September 21, 2023

McMaster Researchers Create Packaging Revealing Contamination

McMaster researchers have created food packaging that can reveal contamination of food, possibly helping prevent foodborne illness. Researchers Akansha Prasad, co-lead author of the paper that describes the invention, which was published in the journal Advanced Materials said in a statement, "This is something that can benefit everyone. We're hoping this technology will see lives, money, and food waste." Shadman Khan, co-lead author on the paper added, "We wanted to develop a system that was reliable, quick, affordable, and easy to use." The packaging will let producers, retailers, and consumers tell in real time whether the contents of a sealed food package are contaminated just by looking at it. Not having to open the package will eliminate the possibility of … [Read more...]

Infant Botulism Cases in Madison County, Kentucky

Infant botulism cases have been reported in Madison County, Kentucky and have prompted a warning to parents and have officials concerned. There are two cases of infant botulism that have been reported to authorities. There are typically two ways that infants can be sickened with botulinum toxin that the bacteria Clostridium botulin produces under certain conditions. The first is honey. Infants under the age of one should never be given honey because it can contain botulism spores. Infants get sick because their immune systems are too immature to prevent the toxin from developing. Medical science doesn't understand all of the factors that make these infants more susceptible to botulism spores. The spores can also be found in soil. When ingested, the spores can grow and produce the … [Read more...]

Cronobacter Added to Notifiable Pathogens Reported to CDC

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) is recommending that cronobacter be added to the list of notifiable pathogens reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is notable, since this pathogen, which can be deadly to infants, has not been tracked and is not reportable except in two states: Minnesota and Michigan. Because it is not tracked, we do not know how many infants are sickened by this pathogen. It's unfortunate that states will not be required to notify the CDC about these infections, but will only be asked to, although states usually do comply with this type of request. The position statement establishes standardized criteria for case definition and case counting that will be used for public health surveillance purposes. This … [Read more...]

Celebrate the Fourth of July Without Foodborne Illness

Celebrate the Fourth of July this year without foodborne illness, with tips from the USDA about safe grilling. There are inherent risks that come with cooking in hot weather too. First, always wash your hands before cooking and handling and serving food. Handle raw meat with care, since it can be contaminated with pathogen bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter. Keep raw meats away from foods that are eaten uncooked such as raw fruits and vegetables. When you form hamburgers or season steaks, using a separate cutting board and plate. And wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching uncooked meat and poultry. If you marinate the meat or poultry, keep the used marinade away from other foods, and discard it when you put the … [Read more...]

Is Plastic Tableware with Melamine Safe to Use? Ask the FDA

Is plastic tableware with melamine safe to use? There are rumors that this type of tableware can be unsafe, but the FDA has answers. Melamine is a chemical that is approved for use in plates, paper, paperboard, and industrial coatings. Two occasions have raised the specter of the dangers of melamine. In 2007, pet treats manufactured in China was made with ┬ámelamine, which artificially raises the protein content of food, and pets were sickened and some died. And in 2008, melamine was added to infant formula in China, and hundreds of thousands of children were sickened; six died. But those incidents were of melamine being deliberately added to food. Melamine used to make plastic tableware is different. It is true that you should avoid serving hot foods, particularly hot liquids … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Offers Advice on Safe Seafood Prep and Care

More seafood is consumed in the summer months, especially raw oysters. Learn how to keep seafood safe with these tips. Consumer Reports is offering advice on the safe seafood preparation and care. Like all perishable foods, seafood must be handled carefully to avoid food borne illness. If you choose to eat seafood raw, you must be especially careful. Sushi, ceviche, and raw oyster consumption has been linked to foodborne illness over the years. In fact, earlier this month a man from Missouri died after eating raw oysters contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus. Last year, raw oysters were linked to a sapovirus outbreak. And a Salmonella outbreak linked to raw oysters sickened at least eight people in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. These foods can be contaminated with pathogenic … [Read more...]

FDA Report on Food Poisoning Risk Factors in Restaurants

The FDA has released its report on food poisoning risk factors in fast food and food service restaurants. The report covers the years from 2017 t0 2018. Risk factors that can contribute to outbreaks of foodborne illness include inadequate cooking, poor personal hygiene, and using food from unsafe sources. This study is part of a ten-year study that spans the years 2013 to 2024. The restaurants used in the study were located across the country and were randomly selected by the FDA Retail Food Specialists. The key objectives of the study were to identify the occurrence of risk factors, the prevalence of food safety management systems, the ┬áprevalence of certified food protection managers, and prevalence of employee health policies. That last risk factor is important because the CDC … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Report on Testing Ready to Eat Dips and Spreads

The FDA has released their ┬áreport on testing ready to eat dips and spreads for possible Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes contamination. This sampling assignment started in March 2021 and was completed in January 2022. Refrigerated dips and spreads include hummus, tahini, pimento cheese, and yogurt-based products. There have been multiple recalls for tahini and hummus for bacterial contamination in the past few years. From 2017 through 2022, for instance, there were five recalls of hummus and six recalls of multi-commodity dips that were contaminated with Salmonella or Listeria. In 2019, a Salmonella Concord outbreak linked to tahini sickened at least six people in three states, and also in 2019, a Salmonella outbreak at Moby Dick House of Kabob in Maryland was potentially … [Read more...]

Salmonella Grand Challenge Issued on World Food Safety Day

The USDA is issuing a Salmonella Grand Challenge on World Food Safety Day 2023. This challenge brings together scientists from different specialties to fight this pathogen, which causes more than 1,000,000 foodborne illnesses in American every year. The challenge tries to develop a more effective strategy to reduce human Salmonella illnesses linked to poultry. The USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is launching this new initiative to learn more about how and where Salmonella causes the highest risk of contamination in meat and poultry products. This will help researchers develop better monitoring tools to producers can detect Salmonella contamination. This pathogen is found everywhere, on animals, in food, water, soil, and even the air. ARS is going to integrate its … [Read more...]

It’s World Food Safety Day. Time to Review Food Safety Rules

June 7 is World Food Safety Day. This day is a good time to review food safety rules that everyone should know to try to avoid food poisoning. While Corporations are not allowed to sell food contaminated with enough bacteria to make people sick, it happens a lot. The consumer is the last line of defense against pathogenic bacteria. The main things to remember are four key words: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. That means you need to clean your hands before you start cooking, and wash fruits and vegetables before you prepare them. (Never wash poultry or raw meat!) Make sure your kitchen is clean, along with utensils and dishes. Then keep uncooked foods and raw foods separate. Do not let meat or poultry juices touch fruits and vegetables, store them apart from each other in the … [Read more...]

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