FoodHACCP Newsletter
07/02 2013 ISSUE:554


Food safety for hot dog fans
Source :
By JAN BAGGARLY (July 1, 2013)
Telegraph columnist Hot dogs seem to be a staple food for outdoor grilling, picnics, camping and tailgate parties. The same rules of food safety apply for hot dogs as for all perishable food items. Keep hot food hot and cold food cold when purchasing, storing, preparing and serving hot dogs.Hot dogs can have several types of dates on the package label. Product dating is voluntary and the date must state what that date means.A “sell by” date tells the store how long the hot dogs can be displayed for sale. Check that date when purchasing hot dogs and buy them before the “sell by” date.A “use by” date is the last date recommended for use while the hot dogs are at peak quality and is determined by the manufacturer.A “best if used by (or before) date” helps consumers know a precise date for peak quality or flavor of the hot dogs.An “expiration date” informs both stores and shoppers the shelf-life or the last day the hot dogs should be used while wholesome.Once the hot dogs have been purchased, make sure they are immediately placed in a cooler or refrigerator at 40 degrees or lower or frozen.If there is no product date, the hot dogs can be safely stored in the unopened package for two weeks at 40 degrees or below. Once the package has been opened, the hot dogs may be kept and used within one week. For best quality, store hot dogs in the freezer for no longer than one to two months.Listeriosis, a foodborne illness caused by eating food contaminated with the harmful bacteria listeria monocytogenes, has been identified as an important public health problem in the United States. This foodborne illness may occur in ready-to-eat foods such as hotdogs, deli meats and deli salads. Listeria is killed by pasteurization and cooking.However, the bacteria can contaminate foods after processing and before packaging. The ability of listeria bacteria to grow at refrigerated temperatures can allow the bacteria to grow in refrigerated foods such as contaminated hot dogs and cause the foodborne illness listeriosis.Listeriosis can be very harmful to high risk individuals such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems. It can cause spontaneous abortion in pregnant women.Although all hot dogs are fully cooked, they should always be cooked as a precautionary measure to prevent listeriosis. People at risk should avoid eating hot dogs unless they are reheated. Use a food thermometer to make sure hot dogs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees or cook until steaming hot throughout.Do not cross contaminate. Wash hands, surfaces and utensils after handling packaged hot dogs. Keep the packaged hot dogs and juices separate from other foods, utensils and food preparation and serving surfaces.Never leave hot dogs or any perishable foods at room temperature for more than two hours; one hour if the temperature is 90 degrees or higher. Refrigerate or place leftover hot dogs in a cooler at 40 degrees or lower within these time limitations.Where food is involved, remember, “When in doubt, throw it out.”Follow the food safety rules when serving hot dogs. Do not let foodborne illness spoil the fun. Pay attention to dates on packages when purchasing hot dogs (and other foods), store hot dogs at refrigerator or freezer temperatures, and serve hot dogs steaming hot with clean hands and utensils.Food safety guidelines apply to all food preparation. Bear in mind when preparing food the four principles of food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill.Jan Baggarly is Bibb County Extension Coordinator with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension working in the field of Family and Consumer Sciences. Contact her at 751-6338.

Meat from TB-Positive Cows Sold as Food in UK
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By (July 1, 2013)
Beef from cows that have tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is sold for human consumption in the United Kindgom, The Sunday Times reported this weekend.
While major meat retailers such as Tesco reject product from cows with bTB, the federal  Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) sells the beef to some caterers and food processors who supply schools, hospitals and the military, reported the Times Saturday.
Defra confirmed that such meat is sold for human consumption, but said it is subject for further inspection first.
“All meat from cattle slaughtered due to bovine TB must undergo rigorous food safety checks before it can be passed fit for consumption,” said a Defra spokeswoman. “The Food Standards Agency has confirmed there are no known cases where TB has been transmitted through eating meat and the risk of infection from eating meat, even if raw or undercooked, remains extremely low.”
Tuberculosis bacteria is killed by cooking meat. However, evidence has shown that the bacteria can be transmitted to humans when handling raw meat.
“Cooking this meat would be an additional safety step, but we would emphasise the risk even before cooking is very low,” said the Defra spokeswoman.
The beef from cows with bTB sold in the UK is not marked to differentiate it from other beef, reported the Times.
The UK badger population is thought to contribute to the transmission of bTB among cows. Tens of thousands of badgers have been culled in an attempt to curb the spread of the disease.

