime” in their broadcasts because it is “disgusting, inedible, unhealthy and harmful.”
BPI’s claims under the South Dakota’s agriculture defamation law could be tripled, which brings ABC’s total risk to $5.7 billion.
Butswinkas said BPI was all about secrecy and that the company’s goal beginning in 1986 was to move its “partially defatted chopped beef product” up the “beef hierarchy” so it could be approved for use in ground beef.
The ABC attorney said the network’s 2012 reports were about breaking that secrecy by asking why labeling was not required so consumers could know if they were being sold “pink slime” when they wanted fresh hamburger. He said Avila and his producers consciously opted not to get into he safety issue because there was not consensus on it.
BPI is represented by Winston & Strawn, Chicago’s oldest law firm. ABC attorneys are from Williams & Connolly, one of Washington D.C’s best known firms. Both are associated with local counsel.
Editors Note: Attorney Bill Marler, publisher of Food Safety News, represented retired USDA scientists Gerald Zirnstein and Carl Custer until they were dismissed as defendants in this case. Writer/editor Dan Flynn was served with a subpoena from the plaintiffs during early stages of this litigation but was not required to provide any information or to testify. That subpoena is now thought to be inactive.
Compliance with EU Food Regulations: What If Traceability and Food Recall Are Not Enough?
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/enewsletter/compliance-with-eu-food-regulations-what-if-traceability-and-food-recall-are-not-enough/
By Daniele Pisanello and Massimo Scuccato (June 6, 2017)
Glass shards, unlabelled allergens, inedible inks, Escherichia coli outbreaks, bone fragments in beef products, food contaminated by inattentive or poorly trained employees…the list may go on indefinitely, but the result will always be the same: the high regulatory pressure on the food operator and its business. The latter indeed ends up facing several “counterparts” at the same time, namely clients, control authorities, media and consumers. Consequently, the continuity of the business may be jeopardized by a significant and serious regulatory action from the public authority such as seizures, product recall and destruction, civil fines and even the possibility of criminal charges.
This contribution focuses on the extent to which the EU regulatory framework on food may hamper the ongoing operations of food manufacturers once a crisis erupts. Taking into consideration recent developments of European food policy and case history, this paper discusses how integration of legal, regulatory and technical expertise may improve the efficacy of a food manufacturer’s “crisis management plan.”
EU Food Market: A Regulatory Overview
Since its very beginning, European action in the domain of food trade moved towards the phasing in of safety obligations, as well as more integration, mutual cooperation and assistance between public authorities. Although still permeated with marked considerations, early European Commission (EC) directives on product safety already show increasing care about health. This is evident if only one pays attention to the 1992 directive on general product safety which states that “safe product shall mean any product which…does not present any risk or only the minimum risks compatible with the product’s use, considered as acceptable and consistent with a high level of protection for the safety and health of persons” (Directive 92/59/EEC now replaced by Directive 2001/95/EC). However, the veritable breakthrough occurs with the Maastricht Treaty, whose Article 129 gives the EC a degree of legal competence in the area of public health protection for the first time. The overarching aim is that products placed on the EU market must be safe.
As of today, European food safety has a well-planned strategy integrating both community and individual national requirements. Furthermore, the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and the intensive training program, managed by the Commission Services, are two further successful instruments of the EU food law regulation EC No 178/02, hereinafter called the General Food Law (GFL), that gave rise to a number of innovations.
First, the GFL addresses general principles of food law, namely risk analysis, precautionary principle, protection of consumers’ interests and principles of transparency. In more detail, risk analysis is the grundnorm on which the EU food law is based. This is the main tool upon which the regulation relies in seeking to achieve its primary two-fold objectives: a high protection of human health and free movement of foodstuffs. The concept of risk analysis splits the process into three subparts: risk assessment, risk management and risk communication.
