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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.

Cross-Contamination

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 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

How PMA and Sesame Street changed how kids see Produce

Posted by Steve Goll on Thu, Nov, 06, 2014 @ 15:11 PM

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.

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Topics: Produce, produce safety, produce marketing association, kids nutrition, kids health, sesame street

3 Food Safety Facts I Wish I'd Known Sooner: Annie Hughes

Posted by Steve Goll on Thu, Nov, 06, 2014 @ 13:11 PM

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.

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Topics: food safety management plan, Produce, produce safety, steve goll, annie hughes, FDA detention resolution, food testing experts

5 Things I Wish I'd Known About Food Safety – Heather Hart

Posted by Steve Goll on Thu, Oct, 30, 2014 @ 17:10 PM

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.

 

Product Spoilage

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.

 

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Topics: food safety, about us, steve goll, Heather Smith

The FDA, DWPE, and The Food Importer

Posted by Steve Goll on Tue, Oct, 28, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

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.

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Topics: food safety, food testing, steve goll, FDA detention resolution, food imports

9 Must-Read Food Safety Books every Food Industry Pro Should Own

Posted by Steve Goll on Wed, Sep, 03, 2014 @ 14:09 PM

In the food safety world, it’s always a good idea to keep certain books within arm’s

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.

 

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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

Is Rapid Yeast and Mold (RYM) testing right for my food product?

Posted by Steve Goll on Tue, Aug, 26, 2014 @ 07:08 AM

Being in constant contact with our clients, I cannot tell you how many times we’ve had calls from people asking when their results will be ready. For clients who use us for microbiological tests of their food products, more often than not, if it has been more than three days, chances are the client requested a standard yeast and mold test. This test takes five full days to complete using the standard agar method. The rest of the tests are ready, but we can’t complete the formal report until that particular test is finished.

Since ABC Research always endeavors to be at the forefront of food safety testing and have our clients’ best interests at the heart of everything we do, we are proud to introduce a Rapid Yeast & Mold (RYM) test courtesy of 3M. This test offers new technology that produces easier to interpret colonies in just 48 hours compared to 5 days. That’s a huge difference, especially for our clients who need their results as soon as possible. 

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Topics: food safety, food testing, about us, iso 17025, steve goll, food microbiology, rapid yeast and mold testing, yeast and mold, yeast and mold laboratory

Food Safety News: ABC Research expands its ISO 17025 accreditation

Posted by ABC Research Laboratories on Mon, Aug, 25, 2014 @ 11:08 AM

We are thrilled to announce that we have successfully expanded our ISO 17025 accreditation in our chemistry laboratory in the following areas:

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Topics: food safety, food testing, gillian dagan, about us, iso 17025, ABC research, chemistry testing, water activity testing, histamine testing, caffeine testing, ph in food

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