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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.
Researchers at the U.K.’s Institute of Food Research have discovered more about how Salmonella fuels itself to invade human gut epithelial cells—its first line of infection—once it’s in the body. By studying how well mutated strains reproduced in cultured human epithelial cells, they identified glucose as the major nutrient used to fuel the bacterium’s growth and reproduction.
The Escherichia coli outbreak in Europe in 2011, officially assumed to be from a natural origin, may instead have been caused by accidental or intentional introduction of the pathogen into the food chain, a recently published analysis suggests.The source of the outbreak that sickened more than 4,000 people was identified as a single shipment of 15,000 kg of contaminated fenugreek seeds from Egypt. The sprouts from the seeds were assumed to be the vehicle for the deadly outbreak.
In late April, the USDA announced nearly $24 million in new funding for research projects aimed at protecting consumers from microbial and chemical contaminants in food. These grants, awarded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, focused on mitigation strategies for antimicrobial resistance, the physical and molecular mechanisms of food contamination, and the safety of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.
A controversy that was brewing over the use of byproducts from beer production as animal food may have been turned aside by an FDA official’s recent reassurances regarding language in the proposed animal feed rule. Brewers and others have raised concerns that, as written, language in the animal feed rule of FSMA would have a significant economic impact on the beer brewing industry and on farmers who rely on the byproducts of brewing for use as animal feed.