February 19, 2018

It’s Important to Use a Food Thermometer so the Food You Serve is Safe to Eat

Michigan State University has issued a post telling consumers that using a food thermometer is easy and important for your family's health. Most people don't use a food thermometer when cooking. Although about 62% of American consumers have a food thermometer in their kitchens, fewer than 10% actually use it. Any food that contains meat, poultry, fish, or eggs should be tested with a food thermometer before it is eaten to make sure that food has reached a safe final internal temperature. Using a thermometer is the only way to know that your food is thoroughly cooked and that it has reached a temperature that will destroy pathogenic bacteria. If your family has a member who is in a high risk group for food poisoning, this cooking step is even more important. Those in high risk … [Read more...]

New Study Finds Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereal

A new study conducted by Healthy Babies Bright Future (HBBF) has found that there is six times more arsenic in infant rice cereal than in other types of cereals. Arsenic is a heavy metal that can cause health problems including cancer, neurological problems, and reduced IQ. Rice contains more arsenic than other grains because of the way it grows. Rice paddies are flooded with water, which aids the absorption of the heavy metal through the roots of the plant. Rice plants absorb ten times more arsenic than other grains while they grow. And rice is grown where arsenic is abundant in the soil. The grain is often planted in old cotton fields in the southern United States, where arsenic pesticides were sprayed for years. Testing by Consumer Reports in 2012 first brought this issue to … [Read more...]

First Decline in Antibiotic Sales for Livestock in 2016

According to U.S. PIRG, for the first time, antibiotic sales for livestock declined for the first time in 2016. This is something many advocates have been working on for decades, since misuse of antibiotics can and has created antibiotic resistant bacteria. WHO sounded the alarm over this issue in 2014, stating that unless something was done about this issue, the world may enter a new phase in which antibiotics become ineffective for even the smallest infection. At that time, they said, "A post-antibiotic era—in which common infections and minor injuries can kill—far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century." Most of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. and around the world are used in food animals. This downtick comes after "numerous … [Read more...]

Maker of Ruth’s Salads Warned About Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination by FDA

B&H Foods, the maker of Ruth's Salad, was warned about Listeria monocytogenes contamination in their facility by the FDA in November 2017. B&H Foods recalled Ruth's Pimento Spreads in February of this year for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, and expanded that recall later. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the consumption of these products. The warning letter is long and details many violations of the current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for foods. First, during an FDA inspection in May 2017, environmental swabs were taken. Lab analysis found they contained Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which made the products prepared in that facility adulterated. Two strains of Listeria bacteria were found. One was found in the Chester, … [Read more...]

Why Do Listeria Monocytogenes Infections Take so Long to Appear? There May be Answers

Whenever we have warned about food recalls for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, we add the warning that the symptoms from this illness may take up to 70 days to appear. Many people are confused by this statement. Why do Listeria monocytogenes infections take so long to appear? Scientists may have answered at least part of that question. A study conducted at AgroParisTechn and Université Paris-Saclay showed that bacteria can enter "host cells" while these cells are dividing. That makes it possible for the pathogenic bacteria to hide and not be detected on culture media that doctors use for diagnostic tests. The bacteria are viable, but in a state that prohibits cultivation. Scientists have known that Listeria bacteria can invade many different cells in the body. It … [Read more...]

FDA Warns Against Eating Raw Dough Because of the Risk of E. coli HUS

The FDA is issuing a warning to consumers not to eat raw dough because of health risks of contracting an E. coli HUS infection. Eating any raw dough or batter can make you sick because of raw eggs and raw flour. Eggs can contain Salmonella bacteria, and, surprisingly, raw flour can contain pathogenic E. coli bacteria. In fact, there was a large E. coli O121 and O26 outbreak linked to General Mills flour just last year in the U.S. At least 63 people in 24 states were sickened; seventeen people were hospitalized because their illnesses were so severe, and one person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. And don't make homemade play dough made with raw dough. Kids often put their fingers in their mouths, and touching this dough may expose them to … [Read more...]

Climate Change Increasing the Contamination of Vibrio Bacteria in Oysters

Climate change is increasing the number of pathogens in oysters, according to a study published in the National Academy of Sciences. The bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus and vulnificus occur naturally in the ocean. Their numbers increase when the water temperatures increase. And oysters, since they are filter feeders, take up these bacteria. When the oysters are eaten raw, people get sick. There have been been many harvesting warnings and recalls of oysters for these pathogenic bacteria in the past few years. And in 2013, there was a Vibrio outbreak associated with raw oysters that sickened at least 104 people in 13 states. Most of these illnesses occur during May to October in the United States, when people eat raw oysters. The bacteria reproduce quickly when the water is … [Read more...]

If a Housefly or Blowfly Lands on Your Food, Don’t Eat It!

A new study published in Nature has shown that houseflies and blowflies carry many more types of pathogenic bacteria than previously thought. That means if a housefly lands on your food at a picnic, don't just brush it off. Throw the food away. These bacteria are not only unsafe from a food poisoning perspective, but one found on the flies, Helicobacter pylori, can cause peptic ulcers, increasing the risk of stomach cancer and a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. One of the study's authors, Dr. Donald Bryant from Pennsylvania State University said, "We believe that the study may show a mechanism for pathogen transmission that has been overlooked by public health officials, and flies may contribute to the rapid transmission of pathogens in outbreak situations." These insects breed in … [Read more...]

Delay in Produce Safety Rule Agricultural Water Requirements Worries Advocates

Two groups focused on food safety are concerned about the government's decision to extend compliance dates for Produce Safety Rule agricultural water requirements in the Food Safety Modernization Act. The Center for Science in the Public Interest and Center for Food Safety are worried that delaying this enforcement would cause more than 700,000 cases in foodborne illness. The Produce Safety Rule is intended to make fresh fruits and vegetables safer to eat. Most food poisoning outbreaks are caused by these types of products. And one of the ways they can become contaminated is with animal feces in agricultural water runoff. The rule has provisions that require microbial testing of water for E. coli, a pathogenic bacteria that is often found in the feces of ruminant animals. This is … [Read more...]

E. coli Bacteria Infections: Bacteria Produce Toxin Protein to Defend Themselves

E. coli bacteria produce a toxin protein to defend themselves and kill off other bacteria, according to new research published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research. There have been many E. coli bacteria outbreaks in the United States in the past several years, including the deadly outbreak linked to I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter earlier this year and the current outbreak at Damsy Restaurant in Rochester, Minnesota. And last year, researchers discovered a strain of E. coli bacteria that had the mcr-1 gene for colistin resistance. This is bad news because that change gives the pathogenic bacteria "near pan-resistance to last-resort antibiotics," according to the study summary. Scientists study this bacteria to see how it manages to survive even in inhospitable conditions. These … [Read more...]

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