The Food Safety Consortium Newsletter

Vol. 9, No. 4

Autumn 1999



Industry Praises HACCP Roundtable

Meeting of Minds Clears a Path for Food Processors

Each month several key managers at food processing plants around Arkansas take a day away from their offices, drive to Fayetteville and gather in an executive conference room with a view overlooking the Ozark Mountains, Razorback Stadium and the new freeway to Fort Smith. Lunch is served to the group and they talk among themselves for a few hours.
 
This gathering of competitive business executives is the scene of information exchanges that they hope will help each other. But no secret in-house information is traded. No one shares anything that would interest an antitrust lawyer. To the contrary, the executives even invite government officials into the room with them before the day is over.
 
They gather to fine tune and improve their compliance with federal food safety regulations that govern meat and poultry processors. They call themselves the HACCP Roundtable (HACCP is the acronym for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, the science-based system by which plants examine key steps in their processing procedures as places to prevent, reduce or eliminate possible contamination hazards).
 
They visit the University of Arkansas campus each month, where the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science hosts them, moderated by Frank Jones, an Extension section leader at the poultry center. Chris Wagoner, the HACCP coordinator for the Townsend poultry processing plant in Batesville, has been making the trip for a year and a half and has found benefits he hadn't expected.
 
"One of the things that has happened is that the relationship between the plants and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has improved," Wagoner said. "Instead of trying to get by with something, it's more of a focus on what is the right thing to do. Ten years ago it was what you might get away with. Instead of USDA having a 'gotcha' mentality, it's 'what can we do to help you?'."
 
Wagoner works for a plant that employs 700 people, which makes it a large plant by USDA's classification standards. Plants of 500 or more employees became subject to USDA rules governing HACCP inspection in January 1998. That means they had to have detailed plans on file and approved by USDA that showed how the plant would implement scientific procedures at appropriate steps to control contamination.
 
Plants classified as small &emdash; from 10 to 500 employees &emdash; became subject to HACCP inspection rules in January 1999. The last group &emdash; classified as very small plants, with fewer than 10 employees &emdash; will come under the new rules in January 2000.
 
Plants regulated by USDA must implement HACCP plans and meet food safety performance standards. The government requires that they run tests to confirm that the standards are met. The USDA's on-site inspectors at each plant oversee the process. All plants are also required to have standard operating procedures in place that describe their daily routine to ensure sanitation. USDA verifies each plant's procedures. Plants that fail to correct problems can lose their marks of inspection, which can shut down their operations until corrections are made.
 
Because the burden is largely on the plant personnel to carry through with the inspections of their own procedures to insure food safety, USDA inspectors examine their paperwork to verify that they are doing what they proposed. HACCP records maintained by each plant are required to show records of microbial testing by the plant for E. coli bacteria and by USDA for Salmonella. USDA says these tests are designed to provide data that show if the products are meeting its performance standards.
 
The plants represented at the HACCP Roundtable in Fayetteville are usually from the top two categories in size. John Marcy, an Extension food scientist at the U of A, noted that very small plants don't have enough personnel for managers to break away for distant meetings.
 
"Usually these plants have one management person and five or six employees. They can't shut down for a day," Marcy said.
 
Although the personnel from very small plants are unable to attend training sessions such as those in Fayetteville, their counterparts in larger plants sometimes cover for them because it's in their interest to do so. The Cargill Foods Honeysuckle White plant in Springdale has helped some smaller plants establish the frameworks of their HACCP plans, recently for a very small plant that must have its plan ready to go by January.
 
"There are some small plants that we do business with," explained Bob Galbraith, technical affairs manager for the Cargill plant in Springdale. "I think a lot of other big companies have done the same thing to protect our interests. We can't afford to have our suppliers have problems."
 
Those who do attend the university's three-day HACCP training workshops &emdash; the university holds three a year and attracts about 35 participants at each one &emdash; come away with more than just lectures. The participants divide into small groups and actually develop the model of a HACCP plan for a hypothetical plant.
 
"They go through this type of exercise and get instructions," Marcy said. "Part of doing a HACCP plan is learning how to defend it and think along those terms."
 
Large companies such as Tyson Foods of Springdale began processing under HACCP procedures long before the government mandated it, but even experience and plentiful resources don't provide automatic answers to new questions.
 
