Category: Food Safety

Be on the (Food) Defense with Contamination in Your Plant

Significantly minimize food vulnerabilities with Nelson-Jameson’s food defense product solutions! According to the FDA, food defense is defined as, “the effort to protect food from acts of intentional adulteration” (Food Defense, 2020, para. 1). Intentional adulteration could include various contaminations that are intended to cause harm to the public. In order to prevent and protect from harmful contamination, a food defense plan needs to be established. A food defense plan first consists of your facility completing a vulnerability assessment.  This assessment is to determine where in the facility’s processes pose the greatest risk for contamination. Second, mitigation strategies need to be selected for identified vulnerabilities, and lastly, corrective action needs to be implemented. Nelson-Jameson has products that are designed to assist with mitigation and preventative strategies within your facility and aid in your food defense plan:

• Use color-coded personnel identification and badges to clearly identify authorized personnel around restricted locations, equipment, controls, and operations.

• Use tamper-evident devices, such as seals, covers, and locks, to secure openings, access points, equipment, and components, packaging, and storage containers.

Clean and sanitize equipment components immediately prior to use and after maintenance.

• Use Clean in Place (CIP) cleaning chemicals and prescribed CIP procedures such as pre-rinse, wash, post-rinse, drain, and sanitize.

• Use one-way valves and sample ports to restrict access to product.

• Use coverings to secure openings, access points and open systems and operations such as shrouds, covers, lids, panels, and seals to restrict access to product.

After the assessment has been completed and you have determined the correct mitigation strategies, you can finalize your plan and determine its functionality. According to the USDA on the topic of functional food defense plans, the four main factors to determine the functionality of your plan includes:

  1. Documenting and signing.
  2. Implementing the food defense strategies.
  3. The strategies are monitored and validated.
  4. The plan is reviewed, at least annually, and revised as needed.

Following the above strategies and functionality timeline can help you with starting to develop your facilities food defense plan. This strategic approach could potentially protect the entire food supply chain from an intentional chemical, microbiological, or physical contamination. Also, most food defense plans overlap with company’s food quality and safety goals (Yoe et al., 2008). Nelson-Jameson has a wide range of products to help you aid in developing the food defense plan your facility needs. If your facility needs help in identifying which mitigation strategies are best suited for you, contact us today!

Sources:

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Food Defense. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.fda.gov/food/food-defense

Functional Food Defense Plans. FSIS, USDA, 2 Aug. 2018, www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-defense-and-emergency-response/functional-food-defense-plan/functional-plans.

Yoe, Charles, et al. The Value of the Food Defense Plan. Food Safety Magazine, 2008, www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/aprilmay-2008/the-value-of-the-food-defense-plan/.

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Sugar, Spice, and Everything Mice

Ahhh yes, my favorite time of year, fall! The leaves are changing, the temperature is starting to cool down, and pests are trying to wither their way indoors. As the colder months start to approach, it’s important to realize that fall pest control is a must! Although pest control is essential for all seasons of the year, it is very important to prep your food processing facility for the winter.

The key to controlling pests is through prevention, defense, and management measures. It’s important to know the calling signs of each of the categories of pests, so you can determine what products you will need for each. For insects, birds, and rodents, there are many similar calling signs, these include; droppings, visual sightings, eggs/hatchlings, noise, etc. When there is suspicion of pests present in your facility, it is important to do a thorough inspection of both the interior and exterior of the facility to determine the issue.

Nelson-Jameson offers a variety of products to suit your pest control needs. For rodents, consider 
Stick-Em® Rodent Traps, NJ# 202-6010
. These traps are effective and don’t pose the danger to employees of spring traps or uncertainty of box traps. Looking to combat insects? Try a Insect-O-Cutor® Guardian Scatterproof Unit, NJ# 343-6392. Scatterproof units are ideal for use in proximity to open food processing areas as they are USDA and FDA approved.  Aside from this unit, Nelson-Jameson offers other popular items to repel insects, such as light traps. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you are maximizing the most use out of your light trap(s):

  • Use a trap that is best determined for the area it will reside in.
  • Change out your bulbs according to manufacturer recommendations.
  • Shatter protection must be in place where food or packaging may become contaminated from broken glass.
  • Glueboard traps must be changed/replaced once the glue loses its tackiness.

No matter what time of year it is, pest control is something that plants need to be looking at regularly, as different pests are more active in different seasons. In the fall season though, it is primarily important because pests are looking for a place to stay warm during the winter. At Nelson-Jameson, we believe that staying ahead of the game is important to avoid costly shutdowns within food processing environments. Click here for more information regarding how to effectively eliminate pests from your work environment and to avoid these costly shutdowns.

