Relevant information to help you comply with your consumers' right to safe food
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Warning - Stolen raw materials offered in market
Please be aware that a consignment of bagged soya bean meal and whole cottonseed was recently stolen from an ingredient supplier and may subsequently be offered to feed manufacturers in South Africa at a discounted rate.
Where can I report expired food and what must I know BEFORE I do?
This debate of selling expired food has once again reared its head this week. We have had several enquiries regarding where to report the sale of expired food.
How sensors and big data can help cut food wastage
Modern farming has evolved by adopting technical advances such as machines for ploughing and harvesting, controlled irrigation, fertilisers, pesticides, crop breeding and genetics research. These have helped farmers to produce large crops of a good quality in a fairly predictable
Experts assess potential of whole genome sequencing in food safety
The scientific opinion by the panel on Biological Hazards covers use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) and metagenomics for outbreak investigation, source attribution and risk assessment of foodborne pathogens. Cost/beneﬁt analyses and technical recommendations on use of WGS and m
Clean Hands, Safer Food
Proper handwashing reduces the amount of germs on food workers’ hands, and so helps to prevent the spread of foodborne diseases. Find out more details on how...
Making your ERP system work for food safety, supplier quality assurance, food fraud prevention and more
As a successful food business in South Africa, you are obviously focused on your customer. You study the data to collect to uncover customer trends and market requirements to influence and underpin future product developments to ensure that your products meet the needs of your cu
Hundreds ill in France after eating contaminated raw shellfish
More than 650 people have fallen ill in France this past month after eating contaminated raw shellfish. Since the start of December 2019, Santé publique France has received 123 reports of collective food poisoning suspected to be linked to consumption of raw shellfish, mainly oys
Food Safety Culture: How can you measure it?
For Food Safety 2.0 the purpose has to come from within, knowing that everyone (food industry workers) assumes their share of responsibility to ensure that people don’t fall ill or die from consuming unsafe food. Responsible food workers have to do it every day, even when no one
2020 Priorities: Sanitation, Automation and Brand Transparency in Supply Chain
Within the retail sector, expect to see an uptick in brand transparency around supply chain information, safety programs and ingredient clarity. Read on for these and other expectations for 2020
Cornell Develops Novel Food Safety Assessment Tool
New research funded by the Frozen Food Foundation developed a modeling tool to assist the frozen food industry with understanding and managing listeriosis risks. The findings are published in the December 2019 issue of Journal of Food Protection.
HACCP? HARPC? Why the alphabet soup and what does it mean for me?
The differences between HACCP and HARPC and who is required to have such plans.
Scientists Find Myoglobin Improves Cultured Meat
A team of Tufts University-led researchers exploring the development of cultured meat found that the addition of the iron-carrying protein myoglobin improves the growth, texture, and color of bovine muscle grown from cells in culture. This development...
Food Safety: An Investment in Saving Human Lives
The world’s first ever Food Safety Day was celebrated on June 07, 2019 by United Nations (UN) under the theme “Food Safety, Everyone’s Business”. Food professionals around the globe were delighted to see such a positive move. What triggered such a move?
Three Ways to Thaw a Turkey
While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely. As soon as it begins to thaw, bacteria that may have been present before freezing will begin to grow again. Here are three ways to safely thaw your bird...
Monitor Suppliers: audits or assessment?
We all know that auditing is far from perfect and some even question its efficacy in evaluating the adequacy of food safety systems. According ISO 19011 – Guidelines for auditing management systems (in 2018 update) audit is as systematic, independent, and documented process for o
Food Analysis Laboratories - An Ally for your ROI
Investing in food laboratories using advanced technologies for faster, more accurate, and efficient results brings a significant ROI to the operation of food companies. They are are an integral piece of the overall company portfolio.
Your Guide to Salmonella Serotyping
Salmonellosis, caused by specific Salmonella strains, is a bacterial, enteric illness occurring in both humans and animals. There are currently four serotypes that are of importance for food safety (two required by legislation to be tested)
HACCP vs. HARPC: A Comparison
HACCP and HARPC share more than just four letters. They’re both food safety standards based on prevention, but they do differ on execution.
Public Food Standards
In 1995, a honey processing company was indicted on charges of adulterating industrial honey labeled “USDA Grade A” with corn syrup to increase profits. Ultimately, the jury found in favor of the honey processor, in part because there “weren’t enough regulations governing honey t
4 Steps to Food Safety
Did you know that 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year alone? Food poisoning not only sends 128,000 Americans to the hospital each year—it can also have long-term health consequences. Following the four simple steps - clean, separate, cook and, chill - bel
Ecology of Listeria spp. and Listeria monocytogenes - Significance in Dairy Production
The International Dairy Federation has published new guidance outlining additional actions that can be taken in the production process to minimise risk of Listeria contamination in dairy products.
