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“The American consumer has moved away from the Sunday roast and the whole chicken to buying chicken breasts, legs, and wings, and it’s a progressive regulatory and public health strategy to address that,” says David Acheson, MD, founder and CEO of The Acheson Group and a former FDA associate commissioner for foods.
New York Senator Charles Schumer has issued a call for the FDA to increase inspections at food warehouses throughout the country, citing some 90 warnings issued by the agency in 2014 to food facilities about insanitary conditions that included, in multiple cases, dead rodents and rodent feces.
The draft EIS focuses on four key areas in the produce safety rule: definition of covered farms, water quality standards, biological soil amendments of animal origin, and actions taken with respect to domesticated and wild animals on farm lands. Only the water quality standards have been identified as potentially having a significant adverse environmental impact.
Fresh and locally grown produce available at farmers’ markets comes with some health risks, according to a study that found Salmonella and E. coli in samples of basil, cilantro, and parsley purchased at 13 such markets. The finding is a reminder that federal food safety regulations that govern large-scale farm practices don't apply to produce sold by smaller farms that sell their harvest at local farmers’ markets.
Current buffer zone guidelines, which recommend that produce be planted at least 400 feet away from livestock feedlots in order to prevent contamination with airborne pathogens, may not be sufficient to protect produce from E. coli O157:H7, according to new research from USDA scientists at the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing not only threatens the sustainability of the seafood industry but also the safety and quality of seafood available to consumers. Recommendations issued in December by the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud will, if implemented, take action on illegal fishing and make it a diplomatic priority.
The USDA failed to meet the Dec. 31, 2014 deadline for finalizing and submitting its rule for proposed labeling of mechanically tenderized meat to White House Office of Management and Budget. What could have been implemented by 2016 will now have to wait at least until 2018.
News: Street Food, Safe Food?
With more food trucks popping up all around the nation, the question of whether or not their food is safe to eat has become more important. A study researched over 260,000 food and safety inspection reports in seven cities and found that in all cities, food trucks and carts did just as well as, or better than, restaurants.
Revised provisions to four proposed rules in the FDA’s FSMA surprised few industry experts, but they say the changes clarify the original rules, first proposed in 2013, and could give them more teeth. The four revised rules cover preventative controls of human food, produce safety, preventive controls for animal food, and foreign supplier verification programs.
Electronic “tongues” or e-tongues have been the focus of research for several years, with applications for sampling wine, screening for bacteria and contamination in production, distinguishing between different varieties of beer, or evaluating milk and dairy products. The National Science Foundation recently awarded a grant to University of Massachusetts Lowell for continued development of an e-tongue to test water and beverages for lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic, as well as heavy metals.