Comprehensive News List
General Food Safety News/ Outbreak News/ Recall News/ New Methods News/
USDA/FDA News
/ On-Line Slides/ Job Information/Internet Journal of Food Safety


Food Safety Job Openings

06/26. Dir of Quality & Food Safety – Rockford, IL
06/26. Food Safety Program Manager - Jacksonville, FL
06/26. Site Quality & Food Safety Tech - Reno, NV
06/24. Director - Technical Services - New Hope, MN
06/24. Quality Assurance Manager - San Antonio, TX
06/24. Food Safety Specialist - Marshfield, WI
06/24. Quality Assurance Manager - Kent, WA
06/22. Food Safety Specialist – Macon, GA
06/22. Food Safety Manager- Baltimore, MD
06/22. Supply Quality Manager - Denver, CO


FoodHACCP Newsletter
06/29 2015 ISSUE:658

Tarheel Q Salmonella Outbreak Nears 200
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/tarheel-q-salmonella-outbreak-nears-200/#.VZN3wdiJiHt
By Bill Marler (June 28, 2015)
The North Carolina Division of Public Health reports that at least 197 people have been sickened from 14 North Carolina counties and 6 states in an outbreak of Salmonella that officials link to the Lexington Tarheel Q barbecue restaurant. Of these 197 cases, 54% are male, 43% are between the ages of 20 and 49, 20% have visited their medical provider, 11% have visited the emergency room and 7% have been hospitalized. Eighty-two percent of cases had illness onset dates between Tuesday, June 16, 2015, and Sunday, June 21, 2015.
All 197 people ate at Tarheel Q on West US Highway 64 in Lexington, in the days before falling ill, officials said. Eighty-nine percent of the people affected are from Davidson and Davie County.
Laboratory testing indicates that the BBQ sample and a sample from a patient who became ill during the beginning of the outbreak are both positive for Salmonella species. The serogroup was found to be Typhimurium. Both samples have the same PFGE pattern (i.e. DNA fingerprint). Over 20 additional clinical specimens are pending results at the state lab.

May and June have been Salmonella Months in Wisconsin, Idaho and North Carolina
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/may-june-have-been-salmonella-months-in-wisconsin-idaho-and-north-carolina/#.VZN45NiJiHt
By Patti Waller (June 28, 2015)
In the last two months nearly 600 people have suffered Salmonella infections linked to restaurants in Wisconsin, Idaho and North Carolina. Illnesses have spread to at least a dozen states.
Supermercado Los Corrales Salmonella Outbreak
The Kenosha County Division of Health reports that as of Wednesday, June 3rd, Salmonella with a matching DNA fingerprint has been found in 35 patients. Divisions of Health official’s say over 75 sick people have been identified during an investigation into Supermercado Los Corrales. Salmonella has been confirmed in a total of 35 patients.
Based on interviews that have been conducted and laboratory testing, the source of the Salmonella outbreak has been determined to be pork carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales during Mother’s Day weekend (May 8th through 10th).
Laboratory testing conducted at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection isolated Salmonella from leftover carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales on Sunday, May 10th. Further testing performed at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene confirmed the Salmonella had the same DNA fingerprint as the patient isolates.
Boise Co-op Salmonella Outbreak
The Central District Health Department (CDHD) estimates that Salmonella has sickened over 280 people after consuming contaminated food manufactured and sold by the Co-op. Most illnesses have occurred in June 2015.
The CDHD is currently continuing to investigate the outbreak. DHD has indicated that reports of Salmonella illness have come in from outside of Idaho as well, because the Co-op sells its deli products at Boise Airport terminal kiosks.
On or about June 15, 2015, CDHD reported that lab tests conducted on several food samples from the deli at Defendant’s establishment have tested positive for Salmonella. Contaminated foods included tomatoes, onions, and raw turkey. The Co-op closed its deli, and has warned consumers to discard any foods purchased from the deli after June 1, 2015.
Tarheel Q Salmonella Outbreak
The North Carolina Division of Public Health reports that at least 197 people have been sickened from 14 North Carolina counties and 6 states in an outbreak of Salmonella that officials link to the Lexington Tarheel Q barbecue restaurant. Of these 197 cases, 54% are male, 43% are between the ages of 20 and 49, 20% have visited their medical provider, 11% have visited the emergency room and 7% have been hospitalized. Eighty-two percent of cases had illness onset dates between Tuesday, June 16, 2015, and Sunday, June 21, 2015.
All 197 people ate at Tarheel Q on West US Highway 64 in Lexington, in the days before falling ill, officials said. Eighty-nine percent of the people affected are from Davidson and Davie County.
Laboratory testing indicates that the BBQ sample and a sample from a patient who became ill during the beginning of the outbreak are both positive for Salmonella species. The serogroup was found to be Typhimurium. Both samples have the same PFGE pattern (i.e. DNA fingerprint). Over 20 additional clinical specimens are pending results at the state lab.
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.

