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FoodHACCP Newsletter
04/29 2013 ISSUE:545

Imported Cucumbers Linked to Salmonella Outbreak while FDA Faces Inspection Cuts
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/imported-cucumbers-linked-to-salmonella-outbreak-while-fda-faces-inspection-cuts/
By  Bill Marler (Apr 25, 2013)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that a multi-state Salmonella outbreak was likely caused by the consumption of cucumbers imported from Mexico.  The announcement came one day after USA Today reporter Liz Szabo reported that the FDA would be conducting 18% fewer food inspections this year due to a loss of funding and that “even before the sequester, the FDA was able to inspect less than 2% of all food imports.”
According to the CDC, at least 73 people fell ill with Salmonella serotype Saintpaul infections between January and April of this year after eating cucumbers.  On April 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed two Mexican import firms on an “import alert”, stating that cucumbers from the farms would be denied admission into the U.S. unless the suppliers were able to prove the produce was free of Salmonella.
“People started falling ill with Salmonella infections before the Sequester, so there’s no question that these cucumbers made it into our food supply even before cuts to food inspection,” said attorney William Marler, the nation’s leading lawyer representing victims of foodborne illnesses like Salmonella.
“When the funding cuts are in full effect, will we see even more outbreaks from both imported and home-grown food?  I shudder at the thought of what these cuts will truly mean in terms of the safety of our food supply,” Marler added.
According to the Outbreak Database, this is the 8th foodborne illness believed to have been caused by cucumbers or pickles.
Marler noted that the USDA’s Microbiological Data Program (MDP), which used to conduct 80% of all federal produce testing for pathogenic bacteria, officially shut down on December 31, 2012.  “Would MDP have discovered contamination on cucumbers before they got to market?”  Marler continued, “We may never know—and we may think of cucumbers as fairly benign since they’re not linked to food safety problems as often as leafy greens or melons, but this outbreak demonstrates that all fresh produce poses a food safety threat and cuts to federal programs may already be having an impact.”
Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.
If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Another Multi-State Salmonella Chick Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/another-multi-state-salmonella-chick-outbreak/
By Bruce Clark (Apr 26, 2013)
CDC is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in many states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, National Poultry Improvement Plan (USDA-NPIP), and Veterinary Services to investigate three multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Mbandaka, and Salmonella Typhimurium infections linked to contact with chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry.
Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify cases of illness that may be part of these outbreaks. In PulseNet, the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC, DNA “fingerprints” of Salmonella bacteria are obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak. The USDA-NPIP is a program that is intended to eliminate certain strains of Salmonella that cause illness in poultry breeding flocks and hatcheries, but does not certify that these live poultry are free from other strains of Salmonella that may cause human illness.

Contaminated cucumbers sicken 73
Source : http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/25/17916467-contaminated-cucumbers-sicken-73?lite
By JoNel Aleccia (Apr 26, 2013)
At least 73 people in 18 states have been sickened with salmonella poisoning after eating cucumbers imported from Mexico, government health officials said Thursday.
The potentially tainted cukes have been removed from the market and the two firms involved -- Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacan, Mexico -- were placed on import alert Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cucumbers were distributed by Tricar Sales Inc. of Rio Rico, Ariz.
Cucumbers from the firms will be denied access to the United States until the suppliers show that they are not contaminated with salmonella, including the salmonella Saintpaul strain detected in the current outbreak.
The biggest concentrations of victims were clustered in Western states, including 28 from California and nine from Arizona. Fourteen people have been hospitalized. Reports show that illnesses occurred between Jan. 12 and April 6, though more could still be detected.
Most people infected with salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps within one to three days of eating contaminated food. The illness typically lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. However, some people may require hospitalization. Most at risk are children younger than 5, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

Raw Milk Likely Source of E. coli Infections in Wisconsin Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/raw-milk-likely-source-of-e-coli-infections-in-wisconsin/
By  Bill Marler (Apr 25, 2013)
Food Safety News reports that health officials in Wisconsin suspect three patients sickened by the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 contracted their illnesses after consuming raw milk, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Raechelle Cline told Food Safety News Thursday.
All three patients reside in Manitowoc County, and they include a three year-old child and his or her mother.
Officials are currently testing samples of milk from the suspected dairy and will not identify it unless they prove a connection.
“Raw milk was the most likely commonality we’ve been able to identify,” Cline said.
The illnesses occurred in March, and the officials are unaware of any additional cases.
For more information about raw milk, visit www.realrawmilkfacts.com.


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Handling Pet Food Tainted With Salmonella Can Make People Sick
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/handling-pet-food-tainted-with-salmonella-can-make-people-sick/
By Carla Gillespie (Apr 24, 2013)
A number of recent pet food recalls for Salmonella are a good reminder that handling tainted pet food can result in human illness. Although no human illnesses have been reported in association with recently recalled pet food, last year at this time, cases began to mount in a Salmonella outbreak that eventually sickened 47 people in 20 states and two people in Canada. Ten people were hospitalized.
The outbreak was linked to dry dog food made by Diamond Pet Foods.  By state, the case counts were as follows: Alabama (2), Arkansas (2), California (3), Connecticut (2), Georgia (2), Illinois (4), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Michigan (2), Minnesota (1), Missouri (3), New Jersey (2), New York (5), North Carolina (5), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (3), South Carolina (2), Texas (1), and Virginia (2).
Dogs, who can carry Salmonella without appearing to be sick, can easily shed the bacteria and infect family members. Or, the bacteria can spread when tainted food is spilled on the floor or countertop and not cleaned up properly. The best way to avoid illness is to wash hands after feeding your pet and before eating.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually develop within 12 to 72 hours after exposure and last between four and seven days. Some cases, where the infection spreads from the intestines to the blood stream, can be fatal without prompt treatment from antibiotics.
Some current pet food recalls include: Merit bird food, Bravo! frozen pet food and Natura pet food. To see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s list of recent pet food recalls, click here.

Judge Orders FDA to Establish Timetable for FSMA
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/judge-orders-fda-to-establish-timetable-for-fsma/
By  Linda Larsen (Apr 24, 2013)
The Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a lawsuit against the FDA last fall for failing to implement new food safety regulations as mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton ordered the FDA to work with CFS to establish a new timetable to implement those regulations.
CFS senior attorney George Kimbrell said, “today is a good day for food safety and for consumers. Every day without the FSMA regulations is another day where consumers are at unnecessary risk. Because of this decision our food will soon be safer from E. coli and other threats.” CFS has compiled a timeline of foodborne illness outbreaks that have occurred since FSMA was enacted on January 4, 2011.
FSMA’s critical rules, which were signed into law by President Obama in 2011, have been stalled in the White House Office of Management and Budget for years. The rules, including the produce safety rule, certification component by foreign governments for high risk foods, and rules requiring food facilities and animal feed facilities to control hazards, were supposed to be released January 2012. FSMA was the first major overhaul of the U.S. food safety laws since 1938.
The OMB released the produce rule and the good manufacturing practice rule in January 2013, one year late. Comment periods for both rules have been extended, from February 15, 2013 to May 2013, and again to 120 days later for the produce safety rule, which will delay implementation. The comment period for the pilot project for tracing food was extended from March 5 until July 3, 2013.
Judget Hamilton held that “Congress signaled its intention that the process be close-ended, rather than open-ended. Thus, the court finds that imposition of an injunction imposing deadlines for finalization of the regulations would be consistent with the underlying purposes of FSMA.” The Court ordered the FDA to meet with CFS and the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), the co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, and prepare a joint statement setting forth proposed new deadlines by May 20, 2013.
Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH, said, “we’re pleased the Court recognized the vital importance of keeping food safety for our children and families. We look forward to working with FDA towards tighter regulations to protect Americans from unsafe food products and practices.”


Food safety still elusive
Source : http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/index.php?ref=MjBfMDRfMjhfMTNfMV8yXzE2NzgyMQ==
By Khalilur Rahman (Apr 28, 2013)
Despite government efforts to check adulteration of various food items the unholy practice continues unabated. Press reports from various parts of the country say that the growers use toxic pesticides, fertilizers and a variety of other chemicals in fruits, vegetables and most of the farm produces. In view of the large-scale use of formalin in food items health experts asked the government recently to enforce strict control on import of formalin to protect public health from serious hazards.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) took steps several months ago to ensure sale of formalin-free fish, meat and vegetables in some kitchen markets in the city. But most of the kitchen markets in different areas of the city still remain out of the purview of the FBCCI initiative. It is known to all that the traders use formalin as a preservative in fish, fruits, meat, milk, etc.
According to a report, the National Food Safety Laboratory of the Institute of Public Health(IPH) in its research has found that 40% to 54% fish, meat, milk, rice , pulse, oil , spice and salt are adulterated with various kinds of pesticides like aldrin, DDT, heptachlor, ethion, methoxychlor and heavy metals such as lead and arsenic. In 2010 IPH had found 2990 food samples out of 5759 adulterated after tests. The IPH tests conducted later on revealed that 187 out of 377 food samples are adulterated.
In Dhaka city we are accustomed to see that mobile courts operate at intervals to check adulteration of food items. In private TV channels, we often watch how foods are being prepared with toxic chemicals in most unhygienic conditions. Such drives have failed to achieve the desired results as too many eating houses are engaged in this type of practice. It is, therefore, necessary to create mass awareness against the poisonous foods. Health Education Bureau under the Ministry of Health can take the lead and involve various other organizations, particularly non-government organisations (NGOs), to educate people about adulterated foods and hazards posed to human health. Electronic and print media can also play a vital role in this regard.
A nation consuming foods harmful to health can hardly develop physically and mentally.In order to protect public health, vigorous efforts must be taken by all quarters without delay to stop adulteration. Many health-conscious citizens have given up eating fruits, vegetables, liquid milk and fish for the fear of toxic substances mixed with those. This is no solution to the problem. This type of caution will tell upon their health as these foods are essential for proper growth of human beings.
In September last year, The Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) had recommended imposition of restriction and close monitoring on import, sale and distribution of formalin and other toxic chemicals largely used for adulteration of food and many other items. The BSTI proposal was put forward at an inter-ministerial meeting on intensifying drive against adulteration of foods. Participants at the meeting expressed grave concern over excessive use of toxic chemicals like formalin, calcium carbide, sodium cyclamate, ethophen and hydrose in a variety of food items including fruits, fish, farm chickens and other essentials. The meeting emphasised the need for strengthening government's food safety council to prevent spread of adulteration.
It may be mentioned that the High Court (HC) in February last year asked the police authority to file criminal cases under the Special Powers Act, 1974 against those using chemicals to ripen or preserve fruits, and sell those. The HC verdict was issued upon a writ petition filed by the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB). The HC asked the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the Customs to monitor land and sea ports to prevent contaminated imported fruits from entering the country.
The HC order said that the NBR and the Customs would test imported fruits at ports to ascertain whether they are treated with chemicals. If they detect contaminated fruits, those must not be allowed to enter the country, said the verdict. The HC also said the use of chemicals to ripen and preserve fruits is illegal, and ordered BSTI and law enforcers to monitor fruit depots across the country regularly to stop storage or sale of contaminated fruits.

