FoodHACCP Newsletter
10/27 2014 ISSUE:622


Halloween Food Safety Tips from the FDA
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/halloween-food-safety-tips-from-the-fda/
B Carla Gillespie (Oct 26, 2014)
Halloween is Friday and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has compiled some food safety tips to help trick-or-treaters enjoy a safe, fun night.
Give kids a meal or a snack before they head out for trick-or treating to help them avoid the urge to snack on items while they are out, especially those that are not commercially wrapped. Look over their bags when they return home. Remove anything that is not commercially wrapped, discard candy with packaging that is discolored or damaged, or has tears pinholes or other openings. Keep choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys away from very small children.
If serving juice or cider to guests, make sure it is pasteurized. Keep all perishable foods you plan to serve to party guest chilled until serving time. Once they are served, make sure they aren’t out at room temperature for more than two-hours.

Food safety trumps free trade
Source : http://www.northqueenslandregister.com.au/news/agriculture/agribusiness/general-news/food-safety-trumps-free-trade/2715982.aspx
By DAVID ADAMSON (Oct 27, 2014)
A COMBINATION of dumb luck, geographical isolation and a zealous stance on quarantine has kept Australia relatively free of the many pests and diseases that can be spread by international agricultural trade. As a result, it has been spared many of the health threats and extra farming costs – not to mention irreversible damage to native wildlife – that come with the arrival of these pests, or with changes to food safety.
Strict food safety standards are often seen as market protectionism or barriers to trade, rather than what they also are: important protection measures for the consumers who will eat the food. Yet within the current round of trade negotiations it is likely that the United States will continue to put pressure on Australia to water down its regulations.
While Australia’s current regulations are not perfect, it is important that any discussions about reforming them are conducted with an eye first and foremost on the health and safety of Australians, and are not unduly influenced by trade concerns.

Marler Clark Retained in Minnesota Salmonella Chicken Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/marler-clark-retained-in-minnesota-salmonella-chicken-outbreak/#.VE2kzk1WHs1
By Bill Marler (Oct 26, 2014)
Minnesota state health and agriculture officials reported last week that six recent cases of salmonellosis in Minnesota have been linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken entrees. The implicated product is Antioch Farms brand A La Kiev raw stuffed chicken breast with a U.S. Department of Agriculture stamped code of P-1358.
Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) determined that six cases of Salmonella infection from August and September 2014 were due to the same strain of Salmonella Enteritidis. One person was hospitalized for their illness. That family has retained us to investigate the illness and outbreak.
On Friday night Aspen Foods Division of Koch Meats recalled 28,980 pounds of chicken products that may be contaminated with a particular strain of Salmonella Enteritidis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. FSIS requested Aspen Foods conduct this recall because this product is known to be associated with a specific illness cluster.
The recalled product includes partially prepared chicken products sold by retailers under the Antioch Farms brand name, with “sell by” dates of October 1, 2015 and October 7, 2015. The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-1358” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The chicken products were produced on July 2, 2014 and July 8, 2014. These products were shipped to retail stores and distribution centers in Minnesota.
The product is identified as:
• Single 5 once plastic packets of Raw Stuffed Chicken Breast Breaded, Boneless Breast of Chicken with Rib Meat “A La Kiev”
Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.
If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

 

 

 




Click here for more information


 

Food safety basics
Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/diet/Food-safety-basics/articleshow/44938268.cms
By TNN (Oct 26, 2014)
Foodborne illnesses or infections and irritation of the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT) are caused by foods that contain harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses or chemicals.
They are classically characterised by vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, blurred vision, headache, weakness, dizziness, fever and chills. Most foodborne illnesses are acute, meaning they happen suddenly and last for a short time, and most people recover on their own without treatment. Food safety is a shared responsibility of everyone. While we hope that at farming and manufacturing levels, these safety measures are carefully monitored, as consumers, we should keep the following points in mind: Avoid contact between raw and cooked food to avoid cross contamination. Do remember that no raw foods that reach the consumer are in a sterile state; they usually contain bacteria or other microbes, most of which are harmless. They may also occasionally contain pathogenic microbes, which could be a potential threat to food safety.
Separate raw meat or poultry from other foods while shopping for daily groceries to prevent the juices from dripping onto other foods, like vegetables and fruits that you may have also purchased.
Wash your hands before and after food handling, to prevent contamination. Cool cooked foods as quickly as possible and then refrigerate, preferably to below 5 degrees Celsius (if not consuming immediately). This slows down or stops microbial growth. Food safety experts stress on the `two-hour rule' - perishable food items must not be kept at room temperatures for longer than two hours, as they multiply best in this danger zone (10 60 degrees Celsius).
Reheat food thoroughly and evenly through the dish, to kill any tiny microbes, which may have developed during storage.
Keep kitchen surfaces, cutting boards, storing utensils and your fridge under high cleanliness surveillance.
Don't buy cans that are bulging or dented. Also, don't buy jars that are cracked or have loose, bulging lids. Don't buy food products that have damaged safety seals.
Don't buy frozen food if the packing is damaged. Also, if the packaging is in a transparent pack, please see that there are no signs of ice crystals - this could mean that the food has been stored for a long time or is thawed or refrozen.
Use filtered drinking water or boil it to make it safe before drinking.
Lastly, don't not use food beyond its expiry date.
(Pooja Makhija, Consulting Nutritionist & Clinical Dietician)

