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Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Briefly: Ultraviolet decon — ‘Rotten’ on Netflix — Puppy update

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.


Ultraviolet pulses prove promising
Fort Valley State University in Georgia is researching uses of a $35,000 pulsed ultraviolet light system that can decontaminate foods and extend shelf life without heat or chemical preservatives. The work is partly funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Used to kill microorganisms on food surfaces, the system “has less impact in changing the color of the food and texture (than heat or chemicals), and it doesn’t increase the temperature of the food because of the short duration of exposure to the light pulses,” according to Ajit Mahapatra, FVSU associate professor of food and bioprocess engineering.

The pulsed UV-light is more efficient than the continuous UV-C light, because it offers better penetration potential through food products, according to a news release from the university. Pulsed UV-light can kill up to 99.9 percent of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms, molds, parasites and insects. It can also be used for killing bacteria on surfaces of food packaging materials. Continuous UV-C light does not offer the same qualities.


Netflix series includes raw milk episode
Giving food the true crime treatment, “Rotten” dives into the underworld of food production, examining corruption, waste and dangers that hide in our everyday food habits.

The Netflix series is scheduled to debut Jan. 5, 2018. The team that created “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” is producing the new series. “This series starts on your dinner plate… and follows the money to the shocking consequences — intended or not — of regulation, innovation and greed,” according to promotional materials for the program.

Among the planned episodes is “Milk Money,” which is billed as a look at financially struggling dairy farmers who are switching to organic and/or unpasteurized, raw milk. Consumers pay about $16 per gallon for raw milk in states where it is legal to sell unpasteurized milk.

Federal law prohibits the sale of raw milk across state lines. Most states prohibit sales also. Public health officials from local, state and federal levels routinely warn consumers about the dangers of pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria, which are killed when milk is pasteurized.


More sickened by Petland puppies
With the victim count having reached 97, an outbreak of Campylobacter infections linked to puppies from Petland stores continues to grow.

Campylobacter can spread through contact with dog feces, which can be present in microscopic amounts on dogs’ fur. It usually does not spread from one person to another, but it can be transferred from people’s hands to foods they are preparing or eating. Thorough hand washing after handling dogs can greatly reduce the chance of infection.

An outbreak update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 22 of the victims have required hospitalization. The 17 states involved and the number of confirmed cases in each are, Connecticut 2, Florida 14, Georgia 2, Illinois 10, Kansas 7, Massachusetts 2, Maryland 3, Missouri 2, New Hampshire 2, New York 2, Ohio 32, Oklahoma 1, Pennsylvania 5, Tennessee 2, Utah 2, Wisconsin 8 and Wyoming 1.

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