FoodHACCP Newsletter
11/25 2013 ISSUE:575

 

Food safety department's office plan caught in legal dispute
Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/Food-safety-departments-office-plan-caught-in-legal-dispute/articleshow/26333540.cms
By TNN (Nov 25, 2013,)
The food safety department's plan to construct a new office building in Kothamangalam to seat the circle officers of Kothamangalam and Muvattupuzha seems to have hit a roadblock, with the grandson of the person who reportedly handed over the land to the health department in 1960 making a claim on the land.
The department claimed that the disputed 15 cents of land were handed over to the health department to set up a family welfare centre and the PWD even built a building for the centre in the property. But with the upgrading of Kothamangalam panchayat to municipality in 1978 the centre was closed down.
Later the building was used as food inspector's office and the office functioned from the building for more than 10 years. As the building was not in a good condition, the food inspector's office was shifted to the Muvattupuzha taluk hospital temporarily in 2005.
With the implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Act, the food safety department made plans to set up a building in the land for its Kothamangalam and Muvattupuzha circle offices.
"The encroachment took place in October this year. The department was planning to construct a building in the property. The PWD has already prepared a project for it which is under consideration of the state government," said C Benny, food safety officer, Kothamangalam.
He added that as per the records of the municipality the property belonged to health department and it has been paying tax for it.
The food safety department said that it had already brought the issue to the attention of the district collector and district medical officer.
The additional district medical officer, Dr Suhitha K, visited the spot last week as part of the investigation conducted by the health department.
Ernakulam district collector Sheik Pareeth said he has called a hearing to solve the issue. "The resurvey of the land would be done to confirm whether there was any encroachment," he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Arun Jose Abraham -- who has approached the Muvattupuzha court claiming that the land belongs to him -- said, "I inherited the land from my father and have all the documents to prove my ownership. I have been paying tax for the land since I inherited it."
He said the health centre was allowed to function in their ancestral home on humanitarian grounds.

Michigan Salmonella Outbreak at 31
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/michigan-salmonella-outbreak-at-31/
By Bill Marler (Nov 24, 2013)
Krystle Wagner of the Grand Haven Tribune reports that one restaurant has been named (by itself) while another three restaurants and a grocery store are being protected by the Muskegon County Health Department “at the businesses’ request.”
Earlier this week, 20 Muskegon County and three Ottawa County residents were confirmed as being afflicted with Salmonella, which investigators have determined occurred between October 28 and November 5 based on the victims’ symptoms.  Four more cases were reported Friday, said Ken Kraus, director of Public Health Muskegon County.
Kraus said previously that they are focusing on one Muskegon County restaurant as a likely source because all of the people who contracted the disease ate there. However, he said Friday that investigators are looking into three or four Muskegon County restaurants and a grocery store as the source. Kraus declined to name the establishments at the businesses’ request.
Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.
If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

 

A Safe Holiday Feast
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/a-safe-holiday-feast/
By Linda Larsen (Nov 24, 2013)
FightBac.org and Eat Turkey are offering a new Thanksgiving food safety infographic. When you’re cooking and handling so much food on this typical American holiday, you need to be extra vigilant about food safety. Most likely your holiday guests will include those in high risk groups, including small children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with chronic health ailments.
And as always remember the four basic rules of food safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. Wash your hands and any surfaces that come into contact with food often. Don’t cross contaminate; separate cooked food from raw food and avoid using the same utensils, cutting boards, and plates for cooked and raw foods. Always cook foods to a safe internal temperature. Never serve undercooked ground beef, chicken, pork, eggs, or fish. And after you eat, refrigerate foods promptly so bacteria will not grow in them. Visit Holiday Food Safety for more information.

Leahy, Sanders, Welch urge rewrite of food safety rules
Source : http://vtdigger.org/2013/11/24/leahy-sanders-welch-urge-rewrite-food-safety-rules/
By vtdigger.org (Nov 24, 2013)
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) are urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revise rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act in a way that enhances food safety and the continued strength of Vermont’s agricultural sector.
Leahy said, “Strong food safety rules are essential to protecting consumers and ensuring the quality that has become synonymous with the ‘Vermont’ brand, and that is why I supported the Food Safety Modernization Act. However, the implementation rules, as drafted, would place unacceptable burdens on small, diversified Vermont farms and stifle our burgeoning local food movement, while making only marginal gains in food safety. We can do better.”
Sanders said, “Food safety is our priority and I support the FDA’s focus on strong, consistent food safety rules to protect consumers. In our state of Vermont, the Food Safety Modernization Act must support the dynamic agricultural enterprises that are strengthening our economy.”
Welch said, “We all agree that safe food production is vitally important for public health, the health of our food systems, and the integrity of our strong Vermont brand. But steps taken to protect our food supply should reflect best practices and an appreciation for the diversity of agriculture nationwide.”
The 2011 Food Safety Modernization act, signed into law in 2011, broadened the authority of the FDA to regulate food production and allows the agency to order recalls of contaminated food. But the draft rules, as subsequently drawn by FDA to implement the law, have the serious potential to disrupt Vermont’s small, local and diversified farmers and food hubs with large fees and expensive testing and booking requirements.
Last week the members of Vermont’s congressional delegation wrote a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, urging that the FDA rewrite the rules and allow for a second public comment period before issuing a final decision. The delegation members are concerned about the lack of clear authority between the State and the FDA in implementing the law. Moreover, the rules seem to negate hard-fought exemptions for small, diversified producers, like many Vermont farms.
Other concerns raised by the delegation include conflicts with the National Organic Program, the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, and water and soil health regulations.

