FoodHACCP Newsletter
09/01 2014 ISSUE:615

State Halts Raw Milk Sales From Idaho Dairy
Source :
By News Desk (Sep 1, 2014)
The sale of raw milk from Treasured Sunrise Acres in Parma, ID, has been put on hold until further notice by the Idaho Department of Agriculture after recently testing positive for Cryptosporidium.
Milk from Treasured Sunrise Acres tested positive for the parasite the week of Aug. 24, according to news reports. Two Canyon County residents who consumed the dairy’s raw goat milk reportedly became ill.
State officials said anyone who purchased raw goat or cow milk from the dairy or any retail outlets selling it on or after Aug. 24 should not consume the milk but should discard it. The milk was apparently sold in stores in Boise, Caldwell, Ketchum and Star.
Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that can cause stomach cramps or pain, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever and weight loss. However, the most common symptom is watery diarrhea, although some people have no symptoms at all. Cryptosporidium can be spread in several ways, but is most often transmitted by drinking and recreational water.
Symptoms of Cryptosporidiosis generally begin two to 10 days (average is seven days) after becoming infected with the parasite and usually last about one to two weeks in people with healthy immune systems.

Listeria Adapts to Survive, Danish Researchers Find
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Sep 1, 2014)
Listeria is often described as rare and deadly.  Now researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have added another word to describe the bacteria: adaptable.
They exposed Listeria to substances normally used to fight it and studies its reaction. They found that Listeria used different strategies to resist antibiotics, bile, salt, acid and ethanol.
“Generally speaking, Listeria must be described as extremely adaptable. It is constantly aware of its surroundings and if the environment changes around it. It reacts instantly and has a number of strategies to withstand threats”, said Associate Professor, Birgitte Kallipolitis, PhD .
To infect cells, Listeria needs to produce certain proteins, but it can’t produce so many that the immune system is triggered. The researchers discovered that when “attacked” by antibiotics, bile, acid or ethanol, Listeria begins to make special RNA molecules that help it adjust how much protein to make and to repair its cell walls. They are studying whether Listeria can be rendered harmless if the RNA is removed.
Symptoms of a Listeria food poisoning can take up to two months after exposure to develop. They include stiff neck, headache and flu-like symptoms. Children, seniors, those with compromised immune systems and  pregnant women are at special risk. Among pregnant women, Listeria infections can cause miscarriage, stillbirth. A Listeria outbreak linked to sausage has killed 12 people in Denmark this summer.

Salmonella Outbreak at Reading Summer Festival in Michigan
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Augt 31, 2014 )
Forty one people who attended the Reading Summer Festival between July 31 and August 3 contracted Salmonella infections, according to the Hillsdale Daily News. There were eight laboratory confirmed cases and 33 probable cases associated with the food served at the county fair on Michigan’s southern border.
Health authorities have not identified the food source because notifications of illness began nine days after the festival and there weren’t many leftovers to test.
Many of those who were sickened were in their seventies. Seniors, children and those with compromised immune systems are at special risk for Salmonella poisoning which causes fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms usually develop within 12 to 72 hours of exposure and  can last up to a week. In some cases, a serious, sometimes life-threatening condition can develop when the infection moves from the intestines to the bloodstream.
Salmonella is the most common foodborne pathogen in the U.S., sickening about 1.2 million Americans every year. It is often associated with poultry and eggs but Salmonella outbreaks have also been linked to meat, fruits and vegetables.




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Cilantro Cyclospora Outbreak in 19 States Impacting Over 300
Source :
By Bill Marler (Aug 30, 2014)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Texas officials have been investigating an outbreak of Cyclospora infections in the state of Texas.  According to the CDC, reported cyclosporiasis cases have returned to baseline levels in Texas.
As of August 26, 2014, CDC has been notified of 133 cases of Cyclospora infection in Texas among Texas residents who did not travel outside the country within the two weeks prior to becoming ill.  Four hospitalizations have been reported in Texas.  Texas state health officials reported that most cases of the illness occurred in June and July 2014.
Epidemiological and traceback investigations have been conducted at four different restaurants in Texas, where multiple unrelated ill persons reportedly have eaten. All the ill persons in these four clusters reported having eaten a food item containing fresh cilantro in the 2-14 days before they became ill.  Preliminary FDA and Texas state traceback investigation indicates that cilantro suppliers in Puebla, Mexico were a source of the cilantro that was served at the four restaurants.
Also as of August 26, 2014, the CDC had been notified of 304 ill persons with confirmed Cyclospora infection in 2014; of these, 207 ill persons from the following states had no history of international travel within two weeks before onset of illness: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York (and New York City), Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington.
•Most (133; 64%) of the cases were reported from Texas.
•Most (133; 64%) of the cases were reported in July 2014.
•Most (176; 85%) of the illness onset dates occurred in June and July.
•Among 183 persons with available information, 7 (4%) have reported being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
•Among 204 persons with available information, ill persons range in age from 3 to 88 years, with a median age of 49 years.
•Among 204 persons with available information, 115 (56%) of ill persons are female.

