FDA moves to modernize the food safety system
Source : http://www.examiner.com/article/fda-moves-to-modernize-the-food-safety-system
By Diana Duel (Sep 13, 2015)
The FDA has taken one of the most significant steps in decades to prevent foodborne illness by finalizing the first 2 of 7 major rules under the bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), by agreeing to hold imported food to the same food safety standard as domestically produced products, and developing a nationally integrated food safety system in partnership with state and local authorities.
According to the CDC, more than 1 out of every 6 people in the US (approximately 48 million people) become sick from foodborne diseases each year. If those, nearly128,000 require hospitalization, while 3,000 die as a result. Over the past few years, high-profile outbreaks related to various foods, from spinach to peanut products, have underscored the need to make continuous improvements in food safety.
“Today’s announcement sets us on the path to a modern food safety system that will prevent illnesses and continue to build confidence in the safety of the food served to our families every day,” stating acting FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff.
The 2 rules earlier this month, focus on implementing modern food manufacturing processes for both human and animal foods and are meant to ensure that food companies take action and work with the FDA to prevent hazards to customers on the front end, rather than waiting to act until an outbreak has occurred. This includes requiring manufacturers to develop and implement written food safety plans that indicate the possible problems that could affect the safety of their products and outline steps the facility would take to prevent or significantly minimize the likelihood of those problems occurring. Food companies will be held accountable for monitoring their facilities and identifying any potential hazards in their products and prevent those hazards. Under these rules, the FDA will be able to assess these systems and their outcomes to prevent problems, will better be able to respond when food safety problems occur, and better protect the safety of manufactured food.
“We’ve been working with states, food companies, farmers and consumers to create smart, practical and meaningful rules,” added Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, FDA. “And we have made a firm commitment to provide guidance, technical assistance and training to advance a food safety culture that puts prevention first.”
Florida Vibrio vulnificus cases reach 30, Canadian growers upset with ban
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/09/florida-vibrio-vulnificus-cases-reach-30-canadian-growers-upset-with-ban/
By Doug Powell (Sep 13, 2015)
As the number of Vibrio cases in Florida hit 30, and 81 in western Canada in a separate outbreak, producers of shellfish in B.C. say they cutting jobs because of a month-long raw oyster ban in Vancouver.
Roberta Stevenson, executive director of the B.C. Shellfish Growers Association says producers are testing the oysters and they meet health requirements, so the ban should be lifted.
“They are tested five times more than they used to be with the new Health Canada guidelines that are more stringent. So we are 100 per cent confident that before those oysters leave that processing plant they are completely safe to eat,” she said.
Local oysters are being sold to customers in the rest of Canada and to the U.S., Stevenson said, so she doesn’t understand why Vancouver Coastal Health isn’t lifting the ban.
If you’re so confident in your data, make it pubic and market food safety at retail.
“We will lift the order when public health officials in B.C. are satisfied that oyster conditions in coastal waters are not at a level to be a food safety concern,” said Vancouver Coastal Health in a statement.
New FDA Rules Tighten Food Safety Requirements
Source : http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-fda-rules-tighten-food-safety-requirements-1441917201
By Jesse Newman (Sep 10, 2015)
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday finalized new rules that for the first time will require U.S. food manufacturers to develop and implement detailed plans to prevent foodborne illness.
The two long-awaited regulations move the government closer to implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act, a sweeping overhaul of food-safety oversight that Congress passed five years ago. The seven major rules that comprise the law—all due to be finalized next year—are aimed at modernizing food-manufacturing processes after a wave of deadly outbreaks in the past decade stemming from contaminated fruit, spinach, peanut butter and other products.
The rules finalized Thursday, which apply to foods for humans, pets and livestock, require companies to draw up and implement written plans for keeping food safe. Companies must identify hazards in manufacturing, measures to reduce the risk of contamination and methods to verify that the controls are working. The FDA is empowered to access a company’s food-safety plans and take action if it fails to comply with the rules.
About 48 million people, or one in six Americans, get sick each year from foodborne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 die annually.
