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FoodHACCP Newsletter
07/20 2015 ISSUE:661

Source safe food: Cook, clean, chill separate doesn’t cut it
Source :
By Doug Powell (July 19, 2015)
In related things Philly, Don Sapatkin writes that back in 2002, with at least 85 people sickened by Salmonella, Bucks County health inspectors discovered that kitchen workers at a Lone Star Steakhouse on Route 1 were washing tomatoes and raw chicken in the same sink. They shut the place down until an additional sink could be installed to prevent cross-contamination.
 “We thought we had it nailed,” recalled Bill Roth, who oversees food safety for the county health department.
Not exactly. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed victims’ stool samples, Roth recalled, they noticed something completely different: The same strain of Salmonella had been found elsewhere. Connecting the dots, federal investigators traced the outbreak to contaminated tomatoes from a Virginia farm that were making gastrointestinal life very unpleasant for hundreds of people in 26 states.
The missing-sink violations cited by inspectors at the local steakhouse had nothing to do with it.
The case illustrates both the strengths and weaknesses of restaurant inspections. On the one hand, they catch only a tiny percentage of potential problems, and only on the day that inspectors visit. On the other hand, they keep restaurateurs on their toes – using the same sink to rinse raw produce and uncooked poultry is a recipe for diarrhea, even if it wasn’t the cause that time.
“Put it this way,” said David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department. “If you leave some children alone, they will be responsible. Some other children, take away parental supervision . . . and some places would be incredibly horrendous.”
Bucks provides restaurants with a lot of supervision. Its inspectors automatically visit the vast majority of the county’s 2,600 food establishments every six months – twice as often as routine inspections are performed in Philadelphia and every other county in the region except Montgomery (also twice a year).
Repeat inspections to follow up on violations are scheduled within 10 days, Bucks County officials said, compared with 30 in the city.
Yet Bucks finds fewer violations. And fewer violations mean fewer repeat visits – every inspection is a surprise – to follow up on the routine inspection.
Inspectors there recorded an average 1.1 serious violations per visit in 2014 compared with 1.6 for Philadelphia, according to an Inquirer analysis of inspection reports. The disparity was greater for all violations combined: 3.2 per inspection in Bucks vs. 6.0 in Philadelphia.
Whether the lower number of violations in the county means Bucks restaurants are cleaner is unclear. Philadelphia may simply have a higher proportion of full-service restaurants, which do more complex food preparation than convenience stores or other food establishments. That means more can go wrong, and can be spotted by inspectors.
But food safety officials in Bucks County speculated that their policy of routine inspections twice a year – a goal that most localities don’t have the resources to meet – are responsible for the difference.
“We go more for education than for enforcement,” Damsker said. More-frequent routine visits give kitchen workers a better understanding of food-safety issues, he said.
The emphasis on education has gained traction nationwide over the past decade. Throughout the region, most jurisdictions, including Philadelphia, now perform what are known as “risk-based inspections.”
They put a higher priority on violations that are known to increase the risk of foodborne illness than on cosmetic issues such as missing ceiling tiles. One of the highest priorities – and among the most common violations – is having an employee present at all times who is trained to recognize problems such as a refrigerator that isn’t quite cold enough to kill harmful bacteria.

Ice-Cream, Flavoured Milk Under Food Safety Regulator's Lens; New Norms for Milk
Source :
By All India | Press Trust of India (July 19, 2015)
New Delhi:  Food safety watchdog FSSAI is planning to set new quality standards for ice-cream and flavoured milk besides tightening the existing safety norms for milk and other dairy products.
The proposal comes after ban on import of Chinese milk and milk products last month due to presence of melamine for one year till June, 2016, following a recommendation from FSSAI.
At present, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has norms for milk, paneer, ghee and butter, among others.
In the latest proposal, the regulator is working on setting more specific and stringent standards for fat content in milk.
"... there is need to further broaden the quality standards for milk and its products. We are working on that and it is likely that in next one month, will come up with draft of these standards," a source said.
The source further said that the authority is working on comprehensive norms for milk and milk products which will now also include ice-cream and flavoured milk, among others.
At present, FSSAI has ceiling on presence of insecticides and metal contaminants in milk and milk products.
Last month, the regulator had imposed limits for melamine in domestic milk products.
Melamine is used in plastic and fertiliser industry.
The regulator has stepped surveillance on processed food items after the Maggi controversy. It is reviewing safety standards and holding several consultations with stakeholders to strengthen it.
It had also asked states to increase surveillance and act against entities selling contaminated packaged drinking water as well as adulterated milk and edible oils.
Earlier this year, in a meeting with state food safety commissioners, the FSSAI CEO had shared concerns raised by the Parliamentary Panel on Consumer Affairs regarding widespread incidences of milk adulteration.
The food safety watchdog has also formed an 11-member panel for regulating salt, sugar and fat in food products sold or served at eating joints in the country.
On June 5, FSSAI had banned Nestle's Maggi, saying it was 'unsafe and hazardous' after tests found presence of lead and Monosodium glutamate above permissible limits.
While Nestle India had withdrawn the instant noodles brand from the market, it challenged the FSSAI order in Bombay High Court.

Imported Tuna in Sushi Sickens Two in Minnesota with Salmonella
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (July 19, 2015)
Sushi made with frozen tuna imported from Indonesia has sickened two people in Minnesota and dozens of others in 10 other states. The frozen tuna, imported by Osamu Corp. of Gardena, CA, is contaminated with Salmonella.
The case patients in Minnesota, both from the Twin Cities metro area, are in their 30s. Although they became ill with symptoms of Salmonella poisoning, including fever, nausea, vomiting, chills and diarrhea, neither of them required hospitalization. Eleven others who are part of the multistate outbreak were hospitalized.
The tuna product, packaged in frozen, vacuum-sealed bags without a brand or other name, was distributed to grocery stores, restaurants and institutional kitchens. One of the Minnesota case patients purchased spicy tuna rolls at a grocery store, the other at a workplace cafeteria.
The outbreak investigation in Minnesota and nationally is ongoing. Consumers at highest risk for food poisoning from Salmonella are children under 5, adults over 65, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.

