I am a scientist, and sometimes my workspace is more like a kitchen. For over 30 years, I’ve led custom research studies for companies needing scientific evidence that their food products are safe. Often that means meticulously recreating food manufacturing processes in the lab.
The importance of this work is obvious—ensuring food safety is critical for companies to protect consumers and their brand reputations. Although some situations require in-plant studies, with which Covance can also assist, there are reasons for conducting these studies in the lab rather than on-site. Laboratory studies minimizeisruptions to manufacturing operations. More importantly, they also avoid potentially introducing pathogens, spoilage organisms or surrogates into the plant during testing. Critically, they definitively yield scientifically valid results. Continue reading
The adulteration of dietary supplements with synthetic phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors can cause serious adverse health risks. Covance has introduced a new non-targeted analysis method using liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) for screening and identification of known and novel PDE5 inhibitors in dietary ingredients and supplements, leading the industry and our clients to a new level of brand protection.
Below are five things you need to know about PDE5 inhibitors in sexual enhancement supplements and how to screen for these dangerous adulterants. Continue reading
Who do you trust with your brand? If you are not properly testing your raw materials, your brand’s reputation may be at risk.
Infant formula is one of the most highly regulated products in the world—and with good reason. As often the sole source of nutrition for infants, your end products must be unquestionably safe and consistent.
Often, manufacturers test only their end products for adherence to quality and safety standards. This approach can be inefficient and does not offer solutions to recurring problems. By assuring proper testing of your raw materials, you gain confidence in your suppliers’ Certificates of Analysis, minimize risk and increase efficiency of production.
When manufacturing infant formula, you have more than food safety to think about. Managing regional differences in your global supply chain, maintaining consistency through seasonal variability and refining your process for efficient production are only a few of your challenges. The following five steps will help you strengthen management of your supply chain.
Makers of dietary supplements are keeping a close eye on New York after several major retailers were recently accused of selling mislabeled store-branded herbal supplements.
The allegations came after testing initiated by the state’s Attorney General’s office found that supplements, such as ginseng and echinacea, apparently did not contain the labeled ingredients. Although dietary supplements do not have to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before being sold to consumers, they must be labeled correctly and safe for consumption. They also must, according to current good manufacturing practice, be tested using scientifically valid methods–in other words, “accurate, precise, and specific for its intended purpose.”1
If you walk into a McDonald’s restaurant anywhere in the world, one thing is certain: your hamburger will taste the same. Ensuring that level of consistency in tens of thousands of restaurants is no small feat—and is a testament to the stringent quality and safety practices followed by their suppliers.
Today increasing numbers of food manufacturers seek to achieve that same consistency worldwide. Achieving consistency takes regular, global product testing. However, finding a partner that can providethis confidence, anywhere in the world, requires some investigation of its own.
So what do you look for in a lab? And how do you compare one to another? After more than 20 years of managing safety and quality programs, these are my top four suggestions:
It seems every few months there’s another announcement about a new rapid method to test for pathogens. These developments have food manufacturers talking, but why the growing need for speed when it comes to food pathogen testing? And how do you know which method is right for you?
Faster answers, minimizing impact
The benefits of rapid testing are most obvious when you consider the investigation of a food-borne illness outbreak caused by a pathogen such as Listeria monocytogenes, E.coli O157:H7 or Salmonella. These methods allow investigators to quickly link case strains and screen more samples. They also can accelerate root cause investigations so manufacturers can get to a resolution more quickly. Continue reading
With the availability of sensitive mass selective instruments, such as tandem mass spectrometers and high-resolution mass spectrometers, today’s food safety chemists have the ability to accurately analyze multiple classes of mytotoxins simultaneously with minimal sample preparation. Mycotoxins, which are low-molecular weight, chemically diverse toxins, are produced naturally by molds commonly found in grains and fruit and have been linked to a wide range of negative health effects. Continue reading
Analytical test methods for vitamin testing in foods have been in existence for decades, including microbiological and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods. While these methods are still considered the “gold standards” for vitamin testing, a new method, liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), is emerging. LC-MS/MS can offer several advantages over the older methods, including greater sensitivity, precision, simplified sample prep, quantitative dynamic range, and most importantly multiplexing.
This new method is an important solution for our food manufacturer sponsors, as it provides you with faster and more reliable data, as well as potential cost savings if you need a full B-vitamin profile. Continue reading
Considering the current level of extensive international food trade, food safety has become a significant global issue. Many people are increasingly concerned about chemical residues in their foods. Hundreds of pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, are among the most hazardous chemical compounds extensively applied in agriculture to increase food production. They are intended for destroying and controlling pests, weeds or plant diseases. Pesticide application is strictly regulated to protect consumers and the environment. However, the misuse of pesticides, lack of good agricultural management and/or cross-contamination during food processing, storage or transportation may result in unwanted or even illegal pesticide residues in foods. Some compounds, such as polychlorinated pesticides, have been banned for crop use but they are still present in the environment due to their long-term persistence and can bioaccumulate in the food chain. There is evidence that chronic exposure to pesticides can cause health risks to humans even at trace concentrations, for instance having adverse effects on endocrine system or causing behavior modification. Continue reading
Signed into law in 2011, the Food Safety of Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most sweeping change to the way food safety is regulated in the U.S. since the adoption of the Food Drug and Cosmetic act itself in 1938. Due to the sheer size and magnitude of this legislation, the FDA is taking time to get the rules correct. Continue reading