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FoodHACCP Newsletter
02/18,2013 ISSUE:535

EU Will Test All Beef for Horse Meat
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/eu-will-test-all-beef-for-horse-meat/
By Linda Larsen (Feb 17, 2013)
EU Health Commissioners Tonio Borg announced last week that meat products throughout Europe will undergo DNA testing to see if they contain horse meat. He said, “the tests will be on DNA in meat products in all member states.”
The horse meat scandal erupted in January 2013 after the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found horse DNA in some beef burger, salami, and beef meal products. Horse meat was also found in Findus lasagane sold in the UK. The findings increased concerns about labeling of food and security of Europe’s food system; but there is another problem. Some of the horse meat may contain the harmful drug phenylbutazone, commonly known as “bute”, that is given to race horses.
That drug is not approved for human consumption. Bute can cause aplastic anemia, but the amounts in horse meat are low enough that it is unlikely that anyone eating horse meat-tainted beef would consume enough to experience that complication.
Horse meat has been found in products labeled as beef available for sale in Britain, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, and Ireland.  The UK’s Food Standards Agency raided horse slaughter operations in that country, detaining all meat product and paperwork. Andrew Rhodes, FSA’s director of operations, said, “I ordered an audit of all horse producing abattoirs in the UK after this issue first arose last month and I was shocked to uncover what appears to be a blatant misleading of consumers. I have suspended both plants immediately while our investigations continue.”
On Friday February 15, the FSA published industry test results on all beef products. They found that of 2501 products tested, 29 samples were positive for the presence of undeclared horse meat. At least 950 tests are still in progress. FSA Chief Executive Catherine Brown said, “in the vast majority of cases the results so far are showing that no horse DNA is present in the foods tested. But this is still far from the full picture and we expect industry to continue to supply us with regular updates on their testing regime.”

Check our fruits and veggies, supermarkets ask ministry
Source : http://cphpost.dk/news/national/check-our-fruits-and-veggies-supermarkets-ask-ministry
By Angus Macleod (Feb 18, 2013)
Supermarkets are calling for frequent food checks from the Food Ministry on imported foods and greens to help keep Danes safe from disease
In the past year, Berlingske newspaper estimates that 45,000 Danes have suffered from food poisoning after having eaten imported fruits and vegetables.
This has led supermarkets to call on the government to implement tougher safety checks on foreign produce in order to protect the Danish public from diseases like salmonella.
Specifically, it’s been suggested that fruit should go through a ‘case-by-case control’, similar to the system which is currently used to ensure the quality of meats.
Raw meat and poultry checks have been in place since 2006, focusing largely around detecting diseases such as salmonella and bacteria like campylobacter.
Jørgen Bentzen, who is in charge of quality control in Danish super markets such as Føtex, Bilka and Netto, wants a similar type of procedure to be used when checking imported fruits and vegetables.
“Case-by-case control of fresh meats has had a noticeable effect, but some of the resources allocated to the procedure could be put to more effective use,” Bentzen told Berlingske. “Some of the money that goes into raw meat control should be used for vegetable control as well.”
Susanne Knøchel, a food sciences professor at the University of Copenhagen, agreed but stressed that the procedure is easier said than done.
“Frequent checks should be carried out on this type of food too, but bear in mind it’s very difficult to carry out safety tests on fruits and vegetables from exotic countries,” Knøchel told Berlingske. “This is especially when it comes to sugar snap peas, baby corn and herbs.”
But the food minister, Mette Gjerskov (Socialdemokraterne) disagreed with the call for increased controls. She was adamant that the current system is sufficient and doesn’t need tinkering with.
“The ‘case-by-case control’ is specifically set up for meat and poultry imports. It doesn’t make sense to just simply use the same methods in that type of quality control for vegetables as well,” Gjerskov told Berlingske. “We currently have a seven step procedure that accounts for that type of quality control in fruits and vegetables. It’s one that works, and one that we believe in.”
The calls for greater quality control follow an incident in late 2011 in which 20 tonnes of Italian cherry tomatoes infected with salmonella caused 43 Danes to become seriously ill.