Congress in 2010 passed the biggest overhaul of federal food-safety regulations in 70 years, seeking to imbue the FDA with new authority to hold food companies responsible for keeping plants clean and reducing the risk of foodborne pathogens including salmonella, listeria and E. coli.
One common theme of food-safety breaches is that “they are largely preventable,” said Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for food and veterinary medicine. Thursday’s rules provide “new enforcement tools that will create more accountability.”
Food-safety advocates applauded the finalized rules, in part because the regulations attempt to transform a regulatory system that traditionally has been reactive into one that acts to prevent food contamination.
Until now, “the FDA would investigate after the fact, after people got sick and products were recalled,” said Sandra Eskin, director of food safety for Pew Charitable Trusts. Now, federal officials can take action before contaminated food products land on grocery-store shelves. “That’s huge,” she said.
The rules come just over a week after Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries LP, one of the largest U.S. ice-cream makers, resumed sales after recalling all its products in April following a listeria outbreak that led to three deaths. Records released by the FDA after the outbreak showed that Blue Bell neglected practices that might have prevented listeria contamination, including enacting comprehensive food-safety programs like the kind food manufacturers now will be required to detail in writing.
Other recent episodes have added to concerns about food-safety practices. Last week, California-based Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce began voluntarily recalling cucumbers imported from Mexico after they were tied to a salmonella outbreak that so far has sickened 341 people across 30 states and been linked to two deaths, according to the CDC.
The finalized rules go into effect for large food companies next year, though smaller companies have longer to comply. All food companies will have to abide by the new rules by 2018.
Even after the rules have taken effect, the FDA faces significant challenges, including securing adequate funding from Congress. Mr. Taylor said the FDA will need $260 million to fully implement and enforce the seven major food safety rules, including $109.5 million for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. President Barack Obama has requested that amount, but appropriations bills in both the House and Senate allocate just $41.5 million and $45 million, respectively, for fiscal 2016.
“We’ve waited a long time for the rules and the longer it takes [for the food-safety law] to be fully implemented, more people are going to get sick from preventable illnesses,” said Ms. Eskin of Pew Charitable Trusts.
MN Firm Investigating Salmonella Outbreak at Chipotle Restaurants
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/mn-firm-investigating-salmonella-outbreak-at-chipotle-restaurants/
By Linda Larsen (Sep 10, 2015)
A Salmonella outbreak has been associated with eating at Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota, according to a Minnesota Department of Health news release. Forty five cases of Salmonella Newport infections have been reported since Wednesday, September 2, 2015.
Pritzker Olsen, the national food safety law firm, has been investigating the Salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers imported form Mexico by Andrew & Williamson in California. Their lawyers are now investigating this outbreak as well. Salmonella lawsuits are one of the firm’s specialties.
If you were sickened with a Salmonella infection after eating at a Chipotle restaurant in Minnesota, call Ryan or Brendan for help.
If you were sickened with a Salmonella infection after eating at a Chipotle restaurant in Minnesota, call Ryan or Brendan for help.
The multiplier for Salmonella outbreaks is 30.3. That means that for every case of Salmonella that is reported to investigators and public health officials, more than 30 are now. This outbreak could have sickened at least 1,363 people just in Minnesota. Public health officials say there is no indication that any restaurants outside of Minnesota are affected.
All of the patients are infected with Salmonella Newport bacteria with “matching or very similar” DNA fingerprints, according to the news release. Of the 34 people interviewed to date, 32 ate or likely ate at 17 different Chipotle restaurants around the state. The patients ate at the restaurant from August 16 to August 26, 2015 and became ill between August 20 and August 29, 2015.
Most of the restaurants in question are in the Twin Cities metro area; one is in Rochester and one is in St. Cloud. The restaurants are in 7 Corners (Minneapolis), Bloomington, Calhoun, Crystal, Hopkins, Maple Grover, Maplewood, Minnetonka, Richfield, Ridgedale, Rochester, Shoreview, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Paul Lawson, Uptown, and US Bank Plaza (Minneapolis). Other locations in Minnesota may be affected as well; we’ll let you know if more are reported.
