California Issues Warning for Recreational Shellfish Harvesting in Ventura County
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/california-issues-warning-for-recreational-shellfish-harvesting-in-ventura-county/
By Carla Gillespie (Oct 11, 2014)
The California Department of Public Health has issued a warning about recreationally harvested shellfish from the Ventura county coastline due to dangerous levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin that can cause illness or death. Consumers are advised not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish (such as mussels, clams or whole scallops or the internal organs of lobster or rock crab. This warning does not apply to commercially harvested shellfish.
>Domoic acid is a toxin that can cause Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) a potentially fatal illness. Symptoms of poisoning from domoic acid develop between 30 minutes and 24 hours of ingestion and can last several days. They include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, dizziness, and in severe cases, trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability. See a health care provider right away if you have these symptoms as more serious complications can develop.
The annual quarantine on recreationally harvested mussels remains in effect along the entire California coastline. This quarantine applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast, including all bays and estuaries.
Food Safety: Norovirus common, but easy to prevent
Source : http://www.baxterbulletin.com/story/news/local/2014/10/10/norovirus-serious-business/17073363/
By JOSEPH PRICE (Oct 11,2014)
While Salmonella might cause the most hospitalizations and deaths due to food-borne illnesses in the U.S., it's the norovirus that gets most people sick.
Related Story: Food inspection reports for September
The norovirus is transmitted by fecally contaminated food or water, by person-to-person contact and via aerosolization (most often coughing or sneezing) of the virus and subsequent contamination of surfaces. Norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach or intestines, or both, which is called acute gastroenteritis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note the most common symptoms of the norovirus are:
• Throwing up
• Stomach pain
Other possible symptoms include:
• Body aches
If a person has norovirus illness, they can feel extremely sick. They often throw up or have diarrhea many times a day — which can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults and people with other illnesses. The symptoms of dehydration are a decrease in urination, dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up.
Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1 to 3 days. Those who get sick usually recover completely without any serious long-term problem.
A person with norovirus is most contagious when they are sick with the illness, and during the first few days after they recover.
Norovirus can spread quickly in closed places like daycare centers, nursing homes, schools and cruise ships. The most common time for norovirus outbreaks are from November to April in the U.S.
Preventing the spread of norovirus isn't difficult.
The easiest preventative precaution is washing hands with soap and water. Hands should be especially washed after using the toilet and changing diapers, and always before eating, preparing or handling food.
Aside from washing hands, it's advised to wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. It is also good practice that oysters and other shellfish be cooked thoroughly before eating them. Norovirus is relatively resistant, able to survive temperatures as high as 140 degrees and quick-steaming processes often used for cooking shellfish.
Those who are sick with norovirus should not prepare food for others or provide health care while sick and for at least three days after symptoms stop. This also applies to sick workers in settings such as schools and day care centers.
Cleaning surfaces and washing clothes also are important when it comes to preventing and eliminating the virus.
In the most recent statistics provided by the CDC, which are for 2011, 5,461,731 people were diagnosed with norovirus. That compares with the second-most common food-borne illness, as well as the one responsible for the most hospitalizations and deaths, salmonella, which had 1,027,561 people reportedly diagnosed in 2011.
California Shellfish Warning
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-watch/california-shellfish-warning/#.VDsre01WHs1
By Bill Marler (Oct 10, 2014)
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning consumers not to eat certain types of seafood from the Ventura county coastline due to dangerous levels of a naturally occurring toxin that can cause illness or death.
Consumers are advised not to eat:
• recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish (such as mussels, clams or whole scallops), or
• the internal organs of lobster or rock crab
Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in the internal organs of lobster (also called lobster tomalley) from this region. This toxin, also known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP), can cause illness or death in humans. No cases of human poisoning from domoic acid are known to have occurred in California. Rock crab are also capable of accumulating this toxin in the internal organs (also called crab butter). This warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources. State law permits only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell these products. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters and dealers are subject to frequent mandatory testing to monitor for toxins. ??Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days. In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short term memory, coma or death. ??The annual quarantine on recreationally harvested mussels remains in effect along the entire California coastline. This quarantine applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast, including all bays and estuaries.
for more information
Animal oil imports from Taiwan banned in new food safety scandal
Source : http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1613231/animal-oil-imports-taiwan-banned-new-food-safety-scandal
By Emily Tsang, Ernest Kao and Lawrence Chung in Taipei (Oct 10, 2014)
Hong Kong's food safety watchdog banned all imports of animal oil from Taiwan yesterday after it questioned the island's ability to ensure the safety of its products.
