• 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

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  • 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

  • Contaminated cantaloupe outbreak deadliest in decade

    The recent listeria outbreak that has sickened seventy-two people and killed as many as sixteen, is shaping up to be the deadliest U.S. food-borne disease outbreak in more than a decade

  • Study finds traces Japanese radiation in U.S. rain and food

    A recently published government study found that following the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan, elevated levels of radiation were detected in U.S. rain water as well as vegetables and milk

  • FDA unveils new outbreak response network

    Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration unveiled its new streamlined approach for responding to foodborne illness outbreaks; under the “CORE” Network, the FDA Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network, the FDA will bring together multidisciplinary teams consisting of epidemiologists, veterinarians, microbiologists, environmental health specialists, emergency coordinators, and risk communications specialists

  • Simple solution for removing arsenic from water

    Almost 100 million people in developing countries are exposed to dangerously high levels of arsenic in their drinking water, unable to afford complex purification technology; scientists developed a simple, inexpensive method for removing arsenic based on chopped up pieces of ordinary plastic beverage bottles coated with a nutrient found in many foods and dietary supplements

  • Coriander oil tackles food poisoning and drug-resistant infections

    Coriander oil has been shown to be toxic to a broad range of harmful bacteria; its use in foods and in clinical agents could prevent food-borne illnesses and even treat antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the authors of a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology

  • Cleaning water while generating energy

    A fuel cell system that can generate electricity from organic compounds and clean up wastewater at the same time has been developed by scientists in China; the cell uses light energy to degrade organic compounds in wastewater, generating electrons that pass through to the cathode, which converts the chemical energy into electrical energy