Food safety: send guests home with nothing but good memories
Source : http://www.minnesotafarmguide.com/news/regional/food-safety-send-guests-home-with-nothing-but-good-memories/article_f9240b4c-e772-11e3-8357-001a4bcf887a.html
By minnesotafarmguide.com (May 31, 2014)
As warm weather and signature events draw us outdoors for social gatherings, a few quick reminders from the University of Minnesota Extension food safety team can help keep gatherings safe.
Warm temperatures create ideal conditions for bacteria to grow in food - a process that accelerates at a rate befitting a sci-fi tale. The results can range from highly unpleasant to life-threatening.
"Bacteria doubles every 20 minutes. You quickly get to the point where bacteria are out of control and likely to cause foodborne illness" says Katherine Brandt, Extension food safety educator. "Potato salad gets the bad rap when it comes to summer and food safety. Actually, any food item can put us at risk if it is not handled properly."
With graduations, cookouts and other festivities kicking into high gear, these steps can help ensure guests' safety:
-- Wash, wash, wash. Always wash hands and food contact surfaces with hot soapy water before and after working with food.
-- Keep ready-to-eat foods - cooked items, fruits, vegetables - separate from raw meat and poultry. Use a clean plate and utensils when removing cooked foods from the grill.
-- Use a food thermometer to be sure meat is cooked to a safe internal temperature. For cuts such as steaks and chops of beef, pork, veal or lamb, 145 degrees is required (with a three-minute rest time). Ground meat must be at 160 degrees. For all poultry, 165 degrees is necessary for safety.
-- Don't let perishable foods sit out for more than two hours - and only one hour when the temperature is 90 degrees and higher.
-- Keep cold food on ice. Serve it throughout the gathering from smaller platters that are kept in the refrigerator. Use heated serving containers for hot foods, which must be 140 degrees or above to prevent bacteria growth.
"When you're hosting a gathering, don't be afraid to ask for help. Have a designated person be in charge of replenishing the table with the smaller bowls of perishable foods," Brandt says. "It's a great way to both keep food safe and allow hosts to visit with their guests."
Visit Extension online for a wide array of information to help ensure food safety.
Russian Food Safety Watchdog Stops Imports of U.S. Pigs
Source : http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/russian-food-safety-watchdog-stops-imports-of-us-pigs/501184.html
By themoscowtimes.com (May 30, 2014)
Russia has said it is suspending pig imports from the U.S. due to concerns about outbreaks of the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv.
The suspension takes effect on Friday, Russian state agricultural oversight agency Rosselkhoznadnor said in a statement.
"This disease is spreading over more and more territory of various countries including the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Japan," the agency said, adding it was concerned about the continued worsening of the situation in the United States.
A farm in the state of Indiana became the first to confirm publicly it suffered a second PEDv outbreak, fueling concerns the disease that has wiped out 10 percent of the U.S. hog population would be harder to contain than had been expected.
The Russian agency said it was halting imports "with the aim of preventing the disease from being brought into Russia." Russia normally receives substantial supplies of live pigs from the U.S., according to the agency.
It said U.S. pigs designated for export to Russia before Friday would be quarantined and tested in Russia.
The top importers of live pigs from the U.S. are China, Mexico and Russia, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the virus poses no risk to human health and is not a food safety issue.
Continuing Russian Ban on U.S. Pork Imports Costs Producers Millions of Dollars
Balance concession food safety, needs of boosters
Source : http://barfblog.com/2014/06/balance-concession-food-safety-needs-of-boosters/
By Doug Powell (June 1, 2014)
Whether it’s called a fundraiser, a BBQ, or, in Australia, a sausage sizzle, what is the best way to balance the wishes of well-meaning volunteers with the realities of microbial food safety?
With five daughters, I’ve been to hundreds of these things over the years and seen some terrible food safety practices, even at swanky corporate events. Whenever I can, I volunteer to help with the cooking and pre-planning. But I’m not going to have much impact, one sausage sizzle at a time. And if I mention anything, other parents get defensive and think I’m an asshole (they may be right).
