How can Blockchain Technology Help Improve Food Safety

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Nov 16, 2017

Blockchain – is a decentralized, shared log of data maintained on a network of computers. It is a digital ledger of records organized in chunks of data called blocks. The blocks are then linked with one another through secure communications; the linked blocks form an unbroken chain. Chainblock is an exciting new technology that can revolutionize food safety. It can resolve many critical issues affecting food safety such as prevent unnecessary recalls, avoid cross-contamination, prevent foodborne illnesses, eliminate waste, simplify recalls, and save money. However, there are still some impediments that need to be overcome before widespread adaptation in food safety.

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Multiple State Salmonella Outbreaks due to Papayas from Mexico is over: What have we Learn?

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Nov 8, 2017

According to reports by the CDC and the FDA this summer outbreaks due to Salmonella-contaminated Maradol papayas imported from Mexico infected 251 people in 25 states. 79 of the infected people were hospitalized, and two deaths were reported. The outbreak strains included: Salmonella Thompson (144), Kiambu (54), Anatum (20), Agona (12), Gaminara (7), Urbana (7), Newport & Infantis (4), and Senftenberg (3). Four brands of Maradol papayas were implicated: Caribeña brand was distributed by Grande Produce between July 10 and 19; Cavi distributed to wholesalers in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey from July 16-19 and available to consumers until July 31. The product was distributed by distributed by Agroson’s; Valery brand was distributed by Freshtex Produce, from July 10-13; and Fruta Selectas brand distributed by Bravo Produce to markets in the state of California between August 10 and 29.

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Listeria monocytogenes in Veggies Caused a Chain Reaction Across US and Canada

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Oct 26, 2017

A variety of minimally processed vegetables produced by Mann Packing of Salinas, California were recalled because of a possibility of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The refrigerated and frozen vegetables were sold throughout the US and Canada. The recall of the vegetables from Mann Packaging impacted ten supermarket chains and several producers that used Mann Packaging products in their products. This huge recall is solely based on a single positive sample found during random sampling by Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

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One Year Later: Is there an Effect of FSMA on FDA Food Recalls in 2017?

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Oct 23, 2017

In 2011 the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law and started to be implemented in September of 2016.We looked at the recall statistics during similar periods in 2016 and 2017. As in previous years, allergens and microbial contamination lead the reasons for recalls. The early data does not show a significant impact of the new FSMA rules on recalls due to allergens. The total recalls due to microbial contamination were 60% higher in 2016 as compared to 2017. It could be as a result of the new FSMA regulations that were put into place

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New Recalls: GreenCore USA Recalls Sandwiches due to Listeria; Vermont Livestock recalls Ground beef due to E. coli; Frozen Peas Recalled by Pinnacle Foods

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Oct 16, 2017

In the last couple of months, there were very few recalls due to microbial contamination. However, a couple of recalls were announced in the last few days. Greencore had recalled a variety of sandwich salads (egg salad sandwiches, ham salad sandwiches, and seafood) because Listeria monocytogenes (LM) was found after a routine inspection by FDA at the Rhode Island plant environment. A recall of around 133 pounds of ground beef products from Vermont Livestock was announced because it might be contaminated with E. coli O157: H7. Birds Eye brand peas are being recalled by several grocery chains, due to positive samples for LM.

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Improved Food Safety and Public Health by Using Whole Genome Sequence Analysis

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Sep 28, 2017

FSIS is hosting a meeting, to lay the foundation for the use of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) as part of the decision-making in investigations of foodborne outbreaks. WGS analyses can determine the relationship between different bacterial isolates with higher resolution than other analytical methods and can characterize genes and other features of bacterial genomes. FSIS intends to analyze and generate WGS data and use it as part of the decision-making in investigations of foodborne outbreaks, and share this data with Federal food safety partners.

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Cyclospora Infections are up this Summer Sickening Nearly a 1,000 Persons in 36 States

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Sep 21, 2017

The CDC reported of 988 Laboratory confirmed cases of Cyclospora infected people in 36 states of the USA. The number of cases this year is significantly higher than in 2016. In the last decade, only in 2005, the number of cases came close to this year. Currently, no specific product has been connected to the infections, and it is unclear if the various cases in the different states are connected to each other. The FDA suggested in September 2016 that the lower number of infections that year correlated with the first full season that FDA’s Import Alert for fresh cilantro from Puebla was in effect. Therefore, the question should be asked why we see such an increase this year.

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FDA Commissioner Announced a Four Year Delay in Implementing Some Produce FSMA Rules

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Sep 15, 2017

In a speech in front of National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner outlined some immediate steps to facilitate the implementation of the Produce Safety Rule established by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FDA issued a proposed rule that would extend the compliance dates for the agricultural water requirements by an additional two to four years (for produce other than sprouts). The new agricultural water compliance date the FDA is proposing for the largest farms is January 26, 2022. Small farms and very small farms would have until January 26, 2023, and January 26, 2024, respectively.

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Updates: Botulism in Nacho Cheese, Salmonella in Maradol Papaya, Listeria in the Environment, and Our New Trending Page

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Sep 13, 2017

California Department of Public Health confirms that botulism outbreak was Linked to Retail Practices In May we reported on a Botulism outbreak resulting from the consumption of nacho cheese sauce served at the Valley Oak Food and fuel gas station in Walnut Grove, California. The outbreak included 10 cases of laboratory confirmed C. botulinum toxin type A. All patients were hospitalized and one death was reported. Customers spread the nacho cheese sauce on chips from a counter-top self-service warming dispenser. According to a memo from the...

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How Listeria monocytogenes can survive in extreme environmental conditions

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Sep 5, 2017

It is difficult to eliminate L. monocytogenes from post processing contamination of food production lines since this pathogen is common in various environments outside processing plants, and can endure in food processing environments. Listeria monocytogenes has better survival ability than most other food pathogens, resulting in the colonization of Listeria in food processing environment. In the recent past, researchers have identified several hypervariable (easily changeable regions) regions of the bacterial genome called Genetic Insert Stress Survival Islet 1 (SSI-1). The SSI-1 is a five-gene islet that contributes to the growth of L. monocytogenes in suboptimal conditions

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