April 23, 2017

Year End Wrap Up of Gross Food News: The Neews in 2014

It’s the last Sunday of the month and the last Sunday of the year, so it’s time for a special year-end edition of The Neews,  our monthly feature of food stories that put the eew in news. Here are some highlights: In February, we shared the story of police in Anambra, Nigeria who shut down a hotel restaurant that had been serving human flesh, according to story in The Independent. Police, who discovered two bloodsoaked human heads wrapped in cellophane, two AK-47s, other weapons and a cache of cell phones at the restaurant, arrested the owner and 10 other people. Also in February, Steve Melendez shared his Ratopia Restaurant Map in Gothamist.  Using information from New York City’s health department, Melendez created a color-coded map that shows by zip code the percentage of restaurants … [Read more...]

Pork Leg Produced Without Inspection Recalled

BMG Trading of Ontario, Canada is recalling 26,108 pounds of pork products that were produced without the benefit of federal inspection. The problem was discovered using the Public Health Information System during a weekly review of import shipment data. The product was not presented at the Canadian border for FSIS reinspection. No reports of illness or other problems have been received to date. The recalled items are 1800 pound combo bins, each containing 65 to 75 kg of Pork Leg Flank On Combo. The products have the establishment number "394" inside the Canadian mark of inspection as well as a health certificate number listed as "CERT. No. CDERT. 097400." They were shipped for further processing to Arizona. People should not eat this product. … [Read more...]

Salmonella Poisoning from Reptile Pets Most Often Affects Children

Salmonella poisoning from reptile pets most often affects children, according to a 2014 study. The study, which looked at 15 years of data from Minnesota, was published in the June issue of Zoonoses Public Health. Researchers from the Acute Disease Investigation and Control division of the Minnesota Department of Health in St. Paul, MN looked at "reptile-associated salmonellosis" cases reported in Minnesota from 1996-2011. During this period,  about 290 such cases were reported. The median age of case patients in these outbreaks was 11, with 31 percent under the age of 5 and 67 percent under the age of 20. Most of the patients were sick for about eight days. Twenty three percent of them required hospitalization. The reptiles most commonly reported in association with the illnesses … [Read more...]

Caramel Apple Outbreak: History of Apple Recalls for Listeria

The recent outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to commercially prepared, prepackaged caramel apples in the U.S. may seem surprising. After all, caramel apples are hardly a food one thinks of in relation to food poisoning. But in the past two years, there have been a few recalls of apples products for this bacteria, so the outbreak is not unprecedented, although no illnesses were reported linked to the recalls below. Earlier this month, Giant Eagle recalled their Apple Pistachio Salad, plain and with chicken because they may have contained fresh cut Gala red apples recalled by Del Monte Fresh Produce for possible Listeria contamination. The Del Monte recall was for apple slices, apple slices with dip, apples with cheese, snack packs, pineapple medley, apples with grapes and cheese, … [Read more...]

Study: E. coli From Cattle Feedlots Can Blow Onto Neighboring Produce Fields

E. coli from cattle feed lots can blow into neighboring fields and contaminate produce, according to a new study. The finding raises the question if setback distance between cattle feedlots and produce fields should be adjusted to improve food safety. The two-year study was conducted by researchers from the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Nebraska;  the Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, California; and the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland. It appears in the  December issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology In both years, leafy greens were planted to nine plots located 60, 120, … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

The USDA is offering tips to help keep your holiday season safe. Whether you're entertaining at home or carrying food to a potluck, there are rules you need to follow to make sure the food you have prepared and are serving doesn't make someone sick. First, if you have specific concerns, call the USDA Meat and Poultry hotline at 1-888-674-6854 or chat with a food safety speciality at AskKaren.gov. When shopping, make sure you keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from other foods in the cart. Buy cold and frozen foods last so they stay cold. And always place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in a separate bag at checkout. Go home immediately after you are finished shopping so food doesn't get to unsafe temperatures in the trunk of your car. Make sure you follow the rules of … [Read more...]

Senators Question Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Task Force

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have sent a letter to Secretaries Chuck Hagel, Tom Vilsack and Sylvia Burwell of the Interagency Task Force for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria to ask how gaps in the FDA's plan to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria will be addressed. President Obama issued an executive order on September 18, 2014 to set up that Task Force. The first guiding principle of the national strategy is that "misuse and over-use of antibiotics in health care and food production continue to hasten the development of bacterial drug resistance, leading to the loss of efficacy of existing antibiotics." But almost 75% of the antibiotics sold every year in this country are used in food animal production, in a way that … [Read more...]

Common Kitchen Food Safety Mistakes

Researchers at Institute of Food Technologies have released information on the five most common food safety mistakes consumers make in their kitchens. The team videotaped 120 consumers as they prepared a chicken and a salad at home. Most consumers felt they were handling and cooking the food correctly, but many made critical mistakes. The first was not washing hands before starting to prepare food. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before starting to cook, and dried with a paper towel, not a cloth towel that can become contaminated. The second mistake was washing chicken. When chicken is washed under running water, the bacteria aerosolizes and spreads up to 3 feet away. The bacteria then ends up in the sink and surrounding countertops, and some may … [Read more...]

After Deaths, FDA Mulls Action on Powdered Caffeine

After two young men died from taking powdered pure caffeine, the U.S. Food ad Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer advisory and is now mulling further action, according to Michael Landa, Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Eighteen-year-old, Logan James Stiner, a high school senior, athlete and prom king died days before his graduation in May after taking  powdered pure caffeine. James Wade Sweatt, 24, a newly married, recent graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham,  downloaded a conversion chart to try to calculate the proper dose but slipped into a coma after using powdered pure caffeine and later died. Both young men purchased the caffeine online where it is marketed like an energy-boosting dietary supplement rather than a stimulant. … [Read more...]

Spending Bill Cuts $93 Million from WIC

The huge spending bill passed by Congress last week cuts $93,000,000 from the Women Infants and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). That program gives low-income mothers and children vouchers for food that meets nutrition guidelines. WIC has been one of the most successful government programs in history. Both WIC and SNAP add money to local economies. In fact, every five dollars in SNAP benefits generates nine dollars in community spending. And the food purchased by SNAP recipients generates 3,000 farm jobs. In addition, every study shows that WIC improves birth outcomes. Almost half of the participants in SNAP are children. Legislators did require the WIC program to add white potatoes to the foods on the allowed list, pandering to industry lobbyists. … [Read more...]

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