FoodHACCP Newsletter
12/30 2013 ISSUE:580



Possible E. Coli Outbreak Investigated in NC
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/12/possible-e-coli-outbreak-investigated-in-north-carolina/
By News Desk (Dec 29, 2013)
Two children attending Tyro Middle School in Lexington, NC, hospitalized for severe bloody diarrhea thought to be caused by E. coli have now developed the kidney-threatening disease known as Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). The school is located in the central part of the state, about 22 miles south of Winston-Salem.
The Davidson County Health Department learned of the cases on Friday and has not yet determined the source of the original infections. The department has set up a hotline for information on the incident.
The public is asked to call (336) 242-2300. If calling after 2 p.m., the #8 prompt can be selected to leave a message for a call back.
“Our sincerest sympathies go out to the families of these two students who have experienced illness,” says Monecia Thomas, Davidson County Health Department Health Director. “Our goal in this is to inform the public, reduce the spread of the infection to others, and identify any other cases.”
While most E. coli are harmless, the shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) type identified is very infectious and can easily cause illness.
Symptoms may include acute diarrhea, including bloody diarrhea, vomiting, severe abdominal cramps and low-grade fever.

Kansas Health Officials Want Jimmy John’s Customers in Garden City to Fill Out Surveys
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/12/kansas-norovirus-investigation-centers-on-jimmy-johns-in-garden-city/
By News Desk (Dec 28, 2013)
Restaurant is likely source of a norovirus outbreak
A likely Norovirus outbreak involving a Jimmy’s John’s restaurant in Garden City is under investigation by Kansas officials who are asking for the public’s help. State and local health officials want  anyone who dined at the Jimmy John’s Restaurant in Garden City, KS between Dec. 10 and Dec. 24, 2013 is to participate in an online survey.
The survey is part of an investigation by the  and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment along with the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) into reports of gastrointestinal illnesses being experienced by Jimmy John’s customers from those dates.
“To determine the cause of illness, it is important for us to get information from those who became ill as well as those that did NOT become ill,” the request to the public says. Jimmy John’s customers are being asked to complete this survey, regardless of whether or not they did become ill.
People are also asked to complete a separate survey for EACH meal purchased from from the Garden City location between December 10 and December 24, 2013. A separate survey should also be completed for each meal for other family members who ate at this location during the time period. On the last page of the survey, there is a link that will allow input information for any additional meals or family members.
KDA’s Food Safety and Lodging program has conducted an inspection of the restaurant and has been working closely with Jimmy John’s employees to respond to this outbreak.
“We are suspecting that this outbreak has been caused by norovirus,” said D. Charles Hunt, State Epidemiologist at KDHE. Hunt said this is based on the symptoms of illness being reported, the large number of persons reported to be ill, and the period of time between food being eaten and the onset of illness, or incubation period.
Norovirus typically causes gastrointestinal illness – such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and low-grade fever – and is easily passed from person to person or through food that has been contaminated during preparation. It often causes large outbreaks, affecting a large percentage of persons who were exposed.
The best way to prevent norovirus is proper hand washing, excluding ill persons from preparing food, and proper cleaning and sanitizing of food preparation areas.
Members of the public who need to contact local health officials about this outbreak can call the Finney County Health Department at (620) 272-3600.

North Carolina Reports Two E. coli Cases
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-watch/north-carolina-reports-two-e-coli-cases/
By Bill Marler (Dec 28, 2013)
WFMY News 2 reports that the Davidson County Health Department received two reports of E. coli at Tyro Middle School.
The source in these cases is also unknown at this time.
The Health Department describes e. coli as “the naturally occurring bacteria that normally lives in the intestines of people and animals.” Most forms are harmless, but certain types can be very infectious and can easily cause illness.
Symptoms of e.coli may include diarrhea, including bloody diarrhea, vomiting, severe abdominal cramps, and low-grade fever.
If your child or an adult in the family has these symptoms, the Health Department advises you to contact your medical provider, who may consider testing.
If you have any questions, you can contact the Davidson County Health Department at 336-236-3096.

