FoodHACCP Newsletter
01/272014 ISSUE:584

Salmonella on Pistachios Caused 2013 Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/salmonella-on-pistachios-caused-2013-outbreak/
By Carla Gillespie (Jan 23, 2014)
Pistachios were the source of a 2013 Salmonella outbreak, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The outbreak was mentioned in a warning letter the agency sent to ARO Pistachios Inc. of Terra Bella, CA notifying the company of food code violations discovered by FDA inspectors.
In July 2013, two companies issued recalls for products containing ARO pistachios. At that time, illnesses had not been linked to  the products under recall. Torn and Glasser of Los Angeles recalled bags of pistachios sold under the brand names Torn and Glasser, Hilo, Sun Harvest, and Sprouts on July 12.  And on July 15, Western Mixers Produce & Nut Company of Los Angeles, California recalled bags and boxes of Treasured Harvest brand pistachios.
Epidemiological testing revealed that ARO pistachios were the likely source of a cluster of salmonellosis infections reported from January through May 2013, according to the letter.   ”Therefore, we believe that your pistachios were also adulterated within the meaning of Section 402(a)(1) of the FFD&C Act because they contained the pathogenic bacteria Salmonella, a poisonous or deleterious substance that may render a product injurious to health,” the letter states.
During an inspection from May 21 through May 24,  FDA investigators found at least two instances where the company failed to protect product from becoming contaminated. First, an employee in the roasting room “was observed repeatedly touching the bottom of shipping boxes that were resting on the floor and then touching roasted, ready-to-eat, pistachios without washing or sanitizing hands.” Second, “maintenance personnel were observed entering and exiting the hand sorting room through a door that opens directly to the outside of the facility. Apparent bird droppings were observed on the floor of the outside areas where maintenance personnel were observed working and entering the hand sorting room. Inside the hand sorting room, two buckets containing floor sweepings of pistachios, dust, and debris, were observed near the hand sorting production lines. During the inspection, you stated that the buckets of floor swept pistachios will be reworked into finished product. The movement of employees from the outside of the facility (where apparent bird droppings were observed) into the hand sorting room may introduce contaminants into your facility and contaminate finished food, particularly based on your practice of reworking pistachios from the floor.”
The letter warns ARO that failure to promptly correct the violations could result in enforcement action , such as seizure or injunction, without further notice. ARO has until January 28 to respond.

The Neews: Gross Food Safety Stories in the News
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/the-neews-gross-food-safety-stories-in-the-news/
By Carla Gillespie (Jan 26, 2014)
Too often food safety news is tragic, but sometimes it’s just plain gross. These are the “Neews” stories, the ones that, put the eew in news.
Standard fare in this category are stories about prisoners making hootch in their toilets and stories where the concept of edible roadkill has been explored. But some stories set themselves apart. And we’ve decided to share them with you each month.
To give you an idea of what you can expect in a Neews story, the headliners from 2011 would have been  1.- the revelation- on these very pages, that cherry or vanilla flavoring is derived from the anal glands of beavers and 2. that the mysterious Campylobacter outbreak among Wyoming shepherds was solved when authorities discovered the men were using their teeth, rather than surgical instruments, to castrate young lambs.
In 2012, the hands-down winner was one we like to call “MountainDew 1, Rodent 0″ in which a man who claimed to have found a dead mouse in his can of Mountain Dew in 2009 filed suit against PepsiCo. To its credit, PepsiCo was not deterred from mounting a defense that removed the urban from urban legend saying a veterinary pathologist had determined that a mouse suspended in a can of Mountain Dew for that length of time would have been rendered to a “jelly-like” substance.
Distant seconds that year were 1., Actress Alicia Silverstone pre-chewing food and spitting it into her baby’s mouth and 2., a McDonalds employee in SC arrested after hocking a loogie into a customer’s sweet tea, and 3., a study from the Water Quality & Health Council that found one fifth of people over 18 say they pee while swimming in pools. So, please shower that pollen off your skin before jumping into the community,hotel or resort pool where you can frolic guilt-free in someone else’s urine.  And stay tuned for the next installment of the Neews.

