Don’t be a Super Bowl party pooper!

Super Bowl Party FoodKnown as the second highest day for food consumption after Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is much more than just a football game. With an estimated 43 million Americans planning to host a Super Bowl party, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided several tips that can help those partaking in the festivities form a solid line of defense against foodborne illness.

“This year, we’re urging fans to follow the food safety playbook at the Super Bowl parties they host,” USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said in the article. “Large gatherings can increase the chance of becoming ill, but by following a few rules all fans can enjoy the game and their food, safely.”

Some of these tips include avoiding these penalties: [ More ... ]

Scientists say possible cure found for peanut allergies

Peanuts_wShells_blogResearchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia may have found a cure for people with potentially fatal peanut allergies according to a recent article.

This research has already transformed the lives of about 30 children who were involved in the experiment and were given a daily dose of peanut protein together with a probiotic known as Lactobacillus rhamnosus, in an increasing amount over an 18-month period.

The dose of the probiotic was the equivalent of eating 44 pounds of yogurt each day and by the end of the trial, 80% of the children no longer had any type of reaction after eating peanuts. [ More ... ]

Infographic: Norovirus

Sometimes referred to as the winter vomiting bug, norovirus, is the most common stomach bug in the United Kingdom (UK) infecting between 600,000 and one million people every year. The virus gets its name from where it was first identified — in Norwalk, Ohio, in 1972.

Since then, several strains of the virus have been identified — all which are able to survive a wide range of temperatures and in many different environments. This makes norovirus more difficult to avoid as proper precautions must be followed in food service environments.   [ More ... ]

A Cleaning (or Two) a Day Keeps Listeria Away

Apple Processing_BLOGSix tips for apple packers and processors to avoid Listeria contamination

Apple packers and processors are on high alert after recent news linking a Listeria outbreak to an apple facility in California. Seven people have died and 25 others became ill between October and December of last year, according to Reuters.

Listeria is a bacteria found throughout the environment—in soil, water and in some animals. It causes listeriosis, a serious infection marked by nausea, diarrhea, fever and muscle aches that primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and those with weakened immune systems.

Here are six tips apple packers and processors can use to ensure they maintain a Listeria-free facility. [ More ... ]

Genetically engineered cattle + human DNA = Ebola cure?

DairyCow_inField_blogA herd of 50 cloned, genetically engineered cattle on a farm just outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota, may hold the key to producing a vaccine against the Ebola virus, which has infected more than 21,000 people in West Africa, killing more than 8,500 of them and causing hysteria worldwide.

According to a recent article, this group of cattle has been genetically engineered with human DNA so that their bodies no longer produce cattle antibodies but rather, human antibodies. Scientists have then vaccinated these animals against various deadly diseases such as Ebola. Their bodies produce antibodies in response to these vaccines, and the hope is these antibodies can then be used to treat people with the disease. [ More ... ]

Monday links

horse portrait2_blogDon’t have time to scour the internet for the latest animal science, food safety and agriculture news? Relax, we’ve got it covered.

Animal Science

Study: Feed Young Horses According to Birth Date – The Horse
Tradition in many breeds holds that all horses have the same birthday: January 1. But when it comes to feeding young horses, it might be better to do so according to each horse’s individual birth date, a Japanese research team recently concluded.

Ukrainian PEDv Outbreaks a Warning Sign for European Pig Farming – The Pig Site
European pig farmers need to stay vigilant as the American strain of the Porcine Epidemic DiarrheaVirus (PEDv) is detected across farms in Ukraine. [ More ... ]

New non-stick surface has potential in food industry

E. coli

E. coli

In a similar way that Teflon and other non-stick surfaces keeps food from sticking to your pots and pans, a new nanotechnology developed by scientists at Cornell University could keep bacteria from sticking to medical equipment, food processing machinery and much more.

According to an article from CBS News, researchers from Cornell University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute used a process called anodization, where metal is treated with chemicals and hit with an electric current in order to change the properties of its surface and create a piece of bacteria-resistant aluminum. [ More ... ]

New Salmonella, Campylobacter performance standards for poultry proposed

DrumsticksThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has proposed new federal standards to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in ground chicken and turkey products as well as raw chicken breasts, legs and wings. Development of these new standards is a major step inthe FSIS’s Salmonella Action Plan, launched in December 2013 to reduce Salmonella illnesses from meat and poultry products.

According to an article from Food Safety News, the USDA estimates that these new standards will prevent about 50,000 illnesses each year. The agency is also updating the existing standards for Salmonella in ground chicken and turkey to make them harder to meet. [ More ... ]

The great (GMO potato) debate

Potatoes_stacked_dirty_resizedThe debate on the safety of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in the food industry continues to evolve, but it still leaves question marks in the minds of many. For example, recent discoveries have allowed scientists to modify potatoes so they develop with fewer bruises and black spots, and when fried, produce a much smaller dose of a potentially harmful chemical known as acrylamide.

While this data sounds promising, one recent article reports that some of the biggest potato buyers in the country are refusing to touch GM potatoes or even discuss them, based solely that they are GMOs — a phrase that has seemingly turned into a curse word, according to one scientist. [ More ... ]

Tox Tuesday: Tainted heroin

Drug Syringe And Cooked HeroinConcerns continue to rise in parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York as various unknown substances being sold as heroin have been linked to at least six overdose deaths in recent months. While authorities are still unsure exactly what the substances are composed of, they have chosen to not keep this quickly escalating drug problem under wraps. Instead, forces have joined together to alert the public in hopes of educating users and cautioning them that the drugs they are buying may not be what they think they are.

According to a news release from the New Jersey State Police Department, these drugs are being sold under the names, “Strike Dead,” “Taliban” and “Power Hour,” and are so powerful, that Narcan, the overdose drug often used by law enforcement and first responders to prevent opioid-induced fatal overdoses, is not effective. The brands were identified by the New Jersey Regional Operations and Intelligence Center working with the New Jersey Department of Health and law enforcement in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York through the center’s Drug Monitoring Initiative (DMI). [ More ... ]