FDA scales up food safety drive to curb adulteration
source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/FDA-scales-up-food-safety-drive-to-curb-adulteration/articleshow/45597328.cms
by Umesh Isalkar,TNN (Dec 22, 2014)
The state food and drug administration (FDA) commissioner Purushottam Bhapkar on Friday said officials have been told to conduct surprise visits to ensure food safety as the administration wants to weed out adulteration in food items.
"We have intensified our surveillance across the state and initiated a cross-verification of surveillance work by sending food safety officials outside their jurisdictions for inspection. There will be consistent cross-surveillance by officials who would be conducting raids on establishments," said Bhapkar, who was in the city to review the work done by FDA officials.
Officials would register non-cognizable offences against erring chemists if they overcharged or dispensed substandard or spurious medicines. "FDA officials won't be spared if they are found at fault," he added.
"We have received complaints of milk adulteration from Mumbaikars following which we have filed criminal cases against top milk brands. We have registered cases against dairy owners in Jalgaon and Kolhapur. From milk manufacturer to the delivery boy, the entire chain involved in milk business is being monitored across the state," he added.
The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which came into effect on August 5, 2011, looks at various aspects of milk adulteration and divides them into various segments like safe food, food not of the nature or substance or quality demanded, extraneous but harmless matter, misbranded items and unsafe for consumption.
According to the Act unsafe food means an article of food whose name, substance or quality is so affected as to render it injurious to human health. "As per the Act, adding a substance directly or as an ingredient which is not permitted is also considered as unsafe," said Shashikant Kekare, joint commissioner (food), FDA Pune.
Toll-free number for complaints
Citizens can register their food and drugs related grievances 24x7 on a toll free number 1800222365. It was launched on December 17 and has already registered 10 anonymous complaints so far.
"Anyone can register complaints regarding adulteration, substandard quality, overcharging. They are free to reveal their identity or remain anonymous. The moment a complaint is registered, we inform FDA officials about it which forwards the same to state FDA commissioner who takes a review of the complaints," said a helpline employee.
Since December 17 the toll free number has received 10 complaints regarding food as well as drugs. People have registered complaints about possible adulteration in milk and milk products. There are complaints about food business operator doing business without obtaining valid licence from FDA. "So far there has been no complaint from Pune. The number became operational two days ago and not many are aware about such a facility," the call centre employee said.
Walmart and CDC to Launch New Poultry Safety Measures
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/walmart-and-cdc-to-launch-new-poultry-safety-measures/
Walmart and CDC to Launch New Poultry Safety Measures
This week, Walmart announced a new plan to enforce “enhanced poultry safety measures” for the retail giant’s suppliers. In partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the goal behind this implementation is to “further protect customers against foodborne illnesses.” Stakeholders including consumer groups, regulators, academicians, poultry suppliers and industry associations have all reviewed and approved the new plans.
Dr. Chris Braden, director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases said, “CDC, along with Walmart, recognizes that reducing Salmonella and other pathogen contamination in poultry products is a crucial step towards decreasing the burden of foodborne illnesses. Walmart and CDC working together to protect public health and advance food safety is a great example of a public-private partnership that benefits everyone.”
Requirements of Walmart and the CDC's program include the following:
•Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. poultry suppliers must start using “holistic controls” from farm to fork to help reduce contamination.
•Suppliers must be subjected to validation testing to ensure that the new plan is indeed effective.
•Poultry suppliers must be in compliance with these new requirements no later than June 2016.
This plan will be in addition to Walmart’s pre-existing food safety program––requiring poultry suppliers to earn prevention-based certification against one of the Global Food Safety Initiative’s internationally recognized standards.
Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak Hits Minnesota Hard
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/caramel-apple-listeria-outbreak-hits-minnesota-hard/
By Carla Gillespie (Dec 21, 2014)
The caramel apple Listeria outbreak has hit Minnesota hard. Four people, all adults ages 59-90, were sickened and two of them died.
This outbreak is the largest Listeria outbreak since the cantaloupe Listeria outbreak of 2011, one of the largest food poisoning outbreaks of any kind in U.S. history. That 28-state outbreak sickened 147 people and killed 33. Minnesota was not among the states included in that outbreak.
Of the five multi-state Listeria outbreaks that occurred between cantaloupe and caramel apples, Minnesota reported cases in just one, the Crave Brothers cheese outbreak of 2013. That outbreak sickened six people in five states and one person died. Minnesota reported two of the cases, including the fatality, in that outbreak.
Contact a Listeria LawyerIn this outbreak, three of the Minnesotans who got Listeria infections from contaminated caramel apples were from the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The fourth case was in greater Minnesota.
Nutty Caramel ApplesThe Minnesota case patients purchased Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods. They were sold as seasonal item and are no longer on store shelves, but some people may still have them in their homes and should not eat them.
The onset of illness for the Minnesota case patients began in late October and November. All of them were so sick they required hospitalization.
“Listeria thrives in all kinds of food processing environments and can multiply at temperatures as low as 34 degrees,” said Brendan Flaherty, a food safety attorney with Pritzker Olsen in Minneapolis. “We should know more about this Monday but, if history is a guide, something went horribly wrong in the production process.”
The 10-state caramel apple outbreak has sickened a total of 28 people and killed five. By state, the cases reported are as follows: Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2).
Half of Those Sickened in Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak are Over 64
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/half-of-those-sickened-in-caramel-apple-listeria-outbreak-are-over-64/
By Carla Gillespie (Dec 21, 2014)
Half of those sickened in the 10-state Listeria outbreak linked to caramel apples are over the age of 64. People in this age group are among those at highest risk for Listeria infections. Others in this high-risk group include pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.
Of the 28 people sickened in this outbreak, nine cases were related to pregnancies including illness in babies who were born prematurely because their mothers ate the contaminated apples while pregnant. Of the cases not related to pregnancy, those sickened ranged in age from 7 to 92. Two thirds of them were male.
Contact a Listeria LawyerThe ages of case patients by state has not been releases, except for Minnesota, which was first to announce the outbreak. In Minnesota, where all four case patients were between the ages of 59-90, two people died.
Case counts reported from other states are as follows: Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2).
Health officials say that until more is known about the origin of the product that caused 26 hospitalizations and 5 deaths, consumers should not eat commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including those covered with nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings.
Food Safety Microbiology
February 5-6, 2015
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Latest on the Multi-State Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/latest-on-the-multi-state-caramel-apple-listeria-outbreak/#.VJdn3ZDm4s
By Bill Marler (Dec 20, 2014)
The Ongoing Risk of Listeria:
Listeria monocytogenes is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
Illnesses as of Friday Evening:
As of Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 28 people (although the Washington State Department of Health reports 29) have been infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes from 10 states linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples. The states reporting illnesses are:
•Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1) and Wisconsin (2).
Twenty-six ill people have been hospitalized. Among the 26 people hospitalized, five deaths have been reported. The States reporting deaths are:
•Minnesota (2), California (1), Texas (1) and Missouri (1).
Listeria was a contributing factor, but not cause of the Missouri death. I spoke this morning to family of 81-year-old woman who died of Listeria in California on December 2 after purchasing and consuming a caramel apple shortly before Halloween. The family has been informed that she is a link to the outbreak by California health officials. The same officials came and picked up discarded product that may be leftovers from the consumed product. The caramel apples were purchased at Safeway in Felton, California.
