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Don’t Rinse Your Turkey and Other Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Despite what Julia Child might have told us during the height of her authority on all things related to home cooking, we should not be washing our raw poultry — especially not in the kitchen sink.

To ensure your family enjoys Thanksgiving without any gastrointestinal interruptions, Food Safety News has compiled a guide to Thanksgiving food safety, starting with one of the most important tips of all:

Don’t rinse your turkey

Rinsing raw poultry isn’t a very effective way to clean bacteria from your meal, but it is a great way to spread bacteria around your kitchen. Washing poultry aerosolizes bacteria and splashes it around onto anything within several feet of your sink.

Let the cooking process taking care of the bacteria. Plus, from a cooking perspective, you’ll want the turkey skin dry to be crispy when cooked.

Stay smart about preparing the turkey

Never thaw a turkey at room temperature. If you’ve purchased a frozen turkey, thaw it in the refrigerator or in a pan of cold water, changing out the water as often as every half-hour. Start the thawing process at least 24 hours before you plan to start cooking.

If you bought a fresh turkey, keep it in the fridge until it’s time to cook.

If you decide to cook the turkey while it’s still frozen, you’ll need to cook it for 50 percent longer than the advised time.

Avoid cross-contamination by using a separate cutting board and knife for trimming the turkey. And be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the turkey and before touching anything else in the kitchen.

Turkey cooking times

The bigger the bird, the longer it’ll need to cook. Here are approximate cook times for turkey in an oven at 325 degrees F:

Unstuffed

4 to 6 lb. breast …… 1.5 to 2.5 hours
6 to 8 lb. breast …… 2.5 to 3.5 hours
8 to 12 lbs. ………….. 2.75 to 3 hours
12 to 14 lbs. …………  3 to 3.75 hours
14 to 18 lbs. …………. 3.75 to 4.5 hours
18 to 20 lbs. ………… 4.25 to 4.5 hours
20 to 24 lbs. ………… 4.5 to 5 hours

Stuffed

8 to 12 lbs. …… 3 to 3.5 hours
12 to 14 lbs. …… 3.5 to 4 hours
14 to 18 lbs. …… 4 to 4.5 hours
18 to 20 lbs. …… 4.25 to 4.75 hours
20 to 24 lbs. …… 4.75 to 5.25 hours

You’ll have to check for yourself to ensure that the bird is fully cooked in this amount of time.

Turkey is safe to eat once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature at the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

Trust a good thermometer over your eyes. Meat can appear cooked even when it hasn’t reached 165 degrees F, and it can sometimes appear pink well past that temperature.

Cook stuffing just as thoroughly

If you’re stuffing your turkey, combine the ingredients and perform the stuffing just before you plan to stick the bird in the oven. Aim for about 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey.

Because it comes into contact with raw poultry, stuffing also needs to be cooked to a minimum 165 degrees F. If the turkey is done but the stuffing isn’t, remove the stuffing and bake it separately in a greased casserole dish.

Store leftovers promptly

Don’t leave dishes sitting at room temperature for more than two hours after taking them out of the oven or refrigerator. Refrigerate any foods made with perishable ingredients such as meat, milk or eggs. This includes pumpkin pie.

When storing leftovers, portion them out into shallow dishes so that they cool rapidly in the refrigerator or freezer. Cut breast meat into smaller pieces. Wings and legs can be left whole.

When thawing frozen leftovers, use the refrigerator, cold water, or the microwave, rather than leaving frozen food out on the counter.

Food safety resources

For more information about how to safely handle, serve and store your holiday food, call 1-888-SAFEFOOD (FDA), 1-888-MPHOTLINE (USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline), email [email protected], or visit AskKaren.gov.

For some statistics, history, and FAQs about our native bird, visit the National Turkey Federation website.

Food Safety News

Don’t Rinse Your Turkey and Other Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Despite what Julia Child might have told us during the height of her authority on all things related to home cooking, we should not be washing our raw poultry — especially not in the kitchen sink.

To ensure your family enjoys Thanksgiving without any gastrointestinal interruptions, Food Safety News has compiled a guide to Thanksgiving food safety, starting with one of the most important tips of all:

Don’t rinse your turkey

Rinsing raw poultry isn’t a very effective way to clean bacteria from your meal, but it is a great way to spread bacteria around your kitchen. Washing poultry aerosolizes bacteria and splashes it around onto anything within several feet of your sink.

Let the cooking process taking care of the bacteria. Plus, from a cooking perspective, you’ll want the turkey skin dry to be crispy when cooked.

Stay smart about preparing the turkey

Never thaw a turkey at room temperature. If you’ve purchased a frozen turkey, thaw it in the refrigerator or in a pan of cold water, changing out the water as often as every half-hour. Start the thawing process at least 24 hours before you plan to start cooking.

If you bought a fresh turkey, keep it in the fridge until it’s time to cook.

If you decide to cook the turkey while it’s still frozen, you’ll need to cook it for 50 percent longer than the advised time.

Avoid cross-contamination by using a separate cutting board and knife for trimming the turkey. And be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the turkey and before touching anything else in the kitchen.

Turkey cooking times

The bigger the bird, the longer it’ll need to cook. Here are approximate cook times for turkey in an oven at 325 degrees F:

Unstuffed

4 to 6 lb. breast …… 1.5 to 2.5 hours
6 to 8 lb. breast …… 2.5 to 3.5 hours
8 to 12 lbs. ………….. 2.75 to 3 hours
12 to 14 lbs. …………  3 to 3.75 hours
14 to 18 lbs. …………. 3.75 to 4.5 hours
18 to 20 lbs. ………… 4.25 to 4.5 hours
20 to 24 lbs. ………… 4.5 to 5 hours

Stuffed

8 to 12 lbs. …… 3 to 3.5 hours
12 to 14 lbs. …… 3.5 to 4 hours
14 to 18 lbs. …… 4 to 4.5 hours
18 to 20 lbs. …… 4.25 to 4.75 hours
20 to 24 lbs. …… 4.75 to 5.25 hours

You’ll have to check for yourself to ensure that the bird is fully cooked in this amount of time.

Turkey is safe to eat once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature at the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

Trust a good thermometer over your eyes. Meat can appear cooked even when it hasn’t reached 165 degrees F, and it can sometimes appear pink well past that temperature.

Cook stuffing just as thoroughly

If you’re stuffing your turkey, combine the ingredients and perform the stuffing just before you plan to stick the bird in the oven. Aim for about 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey.

Because it comes into contact with raw poultry, stuffing also needs to be cooked to a minimum 165 degrees F. If the turkey is done but the stuffing isn’t, remove the stuffing and bake it separately in a greased casserole dish.

Store leftovers promptly

Don’t leave dishes sitting at room temperature for more than two hours after taking them out of the oven or refrigerator. Refrigerate any foods made with perishable ingredients such as meat, milk or eggs. This includes pumpkin pie.

When storing leftovers, portion them out into shallow dishes so that they cool rapidly in the refrigerator or freezer. Cut breast meat into smaller pieces. Wings and legs can be left whole.

When thawing frozen leftovers, use the refrigerator, cold water, or the microwave, rather than leaving frozen food out on the counter.

Food safety resources

For more information about how to safely handle, serve and store your holiday food, call 1-888-SAFEFOOD (FDA), 1-888-MPHOTLINE (USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline), email [email protected], or visit AskKaren.gov.

For some statistics, history, and FAQs about our native bird, visit the National Turkey Federation website.

Food Safety News

Senators to Colleagues: Don’t ‘Pre-Emptively Weaken’ COOL

Over the summer, more than 100 members of Congress called for repeal of country-of-origin labeling (COOL) if the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled against the U.S. in its trade dispute with Canada and Mexico.

This week, 32 senators wrote to the leaders of the Appropriations Committee, asking that they not deal with the labeling rule before the trade dispute resolution has run its course.

“As the Senate debates how to provide funding for the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015, we urge you to reject efforts to weaken or suspend [COOL] through any continuing resolution or omnibus appropriations bill,” wrote the signatories, who include Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mike Enzi (R-WY).

The WTO decision is unlikely to be clear-cut, the letter stated, and the committee should not allow rumors about a possible outcome to “pre-emptively weaken” COOL.

“Consumers have the right to know where their food comes from and farmers should be able to market their livestock as born and raised in America,” the senators wrote.

Food Safety News

FDA’s Taylor: Don’t Expect Extended Comment Periods on Reproposed FSMA Rules

Don’t expect comment period extensions for the reproposed rules regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

That’s what Michael Taylor, the Food and Drug Administration’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, told attendees Wednesday at the United Fresh Produce Association Washington Conference.

He said he had hoped to be discussing details of the reissued produce safety, Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) and preventive controls rules during the meeting, but all four rules are still under review at the Office of Management and Budget.

FDA’s Michael Taylor addressing the United Fresh Washington Conference on Wednesday.

The new proposals are expected to be released soon, but Taylor was unable to give an exact date for when. All he would say was, “We are very close.”

The timeline for FSMA implementation is ever important, given that the first rules on preventive controls — both for human food and animal food — must be finalized by Aug. 30, 2015. FDA’s other court-mandated deadlines are Oct. 31, 2015, for produce safety, FSVP and third-party accreditation; March 31, 2016, for sanitary transport, and May 31, 2016, for intentional adulteration.

