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6th International Conference for Food Safety and Quality
(Nov. 8-9, 2011)
, Chicago, IL

Comments from Attendees
Awesome!!! Enjoyed every Minute. Couldn't have asked for a better learning experience.
Rory - Grimmway Farms
This conference was Extremely informative well organized and executed. I will continuously attend again.
Orlean - Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery
Excellent selection of speakers. I would definitely recommend this program to others.
Carl - Annies Inc.
Excellent Speakers. Surely, I will attend the next one. Well organized.
Luis - University of Texas
Enjoyed myself.. Great Great Conference
Leonard -Thermo King
Excellent Experience. I am incredibly happy to have attended. I fully intend on attending the 7th.
Michael - Greater Chicago Food Depository
I can get various information about food safety and quality.
Takeshi - NEC Japan.
Excellent coverage of topics. I will come again.
Tim - bioMerieux
Great Speakers and Great Information
Ellen - Proliant
Excellent 2 days conference very informative presentations. Excellent Resource form all food companies.
Susen- Masterson Co.
Very Interesting and Learned a lot.
Connie - Procter Gamble
and more--

7th International Conference for Food Safety and Quality
Chicago, IL

Main Topic: Detection/Control of Microbiological/Chemical hazards for Food Safety and Quality
send us your email to reserve seats

179 Salmonella Heidelberg Illnesses Linked to Schreiber Processing in NY, NJ, PA, MD, OH, and MN
Source :
by Bill Marler (Nov 22, 2011)
According to the CDC, between April 1 to November 16, 2011, a total of 179 illnesses due to Salmonella Heidelberg with this PFGE pattern were reported in states where the "kosher broiled chicken livers" were distributed. The number of ill persons identified in each state the product is distributed to is as follows: New York (99), New Jersey (61), Pennsylvania (10), Maryland (6), Ohio (2), and Minnesota (1). Rhode Island and Florida have not identified any cases linked to this outbreak during this period. Among persons for whom information is available in in these states, ill persons range in age from <1 to 97 years with a median age of 13 years. Forty-nine percent are female. Among the 126 ill persons with available information, 25 (20%) have been hospitalized.
Epidemiologic and laboratory investigations conducted by officials in local, state, and federal public health, agriculture, and regulatory agencies linked this outbreak to eating "kosher broiled chicken livers" from Schreiber Processing Corporation (doing business as Alle Processing Corporation/MealMart Company), and chopped chicken liver prepared from this product. These "kosher broiled chicken livers" are sold at retail stores and may be used as an ingredient in other prepared foods. These products appear to be ready-to-eat, but are in fact partially cooked, and therefore need to be fully cooked before eating. Consumers may have incorrectly thought the use of the word "broiled" in the label meant the chicken liver was ready-to-eat; however, these chicken livers must be fully cooked before eating.

More on Chicken Jerky Pet Treat Alert
Source :
by Phyllis Entis (Nov 21, 2011)
FDA is warning pet owners that chicken jerky products imported from China may be associated with the development of Fanconi-like syndrome in dogs who have been fed the treats on a regular basis.
In the last 12 months, FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine has logged an increase in the number of complaints filed by dog owners and veterinarians.
FDA first reported a potential association between the development of illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky products - also described as chicken tenders, strips or treats - in September 2007. The first illnesses were noted in 2006 (6 reports). The number of illness reports peaked in 2007 (156 reports), according to FDA Spokeswoman Laura Alvey, dipped to 41 incidents in 2008, and have fluctuated ever since.
In June 2011, the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association (CVMA) notified CVMA members by email that several veterinarians in Canada had reported dogs with Fanconi-like symptoms that could be associated with the consumption of chicken jerky treats manufactured in China. The email included the following warning:
Recently, several veterinarians in Ontario have reported cases of dogs that have been showing signs similar to Fanconi syndrome. All dogs in the reported cases had been fed chicken jerky treats that were manufactured in China.
Signs of Fanconi syndrome can include decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, and increased water consumption and/or increased urination. Blood tests may show increased urea nitrogen and creatinine. Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). The problem is that this can be confused with diabetes.
The CVMA also notified the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA), which transmitted the advisory to US veterinarians. At the time of the notification (June 17, 2011), AVMA had not received any reports from its members of similar incidents of Fanconi-like syndrome associated with chicken jerky treats.
That situation has changed.
FDA has received a total of 70 reports of Fanconi-like syndrome associated with chicken jerky treats from pet owners and veterinarians so far this year - up from 54 reports in all of 2010. "FDA," Ms. Alvey reported to me by email, "is actively investigating the matter and conducting analysis for multiple different chemical and microbiological contaminants. We have tested numerous samples of chicken jerky products for possible contaminants including melamine. The complaints received have been on various chicken jerky products but to date we have not detected any contaminants and therefore have not issued a recall or implicated any products. We are continuing to test and will notify the public if we find evidence of any contaminants."
There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to the source or timing of the reports - there is no indication that the problem is clustered in a particular state or region - or to the monthly number of complaints, Alvey reported in response to my questions. She suggests that part of the upsurge may be due to increased awareness on the part of US veterinarians and pet owners as a result of the Canadian advisory.
Alvey emphasizes that "no causal link" has been established between the illnesses and the consumption of chicken jerky products. No one has yet been able to find any component in the chicken jerky treats that could account for the illnesses. Nevertheless, at least one recent report offers epidemiological evidence that regular consumption of chicken jerky treats may be behind the illnesses. Veterinarians Hooper and Roberts, writing in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, described four illnesses in small-breed dogs. This is the Abstract of their published report (emphasis added):
Four small-breed dogs were diagnosed with acquired Fanconi syndrome. All dogs ate varying amounts of chicken jerky treats. All dogs were examined for similar clinical signs that included, but were not limited to, lethargy, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, and altered thirst and urination. The quantity of chicken jerky consumed could not be determined; however, based on the histories obtained, the chicken jerky treats were a significant part of the diet and were consumed daily by all dogs. Extensive diagnostic testing eliminated other causes of the observed clinical signs, such as urinary tract infection and rickettsial disease. Glucosuria in the face of euglycemia or hypoglycemia, aminoaciduria, and metabolic acidosis confirmed the diagnosis of Fanconi syndrome. All dogs received supportive care, including IV fluids, antibiotics, gastroprotectants, and oral nutritional supplements. Three dogs exhibited complete resolution of glucosuria, proteinuria, and the associated azotemia; however, one dog remained azotemic, resulting in a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease.
There have been two prior clusters of Fanconi-like syndrome in dogs. The 2007 cases were linked to melamine contamination of treats that were manufactured in China. And in 2009, a number of cases in Australia were linked to the consumption of chicken treats or dental chews made with corn, soy and rice.
FDA has published following information and advice for pet owners:
Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.
FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.
FDA, in addition to several animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S., is working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. FDA's Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant.
The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state or go to

