New Salmonella standards coming for beef and poultry

The beef and poultry industry will soon see new performance standards for inspection procedures that aim to prevent illnesses relating to Salmonella, according to a recent article published in Food Safety News.

Planned to take effect within a year, these inspection procedures are being developed by the USDA’s Food Safety and inspection Service (FSIS) and are the first step in the agency’s Salmonella action plan, as well as the first new inspection procedures to be developed since 1957.

As reported by Meatingplace, Rachel Edelstein, acting assistant administrator of the FSIS Office of Policy and Program Development, said that the new procedure will “prevent illnesses each year because inspectors will spend more time on verification activities that address food safety.” [ More ... ]

The Monday links you have been waiting for

Complied together for your reading pleasure is the latest news and information in the food and animal safety segments in this edition of Monday links!


Sequencing Tsetse Fly Genome Reveals Surprises That May Save Lives – National Geographic
The genome of the tsetse fly—a disease-ridden insect with surprisingly mammalian biology that stalks the people and livestock of sub-Saharan Africa—has been decoded, a team of 146 scientists announced.

Animal Safety

Study: Cowbells could be hurting cows’ ears – The Week
A recent study suggests that for cows’ hearing, the only prescription is less cowbell. 

Food Safety

9 Kitchen Items You Forgot To Clean – The Cutting Board
When it comes to food poisoning, sometimes the culprit may not be on your plate, but in your kitchen drawer.  [ More ... ]

Cattle ergot poisoning concerns raised

Marked by muscle tremors, uncoordinated movements and a staggering walk, ergot poisoning in cattle and other ruminants is now a cause for concern among farmers in the southern U.S. after weather conditions have created a growing environment known to produce ergot fungus (Claviceps paspali).

In a recent article from Cattle Network, ergot fungus is currently being seen in Arkansas’s dallisgrass, a perennial grass that is cultivated for pasture in many places. The growing fungus replaces the seed and poisons cattle that graze on the grass when it is at full seedhead. This ergot fungus can also be found in several other plant species including wheat, barley, oats, brome grass, and wheatgrass. [ More ... ]

Soybean disease reported in Midwest U.S.

Recent reports of soybean disease throughout the Midwest are likely to cause economic losses for some farmers this year, according to plant pathologist Carl Bradley of the University of Illinois.

In a recent article, Bradley specifically described the signs of two different diseases, sudden death syndrome (SDS) and Sclerotinia stem rot (white mold), both of which are caused by weather related conditions and are appearing not only in Illinois but also throughout states including Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, and others.

The symptoms of SDS currently being observed include interveinal chlorosis and necrosis of the leaves, which is described as the veins remaining green, while the tissues between the veins turn yellow and then brown. Similar to another disease, brown stem rot, SDS does not affect soybean stems as you would see with brown stem rot. [ More ... ]

100 billion animal study: GM feed is safe

The practice of using genetically modified (GM) crops in livestock feed has been a controversy since the concept was introduced almost two decades ago. However, a recent study published in Journal of Animal Science found that GM feed does not have a negative effect on the animals, and that they are about as nutritionally equivalent as animals that are not fed on GM crops.

According to a recent article, this conclusion was reached by Allison Van Eenennaam of University of California, Davis, who led a comprehensive analysis regarding livestock health between 1983 (13 years before GM crops were introduced) and 2011. This included a total of 100 billion animals collectively eating trillions of GM meals and is the most inclusive study of its kind to date. [ More ... ]

Tox Tuesday: Propranolol

Commonly used to treat high blood pressure and chest pains causing heart attack, propranolol was discovered in 1962 and was the first successful type of drug developed known as a beta blocker. Beta blockers work by relaxing blood vessels and slowing the heart rate to improve blood flow in a person’s body.

Due to these effects, propranolol is also used today to treat patients with anxiety and panic disorders as well as other conditions such as migraines, irregular heartbeat and glaucoma. Propranolol has also been used in animals to control their heart rate and improve heart performance in certain types of disease.

While there are several uses for propranolol, overdose from the drug is a common fear of health professionals. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Toxicology, propranolol killed two of the 58 patients involved in the study who were given high amounts of the drug, and caused cardiac arrest, seizures and coma in others. Conclusions from this study state propranolol should not be used in patients who are a risk of self-poisoning, nor should it be used by those who have lung problems or a slow heart rate.

Recently however, the drug has made headlines both in the U.S. and abroad for its ability to treat other serious conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is even credited with saving the life of an infant in the United Kingdom (UK).  [ More ... ]

Here are your Monday Links

Start your work week off right with the latest news and information in the food safety, animal science and agricultural news industries. Check back every Monday for more resources complied here that will help keep you up to date!

Food Safety

White House Calls for Action Plan to Address Antibiotic Resistance – Food Safety News
The White House announced its plan to make the issue of antibiotic resistance a national priority and released the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report on antibiotic resistance.

Child who suffers from rare, serious nosebleeds cured with pork – The Week
Researchers from Detroit Medical Center were honored Thursday after discovering that stuffing pork in the nose can cure serious nosebleeds. [ More ... ]

Neogen reports 13% net income increase

Neogen Corporation (Nasdaq: NEOG) announced today that net income for the first quarter of its 2015 fiscal year, which ended Aug. 31, was $8,883,000 — a 13% increase compared to net income of $7,839,000 in the first quarter of last year. Adjusted for a 3-for-2 stock split effective Oct. 30, 2013, earnings per share in the current quarter were $0.24, compared to $0.21 a year ago.

First quarter revenues increased 15% to $67,599,000, from the previous year’s first quarter revenues of $58,548,000. The first quarter revenues and net income represent quarterly records for the 32-year-old company. [ More ... ]

$2M ham: ‘Tight and trimmed butt face’

A 15-pound cured ham made headlines recently after it stole the show at the Kentucky State Fair. In this particular competition however, a first place blue ribbon was not all the winning ham collected, but rather a whopping $2 million as well.

According to Modern Farmer, the judges responsible for selecting the winning ham look for certain visual qualities, including a tight and trimmed “butt face” (the flat edge of the hind leg where it is severed from the body), a black butt face color with a brown ring of fat and a taut, pecan-colored skin. But that’s not all, the judges also inject a probe into the ham to help them smell if the ham cured fully. [ More ... ]

DON: How much is too much?

Based on this year’s weather conditions throughout parts of the U.S. and Canada, the threat of deoxynivalenol (commonly referred to as vomitoxin or DON) in wheat crop is a real issue farmers are currently facing. But when it comes to knowing how much DON-contaminated wheat grain or wheat straw farmers can actually feed animals without incurring negative production and health effects, the questions of how much is too much comes top of mind.

An article recently published by Agri-View, discusses this conundrum and suggests that before feeding any potentially contaminated wheat grain or wheat straw, farmers should sample the product to determine its contamination level. Once you know the contamination level, you can then determine how much you can feed before you reach the upper DON limit. [ More ... ]