• MSU lands USDA grants totaling nearly $3 million to improve food safety

    Three Michigan State University researchers landed grants totaling nearly $3 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve food safety; the three professors are part of the recently created MSU Food Safety Group; this team comprises about thirty MSU researchers from more than ten departments working with other universities around the world to improve food safety

  • Safe farm practices initiative launched

    Ever since 2006, when a deadly batch of spinach killed three people and sickened hundreds, U.S. farm producers, packers, and others along the distribution line have argued over how best to protect consumers and assure them that leafy greens and tomatoes are safe; now, a major initiative aims to settle these arguments

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  • Five years after E.coli outbreak, California farmers still struggling

    Farmers in Salinas Valley, California, the “salad bowl of the United States,” are still struggling to regain consumers’ trust five years after spinach grown and bagged on a local farm was linked to a deadly E. coli outbreak that killed three people and sickened 206

  • Quickly and accurately tracing food-borne outbreaks

    Researchers have developed a new technique that could pinpoint the exact nature and origin of food-borne bacteria with unprecedented accuracy

  • "Printing" food with plant DNA to prevent counterfeiting

    Branded foods from the waters off Japan are becoming popular in Asia; the growing popularity has lured counterfeiters into the market, where they sell common foods as the high-value brand, in the process destroying markets and reputation of the real item

  • Laser keeps an eye for spoiled food

    Minced meat, bread, fruit juice, and many other foods are packaged in a protective gas which extends their shelf life; there is currently no good method to check whether the packaging has the correct gas content — and thus, whether the content is spoiled or not; researchers have developed a new laser instrument which could solve the problem

  • A new pest threatens U.S. agriculture -- iPhone owners can help

    A new meandering pest — the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) — is feasting on many of North America’s most important crops, posing an unprecedented threat to U.S. agriculture; the value of susceptible crops in the thirty-three states where BMSB has been established or sighted exceeds $21 billion

  • Little progress despite $3.4 billion spent on food safety programs

    In the past decade the U.S. government has gone to great lengths to secure the nation’s food supply against terrorists, but more than $3.4 billion later it has little to show for its efforts; despite all the government spending, key food safety programs and counter-terror policies have been bogged down by a murky, convoluted bureaucratic process

  • Argonne software help decode German E. coli strain

    In the early days of annotating genomes in the mid-1990s, it took four or five scientists more than a year to analyze just one genome; now, with the help of Rapid Annotation using Subsystems Technology (RAST), which was developed by Argonne scientists, researchers needed only eight hours to sequence the genome of the rogue E. coli strain which struck Europe this summer; the next-generation RAST will cut this time to just fifteen minutes

  • UN warns record food prices to continue

    Food prices are projected to continue skyrocketing and remain volatile leaving poor countries and consumers exposed to food insecurity, according to a recently released UN report

  • Traceability key to food safety

    The produce industry looks at food safety and traceability as the key to reducing the instances of food-borne illnesses; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched its own effort to protect the integrity of the food supply with the Food Safety Modernization Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law 4 January

  • Listeria outbreak grows worse, 18 dead and 100 sick

    The nation’s deadliest food-borne outbreak in a decade continues to grow worse with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting a total of eighteen deaths from listeria-infected cantaloupe

  • Food safety grant to fund research on preventing food-borne illnesses

    A $1.3 million grant to develop a new food-safety training program for government and industry has been awarded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine

  • New Zealand relaxes passenger X-ray screening requirement

    To save money and speed up the processing of international passengers, New Zealand no longer requires 100 percent screening of bags of passengers entering the country; Kiwi farmers are worried about the move carry the risk of introducing animal disease into the country; the 100 percent screening mandate was imposed after a foot and mouth outbreak in 2001

  • U.S. inspects only 2 percent of all imported food

    Each year one in six Americans — 48 million people — gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases; the FDA uses a risk-based system to isolate foods with high risk of contamination, but physically inspects only about 2 percent of all imported food