FoodHACCP Newsletter

Food Safety Job Openings

09/14. QA Manager - Sumner, WA
09/14. Director of Quality & FS - Stanwood, WA
09/14. Health and Food Safety Assistant - Huron, OH
09/12. FS and Quality Associate - Minneapolis, MN
09/12. FS QA/QC Tech Mgr - Commerce, CA
09/12. QA Manager - Piedmont, MO
09/10. Quality Assurance Manager - Anacortes, WA
09/10. Dir, Food Safety & Innovation - Atlanta, GA
09/10. Food Safety Manager - Seattle, WA

09/10  2018 ISSUE:825


Preventing Foreign Material in Red Meat: Measure Twice
Source :
By Dr. John W. Raede
Preventing Foreign Material in Red Meat: Measure Twice
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.  


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.





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6 stories for National Food Safety Education Month
Source :
By (Sep 13, 2018)
Contaminated food sickens an estimated 48 million people in the United States each year, leading to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, according to the CDC.
In recognition of National Food Safety Education Month, Infectious Disease News compiled six articles that focus on foodborne disease, food safety and diet.
Preventing foodborne disease a ‘farm to fork issue’
In search of the latest clinically relevant information, Infectious Disease News spoke with leading experts about what is causing foodborne disease in the U.S., how infections are being diagnosed and tracked and how the behavior of patients and physicians is having an impact. Read more.
Another source of foodborne disease to consider: kitchen towels
There is a risk that the pathogens that accumulate on kitchen towels can cause food poisoning, but how much of a risk depends on several factors, including family size, diet type and what exactly the towels are used for, researchers reported at ASM Microbe. Read more.
Should all food be irradiated?
The FDA has found irradiated food to be safe — astronauts eat it — and has approved a variety of foods for irradiation in the U.S. Yet food irradiation remains rare. Infectious Disease News asked Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, PhD, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, if all food consumed in the U.S. should be irradiated. Read more.
Q&A: Multistate outbreak from romaine lettuce raises questions about food safety
Infectious Disease News spoke with Robert Tauxe, MD, director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, to learn more about a spate of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce and the role of industry, consumers and clinicians in preventing foodborne outbreaks. Read more.
Most acute gastroenteritis outbreaks in youth camps from food, water
More than half of U.S. states reported outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis among children attending youth camps during a recent study period, according to research published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. Outbreaks were most frequently related to norovirus exposure after food preparation or recreational water activities, researchers said. Read more.
One-third of parents say children got foodborne illness at home
One-third of parents reported that their child got sick from food eaten in their own home, and the effort they put into preventing food poisoning varies, according to results from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. Read more.

Food safety after flood is key
Source :
By Monica Laliberte, consumer editor (Sep 13, 2018)
When your home is flooded, is the food stored in cabinets and refrigerators salvageable?
It's all about whether the food items came into contact with flood water and how it's packaged. You should never eat food that came into direct contact with flood water and you should get rid of anything that is not in a waterproof container.
The Food and Drug Administration says waterproof containers include undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and "retort pouches," such as flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches.
Food containers that are not considered waterproof are anything with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps.
Also, toss out any cardboard juice,milk or baby formula boxes or any home canned foods if they came in contact with flood water because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
With any salvageable products, you should remove labels because they harbor bacteria. Thoroughly wash the containers, then air dry at least an hour before opening or storing. Make sure to use them as soon as possible.

