‘Defending the flock’ from Newcastle and other diseases starts with proper disinfection

An updated campaign launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture aims to limit the spread of poultry disease, which has producers paying attention after recent outbreaks of Newcastle disease in both commercial and backyard flocks alike.

The campaign, “Defend the Flock,” was first launched in 2016 by the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and aims to protect the U.S. poultry industry, which is one of the largest in the world. Defend the Flock was created as a response to severe disease outbreaks of recent years, including 2015’s outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. It has been used to respond to this year’s outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease.

“In 2015, I was deployed to Washington, Iowa and Minnesota and experienced firsthand the devastation caused to the commercial industry by this disease,” Dr. Alan Huddleston of APHIS said. “These outbreaks remind us all that poultry health can be fragile, and that we all need to work together to keep our nation’s poultry healthy.” [ More … ]

Scottish swine industry aims to eliminate PRRS

What’s the best way to fight porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS)? Well, tough biosecurity controls are always essential, but Scotland has set forth towards an ambitious goal: eradicate it.

Since 1992, when PRRS was first discovered in Scotland, the disease has gone on to affect 40% of the nation’s swine herds. The Press and Journal says the estimated cost is about $52,000 (£40,000) annually for a 500-sow herd.

“As pigs with PRRS are affected by secondary infections, eliminating the virus would help reduce antimicrobial use in pigs and could also reduce abattoir condemnations due to chronic health issues such as pleurisy,” Quality Meat Scotland chairman and veterinarian Grace Webster said. [ More … ]

The food safety of your phone’s newest emojis

Later this year you’ll be able to adorn your texts and tweets with a cornucopia of new food-related emojis (though sadly, we have yet to receive an actual cornucopia emoji), among others.

The Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit tech organization that coordinates the coding of emojis, text and other symbols between all computers and devices, announced 2019’s new emoji list last month. The list includes 230 changes, including new icons and updates to preexisting ones. The new icons vary widely, from prosthetic arms giving thumbs-up, a cuddly otter and a pair of men’s briefs, but nine of them depict some tasty foods we eat every day.

Since we’re food safety lovers here at Neogen, we have one first thought when we look at the list: What are the biggest food safety topics tied to each of these foods? Every food item has its own unique challenges for producers, processors and consumers alike, and some of them may surprise you. [ More … ]

Neogen’s top 4 episodes with Food Safety Matters podcast

Since it was established in 2017, Food Safety Magazine’s Food Safety Matters podcast has been an invaluable resource for the food industry. Some of the biggest names in food safety have joined the podcast’s hosts to discuss the hottest topics, from outbreaks to blockchain to metagenomics and beyond.

Among these guests include a few key Neogen experts, offering their insights on some of the latest technology to impact food safety. Today, we’re bringing you the top podcast episodes that feature Neogen voices.

But first, our latest episode — Neogen: Meet MSU’s Food Processing and Innovation Center. We talk about Michigan State University’s new Food Processing and Innovation Center, the first of its kind in the U.S., which will be Michigan’s leading independent commercial food development, processing, packaging and research facility. You can listen to it here.

On to the top four: [ More … ]

Neogen at Natural Products Expo West

Neogen is attending Natural Products Expo West March 7-9 in Anaheim, California, and we hope to see you there!

Stop by Booth #147 in the Arena to learn how Neogen’s food safety diagnostic products, like our new Reveal® 3-D for Coconut allergen test kit, help you protect your brand.

Product Demos at Expo West

Maleah Benn of Neogen Technical Services will show how Reveal 3-D allergen tests and AccuPoint® Advanced sanitation tests ensure food processing equipment, such as tray sealing machinery from Point Five Packaging, LLC, is free from contaminants. Point Five’s Modified Atmosphere Packaging systems are designed to enhance food’s shelf life, functionality and appeal.

Tox Tuesday: Will the U.S. truck industry move to hair drug testing?

In the U.S., the only federally approved method for commercial driver pre-employment drug screening is to test urine samples.

