The FDA’s New Food Safety Rules Won't Accomplish Much
Source : https://reason.com/archives/2015/11/21/fdas-fsma-rules-are-failing-into-place
By Baylen Linnekin (Nov 21, 2015)
More regulation for very little return.
Earlier this week I spent two days lecturing to a group of visiting food-safety regulators from China's Hubei province.
I shared a great deal of current and historical food-safety facts with them. The data that really stunned these food-safety regulators—to the extent that they asked me three times, through my translator, if the numbers I cited were correct—was data on the number of cases of foodborne illness in the United States each year.
Every year, about 48 million Americans are sickened by foodborne illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data I cited. This results in 125,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
It's not that foodborne illness isn't a problem in China. After all, a 2007 estimate, considered a lowball, suggested 300 million Chinese are sickened by foodborne illnesses each year. It's just that the Chinese had traveled here to learn because their country is attempting to emulate our food-safety system. And the numbers I cited shocked them.
The visit by the Chinese delegation coincided with the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) release this month of the second of two key Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules that I've long argued won't make our food safer. The data the FDA cites in those rules may shock you.
The final produce rule, released this month, estimates that it will help in "averting approximately 331,964 illnesses per year" that are attributable to contaminated fruits and vegetables. The final good manufacturing practice (GMP) rule, released earlier this year, estimates that it covers foods that are responsible for 903,000 out of the 48 million total U.S. cases of foodborne illness each year. The agency estimates that it need only prevent about 156,500 of those 903,000 illnesses for the GMP rule to be cost effective.
The math on these final rules is basic and clear. Together, according to the FDA's own estimates, the GMP and produce rules can reduce foodborne illnesses by between 488,464 and 1.23 million cases.
Those aren't exactly groundbreaking numbers. In fact, the lower end would result in a combined reduction of one percent of total foodborne illness cases, while the higher end would result in a 2.6 percent reduction. As I've noted previously, this is no lowball estimate. It's the FDA's own best-case scenario for the effectiveness of these rules.
This is a small sliver of an already tiny slice of the foodborne illness pie.
Why so small? The impact of FSMA is so low because—despite the fact the FDA proudly regulates roughly 80 percent of the food in America—the foods it regulates are responsible for a startlingly low percentage of foodborne illnesses.
Put another way, the FDA regulations can't touch the most likely sources of foodborne illness. For example, norovirus causes 58 percent of all foodborne illnesses. That makes norovirus the leading cause of foodborne illness in this country. It's caused in large part by improper food handling practices.
"Sick food handlers specifically caused 53 percent of the foodborne norovirus outbreaks by contaminating food and may have contributed to another 29 percent of the outbreaks," reports the CDC. "Over 80 percent of outbreaks involved food prepared in commercial settings, such as restaurants, delis, or catering businesses."
But the FDA doesn't regulate food preparation or handling in restaurants and hospitals. That job is left to states, counties, and cities. That means the FDA has no impact at all on the leading source of foodborne illness.
What's more, the FDA also doesn't regulate meats like beef, pork, and poultry, which are responsible for another 22 percent of foodborne illnesses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, rather than the FDA, is responsible for ensuring the safety of the nation's meat supply.
So if the FDA regulations don't speak to the most common cause of foodborne illness in America, and they don't cover meats, what's left? After all, norovirus and foods regulated by the USDA account for four out of every five cases of foodborne illness in America (58 percent and 22 percent, respectively). That means that FDA regulations could prevent, at best, only one out of every five cases, or up to 9.6 million cases of foodborne illness.
But the key FSMA rules show nowhere near even that sort of impact.
This is why I've blasted the FDA for arguing for years now that foodborne illness is a largely preventable problem, and that more FDA enforcement authority and a bigger budget are keys to solving the problem of foodborne illness. They're not. And the agency and its supporters need to own up to this fact.
Letter From the Editor: Who Cares About Dangerous Supplements?
