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FoodHACCP Newsletter
06/15 2015 ISSUE:656

Top ten riskiest foods
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/top_ten_riskiest_foods
By Jeannie Nichols (June 12, 2015)
The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently compiled a list of the top ten riskiest foods (pdf) that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates based on FDA foodborne illness reports. Each of the foods involved have thousands of reported cases of illness. On the list are foods that most of us eat on a fairly regular basis.
1.Leafy greens
2.Eggs
3.Tuna
4.Oysters
5.Potatoes
6.Cheese
7.Ice cream
8.Tomatoes
9.Sprouts
10.Berries

Pathogens, microscopic organisms that can make us sick, found in or on these foods cause sickness that can range from just having stomach cramps and diarrhea to death. Certain high risk groups are even more susceptible to life threatening results when eating contaminated food. These groups include infants and preschool children, adults 65 years old and older, pregnant women, and immuno-compromised children and adults are considered at high-risk. These people may get sick sooner, have more serious symptoms or need medical care.
Pathogens that are often linked to meat and poultry are Salmonella and E.coli 0157:H7 and both have been linked to many of the food items listed above. Salmonella was the cause of 33% of the outbreaks associated with these foods.
Other pathogens associated with these top ten foods include Campylobacter, Scrombrotoxin, Vibrio and Norovirus.
Michigan State University Extension offers these suggestions to help consumers control pathogens:
l;Practice good personal hygiene. This includes good handwashing practices as well as keeping kitchen work areas clean.
l;Thoroughly rinsing fruits and vegetables and scrubbing them with a vegetable brush when possible.
l;Keep raw foods and ready to eat food separate.
l;Cook foods thoroughly.
l;Store food properly. Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than two hours and for only one hour in the summer, when the temperatures may be warmer than normal.
Unfortunately, sometimes we have no control over the pathogens that make us sick. However, the precautions listed above have been proven to help in cases when the consumer does have some control.

Now 11 Sick with E. coli At The Learning Vine Daycare in SC
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/now-11-sick-with-e-coli-at-the-learning-vine-daycare-in-sc/
By Linda Larsen (June 13, 2015)
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has updated their investigation into the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) outbreak at The Learning Vine daycare in Greenwood county. Now 11 cases have been confirmed. The cases are of people who went to the daycare and their family members. As of today, June 13, 2014, 194 test results are negative for STEC.
The three new lab-confirmed cases are people who had diarrhea, or were asymptomatic, but are now symptom-free. There is “no evidence of ongoing transmission related to this investigation, and there has been no new onset of illness in students or staff of the daycare since June 1, 2015,” according to the report.
The childcare center has been cleared to re-open. The Learning Vine has met conditions of the public health consent agreement and can re-open on Monday, June 15, 2015. Before returning, staff and students must show proof of one negative stool sample if they have not been sick, or two negative stool samples if they have had diarrhea.
The government will continue to collect and test samples for lab analysis. The lab testing to screen for STEC has an accuracy RATE OF 99.7%. The hotline about this outbreak is still open: it is 1-800-868-0404.
If you or your child have attended this daycare facility and have experienced diarrhea, please see your doctor. The symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramps, watery and/or bloody diarrhea, and a mild fever. If this infection is treated with antibiotics, the risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) developing is increased. HUS is a serious complication of a STEC infection that can lead to kidney failure and death.

Boise Co-op Associated with Salmonella Outbreak in Idaho
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/boise-co-op-associated-with-salmonella-outbreak-in-idaho/
By Linda Larsen (June 14, 2015)
According to the Idaho Central District Health Department, nearly 30 people have been sickened with Salmonella illnesses. There is a “possible link” to the Boise Co-op. But, other cases not associated with that facility have been reported.
CDHD is working with the Boise Co-op to find the source of the pathogenic bacteria. Several food samples have been sent to the state public health lab for testing; results are pending. Lab tests have not yet confirmed whether all of those sickened have the same strain of Salmonella.
If you have been sick with the symptoms of Salmonella and have visited the Boise Co-op, see your doctor. Those symptoms include diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. The symptoms usually begin 12 to 72 hours after exposure. Foods that may carry this bacteria include raw and undercooked meat, eggs, poultry, seafood, raw eggs, and fruits and vegetables.
Salmonella is a reportable illness, so if you do have it, your doctor will report it to the government. If you are sick with a diarrheal illness, stay home until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours.
To help prevent a Salmonella infection, cook poultry, ground meats, and eggs to well done, or 160°F on a food thermometer. Do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs or raw milk. Wash your hands, utensils, work surfaces, and dishes with soap and water right after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
In addition, wash hands with soap and water after handling reptiles, birds, baby chicks, and pet feces. Avoid contact between reptiles and infants or immunocompromised people.



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Shirks Meats Recalls Andouille Sausage for Possible Listeria
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/shirks-meats-recalls-andouille-sausage-for-possible-listeria/
By Linda Larsen (June 13, 2015)
Shirks Meats of Dundee, New York is recalling Smoked Andouille Sausage because it may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with the consumption of this product, but listeriosis, the illness caused by this bacteria, can take up to 70 days to appear.
The recalled product was packed in-store. It is “Smoked Andouille Sausage” in a clear plastic package with a date of 6/5/15. Package sizes vary from 9 to 12 ounces. This product was sold only from the retail location of the facility at 4342 John Green Road in Dundee, New York.
Routine sampling by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets found Listeria in the product. If you purchased this product, do not eat it. Discard in a sealed container or return to the place of purchase for a refund. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the product, and clean out your refrigerator with a mild bleach solution, since Listeria bacteria can grow at refrigerator temperatures.
If you ate any of this product, monitor yourself for the symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning for the next 70 days. Those symptoms include fever, stiff neck, headache, and flu-like symptoms. Pregnant women may only be mildly sick, but listeriosis can cause serious complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and infection in the newborn baby.

