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08/14. Group Product Director – Food Safety - Lenexa, KS
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FoodHACCP Newsletter
08/17 2015 ISSUE:665

Boy, 8, Among 134 Sickened in Washington Salmonella Outbreak
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/boy-8-among-134-sickened-in-washington-salmonella-outbreak/
By Carla Gillespie (Aug 16, 2015)
An 8-year-old boy is among those sickened in a Washington Salmonella outbreak linked to contaminated pork. At least 134 people have fallen ill after eating contaminated pork served at a number of pig roasts and other gatherings. Sixteen people have been hospitalized.
The pork was produced by linked the outbreak to pork produced by Kapowsin Meats of Graham, Wash. On August 13, the company recalled approximately 116,262 pounds of whole pigs that may be contaminated with Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-.
Those sickened reported onset of illness dates from April 25, 2015 to August 1, 2015.  They range in age from 1 to 90, with a median age of 35.
Salmonella causes symptoms including nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhea that develop within six to 72 hours of exposure and last up tot a week. Anyone in Washington who has been to a pig roast and is experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor and mention possible exposure to Salmonella.

Vibrio Outbreak Sickens 67 in Canada
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/vibrio-outbreak-sickens-67-in-canada/
By Carla Gillespie (Aug 16, 2015)
A Vibrio outbreak linked to raw oysters has sickened 67 people in Canada. The illnesses have been reported in British Columbia and Alberta.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria naturally occurs in coastal waters during warmer months. Shellfish that is contaminated with Vibrio doesn’t smell or taste off but it does cause illness.
Symptoms of aVibrio parahaemolyticus infection include watery or bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps lasting about three days.Young children, seniors, those with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are at highest risk for illness.
Most of the illnesses in this outbreak were reported between June 1 and August 7, 2015. The investigation is ongoing.

Legionnaires Disease the Source of Most Waterborne Outbreaks
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/legionnaires-disease-the-source-of-most-waterborne-outbreaks/
By Carla Gillespie (Aug 16, 2015)
Legionnaires’ Disease was the source of more than 80 percent of waterborne outbreaks between 2011 and 2012, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During that time period, 280 people from 11 states were sickened in 18 outbreaks. reported. Sixty seven people were hospitalized, 10 people died.
Fifteen of the 18 outbreaks reported during that time were associated with Legionnaires’ Disease, which is transmitted by inhaling contaminated water mist  These outbreaks, which occurred in hotels, motels, hospitals and health care facilities, sickened 254 people, killing 10 of them. Specific sources included contaminated ornamental fountains, a cooling tower and a storage tank.
Legionnaires’ Disease causes pneumonia-like symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue, confusion, aches and lung inflammation. Symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure.
People contract Legionnaires’ Disease by from showers, faucets, whirlpools, swimming pools, fountains or cooling towers in air conditioning systems. It cannot be transmitted from person to person.
New York City is currently experiencing its worst-ever Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak. At least 124 people have been sickened, 12 have died.
Most of the cases are in the South Bronx and have been reported since mid-July. Cooling towers at a hospital, hotel and three other buildings associated with the illnesses tested positive for legionella, the bacteria that cause Legionnaires Disease.

Food safety is simple ... if you’re careful
Source : http://www.sctimes.com/story/life/wellness/2015/08/14/food-safety-simple-careful/31729193/
By Stephanie Dickrell (Aug 15, 2015)
There are about 48 million cases of food-borne illness annually, according to the Food and Drug Administration — the equivalent of about 1 in 6 Americans each year.
Each year these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
With statistics like those, and the experience of food poisoning many of us have had at one time or another, it’s worth it to think about food safety.
And for some, the risk is higher, including pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.
Here are a few quick tips from the FDA:
Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Use warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets.
Wash your stuff. Keep surfaces, cooking tools and utensils clean by using hot soapy water.
Wash your food. Rinse fresh fruits and veggies, including those with rinds or skins not eaten. Use a clean vegetable brush for items with firm skin like potatoes.
Even wash the cans. With canned goods, clean the lids before opening.
Separate. A good rule is to keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods. Even in your grocery cart, grocery bags and refrigerator. Use separate cutting boards for produce and raw meat, poultry or seafood.
Cook the heck out of it. Or at least to the safe cooking temperatures the FDA recommends. For example, for beef and pork, that’s 165 degrees. Meat thermometers are your friend. Color does not a safe burger make.
Then cool it. Refrigerate meat, poultry, eggs and seafood and other perishables within two hours of cooking or purchasing. Do so even sooner in hot weather.
Defrost, safely. Defrost food in the fridge, in cool water or in the microwave. Do not thaw at room temperature.
Don’t stuff it in. Air needs to circulate in the fridge, so leave some room. And separate large amounts of leftovers in smaller containers for quicker cooling. Added bonus? These are ready-to-go lunches if you pack them right.
For more information, including safe cooking times for a variety of foods, visit www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/BuyStoreServeSafeFood/ucm255180.htm

NYC’s Largest-Ever Legionnaires’ Outbreak Sickens 124
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/nycs-largest-ever-legionnaires-outbreak-sickens-124/
By News Desk (Aug 15, 2015)
At least 124 people have been sickened in New York City’s worst-ever Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak. Twelve people have died.
The illness is not spread person-to-person. It is spread by inhaling mist from contaminated water sources and from drinking improperly treated water. In this outbreak, the cases, all clustered in the South Bronx, have been linked to contaminated cooling towers.
The outbreak spurred the City Council on Thursday to unanimously pass legislation requiring towers to be registered with the city and inspected quarterly.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease include fever, muscle aches, cough, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion, and headache.  Residents of the South Bronx who have been sick with these symptoms should see a doctor.

 

 

 



2Days
Food Safety Microbiology
Short course

(August 27-28, 2015)
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Indiana E. coli Outbreak in Fulton, Wabash and Marshall Counties
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/indiana-e-coli-outbreak-in-fulton-wabash-and-marshall-counties/
By Carla Gillespie (Aug 14, 2015)
Indiana health officials are investigating an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that includes three confirmed cases, three suspected cases and one fatality. All of the cases are in the northern Indiana counties Fulton, Wabash, and Marshall.
If your child is sick with an E.coli infection or HUS, E.coli attorneys at national food safety law firm PritzkerOlsen can help. Call 1-888-377-8900.
“Our hearts go out to the family who lost a loved one to illness,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H., said in a statement. “Nothing can ease the pain of the family’s loss. We are working diligently to gather information about illness that may be connected to this outbreak so we can prevent others from getting sick.”
E. coli O157:H7 can be found in the intestines of healthy animals, such as cattle, sheep and goats and is shed in their feces. People become infected when they eat food contaminated with microscopic amounts of feces. Once infected, they also shed the bacteria in their stool and can spread illness without careful hygiene.
Lack of proper hygiene was the source of a fatal E. coli outbreak at a South Carolina daycare in June, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed yesterday by the national food safety law firm PritzkerOlsen. Fourteen children were sickened, one of them, a 2-year-old boy died.
Symptoms of an E.coli infection include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, that can be bloody and vomiting. Symptoms usually begin three to four days after exposure and last about a week.
About 10 percent of children with E. coli infections will develop a severe complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which causes kidney failure, seizure, stroke and coma.

