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Peanut plant closed after feds find more salmonella
Source : http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/14/14424815-peanut-plant-closed-after-feds-find-more-salmonella?lite#__utma=238145375.1260771225.
By JoNel Aleccia, NBC News (Oct 14, 2012)
Federal health officials have detected salmonella in bulk raw and roasted peanuts produced by a New Mexico supplier and in an associated nut butter facility,
all tied to an outbreak of food poisoning that has sickened nearly three dozen people and sent potentially contaminated products to major retailers across the
Sunland Inc. of Portales, N.M., expanded its ongoing recall to include raw and roasted shelled and in-shell peanuts sold in quantities ranging from 2 ounces
to 50 pounds, including products within current shelf life and those with no expiration date, Food and Drug Administration officials announced Saturday.
As of Oct. 5, the outbreak of salmonella Bredeney linked to the company's peanut products had sickened 35 people in 19 states and sent eight to the hospital.
Nearly two thirds of those affected were children younger than 10, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illnesses have been tied
to those who ate Trader Joe's Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with Sea Salt.
FDA officials previously had detected salmonella in the environment of the plants that make products sold to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Harry & David and a
slew of other processors and retailers across the country. But officials now have found salmonella in the main plant's raw and roasted bulk peanuts and they've
also detected the outbreak strain of salmonella Bredeney in the nut butter plant.
Sunland has ceased production and distribution from both its nut butter and peanut processing plants, FDA officials reported.
The raw and roasted peanuts available to retail customers were distributed under the company's own name and sent to numerous large grocery and retail chains.
The number of products associated with the company’s recall has continued to expand over recent weeks, climbing to more than 240. On Monday, Think Thin
bars issued a recall of bars link to the peanut recall, according to supermarket chains Giant Food and Stop & Shop. A full list of recalled products can be found
Consumers should not eat any products associated with Sunland and should discard them immediately, FDA officials warned. That is especially important for
children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, who are most vulnerable to dangerous salmonella infections.

Smoking Peanut” – Salmonella Found in Sunland Plant
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/smoking-peanut-found-in-sunland-plant/
By Drew Falkenstein (Oct 13, 2012)
Salmonella Bredeney found in Sunland plant – match to ill people.
The FDA announced today that, on October 12, Sunland Inc. expanded its ongoing recall to include raw and roasted shelled and in-shell peanuts sold in quantities from 2 ounces to 50 pounds which are within their current shelf life or have no stated expiration date.
The CDC has announced that a total of 35 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney have been reported from 19 states.  Eight ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.  63% percent of ill persons are children under the age of 10 years.
Since late September, the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health officials have been investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney infections linked to a peanut butter made by Sunland Inc.  As part of the continuing investigation, the FDA has been inspecting the Sunland Inc. production facilities, which include a building in which peanuts are processed and a separate building in which nut butters are made.
FDA testing has found the presence of Salmonella in raw peanuts from the peanut processing facility.  Environmental samples taken from this building also show the presence of Salmonella. Environmental samples are samples taken from various surfaces in the production or manufacturing facility that would likely harbor bacteria.
Additionally, FDA analysis has confirmed that environmental samples showing the presence of Salmonella in Sunland’s nut butter facility have a DNA fingerprint that is the same as the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney.
Sunland Inc. reports that it has ceased the production and distribution of all products from both its nut butter facility and its peanut processing facility.
A list of all products being recalled by Sunland Inc. can be found in the company’s recall announcement, and press release.

If it’s Saturday, it must be Salmonella!
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/if-its-saturday-it-must-be-salmonella/
By Bill Marler (Oct 13, 2012)
Salmonella has been busy the last several weeks – mangoes, cantaloupe, peanut butter and a Mexican restaurant in Vancouver Washington.  Here are some more Salmonella outbreaks and recalls that hit my inbox this morning – Salmonella Salmon update and red pepper and ginger recalls and some dog biscuits too.
Foppen Smoked Salmon
One elderly patient has died and more than 500 people have been sickened in a major salmonella outbreak caused by tainted salmon.  The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment said in a statement Saturday tests have confirmed one death and another fatality is under investigation.  The institute announced earlier this month that the outbreak had been traced to Dutch company Foppen and ordered its products pulled off shelves at stores across the Netherlands.  It now says the number of people sickened by tainted salmon before the recall has risen to at least 550.  Costco Wholesale Corp., which sells Foppen products in the United States, also recalled salmon products.  The CDC announced 85 Salmonella Thompson cases, but did not link the illnesses to the salmon – yet.
S & P Red Pepper
S & P Company, Limited of Paramount, CA is recalling 150 cases/1,800 jars of Su-nun Crush Roasted Thai Red Pepper, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.  The Su-nun Brand Red Pepper was distributed in the Los Angeles Area Grocery stores (between July of 2012 to October 2012) including Bell and Long Beach, Rockford, IL, Phoenix, AZ, Omaha, NE and Brooklyn, NY.  The Su-nun Brand Red Pepper ‘Super Hot’ 10.58 oz. is in Flake form packaged in a clear plastic jar with a red plastic screw-on lid. There is a clear plastic heat shrink and red and yellow label. Barcode 659613000770.
Clef Des Champs Ginger
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume certain Clef Des Champs brand Organic Ground Ginger because these products may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.  The following Clef Des Champs brand Organic Ground Ginger products are affected by this alert:

