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.

EU salmonella rates on the rise
Over the past three years the European Union has experienced a 3 percent increase in salmonella food poisoning cases; a “worrying reversal of a decade-long declining trend,” according to a recent report.

In 2016, Salmonella bacteria caused 94,530 human cases of salmonellosis in the EU. Of those, a total of 1,766 people were hospitalized, and 10 people died.

Mike Catchpole, chief scientist of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, said that the increase shown by their surveillance data “is worrying and a reminder that we have to stay vigilant.”

“Salmonella was the most commonly detected causative agent – with one out of six outbreaks due to S. Enteritidis – followed by other bacteria, bacterial toxins and viruses. Salmonella in eggs continued to represent the highest risk agent/food combination,” according to the report.

Massive baby milk recall; 26 infants sick  
Lactalis, a French baby milk producer, is recalling certain batches of baby milk for Salmonella. The recall came after 26 infants became sick with Salmonella Agona, known to cause diarrhea and fever that is particularly dangerous for babies.

“Despite the fact that all the batches exported were conformed to the local rules, Lactalis has decided to remove batches produced since the 15th of February 2017,” according to the recall notice.

The recalled products were not distributed in the United States, though Lactalis does have a robust U.S. operating unit. Countries known to have received the recalled products include: Britain, Greece, Morocco, Sudan, Peru, Colombia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China. Click here for the full list of recalled products, which includes brand names such as Milumel, Celia, and Picot.

One of the largest dairy groups in the world, Lactalis recommended “not to consume these batches or, in case of absence of alternative, to boil the recombined milk during 2 minutes and bring back it at the consumption temperature.”

Superheated steam could boost melon safety 
New research on the effectiveness of superheated steam (SHS) on watermelon and cantaloupe shows a 10- to 30-second blast can greatly reduce foodborne pathogens on their surfaces.

The specific pathogens involved in this study were E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Cantaloupe’s so-called netted rind provides the perfect hiding place for pathogens, which are difficult to wash off and easy to drag into the flesh of the fruit during cutting.

In 2011 a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections was linked to whole cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Colorado. Out of the 147 ill people confirmed infected, 33 died and one pregnant woman miscarried. Additionally, 99 percent of the victims required hospitalization.

“The results of this study suggest that SHS treatment can be used as an antimicrobial intervention for cantaloupes and watermelons without inducing quality deterioration,” according to the research abstract.

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