Fluid Milk Spoilage by Psychrotolerant Spores and Shelf-Life Improvement

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Aug 7, 2018

Cornell University researchers created a new predictive model that examines spore-forming bacteria and their impact on pasteurized milk shelf life, published in the August issue of the Journal of Dairy Science entitled “Psychrotolerant spore-former growth characterization for the development of a dairy spoilage predictive model”. The goal of the research was to create a mathematical model to increase the product shelf life and have a more meaningful and accurate way to estimate the shelf life. This can reduce food waste and reduce food...

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Tracking and tracing foods- the role of blockchain

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Aug 1, 2018

The blockchain is an emerging technology that offers a way for companies to perform transactions with each other and move products around the world securely. In the event of a recall, the blockchain technology can provide real-time notifications to everyone throughout the supply chain, effectively reducing the product withdrawal time from weeks to days, even hours. Additionally, blockchain can allow the identification of places along the supply chain where efficiencies can be improved. While blockchain holds promise in raising transparency and improving operational efficiencies, there are more trials that need to be done and validation of the technology in real-world application. The first step is building the foundation of traceability that uses a common language industry-wide. It is a technology in its infancy. However, it still has many hurdles to overcome before it can gain extensive adaptation in food safety. Its current status is such that it can be used to trace a single product along the chain, but it becomes much more challenging for foods that are composed of multiple ingredients.

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Whey contaminated with Salmonella causes a ripple effect

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Jul 23, 2018

Whey contaminated with Salmonella causes a ripple effect. FSIS announced the voluntary recall of whey powder manufactured by Associated Milk Producers, Inc. (AMPI). The whey powder recall happened after some of the product was distributed to other manufacturers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall of whey powder manufactured by New Ulm-based MN Associated Milk Producers, Inc. (AMPI). As a result of the whey powder recall, the FSIS announced the recall of some Hungry man TV meals because the whey powder used in the ranch dressing seasoning. Flowers Foods Inc. of Thomasville, GA recalled Swiss Rolls and Captain John Derst’s Old Fashioned Bread due to concerns of possible salmonella contamination because of the use of the whey powder. Mondelez International of New Jersey the manufacturer of Ritz crackers says that their products contain whey powder and therefore they were recalled.

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Tracking and tracing foods through the supply chain and the role of blockchain

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Jul 15, 2018

Part 1- Tracking and Tracing This is a two-part series of blogs. The first blog will deal with tracking and tracing products through the supply chain, since tracking of products is a prerequisite to blockchain implementation. The second blog will deal with the current status of blockchain, its advantages and the hurdles that need to be overcome. Drivers of food traceability As food is transferred from farm to fork, it involves a complex network of participants. The product from an ingredient producer could end up in hundreds or even thousands...

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The Latest Update in the E. coli romaine lettuce outbreak from FDA and CDC

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Jun 29, 2018

Outbreak update Update reports from both the CDC and the FDA summarized the status of the outbreak after its conclusion. As of June 27, 2018, the human toll from the romaine lettuce outbreak was: 210 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7, 96 hospitalized, 27 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, and 5 deaths were reported from 36 states. The most recent victim became sick on June 6. In an evaluation of the environment in the Yuma growing area, including water, soil, and manure, the CDC laboratory identified the outbreak...

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Smart Sensors are Coming and will Improve Food Safety

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Jun 23, 2018

What is a smart Sensor? It is a device that takes input from the physical environment and uses built-in computation resources to process data and present it in a more accurate, efficient, and informative way. In most cases they combine a sensing element with a microprocessor that process the data and send it to the user. Lately smart sensors can also communicate with the internet as part of the Internet of Things (IOT). Because of their simplicity, low cost, affordability, and efficiency, Time Temperature indicators are widely used. Some sensors are providing innovative solutions to produce and other product freshness. Data from the sensor is sent to the cloud, it is processed by custom algorithm, and a report of gas concentration is sent to the customer’s mobile customers through the interactive web portal. Intelligent packaging sensors are sensors embedded in the food package, showing information about the product quality, monitor interactions between the food, the packaging, and the environment. It is usually a label that is attached to the outside of the container. On package, sensors are an emerging field that is rapidly growing.

