Tech Flash Vol. 4 No. 10
US tomatoes, jalapeños, Serrano peppers exonerated
After months of speculation, tomatoes have finally been exonerated as the culprit behind the Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak, which sickened more than 1,200 people across the
According to FDA, additional traceback and traceforward information obtained has led to the determination that the Agricola Zarigoza produce distribution center in
FDA is working with state regulatory agencies and food industry groups that represent restaurants, grocery stores and wholesalers to ensure everyone clearly understands this new, more narrow advisory. FDA will continue to refine its consumer guidance as the agency’s investigation continues.
FDA continues to advise people in high-risk populations to avoid eating raw Serrano peppers from
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal suggests paper records and repacking practices effectively hide the identity of produce in the distribution chain. DeWaal blames the Bush Administration for watering down the traceability tools adopted in the Bioterrorism Act of 2002. “Provisions stripped from the regulations, like requirements for distributors to record lot or code numbers, and requirements for record availability in 4 to 8 hours, might have been helpful nailing down this Salmonella outbreak much earlier," said DeWaal.
Recycled aluminum beverage cans help energy savings
Look abroad for growth in beverages
To continue to grow internationally, beverage companies will have to either make acquisitions of established local brands and distribution networks or introduce company-owned brands and make capital outlays to establish comprehensive local distribution systems.
While Coca-Cola and PepsiCo accounted for 75% of the US carbonated soft drink market in 2007, the overall trend in this market has been downward, with a peak of 54.9 gallons average consumption per capita in 1998, dropping to 48.8 gallons in 2007.For more information and to download the report, Large Beverage Companies: In Search of Growth as US Trends Remain Weak, visit www.fitchratings.com.
Fat is "green"
The fuel produced by the plant will offer the same benefits of synthetic fuels derived from coal or natural gas while providing substantial performance and environmental advantages over petroleum-based fuels. These benefits include higher cetane levels (a measure of combustion quality) and superior thermal stability, making this product compatible for advanced military applications.Construction of the joint venture’s Dynamic Fuels refinery is expected to begin in October and be finished by the end of 2009.
Food and beverage SI cuts programming time 80% on canning line
XCS wanted to build and integrate a network-based control system that would link all the drives and variable speed control software, and improve the process as well to minimize damage to cans on the air-powered conveyor. Controlling the speed of the system could improve product quality and save energy. According to Paul Croad, XCS company director, “Using variable-speed drives allows us to run the fans much slower when there are no cans on the air-powered conveyor. Running them only as fast as we need to, at, say 20 Hz, allows us to gain energy savings.” Croad adds, “Speed control is the most important factor, which is obviously why a network comes in handy. You get the speed feedback from machines and their drives directly across the network whereas in the past we would have to hardwire analog signals back into the feedback loop.”
Croad chose a Rockwell solution strategy consisting of A-B PowerFlex 40 ac drives for the conveyor line and PowerFlex 70 ac drives for the elevator and air-powered conveyors. The drives link together using an EtherNet/IP network and connect to PanelView displays, ControlLogix programmable automation controllers (PACs) and Point I/O and RSLogix 5000 Software (Version 16).
According to Croad, programming that used to take two months to write and implement can now be done in one week providing an 80% savings in time. The software’s custom instruction feature allows XCS to edit an instruction just once to affect all the drives. “Furthermore, with Ethernet networking, if we need additional functions, we write a bit of software rather than pulling cables,” says Croad. He adds that the use of fiber optic media (rather than copper) eliminates problems with electrical interference.The EtherNet/IP network bandwidth provides a 50-70 ms system response time for feedback signals to the drives and allows XCS to interlock all the machines for the various sections of the line.
Don't overlook packaging line operations
Vast amounts of data available from systems on the packaging line should enhance manufacturing capabilities. Packaging line operations management (POM) is the merger of two distinct systems: packaging execution systems (PES) and manufacturing execution systems (MES). These systems deliver a comprehensive operations management system that is an effective knowledge tool surpassing the basic functions of collecting and storing data.