Keeping Ready-To-Eat Foods Safe
Source : http://www.foodprocessing.com/articles/2015/keeping-ready-to-eat-foods-safe/
By Kevin T. Higgins, Managing Editor (May 12, 2015)
Ready-to-eat meat and poultry products pose the highest potential dangers but also represent the most impressive advancements in product safety in today’s food industry.
Even when multi-million-pound recalls of fresh ground beef were occurring with alarming regularity, regulators were targeting RTE proteins for special attention. Pathogenic E. coli frightened the public, but food safety experts knew that relatively mild thermal treatment was enough to neutralize these microbial wimps.
Listeria monocytogenes, on the other hand, is far and away the most lethal foodborne pathogen, and RTE products are a common infection avenue. A 2003 study published by the National Food Processors Association (a forerunner to Grocery Manufacturers Association) found Listeria in up to 4.7 percent of product samples, a finding made more alarming by sometimes-high cell counts.
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service at the same time was forging the risk-based program for RTE protein foods that became effective in May 2006. If only sanitation protocols are used to minimize the risk of contamination in post-lethality product handling, Alternative III status is assigned, resulting in closer inspection and oversight from FSIS. Alternative II status is conferred if either a post-lethality treatment to reduce bacterial load (bactericidal) or a microbial suppression (bacteriostatic) step is applied. If both steps are applied, a processor is classified as Alternative I and is subject to the least regulatory oversight.
Immersing or spraying meat and poultry with hot water is the conventional post-cook treatment for deli logs, hams and other RTE products. Often referred to as ultra pasteurization, it’s a relatively inexpensive process but ineffective when product overlaps and can result in organoleptic deterioration. FSIS offers ultra-violet radiation as an option, although applications are limited.
Modified atmosphere packaging can have a bacteriostatic or bactericidal effect, particularly when carbon dioxide’s antimicrobial properties are part of the gas mix, and it is effective with sliced meats. But MAP costs are double those of vacuum packaging, and the gas has a bacteriostatic, or suppressant, effect, Both bacteriostatic and bactericidal interventions are necessary to secure Alternative I status, and two methods to help achieve it for sliced meats are emerging: an antimicrobial spray at the slicer and high-pressure processing.
Spraying a deli log is fairly straightforward, assuming chemical temperature and dispersal rates are monitored and recorded for efficacy. Spraying sliced meats requires integration of one vendor’s slicing machine with a spray system from another supplier.
Is that a challenge? “You can say that again,” deadpans Joseph Riemer, vice president-food business development at Sono-Tek Corp., Milton, N.Y. Nonetheless, the spray nozzle manufacturer has integrated its ultra-sonic system with multiple slicer-manufacturers’ machines and has four systems in commercial production. One is in a meat plant in Spain; the other three found a home in the Richmond, Utah, base of Lower Foods Inc.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” enthuses president Alan Lower, whose firm has sprayed antimicrobial agents in whole-muscle bags “for years and years.” When technology for sliced deli meat became available, Lower Foods didn’t hesitate. Sono-Tek’s first system was incorporated with a Titan slicer on a new line in the fall, with two additional installations following.
“The Sono people are perfectionists,” adds Lower. “It hasn’t skipped a beat.”
In validation tests performed in October, sufficient log reduction to demonstrate effectiveness was achieved using lauric arginate (LAE) from A&B ingredients. Concentrations were above the 50 ppm threshold to qualify as a processing aid. Lower Foods is trying to establish efficacy at 44 ppm, which would exempt products from listing LAE on labels.
FSIS permits two dozen antimicrobials in direct contact with RTE foods, half of which can be considered processing aids that do not require label disclosure. Precise dosing and coverage are necessary for effectiveness, and that’s impossible to achieve with air nozzles, according to Riemer. With ultra-sonic spraying, 50,000 electronic signals per second cause the nozzle tip to vibrate, eliminating pressure from the equation and resulting in tighter uniformity in droplet size. The result is consistent dosing of up to 1,000 slices per minute.
A similar sliced-meat system from Spraying Systems Co. debuted early last year, complementing the Wheaton, Ill., firm’s decade-old RTE interventions for whole meats, according to Josh DeVoll, director-market solutions. The company provided input to FSIS when the risk-assessment hierarchy was being developed, he adds, which is why its SLIC (Sprayed Lethality in Container) line predates the 2006 final rule.
Before the sliced-meat system was developed, Spraying Systems enjoyed success with whole muscle and other bagged RTE meats. An antimicrobial spritz could be introduced either into a preformed bag or on rollstock prior to bag forming. When a vacuum is pulled prior to sealing, the antimicrobial agent is evenly distributed, providing the desired bactericidal or bacteriostatic effect.
The firm’s sliced-meat system relies on hydraulic pressure to deliver the antimicrobial compound, DeVoll says. It operates in the 300-1,500 slices per minute range.
Ultra pasteurization with steam or immersion is perhaps the most widely used intervention, and it is effective. But energy costs to generate steam or maintain water temperature are high, says DeVol, and that is driving RTE manufacturers to consider chemical sprays and other options. Recent changes in European food regulations to permit antimicrobial agents also are boosting interest in SLIC overseas, he adds.
Under pressure
Before settling on chemical spray, Lower Foods considered the HPP bactericidal option. On-site treatment with high pressure is cost prohibitive unless high utilization is assured, and the network of HPP tolling services is limited, particularly for processors in western states. The situation is rapidly changing, however, particularly along the eastern seaboard.
SafePac in Philadelphia and Stay Fresh Foods in Connecticut each added a second HPP press last year to meet growing demand, and two additional large-capacity presses are planned by Universal Pasteurization in suburban Philadelphia. In November, the underserved New York metro area witnessed the start-up of its first tolling service when New Jersey Frozen Storage (NJFS) commenced operations at its Nutrifresh Services division.
“It’s the new age of food and beverage,” proclaims Chris Jenkins, Nutrifresh’s director of HPP operations in Edison, N.J. “Clean labels are really pushing HPP.”
A former USDA inspector, Jenkins was first exposed to HPP 10 years ago, first while assuring regulatory compliance at Astra Foods in Upper Darby, Pa., and then at SafePac, the HPP pasteurization subsidiary of Vincent Giordano Corp. Thermal processing of packaged RTE foods costs less on a per-pound basis, he concedes, but when the added labor, preservatives and test-and-hold expenses are factored in, the difference narrows. Plus, shelf life of up to 120 days with HPP means fewer returns. “It’s reducing cost,” he says, adding, “USDA loves this.”
Nutrifresh’s 350-liter capacity press from Hiperbaric was followed in March by the installation of a 525-liter machine, the largest HPP system made and the first Hiperbaric 525L installed by a toller. Together, the machines provide more than 50 million lbs. a year of capacity. Located within spitting distance of the nation’s third largest port (and second largest point of entry for imports), Nutrafresh and NJFS’s adjacent 200,000 sq. ft. of freezer capacity are well situated to serve both importers and domestic processors of RTE meats and other food products
More arrows in quiver
Meat and poultry aren’t the only RTE foods on the market; the designation is being applied to an expanding array of convenience products. Washed, sliced and bagged fruits and vegetables qualify as RTE. So do dips. All those products are candidates for pathogenic contamination, and all have experienced sometimes-disastrous recalls (did you see our April story? Food Safety’s Smallest Challenge). The April recall of 30,000 cases of Sabra Dipping Co. products after a positive test for Listeria sent hummus processors flocking to Nutrafresh’s door.
Lethality interventions must be approved by FDA, and the agency can work in mysterious ways. Bagged spinach and iceberg lettuce can be irradiated, but bagged salads also contain other vegetables, and FDA doesn’t permit irradiation of other salad components.
“Irradiation is a viable option, but it’s dependent on getting (FDA) approval,” observes Harlan Clemmons, president and COO of Sadex Corp. Chemical changes and other side effects have to be analyzed, and that can be a long time coming: 12 years lapsed between the agency’s approval of irradiation for red meat and the go-ahead for poultry.
Defense contractor Titan Corp. built Sadex’s electron-beam treatment center in a Sioux City, Iowa, cold storage facility, opening its doors in 2000 under the Surebeam banner. Maligned as a “Frankenfood” process and dogged by public misunderstanding, irradiation never capitalized on its promise as a food safety step -- although, according to Clemmons, early adopters such as Schwan’s Home Service and Omaha Steaks continue to use Sadex’s services, as does the retailer Wegmans.
Those applications involve fresh and frozen beef, and Sioux City is in the heart of beef country. The heartland isn’t home to RTE spinach and other convenience produce, of course. Packers in California’s Salinas Valley and in Yuma County, Ariz., also are concerned with pathogen contamination. “There’s been interest,” says Clemmons, “but based on where we’re located, the timeline (for treatment) is not necessarily ideal.”
Satisfying USDA’s log-reduction hurdle rates isn’t an issue with ultraviolet light in the C wavelength, suppliers say. More problematic is finding a processor willing to validate log reduction from a UV-C system.
“Nobody wants to be first with this,” grumps Buddy Ward, business support manager with Prime Equipment Group Inc., Columbus, Ohio. He’s guardedly optimistic about an upcoming trial at a poultry operation that hopes to reduce the amount of chemical additives currently used. But until a system is permanently installed, “we’re still in proof mode.”
Whether UV-C or another intervention is used, proper design and engineering is critical. Unfortunately, some vendors have installed systems without understanding the distinct challenges in every facility, Ward complains, giving the technology a black eye in the process.
“You’re not going to kill all the bugs, but you can control them,” he concludes. That’s particularly valuable with RTE meat and poultry, where “fear of the R (recall) word” puts manufacturer “in a constant state of panic.”
Recalls don’t necessarily destroy a company, but they have doomed more than a few individuals’ careers. Slowing down the line is not an option, but there are a number of new ways to keep inspectors at bay and ready-to-eat foods safe.
Milwaukee-based American Pasteurization Co. was a pioneer in HPP tolling services in 2005. Today’s machines boast considerably more automation and increased capacities.

