Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Totally Nuts! FDA says to avoid pistachios amid salmonella scare

via AP

By GARANCE BURKE, Associated Press Writer

FRESNO, Calif. – Federal food safety officials warned Monday that consumers should stop eating all foods containing pistachios while they figure out the source of a possible salmonella contamination.

Still reeling from the national salmonella outbreak in peanuts, the Food and Drug Administration said central California-based Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc., the nation's second-largest pistachio processor, was voluntarily recalling a portion of the roasted nuts it has been shipping since last fall. A Setton spokeswoman said that amounts to more than 2 million pounds of nuts.

"Our advice to consumers is that they avoid eating pistachio products, and that they hold onto those products," said Dr. David Acheson, assistant commissioner for food safety. "The number of products that are going to be recalled over the coming days will grow, simply because these pistachio nuts have then been repackaged into consumer-level containers."

Two people called the FDA complaining of gastrointestinal illness that could be associated with the nuts, but the link hasn't been confirmed, Acheson said. Still, the plant decided to shut down late last week, officials said.

The recalled nuts represent a small fraction of the 55 million pounds of pistachios that the company's plant processed last year and an even smaller portion of the 278 million pounds produced in the state in the 2008 season, according to the Fresno-based Administrative Committee for Pistachios.

California alone is the second-largest producer of pistachios in the world.

According to the company's Web site, Setton Pistachio is in the corporate family of Commack, N.Y.-based Setton International Foods Inc. The company sells nuts, dried fruit, edible seeds, chocolate and yogurt-coated candies.

The FDA learned about the problem last Tuesday, when Kraft Foods Inc. notified the agency that it had detected salmonella in roasted pistachios through routine product testing. Kraft and the Georgia Nut Co. recalled their Back to Nature Nantucket Blend trail mix the next day.

The FDA contacted Setton Pistachio and California health officials shortly afterward, in what Acheson called a "proactive move."
By Friday, grocery operator Kroger Co. recalled one of its lines of bagged pistachios because of possible salmonella contamination, saying the California plant also supplied its nuts. Those nuts were sold in 31 states.

Fabia D'Arienzo, a spokeswoman for Tulare County-based Setton Pistachio, said the company was only recalling certain bulk roasted in-shell and roasted shelled pistachios that were shipped on or after September 1.

Because Setton Pistachio shipped tote bags of nuts weighing up to 2,000 pounds to 36 wholesalers across the country, it will take weeks to figure out how many products could be affected, said Jeff Farrar, chief of the Food and Drug Branch of the California Department of Public Health.

"It will be safe to assume based on the volume that this will be an ingredient in a lot of different products, and that may possibly include things like ice cream and cake mixes," Farrar said. "The firm is already turning around trucks in transit to bring those back to the facility."

Salmonella, the most common cause of food-borne illness, is a bacteria that causes diarrhea, fever and cramping. Most people recover, but the infection can be life-threatening for children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

For nuts, roasting is supposed to kill the bacteria. But problems can occur if the roasting is not done correctly or if roasted nuts are re-contaminated. That can happen if mice, rats or birds get into the facility.

Last winter, a national salmonella outbreak was blamed on a Georgia company under federal investigation for flouting safety procedures and knowingly shipping contaminated peanuts.

The outbreak is still ongoing. More than 690 people in 46 states have gotten sick. Nearly 3,900 products made with peanut ingredients from Peanut Corp of America have been recalled.

California public health authorities have taken hundreds of samples at Setton's processing facility, but lab results have not yet determined whether salmonella was found at the plant, Farrar said. The food companies' own tests of the contaminated products isolated four different types of salmonella, but none were the same strain as the one found in the peanuts, Acheson said.
Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington and Tracie Cone in Fresno contributed to this report.

LACMA Late Night - Franz West Puppet Theatre - Live Cam - 10pm - 12am, 4/4/09

Live Broadcasting by Ustream

Franz West Puppet Theatre by Finishing School

Late Night at LACMA

April 4, 2009
8 pm–midnight

Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures
Franz West: To Build a House You Start with the Roof,
Work: 1972–2008

Pioneer video scratcher Safy Sniper and independent filmmaker, curator, DJ Christine Lang

Engage with playful work derivative of Franz West’s Adaptives with Finishing School

New Yorker staff writer and author of Honey and Junk Dana Goodyear
Poet, journalist, art critic, and Art Center teacher Amy Gerstler
Winner of the Berlin Prize Fellowship and the Lannan Literary Award for poetry, author August Kleinzahler
Writing students from USC read work inspired by the Franz West exhibition

Tom Peters performing Hanne Darboven’s Wunschkonzerte
Opera 17 A&B and 18 A&B on double bass

Sausages on the grill with German ale and wine

Call 323 857-6010 or stop by the LACMA Box Office for tickets ($10).
Advance purchase only available until March 27. tickets may also be purchased at the event.

