FoodHACCP Newsletter

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07/27. Food Safety Specialist - Tampa, FL
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07/25. Food Safety Coordinator - Lake Odessa, MI
07/25. Food Safety Specialist - Santa Clarita, CA
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07/23. Regional Food Safety Specialist - Glendale, CA
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08/06  2018 ISSUE:820


Want a Thriving Farm or Food Business? Food Safety Modernization Act Rules You MUST Know
Source :
By Annie Pilon (Aug 6, 2018)
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was originally signed into law back in 2011 to limit the risk of foodborne diseases. But this is the year that some of its rules go into effect for small farms and food handling facilities.
Food Safety Modernization Act
So in order to comply with the law, here’s an explanation to help you understand the different parts of the law.
Produce Rule
The produce rule applies to businesses that grow or otherwise handle fruits or vegetables before they are sold to consumers. Some businesses might be exempt from this rule, but only if none of the produce is consumed raw or if you sell less than $25,000 worth of product per year.
If you are responsible for complying with this rule, then you must keep specific records about how your food products are grown and handled and then make those records available to the FDA. The rule also has requirements related to health and hygiene training for workers, soil amendments designed to improve food safety, implementation of water testing practices, and compliance with other rules related to animals, buildings and equipment.
Some businesses may only have to comply with certain parts of the rule. For example, if you already process food in a way that kills harmful pathogens, then you are only responsible for the record keeping measures and requirements. And if you average less than $500,000 in annual sales and if more than half of what you sell goes directly to end customers, then you must keep up with those same record keeping requirements and label all food at the point of sale.
Preventive Controls Rule
The Preventative Controls Rule is one that can affect a larger number of food businesses. It applies to companies that manufacture, process, pack, or hold any kind of food that is made for human consumption. This includes manufacturing businesses, packaging or processing plants, and farms that also pack and hold food on site.
Facilities that are responsible for complying with this rule must register with the FDA and develop a full HARPC plan (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls). So essentially, you must carefully analyze the risks that might come into play within your facility and then determine how you can take steps to minimize those risks. If your business has less than $1 million in human food sales per year and doesn’t do all of its packing and handling on site, then you might be exempt from creating a full HARPC plan, and instead only have to make food handling records available to the FDA. All businesses must also continue to comply with existing food safety practices, like Current Good Manufacturing Practice guidelines.
In terms of timing, large facilities are already subject to some of the rules. Small facilities must begin complying by September 17 of this year. And small farms are subject to compliance standards beginning in January 2019. These are general tips and shouldn’t be considered strict legal advice for your business. If you’re looking for a more full picture of the law, you can view resources directly from the FDA or speak with a qualified legal professional.

Belarus is reviewing the system of food safety
Source :
By UkrAgroConsult (Aug 6, 2018)
Ensuring food safety was the subject of discussion of government representatives at the five-day talks held this week in Minsk, during which actions were agreed to complete the previous project and set priorities for future activities, writes The DairyNews with reference to FAO.
 Agriculture and food production are the main sectors of the Belarusian economy. One of the most important points is that food must be safe for human consumption – whether these products are produced by local or foreign producers or are intended for domestic or export markets.
 A solid foundation for such safety is a comprehensive food control system that meets modern requirements. In recent months, FAO experts, international and national experts have analyzed the structure and conditions available in Belarus to ensure food safety.
 "Based on the received data and the position of the national authorities, we have identified a number of priority areas, on which we will work together to improve", said Mary Kenny, FAO expert on food safety and consumer protection.
The Ministry of agriculture and food and the Ministry of health care are the main stakeholders in Belarus, along with other state bodies such as the State veterinary service. Close cooperation between these participants is a necessary condition for a reliable and effective food safety control system, and the seminar held this week was an excellent starting point for future work.
 The Russian Federation is the largest export market for Belarusian food products, and the government of Belarus seeks to support export diversification, as well as aimed at entering other markets. Some products (dairy products, honey, fish and gelatin) are allowed to enter the European market but meat export is prohibited. Expanding of possibilities to access markets will require compliance with the requirements of the foreign market.

 Another priority is the process of accession of Belarus to the world trade organization (WTO), which requires negotiations on sanitary and phytosanitary requirements.
 In this regard, the government plans to expand its capacity in such areas as food safety risk assessment, science-based standards, import and export control and certification. Belarus requested FAO to provide technical support and to help strengthen the capacity of state-owned laboratories to use modern detection and analysis techniques in accordance with international standards.
 Kenny noted that Belarus is not alone in these initiatives. "Many countries in Europe and Central Asia are striving to improve agrifood trade, and to achieve this goal, food products must be safe", she said.
 This week, high-level representatives of the sectoral ministries, veterinary and scientific institutions, who are clearly aware of the need to strengthen the national food control system, held direct and open discussions. Based on FAO assessments, they agreed to develop a set of priorities for the new FAO project, which will be launched later this year.




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Handling Food Safety Risks in a Retail Bakery
Source :
By SBWire (Aug 2, 2018)
Due to today’s hectic lifestyles, bakeries are taking the place of preparing homemade baked goods for everyday meals, school functions, and special occasions. Baked goods may range from those prepared in manufacturing facilities and sold at retail stores to specialty baked items prepared and sold in the stores themselves. Both manufacturing facilities and bakery stores share common food safety challenges and require the proper design of food safety programs to minimize the risks inherent in bakery products and their production environment.
Food Safety Challenges of Baked Goods
There are several factors to consider when evaluating food safety risks in retail bakery products. First, product assortment and storage conditions must be understood. Generally, most bakery items have low water activity (aw), pH, and a validated kill step within the baking process, which will prevent the growth of microorganisms and enable safe storage at ambient temperatures. Some items, like custard/cream-filled pies/pastries, cheesecakes, and focaccia breads topped with cheese and fresh vegetables, need further evaluation to understand the food safety storage conditions, shelf life, and general food safety risks. For example, products with pH and aw above 4.6 and 0.85, respectively, may be considered time-temperature control for safety (TCS) products and will require shelf-stability validation through a microbial challenge study if ambient storage is desired.
Several bakery products have been implicated in foodborne illnesses involving Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus cereus, so it is necessary to design food safety controls into products to prevent subsequent pathogen growth and toxin formation. Applying Hazard Analysis principles will help you understand the potential biological, chemical, and physical hazards in the product and in all steps of the production process, from raw material purchasing, production, distribution, and sale. Once the hazards are determined and risk level assessed, Critical Control Points and/or preventive controls can be developed, including the product formulation, processing, and storage/handling controls, to mitigate those risks; for example, preservatives/pH/aw in formulation, time/temperature of baking, and storage temperature/shelf life.
Safety Begins with Suppliers
Secondly, it is important to know your suppliers and to evaluate their food safety and quality programs. What are the hazards to be controlled in the raw materials they supply, the critical limits, and actions to be taken if a deviation occurs? Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points and the Food Safety Modernization Act are examples of such preventive controls. Some other parameters to consider in evaluating the risk posed by your suppliers include:
•    Is the supplier certified against one of the audit schemes recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative?
•    How does the supplier control foreign material in their manufacturing facility?
•    How are allergens controlled in their facility? For example, do they store allergens separately from other ingredients? Is there an allergen matrix/production sequencing schedule to prevent cross-contact of allergens during production? How are they ensuring adequate cleaning between allergen/allergen-free production runs?