Canada's Health ministers meet to try to shake up food salt content
Source :
By Sarah Schmidt (Nov 24, 2011)
The debate over whether food companies should be outed for failing to reduce sodium in their products is on the table at a two-day meeting of provincial and territorial health ministers that starts Thursday in Halifax.
As Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and her provincial counterparts wrestle with ballooning health-care costs and negotiations over a new health-care accord, they're also set to tackle "healthy living" topics.
The agenda includes a discussion of whether it's time to export Quebec's ban on junk food advertising to children to other provinces as part of a national effort to reduce childhood obesity.
Details about a Healthy Weights Summit to promote healthy weights among children and youth also are expected to be unveiled.
But how best to reach the agreed-upon goal of reducing the average daily sodium intake of Canadians by about one-third by 2016 is expected to eat up a big chunk of the ministers' time as part of their discussion on healthy living.
At last year's meeting, the ministers agreed to set up a special committee of federal and provincial officials to consider how best to monitor progress as part of a "structured voluntary approach" to reduce the amount of sodium in processed foods.
The group also would start discussing the role "regulatory instruments" could play and under what conditions they could be used, given that 75 per cent of sodium in the diets of Canadians come from commercially prepared foods.
Health Canada has published on its website proposed sodium-reduction targets and timelines for specific food categories, and the question now before health ministers is whether the progress of individual companies will be made public as part of the monitoring program.
"I don't know that there's been an agreement on the transparency issue and from my perspective, that's a fairly critical thing that this be a transparency process," Dr. Norm Campbell, who served as a member of Health Canada's Sodium Working Group.
The government created the group in 2007 to develop, implement and oversee a plan to reduce dramatically the amount of salt in processed foods and items sold in restaurants. After completing the first part of its mandate in July 2010 with a goal to reduce the average daily sodium intake from 3,400 milligrams to 2,300 mg by 2016, Health Canada disbanded the group before it could set up a monitoring system to track progress over the next five years.
"What products should we be buying and what products should we be avoiding? That's the level of information and transparency that I think we really need," said Campbell, a professor of medicine at the University of Calgary, who also serves as Canada chair of hypertension prevention and control.
On the eve of the meeting, a spokesman for Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said a few issues arising from last year's sodium-related recommendations still must be sorted out.
"There's still a bit of work that needs to be done, we think, to get it where it needs to be on the overall approach in terms of what will work and what a voluntary approach means, and what the best way is to get more companies involved and actually working to reduce their sodium content," Steve Outhouse said Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Jim Rondeau, Manitoba's minister of healthy living, said his government supports a "dual" approach - "where we actually work with companies to get them to have healthier foods and make sure labelling is there. But we also believe that it's important to look at regulations to enforce compliance with those who are reluctant to change the amount of sodium."
In addition to the healthy living and health accord files, other topics to be discussed at the health ministers' meeting include: drug shortages, low-risk drinking guidelines, suicide prevention, multiple sclerosis and chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), the Mental Health Commission and the BC Tripartite agreement on First Nations health governance.

Safety Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning
Source :
By Bruce Goldfarb (Nov 24, 2011)
Don't let food poisoning spoil your holiday.
Food poisoning is an illness--usually mild but potentially serious for the very young, the very old and those in poor health--that most commonly results from poor food handling techniques, according to the Maryland Poison Center.
Food poisoning usually occurs two to six hours after eating the contaminated food and can include nausea, fever, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. Symptoms may last from several hours to two or three days.
Experts at the Maryland Poison Center recommend these basic food safety preparation and storage practices to prevent food poisonings:
oWash hands with soap and warm running water for at least 15 to 20 seconds before preparing any foods and especially after handling raw meat, poultry, fish or eggs.
oKeep preparation and storage areas clean; this includes countertops, stovetops and refrigerators.
oWash utensils between each use. Never reuse utensils; this is a source of contamination.
oDo not defrost meat or poultry on the counter at room temperature; thaw it in the refrigerator or microwave.
oUse a meat thermometer to confirm that meat, pork and poultry are properly cooked; visit for proper temperatures.
oDo not prepare food if you are sick or have any type of nose or eye infection.
oStore raw food below cooked food in the refrigerator so raw food cannot drip into cooked food and contaminate it.
oUse separate cutting boards for meats, poultry and fish.
Properly seal and store leftovers in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Leaving perishable foods, including meats and dairy products, out longer than two hours significantly increases the risk of food poisoning. Throw food away if you are unsure how long it has been sitting out.
The Maryland Poison Center is available to answer questions about food poisoning, or any other sort of toxic exposure at 800-222-1222.

