As consumers continue to become more aware of food safety, manufacturers and suppliers have put more emphasis on ensuring all parts of the supply chain are doing everything they can. Nelson-Jameson, Inc. continues to have more requests of our food safety programs and processes.
This month I attended a supply chain food safety workshop that was hosted by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Attendees included many of our major customers. The goal of this workshop was to instill the need for continued and enhanced vigilance in the area food safety. As many people are aware one recall can change the consumer’s mind about products.
In the world of food safety Nelson-Jameson, Inc. is a leader among distribution. Our goal is to ensure that we provide a safe supply chain for the products that we sell to our customers. As all of our warehouse facilities know we have high standards to live up to. There are many processes and procedures in place to ensure we are protecting the products we sell. Sometimes it’s not easy to maintain the standards but everyone does it with a sense of pride. I would welcome any customer into any of our facilities at any point in time and know that they would be impressed with our operations.
Last week, our Marshfield headquarters had their latest inspection of the warehouse. Our staff worked diligently in order to maintain the standards expected with all of the transitions relating to the new warehouse. We are happy to say that it went very well and we are one step further ahead for our customers by ensuring the safety of the food supply.
“Gluten-Free” might represent a new diet fad to some, but to those that suffer from celiac disease, the label is of the utmost importance. Celiac disease is a digestive condition that can reek havoc on sufferers’ daily lives if gluten finds a way into their diets. To ensure the safety of celiac sufferers, the FDA has stepped in to regulate gluten-free claims on food packaging.
According to an FDA News Release: “This new federal definition standardizes the meaning of ‘gluten-free’ claims across the food industry. It requires that, in order to use the term ‘gluten-free’ on its label, a food must meet all of the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The rule also requires foods with the claims ‘no gluten,’ ‘free of gluten,’ and ‘without gluten’ to meet the definition for ‘gluten-free.’”
The new regulation seeks to prevent erroneous claims leveled by companies looking to take advantage of the current popularity of gluten-free diets in the United States. Essentially, those with severe allergies to gluten will be protected, along with those voluntarily cutting gluten out of their diets. Both groups can count on this standardization to take effect in the not-too-distant future. Krystal Gabert of foodmanufacturing.com reports that: “Food manufacturers now have one year to achieve compliance before the full weight of the regulation is enforceable.”
If you are a producer of gluten-free products, the new regulation will be of obvious concern. Remember that Nelson-Jameson can be of help in keeping your quality operation compliant and ready for the change. Check out our gluten allergen test kit. The kit allows you to test your products on-site for gluten, helping your operation get in line to operate within the new FDA standard. For more information on allergen test kits, see our website or call 800-826-8302.
For more information on gluten and celiac disease, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation website or Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) website.
Our Dumas, Texas warehouse has been opened for almost 18 months now and is fully functional! We have product shipments being delivered directly into the Dumas facility so product doesn’t have to be transferred from our Wisconsin headquarters.
Our customers have been very patient during the building, stocking, and operational start up of the warehouse. We now have our own truck in Dumas that our warehouse personnel will be using to make some deliveries. Nelson-Jameson, Inc. still has our main driver from Wisconsin but now he is able to reach some customers every week as opposed to every other week.
Because of where the Dumas warehouse is located, we are able to reach more customers throughout the Great Plains in a quicker amount of time. The warehouse in Dumas is just another way that Nelson-Jameson is working on understanding our customers needs and wants.
The new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires registered food companies (including Nelson-Jameson, Inc. as a “holder and transporter” of food) to develop risk-based food safety plans. Included in this plan for food processors must be critical control points (CCPs), where known hazards related to raw materials and finished products are controlled.
For example, brine used to preserve a ham must contain sufficient salt, sugar and other dissolved ingredients to lower water activity and prevent growth of pathogens. Other control points include pH, allergen prevention, temperature (both processing and storage), among others.
Each of these control points are monitored in “real time” by some means, often with a continuous recording device or hand-held monitoring system. In today’s world of third party audits, Safe Quality Food Institute (SQF), and British Retail Consortium (BRC), certifications these measures to assure food safety are not enough. The instruments, and even some procedures, relied on to assure safe production processes must be checked using reliable instruments and standards, often traceable to National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) or other certifying bodies. This need to “check the checker” became the theme of our exhibit at the American Association of Meat Processors Convention this year. Interest was excellent and we intend to continue offering products in this context at other trade show venues throughout 2014.
For more information on Critical Control Points, visit our Learning Center or contact our Laboratory Products Department at 800-826-8302.
Some plant managers complain that employees don’t use them. Others say that they don’t get cleaned out often enough. Or, the sanitizing solution loses effectiveness, creating a source of contamination. Yes, these things can happen…but they don’t have to. Each of these problems has a simple answer. Quality assurance techniques require monitoring. Disinfectant Mats, by themselves, don’t create a sanitation program.
We can help you make it work. Because Nelson-Jameson has been in the business for so long, we’ve got some suggestions that have worked well for others:
- Have enough Disinfectant Mats so that employees don’t need to go out of their way to use one. Locate them at every entrance to processing areas.
- If employees bypass footbaths, put several together to cover the whole entrance…so they can’t avoid them.
- Limit access to processing areas, keeping drivers, warehouse workers and office personnel out, if possible.
- Initiate a footwear and clothing program – work clothes and boots should stay at work.
- Education is a powerful sanitation tool, so talk to employees about the problem.
- Post “Use Footbath” signs as reminders to employees.
- Check sanitizer concentration with test strips, which are convenient and simple. Keep daily or hourly log of results.
- Replace regular mats with the Antimicrobial Disinfectant Mat.
- Use longer lasting sanitizing solutions. Chlorine bleach dissipates rapidly, especially in the presence of a heavy organic soil load. Other compounds will last longer. Try quaternary ammonium, iodine, chlorine or acid sanitizers.
- Don’t forget other aspects of your program, such as air sampling, HACCP, surface sampling, insect control, drain cleaning, condensation control, and cleaning of drip pans, condensers and air filters.
For more information on disinfectant mats, click here.
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