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Keep Cantaloupe in the Fridge
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/keep-cantaloupe-in-the-fridge/
By Kathy Will (Nov 5, 2012)
In the summers of 2011 and 2012, the United States was hit by two deadly food poisoning outbreaks caused by cantaloupe. Bacteria on that product are especially insidious, since they can cling to the webbing on the surface of the fruit. Washing does not remove all of the bacteria. So a study published in the Journal of Food Protection has found that it is crucial that cantaloupe always been refrigerated.
The researchers looked at the behavior of Listeria monocytogenes, the bacteria responsible for the 2011 Jensen Farms cantaloupe outbreak that sickened 147 people in 28 states. At least 33 people died in this outbreak, which was caused by five subtypes of the bacteria.
In the study, whole cantaloupes were inoculated with L. monocytogenes for 10 minutes, then air dried and treated three different ways: unwashed, water washed, and washed with a 2.5% hydrogen peroxide solution. Fresh cut pieces from these melons were refrigerated and left at room temperature for 48 hours.
They found that only the hydrogen peroxide solution reduced the populations of bacteria. And the bacteria was transferred from melon rinds to fresh cut pieces. Finally, increased storage temperatures enhanced the bacterial growth. Researchers said that, “the results of this study confirmed the need to store fresh-cut cantaloupes at 5 degrees C (41 degrees F) immediately after preparation to enhance the microbial safety of the fruit.”
Another study found that immersing cantaloupes in 168 degrees F water for 3 minutes reduced the bacterial count to “almost non detectable levels” according to the scientists. The USDA is researching this treatment to see if it can be used commercially

After E. coli Outbreak, Problems Persist At XL Foods, According to Canadian Health Authorities
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/after-e-coli-outbreak-problems-persist-at-xl-foods/
By Kathy Will (Nov 5, 2012)
After an E. coli outbreak prompted its temporary closure, XL Foods Establishment 38 in Alberta resumed operations last week and was immediately cited with food safety violations by Canadian health authorities.
Inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) monitored plant operations, including the unloading  of animals, animal screening, pre-operation inspections, slaughter, and the cutting and processing of carcasses. “Overall food safety controls were being effectively managed,” inspectors said. But they issued several Corrective Action Requests (CARs) after making the following observations: There was condensation on pipes in the tripe room; water in a sanitizer was not maintained at a high temperature; meat cutting areas were not adequately cleaned; and there was no sanitizing chemical solution in the mats used for cleaning employees’ boots.
Plant management took the following actions to address these concerns: sent potentially contaminated product to rendering, brought sanitizers into compliance immediately, cleaned and sanitized the meat cutting area and added sanitizer to the boot mats. The CFIA has also requested that the company submit corrective action plans that show  how these issues will be addressed over the longer term.
The U.S. Depeartment of Agriculture’s (USDA’S) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) visited the plant on November 2, 2012 and will publicly release its audit findings. Beef produced at the plant has been linked to an ongoing E.coli outbreak that has, so far, sickened 17 Canadians.

Food safety tips for Sandy victims
Source : http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/health&id=8870257
By Ali Gorman (Nov 1, 2012)
BENSALEM, Pa.- November 1, 2012 (WPVI) -- As the massive cleanup from hurricane sandy moves into high gear, there are some important safety tips to keep in mind.
Tom Ryan lives in Brigantine, New Jersey.
He and his family including his father-in-law, a World War II veteran, came to stay with his cousin Janet in Bensalem during the storm.
Now, he's keeping warm by fireplace because Janet hasn't had power since Monday.
"We've been working things out," Janet Gisondi said.
They have a small cooler with essentials and nonperishable food.
But as for food in refrigerator  it's all getting thrown out.
Her neighbors are doing the same.
Food safety experts say if you are without power for 4 hours, most food in fridge will have to go.
Food in freezer can last 24 to 48 hours.
Also, any food exposed to flood water should be thrown out, even cans unless they are thoroughly cleaned
Tom will have to deal with that when he can get home; he already knows his house is flooded.
For now, he's happy everyone is safe.
"As long as you are healthy and the family's good, don't worry about nothing else," Tom said.

