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FoodHACCP Newsletter
10/12 2015 ISSUE:673

What We Need to Know About Salmonella
Source :
By Andy Weisbecker (Oct 11, 2015)
Salmonella is the second most common intestinal infection in the United States. More than 7,000 cases of Salmonella were confirmed in 2009; however the majority of cases go unreported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 1 million people in the U.S. contract Salmonella each year, and that an average of 20,000 hospitalizations and almost 400 deaths occur from Salmonella poisoning, according to a 2011 report.
Salmonella infection usually occurs when a person eats food contaminated with the feces of animals or humans carrying the bacteria.  Salmonella outbreaks are commonly associated with eggs, meat and poultry, but these bacteria can also contaminate other foods such as fruits and vegetables. Foods that are most likely to contain Salmonella include raw or undercooked eggs, raw milk, contaminated water, and raw or undercooked meats.
Salmonella is generally divided into two categories. Non-typhoidal Salmonella is the most common form, and is carried by both humans and animals. Most serotypes of Salmonella, such as Salmonella Javiana and Salmonella Enteritidis cause non-typhoidal Salmonella.  Typhoidal Salmonella, which causes typhoid fever, is rare, and is caused by Salmonella Typhi, which is carried only by humans.
Symptoms of Salmonella Infection
Symptoms of Salmonella infection, or Salmonellosis, range widely, and are sometimes absent altogether. The most common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.
Typical Symptoms of Salmonella infection: Appear 6 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food and last for 3 to 7 days without treatment.
•Abdominal Cramps
•Fever of 100 F to 102 F
Additional symptoms:
•Bloody diarrhea
•Body Aches
Typhoid Fever Symptoms: Symptoms of typhoid fever appear between 8 and 14 days after eating contaminated food and last anywhere from 3 to 60 days. They include a fever of 104 F, weakness, lethargy, abdominal pain, coughing, nosebleeds, delirium, and enlarged organs. Typhoid fever is a serious illness that can result in death.
Complications of Salmonella
Complications of Salmonella poisoning are more likely to occur among young children and people age 65 or older. Possible complications include:
Reactive Arthritis: Reactive arthritis is thought to occur in 2 to 15 percent of Salmonella patients. Symptoms include inflammation of the joints, eyes, or reproductive or urinary organs. On average, symptoms appear 18 days after infection.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one disorder in a spectrum of common functional gastrointestinal disorders. Symptoms of IBS can include constipation, diarrhea, alternating diarrhea and constipation, abdominal pain, urgency, bloating, straining at stools, and a sense of incomplete evacuation.
Focal Infection: A focal infection occurs when Salmonella bacteria takes root in body tissue and causes illnesses such as arthritis or endocartitis. It is caused by typhoidal Salmonella only.
Salmonella Treatment
Salmonella infections generally last 3 to 7 days, and often do not require treatment. People with severe dehydration may need rehydration through an IV.
Antibiotics are recommended for those at risk of invasive disease, including infants under three months old. Typhoid fever is treated with a 14-day course of antibiotics.
Unfortunately, treatment of Salmonella has become more difficult as it has become more resistant to antibiotics. Finding the right antibiotic for a case of Salmonella is crucial to treating this bacterial infection.
Prevention of Salmonella Infection
These safety measures can help prevent Salmonella poisoning:
•Wash your hands before preparing food and after handling raw meats
•Cook meat and eggs thoroughly until they reach an internal temperature of 160 F (71 C)
•Do not eat foods containing raw eggs or milk, such as undercooked French toast
•Avoid cooking raw meat in the microwave, as it may not reach a high enough internal temperature to kill Salmonella bacteria and may be unevenly cooked
•Avoid bringing uncooked meat into contact with food that will not be cooked (i.e. salad)
•Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles or animal feces
•Always wash your hands after going to the bathroom
Additional Resources for Salmonella is a comprehensive site with in-depth information about Salmonella bacteria and Salmonellosis. is a Website that provides information about lawsuits and litigation brought on behalf of victims of Salmonella outbreaks nationwide.  The site provides extensive information about sources of Salmonella outbreaks.
Salmonella Blog provides up-to-date news related to Salmonella outbreaks, research, and more.

Church Tells Congregation Not to Talk About Salmonella Outbreak
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Oct 11, 2015)
Church leaders at Bethesda United Methodist Church in Parker County, Texas have told members not to talk about Salmonella outbreak linked to a community meal served at the church. At least 30 people were sickened, children were among those who ended up in the emergency room. One person was admitted to the intensive care unit.
The Texas Department of State Health Services is investigating the outbreak. A food source has not yet been determined.
On the church’s Facebook page, the youth pastor says church staff don’t think it is in the best interest of the church to talk to the media and asked members to refrain from posting or sharing information about the outbreak, according to the Stillwater News Press.
Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of animals and are shed in their feces. Contamination can happen during slaughter, in the growing fields or through cross contamination from a sick person or other contaminated food. Disease is transmitted when food tainted with microscopic amounts of fecal material is ingested.
The infection called, salmonellosis, causes diarrhea that can be bloody, abdominal cramps, and fever. Usually these symptoms develop within six to 72 hours after exposure and last up to a week. But for some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is required. A small percentage of patients who are hospitalized develop a blood infection that can be life-threatening. Seniors, children and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to develop a severe illness.
After initial symptoms resolve, long-term complications of salmonellosis can develop. These include heart problems and reactive arthritis which causes painful swelling of the joints and irritable bowel syndrome.
Recently, there have been a number of Salmonella outbreaks. A Salmonella Poona outbreak linked to cucumbers imported by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego has sickened 732 people, killing four of them. The fatalities have occurred in Oklahoma, Arizona, California, and Texas.
A Salmonella outbreak at Fig & Olive locations in Washington DC and  California sickened as many as 160 people.
Two Salmonella outbreaks linked to raw, frozen breaded chicken products have sickened a dozen people in four states. One of them, linked to Chicken a la Kiev and other products produced by Aspen Foods of Chicago has sickened five people in Minnesota. The recalled products were sold  nationwide under the brand names Acclaim, Antioch Farms, Buckley Farms, Centrella Signature, Chestnut Farms, Family Favorites, Kirkwood, Koch Foods, Market Day, Oven Cravers, Rose, Rosebud Farm, Roundy’s, Safeway Kitchens, Schwan’s, Shaner’s, Spartan and Sysco.
Another outbreak linked to Chicken a la Kiev and other breaded chicken products produced by Barber Foods of Maine has sickened nine people in four states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Oklahoma. Three people were hospitalized.
The Salmonella outbreak linked to Barber frozen chicken entrees has expanded to four states sickening nine people and hospitalizing three of them. Six cases have been reported in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Oklahoma have each reported one case.
Chicken Kiev SalmonellaA lawsuit has been filed of behalf of a man from Lake Elmo, Minnesota who became ill after eating eating a contaminated Chicken Kiev entree they purchased from a Sam’s Club store.

