The Power of Food Safety Software for Quality and Safety

The Power of Food Safety Software for Quality and Safety.

The emphasis on food safety has never been higher. It’s a good thing food safety software is making a powerful difference. Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to track crucial development stages and log information. Plus, the detailed knowledge is improving the quality of final products.

Within the last few years, the food industry has seen the rollout of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) — the FDA’s switch from a reactive to proactive stance. For food production sites, this means more detailed tracking and record keeping of key hazard points.

FSMA Compliance Deadlines, for Baking Process Kill Step Validation, were phased in over a 3 year period depending on the size of  business:

  • September 2016: Deadline for >500 Employee Bakeries
  • September 2017: Deadline for <500 Employee Bakeries
  • September 2018: Deadline for <$1M Sales per Yr. Bakeries

All commercial bakeries must NOW prove that their oven is a Kill Step for Salmonella.

Why the focus on the kill step?

For baked goods, this is one of the major health risks. Research on foodborne pathogens reveals that baking at a specific temperature for a specific time is required to kill them.

  • Killing 90% of the pathogens in a specific food sample is called a 1D reduction (where D stands for “log” or a factor of 10)
  • Killing 99% of the pathogens is called a 2D reduction (a factor of 100)
  • Killing 99.9% of the pathogens is called a 3D reduction (a factor of 1000)

Pathogen reduction level is highly controversial but many food safety experts recommend a 5D (99.999% Kill) to 6D (99.9999% Kill) reduction.

The key with all of this is controlling internal food temperature. And to meet FSMA requirements, data must be logged and recorded that documents the kill step. That’s where food safety software comes in.

How does food safety software work?

Reading Thermal created the SCORPION® 2 Food Safety Software Module to easily comply with FSMA regulations. The software is simple to use and handles all the calculations required to find the worst case cumulative log reduction.

The SCORPION® 2 Data Logging Measurement System is a great food safety software.

Collect core temperature data and the Food Safety Module does the rest.

The SCORPION® 2 Data Logging Measurement System provides 3 Easy Steps to FSMA Compliance:

  1. Collect Data: Measure the product core temperature through a specific process. Reading Thermal supplies several types of Product Insertion Probes and Bare Wire Thermocouples for this purpose.
  2. Calculate Lethality: Enter microbial heat tolerance coefficients (Tref, z, D) specific to your product or select from the built in AIB International published coefficients.
  3. Prove Kill Step: Select the worst case profile and a comprehensive report is generated displaying Cumulative Log Reductions with a choice of several report formats.

Track the kill step, improve your product

If a 1D reduction requires three minutes at 200°F (93°C), then a 5D reduction, at the same temperature, would take five times as long or 15 minutes. However, longer baking times and higher temperatures are detrimental to production efficiencies. So knowing the exact time and temperature a kill step is reached, and adjusting accordingly, can help out final product quality and the baking process immensely. Even shaving off a few seconds or degrees can make a difference.

Tracking the kill step can give you insight on how to adjust and improve:

  • Energy consumption
  • Process efficiency / throughput

Learn more about how this food safety software can improve your product and be compliant for FSMA.

2019-01-17T16:16:27-07:00

About the Author:

Richard Starke
Richard J. Starke, Director of Reading Thermal, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from St. Joseph’s University. Richard has more than 40 years of professional experience, covering a broad range of leadership positions in electrical engineering, bakery production, business management, and marketing. Before joining Reading Thermal in 2002 Richard held positions as Member of Technical Staff for AT&T Bell Laboratories, and Business Manager for Unique Pretzel Bakery. He also served as President/Owner of Uncle Ernie’s Cookie Company. Richard has presented at the ABA Technical Conference, ASB BakingTech Conference, IBIE Innovation Showcase, and AIB International on subjects related to Energy Transfer in Commercial Baking Ovens, Oven Baking Curves and Baking Process Kill Step Validation. You may contact Richard directly at [email protected]

One Comment

  1. Kantha January 24, 2019 at 9:14 am - Reply

    This is a well-written article on the use of Scorpion kill-step calculator software to assure the safety of the finished bakery product. The article is easy to understand, the sub-sections follow clearly and gives a good overview on the currently available validation software to assure food safety.

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