Food safety act

first_imgConcerned Georgia farmers gathered in Atlanta, Macon and Tifton on Wednesday, March 20 to hear a summary of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new Food Safety Modernization Act. Proposed by Congress, the act was developed in an effort to improve the safety of the nation’s food supply.Representatives from the FDA, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences were on hand to field questions about the act. Similar listening sessions are being held in selected other states. Opinions soughtGrowers and consumers have until May 16 to submit their concerns regarding the proposed regulations. “We are aware of the different climates, growing practices and scales of operation,” said Mike Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine for the FDA. “We have our hands full to come up with a rule that takes account of all that diversity…and is feasible at the end of the day.” Taylor applauded farmers for taking an active role in risk management. “We are asking you to put on one more hat – manage food safety on your farms,” he said. The listening sessions in Georgia focused primarily on the proposed standards for harvesting, packing and holding produce for human consumption. A second proposed rule recently released for public comment addresses preventative controls in food processing businesses and restaurants, including animal foods and foods imported into the U.S. “We have to protect U.S. growers from imported foods undercutting consumer confidence in their products,” Taylor said.Under the new act, food importers would be required to document their processes. Currently, the U.S. relies on “a few FDA inspectors,” Taylor said. “We are shifting the paradigm. We’ll be doing more foreign inspections and strengthening private audits to increase public confidence.” Inspection system has improvedMike Doyle, director of the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin, Ga., said the nation’s current foodborne outbreak detection system has improved over the past few years and is now “incredibly effective at detecting outbreaks” of foodborne illness.“Most recently we’ve had outbreaks tracked to organic spinach, pistachios, hazelnuts and cantaloupes. A recent CDC study found leafy greens were responsible for 22 percent of foodborne illnesses,” Doyle said. “Produce is nutritionally good for people, but it’s also good for growing bad bacteria. Cantaloupe has a pH of 6 to 7 and this is where bacteria grow very well.”Scientists with the UGA CFS will be working closely with Georgia cantaloupe growers this summer to assess which sanitizers work best to reduce pathogens on the melons. Outbreaks affect farmers, processors, tooJim Gorny, senior advisor for produce safety for the FDA, said outbreaks of foodborne illness affect all farmers and food processors. “The spinach outbreak in 2006 left three people dead and over 100 people ill. That was the tipping point for the produce industry,” he said.Taylor said most farmers think a foodborne illness outbreak will never be linked to their farm. He compared that reasoning to a lightning strike. “It’s a very low probability that you’ll be struck, but if you are hit, you are likely to die,” he said. “What would a lightning strike on your farm look like? We don’t want you or your customers to be injured.” Bob McLeod of 4 P Farms grows cantaloupes in Wilcox County. “No farmer wants to provide an unsafe product. We feed our children and grandchildren the same food,” he said. “Everything this act covers, we already do. If they could combine some of these things, it would be better on us.”Tricia Wainwright of Taylor Orchards in Reynolds, Ga., agrees. “We do GAP (good agricultural practices) and GMO (genetically modified organisms) and we already have third party audits,” she said. Phillip Grimes grows cantaloupes, snap beans, broccoli, peanuts and cotton. He agrees with 90 percent of the new act, “as long as it doesn’t get ridiculous.” “It needs to be done, more food safety testing, more regulations, up to a certain point that we can work with and farm feasibly,” Grimes said. “We don’t need any Salmonella or Listeria out in the market place. We don’t want anybody to get sick. We want to do the best we can and need to know which direction we need to take to do that.”Act focuses on microbial risksThe proposed rules focus on microbial risks but don’t apply to certain produce like artichokes, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and potatoes that are normally not eaten raw. The act defines produce as fruits and vegetables, mushrooms, herbs and tree nuts. It doesn’t include grains or foods grown for personal or on farm consumption. “The rules are aimed at farms or FDA-regulated food facilities and mixed type facilities where there is a farm and some sort of processing plant,” Taylor said. “It covers farms with $25,000 in sales or more per year.” Greg Weeks of Field Fresh Organics in Peach County wasn’t happy to hear of the exemption for farmers who annually earn less than $25,000. He feels the rules should be the same for all involved. The new rules focus on commonly identified routes of produce contamination including agricultural water, farm worker hygiene, manure and other soil amendments, animals in growing areas and equipment, tools and buildings.If passed by Congress, Gorny says the new act would “affect small and large farmers” in 2016 or 2017. “Our role is to develop standards,” he said. “(The farmers) are the ones that make food safer for consumers.”To comment on the new food safety act, go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0921 or mail comments to Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD, 20852.last_img read more

