FoodHACCP Newsletter

Food Safety Job Openings

08/10. Supply Chain QC Assoc - White Plains, NY
08/10. Food Safety & Brand Std Spec - Annapolis, MD
08/10. Food Safety & QA Supervisor - Carroll, IA
08/07. Food Safety Specialist - Riverview, FL
08/07. Food Safety Specialist - Silver Spring, MD
08/07. Supplier Food Safety Auditor - Green Bay, WI
08/07. Food & Nutrition QA Manager - Fort Myers, FL
08/06. Food Safety & QA Manager - Moosic, PA
08/06. Food Safety Specialist - Issaquah, WA
08/06. QA Regulatory Manager - Vancouver, WA

08/20  2018 ISSUE:822


Burien Fresh Smoothies in Washington Associated With Salmonella Outbreak
Source :
By News Desk (Aug 18, 2018)
Burien Fresh Smoothies in Burien, Washington is associated with a Salmonella Braenderup outbreak, according to a press release by Seattle-King County Public Health Department. At least seven people are sick, and two people were so ill that they were hospitalized. Officials have not identified the source of illness.
Seven people from three separate parties have been ill after consuming food at the restaurant from August 6 through August 8, 2018. The people who were hospitalized have since recovered and have been released.
Five of the seven patients have tested positive for Salmonella Braenderup. Officials are waiting for genetic fingerprint results, and results from food samples taken from the restaurant.
The restaurant was inspected on August 15, 2018 as part of the investigation. No employee has had any symptoms that are consistent with salmonellosis, the illness caused by this bacteria. But investigators discovered that the restaurant was serving cooked port that was prepared at the owner’s home, which is not an approved food safety practice. Inspectors told the owner to stop serving pork-based food items and to take them off the menu.
But, on August 16, 2018, another person was diagnosed with salmonellosis after eating at Burien Fresh Smoothies on August 7, 2018; that person did not eat any pork items. So Environmental Health inspectors went back to the restaurant and suspended its permit.
Food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker, who has filed many lawsuits on behalf of clients sickened in Salmonella outbreaks, said, “Restaurants have a legal obligation to sell food that is safe and wholesome. These outbreaks do not need to happen if food safety regulations are followed.”
Burien Fresh Smoothies won’t reopen until Environmental Health personnel conduct another inspection. The facility must thoroughly clean and disinfect the building, adopt safe food handling practices, and discard any remaining processed ready-t0-eat food items. The owners are also working with public health officials about using approved food sources.
If you ate at Burien Fresh Smoothies from August 7 to August 16, 2018, and have been experiencing the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning, which include bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and fever, see your doctor.

What’s Next for PC Animal Food Implementation?
Source :
By QA Staff Edited (Aug 16, 2018)
FDA officer explains what animal food producers can anticipate in this next phase of the FSMA rule.
The third major compliance dates will soon arrive for the Preventive Controls for Animal Food rule under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). By September 17, 2018, facilities that are small animal food businesses must comply with preventive controls requirements mandated by FSMA. Facilities that are large businesses were required to comply by September 2017. The compliance dates for the Preventive Controls (PC) and Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) requirements are staggered for animal food companies. Facilities that are large and small businesses had to meet the CGMP requirements earlier – by September 2016 and September 2017, respectively.
Also on September 17, 2018, facilities that are very small animal food businesses will be required to comply with the CGMPs. Very small businesses are those averaging less than $2.5 million per year in sales plus the market value of animal food they make or hold. These facilities are exempt from the full preventive controls requirements, but they have an additional year to meet the requirements applicable to qualified facilities.
In a Conversation With Jenny Murphy, Murphy, a consumer safety officer at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, explains what animal food producers can anticipate in this next phase in the implementation of the rule.

Ireland Cracks Down on Restaurants Serving Undercooked Beef Burgers
Source :
By Staff (Aug 16, 2018)
In a July 31st notice, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) warned restaurants and other foodservice establishments about the dangers of not properly cooking minced beef burgers.
According to FSAI, 3 percent of raw minced beef is known to be contaminated with a particularly harmful type of Escherichia coli (called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli) that can cause kidney failure. Children under 5 years of age and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to this type of E. coli.
To help restaurants and caterers to serve safer burgers and to keep consumers from contracting a foodborne illness, FSAI published an updated fact sheet entitled Advice for Caterers on Serving Burgers that are Safe to Eat. The fact sheet advises that minced beef burgers should be temperature tested prior to serving.
FSAI says that in order for minced beef burgers to be served safely, they must be sufficiently cooked in order to destroy harmful pathogens. The agency recommends cooking burgers to a minimum temperature of 75°C--measured at the thickest part of the burger--before serving. For those food businesses wishing to offer minced beef burgers prepared at lower temperatures, longer cooking times are required. The temperature and time combinations equivalent to 75°C have been recommended by the FSAI’s Scientific Committee.
In part, a statement from FSAI’s CEO, Dr. Pamela Byrne, reads:
“There should be no compromise on food safety. We have had people become ill due to a serious food poisoning outbreak associated with undercooked beef burgers in a catering establishment. Chefs and caterers must ensure that minced beef burgers are cooked thoroughly before serving and waiting staff should not ask customers how they want their minced beef burgers cooked. Foodservice businesses must have a food safety management system in place which identifies the hazards and outlines the critical control points to ensure food safety. Cooking food to the correct temperature is the critical control point for serving safe minced beef burgers. Regular checks should be carried out on the core temperature of minced beef burgers using a probe thermometer, as colour alone is not a reliable indicator. Consumers also need to ensure that when they are cooking minced beef burgers at home, that they are cooked until they are piping hot all the way through. Given the serious health risks associated with consuming undercooked minced beef burgers, this advice should not be taken lightly,”
The FSAI states that:
Minced beef burgers must be fully cooked to ensure they are safe to eat
Minced beef burgers should be cooked to a temperature of 75°C tested at the thickest part of the burger by a food thermometer or to one of the equivalent temperature time combinations outlined in its factsheet
Caterers should not serve, offer or advertise undercooked or ‘pink’ minced beef burgers
Failure to serve minced beef burgers that are safe to eat can make people seriously ill and place a food business open to legal action
The FSAI’s fact sheet was updated following the publication of the FSAI’s Scientific Committee report, which outlines a trend to serve undercooked minced beef burgers and a corresponding risk of food poisoning. It highlights the risk of deviation from validated thorough cooking time and temperature combinations. It explains that if a food business was to consider an alternative approach, then it would have to first scientifically validate the new approach. Scientific validation is complex and requires specialized microbiological expertise in order to ensure a robust study is designed. People are at risk of getting sick if alternative cooking methods have not been validated. Failure to produce scientific validation to an environmental health officer could leave a food business open to legal action.
The FSAI understands that customers may request undercooked or rare minced meat burgers, but this does not exempt a food business’s duty to sell safe food or protect it from potential prosecution. According to Dr. Byrne, even menu disclaimers do not exempt foodservice establishments from their obligation to follow food safety laws and serve only safely prepared food.



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Food Safety Testing Market Apply Strategy to Reach 7.2% CAGR | by Contaminants Detection, by Testing Technology, by Food Types - Forecast to 2025
Source :
By (Aug 16, 2018)
The Market Research Future has been published New Research Reports which is Food Safety Testing Market & In This Report the Information has been Provided like Market Analysis, Scope, Stake, Progress, Trends & Forecast which is making through primary and secondary research which is done by professional healthcare researcher.
The Market research future delivers a detailed analysis of 10 years forecast between 2015 and 2025 and it is expected that Global Food Safety Testing market will register the CAGR of more than 7.2% during the forecast period.
Key Players are:
SGS SA, Bureau Veritas, Intertek Group Plc, Cotecna Inspection SA and others.
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Food Safety Testing Market Report: Introduction
Food Safety Testingis a technical method of performing development works, handling of products and storing the product to prevent food borne diseases. It is performed under the supervision of experts which continuously keep their eye on the going process. Food safety testing is done to maintain the quality of the food and to prevent the food from unwanted diseases which could happen in form of illness, toxicity or poisoning.
Going ahead and looking at market share, North America is said to be the largest market with market share of around 38% on the global scale and expected to grow with the CAGR of more than 7% in the forecasted period. Europe is contributing market share of more than 34% and known as 2ndlargest market of Food safety testing followed by the Asia Pacific. Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market as compared to other part of globe and has registered the CAGR of more than 8% and said to register the CAGR of more than 9.5% in the forecasted period.
The main objective which is driving the market of Food Safety testing is desire for hunger which means opportunities for new companies in the segment of food industry. These companies are developing new products on daily basis which requires the testing before going to general people.
Pathogensis said to be the biggest food contaminant. Pathogens like,salmonella, E. coli and others are plays most important role in the food contamination. Year 2011 shows thatsalmonella was responsible of near 20,000 hospitalizations and near 400 causalities only in the U.S. due to food poising. Talking about the market share food safety testing by containment,.
Moving ahead, the report comprises comprehensive analysis of industry overview of Food Safety Testing Market which includes market drivers, restrains, opportunities, burning issues, winning imperatives on Global scale.
This report also covers geographical analysis. Furthermore, the report has been segmented on the basis of contaminants detection (Pathogens, GMOs, Pesticides, Toxins & Others), by testing technology (Tradition methods & Rapid testing method) & by food types (Meat and poultry products, Dairy products, Fruit & Vegetables, processed foods & Others)
The Food Safety Testing market research report provides detail analysis of market in terms of value market. The report also gives the future outlook of the market till 2024. Moreover, on whole region as well as market share in different countries. Lastly, the report provides company profiles of major players in the market.
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Research Methodology
To calculate Food Safety Testing market size, we have considered top players in the market and to offer accuracy, our research is supported by industry experts who offer insight on industry structure and technology assessment, competitive landscape, penetration, emerging products and trends. Their analysis is based(80 to 85%)on primary & (15 to 20%) on secondary researches well as years of professional expertise in their respective industries. In addition to analyze current and historical trends,our analysts predict where the market is headed over the next five to ten years. It varies by segment for these categories geographically presented in the list of market tables. Top-down and bottom-up are important strategies of processing the information and knowledge ordering, used in a variety of fields including humanistic, software and scientific theories and management and organization. In practice, they can be seen as a style of thinking, teaching, or leadership.
Speaking about this particular report we have conducted primary surveys (interviews) with the key level executives (VP, CEO's, Marketing Director, Business Development Manager and many more) of the major players active in the market.
Scope of the Report
This market research report covers the Global Food Safety Testing Market research report which has been segment as:
On the basis of Geographical Regions
On the basis of Contamination
On the basis of Technology
On the basis of Food types
1 Introduction
1.1 Definition
1.2 Scope of the Study
1.2.1 Research Objective
1.2.2 Assumptions
1.2.3 Limitations
1.3 Market Structure
2 Research Methodology
2.1 Research Process
2.2 Primary Research
2.3 Secondary Research
2.4 Market Size Estimation
2.5 Forecast Model
3 Food Safety Testing Market: Overview
3.1 Introduction of Food Safety Testing Market
3.1.1 Definition of Food Safety Testing
3.1.2 Market Segmentation of Food Safety Testing Market
4 Market Dynamics
… Continued!

