Bits and Bites – November 2020

Welcome to the November 2020 edition of Bits and Bites from HACCP Mentor. Our edition this month covers advisory on determining shelf life based on the shelf life of your incoming ingredients, providing information to your customers, upcoming training, learning options to educate and upskill your food handlers and interesting reads that have caught my eye. Enjoy!

Easy ways to provide HACCP information to your customer

Providing HACCP information to your customers is essential in maintaining a good relationship. In this context, your customers could be food retailers, food manufacturers or food brokers/importers. Click here to find out the different types of HACCP information that you may be required to provide to your customers along with different methods to do so.

From the Podcast

Enhancing your professional development

There are many ways that you can enhance your professional development from attending conferences, completing short courses through to reading regular food safety articles and participating in online communities. But have you ever wanted to be recognised for your professional development? Well, now you can!  In this ‘Food Safety Chat’, listen in to Robert Moss from BRCGS discuss the value of becoming a recognised BRCGS Professional.

Food Safety Conferences and Webinars

One of the good things to come out of the Coronavirus pandemic has been the abundance of opportunities to attend a variety of food safety, HACCP and quality conferences.  This has allowed many professionals who may have been previously restricted by distance, time and company budgets to now attend. It has been a welcomed change for many like me that the major conferences have embraced the ‘virtual’ format.

One of the conferences that I spoke at last month is no stranger to the virtual format. In its eighth year of virtual delivery, Food Safety Live, which is hosted by the International Food Safety & Quality Network was another resounding success. If you missed my presentation on “Modern learning options to educate and upskill your food handlers” you can watch the free recording by clicking here.

Upcoming Live Training – November / December 2020

To secure your place just head over to the HACCP Marketplace to learn more or click on the individual course links above.

Ask Me! With HACCP Mentor

Calculating shelf life with shorter shelf life ingredients

We are currently producing frozen products. In the process, we have a cooked product (thawed) and then add extra raw materials such as tomato paste etc which is then frozen without any heat treatments steps. I have some ingredients that are shorter than a year in their shelf life. Is it still ok to give the product an expiry date of a year as it is kept frozen? [Mindy]

I have previously written articles on how to establish the shelf life of your product and it would also apply in this situation. In this scenario, it becomes even more important to make sure you verify your shelf-life for your target microbiological, chemical and quality attributes.  In brief,

  • The shelf life of each individual ingredient must be considered when determining the overall shelf life of the product especially if the product is ready-to-eat.
  • If the product is frozen, consider if the consumer will be performing a ‘kill’ step eg. Cooking or if it is merely a heating process for quality sake.
  • Avoid thawing and refreezing ingredients to be used in a product without a ‘kill’ step. When food is allowed to sit for extended periods in the temperature danger zone, microorganism growth is more likely.

What’s caught my eye

Voluntary disclosure of Sesame as an Allergen

For the majority of countries around the world, sesame is a legally declarable allergen.  However, in the USA it is not currently a mandated requirement. With this in mind, the FDA has recently issued draft guidance to food manufacturers which recommends the voluntary disclosure of sesame in certain circumstances. You can read more by clicking here.

FDA Warning Letter to Fresh Express Inc

A recent warning letter issued by the FDA should serve as a reminder about your obligation (if relevant) to adequately determine preventive controls and supplier verification activities. You can read the warning letter here. If you need training in complying with the FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule contact us.

Food safety is a global issue

A new global study from Mars Global Food Safety Center finds consumers believe food safety and security is a top global issue.

“New food safety threats, like those posed by COVID-19, are constantly emerging through a combination of factors including global warming, increased globalization of trade, as well as changes in agriculture practices and food production,” said David Crean, Mars Chief Science Officer and Vice President of Corporate R&D. “We believe everyone has a right to safe food and it’s also our responsibility to share our knowledge (82 percent of survey respondents expressed their desire to learn more), expertise and tools to enable safe food for all.”

Check the study stats by clicking here. 

Accessing trusted information about COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that administers Wikipedia, have announced a collaboration to expand the public’s access to the latest and most reliable information about COVID-19.

The collaboration will make trusted, public health information available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license at a time when countries face continuing resurgences of COVID-19 and social stability increasingly depends on the public’s shared understanding of the facts. Read more.

Salmonella infections linked to contact with pet bearded dragons and hedgehogs

CDC is investigating two separate multistate Salmonella illness outbreaks, one linked to contact with pet bearded dragons and one linked to contact with pet hedgehogs. It’s important to always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling your pet, especially animals that are commonly known to spread Salmonella to humans such as small mammals and reptiles. Read more.

Lettuce Safety Online

If you are in the business of growing lettuce, or even consuming lettuce at home, here is a great resource for understanding food safety issues related to lettuce. The website is brought to you by the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement to ensure that farmers are following a set of science-based food safety practices on their farms to prevent foodborne illness.

That wraps up our Bits and Bites – November 2020 edition. If you have any questions please reach out in the comments section below this post.

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