Are Recalls an Effective Element of Food Safety?
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/10/are-recalls-an-effective-element-of-food-safety/#.VE2iG01WHs1
By James Andrews (Oct 24, 2014)
Consumers have grown accustomed to the routine of food safety recalls: A food company announces a recall after releasing a product into the market that later turns out to be contaminated with a harmful pathogen, or is otherwise faulty. The company advises customers to check the identifying numbers on the product to see if theirs is part of the recall, and, if it is, return or toss it.
However, by the time that happens, much of the affected product may already have been consumed. And, if the product causes an outbreak, it typically infects the majority of its victims before the company can issue a recall.
Given that recalls are often not issued until after the damage has been done, the question has regularly been raised in the food industry as to whether or not recalls are an effective tool in food safety. The question was the topic of a debate at this year’s International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) conference in Indianapolis.
That debate featured arguments from Barbara Kowalcyk, Ph.D., CEO of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention, and Robert Brackett, Ph.D., head of the Institute for Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
“I think recalls are absolutely an important part of a food safety plan, but they’re like the airbags in a car,” Brackett told Food Safety News. “They’re a safety device you hope you never have to use.”
Companies with weak food safety plans think it’s OK to rely on their recall plan in the event of a contamination, but it should really be a company’s very last line of defense if every other food safety measure fails, Brackett said.
The problem with recalls is that a company usually does not even know it needs to issue a recall until a number of illness cases have been detected by healthcare providers and then linked back to a specific food product by public health professionals. At best, it takes a week — but usually longer — between the time that cases are detected and a recall is initiated, Brackett said in the debate at IAFP.
Unless technology improves the speed at which outbreaks are traced to a food source, “You’re always going to have this baseline majority of cases before the recall is initiated,” he said.
Recalls are also very rarely 100-percent effective at removing a recalled product from the marketplace, Brackett said. There’s always a chance that not all grocery stores will remove the recalled product, and not all consumers who purchased the product will be aware of the recall or take the time to verify whether it’s affected.
While Kowalcyk agreed that food safety systems should focus on prevention, systems aren’t perfect and so an effective food safety system includes an effective recall element.
According to a 2012 joint report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO), food recalls minimize the impacts of food safety system failures on public health and the economy while maintaining a greater degree of public confidence in the food supply.
Kowalcyk also pointed out that the number of illnesses in outbreaks typically show a decline after recalls are initiated. She brought up a recent example of a company that was not required to issue a recall for their contaminated products.
“What is the alternative to recalls? I had actually debated just getting up here and saying two words and then sitting down,” she said. “Foster Farms.”
Beginning in March 2013, Foster Farms had an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg linked to its raw chicken. Because no laws prohibit Salmonella on raw chicken, the company was never pressured to issue a recall, and its products sickened a steady stream of a consumers for months.
Nearly a year-and-a-half later, Foster Farms issued a voluntary, limited recall, but more than 340 people were sickened in the time between when the cause of the illness was identified and when the company issued the recall.
“From a public health viewpoint, we could have potentially avoided all of those illnesses,” Kowalcyk said.
And while initiating a recall costs a company an average of $10 million, the amount saved in reputation, consumer trust, and the avoidance of additional illnesses is priceless, she said.
Brackett and Kowalcyk agreed that the status quo for recalls in the American food system has plenty of room for improvement.
Finally, Brackett said, companies that issue recalls have to admit the failure of all their other food safety systems. Effective food safety tools should prevent contamination as opposed to having to react to it, he said.
Kowalcyk agreed, but said that an effective food recall could be seen as a preventive way to avoid even more illnesses caused by leaving contaminated products out in the market for longer periods.