Salmonella Outbreak at Oklahoma Prisons
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/salmonella-outbreak-at-oklahoma-prisons/
By Linda Larsen (Nov 23, 2013)
NewsOK.com is reporting that seven inmates in Oklahoma state prisons have been hospitalized in the the last three weeks with Salmonella food poisoning. At the women’s Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, 47 people are sick. At Jim E. Hamilton Correctional Center in Hodgen, 37 inmates are ill; five of those people were hospitalized. One inmate at the Joseph Harp Correction Center in Lexington and one person at Bill Johnson Correctional Center in Alva were hospitalized.
The illnesses began in late October. Officials say that the cases don’t rise to the level of an outbreak, even though the definition of an outbreak is two or more unrelated persons ill with the same strain of pathogenic bacteria.
Salmonella outbreaks are usually linked to food that is not properly cooked or held at the correct temperature. Chicken is commonly contaminated with Salmonella; when it isn’t cooked to a high enough temperature or left at room temperature too long, an outbreak occurs.
Food poisoning is common in correctional facilities. Last year Food Poisoning Bulletin told you about crowded conditions and other foodborne illness outbreaks at prisons around the country. Person-to-person spread of the illness can happen easily under these conditions. SourceWatch.org says that some of the largest foodborne illness outbreaks occur in correctional facilities.

