March 26, 2017

FDA Issues Draft Guidance for Control of Listeria in RTE Foods

The FDA is distributing a draft guidance, for comment purposes only, on the control of Listeria monocytogenes in ready to eat (RTE) foods. The guidance is for industry. All comments should be submitted electronically or written by July 17, 2017. The document is intended to help manufactures comply with current good manufacturing practices and risk-based preventive controls for human food. The final rule is the product of outreach by the FDA to industry, consumer groups, academia, and other stakeholders. The rule was first proposed in January 2013. There is zero tolerance for Listeria monocytogenes in ready to eat foods. This bacteria causes serious illness and death. It grows at refrigerator temperatures, and freezing does not kill it. Heating to 160°F is the only way to destroy … [Read more...]

Camel Milk Company Warned Over Health Claims

The FDA sent a letter to Desert Farms of Santa Monica, California, telling them that the claims they are making about the products classify them as drugs, and they cannot sell them through interstate commerce. The FDA has threatened to seize products and may seek an injunction against Walid Abdul-Wahab and his company. The company's Facebook page posts therapeutic claims that state the milk is "intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease." The products for sale are Raw Camel Milk (Fresh); Raw Camel Milk (Frozen); Raw Camel Milk Kefir (Fresh); Raw Camel Milk Kefir (Frozen); Pasteurized Camel Milk (Fresh); Pasteurized Camel Milk (Frozen); and Raw Camel Milk 1st Colostrum (Frozen); Raw Camel Milk Regular Colostrum (Frozen); and Camel Milk … [Read more...]

FDA Wants Info on Fiber on the Nutrition Facts Label

The FDA is providing more time for the public to comment on the fiber documents related to the Nutrition Facts Label. The label is being updated with new content, including serving size requirements based on what the reality of what people actually eat, and daily values for certain nutrients. The original comment period was going to close on January 9, 2017. The FDA is also going to provide more time to comment on its draft guidance "Scientific Evaluation of the Evidence on the Beneficial Physiological Effects of Isolates or Synthetic Non-digestible Carbohydrates Submitted as a Citizen Petition." The FDA's final rule that was published on May 27, 2016, required that only certain naturally occurring dietary fibers found in whole foods, and added isolated or synthetic fibers that … [Read more...]

FDA Will Not Control Vibrio in Shellfish

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has stated that the FDA has denied their petition to control Vibrio in shellfish. Every year, Americans are sickened, and some die, after eating raw shellfish contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus. The FDA could set a performance standard that would control this issue. CSPI petitioned the FDA to use this power in 2012. The government denied the petition, citing "competing priorities." Most people who do contract this infection get sick during the summer months after eating raw oysters from Gulf Coast states. Vibrio infections are, unfortunately, occurring even in northern states as climate change is warming ocean waters. In September 2015, a Vibrio outbreak in Massachusetts closed oyster beds in the area. In August 2015, another Vibrio … [Read more...]

FDA Risk Assessment Explained

The FDA is one of the government agencies charged with keeping our food supply safe. One of the ways they do this is something called "risk assessment." Food facilities are inspected and government officials figure out where the risks of contamination are. There are many steps between the farm and your table. And each can pose a risk of contamination by pathogenic bacteria. Scientific evidence and calculations used by the FDA predict the best ways to preventing contamination by specific substances in specific foods. First, scientists learn about the conditions under which a bacteria or virus can grow and thrive. A food likely to contain the pathogen is then studied, and information about how the food is grown, transported, received, processed, stored, shipped, and sold is … [Read more...]

Beware of Illegally Marketed Diabetes Treatments

The FDA is advising consumers with diabetes to avoid illegally marketed treatments. They say that if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. The phrases on products and dietary supplements to watch out for include "lowers your blood sugar naturally," "inexpensive therapy to fight and eliminate type II diabetes," "protects your eyes, kidneys, and blood vessels from damage," "replaces your diabetes medicine," "effective treatment to relieve all symptoms of diabetes," and "natural diabetes cure." If a product has these claims on the label, it's probably a scam. In addition to not meeting label claims, these products can contain harmful ingredients. They may be marketed as over the counter products when they require a prescription. And if people with diabetes rely on these … [Read more...]

Valley Milk Products Seized by U.S. Marshals

The FDA announced yesterday that U.S. Marshals seized more than 4,000,000 pounds of dried milk products made by Valley Milk Products LLC of Strasburg, Virginia. The company is owned by the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association in Reston, Virginia. The U.S. Department of Justice filed the complaint, on behalf of the FDA, in the U.S. District Court for the Virginia Western District, alleging that the seized products are adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  The products that were seized include dry nonfat milk powder and buttermilk powder. They were packaged in 40 and 50 pound bags for further manufacturing and were worth nearly $4 million. The FDA inspected the facility from July to September 2016 and found poor sanitary practices. The … [Read more...]

Food Safety Survey Shows Some Consumer Knowledge Increasing

According to the 2016 Food Safety Survey Report, conducted in collaboration with the FDA and USDA, consumer knowledge has increased about food safety consumer practices. The government has been conducting this survey since 1988. Key findings in the survey has found that the percentage of Americans who own a food thermometer has remained constant but usage has slightly increased. In 2016, 67% of respondents reporting owning a food thermometer. In 2016, 38% report that they always use a meat thermometer for roasts, compared to 19% for chicken parts, and 10% for hamburgers. But using a food thermometer is most crucial for ground beef, and very crucial for chicken, while it's less critical for larger cuts of beef that are cooked on the exterior. Hand washing rates have remained … [Read more...]

Listeria Monocytogenes Found in Simply Fresh Fruit Facility

The FDA sent a warning letter on October 19, 2016 to Simply Fresh Fruit of Vernon, California, informing them that environmental swabs taken in their facility found Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Federal inspectors also discovered violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practices. These findings make the ready to eat fresh cut fruit products adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The FDA issued Form FDA-483 after the inspections. Three of one hundred environmental swabs in the facility's high care processing room were positive for Listeria bacteria. Two of those were in locations adjacent to food contact surfaces. They include the panel surface and power switch on the side of a wash bin, and a power knob for a conveyor belt. The other swab was found on a … [Read more...]

Hepatitis A Strawberries Distributed to Schools and Restaurants

In an unexpected announcement, the FDA says that the recalled frozen strawberries imported from Egypt that are linked to a hepatitis A outbreak in the eastern United States were sold to schools and institutions across the country. In the official outbreak linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafe products, five of the 134 people sickened did not consume those products. The FDA says that frozen strawberry products recalled by The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing (ICAPP) may have been served in food service operations as recently as October 27, 2016. The products were "included but not limited to" whole, sliced, and sugared strawberries and diced strawberries. The five companies that received frozen strawberry products from ICAPP are: C.H. Belt of Lake … [Read more...]

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