June 25, 2016

FDA: Salmonella in Eggs Sickens 79,000 Annually

Salmonella in eggs sickens 79,000 Americans every year, killing 30 of them, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To help prevent illness, the FDA has compiled some food safety tips for consumers when handling, buying, storing, preparing, and serving eggs. Salmonella can cause an infection in the intestinal tract called salmonellosis. Symptoms, which include nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody, usually develop within six to 72 hours of exposure. Those most at risk are seniors, children and those with compromised immune systems.   … [Read more...]

Many Recalls of Products Containing Sunflower Seeds for Listeria

There are going to be quite a few recalls of sunflower kernels and products made with them in the next few days. SunOpta has informed several retailers that their sunflower seeds may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Since these products are almost all ready-to-eat, including protein bars, snack mixes, and shelled nuts, the government has established zero tolerance for this bacteria. Check back frequently to our site. We will keep you informed with all of the latest recalls. One of the reasons these recalls are so serious is that listeriosis, the illness caused by this bacteria, can take up to 70 days to appear. Most people can't remember what they ate for lunch last week, let alone what they ate two months ago, so people could become sick and not identify the … [Read more...]

FDA Releases NARMS Report for Salmonella in Meat

The FDA has released the NARMS (National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System) Retail Meat Interim Report with data from January 2014 through June 2015. This report focuses on Salmonella, including serotype distribution, prevalence by food source and state, selected resistance patterns, and a list of all the identified antimicrobial resistance genes. The "encouraging trends" in the report include finding that the prevalence of Salmonella in retail poultry is at its lowest level since testing began in 2002. In ground turkey, the prevalence of Salmonella has declined from a high of 19% in 2008 to 6% in 2014. In retail chicken during the same time period, it dropped from 15% to 9%. Salmonella resistance to ceftriaxone, a medically important antibiotic from chicken sources declined … [Read more...]

Soy May Be Natural Antimicrobial Agent

Research conducted by Professor Suresh Neethirajan at the University of Guelph in Canada has shown that soy isoflavones and peptides may inhibit the growth of pathogenic microbes that cause food poisoning. The study, published in Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports for the July 2016 issue, tested soy peptides against bacterial biofilms for antimicrobial activity. The researchers found that the soy peptides had an inhibitory effect on Listeria monocytogenes. Another peptide was effective against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Listeria monocytogenes. This could make these compounds an alternative to antimicrobials and antibiotics currently used. Pathogenic bacteria can develop biofilms in different conditions, which enable them to emerge as resistant strains. There is always a need to … [Read more...]

CDC Informs About Cronobacter in Infant Formula

Last week, the CDC issued a new report informing consumers about the possible presence of Cronobacter, formerly called Enterobacter sakazaki, a pathogen found in the environment that can survive under very dry conditions. Bacteria usually need a certain amount of free water in food products to survive. This bacteria has been found in the past in powdered infant formula, powdered milk, herbal teas, and starches, which are foods not usually associated with bacterial contamination. The government is especially concerned about infants, who are more susceptible to serious complications from bacterial infections. In fact, Cronobacter infections are often deadly in young infants. Three are only about 4 to 6 cases from Cronobacter every year in infants, but reporting this illness isn't … [Read more...]

Study Finds GMO Labeling Won’t Cost More

A study conducted for the U.K. Food Standards Agency has found that GMO labeling would increase a family's food costs by 33 cents to $5.58 a year. And a study by Consumers Union reviewed research on GMO labeling and found the annual median cost per person would be $2.30. Food & Water Watch says that Americans deserve to know what is in the food they buy. Groups like the Corn Refiners Association have claimed that Americans will spend more than $1,000 per year on groceries because of the costs associated with adding GMO labeling to products. The CRA study number is so high because they include increases in distribution costs and the costs of switching ingredients in processed foods to organic or non-GMO, even though labeling laws set to go into effect do not have those … [Read more...]

Groups Urge FDA to Withdraw Approval of Ortho-Phthalate Food Additives

Consumer and public health groups, including the Consumer Federation of America, are urging the FDA to withdraw approval of ortho-phthalate food additives used in food packaging and food handling equipment. The groups filed a citizen's petition with the government. Those chemicals are used as plasticizers, binders, coating agents, defoamers, gasket closures, and slimicide agents on machines used to process and package food. Any chemicals that are "reasonably expected" to get into food from their use in materials are considered food additives. The government lets food producers use these compounds in cellophane, paper, paperboard, and plastics that come into contact with food. Studies have linked these compounds to developmental, reproductive, and endocrine health problems. In fact, … [Read more...]

Boston’s Fan Fan Restaurant Closed by Board of Health

Boston's Fan Fan Restaurant has been closed by the Board of Health for food safety violations. Eight of the twenty-seven cited violations are considered risky for critical foodborne illness. And two of the violations are considered critical. The critical violations included cooling food at room temperatures, holding chicken patties at 129°F, when the minimum hot holding temperature is 140°F, storing eggs above 41°F, and lack of pressure at the kitchen hand sink for hot and cold water. Other critical violations include inaccessible hand sink in cooking kitchen, and storing equipment in the hand sink during inspection. Finally, cans of Raid, a bug spray, were found in the food prep areas, and there was no allergen certificate. Critical violations included exterior grounds around the … [Read more...]

National Drug Take Back Day is April 30, 2016

The FDA is bringing attention to an event called National Drug Take Back Day on April 30, 2016. This is a day to take unused prescription medications to a disposal site to safely get rid of them. This event has removed more than 5,000,000 pounds of unwanted, unused, or expired drugs from circulation. Any medications that are no longer being used pose unnecessary dangers to others. In the last twenty years, FDA has received more than 30 reports of accidental exposure to the pain medication in fentanyl patches. Most of those poisoned were children under two years old. Twelve of those people sickened were hospitalized, and twelve died. This program also helps stop drugs from entering the environment, either through solid waste disposal or from flushing unused medicines. The EPA is … [Read more...]

USDA Proposes Organic Animal Welfare Regulations

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)  has issued a proposed rule covering requirements of the welfare of organic livestock. These changes are based on recommendations by the National Organic Standards Board. AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer said in a statement, "the demand for organic agriculture continues to grow each year and these proposed changes will build on USDA's efforts to support organic producers. By strengthening standards for organic livestock and poultry, we are ensuring that we meet consumer expectations and maintain the integrity of the organic seal to support the sector's continued growth. This proposal sets clear standards for organic animals, providing clarify to organic operations and certifying agents, and establishing a level playing field for all … [Read more...]

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