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Mousses and Dips Potentially Contaminated With Listeria
By Claire Mitchell (16, April, 2011)
Yesterday, April 15, 2010,
Charcuterie La Tour Eiffel, Inc., a company based in Blainville, Canada,
warned the public not to consume certain Summersweet Fine Foods Ltd.
products. Summersweet, a leading Canadian Manufacturer and Distributor
of packaged foods that has developed business across Canada and the
U.S., announced that it was recalling a variety of seafood mousses and
dips due to a possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.
The products subject to the recall include:
oSmoked Salmon & Spinach Mousse
oMousse Smoked Salmon & Spinach
oSmoked Salmon & Dill Mousse
oDip Crab & Roasted Red Pepper
oDip Lobster & Shrimp
oSmoked Salmon & Roasted Artichoke Dip
oDip Crab & Three Cheese
According to a press release issued by the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency (CFIA) the products were sold in various sizes at many retail
locations throughout Canada. Consumers are urged to bring the products
listed above to the store where the item was purchased to obtain a full
Although no reported illnesses have been associated with the consumption
of these products, CFIA is closely monitoring the effectiveness of the
recall to ensure consumer safety. In 2008, Canada was struck with a
severe outbreak of listeriosis traced back to prepackaged deli meats
that sickened hundreds and claimed 22 lives.
Listeria is a particularly nasty bug because it is able to thrive even
in refrigerated conditions, unlike other bacteria. Consumption of food
contaminated with Listeria bacteria may cause listeriosis, a serious
foodborne illness that can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness
and nausea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have
noted that certain segments of the population are at greater risk for
contracting listeriosis. Specifically, pregnant women, the elderly and
people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infection.
Lawyer: DeFusco's Zeppole Salmonella Case Among Worst
in 20 years?
Source : http://johnston.patch.com/articles/lawyer-defuscos-zeppole-salmonella-case-among-worst-in-20-years-2
By Mark Schieldrop, Email the author (18, April, 2011)
The salmonella outbreak linked
to tainted zeppoles made at DeFusco's Bakery is one of the worst in
more than 20 years, said a lawyer with a leading food safety law firm.
The same firm is suing DeFusco's on behalf of several families who were
stricken with salmonella after eating baked goods from the beleaguered
Drew Falkenstein of Seattle-based Marler Clark, a law firm that specializes
in food safety cases, said the outbreak "has left a trail of devastation"
particularly because so many elderly people were served the zeppoles.
"It's a sad situation," he said. "For a lot of people,
salmonella is something you can get over. It's a couple weeks of severe
gastrointestinal illness. I don't think I've seen a salmonella outbreak
with such a high number of hospitalizations."
Falkenstein was in the area to sit down with more than 10 families who
contacted the firm in the days following the first suit filed by the
Carrerra family of Rehoboth.
The numbers make the zeppole incident stand out. The traditional St.
Joseph's Day Italian pastry ended up consumed by such a large number
of the most at-risk people because they were served at several senior
centers and assisted living facilities.
For a healthy adult, a salmonella infection usually causes a period
of severe, but survivable, digestive illness. For older people, it can
be a life-threatening crisis. And this strain of salmonella was particularly
virulent, which is why so many people have been hospitalized, Falkenstein
said. Four people remained hospitalized midweek last week. Twenty-nine
were hospitalized in all. Two people have died.
The statistics look like what's usually seen during an E. coli outbreak,
Falkenstein said. And the financial toll could be well over $1 million
since older folks need more complex care for such a severe illness.
"With 29 people hospitalized, four still hopsitalized month later,
you're probably talking about $1 million in medical expenses alone,"
Marler-Clark represented about 100 people after the major outbreak of
E. coli from tainted Dole spinach in 2006. Falkenstein said the spinach
incident was a perfect storm as a nationally-distributed raw product
was eaten by both the young and the old. More than 200 got sick, 100
were hospitalized and five people died.
