Food department Dist food safety officials yet to collect samples of mid-day meal from schools
Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/indore/food-department-dist-food-safety-officials-yet-to-collect-samples-of-mid-day-meal-from-schools/articleshow/60724997.cms
By TNN (Sep 18, 2017)
Indore: Despite worms being found in mid-day meal of a school and one month after the order for collection of samples of food items being served to children in government-run schools under mid-day meal scheme, district food safety department is yet to take any action.
Only three days ago, a teacher of Government Middle School number-40 in Dhakkanwala Kuan, had spotted worms in the mid-day meal when the food was about to be served to the students. Following the incident, about 200 students of the school had refused to eat mid-day meal. They were ready to eat the food only after the senior officials from zila panchayat assured them of quality of the food.
"Maintaining quality of the food being served under mid-day meal scheme should be priority of the authorities concerned since its main objective is to improve nutritional status of school children," said a senior administrative official wishing anonymity.
The scheme has remained helpful in increasing the enrolment, retention and attendance of children at government school, and thus, it increases responsibility of the departments concerned for its proper implementation, he added.
However, it seems that the recent incident has also failed to draw attention of the food safety officials. Food safety officer Manish Swami said, "As per the order, the officials are required to do sudden inspection at 10 government-run schools and collect food samples in this month. They will also have to collect samples of mid-day meal from similar number of government schools in the next month."
Letter from the Editor: Vacancy says food safety not a priority
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/09/letter-from-the-editor-vacancy-says-food-safety-not-a-priority/#.Wb8rQshJaUl
By DAN FLYNN (Sep 17, 2017)
I’m pretty jaded when it comes to the federal government — no matter who is running it. But I do know that without filling the spokes in the government’s wheels nothing is going to happen. And some spokes are more important than others.
Faithful readers know Food Safety News is counting the days for the appointment by President Trump and confirmation by the U.S. Senate of the next USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety.
The USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety vacancy has now existed for more than 1,350 days. It’s now one of a dozen top jobs at USDA where there’s either been no nomination from the president or no confirmation vote from the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
Six nominations are pending. The Under Secretary for Food Safety, a mission-critical post for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Office of Food Safety, and federal leadership in general, is one of the six for which as yet there is no nominee.
President Trump and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue appear to have priorities that do not include food safety. Two of the six pending nominations speak not to priorities, but to Perdue’s need for help: his deputy, Stephen Censky, and general counsel, Stephen Alexander Vaden.
Appointments taking priority over food safety include William Northey at the farm and foreign agriculture services; Gregory Ibach at marketing and regulatory services; Ted McKinney at trade and foreign agricultural affairs; and the controversial Samuel H. Clovis Jr. at research, education and economics.
Perdue, in fact, is moving the U.S. Codex Office from FSIS to the new Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs (TFAA) office. Former Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Brian Ronholm told Food Safety News readers this past week that’s a “big mistake.”
Ronholm explained how “this realignment will undermine the United States’ credibility in the international food policy arena…”
One thing Ronholm did not say is that Codex under FSIS has been a transparent government program. Under FSIS, Codex is an open program involving all the governmental and non-governmental entities that want to be involved. Trade offices are always about secrets and Mitch Rapp-like security.
It easy to make a decision to go dark when the lights are already out in the office of Under Secretary for Food Safety.
And, another issue I am wondering about is opening the U.S. to poultry slaughtered in China. The FSIS last week released audit findings of equivalence for China’s poultry inspection system as it relates to only to processing and packaging of chicken products.
At this point, the chickens China processes for sale in the United States must come from the U.S., Canada or Chile. China wants to slaughter, process and export its chickens to the United States. Trump traders pretty much agreed to that in May in exchange for China opening its doors to U.S. beef.
But food safety experts have serious doubts about China because of its past performance. The People’s Republic of China has not only rolled from one food safety scandal to another during the past decade, but it also has seen repeated avian flu outbreaks. This has included seeing the flu jump from birds to humans.
Is it Secretary Perdue’s plan to open the U.S. market to Chinese chicken without an Under Secretary for Food Safety at FSIS?
It look like it is.
Moving Codex to the new trade office and allowing China to send its chickens to the United States are decisions that are going down without input from the Under Secretary for Food Safety.
Frankly, I think this vacancy going on for almost four years is vastly more important than whether someone can find a lab coat for Professor Clovis. He might do a horrible job supervising those USDA scientists. He might do a fine job. On food safety, though, we know the job ain’t being done at all.