Along with the ban, a massive recall has been issued on all related products in the market, including lard and butter.
The ban came as the "gutter oil" scandal in Taiwan continued to spread to another manufacturer, Cheng I Food, which was found to have mixed animal feed oil with edible lard.
Taiwan's authorities have ordered more than 300 manufacturing companies on the island to remove affected products from shelves by midnight on Sunday.
"This is the second wave in five weeks - we take the matter seriously," Hong Kong's Centre for Food Safety controller, Gloria Tam Lai-fan, said.
"It has left a question mark over Taiwan's ability to guarantee the safety of its food."
Announcing the immediate ban, Tam said officials were still compiling a list of the affected products with information from Taiwan authorities.
But she said the centre had reason to believe the information released by Taiwan - including two lists that named products as having been tainted since February 25 - were inaccurate.
"We have reason to believe that products manufactured before then might have been affected too," she said, adding that the tainted goods might have been available as early as last year.
The centre is seeking advice from the Department of Justice on implementing the legal order, under which violators would face fines and jail.
Lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan, a member of the Legislative Council's food safety and environmental hygiene panel, said the ban would be meaningless if it could not be enforced with a food safety order.
"We also must see full disclosure of all Hong Kong users of Taiwan animal oil ... They must respect the public right to know," said Wong, who stepped down as panel chairman yesterday.
Wong has proposed a meeting of the food safety and environmental affairs panels to discuss the issue.
But Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, the new panel chairman and the lawmaker for the catering industry, said there was not enough evidence to show animal oils from Taiwan were an immediate danger to food safety.
He said the ban would affect businesses, with the government's approach akin to "killing the wrong person" to get things done.
The latest scandal in Taiwan was exposed on Wednesday after prosecutors detained a former executive of Cheng I Food, identified as Wu Jung-he. Wu formed a one-man company, Hsin Hao, several years ago and allegedly sold animal feed oil, which he passed off as edible lard, to Cheng I Food.
Cheng I Food apologised to the public but claimed it was also a victim as it had no idea the lard it bought from Wu was animal feed oil.
The latest scandal came barely a month after a Kaohsiung oil supplier, Chang Guann, was found to have blended waste lard oil - an industrial lubricant derived from lard - with fresh oil to produce 780 tonnes of oil for human consumption.
Trout caught in 1080 areas no food safety risk
Source : http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbnat/2137829730-trout-caught-in-1080-areas-no-food-safety-risk
By Alex Mason (Oct 10 2014)
Trout caught in areas where the poison 1080 is used to control pests don't pose a food safety risk.
The finding comes after lab trials where the fish were force-fed high doses of 1080.
The Ministry for Primary Industries then carried out a food safety evaluation.
Department of Conservation director-general Lou Sanson says the risk to humans is very low and anglers would have to eat a huge amount of trout to get sick.
"Probably half a kilo of force-fed trout with 1080, for about 90 days, before you would get to a third of the levels that would breach internationally-accepted health standards."
Independent researchers from the Cawthron Institute investigated concerns raised by some anglers that humans could be at risk from trout eating mice that contained the poison.
Early results from lab trials showed that trout which were force-fed very high doses did present with low levels of the 1080 toxin.
The report from MPI's evaluation found that the highest levels reached in the trials fell well short of breaching internationally accepted standards for human health.
It also found 1080 levels in the force-fed trout were far higher than any amount likely to be found in wild trout.
Mr Sanson says in a natural environment, the number of mice in the water for trout to eat would obviously be a lot lower too.
The Department of Conservation is also welcoming the decision to drop 1080 in the Hunua Ranges.
Auckland Council voted yesterday to use the poison to eradicate rats, stoats, ferrets and possums.
Mr Sanson says it was pleasing to see the council back the move to protect rare kokako from predators.
He says no one likes using toxins, but this is a big issue for New Zealanders.