E. coli O157:H7 Found in Buffalo Meat in Retail
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-watch/e-coli-o157h7-found-in-buffalo-meat-in-retail/
By Bill Marler (Dec 28, 2013)
BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:266 
Indira T Kudva and Judith A Stasko
Background
Escherichia coli O157 (E. coli O157) has been isolated from bison retail meat, a fact that is important given that bison meat has been implicated in an E. coli O157-multistate outbreak. In addition, E. coli O157 has also been isolated from bison feces at slaughter and on farms. Cattle are well documented as E. coli O157 reservoirs, and the primary site of E. coli O157 persistence in such reservoirs is the rectoanal junction (RAJ), located at the distal end of the bovine gastrointestinal tract. Since bison and cattle share many genetic similarities manifested as common lineage, susceptibility to infection and the nature of immune responses to infectious agents, we decided to evaluate whether the RAJ of these animals were comparable both in terms of cellular architecture and as sites for adherence of E. coli O157. Specifically, we compared the histo-morphologies of the RAJ and evaluated the E. coli O157 adherence characteristics to the RAJ squamous epithelial (RSE) cells, from these two species.
Results
We found that the RAJ of both bison and cattle demonstrated similar distribution of epithelial cell markers villin, vimentin, cytokeratin, E-cadherin and N-cadherin. Interestingly, N-cadherin predominated in the stratified squamous epithelium reflecting its proliferative nature. E. coli O157 strains 86-24 SmR and EDL 933 adhered to RSE cells from both animals with similar diffuse and aggregative patterns, respectively.
Conclusion
Our observations further support the fact that bison are likely ‘wildlife’ reservoirs for E. coli O157, harboring these bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract. Our results also extend the utility of the RSE-cell assay, previously developed to elucidate E. coli O157-cattle RAJ interactions, to studies in bison, which are warranted to determine whether these observations in vitro correlate with those occurring in vivo at the RAJ within the bison gastrointestinal tract.

Norovirus Linked to Kansas Jimmy Johns
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/norovirus-linked-to-kansas-jimmy-johns/
By Bill Marler (Dec 27, 2013)
The Finney County Health Department, along with the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), continues investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that appears to be associated with the Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches restaurant in Garden City, Kan.
The Finney County Health Department and KDHE are contacting diners by telephone and an online survey to determine who has been ill. As of 12 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, more than 110 cases of illness among persons who reported eating food from this restaurant have been reported. Symptoms experienced include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and muscle aches.
KDA’s Food Safety and Lodging program has conducted an inspection of the restaurant and has been working closely with Jimmy John’s employees to respond to this outbreak.
An online survey has been developed, and anyone – whether they have been ill or not – who ate food from the Jimmy John’s in Garden City between Dec. 10 and Dec. 24, 2013, is urged to complete the survey, which can accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/gardencityillness.
“We are suspecting that this outbreak has been caused by norovirus,” said D. Charles Hunt, State Epidemiologist at KDHE. Hunt said this is based on the symptoms of illness being reported, the large number of persons reported to be ill, and the period of time between food being eaten and the onset of illness, or incubation period.
Norovirus typically causes gastrointestinal illness – such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and low-grade fever – and is easily passed from person to person or through food that has been contaminated during preparation. It often causes large outbreaks, affecting a large percentage of persons who were exposed.
The best way to prevent norovirus is proper hand washing, excluding ill persons from preparing food, and proper cleaning and sanitizing of food preparation areas.
Members of the public who need to contact local health officials about this outbreak can call the Finney County Health Department at (620) 272-3600.

