Supermarket chain to sell food up to a month past its best-before date in attempt to slash waste
source : Supermarket chain to sell food up to a month past its best-before date in attempt to slash waste
By Martin Evans (Dec 04, 2017)
A supermarket chain is to start selling food that is up to a month beyond its ‘best-before’ date in an attempt to slash waste.
From today, shoppers at the Co-op's 125 East of England stores will be able to buy a range of out of date products for just 10p.
It will include a large range of items including tinned goods, such as fruit and beans, dried food such as pasta and rice and packet goods including crisps, confectionery and cereal.
The scheme does not include any products with a ‘Use By’ date, including meat, fish and dairy.
It is the first time a major UK food retailer has begun selling food outside its best before date and it is thought others might follow.
It is also hoped the scheme might help educate consumers as to the different definitions of the confusing food safety labels.
Food waste has become a major issue with the government estimating that around £16 billion worth of produce - equivalent to £700 for every UK household - is thrown away each year.
While a large amount of waste includes perishable items that are no longer safe for human consumption, it is thought the confusing labelling system means a huge amount of perfectly edible food goes in the bin.
The Food Standards Agency advises that products past their best before date are safe to consume but may not be of the optimum quality.
Unfortunately the current rules mean charities are not allowed to accept food after its best before date has expired and so much of it had to be thrown away.
East of England Co-op has estimated that the initiative could save around two million tonnes of food from being wasted at its stores each year.
The company decided to launch the initiative following a successful three-month trial in 14 of its branches, where 10p items were sold out very quickly, thus reducing food waste.
Joint chief executive Roger Grosvenor said: "This is not a money-making exercise, but a sensible move to reduce food waste and keep edible food in the food chain.
"By selling perfectly edible food we can save 50,000 plus items every year that would otherwise have gone to waste.
"During our trial we found 10p items went within hours of being reduced, sometimes quicker. The majority of customers understand they are fine to eat."
Oli Watts, of the East of England Co-op, added: “We want our members and customers to enjoy their food, confident in the knowledge that products past their best before date are safe to eat and that they are contributing towards reducing unnecessary food waste.”
A spokesman for WRAP, the food waste charity, also welcomed the initiative.
The spokesman said: “We have been calling on everyone to unite in the food waste fight, and this latest development by Co-Op is an interesting and bold move.
"Whilst ‘use-by’ date labels indicate when a product is safe to eat, ‘best before’ date labels only refer to when food is at its best.
"As such it is perfectly safe to sell food at or after its best before date. Providing that the discounted items are not damaged in any way, this promotion is compliant with the latest guidelines produced by WRAP, Defra and the FSA on date labels and food redistribution.
"We look forward to seeing the results of this promotion, and hope it means less cost for people and less waste."
Letter From The Editor: A voice for Food Freedom
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/12/letter-from-the-editor-a-voice-for-food-freedom/#.WiTXYEpl-Ul
By DAN FLYNN (Dec 3, 2017)
Before those stories, Linnekin’s name had not registered in my memory banks. But I wanted to find out more about him because Food Freedom advocates haven’t exactly come across as practical and reasonable, but he did. Also, Food Freedom will likely be back in the news when the 50 state legislatures gather after Jan. 1.
Linnekin is a food lawyer and an adjunct professor at the George Mason University Law School, where he developed and teaches the Food Law & Policy Seminar, and an adjunct faculty member at American University, where he teaches courses on food policy.
He is also the author of “Biting the Hands That Feed Us,” published last year by Island Press.
In the book, Linnekin walks the reader through the world of food laws and regulations, including those enacted in the name of food safety, with an eye toward their actual impacts on sustainable food practices
And, Linnekin in the past has contributed op-ed articles to Food Safety News.
In the book, Linnekin can be blunt. He says FDA rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act “threaten to treat small farmers like manure and to treat manure–the lifeblood of organic fertilization and sustainable farming–as a toxin.”
