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Cross-Contamination

first_imgIn a recent study funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, University of Georgia researchers found that produce containing bacteria are likely to contaminate other produce items through the continued use of knives or graters — the bacteria latches onto the utensils commonly found in consumers’ homes and spreads to the next item. These studies give researchers a better idea of how common cross-contamination is in the kitchen — even when using standard practices. In 2013, she was co-author on a study looking at the transfer of norovirus and hepatitis A between produce and common kitchen utensils — finding that cutting and grating increased the number of contaminated produce items when that utensil had first been used to process a contaminated item. Researchers also grated produce, like carrots, to see how easily the pathogens spread to graters. They found that both knives and graters can cause additional cross-contamination in the kitchen and that the pathogens were spread from produce to produce if the utensils weren’t washed. “For items like tomatoes, we tended to have a higher contamination of the knives than when we cut strawberries,” Erickson said. “We don’t have a specific answer as to why there are differences between the different produce groups. But we do know that once a pathogen gets on the food, it’s difficult to remove.” Knives and graters aren’t the only utensils in the kitchen consumers should be worried about. Erickson has also helped study the role brushes and peelers have on the transfer of dangerous kitchen bacteria. Using a knife, Erickson would cut into things like tomatoes or cantaloupe and other types of produce to see how easily the bacteria could spread when the knife was continuously used without being cleaned. Because they “were looking at what would be the worst-case scenario,” she said, Erickson and study co-authors did not wash the utensils between cutting these different produce items. The study also found that certain fruits and vegetables spread pathogens to knives more than other types of produce. Researchers have known that poor hygiene and improper food preparation practices in a consumer’s home can lead to foodborne illnesses, but considering what practices in the kitchen are more likely to lead to contamination has not been examined extensively. Additional study co-authors were Qing Wang, a doctoral student at the University of Delaware, and Research Professional Jean Liao, Associate Professor Jennifer Cannon and Associate Professor Ynes Ortega of UGA’s Center for Food Safety. This study is similar in that it considers the influence that knives and graters have on the transfer of pathogenic bacteria to and from produce items. She urges consumers to realize that these germs can spread in their kitchens as well. center_img In concurrent studies, Erickson found that scrubbing or peeling produce — like melons, carrots and celery — did not eliminate contamination on the fruit or vegetable and led to contamination of the brush or peeler. Even when placed under running water, the utensils still became contaminated; however, the ability to cross-contaminate additional produce depended on the brush type and the pathogenic agent. “Just knowing that utensils may lead to cross-contamination is important,” Erickson said. “With that knowledge, consumers are then more likely to make sure they wash them in between uses.” In her recent study, Erickson contaminated many types of fruits and vegetables in her lab — adding certain pathogens that is often found on these foods, such as salmonella and E. coli. “A lot of the broken up material and particles from the contaminated produce remained on the graters,” said Erickson, who conducts her research at the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin. “Then if you were to shred another carrot or something else immediately after that, it gets contaminated, too.” The study, “Contamination of knives and graters by bacterial foodborne pathogens during slicing and grating of produce,” is available at www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740002015001306. Erickson explained there is a small chance of buying fruits and vegetables that are contaminated with bacteria, but the problem can occur — whether the product is store-bought or locally grown. Erickson has been researching produce for the past 10 years. Her past work has mainly focused on the fate of bacteria on produce when it’s introduced to plants in the field during farming. “The FDA was interested in getting more accurate numbers as to what level of cross-contamination could occur in the kitchen using standard practices,” Erickson said. Unfortunately, many consumers are unaware that utensils and other surfaces at home can contribute to the spread of bacteria, said the study’s lead author Marilyn Erickson, an associate professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ department of food science and technology. last_img read more

UN Security Council Seeks Cooperation in Fight against Terrorism

first_img The fifteen member countries of the United Nations Security Council called for greater cooperation and solidarity among states in order to prevent attacks. “The Security Council reiterates its call upon Member States to enhance their cooperation and solidarity, particularly through bilateral and multilateral arrangements and agreements to prevent and suppress terrorist attacks,” the Council emphasized in a declaration. The Council “calls upon Member States to exchange information expeditiously, improve cooperation amongst competent authorities to prevent the movement of terrorists and terrorist groups to and from their territories, the supply of weapons for terrorists and financing that would support terrorists,” the document adds. In a speech, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exhorted the country to work more in the area of intelligence. “We are far more likely to succeed in thwarting terrorist networks like al-Qaida and its syndicate of organizations if we work together to track their actions, share intelligence, disrupt their schemes, and put their leaders out of action,” Clinton affirmed. “These groups have a global view, and we must have one too that begins with a shared understanding of the big picture. Counterterrorism demands a comprehensive approach.” By Dialogo September 30, 2010last_img read more