Smarter Tech and Safer Food: How is smart technology improving food safety?
Source :
By Robert Glass, Global Marketing Manager, Food & Beverage, ABB (Aug 15, 2018)
Food safety has been one of the top priorities for food manufacturers and consumers for many years. In fact, the 2016 food manufacturing outlook report by US magazine Food Processing found that a quarter of manufacturers considered it their top priority. This article explains how smart technologies are helping manufacturers exceed food safety standards.
There has been an alarming number of food recalls in recent years. In the US alone, the past ten years have seen recalls increase by 250 per cent according to a global food safety report from Swiss Re. This rate shows no signs of slowing down, as the US food and drug administration (FDA) also issued a total of 764 recalls in 2016 — an increase of 22 per cent from the previous year.
This issue is by no means exclusive to the US. Across Europe, a total of 847 alerts were transmitted using the European Union’s rapid alert system for food and feed (RASFF) in 2016. An alert in this instance indicates that food presenting a serious risk has made it to market and urgent action, such as a recall, is required.
These statistics make it clear that, while food safety is a top priority, there is still a considerable amount of tainted produce that makes it to market. In particular, the majority of these tainted products are contaminated with pathogens — usually Listeria, E. Coli and Salmonella.
Food production managers must then identify the source of this contamination and act accordingly. This is becoming an easier task to manage with the rise of smart technologies in food plants, particularly smart manufacturing execution systems (MES), that allow for easier tracing of ingredients through the supply chain by connecting to food measurement and analyzer products and providing real-time data transfer.
For example, pathogens such as E Coli contaminate raw food ingredients through exposure to the feces of animals carrying the bacteria. With an effective MES that provides accurate, real-time genealogy tracking and analysis of ingredients, production managers receive an alert and can quickly identify which batch was carrying the bacteria and then work backwards through the chain. This information is then transferred to external systems to quickly notify plant personnel.
Production managers can also cross-reference this to determine whether the cause of the contamination is due to the source of ingredients or contaminated equipment. While an increasing number of production facilities are using sanitized food processing robots to maximize hygiene and reduce contamination, some plants still use equipment prone to bacterial contamination. Identifying this is a critical step in properly addressing the issue.
Smart technology is enabling plant and production managers to do this quicker and with a higher degree of accuracy, preventing the risk and cost of a product recall while ensuring regulatory compliance with industry standards and best practices.
Food safety will likely always remain the top priority for food production managers across the globe. With the rise of smart technologies and intelligent systems in food manufacturing plants, businesses can ensure that safety standards are upheld and managed in an easier and more streamlined fashion.

Is It Time to Change How We Clean and Sanitize Food Contact Surfaces with Reusable Wiping Towels?
Source :
By Hal King, Ph.D.
Is It Time to Change How We Clean and Sanitize Food Contact Surfaces with Reusable Wiping Towels?
Each year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a report summarizing domestic foodborne disease outbreaks based on the data collected by state, local, and territorial health departments.[1] The 2017 report (which reviewed data up to 2015) identified restaurants, specifically those with sit-down dining, as the most commonly implicated locations associated with foodborne disease outbreaks. A total of 779 outbreaks were reported in 2015, of which 469 were attributed to dining in a restaurant. In cases with a confirmed causative microorganism and where a contributing factor (e.g., cross-contamination via hands or surfaces like reusable towels/cloths, improper hot or cold holding, etc.) was identified, cross-contamination of ingredients was the most commonly cited factor, and Salmonella was the most commonly implicated pathogen. These cross-contamination events could probably be reduced with proper cleaning and sanitizing of food contact and nonfood contact surfaces.
The purpose of traditional interventions to prevent cross-contamination, like hand hygiene and hard-surface cleaning/sanitation, is to reduce the load of pathogenic microorganisms that can make humans sick. Reduction of those pathogens is intended to limit human exposure below the infectious dose. As hygiene interventions have evolved, some have been found to be too risky for continuation. For example, bar soaps and open-refillable bulk soap systems have been shown to harbor pathogens and cause outbreaks—thankfully, CDC no longer allows them in U.S. healthcare.[2] Another example of the evolution of an old hygiene paradigm is cloth hand drying in public restrooms, whereby a roll could allow for reuse of the same portion.   
The 2017 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code allows for the use of reusable towels/cloths to wipe food contact surfaces and equipment, but the towels/cloths must be held between use in a chemical sanitizer solution at a concentration specified under Section 4-501.114.[3] The procedures and requirements summarized here include the following:
1.    Storage of clean, wet reusable towels/cloths in a container with appropriate sanitizer at the required concentration when not in use.
•    All wet reusable towels/cloths should be laundered or discarded daily. The wiping cloths may be laundered in a mechanical washer, a sink designated only for laundering wiping cloths, or a warewashing equipment (dishwasher) or food preparation sink that is cleaned and sanitized before use.
•    All wet reusable towels/cloths used for wiping surfaces in contact with raw animal foods should be stored and used separate from wet reusable towels/cloths used for other purposes [e.g., ready-to-eat (RTE) food prep surface].