Salmonella Outbreak Launches Search For Rogue Cheesemaker
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/salmonella-outbreak-launches-search-for-rogue-cheesemaker/
By Carla Gillespie (Apr 28, 2013)
A few years ago in Utah, people started getting sick with Salmonella poisoning from unpasteurized cheese. Some of them bought it from a deli, some of them got it from a woman in a parking lot, but lab tests showed all of the illnesses came from the same source. After a three-year investigation, Utah health authorities found the source- a man dubbed “Mr.Cheese,” who managed to sicken 2,100 people with his homemade queso fresco before being apprehended.
This week in Minnesota, health authorities announced that 13 people had contracted Salmonella poisoning from cheese made with raw milk, eight of whom were so sick they were hospitalized. Now, health authorities are searching for the cheesemaker who, like Mr. Cheese, made the product in a private residence, without a license and without following food safety laws and procedures.
From interviews with those who became ill, health officials know the cheesemaker in question made home deliveries and sold the product on the street on East Lake Street in Minneapolis. Selling raw milk is illegal in Minnesota unless it is purchased on the farm where it was produced.
As this outbreak shows, Salmonella can cause serious illness. Anyone who has purchased this cheese should not eat it. Anyone who has eaten the cheese and has symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain should see a health care provider.
“We encourage people to think carefully about those risks before consuming raw dairy products from any source and know that the risks are especially high for young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems,”  Dr. Carlota Medus, a foodborne illness epidemiologist with Minnesota Department Health said in a statement.

Hitler's food taster reveals fears of poisoning
Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Hitlers-food-taster-reveals-fears-of-poisoning/articleshow/19762526.cms
By timesofindia.indiatimes.com (Apr 28, 2013)
BERLIN: They were feasts of sublime asparagus laced with fear. And for more than half a century, Margot Woelk kept her secret from the world, even from her husband. Then, a few months after her 95th birthday, she revealed the truth about her wartime role: Adolf Hitler's food taster.
Woelk, then in her mid-twenties, spent two and a half years as one of 15 young women who sampled Hitler's food to make sure it wasn't poisoned before it was served to the Nazi leader in his "Wolf's Lair," the heavily guarded command centre in what is now Poland, where he spent much of his time in the final years of World War II.
"He was a vegetarian. He was paranoid that the British would poison him, he had 15 girls taste the food before he ate it himself," Woelk said of the Nazi leader.
"The food was delicious, but we could never enjoy it. Every day, we feared it was going to be our last meal." buttermilk, distributed by the Muthu Maramma temple, claimed three lives.

Learn about new food safety rules
Source : http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/article/20130428/NEWS01/304280017/Learn-about-new-food-safety-rules
By mansfieldnewsjournal.com (Apr 28, 2013)
WOOSTER — A chance to learn about the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed new food safety rules for produce is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Shisler Conference Center on the Wooster campus of Ohio State’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1680 Madison Ave.
The event is for growers, wholesale buyers of fruits and vegetables and anyone interested in farm practices that can decrease the risk of foodborne illness from fresh produce. FDA personnel will be available to answer questions.
The comment period for the proposed rules, which apply to conventional and organic growers in dirt or water, has been extended to Sept. 16.
The safety rules are part of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act. They focus on standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding produce on farms; and are geared toward produce likely to be eaten fresh.
To register in advance for the meeting, see the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety website, bit.ly/FDAmtg.

Possible Norovirus Outbreak at Hilton Benefit in Westchester, New York
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/possible-norovirus-outbreak-at-hilton-benefit-in-westchester-new-york/
By Kathy Will. (Apr 28, 2013)
About 100 people who attended a benefit for the Pelham Picture House in Rye Brook have been sickened with a gastrointestinal illness. The event was held at the Hilton Westchester. Public health officials from Westchester County suspect norovirus is the cause of the illnesses. One person has been hospitalized.
Patients are experiencing diarrhea and vomiting. The Health Department press release states norovirus may be the cause, saying it is “a stomach bug whose symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea. We are reaching out to interview all those who may be affected to help determine the source of the illness and to identify any new cases. We don’t know how many are affected yet.”
Hilton is cooperating with the investigation and released a statement saying the hotel “is making every effort to ensure that all practices and standards are in line with safety and sanitation guidelines.”
Norovirus is extremely contagious and causes inflammation in the stomach and intestines. It spreads rapidly and is transmitted through contaminated food, water, and surfaces. Most people recover without medical treatment, but some, especially those in high risk groups, may need to be hospitalized for dehydration. To prevent norovirus, wash your hands well before eating and before handling food. If you’re sick, stay home.

