Tag Archives: eggs

Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

An ‘Egg-stra’ Splash Of Color

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food fraud, eggs
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Free-range country chicken eggs, often recognizable by their different color, fetch 30–40% more revenue than eggs from caged hens. Leghorns, a common type of chicken used for mass-production, lay white eggs. In this fraud case in India, leghorn eggs were colored by using water-based dyes, for example, made from tea. The eggs were confiscated and destroyed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and the vendors received a warning.

Resource

  1. Thomas, W. (February 3, 2020). “FSSAI destroys artificially coloured eggs”. The Hindu.
Recall

Almark Foods Expands Hard Boiled Egg Recall As Listeria Outbreak Continues

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Recall

Today FDA provided an update about its outbreak investigation of Listeria monocytogenes linked to hard-boiled eggs manufactured by Almark Foods’ facility in Gainesville, Georgia. On December 23, Almark expanded its recall to include all eggs manufactured at the Gainesville plant. In addition, the company is not producing products at this facility.

Thus far, four companies have recalled products containing the eggs from Almark Foods, as they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes:

As of December 17, seven infections were reported, with four hospitalizations and one death across five states. The hard-boiled eggs were sold both in bulk pails to food processors, restaurants and retailers, as well as directly to consumers at the retail level, and have “Best If Used By Dates” through March 2, 2020.

FDA used whole genome sequencing to find a genetic match in the outbreak strain from samples collected at Almark’s facility during agency inspections in February and December of this year.

The agency investigation is ongoing.

Production line, NiceLabel

Farm-to-Fork Transparency: How Digitized Labeling Can Prevent a Major Allergen Recall

By Lee Patty
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Production line, NiceLabel

For consumers and brands alike, the damaging impact of mislabeling or neglecting to clearly outline an allergen can be colossal. Therefore, to prevent a health and business disaster, best practices around allergen labeling must be top of mind. Luckily, technology can help, and the farm-to-fork transparency provided by a centralized and digitized modern label management system can ensure organizations improve responsiveness and accuracy while reducing costs beyond those saved by mitigating recalls.

No one wants to face a recall, but have you done enough to prevent one from happening to you? More than 650 food products were recalled last year in the United States alone. And one of the leading causes might just be the easiest to prevent: Undeclared allergens.

According to the Q2 2019 Stericycle Recall Index, undeclared allergens are the leading cause of U.S. food recalls, accounting for 48.4% of food recalls from the FDA and 62.9% of food pounds recalled by the USDA. This statistic becomes more alarming considering that roughly 11% of US adults have a food allergy, according to JAMA.

Enacted in 2004, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) stipulates that all packaged food regulated under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFD&C) comply by listing major food allergens. “Major allergens” refers to milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans, and for nuts and shellfish, the species must be declared.

For brands, the damaging impact of mislabeling or neglecting to clearly outline an allergen can be colossal, resulting in costly recalls or litigation. However, the impact to consumers can be even greater when one small mistake can cause serious illness, or worse, death. To prevent a health and business nightmare, best practices around allergen labeling must be top of mind.

However, with constantly changing legislation, this can be easier said than done. For instance, in a move that outpaced the FDA, Illinois issued a state law requiring sesame labeling. And in the UK, Natasha’s Law was recently introduced, requiring companies to label all food ingredients on fresh pre-packaged food after 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died of a sesame allergy from a sandwich that didn’t list all the ingredients.

The need for optimal allergen labeling is clear, so how can organizations ensure allergens are clearly labeled on their products and meet existing standards while preparing for future requirements?

Though the underlying principle behind a clear label is simple, the process of designing such labels can be multifaceted and difficult to streamline—especially if labels are designed, printed and managed by separate users across a franchise or store network. And this challenge is multiplied further when products reach across international boundaries. But technology can help, and the farm-to-fork transparency provided by a centralized and digitized modern label management system can ensure organizations improve responsiveness and accuracy while reducing costs beyond those saved by mitigating recalls.

Disorganized Sprawl: A Major Hurdle to Effective Labeling

When implemented properly, modern label management can cost-effectively centralize labeling, reducing inefficiencies and human error. However, before this can happen, there are a few common roadblocks that may make standardizing the labeling process challenging.

One issue may be a sprawl of legacy equipment that is not integrated into a cohesive network. For instance, a legacy labeling system may only support certain label printers while certain manufacturers of direct marking equipment may only support their own propriety brand of printers. In another sense, a lack of standardization can also make it difficult to efficiently integrate labeling with other business solutions like manufacturing execution systems (MES) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

A damaging impact of sprawl is adoption of a wide range of different labeling applications across various facilities. This will result in inconsistent label formatting, the need to create the same label multiple times, and the need to accommodate different systems and printers. Consequences of this may be a lack of centralized storage when everything is saved locally, complex user training encompassing many software programs, an increased burden on IT, and a great deal of extra administration and human intervention to maintain and update labels.

Another problem with a disorganized ecosystem for labeling is that quality assurance inevitably suffers because tracing a label’s history or implementing standardized approval processes can be difficult or impossible. To accurately track labeling, it’s necessary to have a production log stating where and when labels were produced and who produced them. Having such a log and using it effectively requires centralization or else it can become difficult to track different versions or enforce universal approval processes for altering templates.

