Canadian Risk Assessment Finds GMO Salmon Disease Susceptible
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/canadian-risk-assessment-finds-gmo-salmon-disease-susceptible/
By Linda Larsen (May 31, 2015)
The Center for Food Safety has released information about a risk assessment conducted in Canada that finds GMO salmon are susceptible to disease. The environmental review of AquaBounty Technologies’ GE salmon reveals that the Canadian government disagrees with the FDA on key questions about the safety and performance of the salmon.
Food & Water Watch, Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, and Consumers Union are calling on the FDA to terminate its ongoing review of GE salmon. The risk assessment finds that GE salmon are more susceptible to a type of disease-causing bacteria than non-GE domesticated salmon. That indicates that the fish will have unique health problems. It also raises concerns about the public health that the FDA has not considered.
The report also states that GE salmon are “exhibiting dramatically diminished growth rates in AquaBounty’s commercial facilities.” This raises questions and doubt on the disputed claims about the accelerated growth rates of this salmon.
And finally, GE salmon are showing widely varied performance, indicating that the growth-hormone gene put into the fish is not operating in a predictable manner. That raises questions about the safety, commercial viability, and durability of the salmon.
Jaydee Hanson, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Food Safety said, “The modus operandi at FDA is to rubber stamp AquaBounty’s flawed and biased studies and then call its review process ‘science-based’. FDA’s inadequate risk assessment is at odds with reality, with science, and with the pubic, which has long called on the agency to put consumers’ heath and environmental safety ahead of the corporate interests of the biotechnology industry.”
The only benefit claim that AquaBounty has submitted to the FDA is fast growth. This is now called into question, considering that sources have found that “GE salmon probably grow slower than the highly domesticated Atlantic salmon currently in commercial production.”
Major grocery store chains have stated they will not carry this product, which does not have to be labeled so consumers know what they are buying. And the commercial salmon industry has long disputed AquaBounty’s claims that GE salmon can reach market weight in half the time as conventional salmon.
First 2015 Los Corrales Salmonella Outbreak Lawsuit Filed
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/first-2015-los-corrales-salmonella-outbreak-lawsuit-filed/#.VWu-G9iJjs1
By Andy Weisbecker (May 31, 2015)
Full Summons and Complaint.
According to a “News Flash” that Kenosha County Division of Health (“KCDH”) posted on May 21, 2015, an outbreak investigation was in progress with regard to “individuals with gastrointestinal illness and exposure to Supermercado Los Corrales. As of this time, more than 60 ill persons have been identified.” The KCDH further stated as follows:
•To-date Salmonella with a matching DNA fingerprint has been found in five case patients. Additional stool sample are currently being tested and the nuber of confirmed cases is expected to increase as those results become available.
•Based on the interviews that have been conducted, the source of the outbreak appears to be pork carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales. Testing of food from Supermercado Los Corrales is currently in progress.
•The meat and food preparation area of Supermercado Los Corrales is temporarily closed while the investigation is ongoing[.]
The investigation into the outbreak began when KCDH received a report of a stool sample that had tested positive for Salmonella. The food implicated as the source of the outbreak is believed to have been purchased over Mother’s Day weekend, May 9 and 10, 2015.
As reported in a news story posted on Fox6Now.com, “dozens in the area had the same complaints” about having become sick “after they had eaten food from the same grocery store during the same time period.” Mark Melotik of KCDH is quoted in the story as stating, “Any time you have numerous families, it potentially is large. We are dealing with over a couple dozen people calling in that they are ill.”
Salmonella is an enteric bacterium, which means that it lives in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals. Salmonella bacteria are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with human or animal feces. Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal. Contaminated foods are often of animal origin, such as beef, poultry, milk, or eggs, but all foods, including vegetables, may become contaminated. An infected food handler who neglects to wash his or her hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom may also contaminate food.
