Sample collection and testing at all stages of food production assures successful monitoring of the entire workflow. Statistical Process Control (SPC) methods increases the confidence levels of the data collection and testing methods and protocols of the facility. More data is always better than less data. More accurate, correct, and validated data is the goal for food safety managers to assure consumers, organizational stakeholders, and buyers of the safety of the production goods.
Empowering in-house staff to rigorously examine every step of the production process for bacterial pathogens is key to maintaining a robust food safety program. The primary goal of all food safety programs is that no consumer of the facility products will ever become sick or die from eating the food products.
Well-equipped, trained, supplied, and certified team members yields amazing quality value for the entire food production team.
All team members substantially contribute their skills, energies, and pride in the finished products sold to the organization's buyers.
Vigorous sample handling and retention methods and protocols are critical to the testing and storage of physical evidence of a lot-based sample testing program in the event of consumer claims.
All in-coming raw food products and materials must be held in a receiving "red zone" and immediately tested upon receipt with quantitative, real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) methods prior to being admitted into any food processing facility. This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will prevent any cross-contamination by those products within the food processing environment. Sample collection, sample preparation, sample testing, and test reports should be produced within one (1) hour of delivery in the facility "red or holding zone." This measure more than any other will prevent most major cross contamination events.
Statistical Process Control (SPC) has been very effective in the beef and other mass food production industries. For SPC to be most effective, critical control points (CCPs) must be measured in real time. The quickest reactions for remediation and loss prevention can be effected with SPC. Measuring CCPs along the entire food production process system requires unique effectiveness studies and application measurements.
For processed vegetable production, measuring not only finished products but also processing steps such as washing and growing conditions (irrigation and run-off) for statistically valid sampling. Processing water and field conditions can be spot checked. All these data can be used to SPC production in real time enabling the processor to react to abnormalities as they happen and control distribution prior to release.
A client engagement to audit a food facility's production processes includes the initial inquiry, parameters questionnaire, quotation submission, assignment agreement, date/time scheduling, opening conference meeting, walk-through inspection with comprehensive notations and observations, policies, procedures, standards, and programs review, exit conference, and the issuance of the complete report which will include corrective actions (if observed), , findings, and suggestions.
An independent, internal expert will review the audit for technical accuracy prior to final submission to the client.
All food producers are required by January 2026 to develop and maintain records containing key data elements: “Critical Tracking Events”
-2. Cooling (Before initial packing)
-3. initial packing
-4. First land-based receiver
An issue indoor growers may not fully appreciate is that indoor-grown greens could also be vulnerable to contamination despite the obvious safeguards of controlled environment growing, filtered water sources, and high-tech production methods and instrumentation (https://www.re-nuble.com/blogs/re-nuble/how-indoor-farms-can-prepare-for-fda-s-food-traceability-rule?hss_channel=tw-277234877).
The obvious lesson is that all food producers should strengthen their food safety and quality programs and regimes to prevent future contamination events and product recalls.
The FDA’s food safety requirements require strict adherence to planning, precautions, and internationally-recognized standards.
AME Certified PCR Laboratories supports all clients to meet and exceed these standards and improve the marketability of their products.
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