"The HACCP Roundtable has been beneficial for the industry and the USDA," said Ellis Brunton, Tyson's vice president for research and quality assurance. "A lot of us in industry have been hoping for an educational and interactive process in HACCP in which both industry and USDA participated. The university has been a good conduit on this."
 
The presence of USDA representatives at the sessions enables the industry personnel to discuss the interpretation of regulations that may be unclear to those who must apply them. Galbraith finds the dialogue with USDA beneficial to both ends of the conversation.
 
"The USDA understands the issues that we have," Galbraith said. "We understand their concerns. We try to work through the gray areas. For example, what's a food quality issue versus a food safety issue?"
 
The industry people find it makes just as much sense to talk to each other as it does to the government officials. Despite their competitiveness, they view food safety as common ground.
 
"Most of the companies that I've dealt with feel it's beneficial for them to send people to a non-company environment when it comes to food safety because that's not proprietary," Marcy said. "That's not a marketing advantage. Everyone rises and falls with that tide. No one comes out unscathed if there's a problem. Everyone gets hurt."


There Is No Risk-Free Lunch

To scientists and food industry executives, the phrase "food safety" generally refers to the process of making the food supply as safe as possible. That falls somewhere short of guaranteed perfection and they'll tell you that's because there are no iron-clad 100 percent fail-safe methods to assure that every last square centimeter of food coming out of a processing plant has escaped all possible contamination.
 
The mission statement of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) doesn't hedge on the issue. It declares that the agency is responsible "for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products is safe, wholesome and correctly labeled and packaged."
 
The government can inspect food for safety but it can't guarantee the safety of all meat and poultry regardless of any mission statement, says John Marcy, a University of Arkansas Extension food scientist.
 
In numerous other official documents, FSIS speaks of reducing contamination, controlling risk, assessing risk and other concepts that acknowledge the presence of risk . So some interest rose last spring when the agency offered for consideration a concept paper that discussed the idea of "risk-free food."
 
The concept of "risk-free" food is best left as an unstated goal and not a vision for FSIS, according to James H. Denton, director of the U of A Center of Excellence for Poultry Science. "The barriers to meeting the vision can be reduced to one simple obstacle," Denton said in a letter to FSIS: "Human behavior."
 
Denton serves on the Food Safety Consortium Steering Committee and as a member of the National Advisory Committee for Meat and Poultry Inspection. He points out that the overall objective of food safety efforts is to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Systems such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) production and processing procedures, education of workers in food service and retail businesses and education of consumers on safe practices in the home are designed toward that end.
 
But promotion of the concept of "risk-free food" as a vision for FSIS is irresponsible, Denton says, "because in the mind of the consumer it becomes an implied outcome." The concept results in expectations doomed to failure. "When the system fails, as it inevitably will, the validity, reputation and future of FSIS will be brought into question."
 
Denton maintains that under a risk-free mandate, the food industry would be expected to meet standards that are not scientifically achievable. He finds that implementing sound food handling practices is the best available way to manage the inherent risks of processing and preparing food.
 
"The food pathogens we are attempting to manage are ubiquitous and therefore must be managed at the point where reduction of risk is most efficient," Denton says. "The concept of risk free is not scientifically supported for food or any other life activity."
 
Human error can upset any well-laid plans for risk-free food. Denton cites potential examples of producers mistakenly engaging in unsafe production practices or food-service workers and consumers making errors in handling food.
 
"As long as humans are involved in the preparation of the foods we eat, mistakes will occur," Denton says. "As long as this is the case, the concept of risk-free food is just that: a very academic concept."


Packaging Methods Make a Difference for Irradiated Sausage

 
Although irradiated meat products aren't currently being marketed by the food industry, researchers are examining the effects of irradiation on qualities such as aroma.
 
At Iowa State University, researchers for the Food Safety Consortium looked at irradiation's effects on cooked pork sausage to find out what would happen in different types of packaging. The study found that irradiating the cooked pork sausage in aerobic packaging may result in some of the meaty aroma being diminished. The resulting odor was described by a sensory testing panel members as being like wet wool or wet hair.
 
The use of vacuum packaging, however, may protect against the development of off-odors in the irradiated sausages.
 
The study did not address whether the changes in aroma would be noticed by consumers or whether the acceptability of the product would be affected, said Dong Ahn, an ISU assistant professor of animal science.
 
"At this point our research is not going into how we can prevent or manipulate those types of processes," Ahn said. "We are examining is how it's going to happen and where it's coming from. The next stage is how we can prevent that."
 