Food safety inspections give false sense of security
Source :
By Bloomberg News (Nov 24, 2011)
A Colorado cantaloupe farm linked by federal regulators to one of the deadliest food outbreaks since the 1920s was graded as having "superior" safety practices just one month before consumers became ill from eating the fruit.
A private company handled the inspection, typical of most audits required by retailers to ensure suppliers prevent food contamination. The Food and Drug Administration later found unsanitary conditions at Jensen Farms in Granada, Colo., that likely led to the listeria-tainted outbreak that sickened 139 people and killed 29 starting in August.
On average, the FDA inspects less than a quarter of food facilities each year, a 2010 report found. Safety advocates such as Chicago-based STOP Foodborne Illness say the federal government should accredit private auditors who inspect domestic farms and facilities, standardize training and force retailers to pay for the inspections - often funded by the food producers themselves - to eliminate potential conflicts of interest.
"You can make these audits useful by writing them on toilet paper. Then someone would at least use them," said Mansour Samadpour, president of Lake Forest Park, Wash.-based IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group, a food-safety consulting firm, in an interview. "They're worthless. They give a false sense of security."
The FDA has 1,100 inspectors to monitor 421,121 domestic and foreign farms and food processors, with the workers also having other duties, Douglas Karas, an agency spokesman, said. Some inspect drug facilities as well, he said.
The third-party auditors get about $300 each for an agricultural inspection, while food processing audits may run as much as $3,000 or more, Samadpour said.
The audit companies are the ones that make the money, Samadpour said. "If they do 20,000 to 100,000 audits a year, it adds up."
There are no generally accepted standards for the private audits and criteria may vary from inspector to inspector, said David Theno, chief executive officer of Del Mar, Calif.-based Gray Dog Partners Inc., which provides senior-level food safety and quality consultants. The 22-page Jensen Farms report contained numbered scores and auditor comments in response to questions about manufacturing practices.
Jensen Farms' packing house achieved a score of 96 percent, high enough to be ranked "superior," according to a copy of the July 25 audit by Primus Group Inc., which does business as PrimusLabs in Santa Maria, Calif., and subcontracted the review to another party.
The facility achieved total compliance for having "floor surfaces in good condition with no standing water," according to the audit. Deficiencies found included no hot water at hand- washing stations and no documented record of training on food- security issues.
An FDA review after the outbreak concluded the building "allowed for water to pool on the floor near equipment and employee walkways" creating conditions that might spread listeria, according to an Oct. 19 report. The agency also found widespread contamination and unsanitary practices.
Efforts have been made by the food industry to create stringent guidelines. International safety officials from the retail, manufacturing and food service industries started the Global Food Safety Initiative in 2000, which led to standards used in audits. Those guidelines haven't been adopted by all inspectors.
"The auditing system has helped improved food safety a great deal," said Jim Prevor, a food industry analyst in Boca Raton, Fla. "Critics are too ready to dismiss the whole system."
Third-party inspectors generally review operations and examine paperwork to see if certain procedures are followed, Prevor said. They may check if water used on produce is regularly tested, for example, or that rodent traps are kept away from food.
Private inspections have prompted Costco Wholesale Corp. to pull products from shelves and led Whole Foods Market Inc. to require suppliers fix deficiencies.
Costco, based in Issaquah, Wash., sends its own auditors as well as third-party inspectors to suppliers and has in cases refused food products because problems were uncovered, said Craig Wilson, head of food safety at the warehouse club chain, in an interview. The rejected food included a seven-layer dip, eggs, dog biscuits and a hummus product, he said.
Whole Foods, the largest U.S. natural-foods grocer based in Austin, Texas, is expanding audits of growers after company-hired inspectors identified issues with suppliers, said Libba Letton, a spokeswoman, in an email. She said the retailer has put into place corrective actions, without providing details.
The hired auditors often are paid by those they are inspecting, creating potential conflicts, Samadpour said. Some companies got high marks even though their products were linked to consumer deaths.
Peanut Corp. of America, a closely held company that was based in Lynchburg, Va., filed for bankruptcy in 2009 after more than 700 people became ill and nine died in a salmonella outbreak traced to its processing plants in Georgia and Texas. Dead rodents and droppings were found near a production area, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
One of the plants had achieved a superior rating and the other met or exceeded expectations in independent audits, according to a 2009 statement from Peanut Corp.
The audit of Jensen Farms showed how inspections may not be adequate for listeria, a bacteria that may be found in soil, water and some animals. Symptoms may take as many as 70 days to surface and the disease can cause death or serious illness in the elderly, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems, according to the FDA.
Listeria may have been introduced into the packing area of the Colorado facility because a truck parked adjacent to the building traveled to a cattle operation, according to the FDA report.
The private auditor made no mention of the truck, according to the report.
In the wake of the outbreak, PrimusLabs was asked to brief staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to an Oct. 24 letter to the company. Lawmakers asked Primus to preserve documents related to audits of Jensen Farms and any information "relating to the effectiveness of Primus Lab's auditing process," according to the letter.
The audit at Jensen Farms was required by Edinburgh, Texas- based Frontera Produce, which arranged buyers for the cantaloupe, Jim Mulhern, a spokesman for Frontera, said in an interview. Jensen Farms selected the auditor and paid for the review, he said.
"In the wake of this experience, we are examining the role of audits and looking at possible changes," Mulhern said in an email. Frontera is looking into whether more steps are needed to validate findings, such as follow-up audits, he said.
Carrie Jensen of Jensen Farms declined to comment in an email. "Once investigations have been completed, we would love the opportunity," she said.
Robert Stovicek, president of Primus Labs, also declined to comment on the Jensen audit, saying only that independent reviews by companies like his prevent food-related illnesses. Such illnesses strike an estimated 48 million people in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The system is imperfect, he said. Suppliers being inspected may try to get higher scores by doing a quick clean up before the inspectors arrive, Stovicek said.
"They don't invite us into their homes when it's dirty," Stovicek said.
Victims of the listeria outbreak may help focus attention on the audit process.
Jennifer Exley criticized the Jensen Farms results after tainted cantaloupe left her 84-year-old father, Herbert Stevens Jr. of Littleton, Colorado, with listeria poisoning. He filed a lawsuit on Sept. 21 in Arapahoe County District Court in Colorado against Jensen Farms.
"They got a superior rating on an audit. There's no way," said Exley, 55, of Centennial, Colo. "You live in the U.S. and think food sources should be safe, but they're not."

