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.Read More
ISO 17025 Accredited Food Testing Experts
As you have probably heard my now, the new menu nutritional labeling rules have been released by the FDA. We're 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!
We'll cover a lot more topics during the webinar, but in the meantime, here's the highlights
Effective date: December 1, 2015.
Compliance date: Covered establishments must comply with the rule by December 1, 2015
- Establishments covered: Restaurants with 20+ locations. Restaurants and 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.
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 BacteriaRead More
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.Read More
The “Things We Wish We Knew” series goes to show that knowledge is power 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.Read More
Almost one year ago, Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and the geniuses behind Sesame Street joined forces in an effort to promote healthy eating choices among America’s youth. Childhood obesity is a major problem in the U.S. whether we’d like to admit it or not. This collaborative initiative was prompted, in part, by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program. She has taken the health of America’s children to heart: “This is a passion. This is my mission. I am determined to work with folks across this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition.” The program includes such things as developing healthy menus for schools and improving access to healthier foods for children.Read More
Hindsight is always 20/20. That’s the old saying anyway. Looking back and seeing things more clearly now than one might have when they were actually happening is normal for everyone. More often than not, one can take away a great learning experience from it. Some might even wish they could go back and tell themselves to be careful of a certain situation, or to do something a little bit better or even completely different from the way they did it the first time. This is the premise of my new series in which I’ve approached different people at ABC Research Laboratories and asked them to give me some examples of things they know now that they wish they knew years ago.Read More
In my on-going series about the things we wish we had known years ago about food safety, I looked to our Research Microbiology Department and our resident Process Authority specialist, Heather Smith (now Heather Hart!). Heather has been with ABC Research Laboratories for six and a half years and graduated from the Michigan State University with a degree in Human Biology.
Heather has seen and heard a lot of things in her tenure here at ABC Research. Her department is where some of the more questionable items come for examination and safety determination. There are some things I‘m fairly certain she wishes she probably never knew, but on the food safety side of things, here are a few bits of information she wishes she’d known about a little bit sooner in life.
Heather’s concern here is actually very similar to Annie’s about expiration dates in my last blog. A product’s “expiration date” does not necessarily signify an unsafe product. While this can sometimes be the case, expiration dates are typically based on product quality (microbiological, sensory, or other quality indicators), rather than safety.
Importing food from another country has always been moderately risky if for no other reason than the country of origin’s food safety regulations and enforcement may not be equivalent to those in the US. It is because of this uncertainty the FDA decided to implement safety precautions regarding imported food in order to protect the food supply consumed within the United States. Food products coming in from overseas need to be accompanied by a certificate of analysis regarding their safety. Detention Without Physical Examination, also known as DWPE, is one of the safety checks established by the FDA in 1974 to help with food safety concerns in certain regions of the world. It can be enforced when a specified region has a history of importing products that the FDA has found violative. It also includes classes of products that may appear to be in violation, or specific processors’ bad behavior has indicated that future entries may appear to be in violation. The detention can be product specific or regional/country specific. It can even be both (basmati rice from India, for example). Basically, DWPE reminds the import community that the FDA is a regulatory agency, not a quality control laboratory – you either comply with regulations set by the FDA or your product is not allowed entry into the United States. Detentions are a legal action and the process to get cleared follows a very similar line to that of a court case.
FDA typically can only test a very small percentage of the product that comes in, so a random surveillance software program called OASIS was developed to categorize product by risk. High risk products are often reviewed more frequently than low risk products. Thus detentions on high risk product are more probable.Read More
reach.There is so much information out there in regards to the microbiological and chemistry requirements for food testing. How does anyone keep track of it all? I do not have a background in food safety and I’m constantly learning. I can’t imagine what it would take to familiarize myself with the actual methods and test requirements that our scientists and technicians already know so well. Ok. Sure. It would take at least four years of education. As smart as these folks are, however, they probably need a refresher from time to time. That’s where those books and resources I mentioned come in handy. I asked around the lab and here are some of the more important books our team recommends for anyone who is in the food safety field; be it in a quality assurance or management position.
Topics: food sensory testing, sensory science, food safety, food testing, food microbiology, e. coli, listeria, foodborne pathogens, sensory testing, e. coli testing, food sanitation, books, education, statistical, food analysis, food engineering