Odors can develop in cooked meats through a process called lipid oxidation. Irradiation generates atoms that accelerate the oxidation process and the odors described as similar to wet hair. Irradiation also creates volatiles, molecules which are responsible for off-odors. In the research project, irradiated sausages produced more volatiles than non-irradiated sausages, except for those irradiated sausages stored for at least eight days.
 
Cooked meat is more susceptible to oxidative change than raw meat. "The cooking process destroys the structure of the muscle fibers," Ahn said, enabling air and oxidative molecules to interact and produce the odors.
 
The levels of fatty acids used in cooked meats can produce different levels of odors from lipid oxidation. Ahn noted that could mean processors would have a way to alter their methods to minimize the effect on irradiation-induced odors. A future phase of research will determine how to prevent undesirable qualities that might cause consumers to turn away from irradiated meat.
 
With packaging apparently making a difference in the aroma, it would appear that vacuum packaging might be preferred as a way of preventing the off-odors. But then color becomes the next factor to consider.
 
The use of vacuum packaging on irradiated cooked sausages causes the color to change to a more reddish and pinkish tone, Ahn said. Consumers generally like to see a color other than brown in their raw meats, but in cooked meat the situation is different.
 
"In the cooked meat we used, we did not add any type of curing agents to make the product pink as in sausages or hams. Therefore, the pinkish color would not be desirable to consumers," Ahn said. The next step would then be to educate consumers that a pink color doesn't mean that the cooked meat is of a bad quality.
 

Report From the Coordinator

By Charles J. Scifres

As this issue of the newsletter goes to press we are preparing for the annual meeting of the Food Safety Consortium. The events of that meeting will be covered in the next edition and there should be plenty to discuss. This is the 10th anniversary meeting of the FSC, which makes the occasion one for reviewing accomplishments and contemplating the future.
 
Issues in food safety are now a frequent topic of discussion in the public arena. Much of that discussion has been generated by the work of FSC personnel. For example, the emerging national debate over the concept of risk-free food promises to be a lively one, prompted in part by the commentary of the FSC's James Denton and John Marcy, both of the University of Arkansas. Their remarks on the topic are covered elsewhere in this issue and they are making a necessary contribution to the public's consciousness of the subject.
 
The topic of irradiation seems to be always renewing itself. The latest word is that Tyson Foods, the world's largest poultry producer, is planning to irradiate selected items and test market them next year. That's a prime example of the progress being made with this technology. Numerous researchers within and beyond the FSC are responsible for the developing confidence in irradiation, but one of the foremost is Dennis Olson of Iowa State University. His expertise is sought by industry, government and academic centers as the future of the process continues to look brighter.
 
Attention to microbiological research is one of the linchpins of the FSC's efforts. At Kansas State University, Daniel Fung has gained worldwide recognition for his work in rapid methods in microbiology. This year he has again stirred interest in food safety with his findings on the role of spices in fighting pathogenic bacteria. Fung's work in that area is also profiled in this newsletter.
 
A major national development in food safety was revealed recently by FSC personnel at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. UAMS and a new company, Safe Foods Corp., have teamed up to facilitate the regulatory approval for Cecure, a food processing treatment resulting from discoveries at UAMS. Cecure kills pathogens on food and prevents recontamination. The story of Cecure is also explained in this newsletter.
 
Responding to the public's needs is the ultimate purpose for the FSC's existence. Over the past 10 years some of the specific food safety issues before the scientific community have changed, but the focus remains the same: we are dedicated to producing research that enables our stakeholders to provide the nation the safest possible food supply.


In Meat Safety, One Treatment Is Better Than Three

Meat processors --- particularly those who operate small plants --- and consumers may benefit from a low-cost method for killing pathogenic bacteria. A research team at Kansas State University took three separate methods of decontaminating meat, combined them into one treatment and found that it was effective.
 
The finding is significant for small processing plants because they generally cannot afford to install the new steam pasteurization equipment that reduces surface contamination on meat. But combining the simpler procedures of exposing the meat to lactic acid, hot water and microwave treatments is a cost effective alternative and practical for them.
 
Daniel Fung, a Food Safety Consortium researcher at KSU, explained that the process is among the final hurdles for the meat to clear before it reaches the consumer.
 
