Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Contributing Writers

Daniel B. Cohen

Daniel B. Cohen

Daniel B. Cohen is the owner of Maccabee Seed Co., an agricultural research-and-development and consulting company in Davis California.

Articles Written by Daniel B. Cohen

Subscribe to this author via RSS

The New Country Doctor and the Clinical Diagnosis of the Farm

Opinion

the-new-country-doctor-406

A new kind of professional There are missing professions that would integrate epidemiology, farming and ecology. These are professions that would deal not just with existing human pathogens on-farm and in the rural environment, but with emerging pathogens and their control or prevention. They would cover the interaction of human pathogens with current microbial ecology,… Continue Reading

FDA’s Proposed Produce Rule: A War on Farmers

Opinion

Fresh produce colorful

The deadline for comments on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Produce Safety Rule is Nov. 15, 2013. This was probably supposed to be the easiest and most straightforward of the rules to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). It may be that FDA fell into the trap of a well-worn groove in designing… Continue Reading

FDA’s Proposed Produce Rules Consistently Ignore Microbial Ecology

Opinion

freshproduce_406x250

An unnoticed side effect of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed Produce Rules will be the impact on the economics of large-scale animal production in the United States because they will be unable to dispose of their manures and litter off-site. Cattlemen, large chicken producers and other industry groups may have thought that… Continue Reading

FDA Barely Considers Biological, Chemical and Radiological Inputs in Proposed Produce Rule

Opinion

Huge strawberry farm

Violating the explicit language of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA), the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Proposed Produce Rule gives a complete pass to imported vegetables grown with sewage sludge, contaminated to various degrees with heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatiles, flame retardants, pharmaceuticals, steroids, hormones (1,2) radiologicals (3) and undescribed contaminants. At the… Continue Reading

FDA’s Proposed Produce Rule is ‘Food-Safety Theater’

Opinion

farmers-market-produce-featured

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Proposed Produce Rule is a substantively defective product. It’s not a question of the difficulty and costs of compliance and enforcement or of farm size or a commodity’s inherent safety – although these are important issues. The case I want to present is that FDA made seriously wrong choices… Continue Reading

Produce Farming on the Brink

Our process of framing and regulating produce food safety is upside down and backwards. Human pathogens constantly flow from urban environments and animal production into farm environments, contaminating water and soil, and finding a home in wildlife. Then we ask farmers to deliver pathogen-free fruits and vegetables. Produce is increasingly sold as centrally processed fresh-cut… Continue Reading

An Outbreak Like Germany’s Could Happen Here

I am interested in how major foodborne outbreaks and their investigations are interpreted and analyzed: to prevent future outbreaks, minimize the harm from outbreaks that occur, and frame the debates on regulating food safety on farms. When I was asked by a small organic farmer in California what the implications were of the 2011 O104:H4… Continue Reading

A Parallel Clinical Pattern to O104:H4

The O104:H4 serotype has an unusual clinical pattern for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) pathogens, including bloody diarrhea in adults followed by a high conversion rate to adult hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) or to severe non-HUS enterohemorrhagic symptoms in adults. There is another STEC group that parallels the unusual pattern of the current outbreak in… Continue Reading

Notes, Observations on Europe’s Epidemic

What are the lessons learned so far from the O104:H4 outbreak? German medical and public health authorities are burdened by the equivalent of more than 10 normal years worth of case loads occurring in a single month, the continuing need for secondary infection prevention, the outbreak source investigation and perhaps other issues as well. Despite… Continue Reading