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Food Safety Systems Q3 2018 Newsletter

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Where in the World in Eurofins Food Safety Systems?

Eurofins Food Safety Systems is headquartered in Des Moines, IA, but we can be found all over the place at a variety of events. Check out our upcoming appearances and join us!


FSMA and the Dietary Supplements Industry  -- In Collaboration with UNPA!
July 19 @ 12 pm CDT

Zone One Testing: Do You Dare?  -- With Eurofins' Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Doug Marshall
August 22 @ 11 am CDT

BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8: What’s New?  -- In Collaboration with BRC!
September 20 @ 11 am CDT

SQF Information Day

Join food industry professionals on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 to discover the benefits of third-party food safety and quality certification. Learn better business practices that increase profits and protect brands, including lessons learned from recent food safety outbreaks. Or expand your knowledge, skills, and expertise in the field of food safety auditing.

Register for the 2018 SQF Information Day


Planning your 2018 tradeshow travel? Find Eurofins complete exhibitor schedule here.

Summer Fancy Food Show
New York, NY
June 30-July 2, 2018

Salt Lake City, UT
July 8-11, 2018

Chicago, IL
July 15-18, 2018

Natural Products Expo East
Baltimore, MD
September 13-15, 2018


Eurofins' complete 2018 public training schedule has been released! View the schedule here


Important FAMI-QS News from our Technical Manager

Dear Colleagues,Kris Middleton

As you may be aware, the FAMI-QS code has gone through an update to version 6. The Secretariat announced that there will be a 3-year transition to version 6 from version 5.1. The transition already started on October 2, 2017.  In order to provide some clarity, we, as your Certification Body, would like to provide you with the following timetable of activities as it relates to the transition.

October 2, 2017 – Three-year transition to FAMI-QS version 6 starts

February 1, 2018 – Scope applications under version 6 opened

April 1, 2019 – All subsequent audits completed in version 6 of the FAMI-QS

October 1, 2020 – Transition to FAMI-QS version 6 complete and all version 5.1 certificates are no longer valid.

For those certified under FAMI-QS, your site now currently has the option to apply for your revised approval letter for the new scope (as of February 1, 2018).  The new scope categories are detailed below:

Chemical – The typical production process consists of a chemical reaction of organic and/or inorganic raw materials under defined conditions whereby organic and/or inorganic processing aids, steam, water, air and/or gas could be inserted into the process. After the synthesis, the final product can be purified by for e.g. distillation/ crystallization/ filtration and dried.

Bioprocessing – The process uses the biological material or its components to obtain the desired product.  Bioprocessing is mainly based on upstream processes to produce biological material (cell culture, fermentation) and downstream processes which include recovery, separation/purification of the desired material/ intermediate products, and possible preservations steps such as drying/ freeze drying and formulation.

Mining – Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth. Mineral processing is mainly based on various mechanical means of crushing, grinding, washing, precipitating, etc. that enable the separation of valuable minerals from the source.

Extraction – Extraction mainly is executed either by an aqueous solution or by using organic solvents, or by a combination of both. The distinctive characteristics of such production methods are the combination of a series of dissolution and precipitation steps, pH, temperature and moisture adjustments, in order to isolate the molecule from its organic matrix and further refine it to the desired properties. The down-stream process(es) usual comprise of the removal of the solvent agent, distillation, temperature treatment to inactivate potentially harmful substances, drying, granulation, formulating, sieving and packaging.

Mixing – Dry or liquid mixtures of one or more specialty feed ingredients with or without a carrier. These mixtures are not intended for direct feeding to animals or can be combined with the daily ration and must perform specific, technological, sensory, zootechnical or other functions related to the specialty feed ingredients.

Formulations/ preparations – The typical production process consists of mixing organic and/or inorganic raw materials in a solution until dissolved followed by drying the solution with a carrier before packaging of the final product. Processing aids such as steam, water, air, gas, and solvents could be used in the process. The process is carried out under defined conditions. 

If you have any other questions regarding the transition, please do not hesitate to contact us at auditing@eurofinsus.com.

Thank you again for being a valued Eurofins client and we look forward to continuing to have a productive and prosperous relationship.


Kristopher Middleton
Technical Manager – Eurofins Scientific, Inc.


Get to Know The Food Safety Team

Because we don’t all get to know you personally, we want to open ourselves up and let you get to know the Eurofins Food Safety Team! We are proud of the group we have assembled, and it continues growing. Each quarter we will feature a brief interview with a different team member and give you a better taste of who we are, in and out of the office.

