- The Food Safety Consortium Newsletter
- Vol. 13, No. 2
- Spring 2003
- * Versatile Extracts
Work Wonders on Food Surfaces
- * Knowledge of
Irradiation Heightens Consumer Acceptance
- * The Bacteria
That Wouldn't Die and ISU's Comeback
- * Report From
- * FSIS Seeks
to Break the Cycle of Foodborne Illness
- * OFPA Hears
of Bioterrorism Act's Likely Effects
- * NAFS Research
to be Highlighted in New Orleans
- * FSC Displays
Work at Washington Exhibition
- * Papers and
- * Food Safety
- Versatile Extracts Work Wonders on Food Surfaces
- In the University of Arkansas food
science lab (from left) professor Navam Hettiarachchy and graduate
students Chun-Kai Yang and Ronny Horax implement the industrial
soy film manufacturing process.
- Some extracts including black tea and
grape seeds can do more good for foods than consumers would probably
expect. The extracts can kill dangerous bacteria, extend shelf
life, add color and enhance freshness. All the processors need
to do is work the extract into an invisible edible film on the
"We are incorporating these extracts that have excellent
antimicrobial activities into the edible films," said Navam
Hettiarachchy, a University of Arkansas food science professor
who is leading a research project on the topic for the Food Safety
Consortium. "We are going to use these in food products
such as poultry, sausage, meat and minimally processed fresh-cut
fruits and vegetables as a dip or spray."
Hettiarachchy's team found that black tea hot water extract was
potent in inhibiting the growth of Listeria monocytogenes.
Grape seed extract was effective in inhibiting Salmonella
typhimurium and E. coli O157:H7. The two types of
extracts were the most successful against pathogens among several
extracts screened from plants, herbals, vegetables, beans, grains
The extracts can then be incorporated into any of several edible
films - including soy protein, whey protein, gluten protein,
carboxymethyl cellulose, carageenan and pectin - that is applied
to a food product in a variety of ways.
"You can spray it, you can dip it, you can wrap it,"
The use of extracts in the film on products can extend their
shelf life for about two weeks. "Also, these extracts serve
as antioxidants because when you keep the meat for a long time,
it becomes rancid," Hettiarachchy said. "The extracts
prevent rancidity and kill or minimize the pathogens."
The edible film coating can also delay the ripening of tomatoes
by two to three weeks. "You can keep the freshness of baby
carrots, which usually dry up. The coating keeps the color and
the crunchiness for a longer period of time."
The edible films in these experiments use malic acid, an organic
acid that occurs in apples. "Consumers are used to eating
apples that contain malic acid," Hettiarachchy said. "So
when you incorporate the malic acid in the film-forming solution,
it not only has the effect as an antimicrobial, it also acts
as a plasticizer." The plasticizer makes the film more flexible.
That flexibility is helpful when the film is used to coat egg
shells. Hettiarachchy explained that the flexibility prevents
breakage of the eggs during transit, which currently averages
10 percent but could be reduced to 2 percent with this innovation.
Egg shells are also less susceptible to Salmonella when
they are coated with the extracts' film. "Usually Salmonella
can penetrate the egg shells. So when we coat the whole egg with
film solution we prevent the microbes from entering points of
entry through the shell."
The plant extracts are doing the major share of the work in working
with organic acids when the edible coating film is applied to
food products. These findings have generated a patent.
"Many industries are interested in the edible film we have
developed," Hettiarachchy said. "I hope we can commercialize
this film in a year's time. The film has unique properties and
can find numerous applications."
Knowledge of Irradiation Heightens Consumer
- The more consumers know about irradiation,
the more likely they are to have a positive attitude toward the
technology. If the source of their knowledge comes from the government
rather than industry, their likelihood of a positive attitude
is even greater.