HACCP: The Space Program’s Contribution to Food Safety
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By Dan Flynn (July 1, 2013)
In the years since man landed on the Moon, there been one solution whenever there has been a true food safety crisis on Earth: HASSUP.
It is the Mount Rushmore of food regulation, and rarely does anyone break out the chisels to brush and clean it.
The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, or just plain old HASSUP for short, is the fix to restore confidence in food safety just as consumers and politicians have just about lost it.
And once implemented, change is rare. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is out with its first “updated guidance” for HACCP systems validation since 1996. It means large plants have six months and small and very small establishments have nine months to get their HACCP plans “properly validated.”
Time and time again, both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and FSIS have required HACCP plans be put in place so the public would again feel confident about their purchases of seafood, juice, meat and poultry.
What is it about this particular set of regulations that inspires such confidence? It’s simple. HACCP was a product of the U.S. space program at a time when men wearing horn rip glasses and pocket protectors achieved the goal of putting a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth within the same decade.
Food safety in orbit was one of the thousands of problems that NASA had to solve. It could not risk having any pathogens or parasites in space with America’s astronauts. The man the space program turned to for help was Dr. Howard E. Bauman, a microbiologist for Pillsbury in Minneapolis.
NASA wanted food that would bit crumble when floating around the spacecraft but wouldn’t harm the electronics and would be safe for the astronauts to eat. Food safety was a problem because it could not be guaranteed under existing manufacturing practices.
That led the team Dr. Bauman was working with, including Paul Lachance from NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston and the U.S. Army’s Natick Laboratories to look at microbiological standards, including strict temperature and humidity controls.
The practices developed first for Project Mercury were continued for the Gemini and Apollo programs. It led to NASA food contractors being required to identify their critical control points. By April 1971, HACCP was ready to be rolled out to an audience beyond NASA at the National Conference on Food Protection in Denver.
Later in the summer of the same year, a deadly outbreak of botulism was linked to eating Bon Vivant’s cold potato soup and spurred doubts about whether FDA was up to the job of protecting consumers. Dr. Herbert L. Ley, Jr., FDA’s Commissioner at the time, seemed to be the one having most of the doubts. He lost his job.
But unlike some who are forced out, Dr. Ley continued to speak out and FDA had to acknowledge that it had not had an inspector in the Bon Vivant plant in four years. Then botulism turned up at Campbell’s.
Investigations found Bon Vivant soups undercooked and not much in the way of record keeping. A Bon Vivant problem sealing cans apparently went back to 1959. Then the botulism toxin was discovered in canned green beans manufactured by Stokley-Van Camp.
At that point, there was a full blown crisis in the U.S. canning industry and the long story short is that FDA turned to Pillsbury to train its supervisors and inspectors in HACCP so that it could impose the new regulatory scheme on the industry a short time later.
Low acid canning was first to get HACCP.
On its own, Pillsbury implemented HACCP at all its facilities by 1974. The company’s CEO gave Bauman the go ahead after glass was found it a creamy white baby food known as farina. Pillsbury’s HACCP plans were put into its food processing facilities and Burger King restaurants.
Under FDA’s tutelage, after low-acid canning, HACCP came to juice and seafood. Then early in the Clinton administration came the Jack-in-the-Box outbreak, which sickened nearly 700 and killed four children. It was the worst publicity for the American hamburger in its long history.
The label “USDA Inspected” was ridiculed as it came to light that our only defense against deadly pathogens in beef was the “poke and sniff” method of inspection.
Meat and poultry were put under HACCP in 1996 and President Clinton made the announcement on his Saturday morning radio program.
The updated guidance FSIS has come out with for validation is intended to help meat and poultry plants comply with HACCP.
“The guidance puts into writing FSIS expectations in regard to validation, which it had not clearly defined before,” says Anne Wells, director for science , technical education, and outreach for the North American Meat Association (NAMA). “It does not change the requirement for validation, which is part of the original HACCP rule.”
In HACCP-speak, validation is the process of demonstrating that the system as designed can control the hazards and produce a safe product. It might involve using scientific or technical documents or records showing how it works.
Wells told Food Safety News that validation is an important part of any HACCP program, and on that there’s never been any disagreement between the industry and FSIS. She said the initial draft of the new validation guidance did become an issue because it seemed to put unreasonable expectations on individual establishments with a focus on in-plant microbiological testing.
“FSIS has since clarified and changed the document to show microbiological testing is only one of many tools that can be used to show a HACCP plan achieving the desired results,” Wells added.
FSIS is accepting written comments on the new validation guidelines until July 25, 2013.

