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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.
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.
Departments: ICP-MS for Detecting Heavy Metals in Foodstuffs
Heavy metals can be toxic for humans when they are not metabolized by the body and accumulate in the soft tissues. Depending on the heavy metal in question, toxicity can occur at levels just above naturally occurring background levels, meaning that consumption of food with a high heavy metal concentration can cause acute or chronic poisoning.
Researchers at McGill University in Montreal have found new evidence that eating Escherichia coli-contaminated chicken can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Features: ATP Bioluminescence Moves Mainstream
This article on the history and impact of advances in ATP bioluminescence is the third in a new series for Food Quality. In “FoodTech: Tools That Changed the Industry,” we look at various technologies and tools, such as ATP bioluminescence testing, that have played a key role in and had an indelible impact on the food industry.
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.
Departments: ATP Assays Point Way to Greater Safety
Food contamination can be a devastating public relations disaster for a food or beverage manufacturer or restaurant. For example, the Michigan-based Bill Knapp’s restaurant chain never fully recovered from a food contamination scandal in the 1990s. Although the cause of the contamination was identified and eliminated, the chain struggled until it finally closed its doors in 2002. An even bigger scandal in 2008, involving Salmonella contamination of peanut products, led to the discovery of major...
Features: Lessons Learned From Recent Recalls
The recent massive recall of food products containing peanuts and other peanut ingredients distributed by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) offers several insights into steps the food industry can take to avoid future contaminations and recalls. The recall also highlights the fact that the industry must take responsibility for safeguarding our nation’s food supply, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently lacks the resources to do so.
Departments: Choose Your Toolbox
Numerous food contamination incidents in recent years have put food safety in the spotlight as never before. The obvious challenges of policing a global, interdependent food production network are prompting consumers to question food safety, governments to increase regulation, and food producers to search for new testing solutions. In light of public concern over food safety, heightened in particular by dioxins found in Irish pork and melamine found in infant formula made in China, government agencies and...
Departments: Dioxin Detection Offers Protection
In recent years, several high-profile contamination crises have raised concerns over dioxin levels in a variety of food products. In December 2008, the Irish government recalled all pork products made in the Republic of Ireland after the discovery of dioxins in slaughtered pigs. Tests on some of the Irish pork products showed dioxin levels up to 200 times the recognized safety limit. This was followed by the Chinese government’s December 9th announcement banning all imports of pork from Ireland after...