"If we're thinking in terms of public health benefits from
irradiation, it's a matter of who should be informing the public
about it," said Sean Fox, an associate professor of agricultural
economics at Kansas State University who directed a consumer
survey for the Food Safety Consortium. "If U.S. Department
of Agriculture information has more credibility, maybe there's
a more active role for USDA to play in educating the public about
KSU researchers mailed a survey to residents in Manhattan, Kan.,
and Topeka, Kan., with questions about beef purchases and their
knowledge of food irradiation. One-third of the audience was
provided no information about irradiation except for a brief
statement about its effect on foodborne pathogens. The other
two-thirds received a brochure with answers to frequently asked
questions about irradiation.
But of those brochures, half were written to suggest that the
information about irradiation was from an industry source and
the other half was said to come from information provided by
USDA and the Food and Drug Administration.
Everyone who received a survey was asked what they would do if
their local store sold hamburger patties "treated by irradiation
to control Salmonella, E. coli and other foodborne bacteria."
The survey asked whether they would buy non-irradiated patties
at $1.69 a pound or irradiated patties at various prices ranging
from $1.79 to $2.09 a pound.
Of the respondents who did not receive an information brochure,
32 percent reported a positive attitude about irradiation. Of
those who received a brochure with information appearing to come
from an industry source, 66 percent reported a positive attitude.
Of those who received a brochure with information said to be
provided by the government, 76 percent had a positive attitude.
- Higher prices discouraged some respondents
from choosing to buy irradiated patties. With a price of 10 cents
per pound more than non-irradiated patties, 59 percent of respondents
said they would buy the irradiated product. But with a price
of 40 cents above the non-irradiated product, only 36 percent
were willing to buy the irradiated patties.
"Some people were asked if they would buy irradiated hamburger
at the same price as regular hamburger, and of those 82 percent
said yes," Fox said. "The fact that we were asking
some of these people about relatively steep price premiums brings
down the average."
The results showed that of those who received government-produced
information about irradiation, more than 70 percent would buy
the product if the price difference was only 10 cents per pound
higher. "When that premium goes up to 40 cents a pound more,
the percentage of those with government information who are willing
to buy it is just a bit over 40 percent," Fox said.
Fox noted that the data from the survey shows what the limits
might be for public acceptance of irradiated products and what
the public needs to know to buy such products. "Overall,
it's showing that when people get information about irradiation,
the majority are accepting the technology."
- The Bacteria That Wouldn't Die and ISU's Counterattack
- Meat, poultry and pork processors want
to avoid contamination from Listeria monocytogenes, but
they have encountered an interesting problem: the more that the
pathogenic bacterium is beaten down, the stronger it can become
to rise up and wreak more havoc.
A team led by Aubrey Mendonca, a Food Safety Consortium researcher
at Iowa State University, has developed a model designed to help
food processors take into account the heat resistant capacities
of Listeria monocytogenes.
Mendonca explained that processors of cooked and ready-to-eat
meats generally heat their products to prescribed levels to kill
the bacteria. The challenge appears to be that some of the bacteria
can tolerate high levels of heat, which is contrary to the studies
and models that indicate they shouldn't be able to survive.
Mendonca knows why this happens. The predictive models use bacteria
that grew in the lab, but the bacteria that survive in the processing
plant environment are of a more hardy stock.
"If I wanted to starve you and other people, there's no
doubt that we are going to get weak," Mendonca said. "When
you do that to bacteria, remember that they are not designed
with arms and legs to run away from a problem. They have to stay
there and fight. That's how they evolved for millions of years.
Bacteria have quick genetic switches so that they can produce
things called stress proteins. So while they are starving, they
produce stress proteins that make them stronger than in that
starved state. They are not strong enough to multiply, but they
are not going to go away."
The bacteria in processing plants emerge in a hostile environment
of dust, dirt and water condensing behind coolers, Mendonca said.
Back in the lab, conditions aren't so rugged. But that is where
Mendonca noticed processing plants were getting their predictive
models that guide them on how much to heat their foods. "Microbiologists
tend to grow organisms in rich media and use them in experiments.
But are those organisms in the laboratory representative of the
same organisms coming out the environment? No."
Mendonca's experiments have found that when conditions in the
lab are created to starve the organisms, they are the ones that
are more resistant to heat when they are placed in meat.
There are practical implications for processors. Organisms that
survive cleaning and sanitation may remain without nutrients
on food contact surfaces and develop heat resistance.
