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Foodborne Diseases and How We Can Avoid Them

No matter how we choose the food we eat, it’s still possible to get foodborne diseases. It’s important to be keen in our food preparations, but what’s even more important is to be smarter and always keep ourselves informed.

What is a foodborne disease?

According to Wikipedia, a foodborne disease is any illness resulting from the food spoilage of contaminated food, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites that contaminate food,[2] as well as chemical or natural toxins such as poisonous mushrooms and various species of beans that have not been boiled for at least 10 minutes.

Symptoms vary depending on the cause or type of the disease but mostly, a person may experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and dizziness.

How can we avoid these diseases?

In order to avoid foodborne diseases, you need to make sure that you handle your food properly.

For Consumers:

  1. Wash your produce
  • Soak your fruits and vegetables for 5 minutes before preparation.
  • Add a little vinegar when soaking green leafies.
  • Wash the skin of the fruit. If possible, don’t eat the skin.
  1. Cut off at least an inch at the end of hard vegetables like carrots.
  2. For meat, fish, and other shellfish, wash them well with water. Clean it up when you’re done with the preparations.

For Farms and Agricultural Companies:

  1. High-quality post-harvest management
  • Clean up after harvesting.
  • Only use disinfectants that are only approved by the NOA (depending on the category)
  1. Provide a safe and hygienic workplace and ensure proper food handling.

 

 

Importance of Using Organic Disinfectant for Post-Harvest Agriculture

As crucial it is to achieve an economically rewarding enterprise via the marketing of organic produce before the harvest phase is, it’s also important to make sure that the post-harvest phase is done properly.

The National Organic Program or NOP Rule has been established by the USDA to enforce uniform standards for producing and handling agricultural and processed food labeled as organic. Therefore, it is important that the chemicals used in organic post-harvest operations must comply with the rules set by the NOP. Of course, each produce falls into a different category and each category has its own list of disinfectants.

Post-Harvest Management

In order to have the best post-harvest management quality, it’s important to ensure that you are using an organic disinfectant. A lot of farms and companies use chemicals like chlorine, acetic acid, alcohol, peroxyacetic acid, and other ammonium sanitizers.

Though these disinfectants have been approved, they are still chemicals. Using an organic disinfectant helps a lot in improving the quality of post-harvest management.

Why Is It Important To Use Organic Disinfectant?

You may or may not agree, but organic is always better. It’s all natural and can definitely spare you from the effects of harmful chemicals.  If we can use organic disinfectants instead of bleach, chlorine, or alcohol, it’s definitely worth it!

 

The Effects of Phytosanitary Regulations on U.S. Imports of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

What are the regulations for the fruits and vegetable we import and consume? Foodborne illnesses and Food Biosecurity are essential matters. The United States Department of Agriculture, particularly its Economic Research Service, created an interesting report on the topic.

Get a summary of the report here.
Get the direct link to USDA website here.

By Peyton Ferrier 

Since 2006, Peyton Ferrier has been an economist in the Food and Specialty Crops Branch in the Market and Trade Division at ERS. His work considers the welfare effects of the evolving market structure of food industries, especially relating to import regulation and quality assurance.

 

Disinfecting Organic Produce: Why It’s Important

In the world we live in today, from fast-food to all the chemicals used in creating modern food, we need something organic and natural to live a healthier life. We all know for a fact that we always have to include fruits and leafy greens in our daily diet.

We stick to what’s natural. But how natural is natural? Regardless if we picked our produce from our own backyard or we bought them at the market, it’s important to make sure that our fruits and vegetables are properly disinfected.

Why Do We Need To Disinfect Our Produce?

As much as it’s healthy to eat organic, it’s also important to make sure that what we eat is free from harmful substances. Buying from the market doesn’t really ensure our safety from the chemicals and pesticides used on the produce.

Now, even if we grow our own produce, it doesn’t exactly mean that they are free from pesticides and chemicals. In fact, According to a study conducted in 2002, organically grown food contains up to one-third as much pesticide residue as conventionally grown food  due to drift from conventional farms, as well as contaminated soil. (Food Additives and Contaminants, 2002, vol. 19, no. 5).

Not only that, our produce is not safe from possible fungi contaminants. Some fungi are not visible to the naked eye. The worst part is, some fungi can cause serious diseases such as mycotoxins and aflatoxins.

Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by molds found in grain and nut crops. They can also be found on grape juice, apples, celery, and other produce. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that one fourth of the world’s food crops are affected by mycotoxins.

Meanwhile, Aflatoxin is a cancer-causing poison produced by certain fungi in or on food, especially in field corn and peanuts. Aflatoxins have been associated with different serious diseases like aflatoxicosis in livestock, domestic animals, and humans all over the world.

The prevention of aflatoxin is one of the most challenging toxicology issues of present time.

Therefore, it’s really important to make sure that our produce and the food we eat are safe from those. We need to disinfect them properly and wash them very well before consuming.

A Recent Study Shows That Coffee Rust Isn’t Caused By Climate Change After All

Recently, a group of scientists conducting researches and studies about coffee rust found out something that can possibly help all coffee producers all over the world. The researchers from the University of Exeter discovered that climate change is not the main cause of the devastating coffee rust disease.

Throughout these years, we all thought that this epidemic coffee disease is caused by the changes in our weather. Apparently, this new study shows signs that weather isn’t the main cause of coffee rust.

Published in the Philosophical Transactions B, the paper states: “We find no evidence for an overall trend in disease risk in coffee-growing regions of Colombia from 1990 to 2015, therefore, while weather conditions were more conducive to disease outbreaks from 2008 to 2011, we reject the climate change hypothesis.” Read More here. 

Upon examining the coffee rust disease in Colombia from 2008 to 2011, researchers concluded that the coffee rust disease can be caused by multiple factors like the rise and fall of the fertilizer price, and the frequent weather changes.

