ILSI Europe disseminates science by publishing articles on original research, literature reviews and gap analyses, and meeting proceedings in peer-reviewed journals.  ILSI Europe also publishes books, monographs, white papers, and other reports.

Journal Articles

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Microbiological Food Safety Task Force

FOOD RELATED CONTAMINANTS

Prevalence of pathogens of concerns for Low Moisture Foods (LMF) is considered through investigation of the reported foodborne outbreaks.

A Processing Environment Monitory programme (PEM) needs to be in place in order to identify points which need to be routinely sampled, search for harbourage niches, and detect and destroy pathogens of concern. These programmes need to be specifically designed considering the specific pathogens and production set up.

However, a monitoring programme on its own is not sufficient and needs to be accompanied by corrective and preventive action plans to ensure efficient application of the Good Hygiene Practices.

A tool for both food producers and regulators

This guidance document is intended to help set up targeted processing environment monitoring programs depending on their purpose, and therefore provide the essential elements needed to improve food safety.

Several food pathogens are of significant concern when planning monitoring programmes for LMF, and are discussed in this document:

  • Salmonella,
  • Cronobacter spp. (posing risk to infants),
  • pathogenic E. coli,
  • B cereus
  • Listeria monocytogenes.
Table 2 from Processing Environment Monitoring in Low Moisture Food Production Facilities. Are we looking for the right microorganisms?

Overview of recalls, withdrawals and safety alerts with microbial pathogens in the EU and US in 2012-2017. EU data were extracted from RASFF (2020) and US data were extracted from FDA (2020).

There is a great interest in the food industry to perform validations in a manner that would be accepted by all parties involved, for example, authorities and customers.

Low moisture foods are foods that:

  • are naturally very low in moisture,
  • have had water removed from them,
  • have a higher moisture content, but that contain agents that prevent the moisture from being available to microorganisms to allow their growth.

In this work, the "production environment" includes production equipment, production surfaces, floors/walls/ceilings, and the air within the production area.

Scientific abstract Expand

Processing environment monitoring is gaining increasing importance in the context of food safety management plans/HACCP programs, since past outbreaks have shown the relevance of the environment as contamination pathway, therefore requiring to ensure the safety of products. However, there are still many open questions and a lack of clarity on how to set up a meaningful program, which would provide early warnings of potential product contamination. Therefore, the current paper aims to summarize and evaluate existing scientific information on outbreaks, relevant pathogens in low moisture foods, and knowledge on indicators, including their contribution to a "clean" environment capable of limiting the spread of pathogens in dry production environments. This paper also outlines the essential elements of a processing environment monitoring program thereby supporting the design and implementation of better programs focusing on the relevant microorganisms. This guidance document is intended to help industry and regulators focus and set up targeted processing environment monitoring programs depending on their purpose, and therefore provide the essential elements needed to improve food safety.

Keywords Expand

critical control points, pathogen, preventive control, recontamination, Bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., Cronobacter spp., Enterobacteriaceae, dry foods, food safety, processing, environment Monitoring

Low Moisture Foods are defined as having a water activity of 1 or below. In the EU and USA there were 498 combined alerts for microbial pathogens and LMF. Between 2010 and 2017, EFSA reported 10 salmonellosis outbreaks from LMF alone.

Genetic characterization of isolates provides interesting insights for understanding the difference between resident and sporadic strains in a processing environment.

[post_title] => Processing Environment Monitoring in Low Moisture Food Production Facilities. Are we looking for the right microorganisms? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => processing-environment-monitoring-in-low-moisture-food-production-facilities-are-we-looking-for-the-right-microorganisms [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-08-03 15:08:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-08-03 15:08:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://ilsi.eu/?post_type=publication&p=9564 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => publication [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 9231 [post_author] => 343 [post_date] => 2021-05-31 08:22:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-05-31 08:22:17 [post_content] =>

Process-Related Compounds and Natural Toxins Task Force

FOOD RELATED CONTAMINANTS

Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons may unintentionally contaminate food through different routes across food chains and the lifecycle of food contact materials.

Gaps in the knowledge about mineral oil hydrocarbons (MON) still exist despite the recent advances in the research field.

A workshop to identify those gaps was organized by the European Branch of the International Life Science Institute.

Some of these were identified to be:

  • the lack of validated and standardized analytical methods for relevant food matrices, and
  • gaps in assessing the risk for consumers' health.

The consensus is that the lack of standardized, validated analytical methods able to assure good inter-laboratory reproducibility is the main gap underlining most of the existing difficulties to understand MOH.

In order to conduct adequate substance identification and quantification for input into risk assessment, the need for confirmatory methods that provide a detailed characterization of the unresolved complex mixtures needs to be solved.

The limited number of surveys covering a wide range of foods and enough samples to detect major sources of contamination other than packaging in paperboard also hinders reliable exposure estimation.

