- The Food Safety Consortium Newsletter
- Vol. 11, No. 1
- Winter 2001
- * NAFS Plans New Structure for Research Centers
- * KSU Survey
Shows Education Boosts Irradiation Support
- * HACCP Raises
Costs Along With Standards
- * Report From
- * Cinnamon and
Preservatives Make a Safer Cider
- * Fung's Formula:
'Just Use More Garlic'
- * Billy Outlines
Strategy for Food Safety
- * Papers and
- * Food Safety
NAFS Plans New Structure for Research Centers
- The National Alliance for Food Safety
has set up a structure for accommodating research efforts by
its member institutions. The NAFS Board of Directors approved
a plan that establishes 12 Virtual Centers of Excellence, each
geared either to a commodity or an academic discipline of food
The board, during its annual meeting in November at Texas A&M
University, also decided to establish a task force of development
and administrative personnel that would seek new opportunities
for funding NAFS.
"The task force will visit officials in Washington and will
define a continuing agenda for food safety," said Elsa Murano
of Texas A&M University, chair of the NAFS board.
The board also learned that the USDA Agricultural Research Service
will have $1 million available for fiscal year 2001-02 to NAFS
researchers to be awarded through evaluation of competitive proposals.
This is similar to the current round of funding that is supporting
nine projects researching E. coli and Listeria.
Those projects consist of researchers from NAFS institutions
collaborating with ARS researchers. Requests for proposals for
the projects have been issued from ARS.
The organization of NAFS into centers of excellence will work
this way: Six centers will be oriented toward commodities - beef,
pork, poultry, dairy, plant products and seafood/aquaculture.
Six other centers will be oriented toward particular disciplines
- food safety education and outreach, risk analysis and policy,
food toxicology, detection and typing methods, microbial physiology
and ecology, and pathogen control.
The board decided that scientists at NAFS institutions would
choose which centers to join and that each center's personnel
would then choose a university from within their ranks to serve
as the center's lead institution for two years. That university's
representatives would be responsible for gaining their home institution's
administrative support. The center's lead institution would be
responsible for ensuring that the center produces at least one
research proposal a year that involves collaboration of at least
three members of the center. A lead institution that fails for
accomplish the objectives after one year will lose its status
and another institution will be elected to replace it.
In one year, the NAFS board will revisit the plan to determine
how it is working.
Each center will be allotted $5,000 from NAFS to be used in meeting
expenses associated with collaborating among the center's institutions
and forming research project proposals.
Other than the lead institution, the scientists' home institutions
will be designated as either primary or secondary members of
- Primary institutions are those that wish
to engage in a particular center's work as their primary research
focus and will elect their center's lead institution. Secondary
institutions will be those whose work in a center comprise their
Institutions may be primary members of no more than two centers
(one commodity-based and one discipline-oriented). Institutions
may be secondary members of as many centers as they choose.
"Each university delegation can reconsider its primary membership
designations after completing any two-year term," Murano
said. "In this way, institutions can have input as primary
members of multiple centers over an extended period of time."
Throughout the year, the NAFS Operations Committee will oversee
the activities of each center's lead institution and monitor
their compliance with the requirements. The committee will provide
official letters of support for projects submitted through each
center and will seek to establish research partnerships with
other federal agencies.
Murano said the new plans for NAFS would resurrect its visibility
and would improve food safety by coordinating research across
regions and disciplines. "NAFS will serve as a technical
resource to support the national food safety research agenda,
and will work toward improving funding for that agenda,"
The board also elected members of the Operations Committee for
four-year terms that will begin in June 2001. Les Crawford of
Georgetown University was elected to the administrator's position
and Jim Dickson of Iowa State University was elected to the scientist's
KSU Survey Shows Education Boosts Irradiation Support
- As industry and retailers consider whether
to offer irradiation of meat products, the attitude of consumers
is a key element in determining how widespread the availability
of such products will become. Recent surveys indicate that most
consumers have a positive attitude toward irradiation, but information
about the process is vital in shaping those views.
