wine raw materials for roller mill

cement mills and raw mills for high throughput rates

cement mills and raw mills for high throughput rates

High throughput rates, permanent plant availability , optimized maintenance concepts features of the MVR mill and the patented MultiDrive enabling Gebr. Pfeiffer to meet the ever rising expectations of the industry. Thanks to the innovative drive and active redundancy, an unintended stop of the grinding process is practically excluded. No matter what type of material has to be ground cement raw material, cement clinker or granulated blast-furnace slag and how different their grindability and abrasiveness may be, the MVR mill ensures throughput rates of a different dimension, around the clock, reliably and on the long term. Forget about downtime. With Pfeiffer you will grind on a grand scale.

An MVR mill may have up to six grinding rollers and up to six drive units. Thus both systems are actively redundant meaning that one or several rollers can be taken out of the system for maintenance work while mill operation continues. The same applies to the independent drive modules of the MultiDrive.

High drying capacity, short dwell time of the material to be ground, and remote control of grinding pressure and classifier rotor speed ensure a fully automatic operation of the MVR mill even with varying raw material characteristics.

Thanks to the geometry of the grinding rollers in combination with their specific suspension, there is always a parallel grinding gap, ensuring a homogeneous compaction of the material to be ground. Moreover, due to the symmetric shape of the grinding roller tires, these can be turned when worn.

Up to six stationary grinding rollers roll on a rotating grinding table. The material is drawn in between the rollers and grinding table and ground by pressure and shear. The required pressure forces are produced by a lever system comprising, among others, a roller arm, along with a hydropneumatic tension system. After being rolled over by the rollers, the material is conveyed to a stationary nozzle ring due to the rotation of the grinding table. Gases (air or hot gas) flow through this nozzle ring, take up the ground and dried material and convey it to the classifier where it is separated by the rotating wheel (rotor) into grits and fines. The grits fall back into the grinding zone whereas the fines leave the classifier with the gas flow for being separated in cyclones or a filter.

Up to six stationary grinding rollers roll on a rotating grinding table. The material is drawn in between the rollers and grinding table and ground by pressure and shear. The required pressure forces are produced by a lever system comprising, among others, a roller arm, along with a hydropneumatic tension system. After being rolled over by the rollers, the material is conveyed to a stationary nozzle ring due to the rotation of the grinding table. Gases (air or hot gas) flow through this nozzle ring, take up the ground and dried material and convey it to the classifier where it is separated by the rotating wheel (rotor) into grits and fines. The grits fall back into the grinding zone whereas the fines leave the classifier with the gas flow for being separated in cyclones or a filter.

Depending on the abrasiveness of the material to be ground and areas to be protected, different wear materials are used on our vertical roller mills. Alloy cast iron as per DIN 1695, hardfaced cast iron or composite materials with high-chromium inserts in ductile base materials: the grinding elements designed by Pfeiffer are made of high-quality materials ensuring a long lifetime. The housings and other mill components, too, are protected against wear with highly wear-resistant steel plates or hardfaced composite plates. Components which are specifically exposed to wear like gas outlet ducts have additional ceramic liners. All this is for optimum protection and short maintenance shutdown.

The highest wear occurs on the wear parts of the grinding elements as is the case with any type of vertical mill. Therefore, ease of replacement and regeneration is a major feature of the mill. The MVR mill has a modern hydraulic system used in operation and for maintenance alike. With this new type of roller suspension, the rollers can be swung out of the mill in a controlled way for ease of replacing the one-part grinding roller tires. The segmented wear parts of the grinding table are replaced, using a lifting device and the maintenance drive. Moreover, the rollers can be swung out separately. Hence grinding operation can be continued while maintenance work is done. The parts concerned can be regenerated both inside the mill and outside. Forget about downtime and maintenance problems! With active redundancy and easy maintenance you are up to date!

vertical roller mills

vertical roller mills

With the many advantages vertical roller mills offer, we continually develop our VRM offering with the latest upgrades, including the OKTM Mill and the ATOX Coal Mill. The OKTM Mill skilfully comminutes raw material, cement and slag. It features a patented roller and table design and concrete mill stands instead of traditional, heavy steel structures.

The OKTM Mills flexible design makes it possible to operate it with a number of rollers out of service while still reaching 60 to 70 percent of the normal operation output, minimising production losses.

The compact and long-lasting ATOX Coal Mill has the capability to grind virtually all types of raw coal, to your desired fineness. It is suitable for feed materials with varying moisture percentages, handling abrasive and sticky raw coal with ease.

The cement industrys focus on energy reduction has made vertical roller mills particularly compelling. Grinding systems in cement production make up approximately 85 to 90 percent of total plant electrical energy consumption. As vertical roller mills are 30 to 50 percent more efficient than other grinding solutions, they give cement plant owners a great opportunity to

When it comes to grinding raw coal, savings in specific energy consumption can be achieved with vertical roller mills. Specific energy consumption depends on the grindability of the raw coal and the coal meal fineness required. A dynamic separator that ensures high separation efficiency also helps to reduce specific energy use.

FLSmidth provides sustainable productivity to the global mining and cement industries. We deliver market-leading engineering, equipment and service solutions that enable our customers to improve performance, drive down costs and reduce environmental impact. Our operations span the globe and we are close to 10,200 employees, present in more than 60 countries. In 2020, FLSmidth generated revenue of DKK 16.4 billion. MissionZero is our sustainability ambition towards zero emissions in mining and cement by 2030.

polymers | free full-text | wine by-products as raw materials for the production of biopolymers and of natural reinforcing fillers: a critical review

polymers | free full-text | wine by-products as raw materials for the production of biopolymers and of natural reinforcing fillers: a critical review

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Nanni, A.; Parisi, M.; Colonna, M. Wine By-Products as Raw Materials for the Production of Biopolymers and of Natural Reinforcing Fillers: A Critical Review. Polymers 2021, 13, 381. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13030381

Nanni A, Parisi M, Colonna M. Wine By-Products as Raw Materials for the Production of Biopolymers and of Natural Reinforcing Fillers: A Critical Review. Polymers. 2021; 13(3):381. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13030381

Nanni, Alessandro, Mariafederica Parisi, and Martino Colonna. 2021. "Wine By-Products as Raw Materials for the Production of Biopolymers and of Natural Reinforcing Fillers: A Critical Review" Polymers 13, no. 3: 381. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13030381

best energy consumption

best energy consumption

When it comes to achieving the best energy consumption, what are the key factors a cement producer needs to address? In this article, extracted from the newly published Cement Plant Environmental Handbook (Second Edition), Lawrie Evans presents a masterclass in understanding and optimising cement plant energy consumption. By Lawrie Evans, EmCem Ltd, UK.

As control of sources, generation, distribution and consumption of energy is central to many current world issues, controlling the industrys energy footprint is a matter of intense interest to governments. This is recognised in such initiatives as ISO 50001, the World Business Council for Sustainable Developments Cement Sustainability Initiative, Energy Star in the USA, PAT in India and CO2 taxes/trading in Europe and in other countries.

For the cement industry, there are three main drivers to energy consumption: electrical power fuel customer demand for high-strength products that require a significant proportion of high-energy clinker as a component.

For the producer, these factors have a significant influence on cost competitiveness, usually accounting for over 50 per cent of total production costs, so that accurately and continuously monitoring energy usage must be a way of life for any producers technical team. The introduction of CO2 taxes in Europe and elsewhere adds a further twist to the story. For major groups, especially, decisions made in balancing maintenance, investments, operations and purchasing requirements all have to take into account the impact on their energy footprint.

