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  1. New Solutions for the Detection of Agrisure Duracade™ Corn

    Romer Labs’ AgraStripTraitChek eCry3.1Ab lateral flow tests are an easy to use, accurate and affordable detection system. The TraitChek system allows for the qualitative detection of one (1) Agrisure Duracade corn kernel in 400 non-Agrisure Duracade kernels (0.25%) at the grain elevator with results visualized in 3 to 5 minutes. This rapid, sensitive test strip format provides the best sensitivity for the detection of Agrisure Duracade corn currently available which expedites grain processing. Also available are the
    AgraStrip SeedChek eCry3.1Ab lateral flow and ELISA-based systems to rapidly test seed lots for quality control requirements as well as leaf tissue samples in the field or lab.

    Romer Labs sells an extensive portfolio of GMO testing products in lateral flow and ELISA formats. This includes bulk grain tests for Vip3A (MIR162) corn and CSPB corn which are also unapproved traits in some markets .

    About Romer Labs:
    Romer Labs, founded in Washington, MO, in 1982, is a leading provider in diagnostic solutions for food and feed. It develops, manufacturers and markets rapid test kits for food allergens, food pathogens, mycotoxins, veterinary drug residues and other food contaminants. The company also operates four accredited full-service laboratories on three continents. Romer Labs has facilities in Austria, Brazil, China, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK and the USA. For more than 30 years, Romer Labs has been a trusted partner for the food and feed industry worldwide. www.romerlabs.com

    • Oct 27 2014 07:21 PM
    • by Simon
  2. Compressed Air - How Clean is Yours?

    Understanding compressed air contaminants

    ISO 8573-1 identifies the major contaminants of compressed air that can affect the quality in a manufacturing environment where products or machine operation is critical. The standard specifies the levels of allowable contaminants in compressed air in terms of solid matter, water content, and oil content.

    Major contaminants as described in ISO 8573-1:

    • Particles
    • Water
    • Oil Aerosol
    • Oil Vapor
    • Microbial*

    *ISO 8573 does not establish limits for microorganisms so we must refer back to environmental testing protocols or in some cases to clean-room specifications.

    As can be seen in the table below, ISO 8573 goes well beyond recognized breathing air specifications.

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    The presence of materials like water, particulate matter, compressor oils and vapors, or microbial contamination in compressed air, used in food processing operations can lead to significant problems. Problems such as:

    • Failure of the system
    • Product damage
    • Increase wastage
    • Downtime
    • Food quality issues due to out-of specification product (e.g., taste, color, odor)
    • Food safety issues due to particulate, oil, or microbial contamination

    Avoidance of potential compressed air contaminants

    To avoid compressed air contamination, it is important to consider the characteristics of the compressed air required for the operation. It is ideal to consider this during the design phase to ensure system efficiency and stability whilst also ensuring food safety and quality requirements are met.

    Great care should also be taken when installing or conducting maintenance on a compressed air system to avoid introducing potential contaminants into the system. New piping should be tested to assure that it has been properly purged of potential contaminants such as particulates, solders, or glues used during installation. Older piping can have an accumulation of water, rust, and oil. When connecting new piping to an older piping distribution system, the jarring of the old piping can cause particulates (such as rust, pipe scale, dirt, metal oxides, etc.) to be loosened and introduced into the new piping. Storage receivers with excess water (vapor, liquid, or a mixture of oil and water) can become a breeding ground for microorganisms.

    There exist a number of methods for removing moisture, particulate matter, and oils from compressed air used in food processing activities. These are commonly:

    • Separators
    • Chemical dryers
    • Refrigerators
    • Desiccant dryers
    • Coalescing Filters
    • Sterile Air Filters
    • Steam Filters

    The choice and level of contaminant mitigation will depend on the range of use of compressed air within the facility. For example, if there is only a slight possibility of incidental contact of compressed air with products and product contact surfaces, then the level of purity requirement will be less than if used for direct steam injection, which is a technique used to warm food and increase the speed of production.

    It is wise to seek the advice of commercial filtration and separation specialists in conducting this risk assessment and establishing effective mitigation strategies.

    Verifying the purity of compressed air

    Once an efficient and effective compressed air system is in operation air quality should be periodically tested at a frequency based on risk assessment. It is best practice to conduct annual or bi-annual testing with additional testing required whenever maintenance work or any activity that may affect the air quality is performed on the compressed air system. Again, if the intended range of uses for compressed air changes then air quality testing may be advisable.