Linnekin looks at how FDA threatened the livelihoods of “artisanal cheesemakers and beer brewers of all sizes” and barred people “from using sustainable methods to grow, raise, produce, prepare, sell and buy a variety of foods.”
As you may have guessed, “sustainability” is the prime directive for Linnekin. It’s on my list words in danger of becoming meaningless for its overuse by the lazy, but Professor Linnekin is precise in his choice of words. For Linnekin, whether a rule or regulation is helping or hurting sustainability is a crucial metric for measuring its effectiveness.
Linnekin does not blow off food safety. He says some rules are “necessary and desirable,” but he does question “blind faith” in rule makers.
North Dakota, Maine, and Wyoming elevated “Food Freedom” recently with various state concessions. “The idea that decreasing the number of rules can help foster a more just food system is at the heart of “food freedom”–a belief that individuals have a right to make their own food choices,” writes Linnekin.
He says food freedom is “the right to grow, raise, produce, buy, sell, share, cook, eat and drink the foods of one’s choosing.” Linnekin says that means “lowering the regulatory burden on farmers and other food producers.”
To his credit, he accepts food safety remains the responsibility of those of produce and manufacture food. He believes an “outcomes-based” approach would be preferable to the “command and control” regulatory structure most governments so much prefer.
In the three states with Food Freedom laws, there is no single approach. Generally speaking, these jurisdictions exempt food producers for the local market from licensing and inspection. Maine had to go back and amend its statute to make sure USDA did not shut down its state meat inspection program.
State legislatures are big copycats. Once a topic becomes trendy, it’s normal for lawmakers to try their hand at the subject matter, state by state. We’ve seen that we cottage food laws already, and they may serve as the gateways to Food Freedom laws.
If the state legislative action occurs as I suspect it will, it’s going to be good to have Professor Linnekin out speaking on the movement. His book covers warts on the food regulation business, from the European Union keeping “ugly” fruits and vegetables off the market to states forcing farmers markets to use refrigerator trucks when a little ice would do.
I’d say it a fascinating read, but that would sound like a book review.
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FSA Announces New EU Acrylamide Legislation
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/fsa-announces-new-eu-acrylamide-legislation/
Food businesses in the UK will be required to put in place practical steps to manage acrylamide within their food safety management systems under new EU legislation which will apply from April 2018.
The legislation describes practical measures based upon best practice guidance developed by the food industry to mitigate acrylamide formation in a range of foods. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland are working with the British Hospitality Association and other key stakeholders to develop simple guidance which will help the catering and foodservice sectors comply with new rules. Guidelines to aid understanding of the enforcement of the legislation will also be available in the New Year.
Acrylamide forms naturally during high temperature cooking and processing, such as frying, roasting and baking, particularly in potato-based products and cereal-based products. It is not possible to eliminate acrylamide from foods, but actions can be taken to try and ensure that acrylamide levels are as low as reasonably achievable.
The FSA has been undertaking surveillance on acrylamide levels in food products since 2007. The latest surveillance report can be found on the Survey of acrylamide and furan in UK retail products page.
Further information on the new Legislation on acrylamide mitigation in food page.
World AIDS Day: Food Safety is Important for People with HIV or AIDS
Source : https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/world-aids-day-food-safety-is-important-for-people-with-hiv-or-aids-300562820.html
By prnewswire.com (Dec 1, 2017)
Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to remind those living with HIV or AIDS about our resource guide on protecting yourself from foodborne illness and safely handling food.
You can get a free copy of the booklet Food Safety for People with HIV/AIDS at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/PeopleAtRisk/ucm312669.htm. Or, order a copy by calling 1-888-MPHOTLINE (1-888-674-6854) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Practicing food safety is critical because Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) can damage or destroy the body's immune system, making that person more susceptible to foodborne illness or "food poisoning." A person with HIV or AIDS that contracts a foodborne illness is more likely to have a lengthier illness, undergo hospitalization, or even die.