In comparison, the zeppole incident is much less high-profile and E.
coli outbreaks tend to wreak more havoc than salmonella cases. And it's
not as if DeFusco's zeppoles are in nearly every supermarket in the
It was the unusual concentration of older people who were served the
product that led to such a terrible toll.
"You don't always see food safety failures at the level we see
here," Falkenstein said.
The state Department of Health followed an investigative trail in late
March that started when people began to turn up sick. The common thread
was soon revealed to be zeppoles. The scent led to DeFusco's, which
apparently produced significant amounts of zeppoles for sale at its
Johnston and Cranston locations and a slew of other retail bakeries
A health department inspection revealed unsanitary practices, including
the storage of pastry cream at unsafe temperatures and the alarming
use of used egg crates to store pastry shells. There were other infractions,
such as a lack of working sinks, employees not washing hands and overall
uncleanliness at the bakery, according to the health department.
Though the health department was unable to find salmonella on any food
samples taken from the bakery, the smoking gun was found right at the
start of April when test samples from the crates tested positive for
The reports are scathing enough that Falkenstein said he expects the
arguments in court will have little to do with liability.
"I don't plan on spending a lot of time talking to them about whether
they're liable," he said. "It's a matter of what's a fair
amount of compensation for the people who were affected by their failure
with the product and the manufacture of the product. I know Steve DeFusco
and the folks at bakery didn't mean to do this, there's no doubt about
that, but the bakery was careless in the way it handled food."
The health department ordered the bakery remain closed until the violations
are fixed. Both the Johnston and Cranston locations remain closed.
Calls to DeFusco's Bakery were unreturned.
Marler Clark will not sue the distributors or catering company that
obtained zeppoles from DeFusco's. In some situations they too can be
found liable for passing along tainted product and in some states, they
can sue their suppliers. Falkenstein said the firm is not representing
any distributors nor does it have the intention of pursuing damages
"The defendants are DeFusco's and they are the ones who had a failure
with the product," Falkenstien said.
The current toll, according to the health department is:
o70 cases total, 69 in Rhode Island, 1 in Massachusetts.
o42 lab-confirmed salmonella infections
Recent outbreak of contaminated meat is nothing to
By Lea Petersen (20, Apr, 2011)
A recent outbreak of an antibiotic
resistant strain of staphylococcus aureus found in pork, poultry and
beef has Americans worried, but should we be?
Robert Hubert, teaching laboratory coordinator for the department of
microbiology, said not to worry.
"Your body will take care of itself; don't completely avoid meat
in fear of eating the bacteria," Hubert said.
"Staphylococcus aureus or S. aureus, is a gram-positive cocci bacteria
that is a common human pathogen," Hubert said.
Gram-positive means the bacteria do not have an outer membrane and stains
a dark blue or purple color when stained with crystal violet. S. aureus
is spherical in shape or coccus, as it is referred to in cell morphology.
While S. aureus causes staph infections, it is nothing to lose sleep
"The bacteria produces a toxin that, in large numbers, can get
into a person's gastrointestinal tract and can lead to staph food poisoning,"
Hubert said. "The symptoms are the same as any other form of food
poisoning: nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. The good news is that is
lasts for a very short time. Such infections usually only last a day,
then your body will recover and that will be all."
Students should take care to appropriately wash, handle and prepare
meats in order to decrease the risk S. aureus contamination.
"Proper handling of food, wearing gloves and hair nets will help
keep food from being contaminated," Hubert said. "Properly
cooking meat will denature the toxins of S. aureus and kill the bacteria."
Tests find 80% of chickens in Seattle-area groceries
By Sandi Doughton (19, Apr, 2011)
Most cooks know by now that
raw chicken can be a bacterial time bomb.
But tests commissioned by a Seattle law firm are bringing that message
Out of 100 whole chickens purchased at Seattle-area grocery stores in
March, 80 harbored at least one type of disease-causing bacteria, including
campylobacter and salmonella.
