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In December 1995, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule requiring Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems for the seafood industry. Those regulations went into effect Dec. 18, 1997. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) also established HACCP for the meat and poultry industry. According to the USDA timetable, large establishments were required to start using HACCP by Jan. 26, 1998. Smaller companies had until Jan. 25, 1999, and very small plants until Jan. 25, 2000. In August 1997, FDA proposed a rule that would require HACCP for fruit and vegetable juices. In fact, FDA is considering developing HACCP regulations as a standard throughout much of the rest of the U.S. food supply. The regulations would cover both domestic and imported foods. To help determine the feasibility of the regulations, FDA has conducted a pilot HACCP program with volunteer food companies that make cheese, frozen dough, breakfast cereals, salad dressing, and other products.
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is creating a new regulatory system for meat and poultry plants. First, FSIS is requiring the plants it regulates to implement HACCP systems as a tool for preventing and controlling contamination so products meet regulatory standards. Second, FSIS established food safety performance standards that plants must meet and is conducting testing and other activities to ensure that those standards are met. Third, FSIS is training its inspectors to provide the oversight that is necessary to ensure that industry is meeting regulatory standards. Fourth, FSIS has reorganized to ensure compliance by plants that do not meet regulatory standards.
The Pathogen Reduction/HACCP rule is the centerpiece of the FSIS regulatory approach because it mandates HACCP, sets certain food safety performance standards, establishes testing programs to ensure that those standards are met, and assigns new tasks to inspectors to enable them to ensure that regulatory performance standards are met.
For processors, a variety of resources are available for help with their HACCP plans. The best place to start is the U.S. government. USDA regulates meat and poultry; FDA regulates all other foods. For USDA HACCP information, contact FSIS Food Safety Education and Communications Staff; Room 2932-South Building; 1400 Independence Ave., S.W; Washington, DC 20250 (phone 202-720-7943; fax 202-720-1843). For information on FDA-regulated programs, contact FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition; 200 C St. S.W., Washington, DC 20204.
An excellent source of non-governmental information on seafood processing safety is the Seafood Network Information Center, sponsored by the University of California, Davis. The network can be contacted at Seafood Network Information Center, Food Science and Technology, University of California, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616-8598 (phone 530-752-2194; fax: 530-752-4759; http://seafood.ucdavis.edu/haccp/ha.htm).
Another source is the National Center for Food Safety and Technology, a consortium of industry, academia, and government organized to address the complex issues raised by emerging food technologies. They offer a variety of generic HACCP programs and can be contacted at 6502 S. Archer Rd., Summit-Argo, IL 60501 (phone 708-563-8160; fax 708-563-8164).
The problem of developing HACCP plans for processing plants has also generated several software packages aimed at HACCP for food plants. The following are some short descriptions of some of these programs:
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• The doHACCP for Windows software allows the development of a database of materials and operations that reflect what is actually happening in the user’s facility. One of the first steps in using the software is that the user constructs a flow of materials diagram. Operations and materials are “dragged and dropped,” allowing the user to see the diagram as it is developed. Changing the diagram is done in a similar fashion. HACCP text and data are linked to the diagram and organized around the user’s processing operations.
The software is said to follow HACCP protocols. As hazards are entered, they are linked to the flow-of-materials diagram. Up to 20 hazards may be entered at any point on the diagram. Preventive measures are linked to hazards and to the flow-of-materials diagram as they are entered. The software “walks” the user through the critical control point (CCPs) decision tree developed by NACMCF97. Places where CCPs or hazards occur in the flow of materials diagram are highlighted with contrasting colors. CCP planning as prescribed by HACCP is enabled for each of the six planning categories. End product planning is enabled as prescribed by NACMCF97.
The software includes help with hazard identification, CCP decision making, and HACCP planning tasks. A general perspective is included which gives a broad description of HACCP. A system glossary is provided for access to definition of important words related to food safety. A HACCP tutorial is provided to help newcomers to HACCP learn important concepts and ideas. An on-line reference manual for HACCP is included. For more information, contact Norback, Ley, and Associates LLC, 3022 Woodland Trail, Middleton, WI 53562 (phone 608-233 3814; fax 608-233 3895).
