FoodHACCP Newsletter
10/20 2014 ISSUE:622


Final nSpired Nut Butters Salmonella Outbreak Update
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/final-nspired-nut-butters-salmonella-outbreak-update/
By Linda Larsen(Oct 19, 2014)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released their final update on the Salmonella Braenderup outbreak linked to nSpired Natural Foods nut butters. The outbreak is over. But some people may still have the products in their homes. Check to see if you have any of the recalled items in your pantry. If you do, throw them away in a sealed container immediately. Discard the products even if you ate some of the product and did not get sick.
You can see the long list of recalled products at the FDA web site along with UPC numbers, package sizes, and product codes. Recalled brands include Arrowhead Mills, MaraNatha, Kroger, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods 365. Products included creamy and crunchy roasted and raw almond and peanut butters and flavored nut butters.
The outbreak case count by state is: Connecticut (1), Iowa (1), New Mexico (1), Tennessee (1), and Texas (2). One ill person was hospitalized; no deaths were reported. Illness onset dates ranged from January 20, 2014 to Mary 16, 2014. The patient age range was from 2 to 83 years. Sixty-six percent of ill persons were female.
Investigations by state, local, and federal public health agencies indicated that almond and peanut butter made by nSpired Natural Foods, Inc. was the likely source of the outbreak. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Braenderup was collected at the nSpired Natural Foods facility during routine inspections in February and July, 2014.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Most people recover within a week and without treatment. But some people can become seriously ill and need hospitalization after a Salmonella infection. If you ate any of the recalled products and have experienced these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible. Long term complications of this illness can include arthritis, heart problems, and inflammation of the spine and joints.

Utah Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak Focus of Legislature
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/utah-raw-milk-campylobacter-outbreak-focus-of-legislature/#.VERqtU1WHs1
By Bill Marler (Oct 19, 2014)
At least 80 people fell ill this summer with Campylobacter infections linked to the consumption of unpasteurized milk from a farm in Utah, according to Utah health officials speaking with state lawmakers on Wednesday.
Health officials said that the outbreak also contributed to the death of one immunocompromised man. Twenty percent of cases were hospitalized.
The farm linked to the outbreak, Ropelato Dairy in west Ogden, had its license reinstated on Oct. 3 after testing of samples showed no more sign of contamination, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
The state of Utah requires raw milk products to bear a label warning consumers of the potential illness risk, but Ropelato’s milk reportedly did not carry that label.
The vast majority of patients were Utah residents, though at least one was from Idaho and one from California. Ages of patients ranged from 2 to 74 years old.
Most illnesses developed between May 9 and July 21. State health officials suspended the dairy’s license to sell milk on Aug. 4.

Taiwan Targets Food Safety after Rash of Scandals
Source : http://www.voanews.com/content/taiwan-targets-food-safety-after-rash-of-scandals/2486775.html
By Ralph Jennings (Oct 17, 2014)
Taiwan’s government said catching companies selling tainted food following the island’s third major cooking oil scandal in a year is now a top priority. The flaps over altered cooking oil have scared consumers who thought Taiwan safe from food scams.
The premier of Taiwan has ordered government departments to expose what he described as corrupt food manufacturers.
This month, the government shut down oil processing at a plant that it says used animal feed oil from Vietnam and called it fit for humans. Officials have authorized emergency imports of lard to offset the tainted products.
As public anger rises over the latest cooking oil scandal, the scale of which is unusual for Taiwan’s modern society, the premier also vowed to pursue any other manufacturers that are tainting or mislabeling food. Taiwan Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun said manufacturers involved in the scams cheated to make money.
He said price competition is a possible key reason for the problem, and added that big companies lacked the sense of responsibility to purchase quality raw materials from upstream suppliers and knew about problematic oil ingredients early on. He said this is a matter the public cannot accept.
Earlier this month, Taiwan prosecutors began probing greater China food giant Ting Hsin International Group for sales of cooking oil believed to contain oil for animal feed. Ting Hsin executive Wei Yin-chun apologized to Taiwan Saturday and vowed to take responsibility. Taiwan's government estimates a subsidiary of Ting Hsin and a supplier control 95 percent of Taiwan’s lard market. The company is also China’s biggest instant noodle maker.
Prosecutors this month began probing another food processor that may have used industrial oils.
Lien Yu-ping, a 37-year-old housewife, has stopped shopping at a bakery in her hometown Hsinchu because it is supplied by that processor.
Seeking a sense of safety, she said she makes bread at home now, where she can control the source of ingredients, and has turned to olive oil. She fears the government is handling the oil scandals in a way that shows too much sensitivity to business interests and economic development, and is hard to trust.
An earlier food scandal in Taiwan, uncovered in September, involved the widespread use of cooking oil made from kitchen waste and other low-quality ingredients. That discovery, prompted by the complaint of a farmer who collected his own evidence, led to recalls affecting 1,200 restaurants and food processors and causing losses of $165 million.
In October last year a Taiwanese supplier to Ting Hsin subsidiary Wei Chuan Food Corporation was found adding a food coloring agent to make cheaper oils look like more expensive olive and grape seed oils.
The tainted oil supply chain may extend to Hong Kong and the Philippines.
Andrew Tsai, economist for KGI Securities in Taipei, said consumer confidence will weaken if the scandals go on, causing losses to the food service sector.
Government officials say the tainted oils pose no immediate health risks, but a restaurant association with 100,000 odd members began to boycott Ting Hsin this week. Some consumers who normally save time or see friends by eating out have turned to cooking at home with vegetable oil.