Food safety experts question initial Blue Bell listeria response
Source : http://www.dallasnews.com/business/business-headlines/20150628-food-safety-experts-question-initial-blue-bell-listeria-response.ece
By KAREN ROBINSON-JACOBS (June 28, 2015)
Food safety experts, puzzling over the earliest days of Blue Bell Creameries’ response to a finding of listeria in some of its products, were confused.
In mid-February, company workers began quietly reclaiming products from retailers and institutional customers such as hospitals. That was about a month before the iconic Texas-based ice-cream maker announced its first product recall in 108 years.
The stealth approach, called a withdrawal, came before any illness had been linked to the tainted ice cream. A withdrawal, which generally is used for minor problems, requires no broad notice to the public.
While the state health department called the withdrawal acceptable, some food safety experts are questioning why the public was not made aware of Blue Bell’s issues sooner.
“With something like this, I don’t understand how they got away with doing a withdrawal,” said Cliff Coles, president of California Microbiological Consulting Inc. “Withdrawal is not nearly as strong of language as a recall. If you knew that you had listeria, why wasn’t it a recall?
“I think they could have stepped up to the plate a whole lot quicker and done a whole lot more to protect the consuming public,” he added. “They pussyfooted around what they should have done in the first place.”
He and other food safety experts said they were unaware of any past cases in which a withdrawal, rather than a public recall, was used in a case in which a pathogen such as listeria was found in a ready-to-eat food.
Blue Bell, which first announced the listeria issue in a March 13 recall notice, has declined to go into detail about the withdrawal, citing pending litigation.
Likely not stockpiles
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the withdrawn items were largely single-serving containers that are normally eaten shortly after purchase. Hence there would probably not be stockpiles of the ice cream in consumers’ freezers to be recalled, the FDA said.
But the retrieved items involved at least 10 different Blue Bell products, including some sold in multipacks. The list included: 6-pack Cotton Candy Bars, 6-pack Sour Pop Green Apple Bars and 12-pack NSA Mooo Bars along with Country Cookie and Scoops.
The multipacks were not the items of initial concern, said a state health official. Country Cookie and Scoops were.
“Everything else we tested came back negative at that time,” said Carrie Williams, director of media relations for the Texas Department of State Health Services. “Country Cookie was sold as single serve, eaten on-site, so not likely stored in people’s freezers. And the Scoops were sold to institutions and could be retrieved by the company. The company withdrew additional products as an extra measure of precaution because they were made on the same production line.
“Without illnesses or positive tests on other products, a product withdrawal for those items was acceptable to us at the time, based on the information we had,” she said.
Blue Bell has been criticized for moving slowly to alert the public to the magnitude of its problem. The March 13 recall notice came as a terse, six-paragraph statement that pointed the finger at a specific production line that put out a “limited” amount of product. The release noted that “all products produced by this machine were withdrawn. Our Blue Bell team members recovered all involved products in stores and storage.”
Asked if that means 100 percent of the amount distributed was reclaimed, and that none of the product ended up in the hands of consumers, the company declined to comment, citing pending litigation.
That’s a key point. Food safety experts said a withdrawal would only be appropriate if the company could guarantee that it could account for 100 percent of the product that left the plant.
“Even if one [listeria-tainted] box was sold, at that point, the mechanism is no longer withdrawal,” said Mansour Samadpour, president of Seattle-based IEH Laboratories, a food consulting firm. “It has to be a recall. You have to announce it so anyone who purchased it would know not to consume it.”
“The key there is 100 percent,” he said.
In emailed answers to questions from The Dallas Morning News, Blue Bell challenged the notion that it did not move quickly enough to protect public health.
“From the moment we found out about a presumptive positive [listeria] test on February 13, we began working with regulators and immediately retrieved (we call this a withdrawal) the products that were on the market, which had been produced on a specific machine,” the company said. “That machine was already down for maintenance, so no more products were produced on that machine, and it has since been retired.
“As soon as we were notified on February 13, we notified FDA, and began instructing our employees to recover the products in question, which had been distributed to institutional and retail sales accounts,” the company said. “We went to those account locations and withdrew the products.”
As the magnitude of Blue Bell’s problem became more clear, the company expanded its recall, eventually recalling everything and shutting down production. All told, the company reclaimed 8 million gallons of ice cream and novelties. It declined to say how much of that was retrieved in the initial withdrawal.
All four of Blue Bell’s plants, including two in Texas, remain shut down as the company undertakes a major cleanup and upgrade of equipment and sanitation protocols. The company has not said when it expects to reopen.
‘No illnesses had been linked’
The FDA lists four methods to fish products out of the stream of commerce when there’s an issue. They range from Class I recalls, for “a situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death,” to market withdrawal.
A withdrawal is used for food products that have “a minor violation that would not be subject to FDA legal action,” according to the agency. The typical example given is a product with the wrong weight listed on the packaging.
A spokeswoman for the FDA echoed statements made by state health officials when asked about the logic of using a withdrawal early on.
“It is important to remember that Blue Bell primarily distributed the products that were the subject of the February recall directly to retailers and institutions, and the products for retail use were packaged and sold as single-serve items intended for immediate consumption,” said Lauren Sucher, press officer for the FDA. “The company concluded that its products were unlikely to be in consumers’ homes, and therefore that a public notice would have little or no effect.
“At the time the recall began,” she said, referring to the February withdrawal, “no illnesses had been linked to any Blue Bell products, and no illness onsets later than mid-January have been reported for this outbreak.”
Blue Bell’s March 13 recall notice came after health officials linked Blue Bell products to listeriosis suffered by five hospital patients in Kansas. Three of those patients died.
In total, 10 cases have been linked officially to Blue Bell products.
The official list does not include a former Houston man who says he ended up in a coma after eating Blue Bell ice cream, or a Florida retiree who developed meningitis after eating ice cream that tested positive for listeria. The former Houston man has filed suit against Blue Bell seeking to recover medical costs.
The trigger
Blue Bell’s March 13 release used the term “recall” but went on to describe the withdrawal that already had taken place. It made no mention of the initial five hospital patients. Yet it was the direct link between the illnesses and Blue Bell ice cream that triggered the notice to the public.
“In light of … information providing a clear connection between specific Blue Bell products and the cluster of illnesses, the FDA, [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and states of Kansas and Texas all issued public notice of the investigation and the recall,” the FDA said. “With a clear connection established, the agencies chose to provide this notice to further ensure public health even though the measures taken and information gathered prior to that notice suggested strongly that little if any contaminated product could be in the hands of consumers.”
Several food safety experts said that in principle, listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria, is too dangerous to handle as a withdrawal, because a withdrawal does nothing to notify consumers, especially those with pre-existing conditions who may already have consumed the product.
Samadpour noted that there could be a case in which a company may want to get moving quickly to retrieve product while working with health officials on the logistics of a recall. In that case, a withdrawal might precede a formal recall notice by a few days.
What about a month? “No, that’s a different story,” he said, adding that such a long time lag would be highly unusual.
Jaydee Hanson, a senior policy analyst with the D.C.-based Center for Food Safety, quoted from the FDA’s guidelines that describe the use of withdrawal for minor violations.
“I would say that listeria is never a ‘minor violation’ and that the company should have gone directly to a recall,” Hanson said. “Listeria should always be assumed to cause serious health consequences. That is why the standard for listeria in food is zero.”
BRIEFLY: FDA recall categories
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration outlines four ways to remove problem food and medical devices from the marketplace.
Class I recall: A situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.
Class II recall: A situation in which use of or exposure to a violative product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.
Class III recall: A situation in which use of or exposure to a violative product is not likely to cause adverse health consequences.
Market withdrawal: Occurs when a product has a minor violation that would not be subject to FDA legal action. The firm removes the product from the market or corrects the violation.