The patients range in age from 15 to 67 years year old. They live in eight metro and greater Minnesota counties. Five people have been hospitalized so far in this outbreak.
The symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains, and blood in the stool. Symptoms usually begin six to seventy-two hours after infection, and can last up to a week. Some people recover without medical treatment, but there are long term consequences to this infection. Later in life, a person who had Salmonella food poisoning can develop reactive arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Your doctor should have this illness noted on your chart.
If you have eaten at a Chipotle restaurant in Minnesota and have experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor. You may need antibiotics, and your case may help pinpoint the source of the pathogenic bacteria.
People are hospitalized in Salmonella outbreaks for several reasons. They could be dehydrated from diarrhea and vomiting. They could have underlying health conditions that make this infection more serious. The bacteria could be resistant to antibiotics. Or the patients could be very young or very old; those two groups are more likely to suffer complications from food poisoning.
Food safety watchdog suspends registration of egg-grading facility near Calgary
Source : http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/food+safety+watchdog+suspends+registration+egggrading+facility/11353589/story.html
By The Canadian Press (Sep 10, 2015)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it has suspended the registration of an egg-grading facility in southern Alberta due to sanitation concerns and other problems.
The CFIA says the Cluny Colony Egg Grading Facility east of Calgary has failed to correct deficiencies identified during inspections.
The agency says the facility will not be allowed to resume operating until it shows it can effectively manage food safety risks.
The CFIA says it inspects all registered egg-grading stations to protect consumers from undue risk of salmonella, a bacteria that can make people sick.
It says eggs are graded to ensure they are handled and packed in a sanitary environment.
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Cucumber Salmonella Outbreak Has High Hospitalization Rate
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/cucumber-salmonella-outbreak-has-high-hospitalization-rate/
By Carla Gillespie (Sep 9, 2015)
The cucumber Salmonella outbreak has a higher-than-average hospitalization rate. At this point it’s not clear if underlying reason has to do with patient ages, antibiotic resistance, a particularly virulent strain or a combination of all three.
Salmonella sickens more than a million Americans each year. Of those, about 40,000 are so sick they require hospitalization and about 400 die. With Salmonella outbreaks, the typical hospitalization rate is 20 percent. In this outbreak, it’s 33 percent.
More than half of those sickened in this outbreak, which includes 291 cases in 27 states, are children under 18. Children are among those at highest risk for Salmonella, with infection rates for children under 5 quintuple the rate for all other ages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Children are also among those most likely to have severe infections, the kind that migrate from the digestive track to the bloodstream and pose life-threatening risk without hospitalization.
On September 7, the national food safety law firm PritzkerOlsen, which underwrites Food Poisoning Bulletin, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of child who was sickened in this outbreak. That child became ill after eating cucumbers on a salad at Red Lobster. Red Lobster and Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce are both named as a defendants.
Others in the high-risk group for Salmonella are the elderly, and the immunocompromised. The only fatality in this outbreak was a 99-year-old San Diego woman. Health officials have not yet released information about how the outbreak strains Salmonella Poona responds to antibiotics. On September 4, the CDC said its National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System laboratory was conducting tests of antibiotic resistance on samples collected from those who became ill.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection usually develop within six to 72 hours of exposure and include fever, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. Typically, these symptoms last between four and seven days.
In this outbreak, those sickened, who range in age from less than 1 year to 99, reported onset of symptoms from July 3, 2015 to August 26, 2015. Several clusters of illness were identified, some linked to restaurants. So far, only Red Lobster has been named.
Health officials used the illness clusters as a starting point for a traceback investigation that led them to produce distributor Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego. The cucumbers in question were grown in Mexico and distributed by Andrew and Williamson. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency visited the facility, collected samples, tested them and found Salmonella.
Andrew and Williamson issued a recall for the cucumbers distributed from August 1 to September 3, but consumers have been given very little information to go on. The recalled cucumbers have all been removed from stores but had been sold at some locations of the following stores: Walmart, Savemart, Food 4 Less , Winco and Ralphs. Other stores may also have sold the recalled cucumbers.