Globally a cement major such as Italcementi consumes annually some 6000GWh of power and 35,500,000Gcal of heat for a total of 5Mtpe. This is the same total energy as consumed by approximately 1.6m Italians or 0.6m Americans per year. For fuel-related energy costs, the worldwide industry has largely moved to efficient preheater/precalciner processes and has found many options to switch to cheaper fuels, with the global drive to alternative fuels still proceeding. For electrical energy, options to reduce unitary costs are much more limited in scope. Most countries still have power generation/distribution systems that are effective monopolies and the cement producers cost control capability is usually limited to selecting the appropriate contract and taking opportunities offered in lower-cost off-peak power tariffs, where they exist.

Figure 1 illustrates the wide variation in the cost of power across 14 countries. The average country cost of electrical power at an industrial level varies enormously. When the added complexity of on and off peak power costs, interruption clauses, supply charges versus energy charges, etc, are added, the evaluation of the benefits of energy saving investment can become very complex. Typical cement plant power costs can range from EUR39 to EUR170/MWh.

The most important first step in controlling energy consumption is to be aware of the relative importance of the process areas where most energy is consumed. Figure 2 shows a typical breakdown of electrical energy consumption at a cement plant. The most obvious area for attention is that of grinding, both raw and cement. In either case, grinding is, by design, a very inefficient process.

The ball mill has been the industrys workhorse for over a century and despite its estimated meagre four per cent efficiency, little has changed over the years other than increases in the wear resistance of mill internals and the scale of the equipment. The addition of closed circuiting and progressively higher efficiency separators has improved cement product quality and produced higher outputs for a given mill size, but the case for adding or upgrading separators on energy saving alone has proved to be poor, unless the products are >4000Blaine. Starting from the 1970s, a new generation of mills appeared. Vertical mills (see Figure 3) were common for solid fuel grinding, generally with spring-loaded rollers. The principle of the new generation of vertical mill was to direct higher pressure from the grinding element to the material bed using hydraulic systems. From this approach the roller press, CKP (pre-grind vertical rollers) and Horomill all developed.

The gas-swept vertical mill quickly became the raw mill of choice. Grinding energy was approximately 50 per cent of the ball mill and the drying capabilities allowed direct processing of materials of up to 20 per cent moisture content. The main energy issue was the high power consumption of mill fans, with pressure drops of 100mbar not uncommon with high nozzle ring velocities (>70m/s) and internal mill circulating loads of >1000 per cent. Manufacturers have countered this generally satisfactorily with pressure drops reduced by lower nozzle ring velocities and the addition of external spillage elevator recirculation systems plus higher-efficiency separators.

Better seal designs for mill roller assemblies and pull rods have reduced the inevitable inleaking air issue and its impact on power consumption. However, it remains a design where issues of wear and reliability are more challenging than for ball mills, and these issues have not diminished with increased scale. For raw grinding with relatively dry raw materials, the combination of the roller press and V separator is a viable alternative with far lower mill fan power.

For cement grinding, the technology development away from ball mills has taken a different route. The development of roller presses in the 1980s took advantage of the benefits of higher-pressure grinding and many presses were retrofitted to ball mills as pregrinders. The main benefit was seen at lower Blaines as the first generation of presses suffered from stability problems when attempts were made to grind more finely by recirculating separator rejects. These problems are now largely resolved and the combination of a V and third-generation dynamic classifier separators together with a roller press can produce finished cement with high energy efficiency.

The Horomill and CKP systems have also enjoyed some market success and have provided good energy efficiency levels compared to ball mills. The vertical mill option has been slower to enter the cement grinding market. Grinding bed stability problems offered a challenge which the major manufacturers battled with, until finally a significant number of mills began to be installed in the late 1990s, and this has multiplied in the past decade. However, in pure energy efficiency terms, the benefit of grinding power reduction is countered by the very high power required by mill fans. In addition, the absence of the heat generated in a ball mill and the high volume of air required by the vertical mill have required the provision of waste heat from cooler exhausts and/or auxiliary furnaces to dry raw materials and achieve a limited dehydration of gypsum.

A typical comparison of three competing technologies is given in Table 1, demonstrating that an efficient ball mill/third-generation separator, CKP/ball mill/third-generation separator and vertical mill on a typical 4000Blaine limestone cement show little overall difference in energy consumption. Considering the higher capital cost, and more demanding maintenance and operating regime, there is no clear energy case to favour some of the modern variants.

Even for solid fuel grinding, there has been a minor trend back to ball mills. This is most evident for petcoke grinding, where the demand for very low residues, and the very hard and sometimes abrasive nature of high-sulphur cokes has resulted in ball mill selection.

Many of the grinding design issues, which are still under debate, are usually very clear in other areas of process selection: high-efficiency process fans and low-pressure drop preheaters adequately-sized bag filters for the main exhaust to avoid high pressure drops and poor bag life avoidance of pneumatic transport systems low-energy raw meal homogenisation silos.

The main continued discussions are those of two- or three-fan systems for the raw mill/kiln or single filter for kiln and cooler, precipitator or bag filter for the cooler exhaust and two or three tyre kiln. For a bag filter on a separate cooler the main equipment energy efficiency issue is the air-to-air heat exchanger, but this is often substituted with a water spray in the cooler or more recently, by using a ceramic filter capable of operating at above 400C.

Finally, in design terms, the most difficult decision is to avoid overdesign by applying too many safety factors. Post-commissioning audits often uncover a high contribution to poor energy efficiency from under-run equipment operating where it cannot perform efficiently.

In normal operations maintenance also plays a major part in ensuring energy efficiency. The impact of poor plant reliability upon overall electrical energy consumption is often under-estimated. In the kiln area, 100 short/medium stops (30 minutes to eight hours) per year can cost up to 5kWh/t clinker. The avoidance of inleaking air, correct alignment of motors, stopping compressed air leaks, etc are all part of the value of good maintenance.

In the key area of grinding there are important factors to control. For ball mills, ball charge level, lining and diaphragm condition must be monitored and maintained in near-optimum condition. Mill stops, defined as mill motor off, and measured by mean time between failures (mtbf), are frequently poorly recorded and the resolution of underlying issues is frequently not addressed.

Instability, where ball mill feed is stopped and the mill ground out, is also infrequently recorded or acted upon. When it comes to mill control, operators rarely concentrate on pushing mill production when the kiln is regarded as the key. Expert systems on mills should be universal and well tuned.

Grinding aids can give benefits of 5-15 per cent in production but need to be continuously evaluated for cost effectiveness. Unfortunately, their cost has risen more rapidly than the cost of energy in recent years and the economic balance has to be re-evaluated. The benefit of aids on cement flowability has to be considered, along with the added scope for reduction of cement clinker content with some modern additives. Correct timing on the maintenance of a first chamber cement mill lining and the successful implementation of an expert system on a cement mill both offer benefits in terms of power consumption (see case studies panel). Accurate process measurements are also key to energy saving opportunities. Air compressors are another area for attention. Often, these are multiple units operating on a cycle of on- and off-load. Replacement of one (of three) with a variable-speed type (see Table 2) can provide rapid payback. Even lighting and buildings offer excellent opportunities for power savings. Table 3 shows the 40-80 per cent energy savings that can be achieved by simply replacing old lighting systems. Buildings such as the new Italcementi Group Research and Innovation Centre (i.lab) in Bergamo, Italy, demonstrate that good building design creates significant savings.

