What’s hiding in the water lines: Terminal water line cleaning in the poultry house

Picture a standpipe at the end of the water lines in a poultry house. Does it look clear? Is the pressure ball visible? Can the wall behind it be seen through the pipe? Or does it look cloudy, stained from years of use?

“Unfortunately, there are standpipes around the world in poultry houses that are opaque with years of buildup,” said Neogen poultry expert Lindsay Good. “If the water line was opened further down the line, a similar occurrence would be seen. Water on poultry farms can carry harmful pathogens, algae-forming organisms, and mineral sediments that cause buildup to form inside of water lines.” [ More … ]

Walmart to implement blockchain in the food supply chain

Blockchain: from the tech industry to the food industry, it seems like all anybody’s talking about anymore. The technology’s role in food supply chain traceability has been a hot topic for the past year or so, and now it’s starting to transition from the realm of discussion to reality.

Walmart has announced that by September 2019, it will require all suppliers of leafy greens to upload data about their products to the blockchain. This is part of a year-long project the mega-retailer has with computer company IBM, as well as food companies. The goal is to make it easier to read the history of leafy green products, stretching back to the farm and all the way to the supplier’s doorstep.

Walmart doesn’t expect the process to be an undue burden on suppliers. The technology is not complicated to use, it says.

“IBM will offer an onboarding system that orients users with the service easily,” said Walmart spokesperson Molly Blakeman. “Think about when you get a new iPhone — the instructions are easy to understand and you’re quickly up and running. That’s the aim here. Essentially, suppliers will need a smart device and Internet to participate.” [ More … ]

Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report: October 15, 2018

This week, on our Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report, we cover a new aflatoxin report in corn, a higher-than-average harvest rate and a sampling Tech Tip from Neogen’s Tony Lupo. Check it out here.

Neogen Corporation takes great care to ensure the integrity of the data we collect from many sources across the country. As these data can vary widely, they should NOT be considered typical of all grain harvested. The mycotoxin levels we report are intended to assist our industry partners in developing their risk assessment programs. Detecting problems before commingling or processing can help avoid quality issues and financial losses.

To subscribe to get these reports straight to your email inbox, click here.

Neogen at Supply Side West 2018

Neogen will be at Supply Side West November 8–9 at the famous Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada — check us out at booth 3429.

Make time to see Neogen at Supply Side West this year! Neogen will be exhibiting products including AccuPoint® Advanced for ATP environmental testing, Reveal® 3-D for allergens, and BioLumix® for rapid microbiology.

Neogen’s BioLumix system provides dietary supplement companies results in half the time of traditional methods, and the ability to do microbiological testing on-site. On-site testing often helps reduce time to results, and also provides better control over the results and materials.

Neogen’s line of allergen detection products allow manufacturers to screen raw materials, environmental surfaces, and finished products. Using a template outlined in our allergen control handbooks, manufacturers can compile an allergen control plan that reduces the likelihood of an allergen recall and facilitates regulatory compliance. [ More … ]

Science: Why are fruits so colorful?

From pink and green watermelons to the deep blues and purples of blueberries, fruits come in more shades and hues than any other food. Why is that?

Past theories have suggested that fruits as a whole developed in such a rainbow-esque way in order to attract the attention of animals, who spread their seeds by way of eating them. A bright red pop of a berry cluster is easier for a bird to see in a sea of green foliage, after all.

While a common theory, it’s been hard to back up with scientific evidence (especially when considering that animals perceive color differently from us).

“With the exception of a handful of other primates, no other animal on Earth sees color the way that we do,” said Duke University’s Kim Valenta, co-author on a recent study that examines the animal-attraction theory.

Valenta, along with colleagues from the U.S. and Germany, collected data on fruit and leaves from nearly 100 Ugandan and Madagascan plants. Their goal was to examine all the factors that might have influenced the color, from environmental factors like temperature, soil properties and even genetic considerations. Did berries only grow to be pink because their closest genetic relatives did? [ More … ]

Eliminating the hook effect in allergen testing

This article comes from Neogen’s Allergen Insider newsletter, a resource for the latest developments and news in allergen testing and related technology. See here to read the rest of the latest issue of Allergen Insider.