President Obama let the post remain vacant for the last three years of his tenure, and it’s a secondary concern at best for Perdue and the Trump Administration. We wonder why. As we’ve reported before, since the office was created by Congress some 23 years ago, it is almost as often vacant as filled. We doubt seriously it is due to oversight or accident.
Food Safety After a Disaster
Source : https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2017/sep/16/food-safety-after-a-disaster/
By Brenda Anderson (Sep 16, 2017)
Severe weather events can mean power outages, floods and other problems that can affect the safety of food.
Knowing what to do after a weather event can help you reduce your risk of illness.
By following these guidelines, you can also minimize the amount of food that may be lost due to spoilage.
Even if fridge and freezer doors remained closed during the power loss, the food inside your refrigerator would only have been safe for about four hours.
And the food in your freezer would have been safe for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how full it was.
If you were gone from your home for more than 48 hours and you are unsure exactly how long your power was out, the safest thing to do is to throw away all perishable foods in both your refrigerator and freezer.
If water damage or flooding occurred in your home, discard any bottled water or drinks that may have come in contact with floodwater.
Discard any food that was not in a waterproof container if there is any chance it may have come in contact with floodwater.
Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screwcaps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps.
Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples, and pacifiers that may have come in contact with floodwater.
Thoroughly wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils that came in contact with floodwater with hot soapy water.
Sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water.
Refrigerators and freezers are two of the most important pieces of food safety equipment in the kitchen and we are instantly reminded of their importance when the power goes off or flooding occurs, causing food to become unsafe and spoil.
If food has spoiled in a refrigerator or freezer and odors remain, the following procedures may help:
• Dispose of any spoiled or questionable food.
• Remove shelves, crispers and ice trays. Wash them thoroughly with hot water and detergent. Then rinse with a sanitizing solution (1 tablespoon unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water).
• Wash the interior of the refrigerator and freezer, including the door and gasket, with hot water and baking soda. Rinse with sanitizing solution as above.
• Leave the door open for about 15 minutes to allow free air circulation.
• If odors remain, repeat above steps or try any of the following:
• Wipe inside of unit with equal parts vinegar and water. The acid in vinegar destroys mildew.
• Leave the door open and allow to air out for several days.
• Stuff both the refrigerator and freezer with rolled newspapers. Close the door and leave for several days. Remove paper and clean with vinegar and water.
• Sprinkle fresh coffee grounds or baking soda loosely in a large, shallow container in the bottom of the refrigerator and freezer.
• Place a cotton swab soaked with vanilla inside the refrigerator and freezer. Close door for 24 hours.
• Use a commercial product available at hardware and housewares stores. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
For more information, AskKaren.gov provides information about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry and egg products.
This automated response system can provide food safety information 24/7 and a live chat during Hotline hours.
The Ask Karen mobile app can also be downloaded from the iTunes and Google Play app stores.
Resource: Food Safety Fact Sheets at:
Brenda Anderson is a Victoria County extension assistant.
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When Food Safety Meets Cyber Risk
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/signature-series/when-food-safety-meets-cyber-risk/
By Simon Oddy and Duc Nguyen (Sep 14, 2017)
When Food Safety Meets Cyber Risk
Food manufacturers have a lot to worry about. On any given day, not only do they need to think about their processes and brainstorm ways to become more efficient and stay competitive, they must also focus on the bottom line—sales, profits, losses and the unpredictable possibility and ramifications of a recall. But is there now a new concern to lose sleep over?
Changes implemented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and generally tighter food control have seen food recall cases increase in frequency and magnitude. The risk management industry has helped manufacturers make better decisions in the event of a food recall, while also minimizing financial risk.
The insurance industry has developed programs to assist companies when a contamination or recall occurs, crisis consultants are there to help, and financial protection is available. Similarly, insurers are busily developing responses to cyber risks and providing insurance programs, which include resources to aid in the event of a cyber-attack or security breach—and to help remedy the resulting damages.
There is a new type of risk making its way down the supply chain which will present new challenges for food manufacturers and the insurance industry. Crisis management and food recall risks are now on a collision course with cyber risk.
Food Contamination and Cyber Risk
In an increasingly interconnected world, manufacturers are automating their processes more frequently. But by utilizing automation, manufacturers are inheriting and assuming the potential cyber risks previously only associated with computer based systems.
