News

PHAC investigates source of Listeria outbreak

PHAC investigates source of Listeria outbreak

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is collaborating with federal and provincial public health agencies to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infection that has affected people in five provinces. Since September 2015 a total of seven confirmed cases of listeriosis have been linked to the outbreak in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward […]

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Raw chicken the probable source of Canadian Salmonella outbreak

Raw chicken the probable source of Canadian Salmonella outbreak

The source of an outbreak of Salmonella Infantis infection that has affected at least 98 people in nine Canadian provinces since March 2015 is most likely to be raw chicken according to investigators from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The Agency and other public health and food safety bodies have been investigating this outbreak […]

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EFSA publishes scientific opinion on foodborne parasite

EFSA publishes scientific opinion on foodborne parasite

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released a new scientific opinion on the parasite Echinococcus multilocularis, a type of tapeworm that can cause a potentially fatal disease in humans. The parasite causes the disease echinococcosis in carnivores such as foxes and dogs and can be transmitted to humans through contaminated water or food. It […]

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Listeria outbreak reported in Germany

Listeria outbreak reported in Germany

German public health authorities have reported an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes serotype 1/2a in the south of the country that has been on-going since 2012. The source of the outbreak has not yet been identified. A total of 66 cases have been recorded since November 2012, but the number of cases has risen each year […]

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Editors blog

Is it already too late to halt the spread of antibiotic resistance?

Is it already too late to halt the spread of antibiotic resistance?

There was grim news over the last two weeks for anyone who values antibiotics as effective treatments for human infections. First came the results of a study from China, announcing the discovery of a gene (mcr-1) rendering E. coli resistant to the antibiotic colistin. The gene was identified and characterised in bacteria isolated from pigs […]

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Paying the price for unsafe food

Paying the price for unsafe food

Food poisoning outbreaks and contamination scares are never good for business, especially in todays connected world. Take the case of Perrier mineral water for example. In the 1980s it was considered the leading brand, but then in 1990 was hit by a contamination incident when the carcinogenic chemical benzene was found in samples tested by […]

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Europe leads the way for food safety law

Europe leads the way for food safety law

Two of this week’s news stories provide an interesting insight into how the regulatory environment in which the food industry must operate varies around the world. In the USA, the FDA announced that it had finalised two of the seven major rules contained in the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) that was signed into US […]

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For some food safety risks consumers are still the last line of defence

For some food safety risks consumers are still the last line of defence

In recent weeks we have seen several Salmonella outbreaks all linked to the same type of food – namely frozen raw chicken products. An outbreak in Canada associated with chicken nuggets affected 47 people, while two more in the USA linked to stuffed chicken Kiev type products accounted for a further nine cases. Large recalls […]

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New Research

Flock behavioural changes could signal Campylobacter infection in chickens

Flock behavioural changes could signal Campylobacter infection in chickens

A study by scientists at Oxford University’s Department of Zoology has discovered that a new technique to monitor the movement of chickens may be able to predict which flocks are at risk of infection with Campylobacter. Campylobacter is the main cause of foodborne disease in humans in Europe and North America and a major reservoir […]

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Salmonella survives for months in low moisture foods

Salmonella survives for months in low moisture foods

A newly published study by microbiologists at the University of Georgia in the USA has discovered that cells of the bacterial pathogen Salmonella are able to survive for much longer than expected in commercial food products with low water activities. The researchers looked at cookie and cracker snack sandwich products containing a variety of low […]

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Colistin resistance gene found in bacteria in Denmark

Colistin resistance gene found in bacteria in Denmark

A new Danish study, by the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark and the Statens Serum Institut, has reported the discovery of bacteria containing the mcr-1 gene, which confers resistance to the antibiotic colistin, in imported food samples. The researchers carried out the study in response to recent findings from China identifying the mcr-1 […]

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Discovery of bacterial gene for colistin resistance causes concern

Discovery of bacterial gene for colistin resistance causes concern

Newly published findings by a team of researchers in China describe the discovery of a plasmid-mediated mechanism in E. coli isolated from pigs that confers resistance to colistin – widely regarded as an antibiotic of last resort for treating drug resistant infections. The researchers discovered the mechanism during a surveillance project looking at antibiotic resistance […]

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Feature Articles

THE HEPATITIS A VIRUS – an overlooked cause of foodborne disease

THE HEPATITIS A VIRUS – an overlooked cause of foodborne disease

Bacteria are by far the most common and best known causes of foodborne illness in the developed world and the food industry is well aware of the risks presented by Salmonella, E. coli O157 and other bacterial pathogens. But there are also a small group of disease-causing viruses that can be transmitted by contaminated food. […]

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A QUESTION OF CONFIDENCE – how food microbiology labs can ensure their results are reliable

A QUESTION OF CONFIDENCE – how food microbiology labs can ensure their results are reliable

Supply chains have become ever longer and more complex as food production has developed into a truly global industry. The need to monitor the safety of food at every stage means that microbiological testing remains a key weapon in the fight against food contamination and the volume of testing undertaken continues to grow. Today’s laboratories […]

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HOW CLEAN IS CLEAN? – Rapid food hygiene monitoring methods

HOW CLEAN IS CLEAN? – Rapid food hygiene monitoring methods

The HACCP-driven hygiene procedures in place in modern food production facilities are an essential part of ensuring safety and quality in the food supply chain. Clean food handling and processing equipment is a prerequisite for good hygiene, but the effectiveness of cleaning must also be monitored and recorded.

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ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE – a global food safety problem

ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE – a global food safety problem

The development of antibiotics in the 1940s led to a revolution in the treatment of infectious diseases. But after more than 60 years of use and misuse, many antibiotics have lost much of their effectiveness as bacteria develop resistance to them. This situation has arisen partly as a result of overuse in clinical medicine, but […]

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Other Recent Posts

Campylobacter and Listeria infection rates rising in the EU

Campylobacter and Listeria infection rates rising in the EU

| December 17, 2015

The latest annual report on zoonoses and foodborne disease outbreaks in the EU has revealed that the number of reported cases of human campylobacteriosis and listeriosis both rose significantly in 2014. The summary report, compiled jointly by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is based […]

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Public health risks of Enteroaggregative E. coli assessed

Public health risks of Enteroaggregative E. coli assessed

| December 17, 2015

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) expert Panel on Biological Hazards has published an assessment of the public health risks presented by foodborne Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC). EAEC is one of six “pathotypes” of E. coli and is associated with gastrointestinal infections in humans, especially in developing countries where hygiene standards are poor. Some strains […]

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EFSA advises on shellfish heat treatment

EFSA advises on shellfish heat treatment

| December 17, 2015

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published new advice on the heat treatment of bivalve molluscs to eliminate pathogenic microorganisms, particularly viruses. The advice, compiled by experts from the Panel on Biological Hazards, is based on an evaluation of possible alternatives to the heat treatments for molluscs specified in current EU legislation. These treatments […]

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