Ten percent of the samples tested positive for the same antibiotic-resistant
strain of staphylococcus bacteria responsible for an epidemic of hospital
infections. And organic chickens were just as likely as conventionally
raised chickens to be tainted with a wide range of germs.
The tests were paid for by Marler Clark, which built its legal reputation
on food-safety cases. But the results are similar to other surveys around
the country, including one released last week that found nearly a quarter
of chicken, turkey, beef and pork contaminated with drug-resistant staph
A study by Consumer Reports last year showed two-thirds of whole chickens
purchased nationwide harbored salmonella or campylobacter, the leading
bacterial causes of food poisoning.
"I was intrigued by these studies and wanted to see if we were
having the same issues," said attorney Bill Marler. "I think
it's a warning to consumers ... and raises the issue of what industry's
responsibility is for lowering that level of bacterial contamination."
A spokesman for the National Chicken Council said the industry has done
an "excellent job" of improving food safety. "But chicken
is raw, and it does need to be handled and cooked in the normal and
customary manner," said Richard Lobb.
Cooking and careful cleanup can prevent food-borne illness. But it's
easy to spread contamination after handling chicken, Marler said. "You
pick it up, then which counter did you set it on?" he asked. "Did
you wipe your hands on your pant leg? Did it get under your fingernails?"
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one
in six Americans is sickened every year by food-borne pathogens, with
128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
The presence of MRSA, or Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus,
on chicken raises questions about possible infection routes, Marler
said. "What if you have a cut and you're handling a chicken?"
MRSA is a major cause of life-threatening infections in hospitals. Lobb
said no human cases of drug-resistant staph have been linked to raw
meat or poultry.
The Seattle tests also found one chicken contaminated by a type of E.
coli bacteria that is normally found only in beef. Called E. coli 026,
the strain is similar to the type of E. coli that killed several children
who ate undercooked Jack in the Box hamburgers in the early 1990s.
"That was a surprise," said Mansour Samadpour, who conducted
the tests for Marler Clark. With 70 locations, Samadpour's Institute
for Environmental Health is one of the nation's largest food-safety
He said Marler Clark did not influence the outcome of the tests.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture monitors the levels of some bacteria
in poultry. Effective in July, the agency is tightening its rules. Processors
will have to ensure that no more than 7.5 percent of raw chickens are
contaminated with salmonella and no more than 10.4 percent with campylobacter.
The 100 chickens tested in Seattle came from multiple producers in Washington,
California, and other states. But collectively, the birds would not
have passed the new standards: 65 percent were contaminated with campylobacter
and 19 percent with salmonella.
More than 40 percent of the samples tested positive for Staphylococcus
aureus, which is not regulated by USDA. (The totals add up to more than
100 percent because many chickens were contaminated with multiple pathogens.)
The local samples were collected from 18 grocery stores in Seattle,
Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood. They included two Albertsons;
two Costcos; two Fred Meyers; four QFCs; three Safeway locations; and
one each of Ken's Market, PCC, Sam's Club, Thriftway and Whole Foods.
None of the stores received a clean bill of health, nor did any of the
processors that were the source of the chickens.
Of 13 organic chickens tested, nine were contaminated with at least
one pathogen, including salmonella, staph and campylobacter.
The bacteria on chicken are a result of fecal contamination, which can
be aggravated by crowding and industrial slaughtering and processing.
To cut down on the levels of bacteria, processors can rinse the birds
in a chlorine solution, Lobb said. To comply with the new standards,
they're also exploring ways to better sanitize the litter that covers
the floors of chicken-rearing facilities, he said.
Bacterial levels in poultry are much lower in countries where regulations
are stricter, including Denmark, Marler said. The United States tends
to put much of the responsibility for avoiding food-borne illness on
"But if consumers are more aware, and asking good questions at
their grocery store," he said, "it puts pressure back upstream
for chicken manufacturers to do a better job."
Practise food safety, avoid Easter illness?
