Meeting Food Safety Standards in Clean Label Dressings [Presentation]

Originally Published: August 4, 2022
Last Updated: October 18, 2022
Meeting Food Safety Standards in Clean Label Dressings - MValladares 2022CLC

Abstract: Clean label products are developed to address consumers’ demand for thoughtfully crafted products made with natural, easily recognizable ingredients. However, meeting this demand limits the use of many solutions used by product developers to address microbial stability and safety challenges. This presentation will focus on aspects to consider when developing non-thermally treated acidified salad dressings and potential strategies in meeting food safety standards in clean label dressings. The discussion will focus on selecting potential natural antimicrobial ingredients and evaluating their antimicrobial performance in such food product applications. Key learnings include: Understanding the regulatory framework around salad dressing; Potential antimicrobial ingredients used to overcome microbial contamination challenges in clean-label salad dressing applications; Current limitations of antimicrobial ingredients available in the market; and, Microbial challenge studies for validation of antimicrobial efficacy.

Malcond Valladares, Ph.D., Food Scientist, Product and Process Development, The National Food Lab (The NFL), “Considerations for Selecting & Evaluating Clean-Label Antimicrobial Ingredients for Salad Dressings” – Speaker at the 2022 Clean Label Conference.

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Extract from Summary of this Presentation titled: Considerations for Selecting & Evaluating Clean-Label Antimicrobial Ingredients for Salad Dressings 

FDA’s Title 21CFR117 provides regulations for hazard analysis, risk-based preventative controls and good manufacturing practices (GMPs). Begin by defining the regulatory space for your product, advised Valladares. He then focused on salad dressings classified as acidified foods made from high- and low-acid ingredients. Acidified foods are shelf-stable, have a pH of less than 4.6 and water activity (aw) over 0.85.

Valladares stressed the importance of allowing particulates to reach equilibrium with the rest of the formula before testing to ensure a pH is less than 4.6. Equilibrium can take up to 24 hours to occur.

Possible sources of microbial risk include ingredients, the production environment, processing and storage, and recontamination.

Pathogens, such as E. coli 0157:H7, Listeria Monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica, and spoilage microorganisms, like lactic acid bacteria, yeast and mold, are of concern. “This is especially true when the manufacturing process does not include a kill step process or treatment to mitigate the microbial risks associated with these products,” Valladares emphasized. “There’s a high chance that mold can grow over time, and mold can shift the pH, allowing pathogen growth, as well,” he added.