Food in the 21st Century: Challenges in the Food System
As part of our Food in the 21st Century series, we explored in our last article the importance of growing leaders to feed the future. These future leaders must be able to think more holistically as the type and scope of challenges will demand a shift in approach that simultaneous
Know The Why of Food Safety and Become the #SLO
Some days are difficult for us to wake up and do what we are supposed to do, again and again. The mission of a food safety professional is much more than verifying records or monitoring people. Nuno F. Soares introduces the SLO challenge to the food safety professionals...
Are you getting the right “accredited” training to meet the requirements of R638?
By now you should know that R638 requires the person in charge is suitably qualified or otherwise adequately trained in the principles and practices of food safety and ...
Webinar | Talking to Directorate of Food Control about Regulation 638
View our exclusive interview, live with Ms. Penny Campbell, the Director of Food Control, Department of Health, as she shares with us on the intention and interpretation of Regulation 638.
Time to stop luxuriating Food Safety Management Systems?
Has food safety has become a luxury value-added service that the food industry offers to those who can afford to pay the price tag? Is it our duty as professionals in this field to bring it back to basics and provide food safety for all- not just those who can pay for it.
How to measure compressed air contaminants according to ISO 8573-1
ISO 8573 is an internationally recognized standard that defines major contaminants in compressed air. So how do we measure these contaminants in day to day real life factory conditions?
Webinar | Anticipating & Managing Food Fraud - we chatted to FACTS
Did you miss the FACTS webinar on how to anticipate and manage Food Fraud through horizon scanning and using analysis as a tool for managing vulnerabilities? Watch the recording here.
No Listeriosis Outbreak says NICD
Despite some fears that listeriosis figures are rising again, the NICD has indicated that there is not evidence of an outbreak, and figures are actually below the expected range.
What's new in the hygiene regulations R638
Updated | Finally the new requirements for REGULATIONS GOVERNING GENERAL HYGIENE REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD PREMISES, THE TRANSPORT OF FOOD AND RELATED MATTERS, a regulation under the FOODSTUFFS, COSMETICS AND DISINFECTANTS ACT, (ACT NO. 54 OF 1972) is here.
The Future of Auditing and the 4 steps of Food Safety Systems
Who hasn’t felt nervous before an audit? There is so much pressure today on food safety professionals to accomplish successfully audits, especially when we have a big client requiring it or a Certification Body doing it. Most of us neglect the fact that audits should be perceived
Transporting your food - the dangers lurking in your lunch box
Sitting in the aisle seat means you have a great view of what people are bringing onboard a plane... and it's surprising to see the number of cooler bags containing food!
Whitepaper | Temperature Monitoring Insights from Testo
Do you know your legal requirements for monitoring temperatures according to Regulation 638? Discover this and so much more in this Temperature Monitoring Whitepaper from the experts
Why Changing Workplace Safety Culture Must Start From the Top
Organizations that are serious about protecting their workers must do far more than react after an injury or rely on awareness-based safety efforts.
One person can make a difference in food safety
“The path to food safety is not a straight way, nor is it an easy one apparently but when it is your passion, it is worth the pain and patience”. This is according to Sinawo Mzinga.
Defrosting done right - what you need to know
Whether you prepare food for your family or run a food service, defrosting meat the right way is critical. Deléne Boshoff of PHT South Africa explains why and shares advice for doing defrosting right.
Your Microbiology Testing Guide
As a testing laboratory, we often get asked the question: What should I test for? Although there is legislation and guidelines that specific industries should adhere to, there are also basic guidelines to help you ensure that your product and facility complies with good hygiene a
The lesser-known causes of food poisoning that may ruin your dessert
An estimated one million people are affected by food-borne disease in the UK every year, costing the economy in excess of £1 billion. The usual bacterial suspects include Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria, all of which thrive in the summer’s warmer temperatures, cau
Things to keep in mind when assessing a pest control program
The following should be kept in mind when assessing a pest control program...
Cold Food Storage Chart
In the absence of South African guidelines on this topic, we can adhere to the Foodsafety.gov guidelines below for storing food in the refrigerator and freezer.
Good faith in the food industry - Don't take it for granted!
