FDA: Don’t Give the Dog a Bone
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/fda-dont-give-the-dog-a-bone/
By Carla Gillespie (Nov 30, 2015)
Bones are not a safe treat for dogs of any size, says the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “You’ve just finished a big weekend family dinner and you are wondering what to do with the bones from the ham and roast, when in trots your big black Labrador Retriever. It’s hard to resist those longing, puppy-dog eyes,” begins their warning. But it’s in your pets best interest to find a safer treat.
Bones can cause all kinds of problems for your dog including choking, blockages of the gastrointestinal tract, cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding from the rectum, and death. The FDA has received about 35 reports of illnesses in dogs and eight fatalities related to bone treats. The agency has also received reports of product problems, such as bones shattering when pulled from their packaging and contamination with bacteria.
“Some people think it’s OK to give dogs large bones to chew on” says Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at the FDA. “But giving your dog a bone might lead to an unexpected trip to your veterinarian, a possible emergency surgery, or even death for your pet.”
Bone treats sold at retail stores that have been linked to problems include those descried as “Ham Bones,” “Pork Femur Bones,” “Rib Bones,” and “Smokey Knuckle Bones”—were listed in the reports. The products can become brittle or dry in smoking or baking process. They could also contain ingredients not tolerated well by dogs such as preservatives, seasonings, and smoke flavorings.
Dog bones can also be contaminated with bacteria that can cause serious or life-threatening illness in dogs who eat them and the humans who handle them. This week, a recall was issued for dog bones by the Blue Buffalo Company. The “Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bones” are contaminated with Salmonella.Symptoms of a Salmonella infection in humans include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. In some cases, Salmonella can also cause heart problems, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract problems. Consumers who have handled this dog treat and developed these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.
Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever, abdominal pain, lethargy, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, or vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers of the bacteria and infect others. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, contact your veterinarian.
Sometimes even if you don’t give your pet a treat, he may decide to help himself. During the holidays, it’s especially important to make sure dogs can’t get into the trash.
Consumers who have experienced problems with pet treats they have purchased can report them on the FDA’s Web page on “How to Report a Pet Food Complaint” or call CVM at 240-402-7002.
Long-Awaited Catfish Inspection Rules Caught Up in Controversy
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/long-awaited-catfish-inspection-rules-caught-up-in-controversy/
By Carla Gillespie (Nov 30, 2015)
Years in the making, the USDA’s new inspection rule for catfish and other Siluriformes are already caught up in controversy. The rule, which becomes effective March 2016, applies to both domestically-raised and imported Siluriformes was mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill.
Up until now, catfish, and other Siluriformes, were regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which regulates all food products accept meat, poultry and some egg products. The new U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) rule marks the beginning of an 18-month transition fro oversight of the fish.
“FSIS is committed to a smooth and gradual introduction to the new inspection program, which was mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill,” said Al Almanza, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. “The agency will conduct extensive outreach to domestic industry and international partners so that they fully understand FSIS’ requirements prior to full implementation.”
Before the rule becomes effective in March 2016, countries currently exporting or interested in exported product to the U.S. must provide a list of establishments that currently export and written documentation of their regulatory authority and compliance with existing FDA import requirements if they wish to continue doing so. FSIS will also re-inspect and conduct species and residue sampling on imported Siluriformes on a quarterly basis, at least.
U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) began the push for the new rule more than seven years ago to level the regulatory playing field for domestic and foreign producers of Siluriformes.
When the rule goes into effect, both domestic and foreign processors will have to abide by the same food safety standards that are in compliance with the World Trade Organization Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement. Under the current FDA system, less than 2 percent of imported fish are inspected.
But catfish importers are not on board. The National Fisheries Institute, which represents seafood importers, says the rule is a clear violation of the World Trade agreement and will puts U.S. farmers in danger of international trade retaliation.
Street food in Brazil; and The Beatles
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/11/street-food-in-brazil-and-the-beatles/
By Doug Powell (Nov 30, 2015)
The aims of this study were to assess the compliance of street foods sold in an urban center in a major capital of Brazil with international standards for food safety and to provide data that could be used for the elaboration of specific legislation to ensure the safety of street food.
The study investigated demographic profiles of street vendors and hygiene practices used in critical points of food production for products sold. Direct observations and structured interviews were conducted among vendors at stationary locations in the downtown area. Forty-three participating vendors were mostly males who generally completed only elementary school. Among observed food safety risks: 12% of the vendors did not provide ice at the point of sale for perishable ingredients; 95% did not wash hands between food and money transactions and restroom breaks; 91% did not have hair coverings and 100% of the vendors did not have access to a water supply. The interviews revealed that 12% of the vendors did not provide proper cold holding during transportation; 33% did not wash their hands at all, whereas 24% only used water to wash their hands; and 33% never took the required food-handling course. The study indicates a need for improvements of the environmental conditions at these sites to prevent foodborne diseases. Specific local and national laws for street food need to be created to protect the consumer, and continuous training of vendors could help address the lack of food quality and safety.
And for no particular reason, today in 1966, The Beatles began recording sessions for Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album cost $75,000 to record.