Raw Milk is Source of Campylobacter Outbreak at Durand High School
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/raw-milk-is-source-of-campylobacter-outbreak-at-durand-high-school/
By Carla Gillespie (Oct 24, 2014)
Raw milk is the source of a Campylobacter outbreak that sickened 22 members of the Durand High School  football team, hospitalized eight people, forced the cancelation of two football games and prompted 150 high school and middle school students to miss classes to avoid becoming ill. The milk was served at a September 18 potluck.
Health officials from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene (WSLH), the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Pepin County Health Department worked together on an investigation of the outbreak. Tests identified the DNA”fingerprint” of the Campylobactor jejuni bacteria that sickened members of the team and coaching staff and found that it was a genetic match to Campylobacter bacteria found on the farm that supplied the milk.
Campylobacter bacteria cause an infection called campylobacteriosis. Symptoms include diarrhea, which is sometimes bloody, abdominal cramping, fever, nausea and vomiting. Campylobacter is transmitted when food contaminated by animal feces is consumed.
Young people are especially vulnerable to bacteria that cause food poisoning. Because raw milk can harbor dangerous pathogens, public health officials recommend that children only consume pasteurized milk.

Three People Sick In San Jose, CA; E. coli in Water
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/three-people-sick-in-san-jose-ca-e-coli-in-water/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 23, 2014)
Three people have become ill in a part of north San Jose, California after E. coli bacteria was detected in the water. The San Jose Water Company has issued a “boil water” notice to residents of 300 homes in the area.
The symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea, which may be watery and/or bloody, severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and a mild fever. If you live in this area and have experienced these symptoms, please see a doctor immediately. An E. coli infection can lead to serious complications, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) that can destroy the kidneys.
The bacteria was found in a water main that services 300 homes on Lisbon Drive, Lisbon Court, Madrid Drive, Madrid Court, Sydney Drive, Sydney Court, and Rowley Drive. If your home is affected, you should have received a notice from the company about the situation.
Do not use the water for drinking, cooking, tooth brushing, ice making, or washing your hands until it has boiled for at least one minute. Let the water cool, cover, and use it until you are told the water is safe to use out of the tap.
Officials don’t know how the water became contaminated. A water main was being replaced in the area and it’s possible something happened while that job was being completed. Crews are flushing water and adding chlorine to the system. The boil water notice will be lifted when samples test negative. Officials believe that could happen tomorrow or Saturday.

Antioch Farms Raw Chicken Linked to MN Salmonella Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/antioch-farms-raw-chicken-linked-to-mn-salmonella-outbreak/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 23, 2014)
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced that six people have been sickened with Salmonella food poisoning after eating Antioch Farms raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned stuffed chicken breast entrees. Consumers got sick in August and September 2014 from the same strain of Salmonella Enteritidis. One person has been hospitalized.
Dr. Carlota Medus, epidemiologist for the Foodborne Diseases Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health said in a statement, “our DNA fingerprinting found that the individuals were sickened by the same strain of Salmonella. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture collected samples of the same type of product from grocery stores and the outbreak strain of Salmonella was found in packages of this product.”
The product is Antioch Farms brand A la Kiev raw stuffed chicken breast with a U.S. Department of Agriculture stamped code of P-1358. The product is sold at grocery store chains. The label states that the product is raw and must be cooked.
Dr. Carrie Rigdon, an investigator for the MDA Dairy and Food Inspection Division said, “the problem arises when consumers don’t realize that they are handling and preparing a raw product.” But the law states that producers are not allowed to sell a product that is contaminated with enough pathogenic bacteria to make a person sick.
Chicken is often contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, which means that consumers must be very careful when handling it and cooking it. Never rinse raw chicken in the sink; the bacteria will aerosolize up to three feet away from the faucet. Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling raw chicken, and don’t cross-contaminate other foods with the raw meat. And always cook chicken to 165°F as measured by a food thermometer.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea that may be bloody, abdominal pain, cramps, and fever. People usually begin to feel sick 12 to 72 hours after exposure. Most people get better within a week, but about 20% of those sickened are hospitalized. Salmonella infections can lead to death. Long term complications of a Salmonella infection include Reiter’s Syndrome, which causes reactive arthritis, irritable bowl syndrome, and myocarditis. If you ate the Antioch Farms product and experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor as soon as possible.

Raw, Frozen, Breaded and Pre-browned Chicken Sicken Six with Salmonella
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/13966/#.VE2mfk1WHs1
By Bill Marler (Oct 23, 2014)
State health and agriculture officials said today that six recent cases of salmonellosis in Minnesota have been linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken entrees. The implicated product is Antioch Farms brand A La Kiev raw stuffed chicken breast with a U.S. Department of Agriculture stamped code of P-1358. This product is sold at many different grocery store chains.
Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) determined that six cases of Salmonella infection from August and September 2014 were due to the same strain of Salmonella Enteritidis. One person was hospitalized for their illness.
“Our DNA fingerprinting found that the individuals were sickened by the same strain of Salmonella,” said Dr. Carlota Medus, epidemiologist for the Foodborne Diseases Unit at MDH. “The Minnesota Department of Agriculture collected samples of the same type of product from grocery stores and the outbreak strain of Salmonella was found in packages of this product.”
There have been six outbreaks of salmonellosis in Minnesota linked to these types of products from 1998 through 2008. This is the first outbreak since improvements were made in 2008 to the labeling of these products. The current labels clearly state that the product is raw.
Salmonella is sometimes present in raw chicken, which is why it is important for consumers to follow safe food-handling practices. This includes cooking all raw poultry products to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. “The problem arises when consumers don’t realize that they are handling and preparing a raw product,” according to Dr. Carrie Rigdon, an investigator for the MDA Dairy and Food Inspection Division.
Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps and fever. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but can begin up to a week after exposure. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5 to 7 days, but approximately 20 percent of cases require hospitalization. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.
Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