 



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FDA moves to finalize food safety rules
Source : http://thehill.com/regulation/244664-fda-is-finalizing-new-rules-for-human-and-animal-food-facilities
By Lydia Wheeler (June 11, 2015)
The Food and Drug Administration is getting ready to finalize new rules to protect people and animals from foodborne illnesses.
The agency sent two rules to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for review on Wednesday, that will force manufactures of food for both animals and people to implement preventive controls to minimize the risk of contaminating food when it’s manufactured, processed, packed or held by a facility.
Manufacturers will be required to maintain a food safety plan, perform a hazard analysis and institute preventive controls to mitigate those hazards. Facilities will also be required to monitor their controls, verify they were effective, take any appropriate corrective actions and maintain records documenting those actions.
Food safety plans must include procedures for food recalls.
"Time is critical during a recall," the rulemaking said. "A written recall plan is essential to minimizing the time needed to accomplish a recall; additional time during which the food is on the market can result in additional consumer exposure."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from food-borne illnesses every year.
According to FDA’s regulatory agenda, both rules are due out in August.

China vows "zero tolerance" of food safety crime
Source : http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-06/11/c_134318999.htm
By xinhuanet.com (June 11, 2015)
China is stepping up efforts to guarantee food quality with zero tolerance of food safety crime, according to a national teleconference on food safety on Thursday.
Food safety has a direct bearing on the health and safety of all people, and is a basic requirement of a moderately prosperous society, said Premier Li Keqiang in a written instruction.
He called for full implementation of the revamped Food Safety Law and pledged "zero tolerance" for food safety crime.
A food trace system monitoring the whole process of food production, logistics and sales should be established, Li said.
Zhang Gaoli, a vice premier and head of a ministerial food safety committee under the State Council, also called for strict supervision of food manufacturers and distributors in his instruction to the conference.
The conference was presided over by Wang Yang, another vice premier, who stressed the importance of a sound risk management system in protecting food safety.
Food safety control should be based on the principle of prevention first and timely information disclosure, Wang said.
He urged local governments to assume responsibility for food quality and encouraged the whole of society to supervise and guarantee food safety.
Wang highlighted the fundamental role of law in protecting consumers' safety and interests, calling for publicity for the revised law to enhance legal awareness among food producers.
China's top legislature on April 24 adopted an amendment to the Food Safety Law that gives the heaviest penalties yet to offenders. It will go into effect on Oct. 1.

Judge Wants a Thorough Search for Consumers Sickened by Peter Pan Peanut Butter
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/judge-wants-a-thorough-search-for-consumers-sickened-by-peter-pan-peanut-butter/#.VX4uJdiJiid
By Dan Flynn (June 10, 2015)
If you were eating Peter Pan peanut butter during the winter of 2006-07 and got sick, the federal government is about to come looking for you. And federal Judge W. Louis Sands wants a more robust search for victims of the Salmonella Tennessee outbreak now that Omaha-based ConAgra has agreed to accept responsibility for it.
Under the Crime Victims Right Act, consumers who bought Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter produced by ConAgra at the giant food conglomerate’s plant in Sylvester, GA, are entitled to be notified of certain court proceedings, including the sentencing of guilty parties.
The ConAgra Grocery Products Company has agreed to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for the 2006-07 Salmonella Tennessee outbreak that was traced back to the Sylvester plant.
Salmonella contamination from that facility spread to at least 44 states, infecting at least 700 people and sending 20 percent of them to hospitals.
Under its agreement with the government, ConAgra at sentencing has agreed to pay a fine and forfeiture totaling $11.2 million.
To get to sentencing, government attorneys from the Middle District of Georgia and the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch proposed an alternative procedure for notifying the victims because of the large number that “might assert that they are victims of the offense charged.”
Government attorneys said the ConAgra case is one with “multiple crime victims.”
“The number of potential victims is large,” they said. “At one point, employees with the Centers for Disease Control estimated that perhaps 20,000 individuals may have been sickened by the contaminated peanut butter during the 2006-07 outbreak.”
Rather than ask for a waiver from the notice requirements due to the large number of victims involved, government attorneys would like the court to accept two methods of contacting victims.
The first would be direct notice to known potential victims based on a list of 1,480 such people kept by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The second would be posting on DOJ’s website, which has been accepted by courts around the country in similar circumstances.
“After review of the Government’s motion and proposed order, the Court finds that the Government’s proposed notice is insufficient under the MVRA (Mandatory Victims Restitution Act),” Sands said in denying the government’s notice plan.
Instead, the judge has asked government attorneys to return within 30 days with a new plan that includes use of regional newspapers for getting the notice out to potential victims.
Before the 2006-07 Salmonella Tennessee outbreak, peanut butter was seen as both a safe and staple food. In the next five years, however, three other peanut butter manufacturers would be found responsible for Salmonella outbreaks involving multiple strains.
The Salmonella contamination at ConAgra’s Sylvester, GA, plant resulted from an old peanut roaster that was failing, a storm-damaged sugar silo that was allowing insects and birds to gain access, and a leaky roof that was allowing moisture to get into the production process.

Antibiotic Resistance Increasing for Some Pathogens, CDC Reports
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/antibiotic-resistance-increasing-for-some-pathogens-cdc-reports/
By Carla Gillespie (June 11, 2015)
Some types of Salmonella and other bacteria are increasing their resistance to antibiotics, according to a new report from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) which tracks antibiotic resistance in humans, farm animals and deli meat. Each year, about 440,000 Americans develop antibiotic-resistant infections from foodborne germs.
Created in 1996, NARMS is an interagency collaboration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
It tracks antibiotic resistance in six pathogens: non-typhoidal Salmonella, typhoidal Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, E. coli O157, and Vibrio. The new report, based on information from 5,000 isolates gathered in 2013, compares results to data from 2004-2008 and 2008-2012.
For Salmonella overall, multidrug resistance was 9.8 percent in 2013 compared with 9.2  in 2008 and 11.2 in 2004. But some Salmonella types showed cause for concern. The Salmonella serotype  I4,[5],12:i:- , for example, was drug-resistant in 46 percent of cases in 2013, more than double the 18 percent rate in 2011.
Some types of other bacteria showed strong resistance to one drug. Ciprofloxacin resistance in Campylobacter jejuni has remained over 20 percent in all three periods: 22.3 percent in 2013, 23.4  in 2008 and 21.6 in 2004.
Nalidixic acid resistance in Salmonella Typhi, the bacteria that causes typhoid fever, was 67.4 percent in 2013 compared with 65.5 percent in 2008 and 53 percent in 2004. While Nalidixic acid resistance in Shigella was 5.2 percent in 2013, up from 3.8 percent in 2008 and 2 percent in 2004.

