Tag Archives: cross contamination

Grilling & Food Contamination

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.

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

NEW Color-Coded Catalog Available Now!

Springtime brings many new colors, from the flowers popping up in gardens to the spring and summer produce offerings at the grocery store. During this colorful time of year, it might be the perfect opportunity to take a look at color-coding in your facility, whether that means starting a new color-coded program or expanding an existing program.

Nelson-Jameson has expanded our color-coded program once again with the release of our 2021 Color-Coded Catalog. This year’s catalog has grown to 68 pages of products that are designed to help prevent allergen migration and cross-contamination. A complete color-coded program helps to lay the foundation for a solid food safety program, and can help minimize the risk of cross-contamination.

Why choose a color-coded system? A complete color-coded system helps promote organization and efficient workflow. 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.

In addition to having the most extensive color-coded program in the industry, we also have the most color options to help meet all your color-coded needs. Our expanded catalog also includes new items like Carlisle Total Color Products, ColorCore Cleaning Tools, Vacuum Accessories, Cutlery, and more.

From the lab to the processing line, Nelson-Jameson has the color-coded products you need to produce safe, quality food. Download or request a copy of our new color-coded catalog today!

 

 

 

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

The Food Safety Modernization Act: An Undertaking in Progress

Ten years…that’s a long time, right?  But…not really.  The more I see 10th, 20th, or 25th anniversary releases of favorite albums or movies, the more I feel like time is slipping away…and ten years seems more like a blink.   So, when you consider the dichotomy of the slow and all-too-quick hands of time, it’s impressive how much has been accomplished, and yet how far we have to go in food safety since the Food Safety Modernization Act was enacted in early 2011.   

As much as it would be great to go with either a “yay” or “nay” as to whether it has been a success, like many pieces of major legislation, there have been both phenomenal strides as well as stagnation.  As food safety is a complex undertaking, involving waves of domestic and global political and trade relations, budgetary concerns, etc., the quality assurance of the Act itself can be a challenge at times.  As we’ll see though, overwhelmingly, FSMA has represented a tectonic shift in approaching food safety concerns, and has set the table (yes, that just happened) for increasing advances in the coming years.

The data suggests that we do have a long way to go.  The CDC succinctly summarized this in “Preliminary Incidence and Trends of Infections with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food — Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 U.S. Sites, 2016–2019” stating that: “The incidence of most infections transmitted commonly through food has not declined for many years.”  Although disappointing to those invested and concerned about food safety, it is important to remember that FSMA is not a stagnant absolute, existing in a vacuum of regulatory comfort.

Instead, FSMA, like food safety itself, is a continuously evolving and changing entity.  To respond to new science and to new challenges, FSMA depends on building on foundational scientific knowledge, while adeptly adjusting to the reality of challenges of the time (COVID-19 being a great example).  Though there is a long way to go, FSMA has achieved numerous outcomes that have been important to the industry and to the march towards a safer food system.   

As Sandra Eskin, of Pew Charitable Trusts, noted in a recent food safety session at IDFA’s Dairy Forum, the reality is that while FSMA is ten years old, the compliance dates established to meet the goals of FSMA are only now a few years old. This complicates our “FSMA at 10” theme a bit, but we can surmise a great deal from both those years of buildup and those of ennactation/enforcement.   Here is a sampling of what has been accomplished by FSMA so far, as outlined by Deputy Commissioner of Food Safety Frank Yiannas in his “A Decade Later, FDA Still Working on Congressional Mandate Known as FSMA:”

  1. Food producers “must have food safety plans that include an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls to minimize or prevent these hazards.”  
  2. Improved “regulatory oversight of produce and food importers.”
  3. Implemented practices to prevent food safety risks during transportation.
  4. Gained: “additional enforcement authorities, such as mandatory recall when a manufacturer fails to voluntarily pull unsafe food from the market and suspension of registration to prevent a facility from selling or distributing unsafe food.

To add to these and other advances, the FDA this year encouragingly released their “New Era of Food Safety” blueprint, laying out areas of development in the next decade of FSMA.   Along with increased traceability initiatives, meaningful use of technology, and business/retail model modernization, the blueprint centrally is built upon creating “food safety cultures.”  This means making food safety a shared goal by everyone in the plant, in the supply chain, and beyond—top down and bottom up investment–everyone is in on it.  This should further encourage that “tectonic shift” mentioned previously, fundamentally shifting existing perspectives on food safety in the industry.  The ability to shape the future of food safety and cultures of food safety will be dependent on education, industry/regulatory/academic partnership, collaboration, and advocacy on Capitol Hill, just as the shifting of views from reactionary to preventative action required these first ten years.  

As Dick Groves stated in his editorial in the Jan. 15th issue of The Cheese Reporter, “Simply put, the food safety culture matters more than regulations.”  Groves makes a good point about the centrality of food safety culture; however, perhaps it is a mixture of conceptual shifts and continued dependence on education and partnership to further spread the gospel of food safety and regulatory knowledge/standards (consider that not having an adequate hazard analysis is still one of the most commonly cited violations by the FDA) that will make the next ten years truly effective in the fight against foodborne illness. 

Ten years indeed can feel conversely like an eternity and a blink of an eye.  The first decade of FSMA has been an experiment in adaptation.  And it will continue to be so for the next ten, marrying the realities of regulatory standards with an embrace of a holistic framework of food safety and food safety culture at all levels (including establishing this at the federal level…which is crucial for funding).  Together we can continue to learn, improve, and work together towards this common goal.  Food safety is not a destination, it is a journey.  We must continue working together as an industry to reduce risk in the food supply chain, relentlessly combatting foodborne illness.  No matter how far we are able to push that boulder up the hill, there will always be further to go. Many hands make light work, though, so let’s all commit to the effort and make the next 10 years count.

Source(s):

Marler Clark. (2021, February 9). FDA’s data for 2020 shows top five violation categories at food facilities. Food Safety News. https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2021/02/fdas-data-for-2020-shows-top-five-violation-categories-at-food-facilities/?utm_source=Food%2BSafety%2BNews&utm_campaign=280373c947-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f46cc10150-280373c947-40046447#.

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

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.

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

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: , , , , , , , , ,