FoodHACCP Newsletter
05/26 2014 ISSUE:601

Memorial Day: Practice food safety to ensure no one gets sick
Source :
By Lynne Terry (May 26, 2014)
It's Memorial Day, a time when many people crank up their barbecues for a grilled meal with loved ones.
Don't ruin it by forgetting about food safety. Here's what federal authorities recommend:
•Wash you hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
•Marinate food in the refrigerator -- not on a counter top.
•Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood in a separate cooler or securely wrapped at the bottom of a cooler or refrigerator so their juices won't contaminate prepared foods or raw produce.
•Use a food thermometer to cook food to a safe temperature, which ranges from 140 to 165 degrees, depending on the item.
•Keep hot food hot and cold food cold to avoid pathogens from multiplying.
Stay safe and enjoy your day and meal.

Big beef recall and other woes kick off food-safety season
Source :
By Melissa Preddy (May 22, 2014)
Well, it’s rather a downer for the industry-led National Hamburger Month that there have been a couple of major ground beef fiascos in the past few days, including the news that meat tainted with the e. coli bacteria may be linked to illnesses in four states, as the Los Angeles Times reported. 
When 1.8 million pounds of burger are recalled under that kind of pall, the sizzle of the celebration must tend to fizzle, too. But it’s not just the meat packers singing the food-borne blues; recent headlines also point out problems with edibles ranging from contaminated pet jerky (again?) to 1.2 million pound of Kraft cottage cheese to Listeria-laced hummus dips.
With warmer temps nationwide looming, and all of the Memorial Day spreads featuring potato salad, hot dogs, deviled eggs and other vectors for food-safety issues about to be consumed, you might want to brush up on some food-safety resources and story ideas.
Despite my quips, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in six Americans – about 48 million people — will be sickened via food each year, and that salmonella alone accounts for some $365 million annually in direct health care costs.  And according to a recent press release, efforts to reduce the incidence of illness caused by tainted food produced lackluster results in 2013, with salmonella still at 2006-2008 levels and certain problems caused by chicken and dairy are actually on the rise by double digit percentages.
We all eat, and food safety is an issue that can span many business beats, from health care and medical insurance (according to the CDC, nearly 130,000 people each year are hospitalized for food-borne illnesses) to restaurant and retail businesses to technology (there are companies, like this one called Life Technologies, that specialize in testing for and mitigating food-safety risks) to legal, liability and insurance issues like the ones highlighted recently in this Food Safety News article about retailers requiring safety guarantees from growers.
Liability is a fascinating topic to localize with your region’s producers of meat, produce and dairy goods.  How are their insurance needs or contractual agreements with processors and retailers changing?
Are liability concerns scaring any small producers away from farmers’ markets, food co-ops and roadside stands?  What about the cottage foods industry that gained support in many states in recent years; here’s an insurance product that appears tailored just for that niche.
The Food Safety Modernization Act, signed by President Obama in 2011 but moving toward implementation at the pace of an escargot, is nevertheless a topic you should start bringing up with any industry you cover; the ramifications to specialties as diverse as trucking to consumer-goods packaging (the FSMA requires more traceability of food products so sickness can be tracked to its origin) are huge.
The act is enormous and its implementation is labyrinthine; I’ve yet to find a decent road map or primer we can consult.  But you can glean a bit of the scope of the act’s reach by checking out the comments on the various rules proposed as part of the implementation; from those that would control how waste grain is transported from breweries to dairy-cow manger, to the packaging and shipping of pet foods (which will be held to far more stringent standards).  You can visit to check out the comments; type “food safety modernization act” or FSMA into the search engine.  Check with any trade groups related to your beats, as well, about the FSMA issues that concern them the most.

