Consumer Food Trends Create Food Safety Challenges for the Foodservice Industry
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/junejuly-2017/consumer-food-trends-create-food-safety-challenges-for-the-foodservice-industry/
By Gina R. (Nicholson) Kramer, RS/REHS, and Vincent Fasone, RS/REHS
Modern food trends are creating many safety challenges, and food safety specialists must be prepared to respond. Food safety and quality experts must anticipate future trends when navigating the changes to food safety practices that their companies must implement. Consultants also must use food trends as a compass to guide food entrepreneurs in protecting their brand. Regulators must watch food trends and changes in consumer behavior to anticipate changes to the food code to protect public health.
Gardens in Our Restaurants
We have visited several restaurants where hydroponic wall gardens have been installed in the front of the house where customers dine. This system, primarily used to grow herbs and leafy greens, looks like beautiful living wall art to the guest, but is it safe to use in the menu items? We considered this question while dining, watching how guests behaved around the raw agricultural ingredients to be featured in our poached pear and toasted walnut mixed-greens salad.
Guests “oohed and ahhed” over the color combinations on the wall that created a piece of modern art. Then it happened. They had to touch, pet and fondle the garden that was soon to become our dinner. They had to examine if it was really live plants or just silk imitation. I began wondering what else customers might do to those leafy greens on the wall. How easy it would be for someone to spray or place an unknown substance on the produce or in the soil or water, contaminating the root system.
Would this wall of living art be considered an approved source by a regulatory agency? Would a regulator even look at this agricultural field of greens during their inspection? Does the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food code really address this scenario? Maybe this needs to be presented as an issue at the next Conference for Food Protection meeting in 2018.
Another restaurant agricultural food trend is to have an actual garden outside the restaurant in the flower beds surrounding the brick and mortar or on the building’s rooftop. Again, the food safety professional switch turns on when I see these types of gardens as a guest in a hotel where my room overlooks the chef’s rooftop gardens or walking into a restaurant for dinner and being fascinated by the beautiful colors of heirloom tomatoes growing in the flower beds.
While this type of production can yield fresh, delicious produce, Listeria and other foodborne disease-causing bacteria can develop when growers lack a good food safety protocol or workers fail to follow it. Workers can unknowingly track pathogens into kitchen areas on their shoes and then to the actual food prepared. Some large foodservice companies that employ this fresh produce growing practice have worked with food safety experts to develop proper Standard Operating Procedures and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) to implement in this growing trend at foodservice businesses (pun intended)!
If consumers are to gain all of the health benefits of eating fresh produce, it must be grown, harvested and prepared in a clean environment.
Locally Grown, Locally Produced
Customers have been vocal about wanting companies to be more responsible in the area of sustainability. This includes supporting local farmers and food producers to reduce carbon footprints and boost local businesses. Some who have embraced this philosophy have a false sense of security regarding locally grown food—they perceive it as safer than foods produced on big agri-business farms that travel hundreds of miles to the consumer. Safer is not necessarily the case, which is why foodservice companies must implement supplier-approval programs for local growers and producers. They must be required to implement food safety practices at every step of the growing, harvesting, processing and distribution process.
Traceability is more important than ever. If a foodborne illness event occurs, investigators must be able to trace the food to its source. Even though consumers and food businesses purchase from a local cooperative, produce may be provided by dozens of growers. Co-ops must be able to trace food indicated in the outbreak back to the farm it came from.
One of the worst Listeria outbreaks in recent years occurred at Jensen Farms in Colorado in 2011, with 33 people dying from contaminated cantaloupe. Investigators tracked the bacteria’s potential source to a dump truck used to discard melons parked near the packing shed. The truck carried melons to a cattle lot and could have brought Listeria back to the packing area. Inspectors also discovered pools of water in walkways and along drains, providing breeding grounds for bacteria. Washing and sorting equipment was purchased from a potato operation and could not be properly cleaned or sanitized for melons. In addition, the farm did not follow FDA guidelines for cooling melons and packed warm melons from the field in boxes that were then refrigerated. This method of cooling had the potential to produce condensation that promotes Listeria growth.
Every grower must implement proper sanitary measures and employ GAPs developed by the food industry, producer organizations, governments and nongovernmental organizations.
During food safety research at a greenhouse, for example, researchers found no handwashing capabilities. Employees also wore the same gloves when they handled, harvested and placed tomatoes in boxes. Employees touched their feet and ladder steps with their gloves and then cross-contaminated the food product when they packed it.
Again, food producers and processors must have a food safety protocol and confirm that employees follow it. Failure to do so could result in local and regional foodborne illness outbreaks and long-term health consequences for individuals affected.
In 2016, a restaurant in Ohio purchased eggs raised by a small local farmer. The chef loved the deep-orange color and rich taste of the yolks from this flock of laying hens. The chef decided to use these local eggs in house-made mayonnaise, which has become a consumer flavor trend over the past 5 years. The story reported by Food Safety News shares how the local sourcing went wrong for the restaurateur:
“The most recent update on the outbreak, posted March 8 by Public Health of Dayton & Montgomery, reported 20 of 80 sick people had been confirmed by lab analysis to have Salmonella infections. Illness onset dates were from Feb. 22 through Feb. 28.
“Health officials said in a March 3 statement they received the first complaints about illness possibly linked to Lucky’s on Feb. 29. They inspected the restaurant that day.
“House-made mayonnaise from Lucky’s Taproom tested positive for Salmonella.
Drew Trick, owner of Lucky’s Taproom & Eatery, voluntarily closed his doors Feb. 29 when health officials told him about the reports of patrons becoming ill.
“Trick acknowledged responsibility for the Salmonella outbreak March 7 in a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
“‘Well, it seems our efforts to source locally and make our food from scratch has failed our customers and ourselves. Know that we are doing all that is possible to rectify the situation and eliminate the chance of this happening again,’ Trick said in the Facebook post.
“‘Being that it is very early in the investigation, we are awaiting more details than what is being offered by the mainstream media. That being said, we are prolonging our closure for an unknown period of time. We thank you all for your support and hope to open with a clean bill of health very soon,’ he added.” 
In another instance, a local ethnic market wanted to take advantage of the “buy local” trend and located a small farm that raised goats. The market purchased the slaughtered goats, to be used for retail sale, but did not realize that the facility and carcasses needed to be inspected by the state department of agriculture.
Food Safety Threats Strike the Smoothie Craze
The trend toward healthier eating has created food safety issues within the frozen food industry, as consumers eat frozen produce raw that was never intended for consumption without cooking thoroughly. Consumers, for example, often add frozen fruits and vegetables to salads and mix them into smoothies without cooking them.
Smoothies have become another favorite flavor trend now found on many restaurant menus using both fresh and frozen produce to create flavor profiles that satisfy the consumer’s palate. In my past experience as a local regulator and working on the retail side of the food industry, never did it cross my mind that frozen produce was not considered a ready-to-eat (RTE) food. Were other local regulators aware of the required cooking of frozen produce before serving to the public? Did they question the use of these ingredients included in smoothies? I am sure that small foodservice owners/operators/chefs were not aware.