Canadian food safety system will face U.S. audit
Source : http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Canadian+food+safety+system+will+face+audit/7386990/story.html
By John Cotter, The Canadian Press  (Oct 13, 2012)
The federal agency responsible for protecting Canadians from food safety hazards will itself soon be under the microscope.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirms it is to be audited later this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the first time in three years.
The agency says the USDA audit is to include a visit by U.S. inspectors to the XL Foods beef packer in Brooks, Alta. The plant has been involved in a massive meat recall prompted by an E. coli scare. A strain of the bacteria linked to XL has made 15 people in four provinces sick.
Guy Gravelle, a CFIA spokesman, said the audit has been planned for months and was not prompted by the recall.
But he explained that it could play a role in whether XL will be allowed to resume beef exports to the United States if the plant gets relicensed by the CFIA to fully operate again.
"If they have recently visited the facility and have deemed that it has met their standards for food safety and guidelines, I would imagine it would be fairly straightforward for them to accept the fact that it meets the standards that it requires before product is exported there," Gravelle said Friday from Ottawa.
Canada suspended the XL plant's permit to export beef products into the United States on Sept. 13 at the request of the USDA because of E. coli contamination concerns.
The U.S. is a key market for the company. The XL Foods recall south of the border involved more than 1.1 million kilograms of beef sold by 23 grocery store chains in more than 30 states.
On Thursday, the CFIA announced the first stage of what it called a progressive restart of the plant that was shut down on Sept. 27.
The agency is allowing workers in the plant to cut meat from 5,100 beef carcasses under increased supervision and tougher E. coli testing standards, but no meat can leave the facility.
Gravelle said processing has started; however, test results from the meat won't be available until early next week.
The CFIA has given no timeline on when the plant might be allowed to accept live cattle again or ship beef products to market.
"When and if the plant's operating licence is reinstated, XL Foods may request access to the U.S. market again," he said.
The USDA audit may involve visits to other beef plants, as well as poultry and pork facilities.
Canada exported more than $4 billion worth of beef and pork in 2010, much of it to the U.S.
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Food safety: Why going to your supermarket may be more dangerous than you think
Source : http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2012/10/11/14349946-food-safety-why-going-to-your-supermarket-may-be-more-dangerous-than-you-think
By MSN (Oct 11, 2012)
Melissa Lee’s 10-month-old daughter, Ruby, became desperately ill last year after eating ground turkey tainted with salmonella. She was just one of 48 million Americans sickened by tainted food last year. Three thousand died. Ruby recovered, though doctors say she may have some lasting effects.
“You shouldn’t have to worry that what you’re eating is going to kill you,” Lee told NBC senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency responsible for food safety, actually inspects only 6 percent of food facilities in this country. Most food safety inspections are done by private companies hired by the food industry, and according to an investigation by Bloomberg Markets magazine, in too many cases they've failed to stop illnesses and deaths.
“We found case after case where private inspectors were going in and saying everything was fine and great even as people were dying or right before they died, which shows there is something wrong with the system,” says Stephanie Armour of Bloomberg Markets magazine.

Redford rejects calls for public inquiry into tainted beef
Source : http://www.edmontonjournal.com/life/beef+plant+allowed+resume+some+operations/7375090/story.html
By Jamie Komarnicki, Calgary Herald (Oct 11, 2012)
Premier Alison Redford shot down calls from opposition parties and the union representing workers at the XL Foods plant for a public inquiry to get to the bottom of the huge beef recall stemming from E. coli tainted product at the Brooks facility.
“Every single time that something doesn’t go well, we don’t need to have a public inquiry,” Redford told reporters in Calgary Thursday.
“We have to learn, we have to take the time to sort out what has happened, where we can improve systems, where the CFIA can improve systems, where commercial enterprises may be able to improve systems,” she said.
“Every single time does not require a public inquiry and I certainly won’t be supporting a public inquiry.”
The premier’s comments come the day after the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 called for the public probe, claiming better training and work conditions are required to ensure meat is safe.
But a statement from XL Foods late Wednesday said the company has an “open door policy” for workers and welcomes input on plant operations.
“I am saddened that the UFCW has chosen to attack the workmanship of its many members,” co-CEO Brian Nilsson said in the statement.
“We have extensive training programs for new workers and hold our workers in the highest regard for their abilities,” he said.
According to Nilsson, XL’s line speeds are “less than industry average” for a plant the size of the Brook facility, which processes about 4,000 cattle a day.
Meanwhile, two weeks after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency temporarily pulled the XL Foods plant’s operating licence, workers are now back on the line today.
The federal agency is allowing workers to process more than 5,000 carcasses from cattle slaughtered in the days before the plant was temporarily shuttered.
The processing, which will take place under close CFIA watch, will also allow the federal agency to scrutinize whether the plant has improved its food safety controls, said Dr. Harpreet Kochhar, the CFIA’s executive director of western operations.
“This will allow the CFIA to review in a controlled manner the company’s improvements made to all previously addressed deficiencies,” he said.
The processed meat won’t be allowed to leave the plant at this point, said Kochhar.
The plant won’t be allowed to get completely back to work slaughtering and processing new cattle until the CFIA confirms in writing that it’s safe to do so, he added.
Redford called Thursday’s development good progress.
It’s “very good news to see that we’re going to be able to see activity that’s going to generate economic support for beef produces in Alberta very soon,” she said.
The premier said while Alberta’s cattle producers may face some difficulties in the wake of the beef recall crisis, the province has an insurance fund in place that will support the industry.
The Brooks plant is at the heart of a massive beef recall, that’s seen hundreds of products yanked off shelves in Canada, the United States and as far away as Hong Kong.
Its operating licence was suspended Sept. 27.
According to public health officials, 12 cases of E. coli poisoning, including seven in Alberta, have been genetically linked to the specific strain of E. coli 157: H7 found during investigation of contaminated meat at the XL plant.
At the request of XL Foods, CFIA inspectors began an in-depth review of the plant this week to see if it was ready to get back to work.
That review determined the plant has been sanitized, and condensation, ice build up and drainage issues have been fixed, Kochhar said.
The plant will be subject to “enhanced inspection,” including two inspectors — in addition to the 40 inspectors and six veterinarians already working full time at the plant — who will “focus on oversight of E. coli controls, sanitation, general food hygiene,” Kochhar told reporters Thursday.
The meat being processed starting Thursday comes from the roughly 5,100 cattle slaughtered in the day’s leading up to the plant being shuttered, said Kochhar.
According to Kochhar, 99 per cent of that beef tested negatively for E. coli. The carcasses with E. coli contamination — and the carcasses that came before and after it on the line — have been destroyed, he added.
NDP Leader Brian Mason said Thursday the province must account for a grant it gave XL to speed up production, and whether proper steps were taken to ensure federal inspection kept pace with increased speed.
In 2011, XL Foods was given a $1.6-million grant for upgrading its facility and to double its per-day capacity for ground beef.
“The government did not take into account the impact the grants would have on food safety, nor was there an understanding or appreciation for the capacity of inspection and how it needed to be increased,” he said.
But Redford said the Tory government’s job is to spur economic development in the province.
“I think that Mr. Mason needs to better understand a commercial project such as this before he makes those comments,” she said.
“XL is a commercial entity. They make the decisions they make. Our job is to create an environment in this province where we have strong economic conditions.”

