Re: food histology

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>
From:Barbara Stancel <>
Content-Type:text/plain; format=flowed

I'm not quite sure how the Histonet conversation developed from nutrients, 
food particles and fish larvae to food histology but for those interested:  
Yes, Tora, Lauren, Don, Jeffrey, Simon, and Allen
---there is food histology!!

We are the U.S. Department of Food Safety Inspection Service, Eastern 
Laboratory in Athens, Ga  (USDA, FSIS, El).  We look at meat products for 
human consumption.  Our samples come from meat slaughter houses including: 
beef, pork, chicken, horses, turkey, duck, buffalo, rabbit, emu, ostrich, 
rhea, elk, deer, etc.  But we also look at a variety of further processed 
products, such as: sausage, hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken patties, pot pies, 
TV dinners, egg rolls, Oriental food products, canned meat products, hams, 
bacon, cured meats, baby food...and on and on. We also may examine products 
to be sure they are in labeling compliance for additives such as soya, 
yeast, vegetable products and spices.  We get consumer complaints, like 
strange things showing up in fast food, grocery store products, and canned 

We gross, process, section, stain and coverslip like any other histo lab.  
We do alot of special stains: grams, PAS, GMS, AF, and about 35 or so other 
specials including an Ayoub Shkar looking for the keratin layer from a 
chicken gizzard (which may have been added to a product but not labeled.) We 
also do immunohistochemistry on routine diseases, tumor identification and 
some things you never would have thought phytohemagglutinin in 
undercooked pinto beans from burritos, or E. coli, salmonella, and species 
identification in ground meat.

Pathology is not alone.  Since this is a multidicipline lab, we also have 
chemistry and microbiology sections (which are actually much larger and have 
more people than pathology).  The chemistry sections analyze for 
nitrosamines, ivermectin, sulfa drugs, antibiotics arsenic, preservatives 
like nitrates, sulfites and ascorbate.  Food chemistry analyzes for 
proteins, moisture, fat, salts, and additives like soya, cereal and non-fat 
dry milk.  Nutritional analysis does confirmation of labeling. Microbiology 
tests for salmonella, listeria, E. coli 0157:H7, campylobacter, antibiotics, 
species ID on raw and cooked products.  They also do salmonella testing on 
egg products. Micro is very active in testing under the HACCP program. All 
sections are concerned with testing and analyzing for public economic graud, 
adulteration, and food safety issues.

If you have a consumer complaint issue, please don't submit it directly to 
the lab.  All of our samples originate from federal inspectors and sometimes 
state inspection systems.  We will be glad to handle any questions you have 
about the work we do, but samples should be submitted through a local meat & 
poultry inspector or compliance officer. To find one in your area, call 
1-800-535-4555. If you have a non-meat or produce complaint, call the FDA 
office in your state.

Bon Appetite!

Barbara Stancel, HTL (ASCP)
Pathology Section
RRC, 950 College Station Road
Athens, Ga  30604

>From: "Smith, Allen" <>
>To: 'Simon Smith' <>
>CC: "''" <>
>Subject: food histology
>Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 09:32:56 -0400
>Robert Carroll at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture in King-of-Prussia, PA, 
>to do histological studies, mostly EM, on foods before and after 
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Simon Smith []
>Sent: Monday, April 10, 2000 3:27 PM
>To: Histonet (E-mail)
>Subject: RE: nutrients
>My wife, (a lapsed food science graduate) has no recollection of seeing any
>histology performed on food.  In terms of processing a substance such as
>cake or bread I'm not sure how you could preserve a structure which is
>essentially made from a series of gas bubbles surrounded by a
>starch/protein/fat matrix without causing the structure to collapse, using
>the usual histological methods. I'm thinking about what happens to a
>yorkshire pudding when you pour gravy onto it.  (That's done it, I am now
>officially hungry). I have seen photos of the structure of foams (they may
>well have been the heads from different beers!) which had been frozen then
>freeze-fractured and examined via the SEM. (Dammit now I'm really thirsty!)
>I would guess they were sputter coated with something. The structure of the
>foam would be important to a food scientist as it would impact on the
>density and mouth feel of a food.  Maybe you could fume your piece of bread
>or cake with a cyanoacrylate to reinforce it, or vapor fix with 
>before freeze drying/freeze substituting it.
>Bob Francis (from the Royal London Hospital, UK) showed a slide once in a
>lecture of an H&E on a piece of smoked english bacon (not the thin sliced
>pig fat excuse for bacon found in the US).  The salting and smoking did a
>pretty good job of preserving the structure of the muscle, though I 
>like you to do it to a piece of me.  (Now I want a bacon sandwich!)
>All of the information on the nutritional composition of foods stems from
>chemical/biochemical analysis.  The reason we know the vitamin C content of
>potatoes comes from just under the skin is because someone analysed the
>peeled potato, then analysed the peelings.  (That's It! look out McDonalds,
>here I come)
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Jeffrey S Crews []
>Sent: Thursday, April 06, 2000 4:31 PM
>Subject: Re: nutrients
>Well, we did do an H&E on a "spicy smoked meat snack" in my lab after
>hearing that it was a good bacteria control. Thank God I don't eat those.
>Feh.   jc
>On Wed, 05 Apr 2000 18:02:22 -0700 Don Hammer <>
> >Histonetters:
> >
> >This sounds like it might develop into a very interesting thread.  I
> >had
> >never thought of Histology procedures being done on food.  This recent
> >post
> >leads me to wonder how cake might be processed.
> >
> >I hope there are people on here that work on nutrients and food.  The
> >entry
> >route into this field would be interesting reading as well.  My
> >expertise
> >ends at cooking, enjoying, and I might add, to the chagrin of some,
> >being
> >retired, having more time to do so.  *happy grin*  (If you find
> >yourself in
> >Seattle visiting, give me a call, I'll cook bring the
> >wine)
> >
> >Don Hammer, Retired Guy (but really still interested in learning)
> >----- Original Message -----
> >From: Bro. Lauren Ball <>
> >To: <>
> >Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2000 8:19 AM
> >Subject: Re: nutrients
> >
> >
> >> I remember a special stain that differentiated between carbohydrate
> >and
> >> protein in cake.  It's been to many years to remember the exact
> >source,
> >but
> >> I suspect that common methods could be modified to work.
> >> Lauren
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: Tora Bardal <>
> >> To: <>
> >> Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2000 1:55 AM
> >> Subject: nutrients
> >>
> >>
> >> > Hello,
> >> >
> >> > Is there anyone out there working with histology of nutrients and
> >food
> >> > particles?
> >> > Usually I`m working with fish larvae, but we might get a project
> >involving
> >> > nutrients, and I am at the moment just curious if Histonet could
> >be a
> >> > source of information on this topic.
> >> > ______________________________
> >> >     .////.   .//
> >> >   o:::::::::///
> >> >  >::::::::::\\\
> >> >     '\\\\\'   \\
> >> >
> >> > Tora Bardal tlf: + (47)73 59 09 38
> >> > Department of Zoology, fax: + (47)73 59 63 11
> >> > Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
> >> > Brattoera Research Center
> >> > N-7491 Trondheim
> >> > Norway
> >> >
> >> >
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
>Juno now offers FREE Internet Access!
>Try it today - there's no risk!  For your FREE software, visit:

Get Your Private, Free Email at

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>