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FoodHACCP Newsletter
01/11 2016 ISSUE:686

 

Pinto defense: ‘We meet all government standards’ but Australia still has an egg problem
Source : http://barfblog.com/2016/01/pinto-defense-we-meet-all-government-standards-but-australia-still-has-an-egg-problem/
By Doug Powell (Jan 10, 2016)
What are consumers to do? Ask if that aioli or mayo at the trendy restaurant is made from raw eggs (they invariably say yes)?
Are consumers to be the critical control point for cross-contamination (that bit of egg goop that invariably ends on the counter when cracking eggs)?
Treat eggs like any other raw food – hazardous waste?
Supermarket giant Coles is under pressure to move eggs off its warm shelves in a bid to protect shoppers from salmonella, matching the practice being rolled out by its main competitor.
Woolworths has pledged to keep eggs in refrigerated cabinets as it continues a nation-wide revamp of its stores.
It is understood dozens of Woolies outlets have had new cabinets installed in the past year, allowing stores to keep fresh eggs chilled below seven degrees, which helps prevent the spread of the harmful salmonella bacteria.
The rollout comes as experts have warned about egg-related salmonella cases, which are on the rise around the country, leading to serious illness and hundreds of hospital admissions each year.
Coles, however, would not disclose if any of its stores would keep eggs refrigerated in response to these calls, prompting shoppers to criticise the company across its social media platforms.
“I will be buying my eggs in Woolworths until you return to displaying them in a chilled area,” one shopper wrote on the company’s Facebook page.
A NSW personal trainer wrote how he had stopped buying eggs from Coles while another shopper pointed out: “It even says on the carton: keep refrigerated.”
The shopper revolt came as another expert joined calls urging stores from large supermarkets to small grocers to be part of an unbroken chain of cold storage for eggs.
Professor Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases expert at Australian National University’s medical school, said eggs must be treated just like raw meat and kept in a refrigerator at all times.
“I’m always surprised by the lack of anxiety about this,” he said. “We ought to make the product safer, and we do that by refrigerating it, even at the supermarket.”
Coles declined to comment on Sunday.
It had previously released a one-line statement – “Coles adheres to all health and safety regulations regarding egg storage” – and responded to complaints on social media by denying it was an issue.
Peter Scott, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne’s veterinary school, said keeping eggs chilled in all retail stores would not make a big difference to rising salmonella infection rates.
“For the limited time the eggs are stored at the supermarket unrefrigerated it is, black and white, not significant,” he said.
Dr Scott, who also works as a consultant for the poultry industry, stressed that poor practices at farms, where “dirty eggs” are graded and used when they shouldn’t be, combined with poor food-handling practices, particularly in catering or at restaurants, have been the main culprits behind large outbreaks of the food-borne illness.
“You need two consecutive events: an egg contaminated with salmonella and then the [growth] in a raw egg dish,” he said.
“When [eggs] are made into one of these raw egg products, the replication of salmonella is very dramatic, and that’s where all the food poisoning is coming from.”
“Egg-associated outbreaks of salmonella have been increasing – that is clear,” said Associate Professor Martyn Kirk, an expert in epidemiology at the Australian National University.
He said it was crucial for supermarkets to think about cold storage and egg-related salmonella prevention because the risk of an outbreak, leading to serious illness and hospitalisation, can arise at any point from the farm to the home.
“It is a priority. We’ve seen lots of outbreaks. We should be doing multiple things to try and prevent salmonella occurring.”
Under food safety laws, Australian eggs are washed, inspected for cracks, graded and kept in cool rooms on farms before being transported in refrigerated trucks to reduce the risk of bacterial survival.
But Brian Ahmed, president of the egg group at the Victorian Farmers Federation, said keeping eggs refrigerated in supermarkets remains the “missing link” in the food safety chain.
“It should be treated exactly like raw meat – don’t look at an egg any different way,” he said.
Connor Thomas, adjunct senior lecturer in microbiology at the University of Adelaide, also urged grocery stores to keep eggs in a cool environment.
“That way you minimise the growth, increase the storage time, and minimise the risk,” Dr Thomas said.
The calls come as the rate of salmonella infections rises across the country, with up to 40 per cent of cases linked to contaminated eggs.
In 2015 there were 58 cases per 100,000 people in Victoria, twice the infection rate of 10 years ago, health department data shows.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand last updated egg safety laws in 2011, but left out a retail requirement for cool storage because it concluded temperature was not a factor in spreading salmonella here if eggs are clean and intact.
A spokeswoman said the strain of salmonella present in Australia cannot grow on egg shells, though it could contaminate other foods or get inside the egg when its protective membrane breaks down or the egg is cracked.
“It was acknowledged that refrigeration during retail storage may enhance the quality of eggs,” she said.
“However, this option was excluded early in the standard development process due to the nature of egg shell contamination in Australia and the substantial cost of implementing such an option.”
But Dr Thomas said eggs have been continually implicated in illness and it’s difficult to predict when an outbreak is going to happen, so it is vital to maintain a chain of food safety protection.
A table of Australian egg outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-3-2-15.xlsx

The Benefits of Blast Freezers for Food Safety and Business
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/signature-series/the-benefits-of-blast-freezers-for-food-safety-and-business/
By CRS Cold Storage (Jan 07, 2016)
With the commercial refrigeration and freezer market expanding globally, it can be seen that many businesses are coming to understand the importance and benefits of blast freezing. This rapid expansion is not only affecting large organizations but smaller, local ones too as more and more of us demand freshly frozen food products.
If we are to understand the reasons behind this expansion, we must look toward the specific benefits that blast freezers hold, as well as the problems that they can prevent within the food and catering industries.
Bacterial Protection and Control
Meat, fish and poultry can all harbor considerable amounts of bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella in their fresh, raw form. These bacteria multiply alarmingly quickly over just a few days if left in unsuitable conditions. However, they can be controlled and destroyed if the correct freezing and cooking methods are used.
One of the biggest benefits of blast freezers is that they have the ability to freeze several tons of produce in as little as 24 hours. This super-fast process ensures that bacteria has minimal time to develop and keeps produce fresh in bulk.
As a rule of thumb, you should ensure that meat, fish and poultry are stored at around -18 °C (equivalent to 0 °F) or colder. At this temperature, bacteria cannot develop and you can be sure that your produce is safer for consumers once it is in their hands.
Nutritional Health
Another fantastic benefit of the blast freezer is that it can help to preserve nutrients in food.
The speedy freezing process of the blast freezer provides benefits to both the consumer and the business, as it effectively stops rapid nutrient deterioration. A slower freezing process would still allow for unwanted changes in the produce and could result in bland, unhealthy food being consumed by the public.
Nutritional health is of particular importance if stored food is intended for schools and hospitals. Young children and those who are considered vulnerable are particularly reliant on nutrient-dense foodstuffs and that is why the nutrient preserving properties of a blast freezer are so beneficial.
Blast freezers can also be used to retain nutrients in ready cooked meals, making them an important asset to have as the demand for healthier frozen goods grows across the globe.
Why Invest in a Blast Freezer? The Business Case
If you are looking to expand the amount of stock you hold quickly and without fuss, then investing in a blast freezer is the right choice for your company. With easy setup and no planning permission necessary, you can begin blast freezing new produce within days, ensuring a plentiful supply of stock and giving your customers a broader product selection.
Portable blast freezers can be purchased or rented simply for the added convenience of manageability—even if your unit is stationary for long periods of time.
Blast freezers can be used by food distributors and caterers to preserve produce for transport to other areas. Alternatively, a blast freezer can be used as a static storage solution. They are available in a range of sizes to cater to the needs of different businesses, and they also offer the benefit of portability.
Purchasing or renting the right blast freezer over a number of months is much more cost-effective than building an external cold store. Alternatively, they can be rented over set periods of time if your organization’s needs are only temporary.
Great Cost Effectiveness
Investing in a blast freezer can not only save you money through minimizing waste but it can help your business expand the produce that it has on-hand. Much like the bacterial and nutritional advantages, expansion is beneficial for both the business and the customer.
Food safety should be of the utmost importance for every organization in the industry. Adopting new and efficient ways to improve this will ensure a harmonious relationship between the company and the consumer, and will improve the health of the general population.
So who are blast freezers beneficial for? Butchers, bakers, retailers, food groups and even pharmaceutical companies have all reaped the benefits of portable blast freezing units. Their versatility means that they can be used across several industries and for all types of temperature-sensitive products.
Learn more about expanding your blast freezer capacity at CRSColdStorage.co.uk.

What's being done to keep Virginia's food safe?
Source : http://www.wdbj7.com/news/local/whats-being-done-to-keep-virginias-food-safe/37317874
By Christian Heilman (Jan 07, 2016)
On Wednesday, Chipotle was served with a federal grand jury subpoena. It's part of a criminal investigation into a norovirus outbreak at some stores. That, along with their recent E. coli outbreak, have some in our region wondering what can be done about food safety.
Virginia Tech’s Food Science and Technology department says there are a number of issues at play in Chipotle's case -- including how farmers and employees grew and handled the food.
While they're not working with Chipotle directly, Virginia Tech's research and outreach goes into making sure we don't have to worry about our food in Southwest Virginia.
Rob Williams, Dept of Food Science and Technology, said, "We really cover the farm to fork continuum."
The Food Science and Technology department at Virginia Tech helps train the new generation of food scientists, but an equally important part of their job is making sure the current generation is keeping food safe.
Williams said, "We have a long term history of working with the food industry - everyone again from the farmers to processers even to restaurants."
Joe Marcy, Dept. Head, Food Science and Technology Dept., said, "This is a brand new building that's dedicated to research and extension."
That's where Joell Eifert at the Food Innovations Program comes in. She's in charge of three food safety agents across the state.
Eifert said, "We provide workshops and trainings to aid them in producing better quality food - safe food, more importantly."
The agents help restaurants make sense of food safety regulations and can help if they get a bad inspection report.
In 2014, Virginia Tech's training reached almost 500 restaurants and 1500 people across the state. They say it's one of only four states in the country with a similar food safety team.
"We can impact quite a bit with three agents,” Eifert said.
The research they conduct here helps them better understand problems restaurants have -- all to keep the meals we eat safer.
We asked them what you can do to make sure the restaurants you're eating at are safe. They said the best thing to do is check out restaurant reports available on the state's department of health website.

