From lettuce to cookies, avocados to cheesecake, the last few years have seen a number of high-profile food recalls. According to the CDC, an estimated 48 million Americans get sick each year from foodborne illnesses. But the question of whether such outbreaks are getting worse is complicated, due to a combination of improved detection technology, a looser approach to regulation, and growing consolidation in the food industry, as Leah Douglas reports in FERN's latest story, published as part of Time magazine's special issue on the Science of Nutrition.(No paywall)
Lactalis, the biggest dairy company in France, has recalled over 7,000 tons of baby formula and powdered milk products across 80 countries, reports the New York Times. The recalls, which were implemented over the course of several weeks, amounted to one of the biggest such recalls in history. At least 38 children were sickened by salmonella found in the recalled products.
Federal researchers say multi-drug resistance has increased to 12 percent of salmonella bacteria found in the digestive systems of ill people, up from 9 percent in the previous year. Salmonella is a common type of food-borne illness estimated to affect 1 million Americans annually and to cause 380 deaths a year.
The Supreme Court assured prison time for Austin DeCoster, once believed to be the largest U.S. egg producer, and his son, Peter, by refusing a petition filed by their attorneys for a review of their sentences.
With a scandal clouding Brazil's meatpackers, Montana Sen. Jon Tester announced legislation for a 120-day ban on U.S. imports of meat from the South American country. The ban will give USDA "time to comprehensively investigate food safety threats and to determine which Brazilian beef sources put American consumers at risk," said Tester's office.
New data on antibiotic resistance in agriculture, released Friday by agencies of the European Union, demonstrate how complicated it is to control all the uses of antibiotics on farms and to prevent all the side effects of antibiotic use.
Two years ago, the FDA began testing foods for the presence of disease-causing bacteria as a way to learn how prevalent they are and how to prevent food-borne illness. In its latest round of tests, the agency said 1 percent of cucumbers and 3 percent of hot peppers, such as jalapeños and serranos, carried salmonella bacteria, said Stat, the medical news site.
The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals refused to reconsider a ruling that gave Jack DeCoster and his son, Peter, three-month prison sentences for the 2010 outbreak of food illness linked to their egg farms, says Food Safety News. At the time, the DeCosters were believed to be the largest egg producers in the country.
The Humane Society of the United States is calling for state and federal investigations after it released undercover video, from one of New England’s largest egg producers, that shows chickens caked in feces and packed in tiny cages, in some cases with dead and mummified birds.