Michigan’s Lansing State Journal has some decent recommendations, writing that curtailing concessions likely means reducing revenue that boosters raise to help defray costs of equipment, uniforms and, in some cases, pay-to-participate fees for needy students. Yet, how could anyone support looking the other way if food isn’t being handled and prepared safely?
Ingham County officials acknowledged in a recent LSJ report that they had been lenient in enforcing safe food handling requirements at school athletic concessions.
Yet while improving enforcement, they observed such unsafe practices as not tracking the freshness date on raw ground beef. They found well-meaning boosters were cooking food such as chili at home and bringing it to athletic venues for sale. They found food being prepared in locations with no hand-washing equipment, even though portable sinks exist for just such circumstances.
Cracking down on volunteers who are trying to support student activities may seem harsh, but basic food safety measures such as hand-washing rules and keeping both raw and cooked foods at safe temperatures simply must be followed. For the sake of public health, these things can’t be optional.
Booster groups are volunteer efforts, but don’t face more demanding responsibilities. County officials began requiring licensing on May 1. Those who aren’t licensed can use pre-packaged items. That’s reasonable.
Booster concessions are an effective source of revenue. In some districts, $20,000 or more worth of food and drinks are sold each year.
In Australia, Food Safety Standards include requirements for the handling, storage, transport and display of food. The Standards are in the process of being adopted by each State and Territory and, when adopted, will specify requirements that are consistent across Australia for the first time. A copy of the Food Safety Standards is available from the FSANZ website at www.foodstandards.gov.au and may also be available from local council or health authority.
This definition of a food business includes all food activities involved in fundraising, including preparation of the food before it is sold. The definition of sale covers fundraising activities. Food has been sold even if you just ask for a donation.
Good intentions and safety can co-exist.
Short course - Advanced Food Microbiology Course
Title: Control Methods to Kill Pathogens and Spoilage
Microorganisms in Food
1, 2014 (Las Vegas, NV)
for more information
Street vendors vexed by food safety regulations
Source : http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/society/102870/street-vendors-vexed-by-food-safety-regulations.html
By vietnamnet.vn (June 1, 2014)
VietNamNet Bridge – Though Nguyen Thi Hoa – owner of a shop – selling creme caramel, yogurt and sponge cakes in Ha Noi's Cau Giay District-has not received training in food hygiene, she was given a food hygiene certificate three years ago.
As the shop has many frequent customers, its products are quickly sold out as soon as they are produced, exempting Hoa from date labelling on her pre-packaged food.
"I am busy, so I have not attended any training in food hygiene, neither did many shop owners living in my neighbourhood," Hoa said.
Like Hoa, other street vendors and shop owners selling sticky rice, pork and pate sandwich and pho (Vietnamese soup made of rice noodles and thin slices of beef or chicken) in her neighbourhood were often invited to attend training classes on food hygiene and safety.
Yet, they raised doubts over whether the training brings about any effective results.
"What is important is whether the attenders can gain complete knowledge about food hygiene and safety during the course," Hoa queried, citing the case of a shop owner selling pho next to her house, who gained almost nothing but was required to pay VND200,000 (US$9.5) at the end of a training session.
"The shop owner told me that she no longer wanted to join the training although she was called several times thereafter," Hoa added.
Under a newly issued circular providing guidelines for attending sessions and taking up examinations on food hygiene and safety, food shop owners, food producers and traders must undergo an examination in food safety before they are given food hygiene and safety certificates.
This regulation will come to effect on 26 May.
Although a punitive sanction has not yet been issued to make the circular effective, food producers and traders will be punished after 26 May if they have not obtained the certificate, said Food Hygiene and Safety Department Director Tran Quang Trung.
He pointed out that many farmers are not trained in proper farming methods. Thus, they do not know when they should start harvesting their crops after spraying insecticide.
Some farmers tend to harvest one day after spraying insecticide on their crops, causing food poisoning, he added.
