A fully automated assay to detect Cyclospora cayetanensis, developed under a Research Collaboration Agreement between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Rheonix, is now available to food and environmental testing laboratories, and has been proven to achieve consistent detection rates in samples of high-risk fresh produce with low levels of oocysts.
In this Food Safety Insights column, we continue to explore processors' near-term priorities for food safety programs, as well as the regulations and issues they are watching that will have the most impact on their programs in the future. Food safety culture, microbiological control (including environmental monitoring), and sanitation and hygiene are three of processors' indicated top priorities for the near term.
Implementing an effective Listeria environmental monitoring program enables knowledge of where Listeria can enter, harbor, and move through a facility, which is the first step toward keeping the pathogen on the run and not allowing it to impact production surfaces or finished product.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) has updated its sampling program for cell-cultured meat and poultry products, providing new instructions to inspection personnel and enforcement officers.
Many methods are available for verifying the viability of a sanitation program, and most facilities use a combination of different methods to ensure that the sanitation program is performing as expected. Pathogen environmental monitoring (PEM) programs are a key prerequisite program to a sanitation program and to any facility's overall food safety program. There is no one-size-fits-all PEM program for facilities; rather, a PEM program is based on a facility's risk factors and what product(s) the facility manufactures.
The Investigations Operations Manual is the standard for FDA field investigations. It explains how FDA investigators are taught to act, what to look for, and what to do when they find a noncompliance at a food facility. The latest version, which came out in June 2022, contains an important update on environmental monitoring.
With the COVID-19 pandemic (hopefully) solidly in the rearview mirror, we wanted to find out what projects and initiatives food companies are focusing on for the rest of this year and into 2023. We heard from more than 200 food processors in every major category. They reported a wide-ranging wish list of projects and priorities, with improving their food safety culture, more training, improving their supply chain management (especially with their foreign suppliers), and improving their sanitation and environmental monitoring programs at the top of the list.