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food safety testing

Food Safety News 5-6-19

By | News

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a series on food safety costs for businesses. The series is sponsored by CERTUS Food Safety. This piece explores the question: Are hidden costs eating away business profits?

When analyzing the cost required to run a profitable food processing facility, expenses like staff, equipment, and facility maintenance tend to be the most carefully examined. However, hidden costs caused by inefficient processes may be having a knock-on effect on the overall profit margin of a business.

John Bodner, PhD, Director of Product Development for CERTUS Food Safety, says there is a huge opportunity for food processing companies to save time and money by making investments into their food safety programs. According to Bodner, one of the most impactful, yet easily achieved process changes is to bring pathogen testing in-house.

“Pathogen testing is one of the most important elements of a food business. It can also be one of the greatest contributors to hidden costs when sourced to an outside lab. Sample collection, supplies, shipping and lab fees add up very quickly,” Bodner says. “However, it’s the cost of time that is dipping into business profits the most.”

While timing varies amongst test methods, it’s common for businesses who outsource testing to experience a delay of 48-96 hours from the start of pathogen testing to receiving results – not including the time it takes to transport samples from the producer site to the lab. This can be mitigated, explains Bodner, by bringing pathogen testing in-house. Depending on the test, there are in-house pathogen testing products on the market capable of delivering results in a span of 8-24 hours.

“The sooner the result, the sooner a plant can commence remediation at the site of the presumptive positive findings. The sooner they can conduct vector analyses to find the root source. The sooner they can resample the area based on their Pathogen Environmental Monitoring Program (PEMP) to verify the destruction of the offending organism,” he says.

“Not to mention, the sooner the result – the sooner the business can release their product. Paying for storage to maintain the product until it can be released is a hidden cost that can easily creep into a business. Getting actionable results sooner allows for less storage time and the ability to move inventory sooner.”

Food safety is an investment
Developing an effective PEMP should be viewed as an investment instead of a cost, says Bodner. Food companies should take a comprehensive approach, selecting the most capable personnel to contribute to HACCP, GFSI and lab personnel teams. This should also include evaluating the need for laboratory equipment and a cost-benefit analysis of using a third-party lab.

“Food producers need to make the investment to protect consumers and their brand. Brand reputation is significant in any business, but in the food industry it takes on added importance given the products’ potential to negatively impact human health,” concludes Bodner. “Beyond damage to the brand, there are legal and financial consequences. Investments must be made to mitigate risk and expedite business to provide customers with a safe product.”

 

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CERTUS Live Demos at Food Safety Summit
Rosemont, IL | May 7-9 | Booth 613

Press Release 10.23.18

By | Press

CERTUS System for Rapid Pathogen Detection Receives AOAC Performance Tested℠ Certification

Validation of Same-Shift “Swab-to-Result” Technology Continues Market Momentum, Providing Food Processors with a Superior Alternative to Third-Party Testing

CHICAGO – October 23, 2018 – CERTUS, innovators in food safety technologies, announces that its CERTUS System for accurate and rapid pathogen detection has achieved AOAC Performance TestedSM certification (101802). As a result of rigorous validation studies required to achieve certification, AOAC validation provides small to mid-sized food processing plants further assurance on the reliability and efficiency of CERTUS’s in-house environmental Listeria monitoring process; a simple, safe and cost-effective way to deliver swab-to-result pathogen detection.

Utilizing SERS nanoparticle technology, the CERTUS System features real-time detection which empowers food processors with the timely information they need to keep their products moving and protect their brand from a recall. The CERTUS System’s powerful combination of in-house capability coupled with real-time detection means producers have test results in-hand in less time than it takes for a third-party lab to receive samples by mail.

“We’re extremely proud and put tremendous value on achieving AOAC certification within two years of beginning our journey to help protect food production beyond a shadow of a doubt,” said CERTUS president, John Coomes. “Recognition by AOAC, coupled with our robust R&D team and strong financial backing, demonstrates that we are moving quickly to bring unmatched, precise solutions to food processors across the industry.”