Thanksgiving From a Food-Safety Perspective
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-from-a-food-safety-perspective/
By Cathy Siegner (Nov 22, 2013)
(Food Safety News will be undergoing maintenance the evening of Friday, Nov. 22. If you experience difficulties when viewing Food Safety News after this time, please clear your browser’s cache. If you continue to experience difficulties after clearing your cache, please contact Suzanne Schreck at sschreck@foodsafetynews.com. Thank you.)
When Americans sit down to Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, they will be celebrating their good fortune in having enough to eat – and, hopefully, they will be eating safely.
The Partnership for Food Safety Education recommends memorizing four simple words to help make sure that foodborne illness isn’t an unwelcome guest at your Thanksgiving table. The words are: clean, separate, cook, chill.
As illustrated in this video, the four words and their associated guidelines are simple but essential to follow:
Clean: Keep kitchen bacteria levels down by regularly cleaning hands, cutting boards, knives and countertops. Before and after handling food, wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Rinse or scrub fruits and veggies under running water before eating.
Separate: Bacteria spread from cross-contamination, so never put cooked, ready-to-eat foods on any surface where raw meat, poultry, seafood or their juices have been.
Cook: Bacteria can survive lower temperatures, so be sure you have properly prepared and cooked foods. You can’t tell if something is cooked safety by how it looks, so make sure by using a food thermometer.
Chill: Chill leftover food promptly (within two hours is best) and properly because bacteria spread fastest between 40-140 degrees F. Make sure your refrigerator temperature is 40 degrees F. or below.
Thanksgiving turkey preparations
Before buying a turkey, make enough room for it in your refrigerator. If you buy a frozen turkey, thaw it in the refrigerator or in a pan of cold water (changing the water every half-hour). Never thaw a turkey at room temperature.
It takes time for a large frozen turkey to thaw out in the refrigerator, so allow several days. If you’re getting a fresh turkey, buy it one or two days before it will be cooked and keep it refrigerated in the meantime.
Some people swear by fresh turkeys; others say that frozen are better. Turkeys are also available that have previously been frozen but are defrosted before being offered for purchase.
Decide what size turkey you need. The general rule of thumb is one pound of uncooked turkey per person.
How turkeys are labeled
There is an ever-increasing variety of labels consumers will see on turkeys available in this country. Here are the usual ones, as regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
Fresh: This designation means that the turkey has never been chilled below 26 degrees F. Experts advise checking the “sell by” or “use by” date to make sure how fresh the turkey really is.
Not Previously Frozen: This label means that the turkey has been chilled below 26 degrees F. but not below 0 degrees F. Therefore, it can’t legally be labeled as “fresh” but doesn’t need to be labeled as frozen.
Natural: The turkey has been minimally processed and contains no artificial ingredients or added coloring. However, this label doesn’t mean that the turkey wasn’t given antibiotics, and it has nothing to do with how the turkey was raised.
Kosher: This denotes that the turkey was raised only on grain and was not given antibiotics. Such turkeys are soaked in salt brine and processed and inspected under the supervision of a rabbi.
Free Range: This label means the grower has a part of the operation open to a common yard where the turkeys can go if they choose. Regardless of how many actually do, all the processed birds from such an operation may legally be labeled as “Free Range.”
Organic: The turkey was raised without antibiotics or growth enhancers, had access to the outdoors, and was only given organic feed. This designation is also meant to guarantee that no ionizing radiation or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were involved in raising or processing the turkey.
There are additional designations such as “Heritage” and “Sustainable” being applied to certain turkeys these days, including labels indicating that the turkey has been raised using sustainable best practices which have been third-party certified.
(For more about raising and processing turkeys, here is a video tour featuring Dr. Temple Grandin, animal science professor at Colorado State University.)
Cooking your Thanksgiving turkey
No matter what type of turkey you buy, the most important food-safety consideration is to cook it to a minimum temperature of 165 degrees F. as measured by a food thermometer. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and thickest part of the breast. This advice holds whether you plan to roast, bake, barbecue, deep-fry, microwave, or even smoke your turkey.
If you are going to stuff the turkey, combine the ingredients and stuff the turkey just before it will be cooked. You need about 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. The stuffing also needs to be cooked to a minimum 165 degrees F. If the turkey is done but the stuffing isn’t yet at that temperature, remove the stuffing and bake it separately in a greased casserole dish.
When roasting your turkey in an oven, set the temperature at 325 degrees F. Stuffed turkeys take longer than unstuffed ones, so be sure and follow these timetables:
Unstuffed
4 to 6 lb. breast …… 1-1/2 to 2-1/4 hours
6 to 8 lb. breast …… 2-1/4 to 3-1/4 hours
8 to 12 lbs. ………… 2-3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 lbs. ………… 3 to 3-3/4 hours
14 to 18 lbs. ………… 3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours
18 to 20 lbs. ………… 4-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours
20 to 24 lbs. ………… 4-1/2 to 5 hours
Stuffed
8 to 12 lbs. …… 3 to 3-1/2 hours
12 to 14 lbs. …… 3-1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 lbs. …… 4 to 4-1/4 hours
18 to 20 lbs. …… 4-1/4 to 4-3/4 hours
20 to 24 lbs. …… 4-3/4 to 5-1/4 hours
Carving, serving and storing leftovers
After the turkey is done, let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving and use a clean cutting board and a sharp knife. Remove stuffing and slice the turkey, and remember not to leave the turkey or any other food at room temperature for more than two hours before refrigerating.
Divide leftover turkey into smaller portions, put it in shallow containers and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Be sure to use leftovers within a few days and to heat them back up to 165 degrees F. If you microwave leftover turkey, be sure to cover, stir and rotate it so the turkey is evenly cooked.
Food safety resources
For more information about how to safely handle, serve and store your holiday food, call 1-888-SAFEFOOD (FDA), 1-888-MPHOTLINE (USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline), email mphotline.fsis@usda.gov, or visit AskKaren.gov.
For some statistics, history, and FAQs about our native bird, visit the National Turkey Federation website.

Proper food prep reduces contamination
Source : http://www.fortcampbellcourier.com/news/article_82258eaa-52e2-11e3-bfd9-0019bb2963f4.html
By fortcampbellcourier.com (Nov 21, 2013)
Food safety starts from the purchase to the preparation, cooking and serving of the turkey and other traditional dishes. Here are some helpful tips to keep your Thanksgiving Day dinner safe, so you can enjoy the company of your Family and guests. Foodborne illnesses are caused when we consume food contaminated with certain bacteria or parasites. The risk of food poisoning, though, can be reduced through proper cleaning, separating, cooking and chilling of foods.
Don’t invite bacteria to dinner
•Using soap and warm water, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, using the bathroom or touching pets
•Keep the kitchen off-limits to young children and adults that are not helping with food preparations to lessen the possibility of kitchen mishaps
•Wash cutting boards, counters, and utensils often.  Use two cutting boards, one for washed produce and one for raw meat and seafood
•Wash fresh vegetables and fruits in drinkable running water
•Separate raw foods from cooked foods, to avoid cross-contamination
•Start holiday cooking with a clean stove and oven.
•Cook foods to at least the internal temperature that kills harmful bacteria.  For example, whole poultry should be at least 185 degrees Fahrenheit
•Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold
•Cook on the back burners when possible and turn pot handles in so they don’t extend over the edge of the stove
•Never leave cooking unattended. If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, turn off the stove or have someone else watch what is being cooked.
To avoid kitchen fires
Holiday fires can turn a joyous occasion into tragedy.  Each year more than 4,000 fires occur on Thanksgiving Day. Many if not most are home cooking fires. Follow the guidelines below to avoid a fire this holiday season.
•Keep potholders and food wrappers at least three feet away from heat sources while cooking
•When cooking, do not wear clothing with loose sleeves or dangling jewelry.  The clothing can catch on fire and the jewelry can catch on pot handles, causing spills and burns
•Make sure all stoves, ovens, and ranges have been turned off when you leave the kitchen
•Set timers to keep track of turkeys and other food items that require extended cooking times
•Turn handles of pots and pans on the stove inward to avoid accidents
•After guests leave, designate a responsible adult to walk around the home making sure that all candles and smoking materials are extinguished
•Keep Thanksgiving decorations and kitchen clutter away from sources of direct heat
•Move away from the stove anything that could catch on fire, such as paper towels, potholders and curtains
•Establish a safe zone around the stove while cooking – no children or pets within three feet.

