Register today and you’ll have the opportunity to attend the following online sessions:
Stoy Hedges, B.C.E., Owner & President, Stoy Pest Consulting
In this comprehensive session, Board Certified Entomologist Stoy Hedges offers practical advice into the biology, behavior, identification and control of the most commonly encountered species of small flies and filth flies. With more than 40 years of practical field experience servicing restaurants, multi-family housing, commercial kitchens and food-processing facilities, Hedges is uniquely qualified to provide valuable tips and tricks for successfully managing these ubiquitous pests. A respected author, Hedges also will share the latest additions and enhancements to the recently published 2nd Edition of the PCT Field Guide for the Management of Structure-Infesting Flies.
Mosquito Best Practices: Sales & Management Strategies
Kristen Stevens, B.C.E, Commercial Pest Control Services Manager, Cook’s Pest Control
Cook’s Pest Control is a Top 10 pest control company nationally, boasting a deep bench of technical and sales personnel. Board Certified Entomologist Kristen Stevens combines the best of both worlds as a corporate entomologist and commercial pest control sales manager for the fourth-generation, family-owned business. In this informative session, learn how Cook’s Pest Control sells and services its mosquito control customers, one of the fastest-growing segments of the professional pest management industry. Stevens received both her master’s and bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, where she was a student of Dr. Phil Koehler conducting cutting-edge mosquito control research.
On May 21, FDA published Factors Potentially Contributing to the Contamination of Romaine Lettuce Implicated in the Three Outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 providing an overview of the investigation approach and potentially contributing factors in the two multistate and one single-state foodborne illness outbreaks in the fall of 2019. Of note, the agency said, “the number of cattle FDA observed on nearby lands during the 2019 investigations was far lower than the volume of what is considered a large concentrated animal feeding operation, offering a useful reminder that high-density animal operations are not the only factor to consider.” These findings reinforced FDA’s concern about the possible impacts of nearby and adjacent land use on the safety of leafy green crops and further underscore the importance of implementing appropriate risk mitigation strategies.
Following is FDA’s overview:
In November and December 2019 there were three IO157:H7 foodborne illness outbreaks A (167 illnesses), B (11 illnesses), and C (10 illnesses) associated with consumption of romaine lettuce or leafy greens from the Salinas Valley area of California. FDA and multiple state and federal partners investigated these three foodborne illness outbreaks to identify any contributing factors that may have led to romaine lettuce contamination with E. coli O157:H7 and subsequent illnesses.
During these investigations, it was determined that:
- Each of these three outbreaks was caused by distinctly different strains of E. coli O157:H7 as determined by whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis.
- Outbreak A strain of E. coli O157:H7 was found in two different brands of fresh-cut salads containing romaine lettuce in 2019.
- Traceback investigations of multiple illness sub-clusters and supply chain information identified a common grower with multiple ranches/fields, which supplied romaine lettuce during the timeframe of interest to multiple business entities associated with Outbreaks A, B and C.
- The Outbreak A strain of E. coli O157:H7 was detected in a fecal-soil composite sample taken from a cattle grate on public land less than two miles upslope from a produce farm with multiple fields tied to the outbreaks by the traceback investigations.
- Other STEC strains, while not linked to outbreaks A,B, or C, were found in closer proximity to where romaine lettuce crops were grown, including two samples from a border area of a farm immediately next to cattle grazing land in the hills above leafy greens fields and two samples from on-farm water drainage basins.
FDA considers adjacent or nearby land use for cattle grazing as the most likely contributing factor associated with these three outbreaks. While the agency could not confirm a definitive source or route(s) of contamination of the romaine fields, it considers indirect transmission of fecal material from adjacent and nearby lands from water run-off, wind, animals or vehicles to the romaine fields, or to the agricultural water sources used to grow the romaine, as possible routes of contamination. Working with its state partners, FDA is continuing, through the 2020 growing/harvest season, to conduct mission critical STEC investigations in the Salinas growing region to follow up on findings from the 2019 outbreaks.
WASHINGTON – Evans Food Group Ltd., an Arlington, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 3,796 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) pork skin products due to misbranding, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The product contains soy, a known allergen, which is not declared on the product label.[View Labels (PDF Only)]
The product that contains soy – the red hot fried pork skins – is packaged in a variety pack that does not declare soy on the outside package display panel; however, soy is declared on the individual 1-oz. product label and is listed in the individual product’s list of ingredients. The consumer would not be able to see the soy ingredient on the label unless they open the larger box.
The RTE fried pork skin items were produced from April 15, 2020, to May 11, 2020. The following product is subject to recall:
- 10-oz. box of “Mac’s CHICHARRONES PORK SKINS Hot & Spicy VARIETY PACK 10 SINGLES” containing 1-oz. bags of “Mac’s CHICHARRONES PORK SKINS RED HOT FRIED PORK SKINS” with “best-by” dates 7/8/2020, 7/29/2020, 8/1/2020, 8/17/2020 and 8/19/2020 and lot codes 20106, 20107, 20113, 20118, 20122, 20125, 20128 and 20129 represented on the label.