Unique amongst in-house pathogen monitoring systems, AOAC has certified the CERTUS System for use on four environmental surfaces that include stainless steel, concrete, plastic, and ceramics. The CERTUS System also holds the particular ability to detect target organisms without destroying them, while dramatically reducing the impact of interfering substances commonly found in environmental food samples on assay results, leading to a 98% accuracy.

With a limited number of CERTUS Systems now available, food processors interested in learning how to integrate the CERTUS System into their facility can schedule a complimentary, in-person consultation by visiting certusfoodsafety.com/consultation.

ABOUT CERTUS™

CERTUS changes the way food safety testing is done and helps reduce food-borne illness with a rapid pathogen detection system that is Simple, Safe and Smart. CERTUS integrates historically embraced values into future technology bringing innovation and expansive vision to the food safety industry.  CERTUS joins the Toho Technology group of companies as a new brand specializing in Food Safety.

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open PR 9-7-18

By | News

Food Pathogen Testing Market Research by Leading Players

Press release from: Global Market Insights, Inc.

This comprehensive Global food pathogen testing market research report includes a brief on these trends that can help the businesses operating in the industry to understand the market and strategize for their business expansion accordingly. The food pathogen testing market research report analyzes the market size, industry share, growth, key segments, CAGR and key drivers.

Food Pathogen Testing Market size will cross USD 5.5 Billion by 2024; according to a new research report by Global Market Insights, Inc.

Necessity to ensure health & safety along with increasing consumer awareness has enhanced the food pathogen testing market growth. Growth in global processed meat & dairy industry along with increasing vegetables consumption will drive the industry demand.

Stringent safety norms by FDA, FAO and EU have enhanced the product demand. Government support along with rising influence of media reports on diseases caused due to contaminants are the key factors supporting food pathogen testing market size. The commercialization matrix of Food Pathogen Testing Market has witnessed a remarkable surge in recent years, augmented by the stringency in food regulations implemented by renowned organizations like FDA, FAO, and EU. Food giants are continuously brainstorming new manufacturing facilities that can quickly and efficiently detect the presence of pathogens in food. With the increasing consumer awareness with reference to food safety and hygiene, food processors and testing laboratories are shifting their focus toward the deployment of high performance and effective food pathogen testing technologies – a fact that would considerably impel food pathogen testing industry outlook in the ensuing year

Prominent players in market such as 3M and Certus are continuously developing robust and innovative food safety solutions for the F&B sector, the rising prominence of which would help boost this business space. As per analysts, the robustly expanding food industry is likely to stimulate food pathogen testing market size, which was pegged at a valuation of USD 3 billion in 2016.

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Food Safety Best Practices – Part III (Buildings and Facilities)

By | Best Practices, Blog

The FDA has rigorous guidelines outlining how food manufacturers should manage their businesses. These rules cover everything from weeding the lawn to the kind of grouting and enamel to use on table surfaces. This concludes the short series of posts. CERTUS has taken you through some of the most relevant (and easily overlooked) parts of the “Current good manufacturing practices” (CGMP.)

Maintenance of Buildings and Facilities:

Your place of business dictates many things about how you run your company. Your business volume, product output, and even profitability are largely affected by your buildings and facilities. The FDA also asserts that the state and condition of your production space (and the area around it!) affect your businesses’ food safety.

Grounds:

  • The FDA requires that you properly store your outdoor equipment (lawn mowers, for example.) In addition to this, you are also expected to remove litter and debris in a timely manner, as well as keeping control of your grass and weeds.
  • You must adequately drain low areas, to prevent habitat for pathogens or pests.
  • Having systems in place for waste treatment.

Plant Construction:

 Any plants owned by your company must be large enough to allow for cleaning and sanitizing activities (especially after you have installed your machinery!)

  • Good lighting must be provided in all areas, but especially in places where food is examined, processed, or stored. Be sure to use safety-type light bulbs!
  • Provide quality ventilation, to keep odors and pollutants from contaminating your food.

Sanitary Requirements:

 General sanitary maintenance is expected to a reasonable level.