 

 

 

 




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Meeting on food safety regulations
Source : http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/money/2014/10/18/meeting-food-safety-regulations/17390591/
By Olivia McClure (Oct 18, 2014)
The LSU AgCenter will hold a meeting Nov. 19 to inform northeastern Louisiana agricultural producers about proposed Food Safety Modernization Act rules.
The meeting will be conducted by AgCenter extension food safety specialist Achyut Adhikari, pecan specialist Charlie Graham and horticulture specialist Kiki Fontenot. It will be 9 a.m. to noon at Tom H. Scott Extension and Education Center, 212A Macon Ridge Road, off Louisiana 15, south of Winnsboro.
Congress passed FSMA in 2010 to overhaul decades-old food safety regulations. The Food and Drug Administration is still developing rules to enforce the law.
FSMA will require farmers and food processors to take more steps to prevent contamination and to keep more detailed documentation on their practices. Several aspects of agriculture, including water and soil quality, workers’ hygiene, wild animal control and equipment storage, will be affected.
The meeting will focus on the Proposed Rule for Produce Safety, which the FDA recently revised based on numerous public comments, Adhikari said. Comments on the updated proposed rule can be submitted to the FDA until Dec. 15.
For more information or to RSVP, contact Adhikari at ACAdhikari@agcenter.lsu.edu or Amy Blanchard at 225-578-2222.

