Food supply chain safety

  • U.S. moves to address antibiotic resistant bacterial diseases

    Antibiotic resistant strands of bacteria are on the rise and threatening the efficacy of existing drug treatments; scientists fear a time when antibiotics will be useless to stop infections due mutations caused by the overuse of antibiotics; legislation has been introduced at the federal and state level targeting the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals to help reduce the prevalence of super bacteria; an FDA study found that 80 percent of all antibiotics produced in the U.S. went to farm animals

  • Food packaging indicates food freshness

    An estimated 8.3 million tons of household food — most of which could have been eaten — is wasted in the United Kingdom each year because retailers and consumers question whether the food is safe to eat; researchers at Glasgow’s Strathclyde University are developing a plastic indicator that alerts consumers to food that is starting to go off; the new indicator will change color to provide a warning when food is about to lose its freshness

  • K-State doctoral dissertation examines food bioterrorism

    Terrorist “chatter” and information gleaned from informants have led DHS to warn restaurants and hotels that terrorists are planning to use biological agents to contaminate food in readily accessible areas such as salad bars, cafeteria food displays, and more; a Kansas State graduate student writes a dissertation on how restaurants in country clubs protect themselves against this risk; he finds that they do not do much

  • New U.S. food safety law goes into effect

    On 15 December the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first estimate since 1999 of the toll of food-borne diseases in the United States: 48 million people sick each year, 128,000 hospitalized, and 3000 deaths; in the biggest overhaul of food safety in the United States since the 1930s, President Barack Obama yesterday signed a law giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more power to inspect and shut down food producers yesterday, President Obama; critics say the law does not go far enough

  • Feds warn of food-borne, other poison-based threats

    U.S. federal authorities believe a food-borne attack on the U.S. homeland is unlikely, but they are still urging businesses and local law enforcement to keep watch for such an attack and a smorgasbord of other poison-based threats, including the possible contamination of skin products or even handrails at public places

  • Latest terror threat in U.S. aims to poison food

    CBS reports that DHS uncovered a plot to attack hotels and restaurants over a single weekend; the plot uncovered earlier this year is said to involve the use of two poisons — ricin and cyanide — slipped into salad bars and buffets

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  • House passes sweeping food safety bill

    The House has passed a sweeping bill aimed at making food safer following recent outbreaks in peanuts, eggs and produce, sending it to President Obama for his signature; the legislation passed Tuesday would give the government broad new powers to inspect processing plants, order recalls and impose stricter standards for imported foods

  • Fourth International Symposium on Agroterrorism announced

    The fourth International Symposium on Agroterrorism is scheduled for 26-28 April 2011, at the Hyatt Regency and Westin Crown Center Hotels in Kansas City, Missouri; it will focus on the need closely to communicate and coordinate among private industry, law enforcement, government agencies, science, academia, and the health and medical professions in order to protect the global food supply

  • Hutchinson: Canada's food system at risk from terrorism

    Fomer DHS undersecretary Asa Hutchinson says the Canadian food industry is not sufficiently protected from tampering and potential terrorism; the Canadian food industry points out that Canada’s food safety system is tied for fourth place with the United States, behind Denmark, Australia, and the United Kingdom

  • U.S. supply chain cyber-security weaker, more vulnerable than thought

    New study finds that the U.S. supply chain may be even more prone to cyber-attacks than commonly believed; the alarming study shows how vulnerable the businesses behind the U.S. supply chain and resources network — goods and services forming the backbone of the country’s well-being and economy — are to cyber-attack

  • Underground "physical Internet" to distribute food, goods

    A start-up proposes automatically routed canisters to replace lorries for the purpose of delivering food and other goods in all weather with massive energy savings; the proposal envisions putting goods in metal capsules 2-meter long, which are shifted through underground polyethylene tubes at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, directed by linear induction motors and routed by intelligent software to their destinations

  • Senate passes sweeping food safety bill

    The Senate passed legislation Tuesday to make food safer in the wake of deadly E. coli and salmonella outbreaks, potentially giving the government broad new powers to increase inspections of food processing facilities and force companies to recall tainted food; the $1.4 billion bill, which would also place stricter standards on imported foods, passed the Senate 73-25

  • Safety of planned Kansas Biosafety-Level 4 lab questioned

    A new National Research Council report finds “several major shortcomings” in a DHS assessment of risks associated with operating the proposed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas; one example: the report says there is nearly a 70 percent chance over the 50-year lifetime of the facility that a release of foot-and-mouth disease could result in an infection outside the laboratory, impacting the economy by estimates of $9 billion to $50 billion; roughly 9.5 percent of the U.S. cattle inventory lies within a 200-mile radius of the facility; another concern of the committee was the lack of an early-release detection and response system, clinical isolation facilities, and world-class infectious disease clinicians experienced in diagnosing and treating laboratory staff or communities exposed to dangerous pathogens that affect people

  • Novel approach detects unknown food pathogens

    Technologies for rapid detection of bacterial pathogens are crucial to maintaining a secure food supply; researchers have designed and implemented a sophisticated statistical approach that allows computers to improve their ability to detect the presence of bacterial contamination in tested samples; these formulas propel machine-learning, enabling the identification of known and unknown classes of food pathogens

  • U.K. funds £12 million project for quick detection of farm-based disease

    A new device will be able to detect a variety of different infections, making it useful for outbreaks of human diseases, as well as animal ones; by providing a fast verdict on whether an area such as a farm is subject to an outbreak and needs to be quarantined, it could help stop the spread of the disease