FoodHACCP Newsletter
05/19 2014 ISSUE:600

Marler: Should you eat out during an E. coli Outbreak?
Source :
By Bill Marler (May 17, 2014)
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.  Bill Marler has 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.  They have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
•Before ordering anything, WASH YOUR HANDS. If a restaurant’s wash rooms are not clean and/or readily available with hot water and liquid soap, don’t eat there.
•Research the restaurant before you go. Check with the local health department to see if the restaurant you are interested in has a good safety record, avoiding restaurants with multiple critical health violations or closures for failure to correct them.
•Ask the restaurant about its own food safety policies. Quality restaurants will gladly provide you with their food safety policies and plan, especially if you call the manager during non-peak hours.
•Do not accept menu or service mistakes. These can be signs there is that food is being improperly handled or prepared. Marler says if restaurants succeeded in keeping “hot things hot” and “cold things cold,” there would be far fewer incidents of food-borne illness.
•Ask questions, especially about the restaurant’s food suppliers. As consumers, you have the right to know if a restaurant is getting items such as meat and poultry from vendors that test for bacterial contaminants.
•Leave small children at home and be extremely careful when dining out with the elderly or immune-compromised individuals. Small children are especially susceptible to the deadly effects of foodborne pathogens.  Next to small children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable to foodborne illness.
•Avoid restaurants that invite “cross contamination.” Marler says some restaurants are “designed” to spread disease.  Self-serve cafeteria-style outlets where customers may not have washed their hands before touching common serving utensils should be avoided.
•Be especially careful during “unsolved” outbreaks. Until health officials have the facts, do not assume anything about the source of an ongoing outbreak.
•Finally, educate yourself about foodborne illness.  Resources about E. coli and other foodborne pathogens are widely available online.
•If you become ill – especially if you suffer bloody diarrhea – seek immediate medical attention.

E. coli HUS Strikes Four in Kansas
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 17, 2014)
HUS E. coli Bacteria Shiga ToxinsFour people in Kansas have been diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) a life-threatening condition arising from some E.coli infections that causes kidney failure, KCTV is reporting. The source of the illnesses is unknown at this time.
HUS usually affects children and teens but it adults can develop it, too.  One of the case patients is a 20-year-old woman who was hospitalized and released.
About 5 percent of people with E.coli infections will develop HUS which causes damage to and premature destruction of red blood cells which clog the kidneys preventing their ability to filter blood. Treatment of HUS includes dialysis, plasma exchange and blood transfusions.  Long-term complications of HUS include kidney problems and high blood pressure.

Hamburger with E. coli Recall Coming in Michigan and Ohio?
Source :
By Bill Marler (May 16, 2014)
Food Safety News reports that an E. coli O157 outbreak in Michigan has been genetically matched to one in Ohio, where local, state and federal health officials are currently investigating at least four similar cases.
The case count in Ohio includes three in Lucas County and one in Portage County and involve adults ranging in age from 19 to 42 years.
The five Michigan cases of E. coli infection include adults aged 20 to 41 from the following five counties: Oakland, Washtenaw, Ken, Livingston and Ottawa. According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, three of the five people sickened were hospitalized.  According to the Record-Eagle,a Grand Traverse region resident likely is the sixth Michigander diagnosed with E. coli poisoning in recent weeks.  The woman lives in an area covered by the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department. She recently traveled to Grand Rapids where she ate ground beef.
Those sickened in Michigan indicated to health officials that they had consumed undercooked hamburger prior to developing symptoms. Michigan health officials have reportedly been trying to track down the source of the meat.




