UC Agriculture & Natural Resources News
Bad news for pistachio farmers, processors and consumers alike - yesterday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended that consumers avoid eating pistachios and products made from pistachios because of reports of Salmonella contamination. The story was reported in numerous media outlets, including US News & World Report.
The contamination came to light when Kraft Foods "Back to Nature" trail mix was found to be tainted with Salmonella. Kraft traced the contamination to Setton Pistachio in Terra Bella, Calif. The company immediately stopped distributing pistachios and is recalling about 1 million pounds of roasted in-shell nuts, according to an FDA news release.
Also yesterday, the Sacramento Bee reported that state and federal health officials are investigating a Bay Area company whose spice products have been linked to a recent outbreak of Salmonella in 15 California counties. Bee writers Niesha Lofing and Darrell Smith spoke to UC Davis Cooperative Extension food safety specialist Linda Harris about the recent spate of Salmonella scares. She said Salmonella bacteria can survive in dry goods such as spices and dog treats
"It's true that to multiply, (bacteria) need warmth and moisture and nutrients," Harris was quoted. "But what most people don't recognize is when you don't have enough moisture, bacteria can survive. … Salmonella is well-known for surviving in dry foods."
Remember the landmark "insects-on-the-radiator" trial that led to a murder conviction? Animal Witness, part of Animal Planet, will soon be showcasing the work that UC Davis insect identification expert...
California bees got busy last year, producing 35 percent more honey than they did in 2007, according to an article in the Sacramento Bee over the weekend. The bee story cited USDA figures.
Despite the good news, the nation's beekeepers aren't out of the woods. Cases of what has been called Colony Collaspe Disorder are still reported, "but in most cases, here (in California), things are better," the story quoted UC Davis entomologist Eric Mussen.
Researchers are still trying to figure out what caused bees to abandon hives en masse two years ago, when honey production fell to its lowest point in 20 years.
Another factor that boosted honey production in 2008 was a strong market for honey - with the price up 37 percent to $1.41 a pound in California. The market likely drove some beekeepers to focus on honey production rather than hiring their hives out to farmers to pollinate crops, wrote Bee reporter Jim Downing.
Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey
Today we salute Andrea Lucky. To be perfectly frank, anyone who takes a class from her is a lucky person indeed. For excellence in teaching in the lab, field and classroom, UC Davis entomology doctoral candidate Andrea Lucky has won a 2009 UC Davis Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching...
Bug Boot Camp
The Berkeley City Council did the right thing. The council members voted this week to landscape city parks and open spaces with pollinator-friendly plants. The plan: to provide a friendly habitat and food source for pollinators, especially honey bees. Within the next few weeks, the...
Bee on sunflower