  • Be sure to check that the chemicals used to clean and sanitize are approved by the FDA. They include:
    • Those required to maintain clean and sanitary conditions;
    • Those necessary for use in laboratory testing procedures;
    • Those necessary for plant and equipment maintenance and operation
    • Those necessary for use in the plant’s operations.
  • It is expected that you are keeping up with current pest control procedures. NO pests are allowed to be in contact with your food at any point.
  • Hand washing facilities must be readily available in many areas of your facility

There are many specific guidelines provided by the FDA. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, so we recommend you take a look at the full guide on the FDA’s website. Following these guidelines is an excellent first step towards food safety for your product and your business.

Food Safety Best Practices – Part II (Equipment and Utensils)

By | Best Practices, Blog

The FDA has rigorous guidelines outlining how food manufacturers should manage their businesses. These rules cover everything from weeding the lawn, to the kind of grouting and enamel to use on table surfaces. In this short series of posts, CERTUS is going to take you through some of the most relevant (and easily overlooked) parts of the “Current good manufacturing practices” (CGMP.)

Equipment and Utensils:

At the heart of your production plant, is your machinery and equipment. It’s what allows you to maintain your high standards, and it helps you maintain consistency across your product line. But if your equipment slips into disrepair, or if it isn’t properly maintained, your machinery can become a liability. The FDA has produced several guidelines for how to properly clean and manage this vital part of your company.

Initial Standards:

  • All equipment should be designed to be easily cleanable.
  • Each piece of machinery must be designed to avoid contamination from oil, metal fragments, fuel, or any other related bi-product.
  • Food-contact surfaces should be corrosion-resistant, and non-toxic.

Construction and Cleanliness:

 Seams on food-contact surfaces must be made so as to avoid the collection of contaminants. Large welds, for example, cannot be used.

  • Any equipment near the food (even if it is not in contact) must be easily cleanable.

Cold Storage and Measuring Devices:

  •  Any cold storage unit must have a thermometer, and an automatic control.
  • Any equipment which measures PH value (or any related measurement) must be well-maintained, and you must have enough of them to accurately measure those values, regardless of how much products you are creating.

There are many specific guidelines provided by the FDA. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, so we recommend you take a look at the full guide on the FDA’s website. Following these guidelines is an excellent first step towards food safety for your product, and your business.

Food Safety Best Practices – Part I (Personnel)

By | Best Practices, Blog

The FDA has rigorous guidelines outlining how food manufacturers should manage their businesses. These rules cover everything from weeding the lawn to the kind of grouting and enamel to use on table surfaces. In this short series of posts, CERTUS is going to take you through some of the most relevant (and easily overlooked) parts of the “Current good manufacturing practices” (CGMP.)

Personnel Guidelines:

One of the most important parts of any business is the employee. Whether it’s the floor manager overseeing quality assurance activities, or the associate on the line working directly with your product: the FDA requires strict adherence to several policies and procedures for food safety.

Disease Control and Cleanliness:

  • Any employee with open wounds, lesions, or illness is expected to avoid contact with the food, even if this means being excused from work until the issue is resolved.
  • All workers in contact with your product must maintain good hygienic practices, including the washing of hands after an absence from the area in which food is being prepared or processed.
  • No associate can wear unnecessary jewelry which may come in contact with the product. If the jewelry cannot be reasonably removed, the employee must cover it with appropriate material.
  • Your business must provide your employees appropriate hair netting, caps, or similar hair restraints.
  • Additional protections may be required to prevent contamination from cosmetics, tobacco, or medicines applied to your employees’ skin.

Education, Training, and Supervision:

 Anyone in your employee who regularly oversees sanitation failures or food contamination must have education or experience which qualifies them to accurately examine said components of your food safety.

  • Food handlers must receive training in food handling techniques, including topics such as food-protection principles, and hygienic risks.
  • Any supervision of these instructions (or management) activities must be undertaken by competent personnel.

There are many specific guidelines provided by the FDA. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, so we recommend you take a look at the full guide on the FDA’s website. Following these guidelines is an excellent first step towards food safety for your product and your business.