Kim Knoll, Business Development Manager

What is your background (briefly)?  

Before joining Eurofins, I worked as a Senior Microbiologist, and eventually Technical Sales Manager, for an independent food testing laboratory.   I also spent a few years in production as a Food Safety/QA Manager in the Fresh Cut Produce, Bakery, and Confectionary sectors.     

Why did you choose Eurofins?   

I was a very happy customer of Eurofins Micro Laboratories in Lancaster, PA, so I was really interested when I became aware of the open position.  I found out that my boss would be Gary Smith and that really sold me. I knew that I would learn a lot from Gary, and I knew that I belonged in more of a customer service type role. I have been with Eurofins for four years now, and I am still very happy to have this opportunity.  

What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?  

How to become GFSI Certified!  

What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?  

After this long winter, my ideal weekend is hot & sunny weather, with time spent at the pool or on the water with my family.   I especially enjoy steak or seafood on the grill courtesy of my husband. 

What is something you like to do the old-fashioned way?  

Reading books!  I love going to the library and checking out books.   I have no desire to download books onto an e-reader.   

What are some small things that make your day better? 

During the work week, it feels great to help a customer & get a sincere thank you.   Crossing stuff of my To-Do list throughout the day also makes for a good day.  Other than that, as long as I have my coffee in the morning, I am good. 

Where do you usually go when you have time off? 

I am very content staying home, but I do love the beaches and gulf coast in Florida. 


Client Contribution 

Dave Robinson, Director of Baking - The Brownie Baker

The Brownie BakerOver the past year, we have had the pleasure of working with the team at Brownie Baker in Fresno, CA on their path to SQF Certification. From the first phone call, through training, Gap Analysis, and their upcoming audit, it has been quite a journey for the team. Here, our partner and colleague, Dave Robinson, shares his highly-relatable story.

What in the world is going on? I’m surrounded by acronyms! SQF, GFSI, FSMA, HACCP, HARPC, and GFCI!  Wait, we can eliminate that last one, wrong field. All kidding aside; there is much going on in the world today with regards to the food industry and I am trying to catch up. Sometimes I reflect on that saying “Stop the world and let me off”! Granted, some of this punishment is self-inflicted. I mean who doesn’t love food? I enjoy this industry and I understand the need to keep it safe for consumers. We in the business have reputations to protect and we want to do whatever is economically feasible (with a dab of common sense) to protect our brand. The days are gone when all we wanted to hear about our food was how great it tastes! Now consumers are asking, is it safe to eat?

You mean that isn’t assumed? If I’m driving down the road and I come to a bridge, do I need to ask a civil engineer if it’s safe to drive across? In today’s world, which looks much different than 28 years ago when I began in the business, that question is being asked about food. When I first started here so many years ago our muffins didn’t have a label on them but were sold to stores! They were just wrapped in cellophane with a bright yellow ‘NEW’ sticker. 

Okay, enough about the good ole days; let me talk about my journey to SQF. As I mentioned earlier, my baking journey began 28 years ago and I was coming on as a college student. I worked part-time as it was a very small company. Six months after I started, the company was purchased with plans to expand it.  And did we expand! Within one year the new owner had brought his marketing knowledge to the bakery and changed our method of selling. He streamlined our product line and purchased our first piece of automation, a wrapping machine. Over the next few years, we had grown and moved into the second of what would be four buildings. It was during this time I had advanced to a management position overseeing both baking and packaging. Our staff continued to grow as we pushed further and further into new territories. I was beginning to hear about HACCP at this time and began digging to learn more. But the more I dug the more overwhelming it became. I did not have a degree in food safety but a lot just seemed like common sense. But when it comes to the FDA or any government body, common sense is not a defense! So during the years that followed we began implementing some HACCP strategies (HACCP was not yet mandatory in the baking industry) because it seemed the right thing to do. Then, an FDA inspector put me in my place. When he asked to see my HACCP plan, I promptly reached over and showed him my 10-page binder. That’s right, 10 pages that I was proud of with its fancy flowchart and copies of technical regulations! Needless to say, he wasn’t impressed and promptly told me to stop saying ‘I have a HACCP plan’, because this wasn’t one.