What We Need to Know About E. coli
Source :
By Denis Stearns (Oct 11, 2015)
Escherichia coli (E. coli) are bacteria that live in human and animal intestines. Shiga toxin-producing strains of E. coli, or STECs, are responsible for most food-related E. coli infections. E. coli O157:H7 and other STECs like E. coli O111, E. coli O145 and E. coli O121:H19 produce a toxin called Shiga toxin, which causes illness in humans. E. coli bacteria do not make animals such as livestock and deer, which harbor the bacteria in their intestines, ill.
It is estimated that E. coli infections account for over 2,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year, according to a 2011 CDC report.
Sources of E. coli
E. coli O157:H7 is most commonly found in cows, although chickens, deer, sheep, and pigs have also been known to carry it. Meat becomes contaminated during slaughter, when infected animal intestines or feces come in contact with the carcass. Ground or mechanically tenderized meats are considered riskier than intact cuts of meat because E. coli bacteria, can be mixed throughout the meat in the grinding process or during tenderization.
Other foods that sometimes become contaminated with E. coli bacteria include unpasteurized milk and cheese, unpasteurized juices, alfalfa and radish sprouts, lettuce, spinach, and water. However, any food is at risk of becoming contaminated with E. coli through cross-contamination. One can also get E. coli bacteria from contact with feces of infected animals or people.
The breakdown of sources of E. coli bacteria from 1998-2007 was as follows:
•Food: 69%
•Water: 18%
•Animals or their environment: 8%
•Person-to-person: 6%
Symptoms of E. coli
E. coli symptoms change as the infection progresses. Symptoms usually begin two to five days after infection. The initial symptoms include the sudden onset of cramps and abdominal pain, followed by diarrhea within 24 hours. Diarrhea will become increasingly watery, and then noticeably bloody. People with E. coli infection also often feel nauseated and experience headaches. Less common symptoms include fever and chills.
HUS: A Rare but Serious Complication
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, or HUS, follows around 10 percent of E. coli O157:H7 infections. HUS occurs when Shiga toxins get into the bloodstream and cause the part of the kidney that filters toxins out of the blood to break down, causing kidney injury and sometimes kidney failure.  Some HUS patients also suffer damage to the pancreas and central nervous system impairment.
Diagnosis of E. coli
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection can be diagnosed in a doctor’s office or hospital by laboratory analysis of a stool sample.
Bacteria isolated from patients’ stool samples can be compared through laboratory analysis, helping to match strains of E. coli to the food or other source it came from, a process called “fingerprinting.”
Treatment for E. coli Infection
Illness from E. coli usually goes away within a week and does not cause any long-term problems.  One should make sure to remain hydrated and get proper nutrition while sick.
Antibiotics are not used as E. coli treatment, as they do not improve the illness, and some studies show that they can increase the risk of HUS.
HUS is treated by hospitalization. Since there is no way to directly cure HUS, treatment includes care to alleviate symptoms.
Preventing Infection from E. coli Bacteria
Any food that you eat has the potential to be contaminated with E. coli bacteria. This is why it is important to take precautions in preparing food and before eating at restaurants. You should also be aware that E. coli bacteria can survive for several weeks on surfaces, so keeping countertops clean is important. Other simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of E. coli infection include:
•Wash hands thoroughly before and after eating and after going to the bathroom
•Sanitize all fruits and vegetables before eating by skinning them if possible and washing them before eating
•Check with your local department of health to find out which restaurants in your area have had recent problems with sanitation
•Avoid allowing raw meats to come into contact with other foods while cooking
•Do not allow children to share bath water with anyone who has diarrhea or symptoms of stomach flu
•Wash hands thoroughly after any contact with farm animals
•Wear disposable gloves when changing diapers of children with diarrhea
•Make sure ground meat (such as hamburger patties) reaches an internal temperature of at least 160°F
•Avoid drinking any non-chlorinated water
Additional Resources for E. coli is a comprehensive site with in-depth information about E. coli bacteria and E. coli infection. is a Website that provides information about lawsuits and litigation brought on behalf of victims of E. coli outbreaks nationwide.
E. coli Blog provides up-to-date news related to E. coli outbreaks, research, and more.




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

Salmonella in Cucumbers Sickens 40 in Wisconsin
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Oct 11, 2015)
A 35-state cucumber Salmonella outbreak includes 40 cases in Wisconsin. The outbreak, which has been linked to cucumbers grown in Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson, includes 732 people, 150 of whom have been hospitalized. Four people have died.
About 50 percent of the case patients are children under 18, an age group that is at high risk for food poisoning and for serious complications of foodborne infections.
Anyone who has eaten cucumbers and has suffered the symptoms of a Salmonella infection, should see a doctor. Because the outbreak strain of Salmonella Poona is not resistant to antibiotics,  it will respond to treatment that can help alleviate symptoms and clear the infection. And tests on a stool sample can determine if the illness is part of the outbreak.
Symptoms of salmonellosis include fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that may be bloody. After initial symptoms resolve, long term complications are possible including reactive arthritis, which causes eye irritation and painful swelling of the joints; irritable bowel syndrome, and heart problems.
Two recalls have been issued since the outbreak began. The first on September 4, 2015 for all Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label. The second on September 11, 2015 by Custom Produce Sales for all cucumbers sold under the Fat Boy label.
The recalled cucumbers are dark green, about 7 to 10 inches long and about 1.75 to 2.5 inches in diameter. They are sold as “slicer” or “American” cucumbers. At grocery stores, they were sold in bulk bins  without any identification marks or codes. At restaurants, including Red Lobster locations in Minnesota, they were served sliced on salads.
At least 10 people who ate at Red Lobster restaurants in Minnesota got Salmonella infections from contaminated cucumbers. Then national food safety law firm PritzkerOlsen, which underwrites Food Poisoning Bulletin, is representing clients sickened in this outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control says it is not unusual for cases to be reported after a recall.  And cucumbers have a shelf life of about two weeks. So people who purchased cucumbers on September 11 and ate them two weeks later would no have become ill until the end of September. It then takes time to see a doctor, submit a stool sample, and receive the lab analysis of that sample that determines if there is a foodborne infection and if it is related to the outbreak.
Case patients, who range in age from less than 1 year to 99, reported onset of illnesses dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to September 25, 2015.  Fifty-five percent are female. The median age is 17.
By state that case count is as follows: Alabama (1), Alaska (14), Arizona (114), Arkansas (11), California (192), Colorado (18), Hawaii (1), Idaho (24), Illinois (9), Indiana (3), Iowa (6), Kansas (2), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (5), Maryland (1), Minnesota (37), Missouri (11), Montana (14), Nebraska (6), Nevada (14), New Mexico (31), New York (6), North Dakota (6), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (12), Oregon (20), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (9), South Dakota (3), Texas (34), Utah (53), Virginia (1), Washington (22), Wisconsin (40), and Wyoming (7).


Researchers Develop a Faster, Cheaper Way to Detect Salmonella
Source :
By News Desk (Oct 10, 2015)
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a highly sensitive, cost-effective technology for bacterial pathogen screening of air, soil, water, and produce in as little as 24 hours.
According to lead researcher Ezra Orlofsky, Ph.D., of BGU’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, “Rapid and reliable pathogen detection in field samples is critical for public health, security and environmental monitoring. Current methods used in food, water or clinical applications rely on labor- and time-intensive culturing techniques, while activities such as dairy farming, wastewater and runoff treatment necessitates real-time monitoring of pathogens in environment samples.”
The study, published online in the September 2015 issue of the journal Water, Air & Soil Pollution, defines an accurate, inexpensive, high-throughput, and rapid alternative for screening of pathogens from various environmental samples, including tomatoes.
“This is the first study to comprehensively assess pathogen concentrations in such a broad variety of environmental sample types while achieving multiple pathogen detection with complete parallel testing by standard (or traditional) methods,” Orlofsky noted.
“We accurately identified Salmonella (S. enterica) in environmental soil samples within 24 hours, while traditional methods take four to five days and require sorting,” he said. “We also successfully identified a sometimes-fatal infection, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, in aerosols generated by a domestic wastewater treatment system. The results suggest that the developed method presents a broad approach for the rapid, efficient and reliable detection of relatively low densities of pathogenic organisms in challenging environmental samples.”
To evaluate the technology, a variety of environmental samples, including aerosols, various soil types, wastewater and vegetable surface (tomato), was concurrently spiked with Salmonella enterica and/or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Those pathogens were chosen because they are the leading causes of illness, have high survival potential in the environment, and are considered difficult to accurately detect at low concentrations.
“When applied to non-spiked field samples, our method outperformed the standard methods substantially, while detecting pathogens within a day of receiving the samples,” Orlofsky said. “Since this focused and economical screening procedure tells us exactly where to look within a day, we don’t need to monitor hundreds of samples and sub-samples over several days.”
The two techniques used are an evolved “MPN-type enrichment” (“Most Probable Number”) used in microbiology testing, coupled with “qPCR,” (quantitative polymerase chain reaction) widely used in molecular biology to monitor the amplification of DNA in real time.
“We considerably shortened previous protocols, do not use any name-brand expensive re-agents for DNA extraction and purification, and increased the procedure and workflow to segue easily from raw sample to qPCR assays,” Orlofsky explained.
While pathogen detection in soil, water and vegetable samples was highly sensitive (as low as one cell per test), the researchers believe that additional steps are required to further improve the detection levels so they reflect low pathogen concentrations (especially ones with low infective doses) in aerosols.
The researchers recommend applying this method to other pathogens such as Legionella pneumophilia, (Legionnaire’s Disease), Staphylococcus aureus (Staph infection) and Campylobacter jejuni, the second most common cause of foodborne illness.