FSIS’s and Foster Farms’ Reason for NOT Recalling Salmonella Chicken: “Shit Happens!”
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/lawyer-oped/fsiss-and-foster-farms-reason-for-not-recalling-salmonella-chicken-shit-happens/
By Bill Marler (Feb 17, 2013)
I had lunch with an old friend (now days, all my friends are) yesterday who asked me why Foster Farms and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Services (FSIS) have not recalled chicken – presumably whole or cut and not ground – even after 124 have been sickened (at least 30 hospitalized) by antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg?  I tried to explain, but I do not think I was very convincing.  Let me try again.
Here is the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) legal charge on food Safety:  21 USC §342:  A food shall be deemed to be adulterated:
(a) Poisonous, insanitary, or deleterious ingredients.
(1) If it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health;
FDA seems to have historically taken the position that if food (everything not meat – except fish) has made it into the market, and it includes a pathogen that can kill you, it needs to be recalled.  Seems simple.
Interestingly, the FSIS has a remarkably similar legal charge in 21 USC §601:
(m) The term ”adulterated” shall apply to any carcass, part thereof, meat or meat food product under one or more of the following circumstances:
(1) if it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health;
Yet, FSIS deems only seven pathogens – E. coli O157:H7, O26, O45, 0103, O111, O121, and O145 – as adulterants – meaning, if found in meat (well, only ground meat, trim and other non-intact meat) it cannot be sold, and if in the market, would need to be recalled.
Seriously, the FSIS’s position is that meat – Beef, Lamb or Chicken is perfectly fine with Salmonella (and several other pathogens) – even antibiotic-resistant varieties – is fine until people start getting sick.  Well, at least that is what I thought until there was no recall of Foster Farms’ Salmonella chicken.
Perhaps there has been no recall because the chicken is not ground?  Perhaps not enough epidemiological evidence to support the link between sick people and tainted chicken?  Or, perhaps not enough people sick – yet?
Given FSIS’s Mission Statement waiting on a recall makes little sense:
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.
Salmonella is a fecal bacterium.  I guess FSIS’s and Foster Farms’ explanation of no recall is “Shit happens!”

Scottish Ozone Machine Kills Food Poisoning Bacteria
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/scottish-ozone-machine-kills-food-poisoning-bacteria/
By Carla Gillespie (Feb 16, 2013)
Researchers in Scotland have invented a machine that uses the natural germ-killing properties of ozone to kill food-borne bacteria without using chemicals or requiring changes to current food packaging materials. When held against the surface of plastic or glass packaging, the device blasts oxygen molecules, temporarily turning them into ozone molecules which destroy the bacteria. After a few hours, the molecules revert back to oxygen molecules.
The research team, which includes Dr Hugh Potts, Ian Muirhead and Dr Declan Diver, believes the device can also extend shelf life of products by a day. The product is bring brought to market by a University of Glasgow spinoff company called Anacail, the Gaelic word for shield.
“We’re very excited about the applications of our product. It’s safe and easy to use, doesn’t require any change in current packaging of food products to be effective, and it doesn’t require any chemical additives – the sterilisation effect comes directly from oxygen already in the package which is treated by our plasma head,” Anacail Chief Executive Officer Dr Ian Muirhead said in a statement. “Although ozone can be harmful to humans, it has a very limited lifespan before it returns to oxygen and it doesn’t leave behind any dangerous residues so it’s perfectly safe to use in food decontamination. It’s a very effective way to destroy or inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses,” he said. The company is looking for  development partners.

Norovirus Most Common Stomach Virus For Kids
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/norovirus-most-common-stomach-virus-for-kids/
By Carla Gillespie (Feb 16, 2013)
Norovirus is the leading cause of intestinal illness among children, according to a new study by researchers in Texas. Rotavirus had previously been in the top spot, but the rotavirus vaccine slashed the prevalence of pediatric cases by 64 percent, the researchers found.
The researchers studied an eight and a half year span at the Texas Children’s Hospital surrounding the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine. After the vaccine, rotavirus cases were reduced by almost two thirds leaving norovirus in the top spot.
Norovirus causes frequent intense bouts of diarrhea and vomiting. Although it is not a flu virus, it is sometimes called the stomach flu, or winter vomiting disease, cruise ship virus or Norwalk. It is extremely contagious and is known to cause outbreaks in close quarters such as cruise ships, college dorms and nursing homes.  Norovirus season, when most norovirus illnesses occur,  is from November to April. About 21 million Americans are stricken with norovirus each year. About 800 cases annually are fatal.
About half of all food poisoning cases every year are attributed to nororvius  It takes only a few particles of the virus to cause illness which can live on surfaces touched by an infected person for some time.
The research team included Hoonmo L. Koo, Frederick H. Neill, Mary K. Estes, Flor M. Munoz, Arlin Cameron5, Herbert L. DuPont and Robert L. Atmar. The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

