Restaurant inspection: Poor food safety oversight sinks score
Source : http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/restaurant-inspection-poor-food-safety-oversight-s/nkx2r/
By Laura Berrios (Apr 19, 2015)
Poor oversight of food safety caused the health score at Genghis Grill near the Mall of Georgia to tumble to a failing 38/U during a recent inspection.
The Gwinnett County health inspector said there was no active managerial control enforcing food safety codes at the restaurant at 1825 Mall of Georgia Blvd., Buford.
Raw chicken was in contact with ready-to-eat foods, cold food items at the buffet were out of safe temperature range, employees were not washing their hands properly and employee drinks in unapproved containers were scattered throughout the facility, the inspection said.
Containers of pasta near the grill were overstocked and the ice being used to keep the food cold was inadequate to do the job. The food was discarded because it was not at a safe temperature.
The employee hand sink had no soap or paper towels. Multiple employees were washing their hands without soap and hot water, the inspector said.
Points were taken off because an employee prepped raw chicken on a table with containers of oil and lemon juice nearby. Other food items were stored in ways that did not protect against cross-contamination. In one cooler, open plastic bags of ready-to-eat ham were stored in the same pan as raw beef. In another cooler, open bags of ready-to-eat imitation crab were stored in a pan with raw calamari.
The inspector found mold in the ice machine, 14 dented cans in dry storage and several bulk boxes of tofu and soda syrups with expired dates in the walk-in cooler.
Genghis Grill had previous scores of 87/B and 83/B. The restaurant will be re-inspected.
Blue Bell Ice Cream Back in Some Stores After Listeria Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/blue-bell-ice-cream-back-in-some-stores-after-listeria-outbreak/
By News Desk (Apr 19, 2015)
Blue Bell ice cream Listeria recalls prompted many retailers across the U.S. to completely remove the brand from store shelves, but now the recalls are giving way to restocking decisions. Among the first companies to return shelf space to Blue Bell is San Antonio-based H-E-B Grocery Stores. A spokesperson for the chain of more than 350 stores told KTRK-TV that a gradual return has begun.
Leslie Sweet of H-E-B said Blue Bell is a brand Texans know and love, but the grocery company had to stay true to its commitment to safe food when it removed the ice cream last month during a series of three different recalls by Blue Bell. The recalls were associated with deepening links between Blue Bell ice cream products and two clusters of listeriosis — the first in Kansas and the second identified in Texas. Three of five case patients in Kansas died and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said unequivocally that Blue Bell brand products produced in facilities in Texas and Oklahoma are the source of the outbreak.
The FDA and CDC, along with state health agencies, are still concerned that tainted Blue Bell ice cream is contained in home freezers by families and individuals unaware of the Listeria recalls. The bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes, grows even under freezing temperatures. CDC recommends that consumers do not eat any recalled products and products made at the Blue Bell Creameries’ Oklahoma facility. These products can be identified by checking for letters “O,” “P,” “Q,” “R,” “S,” and “T” following the “code date” printed on the bottom of the product package. The Oklahoma plant remains in shutdown mode as regulators and the company look for the root of the Listeria problem there.
Meanwhile, officials admit that the outbreak investigation is complex and ongoing. National food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker told the Dallas Morning News recently that questions remain about overall conditions in Blue Bell manufacturing facilities. “Revelations have occurred about different plants, different lines, different time periods,” said Pritzker, who also publishes the Food Poisoning Bulletin. “The information about these failures should have been known to the company at an earlier time, and the word should have gotten out a lot sooner had their test results and safety systems been more robust.”
CIDRAP: US offers mixed news on drug resistance in foodborne pathogens
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/cidrap-us-offers-mixed-news-on-drug-resistance-in-foodborne-pathogens/#.VTR_HdiJjs1
By Bruce Clark (Apr 19, 2015)
A pair of annual federal reports on antimicrobial resistance in pathogens found in poultry and meat brought a mix of good and not-so-good news this week.
The government’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) issued its retail meat report for 2012 and an interim report for 2013 that covers only Salmonella.
NARMS is a collaborative program of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local health departments in 11 states. The annual reports focus primarily on Salmonella and Campylobacter.
On the Salmonella front, testing showed that multidrug-resistant strains decreased from 2011 to 2013. In 2012, 33% of retail chicken Salmonella isolates were resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics, which was lower than in 2011. The number dropped to 26% in the 2013 interim report.
There was good news on quinolone resistance: all Salmonella isolates from poultry and meat were susceptible to nalidixic acid and ciprofloxacin in 2012, and in 2013 all were susceptible to ciprofloxacin. (The 2013 report does not mention nalidixic acid.)
The 2012 report shows that third-generation cephalosporin resistance in retail chicken Salmonella isolates increased from 10% to 28% between 2002 and 2012, but the 2013 report shows it dropped to 19.7%.
As for Campylobacter, nearly half of C jejuni and C coli isolates from retail chicken were resistant to tetracycline in 2012, making tetracycline resistance the most common type among Campylobacter.
The report also said that monitoring has revealed no consistent changes in ciprofloxacin resistance among retail chicken C jejuni and C coli isolates since the FDA banned fluoroquinolone use in poultry production in 2005.
On the other hand, Campylobacter rarely shows resistance to multiple drugs, as only 26 of 620 poultry isolates were resistant to three or more antibiotic classes in 2012.
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Food safety violations jump at restaurants
Source : http://www.ocregister.com/articles/county-658615-health-year.html
By KEEGAN KYLE / STAFF WRITER (Apr 18, 2015)
County health inspectors logged steep climbs in forced restaurant closures and major food safety violations last year, raising new concerns about Orange County’s shrunken oversight of restaurants and other food vendors.
According to county data obtained by the Register under public records laws, the number of businesses that were forced to temporarily close due to major health violations spiked by 38 percent from the previous year, to 722. Most businesses were small or medium-sized restaurants.
Despite a similar number of overall inspections last year, the amount of major violations found at all food facilities in the county grew by 11 percent, to 14,800. Unsafe storage temperatures, poor washing and pests drove much of the increase.
