ST. PAUL, Minn. and ITHACA, N.Y. — 3M Food Safety announced June 13 it partnered with Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) to create a comprehensive handbook designed to help food and beverage manufacturers establish and maintain environmental monitoring programs for preventative food safety.

The free digital tool, the “Environmental Monitoring Handbook for the Food and Beverage Industries,” includes more than 100 pages on comprehensive, holistic methods of environmental monitoring. Twenty food safety experts from around the world contributed to the handbook, according to 3M.

The handbook includes sections on ATP and protein-based hygiene monitoring, pathogens, spoilage organisms, allergens and sampling guidance, as well as a set of key food safety terms and definitions.

“We developed this handbook to instill a more strategic and integrated mindset for preventing multiple forms of environmental contamination in processing facilities,” said John David, global scientific marketing manager for 3M Food Safety and co-editor for the handbook. “Environmental monitoring programs can encompass a range of targets – not only pathogens, but spoilage organisms, allergens and more.”

Environmental Monitoring Handbook coverThe handbook is the first comprehensive resource for the food and beverage industry on environmental monitoring guidance, according to 3M. Since FSMA was passed in 2015, environmental monitoring and third-party certifications became standard procedures for determining a processes food safety.

“There are logical approaches to identifying, controlling and documenting contamination in food production environments, but there are also lots of unique factors, including the composition of the foods being manufactured, the control measures being applied and the layout of and machinery in the plant,” added Dr. Martin Wiedmann, a food safety processor at CALS. “The handbook aims to help organizations create more of a science around their environmental monitoring efforts, and that means being mindful of the variables pertaining to them.”

In addition to the handbook, there is also a series of educational videos for food safety and quality professionals on 3M Food Safety’s Environmental Monitoring Program website.

“Environmental monitoring relies on anticipation and proactivity and there can be a lot data to assess – not just around food safety issues, but also concerns involving shelf life,” said Dr. Randy Worobo, a professor with Cornell’s department of food science and co-author of the handbook’s chapter on spoilage organisms. “Our hope is that the Environmental Monitoring Handbook will fuel transformational thinking and practices, allowing companies to not only avoid recalls but improve the quality and longevity of their products and the efficiency of their production.”

In May 2019, 3M and CALS renewed a five-year partnership contract to provide resources to educate food and beverage processors on proactive food safety methods, including global workshops, education seminars, and a peer-reviewed journal publication.

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