Source : http://www.yorkregion.com/community/health/article/996743--practise-food-safety-avoid-easter-illness
By : Chris Traber| (21, Apr, 2011)
No matter how you observe
Easter, special meals are most likely part of your tradition.
York Region Community and Health Services reminds you food-borne illness,
also known as food poisoning, can occur if improper techniques are used
when preparing and cooking food.
Following simple techniques can ensure your holiday dining is pleasurable
When purchasing food, shop for refrigerated items last and ensure all
meat, including lamb and poultry, comes from an approved and federally
or provincially inspected source.
When handling food, remember these four easy steps:
o Wash hands frequently using liquid soap and running water. Keep cutting
boards, dishes, utensils, counter tops and food preparation equipment
clean. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables under cool running water, including
those with skins and rinds that are not eaten;
o Separate. Avoid cross-contamination of raw products and cooked products
during transport, storage and preparation and use a separate cutting
board for raw meats only;
o Cook food thoroughly and keep food out of the danger zone - temperatures
between 4¡ÆC (40¡ÆF) and 60¡ÆC (140¡ÆF);
o Store perishable foods, such as meats and dairy products, in the refrigerator
or freezer as soon as you get home. Store leftovers quickly after eating
and eat within two days of cooking; and,
o When decorating and dying eggs, ensure they are properly refrigerated.
Before decorating, hard boil the eggs and cool immediately in the refrigerator
or under cold running water. Use an egg colouring dye that is food grade
Once eggs have been coloured, ensure they are stored in refrigerated
conditions of 4¡ÆC (40¡ÆF) or colder. Do not eat eggs that have been left
at room temperature for more than two hours, including decorated eggs
used for display purposes or those decorated by children.
Common symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea
and fever. If you think you have contracted a food-borne illness, seek
Visit www.york.ca/foodsafety for more information on the York Region
food safety program or contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
Poultry Study Finds Alarming Rate of Bacterial Contamination
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/poultry-study-finds-alarming-rate-of-bacterial-contamination/
By David Babcock (19, Apr, 2011)
The troubling findings of
a recent study of bacterial contamination in retail poultry were being
reported today at Aol News. Food safety attorney Bill Marler funded
a study that was conducted in Seattle by the Institute for Environmental
Health, a national network of food safety laboratories.
The study was based on sampling conducted on 100 packages of chicken
parts and fryers purchased from 10 Seattle-area groceries last month.
The contamination rates:
Camplyobacter: a whopping 65%.
E. coli or listeria 2%, (including the pathogenic E. coli O26, normally
associated with beef.)
Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) : 10%
The MRSA finding might be the most problematic at all. According to
the report, USDA inspectors present at poultry facilities do not monitor
for the pathogen. In addition:
Handling contaminated chicken with a cut or break in the skin is a screaming
invitation for MRSA to enter the body. Public health experts warn that
bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a serious problem, as it often
makes many diseases difficult if not impossible to treat.
Bill Marler explained why he funded the study:
"I funded the chicken study because I'm concerned that consumers
don't understand how many pathogens may be on the chicken they purchase
and serve to their families," Marler told AOL News. All the contamination
most likely occurs because of sloppiness in the processing facilities,
where the meat comes into contact with feces, which causes most of the
dangerous bacteria to flourish, Marler said.
Consumers more worried about food, survey finds
Source : http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2011/04/18/consumers-more-worried-about-food-survey-finds/
By Philip Brasher (18, Apr, 2011)
Consumers are worrying more
about their food. Nearly three of four Americans, 73 percent, say they
are more concerned about their food than they were five years ago, according
to a survey by the consulting firm Deloitte LLP. That's up from 65 percent
The healthfulness of their food was the No. 1 concern of consumers at
54 percent, up from 49 percent in 2010. No. 2 among their concerns was
safety at 49 percent this year, up from 36 percent in 2010. Over-processed
food was the third-biggest concern at 36 percent.
