July 31, 2015

E. coli Sickened Seven Sacramento County Children in June

Seven Sacramento County children were sickened with E. coli in June.  A source of the illnesses was not identified but three who were hospitalized were treated and released. Symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhea that can be bloody and vomiting. Symptoms usually develop within three days of exposure and last up to a week. The three children who were hospitalized had developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) a complication that develops in a small percentage of pediatric E. coli cases. HUS can cause kidney failure, seizure, stroke and coma. Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Laura McCasland told Food Poisoning Bulletin today that food from restaurants and grocery stores, raw milk from herd shares and contact with … [Read more...]

Less Than Half of Consumers Wash Hands After Handling Eggs

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A new study published in the Journal of Food Protection has found that only 48% of consumers wash their hands after handling raw eggs. Eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, and that food-pathogen combination sickens thousands of Americans every year. Researchers were from RTI International, Tennessee State University, and Kansas State University. The study was partially funded by the Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. A 2013 web survey of 1,504 adult grocery shoppers was conducted. Based on self-reported data, most consumers store eggs in the fridge, as recommended, for no more than 3 to 5 weeks, as recommended.But after cracking eggs, 48.1% of respondents washed their hands with soap and water. And more than half of respondents … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch Wants SEC To Reject GMO Salmon Stock Filings

Food & Water Watch has called on the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to reject the stock registration filings of AquaBounty Technologies (ABTX), the maker of genetically engineered salmon, based on "misleading and erroneous claims the company is making in its attempt to join the NASDAQ stock exchange." The letter asks the SEC to make AquaBounty revise their document, since new scientific evidence allegedly shows GMO salmon do not grow as quickly as AquaBounty claims, and that the fish experience unique diseases. The letter was sent to Sean McKessy, Chief of the Office of the Whistleblower at the SEC. It claims that "omissions, errors, and false statements [were] found in Form 10 regulatory findings submitted to the SEC by AquaBounty Technologies." Wenonah Hauter, executive … [Read more...]

Brain Eating Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water

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Last Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals found the amoeba Naegleria fowleri in St. Bernard Parish water system at a leaking sampling station. This system provides water for 44,000 residents in that parish. Louisiana has a new public drinking water surveillance program and this testing is part of that program. On July 28, 2015, the DHH issued another report stating that the Naegleria fowler amoeba was found in the Ascension Consolidated Utility District 1, which serves 1,800 residents in a small community north of Donaldsonville. A 60-day chlorine burn will be conducted at that site as well. That water system was not in compliance with the requirements for chloramine disinfectant levels. Tap water is safe for residents to drink, but, do not let the water get in … [Read more...]

House of Representatives Passes DARK Act

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Center for Food Safety is expressing "deep disappointment" that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, a bill that will not allow state and local governments to label and regulate genetically engineered foods. The bill codifies a voluntary labeling system approach, blocks the FDA from ever implementing mandatory GE food label, and would let food companies make misleading claims about how "natural" GE foods are. The bill is officially named The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. But opponents have dubbed it Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety said in a statement, "passage of this bill is an attempt by Monsanto and its agribusiness cronies to crush the democratic … [Read more...]

New Research Uses UVC Light on Fruits to Kill Pathogens

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New research conducted at Washington State University has found that ultraviolet C (UVC) light can kill foodborne pathogens on the surface of some fruits. This technology may be a good alternative for organic fruit processors who don't want to use chemicals on their products and must comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) standards to help prevent outbreaks. The study was published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology. WSU food safety specialist Shyam Sablani and his colleagues decided to look at UVC light since it has a shorter wavelength than UVA or UVB light. Sablani said in a statement, "UVC radiation is present in sunlight; however, it is completely absorbed by the ozone layer and Earth's atmosphere. It has germicidal properties and can be effective … [Read more...]

Senators Introduce COOL Labeling Legislation

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U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Hoeven (R-ND) have introduced new bipartisan legislation to address country-of-origin labeling (COOL) following the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against the United States in May 2015. The legislation, called the Voluntary County of Origin Labeling (COOL) and Trade Enhancement Act of 2015 would comply with that ruling, and would put in place a voluntary label. This label would help consumers know where their food comes from and should confirmed with the WTO's ruling. The labels could say "Product of the U.S." Stabenow said in a statement, "Michigan farmers and ranchers take pride in raising the world's safest and most affordable foods, and parents in Michigan want to know as much as possible about what their kids are eating. If … [Read more...]

Study Links Meat to Klebsiella Pathogen

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A study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases links the Klebsiella pneumoniae pathogen to retail meat products for the first time. This bacteria can cause pneumonia when inhaled, and can cause urinary tract infections and infections in the lower biliary trace and in wounds. In the 2012 study, turkey, chicken, and pork meats were sampled from nine major grocery stores in Flagstaff, Arizona where clinical samples from sick people were screened for this bacteria. Ten percent of the 1,728 positive human samples and 47% of the 508 retail meat samples yielded the bacteria. Many of the strains were resistant to antibiotics. Whole genome sequencing found that the Klebsiella isolated from the meat products and the Klebsiella isolated from patients were nearly identical. In other words, … [Read more...]

Senator Durbin Vows to Continue Fight for FSMA Funding

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Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has called for providing the FDA with the funds it needs to fully implement the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). The Senate appropriations committee passed a bill that fell short of the monies needed. The vote was along party lines. Durbin said that the huge recall of Aspen Foods and Barber Foods that are linked to two Salmonella outbreaks in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma highlights the need for increased vigilance. "The food safety allocation in this bill falls short of what is needed to reduce foodborne illness in this country," he said in a statement. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that it will take $276 million in additional funding to properly implement FSMA. The President's budget requested an increase of 109.5 million … [Read more...]

Extreme Summer Weather Increases Salmonella Risk

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Extreme heat and rain increase the risk of Salmonella infections, according to a new study by Maryland researchers. The study, “Climate Change, Extreme Events and Increased Risk of Salmonellosis: Evidence for Coastal Vulnerability,” was published online June 18, 2015 in the journal Environment International by researchers from the University of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Chengsheng Jiang, Kristi Shaw, Crystal Upperman, David Blythe, Clifford Mitchell, Raghu Murtugudde, Amy Sapkota and Amir Sapkota. “We found that extremely hot days and periods of extreme rainfall are contributing to salmonella infections in Maryland, with the most dramatic impacts being seen in the coastal communities,” said Amir Sapkota, associate professor in the Maryland … [Read more...]

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