News

Dole packaged salads Listeria outbreak – update

Dole packaged salads Listeria outbreak – update

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there have been three new cases of listeriosis associated with packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility at Springfield Ohio. A total of 15 cases in eight states have now been linked to the outbreak in the USA and a further seven cases […]

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Listeria outbreak linked to certain Dole brand packaged salads

Listeria outbreak linked to certain Dole brand packaged salads

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) have announced that cases of listeriosis in both countries are linked to packaged salads produced at a Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. facility in Springfield, Ohio. In the USA, twelve cases of infection with very closely related strains of […]

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Potentially contaminated beef recalled

Potentially contaminated beef recalled

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced that Snapp’s Ferry Packing Company, of Afton Tennessee, is recalling approximately 410 pounds of ground beef product that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The recalled ground beef was produced on 20 November 2015 and packed in 5-lb packages labelled “Ground Beef” and with […]

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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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Editors blog

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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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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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

No safety concerns over pesticide residues in US food

No safety concerns over pesticide residues in US food

| January 21, 2016

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has published data from its Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary for 2014 confirming that overall pesticide residue levels in tested foods do not present a safety concern. During 2014 the USDA tested 10,619 samples of food for pesticide residues, including 8,582 samples of fruit and […]

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Eggs recalled because of possible health risk

Eggs recalled because of possible health risk

| January 21, 2016

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that Good Earth Egg Company LLC, of Bonne Terre, Missouri, has announce that it is voluntarily recalling shell eggs because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The company is recalling various sizes of shell eggs sold under the brand name Good Earth Egg Company […]

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Raw chicken the probable source of Canadian Salmonella outbreak

Raw chicken the probable source of Canadian Salmonella outbreak

| January 5, 2016

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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