“The court deadlines are really driving all of the timelines and planning that we’re doing, necessarily,” Taylor said. “My boss is potentially held in contempt if we don’t get the rules out.”

He added that there will still be “a reasonable comment period” on the re-proposals “given that these are not new issues,” but that extended periods are not very feasible when sticking to the final deadlines.

Taylor also provided attendees with an overview of the changes coming from FSMA regarding produce companies.

Michael Taylor

At the end of his remarks, Taylor again emphasized the need for adequate resources for implementing FSMA. As budget presentations have stated, FDA needs the funding to develop guidance and provide technical assistance for industry, provide technical support for FDA inspectors, retrain the federal and state inspection force, and build the import oversight system mandated by FSMA.

I’m a broken record on this, but I’m duty-bound and it’s deadly serious stuff,” Taylor said. “There is a lot ahead of us … but it’s clearly worth it.”

Speaking with reporters afterward, Taylor said that FDA “got the message on fees” and that, although the 2015 budget is still pending, “2016 really becomes the crucial year for getting the budget that we need to successfully implement.”

Food Safety News

Don’t count out Tesco

Tesco has been in the news a lot recently, with the high profile replacement of their current CEO Phillip Clarke with a Unilever executive Dave Lewis. Lewis will inherit a company searching for direction, with slumping sales in their home U.K. market as well as struggles in most of their foreign outposts. And, of course, there have been the well covered stories of their failed U.S. venture and a similar story in China. Clearly, this is a company with its share of troubles.

At the same time, it was not long ago when many (including myself) considered Tesco to be the best run retailer in the world. And, with sales of over $ 100 billion (U.S.), this is not a company to take for granted. We keep a close eye on the leading international retailers for a simple reason: trends starting in one country can quickly migrate to another. And U.S. retailers, while still world class, can certainly learn a lot from their global counterparts. In fact, as recent visits to several Tesco stores outside of London will attest to, this is a company with considerable assets and opportunities.

• Its private brands program continues to be among the best in the world and recent revamps to the entry-level Value line, an upgrade to its premium Finest brand and refinements to several key lifestyle brands reveals a company with considerable brand building strengths. An example of a new initiative My Fit Lifestyle shows one such example.

• Their Clubcard program remains world class but requires new innovation to keep up with changing market demands. But, Tesco has great data to work with.

• Visits to their prototype store in Watford shows interesting experimentation with new brands, like the Euphorium Bakery, Giraffe restaurant and Harris & Hoole coffee.

There is much that needs to be fixed at Tesco. It begins with creating a clear sense of direction and regaining market leadership which they have relinquished to others. But there is also a lot to work with.

Do you believe Tesco can turn around its business? And are there lessons worth learning from their recent stumbles abroad? What’s your view?

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Supermarket News

Why Most Americans Refrigerate Raw Shell Eggs and Europeans Often Don’t

American travelers to Europe may have noticed that people “across the pond” often store raw shell eggs at room temperature. They can safely do that because of the way eggs are produced in Europe, but it can’t be safely done in the U.S. because of Salmonella.

Salmonella bacteria, discovered in 1885 and named for the man who headed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) back then, can be transmitted via the outside of an egg if there is chicken manure present, or from inside the egg via the hen.

Salmonella infections are common in the U.S., causing at least 42,000 illnesses each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, CDC notes that the actual number of Salmonella-related illnesses is likely much higher since many people don’t seek health care for their symptoms.

Salmonellosis causes diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after infection by the bacteria, symptoms usually last four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. Some people, however, develop serious diarrhea requiring hospitalization, and Salmonellosis can be fatal if the infection spreads from the intestines to the bloodstream and other parts of the body — unless the person is promptly treated with antibiotics.

USDA requires raw shell eggs to be washed before they are sold. After being rinsed in hot water and dried, most large-volume processors then use a sanitizing rinse at the processing plant (this step is required for all USDA-graded eggs). Many processors then apply a light coating of food-grade mineral oil to the eggs to keep them from drying out.

In the U.K., the majority of egg producers vaccinate hens to help prevent Salmonella and generally do not wash or clean raw eggs before sending them to market because it may damage the shell, which can function as a barrier to pathogens. Their philosophy is to retain the thin coating called the “cuticle” that naturally occurs on the outside of the egg.

Refrigerating raw eggs is discouraged in the U.K. since the condensation that occurs after eggs are chilled and then warmed could potentially allow Salmonella bacteria to get inside the shell.

These egg production practices have reduced the incidence of Salmonella illnesses in Britain from 14,771 reported cases in 1997 to 581 cases in 2009.

Egg producers in the U.S. are starting to vaccinate laying hens more often than in the past, although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require it. After considering mandatory vaccination of hens for Salmonella in 2004, FDA concluded that the practice was promising but that “more information on the effectiveness of vaccines needs to be generated before we would mandate vaccination as a (SE) prevention measure.”

In 2010, a Salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 1,300 people in the U.S. was linked to eggs produced in Iowa. About 550 million eggs were later recalled in connection with that outbreak.

Food Safety News

Scientists track gene activity when honey bees do and don’t eat honey: Significant differences depending on diet

Many beekeepers feed their honey bees sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup when times are lean inside the hive. This practice has come under scrutiny, however, in response to colony collapse disorder, the massive — and as yet not fully explained — annual die-off of honey bees in the U.S. and Europe. Some suspect that inadequate nutrition plays a role in honey bee declines.

In a new study, described in Scientific Reports, researchers took a broad look at changes in gene activity in response to diet in the Western honey bee (Apis mellifera), and found significant differences occur depending on what the bees eat.

The researchers looked specifically at an energy storage tissue in bees called the fat body, which functions like the liver and fat tissues in humans and other vertebrates.

“We figured that the fat body might be a particularly revealing tissue to examine, and it did turn out to be the case,” said University of Illinois entomology professor and Institute for Genomic Biology director Gene Robinson, who performed the new analysis together with entomology graduate student Marsha Wheeler.

The researchers limited their analysis to foraging bees, which are older, have a higher metabolic rate and less energy reserves (in the form of lipids stored in the fat body) than their hive-bound nest mates — making the foragers much more dependent on a carbohydrate-rich diet, Robinson said.

“We reasoned that the foragers might be more sensitive to the effects of different carbohydrate sources,” he said.

The researchers focused on gene activity in response to feeding with honey, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), or sucrose. They found that those bees fed honey had a very different profile of gene activity in the fat body than those relying on HFCS or sucrose. Hundreds of genes showed differences in activity in honey bees consuming honey compared with those fed HFCS or sucrose. These differences remained even in an experimental hive that the researchers discovered was infected with deformed wing virus, one of the many maladies that afflict honey bees around the world.

“Our results parallel suggestive findings in humans,” Robinson said. “It seems that in both bees and humans, sugar is not sugar — different carbohydrate sources can act differently in the body.”

Some of the genes that were activated differently in the honey-eating bees have been linked to protein metabolism, brain-signaling and immune defense. The latter finding supports a 2013 study led by U. of I. entomology professor and department head May Berenbaum, who reported that some substances in honey increase the activity of genes that help the bees break down potentially toxic substances such as pesticides.

“Our results further show honey induces gene expression changes on a more global scale, and it now becomes important to investigate whether these changes can affect bee health,” Robinson said.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Best for bees to be stay-at-homes: Imported bees don’t do as well as locals

A world without bees would be a whole lot poorer — literally. In Denmark alone an additional 600 million to 1 billion Danish kroner are earned annually due to the work done by bees making honey and pollinating a wide range of crops from apples to cherries and clover.

Unfortunately, bees all over the world are under pressure from pesticides, mites, viruses, bacteria, fungi and environmental changes, among other things. The problems often lead to the syndrome Colony Collapse Disorder, which can cause whole bee colonies to fall apart.

Scientists from, among others, Aarhus University, have now found that bees that are adapted to the local environment fare much better with regard to meeting the challenges than bees that have been purchased and imported from a completely different home area. The scientists determined this by investigating the interaction between the genetic makeup of honey bees and their environment. Even though quite a lot is known about the geographical and genetic diversity of honey bees, knowledge of how honey bees adapt to the local environment has been limited until now.

“Many beekeepers believe that it is best to buy queens from outside instead of using the queens they have in their own beehives. However, there is increasing evidence that the global honey bee trade has detrimental effects, including the spread of new diseases and pests,” says senior scientist Per Kryger from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University.

Local or exotic queen?

Productivity in beehives is typically measured by how much honey the bees produce. The desire to maximize earnings by importing bees changes the natural genetic diversity. The question is whether commercial honey bee strains are actually more productive, all things considered. There is not much point in having a highly productive strain if it succumbs to Colony Collapse Disorder.

The studies were carried out in 621 colonies of honey bees with 16 different genetic origins. The beehives were set up in 11 countries in Europe. There was one local strain and two foreign strains of honey bees at each of the locations.

The factors that had the greatest influence on the survival of the bees were infection with varroa mites, problems with the queen, and infection with the disease nosema. Colonies with queens from the local environment managed on average 83 days more than colonies with queens from foreign areas.