Once in the lumen of the small intestine, the bacteria penetrate the epithelium, multiply, and enter the blood within 24 to 72 hours. As few as 15-20 cells of Salmonella bacteria can cause salmonellosis or a more serious typhoid-like fever. Variables such as the health and age of the host, and virulence differences among the serotypes, affect the nature and extent of the illness. Infants, elderly, hospitalized, and immune suppressed persons are the populations that are the most susceptible to disease, and suffer the most severe symptoms.
The acute symptoms of Salmonella gastroenteritis include the sudden onset of nausea, abdominal cramping, and bloody diarrhea and mucous over a period of days. There is no real cure for Salmonella infection, except treatment of the symptoms. Persons with severe diarrhea may require rehydration, often with intravenous fluids.
Persons with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal. A small number of persons who are infected with Salmonella will go on to develop pains in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. This is called Reiter’s syndrome or reactive arthritis. It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis, which is difficult to treat. Antibiotic treatment does not make a difference in whether or not the person later develops arthritis.
The plaintiffs purchased pork carnitas at Supermercado Los Carroles on May 9, 2015, and they consumed the purchased food at home that same day. The following evening, May 10, the plaintiffs began to feel sick with nausea and abdominal pain, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, body pain, and other symptoms consistent with a Salmonella infection.
The symptoms worsened over the next two days, causing significant pain, suffering, and worry. When it appeared that the children—Elizabeth, Andrew, and Jacob—were not getting better, the three were taken to St. Catherine’s Medical Center for evaluation and treatment. A stool sample obtained from Jacob ultimately tested positive for Salmonella.
Because of her continuing illness, Elizabeth received follow-up car on May 14 from her regular pediatrician, Dr. Jaya Iver, at Kenosha Pediatrics. Dr. Iyer advised that Andrew did not need to be brought in for treatment unless his conditioned worsened, which it fortunately did not. For his part, Jacob received follow-up care on May 12 and 13 from Dr. Dragos Nanul at Kenosha Medical Center Clinic. Busy caring for his children, Kenneth did not seek medical treatment.
Kenshoa County Division of Health contacted the plaintiffs, speaking to Kenneth, to discuss the purchase and consumption of food at Supermercado Los Corrales and subsequent illnesses linked to the Salmonella outbreak. The Division of Health had also been notified that Jacob had tested positive for Salmonella, the same serotype that had infected other outbreak victims.
Although they have begun to feel better, as of May 25, the plaintiffs have not fully recovered, and each continues to suffer abdominal pain and discomfort, loose stools, headaches, and body aches, all attributable to consumption of the pork carnitas and resulting Salmonella infections.
Salmonella: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.
If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.
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Boston may publicly rate restaurants’ cleanliness
Source : https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/05/29/boston-considers-grading-system-for-restaurant-cleanliness-food-safety/eUAlsoFMwyL55ce9PaHJxI/story.html
By Matt Rocheleau Globe Staff (May 29, 2015)
Boston may create a system to publicly rate the cleanliness and food safety practices of each restaurant in the city, an effort that could resemble New York’s prominently posted letter grades for establishments.
“I’m very confident it will happen,” said William Christopher, commissioner of Boston’s Inspectional Services Department. “The main objective is to educate the consumers so they can make an educated assessment of where they want to eat.”
The Globe reported earlier this week that city inspectors last year found multiple instances of the most serious type of health and sanitary code violations at nearly half of Boston’s food service locations, including restaurants, food trucks, and cafeterias.
Christopher said the restaurant rating program, which would require City Council approval, would be based on the results of the municipal health and sanitary code inspections that his department already conducts at every food service location at least once a year.
His staff has spent the past few months researching models from other cities, including Seattle, which is developing a rating system, and New York, which has been displaying letter grades on storefronts and posting them online since 2010. Los Angeles has been issuing grades since 1997.
Residents and tourists ambling past restaurants and shops on Charles Street in Beacon Hill on Friday night largely applauded the proposal.
