• 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

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  • 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

  • Radiation fears cripple Japanese food exports

    Japanese agricultural exports have yet to recover from the 11 March earthquake and tsunami due largely to fears of radioactive contamination; to combat these fears, local governments have done all they can to assure consumers that their products are safe; consumers remain wary despite these reassurances, and as a result the Japanese agricultural sector is struggling

  • A natural food preservative kills food-borne bacteria

    Salmonella and E. coli account for more than half of all food recalls in the United States; salmonella contributes to an estimated 28 percent of more than 3,000 U.S. deaths related to foodborne illness each year; researchers have discovered and received a patent for a naturally occurring lantibiotic — a peptide produced by a harmless bacteria — that could be added to food to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria

  • Melting ice sheets release toxic pollutants outlawed in 2001

    The melting of arctic ice sheets causes the rise in sea levels — but there is another danger: the melting causes dangerous chemicals, including the notoriously toxic DDT, to be freed from Arctic sea ice and snow; the chemical — known as “persistent organic pollutants” (POPs) — were widely used as insecticides and pesticides before being outlawed in 2001; they are extremely tough molecules that take decades to break down in nature; they also bio-accumulate, meaning that as they pass up the food chain, concentrations rise, posing a fertility threat to higher species

  • New way to attack Salmonella bacteria found

    Nitric oxide is naturally produced in the nose and the gut and other tissues in the body to ward off infection; new research underscores that nitric oxide’s antimicrobial actions are due to its interference with the metabolism, or energy production, of pathogens —p and that these antimicrobial characteristics may be harnessed to inhibit the growth of Salmonella

  • Japan halts shipments of radioactive beef

    The Japanese government is coming under fire for only halting shipments of contaminated cattle now, four months after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami that led to the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi atomic energy station; authorities recently discovered that 637 cattle had been fed hay contaminated with radioactive cesium and then shipped from farms in northern prefectures including Fukushima

  • Microalgae : Texas' next big cash crop

    There are an estimated 200,000 to 800,000 species of microalgae — microscopic algae that thrive in freshwater and marine systems; scientists say microalgae offers a huge, untapped source of fuel, food, feed, pharmaceuticals, and even pollution-busters; it is set to be Texas’ next big cash crop

  • Sprouts blamed for U.S. Salmonella outbreak

    After infecting more than 4,000 people across Europe and North America, sprouts have been blamed once more for a food-borne outbreak, this time in the United States; on Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that sprouts were the source of a Salmonella outbreak which has sickened more than twenty people across five states including Washington, Montana, and Idaho

  • New tool predicts drought

    Knowing when to instigate water saving measures in dry times will be easier from now on, following a breakthrough in drought prediction: an Australian researcher has developed a way to predict droughts six months before they begin

  • Report warns falling crop yields could spell disaster

    A recent study found that as temperatures continue to rise the geographical range of staple crops like corn and beans will become increasingly limited, potentially resulting in massive food shortages; there are currently fifty-six million people who lack food security as temperatures are expected to rise above 86° Fahrenheit; at that temperature, beans are no longer a viable crop, while rice and corn yields suffer

  • Sprouts declared source of deadly E.coli outbreak, again

    After declaring last week that sprouts were not the culprit of the deadly E. coli outbreak, German officials are now saying that sprouts were indeed the source after all; the announcement comes without conclusive evidence that sprouts were the source of the bacterial outbreak; instead health investigators are relying on circumstantial evidence; tests from the farm located in Lower Saxony have come up negative for the rare strain of E. coli that is sickening patients

  • EU harshly critical of Germany's approach to E. coli crisis

    In Germany, responsibilities for responding to a crisis — any crisis — are spread across local, municipal, state, and federal agencies, with no central information center to inform the public, and with little coordination among the various responding bodies