In-kind media support provided by LA Weekly.

Education programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art are supported in part by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the William Randolph Hearst Endowment Fund for Arts Education. Funding for the DJ/VJ has been provided by the Goethe-Institut, Los Angeles. The Readings have been organized by Brighde Mullins, Director, Master of Professional Writing Program, USC.

In Defense of Food with Michael Pollan

"Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These words to live by from the award-winning author Michael Pollan resonate at the heart of his newest work, "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto." He considers what science does and does not know about diet and health, proposing a new way of thinking about food that is informed by ecology and tradition. Pollan is Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley. Series: Voices [5/2008] [Health and Medicine] [Science] [Show ID: 14209]

USDA National Research Initiative (2007) / Documentary Video

Producer: USDA. United States Department of Agriculture. Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. Partners Video Magazine. Partners 14 - National Research Initiative. The biological, environmental, and social challenges facing America as it strives to feed the nation and the world are tremendous. Partners takes a look at the NRI in its quest to tackle those and other pressing scientific issues. Entire Program (26:47). Wonders of Wheat. In California, UC-Davis scientists are unlocking the secrets of wheat by mapping its complex genome, vital information that should benefit farmers and consumers. (4:41). Wild Medicine. In Mississippi, researchers are exploring the full medicinal wonders of the Mayapple, a plant that already produces chemicals used in anti-cancer drugs. (4:55). Beating Obesity. In Hawaii, a health center combines the sale of fresh, locally-grown food with weight management intervention to help people fight obesity. (4:52). The Great Pollinators. In Illinois, scientists are learning how bees communicate with each other in hopes of saving these important plant pollinators, which are threatened by other species and bacterial infestations. (4:48). Creative Commons license: Public Domain

Spotlight: Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service

Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service


All domestic foods, some imported

Food Safety Role

With U.S. colleges and universities, develops research and education programs on food safety for farmers and consumers
For More Information

Local cooperative extension services, listed in the blue pages of the phone book under county government

Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Washington, DC 20250-0900


via FDA

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

FDA Inspection Reform

Spotlight: Food Safety and Inspection Service

USDA: Food Safety and Inspection Service


A. Domestic and imported meat and poultry and related products, such as meat- or poultry-containing stews, pizzas and frozen foods
B. Processed egg products (generally liquid, frozen and dried pasteurized egg products)

Food Safety Role

1. Enforces food safety laws governing domestic and imported meat and poultry products by:
Inspecting food animals for diseases before and after slaughter
2. Inspecting meat and poultry slaughter and processing plants
3. With USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, monitoring and inspecting processed egg products
4. Collecting and analyzing samples of food products for microbial and chemical contaminants and infectious and toxic agents
5. Establishing production standards for use of food additives and other ingredients in preparing and packaging meat and poultry products, plant sanitation, thermal processing, and other processes
6. Making sure all foreign meat and poultry processing plants exporting to the United States meet U.S. standards
7. Seeking voluntary recalls by meat and poultry processors of unsafe products
8. Sponsoring research on meat and poultry safety
9. Educating industry and consumers on safe food-handling practices

For More Information

FSIS Food Safety Education and Communications Staff
Room 1175, South Building,
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

Media inquiries: 202-720-9113

The Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-800-535-4555
(In Washington, D.C., area, call 202-720-3333.)
TDD/TTY: 1-800-256-7072


via FDA

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Investigators say food tracing system full of gaps

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Government investigators testing the nation's food tracing system were able to follow only five out of 40 foods all the way through the supply chain, according to a report to be released Thursday.
The ability to trace food is a critical part of investigations into outbreaks of food-borne illness and would be crucial in a bioterrorism attack. Food companies are required by federal law to keep records that would allow investigators to follow suspect foods one step back and one step forward in the supply chain.
But an investigation by the Health and Human Services inspector general's office found that the records many companies keep are not detailed enough. And one-quarter of the company managers were totally unaware of the record keeping requirements.

