Tag: Food Safety

Dr Robyn McConchie’s Report of Day 2 at CPS Research Symposium, 27th June 2013

The CPS at the University of Davis has been very supportive of the initiatives in Australia to establish an affiliated Fresh Produce Safety Centre. Over the past year they have very generously shared their research outcomes, they have given presentations to our industry, and this year invited Australian researchers to apply for research grants to work collaboratively with US scientists on issues important for the Australian fruit and vegetable industry.
As part of the ongoing collaboration Dr Robyn McConchie from the University of Sydney was invited to take part in a panel session at the recent 2013 CPS Research Symposium held at Wegman’s Conference Centre in Rochester, NY State. Due to the increasing awareness and interest from the US industry, the Research Symposium was held over 2 days. To view a summary of Day 1 on Listeria and Composts please click here.
Click here to view the outcomes of projects from the second day on “Water Quality for Irrigation and Postharvest Practices”, “Pathogen transference: Pre-harvest, harvest and Packaging.” And “Hot Topics.”

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Tag: Food Safety

Buyers and Sellers: Moving to a Food Safety Culture, PMA US update

Food Safety in vital for creating consumer confidence in the fresh produce industry and therefore imperative that buyers and sellers invest into a business culture that puts consumers first. But how exactly do you develop a food safety culture in your business? find out here, with this free webinar.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0skd-Flqnz0

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Tag: Food Safety

“The foods most likely to give you food poisoning” – Fruit and Vegetables aren’t off the hook

In the lead up to the Food Safety Information Council, Australian Food Safety Week themed, Shopping Food Safety, it was reported on www.news.com.au [7/11/13] that food borne illness may not be result of your chicken lunch but the salad…
Lorraine Belanger, spokeswoman for Food Standards Australia New Zealand, said a lot of foodborne illness happens in the home. And under the right circumstances anything can give you food poisoning.
“People think of chicken as the number one suspect but actually things like salads and cut fruit, if handled in wrong way or exposed to wrong things, can cause major foodborne outbreaks.” Many foodborne illnesses take days or weeks to manifest.
“When people get sick they think ‘Oh it was that thing I ate at lunch’ but it could be something they ate a week ago,” Ms Belanger said.
Juliana Madden, executive officer at the Food Safety Information Council, says vegetarians and vegans often think they’re more protected from food poisoning but this is not the case. “Some of the largest food safety issues that have popped up in the last few years have been things like baby spinach and tomatoes,” Ms Madden said.
The article highlighted to consumers seven foods that pose food poisoning risks:

rice
raw vegetables
fruit
sprouts
chicken, duck and turkey
eggs
deli meats

To view the full article, click here.

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Tag: Food Safety

New Research in Food safety at the 13th ASEAN Food Conference, Singapore 2013

The biennial ASEAN Food Conference is the leading forum for the food industry and research community in the region. The theme of the 13th ASEAN Food Conference held on the 9th-11th September 2013 in Singapore was “Meeting Future Food Demands: Security and Sustainability”.
Issues of malnutrition, undernutrition, and sustainable production were certainly important topics. However the themes were interpreted quite broadly to encompass, for example, how improvement in nutritional quality and food safety could benefit consumer health and community livelihoods, and help to address the alarming worldwide escalation in diet-related and lifestyle diseases. Sustainability was discussed less in terms of environmental impact, and more in terms of innovations in food processing, quality and safety to sustain long-term food industries.
The program included sessions on: managing innovation, nutrition & health, food chemistry & biochemistry, sensory science & consumer studies, food microbiology, food engineering, food processing, food product development, protein and weight management, food safety, food science and technology education, functional foods, nanotechnology of food, food analysis and quality assurance, and management of allergens in the food chain. The full program is available online, click here. 

The conference was about food generally, but some interesting topics relevant to produce safety included:

Development of a fermentation process to produce a natural preservative called phenyllactic acid (PLA) from Lactobacillus plantarum bacteria. The PLA was shown to have antimicrobial activity against a variety of pathogens and extended the shelf-life of fresh-cut pineapple and bottled pineapple juice (Bui Kim Thuy, Nguyen Duy Lam, and Nguyen Thi Hoai Tram).
Development of a Surface Plasmon Resonance biosensor and sensor chips with antibodies specific to Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Enteritidis, and Listeria monocytogenes. The biosensor is an experimental format that, if successful, would allow convenient simultaneous detection of target bacteria (Zhang Xiaoguang, Sachiko Tsuji, Ken-ichi Honjoh, and Takahisa Miyamoto).
Direct irradiation with LED has bactericidal effects on E. coli O157:H7, S. Typhimurium, and L. monocytogenes dependent on the pH of the medium and LED wavelength – blue is better than green! (Vinayak Ghate, Leong Ai Ling, and Yuk Hyun-Gyun).
Chitosan is a natural antimicrobial and antilisterial agent. Electron microscopy suggested that chitosan kills the bacteria by interfering with cell membrane permeability and causing leakage of cell contents (Juthamas Tantala, Titima Sukmark, Masubon Thongngam, Kanjana Thumanu, Pornchai Rachtanapun, Chitsiri Rachtanapun).
Establishment of a microbial risk assessment and food safety system for the Singapore retail sector by the National Environment Agency (NEA). The NEA is a government agency that has brought together regulatory activity and research to develop and deliver a risk-based inspection and education service. A unique feature of this relates to the cultural popularity of ready-to-eat food bought from stalls, which have special hygiene challenges (Ramona A  Gutierrez and Ng Lee Ching).
Site visit to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, which is the national food safety agency. Singapore imports 90% of its food from all over the world and has extremely well-resourced labs to test for chemical contaminants, additives and preservatives, drug residues, pesticide residues, food pathogens, foodborne parasites, physical quality, GMO, and other toxins. It also provides export certification, accreditation of food businesses, and food safety education; implements labelling and advertisement regulations and food recalls; and has a variety of roles relating to the animals and pet sector.