A Bit(e) of Spinach and Lettuce E. coli History
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/a-bite-of-spinach-and-lettuce-e-coli-history/
By Bill Marler (Nov 1, 2012)
E. coli outbreaks associated with lettuce or spinach, specifically the “pre-washed” and “ready-to-eat” varieties, are by no means a new phenomenon.  In fact, the frequency with which this country’s fresh produce consuming public has been hit by outbreaks of pathogenic bacteria is astonishing.  By way of illustration, in October 2003, thirteen (13) residents of a California retirement home were sickened, and two (2) people died, after eating E. coli-contaminated, pre-washed spinach; in September 2003, nearly forty (40) patrons of a California restaurant chain fell ill after eating salads prepared with bagged, pre-washed lettuce; and in July 2002, over fifty (50) young women fell ill with E. coli O157:H7 at a dance camp after eating “pre-washed” lettuce, leaving several hospitalized and one (1) with life-long kidney damage.  And this is just a small sampling of the twenty (20) or more E. coli outbreaks since 1995 in which spinach or lettuce was the source.  Several more, including the September 2005 Dole lettuce outbreak, and the infamous September 2006 Dole baby spinach outbreak, appear in the chart below, which is based on information gathered by the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
Date /Vehicle /Etiology /Confirmed /Cases /States/Provinces
Aug. 1993 Salad Bar E. coli O157:H7 53 WA
July 1995 Lettuce (leafy green; red; romaine) E. coli O157:H7 70 MT
Sept. 1995 Lettuce (romaine) E. coli O157:H7 20 ID
Sept. 1995 Lettuce (iceberg) E. coli O157:H7 30 ME
Oct. 1995 Lettuce (iceberg; unconfirmed) E. coli O157:H7 11 OH
May-June 1996 Lettuce (mesclun; red leaf) E. coli O157:H7 61 CT, IL, NY
May 1998 Salad E. coli O157:H7 2 CA
Feb.-Mar. 1999 Lettuce (iceberg) E. coli O157:H7 72 NE
July-Aug. 2002 Lettuce (romaine) E. coli O157:H7 29 WA, ID
Oct. 2003-May 2004 Lettuce (mixed salad) E. coli O157:H7 57 CA
Apr. 2004 Spinach E. coli O157:H7 16 CA
Sept. 2005 Lettuce (romaine) E. coli O157:H7 32 MN, WI, OR
Sept. 2006 Spinach (baby) E. coli O157:H7 and other serotypes 204 Nationwide
Nov/Dec 2006 Lettuce E. coli O157:H7 71 NY, NJ, PA, DE
Nov/Dec 2006 Lettuce E. coli O157:H7 81 IA, MN, WI
May 2008 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 9 WA
April 2010 Romaine E. coli O145 33 MI, NY, OH, PA, TN
March 2011 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 55 AZ, AR, IL, IN, KS, KT, MN, MO, NE

How Concerned Are Consumers about Food Safety?
Source : http://www.foodprocessing.com/articles/2012/concerned-consumers-food-safety.html
By NPD Group (Oct 31, 2012)
Even with frequent food safety outbreaks and recalls, concern levels about the safety of the U.S. food supply remain relatively constant – although there are temporary spikes when news of an outbreak occurs, according to The NPD Group, a Chicago-based market research firm.
NPD's Food Safety Monitor, which continually tracks consumer awareness and concern about food safety issues, shows that for the period from January through August 2012, on average, 60 percent of U.S. consumers were somewhat or slightly concerned about the safety of the U.S. food supply, 25 percent were extremely or very concerned, and 15 percent not concerned at all. The food safety concern levels in 2012 are on par with previous years.
On a bi-weekly basis, when the Food Safety Monitor survey is conducted, there are fluctuations in the percentages of consumers who are not or are concerned about the safety of the U.S. food supply based on whether or not there is a food safety issue in the news, but the annual averages remain relatively constant.
Every other week a representative sample of approximately 500 U.S. adults are asked a series of questions related to food safety, and NPD then issues the results in its monthly Food Safety Monitor.
The NPD Group Food Safety Monitor tracks consumer awareness and concern about food safety issues including salmonella, e coli, mad cow disease, foot and mouth disease, acrylamide, trans fats, mercury in fish, avian bird flu and listeria. Consumers also are surveyed about their eating intentions of foods including fast food burgers, chicken, ham, steak, fish/seafood, breakfast cereals, butter, milk, cookies and more.
Since November 2007, the Food Safety Monitor survey includes this question: "How concerned are you about the safety of the U.S. food supply?" See the answers in the accompanying table.