Vancouver Restaurants Must Cook Oysters Before Serving
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/vancouver-restaurants-must-cook-oysters-before-serving/
By Linda Larsen (Aug 13, 2015)
Vancouver Coastal Health has issued a public service announcement, stating that restaurants in that province must cook oysters harvested in British Columbia before serving. Only oysters harvested outside of that province may be served raw at this time.
An ongoing outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus relating to the consumption of raw oysters is ongoing in Canada. This bacteria is naturally occurring in coastal waters. This illness increases in the summer months, but the outbreak is large enough this year to warrant this preventative measure.
Thirty-one people have been sickened with Vibrio infections so far in Vancouver. The actual number of Vibrio illnesses is probably much higher, since most cases of foodborne illness are not reported to authorities. Only 16 cases were reported in 2014.
The symptoms of a Vibrio illness include watery diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, and fever. People who are at high risk for serious complications can suffer sudden chills, fever, and shock. If you have eaten raw oysters and have experienced these symptoms, see your doctor for treatment. The incubation period is short: about 2 to 48 hours. Most illnesses last for about a week.
People with liver disease, diabetes, stomach disorders, HIV, cancer, or other immune-suppressing illnesses can develop life-threatening complications if they contract a Vibrio infection. About half of Vibrio bloodstream infections are fatal.
Consumers should follow this advice too. If you eat raw oysters, do not buy oysters harvested in British Columbia. Cooking raw oysters will kill the bacteria and make the shellfish safe to eat.

Washington State whole hog salmonellosis cases linked to slaughterhouse
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/08/washington-state-whole-hog-salmonellosis-cases-linked-to-slaughterhouse/
By Ben Chapman (Aug 13, 2015)
Growing up in Canada, barbecue was an event, or an outside cooking appliance. In North Carolina barbecue is a food.
And for some, sort of a religion.
Barbecue is made by slow cooking pork (often a whole hog) in a smoker for hours until the meat is tender enough to be pulled off of the bones. The kind I like is tossed in a vinegar and pepper sauce (that’s Eastern North Carolina style) and served with a couple of vegetable sides.
There’s a bunch of whole hog barbecue in Washington State too.
And, according to JoNel Aleccia of the Seattle Times, over 130 cases of salmonellosis have now been linked to whole roasted hogs sold from a Pierce County (WA) slaughter house.670px-Cook-a-Whole-Pig-Step-3
Samples collected from Kapowsin Meats in Graham last week tested positive for the rare outbreak strain of the bacteria, Salmonella I, 4, 5, 12:9:-, a germ that hasn’t been seen before in Washington state.
Officials cautioned there may be other sources. Exposure for many apparently came from whole roasted pigs served at private events and restaurants.

WA Salmonella Cases Now at 134 in 10 Counties, Outbreak Strain Found at WA Slaughterhouse
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/08/50-salmonella-cases-in-8-washington-state-counties-appear-linked-to-pork/#.VdGPPxEViUl
By News Desk (Aug 12, 2015)
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) issued an update Wednesday, Aug. 12, on the Salmonella outbreak linked to pork products. According to DOH, there are now 134 cases in 10 counties around the state, and testing has found the outbreak strain at a pork slaughterhouse in Graham, WA.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent its team of “disease detectives” to the state to help. Investigators are interviewing the most recent cases and comparing information to early cases, which were first reported in the spring.
Disease investigators are searching for possible contamination and exposure sources from a wide range of possible venues, including restaurants, markets, slaughter facilities, and farms/ranches.
Salmonella bacteria are commonly found in animals used for food, and proper storage, handling, preparation, and cooking can help prevent the illness known as salmonellosis.
Most of the illnesses have been confirmed with the outbreak strain of Salmonella bacteria, and early testing shows a connection to a slaughter facility in Graham, WA. Samples were collected at Kapowsin Meats in Pierce County last week, and testing confirmed the outbreak strain was present, DOH stated.
The business, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, has cooperated with the investigation. There may be other sources as well, and disease investigators are searching for the origin of the Salmonella bacteria in the outbreak.
The 134 cases include residents of Clark (2), Cowlitz (1), Grays Harbor (1), King (84), Kitsap (1), Mason (2), Pierce (12), Snohomish (24), Thurston (2), and Yakima (5) counties. Fifteen of these people have been hospitalized.
Our previous coverage follows:
Update: The total case count in this outbreak is 90 as of July 31, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
The outbreak of Salmonella infections that may be linked to pork products has grown to 90 cases in several counties around the state, according to a statement posted Friday by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). 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 U.S. 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, DOH stated.
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 department noted. The likely source of exposure for some of the ill people appears to have been whole roasted pigs, cooked and served at private events.
All of the people who have been sickened have been infected with the same strain of Salmonella bacteria. Salmonellosis, the illness caused by infection with Salmonella, can cause severe and even bloody diarrhea, fever, chills, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting. Serious bloodstream infections may also occur.
Meanwhile, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert on Friday, July 31, 2015, to let consumers know about potential Salmonella illnesses which may be associated with pork products, specifically whole pigs used for pig roasts.
According to the alert, FSIS was notified of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i- illness clusters (groups of illnesses) on July 15, 2015, and agency officials suspect there is a link between the illnesses associated with whole pigs used for pig roasts and eight illness clusters based on information gathered in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Case-patients have been identified in Washington with illness onset dates ranging from April 25, 2015 to July 21, 2015, FSIS stated.
“Roasting a pig is a complex undertaking with numerous potential food handling issues. FSIS urges consumers to keep the four food safety steps in mind: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill,” the alert noted.
DOH stated that proper food handling, preparation, and cooking are the best precautions to take to prevent illness. Following food safety guidance can help prevent foodborne illness. Health officials warn consumers who handle and/or eat pork to cook the meat to a safe internal temperature, using a meat thermometer; whole cuts of pork should be cooked to 145 degrees F.
All meats and fish should be cooked to a safe internal temperature, using a food thermometer; guidance can be found on the DOH website. Other food safety tips include washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after preparing food, especially raw meats.
To avoid cross-contamination, don’t place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat of any kind. It’s also important to sanitize cutting boards, knives, and countertops that come into contact with raw meat by using a solution of bleach water (1 teaspoon bleach per gallon of water) or antibacterial cleaner.
Contact with live animals — including pigs or other livestock at home, in petting zoos, at local fairs and elsewhere — can create exposure to Salmonella and other bacteria. Thorough hand-washing after contact with live animals is an important tool in preventing the spread of disease.
The previous Food Safety News article from July 23 follows:
Washington state health officials are working with state and local partners to investigate several cases and clusters of Salmonella infections that appear to be linked to eating pork. The ongoing investigation of at least 56 cases in eight counties around the state includes food served at a variety of events.
Disease investigators continue to explore several sources from farm to table and are focused on an apparent link to pork consumption or contamination from raw pork. Salmonellosis, the illness caused by infection with Salmonella, can cause severe and even bloody diarrhea, fever, chills, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting. Serious bloodstream infections may also occur.
As of July 23, the 56 cases include residents of King (44), Snohomish (4), Mason (2), Thurston (2), Pierce (1), Grays Harbor (1), Yakima (1), and Clark (1) counties. Five of the individuals were hospitalized; no deaths have been reported. All were infected with the same strain of Salmonella bacteria.
The disease investigation shows a potential exposure source for several cases was whole roasted pigs, cooked and served at private events. The source of contamination remains under investigation by state and local health officials and federal partners.
The outbreaks are a reminder of the importance of proper food care, handling, preparation, and cooking to prevent illness. State health officials recommend these food safety strategies broadly, and specifically advise against eating raw or undercooked pork.
Following food safety guidance can help prevent foodborne illness. Health officials warn consumers who handle and/or eat pork to cook the meat to a safe internal temperature, using a meat thermometer; whole cuts of pork should be cooked to 145 degrees F. Meat thermometers should be placed in the thickest part of the meat, avoiding bone, fat, and cartilage.
All meats and fish should be cooked to a safe internal temperature, using a food thermometer; guidance can be found on the Washington Department of Health website. Other food safety tips include washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after preparing food, especially raw meats. To avoid cross-contamination, don’t place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat of any kind.
It’s also important to sanitize cutting boards, knives, and countertops that come into contact with raw meat by using a solution of bleach water (1 teaspoon bleach per gallon of water) or antibacterial cleaner.