This could change thanks to a proposed transportation bill that would allow trucking companies to use hair testing in addition to, or instead of, urine to meet federal requirements. Advocates for the legislation point to a few advantages to hair testing, including its longer range of detection, which they say could more effectively screen drug-using job candidates. According to CCJ Digital, one major trucking company that uses hair tests in addition to the required urine tests has turned away 5,000 candidates in the past 13 years after these candidates passed the urinalysis but failed the hair test.

The introduction of the bill is long-awaited. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was supposed to issue guidelines for hair testing in 2016, but did not do so. In October 2018, the department was ordered by the Opioid Response Act to provide an update on its progress in the guidelines, an update that has not yet been issued. [ More … ]

Neogen Viroxide Super broad spectrum disinfectant launched

ROCHDALE, United Kingdom, 4 March, 2019 — Neogen announced today that it has added Neogen Viroxide Super disinfectant to the Neogen BioSecurity range.

Neogen Viroxide Super is a DEFRA-approved (FMD, SVD, General Orders), peroxygen-based disinfectant. It has an independently proven, non-resistant, oxidative chemistry to cause extensive damage to the protective mechanisms of microbial cells, giving optimum kill of bacteria, viruses, fungi and spores. Neogen Viroxide Super has known chemistry benefits for emergency disease control accepted by governments worldwide.

Neogen Viroxide Super is effective in a wide range of temperatures, in hard water conditions, and in the presence of heavy organic matter. Product applications include disinfection of hard surfaces, equipment, livestock housing, vehicles and foot dips, and aerial fogging and misting applications as part of terminal and continual disinfection programmes.

The Neogen Viroxide Super range has updated packaging and new formulations to highlight the premium quality of these value-added disinfectant products for the poultry, pig, equine, livestock and veterinary sectors, as well as government organisations for emergency disease control. [ More … ]

Recent gene editing discovery could make gluten safe for all consumers

When we think of gene editing, our minds might go to stories of giving new traits to humans, or editing animals to be more disease-resistant. We might not think of plants, first. But the reality is, gene-editing in plants could have some of the more practical and important applications in the future, better positioning our food supply to feed a growing global population.

Researchers from Wageningen University in The Netherlands have used modern gene-editing techniques to make gluten safely edible to people with gluten intolerances.

The team of scientists used a technique called CRISPR/Cas9 to destroy the damaging antigens of gluten, the epitopes. They’ve managed to do so without compromising the genes that allow gluten’s role in making baked goods.

“Not all of these genes have the toxic epitopes and with this new CRISPR/Cas9 technique it’s possible to remove part of them and leave the non-toxic ones,” said researcher Jan Schaart.

Bread wheat’s genome, the entirety of its DNA, is about five times larger than that of a human being’s. The genes for gluten are located in multiple places, making targeting them difficult. [ More … ]

‘Dating app for cows’ helps farmers match cattle

The latest matchmaking app to hit smartphones is like many others: swipe one way for a match, swipe another to reject. The only problem is that it’s a little hard for the targets being matched to swipe with their hooves.

Tudder is an app that allows farmers to swipe through pictures of cattle that might be potential breeding partners for animals in their herds. It works similarly to human dating apps that allow users to screen potential dates, eliminating options with a swipe of the finger on the touchscreen.

For each option, the app presents information obtained through genomic testing that could be useful when considering an overall breeding program, including milk yield, protein content and calving potential. [ More … ]

The Food Safety Zone brings new resources to the frozen food industry

Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) is a persistent foodborne pathogen. It can survive in cold temperatures and has a habit of thriving in niches in the food production environment, making it hard to eradicate.

To that end, the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) has unveiled a new food safety resource for the frozen food industry: The Food Safety Zone, an online information library with videos, checklists and other guides for topics including environmental monitoring, sanitation controls and more — related to L. mono and beyond.

“It takes many people to keep food safe,” said AFFI President and CEO Alison Bodor. “This comprehensive resource allows the manufacturing sector to search for, access and incorporate food safety practices created by food safety professionals for food safety professionals.”

The resource is the culmination of two years of work of AFFI’s Food Safety Working Group, a team of more than 70 frozen food industry experts. One of these experts is Neogen’s Product Manager for Pathogens George Nagle, who served as a team member in bringing together the most recent best practices and technology advances for environmental monitoring. [ More … ]