•    All wet reusable towels/cloths and the sanitizer solution in which they are held between uses should be free from food debris and visible soil.
•    The containers of chemical sanitizer solutions used to store wet reusable towels/cloths between uses should be stored off the floor and used in a manner that prevents contamination of food, equipment, utensils, linens, and single-service/use articles.
2.    Clean and sanitize food contact surfaces with reusable towels/cloths.
•    When cleaning a food contact surface, the wet towel should be removed from the solution and the excess solution wrung out of the towel.
•    The scraping of any visible food debris off the food contact surface.
•    Cleaning of the surface properly to remove organic material, including oil, grease, fat, and remaining food debris by applying an appropriate detergent on the surface and wiping the surface clean to sight and touch.
•    The application of a chemical sanitizer of adequate temperature and chemical concentration, allowing it to remain on the surface for the specific contact time [according to the manufacturer’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered label].
•    Allowing the chemical sanitizer to air-dry on the surface or wiping the sanitizer off the surface using a reusable towel/cloth.
3.    Storage of clean, damp reusable towels/cloths in a container with appropriate sanitizer at the required concentration when not in use.
Presumably, storing the cloths in a sanitizer solution should destroy the organisms picked up during the cleaning process. However, organic material present in sanitizing solutions can potentially bind to the active agent, lowering the concentration below that which is effective. This allows organisms that are picked up during the wiping process to survive that treatment and be transferred to subsequent surfaces. Additionally, during the cleaning/sanitizing process, the towel being used may collect materials that would offer protection to the microbes in question. Fats and proteins may form films on the towels, which can sequester microorganisms, allowing them to “hide” from the molecules of active ingredient present in the solution. These films may also be transferred to subsequent surfaces during the cleaning protocols, thus transferring their filth as well as microorganisms. The food safety risk when using reusable wiping towel/cloths improperly is the following:
•    Pathogenic bacteria survive or grow on the reusable, soiled (grease, oil, fats) towel/cloth (because towels/cloths are not replaced and/or laundered daily), which then cross-contaminates previously cleaned food contact surfaces used to prepare RTE foods.  
•    Pathogenic bacteria survive or grow in the sanitizer because of a soiled solution (because it is not replaced with fresh sanitizer solution when soiled), which then cross-contaminates previously cleaned food contact surfaces used to prepare RTE foods.  
•    Pathogenic bacteria from raw animal food prep surfaces are transferred via a reusable towel to previously cleaned food contact surfaces used to prepare RTE foods because towels are not separated for use with raw animal food prep surface cleaning.
•    Food contact surfaces are not cleaned and sanitized properly because reusable soiled towels/cloths are used to wipe surfaces without using a cleaner and sanitizer (some pathogenic bacteria like Listeria remain on the food contact surface).
•    Food contact surfaces are not cleaned and sanitized properly because a reusable soiled towel/cloth is used to wipe surfaces after using a sanitizer only (no cleaner used, so some pathogenic bacteria remain on the food contact surface).
•    Pathogenic bacteria survive or grow on the reusable clean towel/cloth, which then cross-contaminates previously cleaned food contact surfaces used to prepare RTE foods because sanitizer solution used was not established and then maintained at the proper concentration (replaced regularly) when storing towel/cloth.
•    Pathogenic bacteria like Listeria survive on the reusable clean towel/cloth, which then cross-contaminates previously cleaned food contact surfaces used to prepare RTE foods because the sanitizer solution selected, even when maintained at the proper concentration, does not kill all foodborne disease pathogens like Clostridium perfringens or norovirus.
•    Pathogenic bacteria survive or grow in the solution, which then cross-contaminates previously cleaned food contact surfaces used to prepare RTE foods because towel/cloth type used (cotton) absorbs the sanitizer in solution during storage, reducing the effective concentration of the sanitizer in solution.
Chlorine and quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) are two common active ingredients used for food contact surface sanitation in retail food environments. Both are known to be less effective in the presence of hard water or organic soils, and especially when targeting bacteria dried onto surfaces.[4–6] For example, the addition of just 1% milk (semi-skimmed) has been shown to dramatically reduce the activity of quat solutions.[7] In addition, the EPA testing for food contact surface sanitizers does not require additional soil load be added to the surfaces being sanitized, thus approved sanitizers should only ever be used on clean surfaces.[8] However, care does need to be taken to ensure that the cleaning agent used does not interfere with the sanitizers. For example, quats may be inactivated by binding with anionic surfactant-based soap residues.[7]
Additionally, not all microorganisms will even be susceptible to these sanitizers. Current EPA testing of food contact sanitizers requires a 5-log CFU reduction of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus in a 30-second suspension assay.[8] Manufacturers of food contact surface sanitizers may test other organisms to add additional claims to their labels, but these are the only two required by federal regulations. S. aureus and E. coli do represent both Gram-positive and -negative organisms, respectively, but may not accurately reflect the susceptibilities of all bacterial pathogens that may be present on surfaces. Additionally, as the EPA test utilizes a suspension assay, it cannot accurately reflect what will happen to microorganisms present on different surfaces such as tables, seats, or countertops. It is well established that microorganisms attached to surfaces exhibit greater resistance to sanitizing treatments than do their counterparts suspended in solution.[9,10]
Also, by definition, a sanitizer cannot make antiviral claims or claims against spores; only EPA-registered disinfectants can. This means that most of these sanitizers will not be effective against viruses, such as norovirus or hepatitis A, or against spores like C. perfringens. Both norovirus and hepatitis A can be extremely resistant to many antimicrobial treatments and are unlikely to be inactivated by common food contact surface sanitizers. CDC recommends a 1,000–5,000 ppm bleach solution to inactivate norovirus; however, this is much higher than what the EPA allows for sanitizing food contact surfaces (200 ppm).[11,12] If an employee working while sick brings norovirus or hepatitis A virus into the kitchen and touches surfaces with their contaminated hands (a common contributing factor to foodborne disease outbreaks), it is unlikely that the cleaning and sanitation procedure will eliminate the viruses before cross-contamination occurs.  
We also know that viruses can easily be transferred from contaminated surfaces onto previously clean surfaces by the towels/cloths used to clean and sanitize.[13] One study found that typical cotton bar towels used by restaurants can remove approximately 3-log PFU but can transfer as much as 2-log PFU back to surfaces.[13] Surveys of used cloths in food retail environments have shown them to be heavily contaminated with various bacterial species, with one study reporting that 74% of cloths (n = 131) used for cleaning in raw and prepared food spaces were contaminated with E. coli, S. aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, and/or C. perfringens.[14] Specifically, E. coli was isolated from 74 cloths, with 25 of those carrying more than 5-log CFU. There is also evidence to suggest that this gets worse the longer the cloth is used.[15] Single-use products (e.g., paper towels, wet wipes, etc.) avoid these issues by being discarded after each use.
The importance of breaking the chain of transmission of pathogens from environmental surfaces to individuals (analogous to breaking the chain of cross-contamination in foodservice) is not lost on healthcare practitioners where cleaning and disinfection of surfaces is critical to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases. Because of this, in part, an attempt to use alternative methods, including single-use disposable wipes to clean and disinfect surfaces, was established. The first EPA-approved germicidal wipe was introduced to the market in the late 1980s and quickly adopted by hospitals as an additional means to break the chain of infectious disease transmission from surfaces to patients and healthcare workers. For example, the use of single-use disposable wipes was one method found to be especially effective in removal of bacteria off surfaces by wiping down “high-touch” surfaces (surfaces that are touched often, such as digital devices, keyboards, etc.).[16]
While foodservice may not seem to have the same risk requiring a means to break the chain of disease transmission as hospitals and the healthcare industry, foodborne illnesses can be severe, and outbreaks continue year to year. The cost of these illnesses to the public is extremely high. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service estimates that foodborne illness represents a $15 billion burden on the U.S. economy each year from deaths, medical costs, and lost productivity.[17]
To assess the important opinions of different foodservice food safety and local regulatory authories for their perceptions of the risks associated with the use of reusable towels in foodservice, a survey was designed for each group and was open only to confirmed participants, based on solicitation to their respective organizations.[18]
Of the 45 food safety professionals who responded, 93% stated that their company allows the use of resuable towels; of these, 79% stated that their company requires Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on how to properly use and store resuable towels, and only 29% allow the use of synthetic fiber towels to be used once daily and then discarded. However, 88% reported that their companies allow reusable towels to be used again after laundering in the restaurant. Interestingly, of these, 60% require reusable towels to be stored separately if used for raw animal food prep, as prescribed by the FDA Food Code vs. RTE food prep, but 40% either did not have this requirement or did not know. More than half of those using reusable towels agreed that there was potential risk of cross-contamination, even when proper procedures were followed. Finally, of the 79% whose companies perform third-party audits of their retail foodservice establishments, 46% and 27% reported that they were aware of compliance issues of maintaining proper sanitizer concentrations or proper cleaning and sanitation using reusable towels, respectively, in 25% of these audits in the past 12 months; many also observed occasional or frequent repeat violations.
Of the 35 regulatory authorities who responded, 89% were from Texas, and 97% worked at a health department that allows the proper use of resusuable towels, as described above. Thirty-four individuals agreed that there was a potential risk of cross-contamination, even when proper procedures were followed, and 91% often saw improper storage of reusable towels. Many offered suggestions for improvements, whereas almost an equal number did not believe that improvements were needed. Finally, of the 46% who recalled past health inspections of foodservice establishments in the last 12 months, 39% and 46% were aware of compliance issues of maintaining proper sanitizer concentrations or proper cleaning and sanitation using reusable towels, respectively, in 25% of these inspections in the past 12 months; many also observed occasional or frequent repeat violations.
The call to action of this article is to of course know and use the proper procedures defined in the FDA Food Code when using reusable towels/cloths to clean and sanitize food contact surfaces and therefore reduce the risk of cross-contamination (including the critical separation of use and storage of reusable towels/cloths between raw animal and RTE food prep contact surface cleaning). However, it is self-evident to those who have used reusable towels/cloths in their cleaning and sanitation SOPs in foodservice and who have struggled with compliance with the requirements (even without the information in this article) that improvements could be made. These improvements (and research needed to validate the prevention of cross-contamination) could include:
•    Single-day use disposable wiping towels/cloths that do not absorb all current sanitizers in use
•    Reusable towels/cloths that prohibit biofilms/grease/oil/fats and pathogen survival on surfaces (antimicrobials built into the towel/cloth)
•    Validated towel/cloth laundering methods that eliminate biofilms/grease/oil/fats and kill pathogens
•    Food contact surface sanitizers (used to store towels/cloths) that kill all foodborne disease-causing pathogens including (but not inclusive of all) norovirus, C. perfringens, Listeria, hepatitis A, Campylobacter, and Salmonella
•    Sanitizer solution concentration-indicator technology or better methods to alert users when the sanitizer concentration has dropped below required levels
•    Single-use disposable wipes that kill all foodborne disease-causing pathogens for use on high-touch surfaces and lightly soiled food contact surfaces as replacements for reusable towels/cloths (it is likely that safe use of reusable towels/cloths would still be needed for cleaning heavily soiled equipment and other surfaces in foodservice establishments)
•    Improved color-coded storage of reusable towels/cloths for cleaning raw animal food prep surfaces (e.g., yellow container and yellow towels/cloths for raw chicken) and RTE food prep surfaces (white container and white towels/cloths)
In a future article, we will review and discuss these and other methods the foodservice industry is using to ensure all food contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized properly to prevent cross-contamination and foodborne disease outbreaks.      
The author thanks Jim Arbogast, Ph.D., of GOJO Industries and Hannah Bolinger, Ph.D., of PDI Healthcare/Sani Professional for their professional expertise on this topic.
Hal King, Ph.D., is president and CEO of Public Health Innovations. He is on the Editorial Advisory Board of Food Safety Magazine and can be reached at
1. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks, United States, 2015, Annual Report. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
2. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Recommendations and Reports, October 25, 2002/Vol. 51/No. RR-16.
3. FDA Food Code. 2017. “Recommendations of the United States Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration, National Technical Information Service Publication number IFS17.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
4. Best, M, ME Kennedy, and F Coates. 1990. “Efficacy of a Variety of Disinfectants against Listeria spp.” Appl Environ Microbiol 56(2):377–380.
5. Shen, C, et al. 2013. “Dynamic Effects of Free Chlorine Concentration, Organic Load, and Exposure Time on the Inactivation of Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157: H7, and Non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli.” J Food Prot 76(3):386–393.
6. Jono, K, et al. 1986. “Effect of Alkyl Chain Length of Benzalkonium Chloride on the Bactericidal Activity and Binding to Organic Materials.” Chem Pharm Bull 34(10):4215–4224.
7. Lambert, RJW and MD Johnston. 2001. “The Effect of Interfering Substances on the Disinfection Process: A Mathematical Model.” J Appl Microbiol 91(3):548–555.
8. AOAC International. 2013. “AOAC Official Method 960.09 – Germicidal and Detergent Sanitizing Action of Disinfectants.” Official Methods of Analysis of AOAC International. Gaithersburg, MD.
9. Kim, H, J-H Ryu, and LR Beuchat. 2007. “Effectiveness of Disinfectants in Killing Enterobacter sakazakii in Suspension, Dried on the Surface of Stainless Steel, and in a Biofilm.” Appl Environ Microbiol 73(40):1256–1265.
10. Svoboda, A, et al. 2016. “Effectiveness of Broad-Spectrum Chemical Produce Sanitizers against Foodborne Pathogens as in vitro Planktonic Cells and on the Surface of Whole Cantaloupes and Watermelons.” J Food Prot 79(4):524–530.
13. Gibson, KE, et al. 2012. “Removal and Transfer of Viruses on Food Contact Surfaces by Cleaning Cloths.” Appl Environ Microbiol 78(9):3037–3044.
14. Tebbutt, GM. 1986. “An Evaluation of Various Working Practices in Shops Selling Raw and Cooked Meats.” Epidemiol Infect 97(1):81–90.
15. Tebbutt, GM. 1988. “Laboratory Evaluation of Disposable and Reusable Disinfectant Cloths for Cleaning Food Contact Surfaces.” Epidemiol Infect 101(2):367–375.
16. Rutala, WA, et al. 2006. “Bacterial Contamination of Keyboards: Efficacy and Functional Impact of Disinfectants.” Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 27(4):372–377.
17. Hoffmann, S, B Maculloch, and B Batz. 2015. “Economic Burden of Major Foodborne Illnesses Acquired in the United States.” Economic Information Bulletin 140. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Washington, DC.