Nine illnesses were pregnancy-related (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant).
Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) were among otherwise healthy children aged 5–15 years.
Outbreak Investigation as of Saturday Morning:
The information CDC has at this time indicates that commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples are the source of the outbreak
The most detailed information comes from the Minnesota Department of Health. Minnesota cases purchased prepackaged caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods, which carried Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples. Both brands are made by H. Brooks, a 110-year old company in New Brighton. The company only sells the caramel apples in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged or to caramel candy.
Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify cases that may be part of this outbreak. DNA “fingerprinting” is being performed on the Listeria bacteria isolated from ill persons using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). Two outbreak clusters were identified by the PFGE technique, and Listeria isolates within each cluster were found to be highly related by the WGS technique but distinct between the two clusters. CDC is investigating the two clusters together because one person was infected with both Listeria strains simultaneously and also because illnesses in the two clusters have occurred during a similar time period and in similar regions of the country.
Advise to Consumers from Health Officials:
Out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends that U.S. consumers not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, until more specific guidance can be provided. If you are experiencing symptoms of listeriosis, please seek immediate medical attention.
What More Information to Expect in Coming Days:
•Given the long incubation period – 3 to 70 days – for a Listeria infection to manifest after eating the product, it is likely that the numbers of ill will increase that they are reported by hospitals to local and state health authorities and then to the CDC.
•It is expected that the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will announce Monday more information where the product was manufactured, shipped and sold.
•It is also expected to hear more from the CDC on the likely point of Listeria contamination in the production of this product.
It was a busy Friday helping explain to the media the issues surrounding this unusual and tragic Listeria outbreak.
KPIX (San Francisco)
Food safety remains priority in age of organic food
Source : http://barfblog.com/2014/12/food-safety-remains-priority-in-age-of-organic-food/
By Doug Powell (Dec 19, 2014)
Even in an age when the consumption of organic food is booming, strict global food safety standards are needed to protect the consumers, a leading expert at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.
Mary Kenny, officer of FAO’s Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that the safety of all foodstuffs, including organic food, remains a global priority.
“It means that food should be safe and free from chemical and microbiological contaminants. And the nature of food supplies these days means that it’s an international issue,” she said.
With this in mind, major food producers and exporters, including China, are constantly raising food safety standards, Kenny said, adding that, however, it is unclear to what extent the emergence of organic food is impacting food safety in China or elsewhere.
According to Kenny, even organic food may present certain safety risks. Therefore, it is vital to make sure that the right systems are in place and that food production and distribution is as risk-free as possible.
She noted for example that although organically sourced fruit and vegetables might have a lower risk of chemical contamination, the correct procedures to prevent microbiological contamination still have to be followed. As for meat and dairy products produced from organically-fed animals, they still carry the inherent risk of bacteria or parasites, which occur naturally in livestock.
“So we need to adopt the same food safety perspective to organic food that we adopt to other foods,” she said.
The conventional wisdom is that organic food is healthier and more eco-friendly than other food. However, Kenny said this does not mean that conventional foods should automatically be dismissed as having a higher risk.
“Conventional food production certainly uses more chemicals, such as pesticides,” she said. “But there are very strong and robust national and international systems to ensure the safe use of these chemicals and these are followed around the world.”
Videos Reveal 5 Common Food-Safety Mistakes
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/12/study-reveals-5-common-kitchen-food-safety-mistakes/#.VJOJwZDm4s
By News Desk (Dec 18, 2014)
A team led by Christine Bruhn, Ph.D., food-safety expert and Institute of Food Technologists spokesperson, recently videotaped 120 consumers as they prepared a chicken and a salad in their homes.
They found that, while many felt confident about their food safety skills, many were making critical mistakes while preparing their meals that could lead to foodborne illness. Here are their easily correctable five kitchen mistakes:
Kitchen Mistake No. 1: Not Washing Hands
One of the first mistakes Bruhn and her team noted was that the participants forgot to wash their hands before starting to prepare their meal. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dried with a paper towel, not a cloth towel. This is because the cloth towel can become contaminated and then spread bacteria when used to dry dishes, wipe counters, etc.
Kitchen Mistake No. 2: Washing Chicken
The study showed that participants often washed their chicken before seasoning and cooking, which is not the correct way to prepare it. When raw chicken is placed under running water, some of the bacteria that could be on the surface of it ends up in the sink (where dishes are washed), and it can splatter as much as two feet around, contaminating surfaces with dangerous salmonella or other bad bugs.
Kitchen Mistake No. 3: Not Using a Thermometer to Test Doneness
Another mistake that participants made was not cooking the chicken to the proper temperature because they were using their eyes instead of a thermometer to see if it was done. It’s not enough just to look and see if the chicken is white inside and there are no pink juices. A thermometer needs to be used to make sure the chicken is cooked to at least 165 degrees F.
Kitchen Mistake No. 4: Improper Refrigerator Temperature
Bruhn and her team found that when they took the temperature of the participants’ refrigerators, one was as high as 60 degrees F, and almost 15 percent were about 45 degrees F, which is too warm. The refrigerator should register at 40 degrees F and the freezer at 0 degrees F. Since few refrigerator controls show actual temperatures, using an inexpensive freestanding appliance thermometer will allow you to monitor the temperature and adjust the setting of the refrigerator and/or freezer if necessary. Buy one for the fridge, one for the freezer, and check them often.
Kitchen Mistake No. 5: Rewashing Bagged, Pre-Washed Lettuce
Pre-washed bagged lettuce does not need to be rinsed or rewashed a second time. There’s a risk that you’ll end up adding bacteria to greens that were perfectly clean to start with if the sink or cutting board is not newly cleaned and sanitized. Just open the bag and dump it into a bowl. Any bacteria that could be eliminated by washing has come off.
Avoid Being Bad Santa: Important Holiday Food Safety Tips
Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/buck-wargo/avoid-being-bad-santa-imp_b_6349522.html
By Buck Wargo, Senior Editor, NiC Magazine (Dec 18, 2014)
Holiday food safety is a topic that rarely comes up in conversation. The USDA believes that should change -- and fast.
The holidays are here and if your office has a gift exchange, you don't want to be the one responsible for giving your colleagues salmonella, E. coli, listeria or campylobacter. That last one is a mouthful and all of them can be the wrong gift if offices don't practice proper food safety during their holiday parties. The same also applies to house parties during this time of year.
No one wants to be "Bad Santa" and top the film role of Billy Bob Thornton. No one.
"You definitely don't want to be the cause of your whole office getting diarrhea or vomiting for a few days after the party," says Kristina Beaugh, a public affairs specialist for the US Department of Agriculture.
How that's possible that people get sick in an office party comes from the failure to keep cold food cold, and hot food hot, Beaugh says.
When you have an office party, of course there's going to be food there. When you're celebrating the holidays with family, there's going to be food there and these parties tend to last more than two hours, she says.
"What we want to focus on for office parties or holiday food parties is any time there's a big group of people and a lot of food, you really want to make sure the food doesn't sit out at room temperature for more than two hours," Beaugh says. "People are partying and they forget and lose track of time and how long the food has been out. Meanwhile, everyone has been picking at food the whole time."