EU food safety experts convene in horsemeat scandal
Source : http://www.dw.de/eu-food-safety-experts-convene-in-horsemeat-scandal/a-16601667
By DW.DE (Feb 15, 2013)
European food safety experts have said they will consider testing beef products EU-wide for horsemeat. Two vendors accused of labeling the horsemeat found in frozen meals as beef have denied any fraud.
The EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain will likely endorse a proposal by ministers to carry out 2,500 tests on processed beef products next month during Friday's crisis talks in Brussels.
Another 4,000 tests would be conducted on horsemeat to look for phenylbutazone: an anti-inflammatory to treat animals, but considered unfit for human consumption. EU member states would have to first approve the tests.
"Customers must be assured that everything will be done at EU level to restore, as soon as possible, their confidence in the products on our markets," EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said in a statement ahead of Friday's meeting. Still, Borg has said that there is no need to panic yet, calling it mostly a matter of false labeling: "Until now this is not a food safety issue."
Across Europe, supermarkets have pulled millions of frozen meals from shelves in the last week, after tests found large quantities of horsemeat in the "beef" products. The scandal has thrown a magnifying glass on Europe's meat suppliers, from Britain to France and Luxembourg and all the way to Romania.
Pleading innocent
The president of Spanghero, a French meat processor that had its license indefinitely revoked on Thursday, promised on Friday to disprove the allegations, and accused the government of too hastily accusing the company.
"I don't know who is behind this, but I can tell you it's not us," Spanghero boss Barthelemy Aguerre told Europe 1 radio Friday. "I'm astonished. I think we will prove our innocence and that of my associates. I think the government has been too quick."
French Consumer Affairs Minister Benoit Hamon had named Spanghero the likely culprit in the scandal. While speaking at a press briefing in Paris on Thursday, Hamon had admonished the meat-processing firm for deceiving its customers and for denying its culpability.
"It would seem that the first agent in this chain to label the meat 'beef' was indeed Spanghero," Hamon said.
In the Netherlands, the lawyer for the meat vendor Draap denied that the company had misled anyone, although he acknowledged that the supplier's director had been previously convicted of mislabeling horsemeat as halal meat.
Arrests
On Thursday, police in Britain arrested three men on suspicion of intentionally mislabeling horsemeat as beef. The arrests occurred in Wales and northern England, according to initial reports released late Thursday.
Police apprehended two employees, aged 42 and 64, of a food processing plant in Abersytwyth on the Welsh coast. An additional suspect, aged 63, with links to a slaughterhouse, was arrested by officials in Todmorden in West Yorkshire.
The country's Food Standards Agency had shut down both sites on Wednesday. Initial reports did not provide further details regarding the suspects.

Troubled Carnival cruise ship Triumph within sight of land after being stuck at sea
Source : http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/troubled-cruise-within-sight-of-land/story-e6frfq80-1226578359668#ixzz2KvPlUkP9
By news.com.au (Feb 15, 2013)
CONDITIONS on a disabled US cruise ship are "extremely terrible" as it finally approaches within sight of land, one passenger says - and more complaints began to flood in as the more than 4000 people aboard came within mobile phone range.
A Carnival Cruise Lines official warned of a "very long day".
Passengers have told of limited access to food and bathrooms, a strong stench and foecal matter on the floors after a week at sea. Many were sleeping on the deck for fresh air. But it was getting colder as the ship headed north.
Frustrated, some people hung bedsheets with angry or humorous messages for news helicopters closing in, according to images on CNN.
The Carnival Triumph, which had drifted for days after a fire in the engine room, was being guided to an Alabama port after its original plan to go to Mexico failed.
A Carnival spokesman said the towing of the ship was taking longer than anticipated. Vance Gulliksen said the ship was expected to arrive between 8 and 11pm (1200 and 1500 AEDT).
Thelbert Lanier was waiting at the port for his wife, who texted him early on Thursday.
"Room smells like an outhouse. Cold water only, toilets haven't work in 3 1/2 days. Happy Valentines Day. I love u & wish I was there," she said in the text message, which was viewed by The Associated Press.
"It's 4:00 am. Can't sleep...it's cold & I'm starting to get sick."
Renee Shanar was on board with her husband. In a text message to AP, she said Carnival told the passengers they are delayed again "because of winds".
"We think they don't want media there," she wrote.
Ms Shanar said conditions were "horrible". There was food, but bathrooms weren't flushing.
"People have gotten food poisoning. Old people have fallen and hurt themselves," she wrote in a text message.
Speaking by phone to US network NBC on Thursday morning, passenger Janie Baker called conditions "extremely terrible", with no electricity and few working toilets.
She described having to use plastic bags to go to the bathroom and wait in line for hours to get food.
"It's just a nightmare," she said.
Ms Baker said she and her friends slept with their life vests one night because the ship was listing and they feared it would tip over.
Carnival has apologised and said it would cover transportation costs to cities in Texas, where the cruise began. The company has disputed the accounts of passengers who describe the ship as filthy, saying employees were doing everything to ensure people are comfortable.

CDC Reports on Salmonella Heidelberg Chicken Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/cdc-reports-on-salmonella-heidelberg-chicken-outbreak/
By  Linda Larsen (Feb 14, 2013)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now expanding on the report from the Oregon Public Health Authority about a multistate Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak linked to raw chicken. Since June  4, 2012, 124 people in 12 states have been sickened with the outbreak strain of the bacteria.
Of patients from whom information was obtained, 32% have been hospitalized. No deaths were reported. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is conducting an investigation to determine the source of this outbreak. Public health officials in Washington and Oregon have identified Foster Farms brand chicken as the most likely source of the outbreak in their states.
Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented clients sickened by Salmonella from raw chicken, said “it’s important that chicken processors are held responsible for outbreaks such as these. Consumers shouldn’t have to worry that the food they bring into their homes is contaminated with enough pathogenic bacteria to make them sick.”
Since June 4, 2012, most of the ill persons have been reported from two states. Washington has 56 patients, while Oregon has 38. The CDC is not releasing the other states where the remaining 30 patients reside. Illness onset dates range from June 4, 2012 to January 6, 2013. The patient age range is from less than 1 year to 94 years, with a median age of 24 years. Fifty-five percent of patients are female. About 81% of ill persons interviewed reported consuming chicken the week before becoming ill.
Consumers can protect themselves by handling raw chicken and other raw meat products with care. Always wash hands before and after handling raw meat. Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils, and pots used to prepare raw meats thoroughly. Keep raw chicken separate from uncooked and ready to eat foods. And never wash raw chicken before cooking it. The bacteria on the skin will become aerosolized and spread around your kitchen.