Report Finds Trans Fats Increase Mortality Risk
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/report-finds-trans-fats-increase-mortality-risk/
By Linda Larsen (Aug 12, 2015)
A study published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) has found that consumption of trans fats is associated with greater risk of mortality, a greater risk of dying from heart disease, and a greater risk of developing heart disease.
Researchers in Canada reviewed 41 observational studies, which means the association cannot be “causal”. But the certainty between trans fat consumption and coronary heart disease is “moderate”, and the certainty between saturated fat and all mortality outcomes is “very low”.
Dietary guidelines recommend that saturated fats should be limited to less than 10% of daily calorie intake.
The report concludes that “Saturated fats are not associated with all cause mortality, CVD, CHD (coronary heart disease), ischemic stroke, or type 2 diabetes, but the evidence is heterogeneous with methodological limitations. Trans fats are associated with all cause mortality, total CHD, and CHD mortality.” There was, however, an association with death from coronary heart disease and saturated fats.
This study confirms earlier studies that saturated fats are not associated with increase risk of death, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or stroke. It also brings into question the FDA decision to allow “low level use” of partially hydrogenated oils, or trans fats, by some companies. Facilities are allowed to petition the FDA to let them use these artificial fats.
The FDA confirmed in June 2015 that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer on the GRAS (generally regarded as safe) list and should be phased out of human food within three years. Naturally occurring ruminant trans fats, which are present in milk and meats in very small amounts, did not pose an increased risk of heart disease and related deaths.

Washington Pork Salmonella Outbreak Hits 134
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/washington-pork-salmonella-outbreak-hits-134/#.VdGPmxEViUl
By Andy Weisbecker (Aug 12, 2015)
The Salmonella outbreak linked to pork products has grown to 134 cases in 10 counties around the state. Consumers are advised to cook pork thoroughly.
The case count has continued to grow as state health officials work with Public Health — Seattle & King County along with other local, state, and federal partners on the disease investigation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent its team of “disease detectives” to the state to help. Investigators are interviewing the most recent cases and comparing information to early cases, which were first reported in the spring.
Disease investigators are searching for possible contamination and exposure sources from a wide range of possible venues, including restaurants, markets, slaughter facilities, and farms/ranches. Salmonella bacteria are commonly found in animals used for food, and proper storage, handling, preparation, and cooking can help prevent the illness known as salmonellosis.
Most of the illnesses have been confirmed with the outbreak strain of Salmonella bacteria, and early testing shows a connection to a slaughter facility in Graham, WA. Samples were collected at Kapowsin Meats in Pierce County last week. Testing confirms the outbreak strain was present. The business, which is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, has cooperated with the investigation. There may be other sources and disease investigators are searching for the origin of the Salmonella bacteria in the outbreak.
The 134 cases include residents of Clark (2), Cowlitz (1), Grays Harbor (1), King (84), Kitsap (1), Mason (2), Pierce (12), Snohomish (24), Thurston (2), and Yakima (5) counties.
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.

