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Study Finds Smartphones Can Improve Food Safety Inspections


Smartphones might be an important tool for food safety inspectors because of their inconspicuousness. Researchers at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have found that phones used in place of clipboards can improve the quality of data collected during observations. According to a phenomenon called the Hawthorne Effect, people sometimes change their behavior because they know… Continue Reading

USDA Researchers Develop Camera System to Detect Active Shiga Toxin

ARS camera system

Scientists at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Western Regional Research Center in Albany, CA, have come up with a less-expensive way to detect biologically active Shiga toxin, a product of pathogenic Escherichia coli serotype O157:H7. It is estimated that E. coli O157:H7 causes 73,000 cases of food poisoning and more than 60 deaths in the United States each year…. Continue Reading

UK Woman Sickened by Norovirus From Oysters Despite Not Eating Them


A British woman was recently sickened with norovirus from oysters, although she hadn’t eaten any. It turns out that she got the infection from a friend who got it from eating the oysters. Natalie Dye, 49, of Esher, Surrey, reportedly dined at a restaurant with friends after a seaside holiday and consciously avoided eating any oysters,… Continue Reading

Don’t Forget the Epidemiology: Unraveling a Five-Year Listeria Outbreak


It’s not every day that you see an outbreak of foodborne illness spanning five years. But that’s what happened with a Listeria outbreak first announced 10 days ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Just last month, it was whole-genome sequencing that connected together the 24 illnesses reaching back to 2010. But good… Continue Reading

Low- and Middle-Income Countries Suffer Most From Foodborne Illness


There are hundreds of millions of cases of foodborne illness worldwide every year, costing billions of dollars. It’s believed that low- and middle-income countries bear the brunt of these illnesses. Evidence is limited, but the author of a new report believes this to be the case because of the high level of hazards often reported… Continue Reading

Report Details Lack of NH Food Safety Inspections


There are “systemic inadequacies” in New Hampshire’s food safety programs, according to a report released by the state’s Office of Legislative Budget Assistant. The office conducted a performance audit of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Food Protection Section (FPS), to determine how efficient and effective the section was in preventing foodborne illness… Continue Reading

Research Shows GE Plants Produce Proteins Able to Reduce E. Coli on Food


A team of scientists is genetically engineering plants to produce antimicrobial proteins known as colicins, which can then be extracted and applied to contaminated meat and produce to kill E. coli bacteria. In a study published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team engineered tobacco, leafy beets, spinach, chicory and… Continue Reading

New Research Shows Salmonella Strain Can Also Infect Mice

Triple Threat graphic Salmonella

In a new study, Cheryl Nickerson and her colleagues at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and NASA’s Johnson Space Center have demonstrated for the first time that a distinct form of Salmonella which has emerged in sub-Saharan Africa can cause lethal infections not only in humans but in mice. The Salmonella strain used in… Continue Reading

Advisory Committee Working on the Science of Salmonella, STEC


When the government needs help with a foodborne issue, they turn to a certain committee for scientific advice. In its last term, the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) worked on how to reduce Norovirus infections and to help the Department of Defense ensure that the food procured for U.S. military personnel… Continue Reading

Chemical-Free Process Approved for Pasteurizing CA Almonds


A technical review panel of the Almond Board of California has given its seal of approval to another chemical-free process for pasteurizing almonds. The technology being marketed by RF Biocidics of Sacramento uses radio frequency waves to zap pathogens, insects, and mold on almonds and other foods instead of using chemicals or steam. The process does not alter the taste or… Continue Reading