•    Does the supplier have a system to ensure correct labels are in use at each product/label changeover?
Suppliers also need to evaluate the effectiveness of their cleaning and sanitation programs, be able to assess the overall microbial cleanliness of the manufacturing environment, and to monitor the production environment for pathogenic bacteria. Monitoring effectiveness of sanitation processes and procedures is essential to minimize the risk of product contamination by pathogens and/or spoilage microorganisms, especially in the postbaking environment.
Traceability of ingredients and finished product is critical within the supply chain. Batch sheets should record all lot codes of ingredients being used during the manufacturing process. This information should be stored in such a way that during a recall event, all impacted product containing the impacted ingredient/lot code can be identified accurately and in a timely manner. The most common reason for recalls in the bakery is undeclared allergens. Having a reliable allergen control program within the manufacturing plant, as well as ensuring that your suppliers have an adequate allergen control program, can help prevent recalls.
Knowing your supply chain is important. Procedures need to be in place to guarantee that product safety is maintained during storage and transportation. Some questions to ask are: Is the product temperature being maintained? Is the product being transported in a clean vehicle? Are there any signs of dirt, pests, damage, or moisture? Has the load been properly secured to avoid tampering?
Knowing the specific food safety needs of each product and ensuring each step is traceable—from ingredient selection and production through the supply chain to the retail bakery and consumer—are key to an effective retail bakery food safety program.
Proper Labeling for Consumer Safety
Once production of the items is complete, it’s time to package them for sale. Manufactured items need to have accurate label information. The primary purpose of food labels is to inform the consumer regarding nutrition, ingredients, claims, or allergen information. When foods are labeled incorrectly, or an allergen warning is not properly declared, this can make a food product dangerous to sell to certain sensitive individuals. Improperly labeled food can cause someone to become ill and/or trigger a costly recall of your bakery products.
While you might not always be able to provide nutritional information on a label of your bakery product due to the size of the label or variations in a specially created product, providing an accurate list of all ingredients is vital. To provide a list of ingredients to the consumer, it is important to know the makeup of the components going into your product. In retail bakeries, providing standard recipes or product builds is key. This not only drives some consistency when making the product, but it also ensures the proper ingredients are used. Once all the ingredients that make up a product are identified, it is easy to combine them and list them on a food label. 
Beyond the basic labeling requirements of ingredients, nutritional, and allergen information, manufacturers may choose to make claims highlighting product attributes. There are many examples of claims in the marketplace today. Examples include, but are not limited to, nutrient content and ingredient attribute claims. Some common claims found on bakery products are “low fat,” “0 grams of trans fat,” “organic,” and “no genetically modified organisms.” If a manufacturer chooses to make a product claim, documentation is needed for substantiation. In addition to documentation, manufacturers need to ensure the claim is truthful and not misleading. State and federal regulatory agencies scrutinize product labels and may collect samples to monitor accuracy. Enforcement action can be taken against the manufacturer if product claims or other label information is not accurate or within specified tolerances. Some of the risks of noncompliance are consumer illness, product recalls, lost consumer faith, agency warning letters, increased regulatory surveillance, and consumer litigation.
When it comes to claims, growing in demand on baked goods are “allergen-free” claims or “gluten-free” claims. More frequently, schools are requesting that students bring treats that are “peanut free” or “nut free.” Substantiating these claims comes at a high risk. While gluten is not one of the eight major allergens, “gluten free” is one of the only “free from” claims that has been defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with established testing thresholds. In general, allergen-free claims are unregulated, and there is no standard across the industry.
Once all the ingredients in the product have been identified, you can determine what allergens need to be declared on the label. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 requires food manufacturers to label food products that contain an ingredient that is, or contains, protein from a major food allergen in one of two ways:
The first option for food manufacturers is to include the name of the food source in parentheses following the common or usual name of the major food allergen in the list of ingredients. This can be done in instances when the name of the food source of the major allergen does not appear elsewhere in the ingredient statement. For instance, Ingredients: Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), sugar, hydrogenated soybean oil, and/or cottonseed oil, whey (milk), eggs, vanilla, natural and artificial flavoring, salt, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), lecithin (soy), mono- and diglycerides (emulsifier).
The second option is to place the word “Contains,” followed by the name of the food source from which the major food allergen is derived, immediately after or adjacent to the list of ingredients, in type size that is no smaller than the type size used for the list of ingredients. For instance, Ingredients: Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), sugar, hydrogenated soybean oil, and/or cottonseed oil, whey, eggs, vanilla, natural and artificial flavorings, salt, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate). Contains Wheat, Egg, and Milk.
The FDA food allergen labeling policy does not require that labels have a supplemental allergen statement, such as a “may contain” statement, although they are common within the bakery industry due to the nature of the bakery environment in which common manufacturing lines are used throughout the production day. While supplemental allergen statements can be helpful for the consumer, this type of labeling should not substitute for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). They should be considered only if the presence of a major food allergen is unavoidable even when current GMPs are followed.
Nutritional information, ingredient lists, claims, or allergen information may be provided to the consumer in other formats that supplement regulatory labeling requirements, for instance, supplemental in-store information provided at the point of sale or access to this information on websites. Food product information provided on your company website is viewed as an extension of the label and falls under the same jurisdiction as the physical labels themselves. Consequently, it is important to provide accurate information especially around ingredients, nutritional, and allergen information.
Shelf-Life Testing/Challenge Studies for Safety and Quality
Most finished products in a bakery setting are able to be stored and sold under ambient conditions. While many bakery assortments do not require refrigeration, consideration should be taken when temperature-sensitive ingredients are used in the production of an item. You should think about the number of refrigeration units that will be needed for storage and display of goods, as well as temperature regulation devices for the equipment.
Whether it is a TCS ingredient or finished product, both the temperature and shelf life need to be controlled for safety from pathogens. This includes having the proper study design to evaluate risk, temperature control monitoring devices, and appropriate protocols and procedures for production, transport, storage, and display.
Conducting shelf-life studies of all items being produced in the bakery is integral, not only from a safety perspective for nonambient items but also from a quality perspective. Due to the low aw of many bakery items, the most common indicator of shelf life is mold growth. By conducting shelf-life studies on your products, you can determine how long after production the items can be stored before they exhibit mold growth. Based on the amount of time you want the consumer to store the item before this happens, these studies will determine the “best by” date(s) for the item.
For items that have a complex interface, challenge studies should always be considered, especially if these items will be marketed at ambient temperatures. Additions of toppings and particulate ingredients to bakery items change the aw, and this new, finished product state needs to be considered. Fruit and vegetable toppings, cheese, chocolate, and meats all change the water activity level of a finished bakery product.
Conducting a challenge study with an accredited laboratory is essential to ensure that products are not potentially hazardous. Challenge studies are conducted by inoculating a finished food item with any potential pathogens that could grow at the product’s pH and aw. Once the choice is made for the organisms that will be tested, the item is inoculated and the bacteria are given the opportunity to grow.
Comparing results with an uninoculated sample, the outcomes of growth levels and where a spike or unsafe level occurs become the pass/fail of the challenge study results. It is not enough to simply test the item at one interface. It is critical when testing to ensure all interfaces of the product are challenged. An example of item interfaces that would need inoculation for a lemon meringue pie would be the crust, where the crust meets the lemon filling, and where the filling meets the meringue pie topping.