Hazard Analysis of Incidental Condensation Contamination in Food Manufacturing Facilities
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/augustseptember-2015/hazard-analysis-of-incidental-condensation-contamination-in-food-manufacturing-facilities/
By Gene W. Bartholomew, Ph.D.
Wherever one finds adjacent surfaces or areas that have different temperatures, or where relative humidity is very high, condensation can form. Temperature differentials and high humidity in the food processing industry are prevalent, with the exception of some dry ingredient or product plants. I come from the processed meat industry, where condensation is an everyday issue, fluctuating seasonally in severity. While condensation in food production facilities is a common occurrence and is regarded unfavorably by most regulatory and food safety accreditation bodies, what truly are the hazards associated with condensation and how serious is the threat it poses? This article explores whether incidental condensation coming into contact with either raw or ready-to-eat (RTE) products, and by extension, food contact surfaces, creates a hazard in the product and truly represents creation of an insanitary condition (unclean enough to endanger health).
I have divided this discussion into two types of manufacturing environments based on finished product characteristics and process flow through the production facility. The first type I will call raw manufacturing, because the products in this environment typically receive further processing somewhere else in the facility, are further processed by some other manufacturer or will receive some treatment by the end-user prior to consumption. Auditing bodies often call this area a low-risk environment. The other type of manufacturing area I will call the RTE area or high-risk environment, because product leaving this area may be consumed without further preparation. And to further set the stage for this discussion, I define condensation as the development of pure (i.e., distilled) water droplets on hard surfaces as a result of water vapor in the air phase changing to liquid on surfaces that are colder than the dew point of the surrounding air. These pure water droplets are typically less than 5 mm in diameter and weigh about 0.12 g.
Raw Manufacturing Area
Physical: Physical hazards result from consumption of hard or sharp objects that cause a blockage, laceration, perforation or wound in the subject. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s extensive review of the scientific literature concerning physical hazards in food[1] shows that objects smaller than 7 mm represent minimal hazards to consumers. Due to its extremely small mass, a drop of water resulting from condensation in a food plant does not have the physical capacity to erode or remove substantial surface particles. Because condensation drops are typically smaller than 5 mm in diameter, it is highly unlikely that they would carry within them hard or sharp objects equal to or greater than 7 mm. Therefore, I conclude that it is extremely unlikely that condensation falling into (or onto) a food product in process or equipment would result in the introduction of a physical hazard.
Biological: Biological hazards in normally safe foods result from pathogens or byproducts of pathogen growth being present at numbers or levels sufficient to cause an adverse health response. It is unlikely that bacterial pathogens that produce toxins will do so on overhead surfaces, as growth requirements (nutrients, for example) on these surfaces in food plants would not support the high pathogen populations typically necessary for toxin production. In fact, several years of testing condensation droplets for general bacterial numbers from two of our meat processing facilities have yielded low colony counts, and concurrent testing showed pathogen indicator organisms present at low frequencies (see Table 1). While unlikely, it is possible that pathogens themselves could be present in or on overhead structures and be carried into food products via condensation. If condensation that could be carrying a pathogen fell on raw product that was unlikely to receive a lethality treatment either at the facility or somewhere downstream prior to consumption (particularly if the product were held under conditions favorable for pathogen growth), then this product would have to be redirected to a pathogen-reduction step, reconditioned if possible or discarded. But if condensation fell onto product prior to a cook or other lethality step, and the lethality step were designed to destroy all pathogens of concern present in the raw product, this step would completely control the biological contamination introduced by condensation. Thus, there would be no biological hazard of concern in the finished product and the condensation contamination would be insignificant.
Chemical: While most plants’ overhead structures are cleaned on a routine schedule, they usually are not subject to the frequent sanitation that the food handling equipment itself receives and may be made of materials not normally considered suitable for direct food contact. Therefore, these structures may be coated with airborne contaminants or made of materials that would lead to adverse health impacts if consumed at high enough levels. If either of these situations exists, condensation from overhead structures could carry these chemicals into food materials if the condensation fell onto food or food contact surfaces.
It is unlikely that any materials used in food plant overhead structures or airborne chemicals that have been deposited on overhead structures contain known toxicants. But we cannot know with certainty all of the chemicals that are present on overhead materials. We therefore will use a general knowledge of the toxicity of substances in our chemical Hazard Analysis to predict whether a hazard is likely to exist. FDA toxicologists have evaluated a tremendous number of chemicals for their toxic effects and levels required for an adverse health consequence,[2] and they have shown that the required oral dose for toxic effects for almost all chemicals is at least 1 mg of substance for each kg of body weight (1 mg/kg). Most toxicants require much higher doses than this threshold level for deleterious effects.
Using the above value as a guide, we can predict, by constructing worst-case scenarios, the likelihood of a chemical hazard existing in food in process that was subject to condensation, even if we do not know what chemicals were present in the condensation. In the case of condensation falling into one of our vats or combos of meat or emulsion (2,000 pounds), let’s assume eight drops fall into the container. This represents about 1 g of condensate. If we also assume that this water contains 10 percent by weight of a single hazardous chemical that originated on an overhead structure, this condensation event would deliver 0.1 g of this chemical (1 g water × 0.1). Thus, the resulting concentration of this chemical in the combo would be 0.1 part per million (ppm) (0.1 g/2,000 lb × 1 lb/454 g). Furthermore, we estimate that the smallest child likely to consume products from this plant would weigh 10 kg (~22 lb or about 1 year old). Using the worst-case toxicity figure from above of 1 mg/kg, this child would have to consume 10 mg of a toxic chemical to suffer any adverse health effects. Because we have calculated that this contaminated meat product contains an unknown toxicant at 0.1 ppm, the child would have to consume 220 pounds of this meat product (10 mg/0.1 ppm in the product = 108 mg or 100 kg) in a 24-hour period to ingest enough of this contaminant for any noticeable effect. Of course, consumption at this level is totally impracticable. An increase in the body weight of a consumer would result in a proportional increase in product consumption required for an adverse effect.
Using the same toxicity considerations from above, if the 1 mL of condensation instead fell on a 26-lb stick of bologna prior to the cook step, and the condensation and its dissolved toxicant were absorbed completely into the bologna, the bologna would be contaminated at a level of 8.5 ppm (0.1 g/26 lb × 1 lb/454 g) with this unknown chemical. As noted before, a small child would need to consume 10 mg of this substance to get ill, which means that they would have to consume 2.6 lb of this product in one day (10 mg/8.5 ppm = 1.2 × 106 mg or 1.2 kg). Adults would obviously have to consume more to achieve the equivalent dose of 1 mg/kg of body weight. This also seems very unlikely. Condensation falling on and being absorbed by smaller products would also undergo the same analysis to determine health risk.
This exploration of the potential chemical hazard from condensation falling on/into product has been based on several worst-case scenarios that are unlikely in most food plants. For example, it is unlikely that the droplets would contain 10 percent by weight of a toxicant from the overheads, as most human toxicants are not that soluble in water. It is equally unlikely that we would find chemicals in our plants that are at the very high end of the toxicity scale (1 mg/kg). And it is also unlikely in the case of stuffed or cased product ready for the cook step that 1 mL of condensation would fall on a single item or that the chemical carried by condensation would be absorbed entirely by the product within. On the other hand, if condensation does fall on product and the chemical contaminant carried by the droplet(s) is absorbed completely into the food item and remains localized near the contact point, a consumer could get a higher dose. Each individual producer will have to evaluate the likelihood of where condensation can occur in the production process, what food would be impacted, whether the contaminant would be spread over a large amount of product or be localized and whether any further process steps would reduce or increase the threat.
We have also considered the impact of a carcinogen as the chemical contaminant. Carcinogens can exert their effects on cells at lower levels than 1 mg/kg, but their effects usually require repeated contact with the carcinogen over a lengthy period. We would not expect, nor permit, repeated, long-term product contact with condensation in our plants. As a result of this toxicological examination, we have determined that a chemical hazard in raw products is not reasonably likely to occur as a result of incidental condensation contacting product.
RTE Area
Chemical and Physical: The potential for introduction of chemical and physical hazards from contact with condensation in RTE products during processing would be very similar to the potential of these hazards in the raw manufacturing area, that is, not reasonably likely to occur. But keep in mind two factors in the RTE environment that may increase the risk of a chemical hazard: There is less likelihood that a remediation step (trimming, washing) could be taken, and the product sizes tend to be much smaller, which raises the concentration of the toxicant within the product presented to the consumer.
Biological: For fully cooked products or products that otherwise go through a pathogen-reduction step, condensation can act as a point source of pathogens if it comes into contact with product postlethality. As mentioned previously, overhead structures in the plant environment are generally not conducive to growth of pathogens, but pathogens could be present at low levels. If this product is distributed in a well-maintained cold chain, Listeria monocytogenes is the only foodborne pathogen that conceivably would grow to high levels prior to consumption. Unfortunately, some pathogens that exhibit poor growth at refrigeration temperatures, like Salmonella and pathogenic Escherichia coli, have a low infective dose and would not have to replicate during distribution to represent a potential hazard. This would also be the case where condensation (introduction of a pathogen) fell on product that does not support the growth of pathogens, no matter what the distribution conditions are. You can see from our overhead sampling in Table 1 that in our plants, it seems unlikely that pathogens are present on the overhead structures, but we really can’t rule it out. Unless a producer has considerable direct evidence of a lack of pathogens on overhead surfaces, they must assume a pathogen could be present. Therefore, any RTE product that comes into contact with condensation before packaging must be discarded or undergo a surface pathogen-reduction process to destroy potential surface contamination with microorganisms (don’t forget, shelf life may be affected even though no hazardous organisms were present in condensation). This pathogen-reduction step can be much milder than the original process, as we need to treat only the surface, if possible, with a 2- to 3-log reduction. After product has been placed into a package that will prevent direct contact with condensation, the biological hazard no longer exists.
Conclusions
I have witnessed many instances where regulatory representatives and food safety auditors have assumed that condensation is a serious food safety hazard that must be avoided at all costs. An actual analysis of the potential hazards of condensation presents a different case. Chemical and physical hazards associated with condensation contamination are unlikely, and assessment of the severity of the hazard is based on the presence of pathogens and subsequent processing. In fact, if an overhead structure where condensation forms and falls from is nonporous and routinely sanitized, there is no food safety hazard introduced by this condensation falling on product or food contact surfaces. This is not the same as ignoring condensation, as its formation is an indication of a facility design or operational issue. But we as producers of foods and those that regulate us and audit us should make rational choices about the myriad sources of hazards associated with producing food, and focus our efforts where they are truly needed.  
Gene W. Bartholomew, Ph.D., is corporate director of food safety/Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) affairs at Smithfield Foods. He provides direction, technical expertise and consultation to the company’s slaughter and meat processing plants and one spice plant in the areas of HACCP plan development and validation, pathogen-reduction efforts in sanitation, equipment design, product cooking and chilling and product shelf life extension. He is also technical director of the corporate microbiology laboratory and consults with the plant labs. Gene helped develop the American Meat Institute Foundation’s Listeria Control Working Group and has presented to several industry groups on this subject. Prior to joining Smithfield Foods, he developed new food packaging materials and designs and an aseptic packaging system for International Paper. He holds a B.Sc. in biology from Bucknell University and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in microbiology from Cornell University.
References
1. Olsen, AR. 1998. Regulatory action criteria for filth and other extraneous materials: I. review of hard or sharp objects as physical hazards in food. Reg Toxicol Pharmacol 28:181–189.
2. Begley, TH. 1997. Methods and approaches used by FDA to evaluate the safety of food packaging materials. Food Additives Contam 14(6–7):1–16.