 

 



2Days
Food Safety Microbiology
Short course

(August 27-28, 2015)
Las Vegas, NV

For more information,
Click on Here






 

 



 


WHO Classifies 2,4-D Herbicide as Possible Carcinogen
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/who-classifies-24-d-herbicide-as-possible-carcinogen/
By Linda Larsen (June 27, 2015)
The Center for Food Safety has announced that the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that the herbicide 2,4-D, used in Dow Chemical’s “Enlist Weed Control System”, is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Enlist corn and soybean seeds are genetically engineered to resist this herbicide.
Enlist is comprised of glyphosate, the chemical used in Roundup, and 2,4-D, which was an ingredient in Agent Orange used during the Vietnam war. Glyphosate has also been determined as a “possible carcinogenic.”
Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety, said in a statement, “this last thing we need is genetically engineered crops that dramatically increase the spraying of potentially carcinogenic chemicals. Dow’s GE crops will be sprayed with Enlist Duo, which combines 2,4-D and glyphosate There are better ways to control weeds that don’t involve cancer-causing herbicides.” Center for Food Safety and other groups sued the EPA in February 2015, alleging violation of federal law in approving Enlist Duo.
When Roundup Ready crops were introduced, the tons of glyphosate used in the United States has increased dramatically. Weeds have become resistant to the herbicide, which means more of the toxic chemical must be used. In fact, glyphosate is the most heavily used herbicide in America.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer of WHO has found that 2,4-D suppresses the immune system in animals and causes oxidative stress. Many human epidemiological studies have found exposure to 2,4-D is associated with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In fact, in 1992 the U.S. National Cancer Institute found that “frequent use of phenoxyacetic acid herbicides, in particular, 2,4-D, has been associated with a 2- to 8-fold increase of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in studies conducted in Sweden, Kansas, Nebraska, Canada, and elsewhere.”
Center for Food Safety is urging the EPA to conduct independent testing of the herbicide instead of relying on industry tests. The EPA has not responded to these requests.

Summer food safety tips worth a run-through
Source : http://www.thetimesherald.com/story/news/local/2015/06/27/summer-food-safety-tips-worth-run/29389873/
By Syeda Ferguson(June 27, 2015)
It's time to get ready to celebrate Independence Day, which usually involves grilling and gathering outside.
But with one in six Americans getting sick from food poisoning each year, tips on keeping food safe at summer outings are worth mentioning.
Ruth Habalewsky, environmental field coordinator for the food program at St. Clair County Health Department, said while many food safety tips involve common sense, they often are overlooked.
"A lot of people get too busy. They don't think of it," she said.
Outdoor gatherings during warmer months have added challenges to keeping food safe. Finding places to wash hands, keeping foods cold, or cooking at proper temperature all are important in preventing food-borne illnesses, according to the National Institutes of Health website.
Habalewsky emphasized keeping foods at the right temperature as the best way to ensure food safety.
She cited USDA guidelines that are used to make sure foods stay out of the so-called 'danger zone' — the temperature range of 41-135 degrees Fahrenheit in which bacteria multiply rapidly.
Cold foods should be kept below 41 degrees and hot foods above 135 degrees.
"That's why it's important to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold," Habalewsky said. "If you were in a restaurant purchasing that food, you would be upset if you got a cold hamburger because it's supposed to be hot."
Grilled food can be kept hot until served by moving it to the side of the grill rack, just away from the coals. This keeps it hot but prevents overcooking, according to food safety tips from University of Wisconsin Health in Madison.
Michelle Wrubel, owner and caterer of Chef Shell's in Port Huron, said keeping close to temperature guidelines also ensures the best flavor.
"The best tip for flavor is to have everything kept pretty cool. You know how much better the watermelon tastes with a little chill on it rather than sitting in the sun," Wrubel said.
Wrubel suggested light menu items for outdoor fare, and recommended replacing potato salads with a pasta salad that has light Italian dressing instead of mayonnaise.
Chuck Faulkner with Faulkner's Catering in Port Huron advised against keeping food on ice in uninsulated containers such as larger pans or bowls or even wading pools. The ice melts quickly and becomes an unsightly mess before too long.
Crown Party Rental in Port Huron rents portable ice tables with legs for $20 per day and tabletop ice tables for $18 a day, Faulkner advised.
Also be sure to separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from prepared and cooked foods, as well as keep it separate from fruits and vegetables that are going to be served raw, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Keeping raw meat, poultry, and seafood securely wrapped will keep their juices from contaminating the other foods.
The UW Health website recommends that food should not be left out for longer than two hours. To avoid having too many leftovers sitting out, cook items such as hot dogs, brats, chicken and other grilled foods in batches.
•Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soapy water before and after handling food and using the bathroom. If outdoors without access to running water, use a water jug, soap and paper towels.
•Observe the two-hour rule. Foods should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Keep track of how long foods have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything that has been sitting for two hours or more. If the outdoor temperature is above 90 F, food should be left out only an hour or less.
•Toss out leftover marinades used for grilling. Leftover hot foods need to be refrigerated or iced immediately to avoid bacterial contamination. Make sure you bring extra ice if you are away from home.
•Serve food on clean plates. Wash the plate used for raw meat before placing cooked meat on it.
•Chill salads such as potato, macaroni or chicken salads in the refrigerator for three to four hours before transporting outdoors.
•When transporting cold foods, pre-chill the cooler with cold water or ice before dumping and adding in the food to be transported.
•Keep perishable food out of direct sunlight.
•Keep coolers closed. Once at the site, limit the number of times the cooler is opened as much as you can. This helps to keep the contents cold longer. Keep food covered with lids or foil to avoid insects.
•Organize cooler contents. Pack beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in another.
•Don't forgo the meat thermometer. Recommended internal temperatures for burgers and sausage is 160 F. For steaks, 145 F. For chicken and turkey, 165 F.
Foods that can withstand outdoor grazing
•Dry greens and vegetables such as carrots or celery
•Dry foods such as chips and pretzels
•Desserts such as cookies
Foods to watch out for at outdoor gatherings
•Non-pasteurized dairy foods, including eggs or egg products
•Mayonnaise-based food such as potato, maaroni and chicken salads
•Undercooked seafood, meats and eggs. Deviled eggs should be thoroughly cooked and kept chilled from kitchen to picnic table.

Food Safety Basics to Teach Your Kids
Source : http://www.thedailymeal.com/cook/food-safety-basics-teach-your-kids
By Karen Lo (June 25, 2015)
Foodborne illness peaks during the summer months. Keep your family safe with these important guidelines
Food safety awareness isn’t just for adults — the earlier you can teach your children about food safety, the better. Luckily, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food Safety and Inspection Service have a variety of materials for guardians and educators to help children learn how to cook and handle food in a safe and hygienic manner.
During the summer season, it’s especially important to make sure that your entire family understands how to recognize signs of food poisoning, as well as the conditions in which the risk of contamination is high. This is because the rates of foodborne illness peak in the summer, when the combination of warm temperatures and humidity creates an ideal growth environment for bacteria.
What’s more, because many people enjoy cooking outdoors in the summer, we also lose the safety of temperature-controlled cooking and reliable refrigeration, not to mention soap and water.
To make sure that you and your family enjoy the summer — and every outdoor picnic — as much as possible, keep these food safety basics in mind. It might help to have your kids think of foodborne illness as an invisible enemy “BAC,” short for “bacteria,” which can’t be seen, heard, smelled, or tasted — but can be defeated with the right food safety habits.  And when you need it, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Clean
Wash your hands and surfaces. It sounds like common sense, but according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, unwashed hands are a prime cause of foodborne illness. Make sure that your family washes their hands for at least 20 seconds before handling food, after using the restroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.
Backpacks and books, which can pick up microorganisms, should stay on the floor, not the kitchen table or counter.
For visits to the park, camping trips, or other outdoor activities, make sure your kids have moist towelettes and paper towels for cleaning their hands and wiping down surfaces. Finally, pack water for food preparation and cleaning if you’re concerned about a lack of clean, running water.
Separate
The best way to avoid cross-contamination — another key source of foodborne illness — is to separate food the right way. When packing food, make sure that raw items are securely wrapped and do not come in contact with ready-to-eat foods.
Teach children to think of foodborne illness as BAC, an invisible enemy who has the power to make them sick. However, they also have the power to “fight BAC” and avoid cross contamination: be smart, keep foods apart. Get your kids into the habit of washing all cutting boards, dishes, and utensils with hot soapy water after they make a snack, especially any that involve raw items.

