- The Food Safety Consortium Newsletter
- Vol. 12, No. 3
- Summer 2002
- Biosensors Promise
Rapid Detection of Food Pathogens
- Qualified Personnel
Is HACCP's Vital link, FDA Official Says
- A Dash of Dried
Plum Keeps Burgers Safer
- FSC Work at Arkansas
Recognized by National Geographic
- Report From the
- Research Shows
Vitamin E Helps Turkeys Resist Pathogens
- Papers and Presentations
- FSC to Host Symposium
at Annual Meeting
- Food Safety Digest
- Biosensors Promise Rapid Detection of Food
- PHOTO CUTLINE: UA research specialist
Zhenyu Zhang examines a capillary column used as an electrochemical
sensor to detect harmful bacteria in food products. Such sensors
promise to speed up detection of harmful bacteria in food processing
- Biosensors being developed at the University
of Arkansas can detect harmful bacteria during food processing
in a matter of hours, much faster than conventional methods that
take days to detect pathogens.
Yanbin Li, a Food safety Consortium researcher and biological
engineer for the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, is
leading an interdisciplinary research team to develop fast, reliable
methods for detecting E. coli, Salmonella typhmurium and
other illness-causing bacteria during poultry processing. "The
food industry would like to detect a host of pathogens in a matter
of minutes, to keep up with the pace of food processing, and
we're working toward this," Li said.
The methods developed in Li's lab employ sensors with names
like immuno electrochemical biosensor, capillary column bioseperator/bioreactor,
chemiluminescent optical fiber biosensor and impedance immunosensor.
"These are prototypes for tools that will help industries
ensure safe foods for consumers," Li said. "Our ultimate
goal is to develop working models that can detect the smallest
possible presence of several types of pathogens, as rapidly as
possible. We'd also like to have it in a portable unit."
The first step in measuring the presence of pathogens is to
separate the target bacteria from the food sample, Li said. Then
the sensor must produce a signal that can be converted to readable
data that measures the presence of pathogens.
Most of the sensors he's developed use antibodies to trap specific
bacteria. Li said an immuno-optical capillary column-based biosensor,
for example, pumps the sample solution through capillary columns
- tiny tubes - lined with antibodies that can capture bacteria.
The sensor then uses secondary antibodies labeled with an enzyme,
such as alkaline phosphatase, to produce a signal that can be
measured optically or electrochemically.
"A cluster of capillary columns, each one using a different
antibody, could be used to test for multiple pathogens in the
same sample," he said.
At this point, Li is focusing on methodology, working with UA
scientists in poultry science, food science, biochemistry and
electrical engineering. They are exploring new technologies that
can make sensors smaller, more accurate or faster.
The prototype sensors he's developed can detect several pathogens,
including Salmonella and Lysteria, but so far he's had the most
reliable results with E. coli 0157:H7, one of the most
prevalent illness-causing bacteria found in foods. "We have
to evaluate antibodies and enzymes to find the ones that are
most suitable for each pathogen and are stable enough for use
on sensors," he said.
The next step will be to automate detection. "We want to
be able to simply drop the sample in a unit and wait for the
Li said the University of Arkansas is working with a Fayetteville
firm to create a company through which this technology will be
transferred to the poultry industry.
"Speeding up the detection of pathogens in processed chicken
could save the food industry millions of dollars by avoiding
product recalls," he said. "And consumers can have
more confidence that they are buying safe foods."
- Qualified Personnel Is HACCP's Vital Link,
FDA Official Says
- Education is turning out to be more of
a critical component of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Points system than anyone originally expected. Both regulators
and industries that implement HACCP need personnel on the line
that have the appropriate level of scientific expertise.
- Donald Kraemer of the federal Center
for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) explained his concerns
during a session of the Institute of Food Technologists national
convention earlier this year. CFSAN, a branch of the Food and
Drug Administration, is responsible for enforcing food safety
regulations that industries must meet within the HACCP framework.
Food processors develop HACCP plans that are then evaluated
by FDA or state inspectors. "We know that there is going
to be a component of the application of science both by the regulator
and by the industry to develop and review HACCP plans,"
To bring the FDA regulators to the necessary level of expertise,
the agency developed a training course for them. The personnel
who visited processing plants were instructed in the mechanics
of HACCP inspections, how to perform hazard analyses, how to
review a processor's HACCP plan and how to evaluate the implementation
of that plan.