    A periodic compressed air test program can provide critical information about your air quality and help prevent contamination of the food supply. Due to the critical nature of compressed air used in the food manufacturing process, qualified personnel should be employed to properly maintain, service, and test the compressed air system.

    Trace Analytics offers baseline testing when you are unsure what Purity Classes your air system can meet, they can also provide analysis for any given Purity Classes you select, or you can provide your custom specifications. Trace’s AirCheck Kit™ can be used to sample for particles, water, and oil (aerosol and vapor); Model KPSII is available for microbial sampling. Trace Analytics is an A2LA accredited laboratory in compliance with ISO/IEC 17025. Find out more about compressed air safety in the AirCheck✓™ Academy.

  3. Food Safety Certification: A Necessary Investment

    Other issues driving U.S. retailers and manufacturers to focus more on food safety is the increasing complexity of the global supply chain and the large number of products that are sourced from high risk areas such as China, India and Latin America.

    Store brands retailers today are keenly focused on food safety, and manufacturer testing and certification. In fact, an industry survey conducted by the Consumer Goods Forum (CIES) in 2007 and again in 2009 found that food safety moved up from the number seven slot to number two in importance among retailers and manufacturers.

    Competition also is spurring retailers to be more proactive. In early 2008, Walmart became the first U.S. grocer to adopt Global Food Safety Initiative (GSFI) standards, requiring private label suppliers and select food products companies to comply with standards above FDA or USDA requirements. GFSI requires food suppliers to achieve factory audit certification against one of its recognized standards, which include International Food Standard (IFS) or an equivalent such as Global-GAP, Safe Quality Food (SQF) or British Retail Consortium (BRC).

    Then, in the summer of 2009 Target notified all of its store brand suppliers that it required them to become GFSI certified by the end of 2010. When market leaders such as Walmart and Target take action, others follow. More and more U.S. retailers –– such as Supervalu, Publix, Food Lion, Loblaws, Wegmans and others –– have committed to GFSI as well.

    CERTIFICATION STANDARDS IMPROVE BUSINESS

    While the certification and training process can be somewhat costly and painstaking for both manufacturers and retailers, the good news is that the disciplines yield positive business results, according to a new study conducted by the University of Rostock in Germany. Food processing companies with IFS certification realize dramatic reductions in food recalls, error/defect rates, customer complaints/claims and regulatory issues, according to the research.

    The data is compelling. Respondents experienced up to a:

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    Furthermore, a majority of companies realized sales improvement. In fact, 55 percent saw up to a 10 percent increase in sales; another 14 percent experienced a 10 to 20 percent sales increase.

    Furthermore, a majority of companies realized sales improvement. In fact, 55 percent saw up to a 10 percent increase in sales; another 14 percent experienced a 10 to 20 percent sales increase.

    PROCESS OPTIMIZATION

    In total, 62.1 percent of those surveyed consider the IFS Food standard as “good” and “very good” from a process optimization viewpoint. From management standpoint, 37.9 percent considered IFS Food to be “good” and “very good.” A vast majority of respondents reported that they made investments in IFS Food standards when it was introduced. Of the 89 percent of respondents who made financial investments, 70 percent rated their expenditures as “medium,” 14.5 percent as “low,” and 16 percent as “high.”

    ABOUT THE SURVEY RESPONDENTS

    Approximately one in five survey participants (22.3 percent) are classified as fruit and vegetable manufacturers and/or processors. Meat producers and processors represented 10 percent of respondents, dried goods 10.9 percent and sweets 10.5 percent. More than one quarter of those surveyed (26.4 percent) are or were also certified under more than one GFSI benchmarked certification. One third still work under a management system certified under ISO 9001, and only 5.4 percent report an established management system under ISO 22000. The environmental management system is managed according to ISO 14001 in 6.3 percent of respondents.

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    CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

    Food safety and certification is a business imperative for manufacturers and processors. If the University of Rostock research is not compelling enough, retailers and manufacturers should consider their most important customer — the consumer, whose confidence in the U.S. food supply chain is shaken.

    “Over the past several years, nationwide food safety alerts or recalls involving spinach, beef, peanut butter, chili sauce, tomatoes, peppers, peanut products and pistachios have exposed weaknesses in our food safety net and diminished consumer confidence in the safety and security of the food supply,” the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) wrote in its 2009 white paper on supply chain initiatives to improve food safety titled “Prevention, Partnership and Planning.” The food safety alert and recalls highlight the need to modernize and strengthen the country’s food safety system, according to GMA.
    “Food manufacturers are ultimately responsible for providing consumers with safe products and for ensuring that those products meet all applicable standards. However, accredited third party certification bodies can play a critical role in efforts to continually improve the safety of our food supplies,” GMA wrote.