Balancing consumer expectations with regulatory, risk and process requirements

first_img 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Consumers expect real-time communication – and increasingly, a real-time lending experience. But can getting a mortgage loan really become as easy as ordering an electronic book or music online? Can checking a current loan balance or obtaining a payoff be as simple as making online travel reservations? In reality, lenders must balance consumers’ expectations for quick, frictionless lending experiences with regulatory, risk and process requirements.In a recent Fiserv survey of select clients, 50 percent said they expect the best way to exchange loan information and documents with borrowers will be a secure two-way portal by 2020, while 19 percent chose two-way text messaging. The lending process will undoubtedly adjust to these changing expectations.A Change in ThinkingShould mortgage lending be viewed as a product or a service? Industry professionals tend to think of mortgages by loan program type – as a product. Bob gets a 30-year fixed conventional, while Janet’s circumstances are better suited for a 15-year FHA loan. But for borrowers, a mortgage is more than a product. It’s how they buy their home, add an addition to take care of their aging parents, or pay for their child’s college education.Borrowers don’t usually say that they are buying a loan – they say they are getting a loan, just like they get a haircut or takeout. In other words, the  process underscores the importance of professionals who specialize in mortgage lending and can explain all of the details, as a service.  Some borrowers who prefer self-service tools may be able to work their way through most of the steps of origination and servicing themselves. However, just as many borrowers may prefer to access information online while simultaneously discussing it with a mortgage professional who is on the phone or Web-chatting with them. continue reading »last_img read more

Britain’s Johnson, EU chiefs seek Brexit talks reboot

first_imgTight timetable Opinions diverge on how soon a deal needs to be struck in order to give companies the visibility they need on the terms of cross-Channel trade from January 1, 2021.Barnier has said the deal needs to be done by October 31 to leave enough time to be ratified by member states and the European Parliament.British officials believe a deal is needed sooner, and Barnier and Frost have both committed to participate actively in all aspects of the talks throughout the summer, to get a deal.Failure to agree one will effectively remove Britain from Europe’s supply chain due to tariffs, customs and regulatory checks and other obstacles to business, such as professional licensing.On Friday, the UK said that whatever the outcome of the talks, British customs officers would not be ready to deal with new rules at their ports or borders on January 1.UK border checks will therefore be applied with a “light-touch” for the first months after the new year as Britain readies itself for post-Brexit trade ties.  ‘Cherry-pick’ The same intractable issues have hampered the talks since the start.Britain has firmly rejected calls by the EU that it commit to European standards overseen by EU law to keep open access to the single market — something Brussels says would maintain a “level playing field”.”We cannot accept the UK’s attempts to cherry-pick parts of our single market benefits,” Barnier said in a speech on Thursday.”It is looking to pick and choose the most attractive elements of the single market — without the obligations,” he added.The EU is also asking for continued guaranteed access to British waters for European fishing fleets, an idea Britain has so far refused. Instead, they have proposed annual talks on quotas for catches.Britain is eager to keep its deep business ties to the EU single market, the world’s biggest — but it won’t recognize any mention of EU law or court decisions in the deal, which it sees that as a violation of its sovereignty.Johnson’s government also refuses to discuss many topics beyond trade that the Europeans would like to have bound to the same deal.Security, diplomacy, research and data flows are for now sidestepped by the British side, to the great frustration of Barnier and his teams. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet EU chiefs by video link Monday to try to breathe new life into stalled post-Brexit trade talks, with both sides entrenched in long-held positions.The conference with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council chief Charles Michel will review progress in the talks on future EU-UK relations.It is the first time Johnson has personally taken part in the talks which began in March, just weeks after Britain left the European Union on January 31 after 47 years in the European project. While expectations are low for the long-planned meeting, the unpredictable Johnson, who has recently recovered from a bout with the coronavirus, has EU negotiators on the lookout for any potential surprises.Britain and the EU have held four rounds of talks on how to organize their ties after December 31, when the UK leaves the single market and stops adhering to Brussels’ rules after an 11-month transition.So far they have achieved little, giving Monday’s meeting added significance. London and Brussels have already agreed to intensify negotiations, with mainly in-person talks through July and August.Talks between EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost have mostly taken place virtually due to the coronavirus outbreak.center_img Topics : “So far we haven’t had actual negotiations, just an exchange of views,” an EU diplomat told AFP. “It’s a battle of strategies at this point.”On Friday, Britain formally declared that it would not seek to extend the post-Brexit transition by one or two years, something it could have done according to the terms of the divorce deal Johnson signed last year.last_img read more

