Category: Food Safety

Nelson-Jameson Lab Training Workshop

Nelson-Jameson is proud to announce that we will be holding “A ‘Calibration’ of Lab Testing” this October 17th at the University of Wisconsin-Richland. The seminar will be lead by two Nelson-Jameson Lab Team members in our Technical Services area: Steve Zdun and Dayton Bruha. Best practices in pH, microbiology, and salt will all be featured in the workshop. Perfect for food and beverage lab personnel, participants will get a hands-on approach to tackling these core areas.

Registration before October 1st, will guarantee an early bird rate of $150 ($175 after). Call one of our customer service representatives and mention item #333-3333 for more information!

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Taking the Initiative to Help Small Business Negotiate the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

In our efforts to help our customers produce the best safe, quality food that they can, we like to occasionally share resources that may be of use. Below, you will find a link discussing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Training and Consultative Service program, (officially titled the Artisan Dairy Producer Foods Safety Initiative). In an effort to assist smaller businesses and producers, the Center for Dairy Research, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association have come together to provide guidance for small businesses to meet the demands of FSMA compliance. John Lucey, from the Center for Dairy Research discusses the Initiative further here:

https://www.dairyfoods.com/articles/93071-a-collaborative-effort-to-help-small-dairy-manufacturers-meet-safety-guidelines

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Heterofermentative Spores in Milk and the Resulting Quality Issues

In recent months, it has come to our attention that there has been an increase in quality problems caused by Heterofermentative lactic bacteria that are not from starter cultures. These bacteria have been found growing on biofilms in the pasteurizer regen section of milk HTST’s, in some silage inoculants, in dairy powders and liquids used to fortify milk for cheesemaking, and on individual farms with certain cleaning issues. Once these are in the milk, they can’t be removed by pasteurization and will carry through into the cheese and whey powder by-products.

The Center for Dairy Research (CDR) in Madison has seen an increase in quality defects in cheese including off flavors such as “sour” gas formation in retail packages of cheese and cracking defects in blocks of cheese. Many companies are starting to include specifications for low spore count non-fat powders, liquid condensed skim and UF milk products, and also whey powders used in many other foods. There is also evidence of excess viscosity of buttermilk and sour cream from this contaminant.

What can the cheesemaker do to solve these issues?

  • While there is no substitute for good cleaning and sanitation, there are tests available for these contaminants such as 3M’s Lactic Acid Petrifilm. Petrifilm can be used to test milk from the regen section of the HTST, screen milk loads from the farm, and test finished whey products. We have some plants already trying to locate sources of these spores by using Petrifilm.
  • We have at least one DSM cheese culture being used to improve cheese flavors, especially in aged Cheddars. This culture is referred to as RF-4 from DSM. The culture is added to the cheese vat milk and competes with other contaminants to impede their multiplication and the off flavors and possibly gas that result from them.
  • Eliminate biofilms in all milk handling equipment either at the plant or on the farm. We sell both 3M (LM1) and Hygiena (EnSURE & SystemSURE PLUS) ATP Luminometers that verify cleaning processes by the use of bioluminescence technology, and provide the customer with a numerical value to determine their cleaning effectiveness on food contact surfaces.
  • There is some research that suggests certain silage inoculants can carry through into the milk supply. The CDR is still looking at this potential source.
  • Ask for help and advice. We have a variety of industry people we can contact to visit the plants and farms to help troubleshoot.

Contact one of our Product Specialists today for additional information!

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New 3M™ Products & Updates

Unfortunately there are no shortage of food recalls due to allergens. Allergens are a serious business for the food industry and, of course, for consumers. Now there is a new line of allergen tests from a company with a familiar name synonymous with food safety testing to help take on this serious concern.3M Rapid Allergen Protein Test Kits are a Lateral Flow format, that provide significant savings and peace of mind. These Allergen Kits can test finished product, and environmental verification of allergy free food contact surfaces!

What these quick tests can provide is security that one of the “Big 8” is not present when a customer is starting up production after cleaning and sanitizing. What is the “Big 8?” Allergens…Dairy, Wheat (Gluten), Eggs, Peanut, Tree Nuts, Fish, Crustacean Fish, and Soy. The only allergen that 3M does not offer in the Lateral Flow format is the Crustacean Fish allergen, but they do offer it in the ELISA format.

The 18-24 hour Rapid E.coli/Coliform Petrifilm™ Plate is another new offering from 3M that we are excited to add to our line! It is a two-in-one indicator plate for both E.coli and Coliform, which works well with a wide variety of food samples. Previously, Coliform has always been 24 hours for indication of growth, but E.coli testing took 48 hours, which reduces release of product by a full day for basic microbiological testing when using this and the Rapid Aerobic Count Petrifilm Plates.

Regarding Petrifilm, you will start to notice a new, very clean looking package on all their Petrifilm products! All the packages are a redesigned white pack with easy-to-spot color-coded labels.

Lastly, we are setting up the new offering for the 3M Molecular Detection System, which is for the detection of Campylobacter (considered one of the leading causes of bacterial gastroenteritis in humans). Infections are usually caused by consuming cross-contaminated or insufficiently processed foods (typically red meat, poultry, shellfish and unpasteurized milk).

For additional information on these items or our full range of 3M products visit our website or contact our Lab Department today!

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FDA’s Food Safety Plan Builder Software

In the demanding everyday life of a food manufacturer it can be hard to slow down and think about the safety of the products being manufactured. Everything from the ingredients that come in the door to the way the product is shipped out to the customer, all have to be monitored for safety. That is what the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is all about, making sure the ingredients, the process, and how the end product is shipped out reduces the level of risk to the consumer. The manufacturing facility has to ask, what can be done to prevent the various risks in the plant from happening and causing a recall?

A Food Safety Plan is a robust, detailed plan that is meant to anticipate and meet these challenges. A cohesive plan is based on food safety principles which include: hazard analysis, preventative controls, supply-chain programs, and a recall plan. For smaller businesses, putting a Food Safety Plan in place and maintaining that Plan can be daunting. Where do you start? Making sense of the regulatory language can be difficult, making it hard to determine what the FDA is going to be looking for if you were to receive an audit.

After some feedback from the food industry, the FDA created a free software tool, called the Food Safety Plan Builder. It is a tool designed to assist owners/operators of food facilities with the development of food safety plans that are specific to their facilities, and to assist them in meeting the requirements of the current regulations. Using this software is not required by the FDA, but facilities may find it of use as they continue to critically engage their Food Safety Plans.

Filling out all the information that the software requests can be labor intensive but with some effort and investment though, the Builder can act as a great framework to build upon.  According to Eric Edmunds, food safety director with The Acheson Group, “as with any other electronic tool, the product that you get out of it is as good as the information you put into it!”

If you are interested in using this tool here is the website:
https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm539791.htm

The bottom line is that there are no shortcuts in creating a culture of food safety. Tools like the Builder are excellent resources to engage and assist in implementing comprehensive programs, but don’t make a complete toolbox in themselves. While food law and requirements can be laborious to understand and read they are important to get right. FSMA was created so that food facilities are held responsible for every bit of food safety including the supply chain from one facility to another. The FDA wants food facilities to know that when guidelines are followed and a good a Food Safety Plan is in place they are setting themselves up for success.

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