December 13, 2017

California DPH Says Lead Contamination in Imported Candy a Significant Problem

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has released a report about lead contamination in imported candy. A state law has mandated testing of those products. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives and conducted at the University of California - San Fransisco (UCSF) found that CDPH "issued more alerts for lead in candy than for the other top three sources of food-borne contamination combined." The law that mandated testing was passed in 2006. Before that time, CDPH did not test widely for lead in candy. In the six years before the law was passed, only 22% of alerts about food contamination were about lead in candy. But after that law was passed, 42% of the food contaminated alerts issued by state officials were for lead in candy. And nearly all of that … [Read more...]

Los Angeles and Denver Airline Catering Services Temporarily Suspended for Listeria

Catering services in Denver and Los Angeles for two airlines have been temporarily shut down because Listeria monocytogenes bacteria was found in food preparation areas. The Gate Gourmet catering facility at Los Angeles airport was closed temporarily because Listeria bacteria was found in food preparation areas. They provide foods, beverages and other services to American Airlines. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants sent a letter to its members on November 1, 2017, stating that there are currently no known or reported cases of listeriosis attributed to those foods. The letter recommends that flight attendants monitor their health for the symptoms of listeriosis for the next 70 days. Those symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. … [Read more...]

Halloween Food Safety Tips

It's Halloween, and parents should know about food safety tips to protect their children. These are offered by Jacquelyn Arnold with the Shelby County Health Department in Alabama. Make sure that your kids have eaten a snack or light meal before they go out trick-or-treating. They shouldn't snack while they are out, because you need to inspect the treats they are given before they eat them. Tell your children not to accept - and especially, not to eat - anything that isn't commercially wrapped. The kids should wait until they get home and you have checked the candy before they take a bite. Always discard any homemade treats unless you are absolutely sure they are from someone you know and trust. Inspect the commercially wrapped treats for any signs of tampering. They may … [Read more...]

Remember Listeria Outbreaks as Caramel Apple Season is Here

Caramel apple season is here. If you choose to make your own or buy commercially prepared caramel apples, be aware of the dangers of food poisoning. A 2014 Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to caramel coated apples sickened 35 people. Listeriosis contributed to at least three of the seven deaths reported in that outbreak, according to the CDC. Eleven of the 35 people sickened were pregnant. One woman lost her baby. Twenty-eight of the 31 ill persons interviewed ate commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before they got sick. This outbreak was surprising, since the pH of apples is too low, and caramel is too high in sugar and therefore low in free water to support Listeria monocytogenes bacterial growth. The law firm of Pritzker Hageman, which underwrites Food … [Read more...]

If You’re Serving Kibbeh, Please Cook It First

Kibbeh is a dish from the Middle East and Africa that is traditionally served at some family celebrations. The variety known as Kibbeh nayyeh is prepared and served raw. And thus poses a risk of food poisoning. The dish is made from red meat, onion, cracked wheat, and spices. Many people who prepare this dish do try to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, such as cleaning the grinding blades and keeping the meat cold, there is no way to ensure that the product is free from pathogenic bacteria other than to cook it. Any cut of beef or lamb could have pathogenic bacteria, such as E. coli O157:H7, on its surface. When this meat is ground, no matter where it is ground, whether the butcher or your home, the bacteria on the surface will be mixed all through the meat. No uncooked … [Read more...]

FDA Complaint Filed Against Michel Cordon Bleu for Adulterated Seafood

The United States filed a civil complaint against Michel Cordon Bleu Inc. of Los Angeles, California to prevent the distribution of adulterated seafood products on Tuesday, October 3, 2017. This complaint was filed in the US. District Court for the Central District of California. The Court was asked for a permanent injunction to shut down the facility which is located at 3625 South Western Avenue in Los Angeles. That company prepares, processed, packs, holds, and distributes vacuum-packed, ready-to-eat cold and hot smoked fish and fishery products. The complaint alleges that Michel Cordon Bleu and Michel G. Blanchet adulterated seafood products by "preparing, packing, or holding them under insanitary conditions whereby the seafood may have become contaminated with filth or may … [Read more...]

Why Doesn’t Everyone Who Drinks Raw Milk Get Sick?

Over the years, Food Poisoning Bulletin has received many, many messages from people defending raw milk consumption. Every one of these messages has used the claim, "I have drunk raw milk for years and I have never gotten sick." There are several problems with that statement: one is the logical fallacy of a small sample size. But first, some history. There is a Salmonella outbreak that was just discovered in Washington state. Raw milk from Pride & Joy Dairy has teated positive for a rare strain of Salmonella Dublin that sickened and hospitalized two people in that state in January 2017. The dairy's license to sell raw milk was pulled by the Washington State Department of Health. Raw milk has been consumed by people for many years. And many people have been sickened and … [Read more...]

Chicken and Food Poisoning

Information about chicken and food poisoning has been posted on the Foodsafety.gov website. This meat has been linked to several food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years. About a million Americans every year get sick from eating contaminated poultry. And Americans eat more chicken every year than every other meat. Raw chicken is often contaminated with Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Clostridium perfringens bacteria. Undercooked chicken, or foods that are contaminated by raw chicken juices, can cause serious illness. You need to pay special attention when you have raw chicken in your home. When you're shopping, put the chicken into a disposable bag before you put it into your shopping card. I get a bag, then put my hand into it, pick up the chicken, and turn the bag inside … [Read more...]

USDA Integrates Recall Info Into FoodKeeper App

The USDA has announced new updates to its popular FoodKeeper app that will provide users with information on recalls. Users can now choose to receive automated notifications when recalls are announced by the USDA and FDA. If you subscribe to this app, you can choose to receive information immediately, as soon as they are announced, or receive daily or weekly updates. The update also includes additional instructional videos and handing and storage of food. Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg said in a statement, "This is a great way for the public to stay informed when food is recalled. The FoodKeeper app is a very handy and easy to use tool; and it reflects USDA's commitment to provide the public with information and knowledge to help them make … [Read more...]

CDC Investing Millions in Enhanced Antibiotic Resistance Testing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investing $77 million in efforts to track and fight antibiotic resistance. The money is going to public health departments in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The hope is that officials will develop new ways to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria in food, healthcare facilities, and communities. The funding will open a new surveillance center for TB. And the overall focus is on enhancing testing capabilities in the agency's regional antibiotic resistance labs. Seven regional labs that are part of the CDC's Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network will be able to expand antibiotic susceptibility testing for Candida auras. This bacteria has shown resistance to all three classes of drugs that are usually used to fight these infections. … [Read more...]

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