Know the Food Risks
Some foods are more risky for people with HIV or AIDS because they are more likely to contain harmful bacteria or viruses. In general, these foods fall into two categories:
Uncooked fresh fruits and vegetables.
Certain animal products, such as unpasteurized (raw) milk; soft cheeses made with raw milk; and raw or undercooked eggs, raw meat, raw poultry, raw fish, raw shellfish and their juices; luncheon meats and deli-type salads (without added preservatives) prepared on site in a deli-type establishment.
Follow the Four Steps to Food Safety
Anyone preparing food should also follow these steps to reduce their risk for foodborne illness:
CLEAN: Wash hands and surfaces often. Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto hands, cutting boards, utensils, counter tops, and food.
SEPARATE: Keep raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods.
COOK to the right temperatures. Use a food thermometer to ensure meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products are cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria. Refer to the chart at http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/UCM462491.pdf
CHILL foods promptly. Cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the refrigerator temperature is 40 degrees F or below and the freezer temperature is 0 degrees F or below.
Know the Symptoms
Consuming dangerous foodborne bacteria will usually cause illness within 1 to 3 days of eating the contaminated food. However, sickness can also occur within 20 minutes or up to 6 weeks later. Symptoms of foodborne illness include: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and flu-like symptoms (such as fever, headache, and body ache). These symptoms can be worse for someone with a weakened immune system and lead to long term health effects or even death.
If you think that you have a foodborne illness, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Also, report this to the FDA by:
Contacting the Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your area: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators
Contacting MedWatch, http://www.fda.gov/medwatch, 1-800-FDA-1088.
No one has to reveal their HIV status to the FDA when submitting a complaint.
Contact: Media: 1-301-796-4540 Consumers: 1-888-SAFEFOOD (toll free)
SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Burger King Salmonella Outbreak in Bemidji, MN Sickens at Least 27 People
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/burger-king-salmonella-bemidji/
By News Desk (Dec 1, 2017)
A Salmonella outbreak associated with two Burger King restaurants in Bemidji, Minnesota has sickened at least 27 people, according to news reports quoting the Minnesota Department of Health. Those cases have been confirmed in this Burger King Salmonella outbreak, and there are four more pending probable cases.
Both of the restaurants voluntarily closed on Thursday, November 30, 2017. Apparently most of the illnesses were identified in September, but two more people were diagnosed with Salmonella food poisoning this week.
Doug Schultz of the Minnesota Department of Health told the Bemidji Pioneer, “They may have been sick a couple of weeks or so before then. It takes a while before people get symptoms, and then they’re sick enough to go to the doctor, and then we identify.”
After the outbreak was identified in September, interventions were put into place. Both facilities were cleaned. And any employees who showed symptoms of illness were kept from work until they were well for 72 hours. But that did not stop the outbreak from continuing into October or November.
Public health officials think that the outbreak is linked to sick employees rather than a specific contaminated food or beverage. “We do clearly have evidence of food worker illness being part of the problem,” Schultz added.
Before the restaurants can open, next week at the earliest, each employee must test negative for Salmonella bacteria twice. And the restaurants must be re-cleaned before customers will be allowed in.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and a fever. Most people get sick 12 to 72 hours after exposure. And most people are sick for a week. Because most cases are not reported, there could be more people sick in this particular outbreak.
If you think you are part of the Burger King Salmonella outbreak in Bemidji, see your doctor. Even when you recover completely there are still risks for health problems in the future. Salmonella patients can develop reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, or irritable bowel syndrome after this infection.
Top FDA Official Returns to Yale to Discuss Food Safety and a Healthier Population
Source : http://publichealth.yale.edu/news/article.aspx?id=16278
By Rosalind D'Eugenio (Nov 30, 2017)
Susan T. Mayne, Ph.D., a former Yale School of Public Health professor and now director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFAN) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), returned this week for a homecoming of sorts to deliver a Dean’s Lecture on the FDA’s role in promoting food safety and nutritional guidelines to improve public health.
