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02/15 2016 ISSUE:691

Biofilm and Pathogen Mitigation: A Real Culture Change
Source :
By Siobhan S. Reilly, Ph.D.
Every food processing plant contains a biofilm somewhere in the facility or on equipment. No matter how well the facility cleans and sanitizes, the biofilm may continue to be a source of pathogens and may manifest as disease in animals or humans.
The intent of this article is to offer a solution to prevent, reduce or eliminate this biofilm/pathogen from the food processing plant when there are no other possible corrective actions. Our solution is to inoculate the production environment with probiotic microorganisms proven to be inhibitory to pathogens. This action changes the “culture” or the microbial population inherent to the food processing environment from bad to good. Salmonella and Listeria have been removed from commercial food processing environments by the distribution of dry probiotic formulas. This process is a successful intervention-and-prevention technology.
History and Current Culture of Food Safety
The concept of food safety goes back hundreds if not thousands of years. Food safety practices began accidentally by attempts to keep food in a more favorable state of consumability for longer periods, known as food preservation. Sometimes this did not work (e.g., canning and lead poisoning), but some of these earlier problems did spark the interests of scientists all over the world. In 1673, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek discovered “wee beasties” using his newly developed microscope, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that the association of foodborne illness and microorganisms became a prominent field of research. Parasites and bacteria became a vector for study by researchers James Paget and Richard Owen (Trichinella in 1835), Louis Pasteur (generic bacteria in 1860), Daniel Salmon (Salmonella in 1885), Theodor Escherich (Escherichia coli in 1885), August Gartner (Bacillus in 1888), Emile Pierre-Marie van Ermengem (Clostridium in 1895) and M.A. Barber (Staphylococcus in 1914).[1] Novel recognition of food safety resulted from Upton Sinclair’s book The Jungle (1906). The book outlined horrible conditions in meat processing that prompted the formation of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. Fast-forward to 1982 with research related to an E. coli O157 outbreak in the United States,[2] and the most pivotal and visible food safety event of our time, the 1996 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak from undercooked beef patties served at a fast-food establishment.[3] This event resulted in a major paradigm shift in that food safety became a focus for millions, and the entire food industry began to pay attention.
In the last 20 years, food safety has become a high priority for the world’s food producers. The meat and poultry industry, governed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), charged forward with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems and aggressive investigations into new processing techniques, detergents, sanitizers, test methods, sampling protocols, etc. The rest of the food industry [mostly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)], eventually came along under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011. The combined industries of meat, poultry, juice, seafood, fruits, vegetables, dairy, pet food, nuts, grains, spices, starches, seasonings and even packaging have advanced quickly through the maze of food safety regulations, customer requirements and perceived risk analysis to promote a food safety culture.
The list of ever-growing food safety focus areas includes:[4]
Contamination control: allergens, chemical hazards, cross-contamination, microbiological hazards, physical hazards and reduction methods
Facilities: air/water monitoring, design, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Good Manufacturing Practices, hygienic equipment design and sanitation
Food types: beverages, dairy/eggs, ingredients, low moisture/dry, meat/poultry, natural/organic, produce, ready-to-eat, refrigerated/frozen and seafood
Management: best practices, case studies, food defense, international, recall/crisis, risk assessment and training
Process control: best practices, intervention controls, packaging, process validation and processing technologies
Regulatory: audits/certifications/Global Food Safety Initiative, FDA, FSMA, USDA, guidelines, HACCP, inspection and international standards/harmonization
Sanitation: biofilm control, clean-in-place/out-of-place, cleaners/sanitizers, environmental monitoring, food preparation/handling, personal hygiene/handwashing, pest control and Sanitation SOPs
Supply chain: foodservice/retail, growers/Good Agricultural Practices, imports/exports, regulation, temperature control/cold chain, traceability/recall and transportation
Testing/analysis: allergens, chemical hazards, environmental testing, laboratory management, methods, microbiological hazards, physical hazards and sampling/sample prep
Overwhelming, isn’t it? The food processor has had to evolve, taking most of these programs and combining them with employee training to produce an effective “culture” capable of providing a safe and wholesome food or ingredient. The industry is doing its best to juggle a majority of these programs, but we still have increasing incidents of foodborne illness by some of the same pathogens discovered and vetted decades ago. Why?
The Problem
All that are left after cleaning/sanitizing are the pathogens.
Even with the best cleaning and sanitizing programs, the control of contamination by pathogenic microorganisms continues to be a problem for the food processing industry. Product can be made under optimal conditions, using controlled ingredients, effective lethality steps, intervention strategies and cleaning and sanitizing of equipment by the most careful and fully trained employee. Nevertheless, these steps may be undone by a positive test for a pathogen performed by the company itself, a customer or a governmental agency. The process is then scrutinized, some or all of the equipment/environment is cleaned and sanitized again and samples are analyzed for some suspected defect. The results tend to dictate the next step—either continuing production or starting corrective actions again. But this problem never goes away. A few months later, the same defect is detected, hopefully by the company’s own test-and-release program, corrective actions are again taken, product disposition is determined and the process is repeated over and over again.  
One major contributor to perpetual microbial defects is that some equipment is difficult or impossible to completely clean and sanitize. Thus, pathogens may colonize food product surfaces or other nonfood contact surfaces and aerosolize. They may be detected during routine testing and screening of the food or the food production facility, causing the company or the government to effectively shut down operations and/or recall product from the market. Even worse, if consumers are exposed to the food containing the pathogen, sickness or even death may occur.
The culprit here is biofilm, a bacterial matrix made up of carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids and other components that facilitate gene regulation for communication, defense and growth of said pathogen. Some bacteria can produce a biofilm that protects them from their environment and helps them adhere to food equipment surfaces. If a biofilm has developed, which it will, and if the biofilm contains a microbiological defect, which it will, then the probability of that biofilm perpetuating in the equipment and breaking off or aerosolizing into the food is almost certain.[5,6] Interfering with this or preventing it from occurring is crucial to producing a safe food product.
While many products are used to clean (detergent/surfactant) and sanitize (lethal agent), they are often difficult to use, mix and apply. If improperly used, these agents may not work, may be corrosive to equipment and toxic to employees, and may be a dangerous chemical hazard if they contaminate food. At the very least, the detergents and sanitizers are costly and may impart undesirable organoleptic changes in the food. And there are many, many surfaces that can be neither cleaned nor sanitized in a food production facility. These surfaces are, in many instances, harboring pathogens.
A Solution: Probiotics
Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organization as “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”[7] These probiotics must be alive when they are administered and they must be delivered in an adequate concentration.[8] Two of the most well-known probiotic bacteria include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which have been researched extensively.[9,10] The key word “alive” is very important during the selection process. These microorganisms, in order to function, must be in the active and aggressive vegetative state. Spore formers (e.g., Bacillus) may not provide consistent or aggressive interactions with other microorganisms in order to be inhibitory since the spore form of these microorganisms is dormant. There are thousands of strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, each differing in its ability to grow, metabolize and provide desirable functions as probiotics. With this in mind, careful selection of the strains is the key to making them work. Just because a product is called a probiotic, however, doesn’t mean it functions as intended.
We have screened thousands of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains to find ones that are effective probiotics. We focus on selection criteria that screen for the most aggressive strain against pathogens (e.g., Salmonella) that has antipathogen biofilm properties. There are several physical and chemical mechanisms in removing and replacing pathogens from a biofilm on a food contact surface, much more than just producing inhibitory substances in a biofilm. In addition to being inhibitory by competing for nutrients or producing some metabolic product that is antimicrobial (e.g., lactic acid), probiotics may act by the following mechanisms:
1) Blanketing: This mechanism simply populates the food contact surface with probiotic biofilm and prevents the pathogen from binding by taking up all the space. Also, the probiotic population may excrete anti-adhesion molecules that change the molecular charge or the hydrophobicity of the surface, preventing pathogen binding. These probiotic-specific molecules will prepare the surface for the new, incoming good bacteria (Figure 1).[11]
2) Biosurfactant production: When a probiotic is able to excrete a biosurfactant, this mechanism may break down a biofilm if it already exists. These “slippery detergents” change surface tension, allowing the surface to become wet and facilitate dispersion of old biofilm or prevent pathogen adherence by letting it slide away.[12] Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium may compete by developing their own biofilm, but first they will produce a biosurfactant to get rid of any pathogenic biofilm that may be found in a hidden niche on a piece of equipment. These biosurfactants have lower toxicity and higher biodegradability than conventional synthetic surfactants, and they are not easily synthesized by conventional methods (Figure 2).[12]
3) Exopolysaccharide (EPS) production: This mechanism involves a matrix released from the cell that dampens down a pathogen’s ability to remain in the processing environment. Also known as anti-adhesion polysaccharides, EPS may modulate the expression of pathogen genes that produce biofilm or surface adhesins. The generated EPS can then eventually aid in the probiotic’s ability to establish its own biofilm (Figure 3).[13]
Our probiotic compositions are dry powders capable of being dispensed from any suitable aerosol container or even by hand. This allows the transport of the probiotics into and through equipment mounted vertically or high over the factory floor, as well as equipment that has joints with geometries that make it difficult for traditional solutions to reach. The dry aerosol form allows for multidirectional application of the probiotic composition on the desired surface and on surfaces that could easily contain a pathogenic biofilm but never, ever have seen the light of day or a cleaning tool.
Validation Experiments
The objective was to determine whether probiotics influence the removal of pathogenic biofilm from food contact surfaces. The intent was to mimic food passing through a production line that has a pathogenic biofilm and has had the probiotic added to the surface.
•    Food contact surfaces: Two approximately 1.5-L cylindrical canisters were used:
     •    304 stainless steel, 12.4 cm × 15.9 cm
     •    Food-grade plastic, 12.4 cm × 17.8 cm
•    Pathogens: Two pathogens (Salmonella and Listeria) were tested separately. These microbes were isolated from biofilms in commercial food processing facilities following routine cleaning and sanitation. They were grown in tryptic soy broth at 35 °C for 24 hours and subcultured twice more on consecutive days. The cells were prepared by centrifugation at 4,000 rpm for 10 minutes. The pellet was resuspended in 0.1% buffered peptone water (BPW). Serial dilutions (10-fold) were used to prepare the test solutions of Salmonella (~103 CFU/mL) and Listeria (~103 CFU/mL).
•    Biofilm formation: In every trial, the inside of each canister received 1 mL of the Salmonella or Listeria solution applied evenly with sterile pipettes. The 1 mL was distributed over a 2- to 3-hour period with agitation. Once the entire volume was delivered evenly over the surface, canisters were dried overnight at 21 °C in a closed container.
•    Treatments: A separate experiment was conducted with each of two dry probiotic formulas. In control, no-probiotic trials, each canister was dusted on the inside with 3.5 g dry carrier. In treatment, probiotic trials, each canister was dusted on the inside with 3.5 g dry carrier containing probiotics. Formula One contained 3.2 × 1010 CFU/g Lactobacillus plus Bifidobacterium, and Formula Two contained 4.5 × 1010 CFU/g of the same Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium plus Enterococcus. The applications were left overnight at 21 ° C in a closed container.
•    Processing: In each trial, 454 g dry, sterile, hard food pellets were added to the canisters 15 hours after dry powder application. The canisters were placed on their side on a rotating platform and rotated for 10 minutes at 10 rpm.
•    Sampling and analysis: After 10 minutes, the food was transferred to 4× the amount (1/5 dilution) of BPW and enriched at 37 °C for 22 hours. A secondary enrichment in 5 mL prewarmed brain-heart infusion broth was inoculated with 0.1 mL BPW-enriched sample and incubated for 3 hours at 37 °C. The enriched samples were tested for Salmonella by immunological method AOAC-030301 and DNA-PCR method AOAC-100201. For Listeria, 454 g food were enriched (1/5 dilution) in UVM-modified Listeria enrichment broth for 26 hours at 30 °C. A 0.1-mL portion was then transferred to a secondary enrichment (MOPS-BLEB) for 18–24 hours at 35 °C. Detection of Listeria was by DNA-PCR method AOAC-RI-30502.
•    Time testing: To monitor the removal of the Salmonella and Listeria over time (days) by the probiotic, after sampling as above, another 3.5 g of either the control or probiotic dry powder were added to each container. After 15 hours, another 454 g food were added, and canisters rotated for 10 minutes before sampling. Testing was stopped after three or more consecutive samples were negative for Salmonella or Listeria.
•    Replications: Three replicates for each pathogen and formula were performed as described above on different days.
•    Response variable: Data were recorded as the number of days that samples gave positive tests for pathogens during each trial.