Chicago Is Predicting Food Safety Violations. Why Aren't Other Cities?
Source : http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2016/01/chicago-is-predicting-food-safety-violations-why-arent-other-cities/422511/
By Julian Spector (Jan 07, 2016)
The three dozen inspectors at the Chicago Department of Public Health scrutinize 16,000 eating establishments to protect diners from gut-bombing food sickness. Some of those pose more of a health risk than others; approximately 15 percent of inspections catch a critical violation.
For years, Chicago, like most every city in the U.S., scheduled these inspections by going down the complete list of food vendors and making sure they all had a visit in the mandated timeframe. That process ensured that everyone got inspected, but not that the most likely health code violators got inspected first. And speed matters in this case. Every day that unsanitary vendors serve food is a new chance for diners to get violently ill, paying in time, pain, and medical expenses.
That’s why, in 2014, Chicago’s Department of Innovation and Technology started sifting through publicly available city data and built an algorithm to predict which restaurants were most likely to be in violation of health codes, based on the characteristics of previously recorded violations. The program generated a ranked list of which establishments the inspectors should look at first. The project is notable not just because it worked—the algorithm identified violations significantly earlier than business as usual did—but because the team made it as easy as possible for other cities to replicate the approach.
And yet, more than a year after Chicago published its code, only one local government, in metro D.C., has tried to do the same thing.? All cities face the challenge of keeping their food safe and therefore have much to gain from this data program. The challenge, then, isn’t just to design data solutions that work, but to do so in a way that facilitates sharing them with other cities. The Chicago example reveals the obstacles that might prevent a good urban solution from spreading to other cities, but also how to overcome them.
Cracking the code
After an initial test that failed, the Chicago innovation team retooled which variables they used to predict health violations—nine of them, including previous violations, nearby sanitary complaints, and length of time since last inspection—and how they weighed them. In September and October 2014, they generated a list of priority inspections and compared the projected violations with what inspectors really found. The results were clear: the algorithm found violations 7.5 days earlier, on average, than the inspectors operating as usual did.
“That trial gave us enough confidence that we were able to roll it out to drive day-to-day decisions,” Chicago’s chief data officer Tom Schenk tells CityLab.
Chicago started using the prediction tool for daily operations in February 2015, and the transition worked very smoothly, says Raed Mansour, innovation projects lead for the Department of Public Health. That’s because the department was careful to incorporate the algorithm in a way that minimally altered the existing business practices. Inspectors still get their assignments from a manager, for instance, but now the manager is generating schedules from the algorithm. The department will conduct an evaluation of the program after a year, and Mansour anticipates that the performance will meet or exceed the metrics from the test run.
But that was never meant to be the end of it. Back in November 2014, Schenk published the code for the algorithm on the programming website GitHub, so anyone in any other city could see exactly what Chicago did and adapt the program to their own community’s needs. That’s about as far as they could go to promote it, short of knocking on the door of every city hall in America. But the months since then have shown that it takes more than code to launch a municipal data program.
It still takes work
Just because an idea is good doesn’t mean it will spread. The New Yorker’s Atul Gawande dissected this difficulty with the example of solutions to the two scourges of surgery: pain and infection. After the first public demonstration of anesthesia in 1846, the technology proliferated throughout the world in a matter of months, making surgery significantly less frantic. But antiseptic methods, like washing hands and sterilizing the operating room, took decades to gain wide acceptance. The evidence was out there that it saved lives, but evidence alone doesn’t alter people’s behavior.
“People talking to people is still how the world’s standards change,” Gawande wrote.
Digital communication means that nowadays the talking doesn’t need to happen face to face. Urban data innovators can share their ideas and projects remotely, provided they know where to look and who to talk to. But there are still several hurdles between the idea stage and an active city data service.
For starters, Schenk says, there can be intellectual property issues. If the code belongs to someone, another city can’t just take it. The open data approach deals with this problem: cities can choose to share their work with whomever may be interested. But if the programmers build a project using expensive paid or proprietary software, other city governments probably won’t have access to it. That’s why the Chicago team worked with R, an open-source statistics program.
That leaves the requirement that a city have someone on staff with the technical ability to work with that software. This is less of a problem now, Schenk says, because it’s getting easier for governments to find eager partners at academic institutions and community groups who have the expertise and want to help. But that’s not all.
“The specifics do change between cities,” Schenk says. “To even pick up code and adapt it to your specific business practice still takes work.” Maybe another city’s public health department collects or formats their data differently, so the algorithm needs to account for that. Maybe the salient variables correlated to health violations differ empirically from city to city. At the very least, before a municipality spends taxpayer dollars to convert its restaurant inspections to a data-driven approach, they need to test that the approach works in that city.
Leaving the nest
Chicago passed around the free samples, but a year later only one government has taken a bite: Montgomery County, Maryland, just northwest of Washington, D.C. The county hired a private company called Open Data Nation to adapt Chicago’s code for use in the new location. Carey Anne Nadeau, who heads the company, ran a two-month test of the adapted algorithm in fall 2015 that identified 27 percent more violations in the first month than business as usual, and finding them three days earlier.
“The big win is it’s replicable—this is the first time anyone has been able to adapt the algorithm from its initial development,” she tells CityLab. “It’s possible to do this outside of Chicago.”
Not only is it possible outside of Chicago, but it’s possible in a radically different built environment, says Montgomery County Chief Innovation Officer Dan Hoffman. The county sprawls across 500 square miles, including urban, suburban, and rural territory. Success there speaks to the robustness of the approach.
To get to that point, Nadeau’s team added some variables to the roster used in Chicago, like Yelp reviews and nearby construction permits (construction seems to stir up pests and dust, leading to deterioration of food safety). So far, the revamped algorithm has only succeeded in theory, so real-world trials are needed to see if those results hold during day-to-day operations. Next up for Open Data Nation is to produce a mobile app for health inspectors and to build out similar algorithms for 10 other cities.
In so doing, Open Data Nation suggests one way to bridge the civic data gap between cities: private-sector partnerships. If a city doesn’t have the resources or expertise to code a predictive algorithm, they can contract it out to companies that do. The company earns revenue, of course, and if it all works out, the government saves money through efficiency. “As Montgomery County grows and adds more restaurants,” Nadeau notes, “they don’t have to grow their food inspection budget to respond to the growth in the city.”
To fully capitalize on predictive uses of urban data, cities could work with a growing community of data-savvy companies and researchers, and philanthropic foundations could fill in some of the funding gaps. The Knight Foundation is already supporting civic data experiments with its Prototype Fund, for instance, as is Bloomberg Philanthropies with its What Works Cities initiative.
But there’s still a significant benefit to having more data experts within city governments, says Eric Potash, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago’s Center for Data Science and Public Policy. He’s working with Chicago’s public health department on a project to use data to predict lead contamination in housing before it poisons children. He points out that collecting data is a messy task, with different troves of information stored separately in different departments. Having an advocate “on the inside” can really help speed up that process.
Finally, it’s important to remember that predictive modeling is simply an optimization tool. It’s good or bad only insofar as it helps an existing government practice work more effectively.
“If you tell it to optimize for finding kids that are going to be poisoned by lead, that sounds great,” Potash says. “But there are lots of other cases where governments are using predictive technologies and people aren’t as excited—predictive policing is the obvious example. It’s not as simple as ‘prediction solves all problems.’”