‘We have to be better’ demands Van Bronckhorst after China debut loss

first_img“I don’t think he’s creating any danger (Li), the player goes away from goal and in the 18-yard box you have to keep him in front of you,” said Van Bronckhorst.”I think this is a penalty we could have avoided.”Van Bronckhorst added: “We have 13 games to go and we have to be in much better shape for the coming games because the way we played today is not the way I want to see and not the way we can play.”The CSL kicked off on Saturday five months late because of the coronavirus with all matches played in Suzhou or Dalian and behind closed doors in a revamped format.  Giovanni van Bronckhorst said his Guangzhou R&F side must move on quickly from “a very disappointing night” after a 3-0 defeat in the former Barcelona star’s first match as a coach in the Chinese Super League.Ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mousa Dembele conceded a penalty, one of two given away by R&F, as they began the coronavirus-delayed season by losing to Roberto Donadoni’s Shenzhen.Van Bronckhorst, a Champions League winner with Barcelona in 2006, will need to lift his squad quickly for a derby clash with Fabio Cannavaro’s reigning CSL champions Guangzhou Evergrande on Thursday.  “Overall a very disappointing night for myself, for the team, for the club, not being able to start the league with that first win,” said the 45-year-old former Dutch captain following Sunday’s defeat behind closed doors in Dalian.Van Bronckhorst, who also played for Arsenal and moved to China following a successful spell as Feyenoord coach, was particularly unhappy that R&F conceded two penalties in quick succession.Shenzhen scored both, in the 64th and 70th minutes, with R&F already trailing at half-time thanks to an own goal.For the first penalty, the 33-year-old Dembele caught Li Yuanyi’s heel in the box.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Vietnam to host AFC Cup matches in Southeast Asia

first_imgVietnam has been selected as a centralized host for two AFC Cup groups in the Southeast Asia zone, the Asian Football Confederation said on Thursday.The AFC Cup, the competition for more minor football playing nations in the continent, has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Group F matches will take place at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City while the Group G ties will be staged in Quang Ninh’s Cam Pha Stadium, it added. The ties will be played over three matchdays from Sept. 23-29 Topics : The host for Group H, also in Southeast Asia, has yet to be confirmed, it said.Maldives is the centralized venue in South Asia for Group E matches, which will take place from Oct. 23-Nov. 4. last_img

Egypt in second day of “election without voters”

first_imgVoting concluded on Monday in the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, amid government concerns over low turnout in a vote that is expected to strengthen the political clout of President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said turnout on the first day of voting on Sunday was just 15-16 % but should rise after public sector workers were given a half-day off to vote. Estimates by judges overseeing the ballot suggested turnout had risen to 20 percent or more by Monday afternoon. The lack of interest, particularly from young people who comprise the majority of Egypt’s population, stands in contrast to the long queues and youthful enthusiasm of the 2011-12 polls.“I’m not going to give my vote to someone who doesn’t deserve it,” Michael Bassili, 19, from Alexandria. “As youth we’re trying to fix the country and we’ll work to do this…but these guys are just interested in money and themselves.”Coming days after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged Egyptians to cast their ballots, the low turnout suggested the former general, who once enjoyed cult-like adulation, was losing some of his appeal.Sisi has desbribed the election as a milestone on the road to democracy in Egypt, the most populous Arab country.But with most of his opponents in jail, Sisi is not expected to face any serious challenges from parliament, and the low turnout will reinforce the view that it will lack credibility.In 2013, then-army chief Sisi overthrew Egypt’s first freely-elected president, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, and promised a “roadmap to democracy”.He then launched the fiercest crackdown on dissent in Egypt’s modern history, jailing thousands of Mursi’s supporters as well as activists at the forefront of the 2011 revolt that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule and ignited hopes of change.last_img read more

UN considering deploying troops in violence-hit Burundi

first_imgThe United Nations and key Western nations are discussing the possibility of deploying international peacekeepers in Burundi if the violence in the East African country escalates into a full-scale ethnic conflict, diplomats have said.At least 240 people have reportedly been killed as tens of thousands have fled to neighbouring states due to the violenve that began when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided in April to run for a third term.Nkurunziza went ahead to win the disputed elections held in July.The UN on Monday warned that Burundi could be facing imminent catastrophe with violence in danger of escalating to atrocities.The UN Security Council is due to vote on Thursday on a French drafted resolution that would ask the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to report back on options for boosting the UN’s presence in Burundi.last_img read more

