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Food Safety News

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Agricultural Marketing Service

USDA to Expand Group Food Safety Certification for Small Growers


Farmers who want to sell their produce in certain markets, such as big-box stores, have to get certain food safety certifications, but not everyone can afford to scale up. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is trying to help. An increasing number of retailers require their suppliers to have Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, which verifies… Continue Reading

Scientists Studying Salmonella in Cattle Lymph Nodes


If you eat undercooked beef, it’s not just E. coli you have to worry about. Salmonella may be predominately associated with poultry, but beef can also be contaminated with the pathogen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 percent of the outbreaks attributed to beef between 2009 and 2013 were caused by… Continue Reading

Pesticide Data Program Shows Little Contamination in 2011


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) released its latest summary of the Pesticide Data Program (PDP) last month.  In its 21st annual summary of the program, the AMS stated that for the calendar year 2011 overall pesticide residues found on foods tested were below the maximum legal residue levels set by the… Continue Reading

Ag Research Needs More Funding, Say Experts


The United States currently leads the world in food production; but in order for this to remain true, the government must invest more in agricultural research, says a committee of the nation’s leading scientists and technology experts in a new report to the president. The document, issued Friday by the President’s Council of Advisors on… Continue Reading

Food Safety Wins Thumbs-Up in 2012 Specialty Crop Grants


It’s a green light for food safety from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2012 specialty crop grants, with 8.4 percent of the total number of grants going to food safety projects – among them research, education, training and initiatives. The focus of many of these grants is directed toward smaller-scale farms. Specialty crops are defined by… Continue Reading

Letter From The Editor: Produce Testing Saving Lives



In May, I wrote a column in this space suggesting that through its successful lobbying to “zero out” funding for the Microbiological Data Program in the fiscal year 2013 budget, that big fruit and vegetable lobby had blood on its hands. At the time, friends thought it was a little bit overboard–even for me. Events… Continue Reading

USDA Budget Cut Could Slash 80 Percent of Produce Testing

The nation's largest pathogen testing program may shut down this month

Public testing for pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria on fresh produce will drop by more than 80 percent if a key U.S. Department of Agriculture testing program is eliminated, according to an analysis by Food Safety News. The USDA’s Microbiological Data Program was zeroed out in the Obama administration’s 2013 budget request and… Continue Reading

Lettuce Recall Prompts Call to Fund Microbiological Data Program

On the heels of Dole’s announcement that the company is recalling nearly 800 bags of lettuce after Salmonella was detected by state health officials conducting random sampling in New York state, U.S. PIRG (the federation of State Public Interest Research Groups) is chastising a plan to cut the nation’s largest produce testing program. “The Agriculture… Continue Reading

USDA Investing in Growth of Farmers Markets

In discussions about government and agriculture, attention tends to focus on issues such as the billions spent on commodity supports. But the Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) – a branch of the USDA – has a program within the farm bill that sends money to growers a little more local. The Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP)… Continue Reading

Can Marketing Orders Improve Leafy Greens Safety?

In revising a plan that had been criticized by consumer groups and others, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed a program to establish a voluntary, national marketing agreement to set safety standards and regulate the handling of leafy green vegetables.   The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) released an outline Tuesday of the program,… Continue Reading