Suppose a power shortage develops in a processing plant halfway
through the heating process and the power resumes 30 minutes
later. "Should we go to the book and use the same protocol
or should we heat a little more for safety?" Mendonca asked.
"The question is are those organisms that survived the first
halfway heating resistant to the heat. Some may die, but those
that survive are a little more resistant."
The model designed by Mendonca's team considers the heat-resistant
capacities of Listeria monocytogenes when heating. In
some situations, the heat should be turned up to lessen the pathogens'
resistance. Also, the use of salt and sodium pyrophosphate in
meat can sometimes help Listeria monocytogenes to survive.
"If I had a product with a high salt level and another with
a low salt level and I heat them equally, the product with the
high salt level may need a little more heat to kill the bacteria
because there is less water available," Mendonca said, explaining
that heat works best when more moisture is available. An increase
in salt causes a decrease in the amount of free water in the
product, so more heat is needed to make up for the deficiency
and kill the pathogens.
Processors may still be able to use the models developed in less
stringent laboratory conditions and still avoid resurgence of
the bacteria during heating if their numbers of pathogens are
consistently low. "But if the numbers get high enough, you're
going to run into a problem," Mendonca said.
- Report From the Coordinator
- By Gregory J. Weidemann
- Food safety has been an important concern
for a long time, but the past 10 years can be regarded as a major
new era in its development. Public attention focused on the subject
in 1993 when an E. coli outbreak in hamburgers at Jack
in the Box restaurants in the Pacific Northwest sent 800 people
to the hospital.
It certainly wasn't the first time that food poisoning had set
off a wave of illnesses, but the incident got the attention of
government, industry, consumers and researchers in a way that
no previous occurrence had.
Things are different in many respects today. Janet Anderberg,
a food safety specialist with the Washington State Department
of Health, recently told a Seattle television station that the
outbreak changed approaches to food safety nationwide.
"In 1993, hamburger temperatures were being taken rarely,
if ever," Anderberg said. "The hamburgers at that time
weren't getting cooked in the middle. And the organism was allowed
to survive and be ingested by the people who ordered hamburgers."
Today, thanks in part to some important Food Safety Consortium
research at Kansas State University, restaurants and consumers
know they must cook meat to 160 degrees Fahrenheit at its innermost
point, and that they must verify it. Today, public health officials
can trace back the microbiological source of a food poisoning
outbreak within hours because of technology developed by food
safety researchers, a task that would have taken days a decade
In the past decade, food safety personnel have learned more about
the application of irradiation to meats as the federal regulatory
agencies have approved the use of this technology that can kill
pathogens in processed food. Scientists also have learned that
while irradiation is a vital element of food safety, it is not
a silver bullet. Pathogens will continue to appear throughout
the process of producing and delivering food, and research scientists
will continue to find new ways to fight them.
The research projects of FSC scientists that are regularly profiled
in this newsletter provide some perspective on this work. The
productivity from these projects makes it apparent that over
the past 15 years of the Food Safety Consortium's existence,
there have been and continue to be abundant opportunities for
further development of the science of safe food.
Our consortium - centered at the University of Arkansas, Iowa
State University and Kansas State University - is one of many
food safety research efforts under way across the nation. The
past decade has seen our tri-state consortium maintain the confidence
of the Congress, which has generously provided a grant each year
to support several projects at a time among our three universities
and their respective emphasis on the safety of poultry, pork
and beef. Most of those projects are completed in two to three
The FSC was founded in 1988, but it would be fair to say that
by 1993 we were hitting our stride. Things haven't slowed down
since then and we're ready to contribute to the next decade's
FSIS Seeks to Break the Cycle of Foodborne Illnesses
- These are excepts from remarks Elsa
Murano, U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Food
Safety, at the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association's
Chain Operators Exchange meeting, Feb. 24, 2003, in Miami.
... While we are well aware that foodborne illness can come from
many different sources, we also recognize that some commodities
face greater challenges than others. For example, raw foods of
animal origin have an inherent risk of harboring pathogens. As
a result, preventing and controlling harmful bacteria in these
products receives a major portion of USDA's resources under the
direction of the Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS.
