In addition to helping raise awareness in the industry, Dr. Rasco is collaborating with other researchers to develop chemical marker methods for predicting the adequacy of food pasteurization and sterilization treatments.
Berry producer Driscoll’s adheres to a rigorous food safety program based on the FDA’s Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) principles reinforced through education, laboratory assays and annual third-party audits. Its independent farmers are leaders in Integrated Pest Management, which relies on natural and synthetic means to control disease and pests.
Driscoll’s also puts a lot of emphasis on tracking and tracing. Its “Follow Us to the Farm” program lets consumers digitally track the 12-digit HarvestMark code on the clamshell package to learn about the farm where the berries were grown and other information. Meanwhile, if a recall were to occur, the company’s barcode-based inventory tracking system can identify the field and harvest date for all its berries.
Given the food safety concerns associated with China, it’s timely that Ecolab opened its third-largest facility in the world there last August. Ecolab’s Taicang plant will manufacture a range of products for the Chinese market, including products used for food and beverage production, food retail, and dairy, meat and poultry processing.
In addition to enhancing food safety, the company’s products and services extend to water, hygiene and energy technologies. The company also excels in sustainability. Ecolab earned a spot on the Carbon Disclosure Project’s S&P 500 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index in 2012 for the third straight year.
Food security is becoming more worrisome as the world’s population grows and the effects of climate change grow more pronounced. One way to address the challenge is through ecosystem-based adaptation, described as “the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people and communities adapt to the negative effects of climate change at local, national, regional and global levels,” according to Dr. Richard Munang with the United Nations Environment Programme, in a recent article published in The Guardian. An ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) approach benefits communities by providing “food security (from fisheries to agroforestry), sustainable water management, and livelihood diversification (through increasing resource-use options),” he explains.
Eindhoven University of Technology
Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands announced in February that they had invented a plastic analog-to-digital converter (ADC) that could “test” whether the food inside a package was safe to eat. The ADC is a breakthrough when it comes to food safety and food waste, considering that millions of tons of food are thrown out each year because the “best before” date has passed even though the product is safe.
Europe’s Horse Meat Scandal
The horse meat scandal in Europe was not so much about food safety per se, but about food supplier fraud, which is equally troubling. Over the past few months, traces of horse meat have turned up in ground beef sold in numerous European grocery stores and restaurants. Meanwhile, a recent study by professors at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University found goat, donkey and water buffalo in samples of locally-produced sausages and hamburgers.
FDA’s First Mandatory Recall Under FSMA
On February 13, the FDA exercised its newly assigned recall powers under the Food Safety Modernization Act when for the first time it issued a mandatory recall against Kasel Associates Industries, Inc. of Denver after the agency found Salmonella at the company’s manufacturing facility.
“The FDA always had the power to issue their own notices to the public, even if they couldn’t force a recall,” the United Fresh Produce Association’s Ray Gilmer told The Packer. But, this mandatory recall certainly marks a milestone.