February 1, 2015

Judge Dismisses Challenge on EPA Factory Farm Data


In Minneapolis yesterday, a federal judge dismissed a challenge brought by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council against the EPA. Those groups wanted to block the EPA's ability to release public information about polluting factory farms to citizens and groups concerned about clean water. Food & Water Watch, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and the Environmental Integrity Project, represented by lawyers at the Government Accountability Project, intervened on behalf of citizens. EPA released documents in 2013 about the location, size, and ownership of thousands of industrial factory farms that are a significant source of pollution to streams, rivers, and bays across the country. These farms are largely unregulated and hidden from people … [Read more...]

White House Wants More Funding to Fight Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria


President Obama wants to increase federal funding to fight antibiotic resistant bacteria. The White House released a fact sheet this week detailing this investment to protect public health. The CDC estimates that every year at least 2,000,000 illnesses and 23,000 deaths are caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria in this country. These infections cost at least $20 billion in direct health-care costs and up to $35 billion in lost productivity and sick days. In September 2014, the President signed an Executive Order launching federal efforts to fight the increase in these bacteria, along with the National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. The President's FY 2016 Budget nearly doubles the amount of Federal funding for combating and preventing antibiotic resistance … [Read more...]

Safe Food Act of 2015 Introduced to Congress


Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Safe Food Act of 2015 to Congress today. The legislation would consolidate federal food safety activities into one independent agency called the Food Safety Administration. Durbin and DeLauro have introduced this legislation in 1999, 2004, 2005, and 2007. Currently, oversight of the nation's food supply is split up among 15 different agencies. The Act states that since the safety of the food supply is vital to the public health and the economy, and lapses in the protection of food supply damage consumers and the industry, the safety and security of the food supply requires an integrated, systemwide approach to preventing foodborne illness. DeLauro said in a statement, "Government has a responsibility … [Read more...]

Nails Found Inside Candy in Perry County, Tennessee


According to WSMV.com, the FDA is investigating product tampering after nails were found inside candy. A Baby Ruth candy bar and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups had nails inside them. They were sold at a Perry County, Tennessee convenience store. No employees are suspected in this product tampering. All of the stores' candy was opened and inspected by sheriff's deputies and employees have passed polygraph tests. Hershey company employees and delivery truck drivers have also been eliminated as suspects. Investigator think the tampering happened inside the store, but they don't know if an ex-employee or a customer put the nails in the candy. No injuries have been reported to date. Everyone who found a nail inside the candy spit it out before it was swallowed. If you have any information … [Read more...]

Paris Researchers Find Placental Breach Mechanism for Listeria


As the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks linked to recalled caramel apples made from Bidart brothers apples, and to Queseria Bendita cheese point out, pregnant women are very susceptible to these bacterial infections. In the caramel apple outbreak, ten pregnant women were sickened; one woman suffered a fetal loss. In the Queseria Bendita cheese outbreak, one infection was associated with a pregnancy. Scientists believe that the bacteria get into the placenta and hide from the mother's immune system, letting them multiple to dangerous levels. But the placental barrier usually acts as a barrier to bacteria. What makes Listeria different? Researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Paris have found that Listeria survives and grows within the intestinal lumen (channels in the … [Read more...]

Foster Farms Turkey Farm Has Bird Flu Outbreak


A Foster Farms turkey farm in California has been quarantined after the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu (bird flu) was discovered. The flu has been found in flocks in the Pacific Northwest. There was a spike in bird deaths at the Foster Farms facility. Foster Farms made news last year when their product was linked to a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections. In that outbreak, 634 people in 29 states were sickened. Almost 40% of patients were hospitalized, a rate much higher than usual in Salmonella outbreaks, because the seven outbreak strains of Salmonella were so resistant to antibiotics. The birds did not enter into commerce and the USDA says there is no risk to the general public. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the … [Read more...]

Hepatitis A Warning for Marj’s Village Kitchen in Ontario

Hepatitis A Virus

Marj's Village Kitchen in Alma, Ontario has closed after a hepatitis A warning from the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph health department. Anyone who ate at that restaurant between January 2 and January 20, 2015 has potentially been exposed to hepatitis A because an employee was diagnosed with the illness. The public health department is offering hepatitis A vaccinations as long as you visited the restaurant on or before January 13, 2014. The vaccine only works if received within two weeks of exposure. The sites are 160 Chancellors Way in Guelph; 180 Broadyway in Orangeville; and 474 Wellington Road #18, Suite 100, RR#1 in Fergus. Hepatitis A is a virus that causes liver infection. The symptoms usually begin 15 to 50 days after infection. The illness usually lasts for 3 to 6 weeks. … [Read more...]

Recalled Imported Pork Highlights Problems with TPP

Container Ship Food Imports

Food & Water Watch has sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, stating that the recent recall of 170,000 pounds of imported pork and nine other recent recalls highlights the fact that the Trans Atlantic Trade Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreements may be flawed and problematic for food safety concerns. Both of those agreements would expedite food imports into the United States from other countries. That recall this month was for pork from Denmark. The meat was not presented at the U.S. point of entry for inspection as the law requires. Food & Water Watch wrote to USDA about this problem last year, but states "the problem seems to be getting worse." USDA claims that the Public Health Information System (PHIS) and Customs and … [Read more...]

Research Discovers New Salmonella Serotype


Researchers at Texas Tech University's Department of Animal and Food Science have discovered a new serotype of Salmonella bacteria. It was confirmed by the Pasteur Institute in Paris, which has the international reference center for Salmonella. The new strain is called Salmonella Lubbock. Marie Bugarel, a research assistant professor at the University, discovered the bacteria. One of her mentors at the University, Dr. Guy Loneragan, said in a statement, "more important than the name, however, is that this discovery illustrates there is more that needs to be discovered about Salmonella and how it interacts with cattle populations. With this understanding will come awareness of how to intervene to break the ecological cycle and reduce Salmonella in animals and in beef, pork, and chicken … [Read more...]

Queseria Bendita Listeria Soft Cheese Recall Updated

Queseria Bendita Listeria Outbreak Cheese Recall

The recall of Queseria Bendita soft cheeses and sour cream for Listeria monocytogenes contamination has been updated to include ALL best by dates. Previously, all products with best by dates up to 4/16/15 were recalled. There is an outbreak associated with this recall; three people in Washington state were sickened with listeriosis. Two people were hospitalized, and one person died. One illness was associated with a pregnancy. The recalled products are packaged in clear plastic wrappers or plastic tubs, and the best by dates are stamp coded next to a label. The cheeses and sour cream have shelf lives of up to 90 days. The last date of distribution was January 15, 2015. That means consumers probably still have them in their homes. All best by dates are recalled. The recalled … [Read more...]

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