Mayne described how the FDA regulates safety and labeling of 80 percent of all food consumed in United States and collaborates with other federal and state partners to develop and implement programs and policies related to the composition, quality, safety, and labeling of foods as well as food and color additives.
“We have learned the critical role the intersection of nutrition and food safety plays in getting healthier outcomes. CFAN fosters the development of healthier foods to ensure that consumers have accurate and useful information to make smarter food choices,” said Mayne, whose talk was titled “Understanding the 'F' in FDA: Recent Activities in the Foods Program Promoting Safer Food and Better Nutrition.”
Focusing on the FDA’s work to improve eating patterns by providing healthy dietary guidelines, Mayne offered the example of new food labels that emphasize more accurate portion sizes, calories and sugars added to products. She also noted the FDA’s work with industries to reformulate their products to list trans fats on the nutrition label resulted in a significant decline in trans-fat consumption. contributing to the prevention of heart disease. And, knowing through research that consumers take in more sodium, calories and saturated fats when dining away from home, the FDA has partnered with industries to offer their expertise and capacity in implementing new food safety standards, and to provide menu labeling in food chains, vending machines and salad and prepared food bars.
In addition to educating consumers, the FDA spearheads scientific programs to prevent and rapidly solve outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. A network of laboratories that genetically sequence pathogens from people who are sickened and from the food they ate allows them to connect the two and identify and solve outbreaks, she said.
Mayne oversees more than 1,000 employees focused on dietary and health initiatives and manages a budget of over $300 million.
An internationally recognized public health leader and scientist, Mayne went to the FDA three years ago from Yale, where she was the C.-E.A. Winslow Professor of Epidemiology and the Associate Director of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center.
UK prepares to comply with Europe’s new acrylamide rules
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/11/uk-prepares-to-comply-with-europes-new-acrylamide-rules/#.WiTZL0pl-Ul
By NEWS DESK (Nov 30, 2017)
Food businesses in Europe must take “practical steps” to manage acrylamide within their food safety management systems beginning in April. New European Union legislation describes “practical measures” food businesses must take to mitigate acrylamide formation in a range of foods.
Acrylamide is a chemical that may form in some starchy foods during high-temperature cooking, such as frying, roasting, and baking. Acrylamide forms from an amino acid and sugars that are naturally in food.
The United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland are working with the British Hospitality Association and other stakeholders to develop straightforward guidance to help catering and food service businesses comply with the new EU rules.
The EU rules will concern food businesses in the United Kingdom from April 2018 until March 29, 2019, when the U.K. is scheduled to break with the EU under last year’s Brexit vote. FSA is scheduled to provide acrylamide guidelines early in 2018.
FSA says it is not possible to eliminate acrylamide from foods, but actions can be taken to try to ensure that acrylamide levels are as low as reasonably achievable. FSA surveillance on acrylamide levels in food products began in 2007.
In 2016, the FSA survey included a total of 274 U.K. retail products that included french fries, bread, cereals, biscuits, coffee, baby food, popcorn, cakes, pastries and chocolate. It analyzed 269 of the products for acrylamide and 120 for the organic compound furan.
The 274 UK retail product samples represented 10 food groups as specified in EU Commission Recommendation No. 2010/307 on the monitoring of acrylamide in food.
Acrylamide analysis was carried out on 269 samples taken from:
Group 1 (french fries sold as ready to eat)
Group 2 (potato crisps)
Group 3 (pre-cooked french fries for home-cooking)
Group 4 (soft bread)
Group 5 (breakfast cereals)
Group 6 (biscuits and crackers)
Group 7 (coffee)
Group 8 (baby food other than processed cereal-based)
Group 9 (processed cereal baby food)
Group 10 (others, e.g., popcorn, cakes, pastries and chocolate).
