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be adhered to? These are the pressing
questions, whether or not a cage-free
shift is in the future of the egg industry.
Food Safety Culture
Ultimately, it all boils down to the
egg producer’s food safety culture. You
can have the best, most expensive processing equipment the industry has to
offer and allow your free-range chickens
to frolic in fields of beautiful St. Augustine grass. None of that will be enough
to keep the consumer safe from foodborne illness if you have a poor food
safety culture. Does your egg processing
facility have sound biosecurity controls,
pest controls, proper cleaning and sanitizing, and proper temperature holds?
Without these, nothing else matters. In
the end, there really is no mystery. The
industry has had the tools to make our
eggs safe all along. n
Jory D. Lange Jr., Esq., is a national food safety
lawyer in the Lange Law Firm, PLLC, who helps
families who have been harmed in food poisoning
Candess Zona-Mendola is a food safety
advocate and the senior trial paralegal of the Lange
Law Firm, PLLC. She works closely with Jory to
advance the firm’s food safety cases and is the editor
of MakeFoodSafe.com, a food safety website.
2. Telzak, EE, et al. 1990. “A Nosocomial Outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis Infection due to
the Consumption of Raw Eggs.” N Engl J Med
3. Huneau-Salaün, A, et al. 2009. “Risk Factors for Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica
Contamination in 519 French Laying Hen Flocks
at the End of the Laying Period.” Prev Vet Med
4. Denagamage, T, et al. 2015. “Risk Factors Associated with Salmonella in Laying Hen Farms:
Systematic Review of Observational Studies.”
5. Snow, LC, et al. 2010. “Investigation of Risk
Factors for Salmonella on Commercial Egg-Laying Farms in Great Britain, 2004–2005.” Vet
as “handcrafted, using only the finest ingredients” and “hand-cut like it should be.”
Hand-cutting animal proteins allows for various thicknesses (even within the individual slices), causing the standard dehydration process to produce different levels
of water activity measured in the end product. But indulging in artisanal jerky because it is touted as a healthy, high-protein, gluten-free, and low-calorie snack does
not reduce the concern of possible pathogen growth if the jerky is not processed
Validation of Procedures
A very important aspect of food safety, even with snack foods, is validating one’s
procedures by looking at previous studies to see if the procedures are actually effective at slowing down or killing pathogens (see “Salmonella-Tainted Cereal,” p. 5510–14).
For example, a cookie producer might ask if the heating process is enough to kill
the Salmonella from the eggs or flour. Also, validating the sanitation procedures for
specific food types and manufacturing processes is an important step toward keeping
snack foods safe and consistent in quality. Updating validation studies on a regular
basis ensures that current technology and science are understood and implemented
in the processing procedures. What worked 20, 15, 10, or even 5 years ago may not
work in the current food safety and quality environment.
Snack Foods for Busy Lives
Snack foods are an established part of life. They have even become a popular
meal replacement for many individuals on the go. As this market sector continues to
grow and expand in unique flavors and food offerings, one thing is clear: Pathogens
will find a way to survive in this food segment. Food safety and quality experts need
to stay diligent, because the expectation, or more likely the assumption, of the consumer is that any food sold in retail is safe to eat. n
Gina R. (Nicholson) Kramer, RS/REHS, is the executive director of Savour Food Safety International.
Megan Doran is an Ohio State University student and summer intern at Savour Food Safety International. She
will graduate in December 2018 with a B.Sc. in agriculture, food business management.
3. www.iriworldwide.com/IRI/media/video/2017 SNAXPO IRI Emerging Trends.pdf.