Birko Blog

As a leader in food safety, Birko is at the forefront of industry research and trends. Fighting resident foodborne pathogens, developing plant sanitation solutions, sanitary design of custom equipment, and precision chemical blending. In this space, our experts share their insights on these and other timely topics.

Key Food Safety Takeaways from United Fresh 2018

united fresh produce association logo

If you were unable to attend this year’s United Fresh Expo, you missed some great opportunities to network, learn about trends, hear from experts and discover innovations for fresh cut and produce processing. Birko had the privilege of sponsoring the Food Safety & Technology meeting at the 2018 event in Chicago. Dr. Elis Owens and I also attended the meeting, and there are a few interesting and important takeaways we wanted to pass along to you.

Birko Celebrates Its 65th Year in Business As a Family-Owned Company

According to Forbes, family-owned businesses generate roughly 50% of our gross national product, and only 13% only make it through their third generation. As Birko celebrates its 65-year anniversary today, we beat these odds and continue to thrive. My grandparents, Ward and Florence Smith, built this company in their garage, blending cleaning chemicals to address their customers’ pain points. They formulated chemistry specifically to handle the most challenging cleaning environment possible: beef slaughter facilities. Today, we have over 400 formulations that support many environments such as produce, brewery and all proteins. Through our keen understanding of companies’ food safety needs, we’ve… Read More

Contract Sanitation: Do You Always Get What You Pay For?

unbundling risks ebook from birko

Finding the right people to fill sanitation roles can be challenging. You’ve got to hire employees who are willing to work third shift, and the work can be tedious, yet you need experienced sanitarians who understand proper food safety procedures. The tight labor market isn’t making the task of maintaining an in-house sanitation team any easier. It’s no surprise that many small-to mid-sized operations have no choice but to seek out contract labor for plant sanitation. Something we recommend you avoid, however, is the tactic of bundling your labor and sanitation chemistry under one contract with a single company. Here’s… Read More

Food Safety in the Supply Chain | How FSMA’s Sanitary Transportation Rule Impacts Shippers and Carriers

food transportation

Even when fruits and vegetables are processed in a sanitary environment,  there’s the potential for contamination to occur when those products hit the road. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) updates regulations from the farm to store shelves. It covers the entire supply chain, including the transportation of produce and fresh-cut products from processing plants to the public. The final rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food went into effect in 2016 and, by now, businesses large and small should be complying with the rule. FDA inspectors have begun checking to see whether FSMA rules are being followed.

Cyclospora and Foodborne Illness

With Cyclospora back in the news, due to an outbreak related to fresh veggie trays that has sickened 185 and hospitalized 7, it’s time to provide a refresher on: What is Cyclospora, where does it come from and how can we prevent it from causing disease? Cyclospora, or Cyclospora cayetanensis, is a protozoan parasite that causes a gastrointestinal illness, Cyclosporiasis. Infected individuals can display a range of symptoms that range from having no clinical symptoms of disease (asymptomatic infection) to severe diarrhea resulting in dehydration and weight loss. Other less common symptoms can include anorexia, nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, cramping, fatigue, body… Read More