Extreme Summer Weather Increases Salmonella Risk
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (July 18, 2015)
Extreme heat and rain increase the risk of Salmonella infections, according to a new study by Maryland researchers. The study, “Climate Change, Extreme Events and Increased Risk of Salmonellosis: Evidence for Coastal Vulnerability,” was published online June 18, 2015 in the journal Environment International by researchers from the University of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Chengsheng Jiang, Kristi Shaw, Crystal Upperman, David Blythe, Clifford Mitchell, Raghu Murtugudde, Amy Sapkota and Amir Sapkota.
“We found that extremely hot days and periods of extreme rainfall are contributing to salmonella infections in Maryland, with the most dramatic impacts being seen in the coastal communities,” said Amir Sapkota, associate professor in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health at UMD and a co-author of the study. “As we prepare for the future, we need to take this differential burden into account”
Salmonella, which sickens an estimated 1.2 million Americans each year, is commonly found in raw poultry, eggs and beef, and unwashed produce. If ingested it can cause an infection called salmonellosis with symptoms including diarrhea, fever, vomiting and abdominal cramps.
For the study, researchers looked at 10 years of data about Salmonella infections in Maryland and compared them with extreme heat and precipitation events from 2002 to 2012. They found that extreme heat was associated with a 4.1 percent in the risk of salmonellosis, and extreme precipitation events were associated with a 5.6 percent increase.  Coastal areas were at higher risk than inland areas.
Researchers say the study “highlights the need to engage public health practitioners and policymakers to prepare for and respond to climate change-associated adverse health effects at local, state and national levels.”




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Boise Co-Op Salmonella Outbreak is Largest in Idaho History
Source :
by Carla Gillespie (July 18, 2015)
A  Salmonella outbreak linked to the deli at the Boise Co-op is the largest Salmonella outbreak in Idaho history. At least 290 have been sickened, according to the Central District Health Department (CDHD).
Testing on food samples taken from the deli has shown that raw turkey, tomatoes and onion were all contaminated with the bacteria. It’s not clear if they were all contaminated before they arrived at the store, or if one of them was and contaminated the others, or if all of the foods were contaminated by an infected food handler.
Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of humans and other animals. Foods become contaminated when they come into contact with feces containing the bacteria. This can happen to meat during slaughter, through cross-contamination or through inadequate hygiene of food handlers.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection usually develop within six to 72 hours of exposure and last about a week. They include diarrhea, cramps, fever and nausea. Some infections can be severe and require hospitalizations.  Others can trigger long-term complications including reactive arthritis, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Those who became ill this outbreak reported purchasing food from the deli after June 1. Idaho health officials remind everyone that people experiencing diarrhea should stay home from work, school and daycare to reduce the risk of spreading illness.

Cyclospora Strikes Texas for Third Straight Year
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (July 18, 2015)
For the third straight year, Texas has been hit by a Cyclospora outbreak.  The rare parasite usually associated with developing countries in tropical or sub-tropical regions has made its way to Texas on food. More than 25 counties have been affected included those surrounding the metropolitan areas of Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.
In 2013 and 2014, contaminated cilantro imported from the Puebla region of Mexico was identified as the source of the outbreaks.. In 2014, at least 126 people were sickened, the 2013 outbreak included 270 Texans.Cyclospora_Image
When ingested in its mature state, Cyclospora causes an infection called cyclosporiasis.  On average, just 150 cases are reported nationwide each year, most of them are associated with travel to developing countries.
Symptoms of cyclosporiasis can last two months and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms.
Treatment with the antibiotic combination Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX),  sold under the brand names Bactrim, Septra and Cotrim, can clear up the infection.

Texas Cyclospora Numbers Numbers Hit 182
Source :
By Patti Waller (July 18, 2015)
A recent surge in reports of illnesses due to the parasite Cyclospora has prompted DSHS to investigate the infections in hopes of determining a common source. DSHS has received reports of 182 Cyclosporiasis cases from around Texas this year.
Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by consuming food or water contaminated with the Cyclospora parasite. The major symptom is watery diarrhea lasting a few days to a few months. Additional symptoms may include loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting and a low fever. People who think they may have a Cyclospora infection should contact their health care provider.
DSHS recommends thoroughly washing fresh produce, but that may not entirely eliminate the risk because Cyclospora can be difficult to wash off. Cooking will kill the parasite.
Last year, Texas had 200 cases, some of which were associated with cilantro from the Puebla region in Mexico.

Portland Open Source Bridge Conference Source Of Salmonella Outbreak
Source :
By Andy Weisbecker (July 17, 2015)
Public Health officials continue to investigate an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness associated with attending the Open Source Bridge Conference at the Eliot Center in downtown Portland from June 23 to 26, 2015.
We have determined that Salmonella caused gastrointestinal illness among conference attendees. Laboratory tests helped investigators identify a distinct Salmonella strain (Salmonella typhimurium) in six attendees who became ill between June 26th and June 30th. In addition to these six cases, 45 other people reported having symptoms consistent with Salmonellosis. They were among more than 220 conference attendees who responded to a Health Department survey that conference organizers shared last week.
The Health Department is continuing its investigation to identify the source of the bacteria that caused the illness. There is no indication that this outbreak spread beyond people connected to the conference. We are monitoring illness in Oregon to assure this is the case.
Salmonella is a bacteria that causes people to develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps (also known as gastrointestinal illness). Most people start getting sick one to three days after infection, though that can vary from twelve hours to seven days. While it is common for people to recover without treatment, they are often ill for several days, a week, or sometimes longer. The elderly, infants, and people with an impaired immune system are more likely to have a severe illness.
There is no vaccine to prevent salmonellosis. Avoiding undercooked animal products (eggs, poultry, or meat) is a good way to avoid exposure to Salmonella. It is also important to avoid cross-contamination between raw meats and ready-to-eat foods like produce. In fact, large outbreaks of salmonellosis have been linked to produce like bean sprouts and cantaloupes, and to poultry and poultry products. As with all foodborne illnesses, outbreaks can also occur when there are breaches in good food handling practices. For more information on good food-handling practices, go to:
The Salmonella bacteria can be passed from person to person by contact with stool (feces) of a person shedding the bacteria (sick or well). Therefore, to prevent spread to household members, please wash your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet. If you or someone in your household develops diarrhea and works as a food handler, healthcare worker, or in a childcare, please contact your local public health authority for testing and do not go to work while ill. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate about 1.2 million cases of salmonella infection occur every year in the United States. A useful Q & A and lots of other Salmonella information can be found at the CDC’s main Salmonella website:
There are many causes of gastrointestinal illness. If you feel sick, we recommend you seek care from a healthcare provider, who will work with you to diagnose the cause and get you appropriate treatment.

