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20 Years of Data Show Poultry, Fish, Beef Have Remained Leading Sources of Food-Related Outbreaks

Between 1998 and 2008, poultry, fish and beef were consistently responsible for the greatest proportion of foodborne illness outbreaks, according to a new government analysis.

Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed the 13,405 food-related outbreaks reported during this time period, identifying 3,264 outbreaks that could be attributed to a specific food category. Fish and poultry remained responsible for the greatest share of these outbreaks over these 20 years — accounting for about 17 percent of outbreaks each — followed closely by beef, which was responsible for 14 percent of outbreaks.

Eggs, on the other hand, played an increasingly smaller role as outbreak sources – accounting for 6 percent of outbreaks in 1998-1999 and for just 2 percent in 2006-2008. This trend was largely due to a decrease in the amount of Salmonella outbreaks linked to eggs, according to the report authors.

Leafy greens became a more common outbreak source, responsible for 6 percent of outbreaks in 1998-1999 and 11 percent by 2008-2009. Dairy also grew as an outbreak source, rising from 4 percent in the beginning of the period studied to 6 percent by 2006-2008.

The researchers also looked at the leading pathogen-food combinations that caused outbreaks during the 20-year window, finding that histamine in fish was the most common outbreak source, followed by ciguatoxin in fish, Salmonella in poultry and norovirus in leafy vegetables.

“You see the same combinations of pathogens and foods repeatedly,” said Hannah Gould, epidemiologist in the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases at CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases and lead author of the report. “It’s good to keep tracking that and now to have a method to continue to look at changes over time,” Gould commented in an interview with Food Safety News.

The authors note that the number of outbreaks linked to these commodities should not be confused with the number of illnesses caused by these foods, as outbreaks result in varying numbers of illnesses.

While poultry was responsible for the largest share of illnesses (17 percent) between 1998 and 2008, leafy greens were the next greatest cause of illness, accounting for 13 percent of the 67,752 illnesses attributed to an outbreak food source.

The pathogen/commodity pairs responsible for the most outbreak-related illnesses were norovirus and leafy vegetables, which led to 4,011 illnesses of the 67,752 linked to a designated commodity category.

The team also looked at food preparation, finding that restaurants and delis accounted for the vast majority (68 percent) of the places where outbreak-linked foods were prepared. Private homes were the next most common place of preparation, at 9 percent, followed by catering or banquet facilities (7 percent).

“That’s something interesting that we talk about here more than we usually do,” said Gould, referring to the location data, which CDC doesn’t often report in its reviews of foodborne illness data.

Outbreaks after 2008

What about outbreaks that have occurred since 2008? Have these trends continued or have they changed in the past few years?

“Leafy greens and norovirus continues to be a problem and norovirus has been the number one cause of outbreaks in our data for years and years and years and has remained that way,” said Gould.

Gould also led an analysis of foodborne illness outbreaks that occurred between 2009 and 2010 — published in January of this year — which found that during that period, beef, dairy, fish, and poultry were associated with the largest number of foodborne disease outbreaks.

That report also showed that unpasteurized dairy products are the leading cause of dairy-related outbreaks, accounting for 81 percent of the outbreaks linked to dairy during that time period. Gould said the 1998-2008 report shows that the incidence of raw dairy-related outbreaks has been growing over this time.

“Outbreaks caused by dairy went up as well, and that seems to be caused by an increasing number of outbreaks due to unpasteurized milk,” she said.

The data used for this report comes from CDC’s Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System, which was started by CDC in 1973 and went online in 1998. The authors chose 1998-2008 as their reporting period because the format of the database changed starting in 2008, when it became the National Outbreak Reporting System.

Although this new report may appear similar to one CDC released in January titled “Attribution of Foodborne Illnesses, Hospitalizations, and Deaths to Food Commodities by Using Outbreak Data, United States, 1998-2008,” the two are very different. The January report offers an estimation of total U.S. illnesses linked to various food sources. Though it is based on data from the Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System, the figures in that report are extrapolated based on national foodborne illness estimates, while this June report looked only at outbreaks reported to CDC.

The complete results of the 2998-2008 data analysis can be found in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Food Safety News

Wakefern to Unveil Data Quality Scorecard for Vendors

KEASBEY, N.J. — Wakefern Food Corp. is “close to” rolling out a Vendor Data Quality Scorecard that it began piloting earlier this year, said Michael Durning, manager of data integrity for Wakefern here.

