It’s not a surprise to those that know me well that I enjoy playing in the outdoors in many ways. One of my favorite pastimes is spending time in the field with my “fur-babies”. My two dogs Reggie and Arlo, have fun but they also “work” hard pointing and retrieving birds in the field, they truly are athletes, and any serious athlete knows that a key to top performance is proper diet. As other avid pet lovers would agree, I would do mostly anything for them and when I see stories like this “Darwin’s Pet Food owner knew of pathogens in production plant” in my Social Media feed, it really makes me sad.
Growing up watching movies like Bicentennial Man I thought for sure by now (2018) we would each have a robot that would do our work for us. They would earn an income so we could kick back and relax (Right?) Are we there yet…no – so I’m forced to ask myself why? The main reason I always come back to is with the human element missing, robots cannot learn and question what they are programmed to do. The capacity to question and improve is very unique in humans and what often sets us apart, not only from robots but, other animals as well.
The new Safe Quality Food (SQF) Code Edition 8 became effective on January 2, 2018 and listed some significant changes, including new programs and revised requirements for existing programs. One notable change is that companies formerly SQF Level 2 and 3 are now REQUIRED to participate in an annual proficiency program.
Ready to venture out now that spring is (hopefully) just around the corner? Join us in March for our first 2018 Cherney College course, Preventive Controls for Animal Food. This course is the FDA-recognized training for pet food and animal feed companies that will comply with new FSMA regulations this year. We have been actively involved in FSMA training since 2016, training over 125 Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals or PCQIs. In our experience, FSMA for human food is a matter of tweaking and adjusting programs that are already in place. The experience for those in the animal food industry is a whole other beast (see what I did there?). For years, regulation at the state and federal level covered medicated feed, labeling and adulteration but now the industry will have to create programs to comply with current Good Manufacturing Programs (CGMPs) AND preventive controls. This is a lot to tackle in a short time!
Just over a month and a half ago, Debra Cherney shared the exciting announcement of Cherney's new COO Steve Kuchenberg. Today - the Cherney team is happy to share that we again have added to our Leadership Team. Please extend a warm welcome to Karrie Bierhals (Technical Services Manager) and Jeremy Syring (Client Services Manager)! More information regarding these two individuals are below!
This month Cherney features Kea Schmuhl, one of our dedicated Sample Preparations Technicians who looks to clear up some of the misconceptions about working in a testing laboratory. Thank you to Kea for her insight and unique perspective!
When people ask me what I do for a living and I say, “I’m a Sample Preparation Technician,” or work in a “Food Safety Testing Laboratory” they often make generalized assumptions. These thoughts tend to be based on the stereotypes they have seen on TV or read in a book portraying laboratory technicians. However, quite a few of these assumptions are not the case when describing my role as a Sample Preparation Technician at Cherney.
As stated earlier in the year - we’ve given Founder & CEO Debra Cherney the opportunity to share thoughts on any topic of her choice. While many of them will be related to food safety, the one below is of excitement so please, read on!
To our Cherney community consisting of customers, colleagues, and industry friends. It is my extreme pleasure to share with you the announcement of Cherney’s new Chief Operating Officer (COO), Steve Kuchenberg, who officially starts with our organization on Monday, September 25th. Steve's extensive experience within our industry brings a new level of competence and technical expertise to our organization and while I’m personally very excited for him to lead our organization into the future, our team at Cherney will soon see how his passion for doing the right thing for those around him will quickly pass onto you our valued customers. Steve and I are in lockstep agreement about what actions will be taken to achieve our strategic vision for Cherney. A very exciting time is ahead, welcome Steve! - Debra Cherney
In the past few years, we have seen an increase in customers asking for an onsite audit of their internal labs. These requests may occur when new tests are brought online or in-house, when there are questionable results or as a routine activity in the company’s food safety program. Not surprisingly, members of our technical team love doing these audits! We get to share our lab experience, technical microbiology knowledge and best practices to help our customers improve the quality of testing they perform. We always learn after an audit, seeing different operations and processes from the customer perspective.
Summer = sunshine +hot weather + “hopeful” vacations! While this is a likely equation, our teams at Cherney have been noticing some reoccurring issues with incoming samples in the past few weeks. While we have worked with customers directly, it also gives us the opportunity for a very relevant blog topic. The information shared below is CRITICALLY IMPORANT to ensuring that the samples being submitted to the laboratory arrive in the best possible condition. This allows for two things: 1) superior sample integrity and 2) the generation of accurate test results.
We started off the year discussing the importance of participating within a Proficiency Testing (PT) program if you are generating internal testing results within your facility. Without this valuable information, your company may be at risk due to not knowing with 100% accuracy that the results being generated are true. In the world of food safety today, this should not be one of those toss a coin moments. Simple but true – if you are generating your own results, MAKE SURE you are participating in a PT program!