The importance of food safety
Source : http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/366794/importance-food-safety
By odt.co.nz (Dec 14, 2015)
Food safety is mostly taken for granted in New Zealand with stringent tests in place to ensure the products bought by the public are safe to eat.
However, recent events have put paid to that thought and as the numbers of recalls add up, so do the concerns of shoppers.
The general term of food poisoning is applied widely and can mean someone with an upset stomach after a meal blaming food eaten. New Zealand has stringent food regulations, but it seems they are not working correctly.
High-profile products to have been recalled recently due to health concerns included frozen berries, a popular brand of shaved ham and smoked chicken which is thought to have not been cooked properly.
Warnings are issued constantly during the summer months about treating leftover food correctly, ensuring it is covered and chilled and treated responsibly. But the latest events have been beyond the control of the home cook.
The Ministry of Primary Industries was alerted to a fifth case of hepatitis A last week which is likely linked to a berry product already under recall.
The infected berries were imported from China's Shandong province, rather than being home-grown, although the implications have been dire for the Nelson company responsible for their import and sale.
The incubation period for hepatitis A means it can take 15 to 50 days to become apparent and the ministry is continuing its investigation.
A popular brand of shaved ham was also recalled last week for fears it may contain listeria. While listeriosis causes few or no symptoms in healthy adults and children, some people are at risk of severe disease from it.
Lastly, the recall of a brand of smoked chicken because it may be undercooked summed up the week.
Although there had been no reports of illness from the chicken, the security of food - particularly at this time of the year - has to be uppermost in the minds of shoppers.
Figures obtained by the Labour Party show there have been 27 recalls in the year to November, before the last three were reported.
Last year, there were 27 incidents - a huge jump from the 13 food recalls in 2013.
New Zealand is not alone. In the United States, Chipotle voluntarily closed all 43 restaurants in Washington and Oregon during an E.coli outbreak in October and November and is required to meet strict criteria for reopening.
The restaurant chain is in the throes of introducing food safety measures it says are 15 years ahead of industry norms.
New Zealand's food and beverage sector is in the middle of an exciting period of growth, growth that can be hurt by unsafe products.
A recent report indicates there are 23 emerging high value categories which now produce a total of $3 billion of exports a year and have grown at 12% a year over the past decade.
The report profiles the top 100 New Zealand food and beverage firms, which collectively generate $51 billion in revenue a year.
Much of the products are now seen as value-added, rather than being sent out in a raw form; an important change from the past.
New Zealand lives on its reputation of a clean green image from the tourist sector through to the dairy products sold overseas.
Beneath the veneer of cleanliness and green values, lies an economy dependent on exports. Damage has been done to milk powder exports in the past because of safety concerns.
Food producers, both domestic and export-oriented, must be vigilant as they prepare food for their customers.
As demand increases, there may be a temptation to cut a corner here and there. That temptation needs to be firmly put aside. The safety of food is an issue of major importance to the country's residents, reputation and economy.
Walkathon sensitises vendors, consumers on food safety
Source : http://zeenews.india.com/news/health/health-news/walkathon-sensitises-vendors-consumers-on-food-safety_1834067.html
By zeenews.india.com (Dec 13, 2015)
Kolkata: Use of healthy fats and oils, home ground spices, clean water and other such useful tips were doled out to street food vendors at the Safe Food Walkathon here on Sunday to ensure hygienic food for consumers.
"We have trained 1,000 street food vendors in Kolkata Metropolitan Corporation area and 450 in sector 5 in Salt Lake," S. Maitra, a co-ordinator of the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), told IANS.
"The walkathons are part of a series of campaigns launched towards sensitising target sectors such as the vendors, consumers and industry on their roles, rights, importance of hygienic practices and steps to prevent food-borne illnesses," Maitra said.
Four stalls serving popular snacks like 'kachori', 'puri' and 'chaat' were put up to demonstrate food safety at the walkathon, a part of the Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan.