When testing for allergens with rapid methods, such as lateral flow test kits, there’s always a risk that a grossly contaminated sample will return a false negative result by overloading the test strip. Known as “the hook effect,” this occurs when the amount of target allergen exceeds the amount of color-labeled antibody material present in the strip’s reagent pad.

The mechanics of the hook effect are simple: Excess target allergen migrates across the membrane quicker than the color-labeled antibody-antigen complex and saturates the binding sites on the capture antibody at the test line. When the color-labeled complex arrives, it has no binding sites available, so it continues to travel up the membrane to the waste reservoir at the end of the device. Without binding sites available, the color-labeled antibody-antigen complex cannot create the colored test line indicative of a positive result. This presents the user with a false negative result, despite high levels of the target allergen.

[ More … ]

Genomics roundup: Understanding the science

In 2003, the Human Genome Project announced that it had officially completed its goal of sequencing the human genome. Since then, genomics has continued to explode in importance as a scientific subject, with potentially game-changing applications emerging in the medical field, agriculture, animal health, food safety and beyond.

The layman’s understanding of genomics, and how it impacts their own lives, has raced to keep up with the scientific advances of the past 15 years. We’ve tried to help. Here’s a roundup of the genomics topics we’ve provided primers on.

The basics

Genomics: What’s a SNP? — Genomics is the study of the genome, which is the entirety of a living thing’s DNA. And one of the key elements of genomics is the SNP, pronounced “snip.”

Genomics vs genetics: What’s the difference, and what do they mean for agriculture? — Do you understand the differences between genetics and genomics? Not everyone realizes the different goals and methods of these two different, yet often tied, fields. [ More … ]

Neogen at Fresh Summit

Neogen representatives are journeying from Lansing, Michigan to Orlando, Florida for the Produce Marketing Association’s 2018 Fresh Summit. We’ll be at booth 3188 featuring Listeria Right Now, our environmental Listeria test that brings results in just one hour. We’ll also have our ATP detection system, AccuPoint Advanced, and our protein detection system, AccuClean Advanced.

When: October 18–20, 2018
Where: Booth 3188, Orange County Convention Center, West Building Halls A–C, Orlando, Florida

This year’s summit promises a “new experience,” with four major topics set to be addressed by four important speakers bringing insights from outside the produce industry, including Super Bowl champ Peyton Manning.

Check out Fresh Summit’s website for more information.

Neogen Board approves stock buyback

LANSING, Mich., Oct. 10, 2018 — Neogen Corporation (NEOG) announced today that its Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to three million shares of the company’s common stock. The shares will be purchased in the open market or in negotiated transactions.  There can be no assurance that any particular amount of shares will be purchased. Shares repurchased under the program will be retired.

The Neogen Board also rescinded a continuing authorization for stock repurchase that had first been approved in 2008.

Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG) develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety. The company’s Food Safety Division markets dehydrated culture media and diagnostic test kits to detect foodborne bacteria, natural toxins, food allergens, drug residues, plant diseases and sanitation concerns. Neogen’s Animal Safety Division is a leader in the development of animal genomics along with the manufacturing and distribution of a variety of animal healthcare products, including diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, veterinary instruments, wound care and disinfectants.

Food Safety: A QC manager and an operations manager (don’t) walk into a bar…

This blog post was written by a Neogen sales and marketing expert.

Microbial organisms present an interesting paradigm in food production — how can you accelerate the testing process and still maintain food safety?

The issue with bacteria is that whether it’s in the food, the environment or in your gut, time is needed to allow the organisms to grow to a dangerous or spoilage-inducing level, or in the case of micro testing, grow to a detectable level. If you can accelerate the growth of an organism, you can more quickly determine if there is a potential for harm. Accelerating growth provides faster results, and faster results mean that holding times in the food production facility can be reduced and products can be released faster. For plant operations, this means higher throughput and reduced storage costs — efficiency with a significant tangible payback. For quality assurance and quality control (QC), this can mean higher testing costs.

Several years ago, I was on a sales call to demonstrate a system that can accelerate the growth of spoilage organisms found in finished product. Both the operations manager and the QC manager were participating in the demo, and although the QC manager liked the ease-of-use of the new test, he did not like the cost when compared to his standard test method. [ More … ]