The scorecard is designed to measure the performance of suppliers in regard to data accuracy for new and existing items, and to provide them with feedback on key indicators. Wakefern is a wholesale cooperative led by the owners of ShopRite stores in the Northeast.


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Durning discussed the need for product data accuracy and Wakefern’s use of the Global Data Synchronization Network during a presentation last month at the GS1 Connect conference in San Antonio, hosted by standards group GS1 US, Lawrencevile, N.J.

Some CPG manufacturers are failing to consistently follow industry standards set by GS1 US to ensure the accurate use of product data, such as the GTIN allocation rules and package measurement guidelines, with adverse consequences for retail operations and consumer trust. “Not everyone is playing by the same rules,” Durning said.  But to do business with Wakefern, “you must follow GS1 standards,” he told the suppliers at the conference.

While Durning described the percentage of manufacturers in violation of the rules as a “minority,” he added that “this minority can affect a large number of [products].” The impact can extend from the supply chain (warehousing and transportation) to the retail point-of-sale (scanning, shelf labels, replenishment, nutritional data) to ecommerce (product images, information on nutrition, allergens and ingredients).

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Supermarket News

Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie enhance customer data security with Apple Pay

Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, is enhancing customers’ data security by supporting Apple Pay across its entire Southeast footprint. The new payment option will also make checkout faster and more convenient for customers.

“Customers want a shopping experience that is convenient, easy and secure, which is why we’re so pleased to announce support for Apple Pay,” Bert DuMars, vice president of digital marketing at Bi-Lo Holdings, said in a press release. “Bi-Lo Holdings is prioritizing digital mobile solutions for our customers, and Apple Pay is an exciting first step in our journey.”

Across its eight-state operating area, Apple Pay is available to Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie customers who carry iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. These users will be able to hold their iPhone 6 to the contactless reader at checkout and place their finger on the Touch ID to easily and safely pay.

Security and privacy are at the core of Apple Pay. When you add a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your device. Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique dynamic security code, instead of using the security code from the back of your card. If a customer’s iPhone is lost or stolen, they are able to use Find My iPhone to suspend or remove cards from the device.

“Data security is an increasingly important issue for all customers,” said DuMars. “We are pleased to offer a digital solution that prioritizes privacy and usability.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie enhance customer data security with Apple Pay

Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, is enhancing customers’ data security by supporting Apple Pay across its entire Southeast footprint. The new payment option will also make checkout faster and more convenient for customers.

“Customers want a shopping experience that is convenient, easy and secure, which is why we’re so pleased to announce support for Apple Pay,” Bert DuMars, vice president of digital marketing at Bi-Lo Holdings, said in a press release. “Bi-Lo Holdings is prioritizing digital mobile solutions for our customers, and Apple Pay is an exciting first step in our journey.”

Across its eight-state operating area, Apple Pay is available to Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie customers who carry iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. These users will be able to hold their iPhone 6 to the contactless reader at checkout and place their finger on the Touch ID to easily and safely pay.

Security and privacy are at the core of Apple Pay. When you add a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your device. Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique dynamic security code, instead of using the security code from the back of your card. If a customer’s iPhone is lost or stolen, they are able to use Find My iPhone to suspend or remove cards from the device.

“Data security is an increasingly important issue for all customers,” said DuMars. “We are pleased to offer a digital solution that prioritizes privacy and usability.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Senators Want FDA to Collect More Animal Antibiotics Data

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to step up animal antibiotic tracking.

Specifically, they want the agency to propose a rule to improve collection of data on antibiotic use and resistance.

“We applaud your agency’s recent step to issue improved, more transparent reports on annual food animal antibiotic drug sales and distribution data,” the Senators wrote. “However, we are disappointed to learn that your agency has decided to delay proposing a rule that would further enhance data collected on this topic until next year, when the Office of Management and Budget estimated the rule would be released in 2014.”

Such data would enable federal agencies to take action to protect public health and support research into understanding resistance. It’s also important for monitoring the impact of policies aimed at eliminating the injudicious use of antibiotics on farms.

“We particularly hope this proposed rule will allow your agency to collect more specific data on how different antibiotics are used in different species and for different indications,” said the Senators.

The main source of data on animal antibiotics is sales data, and while this information can still be useful, it doesn’t necessarily show how farmers use the drugs “on the ground,” and public health stakeholders want to see information about use by species and the actual purposes of administration.

The Senators are also encouraging FDA to develop a plan for estimating how antibiotic sales and distribution data relate to on-farm antibiotic use practices.

“[A]ny type of antibiotic use can contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance, and data on antibiotic use practices is important for identifying and addressing risks to human and animal health,” they wrote.