Pennsylvania food safety database proves tricky to use
Source :
By Patricia Sabatini / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (June 27, 2013)
If you're a motorist planning a quick stop at one of the new foodcourt-style service plazas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, you should be able to use the state's online database to pull up food safety inspection reports before deciding where to eat.
That's the way it's supposed to work, anyway.
With the peak travel season in full swing, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tried to check on Burger King, Sbarro, Starbucks, Quiznos, Nathan's, Popeye's and the dozens of other food facilities at the 17 service plazas along the nation's oldest toll road to see how they were doing behind the counter at following safe food-handling practices.
But after dozens of attempts entering different restaurant names and addresses from several different rest stops into the restaurant inspection search engine on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's website, the newspaper was unable to come up with a single report.
Lydia Johnson, director of the department's bureau of food safety, insisted that the reports were in the database and available online. But, she said, in the case of service plaza restaurants, the system requires users to enter the restaurant's mailing address, which, for example, could be listed under the parent company in another state.
"It's a matter of finding the address we use for mailing their license renewals," Ms. Johnson said.
She acknowledged that for the public, those addresses "might be difficult to find."
The Post-Gazette searched for addresses on individual restaurant websites, and tried calling several service plazas to confirm them, but was told the restaurants inside did not have individual addresses or phone numbers. Entering a restaurant name and the main address for the service plazas into the state's restaurant inspection finder also didn't work.
Ms. Johnson said the department was looking into a fix, but didn't say how long that might take.
For now, she said, motorists wanting to see inspection reports for turnpike restaurants could contact the food safety unit for help at 717-787-4315.
Ms. Johnson said the inspection database, which has been available to the public online in some form since 2007, "works for 99.9 percent" of the roughly 50,000 restaurants and retail facilities statewide that the department inspects. "The oddity is for the turnpike exits," she said.
Still, problems finding inspection reports extend to other restaurants, too.
For example, a Google search for "McDonald's" and "Indiana, Pa." yielded locations at 3100 Oakland Ave. and 940 Wayne Ave.
But typing McDonald's and those addresses into the restaurant database failed to turn up any inspection reports. The reports came only after discovering that the system required spelling "Ave." as "Ave" -- without the period.
The system also was finicky when it came to a restaurant's name. Reports did not come up if the apostrophe in McDonald's was left off, for example.
Entering the address for a McDonald's outlet in Bedford, Pa., at 4363 Business 220 (which is the way the address is listed on the McDonald's website) did not produce a report.
But entering the address as 4363 Business Rte 220 did.
Sometimes the system worked without typing in an address at all. Other times, it didn't.
Entering "McDonald's" and "Indiana, Pa.," and selecting Indiana County from a drop-down menu produced inspection reports on two locations. But altering the search by choosing county "unknown" from the drop-down yielded no reports.
"A lot of databases are particular. That's common amongst all search engines," Ms. Johnson explained. "Technology is wonderful, but it has its limits. We do the best we can to get the best technology."
She urged anyone having trouble with the system to call for help.
The agriculture department does not inspect restaurants in counties and municipalities that have their own inspection programs. In Allegheny County, for instance, restaurants are inspected by the county health department, which posts the reports on its website at
Allegheny County's restaurant inspection database, which has been online for about three years, is easier to use than the state's.
Last November, the county system was upgraded so that users did not have to type in the name of a restaurant exactly the way it appeared on the inspection form to find a report. Spelling McDonald's with or without the apostrophe both yield results, for example.
The system does not require addresses. And it will produce a list of all restaurants and their inspection reports for the past two years for an entire community.
Despite the apparent problems with the state's database, Ms. Johnson said the system generates "very few complaints."
"People are thrilled with the ability to look up the inspection reports," she said.
The state's restaurant inspection database is available at by searching for the "Food Safety Inspection Results" page and clicking on "Click here to enter the Restaurant Inspection Database." To find out what entities inspect restaurants in your area and in different areas across the state, go to the Food Safety Inspection Results page, scroll to the bottom and click "Local Health Jurisdictions in PA."

Congress shouldn't weaken food safety laws
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By EDITORIAL BOARD , Star Tribune (June 27, 2013)
Being a Minnesotan, Jeff Almer searched for a polite term to describe how he feels about a congressional push to roll back the new food safety laws his family fought for when his elderly mother died after eating ­salmonella-laced peanut butter in late 2008.
Almer, of Savage, initially settled on “ticked.’’ But his rising anger at what’s happening in Washington — where some Republican lawmakers are targeting the Food Safety Modernization Act as burdensome for business — quickly got the best of his Minnesota Nice, and he let loose with a “mad as hell.”
Why are these politicians looking only at industry compliance cost concerns and not at the total cost to society of unsafe production practices, he wanted to know? In addition to families like his who have lost a loved one, there are people who are permanently disabled from foodborne diseases.
Ultimately, Almer said, medical care costs and the lawsuits spawned by outbreaks get passed along to everyone through higher insurance premiums. The cost of producing safe food “is the price you have to pay to be in this business,’’ he said. “There are pros and cons to everything we do. But we can’t keep the status quo, and that’s what these politicians are trying to do.’’
The 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act, which strengthened oversight of the produce and other foods overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — was an overdue overhaul of the nation’s food safety laws, some of which had not been updated since the Great Depression. That it is now under attack nearly three years after it passed Congress with broad, bipartisan support is an outrage.
It isn’t just Almer and the families of the estimated 3,000 Americans who die each year from foodborne diseases who ought to be angry about the new push by Rep. Dan Benishek of Michigan as well as Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch to cripple the law’s reforms.
Everyone eats. And everyone deserves a food safety system whose laws are geared toward how we get our groceries in the modern age — from large-scale growers, processors and supermarkets, and increasingly from overseas producers of fruits, vegetables and seafood.
Up to 15 percent of the food eaten in the United States each year is imported, according to Sandra Eskin of the Pew Charitable Trusts. That only about 2 percent of this food undergoes border inspections by the FDA is one of the safety gaps that the new law aims to fix.
The law has moved far too slowly through the process that turns laws into practical rules and regulations after Congress passes legislation. But when it is fully implemented, it will boost imported food’s safety, increase food facility inspections and improve authorities’ ability to trace contaminated food through today’s long supply chains, ensuring that it’s pulled off the shelf before it sickens people.
Since the law’s 2010 passage, high-profile outbreaks often linked to produce have lent urgency to these reforms. A recent Hepatitis A outbreak linked to a Townsend Farms organic frozen berry mix that sickened 122 people in eight states has underscored the need to improve the safety of imported food. An Oregon company made the product with ingredients from Chile, Turkey and Argentina.
Benishek and the two senators, who appear to be responding to some industry concerns about water testing, have introduced legislation to defund some of the law’s new produce protections. Benishek, a physician, also successfully attached an amendment to the U.S. House farm bill that would have significantly delayed the entire law’s rollout by requiring additional scientific and economic analysis of its impact. While the House farm bill failed, food safety advocates are concerned that this measure could surface again in appropriations deliberations.
The reality is that much of the analysis that Benishek, who declined an interview request, calls for has been done. Criticism by him and the two senators about bureaucrats piling on red tape is also disingenuous.
The new regulations simply come from federal agencies carrying out the regular work of implementing a law passed by Congress. The law also exempts small producers from key requirements, further undermining other inaccurate criticism that this law will drive mom-and-pop operations out of business.
There will certainly be snags and places for improvement as this sweeping new law rolls out. Lawmakers and industry should work with the FDA to make necessary changes during implementation — not try to gut the law and return to an antiquated, inadequate system.
“My mom died from those laws,’’ Almer said. “Now somebody wants to go back to the beginning and start again? It’s very frustrating.’’