Why Retailers in Colorado are Ultimately Responsible for Selling Listeria-Tainted Cantaloupe that Sickened ; Killing Nine
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/why-a-retailer-in-colorado-is-ultimately-responsible-for-listeria-tainted-cantaloupe-that-sickened-40-killing-nine/
By Bill Marler (Apr 28, 2013)
There were no “Innocent Sellers” in this tragedy.  Retailers in Colorado have both a moral and legal responsibility to those who were sickened, and the families of those who died, after consuming Listeria-tainted cantaloupe.
The 2011 Listeria Cantaloupe outbreak was the most deadly in the United States in nearly 100 years.  Colorado was by far the hardest hit of the 28 states involved.  Download Outbreak Summary and Exhibits No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6.
The final report of the CDC totaled 147 persons infected with any of the five outbreak-associated subtypes of Listeria monocytogenes from 28 states. The number of infected persons identified in each state was as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (4), Colorado (40), Idaho (2), Illinois (4), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kansas (11), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (7), Montana (2), Nebraska (6), Nevada (1), New Mexico (15), New York (2), North Dakota (2), Oklahoma (12), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (18), Utah (1), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (4).
Among persons for whom information was available, reported illness onset ranged from July 31, 2011 through October 27, 2011. Ages ranged from <1 to 96 years, with a median age of 78 years. Most ill persons were over 60 years old. Fifty-eight percent of ill persons were female. Among the 145 ill persons with available information on whether they were hospitalized, 143 (99%) were hospitalized. Thirty-three outbreak-associated deaths were reported: Colorado (9), Indiana (1), Kansas (3), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (3), Montana (1), Nebraska (1), New Mexico (5), New York (2), Oklahoma (1), Texas (2), and Wyoming (2). Among persons who died, ages ranged from 48 to 96 years, with a median age of 81 years. In addition, one woman pregnant at the time of illness had a miscarriage. Ten deaths not attributed to listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected with an outbreak-associated subtype.
Ultimately, the entire chain of distribution[1] – from farm to grocer (including auditors) – bears responsibility for this outbreak.  Who is more responsible – the farmer who grew the product, the auditor who looked the other way, or the retailer who simply cared that there was something on the shelf to sell?  That will be up to a jury to decide.
Few of us when we buy something like a cantaloupe in a grocery store could ever imagine that a grocer would ever claim that it has no moral or legal responsibility for selling you a product that sickened you or killed you husband or wife.  This is especially true when the grower is not financially responsible – bankrupt.  The moral issues aside, here are the legal reasons why a retailer will not escape responsibility or liability.
Strict Liability of Distributors and/or Sellers of the Products, “Innocent Sellers”
The Colorado Product Liability Act[2] provides that no such claim can be asserted against an innocent seller who is not a manufacturer, unless jurisdiction cannot be maintained against that manufacturer. If jurisdiction cannot be obtained over the manufacturer, then that manufacturer’s principal distributor or seller over whom jurisdiction can be obtained shall be deemed, for the purposes of this section, the manufacturer of the product.
13-21-402. “Innocent sellers”
(1) No product liability action shall be commenced or maintained against any seller of a product unless said seller is also the manufacturer of said product or the manufacturer of the part thereof giving rise to the product liability action. Nothing in this part 4 shall be construed to limit any other action from being brought against any seller of a product.
(2) If jurisdiction cannot be obtained over a particular manufacturer of a product or a part of a product alleged to be defective, then that manufacturer’s principal distributor or seller over whom jurisdiction can be obtained shall be deemed, for the purposes of this section, the manufacturer of the product.
A.        A “manufacturer” includes any entity involved in the production of the product.
Section 13-21-401, C.R.S., the Definition section, provides as follows:
(1) “Manufacturer” means a person or entity who designs, assembles, fabricates, produces, constructs, or otherwise prepares a product or a component part of a product prior to the sale of the product to a user or consumer. The term includes any seller who has actual knowledge of a defect in a product or a seller of a product who creates and furnishes a manufacturer with specifications relevant to the alleged defect for producing the product or who otherwise exercises some significant control over all or a portion of the manufacturing process or who alters or modifies a product in any significant manner after the product comes into his possession and before it is sold to the ultimate user or consumer. The term also includes any seller of a product who is owned in whole or significant part by the manufacturer or who owns, in whole or significant part, the manufacturer. A seller not otherwise a manufacturer shall not be deemed to be a manufacturer merely because he places or has placed a private label on a product if he did not otherwise specify how the product shall be produced or control, in some significant manner, the manufacturing process of the product and the seller discloses who the actual manufacturer is.
The definition of “manufacturer” is expansive and is intended “to extend liability to those entities involved in the production of the product or otherwise in control [of] the production process.” Yoder v. Honeywell, 900 F. Supp. 240, 246 (D. Colo. 1995).  A “manufacturer” therefor also includes, as relevant to these cases:
•A seller who designs, assembles, fabricates, produces, constructs, or otherwise prepares a product or a component part of a product prior to the sale of the product to a user or consumer;
•A seller who creates and furnishes a manufacturer with specifications for a product that are related to the alleged defect, whether or not the seller placed a private label on the product;
•A seller who exercises some significant control over all or a portion of the manufacturing process, whether or not the seller placed a private label on the product;
•A seller who alters or modifies a product in any significant manner after the product comes into his possession and before it is sold to the ultimate user or consumer; and/or
•A seller who placed a private label on the product and did not disclose who the actual manufacturer is.
(1) The “manufacturer” status applies to any seller who mandated and enforced requirements that the manufacturer meet specifications for a product that are related to the alleged defect, and/or exercised significant control over a part of the manufacturing process.
The “manufacturer” definition would thus apply to any product seller involved in mandating and enforcing minimum food safety specifications and quality standards related to the selection and processing of the cantaloupe food products, and related to the ultimate quality of those products. Those minimum specifications and standards involving food safety, when not complied with and when not adequately enforced, are clearly related to the existence of contamination in the cantaloupe food products. These standards and requirements also clearly significantly control, affect and determine the growing, selection, packaging, shipping and storage elements for the cantaloupes. Evidence of active involvement in the oversight of the manufacturer’s compliance with those requirements, whether directly or indirectly through audits, supports the assertion that the seller was exercising significant control over that manufacturing process.
(2) The “manufacturer” status also applies to any seller who alters or modifies a product in any significant manner after the product comes into his possession and before it is sold to the ultimate user or consumer.
The “manufacturer” definition would thus apply to any product seller handling the cantaloupe products in any way significantly altering or modifying those products. The shipping and storage practices and procedures for the cantaloupes could significantly alter or modify those products, as perishable goods. A seller, such a Kroger in this claim, involved in the cutting up the cantaloupe for sale would obviously alter or modify the product.
(3) The “manufacturer” status also applies to any seller who placed a private label on the product and did not disclose who the actual manufacturer is.
The “manufacturer” definition is consistent with Restatement (Second) of Torts § 400 (1965), which holds that “One who puts out as his own product a chattel manufactured by another is subject to the same liability as though he were its manufacturer.” The court in Long v. United States Brass Corp., 333 F. Supp. 2d 999, (D. Colo. 2004), found that “the actor expects its own name to carry some weight with the customer and hopes to capitalize upon, and preserve, its goodwill. This representation, which the seller makes for its own benefit, leaves the customer ignorant of who actually manufactured the product”.
B.        If jurisdiction cannot be obtained over a particular manufacturer of a product, then that manufacturer’s principal distributor or seller over whom jurisdiction can be obtained shall be deemed, for the purposes of this section, the manufacturer of the product.
If the manufacturer has already filed for bankruptcy prior to being named a party in a lawsuit, then no lawsuit can be filed against it and the court has no jurisdiction. There is no jurisdiction as to claims against a manufacturer already in bankruptcy that have not yet been filed, because the preexisting existence of the automatic stay makes every action subsequently started in a trial court void.
The automatic-stay provision of the bankruptcy code provides that the filing of a bankruptcy petition “operates as a stay, applicable to all entities, of . . . the commencement” of a judicial action against the debtor for a claim that arose prepetition. 11 U.S.C. § 362(a). The Texas Supreme Court has twice said that actions taken in violation of an automatic stay are void. Howell v. Thompson, 839 S.W.2d 92, 92 (Tex. 1992) (holding appellate court judgment void); Cont’l Casing Corp., 751 S.W.2d at 501 (holding party’s assertion of offset against account owed to bankrupt debtor void). In our only precedential [*551] opinion since Howell, we have reaffirmed that acts that violate the automatic stay are void. Stephens, 216 S.W.3d at 529; accord Raney v. Hall, No. 05-98-00436-CV, 2000 Tex. App. LEXIS 2905, 2000 WL 567054, at *1 (Tex. App.–Dallas May 4, 2000, no pet.) (not designated for publication); see also 3 COLLIER ON BANKRUPTCY P 362.11[1] (15th ed. revised 2009) (arguing that the better approach is to treat acts that violate the stay as void rather than voidable).
Other courts of appeals have construed the rule of voidness to mean that the trial court acquires no jurisdiction over an action commenced in violation of the automatic stay. See, e.g., York v. State, No. 2-08-118-CV, 298 S.W.3d 735, 2009 Tex. App. LEXIS 7534, 2009 WL 3078515, at *6 (Tex. App.–Fort Worth Sept. 24, 2009, pet. filed) (“The automatic stay deprives state courts of jurisdiction over proceedings against the debtor, and any action taken against the debtor while the stay is in place is void and without legal effect.”); Lovall, 2005 Tex. App. LEXIS 415, 2005 WL 110372, at *2 (“The bankruptcy stay deprives state courts of jurisdiction over the debtor and his property until the stay is lifted or modified. Therefore, any subsequent judicial proceedings taken against the debtor that are in violation of the automatic stay are void, not merely voidable.”) (citations omitted); Padrino Maritime, Inc. v. Rizo, 130 S.W.3d 243, 246 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi 2004, no pet.), (“The automatic stay deprives a state court of jurisdiction over the debtor.”); accord Barton-Malow Co. v. Gorman Co. of Ocala, Inc., 558 So. 2d 519, 521 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1990) (trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over third-party defendant because third-party complaint was filed after third-party defendant filed for bankruptcy); Cohen v. Salata, 303 Ill. App. 3d 1060, 709 N.E.2d 668, 671-72, 237 Ill. Dec. 413 (Ill. App. Ct. 1999) (complaint filed in violation of an automatic stay is void and does not invoke the trial court’s jurisdiction).  Brashear v. Vict. Gardens of McKinney, L.L.C., 302 S.W.3d 542, 2009 Tex. App. LEXIS 9497 (Tex. App. Dallas 2009).
Accordingly, as regards all the claims against the manufacturer that were not filed by the date of the bankruptcy filing, the courts have no jurisdiction, and the Colorado statutory “innocent seller” defense would not protect the next principal distributor or seller in line.
In these cases, any principle distributor or seller would step into the role of the manufacturer, with related liability exposure. The retailer who actually sold the cantaloupe to the consumer would clearly be such a principal seller of the product.
Even in those cases where a legal action against the manufacturer was filed before the manufacturer’s filing of bankruptcy, the completion of the manufacturer’s bankruptcy process may result in the finding of lack of jurisdiction over that manufacturer, for purposes of the non-manufacturer exception statute. “Neither party has addressed, and we do not decide, the impact on jurisdiction of a discharge or other conclusion of a bankruptcy proceeding.” Bond v. E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co., 868 P.2d 1114, 1117 (Colo. Ct. App. 1993).
The Sale of Cantaloupes Unfit for Human Consumption Breached Implied Warranties to the Consumer
The plaintiffs may also assert legally valid warranty claims against distributors and/or sellers of contaminated cantaloupe for the sale of food unfit for human consumption. See, e.g. Gonzales v. Safeway Stores, Inc., 147 Colo. 358, 361, 363 P. 2d 667 (1961) (“It is elementary that one who sells an article for use as food for human consumption is held in law to have impliedly warranted that it is fit for the purpose for which it was sold, and for breach of that warranty proximately resulting in injury may be held to respond in damages.”).
These claims do not require privity. The Colorado Comment to C.R.S. §4-2-314 provides, in relevant part, “[the warranty] extends to any person reasonably expected to use, consume or be affected by the goods…thereby freeing any such beneficiaries of any technical rules as to ‘privity’.”
The 2012 version of the CJI 14:12 (IMPLIED WARRANTY OF WHOLESOMENESS OF FOOD) jury instruction, the most recent version of the Colorado Jury Instructions, defines for the jury the duty of the seller of defective food:
When a (insert an appropriate description, e.g., “packer,” “retailer,” “grocer,” “wholesaler,” “restaurateur,” etc.) sells (food) (or) (drink) for human consumption, (he) (she) (it) warrants that the product is wholesome and fit for human consumption at the time of the sale. This warranty is implied by law and need not be expressed in any fashion.
In the End it is About Being Responsible
As I said above, who is more responsible – the farmer who grew the product, the auditor who looked the other way, or the retailer who simply cared that there was something on the shelf to sell?  Did the retailer have specifications for cantaloupe?  Did the retailer ever visit the cantaloupe grower?  Did the retailer keep the cantaloupe cool?  Did the retailer wash the cantaloupe?  Is there a difference in the liability of a retailer for selling a brand name can of vegetables and selling a perishable product – like a cantaloupe?
Again, that will be up to a jury to decide.
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[1] Joint and Several Liability – The liability apportionment statute, Colo. Rev. Stat. 13-21-111.5., abolishes joint and several liability, and generally each defendant is only liable for the percentage of fault attributed to it. The only statutory exception to strict several liability provides that joint liability shall be imposed on two or more persons who consciously conspire and deliberately pursue a common plan or design to commit a tortious act. Joint and several liability may be imposed based on evidence of a course of conduct from which a tacit agreement to act in concert can be implied. Resolution Trust Corp. v. Heiserman, 898 P.2d 1049 (Colo. 1995).
Liability can be attributed to non-parties, if those non-parties are identified within 90 days of the lawsuit being filed. Under subsection (3)(b), “persons against whom recovery is sought” includes designated nonparties. Barton v. Adams Rental, Inc., 938 P.2d 532 (Colo. 1997). A person who is immune from suit may be a nonparty designee so long as the person owes a duty of care to the injured plaintiff. Doering ex rel. Barrett v. Copper Mountain, Inc., 259 F.3d 1202 (10th Cir. 2001).
Negligence of Non-Manufacturers/Sellers of the Products, auditors – The innocent seller provisions of the Colorado Product Liability Act do not affect claims against those entities that neither manufactured nor sold the cantaloupe products, including any claims against those entities based on negligent acts or omissions.
Section 13-21-401(2) defines for the purposes of the Colorado Product Liability Act a “product liability action” in relevant part as “any action brought against a manufacturer or seller of a product, …”. The provisions in the Act addressing “product liability action” clearly apply only to the manufacturers and sellers of the product. The plain language of the innocent seller statute provides that, although product liability actions may not be brought against innocent sellers, “other actions” may be brought. Section 13-21-402(1) prohibits only product liability actions against nonmanufacturing sellers, expressly allowing other types of actions to proceed. Carter v. Brighton Ford, Inc., 251 P.3d 1179 (Colo. Ct. App. 2010).
A cause of action founded on negligence requires proof of the following elements: (1) a duty or obligation, recognized by law, requiring the defendant to conform to a certain standard of conduct for the protection of others against unreasonable risks; (2) a failure or breach of duty by the defendant to conform to the standard required by law; (3) a sufficient causal connection between the offensive conduct and the resulting injury; and (4) actual loss or damage resulting to the interests of the plaintiff. Largo Corp. v. Crespin, 727 P.2d 1098, 1102 (Colo. 1986); Leake v. Cain, 720 P.2d 152, 154 (Colo. 1986).
The initial question in any negligence action is whether the defendant owed a legal duty to protect the plaintiff against injury. It is a well-established principle of Colorado jurisprudence that, “where a person should reasonably foresee that his act, or failure to act, will involve an unreasonable risk of harm to another, there is a duty to avoid such harm.” Bartholic v. Scripto-Tokai Corp., 140 F. Supp. 2d 1098, (D. Colo. 2000). Where damage is to be foreseen, there is a duty to act so as to avoid it. Metropolitan Gas Repair Service, Inc. v. Kulik, 621 P.2d 313, 317 (Colo. 1980).
[2] Strict Liability of the Manufacturers of Products – In Hiigel v. General Motors Corp., 190 Colo. 57, 544 P.2d 983, 987 (Colo. 1975), the Colorado Supreme Court adopted the doctrine of strict liability in tort set forth in the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A, providing for a cause of action against manufacturers or sellers of “any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property.”
As developed in Colorado case law and codified at Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-401, a product liability action means strict products liability arises when a product is unreasonably dangerous to the user because of a defect resulting from “the manufacture, construction, design, formula, installation, preparation, assembly, testing, packaging, labeling, or sale of any product, or the failure to warn or protect against a danger or hazard in the use, misuse, or unintended use of any product, or the failure to provide proper instructions for the use of any product.” Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-401(2). United States Aviation Underwriters, Inc. v. Pilatus Bus. Aircraft, Ltd., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71266 (D. Colo. Sept. 29, 2006).
Strict products liability is the manifestation of a public policy decision to allocate the burden of accidental injury and loss resulting from products placed in the marketplace from the consumers who use them to those who place them there. A manufacturer or seller into the marketplace on the relative safety or dangerousness of a product places the focus of the inquiry. A consumer is justified in expecting that a product placed in the stream of commerce is reasonably safe for its intended use, and when a product is not reasonably safe a products liability action may be maintained, irrespective of the precise nature or type of defect alleged. United States Aviation Underwriters, Inc. v. Pilatus Bus. Aircraft, Ltd., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71266 (D. Colo. Sept. 29, 2006).

