Category Archives: Blog

See the Many Colors of Remco at IPPE

We’ll be showing all our true, bright colors at IPPE from 1/31-2/2 in Atlanta! Our experts will be on-hand to talk about the value of color-coding your operations and how our hygienically designed tools are different. You’ll also be able to see our nine distinct colors on some of our most popular Remco and Vikan tools. From orange to purple, and from yellow to pink, we can help you make your organization safer and more colorful.

Color coding can be used to:

1. Provide zone control. Different colors can be assigned to each step in the process, or by manufacturing lines. In the meat industry, many choose to use red tools in the raw prep areas and white for finished products. This is also useful for protecting against allergen cross-contact and can be an important part of an HACCP plan.

2. Increase traceability. When colors are assigned to zones, confirming that a tool is misplaced is easy, and tracing it back to its point of origination is quick. This level of traceability can translate to the prevention of costly recalls.

3. Divide workspaces. For example, red could be used by first shift, while blue could indicate second shift. Using color-coding to designate workspaces in this way can be particularly helpful to companies that closely monitor tool and equipment costs. The result can be a reduced incidence or misuse of tools in unapproved areas, as well as fewer lost or misplaced items.

4. Facilitate 5S Systems. This system works by promoting five pillars: sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain. If followed, a workplace should be completely organized at all times. The 5S System recommends integrating color cues throughout a work process or facility in order to reduce waste and optimize productivity. The color-coding promotes a workplace culture where tools and supplies are placed where they are needed and are well-maintained for longevity of use. Color-coded tools intuitively complement and support the goals of a 5S workplace.

5. Separate cleaning and sanitation. Black is commonly used to identify cleaning tools used on floors and around drains. Other colors can designate tools that are appropriate for sanitizing food contact surfaces, or to differentiate among tools that are specified for use with particular chemical agents. This can also help prevent using a powerful cleaner on the wrong equipment.

Remco representatives will be happy to answer all your color-coding questions at IPPE, as well as help you determine if it’s the right choice for your facility. We will have products on display, and we’ll proudly tell you what makes our hygienically designed, color-coded tools unique within the industry. If you’re unable to attend IPPE or you have questions before the show, please contact our customer service representatives here.

 

What are Documents of Compliance in Food Processing?

Food contact surfaces like cleaning and material handling tools must comply with the FDA’s rules about what they can contain and how they must be designed. FDA CFR21 110 Subpart C, states that “Food-contact surfaces shall be corrosion-resistant when in contact with food. They shall be made of nontoxic materials and designed to withstand the environment of their intended use and the action of food, and, if applicable, cleaning compounds and sanitizing agents.”

There currently isn’t an obligation to test finished products to comply with FDA regulations, however, it is a generally accepted practice to provide documents that show the base materials of food contact tools are FDA compliant.

But, companies that trade with Europe must follow a much stricter set of documentation laws. According to Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 and Regulation (EU) No 10/2011, each food contact material (FCM) needs to undergo migration testing and be declared safe for food use.

Migration tests

Each base material—whether it’s the blue plastic used in a brush or the green bristles used on a broom—is put through migration testing. Migration testing reveals how much of any or a particular substance (such as harmful chemicals/compounds from the base materials) can be transmitted from the tool’s material to the food products. The maximum permitted quantity (QM) left behind in the food product is most often 10 mg/dm2 for overall migration limits (the total amount of migrated material left behind), but that figure changes when infant food or volatile substances are in play.

Specific migration limits, which consider the total amount of one specific substance that’s left behind, must be checked against Annex I for the maximum limit of each substance’s limit. The maximum amount allowed depends on the substance.

Documentation

According to Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 – Annex IV, each declaration of compliance must contain the following:

  • Identifying information for the business issuing the declaration, and the business that manufactures the product
  • The materials used in the product, and confirmation they all conform to EU’s regulations
  • Migration test results, and that they conformed to the standard
  • Product information about what type of food the tool is meant to be used with, and the time/temperature it can safely be used at

For more specific information, read Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 – Annex IV here.

Use of documents of compliance

There must be one document of compliance for each product, excepting those made out of the same exact composition, which can share documentation. For example, one document for a blue push broom and a blue scrubber, as long as the plastic and bristles were made out of the same materials, is acceptable. However, one document for a blue and a red scrubber is insufficient to meet the requirements, since the color dye changes the product’s material composition.