Source :
by The Association of Public Health Laboratories( Nov 22, 2011)
Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family and friends, enjoy the fall harvest, and to stuff our faces full of delicious food. No matter your specific traditions, I'm certain the stuffing-of-faces is common across all Thanksgiving tables
I must confess, I've never prepared a full Thanksgiving meal although I have contributed dishes. When I cook any time of year, not just for Thanksgiving, I have two goals: 1) Make delicious food and 2) Not make people sick. Both require following some simple rules - for #1, a recipe. For #2, a set of rules that I've learned from the Food Safety Team at APHL. Rules that effectively put bacteria on a stake in your front yard as a warning to all other bacteria saying "You are not welcome here! You will be cooked properly!" Not following these rules means inviting Auntie Campylobacter and Cousin Salmonella to your table. Unless you would like to spend the best shopping weekend of the year doubled over with a fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, pay attention. And, truth be told, these rules don't just apply to Thanksgiving.
Roughly half of all meat in the U.S. is contaminated with some sort of bacteria. While that is pretty gross, you can follow these rules to avoid the grossness:
1. DO. NOT. RINSE. Did you hear me? Don't listen to your grandmother and her grandmother and all the grandmothers who tell you to rinse your poultry. DO NOT RINSE YOUR POULTRY. I've got science on my side on this one, Grandma! Rinsing your poultry - any bird, not just turkey - can actually cause bacteria to aerosolize (how's that for an image?) and spread around your kitchen up to three feet! Three feet! That's really far! Within three feet of my sink, I have my spice rack, cooking utensils, coffee pot and my baby's bottles sitting on a drying rack. What is within three feet of your sink? Yeah... gross, huh? Plus, it is completely unnecessary. Rinsing poultry does nothing to get rid of most bacteria - the bacteria that it does eliminate are now splashing around your kitchen. What does eliminate bacteria? Proper cooking (we'll get to that). We aren't the only ones who will tell you this. Our friend, USDA, agrees. And, from a cook's perspective, you really want a dry skin on your poultry so it can get nice and crispy.
2. Avoid cross contamination. When you handle that big beautiful bird, make sure nothing else is around. You don't want any of those raw turkey juices getting on anything that you can't immediately clean. If Tom needs to be trimmed, use a separate cutting board and knife than you plan to use for your veggies. Did you happen to see Dr. Richard Besser on The Chew talking about safe food handling? Cross contamination can happen to the best of us, but we should do everything we can to prevent it.
3. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. What was that? Wash your hands. You cannot wash your hands too much while handling raw meat. Think about everything you touch while preparing food - utensils, towels, the countertop, your clothes, your body (why does my nose always itch when I'm cutting up chicken?), even the soap dispenser. Washing your hands properly will help keep all that bacteria from making its way onto every item in your kitchen. And if it does get on another surface, wash it.
4. Don't thaw your turkeysicle on the counter. The raw turkey needs to be kept at 40 degrees. If you thaw it on the counter, the outside (the part that is defrosting the fastest) will likely get warmer than 40 degrees and therefore become more susceptible to bacteria. Thaw your turkey either in the fridge or in cold water. Yes, it takes a very long time to thaw a big bird that way so be prepared! Here is a handy chart with thawing times. Another good tip - put your turkey in a dish while it sits in the fridge. You would hate to find out about that tiny hole in the plastic while it is defrosting... a flood of raw turkey juices in your fridge is not so pretty. Er, so I've heard.
5. Cook your turkey to a safe temperature - which also means getting a good meat thermometer. All poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees. We'll talk about stuffing next, but if you plan to cook your stuffing inside of your turkey that means it also needs to be cooked to 165 degrees. It is that simple, folks. Pay no attention to those popper things that come in the turkey. Check the temperature yourself. Unlike with your kids, you actually want your turkey to have a fever of 165. Recipe
6. Let's talk about stuffing. First of all, I'm from the South where we call it dressing. For the sake of food safety, we should all call it dressing. Why? Because stuffing can be unsafe because it is stuffing. Let's break this down... you fill the cavity of the bird with stuffing so that Tom's delicious juices add great flavor to your stuffing. Correct? As we discussed above (see points one through, well, all of them), Tom's juices are loaded with bacteria. Those bacteria are now in your stuffing in the center of the turkey, the part that is farthest from the heat source and therefore takes the longest to reach a safe temperature (165 degrees). So you have two choices. You could: 1) Cook the turkey to its perfect temperature while it is still perfectly moist, serving it with the stuffing that is not cooked to the perfect temperature and therefore at risk of carrying bacteria that is going to send your guests home with a party favor they did NOT ask for, or 2) Cook the bird and the stuffing until the stuffing in the center is cooked to a safe temperature thus overcooking and drying out your turkey. If I had to pick from those options - undercooked stuffing or overcooked turkey - I'd choose... tofuky. There are two secret options that mean everybody wins. Either 1) Cook your stuffing separately. Use a delicious, rich stock (chicken, turkey, or vegetable) to add the flavor you're looking for. I promise it will taste good. Or 2) Cooking the stuffing in the bird, remove it, and continue cooking it outside of the turkey until it reaches a safe 165 degrees. Recipe
7. Avoid BPAs. Now, this next "rule" is really more of a suggestion. I think by now most people know that canned goods have a liner that often contains Bisphenol A or BPA. We buy BPA free water bottles and BPA free toys for our kids yet somehow on Thanksgiving all of that knowledge of BPAs goes out the window because, goshdarnit, we Americans love our canned cranberry sauce. If it isn't still in the shape of the can complete with rings, we don't want it! Myself included! Well, not anymore. I didn't order harmful chemicals with my cranberry sauce, thanks. Make it yourself from fresh or frozen cranberries. It is easy and delicious... and much safer. Recipe
Remember the two goals I mentioned at the beginning - making delicious food and not making people sick? They can both happen at the same time by following some simple rules. When it comes to safe food handling, it is all about awareness. Be aware of cross contamination, what you touch, and the internal temperature of your food. Follow these rules and your guests will be thankful that they didn't learn the word "Campylobacter" for the first time while at your house.