Fig. 4. Decision tree to identify auxilary methods. Adapted from Bratinova & Hoekstra, 2019. ALOX: Al2O3.
Decision tree to identify auxilary methods. (Adapted from Bratinova & Hoekstra, 2019)

Industry sectors represented in the workshop

  • Food & Drink
  • Mineral Oil/Waxes
  • Testing Laboratories
  • Analytical Instruments
  • Food Contact Materials
  • Cosmetics
  • Petroleum
Scientific abstract Expand Background
In recent years there have been significant advancements in the understanding of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) in foods and their potential risk to health. However, important gaps in knowledge remain, such as the lack of validated and standardized analytical methods for relevant food matrices and gaps in assessing the risk for consumers' health. Scope & approach
A workshop was organized by the European Branch of the International Life Science Institute to identify knowledge gaps in analytical methods, assessment of exposure, hazard characterisation, and risk assessment of MOH. This work captures the outcome of the workshop and builds upon it by combining the perspectives of the participants with an updated review of the literature to provide a roadmap for future management of the topic. Key findings and conclusions
Most participants to the workshop agreed that the key issue underlying many of the knowledge gaps in the field of MOH risk analysis and management is the lack of standardized, validated analytical methods able to assure good inter-laboratory reproducibility and to enable understanding of MOH occurrence in foods. It has been demonstrated that method EN 16995 used for MOH determination in vegetable oils and fats is not reliable below 10 mg/kg of food. There is also a need for confirmatory methods that provide a detailed characterization of the unresolved complex mixture observed from one-dimensional chromatographic methods. This is required to enable adequate substance identification and quantification for input into risk assessment. A major gap in the exposure estimation is the limited number of surveys covering a wide range of foods and enough samples to detect major sources of contamination other than packaging in paperboard. Data on concentration of MOH fractions in human body needed to determine internal exposure estimates is scarce. Data relating concentration in tissues with personal data, lifestyle, food intake and the use of cosmetics are needed to clarify the complex system of distribution of MOSH in the body and to possibly establish relationship between external and internal exposure. Additional toxicological studies to better characterize the hazards of relevant MOH are required for a better human health risk assessment. Keywords Expand

Mineral oil hydrocarbon, Risk assessment, Exposure assessment, Food contaminant, MOSH, MOAH

Number of participants in the workshop 61 from Academica, Public organisations, and Industry. EN 16995 used for MOH determination in vegetable oils and fats is not reliable below 10 mg/kg of food. Main indetified gaps in the knowledge of Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons 8

To enable human risk assessment, the performance of toxicological studies on the relevant MOH mixtures and possibly their components is required.

This work was conducted in collaboration with the Packaging Materials Task Force.

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Microbiological Food Safety Task Force

FOOD RELATED CONTAMINANTS

This guidance contains a set of approaches to evaluate available data on target pathogens to support the use of validation studies.

In order to ensure safety of food, a number of control measures need to be implemented by the industry. Validation studies are used to provide evidence that the implemented measures are actually capable of controlling the identified hazard.

Potential to limit the occurrence of discrepancies in the information.

By utilising this guidance, actors involved can identify product and process factors that are essential when designing a validation study. They can thus, select the criteria for identifying an appropriate target pathogen or surrogate organism for a food product and process validation.

Designed for a wide range of food-production professionals.

The document helps food manufacturers, processors, and food safety professionals to better understand, plan, and perform validation studies. It offers an overview of the choices and key technical elements of a validation plan, the necessary preparations including assembling the validation team and establishing prerequisite programs, and the elements of a validation report.

Figure from publication MFS 2021
Decision tree to support the decision of when and which validation study approach is most applicable

There is a great interest in the food industry to perform validations in a manner that would be accepted by all parties involved, for example, authorities and customers.

To download this open-access article, please click here.

Scientific abstract Expand

Food manufacturers are required to obtain scientific and technical evidence that a control measure or combination of control measures is capable of reducing a significant hazard to an acceptable level that does not pose a public health risk under normal conditions of distribution and storage. A validation study provides evidence that a control measure is capable of controlling the identified hazard under a worst-case scenario for process and product parameters tested. It also defines the critical parameters that must be controlled, monitored, and verified during processing. This review document is intended as guidance for the food industry to support appropriate validation studies, and aims to limit methodological discrepancies in validation studies that can occur among food safety professionals, consultants, and third-party laboratories. The document describes product and process factors that are essential when designing a validation study, and gives selection criteria for identifying an appropriate target pathogen or surrogate organism for a food product and process validation. Guidance is provided for approaches to evaluate available microbiological data for the target pathogen or surrogate organism in the product type of interest that can serve as part of the weight of evidence to support a validation study. The document intends to help food manufacturers, processors, and food safety professionals to better understand, plan, and perform validation studies by offering an overview of the choices and key technical elements of a validation plan, the necessary preparations including assembling the validation team and establishing prerequisite programs, and the elements of a validation report.