"So we did all that training but I still think we have
some problems with both the industry and some regulators on the
understanding of some scientific principles," Kraemer said.
Confusion and frustration can result if key people in a processing
plant don't understand the instructions or the recommendations
they receive from the regulators, Kraemer said. The regulators
are in a similar spot if they don't understand what they need
to do to evaluate an industry's HACCP plans.
Kraemer noted that before HACCP was implemented, "regulators
have been well rewarded in their culture by a command-and-control
system." But HACCP systems allow for flexibility and the
application of scientific principles. When regulators don't understand
the science, they revert to the command-and-control system.
"That creates problems because it is counter to what HACCP
is all about," Kraemer said. "HACCP needs to be a system
where the processors develop their own plans that are properly
tailored to their facility."
To maintain and improve HACCP as a functioning system, "we
need a better scientific base for both industry and regulators,"
he said. CFSAN is discussing how to get its own personnel to
that level. "I think there needs to be national discussion
as to how we get industry as well as regulators to a higher level
of scientific expertise so that they can better implement HACCP."
With HACCP regulations now a fact of life in food processing
industry for the past few years, Kraemer suggested that regulators
and industry begin asking what is the best way to evaluate the
effectiveness of a HACCP program. Checking to determine whether
the number of illnesses has fallen is a starting point, but "there
is still far too much underreporting for a supportive evaluation
system to be based on number of illnesses."
Determining the reduction in the number of pathogens is another
method of evaluation. That system works well for many commodities,
but Kraemer noted that it is not as reliable for seafood because
there is not a single hazard that affects seafood as is the case
with many other commodities.
Seafood regulators have settled on monitoring increases in the
adoption of preventive controls in the industry. "For example,
what is the percent of the industry that has properly identified
their hazards?" Kraemer said. "Set their critical limits
appropriately? What is the percent of the industry that is consistently
monitoring their critical control points? That approach makes
good sense to FDA."
Not everyone outside the FDA sees it that way. Kraemer said
there is still skepticism as to what levels of compliance tell
about the likelihood that illnesses are being reduced. A General
Accounting Office audit of the seafood HACCP program argued that
"as long as FDA was not measuring reductions in pathogens
or contaminants, we were really not evaluating the effectiveness
of the program at all. This is forcing us to rethink this issue
and how we publicly look at the effectiveness of our program."
- A Dash of Dried Plum Keeps Burgers Safer
- Here's a new solution to protect hamburger
meat from bacterial contamination: prunes. And as a bonus, they
keep the burgers juicy.
It's not yet time for consumers to look for ways to cook prunes
into their ground beef. The procedure requires dried plum extract
that commercial food processors use. But Food Safety Consortium
research at Kansas State University is pointing the way to improving
the safety of ground beef for large-scale preparers.
"The addition of dried plum mixtures can control foodborne
pathogens in uncooked meat products," said Daniel Fung,
a KSU food scientist who conducted the research with graduate
student Leslie Thompson with support from the California Dried
Plum Board. The research experiments showed that using the extract
significantly reduced levels of Salmonella typhimurium, Yersinia
enterocolitica, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes
and E. coli O157:H7 in uncooked ground beef and uncooked
pork sausages that had been deliberately inoculated with the
pathogens for testing.
Prunes' benefits for the meat don't stop with the suppression
of pathogens. Fung said earlier research by Jim Keeton, a meat
scientist at Texas A&M University, showed that the extracts
keep the ground beef moist even after reheating. Reheated ground
beef tends to be dry and tough.
"A dried plum has a compound called sorbitol, which retains
moisture," Fung said. "So they found that if you heat
and reheat the hamburger with the dried plum extract, it will
still be moist and juicy.
"That's very important because there are a lot of school
lunch programs that cook hamburgers in large batches and then
send it to the schools to reheat it. Students say it's too hard
The work by Fung's team has attracted interest around the world.
The California Dried Plum Board sent him to discuss the findings
in Japan, the largest importer of California prunes. He also
met with U.S. Army officials at their Natick food research center
in Massachusetts to discuss the practical application of dried
plum extract in rations that must be reheated.
Other benefits accompany the process. There is no distinctive
taste from the extract, so the meat's flavor isn't altered. Its
use would not result in special labeling on products because
it is a natural compound, Fung said. Also, the researchers have
determined that the extract extends the ground beef's shelf life
for more than a week at 7 degrees Celsius storage temperature.
