August 24, 2016

Consumer Reports Details Ways You Can Get E. coli From Flour

Consumer Reports wrote an interesting article about five surprising ways you could get an E. coli infection from flour. With the news that General Mills has expanded their recall of flour associated with a multistate E. coli outbreak, and that the outbreak has grown, this information is valuable. Consumers have been told for years that it is not safe to eat raw cookie dough or raw cake batter. But did you know that the risk factor in those products isn't just the raw eggs? Raw flour is an agricultural product that should be cooked before you eat it. It can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria just like raw meats or raw fruits or vegetables. But did you know that modeling clay and play dough, ornaments made with flour, and paper mâché are also risky? There are many recipes in … [Read more...]

People Work Sick, Even When They Should Stay Home

A poll of working adults conducted by National Public Radio (NPR), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of public health has found that many people work when they are sick, even when they should stay h0me. This is especially problematic in the food service industry, since sick food handlers can cause serious outbreaks that can sicken many. In addition, many working adults say that their current job adversely affects their health. And almost half of all working adults give their workplace only fair or poor ratings in efforts to reduce stress. Workers in restaurant jobs say their job has a bad impact on their stress level. In fact, 54% of restaurant workers, by far the most of any sector, say that their current job is bad for their stress level. Half of … [Read more...]

How Much Salt Do You Really Eat?

The FDA is warning consumers that they may be consuming far more salt than they think. Even if you don't salt your food at the table or while cooking, you are probably consuming a lot of sodium, especially if you eat prepared or processed foods. Most of the sodium in the American diet comes from supermarket foods and restaurant meals. So the FDA is working to gradually reduce the amount of sodium that processors add to food. Draft guidance for industry has been released that sets voluntary goals for reducing sodium levels in processed and prepared foods. Note that their guidance is voluntary, which means that processors and restaurants do not have to abide by the levels. The maximum sodium intake per day for adults should be about 2,300 milligrams, which is the amount in a … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Commodity Sampling Test Results on Raw Milk Cheese

The FDA released test results of commodity sampling last week. The products sampled were raw milk cheese aged 60 days, cucumbers, and hot peppers. This sampling program is part of an effort to help ensure food safety. This program was adopted in 2014 to learn more about the prevalence of disease-causing bacteria in foods and to help the agency identify patterns to help prevent future contamination. Raw milk cheese aged 60 ways was one of the commodities selected for the first year of testing. Evidence indicates that aging this product for 60 days may not eliminate or adequately reduce disease causing bacteria, posing a hazard. After testing 1,606 samples in 2014 and 2015, FDA found raw milk cheese aged 60 days or more has less than one percent contamination rate for Salmonella, … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak Prompts USDA Public Health Alert for Kapowsin Whole Hogs

Update July 22: On July 21, Kapowsin issued a recall for the whole roaster hogs. After a Salmonella outbreak earlier this month was linked to whole hogs produced by Kapowsin Meats of Graham, Washington but no recall was issued, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today issued a a public health alert. The alert cautions consumers that the whole hogs may be contaminated with the outbreak strain Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-. Last year, Kapowsin whole hogs were linked to a Salmonella outbreak caused by an antibiotic resistant strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-. That outbreak sickened 192 people in five states, hospitalizing 30 of them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of the illnesses, 184, occurred in … [Read more...]

Officials Offer Info on Roaster Pig Safety After Outbreak

The Washington State Department of Health is working with other public health agencies to investigate an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella illnesses in the state. Specifically, an outbreak that has sickened at least 15 people is associated with the Good Vibe Tribe Luau that was held on July 3, 2016 at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle. One other person in another county is also sick after eating pork at a private function. Everyone who was sickened at the Luau outbreak ate pork. The pork at the Luau came from Kapowsin Meats in Graham, Washington, according to a news release by Public Health of Seattle and King County. Pork from Kapowsin Meats was linked to a large Salmonella outbreak in the northwest United States last year. PFGE results from samples taken from some of the ill persons in … [Read more...]

FDA Warns Aspirin-Containing Antacids Can Cause Bleeding

The FDA is warning consumers that over the counter heartburn or antacid medications that contain aspirin can cause stomach or intestinal bleeding. While cases of bleeding are rare, in 2009 the FDA issued a warning about this risk associated with consuming aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The FDA has discovered eight new cases of serious bleeding caused by aspirin-containing antacids since the first warning in 2009. Some of those people were so sick they needed a blood transfusion. Dr. Karen Murry Mahoney, Deputy Director of the Division of Nonprescription Drug Products at FDA said, "take a close look at the Drug Facts label, and if the product has aspirin, consider choosing something else for your stomach problems. Unless people read the Drug … [Read more...]

Consent Decree Shuts Down Kwong Tung Foods

The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota has entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against Kwong Tung Foods Inc., doing business as Canton Foods to prevent the distribution of adulterated noodles and sprouts. The complaint was filed on July 14, 2016 at the request of the FDA. The complaint alleges that Kwong Tung Foods violated the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by preparing, packing, and/or holding noodles and sprouts under insanitary conditions so the food may have been contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health. The facility, according to the complaint, failed to exclude pests and rodents, failed to maintain equipment, and failed to ensure adequate employee sanitation. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, … [Read more...]

Food Safety After a Flood

Wondering about food safety after a flood? Here is what the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recommends: If you have advance notice of heavy rains that may produce floodwaters, buy jugs of water and shelf-stable foods that can feed your family for a few days and store them in an area flood waters are not likely to reach. Keep a jug of liquid bleach and a cooler in the same area. Find out where you can purchase dry ice. Buy appliance thermometers for your freezer and fridge. In the freezer, gather food together this will help it stay cold longer.  If you lose power, a refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if you keep the door closed. A full freezer will keep food at a safe temperature for about 48 hours,  a half-full freezer will keep food at a safe temperature … [Read more...]

USDA’s FoodKeeper App Says Hola and Olá

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) FoodKeeper app, which helps consumers reduce food waste, now includes information in Spanish and Portuguese. The app covers food storage recommendations for more than 400 foods including   baby food, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, produce and seafood, and more. Developed through a partnership of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, FoodKeeper's goal is to reduce food waste by sharing food storage methods that extend the shelf life of the foods and beverages.  Since its April 2015 launch, it has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, according to the USDA. "The FoodKeeper app is a very handy and easy tool to use, and it reflects USDA's commitment to provide … [Read more...]

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