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Food safety scientists double up on ground beef testing
Source :
By Brian Ronholm, Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety(May 16, 2014)
As grilling season heats up, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is enhancing our food safety testing program for ground beef.  While FSIS has a range of safeguards to reduce E. coli in ground beef, this summer we will begin new testing to improve the safeguards against Salmonella as well.  Salmonella is commonly found in ground beef and, in fact, caused an illness outbreak in January 2013 in six states.  Salmonella is an especially difficult bacteria for food safety experts to address because it is so prevalent in almost all food sources.
Recognizing that we need more information about the prevalence of Salmonella in ground beef to better prevent food-borne illness, FSIS is “super-sizing” our pathogen testing program to include Salmonella every time our laboratories test for E. coli in samples of ground beef and ground beef sources. Because the samples taken for E. coli testing are much larger than those we have taken in the past for Salmonella, there is higher likelihood that we will be able to detect the bacteria if it is present.
Once FSIS has collected enough data about the prevalence of Salmonella in ground beef, we will create a new standard to encourage ground beef processors to strengthen their Salmonella controls, resulting in safer products and fewer foodborne illnesses.  The data collection process will take some time, but it is critical that the new standard is supported by meaningful data.  Of course, we will continue to analyze any positive samples for multi-drug resistance and specific serotypes to determine whether they are contributing to human illnesses.
Salmonella is the most urgent issue facing FSIS when it comes to protecting consumers and it is why we developed our Salmonella Action Plan.  This plan details our strategy for reducing the number of Salmonella-related illnesses, and this enhancement to our sampling and testing programs is part of that comprehensive effort.  Another part of our war on Salmonella is encouraging consumers to take steps to protect themselves from illnesses, including cooking all ground beef to 160 °F (poultry should be cooked to 165 °F).  For more information on ways to keep your family Salmonella-free this summer, we invite you to check out or before your next cook out.

Raw Milk hits Two with E. coli in Michigan
Source :
By Bill Marler (May 16, 2014)
Two cases of E. coli 0157:H7 in West Michigan have been traced back to consumption of raw milk products from an Ottawa County cow share program. In March, a 31 year old Muskegon County woman became ill after drinking raw milk, and in April, a 6 year old child from Kent County became ill after possible consumption of the raw milk product.
Organisms that make people sick are found in the intestines of animals. Contamination of milk occurs when fecal matter is present on the udder of an animal or in the equipment used to process the milk. Enough bacteria to cause illness can be present and not be visibly dirty upon inspection. Pasteurizing is the process of heating the milk to high temperatures to kill the harmful bacteria that make you sick. Raw or unpasteurized milk (sometimes called fresh milk or fresh unprocessed milk) is milk that comes directly from a cow, goat, sheep or other animal’s udder and is not heat treated (pasteurized) to kill bacteria. Raw milk carries a much higher risk of causing serious illness than pasteurized milk, and you cannot see or smell the germs in raw milk that make you sick.
Some believe drinking raw milk products is more nutritious and provides the body with “good bacteria”. The pasteurizing process does not significantly change the nutritional value of milk, and due to the risk of serious illness, there are far safer sources of good bacteria than raw milk. Pasteurized probiotic yogurts, kefir, and other products are a great source of probiotics.
The CDC reports that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness, and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products. Due to poorly developed immune systems, infants and children are at greater risk for becoming sick and are more likely to suffer from long term damage from diseases linked to drinking raw milk.
Due to the health risk of consuming raw milk, it is not legal to sell raw milk or raw milk products in the State of Michigan. Because of this, raw milk is obtained through herd share programs. In a herd share program, consumers purchase a share of a cow and, as the owner of the cow, are provided raw milk from the farmer.
These herd share dairy programs are not licensed or inspected by state or local agencies.
If you or someone you know has become ill in the days following consumption of a raw milk product, seek medical attention. Symptoms of illness include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain along with fever, headache, and body ache. Pregnant women, infants, small children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses should never consume raw milk products.

Ohio E. coli Cases May Be Linked to MI Outbreak
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 15, 2014)
Four Ohio E. coli cases may be part of the outbreak in Michigan that has sickened 5 people who ate undercooked ground beef, Food Poisoning Bulletin has learned. The Ohio Department of Health Free E coli Case Reviewis investigating four cases of E. coli O157 that are a genetic match to the cases in Michigan, Melanie Amato, a department spokeswoman said.
“The Michigan and Ohio cases might have a common source, but we cannot confirm that at this time; the investigation into a common source is ongoing. ODH is working with our local, state and federal partners to try and identify the common source for these cases,” she said.
Yesterday, the Michigan Department of Health reported that five people from five different counties had contracted E. coli poisoning from undercooked ground beef served at restaurants. Three people were hospitalized. The Michigan cases, who range in age from 20 to 41, ate the tainted beef  during the last week of April, specifically April 22 – May 1.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been working with state and county health departments to identify the source of the meat. Health officials say it is likely that the meat was contaminated before it arrived at the restaurant locations.

