If your summer reading list is light on one of the biggest issues surrounding the food industry, Gabriela Steier and Adam Friedlander have you covered with their book “Food System Transparency: Law, Science and Policy of Food and Agriculture.”
The 224-page book lands June 10 in hardback, paperback and eBook formats, and takes a look at the transparency of the food system by bringing together a variety of voices in the food industry. Chapters written by the likes of Darin Detwiler, Paul De Filippi, Juanjuan Sun and more are broken into three sections that give readers a broad look at transparency, its impact on food safety and health and the global view.
GS: This is the beginning of the conversation. This is sort of the research that we bring to the table with our contributors — let's carry this forward. So, anybody who will pick this up hopefully will not shy away from discussing this book, from criticizing it, from ripping it apart, because the more people use it, the more friction we create, the more we can inspire, the more conversations we can start with this book, the better.
Editor's Note: Gabriela Steier is a columnist for QA magazine. Find her most recent International Perspectives column here.
BUSKERUD, Norway — Global carton packaging supplier Elopak has announced the Pure-TwistFlip, which the company said offers up a new option for brands looking to meet the growing consumer demand for sustainable packaging, without compromising on convenience or product integrity.
“We are delighted to share the news that our tethered cap solution is now ready. Sustainability is a central driver of our innovation efforts at Elopak, in which we are continually seeking to raise the bar and improve on past performance,” said Elopak CMO Patrick Verhelst. “We have invested heavily in developing more environmentally friendly packaging solutions that meet the same high standards our customers are used to, and at the same time offer them a way to package their products in a manner that fits with a low carbon circular economy. By combining Elopak’s Pure-Pak carton with the Pure-TwistFlip cap, brands can now choose a package that both helps prevent marine littering and reduces the use of plastics.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Disease-causing bacteria like E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica could survive sanitization in beef processing facilities. Scientists and collaborators in the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA), Agricultural Research Center (ARS) are investigating how this happens while also seeking approaches to solve the problem.
E. coli O157:H7 (a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli) and S. enterica are two disease-causing bacteria (pathogens) associated with foodborne illnesses in the United States. Because these pathogens can make people sick through contaminated food, scientists are researching effective and economical ways to lower risks of cross-contamination at food processing facilities.
In a study, scientists explained the survival behavior of E. coli O157:H7 after exposure to unfavorable conditions such as those created by routine sanitation procedures, and how it varies within beef processing facilities that are following similar sanitizing protocols.
"Under certain conditions, pathogens like E. coli O157:H7 and S. enterica would enter into a dormant or 'hibernation' stage, forming a thin film that allows it to better survive on hard surfaces such as concrete or steel. This is called a bacterial biofilm, and it cannot be seen with the naked eye," explained Dr. Rong Wang, research microbiologist with U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb.
A major concern is that biofilms allow harmful bacteria to better survive on hard surfaces at the facility, potentially contaminating food, and making consumers sick. Interestingly, studies show that these pathogens do not survive on their own. After comparing samples from different facilities that follow similar cleaning measures but experiencing different levels of pathogens, scientists learned that multiple species of bacteria found in the processing plant environment of each location could either enhance or reduce a pathogen’s chance of surviving sanitizing procedures. They do this by forming a biofilm community (mixed biofilm structure).
"We look at the unique communities of environmental bacteria that collaborate or compete with pathogens at each location," said Wang. "The collaboration may lead to high pathogen prevalence at certain locations, but strong competition may inhibit pathogen survival at other places. Since many of these environmental bacteria are not harmful to humans or animals, if we can identify the specific species that inhibit pathogen biofilm formation, we can use them as probiotics (preventive measures) against disease-causing bacteria."
Meanwhile, a couple of studies published in the Journal of Food Protection from this research group show that multi-component sanitizers, a novel multifaceted approach using combinations of various sanitizing reagents and treatments could inactivate biofilms formed by E. coli O157:H7 and S. enterica more effectively, reducing the chances of the pathogen surviving cleaning practices at beef processing facilities.
More research is needed to understand the interaction of multiple species of bacteria present in different processing plant environments and how they vary from one facility to another — reflecting different locations, temperatures and other factors.
“We want to emphasize that this research was done under carefully controlled laboratory conditions using high amounts of virus—much more than what flies might encounter naturally. More research is needed to see if house flies can transmit infectious SARS-CoV-2 in a natural setting and if so, what the implications are for public health,” said ARS entomologist Dana Nayduch, ABADRU research leader and corresponding author on the study. “On a positive note, since we were able to detect both virus and viral RNA in flies, we potentially can use flies to monitor and detect virus in the environment. In this type of surveillance strategy, the house fly does all the work by visiting animals, including humans, and their waste. Then in the laboratory we can screen flies for evidence of the virus and know if it’s out there in places the flies visited.”