Inspectors issued 779 major violations for cockroaches, 189 for rodents and nine for other infestations in critical areas – 58 percent more than the previous year and nearly double the total in 2012. Major violations are conditions that pose an immediate danger to public health.
The rise in restaurant closures and violations comes after years of declining oversight by Orange County health officials. The county once inspected restaurants and other food facilities four times a year – in sync with FDA recommendations. Today, most restaurants are inspected half as often.
County inspectors last year were responsible for monitoring food sanitation practices at 15,000 businesses, including restaurants, supermarkets, catering services and taverns. Inspection reports are searchable on the county’s website by name. Recent permit suspensions are listed as well.
Inspectors closed 105 establishments in the past two months, mostly for cockroach and other pest infestations, according to online data. About half were allowed to re-open on the same day of their permit suspension.
INCREASE NOT CLEAR
Health officials aren’t sure what prompted the increase in violations last year, saying many factors influence the number of health permit suspensions and violations each year. But they said some cash-strapped restaurants may have cut food safety expenses like pest control to stay afloat and county inspectors have trimmed outreach efforts because of budget cuts.
“We’re out there giving them (businesses) the tools they need to come into compliance,” said Denise Fennessy, who oversees the county’s food safety inspections. “They’re so focused on their production of food that sometimes they’re not able to make all the corrections.”
Fennessy said she would like inspectors to spend more time with business owners, helping them understand food safety laws and the reasons for those laws. But staffing losses have increased pressure on inspectors to complete their work quicker.
Jennifer Muir, a spokeswoman for the union that represents health inspectors, called the spike in closures and violations “alarming” and said it highlights broader funding problems in an agency responsible for overseeing one of Orange County’s most vibrant industries.
“Just imagine how much more frightening those numbers would be if the department were given the resources they need to protect consumers,” Muir said.
Health officials have consistently fallen short on annual food safety goals outlined in budget documents. In each of the past three years, they hoped that fewer than one in every six restaurants would be issued a major violation. Instead, it has been one in every three.
“We call it kind of a stretch goal,” said Richard Sanchez, a top county health official. “I don’t know that we had an expectation to meet that with our current program.”
Higher costs of retired employees and stagnant business fees are partly responsible for the drop in inspections. Health permit fees, which largely fund the county’s inspection program, have not been adjusted since 2008. Restaurants pay a range of $561 to $925 annually, depending on their size.
SEEKING HIGHER FEES
Though the county Board of Supervisors twice rejected proposed fee hikes last year, Sanchez said his office intends to bring another fee increase before the supervisors this year. Without it, he said, some restaurants could be inspected just once a year starting in July.
“We’re still at the level ... that we felt was pretty much the minimum we could provide and feel comfortable,” Sanchez said. “If we got down to one inspection per year, we may look at alternatives to our inspection program because I don’t think that would provide the surveillance that we would feel comfortable (with) from a public health standpoint.”
Matt Sutton, a spokesman for the California Restaurant Association, which represents more than 450 businesses in Orange County, said the rise in major violations warrants further examination by health officials. But it doesn’t necessarily indicate problems with the county’s current inspection program, he said.
Still, Sutton said more frequent inspections are “probably better for some” businesses, and the organization understands the need for a fee increase to keep up routine inspections. It just needs to be consistent and manageable for owners, Sutton said.
“We know that if the county remains unable to do frequent visits, that’s a problem for all of us,“ Sutton said. “I believe there will be a fee increase. It just depends how it’s structured.”
The Register requested to speak with each of the county’s five supervisors this week about the rise in health permit suspensions and major violations. None agreed to be interviewed.
Aiming to halt the decline in inspections last fall, county officials requested a 5 percent hike in health permit fees to continue inspecting restaurants twice annually. But the board rejected the idea.
Supervisor Todd Spitzer cited a lack of evidence at the time to question that two routine inspections a year was needed and offered that sick patrons could always pinpoint unsafe businesses by filing complaints with the county – a reactive model of oversight.
“The evidence isn’t showing that we have a pervasive problem,” Spitzer said during a September board meeting. “At least the evidence that’s being presented to us doesn’t lead us to a conclusion that we have to raise the fees.”
County health staff didn’t provide the supervisors with data on the results of their inspections – only countywide statistics on the prevalence of food-borne illnesses. That data, representing all cases regardless of the food’s origin, showed no significant change in response to conducting fewer inspections.
This week, Sanchez called food-borne illness the most important indicator of a successful inspection program. But he acknowledged that county health officials currently lack a reliable system of tracking the information. They mainly gauge success based on the rate of major violations, which reflect the leading causes of food-borne illness.
Neither Sanchez nor Fennessy said the recent rise in major violations necessarily marks problems with Orange County’s restaurant inspection program, however. Sanchez said that “appears to be so” based on anecdotal evidence but he wasn’t convinced yet that patrons should be concerned.
“It’s really hard to tell whether more inspections would resolve (the increase in violations) or whether we would just find more violations,” Fennessy added.
Food safety issues have long shadowed the Board of Supervisors. Citizen grand juries unsuccessfully urged the board in 2008 and last year to adopt restaurant grading systems similar to those used by other Southern California counties. In Los Angeles, inspection results determine whether restaurants get A, B or C placards on their windows.
Four out of five Orange County supervisors verbally endorsed the idea of a grading system in April 2014 in order to give patrons more information on the results of inspections. Spitzer supported a letter grade system to be “regionally homogenous” while three of his colleagues preferred a color-coded system.
Yet the supervisors failed to agree on a plan before the end of the year. Elections then installed three new faces on the board. John Moorlach, the only supervisor who voted for a fee hike and a grading system, was among those who left the board.
Opponents of the grading system focused last year on its additional cost and concerns that raising public awareness of inspection results might spur more businesses to demand quicker re-inspections after receiving poor grades. Health officials estimated in September that a color-coded system would cost $40,000 annually, or about $3 per permitted business.