You say Tomato, I say Tomatoe – Either Way It Was Salmonella 2004
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/you-say-tomato-i-say-tomatoe-either-way-it-was-salmonella-2004/
By Bill Marler (Feb 14, 2013)
This is another it what will be a long – too long – series of outbreak investigations where we have represented consumers in what I hope will be a cautionary tale, and a learning experience, for manufacturers of food.
In early July 2004, while conducting routine surveillance, Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDOH) personnel noted an increase in reported Salmonella Group D infections occurring in state residents.  Salmonella is a reportable disease in Pennsylvania and laboratories throughout the state are asked to submit isolates to the PDOH Public Health Laboratory (PHL) for serotyping.  By July 9 the PDOH PHL had serotyped more than twelve Salmonella isolates as Salmonella javiana, a substantially higher number than the one or two cases of Salmonella javiana reported to the PDOH in a typical month.  Local health departments and area laboratories were asked to promptly report all cases of Salmonella to the PDOH.
The number of reported Salmonella Group D cases continued to climb.  Cases were geographically distributed throughout central and western Pennsylvania indicating that the problem was related to a contaminated product in the supply chain versus a food safety error at a specific food service facility.  The PDOH notified the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that an apparent foodborne outbreak was occurring and that cases of Salmonella javiana might be reported in other states.  Active case finding was expanded to include nearby states.  Ohio, Maryland, and West Virginia all reported an increase in Salmonella javiana cases.
Hypothesis generating interviews with case patients implicated food prepared and purchased at Sheetz convenience stores in Pennsylvania and Ohio.  The association between Salmonella and Sheetz had not been seen in cases reported in previous months.  Cases indicated that a variety of Sheetz menu items had been consumed in the 72 hours before symptom onset.  Produce appeared to be a common ingredient of the foods consumed.  In particular, many of the ill individuals said they had eaten lettuce and/or tomatoes as part of sandwiches and salads prepared at Sheetz deli counters.
Health officials notified Sheetz company officials that food prepared and served at Sheetz stores was suspected to be the source of a foodborne outbreak.  On July 12 Sheetz officials authorized removal of all produce with an expiration date of July 12, 2004 from its stores. The company alerted Coronet Foods, a Wheeling, West Virginia based company, that Coronet supplied produce might be contaminated with Salmonella.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began working with Sheetz and Coronet Foods on a product trace back.
On July 14, 2004 a PDOH spokesperson, Richard McGarvey, announced that an outbreak of salmonellosis associated with food prepared at Sheetz convenience stores was being investigated.  The CDC and the PDOH began a coordinated multi-state case-control outbreak investigation.  By this time 4 states – Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio – were reporting a combined total of 56 cases of salmonellosis in persons who had eaten food at a Sheetz store.  Dates of illness onset ranged from July 2 to July 10.  States with laboratory confirmed cases of Salmonella Group D or Salmonella javiana were asked to administer a standardized questionnaire developed for the outbreak.
For the case control study, cases were defined as persons with culture confirmed Salmonella who ate at a Sheetz convenience store in late June or early July.  Controls were Sheetz customers who had not become ill with vomiting or diarrhea within seven days of eating Sheetz prepared food.  Controls, identified by cases, were either dining companions or were known to be regular Sheetz customers.  Cases and controls were asked about consumption of specific menu items and ingredients included in each item.
Media reports of the outbreak were aired on July 15 identifying tainted produce, possibly Roma or plum tomatoes, as the potential source of illness.  This information was reaffirmed on July 16, 2004 when the PDOH issued a Health Advisory, stating that an outbreak of Salmonella javiana with more than 70 reported cases had been associated with eating at Sheetz deli counters throughout the state.  See Health Advisory #13, as Attachment No. 1.