Recently Finalized FSMA Rules Create New Food Safety Requirements
Source : http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/articles/2016/01/recently-finalized-fsma-rules-create-new-food-saf.aspx
By Edwin Velez Rivera (Jan 06, 2016)
FDA recently finalized three rules that create new food safety requirements for FDA-registered food facilities and importers of food and beverages. The preventive controls rules (finalized in September 2015) and the foreign supplier verification program (FSVP) Rule (finalized in November 2015) are part of FDA's implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), known to be the most groundbreaking reform of the U.S. food safety system in more than 70 years.
Preventive Controls Rules
FDA's preventive controls rules apply to all human and animal food facilities required to register with FDA. Among other things, the rules require covered facilities to create written food safety plans, monitor and approve suppliers and ensure employee qualification. Most covered facilities are required to comply by September 2016.
A facility's food safety plan must contain many aspects, including:
• An evaluation of potential biological, chemical and physical hazards;
• A determination of whether each potential hazard requires preventive controls;
• Preventive controls for those hazards determined to require them; and
• Methods to monitor and verify the consistency and effectiveness of the preventive controls put in place.
When approving suppliers, facilities must conduct a hazard analysis of the supplied food and consider the supplier's FDA compliance history. Specifically, the preventive controls rules state a facility must be aware if its suppliers are the subject of an FDA warning letter or import alert relating to the safety of the food. Facilities may obtain this compliance information from FDA's databases or through third-party applications such as Registrar Corp's FDA Compliance Monitor. Facilities may only receive food from approved suppliers or "on a temporary basis from unapproved suppliers whose materials are subject to verification activities before being accepted for use," according to FDA.
Facilities must also ensure their employees are qualified to perform their assigned duties and are properly trained in the principles of food hygiene, food safety, and employee health and hygiene.
FSVP Rules
FDA's FSVP rule requires importers of food and beverages for humans and animals to create an FSVP for each food imported from each foreign supplier. FDA describes FSVPs as "risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produced in a manner that meets applicable U.S. safety standards." Most importers are required to comply by May 2017.
Along with creating FSVPs, importers are also required to evaluate and approve their foreign suppliers. Specifically, the FSVP rule says importers must consider whether their suppliers are the subject of an FDA warning letter, import alert or other FDA compliance action related to food safety. Once a foreign supplier is approved, the importer must determine verification activities that appropriately fit the risks of the supplier. Examples of verification activities include:
• Annual on-site audits of a supplier’s facility;
• Sampling and testing; and
• Review of a supplier’s food safety records.
Importers may perform verification activities on their own or designate a third party.
FDA's preventive controls and FSVP rules are intended to put more responsibility on industry for the safety of the food it supplies to American consumers. It is prudent for registered food facilities and importers to begin compliance preparation now, as it may take substantial time to complete all of the new requirements.
Edwin Velez Rivera is a senior food safety specialist at Registrar Corp (registrarcorp.com), an FDA consulting firm that helps companies comply with FDA regulation. VelezRivera has more than 21 years of experience in the food safety, auditing and food defense profession. Under his direction, the food safety department performs mock FDA food facility inspections around the world, reviews and develops HACCP, food safety and food defense plans, and executes other food safety-related services.

 


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Arsenic, Rice and Regulations
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/signature-series/arsenic-rice-and-regulations/
By Paul Dewsbury (Jan 05, 2016)
Inorganic arsenic (Asi) is present throughout the environment, and as such has been found in an array of foodstuffs. In fact, food is the principle source of this toxic addition to our diets. Rice in particular is known to be especially prone to high levels of Asi, accumulating up to 10-fold more than wheat or barley. While concentrations in rice do not approach lethal doses, chronic exposure to sublethal levels of Asi can cause numerous health problems including skin lesions, cancer, developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has estimated that in populations that regularly consume rice, individuals may be exposed to Asi levels of approximately 1 µg/kg bodyweight per day.[1] Children are especially vulnerable in these cases as they consume approximately three times more food on a bodyweight basis than adults. Rice-based products such as rice milk, crackers and porridge are frequently used to feed very young children. In light of this concern, the UK Food Standards Agency has gone so far as to suggest that children under the age of four-and-a-half years should refrain from drinking rice milk.[2]
Despite this concern, it hasn’t been until relatively recently that there has been accurate survey data highlighting just how widespread the problem of Asi in rice and rice-based products really is. This could explain the almost complete lack of relevant European Union (EU) or U.S. regulations limiting levels of Asi in foodstuffs. Thankfully, there is a growing body of research that looks set to drive regulatory change.
Assessing Arsenic in Rice-Based Products
In order to gain an understanding of levels of Asi currently within rice-based products, a broad survey and subsequent analysis of various brands has been conducted by the Institute for Global Food Security (Queen’s University Belfast).[3] This is in addition to the recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) survey.[4] Both surveys looked at samples of baby rice, rice cereals and rice crackers. The team from Queen’s University Belfast made use of ion chromatography (Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ ICS-5000+ system) interfaced with an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer system (Thermo Scientific™ IiCAP™ Q Series) to quantify the levels of Asi.
The results clearly demonstrated that in many cases, Asi concentrations were above the 200 µg/kg limit recommended by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). Rice cereals in particular contained Asi 1.6 times over the JECFA maximum, at 323 µg/kg.[5, 6]
The FDA’s own research looked at 1,300 samples of rice and rice products. They concluded that the average levels of Asi for the various rice and rice-based products ranged from 0.1 to 7.2 µg per serving.[7] Their report goes on to explain that these data do not provide information on what the potential long term effects of consuming Asi at these concentrations are, or what can be done to reduce these levels.
Results from these two surveys do, however, demonstrate that Asi in rice and rice-based products is often above what recommended levels there are. The authors from Queen’s University Belfast conclude that there is an urgent need for regulatory limits on Asi in food, particularly rice-based products.
Words from the Regulators
The JECFA limit has already had doubts cast upon it, and the EFSA has suggested it be lowered. The FDA has stated that they continue to work with their partner agencies—along with scientists and consumer groups—to offer further insight into the issue of arsenic in rice. They are expected to be conducting further risk analysis studies on this matter. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has previously said that “…the FDA is committed to ensuring that we understand the extent to which substances such as arsenic are present in our foods, what risks they may pose, whether these risks can be minimized and to sharing what we know.”
In 2015, the European Commission amended acceptable levels of Asi in foodstuffs.[8] They published regulation (EU) 2015/1006 amending annex to regulation (EC) 1881/2006 regarding the maximum levels of inorganic arsenic in foodstuffs. The limits of Asi in this instance take into account rice and rice-based products and pay attention to infants in particular. They set limits of 200 µg/kg for nonparboiled milled rice (polished or white rice), 300 µg/kg for rice waffles, rice wafers, rice crackers and rice cakes, and 100 µg/kg for rice destined for the production of food for infants and young children. Although these maximum levels are due to be applied in January 2016, for many, they will still be seen as being too high.
What Can be Done?
This doesn’t look to be an issue that will be resolved any time soon. Detailed survey data are now beginning to accumulate, which will eventually be accompanied by chronic toxicological data. However, these chemical analysis studies need to be standardized: a recent proficiency test of 100 labs across 35 counties involved in testing arsenic in food showed that between 25 percent and 43 percent failed to achieve a satisfactory result for the determination of Asi.[9] There is a clear need for more consistent, robust data on both Asi determination and the possible long-term health effects from its consumption. Once this is achieved, it will be difficult for regulatory bodies to ignore, prompting them to re-address and hopefully readjust the limits for Asi in rice and rice-based products.
Paul Dewsbury is a global marketing manager for food and beverage in the chromatography and mass spectrometry group at Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. He helps customers find solutions to their needs and challenges in the food and beverage sector.
References
1. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/scientific_output/files/main_documents/1351.pdf.
2. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120206100416/http:/food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2009/may/arsenicinriceresearch.
3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26258711.
4. http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm319948.htm.
5. http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/238558/icode/.
6. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/UCM352467.pdf.
7. http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm319948.htm.
8. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:JOL_2015_161_R_0006.
9. https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/sites/default/files/eur24314en.pdf.

Why Did Norovirus Outbreak Spark Criminal Probe of Chipotle?
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/why-did-norovirus-outbreak-spark-criminal-probe-of-chipotle/
By Carla Gillespie (Jan 06, 2016)
Chipotle Mexican GrillOf all of the recent Chipotle food poisoning outbreaks, including a Salmonella outbreak and an E. coli outbreak a norovirus outbreak seems the least likely to trigger a criminal probe. But it has. The question is why?
Norovirus outbreaks are common. In fact, about 60 percent of all food poisoning outbreaks are caused caused by Norovirus. And no information publicly released about the Simi Valley outbreak suggests it was unusual.
Yet, in December, Chipotle was served with a federal subpoena as part of a criminal investigation of an August 2015 Norovirus outbreak at one of its restaurants in Simi Valley, California. About 80 customers and almost 20 employees were were sickened.
After the illnesses occurred on August 18 and August 19, the restaurant, on the 1200 block of Simi Town Center Way, closed for one day while food was discarded and the restaurant was cleaned. It reopened, and then notified local health officials about the problem.
Even after the cleaning, health inspectors found some food safety violations including dirty restrooms; unsanitary floors, walls ceilings; utensils and equipment that were not clean or not properly maintained and some workers who did not have valid food handler cards.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Office of Criminal Investigations are conducting the investigation.
“Criminal prosecutions in foodborne illness outbreaks are very rare,” said Elliot Olsen, a food safety attorney who has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Minnesota woman who contracted Salmonella after eating at a Chipotle.  “In this case, the restaurant may have created a problem for itself when it notified health officials after discarding food and cleaning the restaurant.  If those actions have caught the attention of law enforcement, the entire food service industry should be closely monitoring this case.”
Highly contagious norovirus sickens about 20 million Americans every  year. Symptoms, which include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and abdominal cramps, usually develop within 12 to 48 hours of exposure and last up to three days.
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.
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.
The Simi Valley Norovirus outbreak is one in a string of food poisoning outbreaks recently linked to Chipotle including an ongoing nine-state E. coli outbreak that has sickened 52 people hospitalizing 20 of them. The food source of the E. coli outbreak has not been identified.
A lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Washington woman who developed an E.coli infection after eating a burrito bowl she ordered from a Vancouver location on October 21.  She began experiencing symptoms of an E. coli infection, including abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea about three days later, according to the lawsuit filed by the national food safety law firm Pritzker Olsen.
In December, a Norovirus at the Cleveland Circle Chipotle in Boston sickened 141 Boston College students, including members of the basketball team who missed a game because of their illnesses.
In August, Chipotle was linked to a Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 60 people in Minnesota. Tomatoes grown in Florida were identified as the source of the outbreak.

