USDA Web Portal Offers Big Food Safety Benefits For Small Food Processors
Thursday 20 September 2007The U.S. Department of Agriculture has unveiled a new Internet resource to help smaller companies answer food safety questions and help food processors make science-based food production decisions. The portal, available at http://www.ars.usda.gov/naa/errc/mfsru/portal, is one of the most comprehensive decision support tools available.
"Scientists, food safety risk managers, researchers and government decision-makers can use this access to predictive modeling tools and food microbiology information," said Agricultural Research Service Administrator Edward B. Knipling. "The portal is geared towards small and very small processors, but the information it contains will benefit companies of all sizes."
This Predictive Microbiology Information Portal (PMIP) was developed by scientists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at Wyndmoor, Penn., working with colleagues at USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Rutgers University, and Decisionalysis Risk Consultants, Inc., in Canada. FSIS will also provide a link to the portal to facilitate access by the meat and poultry industry, especially small and very small plants.
Currently, PMIP offers information on research, regulations and resources related to Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods, the prototype identified for the project by FSIS. In the coming months, it will be expanded to include other pathogen and food combinations. A searchable database allows users to find information that can also be used by food processors to develop plans for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, to ensure the safety of food processes.
The Web portal also includes a tutorial section with instructions on using and interpreting predictive models and links users directly to the ARS Pathogen Modeling Program and ComBase. The Pathogen Modeling Program is a multi-lingual modeling tool that is used by food processing companies around the world.