Michigan E coli Outbreak: Undercooked Ground Beef is Risky
Source :
May 15, 2014 by Linda Larsen Leave a Comment
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: don’t eat undercooked burgers. Every year in this country, E. coli infections cause about 265,000 illnesses and about 100 deaths. And the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Michigan that is associated with undercooked ground beef served in restaurants, most likely as rare burgers, is a case in point.
Rare hamburgers are a risk factor for E. coli O157:H7, which can be the worst type of food poisoning you can get. Elliot Olsen, food safety attorney who has recovered millions of dollars for injured clients, said, “Ground beef is far and away the largest culprit for carrying E. coli. An intact piece of meat carries bacteria only on the surface. Ground beef contains bacteria throughout. That is why hamburger must not be eaten rare or medium rare.”Free E coli Case Review
The E. coli O157:H7 bacteria can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious and life-threatening  complication of the disease that destroys the kidneys and can cause strokes, seizures, coma, cortical blindness, pancreatitis, brain inflammation, and heart disease. E. coli O157:H7 bacteria produce shiga toxins, which travel through the body, entering cells and ending protein production. The cells die, and can destroy the kidneys, intestinal lining, and the cells that make up the blood-brain barrier.
We can’t know the actual number of people sickened throughout the U.S. by E. coli O157:H7 through rare and raw ground beef, since most cases happen individually. Some are not reported to health departments. The number public health officials are most sure of occur in outbreaks, where two or more unrelated people get sick from the same strain of bacteria. And even then, the multiplier for E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks is 2, which means that half of illnesses are not reported to the government.
The five cases in Michigan may be part of a larger outbreak; the Michigan Department of Community Health, the USDA, and the CDC are all investigating. In the meantime, you can protect your family by always cooking ground meats to an internal temperature of at least 160°F, as measured by a meat thermometer. Serving rare ground beef is like driving without a seatbelt. You may not need that protection, but when a car accident happens or the beef is contaminated, you will be seriously injured.

More than 300 Sickened with Clostridium After Missouri Wedding
Source :
By Linda Larsen (May 15, 2014)
According to the Missourian, more than 300 people were sickened with food poisoning from gravy served at a wedding at the Sullivan Eagles Hall on April 5, 2014. Laboratory tests revealed that the bacteria responsible for the illnesses was Clostridium perfringens.
Symptoms of that illness usually begin 6 to 24 hours after exposure, and include abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Most people recover without complications, but some, especially the elderly and very young, could become dehydrated and need to be hospitalized. And there may be long term complications from this illness. Recent research discovered a possible connection between Clostridium perfringens infections and multiple sclerosis.
Can I Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning?About 100 people told public health officials they were ill, and said they knew of others who also got sick. About 750 people attended the event.
The problem occurred when the gravy was not cooled quickly enough. If perishable foods such as gravies and sauces are not cooled quickly and remain in the danger zone of 40°F and 140°F too long, pathogenic bacteria can easily grow and produce toxins. Clostrium perfringens spores will survive the cooking process but aren’t harmful until they grow. That happens at those low temperatures when food is improperly held.
The catering facility has been inspected. Public health officials talked to the caterer about proper cooking, cooling, and food handling processes. The name of the caterer is not released because officials think this knowledge could harm the business, despite any risk to public health.