The risk for food borne illnesses comes after two hours because that's when bacteria begins multiplying on food. It's in the danger zone -- temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees -- that's where bacteria multiplies rapidly. After two hours, your food is considered unsafe and the USDA recommends that you throw it away.
"Anything that's perishable is at risk," Beaugh said. "That would be meat items and anything with eggs in it and any kind of dairy, cheeses, poultry, seafood and things like that. Even food like potato salad or casseroles are at risk. Food such as fruit, cookies and bread, potato chips can stay out all day."
Even at family gatherings during the holidays, people have food on the table and they're eating throughout the night, Beaugh says. The precautions to protect people are easy to follow, she says.
"It's really important to use small platters and the host of the party should remember to put out a little food at a time and keep some cold and some heated up as you go so you never run the risk of things setting it out for more than two hours."
What would help people avoid such food safety risks at office parties, however, where they don't have a lot of access to refrigerators or stoves to heat food and employees want to be able to eat for several hours during the day, Beaugh suggests people bring crockpots. People can also stick cold perishable items in ice to keep them safe.
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The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food – Read it!
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/lawyer-oped/the-chain-farm-factory-and-the-fate-of-our-food-read-it/#.VJOJqJDm4s
By Bill Marler (Dec 18, 2014)
I tend to focus on my job, and when your focus is on bacteria, the focus can be a bit narrow and small – some would say, microscopic. I have said often that I pay attention to the things that can kill you quickly, not the broader issues around food, like the environment, worker safety and sustainability.
That is why when I picked up Ted Genoways’s new book: “The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food,” my small focus was both disturbed and enlightened, which is what a good – very good – book tends to do. I was struck by many things in the book, but this phrase towards the end in many ways sums up my failure to look up from my work:
“… today, it seems that we are not so much concerned with safety as promoting an illusion of safety. We feel assured that we are protected from illness, when, in fact, the real illness is the pretense we, as Americans, must collectively agree upon— in order to maintain the mirage of safe food, a safe workplace, well- treated livestock, a healthy environment, a strong economy, and a cohesive and equitable culture.”
This is a book all consumers of food – which is all of us – should read. I would send special copies to all farm state politicians – with a special audio copy to the Governor of Iowa. We all need to lift our focus on making our food safe, plentiful and affordable, but not at the expense massive environmental degradation, worker – especially migrate worker abuse, and risks of zoonotic disease.
Thank you Ted for writing this book. You honored agriculture – especially those who risk their health and lives to feed us.
Aimed at growth: Food safety compliance crucial
Source : http://tribune.com.pk/story/808573/aimed-at-growth-food-safety-compliance-crucial/
By Our Correspondent (Dec 18, 2014)
“Presently, the major hurdle in export of food products by the Pakistani companies is non compliance with food safety standards required by the importing countries.” During the event, TUV Austria Bureau of Inspection and Certification announced to certify the Food Safety Management System of National Foods Limited, awarding it with ISO 22000.
The ISO 22000 family of international standards addresses food safety management. Food safety and public health are serious concerns across the world and food chain companies, by implementing food safety management system, can not only address these concerns, but also boost trade significantly.
With the compliance of food safety management system or international standard of ISO 22000, companies are required to manage the food safety related risks.
Wisconsin Issues Final Report on Durand Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/wisconsin-issues-final-report-on-durand-raw-milk-campylobacter-outbreak/
By Carla Gillespie (Dec 18, 2014)
A final report about the raw milk Campylobacter outbreak in Durand, Wisc. has been issued by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). The 25-page report confirms that the September outbreak, which sickened 38 people and hospitalized 10 who attended a football team potluck dinner, was caused by contaminated raw milk.
The report does not name the farm that provided the milk, referring to it throughout as Farm A, but the name of the farm was released by the state agriculture department in response to an open records request by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The owners of the Arkansaw, Wisc. farm, Roland and Diana Reed, did not tell attendees at the football potluck that the milk they contributed was unpasteurized. The Reeds sell their milk to a local cheese maker and are not in the business of selling raw milk. But they drink it themselves and have recently stated that they have been bringing it potlucks for several years. Again, without letting people know it is unpasteurized.
Pasteurized, store-bought chocolate milk in half-gallon containers was also served at the banquet. When the chocolate milk ran out, the half-gallon containers were used to mix the raw milk from a five-gallon cooler with chocolate flavoring.
DHS interviewed 65 people who attended the potluck. Twenty six of them had confirmed cases of Campylobacter infections, 12 had probable cases. Of those sickened, who ranged in age from 14-49, 33 were high school students, five were coaches. The median age was 16.
They were sick for an average of four days with symptoms including diarrhea,
headache, fever, chills and sweats, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, body aches and fatigue. Fevers ranged for 99.9¢ªF to 105¢ªF with a median of 102¢ªF.
Among the 38 people who reported consuming milk, 32 consumed the unpasteurized milk and six said the got milk from the half gallon jugs which could have contained either raw or pasteurized milk. Everyone who attended ate the chicken, which Diane Reed has suggested was the source of illness. However, lab tests showed manure samples from the Reed farm were a match to the samples taken from case patients.
CDC Update: 111 Sickened in Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Bean Sprouts
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/12/cdc-update-111-sick-in-salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-bean-sprouts/#.VJOKEJDm4s
By News Desk (Dec 17, 2014)
At least 111 people in 12 states have been confirmed infected with Salmonella in an outbreak linked to bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc., according to an outbreak update posted Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Twenty-six percent of patients have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Since the CDC’s last update on Dec. 4, 24 new illnesses have been found.
Wonton Foods continues to cooperate with state and federal public health officials. On Nov. 21, they agreed to destroy any remaining bean sprout products while conducting a thorough cleaning and sanitization of their facilities..
On Nov. 24, the company completed the sanitization process and resumed production. Shipments resumed on Nov. 29.
CDC says it is not likely that any more contaminated product is on store shelves.
CDC recommends that children, the elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind due to their potential to harbor harmful bacteria. Cooking sprouts kills any such bacteria.
Food safety should be topping your Christmas list this year
Source : http://www.linlithgowgazette.co.uk/news/local-news/food-safety-should-be-topping-your-christmas-list-this-year-1-3632730
By linlithgowgazette.co.uk (Dec 17, 2014)
Let’s talk turkey – or goose – so that households across the Journal and Gazette’s readership area stay food safe this Christmas when tucking into tasty treats.
Environmental health experts have shared some simple tips with us to ensure your festive period isn’t spoiled by food poisoning.
Craig Smith, West Lothian Council’s principal environmental health officer, said: “Our turkey tips for Christmas apply to all poultry and should result in an incident-free festive period.
“Raw poultry, including turkey, chicken, goose and pheasant, as well as other raw meats, can be a source of food poisoning if not handled and cooked correctly.
“It is best not to wash poultry or raw meat before cooking as this can spread harmful bacteria to other foods, hands and surfaces.
“It is also important to carefully handle raw vegetables which may have soil on them, as the dirt can contain bacteria which can cause illness. These should be washed carefully in the sink, and then clean and disinfect the sink afterwards.”
Game Bird Tips
* Buy a turkey that’s realistic for your needs as the bigger the turkey is, the more difficult it is to prepare and cook safely.
