FoodHACCP Newsletter
06/03 2013 ISSUE:550

FSMA Imported Foods Rule Takes Effect
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/fsma-imported-foods-rule-takes-effect-today/
By Linda Larsen (May 30, 2013)
One of the new rules mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is being put into effect today. the “Information Required in Prior Notice of Imported Food” is now a final rule and is the law of the land. This rule is designed to stop contaminated food at U.S. borders. If a food that is waiting for clearance into the country has been refused entry by another country, it will be rejected at the border.
Food importers must follow this rule, which was originally put into place in 2002 after 9/11. The rule states, “for purposes of this regulation, FDA considers ‘refused entry’ to mean a refusal of entry or admission of human or animal food based on food safety reasons, such as intentional or unintentional contamination of an article of food. This is consistent with the intent of the provision, which is to provide FDA with additional information to better identify imported food shipments that may pose a safety or security risk to U.S. consumers.”
Anyone who has submitted prior notice of imported food, including food for animals, must report any country to which the article has been refused entry. This rule is part of the Public Health Security and BIoterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which was signed into law on June 12, 2002.
This rule has been in place as an interim rule since May 2011. There were no changes to the final rule. There were only fifteen comments published in the Federal Register; none objected to the rule. Most were asking for more information and definition about terms and phrases in the rule.

NGO trains 1,000 food vendors on food safety, hygiene
Source : http://tribune.com.ng/news2013/en/community-news/item/13431-ngo-trains-1,000-food-vendors-on-food-safety,-hygiene.html
By tribune.com.ng (June 03, 2013)
A non-government group, the Royal Life Saving Society of Nigeria, said it had trained about 1,000 food vendors on food safety and hygiene to promote health.
The President of the society, Dr Boniface Ihesiulo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that training food vendors would help to combat food and water borne diseases.
Ihesiulo said that the primary objective of the organisation was to save life and to promote health through disease prevention programme.
“Food is very important to man; starting from the day somebody is born, even the unborn child needs clean food.
“So, we educate women and men, we educate those who produce the food and those who carry it about on best practices.
“We selected the best type of raw food and taught the people how to cook in their various homes; also anybody who touches or deals with food is a food vendor.
“Those who eat it and drink water are consumers, so, both the food vendors and consumers were educated according to WHO specified standards,” he explained.
Ihesiulo said women were food managers; hence they should ensure that the best hygienic ways of preparing and serving food were selected to guarantee safe food and also prevent diseases.
According to him, “it is necessary for everybody to know the type of food to buy in the market and not those that are sold on top of smelling gutters.”
Ihesiulo advised that people should desist from buying rotten foods, eating near refuse dumps and patronising bad cooks.
He also said that five keys to safer food was launched by WHO, as a guide to food vendors for proper food safety and hygiene.
Ihesiulo said the project would teach people how to keep clean, the type of temperature to store food, where to store the food and how the food is prepared.
NAN reported that the five keys to safer foods were; keep clean, separate raw and cooked food, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures and use safe water and raw materials.
Ihesiulo said proper cooking killed the dangerous microorganisms, noting that studies had shown that cooking food to a temperature of 70 degrees celsius helped to ensure its safety for consumption.
He also discouraged the habit of storing food too long in the refrigerator.
Ihesiulo further said the organisation had plans for butchers; where the meat sellers would be taught how to clean their tables and display meat.

CDC Study Shows Salmonella Resistant to Drug Treatment Growing
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/cdc-study-shows-salmonella-resistant-to-drug-treatment-growing/
By Linda Larsen (June 2, 2013)
A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that Salmonella enterica is increasingly resistant to drug treatments. The subspecies S. enterica Kentucky showed greater resistant to treatment with the antibiotic ciprofloxacin in Canada. These infections are linked to travel to countries in Africa.
Salmonella enterica causes many food poisoning cases in humans and animals. Drug resistance of a similar nature was also found in Europe. The researchers said, “that most isolates had multidrug resistance phenotypes is of particular concern. Resistance to ciprofloxacin in Salmonella species is a growing concern because it limits the ability to treat invasive disease.”
The bacteria isolates were studied by the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance from 2003 to 2009. Thirty percent of those isolates showed ciprofloxacin. The proportion of S. enterica Kentucky isolates that were resistant to ciprofloxacin grew from 22% in 2003 to 57% in 2009. These resistant bacteria emerged in Canada during that time frame.
The CDC report states that “one of the main drivers of antimicrobial drug resistance in Salmonella spp. is use of antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals. As with cephalosporin resistance, ciprofloxacin resistance in Salmonella spp. is a growing concern.”  The researchers want to see more studies to determine risk factors for contracting these infections in Canada.