Bacteria in Kitchen Towels: Or Why I Use Paper Towels
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/bacteria-in-kitchen-towels-or-why-i-use-paper-towels/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 23, 2014)
I am, obviously, extremely conscious of food safety in the kitchen. I have had food poisoning twice in my life: once as a child after eating hard boiled eggs that were left at room temperature, and as an adult after eating candied pineapple. Those terrible experiences, and my education, have prompted me to help others avoid this horrible illness. I try to tell you about prompt refrigeration, cleaning methods, safe cooking and handling methods, and other factors that can affect your risk of getting food poisoning. This topic is not well covered: the safety of kitchen towels.
Kitchen TowelA new study published in Food Protection Trends documents the presence of bacteria in kitchen sponges and dishcloths. Researchers looked at kitchen hand towels and tested them to see if they contain pathogenic bacteria. They found that coliform bacteria, which indicate the presence of fecal matter, was found on 89% of the towels sampled, and E. coli bacteria was found on 25.6% of the towels. That’s why I use paper towels in my kitchen.
The study says that “the moist environment and collected food residues [on the towels] create an ideal environment for the grown of bacteria.” The researchers conducted the study in Chicago, IL, Tucson, AZ, New Orleans, LA, Orlando, FL, and Toronto, ON, Canada. The cities were chosen to represent different weather conditions. Random households were selected in each city. Consumers were given surveys about their kitchen practices, and towels from their kitchens were collected and tested.
This study is the first of its kind to address concentrations and types of bacteria in kitchen hand towels. Interestingly, the relationship between the numbers of bacteria and the cities where the towels were collected was statistically significant. The highest number of bacteria per towel were found in the New Orleans samples, and the lowest in towels from Orlando.
One strange result from the study was that statistically significant lower numbers of HPC (heterotrophic bacteria counts) were found in towels that were washed less often. But E. coli numbers on towels were lower the more often they were washed. This suggests that E. coli is easily removed from the towels during washing. And coliforms, E. coli, and Salmonella can survive the drying of kitchen cleaning cloths and will regrow when the cloth becomes soiled again.
The researchers recommend frequent replacement or decontamination of kitchen towels. One study found that detergent washing and drying of kitchen cloths in the kitchen only slightly reduced microbial contamination, and regrowth occurred within 24 hours. Soaking the cloths in bleach for two minutes was more effective in reducing the number of bacteria. But not all cloths could be decontaminated, most likely because of differences in organic load. Other studies have found that boiling the cloths for 15 minutes does reduce bacteria numbers.
If you have a person in a high risk group in your household (elderly, children, those with compromised immune systems and chronic illnesses), think about using paper towels instead of cloth towels in your kitchen. This small change, while more expensive, could prevent a devastating illness in your family.

Salmonella, Campylobacter Cases Rise in Australia as Overall Food Poisoning Rates Decline
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/salmonella-campylobacter-cases-rise-in-australia-as-overall-food-poisoning-rates-decline/
By Carla Gillespie (Oct 23, 2014)
Salmonella and Campylobacter poisoning cases are on the rise in Australia, even as the overall rate of food poisoning there declines, according to a new study. Campylobacter and Salmonella are commonly associated with poultry and dairy products.
Food poisoning is common in Australia, where one in five people suffer a bout each year, similar to the U.S. where one in six people are stricken annually. For this study, researchers included 23 pathogens in their analysis of a decade of data from 2000 to 2010. For most of the illnesses, about 80 percent of them, the specific pathogen was unknown. For illnesses where the pathogen was known, 93 percent were attributed to just four pathogens: E.coli, Camplobacter, Salmonella and norovirus.
Overall the number of cases of food poising dropped from 4.3 million in 2000 to 4.1 million in 2010 when an estimated 30,840 Australians wee hospitalized with food poisoning and 76 people died. Salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis cases, which increased from 2000 to 2010,  were the leading causes of hospitalizations. Listeriosis and salmonellosis  were the leading causes of death from food poisoning.
Salmonella outbreaks linked to raw eggs increased “markedly” between 200 and 2010, researchers said. It is not clear what is driving the increase in consumption of raw eggs.
Foodborne illnessed,  hospitalizations, and deaths cost Australia an estimated $1.25 billion annually. Researchers said hope the findings lead to improved regulation and control of foodborne disease for specific pathogens.