So far the 291 cases reported by state are: Alaska (8), Arizona (66), Arkansas (6), California (51), Colorado (14), Idaho (8), Illinois (5), Kansas (1), Louisiana (3), Minnesota (12), Missouri (7), Montana (11), Nebraska (2), Nevada (7), New Mexico (15), New York (4), North Dakota (1), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (5), Oregon (3), South Carolina (6), Texas (9), Utah (30), Virginia (1), Washington (9), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (3).
Food safety chiefs slap closure orders on 10 Irish food premises in August
Source : http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/health-news/food-safety-chiefs-slap-closure-6411779
By Claire Healy (Sep 09, 2015)
Ten food business across Ireland were ordered to close in August for breaches of food safety laws, including two restaurants in Swords, Co Dublin.
Premises in Kerry, Mayo, Meath and Tipperary were also forced to shut due to enforcement orders issued by environmental health officers in the Health Service Executive over the past month.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) published details of the orders today.
Four closure orders were served under the FSAI Act 1997 on:
•Canton House Restaurant, 2 Bath Street, Dublin 4
•Sweet Nosh Restaurant, Chatham Street, Dublin 2
•Tikki Baltic Takeaway, 404 South Circular Road, Dublin 8
•Brandon Bay Lodge/B&B (closed area/kitchen) Killshanig, Maharees, Castlegregory, Co Kerry.
Six closure orders were served under the EC (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations 2010 on:
•Jade Dragon Restaurant, North Mall, Westport, Mayo
•Gleeson's Bakery, Lewis Lane, Connolly Street, Nenagh, Tipperary
•Nan's Takeaway, 3 Applewood Village, Swords, Co. Dublin
•Jade Palace Restaurant, 1st Floor of Orchard Bar, Applewood Village, Swords, Co. Dublin
•Caspian's Restaurant, Main Street, Kiltimagh, Mayo
•Rishab's Tandoori House Restaurant, Main Street, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath.
Meanwhile another prohibition order was served under the FSAI Act 1998 on Kamaceuticals Ltd fruit and vegetable processor in Burdautien, Clones, Co Monaghan.
And in the capital, another prohibition was served under the EC regulations on Mad Cow Milkshakes Burgers & Kebabs Takeaway at 1 Annamoe Road, Cabra, Dublin 7.
Prohibiton orders are issued if activities involving food like handling, processing or distribution are "likely to involved a serious risk to public health". The sale of a certain product is then temporarily or permanently prohibited.
FSAI Chief Executive Dr Pamela Byrne said she was disappointed at the lack of vigilance by some owners in making sure their businesses are fit for purpose and compliant with regulations.
She said: "We continue to find unacceptable levels of non-compliance with food safety legislation. There are still some food business operators who are potentially putting their customers’ health at risk by not complying with their legal obligations for food safety and hygiene.
"There is absolutely no excuse for these negligent practices. Food businesses must recognise that the legal onus is on them to make sure that the food they serve is safe to eat."
Dr Byrne added: "This requires ongoing compliance with food safety and hygiene standards."
The closure orders have so far been lifted on Jade Dragon, Canton House, Sweet Nosh, Nan's Takeaway, Jade Palace at the Orchard Bar and Caspian's.
Elsewhere the prohibition order has been lifted on Mad Cow Milkshakes, Burgers & Kebabs in Dublin 7.
It’s State Fair Time! Watch Out for E. Coli …
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/its-state-fair-time-watch-out-for-e-coli/
By Linda Larsen (Sep 08, 2015)
State fairs around the country are in full swing. Some have ended, and some have yet to begin. These gatherings are celebrations of the harvest and of the hard work of farmers. But in the past, these fairs and other late summer and early fall gatherings have been the source of dangerous E. coli outbreaks.
Last year, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to the traveling Zerebko Zoo Tran petting zoo sickened at least 13 people. The fair traveled to the Rice County Fair, the Nashwauk 4th of July Festival, the Polk Country Fair, and the Olmsted County Fair.