On the Border by the numbers: 46 Sick with Salmonella virchow
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/on-the-border-by-the-numbers-46-sick-with-salmonella-virchow/
By Bill Marler (Oct 11, 2012)
Lynn Terry of the Oregonian reports this afternoon that the Salmonella outbreak traced to a Mexican restaurant in Vancouver, Washington has continued to grow.
Clark County Public Health officials have confirmed 13 cases of salmonella poisoning and 33 probable cases.  Three people were hospitalized after eating at On the Border, located at 1505 S.E. 164th Ave. Two of them have been released.
Both patrons and employees were infected. Lab tests so far have confirmed that at least two people were infected with Salmonella virchow, which is rare in the Northwest. In fact, there have never been any cases in Clark County. But the strain has infected people in Europe, including in London in 2000 in which a food handler passed the bacteria to sandwiches that infected patients.

Beef moves too fast at Alberta meat plant, cleanliness suffers: union
Source : http://www.globaltvedmonton.com/canada/beef+moves+too+fast+at+alberta+meat+plant+cleanliness+suffers+union/6442730957/story.html
By Bill Graveland, (Oct 10, 2012)
BROOKS, Alta. - The union for workers at an Alberta meat packer shut down over E. coli concerns says the pace of slaughter operations forces workers to take shortcuts around cleanliness and puts the health of beef-eating Canadians at risk.
Doug O'Halloran, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401, says the processing line at the XL Foods Lakeside plant in Brooks moves too quickly and he wants to see a public inquiry into the problems that led to the plant's shutdown.
O'Halloran told a news conference Wednesday that between 300 and 320 carcasses go by workers every hour and employees make between 3,000 and 4,000 cuts a shift. That has resulted in less time in which to make sure knives are sanitized after each cut.
"It's just not enough time," O'Halloran said. "We are calling on Lakeside to take it seriously. You can replace all the aluminum, all the stainless steel you want at the plant, but if you don't give your workers the tools to perform the job properly, we're not going to solve this problem."
O'Halloran cited other examples of poor hygiene at the plant.
He said cattle are supposed to be washed before they enter to ensure their fur is free of manure. But sometimes the water is not hot enough to get off all the excrement.
He also said excrement from the cattle has backed up on the killing floor at times and forced workers to traipse through the waste and track it through the plant.
O'Halloran said the plant's increasing reliance on temporary foreign workers is also a problem. The company has not worked with the union to ensure the workers are properly trained and know what their rights are, he added.
The union boss said whistleblower protection is needed for workers who are afraid to speak out about problems for fear of reprisal.
"Lakeside, you've got one chance to get this correct. We understand you're spending lots of money, but you're still not listening to the people who are the most important in your food safety — the workers who are doing the job.
"They are going to get you through this day and it's time you woke up and listened to them."
XL Foods CEO Brian Nilsson could not be reached for comment but issued a news release Wednesday saying the company has an open-door policy for its workers and has always welcomed their input on plant operations.
"I am saddened that the UFCW has chosen to attack the workmanship of its many members," Nilsson said. "We have extensive training programs for new workers and hold our workers in the highest regard for their abilities."
He said XL runs its line speeds at less than industry average for a plant of its size.
There were about 80 front-line workers from the plant packed into the media conference room at a Brooks hotel. Most refused to comment, saying their English was poor or they were fearful of getting into trouble.
Wilfer Garcia, who has been working at X-L for close to two years after coming to Canada from Colombia, expressed sympathy for those on the line.
"To do a piece of meat, they need, say, 30 seconds to do each one, but because there's less people, more pieces are coming and they have to put pieces on top of the other ones. It makes a problem," said Garcia, who works in packing.
Even if several employees don't show up for work, the pace and expectations remain the same, Garcia said.
"One way or another there's not enough employees for the 4,000 pieces that they process every day," he added.
Nilson issued a statement earlier this week saying the company had fixed the problems that forced food safety officials to shut down the plant. He expressed regret over "the illnesses caused by the consumption of beef products."
Inspectors with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency were at the plant on Tuesday for what was termed a pre-inspection. A report from that visit was being reviewed Wednesday.
Agency spokeswoman Lisa Gauthier said the pre-inspection is just one step in a multi-step process to determine if the plant is safe to resume operating.
O'Halloran said the food agency and the federal government share some of the responsibility for what has happened.
He said while the 46 agency staff the federal government says are positioned at the plant do a good job, they are overworked and don't have the authority they need to shutter operations when things go wrong.
"Somebody better wake up and put some teeth in the CFIA because they don't have any teeth now."
Although the workers have been paid for 32 hours a week since the plant has been shut down, it's a far cry from the 40 most work on a regular basis.
“You don't know where your money is coming from," added Christa Josephson.
Her friend, Jenn Lupanko, said the workers wake up every day hoping to hear some good news. The uncertainty has been tough, she said.
"It's quite difficult when you have a family and you have rent and bills and cars, but you do what you have to do," she added.
"But I think it will be fine. I think Lakeside will come out of this and it will be better than it was."
Gil McGowan with the Alberta Federation of Labour and Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason said the province has a roll to play in pushing for more oversight.
"Our provincial government has to do more than act as cheerleaders for the industry," McGowan said.
"This has damaged the brand of Alberta beef in a way that has been very, very serious," added Mason.
To date, 12 people in four provinces have been infected by a strain of E. coli that has been linked to the plant. The latest case is in Quebec, the Public Health Agency of Canada said Wednesday.
The bacteria in beef from the Brooks plant was first discovered in tests done by U.S. officials at the border on Sept. 3.
The U.S. stopped accepting shipments of beef from the company on Sept. 13. A recall of ground beef was eventually issued Sept. 16 and has been expanded numerous time.
On Wednesday, more products were added to the list — Janet's Jerky sold in New Brunswick and a type of corned beef sold at l'Entrepot de Viandes in Quebec.
The CFIA revoked the plant's operating licence on Sept. 27.
More than 1,800 XL Foods products have been recalled across Canada, along with more than 1.1 million kilograms of beef exported to the U.S. and 20 other countries.
Simply allowing the plant to reopen will not solve all of the problems that the recall and closure have caused the beef industry.
Officials estimate the Brooks facility sends about 60 per cent of the beef it slaughters to the United States. More than two dozen retail chains in more than 30 states are involved in the beef recall.
The XL plant in Brooks has 2,200 workers, the town's largest employer.
O'Halloran did commend the company for paying workers during the shutdown.
Brooks Mayor Martin Shields said there hasn't been much of a ripple effect in the community since workers are still getting paid.
"Brooks is a little sensitive to a lot of the negativity that is being focused on our community that we don't think is accurate," he said. "Does this add to that negativity? Yes, but we believe the cattle operation will be back. "
A lot of the union's complaints are not new, Shields added.
"People have a short memory because I've heard this with the previous owner and the owner before that. To me, this is a union lobbying for things that they want," he said.
"It's an opportunity for them to gain some air time for their issues and their issues can be very valid, but to me that's a union employee and a business issue and it is up to them to work that out.
"What you see is concern and the workers are anxious: 'Am I going to go back to work? Do I have a job?' Because the rumours are just unrelenting in what could happen. If you're a worker there you're absolutely concerned.
"I'm optimistic the plant will be reopened soon."
Read it on Global News: Global Edmonton | Beef moves too fast at Alberta meat plant, cleanliness suffers: union

