Food safety training held at African Milling School
Source : https://www.world-grain.com/articles/11352-food-safety-training-held-at-african-milling-school
By Arvin Donley (Dec 11, 2018)
NAIROBI, KENYA — Consumers globally are increasingly becoming concerned about food safety issues as cases of lifestyle-related and food-borne diseases surge.
These concerns have pushed governments and food industry stakeholders to develop stringent food regulations regarding food safety and quality of end products to reduce food-related health issues and improve operational excellence for businesses playing diverse roles in the farm-to-fork value chain.
To aid in creating awareness and building knowledge around food safety, the International Association of Operative Millers Mideast & Africa (IAOM MEA) in partnership with Cereal Millers Association of Kenya and the African Milling School staged a three-day food safety training course Oct. 18-20. The training was held at Bühler’s African Milling School in Nairobi, Kenya.
The training allowed plant managers, production managers, millers, head millers and quality control managers to evaluate and learn more about food safety essentials, challenges and concerns on safety, hazards and their control, food safety management, prerequisites for achieving safe food production and measures necessary to comply with private, national and international regulations and legislation on food safety.
During the training, it was discussed how food safety issues cut across countries globally as previous health compromising incidents related to foods demonstrated. This exerts pressure on food producers to take responsibility in ensuring what consumers eat is safe.
Food safety issues can be caused by various contaminants that are biological, chemical or physical in nature. These include pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, viruses such as norovirus, parasites, pests, mycotoxin or foreign matter such as glass, metal, plastic or wood.
For example, one of the deadliest food poisoning outbreaks was linked to aflatoxin in corn in 2004, affecting 317 people in Kenya, with 125 of them succumbing to the intoxication. Still today, millions of people across Africa are exposed to aflatoxin and other mycotoxins, which increases the risk of child stunting and liver cancer. Another widespread food safety hazard discussed during the training is the presence of Salmonella in ready-to-eat food. A well-documented case of Salmonella chocolate led to a recall of nearly a million chocolate bars with the manufacturer making a loss of £20 million.
“The health of consumers/people is our main concern,” Martin Schlauri, managing director of the Africa Milling School, told participants from the MEA region.
Individuals who participated in the training learned how food safety contamination can occur through different sources such as wrong dosing of micronutrients during the food processing phase, which occurred in Brazil in 2007, or how it can come from the environment such as a case in China where high levels of calcium arsenic/lead were found in rice. The contaminant could also be linked to food contact materials. Such a case occurred in 2005 in Europe when baby milk released to the market was recalled due to chemical contamination by packaging material.
Food contamination can also be a result of machine failure such as the 2012 incident in the United States where 2.8 million of cereal boxes were recalled from the market due to possible presence of metal pieces.
The food safety training by IAOM MEA is also meant to create awareness not only on the safety requirements but also on the importance of making reference and complying with legislative provisions for the industry.
As a key stakeholder in the food industry, IAOM MEA said its members are part of a team in the farm-to-fork value chain that should be responsible for the safety of the food they produce and by providing the training they can “build knowledge around food safety, leverage food safety as a competitive advantage and reduce risk and liabilities.”
The food safety training did not only provide a forum for participants to share their experience and connect to the food safety community, but also was a good opportunity to learn how to develop and implement an action plan for their milling plants, IAOM MEA said.
Three Spreadable Cheese Production Challenges – and How to Solve Them
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/signature-series/three-spreadable-cheese-production-challenges-and-how-to-solve-them/
By Tetra Pak (Dec 3, 2018)
Three Spreadable Cheese Production Challenges – and How to Solve Them
What are the main production challenges facing spreadable cheese producers? And what is the best way to tackle them? We asked Tetra Pak experts Erik Börjesson and Kamila Lopes Abelha for some useful tips.
Challenge 1: How do you keep up with market demand for a healthy, high-quality product—but at low cost?
Research indicates that consumers want their spreadable cheese to be healthy and nutritional, with reduced fat content and a “clean label,” meaning low levels of preservatives and additives. They also desire the perfect mouthfeel, a delicious texture, and an attractive price tag.
Mission impossible? Actually, not.
Solution: Simplify your ingredient stream to achieve high quality at lower cost.
Maintaining high nutritional and low-fat content at a competitive cost requires a simplified manufacturing process that gives you full ingredient control while generating fewer leftovers in the form of nutritional protein.
