August 21, 2017

Canada Confirms New Case of Mad Cow

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed its first case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a beef cow since 2011 and the fourteenth case since 2005. The government says that no part of the animal's carcass entered the human or animal food systems. These cases, in addition to the consumers' right to know, are one reason consumer's advocates want to see country of origin labels (COOL) on imported meats. The beef cow was from Alberta, Canada. BSE is a progressive, fatal disease with no cure. It is caused by proteins called prions that are not destroyed by cooking. The prions are also very resistant to UV radiation, disinfectants, and ionizing radiation, but can be destroyed by a combination of those treatments and time. The disease has a … [Read more...]

Employee at Passaic Schools in New Jersey Has Hepatitis A

A high school cafeteria employee in the Passaic, New Jersey schools has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to a letter sent to parents by the Passaic New Jersey Superintendent of Schools. Anyone who bought food from the Passaic High School teacher's cafeteria between January 15 and January 30, 2015 may have been exposed to the virus. The High School has been thoroughly cleaned to disinfect the building. Hepatitis A is a virus that causes injury to the liver. The virus is shed in the feces of the infected person. When a person with the virus doesn't wash their hands after using the bathroom, the feces and virus can get into food or drink they have prepared. When someone else eats or drinks those products, they can get sick; this is called the "fecal-oral" transmission. Direct … [Read more...]

Listeria Survives Standard Cleaning Procedure for Retail Delis

Listeria can survive the standard cleaning procedure used by retail delis, a new study by Purdue researchers has found. Listeria monocytogenes, an uncommon and deadly bacteria, is often associated with ready-to-eat deli meats, hot dogs, refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads, prepackaged deli salads,  soft cheeses, smoked fish, raw cheeses and sprouts. In 2014, three deadly multistate outbreaks were linked to these foods. Bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy of Chicago, killed two people and sickened three others in an outbreak announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in November. Listeria in soft cheese was the source of a three-state October outbreak linked to Oasis cheeses that killed one person and sickened two others;  and a March, outbreak, linked to Roos … [Read more...]

NPA Questions Tests on NY’s Herbal Supplements Probe

The CEO of the Natural Products Association (NPA) is questioning the testing methods used in the New York Attorney General's probe of herbal supplements. Show us the data, he says. Last week, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman sent cease and desist letters to GNC, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens after tests on their store brand herbal supplements tests showed most did not contain the contain plant species identified on the label. And some contained contaminants not identified on product labels. Because supplements do not have to undergo a premarket evaluation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they are sold,  manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe and accurately labeled. Undeclared ingredients can interfere with … [Read more...]

Steve King Reintroduces Bill to Nullify Animal Protection Laws

Steve King (R-IA) has reintroduced his Protect Interstate Commerce Act (PICA) which he tried to get into the Farm Bill last year. The bill would stop states from interfering with production and distribution of agricultural products in interstate or foreign commerce. In other words, individual states would not have the ability to control the types of foods sold in their states. If a state has specific standards for a food, and a company wants to sell that food without those standards in that state, the company would be allowed to do so. In addition, many consumer and animal advocates and food safety groups do not like this bill. The bill would preempt state and local laws that prohibit puppy mills, animal fighting, and the sale of meats from dogs, cats, and horses. And the bill would … [Read more...]

Wash Your Hands to Prevent Foodborne Illness!

Most food poisoning cases happen in the home. Why? Research from Kansas State University finds that 90% of home chefs violate food safety rules, especially rules about hand washing and cross-contamination. Cross-contamiantion happens when hands are not washed after handling raw meats, when cutting boards and utensils are used for fresh foods after coming into contact with raw meats, and when preparing food. The study was conducted to discover which type of food safety education resulted in the best food safety practices. One hundred twenty three participants were divided into three groups. The first group was told about the food safety campaign messages of "clean, separate, cook, and chill." The second group looked at pubic service announcements on this message, and the third did not … [Read more...]

Undeclared Peanut in Cumin Triggers Dozens of Recalls, Lawsuit

A batch of cumin contaminated with undeclared peanut has triggered recalls for dozens of products. And one lawsuit. Severe reactions can be fatal. So strict avoidance, performed by reading food labels carefully is key. That's why undeclared peanut pose such a serious problem for the the three million Americans with peanut allergies. Brand names of recently recalled cumin include: Spice Mill, Archer Farms, Fresh Market, Mimi’s, Rosa Maria, All Island Spice, Casablanca, H Harvest, Spice Class, Leader Market, Salma, La Mina, Key Food and La Flor. Recalled products containing the contaminated cumin include: Hatfield Pork Ribs, El Toro pork, Aleias gluten free croutons, Holiday Foods Peruvian Brand Marinated Beef for Brochett on a Specialty Bamboo Skewer and Holiday Foods … [Read more...]

USDA Inspectors Say HIMP Compromises Food Safety

Three current and one retired USDA officials are criticizing the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Inspection Models Project (HIMP) at hog processing facilities. HIMP increases line speeds and lets company employees do some of the inspection work formerly done by government employees. They say that food safety has been compromised as a result of these projects. Affidavits were released last week by the Government Accountability Project detailing the problems. As a result of these documents, GAP Food Integrity Campaign wants Hormel Foods to reduce line speeds at its facilities. USDA released an assessment of HIMP in November 2014, stating that the five participating plants are performing as well as those under the current inspection system. In one of the affidavits, an … [Read more...]

Undeclared Peanut in Chili Seasoning Sparks Lawsuit

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a Texas woman with a severe peanut allergy who suffered a serious allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock) after eating chili spice mix that contained undeclared peanut. The lawsuit, which names Reily Food Co. of New Orleans as defendant, was filed in district court in Montgomery County, Texas. In November 2014,  Jillian Neal ate chili made with chili spice mix from Reily Foods which did not list nuts of any kind as in ingredient and soon became violently ill, according to the complaint. Her family rushed her to the hospital where she received life-saving medical care. Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies. About 3 million Americans report being allergic to peanuts. Severe allergic reactions can be fatal, so strict avoidance, … [Read more...]

Rosca de Reyes Bread Contaminated with Synthetic Marijuana

More than 30 people were sickened in January 2015 after eating Rosca de Reyes bread produced at Cholula's Bakery in Santa Ana, California. The bread is also known as King Cake and is made with candied fruit and a baby Jesus figurine. It is eaten as part of the Latin American celebration of Three Kings Day. Symptoms included palpitations, dizziness, and numbness. Lab results were released after an investigation found that the bread was deliberately contaminated with a synthetic drug called "K2"or "spice" that is an artificial component of the main ingredient in marijuana. This chemical looks like pot, but side effects from ingesting it are more severe. The particular strain put in this bread is JWH-122, which is illegal in the U.S. Thousands of people are sickened by this drug every … [Read more...]

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