- FSC Work at Arkansas Recognized by National
- Food safety research at the University
of Arkansas was profiled in photographs in the May edition of
National Geographic magazine. The magazine presented a
24-page article on food safety concerns around the world and
ways that scientists, industries, government officials and consumers
are dealing with them.
Two photographs depict research efforts by scientists at the
UA, the only university whose work in food safety was included
in the article.
One full-page photo, taken in the food science department laboratory
supervised by Professor Michael Johnson, shows petri dishes containing
colonies of Campylobacter, a bacterium found on retail
chickens. UA researchers are examining ways to reduce the incidence
of Campylobacter on raw chicken.
Another photo on a facing page features Lisa Bielke, a graduate
student in the poultry science department, spraying chicks with
"healthful" bacteria in an experiment to determine
if those bacteria can overcome the harmful Salmonella
bacteria on chickens. Bielke works in the Poultry Health Research
Laboratory supervised by Professor Billy Hargis.
The National Geographic article was more than a year
in the making. Jim Richardson, the magazine's photographer who
visited Northwest Arkansas in July on the assignment, spent five
days shooting photos of food safety-related activities on campus
and off campus. Richardson predicted that he would take close
to 1,000 photos in the course of the assignment that took him
to several countries overseas. The food safety article contained
21 photos from around the world, including the two UA photos.
The UA was also included in a web-only audio-visual presentation
that was available on the National Geographic web site
during the spring. The web feature, which is no longer on line,
was a seven-minute photo montage narrated by Richardson and consists
of photos that weren't published in the magazine. Among them
was a photo of UA food science researcher Marlene Janes showing
a chicken patty that has been coated with an invisible film to
protect against bacteria.
- Report From the Coordinator
- By Gregory J. Weidemann
- We at the Food Safety Consortium are
researchers first and foremost. This statement may seem obvious
to readers of this newsletter, but not everyone else has received
the message. Some people incorrectly believe that we sell products.
Others mistakenly presume we are lobbyists. We have even received
inquiries from people asking for recipes.
Sorry, but we're just researchers who rely on science to seek
ways to assure the safety of the animal meat supply from the
producer to the processor to the consumer.
As researchers, we're sympathetic when we hear from one of our
own who has gone on to what could be called a bigger laboratory.
Dr. Merle Pierson spent 30 years in the academic world engaged
in research and other activities before he recently left Virginia
Tech University to become deputy undersecretary for food safety
at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He said in a recent speech
that government work is a substantial change from his work at
the university, even though he dealt extensively with government
and industry in his former position.
When he spoke in May to the International HACCP Alliance in
Chicago, Pierson discussed the USDA's list of food safety goals.
These goals include biosecurity, improved management of agency
programs and improved coordination with sister agencies. Those
are important, but there are two other goals Pierson listed that
should catch the eye of food safety researchers.
One goal is to base policy decisions on science. The use of
risk assessments is one way of achieving this goal. "Our
risk assessments must pass the rigor of the peer review process
in order to be a credible source for risk management decisions,"
Pierson said. "We're also engaging the scientific community
to help us work through complex issues, such as the proper application
of performance standards."
Pierson also said that USDA is engaging the scientific community
through a series of symposia. These symposia cover such topics
as pathogen reduction and implementation of performance standards
for ensuring meat and poultry safety, topics that Food Safety
Consortium researchers also explore in their work.
Pierson also listed as a goal the engagement of USDA in aggressive
food safety education programs. Consumer education on safe food
handling procedures continues to be vital and must be widened.
USDA, he said, "will continue working with industry and
other government agencies at the state and local levels to educate
producers, retailers and others." The emphasis on education
at the federal level coincides with the FSC's thrust to include
research focusing on better ways to achieve consumer education
It is gratifying to know that the FSC's research is on the same
page as the USDA's food safety goals and priorities. It is also
no accident. Researchers, government officials, industrial executives
and consumers work to keep an efficient flow of ideas and results
coming from the science that is our best hope for conquering
the threats to the safety of our food supply.
- Research Shows Vitamin E Helps Turkeys Resist
- One way of keeping turkeys healthy on
their way to market is to guard them against infection by pathogenic
Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Food Safety Consortium
scientists have found that Vitamin E helps the turkeys resist
the infection because it increases their white blood cell counts.