E. coli O121 Farm Rich, Market Day, and Schwan brand frozen food products sicken 32
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/e-coli-o121-farm-rich-market-day-and-schwans-brand-frozen-food-products-sicken-32/
By Patti Waller (Apr 27, 2013)
The CDC announced an addition five ill, bringing the total to 32 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O121 reported from 18 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (1), Colorado (1), Florida (2), Illinois (2), Indiana (2), Michigan (3), Mississippi (1), New York (4), Ohio (4), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (3), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2).
Details of Illnesses:
81% of ill persons are 21 years of age or younger.
35% of ill persons have been hospitalized. Two ill people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, and no deaths have been reported.
Environmental Investigation:
The outbreak strain of STEC O121 has been identified in two different Farm Rich brand frozen products collected from the homes of two ill persons.  The Outbreaks Section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) Eastern Laboratory identified the outbreak strain from individually wrapped Farm Rich brand frozen mini pizza slices from an opened package collected from an ill person’s home in Texas.  The New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center Laboratory, identified the outbreak strain from an opened package of Farm Rich brand frozen chicken quesadillas from an ill person’s home.
Recall Information:
On April 4, 2013, Rich Products Corporation expanded its recall to include all Farm Rich, Market Day, and Schwan’s brand frozen food products produced at its Waycross, Georgia plant between July 1, 2011 and March 29, 2013 due to possible contamination with E. coli O121.  The recalled products had “Best By” dates ranging from January 1, 2013 to September 29, 2014.  Download PDF of retail establishments: 025-2013, Frozen Chicken Quesadilla and Other Snack Products (E. coli O121).
About E. coli:
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

Farm Rich Brand Frozen Food Products E. coli Outbreak Grows
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/farm-rich-brand-frozen-food-products-e-coli-outbreak-grows/
By Bill Marler (Apr 27, 2013)
Five additional ill persons have been reported from California (1), Colorado (1), Florida (2), and Ohio (1).
The CDC announced an additional five ill, bringing the total to 32 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O121 reported from 18 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (1), Colorado (1), Florida (2), Illinois (2), Indiana (2), Michigan (3), Mississippi (1), New York (4), Ohio (4), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (3), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2).  81% of ill persons are 21 years of age or younger.  35% of ill persons have been hospitalized. Two ill people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, and no deaths have been reported.
The outbreak strain of STEC O121 has been identified in two different Farm Rich brand frozen products collected from the homes of two ill persons.  The Outbreaks Section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) Eastern Laboratory identified the outbreak strain from individually wrapped Farm Rich brand frozen mini pizza slices from an opened package collected from an ill person’s home in Texas.  The New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center Laboratory, identified the outbreak strain from an opened package of Farm Rich brand frozen chicken quesadillas from an ill person’s home.
On April 4, 2013, Rich Products Corporation expanded its recall to include all Farm Rich, Market Day, and Schwan’s brand frozen food products produced at its Waycross, Georgia plant between July 1, 2011 and March 29, 2013 due to possible contamination with E. coli O121.  The recalled products had “Best By” dates ranging from January 1, 2013 to September 29, 2014.  Download PDF of retail establishments: 025-2013, Frozen Chicken Quesadilla and Other Snack Products (E. coli O121).