Time for warning on sprouts?
Source :
By Patti Waller (May 22, 2014)
With well over 40 outbreaks linked to sprouts over the last few decades, perhaps it is time for awarning.
As far back as September 1998, the FDA issued a warning against sprouts urging:
children, pregnant women and the elderly should not eat alfalfa sprouts until growers find a way to reduce the risk of a potentially deadly bacteria that infects some sprouts, the Food and Drug Administration said this week. The FDA, which is investigating sprout industry practices, said children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems should avoid eating sprouts. The agency’s statement, issued Monday, repeated similar but little-noticed advice the U.S. Centers for Disease Control gave to doctors and researchers a year ago.
Here is the CDC warning :
Sprouts Not Healthy Food for Everyone
Children, the elderly, and persons whose immune systems are not functioning well should not eat raw sprouts, because current treatments of seeds and sprouts cannot get rid of all bacteria present.
Persons who are at high risk for complications from foodborne illness should probably not eat raw sprouts, according to an article in the current issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s peer-reviewed journal, which tracks new and reemerging infectious diseases worldwide.
Although sprouts are often considered a “health food,” the warm, humid conditions needed for growing sprouts from seeds are also ideal for bacteria to flourish. Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria can grow to high levels without affecting the appearance of the sprouts.
Researchers have treated both seeds and sprouts with heat or washed them in solutions of chlorine, alcohol, and other chemicals. Some of these disinfectants reduced the levels of bacteria, but a potential hazard remained, especially for persons with weak immune systems. High temperatures that would kill the bacteria on the seeds would also keep them from sprouting. Until an effective way is found to prevent illness from sprouts, they should be eaten with caution, if at all.





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Hepatitis A Exposure at Red Robin in Springfield, Missouri
Source :
BLinda Larsen (May 22, 2014)
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is alerting the public about a possible hepatitis A exposure at the Red Robin restaurant at 3720 S. Glenstone Avenue in  Springfield, Missouri. An individual recently diagnosed with the disease worked there while he or she may have been contagious. Officials fear that 5,000 people may have been exposed to the virus.
VaccineAnyone who ate at the restaurant from May 8 to May 16, 2014 may have been exposed. A hepatitis A vaccination or an immune globulin vaccination within two weeks of exposure can prevent the disease. Today is two weeks from the first possible exposure date, so it’s critical that those who visited the restaurant on May 8, 2014 get a vaccination today.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause an illness that can be mild or severe. Some people can be sick for months, and anyone with a pre-existing liver condition can become seriously ill. The virus is easily transmissible from person to person in a food service environment.
The Health Department has set up a vaccination clinic at Remington’s at 1655 W. Republic Road today, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Vaccinations will also be offered tomorrow, May 23, 2014 from 7:00 am to noon. Mercy will offer vaccines at the Smith Glynn Callaway Clinic at 3231 S. National on May 24 – 26 from noon to 4:00 pm.
A hotline is also available for anyone with questions: 417-829-6200. It will be staffed May 22, 2014 from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, and May 23, 2014 from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, and jaundice. If you have been vaccinated against hepatitis A or have had the disease, you are most likely protected. Contact your doctor if you have questions about this, or you can read a FAQ the county has set up.