"The food safety regulatory structure lacks an adequate traceability system," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who requested the investigation. "Traceability is a critical tool in our ability to identify the source of a food-borne illness outbreak. Trace-back will be a critical part of food safety reform in this Congress."
In the test, government investigators bought 40 food items, including bottled water, eggs, oatmeal, tomatoes, fruit juice and yogurt. They then attempted to trace the items back from the retailer to the source.

They were only able to fully trace 12.5 percent of the items.
For 31 of the 40, investigators said they were able to identify the facilities that most likely handled the products.

And in the case of four items — 10 percent of the total — investigators were unable to identify the facilities than handled them.

Problems with tracing foods drew attention last summer after investigators from the Food and Drug Administration struggled for weeks to identify the cause of a salmonella outbreak initially blamed on tomatoes. No contaminated tomatoes were found, but the outbreak strain eventually was discovered in hot peppers from Mexico.

The inspector general's report said most facilities do not keep records with specific lot numbers that would facilitate the tracing of foods.

"For example, for one product — a bag of flour — the storage facility did not know the exact farms that contributed to the product and, therefore, had to give us information about every farm that provided wheat during the previous harvest season."

The report said 70 out 118 food facilities in the traceback test did not meet the FDA's record keeping requirements for information about suppliers, shippers and customers.

"In some cases, managers had to look through large numbers of records — some of them paper based — for contact information," the report said.

The inspector general recommended that the FDA consider seeking stronger legal powers to improve the tracing of food.

The FDA said it was reviewing the recommendations.

via yahoo news

Flickr Group - M.O.L.D.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spotlight: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


All Foods and Food Safety Role.

1. Investigates with local, state and other federal officials sources of food-borne disease outbreaks
2. Maintains a nationwide system of food-borne disease surveillance: Designs and puts in place rapid, electronic systems for reporting food-borne infections. Works with other federal and state agencies to monitor rates of and trends in food-borne disease outbreaks. Develops state-of-the-art techniques for rapid identification of food-borne pathogens at the state and local levels.
3. Develops and advocates public health policies to prevent food-borne diseases
4. Conducts research to help prevent food-borne illness
5. Trains local and state food safety personnel

For More Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd., N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30333

Media inquiries: 404-639-3286

General public: 404-639-3311


* Also, HHS's National Institutes of Health conduct food safety research.

via FDA

FDA approves cloned food

Reuters reports that the FDA approves cloned food.

Jan. 15, 2008 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved cloned beef, pigs and goats for human consumption. Cloning advocates expect it will be the offspring of cloned animals, not the costly clones themselves, that will eventually provide meat or milk to U.S. consumers. Experts say it could take four or five years before cloned products reach American supermarkets. Lindsay Claiborn reports.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spotlight: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Food and Drug Administration


All domestic and imported food sold in interstate commerce, including shell eggs, but not meat and poultry, Bottled water, Wine beverages with less than 7 percent alcohol

Food Safety Role
1. Enforces food safety laws governing domestic and imported food, except meat and poultry, by:
Inspecting food production establishments and food warehouses and collecting and analyzing samples for physical, chemical and microbial contamination
2. Reviewing safety of food and color additives before marketing
3. Reviewing animal drugs for safety to animals that receive them and humans who eat food produced from the animals
4. Monitoring safety of animal feeds used in food-producing animals
5. Developing model codes and ordinances, guidelines and interpretations and working with states to implement them in regulating milk and shellfish and retail food establishments, such as restaurants and grocery stores. An example is the model 6. Food Code, a reference for retail outlets and nursing homes and other institutions on how to prepare food to prevent food-borne illness.
7. Establishing good food manufacturing practices and other production standards, such as plant sanitation, packaging requirements, and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point programs
8. Working with foreign governments to ensure safety of certain imported food products
9. Requesting manufacturers to recall unsafe food products and monitoring those recalls
10. Taking appropriate enforcement actions
11. Conducting research on food safety
12. Educating industry and consumers on safe food handling practices

For More Information

Consumers: Call toll-free 1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332).