Food safety control should be centralized: academics
Source : http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2014/01/27/2003582262
By Alison Hsiao (Jan 27, 2014)
Academia Sinica has urged the government to establish a Cabinet standing committee to take control of food safety and environmental pollution, and to step up communication across government.
The advice was contained within the research institute’s latest report, Recommendation for the Maintenance of National Food Safety and the Prevention of Environmental Toxins, now in its 11th edition.
Academia Sinica said its policy recommendation has come as a result of water, air and land pollution and the overuse of drugs — such as melamine, plasticizers and pesticides — disrupting chemicals and heavy metals.
The National Environmental Health Research Center should assume the role of a national risk assessment and knowledge center that conducts regular meetings across government, rather than holding the current inter-agency food and drug safety meetings convened by the vice premier, the institute said.
The National Environmental Health Research Center should advise Cabinet and also be responsible for disseminating scientific knowledge to the public, it said.
Other recommendations include supporting investigations into the causes and impacts of diseases; establishing a database of how cells relate to toxins and a Taiwanese bank of induced pluripotent stem cells — a source of cells that can be used to replace damaged cells; and establishing an early warning system for patients to spot organ damage.
The institute also called for improvements in awareness-raising and monitoring of food allergies — which negatively affect 5 percent to 10 percent of the population, or 2 million Taiwanese.
“Foods such as nuts, milk, eggs and wheat are some of the common causes of food allergies in people and should be labeled,” academic Ho Ing-Kang (˧), who contributed to the report, said.
By July next year, food products containing shellfish, milk, mango, peanuts and eggs will require allergy warning labels, the Food and Drug Administration said.



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March 20-21, 2014


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Why would you take a Norovirus Cruise?
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/why-would-you-take-a-norovirus-cruise/
By Patti Waller (Jan 26, 2014)
NBC News reports that U.S. health officials are expected to board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in the Virgin Islands on Sunday to investigate a possible outbreak of highly contagious norovirus that has sickened more than 300 passengers and crew members.
The Explorer of the Seas ship stopped part way through a 10-day cruise from Cape Liberty, N.J., to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten after reports of vomiting and diarrhea, according to the cruise line and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some 281 of the 3,050 passengers and 22 of the 1,165 crew members showed symptoms of the fast-spreading infection, according to the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program, which monitors cruise ships.

