Are You Ready? Food Safety Modernization Act Compliance Dates Near
Source : https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/perspectives/blogs/market-matters-blog/blog-post/2018/08/27/ready-food-safety-modernization-act
By Mary Kennedy ,DTN Basis Analyst (Aug 27, 2018)
The third major compliance date will soon arrive for the preventive-controls-for-animal-food rule under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. By Sept. 17, 2018, facilities that are small animal food businesses must comply with preventive controls (PC) requirements mandated by FSMA. Facilities that are large businesses were required to comply by September 2017. Large businesses are those with 500 or more full-time equivalent employees, and small businesses are those with fewer than 500 such employees.
The FDA noted on its website that the compliance dates for the Preventive Controls and Current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements were 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. Very small animal food facilities will be required to meet the CGMPs on Sept. 17, 2018.
Since September 2016, some members of the food industry and grain trade associations such as the National Grain and Feed and American Feed Industry Association have expressed concern and uncertainty about many of the FSMA rules and enforcement measures. The FDA has since granted revisions/extensions on many of the issues in question, with the most recent one granted in August.
The FDA announced on Aug. 14, 2018 that they would extend its deadlines and inspection timeframes for when certain sized facilities should come into compliance with some FSMA rules and regulations.
In a recent press release, the AFIA praised the FDA announcement.
"By extending these deadlines, the FDA will have more time to release the final FSMA guidance documents and train its inspectors, while the regulated animal feed industry will have greater opportunity to perform the necessary retrofits to animal food safety plans and processes to ensure full compliance with federal regulations," said the AFIA.
"Throughout the rulemaking process, AFIA has asked the agency to take a staggered approach to implementation to allow the industry time to focus on current good manufacturing practice implementation and also to receive the necessary guidance to properly implement the hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls requirements," said Leah Wilkinson, AFIA's vice president of public policy and education. "AFIA applauds the agency for continuing to offer this staggered approach and flexibility as the industry implements these broad, sweeping regulations."
AFIA also noted that the additional nine months provides small-sized facilities (those with sales totaling less than $2.5 million and certified to the FDA) the same opportunity that the FDA granted to large-sized facilities August 2017, to learn and implement the rules and regulations.
The NGFA said in an Aug. 14 newsletter that FDA's announcement means that although the compliance date for small businesses for the preventative control requirements remains the same, the agency will delay performing routine surveillance inspections to evaluate compliance until the fall of 2019. In addition, FDA will delay routine inspections for compliance with preventative control provisions that apply to very small businesses until the fall of 2020.
"Significantly, if FDA becomes aware of an animal food safety incident associated with a small business on or after the compliance date and needs to conduct a for-cause inspection to investigate the issue, the inspection will evaluate compliance with the PC requirements," said NGFA.
The NGFA gave the following examples of when FDA may conduct a for-cause PC inspection include if:
1) There is a history of violating samples (product or environmental)
2) The facility's food is subject to a recall
3) The facility has made a reportable food registry report involving a potential hazard
4) Significant observations were made during a previous inspection
5) The facility is subject to enforcement actions taken by FDA or state regulatory agencies.
TRAINING SESSIONS ONGOING
The Minnesota Grain and Feed Association and North Dakota Grain Dealers Association are two of many trade groups that have been holding training sessions since the FSMA rules were first published by the FDA. They will be co-sponsoring one final opportunity for affected firms to "get up to speed" with the requirements contained in the FSMA for the upcoming compliance date for the animal food safety rule.
Attendees will get an overview of the updated regulation as well as the requirements for compliance. The goal is for attendees to understand FSMA and know what they need to do bring their facility into compliance whether they operate a feed, food or grain facility. The day will conclude with a Q&A with all of the presenters in a panel format, so attendees' questions can be answered. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 29 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Moorhead, Minn.
Here is a link to registration:
The NGFA has worked tirelessly offering training classes as well and has focused on FSMA regulations and compliance at many of their conferences. The next opportunity to attend a conference that will have "a strong focus on FSMA compliance" is their Feed and Pet Food Joint Conference, an annual collaboration between the NGFA and the Pet Food Institute designed specifically for feed and pet food sectors.
The conference will feature several industry leaders and education sessions that will provide the latest information to guide feed and pet food companies "through a complex regulatory environment as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) continues to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act." The ninth-annual Feed and Pet Food Joint Conference is scheduled for Sept. 17-19 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Here is a link to the conference information and registration:
If you are unable to attend any sessions mentioned above or other training sessions, the links below are from the FDA website and may answer your questions on all of the FSMA rules.
This link, titled "What to Expect With the Next Compliance Dates for the FSMA Preventive Controls for Animal Foods Rule," has a Q&A with Jenny Murphy, a consumer safety officer at FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine and also, note on that the left side of the web page, you will find all the links to FSMA:
Here a link that will take you directly to Compliance Dates: https://www.fda.gov/…
Take the time to look these over to be sure that you are either exempt from some or all of the FSMA rules, or what you need to do to be compliant if you are required to comply. If you are still unsure, click on this link that informs you how to get answers to any questions by either submitting your question on line or in writing by mail: https://www.fda.gov/…
Mary Kennedy can be reached at email@example.com
Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn
Food safety tips after a power outage
Source : http://www.kimt.com/content/news/Food-safety-tips-after-a-power-outage-491831451.html
By Mike Bunge (Aug 27, 2018)
The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health is reminding people of food safety after a power outage.
MidAmerican Energy says over 1,000 homes remain without electricity Monday afternoon after Sunday night severe weather struck North Iowa.
Here are basic tips for keeping food safe during and after a power outage:
1. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
a. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
b. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
2. Buy dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep an 18 cubic foot, fully stocked freezer cold for two days.