Food safety and hygiene practices of vendors during the chain of street food production in Florianopolis, Brazil: A cross-sectional study
Food Control, Volume 62, April 2016, Pages 178–186
Rayza Dal Molin Cortese, Marcela Boro Veiros, Charles Feldman, Suzi Barletto Cavalli
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Use High Heat to Cook Meat? Rethink That Technique
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/use-high-heat-to-cook-meat-rethink-that-technique/
By Linda Larsen (Nov 26, 2015)
A new study published in the journal Cancer has found that cooking beef at high temperatures may lead to an increased risk of developing kidney cancer. Carcinogenic compounds are created in the meat when grilled, barbecued, and pan-fried. The study was conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Renal cell carcinoma affects 60,000 new patients every year. About 14,000 people die of this illness every year in the Untied States. The incidence of this type of cancer has been increasing for decades.
Dr. Stephanie Melkonian, Epidemiology postdoctoral fellow and lead author of the study said, “this study encourages us to look not only at what foods we’re eating, but also how we’re preparing those foods.” When you cook meat with high temperature, causing charring on the meat, carcinogens can form. Red meat has more muscle and fat than white meats, so it is more likely to produce carcinogens.
There is more and more evidence that eating red, pressed, charred, and smoked meats increases the risk of developing colon and kidney cancers. Some people are more susceptible to these carcinogens based on their genetics and family history. People with specific genetic mutations are more susceptible to the harmful compounds.
The kidney, as well as the liver, functions to remove toxins from the body. Our diets are full of toxins, so investigating the types of foods eaten and how they are cooked makes sense.
Researchers looked at eating patterns and collected genetic information from 650 people who were recently diagnosed with kidney cancer. This information was compared to data from 699 healthy people. The scientists found that kidney cancer patients ate more meat, both red and white, than the health persons.
Moreover, people with variations in the gene ITPR2 are more vulnerable to the effects of eating one particular type of carcinogen called 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenyl-imidazo(4,5-b) pyridine, or PhIP. This gene is associated with the risk of developing kidney cancer. This association may be explained by exposure to the carcinogens produced when cooking meat.
The scientists advise people, particularly those with a family history of cancer, to reduce consumption of meat, especially that cooked over an open flame or grill and cooked at high temperatures. A plant based diet is safer for that population as well. In addition, cook meat in the oven or microwave or slow cooker to reduce the development of carcinogens. Indirect heat cooking methods are the safest. Use an acidic marinade before cooking the meat to reduce carcinogens, and trim fat off cuts before cooking.
Food safety tips for Thanksgiving leftovers
Source : http://wtop.com/thanksgiving-2015/2015/11/food-safety-tips-for-thanksgiving-leftovers/
By Paula Wolfson | @PWolfsonWTOP (Nov 26, 2015)
WASHINGTON — A lot of thought goes into the Thanksgiving meal — from how to cook the turkey to who will make the pies. But when it is all over a new challenge presents itself: what to do with all the leftovers.
Experts say cooked food can only remain at room temperature for about two hours. That means the process of storing those leftovers can’t wait until after that late football game.
“For things like the turkey, you want to make sure you cut it up into smaller pieces and store it in shallow containers,” says Kristina Beaugh with the USDA’s Food Safety Education staff.
She says stuffing needs to come out of the bird and be stored separately, as should other cooked items. Some people prefer to use glass containers, while others opt for plastic, but Beaugh says any closed container will work, as long as it has a tight lid with a good seal.
Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days — meaning you can have turkey sandwiches throughout the holiday weekend.
“If you are not going to eat it by that time, put it in the freezer,” says Beaugh, noting it can be stored that way for months without any loss of quality.
Most cookies and breads can sit out at room temperature if well wrapped. That goes for fruit pies, too, although any pie that has a cream or custard base should be refrigerated.
A good way to get information on the freshness and edibility of food and beverage items is to use an app developed by USDA called “FoodKeeper.” It’s free, available for Apple and Android devices, and Beaugh says it is useful throughout the year — not just on Thanksgiving.
And if you’re looking for good recipes for those Thanksgiving leftovers, click here.
Costco E. coli O157:H7 Chicken Salad Outbreak: It’s the Veggies
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/costco-e-coli-o157h7-chicken-salad-outbreak-its-the-veggies/
By Linda Larsen (Nov 26, 2015)
The FDA has announced that it appears onions and celery in Costco chicken salad may be the source of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria that has sickened at least 19 people in 7 states. Those people live in California (1), Colorado (4), Missouri (1), Montana (6), Utah (5), Virginia (1), and Washington state (1). According to news outlets, Taylor Farms in Salinas, California is the supplier of the vegetables for Costco Wholesale. The vegetables from that supplier are used in the chicken salads sold in all of the company’s U.S. stores.
Of those 19 ill persons, 16 have been interviewed. Fourteen of those people purchased or ate rotisserie chicken salad from Costco stores the week before they got sick. Five of the patients have been hospitalized, and two are suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of this type of infection. Costco is working with the CDC, FDA, and health officials in the affected states to try to solve this outbreak.