Settlements Reached in 2014 E. coli O121 Sprout Outbreak
Source :
By Bruce Clark (July 15, 2015)
080114-mapCDC collaborated with public health officials in several states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) infections. Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify cases of illness that were part of this outbreak. PulseNet, the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC, obtains DNA “fingerprints” of E. coli bacteria through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE.
A total of 19 persons infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O121 were reported from six states. The total number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows: California (1), Idaho (3), Michigan (1), Montana (2), Utah (1), and Washington (11).
Among persons for whom information was available, dates that illnesses began ranged from May 1, 2014, to May 20, 2014. Ill persons ranged in age from 11 years to 52 years, with a median age of 27 years. Sixty-eight percent of ill persons were female. Among those persons with information, seven (44%) of 16 were hospitalized. No ill persons developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths were reported.
Epidemiologic and traceback investigations conducted by officials in local, state, and federal public health, agriculture, and regulatory agencies indicated that raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho was the likely source of this outbreak.
In interviews, 13 (81%) of 16 ill persons reported eating raw clover sprouts in the week before becoming ill. This proportion is significantly higher than results from a survey[PDF – 29 pages] of healthy persons in which no more than 8% reported eating raw clover sprouts in the week before they were interviewed. According to the Washington State Department of Health and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, ill persons reported eating sprouts in sandwiches at several local food establishments, including several Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches locations, the Pita Pit, and Daanen’s Deli.
As part of the investigation, FDA performed a traceback analysis and determined that Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, in the timeframe prior to the outbreak, supplied sprouts to seven restaurants where 9 people who became ill during the outbreak reported eating before they became ill. Eight of the people who became ill recalled eating sprouts. This analysis used documents collected directly from the distributors and the grower, Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, as well as documents collected by the states from the points of service.
FDA also conducted an inspection[PDF – 2 pages] of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts’ facility on May 22-23, 2014; May 27-30, 2014; and June 6, 2014. During the inspection, FDA investigators observed a number of unsanitary conditions, including condensate and irrigation water dripping from rusty valves; a rusty and corroded watering system in the mung bean room; tennis rackets (used to scoop mung bean sprouts) that had scratches, chips, and frayed plastic; a pitchfork (used to transfer mung bean sprouts) that had corroded metal; and a squeegee (used to agitate mung bean sprouts inside a soak vat) that had visible corroded metal and non-treated wood.
On June 26, 2014, the FDA and CDC held a meeting with the owner of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts to advise the firm of FDA’s concerns that the seed lot used to grow clover sprouts linked to this outbreak may be contaminated and to encourage Evergreen Fresh Sprouts to discontinue using that seed lot for producing clover sprouts for people to eat. At the end of the meeting, the owner of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts informed the FDA that the firm planned to discontinue using the sprout seed lot that was used to grow the sprouts linked to the outbreak.
FDA received independent confirmation that, as of July 1, 2014, Evergreen Fresh Sprouts no longer had the seed lot associated with the outbreak and had received a new clover seed lot for sprouting purposes. It normally takes approximately 1 week to sprout the clover seed. Sprouts produced by this firm from this seed lot are likely no longer available for consumption given the approximately 14-day shelf life of raw clover sprouts.
E. coli: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.

New light technology helps improve food safety
Source :
By (July 15, 2015)
Light-based technologies are emerging as tools to enhance food shelf life and guard against food contaminants but more research needs to be done, warn food scientists at a July 13 panel discussion at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago.
The use of ultraviolet light, pulsed light and LED lights are being studied by food technologists as a new way to improve food longevity and assist in eliminating bacteria from such food products as milk and juices. However, scientists warn they need to learn more about how these light rays penetrate foods at varying degrees to ensure food safety.
"Light-based technologies can assist in breaking down bacterial cells in food products and are effective for surface sterilization," said Dr. Kathiravan Krishnamurthy, an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the Illinois Institute of Technology. "But the main issue with light-based technology is the penetration depth. We need to make sure every part of the food product sees the light."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates each year roughly one in six Americans—or 48 million people—gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. According to 2011 estimates, the most common foodborne illnesses are caused by norovirus and by the bacteria Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and Campylobacter. Light technology provides a more cost-efficient and effective new way to process foods to effectively inactivate these dangerous microorganisms while maintaining product quality.
"Light-based technologies are very powerful for selected applications but more research needs to be done," Krishnamurthy said, adding they've mainly been used in non-food applications. "These technologies are still in their infancy."
Tatiana Koutchma, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food of Canada, has been exploring a new application by experimenting with UV purification to extend the shelf life of cold-pressed juices as well as iced teas, soft drinks, syrups, milk, cheese and calf milk.
"It's an alternative to pasteurization and ESL [extended shelf life] method for juices, milk products, liquid sugars, liquid ingredients, raw, and finished food products," Koutchma said. "More research is needed for milk, fresh juices and wines."