E. coli in Rare Burger Hospitalizes MI Man For 10 Days
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 15, 2014)
E. coli in a rare hamburger put a Michigan man in the hospital for 10 days. Kevin McDermed told WOOD-TV that he feels “lucky to be alive” after surviving the life-threatening infection that made him feel as though his insides were “full of battery acid.”
Free E coli Case ReviewMcDermed is one of five people who are part of an E.coli outbreak in Michigan where authorities say ground beef is suspected as the source. The Michigan residents are from five different counties: Ottawa and Kent in the western part of the state and Livingston, Oakland, and Washtenaw in the southeast. All of them ate the contaminated beef at restaurants where it was served rare or undercooked.
Symptoms of E.coli poisoning don’t set in immediately after eating contaminated food.  It usually takes between three and seven days before they start to appear. So the rare hamburger he had eaten several days before was not the first thing McDermed thought of when he began to experience excruciating abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. He says he had no idea what was going on or how sick he was even as he battled the infection during a 10-day hospital stay.
“Let’s remember that E. coli poisoning does not mean a few days of upset stomach. It is a life threatening illness,” said Elliot Olsen, a food safety attorney with Pritzker Olsen law firm which recently won a $4.5 million settlement for a woman poisoned by E.coli in beef. Pritzker Olsen underwrites Food Poisoning Bulletin.
An investigation is underway to discover what company supplied the beef to the restaurants and to determine whether illnesses in other states may be linked to those in Michigan.

Lawyer Says Restaurant Responsible for E. coli O157 in Burger
Source :
By Kathy Will (May 14, 2014)
At least 5 people in Michigan have been diagnosed with E. coli O157 after eating undercooked ground beef the last week of April. Three of them were hospitalized.
The likely source of this outbreak is undercooked burgers and other menu items. One man told WOODTV that he ate a rare burger about 4 days before getting sick. The incubation period for E. coli is usually 3-4 days, so the time frame is right.
“If a restaurant sells rare burgers, that burger should be safe to eat, free of any dangerous pathogens like E. coli O157,” said Fred Pritzker, a lawyer who represents people sickened by E. coli food poisoning. He and attorney Brendan Flaherty won a $4.5 million settlement for a client who contracted an E. coli infection from steak sold at a national chain restaurant. She developed a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, and her kidneys shut down.
“If there is sufficient evidence to connect an E. coli O157 infection with a burger sold at a restaurant, even a rare burger, the restaurant is legally responsible. Generally, this means that the restaurant can be sued,” said attorney Pritzker.
The confirmed cases of E. coli in Michigan are people who live in the Detroit and Grand Rapids area in the following counties: Kent, Livingston, Oakland, Ottawa, and Washtenaw. Detroit and Grand Rapids are about 150 miles apart.
The distribution of illnesses in the state suggests that the ground beef used for the burgers was contaminated during or before distribution to the restaurants, according to Pritzker. He has been an advocate for people sickened in most of the large E. coli O157 outbreaks in the United States.
“I have seen this pattern before, a few cases scattered in one state,” said Pritzker. “Now, the investigation has to focus on finding out when and where the meat was contaminated and if there are more illnesses in Michigan and other states.”
“Even if the specific source of the outbreak is not determined, the restaurants connected to the outbreak are legally responsible for any illnesses,” continued Pritzker.

Backlash leads to food safety rethink  
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By DEENA COSTER (May 15, 2014)
Guidelines around Stratford's food safety will be watered down as a result of public backlash against the proposed changes.
Nine submissions were received about the district's food safety bylaw, with most critical of the suggested target of having 100 per cent of staff undergo training if they handled food.
Hospitality New Zealand's Taranaki secretary Chris Hince, who spoke to his submission at Tuesday's council meeting, said its membership had raised several issues with the draft document.
"The biggest one is the increase in training," he said.
The bylaw change would require the number of food handling staff who had to be trained to rise from 50 to 100 per cent.
Hince said the increased expectation around documentation would also have an impact on Stratford's food businesses.
Another submitter, Stratford District Youth Council's secretary Christopher James said the proposed change could impact on employment with business owners less inclined to hire youth if they also had the cost of training to consider.
Stratford Golf Club's Pauline Downs said they had already spent $390 on training and any further requirement would hit the club in the pocket.
"We will be faced with further expense," she said.
She said the club's kitchen was serviced by volunteers who only worked on average about once a month.
"The requirement seems excessive for the service we provide," she said.
Councillor John Sandford said he considered the move a step too far and supported it to stay at the current requirement of 50 per cent.
Mayor Neil Volzke said although he supported the bylaw's objective to raise standards around food safety, the proposed change would be a "hefty" requirement and one that would be out of step with what other councils around the country had in place.
Following receipt of the submissions, a recommendation was made for council staff to amend the draft bylaw to include the retention of the 50 per cent requirement but for an incentive scheme to be introduced to encourage retailers to aim for A grade compliance.
The final document will be brought back to council at its next meeting for sign off.

