Food supply chain safety

  • Faster salmonella strain detection now possible with new technique

    New scientific method identifies salmonella strains much faster than current methods in use; faster detection of specific strains can mean recognizing an outbreak sooner and stopping tainted food from being delivered and consumed

  • Failure to test for six strains of E. coli leaves gaps in U.S. food safety network

    Six E. coli strains are not regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; E. coli O157:H7 causes 73,000 illnesses and 50 deaths every year in the United States; the six other strains are considered less pervasive, sickening an estimated 37,000 people a year and killing nearly 30; they could be causing more illnesses that labs do not detect because they are not testing for them

  • Smart plastic to be used in food packaging to monitor freshness of food

    New type of smart plastic could be used for packaging supermarket products or transporting produce; the new material has sensors embedded in it which will be used for measuring basic parameters such as temperature and humidity and more advanced markers that indicate produce quality; the new smart packaging will also measure the amount of hexanol — an indicator of deterioration in food — in the vapors emitted from foods

  • Food safety products: global demand to reach $2.9 billion in 2014

    Two trends have contributed to a sharp increase in the number of people who fall victim to food-borne illnesses in the United States and other advanced economies: the centralization of food production and distribution domestically, and the rapid growth of imports of food stuffs and food ingredients from countries in which health and safety standards are weak or are not being enforced; companies which offer food safety products and solutions benefit

  • HHS IG: U.S. needs more FDA food inspections

    Federal food inspectors are conducting fewer reviews of food manufacturing plants, with many facilities going more than five years without being checked; the reason: budget cuts since 2001 have shrunk the workforce at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); an estimated 76 million people in the United States get sick every year with food-borne illness and 5,000 die

  • Farmers are first line of defense against agroterror

    A rogue crop duster, someone tossing an infected rag over the loafing lot fence, or an upset employee with access to a food processing facility could conceivably commit an act of agroterror with widespread and dramatic consequences

  • Experts: Weak biosafety laws in Africa an invitation to bioterrorists

    To feed the growing number of people on the African continent, food production on the continent must be increased by up to 300 percent by 2050, and scientists say the only way to do so is by using biotechnology; many are worried that weak or nonexistent biosafety laws in Africa would make it easy for bioterrorists to exploit increased biotechnology activity for their nefarious purposes

  • The political economy of food safety

    Everyone wants safer food, but making food safer costs money; experts say that it is the small mom-and-pops that have not kept up with technology and innovation; these “fringe” suppliers and food processors would likely find the cost of tighter food safety plans, inspections, and mandatory recalls too onerous for doing business

  • Food flavoring widely used in U.S., Canada found to be contaminated with salmonella

    Flavoring agent in a wide range of processed foods, including dips, salad dressings, chips, sauces, hotdogs, soups, and frozen dinners, found to be contaminated with salmonella; agent produced by Las Vegas-based Basic Food Flavors; U.S. and Canadian food authorities consider what measures to take, including recalls

  • Foodborne illness costs U.S. $152 billion annually

    The most comprehensive study of the subject finds that the cumulative cost to Americans of foodborne illnesses is $152 billion annually; the cost per case for an individual is $1,850 on average; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 76 million new cases of food-related illness in the United States every year, resulting in 5,000 deaths and 325,000 hospitalizations

  • U.S.-China farm trade tensions grow

    U.S. companies, steel producers, and unions have filed dozens of domestic trade complaints against Chinese imports; economists say the imports of food based on labor intensive crops are next in line for trade friction between the United States and China

  • Farmers, ranchers urged to be aware of agroterrorism

    South Dakota’s U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says all aspects of agriculture can be targets of terrorists, but Johnson said meat production is the most vulnerable; “Livestock are the number one target for terrorists attacking the agriculture system…. If you want to get a bunch of cattle sick at once, it’s not rocket science on how to do it”

  • China finds 170 more tons of tainted milk powder

    Chinese dairies were found to add the industrial chemical melamine, which is high in nitrogen, to watered-down milk to make it appear protein-rich in quality tests that measure nitrogen; many children who drank the milk died or were sickened; rather than destroy the tainted milk, some dairies merely repackaged it

  • Canada's food safety system fails international comparisons

    Canada’s multi-government system with national, provincial, and local governments that share responsibility for health, as well as monitor the safety and quality of food, are key reasons that Canada has a fragmented system with poor focus

  • Raising awareness about the risk of agroterrorism

    A day-long event in California’s Central valley sees farmers, terrorism specialists, and law enforcement officials discuss threat, impacts, and response needs involved in a potential terrorist attack on the area’s thriving agricultural sector