For instance, the market approval of a novel food requires the product is evaluated as safe; a labeling or marketing health claim needs to be scientifically substantiated in order to be use on the EU marketThe use of an additive or a flavoring in a food usually requires technological justification as well as a science-based scrutiny of all relevant scientific data. In other terms, the EU decision-making process concerning foodstuffs always includes a risk assessment phase upon which the scientific and technical experts (risk assessors) and legislators (risk managers) make a decision, with regard to other legitimate factors, if appropriate. While risk assessment aims at gathering independent scientific information from many sources to justify a use and use level, risk management is based on utilizing that risk assessment information to arrive at legislative requirements, both by the EU institutions and member states’ to develop EU legislation. Finally, risk communication takes the risk assessment and risk management information and consolidates it into messaging, which targets the various EU institutions and member states, as well as general outreach to consumers, and is carried out by the Commission.
Second, the establishment of a general framework on risk assessment and risk management was accompanied by the establishment of an independent authority dealing with risk assessment, that is, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The outcome of this effort was the establishment of new and wide-ranging obligations for food business operators (safety requirements, traceability and crisis management tools, product presentation, etc.).
A general outline on food control within the single market was introduced, which also took into consideration the import and export of food. Such a brand new set of rules must be integrated with a number of sectoral legislations that lay down—among others—prescriptions for specific products (novel foods, baby foods, dietary supplements, products of animal origin, etc.) or aspects (such as food hygiene, chemical safety requirements, etc.), specific product safety and quality requirements and presentation rules (e.g., labeling and advertising).
The GFL also strengthened the functioning of the RASFF, a network of EU member states, the EC, EFSA and other partners, providing a tool for quick exchange of information whenever a risk to food or feed safety is identified. When a RASFF member has any information about a serious health risk from food or feed, it must immediately inform the EC using the RASFF system, which then immediately notifies the other members in order to take the appropriate actions. This can include withdrawing or recalling a product from the market to protect consumers’ health. All incoming information is assessed by the EC and forwarded to all RASFF members using one of the four types of notifications:
• Alert notifications are sent when food or feed presenting a serious risk are available on the market and when rapid action is required.
• Information notifications are used in the same situations, but when the other members do not have to take rapid action because the product is not on the market or the risk is not considered to be serious.
• Border rejections concern food and feed consignments that have been tested and rejected at the external borders of the EU when a health risk has been detected.
• Any information related to the safety of food and feed products that has not been communicated as an alert or an information notification, but which is judged valuable for the control authorities, is transmitted to the members under the heading “News.”
In operational terms, it means that what happens in Sweden may be immediately be known in Italy: Any lack of safety, any “food crisis,” may be rapidly communicated throughout Europe. Indeed, the RASFF’s members must take action depending on the type of notification and immediately inform the Commission of the measures taken. They may, for example, withdraw or recall the product from the market. In addition, border rejections are transmitted to all border posts—that is, all 27 EU member states, as well as EU “cooperators:” Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. This is to ensure that the rejected product does not re-enter the EU through another border post.
Case Study (part I): As a Disaster May Arise
The summer of 2015 was very hot in Italy. Why did it matter?
Company A supplies rice around the world, with a core business in rice for repackaging, for preparing various food preparations and for catering. One day in October, the quality manager receives a complaint by a client (another food business operator, manufacturing food preparations for final retailers) about the registered presence of metal fragments of a size of about 1 mm in a lot of rice supplied by Company A.
The quality system of the supplier entered immediately into action and the reason for the contamination was detected: the prior summer some storage silos underwent sand blasting and cleaning to reduce the possibility of contamination of the product during storage. Because of the hot temperature during the summer when this work was being performed, some joints in one of the silos was subjected to unusual expansion, which trapped the fine metal fragments found in the rice stored in that silo.
While the rice supplier was diagnosing the problem, it did not involve its national or EU food safety authorities; however, its customer did inform its national food safety authority (competent authority) of the problem. The customer made use of all national food safety requirements as well as the EU rules on RASFF, filing an alert notification. As a consequence, the supplier faced a tremendous pressure from other customers based in other EU member states and had to seriously consider initiating a 4-month recall of rice production.