The frozen food industry should have been able to predict this consumer trend and prepare for it by increasing the food safety standards for pathogen tolerance of frozen food production. The only standards that were changed were the consumer cooking instructions on the packaging. Who reads those on the back of a bag of peas? Frozen pizza, yes; frozen spinach, no.
Monitoring social media such as Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, mommy bloggers and other sources for recipes would have been a huge indicator to the frozen food industry that consumers and chefs were using frozen produce as an RTE food.
The year 2016 saw a large-scale voluntary recall of frozen fruits and vegetables marketed under 42 brand names. The recall involved 350 frozen foods, with eight people sickened and two dying. It took the loss of lives, health and negative economic impact for the frozen food industry to begin changing its food safety standards on this particular category.
Escherichia coli in Flour Results in New Food Safety Alert
Raw cookie dough and other food dough were identified as sources for E. coli outbreaks, because consumers ate the dough or batter raw without proper baking. In 2016, 38 people became infected with an outbreak strain of E. coli in 20 states that was traced to flour produced at a General Mills facility in Missouri. All of the people impacted reported using flour in the week before they became ill or eating or tasting homemade dough or batter.
In 2009, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that 72 people became infected with the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 in 30 states. Victims ranged in age from 2 to 65, with 65% younger than 19 years old. Of those who became ill, 71% were female. Fortunately, no deaths occurred. CDC determined that the source of the outbreak was linked to individuals eating raw refrigerated Nestlé Toll House prepackaged cookie dough. These statistics are important to note that mostly children and women were affected by this outbreak, indicating that these two groups are the primary consumers of raw cookie dough.
Nestlé had placed proper food safety warnings on the packaging of these products, but that did not stop people from eating their favorite comfort food. Following consumer food trends and making food safety changes according to how the product was actually being consumed versus how the manufacturer intended it to be consumed would have prevented this outbreak. Even watching the popular TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond (1996–2005) would have tipped off manufacturers that people eat raw refrigerated prepackaged cookie dough as a comfort food.
Food safety experts have always warned against eating raw cookie dough, because of the possibility of contracting Salmonella from the raw eggs used in the dough. But in the two outbreaks discussed above, eggs were not the identified contamination source. How does flour, a low-water-activity food, become a hazardous ingredient? Wheat and other grains that are grown for flour production are not treated to kill bacteria that might come from animals, specifically birds and rodents, which defecate on the grain before it is milled into flour. The expectation has always been that the flour used to make food will be cooked to a high-enough temperature to kill foodborne pathogens that may remain in the product.
The hottest snack food flavor trend now is cookie dough! Cookie dough-flavored candy bars, ice cream, protein bars, yogurt and, yes, even cookie dough Oreos. There are cookie dough scoop shops popping up all over the United States. A scoop of your favorite cookie dough replaces ice cream in the crunchy sugar cone. People are lining up out the door to buy this sweet treat. Fortunately, these scoop shops are using pasteurized egg products and heat-treated RTE flour so that customers do not have to worry about Salmonella or E. coli.
Grocery stores and restaurants are getting in on this latest craze. Customers are flocking to get a scoop of their favorite raw cookie dough. If chefs add this delight to the dessert menu, then it must be asked whether pasteurized eggs and heat-treated RTE flour are being used as the ingredients. Never assume that culinary experts know about the risks of serving raw flour.
Lifestyle Diet Choice or Health Requirement?
Manufacturers of gluten-free (GF) food products understand the strict requirements that surround using this claim on packaging and gaining GF certification. The FDA website states that on August 2, 2013, the agency issued a final rule defining “gluten-free” for food labeling, which will help consumers, especially those living with celiac disease, be confident that items labeled “gluten-free” meet a defined standard for gluten content.
FDA’s website also states that GF foods must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. Foods may be labeled “gluten-free” if they are inherently GF or do not contain an ingredient that is: 1) a gluten-containing grain (e.g., spelt wheat); 2) derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat flour); or 3) derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat starch), if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 ppm or more of gluten in the food.
It goes on further to state that FDA recognizes that people with celiac disease are also interested in being able to identify GF foods served in restaurants and other retail establishments that serve prepared foods to customers. The GF final rule applies to packaged foods, which may be sold in some retail and foodservice establishments such as some carryout restaurants. Given the public health significance of “gluten-free” labeling, FDA says that GF claims on restaurants’ and other establishments’ menus should be consistent with FDA’s definition. State and local governments play an important role in oversight of these establishments.
Those conducting food safety inspections can state that during inspection they are not asking for validation of GF claims made on the menu. Nor are they provided with the proper tools that can measure the concentration of gluten in menu items or food contact surfaces. GF claims made on menus are usually evaluated by the consumer that has sensitivities or allergies to gluten. Below is a story from a customer complaint about a restaurant making a GF claim.
“Restaurant A was in need of a new menu upgrade, and the menu vendor mentioned gluten-free. The restaurant owner was unfamiliar with the meaning of ‘gluten-free,’ and the vendor encouraged him to ‘just pick some items’ as it was the ‘in thing to offer.’ Once the menu was printed, over half of the menu items were labeled as gluten-free.
“I was conducting an inspection at Restaurant A and was reviewing the menu for a consumer advisory. I noticed the gluten-free claim, and we discussed it, even though this did not specifically fall under the food code as a violation. Several weeks later, the health department, where I worked, received a complaint about the gluten-free claims on the menu from a customer who had eaten at Restaurant A and was able to identify that almost all of the items claiming to be gluten-free were indeed not. I revisited the location and discussed the legal ramifications along with a detailed explanation of what ‘gluten-free’ meant under the FDA ruling and encouraged them to update their menu accordingly.”
GF has been publicized in books, on social media and through broadcast media as the newest diet craze. It is the new consumer food trend. Many people are unaware of the sensitivities and severe allergies that individuals have to gluten and that they must not ingest it. GF menu item claims must be validated, monitored and verified on a regular basis by the restaurant kitchen staff. Restaurants must follow the FDA final rule on GF claims.
The food safety industry needs quicker testing methods that are cost effective for use by culinary professionals in restaurant kitchens. This innovation would allow for both industry and regulatory staff to verify the GF claim on menus.
What is a vegan? Here’s how the dictionary defines it: veg·an 've–gen/, as a noun, is defined as a person who does not eat or use animal products; as an adjective, is defined as using or containing no animal products.
Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in the diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. A follower of either the diet or the philosophy is known as a vegan.
Choosing a vegan diet may be a lifestyle choice, but many individuals that are allergic to dairy or eggs use the vegan claim as a way to navigate food and menu choices.
Consulting about food safety with restaurants that make a vegan claim on their menu can be a unique experience. “Vegan” does not have a formal definition from the FDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture or Federal Trade Commission for the purposes of labeling. Chefs develop their vegan menu passionately so that each item is packed full of flavor for their vegan customers. Most chefs don’t realize the customers with allergies rely on these claims to make life-or-death meal choices.
