News

Botulism cases linked to home-canned potatoes

Botulism cases linked to home-canned potatoes

Public health officials in the US state of Ohio have identified potato salad made with home canned potatoes as the most likely cause of an outbreak of botulism that has affected people who attended a “church potluck” in Lancaster on 19 April. As of 27 April, there were 21 confirmed cases, including one death, associated […]

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Genetic tests help link Salmonella outbreak to German egg producer

Genetic tests help link Salmonella outbreak to German egg producer

A newly published report by a UK-based outbreak team reveals how whole genome sequencing and food traceback investigations linked a multinational outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis PT4b infection to an egg producer in Germany. The UK outbreak occurred between May and September 2014 and included at least 287 cases linked to a hospital in central England […]

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Blue Bell Creameries expands recall to include all products

Blue Bell Creameries expands recall to include all products

Ice cream manufacturer Blue Bell Creameries of Brenham, Texas, has announced that it is voluntarily recalling all products currently on the market from all of its production facilities because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The recall includes all ice cream, frozen yoghurt, sherbet and frozen snack products distributed to retail […]

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Canadian E. coli outbreak may be linked to leafy greens

Canadian E. coli outbreak may be linked to leafy greens

The Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with other federal and provincial public health authorities, is currently investigating a possible link between an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections and leafy green vegetables. Twelve cases of illness caused by the same strain of verotoxigenic E. coli O157:H7 have so far been identified in Alberta […]

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Editors blog

The spice trade under scrutiny

The spice trade under scrutiny

Undeclared nut protein in herbs and spices is a hot topic and a developing food safety problem. The issue first surfaced in the USA and Canada in December last year, when samples of cumin began testing positive for peanut protein, triggering a series of recalls and prompting the FDA to issue advice to consumers with […]

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Raw milk – EFSA wades in

Raw milk – EFSA wades in

What is it about raw milk that rouses such passions? A few minutes spent researching the subject on the Internet soon turns up all manner of individuals and organisations promoting the supposed health, nutritional and taste benefits of drinking milk fresh from the cow, while deriding the pasteurised version as a pale shadow of the […]

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Food safety in 2014 – the good, the bad and the politics

Food safety in 2014 – the good, the bad and the politics

Looking back over the last twelve months it is possible to see several positive developments in the world of food safety. Firstly, the implications of growing levels of food fraud have now been recognised in the wake of the 2013 horsemeat in beef scandal and in the UK this has resulted in the setting up […]

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Campylobacter hits the headlines

Campylobacter hits the headlines

Campylobacter has been the commonest cause of foodborne disease in the UK for nearly ten years. Yet until quite recently, comparatively few people had ever heard of it. That is changing rapidly as the mainstream media begins to focus much more attention on this rather unusual pathogen. The latest flurry of coverage was generated last […]

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New Research

Researchers develop meat spoilage nano-sensor

Researchers develop meat spoilage nano-sensor

A team of chemists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA has developed a new portable sensor based on chemically modified carbon nanotubes, which is able to detect the volatile chemical by-products of microbial meat spoilage. The MIT researchers modified the carbon nanotubes with a metalloporphyrin containing a central cobalt atom bound […]

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Agency publishes aspartame study findings

Agency publishes aspartame study findings

The UK Food Standards Agency is publishing the findings of a study carried out by Hull York Medical School comparing the reactions to aspartame of people who have previously reported symptoms with those of people with no history of symptoms. The researchers recruited a group of individuals who had reported having adverse reactions after consuming […]

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Survey highlights ochratoxin A risk in oat-based breakfast cereals

Survey highlights ochratoxin A risk in oat-based breakfast cereals

Researchers from the University of Idaho in the USA have tested samples of various breakfast cereals on retail sale for the presence of the fungal toxin ochratoxin A (OTA) and found that some oat-based products contained undesirably high levels. The researchers analysed 489 samples of cereals made from corn, wheat, rice and oats using a […]

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Study suggests biofilms can form on reusable plastic containers

Study suggests biofilms can form on reusable plastic containers

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Arkansas and WBA Analytical Laboratories in the USA has revealed that bacterial pathogens may persist on the surfaces of the reusable plastic containers (RPC) often used to transport fresh produce and other foods even after standard cleaning and sanitising. The researchers, led by Dr Steven […]

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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

EFSA produces report for the general public on chemicals in food

EFSA produces report for the general public on chemicals in food

| April 15, 2015

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a new report aimed at the non-specialist providing an overview of the monitoring of levels of chemicals like pesticides, veterinary drugs and environmental contaminants in food across the EU. The report aims to provide a balanced view of the findings of the extensive monitoring activities that are […]

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Blue Bell ice cream Listeria outbreak – update

Blue Bell ice cream Listeria outbreak – update

| April 15, 2015

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported a further cluster of people with Listeria infections linked to Blue Bell brand ice cream products and further recalls of additional products that could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The initial outbreak included five cases and three deaths at the same hospital in Kansas […]

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Improvements needed to control Campylobacter in German poultry

Improvements needed to control Campylobacter in German poultry

| April 15, 2015

The latest annual report on zoonoses (infections transmissible from animals to humans) in Germany, prepared by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), reveals that neither the detection rate for Campylobacter in food nor the number of reported infections fell in 2013, despite extensive efforts to control the pathogen. The BfR report is compiled from […]

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