From the community: It’s National Food Safety Education Month! Stop Foodborne Illness offers tips for ensuring safe school lunches
Source :
By Community Contributor Stop Foodborne Illness (Sep 13, 2018)
eptember is National Food Safety Education Month and with kids back in school, now is a good time for parents to become knowledgeable about how to prevent foodborne illness from school lunches-whether packed at home or purchased in the school cafeteria. Stop Foodborne Illness, the leading national advocate for safe food, is shining the spotlight on ways to keep school lunches safe and kids healthy.
Teachers, food safety activism isn't just for parents. Teachers can take action by adding food safety to their curriculum. Use Stop's Curriculum Materials and Education Resources for Teachers to educate your students and make a difference.
Packing safe school lunches
Keeping harmful pathogens out of the lunch box should be a goal of every parent. When packing your child's lunch with food safety in mind, Stop Foodborne Illness suggests you:
•            Wash your hands. When preparing lunches, Stop Foodborne Illness emphasizes the importance of washing your hands thoroughly, as well as keeping all the surfaces you're working on clean.
•            Encourage your child to wash their hands, before AND after eating their lunch. Hand-washing with soap and water is best, but a hand sanitizer or wipe with 60% alcohol will work in a pinch.
•            Keep in mind the bacteria danger zone. The temperature "danger zone" of 40°-140° F is where bacteria grow most rapidly.
•            Use an insulated lunch box. Whether hard-sided or soft, this helps keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot until it's time to eat them. Food safety experts agree: This is a "must have" item. Using an insulated box will help keep your child's food out of the bacteria "danger zone."
•            Hot: Use an insulated thermos. Hot foods like soups, chili, or mac and cheese stay hot until lunch. You can preheat your thermos by filling it with boiling water, letting it sit for a few minutes, pouring out the water, and then adding your hot food.
•            Hot: Pack foods while hot. Don't wait for hot foods to cool down before packing. Instead, pour piping hot foods like soups immediately into an insulated thermos.
•            Cold: Freeze drinks before packing. Freezing milk and juice boxes, and water bottles will help keep the drinks cold, along with other cold foods you've packed. Frozen items will slowly melt during morning classes and be ready for drinking at lunch.
•            Cold: Use ice packs. Another "great idea," according to Stop Foodborne Illness, these inexpensive items are an alternative to freezing drinks, and are vital for keeping cold foods cold. You can pick them up for about $1 each.
•            Wash and separate fresh fruits/veggies. Stop Foodborne Illness recommends washing produce thoroughly before packing in plastic containers to keep them away from other foods. After washing, dry produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present on the surface.
•            Use individual snack packs. If many hands are in and out of a "family size" bag, the potential for exposure to bacteria is greater. To help prevent the spread of germs for school lunches, Stop recommends using individual-sized servings of items like pretzels, chips, and cookies.
•            Add room-temperature-safe foods. Use nonperishable items or foods that do not need refrigeration like peanut butter, jelly, cookies, crackers, chips, dried fruit and certain whole fruits.
•            Avoid putting food on bare tables. Pack a paper towel or napkin, or some wax paper so that when kids are in the cafeteria, or common area, they can avoid putting their food on the table.
•            Explain the five-second myth. Be sure your child knows that the "Five-second rule" is a myth. Any food that touches the floor needs to be thrown away. (No one wants to lick the bottom of your shoe.)
•            Toss perishable food. To avoid foodborne illness, let your child know it is OK to throw away perishables like meat, poultry or egg sandwiches, if not eaten at lunchtime. Unopened, room-temperature-safe foods and uneaten fruit can be kept.
•            Make sure lunch boxes are regularly cleaned and sanitized. We recommend you clean your child's box each evening before packing the next day's lunch. Find out more with these box cleaning tips.
Food Safety Tips for School Cafeteria Lunches
For children who eat their lunch through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Stop Foodborne Illness believes it is imperative to teach them good food safety habits even if they eat in the school cafeteria, too. Stop Foodborne Illness urges you to do these things:
First, talk with your kids about this issue and share food safety tips they need to use, which include:
•            Washing their hands. Your child should wash his/her hands before and after they eat.
•            Avoiding putting food on tables. Keep it on the plate or put a napkin down.
•            Checking for undercooked food. For instance, if hamburger meat looks raw/pink, your child shouldn't eat it. "Hot" foods that are cold in the middle should not be eaten.
•            Checking for food that looks spoiled. Your child shouldn't eat vegetables or fruits that are wilting, have mold or look discolored. Help your child learn more with these tips.
•            Reporting unsanitary conditions. Examples include: Cafeteria workers not wearing gloves or hairnets, surfaces or equipment that are dirty, yellowish water flowing from a drinking fountain, and bugs or rodents roaming around. Help your child understand why these kinds of conditions, are unacceptable and how to report it to a school authority ASAP.
•            Inspect the cafeteria yourself. Stop Foodborne Illness urges every parent to contact their child's school and ask for a personal visit to take a good look around the kitchen and cafeteria. Anything that looks like a possible food safety hazard should be discussed to school authorities.
Feel free to use Stop's factsheet Rylee & Rusty Discuss Food Safety; a kid-friendly way to start a conversation with your children about food safety.
Though the U.S. Department of Agriculture states they are "committed to a comprehensive, coordinated approach to food safety for the NSLP," Stop Foodborne Illness has recounted numerous stories shared by parents of children who have become gravely ill from lunches served at schools.
On their website, you can find the story of Lindsay, a young girl who endured extensive health problems and horrific pain after eating a contaminated strawberry dessert that was served at her Michigan school. And Lindsay wasn't the only victim. A huge outbreak ensued with hundreds more Michigan children getting sick with Hepatitis A from tainted strawberries.
Next, Stop asks that you become an advocate for improved school food safety practices. Start by reviewing this Food-Safe Schools Action Guide published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It's intended for school nutrition directors, but it's an excellent resource for parents, too. This guide helps bring together all aspects of safety that need to be considered when serving food in schools. It'll help you become aware of regulations, ask good questions, and take action on anything you feel isn't up to snuff.
Get involved. Take action.
Stop Foodborne Illness Is Here to Help You
Stop Foodborne Illness is a national, nonprofit, public health organization dedicated to preventing illness and death from foodborne pathogens by promoting sound food safety policy and best practices, building public awareness and assisting those impacted by foodborne illness. For more food safety tips please visit If you think you have been sickened from food, check this out and contact your local health professional.
For questions and personal assistance, please contact Stop Foodborne Illness' Community Coordinator, Stanley Rutledge, at or 773-269-6555 x7. To donate to Stop, visit here.
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This item was posted by a community contributor. To read more about community contributors, click here.