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/11/letter-from-the-editor-who-cares-about-dangerous-supplements/#.VlJlSI2heUl
By Dan Flynn (Nov 22, 2015)
In our continual effort to stay focused, Food Safety News has only given limited attention to the $40-billion-a-year supplements industry. We do care about the damage caused by the low-lifes in the supplement business.
We certainly increased our attention this past week when federal agencies, led by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), announced multiple criminal and civil actions against more than 100 “makers and marketers” of dietary supplements and related products as part of a “sweep” that has been underway for the past year or so.
GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, and Herbalife “nutrition” stores saw their stock prices plummet in advance of the announcement of the details of the “sweep,” which came late in the afternoon on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
GNC, whose stock was initially down 27 percent before ending the day down 6 percent, was the hardest hit. A month before the federal “sweep,” Oregon’s attorney general had charged the retailer with selling dietary supplements laced with an “amphetamine-alike” substance. GNC is defending itself against those state charges.
But the market was clearly spooked about the possibility that the feds, too, might turn on those retail chains. At this point, it’s clear that those in charge of the federal “sweep” see the manufacturers and marketing companies as the correct targets to clean up the supplements industry.
In one sense, they are probably right. As we’ve observed in the past, the only effective enforcement we’ve seen against “evil doers” in the supplements industry has been Federal Trade Commission actions that usually involve large fines and orders sometimes to shut down the worst offenders. But often these makers and marketers just pop up again someplace else with new brands and different labels.
The “sweep,” however, is bringing the full force of the federal government down on dietary supplements that are in violation of the law. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, IRS, and even the Pentagon are among the agencies involved.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CNR), a trade association founded in 1973 with a membership of more than 150 manufacturers of dietary supplements, ingredient suppliers and related service companies, issued a statement applauding the federal sweep.
“These actions should serve as a strong warning to any company selling products in the dietary supplement space that if you’re going to engage in illegal activity, you’re going to pay the price,” said CRN President and CEO Steve Mister.
CRN research, by the way, shows that 68 percent of adults in the U.S. take some form of dietary supplements and 84 percent express overall confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of those products.
Americans are big on taking vitamins and minerals, a category not typically associated with some Chinese-made chemicals being used as substitutes for natural ingredients. The fast growing categories are “herbals and botanicals,” along with “sports nutrition and weight management.”
Top among the targets of the criminal and civil cases announced this past week is Dallas-based USPlabs, which produces products, including Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, that have been flying off the shelves of those previously mentioned retail stores. This is a big-time prosecution, which came complete with arresting company executives and confiscating their investment accounts, real estate and fancy cars.
That’s what should happen if you’re caught using synthetic stimulants manufactured in a Chinese chemical factory without disclosing it on the label. However, one thing troubles me.
How is it possible that the retailer does not know what’s going on? Whether it’s the standalone “health” store or the “organic” grocery that dedicates half its shelf space to supplements, would they not know something fishy is going on when some amphetamine-like ingredient is causing extraordinary demand from people in line who are just a little too shaky?
Companies like USPlabs probably make sure everyone up and down their supply chain is well compensated. I don’t expect much out of the GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, or Herbalife stores, but it’s disappointing not to see some corporate responsibility on this issue out of the always politically active organic grocers who cash in on so much of the $40-billion supplements business.
If I missed their statement saying that preventing liver damage is more important to them than profits, I am sorry. I just have not come across it and I’ve looked everywhere.
Twisted Fork E. coli Outbreak Linked to Dessert from Reno Provisions
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/twisted-fork-e-coli-outbreak-linked-to-dessert-from-reno-provisions/
By Carla Gillespie (Nov 21, 2015)
An E. coli outbreak at the Twisted Fork in Reno, Nevada has been linked to desserts manufactured by Reno Provisions. At least 21 people were sickened in the outbreak.
The restaurant temporarily closed during the investigation, but will reopen on Tuesday. Health officials will now shift the investigation to Reno Provisions.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. Anyone who has these symptoms should see a doctor.
