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Lydia Zuraw

Lydia Zuraw

Lydia Zuraw is a graduate of Northwestern University with a bachelor’s from the Medill School of Journalism.  She was born and raised in the suburbs of Baltimore and lived in Illinois, Scotland and Washington state before returning to the East Coast.  In the past, she worked for NPR’s Science Desk, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and The Pacific Northwest Inlander.

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Critics Call White House Antibiotics Action Plan a ‘Missed Opportunity’ on Farms

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The White House released its National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria on Friday, but some critics say it doesn’t do enough to tackle antibiotic use on farms. “Antibiotic resistance is one of the most pressing public health issues facing the world today. It causes tens of thousands of deaths and millions of illnesses every year —… Continue Reading

Rep. Slaughter Reintroduces Preservation of Antibiotics Legislation

U.S. Rep Louise Slaughter (D-NY)

On Tuesday, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) reintroduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which would ban non-therapeutic uses of medically important antibiotics in food animal production. “My legislation would save eight critical classes of antibiotics from being routinely fed to healthy animals and would reserve them only for sick humans and sick animals,” Slaughter… Continue Reading

Witnesses Tell House Agriculture Committee GE Foods are Safe, Don’t Need Labels

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All six witnesses at Tuesday’s House Committee on Agriculture hearing argued against mandatory biotechnology labeling laws. Most of their testimony praised the efficiency they believe GE crops provide to farmers and enumerated the costs they say labeling would inflict on farmers, manufacturers and consumers. But they also brought up the safety concerns surrounding GE food…. Continue Reading

Scientists Model Global Trends in Animal Antibiotic Use

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Last spring, the World Health Organization stated that there are “major gaps” in surveillance and data sharing related to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant foodborne pathogens and their impact on both animals and humans. One gap to fill is the amount of antibiotics consumed by food-producing animals worldwide each year. Estimates so far have been simply… Continue Reading

Consumer Reports Guides Shoppers Through Produce Pesticide Residues

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Each year, the Environmental Working Group releases guides to help shoppers pick fruits and vegetables with the fewest pesticide residues. Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center has now released similar guidelines. According to the organization’s survey conducted in November 2014, pesticide exposure in food is a concern for 85 percent of Americans. For its… Continue Reading

Culture-Independent Diagnostics Most Common for Campylobacter, STEC

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According to Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network’s report on foodborne illness in 2013, clinical laboratories used culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) to detect more than 20,000 infections. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has delved deeper into the data collected about these tests. CIDTs are attractive to clinicians because they can be faster… Continue Reading

Hamburg Tells Senate Budget Committee FSMA Funding Needed to Fill ‘Significant’ Gaps

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Many questions directed at outgoing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg during a Senate budget hearing on Thursday concerned funding for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and details of the law’s rules. The agency’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2016 asks for a total of $1.5 billion for food safety and nutrition, including a $109.5-million increase… Continue Reading

Budget Subcommittee Zeroes in on FDA’s Request for More FSMA Funding

Dr. Margaret Hamburg

The increased funding the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in fiscal year 2016 was one of the key topics of discussion Wednesday during a House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. Outgoing FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg made her last appearance before the committee since she is… Continue Reading

McDonald’s Plans to Phase Out Chicken Fed Medically Important Antibiotics

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Fast-food giant McDonald’s announced Wednesday that, within two years, all of the chicken served at its 14,000 U.S. restaurants will come from farms which raised the birds without medically important antibiotics. The move could help limit the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture which contributes to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bugs that sicken humans. “Our customers want… Continue Reading

USDA May Move Mechanically Tenderized Beef Labeling to 2016

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While appearing before the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said USDA will work to introduce labels for mechanically tenderized beef within the next two years. New labeling laws are implemented in two-year increments so that new label rules made in 2013 or 2014 will be implemented on Jan. 1, 2016. When the… Continue Reading