UGA Inventor

first_imgDarrell Sparks’ legacy at the University of Georgia spans more than 50 years and includes the release of eight patented pecan cultivars and research focused on the development of new and improved pecan varieties. For his contributions to Georgia’s pecan industry, Sparks is the 2018 recipient of the university’s Inventor of the Year Award.A scientist in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Department of Horticulture, Sparks received the award on April 19 during the 39th annual UGA Research Awards banquet held on the university’s main campus in Athens, Georgia.“It was unexpected, that’s for sure. It’s great that you can get an award for something that you enjoy doing,” Sparks said.Sparks is responsible for the release of ‘Byrd,’ ‘Cunard,’ ‘Morrill,’ ‘Treadwell,’ ‘Tom,’ ‘Huffman,’ ‘Tanner’ and ‘Whiddon’ pecan cultivars. All patented cultivars released in the U.S. in the last 10 years, these cultivars helped to make Georgia No. 1 in pecan production nationwide.“As the nation’s top pecan-producing state, a large part of that success can be attributed to research by Dr. Sparks. He is the world authority on pecan management and physiology, and his development of new varieties keeps pecans as one of Georgia’s most important commodities,” said Allen Moore, CAES Associate Dean for Research. “He is a remarkably productive and prolific scientist whose research has real impact.”Sparks joined the UGA horticulture department in 1965, a time when pecans were not a high-value crop. Through his research on the physiology of pecans — leaf retention, pecan nutrition and nutrient deficiencies — Sparks revitalized the pecan industry and sparked the start of new orchards across the country.“Pecan trees are a very long-lived crop and will often outlive the grower that planted them. The impact of the new cultivars released by Dr. Sparks will last for many decades, and they will increase the productivity and profitability of new pecan orchards across the United States,” said Patrick Conner, CAES pecan breeder based on the UGA Tifton campus. “In addition, several of his cultivars are being used as parents in my breeding program, and his work will improve future generations of pecan cultivars as well.”Sparks has also received the Outstanding Researcher Award from the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) and was elected as a Fellow by the ASHS. CAES awarded Sparks the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research in 2001. His honors also include the 1996 Most Outstanding Fruit and Nut Crop Publication Award from the ASHS.In addition to breeding new pecan varieties, he also developed a model for predicting Georgia pecan production. The model identifies different factors that influence pecan production and nut quality, which results in improved orchard management for pecan growers.Conner took over as the university’s pecan breeder in 1998. Sparks, who celebrated his 80th birthday on April 14, hopes to release his final pecan cultivar later this year.last_img read more

German development bank to underwrite Indian wind, solar projects

first_imgGerman development bank to underwrite Indian wind, solar projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:German state-owned development bank KfW will lend EUR 200 million (USD 228m) to India so as to help the country provide low-interest loans for around 200 MW of new renewable energy capacity.The bank has signed a credit line agreement with India’s Rural Electrification Corporate Ltd (REC), which plans to back solar and wind power projects, the lender announced this week. The specific loans will be supplemented by counterparty contributions of up to 30% from the borrowers and contributions from other lenders. The provided financing will target projects in the private sector and will support 200 MW of renewables. The new capacity, seen to meet the demand of about 270,000 homes, will help offset up to 285,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.“KfW’s financing to promote the increased use of renewables will make an important contribution to slowing the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the deficit in the power supply,” said Joachim Nagel, member of the KfW Group executive board.Additionally, REC will get a EUR 1-million grant from KfW to improve standards in the Indian energy sector, the German lender said.India’s goal is to have 175 GW of installed renewables capacity by 2022 and account for 50% of its total power generation. The target for solar and wind is 100 GW and 60 GW, respectively.More: Germany’s KfW to help fund 200 MW of renewables in Indialast_img read more

