Fresh produce industry never likes testing such as that now imposed by Canada

The nation’s only produce surveillance program did not survive the first term of the Obama administration. When it did exist, USDA’s Microbiological Data Program (MDP) used to conduct 80 percent of all federal produce testing for foodborne pathogens.

The program paid labs at Land Grant universities to test local produce as it came out of the ground. The national budget for the MDP did not top $5 million, a hardly noticeable amount in Washington D.C.

But from the moment it began during the first Bush administration, the fresh produce lobby wanted the MDP dead. It was too successful, working as a “tripwire,” interrupting fresh produce distributions whenever dangerous pathogens were discovered.

Fresh produce works fast, moving from the field to your dinner plate in only a matter of days, and sometimes hours. Anything that interrupts that fast flow is a problem for the industry.

So if the little MDP was … Read more

World Food Programme Wins Nobel Peace Prize for Aiding the Global Food Insecure

The UN World Food Programme headquarters in Rome, Italy on October 9, 2020. | Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Plus, McDonald’s Travis Scott partnership really paid off, and more news to start your day

World Food Programme takes home the Nobel Peace Prize

The World Food Programme (WFP), a United Nations agency and the world’s largest humanitarian organization dedicated to combating hunger and food insecurity, has won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee chose the WFP “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a … Read more

National cattlemen’s organizations split on RFID for traceability

Cattlemen and ranchers have three national organizations vying for their loyalty and support, and they don’t always agree on policy.

That’s apparently going to be true for something as simple as whether the interstate movement of cattle should require the use of radio-frequency ear-tags for traceability purposes.  Commonly referred to as RFID, electronic ear-tags are used in Europe to track animals from birth to market and even on to the meat counters of retail outlets.

In comments filed last week that expressed some concerns, but overall support for going to an RFID system, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association said  “knowing where diseased and at-risk exposed animals are, as well as where they have been and when, is indispensable to emergency response and ongoing disease control and eradication programs.”   

In comments filed ahead of the deadline, the USCA expressed support for RFID with these provisos:

  • There should be no private control of
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Long Live the Room-Service Club Sandwich

An old-school club sandwich, complete with accoutrements | L. Fritz / ClassicStock / Getty Images

For a century, the double-decker sandwich has provided comfort and a taste of luxury to hotel guests around the world — and despite COVID-19, it will endure

It’s a familiar scene: Exhausted by a long flight and frazzled by jet lag, a traveler checks in, takes a long shower, dons a hotel robe, reclines on the ginormous crisp-sheeted bed, and picks up the phone to order a club sandwich.

The trope is so common among actual travelers that the double-decker creation accounts for a significant proportion of hotels’ room service sales. In recent years, that meant up to 25 percent across Dorchester Collection hotels, for example. Its allure is time-tested, its components comfortingly benign: three slices of toast, chicken or turkey, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and bacon, which achieve sandwich greatness when spiked with a cellophane-wrapped toothpick.

Even … Read more

Listeria found in a quarter of frozen veg in England

Listeria was detected in almost a quarter of frozen vegetable samples in England, according to a study.

Between December 2018 and April 2019, 1,050 frozen fruit and vegetable samples were collected. Listeria monocytogenes or other Listeria species were detected in 167 samples of vegetables. Listeria monocytogenes was present in 10 percent of frozen vegetables.

The study of frozen fruit and vegetables from catering and retail premises in England assessed microbiological quality with respect to Listeria and E. coli. Findings were published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

Eleven samples contained more than 100 colony forming units per gram (cfu/g) of E. coli. Listeria monocytogenes or other Listeria species were detected in six samples of fruit and six fruit and vegetable mixes.

Obtaining baseline data
Work was prompted after the outbreak of listeriosis that affected 54 people in six countries with 10 deaths in 2015 to 2018 associated with … Read more