PET Food Processing - December 2020 - 21

FOOD SAFETY

PROGRAMMING

FOOD SAFETY
A robust environmental monitoring program can validate pathogen
controls, minimize contamination and decrease associated waste.
By Jennifer Barnett Fox | petfoodprocessing@sosland.com

N

No pet food and treat processor can afford a costly recall.
Used to validate the quality of pathogen control measures
and as a method of reducing food waste, environmental
monitoring programs (EMPs) can enhance the effectiveness of current cleaning and sanitation, personnel hygiene
and hygienic zoning protocols. These programs also offer
processors a method for seeking out and destroying potential contamination before food contact surfaces and finished products become contaminated.
The US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Food
Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires processors to implement and establish an EMP to monitor the
environment and reduce contamination through riskbased preventative controls based on hazards in the facility. Other industry regulations such as the Current Good
Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis and the Risk
Based Preventative Controls for Food for Animals rule include sections on the EMPs implemented and the associated expectations. EMPs also help verify the effectiveness
of sanitation controls and are common in facilities where
finished product subject to biological hazards is exposed to
the environment before packaging.
" Contamination in pet food can result in recalled product, shortened shelf life and a bad reputation; and that's
if it's caught before any animals actually get sick, " said

Trevor Craig, technical director, Microbac, Pittsburgh.
" Quality can also be impacted if unfavorable conditions
lead to poor product. "
The use of EMPs versus other sanitation methods depends upon the unique microbial risks in the facility, the
product being made, and the expected cooking or kill step
that will later be used, according to Billie Johnson, Ph.D.,
food safety and regulatory compliance manager, BHJ
North America, Omaha, Neb. Johnson clarified that some
companies have similar sanitation and cleaning programs
to an EMP, but they do not swab or verify Salmonellafree ingredients.
" EMPs are imperative for a dry pet food and treat facility
as the final product must be deemed free from Salmonella
prior to shipping, " Johnson continued. " An environmental
monitoring program is necessary to confirm potential areas
of harborage or sanitation catch points that allow for potential bacterial niches within the manufacturing site. "

A robust EMP
requires buy-in from
all involved and is
only as good as
the quality of the
samples.
©malkovkosta - stock.adobe.com

Based on risk
Acknowledging that locating pathogen contamination is
a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack, Meredith
Sutzko, product manager, Romer Labs, Newark, Del., recommended processors have a robust and statistically valid
sampling plan in place to identify growth niches along with

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PET Food Processing - December 2020

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https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-june-2021
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/pet-food-processing-march-2021
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_12_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_10_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_09_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_06_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_03_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_12_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_10_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_09_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_06_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_03_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_12_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_09_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_06_01
https://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_03_01
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