FoodHACCP Newsletter
05/12 2014 ISSUE:599

CDC: Raw Milk Remains an Ongoing Public Health Hazard
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 11, 2014)
Raw milk remains an ongoing public health hazard, says Robert Tauxe, M.D.,  deputy director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases.  On May 9, Tauxe sent a letter to state epidemiologists and state public health veterinarians saying because of the risks of raw milk, public health officials should consider restricting or prohibiting the sale of raw milk. Almost two years ago, Tauxe sent a nearly identical letter to state public health professionals.
Both letters outline the risks associated with raw milk. For example, infections from E.coli can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which causes kidney failure. Campylobacter infections can trigger Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which causes paralysis. Between 2007 and 2012 most of raw milk outbreaks ere caused by E.coli or Campylobacter.  And almost 60 percent of them involved at least one child who was 5 years old or younger.
Although most raw milk outbreaks go unreported, according to Tauxe, between 2007 and 2012, there were 81 raw milk outbreaks that sickened 979 people, hospitalizing 73 of them. Most of the outbreaks, 81 percent, occurred in states where raw milk sales are legal. To view more CDC information about raw milk visit

American Academy of Pedicatrics: Ban Raw Milk Sales
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 11, 2014)
Raw milk should be banned says the AAPRaw milk  sales should be banned, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). That view and others about the risks of raw milk for children, infants and pregnant women are included in the organization’s policy statement published in the May issue of Pediatrics.
The AAP joins a host of medical, scientific and public health organizations including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA),  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Medical Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the International Association for Food Protection, the National Environmental Health Association, and the World Health Association in endorsing the consumption of only pasteurized milk and milk products for pregnant women, infants, and children. The AAP supports a ban on the sale of raw milk and certain raw milk cheeses, such as fresh cheeses, soft cheeses and soft-ripened cheeses.
The policy statement “is based on the multiplicity of data regarding the burden of illness associated with consumption of raw and unpasteurized milk and milk products, especially among pregnant women, fetuses and newborn infants, and infants and young children, as well as the strong scientific evidence that pasteurization does not alter the nutritional value of milk.”
The AAP maintains that of the 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. each year, illnesses from raw milk and raw milk products are the most preventable. “Reasons for the continued burden of disease related to raw or unpasteurized milk or milk products are primarily related to misinformation regarding the purported benefits of these raw dairy products,” the statement says.
For example, raw milk advocates claim that pasteurization destroys or neutralizes important nutrients in milk and that raw milk it is not associated with lactose intolerance. Some claim that there is a link between pasteurized milk and autism, allergic reactions, and asthma. These claims are backed by anecdotal evidence, not scientific data. However, “numerous scientific analyses have demonstrated that pasteurized milk and milk products contain equivalent levels of such nutrients compared with raw, unpasteurized milk and milk products,” according to the AAP.
The policy statement lists 11 kinds of bacteria, including Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella and E.coli, three viruses, and one parasite that have been found in raw milk. Contamination can happen through direct contact with fecal matter from the cow, microscopic organisms on the animal’s skin or hide; clinical or subclinical mastitis, bovine diseases, or contact with insects, animals, human skin or soiled clothing.
Infections from these pathogens pose a special risk to pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. Children and youth account for the largest percentage of those sickened in raw milk outbreaks.



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USDA puts out tips on food safety during an outage
Source :
By The Associated Press (May 10, 2014)
WASHINGTON — Severe storms often knock out electricity and cause food to spoil, so the U.S. Agriculture Department has released tips on cutting food spoilage and guarding against foodborne illness when it happens.
The agency's Food Safety and Inspection Service said it put out the food safety recommendations for people in the Midwest and Great Plains who get hit with heavy rain, high winds, hail and tornadoes.
Among the suggestions:
— Keep the refrigerator at 40 degrees or lower and the freezer at zero or colder.
— Freeze water in one-quart bags or small containers and put them around food if the power goes out.
— Put refrigerated food in coolers if the electricity will be off for more than four hours.
— Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you might not need immediately.
— Keep a few days' worth of ready-to-eat foods that don't require cooking or cooling.
— Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross-contamination of thawing juices.
— Discard any perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers that has been above 40 degrees for two hours or more.
— Never taste a food to decide if it's safe.
— When in doubt, throw it out.
Other tips are available on the YouTube video called "Food Safety During Power Outages."