Traceability and Product Withdrawal: Mandatory Requirements versus (Higher) Voluntary Standards
Main safety obligations under EU food law include both traceability and the obligation of market withdrawal as soon as food placed on the market is determined or confirmed to be unsafe. It is widely known that voluntary norms give substance to such obligations in much more stringent terms.
The actual rational of traceability is to allow the targeted and timely market withdrawal of the suspect product. From the competent authority’s point of view, the rationale is to enable competent safety authorities to obtain, in a short time, information on affected product and/or suspected cause.
The law defines “traceability” as the ability to trace and follow a food, feed, food-producing animal or substance intended to be, or expected to be incorporated into a food or feed, through all stages of production, processing and distribution. The GFL does not mention food contact materials, but there is no doubt that these materials are included in what is required to be traced. In more detail, Article 18 GFL only requires food (or feed) business operators (FBOs) “to identify any person from whom they have been supplied with a food, a feed, a food-producing animal, or any substance intended to be, or expected to be, incorporated into a food or feed.” Secondly, FBOs are “requested to identify the other businesses to which their products have been supplied.” To this end, systems and procedures must be written and put in place. In addition to the general requirements, sector-specific legislation applies to certain categories of food products (fruit and vegetables, beef, fish, honey, olive oil) so that consumers can identify their origin and authenticity. There are also special traceability rules for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which ensure that the GM content of a product can be traced and requires accurate labeling so that consumers can make an informed choice. In the case of animals, producers must now “tag” every animal with details of their origin and, when animals are taken for slaughter, stamping them with the traceability code of the abattoir (slaughtering facility). The tools used (ear tags, passports, bar codes) may vary from one country to another but must guarantee the same quantity and quality of information. It is fairly obvious that Article 18 does not require the so called “internal product traceability,” which is related to flows that are internal to processing practices. Nor does the GFL pinpoint which information is necessary, nor the temporal deadline by which the FBO must be able to identify or supply the information requested by the control authority.
On the contrary, voluntary norms found in the Global Food Safety Initiatives recognized that third-party certification schemes also require internal management. It is indeed clear that by tracing only entry and exit, overall traceability will be limited, as the in-between information will not be traced. Therefore, in case of necessity, the FBO will not know precisely where the source of risk resides and as a result will be forced to larger withdrawals. These schemes also require a specific timeframe for the tracing of a batch or lot of the food and periodical testing of traceability system.
Food crises in the past have revealed that documentary records or a basic consistency with mandatory general legal requirements are not always sufficient to allow full traceability of suspect foods. It is no coincidence that further (legal) requirements have been laid down with regard to foods of animal origin by successive regulation.
Food Recall According to EU Law
The regulation of food recalls is enshrined in Article 19 GFL (“Withdrawal, Recall and Notification”). In the EU market, food withdrawal is mandatory as “a food business operator considers or has reason to believe that a food, which it has imported, produced, processed, manufactured or distributed is not in compliance with the food safety requirements” [Article 19(1) GFL]. Grounds for mandatory recall include three main elements:
• Lack of compliance with food safety requirements
• The FBO’s knowledge or reason to believe that lack compliance exists
• Food not under the immediate control of the FBO
If the above conditions exist, then the FBO must immediately initiate procedures to withdraw the food in question from the market and inform the competent authorities. Moreover, if the product may have reached the consumer, the FBO is under obligation to “effectively and accurately inform the consumers of the reason for its withdrawal “and “if necessary, recall from consumers products already supplied to them when other measures are not sufficient to achieve a high level of health protection.” [Article 19(1) GFL].
The wording of Article 19 GFL casts some doubts as regards the meaning of “food safety requirements.” On this point, some authors take the stance that Article 19 is conceived to referring specifically to Article 14 GFL, which bears the heading “Food safety requirements,” whereas others refers to all legal requirements regarding food safety.
