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Dutch find horse in 690 tonnes of abattoir meat
by Staff Writers
The Hague (AFP) Jan 29, 2014


New technique could speed up detection of bacteria-tainted food
Houston (UPI) Jan 29, 2013 - Researchers in Texas say they've developed a faster method to detect bacteria-tainted food and prevent illnesses such as food poisoning from Salmonella.

Events such as the recent recall of more than 33,000 pounds of chicken show the need for better bacterial detection long before meats and produce make it to the dinner table, scientists at Rice University said.

A Rice study published in the journal Analytical Chemistry said while conventional methods to detect harmful bacteria in food are reliable and inexpensive they can be complicated, time-consuming and thus allow contamination to go undetected.

Researcher Sibani Biswal and colleagues have developed a technique using an array of tiny "nanomechanical cantilevers" anchored at one end, kind of like little diving boards, coated with peptides that bind to Salmonella.

When the Salmonella bacteria bind to the peptides, the cantilever arms bend, creating a signal showing the pathogen is present, the university reported Wednesday.

The peptide could tell eight different types of Salmonella apart from each other, the researchers said, noting the technique could be applied to other common food pathogens as well.

The Dutch health watchdog said Wednesday it had halted distribution of 690 tonnes of meat from an abattoir after a probe found traces of horse in products marked as beef.

"During a criminal investigation... horse DNA was discovered in four samples of beef from the wholesaler," the food safety authority NVWA said in statement.

The investigation also found that the abattoir and wholesaler situated in the central town of Dodewaard "bought more horses than its book indicated were slaughtered."

"All meat, some 690 tonnes stored in the abattoir's fridges, has been blocked (from sale) until they can show its origin," the NVWA said.

It gave the business, named by Dutch media as Van Hattem Vlees, until next Monday to comply.

Last year, the NVWA arrested a Dutch butcher believed to be the kingpin in a Europe-wide scandal in which horse meat was passed off as beef.

When the horsemeat scandal erupted a year ago, governments scrambled to find out how the mislabelling of meat happened in the sprawling chain of production, spanning abattoirs and meat suppliers across Europe.

The scandal prompted the European Commission to order tests of food across the European Union which showed that almost one in 20 meals marketed as beef was likely to be tainted with horse.

Though the scare first erupted in Ireland and Britain, there was no trace of horse-tainted products in either country, with the highest number found in France, Greece, Latvia and Denmark in that order.

The scandal led to meatballs in Ikea stores, sausages in Russia and frozen burgers in Britain's Tesco chain being pulled from shelves by the millions.

Brussels has suggested tighter controls along the food chain as well as stiffer sanctions against food fraud.

Walmart tightens rules in China after fox meat scare
Washington (AFP) Jan 29, 2014 - Walmart said Wednesday it will tighten inspections on its suppliers in China after it was forced to recall donkey meat products that had been found to contain fox.

The US company, the world's largest retailer, said it would also change its rules in China to ensure that meat shipments are properly documented before they hit the shelves.

On January 2, Walmart recalled donkey meat from some Chinese stores after tests found traces of other animals' DNA. It promised independent tests all of its "high risk" meats in China.

The recall came after the Shandong Food and Drug Administration said that Walmart's "Five Spice Donkey Meat" product contains fox.

Walmart said it had invested in a computer-based system across the supply chain to allow vendors to upload all required legal documents in its compliance process.

The requirements include providing a product label that accurately reflects the product ingredients, laboratory test reports on food items and manufacturer permits.

Vendors must also verify claims that a product is "organic" or has health benefits, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer said.

Shares in Dow component Wal-Mart Stores were down 0.3 percent at $74.42 in midday trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

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