Farm Crops Polluting Minnesota Waterways
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/farm-crops-polluting-minnesota-waterways/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 28, 2014)
Environmental Working Group has released a report called Broken Stream Banks that found pollution from farmland is a major problem in southern Minnesota, and wherever row crops are common in the U.S. the report states that this issue can be solved with the use of buffers, including grass strips, trees, and permanent vegetation. The report found that only 18% of perennial river and stream banks that are in agricultural areas are fully protected.
Country StreamMinnesota is a leader in fighting agricultural pollution with its Shoreland Management Act. That legislation places legal protection of “riparian” buffers between farmland and waterways. But the law is not being enforced across the state. There is a required 50-foot riparian buffer between farm land and waterways.
EWG states that 170 waterways in southern Minnesota have a grade of D or F. Craig Cox, EWG’s senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources said, “polluted runoff from farmland is a major environmental and public health problem, but it is one that can be largely prevented in Minnesota and across the country. Better enforcement of the shore land management rule presents a remarkable opportunity to improve water quality.”
As a result of this pollution, sediment is filling up Lake Pepin near the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. Phosphorous is triggering noxious algal blooms. Algal blooms can produce toxins that can sicken people and animals. The buffer zones filter and retain sediment and store and inactive phosphorous.
CDC: 33 from Arizona, California, Texas and Washington Linked to Trader Joe’s E. coli Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/cdc-33-from-arizona-california-texas-and-washingtom-linked-to-trader-joes-e-coli-outbreak/#.U2BVTE1Zrs1
Posted By Bill Marler on April 28, 2014
In late 2013, the CDC reported a total of 33 persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli 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 E. coli 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 E. coli 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 E. coli 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.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.
Health Canada Says All Canned Food Tested for BPA Safe to Eat
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/health-canada-says-all-canned-food-tested-for-bpa-safe-to-eat/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 28, 2014)
Health Canada recently tested more than 400 samples of canned foods and found that they were safe to consume. The government said that BPA was not detected in 98.5% of the foods analyzed. The products tested included domestic and imported fruits, vegetables, juices, other beverages, legumes, pasta, and soups. Those products are packaged in cans treated with epoxy coatings.
Canned FoodLow levels of BPA were found in only six of the canned food samples analyzed. The levels of the chemical in those foods did not indicate any safety concerns.
BPA is permitted in food packaging materials in Canada. Other countries, such as France, have banned the chemical in food packaging based on many studies that shows it can be harmful to human health. Epoxy resins that contain BPA are added to metal cans to protect foods from direct contact with metal. Acidic foods can react with metals, discoloring the foods and letting them pick up more copper and iron.
Unfortunately, BPA can also migrate from the coatings into the food, especially at high temperatures, such as when canned food is processed. Based on the Health Canada survey, an adult would have to consume 50 servings of canned food a day to reach an exposure to BPA that may pose a safety concern.
But Health Canada concluded that dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging doesn’t pose a health risk to newborns and young children. That conclusion is different from that reached in many other countries, including the US, which recently banned BPA from infant food packaging. The FDA continues to study BPA and its effects on human health.
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Children that drink raw milk and then die go right to heaven
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/children-that-drink-raw-milk-and-then-die-go-right-to-heaven/#.U2BRRk1Zrs1
By Bill Marler (Apr 27, 2014)
WWL’s report on the recent debate over raw milk Bill HB 247 likely says it all why there is unlikely to ever be an ability for public health and raw milk proponents to ever find common ground. Here are the highlights:
So, what, a few kids die, I want to do whatever I want to do.
Ciera Majors spoke to the House Agriculture Committee in favor of the measure that would allow farmers to sell raw milk to consumers.
“The only argument that the opposition has for this bill is ‘death of a child, death of a child,’” said Majors. “Trust me! I want to protect my children. I wanted to give them a healthy product so much so that I bought two cows.”
Majors argued that families should have the right to choose the foods they consume and provide for their children.