Point-Counterpoint: The Produce Traceability Initiative
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/december-2015january-2016/point-counterpoint-the-produce-traceability-initiative/
By Food Safety Magazine
Point-Counterpoint:  The Produce Traceability Initiative
The Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and United Fresh Produce Association formed the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) in 2007 to help produce companies and their buyer partners move toward achieving whole-chain traceability.[1] Initially guided by a committee of more than 50 produce retailers, wholesalers, distributors, packer-shippers and growers, an action plan was developed to achieve whole-chain, electronic traceability by 2012. GS1 US joined PTI’s administering organizations in 2010. That same year, a leadership council was formed to direct PTI’s activities moving forward, including the development of best practices, pilot studies to address barriers to both implementation and transparent communication with supply chain members.
PTI is designed to help the produce industry maximize the effectiveness of current traceability procedures, while developing a standardized approach to enhance these systems for the future.
While most produce companies have embraced PTI and have begun to implement its suggested best practices, some are still resistant. We offer this point-counterpoint to address the lingering disparate perspectives on PTI and offer a glimpse into common ground between these differing viewpoints.
Taking the Point position is Gary Wishnatzki of Wish Farms; taking the Counterpoint side is Steve Warshawer, National Good Food Network food safety coordinator and consultant to the Wallace Center.
Gary Wishnatzki: It has been a long journey to get the entire produce supply chain on board with PTI. I believe that to have an efficient and effective traceability system, everyone needs to be speaking the same language.
Fortunately, the aviation industry figured that out fairly early on. English is the de facto international language of civil aviation. Every pilot and air traffic controller speak it. Can you imagine the chaos there would be in the sky if there wasn’t this standardization?
PTI has been evolving for nearly 10 years, and there has been a very inclusive approach taken by the PMA leadership to shape the standards and best practices. PTI may not be the perfect system for everyone and it may not be the best solution for every application, but it is a standard that has been hammered out through tens of thousands of hours of produce industry volunteers’ time.
It was the consensus of everyone involved that we needed a common language that can be easily communicated throughout the entire supply chain. In online meetings about PTI, it was a widely held belief that the produce industry should formulate traceability standards that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA], in their implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act [FSMA], could “coat-tail” on. In conversations with FDA officials, it became clear that they were looking to the industry to craft traceability standards and they were not interested in constructing the rules. It seemed far less likely that the FDA would impose any guidelines that we wouldn’t agree with if we created a traceability system they could simply inherit. I don’t expect that we will see anything coming out of the Produce Rules that will be inconsistent with PTI, for that reason.
PTI is not complicated to implement. The primary challenge for growers is that there is an added cost. My company, Wish Farms, is a marketer, but I also own farming operations. I am very sensitive to burdening growers with additional costs.       
Before PTI was formalized, we were already doing item-level traceability on strawberries. The system that we have now branded as “How’s My Picking” provides valuable information that we view as an accountability system, and traceability is a beneficial byproduct. We can tie back consumer feedback to an exact harvest event and a picker in the field. We see real value in that, and we can point to cost savings because of it. Whereas PTI we view as an insurance policy that would allow us to do a precise recall and potentially limit the fallout on a larger scale. There were some challenges in melding our item-level system with case-level labels, but we were able to design a seamless system that incorporates both. Item-level traceability is needed to pinpoint the exact source of a problem. Case-level traceability is necessary to facilitate an organized recall.
The Tester Amendment to FSMA contains flawed thinking in that small growers have less risk of having a food safety issue. There is no reason that any grower should be exempt from food safety guidelines, including traceability. A small grower selling their product into the marketplace where it will end up on a family’s table should have to play by the same rules as everyone else. There are many low-cost solutions to print labels. One thing the federal government could do is provide subsidies to small growers to help them obtain a GS1 number. The bottom line is: If you are in the farming business, you should be taking precautions to ensure your produce is safe and traceable regardless of the size of your operation.
Retailers will need to do their part to make sure that the industry continues moving toward full implementation. It does little good if growers go through the cost of complying with PTI if warehouses are not capturing the information and tracking it through their systems. PTI affords the possibility of precision recalls if retailers follow through on implementation in their organizations. Otherwise, recalls will be done by casting a much larger net and will be much more costly. This is what growers are trying to protect themselves against by using PTI. I applaud those retailers that require PTI compliance and who are also taking steps to track the produce through to their stores.
For our organization, there is no turning back on PTI. When the call comes in to Wish Farms’ control tower, we will not be speaking Greek.
Steve Warshawer: I have been asked to offer a counterpoint to the case for PTI. I am viewing PTI specifically from the perspective of operations that are new to the supply chain, often smaller and generally operating with simple and manual record-keeping systems. Some groups within this sector have religious and/or philosophical objections to mechanization/technology/automation. Many are struggling with the costs of starting businesses in ways that give them a higher likelihood of success. Many are new to the supply chain and its requirements. Most recognize that “your” (supply chain) customers want “their” food, and that “your” customers appreciate the opportunity to purchase “their” food at familiar locations where they will be shopping or eating anyway.
The case for traceability is sound. Any businessperson who has explored the pros and cons of traceability can see that it benefits his/her business. The question is, “How can a business address its traceability needs in a scale- and cost-appropriate fashion?” This is where so far PTI loses traction: It asks too much and at too great a cost for a very large number of mostly smaller and new businesses.
The top-line goal of “electronic” traceability creates the disconnect described above. There is no doubt that PTI is helping larger supply chain partners and their intermediaries and growers and packers maintain superior knowledge about the sources and movement of produce through the supply chain. This information helps dramatically in the event a food safety or quality issue has been identified. Even over the great distances that product has moved, offending product can be quickly tracked, the public can better informed and protected, and the reputation of the product or commodity in question and the businesses who have handled it can be preserved. Electronic implementation integrates well with the scale and systems of the large supply chain players.
In order for PTI to gain “universal” acceptance, if by “universal” we mean the full range of operations from large to small, then there must be further refinements to the PTI implementation process and there needs to be a cost (sharing) structure. The challenge of the electronic side of universal acceptance begins and will end with the question of at what cost and at whose cost is this system implemented?
Some of the major factors that influence the PTI operational cost include:
•    Acquisition of a GS1 company prefix
•    Hardware and software to build GTIN [global trade item number] or cost to join a GS1 partner’s connection
•    Cost of prefarm-gate adaptation of harvest and record-keeping to produce initial case data
•    Training costs and maintenance costs for current technology
Estimate and add up these costs, and if all of those that pertain to farm-level implementation are borne by the farm, then only farms of a certain size and technology-readiness will be able to meet PTI requirements and enter the supply chain. This is fine if this is what the supply chain players want. But if the notion mentioned above is correct, that “your” customers want “our” food, then something has to give.
There is no disagreement over the notion that traceability systems are invaluable and can benefit all supply chain players, regardless of scale. A consistent language for describing the contents of a case, in easy-to-read and easily accessible form, is beneficial particularly to fresh/perishable product suppliers. In my business, I have implemented a simple traceability system for our shell eggs that in one instance helped us quickly track down a quality issue, isolate where it occurred, which customers were affected, recover affected product and retrain the individuals responsible for the issue. The speed with which we were able to respond to the problem, and the clarity of explanation we were able to offer at the end of the process, supported our reputation in the small community that we serve. The success of the simple system has led to adoption of similar methods in other fresh-product distribution in our community. But no aspect of this process is electronic. Labels are handmade, and case data are transferred to invoices by hand.
GS1 barcoding is used for our eggs and by nearly all nonproduce vendors, (dairy, baked goods and more), but case-level information is not added. The GS1 barcode is unique only to the company and product. It is not unique for batch and lot coding. In adding case-specific data to the GS1-based barcode, a far more sophisticated and costly level of equipment, system and process is needed.
Currently, our local food distributor maintains GS1 membership at a level that allows it to issue company and item codes to any small local producer who needs one. This is not part of an exclusivity arrangement; it is a “community service.” One that has very little cost to the distributor. Would it make sense for any/all/every distributor to offer this service to its suppliers who need it?
So far, this service has not been extended to produce suppliers. The discussion of how to extend this service is focused on developing a system where human-readable, handwritten information could be entered into a portable scan/print unit at the receiving location and the resulting tag applied to the case of product. The coming fall and winter will allow time to further explore this idea.
To make this interface more efficient, it may make sense to assign a company code to each farm and help them acquire labels that include their name and address and a company ID barcode.
If that works, then it would also be conceivable to add to the label a product code (GTIN), but the printing costs rise as more inventory is created in anticipation of product not yet harvested. So maybe the product GTIN is a separate label, and any grower producing that item can use a common GTIN label. At that point, the manual label content could be date and lot code only, and the manual data entry at receiving point would be much reduced.
To advance its goal of universal acceptance of an electronic traceability standard, PTI leadership might want to invest in and pilot ideas like this one, where manual on-farm systems are captured in electronic form at the point in the supply chain where the hardware, software and human resources exist to efficiently effect that transition.
All of us in business, regardless of our size, want to do what is best for our customer. That commitment is at the core of every successful business. This is as true in the area of food safety as it is in any aspect of the food production and supply process. The PTI vision of traceability is one that all farmers can play a role in but cannot shoulder the costs alone. In the end, all the farmer should need to do is to provide the next step in the supply chain with what it needs to ensure full trace-forward. A legible label that includes basic details and in turn links to the farm’s internal harvest and pack records meets that description. The FSMA Produce Rule will require “one step forward, one step back.” How to best achieve the automation of the detail that the supply chain wants, and that PTI calls for, will likely require breaking the overall problem down into smaller pieces and sharing costs to alleviate burdens on the primary, original producer wherever possible.
Your customers want our food. And you want the best trace information that you can get. Working together under PTI with some creative implementation strategies, there should be a win-win for all.
Food Safety Magazine: While there is strong agreement about the virtues of traceability, questions of how this should be achieved may require additional compromises across the produce industry. At Food Safety Magazine, we believe that ongoing discussions among producers of all sizes across the supply chain provide the best chance that industry can present prospective solutions to regulators while guaranteeing a universally high standard for food safety from farm to market.
We hope that the ideas presented in this article lead to a fruitful resolution of the challenges that remain for produce supply chain members seeking to implement PTI.  
Gary Wishnatzki is founder of Wish Farms, a year-round supplier of strawberries and blueberries, with sales deals throughout North and South America.
Steve Warshawer is thes National Good Food Network food safety coordinator and consultant to the Wallace Center.
Reference
1. www.producetraceability.org.