US authorities quiet over potential Jensen Farm prosecution
Source :
By Mark Astley, (Nov 22, 2011)
Authorities in the US have remained tight-lipped over the potential prosecution of Jensen Farms - the company responsible for listeria-infected cantaloupes that have killed dozens.
Listeria-contaminated Jensen Farms Rocky Ford brand cantaloupes have been responsible for the deaths of 29 and the infection of a further 139 people across 28 states - the worst since 1924 and equalling the worst food safety outbreak in modern US history.
Despite the notoriety of the contamination, no charges have been made against Jensen Farms or its owners Ryan and Eric Jensen - following in the footsteps of similar foodborne outbreaks. approached both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Justice (USDOJ) in relation to the farm, but both refused to confirm or deny whether any prosecution of Jensen Farms, would take place.
Warning letter
An FDA spokesperson told "I am unable to provide any information regarding compliance actions the agency may be contemplating concerning the firm you inquired about, or, in general, about any form under FDA investigation."
"Of course, actual prosecutions involving violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act would be carried out by US attorney's offices in cooperation with the FDA."
"But about these, too, I would be unable to provide information on cases underway, including confirmation as to whether prosecution is being contemplated." received a similar response from the USDOJ concerning a possible prosecution. "We would have no comment on this at this time," said USDOJ spokesman Charles Miller.
In an FDA warning letter to Ryan and Eric Jensen, following a post-infection inspection of the farm, the agency made clear that its notification did "not preclude" any potential prosecutions in relation to the outbreak.
"Additionally, the receipt of this warning and any action taken to correct the violations cited in it do not preclude a subsequent criminal prosecution by the United States Department of Justice."
Charges rare
When pursuing a prosecution in these circumstances, prosecutors in the US will look for evidence of wilful neglect in the production of food.
Charges in similar circumstances have been rare, despite US officials, on at least one occasion, appearing to be aware of negligence in relation to food borne outbreaks.
No prosecutions were brought after a previous outbreak, caused by American company Peanut Corp in 2008, despite investigators discovering that the company had shipped products which failed food safety tests.
Nine died and more than 700 were taken ill as a result of the Peanut Corp contamination.
Jensen Farms declined to comment on its risk of prosecution when approached by

Not so nuts about allergy epidemic
Source :
By Mandy Squires (Nov 21, 2011)
GEELONG is at the forefront of international research into Australia's food allergy epidemic and could one day deliver a cure for the potentially fatal anaphylaxis.
At Deakin University, researchers are working towards developing an inhibitor that would block the allergic process, while at Barwon Health a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and allergies is being investigated.
The world-first study into the impact of the modern environment on children's health, led by Geelong Hospital paediatrician Peter Vuillermin, is being carried out in collaboration with the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.
Both the Deakin and Barwon Health studies promise to help unlock vital secrets to deadly food allergies.
Western doctors have reported an astounding rise in the number of children with food allergies over the past two decades.
Where once food allergies were almost unheard of, most primary school classes now contain at least one child with anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening form of allergic reaction. New Victorian research has revealed 10 per cent of children have a severe food allergy
Royal Children's Hospital department of allergy allergist Professor Katie Allen, a lead researcher in the groundbreaking HealthNuts study, said food allergies were now so common, worried parents were introducing highly-allergenic foods such as nuts and eggs in hospital carparks.
"In our HealthNuts clinic we must have heard at least half a dozen times that parents sat in hospital carparks giving kids their first taste of peanut butter," she said.
"It's not an urban myth, people really have been doing this."
The HealthNuts study, which tested more than 5000 Melbourne infants for food allergies had shocked medical authorities with its results, Prof Allen said.
The study was completed in August this year. "We were astounded to find that up to 10 per cent of kids had an immediate reaction to foods they were given, which means they are at risk of anaphylaxis," Prof Allen said.
"We thought it would be between one and 5 per cent and it was twice that." Demand for allergy testing was so high that waiting times at testing facilities around the country were typically a year or more, she said.
However, children under 12 months had "rapid access" to testing.
It was thought the modern, Western environment was playing a part in the rising incidence of allergies in Australian children, Prof Allen said.
"We know that the rise in food allergies is almost certainly something to do with the modern lifestyle and the reason for that is the prevalence of this has occurred more quickly than our genes can change, so it has to be an environmental factor," she said.
"We also know that children born in developing countries have much lower risks of allergies and that children who come here from developing countries have an increased risk of (allergies) when they arrive here."
Dr Vuillermin's Geelong study of 1000 babies could reveal vital clues to the factors behind the rise of allergies in Australian society, Prof Allen said. Dr Vuillermin said the main aim of the study was to identify elements of the modern environment which may have adverse effects on babies' physical development.
Modern chemicals used around the home (for example in cleaning agents), reduced vitamin D levels as a result of more time spent indoors and less exposure to sunlight, increased use of antibiotics and the taking of vitamin supplements in place of a healthy, balanced diet are all possible culprits.
There was also evidence to suggest people were more likely to develop an allergy if they were born in winter rather than summer, Dr Vuillermin said.
Head of Deakin University's NeuroAllergy Research Laboratory at Waurn Ponds, Professor Cenk Suphioglu, said his team of researchers was investigating superallergens with the aim of finding a way of preventing allergic reactions.
"The work we are doing is understanding the sensitisation process of the peanut allergen what makes it such a potent allergen," Prof Suphioglu said.
"We are working on developing an inhibitor which would block or down-regulate the whole allergic process at the cellular level ... lab studies have already shown it is effective but now we need to move into cellular studies using human cells and animal models, and that is obviously a pathway to clinical trials."
Prof Suphioglu said the Deakin team's long-term goal was to identify "a single, one-step cure" for all allergens, not just peanuts.
MORE than 10 per cent of Victorian children have a food allergy.
UP to one in 50 Australian children is at risk of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction to peanuts or peanut-contaminated food.
ALLERGIC rhinitis, or hayfever, affects one in every 10 children aged six to seven years, one in six children aged 13 to 14 years and two in every five adults.ASTHMA affects one in five children and one in 10 adults.
SURVEYS have shown that nearly 3 per cent of Australians have allergic reactions to bee stings (more than just local swelling).
CHILDREN with a cow's milk allergy often have multiple allergies. A Royal Children's Hospital study of 42 infants with cow's milk allergy revealed that 57 per cent also had eczema, 69 per cent had asthma, 67 per cent had an egg allergy and 55 per cent had a peanut allergy. A whopping 83 per cent of the infants demonstrated positive skin-prick tests to three or more allergens.
PEANUT immunotherapy has been found to be effective against peanut allergy in early trials and work towards a reliable treatment is continuing.
PEANUTS are one of the most common foods responsible for food-induced collapse (anaphylaxis).
AUSTRALIA and New Zealand have among the highest prevalence of allergic disorders in the developed world.
A 2007 ASCIA-Access Economics report estimated 4.1 million Australians, or 19.6 per cent of the population, had at least one allergic disease.
IF the Australian population continues to age at its current rate there will be a 70 per cent increase in the number of Australians with allergies, from 4.1 million in 2007 to 7.68 million by 2050, which equates to 26.1 per cent of the population or more than one in four Australians