What GMO salmon could mean for the seafood industry
Source : http://www.fooddive.com/news/what-gmo-salmon-could-mean-for-the-seafood-industry/401286/
By Carolyn Heneghan (June 25, 2015)
Dive Brief:
•Genetically modified salmon have raised many questions by regulators, the food industry, and consumers over the years, and still no country has approved GMO salmon for commercial sales. One company in particular, AquaBounty Technologies, has been trying to get the FDA to sign off on their GMO salmon for nearly 20 years.
•On the side of GMO salmon, the fish grows larger twice as fast as conventionally-farmed salmon, which could mean more salmon to feed more people at a faster rate.
•However, more often cited than the benefits are the risks associated with GMO salmon, particularly their effects on the environment and the wild salmon population should they escape their farms as well as potential health concerns for consumers.
Dive Insight:
One potential argument for GMO salmon is that as salmon is considered one of the healthier types of fish to consume, this could arguably be a help to the languishing food supply desperately needed by a surging global population. This is a common argument for genetically modified foods in general.
However, many others say the risks may be too great for GMO salmon to ever be commercialized, according to NPR. If any salmon were to escape from their pens — which GMO salmon farmers say would not likely happen due to stringent containment and sterilization methods — they could significantly impact the wild salmon population by breeding with them. GMO salmon could also permanently alter the habitat of wild salmon and other fish living in the same waters, particularly the rivers located near some of these GMO salmon containment areas.
Besides the global food supply and environmental concerns, whether the food industry would benefit from GMO salmon's commercialization is up for debate as well.
GMO salmon could also flood the seafood industry, as GMO produce and commodities, particularly crops like corn and soy, have already done for their respective markets. This could put a strain on fishermen and distributors of wild and traditionally farmed salmon who would be forced to compete with a product that can get to market faster.
However, some seafood producers, particularly those who already farm salmon, could see GMO salmon as a boon to their businesses as they quickly adopt the new species as a way to increase production and reduce time to market. This could grow the GMO salmon industry quickly in the U.S. should it receive regulatory approval.
Recommended Reading
NPR: Genetically Modified Salmon: Coming To A River Near You?

Texas Issues Cyclospora Health Advisory; 54 Sick
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/texas-issues-cyclospora-health-advisory-54-sick/
By Linda Larsen (June 25, 2015)
A surge in reports of Cyclospora infections has prompted the Texas Department of State Health Services to issue a health advisory and launch an investigation. There have been 54 cases of the parasitic illness so far this year, including 42 just in the last week.
Cyclosporiasis is an illness that affects the intestines. It is caused by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the parasite. Symptoms include watery diarrhea that can last a few months, loss of appetite, fatigue weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting, and a low fever. Profuse diarrhea can last for months and can relapse.
Public health officials recommend that people thoroughly wash fresh produce before eating it. Fresh produce has been the carrier of the parasite in the past, but there is no firm indication that this outbreak is linked to produce. Last year, Texas had 200 cases of cyclosporiasis, some of which were associated with cilantro imported from the Puebla Region in Mexico.
Doctors should test patients for the parasite who have symptoms consistent with this illness, including diarrheal illness lasting more than a few days, or diarrhea accompaniment by severe anorexia or fatigue. Three negative stool specimens are necessary to exclude the diagnosis.
The symptoms of cyclosporiasis usually begin 2 to 14 days after ingestion of the oocysts. The oocysts must grow and develop into the infectious stage before they can infect another person, which is why person-to-person contact of this disease is rare.
Foods linked to this type of outbreak in the past included cilantro, pre-packaged salad mix, raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun lettuce. Cyclospora can be difficult to wash off produce. Only thorough cooking will kill the parasite.

What GMO salmon could mean for the seafood industry
Source : http://www.fooddive.com/news/what-gmo-salmon-could-mean-for-the-seafood-industry/401286/
By Carolyn Heneghan (June 25, 2015)
Dive Brief:
•Genetically modified salmon have raised many questions by regulators, the food industry, and consumers over the years, and still no country has approved GMO salmon for commercial sales. One company in particular, AquaBounty Technologies, has been trying to get the FDA to sign off on their GMO salmon for nearly 20 years.
•On the side of GMO salmon, the fish grows larger twice as fast as conventionally-farmed salmon, which could mean more salmon to feed more people at a faster rate.
•However, more often cited than the benefits are the risks associated with GMO salmon, particularly their effects on the environment and the wild salmon population should they escape their farms as well as potential health concerns for consumers.
Dive Insight:
One potential argument for GMO salmon is that as salmon is considered one of the healthier types of fish to consume, this could arguably be a help to the languishing food supply desperately needed by a surging global population. This is a common argument for genetically modified foods in general.
However, many others say the risks may be too great for GMO salmon to ever be commercialized, according to NPR. If any salmon were to escape from their pens — which GMO salmon farmers say would not likely happen due to stringent containment and sterilization methods — they could significantly impact the wild salmon population by breeding with them. GMO salmon could also permanently alter the habitat of wild salmon and other fish living in the same waters, particularly the rivers located near some of these GMO salmon containment areas.
Besides the global food supply and environmental concerns, whether the food industry would benefit from GMO salmon's commercialization is up for debate as well.
GMO salmon could also flood the seafood industry, as GMO produce and commodities, particularly crops like corn and soy, have already done for their respective markets. This could put a strain on fishermen and distributors of wild and traditionally farmed salmon who would be forced to compete with a product that can get to market faster.
However, some seafood producers, particularly those who already farm salmon, could see GMO salmon as a boon to their businesses as they quickly adopt the new species as a way to increase production and reduce time to market. This could grow the GMO salmon industry quickly in the U.S. should it receive regulatory approval.
Recommended Reading
NPR: Genetically Modified Salmon: Coming To A River Near You?