This documentation is designed to give food processors the information they need to safely use tools in their production facilities. Though the FDA doesn’t require this type of documentation, it can greatly enhance your food safety plan. To obtain these documents, request them from your equipment manufacturer. Make sure that each document is unique to the material it’s made of. One generic document of compliance isn’t enough to comply with European regulations. For Remco Product customers, email our customer service department at cs@remcoproducts.com, and our representatives will get you copies of the documents you need.

 

Sources

Smith, Debra. “Are your cleaning tools food safe?” Vikan, 2015. http://ust.vikan.com/media/1288/food_hygiene_int_article_en_0615.pdf.

“Union Guidance on Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food as regards information in the supply chain.” European Commission Health and Consumers Directorate-General, 2013. https://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/safety/docs/cs_fcm_plastic-guidance_201110_reg_en.pdf.

Grosmans, Sonja; Thomis, Nadine. “Food Contact Materials EU No. 10/2011 lesgislation.” Intertek, 2012. http://www.intertek.com/events/2012/hes/eu-no-10-2011-for-plastic-food-contact-materials-webinar/slides/.

e-CFR. “Title 21: Food and Drugs, Part 110, Subsection C.” U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2016. http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=114e23c93d8ac137c1f2103395d974c8&mc=true&node=pt21.2.110&rgn=div5#sp21.2.110.c.

New-Employee-Proof Your Safety Plan with Color Coding

In the food processing industry, like many factory-based jobs, employee turnover is high. When you’re seeing a turnover rate of about 35% yearly, how do you train your staff to follow important safety plans? When you’re in an industry where a simple mistake by a single employee could result in thousands of people getting sick, how do you ensure HACCP compliance?

For many, color coding has become the easiest answer. Color coding offers a simple solution to an otherwise complex problem. Even the newest employee can quickly learn that red products belong with the raw product, and white goes with the finished.

Here are our top 5 tips to using color coding to ensure all of your employees follow CGMPs.

  1. Set up cleaning stations

Cleaning stations serve as a visual reminder that everything has its place. Put a sign over a station filled with blue tools to remind everyone that those tools are used to clean floors in the packing area, and another sign over a pink wall bracket to tell employees that those tools are used in receiving. Cleaning stations also remind employees to hang tools back up once they’ve been cleaned.

  1. Separate allergen control zones

Training new employees on how and why to respect allergen control zones is difficult. Popular culture has made everyone aware of the danger of peanuts, but many people don’t respect the potential harm trace residues of milk ending up in the wrong product can do. Even if your individual employee doesn’t understand why blue tools are only to be used in a certain area, they can at least quickly understand that it’s the way the factory operates. If the new employee still doesn’t respect the separation, they can be quickly corrected, since it will be immediately obvious they’re using a tool outside its zone.

  1. Back up your plan with pictures

It’s riskily idealistic to think every employee who walks through your door will know how to read in English, or know how to read at all. Photos of what to use each tool with will back up your written signs and make them easy to understand for all of your employees, no matter what their background or education level is. Use easy photos like a picture of peanuts with a big red X over them for your peanut-free tools, or a photo of a purple scoop next to wheat grains so employees know what those tools should (and shouldn’t) touch.

  1. Don’t use commonly color-blind colors

When you choose colors, be aware that some are more easily confused than others. Of people with color-blindness, about 99% have trouble distinguishing between red and green. Try not to use these colors in the same color coding plan. Also, be aware of the fact that about one in 12 men are colorblind, and one in 200 women. Choose shades that are contrasting, like white and red, and avoid putting similar shades near each other, like brown and orange or blue and purple.

  1. Use color-coding to spot training issues

Is someone using the brush meant for a different shift or a different area of the facility? It’s time for a small, informal retraining conversation with a floor manager. These easy discussions can essentially boil down to telling the employee the color they should be using for their purpose. Quick one-on-one sessions with a manager will reinforce these guidelines, and with very little time or effort wasted. Floor managers should have color-coded zones memorized so they can make the most of their time on the floor and correct problems where they see them.

 

Food safety is everyone’s job in the plant, but training comes down to managers and owners. Creating an environment where safety comes first starts with using the right tools for the job, and color coding can help with that.