Business owners have been divided on a grading system and higher fees to maintain inspection levels. The California Restaurant Association urged the county to delay voting on either proposal in September and to conduct more outreach with business owners. Two months later, the proposals died altogether.
Supervisor Shawn Nelson argued at one point last year that a grading system amounted to the kind of government over-regulation that pressured restaurant chains, including Carl’s Jr., to consider leaving California. But in August, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. wrote a letter to the supervisors endorsing the proposed fee increase and color-coded grading system.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @keegankyle
Editorial Article: The Impact of Mycotoxins on Food Safety
Source : http://www.selectscience.net/editorial-articles/the-impact-of-mycotoxins-on-food-safety/?&artID=36992#sthash.tJNmPl9i.dpuf
By selectscience.net (Apr 17, 2015)
The issue of mycotoxins in feed and feed components is one that perhaps doesn’t have as high a profile as it should, but it is a serious food safety issue. Mycotoxins are a group of naturally occurring chemicals produced by certain molds, which are most prevalent in warm and humid conditions. They occur in a variety of different crops that are colonized with filamentous fungi and in food products contaminated during processing and storage. Food products in which mycotoxins occur include cereals and grains, animal feed, nuts, spices, dried fruits, apple juice and coffee.
Consumption of mycotoxins can result in significant adverse health effects in humans and animals, including kidney damage, reproductive disorders and cancer. As such, international food standards recommend that food producers carry out screening for mycotoxins. To protect consumers, a tolerable daily intake (TDI)1 has been established which estimates the quantity of mycotoxins that someone can safely be exposed to daily over a lifetime, without it posing a significant risk to health.
There is a range of mycotoxins that are of most concern from a food safety perspective. These include the aflatoxins (B1, B2, G1, G2 and M1), ochratoxin A, patulin and toxins produced by fusarium molds, including fumonisins (B1, B2, B3) and trichothecenes (principally nivalenol, deoxynivalenol, T-2 and HT-2 toxins) and zearalenone. The most toxic are aflatoxins, including alflatoxin B1, which can damage DNA and cause cancer in animals and humans.
Strict legislative limits for aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin and fusarium toxins are set out in European Commission legislation, which applies whether food is produced in the European Union (EU) or imported into the EU. Globally, however, the rules on mycotoxins are varied, with screening requirements legislated to a greater or lesser degree.
There are a number of special import conditions currently in place for some foods from certain developing nations where the risk from alfatoxin contamination is increased. However, compliance with internationally acceptable limits for mycotoxins can be a challenge for the global food industry, requiring good plant protection, adequate storage and good manufacturing practices in order to keep levels below the limits.
A growing awareness of the issues surrounding excessive mycotoxin consumption has resulted in an increase in available screening technologies on the market, including technologies from Randox Food Diagnostics. Its range of screening tools for the quantitative analysis of mycotoxins are available both in high-quality ELISAs and Randox’s unique, patented Biochip Array Technology (BAT).
Randox’s cutting-edge BAT screening allows fast, comprehensive and sensitive semi-qualification of all the most prevalent mycotoxins. With just a single 50µl sample and simple sample preparation, the user will obtain highly accurate semi-quantitative results in under two hours. Using Randox BAT eliminates the need for costly single tests and lowers the cost per sample, saving food testing laboratories time and money.
Using Randox technology gives labs the flexibility to test only those mycotoxins of concern. This mean that test assays can be specified to screen for particular mycotoxins, depending on factors such as storage or harvest conditions.
Benefits of Randox BAT at a glance:
•Straightforward screening for 10 mycotoxins from a single sample
•Semi-quantitative results for 45 samples ready in under two hours
•No false negatives and less than 5% false positives in studies
•Only positive samples require confirmatory testing, saving labs money
•Robust and easy to use with simple sample preparation
For laboratories using ELISA screening, Randox offers an extensive (and expanding) range of ELISAs for 26 mycotoxins in three assays: Ergot Alkaloids, Aflatoxin M1 and Alfatoxin B1. All ELISAs are pre-coated with antibodies, offering detection that meets regulatory requirements, while saving labs time and ensuring rapid analysis. This offers excellent inter and intra assay precision that increases the reliability of results, ensuring less false positives and guaranteeing the best screening capability.
With global controls on food safety and contaminants such as mycotoxins becoming ever more stringent, having the right technology is key to meeting those challenges now and in the future. Randox Food Diagnostics is used by many of the world’s leading food producers and is leading the market in mycotoxin screening.
Windmill Winery AZ Salmonella Outbreak: 38 Sick
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/windmill-winery-az-salmonella-outbreak-38-sick/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 16, 2015)
The Salmonella outbreak at Windmill Winery in Florence, Arizona has now sickened at least 38 people, according to Pinal County public health officials. The outbreak is linked to two events held at that venue on March 18 and 19, 2015. At least four people have been hospitalized in this outbreak.
The catering operation, called Kiss the Chef, Catering, that provided the food was operating illegally, according to authorities. Thomas Schyer, director of the Pinal County Public Health Services District said, “the kitchen was not authorized to be cooked in.”
Salmonella bacteriaIn addition, the winery operators had exceeded their legally allowable level of food preparation. Schyer continued, “all are serious violations of the Pinal County Environmental Health Code and Arizona state statute.”
The winery’s permit to operate was suspended earlier this month, and lifted on Wednesday, April 8. They can now operate, but must abide by a 30 day risk management plan. However, Kiss the Chef catering cannot operate until all legal requirements have been met, having been served with a cease and desist order.
A Salmonella infection has symptoms including fever, abdominal cramps, nausea,s vomiting, and diarrhea. The symptoms usually start between 12 to 72 hours after infection. Most people are sick for about a week, and more get better without medical treatment. But some people get so sick they must be hospitalized.
If you ate at the Windmill Winery in March and have experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor. Even if you are better, the long-term consequences of a Salmonella infection an be severe, including reactive arthritis and high blood pressure. If you ate there and got sick, please call 520-866-4460 to let officials know you may be part of this outbreak.