The recent series of alerts from ICS-CERT (Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team) reminds us of the vulnerability of certain systems utilized in the food supply chain. As designed, much of the equipment used in food manufacturing is vulnerable to remote exploitation that requires a relatively low level of skill. Therefore, the increasing frequency of these alerts is concerning, as are the size and scope of the associated risks.
It is not inconceivable to think that, in the near future, someone with malicious intent could hack into a food processing system and make slight adjustments to machinery without anyone noticing. A few degrees warmer in the refrigerator or a few minutes off of the time in the oven could be all it takes for an item to go from consumable to unsafe food, with a risk of harm. There is a possibility that food manufacturing equipment could be breached, remotely controlled and possibly cause a contamination or food safety event.
This type of equipment vulnerability is nothing new. It was first seen with Stuxnet, the malicious computer worm that impacted Iran’s nuclear program via remote exploitation in 2010. Granted, that involved a nuclear plant system, and manufacturers and consumers may have a hard time relating a meltdown at a nuclear plant to food processing. But the point is that systems vulnerability can impact a wide range of processing systems that people interact with on an everyday basis.
Who Covers the Loss?
When a cyber event causes a food safety or contamination event, who steps in to cover the loss? Which of an insured’s policies covers the loss and which carrier takes the lead in the claim handling? Policy interactions of this type have been seen before, where cargo, general liability and property policies, as well as other coverages all have to interact when faced with a loss in the food supply chain. In past events, the food safety issues were evident, and food contamination policies had been designed to respond and protect against these scenarios.
However, cyber matters are not clearly addressed when it comes to food production. The typical policies covering food production do not carry cyber exclusions that would limit coverage of a cyber caused event. And new cyber policies are being designed to cover the broader risks associated with the financial impact of a security breach. The costs covered under these policies are fairly well defined, but cyber events are continuing to evolve. In the cyber sector, we are seeing a continued increase in the demand to broaden business income loss coverage, where the loss is caused by a cyber breach. These policy terms currently link the losses to a defined period during which the software is “down.” We will continue to see an interplay between cyber coverage and other areas of more traditional insurance.
As cyber insurance policies evolve and business income loss coverage broadens, these type of service interruptions may form part of the covered loss. With losses of these types, linking cause and effect is increasingly important: What caused the loss? Was it a food safety issue? Or a cyber breach? Or maybe a combination of the two?
The recent announcements from ICS-CERT serve to highlight the new risks associated with supply chain management. As coverage evolves, insurers and those handling claims will need to understand who is covering what.
If manufacturing process vulnerabilities lead to contamination within the supply chain, recall and business income loss issues will be the result. The impact of cyber events is far reaching, and it is no longer limited to the release of personal data or confidential information. Physical risk and extended financial losses are a growing concern.
Raw milk cheese tied to listeria cases; moms-to-be at high risk
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/09/raw-milk-cheese-tied-to-listeria-cases-moms-to-be-at-high-risk/#.Wb8sXMhJaUl
By NEWS DESK (Sep 14, 2017)
At least two people in Rhode Island have developed infections from Listeria monocytogenes, causing public health officials to warn against eating soft cheese referred to as queso fresco.
An alert posted Wednesday by the Rhode Island Department of Health did not include any details about the two victims, but specifically urged pregnant women to not eat cheese made with unpasteurized milk. Pasteurizing milk kills Listeria and other bacteria that often are present in so-called raw milk.
“Queso fresco is a type of soft cheese. Queso fresco, queso blanco, panela, and asadero-style cheeses are only considered safe when they are marked with a professional label stating that they are ‘pasteurized’ or ‘made from pasteurized milk,’ ” according to the state warning.
“Homemade queso fresco is sometimes made with unpasteurized, or raw, milk. Unpasteurized milk can cause serious illness.”
Pregnant women are significantly more likely than other people to develop serious listeriosis infections when they consume foods or beverages contaminated with even trace amounts of the bacteria.
Among pregnant women, the highest rates of listeria are seen among Hispanic women, according to the Rhode Island health warning. A pregnant woman with listeriosis can pass the infection to her unborn baby. It can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and impairments in newborns.
Anyone who has eaten any soft cheese recently and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure. It can take up to 70 days after exposure to the bacteria for symptoms to develop.
Symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. In some cases an invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
In addition to pregnant women, high-risk groups include young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems, including cancer patients and transplant recipients.
