How to use your pizza pouch the food safety way

The pizza pouch: just one of many gag gifts to go viral on the Internet.

These clear, plastic, zip-locked triangular pouches hung from lanyards are worn around the neck and are the perfect size to carry a single slice of pizza. Whether as a fashion statement or to provide a tasty snack on-the-go, the idea is that you have a fresh slice of pizza on your person throughout the day.

But wait a minute! How effective is a plastic pouch at ensuring freshness — and food safety — throughout the day? The last thing you want is for your little pizza paradise to turn into a food poisoning nightmare.

Ideally, cooked food should only be left at room temperature for two hours. If it’s a hot summer day, with a temperature above 90°F, you should really only keep food out of the fridge for one hour. This is because bacteria, including foodborne pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella, multiply rapidly in the “danger zone” of 40°F and 140°F. Between those temperatures, the amount of bacteria can double every 20 minutes. [ More … ]

For the first time, gene-edited pigs successfully resist costly virus

Last year, the University of Edinburgh announced that a team of its researchers had used advanced genetic techniques to produce pigs that were potentially resistant to a viral infection that costs the swine industry billions of dollars each year.

Now, those pigs have been put to the test. The team recently exposed the gene-edited pigs to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS). After exposure, none of the animals became ill, and blood tests revealed no trace of the virus. The researchers also note that the pigs don’t show any signs that the change in their DNA has had any impact on their well-being.

Gene-editing technology has been used to make the pigs resistant to both major subtypes of the PRRS virus, an infection that causes severe breathing problems in young pigs and breeding failures in pregnant females. It’s endemic in most pig-producing parts of the world and no vaccine is available, making it one of the greatest challenges dealt with by pig producers. [ More … ]

Future bright for genetic progress in beef industry

As beef industry leaders got a glimpse of the future of genetic improvement in cattle, what they saw was more opportunity on the horizon.

Several speakers outlined emerging technology that will speed beef improvement during the Neogen International Genomics Symposium at the 2018 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) annual conference.

Dr. Mitch Abrahamsen, executive vice president of Recombinetics, outlined the company’s approach to gene editing in agricultural and human medicine applications.

“For livestock, our initial focus is on animal welfare and health,” Abrahamsen said. His company uses gene editing to express traits that naturally occur in a species, which in effect more efficiently delivers breed improvements. Traditional breeding efforts to reach the same goals may take years, or decades, and through inbreeding may reduce genetic diversity. [ More … ]

Santa Gertrudis Breeders International and Neogen launch new heifer DNA test

Commercial cattle producers using Santa Gertrudis genetics have a new DNA test to help them select their best replacement heifers with the launch of Igenity® Santa Gertrudis.

The new DNA test was built for the breed by Santa Gertrudis Breeders International (SGBI) and Neogen.

“We are very pleased to bring Igenity Santa Gertrudis to the marketplace,” said John Ford, SGBI executive director. “Our breeders have been leaders in supplying seedstock with genomically enhanced EPDs. This new product will help them offer DNA-based profiling to their rancher customers.”

Using cutting-edge beef genomics tools to guide male and female genetics will help breeders and commercial producers make faster genetic progress, Ford said.

Santa Gertrudis-influenced cattle are known for strong maternal traits and are adaptable to harsh climates and/or challenging forage situations. The breed is often used to bring this durability into a commercial cow herd via strategic crossbreeding, he said. [ More … ]

E. coli outbreak in France linked to raw milk cheese

French food safety investigators have formed a clear link between an E. coli outbreak earlier this year, which affected at least 15 children, and cheese made from unpasteurized milk.

According to Food Safety News, 15 children between the ages of one and five were infected after eating the cheese. Of those, 12 were found to be infected by the strain E. coli O26, and one of those children passed away.

In the reported cases, those affected were reported to have recently eaten reblochon, a soft cheese made from raw, or unpasteurized, milk.