Minnesota Report Finds Agriculture Responsible for Most Nitrate Pollution
Source :
By Linda Larsen(June 27, 2013)
A report by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency found that nitrogen in surface waters, a possible human health issue, is caused by agricultural runoff. Levels are particularly high in southern Minnesota.
More than 70% of nitrates in surface water come from cropland. Anhydrous ammonia is used as a fertilizer on farm fields. Drain tiles, which carry away excess water that can cause crops to rot, carry the chemical to streams and rivers. The nitrate then travels downstream, where a huge dead zone of oxygen-deprived water has formed in the Gulf of Mexico.
Nitrate consumption can cause methemoglobinemia, or “blue baby syndrome“, in which infants develop a blue-gray skin color and become irritable or lethargic. This condition can cause death if not quickly treated. Some adults who are susceptible to nitrates because of illness, pregnancy, or exposure to antioxidant medications, can also develop this disease when exposed to higher concentrations of nitrates in drinking water. At higher levels (100 to 200 mg/l nitrate-N), nitrates combine with amines in the body to form cancer-causing substances.
Increased using of draining tiling is one reason for the problem. Precipitation amounts can change the amount of nitrates getting into surface water. During a wet year, loads can increase by 51%. Farmers can manage nitrate loads by diversifying vegetation and planting cover crops, manage and treating tile drainage water, and managing in-field nutrients. A state-level nutrient reduction strategy is being developed to address Minnesota’s contribution to the hypoxia issue in the Gulf of Mexico. Minnesota contributes to the sixth highest nitrogen load to the Gulf.

Pomegranate Hepatitis A Risk Expands
Source :
By Bill Marler (June 27, 2013)
Scenic Fruit Company of Gresham, Oregon today announced it is voluntarily recalling 5,091 cases (61,092 eight ounce bags) of Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels. Based on an ongoing epidemiological and traceback investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of an illness outbreak, the kernels have the potential to be contaminated with Hepatitis A virus.
No illnesses are currently associated with Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels and product testing to date shows no presence of Hepatitis A virus in Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels. The company’s decision to voluntarily recall products is made from an abundance of caution in response to an ongoing outbreak investigation by the FDA and CDC. The organic pomegranates are imported from Turkey.
Products were shipped from February 2013 through May 2013 to UNFI distribution centers in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington State. UNFI distribution centers may have further distributed products to retail stores in other states.
Woodstock Organic Pomegranate Kernels are sold in eight-ounce (227 gram) resealable plastic pouches (see image) with UPC Code 0 42563 01628 9. Specific coding information to identify the product can be found on the back portion of these pouches below the zip-lock seal. The following lots are subject to this recall:
•C 0129 (A,B, or C) 035 with a best by date of 02/04/2015
•C 0388 (A,B, or C) 087 with a best by date of 03/28/2015
•C 0490 (A,B, or C) 109 with a best by date of 04/19/2015
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from exposure to the hepatitis A virus, including from food. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months. Illness generally occurs within 15 to 50 days of exposure and includes fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