    Consumer confidence in food safety remains fragile, according to research conducted in 2009 by the Food Marketing Institute. A majority of shoppers (72 percent) said they are “somewhat” confident in the safety of food in U.S. supermarkets versus 11 percent who said they are “very confident.” The report also found that nearly one third (31 percent) of consumers stopped purchasing a food product because of safety concerns.

    Unchanged from 2008, the majority of shoppers (89 percent) trust grocery stores to sell safe food, but have less trust in the government to make sure the food they purchase is safe:

    “The USDA and FDA are entrusted to protect the American public from unsafe food and the accompanying illnesses and death. In recent years, that trust appears to have eroded,” according to the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota. Food recalls increased 135 percent from 240 to 565 between 2006 and 2008, according to the 2009 Food Industry Report.

    Confirmed laboratory cases of foodborne illnesses reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increased 46 percent between 2000 and 2008, while the number of cases per 100,000 population went up 21 percent from 33 to 40, according to CDC data quoted by the University of Minnesota.

    “A lack of, or decline in, confidence in the safety of food can lead to irrational actions ranging from consumer boycotts of product categories to media scares claiming to be documentaries,” the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota wrote as part of its food safety and defense tracking project. “It can lead to social causes around food, political pressure for more food inspection and government monitoring, trade restrictions, or a demand for local foods.”

    While increased government regulation and inspection may help improve food safety, the best course of action for the food industry is self-monitoring and vigilance.

    Food processing companies should consider all of their certification options to ensure they’re choosing what’s right for their organizations. Though third-party certification is not a one-stop shop for the elimination of food safety challenges, the IFS Standard provides a strong basis for prevention and continuous improvement.

    The results of the University of Rostock study confirm significant cost savings on many levels through the implementation of the IFS Food Safety and Quality Standard.


    Author Biography:

    IFS is an umbrella brand for globally recognized standards in food, logistics, household and personal care, broker, and cash-andcarry/wholesale developed by the associated members of the German retail federation, hauptverband des Deutschen einzelhandels (hDe), and of its French counterpart, Fédération des entreprises du Commerce et de la Distribution (FCD), along with input from retailers in italy, Switzerland, poland, Spain, and austria. IFS Food is a global uniform quality assurance and food safety standard accepted under the Global Food Safety initiative (GFSI).

    For more information see: www.ifs-certification.com

    Contact: George Gansner, IFS north america at 314-686-4610 or by emailing: ifs-us@ifs-certification.com.

  4. A Ten Step Guide to the BRC Food Safety Standard

    The 10 Fundamental requirements of BRC:

    Management Commitment and Continuous Improvement Clause 1 – Senior management need to demonstrate commitment to meeting the requirements of the BRC standard by provision of sufficient resources, communication, review and taking actions to improve.

    Food Safety Plan - Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Clause 2 – A multi-disciplinary team need to develop a Food Safety Plan based on CODEX HACCP principles that is comprehensive, implemented and maintained. The plan should reference legislation, codes of practice and relevant industry guidelines.

    Internal Audits Clause 3.5 – There needs to be an effective audit system to verify that the food safety quality management system and relevant procedures cover the requirements of the standard, are effective and complied with.

    Corrective Action and Preventative Action Clause 3.8 – Procedures need to be in place to investigate, analyse and correct non-conformances critical to product legality, quality and safety.

    Traceability Clause 3.9 – A system needs to be in place to trace finished products by lot number from raw materials throughout the process to end products and their distribution to the customer. The system should be such that this information can be retrieved within a reasonable timescale.

    Layout, Product Flow and Segregation Clause 4.3.1 – Facilities and equipment need to be designed, constructed and maintained to prevent contamination of the product and comply with relevant legislation.

    Housekeeping and Hygiene Clause 4.9 - Housekeeping and cleaning standards need to be maintained to achieve the appropriate hygiene standards and prevent the contamination of product.

    Handling Requirements for Specific Materials – Materials containing Allergens and Identity Preserved Materials Clause 5.2 – Procedures need to be in place to control specific materials including allergens and identity preserved materials such that product legality, quality and safety is not affected.

