Tag Archives: Testing

Trust on the Line: Protecting Your Brand in a World of Food Safety Hazards

The recent recall of lead-contaminated applesauce and cinnamon products highlights the importance of proactive food safety risk management. It is critical for food companies to prevent food safety issues to ensure product safety, maintain consumer trust and protect brand reputation, but identifying and prioritizing these supply chain risks can be a challenge without the right strategy. Our webinar will reveal best practices and operational examples of food safety risk mitigation. 

Seafood

FDA Testing Reveals Low Occurrence of PFAS in Meat and Seafood

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Seafood

On April 18, the FDA shared test results for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in 95 samples from one regional collection from its Total Diet Study (TDS). PFAS were detected in eight samples — two beef and two cod samples, and one sample each of shrimp, salmon, catfish, and tilapia. The FDA concluded that exposure to PFAS at the levels measured in these eight samples is not likely to be a health concern for young children or the general population, based on evaluation of each PFAS for which there is a toxicological reference value. The agency stated that the data are consistent with previous TDS testing results that detected PFAS primarily in some meat and seafood samples, while the majority of previous TDS results were found not to detect PFAS. Per the FDA, no PFAS have been detected in over 97% (788 out of 813) of the fresh and processed foods tested from the TDS to date.

The FDA has been testing fresh and processed foods since 2019 to estimate dietary exposure to PFAS from the general food supply, with nearly 1,300 samples tested to date. This testing, which included a targeted survey to sample seafood, has so far indicated that seafood may be at higher risk for environmental PFAS contamination compared to other types of foods. “While the data on PFAS in seafood is still very limited, filter feeders, such as clams, but also other bivalve mollusks, including oysters, mussels, and scallops, may have the potential to bioaccumulate more environmental contaminants than other seafood types,” the FDA stated in its announcement. “We continue to pursue additional sampling of bivalve mollusks, including imported and domestic clams, as well as other seafood to better understand PFAS in the U.S. food supply.”

In the past five years, the FDA has also developed validated methods for testing for PFAS in increasingly diverse types of foods, publishing an updated analytical method to the FDA’s Foods Program Compendium of Analytical Laboratory Methods: Chemical Analytical Manual. This method includes the addition of 14 analytes to the existing 16 analytes, resulting in the ability to measure 30 PFAS in food and extending the method to include animal feed samples.

Merieux Nutrisciences logo

Mérieux NutriSciences Acquires Food Technology Consulting

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Merieux Nutrisciences logo

Mérieux NutriSciences has acquired Food Technology Consulting International, a Canadian Food Safety consulting, training, and auditing solutions provider. Mérieux NutriSciences offers analytical and product development solutions to prevent health risks related to the food, beverage, and nutraceutical industry. The company operates more than 100 labs and has a presence in 27 countries.

Food Technology Consulting and its team of consultants, trainers and auditors have been helping companies in the development, implementation, and maintenance of effective food safety programming for more than 20 years.

“We are enthusiastic about having the talented team at Food Technology Consulting join us and welcome them to our network,” said Sébastien Moulard, President of Mérieux NutriSciences, North America. “This acquisition supports our position as a major player in the consulting market and strengthens our presence in Canada.”

Kiwa Group Acquires ASI Food Safety

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) company Kiwa has acquired St. Louis-based ASI. ASI has provided farm-to-fork food safety solutions since the 1940s. The company offers a full suite of safety and quality services to the food and beverage, dietary supplements and cannabis industries. The merger will strengthen Kiwa’s U.S. footprint in providing Food, Feed & Farm certifications.

“Kiwa and ASI share similar customer-first business values and follow the same business model when it comes to testing, inspection and certification. By joining the Kiwa family, we’re combining their wide portfolio of accreditations and services (BRC, IFS, FSSC, PrimusGFS, GLOBALG.A.P., Rainforest Alliance, MSC/ASC, Organic/USDA and many others), global business network and expertise with our client network in farm-to-fork food safety to assist our growing client base in North America even better,” said Charray Williams, CEO of ASI.

On January 1, 2023, 29-year-old Tyler Williams, CTO of ASI, will take the reigns as CEO of ASI. He is the youngest CEO in the history of the company. He will succeed current CEO Charray Williams and lead the expansion of Kiwa and ASI in the Food, Feed & Farm sector in North America. Richard Stolk, Kiwa’s global Director for the Food, Feed & Farm sector will serve as President of the Board of ASI and will be directly involved in the further growth of ASI.