Vendors also participated in a street drama and sensitised audiences at the event organised by the Confederation of India Industry (CII) in collaboration with Cargill India, NASVI and consumer body VOICE.
Safe Food Walkathons were held in New Delhi and Lucknow earlier this year and will be followed by five more, including one at Bengaluru on December 20 and another at Jamshedpur on January 10.
10 dead, 100 sickened by rotten dog meat in Cambodia
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/12/10-dead-100-sickened-by-rotten-dog-meat-in-cambodia/
By Doug Powell (Dec 13, 2015)
Six people died earlier in the week after eating the barbecued carcass of a dog believed to have been found by a roadside.
Four others from the same remote village in the Kratié (or Kraches) province in the northeast of the country later died after consuming the meat as well as drinking rice wine on Tuesday.
The deaths began on Sunday after a 76-year-old man died several hours after cooking and eating the dead dog.
In a zen-like twist, guests at his funeral, which was held the following day, also ate the leftover dog meat and were rushed to the hospital with acute food poisoning.
The deaths are in region of Cambodia where canines are regarded as a delicacy.
Norovirus at Cleveland Circle Chipotle Sickens 141 BC Students
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/norovirus-at-cleveland-circle-chipotle-sickens-141-bc-students/
By Carla Gillespie (Dec 10, 2015)
The Norovirus outbreak at the Cleveland Circle Chipotle in Boston now includes 141 Boston College students, according to the college. All but 12 of those sickened ate at the restaurant prior to developing symptoms. The 12 who did not eat at Chipotle before becoming ill, had contact with someone who was ill or something that an ill person handled.
Norovirus is highly contagious. Symptoms, which include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and abdominal cramps, usually develop within 12 to 48 hours of exposure and last up to three days.
As the leading cause of food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S., Norovirus sickens about 20 million Americans every year. About 65 percent of Norovirus outbreaks happen at restaurants and originate from an infected food worker.
The virus is transmitted when a food handler who has been sick has microscopic amounts of vomit or stool on his or her hands and touches food that is eaten by someone else or contaminates a food preparation area by touching it.
It takes just a a small amount of Norovirus to make someone sick. The amount of Norovirus that fits on the head of a pin is enough to make 1,000 people sick.
People who are sick with Norovirus are most contagious while they are experiencing symptoms but may also infect others before symptoms start and for about two days after symptoms resolve. That’s why it’s especially importnat to stay home when you are sick.
The Massachusetts Health Department has not found any other pathogens during its test of those sickened in Boston. The Norovirus outbreak took place at the same time Chipotle has been linked to a nine-state E. coli outbreak that has sickened 52 people. The E.coli outbreak includes cases in California (3), Illinois (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (3), Oregon (13), Pennsylvania (1), and Washington (27). Health officials have not yet determined the food source of that outbreak.
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USDA: Put food safety at the top of the holiday list
Source : http://www.naver.com/
By (Dec 10, 2015)
WASHINGTON — The next few weeks are full of good cheer and plenty of food. To help keep the holiday season healthy, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is issuing holiday-inspired food safety recommendations for festive gatherings.
To start, download the FoodKeeper app. This smartphone and tablet app created by FSIS will help you evaluate whether items in your refrigerator and pantry are still good and will help you make sure you use fresh ingredients in dishes you prepare. FoodKeeper offers storage advice on more than 400 different food and beverage items and can help you decide what you can keep and what you should throw out. It also offers handy guidance on leftovers, which you’ll probably have a lot of after the big meal.
Here are some tips from USDA and FSIS.
Steps to follow when cooking a holiday roast:
•Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils for raw roasts and cooked roasts to avoid cross-contamination.
•Wash items such as cutting boards that have touched raw meat with warm water and soap, or place them in a dishwasher.
•To avoid overcooking beef, veal, pork and lamb roasts use a meat thermometer. These roasts should be removed from the oven when they reach an internal temperature of 145 °F and allowed to rest for three minutes before serving.