Follow these food safety tips after power goes out or your home floods
Source :
By Staff Reports, Pacific Daily News/USA TODAY Network (Sep 11, 2018)
Drinking water safety after a storm
Water from your faucets might not be safe to drink. Treat all water as if it's contaminated until you hear otherwise. Boil it or use chemical treatment tablets.
Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula.
In an emergency, you can disinfect water with regular, unscented household bleach and a medicine dropper. Use 6-8 drops of bleach for each gallon of water (8 drops for 6-percent bleach solution, 6 drops for 8.25 percent). Stir and let sit for 30 minutes before drinking. The water should have a slight chlorine odor. If it doesn’t, repeat the dosage and wait another 15 to 30 minutes.
More: Typhoon Mangkhut recovery: What to know
More: GWA advises villages to conserve water due to Typhoon Mangkhut recovery operations
Food safety after a storm
Never taste a food to determine its safety.
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed).
Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below.
Obtain block ice or dry ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for 2 days.
If the power has been out for several days, then check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below, the food is safe.
If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, then check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.
Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after four hours without power.
Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by 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.
Pots, pans, dishes and utensils
Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils (including can openers) with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available).
Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse and then sanitize them by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available). Allow to air-dry.
More: How to get help after Typhoon Mangkhut
More: Homes, roads, power system damaged after Typhoon Mangkhut
Odors from refrigerators and freezers
If food has spoiled in a refrigerator or freezer and odors from the food remain, they may be difficult to remove. The following procedures may help but may have to be repeated several times.
Dispose of any spoiled or questionable food.
Remove shelves, crispers, and ice trays. Wash them thoroughly with hot water and detergent. Then rinse with a sanitizing solution (1 tablespoon unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water).
Wash the interior of the refrigerator and freezer, including the door and gasket, with hot water and baking soda. Rinse with sanitizing solution as above.
Leave the door open for about 15 minutes to allow free air circulation.
If odor remains, try any or all of the following:
Wipe inside of unit with equal parts vinegar and water. Vinegar provides acid which destroys mildew.
Leave the door open and allow to air out for several days.
Stuff both the refrigerator and freezer with rolled newspapers. Close the door and leave for several days. Remove paper and clean with vinegar and water.
Sprinkle fresh coffee grounds or baking soda loosely in a large, shallow container in the bottom of the refrigerator and freezer.
Place a cotton swab soaked with vanilla inside the refrigerator and freezer. Close door for 24 hours. Check for odors.
Use a commercial product available at hardware and housewares stores. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Red Cross,

