February 2019 | VOLUME # XVIII| ISSUE # 2A
Letter from the COO
Although traced back to ancient times, classic spices, and their contemporary, commercially produced brethren, can present modern food safety challenges. Traditionally, due to low water activity, food scientists have considered low moisture foods (LMF) (spices, flavorings, seeds) relatively low risk for microbial contamination. However, empirical data indicate that LMFs increasingly serve as vehicles for foodborne contamination, particularly harboring Salmonella, and have been the subject of multiple recalls in recent years.
Canadian Safe Food
Effective on January 15, 2019, the Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) Act and Regulations are now the primary food law in Canada. The Canadian Parliament passed the SFC Act in 2012, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) published the final version of the regulations on June 18, 2018, setting the stage for January 2019 implementation.
For producers of spices and seasonings, preventing microbial contamination can pose a complex problem. The American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) makes available multiple resources on their website to help firms keep these low-moisture commodities free from pathogens and other bacteria.
Q Laboratories has promoted Benjamin Bastin to the role of Microbiology Research and Development (MRD) Laboratory Supervisor. Ben will be responsible for assigning studies to research teams, working with clients and accreditation bodies to draft and optimize study protocols, and supervising all functions of the MRD Laboratory. Ben holds a Biology degree from Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio. He has been with Q Laboratories since 2013.
How Safe is Our Food?
A report released by the non-profit advocacy group U.S. PIRG Education Fund entitled, “How Safe is Our Food,” claims that despite expanded food safety efforts, food recalls increased between 2013 and 2018. US PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) is a federation of state PIRGs committed to offering “an independent voice that works on behalf of the public interest.”  
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