A major change has occurred in the last 20 years in the area of in-house generation of electrical energy by cement manufacturers, most significantly using waste heat recovery (WHR) from the pyroprocessing line. Figure 4 shows the areas suited to heat recovery for power generation, and WHR technology is already applied to preheater and cooler exhausts.

The modern technology originated in Japan in the 1980s, where high power prices and large-scale operations combined to produce useful economic returns, with most applications using steam boilers at the preheater exhaust. Little further development happened outside Japan until the turn of the century, when a combination of lower capital cost, Chinese equipment, and the idea to improve recovery by splitting cooler exhausts into higher and lower temperature streams combined to offer the paybacks necessary for the technology to expand, first inside China and then beyond.

The results of WHR have been impressive, eg, with the 19MW net achieved from a combined installation on two five-stage precalciner kilns (5500tpd and 7500tpd) in Thailand being typical. Options for the technology are evolving with other thermodynamic cycles being applied: steam Rankine cycle with various enhancements the most widely applied technology organic Rankine cycle a variety of organic fluids applied and favoured at lower gas temperatures Kalina (ammonia/water) cycle supercritical CO2 cycle.

There are also further developments which can increase the power recovered, including recycling the lower temperature cooler exhaust, meal bypassing preheater stages to boost exit temperatures and the use of alternative fuels and excess air, also to boost preheater exit temperature and energy recovery. Other options for power generation can use the land owned by the cement plant for raw material reserves. These include wind farms photovoltaics, concentrated solar panels or growing and burning biomass either to boost power in a WHR system or for use in an internal, stand-alone power generation plant.

industrial plants | kawasaki heavy industries

industrial plants | kawasaki heavy industries

Kawasaki has successfully developed a fluidized bed kiln system as well as manufacturing and constructing complete process equipment from crushing raw materials such as limestone and clay to burning and manufacturing cement. Along with our kiln facility, the CK Roller Mill and CKP Roller Mill are highly acclaimed, which have been developed to meet the needs of electric power saving and resources recycling. We have also achieved results in nonferrous metals processing by utilizing our kiln technologies.

Kawasaki Green Product Promotion Activity is a program in support of the Group Mission objective and through which we will boost the environmental performance of products and accelerate the reduction of environmental impact caused by associated manufacturing processes.

Powering your potential. Kawasaki is committed to providing customers unique business solutions with our innovative technologies to meet diverse societal needs worldwide. Kawasaki, working as one for the good of the planet.

wine | definition, history, varieties, & facts | britannica

wine | definition, history, varieties, & facts | britannica

wine, the fermented juice of the grape. Of the grape genus Vitis, one species, V. vinifera (often erroneously called the European grape), is used almost exclusively. Beverages produced from V. labrusca, the native American grape, and from other grape species are also considered wines. When other fruits are fermented to produce a kind of wine, the name of the fruit is included, as in the terms peach wine and blackberry wine.

Vitis vinifera was being cultivated in the Middle East by 4000 bce and probably earlier. Egyptian records dating from 2500 bce refer to the use of grapes for wine making, and numerous biblical references to wine indicate the early origin and significance of the industry in the Middle East. The Greeks carried on an active wine trade and planted grapes in their colonies from the Black Sea to Spain. The Romans carried grape growing into the valleys of the Rhine and Moselle (which became the great wine regions of Germany and Alsace), the Danube (of Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria), and the Rhne, Sane, Garonne, Loire, and Marne (which define the great French regions of Rhne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire, and Champagne, respectively). The role of wine in the Christian mass helped maintain the industry after the fall of the Roman Empire, and monastic orders preserved and developed many of the highly regarded wine-producing areas in Europe.

Following the voyages of Columbus, grape culture and wine making were transported from the Old World to the New. Spanish missionaries took viticulture to Chile and Argentina in the mid-16th century and to Baja California in the 18th. With the flood of European immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries, modern industries based on imported V. vinifera grapes were developed. The prime wine-growing regions of South America were established in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. In California the centre of viticulture shifted from the southern missions to the Central Valley and the northern counties of Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino.

The introduction of the eastern American root louse, phylloxera, seriously threatened wine industries around the world between 1870 and 1900, destroying vineyards almost everywhere that V. vinifera was planted but especially in Europe and parts of Australia and California. To combat this parasite, V. vinifera scions (detached shoots including buds) were grafted to species native to the eastern United States, which proved almost completely resistant to phylloxera. After the vineyards recovered, European governments protected the reputations of the great regions by enacting laws that allotted regional names and quality rankings only to those wines produced in specific regions under strictly regulated procedures. Today, newer wine-producing countries have passed similar regulations.

Prior to the 19th century little was known about the process of fermentation or the causes of spoilage. The Greeks stored wine in earthenware amphorae, and the Romans somewhat extended the life of their wines with improved oaken cooperage, but both civilizations probably drank almost all of their wines within a year of vintage and disguised spoilage by adding such flavourers as honey, herbs, cheese, and salt water. Wooden barrels remained the principal aging vessels until the 17th century, when mass production of glass bottles and the invention of the cork stopper allowed wines to be aged for years in bottles.

In the mid-19th century the French chemist Louis Pasteur and others explained the nature of fermentation and identified the yeasts responsible for it. Pasteur also identified the bacteria that spoil wine and devised a heating method (later called pasteurization) to kill the bacteria. Later in the century, methods were developed for growing pure strains of specific yeasts in culture. Advances in plant physiology and plant pathology also led to better vine training and less mildew damage to grapes.

Mechanized innovations in the 20th century have mainly contributed to quality control. Stainless steel fermentation and storage tanks are easily cleaned and can be refrigerated to precise temperatures. Automated, enclosed racking and filtration systems reduce contact with bacteria in the air. Beginning in the 1960s, the use of mechanical grape harvesters and field crushers allowed quick harvesting and immediate transfer to fermentation tanks.

The thousands of grape varieties that have been developed, with 5,000 reported for V. vinifera alone, differ from one another in such characteristics as colour, size, and shape of berry; juice composition (including flavour); ripening time; and disease resistance. They are grown under widely varying climatic conditions, and many different processes are applied in producing wines from them. All of these possible variations contribute to the vast variety of wines available.

raw materials: selection, specifications, and certificate of analysis - quality assurance & food safety

raw materials: selection, specifications, and certificate of analysis - quality assurance & food safety

Raw materials, including ingredients, processing aids, and packaging, are the foundation of finished food products. As such, they must meet not only your specifications, but also regulatory requirements.

Raw materials (ingredients, processing aids, and packaging materials) are the foundation of finished food products. As such, they must meet regulatory requirements (safe and legal for your intended use) and your specifications (contribute to the functionality and quality of your process and product).

Historically, research and development worked alone when selecting a new raw material. But now a broad team of expertise is needed, due to increased access to unique and complex materials, global sourcing, handling methods, customer locations, and regulations. The team assesses if the material has limitations or may be too costly to handle, and determines if additional measures are necessary to prevent potential safety issues for the employees and product.