Don't Let Food Safety Reform Go Down the Disposal
Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glenn-d-braunstein-md/food-safety-reform_b_3158203.html
By Glenn D. Braunstein, M.D.. (Apr 26, 2013)
You'd think preventing contamination of the fruits, vegetables and packaged foods we eat would be an obvious priority. True, the United States ranks a respectable third in food safety — behind Israel and France. Still, some 48 million Americans are sickened by foodborne illnesses each year, the result of everything from listeria-tainted cantaloupes to salmonella-poisoned peanut butter. Of those who fall ill, 130,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die.
We have the know-how to thwart most outbreaks. But historically, lawmakers have relegated such prevention to the back burner. That promised to change in early 2011, when, after a rash of deadly outbreaks, Congress yielded to pressure from health advocates and passed the landmark Food Safety Modernization Act.
The law gave the U.S. Food and Drug Administration unprecedented authority to establish and enforce guidelines about how our produce is harvested, handled and processed, and to mandate recalls of contaminated foods. The goal: Empower the FDA to prevent a contamination crisis, not just react to it.
Now though, many wonder if this hard-won change will come to fruition. Without a beefed-up budget, the FDA won't be able to monitor and enforce the new guidelines that it just proposed in January and were touted as the first sweeping changes in more than 70 years.
Instead, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration mean the FDA will be forced to reduce the number of inspections it conducts by an estimated 2,100.
The first two rules the FDA put forth in January center on the safety of production facilities and produce on the farm and in the packing shed. These are outlined in more than 1,200 pages that boil down to practicing common sense.
The proposals call for food manufacturers to submit food safety plans to the government, proving that they maintain sanitary operations and have a plan to correct any potential problems. FDA inspectors would be permitted to audit the program and enforce safety standards.
Farmers are to make sure workers wash their hands, that irrigation water is clean, and that animal waste does not touch crops. These are often called the "four W's" — water, waste, workers and wildlife.
The rules would govern about 80 percent of the U.S. food supply, basically everything except meat, poultry and egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Additional safety guidelines for imported food are to be announced in the coming months. These are critical since 50 percent of fresh fruits, 20 percent of vegetables and 80 percent of seafood consumed in the United States is imported. Processing food abroad costs less but carries greater risk of contamination. Last summer, 127 people across 15 states were infected and 33 were hospitalized after eating mangoes imported from Mexico that were contaminated with salmonella.
Overall, eight known pathogens account for the vast majority of food-borne illnesses. The most common are norovirus, salmonella, clostridium and campylobacter. The deadliest are salmonella, toxoplasma and listeria. Anyone can get a foodborne illness, but between 15 percent and 20 percent of the population is the most susceptible. This includes people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, infants and the elderly.
Leafy, green vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and kale are more likely to carry bacteria and viruses than any other food source. However, while greens most often make people sick, meat and poultry contamination causes the most deaths.
The FDA estimates that implementing its guidelines would prevent up to 2.5 million foodborne illnesses annually and save more than $1 billion. Food poisoning in our country costs $14 billion a year, according to a study published in the Journal of Food Protection. This includes the medical expenses of those who are hospitalized, but not the millions of dollars that it costs food companies to recall products or pay in legal expenses from victims' lawsuits.
Nor does it take into account losses incurred by other companies when consumers hear about a contaminated product and avoid everything in that category, even food that is totally safe. Last year's listeria outbreak caused by infected cantaloupes from Colorado resulted in plummeting sales of the melon grown in other regions, including here in California, though California cantaloupes have never been linked to contamination.
Complying with the new standards is estimated to cost each large farm $30,000 a year and each small farm $13,000, according to the FDA. Farmers may need to build fences to keep animals out and provide hand-washing and restroom facilities to field workers.
Most Americans — three-fourths of those surveyed — say they are willing to pay between 1 and 3 percent more for groceries to offset these costs, according to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Many farmers and food companies already voluntarily follow the FDA's recommendations. Here in California, for example, farmers, shippers and processors of specific vegetables adhere to the California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement, which contains guidelines that essentially mirror those proposed by the FDA. The organization formed in 2007 in response to an E. coli outbreak caused by contaminated spinach traced to a farm in San Benito County. The tainted produce killed three people and infected nearly 200. Similarly, cantaloupe growers in our state joined together last year to formalize strict safety standards for growing, packing and shipping their products.
The FDA's new mandates, however, would offer further safety by deterring unhealthy practices by those who cut corners or are careless. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cost of implementing the bill would be $1.4 billion over five years, though advocates believe it would be less.
Even if Congress is persuaded to fork over the funds for improved oversight, changes wouldn't be enforced for at least a couple of years. Interested parties are reviewing the guidelines and have until mid-May.
In the meantime, individuals can minimize risk by practicing safety at home. While major outbreaks and recalls are typically the result of contamination on farms or in processing plants, improper food handling at home and in restaurants also causes illnesses.
When choosing fruits and vegetables, select ones that look fresh and don't have bruises, cuts, visible mold, or excessive dirt or soil on the edible portions. Produce should be stored in a cool, dry place away from raw meats, poultry and seafood.
Make sure you wash your hands, cutting boards, utensils and countertops with hot, soapy water before preparing food and eating. It is especially important to wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, handling raw meat or poultry, touching pets or animals, and emptying the garbage. (My grandson, Zane, recently demonstrated at his school’s Science Fair that washing for 20 seconds with soap and warm water is needed to rid hands of most bacteria, and that a quick rinse in warm or cold water alone is not sufficient.) Produce that is not labeled ready-to-eat or prewashed should be washed with cool running water.
Cooking meat, poultry and seafood for at least 10 minutes at 75 degrees C (167 degrees F) is recommended, so the center of the food reaches this temperature. Microwaves don't always kill bacteria. In the microwave, food often cooks unevenly and is left with cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive. Follow package instructions that call for rotating and stirring foods while they cook. Also follow instructions that call for foods to stand after cooking in the microwave.
These precautions are essential but won't prevent all foodborne illness. Hopefully, Congress will do its part. While many worthy policies and programs need funding, it's hard to think of any that are more universally necessary than protecting our nation's food supply.

Arizona, California, Minnesota and Texas Lead the Nation in Salmonella Cucumber Illnesses
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/arizona-california-minnesota-and-texas-lead-the-nation-in-salmonella-cucumber-illnesses/
By Andy Weisbecker (April 26, 2013)
Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.CDC is collaborating with public health officials in many states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul infections linked to imported cucumbers supplied by Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacán, Mexico and distributed by Tricar Sales, Inc. of Rio Rico, Arizona.
Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak. In PulseNet, the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC, DNA “fingerprints” of Salmonella bacteria are obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak.
A total of 73 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul have been reported from 18 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (9), California (28), Colorado (1), Idaho (2), Illinois (3), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (8), Nevada (1), New Mexico (2), North Carolina (1), Ohio (1), Oregon (2), South Dakota (2), Texas (6), Virginia (2), and Wisconsin (2).
Among persons for whom information was available, illness onset dates range from January 12, 2013 to April 6, 2013. Ill persons range in age from less than 1 year to 80 years, with a median age of 23 years. Sixty percent of ill persons are female. Among 51 persons with available information, 14 (27%) ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Food safety rules get comment extension, come under legal scrutiny
Source : http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/pending-regs/295923-food-safety-rules-get-comment-extension-come-under-legal-scrutiny-
By Megan R. Wilson (Apr 24, 2013)
The public will have even longer to give feedback to the Food and Drug Administration about three food safety rules proposed at the beginning of the year.
The Obama administration said the 120-day delay is a result of receiving requests to extend the comment period, which was originally set to end May 16.
All three proposals were released on Jan. 16 as part of the administration’s implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s food safety system that was passed by Congress in 2011.
Produce and other food trade groups say they’re having trouble sifting through all the new regulations, which came out six months after the deadline set by the legislation.
Earlier this month, United Fresh Produce Association and more than 80 other groups sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg asking the agency to put off setting a deadline until other still-awaited regulations from the FSMA are released, so the comments can reflect a full analysis of the rules.
The industry is awaiting the release of foreign supplier verification rules, which would subject imported foods to U.S. regulations and safety standards.
A federal judge on Monday ruled that the FDA has illegally held up writing many of the currently outstanding FSMA regulations, according to the Huffington Post. The California case pitted the Center for Food Safety against federal regulators and the court agreed that the food safety rules were being "unlawfully withheld."
Judge Phyllis Hamilton of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said the agency had also violated Congress's deadline in the legislation and the Administrative Procedure Act by "failing to complete the regulations by the statutory deadlines." The Administrative Procedure Act governs the regulatory process.

Food Safety Act remains on paper in Kerala
Source : http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/food-safety-act-remains-on-paper-in-kerala/article4648060.ece
By thehindu.com (Apr 24, 2013)
Nearly two years after the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) came into effect, Kerala is still struggling with lack of infrastructure and human resource constraints to implement the Act in letter and spirit.
The quality of food, from temple prasadam to food served in eateries, is a big concern in the State, said a senior food safety scientist here on Tuesday. He alleged that proper monitoring mechanism was not still in place. However, the State Food Safety Commissioner Biju Prabhakar claimed that an entirely new system was being established from the scratch and that it would take time to build the infrastructure.
The recent reports about broiler breeder chicken being sold in the meat market and banned preservatives injecting in fishes call for constant intervention to ensure quality in the food market.
Laboratories required
One of the most obvious requirements to meet the food safety standards envisaged in the Act is setting up of more laboratories to test food samples. Now, the food safety authority is depending on institutions like the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) in Kochi and Centre for Food Research and Development, Konni to test the samples.
Mr. Prabhakar said that public analytical laboratories were needed at the district level. There are only four laboratories at present - in Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Kochi and Kozhikode. Even these laboratories need better trained personnel and more modern equipments.
The Food Safety Authority is also hamstrung by shortage of people to address the issues before it. Out of a total of 92 food safety officers’ posts in the State, 16 posts are vacant. A large number of officers continue to work with the local bodies and they need to be brought under the Food Safety Authority. Interestingly, the offices are also not spacious enough to accommodate more number of people.
Mr. Prabhakar said that the toll free number provided to the public to make complaints regarding unsafe food served in hotels was largely being misused with fake calls and unspecific complaints putting food safety officials on wrong trails.