Food Safety News

‘Big data’ takes root in world of plant research

Botanists at Trinity College Dublin have launched a database with information that documents significant ‘life events’ for nearly 600 plant species across the globe. They clubbed together with like-minded individuals working across five different continents to compile the huge database of plant life histories, for which data have been gathered over a near 50-year span.

At a time in which climate change and increasing human populations are rapidly re-shaping plant distributions, the researchers hope their COMPADRE Plant Matrix database will foster collaborations between scientists and allow them to better answer questions such as how we can conserve the species that are critical for ecosystem services, and which may provide food for billions.

The researchers have just published an article in the international, peer-reviewed publication Journal of Ecology that describes the database. By making the precious data it contains free to download, they hope to inspire and accelerate important global research on plant biology.

“We hope that other scientists will use these data to answer questions such as why, unlike humans, some plants don’t deteriorate as they age, why some environments are better for agriculture than others, and how fast plant populations will move in response to climate change,” said Professor of Zoology in Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences, Yvonne Buckley.

She added: “Making the database freely available is our 21st Century revamp of the similarly inspired investments in living plant collections that were made to botanic gardens through the centuries; these were also set up to bring economic, medicinal and agricultural advantages of plants to people all over the world. Our database is moving this gift into the digital age of ‘Big Data’.”

We are used to shops, websites and companies keeping track of our purchases, what we eat, who we date, and even when and how we exercise. Keeping track of the most intimate details of life, death and reproduction should not be unique to human populations, though.

We rely on plants for some of our most basic needs like food, shelter and clothing. It is therefore vital that we know the ‘hows’, ‘whys’ and ‘wherefores’ governing the success of a diverse range of plant species so that we can protect them and put them to use for the good of the world.

The COMPADRE database contains far more information than one person could ever hope to pull together over a lifetime. The data have been collected over the past 48 years by many scientists on five continents, with sites ranging from the searing heat of deserts to the freezing cold of arctic and alpine plant communities. As a result, there are almost infinite questions for researchers to explore.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Trinity College Dublin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Data Specialist Retail Program at Feeding America

Data Specialist – Retail Program

Work. Serve. Thrive.
Imagine a place where your talent can make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives. Working at Feeding America is a uniquely rewarding experience in which our employees work together as vital parts of a much larger mission. We are innovative, mission-focused, diverse, collaborative, values-driven and focused on results.

We are a national, nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, our mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.

The Opportunity
The Data Specialist will indirectly support the continued growth of the retail store donation program (currently over $ 1B pounds annually) by developing and implementing processes to collect, manage, mine and analyze retail store donation program data; Develop insights and recommends strategies to drive incremental value through the retail channel.

Responsibilities
· Supports the continued growth of the retail store donation program by managing program data and statistics that are disseminated to donors, food banks and internally within Feeding America.
· Reviews and analyzes general industry and internal data to identify new opportunities for retail program growth and expansion.  
· Supports the development of the retail program strategy through data management and analysis.  Strategy to focus on: a) identifying areas of program underperformance, b) identifying major opportunities for new growth, and c) creating insight as to how to capture incremental value from both scenarios.
· Identifies processes to more effectively collect, store, and mine retail program data.
· Develops and manages communications on program performance to key donors on monthly basis (including store level program reporting, key exceptions, areas for intervention, etc.).
· Works with food bank members to increase accuracy and timeliness of retail program data reporting through recurring communication on performance, scorecard development, issue troubleshooting, and reporting tool generation / upgrades.
· Generates quarterly updates for senior level audiences (both internal and external) on performance of program.

Requirements
· BA/BS required; focus on statistics and/or research desirable
· 2+ years’ experience in developing quantitative models and working with large data sets, preferably in a research-based environment.
· 2+ years’ experience working with databases and manipulation of data.  Experience structuring and driving strategic initiatives strongly preferred.
· Experience in food retail industry preferred.
· Experience extracting data from databases and writing reports based on results to meet business requirements.
· Strong analytical skills.
· Experience with food security or food waste issues preferred.
· Excellent presentation skills, in addition to oral and written communication skills.
· Ability to think creatively and strategically as part of a team and within broad coalitions.
· Strong acumen in MS Office applications, particularly Access, Excel and PowerPoint.
· Committed to organizational mission of ending hunger.

Please click here to apply

Supermarket News

Will customers trust you with their data?

It’s tempting to think of customer data as the new oil.

