In Atlanta, Cyclospora at Buckhead, Chastain Park Restaurants Sickens Dozens
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/in-atlanta-cyclospora-at-buckhead-chastain-park-restaurants-sickens-dozens/
By Carla Gillespie (Aug 2, 2015)
Dozens of metro Atlanta area residents have parasitic infections from food they ate at Buckhead and Chastain Park restaurants. The illnesses are among 358 Cyclospora infections reported from 26 states.
Cyclospora is a parasite usually associated with travel to developing countries. The infection it produces, called cyclosporiasis, causes profuse, often explosive, diarrhea that can last two months or more. Other cyclosporiasis symptoms, which can also last more than 60 days, include abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms.
Cilantro imported from the Puebla region of Mexico has been identified as the source of at least some of the illnesses. Clusters of illness associated with food from restaurants have been identified in Georgia, Wisconsin and Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In 2013, Cyclospora in commercial bagged salad mix produced by Taylor Farms of Mexico and served at Olive Graden and Red Lobster restaurants sickened 227 peopele in Iowa and Nebraska.
Ryan Osterholm, an attorney with the national food safety law firm PritzkerOlsen, represented an Iowa woman who contracted a Cyclospora infection after eating at an Olive Garden. Her illnesses lasted several weeks and included three trips to the emergency room, according to the complaint.
Salmonella Pork Outbreak in Snohomish, King, Pierce, Yakima, Clark, Thurston, Mason, Kitsap and Grays Harbor Counties
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/salmonella-pork-outbreak-in-snohomish-king-pierce-yakima-clark-thurston-mason-kitsap-and-grays-harbor-counties/#.Vb8LzhEViUl
By Drew Falkenstein (Aug 1, 2015)
The outbreak of Salmonella infections that may be linked to pork products has grown to 90 cases in several counties around the state. The ongoing outbreak is under investigation by state, local, and federal public health agencies.
With the increase in cases, state health officials have asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to send a special team to help with the investigation. This team of “disease detectives” will arrive in Washington next week.
Disease investigators are searching for possible exposure sources from farm to table. An apparent link to pork consumption or contamination from raw pork is the strongest lead, though no specific source has yet been found. The likely source of exposure for some of the ill people appears to have been whole roasted pigs, cooked and served at private events.
The cases, many of which are in King County, appear to have been caused by the same rare strain of Salmonella bacteria, health officials said. The outbreak is linked to Salmonella I, 4, 5, 12:i:-, a germ that has been emerging nationally but has never before been seen in Washington state.
Probably cilantro: Cyclosporiasis outbreak hits 358
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/08/probably-cilantro-cyclosporiasis-outbreak-hits-358/
By Doug Powell (Aug 1, 2015)
The stories we could – and will — tell about implementing on-farm food safety programs for the past 15 years.
cilantro.slugs_.powell.10-300x225Don’t have a shit around fresh produce; don’t make the worker incentives such that they crap in the fields because they lose money if they go to the bathroom; provide decent handwashing facilities, and stop with nonsensical soundbites.
As of July 30, 2015 (11am EDT), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been notified of 358 ill persons with confirmed Cyclospora infection from 26 states in 2015.
Most (199; 56%) ill persons experienced onset of illness on or after May 1, 2015 and did not report international travel prior to symptom onset.
Clusters of illness linked to restaurants or events have been identified in Texas, Wisconsin, and Georgia.
Cluster investigations are ongoing in Texas and Georgia.
Cluster investigations in Wisconsin and Texas have preliminarily identified cilantro as a suspect vehicle.
Investigations are ongoing to identify specific food item(s) linked to the cases that are not part of the identified clusters.
Previous U.S. outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to imported fresh produce, including cilantro from the Puebla region of Mexico. Read the related FDA Import Alert issued July 27, 2015.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health officials have identified annually recurring outbreaks (in 2012, 2013, and 2014) of cyclosporiasis in the United States which have been associated with fresh cilantro from the state of Puebla, Mexico. There is currently (in July 2015) another ongoing outbreak of cyclosporiasis in the United States in which both the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection have identified cilantro from the Mexican state of Puebla as a suspect vehicle with respect to separate illness clusters.
From 2013 to 2015, FDA, SENASICA, and COFEPRIS inspected 11 farms and packing houses that produce cilantro in the state of Puebla, 5 of them linked to the US C. cayetanensis illnesses, and observed objectionable conditions at 8 of them, including all five of the firms linked through traceback to the U.S. illnesses.
Conditions observed at multiple such firms in the state of Puebla included human feces and toilet paper found in growing fields and around facilities; inadequately maintained and supplied toilet and hand washing facilities (no soap, no toilet paper, no running water, no paper towels) or a complete lack of toilet and hand washing facilities; food-contact surfaces (such as plastic crates used to transport cilantro or tables where cilantro was cut and bundled) visibly dirty and not washed; and water used for purposes such as washing cilantro vulnerable to contamination from sewage/septic systems. In addition, at one such firm, water in a holding tank used to provide water to employees to wash their hands at the bathrooms was found to be positive for C. cayetanensis.
Based on those joint investigations, FDA considers that the most likely routes of contamination of fresh cilantro are contact with the parasite shed from the intestinal tract of humans affecting the growing fields, harvesting, processing or packing activities or contamination with the parasite through contaminated irrigation water, contaminated crop protectant sprays, or contaminated wash waters.
CDC: 358 Cyclospora Cases in 26 States Linked to Cilantro
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/08/cdc-358-people-in-26-states-infected-with-cyclospora-linked-to-cilantro/#.Vb8LRBEViUl
By News Desk (Aug 1, 2015)
According to an update posted Friday, July 31, 2015, as of July 30, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had been notified of 358 ill persons with confirmed Cyclospora infection from 26 states so far this year. Most of them (199 people, or 56 percent) experienced the onset of illness on or after May 1, 2015, and did not report international travel prior to developing symptoms.
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-organic-cilantro-image13856360Clusters of illness linked to restaurants or events have been identified in Texas (212 cases), Wisconsin (8 cases), and Georgia, CDC stated.
The CDC update also noted the following:
•Cluster investigations are ongoing in Texas and Georgia.
