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Food Recalls – Environmental Monitoring

Two (at least) recent food recalls were the result of FDA inspectors finding a positive pathogen result on an environmental monitoring (EM) sample, such as a swab or sponge. More troubling to hear was the fact that the positive result came from a sample taken from a Zone 3 or 4 location, meaning a non-food contact location. However, since the positive pathogen result came from inside the manufacturing facility, the FDA ordered/recommended products be recalled and taken off the shelves. Clearly, this is another example of the impact of FSMA, and emphasizes the FDA’s resolve to drastically reduce the incidence of foodborne contamination.  This also reaffirms that a thorough and  systematic EM program is as important as testing the actual product(s).

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