Also under dispute is the matter of what exactly is mandatory under Article 19: The first paragraph only provides for the obligation to “initiate procedure of withdrawal,” which may be quite different from the obligation to carry out the whole withdrawal; the GFL does not contain a legal definition of withdrawal. However, definitions of withdrawal and recall are provided by Directive 2001/95/EC, according to which “withdrawal” means “any measure aimed at preventing the distribution, display and offer of a product dangerous to the consumer”(Article 2, letter h), which takes for granted that the products concerned are not under the consumer’s control/possession. The same directive establishes that “recall” means “any measure aimed at achieving the return of a dangerous product that has already been supplied or made available to consumers by the producer or distributor” (Article 2, letter g).
The setting of the scope of the above-mentioned definitions plays a role in a number of situations in which the lack of compliance with some mandatory requirements may not or does not result in the food being harmful to health, for instance, in cases of contamination above maximum residue limits. Additional requirements apply where food is in breach of food safety requirements is injurious to human health. More specifically, Article 19(3) GFL establishes that where there is evidence or “reason to believe” that food placed on the market is injurious to human health, the FBO must (1) immediately inform the competent authorities the action taken to prevent risks to the final consumer and (2) not prevent or discourage any person from cooperating, in accordance with national law and legal practice, with the competent authorities, where this may prevent, reduce or eliminate a risk arising from a food.
Case Study (part II): As a Disaster May Arise and Turn in a Near-Miss
At the time when the supplier was following up on a potential food safety problem and carrying out batch analysis and other quality management measures, the competent safety authorities discovered that there were no written programs by Company A on recalls; Company A’s crisis unit, which was responsible for recalls, never met since it was learned that Company A had not appointed someone to lead the crisis unit. This situation continued until Company A’s management received a formal request from the local competent authority to disclose a complete customer list for customers supplied in the last 4 months.
At that point a team of specialists, including food technicians and food lawyers, was called to operate alongside Company A to manage the crisis situation. Anyone with experience in crisis management understands how important speed and knowledge are to effectively manage a crisis/recall.
When the crisis management support unit started, short terms objectives were agreed upon and immediately implemented:
1. Assessment of the actual level of safety’s concern was established, taking into consideration all available information. The medical literature was scrutinized, and regulatory insights were analyzed regarding the acceptable dimensions of foreign bodies. A renowned scientist was contacted to address an opinion on the danger of metal fragments having dimensions less than 7 mm or greater than 25 mm (bodies bigger than 25 mm are deemed safe as they are difficult to swallow and are easily visible, whereas bodies less than 7 mm are not generally harmful to a normal adult as they are unlikely to cause choking). Other scientific studies indicate 4 mm as dangerous minimum size if the user recipients are children older than 3 years.
2. The crisis team developed position papers and templates to meet requests from customers, media and the competent authority; all relevant legal side effects were considered: civil liability, accident, torts and prospective criminal prosecution.
3. Efforts were made by the team to close the RASFF alert in the shortest time: The team also acted with all relevant actors operating within the RASFF to obtain the acceptability of the closure of the alert, based on the current understanding and interpretation of the GFL provisions.
After 3 weeks of intense work, the EU-wide alert on rice was dismissed, no criminal prosecution was filed against the company and customers were given clear and exhaustive grounds to understand that the accidental presence of small bodies (7–25 mm) in rice wasn’t a safety concern and the product met current EU and country food safety requirements.
“Unsafe Food:” A Questionable Issue
The crucial question is what constitutes “unsafe food” from a regulatory point of view, since safe or unsafe have many different definitions and legal understandings. Article 14 Reg. No 178/2002 lays down some “food safety requirements” that aim at addressing food that may be (a) injurious to health or (b) unfit for human consumption.
