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Airline food poisoning

Contaminated carrots served on several flights out of Honolulu likely caused 45 people to suffer food poisoning across 22 US states as well as Japan, Australia and American Samoa.

The outbreak sparked one lawsuit, filed in late May, against airline caterer Gate Gourmet Inc., which included the carrots in meals served between 22 and 24 August in 2004.

Reports say the company, based in Virginia and Switzerland, was sent a warning letter by the federal Food and Drug Administration on April 21 citing violations found in a February inspection of its Honolulu facility — such as a “pink slimy substance” dripping onto the conveyor of the pot washing machine, live cockroaches and flies, and mould growing on the windows of a refrigerator.

Source: NSW Food Authority

Is that burger cooked?

Researchers at Washington State University have verified that judging the “doneness” and safety of a cooked hamburger patty by its colour isn’t a reliable test.

Hamburgers that are brown all the way through can still harbour dangerous, even deadly, bacteria.

Val Hillers, retired WSU Extension food safety specialist, said research found 25% of burgers tested had not reached a safe internal temperature even though they were brown throughout.

Source: NSW Food Authority

Nation of bowl lickers

About 80% of Australians lick the bowl after eating ice cream, according to research commissioned by Australia’s most serious ice cream company, Homer Hudson. Men are more likely to lick the ice cream bowl clean according to the report which questioned 510 people with 85.9% saying they couldn’t leave a single smudge, whilst women were more refined with 74.5% getting stuck in until the last drop.

Lawrence Vincent of Homer Hudson says men were more likely to lick their hands if ice cream dripped with 84.7% admitting to licking rather than using a wipe, whilst women were again slightly more careful with 70.6% saying they would lick their hands.

Changes to Food Code

FOOD Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is inviting comment on a range of proposed changes to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

The proposals include the addition of a range of vitamins and minerals to water-based drinks, maximum residue limits for antibiotics, use of a new genetically modified cotton as a food, and the introduction of mandatory food safety programs to two potentially high-risk industry sectors.

Formulated beverages review

The Australian Beverages Council has applied to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) for permission to add a range of vitamins and minerals to non-alcoholic, water-based, flavoured beverages (formulated beverages).

At present, there are no specific provisions in the Food Standards Code covering vitamins and minerals in formulated beverages. Australian manufacturers are currently unable to manufacture these beverages unless they utilise existing permissions for sports foods. However, they can be manufactured in New Zealand under dietary supplement regulations and imported to Australia.

FSANZ is proposing to permit the addition of a defined set of vitamins and minerals, in addition to specific compositional requirements, and is seeking comment from interested parties.

Functional foods white paper

The National Centre of Excellence in Functional Foods (NCEFF) Centre has developed a white paper on Functional Foods. The white paper explains the basis for this definition and then uses the definition to explore opportunities for functional foods so that individual food companies can gain a better understanding of how they can operate within the functional food market.

$12m boost for innovation

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC ) has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement to commit an additional $12 million to the Food Innovation Grants (FIG) program.

FIG provides matching funding to food businesses for R&D projects leading to commercialisation and providing national benefit to Australia.

Through the National Food Industry Strategy (NFIS), the Federal Government is now providing $50 million for the highly successful FIG Program.

The next FIG funding Round will close on Wednesday 17 August 2005 and a further Round is anticipated to close on 2 November 2005.

Soy factory opens at Moree

Food ingredients company Clover Corp has opened a $9m plant in north-western NSW, enabling it to start production of a soy food additive.

HACCP conference

Conference registration is now available online for the Australian HACCP Conference Series.

The Conference Series, convened by Advancing Food Safety, is a discussion forum for all food industry professionals involved in food safety.



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