Chinese Authorities Seize More Than 100,000 Tons of 40-Year-Old Frozen Meat
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/chinese-authorities-seize-tons-of-40-year-old-frozen-meat/#.VZNzTtiJiHt
By News Desk (June 25, 2015)
Authorities in China have seized more than 100,000 tons of smuggled meat being sold across the country, some of which was frozen and dated back to the 1970s, according to a report in the state-run China Daily.
The seizures were part of a nationwide crackdown on a smuggling ring in possession of at least $483 million worth of meat. Officials say more than a dozen separate gangs around the country are involved in the smuggling.
Meat sold by the smugglers was reportedly thawed out and refrozen several times before reaching the point of sale, as it was transported in unrefrigerated vehicles.
Much of the meat was said to come from Brazil and India and was smuggled in via Vietnam and Hong Kong.
The meat was intended for sale in restaurants and supermarkets.
An official with an anti-smuggling bureau said that the smuggled meat might pose a risk of carrying diseases such as bird flu and foot-and-mouth disease.
China has faced continuous food safety scandals in recent years. The government has been working to clean up the country’s food system, including introducing new laws that would ban food manufacturers from the food business if they’re caught producing or selling unsafe food.
Last year, a company that sold meat to major multinational food chains in China, such as McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks, was accused of mixing what was purported to be  expired meat in with their fresher supplies. Six individuals from the company were arrested and have not been charged.

Texas Issues Cyclospora Health Advisory; 54 Sick
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/texas-issues-cyclospora-health-advisory-54-sick/
By Linda Larsen (June 25, 2015)
A surge in reports of Cyclospora infections has prompted the Texas Department of State Health Services to issue a health advisory and launch an investigation. There have been 54 cases of the parasitic illness so far this year, including 42 just in the last week.
Cyclosporiasis is an illness that affects the intestines. It is caused by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the parasite. Symptoms include watery diarrhea that can last a few months, loss of appetite, fatigue weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting, and a low fever. Profuse diarrhea can last for months and can relapse.
Public health officials recommend that people thoroughly wash fresh produce before eating it. Fresh produce has been the carrier of the parasite in the past, but there is no firm indication that this outbreak is linked to produce. Last year, Texas had 200 cases of cyclosporiasis, some of which were associated with cilantro imported from the Puebla Region in Mexico.
Doctors should test patients for the parasite who have symptoms consistent with this illness, including diarrheal illness lasting more than a few days, or diarrhea accompaniment by severe anorexia or fatigue. Three negative stool specimens are necessary to exclude the diagnosis.
The symptoms of cyclosporiasis usually begin 2 to 14 days after ingestion of the oocysts. The oocysts must grow and develop into the infectious stage before they can infect another person, which is why person-to-person contact of this disease is rare.
Foods linked to this type of outbreak in the past included cilantro, pre-packaged salad mix, raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun lettuce. Cyclospora can be difficult to wash off produce. Only thorough cooking will kill the parasite.

Texas Issues Cyclospora Health Advisory; 54 Sick
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/texas-issues-cyclospora-health-advisory-54-sick/
By Linda Larsen (June 25, 2015)
A surge in reports of Cyclospora infections has prompted the Texas Department of State Health Services to issue a health advisory and launch an investigation. There have been 54 cases of the parasitic illness so far this year, including 42 just in the last week.
Cyclosporiasis is an illness that affects the intestines. It is caused by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the parasite. Symptoms include watery diarrhea that can last a few months, loss of appetite, fatigue weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting, and a low fever. Profuse diarrhea can last for months and can relapse.
Public health officials recommend that people thoroughly wash fresh produce before eating it. Fresh produce has been the carrier of the parasite in the past, but there is no firm indication that this outbreak is linked to produce. Last year, Texas had 200 cases of cyclosporiasis, some of which were associated with cilantro imported from the Puebla Region in Mexico.
Doctors should test patients for the parasite who have symptoms consistent with this illness, including diarrheal illness lasting more than a few days, or diarrhea accompaniment by severe anorexia or fatigue. Three negative stool specimens are necessary to exclude the diagnosis.
The symptoms of cyclosporiasis usually begin 2 to 14 days after ingestion of the oocysts. The oocysts must grow and develop into the infectious stage before they can infect another person, which is why person-to-person contact of this disease is rare.
Foods linked to this type of outbreak in the past included cilantro, pre-packaged salad mix, raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun lettuce. Cyclospora can be difficult to wash off produce. Only thorough cooking will kill the parasite.

Teen Doing Mission Work Among Those Sickened in Tarheel Salmonella Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/teen-doing-mission-work-among-those-sickened-in-tarheel-salmonella-outbreak/
by Carla Gillespie (June 25, 2015)
Seventeen-year-old Parker Allred was on a mission trip in Pennsylvania building houses for those in need when he got salmonellosis from a meal he ate at the Tarheel Q restaurant in Lexington, NC. Allred is among at least 100 others who are part of a Salmonella outbreak that has been linked to the restaurant on Highway 64 in Lexington, NC.
“It feels like someone is just twisting your stomach constantly,” Allred told wfmy news2.com. “It’s like there is a constant pain on a scale from 1 to 10 of about 3, and then it has some times where kicks up to about a 10.”
Being seven hours from home made it worse, Allred told the news station. “Because you know that somehow or another you are going to have to drive that seven hours back whether you are feeling good or not.”
Allred said he has always liked the restaurant and will likely eat there again, but he probably won’t order the barbecue.
At least 100 people who are at the restaurant between June 6-19 became within days afterward. Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting reported consuming food from the restaurant located on Highway 64 in Lexington, NC, several days before becoming ill.
The outbreak includes people from seven states and seven North Carolina counties. Most of those sickened are from Davidson County.
Health officials are encouraging everyone who became ill to contact their health department and mention the possible exposure at the Tarheel. The restaurant has voluntarily closed during the investigation.

 


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














Over 280 with Salmonella Linked to Boise Co-op Deli
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/280-with-salmonella-linked-to-boise-co-op-deli/#.VZN7p9iJiHt
By Drew Falkenstein (June 25, 2015)
The Central District Health Department (CDHD) continues to investigate a Salmonella outbreak associated with the Boise Co-op deli – specifically food purchased from the deli after June 1, 2015 – this includes food purchased at the Boise airport.
As of June 24, 2015, approximately 280 cases of Salmonella are associated with this outbreak – including individuals from several states.
Preliminary test results showed Salmonella growth in raw turkey, tomatoes and onion. However, additional laboratory tests are pending.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause diarrheal illness in humans. They are microscopic living creatures that pass from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals. There are many different kinds of Salmonella bacteria.
Salmonella serotype Typhimurium and Salmonella serotype Enteritidis are the most common in the United States.
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.