Combined with advanced analytics, it offers the promise of a truly personalized marketing that both increases effectiveness and eliminates waste. As the rumored $ 3.2 billion valuation of Tesco’s data analysis business Dunnhumby has shown, retailers (and supermarkets in particular) are a valuable source of this data.

Retailers can take a number of practicial steps to earn customers' trust, but the first step must be data security.But customer data isn’t a natural resource. It’s generated by people. And as our connectivity increases, so does our awareness of the data being collected and the erosion of our privacy. With customers increasingly seeking more control over the data they share and with whom, retailers will need to demonstrate to customers that they can be trusted with their data.

There are a number of practical steps that spring to mind:

  1. Make sure you are using the data you already have to improve the customer experience, so it’s clear to customers what value they are receiving in return.
  2. Give your customers more control over their data: Let them opt in, for example, rather than have to opt out, and be very clear what they are opting into.
  3. Only collect the data that’s essential to deliver the benefit to customers, again making clear why you need it.

However, the initial step has to be data security. With the recent spate of high profile data breaches, customers need to be reassured that you take the protection of their data seriously.

While data security can seem a very technical and legal issue, it’s underpinned by a question of mindset. If you view customer data as a commodity, then it’s something to be extracted from customers and traded … and customers will be wary.

But if you view access to customer data as a privilege, then it’s something to be earned and protected … and you’ll inspire more confidence among your customers.

What approach does your business take?

Simon Uwins is a former CMO of fresh&easy and Tesco UK, and author of Creating Loyal Brands (2014). Find him online at www.simonuwins.com.

Supermarket News

Will customers trust you with their data?

It’s tempting to think of customer data as the new oil.

Combined with advanced analytics, it offers the promise of a truly personalized marketing that both increases effectiveness and eliminates waste. As the rumored $ 3.2 billion valuation of Tesco’s data analysis business Dunnhumby has shown, retailers (and supermarkets in particular) are a valuable source of this data.

Retailers can take a number of practicial steps to earn customers' trust, but the first step must be data security.But customer data isn’t a natural resource. It’s generated by people. And as our connectivity increases, so does our awareness of the data being collected and the erosion of our privacy. With customers increasingly seeking more control over the data they share and with whom, retailers will need to demonstrate to customers that they can be trusted with their data.

There are a number of practical steps that spring to mind:

  1. Make sure you are using the data you already have to improve the customer experience, so it’s clear to customers what value they are receiving in return.
  2. Give your customers more control over their data: Let them opt in, for example, rather than have to opt out, and be very clear what they are opting into.
  3. Only collect the data that’s essential to deliver the benefit to customers, again making clear why you need it.

However, the initial step has to be data security. With the recent spate of high profile data breaches, customers need to be reassured that you take the protection of their data seriously.

While data security can seem a very technical and legal issue, it’s underpinned by a question of mindset. If you view customer data as a commodity, then it’s something to be extracted from customers and traded … and customers will be wary.

But if you view access to customer data as a privilege, then it’s something to be earned and protected … and you’ll inspire more confidence among your customers.

What approach does your business take?

Simon Uwins is a former CMO of fresh&easy and Tesco UK, and author of Creating Loyal Brands (2014). Find him online at www.simonuwins.com.

Supermarket News

Will customers trust you with their data?

It’s tempting to think of customer data as the new oil.

Combined with advanced analytics, it offers the promise of a truly personalized marketing that both increases effectiveness and eliminates waste. As the rumored $ 3.2 billion valuation of Tesco’s data analysis business Dunnhumby has shown, retailers (and supermarkets in particular) are a valuable source of this data.

Retailers can take a number of practicial steps to earn customers' trust, but the first step must be data security.But customer data isn’t a natural resource. It’s generated by people. And as our connectivity increases, so does our awareness of the data being collected and the erosion of our privacy. With customers increasingly seeking more control over the data they share and with whom, retailers will need to demonstrate to customers that they can be trusted with their data.

There are a number of practical steps that spring to mind:

  1. Make sure you are using the data you already have to improve the customer experience, so it’s clear to customers what value they are receiving in return.
  2. Give your customers more control over their data: Let them opt in, for example, rather than have to opt out, and be very clear what they are opting into.
  3. Only collect the data that’s essential to deliver the benefit to customers, again making clear why you need it.

However, the initial step has to be data security. With the recent spate of high profile data breaches, customers need to be reassured that you take the protection of their data seriously.

While data security can seem a very technical and legal issue, it’s underpinned by a question of mindset. If you view customer data as a commodity, then it’s something to be extracted from customers and traded … and customers will be wary.