This recent discovery is both good news and bad news to all coffee producers all over the world.

It’s good news because since the epidemic is not solely caused by weather changes, we can still find more ways to get rid of this problem.

On the other hand, this discovery is also bad news because it means that we need to start all over again and it requires more in-depth research to know how we can fully get rid of this epidemic.

Newly developed ‘Trojan horse’ molecule might help in fighting crop fungus linked to cancer

A few weeks ago, researchers from the University of Arizona said that they were able to develop a new method to neutralize a dangerous toxin caused by fungi, that can lead to childhood stunting, cancer, and other health problems. These researchers made a genetically modified, edible maize plant, even when infected with a mould that produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin. ROME – Scientists said on Friday they had developed a new method to neutralize a dangerous fungal toxin affecting crops that can lead to cancer, childhood

 

Every year, more than 16,000 tons of maize are being thrown because of aflatoxin contamination. In most developed countries, they are able to screen their crops. However, some small farmers do not have the technology to do so. Therefore, people are consuming unknown levels of these dangerous toxins.

This latest research found out that a Trojan Horse molecule can jump onto the fungus and shuts down its aflatoxin production.

In a study published in the journal Science Advances, Schmidt and her team said they had created a genetically engineered maize plant, which produces a “Trojan horse” molecule that jumps onto the fungus and shuts down its aflatoxin production.

Schmidt said the method should be transferable to other crops prone to aflatoxin contamination, like rice, soy and peanuts, as it exploits a naturally occurring biological mechanism known as RNA interference.

For more information, visit this site.

Though the modified corns shouldn’t have side effects, it’s still important to get some testings done.

Univesity of California Researchers Sequence Arabica Coffee Genome

Recently, an international team of University of California researchers has publicly released the first public genome sequence of Arabica coffee.

The genome was sequenced from a remarkable variety called Geisha.

“The variety Geisha originates from the mountains of the western Ethiopian provinces of Maji and Goldija, near the town of Geisha, and is a selection known for its unique aromatic qualities,” the researchers explained.

“The new genome sequence for Coffea arabica contains information crucial for developing high-quality, disease-resistant coffee varieties that can adapt to the climate changes that are expected to threaten global coffee production in the next three decades,” explained co-author Dr. Juan Medrano, from the University of California, Davis.

“We hope that the Coffea arabica sequence will eventually benefit everyone involved with coffee — from coffee farmers, whose livelihoods are threatened by devastating diseases like coffee leaf rust, to coffee processors and consumers around the world.”

Know more about it here.

Coffee Rust Puts Thousands Out of Work

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The coffee rust epidemic problem has reached a lot of countries in Africa, Asia, and in Southern and Central America. Coffee plantations failed to produce as much crops as they need for commercial growth. Thus, thousands of workers were laid off because of this epidemic disease.

The effects of the 2002 – 2003 Coffee Rust Outbreak are:

El Salvador

  • 13,444 jobs lost
  • 132 lb coffee losses with $74.2 M value

Guatamela

  • 75,000 jobs lost
  • 132 lb coffee losses with $101 M value

Costa Rica

  • 14,000 jobs lost
  • 132 lb coffee losses with $14 M value

Nicaragua

  • 32,000 jobs lost
  • 132 lb coffee losses with $60 M value

Honduras

  • 100,000 jobs lost
  • 132 lb coffee losses with $230 M value

 

 

 

How To Eliminate the Devastating Effects of the Coffee Leaf Rust Epidemic

The devastating effects of the coffee leaf rust epidemic have reached different countries all over Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Aside from thousands of people losing their jobs, coffee plantations end up losing millions of dollars.

Eliminating the harmful effects of this disease is not impossible. However, it is challenging. Recently, we released CR-10, which is a coffee rust control fungicide. a coffee rust treament… or even better: a coffee rust solution!   The active ingredientl is designed to attack the fungi and get rid of the harmful effects of the rust to the coffee leaves.

  1. The CR-10 works faster compared to other fungicides

Eliminating coffee rust is our main goal. We want to help in saving the coffee plantations and somehow improving the commercial coffee economic status of the affected countries. Upon application, farmers can already see the effect of CR-10 on coffee rust after 48 hours.

  1. The CR-10 only requires 2 to 3 applications

This fungicide works faster and better. Therefore, it only takes 2 to 3 applications to work. According to our own research, farmers had to do 4 to 12 applications using other products. With the CR-10, you can save money on labor and get better results faster than other fungicides.

  1. The CR-10 is 100% Safe.

We always do our best to create products that are safe not only for us people but also to animals and to our environment. The CR-10 is 100% safe. It is biodegradable and non-toxic (when used at recommended dilution).

We made sure that our product is people friendly and environment-friendly as well. You have to make sure that you will use it at the level of dilution we recommend.

Guatemalan Coffee Growers Still Suffer from La Roya

Guatemala is one of the countries in Central America affected by the coffee rust disease. In fact, the country declared coffee rust a national emergency in 2013. The coffee production was massively decreased from 2,500,000 lbs of coffee in 2012 to 1,000,000 lbs by the end of 2013.

The coffee rust epidemic has been a major issue not only in Guatemala but in all affected countries. Millions of farmers already lost their jobs and spent a lot of money in pesticides hoping to minimize the effects of the disease.

Guatemalan based organizations like the Coffee Trust are working with small-scale farmers to improve their livelihood. They also need help in establishing food sovereignty in the region that has been solely dependent upon coffee, their cash crop.

Recently, $onov CEO Jean Ekobo visited Guatemala to have a meeting with the chemical distributors in the country and to let them know about CR-10 and what it can do to help eliminating coffee rust.

He shared his experience in Guatemala in our Twitter account. See his images below: