February 20, 2017

Avoid Food Poisoning from Eggs During Holidays (and Throughout the Year)

Preparing and sharing holiday treats is one of the best parts of the holiday season. But foods containing eggs can cause illness if not prepared properly. Whether you are making eggnog or cookies, follow these food safety tips to safely prepare food and drinks that contain eggs. First, the facts. Raw eggs are not safe to consume. There is no split opinion on this in the world of food safety. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 350,000 Americans are sickened every year with Salmonella poisoning from raw or undercooked eggs. In fact it's so common to get Salmonella from eggs, the combination was ranked the No. 1 germ and food pair in 2009 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  There have been food poisoning outbreaks linked to … [Read more...]

Canadian Butchers Altering “Best Before” Dates Caught on Hidden Camera

A hidden-camera investigation by Radio Canada showing grocery store butchers altering the "best before" dates on packages of meat and poultry has prompted Quebec's Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis to order a probe of meat packing regulations. Although no health problems have been reported, the problem has become widespread. A butcher at one store told the network that meats are repackaged every morning before the store opens. For food safety reasons, meat and poultry need to be eaten within two to three days of being packaged. Changing the "best before" date could cause serious health problems for consumers. "We will take the necessary steps,” Paradis told the Montreal Gazette.  “Our producers are producing quality meats. The consumer has the right to eat quality … [Read more...]

Perdue Grower Needs to Improve Culling Program

The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) says that a Perdue contract grower must improve his culling program. The animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming took a video of flock conditions and showed it to the agency. The video was edited, but showed that the farmer  need to fix his euthanasia protocols. Animal welfare programs require farmers to inspect their animals twice a day. While the average mortality in birds is about 3 to 4%, in a flock of 30,000 birds 1,000 will die prematurely. The video shows chicks with broken legs, defective legs, and beak deformities. Other chicks are lethargic and sick. The video is also disturbing because broiler chickens are bred for rapid growth rate and increased breast meat yields, so the birds must spend most of their time squatting because … [Read more...]

Will Sprout Grower Face Criminal Charges After Listeria Recalls?

After two Listeria recalls in two years, bean sprout grower Henry's Farm of Virginia may face criminal charges, according to a report in The Packer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been investigating the company for 32 months, but Listeria problems have persisted even after a fire destroyed the facility and it was rebuilt. After the recall in 2012, FDA investigators inspected the facility and found “numerous insanitary conditions and practices that may have contributed directly or indirectly to contamination of your sprouts with pathogens and filth.” There were rodent droppings in bags of mung beans, and gnawed marks on bags of soybeans in the refrigerated seed storage area. Inspectors also noted a “foul odor consistent with rodent infestations.” In late November … [Read more...]

Chobani’s Moldy Yogurt, Who Knew What, When?

A 2013 recall of Chobani yogurt has federal and state authorities squaring off over who knew what when. The he said/she debate between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) was touched off by a recent news report about the recall based on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request obtained by Times-News.  Chobani Inc. is based in Twin Falls, Idaho. In September 2013, the company issued a recall for all of its Greek Yogurt products  "due to reports of product bloating and swelling and some claims of illness." The company temporarily ceased production of the product as it sought to solve the problem which turned out to be a mold, called Mucor circinelloides, that causes dairy products to spoil but does not pose a health risk for … [Read more...]

E. coli In Yuba City Elementary School Well Does Not Cancel Classes

>School administrators at Barry Elementary School in Yuba City, California notified parents that E.coli had been detected in the school's well but that classes would continue. The well has been shut off,  portable hand washing stations and bottled water have been brought into the school, and all meals are being prepared offsite. But the toilets will still be used. Under the circumstances, not all parents were comfortable with the idea of sending their kids to school. Kari Bush told CBS13 that, knowing the risk that E.coli poses for small children, she was uncomfortable with the idea of sending her three kids to school. E.coli can cause serious sometimes fatal illness. Young children are at elevated risk for E. coli poisoning and the serious complications that it can trigger such … [Read more...]

Avian Flu in Canada “Highly Pathogenic”

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has just released a statement saying that testing has confirmed the avian influenza outbreak on two farms in Fraser Valley is the highly pathogenic H5N2 virus. And preliminary testing has bound that two other farms in British Columbia are "presumptive positive" for H5 avian influenza. Those two farms have been quarantined. Those two new farms received birds from one of the original farms that is infected. When raw poultry is properly handled and cooked, there is no risk to humans. In addition, avian influenza only rarely affects people who do not have consistent contact with infected live birds. Still, cook any poultry thoroughly to 165°F as measured by a food thermometer and be careful to avoid cross-contamiantion between raw poultry and … [Read more...]

Avian Flu is Back in Asia and Canada

The avian flu is making a comeback as winter approaches. An outbreak of the bird flu in Korea last spring resulted in the culling of half a million birds. In Egypt, a seventh person has just died from an H5N1 infection. And the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed that avian influenza has been found in birds on two farms in Fraser Valley. Human cases of the bird flu are rare, and usually only affect people who have close contact with live poultry. Egypt's cases have been localized in poor areas where people keep and slaughter poultry in their homes. The bird flu has also been reported in the Netherlands, Germany, Britain, India, and southeast Asia. In Canada, the two farms have been placed under quarantine. The actual subtype and strain of the virus is not known; testing is … [Read more...]

CSPI, Others Target Junk Food Marketing to Children

Center for Science in the Public Interest, along with MomsRising.org, the American Heart Association, and Prevention Institute are asking candy companies to stop marketing unhealthy foods to kids. Hershey, Mars, and Nestle belong to the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), but Tootsie Roll, the American Licorice Company, Haribo of America, Perfetti Van Melle, and The Topps Company do not participate in that program. CFBAI participants are trying to change the children's food advertising landscape. Participants pledge to only advertise foods meeting "meaningful nutrition criteria" or to not advertise to children. They also agree to be held accountable by CFBAI for their actions. CSPI says that Haribo and Tootsie Roll Industries do not have any publicly … [Read more...]

PEW Criticizes Gaps in FDA’s Antibiotic Policy

PEW Charitable Trusts is criticizing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's policy on antibiotic use in food animals, saying there are gaps in the law that promote the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The organization wants the FDA to remove indications for "feed efficiency" and "weight gain" from the labels of animal antibiotics and require vets to oversee the use of the drugs. FDA issued a new policy on antibiotic use in farm animals called Guidance for Industry #213 that was intended to reduce antibiotic misuse. They removed the use of sub-therapeutic additions of antibiotics for feed efficiency and weight gain, but kept the use for disease prevention. PEW reviewed labels of all of the 287 antibiotic products identified by #213 and looked for overlap in the areas of … [Read more...]

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