Industry survivors will be characterized as low-cost producers capable of operating at high efficiency with zero defects in a world of customized packages. In many cases, the security bar will be raised even higher, says Spada. The security of the supply chain along with zero defects will be imperative in the food and beverage industries.Industry leaders will recognize that POM systems put in place to manage design change requirements in packaging operations can be leveraged as a competitive advantage and form a catalyst for business growth and market penetration. For more information on Packaging Line Operations Management the Cornerstone of a Lean Initiative, visit www.arcweb.com.
PLM and ERP work hand-in-hand
While this is the most common area for integration work cited by participants in Aberdeen Group’s Integrating the PLM Ecosystem report, analysis also found a clear connection to company performance, with leading companies 40% more likely than the industry average to have integrated PLM with ERP. The study found integration of the two systems often fills a noticeable gap in the information available in most ERP systems. Although it serves as the system of record for a large amount of corporate information, ERP has not been the primary location to store design and engineering data.For more information on the study, visit www.aberdeen.com.
USDA gives robot OK to handle food
Food Safety News
Salmonella Saintpaul infects 1,251 ... and counting
An initial epidemiological investigation in
Recently, many clusters of illnesses have been identified in several states among people who ate at restaurants. Most clusters involve fewer than five ill persons. Three larger clusters have been investigated intensely. The resulting data shows fresh jalapeño peppers, rather than tomatoes, are most likely to be the major cause of this outbreak. Serrano peppers and certain fresh tomatoes remain under investigation.
Several issues have made it difficult to track this disease. Only six people infected with this strain of Salmonella Saintpaul were identified from April through June 2007. It takes an average of two to three weeks between the time a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. Another issue is that people often have difficulty in remembering exactly which foods they ate, and remembering specific ingredients in those foods is even more difficult. Although lab testing of foods might help identify the source, perishable foods that were consumed by ill persons are often not available to test.When all these food items are mixed together and consumed in the same dish, all the items consumed could conceivably be linked to the illness. In such a case, determining by statistical means which item caused the illness can be difficult or impossible. Tracing back to processors and growers, however, is an integral part of the effort to identify a single source as a possible means of contamination.
Food safety: What we can learn from the EU, Japan and Canada
The GAO recently studied how
Several of the selected countries reported three elements of their food safety systems are critical in helping them respond to food-borne illness outbreaks: traceback procedures, cooperative arrangements between government veterinarians and public health officials, and mandatory recall authority. In EU states, all food must be traceable one step forward and one step back so industry and government can quickly track any food products to minimize health risks and reduce the economic impact on industry. Food and feed business operators must be able to document the names and addresses of the supplier and customer as well as the nature of the product and date of delivery. Officials in several countries told GAO that mandatory recall authority is rarely used but is an important part of the food safety system because it is the last stop in the supply chain.
While none of the countries has comprehensively evaluated its reorganized food safety system, most have seen improved public confidence in handling problems in the future. Experts identified food safety challenges they expect to face over the next decade. These include climate change; demographic change with increases in elderly people and immigration; and new types of foods, such as RTE salads, that may result in more incidents of food-borne illness.
The selected countries in this report have a comprehensive, risk-based approach to ensuring the safety of imported food. Specifically, they focus on the entire food supply chain, from “farm to table;” place primary responsibility for food safety on food producers with the government providing oversight; separate risk assessment and risk management; employ a risk-based inspection system; and take steps to ensure certain food imports meet equivalent food safety standards.To obtain a free copy of the GAO report, Food Safety: Selected Countries’ Systems Can Offer Insights into Ensuring Import Safety and Responding to Food-borne Illness, download a PDF file at www.gao.gov/new.items/d08794.pdf. The text is available at www.gao.gov/htext/d08794.html.
E. coli lawsuit filed
The lawsuit states that on June 20, 2008, the Stewarts ate at the Barbeque Pit in Moultrie, GA. Days later, Mrs. Stewart was admitted to the Colquitt Regional Medical Center, where she tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 and was diagnosed with HUS, or Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a severe and life-threatening complication.
A cluster of E. coli illnesses that appeared in