Worthy Burger E. coli Outbreak Sickens 11 in 3 States
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Oct 10, 2015)
Eleven people Seven people who ate at Worthy Burger in South Royalton in Vermont have E. coli infections. The case patients are from three states, Vermont, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, according to Valley News.
Ten of those sickened ate at the restaurant in the weeks before September 17  when the restaurant closed fro five days t make changes recommend by the health department. One of the recommended changes was to use a food thermometer to make sure burgers had been cooked to a safe internal temperature. Using a food thermometers is the only way to make sure food is properly cooked. Color is not a reliable indicator.
Health officials are not releasing dates of illness or information about which, if any, suppliers may be involved. E. coli bacteria live in the intestines of cows and other ruminants. They cause infection when food contaminated with microscopic amounts of fecal matter is ingested.
Beef can become contaminated during slaughter. Then, during the grinding process bacteria is mixed through.
Beef is the source of most E. coli outbreaks, according to a federal study by the Food Safety Analytics Collaboration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Symptoms of an E.coli infection which include abdominal cramping and bloody diarrhea, usually set in about three days after exposure, but can take up to a week to develop. Symptoms can last a week or more. Complications include hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which can lead to kidney failure.

Oxford County Fair E. coli Outbreak: Hand Sanitizers Were Empty
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Oct 10, 2015)
The father of Colton Guay, the 20-month-old boy who died from an E. coli infection he contracted at the Oxford County Fair, told WMTW that hand sanitizer dispensers at the fair were empty. The family used their own, “but look what happened,” he told the station.
Little Colton was one of two young boys who got E. coli infections after attending the fair. Both of them developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS),  a complication of E. coli infections that causes kidney failure, seizure, stroke, coma and death.  Myles Herschaft, 17 months, remains hospitalized at Maine Medical Center.
State health officials said both boys were both sickened by the same strain of E. coli O111- meaning their infections cam from the same source. It is not yet known if that source was the petting zoo, food, or some other source at the fair. Results of tests on samples taken from the fair are expected next week.
This is not the first time that a visit to the fair has taken a tragic turn. E. coli outbreaks linked to fairs or petting zoos are reported each summer. Recent examples Five children were sickened in an E. coli outbreak in North Dakota this summer after attending the Red River Valley Fair. In May, an E. coli outbreak at the Milk Makers Fest at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Whatcom County, Washington sickened at least 36 children.  And a  2014 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to Zerebko Zoo Tran, a traveling petting zoo sickened at least 13 people.
A 2004 E.coli outbreak at the North Carolina State Fair was the largest in recent history. A total of 108 case patients were identified, 15 of whom deevloepd HUS.
Petting ZooAfter the outbreak, the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) published new recommendations for operators that are still viewed as important safety standards. They are also endorsed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here is what they recommend:
Young children should be restricted from directly entering open-interaction areas of petting zoos.  No food or beverages should be allowed in animal areas, nor should toys, pacifiers, spill-proof cups (“sippy cups”) or baby bottles. Cigarette smoking should also be prohibited. Manure and soiled animal bedding should promptly be removed. Animal waste and the tools used to remove it should be confined to designated areas restricted from public access. Children should be closely supervised during contact with animals to discourage contact with manure and soiled bedding. Appropriate hand washing should be required. Trained staff should be present in areas where animal contact is permitted to encourage appropriate human-animal interactions, reduce risk for exposure. If feeding animals is permitted, only food sold by the venue for that purpose should be allowed. Transition areas between animal and nonanimal areas should  have information about prevention of infection and injury and location of hand-washing facilities and instructions for visitors to wash their hands upon exiting. Signage instructing visitors not to eat, drink, or place their hands in their mouth while in the animal area. Exits of transition areas should be marked with signs instructing the public to wash their hands. Hand-washing stations should be available and accessible to all visitors, including children and persons with disabilities
“It is the responsibility of petting zoo owners to make sure the animals are kept clean and that there are hand washing stations for the children,” said Fred Pritzker, who has represented families whose children have died from E. coli infections they contracted from a fair.  “These tragic losses are preventable.”

Food Safety Talk 81: Food safety matters every week
Source :
By Ben Chapman (Oct 07, 2015)
Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.  They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.
After a brief discussion about Quadrophenia, the guys thankfully decide to not sing this episode.Unknown-3
Ben mentions that the last video store in the Raleigh area is closing. This led to some discussion about the job security of academic careers where Don stated, ‘prediction is very difficult especially about the future.’
Spurred by Ben’s short visit to Baltimore, the guys then discuss how awesome The Wire is.  Don mentions a perspective by David Simon, the Wire’s creator, on the real life situation in Baltimore.  Ben was recently in Baltimore for the Food Safety Summit.  A nod goes out to Brian Saunders for doing a good job of boots on the ground coverage of what’s going on in Baltimore during the Food Safety Summit.
Don recommends Acorn TV for anyone interested in British TV. This subscription service has British programming not typically shown on US TV. At the Acorn website Ben spotted Time Team an archeology reality series that he thinks his kids would love.
This week Ben talks about media interviews and a focus on multiple food safety stories all hitting at the same time. He talked a cutting boards post on barfblog that garnered some attention.  He also fielded inquires regarding the Blue Bell Listeria outbreak. Ben noted that Blue Bell announced they are recalling all the ice cream.
A tragic botulism outbreak linked to a church potluck in Ohio was also a topic in multiple media outlets. The potluck outbreak was linked to home-canned potatoes but the coverage prompted a side conversation about bot and foil-wrapped baked potatoes.
Looking ahead to future food outbreaks Ben mentions that a bill was introduced in North Carolina to legalize raw milk.  This bill would allow consumers to legally acquire raw milk via a cow share mechanism.  In this article Ben is quoted challenging an inappropriate comparison of raw milk outbreak data by the bill’s sponsor.
In After Dark Don shames Ben for not listening to Roderick on the Line. Again.