Local watchdogs empowered in food safety shake-up
Source : http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-01/26/c_133075850.htm
By Zhu Ningzhu (Jan 26, 2014)
Chinese provincial governments are quickly empowering local food safety watchdogs in line with the requirements of the central government to prevent food scandals.
Since the China Food and Drug Administration was launched during the cabinet restructuring of last March to supervise the full process of food production, circulation and consumption, a primary mission of provincial governments has been to correspondingly restructure their food safety monitoring mechanism.
During the reshuffle, the functions of quality inspection departments are intensified as they gain food safety jurisdiction previously held by health as well as industry and commerce departments.
To make sure the reshuffle runs smoothly and efficiently, the China Food and Drug Administration has sent out work teams to various provinces.
While inspecting the work in central China's Hunan Province in mid-January, Liu Peizhi, vice minister of the administration, urged provincial governments to complete the reshuffle as quickly as possible on the premise that the restructured outfits could have sufficient resources to fulfill the mission of the administration.
The administration is yet to announce the progress of the nationwide restructuring.
However, Li Hongyuan, director of the food and drug administration of Xiamen City in east China's Fujian Province, was quoted by the Xiamen Daily as saying that more than two-thirds of 31 provincial regions in the Chinese mainland have completed relevant restructuring so far.
Yan Zuqiang, chief of the Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration, said that one goal of the restructuring was to increase the number of grassroots inspectors.
Describing the human resources structure of the old monitoring mechanism as "olive-shaped," with the higher management on the top and grassroots inspectors on the bottom largely outnumbered by middle management, Yan said that law enforcement at the grassroots level has been very weak.
After the restructuring, he said, the number of local grassroots inspectors in Shanghai had risen to 1,700, representing the bulk of the city bureau's staff.
Food safety has become a top concern in China as a string of safety scandals, particularly the one in 2008 when melamine-tainted baby formula caused the deaths of at least six infants and sickened 300,000 others, have crippled customer confidence.
Shanghai municipal legislator Xu Liping agreed that the weakness of food safety supervision was at the grassroots.
"The number of inspectors cannot be increased infinitely. The key is to improve their competency and work style," said Xu.
Zhao Renrong, deputy to the Shanghai People's Congress, the city's legislature, proposed that a nationwide blacklisting system be established based on the credit records of food business managers.
"Without such a system, a business owner who breaks the law can easily run away from his problems by reopening another shop under the name of his relative," said Zhao, also chief of the Tingdong Village Branch of the Communist Party of China in Shanghai's Jinshan District.
Although many places including Shanghai have started to experiment with blacklisting lawbreakers, Liu Zhengguo, director of the enterprise credit management committee of the metropolis, said that a nationwide credit system was badly needed to prevent lawbreakers continuing their malpractice elsewhere in the country.
"We must ensure no Chinese can afford to have a bad record in terms of food safety in this country," he said.
Liu Boying, director of the Commission of Commerce in Hongkou District in Shanghai, suggested that digital technologies should be widely used to strengthen certification of products' origins.
For instance, consumers should be able to learn the exact breeding information of aquatic products by scanning the label, said Liu, adding that the biggest challenge was how to raise the enthusiasm of enterprises with certifications of origin.
To solve the problem, Shanghai has started legislation on compulsory certification of the origin of foodstuff, which may cover pork, vegetables, aquatic products, grain crops, dairy and cooking oil, according to the municipality's food safety supervision chief Yan Zuqiang.

Do You Know How to Keep Food Fresh and Safe?
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/do-you-know-how-to-keep-food-fresh-and-safe/
By Linda Larsen (Jan 23, 2014)
An organization has developed an Infographic to help consumers keep their food fresh and safe. More than 40% of all food in the U.S. is thrown out every year.
This type of waste is costly and hard on the environment. It’s estimated that food that is discarded costs $165 billion every year. And uneaten food is the single largest component of municipal waste in the U.S. This rotting food emits methane, a greenhouse gas. And since 1 in 6 Americans is “food insecure”, meaning they don’t know where their next meal is coming from, food waste is hurting people.
The Infographic tells you the best place to store food in your refrigerator. For instance, did you know that the door isn’t a good place to store anything perishable, since it’s the warmest part of the appliance? Do you know how to control the moisture in produce bins so food stays fresh longer? And do you know how to keep your refrigerator working at its most efficient? Download the Infographic from PartSelect.com and learn more.

Covance To Expand England Facility For Food Safety
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2014/01/covance-to-expand-england-facility-for-food-safet.aspx
By foodproductdesign.com (Jan 23 ,2014)
Covance, Inc., announced plans to expand its nutritional chemistry and food safety services, which will open a new 10,000-square-foot laboratory later this year within its existing facility in Harrogate, England. 
The new lab will complement existing laboratories in Madison, Wis., Battle Creek, Mich., Greenfield, Ind., and Singapore and will help Covance continue to promote food safety and nutritional health on a global scale.
“Our new European site for nutritional chemistry and food safety services will enable us to provide the consistency of service and quality testing that our clients have come to expect from Covance, from a location that is closer and more convenient to their European operations," said Brad Riemenapp, vice president and general manager, NCFS. “In Harrogate we will conduct cutting-edge research in food contaminants testing and the full spectrum of nutritional chemistry."
The Harrogate location was chosen for its appropriate lab space availability, potential to leverage existing Covance capabilities and its proximity to the airport. The company plans to add 25 new positions during the first year of operation, and more than 100 positions within the first five years of operation. 
Covance will also be undertaking new contaminants-testing research at the Harrogate site, after receiving a grant worth approximately $975,000 from the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Business Growth Programme, made possible through the Government's Regional Growth Fund.
In 2013, Covance's contaminant testing laboratory in Greenfield, Ind., was awarded 17025 accreditation by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The accreditation supports Covance's role in the design of testing programs required for nutrition facts labeling regulations and scientific standards.