On the one hand, Trung is optimistic about the positive outcome of training and guiding food business operators, food producers and traders on food hygiene and safety.
"Through proper guidance about regulations on food safety and hygiene, they will be able to prepare and sell hygienic food," he remarked.
On the other hand, Trung admitted that it is very difficult to ensure that 100 per cent of the food producers and traders will take up examinations to obtain food hygiene and safety certificates.
"We have set a target to assist 70-80 per cent in obtaining food certificates, though it is harder still to ensure high training efficiency as many trainees are street vendors," Trung added.
As planned, local authorities in the precincts and communes nationwide will invite food shop owners and food producers to attend training classes on food hygiene and safety.
For the large shops and restaurants employing a considerable number of staff, Trung said lecturers will visit these places to provide guidance on food safety and issue a common food safety certificate in recognition of their collective participation.
"The above-mentioned method is being applied in the United States and many other countries. In addition, these lecturers are able to answer queries about food safety and certify for qualified businesses online. Viet Nam has not yet been able to do so, but we will apply this method in the future," Trung claimed.
The Law on Food Hygiene and Safety regulates that the ministries of Health, Industry and Trade, Agriculture and Rural Development are in charge of food control.
This has resulted in an overlap among ministries in managing food products. Though the item is a liquor product, the Ministry of Health takes responsibility to grant production licenses for businesses trading in tonic wine while the Ministry of Industry and Trade manage liquor and beer in general.
Similarly, the Ministry of Health oversees micronutrient-supplemented milk products, whereas the Ministry of Industry and Trade is in charge of residual number of milk products.
Issuance of Circular 13/2014, meanwhile, is hailed as being able to clearly devolve responsibility upon certain authoritative office to manage a certain product and its production establishment, contributing to avoid overlap in management and cross-check between ministries at different levels.
Implementing the regulations is still considered insufficient, however.
According to the director of Research and Training Centre for Community Development, Tran Tuan, it is important to have a standard model to safely control food products. But no model of safety remains in Viet Nam.
He cited an example of what the definition of a clean and safe bun cha (grilled pork with rice vermicelli) shop is, which can be set as a base by owners of grilled pork shops to run their business.
"It is difficult to execute a general guidance when food producers and traders have a limited knowledge of food safety. Additionally, food hygiene is a diversified issue," Tuan stated.
He also raised concern over the ability of local authorities in communes and districts in executing food safety programmes and recommending to pilot the grant of certificates to food producers and traders in some areas before expanding it to a large scale.
"Food quality in many supermarkets remains unstable although all their products are labelled and attached with receipts. When we are unable to fix such a small issue, how are we going to overcome bigger issues," Tuan noted.
Doctor Nguyen Son of the Institute of World Economics and Politics said that it is unfeasible to certify several tens of thousands of street vendors with food safety certificates, though he agreed that food businesses need to be armed with knowledge of safety.
"We had better consider whether we have enough abilities to implement regulation on all food producers and traders. If not, it is possible to distribute leaflets and documents on food safety rather than asking people to pay and register for examinations to obtain food safety certificates," Son pointed out.
CSPI Sues USDA over Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Again
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/cspi-sues-usda-over-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria-again/
By Linda Larsen (May 29, 2014)
A lawsuit filed today by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) charges that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is not protecting the public from dangerous antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella in poultry an ground meat. The nonprofit wants the court to force the government to respond to a three-year-old regulatory petition CSPI filed to classify antibitoic-resistant Salmoenlla strains as adulterants.
Salmonella bacteriaThe huge Foster Farms chicken Salmonella outbreak is just one such example of this problem. Seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have sickened 574 people in the last year. That actually means that more than 17,000 people have been sickened by that contaminated chicken, using the multiplier for Salmonella, which is 30.3. Furthermore, four of those seven strains are antibioitc-resistant, which helps explain the high hospitalization rate in that outbreak: almost 40%, which is double the usual rate.
