Archive for the ‘food safety’ Category

Halted inspections amid gov’t shutdown “puts our food supply at risk”

January 9th, 2019
A man shops for vegetables beside Romaine lettuce stocked and for sale at a supermarket in Los Angeles, California, on May 2, 2018, where the first death from an E coli contaminated Romaine lettuce outbreak was reported.

Enlarge / A man shops for vegetables beside Romaine lettuce stocked and for sale at a supermarket in Los Angeles, California, on May 2, 2018, where the first death from an E coli contaminated Romaine lettuce outbreak was reported. (credit: Getty | FREDERIC J. BROWN)

After a year plagued by deadly E. coli outbreaks linked to widely distributed romaine lettuce, 2019 is off to an anxiety-inducing start.

With hundreds of food inspectors furloughed in the ongoing government shutdown, the Food and Drug Administration has suspended all routine inspections of domestic food processing facilities. That’s according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who revealed the news in an interview with the Washington Post published Wednesday.

Gottlieb said that the agency, which oversees about 80 percent of the food supply, is continuing to surveil foreign manufacturers and imported food, as well as any domestic producers involved in a current recall or outbreak.

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Posted in E. coli, fda, food safety, foodborne illnesses, romaine, science | Comments (0)

Kitchen sponges are festering germ dens—and sanitizing them doesn’t help

July 31st, 2017

Enlarge / Some germy places in the house include the kitchen faucet and sponges. Typically people wash their hands after handling raw meat in the kitchen and frequently use sponges or cloths to wipe germs from surfaces in the kitchen. (Photo by Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images) (credit: Getty | MCT)

Scientists have long thrown shade at the unassuming kitchen sponge. The household staple skulks in sinks amid dirty dishes and soggy food scraps, sopping up and amplifying microbial forces capable of invading clean food spaces. The savvy kitchen-goer may think they have this situation locked down—a simple toss through a sanitizing dishwasher cycle or a sizzling swirl in the microwave… and done. Sudsy germsplosion averted.

Nice try, says science.

In a comprehensive study of 14 household sponges and their microbial inhabitants published in Scientific Reports, researchers confirmed that kitchen sponges are indeed domestic abominations. Moreover, any sterilizing attempts only seem to temporarily free up sponge-space for potential pathogens, which rapidly recolonize the festering scrubber.

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Posted in food safety, infectious diseases, microbes, microbiology, science, sponge | Comments (0)