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February 4, 2014
FSIS Updates New Technology Table, Validated Pathogen Test Kit List

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today issued an updated listing of Foodborne Pathogen Test Kits Validated by Independent Organizations. This complements FSIS's update of its New Technology Table; both documents are available on the FSIS website.

February 4, 2014
Public Meeting to Address Agenda Items for Codex Committee on Fresh Produce

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) are sponsoring a public meeting to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items, and draft U.S. positions to be discussed at the 18th Session of the Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CCFFV).

February 3, 2014
FDA Posts Draft Methodological Approach to Identifying High-Risk Foods under FSMA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that it is publishing a Federal Register notice to present its draft methodological approach to identifying high-risk foods, as required under section 204(d)(2) of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The agency is seeking comments on the draft, as well as relevant scientific data, to help refine its approach.

February 3, 2014
Senate to Vote on Farm Bill Early This Week

The Senate is set to begin discussion on the 2014 farm bill on Monday afternoon, according to the official Senate schedule.

January 31, 2014
Norovirus Outbreak Sickens 189, Docks Second Cruise Ship This Week

In the second such instance this week, a cruise ship returned to its home port early after a significant number of passengers came down with a gastrointestinal illness. Princess Cruises' Caribbean Princess arrived back in Houston late Thursday, after more than 160 of the ship's 3,104 passengers experienced symptoms consistent with a norovirus infection, according to USA Today.

January 31, 2014
FDA Issues Proposed Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today proposed a rule that would require certain shippers, receivers, and carriers who transport food by motor or rail vehicles to take steps to prevent the contamination of human and animal food during transportation. Part of the implementation of the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005, the proposal marks the seventh and final major rule in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) central framework aimed at systematically building preventive measures across the food system.

January 31, 2014
EFSA Publishes 'Stop-the-Clock' Timelines for Regulated Product Applications

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) today released new guidance that sets out indicative timelines the Authority will use when requesting information it needs to complete its evaluation when it performs risk assessments of regulated products such as food contact materials, GMOs or feed additives.

January 31, 2014
Scientists Develop Antibiotic ‘Smart Bomb’ That Targets Specific Bacteria Strains

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a de facto antibiotic “smart bomb” that can identify specific strains of bacteria and sever their DNA, eliminating the infection. The technique offers a potential approach to treat infections by multi-drug resistant bacteria.

January 31, 2014
Processing Aid Shows Promise at Pummeling Persistent Pathogens

PURE Bioscience, Inc., creator of a patented silver dihydrogen citrate (SDC) antimicrobial, on Jan. 28 announced progress in its development of a SDC-based antimicrobial for direct food contact. The company is testing formulations to be used as a rinse or processing aid on produce, poultry, and meats.

January 30, 2014
Foodborne Clostridium perfringens Toxin Could Trigger MS, Study Says

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York have discovered that a toxin made by the bacterium Clostridium perfringens — responsible for a million cases of food poisoning in the U.S. each year — appears to attack the cells associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) and could be a trigger for the disease.

January 30, 2014
FDA Adds Public Meetings for Proposed Rule on Intentional Adulteration of Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced that it will hold two more public meetings regarding the Proposed Rule for Focused Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration that is part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In addition to the previously announced meeting on Feb. 20 in College Park, MD, the FDA plans to hold public meetings on Feb. 27 in Chicago and on March 13 in Anaheim, CA.

January 29, 2014
FSA Says Tests Find No Horse Meat in UK Beef for Past Quarter

The UK's Food Standards Agency today released its latest quarterly report on its testing of beef products for horse meat or horse DNA. The report covers 6,069 test results, none of which found horse meat/DNA at or above the one percent (1%) reporting threshold.

January 29, 2014
Brothers Behind 2011 Listeria Outbreak Sentenced to Home Detention

A federal court judge sentenced two Colorado farmers on Tuesday to six months of home detention and five years probation for their role in a deadly 2011 listeria outbreak linked to contaminated cantaloupes.

January 29, 2014
Aqlifoods Plant Worker Arrested for Spiking Frozen Food with Pesticide

Police in Oizumi, Japan, said on Jan. 25 that they have arrested a 49-year-old plant worker on suspicion of poisoning frozen food products with a pesticide last October. Earlier this month, it was reported that several hundred people fell ill after eating food produced by Aqlifoods Co., a subsidiary of Maruha Nichiro Holdings.

January 28, 2014
Bipartisan Agreement Reached on New Farm Bill; Vote Still to Come

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.

January 28, 2014
NRDC: FDA Allows Antibiotics in Food Animals Despite 'High Risk' to Humans

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.

January 27, 2014
Caribbean Cruise Halted After 600+ People Develop Gastrointestinal Illness

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.

January 24, 2014
CFIA No Longer Requiring FSIS Form Pre-Clearance for Meat Exports

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.

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.

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