XL Foods union calls for inquiry as E. coli cases hit 12
Source : http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2012/10/10/calgary-xlfood-union-talks.html
By CBC News (Oct 10, 2012)
The union representing workers at XL Foods Inc. is calling for a public inquiry into the massive beef recall at the company's meat-packing plant in Brooks, Alta.
Doug O'Halloran, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401, said the federal government is to blame for cutting back on much-needed funding.
"We don't think the government can do the inquiry, we think they are part of the problem," he said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
O'Halloran said Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors are doing a good job, but added there needs to be more of them.
He also voiced concerns that CFIA inspectors don't have the authority to shut down a line if they think there is a safety concern.
O'Halloran said employees have been getting paid since the closure of the plant, and urged employee involvement going forward.
“It’s tragic that we had to have this situation, but I think in the long run we’re going to have an industry that’s better, that’s greater," O’Halloran said.
"We want to work with XL, we want them to be part of the solution, but they’ve got to listen to the workers.”
Employees speak out
XL Foods employee Wilfred Garcia says workers feel pressure to keep production lines moving — sometimes at the expense of food safety practices.
"There's not enough employees for the 4,000 pieces they process every day...and that's why there's this problem too," Garcia said.
XL 'saddened' by union claims
XL Foods released a statement late Wednesday afternoon in response to the union. The company said management has always been open to discuss plant operations with workers.
“I am saddened that the UFCW has chosen to attack the workmanship of its many members. We have extensive training programs for new workers and hold our workers in the highest regard for their abilities,” said co-CEO Brian Nilsson in the release.
The statement also noted that the line speed at XL Foods is within regulatory requirements.
Quebec E. coli illness confirmed
O’Halloran's comments came just before a 12th case of E. coli was confirmed. A Quebec investigation linked an illness in the province two weeks ago to E. coli O157, the strain at the centre of the XL Foods investigation. The affected individual has since recovered.
That brings the total of E. coli cases to 12 — seven cases in Alberta, one in Newfoundland, one in B.C. and three in Quebec — according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
'Culture change needed'
Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, said Wednesday there needs to be a change to the employer's approach to food safety.
"There is a culture in that plant that puts priority on quantity over quality and until that changes we’re going to continue to struggle," said McGowan.
Keith Warriner, director of the University of Guelph’s food safety and quality assurance program, said there has been a lot of finger-pointing over food safety at the plant.
“In a lot of ways, it’s passing the buck,” said Warriner.
“Workers passing the buck to the management, management passing the buck to the CFIA.”
Warriner also said it was “obvious” to him the CFIA is complacent in stepping back.
XL Foods silence 'damaging'
Alberta's Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith said XL Foods’ silence over the E. coli problems at the Brooks, Alta., plant has been damaging. “I think that the principal responsibility now for communicating with the public comes down to the company,” said Smith.
“I'd like to see XL Foods, someone, stand up in a press conference with the regulators at their side and talk about what they're doing to restore confidence to make people aware that they've taken this seriously, they apologize for it.”
Smith also said federal and provincial officials may not have done everything possible to deal with the situation.
Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason said repeated comments from federal officials that the system works well were ridiculous.
“They're not interested in getting to the facts and finding out what went wrong and being honest and straightforward and transparent with the public about something as important as the safety of the food that they eat and serve their children," said Mason.
"We need to have an inquiry and find out what in fact went wrong.”
The Lakeside Packers plant shut down Sept. 26 after the CFIA linked the facility to several beef products tainted with E. coli. More than 1,800 products have been recalled.
CFIA expanded its beef recall again Wednesday night to include some beef jerky sold in New Brunswick and corned beef sold in Quebec. Product details can be found on the CFIA's website.
Agency officials said they will check safety controls and determine if XL Foods has fixed the problems that were uncovered by federal inspectors.
On Tuesday, XL Foods said it had addressed all the safety issues and concerns raised by the CFIA.
"The company has completed implementing corrective action requests issued by the CFIA following the findings of their investigation," XL Foods said in a statement.

Food safety expert offers tips
Source : http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90782/7970310.html
By Xie Fangyuan (Oct 09, 2012)
Professor Ma Zhiying is a food safety expert, so he pays a lot of attention to the food scandals that have rocked Shanghai and China in the past few years. He's especially interested in helping consumers learn to eat a safe and healthy diet.
Ma is technical director of the Shanghai Food Research Institute and director of Shanghai Food Association Committee of Experts. He has more than 30 years' experience in food safety.
Overshadowing all scandals was the San Lu baby milk powder scandal in 2008 when melamine, an industrial chemical, was added to raw milk to fake its protein level, making it appear protein-rich. At least six infants died nationwide and at least 300,000 were sickened.
Most recently, five scandals in the past three months have dulled the image of Shanghai-based Bright Dairy, one of the city's most recognized and trusted brands selling a range of dairy products. A cheese product for children was recalled after an unauthorized additive was found. In September it had to recall batches of sour milk.
The company has issued apologies, saying it fixed the problem and promised to restore customer confidence.
A government safety regulator called on Professor Ma to investigate and he called the case of contaminated milk "an accident of production."
"The tap of a cleaning valve joining a production pipe is supposed to be closed, but it opened by accident," Ma tells Shanghai Daily about Bright Dairy's contaminated milk. "It was caused by a nonhuman error beyond control."
Many people are looking for guidance on what's safe to eat, and there's all kinds of material published in books and on the Internet. It can be bewildering. Ma himself has published two guides that he says will help people eat a safe and healthy diet: "What Is Edible - Strategy of Dietary Safety" (2011) and "What Is Edible - Strategy of Purchasing Safe Food" (2012). Both are in Chinese.
"People always ask me many of the same questions on eating safe and healthy," 63-year-old Ma says. "I want to let them know how to protect themselves."
Ma introduces the concept of "risk analysis," saying it's important to judge whether food is harmful and know how to identify injurious ingredients and the harm they cause.
"Since harmful additives can affect health after an overdose, the amount of all permitted ingredients' upper limits must be set clearly," Ma says. "Dose determines toxicity."
Professor Ma graduated in biochemical engineering from East China University of Science and Technology. Acknowledged for his expertise in research into food biochemistry, food technology and food safety, Ma is a consultant to the Shanghai government departments supervising food safety.
Ma emphasizes that while all injurious substances cannot be completely removed from food, consumers can minimize the potential harm caused by food