Lessons Learned: Careers in Food Safety
Source :
By Bob Ferguson
Lessons Learned:  Careers in Food Safety
Food Safety Insights has always been designed to uncover information and data about food safety practices and the markets that support them. We do this by asking you about your work and the issues you deal with on a regular basis. Because this column is about you and your work, we are always interested in what you like to hear about.
This column was inspired by a comment sent in to the Food Safety Matters podcast. A listener suggested that we ask food safety professionals what are the most important things they have learned during their careers—that is, what were their key lessons learned over the course of their food safety career?
So, we asked. And we received answers from more than 450 respondents across all types of food processing categories plus government, consulting, and laboratory professionals. The individuals responding also represented many specialties, including food safety, microbiology, chemistry, regulatory affairs, quality assurance/quality control, plant operations, general management, sales/marketing, training/teaching, and others with food safety experience, ranging from less than 1 year to more than 50 years, with a median level of experience of 18 years. 
This survey was unique compared with our previous surveys in that outside of a few demographic questions, we substantially asked only one question: What is your single most important “lesson learned” about food safety in your career?
There is some difficulty in characterizing qualitative data, especially answers to such an open-ended question. But we will attempt to categorize the answers and address a few of the “lessons” that we heard.
Take-Home Lessons
In what will not come as a surprise to many people, comments about culture and people were the most common. Most of these comments mentioned the need for buy-in from everyone in the company and creating a food safety culture that respects and values food safety at all levels. Without first creating such a top-to-bottom culture, everything else that needs to be done is made more difficult or even impossible. If you can get this buy-in, however, the respondents believe that the other factors more easily fall into place. Many of the comments mentioned the need to first get management’s buy-in. One respondent mentioned, “Everything is up to management. If senior management isn’t involved, nothing else is going to work.” But it was also recognized that culture is not solely a top-down affair and that everyone in the company needs to be involved. As another respondent mentioned, “You can have all the policies and procedures in the world; it doesn’t matter if the people on the floor don’t buy in. They can foil a plan just trying to do ‘what they’ve always done.’ It is a full team effort.”
Second, but only slightly behind culture, was the need for constant diligence and working proactively within your food safety program (Figure 1). Many emphasized that food safety can be impacted in many ways; you can never be sure where something could go wrong, so you should maintain your focus and diligence. “Food safety is a 365-24-7 activity… All the time, food safety is something to live, not to do.” And according to others, “You can never let up…” and “…you need to live food safety every day, not just on audit day!” The need to never compromise on fundamentals and never take shortcuts were also key themes, with one educator summarizing this idea very succinctly, saying, “If you do not have 15 seconds to take the temperature of food you are preparing to assure it is safe to consume—GET OUT OF FOOD-SERVICE!”
Never Stop Learning
In our poll, people also emphasized the importance of education and training, and how education has served them in their career. “Education is the most important factor in any food safety system,” mentioned one. The responses included not only initial education and training in terms of basic education and job skills training but also the roles that continuing education and “keeping up” play in maintaining a successful program. Many mentioned the constantly evolving nature of food safety technologies and processes, and to have the best program possible, you must be current in what new options are available to you and the best way to implement them to benefit your program. “Keep current with technological and testing advances, and pay attention to foodborne illness outbreaks and food product recalls to keep your food safety plan current,” said one, while another mentioned, “Taking training and educational courses to keep up with changing regulation and audit schemes is essential.” One respondent summed up these ideas very directly, saying, “Never, I mean NEVER, stop learning!”
People also frequently cited the importance of using good science and accurate testing to guide their programs. Many mentioned the importance of being “data-driven,” trusting only that which you can verify with data. Others mentioned the need to fully understand all the data that you get from various sources and not to simply accept any data solely as hard and fast numbers. Many factors in sampling, analysis, and analytical techniques can lead to errors and variability, and ignoring these factors can lead to misinterpretation. However, many mentioned the need to always question and “dig deeper.” One individual, alluding to test variability and the averaging of results, said, “Averages do not matter much, as someone will eat everything produced…consumer testing is 100%.”
One respondent focused their lesson on the practical application of all this knowledge, saying, “…when you know you are right, it is possible to argue with an inspector or regulator as long as you do it in a professional manner—regulators do listen.”
Other Important Learnings
Not surprisingly, many revealed that they have learned that sanitation—with a high number of responses specifically mentioning handwashing (by almost one-half of those who highlighted sanitation)—was the key to their program’s success, saying, “Never underestimate the importance of effective cleaning and sanitation processes” and “Nothing is ever clean enough!” One respondent seemed to pull together several elements of an integrated food safety system, training, employees, and sanitation by saying, “Well-planned sanitary design properly implemented enables well-trained and diligent people to do the right thing.”
Many people also emphasized the critical nature of food safety and the risks we are all called on to manage, recognizing that mistakes can literally be a matter of life or death. “There is no such thing as ‘too safe,’” said one, with another adding, “Others depend on me for safe food to eat.” One professional—a company chief science officer with 40 years of experience, said, as a guide to making your decisions, “Ask yourself the question ‘What is the worst that can happen, and can I live with that?’”
Many people also emphasized that their greatest lesson was the importance of communication. Since food safety culture and the importance of buy-in by everyone involved is essential to the success of a food safety program, it is important to have everyone understand exactly what the elements of the program and its goals are. Many mentioned the importance of being able to have frank and honest communications between all levels of an organization and across all departments. Many emphasized the need to “eliminate silos” and make sure that “food safety is everyone’s responsibility” and not just a function of the quality assurance or food safety department. The importance of listening at all levels was also key, with one person saying, “Listen to your employees. They are the ones doing the job, and they do care about making a safe product. If they see something that they feel is a concern, investigate it. It may be nothing or it may be a huge problem, but if you ignore the employee, they will likely not report a concern again and that could be disastrous.”
As we mentioned earlier, many people also emphasized the need to have senior management involved in their program and stressed the importance of having them understand why food safety is important and why it should be a priority. There is, of course, no shortage of stories of frustration on the part of food safety professionals trying to get senior management to listen and understand. Some emphasized the need to find a common language and talk to them on their terms. One respondent mentioned that what worked for her was to “…learn business acumen within the company that I worked for; to understand the language and business practices of the company was paramount in building a sense of buy-in for food safety practices and culture…” and “…it helped make me part of the team and not a siloed expert.”
This survey uncovered insightful lessons learned from food safety experts that we can all take as advice. It is interesting that most of the skills cited in these “lessons learned” are not scientific or technical, but are related to communication, culture, education, and execution. When looking for a way to summarize the comments to close the article, I found one comment that seemed to be particularly poignant and captured a great overall message:
“Food safety is a culture that we need to develop over time. It’s a journey for the leadership team (not only quality assurance) and employees with the expected vision to protect our consumers and the brand. Most of the skills required for this transformational change are not commonly taught in science programs at colleges or universities, and more work is needed in the industry.”
Well said.  
Bob Ferguson is president of Strategic Consulting Inc. and can be reached at or on Twitter at @SCI_Ferguson.