Food Poisoning Benches Mets First Baseman, Phillies Manager
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 14, 2014)
Shake Shack burger causes food poisoning for two baseball teamsNew York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda and Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg say bad burgers from Shake Shack gave them food poisoning last week, according to ESPN.  Both men say the burgers they ate were undercooked.
Sandberg says he lost six pounds in two days. Duda, who was hospitalized, missed a game Friday but has since recovered and returned to play.
Thorough cooking is needed to kill foodborne bacteria such as E.coli or Salmonella which both cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea that can be bloody. Hospitalization is required when dehydration or complications develop.
There is some dispute over which Shake Shack location was involved. The Mets organization is looking in to it. In a statement to ESPN, a Shake Shack spokesman said the company first heard of the situation on Twitter. He said the company had not had any other reports of illness and that they were trying to get in touch Sandberg and managers at the Citi Field Shake Shack to learn more.

MI E. coli Outbreak Source is Likely Ground Beef, Officials Say
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 14, 2014)
Ground Beef Ground beef is the likely source of an E.coli outbreak that has sickened five people in Michigan, health officials say. Three people have been hospitalized.
The Michigan Departments of Community Health (MDCH) and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) are working with local health departments in Kent, Livingston, Oakland, Ottawa, and Washtenaw counties to discover the source of the meat that likely caused the illness.
You Can Sue a Restaurant for Food Poisoning
The five confirmed case of infection from Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157  were all reported in adults between ages  of 20 and 41 who first became ill April 22 – May 1, 2014.  None of the case patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe complication of E. coli infection that causes kidney failure and none of the cases has been fatal, officials said.
All five people who became ill said they ate undercooked ground beef at several different restaurants in multiple locations before they became ill. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is also working on the investigation to determine the source of the ground beef and  how widely it was distributed.
E. coli O157 illnesses can be very serious or life-threatening, especially for young children, older adults, and people who are immunocompromised,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Executive at the MDCH. “Whether you cook at home or order in a restaurant, ground meats, including ground beef, should always be cooked thoroughly to the proper temperature.”
Ground beef must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160° F. The only way to confirm that it has reached this temperature is with a food thermometer.
Some kinds of E. coli produce a Shiga toxin which causes illness. Symptoms, which include abdominal cramps or swelling and diarrhea that is often bloody, develop two to ten days after the contaminated food is eaten and last about a week. Anyone who has these symptoms and has eaten ground beef recently should see a doctor and ask about being tested for an E. coli infection, health officials say.

Bagged Salad Poses Risk of E. coli O157:H7
Source :
By Linda Larsen (May 14, 2014)
Researchers in Tennessee, along with scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released a study published in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease about the risk of E. coli O157:H7 in bagged salads. An estimated 63,000 STEC O157 infections occur every year in the United States. Recent outbreaks have been associated with leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach.
Mixed-Salad-GreensThe researchers look at an outbreak of STEC O157 that was associated with bagged salads in institutional settings. The outbreak was in schools, and the case-control study was made up of controls matched by school and grade.
Seventeen patients from three states were identified. The median age of a cases was 23 years. Seventy-six percent of the cases were female. Six people were hospitalized and two died in this particular outbreak. The illness onset dates ranged from April 29 to May 12, 2012.
The analytical epidemiology analysis identified a single significant food service exposure: lettuce provided by a school cafeteria. The bagged salad was traced back to a single facility. Growing areas were scheduled for more inspection during the upcoming growing season to see if a source of the contamination, whether runoff from animals farms, problems in harvest or shipping, or some other source could be found.

