April 18, 2014

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...]

California Warns Consumers Not to Eat Anchovies, Sardines, Crab


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...]

Another Update on Hepatitis A Vaccinations in Cabarrus County, NC


A hepatitis A alert has been issued by the Cabarrus Health Alliance, after a manager at the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant at 8016 Cambridge Commons Drive, Suite B in Charlotte, North Carolina, was diagnosed with the illness. Anyone who ate at the restaurant between March 24 and April 7, 2014 should be vaccinated against the virus. The vaccine is only effective if given within 14 days of exposure. If you ate there before March 29, 2014 and have not been vaccinated, you must monitor yourself for the symptoms of hepatitis A and go to a doctor if you get sick. Those symptoms include nausea, fever, diarrhea, light-colored stool, dark-colored urine, tiredness, loss of appetite, yellow eyes and skin (jaundice), and abdominal cramps. Anyone with a pre-existing liver condition could become … [Read more...]

Shellfish Irradiation To Reduce Food Poisoning Gets FDA Nod


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of ionizing radiation to kill foodborne pathogens on crustacean shellfish and extend their shelf life. The April 11 decision is in response to a food additive petition submitted by the National Fisheries Institute 13 years ago. The decision will allow processors of crustaceans including crab, shrimp, lobster, crayfish, and prawns use small amounts of ionizing radiation to reduce, but not eliminate, dangerous foodborne bacteria such as E.coli, Vibrio and Listeria.  The maximum permitted dose is 6.0 kiloGray. The rule covers shellfish sold raw, frozen, shelled, dried, cooked and partially cooked. It also covers crustaceans processed with spices or a small number of other ingredients. Irradiation has been approved for use on … [Read more...]

New Bill Would Repeal State GMO Labeling Laws


A bill introduced in Congress yesterday would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sole authority to require labeling of genetically modified foods, overturning state laws that require such labeling.  The bill, introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo  (R-Kansas) and G. K. Butterfield  (D- North Carolina,) is named the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014” (HR 4432) but has been quickly dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act by consumer groups.  The bill's authors say that genetically modified crops are safe, require less water and pesticides and can better feed the growing global population. They also maintain that such a law would spare farmers and other food producers the expense of complying with a patchwork of state laws that could mislead consumers and raise … [Read more...]

FDA Publishes Guidance Document for Honey Labeling


The FDA is cracking down on honey labeling, issuing a guidance document that will require companies to label honey that is not 100% honey as "blend of sugar and honey" or "blend of honey and corn syrup". The American Beekeeping Federation and other honey associations have been advocating for this change for years. That organization submitted a citizen petition in 2006 asking that the FDA adopt a U.S. standard of identify for honey. Often products that are labeled as "honey" contain other sweeteners, which some believe is food fraud. Honey is made of glucose and fructose, along with minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Honey has antiseptic an antibacterial properties and is a natural anti-inflammatory, while sugar is considered inflammatory. In addition, products … [Read more...]

New Study Finds Illegal Seafood Imported Into U.S.


A new study published in Marine Policy estimates that between 20 and 32% of wild-caught seafood imported into this country comes from illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (IUU), also called "pirate" fishing. These illegal imports are valued between $1.3 and $2.1 billion, in a $16 billion market. Pirate fishermen fish in closed areas, during prohibited fishing times, and use illegal gear to catch threatened species. Since 85% of our commercial stocks are fished "up to their biological limits or beyond" according to the report, IUU threatens the sustainable use of our oceans. Fishing in the oceans needs to be regulated to maintain the sustainability of the waters. Illegal fish products are mixed into supply chains when they are processed, which further muddies the situation. The … [Read more...]

One Year After Salmonella Outbreak, More Problems For Nevada’s Firefly

Restaurant Food Poisoning

One year after a Salmonella outbreak was linked to its Las Vegas location, Firefly Tapas Kitchen and Bar in Henderson, Nevada has been cited by health inspectors for some of the same food safety violations found at the Las Vegas restaurant at the time of the outbreak. Inspectors from the Southern Nevada Health District gave Firefly 38 demerits on a March 31 inspection, three short of triggering a mandatory closure. The violations included inadequate hand washing facilities, improper hand washing practices by food handlers; food that was not heated or cooled to the proper temperature and foods that were spoiled, unwholesome or adulterated. These violations were also discovered at the Las Vegas location prior to the outbreak. The 38 demerits translated to a C rating from inspectors. … [Read more...]

CA State Senator Drafts Bill To Curb Seafood Fraud


Citing reports of widespread seafood mislabeling,California State Senator Alex Padilla has drafted a bill aimed at curbing seafood fraud and improving consumer choice. SB 1138, which would make it illegal to knowingly sell mislabeled seafood, is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Health Committee this afternoon. In a press conference announcing the bill, Padilla cited a recent Oceana survey that revealed Southern California leads the nation in mislabeled fish. The survey found fish mislabeled in: 84 percent of sushi samples in Southern California;  58 percent of restaurants in Northern California; 52 percent of all fish in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; 27 percent of grocery stores visited in Northern California. Seafood mislabeling puts consumers at risk when they think they are … [Read more...]

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