Foods To Destroy After a Hurricane
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/foods-to-destroy-after-a-hurricane/
By Linda Larsen (Sep 13, 2017)
The FDA is warning growers, distributors, and consumers that many types of food should be destroyed after a flood. After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked havoc on many areas of the southern U.S., keeping your family’s food safe is critical.
Some foods that have been exposed to flood waters should not be eaten. Flood waters can contain sewage, hazardous chemicals, heavy metals, parasites, and pathogenic bacteria and viruses. If the edible portion of a crop is exposed to flood waters, they must be destroyed. There is “no practical method of reconditioning the edible portion of a crop that will provide a reasonable assurance of human food safety,” according to the notice.
All fresh fruits and vegetables that have been in contact with flood water can’t be adequately cleaned and should be destroyed. And fresh fruits and vegetables that have begun to spoil because they were not refrigerated sold also be destroyed. Any refrigerated and frozen foods, including beverages, that have been immersed in flood waters must be destroyed. And of course any of these perishable foods that were not kept below 40°F should be destroyed.
Foods packed in plastic, paper, cardboard, cloth, and other permeable containers can’t be salvaged after a flood. And foods packed with screw-tops, screw-caps, snap-lids, crimped-caps (soda pop bottles), twist-caps, flip-top, snap-open, and similar type closures that have been submerged in flood waters cannot be reconditioned.
Some hermitically sealed cans may be reconditioned. Those cans have a top and bottom double seam. Consumers can clean any food cans that have not been damaged and aren’t leaking, bulging, or dented.
First, remove the paper label and discard. The label can hold bacteria and other pathogens. Wash the cans or retort pouches with safe water. Then sanitize the items by boiling in clean water for 2 minutes, or immerse in a solution of 1 tablespoon liquid chlorine bleach per 1 gallon of drinking water for 15 minutes. Air dry the cans and pouches for at least 1 hour before opening them or storing them.
Know the symptoms of food poisoning and be very aware of them after a natural disaster. Most people get sick within a few days if they have been exposed to pathogenic bacteria. Symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. If you do get sick, see your doctor.
Georgia health officials offer food safety tips amid widespread outages
Source : http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/georgia-health-officials-offer-food-safety-tips
By fox5atlanta.com (Sep 12, 2017)
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - As massive power outages plagued Georgia homes and businesses, local health officials are warning residents not to eat spoiled foods.
DeKalb County health officials are asking people to inspect their freezer and refrigerator contents carefully once the power comes back on, as some food items may no longer be safe to eat.
Officials suggest residents take the following precautions to determine whether food items can be kept or thrown away:
• Never taste a food to determine its safety.
• Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened.
A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed).
Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below.
• Obtain block ice or dry ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for 2 days.
• If the power has been out for several days, then check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below, the food is safe.
• If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, then check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.
• Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after four hours without power.
• When in Doubt, Throw it Out!
For more information, please visit DeKalb County's Environmental Health division’s website at www.dekalbhealth.net/envhealth or contact (404) 508-7900.
Floodwater pathogens can’t be washed off of fresh produce
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/09/floodwater-pathogens-cant-be-washed-off-of-fresh-produce/#.Wb8tL8hJaUl
ByNEWS DESK (Sep 12, 2017)
The state of Florida produces more fresh fruits and vegetables than any other state except California, and is the top tomato state in the country. As with backyard gardens, Hurricane Irma has turned many of Florida’s commercial fruit and vegetable fields into patches of pathogens that can’t be washed away.
From the Food and Drug Administration to county extension agents, experts on fresh produce are warning of the dangers of eating fresh produce that has been touched by floodwaters.
“Fresh fruits and vegetables that have been inundated by flood waters cannot be adequately cleaned and should be destroyed,” according to the FDA.
“There is no practical method of reconditioning the edible portion of a crop that will provide a reasonable assurance of human food safety. Therefore, the FDA recommends that these crops be disposed of in a manner that ensures they are kept separate from crops that have not been flood damaged to avoid adulterating ‘clean’ crops.”
Floodwaters contain a cocktail of pathogens and parasites, including E. coli, Salmonella, typhoid and cholera.
Food safety tips from FDA for those who are working on recovering from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma include:
Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
Discard any food and beverage that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water.
Food containers that are waterproof include undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and “retort pouches” — like flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches.
Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps.
Also discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
Discard any food in damaged cans. Damaged cans are those with swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting that is severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils — including can openers — with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water — or the cleanest, clearest water available.
Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse and then sanitize by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water — or the cleanest, clearest water available. Allow to air dry.
Saving undamaged food packages
Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and “retort pouches” — like flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches — can be saved if you follow this procedure. However public health officials say the golden rule of food safety should be the primary rule: When in doubt, throw it out.
Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible after following these steps:
1. Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
2. Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
3. Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
4. Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.
5. Sanitize cans and retort pouches by immersion in one of the two following ways:
Place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes.
Place in a freshly made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water — or the cleanest, clearest water available — for 15 minutes.
6. Air dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of one hour before opening or storing.
7. If the labels were removable, then re-label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date, with a permanent marking pen.
For infants, try to use prepared, canned baby formula that requires no added water. Otherwise, dilute any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all-metal containers with clean drinking water.
The Supply Chain and Food Safety Culture: Processing
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/augustseptember-2017/the-supply-chain-and-food-safety-culture-processing/
By Food Safety Magazine
The Supply Chain and Food Safety Culture: Processing
Our series on food safety culture along the food supply chain now focuses on the food processing plant. We’ve previously examined the creation of a culture of food safety in the primary production and distribution sectors of the global food supply chain.
We’ve invited industry leaders in food processing to help elucidate the challenges around creating a culture of food safety. Our panelists are Jeff M. Taylor, regulatory compliance senior scientist at Bush Brothers & Company; Gordon Hayburn, M.Sc., LL.M., vice president, food safety & quality assurance at Trophy Foods; and John Butts, Ph.D., vice president of research and adviser to the CEO at Land O’Frost.
FSM: How do you see your personal role in creating a culture of food safety?
Taylor: I see myself as the one who has the conversations in our organization that move the needle for food safety culture. We have had a number of organizational changes that have resulted in the message getting diluted.
Hayburn: I believe as a vice president of food safety, my role is to encourage, inspire and educate at all levels of our business in order to ensure staff show correct food safety behaviors. I do not see any value in trying to dictate behaviors.
Butts: My personal role has been first and foremost to live the Land O’Frost [LOF] values. As the leader of food safety & quality [FSQ], I created high expectations of performance. Our food safety vision was clear. We created and executed a strategic plan that addressed the most significant needs of the organization. Technical and operations staff is expected to understand our products and processes in depth. Standing cross-functional teams were used to define and implement best practices. This included Listeria intervention and control, foreign material control and GFSI [Global Food Safety Initiative] certification, to name a few. FSQ’s role is to acquire and disseminate the technology, develop the measurement systems and audit the process. As the FSQ leader, I led the education efforts for the technical portion of our business. I was also responsible for the technical activities outside the company.
Sharing of food safety best practices enabled LOF to learn as much or more that we shared. Within our company, FSQ led the effort for adapting new technology. Our scope of activity includes management of product SOPs [Standard Operating Procedures], development and management of Manufacturing Operating Procedures, job work instructions, HACCP [Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points], SSOPs [Sanitation SOPs] and prerequisite process control programs. Combining these defined our expectations for the manufacture of our products. Root-cause determination is the goal for addressing product and process issues. Facility and equipment issues are addressed with data. Data are used to drive product quality expectations. We continually challenged ourselves from a Listeria control perspective by doing things that we had never done before. We took risks with equipment and facilities to eliminate and control the pathogen. We learned from our mistakes.
FSM: How do you define food safety culture in your (or any) organization, and do you think these definitions differ between management and line workers?
Taylor: We do not have an organizational definition for food safety culture. We have created a vision statement:
Bush Brothers & Company is committed to being a powerful food safety culture. Together, we are educated and engaged to consistently create the safest consumer experience possible.
I do believe we would have everyone agreeing that food safety is important; however, I do not believe all organizational disciplines understand the impact of food safety or, more specifically, their impact on food safety.
Hayburn: We believe all companies have a “culture.” At Trophy Foods, we define food safety culture [as] “behaviors that make you proud to see our products on the shelf and to know we are caring about the families who buy our products.” We feel valued that consumers trust us to keep them and their families safe, and we do not want to ever lose this.
It doesn’t really differ at the varying levels of our business. We encourage all our staff to always identify as a food safety professional regardless of their specific task in our business.