•Turkey, duck, and goose should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 °F as measured by a food thermometer. Temperatures should be taken in three areas of the bird: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the wing, and the innermost part of the thigh.
Food Safety Tips for Holiday Party Buffets:
•Keep hot food hot and keep cold food cold by using chafing dishes or crock pots and ice trays. Hot items should remain above 140 ¢ªF and cold items should remain below 40 ¢ªF.
•Use several small plates when serving food.
•Discard perishable foods left out for 2 hours or more.
•Leftovers should be refrigerated or frozen immediately in shallow containers. Reheat leftovers to 165 °F.
•If you’re transporting pre-cooked food to a holiday get together, keep cold foods safe on the way there by placing items in a cooler with ice or gel packs to keep them at or below 40 ¢ªF. If you’re transporting hot foods, wrap dishes in insulated bags or towels and newspaper to keep their temperature above 140 ¢ªF.
Top Food Safety Holiday Gifts:
•Food Thermometer: a useful tool for even the most experienced cook as it is the only way to ensure that meat is fully cooked.
•Cutting Board: using separate cutting boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat food is a great way to prevent cross-contamination.
•Kitchen Towel: these towels should be washed frequently to avoid cross-contamination, so a home cook can never have enough kitchen towels.
Steps to follow mail delivered holiday food:
•Check with the mail delivery company to ensure they send perishable items, like meat and poultry, cold or frozen and pack it with a cold source.
•Foods should be packaged in a foam or heavy corrugated cardboard container.
•Delivery should occur as quickly as possible – ideally, overnight.
•Foods should arrive frozen or partially frozen with ice crystals still visible or at least refrigerator cold – below 40 °F as measured by a food thermometer.
To learn more about key food safety practices, visit Foodsafety.gov and follow @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter. Consumers with questions about food safety can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov, available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish.
Several Recalls in FDA’s Weekly Enforcement Report
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/several-recalls-in-fdas-weekly-enforcement-report/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 10, 2015)
The FDA’s weekly Enforcement Report often reveals recalls that were not released to the general public. This week there were several of note.
Curley Parsley produced by MR Cula, doing business as Riley’s, has been recalled because the product tested positive for the pesticides propanocarb and trifloxystrobin. The UPC code on that product is 740695801109.
Also recalled is Daily Chef Peanut Butter Bars, in 27 ounce packages. This product was made in Canada. It is being recalled for foreign matter (rigid plastic pieces) found in the bars. The UPC code is 78742 11172, lot number TFF 15 237, and best by date of August 25, 2016.
Finally Meijer Caramel Corn is being recalled because the product declares butter as an ingredient, but did not specify that means the allergen milk is present in the product. The product is packed in 10 ounce bags. The code dates on that product are 8/23/2015, 8/23/2015, 10/10/2015, 10/28/2015, 11/19/2015, 11/21/2015, 11/21/2015, 11/27/2015, 11/27/2015, 12/5/2015, 11/27/2015, 12/5/2015, 12/12/2015, 12/25/2015, 12/30/2015, 1/25/2016, 2/29/2016, 2/29/2016, 3/18/2016, 3/19/2016, 3/28/2016, and 3/28/2016.
Do not eat these recalled products. Return them to the place of purchase for a full refund or throw them away.
How safe is your food: ADHS 2015 Food Safety report released
Source : http://ktar.com/story/804832/how-safe-is-your-food-adhs-2015-food-safety-report-released/
By Corbin Carson (Dec 09, 2015)
Nothing says “wash-your-hands” like foodborne illness.
Food Safety and Environmental Services within the Arizona Department of Health Services has released the 2015 Food Safety Annual Report has been released.
“We saw an increase of about 40 percent in the number of people calling in to file foodborne illness complaints,” said Jessica Rigler, bureau chief for the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control at the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Those are complaints of members of the public calling in to their county health department to let them know about a foodborne illness concern that they have in their community.”
In all, 1,095 foodborne illnesses complaints were received by county health departments.