Iowa lab helps ensure food safety
Source :
By Marco Santana (June 26,2013)
Ardin Backous has a rare distinction: He works every day in a room with his name on it.
The 69-year-old Des Moines native's bosses surprised him in April — at his 50th anniversary at a Des Moines biotechnology company — by naming a lab used for food testing after him.
"It is one of the most rewarding things a person can imagine," Backous said. "For someone to appreciate what you have done by hanging in there ... how much better can life get than them naming a lab after you?"
Backous is director of food operations in North America for Eurofins, a Belgian company. He helps the global food-testing company ensure the food consumers buy at the grocery store is safe, and that the nutrition value labels so many rely upon are accurate.
With the global company turning 25 this year and Backous celebrating 50 years at the lab, officials decided it was a good time to invite the public into its facility on Des Moines' south side. The company will host an open house Thursday.
The site certainly has plenty to show off.
The 60,000-square-foot building houses a series of laboratories. Beakers and vials filled with liquid concoctions are put through various tests by lab technicians, who then document findings and move on to the next test. Pet food is a niche market for the facility, but Eurofins also tests food like corn, soybeans and gummy candy for different characteristics.
The lab's test methods can ascertain the number of calories, vitamins and even how hot a pepper product is on the Scoville scale. The tests help Eurofins' clients, which include some of the biggest names in the food industry, back up nutritional claims or challenge others' claims every day. The European company employs more than 14,000 people in 180 labs across 35 countries.
The Des Moines facility is one of 10 Eurofins food group sites in the U.S. and serves as its U.S. headquarters. It employs 150.
"We are ensuring food safety in the foods humans eat, materials being put in food and our pet food," said Marc Scantlin, vice president of the U.S. Food Division who oversees the microbiology lab. "We want to make sure it's as clean as it can be."
That means testing food items for highly dangerous bacteria like salmonella or listeria. As expected, companies that perform such crucial testing for public health must keep close tabs on federal laws. The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 told regulators to focus on preventing contamination of foods rather than responding to contamination.
"Regulation change drives a lot of what we have to test and how we test it," Scantlin said.
Backous started at Woodson-Tenent Laboratories in 1963 and eventually became one of its owners. Eurofins acquired Woodson-Tenent in 2000, an acquisition Backous said worried some workers. But a visit from the CEO of the company's global scientific group, Gilles Martin, eased those worries.
"He showed that he cared about the growth of the company," Backous said. "Those concerns changed immediately."
In 2006, Eurofins moved its North American headquarters from Memphis to Des Moines.
Business continues to expand at the Des Moines site. Officials said roughly 700 samples arrive daily for testing, a number that is increasing.
"We don't look at it as work," said Anders Thomsen, the company's business manager. "We just like to come in. It is who we are. It is what we do."
What they do is authenticate the percentage of juice a company claims to have in their product. They place food into a machine that uses fire and water to determine the number of calories in a product.
And they blast gummy candy with liquid nitrogen to break it down into a testable powder.
Much of that work is done by Backous' team of 115 people. But though he has more than a half-century of knowledge at his disposal, he jokes that his colleagues in the chemistry lab only respect him because of his appearance.
"I have white hair and remind them of their grandpa," Backous said. "Nobody wants to disappoint their grandpa."

Latest Raw Milk Outbreak Blamed on Minnesota Dairy Farm
Source :
By Dan Flynn (June 26,2013)
A Minnesota dairy farm’s raw milk is being blamed for six illnesses, including three that have been laboratory confirmed as Campylobacter jejuni bacteria, according to state epidemiologists.
The outbreak attributed to raw milk was reported Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), which said routine disease surveillance was responsible for detecting the six illnesses and linking them to consumption of raw dairy products from the Dennis Jaloszyski dairy farm, located near Cambridge.
The illnesses were reported to state health authorities by local health care providers.
Minnesota Department of  Agricuture inspectors visited the farm to finding out how many people purchased the raw milk and to notify them of the outbreak. Jaloszyski claims he does not maintain customer lists, prompting the state to urge anyone who purchased the raw milk to throw it away.
When MDH contacted the six individuals to inquire about potential causes of their illnesses, all reported that they had consumed raw milk from the Jaloszynski Farm.
“We’re concerned that people may be continuing to get sick after consuming products from this farm,” said Trisha Robinson, a foodborne illness epidemiologist with MDH.
“While we are very concerned about the illnesses associated with this farm, this also is about the inherent risk for foodborne illness from any raw milk consumption,” Robinson said. “Drinking raw milk or eating products made from raw milk can expose you to a variety of pathogens that can result in anything from a few days of diarrhea to kidney failure and death. People need to think carefully about those risks before consuming raw dairy products from any source, and people need to know that the risks are especially high for young children.”
Common symptoms of Campylobacter infection include fever, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain, malaise, and vomiting. Symptoms generally begin 2-5 days after consumption of contaminated food. Symptoms last for about a week in most people but last for up to three weeks in 20 percent of cases.
In addition, Campylobacter infection occasionally results in complications such as arthritis and Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is characterized by the sudden onset of paralysis. Anyone who believes they may have become ill with Campylobacter should contact his or her healthcare provider.

Food safety requires commitment throughout supply chain
Source :
By (June 25, 2013)
When it comes to food safety, solutions are usually common-sense best practices.
That's the message from from numerous experts on food safety on the opening day of the fourth annual Center for Produce Safety Research Symposium. They also said without absolute commitment from top management, no company in the fresh produce supply chain can achieve adequate food safety measures.
About 300 people from all segments of the industry are attending the two-day symposium, said Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, executive director of the Center for Produce Safety. In its six years of existence, the center has funded 70 research projects.
The projects are already helping improve food safety, according to presentations from numerous speakers during the first day of the symposium at the Wegmans Conference Center.
“The search for answers to food safety questions is not just the right thing to do, it is the best risk management tool we have,” said Brian Silbermann, president and chief executive officer for the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.
Silbermann introduced keynote speaker Seattle attorney Bill Marler, known for litigating food safety personal injury cases, beginning 20 years ago with ther Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak.
“He has done more than any one person to force industry and government and the rest of us to look at food safety,” Silbermann said.
Marler’s presentation included tips on how to avoid being sued as well as reasons to implement effective food safety programs.
That's the message from from numerous experts on food safety on the opening day of the fourth annual Center for Produce Safety Research Symposium. They also said without absolute commitment from top management, no company in the fresh produce supply chain can achieve adequate food safety measures.
About 300 people from all segments of the industry are attending the two-day symposium, said Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, executive director of the Center for Produce Safety. In its six years of existence, the center has funded 70 research projects.
The projects are already helping improve food safety, according to presentations from numerous speakers during the first day of the symposium at the Wegmans Conference Center.
“The search for answers to food safety questions is not just the right thing to do, it is the best risk management tool we have,” said Brian Silbermann, president and chief executive officer for the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.
Silbermann introduced keynote speaker Seattle attorney Bill Marler, known for litigating food safety personal injury cases, beginning 20 years ago with ther Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak.
“He has done more than any one person to force industry and government and the rest of us to look at food safety,” Silbermann said.
Marler’s presentation included tips on how to avoid being sued as well as reasons to implement effective food safety programs.
She said the company completely rebuilt the facilities after consulting with experts in sanitization and areas of other food safety. Gills Onions is open again and rebuilding its customer base.
“They didn’t just look for one smoking gun, they initiated a top-down investigation,” Parker said. “We focused on quality over speed. To say we took things down to the skeleton would be an understatement.”
That kind of commitment is what you need to win the war against listeria, said Martin Wiedmann, professor and director of graduate studies for food science and technology at Cornell University.
Wiedmann explained how listeria is difficult to eradicate because of its prevalence in nature and its ability to multiply in refrigerated conditions. He said he has documented the presence of a single species of listeria in facilities from three months to 12 years.
“All outbreaks associated with it are linked to long-term presence,” Wiedmann said, adding that the pathogen’s ability to hang on is what makes a search for the root cause mandatory.
Wiedmann also said additional research such as that funded by the Center for Produce Safety is needed to better understand where listeria is most likely to occur so that growers can avoid planting there.