Regional FDA offices, listed in the blue pages of the phone book under U.S. Government

Media inquiries: 202-205-4144

FDA's Outreach and Information Center
1-888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-3366)


via FDA

Sunday, March 22, 2009

FS @ LACMA 4/4/09 and 4/18/09

Finishing School will be presenting some new work at LACMA!

more details to follow.

Late Night Art

April 4, 2009
8 pm–midnight

Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures
Franz West: To Build a House You Start with the Roof,
Work: 1972–2008

Pioneer video scratcher Safy Sniper and independent filmmaker, curator, DJ Christine Lang

Engage with playful work derivative of Franz West’s Adaptives with Finishing School

New Yorker staff writer and author of Honey and Junk Dana Goodyear
Poet, journalist, art critic, and Art Center teacher Amy Gerstler
Winner of the Berlin Prize Fellowship and the Lannan Literary Award for poetry, author August Kleinzahler
Writing students from USC read work inspired by the Franz West exhibition

Tom Peters performing Hanne Darboven’s Wunschkonzerte
Opera 17 A&B and 18 A&B on double bass

Sausages on the grill with German ale and wine

Call 323 857-6010 or stop by the LACMA Box Office for tickets ($10).
Advance purchase only available until March 27. tickets may also be
purchased at the event.

Monsanto Produced Video: What's For Lunch?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs on Biotechnology

Greenpeace - The dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms

The difference between normal and genetically modified food

Franken Foods!

Food additives linked to hyperactivity in children

Insecticons Food Additives Song

Faking Franz West Prep Party

Thanks Terri, Luis, David, Joey C, Aandrea, and Chris the Hoff!


M.O.L.D. Bioindicator Concept Image

Bioindicators are species used to monitor the health of an environment or ecosystem. They are any biological species or group of species whose function, population, or status can be used to determine ecosystem or environmental integrity. An example of such a group are the copepods and other small water crustaceans present in many water bodies. Such organisms are monitored for changes (biochemical, physiological, or behavioural) that may indicate a problem within their ecosystem. Bioindicators can tell us about the cumulative effects of different pollutants in the ecosystem and about how long a problem may have been present, which physical and chemical testing cannot.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Green Slime (1969)

I am Legend, 2007

The Last Man on Earth, 1965

Mold Problems after Flooding 1997 EPA

Food Safety: A Team Approach

Food Safety: A Team Approach

The United States maintains one of the world's safest food supplies, thanks in large part to an interlocking monitoring system that watches over food production and distribution at every level-locally, statewide and nationally.

Continual monitoring is provided by food inspectors, microbiologists, epidemiologists, and other food scientists working for city and county health departments, state public health agencies, and various federal departments and agencies. Their precise duties are dictated by local, state and national laws, guidelines and other directives. Some monitor only one kind of food, such as milk or seafood. Others work strictly within a specified geographic area. Others are responsible for only one type of food establishment, such as restaurants or meat-packing plants. Together they make up the U.S. food safety team.

The Clinton administration's Food Safety Initiative, begun in 1997, strengthens the efforts of all the members of the nation's food safety team in the fight against food-borne illness, which afflicts between 6.5 million and 33 million Americans every year. One of the initiative's major programs got under way in May 1998 when the Department of Health and Human Services (which includes FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency signed a memorandum of understanding to create a Food Outbreak Response Coordinating Group, or FORC-G. The new group will:
increase coordination and communication among federal, state and local food safety agencies
guide efficient use of resources and expertise during an outbreak
prepare for new and emerging threats to the U.S. food supply.
Besides federal officials, members of FORC-G include the Association of Food and Drug Officials, National Association of City and County Health Officials, Association of State and Territorial Public Health Laboratory Directors, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

The following table offers a closer look at the nation's food safety lineup. The agencies listed in the table also work with other government agencies, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission to enforce the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, the FBI to enforce the Federal Anti-Tampering Act, the Department of Transportation to enforce the Sanitary Food Transportation Act, and the U.S. Postal Service to enforce laws against mail fraud.

more here

The Food Safety Network

view links here.

The Food Safety Network

Many federal, state, and local agencies work together to monitor food safety. The responsibilities of each of the agencies are described in Food Safety: A Team Approach and in the U.S. Food Safety System Country Report.

Federal Government Agencies

Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)
Economic Research Service
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
Food Safety Information Center (NAL)
Food and Nutritional Service WIC Program
Food and Drug Administration
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Center for Veterinary Medicine
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases
Environmental Health Services
National Center for Infectious Diseases
Environmental Protection Agency
National Center for Environmental Assessment
Office of Pesticide Programs
Office of Water
For additional federal agencies, see Food Safety: A Team Approach.