"New Zealanders love birds. We are in a benchmark year with massive increase in stoats and mice and rats, and until we have something better this is really the only technology."
How Much Do Voters Care About Food Safety Issues?
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/10/how-much-do-voters-care-about-food-issues/#.VDstNU1WHs1
By Lydia Zuraw (Oct 9, 2014)
New poll results show they care, and they vote
Food issues have the potential to be a deciding factor in how Americans vote in the midterm elections this November.
According to polling by Food Policy Action (FPA), messages about voting against politicians who want to cut food stamps for veterans, slash funding for food safety, support subsidies for corporate farms over family farms, or support eliminating food stamps for seniors and families resonated with a majority of voters.
“Members of Congress are a major influence in how our food system works, for better or worse,” said Ken Cook, FPA chairman and president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group. “To date, there has been little to no transparency or accountability for these decisions.”
One of the most surprising aspects of the data was that people not only cared about food policy issues, but that they were willing to vote to the issues, said Celinda Lake, president of the polling company that conducted the survey.
At the end of September, 1,009 adults representative of the population demographics expected to turn out for the 2014 general election were polled about how persuasive they found four messages.
When asked about voting “against politicians who want to slash funding for food inspectors and programs that identify unsafe food and protect our families,” 68 percent of participants found the message “convincing” and 41 percent found it “very convincing.”
While the veteran message ranked as the top message for most demographic groups, the food safety message was the top message for women, voters younger than 30, younger women, and college-educated women.
More than one in eight Democrats and one in six Independents and Republicans considered it “convincing.” Forty-nine percent of Democrats, 35 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Independents thought it “very convincing.”
Because foodborne illnesses harm and kill thousands of Americans each year, “it’s important to people that our food inspectors have the funding and the tools they need to do their jobs,” Cook said.
Here’s how the question played compared to the others tested:
“These messages tested off the charts at a time when voters are getting very cynical about political messages,” Lake said. “These messages explicitly connected the food policy issues for the first time to politics and voting. And voters responded with intensity and broad support.”
They have the possibility to sway votes, she said, adding that, at this stage in a campaign, pollsters consider 60 percent “convincing” and 39 percent “very convincing” successful and very tempting for candidates.
Food-related issues are very persuasive to voters if they can be reminded about them, Cook said, especially among swing voters and seniors who sometimes determine the outcome of an election. This survey will allow FPA and other groups working for reform to target issues that most resonate with the public.
Minnesota Norovirus Outbreak Linked to Restaurant Sickens 30 People
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/10/minnesota-norovirus-outbreak-linked-to-restaurant-sickens-30-people/#.VDsu1k1WHs1
By News Desk (Oct 9, 2014)
Minnesota health officials said Wednesday that an outbreak of Norovirus in Winona County has sickened approximately 30 people during the past 10 days.
Doug Schultz of the Minnesota Department of Health said that illnesses probably began around Sept. 23, although the department learned about them on Sept. 30.
He said the illness, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, was confirmed in people who ate at Winona’s Ground Round restaurant. Restaurant owner Tim Beier has voluntarily closed the business to thoroughly clean everything.
“We have been in 100 percent full cooperation with the health department,” Beier told the local press.
Schultz advised people to wash their hands frequently, stay at home if they’re sick, and wait 24 hours after symptoms subside before returning to work or school.
He noted there are about 40 outbreaks of foodborne illness in Minnesota each year and that approximately 60 percent of them are Norovirus, especially in the fall and winter.
Boil Water Order for E. coli Lifted For Mercer Island, WA
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/boil-water-order-for-e-coli-lifted-for-mercer-island-wa/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 8, 2014)
The boil water advisory for E. coli in the City of Mercer Island, Washington has been lifted as of October 8, 2014. Restaurants can reopen after speaking directly with a Health Inspector and following step by step procedures.
Residents should flush their water systems at home. Follow these steps: flush pipes for five minutes by running the cold water tap at all faucets. If you live in a multi-level house, start at the top of the house. If the water is discolored, run water until it is clear. You may notice a strong chlorine smell – this is not harmful and shows that disinfected water has reached the house. The smell will abate if left to stand in a pitcher. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for appliances such as water softeners and filters. Throw away ice from automatic ice-makers; make and discard three batches, then wash and sanitize trays and make ice as usual. Run enough hot water to completely empty the water heater tank; water will feel cool even when you have the tap set to hot.