* Store raw meat at the bottom of the fridge, preferably in a covered container, where it can’t drip onto other foods.
* If you’re reheating turkey, or other leftovers, always make sure it’s steaming hot all the way through before you eat it and never reheat more than once. Ideally, try to eat, cook or freeze within 48 hours.
The Four C’s
Environmental health officers advise that the best way to avoid festive food poisoning is to follow the four c’s of good food hygiene.
* Cleaning – wash and dry your hands thoroughly before preparing food and after handling raw meat or poultry. Make sure your worktops are clean and disinfected.
* Cooking – cook your turkey all the way through until it’s piping hot, the juices run clear and there’s no pink meat. Always reheat leftovers until they’re piping hot.
* Chilling – check your fridge is at the right temperature, ideally between 0 and 5 degrees centigrade (°C), to help slow down the growth of germs. Cool your leftovers quickly (preferably in one or two hours) and put them in the fridge or freezer.
* Cross-contamination – use different chopping boards and knives for raw meat and raw vegetables and foods that are ready to eat, such as salads, cold meats, cheese etc. This will help to stop germs spreading.
Councillor Tom Conn said: “Christmas is an exciting time of the year and the last thing that people want is to fall victim to, or be the cause of, food poisoning.
“Poultry and other raw meat need to be handled carefully and we would urge everyone to follow the experts’ guidance.”
Craig added: “If you are eating out make sure that the premises has been awarded a PASS certificate as part of the Food Hygiene Information Scheme. They should be displaying their certificates.
“You can also check the website for details of any business in the scheme. If it doesn’t have a PASS certificate you might want to pass on to somewhere else that does.”
Recipe for Better Seafood Safety Opened to Public Comments
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/12/recipe-for-seafood-safety-opened-to-public-comment/#.VJdtm5Dm4t
By Dan Flynn (Dec 17, 2014)
Seafood safety, legal fishing, and proper labeling of fish might all benefit from presidential task force recommendations now open to public comments. Scheduled for publication on Dec. 18 in the Federal Register, the “Recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud” cover four general themes:
•International: Combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud at the international level;
•Enforcement: Strengthen enforcement and enhance enforcement tools to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud;
•Partnerships: Create and expand partnerships with state and local governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations to identify and eliminate seafood fraud and the sale of IUU seafood in U.S. commerce, and,
•Traceability: Create a risk-based traceability program to track seafood from harvest to entry into U.S. commerce to prevent entry of illegal product into the supply chain and better inform retailers and consumers.
“One of the biggest global threats to the sustainable management of the world’s fisheries is illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing,” states the task force report. “IUU fishing occurs both within nations’ waters and on the high seas and undermines the biological and economic sustainability of fisheries both domestically and abroad. IUU fishing in other parts of the world can cause problems in places where there are strong rules managing fisheries, such as the United States.”
The task force report was filed Tuesday by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a unit of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which, in turn, is a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
President Obama established the task force in June at the global Our Ocean conference hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Federal agencies were directed to work together for six months to develop recommendations to combat seafood fraud and illegal fishing.
“While not necessarily related to IUU fishing, seafood fraud (whereby fish is mislabeled with respect to its species or country of origin, quantity, or quality) has the potential to undermine the economic viability of U.S. and global fisheries as well as the ability of consumers to make informed purchasing choices, “ the task force report continued.
“Seafood fraud can occur at any point along the seafood supply chain from harvest to market. It can be driven by diverse motives, from covering up IUU fishing to avoiding duties, to increasing a profit margin through species substitution or falsification of the country of origin. While it is difficult to know the extent of seafood fraud, the frequency of seafood fraud incidents has received increasing attention in peer-reviewed journals, government reports and private sector reports. Seafood fraud threatens consumer confidence, serving to further undermine the reputation and market competitiveness of law-abiding fishers and businesses in the seafood industry,” it states.
Seafood fraud is all too common. In February 2013, Oceana, a U.S.-based group working to improve oceans worldwide, reported that 33 percent of more than 1,200 fish samples purchased at retail and tested were mislabeled, according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines.
Fish fraud is typically practiced to fool consumers into paying more, not to necessarily put them at risk from a food safety perspective, although unsafe food can result from fraudulent practices. To help improve the situation, Oceana advocates for “full chain traceability” from “boat to plate.”
In a statement released Tuesday, Oceana said the presidential task force recommendations are “a real step forward in fighting illegal fishing and seafood fraud in the U.S. and around the world.” The group says the recommendations will help carry out the president’s “commitment to stop those crimes that provide profits to pirate fishermen, rip off consumers, and hinder ocean conservation.”
Beth Lowell, senior campaign director for Oceana, called the task force recommendations a “historic opportunity to ensure that the seafood sold in the U.S. is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled.”
The organization is calling on Obama to implement the recommendations “swiftly and to their fullest extent.”
Comments on the task force recommendations must be received within 30 days of their publication in the Federal Register. Instructions on how to comment electronically or by mail are on the second page of this document.
FOOD SAFETY: New law takes aim at unethical food producers
Source : http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aftr/201412170023.aspx
By Maubo Chang, CNA staff writer (Dec 17, 2014)
In the wake of a recent food scare in Taiwan over sub-standard cooking oil, the country's health authorities have revised the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation.
The revisions, which were approved by the Legislature on Nov. 18, are aimed at tightening government supervision of food companies, allowing harsher penalties for offenders and encouraging whistleblowing in the food industry.
Food companies found guilty of using banned ingredients in their products or falsifying their labeling may now face a fine of up to NT$2 billion (US$65 million) if it is determined that their actions caused death or health harm among consumers.
In cases of individuals engaging in such illegal practices that result in harm to human health or death, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment and a fine of NT$200 million.
As part of the effort to stop unscrupulous behavior in the food industry, the revised law draws a distinction between a fine and the seizure of profits from illegal practices, allowing the imposition of both penalties at the same time.
If a company's illicit gains exceed the maximum fine, the court has the right to increase the fine if deemed necessary.
Prosecutors also have the right to seize the assets of indicted businessmen to prevent transfer to a third party such as family members or another company.
In the most recent food scare in Taiwan, several cooking oil producers, including Ting Hsin, were found to be using animal feed-grade fats in their products.
In a bid to prevent a recurrence of this practice, the revised law stipulates that the production of edible and non-edible oils must be carried out at separate facilities.
It also requires listed and over-the-counter food companies to set up their own laboratories for food testing and to adopt the use of e-invoices to help track the flow of raw materials and the distribution of their finished products.
Amendments seen limited
While the law amendment, which involved 20 articles of the food safety act, has been hailed by many people as the most comprehensive effort so far by the government to close the legal loopholes in the industry, some scholars said it does not go far enough.
Wu Chia-cheng, a chemistry professor at National Taiwan Normal University and former secretary-general of the Consumers' Foundation, said the act does not clearly define the term "major food safety incidents."
The article has now shifted the burden of proof to food manufacturers in “major food incidents,” requiring that they prove in court that their products are safe, Wu said.
The relevant article, crafted with the intent of helping consumers claim damage in the event of a major food safety incident, is toothless unless that term is elucidated, Wu said.