Raw Material Selection R&D selects the appropriate raw materials based on functionality. Functionality can encompass multiple areas, such as providing identified characteristics of the finished product (binders, thickeners, type of resin for plastic packaging, etc.), organoleptic characteristics (flavor, color, aroma, texture), product safety characteristics (to lower the pH or water activity), and preservatives (extension of shelf life, color, or flavor retention, etc.).

Plant Discussions and Trials Trials require close collaboration between R&D and the manufacturing team. These examples of questions to be answered and the method for initiating discussions before, during, and after the trials will help facilitate the trial process.

Size and type of packaging based on forecast use Typically, the larger the container purchased, the cheaper the cost-per-pound. However, if the forecast is for use of 100 pounds in a year, what is the appropriate-sized container to purchase? It would not make sense to purchase in 50 pound bags (multiple handlings of the package with resulting potential of damage or contamination) or in a Super-Sak (with destruction of, or potential use of, expired materials).

Raw Material Specifications After the team has discussed and agreed upon the key characteristics for the raw material, the next step is to document these expectations. This can be as simple using as the dated Technical Data Sheet from the supplier. A purchase order should list the suppliers specific name and item number for the material. A recommendation is to include the revision date of the Technical Data Sheet (with associated specifications).

As a company grows, or your requirements become more complex, the suppliers information is expanded upon within your own specifications. At a minimum, the information should include technical and food safety information, including:

General name Material identification can be general for commodity-type products or those with a standard of identity, such as salt, granulated sugar, FD&C Yellow #5, and so forth. General names or descriptors ease use and sharing specifications, especially when soliciting and comparing prices between multiple suppliers.

Components The ingredient/material composition is listed in decreasing order of presence or as outlined in labeling regulations. For packaging materials, the specific composition of the packaging material would be specified, such as glass, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene (PPE), and so forth.

Food Allergens It is not unusual for a suppliers Technical Data Sheet to state that the material does not contain an allergen; however, most U.S.-based suppliers are only considering U.S.-regulated allergens. If you are controlling more than these, ensure you receive written confirmation of the presence/absence of the allergens you are managing.

Organoleptic Information Organoleptic characteristics are tested with your senses, including visual appearance, aroma, and flavor. This brief description is typically used during the receipt or pre-use at the plant to confirm that basic expectations are met or identify issues that can be readily checked by appearance (puree rather than whole fruit), aroma (off odors such as musty or chemical), or flavor (caramelization with high fructose corn syrup or rancidity with oils).

Analytical Information Analytical characteristics typically require testing with instruments rather than your senses. For example, an organoleptic description of a product could be red liquid and the analytical information would be the colorimeter reading.

Characteristics to be outlined include those affiliated with functionality, quality, and food safety. You do not necessarily need a Certificate of Analysis or in-house testing for all of the listed characteristics, rather, these characteristics are outlined as an agreement about what you are purchasing and as a basis for discussion if concerns are identified.

As described earlier, determining the key biological, chemical, and physical parameters requires R&D and plant management to review historic information about the material, regulatory requirements, and the supplier history, as well as how the material will be handled in-house.

Determine if there are special directions for handling the material, such as if employees need to wear a face mask or other personal protective equipment (PPE) or if the material needs to be shaken before use.

Certificate of Analysis (COA) A certificate of analysis (COA) is the suppliers test results on the specific lot being provided to you. Before requiring a COA, determining the key characteristics that can fluctuate, past concerns, and compliance to specifications is essential to your product or process.

You may find that many of your raw materials, such as packaging materials and refined oils, may not need a COA, however, ensure that you are following any requirements outlined in customer or audit standards (such as Global Food Safety Initiative audits).

There may be upfront or hidden costs with requiring a COA. Ask suppliers what tests they routinely conduct or for a specified analysis if you are asking for this. There also may be costs for your receipt or review, for potentially holding the material while waiting for a result, and for an action plan if the results identify that the material does not meet your specifications.

Validation and Documentation The standards for validation and documentation are: Prove it, scientifically (validation) and If it is not documented, it was not done (documentation). These encompass the research information, meetings, and the teams conclusions. For web searches, document dates, the name of the person who did the search, key words used, and the findings. Meeting documentation should capture dates, participants, the scope of the discussion, conclusions, and potential action plans.

A clear understanding of the materials being purchased is vital for suppliers and customers alike. Materials that do not meet your expectations can significantly reduce productivity, increase costs due to additional testing, rework, or destruction; and can place your product, company, customers, and consumers at risk for hazardous issues.

On the other hand, understanding the material and appropriate handling practices, as well as obtaining those that meet your expectations, increases productivity, decreases potential food safety risks, and is a key building block toward making a consistent, high-quality finished product.

Walmart customers have an unspoken expectation that the products they buy will be safe, and Walmarts Vice President of Food Safety Frank Yiannas drives fulfillment of that expectation through a culture of food safety throughout its storesand its supply chain.

For the food and beverage processing industry, food safety is of continuing focus and concern, with the end goal being that of providing safe, non-contaminated, properly labeled product to the consumer. However, most processors are at least a step away from that consumer, with their products moving from the plant to retail or foodservice companies; thus they may have little direct, face-to-face communication or interaction with those who consume their food.

The foodservice and retail stores, on the other hand, have a hands-on connection with that consumer. And as the final link of the chain that puts the product directly into the hands of the end customer, they hold final accountability for the safety of products.

Customers have an unspoken expectation that the products they buy will be safe, said Walmart Vice President of Food Safety Frank Yiannas. Ensuring that the expectation is fulfilled means requiring a culture of food safety not only throughout Walmart and Sams Club, but throughout the companys entire supply chain.

And when you are Walmart, which provides its suppliers with exposure to more than 200 million customers each week in more than 10,000 retail units in 27 countries, you provide your suppliers with a value that makes them willing to comply with what are likely the most stringent standards in the industry. In fact, its range of influence is one of the reasons that Walmart upped its standards. When we say that 140 million customers walk through our stores in the U.S. in one week, and 200 million do globally, we mean that we can make a difference, Yiannas said. We have the ability to have a large impact on food safety and health. This ability to have such extensive impact is also one of the things that brought Yiannas to Walmart in 2008, after 19 years with Disney.

Food safety has long been a priority for Walmart, but todays focus by consumers, regulators, and industry has added impact. As stated in Walmarts Report on Food Safety 2013, We operate in an era of transparency, when advancing technology is erasing boundaries between individuals, nations, and organizations. And that transparency has caused increased awareness.

Yiannas has worked in health and safety for more than 25 years. Without question, he said, I think food safety awareness is at an all-time high. Between media reporting and foodborne disease-pathogen pinpointing that has made the invisible visible, he said, its almost as though the food industry is in a race between detection and prevention. To win, prevention must outpace detection.

Driving a Single Standard. One of Walmarts key strategies to protect the customer is reducing risk early in the food supply chain. To do so, he said, you have to build hurdles along the entire food system.

One of the most significant of these hurdles for Walmart suppliers occurred in December 2007 with what has become known as The Walmart Letter. The letter, which was sent to all suppliers of its private label and other food products, such as produce, meat, fish, poultry, and ready-to-eat foods, stated that the retail store was requiring that the producers have their factories certified against one of the internationally recognized Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards. Suppliers were given until the end of 2009 to adhere to the GFSI frameworkor stop doing business with Walmart.

The directive was not initiated because of problems with suppliers, but rather to standardize food safety requirements at a high level. We saw that suppliers were trying to do the right thing, but many were doing different things, Yiannas said. One private-brand supplier told Yiannas that his company had to comply with 32 different standards. With such duplication of efforts, Yiannas said, the focus becomes trying to pass the next audit instead of focusing on food safety.

