December 10, 2016

Food Safety Survey Shows Some Consumer Knowledge Increasing

According to the 2016 Food Safety Survey Report, conducted in collaboration with the FDA and USDA, consumer knowledge has increased about food safety consumer practices. The government has been conducting this survey since 1988. Key findings in the survey has found that the percentage of Americans who own a food thermometer has remained constant but usage has slightly increased. In 2016, 67% of respondents reporting owning a food thermometer. In 2016, 38% report that they always use a meat thermometer for roasts, compared to 19% for chicken parts, and 10% for hamburgers. But using a food thermometer is most crucial for ground beef, and very crucial for chicken, while it's less critical for larger cuts of beef that are cooked on the exterior. Hand washing rates have remained … [Read more...]

Study Finds TV Cooking Shows Overlook Safe Food Practices

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior has found that many television cooking shows overlook safe food handling practices. These shows are an important resource for home cooks, but the poor food safety practices demonstrated on these programs may lead to poor practices and foodborne illness among consumers who watch them. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst assessed food safety on television shows to discover whether they present positive or negative models. There are 48,000,000 cases of foodborne illness every year in the United States. Of those cases, 128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die. Illnesses can occur from recalled contaminated food and from improper food safety practices in retail kitchens, but many … [Read more...]

Secondary Ice Cream and Product Recalls for Listeria Roundup

In the past two months, there have been a dozen recalls of ice cream and other products for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. These are all secondary recalls, which means that these products were made in a contract supplier's facility where Listeria was found, or they were made with products recalled for possible Listeria contamination. It can be difficult to keep track of all of these recalls. So, as we have done in the past with other massive recalls, we are keeping a list of the recalled products in one place so you can check back and stay informed. The first group of recalled products is ice cream made at Dr. Bob's of Upland LLC. Listeria monocytogenes bacteria was found at that facility. In all of the secondary recall notices for these products, no Listeria … [Read more...]

Listeria Monocytogenes Found in Simply Fresh Fruit Facility

The FDA sent a warning letter on October 19, 2016 to Simply Fresh Fruit of Vernon, California, informing them that environmental swabs taken in their facility found Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Federal inspectors also discovered violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practices. These findings make the ready to eat fresh cut fruit products adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The FDA issued Form FDA-483 after the inspections. Three of one hundred environmental swabs in the facility's high care processing room were positive for Listeria bacteria. Two of those were in locations adjacent to food contact surfaces. They include the panel surface and power switch on the side of a wash bin, and a power knob for a conveyor belt. The other swab was found on a … [Read more...]

Five States List Facilities that Received Hepatitis A Strawberries

Five states have posted notices, either on their Facebook pages or on their state web sites, about the facilities that may have received frozen strawberries imported from Egypt that are associated with a hepatitis A outbreak. At least 134 people in 9 states have been diagnosed with the viral illness since the summer of 2016. Most of those patients ate smoothies made with the frozen strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Officials from Wyoming, Texas, California, Michigan, and Colorado have posted public health alerts about this issue. No hepatitis A illnesses have been linked to the berries sold in these locations, or in any other locations other than the original outbreak area, but the illness can take up to 50 … [Read more...]

UNICEF Study Finds Most Children Under Two Undernourished

A study conducted by UNICEF has found that five in six children under the age of two worldwide are not fed enough nutritious food for their age. This deprives them of the nutrients they need at a critical time for brain development. During the first two years of life, nutrition is critical to body and brain development. There has been a reduction in chronic malnutrition in the past decade, but the number of children at the opposite ends of the nutrition spectrum are alarming. More than 150,000,000 children under the age of 5 are stunted because of malnutrition, and 42,000,000 children are overweight or obese, an increase of 11,000,000 since 2000. The study says that breastfeeding gives children the best start, and they should be fed this way until the age of 2. In addition, … [Read more...]

Organic Foods Not Automatically Safer Than Conventionally Grown

A study published in the Journal of Food Protection has found that while consumers think that organic foods are "safer" than conventionally grown or produced foods, the standards applied to those products do not directly address microbial or chemical safety issues. Researchers looked at the CDC's Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System in this study. They found that there have been 18 food poisoning outbreaks linked to organic foods from 1992 to 2014. Those outbreaks caused 779 illnesses, 258 hospitalizations and 3 deaths. Moreover, 56% of the outbreaks occurred from 2010 to 2014. Nine of the outbreaks were in a single state, and nine sickened people in more than one state. Salmonella bacteria caused most of the outbreaks, at 44%, and 33% of the outbreaks were caused by E … [Read more...]

Voting Next Week? See How Your Legislators View Food Safety

Food Policy Action released its National Food Scorecard for the 114th Congress earlier this month. Overall scores increased by six points since the last Congress, but there is little progress on major food policy in the last two years. Chef Tom Colicchio, Food Policy Action co-founder and advocate said in a statement, "this year's Scorecard shows that Congress owes the American public much better leadership on these issues. Food is connected to every critical issue facing our nation - everything from our health, economy, and immigration, to labor and the environment. And yet, there has been very little attention to bringing transparency and accountability to that discussion." The Senate was graded on 10 votes and 12 bills, and the House was graded on 16 votes and 15 bills. … [Read more...]

MARS Commits to Phasing Out Nanoparticles in Candy

Just in time for Halloween, Center for Food Safety has issued a press release saying that MARS Corporation, a candy company, is reiterating its commitment to removing titanium dioxide from its food products. The company released a statement in February stating that it would remove artificial colors from its products in five years, but that statement wasn't clear on the issue of titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is a chemical used to engineer nanomaterials. It occurs naturally in the environment, but when it is engineered to an "ultrafine" or "nanoparticle" size it may cause health problems. Jaydee Hanson, Senior Policy Analyst at Center for Food Safety said in a statement, "studies have shown that the human health risks associated with ingesting nanoparticles of many common food … [Read more...]

Tips for a Safe Halloween From the FDA

The FDA is offering tips for a safe Halloween for you and your family. They have tips for safe costumes: look for fire-retardant materials, and wear bright, reflective costumes for safety after dark. Have your kids carry glow sticks or wearing those glowing necklaces. It's important to stay visible on your rounds, especially as it gets dark or if it's raining. For safe treats, which after all is the main point of this holiday, always tell your kids not to eat any treats until they get home and you have inspected it. Sadly, there are true stories of people inserting sharp objects into Halloween candy, although those cases are very rare. And although most parents are concerned about candy that has been altered with dangerous substances, those stories are mostly anecdotal or urban … [Read more...]

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