Pittsburgh International Airport restaurants short on food safety
Source : http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/pittsburgh-international-airport-restaurants-short-on-food-safety-689988/#ixzz2V72zsSUt
By Patricia Sabatini (June 2, 2013)
While the Pittsburgh International Airport long ago lost its status as a hub for a major airline, the facility more recently has become a standout in a more dubious category -- as a hotbed for food safety violations.
A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette review of inspection reports for 19 restaurants at the airport found that together they racked up some 270 critical violations over the past two years. Critical violations are the most serious types of problems that put people at risk for foodborne illnesses. The restaurants also accumulated roughly 230 lesser infractions.
The reports by the Allegheny County Health Department also showed seven "administrative" actions, a fairly rare occurrence in which persistent problems trigger a visit from a health department supervisor to press the need for corrective action.
"It sounds like more violations than we want to have," interim health department director Ronald Voorhees said when asked about the newspaper's findings.
He said the department would conduct a review to determine the need for "additional actions to improve the situation."
The Airport Group, a policy group affiliated with the labor union Unite Here, last month expressed concerns about food safety conditions at the airport during a board meeting for the Allegheny County Airport Authority. (Unite Here does not represent workers at food concessions at the Pittsburgh airport.)
The group presented board members with an analysis identifying 271 violations at airport restaurants since the beginning of 2012, a shorter period of time than the newspaper's review, including 132 critical violations.
By comparison, inspection reports for the similarly sized Mineta San Jose International Airport showed 146 violations at a nearly identical number of facilities over roughly the same time frame, with just two violations termed "major" by inspectors there, Airport Group analyst Ian Mikusko said.
"We wanted to alert the Allegheny County Airport Authority about the number of violations so it could take positive action to ensure the safety of food available to the airport's passengers," Mr. Mikusko said.
When asked about the newspaper's findings and the concerns of the Airport Group, the airport authority issued an email statement saying it was "proud of the track record of Airmall's food and beverage operators and of the hardworking food service workers who make the program a success."
Airmall USA, which manages the retail space at the airport, also released a statement via email saying it "takes great pride in managing and maintaining a clean, safe food and beverage operation."
Both the airport authority and Airmall emphasized that "no airport eatery has any outstanding issues" with the health department.
The health department can issue a yellow "Consumer Alert" sticker or shut down a restaurant for uncorrected critical food safety violations but has not done so at any restaurant at the airport.
Such actions are rare. Last year, the county issued nine consumer alerts and four closures among the roughly 7,000 food facilities it oversees.
According to the newspaper's review of health department records available online:
McDonald's located in the main area of the terminal known as the center core was hit with the most critical violations of any restaurant over the two-year period with 32 and tied with two other restaurants for prompting the most visits by inspectors at nine. County health inspectors are supposed to inspect restaurants once per year but come more often if there are severe or persistent problems.
Critical violations included undercooked burgers, holding food at unsafe temperatures and cross-contamination problems when employees handling raw meat were observed touching clean items, including a seasoning bottle and trays meant for cooked burgers.
The popular fast-food outlet also accumulated the most noncritical violations, 41, for less serious infractions such as food service employees wearing acrylic nails and excessive debris on the floor.
The restaurant's owner, Iftakhar Malik, attributed the high number of violations to a high volume of business.
"We serve the most customers," he said.
"We do not serve any food that should not be served. We serve safe food. Every product we make has a time and temperature on it and when it's expired" it is thrown out, he said.
Mr. Malik said the undercooked Quarter Pounders and Angus burgers that an inspector found last year represented "one complaint in one year."
Still, inspection reports show a similar violation about a month later at another McDonald's outlet that Mr. Malik owns, located in Concourse B. That outlet was inspected five times and accumulated 19 critical violations.
"If we were doing something real serious, they will tag you," Mr. Malik said, referring to the health department's consumer alert program.
l Charley's Steakery, also in the center core, accumulated the second highest number of critical violations at 31, including 10 recorded during a single inspection in June 2012.
The sub shop was repeatedly cited for not having at least one worker on duty certified in safe food-handling practices -- which has been a county requirement since 1993 -- and for holding foods at unsafe temperatures, including during the facility's most recent inspection in April.
Owner Drew Janis said he considers food safety the most important aspect of serving the public, that he welcomes the input from inspectors and that all violations have been corrected.
"I've been there for 21 years at the airport. We are very careful about things and run a very clean operation," he said, adding that he and his general manager took the county's food safety course but let the certification lapse. He said they were planning to be recertified.
l At Nature's Kitchen in the center core, inspectors visited nine times, finding 25 critical violations, the third highest among the 19 restaurants. Repeat violations twice triggered a meeting with a health department supervisor, the most of any restaurant at the airport.
On nearly every visit, multiple foods inside coolers were too warm. The facility also was cited multiple times for not having a certified food safety manager and not keeping food hot enough on the steam table.
Inspectors found a similar number of problems at a second Nature's Kitchen location in Concourse D.
The general manager for Nature's Kitchen did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
l At a Subway shop in Concourse B, an inspector visited six times, recording 18 critical and nine noncritical violations that prompted a visit from a health department supervisor in January.
Critical problems included meats being held at unsafe temperatures, improper sanitization and an employee observed blowing her nose and then putting on plastic gloves without washing her hands.
"That employee is no longer with us," said Mike Patel, owner of that facility and another Subway in Concourse A, where a supervisor also paid a visit in January.
"We have fixed all the problems we had," Mr. Patel said.
Although the vast majority of airport restaurants had multiple critical violations, a few stood out for exceptionally good performance. Among the three full-service T.G.I. Friday's locations at the airport, there wasn't a single critical violation and just two noncritical infractions recorded over the past two years.
"Certainly the goal of the inspection process is to decrease the number of violations as close to zero as possible," the health department's Dr. Voorhees noted.
Unless customers logged onto the county health department website, they had no way of knowing how the airport restaurants were doing.
The department has been working on implementing an A-B-C rating system that would post scores on restaurant doors. Part of the reason is to help people quickly interpret inspection reports and make it easier for them to make informed dining decisions.
Supporters say that in addition to grades helping customers make on-the-spot choices, the specter of having to post a poor score is a strong motivator for restaurants to be vigilant about food safety and to act quickly to fix health code violations.
"Certainly the hope is that it improves food safety throughout the county. That's the goal," Dr. Voorhees said.
The department was ready with a draft proposal for grading restaurants early last month, but the plan was put on hold pending the appointment of a permanent director, which was announced Friday as Karen Hacker of the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, effective in September.
The next step would be to test the system in the field before presenting it to the Allegheny County Board of Health. The plan would then go to Allegheny County Council for consideration.
Any grading plan would be long in coming.
Some two years ago, the board unanimously approved an A-B-C rating system that had been in the works for many months but scuttled it after an outcry from prominent local restaurant owners who called it unnecessary, unfair and potentially damaging to their businesses.
That plan also was criticized by a food safety expert at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, but for a different reason. She said it was too lenient on restaurants, making it virtually useless as a guide for consumers when choosing a place to eat.

'Score-on-the-door' food hygiene rating for cafes and restaurants
Source : http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/scoreonthedoor8217-food-hygiene-rating-for-cafes-and-restaurants/story-e6frea83-1226655456826
By David Nankervis (June 02, 2013)
A NEW "score-on-the-door" food hygiene safety rating is being introduced for cafes and restaurants as the State Government overhauls the Public Health Act.
The Government wants food businesses to adopt the system, with a score out of five displayed on a shop's door according to its level of food-safety compliance.
It is also planning to adopt a new statewide food safety standard and introduce a registration system for food outlets as part of the reforms.
Hundreds of outlets are caught each year for serious breaches of food hygiene standards.
Health inspectors found rotten meat, maggots in chicken stuffing, puddings with listeria and mice in pantries at cafes, restaurants and takeaway food outlets last financial year.
A parliamentary committee investigation into food safety programs last September recommended the introduction of a statewide score-on-the-door rating system.
Health Minister Jack Snelling said SA Health would work with other jurisdictions, including NSW and with local government and industry, during the development of the system.
A pilot "scores on doors" project is expected to be introduced on a voluntary basis next year. Similar schemes are running in London, Los Angeles, Singapore, Brisbane and Sydney.
The most recent breach of food standards involved the operators of a Port Noarlunga South Foodland outlet, which pleaded guilty to 57 counts in the Adelaide Magistrates' Court last month.
The extent of known non-compliance by food outlets is revealed in the latest figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws.
They show 357 businesses - including aged-care homes, childcare centres, supermarkets, pubs and hospitals - were issued with improvement notices, prohibition orders or fines for breaching food hygiene regulations in 2012-13. Breaches included the discovery of rodents, cockroaches and "many flies" on premises, ant-infested chocolate and foreign matter in foods.
Family First MP Robert Brokenshire, who obtained the figures, said the Government had "clearly had an inadequate focus on food safety and quality".
"It is not acceptable to have ad hoc council-by-council inspection services in protecting food quality," Mr Brokenshire said.
Salisbury Council runs a similar scoring scheme involving 40 businesses which receive a rating up to five stars from council inspectors. The council said the scheme encouraged businesses to adopt "best-practice food safety and hygiene" and created consumer confidence.
Salisbury Fasta Pasta part-owner Stuart James said he volunteered for the rating scheme to benefit the business and consumer but thinks it should be mandatory. "It would weed out the bad operators," he said.
The Restaurant and Catering SA association said the score system would mean more red tape to businesses. "We would prefer to see a policy which endorses training of staff (in food safety)," chief executive Sally Neville said.
The Eastern Health Authority - which works with five eastern suburbs councils - has called for a registration system for food outlets, allowing for deregistration of those which flout the law.
Local Government Association chief executive Wendy Campana said councils believed registration would help ensure food businesses were inspected and tested for compliance.
Sisters Kate and Amy Royle were enjoying lunch at Unley Rd cafe A Mothers Milk and said they welcomed the idea of a food-safety compliance rating. "It would give you peace of mind," Kate, 25, said.

