Europe’s Hepatitis A Outbreak Expands Well Beyond Italy
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/04/europes-hepatitis-a-outbreak-expands-beyond-italy/#.U0zdEE1Zqid
By News Desk (Apr 14, 2014)
An outbreak with at least 240 confirmed cases of the Hepatitis A virus originally thought to be confined to Italy is making a much larger footprint in Europe.
There have been 240 cases of individuals who have not visited Italy associated with the outbreak in France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Overall, there have been 1,315 Hepatitis A cases since Jan. 1, 2013, in the 11 European Union countries with cases.
The likely source of the Hepatitis A outbreak was originally thought to be frozen berries, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). More recently, however, attention has focused on the potential for cross-contamination in food production equipment or even the possibility that the now-widespread strain was previously undetected.
EFSA is leading the trace-back investigation in cooperation with EU countries, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the European Commission and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment.
All 1,315 Hepatitis A cases could be part of the outbreak. The 240 confirmed cases share the same strain sequence and viral genome junction.
The pathogen has a long incubation period – the time between exposure and the onset of illness – and EFSA says whatever food vehicle is involved has a long shelf life and a complex processing and distribution chain. This combination makes it likely that additional cases will be reported and the number of countries with cases may also expand.
The investigation is using the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed. The risk to human health and the geographic spread of ongoing transmission are both seen as increasing.
Heat treatment of frozen berries and HAV vaccinations for those who work with them are among the recommendations EU health officials are making at this time.
“A whole genome sequencing approach needs to be considered to examine viral isolates from different points in time during the outbreak in order to confirm the hypothesis of a single outbreak,” EFSA reports.
A new risk assessment is expected to follow soon.
More Battling Than Policy Changes Mark 2014 State Raw-Milk Action
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/04/more-battling-back-and-forth-than-policy-change-mark-state-raw-milk-action/#.U0zWPU1Zqid
By Dan Flynn |(Apr 14, 2014)
There are still multiple endings that could be put on the raw-milk story told during the 2014 state legislative season.
One popular theory is that the foodies and libertarians have joined hands in a great coalition to pass bills to legalize unpasteurized milk across the land. These theorists point to 40 bills introduced in 23 statehouses during the current legislative season. Another possibility is that not all that much has changed in 2014 except for the fact that raw milk advocates are now more visibly split in their ranks on the direction their movement should take.
After Wisconsin’s “raw milk outlaw” Vernon Hershberger was found not guilty of operating without various licenses at the infamous Baraboo trial last year, his vocal opposition to GOP state Sen. Glenn Grothman’s bill to make licensed raw milk sales legal in Wisconsin became symbolic of the split.
All states are equal, but not when it comes to raw milk. Wisconsin is America’s dairy state, with around $30 billion of pasteurized milk sales. After Hershberger came out against Grothman’s bill for raw milk sales that involved some licensing and regulation, the bill went nowhere and is now officially dead.
Before the 2010 elections, the Wisconsin Legislature did make raw milk sales legal. However, Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed the bill and Grothman has since failed to get another raw milk bill passed.
And the fact is the 2014 legislative season is already over in 19 states that either do not usually meet in election years or that have already adjourned. Another seven states join that list in just a few days. Except for the half-dozen states with year-round legislative bodies, most of the rest are shut down by mid-May.
It is unlikely there will be any addition to the handful of states that permit raw milk to be sold at retail. The fights are mostly over regulatory tweaks and policies on farm sales and so-called cow-share schemes.
With raw milk bills like these going back and forth, the tightening versus liberalization battle is more like the trench warfare of World War 1. When every legislative season is over, there are usually some slight changes back and forth, but not much in the way of wholesale changes.
The two sides have their lines of debate down pat. Opponents tell how time and transportation of raw milk raise the risks that the harmful bacteria contained in unpasteurized milk pose real dangers to consumers, especially children. They have data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and horror stories on videotape told by raw milk victims and their grieving parents.
Advocates of raw milk talk about “food freedom” and do not lack for testimonials from folks who drank raw milk all their lives and offer theories about how pasteurization kills bacteria in milk, but also eliminates other content that fights everything from allergies to autism. They say consumers should have a choice and dairy farmers should have an option for selling raw milk in the public square.
In addition to occasionally appearing before criminal juries, raw milk advocates have also proven effective at playing defense. During the current legislative session, they turned out thousand of supporters in Illinois against a bill to ban the sale and distribution of raw milk. Illinois currently bans retail sales of raw milk, but allows farms to sell to the public.
State Rep. Daniel J. Burke (D-Chicago) opted not to even try to move the bill to ban the farm sales out of committee after raw milk advocates buried members with phone calls and emails opposing it. Burke said he was persuaded after receiving “thousands of communications” not to interfere with raw milk because so many people find it beneficial.
At the same time, opponents of raw milk just won a major battle in the unexpected state of California. Raw milk losing in California is unexpected because unpasteurized milk is legally sold at retail in the Golden State. Organic Pastures (OP) is the largest commercial raw milk dairy in the state, and its founder, Mark McAfee, is perhaps the country’s most effective raw milk advocate.