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Smart Sensors, the Internet-of-Things, Blockchain and the Cloud the perfect combination for food safety-Introduction

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Jun 13, 2018

A number of exciting new technologies are combining together to make tracing of food safety better. They include the combination of “smart” sensors transmitting their data into the Internet-of-Things (IoT). The information is made secure through Blockchain. The massive amount of data generated by the process resides in the cloud. While most of these technologies are in their infancy, significant strides are made to make them a reality. It seems that food safety is facing a revolution in the coming years, taking advantage of technological achievements that are currently being developed for numerous industrial and personal applications, including various food commercial fields. Ask-bioexpert will follow this revolution as it develops and point out the challenges relating specifically to food safety.

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Should tracing the source of the E. coli O157:H7 in lettuce be a top priority?

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Jun 2, 2018

Almost three months after the outbreak started, consumers, the food industry, the government agencies (CDC and FDA) are getting antsy because the source of contamination for the E. coli O157: H7 in lettuce is still unknown. Most of the focus is currently on traceability. Should the focus be there? This outbreak took a huge human toll, by now, 197 people from 35 states were infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. 48% of them have been hospitalized, including 26 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome; five deaths have been reported. Beyond the human suffering, the E. coli outbreak caused enormous losses to growers, retailers, and disrupted supply chains as restaurants scrambled to find romaine lettuce alternatives. The FDA traceback indicates that there is no simple explanation on how the outbreak occurred. Even if we had a perfect traceback system, it might not have helped significantly in preventing the outbreak. Since it takes a couple of weeks to identify that there is an outbreak, by the time that CDC and FDA realized that there is an outbreak related to lettuce most of the ill people had already consumed the product.

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E. coli outbreak in lettuce- Can blockchain Traceability Change the Recall Process?

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May 29, 2018

Two outbreaks of lettuce infected with E. coli: source of the organism not found. As a result of the two unsolved leafy green outbreaks, 9 consumer and food safety groups send a letter to the FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb demanding to add regulations within the next six months “for comprehensive and rapid traceability of produce, including leafy greens.” In the letter they claim that current records keeping result in “tangled web of inconsistent and inadequate” information for those tracking outbreaks. “The repeated outbreaks linked to produce and leafy greens since passage of FSMA leave no doubt that these products belong in the “high-risk” category. Leafy greens are responsible for more cases of E. coli illness than any other produce, the group noted. “Current technology makes it possible for retailers to track and trace products with extraordinary speed and accuracy. Frank Yiannas, VP of food safety in Walmart “The romaine incident is a perfect example of a real-world scenario where if tools were available it might be managed a bit more effectively.” Believing that blockchain could have lead investigators to the source of contamination. Is blockchain the answer?

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Romaine Lettuce: The FDA Dilemma to Recall or Not and When to Recall

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May 11, 2018

According to the CDC the outbreak due to E. coli O157:H7 that started in March 2018, involves a total of 129 people. Sixty-four (50%) of them have been hospitalized, and one death. A very troubling aspect of this outbreak is that 17 of those sickened have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The extremely high number of hospitalization for the outbreak and the high number of HUS patients is because the E. coli O157:H7 produces Shiga toxin type 2 (STX2) making it particularly dangerous. This is the same type of strain associated with the 2006 outbreak linked to fresh spinach. Federal investigators first warned of the E. coli problem in April after people started getting sick from greens that they ate on March 22 to 31 in Panera Bread in NJ. Now, seven weeks later, the federal investigation led by the FDA has not been able to pinpoint which romaine fields are causing the outbreak. The Investigators are looking at “dozens” of farms as possible sources.

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