Results and Conclusions:
The presence of dry probiotic formulas decreased pathogenic biofilm persistence during mechanical or abrasive action of dry dog food on both stainless steel and plastic surfaces (Figures 4 and 5). Pathogenic biofilm persistence on the plastic surface was greater in trials with Formula One (Figure 4) than with Formula Two (Figure 5), but this difference is not attributed to the probiotics. Persistence on stainless steel was similar between the trials with Formulas One and Two. When no probiotic was applied, pathogenic biofilms remained for up to 10 days before the abrasion of the food on the biofilm finally removed them. When probiotic was applied, however, Salmonella and Listeria biofilms were removed 2 to 6 days faster. 
The application of the dry probiotic blends was effective and consistent in removing an exceptionally large number (1,000) of pathogen cells (both Salmonella and Listeria) on common food processing surfaces (stainless steel and plastic). This biofilm containing a large number of pathogen cells would not likely ever be seen in practice. With the smaller concentrations of pathogens found in typical plants, we believe that dry probiotics will be even more effective in eliminating and preventing pathogenic microorganisms in any food processing environment. 
Field Application Experience
Currently, these probiotic formulas are being used successfully in several food processing plants across the U.S., and even some involved in past recalls. The dry probiotic application has been effective with a variety of surfaces, equipment and food. These probiotics provide protection in the environment and the food, with benefits to both processor and consumer.
Siobhan S. Reilly, Ph.D., is president and CEO of Log10® LLC in Ponca City, OK. She received a Ph.D. in food science from Oklahoma State University. She can be reached at
1. Bari, L and DO Ukuku. 2015. Chapter 1, “History and Safety of Food Past, Present and Future,” in Foodborne Pathogens and Food Safety, eds. L Bari and DO Ukuku (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press).
2. Riley, LW et al. 1983. “Hemorrhagic Colitis Associated with a Rare Escherichia coli Serotype.” N Engl J Med 308(12):681–685.
5. Bower, CK and MA Daeschel. 1999. “Resistance Responses of Microorganisms in Food Environments.” Int J Food Microbiol 50(1):33–44.
6. Van Houdt, R and CW Michiels. 2010. “Biofilm Formation and the Food Industry, a Focus on the Bacterial Outer Surface.” J Appl Microbiol 109(4):1117–1131.
8. Sanders, ME. 2008. “Probiotics: Definition, Sources, Selection, and Uses.” Clin Infect Dis 46(2):S58–S61.
9. Servin, AL. 2004. “Antagonistic Activities of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria against Microbial Pathogens.” FEMS Microbiol Rev 28(4):405–440.
10. Gomes, AMP and FX Malcata. 1999. “Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus acidophilus: Biological, Biochemical, Technological and Therapeutical Properties Relevant for Use as Probiotics.” Trends Food Sci Technol 10(4):139–157.
11. Rendueles, O and J-M Ghigo. 2012. “Multi-Species Biofilms: How to Avoid Unfriendly Neighbors.” FEMS Microbiol Rev 36(5):972–989.
12. Fracchia, L et al. 2010. “A Lactobacillus-Derived Biosurfactant Inhibits Biofilm Formation of Human Pathogenic Candida albicans Biofilm Producers.” Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 2:827–837.
13. Ku, S et al. 2009. “Enhancement of Anti-Tumorigenic Polysaccharide Production, Adhesion, and Branch Formation of Bifidobacterium bifidum BGN4 by Phytic Acid.” Food Sci Biotechnol 18(3):749–754.