•Cluster investigations in Wisconsin and Texas have preliminarily identified cilantro as a suspect vehicle.
•Investigations are ongoing to identify specific food items(s) linked to the cases that are not part of the identified clusters.
•Previous U.S. outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to imported fresh produce, including cilantro from the Puebla region of Mexico. Read the related FDA Import AlertExternal Web Site Icon issued July 27, 2015.
•Consumers and retailers should always follow safe produce handling recommendations.
•More information about Cyclospora can be found on CDC’s Cyclospora pages.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Import Alert on July 28 for cilantro imported from the Mexican state of Puebla, citing fecal contamination in certain fields and processing and packing facilities which American and Mexican public health investigators had inspected.
“Conditions observed at multiple such firms in the state of Puebla included human feces and toilet paper found in growing fields and around facilities; inadequately maintained and supplied toilet and hand washing facilities (no soap, no toilet paper, no running water, no paper towels) or a complete lack of toilet and hand washing facilities; food-contact surfaces (such as plastic crates used to transport cilantro or tables where cilantro was cut and bundled) visibly dirty and not washed; and water used for purposes such as washing cilantro vulnerable to contamination from sewage/septic systems,” the alert stated.
According to FDA, CDC and state public health officials have identified annually recurring outbreaks (in 2012, 2013, and 2014) of cyclosporiasis in the U.S. associated with fresh cilantro from the state of Puebla.
CDC has reported that, as of last August, 304 people were sickened in the 2014 outbreak. And, in 2013, a cyclosporiasis outbreak linked to imported salad mix and fresh cilantro sickened 631 people in 25 states.
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6 Food Safety Tips for Your Next Cookout
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/07/6-food-safety-tips-for-your-next-cookout/#.Vb69YxEViUl
By News Desk (July 31, 2015)
August is right around the corner, and if you’re planning a cookout or picnic for the dog days of summer, here are some tips from the Partnership for Food Safety to help keep you and your family and friends from getting sick.
1. Wash Your Hands
Always wash your hands before and after handling food. Proper hand-washing, as described in the Food Code, involves running warm water and using soap on your hands for at least 20 seconds. If running water isn’t available, you can use hand sanitizer.
2. Follow the Two-Hour Rule
The bacteria in perishable foods can multiply rapidly if they sit out for too long. Food shouldn’t be left out for more than two hours. If the day is particularly hot (higher than 90 degree F), it should only be out of refrigeration for one hour.
3. Stock Up On Ice
If you don’t have access to a refrigerator, make sure you have plenty of ice — not just to keep drinks cool but to keep food safe. Don’t keep leftovers unless your cooler has enough ice left to store them in. Otherwise, throw the food out.
4. No Coolers in the Trunk
If you’re transporting food somewhere, keep coolers filled with food in the air-conditioned part of your car instead of in the hot trunk.
5. Keep Foods Separate
Keep wrapped raw meat and poultry separate from cooked foods, fruits and vegetables. For example, don’t slice up the watermelon on the same cutting board that just held pre-cooked burgers. You don’t want any pathogens that might be hanging out on the meat to contaminate ready-to-eat foods.
6. Use a Food Thermometer
When cooking that meat and poultry, use a food thermometer. Many people use color, firmness, clear juices or shrinkage to indicate doneness, but visual cues can’t tell you for sure whether the minimum internal temperatures needed to kill pathogens have been reached. If you don’t own a food thermometer yet, many food safety experts recommend a digital one over a dial.
The target temperatures to remember are 165 degrees F for poultry, casseroles and leftovers. Ground meats and egg dishes need to be cooked to at least 160 degrees F. Fresh beef, pork, veal, lamb and ham should reach 145 degrees F and then rest for at least three minutes. Fish should also be cooked to 145 degrees F.
Before Roasting a Pig, the Pros Advise Food Safety Homework
Source : http://search.naver.com/search.naver?where=nexearch&query=%EC%A0%9C%EC%A3%BC%EB%8F%84+%EA%B7%A4&sm=top_hty&fbm=0&ie=utf8
By Cookson Beecher (July 31, 2015)
While summer often conjures up mouth-watering thoughts of pig roasts, if you’re actually contemplating tackling this culinary feat, some homework is in order. And that includes some homework about food safety. You certainly don’t want to sicken your guests, which can be avoided if you play it safe.
When you roast a whole pig, your first thought may be that since you’ll be cooking the heck out of it, surely you’ll also be killing any bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli that might be on the meat. But that isn’t always the case since some parts of the pig will cook more quickly than others, so a simple jab of the meat thermometer in just one part of the pig isn’t going to tell you the whole story.
And you certainly can’t base your decision of whether the pig is cooked enough by the length of time it’s been cooking and how hungry your guests are.
As with any type of cooking, what you do before and after preparing the roast is also important.
But first, some information gleaned from an Internet search: A very young pig (a suckling pig, for example) won’t have the full flavor or marbling (fat) of a larger pig of about 45 or more pounds. And the reason why a whole pig is often laid out on a platter with an apple in its mouth is that the mouth should be kept open during roasting to help let the heat into the interior cavity. (And you thought that apple was just a last-minute decorative flourish.)
Ways to roast a whole pig
There are all manner of methods to roast a whole pig, among them burying it in a pit, boiling it in oil, cooking it over coals in a pit above ground, and using an electric rotisserie.
The first of these, which originated in Hawaii, brings up thoughts of idyllic celebrations: A wild boar is wrapped in banana leaves and buried in a pit of hot lava stones. Many people who cook whole pigs in a pit have adapted this basic practice but use other “backyard” techniques that involve digging a pit and burning wood in it to build up a bed of coals. This method takes a lot of time, anywhere up to 12 hours in cooking time alone, not to mention the many hours (and often beers) it takes to build up that bed of coals.
Building a pit above ground, usually of cinder blocks, is another popular method, with the pig turned every now and then. But care needs to be taken so the coals don’t flare up and touch the meat and that the equipment you’re using isn’t made of galvanized metal, which can exude toxic fumes. This takes care and diligence on the part of the person cooking the pig. (Important note: The temperature noted in the magazine article cited in the first sentence of this paragraph is lower than the pros in this article advise.)