Confirmed case of E. col found on Vancouver Island
Source : http://thenelsondaily.com/news/confirmed-case-e-col-found-vancouver-island-21333
By Nelson Daily staff (Oct 08, 2012)
BC has a confirmed case of E. coli O157:H7, the same strain of E. coli observed in the XL Food Inc. food safety investigation said the BC Centre of Disease Control in a written statement Monday.
The BC Centre of Disease Control, receiving confirmation of the lab test, has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Health, regional health authorities, Public Health Agency of Canada, other provincial and territorial colleagues, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to investigate linkages of E. coli O157:H7 with XL food products.
The individual who tested positive is from Vancouver Island and has recovered from the illness.
An investigation into the source is ongoing.
The BC Centre for Disease Control and regional health authorities routinely monitor for and investigate cases of E. coli O157:H7.
There are between 110 to 180 cases of shigatoxin-producing E. coli reported each year to the BCCDC. There has been no increase in the number of cases of E. coli O157:H7 reported in BC in the past few months.
Products contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 can pose a serious public health risk. Consumers are reminded not to eat recalled products and to take precautions to prevent food-borne illness, for example:
• Be sure to cook raw beef thoroughly to a final cooking temperature of at least 71C.
•  Wash your hands before and after cooking
•  Keep knives, counters and cutting boards clean
•  Keep raw meats separate from other foods when you store them
•  Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly.
Consumers are encouraged to check their fridge and/or freezer to see if they have the recalled beef products in their home (see link below to health hazard alert).
If you have any recalled products, discard them or return them to the place of purchase. If you have already prepared and stored this meat, do not consume it. The safest course of action is to throw it away.
E. coli infection may cause mild to severe symptoms including diarrhea and stomach cramps. In severe cases diarrhea may become bloody.
Symptoms start an average of three to four days after exposure to the bacteria, and usually last between five to 10 days. Rarely, it can lead to kidney failure and death.
People thought to be infected caused by E. coli, should see the family doctor for testing, advice and treatment.


Job openings
10/15. Regional Quality Manager - Jamaica, NY
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10/12. Health & Safety, Food & Env Coord – Montreal, Can
10/12. Food Safety Coordinator – Layton, UT
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10/11. Food Safety Reporting Analyst – Minneapolis, MN
10/11. Student Intern - R&D Food Safety – Maplewood, MN
10/10. Food Safety Senior Manager – Elkhart Lake, WI
10/10. Food Safety Supervisor, Mfg – Blue Anchor, NJ
10/10. Quality Mgmt Specialist - Food Safety – Columbus, OH
10/09. Food Safety Auditor – Fairfield, NJ
10/09. Quality Management - Food Safety – Sacramento, CA


