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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently, largely about how we can better use social media to help reduce food poisoning, and Andrew’s blog ‘Molecular detective’ also inspired me with news of how new technologies and their novel applications are being used to identify cases of foodborne illness.

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An article on the front page of the Metro this morning called for restrictions to be lifted on the few farms still affected by the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power plant. And following on from this there have been enquiries from a range of papers and radio stations.

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Tuesday night I caught the end of the new BBC Two series ‘Filthy Cities’, which described 19th century New York as a city ‘consumed by filth and corruption’. And what grabbed my attention was the focus that was given to the importance of hygiene to our health – something we shouldn’t forget.

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For many, Wikipedia is the first port of call when searching for information. But given that it can be edited by anyone, how much trust can we put into its entries? I know I always treat them with a certain amount of scepticism.

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I’ve heard on the grapevine that a well known restaurant has been using our online vacuum packing training course. The course was developed specifically for enforcement officers, to give them a better understanding of how to vacuum pack foods safely, but it looks like it can also teach top chefs a thing or two.

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What should be done about a bacteria commonly present in chickens that, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) causes an estimated nine million cases of food poisoning each year across the EU?

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It wasn’t so many years ago that the first human genome was sequenced. But in terms of developments in biotech it feels like a lifetime. Dozens of scientists worked tirelessly for 10 years to unravel the 20,000 genes of the human genome – and now next generation sequencing can do this at a fraction of the time and cost. But what practical applications could these new methods have?

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