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Food Safety News

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pathogen testing

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

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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

Mixed Results Shown in USDA Quarterly Tests for Salmonella and Campylobacter in Poultry

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Last summer’s preliminary data from Salmonella and Campylobacter testing of raw meat and poultry for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are out, and there were mixed results. During the July-September quarter, FSIS collected and tested 3,985 samples for its Salmonella and Campylobacter verification program. The percent-positive rates for both Salmonella and Campylobacter in… Continue Reading

FSA Chastises UK Retailers for Resisting Release of Campylobacter Stats

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The United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) Monday criticized British supermarkets for not wanting to be named in the results of its Campylobacter testing program, set to be released this this week. The second round of findings, due out on Wednesday, will reveal which stores had the highest and lowest number of positive tests for… Continue Reading

Lab Testing: Hunting for Pathogens on Poultry

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The mishandling or undercooking of raw chicken meat associated with the recent Foster Farms Salmonella outbreak has sickened nearly 340 people across 20 states and Puerto Rico since March and has caused concern among consumers, consumer groups, and food-safety advocates about the safety of our food system and the efficacy of testing systems designed to… Continue Reading

Food Testing: Labs Test for Pathogens at Different Rates in the U.S. and Europe

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Microbial testing can be a helpful way to identify pathogen risks for fresh produce, but it’s not a guarantee of safety. That’s why this one option in the toolbox is used differently by Americans and Europeans. Testing in the U.S. varies somewhat from company to company, but it follows similar procedures that were standardized in… Continue Reading

Safety of the National School Lunch Program’s Frozen Ground Beef Products

Opinion

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The government’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Commodity Procurement Staff purchases a variety of food products for use in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and other food assistance programs. One of these commodity items is frozen ground beef. All ground beef that is generated for the NSLP is further processed and cooked at other USDA… Continue Reading