The Obama administration has created a new deputy food commissioner post in an effort to better curb salmonella and E. coli contamination following a rash of outbreaks in the last year, including the peanut product recall, the largest in U.S. history. An improved tracing system for identifying the origin of food-borne illnesses is also underway.
Meanwhile, an international food safety body has created a set of international guidelines for cutting levels of cancer-causing chemicals and bacteria in foods ranging from French fries to baby food. The Codex Alimentarius Commission includes members from the UN’s Food Administration Organization and the World Health Organization.
An online game promoting healthy foods and drinks seems to incite kids to choose more nutritious snacks in real life, according to a recent study. Advergames, online computer games developed to promote a specific brand, are popular on food and drink company websites. For the study, one group of kids played a game based on Pac-Man that rewarded them for choosing bananas and orange juice, while a second group played a different version of the game that rewarded eating soda, candy bars, and chips.
Chile is the second largest exporter of salmon and trout, but its share of global salmon production is expected to fall 20 percent from 35 percent due to an outbreak of the Isa virus, a sort of salmon anemia. The reliance on antibiotics instead of vaccines, as well as the frequent overcrowding of fish pens on Chilean farms, has led to the rapid spread of the disease.
[Wall Street Journal]
In other fishing news, poor New Yorkers are ignoring health warnings about PCBs and mercury levels, and fishing for their meals in polluted local waters. Striped bass and bluefin tuna are said to contain the most toxins, while winter flounder was slightly cleaner.
[NY Daily News]