What Have We Learned about FSMA Implementation?
Source :
By Food Safety Magazine
What Have We Learned  about FSMA  Implementation?
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety legislation in over 70 years, was enacted in 2011, and its implementation is now underway. Through seven major substantive rules, FSMA introduced a paradigm shift in food safety by focusing on the prevention of food safety risks rather than on a response to crises after they happen. Each of the rules plays a specific role in the mandate of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to comprehensively regulate the food industry. FSMA requires transparency from the entire supply chain and fundamentally changes the way food is regulated in the U.S. and abroad, from farm to fork.
Given the wide-ranging impact of FSMA on the food industry, Food Safety Magazine convened an expert panel, moderated by Larry Keener of our Editorial Advisory Board, to address some of the more critical questions regarding FSMA implementation. Participating panelists were David W. K. Acheson, M.D., F.R.C.P., the Acheson Group, John M. Ryan, Ph.D., PCQI, Ryan Systems Inc., Dan Brooks, PCQI, food safety consultant, Willette M. Crawford, Ph.D., M.P.H., Katalyst Consulting LLC, Aurora A. Saulo, Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Tatiana Koutchma, Ph.D., Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Food Safety Magazine (FSM): Describe what you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the FSMA regulations.
David Acheson: The biggest strength of FSMA is that it has taken us into a comprehensive world of risk-based controls with a heavy focus on prevention. The inclusion of supply chain control and environmental control requirements for RTE [ready-to-eat] foods is a necessary focus in today’s food safety environment. The greatest weakness is that there are some key parts waiting for regulations, such as high-risk foods and the move toward greater requirements for product tracking. The recent romaine outbreak is a good example of that need. Obviously, the lack of resources for both education and inspections continues to be a weakness. I personally don’t like the fact that very small entities are not covered by FSMA; I would much rather they be covered but with more time and education to allow them to get it right. Similarly, the fact that juice and seafood are exempt adds more complexity where a one-size-fits-all approach would have been better.
John Ryan: FSMA regulations attempt to define a complex system-wide set of rules designed to move the food supply chain to improve over the next 50 years. Such changes generally take at least a generation to effectively implement. Current deadlines for “full implementation” are unrealistic.
With little or no ability to rapidly and cost-effectively detect primary hazards at the farm level, contaminants are set to travel through the supply chain with no traceability clearly defined or required. This leaves the public exposed and recall efforts lacking. Greater emphasis must be placed on low-cost, easy-to-implement hazard-detection tools (sampling) that can be put in the hands of farmers for early hazard detection. Traceability must be mandated, and food movement, identity, condition, and location information should be visible as real-time information.
When FDA teams get involved in recall investigations, they ignore “food safety” certificates and head straight for areas where they can take samples for laboratory analysis. These samples provide objective evidence. Food safety audits provide subjective information about food safety. If FDA leans solidly on objective sample data, so should the entire food chain. The industry is being misguided by old-timers in food safety and audit companies that do not shift to dependence on sampling in order to establish preventive control validity.
Dan Brooks: After years of Seafood and Juice HACCP [Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points] regulations, FSMA brings enhanced risk-based HACCP principles to all foods for a preventive, rather than reactive, approach to food safety. FSMA aligns U.S. food safety to global standards with the convenience of familiar certification protocols. On the downside, the FSMA regulation set seems complex, with complex implementation and exemption schedules.
Willette Crawford: Regarding FSMA’s weaknesses, I believe there are some unintended consequences and missed opportunities. Specifically, a more comprehensive, yet flexible, risk-based approach could have been employed for agricultural water in the Produce Safety rule. Additionally, I believe the size exemptions in the FSMA law developed by Congress miss the mark of prevention and shared responsibility across the supply chain. Additionally, the question of sufficient, skilled inspection resources to support implementation and enforcement is a weak point in the system. All things considered, there is always the opportunity to update regulations and adjust as scientific information evolves.
I believe some of FSMA’s strengths are as follows: FSMA articulates food safety objectives that were once vague in the implementing regulations and further clarifies the agency’s expectations through compliance guidance documents and training programs and tools. For example, produce growers are no longer left to their own devices to figure out what hazards are of main concern and what operational considerations need to be made when selecting appropriate control strategies. They now have FDA’s expectations and concerns communicated through guidance and the Produce Safety rule. Similarly, carriers in the transport industry and importers have now had their roles in the food safety equation explained for them.
FDA clarifies the shared responsibility throughout the supply chain through the seven finalized regulations that expand FDA’s jurisdiction to segments of the industry previously out of its reach. Such is the case for retailers that may now fall under FDA’s purview for the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) regulation. This shared accountability will help fill some of the gaps in our disjointed supply chain that were previously out of reach.
The flexible, goal-oriented approach of the FSMA regulations allows industry to implement creative, cost-effective controls appropriate to their scale and circumstances rather than follow one-size-fits-all requirements that may be inappropriate or out of reach.
Aurora Saulo: FSMA regulations are being implemented at an opportune time when the public is more aware of fitness and health issues, and of the causes of foodborne illness. The law becomes meaningful to the consumer during these times because they have heard, read, seen, experienced, or responded to issues related to the food they eat. They also generally agree with the rationale for the law, and certain groups are monitoring how it is enforced. That is a strength of FSMA.
To some, however, the introduction of FSMA implies that the U.S. had a widespread problem with the safety of the foods that are sold and consumed in the nation. And some expected the law to completely eliminate unsafe foods. Thus, when an outbreak occurred, the farmer, processor, wholesaler and retailer, and restaurant were often implicated as the most probable source of the illness. The consumer may be minimally mentioned. This unintended result may be construed as a weakness of FSMA, but no law is absolute or perfect. As trainers, we must communicate that food safety is a responsibility that everyone must bear, from the grower and harvester to the consumer. There are no exceptions.
Tatiana Koutchma: The weakness is that industry struggles with the interpretation of FSMA rules that can be quite broad and not sufficiently detailed. The strength is that industry is looking for new solutions or reconsidering and revising existing practices to comply with the rules. Often, industry is looking for long-term solutions and is willing to invest time and resources. Another strength is that during the lengthy rule-making process, FDA took the time to gather thousands of written comments and meet with stakeholders in person.
FDA has acknowledged that FSMA is imposing costs on the food industry, but it also makes the point that the goal is to eliminate foodborne illness outbreaks that are just as costly or more for the food industry.
FSM: What are we currently seeing with regard to FSMA enforcement? Do you think the FDA is capable of adequately enforcing the rules and providing validation guidelines for new technologies?
DA: There is not very much enforcement so far, but there are 483s being written around the lack of FSMA compliance. Of course, FDA is not capable of full enforcement for two reasons: lack of resources and lack of training of inspectors.
JR: Although the food side of FDA has recently received a limited increase in funding, FDA must rely on other agencies for enforcement assistance. It is doubtful that FDA can adequately enforce the complex system of FSMA statutes.
FDA seems to struggle with the concept of validation and apparently has presented no solidly established preventive control foundation. The emphasis is still on old-style HACCP concepts and a verification (inspection and audit)-based approach that wallows in subjectivity. Newer environmental sampling tools capable of helping supply chain members validate processes and procedures are required. The time lag between taking the sample and obtaining the results must be drastically shortened if supply chain members are expected to gain any semblance of preventive control.
DB: While FDA inspection activities abroad seem to have increased under FSMA, we have seen no evidence where any recent FDA inspections emphasized food safety plans or were triggered by foreign supplier verification information. This could mean that a) FDA is not yet strongly auditing against FSMA requirements, b) FDA-audited plants are compliant with FSMA requirements, or c) inspected plants were covered under other regulations such as Seafood HACCP or LACF [low acid canned food regulations].
WC: At this stage, some inspections are being conducted by FDA and its state partners. As communicated by FDA, inspections during the early phase of implementation are more educational in nature, providing a learning ground for industry to continue to improve while also providing training opportunities for the agency’s inspection force. This approach fosters a spirit of cooperation and partnership that marks a new posture from the agency that will certainly serve both groups moving forward.
AS: In the region that I serve, we are seeing some enforcement of FSMA rules. Enforcement activities from the state department of health, according to inspected food industry personnel, asked for HACCP plans instead of FSMA food safety plans. As of May 2018, this confusion has been corrected and the state department of health is accepting any food safety plan, regardless of how it is labeled or what it is called.
With proper training on the FSMA rules, FDA would be capable of adequate enforcement. Validation guidelines for new technologies may be more reasonably addressed by units within and external to FDA other than those involved in enforcement, and in partnership with academia, private industry, and others in the public sector.
TK: The current validation guidelines are very broad by nature and hard to find in the form of publications. From my experience, FDA is committed to work with industry and other partners on white papers and via task forces that will guide industry on the validation of new technologies. However, in many cases, FDA has to learn as it moves to higher levels of enforcement.
FSM: Are there any differences in rules/approaches between goods: fresh produce from the field versus prepacked products from the manufacturer?
DA: No fundamental differences: They are all risk based and prevention oriented.
JR: Surely. To some extent, farmers have been let off the hook. The problem is, the farm is the furthest upstream supply spot and the beginning of most evil. Ramming preventive controls downstream shows the inability of FDA to understand what needs to be done to prevent problems. Once the trash is dumped in the stream, it is impossible to clean out or control.
WC: FDA’s recognition of the need for different approaches based on product type and production conditions is reflected in several of the FSMA regulations. Operations that produce whole, intact raw agricultural commodities have a different set of considerations than processed, prepackaged products; hence, each is addressed in a different rule, while meeting the same food safety objective of minimizing reasonably foreseeable hazards.
Producers of prepackaged produce must adhere to the Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF) regulation, whose controls are more appropriately focused on control of the manufacturing environment and handling practices.
AS: There are no differences in the basic principles. Produce Safety (21 C.F.R. 112), however, is heavily focused only on biological hazards, whereas PCHF (21 C.F.R. 117) focuses on biological, chemical (including radiological), and physical hazards. As trainers, we teach these regulations as they are written but also alert those in the food industry to remain vigilant in recognizing and addressing current and reasonably foreseeable hazards in their food and facilities.
TK: First of all, FDA had to provide clear differentiation between certain on-farm procedures (e.g., crating, boxing, washing, and sorting) and food processing activities. Without clear differentiation, many farms would be required to register with FDA as food processors and, therefore, comply with PCHF. Standards for produce safety would apply to all foreign and domestic farming operations that intend to sell produce into U.S. markets.
FSM: What impact is implementation having on industry thus far? Which parts of FSMA implementation is the food industry struggling with the most?
DA: Struggles include how to employ an environmental management plan and manage zone 1 testing (which is not required). Supply chain control is also proving a struggle as is what to tell customers and what to demand of customers if the customer is controlling the risks.
JR: Food carriers, to some extent, have been left out of food safety drives, while farms, packers, processors, etc. have had several years to upgrade their food safety systems. This lag in experience with food safety requirements has left some carriers completely confused to the point that they are doing what receivers define and require to the exclusion of FSMA rules.
DB: The primary impact on local industry to date seems to be time spent in awareness and Preventive Controls-Qualified Individual (PCQI) training.
WC: FSMA has spurred a frenzy of activity within the regulated industry to get into compliance. I find many firms are still in the process of trying to update their existing programs to meet the FSMA requirements. I’ve observed many struggling with validation of their preventive controls, conversion of their existing HACCP plans to risk-based preventive controls plans and their current procurement practices into a compliant FSVP, or just determining whether they are subject to FSVP.
FSMA has had a positive impact also. There has been a tremendous infusion of attention and resources allocated to training to meet the PCQI requirements that state an individual must have the education, experience, or combination thereof necessary to perform the tasks assigned for product safety. This is driven also by the updated Current GMPs [Good Manufacturing Practices] that communicate FDA’s training expectations. I have also observed increased attention to areas that previously lacked adequate support or oversight, such as sanitary transport and sanitation.
AS: Some of the FSMA elements that the food industry is struggling with include laboratory analyses due to a limited number of available labs, identifying and organizing their programs (and the voluminous amount of data) in preparation for the development of FSMA food safety plans, and getting overwhelmed by the large number of “things to do” in order to pass future audits and inspections. As a result, many small food industry establishments look to consultants to develop their FSMA food safety plans so that they can remain available to manage the business. There remains a lack of understanding and acceptance that the safety of the food they produce precedes managing a food business. If the food they prepare is not safe, it is not a food. If there is no safe food, there is no food to sell.