“It is very clear that the local bees fare better than imported ones and that they live longer. It is not possible to point at one single factor that gives the local bees the advantage, but it appears to be an interaction between several factors,” says Per Kryger and continues: “Our results indicate that the way forward is to strengthen the breeding programmes with local honey bees instead of imported queens. That would help maintain the bee population’s natural diversity. It would also contribute to preventing the collapse of bee colonies, optimize sustainable productivity, and make it possible to maintain continual adaptation to environmental changes.”

The research was carried out by members of the international honey bee research association COLOSS that has members in 63 countries. The results of the project regarding the interaction between the genetic makeup of bees and their environment have been published in a special issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research, which is published by the International Bee Research Association. Scientists from Aarhus University contributed 10 of the 14 published articles.

The special issue can be found online at: http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/JAR-53-2-2014

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Aarhus University. The original article was written by Janne Hansen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Best for bees to be stay-at-homes: Imported bees don’t do as well as locals

A world without bees would be a whole lot poorer — literally. In Denmark alone an additional 600 million to 1 billion Danish kroner are earned annually due to the work done by bees making honey and pollinating a wide range of crops from apples to cherries and clover.

Unfortunately, bees all over the world are under pressure from pesticides, mites, viruses, bacteria, fungi and environmental changes, among other things. The problems often lead to the syndrome Colony Collapse Disorder, which can cause whole bee colonies to fall apart.

Scientists from, among others, Aarhus University, have now found that bees that are adapted to the local environment fare much better with regard to meeting the challenges than bees that have been purchased and imported from a completely different home area. The scientists determined this by investigating the interaction between the genetic makeup of honey bees and their environment. Even though quite a lot is known about the geographical and genetic diversity of honey bees, knowledge of how honey bees adapt to the local environment has been limited until now.

“Many beekeepers believe that it is best to buy queens from outside instead of using the queens they have in their own beehives. However, there is increasing evidence that the global honey bee trade has detrimental effects, including the spread of new diseases and pests,” says senior scientist Per Kryger from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University.

Local or exotic queen?

Productivity in beehives is typically measured by how much honey the bees produce. The desire to maximize earnings by importing bees changes the natural genetic diversity. The question is whether commercial honey bee strains are actually more productive, all things considered. There is not much point in having a highly productive strain if it succumbs to Colony Collapse Disorder.

The studies were carried out in 621 colonies of honey bees with 16 different genetic origins. The beehives were set up in 11 countries in Europe. There was one local strain and two foreign strains of honey bees at each of the locations.

The factors that had the greatest influence on the survival of the bees were infection with varroa mites, problems with the queen, and infection with the disease nosema. Colonies with queens from the local environment managed on average 83 days more than colonies with queens from foreign areas.

“It is very clear that the local bees fare better than imported ones and that they live longer. It is not possible to point at one single factor that gives the local bees the advantage, but it appears to be an interaction between several factors,” says Per Kryger and continues: “Our results indicate that the way forward is to strengthen the breeding programmes with local honey bees instead of imported queens. That would help maintain the bee population’s natural diversity. It would also contribute to preventing the collapse of bee colonies, optimize sustainable productivity, and make it possible to maintain continual adaptation to environmental changes.”

The research was carried out by members of the international honey bee research association COLOSS that has members in 63 countries. The results of the project regarding the interaction between the genetic makeup of bees and their environment have been published in a special issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research, which is published by the International Bee Research Association. Scientists from Aarhus University contributed 10 of the 14 published articles.

The special issue can be found online at: http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/JAR-53-2-2014

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Aarhus University. The original article was written by Janne Hansen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Best for bees to be stay-at-homes: Imported bees don’t do as well as locals

A world without bees would be a whole lot poorer — literally. In Denmark alone an additional 600 million to 1 billion Danish kroner are earned annually due to the work done by bees making honey and pollinating a wide range of crops from apples to cherries and clover.

Unfortunately, bees all over the world are under pressure from pesticides, mites, viruses, bacteria, fungi and environmental changes, among other things. The problems often lead to the syndrome Colony Collapse Disorder, which can cause whole bee colonies to fall apart.

Scientists from, among others, Aarhus University, have now found that bees that are adapted to the local environment fare much better with regard to meeting the challenges than bees that have been purchased and imported from a completely different home area. The scientists determined this by investigating the interaction between the genetic makeup of honey bees and their environment. Even though quite a lot is known about the geographical and genetic diversity of honey bees, knowledge of how honey bees adapt to the local environment has been limited until now.

“Many beekeepers believe that it is best to buy queens from outside instead of using the queens they have in their own beehives. However, there is increasing evidence that the global honey bee trade has detrimental effects, including the spread of new diseases and pests,” says senior scientist Per Kryger from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University.

Local or exotic queen?

Productivity in beehives is typically measured by how much honey the bees produce. The desire to maximize earnings by importing bees changes the natural genetic diversity. The question is whether commercial honey bee strains are actually more productive, all things considered. There is not much point in having a highly productive strain if it succumbs to Colony Collapse Disorder.

The studies were carried out in 621 colonies of honey bees with 16 different genetic origins. The beehives were set up in 11 countries in Europe. There was one local strain and two foreign strains of honey bees at each of the locations.

The factors that had the greatest influence on the survival of the bees were infection with varroa mites, problems with the queen, and infection with the disease nosema. Colonies with queens from the local environment managed on average 83 days more than colonies with queens from foreign areas.

“It is very clear that the local bees fare better than imported ones and that they live longer. It is not possible to point at one single factor that gives the local bees the advantage, but it appears to be an interaction between several factors,” says Per Kryger and continues: “Our results indicate that the way forward is to strengthen the breeding programmes with local honey bees instead of imported queens. That would help maintain the bee population’s natural diversity. It would also contribute to preventing the collapse of bee colonies, optimize sustainable productivity, and make it possible to maintain continual adaptation to environmental changes.”

The research was carried out by members of the international honey bee research association COLOSS that has members in 63 countries. The results of the project regarding the interaction between the genetic makeup of bees and their environment have been published in a special issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research, which is published by the International Bee Research Association. Scientists from Aarhus University contributed 10 of the 14 published articles.

The special issue can be found online at: http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/JAR-53-2-2014

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Aarhus University. The original article was written by Janne Hansen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Best for bees to be stay-at-homes: Imported bees don’t do as well as locals

A world without bees would be a whole lot poorer — literally. In Denmark alone an additional 600 million to 1 billion Danish kroner are earned annually due to the work done by bees making honey and pollinating a wide range of crops from apples to cherries and clover.

Unfortunately, bees all over the world are under pressure from pesticides, mites, viruses, bacteria, fungi and environmental changes, among other things. The problems often lead to the syndrome Colony Collapse Disorder, which can cause whole bee colonies to fall apart.

Scientists from, among others, Aarhus University, have now found that bees that are adapted to the local environment fare much better with regard to meeting the challenges than bees that have been purchased and imported from a completely different home area. The scientists determined this by investigating the interaction between the genetic makeup of honey bees and their environment. Even though quite a lot is known about the geographical and genetic diversity of honey bees, knowledge of how honey bees adapt to the local environment has been limited until now.

“Many beekeepers believe that it is best to buy queens from outside instead of using the queens they have in their own beehives. However, there is increasing evidence that the global honey bee trade has detrimental effects, including the spread of new diseases and pests,” says senior scientist Per Kryger from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University.

Local or exotic queen?

Productivity in beehives is typically measured by how much honey the bees produce. The desire to maximize earnings by importing bees changes the natural genetic diversity. The question is whether commercial honey bee strains are actually more productive, all things considered. There is not much point in having a highly productive strain if it succumbs to Colony Collapse Disorder.

The studies were carried out in 621 colonies of honey bees with 16 different genetic origins. The beehives were set up in 11 countries in Europe. There was one local strain and two foreign strains of honey bees at each of the locations.

The factors that had the greatest influence on the survival of the bees were infection with varroa mites, problems with the queen, and infection with the disease nosema. Colonies with queens from the local environment managed on average 83 days more than colonies with queens from foreign areas.

“It is very clear that the local bees fare better than imported ones and that they live longer. It is not possible to point at one single factor that gives the local bees the advantage, but it appears to be an interaction between several factors,” says Per Kryger and continues: “Our results indicate that the way forward is to strengthen the breeding programmes with local honey bees instead of imported queens. That would help maintain the bee population’s natural diversity. It would also contribute to preventing the collapse of bee colonies, optimize sustainable productivity, and make it possible to maintain continual adaptation to environmental changes.”

The research was carried out by members of the international honey bee research association COLOSS that has members in 63 countries. The results of the project regarding the interaction between the genetic makeup of bees and their environment have been published in a special issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research, which is published by the International Bee Research Association. Scientists from Aarhus University contributed 10 of the 14 published articles.