There are spikes and then a leveling off with specific food safety outbreaks, according to NPD. For example, this past summer, in July and August, there were outbreaks and product recalls involving listeria contamination. In mid-July, a California-based onion plant recalled all onions processed at its plant because of listeria contamination, and since a wide variety of products use the plant's chopped, slivered and peeled onions, there were subsequent recalls of ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook foods issued by supermarkets and manufacturers.
In mid-August, pre-sliced apples distributed by a New Jersey plant to fast-food and grocery chains across the country were among packaged products being recalled due to possible contamination with listeria bacteria.
Listeria is a bacteria that causes food poisoning and is especially dangerous to the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women. Awareness of and concern about listeria peaked during the time the outbreaks were widely reported and then leveled off when the news subsided.
"The impact of a food recall on consumer attitudes and perceptions often depends on the amount of news coverage received, or the severity of the situation in terms of numbers sickened or dead as a result," says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. "Recalls, unfortunately, have become more commonplace, but consumers are creatures of habit. It takes a lot for us to change what we eat."

After Hurricane Sandy, many confront food-safety issues
Source : http://www.neagle.com/article/20121031/NEWS/121039944/1001/NEWS
By NEagle.com (Oct 31, 2012)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- After Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast, people and businesses face the daunting task of recovery. One of the biggest questions they confront is what to do with food, according to a food safety expert in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
In some cases, food may have been exposed to contaminated water; in other cases, electrical power outages may have jeopardized the safety of refrigerated and frozen food, noted Martin Bucknavage, extension food-safety specialist.
"In general, if food has been exposed to flood waters, dispose of them," he said.
"Flood waters can carry a wide variety of hazardous materials – everything from poisonous chemicals to pathogenic bacteria. It can contaminate every food item it touches.
"Never eat food that has come into contact with flood waters. Even food in jars with screw-cap lids should be thrown out because materials can get under the lid area and can be very difficult to clean. It is never worth the risk of trying to salvage a jar of relish or a bottle of ketchup."
Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans or sealed pouches may be salvaged if needed, but only after the containers have been washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water, rinsed and then sanitized in a chlorine bleach solution. Before washing these cans, the labels should be removed, and then after washing, sanitizing and air drying, the containers should be relabeled, Bucknavage advised.
"But use these products immediately," he said. "And throw out any metal containers that are damaged, rusted, swollen or uncleanable. Also throw out all baby food, no matter the type of container. "
If you have food in an unaffected refrigerator or freezer, but that unit has lost power, Bucknavage recommends checking the temperature of the products inside. If the refrigerated food is below 40 F, or the frozen food is still frozen or at a temperature below 40 F, it still should be safe.
Check the temperatures of each item. Slightly thawed frozen food with a temperature lower than 40 F can be refrozen if needed, but that may result in a loss in texture.
"But if that temperature for refrigerated foods has been over 40 F for two or more hours, discard those foods," he said. "There are a few exceptions – foods that still will be safe could include acidic items, such as some vinegar-based dressings with no cream, or dry foods like peanut butter."
Bucknavage said if frozen foods are thawed and have been at a temperature of 40 F for two or more hours, those items should be discarded. "A few exceptions would be concentrated juice and frozen bakery items. Also, discard any packages of food if meat juices from thawed meat or poultry drip on them."
No produce from a garden that has been exposed to flood waters should be consumed, Bucknavage noted.
The safety of drinking water in flood-affected areas also is a serious concern.
Bucknavage advises using only bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters. "If bottled water is not available, water should be boiled for at least one minute," he cautioned. "If it has an off odor or is cloudy, avoid using it.
"If your water comes from a well that you suspect has been contaminated with flood water, that well should be disinfected and tested before resuming use."
Bucknavage recommends washing thoroughly with hot, soapy water and rinsing with clean water any pots, pans, ceramic dishes and metal utensils that came into contact with flood water. "Then sanitize these items by boiling in clean water or immersing them in water with chlorine bleach," he said. "Use one tablespoon of unscented bleach per gallon of water."
Countertops should be washed and sanitized as well. Affected plastic and wooden containers should be thrown away.
"Remember, never taste food to determine if it is safe," Bucknavage said. "If there is any question about the safety of a food item, throw it out."