Marksville Representative Robert Johnson strongly opposes the bill. He told Majors that his problem with the measure is not that she milks her own cows and gives the raw milk to her children.
“My problem is that you don’t want DHH to do any kind of inspection, any kind of permitting process,” said Johnson. “And then you want to exempt yourself from any kind of liability just in case somebody messes up. And when you say child..’death of a child’..that’s a very serious thing to me.”
If I watch the farmer, I can see that microscopic bacteria does not get into the milk. It’s the consumers fault anyway.
One raw milk supporter, Audry Salvador, told Johnson it would be the responsibility of the consumer to make sure they are purchasing from a reputable farmer.
“I can watch everything they do if I want,” said Salvador.
Johnson said, “What about those who don’t?”
“That is their fault.”
Children that drink raw milk and then die go right to heaven.
“What about the child that dies that has no one to protect him,” Johnson asked.
“Well, before the age of reason they can go to Heaven,” said Salvador.
“That’s your answer?! Mr. Chairman I move that we voluntarily defer this bill,” Johnson said in extreme anger.
Raw milk is so safe that farmers should be immune from being sued if the milk poisons a consumer.
Johnson also tells Salvador he has a major problem with farmers being exempt from liability if someone gets sick from raw milk.
Listeria, E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella are still around and have caused raw milk outbreaks.
The sale of raw milk is illegal because it was thought to have carried certain diseases that have been eradicated in the United States since the turn of the century according to Ortego.
The vote was 9-6 and now heads to the House floor.
Perhaps the House or the Governor will have a different view of things. Perhaps the House members should visit with the families at www.realrawmilkfacts.com
To Slow Spread of PEDv, USDA Requires Reporting
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/to-slow-spread-of-pedv-usda-requires-reporting/
By Carla Gillespie (Apr 23, 2014)
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, a highly contagious and deadly pig disease has affected more than half of all states.In an effort to slow the spread of highly contagious viruses that have killed million pigs since last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now requiring pork producers to report cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) and Swine Delta Coronavirus. PEDv was discovered in U.S. herds in 2013 and his killed more than 4 million pigs in 27 states since that time. PEDv does not affect humans and is not a food safety concern.
“USDA has been working closely with the pork industry and our state and federal partners to solve this problem. Together, we have established testing protocols, sequenced the virus and are investigating how the virus is transmitted,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The USDA is also requiring that movements of pigs, vehicles, and other equipment leaving affected premises be tracked. These measures “will help identify gaps in biosecurity and help us as we work together to stop the spread of these diseases and the damage caused to producers, industry and ultimately consumers,” Vilsack said.
To help producers who have suffered losses from the viruses, USDA’s Farm Loan Programs is providing credit options such as loan restructuring. The agency is also encouraging guaranteed lenders to use flexibility with existing customers.
Do Risks of Antibacterial Soap Outweigh the Benefits?
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/do-risks-of-antibacterial-soap-outweigh-the-benefits/
By Carla Gillespie (Apr 23, 2014)
A new study has shown that antibacterial soaps are better at killing Shigella bacteria than soaps that do not contain antibacterials. But do the risks of using antibacterial soaps outweigh the benefits?
Each year, about 18,000 Americans are diagnosed with shigellosis, the infection caused by the Shigella bacteria. Symptoms of shigellosis include diarrhea that contains blood of puss, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after exposure. Symptoms generally last about a week and hospitalization is rarely required.
For the study, researchers compared two regular soaps with three antibacterial soaps and found that, overall, the antibacterial soaps were better at reducing the level of Shigella bacteria than regular soaps. But the active ingredients in at least of the antibacterial soaps tested have raised concern at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and environmental groups
Tricolsan is the active ingredient used in many antibacterial soaps including one that was part of the study. According to the FDA, tricolsan “may alter the way hormones work in the body” and may contribute to the problem of making bacteria resistant to drugs. Antibiotic resistance is a major public health problem because it has a big impact on the success of medical treatment of illness and injury. What’s more, not enough is known about the long-term exposure to these active ingredients. So the potential risks may be even higher.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tricolsan in pesticides. For more information about it, click this link to the agency’s website.
