A unified contamination control community

I've fielded a number of calls this past month from readers who have noticed how we've opened up our coverage to all things relevant to the contamination control continuum

News of cleanroom technology, products and standard developments are co-existing with stories on evolving cGMPs, processes and procedures.

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That's the critical editorial balance that continues to differentiate us in the marketplace.

These stories are written in order to illustrate what's working and what's not working in contamination practices across our horizontal markets (semiconductor, electronics, life sciences, etc.). But more importantly, we're aiming to build a contamination control community where readers in different markets might be able to learn a few new tricks from one another.

This month, our Denver-based correspondent, Sheila Galatowitsch, offers us an outstanding overview of the headaches some of our nation's top food processors are facing in the wake of terrorist threats.

No other contamination control practitioner faces such a varied battle. The logistics involved in protecting the nation's food supply is baffling even some of the industry's best minds as “food safety” has been transformed into “food security.” Dan Rodd's poignant illustration on page 17 is a dark reminder of the corner the food industry recently had to turn.

The FDA is working on a process it's calling Operational Risk Management (ORM) designed to help food producers, processors and providers prioritize preventative measures that will have the greatest impact on reducing the risk of intentional contamination-“intentional” being the key word here.

The threat of these “bad intentions” has forced the hand of the Bush administration. For example, Galatowitsch reports that the 2003 federal budget proposal includes $146 million in spending on food security measures with spending increases planned on animal health monitoring and agricultural point-of-entry inspection.

The proposal is also calling for a $28 million fund increase for the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) which keeps a watchful eye on meat and poultry processors and maintains 7,600 meat, poultry and egg product inspectors.

And rumor has it that the number of inspectors will be increasing; in the meantime, the FDA will be getting hold of close to $97 million in new food safety funding and turning up the volume of food plant inspections.

For our loyal readers in the food industry, take a quick lesson from the news on cleanrooms.com and this month's cover concerning Schering-Plough and Abbott Labs' continued struggle to meet reasonable regulations while maintaining a healthy bottom line.

I believe that even though our readers produce a wide variety of vastly different products, there is a single line of similar thinking that must be employed to practice successful contamination control-and there is an up-front investment that must be agreed upon if that line of thinking is going to lead to successful contamination management.

You can pay now or pay later. It's up to you.

Michael Levans
Chief Editor


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