With its stock price in the toilet, its fourth-quarter earnings dwindling, and more of its customers becoming outbreak victims, Chipotle Mexican Grill decided last week was a good time to announce a new food safety initiative. Believe it or not, there is precedent for that. Today is not as dire a time for Chipotle as…

A common disclaimer supplied by public health officials while in the midst of a foodborne illness outbreak investigation goes something like this: “We’re doing our best to find the food source of the outbreak, but it’s important to remember that the majority of outbreaks are never traced back to a source.” In other words, most…

It sounds like something straight out of agricultural science fiction: a liquid solution containing unique bits of DNA that gets sprayed on foods in order to easily identify information about where it came from and how it was produced in the event of an outbreak or recall. DNATrek, a Bay Area startup, is hoping to…

If the world’s food safety scientists act now, they have the opportunity to create a global network of microbial data that will dramatically improve the ability to track and combat disease outbreaks of all sorts, including foodborne illness outbreaks, significantly tackling the spread of disease worldwide. That was the argument put forward at the International…

A Salmonella detection technique developed by Minnesota-based conglomerate 3M has been determined to be as effective or more effective than standard methods of detecting Salmonella in seafood and vegetable products, and in environmental samples taken from food processing sites, the Paris-based AFNOR CERTIFICATION expert committee has found. This follows AFNOR CERTIFICATION’s validation in December of…

Agricultural ministers meeting in Brussels this week agreed that criminal activity stretching across the European continent is behind the horsemeat scandal.   In response, they’ve called for still more DNA testing of the continent’s meat and meat products. The accompanying infographic provided by the Australian Food Safety Institute shows the breadth and depth of the…

After a meeting with health ministers from European Union nations, EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg gained support for DNA testing of meat products throughout the continent. “The tests will be on DNA in meat products in all member states,” Borg said after the ministerial meeting in Brussels over Europe’s expanding horsemeat scandal. The EU health…

Are escalating beef prices tempting suppliers worldwide to substitute horsemeat for beef or do only a few European criminals engage in the practice? Only the kind of DNA testing Ireland used to discover the problem can tell and it does not appear the U.S. government does any of that. If a suspect supplier were trying…

New tests that detect common foodborne pathogens more rapidly are less likely to trace contamination to the source, since they provide less specific information than older, slower tests, say public health officials. As a consequence, sources of foodborne illnesses outbreaks will not be identified as quickly, state epidemiologists told the Scientific American in a report

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is spending $17 million on technology it hopes will be fast enough to catch fresh produce with pathogen contamination. FDA has awarded a five-year contract to Illumina Inc, a San Diego-based technology company involved in accelerating genetic research. Illumina will provide FDA with its MiSeq sequencing systems and…