Furan analysis was carried out on 120 samples taken from Groups 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10.
The acrylamide and furan results from the FSA survey were part of long-term surveillance. They were sent to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for collation and analysis with survey data from other European countries.
Process contaminants are chemical substances that are produced naturally in food during manufacturing or home-cooking. They are absent in the raw foods or raw materials used to make the food and only occur when components of the fresh foods or substances undergo chemical changes during cooking or other processing.
Acrylamide and furan may be formed at high temperatures during cooking. Both substances have the potential to raise the risk of cancer, which will then increase with regular exposure to higher levels, over a lifetime.
EFSA has concluded that current levels of dietary exposure to acrylamide, furan and its methyl analogs such as 2-methyl furan and 3-methyl furan indicate a potential human health concern.
The agency considers that exposure to acrylamide and furans should be reduced to as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).
The levels of acrylamide and furans obtained over the period of January 2016-November 2016 survey did not increase FSA’s concern about the risk to human health. The agency, therefore, did not change its advice to consumers.
The survey results provided FSA with measurements for consumer exposures to the processing of individual foods but did not take into account all food prepared in home-cooking.
Also in 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued non-binding guidance “to help growers, manufacturers and foodservice operators reduce acrylamide levels in certain foods.”
The problem on both sides of the Atlantic is what do about acrylamide in food. No one knew the chemical existed until it was discovered in 2002. It’s been around close to forever, though. The problem, according to the FDA, is that acrylamide can cause cancer in laboratory animals at high doses, and is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
EFSA classified acrylamide as a carcinogen in 2015 and found levels had not “consistently decreased” in recent years. Voluntary measures to reduce acrylamide levels varied widely in European Union countries.
Detroit McDonald’s Worker Diagnosed with Hepatitis A
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/detroit-mcdonalds-worker-hepatitis/
By Linda Larsen (November 29, 2017)
A worker at a McDonald’s restaurant in Detroit has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to a press release by the City of Detroit Health Department. That person worked as a crew member at the facility located at 2889 West Grand Boulevard.
There is an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in southeast Michigan that has sickened more than 500 people, as of November 21, 2017. Detroit is located in that area of the state. Public health officials have not said whether or not this person is part of the larger outbreak.
Anyone who ate at that McDonald’s location from November 8 to November 22, 2017 may have been exposed to the virus. But, since vaccinations are only effective if given within two weeks of exposure, if you ate there before November 15, 2017, you are no longer eligible for a shot. You should monitor yourself for the symptoms of hepatitis A, which usually appear two weeks to 50 days after exposure. If you do get sick, see your doctor.
Health department officials say that the risk of transmission of hepatitis A from a food handler is generally low, but they are still recommending vaccinations. The Detroit Health Department is investigating the establishment, and McDonald’s has been cooperative. They are hiring a third party company to clean and sanitize the establishment.
The Detroit Health Department says there is no reason to believe there is an ongoing risk of exposure at this time. Officials are also making sure that appropriate food handling and cleaning protocol are followed. The employee stopped working at the establishment when symptoms began. Unfortunately, a person with this illness is infectious for two weeks before symptoms appear. The worker cannot return to work until they receive approval from their doctor.
The Detroit Health Department is offering free hepatitis A vaccines to uninsured Detroit residents, not just those who may have been exposed in this particular case, at its Immunization Clinics. They are held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Wednesdays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The clinics are at The Samaritan Center at 5555 Conner Street in Detroit, and The Family Place, at 8726 Woodland Avenue in Detroit. Non-Detroit residents can contact their local health department for free vaccinations if they are uninsured and ate at that facility during the above dates.
The symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), dark urine, and clay-colored stools. This illness can be mild or it can be severe, depending on the health of the person infected. People with liver disease can become seriously ill and die if they contract this infection.