Butts: “The Brand Your Family Can Trust for Generations” is the LOF vision. LOF values include “Trust & Respect.” Employee behaviors that build brand trust and exhibit integrity, which includes honesty, are actions that define food safety culture. Our value of “Passion for New Ideas” means we must take risks like developing a heat pasteurization process for equipment. The LOF value of “Excellence” means we strive to be world class in our food safety practices and culture. Continuous improvement is required. Our various operating procedures define behavior expectations. Actions that violate the procedures or intent of the procedures take away from our food safety culture. Above-the-line behaviors include following our procedures and peer-level holding one another accountable to those behaviors. We expect employees to create and maintain an environment of building trust through personal accountability. Other above-the-line behaviors include:
• Take responsibility for it
• Do something constructive about it
• Don’t take it personally
• See it from the other person’s point of view
Below-the-line behaviors include:
• Complain about it. Deny it. Avoid it. Ignore it.
• Keep quiet about it
• Blame it on someone else
• It’s not my fault. He made me do it.
My goal is to have the food safety behaviors performed without thinking. They are habits.
Food safety behaviors appear to have some stratification within our management workforce. This means that there is a tendency to use words without consistently taking action. In analyzing this difference, we can see a tendency for employees who are new, between 5 and 9, and 20 and above years in [their] current position to have the biggest gap, while employees between 2 and 4, and 10 and 19 years have the lowest gap. There is also an observable difference between sites. Two plants have higher gaps of “walking the talk” than a third plant.
FSM: Using the maturity model, where do you think your company is on the scale? Your industry? And why?
Taylor: I believe we are between stages 2 and 3. I think the industry is at stage 2. I think as a company and the industry, we are reactive to food safety problems as they arise. In my company, we have had a thermal process to rely upon for a major element of our food safety. As a result, our food safety muscle is strong in areas that involve thermal process and food safety aspects that are not mediated by the thermal process (i.e., foreign material).
Hayburn: Our scores are as follows: Perceived Value: company, 4.1 and industry, 3.2; People System: company, 3.5 and industry, 2.5; Process Thinking: company, 3.5 and industry, 3.4; Technology Enabler: company, 2.8 and industry, 2.5; and Tools & Infrastructure: company, 3.5 and industry, 3.5. I believe as a company, we are well ahead of the industry in Perceived Value and People System. I am of this opinion because we have introduced many of our improvements because we believe it is the right thing to do for our business. It has not been driven by regulators or customers. We set ourselves a target of unannounced BRC [British Retail Consortium] audits 3 years ago and achieved it within the first year. Our sites are rated AA+ and A+. We feel that always being audit-ready would ensure that we constantly exhibited the correct behaviors as required by our food safety plan. For the other capability areas, I believe we are very slightly above the industry but still have a long way to go. The industry as a whole is still very reactive and is primarily driven by customer expectations and demands. It is a reactive approach, and the fear of losing business is more important than the drive to just do the right thing. I believe this is shortsighted but understandable. This is how the industry has behaved for a generation, and this will take time to change.
Butts: I refer to the LOF survey for this answer. In general, our average scores are as follows: Perceived Value: company, 4.1 and industry, 3.1; People System: company, 3.5 and industry, 2.8; Process Thinking: company, 3.6 and industry, 2.8; Technology Enabler: company, 3.6 and industry, 3.0; and Tools & Infrastructure: company, 3.8 and industry, 2.8. I do believe we have made progress since the survey. As an industry (meat processing), I see significant maturity in pathogen control. This spans Listeria, Escherichia coli and Salmonella. Foreign material control is lagging behind pathogen control. Inspection equipment is in place. Preventive controls at the root cause are not understood for many potential contaminants. Labeling (allergen and label control) is still in a manual inspect-and-control mode. Automation is coming, but preventive controls are still largely manual. Food safety culture in total lags behind the three leading issues (pathogen, foreign materials and labeling). The industry is still in effect management as opposed to having food safety leaders continually drive for root cause. Organizational leaders often expect food safety and quality to be managed.
FSM: Is your company where it needs to be in terms of prioritizing food safety? If so, how do you maintain that level of commitment? If not, how do you think you should go about getting there?
Taylor: I think for the products we are producing, we do a great job. We are also committed to growing our food safety programs. We maintain the level of commitment by challenging our employees as well as having a rigorous hiring process. We also have a strong overriding culture that provides a halo to food safety.
Hayburn: Our company may be where it “needs” to be in this regard simply because we are a little ahead of the rest of the trade; however, we are nowhere near where we want to be in meeting the targets we have set ourselves. We took a decision a couple of years ago to no longer have “Food Safety Objectives” (despite this being a perceived requirement of the BRC Standard). We believe objectives are variable and will change in importance to our business. In this regard, we have identified food safety as a core value of our company, and the message has been given from the top down that “food safety trumps everything else that we do.” The president reminds all of the business on this at every town hall meeting, which are typically done about four times a year.