York Region reminds you of food safety
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By (June 25, 2013)
Before you fire up the grill this weekend, the Region of York reminds you of food safety tips to make sure you do not suffer food poisoning.
It is important to keep meat cold or frozen until you are ready to cook.
If camping or storing meat in a cooler, make sure the meat is sealed and the cooler is kept cold with ice packs or ice and out of direct sunlight.
Use a fridge thermometer to make sure you cooler stays at 4 C or colder.
The most accurate way to measure the inner temperature of your food while cooking is to use a probe thermometer.
When cooking hamburgers made from beef, pork or lamb, the internal temperature should be 71 C or higher to make sure bacteria has been destroyed.
For chicken, turkey or vegetarian burgers, the internal temperature should be 74 C or higher.
You should refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of cooking.
Leftovers should be reheated to 74 C or higher and should be used within two days of cooking.
When you prepare any food, always remember to clean, separate, cook and chill:
• Clean: Wash hands with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds before handling food and after handling raw meat;
• Separate: Never reuse marinade that has been used with raw meat to baste cooked food;
• Cook: If cooked food is not eaten immediately, it should be quickly chilled or held hot at 60 C or higher until consumed and;
• Chill: Remember meat should never be thawed at room temperature.
Symptoms of food poisoning may include fever, nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache and vomiting.

Shanghai Food Regulator Releases Food-Safety Blacklist
Source :
By (June 25, 2013)
SHANGHAI—Chinese regulators are showing a commitment to food safety by cracking down on wrongdoers.
A list of companies and individuals who have violated food-safety rules was recently released by the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration, Xinhua, the official press agency of the People's Republic of China, reported. Citing a blacklist mechanism that took effect in March, the report stated enterprises on the list "will receive administrative punishment at the highest level and their executives will be banned from operating food businesses".
The Chinese regulator released the list amid food-safety concerns U.S. senators have raised over the $7.1 billion acquisition of Smithfield Foods, Inc. by Shuanghui International Holdings Limited.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been collaborating with the China Food and Drug Administration to improve the safety of imported foods and enhance China's regulatory regime.
According to Xinhua, earlier this year, the Beijing municipal government introduced a law to ensure food safety.
And in 2012, China released a 5-year plan to upgrade its food-safety regulations by revamping outdated standards, reviewing and abolishing any contradicting or overlapping standards and devising new regulations.
Food safety has been an Achilles heel for China. A report released early in 2012 revealed that roughly half of food inspections conducted in mainland China failed, although the majority didn't pass as a result of minor defects.