On World Food Day, U.N. Warns of Ebola Food Crisis
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/on-world-food-day-u-n-warns-of-ebola-food-crisis/
B Linda Larsen (Oct 16, 2014)
Today is World Food Day. The U.N. said that the Ebola crisis in Africa is causing a food crisis. The U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) needs to reach 1.3 million people in need of food in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the hardest-hit regions in the outbreak. That agency has supplied more than half a million people in those areas with food.
HungerDenise Brown, WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa said in a statement, “the world is mobilizing and we need to reach the smallest villages in the most remote locations. Indications are that things will only get worse before they improve. How much worse depends on us all.”
Border closures, market closures, and restricted travel threaten food access to many in the region. The WFP provides food to patients at Ebola treatment facilities and to those who have gone through mandatory quarantine. Many who have had the disease and survived are not welcome back at their homes; this agency is also feeding them.
In Lofa County, Liberia, food costs went up from 30 to 75% in August alone. Forty percent of farms in Sierra Leone have been abandoned. Trade volume may be half of what it was last year at this time. The Famine Early Warning Network (FEWS NET) warns that if Ebola cases continue to climb, o ver the next foods months large populations would “face moderate to extreme food consumption gaps.”
The factors in play in this situation are availability of food in local markets, reduced incomes, and harvest seasons, especially rice, being below average. Social stigma can further affect those households with a family member who has died from the disease. Staple foods in most households will deplete sometime in the first quarter of 2014.
The first-ever U.N. emergency health mission, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response is sending supplies and material to the affected countries. The U.N. is constructing warehouses that will be used in the supply chain for future aid and food delivery in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Ebola: European food safety experts to assess risk of bushmeat to EU countries
Source : http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/10/ebola-bushmeat-risk-europe-food-safety-expert-assessment
By James Meikle (Oct 10, 2014)
Scientists said risks were low in April but persistent claims that illegally smuggled meat evades controls prompt fresh evaluation
European food safety experts have been asked to assess the risk of Ebola being spread in EU member states through eating contaminated bushmeat.
The assessment is expected by the end of the month. In April, scientists said the risks were very low but also admitted high uncertainty about their estimate.
There is extremely little data about just how much bushmeat, often from primates but also other wildlife hunted in Africa, is illegally imported into the EU or how it is treated, handled and cooked.
UK Border Force figures show low amounts are seized entering the UK – about 450kg estimated in 2013-14, and 300kg the year before. In 2006-7, nearly 3,400kg was seized.
There have been persistent claims, however, that some bushmeat evades controls while researchers sugested in 2010 that 270 tonnes of illegal bushmeat reached Paris Charles de Gaulle airport each year.
The European commission first asked for an opinion in April when the crisis had not spread beyond western Africa but now wants an update amid mounting international concern about the spread of the virus.
In an email to the Guardian on Friday, the commission’s directorate reponsible for health said it had asked the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) for assistance in providing an update on the risk of transmission of Ebola via the food chain.
Efsa later said: “Ebola is thought to circulate in wild animals in sub-Saharan Africa. It has been found in fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas and duikers [a type of antelope]. Import into the EU of any fresh meat from western African countries is not authorised. Efsa’s scientists are working to complete their assessment by the end of the month.”
An earlier assessment by Efsa and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said the virus could be inactivated by ultraviolet radiation, irradiation, or heating for an hour at 60C (140F). There was no evidence regarding smoked meat but freezing or refrigeration would not inactivate the virus. Contact with raw meat from an animal with Ebola could lead to those handling contracting the virus.
Their assessment said: “Given the estimated low probabilities for the steps required to expose European countries to contaminated bushmeat, it is expected the overall risk from consumers to acquire [the virus] from consumption of contaminated bushmeat is very low, with high uncertainty about this estimate.”
The assessment continued: “Skinning and chopping monkey cadavers has been identified as a source of contamination, but human infection deriving from ingestion of contaminated meat has not been documented.”
It added that “to our knowledge there has been no reported case of meat-borne transmission of (the virus) from consumption of illegally imported bushmeat in the EU”.
However, it advised border guards and other authorities checking for bushmeat to take suitable precautions, including wearing protective clothing.
But the authorities said: “Illegal importation of wildlife products such as bushmeat may be a potential source of contamination by pathogens such as (the virus). The risk is considered very low for cooked, dried or smoked bushmeat. The risk is however much higher for uncooked (fresh or frozen) bushmeat as the virus can survive for several weeks.”
Earlier this week, the ECDC advised that asymptomatic travellers who had returned to the EU from Ebola-affected regions should not give blood, tissues or organs for two months after their return.

Premier again apologizes over failure on food safety
Source : http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aipl/201410140014.aspx
By focustaiwan.tw (Oct 14, 2014)
Premier Jiang Yi-huah again apologized to the public on Tuesday over the government's failure to oversee the country's food safety, amid a fresh scandal centered around edible oils.
Speaking during an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan, Jiang said he will take full responsibility for any negligence on the part of the government.
The government, he said, will not protect the involved businesses and will take action to plug existing loopholes.
He urged the public and the private sector to cooperate with the government on its efforts to overhaul Taiwan's food industry.
On President Ma Ying-jeou's proposal to expand the existing food safety promotion task force under the Cabinet into a food safety office, Jiang said the office will begin operations within two weeks if the preparation work proceeds smoothly.
The premier said the establishment of such an office will help strengthen inter-agency cooperation in implementing food safety.
In the latest scandal, Cheng I Food Co. and Ting Hsin Oil & Fat Industrial Co., both units of food conglomerate Ting Hsin International Group, were found to have sold lard mixed with oil meant for animal feed, affecting hundreds of downstream food makers.
The scandal was uncovered one month after Chang Guann Co., another cooking oil maker, was found to have used recycled cooking oil and animal feed oil in lard-based oil products.
Jiang last offered a public apology Sept. 12 over the Chang Guann incident.