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We are so proud that more than 400 attendees successfully finished Basic and Advanced HACCP Trainings through FoodHACCP. All attendees received a HACCP certificate which fulfills all USDA/FSIS and FDA regulatory requirements for HACCP Training

Minnesota Now Linked to Nationwide Salmonella Sushi Outbreak
Source :
By Patti Waller (July 14, 2015)
Two Minnesota residents sickened recently with salmonellosis are linked to frozen raw tuna, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said today.
The ill Minnesotans are adults in their 30s from the metro area who became ill on June 21 and June 30. Neither was hospitalized. These cases, which are part of a larger national outbreak (See CDC: Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella), were linked to spicy tuna rolls purchased at a grocery store and a workplace cafeteria. The outbreak strain of Salmonella bacteria was found in sealed bags of frozen raw tuna from the lot used to make the spicy tuna rolls eaten by one of the cases.
The tuna product is packaged in frozen, vacuum-sealed bags without a brand or other name. The contaminated lot of tuna can be identified from labels on the tuna bags (Photo A) and product information on the enclosing box (Photo B) that bear the lot number 68568 and country of origin of Indonesia. The tuna was distributed by Osamu Corporation (Gardena, CA). Retail stores should not sell and consumers should not eat tuna from this lot.
Grocery stores and other retail outlets should check their raw tuna supply for bags or boxes labeled with Lot 68568 from Indonesia (check with your supplier or shipping receipts/invoices if individual bags are not labeled). Tuna from this lot may be contaminated and should be discarded and not sold or served.
As of June 4, 2015, a total of 53 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) have been reported from nine states. Ten ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.  Arizona 10, California 31, Illinois 1, Mississippi 1, New Mexico 6, South Dakota 1, Virginia 1, Washington 1, Wisconsin 1, Total ill persons 53.
As a result of the ongoing investigation, the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department working with the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory identified Salmonella Newport in one sample and Salmonella Weltevreden in another sample of frozen raw ground tuna products.
The unopened frozen ground tuna products represented two different lots of product imported from Indonesia by Osamu Corporation of Gardena, California.
On May 27, Osamu Corporation recalled[PDF- 1 page] the two lots of ground frozen yellowfin tuna imported from Indonesia due to possible Salmonella contamination.
Restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve recalled[PDF- 1 page ground frozen yellowfin tuna imported from Indonesia by Osamu Corporation.
People at higher risk for serious foodborne illness should not eat any raw fish or raw shellfish, regardless of an ongoing outbreak. These groups include:
•Children younger than 5 years
•Adults older than 65
•Pregnant women
•People with weakened immune systems.

Food Safety News: Call for Op-eds and Subscribers
Source :
By Bill Marler (July 12, 2015)
Food Safety News does not take a vacation, nor does it take time off to attend this or that summer conference. But people do, so this is a time of opportunity for you. We’d like to invite you to try your hand as one of our contributing opinion-editorial writers.
If you choose to accept our invitation, you could be joining some of the best-known food safety people in government, industry and academia whom we count among our contributors.
We have been the go-to publication for sharing ideas with the food safety world, and we’ve run editorials from high-profile players in the food industry, insightful academics, and leaders at FDA, USDA and CDC, alongside everyday people, with something to say about food safety.
At most times of the year, if you submit an op-ed to Food Safety News, it is a good bet there is a line ahead of you. For the rest of the summer, there is not likely to be much waiting since those who are usually in line seem to have scattered for vacations and conferences.
We don’t pay our contributing writers because then we could not call them “contributing” writers. But we can’t help noticing that our contributing writers are often the same people getting the big job offers and opportunities for exotic foreign travel.
We don’t want to oversell ourselves, but there are advantages to becoming known.
Becoming a Food Safety News contributing writer is not difficult, but there are few things you should know.
You should have something to say about food safety. This is important because we are called Food Safety News. We are sure your grandma’s sugar cookie recipes were great, but unless she poisoned people with them and then learned some lessons you want to share, it won’t be a fit.
In other words, you want to have a food safety angle and your topic should interest our large, broad audience. Somewhere around a half-million people check in on Food Safety News every month.
With a submission, first-time contributors also need to submit a photo, a short biography, and links for their author’s file at Food Safety News. This is the area shown after someone clicks on your byline. Links to websites, email, and twitter accounts are most common.
Food Safety News does not impose any minimum or maximum word counts on contributing writers. However, most probably fall in the 600- to 1,200-word range.
Either Managing Editor Cathy Siegner or I are available if you want to run your idea past us before you start writing. Or, if you’ve already written something, just turn it in to Cathy (I tend to lose things).
Either of us would be happy to take any questions you have. Think of how accomplished you’ll feel sharing your thoughts with a few hundred thousand of your associates in food safety rather than just sitting on a beach somewhere!