In 2013, an outbreak in September sickened three children Kentucky and Indiana after they visited Huber’s Orchard in Starlight, Indiana. All three children had to be hospitalized as a result of their illnesses. In October 2013, three children at Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton, Minnesota were sickened with E. coli infections. One child in that outbreak developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and was hospitalized for weeks.
And in 2012, 106 people were sickened with E.coli infections after they visited a petting zoo at the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina. One child died in that outbreak. Afterwards the Cleveland County Fair decided against having a petting zoo at their event.
Ruminant animals, such as cows and goats, carry E. coli bacteria in their guts and do not appear sick. That bacteria can get onto the animal’s hide after they defecate. When children touch or pet these animals, they can pick up the bacteria on their hands. And children constantly put their fingers in their mouths.
Barns where animals are shown can also be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. After a visit to the Milk Makers Fest at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden, Washington, at least 25 people were sickened with E. coli O157:H7 infections. Ten children were hospitalized. Investigators found the outbreak strain of bacteria at four locations at the festival.
Hand washing stations can be few and far between at these fairs and festivals. Even if they are present, with warning signs admonishing fairgoers to scrub up after leaving a barn, many people will ignore them. Then, when they eat cotton candy or a corn dog, they can ingest the bacteria and get sick.
The symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include severe stomach and abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is usually watery or bloody, and a mild fever. The symptoms begin 2 to 5 days after exposure, and the illness lasts 7 to 10 days.
About 5% of E. coli O157:H7 infections lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), especially in children under the age of 5. This serious complication can destroy the kidneys and cause strokes, pancreatitis, heart problems, and death. About 5% of HUS cases are fatal. The symptoms of HUS include low or no urine output, pale skin, easy bruising, decreased consciousness, jaundice, and skin rash. If any child develops these symptoms, immediate medical attention is critical.
If you or any member of your family has visited a state, local, or county fair or festival this summer, and has experienced the symptoms of E. coli poisoning, see your doctor. Early treatment is essential for a good outcome. Treatment with antibiotics, unfortunately, increases the chances that the illness will develop into HUS. A stool test will determine if the illness is E. coli.
And when you do go to a fair, be careful. Stay away from the barns if you have young children, are pregnant, are elderly, or have a chronic illness or compromised immune system. If you go to the barns or visit a petting zoo, keep a close eye on the kids. Make sure they do not touch their faces after petting animals, and make sure they wash their hands thoroughly with soap and clean running water after they visit animals. Keep your fair visit safe. And fun.
Food Safety Firm Sues Produce Company for Distributing Salmonella-Tainted Cucumbers From Mexico
Source : http://www.thedailymeal.com/news/eat/food-safety-firm-sues-produce-company-distributing-salmonella-tainted-cucumbers-mexico/090815
By Samantha Neudorf (Sep 08, 2015).
It is reported that 285 people in 27 states have been sickened by the cucumbers.
One consumer is suing a produce company after she fell ill from salmonella-tainted cucumbers.
Marler Clark, a food safety law firm in Seattle, filed the lawsuit against Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce Inc. on behalf of Minnesota resident Kathleen R. Dvergsten, according to Food Safety News.
On September 4, the San Diego-based produce company recalled all cucumbers grown and packed in Mexico. So far, 285 people in 27 states have become sick after eating the cucumbers. One death has been reported, in California, and 12 of the sickened people live in Minnesota.
Dvergsten ate the cucumbers at a Red Lobster in Maplewood, Minnesota. She experienced severe cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea and was admitted to a hospital for treatment. Dvergsten was there for almost a week and is still dealing with the aftereffects of her illness.
“While it’s good there’s a recall now underway, it didn’t come nearly soon enough,” Bill Marler, food safety advocate and managing partner at Marler Clark, told Food Safety News. “One person has died eating what is usually a healthy food and hundreds have been sickened so far. As these cucumbers were sold to restaurants and home cooks, it’s possible the number of illnesses will rise.”
Back in July, cilantro from Puebla, Mexico, was banned in the United States because it contained a parasite called cyclosporiasis, which causes intestinal illnesses.
Who Should Bear the Costs of Making Our Food Safe?