The Rundown – July 2013

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York 1. EXPERIENCE MANHATTANHENGE: For four to five minutes on July 12th and 13th you’ll have a clear view of the Manhattan sunset. Derived from Stonehenge, where the sun aligns with the stones on the solstices, Manhattanhenge happens twice per year, when the setting sun aligns with the east-west streets of Manhattan’s main street grid above 14th Street. At sunset, around 8:15 p.m., the sun will fully illuminate every cross street from the west, and for the entire day, there will be perpendicular shadows that exactly line up with sidewalks, street corners and painted lines. The best places for photos and viewing—and the worst places to drive—are along 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th Streets.2. DOWNLOAD TYPE N WALK: Text and walk responsibly with this app for iPhone that displays a transparent view of what’s directly in front of you while texting, updating Facebook or posting to Twitter. The app is also great for spying on your surroundings when you’re sitting or standing.3. BURN MAN CANDLES: While the Yankee Candle Company is known for delicious scents like Pumpkin Pie, Birthday Cake, Juicy Peach and Coconut Bay, the wax giant has entered the not-so-girly market of Man Candles—and yes, they really call them that. These masculine scents include Riding Mower (Freshly Cut Grass), Mmm Bacon!, Movie Night (Popcorn), First Down (Leather Football), Man Town (Musk) and 2×4 (Wood).4. VISIT SANGER.DK: Having a bad day? Not anymore. We’re not going to tell you anything else. Just go here. You’re welcome.5. USE INSTAPAPER.COM: Available in website and application form, Instapaper allows you to save online articles for later reading. When you find something you want to read but you don’t have time, bookmark it, then pull it up on your computer, tablet or Kindle on the go. 6. WEAR EAU DE PLAYDOH: It’s exactly what it sounds like—a cologne that smells like Play-Doh. Remind yourself of your carefree childhood with this scent on your wrists as you type for nine hours straight while sitting in a squeaky, armless chair at your desk job. It’s only $20.7. GO TO DAIRY QUEEN: Alas, Long Island, the Blizzard giant hits our shores. No more cursing at those people in the Brownie Batter commercial, hoping their tongues get caught in the beaters, no. So, what will it be?  Oreo. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Mint. CheeseQuake. Snickers. Reese’s. Banana Split. Choco Cherry Love. Midnight Truffle. S’mores. Figure it out at DQ’s new and only LI location—Sunrise Highway in Massapequa. Then sign up for a gym membership. 8. TIVO THE HERO: Watch a bunch of everyday people (including Marty, a construction worker from Long Island) turn into superheroes by performing insanely terrifying stunts for your viewing pleasure. Hosted by The Rock, contestants are tested “physically, mentally and morally” while competing for cash and the title of “Hero.” Thursdays at 8 p.m. on TNT.9. GET YOUR DOG A HOODIE: This hooded pullover with long sleeves will make your dog look like a cat burglar. Made from a soft cotton knit, these doggie sweaters are created by RockinDogs on Etsy. Look at that puppy. We dare you not to make your I-just-saw-something-cute face. Then head over to Bethpage Ballpark on July 5 for their first Bark in the Park event to take in a ball game with your best friend in tow.10. Try New Oreos: Watermelon, Lemon, Rainbow Shure, Bert!, Neopolitan and more unique flavors are in limited supply for the summer. Try ’em!last_img read more