Changing China Food Safety at Heart of Shuanghui Smithfield Deal
Source : http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-06-02/changing-china-food-safety-at-heart-of-shuanghui-smithfield-deal
By Bloomberg News (June 02, 2013)
Wan Long, who helped turn a single hog processing plant into China’s largest producer, explains the reasons for his $4.7 billion swoop on Smithfield Food Inc. (SFD) as he adjusts six miniature porcelain pigs on his desk.
The 72-year-old chairman of Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., who last week won Smithfield’s acceptance for what would be the largest Chinese acquisition of a U.S. company, is not just reordering the pink and blue swines in front of him. He’s seeking to tap foreign expertise and technology to help reshape food safety and production in China’s pork industry.
“The question of food safety, whether it’s to American consumers or Chinese consumers, is a big deal,” Wan said in interview at his office in Luohe city in Henan province, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) south of Beijing, sitting in front of a world map that hangs behind him. “Our nation has a tighter and tighter grip over food safety.”
Chinese consumers spend about $183 billion on pork a year, favoring pig head, feet and offal that aren’t popular on U.S. menus. The nation’s farms are mostly small who combined produce about five times more pig meat than the U.S. China’s food industry had been wracked by scandals ranging from tainted milk to the illegal dumping of hogs in rivers.
Smithfield accepted Hong Kong-based Shuanghui’s offer of $34 a share on May 29, priced at a 31 percent premium to the close the day before, the companies said that day. The U.S. producer has 30 days to continue talks with possible buyers Charoen Pokphand Foods Pcl (CPF) and JBS SA (JBSS3), according to a person familiar with the matter.
Prepared to Raise
Buying the Smithfield, Virginia-based hog producer, would give Shuanghui access to more advanced production technology as well as 460 farms that raise about 15.8 million hogs a year. The bid by China’s top pork producer is valued at about $7.1 billion including debt. Shuanghui, whose shareholders include Goldman Sachs Group Inc., may raise its offer to meet other bids, Wan said during the May 31 interview.
A vertical calligraphy paper scroll on the wall in the reception to Wan’s office, with black ink Chinese characters, may offer some insight into the deal. “Restructure and expand, good management and sound spending of money,” it reads.
Wan said the price they agreed to pay for Smithfield “isn’t cheap,” and that any possible increased bid would be made “while keeping in mind the costs.” Shuanghui said yesterday it had no confirmation of competing offers for Smithfield and that its bid was “fair.”
First Sausage
Shuanghui began operating a single processing plant in Luohe in 1969 and introduced its first branded sausage in 1992, according to its website. It produces more than 2.7 million tons of meat a year from plants in 13 provinces. Zhang Taixi, president of Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co., Shuanghui’s listed unit, said in a May 18 interview that the company makes more than 100 million sausages a day, or about one for every 13 of mainland China's people.
“Chinese traditionally like to eat pork,” said Chairman Wan. Secondly, “China doesn’t have the resources to raise cattle on a large scale. If there isn’t a lot of beef, you’ll have to eat pork if you like to eat meat,” he said.
Wholesale pork prices (CNPORKWH) averaged 21.3 yuan a kilogram ($1.60 a pound) in China in 2012, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The nation consumed 52.7 million tons that year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, giving it a value of 1.1 trillion yuan ($183 billion), according to Bloomberg calculations.
The number of hogs available for slaughtering in China rose 5.2 percent to 696 million in 2012, while those remaining as livestock advanced 1.6 percent to 475 million, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Breeding Swines
“China spends tens of millions of dollars every year importing U.S. piglets or breeding swines because the U.S. has much better technology in that field,” said Li Qiang, chairman of Shanghai JC Intelligence Co., an agricultural research company. Increased pork imports would also cut pollution at home, Li said.
Farmers with annual production of less than 50 hogs available for slaughter contribute 35 percent of the nation’s output, while producers with less than 500 contribute 65 percent, according to James Feng, general manager of Soozhu.com, China’s biggest independent hog researcher. Pig farming consumes large amounts of crops and water, and produces pollution, while urbanization is reducing the supply of land in China, he said. In the U.S., 53 percent of farms produce 5,000 or more pigs a year, according to the National Pork Producers Council website.
Global Production
The world’s farmers are estimated to produce 107.4 million metric tons of pig meat in the marketing year 2013, according to the USDA. China’s output, the largest, is predicted at 53.8 million tons, compared with U.S. production of 10.7 million tons. China imported more than 1.3 million tons of pork and its byproducts last year, including more than 500,000 tons from the U.S., Shuanghui said yesterday.
“The U.S. has sufficient farming land and water resources,” said Feng. “Buying Smithfield is to secure the supply of feed and water to pigs for Shuanghui.”
Shuanghui imports all its slaughtering and processing equipment from the U.S. and Europe, said Wan. He’s been to the U.S. many times and includes visits to supermarkets on his trips, especially those selling Chinese-style products such as steamed buns and pancakes, he said.
“Europe and America have excellent skills and equipment,” he said. “If we go and purchase businesses from America and Europe, develop China’s meat industry, we will raise the level and standard of our food safety.”
Food Scandals
China has been seeking to reassure consumers about food, creating a new administration in March charged with overseeing food and drug safety in the country. Premier Li Keqiang told a government meeting in May a large amount of money should be spent for food safety to build up people’s confidence in what they eat, China National Radio reported May 13.
The efforts come after scandals including the deaths of at least six babies in 2008 because of melamine-tainted milk and the discovery of more than 9,000 dead pigs in Shanghai’s Huangpu river in March. Shanghai’s government said last month it was testing some mutton after police busted a ring selling rat, fox and mink as meat.
Shuanghui apologized in March 2011 over illegal additives found in its meat and halted output after China Central Television reported that farmers in central Henan province fed an additive to their pigs and then sold them to a slaughterhouse owned by the group. The company subsequently pledged to step up quality control.
Foreign Guest
Back in his ninth-floor office in Luohe, Wan says he never thought of buying an American company when he was a factory director at Shuanghui’s first plant about three decades ago. The porcelain pigs on his desk were a gift from a foreign meat industry guest, though he can’t recall who, he says.
The Smithfield deal will help accelerate Shuanghui’s global expansion plans, Wan says now, and he’s “fully confident” it will get shareholder and regulator approvals.
“China’s demand for meat products is getting bigger and bigger,” he says. “We very much need to bring in advanced production and technologies from overseas.”