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21 E. coli O157:H7 Cases Linked to Reno Provisions Dessert
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/21-e-coli-o157h7-cases-linked-to-reno-provisions-dessert/#.VlJ1u42heUl
By Patti Waller (Nov 21, 2015)
An E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak that sickened nearly two dozen people and prompted a popular south-Reno restaurant to voluntarily close has been linked to a dessert food manufactured, sold, and distributed by Reno Provisions according to Health District officials.
“Our epidemiologists and environmental health staff have identified a dessert that was prepared by Reno Provisions,” said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. “Several people who ate at the Twisted Fork restaurant had the dessert, as did some other people outside the Reno area who then developed the E. coli infection. That commonality led investigators to the dessert supplier, and to tests of food and equipment at Reno Provisions,” Dick added.
Now that positive test results have identified a specific E. coli source, the Health District’s investigation has shifted focus from the restaurant to the manufacturer. The Health District confirms that all of the remaining desserts associated with the E. coli contaminations have been disposed of.
Since mid-October twenty-one confirmed and probable cases of E. coli 0157:H7 have been reported in Washoe County. “The complete cooperation and engagement in the investigation that we received from Twisted Fork, and their decision to voluntarily close, were significant factors in identifying the E. coli source,” said Dick.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.
FDA Approves GE Salmon, Voluntary Labeling of GE Ingredients
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/11/fda-approves-ge-salmon-voluntary-labeling-of-ge-ingredients/#.VlJlh42heUl
By Cathy Siegner (Nov 20, 2015)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, that it has approved for the first time a genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for food. That animal is the AquAdvantage Salmon, which was developed about 25 years ago by AquaBounty Technologies Inc. of Maynard, MA, to grow larger and faster, year-round, and on less food, than conventionally farmed Atlantic salmon.
FDA said it had based the decision “on sound science and a comprehensive review” and had concluded that consumption of the GE salmon poses no threat to human safety or the environment.
“The FDA has thoroughly analyzed and evaluated the data and information submitted by AquaBounty Technologies regarding AquAdvantage Salmon and determined that they have met the regulatory requirements for approval, including that food from the fish is safe to eat,” said Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
The agency had made a preliminary finding in December 2012 that approving the AquAdvantage Salmon for human consumption would not have a significant impact on the environment if, as the company plans, it is raised in tanks away from the ocean to limit the impact on wild salmon stocks.
FDA has specified that the GE salmon only be raised in two places, one on Vancouver Island, Canada, and the other in Panama, where Aqua Bounty was fined by the government last year for reportedly not having the proper permits and for repeatedly violating regulations.
Alison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D., a specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology at the University of California, Davis, participated in FDA’s scientific review.
“Basically, nothing in the data suggested that these fish were in any way unsafe or different to the farm-raised salmon,” she said.
AquaBounty’s GE salmon contains a growth gene from the Chinook salmon, which the company says could allow its product to grow to market size in half the time of a conventional Atlantic salmon. Because it involves a recombinant DNA (rDNA) construct introduced into the animal, the GE salmon meets FDA’s definition of a drug.
The company stated Thursday that the FDA approval could mean an “economically viable domestic aquaculture industry while providing consumers a fresh and delicious product,” adding that more than 90 percent of the seafood, and more than 95 percent of the Atlantic salmon, consumed in the U.S. today is imported.
“AquAdvantage Salmon is a game-changer that brings healthy and nutritious food to consumers in an environmentally responsible manner without damaging the ocean and other marine habitats. Using land-based aquaculture systems, this rich source of protein and other nutrients can be farmed close to major consumer markets in a more sustainable manner,” said Ronald Stotish, Ph.D., AquaBounty’s CEO.
Consumer acceptance of GE food animals is viewed as uncertain at best, and some national and regional retail outlets, such as Kroger, Safeway, H-E-B, Giant Eagle, Marsh, Hy-Vee, Meijer, Trader Joe’s, Target, Aldi and Whole Foods, have already announced that they will not carry the AquAdvantage Salmon regardless of regulatory approvals.
However, Costco, one of the largest seafood retailers in the country, is expected to carry the GE salmon despite protesters who petitioned the Issaquah, WA-based company this past summer not to do so.