The implementation was a natural extension of a GFSI breakthrough earlier that year. In June, 2007, the CEOs from seven major international food retailers met and agreed to reduce duplication in the supply chain through the common acceptance of any of the GFSI benchmarked schemes. As the largest of the seven and the only U.S.-headquartered retailer, Walmarts supplier requirement became a milestone in the future growth and acceptance of GFSI schemes as an industry standard.

Industry Impact. Because of the size and influence of Walmart, the initiative was seen as a landmark development in the evolving food safety climate. Not only have a number of major retailers and manufacturers implemented GFSI as their own standard since then, including such industry leaders as Campbells, Cargill, ICA, Kroger, Sodexo, and Coca Cola, but studies conducted or commissioned by Walmart have shown extensive industry impact.

One of these was an internal Walmart study analyzing the impact of GFSI certification on product recalls. When recall data for 208 manufacturing facilities, including 81 food manufacturers, was deconstructed into two categories: pre- and post-GFSI, there proved to be a 34% reduction in recalls and a 21% reduction in withdrawals. As noted in Walmarts Food Safety Report, the results suggest that a food manufacturer that achieves a GFSI-recognized certification is significantly less likely to experience a food withdrawal or recall.

The second, a study by the University of Arkansas, published in the Journal for Food Protection (Sept. 2012), showed that achieving GFSI certification because of Walmarts requirement caused suppliers to:

With their focus on risk assessment, preventive controls, and monitoring, as well as the specific produce standards, the requirements have also enabled Walmart suppliers to be more prepared for the coming regulations of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). As Yiannas said, If you are a Walmart supplier, it is likely that you are already in compliance with FSMA.

Beyond GFSI. With GFSI at the root of its standards, Walmart has continued to expand some of its requirements even beyond those, with a focus on science- and risk-based controls. We believe in once certified, recognized by all, [the GFSI tagline] but we also believe that some products may require more, Yiannas said. Some of these initiatives include:

Creating the Culture. Walmart has high expectations of its suppliers, but it doesnt expect anything less of itself. Rather, the retailer strives to lead by example. We share the responsibility for food safety, Yiannas said. We take it very literally.

Not only is this the line by which Frank Yiannas introduces his book, Food Safety Culture: Creating a Behavior-Based Food Safety Management System, it is how he lives each day, and how he has and does drive a culture of food safety as vice president of food safety for Walmart, and previously in his 19 years with Disney.

Yiannas holds responsibility for food safety at all the retailers stores and thousands of food suppliers, in associate training and education, and for a number of critical regulatory compliance issues. Prior to joining Walmart in 2008, Yiannas was director of safety and health for the Walt Disney World Company, where he worked for 19 years, and where, in 2001, under his tenure, Walt Disney World received the International Association of Food Protections (IAFP) Black Pearl Award for corporate excellence in food safety.

It is because of this vast experience of working with food safety that Yiannas wrote the book. As he states in the Introduction, I wish I could have known 20 years ago (when I started my career in food safety) what I know now.

It is not a typical hard-science food safety book. Rather, Yiannas uses his experiences to explain the how and the why of the soft stuff; that is, driving food safety through human behavior and culture.

Interestingly, however, much of the soft stuff of the book reflects the hard science of todays Food Safety Modernization Act provisions. For example, a key component of driving culture in ones operation, and, in fact, the first step in the process, is creating food safety performance expectations that are clear, achievable, and understood by all. And how does one do this? By writing them down: Food safety performance expectations should be documented, so that they are clear and communicated. At a minimum food safety performance expectations should be captured in one central document.

Additionally food safety needs to be imparted through both training (the how) and education (the why). And what should be the focus? Again, predictive of FSMA, Yiannas states that to identify training and education as the solution, a thorough needs assessment should be performed. And in designing the program, one needs to conduct a risk assessment from a behavioral angle; that is, understanding the participants perception of the risk of a food safety issue (e.g., handwashing), prioritizing those that have been scientifically associated with foodborne disease that can be enhanced with training and education, then educating the workers on the risk, its consequences, and corrective action. In other words, create food safety training and education that is risk-based.

At 85 pages, it is a relatively short book, but it has a wealth of information on the why and how of creating a culture of food safety, most of which are simple concepts or age-old principles, as Yiannas himself states in the Introduction. But, when assembled in such a way as to be as insightful and practical for easy application on the retail or plant floor, as Yiannas does, They are so simple that they are powerful.

Yiannas is an international speaker on food safety; received the FDAs Collaboration Award in 2008 and the NSF International Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Food Safety in 2007; is past president of IAFP and past chair of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Networks Board of Directors; and is a registered microbiologist.

With a greater understanding of culture and human behavior as one of the key attributes that Yiannas gained during his years with Disney and brought with him to Walmart, he knows that creating a culture of food safety is imperative to its achievement. Its become somewhat trendy these days, but people arent always sure what it means.

At Walmart, it means ongoing communication, training, and focus; integrating it into every aspect of the workday and making it the social norm for those who deal with food. You can have the best HACCP plan and the best science, but you have to get the people to do it.

Examples that Yiannas gave were that of its rotisserie chicken-oven design in which raw chicken is always loaded from the rear, and the cooked chicken is always removed from the front to prevent cross-contamination. Additionally, he said, all store refrigeration is monitored 24/7which is not a standard retail practice as it can be very expensive. To ensure that stores are conforming to the companys food safety standards, processes, conditions, and expected behaviors, every store is audited every month by a third party.

But simply putting design in place is just the start. From there, food safety needs to be driven into the culture so that it becomes the social norm. This means citing and focusing on that which is done right rather than that done wrong. For example, rather than saying 35% of the general public doesnt wash their hands prior to handling food, always say 65% of people do. By reporting in-compliance rates rather than out-of-compliance rates, you are incenting the positive and showing it as an accepted social norm.

Making it part of the culture and a social norm also means driving it from the top. As stated in the food safety report, The tone from the top and leadership commitment are critical to building a lasting culture of food safety. This commitment is conveyed to associates through leadership messages introducing and supporting food safety initiatives, such as the companys Food Safety High Five created in 2010.

Based on CDCs most common contributing factors of foodborne disease, FDAs retail risk factors, and IAFPs international food safety symbols, the High Five are the most important practices or behaviors in preventing foodborne illness. (See graphic, page 16.) Based on its High Five principles, Walmart also developed educational Mr. Rollback videos to further reinforce the food safety culture. The videos use instructive humor to focus on the five key behaviors and are broadcast to store associates through the year. Video is also used to educate associates on other food safety areas, such as its 3D video training on new initiatives.

At Walmart, however, associates arent just educated on food safety, they sign a pledge to commit to it. At the end of each video, employees are asked, Will you commit to practicing the principles in this video? then sign to its affirmation. It follows the principle of consistency, Yiannas said. If you commit to something verbally, you are likely to do it. But if you commit in writing, you are even more likely to do it.

Customer Facing Initiatives. Developing such a culture also means educating and informing the customer to help ensure food safety all the way to the fork. At Walmart, this includes practices from the simple: including customer-facing use of the Food Safety High Five, such as printing it on the stores plastic meat bags, to the more complex, such as its collaborative Checkout TV Network and its recall lockdown and notifications.