CDC Says Its Investigation Into Listeria Outbreak is Over
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/cdc-listeria-outbreak-investigation-linked-to-blue-bell-products-is-over/#.VX4ut9iJiid
By Cathy Siegner (June 10, 2015)
Blue Bell responds to FDA inspection reports
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) investigation into the Listeria outbreak linked to Blue Bell Creameries products is over, according to an update the agency issued on Wednesday, June 10.
A total of 10 people with listeriosis related to this outbreak were reported from four states, CDC stated. They are: Arizona (1), Kansas (5), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (3). All were hospitalized, and three deaths were reported from Kansas.
Illness onset dates ranged from January 2010 through January 2015, according to CDC. The people with illness onsets during 2010-2014 were identified through a retrospective review of the PulseNet database for DNA fingerprints matching isolates collected from Blue Bell ice cream samples.
On April 20, 2015, Blue Bell recalled all of its products made at all four of its production facilities (two in Brenham, TX, one in Broken Arrow, AR, and one in Sylacauga, AL). The company’s recalled products are ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks.
CDC advises consumers not to eat any recalled Blue Bell products and institutions and retailers not to serve or sell them. Since the products are frozen, consumers, institutions and retailers are advised to check their freezers and, if any recalled product is found, it should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase, even if some of the product has been eaten and no one has become ill.
Infections with Listeria bacteria are particularly dangerous for pregnant women and newborns, adults 65 or older, and those with weakened immune systems.
Meanwhile, Blue Bell has responded to the results of recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspections at its production facilities. FDA posted those recent inspection reports May 7, 2015, along with reports from inspections the agency and contracted state inspectors had done at Blue Bell plants and warehouses from 2007-2012.
FDA has also posted the company’s responses and the sampling results from tests done at Blue Bell facilities.
Company President and CEO Paul Kruse noted that responses had been provided to each problem cited by the inspectors, along with a detailed list of corrective actions which he indicated have already been completed or are in the process of being done at its production facilities.
“We hope our efforts demonstrate the seriousness with which we are taking this situation, as well as our commitment to making sure we get this right,” Kruse said in a statement released Tuesday, June 9. “We are committed to seeing this plan through and to working with the FDA each step of the way. Once Blue Bell, the FDA and the applicable state regulators agree we are ready to reintroduce products into commerce, we plan to resume production with a phased-in selection of flavors and sizes, expanding only after our revised programs have demonstrated they are capable of ensuring product safety.”
Kruse said the company is reassessing everything about its operations and updating environmental and product testing procedures.
Blue Bell recently signed agreements with public health officials in the states of Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas laying out a stringent regime of testing, cleanliness and sanitation steps it would be taking at its plants in those states, along with enhanced employee training and test-and-hold procedures it would be instituting before products would legally be allowed to return to the marketplace.

Why Food Safety Matters
Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-kennell/why-food-safety-matters_b_7544340.html
By Brian Kennell (June 10, 2015)
Forty-eight million people are sickened and 3,000 killed by foodborne pathogens yearly in the U.S.--one in six, per the CDC. The failure to keep food safe has had a devastating impact in the U.S., and to borrow a phrase, one that has a negative triple-bottom-line effect as it lowers consumer confidence in food manufacturing, diminishes profits and affects the food industry's reputation.
No wonder the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed. For the first time, the U.S. FDA is authorized to help prevent rather than simply respond to outbreaks of foodborne illness. This enhanced inspection role and long-sought authority to order mandatory recalls was labeled "a sea change" by The New York Times.
This year, the FDA is continuing its emphasis on food safety by holding a series of public meetings and issuing proposed rules, seeking industry and public feedback along the way. In early May, the agency released draft guidance for the industry on mandatory food recalls, so now is the time for food and beverage companies to share their thoughts about proposed regulations. Soon, these documents will be finalized.
Food Industry Standards Voluntarily Higher
 Interestingly, many of the 2011 FSMA regulatory changes lag behind the food industry's self-imposed standards, where leading companies have embraced proactive approaches to protecting consumers. Employing state-of-the-art food protection standards is not only conscientious--given the instantaneous and lingering damage product recalls can inflict on a brand's reputation--it's a smart posture to protect bottom lines.
Out of 93 FDA-documented 2014 U.S. food recalls, 63 were categorized the most serious "Class I" variety. Some 18.7 million pounds of products were involved, at a cost impossible to tally for producers and retailers, who rarely recover losses. But the price of wasted product isn't the biggest concern for food companies: It's the reputational hit that impacts their brands and the potential loss of shelf space and market share common with product recalls.
For example, the damage after a 2009 salmonella outbreak in peanut butter cost U.S. producers an estimated $1 billion, according to "Capturing Recall Costs," a report from the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Though the recalled products came from a single Georgia processing plant, a lingering 25 percent nationwide sales drop in peanut butter resulted as spooked shoppers skipped PB&Js and reached for alternatives, noted The New York Times.
Transparency A New Force
 In addition to internal concerns about recall costs and reputation, external drivers of enhanced food protection and transparency continue to broaden--spurred by today's consumer trends. Eating local, urban farming, clean labels, ethical sourcing, natural ingredients and concerns about quality, additives and preservatives motivate consumers to seek supply chain transparency.
Given these new demands, at Tetra Pak, we know that traceability is a critical objective for many brands. As an early innovator in this area, we know that reliable and readily available information adds speed and precision to manufacturers' efforts to limit or keep tainted food from reaching consumers--through pinpoint accuracy to identify and locate products. Our integrated Tetra PlantMaster technology allows customers to collect and share traceability data and information easily and readily not only with government regulators but consumers.
For example, Brazilian dairy Aurora invites consumers to track milk from farm-to-shelf through an on-package code and a Tetra PlantMaster-enabled website interface. This level of transparency answers questions about food origins and is a powerful driver for many consumers, charmed by provenance stories or committed to buying local.
Strengthening The Triple Bottom Line
 In line with our mission at Tetra Pak to "make food safe and available everywhere," we have always taken a proactive role in industry product safety discussions. Our work on traceability is just one example of our approach to this critical mission. By honing our efforts to enable food safety, we are protecting and saving food from external dangers, which helps reduce contamination risks and protects the food supply for consumers.
Others companies are doing the same; GE is touting its new industry solutions addressing food safety, while IBM has partnered with Mars in the "Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain"--a project to harvest and sequence the DNA and RNA of simple food samples to determine where anomaly and mutations occur when paired with common organisms or genes, toxins and heavy metals. The resulting index produced will be a gold standard for food and health officials globally to understand what triggers contamination and the spread of disease and may ultimately limit related food waste.
Efforts by businesses are key to changing the face of food safety. It is exciting to see the industry actively developing tools to prevent future issues, as well as isolate and eliminate future failures. And all this defines a new triple bottom line in food safety: higher consumer confidence, improved profits and a stronger industry reputation. Now that is simply good business.

CDC Says Its Investigation Into Listeria Outbreak is Over
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/cdc-listeria-outbreak-investigation-linked-to-blue-bell-products-is-over/#.VX4vxtiJiid
By Cathy Siegner (June 10, 2015)
Blue Bell responds to FDA inspection reports
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) investigation into the Listeria outbreak linked to Blue Bell Creameries products is over, according to an update the agency issued on Wednesday, June 10.
Listeria and Blue Bell Ice CreamA total of 10 people with listeriosis related to this outbreak were reported from four states, CDC stated. They are: Arizona (1), Kansas (5), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (3). All were hospitalized, and three deaths were reported from Kansas.
Illness onset dates ranged from January 2010 through January 2015, according to CDC. The people with illness onsets during 2010-2014 were identified through a retrospective review of the PulseNet database for DNA fingerprints matching isolates collected from Blue Bell ice cream samples.
On April 20, 2015, Blue Bell recalled all of its products made at all four of its production facilities (two in Brenham, TX, one in Broken Arrow, AR, and one in Sylacauga, AL). The company’s recalled products are ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks.
CDC advises consumers not to eat any recalled Blue Bell products and institutions and retailers not to serve or sell them. Since the products are frozen, consumers, institutions and retailers are advised to check their freezers and, if any recalled product is found, it should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase, even if some of the product has been eaten and no one has become ill.
CDC epi curve listeria blue bell
People infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes by month of illness onset ( n=10 for whom information was reported as of June 9, 2015).
Infections with Listeria bacteria are particularly dangerous for pregnant women and newborns, adults 65 or older, and those with weakened immune systems.
Meanwhile, Blue Bell has responded to the results of recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspections at its production facilities. FDA posted those recent inspection reports May 7, 2015, along with reports from inspections the agency and contracted state inspectors had done at Blue Bell plants and warehouses from 2007-2012.
FDA has also posted the company’s responses and the sampling results from tests done at Blue Bell facilities.
Company President and CEO Paul Kruse noted that responses had been provided to each problem cited by the inspectors, along with a detailed list of corrective actions which he indicated have already been completed or are in the process of being done at its production facilities.
“We hope our efforts demonstrate the seriousness with which we are taking this situation, as well as our commitment to making sure we get this right,” Kruse said in a statement released Tuesday, June 9. “We are committed to seeing this plan through and to working with the FDA each step of the way. Once Blue Bell, the FDA and the applicable state regulators agree we are ready to reintroduce products into commerce, we plan to resume production with a phased-in selection of flavors and sizes, expanding only after our revised programs have demonstrated they are capable of ensuring product safety.”
Kruse said the company is reassessing everything about its operations and updating environmental and product testing procedures.
Blue Bell recently signed agreements with public health officials in the states of Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas laying out a stringent regime of testing, cleanliness and sanitation steps it would be taking at its plants in those states, along with enhanced employee training and test-and-hold procedures it would be instituting before products would legally be allowed to return to the marketplace.