But if you view access to customer data as a privilege, then it’s something to be earned and protected … and you’ll inspire more confidence among your customers.

What approach does your business take?

Simon Uwins is a former CMO of fresh&easy and Tesco UK, and author of Creating Loyal Brands (2014). Find him online at www.simonuwins.com.

Supermarket News

Will customers trust you with their data?

It’s tempting to think of customer data as the new oil.

Combined with advanced analytics, it offers the promise of a truly personalized marketing that both increases effectiveness and eliminates waste. As the rumored $ 3.2 billion valuation of Tesco’s data analysis business Dunnhumby has shown, retailers (and supermarkets in particular) are a valuable source of this data.

Retailers can take a number of practicial steps to earn customers' trust, but the first step must be data security.But customer data isn’t a natural resource. It’s generated by people. And as our connectivity increases, so does our awareness of the data being collected and the erosion of our privacy. With customers increasingly seeking more control over the data they share and with whom, retailers will need to demonstrate to customers that they can be trusted with their data.

There are a number of practical steps that spring to mind:

  1. Make sure you are using the data you already have to improve the customer experience, so it’s clear to customers what value they are receiving in return.
  2. Give your customers more control over their data: Let them opt in, for example, rather than have to opt out, and be very clear what they are opting into.
  3. Only collect the data that’s essential to deliver the benefit to customers, again making clear why you need it.

However, the initial step has to be data security. With the recent spate of high profile data breaches, customers need to be reassured that you take the protection of their data seriously.

While data security can seem a very technical and legal issue, it’s underpinned by a question of mindset. If you view customer data as a commodity, then it’s something to be extracted from customers and traded … and customers will be wary.

But if you view access to customer data as a privilege, then it’s something to be earned and protected … and you’ll inspire more confidence among your customers.

What approach does your business take?

Simon Uwins is a former CMO of fresh&easy and Tesco UK, and author of Creating Loyal Brands (2014). Find him online at www.simonuwins.com.

Supermarket News

Will customers trust you with their data?

It’s tempting to think of customer data as the new oil.

Combined with advanced analytics, it offers the promise of a truly personalized marketing that both increases effectiveness and eliminates waste. As the rumored $ 3.2 billion valuation of Tesco’s data analysis business Dunnhumby has shown, retailers (and supermarkets in particular) are a valuable source of this data.

Retailers can take a number of practicial steps to earn customers' trust, but the first step must be data security.But customer data isn’t a natural resource. It’s generated by people. And as our connectivity increases, so does our awareness of the data being collected and the erosion of our privacy. With customers increasingly seeking more control over the data they share and with whom, retailers will need to demonstrate to customers that they can be trusted with their data.

There are a number of practical steps that spring to mind:

  1. Make sure you are using the data you already have to improve the customer experience, so it’s clear to customers what value they are receiving in return.
  2. Give your customers more control over their data: Let them opt in, for example, rather than have to opt out, and be very clear what they are opting into.
  3. Only collect the data that’s essential to deliver the benefit to customers, again making clear why you need it.

However, the initial step has to be data security. With the recent spate of high profile data breaches, customers need to be reassured that you take the protection of their data seriously.

While data security can seem a very technical and legal issue, it’s underpinned by a question of mindset. If you view customer data as a commodity, then it’s something to be extracted from customers and traded … and customers will be wary.

But if you view access to customer data as a privilege, then it’s something to be earned and protected … and you’ll inspire more confidence among your customers.

What approach does your business take?

Simon Uwins is a former CMO of fresh&easy and Tesco UK, and author of Creating Loyal Brands (2014). Find him online at www.simonuwins.com.

Supermarket News

Will customers trust you with their data?

It’s tempting to think of customer data as the new oil.

Combined with advanced analytics, it offers the promise of a truly personalized marketing that both increases effectiveness and eliminates waste. As the rumored $ 3.2 billion valuation of Tesco’s data analysis business Dunnhumby has shown, retailers (and supermarkets in particular) are a valuable source of this data.

Retailers can take a number of practicial steps to earn customers' trust, but the first step must be data security.But customer data isn’t a natural resource. It’s generated by people. And as our connectivity increases, so does our awareness of the data being collected and the erosion of our privacy. With customers increasingly seeking more control over the data they share and with whom, retailers will need to demonstrate to customers that they can be trusted with their data.