Chicken, Ground Beef Pose Biggest Food-Safety Risk
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2013/04/chicken-ground-beef-pose-biggest-food-safety-risk.aspx
By foodproductdesign.com
WASHINGTON—Ground beef and chicken are the riskiest meat and poultry products in the U.S. food supply and pose the greatest likelihood of hospitalization from foodborne illness, according to a new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The report also found chicken nuggets, ham, and sausage pose the lowest risk of foodborne illness.
The report, “Risky Meat: A Field Guide to Meat & Poultry Safety,"  ranks 12 categories of meat and poultry based on outbreak reports and the likelihood of hospitalizations associated with the pathogens most commonly reported in those foods. CSPI analyzed more than 33,000 cases of foodborne illness connected to products regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
According to the report, ground beef and chicken are responsible for the largest numbers of outbreaks and cases of illnesses, and those illnesses tend to be more severe. E. coli O157:H7 was responsible for 100 outbreaks associated with ground beef in the 12-year study period. Because that pathogen is estimated to result in hospitalization in nearly half of those infected, ground beef had the highest severity index of the 12 meat and poultry categories. Ground beef is also connected to illnesses caused by Clostridium perfringens and Salmonella.
“Outbreaks from ground beef and chicken are reported frequently, and all too often cause debilitating illnesses—illnesses that lead to hospitalization," said CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal. “For example, approximately a quarter of those who are sickened by Salmonella will go to the hospital. The hospitalization rate for E. coli infections is nearly 50% and for Listeria infections it is more than 90%. "
Hospitalizations caused by Salmonella put chicken in the “highest risk" category alongside ground beef. Clostridium perfringens and Norovirus also cause outbreaks associated with chicken. Campylobacter bacteria are also believed to cause a large number of individual illnesses associated with chicken but rarely cause outbreaks.
“Meat and poultry producers must bear primary responsibility for keeping pathogens out of their products, but when it comes to beef, chicken, and other raw meats, restaurateurs and home cooks must treat them like hazardous materials and  take steps to minimize risk," said CSPI senior food safety attorney Sarah Klein.
CSPI’s second tier, or “high risk" category of meats includes steak and other forms of beef, but excludes roast beef, which is of medium risk. Steak is typically seared on both sides, which helps to kill surface bacteria, but E. coli O157:H7 is still a problem. The practice of mechanically tenderizing steak with blades or needles may drive surface bacteria into the steak’s interior, thereby increasing risk. With steak and other forms of beef, Clostridium perfringens was the pathogen responsible for the greatest number of illnesses. Rounding out CSPI’s high risk category is turkey. In fact, November and December have the most turkey-associated Clostridium illnesses—indicating that holiday turkey left out on the table too long is partly to blame.
CSPI’s “medium risk" category includes barbecue, deli meat, pork (excluding ham and sausage), and roast beef. Listeria monocytogenes is a critical concern with deli meats. Listeria hospitalizes 94% of those who becomes infected, with the elderly, ill, and immune-compromised consumers being at greatest risk. CSPI’s barbecue category includes beef and pork barbecue, but not chicken barbecue, and its pork category includes chops and roasts, but not ham. With both of those categories, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens and Staphylococcus aureus are the primary pathogens of concern.
Chicken nuggets, ham and sausage make up the “low risk" category, reflecting their lower frequency and severity of illnesses. Norovirus is a common cause of infections from foods in this category, which suggests that improper food handling, such as insufficient hand-washing by restaurant workers, may be responsible for more illnesses than the foods themselves.

Produce Safety Alliance offers food safety Q&A sessions
Source : http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-news/Produce-Safety-Alliance-offers-food-safety-QA-sessions-204369101.html
By Coral Beach (Apr 23, 2013)
Upcoming presentations by the Produce Safety Alliance on the Food Safety Modernization Act are scheduled to include question and answer sessions on topics ranging from animal incursions to recordkeeping.
The alliance is a collaborative project between Cornell University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration. Formed in 2010, the alliance is funded by a three-year, $1.15 million grant from the Agricultural Marketing Service.
As part of its mission to help growers and shippers understand and comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act, the alliance set up eight question and answer sessions. The live sessions are recorded and posted on the alliance website for review at http://tinyurl.com/FSMA-questions.
The upcoming sessions are all scheduled for 11 a.m. Eastern time. Dates and topics are:
•May 3: Domestic & Wild Animals;
•May 6: Growing, Harvesting, Packing & Holding Activities;
•May 8: Equipment, Tools, Buildings & Sanitation;
•May 10: Health, Hygiene, & Training of Workers; and
•May 13: Recordkeeping, Compliance & Enforcement.
Previous sessions available on the alliance website for review covered exemptions to the act, agricultural water and soil amendments.

Judge orders FDA to move on food safety overhaul
Source : http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/23/judge-orders-fda-to-move-on-food-safety-overhaul/
By David Ferguson (Apr 23, 2013)
On Monday, a federal judge ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to stop delaying the implementation of a sweeping set of food safety measures passed more than two years ago. According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the Northern District of California signed a decision spurring the FDA into action on the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, a wide-ranging set of measures aimed at lessening incidents of food borne illness and death from contaminated food.
The FDA has argued that the measures are far-reaching and extremely complex, making them difficult to enact all at once. Judge Hamilton acknowledged that in her decision, but said that the agency must meet hard deadlines and cannot put the process of modernization off indefinitely. She asked for a list of new rules implemented by the agency by May 20.
The Center for Food Safety, a group concerned with keeping the U.S. food supply safe and untainted, sued the FDA in August of 2012, asking the court to prevent the agency from any further delays on implementing of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The regulatory body has missed almost all deadlines proposed in the bill so far.
The FDA has managed to implement two of the requirements set forth in the law. One measure made it easier for the FDA to halt shipment of domestically produced food that may be contaminated and the other requires importers to notify the U.S. if food coming into the country has been previously rejected by other countries.

Study: Chicken, ground beef are riskiest meats
Source : http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/23/17880548-study-chicken-ground-beef-are-riskiest-meats?lite
By Mary Clare Jalonick (Apr 23, 2013)
WASHINGTON - An analysis of more than 33,000 cases of foodborne illness shows that ground beef and chicken have caused more hospitalizations than other meats.
The report by the Center for Science in Public Interest says chicken nuggets, ham and sausage pose the lowest risk of foodborne illness.
The group used government data on 1,700 outbreaks over 12 years to analyze salmonella, E. coli, listeria and other pathogens that were definitively linked to a certain meat.
To calculate which meats were riskiest, CSPI ranked the foods in which contamination was most likely to cause hospitalizations. Some meats may have had more illnesses but were less likely to cause severe illness.
After ground beef and chicken, CSPI categorized turkey and steak as "high risk" and deli meat, pork, roast beef and beef or pork barbeque as "medium risk."
Salmonella and E. coli, pathogens that contaminate meat and poultry during slaughter and processing, accounted for a third of the illnesses surveyed. Clostridium perfringens, a lesser-known pathogen that usually grows after processing when foods are left at improper temperatures for too long by consumers or food establishments, accounted for another third.
While a large number of chicken illnesses were due to clostridium perfringens, chicken led to many hospitalizations partly because of the high incidence of salmonella in chicken that isn't properly cooked.
Most of the ground beef illnesses were from E. coli, which is found in the intestinal tracts of cattle and can transfer to the carcass if the meat isn't handled properly during slaughter. Ground beef can be riskier than steak and other beef products because pathogens are spread during the grinding process.
According to the report, listeria, salmonella and E. coli required the most hospitalizations.
The group noted that the data is incomplete because so many foodborne illnesses are not reported or tracked. The CDC estimates that as many as 48 million Americans get sick from food poisoning each year.
To reduce foodborne illnesses from meat, CSPI recommends what they call "defensive eating" — assuming that meat can be unsafe. Safe handling includes not letting meat juices drip onto other food or counters, cleaning cutting boards and plates that have held raw meat, wearing gloves when preparing meat and washing hands often. Cooks should also make sure meat is heated to the proper temperature before eating it.