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/09/who-should-bear-the-costs-of-making-our-food-safe/#.VfZxv7sViUl
By David W. Plunkett (Sep 8, 2015)
Is a simple cost-benefit analysis the right prism through which to view a preventive food safety program? Richard Williams’ interesting, but ultimately misguided, critique of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) strongly relies on cost-benefit worries to argue against four regulations the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to implement the new law. But is he right on the facts?
FSMA replaces an antiquated food safety system that only reacted after people got sick or died with one that focuses on preventing foodborne illnesses. The obvious problem with the older system (people get sick and die) is what drove the food industry, public health officials, and consumer advocates to demand that Congress pass FSMA’s reforms in 2010. With 48 million foodborne illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, 3,000 deaths, and consumer losses estimated at as much as $77 billion annually, it is little wonder we wanted a food safety system that is better than the one we had.
Williams ignores the background and instead argues that FSMA is a solution in search of a problem. He asserts that the portion of consumer costs the regulations will reduce (e.g., the benefits) is not worth the effort to achieve prevention (e.g., the costs).
He begins by raising the bugaboo of “vastly” higher food prices. Even if his prediction comes true — something that would be hard to tease out of all of the factors that go into food pricing — it doesn’t carry much weight. Numerous surveys and economic studies demonstrate that consumers, when faced with a choice between price and safety, would opt to pay more for the safer food that FSMA will deliver. What consumers understand, but that Williams seems to miss, is that prevention is an unavoidable cost of doing business in the food industry.
The real threshold issue then is not the costs, as Williams avers, but the value of preventing avoidable foodborne illnesses and deaths. Once we pass that threshold, much of Williams’ remaining argument rests on mischaracterizations, cherry-picked facts, and mistaken assumptions.
Take his centerpiece example of the intentional adulteration rule. Much of the thinking about the threat of bioterrorism was summed up in a statement by former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson: “I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do.” Williams argues that past is prologue and we don’t have to take preventive steps against the threat of terrorism. But one need look no further than the intentional adulteration of milk in China, which claimed the lives of six infants, hospitalized 54,000 babies, and sickened 300,000 babies overall, to recognize the enormous risk of being unprepared.
His attacks on three other FSMA rules also don’t hold up under scrutiny. He mistakenly identifies an increase in Vibrio vulnificus cases from raw shellfish as an example of how preventive food safety programs have failed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report he relies on discloses that 70 percent of those “increased” cases are from wound infections, not foodborne causes. He also fails to account for the effect of better reporting after vibriosis became a nationally notifiable disease in 2007.
Williams assumes that past outbreaks are the only measure of risk in fresh produce. That completely ignores the fact that the identified multistate outbreaks represent only a tiny fraction of all foodborne illnesses. FSMA’s produce safety standards reflect a more comprehensive science-based risk assessment that goes beyond outbreak data to also consider the likelihood of contamination and the capacity of a contaminated food to support pathogen survival and growth. Even if his premise were correct, a review of his underlying report finds that he has failed to acknowledge outbreaks associated with contaminated avocados (2001), strawberries (1996, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2011), grapes (2010), mangos (1999), and others that are listed in the “Outbreak Alert!” database maintained by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Problems with Williams’ article proliferate the more you delve into his underlying report. At one point, for example, he argues against a 2001 regulation that applied HACCP (a preventive-control program) to the juice industry. Yet he supports mandatory pasteurization of juice, which is the kind of “command-and-control” strategy he decries.
The pejorative claim that FSMA is itself a command-and-control structure is also questionable. FSMA’s preventive-controls rules, like HACCP, are flexible and actually remove regulators from decisions on how to produce a safe product. The trade-off is that manufacturers have to have food safety plans and keep records to demonstrate they have chosen a sound approach based on likely hazards that they identify. That combination lets each manufacturer plan how best to carry out its responsibility to produce safe food while giving regulators information to confirm that the plan is being followed.
FSMA rightly discards the kind of 19th-century laissez faire attitude toward food safety that Williams prefers. Under his concept of a “better system,” FDA and food safety inspections would be replaced by a courtroom and a judge on the premise that it is more economical for people to get sick and then sue than to ask food producers to do the right thing and make safer food. That system has been tried, and it just doesn’t work.