Federal Government/Private Sector Partnerships

National Food Safety Education Month
Partnership for Food Safety Education (Fight BAC!)
State and Local Government Agencies

Overall Listing of State, County, and Territory Agencies
State and Territorial Health Agencies
State, County, and City Government Consumer Protection Offices
State Health Agencies
State Departments of Public Health and Agriculture

Food Safety Program, Department of Public Health

Department of Environmental Conservation

Food Safety and Environmental Services, Department of Health Services
Maricopa County Environmental Health Services Division

Department of Health

Department of Food and Agriculture
Department of Health Services - Food Safety Program
Kings County Division of Environmental Health Services
Seafood Network Information Program

Consumer Protection Division
Colorado Cooperative Extension Service Food and Nutrition Online

Bureau of Aquaculture & Laboratory Services
Department of Consumer Protection, Food and Standards Division
Department of Public Health, Food Protection Program
Connecticut Cooperative Extension Service

Food Safety (Health and Social Services)
Delaware Dept. of Agriculture Food Products Inspection

District of Columbia
Bureau of Food, Drug, and Radiation Protection

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Food Safety
Department of Business and Professional Regulations, Division of Hotels and Restaurants
Department of Health, Division of Environmental Health, Food Hygiene Program

Department of Agriculture, Consumer Protection - Food Safety
Georgia Cooperative Extension, University of Georgia, Food Safety Publications
Division of Public Health, Environmental Health (See Programs - Food Service)

Environmental Health Administration Food and Drug Branch

Department of Health & Welfare, Food Protection Program

Department of Public Health, Division of Food, Drugs and Dairies

Indiana Cooperative Extension Service: Foods and Nutrition
Department of Health, Food Protection Program
Marion County Health Department, Foodborne Disease Prevention

Department of Inspections and Appeals, Food and Consumer Safety
Iowa Cooperative Extension Service Food Safety Project

Department of Agriculture, Division of Food Safety
Department of Health and Environment
Kansas Cooperative Extension Service

Department for Publich Health, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Food Safety,

Center for Environmental Health, Sanitarian Services, Food and Drug Program
Office of Public Health

Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, Quality Assurance and Regulations

Division of Food Control, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Department of Public Health Food Protection Program
Massachusetts Cooperative Extension Service Food Safety Program

Department of Agriculture, Food Safety
Michigan Cooperative Extension

Minnesota Cooperative Extension Service
Minnesota Food Safety Center (MN Department of Health)
Department of Health Food Supply Safety and Security

Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service Food Safety
Mississippi Department of Health

Department of Public Health and Human Services Food and Consumer Safety

New Hampshire
Watershed Management Bureau Shellfish Program

New Jersey
Department of Health and Senior Services, Food and Milk Program

New York
Department of Health Food Handling, Preparation, and Storage

North Carolina
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Food Safety Information Retrieval System

North Dakota
North Dakota Cooperative Extension Service Food, Food Safety and Nutrition Website
North Dakota Cooperative Extension Service Food Safety and Substitutions

Department of Agriculture, Division of Food Safety

Department of Human Services, Environmental Health, Food Safety

Pennsylvania Bureau of Food Safety

Rhode Island
Department of Health Office of Food Protection
Rhode Island Cooperative Extension Food Safety Education Site

South Dakota
Department of Health (South Dakota)

Environmental and Consumer Safety Section
Food Inspection and Safety (Consumer Health) (Houston Department of Health and Human Services)

Department of Agriculture and Food

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Food Safety Programs

Seattle-King County Department of Public Health
Washington Cooperative Extension Consumer Food Safety Resource Page
Department of Health Food Safety and Shellfish Programs

Consumer Health Services, Department of Agriculture
International Agencies

The Blob, 1958

Outbreak, 1995

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Egon Spengler, Ph.D

Hobbies include collecting "spores, molds, and fungus"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Take It of Leave It

mitosis NOT mold

a little break from slimy, sludgy, flaky, hairy things...and instead- inter, pro, meta, ana, tela (thank you sister winefred, 7th grade science teacher).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Anti-Mold Agents

Anti-Mold Agents

Anti-mold agents are added to food to kill or inhibit the growth of mold. Typically anti-mold agents work by either coating food particles with a substance that inhibits or kills mold in the cell wall, or by the use of bacterial agents that consume mold for food.