Reaction to FDA’s decision Thursday was swift and critical. Several consumer groups rejected approval of the so-called “frankenfish” and vowed to organize boycotts, while independent fishermen predicted it could put some of them out of business.
“I think it’s a horrible idea,” Spencer Anderson, a commercial fisherman based in Seattle, told a local TV station.
Meanwhile, the Center for Food Safety announced Thursday that it, along with other plaintiffs, plan to sue FDA over the GE salmon decision because the agency has not done its job to protect the public.
“The review process by FDA was inadequate, failed to fully examine the likely impacts of the salmon’s introduction, and lacked a comprehensive analysis. This decision sets a dangerous precedent, lowering the standards of safety in this country. CFS will hold FDA to their obligations to the American people,” said Andrew Kimbrell, the group’s executive director.
Food & Water Watch (FWW) stated that the group would ask President Obama and Congress to overturn FDA’s decision.
“Food & Water Watch will be examining all options to stop this controversial and unnecessary GMO fish from reaching the marketplace. We urge President Obama to overturn FDA’s approval and stop GMO salmon from reaching consumers’ dinner plates,” said FWW Executive Director Wenonah Hauter.
FDA also announced Thursday that it was issuing two draft guidance documents for manufacturers who wish to voluntarily label products containing ingredients from both GE and non-GE sources. One contains guidance to industry on labeling foods derived from Atlantic salmon and one is for labeling foods derived from GE plants.
“We recognize that some consumers are interested in knowing whether food ingredients are derived from GE sources,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “The FDA is issuing two guidance documents that explain how food companies that want to voluntarily label their products can provide this information to consumers.”
The agency is accepting public comment for 60 days starting on Nov. 23 via instructions in the Federal Register on Draft Guidance for Industry: Voluntary Labeling Indicating Whether Food Has or Has Not Been Derived from Genetically Engineered Atlantic Salmon. Comments may be submitted here.
Safe to eat? Simple food safety tips to keep you healthy over the holidays
Source : http://www.dailynews.com/lifestyle/20151119/safe-to-eat-simple-food-safety-tips-to-keep-you-healthy-over-the-holidays
By Suzanne Sproul, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Nov 19, 2015)
Gnaw on this fact for a minute: 48 million people each year suffer from food-borne illness, commonly called food poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control, proving that pathogens can be pretty potent.
Gastronomic self-protection, however, is within reach. With holiday cooking and buffets just around the corner, you need to be prepared because neglecting to take a few simple steps is, well, enough to make anyone sick. Defrosting turkeys? Making eggnog? Leaving food on the dinner table a bit too long so you can talk with guests? If you’re not careful to dodge possible food dangers, the results can be nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
“Keep cold things cold and hot things hot. It’s the lukewarm foods you have to worry about, because they can be a breeding ground for bacteria,” said Dr. Claudia Fajardo-Lira, professor of food science at Cal State Northridge.
The food supply, in general, is safe but consumers should always be cautious about how food is cooked, handled and stored.
“The kitchen is a very interesting place,” she said. “You don’t think of it as somewhere where food poisoning or food illness can occur, but it does. Just think: We bring food from various places outside into our homes. And depending on the way we handle it, without wanting to, you can be putting yourself at risk.”
People go to the grocery store and then bring food home. They get distracted and don’t refrigerate food immediately. Sometimes that’s when they’ve introduced a risk factor. Especially vulnerable items, she said, are dairy, raw chicken, meat and fish. And, on top of how food is handled, people sometimes don’t tidy up as they should. Kitchen surfaces may not pass muster. “We clean counters and utensils, or at least we think we do,” she said.
For instance, sponges are miniature petri dishes for bacteria. After using them to wipe up, they should be rinsed or sanitized. “They can become bacteria breeding grounds if you don’t.” Dish towels are another potential culprit. People use them to dry dishes but also to dry hands. “You could be sharing and spreading germs,” she said. “It’s not that people are sloppy or don’t care. I think it’s more of a case of awareness. It’s interesting. People are careful to eat at restaurants with A or B ratings, but there aren’t any inspectors at home.”