There are a number of practical steps that spring to mind:

  1. Make sure you are using the data you already have to improve the customer experience, so it’s clear to customers what value they are receiving in return.
  2. Give your customers more control over their data: Let them opt in, for example, rather than have to opt out, and be very clear what they are opting into.
  3. Only collect the data that’s essential to deliver the benefit to customers, again making clear why you need it.

However, the initial step has to be data security. With the recent spate of high profile data breaches, customers need to be reassured that you take the protection of their data seriously.

While data security can seem a very technical and legal issue, it’s underpinned by a question of mindset. If you view customer data as a commodity, then it’s something to be extracted from customers and traded … and customers will be wary.

But if you view access to customer data as a privilege, then it’s something to be earned and protected … and you’ll inspire more confidence among your customers.

What approach does your business take?

Simon Uwins is a former CMO of fresh&easy and Tesco UK, and author of Creating Loyal Brands (2014). Find him online at www.simonuwins.com.

Supermarket News

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Supermarket News

Group Urges Accuracy in Case-Shipment Data

SAN ANTONIO — A group of food retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers is calling for CPG manufacturers to “measure, validate and communicate” weights and dimensions of product cases before they are shipped to retailers. 

“There are a lot of companies that do not do that — and that’s a problem,” said Beckey James, electronic commerce manager for food wholesaler McLane Co., Temple, Texas, during a panel discussion on data quality at the GS1 Connect 2013 conference here June 10-13. The conference was hosted by GS1 US, Lawrenceville, N.J., which oversees bar codes and other commercial standards.

McLane is one of the members of the Data Quality Framework Initiative pilot program, formed to develop best practices for dealing with product data inaccuracies that impact supply chain efficiencies and consumer information. Other participating companies include Ahold USA, Coca-Cola, Hershey, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, J.M. Smucker, Wakefern Food Corp., Wegmans, 1WorldSync, Gladson, GS1 US, ItemMaster and Strategic Solutions Inc.


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Inaccurate data on cases is especially significant because it prevents trucks from being filled to capacity, causes delays at weight stations, creates problems in slotting cases at warehouses and leads to purchase-order discrepancies, pointed out Christine McMaster, director of product integrity, replenishment and merchandising, Wakefern Food Corp., who also spoke at the GS1 US panel discussion.

In addition, inaccuracies in “foundational” product attributes, including GTIN, UPC, brand, net content and unit of measure, can lead to “confusion about shelf price labels” among consumers, said McMaster.  This data is often channeled from manufacturers to retailers and wholesalers via the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), overseen by GS1, Brussels.

Retailers and wholesalers, McMaster added, can spend between 1,300 and 7,500 labor hours annually checking and correcting data inaccuracies created by their suppliers.

To address inaccuracies in case measurements and product attributes, the pilot group urged manufacturers to adopt a five-point best-practice process. The best practices, if followed, “will help to ensure the highest levels of data accuracy,” according to a white paper from 1WorldSync, Lawrenceville, N.J. “A coordinated industry effort is needed to help make the [best practices] a standard process for manufacturers moving forward.” They include:

• Manufacturers adhere to the following foundational product attributes in internal set-up: GTIN, UPC, brand, net content and unit of measure.

• Attribute owners are identified and accountable, with written control mechanisms documenting validation procedures.

• A single group and individual are accountable for shepherding and gathering item attributes from attribute owners to ensure that control mechanisms are followed.

• All new items are measured off a stable production environment, rather than off preliminary measures.

• Production measurements are communicated internally and externally.

Product data accuracy, which the food industry has been grappling with since the dawn of data synchronization in the early 2000s, “has not grown as fast as I would like,” acknowledged James. “Hopefully this [industry standard] will help it grow faster.”

More news from GS1 Connect 2013

One of the key causes for inaccuracies in case measurements is that preliminary data on products, supplied many months in advance of production to retailers and wholesalers, is not updated after the final production of the product. Many manufacturers “believe R&D is accurate and can’t possibly be different from what’s actually produced,” said James. “We know that’s incorrect.” In fact, she added, “nine times out of 10 [production data] is different from R&D specs.”

Thus manufacturers must actively measure and validate case measurements after the production process, the pilot group said.

Chris Lemmond, senior director, marketing and commercial operations, 1WorldSync, Lawrenceville, N.J., who moderated the panel discussion, asked for more industry participation in the GS1 US Data Quality Industry Work Group. The group is developing requirements for a national data quality program that would include criteria for audits and certification; it is also seeking industry consensus to deploy data-quality validation as a requirement for using the GDSN.