Perhaps the most popular method is using a rotisserie, which SpitJack prefers. The Massachusetts company specializes in “cooking-with-fire” equipment, not only because it’s “the easiest or tastiest way” to go, but also because it represents ‘the most authentic and entertaining way” to do it.
“There is nothing like watching a whole hog turn slowly over several hours, slowly browning and transforming into a delicious meal,” states SpitJack’s website. The site also refers to roasting a whole pig as “a great American tradition” that has come to symbolize “the essence of the community cookout and the shared work and pleasure that is involved.”
Of course, this is not only an American culinary favorite. Chefs and backyard cooks around the globe also like to cook whole pigs this way.
But, as those who have done it already know, it is not a simple or easy task and, as the SpitJack site notes, “there is much to be considered if everyone is to enjoy the feast.”
In a sometimes humorous article about his experience roasting a whole pig, “Do Not Go Gently into That Pig Roast,” Ryan Tate warns of how “messy and inelegant it can get.”
He also offers this advice: “Finally, remember that no enormous cooking project will be as simple as you imagine. You see a whole pig, and you imagine the roasting, and the eating, and the joy and camaraderie that goes along with it. But don’t forget the transportation, the setup, the fuel management, stray sparks and coal and ash, grease, estimating cooking progress and correcting your schedule, and of course the cleanup.”
A generous helping of food safety
Food safety must be kept in mind from start to finish, say those who roast whole pigs professionally or sell meat-roasting equipment. A good example of why this is so important can be seen in a recent press release from the Washington State Department of Health about an investigation into at least 56 Salmonella infections that department officials say “appear to be linked to eating pork.”
The same release notes that the investigation “shows a potential exposure source of several cases was whole roasted pigs, cooked and served at private events.” (Important note: The temperature noted in the state’s press release is much lower than the temperature advised by the pros interviewed in this article.)
Salmonellosis, the illness caused by Salmonella infection, can cause severe and even bloody diarrhea, fever, chills, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting. Serious bloodstream infections may also occur.
That’s definitely not anything you want at your barbecue.
SpitJack’s Bruce Frankel, a former chef/restauranteur, knows only too well how many mistakes can be made along the way, especially when people don’t follow basic food-safety practices. But he said that when roasted to the right temperature and served properly, a whole pig is perfectly safe to eat.
But he warns that roasting a whole pig is not like cooking a pork roast that you put in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook in the oven. To begin with, a whole pig is usually roasted for a lot more people than would be at a family meal.
“If you’re serving a lot of people, logistics demand more care,” he told Food Safety News. “The bigger the event, the more care needs to be taken.”
He said that the cook should actually be thinking like a caterer and be well-versed in the food-safety practices that caterers are required to follow.
The person or group doing the cooking needs to come into the venture well-prepared. To start with, the quality of the meat needs to be good, whether it’s bought from a farm or a butcher shop. It also needs to be kept cold at the site. Even the USDA stamp can’t ensure that it has been kept at the right temperature. That’s something that needs to be verified.
In most cases, the slaughtered whole pig is picked up and taken home. Being such a large “piece of meat,” means you’re going to have to have something to carry it in, Frankel said. His company sells “transport bags,” which he likens to “body bags.” They can be closed up so bloody water doesn’t drip all over the car. You’ll also need some bags of ice to keep the meat cold.
Where do you put the pig when you get home? Certainly not in the refrigerator; it’s far too large for that. And most coolers aren’t large enough either. “A large enough cooler is not easy to find,” said Frankel.
First things first, though. Hose the pig off and salt it down to help prevent bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli from growing on the surface. You can also wipe it down with towels soaked in a strong salt solution.
Frankel said a common home practice is to put the pig in a bathtub with a lot of ice. Of course, the tub should be cleaned with a bleach solution once the pig is taken out.
Leaving it out on the porch with a cover over it to keep the flies off won’t work since the pig not only needs to be kept clean but also cold. And you don’t want a dog to come along and gnaw off part of a leg.
When it’s time to get the cooking apparatus ready, Frankel advises using food-grade stainless steel (304 0r 316) for the spit. He warned that carbon steel can impart off-flavors to the meat. In addition, galvanized metal can leach toxic zinc and should not be used as a rotisserie spit.
And forget using that old rusty galvanized pipe lying around out in the yard. “You don’t want to poison the meat,” he said, adding, “The entire system needs to be food-safe.”
Cooking the meat
Temperature, of course, is critical — not just the temperature of the meat but also the temperature of the air around the meat. Frankel advised keeping the air temperature around the meat to 225-250 degrees F and cooking the meat to 195 degrees F.
“There’s a culinary reason for that,” he explained. “When meat is cooked this way, it becomes soft and pullable — fork-tender.”
While some federal and state agencies recommend cooking the meat to 165 or 170 degrees F, Frankel said at that temperature you’ll get some bloody meat and blood at the joints.
Barbecuing a whole pig is an entirely different way to cook pork,” he said. “Every part of the animal should be at least 180 degrees.” He also said that at 195 degrees F, there will be no food-safety problems with the meat, at least in the cooking process.
When roasting a whole pig, Frankel said you need to keep an eye on what the temperature is in various parts of the pig since different sections, such as the shoulders and legs, are much thicker than other parts, such as the ribs, which means that some parts will take longer to cook.
That’s why his company offers a package of three thermometers. Two provide not only a constant reading for the leg or shoulder but also a good indication of the ambient, or cooking, temperature. The third thermometer, an instant read thermometer, provides a quick read for any part of the roast.
Frankel emphasized that someone needs to watch that the temperature is OK — at least 175 degrees F. — all the way through the cooking process.
When using a smoker, he recommends cooking the whole animal to beyond the safe temperature.
As for cooking a whole pig in a pit, he warns that there are a lot of variables in this method. “It’s an ancient practice and can be a bit dangerous,” Frankel said.
Serving the meat
For food safety’s sake, the meat shouldn’t go below 140 degrees F for any length of time once it comes off the spit. Frankel recommends quickly cutting up the meat and putting the pieces into containers placed over chafing dishes to keep it warm.
“It’s nice to have hot meat to serve,” he said, pointing out that not only is the meat tastier that way, but it’s also safer.
There’s no need to let the meat “rest” before serving it because it’s been cooking the entire time at a reasonable temperature.