3. If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish, or eggs while they are still at safe temperatures, it is important that each item is thoroughly cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to ensure that any foodborne bacteria that may be present are destroyed. However, if at any point the food was above 40º F for 2 hours or more (or 1 hour if temperatures are above 90 º F) — discard it.
4. If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40° F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
5. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can’t rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40° F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.
6. Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours and the refrigerator door was kept shut. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or leftovers) that has been at temperatures above 40° F for 2 hours or more (or 1 hour if temperatures are above 90º F).
For a full list of food items and how they should be handled following a power outage, click here.
Ensuring global food safety and hygiene compliance
Source : https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/73303/food-hygiene-safety/
By Darren Ralphs (Russell Finex) (Aug 23, 2018)
As the global food safety testing market increases, companies must focus on hygienic food processing equipment to meet regulations…
The threat of foodborne illnesses has led to the implementation of strict food safety regulations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) it is estimated that one in 10 people suffer from a foodborne illness every year. More worryingly, 420,000 people around the world die each year from such illnesses, including 125,000 children, who are more at risk.
With the globalisation of food production and supply continuing to increase, manufacturers are under pressure to ensure their food products meet the requirements of not only their own country, but international food safety authorities. Food safety refers to procedures and regulations to prevent the contamination and poisoning of food products. This necessitates meeting specific requirements in terms of preparation, handling and storage of food, to ensure the risk of foodborne diseases is reduced, which are enforced by bodies such as the FDA, USDA and 3-A Dairy and Food. Accredited testing services and laboratories are in place to ensure these requirements are met, and equipment manufacturers work closely with these bodies to identify and meet standards.
In short, the continued growth and success of the global food industry is reliant upon these global testing regulations. Lack of sufficient food testing can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses, which in turn can lead to the outbreak of disease, resulting in lasting damage to companies’ reputations, as well as costly product recalls or shutdown of production lines. With the stakes so high, it is no surprise the food safety testing services market is expected to see huge growth over the coming years, forecasted to reach over £12.6 ($17) billion by 2021.
Progress in regions where food safety testing is already established is expected to anchor this growth, as companies continue to be audited to meet standards under the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in the US in 2011, as well as measures put in place by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), has increased the demand for food safety testing services in North America and Western Europe. However, developing countries still suffer from a lack of regulation and proper testing mechanisms, which can compromise trade between territories and provide problems for the growth of food safety testing services.
Things are slowly improving, however, with the Asia Pacific region as well as emerging nations such as China, India and Brazil starting to see significant growth in the food safety testing market. This is driven through increased awareness among all parties – from governments and authorities to the consumer – of the importance of safe food products, as well as the need to protect the environment. This growing concern over food safety and sustainability will continue to see governments around the world invest further in food safety regulations.
Taking the FSMA as an example, this act was implemented following several high-profile cases that severely impacted the trust of consumers. The act includes various rulemakings and guidance documents to better protect food products in terms of prevention mechanisms, inspection and compliance and recall authority. It also establishes safety standards that make importers of food products responsible for the quality of imported goods.
When considering prevention mechanisms, sanitation control is a key concern for food manufacturers. Key concerns lie in the quality of incoming materials, condition and cleanliness of food-contact surfaces, prevention of cross contamination and the control of employee health and hygiene. As modern-day processing technologies continue to develop, a range of sanitary and contained food processing equipment is now available to meet food industry regulations.
Raw material handling
The raw materials used in the manufacture of food products should be checked before entering a production line. Despite regulations increasing to protect manufacturers when importing raw materials from developing countries, certain procedures can be put in place to ensure the quality of raw materials and food ingredients used at entry point. Quality checking at this stage not only protects the food product itself but can also protect downstream equipment and the risk of cross contamination. A range of check-screening and quality control solutions is available for auditing incoming materials, removing contamination before it can enter the process line.
Condition and cleanliness of food-contact surfaces
The cleaning of any equipment and surface that comes into contact with food is an integral part of any sanitation programme. In some instances, these programmes are not always fully carried out, due to tiresome cleaning procedures, cumbersome machinery or equipment that is difficult to fully sanitise. A variety of of sanitary sieving and filtration solutions have been developed to meet food industry processing requirements in terms of sanitation. A range of vibratory sieving equipment, grading separators and inline liquid filtration has also been engineered to provide manufacturers with machinery that is quick and easy to dismantle and clean, without the need for tools, designed with minimal food-contact parts which are crevice-free.
Prevention of cross contamination
Cross contamination can be a factor in the spread of foodborne illnesses. Contamination can be spread through various entry points, from equipment and production areas to operators and product containers. The sanitary design of a food production line is also an important part of preventing cross contamination, addressing both bacterial and allergenic issues. In addition, these vibratory screeners, grading separators and industrial filters can be fully-enclosed to protect products from contamination, as well as eliminating the spread of potentially harmful dust and fumes into the production environment. Russell Finex equipment has been designed to meet the requirements of food safety authorities.
Control of employee health and hygiene
As well as monitoring the materials and equipment used in food manufacture, it is important to protect production operators, and ensure the equipment is user-friendly and safe. Enclosed sieving and filtration equipment not only protects the product from potential contamination and the spread of illness from food handlers, but in turn protects the handlers themselves from potentially harmful dust and fumes. Moreover, as well as providing equipment that is easy to disassemble and clean, a range of safety sieving equipment is available to meet manual handling regulations.
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In the Path of Hurricane Lane? The USDA Is Offering Food Safety Tips
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2018/hurricane-lane-food-safety-tips/
By Linda Larsen (Aug 23, 2018)
If you are in the path of Hurricane Lane, which is in the area of Hawaii, the USDA has food safety recommendations. The hurricane will pass to the south-soueast of the Big Island in the early morning hours of August 23, 2018, and will turn northwest toward the other Hawaiian Islands Thursday through Saturday.