Missouri Mulls Food Safety Exemptions for Home Kitchens, Nonprofit Events
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/04/popular-exemptions-for-home-kitchens-and-nonprofits-reaches-missouri-senate/#.U2BSZU1Zrs1
By News Desk (Apr 23, 2014)
Nonprofit events in Missouri would be able to serve food prepared in unregulated home kitchens exempt from food safety regulations, and home kitchens would be able to make and sell cottage foods worth up to $50,000 a year under legislation before the Missouri Senate.
Missouri House Bill 1100, which passed the General Assembly on a 131-13 vote, was reported to the Missouri Senate on Tuesday, where it received a first reading. HB 1100 combines food safety exemptions for nonprofit organizations with opening home kitchens to cottage food production.
State Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R-Lake St. Louis) is the sponsor of the bill. The Senate has ample time to consider Assembly-passed bills since the Missouri Legislature is not scheduled to adjourn until May 30.
Freedom from food safety regulation for nonprofits and home kitchens would come with requirements for those taking advantage of the bill’s provisions to notify the public that the food they are about to receive is not subject to either regulation or inspection by food safety officials.
Nonprofits staging charitable fundraising events featuring unregulated food would also be required to notify regulatory authorities ahead of time with the date, location and date, along with the name of the person responsible for the event.
If a food establishment already regulated by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is hired to serve food at the event, the exemption would not apply. Also, the nonprofit and home kitchen exemptions would not apply to either Missouri’s largest or Home Rule counties, which include the St. Louis and Kansas City areas.
Home kitchens would be opened to the production of baked goods, canned jams and jellies, and dried herbs and herb mixes. Only direct sales to consumers would be permitted. The Department of Health and Senior Services is charged with establishing labeling rules for food made in home kitchens. No Internet sales would be permitted.
State and local health department officials would be authorized to investigate any foodborne disease or outbreak stemming from an unregulated kitchen.
Government hopes expert panel can help strengthen New Zealand food safety
Source : http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2014-04/23/c_133283696.htm
By English.news.cn (Apr 23, 2014)
The New Zealand government is to set up an independent food safety advice group to recommend regulatory changes in the wake of last year's global recall of dairy products over a false botulism scare.
The Food Safety and Assurance Advisory Council was one of 29 recommendations from the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident released in December last year, Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said Wednesday.
"At the moment there is no independent group that looks at the whole of New Zealand's food safety and assurance system and is able to provide high-level independent advice and risk analysis," Kaye said in a statement.
"This council is being set up to do this and will report to the director-general of the Ministry for Primary Industries. It will provide a valuable sounding board for new ideas and contribute to raising consumer and market confidence in New Zealand's food," she said.
She also expected the six-member expert panel to identify current and future trends, risks and issues that may impact on the country's food safety and assurance system.
Dairy giant Fonterra pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court last month to four food safety-related charges connected to global recall of whey protein concentrate over the false botulism scare, which happened in August last year.
Fonterra is also fighting a civil case brought by French food giant Danone, which is claiming compensation of 350 million euros (483.59 million U.S. dollars) for the scare.
Food safety changes threaten consumers: union
Source : http://globalnews.ca/news/1284483/food-safety-changes-threaten-consumers-union/
By Tamsyn Burgmann (Apr 22, 2014)
VANCOUVER – Canada’s food safety system is being pushed beyond its limits, warns the union representing federal food inspectors, which singles out Vancouver area-consumers as potentially the most at risk.
Some $35 million and 192 inspectors are on the food safety program’s chopping block over the next two years, according to online documents posted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
The agency has also disbanded a team of inspectors dedicated to protecting consumers from food fraud throughout Metro Vancouver. The Consumer Protection Unit once boasted 11 inspectors, but that number dwindled to four due to attrition.