Hygiene for kitchens: Ensuring quality of outsourced food
Source :
By Pallavi Smart (Nov 21, 2011)
While most canteens in colleges and corporate houses serve outsourced food, it is assumed that the management is not responsible if the food turns bad.
This lax behaviour results in bad hygiene conditions in canteens.
"Most managements feel that as the food is cooked by a third party, it is their responsibility to maintain hygiene. But, the managements forget that it is their responsibility to check if hygiene is maintained by the third party," said Ashwin Bhadri, head, business relations, Equinox Lab, a professional agency working in the hygiene audit sector.
"Under such conditions, if there is food contamination or an unfortunate incident caused by the contamination, the management and food vendor are equally at fault."
Most canteens in offices and colleges do not have kitchens due to space constraints and depend on caterers. The quality of such food is doubtful because the consumer does not know where and how it was cooked.
As the food is cooked outside the company or college premises, the management does not take responsible in case of any problems, such as food turning bad.
The caterer, too, feels that once the food is out of his kitchen, he is not responsible if it gets contaminated.
"Owing to such confusion, there is never proper dialogue between the company or college and the food vendor. While both think it is not their responsibility, hygiene goes for a toss," said Bhadri.
And, this confusion eventually leads to low standards of hygiene at canteens.
"No one knows the name of the caterer in the IIT food poisoning case. Everyone has been associating the incident with the institute. Even if the management is not at fault, the brand name is affected," added Bhadri.

"The management might be under the impression that it is just offering food at subsidised rates. But, as the food is served on their premises, the management is equally responsible in case of any hazard."

WTO Strikes Down Country-of-Origin Labeling
Source :
by News Desk (Nov 19, 2011)
Country-of-origin labeling (COOL), a 2002 idea that was written into law in the 2008 Farm Bill, is a technical barrier to free trade and therefore violates trade agreements the United States has with other countries including Mexico and Canada, the World Trade Organization ruled on Friday.
In other words, the U.S. has lost its COOL with the WTO.
Country-of-origin labeling, which quickly became known as COOL, was a movement that grew like a prairie fire, but as soon as it became American law, first Canada and then Mexico went complaining to the WTO, saying the labeling discouraged imports of their foods.
While COOL was being implemented in the U.S., it's been slowly working its way through the WTO appeal process of naming hearing panels and filing various written and oral arguments.
The final word from WTO is that COOL must go because it is a TBT, or "technical barrier to trade." The U.S. signed a treaty preventing technical barriers to trade in 1979.
In a statement, the U.S. Trade Representative said the White House office was happy meat was an exception from the decision.
"We are pleased that the panel affirmed the right of the United States to require country of origin labeling for meat products," said Andrea Mead, press secretary for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. "Although the panel disagreed with the specifics of how the United States designed those requirements, we remain committed to providing consumers with accurate and relevant information with respect to the origin of meat products that they buy at the retail level. In that regard we are considering all options, including appealing the panel's decision."
The U.S. has 60 days to appeal. The U.S. could ignore the WTO decision, but then Canada and Mexico could ask for tariffs to offset their losses.
Many U.S. agriculture and environmental groups are upset with the decision, which they say violates consumers' right to know where their food comes from.