Legal standards require unsafe food to be ascertained, taking into consideration the normal conditions of use of the food by the consumer, at each stage of production, processing and distribution; and the information provided to the consumer, including information on label, or other information generally available to the consumer concerning the avoidance of specific adverse health effects.
It should be noted that such general standards are conceived as a subsidiary point of reference that applies whether and insofar as specific regulations do not exist. It could be the case of microbiological criteria or contaminants. The lack of standards is to be put in relation with the fact that at least at a certain extent, contamination is inevitable in certain food chains.
That said, unsafe food is a twofold concept, which covers both injurious and unfit or unwholesome food.
In determining whether any food is injurious to health, regard shall be made to the following:
• The probable immediate, short-term and/or long-term effects of that food on the health of a person consuming it, but also on subsequent generations
• The probable cumulative toxic effects
• The particular health sensitivities of a specific category of consumers for which the food is intended
The definition does not require evidence of injury to occur related to the term “probable effects.” Moreover, it provides for the long-term evaluations, which fall within EFSA’s competence regarding risk assessment.
Unsafe food also includes being “unfit for human consumption,” according to its intended use, for reasons of contamination, whether by extraneous matter or otherwise, or through putrefaction, deterioration or decay. The provision does not identify specifically what kind of contamination makes the food unsafe which creates a number of issues.
It is clear that a number of unanswered questions still exist, such as
• Does harmless contamination fall within the meaning of “unfit food” as provided for by the provision of GFL?
• What kind of legal and regulatory reasoning is expected to be carried out to properly assess the contaminated food as an unsafe product?
• To what extent may an FBO invoke “intended use” as a defense claim?
• Is untraceable food susceptible to be withdrawn?
These are some of the questionable issues in which food law and food science may help to trace a way out of troubles. The only way to provide answers to these and other unresolved competent authorities food safety regulations and directives is for food manufacturer’s to continually challenge the current interpretations and by resolution of food manufacture failures.
Daniele Pisanello is a European food lawyer and regulatory advisor at Lexma Consulting and Massimo Scuccato is a food technologist and scientific director at Almater srl (Italy).
What you should know about how eggs are monitored for food safety
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/what_you_should_know_about_how_eggs_are_monitored_for_food_safety
By Julia Darnton, Michigan State University Extension (June 5, 2017)
Many agencies of the USDA work to keep eggs safe from farm to table.
Food safety is a major concern and responsibility of the federal, state and local governments. Safe food is an economic priority because consumers take for granted that the food for sale in grocery stores and from farmers markets is safe. Michigan State University Extension wants to insure that consumers understand food safety and the process that keeps our food system safe.
Multiple agencies with in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) monitor shell eggs and poultry farms to insure safety. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) inspects handlers and hatcheries to insure that eggs are “as good or better than Consumer Grade B quality standards.” They insure that the processing plant follows USDA’s sanitation guidelines and proper manufacturing processes.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) works to reduce risk of disease in flocks. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) works to ensure that eggs are kept at a temperature no greater 45 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the risk of food borne illnesses and works to educate consumers about the safe handling of eggs. The USDA also researches egg safety and egg processing through the Agricultural Research Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service collects information about the egg industry that is used in economic analyses.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implements the Egg Safety Rule (of 2010) which has been designed to reduce the risk of food borne illness, specifically, Salmonella enteritidis. This includes the provision that large egg-laying production facilities maintain written safety plans and comply with inspections. The FDA Egg Safety Plan also outlines the monitoring of birds for Salmonella and routinely tests flocks as pullets and either once or twice during the lay period. According to veterinarian Eric Gingerich, “This testing keeps the producers honest and gives them an incentive to vaccinate, use products that improve gut health and perform the management aspects of Salmonella prevention.”
To keep you and your family safe from Salmonella at home, read about food safety practices from MSU Extension. In cooperation with federal food safety efforts, state agriculture departments assist with monitoring the compliance of egg packers with U.S. standards, grades and weight classes. State and local health departments ensure that retail food establishments comply with health codes and applicable food codes.
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
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