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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…
Opinion Nearly 300 people got sick after eating at a McDonalds in Brevard, NC, in what authorities believe is a case of norovirus spread through human contact. This is different from the other recent widespread foodborne illness outbreak at McDonalds, with 400 people – across 15 states – becoming ill after eating the fast food chain’s salads, which were contaminated with the Cyclospora parasite and distributed by supplier Fresh Express.  Around the same time, a…
The “sell-by” and “best-by” dates on milk cartons may soon become more meaningful and accurate. Cornell food scientists have created a new predictive model that examines spore-forming bacteria and when they emerge, according to research published Aug. 1 in the Journal of Dairy Science. “Putting dates on milk cartons is a big issue, because consumers often discard the milk if it is past the sell-by date,” said Martin Wiedmann, Cornell’s Gellert Family Professor in…
While current training for food safety and sanitation usually incorporates high-technology presentations, such as videos and slide shows, there is still a need for low-tech approaches, according to Penn State researchers. For unique audiences, such as employees of small-scale dairies that produce artisan cheeses, old-school teaching strategies that do not require electricity may work best. Workers in this sector need to be better trained because of the inherent food-safety risks associated with producing specialty cheeses…