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Articles by Topic - Safety
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Columns: Let Your Voice Be Heard
Fulfilling another key recommendation of the president’s Food Safety Working Group, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new performance standards to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens (broilers) and turkeys. The new standards, which are expected to prevent tens of thousands of illnesses yearly, represent the most significant food safety development from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 15 years. The USDA has cut the target levels for Salmonella in poultry by...
Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have discovered that exposure during pregnancy to Bisphenol A (BPA), a common component of plastics, causes permanent abnormalities in the uterus of offspring, including altered DNA. The findings were reported in the March issue of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal.
Features: What's Right With the Food Industry
Recent food recalls—from pet food to peanut paste to bagged spinach—and the increased media attention to those recalls have seemingly tarnished the image of the food industry. Consumers are, for the most part, unaware of the effort, time, talent, and resources that go into making their food supply safe.
Features: The Great Melamine Scare
The recent crisis involving Chinese milk adulterated with melamine once again brings food safety into the public spotlight. The problem has quickly become an international one, with melamine detected in U.S.-produced baby formula, as well as in chocolates distributed in Canada, biscuits marketed in the Netherlands, condensed milk manufactured in Thailand, and eggs sold in Hong Kong. Chinese dairy exports have declined more than 90% since the contamination became public.
Features: Auditing Makes the World Go Round
Historically in the United States, supplier audits have been accepted as external verification that a company was producing safe food. These second party audits are conducted either by internal staff employed by retail and food service companies or by auditing firms that can conduct generic or customized food safety audits. Third party audits, backed by certification bodies and typically incorporating stringent international standards, haven’t been widely accepted or utilized in this country.
Features: Industry and Government Talk Food Safety
Government and industry don’t usually agree on much. But at the 10th annual Food Safety & Security Summit in Washington, D.C., in March, the consensus was clear: Food safety is not only good for the public’s health, it’s good for business. Food safety leaders from Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, the National Restaurant Association, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Association of Food and Drug Officials spoke at the meeting about ensuring food safety—and the bottom line.
Departments: Be Ready to Beat Listeria
The foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes has remained a major concern in all food markets but is especially problematic for ready-to-eat (RTE) products. Its high level of morbidity—nearly 30% in those at greatest risk (pregnant woman, the elderly, young children, and the immunocompromised)—makes it a high priority in RTE plants.
Salmonella. Escherichia coli. Listeria. These words strike fear in the hearts of in-house counsel and executives in the food industry. Outbreaks of foodborne illnesses—and other incidents involving tainted food—have received a great deal of attention in recent years. In 2007, they reached a new peak: an outbreak of botulism infections caused by canned chili, a recall of more than 21 million pounds of ground beef and hamburger patties due to fears of E. coli contamination, a peanut butter recall...
Features: Predict Safety
Predictive food microbiology, a well-established subdiscipline of food microbiology used for nearly 100 years, is reemerging. Its progress and impact on food safety practices and hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) systems will require the cooperation of industry, academia, and regulatory agencies.
Features: Food Safety in the Retail World
You could say everything old is new again when it comes to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and food security. In 2003, the FDA issued a set of five food and cosmetic security preventive measures guidance documents designed to help participants in virtually all sections of the food chain minimize the risk of malicious, criminal, or terrorist actions involving products under their control. Their target audience: operators of food and cosmetic establishments, along with businesses that produce,...