We are passionate about working with the foodservice companies that are making vegan claims on their menu and want to share the reason why. Below is a true story of the importance of making the vegan claim on a menu.
“Parents ordered a vegan milkshake for their daughter, who had a severe dairy allergy. They were diligent in asking the waitstaff if the milkshake was truly dairy-free and explained that their young daughter was very allergic to dairy. The waitstaff assured the parents that absolutely no dairy was used in the vegan milkshake. Although the shake itself was indeed vegan (dairy-free), the restaurant did not have a designated vegan shake blender. The one that was used was not properly cleaned between uses (dairy and vegan), causing the shake to contain trace amounts of dairy protein, which caused an almost immediate allergic reaction in the little girl and a trip to the local ER. It turned out to be an expensive family night out.”
New Services, Technologies Raise Safety Concerns
Americans’ demand for healthy, convenient food has resulted in food delivery services that send consumers a box of preportioned meal ingredients and recipes for an entire week. These foods are nutritious and appealing, but the question arises as to whether the foods are stored at the proper temperature when delivered. Do delivery personnel leave food packages on the porch during the hot summer until the consumer returns?
Home-delivered food must be accompanied by ice packs or contained in insulated coolers capable of keeping the product safe. In the future, drones and self-driving vehicles may be used to make home food deliveries; food packages may include computer chips to monitor the product temperature and indicate (with a color change or a message on the recipient’s cellphone) if the food becomes unsafe for consumption.
Food delivery by Uber, Yellow Cab and other travel service providers is a hot trend for consumers who don’t want to cook at home and are craving their favorite restaurant’s menu items. The consumer orders the food through the travel service. The driver picks up the takeout order from the restaurant and delivers it to the customer’s door. Who is responsible for the condition, temperature and quality of the food once it leaves the restaurant? What is the chain of custody? Is the food protected from intentional contamination causing harm to the end customer? Who regulates these deliveries?
These are the questions asked when consulting with many foodservice companies. One multi-unit pizza owner told us a horrifying story. He was working the night shift at one of his many locations. A driver of a travel service company picked up a pizza order to deliver to a customer. The driver placed the pizza box on the roof of the car to unlock the door. The pizza box slid off of the roof and fell onto the sidewalk, dropping the pizza (crust side down) directly on the sidewalk. Before the owner could make it outside to throw the pizza away, the driver scooped the pizza up in the box and drove off as fast as possible to make his delivery. The owner was mortified.
Food printing will likely burgeon in popularity as healthy, 3-D printed foods (pasta, chocolates and dough-based foods) become available. Home cooking machines can prepare foods such as lasagna. The consumer places the ingredients in the machine and returns home to find prepared hot lasagna ready for the family meal.
Cruise ships and casinos are now using robots for bartenders. Look it up on YouTube; it is quite a show. Before we know it, machines will replace food employees in restaurant kitchens. Food safety experts need to be ready for the entrance of this technology into retail food establishments.
The food industry must consider various issues relative to this type of technology. How do the robots wash their hands after touching food? Do they need to wear gloves when working with RTE foods?
If the cooking machine breaks, will ingredients such as ground beef cook to the proper temperature? How is the machine cleaned and sanitized, and can it be broken down for cleaning? Users of 3-D printers must be able to prevent foodborne illness and remove allergen proteins that can contaminate foods that the printer next prepares.
Modern food trends are creating many safety challenges, and food safety specialists must be prepared to respond—today and in the future.
Gina R. (Nicholson) Kramer, RS/REHS, is the executive director of Savour Food Safety International Inc.™
Vincent Fasone, RS/REHS, is managing director for Savor Safe Food.
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Radio-Frequency Heating for Low-Moisture Foods
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/junejuly-2017/radio-frequency-heating-for-low-moisture-foods/
By Soon Kiat Lau and Jeyamkondan Subbiah, Ph.D., P.E.
Take a slow, relaxing stroll through the aisles of your favorite grocery store and admire the wide spread of fresh produce available for your picking. We often don’t realize it, but the modern shopper is blessed with myriad fresh food options. Advancements in harvesting, storage, transportation and preservation technologies have made it possible for consumers to purchase farm-fresh foods from a cramped sundry store in the middle of a bustling metropolis any time of the year. Therefore, it is perhaps surprising that despite the growing demand for fresh, crisp and raw food options, a sizable amount of drier food products still occupy the shelves.
These low-moisture (LM) foods have survived the test of time (and taste) since the days when dried foods such as jerky and beans were the main sustenance, especially during the winter solstice. These foods do not necessarily have to be bone-dry. For example, dried fruits such as prunes and dates still feel moist, even though they are categorized as LM foods. There are different definitions as to what exactly is considered a “low-moisture food,” but a popular definition by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations states that LM foods are foods with a water activity equal to or less than 0.85. It is imperative to recognize the difference between water activity and moisture content: The former describes the availability of water in the food matrix for chemical reactions and microorganisms, whereas the latter simply refers to the total amount of water in the food product. To illustrate the difference, one could imagine water sealed within an impermeable metal sphere; the moisture content is 100 percent (high moisture content), but that water is certainly “unavailable” (low water activity) to a particularly thirsty individual, unless he/she resorts to violent means. The persistence of LM foods in our food chain indicates that they are still appreciated for their taste, stability and, perhaps more controversially, their safety.
The Safety of LM Foods
As mentioned earlier, LM foods have low water activity, which makes it harder for microorganisms to utilize water in the food matrix. Therefore, the growth of certain pathogenic microorganisms is inhibited. However, a series of foodborne illness outbreaks in LM foods over the past few years has been hacking at the reputation of LM foods as safe. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website lists LM foods implicated in Salmonella foodborne illness outbreaks such as dried nuts, nut spreads, seed powder, cheese and spices. The missing link here is the survivability of these microorganisms: Their growth may be inhibited, but they can still survive. These resilient microorganisms wouldn’t cause an issue if consumers cooked their food, but most LM foods such as dried nuts and peanut butter are consumed without additional preparation. This is certainly understandable from a consumer perspective; LM foods have always been known to be ready to eat. This convenience is perhaps the main selling point for LM foods. Therefore, the straightforward way to tackle this issue is to pasteurize LM foods before they are sold to consumers.
Although the pathway is clear, the means are not. Pasteurizing LM foods is tricky, because their main advantage turns out to be their Achilles heel. LM foods’ dryness does not permit use of hot water or steam, which would otherwise add moisture. These heating media are preferable in the food industry due to their large heat capacity and because water is food-safe. There is an option to use superheated steam that does not condense on food products when controlled properly, but this method is limited to granular food products such as nuts and spices. Alternatively, other gases such as ethylene oxide, chlorine dioxide, ozone or radicals produced from cold plasma could be used, but it is difficult to ensure good penetration into pastes, oily butters and tightly packed granular LM foods. Additionally, some gases could leave residues in the food. The issue of penetration is also encountered in other surface inactivation methods such as infrared, pulsed light and ultraviolet irradiation. Gamma irradiation can pasteurize any form of LM food, because its ionizing radiation can penetrate the food to modify the molecules within bacteria and thus inactivate them. But it can also alter the food molecules to produce undesirable odors or flavors. Additionally, consumers are usually opposed to the use of gamma irradiation in their food products. An alternative to gamma irradiation is microwave heating, which uses nonionizing radiation. The reputation of microwave heating as a fast and easy heating method, however, is tarnished by its tendency toward nonuniform heating. Radio-frequency (RF) heating is a close cousin to microwave heating in the sense that it also uses nonionizing radiation to heat food products. The added advantage of RF heating is that it tends to heat LM foods more uniformly.