One way to achieve this is to reduce fresh ingredient use and instead use 100 percent recombined ingredients. You can, for example, replicate fresh milk with functional milk proteins originating from skimmed milk powder, whey protein, and butter fat.
“The right blend of butter fat with different vegetable fats will help you to achieve your desired mouth feeling and viscosity,” says Börjesson. “Functional milk proteins can also boost creaminess—independent of recipe fat levels—and are the key building block in the nutritional value of your spreadable cheese.”
You will also need emulsifiers to help promote the right texture. Emulsifiers balance creaminess versus firmness and also avoid stickiness. Stabilizers like carrageenan give you control of spreadability, while adding cheese powders or enzyme modified cheese will boost your product’s cheese flavor.
With the right choice of mixer to give you exactly the blend you need, you are well on the way to meeting your product goals—and hitting the consumer’s sweet spot.
Challenge 2: What are the secrets to achieving optimal product quality?
Consumers have high demands when it comes to spreadable cheese. They expect a perfect appearance, taste, texture, spreadability, and mouthfeel. Your product needs all of these to stand out on the shelf.
Achieving the desired product quality and avoiding pitfalls like lumps and grittiness involves a complex interplay between the blend of ingredients you use and your processing equipment. Here are a couple of ways that can help you to get it right.
Solution: Use smart mixing for a lump-free product
Many spreadable processed cheeses are made from powder recombination, meaning milk and other functional ingredients in powder form. Here, the trick is to ensure effective emulsification and suspension—the two critical steps to achieving a perfect and lump-free mixture powder.
Full dissolution of all powders is essential—as is good fat emulsification—while fat droplet size is critical to giving your product its desired stability, texture, and taste.
For this, you will want to consider a high shear mixer with a rotor stator function. Such mixers have a rotor stator at the base that ensures very effective dispersion of powders into liquids.
In such a mixer, blades underneath the rotor push the mixture towards the perforated stator, creating the high shear forces needed to dissolve ingredients completely and avoid lumping and foaming.
“A high shear mixer gives you freedom to tailor-make ingredient combinations that will always ensure the same high-quality end-product,” says Erik Börjesson, Tetra Pak line solution manager. “It takes fresh ingredient quality and their seasonal variations out of the equation.”
Challenge 3: How do you meet increasing demand for single-portion packs that promote convenient snacking?
On-the-go snacking and convenience in home cooking require shelf-stable products in ambient packaging. For this, your line will require ultra-high temperature treatment, with aseptic packaging in cartons rather than hot filling in plastic cups.
Solution: Include a coiled tube heat exchanger in your line
Heat-induced stress can have a major impact on the texture, color, and taste of spreadable cheese because exposure to high temperatures triggers chemical and oxidation reactions that can degrade the product.
It is, therefore, an advantage if you can achieve commercial sterility as fast as possible, and thus minimize the total heat load on your product.
A coiled heat exchanger is the best choice for this task, capable of doing the job in less than half the time of some industry-standard models. It is designed to heat spreadable cheese faster, thereby exposing it to a much lower total heat load.
“We have tested several heat exchangers with high viscous spreadable cheese products, and the outcome is clear. A coiled tube heat exchanger is the preferred choice,” says Tetra Pak’s Kamila Abelha.
This is because the coils in a coiled tube heat exchanger create a physical force known as the “Dean effect,” which increases heat transfer intensity.
The Dean effect allows you to heat-treat your product faster, better preserving its quality and nutritional value.
Tetra Pak provides safe processing and packaging solutions for the food industry.
FSA food standards review highlights failures
Source : https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/11/fsa-food-standards-review-highlights-failures/
By Joe Whitworth (Nov 30, 2018)
Food standards delivery in the United Kingdom is hampered by inadequate resources and an out of date approach to regulation, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The agency reviewed how such work is handled across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
FSA surveyed local authorities (LAs) between March and May 2017 across the three countries and 104 replied. It assessed how LAs plan and prioritize food standards work, the resources and capacity they have and how they measure success of programs.
The current approach to delivery of food standards controls is set in the Food Law Code of Practice (FLCOP), which has separate versions covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
‘We can’t just patch this up’
Heather Hancock, FSA chair, said the survey provides evidence of the scale and nature of the problems so it can design and deliver a better way to protect consumers in the future.
“We have had growing concerns that the delivery of food standards is not working as well as it should be. Our results show that food standards delivery is hampered by inadequate resources, and an out of date and inflexible approach to regulation,” she said.
