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The 2018 Global Food Safety Conference will be held in Tokyo, and it is perfect timing as the Asia-Pacific region has begun to meet demand for increased global emphasis on food safety. Seeking to improve preventative measures, members of the region’s food industry are establishing sound environmental monitoring and control programs.

To start, countries across the region are inserting regulations for an enhanced food safety landscape. China adopted a new food safety law in 2015, after a similar law failed in 2009, and the country continues to focus on stiffer penalties for violations, increased rewards for whistleblowers and greater overall supervision of the food industry. As the world’s largest food producer, China is critical in the global food supply chain.

Several other countries in the Asia-Pacific region also are taking governmental measures for better food quality. The presidential administration in Taiwan has pushed to allocate 10 times more resources toward food safety than previously in place, and India has beefed up its regulations with the Food Safety and Standards Act.

Interestingly, a survey commissioned by Ingredient Communications and conducted by market researchers Asia Opinions found 68 percent of Asians are “very interested” in nutrition and healthy eating compared with 38 percent of westerners. Consumer demand within Asia-Pacific will only add to smarter and innovative environmental monitoring in the food industry. The heightened awareness by Asian consumers of where they get their food is a worldwide benefit with its impact reverberating to western regions, whether those consumers care or not.

Lawmaking and regulatory applications aside, for significant food safety progress in Asia-Pacific, the use of advanced in science and technology is a must. It enables a broader set of product and process improvements for a more complete environmental monitoring system. At 3M, we have recognized this food safety movement in the region and are working to provide innovative solutions that help the food industry employ environmental monitoring systems that help find pathogens, allergens and other unwanted organisms.

Overall, what’s best is to adopt a total solution from sample collection and preparation to identification, testing and monitoring needs. The goal should be to mitigate risk at every step to improve operational efficiencies and a company’s bottom line.

As most in the industry know, cleaning and sanitation are crucial beginning points in this process, and ATP testing – systems that detect organic matter on or near areas in a production environment considered clean – has taken a giant step forward recently in the Asia-Pacific food industry. Effective ATP tests inform the decision for whether or not cleaning was effective enough or if manufacturing needs to be placed on hold for re-cleaning and retesting. The 3M™ Clean-Trace™ Hygiene Monitoring and Management System is an example of ATP testing. It uses advanced photomultiplier technology to detect, in a second, a single photon, which allows Clean-Trace to quantify the cleanliness of a surface in just 30 seconds.

Surfaces in question can be repeatedly swabbed, and samples can be analyzed in a lab using indicator technologies (such as 3M™ Petrifilm™ Plates) or DNA-based rapid pathogen tests (such as 3M™ Molecular Detection System) to give better ideas and information as to what lurks in a plant so that the appropriate steps can be taken to have a sanitary environment and avoid costly recalls and public backlash.

Five years ago, it was rare to find an environmental monitoring program in the Asia region. That has drastically changed with greater enforcement of food safety laws and regulations pushing food manufacturers, packagers and service providers to place safety at the forefront. All involved must continue to be steadfast in their attention to cleaning facilities, identifying hazards, properly using and divulging specific ingredients and thoroughly testing foods.

Along with providing complete solutions to support environmental monitoring programs, 3M offers educational programs. This includes access to live or on-demand education courses, instructional videos on 3M Food Safety products and resources such as scientific articles, studies and white papers. This year, 3M Food Safety will air a new webinar series on environmental monitoring programs as part of a comprehensive food safety system, conducted by Dr. Martin Wiedmann of Cornell University. The free, five-part series provides food and beverage manufacturers a graduated progression of environmental monitoring guidance, from the overall concept to specific aspects of implementation, root cause analysis and continuous improvement strategies. Click here to register.

This post was written and contributed by:

Matthew Turner
Asia Pacific Technical Manager,
3M Food Safety


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