The special issue can be found online at: http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/JAR-53-2-2014

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Aarhus University. The original article was written by Janne Hansen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Prosecutions for Falsely Using USDA’s Stamp of Inspection Don’t Come Easy

Paul and Kelly Rosberg, who once owned Nebraska’s Finest Meats in Randolph, NE, put up a vigorous defense for many months against charges that they had sold to Omaha Public Schools 2,600 pounds of ground beef falsely presented as inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In court documents, they referred to themselves not as the “defendants,” but as the “falsely accused.” They dismissed attorneys and represented themselves. They sued USDA meat inspectors in Nebraska courts and filed liens against their properties.

Their son dodged federal marshals — he said his friends and neighbors in rural northeast Nebraska easily spotted their new cars. But U.S. attorneys finally got him lined up as a material witness in exchange for immunity.

The United States of America vs. Paul and Kelly Rosberg shows how hard federal prosecutors have to work to bring to justice those who violate USDA’s inspection regulations.

For USDA’s Inspector General (IG) and the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for Northern California, which are now investigating a Petaluma, CA, slaughterhouse for possible similar charges, the Nebraska case could be instructive about the difficult road ahead.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service provided inspection services from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. In September 2011, Omaha Public Schools awarded Rosberg’s company a contract for 5,200 pounds of USDA-inspected ground beef to be served at various school cafeterias in the state’s largest school district.

To fulfill the order by Oct. 19, Nebraska’s Finest Meats operated on the first two weekends of October 2011, mixing inspected beef with beef processed when inspectors were not present at the facility. They placed USDA’s mark of inspections on all packages and delivered them by the deadline.

In plea agreements with the defendants, U.S. attorneys in Nebraska agreed to dismiss most of the felony charges. Kelly Rosberg agreed to plead to a single federal misdemeanor count for representing the ground beef as USDA-inspected when she knew it had not been passed or inspected by the agency.

She escaped any jail time when the sentence was handed down earlier this week and got off with two years of federally supervised probation.

Prosecutors allowed Paul Rosberg to plead to only a single charge of conspiracy. Other federal felony charges went away.

Paul Rosberg also went away. He was sentenced last December to 18 months at a federal prison camp in Yankton, SD.

In his plea agreement, Rosberg agreed to dismiss his “pending lawsuits against government witnesses” and drop liens against their properties. He also agreed not to file any more legal actions against government witnesses and to pay $ 8,435.58 to cover legal expenses incurred by those he had sued.

He also agreed TO withdraw his application for a $ 300,000 “value-added” grant from USDA’s Rural Development Agency.

Rosberg admitted that he knew the ground beef intended for Omaha Public Schools was misbranded and it had the intent to defraud.

The current California investigation into whether beef from diseased cattle was being processed without federal meat inspectors at the Rancho Feeding Corp. slaughterhouse in Petaluma has been under way since January. The facility has been shut down since USDA withdrew meat inspectors from the facility and called in the IG to investigate.

USDA’s provides meat, poultry and egg inspectors at more than 6,000 plants at a cost of about $ 1 billion a year.

Food Safety News

California rains disrupt strawberry, vegetable harvests, but don’t end drought

The worst drought in a century in California was eased somewhat by several inches of rain across the state and considerable snow in some mountain areas from Wednesday, Feb. 26 through Sunday, March 2, but it was a mixed blessing in some growing areas, particularly for strawberries and vegetables along the central and southern coast.

“Rain is needed, but we don’t want to see damage,” Charlie Staka, director of sales for CBS Farms LLC in Watsonville, CA, told The Produce News March 3. “We got over three inches of rain in Oxnard Friday and Saturday. It has ended. We did sustain damage. We are culling 30 to 40 percent today, and we should be back to normal a here within three days.”

Of the first significant rain of the season, Staka said, “We always expect that rain, and you are always going to have so much culling after a rain. The problem now is if we are going to start getting rain, we are getting into heavier production, so we end up throwing more away” when it rains in March or April than when it rains in January or February.

The rain is needed, he said, but it is better if it comes in increments of a quarter or a half of an inch. “You don’t want it to come all at once.”

California Giant expected to be back harvesting strawberries in Oxnard Feb. 27 following 4.5 inches of rain in their fields, according to Cindy Jewell, marketing director for California Giant Berry Farms in Watsonville. The rain will not have any long-term negative effects, and “there is no rain forecast down there for the next 10 days,” she said March 3. “It is nice to get the rain. No one is going to complain.”

Santa Cruz Berry Farming Co. LLC in Watsonville saw about 2.5 inches in Santa Maria, according to Fritz Koontz, president. “We are not picking fresh. We are stripping for juice today. We can’t pick until probably the end of the week — Thursday or Friday [March 6-7].”

But “we need more” rain, Koontz said. With so little total rainfall so far this season, “you start running out of time.”

Deardorff Family Farms in Oxnard has experienced crop losses and harvesting disruptions from nearly 4.5 inches of rain from Wednesday night through Sunday morning, according to David Cook, a salesman with the company.

“It is mostly good in that we needed the water,” Cook said. It disrupts the harvest “a little bit,” but “markets have been so bad on just about everything that it didn’t really make a lot of difference. I can’t tell you what a drudge this has been since the first of the year” for Romaine, leaf, celery and most other vegetable crops except cabbage due to heavy production and markets that are “under snow.” Deardorff is having to strip “one round of berries” because of the rain, but “the berry market is just so-so,” he said.

“We are farming in both Oxnard and Orange County, and they caught up to five inches [of rain] in Oxnard,” said Matt Kawamura, managing partner of Orange County Produce LLC in Irvine, CA. “We have to strip [strawberries] there today and tomorrow [March 3-4]. We’ll be back in Wednesday or Thursday. But we haven’t picked since last Thursday, so it is a pretty long period of time.” In Orange County, “we are picking, but the numbers are way down.”

While the rain is needed, Kawamura said, “You have mixed emotions, for sure, but overall, we need the water.” If there is not more rainfall, “it is going to cause a quick end to the season for us.”

Bob Blakely, director of industry relations for California Citrus Mutual in Exeter, CA, told The Produce News that the rainfall has had no negative effects on California’s Navel harvest, as growers “brought fruit in ahead of the rain to pack for the next couple of days when it might be too wet” to get into the orchards.

There were beneficial effects, he said. “It probably saved an irrigation, and had only a positive effect on the crop.”

About 40 percent of “the remaining crop after the freeze” in early December was yet to be harvested, he said.

“We could have used a lot more rain, but we will take whatever we can get,” Blakely said. “It certainly did not mitigate the dire situation that we are in. We are still in an emergency situation” of “extreme drought.”

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

A Mom and a Dairyman Plead: Don’t Feed Children Raw Milk

Two years ago, when Oregon parents Jill Brown and Jason Young met Brad and Tricia Salyers, the families had no idea that they would eventually be sharing in a tragedy that sickened four of the Salyers’ children and left Brown and Young’s youngest child, Kylee – 23 months old at the time – with such severe medical complications that she would need a kidney transplant from her mother.

All of that and more happened beginning in April 2012 when the children were among 19 people – 15 of them under the age of 19 — who fell ill with E. coli O157:H7, a potentially fatal foodborne pathogen. Soon after, Oregon health officials determined that the outbreak was caused by raw milk from Foundation Farm near Wilsonville in Western Oregon — the Salyers’ family farm. Four of the sickened children were hospitalized with kidney failure.

Foundation Farm had been providing 48 families with raw milk. Raw milk is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized to kill harmful and sometimes deadly foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella and Campylobacter.

While many raw milk advocates say it has inherent nutritional advantages and even helps cure or ease the symptoms of ailments such as asthma and various allergies, most food-safety experts discount those claims as anecdotal, saying they’re not based on science. They also warn of the serious risks to human health associated with drinking milk that hasn’t been pasteurized.

The symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infection typically include bloody diarrhea and other digestive-tract problems. In some people, this type of E. coli may also cause severe anemia or hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication in which toxins destroy red blood cells, which are typically smooth and round. The misshapen or deformed blood cells can clog the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, causing them to fail.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underscore the potential dangers of raw milk. According to the agency, between 1998 and 2011, 148 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products were reported. In those outbreaks, there were 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitalizations and two deaths. Estimates from the agency put raw milk consumption at 3 percent of total milk consumption.

Currently, 29 states allow some form of on- or off-farm raw milk sales, but only a few allow sales in grocery stores. In Oregon, it is against the law to sell raw cow’s milk, although there is an exemption for very small herds (no more than three cows on the premises, with no more than two of them being milked). Under that exemption, the milk must be sold on the farm and no advertising of the product is allowed. CDC has documented fewer illnesses and outbreaks from raw milk in states that prohibit sales.

Goals in common

The irony of this story is that the two families shared a common goal to provide their children with nutritious food. Now they share another goal: to warn people that raw milk can be dangerous to drink, or even deadly. As parents, they want to let other parents know that they shouldn’t feed raw milk to their children, no matter what some raw-milk farmers and advocacy organizations might say.

“There might be some benefits of raw milk, but there are huge risks,” Jill Brown, Kylee’s mother, told Food Safety News. “There needs to be more public awareness that this is a high-risk food. If I had known what I know now, I would never have fed it to my daughter.”

Despite formerly selling raw milk, the Salyers agree.

“The people who bought our milk thought it was the healthiest choice for their kids,” said Brad Salyers, co-owner of Foundation Farm. “But I see things differently now. By far, it’s the most dangerous food you can feed them because of the chance it can be contaminated with E. coli or other harmful pathogens.”