CSPI named four strains of Salmonella in its petition: Heidelberg, Newport, Hadar, and Typhimurium, that have caused dozens of outbreaks linked to raw meats and leafy greens. The Foster Farms outbreak is the second one linked to their chicken; the total number sickened by that company’s products is 650 (19,695 with the multiplier).
Contact a Salmonella Lawyer - Free Case EvaluationSecretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack apologized to CSPI almost a year ago, saying that the agency’s review of the issue is continuing. Ten months later, nothing has been done.
CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal said in a statement, “USDA takes action only after people start becoming ill from these life-threatening antibiotic-resistant superbugs. It is time for USDA to declare these dangerous resistant strains as adulterants and then require industry to conduct aggressive testing to keep meat and poultry contaminated with these strains out of the food supply, as it does with products contaminated with dangerous strains of E. coli.”
If antibiotic-resistant Salmonella is classified as a legal adulterant, there may be a recall of Foster Farms chicken. No recall has been issued by the company or forced by the government, despite the huge numbers of ill persons.
Researchers Fight STEC E. coli on Beef
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/researchers-fight-stec-e-coli-on-beef/
By Linda Larsen (May 29, 2014)
Researchers from the department of animal science at Texas A&M Univeristy and Texas A&M AgriLife Research are focusing on ways to inhibit the growth of STEC E. coli on beef. The Shiga-toxin E. coli bacteria cause 230,000 cases of illness every year in the U.S., when beef is not handled properly and is not cooked to a minimum temperature of 160°F.
E. coli in ground beefThat beef, when it is not cooked properly or deliberately undercooked, also causes more than 2,000 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) every year, a life-threatening complication of a STEC infection that can lead to kidney failure and death. Such is the case with the ongoing E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Missouri, where undercooked hamburger is linked with the illness of 11 people, six of whom have been hospitalized. That outbreak has triggered the recall of 900 tons of ground beef products made by Wolverine Packing Company.
The research is based on data from the CDC and is focusing on the use of fermentative microorganisms to produce natural antimicrobial compounds that inhibit the growth of STEC bacteria. Lactic acid is made by the helpful bacteria, which kills the E. coli bacteria.
Free E coli Case ReviewResearchers are also looking at essential plant oils such as clove and oregano to inhibit the growth of STEC on ground beef. Those oils are considered safe by the government, and may be very helpful during beef transportation and at the retail level.
The scientists are going to present their findings at the 2014 Governor’s Conference/STEC CAP on May 27 – 29, 2014. The research, along with research at 14 other universities, is funded by a five year, $25 million grant from the USDA.
Insurer Maryland Casualty Tries to Wiggle Out of Responsibility in Hepatitis A Litigation
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/insurer-maryland-casualty-tries-to-wiggle-out-of-responsibility-in-hepatitis-a-litigation/#.U4vU2k1Zrs1
By Bill Marler (May 28, 2014)
Yet another reason to hate insurance companies.
Law360 reports that Maryland Casualty Co. has asked a Pennsylvania federal court Friday to limit its liability to $2 million for its insured’s, Fallon Trading Co.’s, role in brokering a shipment of pomegranate seeds from Untied Juice/ GoKnur from Turkey that sickened 162 consumers with hepatitis A and caused at least 25,000 to seek preventative vaccines. Fallon sold the seeds to Purely Pomegranate, which then sold them to Townsend Farms Corp., which sold them to Costco.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July identified GoKnur’s pomegranate seeds as the most likely source of last year’s hepatitis A outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found at least 162 people from 10 states became ill from the infected seeds. The FDA and the CDC announced the outbreak in late May 2013, linking it to a frozen fruit blend made by the Oregon berry grower Townsend Farms Corp. Another Oregon company, Scenic Fruit Co., recalled its frozen organic pomegranate kernels after the agencies found they may be contaminated with hepatitis A. Pomegranate seeds from Goknur were the only ingredient common to all of the recalled products, according to the FDA.
Maryland Casualty is seeking a declaratory judgment that despite a $4 million aggregate limit in its policy, it is required to indemnify Fallon for only $2 million because of a cap on occurrence liability. Maryland Casualty argues that even though there are thousands of claims, they all stem from one accident.