Chicken, Ground Beef Pose Biggest Food-Safety Risk
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2013/04/chicken-ground-beef-pose-biggest-food-safety-risk.aspx
By foodproductdesign.com (Apr 23, 2013)
WASHINGTON—Ground beef and chicken are the riskiest meat and poultry products in the U.S. food supply and pose the greatest likelihood of hospitalization from foodborne illness, according to a new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The report also found chicken nuggets, ham, and sausage pose the lowest risk of foodborne illness.
The report, “Risky Meat: A Field Guide to Meat & Poultry Safety,"  ranks 12 categories of meat and poultry based on outbreak reports and the likelihood of hospitalizations associated with the pathogens most commonly reported in those foods. CSPI analyzed more than 33,000 cases of foodborne illness connected to products regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
According to the report, ground beef and chicken are responsible for the largest numbers of outbreaks and cases of illnesses, and those illnesses tend to be more severe. E. coli O157:H7 was responsible for 100 outbreaks associated with ground beef in the 12-year study period. Because that pathogen is estimated to result in hospitalization in nearly half of those infected, ground beef had the highest severity index of the 12 meat and poultry categories. Ground beef is also connected to illnesses caused by Clostridium perfringens and Salmonella.
“Outbreaks from ground beef and chicken are reported frequently, and all too often cause debilitating illnesses—illnesses that lead to hospitalization," said CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal. “For example, approximately a quarter of those who are sickened by Salmonella will go to the hospital. The hospitalization rate for E. coli infections is nearly 50% and for Listeria infections it is more than 90%. "
Hospitalizations caused by Salmonella put chicken in the “highest risk" category alongside ground beef. Clostridium perfringens and Norovirus also cause outbreaks associated with chicken. Campylobacter bacteria are also believed to cause a large number of individual illnesses associated with chicken but rarely cause outbreaks.
“Meat and poultry producers must bear primary responsibility for keeping pathogens out of their products, but when it comes to beef, chicken, and other raw meats, restaurateurs and home cooks must treat them like hazardous materials and  take steps to minimize risk," said CSPI senior food safety attorney Sarah Klein.
CSPI’s second tier, or “high risk" category of meats includes steak and other forms of beef, but excludes roast beef, which is of medium risk. Steak is typically seared on both sides, which helps to kill surface bacteria, but E. coli O157:H7 is still a problem. The practice of mechanically tenderizing steak with blades or needles may drive surface bacteria into the steak’s interior, thereby increasing risk. With steak and other forms of beef, Clostridium perfringens was the pathogen responsible for the greatest number of illnesses. Rounding out CSPI’s high risk category is turkey. In fact, November and December have the most turkey-associated Clostridium illnesses—indicating that holiday turkey left out on the table too long is partly to blame.
CSPI’s “medium risk" category includes barbecue, deli meat, pork (excluding ham and sausage), and roast beef. Listeria monocytogenes is a critical concern with deli meats. Listeria hospitalizes 94% of those who becomes infected, with the elderly, ill, and immune-compromised consumers being at greatest risk. CSPI’s barbecue category includes beef and pork barbecue, but not chicken barbecue, and its pork category includes chops and roasts, but not ham. With both of those categories, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens and Staphylococcus aureus are the primary pathogens of concern.
Chicken nuggets, ham and sausage make up the “low risk" category, reflecting their lower frequency and severity of illnesses. Norovirus is a common cause of infections from foods in this category, which suggests that improper food handling, such as insufficient hand-washing by restaurant workers, may be responsible for more illnesses than the foods themselves.

Food Safety: CDC Report Shows Rates of Foodborne Illnesses Remain Largely Unchanged
Source : http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/22/cdc-food-safety-report-card/
By Alexandra Sifferlin (Apr 22, 2013)
About 1 in 6 people in the United States gets sick from eating contaminated food, a rate that has not declined in seven years.
Despite some improvements in food safety, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that progress in reducing foodborne illnesses have stalled.
In the latest issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers analyzed data from FoodNet, a system for tracking food-related illnesses, and found that although the number of infections acquired from food are lower than they were in the 1990s, over the last few years little progress was made in reducing exposure to foodborne pathogens even further.
The FoodNet program tracks infections with nine commonly found bacteria in food: campylobacter, cryptosporidium, cyclospora, listeria, salmonella, E.coli 0157 (including both the variety that produces shiga toxin and the strain that doesn’t), shigella, vibrio and yersinia. The database monitors illnesses among 48 million people from Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Tennessee, and selected counties in California, Colorado, and New York — about 15% of the total U.S. population. In the current report, researchers compared rates of foodborne illnesses to those from 2006 to 2008, to assess whether food safety policies were effective in controlling potential outbreaks.
(MORE: After Year-Long Delay, FDA Proposes Major Regulations For Food Safety)
In 2012, the FoodNet program identified 19,500 infections, including 4,500 hospitalizations and 68 deaths. The rates of infection from the nine most prevalent pathogens had not changed significantly compared to the previous analysis.
The data reveal weaknesses in current food safety regulations, as well as new challenges posed by changing populations of bacteria. For example, while infections due to shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157, found in raw ground beef, have dropped since  the 1990s, in 2012, rates remained unchanged since 2006 to 2008. ”We may need to identify additional ways to reduce contamination as well as heightening awareness among consumers of the importance of properly cooking and handling ground beef in their own homes,” said Dr. Robert Tauxe, the deputy director of the CDC division of foodborne, waterborne and environmental diseases during a call with reporters.
And while the new report showed that once again, salmonella was the most common cause of food-related illness, the study found a change in the strains of the bacteria responsible for causing illness. According to Tauxe, the frequency of salmonella infections in the FoodNet population has remained constant since 1996, but the incidence of illness caused by the most common strain of salmonella has decreased, while the appearance of other strains are on the rise. The total number of salmonella infections, however, remained unchanged.
(MORE: Is It Worth Buying Organic? Maybe Not)
“It represents some success that the cases of salmonella have not increased over time, but the fact that we are still where we were a decade ago means that further efforts will be needed to prevent more salmonella infections and bring that number of infections lower than they are now,” said Tauxe .
Other infections showed slight increases in recent years, raising concerns about what industry practices or food handling methods might be contributing to the trend. Rates of illness due to infection with campylobacter, which can be contracted from contaminated poultry, raw milk or produce, for example, appear to be inching upward. “We see that after real progress in the 1990s when there were declines in the early years of FoodNet’s surviellance, the incidence of campylobacter bacteria has increased recently. It is still lower than it was in the 1990s, but it has increased by 14% since a baseline period of 2006 to 2008,” said Tauxe.
Infections related to vibrio, a bacterium found in marine water that often infect oysters, also increased, by 43% compared to rates reported in 2006-2008.
(MORE: Bad Food: Illnesses from Imported Foods Are on the Rise, CDC Says)
Reported infections were highest among children under age five and elderly adults over age 65. Kids are at a higher risk of severe infection and older adults have a greater risk of hospitalizations and deaths from foodborne illnesses, which  means better ways of diagnosing and treating these groups are needed in order to bring infection rates down.
The researchers are hopeful that two draft proposals for improving food safety that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released in January will help to lower rates of food-related infections, and ultimately result in more standard methods of preventing exposure to bacterial pathogens.
The rules were part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that President Obama signed into law two years ago, and the FDA was a year behind in submitting the proposals, due to extensive visits to farms and food manufacturing facilities, as well as meetings with industry and scientific experts.
Known as Preventive Controls for Human Food and Standards for Produce Safety, the draft proposals are still available for public comment. The first rule says manufacturers selling food in the United States, whether the products were grown in the U.S. or abroad, must develop and adhere to formal rules for preventing contamination of their products and correct any problems that arise.
The second rule involves foods that are meant to be consumed raw, such as berries and greens, and requires stricter standards for growing, harvesting, packing and storing such produce. The rule also requires more vigilance over sanitation during irrigation and washing of produce, as well as stringent rules for worker hygiene and cleanliness of materials such as fertilizers and manure. In order to assure potential contaminants are not introduced through exposure to animal waste, the proposal also calls for rigid monitoring of animals that enter crop fields, and sanitation of processing equipment.
MORE: How to Stop the Superbugs
In January, when we reported on the proposals, experts heralded the rules as a much overdue step for to improve public health and lower health care costs due to foodborne illnesses:
-The FDA says the new rules will lead to major savings in medical costs and less resources spent in response to large scale recalls. However, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would cost $1.4 billion to implement, from 2011 to 2015, and that funding has not yet been secured. “Resources are going to continue to be an issue,” Hamburg said during the conference call.
That could be a problem for implementing the FSMA going forward, since there are still more measures to be addressed, such as increased monitoring and standards for food importers. The FDA says approximately 15% of food eaten in the U.S. is imported, and more rules for importers to verify that foods that are grown and processed overseas meet U.S. standards are an important part of improving overall food safety. The FDA will also propose more rules for preventing contamination and illnesses from animal feed and pet food.-
If implemented, the new regulations could be an important step toward nudging rates of food-related disease back down again. “We know that in the past that targeted efforts by industry and regulators have been successful for specific problems and we think that recently proposed regulatory changes and further industry efforts may well have an effect soon,” said Tauxe. ”It is also important to note that consumers have a role to play in following food safety guidelines for the foods they prepare for themselves and others, especially when they prepare them for people [such as young children and the elderly who are] at higher risk for severe sickness.” Regulations, he says, can only go so far in protecting consumers. Ultimately, making sure that food is washed, handled and stored properly can also prevent unwelcome bacteria from finding a home in your food and potentially causing you to become sick.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed after 450 Alta Restaurant Patrons required to get Hepatitis A Vaccine
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/class-action-lawsuit-filed-after-450-alta-restaurant-required-to-get-hepatitis-a-vaccine/
By Bill Marler (Apr 22, 2013)
Marler Clark, the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne illness outbreaks, and Underberg & Kessler filed a class action lawsuit today against Alta Restaurant.  The lawsuit was filed in New York County Superior Court on behalf of named plaintiff Michael Piacente and other restaurant patrons who received hepatitis A vaccinations after alleged exposure to the hepatitis A virus at Alta Restaurant between March 23 and April 2, 2013.
On April 5, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene advised Alta Restaurant patrons who had eaten dessert purchased from the restaurant between March 23 and April 2, 2013 to seek vaccination against hepatitis A, a communicable disease that is often transmitted through food-contamination.  According to multiple news reports, a pastry chef who works at the restaurant had recently returned from Mexico and contracted the virus.  Because symptoms of infection do not appear for roughly 2 weeks after exposure, the Alta Restaurant worker prepared food while infectious, but before exhibiting symptoms illness, which include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) and fatigue.
The Health Department encouraged Alta Restaurant customers to contact a healthcare provider for vaccination or to visit one of three vaccination clinics the public health agency offered.  According to the complaint, Michael Piacente obtained the appropriate vaccination against hepatitis A from his private physician.  He also had blood drawn so a sample could be tested for hepatitis A.
“I’ve seen this situation play out time and again,” said William Marler, attorney for the plaintiffs.  “If restaurants would require workers to be vaccinated—or better yet, pay for vaccinations—they could go a long way toward preventing these public health scares and the loss of business that naturally goes with them.”

