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10 Ways to Get the most out of Seafood Expo North America 2015

Posted by MarJanie Kinney on Wed, Mar, 04, 2015 @ 09:03 AM

Trade shows. Love them, or loathe them, there is no denying the power of opportunity walking that floor provides. The things to be seen and learned remind many of us why we do what we do, while keeping us abreast of the latest developments and innovations in our field. Every trade show experience is arguably unique, but at the end of the day, there are a few helpful tips you should keep in mind for any show. Here are the top ten must-do items and tips to maximize your time at any trade show, but more specifically, Seafood Expo North America 2015.

This is the largest seafood trade event in North America. It attracts over 20,000 buyers and suppliers of seafood products, equipment, and services. Attendees are from more than 100 countries – representing the fresh, frozen, packaged, and value-added seafood industries. These numbers make the Seafood Expo North America a leading trade event for seafood buyers in every market category – including retail, restaurant, catering, foodservice, and processing.

So while you’re walking the floor, keep these items in mind. Consider it your 2015 Seafood Tradeshow bucket list:

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Topics: seafood safety, about us, food trade shows, annie hughes, fda detained product, FDA detention resolution, boston seafood show, seafood expo north america, Marjanie Kinney

How Menu Labeling Rules Work for Pizza Chains

Posted by MarJanie Kinney on Tue, Jan, 27, 2015 @ 17:01 PM

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized the rule requiring the display of calorie information on menus and menu boards. This was officially recognized December 1, 2014, and applies to chain restaurants and other covered establishments with 20 or more locations. Restaurants will have one year to comply with the menu labeling requirements, paving the way for major adjustments toward the transparency in what consumers purchase, eat, and ultimately decide. 

Calorie information is required to be displayed clearly and conspicuously on menus and menu boards, next to the name or price of the item. Also required is additional nutrition information including total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars and protein. These values must be provided in written form upon request of a restaurant guest, while calorie content is presented front and center at all times. 

The FDA considered more than 1,100 comments from stakeholders and consumers in the development of these rules. In response to these comments, they narrowed the scope of foods covered and provided flexibility for popular serving dishes like pizza. Pizza was identified a “variable menu item,” in the final regulation. Pizza is one of many food items sold in various sizes, but that is not the only issue. Pizzas offer an incredible potential for large numbers of topping combinations, raising some rather specific questions from restaurants as they move forward with the FDA’s new menu labeling rules.

Size – By Serving Suggestion

Let's begin by discussing pizza sizes. First, “size” refers to the number of portions or servings. Calories declared must be for the whole menu item listed on the menu, as usually prepared and offered for sale. In the case of pizza, this means the caloric value of a whole pizza pie is listed. As another option, calories can be declared per serving, granted the item comes in discrete serving units (e.g., pizza slice), and the total number of discrete serving units per menu item are declared on the menu.  (e.g., 200 cal/slice, 8 slices). The emphasis here is the word “discrete.” Other complexities  exist for cases where serving units are not pre-cut for the customer at time of purchase. Please see our “Unique Circumstances” section below. 

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Topics: restaurant industry, menu nutritional labeling, menu labeling, menu labeling rules, pizza retailers, pizza chain tips

Menu Nutritional Labeling Compliance Timeline Infographic

Posted by MarJanie Kinney on Wed, Jan, 21, 2015 @ 16:01 PM

If you are a chain restaurant or retail food establishment, you have just one year until the Nutritional Menu Labeling Rule hits its compliance deadline. As you have just experienced with the turning of 2015, a LOT can happen in a year – and boy, does it go by fast!

The good thing is, our team at ABC Research Laboratories have this under control. There is no doubt you have a lot on your plate, so we are sharing our expertise as one more way of making this process a whole lot less complicated. Follow the rough timeline below, organized by month or a set of months to the associated tasks recommended for completion.

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Topics: restaurant industry, menu nutritional labeling, restaurant, menu labeling, menu labeling laws, menu labeling rules

When should you involve a benchmark testing lab in your product's lifecycle?

Posted by Steve Goll on Tue, Jan, 20, 2015 @ 16:01 PM

Since the inception of ABC Research Laboratories in 1967 our primary goal has been to serve as a provider of testing solutions to the food and food-related industries. Not only do we run the gamut of testing on food, but it was also decided that we wanted to be a resource to manufacturers whose product came into contact with food. This ranges from containers and packaging all the way up to our first testing on electrical appliances 14 years ago. Cooking appliances and storage containers affect the quality and safety of the food they touch and those impacts should be quantified as a determination of quality.

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Topics: appliance testing, truperform, benchmark testing, ad claim validation, appliances

GMO: Memes, Misinformation, and the Art of Professional Activism

Posted by Chuck Ellis on Fri, Dec, 19, 2014 @ 15:12 PM

In my last article, I shared some of the key points Dr. Robb Fraley, CTO and Executive Vice President of Monsanto, had to share about GMO, biotechnology, and sustainability of the food industry. I need to give credit where credit is due and mention that this lecture was presented by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) and their York Distinguished Lecturer Series. This endowment provides students (and anyone else interested in agricultural disciplines) the opportunity to engage with “individuals who have achieved outstanding international distinction in agriculture or a related discipline.”

Q&As and Converts

I also promised I would follow up with the Q&A section of Dr. Fraley’s lecture and the outcome of my interaction with the concerned citizen sitting in front of me. Since attending this lecture, I have learned that all the lectures are made freely available to watch online, complete with Q&A and slides, so instead of hacking my way through dictation purgatory, I’ll direct you to the entire lecture and recommend you watch the video. If you’re interested in hearing just what the audience was asking, that section begins at 54:30 in the video. Some excellent questions get asked regarding concern over Roundup Ready crops, the potential for altered nutritional composition of GM produce, the use of reliant DNA in weeds to provide more hearty crops, affordability of GM seeds, and my favorite question, “What’s the deal with patenting genetics and suing farmers for cross pollination that’s not intentional?”