Sources:

Why Fall Pest Control Is So Important. (2014, September 9). American Pest. https://www.americanpest.net/blog/post/why-fall-pest-control-is-so-important#:%7E:text=In%20fall%2C%20bugs%20and%20rodents,pest%20control%20is%20so%20important.&text=They%20can%20stop%20many%20bugs%20before%20they%20even%20get%20to%20your%20home

 

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September is Food Safety Education Month!

September is Food Safety Education Month! According to the FDA, the importance of food safety is learning and educating others on taking an active role in preventing foodborne illnesses. Every year an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from eating contaminated food. Below are some tips, provided by the CDC, that you can take advantage of at home to keep you and your family safe from these illnesses.

Clean: Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces. This step is important to do before, during, and after cooking to help prevent cross-contamination of harmful bacteria.

Separate: Make sure to separate your raw meats from your produce to prevent cross-contamination as well. Raw meats normally carry many different pathogens such as salmonella, E.coli, listeria monocytogenes, etc. Like you and I, many animals naturally carry bacteria in their bodies when alive, so after an animal is slaughtered, the bacteria within their intestines can easily be converted onto the meat itself.

Cook: Use a food thermometer to ensure the food you are preparing is being cooked to the correct temperature, this is to ensure that all germs are being killed before consumption.

Chill: Bacteria can multiply quickly within perishable foods if they are being stored in room temperature, so it is important to refrigerate perishable foods within two hours after use.

Another tidbit that I wanted to touch on that I think is relevant for many families, is how to keep your bagged lunches safe from these illnesses as well. I know from personal experience, during my morning commute to work, it can be hard to keep my bagged lunch, cold. A helpful tip to get around this dilemma is to include at least two cold sources to keep the food chilled while it is not being refrigerated. Whether it’s an ice pack, or a frozen water bottle, place one source on top of the food, and one on the bottom to ensure your food is the same temperature throughout. Once at work, place your food in the refrigerator/freezer. If food is in an insulated lunchbox, unzip the top and leave the lid open. This will chill your food faster versus the lunchbox being closed.

At Nelson-Jameson, we take food safety very seriously, and value our role in the food supply chain—providing food processing facilities with the products and services they need to produce safe, quality food. For more information on Nelson-Jameson’s role in the food supply chain, click here.

 

Sources:

Fong, Fiona. “Bacteria in Raw Meat vs. Cooked Meat.” Bacteria in Raw Meat vs Cooked Meat, 1 Sept. 2017,
www.cfs.gov.hk/english/multimedia/multimedia_pub/multimedia_pub_fsf_130_02.html.

“Food Safety Education Month.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Aug. 2020, www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/education-month.html.

Keeping “Bag” Lunches Safe, United States Department of Agriculture, 16 Aug. 2016, www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/keeping-bag-lunches-safe/ct_index/!ut/p/a1/jVHRTsIwFP2aPXYtDAn4tiwxgDIkRCl7Id121zaMdmk7UL_eMnxQA0rvS3vuOTm95-IMU5wpdpCcOakVq0_vbLglSzLsjRMyW4x7D2Savi4Xj0lCRqs7T9j8QUijG_VXTkz-089uMOibeTLnOGuYE0iqSmPKwSGm7BGMxbTSukSWVeDeUcUKh6w
AcL5xwlDXFUyVtVQc0x1A4y8oZxzVrSoE2E6LaeG2UpXwhtc4-_kr0vM1TaPVYDJLI7IY_CZciO1MuJ6LH5zXOu92tIlVHo38hAYqMGDC1nhYONfY-4AE5CiLozY7G1bKhq0tWcj1ISAGrG5NATYgfV9IfW0dfQ8EyrbocLTXyolLbkJbh-lFE9zsX-jHUzwh8nm_Htn4E5BY1es!/.

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Delvotest®: A Gold Standard

Forty years ago, DSM introduced Delvotest®, an easy to use, reliable, antibiotic residue test for farmers, dairies, and milk control laboratories. Today, Delvotest® is the gold standard for antibiotic residue testing in the global dairy industry, since it provides the confidence to meet increasingly stringent global legislation and quality demands.

When it comes to individuals daily food consumption, the last thing we seem to worry about is the presence of antibiotic residue in our meats or dairy products. But if a dairy cow had an antibiotic in its system that was designed to fight off a bacterial infection, the residue from the antibiotic could easily be carried over to the milk the cow produced, which is not good. If the entire tank truck of milk was contaminated with antibiotics, the whole thing must be discarded per the FDA.

Delvotest® detects the broadest spectrum of antibiotic residues in every kind of milk—cow, sheep, goat, buffalo—as well as in dairy products. Depending on the antibiotic used, the withdrawal period could be as short as 1 or 2 days, or as long as a few weeks. This is why it is important to utilize test kits to track the withdrawal period. Delvotest® is known for its reliability and accuracy with detection levels closest to Maximum Residue Levels and Safe Tolerance Levels (US). Therefore, Delvotest® is chosen as the national reference test in most countries worldwide. Delvotest® test kits cover three different market areas. Click on the link(s) below that is most suitable for your needs to see which kit is right for you!

