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Departments: Are What You Eat Really What They Are

BSE is old news. As early as the 17th century, scrapie disease was described in sheep. However, the agents causing its sponge-like brain symptoms were not reported until the 1980s, work for which Stanley Prusiner was later to be awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. He named the infectious proteins “prions.” After the first recognized case, in 1986, of a prion disease in a British cow, “bovine spongiform encephalopathy” (BSE), bovine cases in the U.K. soared to a peak...

Departments: Acidic Punch Pounds Pathogens

Food processors and consumers are becoming more attracted to food preservation strategies with a focus on naturally occurring antimicrobials. Free fatty acids are widely distributed in nature and possess antimicrobial properties. This makes it a great time to consider new treatments which utilize these properties to deliver benefits valuable to processors.

Departments: Taking Control

Food allergy occurs when an individual possesses intolerance to certain types of materials in food, which provokes a hypersensitive reaction of the immune system. It is a major concern to the many people allergic to eggs, peanuts, dairy products, soy, tree nuts (e.g. almonds and cashews), fish, shellfish and wheat, which are commonly referred to by the industry as the Big 8.

Departments: CSI Listeria

Listeriosis, an infection caused by ingestion of Listeria monocytogenes, is especially dangerous for certain at-risk populations, including pregnant women, fetuses, infants, the elderly and those battling chronic diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while the rate of listeriosis has fallen by 40 percent in the past five years, Listeria monocytogenes still accounts for almost 500 deaths each year.

Departments: Mercury Determination in Fish by Cold Vapor Atomic Fluorescence Spectroscopy

Mercury is a toxic element with harmful effects that are well documented and understood. The consumption of fish is the primary source of mercury absorption for the general public. Because fish can bio-accumulate mercury, unacceptably high levels of mercury appear in fish taken from pristine waters. Fish tissue sometimes can be more than 100,000 times more concentrated in mercury than their indigenous waters.

Departments: Desperately Seeking Salmonella

Salmonella is a group of foodborne bacterial pathogens causing acute gastrointestinal illness around the world. FDA estimates that 2 to 4 million people are sickened by Salmonellosis in the U.S. annually, resulting in approximately 600 deaths in the U.S. and 200 in the EU, with the highest fatality rates in young children and the elderly.

Departments: The Water Audit as a Strategic Tool to Manage Operational Costs and Performance

Food and beverage plants generally focus strongly on two objectives: Producing high-quality product in an efficient and well-run production facility and reducing/controlling costs in the process, while maintaining effective investment planning.

Departments: Controlling Listeria

Recall of food products contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes are on the rise, due in part to federal regulatory agencies’ increased scrutiny of food processing plants. Each year in the United States, L. monocytogenes causes approximately 2,500 cases of illness, which result in 500 deaths (Mead, 1999). Susceptible persons include pregnant women and those with immune system compromise due to cancer, organ transplant therapy, kidney disease, diabetes, aging and AIDS.

Departments: Elusive E. Coli

Enterohemorrhagic E. coli O157:H7 gained great attention as a foodborne pathogen in 1982 after an outbreak from contaminated hamburgers in a fast-food chain. Although anyone can get ill from ingesting even low levels of this organism, the very young and the elderly are at greater risk for developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) as a result of an E. coli O157:H7 infection. HUS is a severe illness that can lead to permanent loss of kidney function and even death. According to estimates by the Centers for...

Departments: Traceability as a Tool

In June 2002, national manufacturer ConAgra Beef Co. voluntarily recalled more than 354,000 pounds of ground beef – 177 tons – that may have been contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. Within 20 days, USDA requested that the company further expand its recall to include 19 million pounds of product. Since ConAgra could not readily trace and identify the stores that bought the meat or the brands under which it was sold, it took days to pull all of the recalled product. Public awareness quickly...

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April/May 2014

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