More information to assist in recovery and clean-up from the recent storm is available online at


Regional food inspectors shut down two establishments this summer
Source : http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/828275--regional-food-inspectors-shut-down-two-establishments-this-summer
By The Record.com (Oct 31, 2012)
WATERLOO REGION — Two eating establishments were ordered closed and another eight were charged, according to a quarterly report by the Waterloo regional health unit.
The number is higher than usual, but Chris Komorowski, regional manager of food safety, said it’s still low considering there are about 2,500 food premises in the region.
“You see ebbs and flows, but it doesn’t mean there is a problem of food safety in the region,” Komorowski said.
The two premises ordered closed are:
 • Kuchen Pops, at 1-32 Mowat Blvd. in Kitchener, for not having a separate, designated handwashing area. The business had been operating out of a home. It closed July 6 and has since reopened in a plaza in Kitchener.
 • The Fiddle & Firkin, at 704-710 King St. E. in Cambridge, for having the temperature of a walk-in cooler at between 12C and 19C — much higher than the recommended 4C. It closed Aug. 1 and reopened two days later.
Over 500 pounds of food was ordered destroyed at the Cambridge restaurant. No food was destroyed at the Kitchener home business, Komorowski said.
Sylvia Greschner, owner of Kuchen Pops, said she started her business of making cakes and candy in her home about a year ago, but wasn’t aware she had to have a separate kitchen for her business.
She said she has moved her business to a strip mall at 153 Country Hill Dr. in Kitchener and recently passed a public health inspection.
“We have started over. We have done everything right now,” she said.
Gerry Quigg, owner of Fiddle & Firkin, said the during a hot summer weekend, their walk-in cooler was not working properly and could not maintain the required low temperatures.
The cooler was fixed and the restaurant reopened, he said.
For a list of the food premises charged, go to the region’s website at www.regionofwaterloo.ca.

After Salmonella Outbreaks, FDA Names Mango a “High Risk” Fruit
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/10/after-salmonella-outbreaks-growers-are-told-mangoes-are-high-risk-fruit/
By Dan Flynn (Oct 31, 2012)
This past summer’s Salmonella outbreak linked to mangoes and subsequent investigation  have ended, but not before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared the fruit to be “high risk,” promising increased inspections at U.S. ports of entry.
FDA has not shared the new high-risk status of mangoes with American consumers, but the USDA-sanctioned National Mango Board is getting the word out to mango growers around the world.
“As a result, look for longer hold time on fruit going through the process,” William Watson, Executive Director for the National Mango Board, said in a letter to the industry. “Unfortunately, these additional inspections are most likely going to be the new norm.”
Watson encouraged mango growers to “double check your protocols and address any shortcomings immediately.”
In late August, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and then FDA discovered Daniella brand mangoes grown in Mexico were likely contaminated with Salmonella.
When the problem was detected, Burlingame, CA –  based Splendid Products recalled certain lots of the Daniella brand mangoes. FDA’s investigation eventually led to recalls by three other mango importers, but those came later on.
In the United States, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the implicated mangoes were responsible for two distinct outbreaks, one involving Salmonella Braenderup, and another involving Salmonella Worthington.
The Salmonella Braenderup outbreak was the larger of the two, sickening 127 people in 15 states. There were no deaths reported, but 33 people involved in this outbreak required hospitalization.
The second, smaller outbreak involving Salmonella Worthington consisted of 16 cases. One ill person had both strains of Salmonella and almost 90 percent said they’d consumed mangoes in the previous week. Victims of this outbreak were from similar states and were sickened during similar time periods as those involved in the larger outbreak, and were connected to the event through interviews.
Hispanics who purchased mangoes at Hispanic markets accounted for many of the ill, especially in California.
One other twist was the Mexican government’s refusal to accept what was obvious to the U.S. and Canada. Mexico’s National Service of Health, Food Safety, and Quality (SENASICA) insisted there was not enough evidence to conclude that mangoes were the source of the Salmonella.
FDA, which was prevented from visiting Agricola Daniella in Sinaloa, Mexico immediately after the recall, did put the mango brand on an Import Alert.  The Sept. 12 alert was for ”Detention Without Physical Examination Of Raw Fresh Fruits And Vegetables Due To The Presence Of Pathogenic Contamination.”
U.S. mango imports from Mexico usually pick up product in March, so there is still time to resolve any strain that has developed between the neighboring countries and large trading partners.