“It’s a good idea,” said Sarah Welch, 21, as she and two of her friends tried to make up their minds about where to go for dinner.
Her friend and fellow Suffolk University student Janine Heller, also 21, said she lived in New York City for nine months during 2011, but admitted she rarely, if ever, noticed the letter grades in restaurant windows.
But she hopes Boston adopts a similar system.
“We should know what we’re paying for,” said Heller. “If it’s a good restaurant, then why would they mind?”
Carol Leonard and John Hamilton were in town visiting from San Francisco, another city that posts health and sanitary ratings in restaurants.
“When you’re walking by, you can’t miss it,” said Leonard. “If we walk past a restaurant and it has a low rating, we’re not going in.”
She said restaurants that get poor marks don’t tend to stay in business very long.
Zena Sheinberg, 65, of Ann Arbor, Mich., said she closely monitors health department violations in her home city, and said a simplified rating system that is more prominently available would be a good idea.
“These restaurants would get their act together if they had a ‘C’ sticker in their window,” she said.
City officials in New York and Los Angeles say their grading systems have led to improvements.
Both cities say reports of food-borne illness have declined, and over the years, more restaurants have earned an A on their initial annual inspection, allowing them to avoid additional reviews and fines.
Inspectors in New York reported that within the first two years of the program more restaurants trained staff properly, kept food at a safe temperature, had adequate hand-washing facilities, and showed fewer signs of mice.
But such systems have also faced criticism. Some have questioned assertions that the grading systems lead to improved conditions, and others have accused the systems of being arbitrary and unfair.
Christopher said he does not intend to simply replicate rating systems that other cities use, but to learn from those models and to make any necessary customizing for Boston.
“We’re looking at the right way to do it so that we’re fair to our restaurateurs,” said Christopher, who added that developing and implementing a rating system in Boston is “months away . . . I want to make sure we do this right.”
The head of the state’s restaurant association said the industry supports efforts to improve food safety, but is concerned that a grading system could oversimplify a complex process.
“A restaurant’s livelihood could be affected by these reports,” said Stephen Clark, director of government affairs for the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. “Attempting to reduce complex findings to a single letter or score based on subjective interpretations of individual inspectors may give a false or misleading picture of actual sanitation levels and food safety conditions in a food service establishment.”
He urged Boston to consider carefully how to inform diners about the cleanliness of restaurants.
“Jurisdictions now using scoring systems without understanding their limitations present a disservice to the public and industry,” Clark said. “Any scoring system should be easy for the health inspector, the public, and regulated industry to understand.”
Christopher contended that the ratings could be positive for business, creating a new way for food establishments to improve through competition.
“If you have restaurants across the street from each other — you’re an A restaurant, and I’m a C restaurant, I’m going to do everything in my power to try to become an A restaurant,” he said.
Kenya to strengthen food safety in wake of cholera outbreak
Source : http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=284574
By NAIROBI (May 28)
(Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government has partnered with industry to strengthen food safety in the wake of a cholera outbreak that has claimed 67 lives in the county.
Senior officials said Thursday that law enforcement and public education have been intensified countrywide to shield Kenyan from eating contaminated food.
"Inefficiencies in the national food safety control system have resulted to recurrence of diarrhea diseases in the country. We have established rigorous measures to correct this phenomenon," said the Chief Public Health Officer in the ministry of health, Kepha Ombacho.
He spoke in Nairobi during an African food safety summit attended by policymakers, regulators, industry and consumer lobby groups.
Kenya has recorded 67 deaths from a cholera epidemic that has spread in more than 20 counties since the start of the year.
Ombacho said the government has issued a directive to all county governments to implement far-reaching measures to contain the spread of cholera.
"Besides a ban on food hawking, we have instructed public health officers to inspect hotels, restaurants and shops to ensure they meet hygiene standards," Ombacho told reporters
An inter-ministerial taskforce has been formed to coordinate the enforcement of food safety standards in Kenya following the cholera outbreak.