But Assembly Bill 2505, the “Home Dairy Farm” bill introduced by Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) just went down in flames in Sacramento. AB 2505 would have given California consumers the option of buying “fresh-from-the udder” raw milk from small farms that would be exempt from standards such as those that apply to OP and other commercial raw milk dairies in the state.
But opponents quickly said the risks of such a scheme were greater than any benefit or “economic freedom.” Those who want fresh-from-the-udder milk do have that option in California, according to Assemblyman Brian Dahle (R-Bieber).
“If you want to drink unpasteurized milk, buy a cow, milk the cow and drink the milk,” he said. “We don’t like to get into what people do at home — that’s your business — but when you start selling it, that’s our business.”
AB 2505, which died in committee, was limited to home dairies with up to three lactating cows or 15 goats. It was opposed by a coalition of farm, dairy and health groups.
About a month from now, both sides will climb out of their trenches and see if there are any battle lines that need to be redrawn. After that, there will be another legislative season in 2015.
Marler Clark Retained Again in New York State Garden Spinach & Spring Mix E. coli Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-watch/marler-clark-retained-again-in-new-york-state-garden-spinach-spring-mix-e-coli-outbreak/#.U0zdR01Zqid
By Bill Marler (April 14, 2014)
On November 13, 2012, Marler Clark filed the first E. coli lawsuit against State Garden, the company that distributed Wegmans Organic Spinach and Spring Mix to Wegmans stores on the East Coast. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an Ontario, NY woman who became ill with an E. coli O157:H7 infection after eating the spinach and spring mix in mid-October. The law firm filed additional lawsuits on behalf of Rochester and Niagara-area E. coli outbreak victims on November 27 and December 4. We also represented a woman who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. All cases have been resolved.
Wegmans recalled approximately 31,000 pounds of Wegmans Organic Spinach & Spring Mix sold in 5 oz. and 11 oz. clam shell packages at its New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts stores between October 14 and November 1, 2012 due to potential contamination with E. coli O157:H7. The recall was initiated after New York State health officials reported 16 E. coli cases associated with the consumption of Wegmans spinach and spring mix. Additional E. coli O157:H7 cases were eventually traced to the outbreak, bringing the total number of cases to 20.
On December 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the outbreak was over and that 33 E. coli cases, including 26 from New York state, that could be attributed to the contaminated salad. Connecticut (2), Massachusetts (3), Pennsylvania (1) and Virgina (1) all reported E. coli cases associated with the Wegmans organic spinach and spring mix.
At least 13 E. coli case-patients were hospitalized, and 2 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. Leftover packages of the salad from 4 E. coli case-patients’ homes tested positive for E. coli O157:H7.
Short course - Advanced Food Microbiology Course
Title: Control Methods to Kill Pathogens and Spoilage
Microorganisms in Food
1, 2014 (Las Vegas, NV)
for more information
Marler Clark Retained in Papa John’s Hepatitis A Case
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/marler-clark-retained-in-papa-johns-hepatitis-a-case/#.U0zdh01Zqid
By Bill Marler (Apr 13, 2014)
A Papa John’s outlet is to blame for a Hepatitis A scare, according to the Mecklenburg County Health Department.
Anyone who ate food from the location on March 28 and 29 should get the Hepatitis A vaccine immediately.
Officials are looking into a potential Hepatitis A outbreak from the Papa John’s location in the 8000 block of Cambridge Commons in Charlotte, near Harrisburg Road and I-485.
According to the health department, a manager at that restaurant, who recently traveled out of the country, contracted Hepatitis A and may have infected Papa John’s patrons.
Anyone who ate food from that location between March 24 and April 7 may have been exposed. About 2,400 people could have been exposed.
Clinics have been established at the Cabarrus County Health Department and Mecklenburg County Health Department on Beatties Ford Road. They will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. About 5,000 vaccines have been ordered. The vaccine will work within 14 days of exposure and is free.
Hepatitis A: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A 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 Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food. The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Subway, McDonald’s, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.
If you or a family member became ill with a Hepatitis A infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Hepatitis A attorneys for a free case evaluation.
EU research offers 'promise' of improved food safety
Source : http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/36522_en.html
By cordis.europa.eu (Apr 14, 2014)
Illustration of this article
The issue of food safety has rocketed up the political agenda in recent years but despite huge improvements, some concerns and problems still persist. Fears about our food are moving away from issues about ensuring an adequate supply and choice of products towards matters of food safety, animal welfare, plant health and labelling and traceability.
The EU-financed project PROMISE, launched in January 2012, aims to address some of these concerns and issues.
The overall goal of the initiative is to improve and strengthen integration between the EU's new and old Member States and candidate countries regarding food safety. The focus is on common food safety threats and protecting European consumers.
The 36 month project is linked with several other EU-funded schemes and will benefit from their results and know-how. The general objectives include boosting collaboration and knowledge transfer through exchange of expertise, regional training and dissemination actions.
Another objective is to integrate public health and national food safety authorities in order to exploit research results. The consortium also seeks to analyse, assess and interpret the risk of introducing new strains of pathogen by illegal importation of food from third countries into the EU, where the food supply chains are not controlled.
PROMISE has successfully organised several meetings to help achieve these objectives. Late last year, in Dublin, it organised a training workshop for young researchers and the first specific stakeholder event. Young researchers from different countries were trained on methods, techniques and practical knowledge of detecting food pathogens. Meanwhile, the first specific stakeholder event, focused on food safety issues due to pathogenic organisms, was offered as a webinar throughout Europe.
