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Bite Sized Insights for Food Industry Professionals

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Food Defense: QA with Food Safety Experts

Posted by Tara Guthrie

Sep 21 2016
Sep 21 2016

FSMA’s Intentional Adulteration Rule, also referred to as the “food defense rule,” is intended to protect the food supply from potential large-scale harm that could threaten consumers and put food companies' bottom line at risk. The rule requires facilities to create a written food defense plan in which they must identify areas of their operation vulnerable to intentional adulteration and devise strategies to mitigate that risk.

We've asked our team of experts to help clarify what the rule means for your facility and how to build your food defense plan to comply.

*Disclaimer: answers do not represent the official viewpoint of the FDA. All regulatory questions should be directed to the FDA.

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Topics: Food Safety

Top 5 HACCP Reassessment Mistakes

Posted by Tom Aniolowski

Sep 6 2016
Sep 6 2016

Whether your USDA plant operates under HACCP principles or you’re an FDA plant preparing to implement a food safety plan under FSMA, avoiding food safety pitfalls should always be a top priority. By maintaining control over major food risks, the industry assures consumers that food products are as safe as current science, technology, and regulatory environments allow.

However, no matter how careful we are, mistakes can and do happen. To help minimize risk, I’ve highlighted five deficiencies auditors frequently encounter when reviewing HACCP plan reassessments.

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Topics: Food Safety

How to Prevent Food Fraud: Q&A with Industry Experts

Posted by Tara Guthrie

Aug 15 2016
Aug 15 2016

Horse meat in hamburgers, fillers in Parmesan, Italian olive oil that isn’t authentic — these are all prime examples of food fraud. Food fraud is an issue that threatens the viability of food companies and the safety of consumers. Now, suppliers who fraudulently manufacture, label, or sell their product face potential regulatory and legal consequences under FSMA standards. That’s why two experts in food fraud mitigation, Jorge Acosta and Karen Everstine, took the time to answer some very pointed questions about what food manufacturers can do to help them minimize their risk while keeping up with the evolving regulatory landscape.

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Topics: Food Safety

Setting Passing Rates for Food Industry Training Courses

Aug 4 2016
Aug 4 2016

By design, training courses should be created to focus on critical learning objectives that are foundational across the broad food industry to reduce a plant’s risks. Typically, many of these courses are needed for compliance to GFSI schemes such as SQF, BRC, IFS, FSSC 22,000; regulatory requirements including those from USDA-FSIS, FDA, and OSHA; and EPA and NLRB requirements. Specific courses can be created to achieve a variety of goals, such as compliance to internal standards, proficiency in job tasks, increased productivity, general awareness and communication, culture-building, etc., so score achievements in these areas are obviously discretionary.  

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How Does Food Fraud Put Public Health at Risk?

Aug 2 2016
Aug 2 2016

Saffron, pomegranate juice, extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, honey—we all have heard how expensive or “luxury” food items can be adulterated to generate extra profit for suppliers and manufacturers. Consumers pay top price for a food product that, in reality, is lower quality. This is called food fraud, or “economically motivated adulteration” (EMA), and it has been happening for centuries ever since food items were first traded in village markets.

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Topics: Food Safety

Brexit and the Food Industry: A Perspective from UK's Campden BRI

Posted by Bertrand Edmond

Jul 28 2016
Jul 28 2016

A month ago, something extraordinary happened in the United Kingdom – an event that is projected to have an enormous impact on both European and global trade. It is fair to say that the Brexit result came as a shock to all, including its supporters! Nobody seemed to have actually planned for it. The UK has been a member of the European Union (EU) since 1973, and now longstanding business arrangements will be disrupted, the food industry being no exception. There are many issues for the food industry to consider as we wait to see how the dust settles.

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Topics: Operations

Keep Cool or OSHA Will Bring the Heat: Summertime Tips for Food Workers

Jul 26 2016
Jul 26 2016

Summer is here, and for some it’s a time of rest and relaxation, but for food workers it can be the most physically taxing time of the year. The thousands of workers who make their living while exposed to the heat—indoors or out—are at an increased risk during the dog days of summer. In the food industry, heat illness is an often overlooked occupational injury, but the good news is that heat-related hazards can be prevented or minimized.

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Topics: Workplace Safety

Building a Culture of Food Safety - Three Simple Reminders

Posted by Lone Jespersen

Jul 19 2016
Jul 19 2016

Editor's Note: This is a guest post by #AlchemyCon speaker Lone Jespersen. Make sure you check out her Senior Leadership Seminar on Tuesday September 13th.