Leftovers should be cooled down and packaged with ice for people to take home.
Challenging, but satisfying
Frankel describes cooking a whole pig as “a tricky thing” and not for the faint of heart.
“But when it’s done right, it’s very satisfying,” he said. “It’s a great show to see the meat turning on the spit and a great feeling to know that you’ve done it right.”
He also said that providing people with the proper information about food safety pertaining to cooking a whole pig is an important issue that needs to be pursued.
“People should know how to make sure it’s safe all the way through — until the last leftover has been eaten,” Frankel said.
Another vote for food safety
Lance Anderson of Marv’s Marvlus Pit BBQ Catering also can’t stress enough the importance of food safety.
“It’s our number-one priority,” he told Food Safety News.
It’s important not to make people sick, plus a company’s reputation is based on word of mouth.
“It can go two ways,” Anderson said. “Really good and customers will tell other people and you get more customers, or really bad and you can lose your business.”
He said that roasting a whole pig to the proper temperature is standard practice for his business. “Our business model is to cook the fresh pork on site and serve it,” he said.
Pointing out that Salmonella can’t live at temperatures higher than 160-165 degrees F, Anderson said that Marv’s cooks whole pigs they bring to a site to 200-205 degrees F.
“We go way above and beyond,” he said, adding that if people want them to cook the pig to a lower temperature, they won’t go. “There’s just too much risk involved,” Anderson said.
Marv’s also provides coolers with ice. And they won’t leave the leftovers behind unless they know the people will use the ice to keep it cold.
“Most people are good about it,” he said, “although we rarely have leftovers.”
Summing up some of the principles his company follows, Anderson said that using the proper equipment, making sure the cooking and serving temperatures are right, and working in a clean environment are critical.
“The risks can be severe, especially for older people and children,” he said, referring to foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella and E. coli.
Anderson compared the know-how required when roasting a whole pig to services that other companies provide.
“If your car needs to get fixed, you take it to a mechanic,” he said. “If you want a haircut, you go to a barber. Roasting a whole pig is similar — sometimes it’s better to leave it to the professionals.”
Some physical safety tips
When a pig is being cooked, it’s a jacket of hot fat, Frankel noted. This is why it’s so important to have a drip pan or sand for the drippings to fall into so the coals won’t flare up into flames.
“It’s like a bomb when a pig catches fire,” he said. “It explodes. That’s why you need to have a fire extinguisher for grease fires handy.”
In addition, since you’ll be working with very hot objects, you shouldn’t wear loose clothing that can catch on fire or shoes that are not fire-safe. Long, heavy leather gloves are also advised when handling hot objects and food-safe gloves for processing or transporting the meat.
If you’re using an electric motor, make sure the power cord is away from the fire and that any extension cord used is properly rated and secured.
Frankel also said that there should be nothing near the rotisserie that people can trip over and to make sure that kids are kept at a safe distance.
\It’s also important that the operator doesn’t drink alcohol. “If you’re managing an open fire, you should be sober,” he said.
Salmonella: Stop kissing turtles and stop touching yourself
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/07/salmonella-stop-kissing-turtles-and-stop-touching-yourself/
By Doug Powell (July 31, 2015)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that in May 2014, a cluster of human Salmonella Poona infections was identified through PulseNet, the national molecular subtyping network for foodborne disease surveillance.
Historically, this rare serotype has been identified in multiple Salmonella outbreaks associated with pet turtle exposure and has posed a particular risk to small children (1,2). Although the sale and distribution of small turtles (those with carapace [upper shell] lengths <4 inches [<10.2 cm]) is prohibited by federal law, they are still available for legal purchase online for “bona-fide” scientific, educational, or exhibition purposes, other than use as pets (3). In addition, small turtles are still available for illegal purchase through transient street vendors, at flea markets, and at fairs.
During April 26–September 22, 2014, a total of 40 persons infected with Salmonella Poona pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern JL6X01.0055 (the outbreak strain) were reported from 12 states. Patients ranged in age from <1 to 75 years (median = 5 years); 16 (40%) patients were aged ≤1 year, and 14 (35%) were female. Among 29 ill persons for whom information about hospitalization was available, eight (28%) were hospitalized; no deaths were reported. Among 28 ill persons who were interviewed, 13 (46%) reported exposure to turtles. Three ill persons reported the size of the turtles, and all identified turtles <4 inches in length. The outbreak strain was isolated from a pet turtle in a California patient’s home. Turtles had been obtained from several types of locations, including a carnival and a fair. The transient nature of turtle vendors hampered the traceback investigation. No other common food or animals were identified during the course of the investigation.
This outbreak demonstrates that turtles remain a source for human Salmonella infections, especially for young children. Because 40% of ill persons were infants aged ≤1 year and were unlikely to directly handle pet turtles, the potential role of indirect transmission in turtle-associated salmonellosis outbreaks should be considered. Turtles in the home could lead to environmental contamination with Salmonella bacteria and result in human illness. Educational campaigns directed toward parents of young children, in conjunction with the federal turtle ban, might help to prevent future turtle-associated salmonellosis outbreaks.
1Epidemic Intelligence Service, CDC; 2Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC; 3California Department of Public Health; 4City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, Long Beach, California.
Corresponding author: Colin Basler, firstname.lastname@example.org, 404-639-2214.
CDC. Eight multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to small turtles (final update). Available at http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/small-turtles-03-12/index.html.
CDC. Notes from the field: outbreak of salmonellosis associated with pet turtle exposures—United States, 2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2013;62:213.
Code of Federal Regulations. Turtles intrastate and interstate requirements, 21 C.F.R. § 1240.62 (2014). Available at http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=1240.62External Web Site Icon.
Notes from the Field: Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Poona Infections Associated with Pet Turtle Exposure — United States, 2014
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Report
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Washington Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Whole Roasted Pigs
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/washington-salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-whole-roasted-pigs/
By Linda Larsen (July 30, 2015)
The Salmonella outbreak in Washington state that has sickened at least 61 people in eight counties may be linked to whole roasted pigs. The pigs were apparently served at several private events around the state.
Those sickened live in King, Snohomish, Mason, Thurston, Pierce, Grays Harbor, Yakima, and Clark counties. Five people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. All of those sickened have the same strain of Salmonella bacteria.