At events like this and others, PROMISE brings together stakeholders, such as public health and national food safety authorities, from EU Member States in order to ensure that research results are fully exploited for standardisation and harmonisation.
PROMISE is coordinated by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. Prof Martin Wagner, Head of the Institute for Milk Hygiene, Milk Technology and Food Science, is its scientific coordinator.
Professor Wagner noted, 'The PROMISE scientific approach focuses on microbiological risks and their mitigation. Much is known in the EU and candidate countries on classical routes of transmission of pathogens within food chains. Nevertheless, border controls at places like airports and border checkpoints seem to be ineffective barriers at preventing import of food items.'
Pathogens attack the food supply chain at certain points, usually in the pre-harvest or harvest area, and can then survive decontamination procedures through their adaptive responses to remain in the final products.
Another major part of the PROMISE focuses on dissemination, exploitation, training and an exchange programme for researchers.
Dissemination and training activities, such as the training session for young researchers in Dublin, are being organised. Besides a project website which communicates general information on the project and its results, further communication material will be produced.
For industry and SMEs, special dissemination workshops will be prepared in close conjunction with the target group concerned.
A successful review meeting was organised in Vienna in October 2013 and showed that PROMISE is in line with its objectives and workplan.
For more information, please visit:
Clostridium Perfringens Apparent Cause of Michigan Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/04/clostridium-perfringens-appears-cause-of-michigan-outbreak/#.U0zdvU1Zqid
By News Desk (Apr 13, 2014)
The Muskegon County Department of Health reports that preliminary results from the Michigan Department of Community Health have shown the presence of a common foodborne illness-causing bacteria called Clostridium perfringens in a sample tested from Bonicki’s Restaurant and Sports Bistro.
Public health officials had reported receiving at least six calls from local customers who fell ill between April 3 and April 6.
Clostridium perfringens is found throughout the environment in soils, sediment, and the intestines of animals and humans. The bacteria typically cause illness when foods are served after improper storage or held at inadequate storage temperatures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers Clostridium Perfringens one of the most common causes of foodborne illness in the United States and estimates that it is the cause of nearly a million cases of foodborne illness each year.
Bonicki’s General Manager Karen Mead responded to the news with a prepared statement: “We, the Bonicki’s family, apologize for the recent event,” she said. “We would like to thank the community, our loyal customers and the Muskegon County health department.”
Marler Clark Retained to File E. coli Lawsuit Against Trader Joe’s
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/marler-clark-retained-to-file-e-coli-lawsuit-against-trader-joes/#.U0zW501Zqid
By Bill Marler (Apr 14, 2014)
A total of 33 persons infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O157:H7 were reported from four states.
The number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows: Arizona (1), California (28), Texas (1), and Washington (3).
32% of ill persons were hospitalized. Two ill persons developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths were reported.
The STEC O157:H7 PFGE pattern combination in this outbreak was new to the PulseNet database.
Epidemiologic and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicated that consumption of two ready-to-eat salads, 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 grocery store locations, was the likely source of this outbreak of STEC O157:H7 infections.
On November 10, 2013, Glass Onion Catering voluntarily recalled numerous ready-to-eat salads and sandwich wrap products that may be contaminated with STEC O157:H7.
Read the list of recalled products regulated by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
Read the list of recalled products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
E. coli: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections 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 E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
Food Safety: Researching the Hazard in Hazardous Foods
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/food-safety-researching-the-hazard-in-hazardous-foods/#.U0zXUE1Zqid
By Bill Marler (April 13, 2014)
The book I was asked to do a Preface for arrived while I was in Baltimore at this year’s Food Safety Summit. You can buy the hardcover on Amazon.
The book provides a thorough review of current food safety and sanitation information with practical applications of current research findings included. The book surveys and examines the prevailing research and applications and reviews specific operational issues such as power or water emergencies. It also covers food safety and sanitation in various environments, such as restaurants, schools, and fairs and festivals. It is multidisciplinary in that it comprises culinary, hospitality, microbiology, and operations analysis.
•Importance of food safety in restaurants
•History of food safety regulation in restaurants
•What happens during a restaurant food safety inspection
•Legislative process, regulatory trends, and associations
•Legal issues for food safety
•Differences in the food safety perception of consumers, regulatory officials, and employees
•What restaurants should do during power or water emergencies
•Front of the house sanitation and consumers’ perceptions of food safety
•Social media and food safety risk communication
•Food safety in farmers’ markets
•Food safety at fairs and festivals
You could also stop by the office and borrow mine after I finish reading it.
Hepatitis A Vaccines Urged for Nyack La Fontana Patrons
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/04/hepatitis-a-vaccines-urged-for-nyak-la-fontana-patrons/#.U0zXkk1Zqid
By News Desk |(April 12, 2014)
The Rockland County Department of Health has confirmed a case of acute Hepatitis A in a food handler at the La Fontana restaurant in Nyack, NY. Patrons and other employees may have been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus between March 19 and April 1, 2014.
The health department will offer free Hepatitis A vaccine to restaurant patrons and employees starting Saturday, April 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Monday, April 14, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Rockland County Fire Training Center, 35 Firemen’s Memorial Dr., in Pomona.