"We take the meat that has already been cut, dip it in hot 2 percent lactic acid at 80 degrees C for a few seconds, then we vacuum package the meat. Then it goes through the microwave. The vacuum packaged meat will not be opened until it gets to the consumer."
 
An added benefit of the process is that the meat maintains its red color during the process and gets a few more days of shelf life after undergoing the treatments, although Fung noted that detailed research into that aspect hasn't been conducted yet.
 
"We have a defined time, temperature of treatment and vacuum package for the meat that enables it to keep its color," Fung said. Meat subjected to steam treatments can change color if too much steam is used. Fung said the formula generally consists of the lactic acid, 15 seconds of hot water at 70 degrees C and five seconds of microwave.
 
"When you zap it a little bit with the microwave it will kill the organisms on the surface," Fung said. "We don't want to cook the meat, so we are looking for the right combination of time, temperature and how many seconds of microwave so that the meat will not change color."
 
Before the KSU study, scientists knew that each of the three treatments of lactic acid, hot water and microwave were effective in reducing microorganisms from the surface of meat. But no studies had been done to evaluate the three treatments when used in conjunction with each other.
 
More work remains to be done to determine the effects of exposing the meat to longer microwave treatments of seven and 10 seconds and of increasing the temperature of the lactic acid solution to 75 and 85 degrees C. Longer exposure and higher temperatures could kill more microorganisms but would carry the risk of diminishing the red color.
 
"Heat will definitely change the color so we try to monitor at what limit we should set it," Fung said.
 
In the preliminary study, small strips of meat were used and now larger cuts (1- to 5-pound units) are being investigated.


Study: Cinnamon Kills E. coli in Apple Juice

Cinnamon is giving the spice rack a good name again.
 
Kansas State University researchers say that that adding ground cinnamon to apple cider can kill high levels of E. coli O157:H7, a potentially deadly bacteria sometimes found in unpasteurized apple juice.
 
The findings add to a similar study released a year ago by the same group. The earlier study indicated five "killer" spices &emdash; including cinnamon &emdash; were effective in eliminating E. coli O157:H7 in uncooked ground beef.
 
While last year's study didn't create a demand for cinnamon burgers, this year's report certainly has relevance for those who drink apple juice and possibly for those who eat applesauce.
 
"Cinnamon may be used during production of these products," said Erdogan Ceylan, a KSU research assistant who conducted the experiments. "Or, consumers could add cinnamon to the final product in their own homes."
 
Ceylan and Daniel Fung, the KSU Food Safety Consortium investigator who guided both studies, presented their findings July 27 in Chicago during the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists.
 
This year's IFT meeting was the second straight in which the KSU research group revealed findings on "killer" spices. Last year in Atlanta, they reported that garlic, clove, cinnamon, oregano and sage made ground beef safer.
 
"We're trying to control E. coli in almost all food products," Ceylan said. "We're expecting results in the near future on other studies that we're conducting."
 
In the apple juice study, Ceylan added approximately 1 million E. coli bacteria cells to one milliliter of pasteurized apple juice. The high E. coli count &emdash; a number so high that it would be considered uncommon for consumer food products &emdash; was used for experimental purposes only.
 
Then he added very small amounts of cinnamon. Even at 0.1 percent (or 1 part cinnamon to 1,000 parts apple juice), the researchers were able to kill 90 percent of the E. coli bacteria. At higher levels,the killing effect increased with the amount of cinnamon added.
 
"At 0.3 percent," Ceylan said, "cinnamon kills all of the E. coli bacteria."
 
The KSU researchers haven't been able to tie down exact measurements for adding cinnamon, but at 0.3 percent, a little over 1 teaspoon of cinnamon should be added to a 64-ounce bottle of apple juice.
 
"The idea is to control E. coli with natural resources," Ceylan said. "We can do it with chemicals, but we think this is a better way."
 
One other key finding in this study relates to apple juice left on the kitchen counter.
 
E. coli grows especially well at room temperature. Consumers who fear they've left apple juice out of the refrigerator too long can treat the juice by adding cinnamon, then re-refrigerating. Or, they can boil the apple juice prior to serving.
 
"Normally, buying pasteurized apple juice and keeping it refrigerated is the best choice for consumers," Ceylan said. "Adding cinnamon to apple juice, whether it is pasteurized or not, gives even more protection."
 
Ceylan cautioned that adding cinnamon does not guarantee 100 percent protection in apple juice. "It just helps to reduce the risk," he said.
 

