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4/07
2011
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FDA launches Web page on recalled foods
Source : http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-fda-website-20110404,0,1272799.story
By Andrew Zajac (04, Apr, 2011)

The task of finding consumer information about recalled food products grew a bit easier Monday with the launch of a Food and Drug Administration website that compiles recall notices in a searchable table.
The Web page displays information on recalls since 2009 by date, product brand name, product description, the reason for the recall and the firm doing the recalling. It also includes an image of the product label and links to the press release on each recall -- which generally contain additional information.
The redesign was mandated by the food safety law signed by President Obama in January. The law also gives FDA the power -- as yet unused -- to order food recalls on its own authority instead of depending on industry cooperation.
Recalls, "mandatory or otherwise, are serious and we must do everything possible to make it easier for people to know about these recalls so they can take all appropriate steps to protect themselves and their families," Mike Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods, said in a statement.
The earlier iteration of the page presented recall information in a jumble of text and it wasn't always in a single spot, said Nancy Donley, president of the Chicago-based food safety group Safe Tables Our Priority, one of several consumer and food industry organizations consulted by FDA in designing the web page.
"You had to go to a couple of different places. The information is now in one place. It's a lot easier to navigate and consumers get a more complete picture," Donley said.
As an added feature, the Web page aggregates recalls across all other areas regulated by the FDA including drugs, biologics, veterinary products and medical devices.
The FDA "felt that was better for consumers, they [can] go to that one recall page and then can redirect themselves from there," said agency spokesman Doug Karas.

Turkey Burgers Recall: Jennie-O Calls Back 55000 Pounds Of Meat
Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/03/turkey-burgers-recall_n_844146.html
By (03, Apr, 2011)

The Jennie-O Turkey Store has recalled 54,960 pounds of frozen, raw turkey burger products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced.
The recall was prompted by possible Salmonella contamination, according to the release. The affected product will have a use date of Dec. 23, 2011 and includes: "4-pound boxes of Jennie-O Turkey Store’η "All Natural Turkey Burgers with seasonings Lean White Meat". Each box contains 12 1/3-pound individually wrapped burgers."
At least 12 people in Wisconsin and nine in other states have reported illnesses, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported, prompting the recall.
According to WalletPop, illnesses have also been reported in Colorado, Ohio, Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri and Washington.

Publisher's Platform: Salmonella Week
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/04/publishers-platform-salmonella-week/
By Bill Marler (03, Apr, 2011)

When I am not traveling the world in search of the most recent Foodborne Illness Outbreak, or trying to prevent the next one, I try to spend time with my kids. My youngest, Sydney (a.k.a. Squid) is an animal lover, so we tend to watch some episode of "Animal Planet" before she (more likely me) falls asleep.
One of our favorite shows has been "Shark Week," which is usually filled with scary scenes of near misses or not. For some reason, the fear of being munched by a shark (about 60 shark attacks a year on average, world-wide) is of far greater concern than the some 1,000,000 Salmonella cases yearly - just in the United States alone.
Perhaps I need to produce a new show for TV - "Food That Can Kill You." Here are a few episodes from the past week:
Episode 1 - Salmonella Hadar-contaminated Jennie-O Turkey Causes 12 Illnesses in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The detection of this outbreak began with the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services notifying the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of a patient diagnosed with salmonellosis caused by Salmonella serotype Hadar. The investigation expanded to include 12 people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin who also have been diagnosed with Salmonella Hadar infection, with illnesses occurring between December 2010 and March 2011.
Working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health partners, FSIS determined that three of the patients in Colorado, Ohio, and Wisconsin specifically reported eating Jennie-O Turkey prior to illness onset and hospitalization; the last of these illnesses was reported on March 14, 2011.
Jennie-O Turkey Store, a Willmar, Minn. establishment, is now recalling approximately 54,960 pounds of frozen, raw turkey burger products that may be contaminated with Salmonella, the FSIS announced Friday. As FSIS continues its investigation of illnesses related to this recall, additional raw turkey products may be recalled. As a result, FSIS is alerting consumers to take extra care when preparing all raw turkey products.
Episode 2 - Salmonella Outbreak from DeFusco's Bakery Leads to at Least 56 Illnesses, with 26 Requiring Hospitalization.
The outbreak of severely injured folks stemming from the DeFusco's Bakery continued to get worse this week, with news that nine new cases have been detected, bringing the total to 56, including 1 death, and 26 hospitalizations. The number of hospitalized victims in this outbreak is unusually high and likely due to the age of the majority of the victims.
The elderly are especially vulnerable to serious complications as a result of foodborne illnesses. It was reported that as of Friday, 9 people still remained hospitalized. Also, swabs taken from cardboard boxes where empty pastry shells were stored at DeFusco's Bakery in Johnston, tested positive for Salmonella. The boxes previously held raw eggs. If any of those eggs were infected and had broken open, residue in the boxes could have led to the Salmonella outbreak that has sickened dozens of people, health officials say.
Episode 3 - Marler Clark Files the First Lawsuit Related to the Del Monte Salmonella Cantaloupe Outbreak.
On Friday, Marler Clark filed the first lawsuit stemming from an outbreak of Salmonella-contaminated Del Monte cantaloupe that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has led to 13 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Panama in Oregon (5 cases), Washington (4 cases), California (2 cases), Colorado (1 case) and Maryland (1 case). According to the FDA, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. recalled 4,992 cartons of cantaloupes because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Panama. The cantaloupes were distributed through warehouse clubs in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
Episode 4 - Salmonella Contaminated Sausages at Pancake Feed in Maryland Result in Illnesses.
Illnesses from Salmonella have been linked to consumption of sausage at a benefit pancake breakfast held in early March in Thurmont, according to the Frederick County Health Department. The sausage for the Thurmont event was from a previous event, the Frederick County 4-H Camp Center Country Butchering, held Jan. 27 at the Mount Pleasant Ruritan Club in Mount Pleasant. Samples of sausage sold to consumers from the same butchering were tested at the state health department laboratory and found to contain Salmonella.
If you want to keep up on current outbreaks, visit my blog, Marler Blog. If you are the historical type, you can search the Foodborne Illness Outbreak Database.