    Control of Operations Clause 6.1 – Procedures need to be in place to verify the effective operation of equipment and processes, in compliance with the food safety plan, so that product legality, quality and safety is assured.

    Training Clause 7.1 – A system needs to be in place to demonstrate that personnel who can affect product legality, quality and/or safety are competent based on qualifications, training or work experience.

    The above guide is not to be taken as a substitute for the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety as Certification cannot be achieved without holding a current copy of the publication. However, if you can begin to think of the 10 fundamental requirements as a foundation that the more detailed requirements are built upon perhaps then your implementation project will not appear quite so daunting.

    Author Biography:

    With over 25 years experience in Quality Management, Tony became a qualified Quality Management System Auditor in 1994 and has been writing ISO 9001 compliant Quality Manuals and extensive Food Safety HACCP Manuals and Systems for 20 years.

    Tony has a wealth of management experience and practical use of Quality Management Systems in the food industry. His management roles have included, Laboratory Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Production Manager, Technical and Processing Manager, Technical Manager, Technical and Development Manager and Group Technical Manager. He therefore has a broad knowledge of departments that operate within a company which is highly valuable when documenting policies and procedures relating to those activities. Not only this but practical knowledge of how to implement systems means that better understanding of company requirements is passed on to each and every employee.

    Tony has written an extensive range of Food Safety Manuals that meet the requirements of GFSI standards such as BRC, SQF, IFS, FSSC 22000 and ISO 22000:

    IFSQN Food Safety Certification Packages

    • Jun 16 2014 08:35 AM
    • by Tony-C
  5. Implementing a Food Safety Management System

    In order to set up an effective food safety management system the activities of key functions should be integrated into the system. Senior management should communicate policies and responsibilities including authority levels. It should be clear to all personnel that each and everyone is responsible for food safety. Food safety management responsibility should not simply be delegated to technical personnel.

    Having a comprehensive HACCP system and having carried out hazard analysis and assessment is fundamental to the food safety management system. One of the first steps for an organisation implementing a Food Safety Management System will be to consider what are their customer requirements and what will need to be done to meet those requirements. Most customers will require a food safety management system to be certified to a recognised standard. These could include BRC, SQF, ISO 22000 or FSSC 22000, all of which are approved by the GFSI scheme.

    Decide which food safety management system standard meets your customer requirements and buy a copy. This standard should be read and understood by key personnel. You should begin the entire food safety management system implementation process by the senior management preparing an organisational strategy. In this process food safety policies and objectives should be generated as responsibility for a food safety management system lies with senior management. At this stage the resource including personnel, infrastructure, training and work environment needed to implement, maintain and improve the food safety management system should be considered and provided.

    The food safety management system documentation should be developed based on a study by your HACCP team. The HACCP team should be multidisciplinary and all functions of the business should be represented. The HACCP team should be suitably competent and are tasked with generating HACCP plans and associated documents, procedures and records that ensure the safe manufacture of your products.

    The next step to implementing your food safety management system is communication and training. During the implementation phase all personnel should be trained, follow procedures and complete records that demonstrate the effectiveness of your food safety management system. Once your food safety management system is implemented, verification activities should be undertaken to demonstrate it is working effectively.

    Once you have done that and found the system to be operating effectively you should arrange your assessment with your chosen certification body. At this point the certification body will conduct an audit and review your food safety management system and determine whether you should be recommended for registration. Once you have been approved you will receive a certificate confirming your food safety management system meets the requirements of your chosen food safety standard.

    Author Biography:

    With over 25 years experience in Quality Management, Tony became a qualified Quality Management System Auditor in 1994 and has been writing ISO 9001 compliant Quality Manuals and extensive Food Safety HACCP Manuals and Systems for 20 years.

    Tony has a wealth of management experience and practical use of Quality Management Systems in the food industry. His management roles have included, Laboratory Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Production Manager, Technical and Processing Manager, Technical Manager, Technical and Development Manager and Group Technical Manager. He therefore has a broad knowledge of departments that operate within a company which is highly valuable when documenting policies and procedures relating to those activities. Not only this but practical knowledge of how to implement systems means that better understanding of company requirements is passed on to each and every employee.

    Tony has written an extensive range of Food Safety Manuals that meet the requirements of GFSI standards such as BRC, SQF, IFS, FSSC 22000 and ISO 22000:

    IFSQN Food Safety Certification Packages

    • Jun 16 2014 08:34 AM
    • by Tony-C
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