Ombacho said recent analysis by the taskforce indicated the cholera outbreak has stabilized thanks to a ban on food hawking.
"We are providing technical expertise to county governments to enable them enforce public health regulations. Premises that sell food are being inspected on a regular basis," he said.
Ombacho added that state agencies have intensified surveillance to ensure food sold to consumers is free from pathogens and chemical residue.
Kenya has invested in state-of-the-art laboratories to test food samples before they are released to the domestic and international market.
Immaculate Odwori, Quality and Assurance Manager at Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), said safety is a prerequisite to enhance competitiveness of Kenyan agricultural produce in the global market.
"Enforcement of food safety guidelines will protect consumers from hazards and promote cross border trade in agricultural commodities," said Odwori.
What do Peter Pan and Blue Bell Have in Common?
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/what-do-peter-pan-and-blue-bell-have-in-common/
By Carla Gillespie (May 28, 2015)
One is peanut butter, one is ice cream. One was contaminated with Salmonella, the other with Listeria. Still, there are similarities between the Peter Pan peanut butter and Blue Bell ice cream food poisoning outbreaks.
Peter Pan was in the news this week because the company that makes it, ConAgra Grocery Products LLC, a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods Inc., pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with a 2006-2007 Salmonella outbreak that sickened 700 people. ConAgra admitted that it had shipped contaminated food across state lines and agreed to pay a criminal fine of $8 million and to $3.2 million in asset forfeiture.
“No company can let down its guard when it comes to these kinds of microbiological contaminants. Salmonellosis is a serious condition, and a food like peanut butter can deliver it straight to children and other vulnerable populations,” said said DOJ Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer,
Companies shouldn’t let their guards down when it comes to microbiological contaminants, but plenty of them have since 2007 including another product delivered straight to children and vulnerable populations: Blue Bell ice cream.
Blue Bell shipped contaminated products across state lines to vulnerable populations in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and retirement communities including one where David Philip Shockley worked.
Shockley is the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed May 19 against Blue Bell. He repeatedly ate single-serve Blue Bell ice cream products while he was at work. Because he suffers from ulcerative colitis, Shockley had been taking immunosuppressive medications since 2012 rendering him particularly vulnerable to food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. According to the complaint, the Listeria meningitis infection he contracted was so severe, he nearly died.
At Via Christi hospital in Wichita, five patients who were unknowingly served contaminated Blue Bell products got Listeria infections. Three of them died.
As part of its plea agreement, ConAgra admitted it was aware of some risk of Salmonella contamination in peanut butter before the outbreak. One of the potential contributing factors was a leaky roof that allowed moisture into the plant. After the outbreak, the company speculated that the moisture enabled the growth of Salmonella present in the raw peanuts or peanut dust.
Blue Bell also had trouble with moisture. Condensate from pipes dripped right into product, according to inspection reports, released after the outbreak. The reports, dating back to 2009 and made public by Freedom of Information Act requests by newspapers, also revealed that the company found Listeria in non-food contact areas of its plant but did not test it to see if it was a pathogenic strain.
Inspectors Find Listeria at Bidart Bros. Cooling and Packing House
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/05/bidart-bros-cooling-and-packing-house-samples-were-positive-for-listeria/#.VWvAh9iJjs1
By Dan Flynn (May 27, 2015)
Caramel apples were linked to 2014 Listeria outbreak
Inspector observations from the investigation into the role of Bidart Bros. in last year’s 12-state outbreak of Listeriosis involving commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples found that the problem could well have originated in the California grower’s apple cooler and packing facility.
The observations are found on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 483 forms completed after four on-site investigations were conducted at the company’s facility in Shafter, CA, from Dec. 23, 2014, to Jan. 6, 2015, along with a mostly public 16-page report.
The investigative team, including officials from FDA and the California Department of Public Health, took samples from food and non-food contact surfaces in packing and common cold storage areas and from outside storage bins. Positives for Listeria monocytogenes came back for seven areas, and six of those were from direct food contact surfaces.