Moreover, Wu said, the law should stipulate that food staples such as cooking oil, tea, sugar, salt, milk formula, meat and rice can be graded according to their quality but cannot be mixed with other ingredients if the staples are to be sold as raw materials.
Effectiveness of penalties questioned
On the issue of penalties, a legal expert questioned the deterrent value of the new law, noting that the food safety act has been revised three times in recent years to toughen penalties, to no noticeable effect.
Since 2011, when it was discovered that a toxic plasticizer was being widely used in local drinks, the penalties for such unethical practices have been increased with each successive law revision but tainted and substandard food still remains on the Taiwan market, said Kao Jung-chi, chief executive officer of the private Judicial Reform Foundation.
He said that not only should convicted offenders be stripped of their illegal profits, but the money should be used to compensate consumers directly.
Another scholar pointed to the allocation of government funds as one of the problems associated with the food safety issue.
For example, the health ministry's Food and Drug Administration uses only one-tenth of its budget on food regulation, while the rest is spent on drug regulation, said Chen Chih-hsiung, an associate professor of law at National Chiao Tung University.
He said the government's handling of the recent cooking oil scare showed that it has the means to regulate the food industry but has not been paying sufficient attention to the issue.
Three Senators Have Questions for Interagency Antibiotics Task Force
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/12/senators-have-questions-for-interagency-task-force-for-combating-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria/#.VJduWZDm4t
By News Desk (Dec 17, 2014)
Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sent a letter Tuesday to Secretaries Chuck Hagel, Tom Vilsack and Sylvia Burwell, co-chairs of the newly formed Interagency Task Force for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, to ask how this task force will address gaps in how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently addressing the public health threat posed by the overuse of antibiotics in food animals.
“While the FDA’s policies are a step in the right direction, we are concerned that FDA may lack the authority to ensure veterinarians adhere to the criteria for determining an appropriate preventive use laid out in its guidance documents, that the FDA does not have a clear mechanism for collecting the data necessary to evaluate whether its policies effectively reduce the public health threat, and that the administration has no clear metrics or benchmarks that will be used to determine success or a need for future action,” the senators wrote.
In September, the White House released a report on antibiotic resistance by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and issued an Executive Order establishing an interagency task force for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The governmental task force must submit an action plan to the president by February 2015 describing how to meet the administration’s National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and address PCAST’s recommendations.
The senators’ letter listed 11 questions they have about how the task force plans to address issues in enforcement, data collection, and policy evaluation while developing the National Action Plan:
1.In light of the disagreements among stakeholders and their competing interests, what tools are available to the administration to encourage compliance with FDA criteria for determining an appropriate preventive use of antibiotics?
2.Does the administration need additional authorities to ensure compliance?
3.How will the administration measure the rate of adoption of the Guidance #213 guidelines among veterinarians?
4.When does the administration plan to finalize the VFD (Veterinary Feed Directives) rule?
5.USDA surveys are voluntary and depend on the participation of producers. Are these surveys an effective means of collecting the valid on-farm antibiotic use data — across all of the major food-producing species in the U.S. — necessary to evaluating current FDA policies? If not, what agency and department will be tasked with obtaining these data?
6.We understand that USDA does not currently have the necessary resources to conduct comprehensive surveys of on-farm antibiotic use practices and that a large-scale study can cost up to $1.5 million. In its fiscal year 2016 budget request, does the administration plan to request additional funds to perform a study of on-farm antibiotic use practices within the budget caps?
7.What is the first step toward developing a new data collection mechanism (as directed by the National Strategy) that will be included in the Feb. 15, 2015 Action Plan?
8.If the FDA’s guidance documents succeed in reducing the continuous low-dose use of antibiotics in food animal production, what changes will you expect to see (in sales data, in VFDs, or any other currently collected data point) and when will you expect to see these changes?
9.What additional metrics and benchmarks for evaluating the FDA policies will be published as a part of the Action Plan?
10.What agencies and departments will be responsible for running the evaluation?
11.If FDA policies are unsuccessful, what next steps will the administration consider to continue addressing the misuse and over-use of antiotics in animal agriculture?
Senators Warren, Gillibrand and Feinstein also wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg in July expressing their concerns about guidance documents #209 and #213 and the proposed rule on Veterinary Feed Directives and asking for more information about those efforts.
5 Common Food Safety Kitchen Mistakes
Source : http://www.newswise.com/articles/5-common-food-safety-kitchen-mistakes
By newswise.com (Dec 16, 2014)
IFT Spokesperson and food safety expert, Christine Bruhn, PhD, CFS, Former Director of the Center for Consumer Research, University of California, Davis and her team videotaped 120 consumers as they prepared a chicken and a salad in their home. They found that while many felt confident about their food safety skills, many were making critical mistakes while preparing their meals that could lead to foodborne illness. Take a look at these five kitchen mistakes you can easily correct for a happy and healthy new year!
Kitchen Mistake #1: Not Washing Hands
One of the first mistakes Dr. Bruhn and her team noted that was that the participants forgot to wash their hands before starting to prepare their meal. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dried with a paper towel, not a cloth towel. This is because the cloth towel can become contaminated and then spread bacteria when used to dry dishes, wipe counter, etc.
Kitchen Mistake #2: Washing Chicken
The study showed that participants often washed their chicken before seasoning and cooking, which is not the correct way to prepare it. When raw chicken is placed under running water, some of the bacteria that could be on the surface of it ends up in the sink, (where dishes are washed) and it can splatter as much as two feet around contaminating surfaces with dangerous salmonella or other “bad bugs.”
Kitchen Mistake #3: Not Using a Thermometer to Test Doneness
Another mistake that participants made was not cooking the chicken to the proper temperature because they were using their eyes instead of a thermometer to see if it was done. It’s not enough just to look and see if the chicken is white inside and there are no pink juices, a thermometer needs to be used to make sure the chicken is cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Kitchen Mistake #4: Improper Refrigerator Temperature
Dr. Bruhn and her team found that when they took the temperature of the participants’ refrigerators, one was as high as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and almost 15 percent were about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, which is too warm. The refrigerator should register at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Since few refrigerator controls show actual temperatures, using an inexpensive freestanding appliance thermometer will allow you to monitor the temperature and adjust the setting of the refrigerator and/or freezer if necessary. Buy one for the fridge, one for the freezer, and check them often.
Kitchen Mistake #5: Rewashing Bagged, Pre-Washed Lettuce
Pre-washed bagged lettuce does not need to be rinsed or rewashed a second time. There's a risk that you'll end up adding bacteria to greens that were perfectly clean to start with if the sink or cutting board are not newly cleaned and sanitized. Just open the bag and dump it into a bowl, any bacteria that could be eliminated by washing has come off.
Christine Bruhn, PhD, CFS, Former Director of the Center for Consumer Research, University of California-Davis
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Despite Evidence, Farm Denies Link to Durand Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/despite-evidence-farm-denies-link-to-durand-raw-milk-campylobacter-outbreak/
By Carla Gillespie (Dec 16, 2014)
Despite evidence, the farm identified as the source of a Campylobacter raw milk outbreak that sickened dozens of people who attended a football banquet in Durand, Wisconsin is denying responsibility. Health officials say the outbreak strain found in stool samples taken from those who became ill is a genetic match to the strain found in samples collected from a dairy farm operated by Roland and Diana Reed in Arkansaw, Wis. Still, Diana Reed says, it could have been the chicken. “We need to do a lot of fact-finding before we start pointing fingers,” she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Any day now, the Wisconsin Department of Health is expected to release its final report on the outbreak, which sickened so many football players two football games had to be canceled. The report will provide details of the outbreak stemming from the September 18 potluck. But here’s what we already know.