High-end Maine seafood company shut down for food safety violations
Source :
By Beth Quimby (Feb 14, 2016)
A high-end Hancock seafood company has been shut down for repeated unsanitary conditions and food safety violations, including manufacturing in the presence of rodent excrement, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
U.S. District Judge Jon D. Levy on Friday signed a consent decree of permanent injunction against Mill Stream Corp., which does business as Sullivan Harbor Farm, and its owner, Ira Joel Frantzman.
The action followed more than a decade of warnings to the company by the Food and Drug Administration, which found the company’s smoked fish products were being prepared, packed and held under unsanitary conditions so that the products may have become contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health, says a complaint filed by the Justice Department in U.S. District Court in Maine.
The company, founded in 1992, has annually made about 75,000 pounds of ready-to-eat hot and cold smoked fish and fishery products such as smoked salmon, trout and char, which are sold across the country. Customers include Legal Sea Foods in Boston and Dean & DeLuca of New York. The company’s smoked fish products have received a number of food industry awards.
According to the complaint, an FDA inspection in March and April 2015 identified significant, recurring violations at the business on Route 1, including inadequate plans to control risks of a neurotoxin that can cause botulism.
The FDA also observed rodent “excreta pellets too numerous to count in the area of the facility where smoker trays are cleaned, apparent black mold and water staining on the door frame of the walk-in freezer where fish is stored, an open rack of salmon stored beneath a pipe with frozen condensate build-up, water splashing from the processing floor onto a cutting board and into bins where fish was stored.”
The complaint says that a December 2011 inspection revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the facility’s environment and on a fish-skinning machine. The company recalled and destroyed the affected products.
The complaint also says that for more than a decade the FDA repeatedly warned the company about violations through regulatory meetings, telephone calls and other measures but the violations continued.
In conjunction with the filing of the complaint, the company has agreed to settle the case and has ceased all manufacturing operations, according to a news release from the Justice Department. The FDA must determine that the company has complied with all safety regulations before it may resume manufacturing.
No one was available at the company Sunday. A message on its website says its smokehouse is closed for training to improve the facility.


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Blue cheese recalled due to food safety concerns
Source :
By Alex Kirkpatrick (Feb 13, 2016)
Maytag Dairy Farms in Newton announced Saturday a voluntary recall of Maytag Raw Milk Blue cheese due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, according to a press release.
The recalled product was packaged on Jan. 6 in 4-ounce wedges, 8-ounce wedges, 2-pound wheels, 4-pound wheels and 5-pound crumbles.
The lot included 896 pounds of cheese and was distributed to HoQ restaurant in Des Moines, the Bear Restaurant in Ankeny, Wine Experience in West Des Moines, Fareway in Newton, Lomar Distributing, Inc. in Des Moines or purchased directly from Maytag Dairy Farms.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Dairy Products Control Bureau discovered the possible contamination during routine testing.
Customers may contact Maytag Dairy Farms at 800-247-2458 or 641-791-2010 to arrange for a refund and return of the product.
So far, there have been no reported cases of Listeria monocytogenes since the product was packaged.

