April 18, 2015

Death of Girl, 4, Spurs Mandatory E.coli Tetsing Bill in Orgeon

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Serena Profitt, age 4, died last summer of E. coli poisoning. A bill introduced in the Oregon House, HB 3540, hopes to prevent similar tragedies. Health authorities believe Serena and her friend, Brad Sutton, 5, both contracted E.coli infections from the same source, but they never identified it. Bradley was hospitalized and survived, but help for Serena came too late. The children both became ill over Labor Day weekend last year experiencing bloody diarrhea. Serena’s family brought her to the hospital twice but she was sent home each time without being tested for E. coli. Serena's symptoms persisted, so the Profitts brought her to a different hospital where she was admitted going into shock and kidney failure. She died two days later after suffering a stroke and a massive … [Read more...]

Preventing Listeriosis During Pregnancy

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Pregnant women are at elevated risk for listerioisis, one of the deadliest kinds of food poisoning, and the complications can be tragic. Among pregnant women, Listeria infections can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and in newborns, infection or death. Symptoms, which can take as long as 70 days after exposure to develop, include fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea and upset stomach. Most pregnant women are 10 times more likely than the general population to contract listeriosis. For pregnant women who are Hispanic, the risk is 24 times higher. Some of that increased risk is attributed to food choices like Mexican-style soft cheeses. For all women, avoiding certain foods during pregnancy is the best way to reduce the risk of listeriosis. According to the Centers … [Read more...]

Decosters Sentenced to Jail in 2010 Salmonella Egg Outbreak

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The owners of Quality Egg LLC, dba Wright County Egg, which produced eggs linked to a massive Salmonella outbreak in 201o, are going to face jail time for their role. Jack DeCoster and Peter DeCoster are going to serve three months in prison for introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The DeCosters both pleaded guilty last year. After the jail time, they will serve a year of probation and must pay $100,000 each. Quality Egg must pay $6.79 million and was placed on probation for three years. The sentence was handed down April 13, 2015 in Sioux City, Iowa by U.S. District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett in the Northern District of Iowa. That outbreak sickened almost 2,000 people across the United States. More than 500,000,000 eggs were recalled nationwide as a result of this … [Read more...]

FDA Releases 2012 NARMS Retail Meat Annual Report

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The FDA has released two reports that measure antimicrobial resistance in certain bacteria isolated from raw meat and poultry. The data is collected through the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS). The 2012 Retail Meat Report summarizes key findings in bacterial resistance related to raw chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, and pork chops collected at retail stores around the country. The 2013 Retail Meat Interim Report is also being released today, which focuses only on Salmonella. These reports detail antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, and Enterococcus. The reports find that there was a decrease in third-generation cephalosporin resistance amount poultry meats in 2012 and 2013, although current cephalosporin resistance levels are … [Read more...]

MN DNR Offers Advice for Turkey Hunters Re Avian Flu

Wild Turkeys

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released guidance for turkey hunters in the areas where turkey farms have experienced outbreaks of avian flu. The disease has not been found in wild turkeys yet, but on the eve of the season, hunters must take care to avoid potentially spreading the virus. Wild turkeys are susceptible to the virus. There is only a low risk to humans, but people should still avoid contact with wild birds. Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program supervisor with the DNR said in a statement, "turkey hunters can take steps to minimize the risk of spreading HPAI, and they can be excellent scouts in helping identify wild birds like raptors or turkeys that could have been affected." The highly pathogenic avian influence H5N2 (HPAI) has been found … [Read more...]

Now 14 Turkey Farms in MN Diagnosed with Bird Flu

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Fourteen turkey farms in Minnesota, and an egg-laying facility in Wisconsin, have now been confirmed with the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza, or bird flu. The 14th farm was confirmed today. At leasts 900,000 turkeys in the state have been euthanized as a result of this outbreak. No human infections with the virus have ben detected at this time. The newly affected flocks are in Kandiyohi County, Cottonwood County, Lyon County, Stearns County, and Watonwan County. These farms have been quarantined, meaning movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment has been restricted. The flocks will be euthanized, and the region will be monitored. The farms will be disinfected, and tested until the farms are confirmed to be free of the virus. In Wisconsin, the USDA has confirmed that … [Read more...]

Consumer Food Handling Leads to Cross-Contamination

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A new peer-reviewed article by Jeannie Sneed, et al, published in Food Protection Trends says that consumer food handling practices lead to cross-contamination. Although outbreaks that sicken multiple persons are usually linked to mass produced foods or restaurants, about 9 to 15% of most foodborne illnesses occur in the home. The study looked at the "Food Safe Families" clean and separate messages and to determine the impact of external safe food handling cues. One hundred-twenty-three parents who were between 20 and 45 years of ago, who prepared four or more meals at home each week, and had at least one child less than 13 years old in the home were studied. Two experimental groups were educated about safe food handling; one through traditional food safety messages, the other through … [Read more...]

FDA: Food Poisoning Outbreaks Are Increasing

Litigation on behalf of Listeria Caramel Apple Victims

Food poisoning outbreaks are on the rise, according to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  And their scope can be be much larger today than ever before. Better detection is one reason for the increase in the number of outbreaks reported annually, but another is the globalization of the food supply, the agency said in report it put together for Public Health Week. In the report, the agency describes how  it does its job and the challenges it faces. Because of the way our system getting food from farm to table has changed, outbreaks can happen in widely separated areas making them difficult to detect. In the caramel apple Listeria outbreak, for example, 35 cases were reported from 12 states- a block of seven states sharing borders in the Southwest: Arizona, California, … [Read more...]

EWG Launches Petition to Remove Propyl Paraben

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Environmental Working Group (EWG) has launched a petition to remove propyl paraben, an endocrine disruptor, from the country's food. This ingredient is in 49 processed foods, including Sara Lee cinnamon rolls, Weight Watchers cakes, Energy Club nuts and chocolate blend, Entenmann's Coconut Crunch Donuts, Setton Farms' trail mix, and La Banderita corn tortillas. Propyl paraben is on EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives. The FDA has listed propyl paraben as GRAS, or "generally recognized as safe." But there is evidence that propyl paraben disrupts the endocrine system, which regulates metabolism, sexual function, sleep, reproduction, and mood. A 2010 study at the CDC found that 92.7% of Americans tested had propyl paraben in their urine. Researchers at the Tokyo Metropolitan … [Read more...]

BMPEA, Ingredient in Dietary Supplements, Never Studied

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A new study published in Analytical Chemistry has revealed that an ingredient common in many dietary supplements, weight loss supplements, and workout supplements has never been studied for safety and efficacy in human beings. The ingredient is called β-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA). It is chemically almost identical to amphetamines, so it is called an amphetamine isomer. Canadian health officials pulled supplements that contain BMPEA from store shelves in December 2014. But in the U.S., the FDA has said that the stimulant "does not identify a specific safety concern at this time." Many scientists disagree. In the United States, the multi-billion-dollar supplement industry is not well regulated. In fact, what is in the dietary supplement you buy doesn't always match the ingredient … [Read more...]

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