CDC: Antibiotic Resistance Increasing in Certain Salmonella Serotypes
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/cdc-antibiotic-resistance-increasing-in-certain-salmonella-serotypes/#.VX4vhNiJiid
By News Desk (June 9, 2015)
Antibiotic resistance in some types of Salmonella infections is increasing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published data Tuesday on the resistance in foodborne pathogens from human isolates.
The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) tracks changes in the antibiotic resistance of six types of common foodborne germs found in ill people, retail meats, and food animals. In 2013, NARMS tested more than 5,000 germs from sick people for antibiotic resistance and compared them with previous years’ data to assess changes in resistance patterns.
Multi-drug resistance (resistance to 3 or more classes of antibiotics) in Salmonella overall stayed steady, remaining at 10 percent of infections.
But resistance varies by serotype.
Salmonella Enteritidis — the most common Salmonella serotype — accounted for 36 percent of infections resistant to nalidixic acid (resistance to nalidixic acid relates to decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin, a widely used fluoroquinolone drug).
Salmonella serotypes Dublin, Heidelberg, Newport, and Typhimurium accounted for more than two-thirds of infections resistant to ceftriaxone.
Most concerning was that 46 percent of the common Salmonella serotype called I 4,[5],12:i:- were multi-drug resistant in 2013. That’s more than double the 18-percent resistance rate in 2011. Human illness with this serotype has been linked to animal exposure and consumption of pork or beef, including meats purchased from live animal markets.
The 2013 data also showed that there has been little change in Campylobacter resistance to fluoroquinolones. For example, Ciprofloxacin resistance in Campylobacter jejuni, the most common species isolated from humans, remains high at 22 percent, and macrolide resistance in Campylobacter coli doubled from 9 percent to 18 percent.
Most Salmonella and Campylobacter infections cause diarrheal illness that resolves within a week without antibiotics. These germs can also cause infection of the bloodstream and other sites. In more serious infections and when germs are resistant, antibiotics may be ineffective, increasing the chance of a severe illness.
Each year, antibiotic-resistant infections from foodborne pathogens cause an estimated 440,000 illnesses in the U.S.

Sickness at potluck highlights food safety
Source : http://bpnews.net/44901/sickness-at-potluck-highlights-food-safety
By Scott Barkley (June 09, 2015)
The potluck dinner is often seen as a treasured part of church life. It's a welcomed stereotype because of the fellowship and good times that come with overeating highly caloric casseroles, side dishes, and various meats cooked in various ways. And that's before the desserts, often enough of them to fill a row of folding tables stretching half a basketball court.
With those things, though, comes a real danger. A 54-year-old woman died, and others were hospitalized, from a possible case of botulism, reportedly linked to an Ohio church potluck in April.
"Poor hygiene," says Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) director of food services Minerva Small when asked what is often the biggest threat to getting sick after a potluck. "People simply don't wash their hands enough."
A big responsibility
Small, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Tucker, says "In preparing the food, your life is literally in my hands."
Every church group, mission team, seminar attendee, and administration and executive committee member who's had a meal at the Missions and Ministry Center in Duluth since she arrived at the GBC nine years ago falls into that category. That also goes for her small group at Fairfield Baptist Church in Lithonia, where she's a member, and those with the Tucker High School football team, for whom Small prepares the annual preseason cookout, kickoff dinner, pancake breakfast, and pregame meals when the Tigers play on Saturdays. Altogether, she estimates overseeing food preparation for around 10,000 people in 2014.
Her eyes go wide on realizing the number after doing the math. It also explains the intensity she brings to food prep safety, something she says is often overlooked at many church gatherings.
Small not only washes her hands constantly, but also the food cans themselves. "You don't know where those have been or how long they sat on a dock somewhere," she notes. "Rodents and insects carrying bacteria could've gone across them."
Small remembers learning from her grandmother in her native Jamaica. "She taught us good habits (like washing up) are hard to break, but bad habits are harder. So when you're making habits, make good ones so you won't have to break them. If I didn't practice that at home, I wouldn't bring it [to work]."
To make her point, every worker under Small has to sign a server's agreement outlining cleanliness on the job.
Keeping fellowship fun, safe ... and tasty
In Ohio, public health officials have pointed to botulism as the likely cause of sickness that killed one woman and made 21 others sick. Specifically, its origins seem to have come from potato salad made from potatoes canned at home. On average, about 110 cases of botulism are reported in the U.S. annually, with a quarter of them being foodborne.
Food grown in your own garden, even organically, can bring a false sense of security, Small says. "Washing is still important because you don't know if an animal has come along and gone to the bathroom nearby."
A lot of people can their own vegetables at home, and although the overwhelming majority does so safely, those who use unsterilized instruments and practice poor hygiene, pose a danger to the unsuspecting potluck attendee. Many cases of mild food poisoning go unnoticed, she says, with those affected simply staying out of work a day or so or going to the doctor rather than reporting it.
The first suspect in a potluck dinner gone bad tends to be the potato salad, deviled eggs, or slaw left in the sun too long. While those are common causes, Small says, often the problem has come before in the preparation process. Still, such foods are the ones attendees need to pay close attention to in addition to meats not cooked thoroughly.
Such caution isn't to take the fun out of a staple of church life, but on the contrary to ensure it.
"Today there is so much to be aware of in preparing food," Small says. "There are gluten sensitivities and food allergies. You have to be aware of conditions such as celiac disease and how cross contamination occurs when serving utensils are passed from one dish to another. I don't take these lightly."

Russia halts transit of US poultry - food safety watchdog
Source : http://rt.com/business/266014-russia-us-chicken-ban/
By rt.com (June 09, 2015)
Russia is stopping the movement of US poultry through the country from June 10, in an effort to halt re-importation. There have been 157 cases of bird flu in 17 states, which has resulted in the slaughtering of 33.3 million chickens.
The transit ban comes after Russian stopped importing US poultry on December 5. Russia's food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor found “harmful residues and illegal substances,” including antibiotics, in the products. December’s ruling didn’t forbid the transportation of poultry to Eurasian Economic Union countries.
"This decision was made due to the fact that the US is at the centre of a bird flu infection and we have seen facts of American transit products returning to our market,” the head of Rosselkhoznadzor Sergey Dankvert told Interfax.
Rosselkhoznadzor spotted US poultry, coming from Kazakhstan, in Siberian regions. A ban on transit is being introduced until the issue is settled with neighboring countries, said Dankvert.
Russia may also prohibit the transit of fish and fish products from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Dankvert added.
The Russian transit ban was imposed after the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) discovered the highly contagious 5N1, 5N2 and 5N8 strains of bird flu in the US.
A H5N1 strain can be contracted by humans and can increase its spread.