How Do You Know? The Evolution of Food Processing Technology
Source :
By Eric Wilhelmsen, Ph.D. (August/September 2015)
How Do You Know? The Evolution of Food Processing Technology
“How do you know?” is the third question of the big three facing food processors as they conform to the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Under FSMA, a food processor needs to know “What is your process?” as well as “Why is it your process?” With answers to these two questions, a food processor can turn their attention to the third question: “How do you know you did your process?” That is the focus of this article. Having answers to these three questions is not new for people interested in food safety. These questions are fundamental to food safety, even if they have not always been asked in this way. However, the standards for knowing are becoming ever more stringent.
For the most part, the food industry has responded to the challenges of knowing what has been done by adopting new technology as it has become cost effective or necessary to meet the expectations of the marketplace. Recognizing that one or both of these conditions has been met can greatly affect the future prospects of a company. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to recognize these situations when they arise. These changes have been both revolutionary and evolutionary. In many cases, the response has been to adopt greater automation and online instrumentation. The advent of inexpensive digital controls to replace complicated mechanical systems has caused many changes. As with most changes, there is peril in just relying on automated systems. The adage “trust but verify” is good advice. In this article, we are going to examine several somewhat generalized examples in which process controls that were once good enough have been replaced by new approaches.
In these examples, we will see that the process control parameters are not changing, but our ability to monitor and control them is changing. In some cases, there can be changes in the fundamental understanding of the process that create new opportunities for control. In all cases, if a primary process parameter is not controlled, a process will inherently be out of control and may yield undesirable results. Some control parameters are inherent to equipment design, but some forms of control are not apparent. It is often these parameters where control has evolved and less desirable control approaches are rejected.
A Mature Example for Perspective
Thermal processing is a good first illustration with a long history filled with examples. Thermal processing experienced its initial growing pains more than 2 centuries ago with the efforts of Nicolas Appert (1749–1841). Without primary records, I will postulate that Appert’s control para-meters included the maintenance of a boiling cooking kettle for temperature, cook time, bottle size and product. From these early beginnings, thermal processing has evolved from cooking in bottles and cans to a host of different cooking and packaging technologies. It is still evolving under pressure to deliver fresher, less-cooked products, pressure to fit into alternative packaging and all of the other economic pressures that a food processor faces to remain competitive. Nevertheless, the fundamental control parameters remain these same. The science associated with thermal processing has evolved and provided more sophisticated labels for these parameters as we leverage past knowledge to new situations. Process time replaces cook time because we want to properly account for heating and cooling time. We might have a holding tube instead of a package. We might have a hot-fill-and-hold process. Instead of bottle size, we might consider critical dimension to include spacing between heat exchanger plates or a variety of packaging types. With this list, we can turn our attention to some examples of the evolution of control.
Appert’s boiling kettle for temperature control has been replaced over time by thermometers, certified thermometers, thermistors and thermocouples. All of these are increasingly sophisticated tools for measuring temperature. Processors have gone from systems monitored intermittently by an operator to various flavors of automated logging systems, including chart recorders and computers. The shift to these new technologies has not been instantaneous. The new technologies were validated as being better or more robust. To ensure faster corrective actions, automated systems have been programmed to respond to small deviations to keep the process under control and divert underprocessed product back for more processing. Nevertheless, we can still find a contemporary use of Appert’s temperature control approach when jams, jellies and other fruit products are bottled using one of those once-ubiquitous blue porcelain canners on the stove. We can see that the situation can dictate the appropriate way to measure temperature for thermal processing. It is likely that the home canner does not even keep a paper record of the cook time.
Similarly, Appert’s cook time has been replaced, in some cases, by residence time in hold tubes at specific flow rates or by speed in continuous retorts of fixed lengths. Undoubtedly, some operations still do batches where time is monitored directly, but they certainly are not being timed by the bells of the church tower. Given a desire to minimize process time, it has become increasingly important to measure process times with precision. The ability to measure a short time is greatly impacted by the uncertainty of the timing device. Precision becomes a hugely important factor with ultrahigh-temperature processes where process times can be very short.
Clearly, the marketplace would accept Appert’s products only as a novelty at this point. The marketplace demands more sophisticated control of thermal processes. Additionally, there are regulations for low-acid foods that force particular types of control on processors. With the long history and evolution of thermal processing in foods, it is easy to see its adaptation to new technology. The standard for knowing the time and temperature of a process has evolved. Additionally, the standards for documentation have evolved so that if something goes awry, there are records to see whether the process failed or there was a failure to process properly.
Technology Has Changed How We Know
Today, we are experiencing the “Internet of things”—the embedding of networking technology into household appliances and consumer goods. Computers and digital control are pervasive. Increasingly, sensors are used for real-time analyses. Sensors provide high sensitivity, reproducibility, selectivity and mobility. They have a low cost of ownership and gradual replacement and/or parallel use when compared with complex and cumbersome analytical laboratory instruments. The reduced need for human involvement is also desirable, primarily to reduce error and time. Whether used “in-line” or as a “stand-alone,” the sensors can be integrated in conjunction with Wi-Fi technologies and used for real-time transmission of contamination alarms and/or test results to remote servers.
Sensors come in many types. There are many electrodes and probes. These devices respond to many different stimuli and are appropriate for diverse processes. The following list illustrates the diversity of these devices: thermocouples, smoke detectors, electronic noses, in-line indices of refraction, conductivity electrodes, mass flow meters, pressure transducers, etc. If there is money to be made, someone will figure out how to measure a particular stimulus or a surrogate. However, it is important to ensure that these alternative approaches will actually measure the desired stimuli in the actual working environment.
The challenge of the working environment can be illustrated with the use of an oxidation-reduction potential electrode to monitor chlorine. In a simple water system, this works reasonably well, but it rapidly breaks down when other materials are added to the water and the pH changes. If a sensor is not validated in the working environment, you cannot know if your process is under control.
The laboratory has also changed. There has been a proliferation of rapid methods based on immunochemistry and biotechnology such as PCR. Instruments have become more automated and powerful. If you want to measure it, you can. Modern instrumentation is connected to computers. We are beginning to see devices connected to smartphones. Recently, a near-infrared (NIR) spectrophotometer for consumer use entered the market. This NIR instrument was suggested as a tool for determining the ripeness of fruits and other good and bad characteristics of products. The impacts of all these changes can be seen in almost any modern process.
For example, the relatively recent adoption of automated color sorting marks an evolutionary step in process control. It was not that long ago that small products such as raisins, nuts or berries were sorted to a limited degree by individuals visually inspecting the product as it passed in front of them on a conveyor. Processors struggled with balancing the cost of inspectors and the value of more uniform products. Efforts were made to ensure that incoming lots were as consistent as possible. Today, there are online color sorting systems that use puffs of air to reject particular product pieces that fall outside the desired tolerances. It is amazing to watch these systems operate at speed and see the effectiveness of the sorting. The marketplace has come to accept this improvement in consistency. The standard for color consistency has evolved.
We can also see the evolution of process control in the systems for batching and controlling liquid blending for juices and other beverages. There are computer-controlled batching systems with mass flow meters. There are sensors to confirm that mixtures have the right density. There are automated systems for monitoring incoming water. These systems inherently document what was done, verifying that the process was followed. Paper records are still being used, but digital documentation is becoming the standard. These changes remove human intervention from repetitive tasks and reduce error, increasing confidence regarding knowing what was done.
Compounding of Errors
We must face a variety of errors in our attempts to know that we did our process. Three types of measurement error are especially troubling in that they can make out-of-spec product appear to be in spec. The first of these is observational error. Any time a measurement is made, an observation is obtained. This observation will deviate to some extent from the true value. The second type of error is calibration error. No measurement is more accurate than the reference. In fact, all measurements ultimately relate to some reference. And finally, there is the loss in accuracy over time, or drift.
Another family of error is the process target. There will be a range for the control parameters that yield the desired process if only because the process metrics have the three types of measurement error we just described. These ranges generally become the process specification, and anything outside of these ranges is out of spec.
The real trouble comes when Murphy intervenes and both types of error work against you. This is unlucky, as both types of error should be random. However, randomness necessarily includes all possible combinations. Under these conditions, if the errors are large enough, consumers may be at risk, depending on the hazards the process is meant to control.
A Developing Example
The science of food processing is not uniformly developed across all sectors of the food industry. We can and do leverage experience from one sector to another, but without a fundamental understanding, the tools we have been discussing only generate data and do not ensure process control. This is the situation in the value-added produce sector, particularly leafy green processing. Most leafy green washing processes have empirical data showing the product is largely safe and wholesome, but they are not really ready to address the three questions of FSMA. The base of fundamental research is increasing, but this is taking time to evolve and is not structured to work as a cohesive whole. The processes used by the various players are different. Multiple sanitizers, including chlorine, chlorine dioxide and peroxyacetic acid, are used in these processes. It is instructive to look at the gaps in our knowledge to see how efforts to know that the process was achieved are evolving. 
The first step to having validated processes is understanding what must be achieved. In thermal processing, this was a simple question. We wanted a process sufficient to kill the more-than-expected population of organisms of interest. Leafy green processing does not have a kill step that can be expected to provide a 4- or 5-log reduction in Salmonella or pathogenic Escherichia coli, which would obviate the need for any other microbial control metric. Therefore, we need alternative metrics for establishing process validity. Three probable candidates include control of cross-contamination, lethality or log reduction and some measure of chemical safety. At this point, we are seriously hindered because we do not have a standard for any of these metrics. Many researchers have generated data, but there is no standard method for measuring cross-contamination. We do not have a standard method for measuring lethality on a leafy green that allows comparison among different processes and experiments. 
Nevertheless, with these developing metrics in mind, we can turn our attention to the process parameters. Here again, the knowledge is limiting. For this article, we will focus on chlorine as the water sanitizer. Therefore, we can focus on chlorine concentration and pH as the primary control parameters. Other parameters have been suggested but will be ignored for this article, given their secondary importance. 
Knowing the parameters to control is a good start, but one must also know to what level they need to be controlled. At present, there is still much disagreement about what level of chlorine is needed and what pH is necessary to provide an effective process. This is further complicated by the lack of agreement over how these simple parameters are measured and controlled, which brings us back to the focus of this article.
Addressing pH as the easier parameter first, pH probes are everyone’s choice. There was a time when pH test strips might have been considered viable options, but they are manual tools and generally lack the precision of a pH probe. These probes must be calibrated and readings must be collected. Most pH probes come with calibration procedures. Each processor needs to consider how often this must be done to ensure that readings are accurate. Nominally, calibration must be done often enough that there are no significant errors in the reading. A significant error is one that would allow out-of-spec product to be produced.
It may be tempting to use manual pH readings. This allows for cleaning of the probe and provides a check that the probe is performing normally. Such manual readings are inherently less frequent than an in-line probe that might be sampling every second and providing an average over a short interval. The problem with manual readings is that if an out-of-spec reading is generated, all of the product since the last reading within the tolerance would not have been produced under a valid process. Herein lies the rationale for continuous monitoring: It is possible to have a digital record documenting process performance. 
Turning our attention to the monitoring of chlorine, there are several approaches. Operations using test strips tend to always have 10 ppm chlorine, even when they do not. There are a number of procedures based on the N,N-diethyl-1,4-phenylenediamine sulfate dye. These procedures can work well in clean water but are somewhat problematic in wash water with high organic loads. These tests are generally manual but can be automated. The manual nature of these tests presents the same problem as the manual pH method: There is a large amount of product produced that is out of compliance with the desired process if a reading is out of range. Both of these methods include both hypochlorite and hypochlorous acid in the free chlorine when only hypochlorous acid is the active form, giving an overstatement of the sanitizer present. Recently, probes that measure hypochlorous acid have entered the marketplace. These are coulometric and therefore subject to variability with flow. They consume chlorine as part of the measurement process. Additionally, they are affected by pH and must be calibrated at the working pH. Fortunately, these electrodes are not affected by organic load, making them very tolerant of the working environment.
Combining probes for both pH and hypochlorous acid, one can achieve statistical process control of both pH and chlorine, yielding a controlled process. If that controlled process achieves the desired metrics, the process can be validated and there is a good answer to the question “How do you know?”
Moral of the Story
As much as we might like to separate the three questions of FSMA, we are locked in a cycle where better understanding of one question leads to greater demands from the others. It is a cycle of continuous improvement, which is generally a good thing. In each cycle, we improve our answer to each question and ultimately provide better and safer products to our customers and consumers. That which is acceptable today may not be acceptable tomorrow. To stay in business, we need to be mindful of the opportunities to improve.