The Reeds provided raw milk for the banquet but did not tell everyone it was unpasteurized. Twenty six people who attended the potluck had lab confirmed cases of Campylobacter infections. As part of its the investigation, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) interviewed all of the football team members and coaching staff who became ill and all of those who didn’t. All who were interviewed were asked about possible exposures including activities, water sources, foods and beverages in the days before they became ill.
“In a comparison of the interview responses from ill and well team members, consumption of raw milk was the only food item associated with illness,” health officials said. This alone is enough information to identify the milk as the source of the outbreak.
But because of interview results, DHS requested that the agriculture department collect cow manure specimens from the farm. Tests on these manure samples were positive for the same strain of Campylobacter found in the stool samples of the 26 potluck attendees with confirmed cases of campylobacteriosis.
To be clear, the lab tests show not only that there was Campylobacter in manure found on the farm and Campylobacter found in stool samples of football players, but that the same strain of Campylobacter, with its own unique “fingerprint” was found in both places. Reed says this strain is also found in poultry which wasn’t tested by health officials because it was all eaten at the banquet.
Cockroaches and Lizard Feces Prompts Hawaiian Sprouter Closure
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-policy-regulation/cockroaches-and-lizard-feces-prompts-hawaiian-sprouter-closure/#.VJdwBpDm4u
By Denis Stearns (Dec 15, 2014)
The FDA announced last Friday that RZM Food Factory in Makawao, Hawaii agreed to stop processing and distributing food products until the company is in compliance with federal law. A federal judge signed a consent decree or permanent injunction and entered it in the U.S. District Court of Hawaii last Thursday.
The day before, the FDA filed a complaint for permanent injunction against RZM Food Factory, which manufactures, prepares, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat mung bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, clover sprouts and radish sprouts.
During the FDA’s most recent inspection of RZM Food Factory’s facilities in April, it found several different types of pests, including cockroaches. FDA investigators also saw lizard feces in the growing room and a slug on a growing bed of sprouts. It also found litter and waste in and outside the facility.
The FDA also alleges that the facilities and equipment were not maintained. During the inspection, rain leaked onto the growing beds. “The rainwater can be contaminated from birds and other animals and thus serve as a route for contaminating sprouts with pathogens,” the FDA said. It also said the irrigation tanks were rusty, corroded and uncovered.
In several inspections since 2001, the FDA found similar unsanitary conditions.
Can you safely store perishable food outside during winter months?
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/can_you_safely_store_perishable_food_outside_during_winter_months
By Diane Rellinger (Dec 15, 2014)
Bad idea to store perishable food outdoors.
Hosting a large party at your home means menu planning, shopping, cooking and storing food – safely. Hosting a large group of people increases the need for refrigerator space to store food at the recommended temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or under. If guests also arrive with dishes of food, the capacity to safely store perishable foods before and after the big meal becomes an important consideration.
So what is a host to do when the fridge is full and leftovers abound? During the winter months when outdoor temperatures are low, the idea of storing some foods outdoors may be a common practice, or at least a logical option. Michigan State University Extension urges you to understand the potential health risks of improperly chilling food which is to be eaten later. There are true risks for you and your guests when food is stored in unconventional methods.
A refrigerator and freezer provide a controlled, protective environment for foods. These appliances maintain a constant temperature which protects food best. Cold food needs to stay cold. Bacteria begins to grow and multiply quickly in food when temperatures rise above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When bacteria are active in food their growth compromises the food safety. However, the appearance, smell or taste of food may not be altered initially, even when bacteria are increasing. Some refrigerated foods will be reheated and others will not. Regardless, all foods need to be chilled at a consistent cold temperature to ensure safety. The refrigerator is the only safe option.
Storing perishable foods placed outdoors, in a garage, on a balcony or patio exposes them to fluctuating temperatures. Allowing food to be held at inconsistent temperatures increases the risk of foodborne illness when food is later consumed. Sun light possesses another threat to safely maintain temperature control for foods – especially on a patio or balcony.
Having a protective environment for food includes keeping it away from contaminates. Outdoor, curious pets and other animals could contaminate wrapped food that is left sitting out. When food is out of sight you cannot easily monitor it. Rodents pose a real health concern if they come in contact with food outside.
Food stored in a garage can be contaminated by fumes from cars, trucks, tractors and snow blowers. The unsanitary nature of a garage provides additional opportunities for contamination if food is stored near liquids or comes in contact with dust and grime.
Don’t compromise when it comes to chilling and storing food safely. Utilize food storage bags or stackable plastic containers to maximize the interior storage space of your refrigerator. Plan your menu so leftovers are minimal. A wise host makes their party worry free when they keep safe food practices a priority.
Resolutions for a food safe 2015
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/resolutions_for_a_food_safe_2015
By Jane Hart, Michigan State University Extension (Dec 15, 2014)
Pick from one of these 13 New Year’s resolutions to keep yourself healthy in the New Year.
Buy and use a food thermometer. It’s the only way to know if meat, poultry and fish are cooked safely. You can’t tell just by looking. If you don’t have one, ask for one this holiday season.
2.Use an appliance thermometer. The refrigerator temperature should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. In the freezer, make sure the thermometer reads at zero degree or below. Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Check your thermometers often.
3.Do not leave pizza sitting out on the table or the “doggie” bag in the car overnight. Food should not be left out more than two hours at room temperature, or one hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. When in doubt, throw it out.
4.Do not defrost a turkey in the garage or in the trunk of your car. The only safe way to defrost food is in the refrigerator, in cold running water or in the microwave. If you defrost food in the microwave you must cook the food immediately. Read the steps to safely defrost a turkey in the Michigan State University Extension article titled How to thaw the holiday turkey safely.
5.Wash your hands and all food preparation surfaces with soap and water before and after touching raw meat, poultry or fish. Bacteria on raw meat, fish or poultry can contaminate other foods such as bread or lettuce that may sit nearby and will not be cooked.
6.Do not feed your dog or cat “leftovers” or “take-out” food that’s no longer fit for people. Animals can also get foodborne illnesses. Follow the same rules for animals as you would yourself.
7.Don’t leave “take-out” or “ready-to-eat” food in the refrigerator until it’s forgotten. You can’t always tell by looking at, or smelling if a food is unsafe. Never taste a food if you don’t know what it is or how long it has been in the refrigerator.
8.Do not lick the spoon or the bowl of homemade cookie dough or cake batter made with raw eggs. Salmonella is a very unpleasant and potentially dangerous illness that can come from eating raw eggs – even one taste of raw dough that contains harmful bacteria could make you sick.
9.When grilling outdoors, use a clean plate for the cooked meat. Hamburgers, hot dogs or other meat or fish leak raw, uncooked juice. Juices from raw meat, poultry or fish can contaminate your cooked food, causing a serious cause of foodborne illness.