The Differences Between Non-Sparking and Anti-Static Tools

Non-sparking and anti-static tools both have a common purpose—preventing fires or explosions in production facilities where flammable materials present a concern. However, they each are designed to prevent specific dangers, and shouldn’t be confused. Non-sparking tools are characterized by their lack of ferrous metals (steel and iron), which means they don’t cause sparks that could ignite under the right conditions.

Anti-static tools are carefully designed to work within a system of grounding equipment to prevent static electricity from building to the point it could damage electronics or provide enough of a charge to start a fire or explosion.

However, being non-sparking doesn’t mean a tool can’t also be anti-static. When properly grounded, a non-sparking tool can also prevent electrostatic discharge.

When are non-sparking tools needed?

Non-sparking tools are important for use in a facility that may have an explosive atmosphere or any reason to be especially concerned about the possibility of sparks causing a fire or an explosion. This typically concerns production facilities that contain flammable gas, mists, dusts, or liquids. Non-flammable tools are often used in oil refineries, paper companies, and ammunitions plants. Food processing facilities that use powdered milk, egg whites, cornstarch, grain, flour, or cornstarch may also use non-sparking tools since these can all create combustible dust hazards.

What are non-sparking tools?

Non-sparking tools are, essentially, those that don’t contain ferrous metals. Ferrous metals include steel and iron, in all of their different iterations. Items that are made from carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron or wrought iron all have the possibility of producing a spark.

Non-ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, brass, silver and lead. They’re not the only materials that non-sparking tools are made out of, though.

Common non-sparking tools are made of:

  • Plastic
  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Copper-nickel alloys
  • Copper-aluminum alloys
  • Copper-beryllium alloys
  • Wood
  • Leather

Plastic is a common non-sparking material for items like shovels, scrapers, paddles, and scoops.  Tools that need a higher tensile strength, like hammers or screws, are often made out of copper alloys, though beryllium tends to be avoided because of its possible toxicity.

There is a possibility that even non-sparking tools could cause a reaction called a “cold spark”, which doesn’t contain enough heat to ignite even the most flammable of substances, carbon disulfide. Cold sparks can still give the appearance that sparks are happening, but are safe around even the most flammable of substances.

When are anti-static tools needed?

Electronics components—especially motherboards—are extremely electrostatic discharge (ESD) sensitive. A simple static charge created by a worker walking across a floor to a workstation could destroy a motherboard, rendering the entire component useless. Most industries don’t need to worry about static discharge, but when flammable gas is in the air, such as acetone or methane, even a small discharge can create a fire or explosion.

What are anti-static tools?

Anti-static tools are more complex than not containing a specific type of metal. They must be a part of a complete program to safely discharge static.

Static electricity naturally builds up through three different processes:

  1. Tribocharging: Two materials (like socks and carpet) are brought into contact and then separated.
  2. Electrostatic induction: An electrically charged object is placed near a conductive object that isn’t grounded.
  3. Energetically charged particles impinge on an object: This is mostly a problem for spacecraft.

The most effective prevention for static electricity isn’t so much a single tool, as it is a system of precautions, grounding mechanisms and a lack of highly charged materials. Together, this creates an Electrostatic Discharge Protection Area (EPA) that works to keep electrostatic discharge (ESD) sensitive materials safe.

The principles of a successful EPA include:

  1. No highly charged materials
  2. All conductive materials are grounded
  3. Workers are grounded
  4. Electrostatic charge builds up on ESD-sensitive electronics is prevented

The hand tools you use in this environment are often made from plastics that are specifically created to work within this delicately balanced system. These electrostatic dissipative (ESD) tools have a balanced charge and low surface resistivity, which means they don’t gain or lose charge to the objects and surfaces that surround them. These tools have precise temperature and humidity ranges that they work in. If they’re used outside those ranges, they may still create a static charge.

 

If your facility needs non-sparking tools, all of our lines except our metal detectables will fit your needs. With the exception of some of our handles, they’re made of plastic, which makes our tools durable and safe to use in many different environments.

If you have a static sensitive environment, you may require anti-static tools, which we currently do not offer.

Some of our products, such as our green shovels, are made of plastic mixed with a static resistant compound. The compound is designed to reduce static and keep products from clinging to the tool. This doesn’t make them anti-static, and they shouldn’t be used in areas that have anti-static requirements.

