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Biocides used at sub-lethal doses in the food industry, with the goal of enhancing hygiene and food safety, may be having precisely the opposite effect—instead increasing pathogens’ resistance to antibiotics and promoting their ability to form biofilms (a major virulence factor for human infections), according to new research from Spanish scientists.
Features: Preventing Contamination at the Dock
Loading dock equipment, originally meant to increase operational efficiency and to protect the safety of dockworkers, is now being enlisted to protect food products in cold and dry storage facilities as well as during production and transportation. Here are some warehouse solutions that can help a DC or processing facility strengthen their line of defense again contamination.
Current federal performance standards for Salmonella contamination in chicken “do not adequately protect public health” and should be improved, a report released last month by the Pew Charitable Trusts asserts. The document suggests changes that could improve the control of Salmonella contamination in chicken and strengthen federal regulators’ responses to outbreaks.
The FDA’s release in December of a proposed rule that would require the nation’s largest food businesses to take steps to prevent intentional food adulteration met with little surprise, though some in the food industry feel the guideline is both too specific and too broad.
The USDA’s FSIS recently released its "Salmonella Action Plan" that outlines the steps it will take to address what it calls the most pressing problem it faces: Salmonella in meat and poultry products. In fact, FSIS’ efforts started back a few years ago when it made reducing incidence of Salmonella the priority goal of its 2011-2016 Strategic Plan.
Food companies around the world are sending an increased amount of quality and safety testing to third-party contract testing laboratories, according to a new report from Strategic Consulting, Inc., a provider of market research to food safety diagnostics companies. Total revenues for food contract test labs are estimated to reach $3.05 billion in 2013, up from $1.95 billion just five years ago, at a compound annual growth rate of 9.4 percent worldwide.
Increased awareness and implementation of proper food safety in restaurants and delis may help prevent many of the foodborne illness outbreaks reported each year in the U.S., according to data from the CDC. Researchers identified gaps in the education of restaurant workers as well as public health surveillance, two critical tools necessary in preventing a common and costly public health problem.
Last year, the USDA FSIS proposed a new regulation that would allow poultry processing plants to increase line speeds from 32 turkeys per minute to 55 turkeys per minute. Although the rule was designed to improve food safety by automating some aspects of the inspection process, consumer organizations feel the proposed changes do not account for the expected adverse impacts that a faster line speed will have on worker health and safety.
In response to concerns over the effectiveness of current control measures to reduce or prevent illness from consumption of spices in the U.S., the FDA released its report "Draft Risk Profile: Pathogens and Filth in Spices" on October 30th. What followed was a string of media coverage alerting the public that their spices can contain anything from whole insects to rodent feces.
The formation of unwanted layers of limescale deposits on the surface of process equipment is of critical importance in the food industry. Limescale is particularly prevalent in heat transfer devices, membrane separations, and distribution lines. Scale deposits, known as fouling, can cause a number of operational problems. In addition, the incorporation of even undesirable trace particulates can lead to off-flavors or off-colors, reducing shelf life, or even making the product un-saleable.