Food safety officials conduct raids across Kerala
Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Thiruvananthapuram/Food-safety-officials-conduct-raids-across-Kerala/articleshow/35660203.cms
By TNN (May 28, 2014)
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: On the second day of state food safety week food safety enforcement wing conducted raids in hotels and fruit stalls across the state. Food safety officials have conducted raids in as many as 28 restaurants, eight bakeries and seven fruit stalls across the state. The department sent six mango samples, 13 samples of oil, two samples of milk and two samples of vegetable to the government analytical labs to conduct tests.
A statement issued by the department said it settled 30 of the 36 complaints received from public on Tuesday. The remaining six will be settled in the coming days, it added.
A day after chief minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated the food safety week, inauguration drives were held in Kollam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad, Kannur, Kasargode districts on Tuesday.
Food safety awareness classes were held at Wayanad, Kannur, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kozhikode. Classes will be held in other districts in the coming days.
Foster Farms: We’re Making Progress In Salmonella Reduction
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/foster-farms-were-making-progress-in-salmonella-reduction/
By Carla Gillespie (May 28, 2014)
Foster Farms says that despite recent growth in a Salmonella outbreak linked to its chicken, the company has made steady progress in reducing levels of the bacteria at each stage of production. Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that with 50 new cases of salmonellosis reported since the last update on April 9, the 27-state outbreak, which began in March 2013, now includes 574 people.
Contact a Salmonella Lawyer - Free Case EvaluationIn response to the USDA’s October 2013 threats to close the plants associated with the outbreak, Foster Farms says it has developed “a multiple-hurdle approach to reduce or eliminate Salmonella at each stage of production – from screening breeder flocks before entering the Foster Farms system, to enhancing procedures on the farms where the birds are raised, to adding sanitation interventions in the plants where the chicken is processed as a whole bird and when it is cut into parts. As a result, the company continues to make steady progress that has effectively reduced Salmonella at the parts level to less than 10 percent – well below the 2011/2012 USDA-measured industry benchmark of 25 percent. With each set of sampling, Foster Farms has demonstrated a significant improvement in Salmonella control,” according to statement on the company’s website.
Salmonella on Foster Farms chicken has sickened hundredsThe statement concludes with a reminder that Salmonella increases during warmer months and consumers should follow proper food safety guidelines when handling it. Those measure would include storing packages of chicken on a plate on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator so blood and juices from the chicken cannot contaminate other foods; using a dedicated set of cutting boards and utensils for the raw chicken that is not used for anything else until it washed with hot soapy water, immediately cleaning up any drips or spills from the raw chicken with hot soapy water; and using a food thermometer to make sure the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165¢ªF. Color of the meat or juices is not an accurate indicator of proper cooking.
Project seeks to improve farmers market food safety
Source : http://www.thegrower.com/news/Project-seeks-to-improve-farmers-market-food-safety-260959271.html#sthash.MyP2AGKa.dpuf
By Vicky Boyd (May 28, 2014)
Researchers hope to enlist smartphones, tablets and the Web to help farmers market vendors and managers improve food safety. The three-year product, supported by a $414,185 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and being led by the University of Arkansas, is designed to do just that. - See more at: http://www.thegrower.com/news/Project-seeks-to-improve-farmers-market-food-safety-260959271.html#sthash.MyP2AGKa.dpuf
“The end goal of this study is to equip vendors and market managers with both scientifically-based and practical educational material that will reduce the likelihood of a foodborne illness outbreak,” Kristen Gibson, assistant professor of food science, said in a press release. Arkansas has about 50 farmers markets. Through Web-based networks, the group's educational materials can be available to more than 60,000 farmers who sell in 7,100 markets nationwide. Also involved in the study are co-project directors Sujata Sirsat and Jack Neal, both on the hotel and restaurant management faculty at the University of Houston; and project collaborator Daniel Henroid, director of nutrition and food services at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center. The group will conduct online focus group surveys of farmers market vendors and managers nationwide to identify current food safety practices. The survey also will ask about the training materials they use. Consumers in Texas and Arkansas also will be queried online and in person at farmers market to determine their perception of the safety of produce sold there. In addition, the researchers will examine the configuration of vendor booths to see if they could be improved to avoid cross-contamination among products. The group hopes to develop quick-response codes that managers, vendors and consumers can use at the market to call up food safety information about products. Smartphone and tablet applications also will be used to provide information showing users how food safety practices can reduce cross-contamination. - See more at: http://www.thegrower.com/news/Project-seeks-to-improve-farmers-market-food-safety-260959271.html#sthash.MyP2AGKa.dpuf
FSIS Drafting Campylobacter Performance Standards for Chicken Parts
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/05/fsis-drafting-campylobacter-performance-standards-for-chicken-parts/#.U4vWc01Zrs1
By News Desk (May 28, 2014)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is planning to release new safety standards for Campylobacter in poultry, in addition to the Salmonella performance standard already in the works.
