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Food Safety News

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USDA

White House Releases Spring 2015 Regulatory Plan

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Last week, the White House released its “Current Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions” for spring 2015. As with previous agendas for the Food and Drug Administration, finalizing the major rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) are a priority. The rules regarding preventive controls for human food and preventive… Continue Reading

Memorial Day Weekend Food Safety Tips From USDA

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Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer, and many Americans will celebrate with cookouts, camping, road trips and other activities that involve food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is reminding families to take extra care not to let foodborne bacteria, which grows more quickly in hot weather,… Continue Reading

Yearly Economic Burden of Foodborne Illness Estimated at $15.5 Billion

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The latest estimates from the Department of Agriculture suggest that foodborne illnesses cost the U.S. $15.5 billion each year. “Economic burden of a disease is not the same thing as the impact of a disease on economic indicators like gross domestic product or even the out-of-pocket cost of treating illness,” states USDA’s Economic Research Service report released… Continue Reading

Letter From the Editor: Mechanically Tenderized Steaks

Opinion

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We’ve let the news spoil several holidays and many a Friday night. Christmas 2009 comes to mind, probably because it was the first. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was chasing down a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 cases just hours before the holiday. We wanted the story. Then, on Christmas Eve, National… Continue Reading

Gillibrand Proposes Mandatory Recall Authority for USDA

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After FRONTLINE’s documentary on Salmonella in poultry aired Tuesday night on PBS, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) officially introduced legislation to give the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandatory recall authority over contaminated meat and poultry. Gillibrand discussed her Meat and Poultry Recall Notification Act with reporters in February, saying that, if passed, the bill would make “the… Continue Reading

Mechanically Tenderized Beef Label Goes Into Effect May 2016

Mechanically Tenderized Steak

The finalized labeling requirements for mechanically tenderized beef were released Wednesday and will go into effect in May 2016. Under the new rule, raw or partially cooked beef products must bear labels that state that they have been mechanically, blade or needle tenderized. The labels must also include cooking instructions — including the minimum internal… Continue Reading

USDA: COOL Not Much of an Economic Benefit for Consumers

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Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) does not provide much in the way of “measurable economic benefits” for American consumers and costs producers, packers, and retailers in the United States $2.6 billion a year for all covered commodities, USDA’s chief economist stated in a 198-page report sent Friday to Congress. The report was mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill and… Continue Reading

Top Food Safety Officials Focused on Collaborating Over Combining Agencies

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Top officials of U.S. food safety agencies are not wholeheartedly supportive of a single food safety agency, arguing that collaboration is a higher priority. During the Food Safety Summit in Baltimore on Thursday, leadership from the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Association of Food and Drug… 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

Report: FSIS Hazards Analysis Regulation Still Lacking in Key Areas

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Almost 20 years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) introduced a food safety program called Pathogen Reduction/Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points (PR/HACCP) aimed at verifying the effectiveness of the food safety systems at meat and poultry facilities. That program, however, has at least two ongoing problems, according to a new report… Continue Reading