Iowa announces new food safety rules for 2014
Source : http://www.press-citizen.com/article/20131227/NEWS01/131227008/Iowa-announces-new-food-safety-rules-2014
By Mitchell Schmidt Iowa City Press-Citizen (Dec 27, 2013)
Area businesses will have to abide by new food safety rules when selling food to the public in 2014.
The Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals has added revisions to the regulation of food establishments, according to a Friday press release from the Johnson County Department of Public Health.
Some of the changes include:
A Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) will be required for most establishments. The training will be available online as well as locally through the Iowa State Extension Service. After January 1, 2014, new establishments will have six months to meet the requirement. Existing establishments may have up to four years to meet the requirement if they do not receive a qualifying violation.
Cut leafy greens will now be considered a potentially hazardous food and will therefore be required to be kept below 41 degrees.
Establishments will be required to have written procedures in place regarding the clean-up of contamination events such as vomiting.
Violations that were formerly designated as ‘critical’ or ‘non-critical’ will have the new designations of ‘Priority’, ‘Priority Foundation’ and ‘Core’, with Priority being the most significant.
The food inspection database has been upgraded significantly and will result in making food establishment inspection information much more easily accessible to the public. Inspection reports will often be able to be uploaded and available for the public to review within a day. These reports will be accessible through the Johnson County Public Health website beginning in January.

The 10 Biggest Foodborne Illness Outbreaks of 2013
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/12/the-10-biggest-u-s-outbreaks-of-2013/
By James Andrews (Dec 27, 2013)
Chicken and fresh produce lead the pack
Editor’s note: 2013 saw dozens of well-publicized foodborne illness outbreaks. While many of them were found to have sickened a handful of individuals, a few stood out as especially wide in scope. Food Safety News has compiled a list of 10 of the biggest U.S. outbreaks in 2013. Please note that the list excludes Norovirus outbreaks and only includes pathogenic outbreaks associated with grocery products or restaurants. Also note that the actual number of outbreak cases is typically much higher than the quoted number due to many victims typically falling ill but never being reported.
10. E. coli O157:H7 from Glass Onion chicken salads, 33 sick. Trader Joe’s customers in four states fell ill after eating one of two pre-made salad products from Glass Onion Catering: the Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken or the Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken. At least seven people were hospitalized, with two developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a kidney disease associated with severe E. coli infections. [CDC outbreak information]
9. Salmonella from Hacienda Don Villo in Channahon, IL, 35 sick. Health investigators traced 35 Salmonella illnesses back to this Mexican restaurant in Grundy County, but they could never pinpoint the exact food source. At least one person was hospitalized, and one employee was among those who tested positive for Salmonella. [News report]
8. E. coli O121 from frozen Farm Rich foods, 35 sick. Prompting a large recall of frozen mini pizza slices, cheeseburgers and quesadillas, this outbreak sickened predominantly minors across 19 states. Of those confirmed ill, 82 percent were 21 years of age or younger. Nine were hospitalized. The company recalled all products created at one Georgia plant between June 2011 and March 2013. [CDC outbreak information]
7. Salmonella from imported cucumbers, 84 sick. Investigators eventually traced this outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul back to cucumbers imported from Mexico. Of those confirmed ill, 17 were hospitalized. The importers were barred from bringing more products into the U.S. until they could prove the products were not contaminated. [CDC outbreak information]
6. E. coli O157:H7 from Federico’s Mexican Restaurant in Litchfield Park, AZ, 94 sick. Investigators have implicated lettuce served at the restaurant as the likely source of the E. coli, but no other restaurants in the area had cases connected to them. The lettuce may have been cross-contaminated from another food at the restaurant, or the restaurant may have received a highly contaminated batch. Two victims developed HUS as a result of their infections. [News report]
5. Salmonella from Foster Farms chicken, 134 sick. The first of two Foster Farms outbreaks in 2013 hit Washington and Oregon the hardest, but then spread out across 13 states. At least 33 people were hospitalized, with infections likely resulting from cross-contamination or undercooking of highly contaminated raw chicken. Foster Farms has not issued a recall for either of the two major outbreaks caused by chicken it produced this year. [CDC outbreak information]
4. Hepatitis A from Townsend Farms frozen organic berries, 162 sick. At least 71 people were hospitalized after eating an organic berry mix purchased at Costco stores in the Southwest. The exact source of the outbreak was eventually traced back to pomegranate seeds from Turkey which were contained within the mix. [CDC outbreak information]
3. Salmonella from dining at Firefly restaurant in Las Vegas, NV, 294 sick. Patrons of this popular Las Vegas tapas restaurant fell ill after dining within a five-day stretch in April. The owners ultimately closed up shop and re-opened the restaurant in a new location. [News report]
2. Salmonella from Foster Farms chicken, 416 sick. While this outbreak appears to be ongoing, hundreds of individuals have fallen ill over the course of the year in connection with raw chicken processed at Foster Farms facilities in California. At least 162 people have been hospitalized after likely undercooking the contaminated raw chicken or handling it in a way that lead to accidental cross-contamination. Foster Farms has refused to issue a recall, and cases continue to appear as recently as early December. [CDC outbreak information]
1. Cyclospora from salads and cilantro, 631 sick. The outbreak of this foodborne parasite also takes the title for most confusing, as it appeared to be two separate Cyclospora outbreaks working in tandem. One set of patients – predominantly from Iowa and Nebraska – clearly appeared to be connected to Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants (both owned by Darden Restaurants), while, just weeks later, patients in Texas began cropping up with no apparent connection to those restaurants. The Darden illnesses were tentatively traced to lettuce supplier Taylor Farms de Mexico, but no contamination could be found at the farms. Meanwhile, many of the Texas illnesses seemed to implicate fresh cilantro grown in Puebla, Mexico. [CDC outbreak information]