B.C.’s Lower Mainland is now the only major metropolitan centre in the country without specialized surveillance, said the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
Having spoken to people within the CFIA and combed through the agency’s internal documents, union officials say they’ve identified potential staffing and inspection weaknesses where health, financial and religious hazards could crop up.
“They’re all overworked. There’s not a manager in the agency right now who will tell you that they have enough resources to fully deliver what they’re legally required to deliver,” Bob Kingston, president of the agriculture union with PSAC, told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday.
“These legal requirements for the agency to still be looking at these products and to be actually worried about consumer protection have not gone away. The laws are still in place, the regulations are still in place. They’ve just stopped doing them.”
Kingston said residents in the Vancouver region have become “guinea pigs” for the government as he laid out specific areas of concern the union spotted in the agency’s 2014 internal work plan:
— Compared with 2013, there will be 60 per cent fewer ground meat inspections. The union says this means companies might be more apt to mix in other meats, like pork, or substitute other filler.
— There will be no cooking oil inspections. The union says oil can also be adulterated.
— The quantity of inspections for independent food retailers will be cut in half.
— Routine menu checks, such as for product substitution and short measuring, won’t occur.
— Inspectors will no longer check that grocers are storing food at the safe temperature.
The federal health ministry referred questions to the CFIA, which responded to the union’s claims with a broad email.
“The statements by the union are false. There have been no cuts to food safety. Canada has one of the safest and healthiest food systems in the world,” it said.
The agency acknowledged there have been recent changes to how it handles the Vancouver area.
“In order to maximize food safety oversight, the CFIA recently implemented a realignment of staff,” the statement said. “During this exercise, no jobs were cut and there has been no change in the number of inspectors on the ground in British Columbia.”
Two consumer protection inspectors remain stationed in each of Victoria and Kelowna, B.C.
The federal government’s extract states an “additional” $390 million will be invested over five years to “strengthen Canada’s food safety system.” It says part of the money will fund more than “200 additional inspectors and other staff,” along with establishing a national information system meant to help authorities quickly detect and respond to food safety risks. It will also pay for the continuation of a program combating mad cow disease.
Kingston called the government’s assertions over how it is distributing money a “smokescreen,” alleging no new money is actually being put up.
Whether consumers could face real health risks will be tough to determine, he added, noting there is no federal tracking system for food-borne illnesses.
The union has been pushing the agency to complete a “resource audit” in order to determine whether it is understaffed and then show the results to the government.
Food safety has had a high profile in Canada in the last few years. In 2008, a deadly listeriosis outbreak was linked to a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto. Another meat-processor was implicated in widespread illness in 2012, when the Alberta-based XL Foods Inc. conducted a massive beef recall due to cleanliness problems at its plant.
The Foodborne Illness Problem: U.S. Food Safety Standards Still Don't Protect Against Bacteria
Source : http://www.medicaldaily.com/foodborne-illness-problem-us-food-safety-standards-still-dont-protect-against-bacteria-278138
By Matthew Mientka (Apr 22, 2014)
An “ordained minister” preaches from his Brooklyn, N.Y., subway train platform one morning not about salvation but safety — a grassroots health message concerning adolescent abuse of the dangerous K2 spice.
And with that plot twist, everyone listens. Now, if only the Food and Drug Administration could make some quick and easy progress of their own, particularly with regard to safeguarding the nation’s food supply. Though touting some incremental gains, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week released an annual report showing most measurements of food safety remaining about the same since the period between 2006 and 2008.
Among other pathogens, infections from salmonella fell by nine percent to levels recorded during those previous three years, says Dr. Robert Tauxe, the deputy director of CDC’s division of foodborne, waterborne, and environmental diseases.