Picnic Without Food Poisoning This Summer
Source :
By Candy Sagon, AARP (May 21, 2014)
9 simple strategies to keep food safe and everyone healthy
En español l Haul out the coolers and picnic baskets, fire up the grill, and — most importantly — refresh your food safety know-how as the summer cookout season gets underway.
No matter what kind of get-together you're having, remember that food-borne bacteria thrive in warm weather. Make sure you prepare, cook and store food correctly to keep everyone healthy and safe.
It's not as easy as it sounds. More than 100 people attending a recent Food Safety Summit of 1,300 experts in Baltimore reported they got sick with suspected food poisoning about 12 hours after a meal, according to Maryland health officials. No one was hospitalized — and the media had a field day with the irony of the outbreak — but many suffered symptoms including diarrhea and nausea.
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The best way to protect yourself and your guests, says former caterer Jeff Nelken, a food safety consultant based in Woodland Hills, Calif., is to follow these simple rules and tips:
1. Wash your hands
"I can't stress this enough," says Nelken. Wash with warm water and soap before and after handling food and, of course, after using the bathroom.
2. Keep raw foods and their juices away from cooked foods
Never put cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw food. Use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables, and wash the boards thoroughly after each use. "And don't forget the tongs you use to put your raw meat on the grill," Nelken adds. "Never use the same ones to turn or remove the cooked meat."
3. Never thaw food at room temperature, such as on the counter top
There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
4. Think small bowls, not big ones
Instead of putting out a big bowl of potato salad or some other perishable food that can get too warm, divide it up into smaller serving bowls, Nelken suggests. Serve one bowl and keep the others refrigerated until the first one is empty. Then replace it — "don't refill it!" — with a chilled one, he says.
5. Ice down food transported by car
Your car heats up like an oven, so be sure you have plenty of ice, cold packs and insulated containers if you're traveling with food. Cars can get up to 120 degrees in 10 to 15 minutes on hot days," which, unfortunately, is too warm for cold food and not warm enough to keep hot food safe, Nelken says. According to the USDA, cold foods such as egg salad or tuna salad should be kept at 40 F with ice or frozen gel packs until serving time. Hot foods should be kept at 140 F or above. Store them in an insulated container until serving.

Salmonella on Frozen Feeder Rodents Sold at PetSmart Sickens 37 People
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 21, 2014)
Salmonella on frozen rodents used as food for snakes and other pets has sickened 37 people in 18 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Five people have been hospitalized.
Salmonella on frozen rodents has sickened37 peopleHealth officials have identified the source of the tainted rodents as Reptile Industries, Inc. of Naples Fla.  The company has not issued a recall. The contaminated product, Arctic Mice brand frozen rodents, were sold at PetSmart stores nationwide.
By state the case counts for the outbreak, which has been ongoing since January, is as follows: Alabama (1), Arizona (2), California (7), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (1), Michigan (2), Minnesota (1), Missouri (2), Montana (3), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (4), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (3), South Dakota (1), and Texas (1).
Contact a Salmonella LawyerThe case patients range in age from less than 1 year old to 69 years old. The median age is 21. Fifty-nine percent of those sickened  are female.
Consumers who have this product should throw it away in a sealed container so that animals and humans do not come in contact with it. Anyone who has purchased the product and is experiencing symptoms of Salmonella poisoning which include abdominal cramps, fever and diarrhea should contact a doctor.


Jimmy John’s Sproutbreak: E.coli on Sprouts Sickens 10 in WA, ID
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 21, 2014)
Clover sprouts are the source of an E.coli outbreak at Jimmy John'sRaw clover sprouts on Jimmy John’s and other fast food sandwiches are the likely source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 10 people in Washington and Idaho, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Seven people have confirmed cases of E. coli O121 poisoning and three have probable cases. Five people have been hospitalized.
Health officials are warning consumers not to eat raw clover sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho. They were distributed to restaurants and grocery stores in the northwest.  “If you have these products at home, you should throw them out.,” said Washington State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy.
Free E coli Case ReviewIn Washington, the sprouts were served on sandwiches at Jimmy John’s locations in King and Spokane counties and two Pita Pit locations in Spokane County. In Idaho, they were served at a Daanen’s Deli and a Jimmy John’s in Kootenai County. All of the restaurants have voluntarily suspended serving sprouts.
In Washington, there have been five cases were reported in Spokane County and two in King County. In Idaho, three illnesses have been reported in Kootenai County. Health authorities say initial investigations indicate there is a strong link between the illnesses and the raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen.
Like E. coli O157:H7,  E. coli O121 produces a Shiga toxin that causes severe illness that can be fatal. Symptoms of E. coli poisoning include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting.
Because they need warm, humid conditions to grow, sprouts are a good breeding ground for bacteria and a known to cause food poisoning outbreaks, or “sproutbreaks.” Jimmy John’s has been linked to several sproutbreaks.

