News

Listeriosis outbreak linked to recalled frozen vegetables

Listeriosis outbreak linked to recalled frozen vegetables

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with state health officials and the FDA to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections that may be associated with frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington. The outbreak has affected at least eight people from three states since 13 […]

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EFSA assesses risk from process contaminants in vegetable oils

EFSA assesses risk from process contaminants in vegetable oils

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) expert Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain has published the results of a risk assessment for glycerol-based process contaminants found in palm oil, other vegetable oils and margarines, and some processed foods. The Panel considered the risks to public health from glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE), 3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD) […]

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Ongoing listeriosis outbreak reported in Italy

Ongoing listeriosis outbreak reported in Italy

Public health agencies have reported an ongoing outbreak of foodborne Listeria monocytogenes infections in Ancona province in central Italy. The source of the outbreak has not yet been clearly identified. In the first seven weeks of 2016, five Listeria monocytogenes serotype 1/2a strains were isolated from six patients with invasive listeriosis in Ancona province. Genetic […]

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EFSA to review effects of BPA on the immune system

EFSA to review effects of BPA on the immune system

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has announced that it is setting up an expert working group to evaluate new scientific evidence on the potential effects of bisphenol A (BPA) on the human immune system. The review follows the publication of a report by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), […]

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Editors blog

The safe egg is here – now how about tackling antibiotic resistance?

The safe egg is here – now how about tackling antibiotic resistance?

Back in 1988 the UK egg industry was in crisis. Junior health minister Edwina Currie had just issued her ill advised “most of the egg production in this country, sadly, is now affected with Salmonella” comment and sales were falling as consumers took note. Although Currie was forced to resign over her less than accurate […]

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Can pre-packed salads ever be completely safe?

Can pre-packed salads ever be completely safe?

An on-going outbreak of listeriosis in the USA and Canada has hospitalised 19 people since last July and may also have contributed to two deaths. The evidence points to packaged salad products produced at a single facility in Ohio as the likely source of infection. That facility, operated by Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc., has suspended […]

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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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New Research

Genome sequencing helps track US food poisoning outbreak

Genome sequencing helps track US food poisoning outbreak

A recently published study led by scientists from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has used whole genome sequencing (WGS) to investigate a strain of Vibrio parahaemolyticus responsible for an outbreak of food poisoning in 2010. The outbreak occurred in Maryland and affected at least two people. The outbreak was soon linked to raw […]

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Research reveals PulseNet value

Research reveals PulseNet value

Newly published research in the USA has shown that the PulseNet laboratory network, which shares the genetic fingerprints of foodborne pathogen isolates, is preventing around 276,000 cases of foodborne illness every year. This equates to annual savings of $507 million on medical bills and lost productivity. The research, led by economist Robert L. Scharff from […]

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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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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

Salmonella outbreak prompts public health warning

Salmonella outbreak prompts public health warning

| April 27, 2016

A public health agency in South Australia has warned consumers not to eat raw beansprouts after a significant increase in the number of cases of Salmonella Saintpaul infections recorded in the state. SA Health says that it has been notified of 233 cases of Salmonella Saintpaul infection since the start of December 2015, with 108 […]

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Agency suspends Campylobacter retail survey

Agency suspends Campylobacter retail survey

| April 22, 2016

The UK Food Standards Agency has announced that it is suspending its current yearlong survey of Campylobacter on retail chickens because changes in poultry processing have caused problems with the analysis of results from the current test protocol. The problem is that the Agency has been testing for Campylobacter levels by taking samples from the […]

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New diagnostic tests could hamper tracking of foodborne illness

New diagnostic tests could hamper tracking of foodborne illness

| April 22, 2016

According to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the latest diagnostic tests for foodborne illness identify infections more quickly but could make detecting outbreaks more difficult. So-called culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) help doctors diagnose foodborne infections in a matter of hours because they do not depend on traditional […]

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