Major overhaul for food safety regulations in 2015
Source : http://www.19actionnews.com/story/26857123/major-overhaul-for-food-safety-regulations-in-2015
By 19 Action News Digital Team (Oct 22, 2014)
Kansas State University Food Safety Specialists say the FDA is going through the largest overhaul to food safety regulations in 70 years.
"For consumers it's important to understand they are trying to make the system as focused on prevention as possible and not that it's only going to be penalizing, but that it's trying to help produce safe, healthy food that everyone can enjoy," says Londa Nwadike, Kansas State University Food Safety Specialist.
The food safety modernization act includes seven rules —four of those rules recently received some updates. They focus on cleaner produce, stricter pet food regulations and verification that foreign suppliers are meeting the same rules.
The changes are based on thousands of comments from farmers and consumers.
"I think the FDA is acting very prudently not to put businesses under undue stress or get people out of business so I think it strikes a great balance between making sure the food is safe and at the same time keeping businesses viable," says Fadi Aramouni, Kansas State University Food Scientist.

Mt. Healthy Hatchery Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Live Poultry Ends
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/mt-healthy-hatchery-salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-live-poultry-ends/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 22, 2014)
The CDC says that the multistate outbreak of human Salmonella infections linked to live poultry in backyard flocks appears to be over. However, consumers should take steps to protect themselves from this pathogenic bacteria if they choose to keep chickens, ducks, and turkey. Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio was the source of chicks and ducklings, as determined by multiple traceback investigations. This is the same mail-order hatchery that has been associated with multiple outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to live poultry in 2012 and 2013.
A total of 363 people in 43 states and Puerto Rico were infected with outbreak strains of Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport, or Salmonella Hadar. Thirty-three percent of ill persons were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
The case count by state is as follows: Alabama (9),  Arizona (3), Arkansas (3), California (5), Colorado (5), Connecticut (2), Florida (1), Georgia (17), Idaho (5), Illinois (6), Iowa (5), Indiana (4), Kansas (2), Kentucky (15), Louisiana (1), Maine (9), Maryland (3), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (2), Minnesota (3), Mississippi (2), Missouri (2), Montana (3),  Nebraska (5), New Hampshire (3), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (2), New York (36), North Carolina (34), Ohio (31),  Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (33), Puerto Rico (1), South Carolina (9), South Dakota (6), Tennessee (20), Texas (4), Utah (2), Vermont (7), Virginia (25), Washington (10), West Virginia (18), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (1). Illnesses began between February 3 and September 27, 2014. Ill persons ranged in age from younger than 1 year to 95 years. Thirty-five percent of ill persons were 10 years old or younger, and 55% of ill persons were female.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea that may be bloody, abdominal pain, fever, chills, headache, and muscle pain. Long term complications of a Salmonella infection can be serious, including reactive arthritis, eye irritation, irritable bowel syndrome, aneurysm, myocarditis, and meningitis.
It’s important that anyone who chooses to keep live poultry wash their hands after handling the birds, their bedding, and their feed. Never let small children kiss birds, and make sure they don’t put their fingers in their mouths after touching the animals. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live birds or anything in the area where they live. Don’t let children younger than five years of age handle live poultry. And don’t let live poultry live inside the house, especially where food is prepared or eaten.

Food Safety Scan for Oct 21, 2014
Source : http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2014/10/food-safety-scan-oct-21-2014
By cidrap.umn.edu (Oct 21, 2014)
GAO recommends stronger food safety performance measures
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) yesterday issued a series of recommendations to enhance the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service's (FSIS's) ability to prevent Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination of poultry products. The report is dated Sep 30.
The GAO reviewed FSIS progress data since 2006, when poultry inspection standards were tightened, along with case reports from five Salmonella and Campylobacter outbreaks and interviews with agriculture officials and members of 11 industry, consumer, and government stakeholder groups.
The report commended FSIS for its efforts to reduce bacterial contamination of poultry over the past 8 years but described how the USDA's lack of performance measures and limited data on compliance represent severe hurdles to protecting the public from foodborne illness.
The GAO presented a series of recommendations to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination of chicken and turkey products. Recommendations include developing performance measures for food processing plants' compliance with food safety goals, developing consistent FSIS standards for ground chicken and turkey, and tracking effectiveness of farms' adoption of and compliance with safety measures.