Trader Joe’s E.coli Outbreak Expands: 32 Sick in 4 States
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/trader-joes-e-coli-outbreak-expands-32-sick-in-4-states/
By Carla Gillespie (Nov 21, 2013)
An E. coli outbreak linked to salads and wraps produced by Glass Onion Catering and sold at Trader Joe’s and other stores has expanded to include 32 people in four states, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seven people have been hospitalized,  two of whom have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) a condition that leads to kidney failure.
The outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 (STEC E.coli) has never before been seen by public health officials. Through epidemiologic and traceback investigations, they have determined that likely sources of the outbreak are Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken and Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken, produced by Glass Onion Catering and sold at Trader Joe’s stores.
On November 10, Glass Onion Catering recalled these and other ready-to-eat salads and sandwich wrap products that may have be contaminated with the E.coli. Consumers who purchased these products and still have them on hand should not eat them.
Since the last update on November 12,  six new cases from two states have been added: five from California and one from Texas. The breakdown of total cases by state is as follows: Arizona (1), California (27), Texas (1), and Washington (3).  Some illnesses that occurred after October 26, may not have been reported yet due to the gap between the time a person first becomes ill and the date the illness is reported. This can take two to three weeks.
Those who became ill range in age from 2 years old to 78 years old,. The median age is 29 years old. Most of those sickend are female. Two of the seven people hospitalized have HUS. Between 5 percent and 10 percent of people who contract E. coli infections, develop HUS. If kidney failure develops, treatment includes dialysis and blood transfusions. Other complications of HUS include seizure, stroke and coma.

OxyElite Pro Recall Expands to Include Raspberry Lemonade Powder
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/11/oxyelite-pro-recall-expands-to-include-raspberry-lemonade-powder/
By News Desk (Nov 20, 2013)
USPLabs has expanded its recall of OxyElite Pro, the dietary supplement linked to recent severe cases of hepatitis, to include Raspberry Lemonade OxyELITE Pro Super Thermo Powder.
The company originally recalled certain shipments that appeared to be associated with one reported death and at least 56 illnesses among customers using the product.
The cases of liver damage or acute liver failure are concentrated in Hawaii, but the product was distributed nationwide through retail stores, mail orders and direct delivery. The Hawaii State Department of Health is spearheading an investigation into the cause.
The full list of products involved in the recall include:
OxyElite Pro Super Thermo capsules
2 count capsules UPC #094922417275
10 count capsules UPC #094922417251
10 count capsules UPC #094922417268
21 count capsules UPC #094922426604
90 count capsules UPC #094922395573
90 count capsules “Pink label” UPC #094922447906
180 count capsules UPC #094922447852
OxyElite Pro Ultra-Intense Thermo capsules
3 count capsules UPC #094922447883
3 count capsules UPC #094922447876
90 count capsules UPC #094922395627
180 count capsules UPC #094922447869
OxyElite Pro Super Thermo Powder
Fruit Punch 0.15 oz UPC #094922417237
Fruit Punch 0.15 oz UPC #094922447517
Fruit Punch 4.6 oz UPC #094922426369
Fruit Punch 5 oz. UPC #094922447487
Blue Raspberry 4.6 oz UPC #094922426376
Grape Bubblegum 4.6 oz UPC #094922447500
Green Apple 4.6 oz. UPC #094922426499
Raspberry Lemonade 4.6 oz. UPC #094922447494

Suraj Brand Garlic Powder Recalled from Canadian Stores for Salmonella Contamination
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/11/suraj-brand-garlic-powder-recalled-for-salmonella-contamination/
By News Desk (Nov 20, 2013)
Loblaw Companies Limited is recalling Suraj brand Garlic Powder from Canadian stores nationwide due to possible Salmonella contamination.
The recalled product was sold in 400-gram containers with a UPC code of 0 57197 37238 0 and a Best-Before date of “2015 AL 22.”
The recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency test results. CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products.
There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. Recalled product should be thrown out or returned to the store where it was purchased.
Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may contract serious and sometimes deadly infections. Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.