“We’re so used to doing things a certain way that we don’t think twice. We should,” she said.
Christine Bruhn is the former director of the Center for Consumer Research at UC Davis and a food safety expert. She and her students videotaped 120 consumers as they prepared a chicken and a salad in their homes. The tape is a teaching tool for the Institute of Food Technologists. What they found were critical mistakes that included individuals who didn’t wash their hands before preparing the meal, who washed chicken off in the sink (which actually allows bacteria to end up in the sink or splatter onto nearby counters) or who had refrigerators set to improper temperatures. (www.ift.org/knowledge-center/learn-about-food-science/food-facts/kitchen-mistakes.aspx)
People don’t have to go crazy, but do be careful, said Dr. Mario L. Perez, chief of infectious disease at the Ontario and Fontana Kaiser Medical Centers. Wash counter surfaces and sinks with warm soapy water as well as utensils, too. Or make your own disinfectant by using 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water. Maintain separate cutting boards — one for meat and another for vegetables. Wash them routinely. “And I can’t stress enough the simple importance of washing your hands. We eat three times a day, sometimes more, and that means there are always chances for mining infections.”
Food poisoning affects people differently, from minor symptoms that quickly dissipate to potentially life-threatening. Take it seriously. Those who may be at a higher risk include young children, pregnant women, older adults and sick individuals with weakened immune systems. Dehydration is the most common result. “Most infections will resolve themselves if you’re healthy. If you do get sick, rehydrate to replenish for lost fluids. Beware of red flags: continual vomiting, weakness, dizziness and bloody stools. Those can be serious and need medical attention,” Perez said.
While there are steps to protect yourself at home, it’s not so easy when you’re away. Claudia Del Vecchio wants to help. Del Vecchio is a New York state-certified dietitian-nutritionist now living in Long Beach. Barry Grey is Los Angeles writer. Together they have produced “Eat Clean, Eat Safe: Dodging Food Dangers and Learning to Shop for, Prepare and Love Healthful Meals Anytime, Anywhere!” Combining her clinical knowledge with his humor helps make a serious topic more approachable. The book (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2015) has bite-size nuggets of information and is designed to be an easy-to-read portable resource for eating at home and in restaurants and other venues.
Del Vecchio wants people to look at food differently and be diligent. When one talks about eating clean, know what that means. “The real meaning behind that phrase is no sugar, white flour, fats and sodas, but there are so many ‘bugs’ out there that even the Centers for Disease Control can’t define them. Follow a good diet and look at the bigger picture. Empower yourself.”
“You can’t eliminate everything, but take advantage of the information out there and do the smart thing. This book is meant to be a resource and Claudia wrote a book I would want to read,” Grey said.
FDA to explain food safety rules at Dec. 1 meeting in Portland
Source : http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20151118/fda-to-explain-food-safety-rules-at-dec-1-meeting-in-portland
By Sean Ellis Capital Press (Nov 18, 2015)
FDA technical experts will provide an overview of the agency's new food safety rules, and answer questions, during a Dec. 1 meeting in Portland, Ore. The meeting is being organized by the Idaho, Oregon and Washington ag departments.
A high-level FDA official, along with several of the agency’s food safety experts, will explain the FDA’s new produce rule Dec. 1 during a meeting in Portland.
The meeting is being organized by the Idaho, Oregon and Washington agriculture departments and is meant to shed some light on the agency’s produce rule as well as its preventive controls for human food rule.
Ag department officials said they expect a lot of questions about the produce safety rule, which was released Nov. 13 and affects any farmer who grows fruits or vegetables that can be eaten raw.
Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, will attend the meeting, which is expected to attract a sizable number of farmers, food processors and farm group representatives.
“It’s one of those rules that is of concern to anyone involved in agriculture and we are anticipating there will be a good turnout,” said Washington State Department of Agriculture Communications Director Hector Castro.