TK: I hear the industry struggles with FSMA transportation rules and their interpretation and implementation.
FSM: What is FDA’s stance on compliance via GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) schemes at this stage of implementation? Is there sufficient training available for companies exporting to the U.S. to meet FSMA requirements?
DA: FDA seems to accept that meeting GFSI requirements puts a plant in a good place regarding FSMA Preventive Controls compliance. But having a GFSI certification does not yet reduce the likelihood of an FDA inspection. In my view, the GFSI standards are very similar to FSMA; where GFSI struggles is auditor competency, and thus FDA does not have as much confidence as they could on a GFSI audit. There is very little training available for foreign firms, and that is not likely to change due to resources.
JR: FDA seems to be somewhat incapable of competing with other compliance approaches. They do not seem to be getting the business-level and industry-wide buy-in that groups such as GFSI are achieving.
DB: National regulatory agencies and local trade associations have made efforts to ensure FSMA awareness on a local basis. Most major exporters in Asia have certifications under a GFSI program; therefore, they are mostly compliant with food safety plan requirements.
WC: FDA has contemplated use of third-party audits, such as those benchmarked by GFSI, as part of its overall compliance strategy, particularly to foster compliance with the Produce Safety rule; however, they have clearly communicated that compliance to such standards does not ensure full FSMA compliance. The agency has stated in many forums its intention to work with the produce industry and other partners to improve the rigor and reliability of private audits. To this end, FDA has held several public meetings and a 2-day public hearing on the role of strategic partnerships for improving the safety of imported food where questions about the role of private certification schemes and third-party audits for supporting FSMA compliance were discussed. The 2017 public hearing differed in tone than previously expressed at public meetings, with the agency communicating greater interest in working with GFSI and private third-party schemes.
FDA also has been in dialogue with GFSI to determine whether audits and certain schemes can serve as an appropriate verification activity under FSVP for produce. As such, the agency is working to understand auditor competency requirements and oversight of the program for alignment with FSMA. Additionally, FDA is gathering information through a pilot program with third-party auditors under the FSMA Accredited Third-Party Certification Program.
On the matter of whether there is sufficient training for exporters, there has been a proliferation of consultants and technical trainers, as well as programs offered through universities and trade associations. Though readily available in a variety of platforms and formats, many are not sufficient, as I observe many individuals attempting to deliver these services without being a PCQI themselves and lacking the education, and/or practical experience to truly connect the concepts for participants in a meaningful way.
AS: In the region I serve, GFSI requirements currently accept only HACCP plans from audited establishments. Food industry personnel who received training on PCHF and are developing or have developed their FSMA food safety plans are now asking to attend in-classroom HACCP courses so that they may also demonstrate compliance with an HACCP course certificate. HACCP plans are not required by U.S. law, but FSMA food safety plans are. There needs to be harmonization in the implementation of these requirements.
Those who are importing food and food materials are generally aware that there are FSVP requirements. Since FSVP training is not required by FSMA, food processors do not seem interested in taking the FSVP course. This might change when auditors and inspectors look for FSVP compliance.
TK: To my knowledge, FDA offers a comprehensive and evolving training strategy through public and private alliances. Exporting companies can find the specific programs that meet their needs; the training opportunities are very broad and easy to find. The Institute of Food Technologists offers a number of resources and updated courses for FSMA training.
Food companies are sending personnel from a variety of areas such as transportation, trade, and the executive suite to FSMA training.
FSM: Exceptions to the FSMA rules are helpful to small businesses, but are we sending the right message about food safety?
DA: Absolutely not. This decision was political and not based on public health.
JR: No. Food safety is a universal issue regardless of company size. While the lobbyists may have won this one in 2011, the concept of small-business exclusion is inconsistent at best.
DB: I would agree that we might be sending the wrong message given the growth of small “boutique” processors, such as organic, raw milk, etc., given their risk potential.
WC: While I believe regulations should be somewhat flexible to allow an operation to determine the most appropriate methods to meet regulatory requirements and produce safe food, I think this flexibility should not just be a factor of size but rather the diversity of practices and conditions that exist in the industry.
Food safety hazards can occur in any-size operation, and all consumers should be afforded safe food. On the basis of risk, small-scale and local operations should employ the same practices and types of controls as larger players to ensure a safe supply chain. Though there may be differences and some constraints for smaller players to navigate, the same care should be taken to protect public health and their brand.
Further, FDA provides tools to support smaller operations’ food safety management systems through development of guidance documents and other resources.
AS: Many small food businesses feel targeted by FSMA. They feel that it is their size that will drive them out of the marketplace. They seek exemptions as a legal way not to spend their already limited funds to meet FSMA requirements, at least for a certain time period. As trainers, we emphasize that although there are exemptions, having a food safety plan is good business and will be received favorably by consumers.
TK: According to FSMA, covered facilities have a number of years to comply with the regulations, based upon business size. The regulations also establish compliance dates for the CGMP requirements a year prior to the deadline for implementing the Preventive Controls requirements, meaning that small businesses have more time to comply. Giving small companies less time wouldn’t improve the situation.
FSM: How do the other countries react to the U.S. FSMA regulations? Canada, Australia, and New Zealand try to meet them, but how about others?
DA: Others are accepting them if they want to do business with the U.S. Some struggle quite a bit, and I think many don’t even understand what has to be done or how to do it. There is not much help unless they pay for it.
JR: Many are attempting to duplicate or adapt to the FSMA schemes. Others are further ahead (e.g., EU). Rapidly evolving countries like China are struggling with antiquated systems that leave them playing catch-up. One might expect that China will leapfrog FSMA since they have a more authoritarian approach to enforcement.
DB: This includes awareness workshops in the local languages. In Thailand, the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodities and Food Standards is working to become a FSMA-accreditation body.
WC: Some countries have achieved comparability recognition from FDA, while a few others attempt the process. Other countries like Mexico acknowledge the importance of FSMA compliance and pursue dual paths of educating their industry on FSMA while pursuing the development of national standards that comply with every other country in the world.
Ultimately, I think FDA’s commitment to partnering with regulatory authorities in other countries is generally welcomed and is seen as an encouraging means to collaboration, mutual understanding, and building reciprocal regulatory cooperation tools that foster cooperation and better protect the supply chain.
AS: Some countries (e.g., Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand) with food manufacturers exporting their products to the United States are generally aware of FSMA and are taking FSMA courses to learn how to comply. There is confusion on the different terminologies used and associated with FSMA. For example, some ask for HARPC [Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls] training or a PCQI course. As trainers, we need to explain that what is important is to ensure that the training session uses a curriculum that meets the FSMA training requirements
TK: I am well aware about the focus on food security and FSMA in South America, especially in Brazil. Brazil is also looking at Codex Alimentarius as the main international regulation for trade.
FSM: Has the Foreign Supplier Verification Program demonstrated the capacity to reduce the public health burden associated with imported food and food ingredients?
DA: Not yet, but it will in time.
JR: I haven’t seen any data on this one, but we love to point fingers, and it is easier to point fingers at foreign suppliers than it is to clean up our own house.
DB: I think it’s too early to say. But experience (from Seafood HACCP) is that FSMA regulatory action can be driven largely by assessing the supplier verification programs kept on record in the offices of U.S. domestic importers.
WC: I think FSMA overall, and particularly FSVP, has positively impacted the public health burden associated with imported foods and ingredients; however, it is a bit early to determine its true impact as we are still relatively early in the implementation phase.
The outreach efforts to prepare industry for compliance raise the bar by ensuring a common understanding of FDA’s expectations and the risk-based hazard approach required for imported foods and ingredients. That alone is noteworthy and encouraging.
AS: The FSVP has good intentions to contribute to the protection of public health from imported food and food ingredients. Certain foreign suppliers, however, consider FSVP requirements so tedious that they are choosing not to supply U.S. processors, leaving some American processors vulnerable to higher pricing or having no suppliers at all. Some foreign suppliers also consider their HACCP plan or third-party audit results as proprietary information and would not share them with their U.S. buyers, who then resort to an audit of the supplier as the only viable option to demonstrate food safety. Operating costs increase and FSVP increasingly becomes a hardship to U.S. businesses.
TK: According to Food Safety News, the total costs being imposed on importers are $434.7 million on an annual basis. FDA could not quantify how much it might save.
It’s certain that the FSVP rule is complicated in its final version. Should records be accepted only in English, or should importers be permitted to present records first in their native language and only later provide the English versions? The final rule went with giving importers more time to provide documents in English.
FSM: With more food being delivered by UPS, mail, or FedEx, do you perceive any threats to food safety?
DA: Yes, most certainly. Some companies operating in this space do not have a good handle on time/temperature control. There seems to be wide variation in how such firms manage the risk during transport.
JR: Time will tell on this one. With so many companies jumping into “last mile” food delivery systems, many unanticipated changes and challenges are impacting food distribution sectors. One of the primary reasons cited by the FDA for FSMA is the dynamic food distribution shift. Now this change has hit the preconsumer acceptance level. Anything can and probably will happen.
WC: There has been a proliferation of food and meal delivery services to meet the growing consumer demand for convenience and fresher foods. Though these options are readily available and use common shipping carriers such as UPS, FedEx, and U.S. mail, they do not assume responsibility for the handling of perishable products; thus, there is a lack of care and attention to basic food safety principles, such as time/temperature controls, accurate and complete labeling and product information, cross-contamination, and appropriate packaging. A recent Rutgers and Tennessee State University study examining such operations found serious deficiencies within these operations.
AS: The more handling our food receives, the higher the risk of exposure to different hazards impacting its safety for human and animal consumption, including the risk of tampering. Incidents of economic fraud, even if they do not impact food safety, may likewise increase.
TK: There is a possibility that delivery by mail will create more food safety risks in high-risk food categories. The focus of Amazon is freshness. “AmazonFresh guarantees every product will be delivered to your home well within the manufacturer’s recommended use by, sell by, best by, or expiration date.”
FSM: What can we expect going forward with regard to collaboration with states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on FSMA enforcement?
DA: More collaboration between states and FDA for sure. Not sure about USDA-FSIS [Food Safety and Inspection Service], but I suspect that AMS [Agricultural Marketing Service] will get more into the act as they did with the LGMA [Leafy Green Marketing Agreement].
JR: Unknown.
DB: I think it will largely depend on budget and training constraints.
WC: We can expect to see FDA continue to collaborate with USDA and state agencies to implement and enforce FSMA regulations. FDA has emphasized collaboration as a main pillar of its FSMA strategy and has worked to strengthen ties with state agencies and allocate resources to support their FSMA efforts to enhance the agency’s involvement with the regulated industry.
FDA and USDA announced a formal agreement in January of this year to bolster coordination and collaboration on produce safety and biotechnology. The aim of the agreement is to streamline regulatory responsibilities and use resources more efficiently to protect public health by reducing the number of establishments subject to regulatory requirements of both USDA and FDA.
FDA is coordinating with state and/or territorial government agencies, which will conduct most farm inspections under the Produce Safety rule. Additionally, FDA along with the USDA has funded a network of public and private partners in state, federal, tribal and international governments, industry, and academia for the development and delivery of training to support FSMA compliance by making FSMA training accessible and comprehensive.
AS: Just as in previous rules on FDA-regulated foods (e.g., LACF, acidified foods, Juice and Seafood HACCP), it is conceivable that USDA will adopt or use as a model with minimal modifications, if any, FSMA rules for enforcement on the foods they regulate. This action will also highlight the intent of FSMA that the new law is a partnership, not only among regulatory agencies but also with the private sector, academia, individual businesses, and the consumer. But we all just have to wait and see.
TK: FSMA forces FDA and USDA to enhance their collaboration and cooperation on produce safety activities. The formal agreement was signed in 2018 and tasks both agencies with identifying ways to streamline regulation and reduce inspection inefficiencies. This can reduce costs on industry and free government resources to better target efforts to areas of risk.
We would like to thank all the panelists for their insightful comments and engaging discussion.
David W. K. Acheson, M.D., F.R.C.P., is the president and CEO of the Acheson Group.
John M. Ryan, Ph.D., PCQI, is the founder and president of Ryan Systems Inc.
Dan Brooks, PCQI, is regional food safety consultant, John Bean Technologies (International) Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand.
Willette M. Crawford, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the founder and principal consultant of Katalyst Consulting LLC.
Aurora A. Saulo, Ph.D., is a professor and Extension Specialist in Food Technology of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Tatiana Koutchma, Ph.D., is a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Larry Keener is the president and CEO of International Product Safety Consultants and a member of the Food Safety Magazine Editorial Advisory Board.