Checkout TV Network was developed in collaboration with the Partnership for Food Safety Education and the Ad Council, focused on the USDA/FDA/CDC Food Safe Families Campaign. In the first of a series, a public-service video on Separate was shown on TVs placed above the stores cash registers and resulted in a 364% increase in consumer traffic to USDAs Ask Karen food safety site.

To further ensure food safety, Walmart and Sams have instituted a recall system in which supplier notifications of recalls are sent to stores within minutes, and Class I items are restricted from sale through register lock down on the product when scanned. Additionally, in the club stores in which customers scan their membership cards for every purchase, members are notified if a purchase is later affected by a recall. Through the system, Yiannas said, We are reaching close to 70% of customers on the day of the recall.

The SPARK system. With so many initiatives in place, it could be difficult to track and ensure that all food safety practices and procedures are being implemented at all the stores at the right time and place. But Walmart keeps food safety in check through its Sustainable Paperless Auditing and Record Keeping (SPARK) system. The handheld technology uses Bluetooth communication and temperature-measuring devices to create a data-driven, self-inspection system by which food safety is monitored and managed in each store and club.

This is an initiative that I believe is transformationaland I dont say that a lot, Yiannas said. We literally have millions and millions and millions of food safety checks on this system every month.

Using the wireless system, associates conduct food safety checks to test the temperature of hot, cold, and frozen foods. If it is not in compliance with critical limits, the unit vibrates and issues an audible alarm. Additionally the system:

Industry Impact. The conversion of internal programs to supplier offerings or education is not unusual for Walmart, and is a prime reason it has had such impact on the industry. Eventually, it seems, anything that Walmart provides to or requires of its suppliers generally filters on to their suppliers and their suppliers suppliers. Weve seen a ripple effect with requirements going back furtherespecially in produce, Yiannas said. We require it of our suppliers, then they require it of theirs.

As consumers continue to increase awareness of food safetywith the expectation that the products they buy will be safe, you can expect that Walmart will continue its efforts to meet that expectation, and, in doing so, will continue to drive its own expectations and requirements of the suppliers that feed those consumers through its retail stores.

We know that FDAs proposed Preventive Controls rule (Section 103) of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) includes a requirement that each plant have a qualified individual who will be responsible for the development and application of a food safety system, one requirement of which is to be a written Food Safety Plan. And we know that the training or job experience of that individual is to be at least equivalent to that received under a standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by FDA. (See detail in sidebar at right.)

There are just so many uncertainties, said Jeff Kronenberg, University of Idaho Extension food processing specialist. Thus, while the lack of definition in the proposed regulations make it difficult for the industry to prepare for some sections of FSMA, Donna Schaffner, associate director of food safety, quality assurance, and training for Rutgers Food Innovation Center, expects that being HACCP trained will be a minimum.

Schaffner is a member of the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (PC Alliance), a public-private alliance of key industry, academic, and government stakeholders whose mission is to develop a nationwide core curriculum, along with training and outreach programs to help industry comply with FSMAs preventive controls regulations. As such, Schaffner said, We have a framework in place for a curriculum for preventive controls. The model is seafood HACCP.

This is referenced in the proposed rule, with relation to seafood HACCP, as: FDA tentatively concludes for several reasons that HACCP is the appropriate framework to reference in interpreting and implementing section 103 of FSMA. It goes on to explain that the title of the rule, Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls, identifies two critical elements of HACCPhazard analysis and preventive controls.... Further, establishment of a system of preventive controls for these hazards is the central purpose of HACCP and FDA issued the juice and seafood HACCP regulations because a system of preventive controls is the most effective and efficient way to ensure that these products are safe.

This doesnt mean that lettuce, candy, and bread producers should sign up for seafood HACCP courses, but participating in a general HACCP program with breakout sessions in which participants apply principles to their own processes can be very beneficial, Schaffner said. If youve gone through a HACCP curriculum that covers the general principles, thats a start.

Reference: Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls For Human Food Proposed Rule issued by FDA. (http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0920-0001)

Kronenberg agrees, stating that accredited HACCP programs are accepted by many of the audit schemes, and that is what FSMA is saying too. He sees seafood HACCP as particularly applicable because it has a standardized curriculum that provides a broad background and the principles to put together a food safety plan that includes oversight, verification, and validation. FDA is just really leveraging off the model of seafood and juice HACCP.

Kronenberg expects that the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), which issues seafood HACCP certificates of course completion, also will be accredited to issue qualified individual certification for FSMA. AFDO certification has become the gold standard, but its not the only one, he said. FDA does allow for an equivalent curriculum, so if youre not running your training through AFDO, there are others that offer equivalent certification.

He also expects there to be a similar training program requirement, with the first segment being individual online study and the second segment being classroom training of at least one full day, including a hands-on workshop in which a team works together to develop a food safety plan.

One of the benefits of the seafood HACCP training curriculum is that the manual developed by the Seafood HACCP Alliance and the FDA Hazards and Controls guide, both of which are used for the approved training, are available for free download from the Internet, Kronenberg said, adding, Its unbiased; its free; its really advancing food safety, so Im sure if FDA follows the same model, everything will be available for free. He would further expect that FDA will issue a great deal of guidance on any required FSMA certification to help the industry understand how to comply with the regulations.

GFSI. In addition to similarities to HACCP, FSMA has a great deal in common with the standards of Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) audit schemes. Companies that are doing the GFSI program will be very, very close to FSMA, Kronenberg.

Schaffner agreed, noting that some GFSI-benchmarked standards, such as those of SQF, require HACCP certification. If a company is GFSI certified, you wont have any trouble complying with FSMA, she said.

Such certification has, in fact, put much of industry ahead of FSMA. Regulation is not keeping up with industry self-policing, Schaffner said. I think the intent (of FSMA) was GFSI, but I dont think that what we get out of it will be as strict. This is, at least in part, because of the burden it would place on smaller companies.

Rather, Schaffner again stated that taking a HACCP course and a pre-requisite course, and ensuring that GMPs are fully implemented could bring even smaller companies close to expected FSMA requirements. As a long-time HACCP instructor, I dont find anything new in the proposed FSMA rules that I havent been telling people they should be doing for years, she said. The new things that FSMA is going to mandate were, for the most part, already there. Theyre just defining them more explicitly.

As part of the PC Alliance committee, Schaffner has the inside track on the curriculum that was recommended to FDA. One area, however, on which no decision has been made is that of ownership of the program. Seafood HACCP is owned by AFDO, while The HACCP Alliance owns and approves general HACCP courses. Although it does not issue certificates, courses that meet its accredited curricula are issued seals which denote approval and can be affixed to certificates issued by the approved program, e.g., Schaffners Rutgers certificates. This proves that it is meeting certain guidelines and standards, she said.

Although participating in such courses is of benefit to a plants food safety program and may fulfill a GFSI standard, one should not go into a HACCP courseor any other coursewith the expectation that it will make him or her fully compliant with FSMAs qualified individual certification requirements.

As Kronenberg noted, the rule is still only in proposed status and an FDA-approved curriculum for training of the qualified individual has not yet been published. Thus, he said, industry should beware of any software, workshops, or other products that claim to provide qualified individual certification. Since the preventive controls regulation has not been finalized, it would be impossible to train participants on the specifics of the final rule.

