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UCCE Sonoma County

UC Agriculture & Natural Resources News

Salmonella rears its ugly head in California

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."

Salmonella enteritidis.
Salmonella enteritidis.

Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 9:44 AM
Tags: food safety (86), salmonella (10)

Bugs in My Alibi

Documentary

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...

Documentary
Documentary

ON CAMERA--Joe Wolohan films Lynn Kimsey at the Bohart Museum of Entomology for Animal Witness. The filming took place July 17, 2008. The documentary will air April 6 and again on April 10 on Animal Witness, part of Animal Planet. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Re-enactment
Re-enactment

RE-ENACTMENT--In this re-enactment photo, the hands of Lynn Kimsey remove insects from a car radiator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, March 30, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Bees were busy in 2008

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
Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

Posted on Monday, March 30, 2009 at 10:28 AM

Excellence in Lab, Field and Classroom

Andrea Lucky

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...

Andrea Lucky
Andrea Lucky

OUTSTANDING TEACHER--Andrea Lucky, doctoral candidate, UC Davis Department of Entomology, has been named recipient of an Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bug Boot Camp
Bug Boot Camp

BUG BOOT CAMP--Students in the five-week "Bug Boot Camp" search for insects. UC Davis professor and ant specialist Phil Ward is second from right. (Photo by Andrea Lucky)

Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Sunny Days Ahead

Bee on sunflower

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
Bee on sunflower

HONEY BEE nectars a sunflower at the 2008 California State Fair, Sacramento. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 5:03 PM

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