The CDC says that the number of ill persons will likely grow in the next few weeks, as they are diagnosed and the diagnoses are reported to government officials. The product has been removed from store shelves, but it can take time to get a definitive diagnosis of an E. coli infection. Illnesses in this outbreak began on October 6, 2015 and have continued to November 10, 2015. Illnesses after November 10 have not yet been reported to officials.
The fact that the outbreak had hit people in several states did point to a problem with a chicken salad ingredient that came from a common supplier. Vegetables are a common source of E. coli bacteria. They can be contaminated through polluted irrigation water, by animals defecating in the farm fields, in transport, handling, and processing, or by ill food workers.
All 19 patients have the same strain of E. coli bacteria, discovered through DNA fingerprinting, called pulsed field-gel electrophoresis. That means that all were sickened by the same source of food.
There is no evidence that any other Costco food was contaminated at this time. Chickens have not been connected to the outbreak. No other Costco foods use the same ingredients that were used to make the chicken salad.
If you purchased chicken salad at any U.S. Costco store on or before November 20, 2015, throw it away, even if no one has been ill. The code on the salad that was recalled is 37719, but since the contaminated vegetables could have been used anywhere in the country, do not eat any chicken salad purchased at Costco stores on or before November 20, 2015 as a precaution.
The symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include severe abdominal cramps, bloody and watery diarrhea, a mild fever, nausea, and vomiting. Those symptoms usually begin three to four days after eating contaminated food.
The symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) include pale skin, lethargy, little or no urine output, easy bruising, bleeding from the nose and mouth, and a skin rash. This complication of a shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection can be life-threatening. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should be taken to a doctor immediately.
E. Coli Outbreak Traced to Chocolate Dessert Served at Reno Restaurant
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/11/e-coli-outbreak-traced-to-chocolate-dessert-served-at-reno-restaurant/#.Vlz0_cKheUl
By Cathy Siegner (Nov 25, 2015)
The source of the E. coli contamination which recently sickened patrons of a popular Reno, NV, restaurant has been identified as a chocolate mousse dessert.
“It was a chocolate marquee mousse, basically a chocolate cake with frosting,” Phil Ulibarri, public information officer for the Washoe County Health District, told Food Safety News.
The Washoe County Health District stated in a release posted Tuesday, Nov. 24, that the dessert, manufactured at Reno Provisions and served at the Twisted Fork restaurant, is believed to have somehow been contaminated with the pathogen during production.
Due to the cross-contamination, which occurred at Reno Provisions and its connection to special food processing operations conducted there, health district officials have directed Reno Provisions to halt these special operations until detailed plans are submitted for their review and approval.
The plans will be established through a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system approach, which addresses analysis and control of hazards during the food production processes, the district stated.
“The health district takes our responsibility to protect the public from communicable diseases very seriously, whether it’s an E. coli outbreak from food served in restaurants, or norovirus in schools,” said Kevin Dick, district health officer. “We want the public to know it is our highest priority to protect the health of residents and visitors to our area.”
Since mid-October, 22 confirmed and probable cases of E. coli 0157:H7 have been reported in Washoe County. Health district epidemiologists and environmental specialists traced the source through hundreds of hours of investigation, interviewing people and testing foods, until the E. coli source was identified.
Ulibarri said that both Reno Provisions, the food manufacturer, and managers of The Twisted Fork restaurant have fully cooperated with investigators. The source of the contamination has been addressed, and no additional contaminated food items have been identified.
The Twisted Fork closed from Nov. 9-24 in response to the outbreak and reportedly reopened Tuesday evening after extensive cleaning and restocking.
Raw Milk Bill Back in Wisconsin Legislature
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/raw-milk-bill-back-in-wisconsin-legislature/
By Linda Larsen (Nov 25, 2015)
A bill to legalize the sale of raw milk is back in the Wisconsin legislature. Republican Representative Dave Murphy introduced a bill last week that would let dairy farms sell raw milk and raw milk products directly to customers where they are produced. The farmers would not need state milk producer licenses or permits, and state milk quality rules would not apply to these products.
At this time, selling raw milk is illegal in Wisconsin. “Incidental sales” of raw milk directly to consumers at a dairy farm for consumption by that consumer, the consumer’s family, or nonpaying guests, is exempted from the law. But if done on a regular basis, or if the sales involve advertising, those sales are deemed illegal.
Dairy farmers who are considered “bona fide” owners can consume raw milk from his or her own farm, and can serve that raw milk to family members and nonpaying guests. It’s important to note that a “cow share” or “herd share” is not bona fide ownership. A person who “merely makes a sham investment in order to obtain raw milk is not a bona fide owner,” according to Wisconsin law.
An organization called the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition, which includes health professionals and commerce leaders, is urging lawmakers to reject this bill. They state that consumers cannot be sure that these products are safe. Shawn Pfaff, group representative, said, “studies and reports and real-life incidents continue to show that raw ilk can cause people to become severely ill. Medical, public health and microbiology professionals recognize the substantial risk for serious infectious diseases to occur with the consumption of unpasteurized milk.” Almost 140 raw milk health outbreaks have occurred in the U.S. since 1998.
States that allow raw milk sales have an increased rate of outbreaks linked to those products. The number of outbreaks in this country caused by unpasteurized milk increased from 30 in 2007 – 2009 to 51 in 2010 – 2012. Most of these outbreaks, or 81%, were in states where the sale of raw milk is legal.
Moreover, children are at the highest risk for illness from raw milk. Fifty-nine percent of outbreaks involved at least one child younger than age five. And 38% of illnesses caused by Salmonella and 28% of illnesses caused by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli were among children aged 1 to 4.
In fact, a Campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk produced at a farm in Wisconsin sickened 38 people and hospitalized 10 this past September. The owners of the farm did not tell the attendees at a football potluck dinner that they were drinking raw milk. Lab tests showed bacteria in manure samples taken from the farm matched samples in patients.
More states are legalizing the sale of raw milk even though this leads to more outbreaks, according to the CDC. In 2004, 22 states allowed the sale of raw milk. This number increased to 30 in 2011. And raw milk sales in one state can lead to outbreaks in neighboring states.
Is Double-Dipping a Food Safety Problem or Just a Nasty Habit?
Source : http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-double-dipping-a-food-safety-problem-or-just-a-nasty-habit/
By Paul Dawson and The Conversation US (Nov 25, 2015)
If you detect double-dippers in the midst of a festive gathering, you might want to steer clear of their favored snack
What The Conversationdo you do when you are left with half a chip in your hand after dipping? Admit it, you’ve wondered whether it’s OK to double dip the chip.
Maybe you’re the sort who dips their chip only once. Maybe you look around the room before loading your half-eaten chip with a bit more dip, hoping that no one will notice.
If you’ve seen that classic episode of Seinfeld, “The Implant,” where George Costanza double-dips a chip at wake, maybe you’ve wondered if double-dipping is really like “putting your whole mouth right in the dip!”
But is it, really? Can the bacteria in your mouth make it onto the chip then into the dip? Is this habit simply bad manners, or are you actively contaminating communal snacks with your particular germs?
This question intrigued our undergraduate research team at Clemson University, so we designed a series of experiments to find out just what happens when you double-dip. Testing to see if there is bacterial transfer seems straightforward, but there are more subtle questions to be answered. How does the acidity of the dip affect bacteria, and do different dips affect the outcome? Members of the no-double-dipping enforcement squad, prepare to have your worst, most repulsive suspicions confirmed.
Start with a cracker
Presumably some of your mouth’s bacteria transfer to a food when you take a bite. But the question of the day is whether that happens, and if so, how much bacteria makes it from mouth to dip. Students started by comparing bitten versus unbitten crackers, measuring how much bacteria could transfer from the cracker to a cup of water.
We found about 1,000 more bacteria per milliliter of water when crackers were bitten before dipping than solutions where unbitten crackers were dipped.
In a second experiment, students tested bitten and unbitten crackers in water solutions with pH levels typical of food dips (pH levels of 4, 5 and 6, which are all toward the more acidic end of the pH scale). They tested for bacteria right after the bitten and unbitten crackers were dipped, then measured the solutions again two hours later. More acidic solutions tended to lower the bacterial numbers over time.
The time had come to turn our attention to real food.
But what about the dip?
We compared three kinds of dip: salsa, chocolate and cheese dips, which happen to differ in pH and thickness (viscosity). Again, we tested bacterial populations in the dips after already-bitten crackers were dipped, and after dipping with unbitten crackers. We also tested the dips two hours after dipping to see how bacterial populations were growing.
We tested All Natural Tostitos Chunky Hot Salsa (pH 4), Genuine Chocolate Flavor Hershey’s Syrup (pH 5.3) and Fritos Mild Cheddar Flavor Cheese Dip (pH 6.0).
So, how dirty is your dip? We found that in the absence of double-dipping, our foods had no detectable bacteria present. Once subjected to double-dipping, the salsa took on about five times more bacteria (1,000 bacteria/ml of dip) from the bitten chip when compared to chocolate and cheese dips (150-200 bacteria/ml of dip). But two hours after double-dipping, the salsa bacterial numbers dropped to about the same levels as the chocolate and cheese.
We can explain these phenomena using some basic food science. Chocolate and cheese dips are both pretty thick. Salsa isn’t as thick. The lower viscosity means that more of the dip touching the bitten cracker falls back into the dipping bowl rather than sticking to the cracker. And as it drops back into the communal container, it brings with it bacteria from the mouth of the double-dipper.
Salsa is also more acidic. After two hours, the acidity of the salsa had killed some of the bacteria (most bacteria don’t like acid). So it’s a combination of viscosity and acidity that will determine how much bacteria gets into the dip from double-dipping. As a side note about party hosting: cheese dip will run out faster than salsa since more of the cheese sticks to the cracker or chip on each dip. That could reduce the chances of people double-dipping. And yes, this is something we discovered during the experiment.
Should I freak out about double-dipping?
Double-dipping can transfer bacteria from mouth to dip, but is this something you need to worry about?
Anywhere from hundreds to thousands of different bacterial types and viruses live in the human oral cavity, most of which are harmless. But some aren’t so good. Pneumonic plague, tuberculosis, influenza virus, Legionnaires’ disease and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are known to spread through saliva, with coughing and sneezing aerosolizing up to 1,000 and 3,600 bacterial cells per minute. These tiny germ-containing droplets from a cough or a sneeze can settle on surfaces such as desks and doorknobs. Germs can be spread when a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing to prevent spreading “serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).” With that in mind, there may be a concern over the spread of oral bacteria from person to person thanks to double-dipping. And a person doesn’t have to be sick to pass on germs.
One of the most infamous examples of spreading disease while being asymptomatic is household cook Mary Mallon (Typhoid Mary), who spread typhoid to numerous families in 19th-century New England during food preparation. Science has left unanswered whether she was tasting the food as she went along and, in effect, double-dipping. Typhoid Mary is obviously an extreme example, but your fellow dippers might very well be carrying cold or flu germs and passing them right into the bowl you’re about to dig into.
If you detect double-dippers in the midst of a festive gathering, you might want to steer clear of their favored snack. And if you yourself are sick, do the rest of us a favor and don’t double-dip.
Paul Dawson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
On-line cheese presents risk
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/11/on-line-cheese-from-austria-presents-risk/
By Doug Powell (Nov 25, 2015)
Online shopping saves time and provides an enormous product choice, but when buying cheeses, this may lead to a quality compromise, according to a new study from Vetmeduni Vienna.
According to a German market study, six per cent of all fresh foods sold today are purchased online – and this rate is on the rise. For perishable foods, however, it is necessary to follow certain hygienic rules.
Dagmar Schoder from the Institute of Milk Hygiene at the Vetmeduni Vienna was interested above all in one especially high-risk food – raw milk cheese. Raw milk cheeses are made from unpasteurised milk, which puts them at a higher risk of microbiological contamination.
Ms Schoder and her colleagues ordered 108 different raw milk cheeses from 21 online retailers in seven European countries (France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium).
“We chose raw milk cheese because it is a high-risk product. As raw milk is unpasteurised, it can be easily contaminated with harmful bacteria.
“Even a small amount of bacteria, for which raw milk cheese offers ideal growing conditions, can reach critical proportions after a longer ripening, storage and transport time.
“The product is then no longer edible and may even make consumers ill. For this reason, special care must be taken during production, storage and transport,” said Ms Schoder.
The researchers found Listeria monocytogenes in two cheese products: one from France and one from the Netherlands.
The fecal bacteria Escherichia coli was found in 32 products. It indicates poor conditions of hygiene during production. Salmonella were not found in any of the cheese samples.
“Some of the producers apparently have shortcomings in terms of hygiene,” said first author Ms Schoder. “Furthermore, when making online purchases, I recommend consumers to check if a product is adequately packaged and cooled when it arrives.”
The shipping period of the online products was between one and five days.
“Cheese must be cooled,” Ms Schoder stressed. But this was not the case with 61.5 per cent of the raw milk products purchased.
“If raw milk cheese is not cooled, bacteria will grow more quickly. A longer transport journey and improper packaging increase the risk for consumers.”
Only 19 cheeses fulfilled the EU labelling requirements (Directive 2000/13/EC and Regulation 853/2004). Of the cheeses purchased, 37 were not labelled as “raw milk cheese” and 43 labels had no “use by date”. Information on storage requirements was missing in more than half of the cheeses.
Don’t Forget Food Safety When Preparing for Thanksgiving
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/11/dont-forget-the-food-safety-on-thanksgiving/#.Vlzy-8KheUl
By News Desk (Nov 25, 2015)
As you’re preparing Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends this year, remember the food safety basics: clean, separate, cook and chill. Don’t risk making any loved ones sick with a foodborne illness!
Clean: Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds throughout the cooking process, especially before handling food and after handling raw meat and poultry. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.
Wash vegetables and fruits, but not the turkey. Washing raw meat and poultry can actually help bacteria spread because their juices (and any bacteria those juices might contain) could splash onto your sink and countertops.
Separate: Always separate raw turkey from ready-to-eat foods. By using separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils when preparing and serving food, you can also help you to avoid cross-contamination.
Cook: Cooked food is safe only after it’s been cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria. Use a meat thermometer on the turkey to make sure it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Place the thermometer in three different spots to determine the temperature of the turkey: the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, and the thickest part of the breast.
Chill: Refrigerate any leftovers within two hours to slow the growth of bacteria. Store your leftovers in shallow containers and cut turkey into smaller pieces to decrease cooling time.
Leftovers in the fridge are safe to eat for three or four days (that’s Monday!) and can be frozen during that time for longer storage.
If you have other Thanksgiving food safety questions, you can call USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET on Thanksgiving Day.
Cockroach infestation shuts down cafeteria at California hospital
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/11/cockroach-infestation-shuts-down-cafeteria-at-california-hospital/
By Doug Powell (Nov 25, 2015)
The cafeteria at St. John’s Health Center – the fabled Santa Monica hospital – was shut down this week after a health inspector found a cockroach infestation in the kitchen, county health officials said.
