Senior citizen sells fake food-safety certifications: A 71-year-old man is facing 18 months in federal prison for taking bribes in exchange for giving false food safety training certificates to foodservice workers from 2008 to 2015. The scheme allowed foodservice workers to skip a 15-hour course and certification exam required by Illinois law. In exchange for a bribe of about $175, Griffin submitted false certifications and false test results to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to make it appear that a bribe payer had completed the IDPH-approved course, passed the IDPH exam, and was entitled to the certification, according to a news release from the Justice Department. READ MORE 

FOOD SAFETY

Potato chips recalled because of Salmonella fears in seasoning: Frito-Lay is recalling two jalapeño-flavored potato chip products over fears of Salmonella contamination.The voluntary recall of jalapeno-flavored Lay’s Kettle Cooked Potato Chips and jalapeño flavored Miss Vickie’s Kettle Cooked potato chips is due to the potential presence of the bacteria in the seasoning, the company said. One of the company’s suppliers had recalled a seasoning blend that included potentially contaminated jalapeño powder, although Salmonella has not been detected in the Frito-Lay chips. READ MORE

Golf ball materials, rubber found in food products: When a food product is contaminated, an expensive recall results. For example, McCain Foods USA Inc. is recalling retail, frozen hash brown products that may be contaminated with extraneous golf ball materials. The company posted the recall notice with the Food and Drug Administration, the golf balls may have been inadvertently harvested with potatoes used to make the product. At the same time, San Antonio-based HEB Grocery Co. is recalling H-E-B and Hill Country Fare sandwich bread after a single piece of rubber was found in a loaf. Neither incident has been reported to have involved malicious actions by employees. Read more HERE and HERE.

CDC says restaurants should do more to prevent allergic reactions: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says one in three people with food allergies have had a reaction in a restaurant, and restaurants could do more to prevent the risk of reactions. For example, a recent study showed that fewer than half of interviewed restaurant staff had received training on food allergies, and most restaurants did not have dedicated areas and equipment for preparing and cooking allergen-free food. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Do food preferences have a genetic basis? Have you ever wondered why you keep eating certain foods, even if you know they are not good for you? Gene variants that affect the way our brain works may be the reason, according to a new study coming out of the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. The research could lead to new strategies to empower people to enjoy and stick to their optimal diets. READ MORE

A potential game-changer for phosphorus? At great cost, phosphorus is laboriously mined and processed so it can be used by the agriculture industry. Some 27.6 million metric tons were removed from the earth in 2015. But an agtech UW-Madison spinoff has discovered another innovative way to collect this valuable mineral, according to AgWeb. The group invented a process to  extract phosphorus from wastewater treatment plants, forming a mineral that can be sold as dry fertilizer. READ MORE