FDA, USDA websites work well, rank high among federal sites
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/11/fda-usda-websites-work-well-rank-high-among-federal-sites/#.WiTZu0pl-Ul
BY DAN FLYNN (Nov 30, 2017)
The top two federal food safety agencies made the Top 20 for specific benchmarks measured by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), which compared almost 500 of Uncle Sam’s most popular websites.
ITIF is a nonprofit policy think tank populated by former U.S. senators and representatives from both political parties. Its purpose is to focus on public policy to spur technological innovations.
The ITIF report comes six months after the organization first reviewed 297 federal websites. It has now analyzed 469 of the government’s most trafficked sites.
More than 4,500 federal websites exist on more than 400 domains. ITIF’s benchmarking so far found 91 percent of those subjected to analysis failed on at least one of the important metrics. ITIF says federal government sites are “not as fast, mobile friendly, secure or accessible” as they should be.
The rankings measure website performance for page-load speed, mobile friendliness, security, and accessibility. A voter registration portal called vote.gov is No. 1 in the ITIF rankings with a score of 95.5.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website, fda.gov, ranks 15th with an 83.7 score. And usda.gov comes in at No. 18 with a score of 83. 3. The U.S. Department of Agriculture website includes the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Like the White House, Justice Department, FBI, and Bureau of Prisons, the websites for FDA and USDA are in the top rankings and are among the top 1,000 most heavily trafficked sites.
ITIF, founded by Canadian-American economist Robert David Atkinson, says federal government websites “still require significant improvement. The report recommends: the federal government go on a “website modernization sprint” to fix known problems; require federal sites meet specific desktop and mobile page-load speeds; launch a website consolidation initiative; make reporting of website analytics mandatory; and encourage judicial and legislative branches of the government to adopt standards and practices.
Finally, the ITIF says there should be a federal chief information officer to lead the modernization efforts.
In the first benchmarking report, the outside reviewers found federal sites “generally scored high on security.” It again looked at common security features used for encrypted Internet communications and secured domain names.
“Federal agencies should prioritize building and maintaining fast, convenient, secure and accessible websites,” the report says. “Doing so will help ensure that the many Americans who routinely use the internet to access government services and information can continue to do so.”
Study: Raw Flour Linked to E. coli Food Poisoning
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/study-raw-flour-linked-to-e-coli-food-poisoning/
By Staff (Nov 27, 2017)
Study: Raw Flour Linked to E. coli Food Poisoning
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week reveals that raw flour is the cause of bacteria—specifically Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria (STEC). STEC can enter the human body when consuming uncooked foods such as cookie dough and cake batter, delicacies that have traditionally been known to cause illness due to another raw food item—eggs.
The research was prompted after General Mills recalled three of its flour products—Gold Medal, Signature Kitchen’s, and Gold Medal Wondra—in June and July of 2016. Over 10 million pounds of flour was pulled from store shelves after a multistate E. coli outbreak was linked to at least 56 reports of illness in 24 states.
The study was led by Samuel J. Crowe, Ph.D along with a team of researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They analyzed the STEC outbreak and its association with raw, contaminated flour. Researchers found that there was an increased risk of STEC for consumers who had eaten one of General Mills’ flour brands. The risk for illness was also higher for those who had sampled uncooked cake batter or cookie dough. The specific strain found in ill consumers, the aforementioned flours, and the food samples were all confirmed by use of whole-genome sequencing.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, flour—which derives from a grain that originates in the field—is not usually treated to kill any possible presence of bacteria. This means that if animal feces comes into contact with the grain, it is still harvested and made into flour. This is why proper cooking methods such as baking, frying and roasting are so important—these methods will kill bacteria, thus preventing illness.
For advice on safely preparing, cooking and consuming products with raw flour, see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s official tips.
Dipstick makes waves in food safety testing
Source : https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/46585/dipstick-revolutionises-food-safety-testing/
By George Smith (Nov 27, 2017)
Australian scientists have developed a dipstick that can be used to test for pathogens even in the most remote locations.