As with all hurricanes, excessive rainfall, major flash flooding, landslides, and mudslides may occur. Flooding can occur in areas that usually don’t experience this disaster. Rainfall totals of more than 20 inches are possible. And power outages will most likely occur.
Power outages can affect foods stored in refrigerators and freezers. Before the storm, make sure you have appliance refrigerators in your fridge and freezer to check on how safe the food is if the power goes out. The refrigerator should be 40°F or lower; the freezer 0°F or lower.
Freeze water in 1 quart plastic containers before the storm hits to help keep food cold in the fridge or freezer. A fridge will keep items safe without extra ice or dry ice for about 4 hours. A full freezer can keep items at a safe temperature for up to 48 hours; that time shrinks to 24 hours if the appliance is only half full. It’s also a good idea to have coolers on hand to keep foods cool, using ice. Make sure you put meat and poultry on a tray so thawing juices don’t drip onto other foods.
Group foods together in the freezer for an “igloo” effect to help food stay cold longer. Don’t open the fridge or freezer if at all possible. And stock up on a few days’ worth of ready-t0-eat foods that don’t require refrigerator storage or cooking. If you can get dry ice, fifty pounds should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic foot freezer cold for two days.
If your home is flooded, don’t eat any food that comes into contact with flood water. Throw away any food that isn’t in a waterproof container. Foods that are not safe after a flood include any foods packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw?caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Only commercially canned foods are safe.
Inspect commercially canned foods before you open them. Discard any that are damaged, or showing signs of swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel?type can opener.
After the hurricane, check the temp inside the fridge and freezer. Discard any meat, poultry, pork, seafood, eggs, or leftovers that has been above 40°F for more than two hours. Discard any food that feels warm to the touch. Check frozen food for ice crystals; if they are still partially frozen you can refreeze them. And when in doubt, throw it out.
FDA’s PHO Ban and the Path Towards Reformulation
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/enewsletter/fdae28099s-pho-ban-and-the-path-towards-reformulation/
By Greg Tompkins (Aug 21, 2018)
FDA’s PHO Ban and the Path Towards Reformulation
Since the 2015 decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that declared that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are not Generally Recognized as Safe, food manufacturers have been grappling with the complicated task of reformulating their products without sacrificing taste and quality.
This overhaul, a drastic change to the industry, was the result of research that determined PHOs to be the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed food. FDA concluded that this change could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year. With an abundance of evidence, and powerful findings, these regulations are hard to disagree with—but implementing these reformulations has not been a simple task for most food manufacturers.
PHOs are far from insignificant in the baked goods industry; in fact, FDA’s ban likely had the largest impact on the bakery category compared to all other foods. For many commercial bakers, PHOs are critical in ensuring their products have a long shelf life. PHOs allow consumers and distributors to keep packaged baked goods for longer, without the concern of spoilage. While shelf life is important, PHOs are also used to provide foods with a lighter texture and richer flavor. Prior to the FDA ban, manufacturers relied on PHOs for their texturizing property, one that is very difficult to mimic with other ingredients.
One company, Otis Spunkmeyer, a brand dedicated to producing delicious baked goods for the last 40 years, committed to completing an overhaul of their ingredients for the benefit of their customers. The brand sought to not only remove PHOs from all of their foods but also to eliminate artificial flavors, colors, and high fructose corn syrup from most of their portfolios. In accordance with the FDA deadline, and their own goal to migrate towards healthier versions of their foods, the company committed to these reformulations 2 years ago, placing them ahead of most food manufacturers timelines. This motivation, in part, stemmed from the growing number of consumers who were looking for indulgent-tasting foods made with better-for-you ingredients.
With obvious inspiration, Otis Spunkmeyer began the process of transitioning their ingredients to ones their consumers, and FDA, would approve of. Before a reformulation could take place, the company needed to determine replacement ingredients. Since clean label foods are generally categorized as having no PHOs, artificial flavors, or artificial colors, the research and development team at Otis Spunkmeyer needed to make some changes to adhere to this definition—whether it was swapping in unbleached flour, real vanilla, or other non-genetically modified ingredients. The team spared no expense on this project, working with both inhouse and external teams for over a year to ensure it was done right—and for some product lines, the process is still ongoing. Using both inhouse and external partners allowed the Otis Spunkmeyer research and development team to clear the hurdles involved in replacing ingredients with natural colors and flavors. Replacing artificial colors with natural colors is not as simple as swapping out the ingredients; artificial colors remain vibrant for longer, are more bake-stable, and more cost effective, which required Otis Spunkmeyer to also incorporate natural color stabilizers to balance the new natural flavors and colors. For Otis Spunkmeyer, the challenge involved was not finding natural alternatives but incorporating them.
As for determining replacement ingredients for PHOs, many food manufacturers turned towards other sources of fats and oils, such as coconut oil, sunflower oil, or safflower oil. However, these alternatives are not perfect, as many manufacturers have had to manage the higher costs, distinct flavoring, and allergen risks that accompany them. With these concerns, other manufacturers turned towards butter, the seemingly simple replacement, that was initially swapped out for PHOs years ago due in part to its shorter shelf life, and higher price. Despite these concerns, butter is an appealing alternative because of its recognizability and simplicity on a nutrition label, versatility for baking, and superior flavor compared to other alternatives.
