Tag Archives: food safety

Preparing for Food Safety in Game Hunting

For many people throughout the United States, hunting wild game is a beloved pastime–whether for the enjoyment of the outdoors, thrill of the hunt, or an economical way to obtain food. Along with this hobby comes many safety precautions. Just as a hunter should be trained in firearm safety and first aid procedures, food safety is also important. Educating one’s self on the dangers of foodborne illness is one step closer to harvesting a game animal for safe consumption.

Know The Risks
Harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli can live in raw or undercooked game meats. It is important to note the stages in which contamination may occur, and what steps can be taken to ensure you have processed your animal in the safest means possible.

Contamination can occur through the initial wound sustained by a bullet or an arrow. It is best to avoid hitting or puncturing the area around the stomach and intestines, as this would result in spoiling much of the surrounding meat due to the bacteria that lives within these organs.

Another area of concern in game food contamination is the possibility of cross-contamination. Be sure to pack clean utensils and tools for field dressing or butchering your game animal. Even the smallest of pathogens can wreak havoc on the quality of your game meat. Pack alcohol wipes for regular cleaning of the hands and tools before, during, and after use. Also plan to pack supplies such as paper towels, a clean plastic drop cloth or tarp, and disposable plastic gloves. Keeping your area, tools, and hands clean during the removal of entrails is a big part of ensuring your kill will be safely preserved until you can reach a controlled environment for processing.

____________________________________________________

Recommended Equipment for Field Dressing Deer & Other Large Game
For proper field dressing, bring the following items with you when you hunt:

  • Sharp knife
  • Small hatchet
  • Whetstone or steel for sharpening
  • Several feet of rope or nylon cord
  • Rubber bands
  • Clean cloths or paper towels
  • Resealable plastic storage bags
  • A large cooler full of ice/snow
  • Ground pepper and cheesecloth
  • Disposable plastic gloves
  • Clean drinking water

Recommended Equipment for Field Dressing Game Birds
For proper field dressing of game birds, bring the following items with you when you hunt:

  • Sharp knife
  • Resealable plastic storage bags
  • Whetstone or steel for sharpening
  • Cooler full of ice/snow
  • Rope or nylon cord
  • Disposable plastic gloves
  • Clean cloths or paper towels
  • Clean drinking water

____________________________________________________

Preserving Your Game Meat for Processing
Temperature control is a factor that is mostly out of the control of the hunter. Depending on the region you live, hunting season climate can range from warm and humid to below freezing temperatures. In areas like Wisconsin, we often don’t have to worry about this aspect, as our harvested game cools down quickly and for the most part remains on snow-covered ground until it can be loaded for transport. If this is not the case, consider taking coolers filled with ice or packaged dry ice. If the outside temperature is above 41° F, the hide should be removed from large game as quickly as possible. The longer the carcass remains in temperatures above 41°F, the greater the risk of foodborne pathogen growth. When transporting your large game animal, do not wrap the carcass. Trapping heat around the carcass encourages the growth of bacteria and other foodborne pathogens. In contrast, with small game animals like rabbits and squirrels, it is recommended to skin the animal while field dressing, wrap the carcass in clean plastic wrap or butcher paper, and place in a cooler for transport. The smaller the game, the quicker the internal temperature will cool down – improving the overall safety of the meat.

Game meat should then be processed and packaged as quickly as possible, either by utilizing a commercial processing facility or implementing the same practices as during field dressing by processing on a clean surface with clean tools and protective coverings for your hands and other surfaces.

Be Informed Of Other Factors
One last thing to consider when preparing for your hunt is being educated on the signs of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This prion disease affects deer populations across North America, including elk, reindeer, sika deer, and moose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that hunters try to minimize their risk for exposure by consulting with their area DNR or wildlife agencies as to areas of known cases and where testing sites are located in your hunting vicinity. Always avoid eating meat from an animal that seems sick or tests positive for CWD.

Click here for more information on how to field dress an animal and food safety tips.

Sourced from Food Safety News.

Tags: , , ,

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.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

International Association of Food Protection Annual Meeting (IAFP)

This year IAFP 2020 will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year they hold an annual meeting designed to inform individuals on topics such as emerging food safety issues, the latest science, innovative solutions, and the opportunity to network with individuals in the same industry as you.

Tags: , , ,

Food Safety Summit

Although being held virutally online this year, 2020 Food Safety Summit conference will be providing the same quality experience as in previous years. Attend this 3 day conference to learn about solutions that are designed for the needs of the entire food industry. During this conference you can gain networking skills/contacts, take special training courses to become certified for HACCP, and to find practical solutions that are needed within your industry.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wisconsin Safety Council Virtual Conference

Wisconsin Safety Council invites you to join them for their Annual Safety Conference on September 1 & 2, 2020. This year the conference will be held virtually, but you can still expect to receive the same quality experience as in previous years. There will still be speakers along with educational breakout sessions with the latest safety information. When registering, please use Nelson-Jameson’s promotional code “Expo10” to recieve a 10% discount!

Tags: , , ,