Did you know that 46% fewer mistakes are made in companies that have a strong culture of quality*? One of the ways that leaders tap this potential is through their focus on building employee trust. The biggest impact on culture strength is employee trust, for example, on average as many as 63% of employees trust their leaders**, however, up to 83% of employees trust their leaders when it is earned through credible and trustworthy recognition of employee performance. So, as leaders, how do we drive fewer mistakes in food safety through employee trust? I suggest three simple reminders that you can apply today.

 

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Brexit – How Can the Meat Industry Benefit?

Posted by Tara Guthrie

Jul 15 2016
Jul 15 2016

In a recent piece by UK-based Meat Packing Journal, British industry insiders weighed in on how the meat industry may get a bottom-line boost as a result of Brexit. 

What will Brexit mean? The one thing we can tell you with absolute certainty is that there has never been a time like this when buying British equipment and distribution or co-packing services; in the short term, at least, it means getting a real bargain.

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Topics: Food Safety, Operations

How to Be Audit Ready All the Time – Q&A with Experts

Posted by Tara Guthrie

Jul 7 2016
Jul 7 2016

The food industry’s dense regulatory landscape has evolved significantly in the era of FSMA, the “new” FDA investigator, GFSI, and increased liability exposure. With new regulations launched this year, increased inspection mandates, and looming deadlines for compliance, how can you set a “new normal” of being audit ready all the time? Take this advice from food policy experts.


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Topics: Food Safety

Top 4 Lessons Learned at National Retail Federation Protect Conference

Posted by Kelsey Inkol

Jun 30 2016
Jun 30 2016

The National Retail Federation (NRF) Protect conference is the largest retail and restaurant loss prevention event in North America. This year NRF’s conference provided a wealth of peer to peer interaction, experience sharing, and the opportunity to learn from the best. While there was a wealth of information offered, a few lessons we learned stood out. So here we'll share our top four takeaways.

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Topics: Operations, Food Retail

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign – Three Ways to Train with Digital Signage

Posted by Jeff Moores

Jun 21 2016
Jun 21 2016

While driving to a meeting the other day, I was toggling through Sirius when I stumbled across the classic ‘70s song “Signs” by Five Man Electrical Band. For those that don’t know, it has a really catchy chorus that goes something like this:

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

Hearing those lyrics inspired me to think about how digital signage helps food companies to communicate “do this, don’t do that” to their workers. Now, I realize this song has nothing to do with digital signage — it’s more of a commentary around social rules — but it directed my thinking to how those lyrics relate to our industry. Whether you’re managing a restaurant, a retail grocery store, or a food production floor, digital signage grabs attention and creates engaging, memorable experiences for your employees.

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Topics: Operations

Key Takeaways from Food Logistics Forum

Posted by Holly Mockus

Jun 16 2016
Jun 16 2016

The American Frozen Foods Institute (AFFI) Logistics Forum provided an opportunity to bring together many different stakeholders that are affected not only by the FSMA Sanitary Transport Rule, but also by the same headwinds that are affecting the entire food industry.  Attendees also had a chance to meet Alison Bodor, the new AFFI President and CEO at the event. The forum shared a wealth of useful information, from legislative topics to case studies, panel discussions, sector summaries by subject matter experts, as well as providing opportunities for networking. To say the least, this conference was value packed.

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Topics: Food Safety, Operations

FDA Labeling Changes: A Survival Guide

Posted by Holly Mockus

Jun 14 2016
Jun 14 2016

Labeling changes can keep you awake at night—literally. Whether it’s an update to a company logo or a minor change to an ingredient statement, changing labels will raise your stress level. Using labels out of sequence, obsolete labels, or just plain wrong labels can be costly. Labeling mistakes will take a chunk out of your bottom line, lead to loss of customer and consumer confidence, or trigger a recall.  

Recently, the FDA published a large change to the requirements for nutritional labeling that is now open for comment. A change like this will affect every package that currently has a nutritional panel. Although it may seem like this change is off in the distant future, it’s never too soon to start preparing for a change of this magnitude. Survival requires a keen awareness of common pitfalls so you can come out on the other end unscathed.

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3 Most Common OSHA Recordkeeping Mistakes

Jun 2 2016
Jun 2 2016

When organizations within the food industry attempt to comply with OSHA standards and regulations, there are three common compliance mistakes that I routinely observe as an auditor. Each could easily trigger an OSHA enforcement action. First, employers often fail to review relevant OSHA interpretation letters, directives, or the OSHA Field Operations Manual for guidance. Second, employers do not document non-recordable cases and reasons why they are not considered recordable. Finally, employers are not specific in the details when documenting a recordable event. To address these mistakes, I’ve outlined more specific information below on each to help you mitigate the risk of non-compliance – or worse, an enforcement action.

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Topics: Workplace Safety

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