“Whilst the position varies across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it clearly demands action and we can’t just patch this up. It needs a fundamental look at how we provide better protection for consumers in the future, with flexibility to respond to rapidly changing circumstances, and targeting risks wherever they arise.”
The survey found variation in food standards resources between LAs, and between England, Wales and Northern Ireland, increasing the potential for inconsistency of official controls.
Resource levels in England were lower than Wales and Northern Ireland, with 22 percent of English LAs having less than one full-time equivalent for food standards work. A total of 15 percent of firms are unrated for food standards risk and this figure is higher for some LAs.
Almost half of 94 respondents said their LA had reduced food standards resources in the last three years with more than 25 percent reporting a reduction of 25 percent or greater. They also indicated an increase in registered food businesses.
There are more environmental health practitioners (EHPs) enforcing food standards legislation across England and Wales but a lack of information on the training and support provided, and the ways in which competence is ensured and maintained.
Just over half of those surveyed said they measure the impact/success of food standards work but this is often limited to indicators such as numbers of notices issued/inspections achieved, rather than quantifying impact the service has on local businesses and consumers.
Michael Walker, Referee Analyst and head of the Office of the Government Chemist, LGC said the conclusions are refreshingly candid in recognizing failures in the system and FSA is to be applauded in aiming to address these.
“Much can be done to improve consistency of approach and effective targeting of resources. But it is openly acknowledged in the report that it is highly unlikely that available resources to deliver food standards controls will increase in the near future without intervention by central government. Thus there is a tension between the ambitious aims of the review and the practical ability to deliver sustainable modernization in the short term,” he told Food Safety News.
“There is ample legislation covering food standards including the quality, composition, labelling, presentation, chemical contamination and advertising of food. But policy responsibility for and delivery of official controls of food standards (i.e. enforcement) exist in a complex landscape.”
The Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) encouraged FSA to work quickly on the review and the Regulating our Future (RoF) programme to inform on science and technology driven approaches so the required resources to deliver effective services is known and can be deployed.
“The review reports on what is a creaking system and model; however there are positive moves towards a more outcome and risk-based system with many LAs already focusing more on new and higher risk businesses, and allergens. We also want to reiterate that the primary responsibility lies with those who make and sell food, with a level playing field provided by official controls, policy, regulation and enforcement,” said the group.
IFST is a UK professional body for those involved in food science and technology.
Removal of central funding
The survey also found removal of central funding from the FSA is likely to have an increased impact on food standards sampling in future and significant value is placed in the Public Analyst service.
Figures show a reduction in sample numbers in England and Wales up to the end of March 2017 with a 14 percent decrease in England and 12 percent fall in Wales from 2014/15. The main reason for the fall in sampling activity was removal of FSA central funding.
High risk sites and allergens in catering establishments were the most common food standards priorities for LAs. Other areas included composition and speciation in meat products and use of undeclared prohibited ingredients in food supplements.
Almost one in 10 of 103 respondents stated their LA did not have measures in place to provide an effective response should an incident such as horsemeat arise in future.
A total of 84 percent said their LA did have arrangements in place, with over half saying response to such an incident would be resourced from within, meaning it could be impacted by further reductions in resource. Of the authorities with arrangements in place, 60 percent said their approach to responding to a major incident had not been tested.
David Pickering, from Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, said data in the report will be used to design a system of regulation that recognizes the importance of food standards so consumers can be confident that food is safe and what it says it is and businesses meet their responsibilities.
“We will continue to contribute to the RoF process to produce a regulatory framework that enables resources to be targeted in the most effective and efficient way, highlighting best practice and maximizing the impact of the work we do.”
The review and survey findings is scheduled to be discussed at the next FSA Board meeting on Dec. 5 in London.
Food Safety director: Needles found in fruit are isolated incidents
Source : https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/food-safety-director-needles-found-in-fruit-are-isolated-incidents/
By National (Nov 27, 2018)
A leading voice on food safety says recent reports of needles concealed in fruit and vegetables are isolated incidents but backs a supermarket's decision to take capsicums off the shelves.
New Zealand Food Safety's director of food regulation Paul Dansted said they were aware of a report of a needle found in a capsicum purchased from a Tauranga Countdown.
"New Zealand Food Safety's primary concern is protecting consumers," he said.
"The store in question decided to remove capsicums from its shelves as a precaution and we support that decision."
Police are investigating the claim after a customer reportedly found the needle in a red capsicum he purchased from Countdown Bureta Park.