For Dole in Springfield, Listeria Not a New Problem, a Timeline
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Feb 12, 2016)
Last week, Food Poisoning Bulletin reported that in the last four years Dole salads have been recalled for Listeria four times and recalled for Salmonella once. That was incorrect. Since 2012, there have been 10 recalls in the U.S. and Canada for possible Listeria or Salmonella contamination of salads produced by Dole, most of them for Listeria and most of them stemming from Dole’s plant in Springfield, Ohio.
In late January, the company opted to close the Springfield plant temporarily after salads produced there were linked to Listeria outbreaks in the U.S. and Canada. Four of the 26 people sickened have died, although Canadian health officials have not determined if the Listeria infections contributed to the cause of death in the three fatalities reported there.
The current recalls in U.S. and Canada include all products made at Dole’s Springfield facility. The letter “A” in the product code identifies Springfield as the facility where they were produced. In the U.S., the recalled salads were sold under the brand names Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President’s Choice. In Canada, they were sold under the Dole and PC Organics brand names.
Since April 2012, there have been five Listeria recalls for salads produced at Dole’s Springfield plant- six if you go back to June 2011, and two for Salmonella. (There were three other Listeria recalls for salads made at other Dole facilities.) All of these recalls were triggered by random product sample tests performed by various state health departments, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the now defunct Microbiological Data Program (MDP) operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
These random tests, performed when employees from state health or agriculture departments go to grocery stores, buy a product and test it in a lab for bacteria, are the only testing performed by regulatory agencies on these products. The Springfield plant is inspected annually by the state agriculture department, but those inspections cover things like: Do employees wash hands? Is equipment being maintained properly? Are pest controls in place? They do not include microbial testing of products made there or testing of environmental swabs taken from the facility. Dole does its own environmental swabs, but is not required to share those results with the state, according to an agriculture department spokeswoman.
One of the deadliest foodborne pathogens, Listeria, which is found in the environment, thrives in cold, wet places. Once it sets up shop, it’s difficult to remove.
Food contaminated with Listeria doesn’t look or smell unusual. Once ingested, it typically takes about three weeks for symptoms including headache, stiff neck, muscle aches and fever, to develop, but it can take as long as 70 days. The long incubation period makes it challenging for health officials to track outbreaks in real time.
Health officials in both countries are using genetic “fingerprint” testing to identify case patients in this outbreak. So far, onset of illness dates range from May 2015 to January 2016 in Canada and July 2015 to January 2016 in the U.S.
Those at highest risk for developing listeriosis are young children, seniors, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems underlying medical conditions. Among pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and infection in newborns. In the U.S., one of the case patients is a pregnant woman. In Canada, the average age of those sickened is 79.
Here is a timeline of key events leading up to these outbreaks:
June 22, 2011 Dole Italian Blend Salads and Fresh Selections (Kroger store brand) Italian Style Blend salads are recalled after a test performed during random product sampling by the he Ohio Department of Agriculture is positive for Listeria  Recalled product, with codes have the letter “A” indicating Springfield or ”B” were distributed in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin) and three Canadian provinces (New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec).
April 14, 2012 Dole Seven Lettuces Salad is recalled after a test performed during random product sampling by the state of New York is positive for Listeria. Recalled products with codes containing the letter “A” or “B” were distributed in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
June 22, 2012 Fresh Selections (Kroger store brand) Green Supreme and Leafy Romaine and Marketside Leafy Romaine (Walmart store brand are recalled after tests performed by the MDP. The recalled products with codes have the letter “N” were distributed in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
June 29, 2012 Dole Hearts of Romaine are recalled after testing by the FDA finds Listeria . Recalled products with codes the letter “A” indicating Springfield or ”B” were distributed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia
August 22, 2012 Dole Italian Blend salads are recalled after Listeria is discovered during random product testing by the MDP. Recalled products with codes containing the letter N were distributed in Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Mississippi and Virginia
October 17, 2012 Dole issues American Blend salads after Tennessee officials find Listeria during random testing. Recalled products have codes containing the letter A (indicating Springfield) or B were distributed in Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin
March 10, 2014 The Ohio department of Agriculture finds Salmonella on a bag of spinach purchased at a Kroger store. No recall is issued.
March 12, 2014 Dole Italian Bland salad is recalled in Canada after the CFIA finds Listeria during testing. Recalled products were distributed in New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec. Possibly nationally. Product codes indicating where the products were produced were not provided but two days later a U.S. recall that contains product codes “A’ or “B” is issued it mentions the same three provinces.
March 14, 2014  After CFIA finds Listeria in a sample test, Dole issues a recall for Dole Italian Blend, Fresh Selections Italian Style Blend (Kroger), Little Salad Bar Italian Salad,  and Marketside (Walmart) Italian Style Salad. Recalled products have codes containing the letter A (indicating Springfield) or B. Recalled products were distributed in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and 3 Canadian provinces New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec.
August 2014 Dole signs a deal for a $9 million expansion of the Springfield plant. A major employer in Clark County, Ohio, Dole received a 50 percent nine-year job creation tax credit to expand the facility with the agreement to add 138 jobs over three years and maintain operations there for 12 years. The expansion added three new packaging lines and one processing line producing spinach, spring mix and baby lettuce packaged salads.
October 13, 2015 Dole issues a recall for spinach after random product sampling conducted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture finds Salmonella in bag tested. The recalled products have product codes containing the letter “A” indicating Springfield or “B” They were distributed in Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin.
January 20, 2016 The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) announces that is investigating an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections in five provinces and suspects prepackaged leafy greens, salad blends and salad kits are the source. Sven people are sickened, one has died although it is not clear if the death was caused by the Listeria infection.
January 22, 2016 The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) posts a recall for 48 kinds of Dole brand salads and nine kinds of PC Organics brand salads.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posts Dole’s announcement that it is “temporarily suspending operations at its Springfield, Ohio production facility, and is voluntarily withdrawing from the market all Dole-branded and private label packaged salads processed at that location.”
The CDC announces that a Listeria outbreak linked to salads produced at Dole’s Springfield plant has sickened 12 people in six states one of whom has died.
January 23, 2016 PHAC says it is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and provincial public health partners to investigate a Listeria outbreak linked to Dole packaged salad products produced at Dole’s plant in Springfield, Ohio.
January 27, 2016PHAC announces the CFIA has  confirmed a link between recalled packaged salad products and the outbreak of listeriosis in five provinces.
Dole announces that it is voluntarily recalling all Dole-branded and private label packaged salads processed at its Springfield plant. The announcement says in part: “Our voluntary product recall is a result of a suspected link of the products to a listeria outbreak, but the exact source is still unknown. We are working closely with regulatory agencies as our Springfield plant undergoes additional investigation and testing. Voluntary recall is a specific term used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While our actions under a voluntary recall as compared to the previously reported voluntary withdrawal remain the same, we have updated our communication terminology to reference a ‘recall.’ We have done this with the aim of using terminology that may be more familiar to consumers.”
January 28, 2016 The CDC reports 15 people in eight states have been sickened.
February 2, 2016PHAC announces that using lab tests it has identified four additional cases previously reported in Ontario. Of the 11 people sickened, three have died, although Canadian health officials have not determined if the Listeria infections contributed to the cause of death.