Hygiena expands its food safety testing portfolio
Source :
By (Aug 15, 2018)
Hygiena has acquired Biomedal’s Food Safety division, which will expand the company’s food safety and environmental sanitation testing portfolio to include gluten intolerant testing.
Biomedal offers a wide range of allergen tests including the GlutenTox product line which contains the highly specific G12 antibody that detects the most immunogenic component that is responsible for gluten intolerance.
The new division, which will continue to be based in Seville, will provide more than 20 specific allergen tests available as a sensitive enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) format or a simple dipstick format that can be easily used to verify cleaning efforts and test finished products.
It will continue to use its existing product distribution network under the name Hygiena Diagnóstica España S.L, but Biomedal Food Safety employees will become employees of Hygiena.
“We are excited to welcome the new team to Hygiena and look forward to serving our global food and beverage customers with a wider food safety testing portfolio,” said Steven Nason, Chief Executive Officer of Hygiena. “Our allergen business has been growing rapidly and customers around the world have been asking us for a wider array of allergen tests. With this acquisition of Biomedal Food Safety, we now offer an allergen line that is best in class. We will continue investing in new product research and development and further expand our allergen product portfolio.”

USDA: Food safety tips for the classroom
Source :
By Jordan Dressman (Aug 14, 2018)
USDA - It’s the start of the new school year, which means new teachers, a bunch of homework assignments and the never-ending dilemma of what to include to make a healthy and safe school lunch.  
“As a mother, I understand the stress that comes with the start of a new school year, but preparing a safe lunch doesn’t have to be a challenge,” said Carmen Rottenberg, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA. “Simple steps like washing your hands and keeping food at the correct temperature can stop the spread of bacteria and keep your children safe from foodborne illness.”
Handwashing is the first and easiest step to avoid foodborne illnesses. A recent study by USDA found that 97 percent of the times participants should have washed their hands they did not do so correctly or at all. This poor hand hygiene caused participants to cross-contaminate other spice containers, refrigerator handles, even ready-to-eat foods and other areas of their kitchen when tested with a harmless tracer bacteria.
Because bacteria can live on surfaces for up to 32 hours, it’s easy to contaminate sandwich bread and lunch meat when preparing your child’s lunch. But this can be avoided by following a few basic food safety tips.
Back to School Food Safety Tips
- Make sure lunch bags and coolers are clean before packing. Pack moist towelettes so children can clean hands before and after eating.
- Use an insulated lunch bag or cooler and at least two cold sources, such as freezer packs, for lunches that contain perishable food items like luncheon meats, eggs, cheese or yogurt. This will help keep food safely cold at 40°F or below until lunch time.
- If packing a hot lunch, like soup, chili or stew, use an insulated container to keep it hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and then put in the piping hot food. Tell children to keep the insulated container closed until lunchtime to keep the food at 140°F or above.
- For safety, instruct children to discard all leftover food and used food packaging.
Food Safety Basics
- Clean: Wash hands with soap and warm water, and surfaces with soap and hot water before and after handling food. Rinse raw produce in water before eating, cutting or cooking.
- Separate: Avoid spreading bacteria from one food product to another. Use two separate cutting boards — one for raw meat and poultry, and one for produce or ready to eat foods.
- Cook: The only way to make sure meat and poultry is safe to eat is to ensure it reaches the safe minimum internal temperature needed to destroy harmful bacteria. If sending soups, stews or chili to school, be sure to heat the food to 165°F, as measured by a food thermometer, before pouring it into an insulated container.
- Chill: At room temperature, bacteria in food can double every 20 minutes. To avoid this, make sure to chill all perishable foods within two hours (one hour in temperatures above 90°F). Discard any perishable foods that were left at room temperature longer than that.
Consumers can learn more about key food safety practices at

UV Light-Emitting Diodes: The Upcoming Solution for Enhanced Food Safety
Source :
By Tatiana Koutchma, Ph.D., Andrew Green, B.Sc., and Vladimir Popovic, M.Sc.
UV Light-Emitting Diodes: The Upcoming Solution for Enhanced Food Safety
Ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection is a well-established technology for the treatment of air, water, and surfaces. In the last decade, UV technology has found more applications in the food production chain because it is an economic, effective, and versatile dry processing method that can potentially improve both food safety and the preservation of quality parameters. By definition, UV light is part of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum in the range from 180 to 400 nm that is further divided into UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C diapasons. In the UV-C or germicidal diapason between 180 and 280 nm, UV light can inactivate bacteria, viruses, cysts, mold, and yeasts. Photon absorption by microbial DNA at wavelengths from 240 to 280 nm induces DNA damage and sublethal damage to DNA repair systems.
The traditional way to generate UV-C light is using high-voltage, arc-discharge mercury or amalgam lamps that can generate photons solely at 253.7 nm. These quartz glass lamps with efficiencies of between 30 and 35 percent are broadly used for disinfection, but they are not food plant friendly because they require significant setup, maintenance, and control in this environment with a limited lifetime up to 18,000 hours. Light-emitting diodes or LEDs are semiconductor devices that can also emit UV-C light, but depending on the material properties of the diodes, they can emit photons at multiple wavelengths in the range between 255 and 365 nm. Visible (blue, green, and white) and infrared LEDs became commonplace in many electronics, curing, and lighting applications because of their extremely high efficiencies (up to 80%) and long lifetimes (around 100,000 hours). The germicidal effects of UV-C LEDs against bacteria, viruses, and fungi have already been demonstrated and reported, along with the first applications for disinfection of air, water, and surfaces made for “point of use” integration. Despite limited lifetimes and the fact that there are currently no commercial applications in food production, UV-C LEDs are the next wave in the LED revolution that can have numerous advantages for safety of food products and food plant facilities. Potentially, UV-C LEDs could be used for the treatment of beverages, disinfection of produce surfaces, packaging, and other food contact and noncontact surfaces. Some unique advantages of UV-C LEDs for food applications are discussed below.
Improved Inactivation Efficacy at Optimal UV-C Wavelengths
UV LEDs can be made to generate continuous light at the optimal germicidal wavelength tuned against specific microorganisms. Ongoing research at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) evaluated the effectiveness of UV LEDs emitting between 259 and 370 nm against three common food pathogens: Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica, and Listeria monocytogenes.[1] UV-C LEDs emitting light in the approximate range of 259 to 265 nm were found to have the greatest efficacy in terms of bacterial inactivation but do not have good power output, with some strains of Salmonella remaining sensitive to wavelengths up to 289 nm. Also, it has been shown that tested organisms exhibited peak UV sensitivity at different wavelengths. Among the three pathogenic bacteria, S. enterica diarizonae and E. coli O157:H7 exhibited the highest overall UV sensitivities, which occurred at 259 nm. In contrast, L. monocytogenes peaked in UV sensitivity at 268 nm. The inactivation data between 253.7 and 370 nm were used to construct action spectra for the tested pathogenic and nonpathogenic strains. Figure 1[1] shows the UV action spectra of L. monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7, and S. enterica diarizonae.
Therefore, the emitted wavelengths of UV LEDs in a food safety application can be adjusted for maximum efficacy against common food pathogens. In addition, UV-A LEDs at 365 nm and/or near UV wavelengths (405, 460, and 520 nm) were shown to reduce Salmonella on fruit; however, a significantly higher UV-A dose is typically required compared with the doses in the UV-C range.[2]
In some cases, germicidal efficacy can also be improved by combining different UV wavelengths to produce a synergistic effect and tuned to match the most effective inactivation in a given environment. For example, it has been shown that some strains of Listeria and E. coli are more sensitive to UV treatment at 259 and 289 nm applied simultaneously compared with either wavelength applied alone. This probably causes a hurdle effect due to the specific wavelengths damaging different cellular structures, compounding stress.
Shelf-Life Extension
UV-C LEDs can become a promising new UV source in the fresh produce industry due to the risks associated with food poisoning and by simultaneously extending produce storability and minimizing losses. For example, scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture tested UV LEDs in the range of 285 to 305 nm to extend the shelf lives of fresh fruits and vegetables in domestic refrigerators. A shelf life increase of two times was achieved using 20 mW/m2 of power output.[3] It has also been shown by Allende et al.[4] that UV LEDs can reduce natural microflora on lettuce leaves, thereby extending shelf life. In our current research, we have found that at the equivalent UV dose exposure, the 277 nm UV LEDs were at least as effective in reducing mold spores on the skin of apples as a low-pressure mercury (LPM) lamp at 253.7 nm.
Operating Advantages
Miniature, robust, and operating with low electrical power, UV LEDs can be manufactured with a highly stable output, operating at the optimum wavelength for the application. In addition, LEDs are mercury free, with no warm-up time and a potentially long lifetime that can make them ideal for a variety of processing solutions. Also, UV LEDs can be used in cold environments, as they have shown to increase power output as temperatures approach 0 °C, which further increases their versatility in terms of apparatus design. It has been shown that UV LEDs emitting at 268 nm can inactivate the psychrotolerant pathogen L. monocytogenes more effectively at refrigeration temperatures compared with room temperature due to the increased irradiance of UV LEDs at cold temperatures.[1] This is in contrast to LPMs, which decrease in power output as temperature decreases.
Potential High Efficiency and Energy Savings
To displace the incumbent mercury-based technology, UV-C LEDs require further development to improve device efficiency, lifetime, and cost. The biggest challenge with UV-C LEDs emitting at wavelengths shorter than 265 nm is that they are still weak light emitters. It is therefore important to consider the current trade-off between germicidal efficacy and power output (i.e., efficiency). Figure 2[1] shows the change in irradiance plotted against germicidal efficacy (in terms of log count reduction) of UV LEDs emitting at wavelengths between 259 and 365 nm against E. coli O157:H7.
The relationship between cost, power output, and inactivation efficacy of UV-C LEDs is an important consideration when selecting a UV treatment wavelength. UV LEDs also have a shorter lifetime—approximately 2,000 and 10,000 hours to reach 70 percent initial power output for UV-C LEDs emitting at 255 and 275 nm, respectively, compared with approximately 12,000–18,000 hours for an LPM lamp.
As UV-C LED efficiency improves at a lower cost of production and their lifetime increases, they will begin to replace existing UV-C lamps as a cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternative to save energy and improve safety and shelf life of produced foods from field to fork.
Flexibility of Applications for Experiments and Processing Solutions
Multiple-wavelength UV LED chips have great potential for use in benchtop-scale validation experiments. Their small size means they can be easily integrated into a collimated beam apparatus for the purpose of studying microbial inactivation kinetics at multiple wavelengths and wavelength optimization on surfaces and in liquid solutions. The UV LED collimated beam unit (Figure 3) was used to select the optimal inactivation wavelengths against three food pathogenic organisms and find appropriate nonpathogenic surrogates. This unit consisted of an array containing three LEDs of each wavelength with thermal management, collimated tube, stand, and Petri dish, which allows testing in controlled conditions and measured UV exposure.
The selected LED chips can then be used in customized devices at higher irradiance to scale up disinfection processes by establishing the operating UV doses for specific product applications and intended technical effects. An example of a UV disinfection box that allows treating whole fresh produce samples is shown in Figure 4. It also can be used for the purposes of the process validation and studies of the effects of product- and process-critical parameters.
UV-C LED chips enable flexible modular design over rigid lamps and their required bulky ballasts. UV-C LEDs can easily be incorporated into simple water filters, providing a highly effective solution for potable water needs that is easy to install and use with minimal supervision, maintenance, and space. Also, UV LED modules can be installed in areas where current UV lamps cannot be used, such as cold storage facilities, transport, and small disinfection apparatuses.
Upsizing from Bench-Scale to Industrial Disinfection Applications
Within the next decade or so, UV LEDs will quite likely fill many of the roles that LPM lamps currently fill in terms of UV-mediated safety solutions for liquids and surfaces. Modular devices use UV-A LEDs for industrial curing purposes. Replacing these chips with UV-C LEDs emitting a germicidal wavelength offers such devices potential for use in the disinfection of food products moving along a conveyor as well as the conveyor itself.
There is also the potential to integrate germicidal UV LEDs into industrial water and beverage disinfection. Currently, UV light is one of the most popular disinfection methods for municipal drinking water and wastewater. Replacing LPM lamps in these disinfection apparatuses with energy-efficient UV LEDs could result in significant energy savings for these municipalities while eliminating the risk of lamp breakage leading to mercury contamination of the water. UV LEDs could also be integrated into water-assisted disinfection of solid food, where the food (usually fresh or minimally processed produce) is submerged in water under constant agitation, and the entire rinse is exposed to UV light. UV LEDs could also be used in place of LPM lamps in certain devices that use UV light to disinfect produce submerged in water, agitated by air jets (Figure 5).
Current AAFC Research
At the AAFC, we are currently investigating the efficacy of 277 nm UV LEDs for the inactivation of the foodborne pathogens E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes, and mold spores on the surfaces of romaine lettuce and apples. Through the initial examination of the antimicrobial efficacy and power outputs of various wavelengths of UV LEDs, we have concluded that UV-C LEDs in the range of 275–280 nm have the current optimal trade-off between cost, lifetime, germicidal efficacy, and power output, as shown in Figure 2.
The 277 nm UV LEDs may also be more effective than LPM lamps emitting 253.7 nm light due to the greater penetration of longer UV wavelengths through both liquid and solid food matrices.
So far, it has been determined that 277 nm light from these UV LEDs can achieve the same maximum log reduction against L. monocytogenes on the surfaces of apples at a significantly smaller dose compared with the 253.7 nm light emitted from an LPM lamp. Therefore, it is worth investigating the efficacy of these UV LEDs as well as LEDs of similar wavelengths for potentially greater microbial inactivation and shelf-life extension.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the advantages of UV-C LEDs over LPM lamps. The data generated can be used to optimize UV treatment, improving inactivation efficacy and saving on treatment time and costs. No doubt, those UV LEDs present a new technological solution with potential for control of food pathogens and spoilage organisms throughout the supply chain from farm to fork. Further systematic engineering developments and approaches are necessary for industrial implementation. 
Tatiana Koutchma, Ph.D., is a research scientist in novel food processing at the AAFC. She is graduate faculty at University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, a member at large of the Nonthermal Processing Division of the Institute of Food Technologists, and Canadian Ambassador to the Global Harmonization Initiative.  
Andrew Green, B.Sc., is working toward an M.Sc. degree at University of Guelph focusing on the use of novel methods and technologies for UV-mediated inactivation of foodborne pathogens on the surfaces of fresh and minimally processed produce.
Vladimir Popovic, M.Sc., joined the AAFC in 2014 and has been working in novel food processing technologies and coauthored several research manuscripts.
1. Green, A, et al. 2018. “Inactivation of Escherichia coli, Listeria, and Salmonella by Single and Multiple Wavelength Ultraviolet Light-Emitting Diodes.” Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies 47:353–361.
2. Kim, MJ, WS Bang, and HG Yuk. 2017. “405 ± 5 nm Light Emitting Diode Illumination Causes Photodynamic Inactivation of Salmonella spp. on Fresh-Cut Papaya without Deterioration.” Food Microbiol 62:124–132.
4. Allende, A, et al. 2006. “Effectiveness of Two-Sided UV-C Treatments in Inhibiting Natural Microflora and Extending the Shelf-Life of Minimally Processed ‘Red Oak Leaf’ Lettuce. Food Microbiol 23(3):241–249.

