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A new test developed by scientists in China claims to be the first comprehensive method available to detect genetic modifications in food. The test, called MACRO, is a combined microchip-PCR and microarray system that the investigators say can monitor 91 DNA targets in a single test.
A guidance document issued by the FDA in December aims to phase out the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs for food production purposes. The document asks companies that make animal pharmaceuticals to voluntarily revise the labels of these products to remove production uses—such as enhancing animal growth or improving feed efficiency—and restrict these antimicrobials to therapeutic uses under veterinary oversight.
An audit from the USDA’s FSIS has given the Canadian Food Inspection Agency a grade of “adequate” in the wake of a review of its meat inspection system. That’s the lowest acceptable rating it could receive and still be permitted to import food to the U.S. The audit report, issued in December, was based on tours of seven processing facilities, two labs, and five CFIA offices conducted in October and November of 2012.
A newly proposed standard and associated supportive reference materials for authentication of skim milk powder were posted December 31 by the USP for public review and comment. Development of the proposed tools, aimed at preventing economic adulteration of skim milk powder with melamine and other nitrogen-rich materials, was prompted by the reports of melamine contamination of milk products in China, according to a USP official.
Biocides used at sub-lethal doses in the food industry, with the goal of enhancing hygiene and food safety, may be having precisely the opposite effect—instead increasing pathogens’ resistance to antibiotics and promoting their ability to form biofilms (a major virulence factor for human infections), according to new research from Spanish scientists.
Current federal performance standards for Salmonella contamination in chicken “do not adequately protect public health” and should be improved, a report released last month by the Pew Charitable Trusts asserts. The document suggests changes that could improve the control of Salmonella contamination in chicken and strengthen federal regulators’ responses to outbreaks.
The FDA’s release in December of a proposed rule that would require the nation’s largest food businesses to take steps to prevent intentional food adulteration met with little surprise, though some in the food industry feel the guideline is both too specific and too broad.
The USDA’s FSIS recently released its "Salmonella Action Plan" that outlines the steps it will take to address what it calls the most pressing problem it faces: Salmonella in meat and poultry products. In fact, FSIS’ efforts started back a few years ago when it made reducing incidence of Salmonella the priority goal of its 2011-2016 Strategic Plan.
Food companies around the world are sending an increased amount of quality and safety testing to third-party contract testing laboratories, according to a new report from Strategic Consulting, Inc., a provider of market research to food safety diagnostics companies. Total revenues for food contract test labs are estimated to reach $3.05 billion in 2013, up from $1.95 billion just five years ago, at a compound annual growth rate of 9.4 percent worldwide.
Increased awareness and implementation of proper food safety in restaurants and delis may help prevent many of the foodborne illness outbreaks reported each year in the U.S., according to data from the CDC. Researchers identified gaps in the education of restaurant workers as well as public health surveillance, two critical tools necessary in preventing a common and costly public health problem.