Surge in Solar Power Gets a Welcome Jolt From Suffolk Planning Commission

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Is Long Island’s recent embrace of solar energy an enlightened sign of sound planning, or are neighbors complaining about the planned solar farms right to block the sun from coming in?Across the region, homeowners and the municipalities in which they live are increasingly making way for solar panels—so much so that LI, with 10,943 installations of panels on resident rooftops, commercial warehouses and arrays, leads the state in the sheer number of projects installed. According to reports, the Island’s rate of adoption is the slowest in New York, but the comparison isn’t apples to apples. Although the proportion of solar panels to population is smaller compared to other areas, Long Island is simply much larger than them—so even a small percentage is nearly double that of other places.The industry is booming as well—with environmentalists arguing in recent press releases that utilities should be paying people who go solar more money to do so. That’s good news. Four years ago, there were 4,938 projects generating a maximum output of 37.8 megawatts—with each megawatt providing about 155 homes with power, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. In 2014, the estimated maximum capacity was 96 watts, reaching almost 15,000 homes. Currently at Calverton’s Enterprise Park, four solar projects are underway.So why are some residents railing against the installation of solar arrays? The complaints primarily arise out of siting concerns. The proposed placements of LI’s large commercial facilities have ranged from a six-acre watershed in Holbrook to a 60-acre piece of the DeLalio Sod Farm in Shoreham, as well as a portion of the 126-acre former home of the Calverton Links golf course, with each location generating its own crowd of opposition from unhappy residents nearby.Despite some fringe fears, many residents have legitimate questions that haven’t been adequately answered. Are the sites slated for proposed solar development the right ones? These neighbors are correct to ask solar developers why they should use valuable undisturbed open spaces for new solar farms when so many blighted, commercial and industrial sites already exist in the region.The solar boom highlights what can happen when a growing industry, not local residents and local municipalities, takes hold of the development reigns on the Island. Solar power, whose adoption is truly a great environmental advance for Long Island, quickly could have become a problem thanks to the steady increase of questionable panel placements. Thankfully before the issue could snowball, Suffolk County came to the rescue by shedding light on the issue with some sound urban planning.Suffolk’s Planning Commission saw these trends emerging, and in a proactive move, worked with the industry to both create and approve voluntary guidelines in order to help standardize the patchwork siting process of the large arrays. In early May, the commission released its new rules. These guidelines were modeled on other codes successfully implemented across the country, a tactic Suffolk is no stranger to following—and vice versa.Decades ago, Suffolk set the standard for open space and groundwater strategies that other municipalities emulated nationwide. Recommendations include sensible concepts such as limiting solar projects to industrial areas, avoiding array placement near 100-year flood zones, requiring minimum residential setbacks and confining panel coverage to 60 percent of the lot. Under the guidelines, 35 percent of the site is to remain “natural and undisturbed.”As expected, solar industry insiders cried foul, but in the end as more municipalities adopt the guidelines, residents are victors. One of the benefits of LI’s home-grown Euclidean zoning is the exclusivity of land uses, which minimizes conflicting development from occurring too close to one another. Residents wouldn’t want a factory going up right near them, nor would a factory prefer a suburban development sprouting next door. These conflicts may crop up anyway thanks to the Island’s often fevered approach to development on its increasingly limited amount of open land. But the implementation of guidelines like these tends to mitigate them.Nationally, we must lessen our dependence on fossil fuels, outdated power plants and aging infrastructure. Regionally, our approach to energy must follow our policies on housing, transportation and the environment. We need cohesion that assesses the on-the-ground realities, tracks our coming needs and balances our proposals for growth. With the new solar guidelines, Suffolk has taken an important first step towards allowing residents and businesses to chart Long Island’s energy future.Rather than surrender to the darkness, let’s broaden the discussion further, and come together to address more of LI’s woes in the light of day.last_img read more

Voters head to the polls in Tioga County

first_img“Here in our hometowns that’s where it starts, we’re a nation made of a bunch of states put together so it’s changing your state one at a time and then eventually we can have that national change,” he said. Voters cast ballots in the Republican Primaries for the 22nd Congressional District and the State Assembly’s 124th district. Also on the ballot, locall,y was the Republican Primary for Candor Town Justice which was a three way race between Mari K. Townsend, George R. Williams and Leslie P. Shwartz. Zachary Harding of Owego cast his ballot at Owego United Methodist Church and tells 12 News that he came out today because he feels it is important to remember that everyone has a choice when it comes to our future. OWEGO (WBNG) — Voters headed to the polls in Tioga County Tuesday with safety guidelines in place due to the coronavirus. Voters were asked to practice social distancing and use hand sanitizer before voting and staff were required to clean machines and touch points throughout the day. center_img Owego’s William Wunder echoed that statement. “All of the races are important, It’s people’s choice to try to get the people in there that we’d like to have and have things run the way we’d like them to be run,” he said. Masks were required, however, voters who were unable to wear them for health reasons were not turned away.last_img read more

PR turned over

first_imgTHREATS to put Pakistan Railways through the mill of change were imple-mented last month when the cabinet ruled that PR be separated from the railway ministry and its management board replaced. The announcement was timed to coincide with the start of a new financial year and marked the opening of a three-day seminar on railway privatisation in Islamabad backed by the World Bank.The new board will comprise a chairman and three members drawn from private sector companies plus a chief executive and a finance specialist. They will have the task of restructuring the 7789 km network into separate passenger, freight and infrastructure businesses. A restructuring authority will take over those of PR’s 110000 staff not needed to run the railway, administering pensions and arranging retraining – using funds to be generated by sales of railway property. Pakistan’s privatisation commission will try to sell PR’s assets, while a regulatory agency initially reporting to the commission will be tasked with developing policies to ensure fair competition.Much of the responsibility for change will fall on Javed Burki, who helped draw up the restructuring plan (RG 7.97 p440) and has since been appointed Chairman of the Task Force on Railways. He anticipates completing the job within 12 months.A victim of the upheaval is PR’s Rs7bn investment programme. While the Adtranz contract for 30 Blue Tiger locomotives (RG 1.97 p25) is not affected, with deliveries starting early next year, rebuilding of 48 diesels using a Japanese credit was cancelled – leading to a formal protest by the Japanese. Procurement of air-conditioned coaches with a related technology transfer deal may also be at risk. olast_img read more

