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Contributing Writers

Roy Costa, RS, MS (MBA)

Roy Costa, RS, MS (MBA)

Roy Costa is the founder and owner of the consulting firm Environ Health Associates Inc. He is a registered professional sanitarian (RS) with almost 40 years of environmental health practice in the academic, government and private sectors. Costa is an educator and food safety trainer with experience in a number of countries. He is a Lead Instructor for the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) and for the Produce Safety Alliance. Costa’s practice specializes in the prevention and control of food and waterborne infectious agents.

Articles Written by Roy Costa, RS, MS (MBA)

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Could the ongoing Salmonella outbreak have been prevented?

Opinion

Outbreaks of Salmonella and other pathogens in fresh produce are unfortunately relatively frequent occurrences. This is true, particularly with imported Mexican papaya. Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor the Centers for Disease Control have disclosed potential root cause in the latest outbreak, however, the factors that lead to contamination of produce are well known…. Continue Reading

USDA’s new take on the daily grind

Opinion

The new rule-79 FR 42464 will be in full effect starting on June 21 2016. This new rule will alter the way both inspected (official) and exempt facilities grinding beef control the beef grinding process. Overall, the new requirements will impact an estimated 71,000 companies employing about 100,000 persons. Retail-exempt facilities regularly mix cuts of… Continue Reading

Recent events highlight need for safe water for food production

Opinion

Water is an essential component of many types of food products. Processors, manufacturers, and packers use water to clean, cool and even transport foods during production (in flumes for example). Water is, of course, also used to make ice and beverages of many types. Water, mixed with detergents and antimicrobial compounds, is essential to clean… Continue Reading

Environmental health pros practically invisible, profoundly important

Opinion

public health official

The Environmental Health Specialist (EHS) plays an important role in public health. Environmental health workers perform a down-to-earth job that seeks to protect the public from hazards originating in living environments. The disciplines of environmental health encompass programs to address a wide range of potential human health risks including contaminated water, air, food and the… Continue Reading

The Troubling Problem for the Fresh Produce Industry

Opinion

Once again, the fresh produce industry has been hit with a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak. The latest involves fresh-cut salad items, reportedly produced at a Dole processing plant in Ohio. While it is shocking to see a serious outbreak in such a popular brand, Listeria contamination is a troubling problem for most everyone in the… Continue Reading

Cyclospora and Unanswered Questions About Produce Safety

Opinion

Anytime there is a massive outbreak involving produce, those of us tasked with produce safety should be asking the difficult questions about our prevention methods and why they failed. There are emerging trends apparent with pathogens in produce: a trend away from Salmonella and E. coli and toward more novel pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes… Continue Reading

An Epidemiological Model for HACCP Verification

Opinion

(Roy Costa is a registered sanitarian and president of the consulting firm Environ Health Associates Inc. More of his articles can be found here.) Knowledge and Capability of Auditors HACCP systems have grown and changed remarkably over the past 50 years, yet the fundamental scientific reasoning for critical controls has not changed in any substantial way. The goal… Continue Reading

Making Room for the Human Element in Food Safety Auditing

Opinion

(This article by Roy Costa, a registered sanitarian and president of the consulting firm Environ Health Associates Inc., was originally posted here on June 18, 2015.) In today’s world of food safety requirements, food producers large and small and at all levels of the supply chain are subject to increasingly rigorous industry-driven food safety standards and audits…. Continue Reading

Is the Food Industry Doing Enough to Control Allergens?

Opinion

(This article by Roy Costa, a registered sanitarian and president of the consulting firm Environ Health Associates Inc., was originally posted here on May 31, 2015.) A recent spate of food product recalls due to undeclared allergenic agents illustrates the problem the food industry has in preventing allergen exposures. Paleteria La Jalpita Issues Allergy Alert On Undeclared… Continue Reading

In Response to Michael Taylor

Opinion

(This article by Roy Costa, a registered sanitarian and president of the consulting firm Environ Health Associates Inc., was originally posted here on May 22, 2015.) I appreciate Michael Taylor’s comments in the recent article (“Blue Bell and the Very Real Impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act”) posted on Food Safety News and also believe that FSMA… Continue Reading