As time went on, those of us in management learned a lot. One of the most important lessons was “it cannot rest on the shoulders of one person”. It requires a team, with each area of the business participating; giving their unique perspective. So a team began to develop. We promoted one of our people into the role of handling food safety alongside myself. We did research online; we learned from larger companies; any place we could gather information we absorbed it! As the deadline for FSMA approached, we gathered employees from differing positions, signed up for PCQI classes and SQF training all at the same time. After that week was over, I realized we were still not going to be able to handle it ourselves. One of our customers was requiring us to be SQF Certified within a few months. So, we hired a consultant. But even after that, we were still overwhelmed. We finally made the smartest decision and hired a QC expert full time.

Here we are today with a much better understanding of food safety. We now have our own Food Safety Manager and team! We are all focused on the same goal.  And with the continual growth through the years it has become necessary to have a third party certification. And since FDA is requiring FSMA Compliance we decided to go the extra step to become SQF Certified. Because of this certification, it has opened up doors and allowed us to expand beyond our own product. We have purchased a second facility and are now co-baking for other companies. I will not sugar coat it, there is an investment, but the rewards will be well worth it. Not only will the new business make it worth the while, but also we have a new sense of pride and assurance that “yes, my product is not just great to eat, but is also safe to eat”! 


Eurofins Announcements

Eurofins Receives 2018 IAFP Black Pearl Award

Black Pearl AwardEurofins Scientific Inc. has been selected to receive the 2018 Black Pearl Award by the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). The award will be presented at the IAFP Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah on July 11, 2018.

The Black Pearl Award honors a single company each year for significant achievements in advancing food safety and quality.

The relationship between Eurofins and IAFP is the result of a rich history of support and involvement with IAFP and its affiliates in a number of ways over the years. Their combined efforts have led to a greater global commitment and focus on food safety and quality.

“We are honored to accept the 2018 Black Pearl Award,” said Sean Murray, President of Eurofins US Food. "This recognition is a reflection of 30 years of leadership from Eurofins food safety experts around the world working to advance the Eurofins mission of testing for life."

Read the original press release here: IAFP Names Eurofins Scientific Inc. as Recipient of the Prestigious Black Pearl Award


Why You Need A Food Defense Plan

FSMA rule 21 CFR Part 121 (IA Rule): Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration requires facilities to create and enact a food defense plan that protects from acts of intentional adulteration intended to cause harm to consumers. Food defense activities are often confused with food fraud mitigation, but the two topics are mutually exclusive. How can you tell the difference and prepare for both? 

Motivation makes the difference.

 Food Fraud v. Food Defense

Food Defense

Food Defense is the need to protect against food adulteration within the manufacturing site. Although Food Defense has always been a requirement of GFSI-benchmarked standards, it has come back into focus with the final IA Rule and is commonly confused with Food Fraud.

“The process to ensure the security of food and drink from all forms of intentional malicious attack including ideologically motivated attack leading to contamination.” (GFSI 2017)

The purpose of a food defense plan is to protect against acts intended to cause harm to the public, consumers or companies from within the manufacturing site. Potential threats range from relatively common tamper hoaxes to less probable terrorist attacks. Common controls include fences, security cameras, plant sign-in procedures and manned security.

According to the IA Rule, “individuals assigned to work at actionable process steps and their supervisors, are required to receive training in food defense awareness.”

The FDA created an Intentional Adulteration Subcommittee with the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) to develop food defense resources to prepare your company to develop and implement a food defense plan. The free online course takes only 20-30 minutes and those who complete the training receive a certificate from FSPCA.

Access the training here: FSPCA Food Defense Awareness for the IA Rule

Food Fraud

Food Fraud happens at the supplier level. It is the need to protect against adulteration and verify that the ingredients you are buying are truly what they should be and not altered accidentally or intentionally.

“Food Fraud is the collective term encompassing the intentional substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food/feed, food/feed ingredients or food/feed packaging, labelling, product information or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain that could impact consumer health.” (GFSI BRv7 2017)

The intentional adulteration, substitution or mislabeling of food ingredients can pose serious health risks for consumers and permanently damage the reputation of producers and suppliers around the globe. In response to this threat, regulators and the Global Food Safety Initiative have set new requirements for food fraud vulnerability assessments and mitigation strategies as part of the food safety management system.

The new food fraud requirements with GFSI benchmarked standards (SQF, BRC, FSSC 22000) are aimed at minimizing the risk for food fraud by reducing opportunities for fraudsters to reach consumers through monitoring, corrective actions, training and recordkeeping, and evaluation.

Eurofins offers a comprehensive catalog of food fraud services.