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Supermarket News

Group Urges Accuracy in Case-Shipment Data

SAN ANTONIO — A group of food retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers is calling for CPG manufacturers to “measure, validate and communicate” weights and dimensions of product cases before they are shipped to retailers. 

“There are a lot of companies that do not do that — and that’s a problem,” said Beckey James, electronic commerce manager for food wholesaler McLane Co., Temple, Texas, during a panel discussion on data quality at the GS1 Connect 2013 conference here June 10-13. The conference was hosted by GS1 US, Lawrenceville, N.J., which oversees bar codes and other commercial standards.

McLane is one of the members of the Data Quality Framework Initiative pilot program, formed to develop best practices for dealing with product data inaccuracies that impact supply chain efficiencies and consumer information. Other participating companies include Ahold USA, Coca-Cola, Hershey, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, J.M. Smucker, Wakefern Food Corp., Wegmans, 1WorldSync, Gladson, GS1 US, ItemMaster and Strategic Solutions Inc.


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Inaccurate data on cases is especially significant because it prevents trucks from being filled to capacity, causes delays at weight stations, creates problems in slotting cases at warehouses and leads to purchase-order discrepancies, pointed out Christine McMaster, director of product integrity, replenishment and merchandising, Wakefern Food Corp., who also spoke at the GS1 US panel discussion.

In addition, inaccuracies in “foundational” product attributes, including GTIN, UPC, brand, net content and unit of measure, can lead to “confusion about shelf price labels” among consumers, said McMaster.  This data is often channeled from manufacturers to retailers and wholesalers via the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), overseen by GS1, Brussels.

Retailers and wholesalers, McMaster added, can spend between 1,300 and 7,500 labor hours annually checking and correcting data inaccuracies created by their suppliers.

To address inaccuracies in case measurements and product attributes, the pilot group urged manufacturers to adopt a five-point best-practice process. The best practices, if followed, “will help to ensure the highest levels of data accuracy,” according to a white paper from 1WorldSync, Lawrenceville, N.J. “A coordinated industry effort is needed to help make the [best practices] a standard process for manufacturers moving forward.” They include:

• Manufacturers adhere to the following foundational product attributes in internal set-up: GTIN, UPC, brand, net content and unit of measure.

• Attribute owners are identified and accountable, with written control mechanisms documenting validation procedures.

• A single group and individual are accountable for shepherding and gathering item attributes from attribute owners to ensure that control mechanisms are followed.

• All new items are measured off a stable production environment, rather than off preliminary measures.

• Production measurements are communicated internally and externally.

Product data accuracy, which the food industry has been grappling with since the dawn of data synchronization in the early 2000s, “has not grown as fast as I would like,” acknowledged James. “Hopefully this [industry standard] will help it grow faster.”

More news from GS1 Connect 2013

One of the key causes for inaccuracies in case measurements is that preliminary data on products, supplied many months in advance of production to retailers and wholesalers, is not updated after the final production of the product. Many manufacturers “believe R&D is accurate and can’t possibly be different from what’s actually produced,” said James. “We know that’s incorrect.” In fact, she added, “nine times out of 10 [production data] is different from R&D specs.”

Thus manufacturers must actively measure and validate case measurements after the production process, the pilot group said.

Chris Lemmond, senior director, marketing and commercial operations, 1WorldSync, Lawrenceville, N.J., who moderated the panel discussion, asked for more industry participation in the GS1 US Data Quality Industry Work Group. The group is developing requirements for a national data quality program that would include criteria for audits and certification; it is also seeking industry consensus to deploy data-quality validation as a requirement for using the GDSN.

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Make your mobile device live up to its true potential: As a data collection tool

Leaf measurements are often critical in plant physiological and ecological studies, but traditional methods have been time consuming and sometimes destructive to plant samples. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have developed Easy Leaf Area — a free software written in an open-source programming language — to allow users to accurately measure leaf area from digital images in seconds.

“It has always been a challenge to measure leaf surface area without damaging the plants or spending long hours in the lab, so I decided to attempt to write software to automatically measure leaf and scale area from smartphone images,” explains Hsien Ming Easlon, a researcher at UC Davis and one of the developers of Easy Leaf Area. “Leaf area measurements are essential for estimating crop yields, water usage, nutrient absorption, plant competition, and many other aspects of growth.”

The digital images he uses are taken with the Apple IPhone 4, but any current smartphone camera or digital camera will do. Once the images are uploaded to a computer, Easy Leaf Area can process hundreds of images and save the results to a spreadsheet-ready CSV file. The Windows executable software is free to download and can be modified to suit specific experimental requirements. A full report including links to additional resources is available in a recent issue of Applications in Plant Sciences.