Two recent Food Safety related news releases caught my attention: incidents where good/bad faith were being questioned. Have you seen the news or the shocking disgusting video initially posted on June 28, 2019 floating around social media?...
Webinar | Managing inventory to reduce food waste and increase your profits
We chatted to Doug Hunter of SYSPRO-Africa about how technology can assist with managing your inventory effectively and curbing food waste that may also be eating into profit margins. Watch the recording now
Food Safety Auditing: An Industry in Transition
With the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011, the food industry overseen by FDA experienced the most extensive regulatory overhaul in the last 70 years. In the years since, auditing, which is used to both evaluate whether a food safety system is appropriat
Changing food sector could impact microbiological safety risks
Changes to the way food is produced, processed and offered to consumers could affect food safety, according to a microbiology society in the United Kingdom. A Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) briefing looked at recent and upcoming developments in food processing...
Codex HACCP - The foundation of food safety is being shaken
In the world of food safety where there is a plethora of standards, we have become accustomed to changes. New legislation, new audit requirements, changes to the GFSI benchmarked standard, changes to FSSC and ISO 22000. But through all the turmoil of change, one thing has remaine
USDA finds religious exempt chicken, small operators have pathogen problems
Tests showed a higher than average prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken that is produced under religious exemptions and at low-volume facilities, but the government is not going to propose rules for them.
Compressed air quality in the food industry
Compressed air is an utility often used throughout the food industry. As compressed air may not be as clean as it appears, it is essential to be aware of the composition of the compressed air used in the food manufacturing process. This is key to avoiding product contamination.
Webinar | Using Ultra violet light for microbial sterilization - a clean, cheap and effective alternative
In this webinar recording, Hylton Cowie, Managing Director of Technilamp, shares the wealth of knowledge gained over his 25 years in the UV sterilisation industry, and looks at the benefits of UV in the food industry.
5 Questions to ask your nursery school
What are the five questions that an environmental health practitioner suggests should be asking your nursery school? Food Focus friend, Samantha Lange, shared her insights with us.
Webinar | How safe is your compressed air - we asked the experts
Linda Jackson chatted with Patrick Dolz, the Managing Director of CS Instruments about the hazards associated with compressed air and how you can ensure you are protected. This offers good insights for the maintenance managers.
Webinar | Using technology to implement effective traceability
Did you miss this webinar, as Food Focus chatted to Traceability Guru, Mr Marking and world authority on Marking, Identification, Traceability and Authentication, Kyle Parker? Well, now you can view the recording.
10 Documents You Need When Applying for a Certificate of Acceptability
Here are some of the examples of supporting documentation which the EHP might require from you when applying for a Certificate of Acceptability. It's better to be prepared!
Webinar | Microbiological trouble shooting What to do when you get a positive result
What to do when you get a positive result on your foodmicro testing? Listen to this recording of the Microbiological Trouble Shooting Webinar featuring Food Consulting Services
SANS 10049:2019 Edition 5 - Approved for Publication
SANS 10049:2019ED5: Food safety management ? Requirements for prerequisite programmes (PRPs), has been approved for publication and will be available for sale once the publication process has been finalized.
Important parameters to measure for meat processors
The challenges meat processors face have increased in the past years: regulations, documentation, hygiene checks, official assessments, operative self-checks, HACCP system - the requirements have been drastically tightened.
PODCAST | Discussing Certificates of Acceptability with the Local EHPs
Food Focus had the opportunity to chat to two experienced environmental health practitioners from the City of Ekurhuleni on the topic of Certificates of Acceptability. Find out what they had to say in this short podcast.
8 Things to Consider When Designing Food Processing Plants | EBOOK
8 Things to Consider When Designing Food Processing Plants for Optimum Hygiene and Food Safety - Download the EBook now.
FSSC 22000 V5 First Impressions
As anticipated, at the end of May this year, the new version of FSSC 22000 was released. It is still very fresh for everyone so I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a brief presentation summarizing its changes and updates...
Supply Chain and Food Safety Culture
The food supply chain is of global importance, to us as consumers but also for all those working in the industry. In this article expert Lone Jesperson looks at the importance of creating a culture of food safety
Stewardship vs. Satisfaction
For decades, giants of the food industry have built their empires upon the pillars of consumer satisfaction: safety, quality, consistency, efficiency, demand, and customer service. Brand reputation and buying decisions have traditionally centered on providing a high-quality, conv
Study Shows Celebrity Chefs Could Reduce Foodborne Illnesses
Analyses of television cooking programs found that 45% to 75% of episodes do not show use of a cooking thermometer, and only 12% mention the correct cooking temperatures...