Oxford County Fair Linked to E. coli Death
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By Bruce Clark (Oct 07, 2015)
According to AP, two Maine children have been hospitalized with symptoms associated with E. coli, and state health officials said Tuesday they are investigating whether their illness can be traced to the Oxford County fair.
The state Center for Disease Control and Prevention is looking for common links, including that both children from Androscoggin County attended the fair last month. The CDC is sending the state veterinarian and Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to the fair to investigate, a spokesman said. They’ll be looking at animal exhibits, among other things.
Lab tests revealed the presence of toxins associated with E. coli in both children, the CDC spokesman said.
WMTW reports that one child is dead after visiting the Oxford County Fair, according to his father. WMTW spoke with Jon Guay, the father of Colton Guay, who confirmed that Colton died of HUS, hemolytic uremic syndrome, a week after being at the fair.
The other boy, 17-month-old Myles Herschaft, of Auburn, is still battling a case of HUS, according a Facebook post made by his father, Victor, on Tuesday.
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.

Fourth Person Dies in Cucumber Salmonella Outbreak
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By Carla Gillespie (Oct 07, 2015)
A fourth person has died in the Salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers distributed nationwide by Andrew & Williamson. The fatalities were reported from Oklahoma, Arizona, California, and Texas.
Salmonella in cucumbers at Red LobsterThere are now 732 people in 35 states who have been sickened, 150 of them have been hospitalized. That 28 percent hospitalization rate is higher than the average 20 percent. That could be because 50 percent of the case patients are children under 18, an age group that is at high risk for food poisoning and for serious complications of foodborne infections.
If you ate cucumbers and have suffered the symptoms of a Salmonella infection, see your doctor.  Treatment can help alleviate symptoms nad clear the infection. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Poona is not resistant to antibiotics. Symptoms of salmonellosis include fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that may be bloody.
After initial symptoms resolve, long term complications are possible including reactive arthritis, which cause eye irritation and painful swelling of the joints, irritable bowel syndrome, and heart problems.
Two recalls have been issued since the outbreak began. The first on September 4, 2015 for all Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label. The second on September 11, 2015 by Custom Produce Sales for all cucumbers sold under the Fat Boy label.
The recalled cucumbers are dark green, about 7 to 10 inches long and about 1.75 to 2.5 inches in diameter. They are sold as “slicer” or “American” cucumbers. At grocery stores, they were sold in bulk bins  without any identification marks or codes.
A list of retailers that sold the recalled cucumbers has not been provided by health officials. But  Walmart, Winco, Food 4 Less, Ralphs, and Savemart stores all carried them.
If you were sickened with a Salmonella infection after eating cucumbers
If you were sickened with a Salmonella infection after eating cucumbers contact PritzkerOlsen.
They were also served at restaurants. Red Lobster locations served them sliced in salads. At least 10 people who ate at Red Lobster restaurants in Minnesota got Salmonella infections from contaminated cucumbers. Then national food safety law firm PritzkerOlsen, which underwrites Food Poisoning Bulletin, is representing clients sickened in this outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control says it is not unusual for cases to be reported after a recall.  And cucumbers have a shelf life of about two weeks. So people who purchased cucumbers on September 11 and ate them two weeks later would no have become ill until the end of September. It then takes time to see a doctor, submit a stool sample, and receive the lab analysis of that sample that determines if there is a foodborne infection and if it is related to the outbreak.
Case patients, who range in age from less than 1 year to 99, reported onset of illnesses dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to September 25, 2015.  Fifty-five percent are female. The median age is 17.
By state that case count is as follows: Alabama (1), Alaska (14), Arizona (114), Arkansas (11), California (192), Colorado (18), Hawaii (1), Idaho (24), Illinois (9), Indiana (3), Iowa (6), Kansas (2), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (5), Maryland (1), Minnesota (37), Missouri (11), Montana (14), Nebraska (6), Nevada (14), New Mexico (31), New York (6), North Dakota (6), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (12), Oregon (20), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (9), South Dakota (3), Texas (34), Utah (53), Virginia (1), Washington (22), Wisconsin (40), and Wyoming (7).