Both are expected to be finalized by the end of the current fiscal year.
“The Agency is developing a performance standard for Campylobacter on chicken parts and plans to announce and request comment at the same time as the Salmonella performance standard,” wrote Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Vilsack was responding to their April letter expressing concern over food safety standards and urging USDA to develop better ones that would significantly reduce the levels of Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry.
“FSIS is investigating the appropriateness of Campylobacter performance standards for comminuted poultry,” his letter continued. (“Comminuted” to USDA means any non-breaded, non-battered raw chicken or turkey product that has been ground, mechanically separated, or hand- or mechanically deboned and further chopped, flaked, minced or otherwise processed to reduce particle size.)
In a statement, Feinstein said that “the levels of Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken are too high” and that “Secretary Vilsack made the right decision to accelerate the creation of strong standards for both pathogens.”
A FSIS spokesperson told Food Safety News that the agency “appreciates the support Senators Feinstein, Durbin and Gillibrand have put behind our efforts to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter illnesses, and their urgency in having standards for both pathogens created simultaneously,” adding, “We look forward to announcing the estimated illness reduction from these new standards in September, and more importantly to seeing the number of foodborne illnesses drop once those standards are implemented.”
Do You Know About These New Food Safety Regulations?
Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/steven-burton/food-safety_b_5397790.html
By Steven Burton. (May 27, 2014)
New regulations in the U.S. and Canada are poised to "amp up" enforcement of non-compliant food manufacturers via sweeping new changes to food safety laws.
These new regulations are in response to a series of food poisoning cases linked to tainted grocery products in the U.S. and Canada resulting in numerous fatalities. Here in Canada, enforcement of these laws will be through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) via the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and in the U.S., through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) via two new laws: the Food Safety Enhancement Act and the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
According to Carolyn Bateman, Inspection Manager of the CFIA, "many food processors, are not yet aware of the new food safety regulations that are about to take effect. Under the SFCA all food manufacturers and processors, even small facilities, will require a license from the CFIA if they import or export food across provincial boundaries. These licenses will be issued without reviewing the companies' food safety plan.
Self-policing has proven to be inadequate in the past as some food producers took an overly optimistic view of risk, dismissing (or unaware of) potential hazards to the extent that food safety was compromised. This is why the CFIA feels that external inspections by a regulatory agency are so important.
"CFIA enforcement will be based on harm, history, and intent", explained Bateman. All licensed food companies will be subject to regular inspections with their frequency based on risk. Companies with a poor compliance record will be visited more frequently by the CFIA. Fines will be levied and/or licenses revoked if non-compliances are not corrected.
Canadian consumers will have more access to information as non-compliance incidents will be subject to public disclosure. The CFIA website will post a list of companies that have lost their license as well as past and current food recalls due to pathogens or allergies." This will allow shoppers to make more informed choices concerning the safety of the food products they purchase at the grocery store.