UK Laboratory Selects the Solus Pathogen Detection System over Vidas

By | Blog

UK Laboratory Selects the Solus Pathogen Detection System over Vidas

 

ALS Rotherham pathogen laboratory tests over half a million samples each year. Samples include raw and cooked meats and fish, dairy, chocolate and a number of ready-to-eat products. ALS Rotherham performed pathogen testing using six VIDAS units. But as industry demands increased, the laboratory needed to either purchase additional VIDAS units, or find an alternative solution all-together.

Throughput

VIDAS Solus
6 VIDAS units 3 Solus DS2 units
5 runs per day 3 runs per day
30 samples per run, per unit 186 samples per run, per unit
900 samples per day 1674 samples per day

 

Space

VIDAS Solus
Bench space for 6 VIDAS units and heat blocks 32.5 square feet Bench space for 3 Solus DS2 units and heat blocks 12.75 square feet
Refrigeration space for 1 week supply of test kits 22 cubic feet Refrigeration space for 1 week supply of test kits 1.4 cubic feet

 

Personnel

VIDAS Solus
Hand-pipetting 900 samples per day Automated pipetting
Training – N/A 1-2 days training with Solus representative on-site
Constant hands-on technician time Up to 90 minutes between runs for a technician to perform other tasks

 

ALS Rotherham made the move to Solus and is now processing nearly twice as many samples per day with lower associated costs. Fewer kit deliveries are required and refrigeration space has been reallocated to other stock. Technicians now have time to carry out other tasks during the work day and are less likely to suffer repetitive stress injuries.

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Safe Ingredients Check – Vetting Raw Materials

By | Blog

Focus your control efforts

The FDA recommends focusing your control efforts on the raw materials and ingredients that are most likely to contain pathogens like Listeria. In fact, they say that you should treat any raw (or vulnerable) materials as if they are carrying those pathogens.

Identify suspect materials

Factors that impact the potential for an ingredient to be a source of contamination include:

  • The nature of an ingredient, including intrinsic factors such as pH and water activity;
  • The manufacturing process for the ingredient;
  • Supplier approval programs, programs that follow the practices described in this guidance for control of L. monocytogenes, and verification programs.

In addition to these, any ingredients not properly treated for L. monocytogenes also poses a significant risk in your supply chain. Listed below are some of the most common treatment methods. If your raw materials have not undergone any of these steps, consider a change in your food safety strategy.

  • Aseptically processed and packaged;
  • Retorted (e.g., canned);
  • Ethylene oxide treated or irradiated in the package;
  • Pasteurized (or equivalent treatment) in the package;
  • Other approved lethal technologies (in the package)

Again, in the absence of adequate information about the risk presented by a particular ingredient, we recommend that you assume that the ingredient could be contaminated with L. monocytogenes.

Containing the risk

One of the best ways to prevent contamination is to identify all of the raw materials which could potentially be a host for L. Monocytogenes and treat them with a listericidal control measure. The best time to apply such treatments is while the ingredient is raw, or at the in-process stage during mixture.

The FDA also recommends establishing treatment protocols with your suppliers; this can serve as another step to prevent outbreaks and contamination. While spot checks are a great part of everyday quality assurance, they (on their own) do not serve as an adequate replacement for a hands-on approach. Onsight audits, periodic inspections, and developing procedures for vetting and selecting suppliers are a better (and safer) way to ensure food safety.

In fact, according to new FDA standards, as of September 2017, most large food manufacturers are expected to develop these kinds of supply-chain measures. For more information, consult the FDA’s PCHF guidelines.

Asia Food Journal 3-9-18

By | News

Fully in-house pathogen detecting system from CERTUS for food processing plants

“Being part of the Toho Technology family provides us with a myriad of technological and commercial benefits to ensure our products exceed the market’s expectations for precision and accuracy,” said CERTUS Director of Product Development, Dr. John Bodner. “Not only does Toho provide significant expertise in the manufacture of precision instrumentation, they also provide CERTUS with the solid infrastructure and financial backing needed to bring this level of innovation to our customers.”

In addition to partnering with Toho, CERTUS works with United Kingdom-based Solus Scientific for assay development. “One of the reasons we chose to partner with Solus is because of their efficient research and development track record on bringing to market a range of assays in the area of food safety testing,” continued Bodner.

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