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Zach was born and raised on Bainbridge Island, WA. After graduating from Claremont McKenna College in 2009, Zach spent about one year at Food Safety News and left in early 2010 to work on Capitol Hill.

On Thursday, May 20, the European Parliament voted to ban bovine and porcine thrombin used as an additive to bind separate pieces of meat together into one piece. According to European Union lawmakers, the additives, which are commonly called “meat glue,” have no proven benefits” and create products that “carry an unacceptably high risk of misleading consumers” instead.

Another consideration EU lawmakers considered was the higher risk of bacterial infection in meat products created with thrombin, due to the larger surface area of meat and the cold bonding process that is used.

The decision not to authorize meat glue as

Continue Reading EU Bans ‘Meat Glue’

Last Thursday, the Senate passed the Wall Street reform bill, handing President Obama his second major legislative victory of the year. The contentious bill, which narrowly passed though the Senate on a 59-39 vote, took over the Senate upon its introduction and halted the progress of most other legislation in the body, including S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act.     

Now that Congress has reached a conclusion on Wall Street reform, many lawmakers are calling for the passage of S. 510, citing recent foodborne illness outbreaks to underscore the need for a revamped food safety system.

Last Wednesday, May

Continue Reading Stage Set for Food Safety Bill

The process of making food safe is never-ending, and as a result, food safety experts, microbiologists, and industry insiders are constantly searching for new ways to improve the food safety system in the United States.

Within the last few years, food growers and producers have begun to use a novel means of improving food safety through the use of bacteriophages. Also known as lytic viruses or phages, bacteriophages take up residence inside certain strains of foodborne bacteria, begin multiplying, and eventually destroy the bacterial cell.
 
bacteriophage-featured.jpgThe consensus among microbiologists is that phages do not have any known adverse effects

Continue Reading Phages: A New Means of Food Safety?

Late last week, Food Safety News reported that a Salmonella outbreak in Utah had been linked to contaminated raw milk. So far, the Utah Department of Health said Sunday, six people have tested positive for Salmonella.  

The Utah Department of Health also confirmed Sunday that raw milk was suspected in another, unrelated outbreak, this time involving Campylobacter.  So far, nine people have been sickened in Weber, Davis and Cache Counties.  All of the victims reported drinking raw milk (unpasteurized milk) purchased at local vendors licensed to sell raw milk in the State of Utah. 

According to Utah health

Continue Reading Utah Campylobacter Outbreak Traced to Raw Milk

Amish Wedding Foods Inc. of Millersburg, Ohio, is recalling all lots of 9, 16, and 18 ounce pumpkin butter, as well as all lots of 16 and 18 ounce sweet potato butter. The recall was issued when it was learned the products may contain botulism. The affected products were sold in North Carolina and most other states under a wide variety of brand names.

According to a press release issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it was determined that the recalled Amish Wedding products had a pH and water activity level that was too high and was

Continue Reading Botulism Fears Lead to Recall

A new study suggests that exposure to high levels of organophosphate pesticides, which are commonly used on fruits and vegetables, can lead to a higher rate of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

The study, published yesterday in Pediatrics journal, analyzed the levels of pesticide residue in the urine of 1,100 children ages eight to 15. Children with the highest levels of pesticides, the study found, had the highest incidence of ADHD, which affects about 4.5 million children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But even children who had any detectable, above-average

Continue Reading Study Links ADHD and Produce Pesticides

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection (FSIS) has developed a compliance guide on known practices for pre-harvest management to reduce E. coli O157:H7 contamination in cattle. The document was a priority for President Obama’s Food Safety Working Group and is posted on the FSIS Website.

The compliance guide discusses several known practices for pre-harvest management to reduce E. coli contamination in cattle and focuses on the prevention of E. coli O157:H7 through reduced fecal shedding on the farm and during live animal holding before slaughter.
 
Specifically, the compliance guide suggests that pre-harvest interventions, such as

Continue Reading FSIS Issues Guidelines on Cattle Shedding

Raw milk proponents took another hit last week. The Utah County Health Department has confirmed that six Salmonella poisonings in April were linked to raw milk sold by Real Foods stores in Orem and Heber City, Utah.

girl-drinks-raw-milk-featured.jpgDeseret News in Salt Lake City, Utah reported Friday that health officials found a strain of Salmonella called Newport in several Real Foods raw milk samples. The Utah Department of Agriculture is still trying to determine how the milk became contaminated.

The same news source also reported that new milk produced by the same company has tested clean for the bacteria, and the

Continue Reading Salmonella in UT Linked to Raw Milk

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update on the E. coli O145 outbreak linked to Freshway Foods romaine lettuce.

As of May 11, 2010, there are 23 confirmed and 7 probable cases related to this outbreak from Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee. The number of ill persons identified in each state with this strain is: Michigan (10 confirmed and 3 probable), New York (4 confirmed and 3 probable), Ohio (8 confirmed and 1 probable), and Tennessee (1 confirmed).  

To diagram the outbreak trend, the CDC has created an epidemic curve, or a chart that

Continue Reading Update in E. coli O145 Outbreak

A look at how E. coli O145 could have contaminated romaine lettuce on a farm in Yuma – Part III



As state and federal public health officials continue to investigate the E. coli O145 outbreak tied to bagged Freshway Foods romaine lettuce, which has sickened at least 23 people in 4 states, many questions remain.



The supply chain from the field to the supermarket is a long one, with many potential points along the way for contamination to occur. Where did the lettuce pick up E. coli O145, a pathogen found primarily in cattle and wildlife feces? According to the
Continue Reading How Did E. coli O145 Contaminate Lettuce? Part III