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January 24, 2014
Consumer Reports Calls Caramel Color 'Potentially Carcinogenic', Petitions FDA

Yesterday on its website, Consumer Reports published a Special Report titled, "Caramel color: The health risk that may be in your soda." Noting that "some types of this artificial coloring contain a potentially carcinogenic chemical called 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI)," the article went on to explain that Consumer Reports had run tests on 12-ounce samples of several different cola drinks. The organization found that two products, Pepsi One and Malta Goya, had more than 29 micrograms of 4-MEI per can or bottle, and has asked the California Attorney General to investigate whether these sodas should carry a warning label as per Proposition 65.

January 24, 2014
Japanese Schools Closed due to Norovirus Outbreak Reopen

Fourteen elementary schools in Hamamatsu reopened on Jan. 22, about a week after they were closed because some 1,000 children and teachers developed symptoms of food poisoning from norovirus-tainted bread.

January 24, 2014
FSA: Now Easier for Businesses to Appeal Food Safety Decisions by Local Authorities

The UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) reported today that it has acted on recommendations from a government review by making it easier for businesses to appeal against food safety and food standards decisions and advice issued by local authorities. The recommendations were part of the government’s Focus on Enforcement Review that considered enforcement of regulation in small food manufacturing businesses.

January 16, 2014
Salmonella Outbreak in Tennessee Jail Linked to Tyson Comminuted Chicken

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in Tennessee and the USDA-FSIS to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections among nine inmates at a Tennessee correctional facility. Results from Tennessee’s investigation indicate that mechanically separated chicken produced by Tyson Foods, Inc. is the likely source of the outbreak at the jail.

January 23, 2014
Covance to Open Nutritional Chemistry and Food Safety Site in UK

Covance, Inc. today announced that it will expand its nutritional chemistry and food safety (NCFS) services by opening a new 10,000-square-foot laboratory this summer within its existing facility in Harrogate, England. The new lab will complement existing laboratories in Madison, WI; Battle Creek, MI; Greenfield, IN; and Singapore.

January 23, 2014
Life Technologies’ Pathatrix Salmonella Kit Receives AFNOR Approval

Life Technologies Corporation today announced that the AFNOR Certification system of France has issued the sector-leading NF Validation quality mark for the Pathatrix® 10 Pooling Salmonella spp. Kit linked to MicroSEQ® Salmonella spp. Detection Kit. Company officials said the approval provides further validation of the alternative cost-effective solution for the accurate detection of Salmonella in a variety of sample matrices, noting that the Pathatrix® 10 Pooling Salmonella spp. Kit received AOAC PTM approval earlier this year.

January 22, 2014
Oysters from Copano Bay, Texas Linked to Norovirus Outbreak, FDA Warns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Jan. 17 warned consumers not to eat oysters harvested from Copano Bay in Texas, as those oysters have been linked to an outbreak of norovirus in Louisiana.

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.

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