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thumbnail image: thumbnail for: USDA: Label Mechanically Tenderized Meat

News: USDA: Label Mechanically Tenderized Meat

The use of sharp needles or blades to tenderize meat by breaking up muscle fiber can push pathogens on the meat’s surface deep into the interior, where they are less likely to be reached and eradicated by cooking or surface cleaning. It’s fairly common practice; the USDA estimates that 37 percent of meat processors use at least some mechanical tenderization.

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: Frozen Berries Recalled after Hepatitis A Outbreak

News: Frozen Berries Recalled after Hepatitis A Outbreak

An outbreak of hepatitis A that has sickened 87 people in eight U.S. states prompted the recall of an organic frozen berry mix, according to federal agencies. Townsend Farms Inc., of Fairview, Ore., on June 4 announced a voluntary recall on the product, which was sold at Costco and Harris Teeter stores, “out of an abundance of caution.”

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: Salmonella’s Protection Switch

News: Salmonella’s Protection Switch

The elusive foodborne pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium has developed a unique self-protective mechanism that responds to changes in the environment during its infective period, which may protect it from harm, according to new research from scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Wash.

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: False Negatives for Common Pathogens Frequent in Food Laboratory Assessment

News: False Negatives for Common Pathogens Frequent in Food Laboratory Assessment

The accuracy of food microbiology laboratory testing for common pathogens “remains problematic,” according to a review of proficiency test results over a period of 14 years. The average percentage of false negative results in the review of almost 40,000 results was more than 5 percent for several common pathogens, researchers reported at the American Society for Microbiology meeting, May 18-21, in Denver.

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: Evidence-Based Approach to Farm Practices Urged

News: Evidence-Based Approach to Farm Practices Urged

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.

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: Could Radiation Make Seafood Safer?

News: 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.

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: Rat Meat Sold as Lamb in China

News: 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.

News: FDA Spares Food Inspections from Sequester Chopping Block

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.

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: Expanded Recall Includes Food Products Distributed to Schools

News: Expanded Recall Includes Food Products Distributed to Schools

A recall encompassing 10.5 million pounds of frozen food products includes some items that may have been served in schools, according to the manufacturer of the recalled products. Rich Products Corp., of Buffalo, N.Y., recalled all products produced at its Waycross, Ga., plant with “best by” dates of January 1, 2013 through September 29, 2014 due to possible contamination with Escherichia coli 0121 bacteria

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: High Levels of Resistant Organisms Found in Meat

News: High Levels of Resistant Organisms Found in Meat

More than half the samples of ground beef, ground turkey, and pork chops tested by a national health surveillance program contained one or more bacteria resistant to at least one antibiotic, according to an analysis of the test results. The analysis, released April 15 by a nonprofit group, has raised alarms about these findings, but a FDA spokeswoman says the analysis “oversimplifies” the surveillance results.

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October/November 2014

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