How RF Heating Works
In RF heating, nonionizing electromagnetic radiation is applied to a food product to produce heat within it. Since nonionizing radiation is used, the food molecules are not altered at a molecular level and the main mechanism of inactivation is heat. The typical RF heating setup involves placing the food sample between a pair of parallel electrodes connected to an alternating power supply (Figure 1). RF waves are emitted from the electrodes at frequencies of either 13.56 MHz, 27.12 MHz or 40.68 MHz, as designated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. These waves penetrate the food product to create a time-varying electric field that produces heat through two mechanisms: orientation polarization, whereby polar molecules (e.g., water) attempt to orient themselves with the electric field, and ionic conductivity, whereby hydrated ions inside the sample move according to the electric field (Figure 2).[4,5]
The dielectric properties of the food product determine the conversion rate of electromagnetic energy to heat energy. These properties usually depend upon temperature and the oscillation frequency of the electromagnetic waves. The frequencies used in RF heating happen to coincide with the region at which bound water is strongly heated. This is advantageous for heating LM foods due to their higher ratio of bound to free water. Additionally, RF waves tend to penetrate deep into LM foods. Thus, it is possible to design RF heating equipment to deeply penetrate LM foods and heat them uniformly to ensure food safety.
The application of RF heating in food has a long history that dates back to 1945, when Moyer and Stotz used it to blanch vegetables. In the next seven decades, research in the area slowly increased, with a large resurgence over the past few years. RF heating is researched for various applications in food such as drying, controlled freezing or thawing, insect control, pasteurization or sterilization and extraction. Some of the food products that were tested for pasteurization with RF heating include almonds, bread, cured ham, eggs, milk, meat, peaches, peanut butter, crackers, sausage emulsions, soy milk, spices and stone fruit. Clearly, RF heating has been investigated for a wide selection of food products. More in-depth reviews of RF heating applications can be found in the works of Huang et al., Marra et al. and Piyasena et al. With the introduction of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), there is now a bigger drive to devise more applications of RF heating and validate it for the pasteurization of LM foods.
Results Vary by Food Type
The quality of foods processed with RF heating can vary, depending on the food and design of the RF applicator. Bengtsson et al. found that RF-processed hams were juicier and had shorter process times than hams conventionally heated. On the other hand, Laycock et al. concluded that RF heating is unsuitable for ground beef because the end product was too chewy and elastic. When processed with RF heating, meat doughs became more firm and had larger, irregularly shaped fat particles than their hot water-processed counterparts. Liu et al. investigated RF heating for bread and found insignificant firmness changes. After RF heating and storage for 12 days, mangoes were found to be firmer than their control counterparts. The color of red and black peppers pasteurized with RF heating was not significantly different from control samples. Wang et al. reported that the lightness, peroxide value and oleic acid content of walnuts were not significantly degraded by RF heating. The berry of cherries slightly browned after RF heating. RF heating browned the calyx in “Fuyu” persimmons with increasing intensity as treatment time was increased. There was noticeable darkening in the pulp of apples processed with RF heating. Although the quality of food is neither decidedly improved nor degraded by RF heating, it is necessary to evaluate its effect on quality when investigating RF heating for a new application.
Most of the applications listed thus far tended to focus on just a single RF heating configuration for a feasibility study in a controlled setting. However, FSMA requires pasteurization technologies to be validated for effectiveness, even in worst-case scenarios. The natural variation in food products and the sensitivity of RF waves to these variations makes it difficult to design an RF pasteurizing system that heats the food product uniformly. If the product is not heated uniformly, some pathogenic microorganisms could survive at the cold spots and cause food safety issues. There could be an infinite amount of ways to configure the RF oven for different food products, thus making this problem insurmountable by trial and error. However, with the rise of cheap computing power, more studies have been done that model RF heating for food products to understand how it works. The ultimate goal is to optimize heating uniformity. Marra et al. investigated the uneven heating in a cylindrical meat batter and had good agreement with experimental results. Birla et al. utilized computer simulations to understand the temperature distribution in fruits processed with RF heating while immersed in water. Tiwari et al. investigated the power density distribution and heating profile of dry foods such as wheat flour with the help of computer simulations. Wang et al. found a high degree of nonuniform RF heating in lasagna due to its heterogeneous ingredients with large differences in dielectric properties. Based on computer simulations, Alfaifi et al. suggested rounding the corners and edges of food products and modifying the top RF electrode to improve RF heating uniformity in food products. Lau et al. used computer simulations to investigate RF heating of eggs and determined the intense heating at the air cell-albumen interface to be caused by stark differences in dielectric properties. There is research ongoing in this area to design the RF applicator or food product with the help of computer simulations to improve RF heating uniformity of food products.
The large body of active research on RF heating signifies that the technology is still not fully mature and thus has potential for more applications in LM food pasteurization. The ability of RF heating to heat food products volumetrically is a desirable trait that could tackle issues insurmountable by conventional methods. As the ongoing research on RF heating comes closer to fruition, we can look forward to RF heating transitioning from a novel technology to a more common and reliable solution.
Soon Kiat Lau is a Ph.D. student at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Jeyamkondan Subbiah, Ph.D., P.E., is the Kenneth E. Morrison Distinguished Professor of Food Engineering in Biological Systems Engineering and Food Science & Technology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
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22. Birla, SL et al. 2008. “Computer Simulation of Radio Frequency Heating of Model Fruit Immersed in Water.” J Food Eng 84:270–280.
23. Tiwari, G et al. 2011. “Analysis of Radio Frequency (RF) Power Distribution in Dry Food Materials.” J Food Eng 104:548–556.
24. Wang, J et al. 2012. “Radio-Frequency Heating of Heterogeneous Food — Meat Lasagna.” J Food Eng 108:183–193.
25. Alfaifi, B et al. 2016. “Computer Simulation Analyses to Improve Radio Frequency (RF) Heating Uniformity in Dried Fruits for Insect Control.” Innov Food Sci Emerg Technol 37 (Part A):125–137.
26. Lau, SK et al. 2016. “Challenges in Radiofrequency Pasteurization of Shell Eggs: Coagulation Rings.” J Food Sci 81:E2492–E2502.
