May 27, 2018

FDA Orders Manufacturers to Omit Trans Fats Within 3 Years

Today, the FDA finalized its determination that trans fats, made from partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), are not "generally recognized as safe" or GRAS, for use in human food. Food manufacturers will have three years to remove this ingredient from products. FDA's Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff said in a statement, "the FDA's action on this major source of artificial trans fats demonstrates the agency's commitment to the heart health of all Americans. This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year." Since 2006, food manufacturers have been required to include trans fat content information on nutrition labels on all food products. But manufacturers could put "0 grams trans fat" on the label if the product contained … [Read more...]

CFA Statement on House COOL Vote

Chris Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America released a statement about the house vote on country of origin labeling (COOL). Last week, the House voted to repeal COOL, meaning that labels on meat, pork, and chicken would no longer have to state where the food came from. He said in a statement, "yesterday the House voted to deny American consumers basic information about where their food comes from. In supporting a repeal of country of origin labeling for meat, pork, and chicken, Congress bowed to overblown threats of retaliation from Canada and Mexico and took action prematurely before the case at the WTO was fully settled." The World Trade Organization has repeatedly ruled against the United States on this matter. Canada and Mexico … [Read more...]

Jeni’s Ice Cream Finds Listeria in Ohio Facility

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams recalled all of their products last month after Listeria monocytogenes bacteria was found in the ice cream made in their Nebraska plant. More than 265 tons of ice cream was destroyed.  They shut down production and cleaned the facility, then reopened. But testing found more of the pathogenic bacteria in the Columbus,Ohio kitchen. Routine swabbing discovered the problem. Production has been halted again as the company investigates. All of their ice cream is now subject to test-and-hold before it enters into commerce. The company is temporarily closing its scoop shops because they don't have enough ice cream. FDA inspectors looked at the Ohio facility eight times in April and found cleanliness problems and inadequate pathogen controls. The report states … [Read more...]

Antibiotic Resistance Increasing for Some Pathogens, CDC Reports

Some types of Salmonella and other bacteria are increasing their resistance to antibiotics, according to a new report from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) which tracks antibiotic resistance in humans, farm animals and deli meat. Each year, about 440,000 Americans develop antibiotic-resistant infections from foodborne germs. Created in 1996, NARMS is an interagency collaboration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It tracks antibiotic resistance in six pathogens: non-typhoidal Salmonella, typhoidal Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, E. coli O157, and Vibrio. The new report, based on information from 5,000 isolates gathered in 2013, … [Read more...]

CDC Issues Human Health Advisory Over Avian Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an official health advisory about recommendations for human health over the highly-pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N2), (H5N8) and (H5N1) viruses, known as HPAI H5. There have been more than 200 findings of birds infected with these viruses. More than 40,000,000 birds in 20 states have been affected, mostly in poultry backyard and commercial flocks. These are the first reported infections with these specific viruses in U.S. wild or domestic birds. No human illnesses have been reported to date, but since the virus has been found in this country, the advisory states "their appearance in North American birds may increase the likelihood of human infection in the United States." Human infections with avian flu have occurred … [Read more...]

North Carolina Governor Vetoes Ag Gag Bill

The governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, has vetoed the ag-gag bill that was sent to his desk. The bill was designed to give big agriculture and factory farms a civil cause of action against anyone trying to uncover animal abuse. McCrory said in a statement, "This bill is intended to address a valid concern of our state’s businesses—how to discourage those bad actors who seek employment with the intent to engage in corporate espionage or act as an undercover investigator.  This practice is unethical and unfair to employers, and is a particular problem for our agricultural industry. It needs to be stopped. While I support the purpose of this bill, I believe it does not adequately protect or give clear guidance to honest employees who uncover criminal activity.  I am concerned that … [Read more...]

Canadian Risk Assessment Finds GMO Salmon Disease Susceptible

The Center for Food Safety has released information about a risk assessment conducted in Canada that finds GMO salmon are susceptible to disease. The environmental review of AquaBounty Technologies' GE salmon reveals that the Canadian government disagrees with the FDA on key questions about the safety and performance of the salmon. Food & Water Watch, Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, and Consumers Union are calling on the FDA to terminate its ongoing review of GE salmon. The risk assessment finds that GE salmon are more susceptible to a type of disease-causing bacteria than non-GE domesticated salmon. That indicates that the fish will have unique health problems. It also raises concerns about the public health that the FDA has not considered. The report also states … [Read more...]

FDA 483 Report on Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

The FDA has released Form 483 about their inspection of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams facility in Columbus, Ohio. That firm recalled all of their products in April 2015 because Listeria monocytogenes was found in the ice cream. The report states that the Regulatory manager and the Director of Operations, who are responsible for assuring compliance with current good manufacturing practices to all personnel, demonstrated a lack of competency. The observations follow. They did not have an environmental sampling and testing program in place. Neither the Regulatory Manager nor the Director of Operations were aware that "employees on the p.m. shift were not sanitizing the food contact surfaces of the inside of the batch freezers at the end of the production day." Towels which were being used … [Read more...]

Details of 2008 Inspection Report at Jeni’s Ice Cream Facility

The FDA has released two inspection reports on Jeni's Ice Cream facility in Missouri. A 2008 report found problems, as did a 2015 report. The Missouri Department of Agriculture found Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in Jeni's ice cream in April 2015, and the plant shut down to find the problem. The 2008 report found that plant managers did not take measures to exclude pests from the processing areas. Rodent pellets were found along the oven wall, in the dry food product storage area, and throughout the storage area. A live rodent on a glue trap was found next to the cleaning supply door. The plant did not have adequate screening or other protection against pests. There were "numerous holes in the exterior wall of the facility without screening to prevent pest access." Garage bay doors … [Read more...]

Memorial Day and Summer Holiday Food Safety Tips from the FDA

The FDA has released tips on eating safely this Memorial Day. Safe food handling when eating outdoors is important and can be tricky, especially when the weather is warm. When you are transporting food for a picnic or potluck, make sure to keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Cold food should be stored at temperatures below 40°F to prevent bacterial growth. You can pack meat, poultry, and seafood while still frozen so they stay colder longer. Organize cooler components. A plain picnic basket usually isn't insulated enough to hold perishable foods. Use two coolers, with beverages in one and perishable foods in another. As people take out drinks, they won't expose food to warm outdoor temperatures. Keep coolers closed too. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood wrapped and separate … [Read more...]

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