Can Chipotle make a comeback after outbreaks? Food safety experts weigh in
Source :
By Linda Carroll (Feb 11, 2016)
Chipotle was one of the most popular restaurant chains before several high profile outbreaks of E. coli poisoning drove fans away. Since the outbreak was recently declared over, Chipotle has instituted wide-ranging changes that it hopes will make its meals safer.
Are those measures enough?
"I wouldn't hesitate to eat there," says Dr. Jonathan Fielding, former director of public health for Los Angeles County and currently a distinguished professor of health policy and management at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. "There is always some risk no matter where you eat. No place is going to be fool proof, especially when you are using a lot of fresh ingredients. But they have taken it seriously."
Experts interviewed by TODAY commended the restaurant chain on its efforts, but wondered whether they would be sufficient to encourage patrons to come back.
Chipotle made a light-hearted hint at the decline in customers today in a tweet:
It’s quiet in here. A little too quiet. “Not open yet.” Oh.
— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) February 10, 2016
If it's any reassurance to burrito lovers, Fielding calls the Chipotle food-safety changes "unprecedented."
One significant switch: more food is prepared at central facilities, says Russell Walker, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. "Even avocados would not be cut on site. They'll be blanched and sent to stores in packages. That probably does help with cross-contamination issues."
1 in 6 get food poisoning each year
Ultimately, the cases of food poisoning traced back to Chipotle are just a tiny fraction of what occurs each year in the United States.
To put things in perspective, one in six Americans will develop food poisoning each year, according to the CDC. That's 48 million people, 128,000 of whom will be hospitalized, with 3,000 dying from the illness. The two outbreaks traced to Chipotle involved 60 people, with 22 needing to be hospitalized.
In the end, investigators weren't able to pinpoint the exact source of the E. coli contamination that got diners sick.
Related: Chipotle outbreaks have experts "scratching their heads"
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has looked at the issue of where food poisoning outbreaks occur. "In 2013, restaurants accounted for 60 percent of outbreaks with a reported single location where food was prepared, with sit down dining style being the most common," said Brittany Behm, a spokesperson for the CDC.
An earlier outbreak of salmonella at Chipotle was traced to tomatoes prepared at individual restaurants, which is why the chain now does all its tomato processing at a central location.
Other food-safety changes include scheduling meat marinating to occur only at night — lowering the risk of cross-contamination with fresh vegetable which would have been put away by then — and submerging lemons, limes, jalapenos, onions and avocados in boiling water to reduce germs that might be present on their skins.
Dr. Trish Perl hopes that consumers will recognize that food poisoning isn't unique to Chipotle.
Related: You can't judge meat by its color and 4 other common food handling mistakes
" What's really important is that people understand there are food safety issues not only at home, but at any restaurant you go to," said Perl, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "I applaud Chipotle for what it's doing. A lot of what they're putting in place is just common sense."
Perl hopes that the kinds of changes Chipotle is making in its restaurants catch on with other dining establishments, including a new policy to give sick leave to employees. Outbreaks of the norovirus could be traced back to two workers who didn't feel they could skip a day, even though they were ill.
Watch for handwashing
Another crucial issue is handwashing requirements.
Handwashing is something that consumers can observe for themselves, says Anna Ardine, clinical nutrition manager at the Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
"Do you see people going from one place to another without washing their hands? If a server scratches her hair and then starts making your sandwich you might want to worry," says Ardine.
Ardine would have no qualms about eating at Chipotle.
"But if I walked in and saw things that were not being done right, I'd turn around and step out—which is something I've done at other restaurants," she says.

Hep A outbreak leads to restaurant disclosure in NJ
Source :
By Doug Powell (Feb 10, 2016)
Hamilton unveiled a searchable website Monday that lists inspection ratings for the township’s 500 restaurants and retail food shops in hopes of giving diners a greater peace of mind.
“This new website will not only provide our local restaurants patrons with added transparency to enhance consumer confidence, but will also encourage food establishments to hold themselves accountable to the highest health standards, knowing that this information will be easily accessible by the public,” Mayor Kelly Yaede said.
The website was prompted, in part, by the Hepatitis A health scare that hit the township in late 2014. In late November, a food handler at Rosa’s Restaurant and Catering fell ill with the disease and in the months following, three people who ate at the restaurant contracted the disease.
Inspection reports later revealed the restaurant had a history of health violations.
Last month, Rosa’s quietly announced that it was closing its doors, but would continue the catering portion of the business.
Yaede said all retail food establishments are inspected annually and receive ratings of “satisfactory,” “continually satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.” The new database shows the three most recent inspection results.
Users may search the new site,, by establishment name or address.

Food safety tips to avoid a cook's worst nightmare
Source :
By Jan Roberts-Dominguez (Feb 10, 2016)
Couldn’t you just die? Hours after an evening of food and fellowship, members of the parish went from well to wretched — and retching — because of your chicken casserole.
It’s every cook’s nightmare, but one that can usually be avoided. First you must face up to one of life’s realities: Bacteria are everywhere. Even in your so-clean-you-can-eat-off-the-floor kitchen. Your job is to keep those little carriers of pain and misery from running amok on the food you serve.
Basic food safety guidelines fall into four categories: Clean, separate, cook and chill (or heat!).
1. Clean
Wash hands and work surfaces often.
If you have an infectious illness, don’t handle food for other people.
Always work with clean hands, hair, and fingernails.
While working with food, you need to rewash your hands after you have smoked, blown your nose, touched your hair, mouth, or eyes, handled raw meat, poultry or uncooked eggs, used the toilet, or assisted anyone using the toilet.
Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues, then wash your hands.
Wash your cutting boards and work surfaces for at least 15 seconds in a sinkful of hot, sudsy water. Rinse off the suds, then wipe down the surfaces with a dilute chlorine bleach solution (2 teaspoons chlorine bleach per 1 gallon of water) and let the surfaces air-dry, if possible.
Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are peeled away, before preparing.
2. Separate — Don’t cross-contaminate.
It begins in the supermarket: separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods when shopping, and again when bagging them, and again when storing in your fridge. It’s especially important to store raw meats, seafood, poultry and eggs apart from other foods so you won’t risk contamination from raw juices or packaging material that may have been contaminated during processing.
Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.
3. Cook — Cook to the proper temperature.
If you don’t yet own a reliable kitchen thermometer, go buy one.
Your goal is to cook food long enough to kill harmful bacterial that would cause food-borne illness. That means ground beef mixtures and the casserole you are baking for tomorrow’s potluck dinner must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Poultry should also reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Even if you are a sushi fan, raw and undercooked seafood can be contaminated with bacteria and should not be used in dishes you are preparing for unsuspecting diners who may have weakened immune systems. So cook fish to 145 degrees F or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily.
The same can be said for eggs. Even though you may be willing to consume undercooked eggs, when serving others you need to consider folks with weakened immune systems, so cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny. And don’t use recipes in which eggs remain raw or only partially cooked.
For dishes you are microwaving, ensure even cooking by using a turntable, or rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking. If there are cold spots in the cooked dish, that’s where bacteria will have survived.
4. Chill or keep hot — Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
When food is held at temperatures above 40 degrees F or below 145 degrees F, the growth of bacteria and production of the toxins by some bacteria occur. Do not hold foods in this temperature zone for more than 2 hours.
Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs and other perishables as soon as you get them home from the store.
Never defrost food at room temperature. Food must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave.
Always marinate food in the refrigerator.
If you are cooking a casserole to serve at a later time, it needs to be cooled quickly. A common — and dangerously inaccurate — belief is that hot food should not be stored in the refrigerator until it has completely cooled. Hot foods may be refrigerated promptly if they do not raise the temperature of the refrigerator above 40 degrees.
To effectively chill a large container of food, such as a hot casserole or batch of pasta or potato salad, store it in a shallow container. Contents of a deep dish or bowl will take much longer to cool, extending the length of time that food remains in the unsafe temperature zone (above 40 degrees and below 145 degrees F).
To speed up the chilling process before you refrigerate the food, either place it in the freezer for 15 minutes, or place it in a larger container filled with ice and water. Do not use your sink as an ice bath, because you could contaminate the baked dish.
When transporting a just-from-the-oven casserole to your event, minimize the amount of time the dish will spend in the danger zone temperatures. Insulate the hot dish by wrapping it in several layers of towels. The buffet table should be equipped with hot plates, but at least make sure that the casseroles are consumed shortly after being placed out on the table. If you want to take home any leftovers, the food should be removed from the buffet as soon as it has been served and refrigerated.
Food Safety Resources
If you have questions or concerns about food safety, contact:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854
The Fight BAC! website at
Gateway to Government Food Safety Information at
Jan Roberts-Dominguez is a Corvallis food writer, artist, and author of "Oregon Hazelnut Country, the Food, the Drink, the Spirit," and four other cookbooks. Readers can contact her by email at, or obtain additional recipes and food tips on her blog at

