Case Study

Activities of the Nissin Global Food Safety Institute

The Nissin Food Safety Research Institute (now the NISSIN Global Food Safety Institute) was established in 2002 for the purpose of assuring the quality of the products of the entire Nissin Foods Group. The Institute is involved in the development of new analysis systems and carries out quality surveys and product quality assurance at all phases covering from raw materials to processing and production. It is also one of the few in the foods industry to acquire certification for the international standard ISO/IEC 17025, which deals with general requirements regarding the proficiency of testing and calibration laboratories. The Institute applies to the creation of products a host of advanced quality assurance technologies, including world class analysis capabilities and various analysis systems developed uniquely by Nissin Foods.

Quality assurance through diverse analysis systems

Testing for residual agriculture chemicals and veterinary drugs

Nissin Foods prevents product contamination by hazardous substances by testing for the residual agricultural chemicals and veterinary drugs that raw materials may contain. The latest analytical systems, originally developed NASRAC (Nissin's Analytical System for Residual Agricultural Chemicals), is capable of the speedy batch analysis of 545 types of residual agricultural chemicals, and NASVED (Nissin's Analytical Systems for Veterinary Drugs) is capable of the speedy batch analysis of 200 types of veterinary drugs. They also use FASRAC (Food Automatic Analytical Systems for Residual Agricultural Chemicals), an automatic preprocessing unit for residual agricultural chemicals, to dramatically improve the testing proficiency and precision.

Food allergy testing

In addition to using official testing for the seven food allergens requiring labeling, the company also uses an analysis method developed by Nissin that is based on genetic information to test for 20 of the food allergens for which labeling is recommended in Japan. This method performs detection by amplifying special DNA sequences for twenty types of allergens in order to determine whether they are contained in food products.

Testing for carcinogens

Nissin Foods developed a new original analysis system that tests for carcinogens in food products. NESMAGET (Nissin's Evaluation Systems for Mammalian GenoToxicity), a test method for human cell mutagenicity, applies the expression mechanism of the DNA repair gene p53R2, which was developed in 2003. In addition, a gene cluster that exhibits a characteristic fluctuation in a carcinogenesis promoter was discovered in 2008. Using the level of expression of this gene cluster as an index, they developed a fast carcinogenesis promoter test method capable of rapid and easy testing called NESTUP (Nissin's Evaluation System for Tumor-promoting Activity). It enables rapid, easy, and low cost testing for carcinogenesis promoters.

Testing for food poisoning bacteria groups

They use three types of test methods, all capable of speedily testing for bacterial groups based on genetic information, to test for food poisoning bacteria. These are the specific bacterial group rapid batch test method, the acetic acid tolerant lactic acid bacteria test method, and the emetic bacillus cereus test method.

Testing system for radioactive substances

They have introduced high-precision germanium semiconductor detector-type gamma ray spectrometers, which is capable of analysis that discriminates between the radionuclides cesium 134 and137, for conducting regular testing of water (tap-water and ground water) at the Nissin Foods Group production plants and affiliated plants. This testing is in compliance with tightened new national standards for radioactive substances enacted in April 2012.

Batch testing for heavy metals

Heavy metal pollution of waterways and soil caused by insufficiently treated effluent, a problem associated with the rapid industrialization of emerging nations, is a concern. To deal with this, they approach heavy metal batch analysis using ICP-AEA (inductively coupled plasma emission analysis) and ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma emission mass spectrometry).

Food irradiation verification testing

Irradiation of foods for purposes of sterilization is not allowed in Japan. (It is, however, allowed to stop potatoes from sprouting.) They therefore conduct irradiation verification testing using such methods as PSL (photoluminescence) and TL (thermoluminescence).

Japan domestic and international quality survey activities

The institute engages in the following survey activities in order to ensure that measures suitable to quality assurance at each stage, from raw materials to processing and production of product, are in place. If a problem is found at any stage, the company devises proposals for correction.

1.Quality survey of raw materials

They conduct quality surveys related to every aspect of the process, from the production of raw materials through processing, including surveys of farms, stockyards and fisheries, and on-site inspections of food factories.

2.On-site inspection of manufacturing plants based on new NIFOS

Based on the new NISFOS (Nissin Foods Group Food Safety Monitoring Standards), they perform evaluations from the consumer's standpoint by dividing food safety into five quantified categories: food safety management, pest avoidance measures, manufacturing practices, maintenance, and cleaning activities, and quantifying the food safety.

3.Quality process management in China manufacturing plants

Members of the NISSIN Global Food Safety Institute are posted regularly in the Food Safety Evaluation & Research Institute Co., Ltd. in Shanghai as process managers who periodically visit food factories throughout China that are associated with the Nissin Food Group in order to manage the raw materials and manufacturing processes in use.

Original quality control system

Nissin Foods' quality control is a unique system that achieves rigorous product quality assurance. It comprises two approaches. One is dual management, by which both their factories and the NISSIN Global Food Safety Institute each conduct quality control testing. The other is quality testing proficiency management, which is for maintaining the food quality testing and analytical testing capabilities of each factory at or above a specific level.

Dual management

The Group has put in place a dual quality management system involving testing of products at the Global Food Safety Institute in addition to product quality control at the production plants. This management system was expanded to overseas room-temparature products in 2015, and each month the Global Food Safety Institute performs tests to confirm nutritional information and allergen labeling of products sent from domestics and overseas plants.

Quality testing proficiency management

Nissin Foods developed SARMAPS and SARFAPS for testing at affiliated companies in addition to its group companies. Microorganisms and food samples prepared at the Institute are distributed to individual factories. At the factories, quality managers conduct testing and report the results to the Institute. The institute evaluates the results by statistical analysis and provides detailed direction to managers responsible for rejects until they come up to standard while also sharing the rejection-causing problems with other factories with a view towards improving testing proficiency.

  • SARMAPS (Food Safety Research Institute's Microbiological Analysis Proficiency System)
    *This is an innovative system (patent pending) that targets microorganisms unsuitable for accuracy management.
  • SARFAPS (Food Safety Research Institute's Food Analysis Proficiency System)

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