Changing China Food Safety Key to Shuanghui on Smithfield
Source : http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-02/changing-china-food-safety-at-heart-of-shuanghui-smithfield-deal.html
By Bloomberg News (June 03, 2013)
Food Safety and the CEO – Keys to Bottom Line Success
Wan Long, who helped turn a single hog processing plant into China’s largest producer, explains the reasons for his $4.7 billion swoop on Smithfield Food Inc. (SFD) as he adjusts six miniature porcelain pigs on his desk.
The 72-year-old chairman of Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., who last week won Smithfield’s acceptance for what would be the largest Chinese acquisition of a U.S. company, is not just reordering the pink and blue swines in front of him. He’s seeking to tap foreign expertise and technology to help reshape food safety and production in China’s pork industry.
“The question of food safety, whether it’s to American consumers or Chinese consumers, is a big deal,” Wan said in interview at his office in Luohe city in Henan province, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) south of Beijing, sitting in front of a world map that hangs behind him. “Our nation has a tighter and tighter grip over food safety.”
Chinese consumers spend about $183 billion on pork a year, favoring pig head, feet and offal that aren’t popular on U.S. menus. The nation’s farms are mostly small who combined produce about five times more pig meat than the U.S. China’s food industry had been wracked by scandals ranging from tainted milk to the illegal dumping of hogs in rivers.
Smithfield accepted Hong Kong-based Shuanghui’s offer of $34 a share on May 29, priced at a 31 percent premium to the close the day before, the companies said that day. The U.S. producer has 30 days to continue talks with possible buyers Charoen Pokphand Foods Pcl (CPF) and JBS SA (JBSS3), according to a person familiar with the matter.
Prepared to Raise
Buying the Smithfield, Virginia-based hog producer, would give Shuanghui access to more advanced production technology as well as 460 farms that raise about 15.8 million hogs a year. The bid by China’s top pork producer is valued at about $7.1 billion including debt. Shuanghui, whose shareholders include Goldman Sachs Group Inc., may raise its offer to meet other bids, Wan said during the May 31 interview.
A vertical calligraphy paper scroll on the wall in the reception to Wan’s office, with black ink Chinese characters, may offer some insight into the deal. “Restructure and expand, good management and sound spending of money,” it reads.
Wan said the price they agreed to pay for Smithfield “isn’t cheap,” and that any possible increased bid would be made “while keeping in mind the costs.” Shuanghui said yesterday it had no confirmation of competing offers for Smithfield and that its bid was “fair.”
First Sausage
Shuanghui began operating a single processing plant in Luohe in 1969 and introduced its first branded sausage in 1992, according to its website. It produces more than 2.7 million tons of meat a year from plants in 13 provinces. Zhang Taixi, president of Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co., Shuanghui’s listed unit, said in a May 18 interview that the company makes more than 100 million sausages a day, or about one for every 13 of mainland China's people.
“Chinese traditionally like to eat pork,” said Chairman Wan. Secondly, “China doesn’t have the resources to raise cattle on a large scale. If there isn’t a lot of beef, you’ll have to eat pork if you like to eat meat,” he said.
Wholesale pork prices averaged 21.3 yuan a kilogram ($1.60 a pound) in China in 2012, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The nation consumed 52.7 million tons that year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, giving it a value of 1.1 trillion yuan ($183 billion), according to Bloomberg calculations.
The number of hogs available for slaughtering in China rose 5.2 percent to 696 million in 2012, while those remaining as livestock advanced 1.6 percent to 475 million, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Breeding Swines
“China spends tens of millions of dollars every year importing U.S. piglets or breeding swines because the U.S. has much better technology in that field,” said Li Qiang, chairman of Shanghai JC Intelligence Co., an agricultural research company. Increased pork imports would also cut pollution at home, Li said.
Farmers with annual production of less than 50 hogs available for slaughter contribute 35 percent of the nation’s output, while producers with less than 500 contribute 65 percent, according to James Feng, general manager of Soozhu.com, China’s biggest independent hog researcher. Pig farming consumes large amounts of crops and water, and produces pollution, while urbanization is reducing the supply of land in China, he said. In the U.S., 53 percent of farms produce 5,000 or more pigs a year, according to the National Pork Producers Council website.
Global Production
The world’s farmers are estimated to produce 107.4 million metric tons of pig meat in the marketing year 2013, according to the USDA. China’s output, the largest, is predicted at 53.8 million tons, compared with U.S. production of 10.7 million tons. China imported more than 1.3 million tons of pork and its byproducts last year, including more than 500,000 tons from the U.S., Shuanghui said yesterday.
“The U.S. has sufficient farming land and water resources,” said Feng. “Buying Smithfield is to secure the supply of feed and water to pigs for Shuanghui.”
Shuanghui imports all its slaughtering and processing equipment from the U.S. and Europe, said Wan. He’s been to the U.S. many times and includes visits to supermarkets on his trips, especially those selling Chinese-style products such as steamed buns and pancakes, he said.
“Europe and America have excellent skills and equipment,” he said. “If we go and purchase businesses from America and Europe, develop China’s meat industry, we will raise the level and standard of our food safety.”
Food Scandals
China has been seeking to reassure consumers about food, creating a new administration in March charged with overseeing food and drug safety in the country. Premier Li Keqiang told a government meeting in May a large amount of money should be spent for food safety to build up people’s confidence in what they eat, China National Radio reported May 13.
The efforts come after scandals including the deaths of at least six babies in 2008 because of melamine-tainted milk and the discovery of more than 9,000 dead pigs in Shanghai’s Huangpu river in March. Shanghai’s government said last month it was testing some mutton after police busted a ring selling rat, fox and mink as meat.
Shuanghui apologized in March 2011 over illegal additives found in its meat and halted output after China Central Television reported that farmers in central Henan province fed an additive to their pigs and then sold them to a slaughterhouse owned by the group. The company subsequently pledged to step up quality control.
Foreign Guest
Back in his ninth-floor office in Luohe, Wan says he never thought of buying an American company when he was a factory director at Shuanghui’s first plant about three decades ago. The porcelain pigs on his desk were a gift from a foreign meat industry guest, though he can’t recall who, he says.
The Smithfield deal will help accelerate Shuanghui’s global expansion plans, Wan says now, and he’s “fully confident” it will get shareholder and regulator approvals.
“China’s demand for meat products is getting bigger and bigger,” he says. “We very much need to bring in advanced production and technologies from overseas.”

Chinese supermarket closed down in Abu Dhabi for food safety violations
Source : http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/chinese-supermarket-closed-down-in-abu-dhabi-for-food-safety-violations-1.1191775
By Binsal Abdul Kader (June 2, 2013)
Abu Dhabi: Some errant food outlets in the emirate do not learn from the experience of others which have been closed, named and shamed by the food safety authority, a senior official said yesterday.
Chinese Supermarket on Shaikh Zayed Street (formerly Al Salam Street) in Abu Dhabi city that ignored three slips for violations and two final warnings for violating food safety rules, was temporarily closed down on Thursday, Mohammad Jalal Al Rayssi, Director of Communication and Community Service at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), told Gulf News yesterday.
“Some businesses learn lessons from others’ experiences; some understand the language of citation of violation or warnings. But some others understand the seriousness of food safety rules only when we close them down,” Al Rayssi explained.
He said the authority’s naming and shaming policy [of publishing the names of closed food businesses] has generally improved food safety standards in the emirate. “All food businesses are concerned about their reputation and do their best to rectify the violations as soon as they get the warnings. But the latest closure proves that there are businesses which only understand the harsh measure [closure],” the official said.
A press release issued by ADFCA said the owner of the outlet was given ample opportunities to take corrective measures. Three violation slips and two final warnings were issued since the beginning of this year. Apart from ordering the outlet to close, expired biscuits, tea, dried fish and sweets were destroyed on Thursday.
The authority pointed out that the charges against the outlet included the lack of a food control certificate, non-participation in food safety training, displaying food items without Arabic labels, stocking food items of unknown origin and general lack of hygiene.
Chinese Supermarket could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts.
The authority called upon the public to read food labels carefully to know the ingredients and the expiration date and to call up 800555 in case of any food safety violations.

Did We Miss European and Canadian Hepatitis A Berry Warnings?
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/did-we-miss-european-and-canadian-hepatitis-a-berry-warnings/
By Bill Marler (June 2, 2013)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on May 31, 2013, 30 people ill with acute hepatitis A may be linked with consumption of Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, a frozen berry and pomegranate seed mix. Illnesses thus far have been reported in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and California.  These numbers are expected to change (increase) as the investigation continues.  This weekend thousands of people are receiving hepatitis A vaccinations or Ig shots to prevent the hepatitis A infection.  Many are worried if they are too late for treatment and are awaiting symptoms.
According to the CDC, preliminary laboratory studies of specimens from two cases suggest the outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus (HAV) is genotype 1B. This strain is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in the North Africa and Middle East regions.  This genotype was identified in a 2013 outbreak in Europe linked to frozen berries and another 2012 outbreak in British Columbia related to a frozen berry blend with pomegranate seeds from Egypt.
In April 2012, eight cases of hepatitis A were reported in British Columbia possibly linked to frozen berries according to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).  The BCCDC warned consumers not to eat Pomeberry Blend frozen berries manufactured by Western Family.  The blend, which was distributed through Save-On-Foods and Overwaitea, contained frozen pomegranate seeds, blueberries, strawberries and cherries.  Although there is no direct link, the BCCDC suggested that as a precaution, individuals who had the Pomeberry Blend product in their refrigerator or freezer should not to consume it.
In early May 2013, Eurosurveillance reported at least 71 people in Europe sickened with Hepatitis A in an outbreak believed to be linked to frozen berries served in smoothies.  The hepatitis A outbreak was first announced in Denmark on March 1, 2013. A case–control study identified frozen berries eaten in smoothies as the potential vehicle for the illnesses. In the following weeks, Finland, Norway and Sweden also identified an increased number of hepatitis A patients. Most cases reported having eaten frozen berries at the time of exposure. By April 17, 71 cases were noted in the four countries. There were 35 people sickened in Denmark and another 36 sickened between Finland, Norway and Sweden.  Illnesses began as early as October 1, 2012.
No specific type of berry, brand or origin of berries has been identified.
On May 29 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced that it was working closely with the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) to help identify the origin of another recent outbreak of hepatitis A virus infection in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. All 15 infected people had traveled to Trento and Bolzano, in Italy.
The joint report noted that preliminary investigations have identified frozen berries as the most likely source of infection.  According to the ECDC, Since January 1, 2013, 15 laboratory-confirmed cases of hepatitis A have been reported in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.  A large number of cases reported consumption of berries prior to disease onset. In addition, hepatitis A was isolated from a pack of mixed frozen berries at the residence of one of the cases.
It will be interesting in the post-mortem if United States health officials, Townsend Farms and retailers missed the warnings of this frozen berry treat.