Common Anti-Mold Agents
Calcium Acetate
Calcium Propionate
Potassium Propionate
Sodium Diacetate

Common Foods
Baked goods, meats, dairy, sweets, processed foods

Mold Colonies #1 (Breads)

Host Info
Host 1: Ralphs Brand Baguette - Plain International Classics
Host 2: Sara Lee Classic White - Soft & Smooth
Host 3: Ralphs Brand Wheat Bread
Host 4: Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread
Host 5: San Francisco Style Sour Dough

Host Variables
Added Water

Monday, March 9, 2009


image via accessexcellence.org


It is said that except the food grown in your own garden, all food products have preservatives. Every manufacturer adds preservative to the food during processing. The purpose is generally to avoid spoilage during the transportation time.

Because food is so important to survival, food preservation is one of the oldest technologies used by human beings. Different ways and means have been found and improved for the purpose. Boiling, freezing & refrigeration, pasteurizing, dehydrating, pickling are the traditional few. Sugar and salt are also often used as preservatives. Nuclear radiation is also being used now. Modified packaging techniques like vacuum packing and hypobaric packing also work as preservatives.

Chemical preservatives are also being used for quite some time now. They seem to be the best and the most effective for a longer shelf life and are generally fool proof for the preservation purpose.

+ Benzoates (such as sodium benzoate, benzoic acid)
+ Nitrites (such as sodium nitrite)
+ Sulphites (such as sulphur dioxide),
+ Sorbates (such as sodium sorbate, potassium sorbate

All of these chemicals act as either antimicrobials or antioxidants or both. They either inhibit the activity of or kill the bacteria, molds, insects and other microorganisms. Antimicrobials, prevent the growth of molds, yeasts and bacteria and antioxidants keep foods from becoming rancid or developing black spots. They suppress the reaction when foods comes in contact with oxygen, heat, and some metals. They also prevent the loss of some essential amino acids some vitamins.

There are other antioxidants like Sodium Erythorbate, Erythorbic Acid, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Succinate, Grape Seed Extract, Pine Bark Extract, Apple Extract Tea Proplyphenols, Succinic Acid and Ascorbic Acid and preservatives like Parabens and Sodium Dehydro Acetate used frequently for preservation.

via foodadditivesworld.com

Combat Thieves With Fake Mold

via Wired

How Should You Handle Food with Mold on It?

image via tailgateideas

How Should You Handle Food with Mold on It?
Buying small amounts and using food quickly can help prevent mold growth. But when you see moldy food: Don’t sniff the moldy item. This can cause respiratory trouble. If food is covered with mold, discard it. Put it into a small paper bag or wrap it in plastic and dispose in a covered trash can that children and animals can’t get into. Clean the refrigerator or pantry at the spot where the food was stored. Check nearby items the moldy food might have touched. Mold spreads quickly in fruits and vegetables. See the attached chart “Moldy Food: When to Use, When to Discard.”

via USDA

How Can You Protect Food from Mold?

image via rubyme

How Can You Protect Food from Mold?
When serving food, keep it covered to prevent exposure to mold spores in the air. Use plastic wrap to cover foods you want to stay moist -- fresh or cut fruits and vegetables, and green and mixed salads. Empty opened cans of perishable foods into clean storage containers and refrigerate them promptly. Don’t leave any perishables out of the refrigerator more than 2 hours. Use leftovers within 3 to 4 days so mold doesn’t have a chance to grow.

via USDA

Must Homemade Shelf-Stable Preserves be Water-Bath Processed?

image via mim's blog

Must Homemade Shelf-Stable Preserves be Water-Bath Processed?
Yes, molds can thrive in high-acid foods like jams, jellies, pickles, fruit, and tomatoes. But these microscopic fungi are easily destroyed by heat processing high-acid foods at a temperature of 212 °F in a boiling water canner for the recommended length of time. For more information about processing home-canned foods, go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation at: www.uga.edu/nchfp/.

via USDA

Don’t Buy Moldy Foods

image via food mag

Don’t Buy Moldy Foods
Examine food well before you buy it. Check food in glass jars, look at the stem areas on fresh produce, and avoid bruised produce. Notify the store manager about mold on foods!