Questions about the produce rule will likely focus on its water quality testing provisions, said Claudia Coles, policy adviser of the WSDA’s food safety division.
“The water testing is ... the big issue,” she said. “There are going to be questions about (that).”
The meeting will be held at the Portland Airport Sheraton Hotel and registration is not required.
An overview of the produce safety rule will take place from 9-11:30 a.m. and an overview of the preventive controls for human food rule will be from 1-2:45 p.m. An additional question-and-answer period will follow.
Representatives of the Idaho-Oregon onion industry will attend the meeting and their main questions will center on the agricultural water testing required by the produce rule, said Grant Kitamura, chairman of the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee’s promotion committee.
“The water testing is our main concern,” he said. “We’ll be looking for clarification on a few things at the meeting.”
The bulb onions grown in Southwestern Idaho and Eastern Oregon are left in the field to cure and Oregon State University field trials have shown bacteria dies off the onions rapidly during the curing process.
OSU researchers in Ontario pumped irrigation water filled with mega amounts of bacteria onto onion fields but no bacteria was detected on the onions after curing.
Onion growers still hope to be exempted from the water testing requirements and will be looking for some guidance from FDA on that issue, Kitamura said.
“How necessary is water testing if you’ve proven that curing eliminates any bacteria?” he said. “It’s going to be very cumbersome and expensive (and) we’re trying not to have to do the water testing.”
Coles said she also expects questions about provisions in the rules that require foreign food imports to meet the same food safety requirements.
People are asking, “Are you truly going to apply the rule to the foreign food coming into this country?” she said.
Holiday food safety tips
Source : http://dailyjournalonline.com/democrat-news/news/holiday-food-safety-tips/article_4c77584c-c3e1-5e7d-9bd7-fdf2a01d3f4d.html
By (Nov 18, 2015)
KANSAS CITY – You may have cherished memories of holiday meals with friends and family. If you’re preparing a memorable holiday meal of your own, make food safety a priority so guests don’t remember it for all the wrong reasons.
Hosting a holiday meal often means having more people at the table, serving a wider variety of dishes and perhaps tackling some unfamiliar recipes. If you’re not careful, all those ingredients can add up to foodborne illness, says Londa Nwadike, food safety specialist for University of Missouri Extension and Kansas State University Research and Extension.
With Thanksgiving coming up, Nwadike offers these safety tips for those planning to prepare a traditional turkey dinner.
“Frozen turkey must be thawed in the refrigerator or in cold water, not on the kitchen counter,” warns Nwadike. If thawing in cold water, change the water every 30 minutes so the outer layer of turkey won’t get warm enough to support microbial growth.
Don’t rinse turkey and other meats before cooking. “That will only spread those germs around the sink, which can cross-contaminate other foods. Any bacteria that might be rinsed off the surface would be easily killed by cooking in the oven,” she says.
To determine if the turkey is safely cooked, use a food thermometer to make sure the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast has reached a minimum temperature of 165 degrees F.
To stuff or not to stuff
“Many people love to eat stuffing. Unfortunately, microorganisms love it as well,” Nwadike said.
The safest method is to cook stuffing outside the bird. If you do choose to stuff your turkey, stuff it loosely just before cooking and make sure the stuffing is moist. Like the turkey, stuffing should be cooked to at least 165 degrees.
Side dishes and desserts
Egg dishes: Any dishes containing eggs, such as escalloped corn, should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Raw produce: Don’t chop foods that will be eaten raw on the same cutting boards you use for meats without washing the boards thoroughly between uses.
If produce is not pre-rinsed, rinse carefully and scrub off any visible soil with a produce brush.
Pumpkin pie: Pies and any other baked goods with fillings made of eggs and milk, including pumpkin pies and cheesecake, need to reach an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees. Refrigerate after baking or purchase.
Refrigerate the turkey (with meat removed from the carcass) and stuffing separately in shallow containers within two hours of cooking. Leftover turkey will keep in the fridge for three to four days, but gravy and stuffing will only keep for one or two days. You can also safely freeze leftovers, but use them within two to six months for best quality. Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees.
