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Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Briefly: Dating game — Info shortage — Down the drain

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.


Ignoring the dates across the pond
Billing it as a move to reduce food waste, 125 East of England Co-op locations are selling foods up to a month past their best-by dates at heavily reduced prices. Promotional materials for the program say a majority of grocery store foods can be safely eaten after their best-by and best-before dates.

The move follows a successful three month trial in 14 of the Co-op’s stores and carries the slogan “Don’t be a binner, have it for dinner.” The out-of-date food is sold for 10 pence, or about 13 cents U.S. An ad campaign for the program reminds consumers that “it’s not nice to get dumped” and offers “the co-op guide to dating.”

“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 items every year which would otherwise have gone to waste,” according to the co-op website.

The majority of products that use best-before dates are included in the program, such as canned goods, shelf-stable packaged food and dried food. The program will not include “Use By” dated products, according to the co-op website, which should not be consumed after the date has passed.


British researchers say more data needed on AMR
A paper presented Thursday during the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency board meeting in London says improving the scientific evidence base relating to antimicrobial resistant Campylobacter and E.coli in the food chain should be a top priority.

The new retail survey, which began in September, is the latest piece of work it has commissioned in this area along with part-funding of a 5-year research fellowship at the Quadram Institute in Norwich on AMR bacteria in the food chain. It involved testing of 340 samples of chicken and 340 samples of ground pork.

The findings from the study are expected to be published early next year.

Guy Poppy, FSA chief scientific adviser, said there had been significant advances in the FSA’s work on antimicrobial resistance since the board last looked at the issue in September 2016.

“We are encouraged by the recent progress in reducing sales of antibiotics for food production animals and the recently published work of the Targets Task Force which has considered the different sectors in detail,” Poppy said at the board meeting this week.


Down the drain
A Salmonella outbreak in England has recently taken pathogen transmission to new depths, regarding restaurants’ drainage systems.

More than 80 people were sickened in the outbreak, which lasted from February 2015 to March 2016.

The search for the source of the “long, perplexing outbreak” involved hundreds of environmental samples and lab tests on the victims, according to a report published Thursday in EuroSurveillance.

Ultimately the disease detectives found the outbreak strain of Salmonella deep in the drains of the restaurant. The pathogen used biofilms to survive. Leaks likely carried new generations of Salmonella to various areas of the kitchen and building.

“Our findings suggest greater consideration should be given to undertaking drain swabbing at an early stage of restaurant and food related outbreak investigations,” the investigators reported.

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