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Food Safety News

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pathogen testing

Federal hiring freeze disrupts USDA’s food safety testing

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As the federal government continues the transition that comes every time a new administration moves into the White House, a hiring freeze and an order from President Donald Trump that temporarily puts new regulations on hold are having varying consequences for food safety efforts. Officials at the Food and Drug Administration said the president’s pause… Continue Reading

USDA investment in research pays off with E. coli defenses

In the Nebraska laboratory of Rodney A. Moxley, intern Kenda Jackson examines blood agar plates while researching the effect of certain antibiotics on the detection of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria in cattle. Jackson, a recent graduated from Tuskegee University in Alabama, was part of a team supported by a USDA Coordinated Agricultural Project grant. Photo by Craig Chandler/University Communications

A $25 million research project that has already produced improved detection and eradication techniques for toxic E. coli is beginning its seventh year with the continued goal of reducing public health risks. Scientists and educators at 18 institutions have been working on the project, funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that… Continue Reading

CORRECTED: Blue Bell asks FDA if it can return to ‘industry norm’

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CORRECTED CONTENT: Blue Bell Creameries wants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to release it from certain food safety precautions imposed after its ice cream was linked to a deadly Listeria outbreak, seeking permission for less expensive practices it refers to as  “the industry norm.” There is no word on FDA’s response to the request, which… Continue Reading

Tech+intellect = 100% consumers at CPS Research Symposium

Bob Whitaker of the Produce Marketing Association, is on the board of directors for the Center for Produce Safety and is a member of its Technical Committee.

SEATTLE — The mood was upbeat as the Center for Produce Safety’s seventh annual Research Symposium opened. “Welcome to our coming-out party,” said an enthusiastic Steve Patricio, the center’s board chairman, as he welcomed more than 300 attendees to the two days of research reports about food safety in the fresh produce industry. Patricio, president and chief executive… Continue Reading

Raw milk producer says state’s testing method is the problem

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The owner of a California organic dairy is working with state officials to find the source of Salmonella that has twice this month caused recalls of his raw milk, even though he believes the state’s test results are not indicative of the safety of his unpasteurized dairy products. The 500-cow operation, Organic Pastures Dairy Co. in… Continue Reading

Rapid lab tests likely hampering some public health efforts

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The next generation of rapid lab tests is helping doctors diagnose and treat foodborne illnesses faster than ever, but health officials are concerned increasing use of the tests is decreasing their ability to detect and investigate outbreaks. Known as CIDTs, the “culture-independent diagnostic tests” provide big picture results in hours, indicating whether a person’s illness… Continue Reading

Chipotle using games, brains and off-site cooks to turn corner

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Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has a new game online, a new executive director of food safety on payroll, a new public relations firm in New York City and new ways of cooking its food away from its restaurants. Now all it needs is new sales. Keeping with corporate promises about transparency in the wake of… Continue Reading

Expert survey says: You can’t test your way to food safety

Lab testing produce

Recent foodborne illness outbreaks have pushed pathogen testing into the headlines, with national restaurant chains and local eateries touting negative test results as positive news. Executives for the Denver-based fast-food burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill are relying on pathogen testing of fresh produce as part of their response to six foodborne outbreaks in the last… Continue Reading

FDA ‘pauses’ non-toxigenic E. coli tests for cheese, including raw milk cheese

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The Food and Drug Administration has temporarily suspended its cheese testing program for non-toxigenic E. coli, partly in response to complaints from proponents of raw milk and related products. “Recently, cheesemakers have raised concerns suggesting that the FDA is applying safety criteria that may, in effect, limit the production of raw milk cheese without demonstrably benefitting… Continue Reading

Putting Salad Bar Safety to the Test

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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