CDC: Eat Wholesome Soy Mung Bean Spouts in 2014 and Get Salmonella?
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/eat-wholesome-soy-mung-bean-spouts-in-2014-and-get-salmonella/#.VTR_7NiJjs1
By Bruce Clark (Apr 16, 2015)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated Listeria monocytogenes from mung bean sprouts and sprout irrigation water samples obtained during a routine assignment on August 13, 2014, at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. Based on this finding, FDA conducted an inspection of the facility from August 12, 2014, through September 3, 2014, and isolated Listeria monocytogenes from 25 environmental swabs obtained during the inspection. FDA also issued a report with 12 inspectional observations, citing the firm for numerous unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance.
On August 28, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. agreed to conduct a voluntary recall of mung bean sprouts and notified customers by telephone. Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. ceased production of sprouts on August 28, 2014, and resumed production on September 15, 2014 after Listeria monocytogenes was not identified in the finished product. From October 7, 2014, to October 31, 2014, FDA re-inspected the facility and identified Listeria monocytogenes in nine environmental swabs. FDA investigators issued another report to the firm, noting 12 inspectional observations involving unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance. Nine of these observations had persisted from the previous inspection.
On October 14, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. ceased production of all products except mung bean and soy bean sprouts. On November 7, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. verbally agreed to close their facility and to cease production and distribution of sprouts. The facility is no longer in production. Sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products Inc. are likely no longer available for purchase or consumption given the 5-day shelf life reported by the facility.
FDA performed pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) on the isolates from mung bean sprouts and environmental samples from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. to further characterize the Listeria isolates. Compared with PFGE, WGS provides a clearer distinction of genetic differences among Listeria isolates, and strains that are highly related by WGS are more likely to have a common source.
Public health investigators used PFGE and WGS to identify cases of illness that were caused by highly related strains and therefore possibly related to products made at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. This included data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories that are coordinated by CDC.
Whole-genome sequences of Listeria strains isolated from five ill people were found to be highly related to sequences of the Listeria strain isolated from mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. These ill people have been reported from two states: Illinois (4) and Michigan (1). They became ill from June through August 2014. All five people were hospitalized, and two deaths were reported. Two of the five people were interviewed, and both reported consuming bean sprouts in the month before becoming ill.
The high degree of genetic similarity between isolates from ill people and from mung bean sprouts and environmental samples collected at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. shows that the food was contaminated with a strain of Listeria monocytogenes that can cause serious illness. Although limited information is available about the specific sprout products that the ill people consumed, the whole genome sequencing findings, together with the sprout consumption history of two patients and inspection findings at the firm, suggest that these illnesses could be related to products from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc.
Listeria Found in Raw Milk in New York. Again.
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/listeria-found-in-raw-milk-in-new-york-again/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 16, 2015)
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets is warning consumers in Sullivan county and the surrounding areas to not drink raw milk from the Richard Dirie Farm because it may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. That farm is at 1345 Chandelle Road in Livingston Manor, New York.
A sample of the milk collected by a public health inspector on April 7, 2015 tested positive for the pathogenic bacteria. The producer was informed of a preliminary positive test on April 9, 2015, and halted production until the results were confirmed. They were confirmed on April 15, 2015.
That farm will not be able to sell raw milk until further sampling finds that the milk is free from the dangerous bacteria. Raw milk is not pasteurized, which means it is commonly contaminated with bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Brucella, and E. coli.
Listeria bacteria can cause serious health problems, including paralysis and death. If you purchased this product, do not drink it. Discard it in a sealed container and then clean out your refrigerator with a mild bleach solution, since Listeria can grow at refrigerator temperatures.
If you drank any of this milk, monitor yourself for the symptoms of listeriosis for the next 70 days. It can take that long for symptoms to appear. Those symptoms include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Pregnant women may only have a mild illness, but listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and infection in the newborn baby.
California County Approves Restaurant Food Safety Placard Program
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/04/california-county-approves-restaurant-food-safety-placard-program/#.VTSA7NiJjs1
By News Desk (Apr 16, 2015)
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in California has approved a new restaurant placarding program that will make it easier for the public to understand how a restaurant has scored on its most recent food safety inspection. Training for the new system will begin in June, and the program is scheduled to launch in January 2016.
041515-san-mateo-restaurant-grade-placardThe new placarding program uses the same familiar traffic light colors — green, yellow, and red — already on display at restaurants and food outlets in other cities and counties in the Bay Area.
At a glance, customers will be able to spot a green placard for “go,” which means a restaurant passed a food safety inspection, yellow for “caution,” a conditional pass, which means that the facility will be inspected again in one to three days, or red for “stop,” indicating that the facility will be closed until unsafe conditions are corrected.
“I’m proud of the Board of Supervisors for supporting this important public health issue,” said Adrienne Tissier, San Mateo County District 5 Supervisor. “Our residents should always have quick, easy access to all the information they need to make a smart choice about where to eat.”
Placards will be required at approximately 3,000 permanent food facilities that prepare food throughout the county, including restaurants, mobile food trucks, bakeries, schools, licensed health care facilities, and some convenience stores.
County officials hope the new system will provide consistency for food operators with restaurants in multiple counties and will benefit the public by presenting an easy and consistent way to make an informed decision when eating out.
“Foodborne illness is 100-percent preventable, and yet every year, one in six Americans gets sick from foodborne illnesses, and 3,000 people die from them,” said Heather Forshey, director of San Mateo County Environmental Health Services. “This program will help consumers quickly understand a restaurant’s food safety status and give restaurant operators a chance to show off their successful commitment to food safety.”
The county had previously required food facilities to post their most recent restaurant inspection reports. However, an investigation last year into a number of restaurants not meeting that requirement resulted in a county civil grand jury recommending the placard system and fines for restaurants which didn’t post them.
