July 23, 2016

USDA’s FoodKeeper App Says Hola and Olá

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) FoodKeeper app, which helps consumers reduce food waste, now includes information in Spanish and Portuguese. The app covers food storage recommendations for more than 400 foods including   baby food, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, produce and seafood, and more. Developed through a partnership of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, FoodKeeper's goal is to reduce food waste by sharing food storage methods that extend the shelf life of the foods and beverages.  Since its April 2015 launch, it has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, according to the USDA. "The FoodKeeper app is a very handy and easy tool to use, and it reflects USDA's commitment to provide … [Read more...]

USDA: Meat, Poultry Food Poisoning Dropped 12 Percent in 6 Years

The most significant changes to the food safety system since the 1950s, enacted during the Obama administration, led to a 12 percent drop in the rate of food poisoning from meat, poultry and processed egg products,  according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administartion (USDA). From 2009 to 2015, better testing methods, an emphasis on mislabeling, and improved scientific processes have helped the agency to more quickly identify food that is contaminated with pathogens or is mislabeled, the agency said. "The United States has the strongest food safety system in the world, and over the past seven years it has grown even stronger. We're better now at keeping unsafe food out of commerce, whether it's made unsafe because of dangerous bacteria, or because of an allergen, like peanuts or wheat," … [Read more...]

FDA Warning Letter to DreamLand Trading in Minneapolis Cites Rodents, Other Problems

Rodents and other problems are cited in an FDA warning letter to DreamLand Trading Inc. in Minneapolis a warehouse and distributor of imported foods including, rice, pasta, packaged juices, edible oils, tea, spices, and dates.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected the facility, located at 3912 Dight Avenue South, from April 29 to May 18, 2016 and found "serious violations." Because of the insanitary conditions at the facility,  the food is considered adulterated, meaning it is contaminated with filth or may have been rendered injurious to health, according to the FDA. Midway through the inspection, May 6, 2016, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) placed an embargo on food products held there. Some of the things FDA investigators observed during the inspection … [Read more...]

Stay Food Safe This Fourth of July

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)  and USDA are offering tips to Americans to stay food safe this Fourth of July holiday weekend. Outdoor cooking can include special hazards that can make you and your guests sick. First, grill like a PRO. Whenever you are cooking meats on the grill, whether they are burgers, chicken, steaks or ribs, use a food thermometer. First, PLACE the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. If you are cooking a thinner piece of meat such as hamburgers, insert the thermometer from the side. Then, READ the temperature. Wait about 10 to 20 seconds for an accurate reading. For beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks, roasts and chops, meat should reach a temperature of 145°F with a three minute rest time to be safe. Ground meats should be … [Read more...]

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...]

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