July 1, 2015

CFS Report Slams USDA for Stalling Animal Welfare Regs

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) has issued a white paper that scolds the USDA for stalling poultry animal welfare regulations. Most egg and poultry operations would not be affected by the increased welfare standards. The USDA analysis of economic impact is "faulty", according to CFS. The paper states that the largest organic farms are not following standard animal welfare practices. USDA's own analysis showed that the welfare improvements would affect the largest organic egg producers so much that they would stop organic production. Those five farms, out of 586 organic poultry farms in the country, claim the increases in cost because of increased regulations will bankrupt them. Bringing larger broiler producers into compliance would result in a 2.5% increase in price. Impact on … [Read more...]

Workers Take Cheese Bath and Other Gross Food News

Workers at a cheese factory in Russia who took off most of their clothes and hopped in a tub of warm raw milk used to make cheese earn the top spot in this month's edition of the Neews, food safety stories that put the eew in news. Workers at a cheese factory in the Siberian city of Omsk that specializes in making string cheese say they decided to take a group milk bath on New Year's Eve in celebration of a birthday. Groups of four and five men frolicked bare-chested in the milk, snapping photos of themselves. In one picture, a man holds up his wet shorts while friends smile. Word of the food safety breach got out when one of the workers posted a picture on a social media site with the caption  "Yeah, our job is pretty boring."  A YouTube video made at the same factory shows less … [Read more...]

Extreme Levels of Roundup Found in GE Soy

A new study conducted at Arctic University of Norway and published in the June issue of Food Chemistry has found that there are "extreme levels" of Roundup, an herbicide, in genetically engineered soy. The soybeans were harvested in Iowa. High levels of Roundup were found on 70% of the GE soy plants. The Roundup Ready GM soy comprises 93 to 94% of U.S. soybean production. The plant is genetically modified to tolerate exposure to glyphosate-based Roundup during its entire growth cycle. Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you about issues with these plants before. Roundup interrupts the shikimate pathway in plants and kills them. Scientists used to think that made the chemical safe for humans, but it has been discovered that our gut bacteria, which are critical to our immune systems and … [Read more...]

Vermont Set to Enact Statewide GE Food Labeling Bill

The Vermont House voted to accept the Senate version of the GE labeling bill last week. Governor Shumlin is expected to sign the bill. All foods for sale in Vermont that are made with GE or GMO ingredients will have to carry a label effective July 1, 2016. The Center for Food Safety's executive director Andrew Kimbrell said, "this is an historic day for the people's right to know. It is now very clear that federal labeling of genetically engineered foods is going to happen in the foreseeable future. Should the industry try to challenge this law, Center for Food Safety will be there to help defend it and we are confident that it would survive any such challenge." While Vermont is not the first state to pass such a bill, it is the first bill that stands alone. No other states need to … [Read more...]

Fat-Fighting Grape Seed Flour and Other New Discoveries by the USDA

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Flour made from chardonnay grape seeds that can prevent weight gain and increases in cholesterol levels is among the food science breakthroughs discovered by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers in 2013. The developments are part of the agency's technology transfer program. "Studies have shown that every dollar invested in agricultural research returns $20 to the economy. We have accelerated commercialization of federal research and government researchers are working closely with the private sector to develop new technology and transfer it to the marketplace," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "USDA has a proven track record of performing research that benefits the public." Trough its partnerships with outside investigators at universities and small and large businesses, … [Read more...]

EWG Looks at EU Banned Chemical Used on U.S. Apples

Environmental Working Group is asking the U.S. government to put a stop to a chemical used on non-organic apples grown in America because its makers in Europe could not show it didn't pose a rise to human health. That analysis found that the chemical, called diphenylamine, known as DPA, is used to coat apples during storage to prevent "storage scald", brown or black patches, since the fruit is only harvested once a year. A study conducted by the USDA in 2010 found that 80% of non-organic apples were coated with DPA. American apple growers say that DPA is a "benign growth regulator", but European officials have banned the use of DPA on apples and other fruit since 2012. Apples are one of the "dirty dozen" fruits and veggies EWG suggests consumers should avoid when grown conventionally … [Read more...]

Cow Manure Has New Antibiotic Resistance Genes

A new study funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the U.S. National Institutes of Health found that cow manure harbors diverse new antibiotic resistance genes. This material is commonly used as a farm fertilizer. It's worth noting that produce is one of the main sources of food poisoning in the United States; fertilizer, along with runoff from farms are two of the ways leafy greens and other fruits and vegetables can become contaminated. The study, published in American Society for Microbiology journal, tried to find which antibiotic resistant genes are in cow manure. The scientists used a "screening-plus sequencing" approach and found 80 unique and functional antibiotic resistant genes. Those genes made E. coli bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Researchers found an … [Read more...]

Do Risks of Antibacterial Soap Outweigh the Benefits?

A new study has shown that antibacterial soaps are better at killing Shigella bacteria than soaps that do not contain antibacterials. But do the risks of using antibacterial soaps outweigh the benefits? Each year, about 18,000 Americans are diagnosed with shigellosis, the infection caused by the Shigella bacteria. Symptoms of shigellosis include diarrhea that contains blood of puss, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after exposure. Symptoms generally last about a week and hospitalization is rarely required. For the study, researchers compared two regular soaps with three antibacterial soaps and found that, overall, the antibacterial soaps were better at reducing the level of Shigella bacteria than regular soaps. But the active ingredients in at least of the antibacterial … [Read more...]

USDA’s Guidance for Listeria Control in Retail Delis

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA's FSIS) has issued a guidance for Listeria control in retail deli settings.  The document outlines specific measures retailers can take to control Listeria in ready-to-eat meat (RTE) and poultry products. Listeria is a rare and deadly foodborne pathogen that is often associated with ready-to-eat deli meats, soft cheeses and smoked fish. When ingested it causes an infection called listeriosis. Of the 1,600 people diagnosed with listeriosis each year, 1,500 require hospitalization and 260 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Listeria poses a special risk for children, seniors, pregnant women and others with compromised immune systems. Among pregnant women, listeriosis can cause … [Read more...]

To Slow Spread of PEDv, USDA Requires Reporting

In an effort to slow the spread of highly contagious viruses that have killed million pigs since last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now requiring pork producers to report cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) and Swine Delta Coronavirus. PEDv was discovered in U.S. herds in 2013 and his killed more than 4 million pigs in 27 states since that time. PEDv does not affect humans and is not a food safety concern. "USDA has been working closely with the pork industry and our state and federal partners to solve this problem. Together, we have established testing protocols, sequenced the virus and are investigating how the virus is transmitted," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The USDA is also requiring that movements of pigs, vehicles, and other equipment leaving … [Read more...]

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