Posts from the "Microbial Contamination" category

Yersinia Bug Prompts Hygiene Reminder

HortNZ: The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (which takes responsibility for food safety) is investigating an increase in the occurrence of a gastrointestinal illness this winter caused by a bacteria called ‘Yersinia pseudotuberculosis’.
The Canterbury District Health Board Medical Officer of Health has made claims in the media today that the disease can be linked to bagged carrots and lettuce, and has recommended people throw away these products if they have them in the fridge.
Read the full article by Horticulture New Zealand
The press release from the Ministry for Primary Industries is available here.
Image credit: Dr. Todd Parker / CDC / Wikimedia

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Food Safety Quiz

ABC Health and Wellbeing: Do you know whether it’s chocolate mousse or baked custard that’s more likely to cause salmonella? Take our food safety quiz and learn how to enjoy your next picnic, without having to worry about uninvited ‘guests’.
Take the quiz at
Image credit: truth82/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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Influenza pandemic will impact on fresh and processed produce industry, writes Richard Bennett

On 23rd September, SBS ONE’s Insight program ran a hypothetical-style question and answer forum on the subject of the impact of an influenza pandemic on the Australian community. The discussion included the health sector response, the rush to produce an effective vaccine, the role of emergency services, the impact on the Australian economy and how we would maintain the supply of food to the Australian population.
New food safety & technology post by Richard Bennett on the PMA A-NZ Blog. View the full post here:
Image credit: Dr Terrence Tumpey

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USA Food & Drug Administration 2014 Food Safety Challenge

US Food and Drug Administration: The 2014 FDA Food Safety Challenge is a call to scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, and innovators from all disciplines to submit concepts applying novel and/or advanced methodologies to foster revolutionary improvements in foodborne pathogen detection. Specifically, concepts should apply cutting-edge techniques to achieve significant improvements in the speed of the FDA’s detection methods for Salmonella with identification to the subtype/serovar level in minimally processed fresh produce.
To read the full article, please visit

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2014 CPS Symposium Key Learnings: 10 Lessons Learned

18 September 2014
Dr Bob Whitaker & Dr Jim Gorny from the Produce Marketing Association have provided a summary of 10 key lessons from the 2014 US Centre for Produce Safety (CPS) fifth annual reseach symposium.

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Aus has a new Standard for Listeria monocytogenes, but does it apply to you? asks Richard Bennett

There already were maximum limits for Listeria monocytogenes in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code). Standard 1.6.1 had what’s called a vertical approach, establishing limits for specific types and limited number of foods. The limit generally specified was “not detected in 25 g”.
Guideline criteria for L. monocytogenes in foods is also provided in the FSANZ Recall guidelines for packaged ready-to-eat foods found to contain Listeria monocytogenes at point of sale (Recall Guidelines) and Guidelines for the microbiological examination of ready-to-eat foods (RTE Guidelines), based on whether a food is able, or not able, to support the growth of L. monocytogenes.
So what’s changed?
The prescriptive versus risk-based inconsistencies above have obviously troubled Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the food industry. The product by product approach does not reflect product and processing characteristics that may mean some foods currently considered high risk are actually low risk due to the application of a listericidal process (a process that kills Listeria), and vice versa. This obviously makes a difference to the limits that apply.
View the full post at PMA AN-Z:
Image credit: Listeria monocytogenes by Elizabeth White

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Canadian Researchers Working on ‘Smart Labels’ to Detect Food Pathogens

Food Safety News writes: The day may not be too far off when consumers and food manufacturers will be able to detect the presence of E. coli, Listeria or Salmonella by visual changes in a polymer-based “smart label” now being developed by engineering professors at the University of Alberta.
Read the full article at Food Safety News

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Food safety issue or regulatory compliance issue, asks Richard Bennett

Growers are always quick to make the distinction. There’s a big difference between foodborne illness due to microbiological contamination and exceeding the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) for an agricultural chemical. The smallest traces of a human pathogen can lead to much suffering, even death, but the many-fold human safety buffer built in to the regulatory pesticide limits means that many, many kilograms, if not tonnes, of offending fruit or vegetable would need to be consumed before ill effects from the pesticide are suffered.

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Final Report Adds Details to USA E. coli Outbreak from Trader Joe’s Salads

James Andrews writes: In October 2013, 33 people in four [USA] states were sickened by E. coli O157:H7 in an outbreak that was quickly traced back to pre-packaged salads sold at Trader Joe’s grocery locations.
On Monday, the California Department of Public Health released its final report on the outbreak with a wealth of new details on the investigation, including two previously unreported additional salad products associated with the outbreak.
Read the full article at Food Safety News
Image credit: Sakura / Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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Australia’s Lack of Food Safety Education Enhances Food Poisoning Risk

Grace Smith writes: Many of us believe that the only way we’re going to get food poisoning is through badly cooked chicken or an impromptu barbecue that has just gone wrong. However, it appears that Australians are regularly putting themselves in the firing-line for food poisoning, when they prepare food at home.
Read the full article at Food Safety News
Image credit: Michael Himbeault / Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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