“CDC data are essential to gauge how we’re doing in our fight against foodborne illness,” Tauxe said in a statement. “This year’s data show some recent progress in reducing salmonella rates, and also highlight that our work to reduce the burden of foodborne illness is far from over. To keep salmonella on the decline, we need to work with the food industry and our federal, state and local partners to implement strong actions to control known risks and to detect foodborne germs lurking in unsuspected foods.”
The rate of campylobacter infections, a risk associated with chicken and dairy, rose 13 percent during that period, while vibrio infections mostly from raw shellfish reached the highest levels since the federal government began tracking them in 1996. Those infections rose 75 percent during recent years. Meanwhile, the rate of infections from Vibrio vulnificus — the most severe kind — remained steady even as the U.S. population grew from 298 million in 2006 to some 317 million this year.
Chris Waldrop, the director of the Food Policy Institute at Consumer Federation of America, characterized the country’s lack of progress on improving food safety. “For most pathogens, we haven’t really been able to move the needle in recent years,” he said in a statement. “The decrease in salmonella illnesses is positive, but it’s too early to tell if that will be sustained.”
Some 48 million Americans are sickened by food poisoning every year, though only 128,000 require emergency room care. FDA officials say the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 may help to lower some of these foodborne safety risks — should Congress decide to provide adequate funding for the regulations. Among strategies for reducing the rate of food poisoning, the federal government would like to standardize methods for the slaughtering and inspection of poultry.
A Closer Look at Egg Safety
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/aprilmay-2014/a-closer-look-at-egg-safety/
By Oscar Garrison
The food-buying habits of American consumers are driven largely by perceptions of safety, according to a recent national survey commissioned by the United Egg Producers (UEP), the national trade association for egg farmers. Safety was ranked the most important variable when consumers shop for food, followed closely by price and whether the products are sourced locally—a new variable identified in our research. The research additionally found that consumers equate animal welfare with food safety: Good animal welfare is perceived to improve food safety; poor animal welfare is perceived to degrade food safety.
Consumers also consider themselves more informed about food safety and animal welfare issues than they did 10 years ago. These findings reinforce the importance of current developments in food safety taking place through government regulations and industry practices. The following article provides a historical overview of egg food safety guidelines, details recent developments and outlines what UEP is doing to ensure the 76 billion eggs our members produce each year in the U.S. are high quality and safe for consumers.
UEP has a history of working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on egg safety initiatives to enhance the safety of eggs produced in this country, which includes providing comments and input on the Egg Safety Final Rule and guidance documents associated with it. On July 9, 2010, FDA began implementing the regulation, which was designed to enhance egg safety by requiring measures to both prevent the bacterium Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) from contaminating eggs on the farm and reduce further growth during storage and transportation. The Egg Safety Rule requires that farmers take certain preventive steps while producing eggs on the farm and mandates refrigeration during storage and transportation to retailers and other customers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined Salmonella can lead to egg-related illnesses that present serious challenges to public health, with infected consumers suffering mild to severe gastrointestinal illness, short-term or chronic arthritis and even death in extreme cases. FDA estimates that the prescribed preventive actions could reduce egg-related SE cases by nearly 60 percent. Virtually all egg producers with 3,000 or more egg-laying hens are subject to the requirements, assuming their shell eggs are not pasteurized or treated in a similar manner.
The Egg Safety Final Rule requires extensive written planning, biosecurity measures, pest control, sanitation, training, record keeping, safe handling, supply chain management and environmental and product testing at prescribed intervals deemed necessary by FDA to prevent and control the hazard of SE. Prior to the finalization of the Egg Safety Rule, many farmers were already conducting activities to reduce SE contamination during production and storage through existing programs. FDA issued draft guidance in a Q&A format in August 2012 to increase education about preventing SE in shell eggs and reducing foodborne illnesses. This education initiative is part of FDA’s ongoing effort to ensure egg producers comply with the Egg Safety Rule.