Paper Box Chemicals No Longer Considered Safe by FDA for Contact With Food
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/01/paper-box-chemicals-no-longer-considered-safe-by-fda-for-contact-with-food/#.VpRg3U5umUl
By News Desk (Jan 5, 2016)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Monday announced it plans to publish a final rule banning three chemicals used in many pizza boxes and other food packaging.
In response to a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Food Safety, the Breast Cancer Fund, the Center for Environmental Health, Clean Water Action, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Children’s Environmental Health Network, Environmental Working Group, and Improving Kids’ Environment, FDA said it was going to ban three specific perfluoroalkyl ethyl types.
The perfluoroalkyl ethyl is used in food contact substances (FCSs) that act as oil and water repellants for paper and paperboard, which comes in contact with aqueous and fatty foods. FDA says new data is available that shows the toxicity of substances structurally similar to these compounds that demonstrate there is no longer a reasonable certainty of no harm from the food-contact use of these FCSs.
FDA says the final rule will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The process also includes the possibility for filing objections and demands for a public hearing.
Erik Olson, director of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) health program, praised the FDA action citing its potential for safer pizza boxes.
“The FDA’s ban is an important first step — but just a first step — toward improving the safety of our food supply. Now it should act on our petition to ban the seven other chemicals we believe — and government agencies such as the toxicology program at the National Institutes of Health have found — cause cancer,” Olson said.

Wyoming’s Ag-Gag Law Dealt Serious Blow
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/wyomings-ag-gag-law-dealt-serious-blow/
By Linda Larsen (Jan 05, 2016)
Food Poisoning Bulletin has been reporting about so-called “ag gag” laws for years. These laws are intended to prevent whistleblowers from reporting on animal abuse at factory farms, and levy penalties against those who go undercover to film problems at these facilities. A federal judge, last week, noted “serious concerns and questions” about the constitutionality of Wyoming’s data trespass laws in an order released about a lawsuit against that state and refused to strike claims against the law.
These laws criminalize undercover reporting on farms and in slaughterhouses that reveal animal abuse, food safety violations, and violations of food worker health and safety laws. Center for Food Safety and other groups have sued Wyoming over this law, claiming that the laws punish communication to government agencies. Judge Scott Skavdahl issued a 38-page order in December 2015, refusing to strike the plaintiff’s First and Fourteenth Amendment claims.
Ag gag laws have been written and passed in response to videos released by the Humane Society, Food Integrity Campaign, and Mercy for Animals, among others, showing violent and disturbing abuse of animals at large factory farms and slaughterhouses. As a result of one undercover video released by the Humane Society in 2008, documenting abuse at Hallmark Meat Packing in California, a huge meat recall was ordered by the government. Meat was processed at that plant for Westland Meat Company, which supplied product for the National School Lunch Program. A lawsuit by HSUS against Hallmark Meat Packing stated that that facility “defrauded the federal government by violating and misrepresenting their compliance with the terms of their federal school lunch program contracts requiring the humane handling of animals.”
Judge Skavdahl confirmed that the plaintiffs had standing to challenge the laws in court. His writing said that there were “serious concerns and questions as to the Constitutionality of various provisions of these trespass statutes,” and that the state’s arguments for ag-gag laws “appears to simply be a facade for content or viewpoint discrimination.”
The plaintiffs applauded this move. Cristina Stella, attorney at Center for Food Safety, said, “laws like this one in Wyoming seriously jeopardize public and environmental health by shielding public lands from scrutiny. To stop food borne illness outbreaks we need to increase transparency, not make it illegal for the public to share information about the environment or food safety problems they observe.” Jeff Kerr, general counsel to PETA said, “Americans have a First Amendment right to expose illegal activities and cruelty to animals. Free speech has prevailed against ag gag laws in 20 states so far, and PETA looks forward to seeing Wyoming’s law fall, too.”
Animal abuse is unethical and illegal, and it may have a bearing on food safety. Scientists say that animals raised in stressful environments are more susceptible to disease and bacterial infection. And those pathogenic bacteria can be passed on to people when meat is slaughtered and sold.
Ag-gag laws have been passed in several states, including Idaho, Iowa, Utah, Missouri, North Dakota, Montana, and Kansas. Laws have been either vetoed by the governor or failed to pass in North Carolina, Tennessee, California, and Indiana. Idaho’s law was struck down in a federal court last year as being unconstitutional.