At least 10 live cockroaches were found in the kitchen for the cafeteria, which is located on the second floor of the hospital in the 2100 block of Santa Monica Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Officials at the Westside hospital expect to reopen the cafeteria Saturday, and in the meantime, patients’ visitors are being provided with a list of local restaurants, said Patricia Aidem, a hospital spokeswoman.
“Providence Saint John’s apologizes for the inconvenience to our visitors, physicians and staff and, while it’s difficult to control these natural occurrences, pledges continued diligence in ensuring cleanliness and safety,” the hospital chain said in a statement.
Founded by Roman Catholic nuns in 1942, St. John’s hospital has cared for celebrity patients such as Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and President Ronald Reagan.
Food safety: Tips from the New Mexico Poison Center
Source : http://www.ruidosonews.com/story/news/2015/11/24/food-safety-tips-new-mexico-poison-center/76284172/
By ruidosonews.com (Nov 24, 2015)
As New Mexicans prepare for their Thanksgiving Day festivities, and with the holiday season just around the corner, the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center has some tips on how to keep your celebrations safe from accidental poisonings.
Food preparation and alcohol
•Wash hands well with warm water and soap before and after food preparation, especially raw meat/eggs.
•Wash utensils, containers, countertops and cutting boards well before and after food preparation.
•Use separate cutting boards for meat products.
•Cook all meats to the recommended internal temperature.
•Refrigerate all perishable items no more than two hours after a meal.
•Avoid storing raw meat above prepared food as contaminated fluid may drip or seep.
•Keep all alcoholic beverages out of the reach of children and beware of unfinished alcoholic beverages - as little as 3 ounces of hard liquor can be fatal to a child weighing 25 pounds.
•Angel Hair is made up of spun glass, which can severely irritate the eyes and mouth, causing severe pain.
•Snow spray can cause severe damage if sprayed directly into eyes.
•Do not ingest the liquid in snow globes, as harmful bacteria can accumulate.
•Keep all substances containing hydrocarbons, such as oil candle lamps, out of the reach of children. These products are extremely dangerous and can cause severe respiratory problems or even death.
•Beware of fireplace powders and logs that burn different colors, as they contain heavy metals. Symptoms include severe stomach pain and intestinal irritation.
•Store batteries out of sight and reach of children. Tape battery compartments as an extra precaution.
Toxic holiday plants
•Keep toxic plants out the reach of children and pets.
•Although the effects of ingesting toxic holiday plants range in severity, the most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe, azalea, rhododendron, amaryllis, Christmas berry, holly, winter broom, Jerusalem cherry, chrysanthemum and Christmas peppers are considered toxic.
•Beware of the essential oils in evergreens, such as balsams, cedar, fir, juniper and pine, as they can cause stomach irritation if ingested, and damage to the lung if inhaled as an aromatic fragrance.
•During flu and cold season, our homes may be heavily stocked with remedies. Take extra care to ensure that all medications are kept in their original containers and out of the reach of children.
•Follow directions carefully and do not exceed recommended dosage.
•Remember that the holiday season is usually a time when family and friends visit your home. Ensure that visitors also keep their medications out of the reach of children.
Call the New Mexico Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for any questions or poison emergencies.
Report: Most Turkey Producers Allow Routine Antibiotic Use
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/11/report-most-turkey-producers-allow-routine-antibiotic-use/#.Vlzz28KheUl
By News Desk (Nov 24, 2015)
Humane farming advocates Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) have released an overview of the antibiotics and other drugs used in turkey production.
The organization is part of the Keep Antibiotics Working coalition, which recommends that food animal producers limit the use of medically important antibiotics to disease treatment in order to prevent overuse and subsequent spread of antibiotic resistance.
FACT found that among the top 20 turkey producers, only Hain Pure Protein, marketed under the Plainville Farms Brand, and Tyson Foods, marketed under the Hillshire Brand, stated that they don’t allow their producers to routinely use antibiotics related to those used in humane medicine either for disease prevention or for growth promotion.
Another four companies prohibit the use of these antibiotics for growth promotion, but allow such use for disease prevention.
Nine companies, including the three largest – Butterball, Jennie-O and Cargill – stated that they don’t use the non-antibiotic growth-promoter ractopamine.
FACT recommends that consumers avoid companies that allow ractopamine or routine antibiotic use and seek out companies that are transparent about the drugs they use in food production. The report also recommends that consumers look for products that are produced under a third-party certification that includes controls on veterinary drug use.
“Turkey meat has consistently had the highest level of superbugs compared to other meats, and so it’s important for consumers to know about the use of antibiotics in turkey production,” said Steven Roach, FACT’s Food Safety Program Director. “This report shows that most turkey companies have not committed to ending routine antibiotic use on their farms.”
Costco Chicken Salad Sickens 19 in California, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Utah, Virginia and Washington
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/costco-chicken-salad-sickens-19-in-california-colorado-missouri-montana-utah-virginia-and-washington/#.Vlz1IsKheUl
By Bill Marler (Nov 24, 2015)
CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, and public health officials in several states are investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC O157:H7) infections.
