October 1, 2016

Domoic Acid Warning in Central California

The California Department of Public Health is warning consumers not to eat rock crabs caught in Half Moon Bay and bivalve shellfish and rock crabs caught in Monterey Bay. A high level of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin, has been found in those fish. The warning is for crabs and bivalves caught in state waters south of Latitude 37° 11′ N. (near Pigeon Point) and north of Latitude 36° 35′ N (near Cypress Point in Monterey County). The advisory includes recreationally and commercially harvested rock crab, and recreationally caught mussels, clams, and the internal organs of scallops caught in the warning area. Domoic acid is a neurotoxin that causes amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). The neurotoxin accumulation is related to the bloom of a single celled plant. The conditions … [Read more...]

Lawsuit: Bakery Supplier to Whole Foods, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Sysco and More Faked E. coli, Listeria Tests

A bakery supplier to Whole Foods, Kroger, Sam's Club, Sysco, Rich Products, and US Foodservice has been falsifying tests for Listeria and E. coli documents for more than a year, according to a lawsuit filed by whisteblowing employees. Orange Bakery Inc. of Irvine, California had previously employed a third-party lab, Silliker Inc., to test for bacteria. Before severing ties with the lab some time before January 1, 2015, Orange obtained blank testing forms which it then forged to show negative results for Listeria and E. coli, the lawsuit alleges. Orange sells raw dough for bakery products to clients who cover every part of the country. In addition to the major retailers and club stores including Whole Foods, the Kroger family of stores and Sam's Club, Orange also supplies dough to … [Read more...]

Keep Food Safe After a Flood

There is terrible flooding in some parts of the United States. The FDA is offering advice on how to keep yourself safe from food poisoning after a flood. Flood water is usually filthy and filled with bacteria, viruses, and parasites. It can carry E. coli bacteria, Salmonella, Shigella, hepatitis A, and tetanus. If you have time before a flood or weather emergency, make sure you have appliance thermometers in your fridge or freezer. Freeze containers of water to help keep food cold in the fridge, freezer, or coolers. Have a supply of bottled water stored where it will be above the flood water. If flooding occurs, only use water from a safe source for drinking, preparing food, and for washing. Bottled water that has not been exposed to flood water is safest. If you don't have … [Read more...]

Back to School Food Safety

With everyone getting ready to go back to school, there are some steps you can take to make sure your child's lunch is safe. Foodsafety.gov is offering some tips to consumers. When you buy a lunch box, make sure that it is insulated, with enough room for two cold sources to keep the food safe. Perishable foods must be kept below 40°F to prevent bacterial growth. Make sure that the lunch box is easy to clean. Always wash all reusable food storage containers with hot, soapy water after each use. Thermoses should be tested before use to make sure they can keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Fill it with hot water and let the thermos stand at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. Then test the water with a reliable food thermometer and make sure it is at least 140°F, the safe … [Read more...]

FDA to Publish Final Rule on GRAS; Experts Object

The FDA is publishing its final rule on GRAS (generally recognized as safe) substances in human and animal food tomorrow. The rule "amends and clarifies the criteria in our regulations for when the use of a substance in food for humans or animals is not subject to the premarket approval requirements of the FD&C Act because it is generally recognized as safe under the conditions of its intended use." Ingredients on the GRAS list don't need to be approved by the FDA before they are added to foods, but they must adhere to the same safety standards as approved additives. The GRAS list includes substances that were in use in foods before 1958, or through scientific procedures. But food safety experts are concerned about the rule and think that it gives companies the power to make … [Read more...]

Climate Change Increasing Vibrio Infections

A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that climate change is increasing the incidence of Vibrio infections in the United States. Long term ecological data analysis has found that climate change is affecting marine animal, plant, and fungi populations. Marine prokaryotes (single celled organisms), the largest living biomass in the world's oceans, play a fundamental role in maintaining life on the planet. Evidence has been found that, for the first time, provides a link between climate variability in the North Atlantic and the presence and spread of marine Vibrios, one of the ocean's prokaryotes. Several species of Vibrio bacteria are responsible for infections in animals and humans. Humans acquire Vibrio infections by eating raw or … [Read more...]

USDA Says Deli Listeria Pilot Project Working Well

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released their second quarter report of a year-long pilot program that assesses whether retailers are using the government's recommendations to address Listeria monocytogenes contamination in their deli departments. The program started in January 2016. The report states that more retail delis are following recommendations. Listeria monocytogenes contamination is a serious issue with deli products, especially sliced meats and cheeses. There have been several outbreaks in the past few years linked to these products, particularly soft cheeses. There is zero tolerance for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in ready to eat foods. The government surveyed 503 retail delis in the second quarter, up from 334 surveyed in the first … [Read more...]

Hiring a Caterer? Due Diligence is in Order

A wedding held in Snonomish County, Washington state last month was the scene of a food poisoning outbreak that sickened at least 20 people. The caterer for that event, Mr. Rick's Catering, was unlicensed and unpermitted. In fact, that business was recently fined by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department for continuing to operate without a permit since 2012. If you are planning an event and need a caterer, it behooves you to investigate their background. Unlicensed caterers do exist in this country. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reminds consumers that buy9ing food from permitted food sellers reduces your risk for foodborne illness. No food is 100% safe, of course, but reducing the risk of contamination is important. Permitted caterers employ staff who are trained … [Read more...]

FDA Issues Revised Draft Guidance to Improve Supplement Safety Notifications

The FDA issued a revised draft guidance on August 11, 2016 to improve dietary supplement companies' new dietary ingredient (NDI) premarket safety notifications to the government. These notifications help the FDA identify safety concerns before consumers buy these products. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) requires a manufacturer or distributor to notify the FDA at least 75 days before marketing a supplement that contains a new dietary ingredient, unless the NDI is used in the food supply without chemical alteration. A new dietary ingredient is one that was not marketed in the U.S. before October 15, 1994. Supplements are considered adulterated if they contain an NDI not used in the food supply and if notification has not been submitted to the FDA 75 days … [Read more...]

Michigan Food Service Worker Diagnosed with Hepatitis A

A food service worker at the Social Kitchen and Bar in Birmingham, Michigan, has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, with the Oakland County Health Division and the Wayne County Wellness Services Division have identified the infection. That restaurant is located at 225 East Maple Road in Birmingham. Anyone who consumed any food or drinks at that establishment between July 16, 2016 and August 6, 2016 may have been exposed to the virus. The hepatitis A and immune globulin vaccinations available for this virus are only good if given within two weeks of exposure, so anyone who visited the restaurant before July 28, 2016 is no longer eligible for the shot. People who have had hepatitis A before or have been vaccinated with two doses … [Read more...]

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