Listeria Contamination Found in Raw Milk From South Dakota Dairy Farm
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/01/state-tests-find-listeria-contamination-in-raw-milk-from-south-dakota-dairy-farm/
By Dan Flynn (Jan 22, 2014)
Bottled raw milk from Jerseydale Farms near Brookings has tested positive for Listeria, according to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.
The contaminated bottled raw milk was sold in the Brookings area, which includes the South Dakota State University campus. Anyone who purchased the bottled raw milk should immediately discard or return the product, the department said.
State rules for bottled raw milk in South Dakota require permits for dairies selling raw milk directly to consumers. Inspections are required at least annually depending on the grade of milk, and dairies must also submit samples monthly for bacteria and residue testing.The unpasteurized bottled milk purchased in recent days from Jerseydale Farms may contain the potentially deadly Listeria bacteria.
Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in young children, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems, the department said. Listeria infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
Symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by the ingestion of Listeria, include fever, muscle aches and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions can occur.
Agriculture is South Dakota’s No. 1 industry, generating more than $21 billion in annual economic activity and employing more than 122,000 people.

Listeria Found in South Dakota Raw Milk
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-watch/listeria-found-in-south-dakota-raw-milk/
By Drew Falkenstein (Jan 23, 2014)
The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) is reporting listeria in a sampling of bottled raw (unpasteurized) milk from Jerseydale Farms near Brookings, S.D.
The South Dakota Department of Agriculture advises consumers that bottled raw milk recently purchased from this business may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to listeria infection.
According to the South Dakota Department of Health, listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and individuals with weakened immune systems. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. A person with listeriosis may have fever, muscle aches and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions can occur.
For more information on listeria, please visit http://doh.sd.gov/diseases/infectious/diseasefacts/Listeriosis.aspx.
The contaminated bottled raw milk was sold in the Brookings County area. If you have purchased this bottled raw milk, SDDA advises the product be discarded or returned.
State bottled raw milk rules require permits for dairies selling raw milk directly to consumers. Inspections are required at least annually depending on grade of milk; dairies must also submit samples monthly for bacteria and residue testing.
To find more information on SDDA’s inspections, rules and laws for raw milk production, visit http://sdda.sd.gov/farming-ranching-agribusiness/dairy-dairy-plants/.
Listeria:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria 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 Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.   Marler Clark is presently representing 46 victims and their families in the 2011 Jensen Farms Listeria cantaloupe outbreak.
If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Listeria attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Consumers Can Help Solve Food Poisoning Outbreaks
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/consumers-can-help-solve-food-poisoning-outbreaks/
By Carla Gillespie (Jan 22, 2014)
Have you ever wondered how food poisoning outbreaks are solved? Consumers play a key role, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here’s how you can help.
When you are sick
Contact the health department. If you think you have food poisoning, contact your local or state health department and let them know. When public health officials can track clusters of people with similar symptoms and exposures, it helps them to identify potential outbreaks.
See your doctor. Your doctor can order stool samples and blood tests that can determine if you have an infection from E.coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria or other foodborne bacteria. A Pulsed-field Electrophoresis test determines the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria that sickened you. This fingerprint is uploaded to the PulseNet database,  a network of local, state and federal labs, where they may be matched with others.
Write down what you ate and where you ate it. A food diary that lists everything you can remember eating in the days before you started to become ill can help public health officials identify clusters of illness. Remember to gather and save receipts from the grocery store or restaurant.  It’s also important to write down any contact with pets or animals you had contact with before you got sick.
When you are not sick
Keep your food receipts. Save receipts from the grocery store and from restaurants. This can help you remember what  you ate.
With your permission, records from your shopper card or grocery store loyalty program can give public health investigators information on foods and brands involved in illness clusters.
Freeze food in its original packaging. Or, if you are dividing it up before freezing it, keep the label with it.
If there is an outbreak, a public health official may call you. They interview sick people and healthy people and compare the things they ate. By taking the time to participate,  you can help with the investigation and prevent others from getting sick.

