August 18, 2018

Rules for Safe Home Canning of Summer Produce

Many people are harvesting produce from their gardens and want to can the fruits and vegetables to preserve them. Canning has a long history in this country, but to make sure the food is safe, there are some rules you must follow. Extension offices of the universities in your state offer lots of excellent canning and preserving advice. Home canning isn't difficult as long as you know what you're doing. Unfortunately, sometimes produce canned at home can make people very sick. In 2015, home canned potatoes used to make potato salad served at a church potluck in Ohio sickened 27 people with botulism. One woman died. The extension office at the University of Connecticut offers ten rules for home canning. First, make sure that all of your equipment is in good shape. Only use … [Read more...]

Is Your Smart Phone or Tablet A Food Safety Hazard in the Kitchen?

If you use your phone, tablet, or laptop in the kitchen, is that tool a food safety hazard? Two researchers at the FDA are looking at this issue. Amy Lando, MPP, and Dr. Michael Bazaco in the Office of Analytics and Outbreak at FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition analyzed findings from the 2016 Food Safety Survey and related focus groups. Their next step is to find out if there's any danger of contamination from using these devices during food preparation. The researchers already know that bacteria that can cause human illness can survive on cell phones. This is the first study to look at how consumers use personal electronic devices in the kitchen. It was published in the February 2018 issue of the Journal of Food Protection. The researchers say that there is no … [Read more...]

Back to School Food Safety Tips

It's almost time for the new school year to begin. As parents start to prepare, it's important to consider back to school food safety if you pack lunches or snacks for your child. The government is offering tips on keeping your children safe from foodborne illness. It's important that you always use an insulated carrier to pack the food your child takes to school. If the lunch or snack contains a perishable food such as meat, eggs, cheese, or yogurt, always use at least two cold sources in the insulated carrier. You can use commercial freezer packs, frozen juice boxes, or frozen water containers. The last two will thaw in time for lunch while it keeps the temperature in the carrier below 40°F. Never use a paper bag to pack lunches or snacks for your child. Perishable cold foods … [Read more...]

FDA Warning Consumers About Highly Concentrated Caffeine Products

The FDA is warning consumers about highly concentrated caffeine products. The agency recently sent warning letters to two online dietary supplement markets for illegally selling this product. The FDA considers these products to be a threat to public health. The agency has issued guidance to make it clear that dietary supplements containing pure or highly concentrated caffeine in powder or liquid form are unlawful when sold in bulk quantities directly to consumers. These products carry a high risk of being mistakenly used at dangerous doses. They have been linked to at least two deaths. One teaspoon of highly concentrated caffeine is equivalent to the amount of caffeine in 28 cups of coffee. A half cup of liquid concentrated caffeine product has about the same amount of caffeine … [Read more...]

Congresswoman Questions USDA Equivalency of China’s Poultry Processing Plants

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) recently wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, questioning the USDA's process approving China's poultry processing plants. These plants are now able to export processed chicken to the United States.  She expresses concern about the way the USDA has approved those plants. Her letter states that she opposed the equivalency designation because "it irresponsibly granted equivalency to the entire country's poultry processing system despite FSIS having only audited a limited number of China's poultry processing plants." She also states that the recent release of internal emails shows that "FSIS is taking a stunningly passive approach in approving three new Chinese poultry processing as eligible to export to the United States." The … [Read more...]

It’s State and County Fairs Time; Stay Safe at Animal Exhibits

As summer winds down and fall approaches, state and county fairs are underway. The CDC is warning parents and caregivers about ways to protect yourself and your children against E. coli and other illnesses that have been linked to those events. Animals exhibits and petting zoos at county and state fairs have been the source of E. coli outbreaks in the past few years. From 2010 to 2015, about 100 outbreaks of illness were linked to animals in public settings. These outbreaks have been caused by E. coli O157:H7, Cryptosporidium, and Salmonella bacteria. Last year, eight people were sickened with E. coli infections after visiting the Mesa County Fair in Colorado Junction, Colorado. An E. coli outbreak in Minnesota in 2014 was linked to Zerebko Zoo Tran, a traveling petting zoo. At … [Read more...]

FDA Commissioner Makes Statement on Secondary Product Recalls for Potentially Contaminated Whey

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner, has issued a statement on the voluntary recalls of Ritz and Goldfish Crackers and other food products that were made with whey powder that may have been contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. The FDA is working with the companies involved to initiate secondary recalls for products made with the whey. Recalled products include a variety of Mondelez's Ritz cheese sandwiches and Ritz Bits cheese products, some types of Pepperidge Farm's Goldfish crackers, one variety of Hungry Man dinners, Flowers Foods' Swiss Rolls, and Captain John Derst's bread. More recalls may be issued in the coming days. The statement says that there is no evidence that anyone was sickened after eating one of these products, or that the products are, in fact, contaminated. … [Read more...]

Euroline Foods/Royal Seafood Baza Ordered to Comply With Food Safety Requirements

A permanent injunction was entered against Euroline Foods, LLC, and Royal Seafood Baza, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on July 18, 2018, to prevent insanitary conditions, including practices that increase the risk of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. This follows a complaint filed by the FDA in May 2018, alleging that the defendants' food preparation at their facility on Lake Avenue in Staten Island, New York, violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The complaint alleges that the defendant's processed and distributed ready-to-eat fish and fishery products, vegetable salads, and cheese products in a facility that had "chronic insanitary conditions." The FDA allegedly found Listeria monocytogenes at the facility and … [Read more...]

Kitchen Towels Contaminated with Bacteria, According to New Study

Tea towels, or kitchen towels, can cause cross-contamination in the kitchen, leading to food poisoning, according to a study posted in ASN Microbe 2018. Cross-contamination is when bacteria are spread from one source to food that was not previously contaminated. The study was conducted at the University of Mauritius. The study's authors collected 100 kitchen towels from homes after they were used for one month. Bacteria were collected from the towels and identified. In addition, those participating in the study where asked to fill out a questionnaire designed to pinpoint risk factors. Bacterial growth was found in 40% of the tea towels. The bacteria "significantly increased" by the size of the family, extended family, and the presence of children in the family. Multipurpose … [Read more...]

Meech Dairy Farm Ordered to Stop Distributing Adulterated Meat

The Meech Dairy Farm in Sebeka, Minnesota, has been ordered to stop distributing meat in interstate commerce by the U.S. District Court District of Minnesota. A consent decree of permanent injunction was entered against the farm and its co-owners Todd Meech and Patty Meech on Monday, July 9, 2018. A complaint was filed by the Department of Justice alleging violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The defendants will be required to "establish and implement a quarantine or segregation system that ensures ready distinction between medicated and unmediated animals and that prevents defendants from selling or delivering for food slaughter any animals with illegal new animal drug residues in their edible tissues," before they can resume introducing "animals and their edible … [Read more...]

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