Comment Period Extended For 2 Food-Safety Rules
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2013/11/comment-period-extended-for-2-food-safety-rules.aspx
By foodproductdesign.com (Nov 19, 2013)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is extending the comment period on proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) aimed at strengthening assurances that imported food meets the same safety standards as food produced domestically.
The deadline for deadlines comments on the proposed rules—Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVPs) and Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies—were originally due Nov. 26, 2013, but has been extended Jan. 27, 2014.
FDA the comment period in response to requests for an extension to allow interested persons an opportunity to consider the interrelationship between these two proposed rules and the proposed rule announced in October 2013, “Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals."
Under the proposed rule for Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP), importers would need to verify that their suppliers are meeting the same U.S. safety standards required of domestic producers. The proposed regulations vary based on the type of food product (such as processed foods, produce, and dietary supplements), the category of importer, the nature of the hazard in the food, and who is to control the hazard.
Under the proposed rule for Accreditation of Third Party Auditors, FDA would establish a program for accreditation of third-party auditors, also known as certification bodies, to conduct food-safety audits and issue certifications of foreign facilities and the foods for humans and animals they produce. The proposed rule would implement Section 307 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Importers will not generally be required to obtain certifications, but in certain circumstances the FDA may use certifications from accredited auditors in determining whether to admit certain imported food into the United States that the FDA has determined poses a food safety risk or in determining whether an importer is eligible to participate in a voluntary program now under development for expedited review and entry of food.
Comments can be submitted electronically at by clicking here, using the agency name and docket number FDA-2011-N-0143 (FSVPs) or FDA-2011-N-0146 (Third-Party).