Surveys by Food Safety Consortium researchers at Kansas State
University showed that consumers tended to want to buy irradiated
meat once they had been presented with positive aspects of irradiation
that refuted negative claims about it.
"In the survey, we do provide them with some information
about irradiation," said Sean Fox of the KSU economics faculty.
"But the more education you get to them, the more favorable
their attitude. Just giving them a pamphlet, while having a positive
effect, is not going to convince 100 percent of the people that
this is a good thing."
The surveys of 96 consumers in Kansas tested attitudes about
irradiation by first providing science-based information from
the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "We asked them to make
a choice between buying irradiated packages of chicken breasts
and the typical non-irradiated chicken," Fox said. "With
that baseline information, 80 percent made the choice for irradiated
chicken and they actually purchased it."
Next, the survey team provided the consumers some negative information
about irradiation from Food and Water, Inc., an advocacy group
that opposes irradiation. The consumers were shown the Food and
Water statement that claimed irradiation may be linked to cancer
and birth defects, causes lower vitamin levels, eliminates the
smell emitted by spoiling meat and poses environmental risk because
of the use of radioactive materials.
Upon reading this material, the consumers were asked if they
would buy irradiated chicken if they could repeat their previous
decision. This time, the segment choosing irradiated chicken
fell from 80 to 43 percent.
Then the survey team showed consumers a video from the ABC News
program "20/20" in which protests against irradiation
were investigated. The reporter concluded that food irradiation
was safe. The survey monitor then reviewed the Food and Water
claims about irradiation with the consumers and noted that irradiated
foods never become radioactive, no studies have ever linked irradiation
to cancer or birth defects, vitamin losses from irradiation were
insignificant and that irradiation does not eliminate the warning
signs of spoiling meat.
After hearing that information, the consumers were asked a third
time whether they would buy irradiated chicken. The segment that
would do so rose to 82 percent, with 47 percent willing to pay
at least a 10 percent higher price for irradiated chicken.
"After we gave people a choice again, the percentage now
choosing irradiated chicken went back up," Fox said. "All
the people who were persuaded not to buy based on Food and Water's
stance went back and chose irradiated once they saw that the
claims were groundless."
In other surveys, the KSU team asked consumers' preferences between
irradiation and other methods geared toward reducing pathogens
on meats in processing plants.
The consumers were told that ground beef treated by irradiation
would be guaranteed not to contain E. coli bacteria, while
caarcass pasteurization would kill 99 percent of E. coli
. When asked to choose between irradiated and carcass-pasteurized
products, majorities ranging from 54 to 77 percent preferred
"This indicates that many consumers want the extra degree
of protection from foodborne bacteria that irradiation can provide,"
The consumers were also asked if they would be willing to pay
more for ground beef from carcasses treated by either steam pasteurization
or hot water than for untreated ground beef. In various groups,
those who were not willing to pay a premium for the different
varieties of treated ground beef ranged from 35 to 41 percent.
The survey team was not surprised to learn that the level of
consumers not willing to pay extra was that large. The responses
may reflect a protest mode more than a prediction of their actual
"They're faced with a choice in a supermarket between a
product that they know is safer than a regular product and they're
priced differently," Fox said. "But in many cases,
people who indicate they would not pay extra probably would pay
something for that extra margin of safety. They're using their
response to tell us that they think all food should be safe anyway
and that the consumer should not be responsible for paying more
HACCP Raises Costs Along With Standards
- The nation's small meat and poultry processing
plants were brought under new federal inspection rules in January
2000, raising the question of whether they would be able to afford
the costs associated with the new standards. It's still too soon
for any definitive studies to determine how well they will do,
but some projections show that they might be better off than
some would expect.