By way of background, FSIS regulates meat, poultry and processed
egg products with an inspection force consisting of more than
7,600 individuals that are deployed throughout the country
every day in 6,400 plants and import stations. The agency
inspects products that represent more than one-third of all consumer
spending on food. This is an enormous responsibility and the
only way to accomplish our mission is to employ science and take
the guesswork out of the system. ...
Redefining the Farm-to-Table Continuum
The fact of the matter is that
our current inspection efforts, while greatly improved since
1998 with the introduction of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Point or HACCP system, do not extend from farm to table.
For a variety of reasons, some of them having to do with jurisdictional
authorities, FSIS is focused on the processing phase of the meat
and poultry chain, leaving other areas such as animal production,
transportation, product distribution, storage and retail
either underserved or not served at all. Yet, ultimately, we
all have a responsibility to make sure each link in this food
chain is strong. I also recognize that each of you is committed
to food safety and many of you must wonder whether there is something
more that can be done. The person that walks into one of your
outlets for the first time is not a stranger but an asset that
you want to cultivate over time; an asset that can pay dividends
with repeat patronage. One way to make that happen is a strong
commitment to food safety.
For our part, I believe that without major changes or additions
to our regulatory authority, we can expand our food safety efforts
and redefine the role we play in the farm-to-table continuum
of meat and poultry. Of course, we could maintain the status
quo and look to others for innovations. But this is not the time
for old ideas or tired thinking. Instead, we need to see our
food safety systems continue to evolve along with the great advances
we see in production, transportation and processing technologies,
many of which have been pioneered by companies represented in
From our perspective, the current inspection system operates
in a silo. Much of its focus is from the point animals are brought
in for slaughter to the time when the product leaves the processing
plant. I look at it as if our efforts are akin to a partially
opened umbrella that certainly is not providing as much public
protection as possible. Well, we need to open the umbrella to
cover the entire food chain. We must be present where we are
needed; we need to break down the silo approach to our food safety
efforts and provide complete protection for the American people.
As I have said from my first day at USDA: Protecting public health
through improvements in food safety is our number one priority.
Substantial Progress Made
Enhancing our efforts does not
mean we should overlook the significant improvements we have
already made to the current inspection system. The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention reported last year that the rate
of foodborne illnesses, across the board, has decreased dramatically
over the last six years due, in part, to the introduction of
We have also made great strides in improving the technical and
scientific knowledge of our inspection force. The introduction
of the Consumer Safety Officer corps is just one example of how
we have continued to introduce highly skilled, scientific experts
into the field to reinforce our veterinarians and front-line
inspectors. We are driven by the fact that the enormity of our
responsibility cries out for a science-based system and we continue
to incorporate this principle into the meat and poultry inspection
process at every opportunity.
However, we need to improve across the board in everything we
do, which also includes our public education campaigns; laboratory
testing; inspector training; and in-plant inspection procedures.
My question to you today is, given these improvements, and all
that we still need to accomplish, how do we collectively get
to the next level of food safety?
As I said, despite our gains, there are a few things that are
strong indicators that we have much more work to do with our
inspection efforts. This past year we endured two of the largest
recalls in FSIS history, prompted by both E. coli O157:H7
and Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks. Let me reassure
you: We are not in Washington to set recall records but we take
our public health mission very seriously and will do what is
necessary to accomplish that mission. Nevertheless, such large
recalls are not new, they have been occurring since before implementation
of HACCP. Therefore, we must employ science in a way that breaks
this familiar cycle, and all of us in this room certainly have
a vested interest in making this happen.
According to the CDC, there has been a major Listeriosis outbreak
in the U.S. every two to four years and E. coli O157:H7
infections due to consumption of undercooked hamburgers are almost
an annual occurrence. If we continue on the same course as our
predecessors then we can expect similar developments to continue
over and over. Ladies and gentlemen, I think it is worth repeating
that we must break this cycle. ...
