June 22, 2018

Dispelling Myths for Summer Food Safety

With the summer months approaching and Memorial Day just around the corner, Ben Chapman, a food safety researcher at North Carolina State University, is uncovering food safety myths for summer food safety. What do you need to know to stay safe food-wise this summer? One suspected culprit that many people suspect in summer food poisoning outbreaks is mayonnaise. But mayonnaise is not usually the issue. That product is made with acids that render the food inhospitable to bacteria. When someone thinks they got sick because of potato or chicken salad, it's not the mayonnaise. It's the potatoes or the chicken. In potato salad, the bacteria that most often make people sick are usually Staphylococcus aureus or Clostridium perfringens. Potatoes are a low-acid food. That means they are … [Read more...]

FDA Sends Warning Letter To Three Companies Selling Unapproved Kratom Products

The FDA is warning companies that sell illegal, unapproved kratom products marketed for opioid cessation, pain treatment, and other medical uses to stop. Three corporations were issued warning letters on May 22, 2018: Front Range Kratom of Aurora, Colorado; Kratom Spot of Irvine, California, and Revibe, Inc., of Kansas City, Missouri. The government states that those companies are illegally selling unapproved kratom-containing drug products and making unproven claims about their ability to help in the treatment of opioid addition and withdrawal. Other unproven claims the FDA alleges the companies are making including treating pain, lowering blood pressure, treating cancer, and reducing neuron damage caused by strokes. The FDA has repeatedly warned consumers that no kratom product … [Read more...]

Justice Department Files Complaint Against Food Distributors Euroline Foods and Royal Seafood Baza

The United States Department of Justice of the Eastern District of New York has filed a civil complaint in a federal court in Brooklyn, seeking to permanently enjoin Euroline Foods, LLC, and Royal Seafood Baza, Inc., for violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The complaint was filed at the request of the FDA. The suit alleges that those facilities processed and distributed ready-t0-eat fish and fishery products, vegetable salads, and cheese products in a facility that was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The complaint states that the defendants "failed to put in place adequate measures to reduce the risk of health hazards such as L. monocytogenes, Clostridium botulinum, and scombrotoxin." United States Attorney Donoghue said in a statement, "Food processors … [Read more...]

How Should You Clean Your Refrigerator When You Have Purchased Recalled Food Products?

For years, Food Poisoning Bulletin has been informing you about foods that have been recalled for dangerous bacteria and other pathogens. In many of those recall articles, we tell you to clean your refrigerator after you have discarded the potentially contaminated food. But how exactly should that refrigerator be cleaned? The CDC has answers. Two recent outbreaks have been linked to foods that should be discarded. The deadly E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak that has sickened 149 people is linked to romaine lettuce. And the Salmonella Braenderup outbreak that has sickened 35 is linked to recalled eggs. To start to clean your refrigerator, remove all of the food. Throw out the recalled foods, and any foods that are stored with it or have touched it. Put the recalled products in a … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Tips for Spring Gatherings

As spring celebrations approach, the USDA is offering food safety tips for these gatherings of family and friends. Foodborne illness causes 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths every year. These tips will help keep you and your family safe. Always clean your hands with warm soapy water before and after handling food. Thoroughly wash cutting boards, countertops, and utensils with hot soapy water. Always use separate cutting boards for ready-to-eat foods and for raw foods that are cooked before serving. That's how you prevent cross-contamination. Use a food thermometer when you cook. The USDA has a Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart that will guide you. Follow the temperatures and instructions to the letter. Beef, pork, veal, and lamb intact cuts such as steaks, chops, … [Read more...]

Trends in Food Recalls Finds Recalls Increased Significantly Between 2004 and 2013

The USDA and FDA have issued a report on food recall trends from 2004 to 2013. In it, they find that recalls increased significantly in that time period. The report, titled "Trends in Food Recalls: 2004-2013" was published in April 2018. Between 2004 and 2008, food recalls in the United States averaged 304 a year. Between 2009 and 2013, the annual average increased to 676 recalls. The volume of food sold in the United States during the latter time period partially explains the statistically significant increase, but other factors are involved too. During the 2009 to 2013 time frame, pathogen and risk detection technology improved substantially. In addition, regulatory oversight and enforcement increased. Finally, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Food … [Read more...]

GAO Says USDA Should Cut More Pathogens in Meat and Poultry

On April 18, 2018, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that the USDA should take more action to cut pathogens in meat and poultry products it regulates. That agency develops standards to limit the amount of pathogens in products it regulates. But, no standards have been set for products such as pork chops, ground pork, and turkey breasts. And the report states that the agency's process for deciding which products should have new standards for pathogens is not clear. In addition, the pathogen standards for ground beef, beef carcasses, and pork carcasses have not been updated since 1996. At that time, the standards were set at industry-wide prevalence levels, not at levels that may protect human health. Standards for other products are outdated, according to the report, … [Read more...]

Researchers Develop Patch called “Sentinel Wrap” to Detect E. coli and Salmonella Bacteria

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada have developed a transparent test patch called "Sentinel Wrap" that can be incorporated into food packaging to monitor for pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. The patch, which is printed with harmless molecules that can detect food pathogens, would trigger a signal if it detects bacteria that could be read by a smartphone. The patch doesn't affect the food. The new material was developed in biochemist Hingfu Li's labs at McMaster. Chemical engineer Carlos Filipe and mechanical-biomedical engineer Tohid Didar collaborated on the project. The researchers say that the patch can be incorporated into the production process by food manufacturers. The patch contains tiny drops of DNA sensors that will light up when it finds a pathogen. … [Read more...]

Consent Decree Issued Against MyNicNaxs, Maker of Dietary Supplements

A federal court ordered a Florida-based company called MyNicNaxs to stop selling drugs and dietary supplements until it complies with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and other requirements. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida has entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against MyNicNaxs of Deltona Florida. The company distributed weight loss and sexual enhancement products, marketed as dietary supplements, directly to consumers online through their websites. Some of these products tested positive for undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients. Donald D. Ashley, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement, "Marketing products with undeclared active pharmaceutical … [Read more...]

Easter Food Safety Tips

Foodsafety.gov is offering tips to keep your Easter ham and eggs safe. Ham and eggs are traditional Easter foods in the United States. When you are cooking ham, make sure you know whether or not the product is fully cooked. Hams that are fully cooked are labeled so. Ham that is not ready to eat but looks like it's ready to eat will have a statement on the label that it needs cooking before you can consume it. Fresh, raw, ham, or ham that needs to be cooked first, must reach an internal temperature of 145°F, with a three minute rest time, before it is safe to eat. Make sure that you use a reliable and accurate food thermometer to test the meat. And ham and other meats should be cooked at an oven temperature no lower than 325°F. Cooked ham and cooked vacuum-packaged ham can be … [Read more...]

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