While bakery products are typically viewed as low risk in terms of pathogens, recent contamination events have illustrated the importance of conducting a thorough risk assessment of all bakery products where the potential for a TCS hazardous food could occur.
Sanitation Basics
Sanitation in bakery settings can be quite challenging. Since the environment in bakeries faces constant dust buildup of flour and other dry ingredients, adding liquid cleaners to this environment can be precarious. Furthermore, adding water to the environment can cause harborage sites for formation of pathogens, such as Salmonella, which is inherent in raw flour. The recent Escherichia coli O121 and O26 recalls on flour have added further concerns to the possible pathogens that are present in a bakery environment.
Many bakeries have historically relied on dusting, scraping, and spot cleaning to clean equipment. However, all equipment in the bakery needs to have a thorough inspection and risk assessment performed to understand if the equipment poses a risk to the overall function of the facility. If the food contact areas of the equipment can’t be disassembled and cleaned, replacement of antiquated equipment should be considered. Newer bakery equipment should be designed according to sanitary design specifications to allow belts, formers, slicers, and scoring equipment to be properly disassembled and cleaned.
Wet washrooms where bowls, bins, containers, and pans are cleaned can also pose a hazard to the bakery environment. These areas need to be enclosed with adequate ventilation to prevent the aerosolization of mist/spray into or onto the production line. These areas also need extra monitoring and diligence to ensure harborage sites and pathogens are not present.
It is important to partner with a chemical supplier that can help develop an adequate chemical sanitation program for the facility. These partners are instrumental in recommendations for cleaning and sanitation chemicals that are effective in the bakery setting. Furthermore, their expertise can be utilized to train staff on monitoring the limits of these chemicals and the steps to take when these chemicals fall outside the established limits. Based on the chemicals identified for use in your facility, your chemical vendor can help you establish what the optimal water temperature is to ensure efficacy of detergents and sanitizers.
Food Safety Basics for Employees
All bakery employees should be taught the basics of food safety and their role in producing safe food. Especially, they should be taught why their behaviors are needed to keep food safe, in addition to being taught how and when to perform their required tasks. Teaching employees why a behavior is important ensures that they continue to make good food safety decisions when unsupervised. Supervisors should be diligent in rewarding employees practicing good food safety behaviors and coaching employees whose behaviors do not meet expectations.
Practicing proper employee health and hygiene requirements is key to food safety success. Employees cannot work while ill and need to regularly wash their hands thoroughly. Wearing hair restraints and not wearing jewelry help keep physical contaminants out of products. Wearing gloves to prevent bare-hand contact and wearing clean uniforms help prevent cross-contamination of bacteria or allergens.
With common bakery ingredients including eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat (five of the major eight allergens), allergen management is key. While labeling and signage, mentioned above, are necessary elements of an allergen food safety program, bakeries might also:
•    Segregate ingredients by storing allergens below and separate from other
•    Produce products working from those containing the least amount of allergens to the most allergens, with thorough cleaning and sanitization steps in between
•    Use separate equipment such as pans, knives, and cutting boards that are color coded to indicate which allergen they are to be used with
•    Ensure that employees know how to effectively use, clean, and store equipment
In any event, it is important to train employees to know the eight major allergens, symptoms of an allergic reaction, and what to do in response to a customer having an allergic reaction. It is important that employees understand that there is always a risk of cross-contact within a bakery setting and that they need to remain vigilant to minimize these risks.
Whether it is proper equipment use, health and hygiene practices, allergen control, proper cleaning, reduction of cross-contamination, proper labeling, or any other food safety basic, it is essential that employees understand and follow good food safety practices at all times.
Bakery food safety programs minimize the risk of bacterial, physical, and chemical contaminants in the final bakery products. Working with suppliers that have good food safety programs and perform risk assessments on the products being sold is a foundational element of any bakery food safety program. Designing and conducting shelf-life and challenge studies with a reputable laboratory determine appropriate shelf-life, storage, and production practices for TCS products. Proper labeling and signage of ingredients, nutritional, and allergen information help guide customers in choosing the best products for their health and well-being. Employees that understand the basics of food safety principles, and practice them in their daily behaviors, help ensure the safety of the baked goods produced. When combined, these program elements will provide safe, high-quality products for your bakery customers.  
Patricia Marden, B.Sc., is a food safety scientist at Target, specializing in vendor management.
Jennifer Forester, B.Sc., M.Ed., is a nutrition, labeling, and regulatory compliance scientist at Target.
Becky Swayne, B.Sc., is a recall program lead at Target.
Sadie Pulk, M.A., M.B.A., REHS, is a senior business partner in the food safety division of Target. 
Ann Marie McNamara, Ph.D., is the vice president of Target’s foods and essentials safety and quality assurance division.
All authors of this article are members of Target’s foods and essentials safety and quality assurance division. This division is responsible for the food safety and regulatory compliance programs of over 1,800 stores, distribution centers, vendors, labeling, data management, and regulatory compliance activities.

The latest US food-safety alert warns of contaminated salads at Trader Joe’s and Kroger
Source :
By Chase Purdy (Aug 2, 2018)
The US government has issued a food-safety alert warning people that several lines of contaminated salad products may have gotten into some of the country’s largest grocery chains.
The stores include Kroger, Walgreen’s, and Trader Joe’s, all of which carry the ready-made products distributed by an Indiana company, Caito Foods LLC. The potentially contaminated items are popular options for on-the-go lunches and dinners—wraps, salads, and sandwiches that include chicken, ham, and beef. The US Department of Agriculture says those foods (pdf) were all were produced between July 15 and July 18, with the either “best by,” “enjoy by,” best if sold by” or “sell by” dates ranging from July 18 to July 23.
Most of those products should have filtered off shelves by now, but the government has urged caution.
The foods in question were contaminated with Cyclospora, a pernicious little parasite that festers in the intestinal tract with awful effect: watery diarrhea “with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movement,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If not treated with a combination of two antibiotics, an illness spurred by Cyclospora can last as long as a month, with the possibility of a relapse.
If the illness sounds familiar, it’s because it made a lot of news headlines this summer. Last month, McDonald’s reported it removed potentially contaminated salads with meats on them from more than 3,000 of its restaurants across 14 states, mostly in the Midwest.
The latest problem was reported by Caito Foods after it got notice from lettuce supplier Fresh Express that the chopped romaine used in some of its salads and wraps was being recalled.
In general, the US government has gotten better at catching foodborne pathogens before they wreak havoc throughout the population, thanks to new technology that can detect problems in food quickly.

$1.9M to Help Hawai‘i Farmers With Food Safety Regulations
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By Big Island Now (Aug 2, 2018)
The Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has joined with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help Hawai‘i food producers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.
Under the agreement, the FDA will release a total of $1.9 million over the next three years to HDOA to establish and administer a produce safety program. The funds will be used mainly to assess the state’s produce crops and inventory, establish a farm inspection protocol, formulate a multi-year plan to implement the produce safety system, and develop and provide education, outreach and technical assistance to farms regarding the federal rules.
“This newly funded program will be especially helpful to Hawai‘i’s smaller farms by providing guidance and technical assistance so they may comply with the new federal food safety regulations,” said Gov. David Ige. “Supporting farmers in this way will strengthen our food systems and help attain our goal of doubling Hawai‘i’s food production by 2020.”