Food Safety Act: FSSAI Extends Last Date for Registration
Source :
By (Feb 10, 2016)
Food safety watchdog FSSAI has extended the last date for registration under the Food Safety and Standards Act by three months till May 4th this year. A number of registrations have been received in the Health Ministry for extending the time for obtaining license and registration for the further period, Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said in a notification.
 "Now, therefore, it has been decided that the timeline mentioned in... Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, be further extended for another three months i.e. up to May 4, 2016," the regulator said.
 The earlier last date was February 4th this year. It has become mandatory for every food business operator to get registered with the FSSAI. Welcoming the move, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) praised the government for taking cognizance of the sufferings and plight of the trading community.
 "More than 3 crore traders engaged in food business across the country shall be benefited with the extension of the date," CAIT said in a statement.
 The traders association added that the food trade and industry are up in arms against this act and its regulations since it encourages packed food habits in the country which is vertically opposed to traditional food habits in the county.

Obama’s 2017 budget not enough for a food safety legacy
Source :
By Dan Flynn (Feb 10, 2016)
Food safety is spread throughout various departments and programs in the federal budget and the document President Obama proposed Tuesday for fiscal 2017 is no different. The policy wonks who know how the federal budgeteers work go to one place when they want to know how food safety is doing in the budget. It’s the number for the increase or decrease in the base funding for implementing the historic Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA).
Obama wants that number increased by $25.3 million in his proposed 2017 budget. That’s far less than the increase for 2016 when the added money totaled $104.5 million. And it’s not enough for 2017, according to the bipartisan National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).
“The $25.3 million increase for FDA’s food safety activities included in the President’s FY17 budget request moves in the right direction, but falls far short of the next investment needed in our new preventive approach to food safety for public health,” said Barbara Glenn, NASDA’s chief executive. “The $104.5 million appropriated by Congress in December was a great down payment on the programs needed to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). States need a similar increased investment for FY17.”
“When NASDA looks at the programs needed to administer Human Food, Animal Food and Produce Safety programs at the state level, states will need about $100 million in FY17 to meet the goals of FSMA,” Glenn added.
“NASDA is also deeply disappointed by the inclusion of user fees in this year’s budget request. User fees have never been supported by NASDA, Congress, or other industry stakeholders. The continued request for user fees by the administration undermines FDA’s efforts to effectively implement FSMA in a timely manner. Without sufficient support of FSMA from the President and Congress, we are setting our producers up for failure.”
How that increase in the base budget plays out over time was recently addressed by Sandra Eskin, food safety director for The Pew Charitable Trusts.  She said the additional money each year has been allowed to accrue to FDA’s base food safety budget except for the amount added for 2013.  That would translate into more than $300 million being added to the base budget during Obama’s time,  but there is clearly going to be debate over whether that’s enough to effectively implement FSMA.
Budgets for both FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are in mammoth Health & Human Services (HHS) Department’s $82.8 billion budget proposal. The HHS budget “includes $1.6 billion, an increase of $212 million above FY (fiscal year) 2016, to support FDA and CDC activities that will develop and strengthen an integrated and prevention based food safety system,” says the White House document.
“The FY 2017 budget includes $1.5 billion for FDA to support implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act, including increase state capacity to implement the product safety rules, implementing the Foreign Supplier Verification Program, and ensuring consumers are able to make health food choices,” the proposed 2017 budget says.
The Obama proposal also includes $52 million for “critical unmet needs in the nation’s food supply safety system by focusing on monitoring, surveillance, data analysis, and dissemination of technical guidance, training, and technology to state health departments.”
FDA and CDC are also getting a $24 million increase for their infrastructure needs for a total of $43 million going for “mission critical” improvements and repairs.
In the overall U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) $24.6 billion proposed budget, there’s $8.5 million of new money for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to use to “modernize its science-based decision-making process by developing and deploying new tools to reduce the prevalence of foodborne illnesses.
“FSIS will implement a whole genome sequencing initiative to characterize bacterial genomes with greater precision, and improve the speed and accuracy of outbreak investigations,” the proposed 2017 budget says. “This capability will also play a role in the Administration’s Antimicrobial Resistance initiative by identifying resistance to antimicrobial agents and changes in chemical contaminants to more effectively decrease the contamination rate in food.”
The Obama budget writers also say FSIS will increase its analytical capability. FSIS will have increased mission, policy and rule making roles to set standards, making it more proactive in food defense and its ability to reduce foodborne illness, according to the proposed budget. The budget proposal also covers continued implementation of the New Poultry Inspection System.
Obama wants to double down on the administration’s role in combatting antimicrobial resistance. A $35 million increase is proposed, bringing annual spending to $61 million. The 2017 proposed budget says:
“The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria represents a serious threat to public health and the economy and fighting it is a national security priority.” The funds will be used to “address antimicrobial resistance in pathogens of humans and livestock, and to see answers to key questions about relationships among microbes and livestock, the environment, and human health.”
The 2017 budget is President Obama’s last. The $4.1 trillion spending plan will require borrowing another $503 billion as tax revenues are projected to come in at $3.6 trillion. The start date for FY 2017 is Oct. 1.
Concerns about the proposed budget will now be taken up with the many Congressional committees that have a hand in budget writing. While FDA is now able to charge some user fees, such as for re-inspections, the Obama Administration has been largely unsuccessful in expanding the practice.
The food industry will continue to resist the shift to taxes and fees the administration has sought. The American Frozen Food Institute says FDA’s proposed budget is dependent on $166 million fees for new facility registration and inspections.
“Food safety is the highest priority for America’s frozen food and beverage makers,” says Joseph Clayton, AFFI’s interim president. “Providing sufficient federal resources to adequately fund FDA’s critical food safety activities without increasing costs for consumers and food makers is of paramount importance.”
Clayton says the industry is “disappointed” the Obama budget again proposes greater dependence on user fees.
Meanwhile, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is disappointed because the budget proposal only includes $5 million for “farmer food safety training.”