State of an Industry: Salmonella and Bovine Lymph Nodes
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/december-2015january-2016/state-of-an-industry-salmonella-and-bovine-lymph-nodes/
By Ashley Arnold, Ph.D., and Kerri B. Gehring, Ph.D.
Salmonella has been a hot topic for the past few years. In December 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) released the Salmonella action plan, which included 10 action items for the agency. Since then, USDA-FSIS has changed its Salmonella verification testing program for beef, initiated exploratory Salmonella testing in pork, modernized poultry inspection regulations, changed the sampling and performance standards for poultry and released the FSIS Salmonella Action Plan: A Year One Update. Many of the agency changes are designed to satisfy goals within the 10 action items of the plan. With USDA-FSIS taking steps to successfully execute the plan, it seems like an appropriate time to assess where the beef industry stands on item number 8 of the plan: Explore the Contribution of Lymph Nodes to Salmonella Contamination.
But first, let’s review why there is such an increased focus on Salmonella. A 2011 document from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that an estimated 1 million cases of salmonellosis occur annually in the U.S., of which approximately 42,000 are laboratory confirmed. In other words, CDC estimates that for every reported case of Salmonella-related illness, there are 24 cases that are not diagnosed. Based on 2013 CDC data, Salmonella (34%) is second to norovirus (35%) in attributed foodborne outbreaks. Notwithstanding, Salmonella remains the leading cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. Of the 1.2 million estimated annual illnesses, approximately 360,000 are reported to be associated with products regulated by FSIS.
Salmonella in Beef: A Look at the Data
The most recent CDC annual surveillance report (2013 data) quantified 818 total outbreaks, 157 of which were caused by Salmonella and 5 due specifically to Salmonella in beef products. Illnesses associated with these outbreaks totaled 13,360 in all: 3,593 were salmonellosis and 210 were salmonellosis caused by beef. Overall, 14 product recalls were issued as a result of outbreaks in 2013, 3 of which were tied to Salmonella-related illnesses, with 1 of those involving beef products. Of 818 total outbreaks, 377 (46%) could be linked to a specific food item. Foods could be placed into 1 of 24 attribution categories for 210 (56%) of those outbreaks. By attribution category, the most commonly implicated food types were fish (24%), mollusks (11%), chicken (10%) and dairy (10%).
Attribution data also were made available in a recent interagency food safety report. This multi-agency endeavor summarized numerous years of surveillance data in an effort to categorize illness estimates by food source. Of the model-estimated illnesses, 77% were attributed to seeded vegetables (18%), eggs (12%), fruits (12%), chicken (10%), beef (9%), sprouts (8%) and pork (8%). Specifically, 47 outbreaks and 1,473 illnesses caused by Salmonella were attributed to beef products from 1998 to 2012. For comparison, single-year data from the CDC for 2013 show 5 percent of all reported foodborne disease outbreaks and 8 percent of all reported outbreak-associated illnesses were linked to beef. Overall, beef is the fourth-most-common cause of reported outbreak-associated salmonellosis in the U.S. (210 illnesses in 2013).
While national baseline data have continued to show a decrease in the incidence of foodborne illnesses related to Escherichia coli O157:H7, occurrence of Salmonella infections has remained virtually unchanged. This could lead one to question why the beef industry has not employed the same strategies to control Salmonella that were used for E. coli O157:H7. While that logic seems plausible, unfortunately, it is not that easy.
Salmonella in Lymph Nodes Too Diffuse to Eliminate
What makes controlling Salmonella in beef more of a challenge than controlling E. coli O157:H7? The answer is actually quite simple—location of the pathogen. To explain further, it is widely accepted that E. coli O157:H7 is inherent to the gastrointestinal tract of healthy cattle, and as such, the carcass surface is the most common area of contamination. Therefore, control has focused on utilizing effective sanitary dressing procedures and applying validated antimicrobial interventions to carcass surfaces. The beef industry has developed and implemented a number of antimicrobial intervention strategies to reduce E. coli O157:H7 on beef surfaces with great success—as evidenced by the consistent decline in beef-related E. coli illnesses over the years. Research has shown that these interventions are also effective at reducing Salmonella when present on the carcass surface; however, Salmonella is not found just on the surface. It has also been found inside bovine lymph nodes. Unfortunately, the Salmonella inside a lymph node would not be reduced by typical antimicrobial interventions applied to the carcass surface. While many lymph nodes are removed during normal harvest and fabrication procedures, others are embedded in the fat tissue surrounding muscles. These lymph nodes are generally referred to as peripheral lymph nodes (PLNs). Due to the number of PLNs and nature of the lymphatic system, complete removal of PLNs and associated lymphatic tissue is not an obtainable goal. Several of the larger PLNs are removed during normal fabrication practices, and researchers have determined that some of these larger PLNs tend to have a higher Salmonella prevalence than many of the smaller nodes. We have a lot to learn about the relationship between Salmonella and the lymphatic system in cattle, and due to possible influences at each point in the beef production chain, shedding light on this issue has become an industrywide effort.
What the Science Tells Us
Based on studies published by Sara Gragg and others from Texas Tech University and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS),[1,2] the beef industry is currently operating under three basic principles with regard to Salmonella prevalence in lymph nodes: (1) prevalence is higher in the lymph nodes of fed cattle compared with cull, (2) prevalence tends to be higher in the warmer months and (3) lymph nodes from cattle harvested in the southern region of the U.S. have a higher prevalence than northern or western regions (the eastern region was not evaluated in this study). These findings prompted another set of research questions: (1) When and how are cattle exposed to the microorganism? (2) Are there prevalence differences within a region? (3) Why the vast differences between cattle type?
Several researchers have focused their efforts on the possible routes of entry and types of exposure in which cattle may be challenged with Salmonella. Data from a study conducted by Ashley (Haneklaus) Arnold and colleagues at Texas A&M University have shown varying levels of Salmonella prevalence in lymph nodes obtained from carcasses sourced back to feedlots within a single geographic region,[3] which leads one to question what influences may be present in the feedlot environment that could positively or negatively impact Salmonella prevalence in cattle. Additionally, Matthew Taylor and other Texas A&M University researchers recently presented data from a study investigating the role bacteriophages might play in feedlots with lower rates of Salmonella prevalence;[4] based on their study findings, low levels of Salmonella prevalence could not be definitively attributed to bacteriophage activity.
Following the same line of questioning regarding the “when” and “how” of exposure, Tom Edrington and Pia Olafson with ARS have each published separate works describing the possibility of transdermal Salmonella infection through breaches of the skin by biting/sucking insects.[5–7] Edrington was able to develop a transdermal challenge model to mimic the biting of an insect.[5] This model allowed for the successful and predictable recovery of Salmonella from region-specific PLNs up to 8 days postchallenge. Oral Salmonella challenges have also been investigated, but results were less consistent than those from transdermal challenges. Additionally, data collected by Edrington[6] have shown that an unreasonably high level of Salmonella is required to produce positive PLNs via oral challenge, making feed contamination an unlikely route of exposure. Vertical (transplacental) transmission is one other possible method of exposure that has been recently investigated. Devin Hanson, working with others at Texas Tech University and ARS, recently presented data indicating that calves may be exposed to Salmonella in utero, sequestering the microorganism in their lymph nodes prior to birth.[8] This would mean that calves arrive at the feedlot already carrying the microorganism, which certainly poses a challenge.
As a follow-up to prevalence differences seen between cull and fed cattle, Tyson Brown and researchers at ARS looked into the impact of breed type on Salmonella prevalence.[9] Paired comparisons were made between Holstein versus native and Brahman versus native cattle originating from the same feedyards in the southwestern United States. Based on results from this study, breed type did not drive differences in Salmonella prevalence.
Several research studies have been conducted to determine the types of Salmonella typically found in the lymph nodes of cattle, and how many of which have a foodborne, human health consequence. In their 2011 annual report,[10] CDC outlined a list of the most common Salmonella serotypes associated with human illnesses in the U.S.—the top 10 appear in the following order: Enteritidis (16.5% of reported Salmonella infections), Typhimurium (13.4%), Newport (11.4%), Javiana (6.4%), I 4,[5],12:i:- (2.9%), Montevideo (2.6%), Heidelberg (2.4%), Muenchen (2.1%), Infantis (2.0%) and Braenderup (1.6%). Additionally, USDA-FSIS maintains a list of the 10 most commonly identified Salmonella serotypes found in meat and poultry verification samples.[11] The top three serotypes for FSIS are Kentucky, Enteritidis and Typhimurium. If focusing on ground beef verification sample results alone, Montevideo, Dublin and Typhimurium are the three serotypes most often found by FSIS. When evaluating results from recent studies, of 24 identifiable serotypes, Montevideo and Anatum were the Salmonella serotypes recovered most often from PLNs, by a wide margin. Typhimurium, Newport, Muenchen, Infantis and Braenderup also have been recovered from PLNs, but far less often. Overall, serotypes characterized from bovine lymph nodes do not have as much overlap with those responsible for foodborne illnesses as one might have initially thought. Nonetheless, Montevideo poses an obvious concern, and low rates of occurrence noted for other illness-causing Salmonella serotypes in PLNs by no means justify a reduced sense of urgency on this issue.
Mitigating Risks
Determining methods to mitigate risk of salmonellosis via contaminated lymph tissue in beef products is as important, if not more so, as understanding how cattle acquire and sequester the pathogen in the first place. In other efforts to determine possible preventive measures, preharvest interventions have been evaluated. Using direct-fed microbials has had somewhat mixed results. However, some pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccines and are exploring strategies for implementation to reduce Salmonella in cattle prior to harvest.
Future Directions
Although we are steadily increasing our knowledge in this area, many questions and unknowns remain. Researchers still have a number of strides to make before effective preharvest controls can be offered and successfully used to reduce Salmonella. Despite the unknowns, this is a key issue on the beef industry’s radar, and methods for better control are actively being pursued. Numerous researchers and beef industry members have agreed that we have three critical needs that still must be satisfied to gain some ground on this issue: (1) develop effective pre- and postharvest intervention practices; (2) attempt to identify a predictor to determine need of preharvest controls in specific feedyard environments; and (3) develop a best practices document for reducing preharvest Salmonella contamination.
It should be highlighted that to successfully and significantly reduce the number of salmonellosis cases credited to beef annually in the U.S., a comprehensive, industry-spanning approach will be required. This means all sectors of the cattle production chain—producers, harvest operators, further processors, retailers, foodservice managers and consumers—will have a responsibility and a role in managing Salmonella contamination. As an industry, we learned with E. coli O157:H7 that consumer education on the proper handling and preparation of beef plays a vital role in reducing beef-related illnesses, and that consumer outreach will need to be relied upon to gain control over our present situation.
Currently, members of the beef industry, academia and regulatory agencies are well attuned to the persistent and elusive nature of Salmonella in the lymph nodes of cattle. While great success has been noted with regards to E. coli-related illnesses over recent years, USDA-FSIS and CDC data show that the prevalence of Salmonella found in raw beef remains essentially unchanged, as is true for the occurrence of salmonellosis cases. Collectively, we face ongoing challenges in obtaining the appropriate knowledge to fully understand the acquisition of Salmonella by lymph nodes. Once we arrive at a full understanding of the relationship between Salmonella and beef, all sectors of our industry may be left asking one final question—“Now what?”—a question that is just as perplexing as our current state of knowledge on this issue. Ultimately, we may be left trying to manage environmental influences and biology; nonetheless, the beef industry has overcome great challenges in the past, and this should be no different.
Ashley Arnold, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor in the meat science section of the department of animal science at Texas A&M University. She conducts research, manages projects, finalizes reports and assists other faculty members in securing external funding for meat science research by writing grants. She also serves as safety officer for the department of animal science.
Kerri B. Gehring, Ph.D., is currently an associate professor in the meat science section of the department of animal science at Texas A&M University and the president/CEO of the International Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Alliance. She conducts HACCP/food safety training and has disseminated food safety information across the U.S. by serving on multiple panels and programs. Her dedication to food safety is recognized nationally and internationally. 

