May 22, 2015

After Stoppage for Salmonella, Raw Milk Sales Resume at Breezy Meadows


Raw milk sales have resumed at Breezy Meadows Dairy, after a temporary stoppage due to a positive test for Salmonella. The dairy is located in Bird in Hand, Pa. On April 7, raw milk sales were halted after a sample taken by the agriculture department tested positive for Salmonella. Consumers were advised not to drink milk sold from the farm's on-site store from April 7 to April 15 in unlabeled gallon and half-gallon plastic containers. At the time production was halted, no illnesses had been reported in connection with consumption of the milk. But Salmonella can cause serious illness. Symptoms of an infection, called salmonellosis, usually appear within 12 to 72 hours after consumption and include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and vomiting. These can last up to a week. In some … [Read more...]

FDA Publishes Draft Guidance on Mandatory Recall Authority


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published draft guidance for industry on mandatory food recall authority. The draft contains nonbonding recommendations. The mandatory food recall provisions are part of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). Section 423 of the FD&C Act gives authority to the government to order a responsible party to recall food when FDA determines there is a reasonable probability that the food is adulterated or misbranded, and that use of the food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. Before FSMA was enacted, FDA had to rely on corporations to voluntarily recall food products. This authority lets FDA force a recall when the responsible party chooses not to conduct a voluntary recall. The items that fall … [Read more...]

WHO Finds Glyphosate “Probably Carcinogenic”

In March, scientists organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that the herbicide glyphosate, which is an active ingredient in Round-Up, is "probably carcinogenic to humans." Food and Water Watch, along with the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) are calling for an end to the U.S. backed program that sprays glyphosate on coca fields in Columbia. Adam Isaacson, senior associate for regional security policy at WOLA said, "there is now proof that the sprayings of glyphosate represent an unacceptable risk to the public. This has critical implications for a program that has been a cornerstone of U.S. drug policy in Colombia." The herbicide has been sprayed over more than 4 million acres in that country over the past 20 years. Glyphosate was considered safe for humans … [Read more...]

Whole Genome Sequencing Finds Much More Listeria

Kansas Blue Bell Listeria Lawsuit

Two years ago, scientists at the CDC launched a pilot program to sequence the DNA of every Listeria monocytogenes bacteria sample tied to an illness in this country. As a result, many more outbreaks are being identified, including ones that were hidden. Brendan Jackson, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC told Science that "now that we're turning whole-genome sequencing on, we're identifying outbreak after outbreak." The outbreaks are also originating in foods that are usually associated with foodborne illness outbreaks, such as ice cream and caramel apples. This new method identifies gaps in the food safety system and may lead to more testing of foods that were not suspects in outbreaks before now. The deadly Blue Bell Listeria monocytogenes outbreak, that has sickened 10 people … [Read more...]

FDA Warns of Raw Milk Dangers


Raw milk can contain dangerous bacteria such as E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria and Campylobacter that can cause serious illness, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency advises that  consumers drink only pasteurized milk and eat only pasteurized cheeses. Soft cheeses such as queso fresco are frequent sources of food poisoning outbreaks.  In 2013, unpasteurized queso fresco contaminated with Salmonella sickened 13 people in Minneapolis.  Eleven people were diagnosed with confirmed cases. Eight people were hospitalized. Children are disproportionately affected by raw milk outbreaks and more likely than adults to suffer severe illness. In October 2014,  an E. coli outbreak in Kentucky  sickened five children, four of whom are hospitalized with hemolytic … [Read more...]

Research Project To Study Improved Salmonella Detection


USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation announce the completion of a research project at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, which developed a rapid detection assay for Salmonella that may be used in U.S. poultry processing plants. Salmonella contamination on poultry has been a huge problem in U.S. facilities, as evidence by the large Salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken processing plants last year. The method detects and quantifies viable Salmonella servers in poultry carcasses without selective enrichment. The researchers found that growth of Salmonella occurred on Luria Bertani broth than on selective enrichment. Using nonselective media that supports the rapid growth of this bacteria greatly cuts assay time. The project "provides potential reliable and rapid … [Read more...]

USDA Says COOL Doesn’t Benefit Consumers


Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) doesn't provide benefits to consumers, according to the USDA's chief economist. A report from the USDA was sent to Congress last Friday, May 1, 2015. The report was mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill. The report states that "In terms of consumers, USDA's regulatory impact analyses concluded that while there is evidence of consumer interest in COOL information, measurable economic benefits from mandatory COOL would be small. USDA's regulatory impact analyses also found little evidence that consumers are likely to increase their purchased of food items bearing U.S.-origin labels." However, the report did recognize the interest in labeling based on the consumer's right to know what they are purchasing. The World Trade Organization has ruled against the … [Read more...]

Salmonella Paratyphi Can Cause Serious Illness


Salmonella paratyphi can cause paratyphoid fever, an illness similar to typhoid fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Humans are the only source of these bacteria which causes severe illness. In the U.S., typhoid and paratyphoid fever are not as common as they are in other parts of the world. About 6 million cases of paratyphoid fever are reported worldwide each year, of those only about 100 are in the U.S. The risk is elevated in East and Southeast Asia, Africa, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The highest risk is associated with travel to southern Asia.  Symptoms, which can take between six to 30 days to develop, include gradually increasing fatigue and a fever, headache and a rash on the trunk of the body. Anyone experiencing these … [Read more...]

Senators Urge Full Food Safety Funding After Blue Bell Outbreak

Capitol Building, Architect of the Capitol

U.S. Senators urge full funding of the Food Safety Modernization Act after the deadly Blue Bell Listeria monocytogenes outbreak and the recall of potentially contaminated pasta salad at Hy-Vee stores across the Midwest. FSMA has been underfunded by less than half the amount it needs for full implementation since it was signed into law four years ago. The Senators include Brian Schatz (D-HI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The letter states, in part, "The Food Safety Modernization Act was enacted to bring our nation's food safety system into the 21st century by enabling our agencies to prevent food contamination rather than reacting once illnesses have occurred. Prevention is … [Read more...]

CFA Analyzes USDA Meat and Poultry Inspection Program


The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) has released an in-depth analysis of the USDA's primary meat and poultry food safety regulation program. That program was implemented after the 1993 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to undercooked burgers at Jack in the Box restaurants. The report, called "The Promise and Problems of HACCP: A Review of USDA's Approach to Meat and Poultry Safety" looks at the history of the program and identifies gaps. Two examples are: plants fail to develop effective food safety plans, and the USDA fails to identify problems with those plans; and plants are repeatedly cited for recurring violations with very little consequences. CFA is recommending that the government develop better approaches to reviewing food safety plans. Plants should be required to … [Read more...]

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