Food Traceability: 5 Business Benefits When Switching from Manual to Digital Recordkeeping

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Food Traceability: 5 Business Benefits When Switching from Manual to Digital Recordkeeping

In a recent post, I summarized the new traceability requirements recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The proposed rule would require additional recordkeeping for those who manufacture, process, pack or store foods included on the FDA’s new Food Traceability List. 

The thought of new government regulations can often elicit groans from manufacturers, but rather than view this as another hoop to jump through, food and beverage companies should take a long view: It’s really an opportunity to improve product quality, boost efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs.

 

The FSMA Proposed Rule for Food Traceability (in a Nutshell)

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The FSMA Proposed Rule for Food Traceability (in a Nutshell)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing additional traceability recordkeeping requirements for those who manufacture, process, pack or store foods included on the Agency’s new Food Traceability List. The proposed rule is a key component of its New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint and would implement Section 204(d) of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The additional recordkeeping requirements would apply not only to foods specifically listed on the Food Traceability List, but also to products that contain these foods as ingredients. Let’s look at what’s included:

 

An Inside Look at Sunsweet’s Prune Processing Facility in South America [PHOTOS]

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An Inside Look at Sunsweet’s Prune Processing Facility in South America [PHOTOS]

Sunsweet, a grower-owned cooperative based in California, is the world’s largest and most famous brand of dried tree fruits. When the company decided to expand their prune processing facility in Chile, they partnered with Stellar to plan, design and navigate the international construction process.

Today, the processing facility is a full-fledged operation supporting Sunsweet’s ongoing growth. Given its complexity and the company’s investment in cutting-edge features, the plant also serves as a “learning lab” where Sunsweet can test ideas and experiment with different processing efficiencies that will be applied to its future facilities.

 

Keeping Cyclospora at Bay in Your Food Processing Plant

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Keeping Cyclospora at Bay in Your Food Processing Plant

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked contaminated salad kits to a multistate outbreak of Cyclospora that infected more than 700 people. In 2019, the culprit was contaminated fresh basil, triggering a recall by the exporting company.

But how do outbreaks like this happen? Knowing how to prevent Cyclospora from entering your food plant is critical for maintaining the safety of your products and the trust of your customers, especially during a time of heightened awareness surrounding sanitation and public health.

 

Proper Air Balance is Critical to Employee Wellbeing and Food Safety

Food safety series

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Proper Air Balance is Critical to Employee Wellbeing and Food Safety

Proper air balance in a food plant is required to maintain the environmental parameters that keep the space food-safe, including temperature, humidity and the frequency of air replacement. Additionally, the direction of airflow is important, especially when dealing with raw animal products.

Now, in the post-pandemic world, clean, fresh air is more valuable than ever. As the world gets back to work, it’s important to examine your facility’s air system to ensure it’s up to par to keep workers and consumers safe.

 

4 Ways to Reduce COVID-19 Risk in Your Facility

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Now that COVID-19 is a risk encountered in everyday life, food plant owners and operators are looking for ways to protect their staff and facilities that are cost-effective and don’t hinder productivity.

As scientific authorities continue to nail down exactly how COVID-19 is spread, the overwhelming evidence suggests the virus primarily travels and is transmitted through droplets in the air. That’s why shielding your facility from an outbreak starts with its HVAC and refrigeration systems.

 

3 Must-have PSM Elements to Prevent Dust Explosions and Other Disasters

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3 Must-have PSM Elements to Prevent Dust Explosions and Other Disasters

Process Safety Management (PSM) is the OSHA standard that mandates employers identify, evaluate and control potentially hazardous activities, chemicals and components used in their processes.

While PSM audits are performed every three years, you should periodically perform self-audits to protect your facility from punitive measures from OSHA and, more importantly, to protect your employees from potentially catastrophic events that could lead to loss of life or property.

However, this isn’t a guide on performing self-audits (you can read more on that here).

Instead, we’re going to walk through a few PSM elements that you should pay special attention to while performing self-audits.

 

Protect Your Food Processing Facility from Dust Explosions

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The Imperial Sugar dust explosion of 2008 was a tragic reminder of the potential for common food processing ingredients to cause unneeded loss of life and property in a food plant. 

While it’s not feasible to ditch dusty ingredients like sugar, flour and cornstarch in most food processes, you should be aware of the danger particular ingredients create and formulate a plan to keep your workers and plant safe.

 

IIoT Tech Could Free Up Your Facility for Essential Workers

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IIoT Tech Could Free Up Your Facility for Essential Workers

As the coronavirus pandemic rocked the world early this year and its scope was realized in the United States, food plant operators had to adapt quickly to meet new federal and local orders that mandated social distancing. At the same time, producers saw restaurant demand plummet while retail and online grocery store market shares skyrocketed. As unpaid orders originally bound for restaurants rotted in storage, retailers had trouble keeping milk and eggs on the shelf.

This dramatic shake-up has forced food plant operators to reorganize equipment, production lines and workers to maintain safe social distancing, especially in the wake of multiple COVID-19 outbreaks among food plant employees.

Additionally, the wild fluctuations the supply chain experienced exposed vulnerabilities created by the communication lag between suppliers, manufacturers and retailers.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology has the potential to solve some of these COVID-19-related problems and revolutionize the future of the food processing industry. 

 

Hurricane Season 2020: Staying Safe During the ‘New Normal’

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Hurricane Season 2020: Staying Safe During the ‘New Normal’

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasted a 60% chance of an above-normal season this year, with 13 to 19 named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes with wind speeds of at least 39 mph), six to ten hurricanes (category 1 or higher with winds of at least 74 mph) and three to six major hurricanes (category 3 or higher with winds of 111 mph or higher).  

The average season produces 12 named storms, with six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. This year’s hurricane season already set a record for the earliest fifth named storm ever when Tropical Storm Edouard formed almost two months earlier than the average fifth named storm.

While we have all been preoccupied trying to stay out of the path of the global pandemic, that doesn’t mean we should put off planning for a major storm that could threaten your food or beverage facility’s operation. In fact, COVID-19 is going to present an entirely new dynamic to hurricane preparedness and evacuation plans as people try to uphold social distancing.