And while finalizing the rule, FDA is still seeking comment, he said. Should training and/or certification be mandatory? Is experience enough? If so, what experience should be required? These are two things that are now should but FDA wants to go to must. Personally, I think both of those are very important and should be requirements, he said.

Additionally, Kronenberg feels that training be required for employees as well. If you look at all the voluntary standards, most of them are requiring quite extensive training for employees; and I do think its quite important, he said. A lot of companies get in trouble because they dont have it.

In the Plant. Once the rule is issued and information and guidance on requirements are available, the industry will be able to move forward with training as well as implementation of preventive controls. However, in many ways, that will signify just the beginning. As Schaffner stated, Overseeing it; making sure it is happening in the plantthats the real challenge.

Thats why large companies with great HACCP programs in place still have recalls, she said. Schaffner visits food plants to assist in their food safety programs and audit compliance. But the next part is when I go away. How do you get the employees to do the right thing?

Thus, while continuing to await the finalization and specifications of the preventive controls rules of FSMA, many companies are participating in approved HACCP courses and getting individuals certified. Everything [in the course] is a good idea even if they dont mandate it directly, Schaffner said.

One example she gave was the rules proposal to mandate validation of environmental monitoring, which in the past has been voluntary. Whether or not the final rule mandates it, its a good idea, she said. How do you know if pathogens are there if you dont have an environmental monitoring program?

In fact, Schaffner added, many companies are already implementing this and other expected provisions of the preventive controls rule for business reasons, and those that arentthose that are doing only the bare minimum, are already on shaky ground.

FSMA & Environmental Monitoring As discussed in section XII.G.1 of this document, section 418(f)(4) of the FD&C Act states that the owner, operator, or agent in charge of a facility shall verify that the preventive controls implemented under [section 418(c) of the FD&C Act] are effectively and significantly minimizing or preventing the occurrence of identified hazards, including through the use of environmental and product testing programs and other appropriate means. In addition, section 418(o)(3) indicates that preventive controls may include environmental monitoring to verify the effectiveness of pathogen controls is an example of preventive controls. The statute does not indicate the specific circumstances where environmental testing would be required or the specific manner in which such testing should be performed. Nevertheless, FDA believes that this testing can form an important component of a modern food safety system. FDA believes that the role and need for these measures varies depending on the type of products and activities of a facility. FDA further believes that the performance of environmental monitoring, for an appropriate microorganism of public health significance or for an appropriate indicator organism, is particularly useful as a verification measure for preventive controls (i.e., sanitation controls) when contamination of food with an environmental pathogen is a hazard reasonably likely to occur.

Although it is obvious from the language of FSMA (as cited aove) that FDA supports environmental testing and monitoring, FDA did not include specific requirements to that effect in the proposed Preventive Controls Rule. It appears, from its delineation of costs to industry to conduct such testing (e.g., an estimated aggregate cost of $4 million for domestic facilities and $4.4 million for foreign facilities as noted in the rules appendices) that a key reason for this was the cost to industry to do so.

In fact, even though FDA suggests that current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) are not adequate to control environmental pathogens, it appears that the cost evaluation prompted the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to remove the testing requirements before approving release of the proposed rule.

However, FDA did not simply set the issue to the side. Rather, it is requesting comment (the period for which has been extended to September 16, 2013) on when and how environmental testing is an appropriate means of implementing the statutory directives. FDA also requests input on the appropriate level of specificity should such provisions be included in a final rule.

Additionally, FDA identifies two sanitation processes (of product contact surfaces and to prevent cross contamination and cross contact) as potential preventive controls, for which environmental testing could be used for verification. So even without FDA requiring environmental monitoring across the board, if a facility identifies a sanitation control as necessary to address environmental pathogens as part of a preventive control program, then environmental pathogen testing is an obvious way to make sure that sanitation is being conducted in a way that addresses these pathogens.

GMPs and GFSI. Its not just in FSMA rules that FDA is increasing its attention toward environmental testing. As shown in an article in Food and Drug Law Institute Update by Joseph Levitt (Trends From 2011 FDA Warning Letters on Adulterated Food, February 2013), warning letters are showing FDAs trend toward focusing on the environment of the plant. Of the more than 200 warning letters issued by FDA in 2011 regarding adulterated food, only a handful involved contamination of the food itself. ... With only one exception, all of the warning letters for foods containing a pathogen also cited environmental testing that found the pathogen in the facility. The article goes on to state, FDA also issued 21 warning letters for cGMP violations following positive results from environmental testing.

Additionally, the increasing focus on GFSI in the food industry, and its relationship with many of the FSMA rules, is generating an increased focus on environmental monitoring and testing. Several of the GFSI-benchmarked audit schemes specifically call out environmental testing in their requirements. For example, BRC includes a general requirement that the plant have a scheduled program of testing covering products and the processing environment; and SQF requires environmental monitoring, with documentation, for high-risk foods.

There is some debate as to whether environmental testing can, itself, be considered a preventive control, as it is well recognized that every inch of a plant cant possibly be testedand just as you cant test safety into a product, nor can you test safety into an environment.

However, it is clear that FDA does see environmental microbiological controls as a critical part of an overall preventive control strategy. Not only is FDA seeking comment in this area, as previously mentioned, but the appendix to the proposed rule provides substantial insight into the value FDA sees in an environmental pathogen management program, and this is consistent with the focus FDA has taken in its inspections conducting a large amount of environmental microbiological sampling during both routine and for-cause inspections and the warning letters being issued as a result.

A Verification Step. But whether considered a preventive control or not, environmental testing definitely can provide for verification of other preventive controls, and with the use of ATP tests or even visual inspections, it can provide rapid verification of sanitation standard operating procedures. As stated in FSMA (Section 103), preventive controls may include an environmental monitoring program to verify the effectiveness of pathogen controls in processes where a food is exposed to a potential contaminant in the environment. Thus, moving forward, food and beverage plants will want to consider how to structure an environmental monitoring program that is suitable for the facility and provides meaningful information that aids in food safety efforts.

The fact that FSMA considers environmental monitoring to have a verification role is important to remember. Environmental monitoring is about testing for pathogens or other indicators and should be used to verify that other appropriate controls, such as cGMPs and sanitation, are in place and working properly.

Using environmental testing as a verification step can be particularly important for ready-to-eat products, for which it is critical that environmental pathogens be controlled so as to not contaminate the product. Testing the production environment for environmental pathogens is, thus, not only a mechanism to verify the effectiveness of sanitation procedures, but is a signal that a corrective action may need to be implemented, or even that a product be pulled should a pathogen be found close to or on product-contact surfaces. However, testing of zone 1 areas for pathogens need to be done with the full recognition of the consequences of finding a positive and may also require some logistical planning due to the standard protocol of testing and holding.

Environmental pathogens may be introduced by raw materials, ingredients, people, pests, or objects (such as equipment or transportation vehicles). Testing for these pathogens, generally Salmonella and/or Listeria, can be used not only to verify that sanitation controls are working, but also to help refine the frequency and intensity of cleaning and sanitation. A well-designed environmental monitoring program can be used to identify hotspots, check the validity of food safety programs, and indicate trends.

Where and what to test. A complete program involves a number of steps, starting with understanding the pathogen risk in your facility and ensuring you have robust GMP and sanitation programs with documentation. But once those are in place, environmental testing can be an effective tool for verifying that these programs are working.

Whether you choose to implement environmental monitoring and testing as a preventive control, a verification step or both, it is critical that if you do implement it that it be followed and documented. FDA is looking; the focus is increasing; and from a regulatory perspective, if you did not document it, you did not do it.