Healthy Business

Why Responsiveness Matters

Imagine you are out at a restaurant. You wait several minutes just to be acknowledged. Once seated, 15 minutes or more pass before a server greets you or takes your drink order. Your food is cold when it arrives, and when you complain, management does nothing to compensate you for your horrible experience, not even as much as an apology. You call and email the restaurant after the fact and response is delayed for several days, or worse--you are permanently ignored.

The issue here is a lack of responsiveness, and no matter how good the reviews are you’re probably not going back.


Responsiveness is the basis for all good customer service and professional relationships. Even if the response is a simple "I need to get back to you”, there should be some communication within a reasonable time frame. Whether this is B2C, B2B, or internally, what is your standard? What is the standard you expect from your team? What do others expect of you? What is your Responsiveness Reputation?

Advice from Inc. Magazine: “Companies need to prioritize flexibility over efficiency and reduce friction in the flow of information. The companies with the quickest reactions will own the competitive advantage.”

It’s likely we have all at one time or another had the pleasure of acquiring a new customer simply because a competitor didn’t respond. Or, perhaps more often, we have taken our business elsewhere due to the lack of response from others.

Response time in the early days of customer interactions is an indicator of how the relationship will evolve down the road. Those initial impressions are the “first date” that leads to the long-term relationship if you put your best foot forward.

For those in a leadership role, do not expect to leave this in the hands of your customer service or sales teams. The entire team will be judged based on the response time of the leader. The strongest leaders know this and do not allow their own “busy-ness” to get in the way of responding to customers, or to their team. A good leader removes obstacles, rather than becoming one.

Granted, we are truly busy people. Our email is a never-ending battle, voicemail can be overlooked, and social media blows up with messages. It takes true mindfulness and organization, as well as a deep awareness and concern for the time and money of everyone involved to make this a priority.

In a fast-moving industry, responsiveness is a simple concept that must be executed daily, even hourly, if a company is to remain relevant and profitable. Don’t let a casual attitude toward it ruin your Responsiveness Reputation!


Healthy Living

Tips for Exercising in The Heat

heatAfter a long Winter of being indoors, and for many of us, a Spring that felt more like Winter, the last thing we want to do is be stuck inside for our workouts this summer. Don’t let the heat keep you inside on the treadmill all year! Whether you are running, cycling, swimming, doing yoga in the park, playing soccer, or any host of other activities, you can acclimate to the higher temperatures and get outside safely.

According to Outside Online, “heat acclimation may actually be more beneficial than altitude training in eliciting positive physiological adaptations, says Santiago Lorenzo, a professor of physiology at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and a former decathlete at the University of Oregon. “Heat acclimation provides more substantial environmental specific improvements in aerobic performance than altitude acclimation,” he says. And in contrast to the live low, train high philosophy, we more quickly adapt to heat stress than we do to hypoxia. In other words, heat training not only does a better job at increasing V02 max than altitude, but it also makes athletes better at withstanding a wider range of temperatures.”

Here are 5 tips for cooling down your workout at staying safe and well.

  1. Hydrate in advance and often. Start drinking extra water several days in advance of a race or a big workout. If you train outside daily or several times per week, then hydration should be top of mind every day. Consuming fruits and vegetables are a great way to add hydration beyond just drinking water. Be sure you’re drinking during your workout too. A good rule to follow is to consume at least one 20-ounce sports bottle per hour of work. You may choose to add an electrolyte powder as well but stay away from sugary sports drinks. They add unnecessary calories and can cause GI distress.
  1. Decrease your intensity. Understand in advance that your heart rate will automatically be higher in extreme heat, especially if you haven’t acclimated. Dial it back a bit, knowing you are still getting the full benefit of the session.
  1. Whether you know it or not, you are sweating. If cycling, swimming, or doing any other activities in which your sweat dries quickly or you aren’t aware of the amount you sweat, continue to take in the appropriate amount of hydration.
  1. Stay ahead of hydration and nutrition. Getting behind will cost you later, either in your endurance to continue or in your recovery.
  1. If possible, avoid the hottest part of the day. Unless you are heat training for an event in which you will be exerting yourself in the mid-day sun, exercise at sunrise or sunset after to avoid the heat.

Most importantly, listen to your body. If you are experiencing light-headedness, headaches, nausea or vomiting, or cramps that don’t go away, know when to call it off for the day. That is your body telling you it has had enough and you’re entering the danger zone.