Ep. 33. Maple Leaf Foods: Food Safety After Tragedy
Source :
By Staff (Sep 11, 2018)
Ep. 33. Maple Leaf Foods: Food Safety After Tragedy
In 2008, Maple Leaf Foods had a devastating outbreak caused by Listeria contamination at one of its prepared meats facilities. It resulted in 23 deaths and many serious illnesses. Since this tragedy, Maple Leaf Foods has committed to becoming a global leader in food safety and has invested significant people and financial resources in achieving this commitment.
Maple Leaf Foods is a leading consumer protein company, making high-quality, innovative products under national brands including Maple Leaf®, Maple Leaf Prime®, Maple Leaf Natural Selections®, Schneiders®, Schneiders® Country Naturals®, Mina®, Lightlife™, and Field Roast Grain Meat Co. ™.
Maple Leaf is one of Canada’s flagship food companies, with sales of $3.3 billion dollars, employing approximately 11,500 people and does business in Canada, the U.S., and Asia. Maple Leaf is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario.
Michael McCain, President, and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods and Randy Huffman, Chief Food Safety and Sustainability Officer.
Michael has devoted his career to the food industry, starting at McCain Foods in the late 1970's where he held a variety of roles, including President and Chief Executive Officer of McCain Foods USA.  He joined Maple Leaf Foods in 1995. Since then, he has been instrumental in establishing Maple Leaf as a strong and sustainable, values-based company with leading brands and a bold vision for the future.
Dr. Randy Huffman joined Maple Leaf in 2009 and is currently Chief Food Safety and Sustainability Officer at the company.  This role encompasses Food Safety and Quality, Occupational Health, Safety and Security, Environmental Sustainability and Compliance, Animal Care and Corporate Engineering. 
Randy also leads the company's Food Safety Advisory Council, a team of external experts with the mandate to increase Maple Leaf's access to global knowledge and expertise in food safety, including best practices, regulatory compliance, microbiology, and fostering a food safety culture.
Prior to joining Maple Leaf Foods, Dr. Huffman served as President of the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation, as well as Senior Vice President Scientific Affairs for 9 years at AMI.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak to Maple Leaf executives—Michael McCain and Randy Huffman about:
What food safety processes and programs Maple Leaf had in place at the time of the 2008 listeriosis outbreak
How complacency played a part in Maple Leaf's food safety crisis
The steps Maple Leaf took in the hours, days, and weeks after learning of multiple illnesses and deaths
How the tragedy led Maple Leaf to make a long-term food safety commitment to be a world leader in the food industry
How Maple Leaf's story can help other food companies improve and avoid a similar situation
What is believed to be the root cause of Maple Leaf's outbreak
The consequences of not properly addressing positive environmental results
The benefits of implementing a "seek and destroy" strategy
Staying on top of food safety and swab results with a daily conference call that includes executive leadership
The critical importance of segregation in ready-to-eat processing facilities
What Maple Leaf might do differently if an outbreak or recall were to occur today
The establishment of the Food Safety Advisory Council in 2009
How they commemorate the outbreak every August, particularly marking the 10-year anniversary in 2018
The 10th annual Food Safety Symposium
Maple Leaf Food Safety Symposium
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Health tip: Celebrate National Food Safety Month with these simple steps
Source :
By (Sep 10, 2018)
Celebrate National Food Safety Month with these simple steps
What is something that is used every day and can give people good health or make them sick? The answer is both simple and obvious: food
Food is something every person needs for life and health; however, not all food is safe. Most foods have to be cooked or processed correctly to become both safe and healthy.
September is National Food Safety Month, and food safety is a major public health issue that applies to all people on the planet. Food safety is the idea that all food is grown, made and cooked in a safe way to prevent germs, viruses or contaminants from making people sick.
Unsafe food can lead to a range of health problems, such as food poisoning. Symptoms can be more severe in the young and elderly.
No one should become sick from food. Any germs, viruses or contaminants may be monitored and removed by those preparing the food.
Food safety applies on the farm, in markets and, especially, in the kitchen. When proper techniques are followed, everyone has the opportunity to be healthy and well fed.
Five golden rules to ensure food is safe:
•Make sure your food is from an approved, safe source
•Keep clean: washing hands is very important
Separate raw meats from cooked, ready-to-eat food
•Cook all foods completely, especially meats
•Store foods at safe temperatures; cold food should be kept at 41 degrees or below
Food safety is a shared responsibility, and it is up to farmers, stores and cooks to keep people safe. Access to safe and nutritious food is key to good health and a strong society.
For more information, visit or
— Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment

How Sharpening Food Safety Practices with IoT Technology can Reduce Foodborne Illness
Source :
By John Colbert (Sep 7, 2018)
How Sharpening Food Safety Practices with IoT Technology can Reduce Foodborne Illness
The method of using traditional manual oversight to enforce food safety policies is destined for the history books. Restaurant corporations, owners, franchisees, and general managers have long been enforcing food safety policies through the internal leadership structure. That approach is challenged, however, by high employee turnover rates, ineffective line-level supervisors, dry-labbing (employees plugging in fake results), rush times, and willful disobedience (employees that only comply if directly supervised). By implementing new technology, some restaurant leaders are taking the bull by the horns to keep a better eye on their food safety practices.
Advancements in Internet of Things (IoT) technology have become available that substantially improve food safety oversight, ultimately resulting in higher levels of compliance with more accurate and reliable results. The enhancement occurs because technology can watch over things that would be impossible to supervise otherwise. The technology essentially puts in place full-time and after-hours supervision over key food safety control points. To further exemplify this point, key case study findings are discussed in the areas of hygiene, dry-labbing, mistakes, and equipment failures.
In the first example, Digital Six Laboratories (D6 Labs) installed IoT technology in a well-known restaurant where management was sure that employees were already in good compliance with their internal handwashing policies. On the first full day of use after implementation, it was revealed that the hand soap dispensers were used collectively only four times across three hand soap dispensers, despite the daily tracking system being properly completed by all employees and line supervisors. By 1 p.m. the next day, only two soap uses were detected; thus, senior management informed line-supervisors and staff that handwashing was being tracked. By the end of that day, the hand soap usage grew to 111 uses. The average run rate is now about 270 uses per day.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, handwashing is a critical component in preventing the spread of certain pathogens such as Salmonella or Cyclospora.[1] By using the™ technology, hand soap usage for this restaurant improved from roughly 10 uses per day (about five washes) to a confirmed rate of over 250 uses per day (about 125 washes), a dramatic improvement in food safety for that restaurant.
While handwashing is clearly a Critical Control Point for food safety, most restaurant managers would probably agree that cold storage and cooking temperatures are most vital to ensuring safe food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, the “Danger Zone” for bacteria is between 40 °F and 140 °F, wherein bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus, can double in just 20 minutes.[2] Stored food should be kept at temperatures below 40 °F and cooked food, after being cooked to a safe temperature, should be kept at temperatures above 140 °F until served.[2] The difficulty is manually keeping track of cold storage, cooked food, and food warmer temperatures. Management needs to know that freezers and refrigerators are working properly, that employees are properly testing cooked food, and that food warmers are doing their jobs effectively, which is a lot to account for while trying to get high-quality food delivered in a timely fashion.
D6 Labs technology has helped restaurants with several refrigerator-related issues, such as employees accidentally turning off refrigerators. Commercial refrigerators used by restaurants generally have a rapid cooling cycle, meaning that when the compressor kicks on, a steep graphical downward curve is represented in the data showing the fridge cooling quickly over time.
In this next example, a fridge compressor began to fail. After warming to an unsafe temperature, 45 °F + 5 °F, the fridge would take 4 to 5 hours to get back to a safe range—the curve was not steep, but rather long and smooth. The problem was that the food was still generally cool to the touch, so the food didn’t trigger any concern from employees, and after the fridge sat all night unused, it was cold by morning, so it passed start-up inspections. Without technology, this problem would go undetected until the fridge outright failed, which could take a good deal of time. Also, the fridge would draw a substantial amount of additional current, thus costing the owner more in energy bills. With the technology, this problem was quickly detected, allowing management to move food from the device until it could be serviced. Crisis avoided.
Food safety checks are, without question, a distraction from other duties, which can create a desire to punch in numbers, rather than do the actual tests—often referred to as dry-labbing or pencil whipping. After a small amount of rationalization, and a few times of getting away with it, dry-labbing becomes the norm.
With technology, risky nuances in how food safety checks, such as—Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points-related startup checks or routine food safety or food quality inspections—are conducted can be identified and remedied. For instance, immediately after the implementation of a software-driven process that guides employees through certain aspects of food safety testing processes—a feature of D6 Labs’ technology—the personnel who normally do these daily tests were trained on how to use the software. The names of the devices to check were entered into the software; thus, the software would prompt the user to, say, obtain a temperature reading from refrigerator X. Interestingly, in this case, the person who had been performing these daily inspections could not find the devices by name, which then begs the question as to how the person was able to write in the temperatures on the written log. It was easy for the person to walk around the facility giving the appearance of performing the checks, but the checks were not legitimately completed.
Another Critical Control Point for many quick-serve and dine-in restaurants is confirming that cooked food is reaching a safe temperature. Sometimes, when a cooked food test is due, it is passed over because of a customer rush.
On one occasion, just after installing technology that drives and monitors required cooked food testing, it was revealed that even though a manual test had just been logged, the meat was actually below safe temperatures. It was clear that the employee had simply entered numbers in the log rather than rightfully performing the test. Such dry-labbing of results leaves equipment improperly adjusted and cooking practices unaltered. The discussed technology can solve problems like this by requiring the tests to be completed, guiding employees through the tests, and alerting management if they are not performed on time.
Keeping the ever-renewing employee base properly trained and effective in food safety practices is a continuous management challenge that can now be effectively mitigated through IoT technology. With good technology in place, managers’ oversight reach is expanded as technology monitors situations and alerts on problems. By adding the effective business metric of quantifiable measurement to food safety activities, restaurant leaders can now continuously access and improve their food safety environment to the benefit of everyone: what gets measured gets done.
John Colbert is the chairman of the board and executive chair of Digital Six Laboratories, Inc. John has experience working as a public company CEO and serving on corporate boards.  His expertise spans the technology industry from hardware to software with a current focus on technology impacting the restaurant industry and food safety.



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