Summer food safety is cool
Source : http://idahostatejournal.com/news/local/summer-food-safety-is-cool/article_c5f2e815-8f22-5b4b-b704-018d229acf4f.html
By Julie Buck (Jun 17, 2017)
As the temperatures heat up, our outside activities increase. Awareness to food safety can provide peace of mind for everyone involved. When you’re outside during the summer, be mindful of these tips:
n Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. When serving food at a summer picnic, don’t leave it at room temperature for more than two hours. Between the temperatures of 41 degrees to 135 degrees is considered the Bacteria Danger Zone, where bacteria multiply rapidly. Consider setting cold foods’ serving dishes on ice while serving, and rapidly chill hot and cold food when you’re done eating to keep food safely out of the Danger Zone.
n “When in doubt, throw it out.” If you suspect that a food may have been in the Bacteria Danger Zone for more than two hours, throw it out. Although it is certainly difficult to feel like you’re wasting food, it is most certainly more difficult to become violently ill.
n When planning a BBQ, keep raw meats separated from other foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains that have already been cooked or will be eaten raw. This separation prevents cross contamination between uncooked meats and fully prepared foods.
n Pack coolers fully, since full coolers stay cold longer than partially-filled coolers. Pack any remaining space in the cooler with ice. Freeze water bottles to fill up the cooler and have cold drinks later. You can also pack separate coolers for drinks and food, so if the drinks cooler is opened frequently, the food in the food cooler still stays chilled. Keep a refrigerator thermometer in the cooler at 40 degrees or cooler.
n To thaw frozen meat and poultry, place them in the refrigerator the night before, or in a sealed plastic bag in cold water. If you are going to cook them immediately, use your microwave.
n Going camping? Try some of these shelf-stable foods when on a multi-day hike where keeping food safe becomes more challenging.
n Peanut butter.
n Mylar shelf-stable packages of tuna, ham, chicken, and beef.
n Dried noodles and soups.
n Beef jerky and dried meats.
n Dehydrated foods.
n Dried fruits and nuts.
n Powdered milk and 100% fruit juice mix.
n Water purification system.
Fun times abound during the summer months, so pay attention to food safety and enjoy every minute! Source: eXtension.org.
Julie Buck, EdD, MHE, RD, is a registered dietitian, food safety specialist and health educator employed at the University of Idaho Extension, Bannock County. She can be reached at (208)236-7310 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foodborne illness ravages Iraqi refugees; charity blamed
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/06/foodborne-illness-ravages-iraqi-refugees-charity-blamed/#.WVMJn4jyiUl
BY NEWS DESK (June 15, 2017)
In a refugee camp in Iraq, more than 800 people became sick and two may have died from a suspected foodborne illness that some in the region are saying was orchestrated by a charity group.
Media reports quoted Iraqi Health Minister Adila Hamoud earlier this week as having said two deaths had been caused by the outbreak, but the World Health Organization reported the same day that it had not documented any deaths. The United Nations estimates 6,235 people live in the camp.
“Eight-hundred-and-twenty-five (825) cases have been reported, of these 638 were referred to various health facilities; 386 cases have been admitted to hospitals in Erbil,” according to the WHO’s Tuesday report on the situation at Hassan Sham U2 IDP camp, which is west of Erbil and about 13 miles east of Mosul.
“Currently no deaths have been documented. The affected communities are mainly internally displaced people from west Mosul, of whom a third of all the cases were children and two-thirds were female.”
The WHO is assisting local and federal health officials with the investigation of the outbreak. Investigators from the WHO collected food samples and victims’ stool samples for testing at the Central Public Health Laboratory in Erbil.
People at the refugee camp began having symptoms of foodborne illness after a June 12 iftar, an evening meal that Muslims use to break their dawn-to-dusk fasting during their holy month of Ramadan.
“The majority of the cases predominately presented with vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea, consistent with foodborne illness,” according to the WHO. “All patients referred to health facilities have rapidly improved on supportive medical treatment.”
Although the WHO did not speculate about how food served at the refugee camp might have become contaminated, at least one Iraqi official told the Associated Press it was an intentional, aggressive act.
“An Iraqi lawmaker who visited the camp and Saudi state television accused a charity from Qatar — a small Gulf Arab country engulfed in a major diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia and several other Arab and Muslim nations — of providing the tainted food,” the AP reported. “The claims could not be independently confirmed and Qatari officials did not immediately answer calls for comment.”
The Iraqi health minister would not speculate on whether food could have been intentionally contaminated, according to the AP.
Raad al-Dahlaki, chair of the Iraqi parliament’s immigration and displacement committee, visited the camp and told the AP the suspect meal included rice, a bean sauce, meat, yogurt and water. Al-Dahlaki said the meals were distributed by a Qatari charity known as RAF, according to the AP.
Although the WHO report did not mention where the suspect food came from, and did not suggest the contamination was intentional, the international health organization did include a reminder from the local health officials.
“In light of this event, Erbil Directorate of Health further reiterates its earlier instruction to all camp managers to avoid any distribution of hot meals to IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons).”
The refugees in the Hassan Sham U2 camp meet the definition of IDPs. Most of them fled their homes in and around Mosul beginning in October 2016 after a U.S.-backed Iraqi offensive was launched against the Islamic State group from the city.
Organizations assisting the WHO with the outbreak are the International Medical Corps; ADRA; the International Organization for Migration; Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and Barazani Charity Foundation. They are helping identify and manage outbreak victims’ cases.
Conflicts of interest erode trust in food safety agency
Source : https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/conflicts-of-interest-continue-to-erode-trust-in-efsa/
By Manon Flausch | EURACTIV.fr (June 15, 2107)
Close to half of the experts at the European Food Security Agency have conflicts of interest that call into question the validity of the agency’s work, according to a new study by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO). EURACTIV France reports.
“46% of [EFSA] panel members have at least one financial conflict of interest with a regulated company,” the NGO wrote in its damning report published on Wednesday (14 June).
EFSA has the task of evaluating potential risks to the European food chain and providing independent scientific advice.
Food safety compromised?
But the independence of many of agency’s scientists is questionable, according to CEO.
The study, simply entitled “Recruitment errors”, opens with a blunt question by epidemiologist David Michaels: “If it is dangerous to rely on scientists with financial conflicts of interest to interpret raw data, why should we depend on these scientists to provide advice to the regulatory agencies?”
Four years in a row, the European Parliament has called on EFSA to ensure it is above the influence of the agri-food industry. A 2013 CEO study concluded that 60% of the agency’s experts had ties to companies whose products EFSA was evaluating. Despite the Parliament’s demands and the repeated scandals at EFSA, the situation has evolved little in the intervening four years.
Yet, evaluaing the risks posed by the industry’s products represents two-thirds of EFSA’s mission. So the effectiveness of the agency’s independence policy has a direct impact on the substances consumed by millions of European citizens every day.
EFSA strongly rejected the conclusions of the CEO study. A spokesperson for the agency said the NGO’s figures were “misleading and based on a specific interpretation of financial interests that EFSA does not agree with”.