 

Food Safety Microbiology ONLINE COURSE IS OPEN

Milk Powder at the Core of China's Food Safety Issue
Source : http://english.cri.cn/7146/2013/12/27/2702s805351.htm
By CRIENGLISH.com (Dec 27, 2013)
Food safety has been one of the hottest topics here in China in recent years.
This year, milk powder dominated the food-safety news headlines.
CRI's Li Jing has more.
Chinese consumers remain suspicious of domestic milk formulas, following the 2008 melamine scandal which left six babies dead and thousands of others ill.
Since then, demand for foreign formula has surged.
But in 2013, parents were given reasons to doubt even the foreign brands.
Whey protein produced in May 2012 by New Zealand's biggest exporter Fonterra was found to contain clostridium botulinum, which can cause highly toxic food poisoning.
Imports of New Zealand's dairy products account for an estimated 40 percent of China's infant food market.
No one has been sickened by Fonterra milk products, but Chinese parents still say they now don't know what kind of brand to choose, given the current situation.
"Domestic brands are no good, and now foreign brands are no good either. I have no idea how to choose. "
"As parents, we want our baby to be healthy, so I want to buy milk powder that we can trust. But now foreign products aren't any good either."
In August, Chinese authorities halted all imports of New Zealand milk powders.
Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings has since apologized for the anxiety caused by the contaminated baby formula.
At the same time, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is serious about the issue, saying he wants a government inquiry into the scandal to allay Chinese consumer fears.
But New Zealand food safety official Scott Gallacher says the bacteria found in Fonterra dairy products in China is not one that can cause botulism.
"No botulism bacteria has been detected in any product that we have sent to testing."
For the domestic dairy industry, the Fonterra scare presents an opportunity to regain the trust of Chinese consumers.
Wu Songhang, Vice Chairman of the Beijing Mother-Infant-Child Industry Association says the domestic dairy industry is facing a huge challenge to rebuild its reputation.
"Domestic dairy companies need to put quality as their priority in the process of gaining consumers. At the same time, the government's supervision and inspection needs to be specified and carried out more efficiently. "
It has become common for Chinese people to buy baby formula while traveling outside the mainland, but they can no longer buy as much as they want.
In March, Hong Kong put limits on the amount of milk powder a person can take with them over the border, limiting travelers to 1.8 kilograms of formula.
That is about two cans of powder.
The restrictions were imposed after parents in Hong Kong complained they were having trouble finding formula for their own children.
People caught smuggling more powder over the border can be fined up to 500-thousand Hong Kong dollars or about 60-thousand US dollars, and can be jailed for up to two years.
A number of countries have followed Hong Kong's lead to prevent Chinese parents from buying too much baby formula, including Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia.
In the wake of the Fonterra scandal, China's Ministry of Commerce has stepped up inspections for all imported dairy products.
Revised regulations on the mainland will also significantly increase standards for domestic infant formula producers, affecting product safety control, the purchase of raw materials, inspection, the manufacturing process and product traceability.
As of late October, Chinese residents can buy up to a dozen domestic or foreign baby formula brands at pharmacy ATMs, a move aimed at improving consumer confidence in such products.
In a broader move to ensure food saftey in 2014, Chinese authorities have unveiled several new measures ranging from legislative amendments to penalties for food safety violations.
For CRI, this is Li Jing.