The Rockland County Department of Health is recommending that all people who ate at the restaurant on March 29, March 30, and April 1, 2014, receive Hepatitis A vaccine. Patrons who ate at the restaurant between March 19 and March 28 will not benefit from vaccination. In order for the vaccine to be most effective, people who have been exposed to Hepatitis A should be vaccinated within 14 days. The earlier the vaccine is given, the more effective it is in preventing the disease. In general, the vaccine is 80-90 percent effective.
Restaurant patrons may also receive vaccine at their medical provider’s office. People who were exposed but have already received two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine sometime in their life do not need another shot; all others should be vaccinated.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus. It is spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth (even though it might look clean) that has been contaminated with traces of fecal matter from an infected person. Most people recover within a few weeks with bed rest and by avoiding alcoholic beverages.
There are no special medicines or antibiotics that can be used to treat a person once the symptoms appear. Symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea. While some people who have chronic liver disease or a weakened immune system could experience more severe illness and require hospitalization, Hepatitis A is very rarely fatal (fewer than 1 percent of cases).
State moves forward with food safety grading
Source : http://khon2.com/2014/04/11/state-moves-forward-with-food-safety-grading/
By Sarah Yoro (April 11, 2014)
It’s all part of the state’s new food safety grading system.
“Why is it important for Hawaii to have this type of system?” KHON2 asked.
“Again, the biggest thing is for transparency. The public wants to know, especially a regulatory agency, what the results of their inspections are,” said Peter Oshiro, Environmental Health Program Manager at the State Department of Health.
The rollout of the new rules is just getting started, with consultations at 10,000 food establishments across the state.
So who’s spreading the word? Twenty-six health inspectors on Oahu, making 5 visits each day, and at least 125 visits each week.
We wanted to know what businesses are learning during their consultation with the Health Department. So we went to Kakaako Kitchen to get answers.
“Did you notice any major changes that Kakaako Kitchen has to make?” KHON2 asked.
“Not really, except get more thermometers for small mass foods like that,” said Russell Siu, managing director at Kakaako Kitchen.
That’s one of the new rules: thermometers used in all food cooking. Before, they just had to be available.
Another change: food handlers must wear gloves.
When it comes to washing hands, workers must now wash up to their forearms.
“I think these consultations are good for any restaurant because the Health Department is actually letting us know what they need from us,” said Marcy Uyehara, general manager at Kakaako Kitchen.
The consultations are just getting underway.
The next step is official inspections, starting in late June or early July.
The Department of Health says all food establishments should have a colored placard in place within a year.
“Is this going to change the way you run your business?” KHON2 asked.
“No, I think it’s gonna change in the sense of being more aware. Being more aware of what’s going on and the surroundings. Is it sanitary? Are people following the rules? I think we’re going to be more conscious to the point until it becomes second nature,” Siu said.
The Department of Health says these surprise visits aren’t to catch anyone in violation. They’re just to educate and help food establishments meet the new requirements.
Health officials have even printed out informational packets in different languages to make sure the message is understood.
Global Food Safety Testing Market
Source : http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-food-safety-testing-market-254557541.html
By prnewswire.com (April 9, 2014)
The analysts forecast the Global Food Safety Testing market to grow at a CAGR of 7.01 percent over the period 2012-2016. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increasing adoption of stringent regulations and quality standards. The Global Food Safety Testing market has also been witnessing the increasing use of rapid testing methods to detect pathogens. However, the lack of compliance to food safety regulations and standards could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.
The report, the Global Food Safety Testing Market 2012-2016, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market in North America, Europe, the APAC region, and the ROW; it also covers the Global Food Safety Testing market landscape and its growth prospects in the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.
The Global Food Safety Testing market is witnessing increased adoption of the rapid testing methods. These methods are cost-effective and take less time to yield results than the traditional testing methods. They use highly technically-advanced biosensors and immunoassays to test for food pathogens such as Salmonella, E-coli, Listeria, Campylobacters, and others. PCR-based and immunoassay-based methods were highly popular in 2012 and they accounted for more than 25 percent of the total microbiology tests conducted.
According to the report, one of the major drivers is the increasing number of food poisoning cases. The recent food poisoning cases in Europe and the US have forced consumers to accept only inspected, tested, verified, and certified food products.
Further, the report states that one of the major challenges is the increased vendor competition. The market for food safety testing services is promising due to the urgent need to test food products. This is attracting several global and local vendors to the market, thereby fragmenting the market. This decreases the global vendors' shares and revenue in the market.
The report also includes a discussion of the other vendors operating in this market. The other vendors in the market are 3M Co., Accugen Laboratories Inc., Adpen Laboratories Inc., Avomeen Analytical Services, Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc., Campden BRI, EMSL Analytical Inc., Eurofins US, Genon Laboratories Ltd., Idexx Laboratories Inc., MVTL Laboratories Inc., Romer Labs Division Holding GmbH, and Spectro Analytical Labs Ltd.