Investigators continue to look at food and environmental sources for the pathogenic bacteria. The outbreak is linked to either pork consumption or contamination from raw pork.
Cross-contamination is a common cause of food poisoning. When raw meats or eggs come into contact with food that is not cooked before eating, such as fruits and vegetables, the bacteria easily transfers. Then when people eat those raw foods, they can become ill. Foods can also become contaminated after cooking. If raw pork comes into contact with cooked pork, for example, and then the cooked pork is not held at a safe temperature, the cooked meat will be contaminated and can make people sick.
Salmonella symptoms include fever, chills, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea that may be bloody and/or watery. If the bacteria get into the bloodstream, sepsis, a serious infection, can occur. Usually about 20% of those sickened with Salmonella bacteria need to be hospitalized because their illnesses are so severe.
If you live in Washington state and have experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor. She will order tests to see if the bacteria has caused your illness.
If you do have a Salmonella infection, the illness will be reported to the state. To solve these outbreaks, it’s important that everyone sickened is included in the case count. Your case may offer a clue that will solve the outbreak. In addition, the long term consequences of a Salmonella infection can be serious, including irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Your doctor should know about this illness.
70 Sickened in May WI Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pork Carnitas
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/07/70-sickened-in-wisconsin-salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-pork-carnitas/#.Vb8MYREViUl
By News Desk (July 30, 2015)
The final case count for the Salmonella outbreak in Kenosha County, WI, in May was 70 people.
The illnesses, first reported to the Kenosha County Division of Health (KCDOH) on May 14, were eventually linked to pork carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales during Mother’s Day weekend (May 8-10, 2015).
A public health nurse conducted case investigations on the reports and detected that at least 10 people were ill with similar complaints after eating food purchased from one food establishment. The chief complaints reported included diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, abdominal cramping and fever.
The meat and food preparation area of Supermercado Los Corrales was temporarily closed during the investigation on May 18 and reopened June 4.
In early July, Health Officer Cynthia Johnson presented a case study of the outbreak to the Kenosha County Human Services Committee meeting.
Some of the investigation’s majors strengths, Johnson said, were the early identification of illnesses, the department’s Incident Command System, and collaboration with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health Communicable Disease team, the Kenosha Unified School District staff, local and regional media, and the Kenosha County government.
She also identified two areas for improvement. The efficiency of entering data into the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System should be improved, and the Kenosha County phone system should be reviewed for effective utilization during an event.
How to Use the ‘Best-By’ Dates on Your Food
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/07/how-to-use-the-best-by-dates-on-your-food/#.Vb6_jBEViUl
By Lydia Zuraw (July 29, 2015)
With food waste and ugly food making headlines again in recent weeks, we wanted to give you a reminder of what food date labels actually mean.
The key takeaway is that a “best-by” or “sell-by” date is not an expiration date and doesn’t necessarily mean that the safety of the food product declines after that date.
All the date labels come from the manufacturer and are aimed at different audiences.
BestBy_406x250A “best-by” or “use-by” date is guidance for consumers to get the best experience of the product, says David Fikes, vice president of Consumer/Community Affairs and Communications for the Food Marketing Institute.
A “sell-by” date is geared toward the retailer. “While it’s OK for the consumer to see that date, it’s really more for stocking purposes,” he says.
You’ll only see an “expiration date” on infant formula because it’s required by law, but not on other foods.
“Babies rely on all the nutrients present in the formula,” Fikes says. “They put an expiration date on that to let you know when the nutrients may have diminished to the point where it may not be sustainable for the infant.”
Once a food product does pass its “best-by” date, Fikes says “it doesn’t mean it’s diminished or unsafe if you eat it beyond the date,” although the information does carry a little more weight for dairy and deli products.
While FMI wouldn’t make a blanket statement that date labels have nothing to do with food safety, they’re more about quality.
Fikes, FMI and Cornell University recently worked with the Department of Agriculture to broaden their brochure about keeping food safe into a mobile app called FoodKeeper. It includes storage timelines, cooking tips, and access to USDA’s “Ask Karen” feature.
One of the reasons behind FoodKeeper is to help consumers cut down on food waste. Producers are going to hedge their bets a little bit about the date on the product, Fikes says. Once the food leaves the grocery store, they have no say in how it’s stored, so they use a date that takes into account the fact that the food may not be kept at the most optimal conditions. This is why most products are fine beyond their date label.
The app is also designed to help consumers get their money’s worth from the foods they buy. “No one wants products going to the landfill,” Fikes says.
Less Than Half of Consumers Wash Hands After Handling Eggs
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/less-than-half-of-consumers-wash-hands-after-handling-eggs/
By Linda Larsen (July 29, 2015)
A new study published in the Journal of Food Protection has found that only 48% of consumers wash their hands after handling raw eggs. Eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, and that food-pathogen combination sickens thousands of Americans every year.
Researchers were from RTI International, Tennessee State University, and Kansas State University. The study was partially funded by the Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
A 2013 web survey of 1,504 adult grocery shoppers was conducted. Based on self-reported data, most consumers store eggs in the fridge, as recommended, for no more than 3 to 5 weeks, as recommended. But after cracking eggs, 48.1% of respondents washed their hands with soap and water. And more than half of respondents cooked fried and/or poached eggs so the whites and/or yolks were still soft and runny, which can lead to food poisoning.
Thirteen percent of consumers rinse or wash eggs before cooking, which can increase the chance of cross-contamiantion with another food. Twenty-five percent eat raw, homemade cookie dough or cake batter made with eggs. And just 5.2% of consumers used a food thermometer to check for the doneness of baked egg dishes.
Salmonella enteritidis, the bacteria found most often on shells eggs, is one of the most common sources of Salmonella outbreaks. Eggs are the most common source of the bacteria.
Cooking eggs properly and using a food thermometer to check the final internal temperature are important because Salmonella bacteria can actually be inside the egg. Many egg-laying hens have the pathogenic bacteria in their ovaries, so the shell forms around the contaminated material.
The last large Salmonella outbreak linked to eggs was in 2010, when almost 2,000 people were sickened after eating eggs produced by Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms in Iowa. More than 650,000,000 eggs were recalled as a result of that outbreak.