Williams’ faith in the new information age assumes that everyone has perfect information and will act on it, which they don’t. Few foodborne illnesses are diagnosed and fewer reported, epidemiology is difficult to do and often underfunded, and effective traceability is a work in progress at best. Williams acknowledges that “millions of food safety cases … plague Americans annually” and hopes information-driven incentives might make a dent. But failures within that system in gathering and reporting information provide the industry with little feedback to produce safer food. Moreover, individual food producers may not bear the costs of problems they create because foodborne illness costs are shared by consumers and other segments of the economy. As a result, individual food producers are likely to underinvest in food safety, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.
While many food manufacturers and farmers willingly accept the costs of producing safe food as a cost of doing business, there are others who don’t. The Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) outbreak is the poster child for what happens when incentives fail. That company’s competitors spent millions of dollars to protect their brands and suffered millions more in lost sales because of that outbreak. Because PCA mainly supplied other food producers, those brands suffered enormous losses from bad publicity as the company conducted costly recalls. But nowhere were the costs more overwhelming than for peanut farmers who saw up to $1 billion in losses from that one event. Those kinds of costs are exactly why large parts of the food industry support FSMA and its preventive approach to food safety.
After school food safety tips for kids
Source : http://www.waxahachietx.com/midlothian/news/local/after-school-food-safety-tips-for-kids/article_c489d6bc-507f-5177-b7fa-b84260a5fe71.html
By waxahachietx.com (Sep 07, 2015)
Now that children are back in school to feed their hungry minds, parents are turning their attention to feeding hungry bodies with healthy and nutritious snacks at home.
According to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), tips are issued to keep kids safe from food poisoning as they prepare their favorite treats, sometimes unsupervised by mom or dad.
Consumers of all ages need to be aware that bacteria in food can make them sick, but there are ways to reduce their risk of food poisoning.
Now is an excellent opportunity for parents and kids to review the importance of food safety in the kitchen.
Keep it clean:
• Keep books, book bags and sporting equipment off of food preparation and eating surfaces, such as counters or the kitchen table where germs could be transferred to the food you eat.
• Wash your hands. Hands carry lots of germs, and not washing hands is a top cause of foodborne illness. This is especially important after greeting the family pet, giving it a treat, or even touching its toys.
• Always use clean spoons, forks and plates.
• Wash fruits and vegetables with running tap water before you eat them, even if you plan to peel them.
• Do NOT leave cold items like milk, lunchmeat, hard cooked eggs or yogurt, out on the counter at room temperature. Put these foods back in the refrigerator as soon as you have fixed your snack.
Avoid these foods:
• Any perishable food left out overnight, such as pizza, even if it is not topped with meat. Food that has to be cooked or refrigerated should never be left out for more than two hours.
• Lunchbox leftovers, like perishable sandwiches or other foods that need refrigeration which were not eat at school. Throw out these and their plastic or foil wrapping, instead of saving them for later use.
• Unbaked cookie dough, because it may contain raw eggs that can have Salmonella bacteria.
• Bread, cheese or soft fruits or vegetables that look bad or have even small spots of mold.
Microwave food carefully:
• Use only microwave-safe plates, bowls, and utensils. Some containers can melt or warp, and they may leak harmful chemicals into your food. Keep microwave-safe dishes in a certain cabinet for kids to use.
• Read package instructions carefully, or ask your parents what settings to use for your favorite snacks. If a microwaveable meal says to let the food “stand” after the timer goes off, do not skip this step. The food is still cooking, even though the microwave has stopped.
• Cover food with a lid, plastic wrap, or wax paper, turning up one corner to let steam escape. Also, rotate or stir the food halfway through cooking. This helps to heat food evenly and removes cold spots, which better destroys any bacteria that could be present.
• Microwave hot dogs, luncheon meats, fully cooked ham and leftovers until they are steaming hot. This indicates that they are at a temperature hot enough to destroy bacteria. Just let the food cool for a few minutes so you don’t burn your mouth!
Talking with children about these tips will keep them safe when they are home alone.
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