“It’s hard to say what’s causing that increase,” Rigler said. “It could be that more are aware that they can call their local health department to report a concern or a problem. Or it might be more awareness about foodborne disease in general.”
The report covers the period from July 1, 2014 to June 31, 2015 and includes county investigations of 21 foodborne outbreaks.
There are many things that people can do to protect themselves from getting sick, Rigler said.
“The very most important thing is to wash your hands,” she said. “Wash your hands before you prepare a meal, wash before you eat. That ensures you’re not eating any of those nasty bacteria to make you sick.”
Boston Chipotle Source of Norovirus Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/boston-chipotle-source-of-norovirus-outbreak/#.Vm43Q05umUl
By Bruce Clark (Dec 09, 2015)
More than 120 Boston College students have taken ill after eating at the same Chipotle at 1924 Beacon Street in Brighton.
“Since late Sunday evening, more than 120 BC students have reported to BC Health Services with symptoms consistent with the norovirus,” Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Boston Public Health Commission said Tuesday that initial testing by state officials has shown the presence of norovirus at the restaurant. According to a statement, the commission was only able to confirm 65 known cases, including Boston College residents, students, and non-BC patrons.
City inspectors closed the Chipotle, located in Brighton near BC’s campus, “until further notice” after reporting three critical health violations following a visit Monday.
According to the Inspection Services Department, an employee came to work sick last Thursday and chicken and steak on the service line were being held at 128 degrees F and 124 degrees F, respectively—below the required temperature range of at least 140 degrees F. The third violation was of multiple reports of foodborne illness from the location. All three citations were given the department’s most serious grade of violation. A spokeswoman for the Boston Public Health Commission said the illnesses were likely caused by norovirus, but final test results are not expected to for a couple of days.
Food safety a state management flop in Ho Chi Minh City: lawmaker
Source : http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/32127/food-safety-a-state-management-flop-in-ho-chi-minh-city-lawmaker
By Tuoi Tre News (Dec 09, 2015)
Ordinary people in Ho Chi Minh City have complained to local lawmakers that they have been mostly concerned about food safety, as they are not sure about a reliable place to buy safe food.
In reality, contaminated food and that without any certificate of origin have become omnipresent in every market.
The topical issue has got prominent in the agenda of the ongoing meeting of the 20th People’s Council of Ho Chi Minh City, a gathering of legislators at the municipal level.
Deputy Vo Van Sen from Go Vap District said bluntly at the meeting, “Ho Chi Minh City has failed when it comes to state management in the food safety area in the past time.”
Sen brought up a question, “Of tens of tons of vegetables transported to the city every morning, how many of them can we be sure about quality?”
“I think this is the weakest point and the biggest flop of the Ho Chi Minh City administration,” he stressed.
Deputy Trinh Xuan Thieu added that people in the city have felt insecure about the quality of food for quite a time.
“Many citizens told me they had read reports that goods from supermarkets were of poor quality too, so they had no reliable place to buy safe food.”
Major outlets such as CoopMart, Big C, and Metro have been reliable places for consumers to purchase food and other daily necessities.
Deputy Nguyen Hoang Minh from Tan Binh District protested that the city is not determined in management.
“Producing safe food certainly requires higher production cost and yields lower output. So, farmers producing safe food will be unable to compete in the market without legal and financial support from the government,” deputy Tran Ngoc Hung said.
Despite myriad complaints from residents, a representative from the city’s Plant Protection Agency said his unit had directly collected 1,000 samples of vegetables from farms for testing and the result showed that only eight of them failed to meet the set standards.
The agency also pooled 700 samples of vegetables on sale at supermarkets for another test and merely eight could not pass it, the representative added.
Besides food safety, deputies whined at the meeting that information on city planning has been inaccessible to many citizens.
The poor quality of bus service was also mentioned yesterday.
Chipotle sets goal of being leader in food safety
Source : http://nrn.com/food-safety/chipotle-sets-goal-being-leader-food-safety
By Lisa Jennings (Dec 09, 2015)
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. plans to become the best in the world at food safety, company officials said Tuesday.