Senators Ask Government to Consider Food Safety When Reviewing Smithfield Deal
Source :
By Helena Bottemiller (June 25, 2013)
Fifteen U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle are urging the government to consider food safety as they review the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods, America’s largest pork company, to Shuanghui International, China’s largest meat processor.
The $4.7 billion deal, which would be the largest Chinese takeover of an American company, will be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency committee chaired by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that includes 16 agencies, including the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security, that reviews foreign investment to ensure national security is not compromised. In a letter to the Treasury last week, the Senators asked Mr. Lew to include the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the review process so that both the food supply and food safety issues can be taken into consideration — the latter is especially of concern to American consumers in the wake of a slew of food safety scandals in China.
“We believe that our food supply is critical infrastructure that should be included in any reasonable person’s definition of national security,” read the letter, which was signed by 15 out of 20 senators on the Agriculture Committee. “Any CFIUS review of this transaction should look beyond any direct impact on government agencies and operations to the broader issues of food security, food safety, and biosecurity.”
Citing the potential for other foreign acquisitions of American food and agriculture companies, the lawmakers said they have questions about “whether the appropriate authorities are evaluating potential risks and proposing sufficient mitigation measures to protect American interests” and asked CFIUS to consider making USDA one of the lead agencies on the committee.
“The United States has the safest, most efficient and reliable food supply in the world,” the letter continued. “It is one of our nation’s great strengths, and we must ensure that it is preserved and protected.”
The letter, signed by Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member Thad Chochran (R-MS) as well as four other Republicans and nine other Democrats, said the committee would examine how the transiction is reviewed and take a look at how similar transactions should be reviewed in the future.
News of the sale of Smithfield Foods, garnered a mixed reaction. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and several food safety experts, including Bill Marler (publisher of Food Safety News), have pointed out that regardless of ownership Smithfield Foods still falls under jurisdiction of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, but others have expressed concerns about whether the acquisition could open the door to unsafe products being imported into the United States.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said, “This potential merger raises real food safety concerns that should alarm consumers…We know that Chinese food products have been a threat to public health and that Shuanghui was found to have produced and sold tainted pork.  This merger may only make it more difficult to protect the food supply.”
On Tuesday, China’s Commerce Ministry Shen Danyang responded to the concerns raised by U.S. lawmakers.
“China’s quality management of pork imports and Shuanghui’s purchase of Smithfield are totally unrelated to U.S. food safety,” said Danyang. “We hope the U.S. will treat the merger case fairly and properly.”
Danyang noted that China does not ban U.S. pork imports, the country only prohibits the import of pork from pigs raised on ractopamine, a growth promoting drug widely used in the U.S. pork industry.
As Food Safety News reported earlier this month, the Shuanghui acquisition raises new questions about the future of the controversial feed additive, which is also used by Canada, Brazil, and others, but banned by the European Union, Russia, and China.
This article has been updated to include China’s response.

Food safety key during summer
Source :
BY JEFF WILSON (June 25, 2013)
Summertime is the perfect time for cookouts. That means meat on grill, which also means meat in the cooler and out in the open.
Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department Director of Health Education Carrie Eldridge said the importance of correct food-handling and cooking procedures are imperative.
“Always pack it and transport it safely,” she said.
That means:
Keeping cold food at 40 degrees or less: This can be done by packing meat while frozen and keeping drinks and food in separate coolers, which means the food cooler is opened fewer times.
Avoid the danger zone: While cold food needs to be kept at 40 degrees or less, hot food needs to be kept at least 140 degrees. Anything between makes for a prime environment for bacteria to grow.
Don’t leave food out: Most days food can be left out for two hours, but on days with 90-plus degree heat, food shouldn’t be out more than one hour.
Following safe grilling tips: Marinate foods in a refrigerator and don’t reuse marinade; cook food thoroughly — the correct temperature for meats range between 145 and 165 degrees; don’t reuse platters or utensils.
Not following these guidelines can lead to foodborne illness, Eldridge said.
“That’s just going to get the public sick,” she said.

Shanghai Issues Food Safety ‘Blacklist’
Source :
By (June 25, 2013)
To help stem the tide of food crimes, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration last week published a list of companies and individuals who have been found to have violated food safety laws.
“Enterprises that are blacklisted will receive administrative punishment at the highest level and their executives will be banned from operating food businesses, according to a blacklist mechanism that took effect in March,” official Chinese media Xinhua recently reported.
Xinhua credits Gu Zhenhua, who serves as the deputy director of the Shanghai FDA, with setting up what the paper is calling a “food safety credibility system.”
Gu told Xinhua that businesses who disobey laws will lose credibility and have their market access restricted, while businesses that abide by the rules will “enjoy preferential policies.”
So far, Shanghai has blacklisted 13 individuals and two restaurants. The two outlawed restaurants, Fula Hotpot Restaurant and Zhenjiang Sichuan Restaurant, according to Xinhua, had used recycled soup in new hotpots served to customers. The report said, “The practice is harmful to health.” The four owners of those restaurants are also on the blacklist as individuals and will be forbidden from working in the food industry.
“Nine other individuals were blacklisted for selling dead pigs illegally and for selling industrial salt as table salt,” according to one report. “All the 13 people were given jail terms from one year to three years and a half.”
According to the paper, the Beijing municipal government also introduced a strict law and similar accountability system earlier this year. The new law that went into effect on April 1 means food producers or vendors will be banned from working in the industry for life if they are found producing or selling unsafe food.
Pictured: U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg visits Shanghai FDA. Photo courtesy of Shanghai FDA.

