June 29, 2016

Gillibrand, Slaughter, DeLauro, Feinstein to USDA: Revise Pathogen Testing

The USDA must revise poultry pathogen testing methods to improve accuracy and better protect public health, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Dianne Feinstein and Representatives Rosa Luisa DeLauro and Louise Slaughter said in a letter to USDA Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack. The group penned the letter after learning from a recent report that antibacterial sanitizers used to kill pathogens on poultry carcasses may cause false-negative results for Salmonella. “We have to be vigilant when it comes to monitoring the safety of our food. This report is a reminder of the importance of good and efficient oversight when it comes to maintaining a safe food supply.” said Sen. Gillibrand, (D- NY). “We should never be placed in the position to question testing results in our poultry. The USDA … [Read more...]

FDA Targets Internet Sales of Illegal Prescription Meds

The FDA, in partnership with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies, took action in June against 4,402 websites that illegally sell potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription drugs to U.S. consumers. The effort, led by INTERPOL, was part of Operation Pangea IX. George Karavetsos, director of the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, said, "preventing illegal internet sales of dangerous unapproved drugs is critical to protecting consumers' health. Operation Pangea IX demonstrates the FDA's continuing commitment to stand united with our international partners to protect consumers in the United States and throughout the world from criminals who put profit above the health and safety of consumers." The action ran from May 31 to June 7, 2016. Extensive … [Read more...]

New Research Reduces Salmonella in Meat by 90%

New research conducted at the University of Nevada, Reno in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources has reduced Salmonella bacteria in meat products by 90%. Assistant Professor Amilton de Mello is using bacteriophages, which are natural predators of the microorganisms. Professor de Mello said, "we were able to reduce Salmonella by as much as 90% in ground poultry, ground pork, and ground beef. We're excited to be able to show such good results. Food safety is an important part of our work and Salmonella is one of the most prevalent bacteria in the nation's food supply." Salmonella food poisoning sickens one million Americans every year, hospitalizes 19,000 and kills almost 400. It is one of the most common causes of food poisoning worldwide. The … [Read more...]

FDA Wants to Reduce Sodium in the Food Supply

The FDA is planning to reduce sodium in the food supply. The link between sodium consumption and blood pressure is well documented. Most people need to reduce their sodium consumption to less than 2,300 mg per day. And most of that consumption, about 75%, comes from processed and prepared foods, not the salt shaker. Some companies have reduced sodium in their products, but many foods still contain a lot of salt. On average, Americans consume 3,400 mg of sodium every day, more than 50% above the recommended limit. Children also eat more than is recommended. Most children consume from 2,900 mg a day, and teenagers consume 3,700 mg per day. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. A lower sodium intake is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular … [Read more...]

Food Safety Issues Prompt FDA Warning Letter to Whole Foods North Atlantic Kitchen

Food safety violations at the Whole Foods North Atlantic Kitchen in Everett, Mass. are serious enough that food made there is considered adulterated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told the company in a warning letter dated June 8, 2016. Among the agency's finding at the facility was a positive tests for non-pathogenic Listeria on food contact surfaces.  The finding shows conditions inside the facility would support the presence and growth of Listeria monocytogenes, a pathogen, the agency said. Under the Food and Drug Act, foods are considered adulterated if they "were prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health." In addition to finding non-pathogenic Listeria, the agency found: food was … [Read more...]

Flaws Found in Seafood Traceability Rule

Oceana released a report last week revealing shortfalls in the Obama administration's proposed traceability rule to address seafood fraud in this country. The rule does not increase transparency for most of the seafood sold in the U.S. Oceana believes it should be expanded to include all seafood through the full supply chain. Seafood fraud is any illegal activity that misrepresents seafood at the market. Mislabeling can hide illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU) that depletes fisheries, threatens wildlife on the brink of extinction, and stresses the ocean's ecosystems. It also cheats consumers and may hurt people who buy mislabeled products and are allergic to them. Antibiotics and pesticides may be used in industrial farming operations, but seafood may be labeled as … [Read more...]

Washington Beaches Closed to Shellfish Harvesting Because of DSP

Beaches in Washington state have been closed to shellfish harvesting because officials have found okadaic acid, which causes Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison (DSP), in some tested shellfish. The toxin was found at unsafe levels in shellfish samples taken as part of routine sampling. The closure covers clams, oysters, mussels, geoduck, and scallops. The toxin is produced by naturally occurring algae called the dinoflagellate Dinophysis. Shellfish are filter feeders, pumping water through their systems and filtering out and eating algae and other particles. The shellfish eat these algae and retain the toxin in their flesh. All species of shellfish can accumulate this toxin. The beaches run from Three Tree Point south to the Pierce County line, and including Des Moines Marina Park, … [Read more...]

Study Finds E. coli Can Survive High Cooking Temperatures

Food Poisoning Bulletin has been telling you for years to cook ground meat, especially ground beef, to a minimum temperature of 160°F to kill any pathogenic bacteria that may be present in the meat. Now a new study conducted at the University of Alberta's Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science Center has found that some E. coli bacteria are not destroyed by cooking ground beef to 160°F, the temperature recommended by the CFIA and the USDA. Not all strains of E. coli are dangerous to human health, but some, the so-called STEC bacteria, can cause kidney failure and death. E. coli O121, E. coli O157:H7, and other strains of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli cause millions of illnesses, thousands of hospitalizations, and dozens of deaths every year. Food … [Read more...]

Hawaii Restaurant Issued Cease and Desist Order

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Wastewater Branch has issued a Notice of Violation, Permit Suspension and Order to the Haleiwa Beach House Restaurant because its wastewater system is causing "an imminent threat to public health" by spilling wastewater onto a neighboring property used by children for educational purposes. Stuart Yamada, Environmental Management Division administrator said in a statement, "to protect public health and the environment and prevent the contamination of neighboring properties caused by the overloading of the restaurant's wastewater system, the department is ordering the Haleiwa Beach House to cease operation." The restaurant expanded without state and county approvals, so their system can't handle the expanded capacity of the … [Read more...]

Consent Decree Issued Against Native American Enterprises

The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas entered a consent decree of permanent injunction last week between the United States and Native American Enterprises of Wichita, Kansas. The action was brought for "significant and ongoing violations of federal food safety laws and regulations." The government alleges that the company's ready to eat refried beans and sauces are adulterated, in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under unsanitary conditions so the food is contaminated with filth or has been rendered injurious to health. The company can no longer sell any FDA regulated products until it comes into compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The company was sent a warning letter in August 2013, telling the owners to correct its violations or … [Read more...]

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