Another E. coli Outbreak – Time to Ban Petting Zoos?
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/another-e-coli-outbreak-time-to-ban-petting-zoos/
By Bill Marler (Oct 13, 2012)
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the a death of a child Saturday. So far fourteen children and six adults who attended the Cleveland County Fair have gotten sick with the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.
I penned the below Op-ed earlier this year, I am sure I have missed several other outbreaks that have happened in the United States and around the world, but I think you will see my point. For more information on outbreaks and prevention measures, visit Fair-Safety Dot Com.
Ban Petting Zoos?
Op-ed Bill Marler
I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth over such an un-American suggestion.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the creation of yet another multiagency task force in North Carolina "to evaluate the preventive measures that were in place during the 2011 state fair and to identify additional interventions that could be applied to prevent disease transmission in livestock exhibitions where physical contact with the public might occur." Hmm, didn't that happen after the 2004 North Carolina State Fair E. coli outbreak, which resulted in 187 illnesses, including 15 complicated by hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)?
This latest task force is looking into what happened at the 2011 North Carolina State Fair, held October 13-23 in Raleigh. According to the CDC, 25 cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection were identified with case-patients' illness onsets during October 16-25; median age was 26 years (range: 1-77 years). Eight case-patients (32 percent) were hospitalized; four (16 percent) experienced HUS. Once again, the only exposure associated with illness was having visited one of the permanent structures in which sheep, goats, and pigs were housed for livestock competitions.
After decades of outbreaks, the CDC and a collection of state veterinarians have issued these stern warnings and suggestions about animal exhibits and petting zoos:
- Wash hands after contact with animals to reduce the risk of zoonotic disease transmission.
- Do not allow food, drink, or pacifiers in animal areas.
- Include transition areas between animal areas and non-animal areas.
- Educate visitors about disease risk and prevention procedures.
- Properly care for and manage animals.
But, if history is any guide, guidelines are not working very well. Here is a sample of zoonotic outbreaks over the last decade:
2011 English Animal Farm Outbreak – Cruckley Animal Farm in Foston-on-the-Wolds, England is closing its gates permanently following an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7. The family-run farm was linked to at least six cases of the life-threatening infection as of August 2011. The owners, John and Sue Johnston, expressed sorrow at the illness and stated that "the health and safety of our visitors has always been our top priority," thus with the news the farm was the likely source of illnesses, they decided to close.
2011 Snohomish County Petting Zoo – At least 6 people who visited the Forest Park Petting Zoo in Everett, Washington, in June 2011 became ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections. The Snohomish County Health Department investigated the E. coli outbreak and determined that there was a "clear association between disease and being in the open animal interaction area of the forest Park Animal Farm."
2009 Utah Rodeos Outbreak – Utah state and local health officials and the CDC noted a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 cases in the summer of 2009. The illnesses were associated with attendance to rodeos, but not all the same one. The vast majority of the 14 cases (93 percent) had food histories containing ground beef, unsurprising for rodeo visitors. ?However, a traceback on the meat products provided at the rodeos found no contamination.
2009 Godstone Park Farm and Plan Barn E. coli Outbreak in Surrey, England – A final report of the Outbreak Control Committee of the Surrey and Sussex Health Protection Unit describes an outbreak of E. coli O157 (VTEC O157 PT21/28) occurring in August and September 2009. This was the largest documented outbreak of VTEC O157 associated with farms in the UK. Individuals became infected either through direct or indirect contact with farm livestock.
2009 "Feed the Animals" Exhibit E. coli Outbreak at the Western Stock Show – In January 2009, the Communicable Disease and Consumer Protection Divisions of the Colorado Department of Public Health noticed an increase is in the number of laboratory confirmed cases of E. coli O157. Thirty cases were identified–including nine hospitalizations and 2 cases of HUS. All the children had visited the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.
2007 Petting Zoo E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in Pinellas County, FL – In May and June 2007, seven Florida children were infected with E. coli O157:H7. Six of the children had visited a Day Camp petting zoo, and the seventh was a sibling. Two of the children were hospitalized, all seven recovered. The petting zoo was closed on the recommendation of the health department.
2005 Big Fresno Fair Petting Zoo E. coli Outbreak – At least six children were infected with E. coli O157:H7 – one gravely – visiting the petting zoo at the 2005 Big Fresno Fair. One child was 2 years old at the time of her visit to the petting zoo. She developed HUS and was hospitalized for months. Her kidneys were severely damaged and a series of strokes left her with impaired movement and vision.
