Blog Archives

WHO Study Measures Global Burden of Listeria

In 2010, Listeria monocytogenes was estimated to infect 23,150 people worldwide. It killed 5,463 of them, or 23.6 percent, according to a new study by European researchers in the World Health Organization (WHO) published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The researchers say that an urgent effort is needed to fill in information on Listeria infections in developing countries, as countries accounting for 48 percent of the world’s population do not report Listeria illnesses.

The study, ”The Global Burden of Listeriosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” aimed to be the first of its kind to estimate the global numbers of illnesses, deaths, and disability-adjusted life-years due to Listeria infections.

While not as common as foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli, Listeria is one of the most deadly and adaptable bacteria found in food. Unlike those pathogens, Listeria can grow at refrigeration temperatures and in low-moisture environments.

Of those who fell ill with Listeria in 2010, 20.7 percent were pregnant women. The bacteria affect pregnant women at disproportionate rates and can cause severe complications with pregnancies, including stillbirth and miscarriage.

Among the pregnant women who suffered Listeria infections, 14.9 percent of the infections resulted in infant fatality.

Other populations especially susceptible to Listeria infections include the elderly, immunocompromised individuals, and children. While the bacteria often just cause mild gastrointestinal illness in healthy adults, they can lead to severe, life-threatening illness in anyone with a weakened or developing immune system.

Most Listeria cases are reported in high-income countries, while cases are much more likely to go unreported in developing countries. Because of its high hospitalization rate in the U.S., it’s the third most costly foodborne pathogen, behind Clostridium botulinum (botulism) and Vibrio vulnificus.

The researchers found that Listeria caused the highest burden on quality of life in Latin American regions. The least affected region was Eastern Europe, stretching from Poland to Turkey. Other highly affected areas included Southeast Asia, Africa, Polynesia and India.

The researchers note that Listeria causes significantly fewer deaths worldwide than Salmonella Typhi (216,500 annual deaths) or non-typhoidal Salmonella (155,000), but it does cause a far higher rate of death.

The effort to quantify the global burden of Listeria will enable Listeriosis to be an included disease in WHO’s international prioritization exercises. But because nearly half of the world’s population resides in countries where Listeria isn’t reported, there’s still significant uncertainty about the exact burden the bacteria pose worldwide.

In 2011, cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria infected at least 147 people in the U.S. and killed at least 33, making it one of the deadliest foodborne illness outbreaks in U.S. history. A Listeria outbreak in Denmark this year killed at least 15 people and sickened 38.

Common sources of Listeria in the U.S. include ready-to-eat lunch deli meats, hot dogs, meat spreads, unpasteurized dairy, smoked seafood and raw sprouts.

Food Safety News

European Commission announces support measures for EU perishable fruit & vegetable producers

European Commission announces support measures for EU perishable fruit & vegetable producers

In the context of Russian restrictions on imports of EU agricultural products and following on from last week’s Management Committee meeting discussion of the market situation, the European Commission is moving as from today to introduce support measures for certain perishable fruits & vegetables.

Commenting on the decision, Dacian Cioloș, EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner, stated: “Taking into account the market situation following the Russian restrictions on imports of EU agricultural products, with effect from today, I am triggering CAP emergency measures which will reduce overall supply of a number of fruit and vegetable products on the European market as and when price pressures become too great in the coming months. All farmers of the concerned products – whether in producer organisations or not – will be eligible to take up these market support measures where they see fit. Acting early will provide an efficient support to the price paid to producers on the internal market, help the market adjust and be cost effective.”

Background
The products concerned by the measures announced today are the following: tomatoes, carrots, white cabbage, peppers, cauliflowers, cucumbers, and gherkins, mushrooms, apples, pear, red fruits, table grapes and kiwis. The markets for these products are in full season, with no storage option for most of them and no immediate alternative market available.