Other places now requiring the posted placards include: Hawaii; the California counties of Alameda, Santa Clara, Solano, Contra Costa, Butte, Marin, Sonoma and Orange, and the cities of Sacramento, Berkeley and Pasadena.
CDC: Eat Cucumbers in 2014 and Get Salmonella?
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/did-you-eat-cucumbers-in-2014-and-get-salmonella/#.VTSBGdiJjs1
By Andy Weisbecker (Apr 16, 2015)
In August 2014, PulseNet, the national molecular subtyping network for foodborne disease surveillance, detected a multistate cluster of Salmonella entericaserotype Newport infections with an indistinguishable pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern (XbaI PFGE pattern JJPX01.0061).* Outbreaks of illnesses associated with this PFGE pattern have previously been linked to consumption of tomatoes harvested from Virginia’s Eastern Shore in the Delmarva region and have not been linked to cucumbers or other produce items (1). To identify the contaminated food and find the source of the contamination, CDC, state and local health and agriculture departments and laboratories, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory investigations. A total of 275 patients in 29 states and the District of Columbia were identified, with illness onsets occurring during May 20–September 30, 2014. Whole genome sequencing (WGS), a highly discriminating subtyping method, was used to further characterize PFGE pattern JJPX01.0061 isolates. Epidemiologic, microbiologic, and product traceback evidence suggests that cucumbers were a source of Salmonella Newport infections in this outbreak. The epidemiologic link to a novel outbreak vehicle suggests an environmental reservoir for Salmonella in the Delmarva region that should be identified and mitigated to prevent future outbreaks.
A case was defined as infection with Salmonella Newport with PFGE pattern JJPX01.0061 (the outbreak strain) in a person with illness onset occurring during May 20–September 30, 2014. Initial interviews of ill persons conducted by state and local health officials found that travel to the Delmarva region during the incubation period was commonly reported. A structured, focused supplemental questionnaire was developed to collect detailed information on travel and exposure to restaurants, seafood, fruit, and produce, including tomatoes, in the 7 days before illness onset. Exposure frequencies were compared with the 2006–2007 FoodNet Population Survey, in which healthy persons reported foods consumed in the week before interview.† Information also was collected on illness subclusters, defined as two or more unrelated ill persons who reported eating at the same restaurant, attending the same event, or shopping at the same grocery store in the week before becoming ill.
A total of 275 cases were reported from 29 states and the District of Columbia (Figure 1). An additional 18 suspected cases not meeting the case definition were excluded from the analysis because they were found to be temporal outliers and unlikely to be related. Illness onset dates ranged from May 25 to September 29, 2014 (Figure 2). Median age of patients was 42 years (range = <1–90 years); 66% (174 of 265) were female. Thirty-four percent (48 of 141) were hospitalized; one death was reported in an elderly man with bacteremia. A total of 101 patients were interviewed using the supplemental questionnaire about exposures in the week before illness onset. This questionnaire focused on leafy greens and tomatoes and contained smaller sections on fruit, vegetables, and seafood common to the Delmarva region. Many patients were unreachable and did not receive the supplemental questionnaire. Sixty-two percent (49 of 79) of respondents reported eating cucumbers in the week before becoming ill. Patients were significantly more likely to report consuming cucumbers compared with respondents in the 2006–2007 FoodNet Population Survey, both for national year-round cucumber consumption (46.9% [p=0.002]) and for cucumber consumption in Maryland during the month of July (54.9% [p=0.04]). The proportion of ill persons who reported eating tomatoes, leafy greens, or any other item on the supplemental questionnaire was not significantly higher than expected compared with findings from the FoodNet Population Survey.
Officials in Maryland, Delaware, and New York worked with their FDA district offices and FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture foodborne outbreak rapid response teams to conduct an informational (i.e., nonregulatory) traceback from retail establishments in these states to identify a point of distribution convergence for produce items (i.e., cucumbers, leafy greens, and tomatoes) consumed in nine of 12 subclusters. Each of eight establishments in Maryland and Delaware received cucumbers from a single major distributor. Preliminary traceback from the distributor to several brokers identified a common grower on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in the Delmarva region. Traceback from a New York subcluster led to a different distribution chain than in Maryland and Delaware. Officials from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Maryland rapid response team, and the FDA Baltimore District Office visited the Maryland farm. Officials collected 48 environmental samples from areas where cucumbers were grown, harvested, and packed. Sediment and manure samples were taken from the farm. No samples yielded Salmonella; however, sampling was performed several months after the harvest. Records and interviews indicated that the farm applied poultry litter approximately 120 days before harvest, but it was not available for testing.
Twelve distinct illness subclusters were identified across four states, ranging in size from two to six cases. WGS was performed on 58 clinical isolates by state health departments, FDA, and CDC laboratories to further characterize the genetic relatedness of bacteria isolated from patients. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a primary group of highly related clinical isolates from cases in Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (median single nucleotide polymorphism distance = 26 [97.5% confidence interval = 1–37]). An additional group of highly related isolates from patients in New York was also identified, but this group was distinct from the primary phylogenetic group, consistent with the epidemiologic and traceback findings (single nucleotide polymorphism distance between the two phylogenetic groups = 102 [97.5% confidence interval = 85–114]). CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System laboratory conducted antibiotic resistance testing on three isolates from ill persons with the outbreak strain. All three were susceptible to all antibiotics tested.
The epidemiologic data, traceback investigations, and whole genome sequencing all support the hypothesis that cucumbers were a likely source of SalmonellaNewport infections in this outbreak. Cucumbers were the only food eaten by patients significantly more often than expected. Traceback investigations performed using invoices from illness subclusters in Maryland and Delaware identified a common grower of cucumbers in the Delmarva region. This is the first multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport implicating a fresh produce item grown in the Delmarva region other than tomatoes. Historically, SalmonellaNewport outbreaks associated with this PFGE pattern have been linked to red round tomatoes grown on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. These outbreaks occurred in 2002 (333 persons), 2005 (72 persons), 2006 (115 persons), and 2007 (65 persons), with an additional suspected outbreak in 2010 (51 persons) (1). A definitive contamination source has not been found, and Salmonella Newport has not been isolated directly from any Delmarva region tomatoes. Wildlife have been evaluated as a possible source of contamination, but fecal specimens from deer, turtles, and birds have been negative and do not support the hypothesis that animals are a source (2). Other serotypes of Salmonella have been linked to cucumbers; most recently an outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul infections was linked to imported cucumbers from Mexico in 2013 (3).
