Discover Magazine 2011.
Irradiating food? Pssh. Old news. Engineers are working on more effective (and cooler) techniques like super-high pressure, chemical coatings, and, yes, laser ovens. [LINK]
From Food Safety News | Jul 13, 2010
A new field study by UC Davis scientists has measured the incidence of E. coli O157:H7 in the feces of Northern California wildlife. This study, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found E. coli O157:H7 in some wildlife stool samples. However, these samples may not be enough to explain the numerous E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in leafy greens over the past decade.
This study was designed in response to the massive spinach E. coli O157:H7 outbreak of 2006 in which over 200 people were sickened across the country and three people died.[MORE]
The average American consumes about 50 grams of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) per day. Preliminary studies have revealed that products containing high amounts of HFSC also contain mercury, a toxic metal contaminant. "Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar," was assembled by health and environmental researchers. More on the study here.
The Corn Refiners Association responds to the charges by stating that the study is outdated. There is likely to be more on this story in the future.
March 27, 2009 Update."New findings challenge studies linking mercury to HFCS - CRA"
Results from third-party testing conducted on high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from all the production facilities in the US and Canada show that no quantifiable levels of mercury were detected in any of the samples analyzed, claims the CRA.
According to the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), the North American manufacturers of commissioned independent testing and expert review following recent reports alleging mercury findings in the food and beverage ingredient. [MORE]
More on HFCS (November 2009): Is HFCS Natural?
Pet food tainted with high levels of melamine killed at least 16 cats and dogs and sickened thousands of other animals in the United States. The contamination was thought to originate with Chinese exporters of wheat gluten and other animal feed ingredients. Melamine is normally combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a very durable thermosetting plastic, and melamine foam, a polymeric cleaning product. The end products include countertops, fabrics, glues and flame retardants.
U.S. regulators believe that certain Chinese companies may have intentionally added melamine to their feed ingredients. The amine in melamine can boost the protein level in tests, because of its nitrogen content. It also can increase the adhesiveness of gluten. Melamine is usually not detected in standard quality assurance tests. The pet food scandal could seriously harm United States-China trade relations if it was determined that Chinese companies had intentionally altered food ingredients. And even if the contamination was unintentional, the scandal could affect consumer confidence in imports of food or feed ingredients from China.
Update: 12/2008 WHO Establishes Tolerable Levels for Melamine
2/15/2006 - Food Navigator.com. US food safety authorities have re-opened an investigation closed 15 years ago into soft drinks contaminated with cancer-causing chemical benzene, following evidence the industry has failed to sort out the problem. The problem is caused by two common ingredients – sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) – which can react together to cause benzene formation. This prompted FDA testing that led the US Department of Health and Human Services to report, again in an internal memo: “Benzene formation occurs at part per billion (ppb) levels in some food formulations containing sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid [vitamin C].” [MORE]
The original article in the 1993 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry is posted HERE.
3/06/2006 - BeverageDaily.com - The gamble by US authorities 15 years ago to let the industry deal with benzene residues in soft drinks has failed, and instead only kept those who needed to know in the dark. [MORE]
3/21/2006 - FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition - Letter Regarding Benzene Levels in Soft Drinks. FDA is testing products on the market that contain benzoic and ascorbic acids. Preliminary results do not suggest a safety concern. Full results will be released when testing is completed. [MORE]
May 19, 2006 - FDA CFSAN - Questions and Answers on the Occurrence of Benzene in Soft Drinks and Other Beverages [MORE]
May 19, 2006 - Updated May 2007 - FDA CFSAN - Data on Benzene in Soft Drinks and Other Beverages [MORE]
Further developments on this issue will be posted here.
Terrorists could poison more than 500,000 people, and more than half would die, by putting as little as 10 grams of botulinum toxin in a milk truck. That is the conclusion of a scientific risk analysis which was pulled from publication at the last minute by US government officials in May 2005, but has now been published [LINK]. Full text of publication [here]
Is this a realistic threat? Maybe not. See "Got Toxic Milk - A Rejoinder" [here].