Future of Organic Food and Agriculture at Risk
Source :
(Nov 17, 2011)
Use of Synthetic Preservatives, Genetically Mutated Ingredients and Weak Animal Welfare Standards Headed for Vote by USDA Panel
The Cornucopia Institute, one of the nation's leading organic industry watchdogs, is urging members of the USDA's National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), in formal testimony, to vote to preserve the integrity of organic food and farming at its upcoming meeting in Savannah, Georgia.
Some of the hot button issues on the agenda, including using artificial preservatives and genetically modified ingredients, would seem Orwellian to many longtime organic farmers and consumers. The forecasted dustup will be debated by a USDA panel, deeply divided between corporate agribusiness representatives and organic advocates. Under the Bush and Obama administrations, the USDA Secretaries have been criticized for appointing a significant number of corporate representatives, whose primary interest appears to be loosening the federal organic standards, allegedly in pursuit of enhanced profits.
"We think this meeting may well decide the fate of organic food and agriculture in this country," said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute, which represents family-scale organic farmers and their consumer allies across the U.S.
The 15-member NOSB is a citizen panel, set up by Congress, to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on organic policy and rulemaking. Upcoming votes concern the use of genetically modified and synthetic additives that have been petitioned for use in organic foods and drinks, including baby foods and formula.
While these synthetics seemingly fail the legal criteria for inclusion in organic foods, the NOSB committee recommending their use is comprised mostly of representatives working for corporations like General Mills and Campbell Soup that have only a sliver of their total sales in the organic food sector.
Additives being recommended for use in organics include nutritional oils manufactured by Martek Biosciences Corporation, part of the $30 billion multinational conglomerate Royal DSM. These oils, genetically modified to provide isolated omega-3 and omega-6 nutrients DHA and ARA, are derived from algae and soil fungus, and stabilized with a wide variety of synthetic ingredients.
When incorporated in infant formula, these oils are processed with a neurotoxic solvent, n-hexane. A byproduct of gasoline refinement, n-hexane is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as a hazardous pollutant. The recommendation to approve Martek's oils, processed with hexane, has industry observers scratching their head since solvents, commonly used in conventional food production, are expressly forbidden in organic food production.
"What is most egregious about the NOSB push to approve the Martek Biosciences Corporation petition is that these DHA and ARA oils are in no way essential in organics, as claimed by Martek," states Cornucopia's Kastel. "Other organic manufacturers have successfully used fish oil and egg yolks as legal and natural alternative sources of supplemental DHA."
According to a poll of nearly 1,500 Seattle area organic consumers, conducted by PCC Natural Markets, the largest member-owned food cooperative in the United States, the overwhelming majority of shoppers would reject organic products with Martek's oils if they knew the manufacturing details of Martek's "Life'sDHA¢ç".
76.4% of shoppers polled in the PCC survey would not purchase organic products with DHA from genetically modified algae, and 88.6% would not purchase organic products if hexane-extracted. If consumers knew that Martek's oils are stabilized with synthetic ingredients, the poll suggests that 78.3% of consumers would reject the products as well.
The NOSB will also vote on a petition allowing the use of the synthetic preservative sulfur dioxide (sulfites) in wine. Winemakers who currently use sulfites are prohibited from using the USDA organic seal on their labels. "Approving sulfites, not only a synthetic preservative but a common allergen, would represent another blow to consumer confidence in the organic label, which has always signified the absence of artificial preservatives," Kastel noted.
The success of a growing number of certified organic winemakers that shun artificial preservatives proves that this synthetic is not essential to making a high quality organic wine.
"If the standards are weakened by the USDA, allowing these synthetics, it will significantly narrow the difference between organic and conventional wine," said Paul Frey of Frey Vineyards. "A major strength of the organic standards comes from consumers trusting that organic foods are wholesome and free from artificial preservatives and other threats to health and environmental stewardship."
Meanwhile, the Livestock Committee of the NOSB, which is refining the standards aimed at ensuring high levels of animal welfare on organic farms, appears to be backing away from adopting strong, enforceable standards for laying hens and other species.
"They are caving to the factory farm lobby, listening to giant vertically integrated egg producers, and ignoring the voice of rank-and-file family farmers," said Tim Koegel, a nationally prominent certified organic farmer producing pastured eggs and chickens. "The NOSB has an opportunity to make organics the true gold standard in terms of animal husbandry but instead might choose to make the organic label a joke."
The proposal for chickens would give animals as little as one square foot of living space. "Like allowing synthetics, this woefully inadequate standard would violate the organic law that requires animals be allowed to exhibit their natural instinctive behaviors," added Koegel. "Hell, those birds will not even be able to fully span their wings, let alone forage outside for insects, seeds and worms."
This is not the first time the organic community, farmers and consumers, have come together to defend the integrity of the organic label. In the mid-90s, when the Clinton Administration first suggested allowing antibiotics, genetic engineering and sewage sludge in organics, over 300,000 citizens recorded their objections with the USDA-and they won.
"We have already received numerous proxies, downloaded from our website ( from organic stakeholders demanding that the NOSB back away from sweetheart deals for corporate agribusiness at the expense of the organic label," affirmed Kastel. "We hope many other folks, who care about organics, will make their voice heard as well."

Fukushima rice banned by Japan
Source :
By Justin McCurry(Nov 18, 2011)
The Japanese government has banned rice shipments from an area of Fukushima prefecture after tests revealed they contained levels of radioactive caesium that exceed safe limits.
It is the first time the government has banned shipments of rice since an earthquake and tsunami badly damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on 11 March, sending three of its six reactors into meltdown in the worst accident of its kind since Chernobyl.
The rice, from the Onami district in the prefecture's north-east, was being prepared for sale but none had found its way on to the market, reports said.

Tests conducted this week showed that a batch of Onami rice harvested in the autumn contained up to 630 becquerels of caesium per kg, compared with the government's safe limit of 500 becquerels per kg.
The finding prompted the government to order the governor of Fukushima prefecture, Yuhei Sato, to halt all rice shipments from the area's 154 farms.
The chief cabinet secretary, Osamu Fujimura, said he had asked Sato to tighten monitoring of rice grown in the area. "If we confirm the safety of the grain in the region, we may consider lifting a ban on shipments," he said.
"The rice in question was caught before shipments. Not even a single grain from the patch is in circulation."
Sato said: "I can tell you that you don't have to worry at all about rice that has already been shipped." Last month, however, he had given assurances that rice from Fukushima was safe following tests on batches grown in 48 parts of the prefecture, including Onami, located about 40 miles (60km) from the plant.
Onami accounted for 1.8% of Fukushima's total rice crop and the radiation levels, while above the government's safety threshold, did not pose a risk to health, reports said.
But the discovery is certain to reignite concern over the safety of food from the Fukushima area and the authorities' ability to ensure tainted produce does not go on sale.
In July the government banned all shipments of beef from the prefecture after meat from more than 500 cows that had been fed contaminated straw was sent to other parts of the country.
Bans have been imposed on some vegetables and milk, and elevated levels of radiation have been found in green tea grown 250 miles from Fukushima Daiichi.
Supermarkets in Tokyo are divided over whether to accept rice from Fukushima. Some stores and wholesalers have taken advantage of the grain's comparatively low price but only five supermarket chains are selling it in the capital.
The radiation scare is unlikely to affect rice distribution in Japan. Fukushima prefecture produced almost 440,000 tonnes of rice last year - the fourth-largest source in the country - and the Onami district accounts for just 192 tonnes of the nationwide total.

