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Food Safety News

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pathogen surveillance

Outbreak Detection Since Jack in the Box: A Public Health Evolution

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In 1993, 623 people in the western U.S. fell ill with a little-known bacteria called E. coli O157:H7. Ultimately, four children would die from their infections; many others suffered long-term medical complications. The bug was later traced to undercooked hamburger served at Jack in the Box restaurants. This outbreak thrust foodborne illness onto the national stage… Continue Reading

MDP Shuts Down; USDA Testing of Produce for Pathogens Halted

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The Microbiological Data Program, which used to conduct 80 percent of all federal produce testing for pathogens like Salmonella and Listeria, officially shut down on December 31, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official confirmed. The $4.5 million program had been in shutdown mode since mid-November. State agriculture departments, which tested samples of leafy greens, melons,… Continue Reading

UK Sees Spike in Norovirus Cases

As many as 1 million cases this season

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There have been 3,538 laboratory confirmed Norovirus infections in the United Kingdom this fall and winter, according to new figures from the Health Protection Agency. This number marks an 83 percent increase from the number of cases recorded over the same time period last year, says the group. Almost 500 of this year’s cases occurred… Continue Reading

Feds Tighten Salmonella Controls for Ground Poultry in Wake of Recent Outbreaks

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After two nationwide Salmonella outbreaks linked to ground turkey sickened at least 148 people last year, the federal government has decided to implement stricter pathogen controls for raw ground poultry products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Wednesday in a policy statement that all manufacturers of raw ground turkey… Continue Reading

Rapid Tests Less Effective in Identifying Foodborne Illness Sources

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New tests that detect common foodborne pathogens more rapidly are less likely to trace contamination to the source, since they provide less specific information than older, slower tests, say public health officials. As a consequence, sources of foodborne illnesses outbreaks will not be identified as quickly, state epidemiologists told the Scientific American in a report… Continue Reading

Publisher’s Platform: President Obama, Tell Your Kids Not To Eat Their Fruits and Veggies After August 1st!

Food safety program started by Bush to be killed by Obama at end of July

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Sign Change.org Petition to Save the Program. President Obama, you probably do not remember my three daughters: Morgan, Olivia and Sydney, hanging out with Sasha and Malia and Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers backstage before one of the inaugural parties, but $50,000 out of my pocket does. As you might remember, I went all… Continue Reading

Genome Sequencing of 100,000 Foodborne Pathogens Underway

New database will speed up outbreak investigations

Over the past three years, scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have conducted whole genome sequencing on over hundreds of foodborne pathogens to get a detailed map of their DNA. Now, with the help of university researchers and a private company, they’re expanding that figure to 100,000. The initiative, aptly titled “The 100K… Continue Reading

Tainted Spinach Detected by Program Budget Cuts Will Ax

The discovery of Salmonella in bagged organic baby spinach that led to a nationwide recall Tuesday has been attributed to a small government testing program that, ironically, is set to be eliminated in the 2013 federal budget plan.  The Microbiological Data Program, a network of 11 labs that screen fresh produce for pathogens, discovered the… Continue Reading