China’s Food Safety Problems Go Deeper Than Pet Treats
Source :
By Bryan Walsh (May 21, 2014)
Pet food retailers in the U.S. are pulling Chinese-made dog and cat treats from their shelves out of contamination fears
PETCO became the first national pet food store to halt the sale of Chinese-made treats this week, due to concerns over contamination—but it won’t be the last.
Already the rival retailer PetSmart has announced that it will follow suit in taking Chinese pet treats off its store shelves. Over 1,000 dog deaths have been linked to problems with the imported jerky treats, but this problem goes back years. The Food and Drug Administration has been investigating thousands of reports of pet illnesses linked to jerky treats going back to 2007, most of which involve Chinese products, though there’s been a spike since last October.
It’s still not clear exactly how the treats may be contaminated, or exactly how the products may be hurting the dogs and other pets that eat them. But this is hardly the first time that tainted Chinese-made food products have made the news. There was a massive pet food recall in 2007 that implicated Chinese producers, and there were worried that those ingredients could have made it into the human food supply. There have also been concerns about lead paint on Chinese-made toys exported to the U.S.
But any worries about contamination in Chinese exports pales compared to the danger that homegrown Chinese food poses to the country’s own citizens. Food safety scandals are rampant, and by some estimates as much as one fifth of the country’s soil is contaminated. Chinese who can afford it buy imported food whenever possible—and those who can’t just hope they’re lucky. Tainted pet food may get the headlines in the U.S., but food safety is far worse—for animals and people—in China itself.

Experts: Charges show government serious on food safety
Source :
By Christopher Doering, (May 22, 2014)
Charges filed Wednesday against two executives and their Iowa company, Quality Egg LLC, are the latest to rock the food industry, which has come under increasing scrutiny because of concerns about food safety.
The charges against Austin "Jack" DeCoster and his son Peter DeCoster, along with their company, come on the heels of criminal charges by federal regulators against two Colorado cantaloupe farmers tied to a listeria outbreak in 2011 and officials and the owner of a peanut processing plant in Georgia that was linked to a deadly salmonella outbreak four years ago.
"I can't tell you how much this is having an impact on the food industry," said Bill Marler, a managing partner with Seattle-based Marler Clark, which began litigating foodborne illness cases more than 20 years ago. "These charges have been a huge topic of conversation at every conference I've gone to over the last couple years. People are paying attention to this and hopefully they will learn to avoid it."
Marler, who represented nearly 100 people from the DeCoster outbreak, said the push to prosecute during the last year and a half comes after 20 years in which there were no charges. "It shows a level of aggressiveness on the part of the U.S. attorney's office, which I think is frankly long overdue," he said.
The DeCosters' farms produced salmonella-tainted eggs that sickened an estimated 1,900 people and led to a recall of 550 million eggs. Federal inspectors uncovered filthy conditions at the farms, including dead rodents and piles of manure. The founder of the DeCoster farms, Jack DeCoster, had a long record of environmental problems and violations of immigration laws and worker rights.
Chad Gregory, president and CEO of United Egg Producers, whose members are responsible for approximately 90 percent of total U.S. egg production, said in a statement that its farmers "have a long history of taking proactive measures to establish industry guidelines to support efforts towards ensuring a safe egg supply for U.S. consumers. They remain committed to partnering with regulators, academia and consumers to continue these efforts."
Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said that while the charges in the Iowa egg case have taken awhile to be filed, it will serve as a wake-up call for food producers that they can't cut corners when it comes to food safety.
"Even though it may be justice delayed, the fact they are moving forward on the case is a good sign and will remind food producers of their obligations to ensure that whatever they produce is safe for consumers," she said.