Salmonella and Campylobacter infections cause an estimated 2 million human illnesses each year, the report said.
Report says US meat inspection procedures out of date
To better protect public health in the United States, a broader, data-driven effort is needed to update the US meat and poultry inspection system overseen by the USDA, say the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in a recent report.
The document, titled "Meat and Poultry Inspection 2.0," coincided with the effective date of the USDA's Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection rule. The new report says current inspection techniques are out of date, focusing as they historically have on making sure animals at slaughter are healthy. "US inspections still rely on methods developed a century ago, primarily visual examination of animals and carcasses," says a summary of the report.
Instead, say Pew and the CSPI, attention should be on the myriad sources of contamination, particularly microbial hazards such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli that are so prevalent today. Robust data collection, analysis, and sharing are fundamental to bringing US inspection methods into the modern, risk-based, and science-based era, they state.
Specifically, recommendations are for the United States to evaluate its existing meat inspection approaches and alternatives through commissioned scientific assessments, to enhance data collection through analyses of production and testing results and real-time data sharing, and to evaluate the incorporation of food chain information and comprehensive data management and review into it meat and poultry inspection system.
The new report's recommendations stem from an examination of modernized inspection efforts and approaches in five countries—Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Sweden—plus efforts put forth by the European Food Safety Authority to modernize meat inspection.

History of food safety in the U.S. – part 3
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/history_of_food_safety_in_the_u.s._part_3
Putting it all together.
By Michelle Jarvie (Oct 21, 2014)
Why do we hear more about food safety issues today than in the past? Are these issues something we really need to worry about or just a bunch of media hype? What incredibly difficult questions to answer. Let me start by saying there is no “final answer,” only mere suggestions, theories and probable correlations. Here are some of the probable answers.
One of the main reasons we are more aware of food safety issues and foodborne illness is the fact that science has advanced. As little as 50 years ago we didn’t have the technology necessary to detect some microbes that had existed for centuries. Many illness-causing microbes, like Campylobacter jejuni, weren’t linked to human illness or identified as a foodborne pathogen until the 1970’s or later. Better microscopes, more thorough testing procedures, and more testing in general has made us a society that is more aware of the microbiology around us. Only recently have we acquired the capability to gather samples from sick people around the globe, test potential contaminated foods, match those two samples to find the culprit of the illness, and then track the food back to where it came from – all of this in less than 24 hours. Fifty years ago it may have taken weeks to link multiple illnesses in the same state, if it happened at all, and the incidents most likely never made the news unless numerous people died from the outbreak. Note: reading this may sound like an easy process, which it is not, but it is possible in some cases. Such advances in science have lead to food recalls which hit the media and spark local, national and even global awareness.
Another reason there is generally more awareness surrounding food safety is that microbes are constantly changing, and many “old” microbes are resurfacing in new and surprising places.
Vibrio cholerae, better known as cholera, hadn’t been found in the Americas for over 100 years, but was suddenly showing up again in the early 1990’s. Traditionally thought of as a disease of countries with poor sanitation, cases were showing up in the U.S., and eventually linked to contaminated imported foods. Now, global food chains and the demand for fresh fruit and vegetables year-round (like strawberries in December) are potentially bringing pathogens to a grocery store near you. Older microbes are also mutating into more virulent strains, some of them antibiotic resistant. One such example is Salmonella, which we have experienced the perils of for centuries (typhoid fever), but newer, resistant strains like Salmonella typhimurium DT104 are surfacing regularly. Some speculate that overuse of antibiotics in food animals, as well as humans, may be contributing to these new resistant forms of old bacteria, but the jury is still out. These disease agents, along with several others were presented in a 2013 Food Safety Progress Report (pdf).
Cultural shifts in the way we interact with the environment around us, as well as changing the ways in which we raise our food may also contribute to raised incidence and awareness of foodborne illness. A good example of this is E. coli. We have been living with E. coli since the beginning of time. Some strains are already present inside our bodies and don’t cause us harm, but other strains, like O157:H7 can be deadly. This strain is most often found in the fecal matter of cows and has been linked to several illness outbreaks from hamburgers. Most of the ground meat in the U.S. comes from concentrated animal farms where cattle are kept in large numbers in close quarters where the bacteria can be spread easily between cattle, and through manure on the bodies of cattle going to slaughter. Once in the slaughterhouse the bacteria from one infected cow could potentially contaminate thousands of pounds of ground meat as it is all mixed together in large batches.
Although strains very similar to O157:H7 have been around for 50,000 years, strains were only identified as a pathogen in humans in 1982. Why did it all of a sudden make a dramatic appearance? One suggestion is that as a society, we used to live in close proximity to cattle, and thus were a part of the environment that contained such microbes and our immune systems were accustomed to them, where-as now we are mostly very separate from the farm animals we eat and have not evolved with a shared set of microbes. Another suggestion is changes in farming practices. Cattle are traditionally herbivores, grass-eaters to be exact, but the fattening of cows for slaughter is more easily and cheaply done with grain and other food additives. Some science suggests that this change in diet could have led to E. coli adapting to stomach acid levels that would allow it to thrive in human guts. Furthermore, instead of a very clear path of meat from the farm to your fork, a complicated corporate, maze-like chain of supply gets the meat from the farm to your fork, so that now in a one pound package of burger, we could possibly be ingesting meat from over a hundred different cows, from multiple locations, possibly even other countries. With ever-increasing demand for inexpensive meat, there come more cattle, and more manure, and less space to put all of it. For those reasons it is no wonder that E. coli O157:H7 is also showing up in unconventional places like in deer and seagulls, whom may have been exposed to raw manure or water contaminated with manure.
There have also been major shifts in our own eating culture. Americans today are always on the go, too busy to cook at home let alone grow their own food. We are a culture of convenience. Most Americans have no idea where there food comes from, and most first graders can’t tell a tomato from a potato. We have completely disconnected from our food. Instead, we rely on pre-packaged, pre-sliced, pre-cooked “food.” Or we go out to eat. Studies show that Americans now eat out four times a week on average. By doing so we are putting the job of preparing our food in the hands of some of the lowest paid people in the country, whom almost never get paid sick days. A 2007 study found that many food handlers are generally aware of germs, but don’t truly understand their role in prevention. Other studies conclude that about 50 percent or more food workers go to work when sick because they can’t afford to take a day off. Currently about 20 percent of foodborne illness outbreaks can be traced to a sick food worker. The concept of “cooked” has also changed in the last 50 years. In the past, a pink or rare burger at a restaurant (or at home) was unheard of, but today most places cook burgers to “medium” unless otherwise stated. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that consuming a burger cooked to anything less than 160 degrees Fahrenheit puts you at risk of ingesting dangerous microbes.
As you can see, the subject is vast and it’s really difficult to pinpoint one single reason for increasing outbreaks and awareness. I’ve only touched on a few here, yet there are others that blame media hype, overuse of antibiotics in the medical industry, and a society that is fearful and thus elbow-deep in antibiotic hand gels that may hurt more than help. No matter what the reasons, microbes are here to stay. Michigan State University Extension recommends the best way to protect yourself from foodborne illness is to wash your hands thoroughly before handling food and thoroughly cooking meats to the recommended internal temperatures for the type of meat being cooked .
It is important to know what foods can make you ill, your chances of getting foodborne illnesses and most importantly ways to prevent them.
To read this article series begin with History of food safety in the U.S. – part 1.

