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Antibiotic Resistance: Let’s Change the Way We Understand It

Opinion

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In the past few days, there have been two interesting reports on antibiotic resistance. One was released by Consumer Reports entitled, “How Safe Is Your Ground Beef?” The other, much less publicized, was put together by scientists and physicians who work in public health and do know something about antibiotic resistance. This second report was published… Continue Reading

USDA Case Study: Consumers Seem to Recognize the Most Dangerous Outbreaks

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A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that consumers respond to foodborne illness outbreaks differently depending on the severity. The case study, produced by Fred Kuchler, Ph.D., an economist with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), compared warnings about cantaloupes issued in 2011 and again in 2012. The first recall was due… Continue Reading

Study: No Reliable Scientific Evidence of Health Benefits From Raw Milk

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Raw milk may have a placebo effect if you’re paying $15 per gallon for it, but any other health claims are pure myth. At least that’s one of the conclusions one might come to after reading the July/August edition of Nutrition Today, which includes a peer-reviewed study into the health benefits, if any, of raw milk. John A…. Continue Reading

Consumer Reports’ Ground Beef Study Elicits Differing Interpretations

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With its newly released study, Consumer Reports is arguing that ground beef from sustainably raised cows is safer than that from conventionally raised ones. Industry, however, says that the study shows low levels of pathogens in meat. The consumer organization tested ground beef samples for bacteria and found that all of it contained bacteria that… Continue Reading

Pre-Washed Spinach May Not Be As Clean As You Think

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While the rinse used on spinach may be effective at cleaning dirt and debris from the leaves, it’s not necessarily effective at killing pathogens, thanks to the topography of the spinach leaves. Researchers at the University of California-Riverside tested different wash conditions on spinach contaminated with E. coli and measured the rates at which the… Continue Reading

Letter From the Editor: Not All Recalls Are Created Equal

Opinion

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Just as the dog days of summer arrived and news slowed to a crawl, something did pop up to talk about. “Recalls of Organic Food on the Rise, Report Says” headlines an Aug. 20, 2015, story in The New York Times. Based on data from Stericycle ExpertSOLUTIONS, a company that manages all types of recalls, the… Continue Reading

Listeria and Bacteriocin-Producing Starter Cultures

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It is important to recognize that all non-sterile foods contain microorganisms; nonetheless, only bacteria will be mentioned here. The composition and level of bacteria are highly influenced by a variety of internal (such as bacteriological quality, food matrix, pH, water activity, and fabrication) and external (such as humidity, packaging and temperature) features, in addition to… Continue Reading

NC State-Led Team Creates ‘Vomiting Machine’ to Study Norovirus Transmission

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The British have long referred to Norovirus as “the vomiting disease,” but now a “vomiting machine” has been invented at North Carolina State University and put to serious use in the study of how the illness spreads. This week, the open source journal PLOS ONE published the NC State research under the title, “Aerosolization of a… Continue Reading

Oregon Outbreak Museum Memorializes What We’ve Learned About Foodborne Illness

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When revolutionary epidemiologist William Keene started working for the Oregon Public Health Division in 1990, he also started collecting packaging from recalled products, restaurant menus, and other elements from his outbreak investigations and displaying them in his office. “These exhibits commemorate why we do these investigations and the kind of products and things that can… Continue Reading

University of Arizona Explores Natural Sanitizers for Leafy Greens

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Researchers at the University of Arizona are exploring natural methods for improving the safety of organic leafy greens with common ingredients such as oregano, cinnamon and vinegar. The team led by Sadhana Ravishankar, associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, has found that by washing the vegetables with water containing plant extracts… Continue Reading