December 21, 2014

USDA Closes Central Valley Meat, Again


Central Valley Meat, a California slaughterhouse that supplies meat to the National School Lunch Program, has been closed by the USDA for unsanitary conditions, according to the Los Angeles Times. A recall has not been issued. The closure is the latest in a string of recent troubles for Central Valley, located in Hanford, CA. In 2012, the USDA closed operations at the plant for a week after a video by a nonprofit group showed workers mistreating animals.  And six months ago, the company recalled almost 90,000 pounds of meat that may have contained small pieces of plastic. Details of the conditions discovered by USDA inspectors were not provided. But they said operations would be suspended until the compant had developed a corrective action plan. The previous closure, in 2012, … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch Delivers Petition on China Pet Treats


Food & Water Watch has delivered a petition on behalf of "animal parents" to the FDA against pet treats and food made in China. They want the agency to implement Section 211 of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that would inform consumers about the dangers of these treats. Under that rule, grocery stores will have to post notices in conspicuous places telling consumers about contaminated food products, including pet food. Terry Safranek, a founding member of APAPTFMIC (Animal Parents Against Pet Treats & Food Made in China), said in a statement, "I lost my beloved dog Sampson in January 2012 to poisonous pet jerky treats made in China. Since 2007, FDA has reported that 600 dogs have died and over 4,600 have gotten sick and the common denominator is that all of these pets … [Read more...]

EU to Begin 2nd Round of Horse Meat


One year after the European horse meat scandal began, the European Union has recommended a second round of testing on beef sold in the United Kingdom. The horse meat scandal began in January 2013 when health officials in Ireland discovered horse and pig DNA in products that were supposed to contain only beef. During 2013, thousands of products throughout the European Union were tested to determine the breadth of the problem. About 4.6 percent of samples tested contained horse meat. Those that contained more than 1 percent horse meat were analyzed for phenylbutazone (bute), an anti-inflammatory drug commonly used in horses that poses a health risk to humans. No public health issues were associated with the meat in question, but there was an outpouring of consumer concern. These … [Read more...]

Hawaii Bakery Fined $20,000 for Violations of Food Safety Rules


The Hawaii State Department of Health has reached an agreement with Kanemitsu Bakery for $20,000 over violations of rules designed to protect public health and prevent adulterated food products from being sold under poor sanitary conditions. The bakery is located in Kaunakakai on the island of Molokai. The bakery's food establishment permit was suspended in April 2012 for many health code violations and for not complying with DOH orders to stop all sales of products. An inspection on June 20, 2012 revealed serious deficiencies in the "maintenance and manufacturing practices conducted at the facility," according to the report. The bakery remained closed until mid-November 2012 after failing many health inspections. Gary Gill, DOH deputy director of Environmental health said in a … [Read more...]

Is Cause of Porcine Virus Pig Feed With Pigs In It?


Is the virus killing millions of piglets in the U.S. and Canada caused by feed that contains pig products? The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) think it might be, according to a story in the Toronto Globe and Mail. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) is a highly contagious virus that causes serious, often fatal illness in suckling piglets through severe diarrhea and dehydration. It was discovered in the United Kingdom in 1971. Since its first appearance in the U.S. last spring, it has killed more than a million piglets and has recently entered Canada. PEDV is typically transmitted via the fecal-oral route meaning it is excreted in the feces of an infected animal and transmitted to other animals that ingest microscopic amounts of the infected feces. Tests on samples of feed … [Read more...]

Advocates Want to Ban Possible Carcinogenic Additive in Bread


Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) wants to ban a chemical used in many fast food breads. Azodicarbonamide is used to make bread and is included in the rolls McDonald's and Arby's sell. Subway recently banned the chemical from their bread. Other companies that use this chemical to make their bread include Starbucks, Wendy's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, other restaurants, and grocery store chains. Schumer said in a statement, "many countries in the developed world have banned this toxic chemical from food products, and it's time for the U.S. to follow suit. While Subway should be commended for removing it voluntarily, it shouldn't have even been a choice in the first place. The FDA needs to take another look at this chemical and make sure that the thing that makes our rubber rubbery … [Read more...]

Transport, Storage Temperature Affects Food Safety of Bagged Salad

Temperature fluctuations affect food safety of bagged salads

Temperature fluctuations during commercial transport and retail storage and display can affect the quality and food safety of bagged salads, according to a new study published in the Journal of Food Protection. The study, the first to examine time and temperature in commercial settings, could improve the food safety of leafy greens which are a major source of food poisoning Researchers from Michigan State University in East Lansing,  California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and the University of Cordoba in Spain, measured  temperatures on five transportations routes covering four geographic regions. The measurements included two to three days in transport, one to three days in retail storage, and three days of retail display. The conditions were then duplicated in a … [Read more...]

Center for Food Safety Criticizes GMA GMO Labeling Block


The Center for Food Safety is criticizing the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) for trying to block states from mandating labeling of genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GMO) foods. GMA just announced the formation of a group called "Coalition for Safe Affordable Food" that is comprised of chemical groups, big food corporations, and biotechnology lobbyists. Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for Center for Food Safety (CFS) said in a statement, "these companies spent nearly $70 million in California and Washington state to defeat GE labeling initiatives. They know that the food movement's power is growing and that labeling is not a matter of 'if' but 'when'. These companies have failed to win over consumers who overwhelmingly support the mandatory labeling of … [Read more...]

Legislators Urge USDA to Ban Downer Calf Slaughter


Based on the Humane Society investigation last month into a calf slaughter plant in New Jersey, 72 members of Congress are asking the USDA to ban the slaughter of downer calves. They say that animals that are unable to stand  because they are too sick, injured, weak, or tired should not go into the food supply. A loophole in federal regulations allows this. The USDA granted a 2009 Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) petition last year requesting an end to the inhumane practice of slaughtering downer calves, but no more action has been taken. That video showed employees at the plant kicking and shocking non-ambulatory calves in their faces, necks, and torsos to force the baby animals to move off the trucks and into holding pens. These actions took place right in front of a USDA … [Read more...]

Rancho Feeding Closed As Investigation Continues


Rancho Feeding Corp. the Petaluma, CA slaughterhouse that Saturday recalled 8.7 million pounds of beef deemed unfit for human consumption by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has closed while it is being investigated. The closure was voluntary, according to the company, which is the only beef processing plant in the Bay Area. No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall. The recalled products are not typical supermarket offerings and include: beef carcasses, heads, cheeks, lips and testicles. To see a full list, click the link above. The recalled products were processed between January 1, 2013 through January 7, 2014 and shipped to distribution centers and retail stores in California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas. The USDA said Rancho "processed diseased and … [Read more...]

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