• A software package, developed and produced by Bradley Ward Systems, Inc. and available through the Food Processors Institute (FPI), is designed to assist in the development and maintenance of HACCP plans. On-line help screens, process flow diagrams, automatic hazard analysis and CCP table creation, and corrective action flow charts assist the user in HACCP plan development. The software is Windows 95/NT compatible and requires a minimum133 MHz processor and 16 MB of RAM. HACCP report files can be exported to Excel and Word for Windows. FPI also offers a HACCP Documentation Software Kit (DOS). This software logically and systematically guides the user through all stages of HACCP plan development. Prompts, process flow diagrams, and decision trees help trainees to recognize all hazards and make decisions. The software is developed and produced by the Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association and supplied through FPI. A free demo disk is available upon request.
In addition to HACCP software packages, FPI offers predictive microbiology software called Food MicroModel®. This software is useful for predicting microbial responses, including growth, survival, and thermal death using a series of validated mathematical models. The software is offered as a tool for trouble shooting, product development, technical assistance, and obtaining information helpful in developing HACCP plans. Food MicroModel was developed by the U.K. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food. For more information, contact the Food Processors Institute, 1350 I St., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005-3305 (phone 202-393-0890; fax 202-639-5941).
• The Food Safety Institute offers FISTHACCP, a software package that allows HACCP documents to be maintained in a consistent way. The production process can be quickly specified, and data of HACCP analyses entered separately for each stage. A clear process management plan is easily obtained through automatic generation of flow charts, coupled integrally to CCPs and managment documents. For each production step, the user can enter all potential hazards and at which points they can be controlled. The decision tree can determine whether it is CCPs. If so, the CCP data can be entered and displayed in the process management plan. For a set of demo disks and more information, contact the Food Safety Institute, P.O. Box 14211, Baton Rouge, LA 70898.
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Method and kit for detecting bovine acetyl coenzyme A synthetase nucleic acids. U.S. patent 5, 916,745, filed 3/8/1996, issued 6/29/1999 to R. Cook and A. Raafat, assigned to the Board of Trustees, Michigan State Univ. Describes a method and test kit for determining milk production in bovines. The acetyl coenzyme A synthetase (ACS) production is determined and related to milk production. The method may be used in selection and/ or breeding to enhance milk production.
Devices for rapid temperature detection. U.S. patent 5,918,981, filed 1/15/1997, issued 7/6/1999 to H. Ribi. Describes temperature probes consisting of a porous or permeable substrate into which is absorbed a diyne monomer. After impregnation of the substrate, the diyne is polymerized to provide a blue product, which upon being heated above a transition temperature turns to red. Various substrates and devices may be employed for a variety of situations requiring a determination of the occurrence of a particular minimum temperature. Depending upon the choice of the individual or combination of monomers and the manner of processing, the temperature range at which the color change occurs can be anywhere within the range of 25–300°C.
Cellular material detection apparatus and method. U.S. patent 5,918,259, filed 4/21/1998, issued 6/29/1999 to D.J. Squirrell, assigned to The Secretary of State for Defense in her Britannic Majesty’s Government. Describes a method and device for monitoring a gaseous environment for the presence of cellular material to measure the presence of microorganisms in a large volume of air such as in a warehouse or production facility or in an open-air location. The device may be used for determining the likelihood of pathogenic material being present in an environment by batch or on-line measurement of cell numbers. On-line measurement provides continuous monitoring of an environment for presence of pathogens. The device includes a continuous flow luminometer preferably fed by a cyclone or high-velocity virtual impactor and luminescence reagents which detect the amount of ATP or adenylate kinase present in a sample of air.