PCA Plant Manager Pleads Guilty in Salmonella Case
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 9, 2014)
Samuel Lightsey, the former manager of a peanut butter plant linked to a Salmonella outbreak pleaded guilty to fraud and six other counts in a criminal case. In 2009, 714 people in 46 states got Salmonella poisoning from peanut butter made Peanut Corporation of America. Nine of them died.
The company’s owner, Stew­art Parnell, and his brother Michael Par­nell, a food broker, and the plant’s quality assurance manager Mary Wilkerson were also charged. Lightsey faces a possible fine of $250,000 and 20-year prison terms for each of the seven charges. The sentencing will occur at a later date.
Food Poisoning Bulletin Publisher Fred Pritzker, a food safety lawyer who represents people injured in the outbreak, said his clients feel the trial is a way for wrongdoers to be held accountable. Pritzker, who is president of the national food safety law firm, PritzkerOlsen, represents several of the injury and death victims harmed by PCA products.  “This prosecution sends the right message to food producers: you need to take personal responsibility for the products you sell.”

E. coli HUS Hospitalizes 6-Year-Old Girl in Cherokee County GA
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 9, 2014)
A 6-year-old girl from Canton, GA has been hospitalized for eight days fighting a life-threatening  complication of an E. coli infection, according to WSB-TV. The complication, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), causes kidney failure. The little girl is on a ventilator and undergoing dialysis treatments.
HUS E. coli Bacteria Shiga ToxinsThe girl’s parents are hoping people in the community will donate blood or platelets to help their child. Those who are interested can contact the station for more information.
Health officials don’t know the source of the E. coli infection. Food poisoning from E. coli is often associated with undercooked meat, raw fruits and vegetables, an unpasteurized juices or dairy products. Another common source E.coli infections are animal exhibits or petting zoos.
HUS, which most often affects children under 10, destroys and damages and red blood cell caysing anemia, blood clots, and damage to blood vessel walls.  In addition to kidney failure, HUS can cause seizures, stroke and coma. About 15 percent of children with E. coli infections develop HUS.

Raw Milk Sample from NY Farm Tests Positive for Listeria
Source :
By News Desk (May 8, 2014)
The New York Department of Agriculture & Markets announced Tuesday that a sample of raw milk collected April 28 from a Pine Bush farm had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Further testing on May 5 confirmed the presence of the bacteria.
State officials subsequently warned Orange County consumers and others in the area not to consume unpasteurized milk from the Stap Farm.
No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with consuming the milk, officials noted. However, the farm cannot sell any more product until it it receives state clearance to do so.
Bob Stap reportedly told a local newspaper that only one milk sample of five tested from his 100-cow farm showed the presence of Listeria. The Staps got into the raw-milk market about two years ago after 30 years of other types of farming, but he said that it only makes up about 1 percent of their total sales.
New York has about 43 farms that sell raw milk. The state requires licensed raw milk farms to be regularly tested and they may only sell the milk on the farm, not at retail or at farmers markets.