Keeping ants out of your plant can be seen as a three-stage process starting on the outside of the facility and working inward. You have to realize that ants need only a tiny little crack to get in, said Cisse Spragins, CEO,RockwellLabs. So you really need to start on the outside of the facility.

Ants can come into plants on incoming goods, including non-food items, with some species that build indoor nests being a year-round problem. But, in general, said Syngenta Technical Services Manager Clay Scherer, from March through May or June, most ant populations are in an expansion mode.

As temperatures rise and food and water become more accessible outside, ants ramp up their foraging, becoming more visible and colonizing more areas; populations then peak in summer and slow down in fall and winter. Because of that cycle, Scherer said, it is important to get a handle on pest populations in spring and early summer.

Getting a handle on ants is a matter of working in concentric circles, Spragins explained. Use the 1-2 punch of repellent on the structure and bait outside that. Then inside, she added, Pay attention to sanitation so there is no harborage or moisture for them to live on.

A Three-Step Approach Because ant control requires an integrated pest management approach, protecting your plant and your product from ants will require a partnership with the pest management professional, whether contracted or internal, and your own quality assurance/food safety, maintenance, and sanitation teams. Although the specifics of a program can vary by plant and contracted professional, the following is a general overview of a three-step holistic approach to ant prevention and control.

1. Eliminate Colonies. The first step in preventing invasion by ants is creating a protective band around the property by eliminating ant colonies that exist there, Spragins said. This is best done with baits, which worker ants will forage and carry back to the nest to feed and kill the breeding queen and colony members.

Developing a checklist to use when conducting an audit or inspection is paramount for reducing potential insect infestations. As new insect harborages are discovered, these areas can be added to the checklist to eliminate repeat offenses.

If the property is grass or gravel, a broadcast granular bait application will work well, but if the plant is surrounded by concrete or asphalt, the bait will need to be put in insect bait stations specifically designed for exterior use, so that the bait is not just sitting on the surface. A tip from Spragins was to put the ant bait in existing rodent bait stations. This not only serves to feed the ants, it keeps them from feeding on the rodent bait.

To reduce the potential of foraging ants moving inside, broadcast treatments should extend at least 10 feet out from the building, Scherer said, but nests that are found farther out also can be individually treated with bait or a contact spray. This is particularly true of species such as fire ants, for which the mounds are generally quite visible.

Bait choice can vary by the identified ant species as well as time of year. This is because different ants are attracted to different foods at different times. For example, Scherer said, when ants are more active in the spring, they will seek proteins and lipids for energy, but as summer wanes and activity begins to decrease, they are more likely to seek carbohydrates and sugars. Thus a bait will be most accepted and effective if it provides the food base the ant is seeking. That said, some ants prefer specific foods regardless of time of year, and just about all ants will be willing to feed on other foods when easily accessible.

However, understanding ant feeding preferences can help in control; if ants are a problem but the bait is not having an effect, it can be advisable to switch to a different base or even type, e.g., solid instead of gel, Scherer explained.

2. Protect the Plant. Exclusion. Classic entry points for ants are loading docks, doors, and other exterior openings, such as windows, Scherer said. Thus, to help keep ants and other pests out, use self-closing doors, air curtains, or other such closures on doors; keep loading docks and areas around doors and windows cleaned and clear of trash and debris that could attract or hide pests; and ensure doors and windows are well sealed and screens are well maintained.

Perimeter Treatment. Applying a band of micro-encapsulated repellent insecticide, labeled for exterior ant use, around the foundation of the structure and entry points not only helps to repel ants, but also, Spragins said, kills the ones that stumble into itkeeping the ants from being able to enter the plant in the first place.

Incoming Goods Inspection. Because a manufacturing facility has a lot of raw materials coming into it, this can be a source of infestation of ants, as well as other pests, Scherer said. And once inside, the ants can quickly infest areas, particularly undisturbed sections of warehouse and storage areas. All deliveries should be inspected and those with any sign of pest presence should be refused. Inspecting packaging and other non-food materials is just as important as inspecting food ingredients, as ants (and other pests) will live in and even feed on paper and other products.

3. Minimize Survival. Even with all these protections in place, there can be times that ants will make their way into the plant through one means or another. Thus, it is critical that practices are put in place to minimize their survival.

Like any other pest, ants will be looking for food, water and harborage, Spragins said. Generally a food plant will offer a lot of opportunity because it has food and moisture. Thus, the primary means of protecting the plant on the inside is reducing these as much as possible through sanitation.

Virtually all plants have sanitation programs, but there are often overlooked areas, such as spills that are undetected or crumbs that accumulate in undisturbed cracks, that are not cleaned as often as they should be. In some cases, the sanitation process can actually be adding to the potential for pest infestation. Spragins cited plant washdowns as an example. It is good for washing the equipment, but where does it go after the fact with food in it? she said. Pay attention to where the washdown water is going. Make sure you dont have a buildup of water with food particles.

Spragins also recommended that cracks and crevices be treated with a biological sanitation product, which reduce organic buildup and smell, which can attract ants as well as other pests. If you have a lot of ant pressure outside the building, even if food is not there for very long, you can quickly have ants trailing to it, she said. Be very careful of sanitation within the plant so you are not building up residue that attracts the ants.

Spragins also recommended regular monitoring and inspection so as to get a handle on any pest activity early on. Inspection should also include assessment for conducive conditions, such as water sources, scraps and debris, organic build-up, etc.

In some areas of plants, baits can be used, but it is critical to carefully read labels and use only those specifically labeled for the area and the application. Pest management in food plants is significantly different than that for restaurants and other commercial establishments because there are very exacting procedures for what can and cant be done, Scherer said. Some of these are due to federal regulation; others due to specific standards, such as those for organic foods or specified by retail customers; while others may be policies set by the plant or corporation itself.

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Our OK Mill offers a high run factor of typically 90 to 95 percent availability. And because the OK Mill can continue to operate with a reduced number of rollers, you can achieve 60 to 70 percent of nominal output in emergency or low demand times.

Selecting a single large vertical roller mill size gives you lower total cost of ownership per tonne of cement produced. Common parts increase equipment availability, lower maintenance and parts inventory costs and help keep the machine in operation while parts are being repaired.

Worn roller grinding surfaces can either be replaced or re-welded inside the vertical roller mill. If needed, the roller swing-out feature allows easy removal of rollers to perform maintenance work externally. Sharing of common parts is possible across different vertical roller mill sizes for both cement and raw applications. This offers you more opportunities in the use of standard component combinations, along with maximal spare part flexibility and reduced spare parts inventory.

The OK Mill was originally designed for cement grinding. In 2017 we released the OK vertical roller mill for raw materials grinding. The OK Mills modular design comes with unique flexibility, showcasing parts commonality, where spare parts can be shared between vertical roller mills regardless of size and application. Equipment longevity is assured with durable wear protection on all internal surfaces.

FLSmidth provides sustainable productivity to the global mining and cement industries. We deliver market-leading engineering, equipment and service solutions that enable our customers to improve performance, drive down costs and reduce environmental impact. Our operations span the globe and we are close to 10,200 employees, present in more than 60 countries. In 2020, FLSmidth generated revenue of DKK 16.4 billion. MissionZero is our sustainability ambition towards zero emissions in mining and cement by 2030.

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