Also on July 16, 2004, Coronet Foods publicly responded to PDOH preliminary findings, acknowledging that it had supplied sliced Roma tomatoes to Sheetz stores and had thereafter taken precautionary measures.  Coronet ceased purchasing and processing Roma tomatoes, moved existing stock off-site, and re-sanitized its entire tomato processing line.  The FDA collected multiple foods samples from the Coronet facility for laboratory testing.
By July 19, 2004 over 100 cases of Salmonella linked to consumption of food purchased at Sheetz had been reported in persons residing in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia.  Preliminary results of data collected in the case control study showed a statistical association with illness and consumption of tomatoes (Odds Ratio=7.6, p=0.0045).  There was no association between illness and consumption of lettuce.
The association between illness and tomato consumption was bolstered that day when the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDOA) announced that Salmonella had been found in an unopened bag of sliced Roma tomatoes obtained from a Sheetz store in Greencastle, Pennsylvania on July 13.  The tomatoes had been distributed to the Sheetz store by Coronet Foods.  See Department of Agriculture Press Release, and laboratory reports, as Attachment No. 2. Further analysis revealed that the tomatoes were contaminated with Salmonella anatum, a strain of Salmonella different from Salmonella javiana.  Investigators expanded their investigation to include cases of Salmonella anatum.  Finding two or more Salmonella strains in a single outbreak was unusual but had happened before.  Three strains were found in beef jerky that sickened 93 people in New Mexico in 1995 (See CDC. Outbreak of salmonellosis associated with beef jerky. MMWR 1995; Oct. 27; 44(42):785-788.) and two Salmonella strains were associated with orange juice that sickened people in Florida (See Cook KA, Dobbs TE, Hlady WG, et al. Outbreak of salmonella serotype Hartford infections associated with unpasteurized orange juice.  JAMA 1999; 281(20):1892-1893.).
Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis of Salmonella javiana isolates was conducted at state public health laboratories and at the CDC.  An indistinguishable pattern was found in isolates obtained from persons who had consumed tomatoes included as an ingredient on food prepared at Sheetz as well as in isolates obtained from persons who had consumed tomatoes at places other than Sheetz.  In fact, Pennsylvania and Maryland reported more than 40 cases of individuals who were ill with the outbreak strain but did not eat tomatoes in food prepared at a Sheetz convenience store.  These individuals were re-interviewed to determine the source of their exposure to the contaminated tomatoes.
By July 23, 2004, 289 cases of Salmonella had been reported in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.  Both the PDOH and the FDA, working with the CDC, publicly identified the Roma tomatoes as the likely source of the outbreak.  See PDOH Press Release, as Attachment No. 3.
On July 30, 2004, the PDOH issued a new Health Update regarding the outbreak. Over 300 cases had been reported in Pennsylvania, and dozens more in adjoining states. Salmonella javiana continued to be the serotype most commonly associated with the outbreak, but by then three additional human cases had tested positive for Salmonella anatum, the rare strain that had been identified in the case of unopened tomatoes distributed by Coronet Foods.  The PDOH announced that similar multi-serotype Salmonella outbreaks were unusual, but certainly not unprecedented.  See Health Update #05-04, Attachment No. 4.
The PDOH issued another related Health Update on August 6, 2004.  By then, over 330 cases of Salmonella javiana had been recorded in Pennsylvania, and over 80 cases in neighboring states.  See Health Update #06-04, as Attachment No. 5.
Preliminary data suggest that as many as 564 confirmed cases of salmonellosis associated with consumption of contaminated tomatoes were reported in five states, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia.  Seventy percent were associated with tomatoes in food prepared at Sheetz convenience stores.  Dates of exposure ranged from July 2 to July 16.  Five separate serotypes of Salmonella were eventually associated with the outbreak.  Most of the cases were infected with Salmonella javiana; other outbreak associated strains were Salmonella typhimurium, Salmonella anatum, Salmonella Thompson, and Salmonella Muenchen.
FDA investigators traced the contaminated tomatoes back to farms in Florida and possibly South Carolina, but the investigators were also told that farms from five different states may have supplied tomatoes to Coronet Foods at relevant times.  The FDA will continue its investigation in early 2005 to observe farm conditions during spring planting.