International food risk communication center formed
Source : http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/On-your-radar/Food-safety/International-food-risk-communication-center-formed
(01, Apr, 2011)
International food safety authorities have set up a new organization with the aim of creating a collective international resource providing communication materials about food risks along the supply chain.
The organization, the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication (ICEFRC), includes global food and health organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and non-profit communication experts. The founding partners include four US-based organizations - the International Food Information Council Foundation, the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, and the United States Department of Agriculture - as well as Health Canada, and Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
"In order to have effective food risk communication, stakeholders should share knowledge and understanding about potential risk in a manner that helps individuals make well-informed decisions," the organization said on its website . "It is a practice that is relevant to situations encountered every day, such as weight management or washing your hands, as well as rare situations, such as intentional contamination of the food supply."
The ICEFRC said its main goals are making enabling informed decisions about food safety, nutrition, and health by improving food risk communication; bringing together credible and influential authorities to increase their reach and effectiveness; and "contributing to the international body of knowledge on food risk communication".
Japan radiation risk
The existence of the organization and its website (www.foodriskcommunications.org ) was announced on Thursday, and the first issue that is addressed on the site is international food safety following Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency. The communication document includes a brief overview of international actions taken to protect the food supply from radiation risk and reiterates the World Health Organization's caution against self-medication with potassium iodide or products containing iodine.
The Washington, D.C.-based International Food Information Council (IFIC), a non-profit organization that has the stated aim of providing science-based information on health, nutrition and food safety, said it will work closely with other founding international partners as the primary facilitator of the center, and will manage its website.

US Food Safety.Com Survey Reveals 54 Percent of Restaurant Patrons Turn Blind Eye to Cleanliness of Food Prep Area
Source : http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/04/07/prweb5232914.DTL
(07, Apr, 2011)


USFoodSafety.com, the first website to provide consumers with the most up-to-date food safety alerts, recalls, advice and columns, today announced the results of a consumer survey about restaurants. The survey addressed how restaurant cleanliness influenced consumers dining decisions. Over 70 percent of survey takers cited food quality and taste as the primary reasons for choosing a restaurant. Only 15 percent selected sanitation as a factor in their restaurant choice. Nearly 54 percent of respondents stated that they avoided looking into the food prep area for fear of what they might see.
While consumers ultimately chose food over cleanliness, sanitation was still a concern. In a follow-up question, more than 99 percent of those surveyed said restaurant cleanliness was important and would stay away from a restaurant if they felt it was not clean. More than 70 percent of the respondents dined at restaurants at least once a week. For full survey results, visit www.usfoodsafety.com
Since November 2008, US Food Safety Corporation has been the leading independent resource for food safety information, with its award-winning food safety blog, web site and social media applications. Its web site, USFoodSafety.com was named one of the top 25 food safety sites on the Internet by Food Safety Magazine. US Food Safety's Twitter site has nearly 80,000 followers and can be found at Twitter@foodsafeguru.
About US Food Safety Corporation
US Food Safety Corporation is a privately funded, woman-owned company located in Marlborough Massachusetts. Through its web site USFoodSafety.com the company is the premier "one-stop" source of consumer information related to food alerts, recalls and safe food handling.

Meat and Poultry Inspectors to Keep Working
Source :http://www.hoosieragtoday.com/wire/news/00235_foodsafetyessential_192626.php
By NAFB News Service (07, Apr, 2011)

The North American Meat Processors Association says USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has confirmed that all front-line inspectors and all enforcement, investigations and analysis officers have been deemed essential employees and will continue to work if the federal government shuts down at midnight Friday. Most other management personnel are not deemed essential and would not report to work.
The American Meat Institute and others previously pressed the White House to deem inspectors essential to prevent closures of thousands of plants, which cannot legally operate without federal inspection. The AMI quotes economist John Dunham of John Dunham and Associates a saying some 3.7-million people face work stoppage and the industry was looking at a loss of 3-billion dollars in economic activity per day.
Nearly 8-thousand inspectors oversee 62-hundred plants nationwide and ensure compliance with federal rules requiring that products are safe, wholesome and properly labeled and that livestock are treated humanely. Only the nuclear power industry has as much federal oversight and on-site presence as U.S. meat and poultry plants.





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