2005 Campylobacteriosis Outbreak Associated with a Camping Trip to a Farm – In June 2005, King County Public Health was notified that a several children on a school trip had been ill with diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever following the trip. Campylobacter was isolated from the stool of one ill individual, and later in the week, two more cases of campylobacteriosis were reported in persons who had been on the same camping trip, held at a private farm.
2005 Florida State Fair, Central Florida Fair, and Florida Strawberry Festival E. coli Outbreak – The AgVenture Farms E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was first recognized after two separate HUS case reports were reported to the Florida Department of Health in mid-March. The two cases (a 5-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy) both reported hav?ing visited a fair with a petting zoo (AgVenture) a few days prior to becoming ill. The two children did not have any other common risk factors. A total of 22 confirmed, 45 suspect and 6 secondary cases were reported.
2003 Fort Bend County Fair E. coli Outbreak – Rosenberg, TX – In 2003, 25 people (fair visitors and animal exhibitors) became ill with HUS and one case of a related disease, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. All seven laboratory-confirmed cases had an indistinguishable PFGE pattern, which matched 10 isolates obtained from environmental samples taken from animal housing areas.
2002 E. coli Outbreak at a Petting Zoo in Zutphen, The Netherlands - A young child developed a Shiga toxin 2 producing strain of Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 infection after visiting a petting zoo in Zutphen, The Netherlands. The STEC strains were isolated from the fecal samples from goats and sheep on the farm and were indistinguishable from the human patient isolate.
2002 Lane County, Oregon, Fair E. coli Outbreak – The Oregon Department of Human Services (Oregon, 2002) initially documented a patient with bloody diarrhea, who attended the Lane County Fair held during August 2002. Epidemiologists identified 82 ill persons, 22 who were hospitalized, and 12 with HUS. This is the largest E. coli O157:H7 outbreak recorded in Oregon.
2002 Wyandot County, OH, Fair E. coli Outbreak – The Ohio Wyandot County Health Department received a report of an E. coli O157 outbreak in September 2001 (CDC memorandum, February, 2002). A total of 92 cases were identified, including 27 laboratory-confirmed E. coli O157 infections. Two cases were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome. Eighty-eight cases reported attending Wyandot County Fair before becoming ill.
2001 Lorain County, OH, Fair E. coli Outbreak – The Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services (CDC memorandum, February, 2002) reported that 23 cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection were associated with the attendance at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in September 2001. Additional cases were identified as likely due to secondary transmission from attendees at the fairgrounds. An investigation associated illness with environmental contamination at the Cow Palace.
2001 Ozaukee County, WI, Fair E. coli Outbreak – The Ozaukee County Public Health Department and Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services (2001) investigated an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with animals at the Ozaukee County Fair in August 2001. A total of 59 E. coli O157:H7 cases were identified in this outbreak, with 25 laboratory confirmed cases (25 "primary cases" and 34 probable cases).
2001 E. coli Outbreak at a Petting Zoo in Worcester, PA – An article published by WebMD Medical News on April 23, 2001 (Bloomquist, 2001), reported an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 among visitors to the Merrymead Farm petting zoo in Worcester, Pennsylvania. In all, 16 children who had visited the zoo contracted E. coli, and it was suspected that another 45 people became ill from the bacteria. The report indicated that one week after visiting the zoo, one of the children came down with violent stomach cramps and was hospitalized.
2000 Cryptosporidiosis Outbreak at a Farm in Wellington, New Zealand – An outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis was linked to a two-day farm educational event in the Wellington region of New Zealand. Twenty-three cases were laboratory-confirmed. The route of infection was most likely from an infected animal.
2000 E. coli Outbreak at a Dairy Farm – Crump et al (2002) discussed an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 among visitors to a dairy farm in Pennsylvania in September 2000. A case control study among the visitors was conducted to identify the risk factors of infection, along with a household survey to determine the rates of diarrheal illness. The total number of confirmed or suspected E. coli O157:H7 cases was 51. The median age among the patients was four. Eight of the cases developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
2000 Snohomish County, WA, Petting Zoo E. coli Outbreak – The Snohomish Health District, Communicable Disease Department (June, 2000) reported five cases of bacterial diarrhea caused by E. coli O157:H7 in children in Snohomish County in May 2000. Three of the children visited a petting zoo several days before they became sick. The fourth child did not visit the petting zoo, but lived on another farm where cattle were raised.
2000 Medina County, OH, Fair E. coli Outbreak – A cluster of E. coli O157:H7 isolates was observed in Medina County, Ohio, in August of 2000. In the case-control investigation, 43 culture confirmed E. coli O157:H7 cases were identified. The environmental investigation suggested that contamination of a section of the water distribution system supplying various vendors was the likely exposure.
So, what do you think should be done?