In a presentation to Wall Street analysts at the annual Bernstein Consumer Summit in New York, officials with the Denver-based chain laid out a plan for improving food safety that they contend will put Chipotle 10 to 20 years ahead of industry norms.
“We have this desire to be the safest place to eat,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle chairman, founder and co-CEO. “We’re serving extraordinary quality ingredients, and that’s been something in place for many, many years now, and we’re best in the world at that. We’re going to be the best in the world at food safety, and we’re taking this very, very seriously.”
While the chain is still dealing with the aftermath of an E. coli outbreak that so far has sickened 52 people in nine states, there will be a point when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will call an end to the investigation, although it’s not clear when that will happen, said Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle chief creative and development officer.
“The CDC said in very clear terms that they will label this investigation over, but they gave no indication of a timeline,” Crumpacker said. “I would not expect them to be in a hurry to do that.”
The outbreak has been a severe blow for Chipotle, which is expected to report negative same-store sales for its Dec. 31-ended fourth quarter for the first time since it became a public company in 2006.
Meanwhile, Chipotle is investing heavily in food safety with new protocols that will include more testing of fresh produce.
Just as suppliers are asked to meet certain standards under the chain’s Food With Integrity mission, produce suppliers will be held to higher standards in terms of food safety, Ells said.
“There will be robust testing procedures that will need to be in place for all of our suppliers, whether large or small,” he said. “Some of the smaller suppliers might have a hard time implementing these robust testing procedures initially. We’ll help them. Not all will be on board, for sure, but we think most will.”
But, because “it’s impossible to test every tomato,” the chain is taking additional operational steps, Ells said.
For example, Chipotle has begun dicing tomatoes in a commissary, putting them through a “sanitary kill step” to eliminate pathogens, and hermetically sealing them for delivery to restaurants.
Similar procedures have been put in place for ingredients like cilantro and lettuce, which are higher risk items because they are not cooked. The heat of cooking can kill certain pathogens.
Using a commissary will not degrade quality, Ells said. “You could bring fresh cilantro right out of the field to restaurants and wash it there. I don’t think it will be any better than washing the cilantro in the commissary. It’s a really efficient way to do that, and it’s a sanitary way to do that.”
Other ingredients, like avocado and jalapenos, will continue to come into restaurants whole.
The additional protocols are not expected to slow throughput or result in supply shortages, although throughput rates are expected to decline as a result of slower sales, Moran said.
Jack Hartung, Chipotle chief financial officer, warned that the investment in food safety will be costly. Margins will suffer as a result.
“It will be an investment,” he said. “We’ve got to act with a sense of urgency, and that means we’ll probably do it inefficiently.”
Once the stronger protocols are in place, however, company officials will circle back and look for ways to become more efficient.
Fresh Produce Responsible for Most Foodborne Illnesses in the U.S.
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/12/report-fresh-produce-responsible-for-most-foodborne-illness-outbreaks/#.Vm41ik5umUl
By News Desk (Dec 08, 2015)
Fresh produce is the cause of most foodborne illnesses in the U.S., reports the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
In a study of outbreaks that occurred between 2004 and 2013, the consumer advocacy group found that fresh produce, such as cilantro, cucumbers, cantaloupes and peppers, caused 629 outbreaks and almost 20,000 illnesses.
But that doesn’t mean you should skimp on fruits and vegetables.
“You are twice as likely to get sick from eating a serving of chicken as from eating a serving of vegetables,” said CSPI Senior Food Safety Attorney David Plunkett, co-author of the report. “The data support improving the safety of our produce supply but don’t support eating less fruits and vegetables, which provide valuable nutrients.”
Over the period studied, there was a total of 193,754 illnesses reported from 9,626 outbreaks. Of the total number of reported outbreaks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was able to identify both the food source and the contaminant in fewer than 40 percent. CSPI only reviewed the 3,485 solved outbreaks.