Fresh meat and poultry are usually mold free, but cured and cooked meats may not be. Examine them carefully. Exceptions: Some salamis -- San Francisco, Italian, and Eastern European types -- have a characteristic thin, white mold coating which is safe to consume; however, they shouldn’t show any other mold. Dry-cured country hams normally have surface mold that must be scrubbed off before cooking.

via USDA

How Can You Minimize Mold Growth?

image via woman's day

How Can You Minimize Mold Growth?
Cleanliness is vital in controlling mold. Mold spores from affected food can build up in your refrigerator, dishcloths, and other cleaning utensils. Clean the inside of the refrigerator every few months with 1 tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a quart of water. Rinse with clear water and dry. Scrub visible mold (usually black) on rubber casings using 3 teaspoons of bleach in a quart of water. Keep dishcloths, towels, sponges, and mops clean and fresh. A musty smell means they’re spreading mold around. Discard items you can’t clean or launder. Keep the humidity level in the house below 40%.

via USDA

Why Can Mold Grow in the Refrigerator?

image via realsimple

Why Can Mold Grow in the Refrigerator?
While most molds prefer warmer temperatures, they can grow at refrigerator temperatures, too. Molds also tolerate salt and sugar better than most other food invaders. Therefore, molds can grow in refrigerated jams and jelly and on cured, salty meats -- ham, bacon, salami, and bologna.

via USDA

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Are Any Food Molds Beneficial?

image via igourmet

Are Any Food Molds Beneficial?
Yes, molds are used to make certain kinds of cheeses and can be on the surface of cheese or be developed internally. Blue veined cheese such as Roquefort, blue, Gorgonzola, and Stilton are created by the introduction of P. roqueforti or Penicillium roqueforti spores. Cheeses such as Brie and Camembert have white surface molds. Other cheeses have both an internal and a surface mold. The molds used to manufacture these cheeses are safe to eat.

via USDA

Is Mushroom Poisoning Caused by Molds?

image via Sheffield Foods

Is Mushroom Poisoning Caused by Molds?
No, it is due to the toxin produced by the fungi, which are in the same family as molds. Mushroom poisoning is caused by the consumption of raw or cooked mushrooms, which are higher-species of fungi. The term “toadstool” (from the German “Todesstuhl” -- death's stool) is commonly given to poisonous mushrooms, but there is no general rule of thumb for distinguishing edible mushrooms from poisonous toadstools. The toxins that cause mushroom poisoning are produced naturally by the fungi. Most mushrooms that cause human poisoning cannot be made safe by cooking, canning, freezing, or any other processing. The only way to avoid poisoning is not to eat poisonous mushrooms.

via USDA

How Does the U.S. Government Control Aflatoxins?

image via TWT

How Does the U.S. Government Control Aflatoxins?
Aflatoxins are considered unavoidable contaminants of food and feed, even where good manufacturing practices have been followed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the USDA monitor peanuts and field corn for aflatoxin and can remove any food or feed with unacceptable levels of it.

via USDA

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What is Aflatoxin?

image via FEHD

What is Aflatoxin?
Aflatoxin is a cancer-causing poison produced by certain fungi in or on foods and feeds, especially in field corn and peanuts. They are probably the best known and most intensively researched mycotoxins in the world. Aflatoxins have been associated with various diseases, such as aflatoxicosis in livestock, domestic animals, and humans throughout the world. Many countries try to limit exposure to aflatoxin by regulating and monitoring its presence on commodities intended for use as food and feed. The prevention of aflatoxin is one of the most challenging toxicology issues of present time. via USDA

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What Are Mycotoxins?

image via icrisat

What Are Mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by certain molds found primarily in grain and nut crops, but are also known to be on celery, grape juice, apples, and other produce. There are many of them and scientists are continually discovering new ones. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that 25% of the world's food crops are affected by mycotoxins, of which the most notorious are aflatoxins.
via USDA

What Are Some Common Foodborne Molds?

image via PHD

What Are Some Common Foodborne Molds?
Molds most often found on meat and poultry are Alternaria, Aspergillus, Botrytis, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Geotrichum, Monilia, Manoscus, Mortierella, Mucor, Neurospora, Oidium, Oosproa, Penicillium, Rhizopus and Thamnidium. These molds can also be found on many other foods. via USDA