 

3 Surprises from the 2016 Food Manufacturer Survey

Food Engineering Magazine’s annual State of Manufacturing Survey is here, and it shows the industry has a lot of room for growth, despite taking some extremely positive steps last year. In this year’s survey, 72% of respondents reported that they have a food safety management system in place, and 69% report having a recall plan.

2016 Food Safety Methods
Chart courtesy of Food Engineering Magazine

Though having a food safety management system in place isn’t the same as being FSMA-ready, in 2014, only 38% of those surveyed said they followed FSMA recommendations, and in 2015, manufacturers reported 41% compliance.

GFSI Adoption and Food Safety Management Systems Grow

As FSMA has begun to take effect this year, more plants are adopting Global Food Safety Initiative programs like BRC, SQF 2000 and FSSC 2200. Plants are following these schemes, which all include an audit protocol, to ensure they’re ready for the possibility of an audit by the FDA, as well as to ensure they’re following current best practices. These programs often include measures like color coding facilities to minimize cross-contamination and using durable tools that are less likely to contribute to foreign body contamination.

Allergen Controls Reportedly Used Less

It’s tempting, as an industry, to be satisfied with this growth. However, as plant managers put some measures and checks into place, they’re leaving others by the wayside. Food safety management systems and recall plans have gone up in use, but allergen controls, which could prevent recalls like the 2016 Oreo undeclared allergen recall, have declined in use.
Food Safety Magazine reports that 34% of all recalls between 2009-2012 occurred because of undeclared allergens. In 2015, that number was 33%. The lesson? We aren’t getting any better at controlling allergens and allergen cross-contamination. Now isn’t the time to step back on things like allergen control, especially when the FDA reports more consumers have food allergies than ever.

Lot-Level Traceability Experiences Sharp Decline

Traceability, a process done using adhesive labeling that tracks products from the farm to consumer’s hands, experienced a sharp decrease in use this year. It’s entirely possible the track-and-trace feature has been incorporated into ERPs or other inventory systems, but the survey doesn’t have a way of reflecting that possibility. Either way, the 15% decline in its use is unexpected in a year that’s been dotted with around 450 food recalls, according to the FDA’s website.

Looking Forward

It could be, as Food Engineering Magazine proposes, that other safety plans have made some measures redundant, but it’s worth examining whether stricter FDA regulations have made plants fall back onto the bare minimum, or whether safety and efficiency really are walking side-by-side now.

What you need to know about FSMA: Part 1

If you are in the food industry and have had your eyes and ears open, then most likely you have heard the word FSMA being thrown around… a lot. However, some people might find themselves unfamiliar with the term or have limited knowledge of it, so in this entry we are going to cover some general information regarding FSMA and in upcoming blogs we will go into further detail about each proposed rule issued by the FDA that supports this legislation.

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The people, pathogens and food of today are not those of the past. Our population is living longer and with problems that make them more susceptible to foodborne illness complications. Pathogens are evolving and becoming more adaptable and harder to kill. Our food is traveling more than it ever has. For example, the FDA states that 15% of food we eat is imported. A total 75% of our seafood, 20% of our vegetables, and 50% of our fruit is imported. However, one thing has not changed and that is the threat that foodborne illness presents to the food industry and its consumers. Continue reading What you need to know about FSMA: Part 1

Hosting My First Thanksgiving

Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner is already stressful to begin with, especially if you have a large family like myself, but being a food safety enthusiast added a whole new level of importance to the holiday because I wanted to take this opportunity to teach my family more about food safety.

Thanksgiving Turkey

In my family we rotate who hosts Thanksgiving so it doesn’t fall on the same person every year to do all the work…and this year was my year.  I was so excited because my husband and I just recently got a house and I was anxious to show off my hosting, cooking, and most importantly, my food safety skills.

The whole process started about two weeks before the event when I went to the grocery store to get the turkey. I worried that if I procrastinated buying the turkey then the store would run out. (Side note…I went to the store the day before Thanksgiving to grab last minute items and there were TONS of turkeys left). I put the turkey in the freezer when I got home.

