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January 22, 2014
FDA Issues Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Jan. 16 issued the 2013 Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (Retail Program Standards). These standards are intended to help reduce foodborne illnesses associated with retail food and foodservice establishments by promoting continuous improvement of food safety inspection programs, the agency said.

January 21, 2014
EFSA Lowers BPA Intake Levels

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has lowered the tolerable daily intake levels of bisphenol A (BPA) from 50 µg/kg body weight to 5 µg/kg body weight, pending the outcome of research by the U.S. National Toxicology Program. A publication date for the research is currently unknown.

January 17, 2014
FSIS Launches National Survey on Beef, Veal Carcass Bacteria Counts

The USDA-FSIS announced today that it is launching a 12-month Nationwide Beef and Veal Carcass Baseline Survey (B-VCBS) to sample establishments that slaughter and process beef and veal carcasses. During this survey, FSIS will collect samples from the carcasses of steers, heifers, cows, bulls, stag, dairy cows and veal, including heavy calves, bob veal and non-formula fed and formula fed veal. Samples will be collected at two locations in the slaughter process, immediately after hide removal (pre-evisceration) and at pre-chill (after all anti-microbial interventions). Overall, approximately 4,000 samples will be scheduled.

January 16, 2014
Attention Food Processors: Study Finds Salmonella Biofilms Nearly Impossible to Kill

Once Salmonella bacteria get into a food processing facility and have an opportunity to form a biofilm on surfaces, it is likely to be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to kill those bacteria, according to research conducted at the National University of Ireland, Galway. In a study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the Irish researchers discuss their attempts — using three types of disinfectant — to kill Salmonella biofilms on a variety of hard surfaces.

January 15, 2014
Horse Meat Scandal Rides On as Dutch Officials Recall 'Beef'

The Telegraph (UK) reported today that Dutch food authorities have issued an official recall for up to 11,000 kilos (24,000 lbs.) of horse meat that was illegally sold as beef in Holland last year. This latest fraud — involving 200 horse carcasses — was only discovered on Dec. 27, 2013, after an investigation by officials from [Holland's] Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).

January 14, 2014
FDA Issues Final Guidance on Liquid Food Products and Their Ingredients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today published two final guidances for industry to help dietary supplement and beverage manufacturers determine whether a liquid food product is properly classified as a dietary supplement or as a beverage, and to remind the industry of legal requirements regarding the substances that may be added to either type of product. Together, the two guidances finalize a previously published draft guidance, and take into account public comments submitted on that draft.

January 14, 2014
FSIS Hosts Public Meeting to Address Issues with Spices for Codex Session

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced it is sponsoring a public meeting on Jan. 23 to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items, and draft U.S. positions to be discussed at the first session of the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

January 14, 2014
Troubles Anew for New Zealand's Fonterra: E. Coli Prompts Cream Recall

New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra is facing another contamination scare. The company is recalling almost 9,000 bottles of fresh cream over fears they may be contaminated with E coli.

January 13, 2014
AMSA to Host Webinar on Salmonella, Campylobacter in Poultry Processing

The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) is offering a complimentary educational webinar on "Salmonella and Campylobacter Challenges in Poultry Processing," scheduled for Friday, Jan. 17 at 11:30 a.m. Central Time. Attendance is free but requires pre-registration.

January 10, 2014
Food Safety Brief Aims to Aid WV Firms Facing Water Contamination

In response to a disastrous Jan. 9 chemical spill that contaminated the water supply in nine West Virginia counties, affecting at least 300,000 people, Steritech has made available a Water Contamination Food Safety Brief to help foodservice operators and food retailers develop temporary alternative procedures.

January 10, 2014
U.S. Audit Gives Low Marks to Canada’s Food Safety System

A U.S. audit of Canada’s food safety system calls on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to strengthen oversight of sanitation and the humane handling of animals at meat slaughtering plants. The findings from the tour of seven food processing facilities, two laboratories and five CFIA offices in the fall of 2012 were kept confidential until recently.

January 10, 2014
Canadian Government Data Shows Pesticide Residues in Organic Produce

Half of the organic fresh fruits and vegetables tested across Canada in the past two years contained pesticide residue, according to a report by CBC News Manitoba that cites data from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

January 9, 2014
Cockroach Sighting Causes Shutdown at Foster Farms' Livingston Facility

Foster Farms, whose raw chicken products were identified as the source of a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infections last fall, had to cease operations at its Livingston, CA poultry processing plant yesterday (Jan. 8) due to a cockroach infestation.

January 8, 2014
Pesticide-Tainted Food Sickens More Than 350 in Japan

RadioAustralia reported today that more than 350 people across Japan have fallen ill after eating potentially pesticide-contaminated frozen food produced by a major Japanese frozen food company. A similar report from Bloomberg News put the number of those affected at 890, quoting Japan's public broadcasting outlet, NHK.

January 8, 2014
FSIS Issues Compliance Guidelines for Controlling Salmonella in Market Hogs

On Jan. 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) posted a guidance document, Compliance Guidelines for Controlling Salmonella in Market Hogs, for review, comment, and implementation by the industry. The guidance provides information on best practices that may be applied at a hog slaughter facility to prevent, eliminate, or reduce levels of Salmonella on hogs at all stages of slaughter and dressing. 

December 4, 2013
FSIS Releases Comprehensive Strategy to Reduce Salmonella

The Salmonella Action Plan presents a number of aggressive steps the agency will take to prevent Salmonella-related illnesses.

December 30, 2013
FDA Extends Comment Period on Proposal to Restrict Trans Fat in Processed Foods

As reported on Dec. 17, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is extending the comment period on its preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils, the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. The agency announced today that the Federal Register notice extending the comment period is on display (see docket FDA-2013-N-1317) and will publish on Dec. 31.

January 7, 2014
New Guide Helps Fresh Produce Operations Monitor, Control Listeria

The United Fresh Produce Association's Food Safety & Technology Council has developed a document, Guidance on Environmental Monitoring and Control of Listeria for the Fresh Produce Industry, that aims to guide the fresh produce industry in developing practical and scientifically sound “search and destroy” programs for Listeria.

January 3, 2014
Multistate Salmonellosis Outbreak Linked to Raw Cashew Cheese

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced it is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Stanley infections linked to raw cashew cheese produced by The Cultured Kitchen of West Sacramento, CA. To date, these infections have been reported in 14 people from three states; three of those people have been hospitalized.

January 2, 2014
Neogen Corp. Acquires Insecticide Manufacturer Chem-Tech Ltd.

Neogen Corporation, a Lansing, MI-based developer and marketer of products for food and animal safety, announced today that it has acquired the stock of Chem-Tech Ltd., a Des Moines, IA-based manufacturer of insecticides for the animal and food industries.

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