The exceptional measures announced today will include market withdrawals especially for free distribution, compensation for non-harvesting and green harvesting. The financial assistance will cover all producers whether they are organised in producers organisation or not. The measures will have a retroactive affect as from August 18. In other words, any volumes withdrawn from today onwards (or subject to green harvesting or the other measures) will already be covered by these additional measures, subject to the necessary controls. These measures will apply until the end of November with a budget foreseen of €125 million.

The ongoing market situation for all products will be discussed in another meeting with Member State experts and experts from the European Parliament scheduled to take place in Brussels on Friday.

The European Commission will continue following markets development for all the sectors affected by the Russian ban on agriculture and food products in close contacts with Member States and will not hesitate to support further sectors heavily dependent on exports to Russia or to adapt the measures already announced, if necessary.

For more information:
Europe Direct
Tel: +00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11
Email: Please click here.

Publication date: 8/18/2014


FreshPlaza.com

“The impact of Citrus Black Spot measures on importers is currently not very big”

Joep van Lierop, of De Groot International:
“The impact of Citrus Black Spot measures on importers is currently not very big”

According to Joep van Lierop, of De Groot International, the impact of Citrus Black Spot measures on importers is currently not very big. He affirms that “measures are currently in place to stop citrus from Black Spot areas, but for now this has not had great consequences for importers. However, until Today (Thursday) there have already been four detections, and a fifth will probably soon follow; if this happens, additional measures will probably be taken, and these may well have a greater impact on the market. “

Market Picture
“Regarding grapefruit, the largest volumes from South Africa have already been shipped. Prices have been under pressure in the first few weeks due to the large volumes available and because demand was not big enough. The market for lemons is good, among other reasons, because no large volumes have arrived from South Africa and also partly because of the Black Spot measures and the late arrival of Argentinian lemons,” explains the importer. “Mandarin prices and demand have been under great pressure for a few weeks. Now the largest volumes of clementines have already been sold and within a few weeks the Nadorcott will enter the market.  The orange market has almost completely moved now to South African produce, which registers good sales and stable prices.”

When asked how important Europe is for South African producers, Joep answered that “Europe is important for South Africa, but it is not as if South Africa couldn’t go on without Europe, as it has plenty of alternative markets. The shipment of the entire volume to these areas, however, would put prices in those markets under pressure.” According to the importer, South America would be an alternative in case no oranges and other citrus could be exported from South Africa to Europe. De Groot International also has access to citrus from Zimbabwe, so it is not fully dependent on South Africa and South America.

“In the coming weeks, all eyes in the citrus market will be on Black Spot, as the possible introduction of stricter measures would have a major impact on the market,” concludes Joep.

For more information:
Joep van Lierop
De Groot International

T +31 (0) 73-599 88 04
E [email protected]
http://www.degroot-int.nl

Publication date: 7/25/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Voters in Two Oregon Counties Approve Measures Banning GE Crops

Voters in two Oregon counties have approved ballot measures to ban the cultivation of genetically engineered crops within their borders.

On May 20, the Jackson County initiative passed with 66 percent of the vote, and the Josephine County initiative passed with 58 percent of the vote.

The Jackson County measure requires “affected persons to harvest, destroy or remove all genetically engineered plants within 12 months of the enactment of the ordinance.” The Josephine County measure “would allow confiscation and destruction of plants that have been genetically altered if contamination was occurring.”

Supporters of the measures say they will keep crops free from contamination by genetically engineered crops.

The Josephine County ban is likely to be challenged in court because of a 2013 law that prohibits local governments from regulating genetically engineered crops. The Jackson County measure was exempted because it had already qualified for the ballot before the state legislation passed.

The Center for Food Safety, which supports the bans, reports that GE crops are also banned in California’s Santa Cruz County, Trinity County, Marin County and Mendocino County, Washington’s San Juan County, and a number of cities.  Hawaii’s Big Island and Oahu have banned GE taro and coffee.