"We have seen a groundswell of consumer anxiety increase demands
on political leaders, companies and regulatory agencies to more efficiently
push out imp out important information about food and products that
could compromise health and well-being," Deloitte said.
The survey was based on responses online in early March from 1,050 people
and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points,
according to Deloitte.
Japan should avoid a food crisis?
By : Sylvain Charlebois Wed 20, Apr,2011)
The Fukushima nuclear incident
in Japan poses a conceptual problem for our current systems of dealing
with food risks.
Food safety concerns in the Fukushima region were triggered by a devastating
earthquake and tsunami. However, most of the food-safety crises of the
last decade were human-induced, and much of our policy is geared toward
incidents of this type. Mad cow disease, melamine in milk, contaminated
peanuts, the numerous salmonella and listeria recalls - all were ignited
by socio-technological and systemic breakdowns.
Though Japan's disaster is profoundly unfortunate, our reactions to
these events may improve the ways we anticipate and manage risks to
Strategically, the disparities between these incident types are not
trivial. For one, human-induced incidences can always be prevented.
Mad cow was borne of weak policy overseeing ruminant-to-ruminant feed.
Inadequate maintenance of a meat-slicing machine led to the 2008 Maple
Leaf recall of almost 200 products. In the same year, cattle herds in
close proximity prompted the e. coli outbreak which killed three people.
These incidences were unanticipated, but ultimately avoidable. When
we analyze human-induced incidents, systems usually can be improved.
However, when coping with natural disasters, the focus is more on the
speed at which systems can recover, and less so on preventive measures.
Accountability and responsibility are fuzzier concepts in the aftermath
of natural disaster scenarios. The aim is to recognize that a human-induced
food recall is never random, but rather the result of an extended gestation
period during which unseen managerial and policy blunders unfurl. Unlike
in the case of natural disasters, someone can be, and usually is, blamed.
When natural disasters affect food supply chains, the key is to manage
what follows in an efficient, systemic and brisk manner. Food strategists
and policymakers cannot sufficiently appreciate the potential devastation
of a natural disaster until they appreciate it within the context of
the larger food system of which it is a part.
A more general solution lies in how public officials communicate risks,
directly and indirectly, with the community affected by the incident.
Laudably, the Japanese officials have done so, almost every day, but
even that may not have been enough. Radiation concerns at the Fukushima
plant have heightened domestic food safety concerns at a time when Japanese
food self-sufficiency is already low. The earthquake, tsunami and persistent
nuclear problems will have a lasting impact in the psyche of the Japanese
people. Japanese consumers, who reacted rather negatively to their own
mad cow crisis in 2001 when over 100 McDonalds restaurants closed for
over a week, will need reassurance. In addition, the country's food
security policies may need to be revised to ratchet up Japan's agricultural
The reality is that natural disasters make victims, and often, lots
of them. Victims are often severely affected in many and various ways,
making food safety concerns seem secondary. But radiation knows no borders.
At the outset, neighbouring countries, even those as distant as Canada,
were concerned about possible food contamination due to excessive radiation
Thankfully, many reports suggest that public health risks due to food
contamination have been minimized, at least for now. Japan is known
to have a sterling food-safety track record because of a risk-averse
mentality that stems from its reliance on food imports. Most western
nations are more vulnerable to disaster incidents because laissez-faire
government policies encourage crisis-prone systems. This is certainly
not Japan's case.
Nevertheless, there have been no reports of injury from radiation in
Fukushima. Even when the country recently announced its level 7 designation,
the International Atomic Energy Agency asserted that food-safety tests
in Japan showed no signs of dangerous levels of radiological contamination.
But the war on risk perceptions, specifically within Japan's domestic
market, is far from over, and effective communication, rather than scapegoating,
will be the weapons of the day.
Sylvain Charlebois is associate dean of research and graduate studies
and a professor of food distribution and policies in theCollege of Management
and Economics at the University of Guelph.
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