U.S. lawmakers from both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees announced yesterday evening that they have reached a bipartisan agreement on a new five-year farm bill, officially known as the Agricultural Act of 2014. Final votes are expected in both the House of Representatives and the Senate later this week.
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) yesterday released a report, based on documents obtained from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), concluding that the FDA has allowed livestock and poultry growers to continue to use antibiotics in production even though they posed a "high risk" of exposing humans to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported that a Royal Caribbean cruise ship ended a 10-day Caribbean cruise yesterday after 577 passengers and 49 crew members came down with gastrointestinal illness symptoms. The cause of the outbreak is yet to be determined, according to the CDC.
On Jan. 20, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) implemented a streamlined import document review process. The CFIA is removing the requirement for pre-clearance of the FSIS Form 9135-3, Certificate for Export of Meat and Poultry Products to Canada. This change will also apply to FSIS 9060-7 and FSIS 9060-18 issued for natural casings. As of Feb. 17, the implementation of this change will be complete and the CFIA will no longer process pre-clearance review requests of export certificates or documentation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.