The Mango Board’s Watson says food safety expert Sergio Nieto-Montenegro, a native of Mexico who earned a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University in food science in 2006, will be doing risk assessments both in mango facilities in growing countries and receiving warehouses in the U.S.
Watson said Nieto-Montenegro’s report along with industry input would be used as a guide for determining the next steps for best food safety protocols for mangoes.
Nieto-Montenegro’s Texas-based company is called Hispanic Workforce Management, LLC. He has focused on food safety for companies with Hispanic workforces.
Watson and Splendid General Manager Larry Nienkerk both spoke at the recent Fresh Summit 2012 event sponsored by the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.
According to The Packer, which covers the produce industry, Watson acknowledged that use of Price Look Up (PLU) codes to identify the recall mango lots turned into “ a mess.” Neinkerk’s peers applauded him for the quick recall action taken by his company.
CDC declared the outbreak over on Oct. 11.
Six counties supply 99 percent of the mangoes consumed in the U.S. These include Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Guatemala and Haiti. Mexican mangoes dominate the market from March through August. Mangoes now available come from Brazil and Ecuador.

Standards of Sharjah's food hygiene under fire
Source : http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/standards-of-sharjahs-food-hygiene-under-fire
By Caline Malek (Oct 29, 2012)
SHARJAH // Conditions in many of Sharjah’s restaurants pose a public health hazard, a food safety expert says.
"The general hygiene in Sharjah is totally different to Dubai and Abu Dhabi," said Sven Mostegl, a catering industry professional who used to live in the emirate.
"There is no official or proper communication with the public, which is a big thing."
The emirate has a history of food poisoning cases. Last August, a three-year-old boy died from food poisoning after eating snacks from a cafeteria. He began vomiting a few minutes after eating a samosa and a shawarma bought near his home.
A month later, 10 children and two teenagers were taken to hospital with food poisoning after eating at a fast-food restaurant in a mall.
The next day, a resident died and 15 others required hospital treatment for food poisoning after eating food from an unidentified restaurant. Sharjah Municipality temporarily closed the restaurant two days later.
Mr Mostegl said he had seen extremely poor hygiene at restaurants across Sharjah, after touring round them with a National reporter.
"The worst hygiene I’ve seen in Sharjah food outlets are in restaurants, except in malls," he said. "Arab and Indian restaurants as well as shawarma shops are terrible."
At one, there were no separate preparation areas for different types of food – an invitation to contamination, said Mr Mostegl.
An old, yellow chopping board used for mutton was not cleaned nor disinfected. And the kitchen was warm enough for bacteria to thrive. "It’s about 35°C now, which means bacteria is developing on the chopping board," said Mr Mostegl.
Not only was the kitchen dirty, but the chefs had no handwash and used only one glove to handle food.
"They are also using an aluminium pot to cook the rice, which is dangerous," said Mr Mostegl. "The garbage and preparing areas are also too close to each other."
At a falafel and shawarma outlet, pickles were placed in a large bowl on a public dining table for the chef to use. "This is not allowed"” said Mr Mostegl. "There’s a very strong stench of garlic in the air too."
Rubbish and food were scattered all over the floor, in the dining hall and the kitchen, circled by hundreds of flies.
"There is no handwash, no handsoap and no separated preparation area for the chicken, meat or vegetables," said Mr Mostegl. "The workers aren't wearing any gloves or working dress, and this place is apparently full at night."
As the chef wiped his sweaty forehead with his hand before making a shawarma, he said the shop needed "cleaning up".
“Now’s not the time for people to come visit,” he said. “We have to clean up. We’re usually much tidier.”
But some residents disagree. "I stopped eating out three years ago," said Ali M, who has lived in Sharjah for 10 years. "The level of hygiene is not up to par and there’s a lot of improvement that needs to be made to bring up the standards of the restaurants here."
He and his wife have been let down even by the few restaurants they used to trust. "We both got diarrhoea for four days from one. And the situation has only got worse over the years. Now I just eat at home."
But officials insist they have the situation under control. "The municipality's food control section regularly controls restaurants and cafeterias to make sure they follow safe practices in the preparation of food," said Sultan Al Mualla, the director of the municipality.
"We inspect the workers' personal hygiene, the source of the food, storage, distribution and the disposal of damaged food."
He did not disclose numbers but said food poisoning cases were "rare".