Investigating illness subclusters can provide critical clues about the source of an outbreak. Informational traceback can support the epidemiologic investigation by quickly assessing the plausibility of one or more vehicles as the source of the outbreak. Informational traceback generally can be completed much more quickly than regulatory traceback, which requires the collection of specific types of records, such as receipts, invoices, and bills of lading, at each step of the distribution chain. In this investigation, the informational traceback quickly provided a critical clue that suggested cucumbers were a likely source in the outbreak.
Consultation with independent industry experts early in an outbreak investigation also can provide important clues to help focus the investigation on certain suspected foods. Because of the suspicion that this outbreak was caused by a novel vehicle for this Salmonella Newport PFGE pattern, an industry consultation was held on September 11, 2014, with three independent experts from the produce industry to obtain information regarding cucumber harvesting and distribution on the Delmarva region. The consultants provided information regarding crop production and distribution practices that also helped assess the plausibility of cucumbers as an outbreak vehicle.
Advanced molecular detection methods, including WGS, might improve discrimination of subclusters during outbreak investigations. WGS data from the subclusters in this investigation demonstrated a phylogenetic link between clinical isolates from the eight Maryland and Delaware subclusters, in addition to differentiating these clusters from a subcluster in New York. The significance of this differentiation remains unclear at this time but might suggest that some of the illnesses in New York were not related to consumption of cucumbers from the Delmarva region. This is also supported by the informational traceback from the New York establishment, which led to a different distribution chain than those of the Maryland and Delaware establishments.
The findings in this report are subject to at least two limitations. First, no case-control study was performed because illness subclusters were small. Second, not all patients in the subclusters were systematically asked about cucumber consumption.
This outbreak supports the continued evaluation of farm practices by FDA as a part of the development of a Produce Safety Rule.¶ These evaluations include conducting a risk assessment and working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders. It also includes performing research to strengthen scientific support for determining appropriate intervals between application of raw manure fertilizer and harvest. The Maryland Department of Agriculture plans additional assessments in the Delmarva region before the 2015 planting season to determine whether additional or alternative “best practices” can be implemented.
Given the typical shelf life of cucumbers is 10–14 days, cucumbers from the implicated grower are no longer available for purchase or in person’s homes. Consumers and retailers should always follow safe produce handling recommendations.** Cucumbers, like all produce, should be washed thoroughly, scrubbed with a clean produce brush before peeling or cutting, and refrigerated as soon as possible to prevent multiplication of bacteria such as 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.
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Focus of Blue Bell Listeria Outbreak Shifts to Texas
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/focus-of-blue-bell-listeria-outbreak-shifts-to-texas/
By News Desk (Apr 15, 2015)
The most recent government findings in the Listeria food poisoning outbreak associated with Blue Bell ice cream have placed Texas in an even greater spotlight than before. Already recognized as the home state of the 108-year-old Blue Bell Creameries Co., Texas has now been confirmed by federal health investigators as the location of a second cluster of illnesses in the outbreak.
Based on reports from the FDA, CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services, three Texas hospital patients became ill with listeriosis over a period of time from 2011-2014. Officials who have studied the molecular fingerprints of Listeria found in Blue Bell ice cream say it matches the strains in the Texas hospital patients. None of the agencies would provide details about the Texas case patients, but they rank with the five Kansas hospital patients previously identified as outbreak victims. Three of those Listeria victims in Wichita died. Records at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital indicated to investigators that at least four of the five Kansas patients drank milkshakes made from Blue Bell “Scoops” ice cream, made in Brenham, Texas.
Conversely, according to CDC, the three patients reported from Texas during 2011 through 2014 were infected with Listeria monocytogenes strains that were nearly identical to Listeria strains isolated from ice cream produced at Blue Bell’s plant in Oklahoma. In CDC reports, the Kansas group is known as “Cluster 1″ while the Texas group is described as “Cluster 2.”
In Texas as in Kansas, all case patients were hospitalized for unrelated problems before developing listeriosis. And while eight illnesses have been confirmed, the CDC is considering the older cases of three additioal patients who contracted listeriosis during 2010 through 2012. Results of further testing will deermine if they should be added to the outbreak. The CDC hasn’t said whether the three pending cases were from Texas or not.
Subway Employee in Morrilton, Arkansas Has Hepatitis A
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/subway-employee-in-morrilton-arkansas-has-hepatitis-a/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 15, 2015)
An employee of a Subway restaurant in Morrilton, Arkansas has tested positive for the hepatitis A virus, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). That restaurant is at 1812 AR-9 Bus, off the I-40 Exit 108. Anyone who ate there between March 25, 2015 and April 5, 2015 may have been exposed to the virus.
A and immune globulin vaccinations are only effective if given within 2 weeks of exposure. If you ate there on March 31, 2015 or before, you can no longer get a vaccination. Monitor yourself for the symptoms of hepatitis A, which include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), clay-cloned bowel movements, and joint pain. There are no specific treatments for this illness, but, especially if you are pregnant or have a chronic illness, see your doctor if you get sick.
If you ate there on April 1 through April 5, 2015, you can be vaccinated. The Conway County Health Unit at 100 Hospital Drive in Morrilton will have both vaccinations available with an appointment on or after Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Call 501-354-4652 for an appointment. It is crucial that you get a vaccination today if you ate at the Subway on April 1, 2015.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can range from a mild illness to a severe illness lasting several months. A person is contagious 2 weeks before and 1 week after symptoms appear. The virus is spread through contact and by ingesting fecal matter from an infected person.
