Category: Laboratory & QA/QC

FDA Inspections: Where are We Going?

Not only has COVID put a significant dent in our social lives, but it also has impacted many operations and practices throughout food processing facilities. Unfortunately, this includes one area that has consumers worried, inspections of food facilities. With all the new requirements and protocols that have come out of this pandemic, the industry has had to learn to alter their inspections. Some are even using video technology as a substitute. With COVID laying a foundation that will likely alter the way inspections are completed in the future, what should processing facilities across the country expect moving forward?

According to the FDA, inspectors are “required to inspect facilities that handle high-risk foods every three years. Facilities handling foods not deemed high-risk must be inspected every five years” (Fox, 2019, pp. 13). With being in the midst of a global pandemic, the FDA has halted these inspections, but is still conducting some necessary inspections for specific scenarios like outbreaks of foodborne illness and Class 1 recalls. 

To temporarily replace in-person inspections, many auditors are allowing for special accommodations to be made such as remote and hybrid audits (Black, 2021, pp. 5).

Aside from the FDA, other auditors such as BRCGS and SQFI are offering blended options. BRCGS is offering certificate extensions for up to 6 months with a risk assessment and review. Remote assessments are also available and require a video audit of the facilities storage and production spaces. SQFI is postponing certifications for extenuating circumstances and have implemented additional processes for risk assessment (Black, 2021, pp. 7). For more information on other auditors current COVID policies, click here.

Once in-person audits can resume in the future, the FDA plans to host pre-announced audits for FDA-regulated businesses. According to an interview with Frank Yiannas, it is predicted that health and safety are going to be important factors moving forward with inspections. It is also assumed that consumers are going to want to know not only how their food is produced, but also how it will be safe enough for them to eat. Fortunately, the FDA is in the works of implementing a Smarter Food safety initiative that will allow for a digital way to trace the food system (U.S. food & Drug Admin., 2020, pp. 31).

As for now it seems unknown when in-person audits will fully resume. The FDA stated in a press release that they will likely resume when there is a consistent downward trend in new COVID cases and hospitalizations in geographic areas they are working in (2020, pp. 6). Until then, they will continue to make significant strives with food safety, making it stronger than ever.

Sources:

Black, J. (2021, January 29). Food Safety Audits During a Pandemic: What You Should Know and How to Prepare. FoodSafetyTech. https://foodsafetytech.com/column/food-safety-audits-during-a-pandemic-what-you-should-know-and-how-to-prepare/.

FDA. (2020, April 16). Food Safety and Availability During and Beyond COVID-19. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/food/conversations-experts-food-topics/fdas-perspective-food-safety-and-availability-during-and-beyond-covid-19.

Fox, M. (2019, January 15). FDA to resume food safety inspections Tuesday. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/fda-resume-food-safety-inspections-tuesday-n958631.

Hahn, S. M. (2020, July 10). Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA prepares for resumption of domestic inspections with new risk assessment system. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-prepares-resumption-domestic-inspections-new-risk-assessment-system.

 Sjerven, J. (2021, January 21). COVID-19 forces FDA to alter food safety inspection practices. Food Business News. https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/15740-covid-19-forces-fda-to-alter-food-safety-inspection-practices.
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Knowledge at Your Fingertips

Resources made available with Nelson-Jameson’s Learning Center! This educational learning library was created to encourage our customers to seek out information, when applicable, to aid them in making informed purchasing decisions within the food, dairy, and beverage industries. By providing this free resource for anyone to use, our goal is to have you feel comfortable and confident in the products you purchase.

An intriguing aspect of our Learning Center is that the information we are providing is supplied to us by manufacturers, and industry associations. It is our goal to relay to you the most up-to-date information for your convenience. The information within this resource falls into several categories: Laboratory & QA/QC, Packaging & IngredientsProcess & Flow ControlSafety, and Sanitation & Maintenance. Within each of these 5 areas, there is a range of subtopics that we determined were important for our customers to expand their knowledge on. Here is a brief overview of each of these sections:

Laboratory & QA/QC: We offer food safety products and solutions that help the food and beverage industries protect the quality of their products by utilizing proven, methods-based laboratory procedures. Learn more about Hydrating 3M™ Petrifilm Plates, pH Electrode Selection Guide, pH Testing Tips, and Nelson-Jameson pH Buffers, and more.
Packaging & Ingredients: Food safety begins with quality ingredients and packaging. Learn more information about our wide line of food and dairy ingredients, Choosing Cheese Packaging, Selecting Cultures & Coagulants for Taste & Texture, and Packaging Films.
Process & Flow Control: Keep food and beverage production running smoothly. Learn more from these resources designed to help meet your unique food, dairy, and beverage needs, such as Hose Maintenance Tips, Gaskets, Pump Maintenance, and Filtration Ratings.
Safety: In the food, dairy, and beverage industries, it is important to protect employees from injury and food product from possible contamination. To protect your assets, learn more about Noise Reduction Ratings, Protective Clothing Materials, Footwear Sizing, and peruse our Glove Selection Guide.
Sanitation & Maintenance: Keep your plant clean and safe with quality sanitation and janitorial products. Learn more about Broom Bristle Options, Insect & Pest Control, and Disinfectant Mats™.