Key Topics Covered:
1. Executive Summary
2. List of Abbreviations
4. Market Research Methodology
5. Scope of the Report
6. Market Landscape
7. Market Segmentation
8. Geographical Segmentation
9. Key Leading Countries
10. Vendor Landscape
11. Buying Criteria
12. Market Growth Drivers
13. Drivers and their Impact
14. Market Challenges
15. Impact of Drivers and Challenges
16. Market Trends
17. Key Vendor Analysis
18. Other Reports in this Series
•Bureau Veritas SA
•Intertek Group plc
•SGS SA.; Accugen Laboratories Inc.
•Adpen Laboratories Inc.
•Avomeen Analytical Services
•Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc.
•EMSL Analytical Inc.
•Genon Laboratories Ltd.
•Idexx Laboratories Inc.
•MVTL Laboratories Inc.
•Romer Labs Division Holding GmbH
•Spectro Analytical Labs Ltd.
For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/ckwqbc/global_food
Media Contact: Laura Wood , +353-1-481-1716, email@example.com
Risk of Food Poisoning Twice as High in Restaurants, Safety Alert Says
Source : http://www.latinpost.com/articles/10328/20140409/risk-of-food-poisoning-twice-as-high-in-restaurants-safety-alert-says.htm
By Erik Derr firstname.lastname@example.org (Apr 09, 2014)
People who eat at restaurants are twice as likely to contract food poisoning as are those who prepare their food at home, according to the nonprofit food safety watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest.
The center reports it analyzed outbreaks of foodborne illness over a 10-year period where both a food and a pathogen, or infectious agent, were identified by investigators and found 1,610 outbreaks in restaurants sickened more than 28,000 people, compared to 893 outbreaks connected to 13,000 cases of foodborne illnesses in private homes.
The center also says it documented a trend of decreased foodborne illness reporting in which states sent notice of 42 percent fewer outbreaks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011 than they did in 2002.
But, far from indicating a nationwide move toward healthier food preparation practices, the center asserts, the declining rate of reported outbreaks suggests crises such as "the recent recession, influenza pandemics, and post-9/11 bioterrorism investments have all diverted state public health budgets and attention away from identifying outbreaks and figuring out their causes."
Says the center's food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal: "Under-reporting of outbreaks has reached epidemic proportions ... yet, the details gleaned from outbreak investigations provide essential information so public health officials can shape food safety policy and make science-based recommendations to consumers. Despite the improvements in food safety policy in the past decade, far too many Americans still are getting sick, being hospitalized, or even dying due to contaminated food."
Meanwhile, the center has also discovered 104 of the outbreaks studied were linked to milk, 70 percent of which were caused by raw milk.
"Pasteurization of milk is one of the most important public health advances of the last 100 years, sparing countless people from infections and deaths caused by Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria," Sarah Klein, a CSPI senior food safety attorney, said in a news release. "Consumers should avoid raw milk and lawmakers should not expand its availability."The CSPI's "Outbreak Alert!" database includes 7,461 unique and solved outbreaks of foodborne illness that occurred from 1990 through 2011. The report examined the 3,933 outbreaks that occurred in the most recent 10-year period and sickened an estimated 98,399 people.
The CDCP estimates that every year, food poisoning is suffered by 48 million people, of which 128 thousand are hospitalized and 3,000 die.
Food Safety Chain Management Solution: The Next Generation
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/products/food-safety-chain-management-solution-the-next-generation/
By foodsafetymagazine.com (Apr 09, 2014)
Just ahead of this week's Food Safety Summit, SafetyChain Software has introduced the next-generation version of its food safety chain management system (FSCMS), SafetyChain for Food. The new version provides several enhancements to address the ever-increasing complexities of global food safety and quality assurance (FSQA), including:
•Cross-functional document management: Documents can be easily organized and sorted, through role-based view dashboards, for any regulatory, FSQA program or supplier compliance need, such as a regulatory agency or customer audit, or a HACCP/HARPC review.
•Step-by-step FSQA process management: New levels of granularity have been added to how FSQA processes are defined in the system – including the ability to define every criterion, for every test – and associated corrective/preventive actions (CAPAs) based upon results. .
•Immediate mobile corrective actions: SafetyChain Mobile not only will allow FSQA data/forms to be entered in-field, in-plant, in-transit, and in-store via mobile devices, but also will evaluate safety and quality test results in real time, enforcing immediate corrective actions for non-conformances.
•Enhanced integrated portals for approved supplier management programs: The new version offers greater flexibility for the ways in which suppliers, as part of a company’s approved vendor program, can upload FSQA documents, do document approval online, fill out/submit forms and maintain a secure online dialog. In addition to auto-notifications when documents are due, the documents become a part of the total FSQA centralized database, thereby ensuring audit readiness.
'Gaps' in food safety processes
Source : http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/gaps-in-food-safety-processes-30164363.html
By belfasttelegraph.co.uk (April 08, 2014)
Major gaps still exist in food processes intended to ensure consumer safety, the author of a Government-commissioned report following the horse meat scandal warned.
The growing list of product recalls due to contamination and the European-wide equine meat affair highlight the risks faced, Professor Chris Elliott said.
Last year's hard-hitting report concluded that the UK has high standards of food safety but that the scandal clearly showed criminal activity in the global food chain and said a specialist crime unit should be established.
Professor Elliott said: "The ability to protect the integrity of the food supply chain from 'farm to fork' is a massive challenge and one that is of utmost importance.