Comstock Saloon Customers May Have Been Exposed to Hepatitis A
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/comstock-saloon-customers-may-have-been-exposed-to-hepatitis-a/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 26, 2013)
The San Francisco Department of Public Health has issued a public health notice about a food handler at the Comstock Saloon, who has been diagnosed with a hepatitis A infection. Anyone who ate at that restaurant on December 12, 13, 14, 15, or 19, 2013 may have been exposed to the virus. Anyone who ate at the restaurant after December 19, 2013 are not at risk. The restaurant is located at 155 Columbus Avenue in North Beach in San Francisco.
Dr. Tomás Aragón, Health Officer for the City & County of San Francisco said in a statement, “the worker is currently restricted from work until he or she is no longer contagious. The risk of a restaurant patron having been infected is extremely low, but we need the medical community and restaurant patrons to be aware of the possibility of contracting this disease.” There have been no reports of hepatitis A cases linked to this food handler.
If you did visit the restaurant on the dates in question, consult your medical provider. Vaccines are available to protect you, but only if you receive them within 14 days of exposure. That means some customers should get a vaccination today.
Symptoms of hepatitis A usually appear two to six weeks after exposure, and include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, pain in the upper right abdominal pain, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.

UK’s FSA Publishes 2014 Food Safety Priorities
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/12/fsa-publishes-2014-priorities-in-uk/
By Lydia Zuraw (Dec 26, 2013)
Last week, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the U.K. published its Forward Evidence Plan for 2014, outlining priorities for the coming year.
The plan is meant to draw the attention of potential research funders and inform stakeholders. A major portion of the plan addresses Campylobacter, Britain’s most common cause of food poisoning.
In the plan, FSA is proposing to study how to modify processing equipment to limit Campylobacter contamination, how the pathogen attaches to chicken surfaces, why practices required for good hygiene are inconsistently applied and how to improve adherence, what factors affect variations in Campylobacter disease rates, which antimicrobial treatments could remove surface contamination, how frequently cross-contamination occurs in household kitchens and what might be the best practices for safely cooking chicken.
FSA also plans to promote new food safety guidance regarding Listeria in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare settings.
With the emergence of Hepatitis E in pork and Hepatitis A in berries and processed foods, these viruses are another concern. “Evidence points to these viruses being more heat stable than bacteria and this has raised questions concerning current processing or cooking conditions,” the plan states. So the agency plans to review literature and do further experiments to analyze heat stability.
In early 2013, curry leaves used in a ready-to-eat dish in Northeast England led to an outbreak of nearly 1,000 cases of Salmonella, Shigella and Enteroaggregative E. coli. As a result, FSA plans to address the need for better advice on curry leaf risk reduction.
The agency will also be studying the proportion of foodborne pathogens acquired in the home as opposed to external settings, the diversity of Enteroaggregative E. coli strains, exposure to metals and other elements in the U.K. diet, potential alternatives for food preservatives, the risks associated with buying food online, and bacteriophages – viruses that can kill bacteria and reduce microbiological contamination of foods.
And, in light of the horsemeat scandal earlier this year, FSA wants to develop tools for detecting horsemeat in heavily processed foods and determining the origin of foods.
Some projects FSA has already undertaken include reviewing the available rapid testing methods for detecting marine biotoxin in shellfish and researching toxoplasma in food and livestock.
Other aspects of the plan address food allergies and nutrition.

