May 23, 2017

Queseria Bendita Listeria Outbreak: Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy

The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to recalled Queseria Bendita soft cheeses and sour cream is a reminder to pregnant women that they should avoid certain foods. One pregnant woman in Washington state was sickened in this outbreak. Some foods are riskier than others because they are more likely to contain pathogenic bacteria, especially Listeria, that can cause serious complications. The outbreak linked to Queseria Bendita Panela, Queso Fresco, Cotija, and Requeson cheeses has sickened three people and killed one person. Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients sickened by this pathogenic bacteria, said, "It is always tragic when people are sickened and killed by contaminated food. Processors have a legal responsibility to make sure the foods they sell are … [Read more...]

USDA Recalls Increased in 2014

The number of food recalls issued by USDA-FSIS increased in 2014 over previous years. Ninety-four recalls were issued, compared to 75 in 2013. Pounds of food recalled also increased, from 13.1 million pounds in 2013 to 18.7 million pounds in 2014. USDA oversees the safety of meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products. But there were fewer recalls overall for pathogenic bacteria and more recalls for undeclared food allergens and labeling issues. Most recalls were for undeclared allergens (6.15 million) and "other" reasons (9.64 million). The "other" reasons were lack of inspection, labeling problems, or failure to present import inspection paperwork. Most of the recalls last year were Class I. The government defines that class as "a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable … [Read more...]

Senator Schumer Wants FDA to Crack Down on Unsanitary Warehouses

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on the FDA this week, asking for more inspections on food warehouses. Last year the FDA found "squalid" conditions in 90 warehouses that hold food that is shipped to consumers. In a press release, Schumer said, "at the end of 2014, the FDA quietly revealed hundreds of food safety violations at food processing facilities over the course of the year, and everyone from restaurant-goers to owners are appalled by some of the disgusting conditions at warehouses that supply our food. Reports of the filthy conditions at some of these warehouses sound like a page straight out of Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle'." Some of the issues in those warehouses were dead and alive rats and birds, and rodent feces next to the food. The FDA inspects "high risk" facilities … [Read more...]

HSUS Exposes Animal Abuse at Plant in Butterfield, Minnesota

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is exposing animal abuse at a "spent" egg-laying hen slaughter plant in Butterfield, Minnesota. The undercover investigation was conducted at Butterfield Foods. Video showed hens scalded alive, forced upside down into tanks of hot water, where they drown. Hens are not covered under the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, even though chickens and turkeys make up 90% of the animals killed for food in the U.S. The spent hens are egg-laying birds that are no longer profitable as egg producers. They are used for cheap meat, often so unsafe that these battery cage facilities can't sell it for human consumption. In addition to the scalding alive, the hens arrived at the plants packed in so tightly they could barely move. Many birds had … [Read more...]

Dog Deaths Prompt Petco to Dump Treats Made in China

Petco has become the first national pet specialty retailer to end sales of pet treats made in China. The decision was prompted by continuing reports of illness and deaths associated with the products. Between 2007 an 2014, at least 5,600 dogs illnesses and 1,000 dog deaths were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats have also sickened 24 cats, and three people. "As a trusted partner for pet parents, we believe this is the right thing to do, and we're proud to take this step in the best interest of pets," said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. "What we feed our pets matters, and this milestone supports the company's steadfast commitment to putting our customers, partners, … [Read more...]

Food Safety Violations Found at Kansas Prisons

Inspections conducted at prisons in Kansas by the Kansas Department of Corrections has found consistent food safety violations in the prison system's kitchens. Almost 340 inspections conducted between January, 2013 and July 2014 at 19 facilities found repeated deficiencies and noncompliance. It is considered cruel and unusual punishment to not take adequate care of prisoners, who are under complete government control. In addition, when outbreaks occur, taxpayer money is then spent giving medical care to prisoners and investigating the problem. Lawsuits against prisons have been filed and won by the families of prisoners who have been sickened in outbreaks at prisons and jails. The violations recorded in the inspections included not keeping proper temperature logs, not having inmate … [Read more...]

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...]

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