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Departments: Smaller, Stronger, Faster Labs
In these non-Dickensian times, the availability of food is not as much of an issue as concerns about food safety. Food is pouring in from all over the world, but ensuring its safety is a complex task. Food safety is inherently bound up in issues related to time, such as how long it takes to detect a problem or contaminant. And because time is money, there’s money to be made—or granted—in exploring the future of rapid detection.
Features: What's Right With the Food Industry
Recent food recalls—from pet food to peanut paste to bagged spinach—and the increased media attention to those recalls have seemingly tarnished the image of the food industry. Consumers are, for the most part, unaware of the effort, time, talent, and resources that go into making their food supply safe.
New research from the Volcani Center in Israel reveals that the pathogenic bacteria Salmonella enterica can sense, swim toward, and enter open stomata in a lettuce leaf during photosynthesis. The discovery, published in the October issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, has important implications for food safety and may partially explain why it’s so difficult to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness by disinfecting fresh produce.
News: New Findings on Listeria
New discoveries about the mechanism of spread between cells of the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes could shed light on a host of other bacterial illnesses with similar patterns of infection. Listeria can cause serious illness in immunocompromised people and spontaneous abortion in pregnant women. In addition to infecting humans and animals, it can also grow on vegetables.
Features: The Food Safety Countdown
Long-awaited legislation to reform and modernize the nation’s food safety system will likely be put off until next year while the Senate continues to grapple with healthcare reform and other contentious issues.
Features: Industry and Government Talk Food Safety
Government and industry don’t usually agree on much. But at the 10th annual Food Safety & Security Summit in Washington, D.C., in March, the consensus was clear: Food safety is not only good for the public’s health, it’s good for business. Food safety leaders from Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, the National Restaurant Association, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Association of Food and Drug Officials spoke at the meeting about ensuring food safety—and the bottom line.
Features: Beefing Up the FDA
This summer federal lawmakers are hoping to enact two pieces of legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more authority and funding to better regulate the safety of domestic and imported foods.
Departments: Regain a Competitive Edge with Smarter Hygiene
Food processors and food retail establishments can invest in low-cost employee hygiene technology and deal more aggressively with hygiene solutions such as handwashing, clean hair, clean uniforms, produce sanitizing, proper footwear and effective glove use.
Standardized food safety and quality management have been well established in the United States and the European Union. Since much of the food industry is highly internationalized, both in general supply chain and in contract manufacturing, there are substantial business needs for internationally standardized safety and quality systems.
Departments: Strengthening the Food Safety Management System
A foodborne disease incident can be devastating for any organization that supplies food to the U.S. market. The cost of a food safety recall is typically millions of dollars and can result in the closing of food processing plants. To minimize this risk, many companies in the supply chain require that their supplier’s implement and maintain HACCP programs.