Store and Use Leftover Food Safely
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/store-and-use-leftover-food-safely/
By Linda Larsen (Jan 22, 2014)
Michigan State University Extension is offering tips for storing and using leftover food safely. If not handled properly, leftover food can become a vehicle for food poisoning.
Always wash hands with soap and water before handling cooked food, especially food you are going to store to eat later. Always use clean utensils to handle this food. Store it in clean containers. Don’t put the food back into the same container it was in before cooking, unless it has been thoroughly washed with soap and water. And sanitize cutting boards and counters.
Leftovers should be stored in small, shallow containers, less than three inches in height. Always cover leftover containers. Don’t stack containers, but leave some air space around them so the cold air can circulate. Don’t use large, deep containers, since the food in the center will stay warm for a longer time, keeping it in the danger zone of 40 to 140° F.
When you are going to eat leftovers, heat them on the stove, in the oven, or in the microwave until the temperature reaches 165° F as measured by a food thermometer. Don’t use slow cookers or chafing dishes to reheat food.
Never taste leftovers to see if they are safe. And never keep leftovers for more than four days. When in doubt, throw it out! Always dispose of possibly unsafe food in closed containers so it can’t be eaten by other people or animals.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Iowa State University Extension have developed an app and the “4-Day Throwaway” campaign to help people learn how to handle leftovers. Follow these tips to protect your family.

Shanghai police to create city food safety detective team
Source : http://barfblog.com/2014/01/shanghai-police-to-create-city-food-safety-detective-team/
by Doug Powell (Jan 22, 2014)
City police are setting up a team of detectives dedicated to tackling food safety crimes, the annual session of the Shanghai People’s Congress has heard.
Under the control of the police bureau, the team will bring together law enforcement officers from government bodies and train new personnel, said Bai Shaokang, vice mayor and director of Shanghai Public Security Bureau.
“We need a zero-tolerance attitude to food safety criminals,” Bai told legislators.
He said this will drive improvements in food safety management and help build a unified food safety network.
A total of 416 suspects in food safety cases were detained in 137 cases in Shanghai last year — up 49 percent on 2012, said Yan Zuqiang, director of the Shanghai Food Safety Office.
Lawmakers also raised their concerns on temporary stalls selling food and clothes, which can impede access to Metro entrances.
Authorities have decided to remove illegal food stalls near stations, turning the areas into public squares and locating toilets there, officials said.
The city government has tackled more than 2,700 cases of illegal stalls and restaurants in the last two years, but they remain a major problem.

After Salmonella Outbreak, Foster Farms Plant Reopens
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/after-salmonella-outbreak-foster-farms-plant-reopens/
By Carla Gillespie (Jan 22, 2014)
A Foster Farms plant associated with a Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 400 people reopened today after a brief closure. The plant in Livingston, CA resumed operations this morning.
The plant, one of three Foster Farms facilities associated with a Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak that sickened at least 430 people in 23 states and Puerto Rico, remained open for most of the time the outbreak was ongoing. The outbreak, one of two linked to Foster Farms last year, began in March and was announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  in October. On January 16, the agency said the outbreak was likely over.
On January 8, about one week before the CDC said the outbreak had ended, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) closed the facility citing cockroach problems. Two days later, Foster Farms said it was cleared by FSIS to reopen. But on January 12, the company said it was choosing to keep the plant closed to “further expand its USDA-approved safe manufacturing procedures and monitoring systems.” It has been closed since that time.
During the closure, production was temporarily shifted to Foster Farms’ other CA facilities, two of which were also implicated in the outbreak. The company said it expects to add weekend shifts and provide overtime to hourly plant employees in the coming weeks.
In a statement released today, Foster Farms President Ron Foster said, “Although this has been a challenging time, we remain committed to the highest level of quality and food safety through all aspects of our plant operations and will emerge a stronger company.”