Date Marking: Food Waste Concern Heightens Issue
Source :
By Rosetta Newsome, Ph.D., CFS (June/July, 2015)
Although date labeling of food has nearly a century-long U.S. history with considerable developments during different spans of time, the fact that it is an issue has become more visible in the past few years as attention to and concern about food loss and waste have heightened. There is considerable variation in date labeling/marking practices in the U.S. and around the world; this lack of harmonization contributes to misunderstanding in the marketplace and in the home about the meaning of date labeling terminology and appropriate responsive action. These misconceptions lead to use of limited regulatory resources to check dates on labels, financial burden and wasted food. A group of individuals affiliated with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), academia, the food industry, regulatory community, food banking, trade associations and consulting organizations (see “Food Date Labeling Working Group”) came together to produce a document aimed at bringing science-based clarity to this issue to allow for more informed risk-based decision making by various stakeholders. This article summarizes the publication—“Applications and Perceptions of Date Labeling of Food,” by Newsome et al.[1]—that IFT published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety.     
Why the Concern?
Food loss and waste is a substantial, global issue. About 33 to 50 percent of food, equivalent to 1.3 billion tons of food valued at about $1 trillion, is lost or wasted per year.[2–5] This has negative impacts on the environment, economic development and our ability to address food security. Earth’s population is projected to increase from 7.2 billion to 10.9 billion by 2100.[6] It has been estimated that the size of the population in 2050 will require a 60 percent increase in global food production by then.[3,7]
Approximately 805 million people experience hunger, and 1 billion more have hidden hunger (micronutrient deficiencies).[8,9] Malnutrition is the largest contributor to disease, and costs the economy up to 5 percent of global income.[7,8,10] Thus, the significance of food loss and waste is understandably concerning (see “Definitions of Food Loss and Waste”[11]). 
Food loss and waste occur throughout the farm-to-table food system, but contributing factors vary around the world due to different situations and conditions in different countries, regions and locales. In developing countries, for example, the losses and waste stem more from managerial and technical limitations in harvesting techniques, storage, transportation, processing, cooling capabilities, infrastructure, packaging and marketing systems. In medium- and high-income countries, loss and waste relate more to food quality standards and consumer behavior.[2] The visibility of the issue of food loss and waste has been heightened since about 2008. The UK-based organization Waste & Resource Action Programme (WRAP) has issued several reports addressing consumer date labeling misperceptions, food waste behavior and the value of storage and freezing guidance in preventing waste.[12–20] The Institution of Mechanical Engineers issued the report Global Food Waste Not, Want Not.[21] The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) issued a key, frequently cited report—Global Food Losses and Food Waste—[2]that provided a global estimate of food loss and wastage, and last year established the Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. Additionally, the United Nations Environment Program, FAO and multiple partners launched the “Think, Eat, Save, Reduce Your Foodprint” Campaign,[22] which targets food wasted by consumers and at retail, and within the hospitality industry. The European Commission announced a commitment to reduce edible food waste 50 percent by 2020, and the Joint Food Wastage Declaration: Every Crumb Counts[23] was established with 18 signatory and 4 supporting organizations across Europe committing to the goal. In the United States, the Natural Resources Defense Council issued reports;[24,25] the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, an initiative of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and National Restaurant Association,[26] was established, issuing reports[26,27] and a toolkit;[28] and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency launched a U.S. Food Waste Challenge.[29] Further, the USDA/Economic Research Service published a report[30] that provided estimates of food waste in the United States in 2010. This report indicated that about 133 billion pounds of food, 31 percent of the 430 billion pounds of food produced, equivalent to 1,249 calories per American per day, were unavailable for human consumption at retail and in the home.
U.S. Date Labeling History
The history of date labeling in the United States is extensive. Dairy products are thought to have been the first to have dates on packages. By the 1960s, the Kroger Co. became an industry leader in date labeling, using sell-by dates on pasteurized milk. In the 1970s, date labeling was implemented in supermarkets in response to consumer requests; a model open-dating regulation for states was developed; legislation that would require open date labeling was introduced;[31,32] the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USDA and the Federal Trade Commission held joint labeling hearings, and the Office of Technology Assessment conducted an extensive study for a Senate committee.[33] Additional legislative activity occurred in the 1990s and between 2000 and 2009.[25] In subsequent decades, a considerable amount of consumer research was conducted, a study was carried out for FDA[34] and the U.S. National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) addressed the topic.[35,36]    
Inconsistency of Date Labeling Terminology and Applications
Regulatory frameworks for date labeling vary considerably around the world. At the U.S. federal level, infant formula and some types of baby food are required to be labeled with a use-by date, to ensure nutrient content and proper consistency {21 U.S.C. 350a (2010) and 21 C.F.R. 107.20 [2013 (c)]}. Additionally, thermally processed low-acid foods packaged in hermetically sealed containers must be marked with a code identifying the packing establishment and year, day and period during which it was packed [21 C.F.R. 113.60(c)]. Condensed or dry milk products must also carry a code or lot number identifying the contents and quantity in the container, and the specific date, run or batch of the product.[37] Dressed poultry (ready-to-cook whole bird) must be marked on the immediate container with either a lot number indicating the day of the year on which the poultry was slaughtered, or a coded number [9 C.F.R. 381.126(b)]. Eggs packed under USDA’s grading program and in cartons with the USDA grade shield must display the pack date in a three-digit code.[38] For retail and foodservice facilities, the Food Code[39] contains guidance that states and local jurisdictions may adopt for active managerial control of product within the food facility.
At the state level, there are two options through the voluntary Uniform Open Dating Regulation of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).[40] One option prescribes mandatory, uniform date labeling of prepackaged perishable foods, and the other recommends voluntary uniform date labeling that must be used when a packager opts to use date labeling on prepackaged nonperishable foods. The Open Dating Regulation, which was established in 1985 by the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) in concert with the Association of Food and Drug Officials, describes how to determine and express the sell-by or best-if-used-by date. NIST[40] reported that 18 states and the Virgin Islands had a state law or regulation for open date labeling, 10 of which had a law or regulation that is not based on the NCWM standard. A Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic report indicated that 41 states and the District of Columbia require date labels on at least some foods, with variation in the kinds of food required to have date labeling and the type of terminology required. Further, there is potential for regulation of date labeling at the local level.[25] 
Outside the United States, the use of date labeling differs among countries. Most developed countries require open date labeling of most food products.[34,41] In the European Union, with some exceptions, a date of minimum durability or a use-by date is required for foods;[42] foods that are highly perishable from a microbiological point of view must carry a use-by date after which the “food shall be deemed unsafe.”[42]
Food Quality vs. Safety
In a section of our article in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety[1] on the topic of quality vs. safety, we mention that a number of factors influence the perishability, quality and safety of a food, and the determination of a date mark. The NACMCF addressed considerations for establishing safety-based, consume-by date labels (SBDL) for refrigerated ready-to-eat (RTE) foods and the data needed to validate and verify the adequacy of SBDL; in doing so, it conducted a Hazard Analysis of refrigerated RTE foods. The committee determined that Listeria monocytogenes is the appropriate target microorganism for SBDL of most refrigerated RTE foods that support its growth.[36] The committee noted in its report that some companies have historically used microbiological challenge studies, growth modeling or both to establish date labeling for certain products, with storage time and temperature expectations developed to ensure consumer safety and product quality throughout the product’s shelf life.[36] The committee reported that use at the consumer and food handler level of an appropriate SBDL (e.g., “use within X days” of opening/purchase) on products supporting rapid growth of the pathogen would have a public health benefit, if combined with effective consumer education on temperature control. Further, however, the committee reported that use of a specific food safety objective-based SBDL at the manufacturer level and on a large scale has many practical limitations, given the number, diversity and complexity of products in the marketplace and lack of accurate information on initial levels and growth rates of L. monocytogenes for many formulations.[36]  