Green Cabbage Likely Caused Minnesota’s Recent E. Coli O111 Outbreak
Source :
By News Desk (Aug 29, 2014)
The 15 cases of E. coli O111 reported in Minnesota this summer were probably linked to green whole head cabbage, says the state’s health department.
Health officials’ routine monitoring identified the cases of illness associated with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O111. Bacterial isolates from all of the cases had the same DNA fingerprint.
The illnesses occurred between June 25 and July 3. Four of the people who became ill were hospitalized, and all have recovered. No new cases connected with this outbreak have been identified in Minnesota since July 10, but there have been single cases of illness matching the outbreak strain in three other states.
Minnesota investigators interviewed 14 of the cases: 13 of them ate at 9 different Applebee’s restaurants in Minnesota, and one ate at Yard House.
Many of those who became ill had reported eating the Oriental Chicken Salad at Applebee’s, leading Applebee’s to voluntarily pull the menu item and specific ingredients from their menu for a time. It was returned to the menu after Applebee’s obtained different sources for the ingredients.
All the victims ate green whole head cabbage, which Minnesota officials traced to a common supplier outside the state and believe was contaminated before it reached the restaurants.
The Minnesota Department of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are continuing to investigate the source.
Symptoms of illness caused by E. coli O111 typically include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools, but only a low-grade or no fever. People usually become ill two to five days after exposure, but this time period can range from one to at least eight days. Most people recover in five to 10 days. Complications from infection are more common among those with weaker immune systems, including young children and the elderly. As with E. coli O157:H7, infection with E. coli O111 should not be treated with antibiotics, as this practice might promote further complications.
The genetic strain of E. coli O111 from this outbreak had not previously been seen in the U.S.

Applebee’s E. coli Outbreak Source Was Likely Cabbage, Officials Say
Source :
By Linda Larsen (Aug 29, 2014)
Green, whole head cabbage was the likely source of an E. coli O111 outbreak that sickened at least 15 people who ate at the Yard House or one of several Applebee’s restaurants in MN, the Minnesota Department of Health said today. Four people were hospitalized and  have recovered.
Thirteen patients ate at Applebee’s restaurants in Minnesota in June and July 2014.  Most of those sickened ate the Oriental Chicken Salad at the Applebee’s restaurant.  Applebee’s temporarily removed the item from the menu and changed the ingredients before making it available again.
The outbreak strain of E. coli O111 has not been seen in the United States before this particular outbreak. Health officials say the cabbage was likely contaminated before it was delivered to restaurants. A common out-of-state supplier was traced to source the cabbage.
The Minnesota Department of Health stated, “The FDA examination of the potentially involved farms is still ongoing. Single cases of illness that match the outbreak strain have occurred in three other states.”
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No new illnesses have been reported since July 10, 2014. Cabbage was one of the ingredients considered a possible suspect in the outbreak, along with carrots, rice noodles, and almonds. All of those foods can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria either in farm fields, during processing and transport, and in the kitchen via cross-contamination.

Bubier Meats of Maine Recalls Beef for BSE Risk
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Aug 30, 2014)
Bubier Meats of Greene, Maine is recalling 25,192 pounds of beef for possible bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) risk.  BSE is also known as mad cow disease. No illnessees have been reported in association with this recall.
The problem was discovered by states health officials during a routine records review of slaughter logs.  They describe the problem as a low risk.
The recalled meats were sold from November 2013  to August 2014 at Rosemont Markets in Portland and Yarmouth, and Maine Meat in Kittery.  The recalled products were processed into smaller cuts at these locations and sold without identification on consumer packaging.

JIFSAN: FDA-University Partnership Helps Enhance the Safety of Imported Food
Source :
By Lydia Zuraw (Aug 28, 2014)
A significant portion of the food that Americans consume comes from overseas, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t have the ability to inspect all imports, so it’s not a bad idea to intervene with preventive measures before the food reaches our ports.
“It’s much better and more efficient to control the problem at the source,” says Dr. Jianghong Meng, director of the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN), which is one of FDA’s partners in establishing food safety training programs in other countries.
The collaboration between the agency and the University of Maryland works to train foreign producers and regulators in programs such as Good Agricultural Practices, Good Aquacultural Practices, Commercially Sterile Packaged Foods and inspector training.
JIFSAN was established in 1996 and has “been a very critical component of our international capacity building [efforts],” says Dr. Elizabeth Calvey, director of Collaborative Partnerships at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
The institute frequently works with countries such as Mexico that supply the U.S. with a lot of produce, major seafood exporters such as Indonesia and Thailand, and spice producer heavyweight India.
In some cases — Malaysia and Jamaica, for example — foreign governments will reach out to JIFSAN directly, seeking help in improving their food safety systems, and they may secure funding for the work through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
One of the more recent additions to training involves supply chain management for spice production, which began in 2012 after several large-scale Salmonella outbreaks prompted more awareness that spices can be common vehicles for contaminants. In many places, spices are dried outside by the heat of the sun, which can expose them to numerous contaminants, so JIFSAN teaches about how to produce them with less contamination risk.
But it’s not enough just to train individuals. Training the in-country trainers can have much broader success, so that’s where JIFSAN tends to focus their efforts.
Developing countries’ food safety systems “need to take ownership of their own training needs, and they also need to find partners within their countries and develop a plan to establish a sustainable program,” Calvey says. “What we discovered very early on in the 2000s when we started this adventure with JIFSAN was that if you don’t find a partner in a country to take on the responsibility for future training, then the effectiveness of one-off training is not apparent.”
After an initial partnership with JIFSAN in 2009, the Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation has reached out to many other organizations within Bangladesh, is working with U.S. Agency for International Development, and is developing training programs to enhance their aquaculture industry.
But even when targeting the trainers instead of individual producers, it’s still difficult to measure just how successful the education is at this point, Calvey says.
In addition to international safety training, JIFSAN works in risk analysis, laboratory training and research.
The institute educates food safety and other public health professionals about risk analysis tools and techniques and maintains, which assists professionals involved in conducting food safety risk analyses.
These courses were started just for FDA and Department of Agriculture employees, but today, many participants come from the international community as well. Risk analysis can be tricky to teach in some countries because it requires an established infrastructure that can produce the data central to the approach, but it’s “become a very important component of JIFSAN’s international training programs,” Meng says.
A new initiative launched in 2012 is training for laboratory methods in food microbiology and detection of chemical contaminants. The International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL) on UM’s campus is open to both domestic and international scientists.
Regarding research, JIFSAN mainly supports collaborations between FDA scientists and UM faculty members. They are currently involved with FDA’s major project in whole-genome sequencing of foodborne pathogens, and the two organizations are working together to develop a training program for the technology and its data analysis.
When there is a research need at the university and FDA doesn’t have the right expertise, JIFSAN will work with other organizations or universities such as Arizona State University and UC Davis to tackle it. It also goes beyond just hands-on laboratory research to include social sciences — for example, studies of how social media influence the spread of outbreak information.
With only 20 people working full-time on JIFSAN, collaboration is definitely important. The majority of instructors are from outside the organization; they’re from FDA, other universities and even industry.
“In our case, without partnership, without collaborations, we can’t do much,” Meng says. “Because food safety itself involves so many different things, it’s a complex problem. It requires solutions that employ all kinds of people and disciplines.”

Salmonella Outbreak in England Sickens 247 People
Source :
By Linda Larsen (Aug 27, 2014)
An outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis PT14b in England has sickened almost 250 people, according to Public Health England. That is an increase from 158 cases reported in early August 2014. The government also stated that overall case reporting slowed over the past week.
Public health officials say that “there is now evidence to indicate that cases in Europe with the same strains of Salmonella infection were associated with consumption of eggs from a single source. This egg supply also reached distributors and food outlets in England, but at this stage we cannot conclusively demonstrate that this is the infection source in this country.”
The case count by region is as follows: Hampshire (99 cases), London (30 cases), Cheshire and Merseyside (39 cases), and West Midlands (54 cases). Three patients who were hospitalized in Birmingham died. Salmonella was not cited as a “contributing factor” on the death certificates of two of the patients. A coroner’s report on the third patient is pending. A similar outbreak in France has sickened at least 49 people to date. Samples taken from patients conform to the outbreak strain of Salmonella in English patients.
Government officials recommend that consumers avoid raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks, and any food containing eggs that is uncooked or only lightly cooked. Eggs may contain Salmonella bacteria, which can cause serious illness. Pasteurized eggs minimize this risk. Keep eggs away from other foods and always wash and dry your hands thoroughly after touching eggs or working with them. Don’t use eggs with damaged shells and always keep eggs refrigerated.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, chills, and headache. Salmonellosis usually lasts about a week. Some people become so seriously ill from a Salmonella infection that they must be hospitalized.

How long do I keep all this food safety paperwork?
Source :
By Phil Tocco (Aug 27, 2014)
Food safety work on farms can generate a tremendous amount of paperwork and records. Keeping track of all the moving parts and recording compliance checks can get overwhelming very quickly. The new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) provides a number of guidelines with regards to record retention and access that can be used to help guide growers.
The proposed FSMA rule stipulates that all records be on the premises for at least six months. There is no requirement that these records are maintained as hard copies, just that they are maintained. Even after the six month, on-site requirement, the records need to be accessible within 24 hours for up to two years.
The ability to maintain records digitally opens up a world of storage possibilities. An inexpensive, direct-feed, desktop document scanner can significantly aid in quickly converting paper records to digital scans. Once scanned, the files can be stored in a way that the grower can easily reference them.
Another option for those records that are made on the fly is importing the log or record sheet into Google Docs or another cloud-based computing program. The logs can be created in a spreadsheet program of your choice and imported into the cloud. Meanwhile, farm workers who have smartphones can input data into that same spreadsheet using the smartphone while still in the field. Most cloud-based systems have date stamp tracking, allowing everyone to verify when the records were imported.
By using the cloud to store records, many of the issues of FSMA compliance with regards to access can largely be eliminated. If you would like more information on implementing good food safety practices in your operation, contact the Michigan State University Extension Agrifood Safety Workgroup at 517-788-4292 or
The reference of Google Docs in this article is in no way meant to be an endorsement or condemnation of the product by Michigan State University or any of its employees or subsidiary organizations.
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

Update: UK Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Three Deaths Likely Came From a Single Source of Eggs
Source :
By News Desk (Aug 27, 2014)
The Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak in the U.K. has now sickened nearly 250 people, and three of them have reportedly died. And, according to public health officials, the illnesses can likely be traced back to a single source of eggs.

Public Health England officials said that 30 cases have now been reported in London, 54 in the West Midlands, 99 in Hampshire and 39 in Cheshire and Merseyside.
The three people who died were at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, although officials there said that two of the three deaths were not directly attributed to Salmonella infection.
Thirty-two cases had earlier been linked to The Real China restaurant chain in Eastleigh this past month, officials said. Eastleigh is near Southhampton on England’s southern coast.
Of the total cases, 158 have been reported since Aug. 15, public health staffers said, noting that the case reports had been slowing down. All of the cases were closely related strains of Salmonella Enteritidis, which is often linked to the consumption of poultry or eggs.
While anyone can be infected with Salmonella bacteria, young children, the elderly and people whose immune systems are not working properly have a greater risk of becoming severely ill. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps and sometimes vomiting and fever.