The report also found that seafood caused more illnesses per pound consumed than any other food category, while fruits, vegetables and dairy caused the fewest illnesses per pound consumed.
In addition, the number of outbreaks appears to decline sharply in 2009, but that may be due to changes in how norovirus is classified and not an actual reduction in illnesses from foodborne causes.
CSPI recommends that CDC continue to work with state and local health departments to standardize and maintain the consistent reporting rates seen since 2010, while also addressing the disparities in reporting rates among different states.
And Congress should fully fund improvements to the surveillance system, including providing more assistance to state public health efforts, the group stated.
Why Are JEM Nut Butters Contaminated with Salmonella?
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/why-are-jem-nut-butters-contaminated-with-salmonella/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 08, 2015)
The Salmonella outbreak linked to JEM raw brand sprouted nut butter spreads has sickened at least 11 people in 9 states. This is not the first time nut butters have caused illness. Why are these products, which are relatively low in moisture and not usually considered a food safety risk, harboring pathogenic bacteria?
According to the University of California-Davis, tree nuts can be a vehicle for foodborne pathogens. The tree nuts are too dry to support the growth of bacteria, but Salmonella and E. coli bacteria cause illness with only a few present. Tree nut handlers are supposed to consider Salmonella and STEC bacteria a major public health risk in their HACCP plans.
Any raw food is a risk for bacteria, whether it’s raw nuts, poultry, beef, seafood, or produce. Contamination can happen in the field, during harvest, transportation, or processing, from wild animals, polluted irrigation water, or ill workers. Many nuts are harvested after they fall to the ground, or are mechanically or hand shaken. The nuts then mix with soil and plant debris and become contaminated. And during processing, water is used to remove or soften shells; this can allow the bacteria to grow and spread.
The water activity in tree nuts is less than 0.7; the water level considered necessary for bacterial growth is 0.91. But scientists have learned that in order for a food to make someone sick, microbial growth doesn’t need to occur. In fact, Salmonella and E. coli bacteria survive very well on foods under low moisture conditions and even during refrigeration and freezing.
The UC-Davis report states that “once ingested, the high fat content in tree nuts may protect pathogens from stomach acids allowing passage of viable organisms to the intestine.” In other words, the bacteria just need to survive on the nuts; they don’t need to grow to make someone sick. Once they get into your stomach, the character of the nuts can support illness.
Many nuts are roasted after harvest and before sale and processing into nut butters. This kill step will destroy any remaining bacteria, even though pathogenic bacteria are more resistant to heat when in a dry food environment. Nuts must usually be roasted at high temperatures to kill any bacteria.
Raw spreads are more problematic, since they do not have a kill step, so bacteria can easily survive. When those raw nuts are soaked so they sprout, bacteria can grow and flourish, just as they do when seeds are sprouted.
In general, it’s best that anyone who falls in a high risk group for food poisoning – small children, the elderly, and those with chronic health problems and compromised immune systems – should avoid eating raw nuts butters, just as they avoid raw sprouts and raw and undercooked meats and unpasteurized dairy products.
The outbreak linked to recalled JEM raw sprouted nut butters is caused by Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate (+). All eight of the ill persons interviewed ate a nut butter before they got sick; six of those persons ate JEM Raw brand sprouted nut butter spread.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhea that may be bloody, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, headache, and muscle pains. The symptoms usually begin six to seventy-two hours after exposure. If you have eaten nut butters, especially JEM brand raw sprouted nut butters, and have experienced these symptoms, see your doctor.
Sending Food This Holiday Season? Pack it Safely.
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/sending-food-this-holiday-season-pack-it-safely/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 08, 2015)
Foodsafety.gov is offering tips for safely sending food through the mail this holiday season. If the food you are packing is perishable, food poisoning is a risk. And if you are ordering food from a company, you should make sure they understand how to handle perishable goods.
