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FDA Investigation Finds Cattle Implicated in Leafy Greens E. coli Outbreak

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a statement saying that its investigation into the 2020 outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 tied to leafy greens found that cattle grazing on lands near leafy greens fields could have increased the risk of product contamination. The new findings confirmed the presence of a recurring strain of E. coli O157:H7 in a region within California’s Salinas Valley. This could serve as a potential source to be associated with future contamination events. The growing season in this region is currently over, and no product is available for purchase.

FDA’s findings will be detailed in a final report on the investigation. Its findings underscore the importance of the Produce Safety rule and the preventive steps, as outlined in its Leafy Greens Action Plan, to protect consumers. FDA investigators looked at samples from dozens of ranches in the Salinas Valley area. Investigators tested samples from leafy greens, but none showed E. coli contamination when initially collected. The outbreak was first announced in October 2020.

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Scientists Discover Vibrio Can Go Dormant and Then Wake Up

Research scientists in England have discovered that a certain type of Vibrio bacteria can go dormant and later “wake up.” Vibrio parahaemolyticus can cause gastroenteritis when it infects raw/undercooked shellfish, such as oysters and mussels, that are later eaten by consumers. If temperatures are cold, the bacteria can become dormant and can remain in a hibernation state for long periods before resuscitating. 

V. parahaemolyticus generally grows in warm and/or tropical marine environments, but in recent years, due to rising sea temperatures, it now can be found in UK waters during summer months. The University of Exeter scientists who discovered the population of dormant cells that are better at waking up also discovered an enzyme that is involved in the process. Although most of the bacteria die when they encounter poor growth conditions, some subpopulations can stay dormant. These findings have major implications for seafood safety, since the dormant cells aren’t detectable using routine screening tests, and the true bacterial load (amount of bacteria) might not be found.

The study was partially funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, with Lyons Seafoods providing additional funding and support. Click here to read the full study.

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Image credit: Dr_Microbe/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

FSA Defines “Use-By” and “Best-Before” Dates to Avoid Consumer Confusion

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) recently posted on social media to avoid confusion caused by a campaign that told consumers to smell, look at, and taste food to determine whether it is spoiled.

FSA’s official accounts linked to its website so that consumers may understand what “use-by” and “best-before” dates really mean.

Recently, Too Good To Go initiated a campaign with food banks to help consumers understand date-label terminology and help cut back on food waste. The campaign involves smelling and tasting food. The “Look, Smell,Taste, Don’t Waste” campaign currently has 25 food brands signed up, including Arla, Danone, and Nestlé. The goal of the campaign is for brands to switch verbiage from “use-by” to “best-before” labels in certain circumstances, as well as set up package reminders to consumers to use their senses in deciding whether to eat food past its “best-before” date.

In addition, the European Food Safety Authority has released a resource for food companies to help employees decide whether “use-by”or “best-before” verbiage should be used. “A use-by date on food is about safety. This is the most important date to remember. Foods can be eaten until the use-by date but not after. You will see use-by dates on food that goes off quickly, such as meat products or ready-to-eat salads,” the FSA website states. FSA recommends not eating, cooking, or freezing food after the use-by date. The food could be unsafe to eat or drink, even if it looks or smells fine. However, some products, including meat and milk, can be frozen before the use-by date, so FSA recommends consumers plan ahead.

The “best-before” date, sometimes abbreviated as BBE (best before end), is more about quality. Consumers can still eat the food after this date, but it may not be at its best—its flavor and texture might not be as good. Foods with a BBE date include frozen foods, dried foods, and tinned foods. Also, the BBE date will be accurate only if the food is stored according to the packaging instructions.

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Image credit: ilbusca/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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BumbleBar Inc. recently recruited Jake Blaylock as the company’s quality food safety manager.

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Jim Higley, whose engineering, design, and construction experience has led to success across the food and beverage and industrial biotech industries, is joining CRB as director of business development.

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Loren Rivkin, the fourth generation of Saf-T-Gard International Inc. family ownership, was promoted to Saf-T-Gard president and COO.

Bürkert Fluid Control Systems has appointed Des McCarthy as the new account manager for Ireland.

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Nellson Nutraceutical LLC, a full-service nutritional bar and powder provider in North America, has announced the appointment of Jean Filion to chief executive officer.

Wish Farms is pleased to announce the hiring of Brian Deese to the role of director of blueberry grower relations.

Joe Yanda, current chief operating officer of Lakeside Foods Inc., will replace Glen Tellock, president and chief executive officer, who announced his intention to retire later this year.

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Solenis and Diversey Sign Global Partnership Agreement

Solenis, a manufacturer of specialty chemicals, has signed a global partnership agreement with Diversey, a global company in the hygiene, cleaning, and infection-prevention industry. Diversey will become Solenis’s new distribution partner for its complete portfolio of water and process treatment chemicals to the food and beverage industry.

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Micrology Laboratories LLC Announces Name Change to Roth Bioscience LLC

Micrology Laboratories LLC has changed its name to Roth Bioscience LLC. The change reflects a reorganization of the company after an acquisition of limited assets took place in June 2019. The new name holds the namesake of its founder, inventor Dr. Jonathan Roth, and symbolizes an entrance into the market with an updated product portfolio, adding several new technologies. The roots of Dr. Roth’s newly released products continue down the long line of patents and widely accepted technologies he developed that make it easy and cost effective to test for microorganisms throughout the water and food/beverage industries.


Loftware and NiceLabel Combine, Becoming the Largest Global Labeling Company

Loftware Inc., an enterprise labeling and artwork management solutions company, and NiceLabel, a developer of label management systems, are combining under the Loftware corporate umbrella. This union gives customers and partners an expanded choice of solutions while providing enhanced labeling capabilities and the benefits of greater investment in cloud-based solutions and technologies. It also brings together 60 years of combined expertise in solving labeling challenges for companies of all sizes throughout a wide range of industries across the globe.

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A robust and diverse food supply is an essential part of the health-and-nutrition response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The World Health Organization, together with its partners, is providing nutrition and food safety guidance and advice during the COVID-19 pandemic for governments, food businesses, health workers, and the general public to maintain good health and prevent malnutrition in all its forms. This site is regularly updated, based on new scientific evidence as the pandemic evolves.

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