“To be clear, the financial interests of all experts working on EFSA’s Panels have been assessed carefully according to the authority’s strict rules on independence,” the spokesperson added. Where EFSA’s ongoing investigations are liable to conflict with the financial interests of certain experts, these scientists are “not allowed to become panel members unless they divest those interests”.
In a press release, the agency said it would discuss CEO’s recommendations on independence at the next meeting of its administrative council on 21 June.
EFSA plans to adopt its new independence policy at this meeting. But according to the CEO report, “the draft policy is not sufficient”.
The emblematic case of glyphosate
The latest of controversy to shake EFSA was the renewal of the authorisation for glyphosate, a common herbicide used in agricultural and domestic weed killers. The substance, labelled a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and suspected of being an endocrine disruptor, was judged perfectly safe by the European agency.
The decision unleashed outcry among environmental and consumer protection organisations. They say the studies EFSA used to formulate its opinion should be made available for public scrutiny. But producers of glyphosate have so-far managed to withhold their data, saying its publication would be a violation of trade secrets.
Critics of glyphosate argue that legislation affecting public health should not be based on secret studies paid for by the chemical’s producers themselves. Public opinion in several EU countries supports this view: a European Citizens’ Initiative launched last year has crossed the threshold of a million signatures needed for the Commission to give it consideration.
MEPs have also asked the EU executive “What specific measures [it is] considering […] with regard to transparency and the role of scientific peer-reviewed, publicly available studies in the evaluation of active substances.”
A group of four Green MEPs have already launched a legal challenge against EFSA’s refusal to provide the documents necessary for a cross-evaluation. Their objective is not only to gain access to the documents concerning glyphosate but to increase transparency and change the way the agency functions.
Food safety practices and costs for leafy greens in California
Source : http://www.freshplaza.com/article/177112/Food-safety-practices-and-costs-for-leafy-greens-in-California
By Linda Calvin, Helen Jensen, Karen Klonsky, and Roberta Cook (June 14, 2107)
Foodborne illness linked to contaminated produce is a public health concern. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law in 2011, established a risk-based approach to regulating food safety. For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will regulate on-farm food safety practices related to microbial contamination across the wide range of heterogeneous produce firms. While the law will establish over 50 regulations, reports, and studies, the “Standards for Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption,” commonly known as the Produce Rule (PR), is the most important for farmlevel operations. FDA released the final PR in late 2015.
Economic information on the costs growers will incur under the PR is scarce. The experience of existing commodity-specific food safety programs may provide insight into what the PR will mean for the produce industry. This study focuses on interviews with seven California leafy greens firms, since that industry has had a food safety program since 2007, the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA), formally known as the California Leafy Green Products Handler Agreement. The LGMA is a voluntary program that requires members to implement a set of food safety practices, with an independent system to verify compliance.
The interviews provide a snapshot of food safety practices and costs in 2012 for a sector of the produce industry that already had a strong microbial food safety program in place. While the LGMA and the PR cover the same major categories of risk and many of the requirements are similar, LGMA is generally more demanding with respect to practices. Since the number of firms included in the study is small, this research is a case study and not a comprehensive representation of the industry.
What did the study find
The case study firms all followed the LGMA food safety requirements. Firms also adopted additional practices for their own risk management, convenience, and/or to satisfy buyer demands. The interviews revealed that food safety costs are very difficult to measure; not every firm could provide complete responses. Only costs for some food safety practices could be measured: those for food safety staff, harvest foremen, third-party audits, product lost due to animal intrusion, and water testing. We present these costs as shares of the five measureable food safety costs per firm.
The largest of these five cost shares was for workers implementing the food safety plan: 38 percent for the food safety staff (including the clerical staff) and 32 percent for time that harvest foremen spent on food safety tasks. The LGMA and the PR both require that an operation have at least one person in charge of food safety for the firm. The LGMA does not specify a role for harvest foremen but now they are major players in the food safety program, overseeing the plan during harvest, a critical time when produce can become contaminated. Harvest foremen spent almost one-fourth of their time on food safety tasks.
Third-party audits were a big expense for the firms in the study. LGMA requires only a LGMA audit, but all the firms interviewed also used other commercial audits. The audits accounted for 17 percent of the costs the study authors could measure, with LGMA audits making up 11 percent and other commercial audits 6 percent. The PR recommends, but does not require, a third-party audit, but major buyers are likely to demand such audits. Therefore, the cost-share of audits for firms under the PR could be similar to the commercial audits incurred by LGMA members.
Both the LGMA and the PR emphasize the importance of field inspections to look for evidence of animal intrusion. LGMA, but not the PR, specifies exactly how much area should be marked off around evidence of animal intrusion and not harvested. Total lost-product costs were 11 percent of measured costs. Under the PR, cost shares may be smaller.
Water testing made up only 2 percent of measured costs. The LGMA requires monthly water testing for all water used in the fields unless a firm qualifies for an exemption. Under the LGMA, firms test all water used in the fields for evidence of generic Escherichia coli (E. coli). In contrast, the PR requires water testing only for field water sources that are likely to touch the plant. Although the PR water requirements should cost less than those of the LGMA, buyers may require more testing than the minimum required under the rule.
How was the study conducted?
This case study is based on interviews and very limited followup correspondence with seven California grower/shippers who belonged to the LGMA in 2012. The interviews complied with the Office of Management and Budget rules that require clearance only for surveys of more than nine people. The project began with informal conversations with industry representatives, extension agents, and others; this background helped us develop the written survey. Firms in the case study then filled out the detailed survey. After reviewing the survey results, we led a 2-hour conference call with each firm to talk about the data and the interpretation of the information provided. These conversations resulted in additional insight into why firms were doing certain activities and some of the challenges of measuring food safety costs.
Norovirus outbreak at Wisconsin kids’ day was foodborne
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/06/norovirus-outbreak-at-wisconsin-kids-day-was-foodborne/#.WVMKjYjyiUl
BY NEWS DESK (June 14, 2017)
Public health officials believe contaminated food caused a norovirus outbreak among dozens of people who attended an annual kids’ festival in Wisconsin, but they’re still investigating.
More than 60 people had symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, low-grade fever and fatigue for multiple days, after attending the 19th annual Special Kids Day festival at the North Wisconsin State Fairgrounds last month. The Wisconsin Department of Public and nine local health departments have been investigating.
“All evidence in the investigation suggests that the primary mode of transmission of norovirus was through contaminated food,” Jennifer Miller, spokeswoman for the state department, told the Leader-Telegram newspaper in Chippewa Falls, WI.
Event organizer Tom Luck told the Leader-Telegraph that 738 disabled students and about 1,000 people overall from 26 school districts attended the annual festival May 18-19.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Leuck told the newspaper. “I got a report that Monday (May 22) from a teacher that people were sick. I contacted the Chippewa County Health Department. I don’t have any answers of where it came from. I don’t know. I’d like to know.”
Leuck said all food handlers at this year’s event wore gloves.