Implementing Modernized Labeling to Improve QA

Modern label management systems can help suppliers and manufacturers standardize and control marking packaging or label production across an entire organizational ecosystem. These solutions feature a central, web-based document management system and provide a reliable storage space for label templates and label history. This will enable changes and updates to be tracked centrally, so local facilities can access uniform and accurate templates to produce labels.

An ideal label management system can also interface with a multitude of direct marking and labeling printers, even if they are from different manufacturers, and it can integrate labeling and direct marking with a business system’s master data, which eliminates manual data entry errors. This decreases upfront capital expenditures in more costly efforts to standardize equipment, provides a system that is easy to integrate with partners, saves costs generated from having to discard product or rework labels, and increases a company’s ability to implement unified, organization-wide labeling processes.

Centralized Labeling is Easily Delivered Through Cloud

To many, the thought of migrating legacy labeling to a centralized system or investing a large sum of resources into centralizing labeling may seem inordinate or daunting. However, cloud technology makes migrating to a modern label management system feasible for organizations of all sizes.

With the cloud, designing labels and ensuring quality assurance becomes far more accessible. Additionally, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model doesn’t require the capital investments or operations and maintenance upkeep associated with costly IT infrastructure and is easily scalable depending on business needs. This is a game changer for small to medium sized businesses who can now benefit from a centralized labeling system because of the cloud.

The Benefits of a “Single-source-of-truth”

In addition to other benefits, integrating a modern label management solution with other business systems allows users to access a “single-source-of-truth.” This allows for enforceable, specific user roles with logins for each user as well as traceability and transparency across all factories that produce products. The traceability from being able to monitor a “single-source-of-truth” is a critical component to farm-to-fork transparency because it can provide an accurate production log overviewing label versions and changes, so companies can pinpoint the locations and causes of labeling inaccuracies and fix them instantly.

A modern label management system also enables organizations to nimbly respond to new regulatory requirements because alterations only need to be made in one location, new templates can be previewed before going to production, and nutrition and allergen functionality can be easily formatted so that it is clear and stands out to the consumer. This increases labeling consistency and accuracy, and saves time when rules change and when new products need to be incorporated during a merger or acquisition.

Futureproofing and Ensuring Consumer Safety with Allergen Labeling

In today’s world, food and beverage manufacturers must rise to the challenge of changing regulations while meeting the call of shifting customer demands and integrating themselves within greater business ecosystems and extended supply chains. In the case of allergen labeling, this may mean preparing labels for different countries, which have varying standards for labeling allergens like sesame, royal jelly, bee pollen, buckwheat and latex, or ensuring labels can be altered quickly when new products are rolled out or when bodies like the FDA revamp standards.

Companies that implement modern label management solutions position themselves to adapt to competition and regulations quickly, implement solutions that can easily be integrated with partners in a supply chain, and streamline quality control. This can help improve productivity, reduce labeling errors, increase collaboration, and prevent product recalls. But most importantly, it helps ensure the safety of consumers everywhere.

Poultry

Q3 Hazard Beat: Poultry and Poultry Products Trends

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Poultry

The following infographic is a snapshot of the hazard trends in poultry and poultry products from Q3 2019. The information has been pulled from the HorizonScan quarterly report, which summarizes recent global adulteration trends using data gathered from more than 120 reliable sources worldwide. Over the next several weeks, Food Safety Tech will provide readers with hazard trends from various food categories included in this report.

Hazard Trend Report, Poultry & Poultry Products
2019 Data from HorizonScan by FeraScience, Ltd.
Eggs

USDA Proposes Rule to Make Egg Products Safer

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Eggs

Earlier this week the USDA’s FSIS proposed to amend inspection regulations, modernizing food safety inspection systems, in an effort to make egg products safer. It would require official plants that process egg products to develop HACCP systems, sanitation standard operating procedures and meet sanitation requirements consistent with meat and poultry regulations.

“FSIS is proposing that official plants will be required to produce egg products in such a way that the finished product is free of detectable pathogens,” according to a USDA news release. “The regulatory amendment also uses agency’s resources more efficiently and removes unnecessary regulatory obstacles to innovation.”

FSIS will also be taking over jurisdiction of egg substitutes.

According to the agency, the financial impact of the proposed rule could be minimal, as it states 93% of egg products plants already have a written HACCP plan that deals with at least one production step in the process.

Once published in the Federal Register, a 120-comment period will go into effect.

Egg

Egg Contamination Spreads Across Europe

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Egg

At least 17 countries have been hit with the European egg scandal involving insecticide contamination. Ground zero of the problem has not been definitively identified, as Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany are reportedly pointing fingers over which country is to blame and how long they knew about the problem. Dutch authorities may have known about the problem as far back as November 2016.