With several options, none of which perfectly replace PHOs, food manufacturers have tackled, and will continue to tackle, the difficult process of reformulation to please their customers. FDA’s ban on PHOs may have officially started these reformulations, but it will be the consumer response that continues to move the momentum forward. For the Otis Spunkmeyer brand, due to the great feedback that they have received thus far, they are already considering reformulating other popular portfolios. With consumer awareness and clean label trends increasing in popularity, the baked goods industry is likely only just getting started in its trek towards products with labels wholly approved by consumers and FDA alike.
Study: Listeriosis Outbreaks Go Undetected in the EU; Whole-Genome Sequencing Can Help
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/study-listeriosis-outbreaks-go-undetected-in-the-eu-whole-genome-sequencing-can-help/
By Staff (Aug 22, 2018)
A study conducted by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has found that most listeriosis outbreaks go undetected.
ECDC’s research looked at 2,726 human Listeria monocytogenes isolates from 27 countries between 2010 and 2015. Less than half of the cases were isolated, while the other half of cases were clustered together.
Around one-third of the cases that belonged to a cluster had appeared in more than one country, many times lasting for several years. But somehow, only two listeriosis outbreaks were reported in the EU in 2016, and five were reported in 2015. Based on these findings, many of the listeriosis cases went undetected.
To better and more quickly identify these illnesses, researchers believe that whole-genome sequencing is the answer. Specifically, they believe that using WGS to characterize listeriosis cases at the EU-level could speed up the detection of clusters by up to 5 months, when compared to epidemiological investigation at country level. Ideally, this would slow down the pace of an outbreak caused by the same, common food source.
“This study is a milestone on the way to tackling listeriosis in Europe. With this new collaborative effort with the Member States, we have revealed the related nature of many cases of severe listeriosis. We are now strengthening routine surveillance by introducing the collection and analysis of whole-genome sequencing data from all reported human listeriosis cases”, says ECDC’s chief scientist Mike Catchpole.
“Improving our surveillance on Listeria cases will save lives, particularly among vulnerable population groups such as the elderly and also pregnant women, who may pass on the bacteria to the fetus if they consume contaminated food,” says Catchpole.
Cases of listeriosis have continued to increase in the EU since 2008. In 2016, the most recent year for which data are available, the EU experienced 2,536 listeriosis cases and 247 deaths.
Preventing Foreign Material in Red Meat: Measure Twice
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/augustseptember-2018/preventing-foreign-material-in-red-meat-measure-twice/
By Dr. John W. Raede
My father had a shop in the garage and he loved to work with wood in his spare time. He made furniture, toys, and even built a crib for my cousin’s firstborn. He lived by the adage “Measure twice, cut once.” I’ve carried that philosophy with me throughout my professional and personal life (I, too, have a shop in my garage). When tasked with improving the capability of a process, I like to break it down into smaller sections and begin to measure each section multiple times to gain a better understanding of what the system is capable of. Once I have the data to determine what the norm is, I can begin to develop an understanding of what is causing the process deviations and then initiate the process improvement continuum. When we apply that measurement model to a specific deviation we are focused on, we can begin to determine what the contributors are, how the indicator elements present themselves, and what magnitude a failure will have on the process. This discussion is focused on the aspects of implementing a comprehensive, verifiable, and measurable foreign material prevention program (FMPP) in the red meat processing industry.
Why a Foreign Material Prevention Program?
The first question that is normally asked when someone proposes a new concept to address an existing issue is “Why”?
My “why” came early in my career. I was employed by a company in a supplier-auditing role. I happened to be in the corporate office one week and was walking by a conference room where a group of marketing people were listening to a recorded consumer complaint. The voice still haunts me today. A female voice pierced my soul with one sentence emanating from the replay device. In a tone that was fraught with hurt and anger, the consumer described herself as the mother of a 6-year-old child who had purchased our products to provide her child an after-school snack. She exclaimed how much her child looked forward to our products: He would speak of them during his breakfast. Her voice reached a crescendo when she detailed how he had bitten into the product, only to scream out in pain. To her horror, a piece of stainless steel wire had punctured the roof of his mouth. My children were close to the age of her child and consumed the products we manufactured as well. We identified the wire as a piece of freezer belt but not the location of the source. My focus became apparent, and I am still as diligent today as I was the day I heard that mother’s voice.
Foreign material (FM) is one of the three categories reviewed in a Hazard Analysis; however, the focus of food safety professionals then was on microbial and chemical contamination because of the severity of those hazards to our health. The focus is beginning to shift because of the litigious nature of FM contamination, which is driving an increase in the number of recalls initiated by FM incidents.
A review of this past year’s data of U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recalls for extraneous material and comparison with the previous year’s data disclose a disturbing trend. In 2017, 43 percent of all FSIS-tracked recalls were for extraneous materials; in comparison, 11 percent of total pounds recalled were for extraneous material in 2016.1 That is a 291 percent increase in one year. If we isolate meat products, there was a 30 percent increase in pounds of meat product recalls from 2016 to 2017. In any statistical review, we must take into consideration variables that influence the frequency of the occurrence we are measuring. Is there more focus on FM than in previous years, or is there a lower tolerance for FM by the customer and/or regulatory agencies? Does it matter why there is an increase? In my opinion, no. As a food safety professional, my job is to implement an effective strategy to significantly reduce the risk of FM in the products I manufacture. If you think like I do, then let’s get started with the basic concepts of an FMPP, and then we will detail what the components are that make up the program.
Key Process Indicators
There are two types of key process indicators, lagging and leading. A lagging indicator is discovered after the fact, usually at the end of the process and most likely when a customer/consumer complains about the issue. A leading indicator is a “real-time” indicator that identifies a potential situation as it is happening or in some cases just prior. When you have developed key indicator sites that generate data prior to an incident’s occurring, you are in the predictive-mode spectrum of processing. This is not an easy accomplishment, and you will deserve the accolades and increased business associated with that achievement.