When ordering from a company, make sure that they send meats, poultry, and processed foods such as salads and potatoes, cold or frozen and packed with a cold source. The preferred cold source is dry ice to keep the package temperature as low as possible. The food should also be packed in a foam container or a heavily corrugated cardboard container to hold in the cold. And the food should be delivered as quickly as possible, preferably overnight.
If you are packing food yourself to send through the mail, construct a “miniature deep-freeze” packaging system as shown on the right. The food should be packaged inside a reusable insulated cooler, with wrapped dry ice. A polyethylene film should be used as a final layer of insulation. Make sure the food is well chilled before you pack it too. This system is designed to keep food cold, not to chill it.
Make sure that the person you are sending the package to knows it is coming to them, and that the food should be immediately refrigerated or frozen. And let the person know that the food should arrive frozen or partially frozen with ice crystals visible, or below 40°F as measured with a food thermometer. Even smoked, cured, vacuum-packed, and fully cooked food has to be kept cold.
If the food arrives thawed in water, or registers above 40°F, throw it out. Any perishable food held between 40°F and 140°F will support the growth of pathogenic bacteria. And those bacteria will not change the appearance, taste, smell, or texture of the food. When in doubt, throw it out.
Festive food safety
Source : http://www.heraldstandard.com/healthy_living/festive-food-safety/article_16109ad8-5e3a-5e0e-957c-be0ac552d3a3.html
By Tara Rack-Amber (Dec 07, 2015)
The holiday season provides many opportunities for families and friends to gather together to celebrate.
These celebrations often involve copious amounts of food that beckon people to overindulge and enjoy the taste of the season.
Unfortunately, if the food is not handled or stored properly what should be a time of celebration and fellowship can quickly become a group trip to the emergency room.
According to Poison Control, there are more than 250 types of food poisoning and one in six Americans get food poisoning each year.
“They (food poisoning symptoms) vary depending on the illness. A lot of times it is what people compare to the cold or flu. It can range from not feeling well, having a headache to flu symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea,” said Dori Campbell, extension educator at Penn State Extension Westmoreland County.
However, with proper precautions there are ways to avoid food poisoning.
“One thing is time and temperature abuse, which means that people let food sit out for too long; food that should be kept hot or cold. Another is if they are not cooking food to proper temperature,” explained Campbell. “Another thing is cross contamination, when organisms transfer from one surface to another (not using a clean cutting board), and personal hygiene. It goes back to hand washing.”
When it comes to food poisoning, both improper cooking and storage are equally as dangerous.
“If something goes wrong in any step the problems start there. People can make mistakes in the thawing process or letting the food sit out too long. When there are parties going on and people let it (food) sit out for longer periods of time or when people are preparing larger amounts of food than what they would normally do (are some of these mistakes),” said Campbell.
In order to prevent poisoning after the food is cooked, Campbell suggests portioning food and replenishing often.
“Instead of letting food sit out too long at a party, maybe serve food in batches or put dishes out at different times so there is not a lot of food sitting out for long periods of time,” she said. “It makes more work for the hostess, but it would make it safe.”
The final culprit of food poisoning is when people go to parties and decide to bring a dish to share. However, with proper planning, traveling with food can be done safely.
“It really comes down to keeping cold foods cold at 40 degrees or less in an ice cooler. The other piece is keeping hot food hot above 140 degrees. That means taking action to purposely keep it hot. If the temperature is between 40 and 140 degrees, this is where bacteria can grow.” said Campbell. “There are other ideas, (such as) either cooking it once you get there or bring another dish or use hot packs (to keep it warm).”
Campylobacter Outbreak Reported at Blair Academy in New Jersey
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/campylobacter-outbreak-reported-at-blair-academy-in-new-jersey/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 07, 2015)
The New Jersey Herald is reporting that the Warren County Health Department confirmed about 30 people at Blair Academy have been sickened with Campylobacter infections. This is a private boarding and day high school located in Blairstown. Illnesses have been reported since mid-November, 2015. Nearly all of the cases have “resolved” within days, according to the story.