Knowing he fed raw milk to his children, Salyers’ thoughts on the topic now veer into the emotional:

“It breaks my heart that anyone would give it to their children,” he said. “What’s even more troubling is that some of our friends who saw what our kids went through are still feeding raw milk to their children.”

Salyers rankles at what he says is the proliferation of too much misinformation about raw milk’s purported health benefits.

“It’s duping people into thinking you can safely drink raw milk,” he said.

The worst part of this, he added, is that children are especially vulnerable to contracting E. coli or other pathogens from raw milk, primarily because their immune systems are still developing.

According to a recently released statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the health claims related to drinking raw milk have not been verified by scientific evidence, and, therefore, do not outweigh the potential health risks that raw milk poses to pregnant women and children.

“Children depend on their parents,” Salyers said. “They don’t make the decision to drink or not to drink raw milk. They’re at the mercy of their caretakers.”

“We definitely want to get the word out about the dangers of raw milk,” Tricia Salyers said.

Sold their cows

Once the Salyers saw what Brad Salyers refers to as the “devastation that HUS can cause in children,” they immediately sold their cows.

“We didn’t want to put kids at risk,” Salyers said, pointing out that four of his family’s five children came down with E. coli, with one of the four developing HUS.

“She fought for her life for 27 days,” he said.

He objects to conspiracy theories that paint the government and food-safety scientists as “the enemy” when it comes to restrictive raw milk laws and the information they provide to customers (and farmers) about the potential dangers of raw milk.

“They’re so cynical that they can’t see straight,” said Salyers. “They put their trust in some organizations with myopic agendas — places that glorify raw milk as ‘miracle’ food. That’s nonsense. It’s based on a lot of misinformation.”

So why do people ignore warnings about the potential dangers of raw milk? According to a 2011 study that looked at what motivated people in Michigan to drink raw milk, cynicism about government surfaced. The study’s authors told Food Safety News that they were surprised to find that only a small percentage of those surveyed trusted public health officials regarding which foods are safe to eat or drink.

The survey respondents also took issue with some of the survey’s other statements, once again revealing sharp differences of opinion with official government views on the potential health hazards of drinking raw milk. For example, when asked if they agreed or disagreed with the statement that, “Drinking raw milk increases your risk of getting a foodborne disease,” an average of 44 (or 78.6 percent) disagreed. Only six respondents agreed with the statement, and another five (or 8.9 percent) respondents said they weren’t sure.

As for those who think that “knowing your farmer” is safeguard enough,  even raw-milk dairies with high sanitation standards and licensed and inspected by states that allow raw milk sales – California and Washington state are two of these – have been subject to recalls due to the presence of pathogens such as E. coli and Campylobacter in their milk. Those recalls are typically triggered by foodborne-illness outbreaks that have sickened people.

According to CDC, while adherence to good hygienic practices during milking can reduce contamination, it cannot eliminate it.

“The dairy farm environment is a reservoir for illness-causing germs,” CDC says. “No matter what precautions farmers take, and even if their raw milk tests come back negative, they cannot guarantee that their milk, or the products made from their milk, are free of harmful germs.”

Logistics come into the picture here. There’s no way to test every part of every batch of milk 365 days a year. While testing will provide important clues about whether things are being done right, it doesn’t ensure that all of the milk a farm produces will be safe.

Or, as Dr. Tim Jones, epidemiologist with the Tennessee Department of Health, puts it: “Those who consume raw milk are playing Russian roulette with their health; the glass they drink today may not have deadly microorganisms, but the one they drink tomorrow may cause serious health problems or even death.”

Germs such as E.coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella can contaminate milk during the process of milking dairy animals, including cows, sheep and goats. Animals that carry these germs usually appear healthy.

Brad Salyers said that a health official who visited his farm after the outbreak told him that it’s not just about making sure the cow’s udder is clean. Contamination could occur from something as simple as one drop of rain containing some E. coli O157:H7 bacteria picked up from the cow’s hide trickling down the side of the cow. Not only are these germs extremely tiny, it takes only one or two of them to replicate inside the milk and make someone sick. And, unlike earlier strains of E. coli, this toxin-releasing strain, which wasn’t identified as a cause of human illness until the 1980s, is far more virulent.

This chronology can confuse people. They don’t understand how their grandparents who drank raw milk all of their lives never got sick from E. coli. But scientists believe E. coli didn’t pick up the genes that cause human illness until late last century. Now that this disease-causing strain of the bacterium is commonly found in most cowherds, people can, and do, become ill from drinking contaminated milk.

Even more confusing for some is that cows that have this strain of E. coli in their systems generally don’t show any signs of being infected with it. Then, too, it can come and go on a farm. It can be present in some of the cows or in water tanks or the soil for awhile and then disappear from one or all of these possible “harboring” places, only to return again.

What happened?

Like most mothers, Jill Brown wanted to feed her family the best food possible. For her, that meant growing a garden, buying as much food as she could from local farmers, and eventually buying raw milk for her toddler, who was an avid milk drinker.

Her quest to find raw milk was in large part triggered by her desire to steer clear of “industrial agriculture” and buy from a local farm instead. She saw it as a good fit with the philosophy of the “local food movement,” which her family and many of their friends embrace.

“I wanted to know where the milk I was buying was coming from,” she said. “My research led me to believe that raw milk from a local farm would be healthier than the milk I bought at the store.”

After finding Foundation Farm through an Internet search, Brown became a herd-share member. Under a herd-share arrangement, people can buy a share of the herd, or even an individual cow, with the understanding that they are not customers of the dairy but rather owners of the herd and the milk produced by the herd. Some refer to this arrangement as a “legal loophole.” In Oregon, herd shares have not been challenged in court, according to information from the state’s agriculture department.

Foundation Farm was providing raw milk to 48 households under a herd-share arrangement. On the legal front, the families couldn’t sue the Salyers after the outbreak because the Salyers didn’t have insurance, and they were leasing the land where they were farming. In short, they had no assets that could be taken and sold to raise money for the aggrieved families.

While it was a commitment to go to the farm once a week to get the milk, Brown believed it was well worth it, despite the inconvenience and additional cost.

“It felt good to know that we were getting ‘real, actual milk,’” she said.  “[The Salyers] seemed to be doing everything right.”

In talking with them, she had learned that, before setting up a herd share, they had visited other raw-milk dairies and had improved on what they saw.

Even though, for the most part, no one in her family except Kylee drank milk, the toddler loved it and thrived on the raw milk from Foundation Farm. But it was short-lived. Brown said that Kylee probably only drank it for three months before things went wrong.

“It was pretty sudden,” Brown said. “We went to the farm to get some milk on Friday, the last day of spring break.”

The following Wednesday, Kylee was sick, an “exploding diaper” the first sign of problems to come. On Friday, her dad stayed home with her and took her to the pediatrician, who said she had a stomach bug.

By Saturday, she couldn’t keep food down and was becoming dehydrated. They took her to the emergency room, where she was put on an IV, with oral rehydration administered every 10 minutes.

They chose to take her home that night, and, on Sunday, she was starting to feel better. But, on Monday night, they were called back to the hospital.

When Brown stood Kylee up, she was dismayed to see her walking backward, apparently disoriented. She rushed Kylee to the emergency room and was told that her kidneys had shut down. Kylee was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit, and, the next day, she received the necessary set-up lines to start dialysis.

“That’s when our whole life changed,” Brown said. “From there, every step of the way, things got worse and worse. Each day brought more bad news.”

Kylee developed edema, was having a hard time breathing, and her eyes were crossing.

“She had had a stroke,” said Brown.

Once a happy, energetic toddler, Kylee now couldn’t walk or say words, although for the first couple of days she did say “mama,” “papa,” and “no.”

Even though test results from a stool sample submitted on Monday were not back yet, Kylee was diagnosed with HUS.

Brown went to work researching the medical problem.

“When you’re Googling ‘bloody stool or vomiting,’ one of the top things that comes up is raw milk,” she said.

Several days after Kylee had been admitted to the hospital, another child with E. coli was admitted. By April 21, a total of 19 people were confirmed ill with E. coli traced to raw milk from Foundation Farm. Of those, 15 were under the age of 19. Four of the Salyers’ five children were among those ill, with one of them among four children suffering from HUS.

Kylee was on a ventilator, but she wasn’t getting better. Before long, the other children who had been hospitalized were talking about going home. But that wasn’t in store for Kylee.

The lab results came back and showed that her bowels were necrotic and that she needed surgery. Her heart stopped while she was in surgery and she had to be brought back to life.

“That was probably the hardest part,” said Brown.

But then suddenly, Kylee started doing much better. They took her off of dialysis in early June. She had been on dialysis for eight weeks.

After five weeks of rehab in the hospital, Kylee could go home, and Brown started going to work two days a week. November and December were good months. Kylee was getting stronger and sitting up on her own.

But then in January, lab tests came back that didn’t look good. By February, the toddler had to go to the dialysis center in the hospital three times a week for three hours a day. She was also admitted frequently throughout 2013 for multiple staph infections and other issues related to her kidneys.