"While significant advances in science are helping reduce the risk of eating contaminated foods, the European-wide horse meat scandal and the growing list of food product recalls due to contamination have highlighted that major gaps still exist in ensuring the food we consume is authentic and safe."
December's review of Britain's food system said criminal networks saw the potential for "huge profits and low risks" and found "a worrying lack of knowledge" regarding the extent of their operations.
Professor Elliott's report, commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department of Health, said Government and industry should make urgent efforts to "fill the knowledge gap" of the extent of any criminal activity within the UK food supply network.
His report said a new unit should be set up as a non-Home Office police force able to deal with "complex food crime perpetrated by highly organised and dangerous, potentially violent organised crime groups".
The horse meat scandal began in January last year when it emerged that frozen burgers supplied to several supermarkets including Tesco contained horse DNA.
Investigations found other beef products sold by retailers including lasagne and spaghetti bolognese were contaminated, while meals in schools and hospitals had to be withdrawn after it was found they contained horse meat.
Asda reported a test on its Smart Price corned beef had tested positive for very low levels of horse drug phenylbutazone, or bute, which is banned from the human food chain.
Officials said horse meat containing bute at very low levels presents a very low risk to human health.
Professor Elliott has organised a global conference of experts in Belfast to discuss measures to ensure supplies are authentic.
The academic from Queen's University Belfast (QUB) said: "Fortunately consumers in the UK and Ireland have access to perhaps the safest food in the world.
"Major scientific advancements are being made to help minimise risks to the food chain. Scientists at Queen's are at the forefront of these developments, working with the agri-food industry to develop the latest techniques to detect and deter food fraud.
"Many of these techniques will be discussed during the conference, which will build on the success of a similar event at Queen's in 2011."
A Defra spokesperson said: "As Professor Elliott has said, UK consumers have access to some of the safest food in the world, and we want to keep it that way.
"In the last year we have helped prevent food crime by increasing unannounced inspections of meat cutting plants and boosted funding to £2 million to support local authorities' food sampling programme. We await Professor Elliott's final recommendations on further action to protect the integrity of our food."
CSPI Says Restaurants Pose Twice the Risk of Foodborne Outbreaks
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/cspi-says-restaurants-pose-twice-the-risk-of-foodborne-outbreaks/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 7, 2014)
Outbreak data analyzed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says that Americans are twice as likely to get food poisoning from restaurants than from food prepared at home. The review, which covers outbreaks from 2002 through 2011, is titled “Outbreak Alert! 2014″.
Restaurant Food PoisoningThe worst outbreaks of that decade included a Campylobacter outbreak linked to pasteurized milk served to inmates at the California State Prisons. That sickened 1,644 people. In April 2008, Salmonella contaminated jalapeños and Serrano peppers and pepper products sickened 1,535 people in 42 states. And in 2011, Listeria-contamianted cantaloupe produced by Jensen Farms sickened 148 people in 28 states.
Overall, 1,610 outbreaks linked to restaurants sickened more than 28,000 people. In that same tie frame, 893 outbreaks linked to private homes caused almost 13,000 illnesses. The review also found that fewer outbreaks were solved by public health officials in that ten year time period. Other outbreaks included 313 workplace outbreaks that sickened 7,643 people, 224 banquet hall outbreaks that sickened 10,035, and prison or jail outbreaks that sickened 9,522 people.
Of 104 outbreaks linked to milk, 70% were caused by raw milk. That means that although fewer than 1% of consumers consume raw milk, they bear 70% of the burden of illnesses caused by milk-borne outbreaks. CSPI senior food safety attorney Sarah Klein said in a statement, “pasteurization of milk is one of the most important public health advances of the last 100 years, sparing countless people from infections and deaths caused by Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. Consumers should avoid raw milk, and lawmaker should not expand its availability.” The report states that “unpasteurized, or raw, milk is an urgent public health risk.”
At the same time, there is a trend of decreased reporting of foodborne illness outbreaks. States reported 42% fewer outbreaks to the CDC in 2011 than they did in 2002. But that doesn’t translated to fewer Americans getting sick. The recession, influenza pandemics, and bioterrorism investments after 9/11 have directed state public health budgets away from foodborne illness outbreaks.
CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal said in a statement, “underreporting of outbreaks has reached epidemic proportions. yet the details gleaned from outbreak investigations provide essential information so public health officials can shape food safety policy and make science-based recommendations ton consumers. Despite the improvements in food safety policy in the past decade, far too many Americans are still getting sick, being hospitalized, or even dying due to contaminated food.”
What are the foods that are making people sick? Fresh produce, seafood, and packaged foods regulated by the FDA were responsible for more than twice as many solved outbreaks as meat and poultry products regulated by the USDA. Since the regulations mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 have been delayed, the FDA and USDA don’t have the authority they need to conduct more frequent inspections of food processing facilities and to require recalls.
Raw Milk: 1 Percent of Consumers, 70 Percent of Milk Outbreaks
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/raw-milk-1-percent-of-consumers-70-percent-of-milk-outbreaks/
By Carla Gillespie (April 07, 2014)
Although only about 1 percent of Americans drink it, raw milk accounted for 70 percent of milk-related food poisoning outbreaks between 2002 and 2011, according to a new report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The enormous risk of illness reflected by those numbers shows why raw milk is an urgent public health risk, according to the consumer group which compiled the report by examining the most recent 10 years of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Raw milk food poisoningRaw milk can be contaminated with many pathogens. In recent years, there have been outbreaks associated with E.coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter. Infection from these pathogens can have long-term health effects such as heart problems, eye problems, digestive issues, reactive arthritis and paralysis.
