February 7, 2016

Harmless Harvest Thailand Sent FDA Warning Letter

The FDA sent a warning letter to Harmless Harvest Thailand last month, telling them that their 100% Raw Coconut Water products are considered hazardous, since they are processed in a manner that does not comply with the juice Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems regulation.  The juice products are considered adulterated within the meaning of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. The firm provided documentation and information about the processing methods used to make this product. Those methods did not meet the FDA's regulation. The micro filtration process, risk assessment for that process, the HACCP plan and manual, and documentation about High Pressure Processing (HPP) were not adequate. The company must included control measures that will consistency … [Read more...]

Campylobacter Infections Rise in EU for Sixth Straight Year

The number of reported cases of campylobacteriosis in the European Union rose for the sixth straight year in 2014, according to the latest annual report by European Food Safety Authority and European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC). In 2014, Campylobacter was the most commonly reported source of food poisoning bacteria in the European Union. There were 236,851 cases reported, a 9.6 percent increase from 2013.  It was the sixth straight year that the number of confirmed cases rose. Campylobacter is bacteria that is transferred via the fecal-oral route, meaning those who develop Campylobacter infections have ingested microscopic amounts of animal feces. In the E.U., most cases were associated with broiler chicken meat. Of 6,703 samples of fresh broiler meat … [Read more...]

The Food Safety of Storing Holiday Leftovers

Food temperature plays a key role in preparing, serving and storing food safely.  To store holiday leftovers safely, follow these tips from the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Why is this important? The number of bacteria on food sitting at room temperature can double in 20 minutes. Food poisoning from these bacteria can cause serious, sometimes life-threatening illness. Food that has been left at room temperature for more than two hours is not safe to eat. The first step: buy some thermometers. It's impossible to know if your food is being cooked to a safe temperature or stored at a safe temperature without them. You can buy food thermometers and thermometers for your refrigerator and freezer at grocery stores, hardware stores and discount retailers. Refrigerated … [Read more...]

USDA Ends Country-of-Origin Labeling Enforcement

USDA is no longer going to enforce Country of Origin Labeling requirements (COOL) for beef and pork products because the law was repeated by Congress in the Omnibus Bill. Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary, said that labeling regulations will be amended as soon as possible. The USA has been in a fight with the World Trade Organization for years over this issue. WTO ruled that Canada and Mexico, which opposed the labeling requirements, could impose more than $1 billion in tariffs on U.S. products as punishment for the "harm" the labels were causing producers in those countries. Many consumer groups and agricultural groups were in favor of COOL, believing that consumers have a right to know where the foods they buy come from. A Montana-based cattle trade association called R-CALF USA … [Read more...]

University of MN Identifies New Strain of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Dr. Tim Johnson of the University of Minnesota has identified a new strain of antibiotic resistant bacteria. This bacteria, known as Enterobacter cloacae, was reported in a hospital outbreak in Fargo, North Dakota. Whole genome sequencing revealed that 32 of the strains collected from patients in the Upper Midwest were clonal. The bacteria is spreading throughout this region of the country. Dr. Johnson said, "this provides evidence for the origin of this multidrug resistant clone in the Fargo-Moorhead area, followed by its spread over time through nursing homes and hospitals in western Minnesota, and more recently in the Twin Cities metro area." He added, "this is a public health crisis. This is probably the biggest challenge we're going to face from a public health standpoint in our … [Read more...]

FDA Creates Office of Dietary Supplement Programs

The FDA announced yesterday that they have created the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs (ODSP), which elevates the program from its status as a division under the Office of Nutrition Labeling and Dietary Supplements. This change will "enhance the effectiveness of dietary supplement regulation by allowing ODSP to better compete for government resources and capabilities to regulate this rapidly expanding industry." The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements until there is a problem reported. The government takes action to remove supplements from the market that may be dangerous to consumers, and removes those that are falsely labeled or contain undeclared drugs. Other actions the government can take is enforcing good manufacturing practices regulation, especially when violating … [Read more...]

Caffeine in Peanut Butter? FDA Wants More Info

Did you know that one corporation is adding caffeine to peanut butter? STEEM Peanut Butter, Inc. has been doing this, and the FDA is not sure they like it. There is 150 mg of caffeine in each serving of that peanut butter. On December 15, 2015, the FDA sent STEEM a letter asking for information about their use of caffeine in this product. The company has not submitted any information about the safety of caffeine in this product to the FDA. The FDA "remains concerned about the increasing number of products on the market containing added caffeine and the possibility for harmful effects when multiple caffeinated products are eaten simultaneously, especially in products that are attractive to children," the letter states. The U.S. government has not developed guidelines for children's … [Read more...]

Listeria Infections Rise for Sixth Straight Year in EU

The number of reported cases of listeriosis in the European Union rose for the sixth straight year in 2014, according to the latest annual report by European Food Safety Authority and European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC). During 2014, there were 2,161 confirmed cases of listeriosis, an increase of 16 percent from the 1,868 confirmed cases reported in 2013. Of those, 210 cases were fatal- the highest number of Listeria deaths reported  in the EU since 2009. About 18 percent of the fatalities were among those over 65. Symptoms of a Listeria infection include high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Among pregnant women, Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. Smoked fish and soft cheeses were the largest offenders. … [Read more...]

Antibiotic Use in Agriculture Continues to Increase

A new report from the FDA finds that antibiotic use in agriculture is continuing to increase, despite new guidelines from the government. Sales of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals increased by 3% between 2013 and 2014. Sales one of drug that is critically important to human health, cephalosporins, increased by 12% from 2013 to 2014 despite the government restricting their use in 2012. The report states that domestic sales and distribution of antimicrobials approved for use in food-producing animals increased by 22% from 2009 through 2014. In 2014, medically important antimicrobials accounted for 62% of all domestic sales of all antimicrobials. Tetracycline sales are the largest volume of antibiotics used in food animals. Food & Water Watch says that … [Read more...]

Costco Warehouse Fails Food Safety Inspection in Florida

The Costco Warehouse at 10921 Causeway Boulevard in Brandon, Florida failed a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspection this week. On Monday, December 14, 2015, food safety inspectors found enough problems in the "Club Demonstration Services" area that it was closed under a "Stop Use Order." Inspectors found live roaches in that area and in the food storage and ware-washing room. Several food items were removed from sale because they were being held at dangerous temperatures. Crab legs were being held at 55°F and sausages were being held at 46°F. Perishable foods must be held at 40°F or below so bacteria will not grow. In addition, inspectors found cross-contamination problems. Raw eggs were stored above almond milk in the dairy walk in cooler. Bacteria from … [Read more...]

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