Keep Food Safe During a Power Outage
Source : https://patch.com/illinois/joliet/keep-food-safe-during-power-outage-0
By Scott Viau (June 24, 2015)
The Will County Health Department has offered some tips regarding foodborne illness.
The Will County Health Department urges area residents and businesses to be mindful of the potential for foodborne illnesses in the wake of heavy thunderstorms possible late tonight through Thursday morning. Heavy storms complete with cloud-to-ground lightning could produce power outages across Will and Grundy counties.
The National Weather Service says thunderstorms are 80 percent likely late tonight. Additional storms are possible through mid-day Thursday, prompting the Health Department to emphasize the need for food safety awareness in case power outages do occur.
Always keep dairy, meat, poultry, fish and eggs cooled to temperatures of 41 degrees F or lower. Products found with temperatures above 41 degrees F after a power outage should be discarded.
Never taste food to determine its safety. When in doubt, throw it out.
A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for up to 48 hours.
If you aren’t sure food is cold enough to save, take its temperature with a food thermometer. Again, remember that food should be discarded if temperatures above 41 degrees F are present.
Always keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
Always keep food thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer.
In light of the potential for additional storms capable of creating power outages, make sure to have coolers and ice on hand. As always, remember that frequent hand washing with soap and warm water is perhaps the single most important thing we can do to protect our health.
Bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses begin to grow quickly when conditions are favorable. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
For more power outage tips, visit http://rdcrss.org/OwYhPJ.

Congress Gives President Obama Fast-Track Authority for Trade Deals
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/congress-gives-obama-fast-track-authority-for-trade-deals/#.VZN2UNiJiHt
By Lydia Zuraw (June 24, 2015)
A contentious trade bill passed the U.S. Senate on Wednesday and is headed to the president’s desk.
The Senate voted 60-38 to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which gives trade deals a “fast track” through Congress where lawmakers would only get an up-or-down vote without being able to add amendments.
TPA passed the House in a stand-alone bill last week by a 218-208 vote.
Most Democrats in both chambers opposed TPA because of concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently under negotiation, while Republican lawmakers sided with President Obama.
Critics such as Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) argue that TPP will lower wages and send American jobs overseas, and that TPA means Congress can’t prevent that without voting against the entire deal.
They also say it could impact other realms such as finance, energy and food safety. Some food safety advocates are concerned TPP will result in the “harmonization” of food processing standards in different countries so that they’re deemed equivalent, even though one country might actually have higher standards than another.

Food Safety Advice for Those Experiencing Severe Thunderstorms
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/food-safety-advice-for-those-experiencing-severe-thunderstorms/#.VZNzu9iJiHt
By U.S. Department of Agriculture (June 24, 2015)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued some food safety recommendations for the Northeast, Central Appalachians and Ohio Valley due to severe thunderstorms.
The National Weather Service has announced a severe thunderstorm watch for portions of New England into the Central Appalachians and Ohio Valley. There could also be storms farther west in the Plains and Missouri Valley. The threats of severe thunderstorms include damaging winds, hail, and possible isolated tornadoes. This type of weather forecast presents the possibility of power outages that could compromise the safety of stored food.
FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during severe weather events.
Steps to follow if the power goes out:
•Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to make sure that temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40 degrees F or lower in the refrigerator and 0 degrees F or lower in the freezer.
•Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.
•Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately. This helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
•Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
•Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
•Group foods together in the freezer — this “igloo” effect helps the food stay cold longer.
•Keep a few days worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
•Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
•Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross- contamination of thawing juices.
•Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Steps to follow after a weather emergency:
•Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40 degrees F for two hours or more.
•Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
•Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40 degrees F or below.
•Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
•When in doubt, throw it out.
FSIS will provide relevant food safety information as the storm progresses from its Twitter feed @USDAFoodSafety.
FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage. FSIS also has an infographic covering what to do before, during and after a power outage.
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov or m.AskKaren.gov on a smartphone. The mobile Ask Karen can also be downloaded from the iTunes and Google Play app stores.
Consumers can email, chat with a live representative, or call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline directly from the app. To use these features from Mobile Ask Karen, simply choose “Contact Us” from the menu. The live chat option and the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), are available on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT in English and Spanish.

100 with Salmonella in Davidson and Davie County from Tarheel Restaurant
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/70-with-salmonella-in-davidson-and-davie-county-from-tarheel-restaurant/#.VZN709iJiHt
By Denis Stearns (June 24, 2015)
According to local press reports, an additional 40 people have been identified with symptoms consistent with salmonellosis — this time in Davie County, North Carolina.  There also appear to be dozens more.
The Davidson County and Davie County health departments began this week began working with the North Carolina Division of Public Health to investigate a gastrointestinal illness outbreak among patrons of Tarheel Q, located at 6835 West U.S. 64 in Lexington. As of Tuesday, the health departments had identified more than 30 individuals in Davidson County with signs and symptoms consistent with salmonellosis.
On Wednesday, the investigation expanded to include 40 additional people in Davie County.
Health officials said all people with symptoms ate at Tarheel Q, located at 6835 West U.S. 64 in Lexington, several days before becoming ill.
At least seven of the individuals had to be hospitalized due to their illness.
A sign posted on the door Wednesday said the restaurant would close until Monday, June 29, “to ensure all areas of our operation are of the highest standard.”
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.

Keep Food Safe During a Power Outage
Source : https://patch.com/illinois/joliet/keep-food-safe-during-power-outage-0
By Scott Viau (June 24, 2015)
The Will County Health Department has offered some tips regarding foodborne illness.
The Will County Health Department urges area residents and businesses to be mindful of the potential for foodborne illnesses in the wake of heavy thunderstorms possible late tonight through Thursday morning. Heavy storms complete with cloud-to-ground lightning could produce power outages across Will and Grundy counties.
The National Weather Service says thunderstorms are 80 percent likely late tonight. Additional storms are possible through mid-day Thursday, prompting the Health Department to emphasize the need for food safety awareness in case power outages do occur.
Always keep dairy, meat, poultry, fish and eggs cooled to temperatures of 41 degrees F or lower. Products found with temperatures above 41 degrees F after a power outage should be discarded.
Never taste food to determine its safety. When in doubt, throw it out.
A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for up to 48 hours.
If you aren’t sure food is cold enough to save, take its temperature with a food thermometer. Again, remember that food should be discarded if temperatures above 41 degrees F are present.
Always keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
Always keep food thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer.
In light of the potential for additional storms capable of creating power outages, make sure to have coolers and ice on hand. As always, remember that frequent hand washing with soap and warm water is perhaps the single most important thing we can do to protect our health.
Bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses begin to grow quickly when conditions are favorable. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
For more power outage tips, visit http://rdcrss.org/OwYhPJ.