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Topics: gmo foods, GMO, gmo corn, gmo and food safety, biotechnologies, bioengineered foods

Don't miss our Menu Nutritional Labeling Labeling Rules Webinars

Posted by ABC Research Laboratories on Thu, Dec, 04, 2014 @ 15:12 PM

We had such a fantastic response from our first webinar explaining menu nutritional labeling rules for restaurants and foodservice, we have added three new webinars to our schedule in December. These free, informative sessions are hosted by our Chief Scientific Officer, Gillian Folkes Dagan, PhD, an expert in nutritional labeling and quality assurance in the food industry.

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Topics: webinars, gillian dagan, restaurant industry, restaurants, nutritional labeling, menu nutritional labeling, restaurant nutrition labeling, menu labeling rules

The Menu Nutritional Labeling Rules are Out!

Posted by ABC Research Laboratories on Wed, Nov, 26, 2014 @ 08:11 AM

As you have probably heard by now, the new menu nutritional labeling rules have been released by the FDA. We are already pouring over the documents now to prepare you with everything you need to know to be in compliance by the effective date. We have already scheduled a webinar and live Q&A session to answer questions the restaurant industry may have about nutritional testing and labeling on December 3rd, 2014 at 2PM. Don't miss it! Have any questions that you need answered now? Give us a call at 1.866.233.5883, or fill out the "Talk to a Food Testing Expert" form on the right of this page to get started!

menu nutritional labeling webinar: questions answered!

We'll cover many topics during the webinar, but in the meantime, here are the highlights: 

Effective date: December 1, 2014.

Compliance date: Covered establishments must comply with the rule by December 1, 2015.

  • Establishments covered:  Restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20+ locations. Similar retail food establishments include bakeries, cafeterias, coffee shops, convenience stores, delicatessens, food service facilities located within entertainment venues (such as amusement parks, bowling alleys, and movie theatres), food service vendors (e.g., ice cream shops and mall cookie counters), food take-out and/or delivery establishments (such as pizza take-out and delivery establishments), grocery stores, retail confectionary stores, superstores, quick service restaurants, and table service restaurants.

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Topics: gillian dagan, restaurant industry, menu nutritional labeling, restaurant nutrition labeling

5 Things I Wish I'd Known About Food Safety – Larry Clement

Posted by ABC Research Laboratories on Fri, Nov, 14, 2014 @ 14:11 PM

For this installment of my “Things We Wish We Knew” series, I picked the brain of our Chief Operating Officer Larry Clement. Larry graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering. He has been with ABC Research since 2005 and in that time has been the National Marketing Director, Marketing & Client Services Director, and is now our COO.

Nine years around food safety is a long time and he has learned a lot along the way, but here are his top five things he wishes he had known years ago.


Before his career in food safety, Larry didn’t know how much of an issue cross-contamination was in food preparation areas of restaurants and manufacturing facilities. It is imperative to sanitize these areas after use, especially if a common area is being used for raw and pre-prepared foods. This also reduces the risk of allergens from one product being spread to another. It is best practice to have your sanitation procedures validated periodically by a third party lab like ABC Research. Another option is to have separate preparation areas for each type of food product.

The Many Faces of Bacteria

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Topics: food safety, steve goll, larry clement, listeria, bacteria

What I Learned from an Afternoon with the CTO of Monsanto, Part 1

Posted by Chuck Ellis on Mon, Nov, 10, 2014 @ 13:11 PM

One of the perks of ABC Research Laboratories basing its headquarters out of Gainesville, Florida is our proximity to the University of Florida’s world-class department of food science and human nutrition. It is not unusual for the university to attract high profile speakers to address various controversial topics. (Remember the “Don’t tase me, bro!” incident during a John Kerry event? That was UF.) The visiting speaker this time around may not be as well known as John Kerry, but his work, and the work at his company, have certainly stirred their fair share of controversy, and I was eager to hear him address some of those controversies in an educational and scientific setting.

Dr. Robb Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of the Monsanto Company, addressed a ballroom of several hundred students, professors, and professional food scientists (several from ABC). There were also a few concerned citizens who saw the announcement in the Gainesville Sun and were ready to give this guy an earful during the Q&A session. One of them sat anxiously in front of me as we waited for the presentation to begin. He overheard me speaking with my colleagues about the many myths food testing experts have all heard about the safety of GMO foods and how most of it was pure speculation and fear-mongering. The concerned citizen whipped around in his seat and quickly fired off, “What about run off? The effect of pesticide residues and fertilizers as they flow into our water supply? What about Monsanto patenting DNA?” Luckily for us, Dr. Fraley took the stage and we buckled in for a ride.

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Topics: GMO, agriculture, gmo corn, gmo and food safety, biotechnologies, bioengineered foods, robb fraley

5 Food Safety Things I wish I'd known sooner - Gillian Dagan, PhD

Posted by Steve Goll on Fri, Nov, 07, 2014 @ 08:11 AM

The “Things We Wish We Knew” series goes to show that knowledge is power and people learn new things every day. Dr. Gillian Dagan is no exception. Dr. Dagan graduated from the University of Florida with a PhD in Food Science. She has been with ABC Research since 2004. She started as the Director of our Product Performance team, and now serves as our Chief Science Officer.

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Topics: food safety, food testing, gillian dagan, produce safety, steve goll, raw honey

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