Keywords Expand

critical control points, inactivation, pathogen, preventive control, process validation

Range of nonthermal processing techniques in this study: 10 + the critical parameters for their application and examples. Key factors to consider related to the product 8 They are used to determine process efficiency and whether the target pathogen is capable of growth in product. Food categories for which examples of common pathogens of concern are given 19 + the situations posing increased risk.

Validation studies are necessary even when safe harbors are available to ensure correct implementation of control measures.

[post_title] => Guidance on validation of lethal control measures for foodborne pathogens in foods [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => guidance-on-validation-of-lethal-control-measures-for-foodborne-pathogens-in-foods [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-07-08 14:16:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-07-08 14:16:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://ilsi.eu/?post_type=publication&p=9217 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => publication [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8914 [post_author] => 204 [post_date] => 2021-03-23 12:40:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-03-23 12:40:39 [post_content] => [post_title] => Sensory and physical characteristics of foods that impact food intake without affecting acceptability: Systematic review and meta‐analyses [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => sensory-and-physical-characteristics-of-foods-that-impact-food-intake-without-affecting-acceptability-systematic-review-and-meta%e2%80%90analyses [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-05-25 08:28:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-05-25 08:28:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://ilsi.eu/?post_type=publication&p=8914 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => publication [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8885 [post_author] => 204 [post_date] => 2021-03-04 14:12:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-03-04 14:12:09 [post_content] => [post_title] => Effects of alpha-glucosidase-inhibiting drugs on acute postprandial glucose and insulin responses: a systematic review and meta-analysis [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => effects-of-alpha-glucosidase-inhibiting-drugs-on-acute-postprandial-glucose-and-insulin-responses-a-systematic-review-and-meta-analysis [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-05-10 13:14:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-05-10 13:14:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://ilsi.eu/?post_type=publication&p=8885 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => publication [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 5 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 9564 [post_author] => 343 [post_date] => 2021-08-03 14:26:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-08-03 14:26:20 [post_content] =>

Microbiological Food Safety Task Force

FOOD RELATED CONTAMINANTS

Prevalence of pathogens of concerns for Low Moisture Foods (LMF) is considered through investigation of the reported foodborne outbreaks.

A Processing Environment Monitory programme (PEM) needs to be in place in order to identify points which need to be routinely sampled, search for harbourage niches, and detect and destroy pathogens of concern. These programmes need to be specifically designed considering the specific pathogens and production set up.

However, a monitoring programme on its own is not sufficient and needs to be accompanied by corrective and preventive action plans to ensure efficient application of the Good Hygiene Practices.

A tool for both food producers and regulators

This guidance document is intended to help set up targeted processing environment monitoring programs depending on their purpose, and therefore provide the essential elements needed to improve food safety.

Several food pathogens are of significant concern when planning monitoring programmes for LMF, and are discussed in this document:

  • Salmonella,
  • Cronobacter spp. (posing risk to infants),
  • pathogenic E. coli,
  • B cereus
  • Listeria monocytogenes.
Table 2 from Processing Environment Monitoring in Low Moisture Food Production Facilities. Are we looking for the right microorganisms?

Overview of recalls, withdrawals and safety alerts with microbial pathogens in the EU and US in 2012-2017. EU data were extracted from RASFF (2020) and US data were extracted from FDA (2020).

There is a great interest in the food industry to perform validations in a manner that would be accepted by all parties involved, for example, authorities and customers.

Low moisture foods are foods that:

  • are naturally very low in moisture,
  • have had water removed from them,
  • have a higher moisture content, but that contain agents that prevent the moisture from being available to microorganisms to allow their growth.

In this work, the "production environment" includes production equipment, production surfaces, floors/walls/ceilings, and the air within the production area.

Scientific abstract Expand

Processing environment monitoring is gaining increasing importance in the context of food safety management plans/HACCP programs, since past outbreaks have shown the relevance of the environment as contamination pathway, therefore requiring to ensure the safety of products. However, there are still many open questions and a lack of clarity on how to set up a meaningful program, which would provide early warnings of potential product contamination. Therefore, the current paper aims to summarize and evaluate existing scientific information on outbreaks, relevant pathogens in low moisture foods, and knowledge on indicators, including their contribution to a "clean" environment capable of limiting the spread of pathogens in dry production environments. This paper also outlines the essential elements of a processing environment monitoring program thereby supporting the design and implementation of better programs focusing on the relevant microorganisms. This guidance document is intended to help industry and regulators focus and set up targeted processing environment monitoring programs depending on their purpose, and therefore provide the essential elements needed to improve food safety.

Keywords Expand

critical control points, pathogen, preventive control, recontamination, Bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., Cronobacter spp., Enterobacteriaceae, dry foods, food safety, processing, environment Monitoring

Low Moisture Foods are defined as having a water activity of 1 or below. In the EU and USA there were 498 combined alerts for microbial pathogens and LMF. Between 2010 and 2017, EFSA reported 10 salmonellosis outbreaks from LMF alone.

Genetic characterization of isolates provides interesting insights for understanding the difference between resident and sporadic strains in a processing environment.

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