March 1, 2015

Judge Dismisses Challenge on EPA Factory Farm Data


In Minneapolis yesterday, a federal judge dismissed a challenge brought by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council against the EPA. Those groups wanted to block the EPA's ability to release public information about polluting factory farms to citizens and groups concerned about clean water. Food & Water Watch, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and the Environmental Integrity Project, represented by lawyers at the Government Accountability Project, intervened on behalf of citizens. EPA released documents in 2013 about the location, size, and ownership of thousands of industrial factory farms that are a significant source of pollution to streams, rivers, and bays across the country. These farms are largely unregulated and hidden from people … [Read more...]

White House Wants More Funding to Fight Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria


President Obama wants to increase federal funding to fight antibiotic resistant bacteria. The White House released a fact sheet this week detailing this investment to protect public health. The CDC estimates that every year at least 2,000,000 illnesses and 23,000 deaths are caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria in this country. These infections cost at least $20 billion in direct health-care costs and up to $35 billion in lost productivity and sick days. In September 2014, the President signed an Executive Order launching federal efforts to fight the increase in these bacteria, along with the National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. The President's FY 2016 Budget nearly doubles the amount of Federal funding for combating and preventing antibiotic resistance … [Read more...]

Safe Food Act of 2015 Introduced to Congress


Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Safe Food Act of 2015 to Congress today. The legislation would consolidate federal food safety activities into one independent agency called the Food Safety Administration. Durbin and DeLauro have introduced this legislation in 1999, 2004, 2005, and 2007. Currently, oversight of the nation's food supply is split up among 15 different agencies. The Act states that since the safety of the food supply is vital to the public health and the economy, and lapses in the protection of food supply damage consumers and the industry, the safety and security of the food supply requires an integrated, systemwide approach to preventing foodborne illness. DeLauro said in a statement, "Government has a responsibility … [Read more...]

Nails Found Inside Candy in Perry County, Tennessee


According to, the FDA is investigating product tampering after nails were found inside candy. A Baby Ruth candy bar and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups had nails inside them. They were sold at a Perry County, Tennessee convenience store. No employees are suspected in this product tampering. All of the stores' candy was opened and inspected by sheriff's deputies and employees have passed polygraph tests. Hershey company employees and delivery truck drivers have also been eliminated as suspects. Investigator think the tampering happened inside the store, but they don't know if an ex-employee or a customer put the nails in the candy. No injuries have been reported to date. Everyone who found a nail inside the candy spit it out before it was swallowed. If you have any information … [Read more...]

Hepatitis A Warning for Marj’s Village Kitchen in Ontario

Hepatitis A Virus

Marj's Village Kitchen in Alma, Ontario has closed after a hepatitis A warning from the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph health department. Anyone who ate at that restaurant between January 2 and January 20, 2015 has potentially been exposed to hepatitis A because an employee was diagnosed with the illness. The public health department is offering hepatitis A vaccinations as long as you visited the restaurant on or before January 13, 2014. The vaccine only works if received within two weeks of exposure. The sites are 160 Chancellors Way in Guelph; 180 Broadyway in Orangeville; and 474 Wellington Road #18, Suite 100, RR#1 in Fergus. Hepatitis A is a virus that causes liver infection. The symptoms usually begin 15 to 50 days after infection. The illness usually lasts for 3 to 6 weeks. … [Read more...]

Recalled Imported Pork Highlights Problems with TPP

Container Ship Food Imports

Food & Water Watch has sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, stating that the recent recall of 170,000 pounds of imported pork and nine other recent recalls highlights the fact that the Trans Atlantic Trade Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreements may be flawed and problematic for food safety concerns. Both of those agreements would expedite food imports into the United States from other countries. That recall this month was for pork from Denmark. The meat was not presented at the U.S. point of entry for inspection as the law requires. Food & Water Watch wrote to USDA about this problem last year, but states "the problem seems to be getting worse." USDA claims that the Public Health Information System (PHIS) and Customs and … [Read more...]

Research Discovers New Salmonella Serotype


Researchers at Texas Tech University's Department of Animal and Food Science have discovered a new serotype of Salmonella bacteria. It was confirmed by the Pasteur Institute in Paris, which has the international reference center for Salmonella. The new strain is called Salmonella Lubbock. Marie Bugarel, a research assistant professor at the University, discovered the bacteria. One of her mentors at the University, Dr. Guy Loneragan, said in a statement, "more important than the name, however, is that this discovery illustrates there is more that needs to be discovered about Salmonella and how it interacts with cattle populations. With this understanding will come awareness of how to intervene to break the ecological cycle and reduce Salmonella in animals and in beef, pork, and chicken … [Read more...]

Study Finds COOL Labels Haven’t Affected Livestock Exports

Country of Origin Labeling

Country of origin labeling (COOL) has been a hot topic in the news for months. The United States wants to label meat products with information about where the animals and processed meat come from, but the World Trade Organization (WTO) has stated over and over again that they believe these steps are potentially harmful to other countries. Canada and Mexico filed objections to the labeling, fearing that consumers would not want to buy products from their countries. WTO sided with Canada and Mexico. But a new study from Auburn University shows that COOL laws have not undermined Canada and Mexico's livestock exports to the U.S. Instead, study author Robert Taylor found that COOL was implemented in 2008 just as the severe United States recession ended demand for expensive meats. Wenonah … [Read more...]

Senators: New Salmonella, Campylobacter Standards for Poultry Will Reduce Illnesses


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s  (USDA's ) proposed new pathogen standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry pieces will reduce the number of foodborne illnesses reported each year, say Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced yesterday the first ever proposed standards for Campylobacter and Salmonella on poultry parts and revised standards for ground poultry. The agency has implemented performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter on poultry sold whole since 1996, but has never had them for poultry sold in pieces such as breasts, wings and drumsticks or for Campylobacter in ground poultry. Only 20 percent of poultry sold is whole.  So most of the poultry … [Read more...]

Undeclared Allergens the Leading Source of USDA Recalls for 5th Straight Year


Undeclared allergens were the leading cause of USDA recalls in 2014, the fifth straight year that they have held the title. Of the 94 recalls, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued last year, 43 were for undeclared allergens. In its breakdown of sources for recalls, the USDA groups all undeclared allergens together, whereas bacterial sources of recalls, such as E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria are listed separately along. Other categories include: extraneous material, processing defect, undeclared substance and other. These USDA considers the wheat, soy, eggs, milk, peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts, soybeans and fish "the big eight" allergens. About 2 percent of adults and 5 percent of children have allergies.  Those with severe allergies experience anaphylactic shock with … [Read more...]

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