October 27, 2016

FDA Says No Antimicrobial Agents in Over the Counter Soaps

On every story we have written over the past five years about food poisoning outbreaks, we follow the FDA's advice: after handling potentially contaminated products, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. That's the best way to remove pathogenic bacteria and viruses from your hands and prevent the spread of illness. Now the FDA is telling soap manufacturers that they can no longer use certain antimicrobial ingredients when making over-the-counter soaps. There isn't enough science to show that these soaps are better at preventing illness than plain soap and water, and manufacturers have not established that the ingredients in those soaps are safe long term. Manufacturers have one year to comply with this rule. In 2013, the FDA issued a proposed rule requiring that … [Read more...]

Drug Resistance in One Salmonella Strain Grows; Others Remain Low

Findings from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) has found that overall drug resistance in Salmonella bacteria is low, except for one serotype. NARMS is a partnership between the CDC, the FDA, the USDA, and state and local health departments, that tracks antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause human disease and are transmitted commonly through food. The report states that overall, antibiotic resistance in Salmonella bacteria is low, but multidrug resistance in one serotype is increasing. Multidrug resistance in Salmonella is 9.3%, a bit higher than the 2009-2013 average of 9%, but down from 11% in the 2004-2008 report. Resistance to one of the drugs used to treat severe Salmonella infections, ceftriaxone, dropped from 3% to 2%. But multidrug … [Read more...]

Quartermaster Harbor Closed in Washington for PSP

The Washington State Department of Health has closed Quartermaster Harbor for shellfish harvesting because Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) has been detected at unsafe levels in the shellfish on Vashon-Maury Island. The commercial harvest is not affected. Commercial beaches are sampled separately and commercial products should be safe to eat. Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning is caused by a neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine organism. You cannot determine if this toxin is present simply by looking at the water or the shellfish. PSP can only be found with laboratory testing. The symptoms of PSP usually begin 30 to 60 minutes after eating contaminated shellfish, but may take several hours to appear. The first symptoms are numbness or tingling of the face, arms, and … [Read more...]

Jeni’s Ice Cream: You Fight Listeria By Constantly Searching For It

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream has posted on its website a response to an FDA warning letter made public this week.  The letter states environmental samples taken near food and food contact surfaces during an inspection in January and February of this year were positive for Listeria.[/caption] The inspection was part of a follow-up process after a Listeria recall  in 2015.  Jeni's issued a recall for all of its products and temporarily ceased production in April 2015 after the Nebraska Department of Agriculture found Listeria in ice cream it tested as part of a routine product sampling program. No illnesses were reported in connection with the ice cream. "We received a Warning Letter from the FDA following their January inspection of our facility. We are happy to get to the next stage … [Read more...]

Wisconsin Ag Issues Consumer Alert for Westby Cottage Cheese

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture has issued a consumer alert for 4% cottage cheese made by Westby Cooperative Creamery because it may not be properly pasteurized. Consumers who purchased the product should not eat it as it may contain bacteria that could cause illness.located in Westby, Wisconsin. The presence of active alkaline phosphatase was discovered in samples during routine testing and may indicate that the product was not adequately pasteurized. The cheese was distributed throughout Wisconsin and in Aurora, Illinois, on or before August 26, and marked with the lot code 10-6-16 cc and Plant #55-372. It was packaged in 16-, 22- and 24-ounce containers and sold under the brand names Westby, Food Club, Oberweis and Shurfine. Consumers who bought the cheese can return it to … [Read more...]

FDA Found Listeria Monocytogenes at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

The FDA sent a warning letter to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream's frozen flavor base Ohio manufacturing facility on August 9, 2016. The inspection that prompted the letter took place on January 25, 2016 through February 9, 2016. That letter states that "your frozen flavor base products are adulterated" because "FDA laboratory analysis of the environmental swabs found the presence of Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes), a human pathogen, in your facility. " A recall of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams was initiated for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination in April, 2015. All of the company's ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and ice cream sandwiches in all flavors and containers were recalled, and all scoop shops were closed. No illnesses were ever reported in connection to these … [Read more...]

USDA’s Food Safety Tips for Louisiana Flood Victims

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has compiled some food safety tips for residents of Louisiana affected by the flood and those living in parishes currently under flood warning. Parishes under flood warning include: Livingston, West Baton Rouge, Northern St. James, Northern St. John, Pointe Coupee, Iberville, East Baton Rouge, and Ascension. Those already affected include: Baton Rouge, Zachary, Baker, Denham Springs, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Melville, Oak Hills Place, Far northern portions of Reserve, Far Northern Portions of Laplace, St. Gabriel, Walker, Gramercy, Addis, Lutcher, and Brusly. After a flood, don't eat any food including raw fruits and vegetables, or cartons of milk or eggs, that may have come into contact with flood water.  Throw away these foods and any … [Read more...]

FDA Extends FSMA Compliance Dates

The FDA is setting the first major compliance dates for the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 for large food facilities. The agency also issued a final rule that "extends and clarifies the compliance dates for certain provisions in four of the seven foundational rules." The final rule addresses technical issues and aligns compliance dates across the four rules. Human food companies, other than small and very small businesses, need to come into compliance with the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food rule by September 19, 2016. This rule creates new requirements for the production of human food in three ways. First, certain domestic and foreign facilities must implement hazard analysis and risk-based preventive … [Read more...]

What to Save and What to Throw Out After a Power Outage

The USDA has issued a chart of what foods are safe and what foods should be thrown out after a power outage. Severe weather in the southern part of the country has highlighted the importance of keeping food safe during a weather emergency. It would be a good idea to print out this chart and use it after a power outage. Food stored in a refrigerator during a power outage should be safe as long as the power is not out for more than 4 hours, as long as the door is kept closed as much as possible. The general categories in the USDA's chart contain recommendations that should be followed after a power outage. They state that all meats, seafood, and poultry, and foods containing those ingredients, should be discarded. Hard cheeses and processed cheeses will be safe, while soft … [Read more...]

GoIng to the Fair? Protect Your Family From E. coli

The E. coli outbreak in Washington County, Oregon that may be related to livestock at the Washington County fair is a reminder to all that attending county and state fairs can be dangerous. Officials are investigating "several" illnesses that occurred after those sickened attended the fair. In the past few years, there have been E. coli outbreaks linked to livestock exhibits and petting zoos at fairs. And now that we are getting into autumn, the big state fairs are set to begin.   Livestock exhibits and areas where ruminant animals are gathered are the hot spots for these outbreaks. Cows, goats, sheep, deer, and elk are ruminant animals; they can carry E. coli bacteria in their intestines. The bacteria comes out in their poop, which can get everywhere, including on the … [Read more...]

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