Girl Fights E. Coli from Raw Milk as Medical Bills Mount
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/11/girl-fights-e-coli-from-raw-milk-as-medical-bills-mount/
By Cookson Beecher (Nov 19, 2013)
Almost lost in the flurry of “food-freedom” comments on the Facebook page of an eastern Tennessee raw-milk dairy farm that has been linked to an E. coli outbreak is the plight of five-year-old Maddie Powell, who remains hospitalized after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially fatal kidney disease associated with severe E. coli infections.
Maddie is one of nine children, all younger than seven, who were sickened with E. coli that state health officials have linked to a cowshare operated by the McBee Dairy Farm near Knoxville, TN. Besides Maddie, two of the nine children also developed HUS but have recovered enough to go home.
Raw milk is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized to kill harmful and, at times, deadly, pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella and Campylobacter. While raw-milk advocates believe it helps cure ailments such as asthma and various allergies, food-safety experts discount those claims as anecdotal and not based on science. They also warn of the serious risks to human health, including death, associated with its consumption.
Maddie, who was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 29, has been on dialysis since Oct. 30. So far, she has had six blood transfusions, one transfusion of platelets (blood cells that help stop bleeding), and two surgeries, with another surgery planned to get her off dialysis.
In a Nov. 17 email, Maddie’s mother, Cassie Powell, told Food Safety News that she had some good news to share: “No more dialysis!! We are moving out of ICU today and he (the doctor) projects another week in hospital.”
Not just emotionally, but also financially, it has been a severe strain on the family, with medical bills mounting up to more than $125,000 in just two weeks. With another week in the hospital anticipated, the expenses will climb higher yet.
Powell listed some of the costs:
Room: $6,000 per day for the hospital room. (“It was at $77,000 just for the room alone so far,” Powell said in a Nov. 12 email.)
Blood: $700 per transfusion. (Powell said she’s learned that it takes 40 donors to make up just one transfusion.)
Platelets: $2,000.
Chemistry: $10,000.
In addition to these expenses, Powell has had to take unpaid time off from work, and she has depleted all of her vacation time. Her husband, Scott, has to work as he has no sick time he can take.
“I am trying to work some during the week to keep things going so I have some income coming in,” Powell said, who noted that she has only been home three times since Maddie was admitted to the hospital. She stays with the little girl all night, and her parents come to stay with her in the afternoon.
Besides Maddie, the Powells have four other children.
Fortunately, the family does have insurance, but they don’t know what the final medical costs will be.
“Financially, it’s still up in the air,” Powell said. “We don’t know how we’ll fare.”
A friend, Wendy Morales, who is running the “Praying for Maddie” Facebook page, has set Maddie up with Medic Regional Blood Center to receive credit for any blood donated in her name. Donors  just have to provide the child’s full name, which is Madison Delilah Powell, and say that she is in East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
Although the Powells have not asked for donations to help with medical expenses, information friends have posted on the website suggest that donations can be made through this PayPal link.
Almost 1,000 people, many calling themselves “Prayer Warriors,” have made friends with Maddie on the Facebook page. Children at Maddie’s school have held a prayer vigil for her, and a benefit was to be held at her school. Her father said he has been overwhelmed by all the emotional support people have extended to the family.
In addition, two mothers, Mary McGonigle and Jill Brown, whose children developed HUS from drinking raw milk in separate E. coli outbreaks — one in California and the other in Oregon — have been in touch with Powell so she won’t feel so alone as she goes through this overwhelming ordeal.
Referring to McGonigle and Brown’s decision to reach out to her, Powell said, “To talk with other people who have been through this — it calms you. I had never even heard of HUS until this happened.”
Food-safety attorney Bill Marler, who publishes Food Safety News, confirmed that medical costs associated with E. coli and HUS can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. He cited one young patient whose medical bills came to $250,000 before she was discharged. Another example he gave was a young boy whose medical bills came to more than $450,000.
The risks of raw milk
Dairy farmer Marcie McBee, who operates the cowshare that provided the raw milk that Maddie drank, told Food Safety News that she informs cowshare members of the risks associated with raw milk.
Even so, she said that, in the bigger scheme of things, “It breaks down to your choice of freedom of whether you want to drink raw milk or not.”
She also pointed out that because the milk comes from a cowshare, the members own the cow, and therefore they’re not technically buying milk from the dairy.
When it comes to raw milk and the freedom of choice, Tennessee Deputy State Epidemiologist John Dunn said that people may have the right to drink and eat what they want, but because children are particularly vulnerable to foodborne illnesses such as E. coli, parents should take that vulnerability into account.
Powell said that she and her husband knew there were risks associated with raw milk.
“To us, it wasn’t any more dangerous than going to the store and buying spinach,” she said. (In 2006, an  E. coli outbreak linked to raw spinach infected 199 persons in 26 states and killed three people.) “But this experience with raw milk has been sobering for us.”
Powell said her family had decided to switch to raw milk because they didn’t like the way big dairies operate.
“We wanted to avoid the chemical imprint in our bodies,” she said, referring to the genetically modified grains fed to the cows and medications such as antibiotics administered to the cows.
But from now on, she said, her family will buy lightly pasteurized milk — milk that been heated to a lower, but safe temperature, and kept at that temperature for 30 minutes, a process that kills harmful pathogens — from Cruze Farm, a dairy farm in the Knoxville area.
“We won’t go back to raw milk,” she said.
When speaking of the McBee Dairy Farm where they got the raw milk that has been linked to the E. coli that sickened her daughter, Powell said that they don’t blame the McBees.
“We know it wasn’t intentional on their part,” she said. “Marcie (McBee) is heartbroken about this, too.”
Up and running again
Last week, the state allowed the McBee Dairy Farm to begin offering its milk to its cowshare members again. In giving the dairy the green light, health officials said that the outbreak, which likely began in early October, is over since no new cases had been reported.
In addition, the most recent testing of raw-milk samples from the dairy indicated that the milk was not contaminated — at least when the samples were taken.
However, even though several raw milk samples tested negative for E. coli O157, one raw-milk sample obtained from a consumer and several manure samples collected from the farm revealed the presence of DNA for the toxin produced by the E. coli strain that causes HUS, according to a press release from the state.
Tennessee Deputy State Epidemiologist Dunn told Food Safety News that the fact that all of the children who became ill drank raw milk from the dairy is “a pretty clear signal about the source.”
“The data and exposure information is very compelling,” he said.
Before the cease-and-desist order on the dairy could be lifted, Faith Critzer, University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension Office’s food safety expert in dairy-farm best practices, visited the farm and gave McBee some pointers on how she could improve the safeguards the dairy already had in place. (The dairy had been a commercial Grade A dairy before it began its cowshare operation.)
For Mark McAfee, owner of Fresno-based Organic Pastures, the largest raw-milk dairy in the nation, this recent outbreak in eastern Tennessee adds to his frustration over the lack of solid, science-based information about the safety risks associated with raw milk and how to prevent them.
Pointing out that McBee comes from a commercial Grade A dairy background, McAfee said that, before starting up the cowshare operation, McBee had never had to worry about coliform bacteria or pathogens that can make people sick. (In Tennessee, milk from commercial dairy farms is required to be pasteurized.)
“But, as a raw-milk producer for people, this is a central concern,” he said.
Taking a broader view of the situation, McAfee said that the outbreak illustrates the problem with a “free-for-all legalization of raw milk or cowshares without training or standards.”
“This is like being a blindfolded captain of a huge ship at night with no moon,” he said, referring to the McBee’s cowshare operation.
In an attempt to establish food-safety standards for raw-milk dairies, McAfee helped launched the Raw Milk Institute in September 2011.
Not that McAfee hasn’t had his own problems with outbreaks and recalls. As of February 2013, his dairy has been involved in seven recalls.
Even so, McAfee has faith that the raw-milk industry is evolving, with more and more science-based information to tap into.
“We’ve got to work together and create safe food,” he told Food Safety News in an earlier interview. “It’s usurping the cause if you’re only thinking about your freedom. Freedom and food safety are connected. I’m free as long as I produce safe milk.”
According to information from the Tennessee Department of Health, raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products are inherently risky to consumers. They can contain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli O157. These bacteria can cause severe diarrhea and even life-threatening complications. While it is possible to get sick from many other foods, raw milk is one of the riskiest. Infants and young children are among those with the greatest risk of illness from raw milk. Pasteurization is the only way to kill many of the bacteria in milk that can make people sick.
Go to Real Raw Milk Facts for information and questions and answers about raw milk.

