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Posts Tagged: food safety

Food irridiation possible solution for food safety failings

Americans often under cook meat and don't wash hands properly.
Irradiating meat can reduce Salmonella and Camphylobacter levels to almost zero, making it safer for consumers who aren't handling raw meat properly, according to a UC consumer behavior and food science expert who was quoted in Food Quality New. However, the practice is not gaining traction.

Christine Bruhn, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, says the need for increased meat irradiation was revealed in a recent study. She and her staff analyzed video footage of 120 people preparing a self-selected chicken dish and salad in their home kitchens. Bruhn reported that 65 percent did not wash their hands before starting the meal and 38 percent didn't do so after touching the raw chicken. Other food preparation practices that increase the likelihood of causing food-borne illness were also observed.

"People don't realize what they are doing with their hands, especially after touching raw poultry," Bruhn said. "To take an example, if you had honey poured on the chicken, you touch the honey and touch the cupboard and the door handle, it is spread all over everything and cross contaminates the kitchen."

Prompted by the findings, a number of organizations are launching an educational campaign to increase consumer knowledge about safe food preparation practices in the home. In addition, Bruhn recommends wider use of irradiation of meat.

She said meat vendors are concerned consumers will reject irradiated food, a sentiment she considers a "cop out."

"Supermarkets are the gatekeepers. It is not the consumer blocking it," Bruhn said.

Posted on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 10:05 AM

UC Riverside calculations help demonstrate food safety

Robert Krieger, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Riverside Department of Entomology, calculated that a child could consume hundreds or even thousands of servings of many popular fruits and vegetables in one day and still not experience any negative health effects from pesticide residues.

To make the Pesticide Residue Calculator, Krieger analyzed the highest residue levels found on fruits and vegetables by the USDA and calculated the number of servings which could be eaten in one day without any negative health effects from the pesticide residues that may be present, according to a news release by the Alliance for Food and Fiber.

"At the end of the day, I think it's the responsibility of all parents and all adults to encourage children to eat their fruits and vegetables to help ensure they have long and productive lives," said Carl Keen, professor in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis.

The Alliance for Food and Farming is a non-profit organization that works to provide a voice for farmers to communicate their commitment to food safety and care for the land, according to the organization's website.

The goal of the Pesticide Residue Calculator is to assure parents it is safe to serve children as many fruits and vegetables as they will eat, whether they are conventional or organic.
The goal of the Pesticide Residue Calculator is to assure parents it is safe to serve children as many fruits and vegetables as they will eat, whether they are conventional or organic.

Posted on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 8:41 AM
Tags: food safety (22)

Food safety specialist addresses cantaloupe guidelines

Suslow said that the FDA does not make a definitive statement on a single safe method for postharvest handling of cantaloupe. Photo from the Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops
An article in The Denver Post by Michael Booth and Jennifer Brown discussed the possibility of criminal charges against Jensen Farms for its involvement in the cantaloupe listeria outbreak. The article discusses the history of legal charges made in food poisoning cases,  including issues of willful negligence.

Trevor Suslow, UC Cooperative Extension food safety specialist at Davis, was told by the farm owner that they believed the postharvest system used in conjunction with the outbreak was an improvement over their previous methods — though Suslow disagrees. He acknowledges, however, that the FDA does not make a definitive statement in its growing guidelines on the safest method of cleaning, cooling or packing cantaloupe.

Agricultural program helps keep youth out of gangs

An Associated Press article by Gosia Wozniacka profiles volunteer work by Manuel Jimenez, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Tulare County. The article was published by news outlets such as the Fresno Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, ABC News, Fox News, CBS News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and others.

He and wife Olga teach life skills and farming techniques to youth on a 14-acre garden in Woodlake, Calif.

"We want to grow kids in our gardens, because we've seen what violence, drugs and alcohol can do," Jimenez told the reporter.

The article also includes comments from youth volunteers in the program, past and present.

"Everything Manuel did was interesting to me," said Walter Martinez, who is now a UC Cooperative Extension field assistant and also served as a volunteer at the garden through middle and high school.

Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Listeria outbreak renews call for federal regulations

UC expert says reserach in animal biology could help identify strategies to prevent listeria, which caused a recall of cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Colorado.
The recent listeria outbreak in cantaloupe underscores the urgent need for the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act, according to experts quoted in a comprehensive story on food safety published yesterday in the Huffington Post. Since 1998, the FDA and USDA have issued guidance on "Good Agricultural Practices" for producers to follow, but the recommendations are voluntary.

UC food safety expert Michele Jay-Russell said federal officials should draw inspiration from the Leafy Green Marketing Agreement when they finalize the new regulations. California and Arizona put the agreement in place after the 2006 spinach E. coli outbreak, the article said. It includes a wide range of food safety metrics, from how often to test irrigation water to the optimal method of composting and proper use of animal manures.

Jay-Russell also said research into animal biology could help identify new strategies to prevent or treat listeria. Unlike other pathogens such as E. coli, listeria can sicken both humans and animals. Because sheep, goats and cattle develop similar symptoms to humans, she suggests studies of this parallel animal disease could lead to a better understanding of human illness.

Every day is Food Day
Cathryn Couch, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County is blessed with a rich agricultural heritage and a strong local food culture. Today, growing interest and concern is merging with strong support from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and new opportunities for collaboration. Among the highlights of "exciting food happenings" listed in this article was the first county-wide Food Forum presented in January by the Sonoma County Food System Alliance. The alliance, together the Board of Supervisors and UC Cooperative Extension, gathered nearly 300 stakeholders to explore what’s working and identify what’s needed to create a healthy food system for all.

Resident, farming scientist outraged by city’s pruning job
Eiji Yamashita, Hanford Sentinel

UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Bob Beede is outraged by the way three ornamental Bradford pear street trees near his home were pruned by the City of Hanford.

“They came in and butchered all of my lower foliage off my trees. If you talk to professional arborists, they’d tell you this is the wrong way to prune an ornamental tree,” Beede said.

Beede is a veteran farm advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Kings County. He works closely with farmers in the area to improve their fruit tree production, the newspaper reported.

Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 8:42 AM

'Locavore' movement likely to spur food safety policies

The increasing popularity of buying locally produced foods directly from farmers is accompanied by a parallel rise in concerns about keeping local consumers safe from the same pathogens responsible for nationwide outbreaks of salmonella, listeria and E. coli, according to the second in a three-part MSNBC series about food safety.

According to the story, Richard Molinar, small farm program advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Fresno County, thinks the local food movement will put pressure on local farms to develop food safety plans.

“Certainly more people are wanting to buy fresh and buy local; that doesn’t mean that they’re not concerned about food safety,” said Molinar, who helps small farmers develop scaled-down food safety manuals. “When you go to swap meets or farmers markets, I think at some point consumers are going to want to see or know if those farmers have some kind of policy in place.”

Richard Molinar, center, and his assistant Michael Yang, left, with a local farmer.
Richard Molinar, center, and his assistant Michael Yang, left, with a local farmer.

Posted on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 8:54 AM

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