Simple food safety tips for packing school lunches
Source :
By (Aug 27, 2014)
NEILLSVILLE – Keep food safety in mind as you prepare your child's school lunch, says Barbara Ingham, University of Wisconsin-Extension food science specialist. Ingham has some recommendations for packing a safe lunch.
• Make sure your hands, food preparation surfaces and utensils are clean. Use hot, soapy water to help remove bacteria. Keep family pets away from food preparation areas and off kitchen counters. And encourage your children to always wash their hands before they eat or help you in the kitchen.
• Rinse fruits and vegetables before packing them in your child's lunch. Rinse them under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Blot dry with a paper towel before packing. Be sure to keep cut or sliced fruits cold. Sliced peaches or bananas, or other light-colored fruit, will benefit from dipping in lemon juice or sprinkling with a commercial anti-browning preparation to keep them looking their best.
• Keep hot foods (soup, chili, stew) hot by using an insulated bottle. Fill the bottle with boiling water and let it stand for a few minutes. Empty the bottle and then fill it with piping hot food. Keep the bottle closed until lunchtime. Discard leftovers that arrive home in the insulated bottle at the end of the school day.
• Cold foods should stay cold. If you pack a cold lunch the night before, it will stay cool longer the next morning. Insulated, soft-sided lunch totes can help keep perishable foods chilled; simply add a cold source, such as a small frozen gel pack or frozen juice box. Any perishable food (meat, poultry or egg sandwiches or dairy products) not eaten at lunch should be discarded.
• Sometimes a field trip will require that lunch be packed in a brown paper sack. When that is the case, opt for non-perishable foods such as peanut butter or cheese sandwiches, crackers or packaged pudding or fruit. A frozen juice box will serve as a disposable cold source and should be thawed and ready to drink by lunchtime.
And speaking of containers, resist the urge to reuse plastic sandwich or bread bags when packing school lunches, Ingham says. Bacteria can spread from one product to another, increasing the chance of spoilage or illness.
For more information, contact Nancy Vance Family Living Educator, Clark County UW Extension, 715-743-5121 or email

Food Safety Is Crucial in China Deal for Baby Milk
Source :
By NEIL GOUGH (Aug 27, 2014)
HONG KONG — Six years ago, when tainted infant formula killed six babies in China and sickened 300,000, one of the biggest foreign investors in the sector was caught by surprise.
The investor, the Fonterra Cooperative Group of New Zealand, one of the world’s largest dairy companies, had put millions of dollars into a partnership with the Sanlu Group, a Chinese maker of infant formula that was one of several found to have mixed an industrial chemical into milk powder to artificially raise protein readings.
Sanlu was declared bankrupt, and four of its executives were imprisoned. Fonterra was forced to write down the entirety of its investment of 200 million New Zealand dollars, or about $167 million at current exchange rates, in the Chinese venture.
Yet on Wednesday, Fonterra became the latest foreign company to make a new bet that it could turn a profit by bringing safer food to China. The company said it would spend more than $500 million in a deal with the Beingmate Baby and Child Food Company, a Chinese manufacturer of infant formula. A day earlier, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, an American private equity giant, announced an investment of about $400 million in China’s largest chicken breeder, Fujian Sunner Development, in a deal intended to improve food safety and quality.
“China is a completely different environment now; Beingmate is a completely different partner,” Theo Spierings, the chief executive of Fonterra, said on Wednesday in response to questions from reporters about the Sanlu episode, according to Reuters. “We are very focused on learning from the past and moving on to the future.”
Food safety scandals occur with disturbing frequency in China. This week alone, according to reports in the state-run news media: The authorities seized more than 30,000 tons of chicken feet, a common menu item in China, that had been contaminated by a hydrogen peroxide cleaning agent; and in Zhejiang Province, 17 people were in court on accusations of selling 38 tons of dog meat — consumed in parts of the country — that had been poisoned when the animals were slaughtered with cyanide or overdoses of anesthetics.
The challenge confronting big foreign food companies in China is how to ensure that their standards are enforced by all workers at all stages of the food supply chain. Ignorance can be a more common problem than outright deception, experts say.
“Most of the time it’s not that something is being hidden, it’s more that the people are not aware of the standards that Western companies expect,” said Sébastien Breteau, the chief executive of AsiaInspection. The company conducts spot checks on all kinds of factories in China on behalf of the companies they supply, and among food factories, the failure rate for inspections so far this year has been more than 50 percent.
“What I’ve seen,” Mr. Breteau said, “when you sit down in a factory and you explain what matters for a client, if you train them over more demanding standards in terms of manufacturing, then they catch up with it very quickly.”
Although food companies with foreign backing are often financially stronger and are perceived as having higher quality and safety standards, some prominent lapses in China have shown that such companies can still run into problems. Fonterra’s investment in Sanlu was an early example. Last week, the American food producer H. J. Heinz recalled several batches of baby cereal products after they were discovered to contain high levels of lead.
And last month, the OSI Group, an American-owned supplier for McDonald’s, KFC and other fast-food chains, became the subject of an investigation by the police and food safety officials in Shanghai. A local television station had broadcast a program accusing OSI employees of doctoring labels to extend expiration dates on chicken and beef products and showed footage seemingly of workers scooping up meat from the floor and putting it back on conveyor belts for processing.
For OSI, which is based in Aurora, Ill., and had been known for its industry-leading operations and quality control, the episode was jarring. In response to food safety concerns in China, it had invested hundreds of millions of dollars building a chicken-meat supply chain in the country that included a feed mill, hatcheries and slaughtering operations. In the United States, it focuses on processing meat that is purchased from other suppliers.
In the Fonterra deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals and calls for it to take a 20 percent stake in Beingmate, the two companies will import infant formula ingredients from Fonterra’s dairies and manufacturing sites in New Zealand, Australia and Europe for sale in China.
“Extensive due diligence has taken place from both sides,” said Mr. Spierings of Fonterra, “and we have made arrangements on governance very clear.”
Experts say that China’s food industry tends to be highly competitive and to have low profit margins, meaning that businesses can be tempted to skip steps to save money, in some cases turning a blind eye to possible dangers to consumers.
“Producing food as a business is not the same as producing T-shirts,” said Peter Karim Ben Embarek, a food safety scientist at the World Health Organization in Geneva who was previously based in China. “If you cut corners making T-shirts, some customers might be upset, but if you do it with chickens, you might end up killing people.”
He added: “You have a bit of a Wild West situation where the public oversight is still lacking in terms of on-the-ground implementation.”
Gao Guan, the deputy secretary of the China Meat Association, said one problem is that China does not have enough food inspectors.
“The level of regulation and enforcement is too low,” Mr. Gao said. He cited recurring problems at meat processors, which can be reckless in their pursuit of profit. “If you rely on the individual processors, then you will never be able to enforce safety standards, because everybody is just trying to make fast money.”