“Compliance with the Produce Safety Rule is mandatory for produce growers,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture. “We realize that some farmers may need assistance in understanding the new requirements and what they must do to meet the nationwide standards and the new program will be a good resource.”
The cooperative agreement with Hawai‘i is one of three the FDA announced in July—the other states are Kentucky and Mississippi—bringing the total number of partner states to 46, plus American Samoa, raising nationwide federal funding to $32.5 million.
Signed into law in 2011, the FSMA shifted the focus of federal regulators from responding to cases of food contamination to preventing them. The Produce Safety Rule is designed to establish science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. The cooperative agreements aim to help the partner states implement a modern produce safety system and develop and provide education, outreach, and technical assistance to farmers who sell or import their products in the U.S.
The FSMA compliance date for larger produce farms (average annual revenue more than $500,000) has been in effect since January 2018 with rules for small farms ($250,000 – $500,000) phasing in in January 2019. The compliance date for very small farms ($25,000 – $250,000) is January 2020.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 48 million Americans get sick from a foodborne illness each year, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that foodborne illnesses cost more than $15.6 billion each year.
FDA Warning Consumers About Highly Concentrated Caffeine Products
Source :
By News Desk (July 31, 2018)
The FDA is warning consumers about highly concentrated caffeine products. The agency recently sent warning letters to two online dietary supplement markets for illegally selling this product. The FDA considers these products to be a threat to public health.
The agency has issued guidance to make it clear that dietary supplements containing pure or highly concentrated caffeine in powder or liquid form are unlawful when sold in bulk quantities directly to consumers. These products carry a high risk of being mistakenly used at dangerous doses. They have been linked to at least two deaths.
One teaspoon of highly concentrated caffeine is equivalent to the amount of caffeine in 28 cups of coffee. A half cup of liquid concentrated caffeine product has about the same amount of caffeine as 20 cups of coffee. It is up to the consumer to measure out a single recommended safe serving of 1/16 of a teaspoon of pure caffeine powder or 2-1/2 teaspoons of the liquid form, when those products are sold in bulk. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant and very small amounts of pure or highly concentrated product can have serious and fatal effects.
In addition, these products look like safe, ordinary household items. Highly concentrated caffeine in clear liquid form could be confused with water or vinegar. Pure powdered caffeine could be confused with flour or powdered sugar.
Symptoms of caffeine overdose can include rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, stupor, and disorientation. The symptoms with concentrated or pure caffeine are much more severe than drinking too much coffee or tea.
The agency is also concerned that teenagers and young adults may use these products for their alleged benefits and may not recognize the health risks.
Do not purchase pure and highly concentrated caffeine sold in bulk. If you think you are having a reaction to one of these products, stop consuming it and immediately seek medical care. You can report an adverse event by telling the FDA through the Safety Reporting Portal.

Company Culture and the Path to Improved Food Safety: Setting the Tone to Support a Strong Food Safety Culture
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By Lone Jespersen, Ph.D., Mike Robach, Mark Beaumont, Ph.D., John Helferich, and Sara Mortimore
The World Health Organization has estimated that almost 1 in 10 people is sickened by eating food processed or prepared by others;[1] it is estimated that approximately 50 percent of cases of foodborne illness are due to failures in the culture of the organizations responsible for the safety of products.[2] In other words, much improvement is still required in understanding how culture can be improved to enhance food safety performance.
Good news: A global study in 2015 showed that senior leaders (e.g., C-suite, executive vice presidents) rank culture as the number one concern in their organizations for its ability to meet the challenges of the future and for the business to be sustainable and develop further.[3] They no longer use statements such as “What if culture impacts business performance”? Instead, they ask, “How and what can I do to assimilate and maintain a positive culture including food safety”?
As visionaries looking ahead 10 years, we see a landscape that goes beyond seeking compliance to where food safety lives in all levels of a food company—from the boardroom to creating new food products to processing lines and food counters: a landscape where employees earn autonomy to meet and continuously improve food safety systems and where the company’s people system flexes with the increasing complexity of the workforce. A landscape where principles of social science blend seamlessly with food science, and success is measured through behavioral consistency and team dynamics.
The path to this vision lies squarely in the culture of your company. Not in better pathogen detection technologies, certification standards, or blockchain-like solutions, but in optimizing the culture of your company to improve measurable food safety performance. Three cases from the food industry show the very specific impact of focusing on maturing culture. In a midsize Australian produce company, the culture focus resulted in a 70 percent reduction in customer complaints and a 45 percent reduction in lost-time injuries. Similarly, a large U.S. manufacturing company showed a 35 percent reduction in customer complaints, a reduction in employee turnover from 23 percent to 12 percent, a 32 percent improvement in efficiency, and a 50 percent reduction in recordable injuries. A large U.S. food distribution company surveyed its employees after a focus on culture, and across 17,000 employees, 91 percent felt connected to the company’s values, 91 percent understood how they contributed to the success of the organization, and 82 percent felt management cared about their well-being. These are just a few examples from the food industry that show the concrete values and the tangible connection between maturing culture and a company’s financial performance.
How do you deliver on this vision to show similar improvements in your company?
Find Your Path
To break down the daunting task of finding the best path for your company, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has published its position, developed “by leaders, for leaders,” in which 35 leaders from global companies joined the GFSI technical working group on culture in December 2015 and outlined what a culture of food safety is and how this sometimes-confusing topic can be segmented into five distinct but integrated dimensions that are relevant for any company’s culture. This special article series in Food Safety Magazine helps your company navigate this landscape of food safety; it was designed and written to continue the “by leaders, for leaders” theme of GFSI and complement its position with practical advice and learnings. As such, 19 leaders agreed to co-author five articles, each complementing a dimension of the GFSI framework (Figure 1).
The GFSI framework[4] consists of five dimensions based on a review of seven existing culture evaluation tools.[5] If you are looking to better understand your current culture and improve it, you should look at all five dimensions. No one dimension alone can strengthen your current culture. As you can see, each dimension consists of subdimensions, each identified by the GFSI group as important; for each dimension, you will find in this article series practical tactics and stories to help you continue your journey. As such, to describe the vision and mission of the GFSI position, the authors of this first article recommend seven winning practices to set a positive tone from the top down, such as be consistent and transparent in your messages, don’t underestimate the signals of allocating resources around food safety, and show that you appreciate employees’ effort and engagement in food safety. The authors describe some great practical ideas for showing that you appreciate your staff. This is also a theme in the article on adaptability, entitled “The World Is Changing and So Must Your Food Safety Expectations,” which identifies the importance of setting targets and communicating specifically and consistently. The authors of this article also recommend specific and creative ways to engage everyone in food safety, every day. The theme of engagement is at the heart of the third article, “The “A” in Culture: A Toolbox to Drive Positive Food Safety Behaviors,” where experts discuss several tools to ensure that everyone learns what competencies are important to their job and what is expected, in more than the traditional components of training. Such clarity of expectations and consistency can be measured: The authors of the article “Measure What You Treasure” discuss how this can be done by integrating food safety into measures from behaviors as leading indicators and risk assessments. Risk assessments as we know them from food science and the proven principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points are topics of the fifth article, “Food Safety = Culture Science + Social Science + Food Science.” The authors suggest that these principles are just one part of that equation and provide specific and practical communication and engagement tools for balancing the equation and delivering the results that we are all after: safe food, every day, everywhere.