Denver Cracks Down on Food Safety Violations Among Edible Marijuana Manufacturers
Source :
By News Desk (May 13, 2014)
If the overdosing and concentrations in Colorado’s edible marijuana foods don’t get you, maybe the pathogens will.
In a sweep of the new marijuana food manufacturers, the Denver Department of Environmental Health has found 58 critical violations at 24 establishments. More than 50 of these edible businesses have opened statewide since recreational pot sales became legal in the Mile High State. Most are located in the Mile High City.
City environmental health officials did the unannounced inspections since March, about the time reports were surfacing about the problems with dosing and THC concentrations in the state’s new menu of marijuana edibles, including a wide variety of food products.
Inspectors found typical problems, including failure to refrigerate products to avoid bacterial growth. The inspections have brought three recalls and the destruction of thousands of dollars worth of product found to be unsafe for human consumption.
In these inspections, the city applied the same food safety standards to the pot businesses as it does to restaurants and other food businesses.
Separately, the Marijuana Enforcement Division is looking at the dosage and concentration problems that have surfaced since pot became legal on Jan. 1, 2014. Edible pot overdosing is said to have been a factor in multiple emergency room visits by children and in two adult deaths.
In addition, the Colorado Legislature has asked for a study of how to best package edibles to avoid their mistaken consumption by children.

Beware the Common House Fly
Source :
By Linda Larsen (May 12, 2014)
As anyone who has ever eaten outdoors knows, house flies are very annoying and can ruin a picnic. We’ve developed methods for controlling them that range from bug zappers to screen shields that cover food. But now there’s even more reason for concern.
A new study conducted at Kansas State University and published  in Applied and Environmental Microbiology has found that flies may be transferring antibiotic resistant bacteria from farms to people. This troubling finding turns flies from a nuisance into a health threat.
Since we know farm animals carry antibiotic resistant bacteria, primarily because they are fed sub therapeutic doses of antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention, it makes sense that insects could transfer those pathogens to people. And it turns out that flies literally vomit and poop when they land on you and on food, which makes for easy transfer of bacteria. While researchers aren’t positive how this happens, it makes sense. Investigating to find the precise mechanisms of bacterial transfer is necessary, but this research is in its early stages.
The lead author of the study, professor of microbial ecology Dr. Ludek Zurek, said in a statement, “there are a number of insects that are commonly associated with animals, such as house flies and cockroaches. House flies are common where animal manure is produced, including cattle, poultry, and swine operations. We found these insects carry the same bacteria found in animal manure.” The research team also found that the bacteria in the insect’s digestive tract can exchange antibiotic resistance by horizontal gene transfer.
Other studies have shown that flies around factory farms and in fast food restaurants carry antibiotic resistant bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. In fact, Zurek’s study found the same pathogens in the flies around a restaurant and in the food served there.
So the next time you are eating outdoors, be especially vigilant about keeping flies and other insects away from your food. Dr. Zurek said, “house flies aren’t just a nuisance. They can carry antibiotic resistant bacteria, so they should be taken seriously as a vector.”

California county to continue debating color-coded food safety inspections
Source :
By Doug Powell (May 12, 2014)
In the on-going saga that is restaurant inspection disclosure, this time in Orange County, California, a grand jury report has caused a reevaluation of the process among public health officials.
Restaurants in Orange County currently use a food inspection notification system that is visibly vague and, at a glance, does not inform the public about inspection status, as stated in the report.
OC.color.gradesThe report calls for a pronounced placard in the windows of these food facilities that is “graphically enhanced” and leaves no room for misinterpretation.
One of the alternative approaches would be a color-coded system, which designates a green, yellow or red placard, similar to traffic lights, indicating their level of compliance.
The counties of Sacramento, Alameda and Merced currently use this color notification method.
The color-coded system would be more effective than the one currently in use, said Christopher Waldrop, the director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America.
The neighboring counties of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego all use a letter-grade format for food facility health inspections. Either an A, B or C grade can be earned during the inspection.
But Waldrop said there has not been sufficient research done yet to come to a consensus of which system is the most effective.
“I think at this stage there is a lot of different systems that are being tried,” Waldrop said. “Whichever system it is, the one that gives consumers accurate information that’s very readily available, those types of systems are the ones that work best for consumers.”