As the host, we were responsible for the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and a sweet potato and carrot sauté, while the rest of the family was responsible for other various traditional Thanksgiving dishes.  About five days before Thanksgiving I went and bought the rest of the ingredients and promptly put them in the refrigerator or pantry when I got home.  A few days before Thanksgiving, I moved the turkey from the freezer to the refrigerator to safely start thawing and I also cubed loaves of bread to lay out to dry out for the stuffing (my family does not actually stuff the turkey, so some may call this dressing).

Food Thermometer

The day before Thanksgiving was prep time, so I washed and cut celery, diced onion, peeled and cut carrots and cleaned the turkey.  I stored the prepped ingredients in proper containers and put them in the refrigerator until the big day.  While doing so, I made sure to wash my hands, utensils, and countertops thoroughly between handling the raw turkey and my produce. No cross-contamination at this house!  I also calibrated my meat thermometer in case I had to get a new one. (You can do this by boiling a pot of water, sticking your thermometer in the water, not touching the pot, for 1 minute and you should read a temperature between 210-214°F).

The day of Thanksgiving, after the oven was preheated, I got Fred out of the refrigerator (yes, I named the turkey) and put him into the roaster, smothered him with butter, surrounded him with stuffing, and put him in the oven covered.

Meanwhile, my sister-in-law brought appetizers that we snacked on before the big dinner, such as cheese and crackers, deviled eggs, and chex mix. I made sure to refrigerate the perishable items as soon as she arrived, and only put out a portion of each appetizer at a time and refilled the snacks only when needed, leaving nothing out that should be refrigerated for more than 2 hours.

I checked the turkey about every hour to baste and stir the stuffing, meanwhile getting the rest of the food prepared and cooked. Finally, after 4.5 hours the thermometer read 165°F when I checked the turkey. I did this by inserting the thermometer in to the meatiest portion of the turkey and made sure to not get too close to the bone because that will give an inaccurate reading. The rest of the food was ready, so we feasted!

After Thanksgiving dinner, my husband and I cleaned the dishes and stored the leftovers in the refrigerator right away. I did not sit until all the leftovers were put in shallow containers (to allow for quicker cooling than deep containers). I divided the leftovers into individual containers for my family members to take home. I made sure to make it a point to tell them as a general rule to freeze or eat the leftovers within 3-4 days and to put the containers in the refrigerator as soon as they get home.

All in all, I was in the kitchen for about 8 hours that day. It was stressful, exhausting, and completely wonderful. I practice food safety in my everyday life, but this time I wanted to set an example for my family to observe and practice when it is their turn to host.

For more information on Thanksgiving and Holiday food safety please visit:  
http://www.cdc.gov/features/turkeytime/ 
http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/BuyStoreServeSafeFood/ucm328131.htm

Using Color-Coding for Food Safety and Organization

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of consulting with food processors to build and improve color-coding systems in their facilities. Color-coding can be approached in a variety of ways, and works well with a number of related programs. One such program is a lean manufacturing practice called 5S, which I encountered often in a previous position working in the steel industry.

I’m starting to see 5S used more often in food processing. Although I am not an expert in this system developed by the Japanese, I do know that the 5 S’s are Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. The aim is to eliminate waste, keep workspaces organized, and develop procedures that are consistently easy to follow. I can see why this set of guidelines is appealing to food processors. An organized processing facility is agreeable with inspection authorities, because it demonstrates that a food safety procedure is defined and in practice.

Color-coding for food safety

Color-coding is also commonly applied in conjunction with written food safety plans and HACCP programs to further enhance food safety. The purpose of HACCP and the CGMP regulations laid out in 21 CFR 110 is to identify and control hazards that could potentially impact the safety of food. Cleaning and food contact tools can potentially transfer hazards like pathogens and allergens throughout the facility, so it may be important to keep certain tools in designated areas. Color-coding supports this objective by clearly identifying where tools belong or what task they are designated to perform.

food safety color coding for controlled areas and tasks

Color-coding best supports food safety efforts when it is applied with simplicity. A best practice to keep in mind is that the way to create the most effective color-coding program is to implement tools in one solid color. Otherwise the program may become diluted and can introduce more confusion for employees.

Organizing tools with color

When food safety is a concern, it should take precedence over organizational efforts when building a color-coding program. A system like 5S is excellent in supporting a food safety program such as HACCP. However, colors should primarily be determined by the food safety program prior to defining organization principles related to 5S.

