Researchers find lettuce from low-income communities to be contaminated

U.S – Researchers from the University of Houston have established that Houstonians living in low-income and urban neighborhoods are at a higher risk of contracting gastrointestinal illnesses, possibly linked to the lettuce they purchase from grocery stores in their community. The findings, published in the Journal of Food Protection, focus on loose-leaf romaine lettuce. According to the study, loose-leaf romaine lettuce, when purchased from supermarkets in low-income communities in Houston, was found to be contaminated with disease-causing microorganisms. Researchers said the discovery raises questions about quality and safety. “Looking at…

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Kenya’s Agricultural CS calls for enhanced crop pest management strategies

KENYA – Kenya’s Agricultural Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya, has called for greater efforts in mitigating effects of pests and diseases in crops, an issue he considers the main challenge in the agribusiness sector. In a speech read on his behalf by Douglas Kangi, the Director of Crops Management at the Ministry during the official opening of the 3rd Phytosanitary conference in Nairobi, the CS highlighted that since studies have shown that agribusiness has the capacity to transform livelihoods, particularly here in Kenya and Africa, increased capacity building to meet…

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Nigeria’s biotech stakeholders push for alliances in genome-editing research

NIGERIA –  Nigeria’s biotechnology stakeholders have challenged local experts to forge stronger ties and collaborations in hastening genome-editing research whose results carry enormous prospects to solve regional problems. In a joint communique, the stakeholders affirmed the benefits of genome editing in improving food security and nutrition in Nigeria and the region. The statement, signed and adopted by 17 biotechnologists, has proposed a raft of measures aimed at facilitating efficient acceptance and utilization of this technology and its products. The biotechnologists are calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria to sustain…

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Study finds more labeling information increases purchasing appeal of GM foods

CHINA – Chinese researchers have found that increasing the information in labels of Genetically Modified Foods (GMF) can increase the consumers’ willingness to buy them as they will be more informed about the benefits attributed to the GMFs. Most current studies have confirmed that the consumer attitudes and purchase intention toward GMFs are not good. The study was conducted to match the consumers’ different information processing mechanisms by adding marketing information clues and regulating their purchase intentions by contradictory attitudes towards GMFs. The marketing clue information was divided into two…

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Experts urge Kenya to consider new approach in regulating gene-edited crops

KENYA – The director of the East Africa Hub of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), has warned that subjecting Kenya’s gene-edited crops to the same regulations as those developed through genetic modification could needlessly slow their release to farmers and consumers. Gene editing is a group of technologies that gives scientists the ability to make permanent and heritable changes at specific sites in the genome of an organism.  Genome editing can be used to add, remove or alter DNA in the genome. It is cheaper, simpler and more…

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South African scientists call for increased GMO adoption in continent

SOUTH AFRICA – South African scientists are urging governments across the continent to take concrete actions to enhance the acceptability and adoption of genetically modified organisms (GMO) — a move they say could unlock the region’s vast food potential. The scientists issued their call based on research they conducted in Africa and published in the journal Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews. They determined that Africa stands to benefit a great deal from biotechnological innovations, such as growing GMO crops. These include increased yields, better resistance to pests and diseases, enhanced…

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Scientists discover cronobacter in RTE foods of plant origin

POLAND – Scientists in Poland have uncovered the presence of cronobacter in samples of nuts, seeds and dried fruit during a study aimed at determining the microbiological quality of commercial ready-to-eat food (RTE) products of plant origin. Analyses were carried out on 64 samples of nuts, dried fruits, candied fruits, seeds, and mixes of seeds, dried fruits and nuts. Samples were tested for the total plate count of bacteria (TPC), counts of yeasts and molds, and the occurrence of cronobacter. Cronobacter bacteria are ubiquitous organisms often linked with life-threatening infections…

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Milestone in frozen food industry as researchers develop new freezing method

U.S – U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of California-Berkeley scientists have worked together to develop a new food freezing method that could result in safer and better-quality frozen foods while saving energy and reducing carbon emissions. The Agricultural Research Service is the USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. The new freezing method, called isochoric freezing, works by storing foods in a sealed, rigid container, typically made of hard plastic or metal, completely filled with…

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Global Leaders Group on AMR caution on overuse of antimicrobial drugs in food system

GLOBAL – The Global Leaders Group (GLG) on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) have called for an urgent reduction in the quantity of antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotics, used in food systems to combat rising levels of drug resistance. The group was created in November 2020 comprising of heads of state, government ministers, and representatives from the private sector and civil society from 22 countries. Its main objective was to accelerate global political momentum, leadership and action on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The GLG reiterated that countries must stop the use of medically important…

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Ghana NBA roots for science as means of approving Genetically Modified products

GHANA – The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) and the Ministry of Science and Technology, which regulate Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), have declared that only proven scientific knowledge and not misinformation will inform their decision on whether to permit the open cultivation of the GM pod borer-resistant (PBR) cowpea. Research to produce Ghana’s variety of GM cowpea has been ongoing since 2008 and the process is yet to be culminated. GM cowpea has already been approved in Nigeria, where farmers are harvesting their first crop. “If GMOs are bad, and they…

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