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 7293” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.
The problem was discovered by the establishment during a records review.
There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.
FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ pantries. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify that recalling firms are notifying their customers of the recall and that actions are being taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.
Consumers with questions about the recall can contact the Evans Food Group Consumer Contact Line at 1-800-543-7113. Members of the media with questions about the recall can contact Jade Murray, Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Legal Department, Evans Food Group, at 773-254-7400.
Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Consumers can also browse food safety messages at Ask USDA or send a question via email to MPHotline@usda.gov. For consumers that need to report a problem with a meat, poultry, or egg product, the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at https://foodcomplaint.fsis.usda.gov/eCCF/
The lack of regulation, standardization, and general understanding of date labeling on food products (such as “best by” and “use by” dates) leads to billions of dollars per year in food waste in the United States alone. Many people don’t realize that date labels on food products (with the exception of infant formula) are entirely at the manufacturer’s discretion and are not supported by robust scientific evidence. To address this concern and combat global food waste, researchers at the University of Maryland have come together across departments in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources with the goal of clarifying the science or lack thereof behind food date labels, highlighting the need for interdisciplinary research and global research trends in their new publication in Food Control.
“We have 50 different types of date labels that are currently used in the US because there is no regulation - best by, best if used by, use by - and we as consumers don’t know what these things mean,” said Debasmita Patra, assistant research professor in Environmental Science and Technology and lead author on the paper. “The labeling is the manufacturer's best estimation based on taste or whatever else, and it is not scientifically proven. But our future intention is to scientifically prove what is the best way to label foods. As a consumer and as a mom, a best by date might raise food safety concerns, but date labeling and food safety are not connected to each other right now, which is a wide source of confusion. And when billions of dollars are just going to the trash because of this, it’s not a small thing.”
According to USDA Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS), Americans discard or waste about 133 billion pounds of food each year, representing $161 billion and a 31% loss of food at the retail and consumer level. According to FDA, 90% of Americans say they are likely to prematurely discard food because they misinterpret date labels because of food safety concerns or uncertainty on how to properly store the product. This simple confusion accounts for 20% of the total annual food waste in the United States, representing more than 26 billion pounds per year and over $32 billion in food waste.
“Food waste is a significant threat to food security,” said Paul Leisnham, associate professor in Environmental Science and Technology and co-author. “Recognition of food waste due to confusion over date labeling is growing, but few studies have summarized the status of the research on this topic.”
This was the goal of their latest publication, gathering support and background for their future work to reduce food waste, and providing guidance for future areas of research in this field. In order to achieve this, Patra enlisted Leisnham in her own department, but also relied on computational support and food quality and safety expertise from Abani Pradhan, associate professor in Nutrition and Food Science, and his postdoctoral fellow Collins Tanui, both co-authors on the paper.
“We wanted to see the trends and give some suggestions, because the paper shows that we are some of the very few who are thinking about truly interdisciplinary research connecting food labeling to food waste,” said Patra. “In fact, we were joking because one major finding was that environmental sciences and food science departments don’t seem to collaborate on this topic, so we are doing something unique here at UMD.”
“Our paper underlined the fact that future research on food waste and date labeling needs to take an interdisciplinary approach to better explore the perspectives of multiple stakeholders,” said Leisnham. “Expertise from environmental science, food science, sociology, Extension education, and other disciplines can more effectively develop interventions to reduce behaviors that may increase food waste. This is an environmental issue, but involves the knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, and social behaviors of multiple stakeholders, including retailers, food-service providers, and diverse consumers.”
The collaboration between environmental sciences and food sciences at UMD is an example of this collaboration in action, with the goal of establishing what science, if any, already underlies date labeling and connecting this to food quality and safety.
“Utilizing my expertise in experimental and mathematical modeling work, we aim to scientifically evaluate the quality characteristics, shelf life, and food spoilage risk of food products,” Pradhan said. “This would help in determining if the food products are of good quality beyond the mentioned dates, rather than discarding them prematurely. We anticipate to reduce food waste through our ongoing and future research findings.”
Patra stressed the importance of further collaboration through University of Maryland Extension (UME) to have maximum impact on food waste. “Where is the confusion coming from?” Patra said. “If we understand that, maybe we can better disseminate the information through our Extension work.
“Food is something that is involved in everybody’s life, and so everyone needs to be a good food manager,” she added. “But even now, there is no robust scientific evidence behind date labels, and yet those labels govern people’s purchasing behavior. People look for something that has a longer ‘best by’ date thinking they are getting something better. And when you throw that food away, you are not only wasting the food, but also all the economics associated with that, like production costs, transportation from the whole farm to fork chain, and everything else that brought you that product just to be thrown away. Food safety, regulation, and education need to all combine to help solve this problem, which is why interdisciplinary collaboration is so important.”
The paper, entitled “Evaluation of global research trends in the area of food waste due to date labeling using a scientometrics approach,” is published in Food Control, DOI: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2020.107307.