While the Egg Safety Rule is relatively new, egg producers have been regulated under a variety of statutes and by several federal, state and local agencies for decades. Refrigeration, a part of the new rule, has actually been required of shell eggs held for retail distribution by FDA since 2000 (21 C.F.R. 115.50). Additionally, shell eggs held at retail establishments must be stored and displayed at an ambient temperature of 45 °F or less.
FDA has required safe handling instructions to appear on all egg cartons since 2000. The requirement aims to ensure that consumers are aware of the need to refrigerate and cook eggs (21 C.F.R. 101.17). Specifically, packaging must include the following language: “SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS: to prevent illness from bacteria: keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.” UEP recommended these control measures and supported FDA through the implementation of both refrigeration and safe handling regulations.
Egg producers have also participated in a significant inspection program since the 1970s. The Egg Products Inspection Act mandates that shell egg plants be inspected quarterly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS). These AMS inspectors verify that disposal of restricted eggs (those falling into certain categories such as cracked, checked or dirty eggs) is done in accordance with regulations.
Virtually every state in the nation has laws governing egg safety as well—most introduced long before the FDA Egg Safety Final Rule. Many states established Egg Quality Assurance Programs (EQAPs) that were the model for this federal regulation. These guidelines impose requirements similar to or more stringent than those eventually incorporated into the latest FDA rule. EQAP compliance was theoretically voluntary, but consumer demand led to widespread, if not universal, egg farmer participation in a number of states. Some state EQAPs have expanded in recent years to include mandatory vaccination, environmental testing of chick paper and end-of-lay environmental swabs.
Finally, most egg producers currently operate under private sector, third-party-audited, quality assurance and food safety programs approved by the Global Food Safety Initiative. Examples include Safe Quality Food and the UEP’s recently expanded 5-Star Total Quality Assurance Program, which will be detailed later. Retail and foodservice customers are increasingly requiring their suppliers to implement these standards, which are often more specific and demanding than the FDA Egg Safety Rule.
What’s Next: The California Egg Rule
We are already moving rapidly through 2014, leaving egg producers (and other agricultural sectors) less than a year to comply with California’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act (“Prop 2”), passed on November 4, 2008. The law requires a range of new animal welfare standards, most notably, that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs can only be confined in systems that allow them to stand up, lie down, fully extend their limbs and turn around without impediment. Transportation, rodeos, fairs, 4-H programs, lawful slaughter, research and veterinary purposes received exemptions. Violation of the law carries misdemeanor penalties and a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 180 days.
Although specific cage size requirements were not included in the initial ballot initiative, industry experts predict hens will require twice the space currently stipulated in various standards. The California Department of Food and Agriculture developed the California egg safety rule (officially the Shell Egg Food Safety regulation) to address cage size and stocking density. The rule also sets forth testing and vaccination protocols to reduce instances of SE. Numerous testing protocols are accepted by industry best practices, but California requires that one paper for every 10 boxes of chicks be evaluated for SE. According to Rule Title 3, Section 1350, the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory plans to accept three specimen types:
1. Chick papers that are swabbed with premoistened (double-strength skim milk or commercially available evaporated milk) 3×3 gauze pads at the farm after the chicks have been removed. One gauze pad is rubbed across the surface of the five papers and placed into a sterile plastic bag. After collection of up to 10 papers (two gauze pads pooled), add approximately 15–30 mL of double-strength skim milk and deliver to a laboratory within 48 hours after collection. Samples may be frozen if unable to deliver to a laboratory within 48 hours.
2. Portions of chick papers totaling 25 g should be cut out using disinfected scissors or torn out with sterile gloves, pooled in a sterile container and delivered to the laboratory from the farm.
3. Chick papers (one paper for every 10 boxes of chicks) are removed at the farm and placed into a clean plastic trash bag and submitted to the laboratory within 48 hours of collection. Samples submitted by this method will be charged an additional processing fee, and only samples from one producer will be set up per day (first come, first served, unless special arrangements are made in advance).