10.Separate cooked foods from uncooked foods when preparing a meal. Use separate cutting boards and knives. Cross could cause harmful bacteria from one food to be transferred to another food.
11.Put an ice pack in your child’s lunch box (or yours). If it’s a perishable lunch containing meat, poultry, fish, milk or eggs it needs to be properly preserved. Food in lunch boxes sitting in warm classrooms or offices could result in foodborne illness.
12.Do not “save money” by buying dented cans or cracked jars. Never use food from containers that are leaking, bulging or badly dented. Do not use food from cracked jars or those with loose or bulging lids, canned food with a foul odor or any container that spurts liquid when you open it. It’s not worth taking a risk to save a few pennies.
13.Put meat and poultry packages in plastic bags provided at the supermarket before putting them in the grocery cart. Leaking packages from meat or poultry would contaminate other foods in the cart, leading to foodborne illnesses.
Pick one or all of these resolutions for a healthy New Year. Your choices can prevent foodborne illness. If you have a question about food safety call the United States Department of Agriculture meat and poultry hotline toll-free at 1-800-535-4555, your local MSU Extension office or 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
When it comes to food, play it safe
Source : http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/news/lifestyles/when-it-comes-to-food-play-it-safe/njRL9/
By Ohio State University Extension (Dec 15, 2014)
Q. Over the weekend, we did some holiday shopping and stopped at the grocery store. We were out for longer than I anticipated, and we left food in the car for about three hours before we got home. Is that food OK to eat? It was chilly, but I’m not sure how cold it was outside.
A. It’s good that you’re asking. Too many people don’t take foodborne illness seriously. It’s hard to say why.
It could be because an illness doesn’t always occur when you don’t follow food safety guidelines. Let’s face it: If you became ill every single time after eating meat that’s not been cooked to the proper temperature, you would learn your lesson pretty quickly. If it rarely happens, you may never even associate your illness with those rare hamburgers you ate.
Another reason could be due to the fact that common symptoms of foodborne illness — nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea — mimic those of the flu or some other bug. There are more than 250 different types of foodborne illness out there. People may naively believe they have never experienced any of them, when, in fact, they have.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year, roughly 1 in 6 Americans, or 48 million people, get sick from foodborne illness. Of those, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Foodborne illness is a serious problem. Fortunately, it’s often preventable by taking a few precautions.
Those precautions include time and temperature control: Don’t let perishable food remain in the “danger zone” of 40 degrees to 140 degrees F for longer than two hours. That’s the temperature at which any foodborne pathogens that may be in the food can multiply rapidly and grow enough to cause illness.
In your case, the food you bought and kept in your car might have been kept cold enough for those three hours. But it might not have. You’d be hard-pressed to find a food-safety expert who would advise you to take a chance and eat that food — or worse, serve it to your holiday guests. Sadly, “when in doubt, throw it out” would apply here. The smart thing to do is to discard the questionable food and head back to the grocery store.
Foodsafety.gov, a federal website with valuable food safety information, offers more holiday food shopping guidance at www.foodsafety.gov/blog/2014/12/other-holiday-shopping-grocery-shopping.html. Check it out, and stay safe for the holidays.
CDC: Raw Milk-Related Outbreaks on the Rise
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/12/study-number-of-raw-milk-outbreaks-on-the-rise/#.VJdxVJDm4s
By James Andrews (Dec 12, 2014)
During the three years from 2007 to 2009, 30 foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S. were connected to raw milk consumption. Yet, in the next three years, from 2010 to 2012, that number rose to 51, according to a new study published in the January issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, a peer-reviewed monthly journal published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In that time, 81 percent of raw milk-related outbreaks occurred in states that allow for the legal sale of raw milk. Retail sale of raw milk is legal in 10 states, on-farm sales are legal in another 16, and seven states have legalized herd-share programs, in which a number of people “buy in” to owning dairy cows from which they receive raw milk.
The leading cause of these illnesses was Campylobacter, which accounted for 62 of the 81 outbreaks. Campylobacter, an infectious bacteria found in some animal feces, causes bouts of diarrhea, vomiting and cramping in most people, but can cause long-lasting arthritis and rare nerve disorders in a small number of those it infects.
Other leading pathogens included E. coli, with 13 outbreaks, and Salmonella, with two.
The increase in raw milk-related outbreaks could be partially explained by the rising popularity of drinking raw milk, which is milk that has not been pasteurized to eliminate potentially harmful pathogens.
The study counted 979 confirmed illnesses and 73 hospitalizations linked to raw milk over the six-year period. (It may be important to note that, with most pathogens, experts estimate there are a few dozen uncounted illnesses for every one illness confirmed by a health laboratory.)
From 2007 to 2009, raw milk accounted for about 2 percent of outbreaks where the food source was discovered. From 2010 to 2012, that percentage increased to 5.
Fifty-nine percent of outbreaks included a patient younger than 5. Twenty-eight percent of the E. coli illnesses from raw milk affected patients between the ages of 1 and 4.
The states with the greatest number of raw milk outbreaks during this time are as follows:
•Pennsylvania (17 outbreaks)
•New York (6)
•South Carolina (5)
Sales of raw milk are legal at either the retail or farm level in each of those states.
A similar survey was conducted for the period of 1993 to 2006. The researchers of this new study found that the number of outbreaks linked to raw milk was four times greater overall in the 2007 to 2012 period.
The period from 2007 to 2012 averaged 13.5 raw milk-related outbreaks per year, while the period of 1993 to 2006 averaged only 3.3 such outbreaks per year. Again, part of this difference could be attributed to the growing popularity of raw milk consumption.
Another likely contributor to the rising number of raw milk-related outbreaks is that more states are loosening restrictions on the sale of raw milk. In 2004, raw milk sales were illegal in 28 states. By 2010, that number had dropped to 20. Also during that time, the number of states allowing herd-share programs increased from 5 to 10.
“The decision to legalize the sale of nonpasteurized milk or allow limited access through cow-share programs may facilitate consumer access to nonpasteurized milk,” the study authors note.
Legal sales in one state can also lead to illnesses in states where sales are illegal. For example, a 2011 outbreak of Campylobacter linked to a South Carolina raw-milk dairy resulted in illnesses in North Carolina, where sales are illegal.
In 2012, another Campylobacter outbreak from a raw milk farm in Pennsylvania resulted in illnesses in Maryland, West Virginia and New Jersey — all states where raw milk sales are prohibited. All patients from those states drove to Pennsylvania to obtain the raw milk.
The study did not include outbreaks attributed to raw-milk products, such as cheese, for which numerous illness outbreaks were also reported during the study’s time period.
“Legalization of the sale of nonpasteurized milk in additional states would probably lead to more outbreaks and illnesses,” the authors wrote, adding that populations such as children and the elderly were especially vulnerable to any negative consequences.
Get Ready for 2015
Soruce : http://www.qualityassurancemag.com/qa1214-food-industry-trends-2015.aspx
By Lisa Lupo (Dec 11, 2014)
Consumer food preferences and trends drive the manufacturing industry and impact all facets from supply chain management to in-plant processes and distribution. So what trends are we seeing for 2015? To come up with our Top Trends list, we reviewed and compiled predictions from some of the top forecasters, including Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert, working with ConAgra Foods; Sterling-Rice Group (SRG), a brand-development company; Technomic, a food research and consulting firm; Mintel, a market-research firm; and our own recent Trend Impact presentations. Following are the results.