Why No Costco Recall of Townsend Farms Berries?
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/why-no-costco-recall-of-townsend-farms-berries/
By Kathy Will (June 1, 2013 )
At least 30 people in 5 states have Hepatitis A infections associated with Townsend Farms berries purchased at Costco, according to the CDC, but neither Costco nor Townsend Farms has recalled the product, Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend. Why no recall?
Costco has issued a safety notice regarding Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend and pulled the product from its shelves, but that is not technically a recall. The company could issue a recall even if Townsend Farms does not, according to attorney Fred Pritzker. It is possible Costco is waiting for the results of product and environmental testing on samples taken from the Townsend Farms plant in Oregon.
Through interviews with ill patients, the CDC has reported that 11 of 17 patients interviewed thus far recalled eating Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend. FDA has begun an inspection of the processing facilities of Townsend Farms of Fairview, Oregon. The FDA is also developeing a protocol to test berries for the Hepatitis A virus (HAV), and will be testing samples related to the outbreak, including the frozen blend for the presence of Hepatitis A.
To date there are people sickened in 5 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.  The cities of Phoenix, San Diego, Reno and Las Vegas are the hardest hit.
Lawyers Fred Pritzker, Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Osterholm have been fielding calls all day from people with questions about Hepatitis A from Costco berries.   Pritzker, Flaherty and Osterholm are looking at filing a class action on behalf of Costco customers who purchased Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend. They are also investigating individual lawsuits on behalf of people who were diagnosed with Hepatitis A and hospitalized. You can contact Pritzker, Flaherty, and Osterholm by submitting Fred’s free consultation form.

Why no Recall of Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend frozen berry mix linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak?
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/why-no-recall-of-townsend-farms-organic-anti-oxidant-blend-frozen-berry-mix-linked-to-hepatitis-a-outbreak/
By Bill Marler (June 1, 2013)
No product recall issued by Townsend Farms.  Costco does pull product from shelves and calls some – but not all members to return product. 
Where is FDA recall authority?
According to the CDC, as of May 31, 2013, 30 people ill with acute hepatitis A that may be linked with consumption of a contaminated product have been reported by five states: Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and California.  These numbers are expected to change as the investigation continues. Based on epidemiologic investigation of 19 cases:
•12 (63%) ill people are women
•All people are ages 18 or older, ranging from 25 – 71 years
•Illness onset dates range from 4/29/2013 – 5/17/2013
•9 (47%) ill people have been hospitalized
•11 (65%) of 17 ill people interviewed reported eating ‘Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend,’ a frozen berry and pomegranate seed mix
•11 persons who have provided purchase information reported purchasing this product from ‘Costco’ markets; however, investigations are ongoing to determine if this product was sold at other stores or venues.
Preliminary laboratory studies of specimens from two cases suggest the outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus (HAV) is genotype 1B. This strain is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in the North Africa and Middle East regions.  This genotype was identified in a 2013 outbreak in Europe linked to frozen berries and another 2012 outbreak in British Columbia related to a frozen berry blend with pomegranate seeds from Egypt.
According to the label, The Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend frozen berry mix associated with illness contained pomegranate seeds and other produce from the US, Argentina, Chile and Turkey.
However, according to Lynne Terry of the Oregonian, “Townsend Farms has not ordered a recall, but Costco has removed the berries from its shelves.”  Interestingly, there is nothing on the Townsend Farms website informing consumers of anything about its Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, which contains cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and strawberries, except its interest in food safety.
Costco’s website links to the CDC website which does say: “Costco is notifying its members.”  Costco also links to the FDA website.  I have spoken to two Costco members who have received phone calls from Costco informing them that they can return the product for a refund.  I have also heard from two Costco member who have not received such a call (photo of product to above right).
Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend frozen berry mix is a frozen product is likely to still be in consumers freezers.  Townsend Farms and the FDA should be announcing a recall.  Costco is being responsible by pulling product and calling its members (well, some of them), but the public deserves a more complete recall.

Food safety issue
Source : http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=235497
By Ana Madigibuli (May 31, 2013)
MINISTRY of Health inspectors and their counterparts in municipal councils are upskilling their knowledge on food safety through a workshop.
Head of the Food Unit at the ministry Dip Chand said the ministry was trying to get health inspectors to understand hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) which would come into effect in 2015.
Mr Chand said HACCP was an internationally-recognised method of controlling or overseeing food safety in processing plants.
"It is important for business operators to know that HACCP is vital, especially for those who export to countries that require HACCP compliance," he said.
"We are trying to build capacity in our inspectors as they are the local food authority that will enforce and implement the new methods.
"We want them to be on par with the language of HACCP and for them to make submissions to the food unit for approval of HACCP plans."
Mr Chand said the inspectors would enforce and implement the HACCP requirements in their districts.
"The unit does not want its staff running around to implement HACCP because of limitation of resources, so the responsibility is given to inspectors who are close to the various locations."

Dubai launches Ramadan food safety campaign
Source : http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/health/dubai-launches-ramadan-food-safety-campaign-1.1190781
By Mariam M. Al Serkal (May 30, 2013)
Dubai: Authorities expect a surge of customers in abattoirs during Ramadan and have urged by residents to abide by the municipality’s regulations to avoid the risk of food contamination.
Food poisoning cases are more likely in summer since the hot and humid weather enables bacteria to grow at a faster rate, officials said.
The advice came yesterday after a one-day seminar organised by the municipality’s public health services department in collaboration with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) on the preparation and processing of sheep meat to ensure optimal meat quality and hygiene.
Officials at MLA pointed out that the top world beef producer in 2012 was the US with an output of 12 million tonnes, with Brazil coming in at second place with 9 million tonnes, while Australia was placed 7th with 2.5 million tonnes.
The municipality has clearly defined guidelines for individuals, companies and cooperatives making use of services provided by the abattoirs in Al Qusais, Hatta and Al Lisaily.
“We have 10 veterinarians at the abattoir in Al Qusais who carry out ante-mortem and post-mortem checks on cattle, to ensure that they are slaughtered with clean knives and in a hygienic environment,” said Ahmad Hassan Al Shammari, head of the abattoirs section at Dubai Municipality.
Al Shammari also warned of the dangers of residents slaughtering animals in their backyard as such practices could pose health risks and cause food contamination in the absence of proper supervision.
“We aim to offer the best services to the public and are always warning residents not to rely on unauthorised individuals to slaughter animals. To encourage people to use the abattoirs, we have not changed the prices since 1989,” Al Shammari said.
Abattoirs affiliated with Dubai Municipality collect nominal charges for slaughtering animals. People can get animals slaughtered by paying fixed charges according to the size of cattle. Sheep and goats are slaughtered for Dh15, while the rate is Dh30 for a calf, Dh35 for a medium size cow, Dh45 for a big cow, Dh60 for a medium size camel, and Dh65 for a big camel.
The official said all machinery and accessories used for slaughtering animals in abbatoirs was sterilised and underwent necessary repairs and maintenance and hence was always the safer choice.