Beef expert says Avila called, but wouldn’t listen to BPI details
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/06/beef-expert-says-avila-called-but-wouldnt-listen-to-bpi-details/#.WVMKtojyiUl
By DAN FLYNN (June 14, 2017)
Jury in 'pink slime' case sees video depositions from expert David Theno and ABC News producer
Video depositions are being heard during this second week of the $1.9 billion civil defamation trial in Elk Point, SD, that BPI hopes will cause the jury to believe ABC knew the reports it aired about lean finely textured beef being “pink slime” were not truthful.
Beef Products Inc. sued ABC under the South Dakota Food Product Disparagement Act, claiming a series of reports the network’s news division posted between March 7 and April 3, 2012, caused the Dakota Dunes, SD, meat packer to lay off at least 650 workers and closed three production facilities.
During the reports, ABC referred to BPI’s lean finely textured beef product “pink slime” on more 350 occasions.
The beef product is made from lean portions of trimmings that have been processed to separate them from fat. Lean finely textured beef, or LFTB, is a component of some ground beef.
The video deposition that did the most damage to ABC was one featuring David M. (Dave) Theno, currently CEO of the Del Mar, CA-based Gray Dog Partners Inc. Theno, who had consulted with BPI, recalled taking a call from from ABC News reporter Jim Avila shortly before the reports were aired.
Theno said that he recalled, it did not go well.
Avila had called him and Theno had agreed to talk, but the TV journalist soon became hostile.
“He told me I didn’t know a damn thing about it,” Theno said.
“I was a shill for the company and he hung up.”
Theno is the former senior vice president and chief food safety officer for Jack in the Box Inc. He’s won numerous awards for his leadership in food safety, including the Black Pearl from the International Association for Food Protection; the Mark Nottingham Award from the California Environmental Health Association, and in May this year, the Food Safety Summit’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Theno called Avila back, and was disconnected. He called again and Avila picked up.
In the next segment, Theno told Avila if he had any journalistic integrity, he would at least listen to the other side. In the video, Theno says he told Avila he did not have to use “my side of the story” but he at least ought to hear it.
Avila responded by saying “F— you!” and hanging up again, Theno testified.
Brian Hartman, an ABC News producer who worked with Avila on the 2012 reports, also gave a video deposition.
Hartman acknowledged the network had received letters from both the BPI and the American Meat Institute saying beef trimmings used to make LFTB are not “low-grade.” The ABC reports depicted the beef trimmings as being useful only for “cooking oil and dog food” until LFTB was developed.
Hartman could not recall ever reading the meat institute letter and did not identify “a single company” using the beef trimmings for pet food.
Audrey Taylor, another ABC producer, said she conducted an interview with a nutritionist and dietician who said LFTB was safe and could be used to lower the fat content in ground beef, but the network never used any of that material. Taylor said they often do on camera interviews that never get aired.
The unused interview, however, was inconsistent with the “pink slime” narrative ABC choose to follow, according to BPI attorney Erik Connolly. He noted that emails among the producers also referred to LFTB as slime and feces along with “waste” and “fat” before they knew anything about it.
The jury trial is scheduled to take as long as eight weeks. Disney-owned ABC Television and Avila are the defendants in he case. Should BPI prevail, its $1.9 billion damage claim could be tripled under South Dakota’s agricultural product disparagement law.
There’s also the potential for punitive damages. According to the jury instructions, however, plaintiff BPI must prevail on all the underling points of law before monetary damages can be considered.
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.
Plastic rice in Delhi? Food safety department says its fake news, samples come out clean
Source : http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/delhi-s-food-safety-department-negates-rumours-of-plastic-rice/story-crKPRtiqlq4lHq5bOucCRM.html
By Joydeep Thakur (June 14, 2017)
Rumours about plastic rice have been doing the rounds and spreading like wildfire over the past few days. It all started when customer complained that plastic rice was used to prepare biryani in Hyderabad.
Flooded with queries from citizens about ‘plastic rice’ being sold in markets, the Delhi government’s food safety department has negated such rumours after conducting random checks.
“We had collected at least 27 samples – 20 raw samples from the markets and seven cooked rice samples from various hotels and restaurants — from across the city. None proved to be plastic rice. It is fake news,” Mrinalini Darswal commissioner of the state food safety department told HT.
Rumours about plastic rice have been making rounds and spreading like wildfire over the past few days. It all started when customer complained that plastic rice was used to prepare biryani in Hyderabad.
The news not only grabbed media headlines but also became viral on social media as wheat and paddy forms the staple diet of Indians.
“We have been receiving calls from wary customers across Delhi. Such rumours were also spreading across the social media. Earlier this month we received a grievance letter from a person. It was then we decided to go for a random check,” said a food safety officer of the department.
The samples were checked in the food laboratory of the department of food safety. All the samples complied with the specification under regulation no 126.96.36.199 of the Food Products Standards and Food Additives Regulation Act 2011 which defines the standards of rice in India.
U.S. cattlemen see opportunity to reopen JBS anti-trust issue
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/06/cattlemen-see-opportunity-to-re-open-jbs-anti-trust-issues-in-u-s/#.WVMLp4jyiUl
BY NEWS DESK (June 12, 2017)
Some U.S. cattle ranchers are seeing an opportunity in the way JBS Corp. has gotten itself tied up in Brazil’s political scandal. JBS USA is the wholly owned subsdiary of JBS S.A., the Brazilian corporation that is the world’s largest fresh beef and pork processor with sales of $52.3 billion in 2016,
The cattlemen are asking for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into JBS’s cattle procurement practices, saying the company’s “business model relied heaily on unlawful and othe corrupt practices to influence government actions and policies as well as to influence decisions by government regulated entities…”
The request was made this past week in an 11-page letter from the Billings, MT-based R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America. It was sent to President Trump, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, Attorney General Jeff Session, and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
The letter, signed by R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard, urges the government to “reject any type of leniency” with JBS. It further calls for review of previous decisions that favored JBS in DOJ antitrust reviews. JBS acquired most of its beef processing assets in North American by purchasing Swift in 2007, the Smithfield Beef Group and Five Rivers Cattle Feeding in 2008, and Pilgrim’s Pride in 2009.
A DOJ investigation of its U.S. activities would add to the JBS management, financial, and image crisis that’s been boiling over for the last month since former JBS Chairman Joesley Batista turned a tape recording over to authorities that sounded as if Brazil’s President Michel Temer was endorsing the payment of bribes and hush money to inspectors and others.
Batista resigned as JBS Chairman and from its Board of Directors. Temer remains as President of Brazil after the nation’s top electoral court Friday dismissed his removal from office by a 4-3 vote.
Also on Friday, JBS Corp. announced the sale of its operations in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay to South American rival Minera Corp. for $300 million. The transaction is expected to close next month.
The sale was likely in reaction to pressure by creditor banks on JBS, which has a net debt of around $14.6 billion. JBS USA assets, including Pilgrim’s Pride, are other potential sources of cash. Pilgrim’s Pride has about a 20 percent share of the U.S. poultry market.