Brown quit her job in May to stay home, finding it too hard to manage a household with two other children and be at the hospital for Kylee. In the meantime, Kylee struggled. Being on dialysis, she had only 15 percent kidney function and didn’t have the energy for weekly physical therapy sessions.

The doctors decided that the toddler needed a kidney transplant. Brown and Young started the donor “work up” for a kidney transplant in June and July and were scheduled for the transplant on Sept. 9.

“She’ll get 120 percent of her kidney function from this,” Brown told Food Safety News several days before the surgery. “The hope is that she’ll feel better and have the energy for therapy.”

Kylee’s father Jason Young told videographer Terry Tainter that when they realized that their toddler was going to need a kidney transplant, the word “now” took on new meaning.

“One of the biggest things that went through my mind at that point is that this is now,” he said. “This is now a lifelong thing. There is no full recovery from this anymore. And there never will be. It’s always going to have to be someone else’s organ that keeps her alive.”

People who have kidney transplants often have to have another in future years, something that both Brown and Young know.

All in all, the little girl has spent close to 200 days in the hospital since she was admitted in April 2012, with her mother by her side much of the time. The good news is that, as of mid-February 2014, the last time she had to be hospitalized was September 2013.

Before the transplant surgery, Tricia Salyers started a fundraiser. After the operation, she let Facebook readers know that Kylee was making “HUGE” strides forward in her recovery.

“What a miracle this transplant has been,” she said, adding that all sorts of bills have been coming in from, among them, the insurance company, the hospital, and pharmacies. Saylers said that the $ 7,500 fundraising goal would get Brown and Young through the end of the year and pay off current medical debts.

On Jan. 26, Brown was happy to report that the goal was met, although medical bills will burden the family for years to come.

Through all of this, Brown and Tricia Salyers became friends.

“I’m so glad I chose to move on and forgive,” Brown said. “It’s so easy to blame the farmer. But they were just as much blindsided as we were. They fed all of their kids the milk. I do believe they thought they were doing things right.”

Kylee will continue to need physical therapy and speech therapy for a long time, only part of which insurance will cover. But the family recently received some good news. The Wheel to Walk Foundation has approved Kylee for a grant to help cover the cost of her intensive therapy that insurance doesn’t cover.  Even so, there are still a lot of uncovered expenses, including medical equipment and medications such as immunosuppressants to prevent her system from rejecting her mother’s kidney.

Although Kylee is for the most part stable medically, she still can’t speak words, can’t walk, uses a special table to stand, and eats through a special tube. Because she understands what’s going on around her, she experiences a lot of frustration in not being able to express her thoughts and feelings in words.

With limited insurance and no chance of getting a settlement to help pay the bills, and with their two-story house no longer suitable for a child with Kylee’s  disabilities, Brown and Young have had to sell their home. The sale is expected to close in mid-March.

In another unforeseen bond tying the two families together, Tricia Salyers, who went into real estate after she and her husband sold the cows, handled the sale of Brown and Young’s home.

The farmer’s perspective

“We were foodie-type people,” said Brad Salyers. “We felt the food system in this country was messed up. We were trying to get back to basics.”

That led them to information that extolled the benefits of raw milk from grass-fed cows.

“We believed all the hype about its benefits,” he said.

They started buying raw milk from a farm but eventually decided to buy their own cow, thinking they could improve on what they saw at the farm. Once they had their own cow, they quickly realized they were going to have a surplus of milk. Thinking that they could find people who would want it, the Salyers visited other farmers known for their dedication to cleanliness and learned from them.

“I felt I had enough information to put the necessary safeguards into place,” Brad Salyers said. “I’m not one to take shortcuts or wing it.”

Once they started making their raw milk available, demand grew and soon there was a waiting list.

“It snowballed,” he said. “We got more cows. Before long, we had five and were milking three.”

Now when he hears people talk about the safety of raw milk from grass-fed cows, he warns them not to jump to conclusions.

“Cows aren’t like horses,” he said. “Cows like to lie down a lot. Their udders and hides can be in manure. It’s dangerous because that’s where E. coli can be.”

But he said he also thinks there can also be problems with an imbalance of nutrients and bacteria in their digestive system. He thinks that’s what happened when he switched the cows from dry forage to pasture too quickly.

He called the vet because one of his cows wasn’t acting quite right. When the vet came, he found an improper pH balance in the urine. He told Salyers he was pretty sure he’d find some bacteria.

David Smith, a veterinarian and professor at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Science, told Food Safety News that it’s possible that the switch in diet resulted in the cows’ shedding E. coli O157:H7 in their manure, but he also said the diet change “did not make it appear out of nowhere.”

“It was on the farm,” he said, pointing out that this strain of E. coli is common to all beef and dairy herds and that it should be assumed that it is present in some cattle on all cattle farms.

It was while the vet was there that Tricia Salyers came out to the barn and told her husband that the doctors at the hospital had confirmed that Kylee was ill with E. coli O157:H7.

When Salyers walked back into the house, the phone was ringing. It was a state official asking him if they had informed their customers about the problem. Tricia, meanwhile, had already e-mailed their customers the information.

“It was the scariest time of our lives,” he said.

Why did they do it?

“I blamed myself for the longest time,” Brown said about the devastating effects raw milk had on her daughter. “But I know that I’m an amazing mom who was trying to do the best for my family.”

When doing research on raw milk, she discovered that “it’s a two-edged topic with no middle ground between. On one side are government and dairy industry representatives pointing to the inherent risks of raw milk. On the other hand are the raw-milk advocates who fervently believe that locally grown and produced foods, including raw milk, are healthier than foods produced on what they refer to as ‘industrialized farms.’

“I do follow their philosophies about local foods, and since raw milk was part of what they believed in, I went along with it,” Brown said.

The fact that she did still baffles her, especially since she considers herself to be levelheaded. She was on debate teams in high school and college and knows how important it is to gather objective information and not to be swayed by emotion.

“Debate is all about being well-researched,” she said. “You learn to look at every side. That’s why I get so frustrated about what I did. I know now that different choices could have been made.”

It discourages her that despite continuing news about E. coli outbreaks caused by raw milk, so much of the information spread about raw milk praises its health benefits.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a good example of one such information source. Its website shows a happy, healthy-looking family with this headline above the photo: “They’re happy because they eat butter.” Under the picture is some more information: “They also eat plenty of raw milk, cheese, eggs, liver, meat, cod liver oil, seafood, and other nutrient-dense foods that have nourished generations of healthy people worldwide.”

Brown doesn’t think that raw-milk dairy farmers are dishonest or “sleazy,” and she thinks that they’re trying to offer the community what they believe is a “valuable resource.”

“But many of them are not educated enough,” she said. “Our farmer didn’t know the risk. I do believe that they thought they were doing it right.”

Like Brown, Brad Salyers also has misgivings about his experience with raw milk. Describing himself as a Christian, he said he trusted in the Lord to help him deal with what he describes as “the guilt and shame that was mentally devastating.”

“I had to believe that in my heart I was making the best decision for my children with the information I had,” he said.

Salyers said he would like to see farmers be more educated about raw milk. As a contractor, he had to take classes to get his license, and he believes something similar should be put in place for raw-milk producers.

He also believes that raw-milk producers should be required to carry liability insurance.

“It’s just part of running a business,” he said. “I don’t see why a farmer producing such a potentially dangerous product shouldn’t have to have insurance.”

In retrospect, he said he wouldn’t hesitate to support legislation that would safeguard children from raw milk, even though he knows it goes against the principle of “freedom of choice.”

“It’s just too dangerous for the children,” he said.

What about locally produced, ‘gently pasteurized’ milk?

Buying milk from a local farm conjures up scenes of contented cows grazing on lush green pastures, complete with a farm family dedicated to the health of the cows and the quality of the milk.

For the most part, but not always, this is “raw-milk country”— small-scale dairy farmers who can sell their milk at higher prices than milk sold in the stores. Those higher prices are based in part on the higher expenses that come with producing milk on such a small scale but also on the willingness of raw-milk customers to spend more money for what they consider to be a premium product.

Raw-milk farmers and raw-milk customers alike extoll this business model, saying it helps keep family-scale dairy farmers in business instead of being pushed off the map by ever-expanding dairy operations that depend on what’s referred to as “efficiency of scale” to stay in business.

“It used to be that the only alternative to conventional mass-produced milk was raw milk,” said Steve Judge, founder of Bob-White Systems and developer of the LiLi (Low Input-Low Impact) Pasteurizer. “But our goal is to give people the choice of either raw milk or farm-fresh ‘gently’ pasteurized milk.”

The LiLi pasteurizes the milk without homogenizing, separating or standardizing its nutritional value and farm-fresh flavor, according to the company’s website.

Judge said that in designing the LiLi Pasteurizer, he wanted a small machine that would allow small-scale farms to sell farm-fresh pasteurized milk direct to consumers.

With the LiLi Pasteurizer, the milk gets heated to 163 degrees F and held at that temperature for 15 seconds, after which it is immediately cooled to less than 60 degrees F. After the milk is pasteurized, it’s sent to a cooling tank where it can be cooled to 38 degrees F in less than an hour. This allows for a pasteurization speed of two gallons a minute.

