It’s show season: General biosecurity recommendations for livestock exhibitors

For many of you who raise livestock, the show ring is where hard work meets opportunity. After endless hours of work, all the blood, sweat and tears begin to pay off. This is the moment, the chance, you have worked so hard for.

Biosecurity involves the implementation of many important procedures to help prevent the introduction and transmission of disease to your animals. Show animals face an increased risk of exposure to infectious diseases that can be transmitted by animals, people, equipment and vehicles.

“You’re taking animals from various locations and production backgrounds, and putting them in a new environment,” said Neogen veterinarian Dr. Nick Wagner. “You’re having spectators come to these sites, and that obviously increases the susceptibility to disease for those animals.” [ More … ]

Spain tests African swine fever vaccine

Spain, a country that has successfully fought to eliminate African swine fever (ASF) from its borders in years past, is testing a potential new vaccine against ASF virus. The oral vaccine has been tested so far on wild boars, but if the results are successful, it could be used to protect the country’s domestic herds.

A team of Madrid-based researchers tried the vaccine on nine wild boar piglets, and the results were as hoped.

“Our study demonstrates the effectiveness of the first oral vaccine against this disease on Eurasian wild boar,” said a co-author of a paper on the research, Jose Angel Barasona. “Overall, we demonstrate that oral immunization of wild boar conferred 92% protection against a highly pathogenic strain of ASF, which is currently circulating in Asia and Europe.” [ More … ]

CDC reminds public not to wash raw chicken; some consumers still doubtful

Health agencies have shared the message again and again: Washing raw meat just causes the bacteria to splash around your sink, your hands and your clothes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tweeted a reminder about this fact recently: “Don’t wash your raw chicken! Washing can spread germs from the chicken to other foods or utensils in the kitchen.”

Many Twitter users fired back, casting doubt on the idea that washing isn’t sufficient for getting rid of bacteria. Others vehemently insisted that washing chicken was what their families have always done, and they weren’t interested in shifting gears. Some pointed to homemade remedies believed to provide a more thorough wash, like soaking the raw meat with lemon juice, vinegar or saltwater (though these ingredients do not kill bacteria, according to science).

Others still pointed out that they believed they could eliminate bacteria concerns by washing counters and sinks after rinsing chicken. While disinfecting the countertops is always a wise choice and should be done anyway, rinsing chicken is still ineffective in the first place. [ More … ]

Tox Tuesday: Emerging threat report shows sharp fentanyl increase

Each quarter, the National Drug Early Warning System releases a report outlining the latest public health threats posed by new psychoactive substances (NPSs), including synthetic cannabinoids, cathinones, opioids and benzodiazepines.

The first quarter 2019 report is now live. It’s compiled from data originating from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and provides a snapshot of the U.S. psychoactive drug market.

New as of last year, the report includes fentanyl, due to its increasing importance in the opioid crisis. The 2019 first quarter report shows 541 identifications of fentanyl, fentanyl-related compounds and new opioids — a 43% increase from a year ago. Fentanyl accounts for 77% of the opioid identifications.

You can check out the full array of data online here.

Tox Tuesday is our regular feature on the latest drug trends, with primers on the latest technologies in the world of forensic drug testing. Read the rest of our Tox Tuesday series here.

Evaluating the general public’s food allergen knowledge gap

People who work in food production and processing, as well as food-allergic individuals, can tell you a lot about food allergens — what they are, how they work, and even how they are regulated and labeled. A new study shows, however, that the general public may still have a knowledge gap about food allergens, including those who handle food in restaurants.

A team of researchers quizzed nearly 300 restaurant workers in Düsseldorf, Germany about their food allergen expertise. Could they identify major allergens? Did they know how allergic reactions worked, and did they feel comfortable serving food-allergic diners? Roughly 10% of people in Europe and North America have food allergies, and evidence suggests that percentage is growing.

“We looked at knowledge and attitudes, and the key finding would be that the knowledge levels are not as good as we would expect in restaurant staff, because these are the people that are handling food on a daily basis,” senior researcher Adrian Loerbroks told CNN.

The findings: [ More … ]

How to protect against equine influenza

The threat of equine influenza took the horse racing world by storm this year as an above-average number of infections cancelled races in the United Kingdom. It was the first time in 15 years that horse races were canceled for flu concerns.

The ongoing U.K. outbreak has seen 69 cases, mostly in England, but one as far north as Aberdeenshire in Scotland. The highly infectious virus has also been seen recently in the U.S. states of California, Arizona, Ohio, Indiana, Washington and Tennessee. The Horse reports that equine influenza cases have been increasing in both the U.S. and Europe as of late.

Biosecurity is best

The virus that causes equine influenza is about as contagious as can be, meaning horse caretakers have to be vigilant. It can survive for two days on a surface, so horse equipment and stables should be disinfected frequently and methodically. [ More … ]

CDC says foodborne illness rising: What does that really mean?

This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced its findings for last year’s foodborne illness rates: reports of Salmonella, Campylobacter and Cyclospora infections were up.

Hold up, though. Are more people getting sick? Not necessarily.

The CDC recently published research suggesting that the increase may be due to better testing and reporting methods.

“The incidence of foodborne infections has remained largely unchanged,” the agency said in its report. [ More … ]

Neogen announces further improvements to Ultra dairy CIP and milk bulk tank cleaning range

Neogen announced today that it has made further improvements to its Ultra range of clean-in-place (CIP) and bulk tank cleaners for dairy hygiene.

Neogen BioSecurity’s Ultra Circ alkaline and Ultra Acid acidic range CIP cleaners are essential to thoroughly clean milk protein and fats from pipelines and milking equipment to ensure milk safety and quality.

The Ultra range also includes products formulated to clean milk bulk tanks and pipelines. In addition, specialist products include the Ultra R range for robotic milking systems, and Ultra MSR, which is formulated to prevent and remove build-up of milkstone mineral deposits.

The improvements are part of a continual investment programme in new product development and regulatory approvals for the Neogen BioSecurity range. [ More … ]

Neogen at Petfood Forum 2019

Neogen will be exhibiting at the Petfood Forum next week in Kansas City, Missouri and we would love to see you there!

Booth #1508 is the only place you will find:

  • Raptor® Integrated Analysis Platform — The most efficient lateral flow test strip reader for mycotoxin detection with three ports and built-in incubation
  • ANSR® Listeria Right Now™ — Enrichment free environmental Listeria detection in under one hour
  • 16S Metagenomics — Identifies the genus of each bacteria present in a sample, which enables you to find and eliminate spoilage organisms in your facility

Our representatives are ready to answer any questions and explore your food safety needs.

USDA report shows effects of wet weather on grain quality and planting

The U.S. Midwest has faced heavy rain and snow this spring, leading to massive amounts of flooding and drenched fields. Planting of some major crops has been delayed, and worries are elevated about grain quality in the face of numerous challenges.

Winter wheat

About 9% of winter wheat was in the headed stage as of April 21, down from a five-year average of 18%.

The heading stage is when the molds that produce the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol, or DON, are most prone to develop. DON is created by the fungus Fusarium graminearum, which thrives in cool, wet weather. Animals that eat feed contaminated with the mycotoxin can face feed refusal, vomiting, diarrhea and immunosuppression.

This week’s U.S. Department of Agriculture report breaks down current winter wheat conditions: [ More … ]