For each “petal” (Figure 1), you will find a summary of practical ideas for you to consider in your journey. Select the one that can be integrated into your culture and your system, and create a path that is unique and impactful for improving and sustaining your company’s food safety performance!
It is no longer a matter of “whether culture impacts food safety”; it is a matter of how and of finding and committing to the best path for your company to improve. Take these learnings and apply them within your company. Accept these as valid principles; build upon them instead of obsessing with how to develop unique, bottom-up solutions. As consumers, we all deserve to be confident that we as food professionals put our effort where it can have the biggest impact: on the safety of our food.
Setting the Tone
Members of any organization look to their leaders for direction about organizational culture. A leader who sets a positive tone through word and deed and by consistently modeling and exercising good leadership principles will bring alignment and enhance the effectiveness of the organization’s culture.
Executive leaders in food companies have an opportunity to establish a dialogue within the organization to describe a desired cultural framework for food safety excellence.
This article focuses on how senior leaders, namely CEOs, the executive team, functional leaders, plant managers, and their staff, can take steps to strike the right tone to achieve their organizational culture objectives.
While we focus on the tone set internally in this article, the tone set externally is also of great importance. External stakeholders are interested in not only what product a firm makes but also how it makes it. How the firm safely produces food is increasingly of great import to consumers. Many organizations have adopted a corporate responsibility (CR) model. Consumers, investors, and employees rightfully demand transparency, trust, and credibility in how organizations fulfill their role as responsible corporate citizens. This ensures sound and ethical stewardship of the environment, sustainability, and worker health and safety. Food safety fits into this same basket, and the CR model provides a way to create an executive forum for routine review of performance in these key topics.
In this article, we share our observations of how leaders successfully set a positive tone through their actions and communications. You will learn how leaders can positively impact food safety culture based on real-world examples.
Based on our collective experience, we have identified “Seven Winning Practices” that we would expect to see from any senior leader in a food company (Figure 2). We also provide you, a food safety leader, with some practical tips to help your senior leaders set the right tone for food safety cultural excellence.
Practice 1: Ensuring Consistency
People in an organization pay attention to observed behaviors, both good and bad. When the organization sees consistency from senior leaders, it reinforces its own behaviors. Executive leaders will be noticed when attending team meetings, visiting sites, engaging business partners, and in many other situations. Their consistent adherence to proper food safety behaviors will reinforce consistent standards throughout the organization. This consistency will support the enhancement of the organization’s food safety culture. Conversely, inconsistent behavior can lead to chaos with deviations from food safety expectations and standards. This results in a less coherent culture and will be easily recognized by customers and business partners to the detriment of the organization.
Executive reinforcement of the foundational need for being the best you can be in food safety has made an impact at Land O’Lakes. An opportunity was identified several years ago, when the company’s senior food safety leaders recognized that training and education had largely focused on the plants, which at the time was the same in many food companies. Land O’Lakes determined that the leadership teams and cross-functional corporate personnel would benefit by having a greater understanding of what it meant to work in a food company with the added responsibility for making and distributing food that is safe, for both people and animals. Commitment was given for a full-day food safety workshop; initially, all senior executives attended, including the CEO, who opened and closed the event. This was followed by open attendance for all corporate staff, 800 of whom have now been through this experience. At the end of the session, each left their own written commitment with food safety leadership. This effort alone has driven food safety awareness to a whole new level across all corporate functions.
Practical suggestions for senior leaders to set the right tone in maintaining consistency:
•    Always ask food safety-related questions and provide direct, immediate, and specific verbal feedback when on visits to manufacturing facilities. Use a visit as an opportunity to reinforce how expected behaviors relate to the organization’s values and food safety system requirements.
•    Reinforce support for actions that assist and further the mission of cultural excellence.
•    Share with teams, if appropriate, summaries of all significant meetings, executive reviews, and of any engagement with business partners where food safety is on the agenda.
Sharing your own food safety objectives and deliverables with your team is an excellent way to model accountability and transparency, and shows how individual objectives are intertwined with furthering the organization’s culture.
Practice 2: Allocation of Resources to Food Safety
Allocation of financial resources by executive leaders sends a strong message to the organization that food safety is important. These resources could be capital for plant improvements or IT system investments, expenses for training and education, travel for supplier audits, participation in external meetings, or having a requested expansion of personnel to drive and support the food safety agenda. The impact of these allocations goes beyond the immediate project. This speaks loudly to employees about the importance of food safety in the organization, thereby boosting the effectiveness of the food safety culture.
An example that we have seen involves a major frozen food firm that decided to ring-fence capital funds strictly for food safety initiatives. Previous management, a private equity firm, had not allocated resources to food safety, and therefore the organization did not believe that the new management team would invest in food safety. The ring fencing of funds sent a strong message to the organization that food safety would be an investment priority.
Another example of food safety investment sending a message is a midsize confectionary company. The sole plant of this firm needed a new roof to stop roof leaks. A project to fix the roof languished until the CEO realized that this wasn’t just a nuisance: The leak endangered consumers. The CEO quickly approved the project. This action helped set the tone that food safety was an important investment.
Practical suggestions for food safety leaders to help senior leaders set the right tone in managing resources:
•    Work with the leaders of other functions to forge and maintain continuous dialogue to gain influence and support. The value of food safety in terms of minimizing risk, protecting consumers, and adding value to the bottom line should always be at the forefront of any discussion. Requests for resources should always fit within the corporate and food safety culture model and lead to positive future benefits.
•    Proper framing of resource requests can enhance the likelihood of project approval. Behavioral economists have shown that framing requests in a way consistent with the approver’s style increases the chance of project approval. Food safety leaders should understand the company’s requirements and frame requests appropriately.
Practice 3: Transparency
An unhindered view of the current state—the strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities—is an important transformational step in any cultural journey. This clear view requires building and sustaining trust, and reinforcing a mindset that knowledge and information sharing are paramount to achieving excellence. Performance shortfalls and challenges along the journey are important data points to share and reflect upon constructively. This reflection will help build organizational resilience and envision prevention processes from the ground up. This also reduces the likelihood of the same problem being repeated across the organization by another site.
Learning from mistakes, failures, or near misses is an invaluable experience to propel positive culture change. A culture of safety excellence is well documented in the air transport industry and is driven by an uncompromising commitment not only to studying failure and near-miss events in depth, but also in systematically sharing these across the entire industry.[6]
At Glanbia, the “GPS” program (Glanbia Performance System) recognizes the principle of “celebrating and identifying losses.” A leader must be willing to openly recognize and provide an appreciation for the transparency of sharing of the potential losses, incidents, and identified risks. This recognition demonstrates appreciation (not consequences) for the identification of near misses and high-risk conditions that are then systematically shared as part of learning and improvement. Glanbia has developed a global near miss database that aggregates both internally and externally occurring cases, which Glanbia uses as part of analysis, leadership team review, and reflection. Leaders from the individual site reporting the incident will develop the case study, root-cause analysis, and key learnings, which are shared in the wider leadership forum. All sites are requested to confirm their scope and potential needed improvement actions from the case.
A question asked at Glanbia is prompted by a concern for a dashboard that is all green—Have we set the bar high enough? Did we aggressively identify emerging risks? Sometimes forcing a bell curve in standard reporting [e.g., reports must have a minimum of 10 percent of their key performance indicators (KPIs) in red to highlight where work is needed] can create a more open sense to reflect upon vulnerabilities.