Taylor Farms Recalls Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli Tainted Spinach
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/taylor-farms-recalls-enterohaemorrhagic-escherichia-coli-tainted-spinach/
By Bill Marler (Feb 13, 2013)
Taylor Farms Retail, Inc. is recalling select Organic Baby Spinach products over concerns they may be contaminated with (EHEC) Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli.
The Taylor Farms spinach is sold under several brand names, including Central Market Organics, Full Circle Organic, Marketside Organic, Simple Truth Organic and Taylor Farms Organic, all with a best by date of February 24.
No illnesses have been reported in connection to the possible E. coli contamination, but anyone who has purchased the spinach is warned not to eat it.  Details on the recalled products:
Central Market Organics baby spinach 16 oz. trays, UPC 0-41220-18534-4
Sold in Texas
Full Circle Organic baby spinach 16 oz. trays, UPC 0-36800-28875-1
Sold in California
Full Circle Organic baby spinach 5 oz. trays, UPC 0-11110-91128-5
Sold in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Taylor Farms Organic baby spinach 16 oz trays, UPC 0-30223-04780-3
Sold in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The recalled products were supplied to Walmart, Sam’s Club, Winco, Food 4 Less, FoodsCo and Ralphs, and may also have been distributed to other retailers.

Food warning for camping trips
Source : http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/health/food-warning-for-camping-trips-1.1146015?utm_content=1.1146015&utm_medium=RSS&utm_source=Feeds&utm_campaign=Travel_fatigue_after_outdoor_trip_could_be_due_to_bad_food&localLinksEnabled=false&utm_term=UAE_news_RSS_feed
By Binsal Abdul Kader (Feb 13, 2013)
Have you thought that the uneasiness you felt after an outdoor trip was mere travel fatigue? It could be due to spoiled food.
There are many reasons for food getting spoilt during an outdoor trip, but many people do not realise this, a senior official at the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) told Gulf News yesterday.
“Outdoor picnics during the cool weather these days have not caused any [reported] major food poisoning issues, but the feedback received by us suggests that people do not realise certain minor problems caused by bad food,” said Mohammad Jalal Al Reyaysa, Director of Communication and Community Service at ADFCA.
He said prolonged fatigue and several minor illnesses [like mild headache, nausea etc] after an outdoor trip could be due to spoilt food.
If proper precautions are not taken, people may end up with food-borne illnesses, the official warned.
He cautioned against consuming seasonal plants growing in the desert during a picnic. “They could be poisonous. Some people know about the plants. If you don’t know, just avoid such plants,” Al Reyaysa said.
Using plastic containers or bags not intended for the purpose can cause food poisoning, he said.
The issue with plastic is leaching, the release of the plastic’s chemicals into food or drink, and our ingestion of these chemicals over time. To avoid this, use suitable plastic bags/containers for different types of food, Al Reyaysa said. Using plastic bags meant for cold foods to store warm foods is an avoidable practice, he said.
The Awareness Section of the Authority’s Communication and Community Service division is currently running a campaign involving visits to places where picnic-goers set up tents to educate them on the proper methods of carrying and storing food items.
“We are approaching the big organisations like tour operators also to spread this message,’’ he said.
Taking precautions against fires and carbon monoxide inhalation is also very crucial. People must avoid cooking inside tents as it might cause a fire or carbon monoxide inhalation and subsequent hazards, he said.
Another undesirable practice is keeping raw meats, fruits and vegetables and other cooked foods together, without separating them. Not storing easily perishable foods like raw meat, poultry, fish and egg in an icebox is also a cause for worry, he said.

Food Poisoning Outbreaks Spawn Eastern Cantaloupe Growers Group
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/food-poisoning-outbreaks-spawn-eastern-cantaloupe-growers-group/
By Carla Gillespie (Feb 12, 2013)
After back-to-back seasons of food poisoning outbreaks linked to tainted cantaloupes, growers in the eastern part of the country have formed a new association designed to improve food safety of melons and boost consumer confidence. Cantaloupe is grown differently in the east than it is in west, where the melons are grown in desert conditions. California cantaloupe growers, who pride themselves on never having been associated with an outbreak, have had their own association dedicated to best growing practices for a umber of years.
Members of the newly formed Eastern Cantaloupe Growers Association must adhere to the growing and handling standards outlined in the document Commodity-Specific Guidelines for Cantaloupes and Netted Melons. They must also agree to submit to unannounced audits of their farms at least one time each growing season. They will be assigned registration numbers that can be used on their labels for identification and traceback purposes and be allowed to use the ECGA logo and “certified” stamps on their melons to show consumers they have used good food safety practices.
Last year, a Salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupe produced by Chamberlain Farms of Owensville Indiana sickened 261 people in 24 states.  At least 94 people were so sick they required hospitalization. Three people in Kentucky died. In 2011, a cantaloupe Listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe grown on Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo. sickened 146 people and killed more than 30 of them.  In both cases, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found unsanitary conditions and numerous food safety violations on the farms.

 

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02/04. Food Safety Coordinator - MI
02/04. Food Safety Manager - Selma, CA
02/04. Retail Quality Assurance Manager - New York
02/01. Reg Affairs Technologist - South Windsor, CT