What’s more, raw milk outbreaks disproportionately affect children and young people. About 80 percent of those sickened in raw milk outbreaks are under the age of 20, according to the CDC.
“Pasteurization of milk is one of the most important public health advances of the last 100 years, sparing countless people from infections and deaths caused by Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria,” said CSPI senior food safety attorney Sarah Klein. “Consumers should avoid raw milk, and lawmakers should not expand its availability.”
Food Safety Rules Could Create Headaches for Carriers
Source : http://www.truckinginfo.com/news/story/2014/04/food-safety-rules-could-create-headaches-for-carriers.aspx
By Jim Beach (Apr 7, 2014)
Fleets that haul food products should take a proactive approach with their food service clients to ensure a smooth implementation of rules governing the transport of foods under the Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law in 2011.
The FSMA empowers the Food and Drug Administration to promulgate various rules designed to ensure the safety of the country’s food supply. According to Bud Rodowick, manager fleet performance, Thermo-King, the act is “the most expansive change to food safety laws since 1938” that gives sweeping new powers to the FDA.
Speaking during a forum on the law at the Truckload Carriers Association annual convention in Grapevine, Texas, last month, he said the law will allow the FDA “to start sending people to jail for violations.”
A key point, as far as carriers go, is that the law places the primary responsibility on food producers and processors, not carriers.
Where carriers come in, however, is that the law requires a rule on the sanitary transport of food and for producers and processors to maintain a food safety plan for food products which will include information on transportation, storage and distribution. The plan must also contain information on sanitation practices, including employee hygiene and other factors.
“You need to be proactive and get out front” on this, Rodowick said. “Find out where your shippers are in developing their plans and work with them.”
Carriers will have responsibilities under the Sanitary Transportation of Food rule, with that final rule expected to be published in 2016.
That proposed rule would require those who transport food to use sanitary transportation practices to ensure the safety of food. It will also establish criteria and practices for training, and record-keeping related to transporting food.
With some exceptions, the sanitary transport of food rule would apply to shippers, receivers, and carriers who transport food in the United States by motor vehicle or rail, whether or not the food is offered for or enters interstate commerce. It also applies to entities/persons outside the U.S., such as an exporter, who ships food to the United States in a container either by sea or air and arranges for the transfer of the container onto a truck or a rail car for transportation in the U.S.
Under the proposed rule, such a person or entity would be considered a shipper.
The rule contains specific criteria for the design and maintenance of vehicles and trailers to prevent contamination during transport. It also includes measures to ensure food is not contaminated during shipping, i.e., adequate temperature controls and separation of food items from non-food items in the same load.
The proposed rule also establishes procedures for exchanging information between carriers and shippers on prior cargos, cleaning of the equipment, temperature control between the shipper, carrier and receiver.
The proposed rule also will require carrier personnel involved in transporting food to be trained in sanitary transportation practices and for carriers to maintain documentation of the training.
Record-keeping will be required on maintenance of written procedures, equipment cleaning, prior cargos and temperature control.
Tracing the Freight
Product-tracing rules will be established for so-called “high-risk foods.” The FDA has not published a list of these foods, as the details on which foods are high-risk are still being hammered out, Rodowick said. He also noted that the agency will not recommend specific systems or software for tracing these foods. “At this stage, they’ll just want to see your tracing plan.”
John Penizotto, executive director business development, International Telematics, said much of the technology required to meet the record-keeping and tracing requirements in the proposed rule are already available. “The government won’t dictate how these records are kept,” he noted. He said some solutions might include:
•Data loggers, as drivers may need to prove a load maintained proper temperature through the whole shipment.
•Strip chart temperature records
•Reefer OEM microprocessor data recorders.
•GPS systems with temperature probes which would show a dot on a map with the temperature recorded.
•One-way telematics systems that connects to the reefer’s microprocessor.
•Two-way telematics systems that would allow fleet managers to control reefer operations remotely.
The FDA said the proposed rule would cover an estimated 83,609 businesses, including carriers that haul food and the facilities that ship food. The agency estimates the first year cost would be $149.1 million or an average of $1,784 per business with on-going annual costs at $30 million, or $360 per business.
The proposed rule on sanitary transportation of food can be found online at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/02/05/2014-02188/sanitary-transportation-of-human-and-animal-food#h-17. Comments are being accepted on the rule until May 30, 2014.
Another Bad Side Effect of the Food Safety Modernization Act
Source : http://www.kcet.org/living/food/food-rant/another-bad-side-effect-of-the-food-safety-modernization-act.html#
By Rick Paulas (Apr 7, 2014)
As is the case with most every act of food production, brewing beer and distilling alcohol has a waste component associated with it. After the process, the brewmasters and distillers are left with vast amounts of "wet grain," the muck consisting of old malt and grain remnants after they've been mashed and separated. It's basically unusable, and brewing creates a whole lot of it.