Easlon recalls, “Our lab started using digital cameras when I was a graduate student. We figured out how to use Photoshop to measure areas in digital images, but this method still required one to five minutes of human input per image.”

Five minutes per image may not seem like a long time, but multiply that by hundreds of plants — a normal sample size — and those minutes add up fast. By automating data analysis, researchers can save countless hours of manual labor, improve the accuracy and consistency of their results, and reduce potential damages to their plant samples.

Easlon and his team developed Easy Leaf Area using Arabidopsis plants, and also tested Easy Leaf Area on photographs of field-grown tomatoes and wheat, and photographs and scans of detached leaves of a common tree poppy, California redwood, chaparral currant, Jeffrey pine, and Valley oak. Manual adjustments to the automatic algorithm can be saved for different plants and field conditions, making this a practical tool for researchers in many plant science fields.

Easlon’s next step is to develop a mobile version so that leaf area measurements can be made on the fly without a PC. He also plans to add handwriting recognition or barcode reading to the software. This will automatically interpret labeled plant stakes and assign the proper file names to each image.

“Most researchers don’t have the time or knowledge to develop software for themselves, so scientific use of smartphones is primarily limited to built-in features. The processing power, connectivity, built-in sensors, storage capacity, and low price give smartphones great potential to replace many single-purpose devices for scientific data collection,” explains Easlon.

Calculating plant surface area could soon be as easy as using Instagram.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Journal of Botany. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Federal Data Show Increases, Decreases in Antimicrobial Trends

A day before its 2014 Scientific Meeting at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) released its latest Executive Report, detailing the trends in antimicrobial resistance.

NARMS is a partnership between FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Agriculture to track antibiotic resistance in foodborne Salmonella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus and E. coli bacteria.

According to the 2011 data, 85 percent of non-typhoidal Salmonella collected from humans had no resistance to any of the antibiotics tested. Multi-drug resistance in Salmonella from humans, slaughtered chickens and slaughtered swine was the lowest since NARMS testing began. However, multi-drug resistance in Salmonella from retail poultry meats generally increased, with slight fluctuations.

During its 16-year history, NARMS has found Salmonella resistance to ciprofloxacin, one of the most common antibiotics to treat Salmonella infections in humans, to be very low (less than 0.5 percent in humans, less than 3 percent in retail meat, and less than 1 percent in animals at slaughter).

Resistance to third-generation cephalosporins, another important drug class for treating Salmonella infections, rose among isolates from retail ground turkey between 2008 and 2011 and among certain Salmonella serotypes in cattle between 2009 and 2011.

And Salmonella Heidelberg prevalence among all retail meat increased from about 10 percent in 2010 to 11 percent in 2011, but remained below the 2002-2010 average of 19.8 percent.

More than 90 percent of Campylobacter come from retail chicken each year, and Campylobacter jejuni is more prevalent than Campylobacter coli. C. coli also tends to be more resistant than C. jejuni, regardless of source.

In C. jejuni, erythromycin (the drug of choice for treating Campylobacter infections) resistance has remained at less than 4 percent in isolates obtained from humans, retail chicken and slaughtered chicken since testing began.

In the same class of antibiotics is ciprofloxacin, for which resistance in C. coli from retail chicken rose to its highest peak of 29 percent in 2005, but, since FDA withdrew approval for the use of enrofloxacin in poultry, resistance has since decreased to 18 percent.

However, this is not the case for C. jejuni, in which resistance to ciprofloxacin rose from 15 to 22 percent from 2002 through 2011.

Of the ground turkey, ground beef and pork chop samples that tested positive for E. coli, tetracycline was the most common source of resistance — 80 percent of ground turkey, 18 percent of ground beef and 47 percent of pork chops. In chicken, the 41 percent resistant to tetracycline was surpassed by 44 percent sulfisoxazole and 43 percent streptomycin.

Another highlight of the data is that 52 percent of ground turkey samples were resistant to ampicillin, up from 31 percent in 2002.

And, since 2005, nalidixic acid resistance in E. coli has decreased in chicken from 7 to 2 percent and in ground turkey from 10 to 2 percent.

“While some encouraging trends were observed, these findings underscore the need for continued efforts to curb antimicrobial resistance,” FDA said. “Monitoring antimicrobial resistance through NARMS is an important component of the overall effort to minimize antimicrobial resistance and promote appropriate and judicious use of antimicrobial drugs in both humans and animals.”

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