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August 27, 2013
GFSI Launches Retail/Wholesale Technical Working Group

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) today announced that a Retail/Wholesale Technical Working Group has been formed to review the role of retailers and wholesalers in the food supply chain. The group will subsequently draft key requirements for inclusion in the GFSI Guidance Document, so that existing food safety management schemes that cover this scope can be benchmarked against them.

September 9, 2013
Study Ties Mercury in Fish to Coal-Fired Power Plants

As if you needed another reason to cringe at the number of coal-fired power plants operating on our fragile Earth, a new study published in Nature Geoscience links power plants in China and India to the ever-increasing mercury levels of fish in the Pacific Ocean. According to the Los Angeles Times, scientists from the University of Michigan and University of Hawaii traced the chemical “fingerprint” of mercury found in nine species of fish present in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, the largest ecosystem on the planet (also home of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch). They concluded that the mercury contamination originated from coal-fired power plant emissions in Asia.

September 5, 2013
FDA's CFSAN Reveals 2013-14 Program Priorities

The FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) today announced its Plan for Program Priorities, 2013-14. The Plan, which aims to help CFSAN focus its highest priorities for protecting and promoting public health, acknowledges developments in the food and cosmetic sectors, and incorporates new responsibilities, tools, and authorities established by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

September 6, 2013
Leafy Greens Marketing Group OKs Changes to Food Safety Standards

Last month, the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) Board approved changes to its rigorous food safety standards, or metrics, with respect to animal intrusion and composting practices, according to an Aug. 28 blog post by LGMA board chairman Ryan Talley. These actions represent a significant step forward in the evolution of food safety standards for leafy greens and will provide an improved system to assess and reduce potential risk in leafy greens fields while reducing the impact of food safety metrics on the environment.

September 6, 2013
UK Food Standards Agency Issues New Plan to Tackle Campylobacter

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) last week outlined a refreshed strategy to reduce the number of people getting ill from campylobacter. The strategy will be discussed by the FSA Board at its meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland, on Sept. 11, 2013. Campylobacter is estimated to be responsible for about 460,000 cases of food poisoning in the UK each year, with a significant proportion of these cases coming from poultry.

September 6, 2013
For National Food Safety Month, Restaurants Focus on Food Allergens

The National Restaurant Association, in supporting the industry’s commitment to practicing and promoting food safety, is focusing on food allergen awareness during National Food Safety Month. Throughout September, the NRA’s National Food Safety Month campaign will showcase several aspects of the ServSafe Food Safety program, especially the recently launched ServSafe Allergens online course, designed to help front- and back-of-the-house employees better serve the growing number of restaurant customers that have food allergies.

September 6, 2013
FDA Finds Low Levels of Arsenic in Rice, Provides Extensive Info on Studies

The Associated Press today reported on a large study just released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the presence of arsenic in rice and what consumers should do to minimize their risk of arsenic exposure. Well beyond saying rice is safe to consume in moderation, the FDA's website provides detailed explanations of and data from its research.

September 6, 2013
Judge Approves FDA Consent Decree with Idaho Dairy Farm

The U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho has entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against owner Gregory T. Troost, doing business as T&T Cattle and T&T Cattle Pearl, and manager Mark A. Mourton of Parma, Idaho, for violations including illegally administering animal drugs for uses that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ingesting food containing excessive amounts of antibiotics and other drugs can cause severe adverse reactions among the general population even at very low levels and can harm consumers who are sensitive to antibiotics.

September 6, 2013
WHO Spotlights Foodborne Diseases Caused by Trematode Worms

The World Health Organization (WHO) today released an updated fact sheet (N°368) on foodborne trematodiases, diseases that affect at least 56 million people worldwide, primarily in Southeast Asia and South America. These illnesses, which are caused by trematode worms (also known as flukes) that infect humans who consume raw fish, crustaceans or vegetables that harbor the parasite larvae, result in severe liver and lung damage.

