October 17, 2017

Archives for May 2016

General Mills Flour E. coli Outbreak Sickens 38 in 20 States

UPDATED JUNE 1: An E. coli outbreak linked to General Mills flours has sickened 38 people in 20 states. The outbreak strain E. coli O121 has been linked to illnesses occurring between December 21, 2015, and May 3, 2016. Ten people have been hospitalized. The company has issued a recall for 10 million pounds of flour sold under three brand names: Gold Medal, Wondra and Signature. Consumers who purchase these brands of flour should check recall information carefully as E. coli can cause serious illness and death. The case count by state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (2), California (1), Colorado (4), Iowa (1), Illinois (4), Massachusetts (2), Maryland (1), Michigan (4), Minnesota (3), Missouri (1), Montana (1), New York (1), Oklahoma (2), Pennsylvania (2), Texas … [Read more...]

Raw Flour Can Be a Health Hazard Just Like Raw Meat

Most people don't know that raw flour can be a health hazard just like raw meat. In 2009, a multistate E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to raw Nestle cookie dough sickened at least 77 people in 30 states. Since pasteurized eggs were used to make that product, the flour was singled out as a possible culprit after months of investigation. The other ingredients used to make the cookie dough, including molasses, sugar, baking soda, chocolate, vanilla, and margarine, underwent pathogen kill steps during processing and were considered less likely sources of contamination in a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases in 2011. Investigators never found E. coli bacteria at the plant that produced the cookie dough, or at the flour mills that supplied the flour for the product. No conclusive … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak Triggers General Mills Recall of 10 Million Pounds of Flour

An E. coli outbreak that has sickened 38 people in 20 states has triggered a General Mills recall of 10 million pounds of flour, the company said in a statement on its website today. Flours included in the recall were sold under the brand names Gold Medal flour, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens, which is sold at Albertsons, Jewel, Shaws, Vons, United, Randalls, and Acme stores. Consumers who have purchased these brands of flours should check recall information carefully. Those who have purchased these recalled items should not eat them as E.coli infections can cause serious illness and death. Look at the flour you have stored in your pantry to see if you have any of these recalled items. If you do, throw them away in a sealed container or return them to the store where you bought them for … [Read more...]

FDA Issues Final Food Defense Regulation

The FDA released the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) final rule for mitigation strategies to protect food against intentional adulteration last week. This rule is intended to prevent public harm by requiring companies in the U.S. and abroad to take steps to prevent adulteration of the food supply. These facilities are required to complete and maintain a written food defense plan that assesses their potential vulnerabilities to deliberate contamination. The facilities must also establish food defense monitoring procedures and corrective actions, verify that the system is working, and ensure that personnel assigned to these areas receive adequate training and maintain records as required by the government. Before 1982, most food and drug products did not have tamper-proof … [Read more...]

Whole Foods Recalls Kimchi For Undeclared Allergens

Whole Foods Market is issuing an advisory to consumers who bought some Kimchi products from their 365 by Whole Foods Market store in Silver Lake, California, because they contain fish, shellfish, and pine nuts that were not declared on the label. Anyone who is allergic to those ingredients could have a serious reaction if they eat these products. No illnesses have been reported to date. The recalled items were for sale between May 25 and May 27, 2016. They include Spicy Kimchi offered at the salad bar for undeclared fish/shellfish; Kimchi Fried Rice offered on the hot food bar for undeclared tree nuts, and White Kimchi offered at the salad bar for undeclared tree nuts. Also recalled is Kimchi Guacamole offered in one-pound pre-packaged clear plastic containers with lids, with item … [Read more...]

Three CA Children Sickened with E. coli After Fairfax Creek Visit

According to the Marin Independent Journal, two children, and possibly three, have been sickened with E. coli infections that may be associated with a creek in the Fairfax area. The children are very young, all about two or three years old. They were playing in the creek in Peri Park in downtown Fairfax. But Marin County officials have not confirmed that water contamination is the source of their illnesses. Water samples were taken from the creek and will be tested. One of the children became ill on May 8, the second on May 15, and the third on May 21, 2016. It is possible that the infections came from another place. One of the children ate raw cream before getting sick, and another recently ate at a local restaurant. The sanitary district has not reported any sewage spills in … [Read more...]

Oceana Asks for Turtle Excluder Devices for Wild Caught Shrimp

Oceana is calling on the Obama administration to require the use of improved Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) to save sea turtles and reduce wasted seafood. These devices are metal grates inserted into shrimp nets that allow the turtles and other wildlife to escape. Many shrimp boats in the Southwest have been forced to use TEDs since the 1980s, but more than 2,000 skimmer trawls are exempt. Those trawls could be killing 50,000 endangered and threatened sea turtles every year. In 2013, shrimp trawl fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico threw away 62% of its total catch of ocean wildlife that were caught in the nets. Lora Snyder, campaign director at Oceana, said in a statement "protecting sea turtles and U.S. fishing interests do not have to be mutually exclusive. Requiring TEDs in all … [Read more...]

Iowa Select Herbs Recalls Dietary Supplements

In the FDA's Weekly Enforcement Report for the week ending May 11, 2016, Iowa Select Herbs recalled dietary supplements for misbranding, unapproved new drugs, and adulterated dietary supplements. The products were ordered recalled by the FDA because a consent decree for injunctive relief was declared. These products were distributed to retail stores in California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New York, and South Carolina, and to consumers nationwide and internationally in Denmark, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and Serbia. The recalled products include Acerola Berry (Malpighia) in 4 fluid ounce containers, with lot number 32796 and expiration date 04/2019. Also recalled is Acia Berry (Euterpe oleracea) in 4 ounce containers with lot number 22345 and … [Read more...]

Catfish Inspection Program Nullified by the U.S. Senate

Last November, the USDA released its final rule on catfish inspection. The rule became effective in March 2016. But last week, the U.S. Senate voted to shut the program down by passing a resolution of Congressional disapproval and nullification. The program had been finding antibiotics and carcinogens from Siluriformes fish imported from Asia. Catfish used to be inspected by the FDA, but the inspection process was transferred to USDA in the 2008 Farm Bill. USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors would conduct inspections during all hours of operation at domestic facilities that slaughter and processes these fish, similar to the inspections they conduct at poultry and meat slaughter facilities. In 2011, the FDA tested less than 0.1% of all imported seafood for drug … [Read more...]

Avoid Blue-Green Algae in Lakes and Ponds

The Minnesota Department of Health is warning people to avoid blue-green algae in lakes, streams, and ponds. This algae can cause illness to humans and has killed many dogs. Blue-green algal blooms were reported in lakes across the state last summer. Two people got sick, and many dogs died after exposure to the algae. These blooms usually start in June, but spring has been warm this year, so the growth may have already begun. Blue-green algae usually has an unpleasant smell and most people avoid it. But people can become ill after they swim, boat, water ski, or bathe in water that has this toxic algae. Swallowing the algae, or having skin contact with the water can cause illness. In addition, breathing in tiny droplets of water in the air can make you sick. The symptoms of … [Read more...]

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