United Daily News: Learn from Japan's food safety experience
Source : http://focustaiwan.tw/news/awps/201410140007.aspx
By focustaiwan.tw (Oct 14, 2014)
The spate of food safety scandals coming to light in recent years has exposed several problems, including lax government control over food safety, the unclear division of responsibility between the central and local governments and the failure of the country's laws to keep up with changing times.
Up to now, the government's supervision of food has begun only after products reach the market, not when they are still being processed or even earlier in the supply chain. This demonstrates that Taiwan still remains at the stage of "food sanitation" and has not entered the era of "food safety."
Taiwan should learn from Japan's example when it tries to address the problems.
Japan's Food Safety Basic Act was enacted after a massive case of food poisoning erupted in 2000, in which 15,000 people got sick after consuming contaminated milk sold by Snow Brand Milk Products Co.
The law, which ushered Japan into the era of "food safety," emphasized the comprehensive supervision of the food chain, from the place of production to the dining table.
To prevent subsequent food safety crises, the law upgraded the country's food safety monitoring agency to one that is directly under the Cabinet. It also strengthened inter-ministerial collaboration to ensure the transparent sharing of information.
Also, Japan has made sure to keep the law up to date. Since its enactment in 2003, the law has been amended 15 times to cope with changing needs.
Those steps taken by Japan have been effective in stopping fraudulent practices by unscrupulous food makers and rebuilding consumers' confidence in food safety.
President Ma Ying-jeou has vowed that the government will not let any crooked manufacturers off the hook, but we still cannot see the government's real determination.
The government should follow Japan's example and rebuild Taiwan's food safety mechanism, so as to truly lead Taiwan toward the era of "food safety."

Salmonella Strikes Conference at Living Word Tabernacle in NC
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/salmonella-strikes-conference-at-living-word-tabernacle-in-nc/
By Carla Gillespie (Oct 14, 2014)
Salmonella may have sickened as many as 50 people who attended a church conference at Living Word Tabernacle Church in Bessemer City, NC, according to the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). Seven people have confirmed cases of salmonellosis and tests results are pending on others who attended the conference October 1-5.
“Our public health staff is working closely with the church, the North Carolina Division of Public Health, and the community,” said Chris Dobbins, DHHS director. “Our priority is to identify those who have fallen ill, ensure they have received proper medical attention, and work together to identify a source so we can educate and prevent future outbreaks of this nature.”
Salmonellosis is an infection that develops when food or beverages contaminated with fecal matter containing Salmonella bacteria is ingested. Symptoms, which include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever,  usually appear within six to 72 hours of exposure and last up to a week. In some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is required. These patients can develop a more serious, sometimes fatal infection that spreads from the intestines to the blood stream.
Those most at risk for Salmonella infection are young children, seniors, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.

Seven Salmonella Cases Confirmed After North Carolina Church Conference
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/10/at-least-50-people-report-salmonella-symptoms-after-nc-church-conference/#.VERxEE1WHs1
By News Desk (Oct 14, 2014)
Officials with the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services in Gastonia, NC, announced Tuesday that they are investigating reports of Salmonellosis associated with a church conference at Living Word Tabernacle Church in Bessemer City, NC.
As of Tuesday afternoon, health officials said there were seven confirmed cases, with a significant number of lab results pending and more samples being collected. Two individuals had reportedly been hospitalized in connection with the outbreak.
The officials reported that at least 50 attendees at the conference, which ran from Oct. 1-5, have reported symptoms of Salmonella infection, including diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever.
County officials are currently identifying and interviewing symptomatic people who attended the conference, which apparently served food provided by four vendors and also dishes brought by church members.
Anyone who attended this conference and started having diarrhea within one week of the conference is being asked to call (704) 853-5214. Those who call after working hours or on the weekend should leave a message and staff members will return the call.
Those sickened are being encouraged to make sure they are staying hydrated and to seek medical care from their private doctor, urgent care or hospital emergency room if their diarrhea and/or vomiting symptoms don’t improve.
“Our public health staff is working closely with the church, the North Carolina Division of Public Health, and the community,” said Chris Dobbins, health department director. “Our priority is to identify those who have fallen ill, ensure they have received proper medical attention, and work together to identify a source so we can educate and prevent future outbreaks of this nature.”
Salmonella bacteria are often found in uncooked or undercooked meat, milk, eggs, or on surfaces that may have come into contact with fecal matter. Salmonellosis (the infection caused by Salmonella bacteria) often results in severe diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain. While anyone can become infected, those at greatest risk are infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.
Symptoms usually appear within six to 72 hours after infection, and the illness usually lasts four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment, although, in some people, diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is needed.