IDPH Offers Holiday Food Safety Tips
Source : http://www.thexradio.com/news/78-local-news/19777-idph-offers-holiday-food-safety-tips
By Greg Sapp (Nov 18, 2015)
The Illinois Department of Public Health has made available some holiday food safety tips heading into Thanksgiving week. Here are a few:
First things first, TAKE THE TURKEY OUT! It may already be time to take the turkey out of the freezer so that it will be thawed in time for Thanksgiving. Allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds of turkey when thawed in the refrigerator. A 20 to 24 pound turkey could take 5 to 6 days to thaw. Never thaw a turkey at room temperature.
"Each year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages, or what is commonly referred to as food poisoning," said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. "There are simple steps you can take to avoid becoming ill, including the big four – clean, separate, cook, and chill."
1. Clean - wash hands, cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops before and after preparing each food item.
2. Separate - keep raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, and their juices away from foods that won’t be cooked.
3. Cook - use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry, and fish are fully cooked. Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness. Cook turkey to an internal temperature of 165?F.
4. Chill - divide leftovers into shallow containers and refrigerate them within two hours. Use leftovers within 3 to 4 days.
Whether gathering with family for holiday dinners, or spending time with friends at office parties and other celebrations, be cautious when eating certain foods. Foods such as raw oysters, soft-boiled eggs, steak tartare, rare or medium hamburger, and eggnog, mousse or bread pudding (unless made with pasteurized eggs or an egg substitute), can harbor bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Apple cider that has not been pasteurized or otherwise treated to kill bacteria can also make you sick.
A good rule of thumb is, make sure hot foods are hot (above 140?F) and cold foods are cold (below 40?F). Don’t eat food that has been sitting out for more than two hours if the food is not being kept hot or cold.
More information on Food Safety During The Holidays can be found on the IDPH website.
USDA’s FSIS Releases Food Allergen Guidelines for Producers
Source : http://www.foodhaccp.com/indexcopynews.html
By News Desk (Nov 17, 2015)
In an effort to reduce adverse reactions to food allergens, along with potential recalls, the
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released a 26-page set of guidelines to assist meat, poultry, and processed egg product producers in properly managing ingredients which could trigger such problems.
“Our mission as a public health agency is to protect America’s most vulnerable populations, including children, from harm, and these new guidelines do just that,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza. “Beyond keeping our families safe, these guidelines also provide a useful tool to help food companies avoid preventable, costly recalls.”
Food allergens are a public health issue impacting millions of Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2 percent of adults and 4 to 8 percent of children in the United States have food allergies. Food allergens can cause serious symptoms and can result in anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction.
The new FSIS guidelines, entitled, “FSIS Compliance Guidelines Allergens and Ingredients of Public Health Concern: Identification, Prevention and Control, and Declaration through Labeling,” include a section listing the “Big Eight” categories of food allergens and some specific food items in each category which may cause problems for those with food allergies or sensitivities.
The “Big Eight” are wheat, crustacean shellfish, eggs, fish, peanuts, milk, tree nuts and soybeans. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, these “Big Eight” allergens account for approximately 90 percent of all food allergy reactions in the U.S., FSIS stated.
Recalls of FSIS-regulated products due to undeclared allergens have been increasing in recent years. These problems often are caught by inspectors during labeling checks and are the result of changes to ingredient suppliers, products being placed in the wrong package, or changes to product or ingredient formulations, the agency stated.
The newly released guidelines note that the number of recalls of FSIS-regulated products attributed to undeclared allergens and ingredients of public health concern increased from seven in 2008 to 29 in 2012. The proportion of recalls attributed to undeclared allergens and ingredients of public health concern also increased during that period, from 13 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in 2012.
By following these new guidelines, FSIS stated that establishments are more likely to ensure that product labels declare all ingredients, as required by law, and that products do not contain undeclared allergens or other undeclared ingredients. The guidance covers prevention and control measures of potentially allergic ingredients, packaging, labeling, storage, checklists, and allergen training, among others.
