Food Costs Push China Inflation To 3.1%

Consumer prices rose 3.1% over a year earlier, government data showed on Monday. That was up from August’s 2.6% but below the Communist Party’s 3.5% target for the year. Persistently higher inflation could complicate efforts to keep China’s economic recovery on track by limiting the government’s ability to prop up growth with lower interest rates or stimulus spending. The country’s top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang, earlier said Beijing would try to keep economic growth above 7.5% for the year. “Inflation remains at benign levels in the near term,” said JP Morgan economist Haibin Zhu in a report. “The relatively benign inflation dynamics suggest that stabilizing growth and economic reform remain the priority issues for policymakers in the near term.” Companies and investors are looking to a November ruling party meeting at which leaders are expected to produce a blueprint for future economic reforms. Li and other leaders have promised changes in China’s financial system and more opportunities for entrepreneurs but have yet to release details. The September price rise was driven by an 18.9% jump in the cost of fresh vegetables. Holidays, drought and floods were partly responsible for the increase. Prices of non-food products rose 1.6%. The inflation figures come after China’s exports unexpectedly dropped in September while imports rose. Producer prices, which measure the cost of goods as they leave the factory, fell 1.3%, suggesting weak demand.

DuPont pioneers food safety testing process

Green beans and pumpkin pies. The safety of the food that’s an item on someone else’s list. Inside the labs of DuPont’s Nutrition and Health business at the Experimental Station , a team of scientists in Delaware whose life work is rooted in improving food safety testing technologies advance the BAX system, which the firm invented to detect foodborne pathogens, including salmonella, listeria and E. coli. This month, the BAX system was adopted by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service as the official method to detect E. coli in meat, carcasses and so-called environmental sponges, or swabs to detect pathogens in a work environment. The assays also were added to the group’s Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook . “It’s a very, very powerful technique,” said George Tice , research and development director of food diagnostics for DuPont Nutrition and Health. “One very nice feature about it is, depending on how you define your target, you can make it very specific for a strain of bacteria or a genus of bacteria.” In the late ’80s, now-retired DuPont scientist Vinay Chowdhry and a team zeroed in on a Nobel Prize-winning technology called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which uses the DNA in an organism to identify another specific organism. DuPont became a pioneer in advanced food safety testing by applying the prize-winning science to the pathogen detection process in food and became the “first to introduce an automated detection system,” Tice said. Before DuPont’s BAX system was introduced, the gold standard was taking cultures, measuring them and letting them grow in a petri dish, which took at least five days, said Cathy Andriadis , global public relations leader for DuPont Nutrition and Health. In contrast, the BAX system delivers results in 10 hours or less. Meat, dairy, poultry and produce processors, large manufacturers of food and third-party labs that conduct food safety tests in products and in work environments are DuPont’s customers. The BAX system has been certified by the U.S.