Results of the on-site investigation last Jan. 6 caused Bidart Bros., one of northern California’s best known fruit-growing families, to voluntarily recall all the Granny Smith and Gala apples that were processed during 2014 through their cooler-packing facility.
Before that action, three distributors of caramel apples — Happy Apples, California Snack Foods Inc. and Merb’s Candies — had recalled caramel apples they produced in response to the Listeria outbreak.
That outbreak required the hospitalization of 34 of 35 people from 12 states who were sickened. Before the outbreak ended, seven of them were dead, and Listeriosis was blamed for the deaths of at least three of them.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was able to confirm that 31 of 35 (or about 90 percent) of those sickened in the outbreak had consumed caramel apples.
Areas inside the Bidart Bros. packing plant where Listeria positives were found were on polishing brushes, drying brushes, packing line drain, inside a wood bin, and on an automatic line.
“On 12/23/2014, we observed direct food contact areas of packaging equipment, used during the 2014 apple season, constructed and/or maintained in a manner so that they cannot be properly cleaned and sanitized,” according to one Form 483 observation.
Also called out were a damaged conveyor belt with chipping and peeling paint on the transfer chute on the Granny’s Best packaging line, and green vinyl-coated padding lining the transfer chute to the peeler had frayed edges and exposed foam-like material.
The same problem with the vinyl coating was found on the entrance to the packaging area, on a flap, and on a pad at the end of a line. In addition, a bucket conveyer was frayed, cracked and torn.
The inspection report noted that Bidart Bros. “was very cooperative,” making its packing manager, cold storage manager, general manager, sales manager and safety director available throughout the inspection process, as well as brothers Leonard and John Bidart and their brother-in-law Bob Sullivan.
Bidart Bros., incorporated in 1983, grows apples, potatoes, oranges, lemons, table grapes and almonds. The company is headquartered in Bakersfield, CA, and also runs two calving operations. The owners are five siblings who are the grandchildren of Basque immigrant John Bidart, who came to California’s Central Valley from France in the 1880s to grow potatoes and raise livestock.
FDA made numerous redactions from its inspection report such as blackening out the number of acres the Bidarts own, along with their peak season employment and the names of their major interstate customers.
The facility that was the target of the investigation was first used in 1987. Prior to that, Bidart Bros. sold apples directly to other packers. During the 2014 season, it shipped apples in 700-pound triwall bins to processors with only a pallet tag affixed to the shipment. Apples shipped for juice were sent in either the customer’s bins or the Bidart Bros. wooden bins. Apples shipped for the fresh market were packed in 3-5-pound poly bags and 3-pound mesh bags.
The FDA report notes that the team “informed management that conditions observed may, after further review by the Agency, be considered to be violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or other statues and legal sanctions available to the FDA may include seizure, injection, civil money penalties, and prosecution.”
New British Pub Associated With Gastrointestinal and Salmonella Illnesses
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/05/new-british-pub-associated-with-gastrointestinal-and-salmonella-illnesses/#.VWvRt9iJjs1
By News Desk (May 26, 2015)
Reports of food poisoning associated with a new pub in northeastern England are pointing toward a dual outbreak of both Salmonella and gastrointestinal illness.
Anson Farm pubSince the weekend of May 16-17, 2015, customers of Anson Farm, a pub restaurant at Thornaby which just opened a month ago, have been reporting illnesses.
Public Health England (PHE) reports 20 confirmed cases of Salmonella, while the number of pub patrons with intestinal disorders has reached 53.
Public health experts from both the North East Public Health England Center and the Stockton Council are investigating the illnesses. They said they expected the case counts to rise over the next few days.
Anson Farm is cooperating with the investigation, according to Dr. Deb Wilson, health protection consultant to PHE. The pub has implemented control measures requested by environmental health officers.