23-State Salmonella Outbreak from Backyard Poultry Flocks
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 8, 2014)
A 23-state Salmonella outbreak linked to backyard poultry flocks has sickened 60 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 40 percent of those sickened were children 10 and under. At least 10 people were hospitalized.
Health investigators have linked this outbreak of Salmonella Infantis and Salmonella Newport infections to contact with live poultry from Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio, the same mail order hatchery linked to live poultry Salmonella outbreaks in 2013 and 2012.
live-poultry-salmonella-2014Symptoms of Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, include fever, cramping, vomiting and diarrhea that can sometimes be bloody. For those sickened in this outbreak, onset of illness ranged from February 4 to April 21.  Those sickened  range in age from younger than one year to 95 years old,  the median age is 29 years.Contact a Salmonella Lawyer
Many who are part of this outbreak said they brought the chicks and ducks into their homes. Some reported kissing or cuddling them. According to the CDC, people should avoid these behaviors as they increase the risk of salmonellosis.
When maintaining backyard poultry flocks, it’s important to keep the birds and everything used to care for them outside. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after handling the birds. Children under five should not be allowed to handle the birds, older children should only be allowed to do so with supervision.
By state, the number of those sickened is as follows: Alabama (1), Arizona (1), Arkansas (1), California (1), Colorado (2), Georgia (2), Idaho (2), Indiana (1), Kentucky (6), Maine (1), Maryland (2), New Hampshire (1), New Mexico (1), New York (6), North Carolina (3), Ohio (6), Pennsylvania (8), Tennessee (3), Utah (1), Vermont (3), Virginia (3), Washington (1), and West Virginia (4).

Pennsylvania Red Robin Latest in Hepatitis A Scares
Source :
By Bill Marler (May 7, 2014)
The Pocono Record reports that the Pennsylvania Department of Health is investigating a situation involving a Red Robin restaurant employee who was diagnosed with Hepatitis A.
“The Disease Prevention and Control Law prohibits us from providing further details as the investigation is ongoing at this time,” said Aimee Tysarczyk, press secretary/director of communications for the state Health Department.  “As the investigation continues and if any public health risks evolve, the department will provide additional information to ensure the safety and well-being of the public, as needed,” Tysarczyk said.
In a statement to the Pocono Record, Red Robin said:
“On May 5, 2014, Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group was informed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health that an employee at the Red Robin restaurant in Stroudsburg, Pa., had contracted Hepatitis A.  The employee has not been in the restaurant since April 27, 2014, and will not return to work until he has been granted medical clearance.”
At this time, the Pennsylvania Department of Health does not believe there is a risk to the general public; however, guests who visited the Stroudsburg Red Robin restaurant between April 16 – May 5 can contact the department at 1-877-PA-HEALTH with any questions or concerns.

Food safety in Bangladesh
Source :
By Mike Robson (May 08, 2014)
Lead in turmeric; formalin in fruit; fatal food poisoning after eating watermelon.  Recent findings released by the Ministry of Health's National Food Safety Laboratory—of high residues of banned pesticides, and chemical preservatives in fresh produce samples from local markets in Dhaka—confirm the widely held suspicion that food control in Bangladesh is inadequate. 
The results suggest that farmers are using a cocktail of toxic chemicals in their efforts to fight insect pests - and that they are not sufficiently aware of the need to stop using them before harvesting. The results also indicate deliberate adulteration of produce to extend its shelf life, using chemical preservatives without concern for the health of consumers. Other results have previously highlighted contamination by microorganisms, leading to acute food poisoning cases in consumption of fruit, occasionally with tragic consequences.
The press is commended for drawing attention to such cases, but the question is what can be done to prevent them happening? And it is not sufficient just to tell consumers to be more careful, or to avoid buying mangoes from certain vendors!
I would argue that there are a number of things which are needed, some of which are already in hand.  But the first thing to do is to recognise that the problem has at least three different dimensions – which I would characterise as the “production practices” question, the “fraud” question, and the “food handling” question. 
With regard to production practices, the way forward is to educate farmers in using agro-chemicals and to move towards less toxic alternatives (recognising that the farmers will look for the most convenient or cheapest means of controlling pest or disease).  This should start in the major fruit and vegetable producing areas, such as Jessore or Comilla.  More work is needed to understand what advice farmers are being given; what chemicals they are using; where they are getting them.  There may also be initiatives to control the availability of toxic pesticides which are banned but are still produced in neighbouring countries; there may still be stockpiles of such chemicals in Bangladesh which need to be disposed of safely
Regarding the fraud question, what we are talking about is the adulteration of food to make it appear fresher than it is, in ways which actually make the produce unsafe. Inspection and prosecution are a key element in consumer protection. Injecting formalin is not (ever) a safe practice even if it makes fruits look better for longer. Those who do so should fear the consequences if they are caught doing so. Here, transparency is vital. Eventually consumers will avoid suppliers with a poor track record. Labelling and packaging to improve traceability are also important to maintain the integrity of the food chain. Other countries face the same problem of criminal adulteration – in China, the apparently deliberate use of melamine in dried milk to boost the  fat content was a recent case with serious food safety consequences; in Europe criminal gangs are substituting cheap replacements for high value commodities such as olive oil. Lessons may be learnt from others in how to combat such food-based frauds.
Finally on the food handling question, contamination occurs from use of unclean water, or other unsanitary practices, the inability to maintain a cold chain, cross contamination between different food products. Again education is part of the solution; but also investment in food handling infrastructure (cold chain, processing, packaging, market infrastructure).
If people want safer food, they may have to pay more for it. Paying more is not a guarantee of safety in itself. And for many in Bangladesh, paying more is not an option.
What to do? Several government departments have a role to play in consumer protection, whether by educating the producers to produce safer food, by testing samples, by prosecuting cases where unsafe food is being sold. The Bangladesh Food Safety Authority incorporated in the 2013 Act is a major step in the right direction, to help coordinate consumer protection activities across the food control system. FAO is providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Food on setting up the authority. But this also requires the political will across government to support the authority in its infancy, and the commitment to devote sufficient public resources to make it operational in the longer term.