Pertinent guidance documents are available from the Chilled Food Association (CFA) and Codex. The CFA has available “Best Practice Guidelines for the Production of Chilled Food,”[43] which address shelf-life determination, monitoring and verification, and provides specific technical limits on shelf life in relation to the thermal process used and target microorganism (L. monocytogenes or Clostridium botulinum). The guidelines call for determining maximum shelf life on the basis of the shorter length of time for microbiological safety and stability, physical condition or organoleptic quality. The CFA’s Shelf life of Ready to Eat Food in Relation to L. monocytogenes—Guidance for Food Business Operators—[44] produced to help address EC regulation No. 2073/2005 and related guidance on microbiological criteria for food, requires evidence based on shelf-life studies and relevant data in the scientific literature. 
The Codex Guidelines on the Application of General Principles of Food Hygiene to the Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Foods[45] indicates the need to control and monitor the storage time-temperature combination, and that length of shelf life should be based on appropriate studies that assess the growth of L. monocytogenes in the food and take into account the potential for temperature abuse. The guidelines also indicate that countries should consider labeling certain RTE foods and, as appropriate, labels should include information on safe handling practices and/or advice on the time frame in which a product should be consumed. The Codex Code of Hygienic Practice for Refrigerated Packaged Foods with Extended Shelf Life indicates that it is very important to establish product shelf life, using scientific data and technological methods, and to take into account the scheduled heat or other preservation treatments, use of hurdles and anticipated distribution and storage temperatures.[46] Shelf life is defined in the code as “the period during which the product maintains its microbiological safety and sensory qualities at a specific storage temperature.”
Consumer Perception
Numerous studies of consumer perception and behavior relating to date labeling of food have been conducted. There is considerable evidence that consumers misunderstand the meaning of dates on labels, such as whether they relate to food safety or quality, for example, and that this in turn influences food discard behavior and waste.[14,15,47,48] For example, FMI’s 2011 Trends Survey[47] found that 13 percent of participants reported believing that eating food past its sell-by date is a serious health risk, 10 percent reported believing that eating food past its best-by date is a serious health risk and 25 percent of people reported always discarding food when it is past its sell-by date as a means to address food safety. WRAP[14] also found that consumers confuse dates intended for retailers versus those intended for consumers. A review by Evans and Redmond[49] of published data pertaining to consumer food safety behaviors associated with increased risk of listeriosis found that, overall, consumer understanding of use-by dates is lacking, and more specifically, that 71 percent of consumers misunderstood “use-by” and “best-before” terminology. 
Date Labeling Challenges
We addressed a number of challenges surrounding date labeling misunderstanding and misconceptions. Challenges include limited space on containers for date labeling and limitation on the print field for inkjet coding heads, and field limitations within barcoding applied to cases or pallets. Food banks sometimes have difficulty determining whether to accept products that are “close to code” (approaching their best-if-used-by, sell-by or consume-by dates) and whether they would be able to distribute them quickly enough. Additionally, food bank end-users are sometimes concerned about the wholesomeness of the products. Additionally, managing stock at wholesale and retail (e.g., checking dates and rerotating products) can have a significant cost to an organization, and consumer misunderstanding of best-by dates and the “shopper sorting dilemma” place an additional burden on managing stock.[50,51] Further, lack of uniformity in the size, font and package location of the date label also adds to the time involved in checking date labels.[51] With limited public health resources, regulators have difficulty maintaining the same level of scrutiny in checking dates at retail as in the past, which fosters a need for the regulator to focus on risk at retail rather than checking expiration dates. With regard to regulatory enforcement of out-of-date foods, there may be, in some situations, fines or criminal punishment for noncompliance, although many products that exceed their use-by date are not an immediate health risk.[51–53] Labuza and Szybist[52] described the legal implications in the United States of the presence or absence of an open date on a food package, and the challenge of determining the basis on which to set a date. They noted that a food that is not held at proper temperature distribution conditions to meet the legality of the date (e.g., temperature abuse, allowing pathogen growth to a hazardous level) is potentially adulterated.
Advantages of Technological Innovations
Many intelligent/smart packaging developments, such as time-temperature indicators (TTIs), offer benefits for supply chain stakeholders. Verghese and others[54] reported that intelligent packaging can provide supply chain stakeholders with real-time data feedback on quality, safety, shelf life and logistics efficiency, and reduce waste by enhancing ability to sell products before date labels expire. TTIs that are based on the time to detect (TTD) a pathogen of concern could allow food distribution on the basis of the “least-shelf-life-left first-out” concept rather than “first-in first-out.”[55] TTI devices could also predict at what point one colony-forming unit of a pathogen/25-g sample is detectable, and estimate growth under abusive temperatures.[56] Studying the estimation of the TTD for L. monocytogenes on frankfurters at levels below detection and modeling the TTD at three temperatures to deduce a safety-based shelf-life equation, Pal and others[57] indicated that a TTI device that matches their model could show a point at which a product becomes unacceptable based on its time-temperature history. They said this could be a valuable tool for risk-based management of listeriosis. TTIs have limitations, however, such as cost, validation-related barriers and manufacturer concerns.
Call to Action
With the current date labeling situation, we concluded that “collaboration to develop a simple workable solution to address the challenges faced by food manufacturers, retailers, government officials, consumers and other stakeholders would have significant benefit.” And we presented the following four-part call to action:
1)    The food industry should align to establish date labeling uniformity: Develop a more consistent or single best practices system that takes into consideration on-package storage instructions.
2)    Regulatory agencies should reexamine regulatory enforcement: Revisit the emphasis placed on food date labeling at retail, and where appropriate, shift excessive resources placed on food quality date labeling to more significant health and safety risks.
3)    Educate consumers: Providing clear, simple consumer direction on food quality and safety and the meaning of date labeling would improve food waste behavior.
4)    Conduct more research on indicator technologies: Additional research to evaluate and further develop indicator technologies, such as time-temperature monitoring devices, and implementation of other improvements along the supply chain to monitor temperature, handling and storage information could help better gauge true shelf life and reduce food waste, especially for fresh produce.
Since the publication of our paper, we have been engaging in dialogue in a variety of settings about the date labeling issue. IFT featured date labeling and food waste on our FutureFood 2050 Website[58] via info- and videographics and a series of feature stories on food waste. Will you join the conversations? Input from stakeholders throughout the food system will be valuable in moving toward a viable solution that increases understanding of the meaning of date labeling terminology, alleviates the varied challenges surrounding date labeling and reduces food waste.
Rosetta Newsome, Ph.D., CFS, is director of Science and Policy Initiatives at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), where she is involved in production of scientific reports, public policy and regulatory outreach, and other activities. Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is committed to advancing the science of food. IFT is a nonprofit scientific society, with more than 17,000 members from more than 95 countries. IFT brings together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government and industry.