In Light of Ebola Outbreak, WHO Issues Food Safety Reminders
Source :
By News Desk (Aug 26, 2014)
On Sunday, the World Health Organization released an information note regarding Ebola and food safety.
A serious, ongoing outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Africa has killed more than 1,400 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria, and another is potentially emerging in Central Africa.
Ebola viruses are known to cause epidemics of disease among wild animals, and potential hosts include non-human primates, duikers, bats, small rodents and shrews.
The initial source of past outbreaks was likely human contact with wild animals through hunting, butchering and preparing meat from infected wild animals (“bush meat”), with subsequent transmission from human to human. But in the current outbreak, the majority of cases are a result of human-to-human transmission.
The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. During an outbreak, those at higher risk of infection are health workers, family members and others in close contact with sick people and deceased patients.
If food products are properly prepared and cooked, humans cannot become infected by consuming them because the Ebola virus is inactivated through cooking.
Basic hygiene measures, including regular hand washing and changing clothes and boots before and after touching infected animals or contact with raw meat and byproducts, can prevent infection in people.
Sick and diseased animals should never be consumed, WHO warns.
Spread of the infection can be controlled through the use of recommended protective measures in clinics and hospitals, at community gatherings, during burial ceremonies or at home.

Food Painting Charges Get Chinese Cook in Legal Trouble
Source :
By News Desk (Aug 26, 2014)
China has experienced several recent high-profile food safety challenges, but this latest report may be unique.
Since the spring of 2013, a cook in a resort-area hotel in the eastern province of Zhejiang had allegedly been painting abalones and goose feet with inedible pigment to make them more attractive to customers.
The two items are prized delicacies to some Chinese diners, and the painted food (12 abalones and 100 goose feet) was estimated to be worth nearly $800.
After health authorities visited the hotel and found the paint, however, the man was reportedly indicted for the crime of manufacturing and selling poisonous and harmful food and is now on trial. The use of inedible pigment in food meant for human consumption is illegal in China.

Pack back to school lunches with food safety in mind
Source :
By (Aug 25, 2014)
Summer’s coming to an end and Virginia students are getting ready to go back to school. Most parents think about packing a delicious and nutritious lunch for their child, but are they also thinking about its safety? The food safety experts at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) want to remind parents that food preparation and storage is just as important to their family’s health as the food itself.
Foodborne illness is a preventable public health challenge that comes from eating contaminated food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, foodborne illness causes an estimated 48 million illnesses and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States.