Foster Farms Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 389 in 23 States
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/foster-farms-salmonella-outbreak-sickens-389-in-23-states/
By Carla Gillespie (Nov 19, 2013)
A Salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken has sickened 389 people in 23 states and Puerto Rico, according to the lastest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  an increase of 28 cases over the last two weeks. And the number of those with severe illness is higher than typical Salmonella outbreaks.
Forty percent of those sickened have required hospitalization, that’s twice the average rate. In 14 percent of the cases, the bacterial infections have migrated from the GI tract into the blood causing septicemia, a life-threatening condition. Typically, about 5 percent of Salmonella infections develop that complication.
By state, the 28 new cases are as follows: Arizona (2), California (20), Idaho (1), Illinois (1), Louisiana (1), Nevada (1), Oregon (1), and Virginia (1). One case in Texas has been removed from the total because it does not meet the outbreak case definition.
California remains the state hardest hit by the outbreak. Seventy four percent of the cases, or 288 people, are in California. By state, the breakdown of total cases is as follows: Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (16), California (288), Colorado (7), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Idaho (4), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (3), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (10), New Mexico (2), Oregon (10), Puerto Rico (1), Texas (10), Utah (2), Virginia (3), Washington (15), and Wisconsin (1).
Those sickened, who range in age from less than 1 year to 93 years old, experienced onset of illness bewteen March 1, 2013 to October 29, 2013. Fifty-two percent of those sickened are male.
Health investigators have determined through epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations that Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this outbreak. Foster Farms has not issued a recall for its raw chicken. However, some retailers removed it from their stores following an October 7 Public Health Alert issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) for chicken produced at three Foster Farms facilities in California.
Foster Farms survived the threat of closure of those plants by submitting to FSIS  a list of immediate changes to their slaughter and processing procedures at those plants. It’s unclear how effective those changes have been. Today’s update shows some people experienced onset of illness 19 days after these changes were made. It generally takes between 6 and 72 hours after ingestion of Salmonella for symptoms to develop.
On October 12 and October 17, 2013, Costco’s El Camino Real store  in South San Francisco, California recalled more than 23,000 rotisserie chicken products for possible Salmonella contamination. After some illnesses were reported among those who had eaten the cooked chicken from Foster Farms.
There are seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg that are part of this outbreak. All of them have shown resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics.

 

Canada expands food safety surveillance network
Source : http://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/news_home/Food_Safety/2013/11/Canada_expands_food_safety_sur.aspx?ID=%7B4FAC01E5-13BF-49C8-BEA9-799FC2B4EDE2%7D&cck=1
By Meat&Poultry Staff (Nov 19, 2013)
The Canadian government recently announced plans to expand the country's network of food safety surveillance sites.
FoodNet Canada currently comprises sites in the region of Waterloo, Ontario and Frasier Region, British Columbia. A third site in Calgary and Central Alberta will come online in January 2014. The sites collect detailed information about foodborne illness outbreaks and conduct traceback investigations to determine the origin of foodborne illness outbreaks. The government believes the addition of a third site will take into account a greater proportion of Canadians, improve food safety surveillance and maintain a safe food supply.
The expansion comes as the government launches its Healthy and Safe Food for Canadians Framework, a plan for how the government is working to minimize food safety risks, keep unsafe food products from entering the food supply chain and inform Canadians about healthy and safe food choices.
"Healthy, safe and accessible food is vitally important to Canadians," said Pat Vanderkooy, a registered dietitian with Dietitians of Canada. "Protecting the health of Canadians requires the Government's commitment to regulating what's allowed in our food, how it's labeled, as well as monitoring and reporting on the safety of the food supply."