Also on Friday, Brazil’s Federal Police conducted a search and seizure operation at the headquarters of JBS S.A. and an associated company. Four unnamed people were detained for questioning about potential insider trading.
Both JBS Corp. and J&F Investments, owned by the Batista brothers, previously entered into so-called leniency agreements with federal prosecutors. JBS agreed to pay a fine of $183.8 million, while J&F agreed to pay $3.2 billion over 25 years. The J&F “leniency” fine is said to be the largest in Brazil’s history and represents bribes and kickbacks to 1,829 Brazilian politicians.
The fines between JBS and J&F were structured to protect JBS minority shareholders. The Batista brothers admitted bribing nearly 1,900 politicians, including Temer and his two predecessors.
What is really changing with new Shanghai Food Safety Regulation?
Source : http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=e3c1e05a-8e78-4f20-99ca-036b8ea9b9e5
By Nicola Aporti (June 9, 2107)
Following several high-profile scandals, food safety has become a major concern in China. In 2016, 14,000 food service licenses had been withdrawn or revoked, with 163million RMB ($28 million) confiscated in 7,240 cases involving illegal activity related to food.
In regard to the long series of food scandals held in Shanghai, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration (“Shanghai FDA”) issued new Food Safety Regulation which took effect on March 20th, 2017.
It seems to us that this regulation does not dramatically change the legal framework by introducing brand new obligations; rather – besides some significant new provisions – it mainly stresses the importance of several already existing legal obligations.
In general, the Regulation fine-tunes the general provisions for market access, the high control on food operations and the increased liability of producers and traders that engaged in all levels of production, sales, storage, transport and safety administration of food, food additives, and food related products within Shanghai. Here is a brief overview of these.
Market access: Companies involved in the food production, sales and trade activities related shall legally obtain relevant food license accordingly to their scope of activity (production, trade or catering) and strictly operate according to their scope of permission. This is nothing new, however, becomes particularly stressed as several food companies still operate beyond their allowed business scope.
Food with edible agricultural products as raw materials for consumption directly even after simple processing such as cleaning, cutting, disinfection and other processing shall require food production license.
Third-party producer: Food operators shall check the relevant license of third-party producer, and only engage them within their duly licensed business scope. Food products produced through entrustment to third-party shall label the indicate third-party producer name, address, contact information and food production license number; this is new compared with existing national regulation, which does not compel to label the entrusted third-party. With the announced revision of GB 7718-2011 just launched, are we seeing here what the new GB 7718 will look like?
Shelf life: Food companies shall set up a management system and provide a marked hint for concentrated storage, display, and selling of food and food additives that is approaching its “best before date”. Food beyond its shelf life cannot be sent back to the supplier but shall be destroyed or undergo treatment to make it harmless. Food companies shall achieve the record of treatment results at least 2 years.
Recycled food: Recycled food – sealed up, detained, returned, confiscated or recalled by an operator within shelf life – cannot be used as raw materials, sold for use or given as a gift. Food operators shall register recycled food and keep it separately in a marked area. Only food recycled due to non-compliant label, marks and instructions can still be sold or traded if the food safety is ensured.
Transport and storage: Food operators shall set up a full-process temperature and humidity monitoring for food under special temperature and humidity requirements. They shall carry out records at last 2 years after the expiry of products shelf life.
Catering: The authorities encourage catering services to use electronic display and transparent glass wall to show food processing course and raw materials of food.
Delivery service: Shanghai’s food delivery services shall guarantee the cleanliness of any box and packaging used during food transportation and that cold and hot dishes cannot be stored together. Furthermore, delivery personnel shall legally obtain a health certificate to operate.
Training: Food business shall carry out training to employees on food safety knowledge and regulation. According to the Regulation, food producers and traders shall evaluate the performance of food safety management personnel, key link operators, and other relevant employees and may not allow them to start working if they fail to pass the assessment. This will very likely have an impact on employment litigations.
Risk prevention: Food operators are encouraged to buy food safety liability insurance, while so-called high-risk food companies seem being compelled to do so.
In case of serious violations against food safety (involvement in food operation without the relevant food license, engaging in production and trade of prohibited food, suffering from food safety accidents, etc.) besides the fine incurred and license revoked, the authorities are allowed to proceed with the immediate shutdown of the food business. Moreover, according to the Article 86 of the regulation, any organizations or individuals can complain and report to the competent authorities if they find illegal acts in food production and operation. The Regulation specifies that their identity shall remain secret and they will be rewarded up to 300,000 RMB if the tip-offs are proven to be true. Whistleblowers will keep popping out.
Could Edible Insects Help Global Food Security?
Source : http://www.qualityassurancemag.com/article/could-edible-insects-help-global-food-security/
By qualityassurancemag (June 8, 2017)
Consumer attitudes are being put to the test in Australia with an offering of roasted crickets and ants, mealworm cookies and cricket energy bars.
Australian consumers in Adelaide are taking part in a University of Adelaide research study to help realize the potential for edible insects as a food industry. Consumer attitudes are being put to the test at Adelaide Central Market with an offering of roasted crickets and ants, mealworm cookies and cricket energy bars.
“We want to further investigate consumers’ attitudes toward edible insects, evaluate taste preferences and consumers’ willingness to buy such products,” said Postdoctoral Fellow Anna Crump, who is working on the project with project leader Associate Professor Kerry Wilkinson and other researchers from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine and the School of Humanities at the University of Adelaide. “We will also be asking consumers questions relating to food neophobia – reluctance to eat novel or new foods. We’ll be interested to see if a consumer’s ethnicity influences their acceptance of edible insects,” she said.
In a preliminary online survey of 820 Australian consumers, the researchers found that 20% had tried edible insects. Of those surveyed, 46% said they would be willing to try a cookie made from insect flour.
“In the earlier survey, consumers said they were most likely to try flavored or roasted insects and least likely to want to try cockroaches or spiders,” Crump said. “In this taste test, we’ve chosen products that consumers are most likely to react positively toward – apologies to anyone keen to try a cockroach or spider. The samples we’ll be offering consumers provide a good spread of the available insect products in Australia’s marketplace, some of which may be more acceptable than others.”
Crump said the research will help guide the development of an edible insect industry.
“In Australia, edible insects remain an emerging agricultural industry. Consumer research is needed to improve consumer acceptance of edible insects, so as to realize their potential as an alternate protein source,” she said. “We hope to be able to pinpoint target markets for edible insects and ways of encouraging their uptake by consumers as an alternative protein source. As such, this research will help to identify strategies for realizing the potential of edible insects, not only in the domestic market, but also as a high-value product for the export market.”
Associate Professor Kerry Wilkinson said edible insects could play a role in global food security. “Issues such as climate change, increasing global population, scarcity of agricultural land and rapidly changing consumer preferences, particularly in developing countries where there is increasing demand for high quality animal protein,” he explained. “These food security issues will only be overcome by a shift in food consumption habits, particularly when we are talking about meat consumption. Edible insects could provide one solution. We want to look at ways of overcoming barriers to insect consumption in Australia.”
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