Taiwanese Government to Establish Food Safety Agency
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/10/taiwanese-government-to-establish-food-safety-agency/#.VERs-E1WHs1
By News Desk (Oct 14, 2014)
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has announced plans to create a food safety agency within his government in an effort to combat problems with tainted food and other food safety concerns that have plagued Taiwan and China in recent years, according to the China Post.
The announcement comes just a month after the revelation of an ongoing scandal involving a Taiwanese food company accused of buying recycled waste oil and mixing it with lard oil to resell to customers. Tons of popular products, including seasonal mooncakes, pineapple cakes, breads, instant noodles, steamed buns and dumplings have been recalled since the “gutter oil” scandal recently came to light.
Ma held a national security meeting when the oil scandal came to light. He’s now calling for an agency to oversee “food safety control issues in various government offices.”
This was the first time Ma has called for a national security meeting related to food. He has reportedly asked his staff to use available government resources to question other big food industry players which might be involved in the gutter oil scandal.
China has also become well-known for a number of food safety scandals in recent years. Read more here: “China’s Food Safety Issues Worse Than You Thought.”

Did Ebola Outbreak Begin With Food?
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/did-ebola-outbreak-begin-with-food/#.VERtJE1WHs1
By Bill Marler (Oct 13, 2014)
Last week as the news surrounding the hospitalization of an Ebola victim in Dallas, I passed through the Dallas/Fort Worth airport on my way to Austin to give a series of food safety speeches.  By the time I got home came the report of the first death in the United States.  This morning came the report of a infected health care worker at the Dallas Hospital where the original victim died last week.
The outbreak, which to date has primarily impacted West Africa – Total Cases: 8399, Laboratory-Confirmed Cases: 4655, Total Deaths: 4033 – has now clearly hit our shores.
The World Health Organization reports that it is “thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.”
It does make you think.

Food safety paramount when storing leftovers
Source : http://www.thestar.com/life/2014/10/13/food_safety_paramount_when_storing_leftovers.html
By: Megan Cole (Oct 13, 2014)
When unpacking groceries, take time to handle, clean and store everything from fruit and vegetables to salmon and shrimp.
Love them or hate them, leftovers have a place in most Canadian kitchens, especially around holidays. But they need to be stored correctly to prevent food-borne illnesses.
Storing food properly also helps get the longest life out of groceries.
“Bacteria occurs naturally in our environment, so all food needs to be handled with respect and common sense,” says Brenda Watson, executive director of Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education.
“Anything you cook that ends up as leftovers like casseroles, meat loaf, pork chops or even the lowly baked potato, you want to make sure they are in the refrigerator in a shallow container within two hours of being prepared and cooked,” she said from Kitchener, Ont.
An easy method Watson recommends for selecting food storage containers is using your fist to measure the depth. They shouldn’t be deeper than your fist.
“You don’t want to try and chill anything in a deep container because it will be too difficult for that dish to chill quickly. Once it is cool you could put it in something deeper,” she says.
In addition to using the correct storage vessel, Watson says it is important not to pack too much in the refrigerator. Allowing good air circulation will make sure the fridge isn’t working too hard to keep the contents cold.
Portioning items including produce and seafood is integral to keeping items both fresh and cold.
Lino Oliviera, chef at Sabor Restaurant in Edmonton, says putting vegetables like lettuce in small breathable containers will ensure you are able to enjoy them for many days.
“Remove the produce from the original packaging, shake it out, loosen it and put some life back into it,” says Oliviera.
“Then put it in containers that have space and store them in the coldest part of your fridge.”
When unpacking groceries Oliviera advises taking the time to handle, clean and store everything from fruit and vegetables to salmon and shrimp.
“You handle produce the same way as fish or meat,” he says. “You should handle it right away and remove it from its original packaging, portion it and, with some seafood, even freeze it.”
At Sabor Restaurant Oliviera deals with seafood daily, and he takes care of each piece as soon as it arrives to ensure the items he has received are fresh and that they are stored correctly.
“We make sure to store it as cold as possible without freezing it,” says Oliviera. “We portion it right away if it is fish and put it in smaller containers so it gets cold quickly.”
Even though Sabor doesn’t often freeze its seafood, Oliviera recommends homeowners freeze fish immediately if they aren’t planning to cook it right away.
“Seafood keeps really well if it is individually wrapped and frozen,” he says.
“I actually advise that for a lot of people, because if seafood is cut up small and wrapped tight and frozen right away, it will be fresher than the fish you have in your fridge for a couple days.”

