Washing apples in water with a dash of baking soda is the most effective way to remove pesticide residue, new research shows. Reuters Health reported that the mix outperformed Clorox-spiked water for getting rid of the chemicals, and also worked better than plain water. Researchers coated apples with thiabendazole, a fungicide, or phosmet, which is used to kill a variety of pests, and washed them with water or water mixed with bleach or baking soda. Using super-sensitive, high-tech tests, the researchers checked on and within the apple for pesticides and measured pesticide concentration within plant tissue. Rinsing the fruit in the baking soda solution for 12 minutes was most effective for removing thiabendazole, they found, while a 15-minute baking soda rinse was most effective for getting rid of phosmet. Findings were reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The Japan Local Group of the GFSI set themselves a target of 2020, when Tokyo welcomes thousands of athletes and sports fans from around the world for the Olympic games, for over 6,000 food production sites to become certified to a GFSI-recognized certification program or to embark on GFSI’s Global Markets Program, a pathway to certification. Katsuki Kishi, GFSI Board Member and Chair of the Japan Local Group, says benchmarking and recognition of food safety certification programs and GFSI’s Global Markets Program will improve Japanese market access internationally. “We have a golden opportunity ahead to ensure that all food produced and purchased for the 2020 sporting event adheres to strong food safety standards, either certified to a GFSI-recognized certification program or benefiting from GFSI’s capability building program,” he says.
Challenges in FDA’s Inspections of Domestic Food Facilities
A new report by Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Inspector General raises some red flags about the inspections program. The report states that while FDA is on track to meet the domestic food facility inspection timeframes for the initial cycles mandated by FSMA, challenges remain as FSMA requires FDA to conduct future inspections in timeframes that are 2 years shorter than the timeframes for the initial cycles. Also, inaccuracies in FDA’s domestic food facility data result in FDA attempting to inspect numerous facilities that are either out of business or otherwise not in operation at the time of the visit.
Collaborating for a Common Cause
The Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO)’s “Partners With a Common Purpose” initiative is intended to generate equal partnership between industry and regulators at meetings and forums. The initiative seeks to realize a shared vision that can be embraced and pursued between the two in an effort to improve food safety and public health. AFDO will serve to ensure that collaboration is successful in engaging all stakeholders and agreeing on a common purpose.
‘Game Over’ for Aflatoxin
Mars, Inc. and several partners release a series of aflatoxin puzzles on “Foldit,” a gaming platform that lets users explore how amino acids are folded to together to create proteins. Gamers will compete to redesign and improve the starting enzyme that has the potential to degrade aflatoxin, so that it can be neutralized. All designs will remain in the public domain, free of patents, to maximize the impact that this project could have on food safety, and the top designs will be synthesized and then tested at the labs in UC Davis for their real-world potential to combat aflatoxin.
The Consumer Goods Forum—a network of 400 of the biggest consumer goods companies across 70 countries—and Champions 12.3 approved a Call to Action to standardize food date labels worldwide by 2020. The new initiative will seek to not only simplify the labels, but will also urge companies to increase consumer education by partnering with non-profit organizations and government agencies to better understand the labels. The companies’ commitment is in the shared goal of reducing food waste worldwide to meet the goal of Sustainable Development Goals Target 12.3 by 2020.