So consumers followed the “separate” and “chill” recommendations of the four core food safety messages, but ignored the “cook” and “clean” recommendations. The study recommends that to prevent Salmonella infections associated with shell eggs, consumers should improve these practices. The study will be used to develop science-based consumer education materials.
Food & Water Watch Wants SEC To Reject GMO Salmon Stock Filings
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/food-water-watch-wants-sec-to-reject-gmo-salmon-stock-filings/
By Linda Larsen (July 29, 2015)
Food & Water Watch has called on the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to reject the stock registration filings of AquaBounty Technologies (ABTX), the maker of genetically engineered salmon, based on “misleading and erroneous claims the company is making in its attempt to join the NASDAQ stock exchange.” The letter asks the SEC to make AquaBounty revise their document, since new scientific evidence allegedly shows GMO salmon do not grow as quickly as AquaBounty claims, and that the fish experience unique diseases.
The letter was sent to Sean McKessy, Chief of the Office of the Whistleblower at the SEC. It claims that “omissions, errors, and false statements [were] found in Form 10 regulatory findings submitted to the SEC by AquaBounty Technologies.”
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch said in a statement, “it’s one thing for AquaBounty to peddle fairy tales about its magical fish at industry conferences, but when you are play9ing with other people’s money, there’s no room for mythology. Investors need to know that GMO salmon doesn’t grow faster than conventional Atlantic salmon and that it may experience unique health issues, which raise environmental, animal health, and food safety concerns.”
The government of Canada recently released a risk assessment of the fish, which showed dramatically diminished growth rates of GMO salmon in the company’s facility. Hauter added, “again and again, we see that AquaBounty is unwilling to provide the public a truthful, accurate accounting of limits and risks of GMO salmon.”
The Canadian study found that these GMO salmon are more susceptible to a “type of disease-causing bacteria than are domesticated salmon,” according to the letter. The fish is more susceptible to A. salmonicida than domesticated salmon and is highly susceptible to Infectious Salmon Anemia virus.” This information was not disclosed to potential investors.
The GMO salmon is undergoing regulatory review by the FDA and isn’t being commercially produced yet. Consumer polls show opposition to this type of fish, and several major retail outlets, including Kroger and Safeway, have stated they will not offer it for sale in their stores.
Brain Eating Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/brain-eating-amoeba-found-in-louisiana-water/
By Linda Larsen (July 29, 2015)
Last Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals found the amoeba Naegleria fowleri in St. Bernard Parish water system at a leaking sampling station. This system provides water for 44,000 residents in that parish. Louisiana has a new public drinking water surveillance program and this testing is part of that program.
On July 28, 2015, the DHH issued another report stating that the Naegleria fowler amoeba was found in the Ascension Consolidated Utility District 1, which serves 1,800 residents in a small community north of Donaldsonville. A 60-day chlorine burn will be conducted at that site as well. That water system was not in compliance with the requirements for chloramine disinfectant levels. Tap water is safe for residents to drink, but, do not let the water get in your nose.
The DHH has told the parish to conduct a 60–day chlorine burn to kill any remaining amoeba in the system. The water system has met requirements for collarbone disinfectant levels. Five other sites on that system tested negative for the amoeba.
Officials say that the tap water in St. Bernard Parish is safe for people to drink, but the Department “urges residents to avoid getting water in their noses.” These infections are very rare, but testing for this amoeba in public drinking water is new. there have been three deaths in Louisiana caused by this amoeba over the last few years.
The amoeba causes an illness called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is an infection that destroys brain tissue. The early stages of the illness are similar to bacterial meningitis.
The CDC has issued precautions to reduce the risk of this infection. Residents should use these precautions until testing no longer finds the amoeba in the water system.
Focus on limiting water that goes up your nose. Do not allow water to go up your nose or sniff water into your nose when bathing, showering, washing your face, or swimming in small pools. Do not jump into or put your head under bathing water in bathtubs and small plastic or blow-up pools. Do not let children play unsupervised with hoses or sprinklers and avoid slip-n-slides and other activities where water may go up the nose. Keep small plastic and blow up pools clean by emptying them, scrubbing them, and letting them dry after each use. Keep your swimming pool adequately disinfected by making sure free chlorine is at 1 to 3 ppm and a pH of 7.2 to 7.8. Hot tubs should have a free chlorine level of 2 to 4 pop and pH 7.2 to 7.8.
Run the water for baths and showers, and hoses, for five minutes before use to flush out the pipes. This is crucial the first time you use the tap water after the utility increases the disinfectant level. Only use boiled and cooled, distilled, or sterile water for neti pots.
Barber Foods Salmonella Stuffed Chicken Entrees Sicken Nine
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/barber-foods-stuffed-chicken-entrees-sicken-nine/#.Vb8M0REViUl
By Bruce Clark (July 29, 2015)
CDC, several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to raw, frozen, stuffed chicken entrees produced by Barber Foods.
Nine people infected with a strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from four states: Illinois (1), Minnesota (6), Oklahoma (1), and Wisconsin (1). Three of these ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory conducted antibiotic resistance testing on clinical isolates collected from four ill people infected with the outbreak strain.
All four (100%) isolates tested were resistant to ampicillin and tetracycline.
Antibiotic resistance may be associated with increased risk of hospitalization, development of a bloodstream infection, or treatment failure in patients.
Barber Foods issued an expanded recall of approximately 1.7 million pounds of frozen, raw stuffed chicken products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis on July 12, 2015. This recall expanded the initial Barber Foods recall of chicken Kiev on July 2, 2015.
Products were sold under many different brand names, including Barber Foods, Meijer, and Sysco.
Products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-276” on the packaging.
Products were shipped to retail locations nationwide and Canada.
A list of recalled products is available.
Photos of recalled product labels are available.
On July 13, 2015, Omaha Steaks issued a recall of stuffed chicken breast entrees that may be contaminated with Salmonella.
Products were manufactured by Barber Foods and sold under the Omaha Steaks label.
Products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-4230A” on the packaging.
A list of recalled products is available and includes chicken cordon bleu, chicken Kiev, and chicken with broccoli and cheese.
Consumers should check their freezers for recalled frozen chicken products and should not eat them. Retailers should not sell them and restaurants should not serve them.