Foster Farms: Food-Safety Leader or Bad Actor?
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/10/is-ron-foster-leaving-foster-farms-a-food-safety-leader-or-a-bad-actor/#.VERtvk1WHs1
By James Andrews (Oct 13, 2014)
After 11 years at the helm of California-based poultry producer Foster Farms, Ron Foster announced last week that he was stepping down as president and CEO of the company his grandparents started 75 years ago.
Over those 11 years, the company has attracted a lot of attention related to Salmonella, both good and bad. Under Foster’s leadership, the company has significantly reduced the presence of Salmonella in its plants to the point that it leads the industry with just 5-percent contamination on chicken parts, compared to an industry average closer to 20 percent.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) recently lauded Foster Farms for its commitment to food safety and customers, and in July, the city council of Livingston, CA, where the company is based, honored Foster with a key to the city.
Foster Farms also happens to have made the most headlines for Salmonella on chicken in recent years. Since 2013, the company has been linked to two high-profile national Salmonella outbreaks, leading to almost 800 total confirmed cases. Those cases included some illnesses from antibiotic-resistant Salmonella, often considered to be more virulent than more common strains. (However, the most common antibiotics for treating Salmonella still worked in those cases.)
Depending on whom you ask, Foster Farms may be either an industry leader hit with a run of bad luck, or a company with a track record of sickening consumers and withholding information on its efforts to control Salmonella.
After the second outbreak was announced as over in July (on the company’s 75th anniversary), Foster Farms announced it was developing a $75-million program to fight Salmonella contamination in its plants. It even won some hard-earned praise from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Foster Farms has implemented and continues to utilize multiple interventions to reduce Salmonella throughout its entire poultry production process,” CDC said earlier this year. “[The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service] has determined that process control measures undertaken by the firm to consistently minimize Salmonella contamination of raw chicken have been successful.”
Media representatives for Foster Farms did not respond to requests from Food Safety News for comment, but, according to The Poultry Site, some of the measures to be taken by the company’s new “bird health program” include:
•No use of antibiotics for the purpose of growth promotion.
•No use of antibiotics that are considered critical to human medicine, such as cephalosporins or fluoroquinolones.
•When antibiotics are administered to a flock, the duration is limited and all recommended withdrawal times are followed prior to processing.
•Veterinary treatment of birds is developed in consultation with, and overseen by, a company veterinarian.
The company stated that it brought on five leading food-safety consultants and is planning to share the results of its findings from the new food safety program with other poultry producers to improve Salmonella contamination industry-wide.
Leading producers in the beef industry began similar efforts to share food safety information in the 1990s — an effort that experts say has helped lead to significant declines in E. coli contamination throughout that sector.
One of the consultants brought on by Foster Farms is Dr. Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, who told Food Safety News that Foster Farms’ $75-million Salmonella-control program separates it from the rest of the industry “in a big way.”
“They’re applying a battery of interventions at a lot of levels,” Doyle said. “Some of them look quite promising. Quite frankly, the numbers and percentages of Salmonella are plummeting.”
But until the public sees exactly what kind of food-safety information Foster Farms shares with competitors, it’s too early to label the company a food-safety leader, said Christopher Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America.
“We just don’t have enough information about what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis to say they’re an industry leader,” Waldrop said. “They had those two big outbreaks and now they say they’ve put out a lot of interventions, but they’re not specific about what those interventions are.”
Waldrop said that it will take several years worth of data on the Salmonella-reduction strategies to truly determine where Foster Farms stands compared to other poultry producers.
Doyle said that Foster Farms is still collecting data it hopes to share with others in the industry, and that the company is “making great progress.” He predicts that Foster Farms will become the poster child for Salmonella control and that the industry will grow to become more open about food safety, modeling itself more closely after the beef industry.
Waldrop, however, said he would wait to see Foster Farms release their food-safety data.
“If you really want to become a leader, you need to become more transparent,” he said. “Share what you’re doing. Move the industry forward. That’s what we look for in a leader.”

