December 9, 2016

FDA Investigates Island Soup Company

The FDA is advising consumers to throw away any soup products from the New York firm Island Soups Company with best before dates between July 2015 and June 2018 because they may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum bacteria. That bacteria produces a toxin that can be deadly even in very small amounts. The company issued a recall for six soup varieties of their products on September 7, 2016. But in the notice from the FDA, they state that "FDA's safety concerns extend to all low-acid canned food products with best before dates between July 2015 and June 2018." FDA officials inspected Island Soups Company on June 22, 2016 and found that the facility "does not meet mandatory safety requirements for thermally processed low-acid canned food (LACF) products under the Federal … [Read more...]

SM Fish Closed by FDA; Illnesses Linked to Facility

The FDA has suspended the food facility registration of SM Fish Corporation of Far Rockaway, New York after finding Listeria monocytogenes at that location during three different inspections. In addition, whole genome sequencing (WGS) matched one of the strains found at SM Fish to isolates from four people sickened with listeriosis. Anyone with un-expired ready to eat food manufactured by SM Fish should not eat those products. This is an expansion of the July 29, 2016 recall of Ossie's Herring Salads to include all RTE foods from that facility. Ossie's ready to eat seafood salads were also recalled on September for possible Listeria contamination. Listeria was first fond in the facility in 2015 and found Listeria bacteria in 15 of 105 locations swabbed throughout the building. An … [Read more...]

The FDA Offers Tips on Tailgating Food Safety

Fall is football season, and that means a lot of eating. Tailgating is part of that sport; people set up grills and picnic tables in the parking lots of stadiums and chow down. The FDA is offering tips to make your tailgating event a food safety success. Plan ahead for food safety. Make sure you have these items on hand to keep the food you serve safe: paper towels, moist towelettes or hand sanitizer, two coolers (one for food and one for beverages), ice, frozen gel packs, two sets of cooking utensils (one for raw foods and one to take cooked food off the grill), paper plates, disposable silverware, a food thermometer to check the temperature of burgers and chicken, and clean containers to hold leftovers. Always wash your hands well with warm water and soap for at least 2o … [Read more...]

FDA, USDA Offer Tips to Use Your Microwave Safely

The FDA and USDA are offering tips about using your microwave oven safely. That agency regulates microwave ovens. Consumers have experienced burns and other injuries from microwave radiation, especially if the ovens are not used or maintained properly. There is another issue with microwave safety: food safety. Microwave ovens can "cook" food unevenly, leading to areas, especially in solid meats such as chicken, where the temperature is not raised high enough to kill pathogenic bacteria. In fact, some outbreaks in the past may have occurred because microwaves were used to cook the food in question, such as the Farm Rich E. coli outbreak. Mandatory label changes in 2008 omitted the microwave cooking instructions on many raw foods The magnetron inside your microwave converts … [Read more...]

FDA Collaborates with Egypt on Strawberry Hepatitis A Outbreak

The FDA is working with the Egyptian International Health Regulations National Focal Point about the investigation of strawberries that have been linked to a hepatitis A outbreak centered in Virginia. That outbreak, linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafes in that state, has sickened at least 70 people who live in 7 states. Public health officials are trying to identify all parts of the supply chain that brought the berries to the U.S. Government officials are "prohibited by law in most situations from releasing publicly certain confident commercial information about supply chains," according to the FDA notice on this outbreak. FDA has increased surveillance of imported strawberries as a result of this outbreak investigation and "will provide more information as it becomes available." FDA … [Read more...]

FDA Says No Antimicrobial Agents in Over the Counter Soaps

On every story we have written over the past five years about food poisoning outbreaks, we follow the FDA's advice: after handling potentially contaminated products, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. That's the best way to remove pathogenic bacteria and viruses from your hands and prevent the spread of illness. Now the FDA is telling soap manufacturers that they can no longer use certain antimicrobial ingredients when making over-the-counter soaps. There isn't enough science to show that these soaps are better at preventing illness than plain soap and water, and manufacturers have not established that the ingredients in those soaps are safe long term. Manufacturers have one year to comply with this rule. In 2013, the FDA issued a proposed rule requiring that … [Read more...]

FDA Found Listeria Monocytogenes at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

The FDA sent a warning letter to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream's frozen flavor base Ohio manufacturing facility on August 9, 2016. The inspection that prompted the letter took place on January 25, 2016 through February 9, 2016. That letter states that "your frozen flavor base products are adulterated" because "FDA laboratory analysis of the environmental swabs found the presence of Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes), a human pathogen, in your facility. " A recall of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams was initiated for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination in April, 2015. All of the company's ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and ice cream sandwiches in all flavors and containers were recalled, and all scoop shops were closed. No illnesses were ever reported in connection to these … [Read more...]

FDA Extends FSMA Compliance Dates

The FDA is setting the first major compliance dates for the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 for large food facilities. The agency also issued a final rule that "extends and clarifies the compliance dates for certain provisions in four of the seven foundational rules." The final rule addresses technical issues and aligns compliance dates across the four rules. Human food companies, other than small and very small businesses, need to come into compliance with the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food rule by September 19, 2016. This rule creates new requirements for the production of human food in three ways. First, certain domestic and foreign facilities must implement hazard analysis and risk-based preventive … [Read more...]

FDA Finds Hepatitis A in Sea Port Products Scallops

The FDA has found hepatitis A in two samples of Sea Port Products Corporation scallops that are at the center of the outbreak in Hawaii. On August 17, the analysis came back positive. The samples were collected on August 11, 2016. The tests were the result of a hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii that has sickened at least 206 people. Fifty-one people are hospitalized because their illnesses are so severe. That outbreak has been ongoing since the June 12, 2016 and more cases are being diagnosed each week. The FDA is supporting the Hawaii Department of Health in the investigation. Those scallops were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada but were not sold directly to consumers; they were sold to restaurants and other facilities. Yesterday, Sea Port issued a voluntarily recall … [Read more...]

FDA to Publish Final Rule on GRAS; Experts Object

The FDA is publishing its final rule on GRAS (generally recognized as safe) substances in human and animal food tomorrow. The rule "amends and clarifies the criteria in our regulations for when the use of a substance in food for humans or animals is not subject to the premarket approval requirements of the FD&C Act because it is generally recognized as safe under the conditions of its intended use." Ingredients on the GRAS list don't need to be approved by the FDA before they are added to foods, but they must adhere to the same safety standards as approved additives. The GRAS list includes substances that were in use in foods before 1958, or through scientific procedures. But food safety experts are concerned about the rule and think that it gives companies the power to make … [Read more...]

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