June 26, 2017

Hepatitis A Warning for Marj’s Village Kitchen in Ontario

Marj's Village Kitchen in Alma, Ontario has closed after a hepatitis A warning from the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph health department. Anyone who ate at that restaurant between January 2 and January 20, 2015 has potentially been exposed to hepatitis A because an employee was diagnosed with the illness. The public health department is offering hepatitis A vaccinations as long as you visited the restaurant on or before January 13, 2014. The vaccine only works if received within two weeks of exposure. The sites are 160 Chancellors Way in Guelph; 180 Broadyway in Orangeville; and 474 Wellington Road #18, Suite 100, RR#1 in Fergus. Hepatitis A is a virus that causes liver infection. The symptoms usually begin 15 to 50 days after infection. The illness usually lasts for 3 to 6 weeks. … [Read more...]

Recalled Imported Pork Highlights Problems with TPP

Food & Water Watch has sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, stating that the recent recall of 170,000 pounds of imported pork and nine other recent recalls highlights the fact that the Trans Atlantic Trade Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreements may be flawed and problematic for food safety concerns. Both of those agreements would expedite food imports into the United States from other countries. That recall this month was for pork from Denmark. The meat was not presented at the U.S. point of entry for inspection as the law requires. Food & Water Watch wrote to USDA about this problem last year, but states "the problem seems to be getting worse." USDA claims that the Public Health Information System (PHIS) and Customs and … [Read more...]

Research Discovers New Salmonella Serotype

Researchers at Texas Tech University's Department of Animal and Food Science have discovered a new serotype of Salmonella bacteria. It was confirmed by the Pasteur Institute in Paris, which has the international reference center for Salmonella. The new strain is called Salmonella Lubbock. Marie Bugarel, a research assistant professor at the University, discovered the bacteria. One of her mentors at the University, Dr. Guy Loneragan, said in a statement, "more important than the name, however, is that this discovery illustrates there is more that needs to be discovered about Salmonella and how it interacts with cattle populations. With this understanding will come awareness of how to intervene to break the ecological cycle and reduce Salmonella in animals and in beef, pork, and chicken … [Read more...]

Study Finds COOL Labels Haven’t Affected Livestock Exports

Country of origin labeling (COOL) has been a hot topic in the news for months. The United States wants to label meat products with information about where the animals and processed meat come from, but the World Trade Organization (WTO) has stated over and over again that they believe these steps are potentially harmful to other countries. Canada and Mexico filed objections to the labeling, fearing that consumers would not want to buy products from their countries. WTO sided with Canada and Mexico. But a new study from Auburn University shows that COOL laws have not undermined Canada and Mexico's livestock exports to the U.S. Instead, study author Robert Taylor found that COOL was implemented in 2008 just as the severe United States recession ended demand for expensive meats. Wenonah … [Read more...]

Senators: New Salmonella, Campylobacter Standards for Poultry Will Reduce Illnesses

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s  (USDA's ) proposed new pathogen standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry pieces will reduce the number of foodborne illnesses reported each year, say Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced yesterday the first ever proposed standards for Campylobacter and Salmonella on poultry parts and revised standards for ground poultry. The agency has implemented performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter on poultry sold whole since 1996, but has never had them for poultry sold in pieces such as breasts, wings and drumsticks or for Campylobacter in ground poultry. Only 20 percent of poultry sold is whole.  So most of the poultry … [Read more...]

Undeclared Allergens the Leading Source of USDA Recalls for 5th Straight Year

Undeclared allergens were the leading cause of USDA recalls in 2014, the fifth straight year that they have held the title. Of the 94 recalls, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued last year, 43 were for undeclared allergens. In its breakdown of sources for recalls, the USDA groups all undeclared allergens together, whereas bacterial sources of recalls, such as E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria are listed separately along. Other categories include: extraneous material, processing defect, undeclared substance and other. These USDA considers the wheat, soy, eggs, milk, peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts, soybeans and fish "the big eight" allergens. About 2 percent of adults and 5 percent of children have allergies.  Those with severe allergies experience anaphylactic shock with … [Read more...]

USDA New Measures to Reduce Contamination in Poultry

Yesterday, the USDA proposed new federal standards to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination in ground chicken, ground turkey, and raw chicken breasts, legs, and wings. These standards are part of FSIS' Salmonella Action Plan that was launched in December 2013. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "Today, we are taking specific aim at making the poultry items that Americans most often purchase safer to eat. This is a meaningful, targeted step that could prevent tens of thousands of illnesses each year." According to Consumer's Union, 71% of store-bought chicken is contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. And 8% of those products are contaminated with both Campylobacter and Salmonella. Government studies have found that 25% of cut up chicken, and about 50% of ground … [Read more...]

Dietary Supplements Aren’t FDA Approved

For those trying to make good on New Year's resolutions to lose weight with the help of dietary supplements, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has some advice: beware. The FDA doesn’t evaluate supplements before they enter the market. Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe. Unfortunately, not all of them do. In fact, many of these products contain undeclared ingredients that pose health hazards for those with certain medical conditions and interfere with prescription medications. Others have been found to contain banned drugs such as sibutramine, an ingredient in an FDA-approved drug called Meridia, which was removed from the market in October 2010 after being linked to  heart problems and strokes. The FDA has received dozens of reports … [Read more...]

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...]

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