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From: Food Quality & Safety Magazine, December/January 2011
Good news for food service establishments
Not only are restaurant patrons willing to pay more for meals prepared with produce and meat from local providers, the proportion of customers preferring local meals actually increases when the price increases, according to a team of international researchers.
Action required on a number of fronts
Food safety problems can arise at any of multiple stages of food production, and illnesses that result from them are frequently not detected or reported, according to a new report from the American Academy of Microbiology.
Can contaminate young produce crops
Escherichia coli can live for weeks around the roots of produce plants and transfer to the edible portions, but the threat can be minimized if growers don’t harvest too soon, a Purdue University study shows.
Could contribute to chemical contamination observed in blood
University of Toronto scientists have found that chemicals used to line fast-food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags are migrating into food and being ingested by people where they are contributing to chemical contamination observed in blood.
Found to cause malnutrition in Africa, Asia
An international team of scientists is calling for protecting complementary food for infants in developing countries, especially those where corn is a staple food, against fumonisin, a toxin produced by fungi.
Full impact of decision not considered
The review process being used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assess the safety of a faster-growing transgenic salmon fails to weigh the full effects of the fish’s widespread production, according to analysis by a Duke University-led team in a recent issue of Science.
Interlaboratory comparison in EU yields good results
European Union (EU) researchers conducting an experiment in which 57 laboratories from 29 countries volunteered to test for the presence of heavy metals in seafood found that most of the labs came up with similar results, thus underscoring the efficacy of the tests.
UC Riverside searches for the right ‘molecular fingerprint’
You pick up a bottle of pomegranate juice at the store because you’ve learned that, although it costs more than most juices, it is replete with antioxidants that bring health benefits. But wait: Is the juice you’ve purchased really pomegranate juice? Or is the product label you have carefully read promising more than it delivers?
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One step at a time is all it takes
Businesses from all links in the food chain are increasingly challenged to implement a structured food safety management system (FSMS) that is incorporated into the overall management activities of the organization. This challenge comes from the requirement to comply with a growing number of regulations, as well as pressure from customers and the ethical obligation to protect consumers from illness and injury by providing safe food.
OEE system indicates adherence to sound, documented food-processing techniques
Comprehensive solutions that directly address food and beverage production efficiency include methodologies that manufacture without new investment. The food and beverage manufacturing industry is under steadily growing pressure. Once an investment is in place and as long as there is demand for the products, companies must produce as much as possible with existing production facilities while keeping costs as low as possible.
Evolving tools and methods help reduce foodborne illnesses
Is our food really safe? The plethora of contamination events over the past few years certainly begs the question. The first major contamination event occurred in 1998 when Sara Lee recalled 35 million pounds of various meat products. Recalls were pretty quiet for about eight years, and then…
Technology performs fast, cost-effective pesticide analysis
Pesticides are intended for use on food crops to prevent, destroy, and control pests, which can be chemical, biological (such as a virus or bacterium), antimicrobial, or disinfectant. As a result, pesticide residues can be found in agricultural products like tea leaves and, due to their potential toxicity, can be harmful to human health. Pesticide consumption can cause a wide range of long-term health problems, including damage to the nervous and reproductive systems, birth defects, and, in some cases,...
Legislation lags behind, but manufacturers can influence it
If you subscribe to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts, you’re well aware that food recalls occur almost daily. Few of these product issues receive nationwide publicity like this summer’s recall of 380 million infected eggs or last year’s Salmonella-tainted peanut butter.
Despite interest, negative public perceptions have companies pulling back
As recently as 2005, food manufacturing giants like Kraft Foods and Nestlé were touting the food science breakthroughs they expected to make using nanotechnology. At the time, anticipated innovations included tiny chemical tongues and noses to sense spoilage, smart foods that could change composition to suit the consumer, and delicious junk foods with the nutritional profile of broccoli. Kraft even organized a consortium of government and academic institutions, called the Nanotek Consortium, to...
Recalls happen, so be sure your insurance can cover you
If you think a recall is unlikely, or that you’ll be covered in the event it happens, think again. From a food safety standpoint, we are living in a dynamic and fast-changing world. Because microorganisms exist naturally in our environment, they will continue to find their way into many of our foods. Given recent improvements in national foodborne illness outbreak surveillance, more illnesses are identified and more outbreaks are reported.
Talk about bad timing. In last issue’s letter, which I wrote the day after the GOP spanked Democrats in the recent mid-term election, I pronounced food safety legislation, specifically the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510), effectively dead.
Create buy-in from the top down, change behavior
In today’s economic climate, businesses are trying to gain the upper hand by taking advantage of every selling opportunity. Smart business executives put together a strategic sales plan that gives the company a competitive advantage. Using social marketing methods in that plan is essential for changing consumers’ buying behaviors. To create a safe food supply, we must develop a strategic sales plan that includes social marketing methods to sell food safety behavior to our employees.