The California Shell Egg Food Safety rule also specifies that producers must complete “End of Production Testing” 2 to 4 weeks before the end of production. The tests should include a “minimum of sixteen manure swabs per flock that can be pooled in four swabs per bag.” This will enable producers to have a final assessment of the flock prior to the end of production. In the very rare event of a positive swab, the facility then has the opportunity to complete a hygienic restoration in place of standard cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
Rule Title 3, Section 1350 also specifies SE vaccination program requirements. Egg producers are required to deploy a protocol that includes at least two attenuated live vaccinations and one killed or inactivated vaccination, or an equivalent program approved by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Vaccination has become a very effective component utilized by producers as part of SE control in the U.S. egg industry.
The statute became effective for chicks placed after July 1, 2013, for swabbing and vaccination requirements, with farmers having until January 1, 2015, to meet the new space requirements (Table 1).
California’s statute took on national prominence when then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation in 2010 adding a new requirement that all eggs sold into the state meet the new standards. Californians consume a lot of eggs—
9 billion in 2012 to be exact (directly or in foods made with eggs). But only 55 percent of those eggs consumed were produced in California, requiring numerous farmers outside the state to change their production standards to remain in the marketplace under the law signed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
Egg producers (and other farmers) were in limbo through late 2013 and into the new year, holding off on making significant financial investments while the United States Congress debated the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (“Farm Bill”) and King Amendment. Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) was able to include a prohibition on states imposing conditions on another state’s production of agricultural goods in the House version of the proposed Farm Bill, which was ultimately not included in the final legislation passed by Congress in early 2014. Subsequently, Missouri’s attorney general filed a lawsuit in federal court over the California law, with other states expected to join in. The debate has evolved from egg and other animal food production to one about interstate commerce and the federal government’s constitutional ability to regulate it. The outcome will impact a score of food and animal welfare laws. Farmers need clarity on whether California’s law will become a mandate for any producer selling eggs into that state.
Egg producers are primarily responsible for ensuring a safe egg supply in the marketplace, but consumers take the wheel once eggs leave the store. Shell eggs may contain SE or other microorganisms and should always be handled safely, promptly refrigerated and thoroughly cooked to ensure illness is avoided. USDA instructions for safe handling are simple and effective:
• Wash hands, utensils, equipment and work areas with hot, soapy water before and after contact with eggs and egg-containing foods
• Keep raw eggs in their original carton at 45 °F or below and consume within 5 weeks of purchase
• Ensure eggs do not remain outside a refrigerator for more than 2 hours in moderate environments or 30 minutes to 1 hour when 85 °F or hotter
• Remove only the number of eggs needed and then return the carton to the refrigerator
• Use a thermometer that measures the internal temperature of cooked foods when possible to ensure eggs are thoroughly cooked (160 °F for mixed egg dishes)
• Poached and fried eggs should be cooked until the white is completely firm and the yolk is thickened, and scrambled eggs should be cooked until there are no visible liquids
• Leftover hard-cooked eggs should always remain refrigerated in their shells and used within a week
• Resist the urge to taste mixtures containing eggs before they cook (i.e., cookie dough or cake batter)
• Place hot foods into shallow containers and refrigerate, allowing them to cool completely if eggs were included and the dish will not be served immediately after preparation
Egg Industry Leadership
Clearly, America’s egg farmers (and other food producers) face myriad regulations and guidelines to ensure food safety and animal welfare. The UEP created its own safety program to provide farmers with a clear set of science-based, socially conscious industry best practices. The egg industry, led by UEP, has made a concerted effort since 1988 to reduce SE. Key steps in this initiative include the following:
• Establishing an SE Task Force
• Calling for breeder testing through the National Poultry Improvement Plan
• Proposing and assisting with the National Refrigeration Law
