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FDA Ramping Up Microbiological Sampling of Cucumbers, Hot Peppers


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is increasing its microbiological testing of cucumbers and hot peppers, two vegetables that have been linked with several foodborne outbreaks. The agency has a more robust surveillance sampling approach under development, and one piece of it is the new microbiological surveillance sampling model designed to identify patterns that could… Continue Reading

Study: E. Coli Can Transfer Antibiotic Resistance to Other Bacteria


Scientists have discovered a gene in E. coli that makes it resistant to a class of “last-resort” antibiotics known as polymyxins. The gene can also transfer resistance to other epidemic pathogens such as K. pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. According to research published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, the mcr-1 gene is widespread in Enterobacteriaceae samples from pigs in… Continue Reading

USDA: Alternatives to Antibiotics to Keep Food Animals Healthy


(This article was posted Nov. 18, 2015, on the USDA blog site.) Antibiotics are lifesavers. We depend on them to treat bacterial infections and diseases, such as pneumonia, bronchitis and strep throat, as well as ear infections and infected wounds. In response to U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidance, veterinarians and producers are moving toward… Continue Reading

Putting Salad Bar Safety to the Test

Salad bar

A South Carolina TV station recently had 15 different salad bar items tested for pathogen contamination, and while lab results indicated that no E. coli, Listeria or Salmonella were present, relatively high numbers of microbes and total coliform bacteria were. WMBF in Myrtle Beach, SC, shipped a cooler packed with samples of four types of items… Continue Reading

First World Antibiotic Awareness Week Focuses on Education

WHO_HWC_ 6x infographics_22.10.15

This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the governments of several countries want people to learn more about antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health today, and, while it occurs naturally, misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals accelerates the process. Monday kicked off the first World Antibiotic Awareness… Continue Reading

Initial Research Finds Foraged Urban Fruits in Boston Area Safe to Eat

Gleaning windfall apples

Early results from research done at Wellesley College in Massachusetts revealed that fruits and herbs foraged in the Boston area were safe to eat and actually had relatively low levels of lead and arsenic. Leading the research was Dr. Dan Brabander, a Wellesley geoscience professor, after he was approached by members of the Boston League of… Continue Reading

Study: Washing Utensils Between Uses Important for Safer Produce


Poor hygiene and improper food preparation can lead to foodborne illnesses at home. The first step of the government’s safe food handling advice to consumers is to wash hands before and after handling food and clean cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item. But the U.S. Food… Continue Reading

Managing ‘Black Gold': Animal Manure and Antibiotic Resistance

Compost turner used for windrow churning. To avoid across contamination, compost turner was thoroughly washed by farm workers in between study treatments.

Many farmers refer to manure as “black gold” and rightly so because it adds nutrients to the soil, which helps crops grow and be more productive. In earlier times, before the advent of synthetic fertilizers, crop farmers would often buy a cow solely for the manure it would produce and use the manure for fertilizer…. Continue Reading

Update: 41 E. Coli O26 Cases in OR and WA Associated With Chipotle Restaurants

Chipotle Mexican Grill sign

Nov. 6 update: The Oregon Health Authority stated Friday, Nov. 6, that there are now 13 E. coli O26 illnesses in Oregon connected with eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants. That is one more reported case since Thursday. Four people have been hospitalized. Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Health has revised its case count down by… Continue Reading

Study: Lawsonia May Cause Pigs to Shed More Salmonella


Earlier this year, at least 152 people in Washington state were infected with multidrug-resistant Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- linked to pork produced by Kapowsin Meats. According to federal estimates, pork is the source of about 8 percent of Salmonella illnesses in the U.S. Scientists interested in finding ways to control Salmonella in pigs first want to know what might… Continue Reading