October 18, 2017

People From Five Kansas Counties Hit With Listeria in Past Year

Residents from five Kansas counties have been hit with Listeria food poisoning since January 2014, including five Kansans believed to be sickened by contaminated Blue Bell ice cream served at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital in Wichita. The statistics from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment don't reveal names or hometowns of those who became ill, nor would the agency say which of the six listeriosis patients from the five counties are considered victims of the Blue Bell/Via Christi outbreak. Of the six Kansas listeriosis patients, two are from Sedgwick County, which is dominated by the Wichita area. One each is from Harvey (county seat is Newton, Kansas); Wyandotte (county seat is Kansas City); Shawnee (county seat is Topeka, Kansas) and Ford (county seat is Dodge City, … [Read more...]

National Kidney Month, Learn Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Risks

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) is a life-threatening complication of E. coli infections that causes kidney failure, primarily in young children. Because March is Kidney Month, it's a good time to learn the risks and symptoms of HUS. In the United States, HUS from E. coli infections is the most common cause of serious kidney injury in children and the most common cause of E. coli deaths.  About 7, 500 cases are diagnosed each year. And most E. coli infections in children are caused by contaminated food or drinks. E. coli outbreaks have been linked to hamburger, mechanically tenderized steak, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, raw milk, raw cheese, unpasteurized apple cider, strawberries, hazelnuts, frozen pizza and other frozen food products and cookie dough. Symptoms of E.coli infection … [Read more...]

Cow Share Arrangement for Raw Milk Sales Allowed in WV

The legislature in West Virginia has cleared a bill that will let people purchase raw milk through cow herd share arrangements. The vote was 81-19, according to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. The sale of raw milk has been illegal in that state up to now. The retail sale of raw milk, at farms or at retail establishments, will not be allowed. Consumers would fill out a contract of ownership for a cow, and sign a form acknowledging that they are aware of the health risks posed by this product. In addition, physicians would be required to report any illnesses caused by raw milk to public health officials. Unfortunately, food poisoning outbreaks linked to raw milk increase in states where raw milk sales are legal. All raw milk contains pathogenic bacteria. Pasteurization is the only way … [Read more...]

FSIS Increases Label Monitoring for Food Allergies

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a new directive on procedures for verifying that food manufacturers are accurately labeling foods for the eight most common food allergens. The directive is for inspection program personnel. The allergens are wheat, shellfish, eggs, fish, peanuts, milk, tree nuts, and soy. They account for 90% of allergic reactions among the American public. Other ingredients of concern include sulfites, lactose, FD&C Yellow #5, gluten, and MSG. Monthly verification will begin April 12, 2014. This process will include record reviews, observation of food production, and response to specific questions. Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) will ask whether an establishment has developed and implemented control measures, discuss whether the … [Read more...]

Buying Supplements On the Internet Can be Risky

Dietary supplements are very popular in this country. However, Center for Science in the Public Interest is warning consumers that buying these products over the internet can be risky. First, many "testimonials" from "customers" are fake. The same "person" is usually used repeatedly by different companies, writing the same thing about different products. Second, free samples are offered if you give the company your credit card number. But the time frame for canceling the charge is too short for you to decide if the product works for you. These companies will hype scientific studies that "prove" their product is effective as advertised. But these studies are usually worthless, not adhering to the usual rigor applied to credible nutritional and medical studies. For instance, one … [Read more...]

Fourth Quarter 2014 Recall Results

According to Stericycle, products recalled by the FDA were down, although units recalled were up, and the USDA recalls were the highest since Q1 2012. The company keeps track of food recalled in the U.S. for allergens, foreign material contamination, and bacterial contamination. The FDA recalls numbered 105 in the last three months of 2014, which is the lowest number all year. But 13.8 million units of product were recalled, which is a 142% increase from the third quarter. Undeclared allergens were the main reason for recall, at 50% of the total number. Manufacturers need to be more aware of ingredients sources and the supply chain to keep track of these ingredients. USDA issued 31 recalls for meat, poultry, and processed egg products, which is an increase of 48% from the third … [Read more...]

McDonald’s Will Source Chicken Raised without Some Antibiotics

McDonald's announced last week that they will only source chicken raised without some antibiotics that are important to human health. Center for Food Safety and Food & Water Watch are applauding this move, but they say that McDonald's should now make similar commitments for their beef and pork supply chains. Paige Tomaselli, Senior Staff Attorney at Center for Food Safety, said in a statement, "As the world's largest fast food chain, McDonald's has taken a significant step forward in reducing the overuse of antibiotics in the poultry industry and preserving antibiotic effectiveness for people." Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch said, "we're glad to hear McDonald's realizes the public doesn't want food from factory farms that overuse antibiotics. But … [Read more...]

FDA Not Keeping Up with FSMA Foreign Inspection Law

A report released last week by the Government Accountability Office says that the FDA has to do more about inspecting food facilities in countries that export that food to the United States. The GAO studied the FDA's foreign offices in 2010 and found that they have a too heavy workload. A follow-up report found that the FDA is not inspecting enough facilities as mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. The FDA is supposed to inspect 600 foreign food facilities in the first year after FSMA was signed into law and, for each of the next five years, inspect at least twice the number of firms inspected the previous year. According to those calculations, the government should have inspected 4,800 facilities last year, but only conducted 1,323 inspections. The report states, … [Read more...]

Avian Influenza Discovered in Minnesota Turkey Flock

The USDA has confirmed the presence of "highly pathogenic" H5N2 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Pope County, Minnesota. This is the same strain that was found in backyard and wild birds in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Samples from the turkey breeder replacement flock were tested at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and APHIS National Veterinary Services Labs in Ames, Iowa. State officials have quarantined the premises and poultry barns within a 10-mile radius around the farm. The remaining birds on the property will be destroyed. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system. Almost 15,000 turkeys were destroyed; an additional 29,000 will be killed. A qua The CDC considers the risk to people to be low. No human infections have been … [Read more...]

South Dakota Passes Raw Milk Bill

The South Dakota Legislature has passed a raw milk bill that allows producers to continue to sell raw milk with some restrictions. The provisions were put in place to address concerns raised by the commercial dairy industry. Raw milk farmers will continue to be able to sell raw milk at on-farm stores and deliver to farmers markets if the milk is presold to an existing customer of the dairy. They will not be able to sell raw milk at retail stores and must comply with regular inspections. Nationwide, the number of raw milk outbreaks has been increasing in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The number of raw milk outbreaks increased from 30 in 2007-2209, to 51 in 2010- 2012. Those outbreaks resulted in 979 illness and 73 … [Read more...]

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