Top 4 Food Trends that Will Impact the Food Industry
1. Healthy Eating. Some food trends come and go, while others—such as healthy eating—seem to just continue to evolve and grow. While seemingly a good thing, this evolution, however, has not always been positive. This is primarily due to the many definitions, conceptions, and misconceptions about healthy food. Organic, natural, and local have all moved into the spotlight of “healthy” without any real consumer understanding of what these really are. And for good reason—with natural and local having no real federal definitions, products can be labeled as such with little validation.
While organic labeling is controlled by USDA’s National Organic Program, there is still a great deal of misconception, in that nowhere in its definition does USDA require, or even state, that organic is healthier, yet consumers are willing to pay more than twice the price for organic over conventional believing it to be more nutritious and better for them.
Labeling also is going past the package, with innovative apps becoming available that calculate nutritional content of meals. A quick scan of the bar code of the items used and input of additional required information brings up a computation of the carbs, fats, proteins, and calories of the foods on the plate.
Interestingly, the trend toward healthy eating has impacted younger generations much more than ever in the past. In particular, “Generation Z” (those born after Millennials) seem to tend toward simplicity and health in their food choices—both in the foods themselves and in the preparation methods. While previous generations thrilled to the convenience of ready-to-eat, microwavable foods, Gen Z often selects stove-top cooking and fresh ingredients, adding their own spark to flavorize the foods.
At the other end of the age spectrum is the increased “grazing” by Baby Boomers. However, this snacking is not based on traditional chips and pop, rather it focuses on nutritious foods that are rich in protein, fiber, Omega3, etc.
2. Global Adventuring, With a Focus on Asia. Consumers are inundated with new and adventurous foods from the food and cooking TV shows to Internet blogs and recipes—many of which include exotic ingredients that can only be sourced from outside the U.S. As such, U.S. food companies are increasing their global sourcing which brings with it food safety and quality challenges, such as those discussed in this month’s special section on China (beginning on page 12).
In this global growth is a particular emphasis on Asian foods, which has been trending for years, but is beginning to bring an added complexity and a focus on true-to-region foods which are spicier and less Americanized. Additionally, cuisines from less-prevalent countries are now becoming popular, such as those of Korean, Northern Vietnamese (Issan), Thai, and Filipino foods.
This rise of Asian foods, many of which are grilled, has also brought an increased interest in smoked and charcoaled foods. One of these, based on an ancient style of cooking is the use of Thai or Japanese charcoals. These woods burn odorless and smokeless at very high heats enabling the food to cook quickly while retaining natural flavors. At the other end of the grilling spectrum are the smoked foods that use the smoke and odor to impart flavors to foods that you may never have thought to smoke, such as butter and cocktails, along with the standards of meats and vegetables. This increased focus on smoking foods is occurring in homes as well as in restaurants—year round.
An additional interesting factor in the rise of Asian foods is the “upscaling” of ramen noodles, long an Asian (and U.S. college) staple food. In today’s foods, as Technomic noted, there’s just something about Asia.
3. Gluten Free—Plus. An off-shoot of healthy eating, gluten-free has become a buzzword today—and not just for the celiac or gluten-sensitive consumer. Rather, with nearly one-fourth of consumers currently said to be following a gluten-free diet, sales and product availability have increased well past the 1% of the U.S. population estimated to actually have celiac disease. In fact, the gluten-free market is estimated to reach $8.8 billion for 2014—which is an increase of more than 60% over 2012.
From this growth, along with that of probiotics, forecasters are predicting that these same gluten-free-focused consumers will be turning their attention to fermented foods that either have live cultures or are preserved in bacteria-boosting liquids (e.g., yogurt, sauerkraut) to further improve their digestive health. This also will impact their food preparation, with such foods moving from side items to main-plate staples.
On the downside of this healthy eating, like the #1 trend (page 34), are the misunderstandings and misinformation on gluten-free and similar limited-option diets. While these can have health benefits, focusing too intently on any single food group can negatively impact health instead. In fact, recent research has focused on healthy eating’s trending toward orthorexia nervosa—that is, having an unhealthy obsession with otherwise healthy eating. As explained by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), it begins as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully; the person then becomes fixated on food quality and purity, and this limits food choices further and further, in both variety and calories; then the person’s health suffers. While gluten-free is a necessity for some, the single-minded focus on or elimination of a food group can cause a lack of intake of vitamins, fiber, or other needed nutrition.
4. Local and Micro-Local. The “Buy Local” movement has been on an increase and is now impacting everything from house-purified water to regional seafood to locally manufactured products such as craft beers and liquors. To ensure they are not left out of the trend, some large and national companies have taken a regional approach to certain foods, purchasing local ingredients, creating their own “craft” products, or simply highlighting the production of regional manufacturing facilities. While this can provide some inroads, the “Know Your Farmer” trend has turned many consumers toward farmers’ markets and similar local purchasing options … though the limited growing season of many regions of the U.S. obviously create some difficulty for purely local.
The trend is amplified by the anti-processed foods activists, and, possibly in reaction to that, has moved beyond “Buy local” to “Make it yourself” (as also noted in the Gen Z trends of #1), through the availability of products such as craft-beer and home-soda machines, ingredients, and kits, as well as classes in all types of food and beverage prep and creation.
4 More Trends to Watch
5. Online Ordering/Home Delivery. As the old saying goes, “Everything old is new again.” A year ago, we thought of the milkman as a quaint old-world tradition we’d never see again. Today, you can have your milk delivered to your door along with your lettuce, orange juice, and ice cream—at a similar, or sometimes lower, cost than by standing in line at the grocery store. Today’s online grocery shopping may be completely different than leaving a note on the door for the milkman, but it is fast becoming a shopping convenience. Not only are local distributors providing the service, but national online systems, such as Amazon, are offering everything from yogurt to bananas. With the number of shopping and delivery service companies vying for homeowner’s grocery dollars, it is expected to continue to expand in both urban and rural areas; and the products are expected to evolve to cater to this new style of shopping.
6. Kosher. Both the food industry and the Jewish consumer are driving an increase in kosher foods. With consumers seeking these foods as a sustainable, culture-conscious option, the industry has stepped up with more variety and higher quality to fulfill the niche. The wave is bringing about new products and small businesses, such as artisan Jewish delis and handcrafted bagel shops, as their seeming purity appeals to the health-conscious consumer—Jewish or not.
7. Social Responsibility. Consumers are looking beyond food products to the way a company conducts business and impacts its environment, society, and the world as a whole. No longer can companies use child labor in other countries without dealing with backlash from concerned consumers; Fair Trade has become big business; and the demand for transparency in ingredients and production is only going to increase.
8. Cannabis Cuisine. Recreational use of marijuana may be legal only in the states of Colorado and Washington today, but it is unlikely to stop there, particularly with nearly half the states and Washington, D.C. allowing medicinal use. And once it became legal, it started getting infused in everything from beverages to chocolates to body lotion. Keep an eye on this budding trend as it works its way through the challenges and potholes of a new, growing industry. (See QA September/October 2014 for a profile on cannabis-infused foods.)
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