GAO: USDA Needs to Tighten Up Salmonella and Campylobacter Standards for Poultry
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/10/gao-usda-needs-to-tighten-up-salmonella-and-campylobacter-standards-for-poultry/#.VE2kB01WHs1
By Cathy Siegner (Oct 20, 2014)
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is recommending that the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) take action to reduce pathogen contamination on chicken and turkey products, make sure that agency food-safety standards are being met, and better assess whether on-farm practices are effective in reducing pathogens in live poultry.
In a 67-page report publicly released Monday entitled, “USDA Needs to Strengthen Its Approach to Protecting Human Health from Pathogens in Poultry Products,” GAO suggests that USDA take four specific actions:
1. To help ensure that FSIS efforts protect human health by reducing Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination in FSIS-regulated poultry products, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of FSIS to expeditiously develop Salmonella performance measures with associated targets for young turkey carcasses to monitor whether activities to bring plants into compliance with the standards are meeting the agency’s goals.
2. To help ensure that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) efforts protect human health by reducing Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination in FSIS-regulated poultry products, once FSIS revises its Salmonella standards for ground chicken and ground turkey, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of FSIS to expeditiously develop Salmonella performance measures with associated targets for these products to monitor whether activities to bring plants into compliance with the standards are meeting the agency’s goals.
3. To help ensure that FSIS efforts protect human health by reducing Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination in FSIS-regulated poultry products, once FSIS establishes plant compliance categories for Campylobacter in young chicken and turkey carcasses, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of FSIS to expeditiously develop Campylobacter performance measures with associated targets for these products to monitor whether activities to bring plants into compliance with the standards are meeting the agency’s goals.
4. To help ensure that FSIS efforts protect human health by reducing Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination in FSIS-regulated poultry products, in future revisions of the compliance guidelines on controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of FSIS to ensure the inclusion of information on the effectiveness of each recommended farm practice to reduce these pathogens in live poultry.
GAO, an independent legislative-branch agency, noted that FSIS faces several challenges in reducing Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination in poultry products: “These include limited control outside of slaughter plants, pathogens not designated as hazards, limited enforcement authority, absence of mandatory recall authority, outdated or nonexistent standards, insufficient prevalence estimates, the complex nature of Salmonella, and limited Campylobacter research and testing.”
These perceived FSIS challenges were based on GAO’s own analyses and the views of 11 stakeholder groups, academic researchers, and FSIS officials, the report stated, adding, “… the stakeholder groups representing consumers and those representing industry generally had differing views.”
On Monday, a spokesperson for FSIS indicated that the agency was in accord with the report’s overall findings.
“FSIS appreciates the GAO’s acknowledgment that FSIS is putting in place an ‘increasingly science-based, data-driven and risk-based approach’ to protecting public health. We agree with the report’s recommendations and will continue implementing them,” the spokesperson stated.
USDA officials had previously reviewed a draft copy of GAO’s report, and a five-page response dated Sept. 15 from Brian Ronholm, the agency’s Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, is included in the appendices.
Among other comments, Ronholm acknowledged that while FSIS “has not established formal performance measures for all poultry product and pathogen combinations … ,” developing such measures is a “formal, rigorous process” that can take several years to accomplish.
He further stated that, despite not having formal performance measures in place, FSIS does set goals and track progress and, as an example, makes public the percentage of Campylobacter positives in turkey establishments along with other information so that the agency and regulated industry may adjust food-safety activities in response to trends.
Ronholm also clarified that some data on the incidence of Salmonella illnesses in humans which GAO used in its report included all such data CDC tracks with its FoodNet program and not just those illnesses related to FSIS-regulated products (which include meat, poultry and eggs).
“Salmonella attribution to FSIS-regulated products has actually decreased over the past 5 years,” he noted.
Finally, Ronholm addressed the four specific GAO recommendations in detail and wrote that FSIS concurs with each one.
The two U.S. senators who requested the GAO report this past March responded to its findings on Monday. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) released a joint statement, along with their Senate colleague, Richard Durbin (D-IL), noting that they had written to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to urge that stronger Salmonella and Campylobacter standards be set for poultry.
In their letter, the senators reminded Vilsack that he had committed to moving forward with such pathogen standards by the end of the federal fiscal year, which was Sept. 30, but that the standards had not yet been proposed.
“Routine testing done in 2013 by the Department found that over 40 percent of ground chicken tested positive for Salmonella. A national study completed by the Department in 2012 found that 26 percent of poultry parts tested positive for Salmonella and 21 percent tested positive for Campylobacter. As of today, there are no standards for poultry parts and the standards for ground poultry have not been updated since 1996,” they wrote.

