Category: General

73 Years of Success

Today we are celebrating 73 years of Nelson-Jameson being a successful family-owned and operated supplier to the food, dairy, and beverage industries! Our journey began in 1947 when Earl Nelson, his father Ted, Herb Jameson, and Bob Dougherty founded Nelson-Jameson as a dairy equipment and supply business in Toluca, IL. Their goal was to serve as a comprehensive resource for dairy plants, but they soon discovered that their Illinois location wasn’t appropriate. From there, it was decided upon that the headquarters of the business would be moved to Marshfield, WI—the heart of dairy production.

Today, Nelson-Jameson is now run by the third and fourth generation of the Nelson family. Earl’s son, John Nelson, is the current chairman emeritus, his grandson Adam is Chairman of the Board, and his granddaughter Amanda is a senior executive as well. Over the years, Nelson-Jameson has expanded by adding distribution centers in California, Idaho, Pennsylvania, and Texas, plus a sales office in Illinois. The business has also expanded its product offerings to meet the needs of food, dairy, and beverage plants—becoming the supplier of choice in all 50 states, as well as many foreign countries.

In addition to adding branches throughout the nation, Nelson-Jameson was able to expand again, this time locally. In January of this year, Nelson-Jameson opened our second location in Marshfield, WI, our new Corporate office. Due to the significant growth the company has experienced over the last several years, Nelson-Jameson opened this location to accommodate around 90 of our 210 employees to provide them newly renovated work spaces.

A unique aspect of Nelson-Jameson, is that we operate under the Golden Rule. To us, this means providing a one-stop experience centered around making our customers lives easier. Our customers appreciate our technical expertise, fast service, and our get-it-right-the-first-time attitude.

 

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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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Tips on Preventing Food Contamination This Fourth of July

Summer is here! What a perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy the warm summer air we’ve all been craving! For some individuals, spending time outdoors could involve hiking, boating, or reading in the shade, but one thing we can all agree on, summer is the perfect time to enjoy some of our favorite foods on the grill. Whether with family, friends, or even coworkers, cooking food on the grill appears to be a popular summer activity. With summer holidays approaching, like the Fourth of July, it is important to keep your celebrations healthy and safe by following food safety tips to prevent contamination while grilling.

According to the FDA and the USDA Food Safety organizations, there are grilling food safety tips to be followed for all food types:

  • Be Clean: First, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, especially after touching any form of raw meat. Before consumption, make sure to rinse off fruits and vegetables as there may be bacteria on the surfaces. Never rinse off raw meat as this can increase your risk of cross-contamination.
  • Separate: Keep raw meats away from other foods such as salads, dips, or fruit. Be conscientious of not using the same utensils for putting raw meat on the grill, and for taking cooked meat off the grill. Using the same utensils that touched raw meat could be covered in harmful bacteria, which can contaminate the cooked meat.
  • Temperature: Use a food thermometer to check if food is fully cooked. Sometimes grilling can give you a false impression where food looks fully cooked on the outside, but is under cooked on the inside. The recommended internal temperature for beef, pork, lamb, and veal is 145°F, ground meat is 160°F, whole poultry is 165°F, and fish is 145°F.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Lastly, make sure to be aware of how long fruits and vegetables should be cooking on the grill. Thicker cut fruits and vegetables will have to cook longer than thinner pieces. Although, fruits and vegetables do not have to reach a minimum internal temperature like meat, it is still important to cook them thoroughly.

Although grilling out in the summer can be a fun thing to do, it is important to take action and be careful in preventing the harmful spread of bacteria to our food. To learn more about additional tips and guidelines to follow when cooking various foods this summer, check out the FDA and USDA Food Safety organization websites to learn more.

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Metal Detectable Products: A Critical Component in Food Safety

A critical component in food safety is the detection of contaminants. One of the worst nightmares of anyone working in food processing, is finding something in the final product that is not supposed to be there. This can cause costly product loss, clean-up and maintenance costs, and the potential for recalls and/or litigation. Even though everyone tries to prevent foreign object contamination, pieces of tools such as scrapers can break off, or items such as pens can fall into the product. To make sure that these items are caught, and that contaminated product does not make it out the door, many plants utilize metal detection devices and products.

Metal detectable products are constructed of a few different materials. They are often blue for easy visual detection. Blue is also the most common non-food color. Metal detectable products are made through a unique manufacturing process that involves the inclusion of a metallic pigment. This enables the plastic to be detected. In some objects such as earplugs, a stainless steel ball bearing is enclosed in the plug, making them detectable. A product with embedded metal is only detectable if the product piece containing the metal goes through a detector. With a product that is impregnated, the entire piece has fine metal particles throughout, making the entire piece, or parts of it, detectable.

Metal detectable calibration is an important aspect of a metal detectable program. To maintain calibration, you should periodically check calibration by passing a known calibration test tool under the unit to check for accuracy. Test tools can be made of ferrous, non-ferrous, or stainless steel and include rods, cylinders, balls, whips, cards, and more. Depending on the food being produced, machine calibration must be adjusted and set to a threshold that is determined by the company in regards to the size of contaminant they want the detector to reject. Many things affect the setting of the machine including whether the food is wet or dry, its size, and its speed. If you don’t test your calibration, the metal detector can allow larger pieces of foreign object contaminant to get through than the threshold setting, which threatens the finished product’s safety. 

Nelson-Jameson can help you start or expand your Metal Detectable program with our wide range of products. Our new Metal Detectable Flyer features 32 pages of products ranging from writing utensils and office supplies to calibration tools and scrapers. We also have metal detection and x-ray equipment from Valcour Process Technologies to help enhance your program. Request your free copy of our flyer, or visit our website to download it today!

 

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Celebrating World Food Safety Day!

Food safety truly is a collective effort. From the farm to the table, ensuring food safety is a way we can reaffirm our investment in, and care of, those we are feeding. Whether you are helping in the harvest, producing and processing thousands of products a day, serving food at a local pub, or grilling for your family, food safety requires vigilance and care at all levels. Keeping this in mind, the World Health Organization, in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, are recognizing all of those interconnecting players with World Food Safety Day on June 7th.   

The celebration of World Food Safety Day is meant “to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.” When one considers how food plays into all of these areas, and reverberates across everyday life, food safety really does bind us all together.  

….and there is work to do. Though we are incredibly fortunate to have a robust and generally safe food supply, foodborne illness is a very real threat, demanding care and continued dedication. According to the WHO, “more than 600 million people fall ill and 420,000 die every year from eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins or chemicals. As for the economic price tag, according to the World Bank, unsafe food costs low-and middle-income economies alone about US$ 95 billion in lost productivity annually.”  

At Nelson-Jameson, we are proud to recognize and celebrate World Food Safety Day. Our main goal is to help our customers produce the safest and best product they can.  Every product, service, and program we offer are all designed to contribute and build up cultures of food safety 365 days a year. We are committed to working with you and the vast array of stakeholders in ensuring a safe food supply…through teamwork we can take on the challenge and together celebrate the continued path towards food safety excellence around the world.   

 

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