E. coli Tainted Meat and Bad Restaurant Practices Created 2000 Sizzler Disaster
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/e-coli-tainted-meat-and-bad-restaurant-practices-created-2000-sizzler-disaster/
By Bill Marler (Feb 12, 2013)
According to the Final Reports issued by the State on October 6 and 9, 2000, the outbreak was first noted on July 24 when staff at Children’s Hospital notified the City of Milwaukee Health Department regarding a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 cases.  Eventually, sixty-four confirmed cases were discovered – 62 linked to the Layton Sizzler and two linked to the Mayfair Sizzler. Dozens of these individuals were hospitalized; four developed HUS and one of those died.  In addition to the confirmed cases, the State noted that there were reports of 551 probable cases, and another 122 possible cases.
Notably, sixty-two of the laboratory-confirmed cases were found to be genetically indistinguishable – proving that all of the cases had a common source.  Moreover, an identical strain of the E. coli O157:H7 was isolated from samples of raw chunky taco meat and sirloin tri-tips found at the Layton restaurant.  This meat was manufactured by the Excel Corporation, and then remanufactured the local Sizzler franchisee according to procedures defined by Sizzler USA.
Explaining how this outbreak occurred, State Department of Health set forth its conclusions with surprising directness:
Based on the results of the case-control study, the test results of the opened and intact food samples from the restaurant and the conclusions of the restaurants inspections, it is most probable that the watermelon was the vehicle for infection, cross-contamination of fresh watermelon with raw meat products was the mechanism by which the vehicle became contaminated, and the raw sirloin tri-tip were the source of the E. coli O157:H7 organism in this outbreak….
See Final Report.  The Department of Health further concluded that:
The layout of the facility and the practices of personnel may have contributed to this outbreak.  The arrangement of a meat processing area (the grinding area) in close proximity to ready-to-eat food preparation areas increased the likelihood of cross-contamination….
While at first glance the circumstances of this outbreak may appear unusual, they are not.  Indeed, Sizzler need only look back to 1993 when, from March through August 1993, outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 were found in four of its Oregon and Washington restaurants.  There were 39 culture-confirmed cases and 54 probable cases.  See L Jackson, et al., “The Role of Cross-Contamination in 4 Chain Restaurant-Associated Outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in the Pacific Northwest,” Arch. Intern. Med., vol. 160, Aug/ 14/28, 2000.[1]  Indeed, the cause of the four outbreaks that occurred in Sizzler restaurants in 1993 is hauntingly familiar:
Independent events of cross-contamination from beef within the restaurant kitchens, where meats and multiple salad bar items were prepared, were the likely cause of these outbreaks….
[I]nspections revealed several violations of applicable food codes and kitchen designs that were less than ideal in that raw meat was being processed and stored in close proximity to raw vegetables and other food products….
Although cross-contamination events are difficult to confirm retrospectively, we speculate that the practice of trimming, macerating, and marinating the beef tri-tips in the same kitchens used for preparation of fruits, vegetables and other salad bar items might have enhanced the potential for spatter and spillage of meat juices.  According to anecdotal information from company officials and public health restaurant inspectors, [Sizzler] may have been exceptionally susceptible to cross-contamination because onsite meat cutting and large, diverse salad bar operations were combined….
Not surprisingly, after the four outbreaks in 1993, Sizzler was reported to have promised health department officials that it would change its practices:
Following these outbreaks and an outside review of their food-handling practices, [Sizzler] instituted a comprehensive Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point program.  [Sizzler] owned restaurants changed from using on-site meat cutting to using precut meat, as did many franchised restaurants….
Unfortunately, for the victims of this most recent outbreak, the lessons learned in 1993 were forgotten.
This is another it what will be a long – too long – series of outbreak investigations where we have represented consumers in what I hope will be a cautionary tale, and a learning experience, for manufacturers of food.

Could Horsemeat (and Kangaroo meat) get into the US Food Supply – Too late, already did
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/could-horsemeat-and-kangaroo-meat-get-into-the-us-food-supply-too-late-already-did/
By Bill Marler (Feb 12, 2013)
Well, 32 years ago.  Here is the story – straight from the “horses mouth:”
During 1981, an incident involving the importation of mislabeled and adulterated meat from Australia resulted in FSIS detaining and sampling nearly 66 million pounds of boneless beef from that country. Shipments labeled as beef were found to contain horsemeat and kangaroo meat. The problem was traced to plants in the State of Victoria, and most of the product has been cleared and allowed to enter U.S. commercial channels. To prevent a similar occurrence in the future, FSIS is implementing a comprehensive program to strengthen controls on meat imports.
In July, an FSIS inspector retained and sampled three frozen blocks of boneless beef, based on their abnormal appearance. Tests confirmed that horsemeat had been substituted for beef. With the aid of the Australian Government, FSIS traced the problem to a meat substitution scandal in the State of Victoria, operating outside the controls of Australia’s Federal inspection system.
When the problem first became known, FSIS asked USDA’s Office of the Inspector General (DIG) to investigate the matter. Also, FSIS set up an internal Board of Inquiry to examine the Agency’s response to the incident as well as the adequacy of U.S. import inspection laws, procedures, and policies.
In August, after laboratory tests confirmed that adulterated shipments from the Australian plant in question had entered the United States as early as January 1981, Secretary of Agriculture John Block announced a series of steps to prevent mislabeled, uninspected, or otherwise adulterated meat from entering this country. The first step—the impoundment and testing of all Australian boneless beef in this country—was designed to determine if the problem was more widespread. Within several days, FSIS had located nearly 66 million pounds of the product.
Other steps outlined by the Secretary included 1) requiring Australia to begin a species testing program on exports of boneless meat to the United States and to keep the meat under security until it reached this country; 2) holding Australian boneless meat at U.S. ports until its species was confirmed; 3) requiring other exporting countries to initiate a species testing program; 4) spot-checking for species all boneless meat entering U.S. ports; and 5) reviewing compliance activities in major exporting countries.
FSIS released most of the impounded meat on September 4. Product from Victoria—representing about 19 percent of the impounded Australian product—remained under U.S. control because FSIS found horsemeat in product from a second plant in that State. All incoming Victoria product became subject to intensified inspection, while other Australian product was handled under an interim species-monitoring program at U.S. ports. FSIS sampled the Victoria product on a plant-by-plant basis, and as tests on a firm’s product confirmed its species as beef, the meat was allowed to enter U.S. commercial channels.
Throughout the incident, FSIS laboratories conducted 1,800 species determination tests on samples of Australian product. To increase species testing capabilities, the Agency set up an Accredited Laboratory Program, which allowed private laboratories to perform the tests. FSIS is studying methods to expand and improve methods for species determination.

