Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Food Safety Month’

Highlighting Cold Chain Best Practices During National Food Safety Education Month

         Greg Polce | Vice President of Marketing – Cold Chain

          Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions Business

Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designates September as National Food Safety Education Month. Their goals are to raise awareness about how to prevent food poisoning and educate the population on best practices for keeping food safe. At Emerson, we’re committed to protecting and preserving food safety throughout the various links within the food cold chain. To help in the CDC’s efforts to raise awareness, we would like to highlight some of the key areas where our cold chain tools and technologies are playing integral roles in this important mission.

 

Ensuring a safe food supply chain is essential for supporting human health and well-being. Supermarkets, restaurants and convenience store (C-store) sectors rely on a safe and effective food cold chain for their reputations. Consumers place food safety and quality among the most important factors when selecting a location in which to dine or shop.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought more public awareness to the topics of food safety, handling standards and best practices. Not surprisingly, the CDC has reported a lower rate of foodborne illness outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic — likely attributable to the renewed emphases on proper hand washing, hygiene and surface sanitation procedures. But to achieve comprehensive food safety, it’s also important to combine safe handling protocols with robust temperature management during the transportation, cold storage and preparation phases of the food cold chain.

Let’s look at some of the ways Emerson can help to monitor temperatures during these key steps.

Harvesting and processing

The freshness and safety of perishable produce and proteins can be protected by controlling temperatures via flash cooling/freezing, temporary staging in storage coolers, and pre-cooling shipping containers. Emerson provides pulp temperature-probing devices to measure internal product temperatures during the staging and loading processes. Our real-time temperature monitoring and tracking devices can be placed inside a shipping container to provide location, temperatures and other environmental conditions of in-transit perishable shipments.

Transportation

The cold chain journey can last anywhere from days to weeks — by truck, sea and/or air — and shippers should be able to ensure an unbroken chain of temperature certainty throughout. Transport containers must be equipped to maintain strict temperatures and provide visibility to internal conditions. Emerson’s field-tested compression technologies are built to withstand the rigors of the road to help stakeholders keep transport refrigeration systems at specified temperature ranges. Our complete line of temperature monitoring, logging and tracking devices — combined with our cloud-based software portal — enables live remote monitoring and alert notifications based on user-defined parameters.

Cold storage distribution centers

Upon receipt at cold storage facilities, quality assurance (QA) personnel must inspect product conditions according to their Hazardous Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and/or Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventative Controls (HARPC) plans. Typically, this process starts by taking pulp temperatures and reviewing trip data from Emerson’s logging and tracking devices to validate that product was held at proper temperatures throughout the journey. After inspection, handlers must promptly transfer perishable cargo into a designated cold storage temperature zone.

Within these cold storage facilities, Emerson’s compression and refrigeration technologies help operators to establish and maintain proper temperatures in various cold storage zones. Our robust facility monitoring solutions help operators to remotely oversee conditions, ensure proper temperatures, and automatically record temperatures for use in HACCP reporting.

Grocery stores

Store operators take ownership of food quality and safety when perishable shipments are unloaded in supermarkets. This starts by checking pulp temperatures and trip data logs and continues with the prompt transfer of perishables into designated cold storage coolers or freezers. Once in cold storage, Emerson’s Lumity™ E3 supervisory control platform helps retailers to monitor perishable temperatures and optimize food quality.

For decades, the supermarket industry has relied on Copeland™ compression and refrigeration technologies as the collective foundation for their cold storage capabilities. Today, we’re developing sustainable refrigeration solutions with variable-capacity modulation to improve reliability, temperature precision and energy efficiencies in a variety of refrigeration architectures.

Restaurants

Restaurants assume responsibility for both the cold storage of perishable products as well as the safety concerns associated with food preparation. Staff must be trained in safe cooking best practices, such as those provided by the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe® certification course. Cook-and-hold procedures should also follow established HACCP/HARPC plans, with a dual focus on the prevention of bacterial growth and maximizing food quality/safety.

Emerson provides a wide range of technologies to automate data collection and reporting necessary to implement best practices and meet local health inspection requirements:

To learn more about how Emerson is helping to protect food quality and safety throughout the food cold chain, please view this infographic.

 

Revisiting Food Safety Best Practices

JulianHough_Blog_Image Julian Hough | Product Marketing Communication Specialist
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

To raise awareness about the prevention of food poisoning, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have designated September as National Food Safety Education Month. Whether you’re a consumer, provider, processor, distributor, restaurant, supermarket or refrigerated equipment manufacturer, it is important to be aware of issues related to food safety so we can all help to minimize risks of potential contamination throughout the food supply chain.

Revisiting Food Safety Best Practices

What’s at stake?
According to CDC estimates, one out of every six people (48 million) gets sick, 128,000 people per year are hospitalized, and 3,000 per year die from eating contaminated food each year in the United States. Although this could potentially happen to anyone, those whom are especially vulnerable include: children 5 and under, adults 65 and older, those with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women.