5 State Salmonella Outbreak Over
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-watch/5-state-salmonella-outbreak-over/#.VE2kZU1WHs1
By Drew Falkenstein (Oct 19, 2014)
A total of six persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Braenderup were reported from five states since January 1, 2014.
The number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows: Connecticut (1), Iowa (1), New Mexico (1), Tennessee (1), and Texas (2).
One ill person was hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicated that almond and peanut butter manufactured by nSpired Natural Foods, Inc. was the likely source of this outbreak.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated the same strain of Salmonella Braenderup from environmental samples collected from an nSpired Natural Foods facility during routine inspections in February and July 2014.
Between July 15 and August 29, 2014, FDA conducted an inspection at nSpired Natural Foods. FDA issued a Form 483 Inspection Report documenting eight observations made during the inspection.
FDA’s investigation is ongoing. On August 19, 2014, nSpired Natural Foods, Inc. voluntarily recalled certain lots of almond and peanut butters because of potential contamination with Salmonella.
The recalled brands included Arrowhead Mills, MaraNatha, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Safeway, and Kroger.
A complete listing of all of the recalled products is available on the FDA website.
Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.
If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

 

 

 

Job Openings

10/23. QA Food Safety Assoc - Pre Op Auditor – Massillon, OH
10/23. Program Coord for Food Safety – Washington, DC
10/23. Supplier QA Scientist - Chattanooga, TN
10/21. Quality Control Inspector, Produce - Maryland
10/21. Vendor Quality Specialist - Aurora, IL
10/21. Quality Process Control Analyst - Aurora, IL

 

 

 


2014 Basic and Advanced HACCP

Training Scheduals are Available
Click here to check the HACCP Training

This certification fulfills all USDA/FSIS and FDA regulatory requirements for HACCP Training. The certification is also accepted by auditing firms who require HACCP Training as a component of the audit. Our training has encompassed a multitude of industries from the farm to the table.
We are so proud that more than 400 attendees successfully finished Basic and Advanced HACCP Trainings through FoodHACCP. All attendees received a HACCP certificate which fulfills all USDA/FSIS and FDA regulatory requirements for HACCP Training