The regulations mandate that processing plants must design and
implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)
systems specific to their procedures. HACCP systems are science-based
and involve intervention at various points during processing
to reduce or eliminate potential for pathogenic bacteria in meat
Food Safety Consortium researchers Helen Jensen of Iowa State
University and Laurian Unnevehr of the University of Illinois
examined data on overall HACCP costs in the larger plants that
have been implementing the system in recent years. They found
that in pork processing plants, HACCP technologies added costs
in a range of 3 to 20 cents per carcass, with some technologies
raising the costs by as much as 47 cents a carcass. Overall,
the cost increases are about 1 to 2 percent of the total processing
Small plants might be viewed as having a more difficult time
meeting the extra costs than their larger counterparts. But the
smaller plants have their own advantages.
"The small plants are probably facing a different situation
because of the structure of their costs," said Jensen, an
Iowa State economics professor. "While some costs are certainly
likely to be higher for small plants, the fact that they have
fewer people to train and that they might have less turnover
may mean that some of the costs are lower."
Some small plants process more than one kind of animal, thus
posing the potential for cross-species contamination. They may
need to move to single-species processing and meet the more restrictive
food safety controls.
Large plants, the object of the FSC study, have some inherent
advantages of their own in absorbing costs. In larger plants
the costs can be spread over more of the product.
"The large plants can benefit from cost savings in some
of their HACCP-related costs," Jensen said. "For example,
they may be able to offer their own HACCP training. Also, the
costs of machines or capital equipment probably vary by the scale
of the plant and would be cheaper per unit for the larger plants."
The costs of implementing HACCP in plants takes various forms.
Training, monitoring, keeping records and testing have formed
one component of costs. Another component is the cost of specific
interventions to reduce pathogens. Relatively little is known
about the latter set of costs "in part because there is
uncertainty regarding how much new technology will be needed
to meet specific pathogen reduction targets," Jensen said.
Increased costs may be offset by the benefits of pathogen reduction
- such as extended shelf life, access to new export markets,
retention of customers and reduced product liability - but those
can also be difficult to calculate.
Food safety technologies vary in their costs to the pork processor.
Hot water and steam pasteurizers are the most expensive because
of high energy and capital costs, but the technologies have not
been approved for use in the U.S. for hog carcasses. Other interventions
such as carcass washes, sanitizing sprays and steam vacuums are
The costs of these technologies range from 5 cents per carcass
for washes at 55 degrees C to 20 cents per carcass for 65 degree
C washes. If the most expensive methods of pathogen reduction
are combined for optimal treatment, costs would be 47 cents per
carcass. When the most expensive treatments are added to the
overall total costs of processing a carcass, the extra costs
of pathogen reduction treatment amount to 1 to 2 percent of the
"In a competitive industry, however, achieving efficiency
in meeting the new regulation represents a significant challenge
to firms," according to Jensen's and Unnevehr's study.
Irradiation, a technology that was approved for commercial use
only recently, is not in wide use yet. Its cost for ground beef
is estimated at 2 to 5 cents per pound at the retail level, a
relatively high amount. Because of that cost, irradiation would
likely be used in combination with other technologies, Jensen
"Much experimentation will be necessary," Jensen and
Unnevehr said of the various technologies for reducing pathogens
in the processing plants. Some appear to dominate the industry
and some will prove to be more cost effective. But it still is
not clear what their overall effectiveness will be when applied
in the plants. "Industry should evaluate new options carefully
and may want to foster more public research to compare and fine-tune
- Report From the Coordinator
- By Charles J. Scifres
- Changes are in the works all around. A
new president has taken office and a new Congress is in place,
developments that will determine the support that food safety
research efforts will receive at the federal level.
Change is at work closer to home. As explained elsewhere in this
newsletter, the National Alliance for Food Safety has established
a structure for organizing its research activities and seeking
funding support. Meanwhile, as details of that structure are
put in place, NAFS scientists prepare once again to submit proposals
to the USDA Agricultural Research Service concentrating on E.
coli and Listeria research.
In the Food Safety Consortium, our structure is the same as ever
but our continued progress is evident. More investigators are
proposing innovative projects for funding by the Consortium.
We are reaching out to the world beyond our three member universities
as we develop plans for a significant conference on food safety
issues as part of our annual meeting later this year at Iowa
The time is right for increased involvement in public issues.
Food safety has raised its public profile in recent years and
shows no signs of falling back. The recent Listeria episode
may lend more urgency to the entire area of research. The Senate
Agriculture Committee reviewed national food safety efforts during
a hearing last fall and found many questions still on the front
burner - whether to have a single federal food safety agency,
whether microbial testing in HACCP systems is an effective indicator
of safety in processing or enforcement tool and whether HACCP
implementation has actually improved food safety.
These questions are still part of the food safety debate in the
U.S. The work of investigators with the Food Safety Consortium
and other scientific research organizations will be called upon
many times to assist policymakers weigh evidence as they make
decisions. The major change in the Food Safety Consortium for
now is that more is expected of it.
One other change concerns my role as coordinator of the Food
Safety Consortium and chair of its Steering Committee. As of
January, I left the University of Arkansas where I served as
dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life
Sciences and associate vice president for agriculture-research.
I am now at Texas A&M University as associate vice chancellor
for agriculture and life sciences. Because the University of
Arkansas serves as the administrative headquarters of the FSC,
my departure from the campus effectively ends my work with the
At this writing, the coordinator/committee chair's position is
yet to be filled. But the work of the three universities and
the talent within them serve to assure us that the FSC is in
good hands for the future. My association with the Food Safety
Consortium since 1996 has been a rewarding and enriching experience
and I thank all its personnel for their efforts. Best wishes
for a future as successful as has been the past.
Cinnamon and Preservatives Make a Safer Cider
- During one recent Christmas holiday season,
Daniel Fung tried some cinnamon in his apple cider and found
that he liked the combined flavor. Later, he found that the cinnamon
can kill the pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 bacteria that
can appear in cider.
Fung, a Food Safety Consortium researcher and Kansas State University
food science professor, had already studied the benefits of spices
against E. coli in meat. But there were practical limits.
"We said people would probably not put cinnamon in their
hamburger, but we thought that cinnamon would be a good spice
for a liquid drink," Fung said.
Fung's team also found effective ways of using cinnamon combined
with two preservatives - sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate
- to kill pathogens in cider. The two preservatives are used
primarily to kill fungi, but studies had already shown that they
could kill bacteria.
The tests showed that after combining apple juice with levels
of 0.3 percent cinnamon with 0.1 percent of either preservative,
E. coli in cider was reduced to undetectable levels after
three days of incubation. Other tests showed that adding cinnamon
alone or preservatives alone reduced the E. coli, but
not as effectively as a combination treatment.
"Cinnamon alone gradually reduced the number of E. coli
O157:H7 and the extent of reduction increased with the concentration
of cinnamon in apple juice," Fung said. "The combination
of cinnamon and sodium benzoate showed a better reduction of
E. coli O157:H7 in apple juice when compared with sodium
A similar result occurred when potassium sorbate was substituted
for sodium benzoate, although the sodium benzoate was found to
be the more effective of the two preservatives.
Fung's experiments started with a deliberately high level of
contamination to see how effective the cinnamon and preservatives
would be. At lower and more realistic levels of contamination,
he said, " I suspect we will not find any E. coli
after one or two days with cinnamon in combination with benzoate
or sorbate. That will definitely knock them out completely in
the normal contamination range."
Currently, KSU is working on a combination of carbonation and
cinnamon to reduce E. coli O157:H7, with encouraging results,
As word of the experiments has spread, Fung has received inquiries
about ways to use the treatments. "People have called and
asked if they can just use cinnamon with raw nonpasteurized juice.
A lot of people do not like pasteurized apple cider because it
doesn't taste good," he said. "I always say pasteurization
would be safer, but pasteurization along with cinnamon gives
a combination of better taste and adds another hurdle by using
spice to kill pathogens."
Cinnamon's ability to kill pathogens can extend to other food
products such as cinnamon buns, apple sauce with cinnamon, pies
and bakery products. And if cinnamon is effective on as resistant
a pathogen as E. coli O157:H7, then it should also be
potent against Salmonella and Listeria.
"We're using E. coli
O157:H7 as our mock organism," Fung said. "And there
are thousands of spices to experiment with. Possibilities of
combinations could be limitless."
Fung's Formula: 'Just Use More Garlic'
- Just as cinnamon is an effective ingredient
against E. coli O157:H7 in apple juice, garlic performs
similarly in ground beef. Daniel Fung of the Food Safety Consortium
at Kansas State University has coordinated research that has
found the addition of garlic can kill more organisms at a lower
temperature than without using the spice.
The addition of 1 percent garlic in ground beef will rid the
meat of at least 90 percent of any E. coli O157:H7 present,
Fung said. Cooking ground beef without garlic will reduce E.
coli O157:H7 to undetectable levels by the time the meat's
internal temperature reaches 72 degrees C. With garlic, the same
result can be accomplished at a temperature of a few degrees
"You get to the temperature and you can kill the pathogen
more in the presence of garlic," Fung said.
Garlic's effectiveness also extends to other pathogenic bacteria
and in other foods. That helps, Fung said, because "people
love garlic, especially on meat products."
The best part of the findings is that consumers do not need to
wait for the patent of a new product or for scientists to spend
years exploring the ramifications further. "People should
just use more garlic," Fung advised.
The research team includes Erdogan Ceylan, Judith Sabath and
Josep Yuste, a post doctoral student from Spain.
Billy Outlines Strategy for Food Safety
- This is an excerpt from remarks prepared
for delivery by Thomas J. Billy, administrator of the USDA Food
safety and Inspection Service on Dec. 13, 2000, at the public
meeting "FSIS: The Next Steps" in Washington.
When FSIS developed its strategy for improving food safety, it
recognized that continuous change would be needed to reach the
desired food safety goals. While there was a beginning point
to our efforts, there could be no end point. In January (2000),
we completed the third and final implementation phase of the
Pathogen Reduction and HACCP rule. This was a significant milestone,
and both industry and government deserve credit for its success.
We've made progress in many other areas as well, such as surveillance
and risk assessment. This is a good time to reflect on where
we go from here.
The final rule on Pathogen Reduction and HACCP has provided an
important framework for the significant changes made, and I believe
it can guide us as we focus on the next steps as well. For example,
our goal remains the same as that stated in the preamble to the
final rule back in 1996. To refresh your memory, FSIS stated
that its goal is to reduce the risk of foodborne illness associated
with the consumption of meat and poultry products to the extent
possible. This would be done by ensuring that appropriate and
feasible measures are taken at each step in the food production
process where hazards can enter and where procedures and technologies
exist, or can be developed, to prevent the hazard or reduce the
likelihood it will occur. This goal remains relevant. Although
we are now including egg products as a focus of our food safety
efforts, we will focus today's discussions on meat and poultry
While our public health goal and regulatory strategy remain unchanged,
we now have the benefit of almost five years of experience in
implementing food safety changes. We are in a better place than
we were five years ago, and that will help us greatly as we plan
for the future.
First, we can build on our accomplishments so far. HACCP is already
in place, providing us with the infrastructure to make further
improvements. New technologies are being used within plants to
reduce pathogens. And we've taken some important steps in addressing
hazards from farm-to-table by better involving producers in food
safety, for example.
Second, we have more information available to us from a variety
of sources to guide us. This includes input from our two advisory
committees, various surveys and evaluations on HACCP by internal
and external groups, recommendations from internal working groups
such as the Workforce of the Future steering committee, and input
from our own employees and the public. In addition, we have better
surveillance data to help pinpoint areas for improvements and
better information on the hazards associated with the products
And third, we know it can be done. We've seen significant reductions
in Salmonella prevalence across product categories, we've
seen reductions in foodborne illness, and we've seen significant
progress in a culture change both in FSIS and industry. Industry
and government both deserve credit for these tangible improvements,
as well as all stakeholders for their active participation in
the public processes we have used.
Before we proceed with more in-depth discussion, I would like
to summarize our current thinking. We have two major goals. First,
to improve the quality of industry food safety programs, including
HACCP. Second, to improve FSIS' own role as a regulatory public
We've identified two major areas of focus related to these goals.
The first area is agency infrastructure and resources. FSIS'
infrastructure needs to be improved to allow its workforce to
carry out its regulatory responsibilities more effectively and
efficiently. This is a very broad area that encompasses the assignment
of work, expertise and training, data analysis and decisionmaking,
communication, and workplace environment. ...
Second is the area of risk-based program design and effectiveness.
This area includes aspects of our modernization strategy that
have been on a slower track due to the intensive focus on HACCP
and Pathogen Reduction implementation. They include the HACCP-based
Inspection Models Project, and residue control in a HACCP environment,
which was the subject of a public meeting on Monday. This area
also includes ensuring that FSIS is responsive to food safety
problems that arise, examining whether processing inspection
can be better designed to focus on risks associated with products
and processes, and it includes issues directly related to the
Pathogen Reduction and HACCP regulation. ...
In addition to these two major areas, three recurring themes
will be discussed. The first is the importance of communication
within the agency and with the regulated industry and all of
our stakeholders. We need to improve the methods we use to communicate,
including making better use of new technologies. Second is the
agency's commitment to improving the workplace environment for
its employees. Workplace environment includes issues such as
worker safety, quality of work life, and workforce diversity.
Third is training and education. FSIS must have a workforce with
the knowledge and skills to support its food safety programs.
The agency will explore expanding its training and education
partnerships with other interested parties, including industry,
academia, state and local agriculture and public health agencies,
and other Federal agencies.
Papers and Presentations
- Daniel Fung,
Kansas State, delivered several lectures during the fall. He
spoke on "Rapid Methods and Automation in Food Microbiology"
during the Food Quality 2000 Conference and Exposition in October
in Philadelphia and was chair of food quality at the conference's
Round Table on Rapid Methods Perception and Reality. He spoke
on "Effect of Prune Extract on Foodborne Pathogens"
at the American Meat Institute convention in October in Las Vegas,
Nev. Fung was the keynote speaker at the University of Wisconsin-River
Falls Food Microbiology Symposium in October, where he spoke
on "Rapid Methods in Microbiology Review and Prediction."
Also in October, he spoke to the National Association of College
and University Food Services in Manhattan, Kan., on "Chinese
Cooking With Fung and Food Safety."
In November, he was the keynote speaker on "Rapid Methods
and Automation in Microbiology: A Review" and "Use
of Oxyrase Enzyme in Food Microbiology" at the National
Congress Agroindustry in Lima, Peru. He also spoke on "Rapid
Methods and Automation in Microbiology: Major Development and
Market Trends" at the Merck Scientific Advisory Board meeting
in Darmstadt, Germany.
Fung received the Builder Award and the Crystal Award in October
from the Kansas State University College of Agriculture.
Recent articles published by Fung include "Control of Foodborne
Pathogens During Sufu Fermentation and Aging" in CRC
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Vol. 39:
1-27; "Development of a Rapid 51 Nuclease (Taq Man) Assay
for the Detection of Pathogenic Strains of Yersinia enterocolitica"
in Applied Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 66 (9): 4731-4735;
"Application of a Double Tube System for Enumeration of
Clostridium tyrobutyricum" in the Journal of Rapid
Methods and Automation in Microbiology, Vol. 8 (1): 21-30;
"Hands-free 'Pop up' Adhesive Tape Method for Microbial
Sampling of Meat Surfaces" in the Journal of Rapid Methods
and Automation in Microbiology, Vol. 8 (2): 111-139, and
"SAS for Food Microbiology: Past, Present and Future"
in BioScience International Newsletter, Vol. 4 (1): 1-2.
Curtis Kastner, Kansas State, delivered a paper on "Research
Laboratory Equipment and Facilities to Address Biological Airborne
Particulate Matter Safety Issues" at the Biological Airborne
Particulate Matter Workshop in January. Kastner and Kansas State
researchers Donald Kropf, E.A. Boyle, Randall Phebus, Robert
Danler, Harshavardhan Thippareddi and John Fox also
received a $200,186 grant from the USDA Agriculture Marketing
Service for a project entitled "Merchandising Value-Added
Lamb Shoulder to the Food Service Industry."
John Marcy, Arkansas, delivered a presentation on "Preparing
for USDA-FSIS In-Depth HACCP Verification" at the National
Turkey Federation meeting in January in Long Beach, Calif. He
also spoke on "Developing Research Programs to Serve Integrated
Food Systems" in January at the Southern Association of
Agricultural Scientists in Fort Worth, Texas. Marcy also conducted
a two-day training workshop in food safety for Arkansas Department
of Parks and Tourism personnel from several parks at DeGray Lake
- Food Safety Digest
By Dave Edmark
- Americans can feel fortunate that one
particular food safety crisis hasn't made it to these shores
- the BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) outbreak that has
plagued portions of the beef supply in Europe. France, the United
Kingdom, Portugal and Switzerland have been affected.
"France's BSE crisis has been deepening and now severe restrictions
on French food in their domestic and international markets are
progressing at an alarming pace," reported CeresNet of the
Georgetown center for Food and Nutrition Policy. "Sausage
casings and other foodstuffs derived from bovine intestinal tracts
were disallowed. The third human victim was shown in the final
stages of death on French TV against the backdrop of the comment
by the Minister of Health, Dominique Gillot, that she expects
perhaps as many deaths in France as have occured in England (84)."
Meanwhile, Britain will continue to import beef from France because
a European Union directive prohibits one member state from blocking
imports from another member. However, the EU did announce plans
for a BSE testing program that began in January.
* * *
Irradiation, by any other name, might be more appealing to the
public. That's apparently the thinking behind efforts to use
other terminology such as "cold pasteurization." The
Associated Press reported in November that President Clinton
signed legislation mandating the Food and Drug Administration
to come up with alternative wording that packers of irradiated
meat can use on labels.
Christine Bruhn of the University of California-Davis Center
for Consumer Research supports the move, noting that many people
mistakenly believe that anything irradiated is radioactive. Sen.
Tom Harkin of Iowa also supports the idea.
Carol Tucker Foreman, director of the Consumer Federation of
America's Food Policy Institute, opposes any new wording
on grounds that it "undermines public confidence in a new
* * *
The Titan Corp. of San Diego has agreed to install its irradiation
equipment in processing plants owned by IBP Inc., the world's
largest meat processor. The process will use Titan's SureBeam
pasteurization system, which uses ordinary electricity as its
energy source to pasteurize food after it has been processed
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in November that
IBP will pay Titan for each pund of meat pasteurized in the processing
plants. The newspaper said IBP has been treating some meats with
SureBeam technology on a test basis at a Titan Facility in Des
Moines, Iowa. IBP is based in South Dakota and has 60 plans in
the U.S. and Canada.
* * *
The U.S. Department of Agriculture in November awarded $14.2
million in competitive grants for 29 food safety research and
education projects to universities across the nation.
"These grants will support cutting-edge food safety research,
consumer education, and nationwide surveillance," said Agriculture
Secretary Dan Glickman in announcing the National Integrated
Food Safety Initiative.
- Return to newsletter