“I believe that the minimal damage done to milk by properly done, high-temperature, short-time pasteurization is a worthwhile compromise if it also expands the availability of locally produced farm fresh milk,” he said.

Although the LiLi can work for small dairies of four to 10 cows, Judge said it could handle milk from up to 100 cows. Bottom line, he said, “Anywhere you grow grass, you can do this.” Better yet, it meets all state and federal regulations.

While raw-milk proponents say that pasteurization kills many of the healthful components such as vitamins and enzymes, Judge said that he sent samples of raw milk and milk pasteurized with the LiLi to a food-safety lab for a comparison of 50 different nutrients. While there was a drop in lactic acid colonies and a slight drop in Vitamin B-12 in the pasteurized sample, other vitamins did just fine, including vitamins C and D.

“There was minimal damage,” he said.

That pretty much lines up with a recent rundown of a nutrient comparison between raw and pasteurized milk provided by the Purdue University Extension.

As for flavor, Judge said that one taste of milk pasteurized with the LiLi would convince anyone that it’s indistinguishable from raw milk. “It has a bright, clean, fresh flavor,” he said.

Other farms offer vat, or batch, pasteurized milk, which they also describe as “gently pasteurized.” In this method, the milk is heated to 145 degrees F and held at that temperature for 30 minutes and then cooled as quickly as possible. Proponents of this method also say that it provides a good option to raw milk.

In contrast, said Judge, most conventional milk bottlers use a method that heats milk to 170 degrees F and holds it at that temperature for no less than 15 seconds. Proponents of this method say that it destroys most bacterial pathogens, while largely protecting milk proteins from degradation.

“Ultra-pasteurized” refers to milk heated to at least 280°F for not less than two seconds.

Unfortunately, said Judge, as of yet, there is no association of dairy farms that produce “gently pasteurized milk,” although an Internet search will yield some farms in various locations that do.

Of course, for those whose main reason for buying raw milk is that they want to support local farms, there’s always the option of pasteurizing the milk at home.

What about those allergies?

Many parents who buy raw milk for their children do so because their children have allergic reactions to pasteurized milk. Many say that their children do better on raw milk. Some go so far as to say that raw milk can cure allergies, eczema, asthma and other ailments.

Like other raw-milk farmers, Brad Salyers said that many of his customers had children with allergies.

It’s not surprising that milk comes into the picture. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), milk is at the top of the list of the eight major food allergens that account for 90 percent of food-allergic reactions.

And, even though most food allergies cause relatively mild and minor symptoms, some food allergies can cause severe reactions and may even be life-threatening, says FDA.

Also, according to the agency’s site, there is no cure for food allergies. And the agency recommends strict avoidance of food allergens and early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food.

Following this line of thinking, Mike Tringale, an official with the Asthma and Allergic Foundation of America, told Food Safety News that raw milk isn’t a cure for an allergy to pasteurized milk.

“The milk protein in pasteurized milk is in raw milk, too, so anyone with a milk allergy would still be affected,” he said. “Allergies in general are caused by a chronic disease of the immune system, and it’s genetic – you inherit a hypersensitive immune system.”

Interestingly enough, though, people don’t inherit specific allergies. For example, a person’s mother can be allergic to cats and the dad to dogs, yet the child can develop an allergy to peanuts, or other triggers.

Tringale describes allergies as “what happens when a person’s body misinterprets the foods or pollens in his or her environment.”

Speaking specifically about milk, he said that pasteurized or raw milk doesn’t eliminate the allergenic protein in milk, which is what makes milk white.

He discounts assumptions such as the idea that getting back to simple agrarian life makes the body more defensive against allergies, calling them “old wives’ tales.”

He does say, however, that some research is turning up evidence that babies raised on farms or with cats and dogs may have a lower prevalence of allergies later in life.

“But the jury is still out on that,” he said.

But when it comes to raw milk, he pointed out that it is not going to change your immune system.

“The thought that this can cure allergies is actually a dangerous thought,” he said.

As for doing “their homework” on milk allergies, Tringale said that parents need to work with their doctor to make sure they’re on the right path. If they don’t do that, they haven’t done their homework.

And, when all is said and done, it doesn’t come down to deciding in favor of either pasteurized or raw milk.

“The real question is, ‘How do I supply nutrition for my children if I can’t feed them milk?’” he said.

Fortunately, said Tringale, this doesn’t have to be hard – at least if a child has only one or two allergies. There are ways to make sure that children have nutritious diets. He recommends an interactive website, kidswithfoodallergies.org, which allows parents of kids with allergies to talk with one another for support, to find recipes and share ideas.

However, parents with children who have more than one or two allergies need to work with a nutritionist to make sure their children are getting all of the necessary nutrients.

“Getting as close to good health as possible is what people should be aiming for,” he said. “It’s important that in trying to do that, they’re not making poor choices.”

Updates on Kylee’s progress can be found on her Facebook page.

Tune in Wednesday for the video interview.

Food Safety News

Study: Sweetener concerns don’t affect purchase decisions

Consumer concerns about sweeteners are important, but they do not affect purchase decisions, according to research commissioned by the Corn Refiners Association, Washington, and based on data from Nielsen and Mintel Consulting. The research includes a segmentation analysis of 10,000 consumers.


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“Consumers say they avoid specific ingredients, but purchase behavior shows they do not,” Martin Concannon, founder and managing director of consulting firm Lafayette Associates, Alexandria, Va., said Wednesday during the SN webinar “Sweetener 360: An Unprecedented Look at How Consumers Feel about Sweeteners and Why.” It was sponsored by CRA. 

Rather, consumers are influenced more by taste and price, he said.

As a result, “beverage companies would do well to focus on products that satisfy the true needs of their broad base of heavy buyers, rather than stigmatize any type of sweetener as a strategy to build brand loyalty,” Concannon said.

The analysis reveals shoppers who consume sweeteners are divided into six distinct demographic lifestyle segments. Across segments, spending time on sweetened food and beverage products is relatively consistent.

Sara Martens, VP of research firm MSR Group, Omaha, Neb., also presented research findings during the webinar. An archived version of the webinar will be available at supermarketnews.com/rankings-research/webinars within the next week.

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Recent rains don’t diminish worries about water supplies

Monsoonal flows, which began in July, were well-received by Colorado residents and agricultural producers. But the rainfall was not enough to overcome extreme drought conditions and improve water supplies.

Craig Cotten, district engineer with the Colorado State Engineer’s office, provided The Produce News with a detailed snapshot of conditions experienced in the San Luis Valley this production season.

WaterOverviewWater running in the San Luis Valley is being blackened by ash as a result of the North Fork Fire, which had burned 110,000 acres by mid-August. (Photo courtesy of the Colorado State Engineer’s Office)“We had low spring runoff and flows,” he stated. “This was the fourth-lowest steamflow on record as the irrigation season began.” July rainfall changed hydro-dynamics somewhat. “It improved the situation to the point where it’s the 10th lowest year we’ve had in the last 120 years,” Cotten went on to say. “The rain did definitely help. But we’re not having a good year. [Agricultural producers] are glad to see the rain. But there’s a realization it’s not enough to change things.”

According to Cotten, water use at a “fair amount” of wells is decreasing in the valley. “Some wells are going dry,” he added, explaining that this means that wells that have traditionally pumped at 1,000 gallons per minute are now pumping at a rate of 200 gallons per minute.

Some producers have gone to Colorado Water Court seeking permission to deepen their wells. He illustrated by some owners who have wells drilled to a depth of 60 feet are seeking to increase that depth to 80 to 100 feet.

“Some objections have been filed [in Water Court],” Cotten said. Objectors contend that deepening of wells will worsen the overall situation in the valley. Requests for deepening of wells are dealt with in the same manner as other cases in Water Court. “These are multi-year cases. In the meantime, these farmers in are limbo.”

Prior to the July rainfall, ditches were running at 300 cubic feet per second. Immediately following rainfall, they flowed at 1,000 cfs. “They are at 600 cfs right now,” Cotten said in mid-August.

Ag producers are also being hit with the after-effects of the devastating North Fork Fire. “Water coming into the ditches is pretty black,” said Cotten about the ash content. The fire, which was still burning in mid-August, had already consumed 110,000 acres.

On other fronts, creation of the first groundwater management subdistrict in the Rio Grande Water Conservation District is moving into its final stages. Despite arguments from objectors, this past spring Chief Judge Pattie Smith ruled in favor of the sufficiency of the subdistrict’s management plan. Objections to the ruling have been filed with the Colorado Supreme Court.

Cotten said the case has not yet been scheduled for oral arguments, and he expects the court will issue its ruling in 2014. He said objections only affect a few provisions of the overall management plan..

The State Engineer’s office continues to work on a computer model which will determine the extent of injury to the valley’s aquifer. “We’ve been working on that model for quite a while,” he stated, adding that he expects it will be completed this fall.

After the model is finalized, the State Engineer’s office will move forward with rule-making. A 55-member advisory committee, which has been working for the past three to four years, continues to provide its input. “The rules are 90 percent developed,” Cotten said. “The remaining 10 percent is the most important and is based on the model.”