Comment Period Extended For 2 Food-Safety Rules
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2013/11/comment-period-extended-for-2-food-safety-rules.aspx
By foodproductdesign.com (Nov 19, 2013)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is extending the comment period on proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) aimed at strengthening assurances that imported food meets the same safety standards as food produced domestically.
The deadline for deadlines comments on the proposed rules—Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVPs) and Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies—were originally due Nov. 26, 2013, but has been extended Jan. 27, 2014.
FDA the comment period in response to requests for an extension to allow interested persons an opportunity to consider the interrelationship between these two proposed rules and the proposed rule announced in October 2013, “Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals."
Under the proposed rule for Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP), importers would need to verify that their suppliers are meeting the same U.S. safety standards required of domestic producers. The proposed regulations vary based on the type of food product (such as processed foods, produce, and dietary supplements), the category of importer, the nature of the hazard in the food, and who is to control the hazard.
Under the proposed rule for Accreditation of Third Party Auditors, FDA would establish a program for accreditation of third-party auditors, also known as certification bodies, to conduct food-safety audits and issue certifications of foreign facilities and the foods for humans and animals they produce. The proposed rule would implement Section 307 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Importers will not generally be required to obtain certifications, but in certain circumstances the FDA may use certifications from accredited auditors in determining whether to admit certain imported food into the United States that the FDA has determined poses a food safety risk or in determining whether an importer is eligible to participate in a voluntary program now under development for expedited review and entry of food.
Comments can be submitted electronically at by clicking here, using the agency name and docket number FDA-2011-N-0143 (FSVPs) or FDA-2011-N-0146 (Third-Party).

United Fresh, Produce Marketing Association Comment on FDA Produce-Safety Rule
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2013/11/united-fresh-produce-marketing-association-commen.aspx
By foodproductdesign.com (Nov 18, 2013)
Farms with less than $25,000 in annual sales should not be exempt from produce-safety regulations, an organization that represents companies in the fresh fruits and vegetables industry stated in written comments with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Produce Marketing Association (PMI) maintained the exemption in the agency's proposed regulations is not based on science or risks.
"Produce contamination can occur in any operation that uses unsafe processes and practices," PMI's Robert Whitaker, chief science and technology officer, wrote in an executive summary of the comments.
FDA has drafted regulations that establish standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding produce under the nearly 3-year-old Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
PMI's comments on the produce-safety rule, and a separate rule intended to ensure food companies identify hazards and implement preventative controls to mitigate risks, exceed 200 pages.
The United Fresh Produce Association also has weighed in on the rules in extensive comments filed with FDA.
United Fresh acknowledged FDA has received significant feedback on the rules, so the organization is endorsing a recommendation that the agency publish a second round of proposed rules that would be open to comment as well. This is the recommendation of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, according to United Fresh.
"These proposals were a good first step, but can be significantly enhanced to be more effective in protecting public health, while allowing produce growers and distributors to continue providing an abundance of healthy and affordable fresh produce to consumers," United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel said in a statement. 
Congress set an aggressive timetable for FDA to develop a series of regulations under FSMA. The agency has cited the challenges of meeting the deadlines, many of which have been missed.

Food safety advice for Bay, Midland and Saginaw county residents without power
Source : http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2013/11/food_safety_advice_for_bay_mid.html
By Annie Harrison (Nov 18, 2013)
As time passes for the more than 20,000 residents in Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties who lost power in storms Sunday, Nov. 17, some of their refrigerated and frozen food may become unsafe to consume.
The Midland County Emergency Management Facebook page advised residents to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible when the power is out, saying the food is safe to consume if the power is out for less than four hours. If the power outage persists, a full freezer holds food up to 48 hours.
Perishable items such as milk, meat and eggs can be preserved in an ice-packed cooler. According to the Midland County Emergency Management, tasting food is not a good way to assess its safety.
Meanwhile, Hidden Harvest at 940 E. Genesee in Saginaw is collecting donated freezer contents so the food won’t go to waste. Jeremiah Janze, food donor coordinator, said meat donations should be dated to indicate the food is safe to consume.
“As long as it’s meat that is within date and good condition, we would take donations,” he said.
People should buy dry or block ice to keep refrigerators as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time, according to Foodsafety.gov, and 50 pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot fully-stocked freezer cold for two days.
Refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs that is prepared to eat while still at a safe temperature should be thoroughly cooked to the proper temperature to destroy any foodborne bacteria, the site recommends. Food that is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more should be discarded because it may cause illness when thoroughly cooked.
Fruits and vegetables should be washed with water from a safe source before eating, according to Foodsafety.gov.
The site recommends using prepared, canned baby formula that requires no added water for infants. Concentrated or powdered formulas should be prepared with bottled water if the local water source is potentially contaminated.
Once power is restored, people should check the freezer thermometer. The food is safe and may be refrozen if the temperature reads 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If the appliance does not have a thermometer, check to see if the food still contains ice crystals it is safe to refreeze or cook. Do not rely on appearance or odor, according to Foodsafety.gov.

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