Webinar | Using technology to improve your good distribution practices
Doug Hunter of SYSPRO-Africa chatted with us on how technology can assist you with your good distribution practices, more critical than ever now that the new legal requirements for traceability included in Regulation 638 of 2018 put a focus on the distribution channel.
Warehousing and distribution the moving link in the food chain
So, what does it take to be a reputable distributor who is dedicated to and consistently apply food safety best practices throughout their operations — from truck to warehouse to delivery
Are you controlling allergen hazard for returnable packaging?
There is a new buzz among food packaging manufacturers: How to manage allergen(s) when shipping materials are sent back from manufacturers who facilitate declared allergens. Third party auditors are noticing return program of dunnage and are asking questions...
Listeria outbreaks: why they should be much rarer in ten years' time
A listeria outbreak in the UK has infected nine people and killed five of them in June 2019. The bacteria was transmitted via sandwiches and salads eaten in seven hospitals across England, supplied by the Good Food Chain, a company based in the Midlands. The outbreak came to ligh
Webinar | Product life cycle management - how to get the most out of your products
If you weren't able to join this Product life cycle management webinar live, you can catch up on all the valuable info in the recording.
Setting up a microbiological testing program for your food products - Part 2
In many cases detecting the presence or confirming the absence of a microorganisms is not enough. Some microorganisms require relatively high numbers to make you sick while others only require a few to result in the symptoms if ingested.
The ABC’S of UV-C Sterilization of Foods
What is UV Radiation and how does UV-C sterilization work?
Seriously, eating raw dough is not a good idea
As of May 24, 2019, 17 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O26 have been reported from 8 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 11, 2018 to April 18, 2019. Ill people range in age from 7 to 86 years, with a median age of 23. Sixty-five percent o
Setting up a microbiological testing program for your food products
We get many requests for information on “What microorganisms should I test for?” and “What are the allowable levels of microorganisms in the product and in my facility?”. Here is some help...
Technology Helps Your Food Safety Employees Work Smarter, Not Harder
As companies look to streamline their processes, technology isn’t the answer to eliminating jobs—it’s a solution to increasing employee productivity.
Importance of controlling foreign matter in food production
Globalization of the food industry has allowed for a more expansive food network that allows for food products from distant areas to reach different parts of the world. Food production, consumption, transportation, and the entire food chain have changed...
The value of NSF registration for non-food compound products for the food industry
Generally, maintenance teams in the food industry don’t always understand the value of using NSF food compound products that ensure their plant and equipment operates optimally and simultaneously reduce contamination risks.
The Cost of Listeriosis Outbreak on the South African Industry and the Economy
Food Focus were privileged to be invited to the Stakeholder Consultative Session for the recent DDTI / Deloitte and Touche study on the economic impact of the recent listeriosis outbreak in South Africa...
Spicier and icier what does the NEW R638 have to say about food temperature?
In June of 2018, the General hygiene regulations for the storage and transport of food were updated. Some important changes were made to the temperature requirements and thus it is essential that we re-visit the importance of temperature control in your restaurant space.
Step Back and Assess Your Food Safety Culture
It can be hard to evaluate company culture when you’re immersed in it daily. Here’s a guide to help you take a step back and check in on your facility’s food safety culture.
Clean Labeling Healthy Trend Or Sneaky Consumer Trap?
Living a healthy lifestyle is becoming more important to many people. This is not only evident in everyday activities, but also in the foods people consume. In order to live a healthy life, particular care is taken to buy foods that are labeled as “clean”. At first, it just looke
Salmonella: It’s More Pervasive Than You May Think
How to detect, prevent, and control this broadly attributed pathogen...
Surviving The Storm
In 2018, the U.S. experienced record heat waves, severe snow storms, deadly wildfires, and two devastating hurricanes, with weather disaster costs expected to top $155 billion when final figures are in.Not only are many of these events dangerous and destructive, but they can caus
Changes in the Food Safety Industry: Face Them or Ignore Them?
“A new era of smarter food safety is coming,” said Frank Yiannas, FDA’s deputy commissioner of food policy and response, at the GFSI Conference 2019 in Nice, France. He went on to explain, “a smarter food safety is people-led, FSMA-based and technology-enabled.” Afterwards, Yiann
Foodborne Illness - What You Need To Know
Every year about 48 million people in the United States suffer from a foodborne illness. Most of the illnesses happen suddenly and last a short time. While most people recover on their own without treatment, foodborne illness still causes about 3,000 deaths in the US annually. ¹
Legionella - two birds with one stone
Listeriosis is not the only “L” word you should know about in the food industry. While we have been heavily focused on the consumers of our products, we also need to protect our employees. Fortunately, the controls you should have in place for your food safety management system c
Webinar | Will your traceability system meet the requirements of R638?