Pasteurization is important in food safety, because it kills foodborne pathogens. It’s a simple process: heating the food product to a very high temperature for a period of time. Unpasteurized milk has been shown, in a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to be 840 times more likely than pasteurized milk to make you sick. Bacteria left alive in raw milk can survive the cheesemaking process. [ More … ]

How insect control helps livestock producers

Ticks and mosquitoes are typical warm-weather nuisances for the average person, but livestock producers and other animal caretakers have a whole other host of insect pests to worry about. Don’t even get us started on the variety of flies alone there are: stable flies, horn flies, house flies, horse flies, deer flies, face flies, not to mention gnats and lice.

Insects can be carriers of viral, bacterial and parasitic livestock diseases, like pink eye and anaplasmosis, and can also impact the productivity and growth of the herd by weakening animals. For example, according to Texas A&M, cows plagued with horn fly bites can lead to a 12% decrease in the average daily growth rate of nursing calves. Lactation in dairy cows can decrease by around 16%. Stable flies have been estimated to cost the U.S. cattle industry more than $2.4 billion every year due to reduced milk production, decreased weight gain in beef cattle, and lowered feed efficiency.

Shoo fly, don’t bother me

There are many ways livestock producers control insects in and around their facilities.

Spray and pour-on products can be used around the environment and on animals directly, much like the bug spray humans apply to their own bodies. Sprays can be misted over the herd, while pour-ons are applied down the back of the animals. These products need to be reapplied every week or two. [ More … ]

The Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report returns soon

Get ready! This season’s Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report is set to begin on July 2 — just two weeks from today.

The Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Report (MMCR) is the North American grain industry’s weekly update for mycotoxin levels, weather and crop conditions, and industry insights throughout the growing and harvest seasons. These informative weekly videos provide the grain industry the knowledge needed to mitigate crop concerns, improve mycotoxin risk management planning, and gain tips to improve grain quality.

Each week of the growing and harvest season, the MMCR features the latest mycotoxin reporting, tips, and featured guests. The last report featured Dr. Cassie Jones, Associate Professor at Kansas State University, as she presented on Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance. [ More … ]

In ‘draw-a-scientist’ studies, more kids draw women than before

Quick, think of a scientist.

Who did you picture? Researchers for years have been gaining insight into societal views by asking this question to children and documenting what they imagine, which in turn reveals a lot about how their generation sees the world.

One area this kind of test illuminates is gender roles. In the 1960s and ‘70s, when around 5,000 kids were asked to draw their own vision of a scientist in many different studies, just 28 scribbled down a drawing of a woman — 0.6%.

These kinds of studies are not uncommon, so recently a team conducted an analysis of over 30 years of these studies, ranging from 1985 to 2016. These studies encompass more than 20,000 U.S. kids, ranging from grade schoolers to high school seniors. [ More … ]

Summer heat safety for cattle caretakers

Hot summer temperatures arrived quite suddenly in much of the Northern Hemisphere this year, catching many off guard. Both humans and animals are just now getting used to the back-and-forth between enjoying the warmth of sunbathing, and desperately trying to keep cool.

What are the signs that cattle are feeling the heat in a bad way? Cattle will begin panting or breathing with their mouths open, trying to keep cool that way. They might also drool, group together, and refuse to sit down. In extreme situations, some animals might isolate themselves, lower their heads, and breath slowly. Some might tremble or fall over.

Keeping the cows cool

Our first tip is probably pretty obvious: Have cool, fresh water available. Remember that cattle will need to drink more frequently in hot weather, but if the water is over 80°F, they might refuse to drink as much as they need. [ More … ]

Neogen launches high activity K-Blue® Advanced

Neogen today announced the development of an innovative TMB substrate that requires no special labeling and delivers excellent performance.

Neogen’s new K-Blue® Advanced is a one-bottle, ready-to-use solution offering high activity, low background, long-term stability and non-hazardous labeling. K-Blue Advanced is ideal for assays requiring high activity, and is similar in kinetic performance to Neogen’s popular Enhanced K-Blue substrate.

“The development of K-Blue Advanced is in response to Neogen’s on-going commitment to providing high quality reagents to meet the changing and expanding requirements of our customers,” said Neogen’s Emilie Stanley. “K-Blue Advanced is a novel TMB substrate formulation providing the superior performance that is expected from a Neogen TMB substrate, while also minimizing product labeling hassles.” [ More … ]