 



Internet Journal of Food Safety

Vol 14. 113-120
Quality Assessment of Fresh Lake Malawi Tilapia (Chambo) Collected
from Selected Local and Super Markets in Malawi
Fanuel Kapute, Jeremy Likongwe, Jeremiah Kang'ombe, Ciira Kiiyukia, Placid Mpeketula

Vol 14. 104-112
Detection of Salmonella spp. in Hamburgers:
a Comparison Between Modified Standard and Salmosyst Methods
Jorge Luiz Fortuna, Elmiro Rosendo do Nascimento, Robson Maia Franco

Vol 14. 93-103
A Preliminary Detection of Physical and Chemical Properties,
Inhibitory Substances and Preservatives in Raw Milk
Ali Ibrahim Ali Mansour, Mohamed Mansour El-Loly and Ramadan Omar Ahmed

Vol 14. 89-92
Species Specific PCR Based Rapid Detection of Staphylococcus aureus from Cottage Cheese,
and its Sensitivity against Antibiotics and natural products
Priyanka Singh and Alka Prakash

Vol 14. 83-88
Aflatoxigenic moulds and aflatoxins in street-vended snacks in Lagos, Nigeria
Chibundu N. Ezekiel, Funmi O. Kayode, Stephen O. Fapohunda, Momodu F. Olorunfemi
and Barinaada T. Kponi

Vol 14. 75-82
Microbial and Physico-chemical contamination in the wheat flour of the twin cities of Pakistan
Syeda Afifa Batool Naseem Rauf, S.S.Tahir and Razia Kalsoom

Vol 14.70-74
Advances in Proteomics-based Detection Techniques of Listeria monocytogenes
: a Potential Risk in New Zealand
Ge Huang and Malik Altaf Hussain

Vol 14.54-69
Food Safety Review (FSR) in the State of Kuwait as a part of Arab Gulf Area
Hani M. Al-Mazeedi, Alaa B. Abbasa, Wafaa Y. Al-Jouhar , Siham A. Al-Mufty
and Yousef A. Al-Mendicar

Vol 14.48-53
A Decision Tree Based Approach for the Identification of Halal Critical Control Point
for Slaughtering According to Islamic Dietary Law
Kohilavani, Tajul A. Yang, Noor A. Febrianto, Wan Nadiah Wan Abdullah and Aadam Tajul Aris

Vol 14.44-47
Antibacterial Activity of Red Bell Pepper against Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Ground Beef
Sulaiman O. Aljaloud , Rabin Gyawali, Muchha R. Reddy, and Salam A. Ibrahim

Vol 14.35-43
Evaluating Food Hygiene Awareness and Practices of Food Handlers in the Kumasi Metropolis
Patricia Foriwaa Ababio and Doreen Dedo Adi

Vol 14.30-34
Growth Control of Standard L.monocytogenes and L.monocytogenes Spiked in Goat Milk
by Natural products, Antibiotics and Lactic Acid Bacteria
Rupali Yadav and Alka Prakash

Vol 14.23-29
Assessment of Health Risk Associated With Reuse of Treated Wastewater.
Nadia Oubrim, Nozha Cohen, Abouddihaj Barguigua, Kaoutar Hajjami, Brahim Bouchrif and My Mustapha Ennaji

Vol 14.17-22
Microbial and Physico-Chemical Quality Assessment of the Raw and Pasteurized Milk
Supplied In the Locality of Twin City of Pakistan
Syeda Afifa Batool, Razia Kalsoom ,Naseem Rauf , S.S.Tahir and Fouzia Hussain

Vol 14.11-16
Microbiological Safety and Proximate Composition of Suya Stored at Ambient Temperature
for Six Hours from Maiduguri, Northern Nigeria.
Ogbonna, Innocent Okonkwo Danladi, Matthias Sunday Akinmusire, Oyekemi and Odu, Collins Emeka

Vol 14.5-10
Bacteriological Quality Assessment of Selected Street Foods and
Antibacterial Action of Essential Oils Against Food Borne Pathogens
Chandi C. Rath and Sonali Patra

Vol 14.1-4
Improved Recovery of Viable Listeria monocytogenes From Stainless Steel Surfaces for Subsequent Detection
John Xue and Burton Blais


                  

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