Restaurant food safety tracking and tracing innovation
Source : http://www.qsrweb.com/blog/10483/Restaurant-food-safety-tracking-and-tracing-innovation
By Darrel Suderman (May 30, 2013)
Who is responsible for serving "safe" food in American restaurants? A larger question is — Who is responsible for serving "safe" food in international chain restaurants?
Quality control role
Most restaurant operators and executives have heard of terms like "Quality Assurance" and "Quality Control." In fact most large restaurant chains have Quality Assurance Managers, Directors and Vice Presidents – but not Quality Control Managers, Directors and Vice Presidents. Quality Control can also be described as "Quality Management," and the QC responsibility is passed on to the food manufacturing supplier. It is the Quality Control (QC) Manager's responsibility to insure that the production of the products are consistently "in compliance" with the Product Specification. Product that falls out of compliance is discarded or sold through 3rd party sales agents.
Quality control compliance
Quality Compliance is usually measured with performance metrics listed in the Product Specification. Examples of performance metrics are color, salt content, moisture content, length and width, etc. A common best practice is to build product specifications based on a Process Capability Study (PCS) — completed during the first production run and revised with tighter controls after subsequent production runs. I have worked for 8 leading restaurant chains, and sadly very few product specifications are based on a PCS. Quality compliance can demonstrate "freshness," but can also portray "consistency."
Quality assurance role
What is the role of a restaurant or food manufacturing quality assurance manager? It is the Quality Assurance (QA) Manager's responsibility to develop and monitor corporate governance business rules. To some, these terms may sound like blue sky business process consulting language. Quality business rules may dictate what microorganisms will be monitored or what quality supplier programs will be administered. Another business rule may be that all suppliers use a HACCP plan, are compliant with 2011 Food Safety and Modernization Act, are compliant with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs), implement Incident Management Plans, and are compliant with one or more Global Food Safety Initiative schemas.
Food safety role
It is RARE that restaurant chains have a trained Food Safety Manager — but why? I believe most restaurant executives don't understand the role differences between QA, QC, and Food Safety. It is the role of a Food Safety Manager to develop and implement business practices to prevent food poisoning, adulteration, personal injury and contamination once the product cases are opened in the store. It assumes that QA and QC have successfully completed their roles at the manufacturer level. If a customer does get sick or suffers bodily injury, the Food Safety Manager must immediately initiate a full-scale "Tracking and Tracing" process back to the farm or original source of every ingredient.
Tracking and Tracing (T&T) process technology innovation
Most restaurant operators and executives don't understand that T&T systems include hand written QC or QA data, as well as bar code information on every ingredient prior to, and subsequent production and distribution. In other words, T&T systems are more and more driven by information technology software systems. And the integration level of software systems, bar code data management technologies, and manual data logs define the level of T&T thoroughness.
Food litigation reality
As an expert witness in numerous food litigation cases, I can assure you that litigation attorneys are coming after restaurant chains and food manufacturers with increased expertise and sophistication. It would be wise for a CEO to hire an outside food safety consultant to perform a critical gap analysis of each restaurant's food safety program before they lose money and brand equity in court.

Food Packaging's Role in Food Safety
Source : http://www.foodprocessing.com/articles/2013/food-packaging-food-safety.html
By Craig Casillas (May 29, 2013)
When we think and talk about food safety, an important factor is often ignored. Consumers, media, regulators and industry tend to focus on the product and not on the safety of its packaging, but packaging is a critical component in the overall food safety process. Now more than ever, as food distribution networks globalize, packaging plays a vital role in ensuring the final product is safe and secure for consumption.
Most manufacturers are aware of the impact of faulty packaging on their businesses. They know that malfunctioning packaging and mistakes in the supply chain affect the quality and integrity of their product. All take steps to provide products that are safe and secure to the end user. To improve on this and drive a better business outcome, companies must first realize why crises in packaging occur, and then take steps to prevent them in the future.
There are several factors that all manufacturers should consider in building a defense against packaging failures. First, review the packaging and manufacturing process. Second, address the human error factor. Finally, review the supply chain and ensure that raw materials and value-added products that contribute to your food product are meeting international standards.
The packaging and manufacturing process
Contamination and mislabeling risks at the packaging manufacturing stage are often overlooked because the emphasis on food safety usually lies in the preparation of the food itself. Food safety management systems, however, can only do so much to protect end users.
The only way to shore up defenses against an outbreak and mitigate any failures in packaging labeling is to review and prepare against the factors at play in the packaging process, and ensure that manufacturing practices are adhering to all safety and quality standards.
For example, the hygiene of the environment in which food packaging is manufactured plays a part in the food safety process. This has a direct impact on the safety of the food it is intended to protect. An adverse health outcome can result from incorrect labeling (a missing detail on the list of ingredients) or a jar lacking a proper seal.
Materials also matter. The inks used for printing must not contain dangerous substances that may migrate through the packaging and into the food. The type of food can affect this, such as high-fat foods like cheese. Similarly, when using laminate films, all layers must be food-safe and stop the migration of hazardous substances into the food.
Take the simple glass bottle. If not manufactured correctly, it can contain mold deformations, sharp shards of glass inside and out and blister-like formations. Additionally, the coatings on the glass can affect the way jars of food run on a production line. A lack of proper coating could cause a jar to stop a production line from running, costing time, money and resources.
All of these aspects need to be adequately managed through a series of on- and off-line quality control practices. Unfortunately, incorrectly labeled packaging is often the chief reason behind product recalls as a result of packaging error. This is typically due to a failure to declare potential allergens in the food product itself.
This issue is already being addressed by industry. Some of the world's largest consumer packaged goods companies have banded together to form the Food Safety Alliance for Packaging (foodsafetyallianceforpackaging.com), a technical committee of the Institute of Packaging Professionals. The initiative has already developed hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) models for packaging materials in the categories of cartons, rigid plastics, cut and stack labels and composite cans.
Human error
With respect to human error in the food packaging process, there is a variety of improvements that can be undertaken. First, organizations must make sure that anyone that interacts with food and/or its packaging is well-equipped with knowledge of personal hygiene, washing and the sanitization of equipment, utensils and surfaces and an understanding of the consequences of malpractice.
The best way of achieving this is by instituting a training program that is tailored to the individual company's culture and employees, taking into account the unique risk context of the food preparation and packaging protocols.
International food safety standard awareness training, such as HACCP, helps identify hazards and control points for staff, providing another level of safeguard. At a broader level, regular microbiological tests and clear sickness policies must also underpin an approach to vigilance on education, as diseases can easily be transferred onto food packaging through physical contact.
Supply chain

By risk-assessing the packaging supplier in relation to its products, processes and customer base, a manufacturer can ascertain the level of food safety risks associated with a particular supply chain and packaging material. Risk assessments allow for an allocation of different levels of due diligence requirements that suppliers must adhere to and provide any early red flags in the food packaging process that might pose a safety risk.
In the fall of last year, there was a number of packaging standards that were benchmarked against the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Guidance Document, 6th Edition, which includes Good Manufacturing Practices associated with packaging materials intended for food use. These standards include, for example, British Retail Consortium (BRC), FSSC22000 and the Safe Quality Food (SQF) program. The GFSI programs are designed to build a “due diligence “defense throughout the supply chain that is not limited to just the food safety of the food manufacturing process.
Larger international manufacturers such as Coca-Cola are now mandating that even their packaging suppliers be GFSI certified. To show the importance such manufacturers place on the food safety and integrity of packaging materials, Coca-Cola was involved in the development of Publicly Available Specification 223 (PAS223) Prerequisite Programs for packaging materials as part of a GFSI approved FSSC22000. PAS223 Prerequisite Programs were developed to specifically address food safety for food and drink packaging design and for use in conjunction with ISO 22000, the international management system for food safety across the supply chain.
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. Outbreaks and recalls can happen for an incalculable number of reasons during any point in the food packaging process. Through preparation, awareness of risk factors and potentially having a globally recognized food safety standard applied to your packaging materials, you can increase your stakeholders' confidence in your products and prevent a potential future catastrophe before your business is impacted forever.

Is Chicken in Your Grocery Cart? A New Site Can Help
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/is-chicken-in-your-grocery-cart-a-new-site-can-help/
By Linda Larsen (May 29, 2013)
A new site called Buying Poultry is planning to create a new app for consumers who want to purchase humanely raised poultry products. It will list every poultry producer and poultry certification organization in the country and will tell you how they treat their animals.
The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act is the only federal law that protects farm animals at slaughter. But chickens and turkeys are excluded from this law. Even free range, pastured, and organic birds can be paralyzed and slaughtered while they are still conscious. Factory farmed birds often have their beaks cut off, can be confined in tiny cages, and starved to regulate their egg production. Today’s chickens are also fed non therapeutic doses of antibiotics that increase their growth rate to five times faster than 50 years ago, which has devastating effects on their health. And the health of animals that we eat has a direct connection to food safety.
Poultry is the number one vehicle of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. Poultry products caused 452 outbreaks of food poisoning in the period of 1998 to 2010, causing 6,896 illnesses. Pathogens routinely found in chicken include Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens. A report by the Humane Society found that “high stocking densities”, which is the fancy phrase for factory farms, “has been associated with an elevated risk of infecting farm animals with a number of parasites and pathogens that can affect humans.” In addition, improvements in animal welfare reduces infectious disease incidence, pathogen shedding, and antibiotic resistance.
Buying Poultry is working with poultry farmers who take the welfare of their animals seriously as well as animal welfare advocates.  To learn more about the project, take a look at their infographic titled The Poultry Problem.