I also disagree with a great deal of the industry that “food safety is a noncompetitive issue.” We use our higher standards than our competitors when we present to new customers and have no issue with this. Food safety does not come for free, and we are quite correctly appreciating any return on investment that we make.
Butts: Senior leadership prioritizes food safety appropriately. Plant leadership has been very dynamic and is fitting into the desired LOF food safety culture. Middle and lower management need more education. Active initiatives include communication of expectations and activities during hourly line huddles. Participation and engagement by food safety and quality are defined and measured. Food safety education is occurring within the department with the intent of that information being communicated to plant management and the entire workforce on a regular basis.
FSM: What are your major challenges in maintaining a solid food safety culture among distributors?
Taylor: One of our largest challenges to maintain a solid food safety culture is complacency. If you go by the adage that breakdowns lead to breakthroughs, within the realm of thermal processing, we have not had many breakdowns. Believing that urgency is most uniformly provided throughout a company from its officers leads me to ask, how can company/industry officers be enrolled in creating a breakdown to initiate a breakthrough in food safety? More specifically, how do we create urgency for food safety without having a breakdown that impacts our consumers’ health? These are the challenges I see.
Hayburn: All of the points suggested (resources, regulatory constraints, competency of employees, visible C-suite commitment) are contributory factors. One of my own worries is complacency within the business, as we have achieved quite a lot for a small company and people do not always recognize the efforts it takes. At the last town hall, I took the opportunity [to say] that we succeeded by design and not by accident.
Butts: Leadership creating expectations and organizational follow-through in a continuous-improvement fashion (constancy of purpose). We must maintain a high level of education and training as we grow and undergo turnover. Each employee must know why certain procedures are expected. Measurement of the preventive and predictive activities must continue. Food safety culture must be measured as well as those critical behavior factors that create and maintain a food-safe production environment and culture.
Food Safety Magazine thanks all the panelists for sharing their expertise. A special thank-you goes to Lone Jespersen, Ph.D., Cultivate, and Gillian Kelleher, Wegmans, for helping coordinate the participants and formulate the questions for this article series.
What to do with food in your fridge after a major power outage
By Julie Pennell (Sep 12, 2017)
Hurricane season is upon us and from the devastation we’ve already witnessed after Harvey and Irma, we’re reminded just how important it is to be prepared.
Power outages are common in natural disasters — more than 6.2 million people are without electricity right now in Florida following the catastrophic storm. If you’re one of the residents who has lost power, you’re already dealing with a lot of unfortunate circumstances. Don’t let spoiled food be another thing to add to your plate.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued food safety tips for those affected by Hurricane Irma. And with Jose hanging out in the Atlantic, it’s good for everyone along the east coast to keep these recommendations on hand for possible future outages.
There's always this super handy quarter-in-water trick to test food freshness. But if your power has gone out recently, the USDA has provided some additional steps to take:
1. Avoid opening the fridge and freezer doors unless you need to. If kept closed, the food will stay cold for longer — a shut refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours while a full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
2. Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray. This helps prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.
3. Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Before you eat any food in the fridge or freezer, here are some guidelines to make sure it’s still safe:
4. Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (things like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
5. Toss any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch. You’ll want to check each item individually for this.
Are You Sure The Eggs You’re Eating Are Safe?
Source : https://doctor.ndtv.com/news/are-you-sure-the-eggs-you-re-eating-are-safe-1748867
By: ANI (Sep 11, 2017)
Developed countries take measures to sterilise the egg surface from contamination especially from Salmonella enteritidis. In India no such measures are taken and risk of egg contamination increases.
According to a research study, Indian poultry farms lack the technical know how of European nations and also follow poor rearing practices. There are chances that they could be using contaminated feeds or using feed ingredients without any knowledge of their nutritive value which can effect egg production. Also unhygienic rearing practices and lack of quality control measures can easily lead to egg contamination. It is not just the poultry farmers but traders, exporters and even consumers are unaware of the health risks of egg contamination. Developed countries take measures to sterilise the egg surface from contamination especially from Salmonella enteritidis. In India no such measures are taken and risk of egg contamination increases.