Petco to End Sales of Pet Treats from China
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 21, 2014)
At least 1,000 dogs have died from treats made in China. Petco will no longer carry dog and cat treats made in China after the end of this year, the company announced yesterday. The decision, which was prompted by continuing reports of illness associated with the products, makes Petco the first national pet specialty retailer to end sales of the problem treats
Since 2007, at least 5,600 dogs illnesses and 1,ooo dog deaths have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as of May 1, 2014. The chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats have also sickened 24 cats, and three people.
“We know some pet parents are wary of dog and cat treats made in China, especially Chicken Jerky products, and we’ve heard their concerns,” said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. “As a leader in the industry and the trusted partner for our pet parents, we’re eager to make this transition and to expand our assortment of safe and healthy treats, the majority of which are made right here in the U.S. Very simply, we feel this decision is in the best interest of the pets we all love and, ultimately, for our business.”
Health officials are not certain what it is about the treats that causes illness in pets. After seven years, the FDA has been unable to identify a direct link between illnesses an the products. But there is some association.
“We know the FDA hasn’t yet identified a direct cause for the reported illnesses, but we decided the uncertainty of the situation outweighs the lack of actual proof. It has taken some time and careful thought to get to this point, but we’re proud to make the change and we believe our customers will be pleased with it as well.” Petco customers will still have a big selection of USA-made products as well as products from New Zealand, Australia and South America.

Michigan E. coli Outbreak Warning for Memorial Day Grillers
Source :
By Linda Larsen (May 21, 2014)
The ongoing E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened at least 11 people and hospitalized 6 associated with undercooked hamburgers served at restaurants serves as a warning to consumers who are going to grill this Memorial Day weekend. That outbreak, linked to 1.8 million pounds of recalled ground beef sold by Wolverine Packing Company of Detroit, has sickened people in Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, and Massachusetts.
Memorial Day is traditionally the start of the grilling season. The FDA has tips on how to grill safely, especially during summer holidays. You can protect your family by following some simple rules. Remember, raw meats that are in your home should be treated as if it is contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, because much of it is, according to research.
Make sure you marinate foods in the refrigerator, never on the counter or outdoors. In addition, cook marinades thoroughly if you plan to serve them as a sauce. Never partially cook meats and hold for later cooking.
Most importantly, always cook food thoroughly. Any ground meat should be cooked to a final internal temperature of 160°F, tested with a reliable food thermometer. Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness. The food should rest for 5 minutes before serving, to let juices redistribute and to let the temperature rise a bit more.
Don’t reuse platters or utensils that were in contact with raw meat. Wash them thoroughly before you place cooked items on them. Prevent cross-contamination and keep uncooked meats and eggs away from foods that will be served uncooked, such as fresh produce and salads.
Make sure that you serve hot food hot and cold food cold. All perishable foods should be discarded after they have been out of refrigeration for 2 hours; 1 hour if the ambient air temperature is about 90°F. Keep foods out of the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F, since bacteria grow and thrive at those temperatures.
Free E coli Case ReviewAnd when you are eating out, never eat rare or undercooked ground meat. Tell the waiter you want your burgers cooked to 160°F, and cut into the burger before you eat it. If you see any pink, send it back to the kitchen to be properly heated. E. coli O1578:H7 infections can cause serious illness, including hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to the loss of kidney function, strokes, heart attacks, and other serious conditions.

