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Food Safety News

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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

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The New Country Doctor and the Clinical Diagnosis of the Farm


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


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


fresh produce

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


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’


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