A Countdown spokesperson previously told the Herald the incident has been referred to the New Zealand Police and the Ministry of Primary Industries.
Dansted said New Zealand Food Safety would continue to provide support and information to police where needed.
"At this stage, we have no reason to believe this case, or the earlier reported needle in a strawberry of the weekend, are anything but isolated incidents."
The contaminated fruit was reportedly was purchased at a supermarket in South Canterbury's Geraldine was over the weekend.
In September, three needles were found in strawberries in New Zealand, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries.They were all in one punnet.
"We've no evidence of any risks in the supply chain or the food safety system," Dansted said.
"Rather, this is a potentially criminal activity with severe penalties and it is being treated as such.
"Our advice to consumers remains: if you see something out of the ordinary, please take it to your retailer or give us a call on 0800 00 83 83."
Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR) food forensic scientist Darren Saunders said there were a number of ways to determine if an object found in food had been put there maliciously.
The first step in these cases was to look at fingerprints and DNA, he said.
"Then there is the identification of the foreign objects themselves – if you have a thumb tack, needle or a pin you look at simple measurements, like dimensions, then compare it to what's commercially available, analyse its composition – what sort of metal is it – where are these available and so forth," Saunders said.
Foreign objects in food were one of the big concerns ESR heard from manufacturers and suppliers, in respect in determining liability, he said.
"They will want to know if it is a malicious case of someone inserting something sharp and horrible into, for instance, their bread. They'll want to know whether it was baked in.
"We had a series of cases with needles found in baked bread and you could tell from the bag by the tiny holes in it that something had been inserted and which direction it came from that is from the outside in."
Saunders said another complaint ESR frequently received related to suspect rodent droppings, which he says on the face of it, can be hard to tell from bits of burnt grease or other food ingredients.
"But under the microscope, you'll find actual faecal material contains rodent hair.
"That's because when rodents groom themselves they consume their own hair, and hair can often be identified down to a species level. Mice hairs for instance are very characteristic."
He said one complaint involving hair came from a milk company, which was continually finding ginger hairs in its on-line filter.
"We identified it as coming from a cat, so you get this image of the cat waiting until night time and jumping into the vat. Literally, the cat that got the cream."
How long do leftovers last? Your guide to post-holiday food safety
Source : https://abc13.com/food/holiday-leftovers-guide-how-long-turkey-and-other-foods-last/4760501/
By Danny Clemens (Dec 26, 2018)
The joyful indulgence of a holiday meal doesn't necessarily end when everybody gets up from the table; it's a time-honored tradition to dig back into your leftovers in the days following a big holiday or even to give them new life as sandwiches or casseroles.
Leftovers, though, don't last forever, and it's important to practice good food safety habits to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses. As a general guideline, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends eating or freezing turkey and other leftovers within three to four days. For Christmas, which this year fell on a Tuesday, that means that properly refrigerated leftovers are good through Saturday.
If you're not sure what to do with leftover turkey, visit FoodSafety.gov for a list of easy leftover turkey recipes.
After your big holiday meal, refrigerate your leftovers within two hours to prevent spoilage. Any perishable food left at room temperature for more than two hours should be considered unsafe and discarded.
Contrary to popular opinion, you shouldn't let leftovers cool to room temperature before refrigerating them, according to DHHS: "Leftovers should be placed in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible, even if they still have steam or heat coming off of them."
It's best to portion out leftovers into smaller servings and store them in shallow containers with a lid, DHSS recommends, so carve your turkey instead of storing a whole bird.
When it comes time to feast on your leftovers, make sure that you reheat them thoroughly.
"Always test reheated leftovers in several places with a meat thermometer to be sure they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit throughout. When reheating foods in the microwave, cover and rotate or stir foods once or twice during cooking," the USDA advises.
If you're reheating in the oven, the oven should be set to 325 degrees or higher, the agency added. Slow cookers and chafing dishes should not be used to reheat previously cooked dishes because they could keep food at an unsafe temperature for too long, though they can be used to keep already-reheated food warm during serving.
Should you choose to freeze leftovers, your mileage will vary depending on the dish. The USDA's FoodKeeper app broadly advises consumers that leftover dishes containing meat, fish, poultry, or egg last two to three months in the freezer. Leftovers without meat, though, only last one to two months in the freezer.
SEE ALSO: Can I take a turkey on a plane? Holiday travel tips from TSA
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