Join Food Focus as we chat to Deirdre Fryer of SYSPRO about the new legal requirements for traceability now included in Regulation 638 of 2018. She will share practical insights into the requirements and how these can be addressed in any size food handling business.
Tips on how to pass your BRC or FSSC Audit
Any Quality or Technical Manager will admit that FSMS's do not implement and maintain themselves. It takes hard work, dedication and patience - then a new standard is published, and the goal posts are moved. Here are some tips on how to pass your audit.
What’s on your plate? How certification can prevent seafood fraud
About 30% of seafood products – like cod or salmon – across the world may be mislabelled, according to a recent review. The analysis showed that on average nearly a third of all fish products that were tested didn’t match the species stated on the label or food menu.
Microbiological Testing of Fresh Produce
A White Paper on Considerations in Developing and Using Microbiological
Sampling and Testing Procedures if Used as Part of a Food Safety Program
for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Products
Disinfection by-products: check them out!
Ever since Dr. John Snow established in 1854 that water could be a mode of transmission for deadly diseases such as cholera, water disinfection is a basic requirement in all drinking water treatment process....
Genetic Sequencing Sheds Light on Overlooked Pathogen
Illness from the bacteria Bacillus cereus can mimic the stomach flu, which is why it may not get as much research attention as pathogens such as Listeria and Salmonella, which are more likely to have severe and sometimes fatal health outcomes.
Poppy Seeds can Kill Manufacturers and Retailers be Forewarned
The State of Arkansas is stepping up as a leader and pushing responsible retailers to stop selling a defective and potentially deadly product. Hopefully the FDA will act as well as the DEA.
How to ensure batch traceability in your food process
The ability for food manufacturers to recall contaminated food products was publicly tested last year in the Listeriosis outbreak. In addition to processed meat products, frozen corn and eggs were also whipped off shelves following reports of other food borne hazards.
The role of the CEO in your food safety internal audit programme
Internal audits are a mandatory requirement of all the FSMS standards such as FSSC 22000, BRC and even national retail standards and this management tool should be implemented to support corporate governance activities and not just ticking a box for food safety expectations...
Kratom research shows huge increase in calls to poison centers; another recall initiated
Another kratom recall is underway, adding to the long list of such products recalled for Salmonella risks. The new recall follows a research report showing a 52-fold increase in kratom reports at poison control centers from 2011 to 2017.
FDA Releases its Strategy for the Safety of Imported Food
Agency outlines multi-layer approach to ensuring that food imports are safe.In February, FDA released its “Strategy for the Safety of Imported Food” outlining the agency’s comprehensive approach to helping ensure the safety of food imported into the United States...
The one year anniversary of the listeriosis outbreak
This week we mark one year since the Department of Health confirmed they had identified the source of the listeriosis outbreak in South Africa - the largest outbreak of listeriosis in the world to date.
Europe sees rise in trichinellosis cases
The number of trichinellosis cases in Europe increased by more than 50 from 2016 to 2017 following several years of decline.For 2016, 13 countries reported 166 infections and 101 confirmed cases. In 2017, 15 countries had...
Scottish cheesemakers challenge guidance on raw milk in their products
Five Scottish companies have launched a fundraising campaign for legal fees to challenge new inspection and enforcement guidance, including food safety measures, regarding raw milk cheese.
FSAI Now Using New DNA Technology to Identify Food Ingredients
This month, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) disclosed that it now has a new scanning tool that can identify the entire DNA content of a food...
Climate Change Could Make Food Less Safe
As the planet warms, governments must pay more attention to food safety, and address the issue in their action plans to tackle climate change, officials and researchers say.
Intentional Adulteration: 6 threats to your business
When on 9th September of 2018 Hoani Hearne bit a nice red strawberry he was not expecting to end the day in Sunshine Coast University Hospital with severe abdominal pain. He had ingested a needle intentionally planted by My Ut Trinh, a former strawberry farm supervisor...
No more mincing your words with mince?
Mince and sausages have often been a subject of much debate in South Africa. R1138 of October 2018 will make provision for several classes of raw meat products - so what will be the difference between minced meat and ground meat?
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