A total of 19 people infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing STEC O157:H7 have been reported from 7 states. The majority of illnesses have been reported from states in the western United States. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: California (1), Colorado (4), Missouri (1), Montana (6), Utah (5), Virginia (1), and Washington (1).
Among people for whom information is available, illnesses started on dates ranging from October 6, 2015 to November 3, 2015. Ill people range in age from 5 years to 84, with a median age of 18. Fifty-seven percent of ill people are female. Five (29%) people reported being hospitalized, and two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported..
The epidemiologic evidence available to investigators at this time suggests that rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco stores is a likely source of this outbreak. The ongoing investigation has not identified what specific ingredient in the chicken salad is linked to illness.
State and local public health officials are interviewing ill people to obtain information about foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week before their illness started. Fourteen (88%) of 16 people purchased or ate rotisserie chicken salad from Costco.
On November 20, 2015, Costco reported to public health officials that the company had removed all remaining rotisserie chicken salad from all stores in the United States and stopped further production of the product until further notice.
E. coli: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.
Health department offers food safety tips for the holiday season
Source : https://vtdigger.org/2015/11/24/health-department-offers-food-safety-tips-for-the-holiday-season/
By vtdigger.org (Nov 24, 2015)
Keep food temperatures “just right” to prevent foodborne illness
BURLINGTON – Millions of people get sick with foodborne illness each year in the United States. The Vermont Department of Health recommends cooking and handling food safely to prevent foodborne illness this holiday season.
Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Refrigerate foods quickly since cold temperatures slow growth of harmful bacteria. Keep hot foods hot at 140°F or above by using chafing dishes or hot plates, and keep cold foods cold at 40°F or below by using ice.
“Keep food temperatures in mind when planning meals, cooking, and bringing food to someone’s house,” says Elisabeth Wirsing, food and lodging program chief at the Health Department. “Follow safety practices throughout the entire meal—from preparing the food to storing leftovers.”
Eat cooked food promptly and refrigerate leftovers within two hours after cooking. Refrigerate or freeze food in shallow storage containers for quicker cooling. Discard any turkey, stuffing, and gravy left out at room temperature longer than two hours.
Foodborne illness or “food poisoning” ranges from slight discomfort to serious infections that require hospitalization. Infants and young children, pregnant women, and older adults are at greatest risk for serious complications or death. The Health Department recommends the following to reduce the risk of foodborne illness:
· Wash hands before and after preparing food.
· Keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked foods—do not cross-contaminate.
· Wash hands, utensils, and kitchen surfaces with hot soapy water after they touch raw meat or poultry.
· Defrost turkeys in the refrigerator or in cold water. Allow 24 hours per five pounds in the refrigerator; allow 30 minutes per one pound in cold water.
· Buy a fresh turkey (not frozen) one day before cooking.
· The turkey should be cooked immediately after stuffing.
· Cook turkey until a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat and/or in the center of food and stuffing cooked with the turkey reads 165°F. (Do not let thermometer touch bones when reading temperature.)
· Refrigerated turkey should be eaten within three to four days; gravy, stuffing and other sides within one to two days; and frozen leftovers within one month.
· Reheat leftovers to 165°F—the food should be hot and steaming.
For a temperature guide and more information on holiday food safety, visit: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/food_lodge/holiday_food.aspx
For the complete Health Department Food Safety Guide, visit: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/food_lodge/food_safety.aspx
Safely Thawing a Thanksgiving Turkey Takes Planning
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/11/safely-thawing-your-thanksgiving-turkey-takes-planning/#.Vlz0HcKheUl
By Lydia Zuraw (Nov 23, 2015)
If you’re defrosting a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, you might want to start now.
There are only three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. Be sure to plan ahead because birds thawed in cold water or in the microwave will have to be cooked immediately. And, if you choose the refrigerator, a 20- to 24-pound turkey is going to take five to six days to thaw.
When you’re thawing meat and poultry, it has to be kept at a safe temperature below 40 degrees F in order to keep any foodborne bacteria that may be present before the freezing from growing again.
When thawing a turkey in the refrigerator, you’ll need approximately 24 hours per four pounds. Place the turkey in a container to prevent the juices from dripping on other foods and make sure that your fridge thermometer reads 40 degrees F or below.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended thawing times for a whole turkey in the refrigerator are:
•4 to 12 pounds — 1 to 3 days
•12 to 16 pounds — 3 to 4 days
•16 to 20 pounds — 4 to 5 days
•20 to 24 pounds —5 to 6 days
A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for a day or two before cooking. Foods thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking, but there may be some loss of quality.
Cold water thawing will need about 30 minutes per pound. Be sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water. Then submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water.
Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed and then cook immediately.
USDA’s recommended thawing times for a whole turkey in cold water are:
•4 to 12 pounds — 2 to 6 hours
•12 to 16 pounds — 6 to 8 hours
•16 to 20 pounds — 8 to 10 hours
•20 to 24 pounds — 10 to 12 hours
For microwave turkey thawing, follow the appliance manufacturer’s instructions. Plan to cook the turkey immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwave thawing.