Irradiation and Other Treatments Work Well Together for Ground Beef

 
Irradiation of ground beef --- a process already found to be effective in killing microbiological contamination in meat --- also results in a product that doesn't lose the qualities that consumers want. A Food Safety Consortium study showed that ground beef maintained its flavor, aroma, color and texture after it went through high-beam electron irradiation.
 
"We looked at a very specialized type of irradiation that relies on technology that was developed at Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque," said James Marsden, an FSC researcher at Kansas State University. "We wanted to evaluate this highly specialized form of irradiation and determine if it was valuable in minimizing the chemical changes in a product."
 
The KSU researchers determined that because product quality was maintained after irradiation, ground beef processing would be most effective if it employed combinations of irradiation and other food safety methods such as steam pasteurization.
 
Irradiation would be the final step in such an integrated process, Marsden said. "The ideal situation would be that you would have other control points in the process so that you come to the final step with the lowest possible level of contamination. That allows you to use low doses of irradiation to control the low levels of pathogenic bacteria that might be present."
 
The new irradiation process does not result in any loss of vitamins in the meat. Marsden noted that earlier research had found that other forms of irradiation sometimes caused a reduction in Vitamin B-1. "That can be a big issue for pork because pork is a big source of Vitamin B-1 in the diet," he said.
 
The new process relies on a different technology that prevents chemical reactions from occurring that would cause vitamin loss. "So we have flavor typical of what you'd get in the product and we didn't get any vitamin loss."
 
The tests on the ground beef patties were performed by panelists with extensive experience in testing meat products who had been trained in analyzing flavor, texture and aroma. Irradiation was found to have no adverse effect on the ground beef's juiciness, tenderness and flavor.
 
Studies from several years ago showed that some plastic packaging materials would create intense off-odors when ground beef was irradiated. Since then, advances in packaging materials and technology have resulted in more acceptable irradiated meat products, the KSU team said.
 
Irradiating the patties also resulted in a longer shelf life than those that had not been irradiated.
 

UAMS Team Unveils Pathogen-Fighting Agent

 
A major discovery by researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences offers global possibilities for helping to ensure the safety of the world's food supply.
 
A research team that includes Food Safety Consortium scientists at UAMS headed by Danny Lattin announced in September the application of a new product in the food processing industry and elsewhere.  "Quaternary ammonium compounds have been used for decades in mouthwashes and throat lozenges," Lattin explained.  "We found that this chemical is safe and kills E.coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter and other bacteria. In addition, it has a preventive effect. Once applied, it prevents recontamination by bacteria that may present themselves afterwards."
 
The project began as an effort supported by funds from the Food Safety Consortium. The research team disclosed its findings to the university, and the institution sought a "use patent" for the product from the U.S. Patent Office. The first of several patents was granted in 1994, and developmental work on the project has continued since then.
 
Members of the research team are Lattin, Philip Breen, Cesar M. Compadre and E. Kim Fifer &emdash; faculty members of the UAMS College of Pharmacy at the time of the discovery &emdash; Hamid Salari, UAMS research associate, and Phillip V. Engler, research consultant.  Lattin has since accepted the position of dean of the College of Pharmacy at South Dakota State University.  Michael F. Slavik, the remaining scientist/inventor, is a faculty member at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. 
 
This product is now the foundation of a new Arkansas company, Safe Foods Corp., which will seek the required federal approvals from the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and present it to the global marketplace.
 
"We believe the necessary approvals will be forthcoming within the next year," Ward said. "There is a tremendous worldwide market for this product. Food processors in Arkansas, around the nation and from abroad have already expressed an interest in it," UAMS Chancellor Harry Ward said.
 
Curtis Coleman, president and CEO of Safe Foods Corp., said the burden for commercialization of the UAMS patents now rests upon the company's shoulders. UAMS and Safe Foods signed an agreement in June 1999 that allocated the exclusive worldwide rights to the patents to Safe Foods. Safe Foods has performed necessary marketing research, conducted pilot projects at food processing plants and secured international intellectual property protection. The next step will be to obtain regulatory approval for the product from the federal agencies. It has already been trademarked internationally as Cecure.
 
"This is a wonderful example of how basic scientific research can lead to solutions to problems facing humanity," Lattin said.  "It demonstrates the true value of basic science research.  This effort also shows that university researchers can collaborate with the business sector to address societal needs."