Eurofresh: Marler – Why companies need a food safety culture
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/eurofresh-marler-why-companies-need-a-food-safety-culture/#.VZNxudiJiHt
By Bill Marler (June 23, 2015)
Food poisoning outbreaks traced to fresh produce have become more prominent, according to Bill Marler, a US lawyer who specializes in food safety.
Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to cantaloupe and celery, and E. coli outbreaks linked to lettuce and bagged spinach, are among various handled in recent years by Seattle law firm Marler Clark – a foodborne illness litigation specialist – where he is based.
But Marler, known in America as a food safety advocate, said it is not necessarily that more cases are occurring, but that they have become more noticeable.
It’s now easier to trace culprits
Marler’s focus on food safety stems back to the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak more than two decades ago, which involved undercooked beef patties in hamburgers. He said the case prompted improvements in outbreak tracing and, in particular, more widespread use of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) – like DNA fingerprinting – which has made it easier to identify outbreaks linked to fruit and vegetables.
Simultaneously, consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables has increased in the US, as people aim to eat more healthily. With more people eating products such as lettuce, sprouts and baby spinach leaves – which are usually not cooked and therefore don’t go through a “kill step” before being eaten – the likelihood of more people getting sick has also increased, he said.
Tragic cases triggered changes
Among high-profile fresh produce cases in the US in the last decade was the 2006 E. coli outbreak linked to shredded lettuce in Taco Bell restaurants, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sickened at least 71 people, 8 of whom developed kidney failure.
Marler said such cases were the impetus for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which passed into law in early 2011. “It would not have come about in the US but for these outbreaks linked to spinach and lettuce and other fruit and veg,” he said.
Similarly, farmers in California, where much of America’s lettuce and spinach is grown, created a food safety program – the California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement (LGMA) – in the wake of an E. coli outbreak in 2006 that was associated with Californian spinach and saw 202 people become ill and 3 die.
Marler speaks at conferences around the world and said the number of outbreaks he hears about is not as high as in the early 2000s, “so that is a positive thing.” But he still sees cases linked to fruit and vegetable contamination, such as a Hepatitis A outbreak in 2013 linked to pomegranate seeds (arils) from Turkey in a blend of frozen berries.
Most outbreaks preventable
Marler said companies – especially branded companies – need to have a culture of food safety, to invest in it and make it as important as cutting costs and making a profit.
“One of the things we see many times is people talk about food safety and farm to fork safety but company focus tends to be more on sales and profit, which is understandable, and cutting costs.” However, after an outbreak they regret not having invested more in food safety and the personnel necessary for it, he said.
“In my view, if companies make food safety an afterthought and don’t invest in people to help run it and invest in processes to eliminate risk, and then don’t pay attention to details, they will eventually make a huge mistake.”
“i think really many of these outbreaks are preventable, or at least you can make them less severe and less of a major burden on the consumer and on the industry.”
Learning from past outbreaks
Marler said a common problem is the lack of attention paid to warning signs and another is that companies often don’t learn from other companies’ disasters, instead repeating the same mistakes, with tragic outcomes. “They think ‘it won’t happen to me.’ ”
He believes this was the case with the 2011 Listeria outbreak linked to whole cantaloupes from Colorado’s Jensen Farms. “So many people in the industry couldn’t have known, but every year there’s been a Salmonella outbreak traced to cantaloupe,” he said.
The Listeria case was America’s most deadly outbreak of foodborne illness in a generation, with the CDC receiving reports of 33 deaths and a miscarriage.
Direct reporting to CEO
In the US, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act requires CEOs and CFOs to certify the financial reports their companies file are accurate and complete. Marler said CEOs should similarly have to sign off on the adequacy of their food safety, a measure that would ensure it is on par with making money and cutting costs.
He stressed the importance of a direct relationship between the CEO and person responsible for food safety in a company, so they communicate any concerns directly to the CEO. Though critical, this is often lacking, he said.
Why leafy greens are vulnerable
Because they are grown on the ground, leafy greens are at more risk of contamination via animal intrusion or irrigation water and, furthermore, are often eaten with no ‘kill step’ between the harm and the consumer.
“Where produce is grown is critical, keeping animals out of the fields, paying attention to how it is manufactured and packaged, keeping the cold chain correct, all that comes into play. You can look at each outbreak and say there was a mistake made,” Marler said.
Originally published at Eurofresh.

Making Room for the Human Element in Food Safety Auditing
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/making-room-for-the-human-element-in-food-safety-auditing/#.VZN23NiJiHt
By Roy Costa, RS, MS (MBA) (June 23, 2015)
In today’s world of food safety requirements, food producers large and small and at all levels of the supply chain are subject to increasingly rigorous industry-driven food safety standards and audits. Third-party audit standards have been revitalized by the all-too-apparent ineffectiveness of the way external parties verify food safety programs, as brought to light in several foodborne illness outbreaks.
Following the Jensen Farms incident, auditing firms have tightened the process for certification, for example, by raising the minimum score required for certification from 85 percent to 90 percent. In addition, the administration bodies at the major third-party auditing firms are intensely scrutinizing audit results and the performance of auditors. The anticipation of the implementation of FDA’s FSMA turns the pressure up even higher, and it is likely that the third-party standards will incorporate large sections of the new federal rules.
Change is good, and there is a need for better evaluations. The goal, of course, is to provide the industry with auditors who are qualified and capable of identifying unsafe operations so that operators can address them. It is also essential that buyers are made aware of potential problems and so they can make more informed choices about qualifying suppliers.
Auditors now spend about 90 percent of their time in an audit looking at paperwork. The management systems documentation evaluation portion of the audit can take an entire day. Auditors require documentation to verify that an operator is carrying out a total quality management system based on a continuous improvement model. Even small companies must now dedicate personnel strictly to keep up with the increasing demands of more and more detailed documentation.
Outbreaks of foodborne illness are caused by the contamination of foods by pathogens. Investigations of these events very often reveal major lapses in sanitation. It is therefore of great concern when a food safety auditor is spending 90 percent of their time looking at paperwork when the real risks are in the plant or operating environments.
There is also a risk that the industry will become so focused on record-keeping that basic sanitation and other key elements of a food safety program, such as employee hygiene, training and supervision, will begin to falter.
Another troubling aspect of the increasing demand for documentation is the effect this is having on smaller or family-owned and -operated food businesses. The premise for the food safety management system is a good one, but the practical aspects of applying the literally hundreds of management protocols, and all the while keeping up with the fundamental aspects of sanitation and hygiene, has become a major burden for small firms.
While we say the third-party system is a “voluntary system,” that is really not correct. There is simply no market for suppliers without a food safety system. Producers at all levels must implement elaborate managements systems and keep them constantly updated and verified, regardless of the nature of the company, its size or complexity.
To expect a firm operated by a husband and wife, for example, to document every conversation about food safety or have detailed job descriptions is an unrealistic expectation and adds nothing to the safety of the products produced.
In our zeal to perfect our auditing methods, we can lose sight of reality.
A tiered system is probably not possible given the way our third-party standards are developed, but placing small operations — a major portion of the food industry — in an unfair situation is not acceptable.
The inability of an auditor to deal with human elements in the audit process makes a fair determination of conformance with the standard impossible. Rigid, inflexible rules, when they exist just for the sake of rules, are distasteful to everyone concerned and cheapen the value of our service to the industry.