Food Safety for Marijuana Edibles?
Source :
By Bill Marler (May 12, 2014)
Eric Gorski of the Denver Post this morning writes: “Food inspections flag health threats in edible marijuana products.”  Gorski reports that food safety inspections of businesses that manufacture and sell marijuana edibles in Denver have found products that should be refrigerated sitting out on shelves and preparation methods insufficient to kill bacteria that can cause serious food-borne illness.  The unannounced visits by the Denver Department of Environmental Health have led to three product recalls and the destruction of tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of products.  Most infused baked goods are fine on shelves if the marijuana extraction or concentrate has been continuously refrigerated before being added, according to a department memo last month.
•One infused-product manufacturer, Mile High Distributing, was hit with a cease-and-desist order and told to recall infused olive oil that was being stored at room temperature after being created in an ethanol hash oil extraction that was not hot enough. The company also was ordered to recall liquid THC drops kept at room temperature.
•Edibles manufacturer At Home Baked, operating under a license held by Advanced Medical Alternatives, was instructed to stop selling and destroy its marijuana-infused baking mixes and oil pouches.  The company used a cold-water hash extraction in oil stored in reduced oxygen packaging at room temperature, which is conducive to spore germination and toxin formation, a report says.
•Dixie Elixirs and Edibles of Denver, Colorado’s highest-profile infused-products company, was cited in March for keeping bottles of oils at room temperature that inspectors said should be refrigerated.  The inspector spoke with Dixie about testing the products for pH and water activity, which can determine whether food products kept at room temperature can support the rapid growth of microorganisms, an inspection report said.
•Another edibles manufacturer, Marqaha, was ordered to inform dispensaries to refrigerate its infused juices, teas, tinctures and sprays.  The city says the company has not provided any test results showing the drinks are safe to store at room temperature.
•Inspectors found edibles manufacturer Canna Elixirs lacking paper towels, sanitizer or proper sinks.  The operator couldn’t explain correct procedures for cleaning and sanitizing.  After city officials deemed products made there “unwholesome,” the operator put 73 caramels and the contents of 11 bottles of infused soda into a bucket, doused it with bleach and dirt and threw it out.
•At Patients Choice dispensary on Morrison Road, inspectors found expired coconut oil and mold on infused butter.

Vegas Chinese Restaurants Gamble With Food Safety
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 12, 2014)
Las-VegasFood safety violations at Chinatown restaurants in Las Vegas have prompted a string of recent closures, according to a report from KTNV News. Many of them were for holding food at improper temperatures and storing or preparing food in dirty areas.
Keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold is a basic food safety principle. Cold foods need to be kept at or below 40 F and hot foods should be kept at 140F or above. Anything in between in considered the “danger zone,” because bacteria such as Salmonella, E.coli and Campylobacter can double in number in as little as  20 minutes.
On an April 22 inspection, Sam Woo BBQ had 51 demerits. Inspectors found the handwashing sink clogged with an opaque fluid; dirty floors, appliances and shelves; lots of food stored in the danger zone and spices stored in a reused plastic bag from a clothing store.
At Lele’s Sandwiches on South Bruce, inspectors found blood from raw chicken dripping on to refrigerated cut jalepenos and uncooked french fries. The blood also pooled below a prep table. A filthy floor drain was covered in cob webs and there were flies throughout the facility.
Marketon on North Decatur was closed when inspectors found no running water. And the Coast to Coast food truck was closed or refrigeration problems.





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This certification fulfills all USDA/FSIS and FDA regulatory requirements for HACCP Training. The certification is also accepted by auditing firms who require HACCP Training as a component of the audit. Our training has encompassed a multitude of industries from the farm to the table.
We are so proud that more than 400 attendees successfully finished Basic and Advanced HACCP Trainings through FoodHACCP. All attendees received a HACCP certificate which fulfills all USDA/FSIS and FDA regulatory requirements for HACCP Training