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Since the first identification of the PEDV in the U.S last spring, the disease has posed significant challenges to the nation’s swine industry. PEDV is not a zoonotic disease and does not affect food safety, according to the USDA. However, infection with this highly transmissible virus can cause tremendous financial losses to pork producers, the National Pork Board says.
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.
Labeling and duty-to-warn cases continue to emerge as a key area of risk for food and beverage companies. These companies should understand the nature of these claims, the extent to which their insurance policies may cover these claims, and steps they may need to take to secure coverage if a claim arises. One of the fastest growing risks in this area stems from cases alleging violations of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986—better known as Prop 65.
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.
Features: Preventing Contamination at the Dock
Loading dock equipment, originally meant to increase operational efficiency and to protect the safety of dockworkers, is now being enlisted to protect food products in cold and dry storage facilities as well as during production and transportation. Here are some warehouse solutions that can help a DC or processing facility strengthen their line of defense again contamination.
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.