WHO Updates H7N9 Outbreak in China
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/who-updates-h7n9-outbreak-in-china/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 22, 2013)
The World Health Organization updated the status of the avian influenza A (H7N9) virus in China yesterday. The National Health and Family Planning Commission of China notified WHO of an additional fifteen lab-confirmed cases of the virus. Three additional deaths were reported.
To date, there are 102 lab confirmed cases, including 20 deaths. Sixty-seven patients are hospitalized and seven have been discharged. There is no evidence of human-to-human transmission so far, even though 40% of the patients had no contact with live poultry. Wild bird sales have been suspended in the country, and a ban on live poultry trading where the illnesses have occurred is in place.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released an FAQ on the illness last week. They recommend that good farm hygiene practices should be followed, including reporting any cases of sick or dead birds to veterinarians.
That FAQ also says that “influenza viruses are not transmitted thorugh consumption of well-cooked food. Influenza viruses are inactivated by normal temperatures used for cooking (so that food reaches 70 degrees C in all parts “piping” hot), it is safe to eat properly prepared and cooked meat, including from poultry and game birds.” [Editor's note: Unfortunately, 70 degrees C is not hot enough; chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees F, which is 74 degrees C. "Piping hot" is not a good term either; temperatures should be checked with a food thermometer.] They also state that egg and egg-containing dishes should be fully cooked and no one should eat raw chicken.
WHO is planning to send a team of investigators to areas affected by the virus to provide recommendations on the prevention and control of the disease. Most of the illnesses are in eastern China. Four people in Beijing in the northern part of the country and three in Henan Province in central China have been infected.

Possible Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Baby Chicks
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/04/possible-multistate-salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-baby-chicks/
By James Andrews (Apr 22, 2013)
A Salmonella outbreak suspected to be linked to live baby chickens may be under investigation in several states, according to a spokesman for the South Dakota Department of Health.
At least four patients in South Dakota — three adults and one child under the age of four — have fallen ill in connection to the outbreak.
The Salmonella bacteria in all four South Dakota cases share the same genetic fingerprint, and some of the patients have had direct contact with baby chicks, state health department spokesman Lon Kightlinger told Food Safety News Monday morning.
The cases came from different parts of the state, and Kightlinger said it was not immediately clear if the chicks involved originated from the same hatchery.
Kightlinger said that South Dakota’s cases are linked to cases in other states. CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell told Food Safety News that the agency is investigating the outbreak, but is not yet ready to report anything.
Poultry and other animals may carry Salmonella or other bacteria that can be spread to humans. Health professionals advise those who handle baby chicks to wash their hands immediately after contact, and to take special caution with small children, as children have weaker immune systems especially susceptible to harmful pathogens.
Last month, Food Safety News produced a video on safe handling of baby chicks in anticipation of chick season. Watch that video below:

Boston Terrorism Through the Lens of Food Safety
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-watch/boston-terrorism-through-the-lens-of-food-safety/
By Bill Marler (Apr 22, 2013)
With four dead and nearly 200 injured, many seriously, many still hospitalized, last week’s bombing in Boston has been yet another horrific reminder of how vulnerable we can be.
I must admit as I recoiled from those numbers, I also thought of a spinach E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that killed five and sickened over 200 in 2006, and a 2011 cantaloupe Listeria outbreak that killed at least 33 and sickened at over 145.  It made me wonder how we would be reacting to a different Boston act of terror.  Let’s suppose:
Last Friday, April 19th, on the same day Massachusetts Department of Health asked for help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) with a growing outbreak of human Salmonella illnesses linked to marathon runners who ate orange slices along the route, a foreign TV Network begins airing a video taken inside a fresh produce distribution center somewhere showing workers treating oranges with an unknown liquid. There is a claim that the growing illnesses are a terrorist act.
In the next 15 minutes, every network news operation is playing the video. The broadcast networks break into regular programming to air it, cable news stations go nonstop with the video while talking heads dissect it, and social media – twitter and Facebook are overwhelmed.
Coming on a Friday afternoon on the East Coast, the food terrorism story catches the mainstream Media completely off guard. Other than to say the video is being analyzed by CIA experts, and is presumed to be authentic, there isn’t much coming out of the government.
Far-fetched? Don’t count on it. I have been saying for years that any foodborne illness outbreak looks just like the terrorist act described above, but without the video on FOX News. Far-fetched?
Tell that to the 751 people in Wasco County, Oregon—including 45 who required hospital stays—who in 1984 ate at any one of ten salad bars in town and were poisoned with Salmonella by followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The goal was to make people who were not followers of the cult too sick to vote in county elections.
Tell that to Chile, where in 1989, a shipment of grapes bound for the United States was found laced with cyanide, bringing trade suspension that cost the South American country $200 million. It was very much like a 1970s plot by Palestinian terrorists to inject Israel’s Jaffa oranges with mercury.
Tell that to the 111 people, including 40 children, sickened in May 2003 when a Michigan supermarket employee intentionally tainted 200 pounds of ground beef with an insecticide.
Tell that to Mr. Litvenenko, the Russian spy poisoned in the UK with polonium-laced food.
Tell that to Stanford University researchers who modeled a nightmare scenario where a mere 4 grams of botulinum toxin dropped into a milk production facility could cause serious illness and even death to 400,000 people in the United States.
After 9/11, Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said: “Public health is a national security issue. It must be treated as such. Therefore, we must not only make sure we can respond to a crisis, but we must make sure that we are secure in defending our stockpiles, our institutions and our products.”
Before Thompson’s early exit from the Bush Administration, he did get published the “Risk Assessment for Food Terrorism and Other Food Safety Concerns.” That document, now years old, let the American public know that there is a “high likelihood” of food terrorism. It said the “possible agents for food terrorism” are:
• Biological and chemical agents
• Naturally occurring, antibiotic-resistant, and genetically engineered substances
• Deadly agents and those tending to cause gastrointestinal discomfort
• Highly infectious agents and those that are not communicable
• Substances readily available to any individual and those more difficult to acquire, and
• Agents that must be weaponized and those accessible in a use able form.
After 9/11, Secretary Thompson said more inspectors and more traceability are keys to our food defense and safety. To date, we’ve made little real movement to ensure this.
So would the fact of a terrorist group operating from a produce distribution center inside the United States or Mexico have brought more or effective resources to the search for the source of Salmonella? If credit-taking terrorists were putting poison on our oranges, could we be certain that Uncle Sam’s response would be more robust, more effective than if it was just a “regular” food illness outbreak?
Absolutely not! The CDC publicly admits that it manages to count and track only one of every forty foodborne illness victims, and that its inspectors miss key evidence as outbreaks begin. The FDA is on record as referring to themselves as overburdened, underfunded and understaffed.  If you are a food manufacturer, packer, or distributor, you are more likely to be hit by lightening than be inspected by the FDA. You are perfectly free to continue to sell and distribute your poisoned product, whether it has been poisoned accidentally or intentionally.
The reality is that my hypothetical Salmonella outbreak is a brutal object lesson in the significant gaps in our ability to track and protect our food supply. We are still ill prepared for a crisis, regardless of who poisons us.

Snapshot of Foodborne Illness Trends in US
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/snapshot-of-foodborne-illness-trends-in-us/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 19, 2013)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a snapshot of the report card for food safety issued by FoodNet. This data helps public health officials know how much progress (or lack of progress) has been made in reaching goals for reducing foodborne illness.
Those goals, enumerated at HealthyPeople.gov, state that the objectives are to reduce infections caused by bacteria and viruses transmitted through food. More specifically, the government is working toward reductions in infections due to STEC bacteria, Listeria, and Salmonella in beef, dairy, fruit, nuts, leafy vegetables, and poultry. They also want to prevent an increase in the proportion of Salmonella and Campylobacter isolates that are resistant to antimicrobial drugs. Finally, increasing the proportion of consumers who follow food safety practices and improving food safety practices in foodservice and retail establishments are key.
One interesting point in the snapshot is the multiplier that the CDC uses to estimate the number of actual food poisoning cases, based on the lab-confirmed cases that are reported to officials. Those numbers range from 2 for Listeria infections, up to 142 for Vibrio infections.
The chart above provides a stark reminder that the rates of laboratory-confirmed infections with Vibrio and Campylobacter are increasing. In response, Consumer Federation of America (CFA) released a statement saying that the data “demonstrate a need for greater vigilance in efforts to reduce illnesses from these pathogens.”
Salmonella and Campylobacter illnesses are often associated with raw or undercooked poultry. CFA also states that “much of the poultry that consumers purchase in the supermarket is sold as parts, yet the Food Safety and Inspection Service has collected data only on whole birds, not on the level of contamination of poultry parts. Additionally, whole birds purchased at retail and tested by consumer groups have shown unacceptably high rates of Salmonella and Campylobacter.”
CFA is also concerned about the HIMP program that will change the way poultry is inspected in processing plants. They state that, “the agency has almost no data on how the proposed program will actually affect Campylobacter rates on poultry and does not require poultry plants to test for Salmonella and Campylobacter, significantly limiting the agency’s ability to assure that poultry plants are reducing contamination from these pathogens.”
The CDC states that it established performance standards for Campylobacter contamination of whole broiler chickens in processing plants in 2011. It also approved more stringent time and temperature controls for oysters after harvest to prevent Vibrio infections. And the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 will help the CDC strengthen surveillance and outbreak response.

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