November 25, 2015

FDA Finalizes FSMA Rule for Food Importers

The FDA has finalized the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs for food importers, in accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. This rule requires that food importers perform "certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produce din a manner that meets applicable U.S. safety standards." FDA head Michael Taylor said in a statement, "under the new rules, importers will have the obligation to verify they are meeting U.S. standards. This is a fundamental paradigm shift from the FDA detecting and responding to problems with imported foods to industry being responsible for preventing them." Imported food makes up almost 20% of the food Americans eat. We import 52% of fresh fruits and 22% of the fresh vegetables in our diet. … [Read more...]

Chipotle E. coli Outbreak Sickens 50

The Chipotle E. coli outbreak has now sickened 50 people in Washington and Oregon. Fourteen people have been hospitalized. Results of DNA testing performed on samples from 33 of those sickened show they were all sickened by the same strain of shiga-toxin producing E. coli O26. There is also one person in Minnesota who has been sickened by that strain. However, at this time, health officials do not believe this case is related to the outbreak as that person did not eat at a Chipotle before becoming ill. Health officials have not yet determined the contaminated food source. Tests have been performed on a number of food items. The initial round of tests did not produce any positives for E. coli. According to a lawsuit filed by the national food safety law firm Pritzker Olsen on … [Read more...]

FDA Asks for Consumer Comments on Labeling Term “Natural”

The FDA is asking for consumer comments on the labeling term "natural". The agency has received three Citizen Petitions asking that that term be defined in food labeling, and one Citizen Petition asking that the FDA prohibit the term "natural" on food labels. Some federal courts have asked for administrative determinations from the FDA regarding whether some foods, specifically those with genetically engineered ingredients and those containing high fructose corn syrup, can be labeled "natural." The FDA states "it has not engaged in rule making to establish a formal definition for the term 'natural,' we do have a longstanding policy concerning the use of 'natural' in human food labeling." The term is considered to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic has been added or included in a … [Read more...]

FDA Orders Juice Manufacturer to Cease Operations

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Sun Valley Juice Company of Ketchum, Idaho to stop "receiving, processing, preparing, packing, holding, and distributing juice" until the agency determines that the company is in compliance with food safety laws and regulations. The company has been sent a letter ordering it to cease operations within five days. The company has compiled. Several attempts were made to help the company comply with regulations before it was shut down. In 2006, a court-ordered agreement, called a consent decree, was signed by a federal judge. That agreement, between the FDA and Sun Valley Juice Company, stated that the company would establish and implement a hazard prevention plan. But FDA investigators have found the company has been out of compliance … [Read more...]

Dole Bagged Spinach Recalled for Salmonella Risk

Dole brand bagged spinach is being recalled because it may be contaminated with Salmonella.  The recalled products have the code  A27409B & A27409A, an "Enjoy By" date of October 15 and UPC 7143000976. No other bagged salads are included in the recall. No illnesses had been reported at the time of the recall. But consumers who have purchased theses salads should not eat them as Salmonella can cause serious illness. The product code and "Enjoy By" date are in the upper right-hand corner of the package; the UPC code is on the back of the package, below the barcode. The salads were distributed in 13 states: Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin. The recall was initiated after a … [Read more...]

Salmonella in Cucumbers Sickens 37 in Minnesota

A 35-state cucumber Salmonella outbreak includes 37 cases in Minnesota where some of those sickened ate at Red Lobster restaurants. The outbreak, which has been linked to cucumbers grown in Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson, includes 732 people, 150 of whom have been hospitalized. Four people have died. About 50 percent of the case patients are children under 18, an age group that is at high risk for food poisoning and for serious complications of foodborne infections. Anyone who has eaten cucumbers and has suffered the symptoms of a Salmonella infection, should see a doctor. Because the outbreak strain of Salmonella Poona is not resistant to antibiotics,  it will respond to treatment that can help alleviate symptoms and clear the infection. And tests on a stool … [Read more...]

Fatality, Miscarriage in Listeria Outbreak Linked to Soft Cheeses

A Listeria outbreak linked to soft cheeses has sickened 24 people, killing one of them and causing one miscarriage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The cases, reported from nine states over a five-year period, are associated with cheeses produced by Karoun Dairies, Inc. of San Fernando, California which have been recalled. The recalled products are vacuum packed, in jars or in pails under the brands: Karoun, Arz, Gopi, Queso Del Valle, Central Valley Creamery, Gopi, and Yanni. Weights vary from 5 ounces to 30 pounds. They were distributed to nationwide to grocery stores and food service accounts. Two of the stores that carried the recalled products are Publix and Sam's Club. Consumers who have purchased these cheese should not eat them as Listeria … [Read more...]

Listeria Illnesses Prompt Cheese Recall of brands Del Valle, Central Valley Creamery, Gopi, and Yanni

Karoun Dairies Inc. of San Fernando, California is recalling a variety of cheeses that have been associated with Listeria illnesses. Consumers who have purchased any of these cheeses should not eat them as Listeria can cause serious illness and death. "Listeria’s natural habitat is in the soil.  It is highly adaptable, however, and once Listeria gains a foothold in a food processing plant, it can quickly spread onto food contact surfaces and into the food itself," said Elliot Olsen, a listeria lawyer with the national food safety law firm PritzkeOlsen, which underwrites Food Poisoning Bulletin. Those at high risk of Listeria infections are young children, seniors, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women.  Among pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriages, … [Read more...]

FDA IDs Mexican Farm in Salmonella Cucumber Outbreak, Issues Ban

The U.S. Food and Administration (FDA) has identified the Mexican farm that produced the cucumbers linked to the deadly Salmonella outbreak and banned them. The FDA and the CDC continue to investigate the 31-state outbreak that has killed two people and sickened 416 others . Rancho Don Juanito de R.L. de C.V. located in Baja, Mexico has been identified as the source of the cucumbers.  The import alert gives health officials the authority to prevent cucumbers from that farm from entering the country. The U.S. distributor of the cucumbers, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego,  issued a recall for these dark green cucumbers, called “slicer” or “American” cucumbers, on September 4. A second recall was issued September 11 by Custom Produce Sales of  Parlier, California, … [Read more...]

FDA Warning Letter to Frito-Lay’s Tennessee Facility

The FDA has sent a warning letter to Frito-Lay's Tennessee facility, sating that inspections in May and June 2015 "revealed serious violations of FDA's Current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements." That means food products held at that facility are considered adulterated because they were "prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health." Frito-Lay has responded to Form FDA 483, and included a number of corrective actions. The adequacy of those actions will be assessed during the next inspection. The inspections in May and June revealed that the roof was leaky, often directly over exposed product through the facility. The equipment wash and sanitize bay, walls, and floor in the pretzel … [Read more...]

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