“Kiwa already has a strong footprint in the global Food, Feed & Farm sector. With ASI, we significantly expand our reach, expertise and footprint, particularly in the U.S. but certainly with a global perspective. Now that we have welcomed ASI to the Kiwa family, we can better provide our customers with a one-stop shop for food- and feed-related certification services on all continents,” said Stolk.

 

magnifying glass

Pathogens, Contamination and Technology in Food Safety Key Themes of 2022 Thus Far

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Nearly halfway into the year, the following are the most-read articles of 2022:

6. Four Testing and Detection Trends for 2022

Four Testing and Detection Trends for 2022


5. Packaging Automation Can Be an Essential Tool for Food Manufacturers

Packaging Automation Can Be an Essential Tool for Food Manufacturers


4. 8 Reasons Sustainability is Critical in Food and Beverage Manufacturing

8 Reasons Sustainability is Critical in Food and Beverage Manufacturing


3. The Costs Of Food Safety: Correction vs. Prevention

The Costs Of Food Safety: Correction vs. Prevention


2. FDA Continues Investigation of Listeria Outbreak in Packaged Salad

FDA Continues Investigation of Listeria Outbreak in Packaged Salad

1. Coca Cola Recalls Minute Maid, Coca Cola and Sprite Drinks Due to Foreign Matter Contamination

Coca Cola Recalls Minute Maid, Coca Cola and Sprite Drinks Due to Foreign Matter Contamination

Recall

E. Coli Found in Ground Beef, More than 120,000 Pounds Recalled

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Recall

New Jersey-based Lakeside Refrigerated Services is recalling about 120,872 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O103. The issue was uncovered during routine FSIS testing of imported products.

The recall affects ground beef products that were produced between February 1, 2022 and April 8, 2022, and have the establishment number EST. 46841” inside the USDA mark of inspection (FSIS has provided a full list of products and product codes as well as product labels). The products were distributed to retail locations nationwide.

Thus far there are no confirmed reports of illness or adverse reactions related to products affected by this recall. “Many clinical laboratories do not test for non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) such as O103 because it is harder to identify than STEC O157:H7. People can become ill from STECs 2–8 days (average of 3–4 days) after consuming the organism,” FSIS stated in an announcement. The agency has advised that consumers throw out or return the recalled products to the place of purchase.

FDA

FDA and USDA Investigate Seasonal Factors Contributing to E. Coli Outbreaks Linked to Romaine Lettuce

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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FDA

CFSAN and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service are conducting research to better understand the factors, including seasonal effects, that could be contributing to E. Coli O157:H7 outbreaks linked to bagged romaine lettuce. FDA and USDA scientists presented findings in the BMC Environmental Microbiome, which revealed that E. Coli O157:H7 survived “significantly better in cold-stored packaged romaine harvested in the fall than on the same varieties harvested in late spring.” In addition, the researchers showed that the microbiome present on bagged lettuce changes based on the season, level of deterioration of the lettuce and whether survival of the pathogen on the lettuce was high or low. They also found that the pathogen survived better in lettuce that was harvested in the fall versus lettuce harvested in the spring during cold storage. “This is a significant step toward closing the knowledge gaps identified in the FDA’s Leafy Greens STEC Action Plan and helping the agency and its partners to reduce foodborne illness linked to the consumption of leafy greens,” CFSAN stated in an agency update.

The study, “Seasonality, shelf life and storage atmosphere are main drivers of the microbiome and E. coli O157:H7 colonization of post-harvest lettuce cultivated in a major production area in California”, has been published on the Environmental Microbiome’s website.

FDA

FDA Releases New Tool to Help Farmers Understand Requirements of Agricultural Water Proposed Rule

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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FDA

Today the FDA launched a new online tool to help farmers understand the requirements of the proposed rule, “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption Relating to Agricultural Water”. If finalized, the rule would replace the microbial criteria and testing requirements for pre-harvest agricultural water for covered produce other than sprouts.

Under the proposed rule, farms would be required to conduct yearly systems-based agricultural water assessments to assess and guide measures that would reduce risks related to pre-harvest agricultural water. According to the FDA, the assessment would consist of evaluating the water system, agricultural water use practices, crop characteristics, environmental conditions, potential impacts on source water by activities conducted on adjacent and nearby land.

The Agricultural Water Assessment Builder v. 1.0 is an optional tool that asks users to answer questions and complete information specific to their farms. According to the FDA, this information is not shared with the agency, nor is it saved; users can save or print the information to their own computers.

The tool is a component of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint, and the agency is collecting feedback on the tool’s usability and functionality.