Solving An E. coli Outbreak, What Did You Eat This Week?
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (May 20, 2014)
Solving an E.coli outbreakAn E. coli outbreak linked to undercooked burgers at restaurants in four states has sickened at least 11 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As health officials try to determine which cases may be part of the outbreak, they’ll be asking those who became ill to remember what they ate during the past week.
E.coli symptoms, which include diarrhea that is sometimes bloody and abdominal cramping, usually take about three days after exposure to develop but can take as long as eight days. Many people tend to think that the thing that made them sick was the last thing they ate before they started having symptoms, but that’s often not the case.
Outbreak investigations have two parts, identifying all of the people who are part of the outbreak and determining the source. Bacteria strains have their own genetic fingerprint, so the E. coli strain in this outbreak has a different fingerprint than the E.coli strain that caused the Trader Joe’s/Glass Onion  salad outbreak or the Federico’s outbreak which both happened last fall.
A lab test called a pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) performed on a stool sample identifies the bacterial fingerprint. Health departments in different states can post and view these fingerprint images on a special network to see which cases are a match. That’s how they’ve determined the 11 cases identified so far in this outbreak. If you want to know if you’re illness is part of an outbreak, you have to submit a stool sample for testing.
The second piece of the investigation is the identifying the source. This is accomplished by interviewing those who became ill and having them complete a detailed food history. Foods that are repeatedly identified are potential sources. In this outbreak, rare hamburgers served at different restaurants were identified by all 11 people. This suggested that the meat was contaminated when it arrived at the restaurants. Authorities then did traceback investigation to discover if there was a common supplier. In this case, the answer was yes, Wolverine Packing Company of Detroit which yesterday issued a recall for 1.8 million pounds of meat that was distributed nationwide.
Given the size and scope of the recall it’s likely that more illnesses will be reported. And, because the recall was not issued until yesterday, some people who ate contaminated beef may not be sick until next week. If you have symptoms, see a doctor and mention your possible exposure to E.coli as antibiotic treatment makes E.coli infections worse.

CFS Report Warns of Food Safety Problems with TTIP
Source :
By Linda Larsen (May 19, 2014)
The Center for Food Safety (CFS) released a report last week looking at the potential food safety effects of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), currently being negotiated by the U.S. and the European Union. The report, titled “Trade Matters” calls the trade agreement “highly undemocratic and non-transparent.”
Container Ship Food ImportsTTIP follows the trade agreement models of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), which focus on trade barriers. Those “barriers” are actually health and environmental standards that safeguard the citizens of each country. CFS states that “many analysis believe that a central aim of the negotiations is to dismantle many food safety regulations that corporations view as impediments to trade and profit making.”
The partners negotiating this trade agreement have different approaches to food safety standards. The U.S. has a “risk assessment” approach linked to cost-benefit analysis. The EU uses the “precautionary principle”, which means “better safe than sorry.” CFS claims that the EU has higher food safety standards than the U.S. And unfortunately, U.S. businesses do not like the precautionary principle. For instance, EU has banned neonicotinoid insecticides that are tied to bee colony collapse, whereas the U.S. government is still studying the issue, despite evidence that the pesticide and bee deaths are linked. Neonicotinoids are the biggest selling class of pesticides worldwide.
In another example, EU’s Food Safety Authority (EFSA) rejected artificial hormone-injected beef in the 1980s, even though only a few studies indicate potential risk to humans at that time. In 1999, EFSA thoroughly reviewed the six artificial hormones that were banned and enforced their opinion that those residues are a risk to human health. One of the hormones is a “complete carcinogen,” according to their report.
In addition, these trade agreements seek “harmonization”, which reduces safeguards and prevents governments from setting safety standards that are more rigorous than the agreement. This can completely change a country’s food safety standards by “relying on regulatory and inspection systems of foreign governments.” The USDA’s recent decision to allow chicken processed in China into the U.S. comes to mind.
For instance, if this agreement is signed, the EU may be forced to authorize and accept GMO crops, lower labeling requirements for GMO foods, accept U.S. poultry that is chemically washed to hide Salmonella levels, and lower or eliminate animal welfare standards. The U.S. may be forced to relax standards of feed ingredients that include materials known to transmit mad cow disease, eliminate the U.S. zero-tolerance policy for Listeria and E. coli in certain foods, and recognize European milk standards as equivalent to U.S. Grade A standard.
CFS states that instead of limiting safeguards, trade agreements such as TTIP should set minimum safety standards that the signing countries must meet, and then let governments go beyond those standards. They also want the negotiating process to be transparent, so interested parties can be part of the process and help set standards in the agreement.



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05/27. Food Safety & QA Vice President – Los Angeles, CA
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