Our food safety mission is simple:
We are declaring war on pathogens using an arsenal that employs
state-of-the-art science applied in a strategic and comprehensive
manner. We have identified the enemy; recognized our vulnerabilities;
developed our battle plan; made contingencies for setbacks; and
drawn our vision for victory over foodborne pathogens. I am here
today to enlist your help in this war.
We must revolutionize our role and improve the quality and depth
of meat and poultry inspection in a quantum leap that will focus
on the underserved areas in the current farm-to-table continuum.
Our battle plan contains three main steps to improve food safety
... These are:
1. Bridge the gaps in monitoring food safety programs;
2. Develop an infrastructure for science-base policy making;
3. Ensure the application of validated decontamination methods
- Bridge the Gaps
Bridging the gaps is a crucial
step in taking food safety to the next level. Granted, FSIS does
not have jurisdiction over ranches or feedlots. However, we have
the expertise necessary to develop guidelines for these critical
steps in the process. I think it is time that we considered such
a step, and we need the help of producers to develop such guidelines.
Along with better production controls, to truly revolutionize
our current system in order to win the war on pathogens we need
to identify other areas in the food chain that are being overlooked.
Secondly, our talented and dedicated
leadership team has made it clear to the FSIS workforce and to
the industry that we regulate, that science will dictate our
food safety programs. Yet, believe it or not, there is no formal
infrastructure for science-based policy making. You cannot craft
a solution in this highly complex food production world if you
have not specifically identified the problem, which is exactly
at the heart of any risk management strategy.
Currently, we operate under a number of different models and
sometimes are required to change policy as new crises emerge.
I believe there is a better way. Government, industry, foodservice,
academia and all other interested parties need to come to terms
on how best to conduct risk assessments. If successful, then
such a plan would be the first of its kind in the world. America
has always been the leader in food technology and science. Now
we can demonstrate it once again in a way that will benefit all
of our citizens.
To accomplish this, we need a central, state-of-the-art source
for development of risk assessment models. We are working now
on designing such a plan. It is getting increasingly difficult
to manage a threat when we are unsure of its pervasiveness. Risk
assessment provides this vital element. The benefits of using
risk assessments can be seen in our recent initiatives on E.
coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes. ...
Validated Decontamination Methods
The third element in our war on pathogens needs to be the application
of validated decontamination methods throughout the farm-to-table
Industry, foodservice and the federal government need to work
together to develop and implement decontamination strategies
that work in real-life settings such as those you face everyday.
There are numerous other private-public sector efforts that can
serve as a model for our joint technological effort such as the
Partnership for Food Safety. Your participation in these efforts
is critical to their success. ...
Certainly, the benefits outweigh the risks. I strongly believe
that by declaring war on these agents, we will break the merciless
cycle of foodborne illness and achieve our mission of enhancing
the health status of Americans by significantly improving food
We have a historic opportunity to -- not only do what is right
-- but to do what is needed. I have a bumper sticker in my office
that I try to live by everyday, although I sometimes fail to
do so. It says: "what is right is not always popular, and
what is popular is not always right". Ladies and gentlemen,
let's do what is right, and in the end, we will be judged by
the results we achieve, and not by the popularity of our methods.
- OFPA Hears of Bioterrorism Act's Likely Effects
- Last year's federal Bioterrorism Act includes
major provisions for food safety and "its effects are going
to be profound," an industry official told the Ozark Food
Processors Association at its 97th annual convention in March
in Springdale, Ark.
Regina Hildwine, senior director of food labeling and standards
for the National Food Processors Association, said the legislation
will have an impact "on virtually every food company, food
processor, food wholesaler, food distributor, food additive manufacturer
and food equipment manufacturer."
The food industry did not oppose the bill last year and was active
in negotiations over its content, Hildwine said. Its provisions
include the development of a national food security strategy
to be written by the President's Council on Food Safety. The
law also gives a high priority to increasing the Food and Drug
Administration's inspections of food, especially imports, she
"The idea is to be looking for food adulteration, particularly
intentional adulteration," Hildwine said. "FDA is going
to conduct research on methods to detect food adulteration."
The law also provides for administrative detention of food products.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture already has such authority
over meat and poultry products. The new law extends that authority
to other foods regulated by the FDA.