The Annual Food Safety News Christmas Day ‘Nice List’
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/12/the-annual-food-safety-news-christmas-day-nice-list/
By News Desk (Dec 25, 2013)
Editor’s note: We continue with our Food Safety News holiday tradition by publishing our fifth annual Christmas Day “nice” list, calling out a few folks we think are worthy of some positive mention based on their contributions to food safety during the past year. This year, we separated the “naughty,” published yesterday, from today’s “nice.” If you missed the first one, just scroll down. Now, we give you the “nice:”
Dr. William Keene, who was Oregon’s senior state epidemiologist, died Dec. 1 at the far-too-early age of 56. He left behind a reputation as one of the nation’s best food detectives and one of the most dedicated investigators of foodborne illness. His passing is a big loss for the Oregon Public Health Division, which he helped build into one of the best in the nation. His passion for providing closure to victims of foodborne illnesses will be missed by all.
Deirdre Schlunegger and Nancy Donley, CEO and top spokesperson, respectively, of Chicago-based STOP Foodborne Illness, for the group’s 20 years of dedication serving victims of foodborne illness. The group formerly known as Safe Tables Our Priority (S.T.O.P.) fulfills a unique role in the food safety community by providing advocacy, victim support, outreach and education.
Sandra Eskin, food safety director for The Pew Charitable Trusts, whose leadership of this non-governmental organization, along with her Food Safety Project team (Juliana Ruzante, Colin Finan, Ben Kessler and Sarah Branzelle), contributes much that advances the cause of food safety with sound research, comment and constructive criticism of both regulatory agencies and the food industry.
Dr. Elisabeth A. Hagen, USDA’s recently departed under secretary for food safety, left government in mid-December after serving 1,211 days as the nation’s highest U.S. Senate-confirmed food safety official. She left behind a zero-tolerance policy for six strains of pathogenic E. coli in raw beef, new “test and hold” requirements and tougher standards for controlling both Salmonella and Campylobacter. Prior to her appointment as under secretary by President Obama, she was USDA’s chief medical officer. The Harvard-trained medical doctor will now join the Deloitte business consultancy.
Sarah Schacht, a two-time victim of E. coli outbreaks that were 20 years apart, wants to improve restaurant grading in Seattle. Schacht was first sickened in the 1993 Jack-in-the-Box outbreak when she was 13, and then had her second encounter with E. coli O157:H7 from dining at a Seattle Ethiopian restaurant this past February. During her latest recovery, she decided to work on improving the grading system used by the King County Health Department, which inspects Seattle restaurants. Schacht finds the system confusing and difficult to use for spotting restaurants with declining scores.
Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for food and veterinary medicine, spent much of 2013 talking to produce farmers and processors about the rules required to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). His road show took him to 20 states, Canada and Mexico. As questions about the regulations mounted, he remained available to the media and politicians of all stripes. And, in the end, he agreed to a do-over to make the process work better. A careful regulator is pretty nice to have, don’t you think?
J. Patrick Boyle, who, at the close of 2013, steps down as the longest-serving president in the 107-year history of the American Meat Institute (AMI), will be remembered as the beef industry general who fought the war against the deadly E. coli O157:H7. Early on, Boyle reacted like most others in the industry, denying that O157 should be designated as an adulterant in meat. But, once it was, Boyle was among those who kept the research dollars coming to control the E. coli threat. In his 5,000th personal blog post, food safety attorney Bill Marler (whose Marler Clark law firm underwrites Food Safety News) wrote that his E. coli in hamburger cases once represented 95 percent of his client base. Today, he stated, it is close to zero. “To the beef industry – thank you for meeting the challenge,” Marler wrote. “The millions spent on interventions, and the countless hours of food safety professionals, made the difference.” Boyle can take a victory lap on that statement alone.
Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and a professor of sociology at New York University, ended her Food Matters column in the San Francisco Chronicle after five-and-a-half years. Luckily, Food Safety News continues to link to her Food Politics blog. As we’ve said before, you do not always have to agree with Professor Nestle to benefit from taking her classes. Few people as educated as she is can still speak and write with such clarity. The Chronicle, meanwhile, is apparently axing its much-read Food and Wine section for something having to do with lifestyle. Go figure.