Tips for Lunch Box Food Safety
Source : http://www.newswise.com/articles/tips-for-lunch-box-food-safety
By newswise.com (Aug 12, 2015)
Newswise — CHICAGO- As Americans settle into their new fall routines with sending kids back to school and returning to work after relaxing vacations, they are packing more lunches for both school and work in an effort to save money. In this economy, packing your lunch or your child’s can save your family money, and ensure a safe and healthy meal.
Containers and Cleaning
• The first step to good food safety is to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Wash cutting boards, dishes, and utensils with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item, and be sure to sanitize countertops after making lunch.
• Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water before eating and packing them in a lunch container.
• To avoid cross-contamination, don’t reuse packaging materials such as paper or plastic bags, food wraps and aluminum foil.
• Use an insulated container for foods like chili, soups and stews. Fill the container with boiling water, let it stand for a few minutes, empty, and then add hot food. Keep the container closed until lunchtime to help minimize bacterial contamination and growth.
• Rinse out soft lunch boxes with water (for food debris), spray with a store-bought chlorine sanitizer or soap, rinse, and let dry.
• Throw away soft lunch boxes if the liner is cracked or broken.
Temperature Control
• Perishable foods that won’t be kept refrigerated should be kept cold by using freezer gel packs or a frozen juice carton.
• Insulated, soft-sided lunch boxes or bags are best for keeping food cold, but metal or plastic lunch boxes and paper bags can also be used. If using paper lunch bags, create layers by double bagging to help insulate the food.
• Harmful bacteria can multiply rapidly if the temperatures are between 40 and 140 °F. Be sure to transport food with an ice source and refrigerate upon destination.
• Studies show that bacteria growth begins after about four hours at room temperature, and shorter (around an hour) if above 90 degrees.

Leftovers and storing food
• Pack only the amount of perishable food that will be eaten at lunch. With no extra food to carry home, you’ll avoid the inconvenience of keeping leftovers at the correct temperature on the commute home.
• Preparing the food the night before and storing it in the refrigerator will help keep the food cold longer.
• Discard of all used food packaging and paper bags after eating. Throw away perishable leftovers, unless they can be safely chilled immediately after lunch and upon returning home.
• Pack all beverages and perishable foods in separate containers/coolers.
• When storing leftover food in the refrigerator, use smaller containers for hot food. A storage container two inches deep or less is ideal for chilling food quickly.
• Label storage containers with the date you packed the container, so you know when it is time to either eat or dispose.
• When using the microwave oven to reheat lunches, cover food to hold in moisture and promote safe, even heating. Reheat leftovers to at least 165 °F, ensuring that they are steaming hot. Cook frozen convenience meals according to package instructions.
Sources:
Ben Chapman, PhD
Don Schaffner, PhD

 

 