Fitting all of these programs together can be challenging, but it is possible and most definitely beneficial to food safety efforts. Anytime you need guidance or advice on building or revising a color-coding system in your food facility, you can call on Remco for support.

Food Contact Tool Storage Best Practices

In many of my visits to food production plants, I see outstanding food safety procedures that can be shared as best practices. One of the easiest and most beneficial best practices to adopt is proper storage of food contact and cleaning tools. Selecting the right tools for specific tasks can mean a significant investment of time and other resources. A good storage plan for those tools will help to protect that investment and enhance food safety efforts.

Wall with Full Red Bracket color-coded food contact toolsThe way a food contact or cleaning tool is stored is almost as important as the tool itself. Implementing a hygienic tool storage system takes some time and effort, but will also provide many benefits once set up correctly. These benefits include better organization, prolonged life of tools, and maintaining the sanitary conditions of tools.

From an organizational perspective, having a storage plan ensures that tools are where you need them, when you need them. Production line supervisors are able to check defined tool locations at the conclusion of each shift. Showing a visual representation of the tools designated for the area enables each supervisor to quickly verify if tools are missing and identify the correct part number for any tools that need to be reordered. Also, tools go missing less often when a storage plan is specified.

Tools that are stored neatly in an area that allows adequate space helps to keep them from colliding or bumping against other objects. Rough contact with other objects can potentially cause breakage, in turn introducing a risk for physical hazards in the facility. In addition, bristles on brushes and brooms can become misshapen and tangled if they are allowed to rest directly on the floor or other surfaces for extended periods of time. It’s a good idea to regularly inspect tools for wear or extraneous damage. If the storage method is contributing to wear, it’s time to make a change. Getting the maximum lifespan out of food contact tools translates to better operational efficiency.

The most important consideration of a storage system for food contact and cleaning tools is that tools are maintained in a sanitary state before being put to use again. Floors are a common surface in a facility for the transport of contaminants, so tools that have been cleaned should be stored off of the floor using a wall bracket or other sanitary mounting option. This is particularly imperative for tools that directly or indirectly contact food, as a tool that has touched the floor introduces a great risk of contamination. In this sense, designating a tool storage location that suspends tools off the ground can protect the integrity of your code-compliant facility and your end product.

Once the tool storage plan has been identified, it should be included in the written food safety plan for the facility. If you need help or guidance with your tool storage program, call Remco. That’s what we’re here for. We can help you determine the best practices to maintain hygiene in your facility. For more information, download a copy of our white paper, “Selection, Care and Maintenance Guide for Food Contact Tools and Equipment.”

Being a Food Safety-Minded Consumer

As a consumer with a passion for food and cooking, I know a thing or two about food safety in the kitchen. In my time at Remco, I’ve learned a lot more and have become acutely aware of all the considerations for the safety of our food as it moves from farm to fork. I am amazed at how much food safety professionals need to know in order to perform their daunting jobs.

Lettuce greens and food safetyI try to be aware of basic food safety guidelines in my kitchen. I use a meat thermometer to be sure the food is within the safe range, but also because I prefer not to overcook it. I avoid the cans with dents at the grocery, because the good ones stack better in the pantry—but also because some dents may compromise the integrity of the product. I clean my grill tools before flipping food if they’ve come into contact with raw meat, and I always use a fresh plate to bring food back inside.

Now that I’ve worked closely within the food industry for over three years, I’m starting to think a little differently about my own food safety. My new awareness goes beyond my own kitchen. Lately I’ve started to wonder about the food safety efforts at the facilities that produce the food I buy. And I’ll tell you, when I hear about a producer going above and beyond for food safety, it sticks with me.

A great example is Earthbound Farms—a California salad greens grower and packager. I read recently that they are BRC validated, which requires very rigorous third-party audits. As a consumer, the fact that they have pursued food safety validations above and beyond requirements tells me that they really care about the safety of their consumers. And they are very transparent about their food safety program. They’ve gained a loyal consumer in me.

With that being said, food safety in my kitchen now starts with getting to know a little bit more about where my food comes from—not just the temperature it arrives at when I’m done cooking it. I now seek information about the food safety programs of producers I purchase from, and I’m willing to spend a bit more if I know that they are diligent in their efforts.