"India has become a leading poultry producer but the potential to reach the global markets is not very bright as the quality of the products does not meet international standards. Indian eggs are often rejected for export because of the presence of chemical residues on egg shells," says Dr. Saurabh Arora, Founder of Food Safety helpline and Food Safety Mobile App.
Recently, a number of eggs in the domestic market, in retail shops were collected and tested and were found to contain large amounts of salmonella both on the shell and inside the egg. However, fresh eggs collected from farms indicated less salmonella contamination. Since most consumers buy eggs from retail outlets the chances of contracting salmonella infection increases. Lack of food safety procedures, improper storage facilities and poor transportation are some of the other causes of deterioration in eggs. The FSSAI has proposed standards for fresh eggs in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2017.
These standards will come into force once they are approved. The FSSAI has laid down parameters which state that the eggshells must be free of blood rings, must not be soiled or have faecal matter and they must not be cracked or leaking. FSSAI has laid down the amount of water, protein, fats and carbohydrates that eggs must contain as also the hygienic parameters and hygienic controls, like time and temperature, that must be observed during production, processing and handling which includes sorting, grading, washing, drying, treatment, packing, storage and distribution to point of consumption. FSSAI has laid emphasis on the storage conditions like moisture and temperature so as to reduce microbial contamination as microbial pathogens are a risk to human health.
Food Safety practices for eggs
A number of surveys have been conducted which suggest that consumers have less awareness of food safety risks of eggs as compared to other foods. Most people will follow the hygienic practices when handling chicken meat and fish but will overlook the recommended practices for eggs. It is not a wrong observation that people do not wash their hands after handling eggs or even after breaking raw eggs when cooking. This is probably because of the perception that eggs are generally safe. They are indeed safe if they have been cooked properly, which means that they must be cooked till their yolks and whites have become firm. Dishes that contain eggs as ingredients must reach an internal temperature of 160 Fahrenheit which is the temperature required for salmonella to be destroyed through cooking.
Besides cooking eggs thoroughly there are other food safety practices that you need to follow when handling eggs to prevent cross-contamination. Egg handlers must wash hands with soap and clean surfaces and utensils that have come in contact with raw eggs.Containers that have been used to process raw eggs must not come in contact with ready-to-eat food.Separate eggs in the grocery bags when shopping and in the refrigerator when storing.Temperature of the refrigerator must be maintained at 33 to 40 degree Fahrenheit.If eggs are left outside after refrigeration then they need to be discarded within two hours.Refrigerate eggs only after they have been washed.Eggs must be consumed within two weeks.It is advisable not to eat raw eggs.
Contaminated eggs can compromise food safety. Here’s how to handle and store eggs
Source : http://www.hindustantimes.com/more-lifestyle/contaminated-eggs-can-compromise-food-safety-here-s-how-to-handle-and-store-eggs/story-dgFdoREg4n3WRIJWgc5EFK.html
By sian News International, New Delhi (Sep 12, 2017)
From washing hands after handling raw eggs to refrigerating eggs only after they have been washed, here are 8 ways you can avoid contamination.
Eating eggs have numerous health benefits. It even aids children’s growth. However, according to a research study, Indian poultry farms lack the technical know-how of European nations and also follow poor rearing practices. Unhygienic rearing practices and lack of quality control measures can easily lead to egg contamination. It is not just the poultry farmers, even consumers are unaware of the health risks of egg contamination.
A number of surveys have been conducted which suggest that consumers have less awareness of food safety risks of eggs as compared to other foods. Most people will follow the hygienic practices when handling chicken meat and fish but will overlook the recommended practices for eggs. It is not a wrong observation that people do not wash their hands after handling eggs or even after breaking raw eggs when cooking.
This is probably because of the perception that eggs are generally safe. They are indeed safe if they have been cooked properly, which means that they must be cooked till their yolks and whites have become firm. Dishes that contain eggs as ingredients must reach an internal temperature of 160 Degree Fahrenheit which is the temperature required for salmonella to be destroyed through cooking. Besides cooking eggs thoroughly there are other food safety practices that you need to follow when handling eggs to prevent cross-contamination:
1) Egg handlers must wash hands with soap and clean surfaces and utensils that have come in contact with raw eggs.
2) Containers that have been used to process raw eggs must not come in contact with ready-to-eat food.
3) Separate eggs in the grocery bags when shopping and in the refrigerator when storing.
4) Temperature of the refrigerator must be maintained at 33 to 40 Degree Fahrenheit.
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