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Tag: Food Safety

Check out who has pledged support for the Fresh Produce Safety Centre?

Thank you to the fresh fruit and vegetable industry for the great response and support for the establishment of the Fresh Produce Safety Centre. The FPSC in gaining momentum with over $125,000 in pledged funds!
These funds will be leveraged to apply for matched funding from the Australian government to develop the strategic plan of the Centre, the Constitution, the legal framework, the Board of Directors, and the R&D priorities as communicated to us by the fresh produce industry.  The Centre will administer the following activities in food safety that will benefit the entire fresh produce industry:

securing and managing research funds,
leveraging research funding,
managing the industry-driven research projects,
maintaining the website,
providing education, communication and information

Look who has pledged!

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Tag: Food Safety

Institute of Food Technologists Launches Global Food Traceability Center

The Global Food Traceability Center will serve all aspects of the food system by generating knowledge that addresses research gaps, and delivering applied research, objective advice, and practical expertise about food product traceability and data collaboration for private benefit and public good.
Through its work, the Center will provide the means to accelerate the adoption and implementation of practical traceability solutions across the global food system. It will also deliver support services that help to increase understanding of food traceability across the following business platforms:

Research
Protocols and Standards
Education and Training
Technology Transfer

To find out more, click here.

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Tag: Food Safety

Number of severe E. coli strains grows

In addition to the better-known E. coli O157:H7, the group includes E. coli O26, O45, O111, O121, O130 and O145.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that as much as one-third of infections are caused by these other strains.
These strains are known scientifically as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli because they have the traits of one or both Shiga toxins.
Although some outbreaks of these nasty strains have been linked to fruits and vegetables, they are nearly always traced to warm-blooded animals, including birds, that have passed over or through farms.
To read the full article from The Grower, click here.

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Tag: Food Safety

Emerging Pathogens: E. Coli O104:H4

A strain of E. coli known as O104:H4, made worldwide headlines when an outbreak in Germany in May 2011, sickened approximately 4,000 people and killed 50.
This event, linked to fresh sprouts, quickly became the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in history.
It had evolved from a type of E. coli known to be harmless enteroaggregative E. coli and had acquired the genes to produce Shiga toxin from more virulent strains known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli.
Microbiological research laboratories around the globe began pooling resources to coordinate the world’s first “open source” analysis of a microbial genome. In turn, this spurred an unprecedented level of focused study by international collaborators that is still going on two years later.
Like other enteroaggregative E. coli strains, O104:H4 groups together in defensive brick patterns within a host’s intestines, inducing mucus production that both shields and feeds it. Combine that with the ability to produce Shiga toxin, and O104: H4 possesses the right cocktail of genes to become especially harmful in an outbreak.
To read the full article on Food Safety News, click here.

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Tag: Food Safety

Report summarising the outcomes of 2012/13 of the FPS A&NZ

The FPS A&NZ have made available the final report summarising the outcomes from the project “A New Collaborative Paradigm for Fresh Produce Safety”. This project was funding by the University of Sydney and the Produce Marketing Association Australia and New Zealand (PMA A-NZ) with matched funding from the Australian Government, accessed through Horticulture Australia Limited.
You can download the report here and read about the outcomes of the many activities conducted in the year.

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Tag: Food Safety

Center for Produce Safety Research Findings Now Online

New resources translating current research from the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) into practical applications for individual food safety programs are now online and openly available to all industry members. These tools distill the 16 CPS-funded research programs discussed at the 2013 Center for Produce Safety Produce Research Symposium held June 25-26 and the 2013 Fresh Connections: Food Safety Highlights event that followed June 27, both at the Wegmans Conference Center in Rochester, N.Y.
“Translating science-based research on produce safety into real-world application for industry members’ own food safety programs is what the CPS, its annual symposium and these online tools are all about,” said Dr. Bob Whitaker, Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Chief Science & Technology Officer. “By making this information widely available in everyday language, we are able to more effectively leverage data to improve food safety programs and close gaps in industry’s food safety efforts.”
Online tools available at PMA.com include:

2013 CPS Symposium: 10 Lessons Learned – an insider’s guide on the symposium’s key findings authored by Dr. Whitaker and PMA Vice President of Food Safety & Technology Dr. Jim Gorny.

2013 Fresh Connections: Food Safety Highlights presentations – eight recorded PowerPoint presentations led by Drs. Whitaker and Gorny. In addition to outlining the basics behind current CPS data, these presentations also look at some of the research’s implications relative to the Food Safety Modernization Act and current pending proposed rules.

Many of the key lessons noted in the guide and presentations will also be the subject of a series of podcasts PMA will be adding to its resource library over the next few months. The podcasts will feature Drs. Whitaker and Gorny along with PMA Director Food Safety & Technology Johnna Hepner and will be available through www.pma.com. The full technical reports for the 16 research programs presented during the 2013 CPS Produce Research Symposium can be found on the CPS website at www.cps@ucdavis.edu

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