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A look back at some important events in food safety and a glimpse forward at what the next 20 years might hold
The accuracy of food microbiology laboratory testing for common pathogens “remains problematic,” according to a review of proficiency test results over a period of 14 years. The average percentage of false negative results in the review of almost 40,000 results was more than 5 percent for several common pathogens, researchers reported at the American Society for Microbiology meeting, May 18-21, in Denver.
The USDA is readying new initiatives to support the growing organic agriculture industry in the U.S., agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack told the Organic Trade Association at a speech to its policy conference on May 14. “Organic is not the ‘same as.’ It is its own separate commodity and needs to be treated as such. I’m committed to that,” Vilsack said.
Features: Seed, The Ultimate Weapon
Over the past 30 years, the seed industry has experienced considerable consolidation. Now, according to The Farmer to Farmer Campaign on a Genetic Engineering, only 10 U.S. companies account for over two-thirds of the world’s seed for major crops, including corn, soybeans, canola, and cotton. The top four biotechnology or biotech companies in the industry alone account for approximately 43 percent of the global seed market, which notably includes both genetically modified (GM or GMOs) and...
Use of arsenic-based drugs in poultry production increased the level of inorganic arsenic in chicken meat, posing a potential increase in the lifetime risk of bladder and lung cancer in consumers, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
Nearly one in every 10 cases of listeriosis caused by retail deli products could be prevented if all refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods were stored at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below, as the FDA Food Code recommends.That’s one of several key findings from a major new study on food safety in retail delis issued by the FDA and the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).
Given that visual inspection remains the first line of defence in many food preparation facilities and serveries, it is not surprising that there has been intense interest in developing a way of conferring inherently bactericidal properties on stainless steel surfaces and utensils—making them in effect “self-disinfecting.”
Farm practices meant to improve food safety should rely on science-based management approaches in order to conserve biodiversity in surrounding areas, a recent study suggests. Pressure from produce buyers to adopt additional precautions not mandated by government or industry may damage local ecosystems without clear increases in food safety, the study’s authors say.
Electron-beam pasteurization could reduce the risk of infection with viral pathogens from raw shellfish by 26 percent to 91 percent, depending on the pathogen, according to new research from scientists at Texas A&M University.
Since Irish food inspectors detected horse meat in beef burgers at the end of last year, similar incidents have occurred in 13 European countries. Retailers have removed beef products from their shelves as concern over the contamination and the origin of the horse meat has escalated.