Food Safety News

Web Tool Successfully Measures Farms’ Water Footprint

A new University of Florida web-based tool worked well during its trial run to measure water consumption at farms in four Southern states, according to a study published this month.

The system measures the so-called “water footprint” of a farm. In the broader sense, water footprints account for the amount of water used to grow or create almost everything we eat, drink, wear or otherwise use.

Researchers at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences introduced their WaterFootprint tool in the March issue of the journal Agricultural Systems, after using it to calculate water consumption at farms in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. The WaterFootprint is part of the AgroClimate system, developed by Clyde Fraisse, a UF associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering. AgroClimate is a web resource, aimed primarily at agricultural producers, that includes interactive tools and data for reducing agricultural risks.

WaterFootprint, developed primarily by Daniel Dourte, a research associate in agricultural and biological engineering, estimates water use in crop production across the U.S. WaterFootprint looks at a farm in a specific year or growing season and gives you its water footprint, Dourte said. With UF’s WaterFootprint system, users provide their location by ZIP code, the crop, planting and harvesting dates, yield, soil type, tillage and water management.

The tool also retrieves historical weather data and uses it to estimate the blue and green water footprints of crop production, Dourte said. Water footprints separate water use into green, which is rainfall; blue, from a freshwater resource; and gray, an accounting of water quality, after it’s been polluted.

Water footprints can be viewed at the farm level or globally. For instance, if irrigation water is used to grow crops, it is essentially exported, Dourte said.

Once products are shipped overseas, the water used to grow the commodity goes with it, and it may not return for a long time — if ever, Dourte said. That’s a problem if the crop is grown in a region where water is scarce, he said.

But there’s often a tradeoff, he said. Global food trade saves billions of gallons of water each year, as food is exported from humid, temperate places to drier locales that would have used much more water to grow crops, Dourte said.

“The U.S. is a big agricultural producer. Products are exported and along with them, water goes to other countries,” he said.

For example, if you’re growing soybeans, you’re indirectly sending the water that was used to grow the crop. That amounts to about 270 gallons per pound of soybeans, Dourte said. In addition to soybeans, coffee beans and shirts, if made from cotton, consume lots of water from the growing process to processing to shipping — with most of that water consumption resulting from evaporation and transpiration during crop growth, he said. But understanding the type of water resource being consumed, whether it’s from rainfall or irrigation, makes all the difference in assessing water resource sustainability. Dourte co-authored the study with Fraisse and Oxana Uryasev, a UF research associate in agricultural and biological engineering.

The WaterFootprint tool can help not just growers, but world water managers as well, he said.

“We think this farm-specific, time-specific water footprinting tool is a unique resource that could be used by resource managers and educators to consider water resource sustainability in the context of agricultural production,” Dourte said. “We usually think of water management locally and regionally. But when you’re accounting for the water footprint of agricultural products, it allows you to see the global nature of that water.” UF’s WaterFootprint calculator can be found at http://agroclimate.org/tools/Water-Footprint/.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Portable ethylene sensor measures fruit ripeness from “Stem-to-Sale”

Portable ethylene sensor measures fruit ripeness from “Stem-to-Sale”

Not so long ago you would likely be wearing a lab coat if you were using an ethylene sensor; now you can keep your work boots on and measure ethylene directly in the field. Ethylene sensing has moved out of the lab and into the hands of growers with the F-900 Portable Ethylene Gas Analyzer, which debuted at this year’s Asia Fruit Logistica.

Ethylene-management is a major factor in controlling fruit handling and storage environments. Weighing only 2.43 kg, the F-900 promises “stem-to-sale” ethylene monitoring: “Because it is so portable and easy to use, growers can monitor ethylene at every stage of the fruit cycle, from harvest to warehousing, shipping, and even the end point-of-sale,” says Michael Larman of Felix Instruments. “It makes processing decisions far more accurate, it’s non-destructive, and is simple enough for anyone to use.”