Heinz sued over trans fat false marketing claim
Source : http://www.fooddive.com/news/heinz-sued-over-trans-fat-false-marketing-claim/401137/
By Carolyn Heneghan (June 23, 2015)
Dive Brief:
•H.J. Heinz Co. is the target of a lawsuit filed in California federal court over the company's claims of using no trans fat in the Ore-Ida brand of fries and tater tots, while the products allegedly contained dangerous levels of partially hydrogenated oil.
•"Up until now, the feds' trans-fat labeling policy has been that manufacturers can round down to zero if the product has under 0.5 grams. Heinz has a Nutrition Facts box and a label on the front that state '0g trans fat per serving,' and Backus argues that it's bogus," Grub Street reports. This regulation is now under fire since the FDA mandated food companies to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils — the main source of artificial trans fats — in 3 years last week.
•The lawsuit demands that all mislabeled Ore-Ida Easy products are destroyed, punitive damages at an amount not currently set, and a "corrective" campaign conducted by Heinz.
Dive Insight:
Several other major food companies are already the targets of similar lawsuits. Earlier this month, ConAgra Foods was hit with a lawsuit over its "0g trans fat" claim made on the label for its Crunch 'n Munch caramel popcorn brand.
In May, a California plaintiff filed lawsuits against General Mills Inc. and Nestle USA Inc., both dealing with trans fats. Nestle is accused of false advertising on the label of its Coffee-Mate creamers, which read "0g trans fat" while allegedly containing dangerous levels of partially hydrogenated oil. General Mills escaped the false advertising claim, but was also hit with the claim that the company could have used a healthier option in its baking mixes. On June 2, before the FDA banned trans fats, General Mills claimed partially hydrogenated oils were safe to consume, and on June 8, the company filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Recommended Reading
Law360: Heinz Sued Over Trans Fat Claims On Fries, Tater Tots
 Grub Street: Heinz Just Got Sued Over Trans-Fat Claims
 Top Class Actions: Heinz Sued in Trans Fat False Marketing Class Action Lawsuit

Food safety officers seek clarifications on ITC's Yippee noodles
Source : http://www.firstpost.com/business/doubts-over-nutrition-claims-now-trouble-brewing-for-itcs-yippee-noodles-2305836.html
By FP Staff (June 22, 2015)
After Nestle's Maggi, there seem to be question in store for ITC's Yippee noodles.
According to a report in The Times of India, the Uttarakhand food safety office has sought clarifications from the company about the claims it has made on the label of this popular brand. The company has been asked to respond in 15 days about the nutritional claims it makes on the packet. The notice was issued on Friday, according to the report.
The food safety officials had tested samples of Yippee Magic Masala and Classic Masala from a store in Kaliyar in Haridwar, the report says.
The food safety office has asked the company to provide the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India-approved lab reports about the shelf-life of the both the versions. The aim is to check whether the claim that it is best before nine months from the date of manufacture is correct or not.
ITC, in a clarification sent to Firstpost, had this to say: "The picking up of food samples and seeking of information by Food Safety Officers is a routine occurrence and part of the duties of the Food Safety Officer under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and is not an out of ordinary event requiring  any  cause for concern to the public. ITC’s Yippee! Noodles are in full compliance with food safety laws, and are backed with ITC’s world-class internal laboratories as well as at FSSAI-approved, NABL-accredited external laboratories confirmation.
"The information sought by the Food Safety Officer pertains to statutory declarations required by the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, that appear on the label, and ITC is fully cooperating with the Food Safety Officer in providing the information required by him. It is pertinent to mention that ITC has obtained adequate scientific analysis substantiating all information before making such declarations on the pack."
Interestingly, the move by the food safety officers comes days after the company removed the 'no added MSG' disclaimer from the packs. The move followed recent directions by the FSSAI, said a PTI report.
Announcing its decision, the company had said earlier in a statement that under the Food Safety Standards Act, if a manufacturer adds MSG (monosodium glutamate) in its product, then only the quantum of MSG has to be declared.
Moreover, the FSSAI, in connection with noodles of "another brand" (read Nestle's Maggi), had held that such statement of having no MSG was "inappropriate", ITC said.
"Therefore, ITC is voluntarily taking steps to remove the phrase 'no added MSG' from its labels in its new batches of packaging and consumers should ignore this on the current packaging. ITC would like to once again assure consumers that MSG is not added to Sunfeast YiPPee! Noodles," ITC said.
Unfortunately for ITC, the food safety authorities' action comes at a time when the company is pushing the Yippee brand to make the most of the Maggi debacle.
According to a report in the Business Standard on on 13 June, the company is distributing leaflets among retailers, explaining how it has conducted stringent tests on its products.
"In all these tests, our food products have consistently been found to comply with all regulatory standards," the report cited the leaflet as saying. The retailers are being told to show it to Maggi's loyal customers in a bid to woo them to Yippee.
However, the FSSAI move is in line with the expectations of many an analyst who had predicted the Maggi incident to have a cascading impact on other brands too.
Reliance Securities, for one, had said in a report on Nestle it sees the ignominy extending to all brands in the category in general and not just dent one particular brand as FSSAI pushes to strictly implement the new norms on food safety across all packaged food products.
"This would force all the companies in the segment, like Dabur (in Honey), ITC (Sunfeast, Yipee, Kitchens of India), Britannia, Parle, Pepsico and HUL (Knorr, Kissan, Magnum), to declare in detail the ingredients used in their packaged products," the brokerage had said.
Interestingly, much before the FSSAI crackdown on Nestle began and gave rise to a debate on food safety issues in India, Consumer Education & Research Society (CERS) had found that many popular instant noodles brands are deceiving consumers on nutrition claims they make on the labels.
According to a report in Moneylife published in 2012, in-house laboratory tests conducted by CERS found that 15 brands made fake health claims and have nutritional levels way below their claims.
The brands included Maggi, Top Ramen, Knorr, Ching’s Secret, Sunfeast Yippee!, Foodles, Tasty Treat and Wai Wai X-press.
“Some of the common findings for most of the samples tested included high level of sodium salts, significantly low fibre content, high amount of fats and several other shocking factors. The brands that claimed ‘Healthy’, ‘wholesome’, ‘enriched with proteins and iron’ and ‘full of fibre’, were refuted by the test findings as going way above the safe limit of several harmful elements,” the report quoted CERS as saying in a release.
Clearly, it is high time the FSSAI started testing all the brands in this category.

 

 

 

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


Copyright (C) All right Reserved. FoodHACCP.com. If you have any question, contact to info@foodhaccp.com
TEL) 1-866-494-1208 FAX) 1-253-486-1936