April 15, 2014

FDA Issues Final Guidance for Import Refusal of Ackee

Ackee Can be Toxic

The FDA has issued final guidance on import enforcement for ackee, a fruit that contains the toxin hypoglycin A. When the fruit is fully ripe, the toxin drops to negligible levels, but if the fruit isn't ripe or if it isn't properly processed to remove the seeds and rind, concentrations of hypoglycin A can rise about 100 parts per million and become a health risk. The FDA now has the authority to seize domestic product and to refuse imports. Ackee is a tropical fruit about four inches long. When immature, it is green. A mature fruit is yellow, with an overlay of bright red with three bulging seams. The fleshy, pale yellow arils inside are the edible part. Ackee is found in West Africa, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. It is also found in Florida. The fruit is … [Read more...]

New Device Sniffs Out Decomposing Food

Nose

A new device called PERES can tell if your food is rotting. Please note that this device does not detect pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella; it just detects volatile organic compounds that decaying or decomposing beef, pork, and poultry gives off. The device has four sensors to check temperature, humidity, ammonia, and volatile organic compounds. Bluetooth technology transmits data to a smartphone or tablet, which displays results. Most food that is rotten or not fresh can be detected with a keen sense of smell. Pathogenic bacteria do not emit any type of gas or odor and food contaminated with Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria will not smell, look, or taste bad. If you don't have a good sense of smell, this device may be a good investment. But it won't help protect … [Read more...]

At Easter, Keep Cats Away from Lilies, Dogs Away from Chocolate

Cat and Dog

We cover food safety for animals at Food Poisoning Bulletin. The FDA is concerned bout them too, so are issuing a warning for cat and dog lovers about things that are common for Easter celebrations. Make sure that all member of your family stay safe. For humans, read our post about food safety and Easter eggs. White lilies, a common household plant, are very toxic to cats. (Tiger lilies, day lilies, and lily of the valley are toxic to dogs.) Make sure, if you choose to have any for your house, that your cat does not eat or touch any part of the plants. The entire plant, including leaf, pollen, and flower, is toxic. Symptoms of lily toxicity in cats include lethargy, vomiting, and loss of appetite. These symptoms will begin within a few minutes of eating any part of the plant. Kidney … [Read more...]

FDA’s Plan to Allow Ionizing Radiation in Crustaceans Criticized

Radurasymbol

The FDA is amending food additive regulations to allow the "safe use of ionizing radiation on crustaceans" to control foodborne pathogens and extend shelf life. The petition to allow this method of controlling pathogens was submitted by the National Fisheries Institute. The government agency says the decision is based on potential toxicity, the effect of irradiation on nutrients and potential microbiological risk that may result from treating the fish. Crustaceans include crab, shrimp, lobster, crayfish, and prawns. Ionizing radiation is used to treat cancer patients and in X-rays and CT scans. At the maximum dose of 6.0 kiloGray, the treatment will "reduce, but not entirely eliminate" the number of pathogenic microorganisms on crustaceans. The update does state that "irradiation is … [Read more...]

Research at Texas A&M Studies E. coli on Leafy Vegetables

FPBspinach

Research at Texas A&M is looking at E. coli contamination on leafy vegetables.  The research looks at how the likelihood that a crop will be contaminated by E. coli before harvest is strongly influenced by both farm management and environmental factors. The study is published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Contaminated produce is the most common source of food poisoning in this country. Between 1998 and 2008, of the 68,000 food poisoning illnesses that were assigned to one of the 17 food commodities, 13% were associated with leafy greens. And the number of illnesses caused by leafy greens is increasing, from 6% in 1999 to 11 percent in 2008. The study, led by Dr. Renata Ivanek,  cross-referenced environmental data with information from farms in several … [Read more...]

FSIS Administrator Misinterpreted NIOSH Line-Speed Study

Chickencarcass

John Howard, director of the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), sent a letter to Al Almanza, FSIS administrator last week, telling him that the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service misinterpreted findings of a NIOSH study evaluating worker safety vis a vis increased line speeds at poultry processing plants. That study looked at worker injuries and disorders and waivers of line-speed restrictions at a Pilgrim's Pride plant. Poultry plant line workers use a combination of "highly repetitive and forceful movements that places employees at an increased risk for upper extremity WMSDs (work related musculoskeletal disorders)." NIOSH conducted an evaluation of employees who worked at the plant that was granted a waiver for regulatory line speeds under the … [Read more...]

Kitchen Cutting Boards Harbor Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Cutting Board

A new study published in the Journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology found that kitchen cutting boards can become contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria from raw meat. Researchers at the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland looked at 154 cutting boards before they were washed from the hospital and 44 from private homes after they were used to prepare pork, beef, veal, lamb, game, or fish. In addition, kitchen gloves worn during meat preparation were tested. The scientists discovered that 6.5% of the hospital cutting boards and 3.5% of the household cutting boards used to prepare poultry tested positive for "multidrug-resistant E. coli bacteria." None of the boards used for meat other than poultry dated positive. Fifty percent of the gloves were contaminated … [Read more...]

Hepatitis A Exposure at Restaurant in Nyack, NY

Hepatitis A Virus

Seems like it's the season for hepatitis A. A confirmed case of acute hepatitis A has been identified in a food handler at the La Fontana restaurant in Nyack, New York. Anyone who ate there between March 19 and April 1, 2014 may have been exposed to hepatitis A. The County of Rockland Department of Health is recommending that everyone who ate at the restaurant on March 29, March 30, or April 1, 2014 receive a vaccination. The vaccination is about 80% to 90% effective. The Rockland County Department of Health is offering free vaccines to patrons and employees of the restaurant on Sunday, April 13, 2014 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and Monday, April 14, 2014 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Rockland County Fire Training Center at 35 Firemens Memorial Drive in Pomona. Unfortunately, for … [Read more...]

Bonicki’s Outbreak Caused by Clostridium Perfringens

Sports bar

The foodborne illness outbreak at Bonicki's Sports Bistro at 1891 East Apple Avenue in Muskegon, Michigan was caused by Clostridium perfringens bacteria in improperly stored food, according to Public Health - Muskegon County. People started getting ill after eating at the restaurant in early April.  The restaurant is open for business. Clostridium perfringens is found in soil, sediment, and the intestines of people and animals. The bacteria grows when foods are served after improper storage or held at inadequate storage temperatures. C. perfringens poisoning is one of the most commonly reported foodborne illnesses in the United States. At least six people who ate at the restaurant between April 3 and April 6, 2014 were sickened. Those sickened experienced symptoms of abdominal … [Read more...]

California Warns Consumers Not to Eat Anchovies, Sardines, Crab

Anchovies

The California Department of Public Health is warning consumers not to eat commercially or recreationally caught anchovies or sardines or the internal organs of crab from Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been found in some of these species and could be found in other species. Domoic acid is produced by phytoplankton, a type of algae, and accumulates in shellfish, sardines and anchovies. It is a biotoxin that affects the brain. Several people have died over the years and may others have become permanently disabled with brain damage after eating domoic acid contaminated seafood. The first reported outbreak of domoic acid poisoning was in 1987 at Prince Edward Island, Canada. Three people died and more than 100 were sickened in that outbreak after … [Read more...]

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