The eggs have been tainted with the pesticide Fipronil, doses of which are not harmful to humans engaging in short-term consumption. When consumed in large doses, it can cause damage to the kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

Farmers in the Netherlands used a company, Chickfriend, to delouse their chickens, but this company reportedly mixed fipronil into the cleaning solution and could have contaminated nearly 180 farms in the country as a result, according to The New York Times. As many as 20% of Dutch egg-laying chickens could be affected. Chickfriend was recently raided by authorities and two of its directors were arrested. Antwerp-based Poultry-Vision stated that it provided Chickfriend with fipronil via a source in Romania, according to The Guardian.

Contaminated eggs, which have been distributed to at least 17 countries (mainly in Europe) have also been found at producers in Belgium, France and Germany, and as a result, millions of eggs have either been destroyed or removed from store shelves.

Eggs

FSIS Will Start Testing All Pasteurized Egg Products for Listeria

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Eggs

Beginning on September 21, FSIS will test all domestic and imported pasteurized egg products for Listeria monocytogenes (Lm). The agency currently tests these products for Lm if they have a shelf-life claim, but the new initiative will test all pasteurized egg products regardless of claims. FSIS is also getting rid of Lm analysis at the end of shelf-life on products with claims under the domestic egg products sampling program (EGGDOM); the agency will instead collect samples of dried, liquid and frozen pasteurized egg products and test them for both Salmonella and Lm.

Food Safety Tech is organizing a Listeria Detection & Control Workshop in Washington, DC, October 6-7. Virtual attendance is also offered for folks unable to travel.

FDA Advises Egg Safety for Easter

FDA estimates that 142,000 illnesses each year are caused by consuming eggs contaminated with Salmonella. While there are regulations in place to help prevent contamination of eggs on the farm and during shipping and storage, the most effective way to prevent egg-related illness is by knowing how to buy, store, handle and cook eggs safely.

EggsSafetyMarch2015Fresh eggs must be handled carefully to avoid the possibility of foodborne illness, often called “food poisoning.” Even eggs with clean, uncracked shells may occasionally contain bacteria called Salmonella that can cause an intestinal infection.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 142,000 illnesses each year are caused by consuming eggs contaminated with Salmonella. FDA has put regulations in place to help prevent contamination of eggs on the farm and during shipping and storage. But consumers play a key role in preventing illness associated with eggs. In fact, the most effective way to prevent egg-related illness is by knowing how to buy, store, handle and cook eggs — or foods that contain them — safely. Follow these safe handling tips to help protect yourself and your family.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella, the name of a group of bacteria, is the most common cause of food poisoning in the United States. Salmonella germs have been known to cause illness for over 100 years. They were discovered by an American scientist named Salmon, for whom they are named.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting 12 to 72 hours after infection. Symptoms usually last 4 to 7 days and most people get better without treatment. However, in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated quickly with antibiotics. Certain people are at greater risk for severe illness and include pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

Safe Handling Instructions

To prevent illness from bacteria: keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly. Eggs that have been treated to destroy Salmonella — by in-shell pasteurization, for example — are not required to carry safe handling instructions.

Buy Right

You can help keep eggs safe by making wise buying decisions at the grocery store. Buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case. Open the carton and make sure that the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked. Refrigerate promptly. Store eggs in their original carton and use them within 3 weeks for best quality.

Keep Everything Clean

Cleaning counter before preparing any food, remember that cleanliness is key! Wash hands, utensils, equipment, and work surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after they come in contact with eggs and egg-containing foods.

Cook Thoroughly

Thorough cooking is perhaps the most important step in making sure eggs are safe. Cook eggs until both the yolk and the white are firm. Scrambled eggs should not be runny. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160°F (72°C). Use a food thermometer to be sure. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served — Caesar salad dressing and homemade ice cream are two examples — use either shell eggs that have been treated to destroy Salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method, or pasteurized egg products. Treated shell eggs are available from a growing number of retailers and are clearly labeled, while pasteurized egg products are widely available.

Serve Safely

Bacteria can multiply in temperatures from 40°F (5°C) to 140°F (60°C), so it’s very important to serve foods safely. Serve cooked eggs and egg-containing foods immediately after cooking. For buffet-style serving, hot egg dishes should be kept hot, and cold egg dishes kept cold. Eggs and egg dishes, such as quiches or soufflés, may be refrigerated for serving later but should be thoroughly reheated to 165°F (74°C) before serving. Cooked eggs, including hard-boiled eggs, and egg-containing foods, should not sit out for more than 2 hours. Within 2 hours either reheat or refrigerate.

Store Properly

Use hard-cooked eggs (in the shell or peeled) within 1 week after cooking. Use frozen eggs within 1 year. Eggs should not be frozen in their shells. To freeze whole eggs, beat yolks and whites together. Egg whites can also be frozen by themselves. Refrigerate leftover cooked egg dishes and use within 3 to 4 days. When refrigerating a large amount of a hot eggcontaining leftover, divide it into several shallow containers so it will cool quickly.

On The Road

Cooked eggs for a picnic should be packed in an insulated cooler with enough ice or frozen gel packs to keep them cold. Don’t put the cooler in the trunk — carry it in the air-conditioned passenger compartment of the car. If taking cooked eggs to work or school, pack them with a small frozen gel pack or a frozen juice box.

Source: FDA.gov