At Nelson-Jameson, we strive to make our customers’ lives easier by providing products, solutions, and technical expertise when needed. Whether it’s figuring out how to clean a tank properly or learning about broom bristle options, Nelson-Jameson is your one stop shop—Click here to view our Learning Center and learn more about our areas of expertise!

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New Year, New Sanitation Program

Achieve an effective sanitation program in your facility with footwear and surface sanitation products! In the food production process, cross-contamination can occur at any point. Employees can track in a myriad of potential contaminants and unknowingly put an operation at risk each time they breeze through a doorway to a production area. Having an effective sanitation program in place that addresses employee hygiene is key.

A primary route of contamination is the bottom of people’s shoes, so cleaning footwear has become just as important as washing hands when coming into a facility. “Items which contact the floor are contaminated and could serve as vectors; despite daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as floors, it has already been shown that bacterial and viral contamination return rather quickly” (Pyrek, 2018, pp. 1). To help combat this issue, Nelson-Jameson carries several options for minimizing contamination from footwear including: Boot Scrubbers, Doorway Foamers, and Disinfectant Mats. These products are designed to be located at entryways of facilities to remind employees to clean and sanitize their shoes upon entry.

Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces is also an integral part of a sanitation program. Having the correct sanitizers for your processing facility can prevent the spread of microorganisms that cause foodborne illness. At Nelson-Jameson we have a full line of Alpet® Sanitizers that are both food contact and non-food contact approved for your facility.

Overall, this program is designed to aid in preparing your facility to be sanitized, but you can’t sanitize without cleaning first. It’s apparent that many individuals interchangeably use the terms cleaning and sanitizing, when in fact they are different. Cleaning is described as the physical removal of visible dirt, soil, food particles, grease, or allergens from equipment, utensils, or work surfaces. On the other hand, sanitizing reduces the number of harmful microorganisms from a cleaned surface. Cleaning must always come before sanitizing. If cleaning is skipped, the sanitizing process will be ineffective as oil, grease, and dust deactivate sanitizers. While these products are not guaranteed to remove all bacteria, they do bring the amount down to a safe level.

Start preparing your processing facility today—request or download our updated 12-page Footwear & Surface Sanitation Flyer. It contains an array of products to help make protecting your facility and products easier!

Sources:

Pyrek, K. M. (2018, October 31). Shoe Sole and Floor Contamination: A New Consideration in the Environmental Hygiene Challenge for Hospitals. Infection Control Today.      https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/view/shoe-sole-and-floor-contamination-new-consideration-environmental-hygiene.

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Deep Cleaning & Sanitation in Today’s Food Plant

According to the FDA, “one of the most commonly documented food safety problems in plants have involved sanitation monitoring, including checking food-contact surfaces and plant cleanliness” (Schug, para. 1). To make matters even more complicated, the
COVID-19 pandemic disrupted normal operations as well for countless food and beverage manufacturers. Disruptions may occur due to limited staff because of layoffs, social distancing requirements, or sickness. These situations on top of the normal expectations of having a clean food plant, can lead to the need of resources for food safety sanitation.

It is essential that food manufacturers create safe, quality food, therefore, routine practices need to continue, and additional sanitation protocols may need to be added. Employers also need to ensure a safe environment for their staff, including minimizing the risk of being exposed to harmful viruses and infections.

According to an article on cleaning and sanitation, “maintaining a clean and sanitary plant is essential in building and executing an effective food safety program” (Schug, para. 2).  A complete color-coded system is an example of a food safety program that will help promote organization and efficient work flow. Designating critical control areas and zones helps your sanitation program by ensuring that the tools stay in the areas in which they are meant to be used, doing jobs they are meant to do. Color-coded systems also help avoid bacterial and allergen migration within a facility, allowing you to maintain a safe food processing facility.

Nelson-Jameson offers the most diverse and extensive collection of color-coded products in the industry. This includes products for material handling, product handling, janitorial, safety, apparel, QA/QC, and metal detectable applications. Laying the foundation for a solid food safety program, our color-coded offering can help minimize the risk of cross-contamination.

To get the best of both worlds, Nelson-Jameson also offers the benefits of color-coded and metal detectable products, another food safety program, in one. Produced from a specially formulated FDA-compliant material, these high impact polypropylene tools have the ability to be detected by most metal detection machines used in the food processing industry.

Take the next step in your sanitation program and add to your color-coded or metal detectable program to make it more effective today! Visit nelsonjameson.com to view or request a copy of our 56-page Color-Coded Catalog or our 32-page Metal Detectable Flyer.

 

Sources:

Schug, D. (2018, November 05). Cleaning and sanitation: The Building Blocks of Food Safety. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://www.profoodworld.com/home/article/13279193/cleaning-and-sanitation-the-building-blocks-of-food-safety

 

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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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