Every hour of every day people around the world are living with and working to resolve food safety issues. Here is a sampling of current headlines for your consumption, brought to you today with the support of Alchemy Systems.
Fly me to the moon
Fly barf and poop have long been associated with human illness, but researchers have found that fly footprints are just as, if not more dangerous.
Scientists on three continents collected houseflies and blowflies from urban, rural and natural settings and studied the kinds of bacteria and their concentrations on various parts of the insects’ bodies — head, thorax, abdomen, and legs + wings.
“Legs and wings displayed the largest microbial diversity and were shown to be an important route for microbial dispersion,” according to the research abstract published Nov. 24.
“Despite a small body mass, the legs + wings fraction yielded the highest diversity of bacterial species.”
The researchers subjected body parts from the flies to “high-coverage, whole-genome shotgun sequencing.”
Most previous studies investigated the gastrointestinal tract, without addressing the role of the outer body of flies. It can be hypothesized, according to the researchers, that the fly feet, wings, mouthparts and other body surfaces constitute the main route of microbial dispersal by mechanical vectors.
Papayas’ popularity persists
Despite several U.S. foodborne illness outbreaks being traced to papayas from Mexico this year, people in America apparently increased their consumption of the fruit as exports of Mexican papayas increased 15 percent in January to August this year compared to 2016.
Fresh Fruit Portal reports that Mexico exported 123,911 metric tons of papayas in the first eight months of this year, with the U.S. remaining its core market, accounting for 99.7 percent of the total.
“The figures are not as you would expect in a year when investigations of four different salmonella strains have been linked to papayas, with 235 cases including two deaths and 78 hospitalizations,” according to the online produce publication.
Canada increased its intake of Mexican papayas by 646% to 175 metric tons, while Germany went from 5 metric tons for the same period in 2016 to 148 metric tons this year.
White tablecloth restaurants in America are charging $20 or more for kangaroo burgers, and even more for prime cuts, but there is concern that they may be serving up pathogens with the delicacy from Down Under.
In a recent on the controversial topic of kangaroo hunting by National Geographic, raised questions about the commercial kangaroo industry in Australia. Specifically, temperature controls for freshly killed animals and cooking temperatures are two of the biggest concerns.
“Guidelines say that after night hunts, kangaroo carcasses must be placed in a refrigerated unit within two hours of sunrise and that the internal body temperature must be lowered to and maintained at a temperature cool enough to prevent bacterial growth within 24 hours,” according to the National Geographic story.
“And kangaroo meat is often served rare, so the risk of foodborne illness is greater still.”
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)