Legionnaires’ Outbreak at Altamonte Springs Springhill Suites by Marriott
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/legionnaires-outbreak-at-altamonte-springs-springhill-suites-by-marriott/
By Carla Gillespie (June 9, 2015)
A Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak at the Springhill Suites by Marriott in Altamonte Springs, Florida has sickened at least three people and potentially exposed thousands of others. The Seminole County Health Department is contacting every guest who has stayed at the hotel since since September 2014 to alert them to the dangers of the disease which can be fatal for those with weakened immune systems.
Legionnaires’ Disease causes pneumonia-like symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue, confusion, aches and lung inflammation. Symptoms usually appear two to 14 hours after exposure.
Anyone who stayed at the hotel and has these symptoms should see a doctor right away and mention exposure to Legionella bacteria. The three guests who became ill are being treated.
People contract Legionnaires’ Disease by inhaling contaminated water mist from showers, faucets, whirlpools, swimming pools, fountains or cooling towers in air conditioning systems. It cannot be transmitted from person to person. Possible sources of this outbreak are still under investigation.
All water systems at the hotel have since been sanitized with a shock treatment and the health department has cleared it to remain open.
Between 8,000 to 18,000 Americans are hospitalized each year with Legionnaires’ Disease.  The condition is so-named because it was first discovered when an outbreak of pneumonia struck an American Legion convention in 1976.

How to Create Food Safety Culture With Your Teams
Source : http://www.foodprocessing.com/articles/2015/create-food-safety-culture-with-your-teams/
By Kevin T. Higgins, Managing Editor (June 09, 2015)
Technology can help, but best practices in food safety inevitably revolve around the people in the organization.
Electronic records, systems-based prevention programs, staff training, environmental swab tests — there are many ways to upgrade a company’s approach to food safety. Collectively, they constitute industry best practices.
Final rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) are expected later this year, and while farmgate rules still are being sorted out, the shift to a preventive approach is consistent with international trends that have been building momentum for years. Food safety experts point to the independent third-party audits and certifications under the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) as the embodiment of best practices. One of those standards, BRC, cites “a commitment to share best practice to improve food safety” as being “the heart of the program.”
Safety audits are nothing new, but unlike AIB, Cook and Thurber and other prescriptive approaches of the past, the new breed of certified standards has ushered in “a much more formal approach to your programs, and you're audited against your own particular program,” explains Kris Middleton, a former auditor who currently serves as the manager of the AuditReady consulting program at Steritech, Charlotte, N.C. As a result, “There’s much more buy-in and understanding your system, documenting it and reviewing the results.”
Mad cow disease outbreaks in the British Isles beginning in 1986 brought the need for higher operational standards to the fore. “Mad cow really drove the creation of FSMA and raised standards here” in the U.S., suggests Trish Meek, a biochemist and director of product strategy at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Philadelphia. “Today, there’s a much different expectation of how quickly a problem needs to be identified and action taken.”
Documentation remains the biggest challenge area in safety certification. Almost 20 percent of the 17,113 sites audited last year by BRC had nonconformities in documentation of cleaning procedures, easily the biggest area of deficiency. But it is a fundamental part of the process in elevating food safety from a basic checklist to a systems-based approach.
Doug Renfro, president of Renfro Foods Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas, credits a detail-oriented QA director for easing the documentation pain when his company sought certification under Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2, one of the GFSI-sanctioned standards. “We didn’t realize how much work it would involve, and it took a while to get up to speed,” Renfro recalls. Nonetheless, the three-year process helped elevate professionalism and improve the competitive position of the 75-year-old family firm.
Salsa and sauces are Renfro mainstays, with copacking accounting for 45 percent of its production of acidified, hot-filled products. One customer began nudging Renfro down the GFSI certification trail five years ago. Facility upgrades were the first priority, beginning with a drop down ceiling and much improved lighting in the 50,000-sq.-ft. building’s processing area. Rest room reconstruction, installation of stainless steel sinks and other upgrades brought capital costs to almost $400,000, Renfro estimates. Physical changes were merely preludes to more meaningful ones.
Creating a clean culture
After 70 years as a top-down organization, Renfro’s staff of 40 was skeptical when management signaled its intent to change the company culture. “We were moving from putting stuff in a jar and praying to [being] an organization that could meet the needs of more sophisticated copack clients,” Renfro half jokes. “It took about a year to get buy-in to a safety committee that’s really going to meet regularly.” Instead of delegating responsibility to a single person, it became a cross-functional mission, with maintenance, production and office staffers collaborating with QA.
Certification is paying off in competitive bidding situations. “Now that we have that in our quiver, it resonates with customers,” he maintains. “Competition ranges from people who are basically commercial kitchens all the way to giant food companies.” As more customers make stringent certification programs a prerequisite to order placement, the number of competitors who can bid a project is shrinking.
Higher morale and greater confidence were unexpected benefits. “A state health department inspector came in recently,” relates Renfro. “We weren’t nervous because we wouldn’t have done anything differently if no one was there.” Staff members now volunteer suggestions for process improvements and other upgrades. “Electronic records within five years is the logical next step,” he adds.
Records of various types — process time and temperature, product specifications, raw material data, training documentation, etc. — define today’s food production environment. The sheer volume is a compelling argument for paperless documentation, although the initial capital cost discourages many small and mid-sized manufacturers from making the transition.
Capital availability is a nonfactor in a more important industry transition: the integration of food safety protocols and procedures with all manufacturing activities. Instead of treating safety as a discrete activity, processors are embracing a more holistic approach.
Both FSMA and the GFSI standards require root-cause analysis and possible corrective actions when a safety deficiency surfaces, points out Robert Rogers, senior advisor for food safety and regulation in the product inspection group of Mettler Toledo in Tampa, Fla. By involving personnel with diverse responsibilities, that analysis is more likely to produce changes that improve processes, reduce waste and result in greater confidence in the programs in place, he suggests.
Collaboration won’t happen unless senior management insists on it. Management commitment is fundamental to the GFSI and FSMA approaches. “Building a diverse group from maintenance, production and other areas provides a diversity of knowledge and a fresh set of outside eyes” when assessing program effectiveness, notes Rogers.
Above and beyond
More stringent inspections and certifications help raise industry-wide performance, but by definition, a standard establishes minimum expectations. Poultry processors are required to be certified under one of the GFSI standards in order to supply Walmart, for example, yet that didn’t prevent the retailer from unveiling in December “enhanced poultry safety measures” that those suppliers must meet by June 2016.
Fresh, uncooked products are the most vulnerable foods, and relatively high worker turnover in the meat and poultry sectors poses a particular challenge in executing safety procedures. Firms such as Tyson and JBS augment in-house education with external training specialists such as Alchemy Systems LP, an Austin, Texas, firm.
Multiple languages and as many as 20 dialects may be spoken by line workers in meat and poultry plants, observes Laura Nelson, Alchemy vice president, and “training needs to be at about a fifth or sixth grade level, and it needs to be visual.” But classroom training alone will not result in an effective safety program. Validation of behavior on the line is what she terms “closed-loop training” and constitutes a best practice.
Besides quizzing trainees to ensure they understand the preventive steps discussed in the class, trainers work closely with front-line supervisors so they can reinforce and validate proper behavior. For example, proper handwashing can be distilled into five steps; after observing workers, the supervisor is encouraged to provide positive feedback, such as, “Great, you scored 80 percent,” rather than berate them for a single misstep, Nelson advises.
“The group-based dynamic is very important to learning, and that reinforcement on the plant floor is a very important part of validation,” she says. “To engage an adult learner, you have to engage the auditory learners, the visual learners and the kinesthetic learners.”
Brand owners’ risk mitigation programs have made environmental testing a virtual standard operating procedure, with the number of swabs escalating along with the value of the brand. Those food companies, as well as retailers and foodservice operators, are pushing bacterial testing throughout the supply chain. While such tests may be regarded as a best practice, they definitely complicate life for suppliers who face more material handling costs and storage issues. Fortunately, the time needed to generate a test result is compressing, making this practice more practical.
Agar plates in which samples are incubated are “the gold standard,” according to Kevin Habas, director-global scientific marketing & education at 3M Food Safety, St. Paul, Minn. Reliability is high, but those tests require skilled technicians, scrupulous set-up and four or more days to produce results. Faster results and easier set-up is achievable with Petri-film plates, the technology 3M has focused on since 1991.
Improvements in recent years have cut result times in half, says Habas, including a 24-hour turnaround in aerobic plate counts. That test, along with a 48-hour test for yeast and mold detection, has been validated by AOAC International to meet or exceed the sensitivity and reliability of agar plates.
“You don’t want to pay microbiologists to prepare media instead of conducting more value-added work,” he says. Habas calculates the simplified protocol can free up 20 hours per week for those high-skill workers, while also freeing space in a plant’s product-hold area.
Environmental results often are appended to certificates of analysis (CoA), an assurance tool that is growing in application partly as a result of the explosion in global trade. Use of GFSI standards in Asia have not gained the traction they enjoy in Europe and North America, and the performance of food suppliers who have undergone the process is less than stellar.
With average scores of 92.8 percent, UK firms achieved the highest rate of A grades in BRC’s analysis, with the U.S. second. “China, however, performed worst in terms of A-grade ratings, where only 29.7 percent of sites were graded A,” the report states. Chemical control processes were faulted in almost a quarter of all Chinese audits.
“Globally, people are more concerned with the traceability of their food,” observes Thermo Fisher’s Meek. Much of the necessary information resides in a laboratory information management system (LIMS), but accessing it can be a challenge. Her firm attempts to address it with Informatics, an enhanced LIMS that maintains documentation such as CoA and issues alerts when discrepancies surface.
The sheer volume of CoAs, environmental tests and other documentation is making electronic records a necessity, if not a requirement, and Meek characterizes her program as “the ERP of the laboratory itself.” Relieving lab technicians of the tedium of data entry with a paperless record allows them to focus on the metrics of continuous improvement.
The complexity of the supply chain, the diversity of the organizations involved and the sensitivity of the products themselves make system breakdowns inevitable. Minimizing the number and severity of those breeches is the goal, and food safety best practices are helping to achieve it.