Brazil's second reported BSE case raises food safety concerns
Source :
By R-CALF (May 07, 2014)
Billings, Mont. - On Monday the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) provided notice that Brazil confirmed its second case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), this time in a 12-year-old Brazilian cow. While the notice states that none of the meat or other products from the infected cow entered the food chain, a recent audit report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveals that Brazil has not been complying with BSE safeguard measures required by the United States.
A recent audit report by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) sent to the Brazilian government on April 16, 2014, reveals that Brazil has not been consistently implementing the United States' mandatory requirement that all specified risk materials (SRMs) from cattle be excluded from the human food chain as a condition for allowing Brazil to export beef to the United States.
Specifically, the audit found that beginning in early 2007, the Brazilian government relaxed its SRM removal policies by issuing a notice that removed the skull, trigeminal ganglia, vertebral column, and dorsal root ganglia in cattle 30 months of age or older from the list of SRMs that must be removed at slaughter. The tissues improperly removed from the list of SRMs by the Brazilian government are tissues known to harbor the BSE agent in infected cattle.
United States food safety inspectors confirmed that Brazil was not routinely removing all high-risk tissues as required for countries that export to the United States.
Despite Brazil's failure to meet U.S. food safety standards, FSIS officials nevertheless determined that Brazil "continues to meet FSIS equivalence criteria at an adequate level for this component (the SRM removal component)."
R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said these facts demonstrate the need to fully enforce the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law. "Only with COOL can consumers choose to avoid purchasing their food from countries with questionable food safety systems," he said.
Bullard also said these facts along with USDA's current plan to begin importing beef from Brazilian states that are not free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is deeply troubling.
"More and more the USDA is demonstrating its unwillingness to prioritize food safety and animal health above its politically motivated trade relations goals," he concluded.

Hepatitis A at Stroudsburg PA Red Robin
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 07, 2014)
Hepatitis A exposure at Red Robin in Stroudsburg PAAn employee at a Red Robin restaurant in Stroudsburg, PA has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A. All employees of the restaurant have been given a vaccination, but customers who visited the restaurant between April 16 and May 5 may have been exposed and could be at risk for developing an infection.
These customers should contact the health department at 1-877-PA-HEALTH. The vaccine, either a hepatitis A vaccination or an immune globulin vaccination, can prevent illness if administered within two weeks of exposure. If you have had hepatitis A in the past or have had the vaccination, you are most likely protected. Check with your doctor to make sure if you have concerns.
Help for Hepatitis A VictimsHepatitis A is a liver disease that causes illness lasting for a few weeks or as long as several months. Symptoms generally appear two to seven weeks after exposure and include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools and yellow skin or eyes. However, not everyone infected with hepatitis shows symptoms.  The employee who was diagnosed remains ill, but has not been to work since the end of April.
If you visited the restaurant before April 23, 2014, a vaccination will no longer be effective. Please monitor yourself for the symptoms of the disease and if they appear, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Aimee Tysarczyk, a state health department spokeswoman, told Food Poisoning Bulletin that “at this time, the department does not believe there is a risk to the general public. The department has notified any individuals who may have been at risk for exposure and provided recommendations for treatment, as needed.” Adding, ” As the investigation continues and if any public health risks evolve, the department will provide additional information to ensure the safety and well-being of the public, as needed.”