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UPDATED: Cleared buffer zones not helpful for food safety, study says
Source : http://www.thepacker.com/news/cleared-buffer-zones-not-helpful-food-safety-study-says
By Tom Karst (Aug 11, 2015)
A new study from researchers at the University of California-Berkeley casts doubt on the practice of removing non-crop vegetation as a way to reduce field contamination of fresh produce by pathogens spread by animals.
The study, published by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is available online.
Scott Horsfall, CEO of the California Leafy Green Marketing Agreement, said although the  study has limitations — the data came from only company — it could help growers.
 “We are always in favor of research that helps us better understand the risk of contamination, and if there is useful information here we want to make the most of it,” he said Aug. 11.
While the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement requires buffer zones as a good agricultural practice, he said it does not require farmers to remove vegetation from those buffers.
 “The LGMA encourages growers to engage in co-management practices, and this study adds important new information for consideration,” Horsfall said.
The practice of removing non-crop vegetation was implemented in response to a 2006 outbreak of E. coli in packaged spinach that killed three and sickened hundreds, according to a news release about the study.
The release said the E. coli strain in the 2006 outbreak was found around the farm and in the feces of cattle and wild pigs close to the farm, but the particular cause of the outbreak was never officially determined.
“Wildlife took much of the blame for that outbreak, even though rates of E. coli in wildlife are generally very low,” study lead author Daniel Karp, a NatureNet postdoctoral research fellow in UC-Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management and The Nature Conservancy, said in the release. “Now, growers are pressured by buyers to implement practices meant to discourage wildlife from approaching fields of produce. This includes clearing bushes, plants and trees that might serve as habitat or food sources for wild animals. Our study found that this practice has not led to the reductions in E. coli and Salmonella that people were hoping for.”
The study found that diverse habitats around fresh produce fields can boost bee populations and help the yields of pollinated crops, according to the release.
 “There have also been studies that suggest that a landscape with diverse plant life can filter out agrichemical runoff and even bacteria,” study senior author Claire Kremen, a UC-Berkeley professor of environmental science, policy and management, said in the release. “Changing this dynamic shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

Cyclospora Sickens 457 in 29 States
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/cyclospora-sickens-457-in-29-states/
By Carla Gillespie (Aug 11, 2015)
At least 457 in 29 states have contracted parasitic infections from eating food contaminated with Cyclospora, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sixteen people have been hospitalized.
Symptoms of a Cyclospora infection, called cyclosporiasis, can last up to two months and include explosive diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms. These symptoms can also last more than 60 days.
About 60 percent of those sickened, 275  people, reported feeling onset of symptoms on or after May 1, 2015. Of those case, the breakdown by state is as follows: Arkansas (2), California (2), Connecticut (3), Florida (11), Georgia (22), Illinois (6), Iowa (1), Kansas (2), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (9), Michigan (2), Missouri (1), Montana (3), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (6), New Mexico (1), New York (excluding NYC) (8), New York City (21), Texas (157), Utah (1), Virginia (3), Washington (2), and Wisconsin (10).
In three states: Texas, Wisconsin, and Georgia, clusters of illness have been linked to restaurants.  The names of those restaurants have not been released by state or federal health officials who say their investigations are ongoing.
Make sure you thoroughly rinse all fresh produce you eat before eating it, or peeling and slicing it. You can rinse the parasites off food, but it’s not possible to completely eliminate it this way. Cooking will kill the parasite.
If you are in a high risk group, or have someone like that in your family – a child, an elderly person, someone who is pregnant or someone with a chronic illness – you may want to avoid eating imported raw fruits and vegetables for a while. Cyclospora outbreaks in the past have been linked to imported cilantro, basil, raspberries, mesclun lettuce, snow peas,

Indiana E. coli Outbreak Possibly Linked to Day Care
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/e-coli-outbreak-possibly-linked-to-indiana-day-care/
Posted By Patti Waller (Aug 11, 2015)
One E. coli death may be linked.
NewsCenter 16’s Shaun Gallagher reports that the Fulton County Indiana Health Department, Wabash County Indiana Health Department and Indiana State Department of Health are investigating cases of E. coli O157 among children who attend a local daycare. Currently, all confirmed cases being investigated with this outbreak are associated with this daycare.
E. coli O157 is a contagious diarrheal illness that causes symptoms such as abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, and sometimes bloody stool. Symptoms usually begin three to four days after exposure but can appear from one to eight days after exposure. Symptoms typically last five to 10 days. While most people resolve infection on their own, about 3 percent to 7 percent of people will develop severe complications that require hospitalization. Some people may have no symptoms but can still spread the infection to others. For this reason, careful and frequent hand washing is important.
Ill children who attend school or daycare should be excluded until they are symptom-free and have two negative stool tests to prevent other children from getting sick. Parents and caretakers of ill individuals also are at risk of contracting E. coli O157 and should limit contact with others as much as possible and see a health care provider if symptoms develop. Adults infected with E. coli O157 who work in food service or health care settings should not attend work while ill.
E. coli O157 is normally found in animals, such as cattle, but not found in humans. People become infected by having contact with contaminated food or water or through contact with animals or infected people. Once infected, people shed the bacteria in their stool.
Hand washing is the single best defense against E. coli O157. Hands should be washed after using the restroom, before eating or preparing food, and after contact with animals. Adults should supervise children to make sure they are washing their hands properly for at least 20 seconds while using soap and warm water. Children under 5 years of age should avoid direct contact with farm animals (such as from petting zoos or county fairs).
Antibiotic treatment is typically not indicated for these infections and can sometimes make symptoms worse. Diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration, so ill individuals should drink plenty of fluids.
E. coli: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections 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 E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Texas Has 237 Cases of Cyclospora; Possible Link to Cilantro
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/texas-has-237-cases-of-cyclospora-possible-link-to-cilantro/
By Linda Larsen (Aug 11, 2015)
The Texas Department of State Health Services has received reports of 237 cases of cyclosporiasis from around Texas this year. Outbreaks in the past have been associated with imported fresh produce. Some of these illnesses may be linked to cilantro imported from the Puebla area of Mexico.
The Food and Drug Administration has placed an import ban on cilantro from that region, since they suspect it is contaminated with the Cyclospora parasite.
Cyclosporiasis is caused by consuming water or food contaminated with the Cyclospora oocyst. Symptoms of this illness include explosive and watery diarrhea, which can last for months, loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and a low fever. If you have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Washing fresh produce will help reduce the risk of cyclosporiasis, but will not eliminate it completely. The oocysts can be difficult to wash off fruits and vegetables. Cooking will kill the parasite.
So far, Travis county in Texas has the most cases, with 87, followed by Dallas county with 28 and Collin county with 13. Travis county has 11, Williamson and Denton counties have 10 cases each, and Bear, Harris, and Hays have seven each.

