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From: Food Quality & Safety Magazine, February/March 2011

Features

The Father of Food Preservation

Nicholas Appert invented techniques for long-term food storage

Just after the new year began, President Obama signed legislation for the most sweeping overhaul of America’s food safety system in more than 70 years, allowing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to impose new rules to prevent contamination. It’s a concern that dates back to Roman times, but food microbiology saw major advances starting in the late 1700s, spearheaded by no less than Napoleon.

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News

Elevating Room Sanitation Quality

Hydrogen peroxide vapor has broad-spectrum efficacy, excellent material compatibility

In recent years, the focus on the environmental quality of the food production landscape has increased. Although far from being a new problem, high-profile cases resulting in sickness and death traced back to the manufacturing process have caused the industry to reassess contamination control strategies, an issue currently under discussion in the Senate and inherently linked to food safety. Some level of contamination control naturally already exists and, given the diversity in environmental production...

Organic Nutrient Claims May Be Overstated

Study shows organic and conventional vegetables to be nutritionally equal

Higher nutrient levels are a much-touted benefit of organic fruits and vegetables, but a recent study casts doubt on that idea. Researchers from the National Food Institute at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark put the antioxidant content of organic potatoes, onions, and carrots to the test and found them no better than their conventionally grown counterparts. The research was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

The Obama Administration and Food Safety

A Midterm Report Card

Two years into it term, the Obama administration gets a solid grade of B for overall food safety from a range of interest groups that includes consumer advocates, growers, processors, and manufacturers. But consensus is lacking on specific efforts, such as the conducting inspections, since different groups are impacted very differently by these activities. For instance, consumers applaud more frequent testing of fresh produce, but growers complain that the process takes too long and can hold up and even...

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Departments

The Latest in Lab Equipment

Lab equipment

As this issue’s Product Focus shows, laboratory equipment for food science and the industry is changing rapidly. As the cover story for our December/January 2009 issue reported, one of the key changes in the lab is the emergence of tools that are more efficient, reliable, and automated, said Purnendu Vasavada, PhD, an extension food safety and microbiology specialist with the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The lab will also be smaller.

Get a Documented Food Safety Plan

Food safety bill will mean more FDA on-site reviews

Get ready to meet your new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspector. On Jan. 4, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Food Safety Modernization Act, S. 510. The bill essentially takes provisions from the House-passed H.R. 2749 and combines it with S. 510 (Senate) to make one bill. The new bill will impose stiff penalties for known violations. To ensure enforcement, the House bill includes a minimum $1,000/year registration fee to be assessed to all food facilities to help pay for mandatory FDA...

The Microbiology of Cereals and Cereal Products

Variety of media and methods available for detection and enumeration of molds in cereal products

Bacteria are frequent surface contaminants of cereal grains. For bacteria to grow in cereal grains, they require high moisture or water activity (aw) in equilibrium, with high relative humidity. Generally, bacteria are not significantly involved in the spoilage of dry grain and become a spoilage factor only after extensive deterioration of the grain has occurred and high moisture conditions exist. However, bacterial pathogens and spoilage bacteria, such as spore-forming bacteria that cause ropiness in...

Advances in LC/MS for Food Safety Testing

New liquid chromatography/mass spec technologies make a difference in the lab

In recent years, the utilization of liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) has grown rapidly and is now widely recognized as an ideal, highly specific, and extremely sensitive technique for testing food products with superior accuracy and higher throughput than other methods such as LC/ultraviolet, LC/fluorescence, or microbiological and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay methods.

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Columns

Red, Yellow, Green, Go

Color-coding influences food safety behavior

Cultivating behavior change requires a specific communication strategy. The objectives of this strategy are to ensure that food employees and managers throughout the facility are familiar with food safety standards, their role in maintaining these standards, and the consequences of not maintaining these standards.

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