Food safety can be boiled down to three magic words: Clean, cook, chill
Source : http://www.chieftain.com/life/food-safety-can-be-boiled-down-to-three-magic-words/article_3c804aaa-c81a-11e2-9e40-001a4bcf887a.html
By AMY MATTHEW (May 29, 2013)
Summer's here. Time to take your fruits and vegetables for a swim.
Why? Because they're making headlines for the wrong reasons.
"We have foods that are making people sick that we've never seen before," Vicki Carlton, program manager of the Pueblo City-County Health Department's consumer protection program. "Bacteria and viruses change more rapidly than we do. They're adapting to their environment."
Raw fruits and vegetables are the biggest emerging problems, she said.
"Back in the day, you got more locally," said Carlton. "It wasn't this mass-produced produce that's coming from all over the world. There are many areas for contamination (before it reaches a store)."
The biggest preventive step consumers can take is to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them, Carlton said.
"For anything with a rough texture, like cantaloupe, use a produce brush," she said.
It may not be something that comes to mind as readily, but Justin Gage, an environmental health specialist with the health department, recommends washing bananas, too, because of bacteria and chemicals that are likely to be on the peel.
It's not safe to assume that packaged produce is safer, either. Consumer Reports had more than 200 bags of prepackaged salad tested in 2010. Though no lethal pathogens were found, elevated levels of bacteria "that are common indicators of poor sanitation and fecal contamination" were prevalent.
The magazine's conclusions: Wash prepackaged greens yourself, even if the bag says they're prewashed; buy salad that's as far from its use-by date as possible; and keep greens away from raw meat.
Norovirus, a highly contagious pathogen that causes diarrhea, is big on the public health watch list, said Carlton. It's also referred to as the cruise ship virus because of numerous outbreaks in that environment; good hygiene is the key to preventing it.
"(There are) new regulations, exclusions and restrictions. You have to make sure restaurant workers don't have any symptoms of norovirus," said Gage.
For meat and dairy products, existing safety rules still apply. Cook items to proper temperature to kill bacteria. Keep them properly refrigerated — 41 degrees or below, though Carlton recommends 38 degrees. Return leftovers to the refrigerator as quickly as possible (don't put a lid on them until they cool down). Keep animal products and produce separate; use dedicated cutting boards for each.
They're simple guidelines, but Carlton said it still can be a challenge to convince people to follow them.
"What we hear is, ‘We've always done it that way and it hasn't gotten anybody sick,’ ” she said.
The Centers for Disease Control has numbers to contradict that sentiment: About 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne illness every year. With outdoor cooking season in swing, that's one sure way to ruin the summer fun.

Food safety: make sure you're practicing it
Source : http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/stories/2013/05/29/recipe.food-safety-make-sure-youre-practicing-it.sto
By heraldtimesonline.com (May 29, 2013)
Summer is rapidly approaching. We just celebrated the first of the summer holidays. Be certain to practice safe food handling when you pack a picnic.
Meats and protein foods should be handled with care from the beginning of the picnic planning stage. When you buy refrigerated items such as meats, cheeses, eggs and milk at the store place them in a cooler with a bag of ice for the ride home. Once you arrive at home, unpack and chill them as quickly as possible.
After you make picnic foods such as cold salads or other cold dishes with items that have protein-based ingredients, be certain to keep them in a chilled environment until ready to serve. Limit the time they are out of that chilled environment. On a “sunny and 72-degree day” the time limit should be one half-hour or less. On hotter days, it would be wise to both limit the exposure time and also place the dish on a bed of ice to attempt to maintain a safe food temperature.
Picnics are supposed to be the highlight of the summer season. Handle your foods safely in order to enjoy your summer.

AMI Highlights Efforts to Reduce Listeria in Meat Products
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/05/ami-highlights-efforts-to-reduce-listeria-in-meat-products/
By News Desk (May 29, 2013)
Manufacturers of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products have “dramatically” improved the safety of their products during the last decade and plan to use what they have learned in battling this pathogen to make further process in the years to come, said American Meat Institute Foundation Chief Scientist Betsy Booren, Ph.D last week.
Booren made her remarks last week in a public meeting sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to discuss an Interagency Risk Assessment of Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Delicatessens that the two agencies recently released. Food Safety News reported on this risk assessment here.
According to a press release from AMI on Booren’s remarks, the processed meat and poultry industry’s efforts to identify food safety strategies and to share research and best practices related to L. monocytogenes prevention and control have been key factors in preventing listeriosis outbreaks linked to meat and poultry products.  No ready-to-eat meat and poultry product recalls have been triggered by listeriosis outbreaks since 2003 and listeriosis cases from all foods (not just meat and poultry) have declined steeply since 2000, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Booren called these facts a true “triumph” of the industry’s non-competitive approach to food safety.
Said AMI:
AMI’s Board of Directors in 2001 voted to adopt a non-competitive approach to food safety challenges to encourage Institute members to share strategies and technologies that enhance food safety.  Since 1999, AMIF has funded 42 research projects total approximately $2.9 million focusing on how to reduce and eliminate Listeria monocytogenes in RTE products. In addition, since 2000, AMIF had held more than 25 peer-taught workshops on Listeria control and prevention attended by more than 1,600 people.  AMIF also created detailed equipment and facility design principles to encourage the design of both equipment and facilities in ways that optimize sanitation, which is one of the most critical Listeria control strategies. Together, these efforts have transformed our ready-to-eat meat and poultry product food safety profiles.
Booren thanked FSIS and FDA officials for the data contained in risk assessment and for their transparent approach. “The risk assessment and the data it contains allow us to evaluate if our food safety process management systems are working,” she said.
“We believe collaboration is a model for success, which is why we have partnered with the Food Marketing Institute, its Foundation and its retail members and will continue to do so,” she concluded.  “We are all part of the food safety chain, and our meat and poultry processors are willing to meet with the retailers, share our experiences and develop partnerships to ensure the products we produced are safe and wholesome.”

New England farmers want say on food safety rules
Source : http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20130529-NEWS-130529646
By Holly Ramer (May 29, 2013)
New England farmers who argue they will be harmed by a one-size-fits-all approach to federal agricultural policy want a chance to weigh in on proposed food safety rules.
Led by two New Hampshire Democrats — Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster — members of Congress from each of the six New England states have written to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg asking for a public hearing on two proposed rules implementing the 2011 Food Safety and Modernization Act.
The law is aimed at making it easier to trace contaminated food, but New England farmers and their representatives in Congress argue that some of its provisions will impose significant regulatory and financial burdens on an important part of the region's economy.
"We recognize the FDA's desire to implement these rules expeditiously, but it is imperative that these rules reflect the needs of the many different regions throughout our nation, including New England's growing local and regional food system," the group wrote this week.
They argued that the proposed rules were based on the practices of large-scale farming operations that do not represent the majority of the 33,000 farms in New England, where the average size is 110 acres, and 65 percent have yearly sales totaling under $10,000.
"As written, this rule will be a game changer," said Jeff Holmes, president of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau. "A New England based hearing would bring much needed attention to those that are unaware of its implications or have not taken it seriously."
Twenty members of Congress signed the letter, including the entire delegations from New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