The schools will continue with “heat and eat” food and special procedures until crews sanitize the water systems tonight. Private schools will get phone calls from Public Health – Seattle & King County for procedures to follow.
One child did contract an E. coli O157:H7 infection during the time of the boil water advisory. Tests are pending to see if the bacteria came from the water supply or from another source.
The City has an action plan, which includes expert review to find the cause. Water engineers were not able to identify an obvious source of the contamination. The City will continue to inject chlorine into the system, and collect water samples for testing. Engineers will research potential equipment upgrades and improvements, and a complete review of the City’s cross-contamination program is underway.
USDA Should Protect Consumers from Australian Meat
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/usda-should-protect-consumers-from-australian-meat/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 8, 2014)
Food & Water Watch sent a letter to the USDA to protect U.S. consumers from Australian meat and to re-evaluate the equivalency of that country’s meat inspection system. Meat companies are abandoning the Australian Meat Inspeciton System (AEMIS) that was found to be equivalent to the U.S. system. This is the fifth time in two years that Food & Water Watch has asked the USDA to look at the Australian system.
Food & Water Watch’s executive director Wenonah Hauter said in a statement, “Although the European Union has flagged definite problems in allowing meat companies to police their own inspection systems, the USDA has yet to speak out about this every obvious conflict of interest. Yet if the result of a privatized meat inspection system in Australia is food that is unsafe to eat, the United States owes it to consumers to revoke the equivalency determination for AEMIS.” AEMIS took most of the inspection responsibilities away from government inspectors and let corporations police themselves, much like HIMP does in the United States poultry industry.
Australia is the second-largest exporter of red meat and red meat products to the U.S. The United States imported more than 620,000,000 pounds of red meat from Australia in 2013. That figure is expected to increase. Since Australia implemented AEMIS, USDA inspectors have found serious food safety violations, including traces of fecal matter on meat and positive test results for E. coli O157:H7.
An audit of the Australian system posted last month by FSIS concluded that the Australian government wasn’t holding Australian meat companies accountable for the contamination. Some of the problems that were found included that Central Competent Authority (CCA) instructions to in-plant inspection personnel omitted provisions that instruct inspectors to document deviations from critical control points. CCA hasn’t verified that establishments have reassessed their HACCP plans. Sanitation programs have not been assessed, and monitoring of equipment sanitation is inadequate.
Food & Water Watch filed a petition on June 6, 2014 to revoke AEMIS equivalency determination. European Commission auditors concluded in 2012 that there was an inherent conflict of interest when company-paid employees are performing food safety inspections.
McDonald's Japan forecasts big 2014 loss after food safety scare
Source : https://fortune.com/2014/10/07/mcdonalds-japan-forecasts-big-2014-loss-after-food-safety-scare/
By Reuters (Oct 7, 2014)
Company had seen a $50 million profit but now expects to lose $157 million after scandal at Shanghai-based supplier decimates customer numbers.
McDonald’s Holdings Co (Japan) Ltd forecast on Tuesday a net loss of 17 billion yen ($156.7 million) for 2014, its first loss in 11 years, after a food safety scandal hit sales already weakened by stiff competition from convenience stores.
The announcement brought further gloom for McDonald’s Corp ( MCD ) , which holds 49.9% of McDonald’s Japan, and has been struggling globally with falling sales.
“Customers have expressed a lack of confidence in our food quality, and I take responsibility for that,” McDonald’s Japan Chief Executive Sarah Casanova told a media briefing, at which
she also forecast an operating loss of 9.4 billion yen for the year to Dec. 31.
“It’s our intention to try to turn this business around as fast as we can.”
Facing tough competition from domestic convenience stores, McDonald’s Japan had been suffering from weak demand even before the food safety scare, in which a major Chinese supplier of chicken meat was found to be in breach of safety standards.
The company withdrew its annual earnings forecast after the food scare in July, but prior to that, it had forecast an operating profit of 11.7 billion yen ($107 million) and net profit of 6 billion yen for the year.