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.
China, Taiwan Strengthen Food Safety Laws
Source : http://www.asianscientist.com/2015/07/health/china-taiwan-food-safety-laws/
By Asian Scientist Newsroom (July 28, 2015)
Both Chinese and Taiwanese governments have taken steps to enhance food safety in their respective countries, say panelists at an event hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists.
China and Taiwan have enhanced the powers of their Food and Drug Administrations to be more effective in ensuring food safety and guarding against food fraud, according to a panel discussion at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago.
“Food fraud is an important food safety issue internationally but is more common in China,” said Zheng Chen of the international division of the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology. “The Chinese government has decided to take strong strategies and measures to fight against food fraud.”
He outlined some historical instances of food fraud in China from adulterated liquor made by industrial methanol to starch-based infant formulas to fox meat being identified as mutton. Some of China's recent strategies to guard against these frauds were identified in a presentation created by Dr. Chen Junshi of the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment which included the 2015 Black List by China's Ministry of Health. The list identifies 24 categories of non-authentic substances from dyes to boric acid to opium prohibited as ingredients in food products.
“Food fraud is intentional,” Zheng added, “and has very clear economic motivation.”
China is not alone in dealing with food fraud. Taiwan has recently reorganized its Food and Drug Administration to enhance quality controls for inspection and safety of imported food products, particularly since the country's self-sufficiency has dropped to 33 percent, according to Ms. Jenny Chang Yueh-Ing, executive director of the International Life Sciences Institute in Taiwan.
Chang said Taiwan is reliant on imports for fresh frozen and preserved vegetables and fruits, seasonings, instant noodles as well as tea, since in the last six months pesticide residue has been found on tea leaves in Taiwan.
More than 20,000 food businesses and food factories are operating in Taiwan, she said. Registration by these businesses will be mandatory by Dec. 10, 2015, and constituents of food additives will also have to register with the government.
New regulations under the Food Safety Act will govern food, safety and sanitation and require good hygiene practices, accredited certification programs particularly for the cooking oil industry which has faced fraud in recent years. In addition, food safety control systems will be implemented for fishery and meat products, dairy products and boxed meals.
Taiwan is also requiring that genetically modified food raw materials be identified on food labeling as well as trans fats, sugars and allergens. Food labels in Taiwan also must include specific language on ingredients.
Zhang Jinjing of the China Food and Drug Administration added that the newly amended food safety laws in China focus on health food regulation, create a new set of requirements and registration for advertisement and labeling of health foods, as well as vitamins and nutritional supplements, which can no longer claim they are a ‘medicine’ that improve various ailments. Read more from Asian Scientist Magazine at: http://www.asianscientist.com/2015/07/health/china-taiwan-food-safety-laws/
Cilantro Tainted by Human Waste Sickens Eight in Wisconsin
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/cilantro-tainted-by-human-waste-sickens-eight-in-wisconsin/
By Carla Gillespie (July 28, 2015 )
Cyclosporiasis form cilantro? We can help.
Eight people in Wisconsin contracted Cyclospora infections after eating cilantro imported from Mexico that was grown in fields contaminated with human waste. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has put a ban on summer imports of cilantro form the implicated area, says the illnesses are part of a two-state outbreak of parasitic infections that includes more than 200 cases in Texas.
Cyclospora infections are usually associated with travel to developing counties. When ingested in its mature state, the parasite causes an infection called cyclosporiasis which causes profuse, often explosive, diarrhea that can last up to two months. Other symptoms of cyclosporiasis, which can also last more than 60 days, include abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms.
Normally, only about 150 cases are reported throughout the U.S. each year and most of them are associated with travel to developing countries. But for three straight summers, Americans have endured major Cyclospora outbreaks linked to contaminated cilantro from the Puebla region of Mexico.
To identify the source of these outbreak, the FDA and Mexican regulatory officials investigated farms and packing houses in Puebla and other areas of Mexico to see if conditions and work practices may have led to contamination of the cilantro. Since 2013, they have visited 11 Puebla farms and packing houses that produce cilantro and found that all but three of them had serious problems including five operations that were linked through traceback investigations to the U.S. outbreaks.
The conditions they observed included “human feces and toilet paper found in growing fields and around facilities,” according to the FDA announcement of the ban. They also found inadequately maintained and supplied toilet and hand washing facilities meaning these facilities lacked soap, toilet paper, paper towels or running water. Some operations had no toilet or hand washing facilities. The crates used to transport the vegetables were visibly dirty, and water used to wash cilantro was vulnerable to contamination from sewage/septic systems. At one firm, water in a holding tank used for employee hand washing contained Cyclospora.
Based on these findings, the FDA concluded that cilantro was being contaminated when the parasite was shed in human feces left in the growing fields and processing areas. and the agency issued an import alert on cilantro from that area. The alert allows U.S. officials to detain without physical inspection any cilantro shipments from the Puebla region from April 1 through August 31. It covers fresh in tact and chopped cilantro,
So far this summer, 205 cases have been reported in Texas and at least eight cases have been reported in Wisconsin.
Most of the Texas cases are in Travis County which includes the Austin metropolitan area. The metro areas of Austin, Dallas and San Antonio have also been hard hit.
Health officials say anyone who has cyclosporiasis symptoms should see a doctor. Tests can confirm if there is a parasitic infection and antibiotics can help to clear it.
In 2014, 126 people in Texas were sickened by cilantro sold at grocery stores and served at restaurants. Health officials never disclosed the name of the establishments linked to the outbreak because there was was no product left to test by the time illnesses were discovered.
A 2013 Cyclospora outbreak sickened 270 Texans. Hundreds of people in 25 other states were also sickened by Cyclospora that year, but only the Texas cases were linked to cilantro. In Iowa and Nebraska, 227 cases were linked to a salad mix produced by Taylor Farms of Mexico which were served at Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants.
Elliot Olsen, an attorney with the national food safety law firm PritzkerOlsen, filed a lawsuit on behalf of an Iowa woman who contracted cyclosporiasis after eating at an Olive Garden. She made three trips to the emergency room during her weeks-long illness. Olsen said Cyclospora symptoms can be so debilitating that those sickened miss weeks of work.
