Safety tips for fun fall food

Apple-juice_resizedThe autumn season is never complete without typical fall fun including trips to apple orchards, cider mills and local farmer’s markets. While purchasing locally-grown and produced fresh fruit, juices, vegetables, and other foods have grown more popular as of late, concerns about the safety of the items have come into question.

According to a recently published article, many markets have their own food safety rules, and vendors must comply with them, as well as any applicable government regulations. But, there are also basic guidelines that you should follow to ensure that the farm-fresh food is safe.  [ More ... ]

Teal reveals homes for allergy-safe treats

HalloweenAllergies_TealPumpkin_blogThis Halloween you may notice front porches spotted with more than just your typical orange pumpkins or carved jack-o-lanterns. As part of new initiative, teal colored pumpkins are popping up at homes around the world in an effort to raise awareness about food allergies and promote the inclusion of children with allergies in the tradition that is trick-or-treating.

Known as the “teal pumpkin project,” it began in Tennessee last year and was adopted recently by Food Allergy Research & Education, or FARE, according to an American Online article.

FARE states that approximately six million American children suffer from peanut, egg, soy, wheat and other food allergies that can make eating Halloween candy potentially life threatening.

How it works:

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Halloween food safety tips

In preparation for Halloween, Neogen bring you new blog posts all week focusing on important food safety issues and providing tips to keep you and your family safe.Kid-Eats-Donut_resized

Located below are some the FDA’s tips for the upcoming holiday.

Top Five Halloween party tips:

1. Do not eat any raw dough or batter when baking.

2. Make sure all fruits and vegetables used in games such as “bobbing for apples” are rinsed to remove bacteria before use.

3. Only serve pasteurized fruit juices and ciders, they can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella. [ More ... ]

Monday Mycotoxin Report — October 27, 2014

Each week, we are happy to present to you the weekly Monday Mycotoxin Report, sharing data and statistics from the agriculture industry. To learn more about drought, crop yields and mycotoxin levels, please watch the video below.

Monday links

CandyCorn resizedHave no fear, Monday links is here! Take a moment and catch up with the latest news in the food safety, animal science, agriculture and toxicology sectors.

Food Safety

10 food allergy safety tips for Halloween – Examiner
Halloween may be particularly frightening for kids, teens, and adults with food allergies and sensitivities but here are some steps to take in order to avoid these dangers. 

The Use of Thermal Energy Technology to Improve Food Safety – Food Safety Magazine
It goes without saying that it is of utmost importance that food is treated with special care throughout the food production, transportation, storage and sales processes. Of course human errors do occur, but legitimate attempts are being made to tweak technology to ensure that these errors occur as rarely as possible.

Animal Science

Study: Horses can Communicate Blanketing Preferences – The Horse
Blanket? No blanket? Blanket? Oh, that frustrating inner battle on a cool day. There are many good reasons to put a blanket on your horse, but there are just as many reasons to leave it off. If only your horse could just tell you what he wanted! [ More ... ]

Today’s chickens are not your grandpa’s chickens

MultiChickensAccording to a recent study, chickens today are four times larger than they were 60 years ago but contrary to popular belief, it’s not steroids, hormones or artificial enlargers that are not to blame. Instead, it’s our eating habits that have resulted in the breeding of larger birds.

Published in the Journal Poultry Science and summarized in a recent article, this study compared three types of chickens. One that hasn’t been changed by breeding since 1957, a second that has been the same since 1978, and a third, modern commercial chicken, called the Ross 308 Broiler, which has been bred for selective traits over the past few decades.

The study states that these chickens were fed identical diets for 56 days and resulted in the 1957 breed weighing an average of 905 grams, the 1978 breed averaged 1,808 grams and the 2005 breed tipped the scales at a whopping 4,202 grams — about double the size of the 1978 breed. [ More ... ]

Grain storage bags raise mycotoxin concerns

CornHarvestTruck_12RF20487255_blogWith corn harvest now underway, several factors including low crop prices and a shortage of storage space, are contributing to more and more farmers turning to polyethylene bags, or “bag silos,” as a crop storage solution instead of traditional storage bins and silos.

While these bags, which are also being used for soybeans and wheat, offer a temporary solution that allows farmers to hold on to their crops until prices rebound and also eliminates the need to wait in line to deliver grain at elevators, factors including mycotoxin growth in these bags is an issue farmers need to take proper precautions to avoid.

According to a recent article in the AgriNews, “although these bags are hermetically sealed, they can leak, especially if there are tears or punctures in the flexible plastic lining or if the bags are placed on wet ground.” Moisture in these bags can then lead to mycotoxin growth. [ More ... ]

Farmers debate value of proposed organic checkoffs

Carrots_FreshPicked_blogAccording to the article “Organic Checkoff: Is it What’s for Dinner?” The United States Department of Agriculture is currently proposing a redirection of funds from general checkoff programs to instead be used for promotion and research in organic foods.

Checkoffs are defined as a percentage of farmer’s income that is then used by the USDA for promotion and research in the farmer’s industry. For example, previous campaigns such as, “Got Milk?,” “Pork. The Other White Meat,” and “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner,” were all checkoff programs.

Those in favor of creating this new checkoff believe that it would both encourage other American farmers to use organic practices as well as increase consumer consumption. Laura Batcha, Executive Director at the Organic Trade Association agrees that an organic checkoff program could increase the production of organic foods in the U.S. [ More ... ]

Tox Tuesday: Smart Drugs

Brain-Waves-Bigstock10453853_blogPrescribed to millions each year, “smart drugs,” such as Adderall and Ritalin, are used to treat those diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. These drugs work by combating the symptoms of the disorder allowing users to feel more focused, productive, and attentive toward everyday tasks.

However, it’s not just those diagnosed with ADHD that are seeking the feeling commonly associated with taking these types of medication. Rather, a growing number of high school and college students around the world are turning to these drugs as a way to help them stay on top of their growing list of academic and social demands. According to one article, studies indicate that as many as one in three students on major college campuses have used ADHD medications illicitly, most commonly as a study aid. In addition to the health concerns brought up by the recreational use of these drugs, another debate is ongoing: Can these drugs actually make someone smarter? [ More ... ]

Monday Mycotoxin Report — October 20, 2014

Each week, we are happy to present to you the weekly Monday Mycotoxin Report, sharing data and statistics from the agriculture industry. To learn more about drought, crop yields and mycotoxin levels, please watch the video below.