"Instead of seizure, the FDA is now going to be able to
put food products on hold for up to 20 days," she said.
"FDA is now also authorized to put food imports on temporary
hold so that they may continue food safety and security investigations
if they have reasonable and credible evidence that there is a
Domestic and foreign food facilities must register by Dec. 12
with the FDA under the law. The provision applies to facilities
that produce, hold and handle food products that are destined
for sale in the U.S. Exempt from the registration requirement
are farms, restaurants and retail stores.
"FDA has language in its proposed rule that says in some
instances private residences may have to register," Hildwine
said. "Private residences have to register if the food that
is produced or held in that residence enters commerce."
She said that means homes preparing foods for Girl Scout groups
or church bake sales would not have to register, but individual
residences engaged in commerce are not exempt. "We're trying
to figure out how FDA is going to enforce this. This is something
that we're trying to fix."
Also addressing the convention, food allergy expert Steve Taylor
of the University of Nebraska said from 6 million to 7 million
Americans have food allergies that prompted up to 200 deaths
and 29,000 emergency room visits in a year. Taylor, the co-director
of the university's Food Allergy Research and Resource Program,
said scientists now have the tools to detect potentially hazardous
residues of allergenic foods that are contained in other food
Recalls of products with allergens that weren't listed on the
labels have decreased among larger companies in recent years,
Taylor said. "The people who are causing the issues now
are smaller companies." He cited FDA surveys showing that
25 percent of products in some food categories contain undeclared
peanuts, an allergen.
The FDA "is not going to continue to let these products
go out on the market with inadequate labeling," Taylor said.
"They are sometime very soon going to start hammering companies."
- NAFS Research to be Highlighted in New Orleans
- The National Alliance for Food Safety
will present a mini-symposium of its research accomplishments
on Aug. 9 in New Orleans. Principal investigators who have pursued
projects with NAFS grants during the past three years will deliver
presentations about their work.
The NAFS is a partnership of 19 universities and the U.S. Department
of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. ARS has made competitively
awarded grants to collaborative projects involving NAFS university
scientists and ARS scientists. Twenty-one grants have been awarded
in the past three years.
The NAFS meeting will precede the annual meeting of the International
Association for Food Protection, which will meet Aug. 10-13 in
New Orleans. Details about lodging and other logistics concerning
the symposium will be announced later. Questions may be directed
to Rebecca Tate in the NAFS facilitator's office at 979-845-2855
- FSC Displays Work at Washington Exhibition
- The Food Safety Consortium displayed summaries
of its research in March before members of Congress and legislative
staff at a reception on Capitol Hill. The National Association
of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges hosted the event,
which featured displays from about 40 universities and research
"The Land-Grant System: Science and Education Working for
and Serving the Needs of America" was the theme of the event.
The FSC display included a large poster with photos of its research
projects at the University of Arkansas, Iowa State University
and Kansas State University and brief listings of major food
safety work at each campus. The FSC booth also offered visitors
copies of the annual report and The Food Safety Consortium
Newsletter and free novelty items.
FSC scientists and administrators were present at the display
to answer questions and discuss the Consortium's work with visitors
from federal agencies, congressional staffs and other universities.
- Papers and Presentations
- Daniel Fung,
Kansas State, was the Institute of Food Technologists Fellows
University Visitation Program speaker in January in Hilo, Hawaii,
where he lectured on "Control of Foodborne Pathogens."
He was also a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii
where he performed a successful experiment using the Fung double
tube system for rapid monitoring of Clostridium perfringens
in water, which can indicate fecal contamination in water within
six hours rather than the 48 hours under the current system in
use in Hawaii.
Fung also was keynote speaker in February in Philadelphia at
conferences on Rapid Methods: Establishing Best Practices for
Identifying, Automating and Validating Microbiology Test Methods,
sponsored by Barnett International, and Effective Management
of Pharmaceutical Microbiology Quality Assurance Programs, sponsored
by CBI Corp. In March, Fung was the keynote speaker at the International
Union of Food Science and Technology symposium in Shanghai, China.