Susan Logan, spokeswoman for Blair Academy, emailed parents about this outbreak. Her statement said “In November, our health center saw an increased incidence of gastrointestinal-related illnesses and alerted all parents by email on November 20 prior to students leaving campus for Thanksgiving break. Late that weekend, we found out that several of those who experienced symptoms tested positive for Campylobacter. Upon receiving confirmation of several positive results, our director of health services informed the parents of those affected by phone and updated our entire parent body by email the next day.” The source of the bacteria has not been identified.
Campylobacter bacteria usually sickens people through undercooked poultry or meat or through cross-contamination in the kitchen. The illness can be spread person-to-person, but is usually spread through contaminated food. Almost half of all chicken sold in this country contains this bacteria. And only about 500 bacteria can cause illness; this amount would fit in one drop of raw chicken juice.
While the illness is usually mild, in some cases patients can develop Guillain-Barre syndrome after this infection, which can lead to paralysis and death. The symptoms of a Campylobacter infection include muscle pain, headache, fever, watery or bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea.
The complications of this infection can include arthritis, blood poisoning, hemolytic uremic syndrome, respiratory distress, gall bladder inflammation, and severe dehydration. Symptoms usually appear one to ten days after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria.
Food Kills Children All Over The World
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/food-kills-children-all-over-the-world/#.Vm42zU5umUm
By Denis Stearns (Dec 06, 2015)
The WHO reports that almost one third (30%) of all deaths from foodborne diseases are in children under the age of 5 years, despite the fact that they make up only 9% of the global population. This is among the findings of WHO’s “Estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases” – the most comprehensive report to date on the impact of contaminated food on health and well being.
The report, which estimates the burden of foodborne diseases caused by 31 agents – bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals – states that each year as many as 600 million, or almost 1 in 10 people in the world, fall ill after consuming contaminated food. Of these, 420,000 people die, including 125,000 children under the age of 5 years.
While the burden of foodborne diseases is a public health concern globally, the WHO African and South-East Asia Regions have the highest incidence and highest death rates, including among children under the age of 5 years.
Diarrheal diseases are responsible for more than half of the global burden of foodborne diseases, causing 550 million people to fall ill and 230,000 deaths every year. Children are at particular risk of foodborne diarrheal diseases, with 220 million falling ill and 96,000 dying every year. Eating raw or undercooked meat often causes diarrhea, eggs, fresh produce and dairy products contaminated by norovirus, Campylobacter, non-typhoidal Salmonella and pathogenic E. coli. Other major contributors to the global burden of foodborne diseases are typhoid fever, hepatitis A, Taenia solium (a tapeworm), and aflatoxin (produced by mold on grain that is stored inappropriately).
Certain diseases, such as those caused by non-typhoidal Salmonella, are a public health concern across all regions of the world, in high- and low-income countries alike. Other diseases, such as typhoid fever, foodborne cholera, and those caused by pathogenic E. coli, are much more common to low-income countries, while Campylobacter is an important pathogen in high-income countries. The risk of foodborne diseases is most severe in low- and middle-income countries, linked to preparing food with unsafe water; poor hygiene and inadequate conditions in food production and storage; lower levels of literacy and education; and insufficient food safety legislation or implementation of such legislation.
Foodborne diseases can cause short-term symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (commonly referred to as food poisoning), but can also cause longer-term illnesses, such as cancer, kidney or liver failure, brain and neural disorders. These diseases may be more serious in children, pregnant women, and those who are older or have a weakened immune system. Children who survive some of the more serious foodborne diseases may suffer from delayed physical and mental development, impacting their quality of life permanently.
Food safety is a shared responsibility, says WHO. The report’s findings underscore the global threat posed by foodborne diseases and reinforce the need for governments, the food industry and individuals to do more to make food safe and prevent foodborne diseases. There remains a significant need for education and training on the prevention of foodborne diseases among food producers, suppliers, handlers and the general public. WHO is working closely with national governments to help set and implement food safety strategies and policies that will in turn have a positive impact on the safety of food in the global marketplace.
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