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Mercury levels in fish that feed deep in the North Pacific Ocean are likely to rise in coming decades, a recent study suggests. The mercury found in these fish appears to come from coal-fired power plants in industrializing countries in Asia, highlighting the international dimension of the issue.
News: Don’t Wash That Chicken!
About 90 percent of home cooks believe that they should be washing raw poultry before cooking it to help reduce the risk of foodborne illness, according to scientists at Drexel University in Pennsylvania.As most food safety experts know, washing poultry may actually increase the risk of cross contamination in the kitchen.
Your next tweet could help track a Salmonella outbreak to a restaurant source if a new computer program from researchers at the University of Rochester enters common use. The system, called nEmesis, combines machine-learning and crowdsourcing techniques to analyze millions of tweets to find those from restaurant patrons discussing foodborne illness after eating at a particular location.
Cases of the illnesses caused by the single-celled Cyclospora parasite have been reported in 22 states to date, but the FDA and CDC say that it is not yet clear whether all cases are part of the same outbreak. A source has been confirmed for cases in only two states, Iowa and Nebraska. In those states, a traceback investigation linked the infections to a salad mix supplied to Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants by a Mexican supplier.
The crystal structure of melamine cyanurate, the chemical thought to be the culprit in the 2008 contamination of milk that sickened some 300,000 Chinese infants, has been described by scientists in the U.K. The publication, which corrects a previous report on the crystal structure, may allow the design of better tests to detect melamine in food products.
In late July, the FDA issued guidance for Salmonella prevention measures involving eggs from free-range hens, the last of three groups to come under 2009’s Egg Safety Rule. According to the guidance, which is still in a comment period, producers who keep outdoor-access chickens (including those certified as organic by the FDA) are required to take steps to keep wild birds, cats, rodents, and other animals that can be vectors for disease, out of the indoor sections and porches of poultry houses.
Features: Global Food Partnerships
FSMA’s impact on international policies and trade
Following up on a lawsuit filed in early July, a group of meat and livestock trade organizations asked a federal court on July 26 to grant an injunction against the implementation of the USDA’s country-of-origin labeling (COOL) regulations...The rule is “arbitrary and capricious, offering little benefit to consumers while fundamentally altering the meat and poultry industry,” according to a statement.
The foreign supplier verification rule requires that imported foods meet the same safety standards as domestically-produced foods, and put the burden of meeting those standards on the importing companies, which will have to prove their foreign suppliers have adequate controls in place...But some hurdles still stand in the way of full FSMA implementation.
Workers at industrial livestock operations are much more likely than workers at antibiotic-free livestock companies to carry livestock-associated strains of Staphylococcus aureus, as well as multidrug-resistant S. aureus, according to a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.