Vitamin E is a dietary supplement that boosts turkeys' immune
response, explained Irene Wesley, a microbiologist at the National
Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, where she is leading the
FSC study with Iowa State University faculty researchers Aubrey
Mendonca and Dong Ahn. Previous studies by Ahn showed that Vitamin
E fed to turkeys prolonged the shelf life of the turkey meat.
"Vitamin E in the bird increased a type of immune cells
known as T lymphocytes," Wesley said. "The lymphocytes
that are increased in the presence of Vitamin E are lymphocytes
that have a certain marker on them known as CD-4. These are helper
lymphocytes that are needed to boost the immune response. Those
are the good guys."
Birds treated by Vitamin E also have lymphocytes labeled CD-8
that kill infected cells and help eliminate foodborne pathogens.
Vitamin E also provides a bonus of preventing the off odors
that occur after oxidation, the combination of oxygen with the
turkey meat. "Vitamin E tends to inhibit the deterioration
of the meat and the off odor so the quality of the meat is protected,"
Wesley said. That much was known because of Ahn's earlier work
on Vitamin E, which prompted the researchers to look into its
qualities of pathogen protection.
Industry is interested in future findings on Vitamin E's impact
on pathogens in turkeys, but it's too soon to determine if the
vitamin should be a significant dietary supplement for turkeys.
"We know from our contacts in the turkey industry that the
use of antimicrobial drugs in turkey production is going to be
phased out," Wesley said. "Vitamin E, since it boosts
the immune response, will lead to a healthier bird and therefore
diminish the use of antimicrobials."
Wesley's research team is testing both natural Vitamin E and
synthetic Vitamin E to find out if either is more effective in
boosting turkeys' immune responses.
After researching the effects on Listeria monocytogenes,
the scientists will begin investigating Vitamin E's effects on
Salmonella in turkeys. "One of our studies has us
trying Vitamin E with Salmonella to see if we get the
same kind of lowering of the Salmonella levels that we
saw with Listeria," Wesley said. "We're expecting
to see a boost in the immune response and associate this with
a diminution of carriage of foodborne pathogens."
Meijun Zhu conducted experiments elucidating the immune respone
of Vitamin E-primed turkeys experimentally infected with Listeria
monocytogenes. Wasin Charerntantanakul is measuring immune
parameters in Vitamin E-treated turkeys experimentally infected
Vitamin E is just one vehicle for potentially reducing foodborne
pathogens in animals. Another one in conjugated linoleic acid,
commonly known as CLA. The researchers' preliminary studies indicated
that CLA in the diet changed the meat's fatty acid content and
influenced the meat's storage stability.
The use of Vitamin E or CLA, separately or in combination, may
improve the birds' immune response and reduce the colonization
of potential foodborne pathogens in their intestines, Wesley
said. Either dietary supplement can also lessen the changes in
turkey meat caused by oxidation and enable the turkeys to keep
the original color that consumers want to see on display in the
- Papers and Presentations
- C. Dayton Steelman, Arkansas,
delivered a presentation on "Spatial Relationship of Alphitobius
diaperinus and Salmonella typhimurium During Broiler
Flock Growouts" at the Entomological Society of America
annual meeting in December. Keith O. Strother, Arkansas,
presented a paper on "Incidence of Campylobacter
in Broilers and the Lessermealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus
(Panzer), During Broiler Flock Growouts." Steelman also
has received approval for a two-year $128,814 grant from the
U.S. Department of Agriculture for research on "Evaluation
of Monitoring Systems, Pathogen Detection and Alternative Tactics
for Filth Fly Integrated Pest Management in Broiler-Breeder Egg
and Turkey Facilities."
Mike Johnson, Arkansas, served on a USDA Cooperative
State Research, Education and Extension Service panel in April
to review the research, teaching, extension , and center activities
of the Food Science Department of Purdue University. He also
served on a USDA National Research Institute panel in May in
Washington to evaluate food safety research proposals in Washington.
Two photos taken from the laboratories of Mike Johnson
and Billy Hargis, Arkansas, were selected for use in a
major food safety article appearing in the May 2002 issue of
National Geographic magazine. James Denton, then the director
of the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science at Arkansas,
and David Edmark, Food Safety Consortium communications
director, helped coordinate the photographer's visit a year ago.
