August 30, 2014

Salmonella Outbreak in England Sickens 247 People

Raw egg

An outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis PT14b in England has sickened almost 250 people, according to Public Health England. That is an increase from 158 cases reported in early August 2014. The government also stated that overall case reporting slowed over the past week. Public health officials say that "there is now evidence to indicate that cases in Europe with the same strains of Salmonella infection were associated with consumption of eggs from a single source. This egg supply also reached distributors and food outlets in England, but at this stage we cannot conclusively demonstrate that this is the infection source in this country." The case count by region is as follows: Hampshire (99 cases), London (30 cases), Cheshire and Merseyside (39 cases), and West Midlands (54 cases). … [Read more...]

Judge Strikes Down Hawaii Law Limiting GMO Crops

Crop Spraying

U.S. District Court Judge Barry M. Kurren has struck down the Kaua'i county law against genetically modified (GM) crops, saying it is preempted by Hawaiian state law. The order forbids county officials from implementing and enforcing Ordinance 960, which required more disclosure from huge biotech companies about pesticide use and GMO farming. The Ordinance also required buffer zones for pesticide spraying around schools, medical facilities, waterways, shorelines, and roadways and mandated County Environmental and Public Health Impact Studies. The plaintiffs in this case include Syngenta Seeds Inc. DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Dow Chemical's Agrigenetics Inc., and BASF Plant Science LPs. The defendants include Kaua'i County, Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network … [Read more...]

Vibrio in Florida: 16 Illnesses, 3 Deaths

Raw oysters are one source of a multistate Vibrio outbreak.

At least 16 people in Florida have been diagnosed with Vibrio infections this year, three of them have died. State health officials are warning people to take precautions that can prevent illness. Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium found in warm salt water. People can get Vibrio infections two ways: eating raw shellfish or swimming in the ocean with open wounds. Vibrio infections in open wounds can cause the skin to breakdown and form ulcers that have difficulty healing.Some wounds may require surgery or lead to amputation.   Foodborne Vibrio infections cause symptoms such as fever, chills, decreased blood pressure and blistering skin lesions.  In some cases, where the infection moves form the intestines to the bloodstream the infection can be fatal. Foodborne vibrio … [Read more...]

Utah Campylobacter Outbreak Linked to Ropelato Dairy Raw Milk


Public health officials in Utah are investigating an outbreak of Campylobacter illnesses associated with the consumption of raw milk. So far, 45 people have been diagnosed with the infection. Those people said they consumed raw milk the week before they got sick. Cases have been reported from Cache, Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Utah, and Weber counties. Two cases have been reported from out of state residents who live in California and Idaho. The illness onset dates range from May 9, 2014 to July 21, 2014. The case patients range in age from 2 to 74 years. All of the cases are linked to the consumption of raw milk or cream purchased at Ropelato Dairy in Weber County. The license of that dairy to sell raw milk was suspended on August 4, 2014 after tests of raw milk samples at the farm … [Read more...]

CSPI Applauds Legislation to Protect Kids from Junk Food Ads

Cheeseburger and soda drink

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is applauding legislation proposed in New York City to protect children from junk food marketing. Toys in fast food meals and other giveaways exploit children and tempt them into unhealthy food choices, according to that agency. New York City Councilmember Ben Kallos' legislation sets nutrition standards for meals that use toys and other incentives to tempt children. Fast food is marketed to children and teenagers more than any other food category. Corporations spend more than $700 million every year on marketing these products to children. And incentive items make up almost half of those promotions. Incentive items include toys, games, trading cards, admission tickets and other consumer products. The law would force restaurants to … [Read more...]

Rancho Feeding Corporation Co-Owner Pleads Guilty


Robert Singleton, co-owner of Rancho Feeding Corporation, has pled guilty to charges of selling cows with eye cancer and is going to cooperate with the prosecution in the case against three other defendants. Rancho Feeding Corporation was shut down in February 2014 after a huge beef recall. Singleton admitted buying cows that were exhibiting disease, which makes them unfit for human consumption. Employees at the facility were allegedly told to cut off the heads of the sick cows and replace them with healthy cows to pass inspection. Employees are also accused of cutting federal inspector's "condemned" stamps on the carcasses so they could process the beef for shipping. Almost 9 million pounds of beef was recalled last winter, causing financial harm to many businesses. According to the … [Read more...]

CFIA Completes Audit on U.S. Meat Inspection Equivalency


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has completed an audit of the equivalency of the U.S. meat inspection program. The audit was conducted in February 2013 and was a routine ongoing equivalence verification audit. Government officials make sure that the U.S. meat inspection system is equivalent to Canada's. CFIA inspected three beef, two pork, and three poultry slaughter establishments, as well as four meat processing establishments producing Ready-to-Eat meat products. Inspectors also visited two government offices and one government laboratory. The audit found that USDA-FSIS's food safety system is "performing as intended in an adequate manner". The system meets the requirement for all six components. But two establishments had problems that would have required delistment if … [Read more...]

Tell USDA No Apples from China


The USDA this summer proposed to amend the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow the import of fresh apples from China into the United States. the only condition is that apples from areas in China where the Oriental fruit fly is not known to exist would include special rules. Those rules would include registration of places of production, inspection for quarantine pests and bagging of fruit and treating the apples with fumigation and refrigeration. All apples from China must be accompanied by a "phytosanitary certificate" stating that all conditions for importation of apples have been met. Food & Water Watch opposes this rule, stating that "the proposed approach for managing the threat of quarantine pests would increase the volume of imported apples that should be inspected … [Read more...]

Salmonella, E.coli Cases in MN Linked to Contact with Animals

Petting zoo E. coli outbreak

Salmonella and E.coli infections from contact with animals have been reported in Minnesota this summer. Sone of the illnesses were from pets, others were from petting zoos. Thirteen people who visited petting zoos at county fairs during July in Minnesota were sickened by E.coli.  Lab test showed that source of the illnesses was the Zerebko Zoo Tran traveling petting zoo which made appearances at the Nashwauk 4th of July Festival, July 3-5 , the Polk County Fair, July 9-13; the Rice County Fair, July 15-20;  and the Olmsted County Fair, July 21-27. Two of the 13 who were sickened developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure. Three Minnesotans were part of a 36-state Salmonella outbreak linked to pet bearded dragons. The lizards that are native to Australia … [Read more...]

Canada Mandates Labeling Mechanically Tenderized Beef


The government of Canada is mandating labeling of mechanically tenderized beef. All MTB products sold in Canada must be clearly labeled as "mechanically tenderized" and include instructions for safe cooking. These products have been tenderized by piercing with needles or blades. This process introduces bacteria into the center of the cut of meat, and means the meat is not safe to consume unless it is cooked well done. Several outbreaks in both Canada and the United States have been linked to undercooked mechanically tenderized beef. An E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Canada in 2012 was linked to mechanically tenderized beef produced by XL Foods; at least 10 people were sickened. In the United States, there were at least five outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 linked to mechanically tenderized … [Read more...]

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