Food Safety Regulator Orders Testing of GSK, ITC Fast Food Brands
Source : http://profit.ndtv.com/news/corporates/article-food-safety-regulator-orders-testing-of-gsk-itc-fast-food-brands-769728
By Press Trust of India (June 08, 2015)
Central food safety regulator FSSAI or Food Safety and Standards Authority of India today ordered testing of various noodles, pasta and macaroni brands, including Top Ramen, Foodles and Wai Wai, manufactured by seven companies to check compliance of norms in the wake of Maggi controversy.
 FSSAI has also asked for testing of four variants of "Maggi Nutilicious Pazzta with tastemakers".
 "Various test results on Maggi and some other similar products have raised serious health concerns. In view of the same, it would be advisable to draw regulatory samples for similar products for which product approvals have been granted by the FSSAI...These samples should be sent to the authorised labs for testing," FSSAI CEO YS Malik said in letter to Commissioners of Food Safety in all states and union territories.
 As per FSSAI order, the companies whose products have been listed for testing are Nestle India, ITC, Indo Nissin Food Ltd, GSK Consumer Helathcare, CG Foods India, Ruchi International and AA Nutrition Ltd.
 The regulator has ordered the testing of products registered with it.
 The products include Wai Wai noodles and bhujiya chicken snacks by CG Foods; Koka instant noodles from Ruchi International, Foodles by GSK Consumer Helathcare and Nestle's Maggi instant noodles with nine variants.
 Others in the list are Indo Nissin's Top Ramen Aata Masala, ITC's three variants of instant noodles and Yummy chicken and vegetarian noodles of AA Nutrition.
 When contacted CG Foods CEO GP Sah said: "Our brands meets all regulatory standards as listed by Food Safety and Standard Authority of India. We are not closed to any tests and will cooperate with authorities if required."
 Comments from other companies could not be obtained immediately.
 The development comes after the Indian unit of the Swiss multinational recalled Maggi from the markets after several states banned the famous '2-minute' instant food brand as tests showed them containing taste enhancer MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate) and lead in excess of the permissible limits.
 Meanwhile, FSSAI on Friday banned all variants of Maggi noodles terming them as "unsafe and hazardous" for human consumption.

South Carolina Learning Vine Daycare Linked to E. coli Outbreak
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/south-carolina-learning-vine-daycare-linked-to-e-coli-outbreak/#.VX4z6NiJiid
By Bill Marler (June 7, 2015)
e-coli-o157The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has provided the following update to a STEC investigation in Greenwood County:
•As of today, DHEC has confirmed eight (8) cases of Shiga toxin – producing E. coli (STEC) associated with The Learning Vine daycare in Greenwood County – including 1 death.
As part of this ongoing investigation, DHEC today:
•Continued to collect and test samples for laboratory analysis
•Provided information to individuals affected by the investigation
•Continued to operate a hotline to provide assistance to those affected
•Worked with the S.C. Department of Social Services to provide information to daycare facilities in Greenwood, Laurens, and Abbeville Counties
•Notified individuals of their test results
At this time, no other facility is included as part of this ongoing investigation.
How does DHEC confirm the diagnosis of STEC and the specific strain?
Confirmatory testing for STEC in individuals who have had diarrhea requires stepwise laboratory processes to isolate the organism from stool. If bacteria are isolated, the laboratory must grow the specimen to get a sample to conduct additional laboratory procedures to identify if specific STEC strains are present.
Completion of the entire process may take up to a week for specific strain identification. To date, four (4) of the samples have undergone complete strain identification and these have a matching pattern.
When will the daycare be able to reopen?
The following criteria must be met prior to students and staff returning to the facility:
•All students and staff must be tested for Shiga toxin – producing E. coli (STEC) and have at least one negative stool sample before returning to the facility.  Some individuals may be required to have two negative stool samples before returning to the facility based on their history of illness or contact with cases.
•The facility must continue to follow all recommendations issued by DHEC.
Sounds far too familiar.
In August of 2000, the Kindercare facility located on Lexington Drive in Folsom, California, was traced as the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Health department officials who investigated the outbreak determined that the probable “index case” – a child who unknowingly brought the bacteria into the facility – experienced “explosive diarrhea at the daycare on the afternoon of 8-3-00.” Shortly thereafter, four other children became infected with E. coli O157:H7 on successive days, the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th of August, 2000. All of the children were in the same day care group. In addition to the illnesses of the children, the mother of one child, and another child’s sibling became ill and tested positive for E. coli. Another toddler also became ill.
According to the Facility Evaluation Report by the Department of Social Services dated November 7, 2000, “[t]he cause of the [E. coli O157:H7] outbreak [at the Lexington Drive Kindercare] was due to a sponge being used simultaneously for wiping down a changing table and wiping down a table used for serving meals.”
In June of 2002, the Disease Control Section of the Tarrant County Public Health Department (TCPHD) in Fort Worth, Texas, was notified that a 2-year old child had been hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, a complication of E. coli O157:H7 infection. In the following days, TCPHD received several additional reports of E. coli O157:H7 illness, including five culture-positive cases. During its investigation into the outbreak, TCPHD learned that all of the victims were associated with the CCC Alternative Learning Program Daycare in Fort Worth, Texas; 12 children who attended the daycare, one daycare staff member, and one parent of a daycare attendee had all fallen ill with E. coli infections.  TCPDH’s inspection of the daycare revealed “several breaches in food preparation and procedures at the daycare facility.”  In its investigation report, TCPDH noted:
•The daycare had not obtained a city permit to prepare and serve food, but was providing food for the children attending the daycare.
•Appropriate sources of drinking water were not available in the building housing the smaller children; water jugs were filled using the bathroom sink.
•A swimming pool at the facility was in use with murky water prior to chlorination and the daycare had not obtained a city permit.
Perhaps the most important finding during TCPHD’s investigation was that staff, parents and children reported frequently eating portable lunches on the daycare grounds by a pond.  The pond collected run-off from a pasture that held grazing cattle.  TCPDH reported that several samples of pond water confirmed a heavy concentration of E. coli O157:H7.
On May 10, 2004, the Jasper County Health Department (JCHD) received a report from St. Johns Regional Medical Center that two 2-year-old children had been hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.  The children, one boy and one girl, were residents of Carthage Missouri.  Five of the girl’s family members soon developed symptoms of E. coli infection, and one later tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. JCHD began investigating the apparent E. coli outbreak, and learned that the hospitalized girl and one of her siblings attended daycare at Kid’s Korner daycare in Joplin, Missouri. JCHD investigators visited the daycare facility on May 11.  They did not note any major hand washing or diapering violations, and discussed the importance of excluding children with diarrheal illness from the daycare with daycare operators and employees.
On May 24, JCHD was notified that a 4-year-old girl who attended daycare at Kid’s Korner had become ill with symptoms of E. coli infection on May 14 and was being transferred from a Joplin hospital to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City with HUS.  JCHD inspectors returned to Kid’s Korner on May 25, and instructed the daycare to distribute a letter explaining the incidence of E. coli at the daycare and the signs and symptoms of illness to parents.  During this inspection, JCHD investigators noted deficiencies conducive to the spread of disease and instructed Kid’s Korner employees on methods of hygiene and sanitation effective to prevent the further spread of E. coli.
By May 26, JCHD had received two additional reports of illness in children who attended Kid’s Korner.  One of the children had had bloody diarrhea on May 11; the child’s sibling fell ill on May 26 and was later hospitalized with HUS.  Despite their earlier assurances that no children at the daycare had been symptomatic during the month of May, Kid’s Korner then produced a list of nine children who had exhibited symptoms of E. coli infection to JCHD investigators.
On May 27, JCHD inspectors returned to the daycare center and noted handwashing lapses.  They also learned that Kid’s Korner had failed to distribute the May 25 letter regarding possible E. coli exposure and symptoms to 32 percent of the families with children in attendance at Kid’s Korner.