• Recommending liquid pasteurized egg products be used in foodservice and institutional settings
• Developing the UEP 5-Star Total Quality Assurance Program
• Partnering with state and federal regulators by testifying and providing comments on various standards
Providing safe, quality food for consumers is a top priority for egg producers across the United States. That’s why the industry took the unprecedented step of creating the UEP voluntary 5-Star Total Quality Assurance Food Safety Program in 1994. The program provides egg producers nationwide with a proactive way of monitoring and controlling SE on-farm. The 5-Star goes beyond FDA Egg Safety Rule requirements and gives egg producers a comprehensive, dependable food safety program from the farm to processing plant. The 5-Star Egg Safety Program covers the following topics:
• Chick procurement
• Integrated pest management
• Cleaning and disinfection of poultry houses
• Environmental and egg testing
• Feed management
• Laboratory standards
• Processing plant sanitation
This patchwork of regulations, guidelines and industry best practices, while complex, should fortify consumer confidence in the safety of eggs consumed in restaurants or purchased in grocery stores. Perhaps that’s why, as demonstrated by more than a decade of industry research, consumers regularly place egg producers in the top echelon of food safety and animal welfare. The UEP and its member producers take pride in developing and implementing new and innovative programs and processes to improve the safety and quality of eggs sold in this country. Consumers enjoy an abundant and safe egg supply largely due in part to the proactive measures taken by the U.S. egg industry. Universal application of uniform state and federal regulatory and compliance measures helps ensure that these processes effectively protect public health. As new science emerges and new food safety practices become available, the egg industry will continue to provide a safe and nutritious product that encompasses all aspects of production from farm to fork.
China cracks down on food safety; Oscar Meyer recalls hot dogs: food safety roundup
Source : http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2014/04/china_cracks_down_on_food_safe.html
By Lynne Terry (Apr 21, 2014)
In an effort to clean up its food supply, China has enacted new food safety laws that ban companies caught producing or selling unsafe foods from operating.
Not only that, company executives and employees will not be allowed to work in the food industry for five years, according to a story reprinted on Food Safety News.
But as the article points out, enacting a law does not necessarily mean that China's food will become safer overnight. The country's food industry has a long history of taking shortcuts in the interest of pumping up profits. It could take yars to see real progress.
And back in the United States, Kraft Foods Group, Inc., announced a recall of Oscar Meyer hot dogs in a notice on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.
The company is pulling 96,000 pounds of wieners because of a labeling issue: They contain milk, a known allergen.
The wieners were produced on March 2 to 3 and and bear the establishment number “Est. 537H” inside the USDA mark of inspection. They were distributed nationwide.
The problem was discovered by an alert consumer who notified the company April 18.
That's it for now. Keep your appetite and eat safely.
A Whole Bunch of People Got Food Poisoning at the Food Safety Summit
Source : http://kitchenette.jezebel.com/numerous-people-contract-food-poisoning-at-food-safety-1565840101
By C.A. Pinkham (Apr 21, 2014)
The world was gifted with a new definition of irony yesterday with the news that a bunch of people attending a Food Safety Summit had suffered food poisoning.
At least four people have suffered food poisoning after eating a meal at the Baltimore Convention Center. All of the individuals were in town for a Food Safety Summit, a national conference attended by individuals associated with federal agencies as well as corporations such as McDonald's, Tyson's, ConAgra, and Chiquita. Apparently, more summit-goers reported suffering food poisoning to their employers, though the exact numbers have not yet been determined. Officials have not yet determined the cause of the food poisoning, although it's worth noting (ohhh, is it worth noting) that ONLY attendees at the Food Safety Summit specifically reported any symptoms.
Granted, it was four people out of 1500 attending the conference, and given the existence of Con Flu, it was pretty much inevitable that people would walk out of there sick. Still, it's difficult to oversell the delicious irony of the situation. It would be like someone ramming their car into the lobby at the Responsible Motorist's Convention, or someone getting arrested for gay solicitation at the RNC.
I would make more jokes here, but I feel like it would ruin the majesty of this beautiful, perfectly ironic moment.
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