Also in March he was an invited professor at Monterrey (Mexico)
Technological University where he delivered nine lectures on
Fung recently served on the USDA Post Harvest Food Safety Competitive
Grant Panel and currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences
Committee on New Indicators for Fecal Contamination in Water.
R.J. Danler, Elizabeth Boyle, Curtis Kastner, Harshavardhan
Thippareddi, Daniel Fung and Randall Phebus, Kansas
State, co-authored "Effects of Chilling Rate on Outgrowth
of Clostridium perfringens Spores in Vacuum Packaged Cooked
Beef and Pork" in the Journal of Food Protection,
66 (33): 501-503.
Harshavardhan Thippareddi, K. Juneja, Randall Phebus, James
Marsden and Curtis Kastner, Kansas State, published
"Control of Clostridium perfringens Germination and
Outgrowth by Buffered Sodium Citrate During Chilling of Roast
Beef and Injected Pork" in the Journal of Food Protection,
66 (33): 376-381.
John (Sean) Fox, Kansas State, published "Existing
U.S. Barrier for BSE Needs Strengthening" in Feedstuffs,
Vol. 75, No. 8, Feb. 24, 2003. Jutta Roosen, Jayson L. Lusk
and Fox wrote "Consumer Demand for and Attitudes
Toward Alternative Beef Labeling Strategies in France, Germany
and the UK" in Agribusiness, An International Journal,
19 (2003): 77-90. Lusk, Roosen and Fox also wrote "Demand
for Beef From Cattle Administered Growth Hormones or Fed Genetically
Modified Corn: A Comparison of Consumers in France, Germany,
the United Kingdom and the United States" in American
Journal of Agricultural Economics, 85 (2003): 16-29.
Food Safety Digest
By Dave Edmark
- The subject comes up now and again, and
there was little surprise when the General Accounting Office
recently called again for merging the various food safety responsibilities
spread across the federal government into one food safety agency.
The GAO - the auditing and investigative arm of Congress - said
the level of foodborne illnesses "continues to raise concerns
about the federal government's effectiveness in ensuring the
safety of both domestic and imported foods."
The GAO said the food safety system currently has a fragmented
structure and criticized "significant problems with the
effective implementation of the a relatively new science-based
inspection system - the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Point system (HACCP) - that was intended to enhance food safety."
The GAO says that while it has supported the risk-based HACCP
concept of food inspections, it noted that "we recommended
in December 2001 that USDA proceed cautiously with modified inspections
to ensure that, among other things, industry personnel are adequately
trained." USDA inspectors have not consistently identified
problems and have allowed plants to remain out of compliance
for long periods, the GAO said.
It cited as an example of inconsistencies that the U.S. Department
of Agriculture has the authority to require food firms to register
so they can be inspected and so it can detain any suspect foods,
but that the federal Food and Drug Administration has no comparable
* * *
The nation's smallest food processing plants were given the most
time to make the full mandatory implementation of HACCP inspection
systems. During 2002, the Food Safety and Inspection Service
operated an outreach program to provide technical assistance
to meet their needs.
FSIS classifies small plants as those with 10 to 499 employees;
very small plants are those with fewer than 10 employees or annual
sales of less than $2.5 million.
FSIS sponsored 30 courses across the country for operators of
these plants. The courses covered targeted sanitation, pathogen
reduction and HACCP.
* * *
Mississippi State University recently received a grant of more
than $1 million for the study of pathogens in poultry production
to determine the best point for treatment efforts. The U.S. Department
of Agriculture granted the funds to MSU for a three-year project
being coordinated by the university's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Researchers from the MSU Extension Service and the USDA Agricultural
Research Service will participate with scientists from Sanderson
Farms and Peco Farms poultry companies.
"Our long-range goals are to assist the meat and poultry
industry in meeting the requirements of current and future food
safety regulations and to improve the safety of meat and poultry
products," said Hart Bailey, assistant professor veterinary
medicine. "A lot of Mississippians depend on the poultry
industry for their livelihood, and an even larger percentage
consumes poultry. Therefore, we have a vested interest in producing
the best product possible."
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