In the U.S., under the Food Safety Enhancement Act, the FDA has been given much broader oversight authority which includes: setting up a mandatory inspection schedule which assigns each manufacturer a risk level that will determine inspection frequency. FDA inspectors are entitled by law to full access to company records and trace the actions of companies. Science-based safety standards and hazard analyses will have to be completed by the companies prior to inspection and will be checked by FDA inspectors. Under the FSMA, the FDA can access records if they suspect contamination that is a danger to human health and have increased enforcement powers such as: seizure, administrative detention, authority to stop the movement of food, and the power to invoke mandatory recalls if a company refuses to do so voluntarily.
These new laws and their associated regulations require a lot more manpower to implement and enforce. Therefore, full implementation will take time but, one thing is clear, food manufacturers, who were once allowed to police themselves, are now going to be kept on a very short leash by regulatory authorities.
77 percent of supermarket deli meats fail food safety standards, study
Source : http://www.foodmag.com.au/news/77-percent-of-supermarket-deli-meats-fail-food-saf
By Aoife Boothroyd (May 27, 2014)
New research from the University of Adelaide has found that hygienic food handling together with standard food safety protocols are not being practiced at many supermarket delicatessens across Adelaide.
Final year veterinary science students obtained 174 samples of various ready-to-eat meats from supermarket delis across the greater Adelaide area and found that 134 of them, (77 percent) contained bacteria levels that failed to meet food standards guidelines.
"Although no recognised food poisoning pathogens such as Escherichia coli or Salmonella species were found on these meats, the high bacterial count suggests that hygiene has been compromised," said Professor Michael Reichel, Professor of Veterinary Public Health in the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.
"Such out-of-control processes are also susceptible to contamination with serious food poisoning organisms."
The products were selected at random with the results finding that sliced salami, fritz and roast pork harboured the highest proportions of unsatisfactory bacterial counts. Ham and chicken meats had lower levels of bacteria, however two thirds of the products tested were still outside the food standards guidelines.
According to professor Reichel, 15.5 percent of samples showed the presence of coliform bacteria and some samples had total bacterial counts of more than 108 or 100 million per gram - representing "overt spoilage".
"The presence of coliform would indicate really poor hygiene such as people not washing their hands after going to the toilet," he says. "These levels of bacterial counts tell us that storage conditions, product handling and turnover should all be investigated."
Reichel says that ready-to-eat deli meats are consumed daily by up to half of Australia's population, and as such need to adhere to standard food safety protocols.
"People have a right to expect that the product they buy on the weekend should last through the following week, not go slimy in a couple of days," he said.
New Zealand strengthens food safety law in wake of botulism scare
Source : http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=220824
By shanghaidaily.com (May 27,2014)
WELLINGTON, May 27 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand legislators unanimously passed a new food safety law on Tuesday, paving the way for a faster response to crises such as the false botulism scare that saw a global recall of dairy products last year.
"The new Food Act will put in place a risk-based approach, where regulatory requirements are based on the extent and nature of the food safety risks associated with particular kinds of businesses," Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said in a statement.
"The Act will focus on the activities that a food business carries out, rather than the premises from which it operates."
Act also contained provisions concerning recall powers and other powers that may be used in a food safety response.
"It was important to bring these provisions in to force as soon as possible so that government could respond to a major food safety event if one arose tomorrow," Kaye said.
The Act would provide New Zealand with a modern, flexible regulatory regime, which would enable food businesses to adapt to future changes in technology, overseas market access requirements, and consumer demands.
"The enactment of the Food Bill will not be the end of the law reform process. After enactment officials will develop regulations and guidance which will undergo a public consultation process," she said.
Earlier this month, the government announced it had begun to investigate how potentially contaminated dairy products were exported abroad in last year's botulism false alarm and global product recall.
The investigation is the final part of the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident involving dairy giant Fonterra in August last year.
The first parts of the inquiry released in December last year resulted in the government accepting all 29 recommendations including a Food Safety Science and Research Center, a Food Safety Assurance Advisory Council, a traceability working group and the Food Bill.
Fonterra pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court last month to four food safety-related charges connected to global recall of whey protein concentrate over the false botulism scare, which happened in August last year.