Luckily, there's one group who loves wet grain more than anything: Cows. They can't get enough. Stick some in front of a cow, and it'll chow down until every morsel is licked clean from the trough. It's a perfect production circle: Brewers make beer, create waste, send waste to cows, who eat it and turn it into more useful waste. But if the new Food Safety Modernization Act moves forward, all that wet grain may end up in a landfill instead.
As I've touched on previously, the Food Safety Modernization Act is changing the way the FDA takes care of our country's food. Signed way back in 2011 by President Obama -- with the noble intentions of stopping the spreading of food-borne illnesses -- it was only at the beginning of 2013 when the protocols started becoming implemented. But when enormous, one-size-fits-all government programs are introduced, there's bound to be a few negative side effects.
One of the more frustrating was how the FSMA would hurt small farms' ability to sell their produce at farmers' markets, seeing as sometimes they have a little dirt on them. And now another wrinkle is that brewers/distillers may stop selling/giving their wet grain to farmers because of the new red tape hassle the FDA will now require.
See, until now brewers could just deliver the used wet grain to farmers on their own and whenever they wanted, without any more of a headache then getting someone to load it into the back of the truck. But with the FDA extending their oversight, they want to make sure cows aren't eating improper items, which means forcing brewers and distillers to fill out documentation whenever such a transaction takes place. Which means, well, why don't we just not bring the grain to the farms anymore?
The Brewers Association is concerned that the FDA's proposal might force the 2,000 craft breweries it represents to dry or package up their spent grain -- a resource-intensive process -- instead of allowing farmers to just pick up the wet grains in trucks, as most operations do now.
Now, this is bad news for a number of reasons:
First, instead of sending the wet grain to animals that will actually dispose of it in an environmentally-friendly and useful way, the discards will be sent to the landfill. This is a large amount of material we're talking about here: one gallon of beer ends up discarding roughly one pound of wet grain; a gallon of bourbon spits out about nine pounds of the stuff. Estimates also state that brewers and distillers send 80 percent of their used grain to farmers.
The second problem is the cost. Now, sending grain to farms costs whatever the amount of gas needed to fill up the trucks. But if places start sending their grain to landfills instead, the Brewers Association believes it could cost the brewers an extra $43 million per year in service fees. That's not a cost they're going to eat entirely themselves, but instead pass along to consumers by jacking up the price of their brews.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is simply the distressing lack of common sense on display here. This is a practice that's been going on for centuries -- George Washington even did it! -- and it's never been proven to cause sickness. But because it doesn't seem to be the most secure of practices, they want it to end. Between this and previously-mentioned issues regarding the legislation, maybe it's best to put everything on hold and have someone take a fine-tooth comb over the massive document and get input from the industries themselves.
Because while the country's food safety should be a priority, that doesn't mean we should completely disregard common sense.
Food safety drive in Abu Dhabi in summer
Source : http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/health/food-safety-drive-in-abu-dhabi-in-summer-1.1316275
By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter (Apr 7, 2014)
Food safety authority to provide experts for awareness initiatives
The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (Adfca) will intensify its efforts to involve community groups and government and private organisations to ensure an incident-free summer this year.
“Most of the food safety incidents are reported during summer and we think the involvement of the community in food safety measures can prevent many such cases because awareness is key,” a senior official told Gulf News on Monday.
Although some community groups and organisations have been part of the authority’s food safety drive, many more can join for this common cause, Mohammad Jalal Al Raisi, Director of Communication and Community Services at Adfca, said in an interview.
“We are not satisfied with the number of such groups or organisations involved and want to enhance participation,” he said.
Highlighting the role of awareness campaigns run through various channels, including traditional media and social media, he said these had helped make Abu Dhabi emirate free from any major food safety incidents in recent years. No incidents such as death or serious illnesses due to food poisoning have been reported in recent years, Al Raisi said.
“The incidents reported during summer are minor issues. If general awareness campaigns were able to prevent major incidents, we think the community’s involvement can stop those minor issues also,” he said.
Such minor issues are caused by lack of awareness on storage temperature of various foods, hygienic practices, exposure of foods to sun, etc, he said without giving any figure of such incidents during summer.
“If we can directly take such awareness tips to people directly, it will be more effective,” Al Raisi said.
He said community groups and organisations can create a venue for people to get food safety tips from Adfca’s experts. They can clear their doubts about safe food handling at such programmes.
The experts will give tips on how to prevent food poisoning, cross-contamination and other food-related problems.
Organisations interested in conducting such initiatives can contact the Adfca’s awareness section to schedule a programme. This will be done on a first-come-first-serve basis, subject to the availability of experts. This service is free.
Organisations with more members [or employees] will be given preference.
Government, business and educational organisations can conduct awareness programmes at their premises with Adfca’s help, he said.
The authority will intensify its efforts in regulating and inspecting the market during summer. Transportation of food during summer is a risky business because varying temperatures can cause many problems. Adfca inspectors regularly pay special attention to vehicles that transport food to ensure that they maintain proper temperature and do not expose food to direct sunlight.
Another aspect of awareness is encouraging the community to report such violations to the authority. People can call Abu Dhabi Government’s toll-free number 800555.
For awareness campaigns, contact:-
Log on to www.facebook.com/adfca, twitter@adfca or www.adfca.a
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