In April 2015, FSIS inspectors met with management at every FSIS-regulated establishment in the country to discuss whether that establishment produces items containing allergens, and, if so, whether the establishment had a process in place to ensure proper labeling.
Department inspectors then increased the number of allergen labeling-related inspection checks they conduct in those establishments in order to make sure that products are properly labeled. The goal is to make plants more conscious of properly labeling their products and prevent additional recalls this year, the department stated.
Number of Cases in Chipotle E. coli Outbreak Drops to 37
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/number-of-cases-in-chipotle-e-coli-outbreak-drops-to-37/
By Carla Gillespie (Nov 17, 2015)
The number of cases in the E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon has officially dropped from 50 to 37. Health officials have trimmed seven cases from the total in Washington and six cases from the total in Oregon bringing the total number of cases in those states to 24 and 13 respectively.
The Washington State Department of Health said the numbers were revised as results from “more definitive tests” became available. Five Washington locations have been linked to the outbreak. They are located at: Hazel Dell, 7715 NE 5thAvenue, Suite 109, in Vancouver; 1404 Broadway Avenue and 4229 University Way NE in Seattle; 512 Ramsey Way 101 in Kent; and 1753 S. Burlington Blvd. in Burlington.
In Oregon, the 13 patient who range in age form 11 to 61 are from four counties: Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington and Columbia. There is also one person in Minnesota who has been sickened by the outbreak strain of E. coli O26, but health officials do not believe that case is linked to the outbreak.??
Health officials have still not determined the contaminated food source. Tests have been performed on a number of food items. The initial round of tests did not produce any positives for E. coli.
According to a lawsuit filed by the national food safety law firm Pritzker Olsen on behalf of Washington woman, one of the ingredients in a burrito bowl was the source of illness. She ordered the meal from a Vancouver location on October 21 and began experiencing symptoms of an E. coli infection including abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea about three days later.
The CDC no new cases have been reported since October 30, but additional cases currently being tested may eventually be added to the total. The investigation is ongoing.
FDA Rolls Out New Food Safety Regulation
Source : http://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/7699/20151116/fda-rolls-out-new-food-safety-regulation.htm
By Charissa Echavez (Nov 16, 2015)
Last Friday, the United States Food and Drug Administration has released a new set of regulations for both produced and imported foods. This is aimed to combat foodborne-related illnesses.
With this new rule on hand, the FDA can now reinforce food safety by creating "science-based standards" for farm produce that included growing, harvesting, packing and holding and giving accountability to importers to ensure that the foods they deliver meet the U.S. food safety guidelines.
"This is the first time the food importers have fallen directly under FDA regulation," agency's deputy commissioner for food and veterinary medicine Michael R. Taylor said.
According to FDA, the new rule, which is part of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, will help both produce farmers and importers prevent outbreaks of foodborne diseases like the Salmonella cases in Mexican cucumbers and the Mexican cilantro infected with cyclospora.
Based on the CDC's statistics, of the 322 million American population, an estimated 48 million are affected by foodborne-related illness. Of these, around 128,000 are sent to the hospitals and 3000 died.
The produce safety law will also cover quality of water, health and hygiene of handlers/employees, compost and manure of both wild and domesticated animals, and equipment and buildings. This is in accordance with the agency's vision of a "comprehensive food safety overhaul."
With the country relying 52 percent of its fresh fruit and 22 percent of its fresh vegetables from global supply, "the final foreign supplier verification rule will significantly impact food retailers importing into the United States," Taylor said.
Under this new Foreign Supplier Verification policy, suppliers must see to it that imported produce follows the established FDA protocol. "but imported food will at least now have someone who is responsible for assuring its safety." The agency has rolled out policy with regard to third-party auditors accreditation required to do food safety audits on facilities.
"We are confident that the overwhelming majority of fresh produce brands that consumers enjoy today are already in compliance with those standards," said Tom Stenze, United Fresh Produce Association. "Requiring it for all importers was crucial to keeping the American food supply safe."
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