Lincoln council ranked highly for food safety checks
Source : http://thelincolnite.co.uk/2014/01/lincoln-council-ranked-highly-for-food-safety-checks/
By Emily Norton (Jan 22 ,2014)
Food safety in Lincoln has been ranked highly in an investigation carried out by product testing charity ‘Which?’
The City of Lincoln Council is ranked 15th out of 395 local authorities in the UK for how effective it performs its checks food hygiene standards on businesses across the city.
The closest neighbouring authority, North Kesteven District Council is in 89th place.
The result was after an assessment on three criteria: the percentage of premises ranked as high or medium risk in a local authority that were broadly compliant with a food hygiene requirements; the percentage of premises yet to receive a risk rating and the proportion of inspections and other follow ups that were required but not carried out by local authority inspectors.
Sara Boothright, Food, Health and Safety Manager at the city council, said: “It’s important that our residents and visitors who use food businesses in the city know that those premises have been properly inspected and, if they’re not up to scratch, that we are dealing with them. This result clearly demonstrates that we’ve got our approach right.”
Councillor Fay Smith, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services and Public Protection, said: “It’s excellent and reassuring for the people of Lincoln that our team work so hard to ensure the public is safe.”
In recent news, the City of Lincoln Council took legal action after a customer of a local bakers and butchers found a screw in a bread bap, also charging the business with failure to safely maintain food equipment.
Which? found Bexley in London was the poorest performing local authority, with five other London councils in our bottom 10 (Ealing, Enfield, Harrow, Richmond upon Thames and Southwark).
Cherwell District Council in North Oxfordshire was rated as the best performing local authority.
Food Standards Agency (FSA) data also shows that overall food testing fell by 6.8% from the previous year, continuing a decline, and testing for labelling and presentation fell by 16.2%.
Which? Executive Director, Richard Lloyd, said: “No one wants another horsemeat fiasco, so it is very worrying that local authority food checks are in decline.  We want to see a more strategic approach to food law enforcement that makes the best use of limited resources and responds effectively to the huge challenges facing the food supply chain.”

Mad Cow Emerges in Germany
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/mad-cow-emerges-in-germany/
By Linda Larsen (Jan 21, 2014)
At least one case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), otherwise known as Mad Cow Disease, has been confirmed in Germany. That country has claimed for years that its country was free of BSE, but they were wrong. Public health officials claim that the cow was killed and none of it entered the food chain.
Germany instituted “high standards” for animal feed, but traces of meat and bone meal were found in cattle feed recently. A 1994 European Union ban on feeding ruminants meat by-products was supposed to eliminate those ingredients.
The cow was 10 years old, and tested positive for atypical BSE, which develops spontaneously in older cows. It had seven offspring. Five have already been slaughtered, and two others were on the same farm. They have been tested and killed. The herd is currently under quarantine, awaiting further testing.
A crisis team is now going to test all cattle over the age of 30 months for the disease. Currently, all cows over the age of eight years are automatically tested for BSE. In the 1990s, there was a BSE epidemic in the UK, with almost 1,000 cattle cases diagnosed every week. France had 90 cases of BSE in cows last year, compared to 31 in 2012.
The progressive neurological disorder is caused by a prion, a strange type of protein which is transmissible between animals when they eat meat of other ruminants. Human beings can contract the disease by eating meat from diseased animals.  The prion cannot be destroyed by heat.

