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Guidance documents issued by the FDA in late June describe the agency’s “current thinking” on its approach to regulation of nanotechnology products, including its use in food production. The FDA states that use of nanotechnology is not “intrinsically benign or harmful.”
A new camera-like detection device now being tested by scientists at the University of Southampton, England, could collect and detect Listeria monocytogenes on food preparation services within a matter of three to four hours, compared with current assays that require more than 24 hours.
Up until recently, the $100 million-plus edible film and coating industry has mainly focused on antimicrobial coatings that can keep fruits and vegetables fresh longer—but researchers are starting to branch out into other food products, and testing different vehicles than the traditional proteins, polysaccharides, fats, and waxes.
The U.S. FDA welcomes an “open dialogue” with the artisanal cheesemaking community and state officials to discuss the safety of aging certain types of cheeses on wooden shelving. In a constituent update on June 11, the FDA said that recent reports that the agency is taking steps to end the practice of using wooden boards to age cheese “are not accurate.”
Beginning this summer, the USDA’s FSISwill do double testing on ground beef samples: Every time it tests for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in a sample of ground beef or ground beef sources, it will also test for Salmonella. This new approach will begin on June 29, according to FSIS’ May 16 Constituent Update.
Vibrio, a bacteria that can thrive in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean, may be multiplying more quickly because of dust plumes from Saharan/Sahel desert area in Africa that are being carried across the Atlantic and deposited in ocean waters. Climate models predict that the Saharan/Sahel desert will grow hotter over the next 100 years, setting the stage for more dust to be released into the atmosphere.
In every herd of 100 cattle, odds are you’ll find about two that are “supershedders”—cattle who shed high levels of pathogens like E. coli 0157:H7 in their manure, potentially spreading it to the rest of the herd and raising the risk of contaminating meat products down the line.
An alternative to a traditional Laboratory Information Management System is expected to allow for ease in food safety labs complying with FSMA. The NuGenesis Lab Management System can enable a food testing lab to quickly and productively keep more detailed records as the system captures files, reports, and data streams that can be required during an inspection.
USDA’s FSIS and the CDC Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will provide a more comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to address foodborne health hazards in meat, poultry, and processed egg products.
The economic downturn in recent years adversely affected the readiness of local and state food safety agencies to respond to foodborne illness outbreaks. A report that the National Environmental Health Association distributed in May found that budget cuts and financial constraints led to stagnating salaries, staff reductions, inadequate or underfunded training, and a decreased ability to respond to outbreaks.