Manufacturing News

Tech Flash Vol. 5 No. 17 -- Food Engineering's E-Newsletter

September 10, 2009
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FDA's Reportable Food Registry speeds up the time to get vital information out on recalls due to contamination or mislabeling. Source: FDA.

FDA opens mandatory Reportable Food Registry electronic portal

FDA has a new way to head off potential cases of foodborne illness-the Reportable Food Registry (RFR)-where food industry officials must quickly alert FDA through an electronic portal when they find their products might sicken or kill people or animals. The requirement, a result of legislation, took effect with the launch of the portal.

Facilities that manufacture, process or hold food for consumption in the US now must tell FDA within 24 hours if they find a reasonable probability that an article of food will cause severe health problems to a person or animal.

The reporting requirement applies to all foods and animal feed regulated by FDA, except infant formula and dietary supplements, which are covered by other regulatory requirements. Some examples of why a food may be reportable include bacterial contamination, allergen mislabeling or elevated levels of certain chemical components.

“By fostering real-time submission to the FDA of information on food safety hazards, the registry enhances FDA’s ability to act quickly to prevent foodborne illness,” says Michael R. Taylor, senior advisor to the commissioner. “Working with the food industry, we can swiftly remove contaminated products from commerce and keep them out of consumers’ hands.”

A responsible party, one who submits information to FDA, must investigate the cause of adulteration of food if it may have originated with the responsible party, submit initial information (followed by supplemental reports) and work with FDA authorities to follow up as needed. A responsible party is not required to report if it found the problem before the food was shipped, and corrected the problem or destroyed the food.


Front page of Purdue’s FPEAC Web site. Source: Purdue.

Environmental help for small, medium food processors

Purdue University’s Food Processing Environmental Assistance Center (FPEAC) rolled out a new Web site to help small and medium-sized food processors comply with environmental regulations.

The site contains federal and state regulations and publications aimed at helping processors address environmental issues related to their businesses. While large food processors typically have full-time staffs devoted to these regulations and activities, smaller processors often do not have dedicated experts on hand.

The center, located in Purdue’s Department of Food Science, is funded through Purdue, along with nearly $340,000 from the US EPA. According to Kevin Keener, director of the center and Purdue associate professor of food science, the center will offer technical services to processors in the future.

“We’re looking to do training, environmental audit checks and workshops on energy efficiency, water use and other topics,” says Keener. The site will also add industry news to keep processors updated on new regulations or changes in their industry, he adds.

For more information, visit the FPEAC Web site.


Crown lift truck is outfitted with a GenDrive fuel cell. Source: Plug Power Inc.

Wegmans DCs to run on hydrogen

Fuel cell supplier, Plug Power, Inc., will provide GENCO Supply Chain Solutions with 136 GenDrive hydrogen-based fuel cell power systems: 100 class-3 pallet jack units and 36 class-2 standup reach trucks for a new project at Wegmans distribution centers (DC). GENCO will provide the units to Wegmans DCs for conversion of lift truck fleets in its produce and grocery buildings. At Wegmans’ Pottsville, PA facility, the GenDrive units will be placed into Crown lift trucks provided by Lift Inc.

The funding for the fuel cells is part of a $6.1 million award made to GENCO in April 2009 by the US Department of Energy (DOE) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The DOE intends this funding to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of fuel cells and create jobs in fuel cell manufacturing, installation, maintenance and support services.

The Wegmans project will consist of various phases through 2012. The first phase includes a 59-unit fleet conversion of the produce building. Subsequent phases will allow Wegmans to expand its use of the GenDrive solution at its facilities.

By replacing lead-acid batteries with the fuel cells, Wegmans will be able to run its equipment for an entire shift, thereby maximizing efficiency. Refueling with hydrogen is safe and takes up to one minute.

For more information on fuel cells, visit Plug Power Inc. For more information on lift trucks, visit GENCO.


First standard in industrial wireless series gets ISA approval

The ISA Standards & Practices (S&P) approved the ISA-100.11a wireless standard, Wireless Systems for Automation: Process Control and Related Applications. The ISA S&P board’s approval certifies that ISA’s accredited procedures have been followed in the development of the standard.

The standard will now be submitted to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for approval as an ANSI standard, and will be submitted to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for consideration as an IEC standard.

The ISA-100.11a standard was developed by a committee of more than 600 end users and equipment manufacturers from around the world. It is intended to provide reliable and secure wireless operation for non-critical monitoring, alerting, supervisory control, open-loop control and closed-loop control applications.


Keeping your manufacturing network systems safe

While it’s easy to blame terrorists when bad things happen to computer networks, manufacturers themselves are usually the cause of network breakdowns.
FULL STORY


Features



Sustainble Plant of the Year: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

An interest in shrinking the plant’s carbon footprint and a good neighbor attitude help ease hurdle rates for sustainability initiatives at this California craft brewery.
FULL STORY


Vision-guided robots

While performing dangerous jobs, vision-guided robotic systems can also help prevent food product contamination.  
FULL STORY


Tech Update: Valves

Economic constraints are impacting all operations areas, but packaging professionals aren’t suspending efforts to improve sustainability and flexibility.
FULL STORY


Packaging trends survey

Economic constraints are impacting all operations areas, but packaging professionals aren’t suspending efforts to improve sustainability and flexibility.
FULL STORY


People, Plant and Industry News

Archer Daniels Midland’s board of directors elected Michael Baroni, Domingo Lastra, Joseph Taets and Gary Towne corporate officers.

 

Hardy Instruments has entered a partnership with Saturn Scale Systems to service Hardy customers throughout Canada.

 

Didier Thevenet, currently vice president of Clextral’s international industrial management, has been designated president of Clextral Inc., the subsidiary based in Tampa, FL since 1986.

 

Mark A. Duffy has joined Specialized Technology Resources, Inc. as president of its quality assurance division.

 

Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. appointed Timothy T. Griffith as vice president and treasurer.

 

BinMaster Level Controls appointed Cape Instrument Services CC of Cape Town, South Africa as distributor for its level measurement/control products throughout South Africa.

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