Practical suggestions for senior leaders to set the right tone and ensure transparency: 
•    Embrace the reporting of leading and lagging indicators that both reflects a commitment to organizational learning and removes any filters for good news only.
•    Reward and recognize people for sharing their learnings formally and highlight (whenever possible) the savings/avoided losses by the solution they provide the organization.
•    Reward and recognize people who aren’t afraid to speak up when they see something that doesn’t look right.
•    Provide insights to your leaders on how other industries excelled by embracing transparency and used challenges as a forum for learning. Two excellent reads are Black Box Thinking,6 and A Complaint Is a Gift.[7]
•    Build trust and transparency by encouraging manufacturing site leaders to share and debrief internally on a routine basis with their entire team—condensing “what went well” and “where can we do better.” Creating the dialogue in a smaller, more familiar forum can encourage teams to share more widely.
Practice 4: Appreciation
Positive reinforcement and acknowledging the effort made, even without the desired results, is a winning approach that encourages constructive behaviors. To be effective, feedback must be timely, regular, balanced, and consistent. While appreciation cannot be dished out randomly, a senior leader should not miss the opportunity to praise great results, significant ongoing efforts, and landmark achievements consistent with the corporate values and vision. The positive upward cycle of senior leader support and praise cannot be underestimated. At Glanbia, the values of winning together and showing respect hardwire the principles of praise and appreciation, where appropriate and at all levels.
It is widely known that employee engagement and motivation are amplified by believing their contributions make a difference and when they have a belief in the organization’s mission and vision. When setting a path to excellence, recognizing important contributions to further that mission is essential and adds a motivational multiplier across the organization. Land O’Lakes has had an all-encompassing quality recognition program for a number of years and celebrates winning and diverse contributions from across the entire enterprise. Additionally, Glanbia has implemented value-based recognition programs across the business that call out each of their core values in all activities and functions.
It is important to reflect on both the small and large contributions, and ensure that all functions feel able to participate. The recognition forum can be used to reinforce the organizational mantra of food safety cultural excellence. The individual efforts are not random events but small steps along the journey.
Practical ideas for senior leaders to set the tone for appreciation:
•    Establish an awards and recognition program specifically for food safety and quality programs. This can be for individuals, teams, or entire departments or locations.
•    Provide special training, missions, or assignments for those who have the ambition to grow their careers and for professional development in food safety and quality management.
•    Award small, on-the-spot recognition at routine meetings and scheduled events that recognizes individual contributions and behaviors. These can be small gift cards, mementos, clothing with the company logo, or a personalized certificate.
•    Create formally structured programs that encourage the identification of solutions (and celebrate them), as well as losses, without fear of negative consequences.
•    Work on a “just-culture” approach to running the business.[8] The just-culture approach focuses on finding why problems happen, not who is to blame. The tone this sets could lead to a positive attitude to uncovering problems and solving them.
Practice 5: Adaptability
Understanding and effecting cultural change within food safety will require adaptation to existing cultures across diverse organizations, which may be geographically separated, have different customer profiles, use different processes, and have different organizational maturity levels. This can also include incorporating new cultures integrated through joint ventures, mergers, and acquisitions.
While some fundamental principles may remain sacred, practicality dictates that there may not always be a one-size-fits-all solution for every type of food safety standard or policy. Adjustments that are necessary for underlying requirements are to be expected and, subject to review, can be acceptable.
When reviewing a specific policy or program deployment, a senior leader must understand the maturity of the operating culture as well as the current food safety programs. Ensuring a top-to-bottom understanding of hazards and risks is documented in several models of food safety culture, as outlined in Jespersen et al.[9] Having an understanding ensures that credible plans are in place to manage risks effectively. Sometimes, a food safety team might be faced with a situation where there is not yet a definitive plan for full resolution. Adaptability should promote an open and rigorous review of risk mitigation approaches.
Practical ideas for senior leaders to set the tone for adaptability:
•    Have an open and challenging discussion of food safety policies and programs with key stakeholders when they are being drafted and through rollout to ensure true alignment. A well-represented review team can often flag significant challenges and possible solutions at an early stage. A senior leader can set the right tone by seeking to ensure visibility and buy-in at the earliest stage possible.
•    A senior leader should advocate and support standardized risk assessment tools and models that drive local-level ownership in identifying risks and solutions to manage them. These will create a robust and factual discussion around deviating conditions and how these are being managed.
•    Regular, focused, deep review of specific food safety programs, with the collective subject matter experts, will foster an active and open dialog concerning solutions and the manner in which local adaptations have been applied for achieving the same principle requirements.
Practice 6: Accessibility
Executive and senior leaders must be fully accessible, highly visible ambassadors and advocates for food safety excellence, both internally and externally. A proactive and deliberate approach to ensuring access and good collaboration is a must, especially in larger organizations.
In some sense, a senior food safety leader is a hub position that needs to extend in all directions, hierarchically and functionally, to ensure the message, the program, the progress, the successes, and the opportunities are heard and shared. This is about building a trusting relationship, and it’s not always easy. While formal processes like newsletters and electronic updates are useful, a personal touch (through face-to-face contact) will be needed to build a respectful working relationship between stakeholders. 
For senior executives and business leaders, a chronic failure to be accessible by phone, email, or face-to-face could inadvertently send a message that food safety may not be as important as other topics on the very busy corporate agenda. Accessibility provides a forum for accountability check-ins and a continuity of commitment that will be noticed by the working teams. This element is consistent with communication and also manifests as leadership commitment, which are two important elements in a systems review.[9]
Practical ideas for senior leaders to set the tone for accessibility:
•    Senior leaders should aspire to be highly visible ambassadors and advocates for food safety excellence wherever possible.
•    Senior leaders should ensure that well-organized, agenda-driven food safety review meetings are held routinely—even when there is no significant change or update—to keep everyone on message and focused on the mission.
•    Senior leaders should always be available for food safety updates and issues resolution as needed. There are always proactive opportunities to provide succinct and meaningful review, commentary, and potential lessons learned on cases outside the organization’s own walls, but present in the media.
•    Senior food safety leaders should schedule routine one-on-one meetings with team members, functional leaders, and executive leads.
•    Senior food safety leaders should establish routine reviews among key quality leaders and customer contacts.
Practice 7: Assessment
Regular review of food safety performance can ensure reassurance at the executive level that programs reflect corporate values and demonstrate continuous improvement, as well as provide governance for activities across the enterprise. The assessment and reporting element is a senior food safety leader’s opportunity to provide the dashboard, key measures, strategy, and direction to the decision makers and, conversely, provide feedback and direction to the team. The critical importance of setting food safety goals and providing indicators of progress (leading and lagging) has been called out by Yiannas.[10]
Progress, risks, or investment needs that don’t always make a byline in an executive boardroom will risk losing visibility in any enterprise. Metrics should be reported upward in a succinct manner that highlights results, trends, needed actions, and, ideally, the level of risk prioritization. Land O’Lakes, Glanbia, Mars, and others have processes to share this critical information with senior-most executive leaders and with their boards for awareness and action. Any program without governance and routine progress review will quickly lose momentum and risk becoming defunct. Executive leaders must be aware of the risks to the organization’s performance and reputation, and it is in the role of a senior food safety leader to ensure the appropriate metrics are in place and routinely discussed.
Practical ideas for senior leaders to set the tone for assessment:
•    Senior leaders in food safety must ensure a regular and disciplined review among the organization’s most senior executives. They must also align on the appropriate KPIs and measures, and provide a candid view on progress and challenges, using leading and lagging indicators.
•    Senior executives should make time to attend the food safety review meetings and actively engage with other executive leaders. When unable to attend the main meeting, request a one-on-one discussion. 
•    Having a corporate executive, other than the food safety leader, communicate food safety news, summaries, and activities at every board meeting is a great way to set the tone that every senior leader can and must talk food safety.
•    A policy statement, signed off by relevant senior leaders, should be in place that clarifies reporting standards and expectations for the food safety mission.
Helping Senior Leaders Set the Tone for Food Safety Excellence: Conclusions and Final Thoughts
Consumer goods and other businesses are increasingly measured by their commitment to corporate responsibility and accordingly will be held to ever-increasing standards of transparency, ethical behavior, and trustworthiness. Financial results alone—even in the absence of “issues”—are not enough. That organizations are fostering a proactive and comprehensive view with culture driving prevention and resilience will be increasingly open to scrutiny by external stakeholders. This very public lens will significantly influence the reputation and trust of food and ingredient producers, and calls for evidence and measures of their commitment, in this case, to food safety excellence, are increasingly being heard.
In this frame, food safety is not a result of materials, people, and processes alone, but must be in the organizational DNA and psyche, and safeguarded by embedded cultural “guard rails.” Well-founded and communicated corporate values are the first, basic building blocks from which food safety culture (and all corporate responsibility themes) can be meaningfully derived. These values must be manifest in the organization and provide a true compass on the direction and decisions that occur every day across the enterprise. How to define, measure, and report this culture of excellence remains a subject of vigorous discussion among the leaders in this field, with several iterations and models available.
A great way of thinking about the food safety culture journey is to relate it to the 20-mile march described by Jim Collins in his book Great by Choice:[11]
“Whatever comes at us, we keep moving forward, a bit at a time, every day, fully supported by the organization and from the top.”
As a leader in food safety, how do you support and encourage your organization’s senior leaders in setting a positive tone for food safety in today’s environment? Let’s review the three takeaways:
o    Provide candid and regular reviews, education, and measurements:
•    Be completely honest in the assessment and communication of the food safety maturity of the organization. Educate such that the information being shared makes sense and be pragmatic regarding issues and solutions.
•    Set up frequent food safety status reviews with senior leaders, either in a group setting or in a one-on-one meeting—both can be very effective. For a group meeting, you’ll need to ensure active participation and discussion. In a one-on-one meeting, you’ll have the undivided attention of the leader.
•    Provide updates on what is happening external to the organization—examples of new technologies and food safety management approaches, as well as examples of other company failures and key learnings, which can be very helpful in keeping interest alive.
o    Identify and drive your specific must-win food safety priorities:
•    Communicate and agree on well-aligned priorities for strengthening the food safety program. The kind of areas that could be in scope for prioritization could include: hygienic upgrade of buildings and equipment, technology/systems investments, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points program deep dives and revisions, sanitation validation excellence, high-risk raw materials supplier qualifications, environmental risk assessments, or formulation risk review processes. A key is that these are rarely new areas but areas already known and identified as priorities that could be elevated in importance for a 6- to 36-month focused effort to reach a milestone.
•    Senior leaders must also align on appropriate KPIs and provide, with one voice, a candid view on progress and challenges against the agreed priorities, supported by leading and lagging indicators, and surfacing hurdles and solutions. The KPIs should be consistent with and aligned to the agreed priority areas of the program.
o    Foster ownership among the wide community of leaders:
•    Recruit a senior leader other than the food safety leadership; communicating food safety news, summaries, and activities at senior management meetings is a great way to demonstrate the expectation that everyone, including senior leaders, must own food safety.
•    Ensure a clear and intuitive link of organizational values and vision to the food safety agenda. Reputation, consumer trust, and brand integrity are integral to organizational success. Ensuring senior leaders in all functions understand this and embrace their role in protecting and building trust through food safety excellence will be a catalyst to cultural transformation.
Lone Jespersen, Ph.D.,  is the principal of Cultivate.
Mike Robach is global vice president, corporate food safety, quality, and regulatory affairs at Cargill.
Mark Beaumont, Ph.D., is group head, quality and safety at Glanbia.
Sara Mortimore is vice president, product safety, quality & regulatory affairs, Land O’Lakes Inc.
Food Safety Magazine wishes to acknowledge the recent death of contributor John Helferich.
2. Personal communication.
4. GFSI position paper, under review.
5. Jespersen, L, et al. 2016. “Measurement of Food Safety Culture Using Survey and Maturity Profiling Tools.” Food Cont 66:174–182.
6. Syed, M. Black Box Thinking (UK: J. Murray Press, 2015).
7. Barlow, J and C Moller. A Complaint Is a Gift (Berrett-Koehler Press, 2008).
8. Dekker, S. Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2012)
9. Jesperesen, L, et al. 2017. “Comparative Analysis of Existing Food Safety Cultural Evaluation Systems.” Food Control 79:371–379.
10. Yiannis, F. Food Safety Culture, Creating a Behaviour Based Food Safety System (Springer, 2009).
11. Collins, J and MT Hansen. Great by Choice (New York: Harper Collins, 2011).
Trapp, R. 2014. “Successful Leaders Celebrate Their Failures.” Forbes, online, March 31.
Wilson, JQ and GL Kelling. 1982. “Broken Windows, the Police and Neighborhood Safety.” The Atlantic magazine.
Holah, J, et al. 2012. “Identifying and Controlling Microbiological Cross-Contamination.” Food Safety Magazine, February/March.

Good to Know: Food safety Q&A
Source :
By Grower (July 31, 2018)
To keep you abreast of the latest information, Good Fruit Grower, in cooperation with industry professionals, is presenting an occasional column to answer some of the more frequently asked questions about implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
I’ve heard about a new program called On Farm Readiness Reviews. What is this and how can it benefit me?
The On Farm Readiness Reviews (OFRR) is a voluntary program developed by the National Association of Departments of Agriculture and produce safety extension specialists to help farms evaluate their current food safety programs against the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule (PSR).
In Washington state, the Washington State Department of Agriculture Produce Safety Program is leading the effort to conduct OFRRs in collaboration with Washington State University Extension and Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission (WTFRC) personnel and will be kicking off the reviews this growing season.
OFRRs are essentially an on-farm discussion to see if there are any practices or policies that may need to be changed ahead of the PSR inspections. WSDA inspectors will be conducting these reviews; these inspections are not regulatory in nature unless an egregious situation is witnessed and the farm is unable to withhold all contaminated product.
This opportunity can help farms feel more confident in their programs or address questions they have related to the Produce Safety Rule. If you are interested in learning more or signing up, please contact Karen Ullmann ( OFRR will also be offered in other states, including Oregon (contact Sue Davis at and Idaho (contact
What resources can I use to help develop my food safety programs?
We are fortunate to have several groups working together to provide training and resources for your food safety needs. The Washington State Tree Fruit Association ( offers training for growers and packers throughout the year, including Cleaning and Sanitation, Environmental Monitoring and Water Testing Workshops, which incorporate hands-on demonstrations in packing houses and orchards.
