Posts Tagged ‘ food forensics ’

Safe Chicken

The US Agriculture Department is looking to improve chicken safety and reduce the number of Salmonella outbreaks:

Salmonella outbreaks expose weaknesses in USDA oversight

Federal regulators and poultry companies are scrambling to find new ways to reduce salmonella contamination, which sickens a million Americans annually. And the Agriculture Department is planning to expand rules to limit salmonella on chicken parts, not just whole birds.

Study: Chicken is Highly Contaminated with Arsenic

Cooked ChickenRoxarsone, an arsenic-based drug used in chicken production, has been contaminating chicken sold to the American people: “Study Finds Conventional Chicken to be Highly Contaminated with Arsenic.”

The researchers found the cooked conventional chicken had the highest level of arsenic, at about 1.8 micrograms per kilogram of body weight (1.8mg/kg). Cooked organic chicken had the lowest levels, at 0.6mg/kg.

Do people care what goes into their food? YES!

A few weeks ago, there was a food scandal: UK Tesco Supermarkets were selling hamburger patties labeled as beef but containing 29% horsemeat! Tesco issued many apologies…

BBC News did some investigative reporting, and Samantha Dalton wrote an article: “What is actually in a value burger?” The article provided the following information on the ingredients of beef economy burgers sold in UK:

  • 47% meat — defined as “skeletal muscle with naturally included or adherent fat and connective tissue” which has not been mechanically stripped from the carcass.
  • 10% onion and/or onion extract
  • fat
  • flour or rusk
  • dehydrated meat powders
  • stabilising chemicals

Rose Prince, a UK food journalist and author, said: “Supermarkets are battling with each other to be the cheapest, and demanding better and better deals from their suppliers.” Essentially, she is saying that it is us, the consumers, that are demanding low quality from our supermarkets. “You get what you pay for” kind of analysis.

So the next time you are thinking about buying a burger in England, you might think again and go vegetarian!

Origins of Food — Tracking Food Fraud

There’s an article on BBC: Food Fraud Tackled by Forensic Scientists by Anna-Louise Taylor.

Wine, spirits, meat and even baby food can all be faked, with fraudsters hiding their true origins. Now forensic scientists are clamping down on food fraud, which costs millions in lost revenue and can put the health and safety of the public at risk.

We noticed from looking at the Cost of Chicken crowdmap, that most people who post the information don’t know where their food comes from! This is a problem if we want to understand the quality of our food and minimize the ecological footprint by making good decisions at the supermarket. This is why we thought of creating a smart phone app that would help decode this information.