No other hepatitis A illnesses have been reported to ADH at this time. Most people develop symptoms 3 to 4 weeks after exposure. Some people may have no symptoms. Almost all people recover with no damage, but they may bee sick for months.
12 Sickened in Canada From E. Coli Possibly Linked to Leafy Greens
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/04/canadian-officials-investigating-e-coli-outbreak-possibly-linked-to-leafy-greens/#.VTSD-tiJjs1
By News Desk (Apr 15, 2015)
Canada’s Public Health Agency is investigating an outbreak of E. col O157:H7 possibly linked to leafy greens (lettuces, kale, spinach, arugula or chard).
According to a statement released by the agency on Wednesday, there are currently 12 people sickened in four provinces (Alberta, 9; Saskatchewan, 1; Ontario, 1, and Newfoundland and Labrador, 1). Illness onset dates range from March 13-31, 2015.
The agency indicated that no specific food product had yet been identified as the source and that the investigation is continuing in collaboration with federal and provincial public health officials. When and if the source is identified, the agency will inform the public and make sure that the contaminated product is promptly removed from the marketplace.
E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. Most E. coli are harmless to humans, but some varieties carry genes that allow them to cause illness.
While most people sickened by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then fully recover, infections can be serious and sometimes be life-threatening, especially for the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, and those whose immune systems are compromised.
People infected with E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.
The following symptoms can appear within one to 10 days after contact with the bacteria: severe stomach cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, headache and slight fever.
The risk to the general public is low from this outbreak, the Canadian officials said, and they reminded people to follow safe food-handling practices to avoid illness. The following tips will help reduce the risk of infection with E. coli or other foodborne illnesses:
•Wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them, clean counters and cutting boards and wash your hands regularly.
•Bacteria can grow in the danger zone between 40 degrees F to 140 degrees F. Keep cold foods cold at or below 40 degrees F and keep hot foods hot at or above 140 degrees F.
•Keep refrigerators clean and at a temperature below 40 degrees F. Install a thermometer in your refrigerator to be sure.
•Place raw meat, poultry and seafood in containers on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Use containers that are large enough to prevent raw juices from dripping onto other food or touching other food.
•Keep raw food away from other food while shopping, storing, preparing and serving foods.
•Read labels and follow cooking and storage instructions for all food. When buying food, make sure to check the “best before” date, and if the product has expired, let the store know.
•Use warm soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, your hands and any surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat and fish.
•Refrigerate or freeze perishable food within two hours of cooking.
•Freeze or consume leftovers within four days of cooking. Always reheat leftovers until steaming hot before eating.
Kitchen spring cleaning to keep food safe
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/kitchen_spring_cleaning_to_keep_food_safe
By Eileen Haraminac (Apr 15, 2015)
As you spring clean the house and closets, don’t forget the pantry and refrigerator. Food safety should extend to how and where you store your foods. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
•Get a refrigerator thermometer to make sure foods are stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. In your freezer you should also have a thermometer to ensure foods are kept at 0 degree.
•More perishable foods should be kept in the “meat drawer,” which is usually the coldest section. It’s acceptable to store condiments in the refrigerator door, but keep eggs, milk and yogurt in the main compartment for optimal freshness. Michigan State University Extension and Food Safety News recommend the following steps for cleaning the refrigerator: ?In the door: The door is the least cold part of the refrigerator and is best for condiments, pickles, salad dressings and other foods with a high acid (think vinegar) content to resist bacterial growth.
?The coldest shelf: The middle of the refrigerator, sometimes also containing a separate meat drawer, is best for highly perishable foods like fish, deli meats, eggs or dairy. The refrigerator stores everything from leftovers to thawed meat to milk and vegetables, and it’s important to place things in the right spot to maximize effectiveness of the refrigerator and minimize cross-contamination.
?The middle/lower shelves: Great places for leftovers.
?Bottom drawers: The fruit and vegetable crispers maintain higher humidity, helping to preserve thin-skinned veggies like peppers, broccoli and leafy greens.
?Spring cleaning is a good time to use or throw away foods that are losing their quality or have spoiled, for both refrigerated items and non-refrigerated items in the pantry. For a detailed listing of the shelf-life of foods, as well as a kitchen safety quiz, download the free “Is My Food Safe?” app.
?Make spring cleaning the time to begin new food safety habits. Once a week, make it a habit to throw out perishable foods that should no longer be eaten.
?The refrigerator should be deep cleaned twice a year. Empty the contents and store in a cooler with a cold source of ice packs while you clean the walls and shelves, nooks and crannies of the refrigerator. Use warm, soapy water or a cleaning solution as recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember, you can’t always tell if a food has spoiled by its smell or appearance. Don’t take chances with your health. Good advice to follow from the Food and Drug Administration: When it doubt, throw it out!
?In the pantry: clean shelves, check to see if packages are intact, organize and group items by types. Organize to enable visibility of all items.
Use those rainy spring days to take the time to spring clean your kitchen. This can help minimize food waste and foodborne illnesses.
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit http://bit.ly/MSUENews. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
Preventing Listeriosis During Pregnancy
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/preventing-listeriosis-during-pregnancy/
By News Desk (Apr 14, 2015)
Pregnant women are at elevated risk for listerioisis, one of the deadliest kinds of food poisoning, and the complications can be tragic. Among pregnant women, Listeria infections can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and in newborns, infection or death.
Symptoms, which can take as long as 70 days after exposure to develop, include fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea and upset stomach.
Most pregnant women are 10 times more likely than the general population to contract listeriosis. For pregnant women who are Hispanic, the risk is 24 times higher. Some of that increased risk is attributed to food choices like Mexican-style soft cheeses.
For all women, avoiding certain foods during pregnancy is the best way to reduce the risk of listeriosis.
pregnant-belly_edited-1According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), foods to avoid include: raw foods, unpasteurized beverages, hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats unless they are reheated until steaming hot; deli salads, meat spreads or pâtés, smoked seafood unless it is used as an ingredient in a cooked dish and soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, and Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, or Mexican-style cheeses such as queso blanco, queso fresco, and Panela.