Sonoma County approves new food-safety rating system for restaurants
Source :
By THE PRESS DEMOCRAT (Feb 09, 2016)
Sonoma County’s 3,500 restaurants and retail food outlets soon will participate in a new public rating system that could be more important to everyday business than winning a Michelin star or Zagat survey mention.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a color-coded placard system to let customers know how eateries fared in food safety inspections.
Restaurants with no more than one major violation that is correctable during unannounced health department visits will receive green “pass” placards, while those with two or more violations will receive yellow “conditional pass” cards. Red “closed” labels will be issued for more serious violations, such as vermin infestations or sewage backups, that can’t be fixed right away.
The 8½-by-7-inch cards must be posted in conspicuous locations such as storefronts or cash register stands. In all cases, owners will get a chance to make corrections and to be re-inspected for higher ratings.
“The purpose of this is to reduce the risk of food-borne illness,” Department of Health Services Director Stephan Betz told supervisors before they voted 5-0 in favor of the rating system.
It is expected to start sometime this spring and is modeled on programs elsewhere in the Bay Area, officials said.
The reaction from restaurant owners was muted Tuesday. No representatives of the industry, one of Sonoma County’s leading service and tourism sectors, attended the short hearing, which featured no public speakers and minimal debate among board members.
Owners reached by phone after the hearing were supportive.
Kevin Cronin, owner of Rosso Pizzeria and Wine Bar in Santa Rosa, said it’s a good thing. He said similar placards are mandatory in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“It makes everybody pay attention,” Cronin said. “It’s important for consumers to know they are dining in a place that is operated properly.”
But Jonathan Coe, president of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, worried any new regulation — as well-intentioned as it is — would bring added costs to businesses that would be passed on to the consumer.
“The reality is, it will cost a little more now to eat out in Sonoma County,” Coe said.
Supervisors backed the rating system as a way to protect the public while maintaining the reputation of food-centric Sonoma County.
Efren Carrillo, the board chairman, praised the results of a yearlong field study showing 96.5 percent of more than 2,500 restaurants inspected would have received the green placard.
Three percent got a yellow, and 0.5 percent, or 13 restaurants, received a red. Inspection reports are posted online through the county’s environmental health division.
“It’s a testament to our restaurants,” Carrillo said. “They put quality above everything, and food safety is a component of that.”
Other board members expressed concern the placards wouldn’t be issued to food trucks or temporary eateries, including stalls at farmers markets and crab feeds. Health officials said they could be considered in an update to the ordinance.
Also, Supervisors Susan Gorin and David Rabbitt worried the green “pass” placard might not go over well in high-end restaurants boasting top ratings by the likes of Michelin. Gorin said it “doesn’t help ambiance.”
“They would rather have a star,” she said.
In fact, the placard system replaces the county’s “Recognition of Excellence” program, discontinued last year, that awarded five stars to restaurants meeting food safety criteria.
Christine Sosko, the county’s director of environmental health, said the star system was confusing to people coming from outside the county who may not know what it is based on. She said the placard system is more intuitive.
Alameda, Marin, Sacramento and Santa Clara counties have it, she said.
 “It’s something the consumer can understand,” she said. “Everyone kind of knows what green, yellow and red means.”
Sosko said the board action also included updates to county codes regulating health and sanitation, clarifying permit requirements and suspension proceedings. It focuses less on violations such as loose floor tiles and more on problems that can lead to illness, she said.
“It’s now a more robust program,” she said.
Waiting for their takeout order Tuesday night outside Sea Thai Bistro at Santa Rosa’s Montgomery Village, Carol Shoopman of Santa Rosa and her friend visiting from Spain, Denise Carlini, agreed the new placard system sounded like a good idea.
“It would be a hell of a motivation to keep it clean,” said Shoopman, 73.
Meanwhile, Lita Lyons said she looks forward to posting a green placard somewhere in her Santa Rosa restaurant. She said Lita’s Cafe received a five-star rating from the county five years in a row before the program was cut last year.
“It shows the public what kind of restaurant you are,” Lyons said.
Fernando Reyes, manager of his family’s La Fondita restaurant on Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa, said the busy eatery was part of the field study conducted by the county last year in advance of Tuesday’s move, which he also welcomed.
“From the test they did, we got a green. It was good. They explained it all,” Reyes said of an unannounced visit by inspectors and follow-up meeting. “The rating system is straightforward and really understandable.”
He also said he would welcome the same standard for food trucks, including Delicias Elenita, owned and operated by his family outside their brick-and-mortar Roseland restaurant.
Consumers, regardless of where they’re eating, want such reassurance, Reyes said.
“They want to see how healthy that food is,” he said.
Staff Writer Julie Johnson contributed to this report. You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or On Twitter @ppayne.

Steps for successful and food safe community meals
Source :
By Eileen Haraminac (Feb 09, 2016)
Many nonprofit organizations plan and hold community meals. Some are fish fry’s, summer suppers and many other gatherings for the community. Organizers of these community meals need to be attentive to the food safety practices of volunteer cooks and servers.
Michigan State University Extension and the United States Department of Agriculture offers these action steps for successful community meals. Always practice the four cornerstones of food safety - Clean, Chill, Separate and Cook.
Plan ahead
Does the space selected have enough counter space, ovens, refrigeration and freezers? Is clean water for food preparation, drinking and washing available and sufficient?
Store and prepare food safely
•Hand Washing: Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, after using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling pets.
•Cutting boards: Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and work surfaces frequently with hot, soapy water.
•Keep food cold: Refrigerate or freeze perishable food within 2 hours of shopping or preparing; 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
•Separate: Prepare raw foods and ready to eat food in separate prep areas and never place cooked food on the same plate that held raw food.
Cook foods to minimum internal temperatures, this includes meat, poultry, casseroles, etc.
Keep food out of the “temperature danger zone” by using a food thermometer and  this chart to guide you.
If transporting food make certain that hot foods stay hot and cold foods remain cold.
Use a food thermometer to check.
Reheating food
Food should be hot and steaming and register 165 degrees Fahrenheit on a food thermometer.
Following these food safety practices will ensure that the community meal serves safe food and that foodborne illness doesn’t show up as an unwanted guest.

