Category: Food Safety

COVID-19 Food Industry Resources

In times of great uncertainty, informed insight and clarity mean a great deal. Since the recent COVID-19 outbreak, Nelson-Jameson has been continuously monitoring the situation. COVID-19 is already having an impact on the way we interact with food and we want you to be prepared. Our friends at Cornell University have created a useful resource for food industry producers to refer to in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please click here for a practical and forthright resource for the food industry to take on this challenge.

View additional resources, including Q&A directly related to the food industry.

If you have any specific questions pertaining to the products your company purchases from Nelson-Jameson, please contact your Account Manager for details. Any other general questions can be directed to COVID19questions@nelsonjameson.com.


Levels of Clean

“Clean” is seemingly a self-apparent word. We know it when we “see” it, right? Perhaps we can “feel” it after we finish the process of cleaning (ooh, it can be a verb too!)? This isn’t meant to get too metaphysical or anything, but if we take a second and really consider the meaning of the term, it can get problematic quickly.  

Outwardly clean-looking surfaces can easily harbor microscopic maleficence. For instance, what would happen if a food-contact surface that otherwise looked pristine had a contaminated surface as big as the head of a pin. How bad could it be? In the case of norovirus, the amount of viral particles that can fit in that tiny space “would be enough to infect more than 1,000 people”.

The ramifications of these microscopic realities are something Nelson-Jameson always has on the forefront of our minds. To create safe, quality food, we need to think on a microscopic scale…far beyond seeing and feeling what clean really is in food and beverage production facilities. This is why we feature everything from Environmental Testing Solutions to advocating for Color-Coded Programs to prevent cross-contamination concerns. 

Even your choice of cleaning tools used in the plant can make a difference. For example, we feature an array of products from Vikan’s “Ultra Safe Technology” (UST) line. Opposed to staple or resin set brushes, UST products feature a fully molded body that reduces risk of filament loss. The design of the brushes also ensures cleaning efficacy as well as preventing the risk of harborage in the cleaning tools themselves. Designed to clean efficiently as well as to be cleaned efficiently, UST products represent a way to further define exactly what “clean” is as well as what it can be. 

An array of industries critically concerned about “clean” including pharma, cannabis, and the food industry have found interest in UST technology. Especially popular with ready-to-eat food facilities, UST is also ideal for any of our customers wanting to further examine cleaning efficacy in their plants. To learn more about UST, check out our website, and/or reach out to a product specialist at sales@nelsonjameson.com or 800.826.8302.       


When it Comes to Food Safety, You Can Never Have Too Much Class…

During our conversations with regulatory folks, a common theme has developed.   Overwhelmingly, regulators have stressed the importance of a “culture of food safety”.   This means that food safety isn’t relegated to only a few individuals in a plant. Instead, a culture of food safety is one where a business has inclusively brought in ALL stakeholders, from CEOs to part-time employees to learn, practice, and respect food safety standards.   Instead of viewing food safety as only rules that have to be followed or marks to simply check off on a sheet, food safety becomes a mindset and unifying goal across the plant and across the company.

We’ve also noticed that the most effective method to create this culture is through education and practice. The more employees learn about food safety, its importance to their customers’ safety, its importance to the financial well-being of the company, etc. the more people pay attention and invest in food safety concerns.   

With all that in mind, Nelson-Jameson aims to keep our customers informed through educational opportunities to help create that culture of food safety.   Such opportunities/workshops pay off directly not only in the immediate experience of the students attending them, but also to the companies sending them when that knowledge is brought back, shared, and applied in the facility.   Here are a few of the upcoming opportunities to learn more:

University of Wisconsin-River Falls will offer a “HAACP Workshop” that is open to “all food processors, suppliers, and regulators who wish to learn or review the basics of HACCP in a food facility” March 18-20th.   The workshop will cover “ food safety hazards, prerequisites, validation of HACCP plans, implementing HACCP, and regulation” via hands-on experiences. To find out more, click here for information on the program, fees, etc.   

On May 6th, the Center for Dairy Research will host a day-long “Food Safety Workshop (HACCP)” in Madison, WI.   Also, open to a spectrum of attendees, the class is a hands-on “introduction to HACCP in a plant setting” where students will learn about topics from environmental monitoring to GMPs.   Further information is available on the CDR website.  

Keep an eye out for further food safety opportunities here on our blog.   In the meantime, we are here as well to help provide you with the products and programs that can help you reach and maintain quality and food safety standards.   


On the Frontlines Against Hepatitis A

Wash. Your. Hands. This simple act can do so much to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. Lately, this has been highlighted most unwelcomingly with a continued outbreak of the hepatitis A virus nationally. The virus, which infects the liver, can cause symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. that may last weeks to months.  

According to the FDA, though only representing a portion of cases in the US, cases from food handling are a significant concern for food industry stakeholders and consumers, as well: “The majority of hepatitis A infections are from unknown causes or from being in close contact with an infected person; however, some hepatitis A infections are caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Contamination of food and water can occur when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate handwashing hygiene.” From handling food in the fields to the food service counter, hepatitis A should be considered a serious foodborne threat…but one that can be combated.    

In terms of foodborne cases, hand hygiene is a key method of defending against the virus (vaccination is the best way to prevent, overall) for the food industry and for consumers. According to the CDC, “Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.”

As part of our commitment to helping customers make safe, quality food, we offer an array of hand hygiene solutions for the food and beverage industries. To check out our latest Hand Hygiene Products flyer, click here. Our product specialists are also available to help you develop the right program to make hand hygiene a frontline defense against foodborne illness.

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Craft on the Cayuga: Cornell Focuses on the Brewing Industry

New York State, like many other areas in the US is firmly entrenched in the craft beer revolution. As Niall McCarthy chronicled on Forbes.com in April of 2019: “Back in 2008, small and independent brewers produced 8.5 million barrels of lager, stout, pale ale, India pale ale, porter and countless other varieties. By 2018, output climbed steeply to 25,917,766 barrels.” From Buffalo to Brooklyn, New York State’s craft industry continues to significantly contribute to that rise in production, from brewpub favorites to nationally-consumed brands.

Cornell University, a key resource in numerous areas of food science research, has developed resources to connect brewers from NY and beyond with educational opportunities, guidance, and analysis. Recently, the Cornell Craft Beverage Institute was launched, including the Brewing Extension Program. Housed under the Department of Food Science, the Institute focuses on actively engaging the brewing industry as a resource and providing space for experimentation and innovation.

Key resources of the Extension program include the pilot research-scale brewery as well as a hops testing lab. The pilot plant allows the industry access to hands on experience, research, and the ability to run trials. In the hops lab, growers, producers and brewers have the ability to test and analyze the quality of hops. To learn more about the Institute, email Kaylyn Kirkpatrick, manager of the Cornell Brewing Extension.

In addition to the Institute, Cornell also offers a “Beer Essentials Certificate Program” through eCornell.  The course is intended for anyone that works with beer (bartenders, restaurant managers, servers) to brewery professionals, or even just beer enthusiasts.  The course covers: “… ingredients and process to sensory analysis, to serving, training, and sales” Successful completion of the course will earn students a Beer Essentials Certificate from Cornell Hotel School, and 40 Professional Development Hours (4 CEUs). To learn more about the program click here.

Nelson-Jameson appreciates our brewery customers and programs/courses like Cornell’s to educate and innovate.  Check out our website for products and programs to help you safely run your operation more efficiently.  From hoses and lab supplies to color-coded and metal detectable programs, we’re here to help keep the beer flowing!

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