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Farm practices meant to improve food safety should rely on science-based management approaches in order to conserve biodiversity in surrounding areas, a recent study suggests. Pressure from produce buyers to adopt additional precautions not mandated by government or industry may damage local ecosystems without clear increases in food safety, the study’s authors say.
Features: Could Radiation Make Seafood Safer?
Electron-beam pasteurization could reduce the risk of infection with viral pathogens from raw shellfish by 26 percent to 91 percent, depending on the pathogen, according to new research from scientists at Texas A&M University.
Since Irish food inspectors detected horse meat in beef burgers at the end of last year, similar incidents have occurred in 13 European countries. Retailers have removed beef products from their shelves as concern over the contamination and the origin of the horse meat has escalated.
With food contamination on the rise, even food companies that maintain strict quality control mechanisms and perform extensive due diligence on their suppliers may face the prospect of a recall or product liability claims...even problems experienced by small ingredient manufacturers can lead to, and recently have resulted in, widespread recalls causing millions of dollars in recall costs and potential tort liability for numerous other food manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
Features: Rat Meat Sold as Lamb in China
The Chinese government has arrested 904 people in a crackdown on food safety violators, according to news reports. Those arrested include 63 people involved in an operation that bought rat, mink, fox, and other meat that had not been tested for quality and safety, added gelatin, nitrates and pigment, and sold it as lamb, the Associated Press and other news outlets reported.
Pulling back from an April 25 report that as many as 2,100 food inspections—or approximately 18% of the total conducted by the agency—would be eliminated this year as a result of the government sequester, FDA officials announced on May 5 that it would reconfigure its budget to avoid reducing inspections.
The proposed budget for the FDA would total $4.65 billion for fiscal year 2014, which begins Oct. 1, 2013. The budget seeks a 21.4 percent increase of $821 million over the baseline fiscal year 2012 enacted budget, and an 11.2 percent increase of $470 million over the fiscal year 2013 (continuing resolution) budget. However, virtually all of these increases (about 94 percent) would come from user fees from the food, drug, and cosmetics industries as opposed to federal appropriations.
A nano-biosensor capable of detecting Listeria monocytogenes in food has been developed by researchers in Maine. The assay detected L. monocytogenes artificially inoculated on wild blueberries with specificity over other pathogens, the researchers reported.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law two years ago, however most food and beverage regulations were just released this past January. A new study by iRely has found that while the guidelines have been pending for some time, many process manufacturers are still either uncertain or unaware of how the new regulations will affect their production processes.
A single-point mutation newly identified in the genome of Listeria monocytogenes increases the pathogen’s ability to withstand temperature-related and osmotic stress, researchers in Ireland reported. The same group also described a previously unidentified twisting of L. monocytogenes cells into a corkscrew shape in response to increased stresses.