References
1. Gragg, SE et al. 2012. Cross-sectional study examining Salmonella enterica carriage in subiliac lymph nodes of cull and feedlot cattle at harvest. Foodborne Pathog Dis 10:368–374.
2. Gragg, SE et al. 2013. Substantial within-animal diversity of Salmonella recovered from lymph nodes, feces and hides of cattle at slaughter. Appl Environ Microbiol 79(15):4744–4750.
3. Haneklaus, AN et al. 2012. Salmonella prevalence in bovine lymph nodes differs among feedyards. J Food Prot 75(6):1131–1133.
4. Yicheng, X et al. 2015. “Prevalence and identification of Salmonella bacteriophages in the beef feedlot environment” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
5. Edrington, TS et al. 2013. Development of challenge models to evaluate the efficacy of a vaccine to reduce carriage of Salmonella in peripheral lymph nodes of cattle. J Food Prot 76(7):1259–1263.
6. Edrington, TS et al. 2013. Development of a transdermal Salmonella challenge model in calves. J Food Prot 76(7):1255–1258.
7. Olafson, P et al. 2014. Survival and fate of Salmonella enterica serovar Montevideo in adult horn flies. J Med Entomol 51.
8. Hanson, DL et al. 2015. “Vertical transmission of Salmonella in dairy cattle” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
9. Brown, TR et al. 2015. “Investigation into possible breed differences in Salmonella prevalence in the peripheral lymph nodes of cattle” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
10. www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dfwed/PDFs/salmonella-annual-report-2011-508c.pdf.
11. www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/180fc804-0311-4b4d-ae42-d735e8232e1c/Salmonella-Serotype-
Annual-2012.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

State of an Industry: Salmonella and Bovine Lymph Nodes
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/december-2015january-2016/state-of-an-industry-salmonella-and-bovine-lymph-nodes/
By Ashley Arnold, Ph.D., and Kerri B. Gehring, Ph.D.
State of an Industry: Salmonella and Bovine Lymph Nodes
Salmonella has been a hot topic for the past few years. In December 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) released the Salmonella action plan, which included 10 action items for the agency. Since then, USDA-FSIS has changed its Salmonella verification testing program for beef, initiated exploratory Salmonella testing in pork, modernized poultry inspection regulations, changed the sampling and performance standards for poultry and released the FSIS Salmonella Action Plan: A Year One Update. Many of the agency changes are designed to satisfy goals within the 10 action items of the plan. With USDA-FSIS taking steps to successfully execute the plan, it seems like an appropriate time to assess where the beef industry stands on item number 8 of the plan: Explore the Contribution of Lymph Nodes to Salmonella Contamination.
But first, let’s review why there is such an increased focus on Salmonella. A 2011 document from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that an estimated 1 million cases of salmonellosis occur annually in the U.S., of which approximately 42,000 are laboratory confirmed. In other words, CDC estimates that for every reported case of Salmonella-related illness, there are 24 cases that are not diagnosed. Based on 2013 CDC data, Salmonella (34%) is second to norovirus (35%) in attributed foodborne outbreaks. Notwithstanding, Salmonella remains the leading cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. Of the 1.2 million estimated annual illnesses, approximately 360,000 are reported to be associated with products regulated by FSIS.
Salmonella in Beef: A Look at the Data
The most recent CDC annual surveillance report (2013 data) quantified 818 total outbreaks, 157 of which were caused by Salmonella and 5 due specifically to Salmonella in beef products. Illnesses associated with these outbreaks totaled 13,360 in all: 3,593 were salmonellosis and 210 were salmonellosis caused by beef. Overall, 14 product recalls were issued as a result of outbreaks in 2013, 3 of which were tied to Salmonella-related illnesses, with 1 of those involving beef products. Of 818 total outbreaks, 377 (46%) could be linked to a specific food item. Foods could be placed into 1 of 24 attribution categories for 210 (56%) of those outbreaks. By attribution category, the most commonly implicated food types were fish (24%), mollusks (11%), chicken (10%) and dairy (10%).
Attribution data also were made available in a recent interagency food safety report. This multi-agency endeavor summarized numerous years of surveillance data in an effort to categorize illness estimates by food source. Of the model-estimated illnesses, 77% were attributed to seeded vegetables (18%), eggs (12%), fruits (12%), chicken (10%), beef (9%), sprouts (8%) and pork (8%). Specifically, 47 outbreaks and 1,473 illnesses caused by Salmonella were attributed to beef products from 1998 to 2012. For comparison, single-year data from the CDC for 2013 show 5 percent of all reported foodborne disease outbreaks and 8 percent of all reported outbreak-associated illnesses were linked to beef. Overall, beef is the fourth-most-common cause of reported outbreak-associated salmonellosis in the U.S. (210 illnesses in 2013).
While national baseline data have continued to show a decrease in the incidence of foodborne illnesses related to Escherichia coli O157:H7, occurrence of Salmonella infections has remained virtually unchanged. This could lead one to question why the beef industry has not employed the same strategies to control Salmonella that were used for E. coli O157:H7. While that logic seems plausible, unfortunately, it is not that easy.
Salmonella in Lymph Nodes Too Diffuse to Eliminate
What makes controlling Salmonella in beef more of a challenge than controlling E. coli O157:H7? The answer is actually quite simple—location of the pathogen. To explain further, it is widely accepted that E. coli O157:H7 is inherent to the gastrointestinal tract of healthy cattle, and as such, the carcass surface is the most common area of contamination. Therefore, control has focused on utilizing effective sanitary dressing procedures and applying validated antimicrobial interventions to carcass surfaces. The beef industry has developed and implemented a number of antimicrobial intervention strategies to reduce E. coli O157:H7 on beef surfaces with great success—as evidenced by the consistent decline in beef-related E. coli illnesses over the years. Research has shown that these interventions are also effective at reducing Salmonella when present on the carcass surface; however, Salmonella is not found just on the surface. It has also been found inside bovine lymph nodes. Unfortunately, the Salmonella inside a lymph node would not be reduced by typical antimicrobial interventions applied to the carcass surface. While many lymph nodes are removed during normal harvest and fabrication procedures, others are embedded in the fat tissue surrounding muscles. These lymph nodes are generally referred to as peripheral lymph nodes (PLNs). Due to the number of PLNs and nature of the lymphatic system, complete removal of PLNs and associated lymphatic tissue is not an obtainable goal. Several of the larger PLNs are removed during normal fabrication practices, and researchers have determined that some of these larger PLNs tend to have a higher Salmonella prevalence than many of the smaller nodes. We have a lot to learn about the relationship between Salmonella and the lymphatic system in cattle, and due to possible influences at each point in the beef production chain, shedding light on this issue has become an industrywide effort.
What the Science Tells Us
Based on studies published by Sara Gragg and others from Texas Tech University and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS),[1,2] the beef industry is currently operating under three basic principles with regard to Salmonella prevalence in lymph nodes: (1) prevalence is higher in the lymph nodes of fed cattle compared with cull, (2) prevalence tends to be higher in the warmer months and (3) lymph nodes from cattle harvested in the southern region of the U.S. have a higher prevalence than northern or western regions (the eastern region was not evaluated in this study). These findings prompted another set of research questions: (1) When and how are cattle exposed to the microorganism? (2) Are there prevalence differences within a region? (3) Why the vast differences between cattle type?
Several researchers have focused their efforts on the possible routes of entry and types of exposure in which cattle may be challenged with Salmonella. Data from a study conducted by Ashley (Haneklaus) Arnold and colleagues at Texas A&M University have shown varying levels of Salmonella prevalence in lymph nodes obtained from carcasses sourced back to feedlots within a single geographic region,[3] which leads one to question what influences may be present in the feedlot environment that could positively or negatively impact Salmonella prevalence in cattle. Additionally, Matthew Taylor and other Texas A&M University researchers recently presented data from a study investigating the role bacteriophages might play in feedlots with lower rates of Salmonella prevalence;[4] based on their study findings, low levels of Salmonella prevalence could not be definitively attributed to bacteriophage activity.
Following the same line of questioning regarding the “when” and “how” of exposure, Tom Edrington and Pia Olafson with ARS have each published separate works describing the possibility of transdermal Salmonella infection through breaches of the skin by biting/sucking insects.[5–7] Edrington was able to develop a transdermal challenge model to mimic the biting of an insect.[5] This model allowed for the successful and predictable recovery of Salmonella from region-specific PLNs up to 8 days postchallenge. Oral Salmonella challenges have also been investigated, but results were less consistent than those from transdermal challenges. Additionally, data collected by Edrington[6] have shown that an unreasonably high level of Salmonella is required to produce positive PLNs via oral challenge, making feed contamination an unlikely route of exposure. Vertical (transplacental) transmission is one other possible method of exposure that has been recently investigated. Devin Hanson, working with others at Texas Tech University and ARS, recently presented data indicating that calves may be exposed to Salmonella in utero, sequestering the microorganism in their lymph nodes prior to birth.[8] This would mean that calves arrive at the feedlot already carrying the microorganism, which certainly poses a challenge.
As a follow-up to prevalence differences seen between cull and fed cattle, Tyson Brown and researchers at ARS looked into the impact of breed type on Salmonella prevalence.[9] Paired comparisons were made between Holstein versus native and Brahman versus native cattle originating from the same feedyards in the southwestern United States. Based on results from this study, breed type did not drive differences in Salmonella prevalence.
Several research studies have been conducted to determine the types of Salmonella typically found in the lymph nodes of cattle, and how many of which have a foodborne, human health consequence. In their 2011 annual report,[10] CDC outlined a list of the most common Salmonella serotypes associated with human illnesses in the U.S.—the top 10 appear in the following order: Enteritidis (16.5% of reported Salmonella infections), Typhimurium (13.4%), Newport (11.4%), Javiana (6.4%), I 4,[5],12:i:- (2.9%), Montevideo (2.6%), Heidelberg (2.4%), Muenchen (2.1%), Infantis (2.0%) and Braenderup (1.6%). Additionally, USDA-FSIS maintains a list of the 10 most commonly identified Salmonella serotypes found in meat and poultry verification samples.[11] The top three serotypes for FSIS are Kentucky, Enteritidis and Typhimurium. If focusing on ground beef verification sample results alone, Montevideo, Dublin and Typhimurium are the three serotypes most often found by FSIS. When evaluating results from recent studies, of 24 identifiable serotypes, Montevideo and Anatum were the Salmonella serotypes recovered most often from PLNs, by a wide margin. Typhimurium, Newport, Muenchen, Infantis and Braenderup also have been recovered from PLNs, but far less often. Overall, serotypes characterized from bovine lymph nodes do not have as much overlap with those responsible for foodborne illnesses as one might have initially thought. Nonetheless, Montevideo poses an obvious concern, and low rates of occurrence noted for other illness-causing Salmonella serotypes in PLNs by no means justify a reduced sense of urgency on this issue.
Mitigating Risks
Determining methods to mitigate risk of salmonellosis via contaminated lymph tissue in beef products is as important, if not more so, as understanding how cattle acquire and sequester the pathogen in the first place. In other efforts to determine possible preventive measures, preharvest interventions have been evaluated. Using direct-fed microbials has had somewhat mixed results. However, some pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccines and are exploring strategies for implementation to reduce Salmonella in cattle prior to harvest.
Future Directions
Although we are steadily increasing our knowledge in this area, many questions and unknowns remain. Researchers still have a number of strides to make before effective preharvest controls can be offered and successfully used to reduce Salmonella. Despite the unknowns, this is a key issue on the beef industry’s radar, and methods for better control are actively being pursued. Numerous researchers and beef industry members have agreed that we have three critical needs that still must be satisfied to gain some ground on this issue: (1) develop effective pre- and postharvest intervention practices; (2) attempt to identify a predictor to determine need of preharvest controls in specific feedyard environments; and (3) develop a best practices document for reducing preharvest Salmonella contamination.
It should be highlighted that to successfully and significantly reduce the number of salmonellosis cases credited to beef annually in the U.S., a comprehensive, industry-spanning approach will be required. This means all sectors of the cattle production chain—producers, harvest operators, further processors, retailers, foodservice managers and consumers—will have a responsibility and a role in managing Salmonella contamination. As an industry, we learned with E. coli O157:H7 that consumer education on the proper handling and preparation of beef plays a vital role in reducing beef-related illnesses, and that consumer outreach will need to be relied upon to gain control over our present situation.
Currently, members of the beef industry, academia and regulatory agencies are well attuned to the persistent and elusive nature of Salmonella in the lymph nodes of cattle. While great success has been noted with regards to E. coli-related illnesses over recent years, USDA-FSIS and CDC data show that the prevalence of Salmonella found in raw beef remains essentially unchanged, as is true for the occurrence of salmonellosis cases. Collectively, we face ongoing challenges in obtaining the appropriate knowledge to fully understand the acquisition of Salmonella by lymph nodes. Once we arrive at a full understanding of the relationship between Salmonella and beef, all sectors of our industry may be left asking one final question—“Now what?”—a question that is just as perplexing as our current state of knowledge on this issue. Ultimately, we may be left trying to manage environmental influences and biology; nonetheless, the beef industry has overcome great challenges in the past, and this should be no different.
Ashley Arnold, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor in the meat science section of the department of animal science at Texas A&M University. She conducts research, manages projects, finalizes reports and assists other faculty members in securing external funding for meat science research by writing grants. She also serves as safety officer for the department of animal science.
Kerri B. Gehring, Ph.D., is currently an associate professor in the meat science section of the department of animal science at Texas A&M University and the president/CEO of the International Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Alliance. She conducts HACCP/food safety training and has disseminated food safety information across the U.S. by serving on multiple panels and programs. Her dedication to food safety is recognized nationally and internationally. 
References
1. Gragg, SE et al. 2012. Cross-sectional study examining Salmonella enterica carriage in subiliac lymph nodes of cull and feedlot cattle at harvest. Foodborne Pathog Dis 10:368–374.
2. Gragg, SE et al. 2013. Substantial within-animal diversity of Salmonella recovered from lymph nodes, feces and hides of cattle at slaughter. Appl Environ Microbiol 79(15):4744–4750.
3. Haneklaus, AN et al. 2012. Salmonella prevalence in bovine lymph nodes differs among feedyards. J Food Prot 75(6):1131–1133.
4. Yicheng, X et al. 2015. “Prevalence and identification of Salmonella bacteriophages in the beef feedlot environment” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
5. Edrington, TS et al. 2013. Development of challenge models to evaluate the efficacy of a vaccine to reduce carriage of Salmonella in peripheral lymph nodes of cattle. J Food Prot 76(7):1259–1263.
6. Edrington, TS et al. 2013. Development of a transdermal Salmonella challenge model in calves. J Food Prot 76(7):1255–1258.
7. Olafson, P et al. 2014. Survival and fate of Salmonella enterica serovar Montevideo in adult horn flies. J Med Entomol 51.
8. Hanson, DL et al. 2015. “Vertical transmission of Salmonella in dairy cattle” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
9. Brown, TR et al. 2015. “Investigation into possible breed differences in Salmonella prevalence in the peripheral lymph nodes of cattle” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
10. www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dfwed/PDFs/salmonella-annual-report-2011-508c.pdf.
11. www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/180fc804-0311-4b4d-ae42-d735e8232e1c/Salmonella-Serotype-
Annual-2012.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