CDC: Raw Milk Caused 85 Percent of Dairy Outbreaks in 2013
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/cdc-raw-milk-caused-85-percent-of-dairy-outbreaks-in-2013/
By Carla Gillespie (June 7, 2015)
Raw milk products were the source of 85 percent of all food poisoning outbreaks linked to dairy products in 2013, according to report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  A total of 20 dairy outbreaks were reported that year for which pasteurization information was available. Of those, 17 were linked to unpasteurized products. The other three were Listeria outbreaks linked to pasteurized soft cheeses.
Campylobacter was the most common bacterial source of the raw milk outbreaks causing nine outbreaks, 114 illnesses and five hospitalizations. In the last nine months, there have been at least three Campylobacter raw milk outbreaks.
The most recent outbreak has been linked to raw goat milk from Claravale Farms. Three children, all under the age of 5, have been sickened. One of them has been hospitalized. Claravale milk and cream were recalled in March 2015 for Campylobacter after illnesses in the area were reported and also in March 2013.
Contact a Campylobacter LawyerIn late May, several children in Montgomery and Odon, Indiana were sickened by Campylobacter in raw milk. Those children were under the age of 2.
In September, a Campylobacter outbreak in Durand, Wisc. sickened 38 people, hospitalizing 10 of them. The raw milk was served to unwitting attendees at a potluck dinner for the football team. So many of the players were sick for so long that two games had to be canceled.

CDC: Arizona Finds Two Types of Salmonella in Imported Tuna
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/cdc-update-arizona-tests-find-two-types-of-salmonella-in-imported-ground-tuna/#.VX4yV9iJiid
By Cathy Siegner (June 5, 2015)
California firm recalls ground frozen yellowfin tuna
In an investigation update posted Friday, June 5, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that unopened frozen ground tuna products tested by the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory, working with the Maricopa County (Phoenix) Environmental Services Department, had found Salmonella Newport in one sample and Salmonella Weltevreden in another sample.
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-maki-sushi-variation-2-image3590995The unopened frozen ground tuna products represented two different lots of product imported from Indonesia by Osamu Corporation of Gardena, CA, CDC stated. On May 27, Osamu Corporation recalled the two lots of ground frozen yellowfin tuna imported from Indonesia and distributed in California and Arizona due to possible Salmonella contamination.
The company’s recall announcement includes a seven-page retail distribution list of restaurants and sushi bars in California where the recalled product had been distributed. CDC is advising restaurants and retailers not to sell or serve the recalled ground frozen yellowfin tuna imported from Indonesia by Osamu Corporation.
However, CDC stated that a search of the PulseNet database did not identify any known human illnesses linked to the tuna recall. State health departments continue to test samples of raw tuna products, but the strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) (formally known as Salmonella Java) linked to the outbreak has not been identified.
Friday’s CDC update stated that as, as of June 4, a total of 53 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) have been reported from nine states. Ten of those people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
The reported cases are in Arizona (10), California (31), Illinois (1), Mississippi (1), New Mexico (6), South Dakota (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (1). Most of those sickened in the outbreak reported eating sushi made with raw tuna in the week before becoming ill, CDC noted.
CDC case count map sushi Salmonella outbreak
Persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+), by state of residence, as of May 21, 2015 (n=53).
The illness caused by this bacteria typically includes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after an exposure, CDC stated, adding that Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) does not cause paratyphoid fever, enteric fever, or typhoid fever.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports it has increased its monitoring of tuna, according to the CDC update. Additionally, FDA is conducting a traceback investigation and is evaluating and analyzing records to determine whether there is a common source of raw tuna linked to the outbreak.
CDC, along with and state and local public health partners, is continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill people and to interview them about foods they ate before they became ill.
CDC also stated that people at higher risk for serious foodborne illness, such as children younger than 5, adults older than 65, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, should not eat any raw fish or raw shellfish, regardless of an ongoing outbreak.

Internet Journal of Food Safety (Operated by FoodHACCP)
[2015] Current Issues

Vol 17.25-31
Combined Effect Of Disinfectant And Phage On The Survivality Of S. Typhimurium And Its Biofilm Phenotype
Mudit Chandra, Sunita Thakur, Satish S Chougule, Deepti Narang, Gurpreet Kaur and N S Sharma

Vol 17.21-24
Quality analysis of milk and milk products collected from Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Shalini Singh, Vinay Chandel, Pranav Soni

Vol 17.10-20
Functional and Nutraceutical Bread prepared by using Aqueous Garlic Extract
H.A.R. Suleria, N. Khalid, S. Sultan, A. Raza, A. Muhammad and M. Abbas


Vol 17.6-9
Microbiological Assessment of Street Foods of Gangtok And Nainital, Popular Hill Resorts of India
Niki Kharel, Uma Palni and Jyoti Prakash Tamang


Vol 17.1-5
Assessment of the Microbial Quality of Locally Produced Meat (Beef and Pork) in Bolgatanga Municipal of Ghana
Innocent Allan Anachinaba, Frederick Adzitey and Gabriel Ayum Teye


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