Products & Literature
WATER ACTIVITY MONITOR, the FAST 1, may be used in quality control and research applications for food products. Water activity indicates how tightly water is bound in a product. It is a direct measurement of the free, unbound or “active” water that is available to participate in the chemical reactions that influence many product qualities such as shelf life, nutrient stability, and microbial safety. This instrument uses chilled mirror dew-point technology. The sensor includes a Peltier cooled gold mirror to measure the dew point and a high-precision IR detector to measure the sample surface temperature. The sample is placed in the sample chamber which is then closed to form an airtight compartment. In the basic unit, the measurement is initiated automatically and the aw appears on the LCD display within a minute or two. The keyboard accessory gives the user access to the setup and control functions of the instrument. This allows you to select the fan speed, adjust the timing, enter a sample ID, store data on a disk, print to the printer, and set up time intervals for dynamic studies. For more information, contact Topac, Inc., 99 Derby St., Suite 303, Hingham, MA 02043 (phone 781-740-8778, fax 781-740-8779)—or circle 362.
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LABORATORY MIXER, the Robot Coupe RSI 6, is suitable for sample preparation for nutritional analysis, trace analysis, and specific content analysis. It has one processor with a 1-L stainless steel insert bowl and a 6-L bowl that enables processing of both small and larger batches in one unit. The mixer will perform complete homogeneous mixing and size reduction of a wide range of food products. Features include double-jacketed bowls, vacuum attachments, and double-scraper assemblies. For more information, contact Robot Coupe U.S.A., Inc., P.O. Box 16627, Jackson, MS 39236-6627 (phone 601-898-9679)—or circle 363.
LABORATORY INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, called the Nautilus, is said to allow users to manage laboratory workflows, sample logins, data capture, instruments, and reports. The software allows the user to configure the system to be mapped onto the laboratory workflow, without coding. Instruments can be connected by the user with “point-and-click” technology. The user interface is comparable to ones used with Windows Explorer of Microsoft Windows 95 and NT. The system is controlled using exactly the same mouse controls, with a reduced learning curve for all new users. Compliance with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), Good Automated Laboratory Practice (GALP), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), and ISO-9000 is ensured by the storage of all relevant data. The workflow interface allows laboratory personnel to map their working practices. The software allows both the automated scheduling of instrument calibration and/or servicing and the retrieval of the calibration, service, and configuration history of each instrument and relevant component parts. The system can produce graphical representation of the information in 19 different graph styles. For more information, contact LabSystems, Inc., 100 Cummings Center, Ste. 407J, Beverly, MA 01915 (phone 978-524-1400, fax 978-524-1244)—or circle 364.
THERMAL ANALYSIS TUTORIAL KIT is being offered by Mettler Toledo. The kit includes an application booklet and 14 samples for performing typical experiments. The 22 documented applications cover the main areas of thermal analysis to provide a detailed introduction to the technique. The kit is designed to encourage analysts to experiment with the tutorial samples to discover and become familiar with the possibilities that thermal analysis offers. Several samples can be measured and evaluated with various techniques, including differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, and thermomechanical analysis. The kit offers instructions for preparing samples, performing experiments, and interpreting the data. For more information, contact Mettler-Toledo, Inc., 1900 Polaris Pkwy., Columbus, OH 43240-2020(phone 614-438-4511; fax 614-438-4525)—or circle 365.
HIGH-PRESSURE CELL for measurements of fluid rheology at elevated temperatures and pressures may be used in conjunction with Paar Physica’s rheometers. Several different versions of the pressure cell are available for different applications. A low-pressure version of the design is available for food applications where low pressures are required to prevent boiling. The design possibilities include a removeable sample cup for sample loading and a high-pressure filling operation for loading pressure-sensitive samples. For more information, contact Paar Physica, USA, Inc., One Industrial Way West, Bldg. D, Unit E, Eatontown, NJ 07724 (phone 800-288-3569)—or circle 366.
PARTICLE SIZING SYSTEM, the Optomax SpeckCheck 2, is said to provide true measurements of actual particle characteristics, rather than inferential measurements. The system gives particle size analysis within the 50 μm to 50 mm range. After dry or liquid particulates are scanned, the system will display the measured particle data in a distribution table. For more information, contact Optomax, 9 Ash St., Hollis, NH 03049 (phone 603-465-3385; fax 603-465-2291)—or circle 367.
by JAMES GIESE
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