University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences researcher Professor Jimmy Botella said the technology could extract DNA and RNA from living organisms in as little as 30 seconds without specialised equipment or personnel.
“We have successfully used the dipsticks in remote plantations in Papua New Guinea to diagnose sick trees, and have applied it to livestock, human samples, pathogens in food, and in detecting environmental risks such as E. coli-contaminated water,” he said.
“This technology will give people in developed and developing nations a new way of tackling a range of agricultural, health and environmental problems.”
Professor Botella, who led the research team with Dr Michael Mason, said current commercial kits could isolate DNA and RNA through a long and cumbersome process requiring specialised laboratory equipment that was impractical in the field.
The research team initially developed the dipstick technology for particular plants and later found it could purify DNA from many agriculturally important species.
“We found it had much broader implications as it could be used to purify either DNA or RNA from human blood, viruses, fungi and bacterial pathogens from infected plants or animals,” Professor Botella said.
University of Queensland’s commercialisation company, UniQuest, has filed a patent application on the dipstick technology and is seeking commercial partners to help make it broadly available.
“Our technology eliminates the need for a specialised laboratory for sample preparation, and is a lot simpler, faster and cheaper than anything else available, making diagnostics accessible to everyone,” Professor Botella said.
“Our dipsticks, combined with other technologies developed by our group, mean the entire diagnostic process from sample collection to final result could be easily performed in a hospital, farm, hotel room or even a remote area such as a tropical jungle.”
The research behind the dipstick technology is published in PLOS Biology as Nucleic acid purification from plants, animals and microbes in under 30 seconds.
Rise of technology in food safety
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/11/the-rise-of-technology-in-food-safety/#.WiTalkpl-Ul
BY LAURA MUSHRUSH (Nov 27, 2017)
Editor’s note: This is the first of a four-part series on technology and food safety sponsored by PAR Technologies.
pH meters, infrared thermometers, wearable prompting guides and automatic cleaning systems are just a few of the many technology advancements the food industry has seen in the last 20 years says NSF’s Rade Jankovic, Senior Account Manager of Retail Food Services.
As paper back documentation systems are replaced by digital platforms, education and technology investments need to be made to aide food industry workers on a retail level practice better food safety practices.
“Unlike food manufacturing companies that rely heavily on process automation, food retail establishments’ use of automation is limited to the extent that consumers – as current trends indicate – are looking for fresh offerings that evoke the feelings of home-made cooking,” says Jankovic.
“Technology in retail settings and food safety programs has been primarily used to aid in the management of elaborate food preparation processes and procedures rather than serve as a replacement.”
Data point tracking
“Thermometers, pH meters and other measuring devices are used to monitor critical control points, as well as food quality or content attributes,” says Jankovic. “Infrared thermometers allow operators to obtain quick measurements of case temperatures and in conjunction with more conventional thermocouples and digital probe thermometers augment the in-store temperature monitoring programs.”
“Use of labels/stickers on food packaging to indicate product freshness levels or temperature compliance.”
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hygiene monitoring to detect for food particular residues is an effective was to verify store cleaning programs by in-store personnel, internal or third-party auditors, says Jankovic.
“ATP technology can identify inadequate cleaning practices and help management conduct root cause analysis and implement strategies to minimize the potential for product contamination.”
Technology in food safety isn’t all about temperature control and measuring devices, says Jankovic. Simple things such as computer-based training and online classes have opened the doors to more assessable education and training opportunities to train employees.
From in-store purchases to shopping online across multiple devices for curb-side deliver, many retailers are utilizing the internet to enhance customers shopping experiences, while using RFID technology and real-time trackers to monitor store inventory and food safety during transport.
Internet of things, or IOT, is the use of sensors to report real-time data back to a cloud based storage system and is often seen in the food industry in the form of temperate tracking from packaging, shipping to in-store displays. According to Jankovic, “automated temperature monitoring systems can spot problems promptly and alert management to take immediate corrective actions to prevent excessive product temperature abuse that can impact its safety and quality.”