Pregnant women who discover they have eaten food that has been contaminated with Listeria and are showing symptoms are treated with antibiotics of the course of several days.
In the caramel apple Listeria outbreak, one third of the cases were related to pregnancy. A New Mexico woman who ate a contaminated apple gave birth several months prematurely. Her son spent more than four weeks in a neo-natal intensive care unit. The law firm PritzkerOlsen filed a lawsuit on her behalf.
Decosters Sentenced to Jail in 2010 Salmonella Egg Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/decosters-sentenced-to-jail-in-2010-salmonella-egg-outbreak/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 14, 2015)
The owners of Quality Egg LLC, dba Wright County Egg, which produced eggs linked to a massive Salmonella outbreak in 201o, are going to face jail time for their role. Jack DeCoster and Peter DeCoster are going to serve three months in prison for introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.
The DeCosters both pleaded guilty last year. After the jail time, they will serve a year of probation and must pay $100,000 each. Quality Egg must pay $6.79 million and was placed on probation for three years. The sentence was handed down April 13, 2015 in Sioux City, Iowa by U.S. District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett in the Northern District of Iowa.
That outbreak sickened almost 2,000 people across the United States. More than 500,000,000 eggs were recalled nationwide as a result of this outbreak. According to the multiplier for Salmonella, which is 30.3, that means that as many as 60,000 people may be been sickened across the country.
Attorney Ryan Osterholm, a PritzkerOlsen layer who specializes in food poisoning litigation said, “if you are selling food in America, it better be safe.” Osterholm and PritzkerOlsen represented victims of this outbreak.
Quality Egg pleaded guilty in June 2014 to misbranding eggs so they would seem fresher, and to bribing public officials. Employees tried to bribe a USDA inspector to let them sell eggs that did not meet federal standards. According to the complaint, food safety audits were also doctored, and eggs were shipped with false processing and expiration dates. The company also misled major customers about the company’s food safety practices.
In fact, tests found Salmonella in the layer barns and the organs of the layer hens from 2006 through 2010, and the frequency of the positive test results grew. Quality Egg personnel concealed from regulators the company’s failures to follow food safety standards and practices. They also filed inaccurate claims about the company’s biosecurity and pest control practices.
U.S. Attorney Kevin W. Techau for the Northern District of Iowa said in a statement, “the message this prosecution and sentence sends is a stern one to anyone tempted to place profits over people’s welfare. Corporate officials are on notice. If you sell contaminated food you will be held responsible for your conduct. Claims of ignorance or ‘I delegated the responsibility to someone else’ will not shield them from criminal responsibility.”
MN DNR Offers Advice for Turkey Hunters Re Avian Flu
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/mn-dnr-offers-advice-for-turkey-hunters-re-avian-flu/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 14, 2015)
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released guidance for turkey hunters in the areas where turkey farms have experienced outbreaks of avian flu. The disease has not been found in wild turkeys yet, but on the eve of the season, hunters must take care to avoid potentially spreading the virus.
Wild turkeys are susceptible to the virus. There is only a low risk to humans, but people should still avoid contact with wild birds. Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program supervisor with the DNR said in a statement, “turkey hunters can take steps to minimize the risk of spreading HPAI, and they can be excellent scouts in helping identify wild birds like raptors or turkeys that could have been affected.”
The highly pathogenic avian influence H5N2 (HPAI) has been found in these counties: Cottonwood, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lyon, Meeker, Nobles, Pope, Stearns, and Watonwan. It has only been confirmed in domestic turkey farms up to this point.
In the field, do not handle or harvest wild birds that are sick or found dead. Use dedicated tools for cleaning game. Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning game. Double bag internal organs and features, and leave your rubber gloves in the outer bag; seal that. Place the bag in a trash can that children, pets, animals, and other birds cannot access. Wash hands with soap and water immediately after handling game. Finally, wash all tools and work surfaces with soap and water and then disinfect them.
If you see birds in the field that appear sick, with ruffled feathers, swollen wattles, discoloration of the feet, and impaired balance, notify DNR staff as soon as possible and do not touch or attempt to move the birds. Mark the location by GPS as possible and tell the DNR officials the coordinates. For more questions, you can contact Michelle Carstensen at 612-390-9979.
Now 14 Turkey Farms in MN Diagnosed with Bird Flu
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/now-14-turkey-farms-in-mn-diagnosed-with-bird-flu/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 13, 2015)
Fourteen turkey farms in Minnesota, and an egg-laying facility in Wisconsin, have now been confirmed with the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza, or bird flu. The 14th farm was confirmed today. At leasts 900,000 turkeys in the state have been euthanized as a result of this outbreak. No human infections with the virus have ben detected at this time.
The newly affected flocks are in Kandiyohi County, Cottonwood County, Lyon County, Stearns County, and Watonwan County. These farms have been quarantined, meaning movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment has been restricted. The flocks will be euthanized, and the region will be monitored. The farms will be disinfected, and tested until the farms are confirmed to be free of the virus.
In Wisconsin, the USDA has confirmed that more than 180,000 chickens at an egg-laying facility in southeast Wisconsin has been infected. The facility was quarantined, and neighboring properties with poultry will be notified. Workers who may have been exposed to the virus are being monitored.
These viruses can travel in wild birds and they may not appear to be sick. Always avoid contact with sick or dead poultry and wildlife. If you do touch them, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before you come into contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.
This virus originated in Asia and spread along wild bird migratory pathways during 2014. In the Pacific flyway, the virus mixed with North American avian influenza viruses, created new mixed-origin viruses. These new viruses contain the Asian origin H5 part of the virus, and the N2 part from the North American strain.
The USDA has said that the CDC states that the risk to people from these H5N2 infections is low. However, the do remind consumers to make sure they take precautions when working with raw turkey and chicken. Always cook poultry and eggs to a final internal temperature of 165°F as measured by a food thermometer to kill bacteria and viruses.
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