Papers and Presentations

 
James Denton, Arkansas, presented briefings to members of the HACCP Coordinators Roundtable and to members of the Poultry Federation Board of Directors (for Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma) regarding the discussons of the National Advisory Committee for Meat and Poultry Inspection.
 
Amy Waldroup, Arkansas, was an invited speaker at the Poultry Science Association Campylobacter symposium in August during the PSA annual convention in Springdale, Ark.
 
Waldroup was also an invited speaker at the Center for Disease Control's National Leadership Conference to Strengthen HIV/AIDS Education and Coordinated School Health Programs in August in Atlanta.
 
Waldroup received a $49,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State, Research, Education and Extension Service for the Operation Food Safety-Arkansas Public Schools project. She also received a $110,000 grant from the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority for "Commercialization of Cetylpyridinium Chloride for Application to Foods."
 
V.K. Sharma, Evelyn A. Nystrom and Tom Casey, National Animal Disease Center, have published "Semi-automated fluorogenic PCR assays (Taqman) for rapid detection of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 and other Shiga toxigenic E. coli" in Molecular Cell Probes, 13: 291 302.
 
Evelyn A. Dean Nystrom, B.T. Bosworth and A.D. O'Brien, National Animal Disease Center, and Harley W. Moon, Iowa State, co-authored "Bovine infection with Escherichia coli 0157:H7" on pages 51-57 of the book "Escherichia coli 0157:H7 in Farm Animals" by C.S. Stewart and H.J. Flint, editors, published by CABI Publishing of Wallingford, Oxon, United Kingdom.
 
Irene Wesley, National Animal Disease Center, presented a lecture on "Campylobacter: Pubic Health Significance" in October at the University of Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico.
 
Curtis Kastner, Kansas State, presented a paper on "Pathogen Detection and Control" at the Grain Industry Alliance Annual Technology Review in September at the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kan. He presented another paper on "Food/Meat Safety and Research Needs" in September at the Kansas State University Excellence in Food Science meeting. Kastner also presented a paper on "HACCP &emdash; Its Application Pre- and Post-Harvest" at the Conference of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners in September in Nashville, Tenn.
 

 


Food Safety Digest

By Dave Edmark

Tyson Foods is becoming the first major player in the poultry industry to irradiate its products. Tyson of Springdale, Ark., announced in September that it had entered into an agreement with Titan Corp. of San Diego. Tyson will use Titan's electron beam pasteurization system at Titan's facility now under construction in Sioux City, Iowa. The two companies are preparing for a market test of irradiated products in the spring of 2000.
 
Tyson, the world's largest poultry producer, endorsed irradiation as a scientifically proven safe process "which dramatically reduces harmful bacteria in food products including poultry." The company also noted that irradiation can add days to the shelf life of refrigerated products.
 
Tyson acknowledged that irradiation is not the sole remedy to food safety problems because it also reduces the numbers of good bacteria that compete with harmful bacteria. "We strongly advocate continued adherence to the HACCP principles, good manufacturing practices, standard sanitation operating procedures and other preventive programs to be used in conjunction with cold pasteurization."
 
Tyson said it would offer its irradiated products as alternatives to some of its existing products for customers who decide to choose them over its non-irradiated products. "The long term consumer demand and the ability of the marketplace to support the cost of this technology will be our &emdash; and we believe the industries' &emdash; keys to future expansion," the company said.
 
* * *
 
Irradiation continues to make news on other fronts. In September, a coalition including food manufacturers and meat packers asked the Food and Drug Administration to extend irradiation to processed ready-to-eat meat and poultry products, fruits and vegetables, the agribusiness newspaper Feedstuffs reported.
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service regulates meat and poultry and is empowered to approve new uses of irradiation. But the FDA must first approve any new use of irradiation as a food additive.
 
Irradiation is currently on the verge of being fully authorized for raw meats. FDA and FSIS have approved the process and FSIS is completing the specific rules that will govern its application.
 
* * *
 
FSnet, a food safety news service, offers a daily summary of reports compiled by the University of Guelph in Canada. Anyone interested in receiving the daily report on e-mail can subscribe by sending a message to listser@listser.uoguelph.ca. Correspondents should leave the subject line blank and type the following in the message space: subscribe fsnet - L first name last name.
 
The daily summary is also posted on Iowa State University's food safety web site at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsafety/news.html.
 

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