Food/Beverage

In the United States the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the top moderator of the food and beverage industry, from food additives to packaging processes. Across the world, countries have their own regulatory agencies (e.g., France has the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Germany has the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Hong Kong the Center for Food Safety). 

 

The food and beverage industry are tightly regulated by the USDA to prevent consumer exposure to harmful pathogens, namely strains of E. coli. Cumulatively the USDA estimates that nearly 25,000 food-borne illnesses are prevented each year from implemented salmonella testing standards. In conjunction with food safety comes food and beverage packing, which can pose an inherent risk for the spread of microbes and leaching of package components into food if not tested carefully. “[The] implementation of a "test and hold" policy in December 2012 prevents the recall of unsafe foods. Facilities are now required to hold product until microbiological testing can determine it is safe to release meat, poultry and egg products into commerce. This policy will significantly reduce consumer exposure to unsafe meat products.”(1) For example, while the FDA has stated that trace amounts of bisphenol A (BPA) are safe in food products, the USDA encourages companies to avoid the use of this industrial chemical coating as it can leak into consumed food.(2) To date, BPA free coatings have shown extended shelf lives in canned goods.(3) When possible you can buy products known to be BPA free when they are packaged with the label below. 

 

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In food processing facilities both the food and food packaging are tested for their leachable components and other potential contaminants both to consumers and the environment. 

 

In addition to the safety measure described above the USDA uses “Operation of the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone traveling exhibit and Ask USDA” as key components for consumer education programs.(1) They have also developed the Food Safe Families campaign and clearer product labels so consumers know about any additives that may not be intuitively apparent. MicroBio Consulting uses ISO standards 9001:2015 and 14001:2015, which pertain to the food packaging quality and environmental awareness, respectively, to ensure the safety of consumers and the environment (e.g., water bottle caps). 

 

MicroBio conducts microbiological investigations that will test the safety and efficacy of food or beverage packaging. This testing is done using genetic methods to measure DNA or RNA of contaminant species and team consultation, which is a team approach to investigate the genus and species of a contaminant. MicroBio Consulting’s thorough methodologies ensure that a product is safe. (4)