June 30, 2016

Nanoparticles Found in Baby Formula

According to Friends of the Earth, infant formulas sold in the United States contain nanoparticles, which are very small compounds. Research shows that these nanoparticles may pose threats to human health. Friends of the Earth commissioned independent lab analysis that found these particles in six infant formulas that were tested. These nanoparticles are not indicated on the label and they are not regulated by the FDA. The FDA is supposed to regulate baby formulas and making sure they are safe, but the government does not approve the safety of infant formulas before they are marketed.. They only require that the formulas meet nutritional requirements and are screened for pathogens. The rules don't include screening for potentially toxic synthetic ingredients. The products that … [Read more...]

Sioux City Officials Released Sewage with E. Coli into Missouri River

Sioux City officials are facing penalties for releasing improperly treated sewage that contained E. coli bacteria into the Missouri River. The illegal discharges from the Sioux City Wastewater Treatment Plant took place between March 2012 and June 2015. The Iowa Sierra Club wants federal authorities to file criminal charges against the men responsible, because the Iowa DNR says that criminal charges are not warranted . The Iowa Department of Natural Resources wants the state's Attorney General Tom Miller to file civil suit against the city. Allegedly, twelve federal provisions, seven Iowa codes, and one Iowa code provision were violated. the DNR received a tip in April 2016 that the city was operating the disinfection system for wastewater in violation of the National Pollutant … [Read more...]

FDA Food Safety Tips for Memorial Day Weekend

Whether you're preparing for a big party, getting together with a few friends or flying solo on Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has some food safety tips to keep food poisoning off the menu. You're going to need a food thermometer. If you don't have one, pick one up at the grocery or convenience store, measuring the temperature of food is the only way to know if it has been cooked or held at the proper temperature. Keep hot foods hot. Hot foods need to be kept at an internal temperature of 140° F or warmer. Check the product label or use a food thermometer to check the temperature your food warmer, chafing dish or slow cooker can reach before you use it. Bacteria can multiply quickly on hot foods that are not held at this temperature. Keep cold foods … [Read more...]

CDC Informs About Cronobacter in Infant Formula

Last week, the CDC issued a new report informing consumers about the possible presence of Cronobacter, formerly called Enterobacter sakazaki, a pathogen found in the environment that can survive under very dry conditions. Bacteria usually need a certain amount of free water in food products to survive. This bacteria has been found in the past in powdered infant formula, powdered milk, herbal teas, and starches, which are foods not usually associated with bacterial contamination. The government is especially concerned about infants, who are more susceptible to serious complications from bacterial infections. In fact, Cronobacter infections are often deadly in young infants. Three are only about 4 to 6 cases from Cronobacter every year in infants, but reporting this illness isn't … [Read more...]

CDC Study on Retail Deli Slicer Cleaning Frequency

The CDC, in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for the week of April 1, 2016 has published a study on how often retail deli slicers are cleaned. Deli foods are notorious for being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Listeria infections are the third highest number of foodborne illness deaths in the country, after Salmonella and Toxoplasma gondii. Deli meats are a major source of listeriosis illnesses. And once Listeria bacteria are present in a facility, it can be very difficult to eradicate them. Mechanical slicers pose cross-contamination risks in delicatessens. Reducing Listeria contamination of these products in delis will likely reduce Listeria illnesses and outbreaks. Good slicer cleaning practices can reduce this risk. CDC's Environmental Health … [Read more...]

Feds Try to Close Down Kansas Food Manufacturer

A civil complaint against Native American Enterprises, LLC, of Wichita, Kansas, was filed on Monday, March 21, 2016, to stop the distribution of allegedly adulterated foods. The announcement was made by the Department of Justice and filed in the U.S. District Court for Kansas. The injunction has not yet been granted, but is being sought by the government. The company makes and distributes food, mostly ready-to-eat refried beans, meat products, and sauces, and sells them to Kansas public schools, distributors in Missouri and Kentucky, and to restaurants. Native American Enterprises, located at 230 North West Street in Wichita, was founded in 1930 and is owned by members of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. Their web site states that they also provide the U.S. military with beef, buffalo, … [Read more...]

FDA Guidance to Reduce Acrylamide in Food

The FDA is asking for comments on its guidance for industry in reducing acrylamide in food. This compound is formed when sugars and an amino acid (protein) called asparagine combine in high temperature dry heat cooking, such as grilling, roasting, baking, and frying. Plant based products such as grains and potatoes form most acrylamide. There are human health risks associated with consumption of acrylamide. The guidance is going to suggest a range of possible approaches to reducing acrylamide levels. Acrylamide caused cancer in animals when they were exposed to the compound at ver high doses. In 2010, the Joint food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives concluded that acrylamide is a human health concern. The FDA has conducted … [Read more...]

Researchers Develop Antimicrobial Wash for Fresh Produce

The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Dole packaged salads and greens has sickened at least 18 people in nine states. And there are two other ongoing outbreaks of illness linked to fresh produce products. An E. coli O157 outbreak linked to alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack and the Green Sprouts has sickened at least 9 people in two states. And a Salmonella Muenchen outbreak linked to Sweetwater Farms alfalfa sprouts has sickened 9 people in three states. All of these outbreaks have consumers understandably nervous. The FDA says that we should continue consuming fresh produce for good health, and that the health benefits of these products outweighs the risk of illness. However, if you have been sickened after eating a salad or a sandwich, the health benefits of lettuce and sprouts … [Read more...]

Restaurant Microwave Use: Bad at Cooking, Good at Reheating

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) conducted a study looking at the types of food service establishments that use microwave ovens, how those ovens are used, the types of food cooked, and the level of compliance with U.S. FDA guidelines. Microwave ovens are good at reheating food, but can be a food safety hazard when used to cook foods such as meat, chicken, or eggs because of uneven heating or improper use. MDH collected data from 60 food establishments in the state, including fast-food restaurants, sit-down restaurants, school food service, nursing homes, hotels, motels, and day care centers. The food prep was classified as pre-serve, cook serve, or complex. Most of the establishments in this study reported using microwave ovens to warm commercial ready-to-eat products and to … [Read more...]

FDA Addresses Spice Safety

The FDA has been analyzing a two year nationwide study to collect information on the presence of Salmonella in retail packages of spices consumers buy in supermarkets, ethnic markets, discount stores, and on the internet. There have been several recalls of spices and herbs in the past few years for Salmonella contamination, and a Salmonella outbreak linked to spices in Sweden sickened 178 people last summer. An FDA report in 2013 found that 12% of imported spices are tainted with pathogenic bacteria or filth. The draft risk profile found that the presence of pathogens such as Salmonella, and filth in spices is a "systemic challenge" and that the problem relates in part of poor or inconsistent use of appropriate controls to prevent contamination. In the study, spice shipments from 79 … [Read more...]

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