Anson Farm is operated by Farmhouse Inns, a unit of the Greene King chain. A spokesman said a deep and thorough cleaning was completed for all hard hand contact surfaces in public areas. The pub’s procedures were reviewed, he added, and Anson Farm continues to have a hygiene rating of five, which is the highest grade possible.
The restaurant is located on the Teesside Industrial Estate in Thornaby, which is in northeastern England near the large residential area known as Ingleby Barwick.
Wilson urged pub patrons experiencing diarrhea, vomiting or fever to contact a physician.
“Salmonella can also spread by poor hygiene and not washing hands properly after going to the toilet or handling contaminated food,” she said.
Wilson said meat, eggs, poultry and milk are susceptible to Salmonella bacteria, which originate in the gut of many farm animals. Green vegetables, fruit, and shellfish can become contaminated by contact with manure in soil or sewage in water. Cross-contamination is possible if raw and cooked foods are stored together.
Food safety officers to conduct surprise checks
Source : http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/food-safety-officers-to-conduct-surprise-checks/article7246562.ece
By thehindu.com (May 26, 2015)
Food safety officers are gearing up for surprise inspections at mango mandis in the city to book fruit merchants found using the banned calcium carbide to artificially-ripen mangoes.
Amid reports of continued use of calcium carbide, which has been banned under Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011, owing to its harmful effects on health, Food Safety Officer (Mysuru urban) M.S. Lokesh told The Hindu that they had received instructions to conduct surprise raids at mango markets.
“If we find calcium carbide, we will seize the chemical and the fruits. After a mahazar, we will submit the evidence to the court along with photographs,” he said.
The Food Safety Officer said they were unable to begin the checks earlier as the State government lacked lab facilities to test samples of seized mangoes.
“But now, we have been given instructions to conduct surprise checks, book erring merchants and submit the evidence to the jurisdictional courts,” he said.
Earlier this week, about 45 mango merchants of Mysuru attended a training programme by the Department of Horticulture organised as part of the mango mela at Curzon, where they were trained to use of permitted ripening agents like ethylene spray.
However, a section of the merchants continued to use calcium carbide as ripening agent.
When asked, a trader at the mango mandi on Akbar Road affirmed this.
However, Farooq Pasha, president of Mango Merchants Association, Akbar Road, sought to clarify that only a section continued to use calcium carbide while most traders had begun spraying ethylene gas. He said the mangoes take about five days to ripen when treated with ethylene gas against the three days when calcium carbide is used.
Sources in the Horticulture Department pointed out that a section of the mango merchants used calcium carbide to earn a quick buck.
Keep fire, food safety in mind when grilling, local officials stress
Source : http://www.theherald-news.com/2015/05/22/keep-fire-food-safety-in-mind-when-grilling-local-officials-stress/ac8k60x/
By VIKAAS SHANKER (May 25, 2015)
That nice-looking grill you see on the backyard deck of a home waiting to be used this summer shouldn’t be there, according to fire officials.
“The No. 1 safety issue with grilling would be to keep the grill in a safe place,” Joliet Fire Capt. Bob Wohlrab said. “Don’t put it on a deck. We’ve had fires where embers fall on the deck, smolder and take off pretty quickly.”
As the weather warms and residents are freed from the shackles of coats and winter caps, fire department and food administration officials say it’s important to practice safe grilling.
The Joliet and Plainfield fire departments urge residents to use precautions when grilling outdoors.
“We’ve had people with grills inside the house that have started structure fires,” Wohlrab said. “No grills in a garage or any enclosed space.”
Plainfield Fire Protection District Inspector Mary Kay Ludemann said proper preparation of grills also is important.
“Sometimes when it’s raining, people move the grill inside the garage,” Ludemann said, noting that fire safety hazards also come in the form of low-hanging branches over grills and uncleaned grills.
Propane grills being used for the first time since the fall season should be checked for leaks, Ludemann said. If leaks are found, residents should get the grill serviced by a professional.