WSTFA has also developed several videos on hand washing, cross contamination, cross contact and good food safety practices that can be easily implemented for training employees; the last video released addresses good agricultural practices in the orchard and was produced in English and Spanish. For more information about the videos or to get a copy, contact Jacqui Gordon at
Washington State University Extension has recently consolidated and updated produce safety information and resources so that growers and packing houses have one WSU website for all things produce safety, from resources to upcoming events. Take an opportunity to check it out at WSDA’s Produce Safety Program team also has helpful information online about outreach and training events they are coordinating at
The Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety (NECAFS) has created a clearinghouse, where produce safety professionals throughout the U.S. can upload their resources ( Also included in the clearinghouse are FDA Technical Assistance Network (TAN) questions and answers uploaded by users.
Last, but certainly not least, the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission has the final reports for all previously funded food safety projects on its website ( Review these tree fruit specific resources to help build supporting documentation for your food safety policies.
Are Produce Safety Alliance trainings going to be offered next year?
Yes, the WSTFA and WSU Extension are planning on offering several PSA trainings in English and Spanish this fall and into 2019. Companies can also contact WSTFA if they want to organize a PSA course for their growers, sponsored by WSDA.
The WSDA has continued to subsidize a set number of trainings, which greatly reduce the cost of attendance. Check their websites to see what trainings will be taking place close to you ( or Make sure to get signed up when they are announced; farms with over $500,000 in annual produce sales are already required to have at least one supervisor or responsible party who has completed the food safety training offered by the PSA or an equivalent curriculum by the FDA, and compliance inspections will begin in 2019. •
—by Kate Woods, Ines Hanrahan, Jacqui Gordon and Faith Critzer
Please contact Jacqui Gordon (; 509-452-8555) with the Washington State Tree Fruit Association for questions on food safety training opportunities; Kate Woods ( with the Northwest Horticultural Council for questions on the FSMA law and its requirements; and Ines Hanrahan, Ph.D., ( of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, and Faith Critzer, Ph.D., a WSU produce safety Extension specialist for information on research related to FSMA and food safety.

IoT enables supply-chain transparency for food safety and recalls
Source :
By Rick Lingle (July 30, 2018)
OSIsoft taps the Internet of Things and a distributed network of sensors to increase fresh and packaged food safety through prevention and responsive recall capability.
Consumers’ relationship with food is changing—they demand transparency about its contents and origin–and is for good reason. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 1 in 10 people are sickened yearly from eating contaminated food leading to 420,000 deaths.
Given these sobering statistics, manufacturers are under increasing pressure to track and trace food from farm to shelf, quite an undertaking that requires leading-edge technology. For example, blockchain can be used in the cold chain to track food every step of the way.
Major brand owners including Hershey, Kellogg’s, Tyson Foods and Deschutes Brewery are using OSIsoft's technology to not only protect food, but to improve operations and cut costs. Tyson uses OSIsoft sensors and data to track and monitor temperature control of their products to ensure food safety and prevent recalls.
Packaging Digest sought to dig deeper into the intersection of the Internet of Things and food safety, and tapped the expertise of Mariana Sandin, Pulp and Paper Industry Principal for OSIsoft, and Jeff Van Pelt, Global Food & Beverage Industry Principal at OSIsoft.
What’s a high-level view of packaged food recalls?
Van Pelt: Food recalls spiked more 92% in the U.S. from 2012 to 2017 (tracked by the Stericycle Recall Index), in part due to a more complex supply chain and, to some degree, better reporting and tracking. Bacteria, undeclared allergens and foreign substances were the big culprits. A recall can cost $20 million or more, along with, of course, risking the public’s health and damaging a brand. But here’s the good news: they’ve been declining since late 2016 with greater awareness and more action from producers.
What’s not working with the way things have been done traditionally?
Van Pelt: It’s a very complex supply chain. Ingredients are harvested internationally from multiple suppliers, processed into an ever growing selection of foods and then shipped across broad geographic areas.  The growth of the industry and the growing demands of customers have really challenged the industry to keep up.
How does a recall work?
Sandin: The FDA determines a mandatory recall of certain products. It is up to the importer to verify that the suppliers comply with new FSMA regulations. Food and packaging manufacturers are responsible for having a system of record and good documentation of the items being shipped. So, going back to packing and the RFID codes, the batch number pointing to the date and place of manufacturing can help to target a recall, instead of recalling all products from all plants during the summer season.
How does IoT technology fit in as an enabler?
Van Pelt: Think of IoT as nervous system for the industrial world. With IoT technologies you can track shipments or trace changes in temperature, moisture or other factors that can have an impact on food quality. Not only can you find problems quicker with this technology, you can narrow the scope of recall
How much of the overall recalls could be addressed with an IoT solution?
Van Pelt: From a production standpoint, IoT solutions can drastically reduce recalls from issues like labeling, processing defects, physical contamination, chemical contamination etc.  The main cause for recall in the food and beverage industry is microbiological in nature, with the majority of cases involving fruit and produce.  IoT and sensor information can be used to detect issues further upstream in the supply chain, and while it can assist in reducing these cases in general, it is crucial to recognize the contamination prior to production.
What are the key advantages of this high-tech solution?
Van Pelt: Ingredients and completed foods will change hands several times before a consumer buys them. IoT can give you, potentially, a complete picture of a product’s life cycle. You can’t do this with clipboards and periodic inspections.
What infrastructure is needed?
Van Pelt: You need sensors or some sort of measuring device along with a data infrastructure that lets you capture data, share it, and send the necessary alarms. The technology has been around for a while. The key is how it gets implemented.
How much would an IoT implementation cost?
Sandin: The cost of IoT wireless sensors can be few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending the scope. As for the cost of a data infrastructure, it also depends on the scope and the corporation. Different business models like subscription are on the rise, which should lower the cost of entry for new prospects.
What’s needed to make that happen?
Sandin: Today, the packaging industry is doing its share as with technologies radio-frequency identification or Batch ID codes. With supply chains, having data—think of this a horizontal IT layer that lets people share and access machine data—removes the barriers of communication between the food manufacturer and the packing supplier. Some IoT sensors today still have the challenge of battery life, but trailer trucks or other vehicles can definitely monitor the environment those boxes are moved around.
What’s happening with this kind of solution?
Sandin: The PI System has a system of record for their operational data for a number of companies in both food and paper. What is interesting is that both food and paper manufacturers are adopting IoT to help ensure product quality and brand integrity. In some industries, the IoT discussions revolve around cost or energy reduction. By contrast, in food and paper, brand integrity is often the paramount concern.
What else do brands need to know?
Sandin: IoT serves as a tool to remove the collaboration barriers between food manufacturers, regulatory agencies and the final customer that can be retailers or consumers. IoT increases transparency of information and helps to deliver better products throughout the supply chain.
Mariana Sandin’s background is in Chemical Engineering and she has an MBA with a concentration in Economics from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX. She has more than 10 years of experience in real-time data solutions, and is passionate about helping the process industries transform their world with the power of data.
Jeff Van Pelt is responsible for industry strategy, segment development, thought leadership and ensuring customers drive value from their technology investments. Van Pelt is a 30-year veteran in the consumer products industry in a variety of roles. Prior to joining OSIsoft, he held industry executive positions at IBM and SAP.





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