Category: Safety & Personnel

Let’s Talk Turkey – Gobble Gobble

Thanksgiving is the holiday we are all familiar with that originated from when the Pilgrims celebrated their first successful harvest in America around the 1620’s. Today most families celebrate this holiday by spending time with family and expressing what they are most grateful for. For my family, one of our favorite traditions is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and eating one of the largest meals that is prepared once a year for this holiday. This year, instead of the usual things we give thanks to, let’s focus on giving thanks to food safety and all of the work that goes into keeping the food we consume on Thanksgiving, safe.

According to the USDA, “in calls to the United States Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline, turkey is the most often asked about food category by consumers” (Turkey from Farm to Table). So, let’s talk turkey and understand why taking cautious steps to preparing a turkey is important, and learn about what we need to do ourselves, as consumers, to finish preparing the turkey safely.

Turkeys are a “large, widely domesticated North American bird that are fed a diet of mainly corn and soybean meal with a supplement of vitamins and minerals. After being butchered, all turkeys found in retail stores are inspected for evidence of disease. For example, Salomnella Enteritidis is a common foodborne organism that can be found in the intestinal track of warm-blooded animals, such as turkeys” (Turkey from Farm to Table). This is why individuals need to air on the side of caution when preparing turkey, so it can be done properly.

Nelson-Jameson cares about your families safety, and that’s why we advocate eliminating the possibility of cross-contamination this holiday season. Here are some tips on how to safely handle and prepare turkey for Thanksgiving:

  1. If purchasing a frozen turkey, allow approximately 24 hours of thawing for every 4 to 5 pounds the turkey weighs. There are three ways you can thaw your turkey safely—in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in a microwave oven. Reminder to keep the turkey in its original wrapper and place it on a tray to catch any excess juices that may leak from the turkey (Let’s Talk Turkey, 2015).
  2. When roasting your turkey, set your oven temperature no lower than 325° F. Make sure to place your turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan (Let’s Talk Turkey, 2015).
  3. If the turkey has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165° F, it should be safe to eat. To get the most accurate measurement, measure the temperature with a food thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh and wing, and the thickest part of the breast (Let’s Talk Turkey, 2015).
  4. When storing leftovers, discard any turkey, stuffing, or gravy that has been left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Divide the leftovers into smaller portions, and refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling. Use refrigerated turkey, stuffing, and gravy within 3 to 4 days, or use frozen leftovers within 2 to 6 months for best quality (Let’s Talk Turkey, 2015).

As we remember to be thankful for the things most important to us in our lives this year, follow these food safety tips, and you’ll give thanks for a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.

 

Sources:

Let’s Talk Turkey—A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey. (2015, September 28). Retrieved November 24, 2020, from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/poultry-preparation/lets-talk-turkey/CT_Index

Turkey from Farm to Table. (2013, August 05). Retrieved November 23, 2020, from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/poultry-preparation/food-safety-of-turkeyfrom-farm-to-table/ct_index

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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/.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!/.

Tags: , , , , ,

“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/.

Tags: , , , ,