Restaurant on UCD campus is closed for breaches of food safety
Source :
By Jack Quann (Feb 09, 2016)
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued one closure order and one prohibition order on food businesses last month.
The orders were issued by environmental health officers in the Health Service Executive (HSE).
One closure order was served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on Earl's Delicatessen (restaurant), School of Architecture, University College Dublin, Richview, Clonskeagh in Dublin 14.
While a prohibition order was served under the EC (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations, 2010 on Sheahans Butchers, Church Street, Caherciveen in Co Kerry.
And during the month of January, two successful prosecutions were also carried out by the HSE on: Kelleghan Catering Food Stall, Main Street, Tallow in Co Waterford and Millbridge Meats (butcher), 3A Millbridge Court, Kilmacrennan in Donegal.
Commenting on the orders, FSAI chief executive Pamela Byrne said that food businesses need to be vigilant at all times in relation to food safety to ensure full compliance with food legislation.
"Food businesses must recognise that the legal onus is on them to make sure that the food they sell or serve is safe to eat".
"This requires ongoing compliance with food safety and hygiene standards".
"Food businesses should take full advantage of the information and support provided by the inspectorate and the FSAI,", she added.
Details of the food businesses served with enforcement orders are published on the FSAI’s website at The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued one closure order and one prohibition order on food businesses last month.The orders were issued by environmental health officers in the Health Service Executive (HSE).
One closure order was served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on Earl's Delicatessen (restaurant), School of Architecture, University College Dublin, Richview, Clonskeagh in Dublin 14.
While a prohibition order was served under the EC (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations, 2010 on Sheahans Butchers, Church Street, Caherciveen in Co Kerry.
And during the month of January, two successful prosecutions were also carried out by the HSE on: Kelleghan Catering Food Stall, Main Street, Tallow in Co Waterford and Millbridge Meats (butcher), 3A Millbridge Court, Kilmacrennan in Donegal.
Commenting on the orders, FSAI chief executive Pamela Byrne said that food businesses need to be vigilant at all times in relation to food safety to ensure full compliance with food legislation.
"Food businesses must recognise that the legal onus is on them to make sure that the food they sell or serve is safe to eat".
"This requires ongoing compliance with food safety and hygiene standards".
"Food businesses should take full advantage of the information and support provided by the inspectorate and the FSAI,", she added.
Details of the food businesses served with enforcement orders are published on the FSAI’s website at

Are food safety compliance requests for packaging suppliers overblown?
Source :
By Gary Kestenbaum (Feb 08, 2016)
FSMA implementation seems to have an overall effect of awareness on the part of packaging customers, which is impacting food packaging materials suppliers and distributors. Is that reasonable?
I was pleased to see there is generally high awareness among packaging professionals for the need to address food safety, according to the results of a Packaging Digest poll on the Food Safety Modernization Act. Yet I am also surprised that nearly 60% of respondents are unsure if their facilities could pass a food and packaging safety audit (see chart above). Note: Chart figures do not add up to 100% due to rounding.
If that is true, it would be consistent with the information that my company, EHA Consulting Group, receives from clients who either have been asked to provide proof of a successfully-passed 3rd party audit or are being asked to submit to a 3rd party audit.
As we have come to understand, most callers have limited knowledge of and concerns about 3rd party food safety audit preparation and expectations and, as such, are looking for guidance. Most of the callers represent small businesses and are in need of evaluating their food safety preparedness against client expectations. They are also wary of costs and resources. 
I have no doubt that non-conforming businesses are looking at the process of assessment, upgrade and compliance as a necessary nuisance.  I haven’t heard anyone indicate that their company is driven to comply based on the desire to apply best practices or to protect their clients and the public from harm or contaminants.  I get the sense that in general, manufacturers and distributors of packaging and other food-related non-comestibles consider themselves collateral victims of well publicized events occurring on the “edibles” side of the food industry, driving clients to ratchet up their food safety compliance requirements.
Publicized reporting of events is limited
Due to the limited number of publicized packaging-related food safety events, low or no histories of food-safety-related packaging-related complaints and other factors, food packaging suppliers don’t see their processes and products as being in the same risk categories as edibles. They are positive to the concept of adding or upgrading basic prerequisite programs to control food safety within their processes, but appear skeptical that failure to apply and validate full certified food/packaging safety programs adds measurable risk to the safety and suitability of materials within the greater customer supply chain.
Finally, there is the issue of controlling unsuitability wherein a packaging component or material is considered by a client or customer to be “unsuitable for the application” due to any number of factors cited by the affected party.  A finding or assertion of unsuitability may or may not be directly linked in the formal sense to the safety of the food for human consumption, but nonetheless can lead to complaints, withdrawals, recalls or other costly remedies.
Best practices dictate that food packaging converters or suppliers apply a continuous improvement approach to their food safety and suitability control process.  Therefore, I offer the following general strategies for beginning the continuous improvement process:
•Communicate with customers in order to get a sense of their supplier food safety and suitability audit expectations, specifically what food and/or packaging safety program or criteria.
•Obtain a copy of client targeted food and packaging safety program expectation manual(s) and review with an expert in order to fully understand how the requirements and best practices relate to your facilities and organizations ability to intake, convert and dispense materials deemed “safe” by an independent auditor.
•Perform an internal HARPC or HACCP-based risk analysis comparing expectations against performance after digesting the individual sections of your clients’ food safety expectations. Prioritize those systems or processes where non-conformance with expectations or obvious gaps in the “observe and control” process leaves the organization open to liability. Examples include food packaging supplier’s failure to audit their own internal facilities or incoming products for physical, chemical or microbiological contamination or the failure of a converter or distributor to implement best practices-driven procurement processes for identifying and certifying approved suppliers of incoming goods against their ability to meet comprehensive material specifications.
The above activities require championing and commitment.  The rewards are in the application of continuous food safety program improvement and a demonstration to internal and external supply chain members that packaging materials quality, safety and suitability is a high priority and that your organization is committed to meet or exceed global safety standards.
Whether compliance has to be accomplished immediately or longer term, the advice is the same: Keep working at it!












Internet Journal of Food Safety (Operated by FoodHACCP)
[2015] Current Issues

Vol 17.64-74
Sanitation and Hygiene Meat Handling Practices in Small and Medium Enterprise butcheries in Kenya - Case Study of Nairobi and Isiolo Counties
Sharon Chepkemoi, Peter Obimbo Lamuka, George Ooko Abong’ and Joseph Matofari

Vol 17.25-31
Combined Effect Of Disinfectant And Phage On The Survivality Of S. Typhimurium And Its Biofilm Phenotype
Mudit Chandra, Sunita Thakur, Satish S Chougule, Deepti Narang, Gurpreet Kaur and N S Sharma

Vol 17.21-24
Quality analysis of milk and milk products collected from Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Shalini Singh, Vinay Chandel, Pranav Soni

Vol 17.10-20
Functional and Nutraceutical Bread prepared by using Aqueous Garlic Extract
H.A.R. Suleria, N. Khalid, S. Sultan, A. Raza, A. Muhammad and M. Abbas

Vol 17.6-9
Microbiological Assessment of Street Foods of Gangtok And Nainital, Popular Hill Resorts of India
Niki Kharel, Uma Palni and Jyoti Prakash Tamang

Vol 17.1-5
Assessment of the Microbial Quality of Locally Produced Meat (Beef and Pork) in Bolgatanga Municipal of Ghana
Innocent Allan Anachinaba, Frederick Adzitey and Gabriel Ayum Teye

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