Food safety begins on the farm; Campylobacter reduction in UK
Source : http://barfblog.com/2014/05/food-safety-begins-on-the-farm-campylobacter-reduction-in-uk/
By Doug Powell (May 27, 2014)
Zoe Kay of Farmers Weekly writes that reducing human infection from campylobacter is the Food Standard Agency’s highest priority – and that means farmers through to supermarkets must play their part.
The reason, according to Javier Dominiguez Orive, deputy veterinary director at the FSA, is simple: Each year in the UK there are 460,000 cases of campylobacter food poisoning, 22,000 hospitalisations and 110 deaths, costing the NHS an estimated £540m.
30913_1The bacteria is endemic in the environment, he adds, and can be caught from pets. But chicken is responsible for 60-80% of all human cases.
“Birds from houses that are thinned are eight times more likely to be colonised at the end of the cycle,” Mary Howell, a senior scientific officer at the FSA told the conference. She pointed to the significant biosecurity risk that thinning presents, as well as the movement of modular crates. While these crates are routinely cleaned, this may not be done at a high enough temperature to kill the campy bug.
In addition to not thinning, Ms Howell also recommended sending evenly sized birds for slaughter by employing sexing and an effective culling-out policy as a way of potentially reducing campylobacter.
Veterinary consultant Jane Downes led a UK-wide on-farm project with the aim of demonstrating that biosecurity can work in controlling campylobacter.
Freshly-slaughtered-pluck-007“It is important for farmers to focus on producing safe food and not just see their chickens as animals.”
While much of the problem of Campylobacter can be traced back to farms, slaughterhouse practices also play a major part.
Cross contamination by carcass washing is one issue and trial work using barbecue dust has investigated the effectiveness of different nozzle types and settings. A web-based tool has since been developed, allowing processors to learn which measures work for them and compare their performance with others.
Norovirus at Waikiki Beach Hotel Sickens About 100 People
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/05/norovirus-at-waikiki-beach-hotel-sickens-about-100-people/#.U4vQC01Zrs1
By News Desk (May 27, 2014)
Health officials have reportedly been supervising disinfection measures at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel at Waikiki Beach on Oahu, where an estimated 100 guests and staff recently came down with norovirus.
The hotel voluntarily closed its kitchens for 72 hours as a precaution even though food wasn’t positively identified as the source.
“We also know that there were multiple ill employees, not just one but multiple ill employees that all did work for a good amount of time in those kitchens, so anyone or probably all of them contaminated surfaces and each one of them could be linked to multiple patrons and guests and such,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.
Reports of stomach pain, nausea and vomiting began Saturday, May 17, although health officials said no new reports of illness had occurred at the hotel since Monday, May 19.
Those sickened received medical attention, and one person was reportedly hospitalized. Hotel spokeswoman Stephanie Dowling noted that was unclear whether that person actually had norovirus.
Norovirus is a highly contagious illness typically lasting from 48 to 72 hours. It can be transmitted by someone who has it, by contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.
Foster Farm’s Salmonella Toll Rises
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/foster-farms-salmonella-toll-rises/#.U4vQRE1Zrs1
By Bill Marler (May 27, 2014)
The CDC reports this evening that another 50 have been added to the Foster Farm’s illness column since April 2014.
Since March 1, 2013, a total of 574 individuals infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 27 states and Puerto Rico. Most of the ill persons (76%) have been reported from California. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (25), California (441), Colorado (9), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Georgia (1), Hawaii (1), Idaho (5), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (4), Missouri (5), Montana (1), North Carolina (1), Nevada (11), New Mexico (2), Oregon (14), Puerto Rico (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (13), Utah (6), Virginia (4), Washington (17), and Wisconsin (1).
37% of ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. Most ill persons (77%) have been reported from California.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections.
The outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. Although these antibiotics are not typically used to treat Salmonella bloodstream infections or other severe Salmonella infections, antibiotic resistance can be associated with increased risk of hospitalization in infected individuals.
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