Review of Safe Food Australia Standards Extended Through Sept. 18
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/08/review-of-safe-food-australia-standards-extended-through-sept-18/#.VdGMMxEViUl
By News Desk (Aug 11, 2015)
Food safety standards with obligations for Australian food businesses to produce food that is safe and suitable to eat are undergoing a couple of changes, according to Food Standards for Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ).
FSANZ is reviewing the new version of Safe Food Australia because of changes involving shopping trolleys (carts) and companion dogs. The review period extends to Sept. 18, 2015.
The changes will involve three standards in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code: Interpretations and Application, Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, and Food Premises and Equipment.
“The food safety standards replaced existing state and territory food hygiene regulations in August 2000,” according to FSANZ. “Their adoption in the Food Standards Code represented the first time that Australia agreed to nationally consistent requirements for food safety practices and food premises and equipment.”
“During development of the standards, which are described as outcome-based, there was strong support for a guidance document to be written in support of their implementation,” the FSANZ announcement continues. “The food hygiene regulations that these standards replaced were highly prescriptive. There was a concern that the outcomes-based food standards could be interpreted inconsistently across jurisdictions.”
Safe Food Australia was to provide explanations in plain language, show how requirements are applied, and help businesses and enforcement agencies understand and comply with the requirements. The changes include shopping trolleys as vehicles used to transport food, and allow companion dogs in the outdoor dining areas of food businesses.
Comments are also accepted on other areas and areas requiring stakeholder review. Food businesses in New Zealand are required to comply with New Zealand’s Food Act of 1981 and regulations adopted under that act.
FSANZ has developed separate standards for food businesses in both countries involved in preliminary food production and processing. Some charity and community groups, temporary events and home-based businesses are exempt from the food safety standards. Those entities are being told to contact local enforcement authorities for further information.

Rapid Response on Ohio’s Church Potluck Botulism Outbreak
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/rapid-response-on-ohios-church-potluck-botulism-outbreak/
By Linda Larsen (Aug 10, 2015)
The botulism outbreak at the Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, Ohio in April 2015 was the nation’s largest in 40 years. The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released a study on the outbreak that gives credit to early diagnoses that limited the number of deaths.
One person died in this botulism outbreak; and 29 people were sickened. The last time an outbreak of 10 or more people resulted in a death in the U.S. was in 1978. An outbreak in New Mexico at that time sickened 34 people and killed one person.
It can be difficult to diagnose botulism, since the early symptoms, including difficulty swallowing, facial weakness, and drooping eyelids, can mimic a stroke. On April 21, 2015, the Fairfield Medical Center contacted with Ohio Department of Health because one person presented to the hospital with botulism. A single case is a public health emergency, because it can signal an outbreak, according to the report.
Within the next two hours, four more patients arrived at the emergency room. All five people had eaten at the potluck two days before. The CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile sent 50 doses of botulinum antitoxin to Ohio, in a rapid response to the diagnoses.
Among the 77 people at the potluck, 25 met the confirmed-case definition, and four met the probable-case definition. The median patient age was 64 years. Seventeen of the patients were female.
Twenty-five patients received the antitoxin. Eleven required intubation and mechanical ventilation to help them breathe. Among 19 cases that were lab-confirmed, specimens were positive for botulinum neurotoxin type A or Clostridium botulinum type A. Sixteen people were able to go home after a week.
When patients were interviewed, it became clear that potato salad was the food with the highest association with probable or confirmed cases. Of the 12 food specimens collected from the church dumpster, six were positive for botulinum neurotoxin type A: five were potato salad and one was contaminated macaroni and cheese that was probably contaminated after it was thrown away.
The person who prepared the potato salad used home-canned potatoes, and used a boiling water canner, which does not kill botulism spores. Only a pressure canned kills the spores.

Cyclospora food safety tips: Washing and storing produce
Source : http://www.citynews.ca/2015/08/10/cyclospora-food-safety-tips-washing-and-storing-produce/
By Erin Criger (Aug 10, 2015)
There’s a parasite in Ontario that’s making people sick and the culprit could be lurking in fresh fruit and vegetables.
Officials are warning about a cyclospora outbreak, an infection that can lead to an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis. It causes a severe upset stomach as well as diarrhea, nausea, tiredness, and loss of appetite.
Health Canada describes cyclospora as a “microscopic single-celled parasite that is passed in people’s feces (poop).”
The parasite is typically found in imported fresh greens, vegetables and fruits such as basil, cilantro, pre-packaged salad mix, mesclun lettuce, snow peas, and raspberries.
Here’s how to wash and store produce to reduce the risk of infection:
Fresh herbs, like basil and cilantro
•Pick herbs that have bright leaves and a fresh smell. Stalks should be crisp and the leaves should not be dried out.
•Avoid leaves that are yellow or brown or have black spots.
•Fresh herbs should be stored unwashed in the refrigerator. Trim the ends of the stalks and put them into a re-sealable plastic bag. Store the herbs in the crisper or vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to five days.
•Fresh herbs can also be frozen after they’ve been washed and patted dry with paper towels. Store in freezer bags.
•Basil should be stored unwashed, uncovered, and unrefrigerated. Refrigerating it may cause the basil leaves to turn black.  It is the only herb that should be stored this way.
•Use warm water and soap to thoroughly wash all utensils, countertops, and cutting boards before and after handling fresh herbs.
•Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, before and after handling fresh herbs.
•Throw out any leaves that are yellowing or have black spots.
•Rinse fresh herbs under fresh, cool running water. There is no need to use anything other than water to wash herbs. Washing them gently with water is as effective as using produce cleansers.
•Don’t soak fresh herbs in a sink full of water. They can become contaminated by bacteria in the sink.
Lettuce and lettuce mixes
•Look for leaves that are crisp. Avoid ones that are wilted or brown.
•If buying ready-to-eat, bagged, pre-washed leafy greens, make sure they are refrigerated.
•Store leafy greens in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Discard when leaves become wilted or brown.
•Bagged, ready-to-eat, pre-washed leafy greens should also be refrigerated and used before the expiration date.
•Washing your hands and following proper cleaning techniques can help you avoid cross-contamination and prevent the spread of food poisoning.
•Use warm water and soap to thoroughly wash all utensils, countertops, and cutting boards before and after handling leafy greens.
•Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, before and after handling leafy greens.
•Discard outer leaves.
•Wash your leafy greens under fresh, cool running water. There is no need to use anything other than water to wash leafy greens. Washing them gently with water is as effective as using produce cleansers.
•Keep rinsing until all of the dirt has been washed away.
•Don’t soak leafy greens in a sink full of water. They can become contaminated by bacteria in the sink.
•Ready-to-eat leafy greens sold in sealed packages and labelled as washed, pre-washed or triple washed, do not need to be washed again.
General food safety tips
•Cleaning anything that comes into contact with food will help eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of food-related illness. This includes your hands, kitchen surfaces, utensils, fruit and vegetables and reusable grocery bags.
•Wash your hands. Use regular soap or an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
•Wash with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands after handling pets, changing diapers and of course, using the bathroom.
•Separate your cutting boards. Use one board for produce and another for raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
•Plate or utensils used to handle raw food should be washed thoroughly with soap before reuse.
•Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces. Otherwise, change dishcloths daily to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria.
•Avoid using sponges, as they are harder to keep bacteria-free.
•Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food. Use a kitchen sanitizer (as directed) or a bleach solution (5 millilitres, or mL, bleach to 750 mL of water). Rinse all items carefully with water.
•Wash your reusable grocery bags frequently.
•Wash your fresh fruit and vegetables with potable water before use.
•Use a vegetable brush on produce that have a firm skin (examples: carrots, melons, oranges, and potatoes).
•Do not use soap to wash your produce.
•Wash your produce under running water instead of soaking it in the sink. Bacteria in the sink could be transferred to your food.