Pecan Shell Extract May Fight Listeria in Meat
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/pecan-shell-extract-may-fight-listeria-in-meat/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 23, 2013)
A study published in the Journal of Food Science found that extracts from pecan shells should protect meats against the growth of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The University of Arkansas was the center of this study.
Unroasted and roasted pecan shells produced antimicrobials tested against Listeria serotypes. Scientists found that the solvent-free extracts inhibited Listeria strains at minimum inhibitory concentrations of 0.38%. The antimicrobial effectiveness tests on poultry skin found that pecan shell powder exhibited a 2 log reduction of Listeria strains. The extracts produced a greater than 4 log reduction of an inoculated cocktail mix of Listeria strains.
Since pecan shells are a by-product of the shelled pecan industry, they are easy to access and are very inexpensive. The scientists used a novel solvent free extraction system that is food safe, so these antimicrobials may be suitable for organic meat processing.

FDA Warning Consumers Against Mass Destruction Supplement
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/fda-warning-consumers-against-mass-destruction-supplement/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 23, 2013)
The FDA is warning consumers to immediately stop using a product called Mass Destruction, marketed as a dietary supplement for muscle growth. The product is labeled to contain at least one synthetic anabolic steroid and has been linked to at least one reported serious illness.
The FDA was alerted by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services of a serious injury associated with use of this product. A previously healthy 28-year-old male developed liver failure and requires a liver transplant after just several weeks of product use. Liver injury can happen when using products that contain anabolic steroids and steroid-like substances.
Mass Destruction is manufactured for Blunt Force Nutrition in Sims, North Carolina and is sold in retail stores, fitness gyms, and on the internet. An investigation is now ongoing to identify the product’s manufacturer.
If you have consumed this product and are experiencing health problems, consult a health care professional as soon as possible. Unexplained fatigue, abdominal or back pain, and discolored urine are some of the symptoms associated with liver problems.
Anabolic steroids can cause other serious long-term consequences, including adverse effects on blood lipid levels, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, masculinization of women, infertility in males, and short stature in children. If you have experienced any problems with this or other supplement product, report it to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Even Reporting program.

