Strawberries most likely to exceed pesticide residue limits in the EU

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published the results of a study where 80, viagra 100mg 967 samples of a wide variety of processed and unprocessed food products were tested for the presence of 685 pesticides (news release). Of the products tested, hospital 97.4% fell within legal limits with 54.6% of samples having no detectable levels of pesticide. Of the samples that exceeded the legal limits, order strawberries were the most common, followed by lettuce and oats.

Read more in a report by Reuters reporter Barbara Lewis (@reutersBarbaraL) published in the Globe and Mail.

You can download the report here (pdf).

CFIA suspends Costco's fish import license

Citing violation of Canada’s federal fish inspection regulations, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has suspended Costco Canada’s fish import license. There is no product recall associated with the suspension.

The suspension appears to be specifically related to Costco’s handling of the importation of canned tuna. The company says the suspension does not affect any other fish sold in Costco Canada warehouses.

More information can be found in a Canadian Press report published in the Globe and Mail.

Report calls for national water policy

Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui (@EmmLui) has authored a report providing a province by province account of drinking water advisories and threats to drinking water safety. The report states that in January 2015 there were 1, unhealthy 838 drinking water advisories in effect, 155 of which were in Manitoba.

The report concludes by calling on the federal government to develop a National Water Policy to curb the threats to water quality in Canada.

Download the report here (pdf).

Via: Winnipeg Free Press



Number of stem cell divisions may explain cancer risk

It is well known that cancer rates vary considerably between different tissues. Historically, generic the differences have been attributed to genetics and lifestyle.  For example, health smoking and heritable mutations have been thought to explain why the risk for lung cancer is 11 times greater than for brain cancer. However, when studied closely genetics and environmental factors cannot fully explain the differences in cancer rates between tissues, nor can other factors such as the total number of cells in each tissue.

Recently, researchers have proposed a third factor to explain the difference in cancer rates between tissues – the number of lifetime somatic (or “adult”) stem cell divisions. Adult tissues contain a variety of cells that work together to give the tissue its function. Also present are stem cells – progenitor cells that can develop (“differentiate”) into each type of functional cell present in the tissue. Stem cells also just divide to maintain a population of undifferentiated stem cells and it is this property of self-renewal that is the key. The research strongly suggests that the greater the cumulative number of stem cell divisions, the higher the cancer rate in the tissue.

More information is available from science writer Anna Azvolinsky at The Scientist magazine.

The research is published in the journal Science (abstract).


Listeria prevalence in retail delis

Quality Assurance Magazine reports on a recent study by Purdue University scientists looking at the prevalence and persistence of the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes in retail delis. In two rounds of testing, dosage 6.8 and 9.5% of surface swab samples tested positive for the presence of the pathogen.

The research suggests that standard cleaning procedures in retail delis may not be enough to eradicate any Listeria monocytogenes bacteria present.


Is most of your DNA junk?

For years, view the consensus was that the vast majority of our genome was “junk” or to use a more enlightened term, nurse non-functional. Only about 1.2% of our genome contains the genes responsible for encoding our proteins while the other 98.8% is non-coding DNA. While it was known that a small percentage of this non-coding DNA had a function in gene regulation, viagra the vast majority was considered to have no function at all. Unused leftovers from our evolution.

However, some recent evidence suggests more of this non-coding DNA has a function after all and some believe that non-coding DNA will eventually be shown to be full of activity. Others however are not convinced and this has resulted in 2 camps, one believing that non-coding DNA is mostly junk and the other believing it is much more functional.

Science writer Carl Zimmer introduces us to this interesting and sometimes acrimonious debate. Read his excellent article in the New York Times Magazine.

For more information on genomics in general, check out

US agency reports foods most likely to cause illness

In the United States, the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) is a group consisting of members from the CDC, FDA and the USDA whose main focus is foodborne illness source attribution, the process of estimating the most common food sources responsible for specific foodborne illnesses.

Recently, the group published a report (pdf) using an improved method where they assessed which of 17 food categories where most responsible for illness, hospitalizations and deaths caused by 4 major foodborne pathogens, Salmonella, E. coli 0157, Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter. The study was based on outbreak data from 1998 to 2008. Among the observations reported were that 46% of illnesses are attributable to produce and more deaths were attributed to poultry than to any other commodity.

It is important to note that both the authors and others have pointed outed out that there are limitations to the study’s methodology that impact the interpretation of the results.