Norovirus surrogates are tough to inactivate in cotton and polyester
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By Ben Chapman (Oct 7, 2015)
A couple of years ago Sam, the almost-5-year-old yacked all over the backseat of the van on a car trip. The polyester carpeting and cotton fabric-covered seats smelled for weeks. We even tried to hose the van out, leaving the doors open for a couple of days (and then a frog set up shop in there).
It was most likely motion sickness that led to Sam’s vomit event, but people with noro puke on all sorts of surfaces. My friend Angie Fraser and colleagues at Clemson just published what happens when you try to inactivate norovirus surrogates on different surfaces including polyester and glass.
Our results indicated that surface and virus type had a significant influence on RE (that’s recovery efficiency – ben). We found that both FCV and MNV exhibited higher RE when inoculated onto glass than either polyester or cotton. In addition, the recovery of both viruses from cotton was significantly lower than that of polyester. Compared with FCV, MNV exhibited a higher recovery from soft porous surfaces; however, it was only significant for cotton. Previous studies have also document- ed the ability of HuNoV surrogates to be recovered with greater efficiency from hard nonporous surfaces than from soft porous surfaces. Viruses may become more tightly bound to soft porous surfaces due to their ability to absorb the virus-containing media and trap viruses in the subsurface.
Recovery and Disinfection of Two Human Norovirus Surrogates, Feline Calicivirus and Murine Norovirus, from Hard Nonporous and Soft Porous Surfaces
Journal of Food Protection, Number 10, October 2015, pp. 1776-1924, pp. 1842-1850(9)
Yeargin, Thomas; Fraser, Angela; Huang, Guohui; Jiang, Xiuping
Human norovirus is a leading cause of foodborne disease and can be transmitted through many routes, including environmental exposure to fomites. In this study, both the recovery and inactivation of two human norovirus surrogates, feline calicivirus (FCV) and murine norovirus (MNV), on hard nonporous surfaces (glass) and soft porous surfaces (polyester and cotton) were evaluated by both plaque assay and reverse transcription quantitative PCR method. Two disinfectants, sodium hypochlorite (8.25%) and accelerated hydrogen peroxide (AHP, at 4.25%) were evaluated for disinfection efficacy. Five coupons per surface type were used to evaluate the recovery of FCV and MNV by sonication and stomaching and the disinfection of each surface type by using 5 ml of disinfectant for a contact time of 5 min. FCV at an initial titer of ca. 7 log PFU/ml was recovered from glass, cotton, and polyester at 6.2, 5.4, and 3.8 log PFU/ml, respectively, compared with 5.5, 5.2, and 4.1 log PFU/ml, respectively, for MNV with an initial titer of ca. 6 log PFU/ml. The use of sodium hypochlorite (5,000 ppm) was able to inactivate both FCV and MNV (3.1 to 5.5 log PFU/ml) below the limit of detection on all three surface types. AHP (2,656 ppm) inactivated FCV (3.1 to 5.5 log PFU/ml) below the limit of detection for all three surface types but achieved minimal inactivation of MNV (0.17 to 1.37 log PFU/ml). Reduction of viral RNA by sodium hypochlorite corresponded to 2.72 to 4.06 log reduction for FCV and 2.07 to 3.04 log reduction for MNV on all three surface types. Reduction of viral RNA by AHP corresponded to 1.89 to 3.4 log reduction for FCV and 0.54 to 0.85 log reduction for MNV. Our results clearly indicate that both virus and surface types significantly influence recovery efficiency and disinfection efficacy. Based on the performance of our proposed testing method, an improvement in virus recovery will be needed to effectively validate virus disinfection of soft porous surfaces.

FSMA: The Recipe for Food Safety Success
Source :
By John T. Shapiro, Esq. (Oct 06, 2015)
FSMA: The Recipe for Food Safety Success
Hailed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety law in more than 70 years, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was enacted in 2011—and surged to the forefront of food industry discussion and study—against a backdrop of ongoing food-related illnesses that each year sickened tens of millions and caused several thousand deaths. FDA touted that FSMA would fundamentally shift the food safety paradigm—from reacting to adulterated food after it reached the marketplace in a time-constrained effort to minimize the harm such products might cause consumers to preventing contaminated food products from reaching consumers in the first place.
The final version of the complex regulations that form FSMA’s core have been long in the making. Last month, FDA issued the first of seven final rules—the “Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food.” This preventive controls for human food rule is largely the same as the initial version of the rule proposed by the FDA nearly three years ago. In short, covered facilities should design and implement a written food safety plan that includes:
•    Analysis of known or reasonably foreseeable and hazards
•    Measures to prevent or minimize the likelihood the identified hazards will occur, including process, food allergen, sanitation and supply-chain controls
•    Oversight and management of preventive controls to make sure that they are carried out
•    Verification to make sure that preventive controls are up-to-date and effective
•    Corrective action procedures to correct both isolated production problems and more systemic preventive control flaws
•    Record review and record-keeping protocols
•    A recall plan
Of course, even a well-thought-out food safety plan is doomed to failure if it is poorly implemented and employees are unaware of its provisions or are inadequately trained to carry out its protocols. The rule therefore requires that personnel have the food safety education, training or experience appropriate for their jobs, the food product at issue and the facility in which the food product is manufactured, processed, packed or held and that the facility maintain training records—a significant change from the rule as originally proposed.
The deadline for compliance with the preventive controls for human food rule, which ranges from 1–3 years, depends on the size of the food business. Large companies must comply within 1 year—September 17, 2016—of the final rule’s publication. Medium and small-sized companies have 2 and 3 years, respectively, in which to comply.
Compliance with the preventive controls for human food rule should pose little hardship for many companies. The rule encompasses best practices the industry has long discussed and which many food manufacturers, processors and others in the food supply chain have utilized for years in an effort to reduce the risk of producing adulterated food products. Nevertheless, the food safety headlines remain replete with product recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks that involve food companies with existing, and often sophisticated, food safety plans. Poultry, beef, milk, spinach, cantaloupes, peanut butter, spices and even ice cream are just a few of the types of food products that have been subject to recent recalls for possible pathogen contamination. Many more products are recalled on a daily basis due to undeclared allergens, possible misbranding and other potential adulterations.
The ongoing bevy of recalls and outbreaks begs the question whether a company’s well-crafted food safety plan is sufficient to protect consumers, safeguard hard-earned company brands and business, and stem the tide of the types of food safety-related complications that were the catalyst for FSMA. Even when coupled with other safeguards that the remaining core FSMA rules will embody, empirical evidence and common sense both suggest that the answer is no.
What, then, are the missing ingredients for food safety success? There are at least two: proactive, realistic, and transparent assessment and management of internal food company operations and external supply relationships, domestic and foreign. Food companies must treat FSMA and their food safety plans as core components of their daily operations, and not as a static agreement or set of rules to be shoved in a filing cabinet and shown the light of day only after a food safety-complication arises. In short, food companies must:
•    Prepare for FSMA—including which regulations apply to a company’s internal operations and external supply partners
•    Adequately train personnel
•    Implement transparent food safety preventive measures, internally and externally
•    Build sufficient flexibility into their plans and relationships to allow for change with minimal disruption where needed to promote food safety
•    Thoughtfully negotiate and precisely draft supply and vendor agreements that meet the company’s food safety related needs
•    Vigilantly manage and oversee internal operations and external relationships
•    Continually assess, and when needed, alter operations and relationships
Consumer food purchases increasingly are being driven by concerns about traceable foods and transparent operations—from where a product and its ingredients hail and how it was produced. With proper training and planning, careful contracting and oversight, food companies can hit on the recipe for successfully meeting consumer demands, growing their brands and avoiding being the subject of the next recall or illness outbreak.

Do You Eat Fish? Learn About Ciguatera Food Poisoning
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By Linda Larsen (Oct 06, 2015)
You don’t often hear about ciguatera food poisoning, unless you are part of the fishing industry. This naturally occurring toxin found in fish can cause serious foodborne illness. Cooking does not deactivate the toxin, so even properly cooked seafood can make you sick. In the past few years, there have been several outbreaks and recalls related to this toxin.
Whole Grouper from iStockphotoThis type of food poisoning is responsible for the highest reported incidence of foodborne illness outbreaks linked to finfish around the world, according to a study published in Toxicon by Robert Dickey and Steven M. Plakaas. The algae that produces the toxin is usually located in the tropics, but these harmful algal blooms have been occurring in Texas, Florida, South Carolina, and Miami in recent years. As coral reefs deteriorate because of climate change and ocean acidification, the risk of this illness will increase.
The toxin is produced by micro algae, or dinoflagellates, called Gambierdiscus toxicus. Small fish eat the algae, and they are then in turn eaten by larger reef-dwelling fish. The toxins climb up the food chain until the contaminated fish are caught and served to people. The fish most likely to have the ciguatera toxin include amberjack, barracuda, grouper, coral trout, hogfish, snapper, moray eel, wrasse, tang, parrotfish, and Spanish mackerel.
Symptoms of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) are typical of food poisoning, and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and body aches. If left untreated, further symptoms can include numbness, joint pain, tingling in the hands, feet, or mouth, dizziness, itchiness, shortness of breath, rashes, vertigo, irregular heartbeat, and the reversal of hot and cold sensations. There is no cure for this toxin, although treatments are available. Some people are affected with health problems for years after ciguatera poisoning.
Restaurants have a responsibility to warn their patrons that this type of food poisoning is associated with certain fish on their menus. Distributors of fish are also responsible, since they must have an HACCP plan that analyzes hazards with the food they sell. Any HACCP plan must exclude fish harvested from an area where there is a CFP problem. Larger, predatory fish, usually over 6 pounds, are more likely to harbor the toxin. And liver, intestines, heads, and roe of smaller reef fish may also carry the toxin.
A report this last summer published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene showed that these poisonings are more common than previously thought: 5.6 cases per 100,000 residents, more than the previously recorded 0.2 cases per 100,000 residents. Areas around Miami and the Florida Keys are especially vulnerable. Most fish causing these poisonings in Florida are caught in the Keys and in the Bahamas.
If you fish for these specific species, buy them from a grocery store, or order them in a restaurant, and then experience the symptoms described above within six hours after eating the fish, it’s important to see a doctor. The report stated that Hispanics have the highest incidence rate of this infection, since they are more likely than other populations to eat barracuda, the fish considered most risky for ciguatera toxin.
To protect yourself, when you fish, shop, or eat in a restaurant, choose smaller fish, since they will have a lesser concentration of the toxin. Don’t eat the viscera of any reef fish. There are no tests for the toxin and it doesn’t change the fish’s taste, texture, flavor, or appearance. And always buy seafood from a reputable fishmonger, and be aware of CFP warnings if you fish to eat.

Food safety issues challenge industry
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By Christian Schlect (Oct 06, 2015)
Orchardists and packing house managers continue to find themselves challenged in the turbulent arena of food safety.
More research is needed on the intersection of tree fruits and dangerous human pathogens; new and costly water-testing requirements for orchards are on the horizon; enhanced employee food safety training will be required; and a new federal regulatory enforcement regime, one attended by the threatening dark cloud of possible criminal sanctions, is moving into place.
Regulations implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act are now being finalized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Two such regulations were issued on September 10, two are scheduled for the end of October, and two more will emerge in 2016. They will have varying dates for full compliance.
The means to enforce these FSMA regulations is still uncertain. FDA claims insufficient resources in terms of both budget and personnel. It wants more money from Congress.
It would also like state departments of agriculture to be its “partners” in making sure the new law is followed in the produce field and packing house. States wonder who will pay for this new activity and worry about being viewed as an “enforcer against” not a “partner with” local agriculture.
Meanwhile, criminal penalties in food safety cases have been on the uptick as federal prosecutors seek jail time in egregious cases, such as the Peanut Corporation of America scandal where food safety tests were falsified and adulterated product was knowingly shipped to customers.
Making criminal or civil enforcement actions even more likely are recent advances in the testing technology for human pathogens.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing to expand its use of whole genome sequencing, a much more accurate and quicker way of linking a specific food product with an adverse multi-state foodborne outbreak.
Food safety is popping up on other fronts, as well. Last winter, our apple industry was hit with a number of blows to its export efforts. Some were well publicized, such as the ocean shipping disruptions sparked by labor unrest at West Coast ports. A quieter export problem arose from the aftermath of a domestic food safety recall of caramel apples.
Prepackaged caramel apples were fingered as the culprit in a multistate outbreak of Listeriosis. This serious infection is caused by Listeria monocytogenes (Lm). CDC and FDA led the government’s response to this incident.
Eventually, the investigation found its way back to a specific supplier of Granny Smith and Gala apples: Bidart Brothers of Bakersfield, California. As one aspect of its work, FDA notified several foreign countries, mostly located in Asia, of the possibility that unsafe apples from Bidart Brothers might be in their local markets. These initial country-to-country warning notifications by FDA were coordinated neither with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service nor with private industry.
As a result of over-cautiousness and, perhaps, translation difficulties, some Asian countries temporarily restricted access for all apples from the United States (not just two varieties from one packing house with limited export sales), called for mandatory testing of U.S. apples for Lm at entry, or sent incendiary media warnings to their citizens about the dangers of U.S. apples. All this was eventually calmed down, but only after many weeks of effort and at the expense of lost sales.
The caramel apple incident was striking on two counts: One, it presented the first direct tie of fresh whole apples to a serious food safety outbreak, and two, it showed the real threat to essential overseas markets when our fruit is associated, even indirectly, with a domestic food safety event.
What is being done?
The Northwest Horticultural Council’s Food Safety Committee and staff will be reading and trying to interpret the FSMA regulations as they are published. Educational sessions for growers and packing house personnel on the new rules will be held over the coming months by the Washington State Tree Fruit Association.
Crisis communication plans—for both foreign and domestic markets—are being updated and coordinated between the United States Apple Association and the Washington Apple Commission. The Northwest Horticultural Council is assisting in this process.
The Center for Produce Safety, located in Davis, California, continues to be a valuable asset in coordinating much-needed research related to food safety and tree fruit, as well as other produce.
The Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission has also increased its efforts in funding and supervising research aimed at answering food safety questions hovering over our industry.
We are enhancing our industry’s interactions with CDC and FDA. As in past decades when we came to know the regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency when certain agricultural chemicals came under intense fire, we now need to know the officials and career employees at the main federal food safety agencies as new rules are developed and enforced.
Food safety is with us; it will not go away. Orchards and packing houses in the Pacific Northwest are adapting quietly and effectively to this hard reality.
As they successfully accomplish this, our growers and packers will keep their position as the world’s leaders in providing the best—and safest—apples, pears, and cherries to consumers around the globe. •

Hold the Bacteria: Made-to-Order Disease
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By Sydney Ross Singer (Oct 05, 2015)
(This article by Sydney Ross Singer was originally posted on his blog Sept. 30, 2015, and is reposted here with his permission.)
The next time you are in a sandwich shop or deli where workers make your sandwich in front of you as you select items to be included, check out their hands. According to law, there should be no direct hand contact with your food by the sandwich maker. Hands are dirty and vectors of disease, and food can be contaminated by the worker touching, for example, money in the cash register and then touching your lunch meat. To prevent this obvious source of disease, the law requires such workers to wear gloves to keep hands clean.
Here’s the rub: The clean gloves are often made dirty by workers putting them on with dirty hands.
Deli sandwich worker wearing glovesI have personally watched employees in different national chain sandwich shops working both the cash register and making sandwiches. The restaurants seemed short-staffed, so the employees were multitasking. After making a sandwich while wearing gloves, the employees then took off their gloves to ring up the last customer and then handled the old gloves with their dirty hands to put them on again to make a sandwich for the next customer.
While management should have instructed these workers to wash their hands before putting on their gloves, the reality is that workers who need to repeatedly work with both cash and food would need to wash their hands as often as healthcare professionals. However, these restaurant workers, many of whom have had only a high-school education or less, are not intensively trained as healthcare workers are to wash their hands dozens of times a day.
These restaurant workers think of their gloves as ways to keep their hands clean instead of seeing the gloves as ways to keep the food clean.
According to a food safety inspector, some workers ignorantly keep the same pair of gloves on for long periods of time, even going to the bathroom while wearing the same gloves, and returning to make sandwiches, still with the same gloves on. Doing so kept their hands clean all day, but who knows how many customers got sick from the sandwiches made by these dirty gloved hands?
Here are some ways this easily preventable source of disease can be mitigated:
1.Restaurant management needs to remind their workers of the need to change gloves frequently and wash their hands thoroughly before handling a new pair of gloves.
2.There should be dedicated employees working the cash register and those working with food. Having employees doing both increases the chances of food contamination.
3.While standing in line for the worker to make your sandwich, observe their cleanliness habits as they make other sandwiches and how many other non-food objects they touch with their gloved hands. When it’s your turn, ask the employee to change gloves and wash their hands before putting on their new gloves.
4.Keep in mind that, however clean the employee’s hands are when they make your sandwich, your hands could be dirty and a source of disease, especially since you have to handle money to pay for your sandwich just before you eat it. Remember to wash or use hand sanitizer before handling your food.
Food safety is only as good as the weakest link, and when it comes to sandwich shops, that link could be dirty money, dirty hands, and dirty gloves.

Animal Nutrition: The Science of Food Safety
Source :
By (Oct 05, 2015)
From formulation errors and quality issues to potential contamination, a laundry list of issues continues to trigger animal nutrition product recalls. However, extensive food safety management systems have helped advance the pet food industry into producing some of the safest, most nutritious products available on the market. Although this issue will always be an ongoing priority, many companies are at the top of their game when it comes to comprehensive food safety programs. The free Petfood & Animal Nutrition 2.0 “The Science of Food Safety" digital issue examines these issues and more.
According to independent pet food industry consultant David Primrose, pet food safety management is often handled effectively through a food safety management system (FSMS) that may include sterilization to kill foodborne pathogens, drying to prevent mold growth and the use of metal detection to expose metal foreign bodies. Food safety culture in general, he said, can be defined as the organizational and personal attitudes and behavior that influence how anyone working in the food supply chain behaves with respect to ensuring compliance with FSMS. No matter how automated the process, the design and manufacture of safe pet food requires people. To ensure an FSMS is effective, it is important to maintain a balanced approach based on social, human and technical aspects of food safety management.
On the technological front, social media and consumer activism have contributed to a heightened sensitivity regarding pet food safety. Melissa Brookshire, D.V.M., founder of North River Enterprises, urges brand holders to have thorough, time-sensitive procedures in place for handling PR threats. She said email correspondence should be reviewed daily and customers handled promptly by phone, rather than by email response. Specifically, a senior member of the customer support team or a veterinarian should make initial contact. If the complaint is received in the form of a Facebook post or other social media platform, Brookshire said it is critical to take the conversation offline as quickly as possible. Dealing with every concern in a timely, calm and methodical manner will help resolve most issues in a positive way.
As for product testing, although it is a vital part of food safety efforts, Matt Nichols, national account manager in the pet food division at Neogen Corp., noted it is just one component in what should be a fully developed food safety management program. A comprehensive strategy can help define the role of testing, because without a well-defined food safety program, the potential value of testing cannot be maximized. With testing, Nichols said one needs to know exactly what will be tested, why it will be tested, the frequency, interventions, etc. Testing can be done either externally with a third-party laboratory or onsite. There are benefits to both, and depending on the specific need, facility space and labor resources, either may be appropriate.
And finally, George Burdock, Ph.D., president of Burdock Group, shares insights about an imminent regulatory challenge that could cause many animal nutrition ingredients currently in use to become federally noncompliant. To read the full article, “The Emerging Regulatory Crisis for Pet Food Ingredients," download the free digital issue here

Food Safety Tips for Hurricane Joaquin Areas
Source :
By Linda Larsen (Oct 05, 2015)
If you live in an area that is affected by Hurricane Joaquin, the USDA has food safety tips for you. This hurricane has killed seven people in South Carolina and has caused extensive flooding.
These types of weather events cause power outages that could compromise the safety of food. If you do lose power, keep appliance thermometers in the refrigerator and freezer to ensure that temperatures remain 40°F or lower in the fridge, and 0°F or lower in the freezer. Water frozen in one quart containers can keep food safe for a few hours. Dry ice or block ice is a good solution too.
If the power goes out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A closed refrigerator will keep food safe for four hours, and a full freezer will hold a safe temperature for about 48 hours, or 24 hours if half-full. Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Once the immediate danger is over, check the temperature inside both appliances and discard perishable foods that have been above 40°F for more than two hours. Those foods include meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and leftovers. Throw out any food with an unusual odor, color, or texture or feels warm to the touch.
Check frozen food for ice crystals. If the food still has ice crystals it can be safely refrozen. Remember to never taste food to see if it’s safe. Bacteria that cause food poisoning do not make food taste, smell, or look bad. When in doubt, throw it out.
Do not eat any food that has come into contact with flood water, including raw fruits and vegetables, cartons or milk, or eggs. Discard any food that wasn’t kept in a waterproof container if there is any chance it has touched flood water. Flood water is very dirty and can be filled with dangerous bacteria.
Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, and those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Water can get into any of those containers. Also throw away cardboard juice, milk, or baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have touched flood water because they cannot be sanitized.
Any canned foods should be inspected. If the cans are damaged, throw them away. Can damage can include swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, crushing, and denting.
You can see an extensive list of refrigerated perishable foods that should be discarded if they get too warm at the USDA web site. They include thawing meat, gravy, broth, cheeses, opened canned meats, cooked pasta or rice, fresh pasta, opened jars and bottles, fresh eggs, baked potatoes, precut greens, and commercial garlic in oil, among others.
The government has produced a YouTube video about food safety during power outages.  They have also printed “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety” that you can download and print.






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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