Modern Tools for Food Ingredient Safety
Source :
By Pamela Coleman, M.B.A., CFS (June/July 2015)
“Modernization” is a popular word right now in food safety circles. The word “modernization” was introduced into the American lexicon in the mid-1700s and is commonly used to imply upgrading, refurbishing, reinventing and reimagining. From a popular cultural standpoint, a vivid example of modernization involves historic Wrigley Field, the home of baseball’s Chicago Cubs. Built in 1914, the ballpark is undergoing a 5-year, $750 million renovation—replete with Jumbotron scoreboards, LED screens, elevators, a five-star hotel and refurbished bleachers—that will bring the stadium into the 21st century.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), often described as the nation’s most sweeping food safety reform in more than 70 years,[1] aims to shift the U.S. mindset from response to prevention in the ongoing battle against food contamination. In light of this new era in food safety, it is critical for suppliers and manufacturers to reshape, reinvent and reimagine their approach to ensuring the safety of food ingredients.
The modern toolbox for food ingredient safety may soon include a revamped GRAS (generally recognized as safe) process, new analytical targets detectable with new technologies and an overarching drive to improve transparency and consensus among industry stakeholders to verify the safety of new ingredients before and after they are brought to market.
Is GRAS Obsolete?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for premarket safety evaluations of new food ingredients and additives based on a 1958 amendment to the Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. However, to avoid the costly and time-prohibitive processes, some new food ingredients were eligible for GRAS notification or even “self-determination.” 
For nearly four decades, the agency affirmed each request for GRAS status, but stopped after 1997, replacing it with a simpler notification process. Companies wishing to notify FDA about a new ingredient provide the agency with datasets. Such data include details about the chemical structure, purity and other technical specifications for the compound, as well as data that allow FDA to estimate the EDI (estimated daily intake) as well as the ADI (acceptable daily intake). These datasets include a variety of safety tests including animal feeding studies as well as clinical studies using healthy subjects to assess human reactions in a controlled setting. Under certain circumstances, other scientific data, as well as analytical methods, methods of manufacture and/or accepted scientific principles, could be relied upon as part of the technical information.[2]
The number of companies using this process increased, but did this streamlined process come at a price?
One drawback of the GRAS notification process was the lack of public notice and the option for public comment. When FDA was affirming GRAS requests, there was a mandatory notification and comment period because FDA was essentially issuing a new rule to allow for the use of the proposed ingredient. Critics of the GRAS process claim that the reduced public notice has lowered the transparency of the process. A recent article documented potential conflicts of interest, as well as a reliance on a small pool of consultants for the GRAS panels.[3]
The self-determination process has drawn even more controversy. Called a loophole by some, it allows many ingredient companies to bypass the notification process altogether. While datasets are not turned in to FDA, the petitioner collects the same type of data, convenes an expert panel and documents the findings, in case FDA asks to review.
Some consumer groups have characterized the self-determination process as rife with conflicts of interest, stating that lenient rules allow food companies to add potentially harmful chemicals to the GRAS list without oversight or consequences. Not surprisingly, these groups are pressuring FDA to increase its scrutiny of the program.
Is there evidence that the current GRAS notification and self-determination processes have allowed harmful ingredients to enter our food system?
While some ingredients are controversial, some experts concede that there do not seem to be specific examples of harmful ingredients. “The existence of some controversy does not disqualify a GRAS conclusion.”[2] Further, “the concept of consensus among qualified experts does not mean there must be unanimity of opinion about the safety of the use of a GRAS substance.”[2]
FDA will move to rescind a specific GRAS status should new data be generated that call the safety of a previously certified ingredient into question, but the new data would be considered along with all relevant data before making this decision. Claire Kruger, Ph.D., president of Spherix Consulting, concludes, “Fortunately, the GRAS procedure is by its very nature a flexible process, able to encompass scientific advances in a robust, comprehensive and transparent safety evaluation process. The GRAS process allows the rapid inclusion of new scientific advances into the risk-assessment process.”[4]
Despite potential drawbacks to the current pathways to GRAS, the track record of the industry has been good. But there are initiatives afoot that will likely bring changes to the GRAS process, thereby modernizing this tool for food ingredient safety determinations.
One driving force seems to be FSMA itself. The rule mandates more strenuous supplier management verification, which is spurring companies to perform “due diligence to make sure their GRAS determinations will pass muster with the FDA.”[5]
In fact, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has a task force focused on modernizing GRAS. “Before the dust settles, we anticipate more ingredient manufacturers will opt to submit notices to FDA rather than make independent self-GRAS determinations,” says Ed Steele, Chairman and CEO of EAS Consulting Group. Steele adds, “These manufacturers will be turning to reputable consulting firms like ours for assistance.”[6]
Along with the move to make GRAS more transparent, more data on the human impact of new ingredients are also on the horizon. Animal studies provide key pieces of the GRAS dataset, but safety and tolerance data from controlled human studies are also needed to round out the body of knowledge about new proposed ingredients.
Market Approach
The safety of food ingredients once they are in the marketplace is an ongoing concern and challenge to our industry. As new ingredients are launched, the R&D team becomes less involved, largely giving way to the quality assurance (QA)/food safety team. Food scientists, QA experts and food safety leaders work together to create systems to assess the risk level for each ingredient across a wide range of potential hazards.
Included in this toolbox are a number of components, such as environmental monitoring of the processing plant and equipment, incoming test protocols to determine level of contamination preprocessing, and postprocessing verification of the ingredient before sale. Physical, chemical and microbiological methods are utilized ubiquitously, although for each ingredient type, customized tests are often employed.
For some ingredients, the processing step plays a huge role in improving their safety. Many processes provide a lethal heat treatment or other means, such as nonthermal, high-pressure processing, to reduce the microbial load of the ingredient, most notably the reduction of the pathogen level. Research studies, such as challenge studies, are not a new tool, but there is growing emphasis under FSMA to use these and other accepted scientific tools to verify the effectiveness of lethal processes for new ingredients in specific facilities.