Cozy Vale Creamery's Raw Milk Linked to Three E. coli Illnesses in Washington
Source :
by Bill Marler (Nov 24, 2011)
Cozy Vale Creamery's raw milk products are being recalled because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 after being linked to three illnesses.
The Cozy Vale Creamery's whole and skim milk and cream are distributed through seven retail outlets in Pierce, Thurston and King counties. The products being recalled all have sell-by dates of December 6 or earlier.
The recall was begun after Washington State Department of Agriculture environmental swabbing at the facility discovered that locations in the milking parlor and processing areas were contaminated with the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.
Three illnesses have been reported in Cozy milk customers since August.
They products were sold retail at the farm store and at Marlene's Market in Tacoma, two Olympia Food Co-Op locations in Olympia, Olympia Local Foods in Tumwater, Yelm Co-op in Yelm, Mt. Community Co-op in Eatonville and Marlene's Market in Federal Way.
According to the dairy's advertising:
Cozy Vale Creamery is located on 76 acres in the hills of Tenino, Washington. We are a licensed Grade A Raw Milk Dairy. At our micro dairy, we milk several different breeds of milk cows that we find are more suitable to thriving on grass pastures. Jersey's, Milking Shorthorns, Ayrshire's & Brown Swiss cows graze lush pastures all year long.
Cozy Vale Creamery is a family-owned small farming enterprise. The farm produces a variety of agricultural products including, grade A raw cows milk, grass fed meats (angus steer, katahdin lamb). The family is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and strive to be responsible stewards of the land.
All natural, no pesticides or herbicides on fields, no antibiotics or hormones used. Mainly grass fed with tiny amounts of grain fed.

St. Louis E. Coli Victims Are Home for Holidays
Source :
by Dan Flynn (Nov 23, 2011)
It's been nearly a month since Missouri issued a health alert over an increase in reported Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) illnesses in the St. Louis area, and the one positive development is that none of those infected will be spending Thanksgiving in the hospital.
Four more cases of E. coli O157:H7 matching the outbreak strain have been confirmed in the past 10 days, so the number of people sickened has risen to 36, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). About two-thirds of the ill people required some hospital treatment.
"We are not aware of any cases still being hospitalized," Jacqueline Lapine at DHSS told Food Safety News. With the number of infections appearing to level out at 36, Lapine said sixty-one percent of those who became ill in St. Louis were female. They ranged from one to 94 years old.
Two residents of Columbia, MO, located halfway across the state west of St. Louis, are included as "confirmed cases" in the St. Louis outbreak. Two other recent cases of E. coli O157:H7 in Columbia are not included in the 36.
"Officials cannot, at this point, say conclusively that there is 'a connection' or 'no connection' between the St. Louis area outbreak and the Boone County (Columbia) cluster," the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health says. "While it cannot be linked to common source at this time, investigators continue to explore all possibilities."
What caused the outbreak remains a mystery.
Early on, it looked like Missouri was going to trace the cause of the St. Louis E. coli outbreak in short order. Most, but not all, of those who became ill reported eating at one of the popular salad bars operated by the St. Louis-based Schnucks grocery store chain.
With 66 stores, Schnucks is the dominant salad bar operator in the St. Louis metropolitan area. In the first week after announcing the outbreak, Missouri officials were collecting food samples from the Schnucks salad bars and eventually tested 55 separate food items.
All were negative for E. coli.
Schnucks on Oct. 31 said it was changing out all the products sampled anyway, just to be sure, while noting that nothing had come back positive for E. coli and no original source for the E. coli contamination had been pinpointed.
That remains true today. Saturday will mark one month since officials went public with the outbreak.
That leaves the investigation in a tough spot. It generally becomes harder to find the origin of an outbreak once it is over. Missouri officials, with help from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), say they are "moving further up the food distribution chain."

E. coli Week - Raw Milk, Bagged Salad and St. Louis
Source :
by Bill Marler (Nov 20, 2011)
Raw Milk - Organic Pastures Dairy had its raw milk products recalled and quarantined after E. coli sent three children to hospitals. The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced the recall and quarantine on Tuesday. Interviews with the families of five children infected with the strain between August and October indicated the only common food exposure was to Organic Pastures raw milk, state officials said.
The sickened children are residents of Contra Costa, Kings, Sacramento and San Diego counties.
Three of the children were hospitalized with a condition that may lead to kidney failure. State officials did not indicate whether any of them remained hospitalized and did not release their current condition. No deaths have been associated with the recall.
It's the second time the Fresno County dairy has been the subject of a recall. In 2006, Organic Pastures was ordered to stop selling unpasteurized milk products after four children were sickened with E. coli and three were hospitalized.
Bagged Salad - California salad company Ready Pac Foods has recalled more than 5,000 cases of bagged salad with romaine lettuce because of E. coli contamination, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday.
The salads were distributed to 15 Western states.
The company, based in Irwindale (Los Angeles County), issued the recall after a random government test showed that lettuce had been contaminated with E. coli bacteria.
The salads, branded as Ready Pac, Dining In, Raley's, Trader Joe's or Safeway lettuce, have a sell-by date of Nov. 18. The company recalled 5,379 cases. A complete list of recalled products can be found at
E. coli is usually caused by fecal contamination and can cause food poisoning. No illnesses have been reported because of the Ready Pac contamination, the FDA said.
St. Louis - New numbers from the St. Louis Department of Health:
Number of Missourians confirmed to have E. coli connected to the St. Louis investigation: 35
Number of food samples, connected to the St. Louis outbreak, tested to date: 55
Number of food samples confirmed to have E. coli: 0

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