ISO Solicits Comments on ISO 22000 Global Food Safety Standard
Source :
By Heidi Parsons (May 06, 2014)
ISO (the International Organization for Standardization, based in Geneva, Switzerland) today invited stakeholders involved in the food chain who use, implement, or make reference to ISO 22000, to submit comments and feedback on the standard.
ISO 22000, the International Standard on food safety management systems, was published in 2005. Since then, ISO officials explained, global market needs have evolved and ISO plans to revise the standard this September.
In 2012, ISO conducted a global survey on certification, which revealed that the number of certificates for ISO 22000 increased by 20% between 2011 and 2012 and that food companies in 142 countries now certify to the standard. The survey also found that China, India and Greece were the top three countries for the total number of certificates issued,  while the top three for growth in the number of certificates in 2012 were China, Romania and Japan.
In order to remain as relevant as possible, ISO standards are reviewed every five years to assess the need for a revision. The committee behind ISO 22000, ISO/TC 34/SC 17, is currently running a review until mid-June to collect as many comments as possible on the standard before the revision process is set to start in September.
The organization's solicitation for comments on ISO 22000 concluded: "So, if you represent industry, consumers, governments, regulators, laboratories, or any other organization active in the food industry, what do you like about the standard, what do you think needs to be changed and did you have any problems implementing it?"
To suggest improvements for the next version of ISO 22000, send comments to:
•The ISO member body in your country.
•The ISO technical committee ISO/TC 34/SC 17:
The comments received will be taken into account in the revision process.
ISO 22000 was designed to be used by any organization across the food chain, including both large and small businesses. The standard creates a framework for establishing principles, procedures and guidelines to manage food safety while helping to develop cost-effective management in the industry. It also provides practical tools needed for managing food safety as a single coherent system.

New innovation in food safety testing
Source :
By Lea Kivivali (May 06, 2014)
Foodborne diseases are a major cause of illness and death worldwide, so the need for reliable and rapid means for detecting deadly bacteria in food samples is important for the food industry.
Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology, in partnership with bioMérieux Australia, have developed a new technique for detecting Listeria contamination in food.
Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly and others with weakened immune systems. In pregnant women, it can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth and premature deliveries.
A wide range of foods have been implicated in outbreaks of listeriosis, including milk, soft cheeses, smoked fish, processed meat products – such as pate – and even fresh produce such as coleslaw and cantaloupe.
"Current standard methods to detect Listeria in food rely on biochemical testing that takes four to five days to confirm a positive result," lead researcher Professor Enzo Palombo said. "This process is time-consuming and costly for the food industry."
The detection of foodborne pathogens can be challenging due to the likely presence of multiple bacteria in a single sample.
"We have developed a technique that provides a more rapid and simple detection scheme, compared to conventional methods with minimal sample processing," Professor Palombo said.
The researchers used mass spectrometry technology MALDI-TOF MS as a tool to detect Listeria monocytogenes and found very low levels of the pathogen could be identified from different food samples.
An experiment was carried out using ultra-high-temperature (UHT) milk as a model food, following which the bacteria was detected from three different foods: chicken pate, cantaloupe and camembert cheese.
"The use of MALDI-TOF MS for bacterial identification from selective enrichment broth could reduce the overall costs involved in food testing as the same strategy could be used for other foodborne bacteria.
"Although the initial infrastructure investment for MALDI-TOF MS is high, the running costs are minimal."
The study was published in the Journal of Proteomics.




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