An effective key processing indicator is performing a bone detection inspection at the incoming raw material entry point of the process. Utilizing screening technology, vision systems, or manual inspection performed by production employees to prevent larger bones entering a grinding operation is a leading indicator for the grinder, and a lagging indicator for their supplier. Pieces of poly liner entering the product stream, created by the combo dumping operator using a stainless fork to pull the fresh trim out of the combo, and found by the customer and/or consumer of a grinding operation would be a lagging indicator for the grinder. A leading indicator would be requiring the dumping operator to inspect the liner for missing pieces prior to releasing the trim from the dump station or removing the fork and replacing it with a metal-detectable plastic spade. Where do you want to be in the lagging/leading indicator continuum?
Are You Purchasing FM or Creating FM?
In general terms, there are two ways FM is introduced into the value stream. The first method for FM to enter the facility is via raw materials, and the second common way is generated internally by the production process. They offer different challenges and each requires specific strategies to address them.
Let’s start with a discussion on incoming raw materials and the risks associated with them, and then we will focus on the internal factors that contribute to FM contamination.
You Need to Know What You Are Buying
How many times have you heard the phrase “you can’t inspect quality in”? I agree with that; however, through inspection, we can gain an understanding of what risks are associated with the sample size, and in most instances, what are the challenges with suppliers’ processes. The best method for introducing a strategy to reduce FM is to set up an acceptable quality limit (AQL) program. If you have purchasing leverage, you can require the supplier to perform this data collection process at their factory. Either way, you need to have an initial understanding of what type of FM is coming in and what your rejection parameters are. AQL inspections at the further processor can increase financial claims back to the supplier because of rejections.
Technology-based screening systems are highly recommended for incoming raw materials, especially for a grinding operation. Once a contaminant hits the grinder, the level of detectability falls significantly because of the reduction in piece size. Many years ago, a wise food safety professional said to me, “Finding it bigger is better.” That piece of advice was about a lead shot and bone detection discussion we were having during a root-cause analysis investigation. We were both involved in an incident that caused 4,000 cases of finished product to be placed on hold. Our corrective action was to screen all material using X-ray technology in-line at raw receiving and utilize the data collected to drive improvement into our suppliers’ processes. At that time, X-ray was not used as an in-process screening device; the technology was still utilized in salvage operations. With the advancement of algorithms in X-ray systems, we are beginning to see processors place redundant systems within a production line to increase detection capabilities.
When based on FM risk analysis data, multiple detection systems can be strategically placed throughout the production process. The systems must be on a schedule of monthly maintenance by the manufacturer’s approved technician, calibrated daily by the in-house technician, and validated hourly by the production/quality assurance (QA) employees. Screening technology requires a managed approach of calibration to the density of the product being screened in comparison with the FM, the line speed of the process, and regular maintenance. Only then can a screening device provide optimum detection capabilities and verification of the FMPP. Just remember, a screening device is neither a “set it and forget” operation nor a catchall.
All the systems mentioned above provide data collection, data analysis, and summary-reporting capabilities; however, to maximize the effectiveness of the prevention program, you must have an effective means to communicate the data back to the supplier. The supplier must utilize the lagging indicator data to implement an FMPP at their location to develop the systems to provide leading indicators and eventually move into a predictive-mode continuum.
The Power of a Robust Internal Auditing Program
The challenge for red meat further processors is managing the equipment that manipulates the raw material into finished products, which can potentially generate FM. Dumping stations, augers, conveyors, grinders, formers, stuffers, freezer belts, overhead rail systems, poly liners, and corrugate can all contribute to FM contamination. With so many potential sources, how do we keep up? It’s doable but not easy. Internal audits conducted by a cross-functional team that identifies potential FM-generating components, processes, and conditions are the most effective program to prevent FM contamination.
A critical component of an effective FMPP consists of assembling a designated cross-functional team. Depending on the size of the operation, you may have your food safety team performing this role as well. I recommend at least one of each: senior manager, process engineer, maintenance technician, production employee, product development, and finance. Why not QA? In my opinion, this is not a QA function, but providing guidance to the team is a QA function. Helping with the data collection, analysis of the data, reviewing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and keeping the team on point are QA functions. The following is a suggested list of tasks for the team to focus on:
• Conduct internal audits
• Identify potential FM risks
• Verify FM risk via data collection
• Identify root causes
• Implement corrective actions
• Validate that corrective actions are effective
The key to a successful internal auditing scheme is to break the production line down into smaller, more manageable sections for the audit team to focus on. The purpose of the audit is to identify every potential contributor to FM and create a simple data collection system to verify that the audit team is correct in its evaluation of the potential risk.
Setting up an effective data collection process is not an insurmountable task; however, at minimum it should include, but not be limited to:
• Inspecting areas directly above product zones
• Performing magnet checks postgrind
• Checking belts for abnormal wear
• Weighing grinder blades prior to and after use
• Assessing metal-on-metal contact surfaces
• Keeping track of temporary repairs
• Checking tools and utensils pre- and post-shift change
Once the FM high-risk contributors have been identified and verified, the next step is to implement the corrective actions. Some of these require minimum effort and expense; however, normally there are corrections that will require investment of time and capital. That is the reason I recommend including a finance professional and a process engineer as part of the team, to collaborate on the capital request(s).
When I evaluate a potential supplier, one of the critical records I want to review is the internal auditing team findings, corrective action requests, and completion rate of the corrective actions. The completion rate tells me about the management commitment of the supplier.
When a condition is verified as a high-risk contributor to FM, management commitment is critical. Without management to provide the resources to eliminate the potential FM contributor, the audits become an activity and not a risk-mitigation opportunity.
