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|June 9, 2009|
|FDA Budget Makes Food Safety a Top Priority
New initiative aims to protect consumers from contaminated foods
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) fiscal year (FY) 2010 budget of $3.2 billion includes more than $1 billion for food safety, most notably $259.3 million budgeted for an initiative called Protecting America’s Food Supply.
To that end, the FDA proposes to collect some $94 million in new user fees to register food facilities, increase food inspections, issue food and feed export certifications, and re-inspect food facilities that fail to meet the FDA’s safety standards.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) applauded the Obama Administration for recommending significant increases in food safety-related funding for the FDA.
“At the urging of industry and consumer groups, even ahead of this proposal, Congress has already increased food safety spending from $439 million to $649 million over the last three years,” said Pamela Bailey, GMA president and CEO. “If Congress enacts the FY 2010 request proposed by FDA and the Obama Administration, FDA’s food safety appropriations would increase to $783 million, an increase of more than 78% in just four years. We look forward to learning more about the administration’s proposal as well as to working with it to strengthen the safety and security of our food supply.”
FY 2010 covers the period from October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010. A summary of the FDA's FY 2010 budget is available at:
New Tool to Enhance Egg Safety
Procedure kills heat-resistant pathogens
A new technology can compensate for the inability of thermal pasteurization to kill all heat-resistant pathogens in raw eggs.
Because the process doesn’t affect the eggs' ability to foam, coagulate, and emulsify, CMF-treated eggs could be safely substituted for pasteurized eggs in products in which those characteristics are desired.
In a pilot-scale study, CMF removed about 99% of inoculated Salmonella enteritidis from unpasteurized liquid egg whites. The technology can also be used to remove Bacillus anthracis spores from egg whites, according to Peggy Tomasula, DSc, who led the CMF research.
Although effective in its own right, CMF works best when used as an accompaniment to—rather than a replacement for—pasteurization, Dr. Tomasula said. “Combining the two processes significantly reduces the pathogen load,” she said. “Although CMF removes essentially all microorganisms from the liquid egg, pasteurization also helps extend the shelf life.”
Howard Magwire, vice president of Government Relations for the United Egg Producers/United Egg Association, pointed out that for almost 40 years federal regulations have required the pasteurization of all liquid, frozen, and dried egg products produced in the U.S. “We are anxious to consider the commercial application of ARS’ current research to remove pathogens and spoilage organisms from liquid egg products using CMF,” Magwire said. “If commercially feasible, it could help us produce liquid egg products with shelf lives beyond the now common 10 to 14 weeks for commercial products.”
An article on CMF has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Food Science.
New Assay Quickly Detects Botulinum Toxin
Technique faster, cheaper, and more sensitive than traditional test
A new test for detecting serotype A of the botulinum toxin is the most sensitive yet, researchers report.
“Our goal was to develop a simple rapid test with a sensitivity equal to or better than that of the mouse bioassay,” Dr. Stanker said. “This method reduces the need for animal testing and can provide rapid real-time results for toxin detection in many possible scenarios.”
Monoclonal antibodies that bind to serotype A toxin aren't novel, but the ones Dr. Stanker and his colleagues developed may be the most sensitive yet, capable of detecting the toxin in minuscule amounts.
Dr. Stanker has formatted these antibodies into an assay that is 10 times more sensitive than the traditional mouse assay. Moreover, the mouse assay requires four days to complete, while Dr. Stanker’s version provides results in 20 minutes to two hours, depending on the assay format.
The toxin that causes botulism occurs in seven different serotypes, A through G. A and B are culprits in most of the foodborne botulism cases in the U.S. Dr. Stanker expects to complete assays for detecting serotypes B and E (usually associated with fish) sometime this year.
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