New Zealand dairy sector food safety in ‘good shape’
source : http://www.supplymanagement.com/news/2016/new-zealand-dairy-sector-food-safety-in-good-shape#sthash.JC0EdB6f.dpuf
BY Marino Donati (Jan 04, 2016)
Best practice guidelines and industry secondments are among recommendations in a report on food safety capability in New Zealand’s dairy sector.The Dairy Capability Working Group was set up last August to assess food safety capability and capacity, and concluded that the New Zealand dairy sector, its largest export industry, was in good shape.The group said that food safety concepts looked at included food being safe from contamination, traceable, appropriately labelled and free from fraud, as well as healthy.The report, It’s Our Future, said a combination of increasing consumer expectations about traceability and provenance, a move to higher-value products, more complex production factors, new food testing technology, and an increasingly complex global supply chain were redefining the requirements of the sector.It made a raft of recommendations, including the introduction of voluntary guidelines on best practice food safety governance for board directors, the need to highlight food safety excellence across the sector, and a programme of industry/regulator secondments involving the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).The report also outlined the importance of promoting a food safety culture across the dairy sector on a longer term, and opportunities for making food safety a bigger part of education and training across the supply chain, as well as raising the profile of the sector as a career.Greg Gent, chair of the working group, said the findings made it clear that New Zealand’s dairy food safety was in good shape, with examples of excellence in many parts of the value chain.But he added: “There are areas of education and training where a greater emphasis on food safety awareness would benefit the dairy sector, particularly in leadership roles and in broader qualifications that require food safety awareness.“We also found a need to give food safety careers a higher profile and to articulate clear career pathways across the dairy sector.“That, however, is only part of what is required to future-proof our dairy sector’s food safety capability. We also need to build a common sector-wide food safety culture. That culture needs to be based on a common understanding of food safety across the sector that places consumer safety firmly at the centre, coupled with supporting governance and a risk management orientation within each organisation.Martyn Dunne, MPI director-general welcomed the report’s findings.“It also recognised that all parts of the dairy value chain have a part to play in food safety and that food safety is a matter for all participants in the dairy food business.”Earlier this month, New Zealand dairy farmers hit back at animal rights campaigners about a UK newspaper advert criticising the industry. DairyNZ, the industry organisation that represents New Zealand dairy farmers, branded the advertisement by SAFE, which aimed to highlighted alleged animal cruelty, as ‘alarmist’. - See more at: http://www.supplymanagement.com/news/2016/new-zealand-dairy-sector-food-safety-in-good-shape#sthash.JC0EdB6f.dpuf

Reno Provisions Closing; Made Dessert Linked to Twisted Fork Outbreak
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/reno-provisions-closing-made-dessert-linked-to-twisted-fork-outbreak/
By Linda Larsen (Jan 04, 2016)
According to a message on its Facebook page, Reno Provisions, the cafe that made a dessert linked to a food poisoning outbreak in Nevada in 2015, is closing. An E. coli outbreak at the Twisted Fork restaurant in Reno, Nevada last year sickened at least 22 people.
Investigators at the Washoe County Health District discovered that chocolate mousse made by Reno Provisions, a store and cafe, for the restaurant was contaminated with the pathogenic bacteria. Apparently a blender used for meat that was not cleaned properly before it was used again to make the mousse was the culprit.
The outbreak took place in October and November, 2015. The Health District ordered Reno Provisions to establish a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system approach to address the outbreak and learn to control hazards of contamination during food production.
Cross-contamination is one of several ways that food can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. Foods that can carry E. coli bacteria include raw milk, raw meat, raw poultry, and contaminated produce. When these foods are prepared and the surfaces, utensils, and appliances that touch them are not properly cleaned, the bacteria can easily transfer to other foods. This is a critical issue when the later prepared foods are not cooked to kill bacteria.
Cuts of beef are usually contaminated with E. coli bacteria on their surfaces, since this bacteria live in the guts of ruminant animals. That’s why the USDA and food safety experts tell people to thoroughly cook ground beef and other ground meats to 165°F before eating to kill this bacteria.
Reno Provisions temporarily closed after the outbreak for investigators to do their work and for cleaning. The Twisted Fork restaurant also voluntarily closed after the outbreak. The Washoe County Health Department did not release any information about whether or not any people were hospitalized in this outbreak, or whether any of the patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication of this type of infection. About 15% of children who contract an E. coli infection develop HUS.
The symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea that may be watery and/or bloody, severe abdominal cramps, a mild fever, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms usually appear within three to seven days after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. Some people recover on their own, but others become so ill they need to be hospitalized.
An E. coli infection can develop into hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), in some cases. Risk factors for this complication include age and health status. Young children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and people with chronic health conditions are more likely to develop HUS. The symptoms of HUS include lethargy, little or no urine output, pale skin, easy bruising, a skin rash, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. If these symptoms develop, a patient needs immediate medical attention to save their life.

 

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