Smithfield-Shuanghui Merger Faces Opposition From Food Safety Advocates
Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/29/smithfield-shuanghui-merger_n_3355326.html?utm_hp_ref=business
By huffingtonpost.com (May 29, 2013)
One of China’s largest food conglomerates on Wednesday announced a $4.7 billion purchase of Smithfield Foods, the biggest pork producer in the United States, prompting food-safety advocates to warn of potential dangers to American consumers' health.
The proposed deal -- the largest Chinese takeover of an American firm in history -- would put Smithfield in the hands of Shuanghui International, a company based in the central Chinese province of Henan.
Two years ago, Shuanghui was embroiled in a food-safety scandal at home, eventually admitting it had blended a banned, carcinogenic additive into its pig feed. No deaths resulted from the tainted feed, and the company publicly apologized and closed down the plant that made the product.
But Elisabeth Holmes, a staff attorney at the nonprofit Center for Food Safety, said her group was encouraging the public to oppose the deal between Shuanghui and Smithfield over health concerns.
“This company, through lack of oversight, caused one of the largest food scandals in China,” she said. “The practices of this company in terms of what it allows and what its priorities are, it’s certainly going to affect the U.S. operation. What’s the standard going to be?”
Executives at both Shuanghui and Smithfield asserted that they have no plans to alter operations at Smithfield’s existing American plants. They said Smithfield would continue operating as an independent business, free of changes to its management structure, labor arrangements or safety standards.
“We like it the way it is,” said Shuanghui’s managing director, Zhijun Yang, during a conference call with analysts Wednesday morning. “We will not try to change the company, the leaders, the products. We want it to be the same, but better.”
One of China’s largest food conglomerates on Wednesday announced a $4.7 billion purchase of Smithfield Foods, the biggest pork producer in the United States, prompting food-safety advocates to warn of potential dangers to American consumers' health.
The proposed deal -- the largest Chinese takeover of an American firm in history -- would put Smithfield in the hands of Shuanghui International, a company based in the central Chinese province of Henan.
Two years ago, Shuanghui was embroiled in a food-safety scandal at home, eventually admitting it had blended a banned, carcinogenic additive into its pig feed. No deaths resulted from the tainted feed, and the company publicly apologized and closed down the plant that made the product.
But Elisabeth Holmes, a staff attorney at the nonprofit Center for Food Safety, said her group was encouraging the public to oppose the deal between Shuanghui and Smithfield over health concerns.
“This company, through lack of oversight, caused one of the largest food scandals in China,” she said. “The practices of this company in terms of what it allows and what its priorities are, it’s certainly going to affect the U.S. operation. What’s the standard going to be?”
Executives at both Shuanghui and Smithfield asserted that they have no plans to alter operations at Smithfield’s existing American plants. They said Smithfield would continue operating as an independent business, free of changes to its management structure, labor arrangements or safety standards.
“We like it the way it is,” said Shuanghui’s managing director, Zhijun Yang, during a conference call with analysts Wednesday morning. “We will not try to change the company, the leaders, the products. We want it to be the same, but better.”
Smithfield chief executive C. Larry Pope echoed those remarks.
“There will be no impact on how we do business operationally in America as a result of this transaction,” he said.
In years past, high-profile takeovers of American companies by Chinese firms have tended to snag on claims that national security interests could be compromised. Such concerns scuttled a bid by a state-owned Chinese oil company CNOOC Ltd. to take over Unocal in 2005.
Lenovo successfully purchased the laptop-making arm of IBM that same year, but only after a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., an inter-agency body that has the authority to nix buyouts by foreign companies.
The Smithfield-Shuanghui deal also is expected to face a CFIUS review, the companies said, though it seems little more than a formality: Pork may be beloved, but it exists in ample supply and its production does not amount to a key component of war-making or surveillance, nor is it a likely focus of terrorism.
But some food-safety advocates suggested that placing much of the American pork supply in the hands of a company that has proven prone to dangerous mishaps at best and malevolent short-cutting at worst could indeed jeopardize American lives.
“It’s clear with a number of crises that we’ve had on the food-safety front -- from human food to dog food to milk -- that Chinese food producers seem inherently unable to follow regulations,” Holmes said.
Smithfield executives emphasized that the deal has nothing to do with bringing Chinese products to the American table. Rather, it’s about tapping American producers to satisfy growing demands for meat in China, where the ranks of the middle class have been growing faster than anywhere else on Earth.
“This is not a strategy to import Chinese pork into the United States,” Pope said. “This is exporting America to the world.”
Rick Quinn, a principal at FDAImports.com, a regulatory consultant that helps Chinese food producers navigate U.S. food-safety rules, said the two companies should have little difficulty satisfying American regulators.
“You can expect the usual suspects to come out and attack the merger as a blow to U.S. food safety,” he said. “They’re ideological blowhards and they have constituents. But Shuanghui is not stupid. They’re not going to buy a $7 billion target and screw with stuff from the food-safety standards view.”

Restaurant closed down in Al Ain for food safety violations
Source : http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/restaurant-closed-down-in-al-ain-for-food-safety-violations-1.1190223
By Binsal Abdul Kader (May 29, 2013)
Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has closed down a popular restaurant in Al Ain for flouting food safety rules and “exposing consumers to food risks” according to a statement by the authority.
Abu Halab Restaurant was ordered to shut shop for a number of violations including proliferation of insects, unclean cooking area, lack of wash basins and other bad practices, a press release issued by ADFCA said yesterday.
The licence of the restaurant has been withheld until the reasons for the closure are rectified.
Mohammad Jalal Al Rayssi, Director of Communication and Community Service at ADFCA, said the restaurant was issued a number of warnings in the past, but did not pay heed.
Article continues below
“The restaurant did not have enough work space. Food items were displayed on unclean surfaces. The tools and equipment used by the workers for measuring temperature were inappropriate,” Al Rayssi explained.
He pointed out that the restaurant in question allowed domestic animals near food-consumption areas. “They did not have any arrangement for insecticide,” he said.
When Gulf News contacted the owner of the restaurant he said he was not aware of the allegations by the authority.
“We were asked to shut down as we could not respond to a warning issued by the authority to replace an old freezer in the kitchen,” said Mohammad, who identified himself by his first name.
He said he had already placed an order for the freezer and it would be delivered to the restaurant by late Wednesday evening or today (Thursday). “We expect to reopen thereafter.”
Denying the charge of not having enough work space, Mohammad said the kitchen was expanded as part of a renovation undertaken six months ago. About insects, he said he was implementing pest control measures every week.
“You may find cats on the streets but it is impossible to have domestic animals like cats inside a restaurant,” Mohammad said.
But the senior ADFCA official reiterated that the restaurant had been given a number of warnings in the past. A closure notice with all charges of violations was also issued yesterday, Al Rayssi told Gulf News.
He said the number of closure of restaurants has gone down drastically thanks to the “naming and shaming policy” of the authority. All food businesses are following the rules diligently thanks to this policy as otherwise they lose their reputation, he said.
The authority has been publicising the names of the food businesses that are closed down for serious food safety violations.
“We have intensified our inspections across the emirate. Our inspectors regularly monitor all food outlets, including on holidays and evening hours,” Al Rayssi said.


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Raw Milk Warning Issued After Campylobacter Illnesses
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/raw-milk-warning-issued-after-campylobacter-illnesses/
By Bill Marler (May 29, 2013)
The Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture and Health today advised consumers to discard raw milk produced by The Family Cow in Chambersburg, Franklin County, because of potential bacterial contamination.
Agriculture and Health Department laboratory tests and several recent illnesses indicate the raw milk may contain Campylobacter bacteria.
The Department of Health has confirmed five cases of confirmed Campylobacter infection in people who consumed milk from the farm at 3854 Olde Scotland Road.
Based on the reported illnesses, the Department of Agriculture collected samples of raw milk during an investigation of The Family Cow, on May 17. Positive tests for Campylobacter were confirmed Tuesday.
The packaged raw milk is sold under The Family Cow label in plastic gallon, half-gallon, quart and pint containers. It is labeled as “raw milk.” Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized.
The Family Cow, owned and operated by Edwin Shank, sells directly to consumers in an on-farm retail store and at drop off locations and retail stores around Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley, as well as south-central Pennsylvania.
Agriculture officials ordered the owners of the farm to stop the sale of all raw milk until further notice.
Campylobacter bacteria affect the intestinal tract and sometimes the bloodstream and other organs. It is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis, which can include diarrhea and vomiting. Nearly 1,300 confirmed cases of Campylobacter are reported each year in Pennsylvania.
Onset of the illness usually occurs two to five days after ingesting the bacteria. Patients may not require specific medical treatment unless they become severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the gastrointestinal tract.
For more information about Campylobacter, visit www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

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