Those who decide to use an accelerant for charcoal grill fires should only use charcoal lighter fluids. Charcoals should also be completely cooled before disposing of them in a metal container with a lid stored away from the house.
Ludemann and Wohlrab said grills and accessories such as lighter fluids should be placed where children aren’t playing, and a “grill-safety zone” should be established.
Wohlrab also mentioned that open outdoor fire pits are becoming more popular this time of year. In Joliet, residents are limited to burning logs for fires.
“You can’t burn lumber, grass and other vegetation,” Wohlrab said, adding that people have used yard clippings in the past, which can cause heavy smoke, posing a threat to people with asthma or other respiratory diseases.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, urges families to take care in how they prepare grilled food.
“It’s important to remember that bacteria grow faster in the same warm temperatures that people enjoy,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. “So extra care needs to be taken to prevent food poisoning when preparing meals away from home.”
Vilsack also advocated use of the USDA’s free Android and Apple mobile app, FoodKeeper, which guides users on preparing more than 400 kinds of food and beverages.
Additional food safety tips from the USDA:
• Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and ready-to-eat items.
• Keep perishable food cold until ready to cook.
• Use a food thermometer for meat and poultry, 145 degrees Fahrenheit for beef, pork, lamb and veal, 160 degrees for ground meats and 165 degrees for poultry.
• Use fresh, clean plates and tongs for serving food.
• Perishable foods shouldn’t sit out for more than two hours, or one hour in hot weather.
• Serve cold food in small portions and keep extra food in a cooler. Cooked meat and poultry should be kept at 140 degrees until served.
• Keep hot food warm by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals.
Food Safety Agreement Sets Framework for World Food Center-China
Source : http://www.labmanager.com/news/2015/05/food-safety-agreement-sets-framework-for-world-food-center-china#.VWvdFNiJjs1
By University of California - Davis (May 25, 2015)
The WFC-China will be the central office for coordinating research and training activities in food safety for various Sino-U.S. Joint Research Centers across the country. A facility for the center is being developed in a newly created economic zone in Zhuhai’s Guangdong province, a region known for its technology industry, economic vitality and proximity to Hong Kong.
“China has placed a very high priority on improving the safety of its food and restoring confidence in consumers here and around the world,” said Roger Beachy, executive director of the UC Davis World Food Center. “We will measure success by the reduced incidence of unsafe foods in China in coming years.”
Signing the official document were Beachy and Ralph Hexter, UC Davis provost and executive vice chancellor, with Wang Qingli, vice mayor of Zhuhai. Mayor Jiang Ling gave opening remarks, and Zhang Laiwu, vice minister in China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, attended. Representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also attended the event.
“UC Davis is pleased to participate with Zhuhai City to create this strong partnership for innovation,” said Hexter.
Zhongli Pan, an adjunct professor at UC Davis, will serve as the center director. The city of Zhuhai is contributing the first $2.5 million to the center for the initial projects.
The hub for new U.S.-China partnerships
The signing ceremony was held in Beijing, in conjunction with a separate agreement signed a few hours later with South China Agricultural University (SCAU) in the city of Guangzhou, less than 100 miles from Zhuhai.
This memorandum of understanding between UC Davis and SCAU will establish a new Joint Research Center for food safety, providing more opportunities for UC Davis and SCAU faculty to develop coordinated programs. SCAU is one of China’s top agricultural universities and is a leader in food safety research and education.
A global stage for faculty and students
A similar agreement signed last year with Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University (NWAFU) in Shaanxi province has since led to 10 joint project proposals between UC Davis and NWAFU faculty. If funded by China’s central government, these projects will organize research and education activities in areas spanning agriculture, biological sciences, economics and policy studies.
The Joint Research Centers, led by the World Food Center-China, will identify challenges and set goals to establish and ensure food safety and sustainable food production in China and globally.