Energean gets class approval for Karish-Tanin FPSO design

first_imgGreek oil and gas company Energean Oil & Gas has received Class approval from DNV GL for the basic design of the new-build floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) that will be deployed at its deep water Karish-Tanin development, offshore Israel.This rapid obtainment of class approval from the global quality assurance body reflects the maturity of the FPSO design at final investment decision (FID) and keeps the development on track to cut first steel as planned before the end of 2018, Energean commented on Tuesday.According to Energean’s field development plan, which was approved in August 2017, the Karish main development envisages drilling three wells, using an FPSO unit that will be located approximately 90 km offshore with a production capacity of 400 mmscf/day. The Tanin Area Development will follow the development of Karish and envisages drilling six wells connected to the same FPSO.The FID for this $1.6 billion worth project was made in late March, following the securing of financing for the project through an agreement with four international banks earlier that month.Energean added on Tuesday that early class approval was viewed as a critical milestone and its on schedule achievement validates the adopted strategy of building upon an existing hull design from TechnipFMC subsidiary, Inocean.To remind, TechnipFMC was in March awarded a $1.36 billion contract for the construction of the FPSO for the Karish-Tanin project with a production capacity of 8 BCM per year.It is also worth mentioning that the Israeli Supreme Court earlier in May dismissed a petition against Energean’s Karish-Tanin development, which had been filed by Hof Hacarmel Regional Council against the Israeli Ministry of Energy, the Petroleum Commissioner, two planning and construction authorities, Energean Israel, and an environmental union of local authorities for Sharon-Carmel.Offshore Energy Today Stafflast_img read more

Sierra Leone leader replaces sacked VP

first_imgRelated Dealing with Ebola in Sierra Leone Sierra Leone Defends Lockdown Sierra Leone leader Ernest Bai Koroma has appointed and sworn in a new vice president, the presidency said Thursday, a day after the sacked deputy vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.In a ceremony shown on state television, President Ernest Bai Koroma swore in Victor Foh, who was until recently the West African nation’s ambassador to China. Foh, 68, was once a senior official in the Finance Ministry and is also a former secretary-general of the ruling party, the All People’s Congress.Koroma removed Samuel Sam-Sumana from the vice president’s post on Wednesday, citing his recent expulsion from the All People’s Congress. Sam-Sumana said in a statement that his removal was unconstitutional and that he will challenge it in the Supreme Court. He signed the statement as the “elected vice president of Sierra Leone.”A group of good governance organizations in Sierra Leone said Thursday that they also thought the removal was unconstitutional and warned it could easily create instability, noting that the country has only recently emerged from years of civil war. They urged the president to reverse the decision “to ease the rising tension.”The power struggle comes as the country is battling to stamp out an Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 3,600 people in Sierra Leone and two years ahead of elections at which Koroma is due to step aside.The row has stirred confusion as Sierra Leone’s 1991 constitution only allows the dismissal of the vice president with the vote of two-thirds of parliament.The constitution also says a vice presidential candidate must be a member of a registered political party in the run-up to an election but it is not clear whether a vice president must still be a member once in office. Sierra Leone faces setback in Ebola fightlast_img read more

Mighty Mite

first_imgJoe Altuve is listed as a 5’6″ infielder in the Astros press guide.  Most people feel he is closer to 5’2″.  This, however, does not keep him from being one of the top players in the American League.  He normally plays second base for Houston and has been an All-Star for at least 2 years now.Despite his small size, he uses his quickness and short batting stroke to consistently hit over 300 in the majors.  This year he is leading the Astros as they continue their quest to represent the AL West in the fall.  He is the nearest thing to Pete Rose there is in baseball today.  He runs out everything and usually has a dirty uniform before the 3rd inning is completed.  He uses heart over bulk to star in the major leagues.  This year his Astros are the talk of the American League.last_img read more