Once the corrective action is in place, the validation step is critical. Did the corrective action mitigate the FM risk and/or did the correction create an additional threat? Implementing a data-driven validation process to ensure the corrective action is effective and did not contribute to increased FM risk is vital to the FMPP. Once the validation is completed and approved, the next step is to create the system to ensure the corrective action is followed.
Set the Standard
An effective method to establish behavioral norms that support the corrective actions that are implemented is to create simple, clearly defined visual SOPs. These standards help employees understand and evaluate potential risks associated with a process or piece of equipment. The goal of the SOPs is to educate, remind, and verify that the employee is performing the preventive assessment of the potential FM indicator site.
One method I recommend is to create a laminated placard that can attach to the equipment (preferably below the product zone) with visual imagery depicting what the employee(s) needs to inspect prior to start-up and monitor throughout the shift. This is an effective means to alert the production employee to the key indicators that require monitoring. Visual placards can depict proper gowning procedures, tool/equipment storage, cleaning standards, screening device verification, equipment assembly, and verification procedures. Placards are effective when they are clear, easily understood, and available.
Another method to consider for verification that the corrective actions implemented are followed as intended is to incorporate a review of the equipment repair and preventive maintenance programs into the internal auditing team’s schedule. A consistent assessment of how the equipment is performing and maintained is a leading key process indicator. Fulfilling equipment repair requests in a timely manner and adhering to a preventive maintenance program based on the manufacturer’s recommendations can also be used for the verification of corrective actions. This type of focus can provide a basis to prevent disruptions to production from breakdowns and product contamination.
We have discussed multiple methods to create, implement, validate, verify, and sustain an FMPP. The bottom line to the success of any process improvement program is management commitment. The resources must be provided for any program to function to its full capability. A systematic, data-driven, pragmatic approach toward incrementally removing, replacing, and reengineering FM-generating conditions and processes can provide remarkable results and prevent injuries to those that trust us to keep them safe.
Dr. John W. Raede is the chief food safety officer for National Cortina, an Importer of Record for grass-fed beef, individually quick-frozen vegetables, and edible oils. He has 30 years of food industry and food safety experience, spanning from meat animal production to individual quick-freezing vegetable processing. He spent 20 years with Nestlé USA in global supply chain quality. During his time at Nestlé, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in business management. Dr. Raede specializes in food safety supply chain process improvement, risk mitigation, and FM assessment and prevention.
Food Safety and Political Legitimacy in China
Source : https://www.asiasentinel.com/society/food-safety-political-legitimacy-china/
In reaction to a seemingly never-ending torrent of food safety scandals, an alternative food movement is growing in China. This has implications not just in the country’s food supply system, but also in domestic politics and community-building.
“Good food”—food that nourishes communities and sustains healthy ecologies—has been at the center of social movements around the world over the past four decades. The array of foods available in “local” places and conditions surrounding “local” food production have increasingly become the product of complex global systems of capital and trade.
In response, farmers and activists have called for food sovereignty, food justice, fair trade, agroecology, and solidarity. Although the specific concerns of grassroots groups can be quite diverse, many connect near-at-hand problems of land, labor, and food access to broad, global concerns about the environmental and social harms of capitalist food regimes.
China’s growing alternative food movement, which is roughly a decade old, bears a distinct familial resemblance to movements elsewhere, and it has been strongly informed by developments abroad. Participants in this movement advocate for direct relationships between growers and eaters of food as a means to secure food quality and fair prices. This logic of short supply chains—“eating food with a farmer’s face” —is held in common with other movements around the world.
But familial resemblance is only part of the story. China’s alternative food movement draws on a rich domestic legacy of peasant organizing, and it has taken shape within a political climate in which problems in the food system figure as signs of serious social ills.
The Birth of the Alternative Food Movement
Between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, China’s countryside was in crisis. Due in part to a restructuring of state fiscal policy, farmers faced onerous tax burdens and depressed prices. A coalition of concerned academics, researchers, and local officials sought a solution, and they found an answer in the Rural Reconstruction Movement. This was a reform movement that flourished in the 1920s and 1930s that looked to meliorate rural hardship through experiments with peasant education, cooperative economy, and village self-governance. From the coalition’s efforts, the New Rural Reconstruction Movement was born. It encouraged farmers to form cooperatives to increase members’ incomes and enrich village cultural life. Some cooperatives began to use environmentally friendly production techniques to improve the health of farmers and rural agroecosystems.
By the mid-2000s, New Rural Reconstruction projects were encountering a thorny problem: selling. How do they sell cooperative-grown, high-quality products for and at a fair price? To answer this question, a group of professors at Beijing’s Renmin University began investigating the community-supported agriculture (CSA) farming model, which links producers directly to consumers. Under the common iteration of this model, consumers pay farmers a lump sum at the beginning of the growing season in exchange for a share of the overall harvest.
In the second half of 2008, a massive food safety scandal erupted into public awareness. Prominent dairy companies were found to have been systematically engaging in adulteration. Milk powder tainted with industrial melamine caused kidney disease in thousands of children; ultimately, six babies died. This unsettling scandal prompted many ordinary urban consumers to consider the sources of their daily meals.
At the same time, Shi Yan, a PhD student at Renmin University, returned to Beijing after spending a season at a CSA farm in rural Minnesota, and established her own CSA farm, Little Donkey, in a village northwest of Beijing. She found that city residents were eager to invest in her novel food-sourcing scheme. Little Donkey’s success made way for a wave of new food-related projects across China, all seeking to directly link producers and consumers.
In support of this nascent movement, the institutions and networks of the New Rural Reconstruction Movement shifted the emphasis of their work to fostering rural-urban mutual aid and cooperation to benefit consumers as well as farmers. In the scope of China’s overall food system, the alternative food movement is still relatively tiny, but, driven by intense consumer interest, it is rapidly expanding. My interlocutors estimate that there are now about 500 CSA farms in China, each serving hundreds of families.
Food Safety and Political Legitimacy
The stakes in accessing “safe” food are very high in China today. Over the decade since the melamine milk incident, food safety scandals have been a mainstay of the news, revealing the sheer ubiquity of fake and adulterated foods. These cases include recycled “gutter oil,” mutton kebabs made of rat meat, ersatz seasonings, and formaldehyde-tainted vegetables. Consuming such substances might or might not induce health consequences. For ordinary shoppers, the truly toxic thing has been the radical uncertainty involved in a trip to the supermarket or corner store. Poison could enter the family kitchen in seemingly endless guises.
Contemporary food safety problems are inexorably linked not just to modern family life, but also to ancient questions of political legitimacy. For thousands of years, Chinese states grounded the legitimacy of their rule in ensuring a sufficient grain supply for the population. Such food “fundamentalism,” as historian Lillian Li calls it, operated throughout the Maoist period and continues into the present day.
China’s food safety problems also recall a newer promise, one of the post-Mao economic reforms: that, under the Communist Party’s rule, a comfortable life of “moderate prosperity” will become available to all. In light of this historical context, the present crisis of unsafe food appears as a double breach of promise—a failure of the state’s obligation to ensure basic provision, and of its claim to be building better lives for its people.
Unsafe food underscores horizontal mistrust between people in society, especially producers and consumers of food; and it generates vertical mistrust of state institutions. The direct sourcing approach of the alternative food movement attempts to work around the state’s failures by reconnecting producers and consumers. So how does this approach operate in practice?
New Modes of Fellowship and Community
In my dissertation research, I investigated direct sourcing at a fine-dining farm-to-table restaurant in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province. The restaurant is an influential node in the larger national alternative food movement network, and it supports its own sophisticated regional network of hundreds of farmer-suppliers. These suppliers agree to produce ingredients using traditional methods; in return, they expect high returns and consistent demand.
Over 16 months of fieldwork, I followed the restaurant’s team of procurement agents on their daily rounds to purchase seasonal ingredients in Hangzhou’s outlying rural areas. I found that agents and suppliers framed their interactions in the idiom of kinship. They called each other “big brother” or “big sister,” asked after each other’s children, shared meals, and exchanged small gifts. Over time, individual farmers and staff members constructed sturdy foundations of mutual trust—firm ground for food transactions, but also for lasting relationships that exceed these transactions.
As I traveled to study alternative food movement projects in Beijing, including CSA farms and farmers’ markets, I found a similar process at work in other direct sourcing arrangements. Farmers and consumers have built trusting personal relationships through iterated interaction and transaction. Food occasioned these relationships; but, in many cases, they have grown to be about something more than food: shared values, shared interests, a sense of common purpose.
In short, I found that new ways of sourcing food are creating new spaces for alliance and moral consensus. Ordinary Chinese continue to mistrust state oversight of the conventional food system, despite the introduction of a raft ofpolicies to address and contain food safety problems. In the breach, in this space of mistrust, eaters and growers of food are relying on personal, horizontal social ties.
The new alliances forming within the alternative food movement stretch across class, and across the rural-urban divide. Most consumer participants in the movement belong to the urban middle classes, or “middle income” strata, that comprise over half of the population in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. These consumers have ample disposable income to spend on food they feel is safe, tasty, and reliable, even if it costs more than conventional products in supermarkets or wet markets. By contrast, producer participants come from diverse backgrounds. Some are lifelong peasant farmers; others once held corporate jobs, and many well-educated young farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs are from rural peasant families.
China’s alternative food movement is succeeding in bringing trustworthy products to consumers and generating new, dignified livelihood opportunities for producers. Even more interestingly, the resulting new food sourcing arrangements have served as an invitation to new modes of fellowship and community.
Summer is Still Here: Avoid Food Poisoning During Picnics
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2018/avoid-food-poisoning-picnics/
By Linda Larsen (Aug 20, 2018)
Even though school has started in many areas of the country, it’s still summer. And that means picnics. The CDC has advice to help you avoid food poisoning during summer picnics.
The first step is to make sure that the foods that should stay cool are cool. That means that perishable foods should be kept below 40°F, whether that food is raw meat or poultry, or a dip made with cream cheese. Those foods should be kept in an insulated cooler, with ice packs, frozen drinks, or freezer packs, until it’s time to cook and eat.
Always cook meat thoroughly to a safe final internal temperature. And use a food thermometer to make sure that temperature is reached. Here’s something most people don’t think about: wash the temperature probe after you test meats and poultry and they aren’t fully cooked. Bacteria could travel on that probe and contaminate a plate or even the food when it’s used again.
Beef steaks and roasts should be cooked to 145°F; fish to 145°F; hamburgers and ground pork to 160°F, and chicken, including ground chicken and turkey, to 165°F. Every time. If you are going to smoke meat, keep the temperature in the smoker at 225°F to 300°F.
Make sure that foods that are eaten raw are kept away from raw meats, poultry, and seafood. And watch out for cross-contamination. Always put cooked meat in a clean plate. Discard or thoroughly cook marinades that have touched raw meat, poultry, or seafood. And don’t use the same utensils on raw foods and cooked and ready-to-eat foods.
Always wash fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens before you use them, unless you bought prepared produce that is marked as washed. If you aren’t sure if water will be available at your picnic, rinse produce before you pack it. Wash your hands well before handling food and after touching raw meat, seafood, or poultry.
If you are grilling, look at the grill surface carefully for bristles from grill brushes. They can get into cooked food and cause injury if eaten.
Finally, refrigerate leftovers in a freezer or fridge within two hours of cooking, or one hour if the temperature is above 90°F. Remember that coolers can only hold food at safe temps – they aren’t made to cool food down to a safe temperature.
Enjoy your picnic and stay safe.
How Amazon handles food safety, recalls
Source : https://www.foodengineeringmag.com/articles/97693-how-amazon-handles-food-safety-recalls
By Crystal Lindell (Aug 17, 2018)
Amazon VP Careltt Ooton explains how the company uses Natural Language Processing to scan customer feedback and constantly monitor for food safety issues
On Dec. 1, 2017, Amazon detected several food safety concerns on a dietary supplement. They suppressed sales the same day and initiated an investigation with the manufacturer—and the product was not reinstated.
On Jan. 26, almost two months later, the product was officially recalled due to undisclosed allergens—and the side effects listed in the official recall matched Amazon’s detected feedback almost exactly.
It was just one example of how the company is using technology to deal with food safety issues that Carletta Ooton, V.P. of health, sustainability, security, and compliance, at Amazon, shared during this year’s Food Safety Summit Keynote, sponsored by eurofins.
Although Ooton didn’t talk about the company’s recent purchase of Whole Foods, she did touch on things like Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go, and the challenges the company faces when it comes to food safety and quality issues.
“We design safety into every process touch and then we audit to ensure that the process is maintained,” she says. “In the rare occasion when a [Key Performance Indicator] and a customer anecdote disagree, the customer is nearly always right. These customer signals are a rare gift we obsessively seek.”
Monitoring customer feedback for food safety issues
In fact, through a tool called Heartbeat, Amazon aggregates more than 16 million pieces of customer feedback per week, in more than 40 languages.
“These interactions include publicly available data like product reviews and detail page ‘ask an owner’ correspondence as well as internal data like customer return comments, CS chat, and machine-transcribed CS calls,” Ooton says. “Increasingly, we are also contacted through social media mentions on the over 200 Amazon accounts. The scale alone is not the issue. Our challenge is extracting relevant and actionable meaning from the interactions.”
And Amazon has developed computer learning models that help it scan customer feedback for any food safety issues.
“To do this, we rely primarily on Natural Language Processing,” Ooton says. “NLP is a broad field of computer science that focuses on applying machine learning to understanding language. One of the key differences between NLP and general keyword searching is that understanding of context, sentiment, and sentence structure.”
She shared two examples of customer complaints and how the company responded to them.
The first read, “Gave me energy for my workouts, but also wreaked havoc on my digestive tract. That was only taking 1 scoop rather than the recommended 2 scoops. I can’t imagine how sick the full serving would have made me. I had to stop taking it after 3 days.”
The system said the comment had an 87.4 percent chance of being a food safety issue, and the risk was significant enough that Amazon immediately pulled the product. It turned out the analysis was correct.
Ooton says when the judgment has high confidence, they automate the action—otherwise they rely on human processes.
The next example was, “Really excited to get these to replace high sugar energy drinks, but I can’t even describe how disgusting the taste is. I couldn’t even take 2 sips of it before feeling sick. It is a horrible prune juice taste and the after taste just does not go away. Such a bummer that I have 11 left, heading straight to the trash what a waste of $40.”
The system said that example had a 9 percent chance of being a food safety issue, and again, it was correct.
“The last review was certainly not describing a positive customer experience, and it is something other customers can evaluate as an input to their purchasing decision—but it was not a safety concern,” Ooton says.
Dealing with recalls
During the speech, she also talked about what happens when Amazon does decide to do a recall, and considering that the company handles roughly 2,000 recalls per year for both food and non-food products, it’s not a minor issue.
First, they have automated how they get information about the recalls by regularly scanning 31 regulatory websites in North America and 67 sites worldwide.
Amazon also uses complex syntax like keywords and image matching to query listings throughout regional marketplaces, not only online, but also in physical brick-and-mortar stores. Potentially involved listings are immediately removed from sale, and customer purchase orders that have not yet been fulfilled are canceled.
Like any company, the most important part of a recall for Amazon is getting word to its customers.
Ooton says impacted customers are notified through emails with instructions for return and if relevant, a refund. And past customers of recalled products and customers with canceled orders are notified through targeted email messaging, providing them with instructions and if relevant, a refund.
And they have a high success rate with those emails; specifically, Oooton says, “68.8 percent of the messages we sent were actually opened. That’s phenomenally high.”
Amazon also does Recall Inventory Quarantine, which prevents recalled items from being attached to customer orders. A virtual recall label also is added to every item belonging to a recalled product. And software tools also prevent physical inventory from moving, incoming purchase orders are blocked, and restock/stowing/trans shipments are blocked.
Amazon also removes inventory from the supply chain by returning or destroying products. However, when impacted items can easily be distinguished from unaffected inventory, only defective products are removed.
Then, the company has to decide when to reinstate a recalled product.
“Reinstatement only occurs when our FC network has been flushed of potentially impacted inventory and when the product supplier provides written confirmation the defect has been rectified and all future products are compliant,” Ooton says.
Of course, all of these methods are constantly evolving to keep up with the ever-changing consumer base.
“We started out as a simple eCommerce seller of books. We now have over half a million employees, over 300 million customers all over the world, over 100 million Prime customers,” Ooton says. “We have to invent every day.”
Smarter Tech and Safer Food: How is smart technology improving food safety?
Source : https://www.automation.com/automation-news/article/smarter-tech-and-safer-food-how-is-smart-technology-improving-food-safety
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.
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