As in years past, Health officials have not released the names of the stores where the contaminated product was sold or the names of the restaurants that served it. But they urge anyone in Wisconsin, Texas or other states, who has eaten cilantro and who is experiencing these symptoms to see a doctor and mention possible exposure to Cyclospora.
Although Cilantro and salad greens have been linked to recent outbreaks, the are not the only kinds of produce that have been linked to Cyclospora outbreaks. Raspberries, snow peas, basil, and mesclun have been named as outbreak sources in the past.
FDA Warning Letters: Dairy, Seafood, and Cheese Producers
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/07/fda-warning-letters-dairy-seafood-and-cheese-producers/#.Vb8JWhEViUl
By News Desk (July 27, 2015)
Four food companies received warnings about their operations in the latest batch of warning letters posted last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
R-Dream Farms LLC in Corry, PA, sold a dairy cow last August which was found to have cefazolin in its kidney tissues. FDA has not established a tolerance for residues of cefazolin in dairy cows to be processed for human food, so the presence of the drug in the animal’s edible tissue caused the food to be adulterated, FDA stated.
L & L Crab’s seafood processing facility in New Iberia, LA, had “serious violations” of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) regulations, as did Honolulu seafood processing facility Ham Produce & Seafood Inc.
L & L Crab’s frozen vacuum-packed crayfish tail meat, fresh crab meat, and frozen vacuum-packed crab meat products were considered adulterated by FDA “because they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health.”
The company’s HACCP plans lacked certain critical control points and critical limits and did not identify the hazard of environmental chemicals for crab meat, FDA stated. In addition, L & L Crab did not record monitoring observations listed in the plan for crab meat.
Ham Produce & Seafood’s fresh, refrigerated seafood products, including histamine-forming fish, tuna, were considered adulterated.
The company failed to take corrective action when temperatures recorded critical limits and failed to deal with cross-contamination from a dirty ice container, cutting knives stored in unsanitary areas, and hand-washing.
Miami cheese manufacturer Oasis Brands Inc. shut down after a sample of its Lacteos Santa Martha Quesito Casero Fresh Curd cheese product and environmental samples from the manufacturing facility tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.
“We appreciate that you discontinued processing and repacking,” FDA wrote. “If you have resumed, or plan to resume repacking, we request that you provide us with documentation demonstrating that you are adequately controlling the hazard of L. monocytogenes at your facility.”
The letter stated that Oasis failed to clean and sanitize equipment “in a manner that protects against contamination of food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials” and failed to report to the Reportable Food Registry within 24 hours of determining that an article of food could cause serious adverse health consequences or death.
In each letter, FDA requested that the companies provide written responses detailing steps taken to bring the facilities into compliance with food-safety laws and regulations, to correct violations cited in the letters, and to prevent their recurrence.
Recipients of these warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to outline specific steps they have taken to come into compliance with the law.
How Grocery Store Delis Can Manage Food Safety Risks
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/07/how-grocery-store-delis-can-manage-food-safety-risks/#.Vb8J2REViUl
By Lydia Zuraw (July 27, 2015)
As grocery stores offer more and more prepared foods to consumers in their delis, they need to keep in mind the safety of what they sell.
“It’s important for them to have proper planning in place before they start taking on some of these new products,” says Martin Bucknavage, Senior Food Safety Extension Associate at Penn State.
Smaller chains and independent grocery stores are at a disadvantage because they don’t necessarily have the technical support that large retail chains do, he adds.
“It’s important for them to really understand what the risks are,” Bucknavage says.
The risks associated with food prepared by grocery stores are the same as the general foodborne illness risk factors identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: purchasing food from unsafe sources, failing to cook food correctly, holding food at incorrect temperatures, contaminated equipment, and poor personal hygiene.
Bucknavage thinks it can be dangerous to identify one risk as more critical than the others for grocery stores. Making sure display cases stay out of the “danger zone” (between 40 degrees and 140 degrees F) is important, but so, too, is employee health and cross-contamination prevention. One source of potential contamination is a meat slicer that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned.
In addition, each store deals with different foods, processes, equipment and staff that can change the extent of the danger posed by different food safety risks.
The Food and Drug Administration says that control of foodborne illness risk starts with having a knowledgeable person in charge, such as a certified food manager, who fosters a culture of food safety in the organization, followed by food safety management systems in place to help control risks.
Marjorie Jones, head of Client Management Retail at NSF International, says that certain steps are critical for an effective food safety program: action from the highest levels of the company, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and good manufacturing practices (GMPs), employee training, and verification inspections and testing.
The food safety program also needs to be implemented before any training, auditing or testing happens, Jones adds.
The SOPs and GMPs used to train employees are typically developed to follow the recommendations of the FDA Model Food Code and any state or local requirements.
House of Representatives Passes DARK Act
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/house-of-representatives-passes-dark-act/
By Linda Larsen (July 27, 2015)
Center for Food Safety is expressing “deep disappointment” that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, a bill that will not allow state and local governments to label and regulate genetically engineered foods. The bill codifies a voluntary labeling system approach, blocks the FDA from ever implementing mandatory GE food label, and would let food companies make misleading claims about how “natural” GE foods are.
The bill is officially named The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. But opponents have dubbed it Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act.
Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety said in a statement, “passage of this bill is an attempt by Monsanto and its agribusiness cronies to crush the democratic decision-making of tens of millions of Americans. Corporate influence has won and the voice of the people has been ignored.”
In addition, some language in the bill may stop local and state governments from having any control over GMO crops. Some communities have tried to establish “GMO-free zones”, but this legislation would overturn all of those laws and prevent new ones from being implemented.
CFS continues, “as written, H.R. 1599 has sweeping preemptive effect, which could negate well over 130 existing statutes, regulations, and ordinances in 43 states at the state and municipal level. This radical federal overreach could take away local governments’ ability to enact measures to address the specific locality’s cultural, agricultural, and ecological concerns, issues that have been been recognized as falling under local governments’ traditional police powers.”
Sixty four countries around the world require GE food labels and have not reported higher food costs as a result, which is an argument brought up by food corporations. And more than 30 states introduced legislation requiring labels on these foods in 2013 and 2014. Many lost after supporters were outspent by huge corporations.
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