From making a sandwich to auditing a produce packaging facility, the development of wearable technology to visually guide employees has made huge headway in removing human error in food safety practices by signalling users on which steps to make and when practices are not completed.
Food safety when it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers
Source : http://www.localnews8.com/lifestyle/food/food-safety-when-it-comes-to-thanksgiving-leftovers/662873666
By Staff Writer (Nov 27, 2017)
If you still have Thanksgiving leftovers, it's time to finish them off or throw them out.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports the following:
Cooked turkey should be eaten within three to four days.
Stuffing and gravy will last up to two days.
Casseroles and cooked vegetables will be good up to three or four days.
Fruit and cream pies should be eaten within two to three days.
Frozen leftovers last longer. For example, meat lasts up to three months in a freezer.
The academy also notes leftovers should be reheated to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit and stored in shallow containers, about 2 inches deep, so the food cools evenly and quickly in the fridge.
If you are unsure about the quality of some food, officials say, "when in doubt, throw it out."
Briefly: Fly footprints — Papaya popularity — Kangaroo burgers
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/11/briefly-fly-footprints-papaya-popularity-kangaroo-burgers/#.WiTbR0pl-Ul
BY NEWS DESK (Nov 27, 2017)
Every hour of every day people around the world are living with and working to resolve food safety issues. Here is a sampling of current headlines for your consumption, brought to you today with the support of Alchemy Systems.
Fly me to the moon
Fly barf and poop have long been associated with human illness, but researchers have found that fly footprints are just as, if not more dangerous.
Scientists on three continents collected houseflies and blowflies from urban, rural and natural settings and studied the kinds of bacteria and their concentrations on various parts of the insects’ bodies — head, thorax, abdomen, and legs + wings.
“Legs and wings displayed the largest microbial diversity and were shown to be an important route for microbial dispersion,” according to the research abstract published Nov. 24.
“Despite a small body mass, the legs + wings fraction yielded the highest diversity of bacterial species.”
The researchers subjected body parts from the flies to “high-coverage, whole-genome shotgun sequencing.”
Most previous studies investigated the gastrointestinal tract, without addressing the role of the outer body of flies. It can be hypothesized, according to the researchers, that the fly feet, wings, mouthparts and other body surfaces constitute the main route of microbial dispersal by mechanical vectors.
Papayas’ popularity persists
Despite several U.S. foodborne illness outbreaks being traced to papayas from Mexico this year, people in America apparently increased their consumption of the fruit as exports of Mexican papayas increased 15 percent in January to August this year compared to 2016.
Fresh Fruit Portal reports that Mexico exported 123,911 metric tons of papayas in the first eight months of this year, with the U.S. remaining its core market, accounting for 99.7 percent of the total.
“The figures are not as you would expect in a year when investigations of four different salmonella strains have been linked to papayas, with 235 cases including two deaths and 78 hospitalizations,” according to the online produce publication.
Canada increased its intake of Mexican papayas by 646% to 175 metric tons, while Germany went from 5 metric tons for the same period in 2016 to 148 metric tons this year.
White tablecloth restaurants in America are charging $20 or more for kangaroo burgers, and even more for prime cuts, but there is concern that they may be serving up pathogens with the delicacy from Down Under.
In a recent on the controversial topic of kangaroo hunting by National Geographic, raised questions about the commercial kangaroo industry in Australia. Specifically, temperature controls for freshly killed animals and cooking temperatures are two of the biggest concerns.
“Guidelines say that after night hunts, kangaroo carcasses must be placed in a refrigerated unit within two hours of sunrise and that the internal body temperature must be lowered to and maintained at a temperature cool enough to prevent bacterial growth within 24 hours,” according to the National Geographic story.
“And kangaroo meat is often served rare, so the risk of foodborne illness is greater still.”
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