Holding partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present wouldn’t have been destroyed.
If you have other Thanksgiving food safety questions, you can call USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET on Thanksgiving Day itself.
Lifehacker covers the science of Thanksgiving
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/11/lifehacker-covers-the-science-of-thanksgiving/
By Ben Chapman (Nov 23, 2015)
Lots of folks like to say that food safety in the home is simple. It isn’t. There are a lot of variables and messages have historically been distilled down to a sanitized sound bite. Saying that managing food safety risks is simple isn’t good communication; isn’t true; and, does a disservice to the nerds who want to know more. The nerds that are increasingly populating the Internet as they ask bigger, deeper questions.
Friend of barfblog, and Food Safety Talk podcast co-host extraordinaire, Don Schaffner provides a microbiological catch-phrase that gets used on almost every episode of our show to combat the food-safety-is-simple mantra; when asked about whether something is safe, Don often answers with, ‘it depends’ and ‘it’s complicated’. And then engages around the uncertainties.IMG_4138
Beth Skwarecki of Life Hacker’s Vitals blog called last week to talk about Thanksgiving dinner, turkey preparation and food safety and provided the platform to get into the ‘it depends’ and ‘it’s complicated’ discussion. Right down to time/temperature combinations equivalent to 165F when it comes to Salmonella destruction.
Here are some excerpts.
How Do You Tell When the Turkey Is Done?
With a thermometer, of course. The color of the meat or juices tells you nothing about doneness, as this guide explains: juices may run pink or clear depending on how stressed the animal was at the time of slaughter (which changes the pH of the meat). The color of the bone depends on the age of the bird at slaughter. And pink meat can depend on roasting conditions or, again, the age of the bird. It’s possible to have pink juices, meat, or bones even when the bird is cooked, or clear juices even when it’s not done yet.
So you’ve got your thermometer. What temperature are you targeting? Old advice was to cook the turkey to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, but that was a recommendation based partly on what texture people liked in their meat, Chapman says. The guidelines were later revised to recommend a minimum safe temperature, regardless of what the meat tastes like, and that temperature is 165. You can cook it hotter, if you like, but that won’t make it any safer.
There’s a way to bend this rule, though. The magic 165 is the temperature that kills Salmonella and friends instantly, but you can also kill the same bacteria by holding the meat at a lower temperature, for a longer time. For example, you can cook your turkey to just 150 degrees, as long as you ensure that it stays at 150 (or higher) for five minutes, something you can verify with a high-tech thermometer like an iGrill. This high-tech thermometer stays in your turkey while it cooks, and sends data to your smartphone. Compare its readings to these time-temperature charts for poultry to make sure your turkey is safe.
The whole piece can be found here.
A Confusing Week in the Chipotle E. coli Outbreak Investigation
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/a-confusing-week-in-the-chipotle-e-coli-outbreak-investigation/
by Carla Gillespie (Nov 22, 2015)
It was a confusing week in the Chipotle E. coli outbreak investigation. On Tuesday, November 17, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reduced the number of those sickened in Oregon and Washington from 50 to 37 and said no new cases had been reported since October 30. Three days later, November 20, the agency announced that the outbreak had expanded to include cases in four other states including Minnesota where a case had previously been identified but ruled out as part of the outbreak. That state now has two cases. What’s more, the total number of those ill, now 45, includes two more cases in Washington and three cases that occurred after October 30.
What does it all mean? The contaminated food has not been eliminated from the restaurant’s supply chain as previously thought.
On November 17, the CDC gave no explantation for its reduction in the case count. But the Washington State Department of Health said the numbers were revised because reults of more definitive tests became available. The CDC is only counting confirmed cases of E. coli O26 that match the fingerprint of the outbreak strain.
In its November 17 update, the CDC said, “Additional illnesses are under investigation by Washington and Oregon and will be reported if they are confirmed to be infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O26. There have been no reported infections with the outbreak strain of STEC O26 in Washington or Oregon since the Chipotle Mexican Grill locations closed in the Pacific Northwest on October 30, 2015.”
It’s likely that two of the “additional illnesses under investigation” occurring before October 30 were confirmed, as Washington’s total increased by two cases. The other six were from four states as follows: California (2), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (1).
Of those six cases, one of which had previously been identified but excluded from the case count as the patient did not eat at a Chipotle before becoming ill, three occurred after October 30- two on October 31 and one on November 8.
That means two cases occurred before October 30. Why weren’t they counted earlier? Were the states where they occurred late in uploading them to the PulseNet database used by health officials to track outbreaks?
It also means that whichever food item that is the source of the outbreak was more widely distributed than previously thought and therefore not eliminated from the supply chain with the company’s new companywide safety measures or its extensive efforts in Washington and Oregon which included cleaning, sanitizing, removal of all food, testing of new foods including fresh produce, meats and diary products, and the temporary closure of all 43 stores in those states.
Just what the food source is remains a mystery. Initially, health officials suspected fresh produce. More than 2,500 tests were performed on Chipotle’s food, restaurant surfaces, and equipment and none was positive for E. coli, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Food histories from patients will provide important information.
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.
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