Controlling the “stem-to-sale” process provides the control needed to present customers with an ideally fresh product. “It’s no secret that a reliable product is the holy grail for fruit producers. It’s especially crucial to succeeding in the premium-branded fruit market,” says Leonard Felix, President of CID, Bio-Science. Establishing and maintaining a credible fruit brand such as Cuties™ clementines or Zespri Gold™ kiwis hinges on being able to control every point of the production and delivery process to provide a reliable product. Measuring ethylene makes it possible for precise ripeness control through every stage of fruit handling.

The F-900 is especially useful for managing the shipping process. The F-900 automatically measures ethylene output during shipping and storage for months if needed, replacing guesswork with data for controlled atmospheres. With a resolution of 1 ppb (1 part per billion) for ethylene, the new F-900 was developed to meet the most exacting laboratory conditions. Testing in U.S. crop development programs has ranged from monitoring sweet potato cultivars to developing mango harvest protocols.

The F-900 Portable Ethylene Gas Analyzer is a welcome development in precision fruit management, offering growers the chance to bring lab-quality precision to their production processes for an affordable price. The F-900 is manufactured by Felix Instruments, a newly formed subsidiary of CID Bio-Science, Inc., which has been providing research scientists with plant science tools since 1989: www.cid-inc.com.

Contact:
Felix Instruments
Michael Larman
Email:[email protected]
Tel: +1 360-833-8835

 

Publication date: 10/2/2013


FreshPlaza.com

Portable ethylene sensor measures fruit ripeness from “Stem-to-Sale”

Portable ethylene sensor measures fruit ripeness from “Stem-to-Sale”

Not so long ago you would likely be wearing a lab coat if you were using an ethylene sensor; now you can keep your work boots on and measure ethylene directly in the field. Ethylene sensing has moved out of the lab and into the hands of growers with the F-900 Portable Ethylene Gas Analyzer, which debuted at this year’s Asia Fruit Logistica.

Ethylene-management is a major factor in controlling fruit handling and storage environments. Weighing only 2.43 kg, the F-900 promises “stem-to-sale” ethylene monitoring: “Because it is so portable and easy to use, growers can monitor ethylene at every stage of the fruit cycle, from harvest to warehousing, shipping, and even the end point-of-sale,” says Michael Larman of Felix Instruments. “It makes processing decisions far more accurate, it’s non-destructive, and is simple enough for anyone to use.”

Controlling the “stem-to-sale” process provides the control needed to present customers with an ideally fresh product. “It’s no secret that a reliable product is the holy grail for fruit producers. It’s especially crucial to succeeding in the premium-branded fruit market,” says Leonard Felix, President of CID, Bio-Science. Establishing and maintaining a credible fruit brand such as Cuties™ clementines or Zespri Gold™ kiwis hinges on being able to control every point of the production and delivery process to provide a reliable product. Measuring ethylene makes it possible for precise ripeness control through every stage of fruit handling.

The F-900 is especially useful for managing the shipping process. The F-900 automatically measures ethylene output during shipping and storage for months if needed, replacing guesswork with data for controlled atmospheres. With a resolution of 1 ppb (1 part per billion) for ethylene, the new F-900 was developed to meet the most exacting laboratory conditions. Testing in U.S. crop development programs has ranged from monitoring sweet potato cultivars to developing mango harvest protocols.

The F-900 Portable Ethylene Gas Analyzer is a welcome development in precision fruit management, offering growers the chance to bring lab-quality precision to their production processes for an affordable price. The F-900 is manufactured by Felix Instruments, a newly formed subsidiary of CID Bio-Science, Inc., which has been providing research scientists with plant science tools since 1989: www.cid-inc.com.

Contact:
Felix Instruments
Michael Larman
Email:[email protected]
Tel: +1 360-833-8835

 

Publication date: 10/2/2013


FreshPlaza.com