Marlene Janes, Arkansas, presented two invited papers
on bacterial pathogen detection and control in a short course,
"Rapid Techniques for Food Pathogens Detection on Fresh
Fruits and Vegetables and in Irrigation Water" in May at
the Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico,
and sponsored by a joint grant from the United States of America-Mexico
Foundation for Science. Janes also presented a research paper
with co-authors B. Lungu, graduate student, and Johnson
at the annual research meeting of the Institute for Food
Technologists in June in Anaheim, Calif.
Rama Nannapaneni, with co-authors Robert Story, K.
Wiggins and Johnson, Arkansas, presented a food safety
paper at the general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology
in May in Salt Lake City.
James Denton, Arkansas, participated in the following
activities in recent months: Conference for Food Protection,
Pre-Conference Symposium on Alternative Pasteurization Methods:
National Alliance for Food Safety, in April in Nashville, Tenn.;
Food Net Services
Food Safety Symposium-Microbial Testing Panel: "The Good
and the Bad," in April in San Antonio; Ozark Chapter of
the Federal Veterinarians: "The Role of Academia, Industry,
Government in an Evolving Food Safety System," in May in
Global HACCP Conference, panel moderator: "Prerequisite
Programs in Food Safety," in May in Chicago; host of senior
executives of Ecuador (Luis and John Bakker, Pronaca, Inc.) for
a tour of the University of Arkansas Center of Excellence for
Poultry Science and facilities and discussion of future relationships
with the Center in June in Fayetteville, Ark.; attended the National
Advisory Committee for Meat and Poultry Inspection in June in
Washington; attended the Poultry Federation Board of Directors
meeting in June in Hot Springs, Ark.; attended the Institute
of Food Technologists meeting in June in Anaheim, Calif., representing
the National Alliance for Food Safety and the Food Safety Consortium
and serving on the Planning Committee for future direction of
the IFT Food Safety and Quality Conference.
Phil Crandall, Arkansas, has received grants for the
following projects: Systematic Microbial Risk Assessment, $32,100
annually for three years from USDA; Food Safety and Food Irradiation,
$18,700 annually for three years from USDA; Enhancement of the
Safety of Poultry Products, $21,000 from the Food Safety Consortium;
Elimination of Off Odors and Flavors, $15,500 from the Food Safety
Consortium, and Effects on Shelf Life of Irradiated Poultry,
$5,500 from the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority.
In December 2001, Crandall organized a symposium on microbial
risk analysis for fruits and vegetables at the meeting of the
Society for Risk Analysis in Seattle. Crandall presented a paper
on hazard identification and exposure assessment for consumers
of fruits and vegetables with Corliss O'Bryan, Yanbin Li
and Ira Zakariadze; a paper on product liability related
to the sale of fruits and vegetables with Joe H. Hobson and
O'Bryan, and a paper on a quantitative microbial risk
assessment model for a broiler hatchery within a poultry production
and processing system with Zakariadze, Li and S. Wang.
Crandall, O'Bryan, Navam Hettiarachchy and Jubal Hausam,
Arkansas, and Dong Ahn, Iowa State, presented a paper
on ascorbic acid and sodium chloride effects on microbial stability
and quality characteristics of irradiated poultry breast meat
at the 2002 annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists.
Dong Ahn, Iowa State, presented a paper on "Causes
and Remedies of Off-Odor Production and Color Changes in Irradiated
Meat" at Intertech's fourth annual International Food Safety
Conference: Food Irradiation 2002 in March in Dallas. Ahn also
received a $23,494 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration for the purchase of SolarTek 72 Multi matrix vial
Autosampler and System Software and a $22,032 grant from the
National Pork Board for research on "Prevention of Pinking
and Prevention Investigator of Pinking and Off-Odor in Irradiated
Pork Loin." Ahn, Aubrey Mendonca and Eunjoo Lee,
Iowa State, received a $35,482 grant from the Midwest Poultry
Consortium for research on "Impact of Electron-beam Irradiation
on Survival of Listeria monocytogenes and Quality of Ready-to-Eat
Turkey Products During Refrigerated Storage."
Irene Wesley, National Animal Disease Center, was an
invited speaker for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Department
of Biology at the University of Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico,
in March. She spoke on "Microbes of Public Health Significance
to Food Safety."
Dong Ahn, Aubrey Mendonca, Irene Wesley and Joseph
Cordray, Iowa State, received a $550,000 grant for three
years under USDA-CSREES Program 406 National Food Safety Initiative
to study effect of dietary and irradiation interventions on the
pathogen reduction and quality of turkey meat.