The World Food Center is building healthier outcomes
The World Food Center at UC Davis was established in 2013 to increase the economic benefit from campus research; influence national and international policy; and convene teams of scientists and innovators from industry, academia, government and nongovernmental organizations to tackle food-related challenges in California and around the world.
Consumers Will Pay More for Eggs Because of Bird Flu
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/consumers-will-pay-more-for-eggs-because-of-bird-flu/
By Linda Larsen (May 25, 2015)
The highly-pathogenic avian influenza has spread across the central United States, killing about 39 million chickens, turkeys, and other birds since December 2014. This will affect egg supplies and prices, and may even affect prices for Thanksgiving turkeys this fall.
Goldman Sachs reports that U.S. consumers will probably pay $8 billion more to buy eggs this year. That is an increase of at least 75% from last year. Corporations that buy eggs in bulk will also spend much more money. Large chains are concentrating on securing egg supplies. According to the American Egg Board, U.S. consumers ate almost 260 egg per person last year.
The bird flu was introduced into this country by wild migrating birds, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health. If the virus moves east, the poultry industry will be hit even harder.
The American Egg Board has tips about AI and eggs. They say that people can’t get AI from eating eggs, as long as they are safely handled and properly prepared. That means you must wash your hands well with soap and water after handling raw eggs, even just touching the shell. Eggs should always be cooked well done, or to 165°F. Sunny side up, poached, and fried eggs are not safe unless cooked until the yolk is firm.
Blue Bell Lawsuit Refers to Via Christi Hospital Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/blue-bell-lawsuit-refers-to-via-christi-hospital-outbreak/
By News Desk (May 24, 2015)
The nation’s first Blue Bell ice cream Listeria lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Texas includes details of similarity between a retirement home director in Houston who nearly died of Listeria meningitis and a cluster of five people in Wichita who were striken by listeriosis after eating Blue Bell ice cream while at Via Christi Hospital. All six individuals ate single-serve ice cream products purchased from Blue Bell Creameries Inc. through institutional, or food service, channels.
According to a copy of the lawsuit filed by PritzkerOlsen Attorneys on behalf of David Philip Shockley, he repeatedly ate single-serve Blue Bell ice cream products while on the job at a 462-apartment continuing care retirement community in Houston. The 31-year-old man with a masters degree in public policy with a focus on aging was the facility’s associate executive director and nursing facility administrator. He became so infected by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria that it entered his bloodstream and caused him to collapse with a body temperature of 106 degrees. He lost consciousness for more than five days, survived extensive hospitalization that included tube feeding, and now remains permanently disabled while facing medical bills approaching $500,000.
The complaint recounts how a single-serve Blue Bell ice cream product known as “Scoops” was served to all five Via Christi case patients from January 2014 to January 2015. An investigation of their Listeria cases by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified “Scoops” as the common food source among the sickened patients and the agency ultimately concluded that all five listeriosis patients from Via Christi contracted their infections as a result of consuming contaminated Blue Bell ice cream. Three of those patients at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital in Wichita died.
Bolstering the CDC’s finding were tests of Blue Bell ice cream samples by state health investigators in Texas and South Carolina. The Texas Department of State Health Services collected product samples from the Blue Bell production facility in Brenham and found Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in two of the same type of single-serve products that tested postive in South Carolina. In addition, the Texas probe found the pathogen in “Scoops,” which was made on the same production line.
Mr. Shockley’s onset of listeriosis happened in 2013 and the FDA has itemized an array of Blue Bell’s internal testing results showing extensive Listeria contamination in the company’s manufacturing facilities from early 2013 to early 2015. FDA inspectors also recorded 26 conditions constituting violations of federal law and posing significant risks to the safety of Blue Bell products.
His lawsuit alleges negligence and product liability. “Blue Bell utterly failed to design and implement sanitation and safety programs that would have prevented the sort of infestation and contamination that occurred at its facilities over a period of years,” PritzkerOlsen attorney Brendan Flaherty wrote in the lawsuit.
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