Temperature Control: A Critical Food Safety Element
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/08/temperature-control-a-critical-food-safety-element/#.VdGNOxEViUl
By Cathy Siegner (Aug 10, 2015)
A critical element of food safety is maintaining proper temperatures from the field to the fork. In practical terms, this means keeping produce cold enough to inhibit pathogen growth or spoilage from the time it leaves the farm or orchard until it’s in the customer’s possession.
It also means cooking certain foods at high enough temperatures for long enough to be safe and maintaining prepared, ready-to-eat (RTE) foods at the proper temperatures (and keeping frozen foods cold enough to remain that way).
As implementation of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) come into play this year, maintaining quality in the cold supply chain will come under increasing scrutiny.
Consumers are demanding more and varied food items year-round at supermarket and retail delis, bringing a renewed focus to temperature control, according to David Oster, CEO of PakSense Inc., a Boise, ID-based developer of intelligent sensors to monitor the temperature of perishable foods.
“They are becoming more and more discriminating at point of sale, seeking out the best and freshest products from retailers that they trust can deliver that higher-grade product,” he said.
For the food industry, Oster added that efficiency and higher margins are a constant pressure, so “eliminating the current waste and spoilage (shrink) of product in-route will be a definite enhancement to the bottom line of those companies participating in a temperature-monitoring program.”
When it comes to RTE items, a consumer might want to consider whether the food has been kept at the correct temperature before hitting the deli counter, whether it’s displayed properly, and what might be in store for that item after they buy it.
“You have to think about how many times those things might be out of the temperature danger zone before they’re offered for sale,” noted David Walpuck, a certified professional in food safety (CP-FS) from The National Environmental Health Association and an administrator for The National Registry of Food Safety Professionals.
“There’s the example of cooked meatballs kept at 41 degrees, which is the required cold holding temperature in New York state,” he said. “If they don’t eat it all, what’s going to happen to it? If there’s any flaw in the heating or cooling process, that’s going to be where it is.”
Another consideration for the food industry is being able to track the conditions to which a product was exposed in case there’s a quality problem somewhere along the line, or, in any company’s worst nightmare, a foodborne illness outbreak is linked to that particular item.
“We consider all areas of ‘cold chain’ important. When there is a break in the chain, you lose traceability and the capacity to perform root cause analysis,” said Brian Edwards, director of national chain store sales for DeltaTrak Inc. in Pleasanton, CA, which makes and sells temperature monitoring products.
“If there is a break in the chain, and temperature-sensitive products go to waste, or worse — if there is a major recall, the impact spreads throughout the company and its bottom line,” he added.
Edwards said that a large grower/shipper of cherries in the Pacific Northwest once told him that a lost load of cherries had cost more than $100,000.
“That is my budget, keep my monitoring within 100k and it becomes an immediate ROI (return on investment),” he said.
Besides the potential of losing a load of produce and a lot of money, specific problems accompanying a loss of temperature control include tarnishing any established reputation for providing a quality food product on time and possibly damaging a brand over the long term.
Temperature control and monitoring are also critical in the home kitchen, said Sally McNeill, an Extension educator at North Carolina State University. She pointed out that “TCS” foods (those needing time and temperature control for safety and which used to be called “potentially hazardous foods”) need particular care in order to lessen the chance of someone getting sick.
“One of the top reasons for foodborne illnesses is not cooking TCS foods to their minimum endpoint cooking temperatures. Another reason is the improper holding of hot and cold TCS foods,” McNeill told Food Safety News.
TCS foods include meats (beef, pork, lamb), poultry, fish, shellfish and crustaceans, sprouts and sprout seeds, milk and dairy products, heat-treated plant foods (cooked vegetables and legumes) and cooked rice, cut melons, cut tomatoes and cut leafy greens, baked potatoes, untreated garlic-and-oil mixtures (mixtures without an acidifying agent), and tofu or other soy protein.
While home cooks typically rely on visual cues to tell whether some TCS foods are safely cooked, the only sure way to know is by using a calibrated food thermometer, she said.
“As far as holding temperatures, hot TCS foods should be held at 135 degrees F or higher, and cold TCS foods should be held at 41 degrees F or less. Doing this can greatly reduce the risk of foodborne pathogens from multiplying to unsafe levels,” McNeill said.
In response to ever-increasing threats to food safety, scientific ingenuity has developed approaches that use sophisticated technology to monitor, track and record temperatures while food is in storage or in transit, and even while it’s on display.
These systems use specially designed software to monitor and gather data via sensors or smart labels using handheld devices and then store the information on a company server and/or the cloud (an Internet-based network) for later tracking or auditing purposes.
“Just turn the label on, place it on the cargo, and it will be read automatically upon its arrival at the destination – all without human intervention,” Oster said. “If there is a temperature concern, the QA director, or other appointed person, will receive an alert on their smart phone that will completely explain the alert issue at hand, allowing the decision-maker to act on the spot with real-time data.”
Walpuck said his company uses disposable thermometers in product pallets, which can then be tracked via global positioning system (GPS) technology. He related that a truck was recently delivering dairy products to a supermarket, and the tracking person reported that it was coming in at 54 degrees F.
“They had to take the internal temperatures of the truck and, as it turned out, only one zone had the problem and it wasn’t the zone the dairy was in, so nobody got in trouble,” Walpuck said.
To decide what type of temperature tracking and monitoring approach makes sense from a cost perspective, details of a firm’s operational requirements are considered, Edwards said.
“It also depends on how long of a trip, or how long the logger will need to monitor temperatures. What type of transportation: ship, rail, airplane, etc.?,” he explained. There are other financial aspects as well, such as software investment and the type of reporting needed.
The days of having someone check a pallet or box of perishable food (or a deli case) and then make a phone call or send an email about a problem haven’t gone away, but it’s clear that the high-tech approach is playing an increasing role in maintaining food safety.
Whether paper temperature logs are used, or a high-tech cloud-based system, the challenge for the food industry is to make sure that employees know how to use the equipment and do so regularly and accurately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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


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


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


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