Study finds that cultures can protect from foodborne pathogens in cheese

A recent study published in LWT, found that bacterial cultures, known as protective cultures, can fight pathogens and prevent them from causing illness by hampering their ability to infect someone at several key points.

Protective bacterial cultures are commercially available and are designed to control undesirable microbes in foods, including foodborne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes

This study titled “Effect of pre-exposure to protective bacterial cultures in food on Listeria monocytogenes virulence” led by Dennis D’Amico, associate professor of dairy foods in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources at the University of Connecticut, investigated the ability of three commercial protective cultures to survive human gastrointestinal conditions and exert anti-infective properties against Listeria monocytogenes.

“It’s a huge risk because if there are pathogenic bacteria in raw milk and you make cheese from that milk, they can propagate and that can cause illness,” D’Amico told UConn Today.

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FDA’s 2021 strides: Thinking outside the box to strengthen prevention


Despite the unprecedented challenges we’ve all faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 was another important year for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Foods Program.

I’d like to highlight some of the strides we made last year in protecting the safety of human foods, which we will continue building on this year. They reflect on the work done by the dedicated teams in the FDA’s Office of Food Policy and Response, the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and the Office of Regulatory Affairs.

FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

January 2021 marked the 10-year anniversary of FSMAbeing signed into law. Congress’ mandate then is still true today: It’s not enough to respond to outbreaks of foodborne illness, we must prevent them from happening in the first place. We continue to answer that call.

Most significantly, in December we published a much-anticipated proposed rule to establish … Read more

Publisher’s Platform: Why didn’t health department report deadly hepatitis A outbreak earlier?


Unanswered questions:

  • If the exposure at the restaurant occurred at the end of November 2021, why was the public not alerted until January 2022?
  • For those that became sick, was there a common day or days that they ate at the restaurant?
  • For those that became sick, was there a common food item consumed at the restaurant? – hepatitis A outbreaks have been liked to a variety of food items – including green onions, berries, seafood and frozen berries.
  • Are all workers who worked during the exposure period accounted for and did any of them become sick in the week after the exposure period? – hepatitis A outbreaks have been linked to ill food service workers in the very recent past – Mendham NJ Golf and Country Club and Roanoke VA Famous Anthony’s Restaurant.

NBC10 Philadelphia reports that health officials confirmed a third death in a Hepatitis … Read more

Dole reopens salad facilities linked to multi-year Listeria outbreak

Dole is reopening two salad production plants linked to an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections that has killed at least two people.

Dozens of packaged salad varieties sold under brands including those sold by Walmart, Kroger and Lidl were recalled Dec. 22, 2021, after testing revealed the presence of the Listeria. The salads were produced at Dole facilities in Yuma, AZ, and Bessemer City, NC.

Brands of salads included in the recall were:

  • Ahold
  • Dole
  • Kroger
  • Lidl
  • Little Salad Bar
  • Marketside
  • Naturally Better
  • Nature’s Promise
  • Simply Nature

The expiration dates on the recalled salads ranged from Nov. 30, 2021, through Jan. 8, 2022. 

Although all of the salads should have been removed by retailers and thrown away by consumers by now, additional illnesses could still be reported because it can take up to 70 days for symptoms of infection to develop. Then it can take another three to four weeks … Read more

Officials investigating third death in hepatitis A outbreak traced to restaurant

A third death is being investigated in a hepatitis A outbreak traced to an Italian restaurant in West Norriton, PA.

Montgomery County public health officials say they have already confirmed two deaths in the outbreak traced to Gino’s Restaurant and Pizzeria. They have confirmed 10 people as infected with the liver disease and another three cases remain under investigation.

As of this week the restaurant remains closed. Public health officials ordered the closure on Jan. 7. At least seven of the infected people were admitted to hospitals.

County officials are working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health on the investigation. So far the investigation suggests the exposure occurred in late November and no longer presents a risk. 

It can take up to 50 days after exposure to the hepatitis A virus for symptoms to appear. After symptoms appear sick people must be tested and test results must be confirmed and … Read more