"Especially after the implementation of our food safety programme, which is one of the leading programmes in the Gulf and has achieved excellent results so far."
Complaints about restaurant and cafe hygiene problems can be made to the municipality on 993.

Tips for Keeping Food Safe when the Power Goes Out
Source : http://www.wvnstv.com/story/19967628/tips-on-keeping-food-safe-when-the-power-goes-out-wv-hurricane-sandy-preperation
By WVNSTV.COM (Oct 29, 2012)
Power outages and flooding caused by "superstorm" Sandy could lead to food safety problems and people need to take steps to ensure that their food supply is accessible and safe, federal government officials advise.
"Keeping food at safe storage temperatures in a power outage and away from flood waters is crucial to avoiding foodborne illness in weather emergencies," U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for food safety Elisabeth Hagen said in a USDA news release.
"We encourage residents in the projected path of the storm to include an appliance thermometer, coolers, and dry ice on their Hurricane Sandy preparation checklists. As a last resort for food safety, when in doubt, throw it out," she said.
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Services outlines the food safety steps you should take to prepare for severe weather:
•An appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer can help to determine if food is safe during power outages. The refrigerator temperature should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and the freezer should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
•Store food on high shelves so it will not get touched by contaminated water in case of flooding.
•Pack food tightly together in the freezer. This helps the food stay cold longer.
•Freezing leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately can help keep them at a safe temperature longer.
•Keep coolers on hand to store refrigerated food in case the power goes out for more than 4 hours.
•Buy or make ice and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers. Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
If the power goes out, you should keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if you keep the door closed and a full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours, while a half-full freezer will keep its temperature for 24 hours, according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
If the power stays out for a long time, buy dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
When the power comes back on after a weather emergency, you should check the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer. If it's 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, the food is safe. If you don't have a thermometer in the freezer, check each package of food. If the food still contains ice crystals or is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit when checked with a food thermometer, it can be safely refrozen, the FSIS said.
Throw out any perishable food -- such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items -- that have been kept in a refrigerator or freezer above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two or more hours.
Throw out any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it came into contact with flood water. Containers with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps are not waterproof. Also discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers that may have come into contact with flood water.
Wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils that came into contact with flood water. Use hot soapy water and sanitize the items by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water.
Use bottled water that has not been in contact with flood waters. If bottled water is not available, tap water can be boiled for safety.
Never taste food to determine if it's safe and when it doubt, throw it out.

Hurricane Sandy: Food safety, closed stores, anti-price gouging
Source : http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-sandy-food-stores-consumers-20121029,0,757728.story
By Tiffany Hsu (Oct 29, 2012)
Hurricane Sandy is bearing down hard on the East Coast. Atlantic City, N.J., casinos have been evacuated. Jersey Shore is abandoned. Some Manhattan streets are starting to flood.
The mega-storm has already smashed through construction sites, shut down stores and Wall Street and left even jaded residents slightly panicky.
Vendors of essential items such as food, water, gas and batteries are prohibited from price-gouging during the tempest, warned New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. And as public transportation shuts down, the law against emergency-time inflation also applies to taxi drivers, he said.
Violators “will ultimately see a reduction in their profits, [be] faced with penalties, fines and directives to set up reimbursement funds,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
On Monday morning, stores were shutting down all over the Northeast. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook were swarmed with photos of cleared shelves. Several stores, such as one Whole Foods in Cambridge, Mass., featured “Frankenstorm Essentials” displays near stacks of cheese and other snacks.
Home Depot offered extended hours over the weekend at its Northeast stores but by Monday had closed several locations in New Jersey and New York.
Grocery store chain A&P put up an alert on its website urging customers to shop while they still could.
“During the hurricane, we will do our best to keep our stores open for business,” the company said on its website. “However, some stores may close for reasons beyond our control, such as evacuation orders or power outages.”
On Monday morning, the ShopRite chain also closed a slew of stores. Earlier, the company said it received 'accelerated and additional deliveries of important items … including water, ice, batteries, milk and bread."
Along with a list of shuttered shops on its website, ShopRite noted that a complete count “may not be possible because…of deteriorating conditions.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture stressed that food safety is critical as grocery stores close up shop and potential power outages and flooding threaten the quality of stored food.