It takes less than two hours for perishable food to go bad when left unrefrigerated. Here are a few tips from VDACS on packing safe school lunches:
?Wash hands and surfaces often. Unwashed hands are a prime cause of foodborne illness. Wash hands with warm, soapy water before handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets. Remind children to wash their own hands before eating. If they don’t have that opportunity at school, alcohol-based sanitizing gels and wipes may be used. However, hand washing is still the preferred and best way to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
?Start with safe food. Prepare lunches using safe practices in food handling, cooking and storage. Be aware of which lunch items are perishable and which items are shelf-stable. Perishable items must be kept chilled (40°F or below) or hot (140°F or warmer) to reduce risk of foodborne illness.
?Keep cold foods cold. To keep food cold away from home, use an insulated lunch box or bag and include at least two cold sources. Use two frozen gel packs or combine a large frozen gel pack with a frozen juice box or frozen bottle of water.
?Keep hot foods hot. Use an insulated bottle for hot foods like soups, stews or spaghetti. Fill it with boiling water and let it stand for a few minutes. Empty the bottle and then fill it with piping hot food. Keep the insulated container closed until lunchtime to keep the food hot.
?Clean lunch boxes. Wash lunch boxes after each use to prevent mold or mildew. Make sure children know to throw out all used food packaging and perishable leftovers. Do not reuse disposable, plastic bags as they could contaminate other foods, leading to foodborne illness.
By educating yourself and following these tips on packing a safe school lunch, you can reduce your family’s risk of foodborne illness and enjoy a safe, successful school year. More food safety tips are available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture at

Another Texas Kroger Shopper Felled By Listeria Cantaloupe
Source :
By Bill Marler (Aug 25, 2014)
$100,000 in medical bills and a loving family could not save her.
Marie tried to eat healthy, and to stay on budget.  She purchased cantaloupe from Kroger in Garland, Texas in August 2011.  Over the next few days Marie consumed the cantaloupe in her home.
Despite her advanced age, Marie Jones entered September 2011 as a remarkably healthy, vivacious and active person.  She still dressed to the nines, often going out in high-heels.  Her daughter described her as a “firecracker.”  It is hard to find a photo of her where is not first of all, with other people, and most of all, smiling.  Her death was a crushing blow to her children and her sisters, and a loss for the whole community:
I was truly amazed by the outpouring of grief and sympathy from people that knew my mom from church, her old school friends, and even people she saw on a regular basis, from the girls at the Wal-Mart, and all of the friends she made everywhere she frequented.  It was such a shock and a sad loss for everyone.  I always knew she was an amazing and special woman and mother to me, but to hear it from total strangers, to me, really showed me just how special she really was and how much she will be missed.  Everything in our lives has changed from getting used to the fact that we can’t call her every night to talk about how everyone’s day went, or just to talk about life in general.  (Russell Jones)
This amazing woman was my mom, my best friend.   I don’t know how I can put sixty-one years in a few pages.  She was our ‘June Cleaver.’  We were always well fed and never wanted for anything.  She walked us to school every day regardless of the weather.  She warmed our clothes over the floor furnace so they wouldn’t be cold and warmed the dishtowel for our chests when we were sick.  (Terri Blackmon)
Marie Jones was born Marie Troy on June 2, 1922 in Dallas, Texas.  She had two sisters, Connie and Virginia, as well as a younger brother, James.  She married Bill Jones in 1945, and moved with him to Arizona.  The pull of family was too strong, though, and within a year, they were back in Texas.  Marie and Bill raised two children, daughter Terri and son Russell.  As Terri noted above, Marie was the consummate mother and homemaker.  Terri recalls this story of her mother’s love and commitment to her family:
She was great when my husband and I told her we were getting married in three days.  He was in the service in Vietnam, and was due to go back.  She and Daddy got busy and put together a church wedding for us that couldn’t compare to one that would have cost much more.  Little did they know that three months later they would be putting me on a plane to Japan.  Over the next two and a half years I would have a baby and major surgery.  It was nothing for them to have $600 phone bills.   When we finally came home to settle down, the grandkids were Mother and Daddy’s pride and joy.  They went to every event as long as they could.
Bill died in 1987, and from that time forward, Marie was “inseparable” from her two sisters.  Her life revolved around her children, grandchildren, and sisters.  At the time of the incident, she was in remarkably good health for an 89-year-old woman, living on her own at her home in Dallas, Texas.  Her primary doctor for twenty-one years, William D. Burnett, MD, states as follows:
Ms. Jones was a very compliant patient and took very good care of herself and was therefore in exceptionally good health for her age, both mentally and physically, prior to contracting Listeriosis.