Food Lab

Four Testing and Detection Trends for 2022

By Wilfredo Dominguez Nunez, Ph.D.
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Food Lab

COVID-19 continues to pose challenges for every industry, influencing how they will need to adapt to the future. The food manufacturing industry specifically is continuing to see problems with plants shutting down due to outbreaks, labor shortages and domino-effect supply chain issues, forcing them to adjust in order to continue meeting the demands of customers and supplying safe food to the public.

With these adjustments in mind, changes in testing and detection in labs have arisen, influencing four main trends within food manufacturing labs expected throughout 2022.

1. Testing levels continue to increase. In 2021, some customers intentionally planned to cut testing and production in plants to balance out the loss of employees due to the pandemic-induced labor shortages within manufacturing roles.

However, following the trends of rising employment in manufacturing, 2022 should see an increase in testing, raising the baseline of production levels in the plants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturing jobs saw an increase of more than 113,000 employees in Q4 of 2021. Although still below employment levels of February 2020, the continued increase is positive news for the food manufacturing industry.

2. Food testing labs turn to automation technology. Even as labs begin to see their numbers in employees rise, the demand for automation technology during 2022 will continue to climb given its proven ability to increase productivity in the lab and meet the demands of customers. With automation technology, lab technicians can multi-task thanks to the ability to step away from tests, increasing the amount of testing that can be done despite the lack of people in labs.

Additionally, utilizing ready-to-use products has cut down on the time it takes to prepare for testing. Rather than spending hours preparing Petri dishes and using an autoclave, ready-to-use Petri films or Petri dishes create easy to follow protocols with significantly less steps for a lab technician to complete.

3. Third-party labs gain popularity. With food manufacturing, tests will either be conducted on-site or at a third-party lab. Taking labor shortages into account, many manufacturers still do not have the staff numbers to maintain a dedicated on-site testing facility. As a result, manufacturers will turn to third-party labs to help increase testing volumes and productivity.

Not only have third-party labs aided manufacturers with testing, but the labs also often have the capabilities to run confirmation tests on products, tests that may not have been possible if conducted on-site. And as third-party labs have seen numerous consolidations in recent years, their capability to move products around for necessary testing is much more simplified and achievable than if testing was conducted on-site.

4. Shifting to locally sourced products. With supply chain issues continuing into 2022, the food manufacturing industry could source more products from local farmers and other local product suppliers in order to better keep up with demand.

Right now, it is much harder to receive and send products across the globe with countries and states enforcing COVID-19 restrictions and dealing with their own labor issues. Not only are labs looking to rely on locally sourced products to assist in getting products to their final destination, but consumers are also increasing their demand for locally sourced products. Specifically, consumers are looking for the reliability of food on the shelves, shorter time spent between farmer and grocery stores, as well as simply fewer people touching product throughout the chain.

Challenges in food testing labs that arose in the past couple of years are still prevalent in 2022, but from adversity comes innovation and change. With more attention on automation technology, more food manufacturing employees returning to work, and adjustments to ongoing supply chain issues, 2022 is looking more hopeful in working to return to the level of productivity food manufacturers were meeting prior to the pandemic.

FDA

FDA Releases Report on Salmonella Outbreak in Packaged Leafy Greens

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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FDA

FDA has released a report on the multiagency investigation of a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak associated with packaged salad greens grown in a controlled environment agriculture (CEA) operation. The outbreak, which occurred between June and August 2021, resulted in 31 reported illnesses and four hospitalizations. It is also believed to be the first of its kind associated with leafy greens grown in a CEA facility.

No “conclusive” root cause was found, but the FDA did pinpoint the outbreak strain of Salmonella to a stormwater retention basin located next to the CEA farm. The investigation did not, however, find that this was the definitive source of contamination of the leafy greens. The agency also identified certain conditions, factors and practices that could lead to contamination, including the pond water used, growth media storage methods, water management practices and overall sanitation practices.

In the report, the FDA listed eight requirements and recommendations that apply to hydroponic facilities using CEA, including implementing effective sanitation procedures and sampling plans, conducting pre- and post-harvest sampling and testing of food, water and the physical environment, implementing procedures that are effective in rapidly cooling and cold-holding harvested leafy greens after harvest, and ensuring all growing pond water is safe and of sanitary quality.

The eight-page Investigation Report: Factors Potentially Contributing to the Contamination of Packaged Leafy Greens Implicated in the Outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium During the Summer of 2021 is available on FDA’s website.