Food Allergies and Celiac Disease
Source :
By Food Safety Magazine
Food Allergies and  Celiac Disease
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 15 million Americans are affected by food allergies, and allergic reactions are responsible for 30,000 emergency room visits every year.[1] Approximately 4 in every 100 American children have a food allergy.[2]
An allergic reaction happens when a food-allergic person’s immune system recognizes proteins in certain foods and causes the body to react in ways that can be quite damaging, even life threatening. Many reactions are caused when a food-allergic person eats a nonallergenic food that has come into contact, directly or indirectly, with an allergen.
There is also the autoimmune disorder celiac disease. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,3 celiac disease affects about 1 percent of Americans—roughly the population of Connecticut. Although celiac disease can manifest itself in many ways (including damage to nearly every major organ system), all patients experience one common symptom: destruction of the interior lining of the intestines by the body’s own immune system. The only treatment for celiac disease is to avoid gluten, a protein structure found in wheat, barley, and rye.
Major Food Allergens
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lists eight common food items that cause 90 percent of food-allergic reactions in the U.S.: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans (Figure 1[4]). These food items are known as the “major food allergens,” or “Big Eight.” Allergic reactions have also been connected to various fruits, spices, food additives like sulfites and monosodium glutamate, and other common ingredients like molluscan shellfish, corn, seeds, and gelatin.
Controlling Allergens on the Production Line
Food manufacturers must evaluate their operations to recognize and develop plans to control allergens. All aspects of a manufacturing operation must be evaluated to ensure that Critical Control Points have been identified. Evaluation for allergen hazards (a chemical hazard) should be part of the company’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plan. Additionally, the following steps are essential to control cross-contamination with allergens:
•    Train your team. Teach employees about the major food allergens and where they are found in your operation. Training personnel from management and researchers to line production employees will help ensure that risks associated with allergens are fully understood.
•    Monitor your processes. It is important to have an ongoing monitoring system to verify that all Critical Control Points are being consistently met. Dedicate production systems to handle only allergen or nonallergen products.
•    Redesign the product flow. Ensure that allergenic ingredients are added at the end of a production line, limiting equipment exposure. Design production lines to isolate allergen-addition points, dedicate refeed systems, ensure product containment, and eliminate crossover of conveyor lines.
•    Design and install equipment for easier cleaning, inspection, and maintenance. Improved design enhances cleanability, decreasing the risk of allergen cross-contamination.
•    Use separate or recently cleaned and sanitized equipment. Did you know that your normal cleaning and sanitizing processes can remove food allergen proteins?[5] An even better practice is to maintain separate surfaces and items specifically for allergen-free food preparation.
Implementing an allergen control plan in your food processing plant is essential to avoid allergen cross-contamination and potentially damaging recalls and adverse or even fatal physiological reactions in consumers.
The number of people with food allergies continues to grow, presenting both a challenge and an opportunity for food manufacturers. Using reliable test kits to accurately detect potential allergen contamination has become a critical necessity for food producers. The increased availability of food allergen test kits allows the reliable detection of allergens in food products, helping safeguard the food supply.  
Food Safety Magazine thanks Emilee Follett, CP-FS, CCFS, from StateFoodSafety for her expertise.

Don’t let food-safety slips ruin your cookout
Source :
By Ellie Krieger / The Washington Post (Aug 14, 2018)
It’s challenging for me to completely relax at a typical backyard cookout or pool party because I feel I have been endowed with a burdensome superpower: I see food-safety blunders.
As I scan the sunny scene of revelers in shorts and sundresses clinking glasses of rosé and nibbling finger foods, the radar in my mind inevitably homes in on a hot spot. The host is basting steaks on the grill with the marinade the meat sat in for hours, so I guess I’ll be sticking with the vegetarian option.
I tend to spy several such situations at any given outdoor event, and it’s not just me being persnickety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people in the United States get sick from food-borne illness each year, and summer is high season.
While there are myriad causes for these illnesses throughout the food-supply chain, improper food handling at home is among them, and the one over which we have the most control.
As you plan your next summer gathering, keep it truly healthy by taking note of these five common food-safety mistakes and how to avoid them. However, consider yourself forewarned: After reading this, you may become a keen food-safety spotter yourself. To lift that weight from your shoulders and breathe easy at a summer shindig, pass this information on to everyone you know.
Basting with the marinade
A golden rule of food safety is not to let juices from raw meat, poultry or fish come in contact with ready-to-eat foods. Raw items may contain a multitude of different disease-causing bacteria, most of which are killed off through cooking. If you baste with a used marinade, germs in it might not be cooked long enough to be destroyed, especially if you are basting when the food is nearly done.
There are two ways to use a marinade safely as a basting liquid: When you initially prepare the marinade, reserve some in a separate container for basting, or, once you remove the raw food from a marinade, you can put it into a saucepan on the stove and bring it to a boil.
Since even a clean marinade comes in contact with undercooked meat via the brush when basting, avoid basting toward the end of cooking and toss out any leftover basting liquid.
Guessing foods’ doneness
There is a relatively small range of temperatures when meat, poultry and fish are cooked thoroughly enough to be safe to eat, but not so much that they are dry and tough. Newsflash: The commonly applied method of poking the food with a finger is not the best way to determine doneness (especially if that finger is on an unwashed hand, but more on that soon).
The only way to be sure the temperature is just right is to use a food thermometer. If you don’t have one, it is well worth the roughly $10 cost of an instant-read thermometer.
The Agriculture Department-recommended safe minimum cooking temperatures are: 145 degrees for steaks and chops (with a three-minute rest time), 160 degrees for ground meat, 160 degrees for poultry and 145 degrees for fish. That doesn’t mean you won’t ultimately opt to cook your steak medium-rare (about 135 degrees) if that’s how you prefer it, just like you might eat your eggs with the yolks runny despite a government warning. But at least you will be doing it knowingly and without a dirty finger.
Not switching utensils
Cooking food to the perfect temperature doesn’t do much good safety-wise if you are transferring bacteria right back onto that food by using the same utensils and dishes that you used for the raw ingredients.
Think double when cooking out: Have two sets of tongs, spatulas and plates at the ready, one designated for raw food, and the other for cooked food. It’s even better if they are somewhat different from each other — a different color handle or brand — so you can easily distinguish them.
Dirty hands
One reason there is more food poisoning in the summer is because more cooking and eating are done outside, away from running water, and therefore more likely with unwashed hands.
If you are hosting a cookout or pool party, keep hand wipes and sanitizer (with a minimum of 60 percent alcohol) in easy reach of food-prep areas.
To minimize contamination from guests’ hands, have enough serving utensils (please put a spoon in that bowl of nuts and tongs in the chip bowl) and keep wipes and sanitizer out for them, too. Don’t think a dip in a pool, lake or ocean leaves you with clean hands. There are plenty of germs in those bodies of water that you wouldn’t want to come in contact with food. So wash your hands before cooking or eating, even after swimming.
Keeping food out too long
Leaving food out for way more than a couple of hours at a time is the norm at backyard parties I’ve attended. It seems people have no clue about the potential hazards. Bacteria grows and thrives at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees, so food should not be in that temperature zone for more than two hours. If it’s more than 90 degrees outside, the limit is one hour.
It’s easy to let time slip away when you are entertaining, so set a timer when you put out the food to remind you of when it needs to be refrigerated.
If you have guests dropping by at various times throughout the day, consider staggering the dishes you serve, putting some out at the start of the party, then replacing those with others later.

If possible, keep cold food on a bed of ice and warm food either on a side rack on the grill or in a 200-degree oven. Your guests will not only get a fresher-tasting meal, but they will be better served in the days to come as well.





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