Last year, McDonald’s Japan reported a 60% plunge in net profit to 5.14 billion yen.
The food scare, which also affected other global food companies such as KFC owner Yum Brands Inc ( YUM ) , led to a 25% drop in McDonald’s Japan’s sales in August, the sharpest fall since the company became public in 2001. Sales fell a further 17% in September for the eighth straight month of year-on-year declines.
Shares in McDonald’s Japan closed 2.5% lower, reversing earlier gains and lagging a 0.7% drop in the benchmark Nikkei index.
McDonald’s Corp said last month worldwide sales fell 3.7% in August. Battling internal missteps, competition and shifting consumer tastes, the company warned in September that the food safety scandal would likely hit its profits.
The company is also under pressure from regulators in Russia, who have closed down a number of its busiest restaurants citing violations of food safety regulations. Critics say the actions are a politically-motivated response to U.S. and E.U. sanctions on Russia for its role in stoking the crisis in Ukraine.
FDA Warning Letters for September 2014
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/fda-warning-letters-for-september-2014-2/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 7, 2014)
The FDA has sent many warning letters to corporations during the month of September 2014. These letters inform the corporation owners of problems with food safety and HACCP violations.
Well Luck Company in New Jersey received a letter on September 17, 2014 warning about rodent problems at their facility. Live mice were spotted in the facility during an inspection. Dead mice were found on glue traps in the picking area and next to the cooler entrance door. A dead rat was found in a rodent trap in the warehouse storage area. In addition, roach-like insects “too numerous to count” were in the fortune cookie processing room. Equipment was not properly stored, litter and waste was not removed, and food products were spilled onto the warehouse floor.
Losurdo Foods of New Jersey was warned on September 22, 2014 that an environmental sample found the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the facility. That facility also had serious violations of the current Good Manufacturing Practice regulation for foods. Eighteen of the seventy-two swabs were positive for Listeria, including those that had direct contact with food. The facility did not apply appropriate quality control operations and did not ensure that employees conformed to hygienic practices. In addition, beetle-like insects were found in the Bun Room used for manufacturing pizza dough, and in the Cheese Room.
Double E Dairy in New York was cited with a letter for selling two animals for slaughter that were adulterated; one had too much neomycin residue in the kidneys. The investigators also found that the facility holds animals “under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply.” In addition, medicated feed was not used as directed by approved labeling.
On September 25, 2014, Multimmunity Inc. of Colorado received a letter that their dietary supplements are misbranded. The product Multimmunity promotes for conditions that cause the product to be a drug, as it is intended for use “in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.” Testimonials on the web site also describe the product as used for cure or treatment of disease. The product label does not include a statement of identify as a “dietary supplement” as required under law.
Finally, Intershell International Corp. of Massachusetts received a letter stating their facility had “serious violations of the Seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation. The pasteurized canned crabmeat is adulterated, since it was “prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health.” Trucks used to transport the crabmeat were not monitored to insure safe temperatures. There was no HACCP plan, especially since refrigerated pasteurized canned crabmeat must have strict temperature control. And there was no control for Clostridium botulinum toxin formation.
Possible E. Coli Case Reported on Mercer Island
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/10/possible-case-of-e-coli-in-mercer-island-resident/#.VDsuQ01WHs1
By News Desk (Oct 6, 2014)
The King County Public Health Department is reporting that a child from the city of Mercer Island, WA, has fallen ill with a presumptive infection of E. coli O157:H7. The child has not been hospitalized.
The city has been under multiple water boil advisories for possible E. coli contamination, including one that is still in effect.
After the first boil advisory was lifted on Sept. 29, a follow-up test on Oct. 2 once again found E. coli in the water. The city then issued another water boil advisory and ordered all 62 restaurants, cafes and delis in the city to close. That advisory is still in place.
At this point, the health department can’t say for certain that there’s a link between the child’s infection and the problem with the city’s water. The department pointed out that E. coli can come from a variety of sources other than water, including ground beef, unpasteurized milk, and fresh produce.
The child reportedly has multiple sources of potential exposure, including Mercer Island water and food that has the potential to be contaminated with E. coli.
“We may never be able to definitively link this case to a particular source,” said Dr. Meagan Kay, medical epidemiologist for the agency.
If any additional cases of infection arise in or around Mercer Island, the probability of determining the source will increase.
“At this time, we do not have evidence of an increase in gastrointestinal illnesses among Mercer Island residents,” the agency stated.
The health department plans to continue monitoring for any potential E. coli illnesses in the area.
Symptoms of E. coli infection include stomach cramps and diarrhea, which can turn bloody in severe cases. Children, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals are at an increased risk of acquiring severe infections.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of an E. coli infection is advised to contact a healthcare provider.
Raw Milk and Children, A Dangerous Combination
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/raw-milk-and-children-a-dangerous-combination/
By Carla Gillespie (Oct 6, 2014)
An E. coli outbreak in Kentucky has sickened five children, four of whom are hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening condition that strikes young E.coli patients. The outbreak is the latest example of how children are disproportionately affected by illnesses associated with raw milk products and more likely than adults to suffer severe illness. GlassbottleofmilkThis preventable, undue burden of illness on children is “primarily related to misinformation regarding the purported benefits of these raw dairy products,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. For example, some raw milk advocates claim that raw milk can cure asthma, allergies and lactose intolerance. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.
What science has shown, is that raw milk has been found to contain viruses, parasites and dangerous bacteria such as Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella and E.coli. All of which pose serious health risks for children because their immune systems are not fully developed.
Contamination can happen through direct contact with fecal matter from the cow, microscopic organisms on the animal’s skin or hide; bovine infection or diseases, or through contact with insects, animals, human skin or soiled clothing. A barn or milking operation that looks clean doesn’t mean it’s bacteria-free.
Tests that are negative for bacteria are also not a guarantee that the milk is free of pathogens. Bacteria is not evenly distributed within a container of milk, it clumps together in clusters. So, milk taken from one part of the container may be free of bacteria, while another area contains a cluster of harmful bacteria. With E. coli, it takes 10 organisms to make someone sick.
Children were among those sickened in 82 percent of raw milk outbreaks reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 1998 to 2009 . And they are also disproportionately affected by sporadic illnesses associated with raw milk, according to a study by the Minnesota Department of Health. About 76 percent of those with food poisoning illnesses from raw milk that are not part of an outbreak are children five and under.
Part 1: History of Food Safety in the U.S.
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/10/history-of-food-safety-in-the-u-s-part-1/#.VDsupU1WHs1
By Michelle Jarvie (Oct 6, 2014)
(This article by Michelle Jarvie of Michigan State University Extension was originally posted here on Sept. 30, 2014, and is reposted with permission. Parts 2 and 3 in her series will be appear later this month.)
One question I am commonly asked when talking about food safety is why we hear more about foodborne illness outbreaks, and food safety issues in general, more today than we have in the past. To fully answer that question, let’s take a look back in time to discover the history of food safety in the U.S. There are three main parts to examine: The history of foodborne illness itself, U.S. legislation surrounding the safety of our food supply, and the scientific and social aspects of these illnesses.
Let’s start with looking at the history of foodborne illness. As you can imagine, people have been getting sick from eating food for as long as we’ve been eating food. The first suggested case of a known foodborne illness was proposed by doctors from the University of Maryland, who think that Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C. from a case of typhoid fever when he and his army stopped to rest in ancient Babylon. Typhoid fever is caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi, which can be contracted from contaminated food or water. Although this theory can never be fully proven, it goes to show that humans have probably been affected by these illnesses through all of history. Other well-known people throughout history are also suspected to have died from foodborne illnesses, including King Henry I, Rudyard Kipling, President Zachary Taylor and Prince Albert.
In the U.S., foodborne pathogens have played roles in settling territory and fighting wars. Many historians believe that the first English settlement in Jamestown, VA, was decimated by typhoid fever many times between 1607 and 1699, ultimately leading to its demise. Also in the late 1600s, a toxic fungus changed the course of history and led to the Salem witch trials. The fungus, which was growing on the rye they used for food, caused many symptoms that settlers were unfamiliar with, which led to the accusation of witchcraft and killing of those infected. In 1898, typhoid fever struck again during the Spanish-American war, sickening more than 20,000 American soldiers.
