reporting that their environmental
sampling program is “about the same”
(Figure 3) compared with 51 percent in
2017. Roughly 27 percent said that they
have been collecting more samples, with
most of those saying that it helped them
prepare for their inspections. One pro-
cessor in this most recent survey com-
mented, “We’ve been gradually increasing
our environmental monitoring..., and this
has actually helped us improve effectiveness
of sanitation at the facility,” while another
said, “…Our environmental sampling pro-
gram has stayed about the same over the past
2 years, but we did start adding slightly more
samples after our recent FDA inspection.”
We also asked processors again about
their use of whole-genome sequenc-
ing (WGS). The results in this survey
were consistent with multiple past
surveys that we have conducted, with
the overwhelming majority of proces-
sors (93%) saying that they are not
employing WGS. We asked the few
who did indicate that they had used
WGS why they used the technology and
how it helped their program. Several
mentioned that they did not use the
technology on a routine basis but did to
identify the source of contamination as
part of a specific project. These projects
were typically described as an effort to
eliminate “hot spots” or, as one proces-
sor reported, “a project to compare results
found in several facilities to identify a source
of contamination.” Interestingly, two of
the processors who used WGS said that
it did not help them identify and find
their problem, and they found the data
to be less useful than they originally
hoped when they started the project.
WGS seems to remain a mixed bag of
utility for food processors.
We want to express our appreciation
to all the food processors and FDA
officials who participated in this survey.
Food Safety Insights will continue to
explore these topics on a regular basis,
and we look forward to getting another
regular comprehensive update in perhaps another 2 years. n
Bob Ferguson is president of Strategic Consulting Inc.
and can be reached at insights@foodsafetymagazine.
com or on Twitter at @SCI_Ferguson.
FOOD SAFETY INSIGHTS
Yes, and it helped.
Yes, but it did not affect our inspection
No, but we wish we had.
No, the number of environmental samples
we take is about the same.
Figure 3. If you had an inspection, had you
been taking more environmental samples
and did it help?
CATALYST FOR SUCCESS
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