Artisan/Farmstead
Kits are designed for artisan and farmstead cheese and dairy processing applications. Delvotest® confidently detects the broadest spectrum of antibiotics in milk and meets the required antibiotic testing requirements for every state in the U.S. Delvotest® is approved by the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) for the testing of bovine, goat, and water buffalo milk.

Dairy Farmer
These antibiotic residue tests eliminate the uncertainties dairy farmers face when testing for antibiotics in milk. Whether you are testing a bulk tank, or an individual bovine, sheep, goat or buffalo, the consequences of an unreliable test can be costly and devastating. Compared to other antibiotic residue tests on the market, Delvotest® provides low initial start-up costs.

Certified Dairy Laboratory
Enables certified laboratories the ability to reach maximum throughput in milk testing for antibiotic residues. For over 40 years, Delvotest® has enabled dairy laboratories to service the dairy industry with high-quality control over the entire milk supply chain. Dairy laboratories aim to assure that milk quality meets legal quality standards so the test systems they rely on must be robust, accurate and efficient. Delvotest® has become the global standard in antibiotic residue testing due to its consistency, reliability, accuracy and performance. It reduces the time and costs associated with large scale antibiotic residue testing.

Whether you’re a dairy processor or farmer, its essential to avoid passing antibiotic-contaminated milk into the supply stream. These uncertainties are crucial to overcome because it can be both costly and devastating to your company.  No matter where you stand in the milk industry, when you buy into Delvotest® you are buying not only reliable equipment, but also over 40 years of experience and expertise in the milk testing industry.

Links: http://www.milkfacts.info/Milk%20Microbiology/Antibiotics%20in%20Milk.htm, https://www.myfearlesskitchen.com/antibiotics-withdrawal-period/#:~:text=Some%20are%20longer%2C%207%2D10,antibiotic%20can%20be%20used%20on.

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“Eek-osystems”: Biofilm Considerations for the Food Industry

Have you ever missed one or two of your normal tooth-brushing sessions, and found your tongue traversing over a disconcertingly slimy layer coating your chompers?   Well, welcome to the disturbing and quite fascinating world of biofilms.  These hearty amalgams of microbiological activity provide both protection for microorganisms, as well as headaches for not only those avoiding plaque build-up, but most importantly for this blog, the food industry (allowing harborage and protection for bacteria and fungi).

Biofilms can form on a variety of surfaces in food processing environments, including stainless steel.  A supercell of harborage, “Biofilms are complex microbial ecosystems formed by one or more species immersed in an extracellular matrix of different compositions depending on the type of food manufacturing environment and the colonizing species” (Geaile, et al).   The “matrix” formed creates a powerful source of protection and fuel for the continued life and shear tenacity of these “eek-osystems”  to affect, disrupt, and harm products.     

Though biofilms are capable of creating a lot of hassle when it comes to cleaning, spoilage concerns, etc., Gaile, et al, in  “Biofilms in the Food Industry: Health Aspects and Control Methods” note:  “Of particular importance to the food industry is that some biofilm-forming species in food factory environments are human pathogens.”  With biofilms aiding and abetting pathogens, the cost of not waging an effective sanitation onslaught, may create food safety issues of serious proportions.   This is even further complicated by the fact that, “Mixed biofilms show higher resistance to disinfectants such as quaternary ammonium compounds and other biocides” (Gealie, et al.).   This means traditional cleaning protocols may not be enough to counter the threat biofilms pose to public health.

Here at Nelson-Jameson, we continue to work with our supplier-partners to take on the threat of biofilms in the food industry.   Our hope is that through a multi-pronged approach, we can help address this serious concern for our customers.  Here are just a few of the ways we are taking on the challenges of biofilms currently:

  1. Providing effective and efficient cleaning solutions, like hygienic brushes and squeegees from Remco and Carlisle, to cleaning chemical options from Hydrite, Kersia, and Best Sanitizers.  
  2.  Formulating and offering the best enzymatic cleaning solutions with Realzyme.
  3. Offering the best in testing solutions, including 3M Petrifilm and ATP testing equipment, as well as offering sampling collection/sample integrity products from Whirl-Pak and QualiTru.   

Though continuing to be a tough challenge for the food industry, biofilms will squarely be in the crosshairs of our team and our supplier partners.  Together, across the industry, we can seek out effective solutions, and build tailored programs to take on the challenge and the tenacity of biofilms in the production environment.   For an excellent resource on biofilms please be sure to consult the Gealie et al. article referenced above, here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5949339/.

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