Cotten said the National Resource and Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working on the Conservation and Reserve Enhancement Program with a goal of taking 40,000 acres out of agricultural production within Subdistrict 1. “On average, approximately 100,000 acre feet of water could be saved,” Cotten stated. “There is a possibility we could get other acreage in [as new groundwater management subdistricts are formed].”

The Colorado CREP program is offering the highest amount of reimbursement per acre in the United States. But commodity pricing makes agricultural producers reluctant to participate, Cotten said. “The subdistrict sees this as a primary way to bring the aquifer back up,” Cotten stated. As a result, the subdistrict is also offering additional incentives for producers who sign up by Oct. 1.

Land fallowed under the program is taken out of production for a minimum of 15 years. The fallowing can become permanent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

New England Farmers Don’t Much Care For Produce Rule

Local farmers filed into the Augusta State Armory in Maine and onto New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College campus in the past couple of days to register their opposition to the produce rule the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is promulgating as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for food, was present at both events as part of his own national listening tour to hear how the produce-safety standards are going over with fruit and vegetable farms.

In Maine, where the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry estimates that only a very small percentage of farmers would be subject to the new rule, the balance of the testimony was decidedly negative. Maine farmers called the new regulations onerous.

FDA’s road tour took testimony on both the produce rule and another on processing.

Exemptions in the FSMA, signed into law by President Obama in January 2011, are broad. Excluded from the law are growers with less than $ 25,000 worth of sales annually and those with sales of less than $ 500,000 if half of the sales are to stores, restaurants or other customers within 275 miles of their location.

Maine farmers expressed concerns about the costs of complying with the new rules, especially as they apply to water quality, manure application, hygiene and separating animals from crops. FDA estimates a mid-sized farm would spend $ 13,000 in compliance costs, while a large farm with sales of more than $ 500,000 might spend $ 30,000.

Maine State Rep. Brian Jones, D-Freedom, said it’s more likely someone would be struck by lightning than get sick from locally grown produce.

Taylor, who is blogging about his listening tour, wrote that: ”Just as we saw in the Pacific Northwest, some growers are worried that the cost of meeting food safety regulations will be excessive and could even put them out of business. Our pledge in working toward the final rules is to make them as practical as possible so that we achieve food safety in a way that is workable across the great diversity of American agriculture, from the Pacific Northwest to New England.”

Speaking at Hanover, Taylor said FDA is committed “to the idea that one size fits all does not work.” In addition to extending the official comment period for another 60 days, FDA also recently announced it was doing an environmental impact statement on the produce rule.

The mother of a boy sickened by foodborne illness spoke up at the hearing to say that the vast majority of foodborne illnesses “goes underground.”

Food Safety News

National Cyclospora Outbreak: What We Do and Don’t Know

Nearly two months have passed since state and federal health authorities first became aware on June 28 of two related cases of Cyclospora infection in Iowa residents. Considering Iowa typically sees one or two such cases a year, the small irregularity immediately caught the attention of state health officials.

Within weeks, authorities had identified several hundred cases across a dozen states, with the bulk in Iowa, Nebraska and Texas. Patients’ illness onset dates spread from June 1 to the middle of July.

On Aug. 1, investigators in Iowa and Nebraska concluded that the majority of cases in those two states were connected to lettuce grown by Taylor Farms de Mexico and in salads served at Olive Gardens and Red Lobsters, chains both owned by Darden Restaurants of Orlando, FL.

As of Aug. 22, the foodborne parasite has infected at least 625 people in 22 states, making it the largest Cyclospora outbreak in the U.S. since 1997. Of those cases, 517 (83 percent) are concentrated in Iowa, Nebraska and Texas.

But, as time goes on, the investigations in Texas and the remaining states have still not identified an outbreak source. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a team of investigators at Taylor Farms in Mexico performing environmental assessments of the facilities and traceback investigations to determine where else – if anywhere – contaminated lettuce might have been sold, according to FDA spokesman David Steigman.

A number of cases in Texas are not easily connected to Darden Restaurants and Taylor Farms, said Dave Theno, Ph.D., CEO of Gray Dog Partners, a technical food safety consulting agency. But he said that the evidence remains “pretty compelling” that most of the illnesses are part of one event until an FDA investigation proves otherwise.

“A lot of things are possible, but what appears to be most likely is likely to be the answer,” Theno said. “If you look at the map, you could make a case that this thing went right through the heart of the country.”

Because fresh produce has a relatively short shelf-life, distribution channels typically run up north from Mexico, not east to west. Based on the geography of the outbreak, it would make sense to assume that contaminated produce was sent north through Texas and ended up in Iowa and Nebraska.

Theno said the most important question for investigators in Mexico to answer is whether Taylor Farms has crop contamination problems that moved Cyclospora through their facilities or whether it’s an area-wide contamination issue – possibly from a water source – that might mean nearby crops were also affected.

Investigation complications

A number of factors complicate the investigation as a whole.

First, a representative from Darden Restaurants told NBC News that they do not use Taylor Farms salad in their Texas restaurants. It is not clear if the restaurant sources Taylor Farms salad in any states besides Iowa and Nebraska.

A Florida woman who tested positive for Cyclospora in July told Food Safety News that she ate salad at Olive Garden several days before falling ill. This may suggest that Darden uses Taylor Farms salad in Florida, which has 31 confirmed illnesses, the fourth-highest number of the states involved.

Representatives for Darden, Olive Garden and Red Lobster have not responded to numerous requests for comment from Food Safety News.

Further complicating the matter, not even all of the cases in Iowa and Nebraska have a clear connection to Darden. Roughly 80 percent of Iowa cases and 75 percent of Nebraska cases appear connected to Darden, leaving the remaining 20 to 25 percent more of a mystery, according to Iowa state epidemiologist Dr. Patricia Quinlisk.

To complicate the investigation even more, the salad came into the U.S. pre-mixed with Taylor lettuce and other ingredients.

Perhaps the biggest issue distancing the Texas illnesses is that they began, on average, a week later than those in Iowa and Nebraska.

In Texas, where illnesses appear to have less of a connection to Darden and Taylor, patients are being interviewed and re-interviewed about all the places they may have dined.

Texas state health department spokeswoman Christine Mann told Food Safety News that illnesses in Texas generally fall into smaller clusters than those in Iowa and Nebraska, making the investigation in Texas more difficult.

The biggest roadblock, however, has been the relatively long incubation period of Cyclospora parasites. Patients may not experience symptoms such as diarrhea and nausea for several days – or even weeks – after exposure.

“It’s difficult to explain to people why it’s taking so long,” Mann said. “By the time the cases are finally reported to the CDC, several weeks have gone by. When an epidemiologist finally interviews patients, they might not remember eating the food that got them sick.”

Some cases, Quinlisk said, may be isolated Cyclospora illnesses that have gotten swept up in the outbreak investigation. A few hundred cases get reported in the U.S. each year on average.

Lessons for the future

Quinlisk described the investigation into the Iowa and Nebraska illnesses as “very detailed.”

The classic food history interview involves an 18-page questionnaire that takes more than an hour for each patient to complete. Patients may then receive additional calls from the environmental health team looking for more information.

The state health departments in those states performed targeted cluster investigations using case-control studies. In short, they interviewed patients who got sick, as well as fellow diners who didn’t get sick, to tease out any statistical differences in their meals. They even retrieved credit-card records from patients to coordinate dates of exposure.

Another issue that makes these investigations tricky is that not everyone who eats the contaminated food ends up sick. The parasite is not evenly dispersed across all the salad, and so some diners may ingest a large number of organisms, while others may eat from the same salad bowl and ingest only a few or none at all.

The general rule of thumb, Quinlisk said, is to expect about 40 percent of those who ate a contaminated food to actually end up with symptoms.

One issue this outbreak raises is the need for more coordination between state health departments during large, interstate outbreaks, said Craig Hedberg, Ph.D., environmental health professor at the University of Minnesota.

Hedberg compared the national jurisdiction of food regulation from FDA to the patchwork of state health departments that make up the majority of environmental health investigation resources.

“Our public-health system is really based on individual state authorities, and we don’t have a national framework for conducting outbreak investigations in parallel with the kind of regulation we have with respect to the food itself,” Hedberg said. “The CDC attempts to help guide those investigations, but because of limited resources and different priorities across different states, that coordination doesn’t always occur as seamlessly as we’d like to see it.”

Theno said he felt this current outbreak demonstrated the need for better cooperation and communication between federal investigators at FDA and the companies potentially involved in the outbreak.

“I think we need to find a way for companies and regulatory agencies to work much more closely together on these outbreaks,” Theno said. “It takes a long time for the agency to reach back into the supply chain. The faster we can get to the source of an outbreak, the sooner we can stop it and the better we can prevent it in the future.”

(Cyclospora is a single-celled food- or waterborne parasite that may cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. In the U.S., it is often associated with imported fresh produce. In 1996, at least 1,465 people were infected with Cyclospora in an outbreak linked to raspberries grown in Guatemala. Another 804 people were sickened by Guatemalan raspberries the next year. In 2005, 592 contracted Cyclospora infections after eating basil imported from Peru.)

Food Safety News