New tool to help improve foodborne pathogen data quality

Officials at the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hope a new tool will help protect the public from pathogens in food and water.

The Microbial Risk Assessment Guideline, which was announced today, is an “overarching microbial risk assessment guideline” that outlines comprehensive and descriptive information for […]

Breaking down bath salts: Reports increasing in recent years

Courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

Despite their retreat from the news recently, emerging designer drugs are a growing problem, according to recent reports.

The drugs, such as bath salts, K2 and spice, have received so much notice that at the end of June, the U.S. Congress classified 26 chemicals used to make […]

CDC: STEC infections have declined since 2006, Salmonella infections have risen

Rates of infection from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) have fallen slightly in the past five years, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday.

In 2006, there were 590 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection caused by STEC. In 2011, the most recent available data, there were 463 infections, according to […]

Get ready for the week with the Monday links

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

Animal safety

A more effective treatment for a cat killer-cytauxzoonosis – Fully Vetted

A new treatment is bumping up survival rates for cats with cytauxzoonosis from 26 percent to 60 percent.

[…]

GAO: FDA needs to update communication strategies

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) needs to revamp its communication strategies in regard to food recalls and outbreaks, according to a federal oversight agency.

The 61 page report, released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), states the FDA has yet to fully implement previous recommendations from GAO, including:

Creating a policy to […]

Drought links: Food prices projected to increase, economic impacts growing

July 24, 2012 Drought MonitorCourtesy of http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Food prices are expected to jump in 2013 following this summer’s drought.

The increase – expected to be 3 to 4 percent in 2013 on top of a projected 3.5 percent for this year – follows additional impacts from the drought, including an estimated $12 billion in […]

Mid-afternoon break: Ultrahigh temperature processing and milk

There’s a lot more to milk then just what’s floating your breakfast cereal.

We’re not talking facts such as milk coming from cows but rather how milk can stay shelf stable for so long. People don’t want to buy milk and have to throw it away the next day. So how, does milk stay good […]

Parents of allergic kids get ready for the new school year, raise awareness

Having food allergies is tough, especially for kids.

Just as difficult is getting ready for a new school year, where it’s more challenging for parents to control contact with allergens that could set off a potentially life-threatening reaction in their child.

About 6 to 8 percent of kids in the U.S. have a food allergy. […]

Drought could lead to increased levels of aflatoxin

This summer’s drought has devastated much of what was supposed to be a record corn crop for the U.S.

But it’s not just heat and lack of water that can cause problems for corn farmers; the recent high temperatures and dry conditions also can lead to the growth of certain types of aflatoxin-producing fungus.

Aflatoxin, […]

Report: No cause found for E. coli O145 outbreak

E. coli

No source has been found for an E. coli outbreak that sickened more than a dozen people and claimed the life of a toddler, according to the final report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report, published July 20, lists the final number of people sickened by the outbreak […]