August 29, 2016

NAMA Conference Presents Trends in Beef and Food Poisoning

The North American Meat Association (NAMA) held its Pathogen Control and Regulatory Compliance in Beef Processing conference last week, and reported on the foodborne disease outbreaks that are attributed to meat. Meatingplace.com says that Hannah Gould of the CDC's National Outbreak Reporting System reported on the data. According to the data, about 9% of foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S. are attributed to beef; 9% to chicken; and 7% to pork. Between 2009 and 2013, of the illnesses linked to beef, 35% involved E. coli O157:H7 and 23% were caused by Salmonella. And between 2003 and 2012, 55% of all E. coli outbreaks attributed to food were associated with beef consumption. Of those outbreaks, 69% were from ground beef, 14% from steaks and 17% from other beef products. This … [Read more...]

Congress Members Ask for More Answers on Poultry Inspection

Fifteen members of Congress sent a letter last week to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about the new poultry inspection system that has been criticized by consumer, food safety, and workplace safety advocates. They wrote they are "extremely disappointed" that the USDA did not address their concerns about the new rule about HIMP, or the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS). The letter states "the new rule will create a system that is detrimental to food and worker safety, as well as animal welfare. This rule abdicates food safety oversight from the USDA into the hands of industry and it places workers in jeopardy." The rule removes USDA-FSIS inspectors from processing lines in poultry plants and instead lets corporations use their own employees for inspections. This creates a … [Read more...]

National Seafood Month Food Safety Tips

October is National Seafood Month and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has compiled some food safety tips to help consumers makes smart choices and reduce the risk of food poisoning. They are as follows: Buying Fresh Fish or Shrimp? If something smells fishy, don’t buy it. Fish should be odorless. It should not smell fishy, sour or like ammonia. Whole fish should have firm, shiny flesh; clear, slightly bulged eyes and red gills that are free of slime. Shrimp should also be odorless. Its flesh should be shiny and translucent. Don’t buy seafood that is not refrigerated or displayed on a bed of ice. Buying Fresh Shellfish? Look for labels or tags on sacks of live shellfish that have information such as the processor’s certification number, which means that the shellfish were … [Read more...]

How Do Your Representatives Score on Food Policy?

Food Policy Action has released its Legislative Scorecard for the 113th Congress. It gives 71 members perfect scores, and 35 a score of zero. The grades were set based on how the Senators and Representatives voted on six specific bills relating to food safety, domestic hunger programs, animal welfare, nutrition, organic farming, and food accessibility and if they sponsored the eight related bills that did not come to a vote. The list of bills used on the Scorecard include the Senate's Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act of 2013 (PARA), the House's Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2013 (PAMTA) and the Grayson Food Safety Inspection Amendment. Tom Colicchio, FPA board member, said in a statement, "few things have as much of an impact on our lives as food. … [Read more...]

On World Food Day, U.N. Warns of Ebola Food Crisis

Today is World Food Day. The U.N. said that the Ebola crisis in Africa is causing a food crisis. The U.N.'s World Food Program (WFP) needs to reach 1.3 million people in need of food in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the hardest-hit regions in the outbreak. That agency has supplied more than half a million people in those areas with food. Denise Brown, WFP's Regional Director for West Africa said in a statement, "the world is mobilizing and we need to reach the smallest villages in the most remote locations. Indications are that things will only get worse before they improve. How much worse depends on us all." Border closures, market closures, and restricted travel threaten food access to many in the region. The WFP provides food to patients at Ebola treatment facilities and to … [Read more...]

Oregon E. coli Death Spotlights Barnyard Risks For Children

Oregon health authorities have not disclosed the findings of their ongoing investigation into the September E.coli death of 4-year-old Serena Profitt and the E.coli illness of her friend Brad Sutton, 5. But Serena's mother, Rachel Profitt, told The Oregonian in an interview that the family's pet goat is considered a prime suspect. Profitt said there are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the illness and death of her daughter. E. coli was found in the goat's droppings but, but officials have not confirmed if it was a genetic match to the strain that sickened Serena and Brad. Goat dropping were among the samples health officials collected from the Profitt home, but stool samples from family members, including 2-year-old Hannah who was also sick around the time Serena became … [Read more...]

Celebrate World Handwashing Day By Singing Happy Birthday, Twice

Today is World Handwashing Day and one of the best ways to celebrate is to wash your hands with soap and running water for as long as it takes you to sing Happy Birthday, twice. Global Handwashing Day was originally created for school-age children but has expanded to include teaching everyone about one of the best ways to prevent the spread of disease. "Turning handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into an ingrained habit could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter," according to the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (GPPPH). Handwashing with soap  and water  is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent … [Read more...]

Albuquerque and Santa Fe Resolutions Against Farm Antibiotic Use

The City Councils of Albuquerque and Santa Fe have passed resolutions calling on Congress to pass national legislation against the unnecessary use of antibiotics on factory farms. Council Members said that they want to make a statement to their federal delegations and to start discussions about this issue at the local level. Eighty percent of antibiotics used in the U.S. are used on factory farms to animals that are not sick. They are used for growth promotion and to prevent disease in poor conditions. FDA recently asked the makers of animal antibiotics to stop use of the drugs in growth promotion, but this was only a "guidance document" and not a law. And farmers can still use the drugs to prevent disease. This overuse creates bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Eleanor … [Read more...]

EPA Approves Dow’s Enlist Duo 2,4-D Herbicide

Against many objections from consumer advocates, food safety advocates, and environmentalists, the EPA approved Dow Chemical's Enlist Duo herbicide, a new blend of 2,4-D and glyphosate that will be used on Dow's GMO corn and soybeans. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been implicated in many diseases, including cancer. And 2,4-D is part of the chemical Agent Orange, used in the Vietnam War, that has sickened and killed many veterans. Dow developed Roundup Ready crops that were resistant to the herbicide. Those plants could be sprayed with Roundup and not be harmed. That use caused an explosion in Roundup resistant weeds. So Dow decided to develop more GMO crops that are resistant to this new herbicide. 2,4-D is linked to reproductive problems, Parkinson's disease, and … [Read more...]

CFIA Releases Microbiological Monitoring Program 2011-2012

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has released its National Microbiological Monitoring Program 2011-2012 Annual Report. The report shows that more than 98% of foods sampled met Health Canada safety guidelines and standards. The government tests a wide range of food for microbial hazards and extraneous material such as glass and metal objects. The testing covers red meat, poultry products, shell eggs, egg products, dairy products, and fresh and processed fruit and vegetable 3products. The Canadian government requires that all foods must comply with the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations, which determine criteria for safe food and place restrictions on the production, importation, sale, composition, and content of food. The National Microbiological Monitoring Program samples … [Read more...]

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