Curtis Kastner, Kansas State, delivered presentations
on "Food Safety Research at a Time of National Emergency"
at the Merrill Advanced Studies Center annual meeting in June
and on "Food Safety Initiatives at Kansas State University"
in March at the Leadership Lecture Series for KSU's master's
of agribusiness program.
- FSC to Host Symposium at Annual Meeting
- The Food Safety Consortium will present
a symposium and panel discussion on risk assessment at 8 a.m.
Oct. 15 at the Holiday Inn in Manhattan, Kan., featuring five
prominent food safety experts. Researchers from the Consortium's
three member institutions - the University of Arkansas, Iowa
State University and Kansas State University - are hosting the
event as part of their annual meeting being held at Kansas State.
The speakers and their topics are:
- Dr. Catherine Woteki, Iowa State University
- Introduction to Risk Assessment
- Dr. Anna Lammerding, Health Canada - The
Science of Risk Assessment
- Ms. Jenny Scott, National Food Processors
Association - An Industry Perspective on Risk Assessment
- Ms. Lisa Lefferts, Consumers Union - Consumer
Perspectives on Risk Assessment
- Dr. Doug Powell, University of Guelph
- Communicating Risk Through the Media
- Questions from the audience will be taken
during the session. Lunch will be provided following the symposium
to provide additional opportunities to meet the speakers.
Registration is $50 for individuals not employed by the three
FSC universities. Employees of the FSC universities will be admitted
at no charge. To register, clip and mail the form
with payment. For additional information, call the FSC offices
at the University of Arkansas at 479-575 5647.
- To arrange for accommodations, call the
Holiday Inn at 785-539-5311.
- Food Safety Digest
By Dave Edmark
- There is less Salmonella in the
raw meat and poultry moving through the nation's processing plants.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released figures this spring
and said the results are due to the new inspection procedures
mandated by the government a few years ago.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said in April that the new
data showed Salmonella levels well below the baselines
that were set before plants were required to implement HACCP
programs. Under HACCP - the science-based Hazard Analysis Critical
Control Points inspection system that was required of plants
beginning in 1998 - plant personnel identify key points in processing
where contamination would be likely to occur and develop measures
to prevent or reduce them.
The statistics show that for 1998 to 2001, an average of 10.7
percent of broilers were found to have Salmonella compared to
20 percent before HACCP; ground chicken was down to 15.7 percent
from the pre-HACCP 44.6 percent, and ground turkey was down to
29.2 percent from the pre-HACCP 49.9 percent.
"HACCP has played a vital role in reducing pathogens,"
said Elsa Murano, USDA undersecretary for food safety. "While
the prevalence of Salmonella in meat and poultry products
has declined, USDA is continuously working to reduce the prevalence
of pathogens in meat and poultry and to improve food safety at
each step of food production, from farm to table."
* * *
Another effort to measure the effectiveness of HACCP has been
under way for five years and is showing positive results. USDA
has been conducting the HACCP-based Inspection Models Project
(HIMP) by collecting data from 16 of the participating plants.
HIMP tests whether new government slaughter inspection procedures
and HACCP controls can improve food safety. The program participants
are meat and poultry plants that slaughter only young, healthy
uniform animals -market hogs, fed cattle or young poultry.
Data from the program - which was collected by the research
organization RTI International - showed that improvements have
been made in detecting and controlling quality concerns such
as bruises and ingesta as well as food safety measures such as
infectious disease and fecal contamination, USDA reported.
The agribusiness publication Feedstuffs reported that
the personnel employed by HIMP participants take more responsibility
for eliminating carcass defects by determining at the beginning
of the slaughter line whether a carcass should be taken out,
rather than waiting form USDA inspectors to make a determination.
Murano said in June that USDA will continue soliciting input
on the process. "Decisions on whether to expand HIMP must
be based on sound science and meet our goals for enhancing food
safety," she said.
* * *
Rutgers University is starting a Food and Agriculture Biosecurity
Initiative as a way of guarding against threats to the food supply.
The New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers announced
that the initiative would asses the vulnerability of early warning
surveillance points in the food system.
Rutgers also said the initiative would concentrate on plant
and animal disease agents, potential foodborne pathogens, recombinant
infectious agents and vaccines. The initiative would work with
government and industry on prevention of threats to the system
and rapid communication systems for identifying those threats.
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