Chicken dish likely cause of prison food poisoning
Source : http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/chicken-dish-likely-cause-of-prison-food-poisoning-1.466338
By GEORGE TOWN: Contaminated food served for lunch caused a breakout of diarrhoea among 600 inmates of Penang Prison on Saturday, said state Health Department director Datuk Dr Lailanor Ibrahim.
He said early investigations showed that the ayam masak merah was the possible reason for the food poisoning suffered by inmates, but did not rule out dirty utensils as a cause.
Dr Lailanor told the New Straits Times yesterday the harmful bacteria took at least four hours to react in their stomachs.
Most of the inmates started showing symptoms at 7.30pm, indicating it was their lunch and not dinner that led to diarrhoea.
"The inmates' lunch hour is from 1pm to 2pm and they started to feel sick about five hours later.
"We have taken 30 samples from the chicken dish, including leftover bones and rice for testing.
"Our concern is that the bacteria could have come from elsewhere, so health officers have extracted samples from the used utensils at the prison's canteen."
Dr Lailanor said samples were also taken from inmates' stool to ascertain the type of bacteria.
He said the department would take a week to finish laboratory tests on the samples to determine the contaminated items.
It was reported that the incident caused a scare among the 1,200 remand prisoners, when half of them came down with diarrhoea. Medical staff had to dispense oral medication to inmates.
Dr Lailanor confirmed that two of the prisoners, who had vomited repeatedly, were sent to Penang Hospital for outpatient treatment.
"The two are fine now and have returned to the prison."
Earlier, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the inmates had food poisoning due to the ayam masak merah not being properly cooked.

Avoiding Food Poisoning From the Grocery Store
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/avoiding-food-poisoning-from-the-grocery-store/
By Linda Larsen (Jan 20, 2014)
Did you know that you can get a foodborne illness just by shopping at the grocery store? The Grocery Coupon Network has put together an Infographic to tell you about the hidden dangers lurking at the supermarket.
The shopping cart is the first area of potential problems. There is a 72% chance that your shopping cart has poop on it. When little kids sit in the front part of the cart, their diapers can leak onto the cart.  Wipe the cart handle and the “sitting” area with wipes before you start shopping. Many stores provide the wipes, but it’s a good idea to carry your own. It’s a good idea to just avoid putting food in the seat area.
Recalls are usually posted at the store. Check them to make sure you don’t have any food in your house that is recalled for pathogenic bacteria, incorrect labeling, or undeclared allergens.
Organic produce can harbor bacteria just like regular produce can. Veggie misters keep the produce fresh, but also help keep bacteria alive. Food safety experts recommend that you skip the free samples, whether at the deli, the produce aisle, or the bakery, especially those that are just put out for anyone to grab. If you didn’t wash your hands before taking one, chances are lots of other people didn’t either.
When you buy raw meat, always bag it in another bag. It’s possible to pick up E. coli, Salmonella, or Campylobacter from a raw meat package. Keep the raw meat packages away from your kids too.
When you check out, remember that the conveyor belt at the checkout line can be covered with bacteria and mold. Don’t let unbagged produce touch the belt. Belts are a “non-food” surface, so aren’t inspected. Remember to wash your reusable bags, and separate raw meats from veggies and produce. Then get the food home quickly and refrigerate perishable foods promptly.

Salmonella Biofilm ; A Sticky, Dangerous Problem
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/salmonella-biofilm-a-sticky-dangerous-problem/
By Bill Marler (Jan 20, 2014)
According to recent research, once Salmonella bacteria get into a food processing facility and have an opportunity to form a biofilm on surfaces, it is likely to be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to kill it, according to a study published ahead of print in the journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
A biofilm is any group of microorganisms in which cells stick to each other on a surface. These adherent cells are frequently embedded within a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). Biofilm EPS is a polymeric conglomeration generally composed of extracellular DNA, proteins, and polysaccharides.
Researchers from National University of Ireland, Galway conducted a study in which they attempted to kill Salmonella biofilms on a variety of hard surfaces, using three types of disinfectant.
“We found that it was not possible to kill the Salmonella cells using any of the three disinfectants, if the biofilm was allowed to grow for seven days before the disinfectant was applied,” said Mary Corcoran, a researcher on the study. Even soaking the biofilms in disinfectant for an hour and a half failed to kill them
She warned that food-processing facilities must take strict care to keep Salmonella out of the clean areas where cooked foods get further processing and packaged.

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