The 2013 conference for the International Association of Food Protection kicked off in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday night, with 2,700 attendees from around the world convening to share the latest advancements in food safety technology and philosophies. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. David Acheson, former Associate Commissioner for Foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and current director of the Food and Import Safety Practice at Leavitt Partners.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland on July 29 published research into the impact of the horse meat contamination issue on Irish consumer confidence and trust in the food they purchase. The survey reveals significant changes in consumers’ purchasing habits with over half (51%) of people who purchased frozen burgers in the past now buying less of these products (48% buy the same amount).
A team of scientists at the University of Hull has uncovered the crystal structure of melamine cyanurate, the substance thought to be responsible for the 2008 Chinese milk scandal, which caused around 300,000 babies to fall ill.
On August 2, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. — a processor of foodservice salads — as the source of the cyclosporiasis outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska. The agency said its traceback investigation found that illness clusters at four restaurants were linked to a common supplier: Taylor Farms de Mexico.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on August 2 reported that it has identified a number of grocery stores in the Southeast as likely recipients of ground beef that has been recalled due to possible E. coli contamination. The beef was processed by Liberal, KS-based National Beef Packing Company and was sold in 10-pound chub packs under the National Beef, NatureSource, and NatureWell brands.
The number of people sickened in a multistate Cyclospora outbreak pushed past 400 on August 1, at least unofficially, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 397 cases, and Iowa and Texas added another 22 cases to that figure. In addition, on August 1 Louisiana reported its first cases, raising the number of affected states to 16, according to the CDC.
Iowa and Nebraska health officials announced July 30 that they have linked a nationally distributed packaged salad mix to an outbreak of cyclospora parasite infections in their states that has sickened 221 people. Almost 400 people across 15 states are confirmed with the parasite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but federal officials say the outbreaks might not be related.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on July 27 issued a public notification of a recall being conducted by the Chilean Ministry of Health for chicken products. After official notification from the government of Chile of the positive result for dioxin, FSIS instructed importers to hold this product, although the agency noted that the risk of illness from consuming this product is negligible.
Taking two steps forward in the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), on July 26 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released new proposed rules for verifying foreign suppliers and accrediting third-party auditors.
As of July 22, 2013, CDC had been notified of more than 250 cases of Cyclospora infection in residents of multiple states, including Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Georgia and Connecticut. Illinois and Kansas have also notified CDC of one case each that may have been acquired out of state but in the United States.
FSIS is making available a list of test kits that have been validated for detection of relevant foodborne pathogens (i.e. Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria spp. including L. monocytogenes, and non-O157 STECs). The list is informational, not an endorsement or approval of any particular method.
The 100K Genome Project, led by the University of California, Davis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and Agilent Technologies, announced on July 22 that it has added 20 newly completed genome sequences of foodborne disease-causing microorganisms to its public database.
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Board of Directors has approved the launch of a new food traceability center designed to protect and improve our global food supply. The Global Food Traceability Center will serve as an authoritative, scientific and unbiased source for food traceability.
The GFSI Board is pleased to announce that Neil Marshall, Global Director, Quality & Food Safety, The Coca-Cola Company has been appointed to the Board.