The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods advises that several factors should be taken into consideration when conducting challenge studies either internally or externally via a contract laboratory. First and foremost, challenge studies must be designed and evaluated by an expert food microbiologist.[7]
Choosing an outside laboratory requires careful consideration because not all labs possess the expertise to design challenge studies and the quality control procedures necessary to produce valid results that will be accepted by regulatory authorities or other reviewers. Laboratories may be certified by various organizations and state or federal agencies for various types of testing. However, these certifications do not necessarily qualify a laboratory to design and conduct microbiological challenge studies. Some laboratory groups publish scientific papers on food safety-focused research studies, so this can be used as one potential indicator of expertise.
If a new ingredient cannot be processed to achieve a sufficient level of food safety, then this ingredient would be considered a high-risk ingredient, leading to ramifications for any subsequent use in a finished product.
A Question of Fraud
Food fraud is a problem that has captured the attention of industry stakeholders throughout the food chain. This topic is not new and stretches back centuries. In 1820, Friedrich Accum, a German chemist whose most important achievements included advances in gas lighting, wrote a book, Treatise on Adulteration of Food and Culinary Poisons.[8]
GMA estimates that fraud may cost the global food industry between $10 billion and $15 billion per year, affecting approximately 10 percent of all commercially sold food products. Fraud resulting in a food safety or public health risk event could have significant financial or public relations consequences for the food industry as a whole or a food company specifically.
Analytical tools and technologies to detect food fraud have made significant leaps and bounds since the early 20th century. From simple tests to detect added starches in milk to state-of-the-art methods to detect melamine in meat, today’s analytical procedures are precise and highly sophisticated. Technologies such as liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and DNA sequencing have made it possible to identify melamine and other harmful chemical adulterants at very low detection limits.
While melamine has largely become the poster child for adulterants in the minds of many consumers, the European Commission recently published a top-10 list of the most frequently adulterated foods: olive oil, fish, organic foods, grains, honey, coffee, spices, wines and fruit juices. Furthermore, there are two types of adulteration, which can typically be grouped into two categories: where and what.
Where applies to geographic origin, as in, for example, basmati rice (which should come from the foothills of the Himalayas), extra-virgin Italian olive oil, Swiss cheese and Black Forest ham. What applies to adulterants. Examples again include basmati rice, extra-virgin olive oil and coffee.
For basmati rice, the question is related to not only where the rice comes from but also which variety the rice is. By definition, at least one of the parents has to be a historical basmati landrace variety. If none of the parents is, the rice cannot be called basmati, even if it originates in the foothills of the Himalayas.
For extra-virgin Italian olive oil, it must be determined whether it is 100 percent extra virgin and whether it is 100 percent olive oil. Incredibly, there have been times when more “Italian olive oil” has been on the world market than could have been produced from all the olive trees in Italy. There are a number of methods to identify this type of fraud. One of the most promising is the principal component analysis approach. Employing a number of authentic samples from places such as Italy and other olive oil-producing countries, it is possible to distinguish different types of oils. In addition, powerful computers and algorithms make it easier to make distinctions. DNA-based methods for verification of authenticity are becoming more common as a tool in the fight against food fraud.
Virus Detection
Viruses are a leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), viruses account for more than 50 percent of foodborne disease. Annually, norovirus causes about 5 million illnesses and contributes to about 15,000 hospitalizations and 150 deaths in the U.S. alone based on CDC estimates just from domestically produced products.[9] Norovirus and hepatitis A are the two main viruses of concern for the food industry for imported products as well.
Despite an abundant amount of evidence of the large role played by foodborne viruses in the number of illnesses each year, testing methods to address this issue have not been readily available. This situation is rapidly changing and, as a result, the knowledge gap is shrinking around which food ingredients are susceptible to foodborne virus contamination.
Typically, viruses are present in foods in low numbers, making their detection in traditional cell cultures difficult. Recent diagnostic advances, such as real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), have greatly advanced the detection of foodborne viruses. With RT-PCR, the detection limit of norovirus (GI and GII) and hepatitis A is 1–10 copies, depending on the quality of the RNA purification from the food matrix.
Currently, a fruit mixture sourced from Asia was implicated in an Australian outbreak of hepatitis A.[10] An ISO method drafted and approved in Europe in 2013 offers the best-known tool for detecting this virus in food products.[11]
While many food ingredients are not at risk for foodborne virus contamination, the ingredients that can pose this risk should be evaluated for a focused monitoring program as well as preventive control measures. Recent advances in methodology allow for more opportunities to reduce this risk.
Expansive Toolbox
The challenges confronting ingredient safety are diverse, making it nearly impossible to cover every relevant topic in this important issue. To meet the many challenges posed by the global food chain, it is incumbent upon food companies to modernize and expand their food safety and quality toolbox. By doing so, manufacturers and processors will be better prepared to address one of the most complex and pressing issues facing the food industry today. Modernization is more than just a buzzword. By using new tools to achieve better transparency, our science-based efforts to improve food ingredient safety will move forward. 






Internet Journal of Food Safety (Operated by FoodHACCP)
[2015] Current Issues

Vol 17.25-31
Combined Effect Of Disinfectant And Phage On The Survivality Of S. Typhimurium And Its Biofilm Phenotype
Mudit Chandra, Sunita Thakur, Satish S Chougule, Deepti Narang, Gurpreet Kaur and N S Sharma

Vol 17.21-24
Quality analysis of milk and milk products collected from Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Shalini Singh, Vinay Chandel, Pranav Soni

Vol 17.10-20
Functional and Nutraceutical Bread prepared by using Aqueous Garlic Extract
H.A.R. Suleria, N. Khalid, S. Sultan, A. Raza, A. Muhammad and M. Abbas

Vol 17.6-9
Microbiological Assessment of Street Foods of Gangtok And Nainital, Popular Hill Resorts of India
Niki Kharel, Uma Palni and Jyoti Prakash Tamang

Vol 17.1-5
Assessment of the Microbial Quality of Locally Produced Meat (Beef and Pork) in Bolgatanga Municipal of Ghana
Innocent Allan Anachinaba, Frederick Adzitey and Gabriel Ayum Teye

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