October 20, 2014

How Do Your Representatives Score on Food Policy?

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Food Policy Action has released its Legislative Scorecard for the 113th Congress. It gives 71 members perfect scores, and 35 a score of zero. The grades were set based on how the Senators and Representatives voted on six specific bills relating to food safety, domestic hunger programs, animal welfare, nutrition, organic farming, and food accessibility and if they sponsored the eight related bills that did not come to a vote. The list of bills used on the Scorecard include the Senate's Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act of 2013 (PARA), the House's Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2013 (PAMTA) and the Grayson Food Safety Inspection Amendment. Tom Colicchio, FPA board member, said in a statement, "few things have as much of an impact on our lives as food. … [Read more...]

Center for Food Safety: The Truth About Produce Wash

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Center for Food Safety has written about produce wash, those treatments for washing fruits and vegetables that are promoted as a way to avoid food poisoning. Many foodborne illness outbreaks are linked to fresh product, and consumers want to keep their families safe. So do produce washes work? CFS states "it turns out the produce washes aren't any better than water. Multiple studies have found that produce washes such as Fit and Earth Friendly are no more effective in cleaning produce than regular tap water. In a study of three commercial washes, University of Maine researchers found that distilled water was equally if not more effective in removing microbes such as bacteria and mold." Scientists at the Univeristy of Maine tested Fit, Ozone Water Purifier XT-301, and J0-4 … [Read more...]

FDA Offers Prize for Breakthrough Food Safety Ideas

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is offering a challenge to scientists on how to identify Salmonella in produce. The challenge, called "Advancing Breakthroughs in Foodborne Pathogen Detection" offers $500,000 in prizes for "cutting-edge techniques to achieve significant improvements in the speed of the FDA's detection methods for Salmonella with identification to the subtype/serovar level in minimally processed fresh produce." Five finalists will be awarded $20,000 each. The government is most interested in ideas that use novel or revolutionary techniques for detection and those that explore the acceleration or elimination of sample preparation. The challenge was developed under the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 that gives federal agencies the ability to hold … [Read more...]

Maggots in School Lunches in KY and TN

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High school students in Kentucky and Tennessee found maggots in their school lunches this week. A student at Overton High School in Tennessee made an Instagram video of the maggot wiggling around on the plate, WMC Action News 5 reported. Other students also reported finding maggots in their food. Shelby County Schools sent a statement to the station that read; "It has been reported on some news outlets that multiple students are now claiming to have found maggots in their lunches this week at Overton High School. It is true that we have confirmation of one student finding an insect in a single meal. This is certainly regrettable; however, we do want to be very clear that there have been no maggots found in any meals this week. The temperatures at which our food is prepared and served … [Read more...]

Utah’s Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak is Largest in 5 Years

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Outbreaks of Campylobacter infection in Utah have been linked to raw milk consumption 14 times in the past five years, sickening more than 200 people. The largest of those outbreaks began in May of this year and was announced one week ago when the Utah Deparment of Agriculture and Food announced that it had suspended the Raw Milk for Retail distribution permit held by Ogden's Ropelato Dairy. As of August 26, state health officials had traced 45 illnesses to the Weber County raw milk operation. Of the 14 Utah raw milk Campylobacter outbreaks, two have been associated with the Ropelato farm, located at 4019 W. 1800 South, Ogden, state records show. The previous outbreak was recorded in May 2010, sickening a smaller cluster of people  in three counties. Regardless, Utah agriculture … [Read more...]

Back to School Lunch Safety Tips for Parents

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The USDA is offering back to school safety tips for parents. Children are at high risk of contracting food poisoning because their immune systems are still developing. Children under the age of 5 have the highest incidence of Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter infections of any age group in this country. The four food safety tips of Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill must be followed in the kitchen. USDA recommends that before school starts, parents and kids try a food safety experiment to ensure that home-packed lunches are safe to eat. Pack the lunch and store it as they would at school. After the normal time between packing and lunch time has passed, test the temperature of the food. Cold items should be below 40°F and hot items should be above 140°F. Any foods in between those … [Read more...]

CFIA Suspends Operating License of Beef Slaughter Plant

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has suspended the operating license of Northern Natural Processing, Establishment 659, effective July 10, 2014. the slaughter plant is located in Neudorf, Saskatchewan. The license was suspended because the company did not implement corrective measures as required by law to ensure the safety of meat products produced at that facility. There is no word on what the problem is or what the food safety violations were. There is also no word on whether or not any illnesses have occurred relating to these alleged violations. The CFIA has determined that adequate controls for food safety were not being implemented on a insistent basis. The plant will not reopen until the "necessary corrective measures" have been taken and the government is … [Read more...]

Keep Picnic Food Out of the Danger Zone

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Lots of folks like to have a picnic during the summer months and keeping food at safe temperatures is the key to making sure no one gets sick, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Cooking, storing and serving food at the proper temperature is key to food safety whether you are eating inside or out. Remember that food can spend a maximum of two hours in the “danger zone” of 40˚F to 140˚ F, or one hour if the outdoor temperatures are above 90° F.  In the danger zone,  bacteria such as Salmonella, E.coli and Listeria multiply rapidly elevating the risk of food poisoning. If  you're cooking food on the grill, use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to its proper temperature. Then keep it warm until serving by moving to the side of the grill, just away from the … [Read more...]

Best and Safest Fish to Eat in the Summer

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The Center for Food Safety is offering tips on the best and safest seafood to eat this summer. Most seafood sold in the U.S. is imported, and less than 2% of those products are inspected for contamination. Moreover, those fish are often caught in places where environmental and health standards are weak or non-existent. By eating locally caught, sustainable seafood, you are protecting your family from foodborne illness as well as potential problems from other contaminants such as PCBs and mercury. Buy local if possible, and choose wild over farmed. If the seafood is farmed, choose that produced in the U.S. Favor fish caught by hook, line, handling, jig, or speargun. Avoid trawl fishing, which is destructive to the environment. Avoid fish high in mercury, PCBs, or farmed fish that are … [Read more...]

Study Identifies Risky Home Food Safety Practices

A new study at UC-Davis has identified many risky practices of consumers in their homes. The study looked at the preparation of raw poultry. The two most common mistakes were cross contamination and insufficient cooking. Christine Bruhn, director of the Center for consumer research at the university, who authored the study said in a statement, "the most surprising aspect of these findings to me was the prevalence of undercooking. We are now in summer, the peak season for foodborne illness, and these results come at a time when more consumers can benefit from being aware of better food safety practices." Those good practices include always washing hands with soap and water before cooking and after handling raw meat, poultry and eggs, never rinsing poultry in the sink, and always using … [Read more...]

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