Vast Majority of Americans Make Food Safety Mistakes
Source : http://thephilanews.com/new-study-finds-vast-majority-of-americans-make-food-safety-mistakes-43338.htm
By thephilanews.com (Dec 23, 2013)
NSF International survey reveals kitchen pet peeves during the holidays and offers tips to protect your guests.
Americans seem to have a bit of a double standard regarding food preparation and safety, according to a survey by NSF International, a global public health and safety organization. NSF International’s 2013 Kitchen Pet Peeve Survey found that four out of five Americans (82 percent) have made at least one food safety mistake when cooking for others, such as forgetting to wash their hands before preparing food or serving something that fell on the floor. Yet, most Americans (96 percent) find those same mistakes disturbing when committed by others.
For example, the survey shows that 76 percent of Americans are disturbed by seeing others “double dip” to taste food while preparing a meal. However 36 percent admitted to doing the very same thing when preparing a meal for others!
In addition, 84 percent of respondents find it disturbing when people don’t wash their hands before preparing food, yet 20 percent said they have been guilty of that food preparation faux pas.
Perhaps some of these mistakes are the reason why guests are leaving with more than just a party favor. The survey found that 43 percent of respondents report that they have gotten sick or had an upset stomach after eating something at a dinner party or gathering outside of their home.
“Food safety behavior is typically learned in the home by watching friends and relatives cook, so it’s not surprising that there is confusion and misunderstanding around what constitutes proper food safety,” said Cheryl Luptowski, Home Safety Expert at NSF International. “Whether it’s washing chicken or turkey in the sink or handling food while sick, Americans need to be educated about proper food preparation safety to avoid dangerous behavior and protect themselves and those they are inviting into their homes.”
The pet peeves don’t end at dinner. The survey shows 87 percent of respondents are almost as bothered by post-meal clean-up mistakes as by the behaviors of people when cooking. The most common annoyance is when others use the dish towel for tasks aside from drying dishes (66 percent). Other bothersome offenses include leaving the sponge or dishcloth lying in the sink (58 percent), using the same sponge or cloth to clean the dishes and wipe the counters (57 percent) and putting kitchen items or utensils away before they are fully dry (57 percent).
Other party manners to keep in mind this holiday season include:
Keep your germs to yourself: Respondents are more likely to be disgusted by guests who cough or sneeze near food (84 percent) than they are by guests who double dip (78 percent). Seventy-six percent of respondents are repelled by dinner party guests who put their hands on their nose or mouth and then touch the food.
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold: Sixty-two percent of Americans say they are offended by hosts who leave perishable or leftover food sitting out for too long (two hours maximum time).
Don’t handle food while sick. Three quarters (78 percent) of Americans are disturbed when other people who are sick handle food while cooking, although one quarter (25 percent) of respondents have done so themselves.
“It’s important to protect yourself and your dinner guests from unwanted germs and bacteria—and it’s very easy to do so,” said Luptowski. “By following simple steps, you can truly enjoy dinner parties and gatherings without having to worry about guests getting sick or offended.”
To keep you and your guests free from kitchen safety mishaps, follow these tips from NSF International:
Wash your hands frequently. Germs and illnesses spread easily from personal contact. Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds both before and after handling food, especially when handling raw items. Teach children the importance of proper handwashing at an early age. Tools and fun activities can be found at scrubclub.org.
Clean kitchen utensils with soap and water after each use. Utensils should be thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water after each use. NSF’s Germ Study found Salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold on common kitchen appliances such as blender gaskets, can openers and rubber spatulas because the items were not properly disassembled and then cleaned and dried before storage.
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Never let perishable foods sit out at room temperature for more than two hours. Keep cold items in the refrigerator until just before you serve them, and then place their dishes in bowls of ice to help keep the food properly cooled. For hot items, always use warming dishes or slow cookers, or store them in the oven if possible.
Don’t double dip with either fingers or utensils. Double dipping can spread germs to an entire room full of guests. Even though you may be cooking something warm, it doesn’t mean any germs you’re introducing to the food will be killed. Always use a different, clean utensil if you taste a dish while cooking, and never use your fingers to grab a sample.
Never cook while sick. When you are sick, coughing, sneezing and breathing around food can get your guests sick. Avoid the spread of germs and illness by calling a caterer or asking a friend or family member to take over in the kitchen. Also be sure to clean and sanitize your kitchen and home thoroughly if guests are coming over.
For more information on food safety tips visit http://www.nsf.org/consumer-resources/health-and-safety-tips/food-safety-at-home-tips.
Kitchen Pet Peeve Survey Methodology: The NSF International Kitchen Pet Peeve Survey was conducted by ORC International (ORC) among two national probability samples, which, when combined, consist of 1,005 adults (505 men and 500 women) 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this CARAVAN® Survey was completed on October 31-November 3, 2013. 654 interviews were from the landline sample and 351 interviews from the cell phone sample. The margin of error is +/-3.1%.
All CARAVAN® interviews are conducted using ORC’s computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system.
About NSF International: NSF International is a global independent public health and safety organization that helps protect consumers by certifying products and writing standards for the food, water, dietary supplements and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment (nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. NSF International has been collaborating with the World Health Organization since 1997 in water quality and safety, food safety and indoor environments.

 

Job Openings

12/27. Analytical/Micro Specialist – Trenton, OH
12/27. Food Safety Specialist – Dinuba, CA
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12/24. Quality Control/Food Safety Mgr – Henderson, NV
12/24. Qual Mgmt Spec - Food Safety – Lansing, MI
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12/16. Food Safety & Quality Mgr – Cleveland, OH
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