But the potential costs of foodborne illness outbreaks go far beyond their tolls on human health. Researchers have found that restaurants have incurred  costs of up to $2.5 million for a single outbreak of foodborne illness. This may be in addition to brand reputation impact that are more difficult to calculate.  Studies have shown that 44 percent of consumers will avoid a brand for a few months after an outbreak, while 20 percent have reported in surveys that they never intend to make a return visit or purchase anything from that brand again.

How to protect yourself
Foodborne illnesses occur when food becomes contaminated with harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses or toxins. Common types of bacteria associated with raw or undercooked poultry include campylobacter and salmonella. Fruits and vegetables (such as leafy greens) can become contaminated with E. coli, salmonella and listeria due to several factors: from unclean water and runoff at a farm; contaminated processing equipment; and from poor hygiene during handling and preparation.

It is critically important for anyone preparing food to maintain proper holding temperatures as part of ensuring food safety.  This also often maximizes food quality and shelf life.

So, when it comes to preparing your own food, the CDC recommends four simple steps to protect yourself and your family:

  • Clean — Wash hands, utensils and cooking surfaces.
  • Separate — Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from cooked food and fresh produce.
  • Cook — Use a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to an internal temperature sufficient to kill potential germs.
  • Chill — Refrigerate perishable foods and leftovers within two hours; chill within one hour if ambient temperatures are above 90 °F.

But what about the food we buy at restaurants, food trucks or supermarkets? One-third of Americans eat fast food every day, and more than 60 percent have dinner at a restaurant at least once a week. On its way to those points of sale, food passes through multiple hands and stakeholders throughout the supply chain, each with a responsibility to help ensure food safety and quality. Here are a few more common sense tips to consider when dining out or buying from your local grocer.

  • Shop smart — Choose tidy, well-kept establishments with clean tables, aisles and floors. Some cities/states require facilities to post their cleanliness ratings. If you live in one of those regions, ask for the location of that
  • Ask questions — Inquire about how items on the menu are prepared, how grocery items are stored, and any other pertinent information about the source.
  • Inspect your selections — Look for holes, tears or openings in food packages. Frozen foods should be solid throughout with no signs of thawing. Refrigerated foods should feel cold.

Ensuring safety in the food supply chain
While most of these tips can also apply to the food supply chain, ensuring adherence to them from farm to fork is an even more complex challenge for producers, processors, distributors and others in the food supply chain. By the time food reaches consumers, there are potentially any number of handling and temperature excursions that could have taken place. There are also an ever-increasing number of food safety regulations and documentation requirements that stakeholders must comply with.

Today, Emerson is helping leading food supply chain providers, processors, warehouses, distributors and retailers ensure food safety and protect their brand reputations. Building upon our foundation of refrigeration expertise, we’re providing solutions to help operators at nearly every point of this process to help form a comprehensive, unbroken cold chain. From connected, communicating devices and enterprise management software to temperature loggers, trackers and probing devices, we’re helping our customers achieve cold chain temperature certainty and food safety verification throughout its journey to consumers.

National Food Safety Month: Helping You Keep Food Fresh From Farm to Fork

September is National Food Safety month so we thought this would be the perfect time to share with you some of our favorite industry articles and tips that will help you keep food fresh “from farm to fork”. Retailers are investing more in fresh foods to keep up with consumer demand, and keeping food safe is imperative.

FoodSafetyBlog_Facebook

This podcast from the Food Management Institute discusses the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Sanitary Transportation rule and the key changes that it requires. You’ll learn how this rule impacts recordkeeping and documentation requirements for the transportation of food. This podcast helps retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers identify what procedures they’ll need to have in place in order to comply.

The Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC) did a study of highly publicized food scares in the global food chain that have occurred in recent years, such as the recent E.Coli and norovirus outbreaks at Chipotle. They examined these food safety events to identify the behavioral, regulatory and technological factors that have caused the food industry to become increasingly proactive in keeping food safe. This report covers the role of the FSMA in improving food safety, the globalization of the food supply chain and some of the technological innovations that have improved food safety.

Need detailed plans on how to set up a food safety program? This checklist from DEKRA Insight, a global safety consulting organization, can help. It covers building a team, developing policies, training, tracking and how to handle recalls and other issues that arise.

FoodLogicQ did a poll of 2,000 U.S. consumers to gauge their opinion on food traceability and expectations for companies on recalls and foodborne illness. Their report details the cost of food recalls not only in terms of dollars but in brand damage and lost sales. The survey shows that a majority of respondents want food companies to fully address recalls or illness within 1-2 days. Transparency in labeling, sourcing and having a plan to deal with problems will go a long way to growing and retaining your customers.

And no compilation of articles would be complete without a few of our own. Last year we did a series of articles on food safety for Food Safety month. In these articles, you’ll learn about the impact of FSMA, how to help prevent food safety issues with remote monitoring services, and best practices for transporting foods. To learn more about remote monitoring, read the article Emerson’s Ron Chapek wrote for Food Safety magazine. You’ll learn what options are available, and how remote monitoring minimized food loss expense for a large food retailer.

 

%d bloggers like this: