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Opinion Food companies have been at the forefront of technological innovation and scientific research and development for decades upon decades. Cursory attention to the items we eat — how those items are grown, sourced, processed, and packaged – provides ample evidence of scientific research and development and technological innovation in the food industry. Simultaneously, food companies are justifiably concerned about protecting their brand names, market share, liability risks, and consumer relations.   Over the most recent 30…
Editor’s note: This guest column was written by Senior Director of Health and Food Erik Olson and Interim Food Director Lena Brook of the Natural Resources Defense Council. (In an earlier version of this post, FSN incorrectly identified the NRDC. The acronym stands for Natural Resources Defense Council.) We live in partisan times, as anyone who had to sit through Thanksgiving dinner with distant relatives can probably attest. But even your crazy uncle would agree…
Opinion Editor’s note on the author: Michéle Samarya-Timm, a health educator and Registered Environmental Health Specialist working for Somerset (NJ) County Department of Health, originally wrote this column for barfblog.com. It is reprinted here with permission of barfblog founder Doug Powell. Baking pumpkin pies with Aunt Kay’s secret recipe. Watching “Miracle on 34th Street.” Preparing the dining room with the good china.  Diffusing political conversations at the dinner table. Some traditions give a sense of warmth, connection, and continuity, and…
Opinion The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s reorganization plan, which would relocate a key agricultural research agency outside Washington, DC, has drawn increasing criticism from those who know and depend on its economic and statistical analyses. First announced during Congress’s summer recess in August, the reorganization plan for the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has been closed off to congressional input and public comment — in stark contrast to other recent federal agency reorganization plans.…
­Opinion The USDA and FDA recently announced their historic agreement to jointly regulate meat grown from animal cells, helping pave the pathway to commercialization of what’s often called cultured meat, clean meat, and now the newest term: cell-based meat. Start-ups culturing meat and their supporters point out that cellular agriculture can theoretically produce vast amounts of meat with relatively few resources, all while leaving a lighter footprint on the planet and animals, as well as…
Contributed Many vendors at farmers markets take inadequate precautions to prevent the spread of foodborne illness, and they should be trained to reduce food-safety risks, according to Penn State researchers who completed the final phase of an innovative five-year study. Using a comprehensive three-way approach, the research assessed food safety behaviors at Pennsylvania farmers markets using direct concealed observations, state sanitarian observations, and self-reported vendor surveys. The results revealed key distinctions between observed vendor food-handling…
Opinion Editor’s note: This is the final piece in a series of articles and opinion columns we have published in recognition of September as Food Safety Education Month. A fortuitous combination of ambition, chance, and amazing mentors is what led me to pursue food safety. From a young age, I had known that I wanted to pursue science in college and as a career, but I didn’t know what form that would take. At the…
Opinion Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles and opinion columns we are publishing in recognition of Food Safety Education Month. Since its founding as the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists in 1884 as part of USDA’s Bureau of Chemistry, AOAC has had a fundamental role in food safety. Our founder, Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, wrote the 1906 law that began the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and AOAC was a part…
Opinion Editor’s note: This is part of series of articles and opinion columns we are publishing in recognition of September as Food Safety Education Month. How many times have you thought through every detail of an experience and asked yourself, “What could I have done differently?” Probably thousands. But how many times have you combed over every moment and asked yourself what your family, your community, your doctors, a farmer, the health department, and the…
Contributed Editor’s note: This is part of series of contributed articles and opinion columns we are publishing in recognition of September as Food Safety Education Month. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) invites all retail food regulatory programs to submit applications to participate in a mentorship program with their peers to learn, share experiences, and acquire tools and resources related to the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (Retail Program…