In more modern history, some of the biggest outbreaks occurred starting in the early 1900s with streptococcus in raw milk, botulism in canned olives and Salmonella Typhi in oysters. Those outbreaks ultimately caused a few hundred deaths. Similar outbreaks continued to occur during the first half of the 20th century in America.
The latter half of the century and into the 2000s have seen a major spike in the number of outbreaks across the country. Salmonellosis was the culprit of one such major outbreak in 1985. It was responsible for the largest number of food-related deaths since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started recording data. That year also saw roughly 200,000 people sickened from contaminated milk. Possibly the most infamous outbreak, known as the Jack in the Box incident, happened in 1993, and four children died from E. coli-contaminated hamburgers. Major outbreaks in the 2000s include the 2006 E. coli outbreak from contaminated spinach, which caused five deaths, a Salmonella outbreak in peanut butter, which caused nine deaths and sickened 714 people in 46 states in 2008-09, and the 2011 Listeria outbreak on cantaloupes that caused 33 deaths and one miscarriage.
Nearly every day now you can read news about another foodborne illness outbreak or food recall somewhere in the U.S. Already in 2014, there have been eight major multi-state investigations done by the CDC and countless other reports of localized illness. Every year CDC estimates that about one in six people will contract a foodborne illness. Most likely we will all have had at least one in our lifetimes, most likely more.
Throughout history, there has been a multitude of sicknesses deriving from food. To prevent foodborne illness now and in the future, Michigan State University Extension recommends proper hand-washing when preparing/serving food or eating, as well as storing food at proper temperatures. Stay tuned for more history of food safety in the U.S. in future articles.
Inspectors Find Salmonella, Flaws Inside Almond Butter Plant
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/inspectors-find-salmonella-flaws-inside-almond-butter-plant/
by News Desk (Oct 4, 2014)
The MaraNatha almond butter plant linked to a national outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup was observed to have food safety flaws ranging from hard-to-clean floors, imperfect almond-moving equipment, a hand-washing issue and a dirty food-contact surface, according to FDA inspection documents obtained by Food Poisoning Bulletin. The observations of five FDA inspectors cover visits they made to the plant in Ashland, Oregon, from July 15 through August 29. The top finding was a positive result from floor swabs that found Salmonella bacteria under two different cooling towers. The towers handle pasteurized almonds.
A variety of MaraNatha brand almond butters were recalled by the inspired Natural Foods plant on August 19 because of potential contamination with Salmonella. Also recalled by the company, a division of Hain Celestial Group, were store brand almond butters produced in the plant for retailers Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Kroger and Safeway. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to warn consumers not to eat the products, which have shelf lives ranging through the middle of next year. Health officials are concerned that more people will get sick if they are unaware of the almond butter recall details. So far, the outbreak has been confirmed in people who live in Texas, Iowa, Connecticut and Tennessee.
According to the inspection document, the FDA team listed eight “inspectional observations” that do not represent a final agency determination regarding the almond butter plant’s compliance with food safety laws. The hand-washing incident involved a worker who went from running an electric pallet jack to handling dried, pasteurized almonds without washing. The employee touched the inside of a plastic bucket that was then used to move the almonds into cardboard boxes, the document said.
Contact a Salmonella Lawyer - Free Case EvaluationThe equipment notices pertained to almond-handling buckets and shovels that were cracked or improperly welded, leaving areas for bacteria to harbor. The shovels had rough welds, as did a steel auger that conveyed nuts for the production of nut butters. The Salmonella recall associated with the plant also included a few lots of MaraNatha peanut butter.
The inspection report also noted numerous cracks and gouges in the floor, including a crack more than 20 feet long. “The plant is not constructed in such a manner as to allow floors to be adequately cleaned and kept clean,” the inspectors wrote. The report said that the positive Salmonella samples were found on flooring beneath a pair of cooling towers stationed in the plant’s bakery, where almonds are pasteurized. According to the CDC, the first signs of Salmonella Braenderup at the nut butter plant were noticed during a routine FDA inspection in January. The bacteria was genetically “fingerprinted” and later matched to the very same strain of Salmonella that was making people sick.
Regarding the ongoing Maranatha almond butter Salmonella investigation, CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through a national computer monitoring program to identify additional ill persons .
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