Part 2: History of Food Safety in the U.S.
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/10/part-2-history-of-food-safety-in-the-u-s/#.VERt_k1WHs1
By Michelle Jarvie (Oct 13, 2014)
Opinion
(This article by Michelle Jarvie of Michigan State University Extension was originally posted here on Oct. 2, 2014, and is reposted with permission. Part 1 is here. Part 3 in her series will be appear later this month.)
Welcome to the second installment of the history of food safety in the U.S. This time we’ll take a look at food policy and legislation over time. As discussed in Part 1, the collection of foodborne illness data is relatively new. “The Jungle,” written by Upton Sinclair and published in February 1906, was a fictional novel that portrayed the lives of immigrants in industrialized cities of that time, but the book inadvertently raised public concern about the health, safety and sanitation practices of the Chicago meatpacking industry. Although the book was published as fiction, Sinclair spent nearly nine months in 1904, undercover, as an employee in a Chicago meatpacking plant.
Upon reading the book, President Theodore Roosevelt called on Congress to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act, which were both passed in June 1906. They were the first U.S. laws that addressed the safety of the public food supply. Both of these laws defined “misbranding” and “adulteration” in food, which primarily means they were concerned with truth in labeling and food additives. In those days, many food preservatives (such as formaldehyde and borax) were added to products to disguise unsanitary production processes.
One of the first major court battles involving the Pure Food and Drug Act was an attempt to outlaw Coca-Cola due to its excessively high caffeine content. This law was the precursor to the formation of what is now called the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Meat Inspection Act led to the formation of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service. Recorded U.S. deaths from food-related illness significantly dropped during the first decade after these laws were enacted.
Between 1906 and 1938, many more similar acts were created that monitored food additives such as colors and chemical additions, as well as labeling and marketing of foods. The winter of 1924-25 brought what is possibly the worst foodborne illness outbreak known to date. The outbreak was typhoid fever that had been spread through improperly handled oysters and was the first outbreak to gain nationwide attention. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 1969 that FDA began sanitation programs specifically for shellfish, as well as milk and the food-service industry as a whole.
In 1970, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) began keeping records on foodborne illness-related deaths in the U.S. This is really the starting point for data on modern foodborne illness outbreaks. A nationwide illness outbreak from canned mushrooms in 1973 led to the first major food recall in the U.S., causing the removal of more than 75 million cans of mushrooms from store shelves. Due to this outbreak, the National Botulism Surveillance System was developed to collect reports and data from all confirmed botulism cases in the U.S. In the same year, processing regulations for low-acid foods were set forth to ensure proper heat-treating of canned foods.
In 1997, a few years after the Jack in the Box incident, the Clinton administration put $43 million into a food-safety initiative that created many of the regulations we see and hear about today. This initiative brought regulations on seafood, meat and poultry processing, and shell eggs. It also created a program for DNA fingerprinting that would help track outbreaks and determine sources of outbreaks. Finally, the initiative called for a cooperative detection and response effort between CDC, FDA, USDA and local agencies called FoodNet.
Today, we have the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which was signed into law in 2011 and is considered the most significant food-safety legislation in more than 70 years. The major difference between this act and those of the past is that the focus has switched from responding, to contamination, to prevention. The law gives FDA authority to regulate the way foods are grown, harvested and processed. Although the act is still in its infancy, many are hoping to see fewer illness outbreaks in the future due to tighter regulations.
Stay tuned for Part 3 in this series where we’ll try to finally answer the question: Why do we hear more about food safety issues today compared to the past?

 

 

Job Openings

10/19. Food Inspector – Abbeville, AL
10/19. Food Quality Assurance Manager – Petoskey, MI
10/19. Director of Supplier Quality – New York, NY
10/16. Plant Quality Assurance – Delray Beach, FL
10/16. Food Quality Assurance Manager - Grand Rapids, MI
10/16. Tech Coordinator Food Safety QA – Minneapolis, MN

 

 

 


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