"We encourage residents in the projected path of the storm to include an appliance thermometer, coolers, and dry ice on their Hurricane Sandy preparation checklists,” said Elisabeth Hagen, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety. “As a last resort for food safety, when in doubt, throw it out."
Consumers are also urged to keep food on shelves away from contaminated water in case of flooding. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is closed, while a full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours, compared with 24 hours when half-filled.

Another Petting Zoo, Another E. coli Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/another-petting-zoo-another-e-coli-outbreak/
By Drew Falkenstein  (Oct 29, 2012)
The Longville Daily News reports that two more young children have fallen ill with E. coli after visiting a Longview pumpkin patch and petting zoo earlier this month, for a total of four cases, the Cowlitz County Health Department announced Monday.
All the children visited Willow Grove Gardens in Washington between Oct. 10 and Oct. 20 and got sick with the bacterial infection between Oct. 14 and Oct. 22, said Hilary Gillette-Walch, the health department’s clinical services manager. Willow Grove Gardens is a certified organic farm operated by Michael and Ruth McKee at 8561 Willow Grove Road. The couple’s crops include pumpkins, peppers, cucumbers, melons, green beans and winter squash.
The health department issued an advisory Friday after laboratory tests confirmed one of the first two cases. All four cases involve children under age 10, Gillette-Walch said.
The children whose cases were reported Monday have not been hospitalized, she said. However, one child in the two cases reported last week had spent several days in the hospital, the agency reported at the time.
And, then there is North Carolina – The Division of Public Health of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with Local Health Departments is investigating an outbreak of E. coli infection in 106 people who attended the Cleveland County Fair. Preliminary findings suggest animal exposure may be the source of this outbreak.  As of 1 p.m., 65 children* and 41 adults are known to be/have been affected by this outbreak. Thirteen individuals* have been or are currently hospitalized.
The county case counts are as follows: Cleveland County – 61, Gaston County – 15*, Lincoln County – 14, Catawba County – 2, Union County – 2, Rutherford – 7, York County, South Carolina – 2, Cherokee County, South Carolina – 3. *this number includes one death related to the outbreak.
And, there is an outbreak in the UK too.
More on problems with petting zoos, see www.fair-safety.com.

Peanut Butter Products Sicken 38 in 20 States
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2012/10/food-safety-update-peanut-butter-products-sicken.aspx
ATLANTA—The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) ongoing investigation of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney infections linked to tainted peanut butter and peanut butter products reveals 38 people in 20 states have been sickened by the outbreak. As of Oct. 24, 10 individuals have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
Among persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from June 14, 2012, to Sept. 21, 2012. Ill persons range in age from less than 1 year to 79 years, with a median age of 7 years. Sixty-six percent of ill persons are children under the age of 10 years.
Analysis conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that environmental samples showing the presence of Salmonella bacteria in Sunland’s nut butter facility in Portales, N.M., have a DNA fingerprint that is the same as the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney. Sunland has ceased the production and distribution of all products from both its nut butter facility and its peanut processing facility.
On Sept. 22, Trader Joe’s was the first retailer to recall the suspected peanut butter that was made by Portales, N.M.-based Sunland, Inc. Trader Joe’s recalled 16-ounce jars of Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter and removed it from its shelves nation after it was notified by the FDA of the outbreak. The recall was expanded numerous times during September and October, and includes more than 100 brands of peanut butter, nut butters and other products, such as cookies and snacks, made with nuts and seeds.
Brand names recalled include Archer Farms, Earth Balance, Fresh & Easy, Late July, Harry and David, Heinen’s, Joseph’s, Natural Value, Naturally More, Newman’s Own, Open Nature, Peanut Power Butter, Serious Food, Snaclite Power, Sprouts Farmers Market, Sprout’s, Starbucks, Sunland, Dogsbutter, Whole Foods Market among others. (Click here for the most up to date recall list).
CDC has confirmed illnesses in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada,  New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Over dozen hospitalised for food poisoning
Source : http://www.mid-day.com/news/2012/oct/291012-Over-dozen-hospitalised-for-food-poisoning.htm
By mid-day (Oct 29, 2012)
The incident took place late last evening when those affected complained of giddiness and vomitting after they ate food at a party in the afternoon, they said.
They were immediately rushed to the Dhavale Nursing home, where they were hospitalised.
Samples of food served to around 300 guests at the party have been sent for testing, police said.
No offence has been registered with the local police so far and investigations are on.