Gretchen Goetz

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Gretchen is a Seattle-based reporter covering issues ranging from child nutrition to local agriculture to foodborne illness outbreaks and global food safety issues. In June of 2011 she reported from Hamburg on the European E. coli outbreak. Gretchen graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in English and French before moving to the pacific northwest. She delved into the world of food safety after being a lifelong foodie in order to find out what issues compromise the security of her favorite pastime — eating, and what can be done about them. Gretchen is excited to be part of the diverse and passionate Food Safety News team.

Latest Articles

Chlorine dioxide gas may be an effective tool for combating Salmonella on sprouts, according to a new study. Researchers at Rutgers University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have found that chlorine dioxide gas is more effective at killing Salmonella on bean sprouts than chlorine wash — the industry-preferred decontamination technique. The scientists found that the chlorine dioxide gas was able to reduce the presence of Salmonella on bean sprouts by…
The liquid that comes off of a defrosting chicken provides a safe harbor for Campylobacter, according to a new study. Chicken “juice” from a defrosted bird turns a surface into a protein-rich environment in which Campylobacter can form a protective biofilm, reported a study from the Institute of Food Research. This biofilm helps bacteria attach to things and survive tough conditions. The researchers used strains of Campylobacter jejuni, the form of the bacteria that causes 90…
The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) Monday released a comprehensive plan to combat food fraud for monetary gain. The USP said the new guidance is designed to help food manufacturers and regulators pinpoint which food ingredients are most likely to be adulterated by a supplier, and to advise the best way to prevent this act — officially known as economically motivated fraudulent adulteration of food products (EMA). EMA can be especially tricky to fight since it’s…
Government agencies in charge of monitoring food for pesticide residues must step up their testing programs, said the Government Accountability Office in a new report. While data collected by these agencies has shown low levels of pesticide residue violations in the past few years, shortcomings in sampling methods mean some residue violations may be going undetected, according to the report, published Friday. GAO recommended that the agencies report shortcomings in their methodology to make the…
A trio of food safety and environmental advocacy groups Thursday filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, saying the agency has not sufficiently proven that ractopamine, a drug fed to pigs, cattle and turkey, is safe for animals, humans who eat them, or the environment. Ractopamine, a beta-agonist, increases the rate at which animals convert feed to muscle by mimicking the body’s stress hormones. It is typically fed to livestock in the weeks…
The city of Berkeley, CA became the first municipality in the country to approve a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages Tuesday. Measure D, a proposal to levy a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks and syrups, passed easily, with 75 percent of voters approving it. Only a 50 percent majority was needed to push the measure through. Meanwhile in San Francisco, the city’s much larger neighbor across the Bay, a proposal to charge 2 cents per…
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued a set of standards for food manufacturers wishing to label a product “gluten-free.” The agency set a limit of 20 parts per million for the amount of gluten that may be present in foods marketed as gluten-free. The rule also extends to foods labeled “free of gluten,” “without gluten” or “no gluten.” FDA’s final rule on gluten-free labeling comes six years after the agency published its proposed…
The concept of “preventive controls” is an anxiety-producing one for many FDA-regulated food companies right now as the agency prepares to issue a final rule that will make hazard-prevention measures mandatory for processing facilities. As Food Safety News reported last week, trepidation is especially high among smaller firms, which are balking at potential costs of meeting the new requirements. But for the seafood industry, which has been under a mandatory preventive controls plan for almost…
At least 418 people in 16 states are now known to have been sickened with cyclospora infections between mid-June and mid-July, according to updated numbers from state health departments as of the end of the day Thursday. This latest case count marks a 40-case jump from the 378 illnesses reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday. While health officials have determined that the 146 cases in Iowa and the 81 in Nebraska…
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will no longer detain cucumbers from the Mexican growers whose products were linked to an outbreak of Salmonella earlier this year. The agency removed the two cucumber suppliers from its import alerts list this week, meaning that their products can no longer be “detained without physical examination.” The cucumbers were placed on the list April 23, 2013 after they were named as the likely source of an ongoing outbreak