Vancouver, WA Mexican Restaurant On the Border Closed After Salmonella Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/vancouver-wa-mexican-restaurant-on-the-border-closed-after-salmonella-outbreak/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 11, 2012)
The Clark County Public Health Department is closing the On the Border Mexican restaurant in Vancouver, Washington after an outbreak of Salmonella among patrons. The restaurant is located at 1505 SE 164th Avenue. So far, there are 11 confirmed cases and 5 probable cases associated with this outbreak. Public health officials are asking that anyone who ate at the restaurant between September 20 and October 8, 2012 and experiencing symptoms of salmonellosis contact a health care provider.
The symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include diarrhea, which may be bloody, fever, chills, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. People usually become ill one to three days after infection. Attorney Elliot Olsen said, “facilities that sell food are supposed to ensure that their product is safe. Food contaminated with pathogenic bacteria is not fit to eat.”
Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Health officer said in a statement, “we closed the restaurant this morning as a further precaution to reduce the risk of Salmonella spreading to others. Our staff is interviewing employees and patrons to learn more about the possible source of this outbreak, such as a contaminated food source.”
Since Salmonella infections can spread person-to-person, government officials are stressing the need for thorough hand-washing after using the bathroom, and before and during food preparation. Anyone who is ill should stay home and not prepare food until their symptoms have disappeared.

Daniella mangoes Salmonella outbreak: 143 ill in 15 states
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/daniella-mangoes-salmonella-outbreak-127-ill-in-15-states/
By  Drew Falkenstein (Oct 11, 2012)
A total of 127 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Braenderup were reported from 15 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows: California (99), Delaware (1), Hawaii (4), Idaho (1), Illinois (2), Maine (1), Michigan (1), Montana (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New York (3), Oregon (1), Texas (2), Washington (8), and Wisconsin (1). Since the last update, six new cases were reported from California. This outbreak includes 16 Salmonella Worthington infections from 3 states: California (12), New Mexico (1), and Washington (3).
Among persons for whom information was available, illness onset dates ranged from July 3, 2012 to September 1, 2012. Ill persons ranged in age from less than 1 year to 86 years, with a median age of 33 years. Fifty-six percent of ill persons were female. Among 101 persons with available information, 33 (33%) patients reported being hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
On September 13, 2012, the FDA warned consumers against eating mangoes from Agricola Daniella, a mango supplier with multiple plantations and a single packing house located in Sinaloa, Mexico. Testing by the FDA has found Salmonella in mangoes from this producer.
FDA has placed Agricola Daniella on Import Alert. This means that Agricola Daniella mangoes will be denied admission into the United States unless the importer shows they are not contaminated with Salmonella, such as by using private laboratories to test the mangoes.

XL Foods E. coli Outbreak Hits 12 in Canada
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/xl-foods-e-coli-outbreak-hits-12-in-canada/
By  Drew Falkenstein (Oct 10, 2012)
XL Foods has recalled millions of pounds of beef products that are contaminated by E. coli O157:H7.  So far, 12 Canadian residents have been sickened in the outbreak.  There are no recognized illnesses–yet–in the United States, despite the fact that XL Foods sent over 2,500,000 pounds of potentially contaminated meat stateside.
According to Canadian food safety authorities, based on all the information collected to date—epidemiological, microbiological and food safety—the following cases of illness are linked to products from XL Foods Inc. or illnesses associated with the XL Foods Inc. food safety investigation: 
•Alberta 7
•Newfoundland and Labrador 1
•Quebec 3
•British Columbia 1
At this time, there are no other cases linked to the specific strain of E. coli O157 observed in the XL Foods Inc. food safety investigation.
More information about products that have been recalled and how that aspect of the investigation has unfolded, including the temporary closure of Establishment 38, is available on the CFIA website.

Cleveland County Fair E. coli Outbreak Investigated; One HUS Case
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/cleveland-county-fair-e-coli-outbreak-investigated-one-hus-case/
By Kathy Will (Oct 10, 2012)
The Cleveland County Health Department in North Carolina is investigating four cases of E. coli poisoning. Health officials say the outbreak may be linked to the Cleveland County Fair. Two of the three patients visited the fair before becoming ill. One of the patients, a 12-year-old boy, milked a cow in the fair’s petting zoo and then ate corndogs. He is now hospitalized in critical condition with HUS and Shigella.
Outbreaks of illness at fairs is not unusual. This year there have been outbreaks of swine flu in people who have attended state and county fairs around the country. Attorney Elliot Olsen has filed E. coli-HUS lawsuits and says, “there needs to be more emphasis on hand sanitation in these situations. Farm animals can routinely carry pathogenic bacteria even if they are not sick themselves. And children, especially, can get sick because the animals often lick their hands, then the children put their fingers into their mouths.” Olsen is a food safety lawyer who represents E. coli and HUS victims nationwide.
Bringing food into animal barns at fairs and petting zoos can lead to cross-contamination. Hand-washing stations are posted around the fair and near the animal bars, with signs encouraging people to wash their hands after touching the animals and leaving the barn.
The symptoms of E. coli food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea which may be bloody, and severe stomach cramps. The patient usually becomes ill about a week after exposure. One of the complications of the illness, hemolytic uremic syndrome, is caused by damage to red blood cells from the Shiga toxins the E. coli bacteria produces. Patients can go into kidney failure and have other serious complications, including stroke, seizures, and heart attack. If you have visited a fair and are exhibiting these symptoms, see your healthcare provider immediately. The complications of this type of infection can be long-lasting, even if your symptoms are mild. Most people need long-term follow up care.