Tuna Gets Snagged in Food Safety Tug-of-War
Source :
By Alix Pianin (Aug 24, 2014)
Consumer alert: Pregnant women should avoid eating tuna, including tuna salad sandwiches, sushi, and grilled tuna steaks, a new study from Consumer Reports says. “We’re particularly concerned about canned tuna, which is second only to shrimp as the most commonly eaten seafood in the U.S.,” Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, said in a statement. “We encourage pregnant women to avoid all tuna.”
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The report released Thursday takes strong exception to previous advisories from the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency that tuna eaten in moderation does not pose a health hazard. In June, an advisory from the FDA and EPA recommended that pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, women who plan to become pregnant, and children should eat a variety of fish – between 8 and 12 ounces a week – but they should choose fish with lower mercury contents. The agencies recommended avoiding tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish and king mackerel.
The FDA, defending its analysis, suggested Consumer Reports was exaggerating the risks of eating tuna.
Gavin Gibbons, a spokesperson for the National Fisheries Institute, an advocacy group, told The Fiscal Times that Consumer Reports is “clearly out of step with mainstream published peer-reviewed science.”
Related: FDA Overwhelmed by Scores of New Food Additives
U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing produced more than $199 billion in sales in 2012, a seven percent increase over the previous year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported last April. The report also said the commercial fishing industry supported 1.3 million jobs in 2012 in fishing and across the broader economy.”
Environmentalists and health experts have long warned of the risks of eating fish tainted with mercury because of ill effects on the development of the brain and nervous system. Consumer Reports agrees in general with federal agencies that fish can be an important part of a diet and provides high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids.  
Consumer Reports based its study on a review of data provided by the FDA and EPA. The organization particularly disagrees with the FDA and EPA’s recommendation of canned light tuna as a low-mercury consumer choice. Light tuna makes up about 70 percent of canned tuna consumption in the U.S., and Consumer Reports says 20 percent of the samples the FDA has tested in the past 10 years contained almost double the average level listed by the agency.
Pregnant women may not be aware that canned light tuna contains relatively high mercury levels. “The brain undergoes a series of complex developmental stages that need to be completed in the right sequence at the right time,” Phillippe Grandjean, an adjunct professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, wrote in the Consumer Reports study.
Related: Russia Bans Fruit, Veg, Meat, Fish, Dairy Imports from U.S., EU
The FDA publicly disagreed, saying Consumer Reports “overestimates the native effects and overlooks the strong body of scientific evidence published in the last decade.”
The agency said the benefits of fish to pregnant women, including fetal development and child development are significant. It says fish is low in saturated fats and provides protein, iron, and in some cases vitamin D – and the amount of mercury eaten can be kept at a low, safe level.
“Based on a review of the latest science, we have concluded it is possible for pregnant and breast-feeding women, and women who might become pregnant, to increase growth and developmental benefits to their children by eating more fish than these groups of women typically do,” the FDA said in a statement responding to Consumer Reports. “This can be done while still protecting them from the potentially harmful effects of methyl mercury in fish.”
There are many other choices of seafood that can be eaten several times a week, even by pregnant women and children, including salmon, scallops and tilapia, says Consumer Reports.
Gibbons of the National Fisheries Institute said he gives more credence to the June FDA and EPA study, which is a revision of a nutritional report they released in 2004. “I’m willing to put 10 years’ worth of research by the FDA and 110 studies up against Consumer Reports any day of the week,” he said.
Consumer Reports’ Jennifer Shecter, associate director of external relations, told TFT, “The FDA … said they relied on their net effects assessment, which combines benefits and risks. Our approach to risk just looks at the risk – then we advise consumers. In our view, we’re doing a service to consumers by giving them better choices.”




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