September 6, 2013
Produce Packers Query FDA Officials about FSMA Proposed Rules

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials provided insight on proposed rules for foreign supplier verification programs and the accreditation of third-party auditors during a Sept. 4 web seminar hosted by the United Fresh Produce Association, The Packer reported Sept. 5.

September 5, 2013
FSIS Spotlights Objectives, History of Its E. Coli Testing Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on Sept. 5 called attention (via Twitter) to a page on its website that illuminates the history and objectives of its Microbiological Testing Program for E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC).

September 4, 2013
From Farm to Fork, Researchers Track Antibiotic-Resistant Salmonella Strains

Continuing research on Salmonella may enable researchers to identify and track strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria as they evolve and spread, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Michael DiMarzio, a doctoral candidate in food science working under the direction of Edward Dudley, associate professor and Casida Development Professor of Food Science, developed a method for identifying and tracking strains of Salmonella enterica serological variant Typhimurium as they evolve and spread.

September 4, 2013
'Not a Food Safety Issue,' Yet Chobani Pulls Some Yogurt from Stores

Chobani is pulling some of its Greek yogurt from supermarket shelves after hearing of "swelling or bloating" in cups. The company said it has investigated and found a type of mold commonly found in dairy that may be to blame. The effort is voluntary and the company is not issuing a formal recall.

September 3, 2013
President Aquino Signs Food Safety Law for Philippines


China's Xinhua news agency today reported that Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III has approved a law that aims to protect consumers from trade malpractices and substandard or hazardous food products. Although President Aquino signed the bill — Republic Act No. 10611, to be known as the Food Safety Act of 2013 — into law on August 23, the presidential palace just informed the media on September 3.

August 30, 2013
FSIS Confirms Equivalence of Poultry Processing in China, USA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service today reaffirmed the equivalence of the food safety inspection system for processed poultry in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which was originally established in 2006. This will enable the PRC to certify plants to export processed poultry product to the United States.

August 30, 2013
Salmonella in Spices Leads India's Farmers to Change Practices

Science has revealed what ancient kings and sultans never knew: instead of improving health, spices sometimes make people very sick, so Indian government officials are quietly pushing some of the most far-reaching changes ever in the way farmers here pick, dry and thresh their rich bounty. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will soon release a comprehensive analysis that pinpoints imported spices, found in just about every kitchen in the Western world, as a surprisingly potent source of salmonella poisoning.

August 29, 2013
Both Sides Now: Views Differ on Zilmax Controversy

Merck Animal Health this month suspended U.S. sales of its beta-agonist Zilmax, after Tyson Foods and other large meat processors announced they would stop buying cattle treated with the drug, due to animal health concerns. Feedlot operators, who have long been adding Zilmax to feed to help cattle gain weight shortly before slaughter, are concerned and dismayed by the move, but some consumer advocates hope it is the start of a trend.

August 29, 2013
3M Molecular Detection System Wins International Business Award

3M Food Safety announced on August 28 that its 3M Molecular Detection System has won a bronze Stevie® award in the 2013 International Business Awards. The system, awarded under the category of Best New Product or Service of the Year – Health & Pharmaceuticals, was recognized for being a simple, accurate and cost-effective pathogen detection solution that benefits food processors, universities, governments, and contract testing laboratories.

August 28, 2013
Local Public Health Agencies Putting Food Safety Data Online

More central Ohioans who are heading out to eat at a restaurant, food truck, festival or fair — or to shop at a supermarket — can now go online to check the latest food-safety inspections. This month, the Delaware General Health District became the latest local public-health entity in the region to post its inspections on its website, joining health departments in Columbus and in Franklin and Union counties.

August 27, 2013
AOAC Grants Listeria PCR Assay Performance Tested Methods Status

Thermo Scientific announced August 26 that its SureTect Listeria species Assay has received Performance Tested Methods status from the AOAC Research Institute. Food microbiology laboratories can now confidently test to a recognized standard for Listeria species.

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