5 natural sleep aids

first_img Share Tweet Share Sleep restores us. And not getting enough of it can put us at greater risk of heart disease and cancer. Sleep even makes us smarter. Yet researchers are finding that more than 10 percent of the population is chronically sleep deprived. If you’re having trouble slipping into—and remaining in—Dreamland, don’t dart straight to prescription sleep drugs, which can be habit-forming, harmful if you live with certain conditions, and even downright bizarre! (Some people develop sleep-eating and sleep-driving habits when using prescription sleeping pills.) The good news is, science has found that many foods, drinks, herbs, and other natural sleep aids can help put you to sleep…naturally. In fact, just this summer, researchers made the connection between tart cherry juice and getting adequate shut-eye. Here are some natural food- and drink-based sleep aids.Cherries In the small study, participants drank eight ounces of the tart cherry (also known as sour cherry) juice in the morning, and another eight ounces in the evening, for two weeks and reported better sleeping habits. Since all cherries are naturally high in melatonin, a compound that makes us sleepy, you can try eating a cup as a snack before it’s time for shut-eye if you’d rather not drink the juice.FishCertain fish and sea creatures contain sleep-inducing tryptophan, including shrimp, cod, tuna, and halibut. Carb/Protein ComboBut since not all seafood choices are healthy for us (some are high in contaminants) or for the planet (many are overfished, or methods for catching them kill other species), stick to catches like Pacific cod from Alaska or pole-caught Albacore tuna from the U.S. or British Columbia.If keeping track of the latest safe seafood guidelines is too complicated, you can get your tryptophan fix from other things. You’ve probably heard that warm milk can help you sleep, since milk contains tryptophan.But the key is to combine carbs with a protein containing tryptophan to help your body better utilize the sleep inducer. Try pairing a cup of whole grain cereal with organic milk before bedtime.This lemon-scented member of the mint family has been a sleep-inducing superstar for ages. Other benefits include better digestion and decreased agitation. Lemon Balm Try making lemon balm tea by steeping 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried herb in 1 cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. (If you take thyroid meds, talk to you doctor…drinking the tea could mean you’ll have to adjust your dosage.)Other HerbsIf lemon balm’s not your thing, another herb, sage, also works as a natural sleep aid. Just steep 4 tablespoons in a cup of hot water, steep for four hours, strain, and reheat to drink. Chamomile tea and valerian teas, other sleep inducers, are also more widely available pre-bagged in natural food stores, if you don’t want to fuss with the aforementioned straining herbs.Rodale News Sharing is caring!center_img 112 Views   no discussions HealthLifestyle 5 natural sleep aids by: – June 23, 2014 Sharelast_img read more

Bale finds room for improvement

first_img The Wales international, 23, topped the 2012/13 poll of journalists with a narrow victory over Manchester United forward Robin van Persie, who was last year’s recipient when at Arsenal, and received the prestigious accolade at a gala dinner in London on Thursday evening. Bale’s 25 goals have helped take Andre Villas-Boas’ men into the quarter-finals of the Europa League and kept them in the race to secure a return to the Champions League. Bale was also named Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year by the Professional Footballers’ Association. “Hopefully there is a lot more (to come),” the Wales forward said. “I have only just started in my new free role in the middle, so there is still a lot to learn in that position for me, I still need to kind of figure out a few things – which is important. As I say to myself every season, I want to improve again, there are still things I need to improve, there are things which need working on in more areas than others, and I can do that.” Despite the setback of Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea, Bale maintains Tottenham can head into the final two games of the Barclays Premier League season still hopeful of securing a top-four finish, which would secure Champions League football. “Everyone at Tottenham still believes, we know it is not in our hands, but there are a lot of funny things which can happen in football,” he said. “The main thing is we need to concentrate on ourselves and hope that little bit of luck goes with us.” The FWA award has been running since 1948, when Sir Stanley Matthews was the first recipient of a long list which includes the likes of England World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore, the Charlton brothers, George Best, Kevin Keegan, Eric Cantona, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo. “When you look at all of the past winners, the legends of the game, this is a massive honour, and to be on the list with them now is a massive privilege,” Bale said as he received his award from FWA chairman Andy Dunn at the Lancaster London Hotel. “You always dream of things like this, whether they come true or not is another, but now that it has, it is a massive achievement for me, but one I could have not done without my team or my manager. The team has been fantastic this season and we have played some very good stuff, it is always easier to play in a really good team. “The manager has been fantastic for me, playing me in different positions where I am able to find the space and actually show my stuff. I have really enjoyed my football and been able to play well.” Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year Gareth Bale believes he can get even better next season.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more