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Food Safety News

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Rat Czar to the rescue — Comment now on USDA chicken plan — Cleanup on Aisle 2; pooh on you

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.

Man sprays produce with feces-scented liquid
A Harris Teeter store in South Carolina has reopened after a man allegedly sprayed fresh produce with what is believed to be a fluid containing feces.

Described as a disgruntled employee of a third-party contractor, the 41-year-old man is in custody on trespassing and personal property damage charges. His bail is set at $100,000. The Charleston Police Department reported the man has been on trespass notice for the store since Nov. 24, 2015.

Store employees on scene at the time of the incident reported an odor of feces as the man used a spray bottle to douse the produce with a brown liquid. However, Danna Robinson, Harris Teeter communication manager, said that speculation had not yet been confirmed with lab testing.

The retailer’s headquarters announced that all products exposed to contamination were discarded. Affected areas were cleaned and sanitized. The Charleston County Department of Health inspected the store. Local and state regulators have given the store permission to reopen all departments.

Comment now on plan to speed up poultry lines
The USDA has opened a 60-day comment period on a plan to speed up chicken slaughter lines.

The National Chicken Council has petitioned the agency to waive line speed restrictions under the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS).

The comment period, open through Dec. 13, has already received 85 pages of negative feedback from seven environmental and animal rights groups. Those comments include a statement from Mercy for Animals. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed comments this past week, arguing that the chicken producers’ proposal could increase injuries to workers, and would be in violation of federal law.

Anyone interested in commenting on the proposed change can submit comments online by clicking here.

Bobby Corrigan

Rodent researchers aim to enhance food safety
Consumers may be familiar with the infamous “NY Pizza Rat” and the so-called raining rats at a Texas Chipotle, but there’s not much more known about the rodents that are among us.

But the Rat Czar is working to bring the creatures out of the dark. Bobby Corrigan, aka the Rat Czar, and researchers from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell University are in the midst of a three-year examination of rodent management practices at food distribution centers in New York.

Current rodent management programs use ineffective methods, partly because bait stations are placed in areas with no rodent activity. Corrigan and the team hope their work will improve compliance of food distribution centers and other places where food is stored and prepared with the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations.

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