New food watchdog could compromise safety – critics
Source :
By (June 25, 2013)
PLANS for a new food body for Scotland have been attacked by industry groups, which claim it could undermine food safety, documents reveal.
Organisations including the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Scottish Food and Drink Federation expressed concerns that the new agency would reduce the effectiveness of the current UK-wide regime and divert resources away from areas such as research.
But they were yesterday accused of trying to “stifle” the food body before it was even created, in order to protect the industry’s own interests.
A consultation on the Scottish Government’s plans for a new organisation, which will take on the roles currently covered by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and also expand into other areas, was closed last month.
In its consultation document, the Scottish Government said the horsemeat scandal – in which illegal horse was found in a variety of products – had highlighted “the importance of having a single independent public body with clear responsibility for all aspects of food safety and standards in Scotland”.
But several groups expressed doubts over whether a separate body would have detected the horsemeat issue any earlier.
The SRC feared decisions taken by the new agency could conflict with those taken by the UK FSA. “This would be confusing for consumers, who will be exposed to competing messages, and for Scottish food businesses, which could suffer as a consequence,” it said.
The SRC also said the move would reduce the funding available for food safety research “by duplicating work and losing economies of scale”.
A spokesman for the SRC said: “Instead of actually improving the robustness of food safety and hygiene in Scotland, we feel that a separate Scottish body could actually undermine it.”
In its response, the Scottish Food and Drink Federation said: “The proposal to establish an NFB [new food body] and any extension of its scope and remit beyond those of FSAS [Food Standards Agency Scotland] carries the risk of a diminution of the effectiveness of the current model, unless the NFB is adequately resourced.”
In its response to the consultation, Tesco opposed extending the scope of the new body to cover public health issues, saying these should remain with the Scottish Government.
“We have been working closely with the Scottish Government on issues of public health for many years, and continue to actively engage in policy formation and implementation – for example on alcohol policy, obesity, pharmacy, nutrition and physical activity,” it said.
However, Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and food spokeswoman for the Scottish Greens, said: “It’s disappointing but perhaps not surprising to see vested interests trying to stifle this agency before it’s even up and running. The big four supermarkets control three-quarters of the grocery market and they’re directly responsible for booming sales of ready meals and sugary drinks.”
But industry groups were not the only ones to express concerns. The Royal College of GPs Scotland said it did not believe a new body would be required “unless Scotland became independent at some point in the future, and this led to a lack of access to the UK-based resources we currently use”.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The new body will provide Scottish consumers with an effective, proportionate and efficient food safety and standards regime. As part of this, the new body will retain a close relationship with FSA UK.”

Plant Compounds May Combat Foodborne Pathogens
Source :
By (June 24, 2013)
ALBANY, Calif.—Researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Western Regional Research Center are collaborating with University of Arizona scientists to investigate the ability of olive powder and other plant compounds to combat foodborne pathogens, such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, and keep food safe to eat.
An olive processing co-product, olive powder was one of about two dozen plant extracts, spices, and herbs the team evaluated for their potential to combat Escherichia coli O157:H7 and to retard formation of heterocyclic amines during cooking of hamburger patties. Heterocyclic amines are of concern because they can inadvertently be formed when beef patties are cooked to the doneness recommended for helping kill unwanted microbes, such as E. coli. The two amines monitored in the burger experiment, MeIQx and PhIP, are on the National Toxicology Program’s roster of possible carcinogens.
For the study, high levels of E. coli O157:H7, along with the plant extract, spice, or herb of interest, were added to the ground beef patties. The patties were then cooked on a griddle until the meat’s internal temperature reached 114°F, then flipped and cooked another five minutes until the internal temperature reached the recommended 160°F. The amine data showed that olive powder reduced MeIQx by about 80% and PhIP by 84%. Overall, olive powder was the most effective of the plant extracts (olive, apple and onion powders) that were tested.
The researchers said follow-up studies are needed to pinpoint the compounds in olive powder that are responsible for these effects and to determine whether the amount added in the experiments alters the burgers’ taste.

Power Still Out? Tips To Avoid Heat, Plus Food Safety
Source :
Friday’s storms knocked out power to more than half a million Minnesotans and days later, thousands of customers are still in the dark.
The city of Minneapolis wants to make sure those without power are staying safe — in the heat and with the food they have left.
Here are a few tips from the city and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Beat The Heat
• Spend time in air-conditioned buildings and avoid direct sunlight if possible. You can find a list of air conditioned public buildings here.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
• Take cool showers or baths.
• Avoid using the stove or oven to cook.
• Drink more water than usual and remind others to do the same.
• Check on friends, family and neighbors twice a day.
Food Safety
• For your freezer: A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
• For your refrigerator: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
• Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. Throw away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Traffic Signals
About 35 traffic signals are still without power in the city, including some that are in a flashing red light mode. A reminder to motorists — flashing red lights should be treated as stop signs. An intersection without any lights should be treated as a four-way stop.
Tree Removal
Trees still down will be removed once Xcel Energy crews are able to remove power lines that are tangled. After city streets are clear, the Park Board’s second priority for tree removal will be trees from homes, garages and other structures. The third tree priority is to evaluate and remove trees that pose a potential hazard for toppling due to storm damage. Fourth priority is the removal of trees and tree debris from parks.
Resident Tree Debris Drop-Off
Minneapolis residents may bring yard tree debris to two locations, one in North Minneapolis and one in Fort Snelling, between June 24 and 29 for hauling and processing by the Park Board.
• Metro Wood Recycling Site: 33rd Avenue North and 2nd Street North, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday
• Fort Snelling Site: 6200 Bloomington Rd., Fort Snelling (adjacent to the Park Board’s Fort Snelling Golf Course) 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday
These sites will discontinue accepting public tree debris at Noon on Saturday, June 29. This is only for storm related tree debris.
Curbside Tree Debris
Crews will collect tree debris beginning July 1 through July 12 for properties affected by the storm. The service is for property owners clearing tree debris after storm damage only.
Here’s how residents in the area can prepare downed trees and branches for collection:
• Move larger limbs, branches, and trunks to the boulevard area in front of your house. Park Board crews will pick up and dispose of these items at no charge.
• Property owners adjacent to tree debris placed on the boulevard are asked not to park vehicles near the debris, to help crews in the removal process. “No parking” signs may be posted and enforced to facilitate the cleanup operation.



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