October 21, 2014

GAO Reoprt: USDA Efforts to Protect Consumers from Salmonella, Campylobacter in Poultry Lacking


The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service isn't doing enough to protect Americans from poultry contaminated with the pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  More than 2 million Americans are sickened by Salmonella and Campylobacter every year and poultry contaminated with those pathogens causes more deaths than any other commodity. The report,  requested by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in March, outlines four flaws in the USDA's efforts to reduce pathogen contamination of poultry and makes four recommendations to address them. For example,  the USDA  guidelines to control Salmonella and Campylobacter on poultry farms, … [Read more...]

WTO Rules Against COOL. Again.


The World Trade Organization released its compliance panel reports on the United States "country of origin labeling" (COOL) disputes Monday, and ruled against the United States. WTO found that "the amended COOL measure violates Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement because it accords to Canadian and Mexican livestock less favourable treatment than that accorded to like US livestock." The ruling states that COOL has a "detrimental impact" on competitive opportunities of imported livestock because it necessitates "increased segregation of meat and livestock according to origin." WTO also states that the labels place a higher record keeping burden on imported meats, and increases the potential for label inaccuracy. Consumer advocates, including Center for Food Safety, are disappointed by … [Read more...]

In Canada, Magnetics Spheres Recalled for Ingestion Hazard

Small Magnetic Spheres Recall

Indigo Books & Music is voluntarily recalling powerful magnetic spheres and 4 x 4 magnetic squares that can be used to build sculptures and shapes because of a risk assessment conducted by Health Canada. The government has determined that the sets are a "danger to human health and safety because they contain small powerful magnets which can be easily swallowed or inhaled by children." Similar products have been recalled and banned in the United States. The tiny magnets do not pass through the digestive system. When more than one magnet is swallowed, they pinch together, create blockages in the GI tract, and can tear through intestinal walls, causing perforations. This can be life-threatening and can cause serious long-term health problems. There have no reports of consumer … [Read more...]

FDA Agrees to Finalize GRAS Rule of 1997


The FDA has agreed to finally finalize its GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) rule, in response to a Center for Food Safety lawsuit. For 17 years, the FDA has let corporations fast track their food additives to get products onto the market. That allowed corporations to sell products that had not been reviewed by the government to see if they are safe for human consumption. In 1958, Congress passed a law requiring the FDA to conduct "rigorous reviews" of food additives before they were put into the marketplace. Those additives were supposed to be rejected or approved based on scientific evidence. Common ingredients that were used for decades, such as sugar, were deemed "generally regarded as safe" and exempt from review. Corporations could formally petition FDA to approve a food additive … [Read more...]

Tea Recalled in Canada for Undeclared Milk

u.loveit Tea recall

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Choy Foong International are recalling U.loveit teas from the marketplace because they contain undeclared milk, one of the major food allergens. People with an allergy to milk could have a serious allergic reaction if they consume this product. No illnesses have been reported to date. The recalled products are all U.loveit brand. The products are sold in 80 gram packages. All codes where milk is not declared on the label are recalled. The products include Brewed Tea Drink Powder (Wheat Flavour) with UPC number 6 926475 203125, Brewed Tea Drink Powder (Coffee Flavour) with UPC number 6 926475 203132, Brewed Tea Drinks Powder (Red Bean Flavour) with UPC number 6 926475 203958, Brewed Tea Drink Powder with UPC number 6 926475 203170, and … [Read more...]

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 stakes 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...]

Hapi Pudding Recalled for Undeclared Milk

Hapi Pudding Allergen Recall

JFC International of California is recalling all lot codes of its Hapi Pudding because it may contain undeclared milk, one of the major food allergens. Anyone with an allergy to milk could have a life-threatening reaction if they consume this product. No allergic reactions have been reported to date. The milk-containing product was distributed in packaging that was mislabeled during a revision of the packaging process. The recalled product, "Hapi Pudding" is sold in a 3-pack with a net weight of 8.46 ounces. The UPC number is 11152 13417. The product was distributed nationwide to retail stores. The product is in clear plastic containers with an orange and white seal on top. Product information is on the bottom of the plastic wrapped container. If you purchased this product and … [Read more...]

Asian 7 Rice Cracker Mix Recalled for Undeclared Peanuts

Market Basket Asian Rice Cracker Mix Peanut Recall

United Natural Trading LLC dba Woodstock Farms Manufacturing of New Jersey is recalling 22 pound bulk cases and Market Basket 12 ounce tubs of Asian 7 Rice Cracker Mix because they may contain undeclared peanuts. People with an allergy or sensitivity to peanuts could have a serious or life-threatening reaction if they eat this product. No illnesses have been reported to date. The recalled bulk cases of the mix, Lot #YOUI03 were supplied to Woodstock Farms from Suzhou Youi Foods in China and distributed in Florida and Wisconsin. The Market Basket 12 ounce tubs of the Asian 7 Rice Cracker Mix, Lot #14248 were supplied from China to Woodstock Farms and distributed in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. The best by date is 9/5/15 and UPC number is 04970540898. A … [Read more...]

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