July 23, 2017

California Reminds Residents About Safe Summer Food Handling

The California Department of Public Health has issued a press release, reminding Californias to follow food safety rules this summer to avoid illness. Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter are the most common bacteria that cause food poisoning outbreaks. There are some effective steps you can take to reduce your risk of illness. Follow simple safety tips for properly preparing and handling food. Follow the four "C's": Clean, Cross-Contamination, Cook, and Chill. For "clean," always wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before you prepare food, before you eat, and after handling food. Scrub cutting boards with hot, soapy water after preparing each item. And wash and thoroughly rinse utensils and cutting boards. Keep pets away from food preparation … [Read more...]

Cow with Atypical BSE Diagnosed in Alabama

The USDA announced on Tuesday, July 18, 201 that an eleven year old cow in Alabama has been diagnosed with an atypical case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. The press release states that "This animal never entered slaughter channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health in the United States." The animal was showing clinical signs of the disease and was round through routine surveillance at an Alabama livestock market. Atypical BSE is different from classic BSE and it usually occurs in cattle older than 8 years. It arises spontaneously and rarely in all cattle populations. The press release from the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries states that following delivery to the livestock market, the cow later … [Read more...]

If You Are Eating Outdoors This Summer, Handle Food Safely

The USDA is offering food safety tips to all Americans who are eating outdoors this summer. Picnics and barbecues are part of the fun of the season. But the risk of food poisoning increases with the air temperature. When the air temperature is above 90°F, perishable foods should not be left out of refrigeration longer than one hour, half the usual time. When you are packing food for transport, make sure to keep cold food cold. You should always use an insulated cooler with ice or frozen gel packs for all food. Keep cold food below 40*F to prevent material growth. If you pack meat, poultry, and seafood while still frozen, they will stay cold longer. When you pack coolers for your picnic, put beverages in one and perishable foods in another. When you open and reopen the beverage … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch: Chinese Chicken Shipments Endangering Public Health

Food & Water Watch has released a statement from their Executive Director, Wenonah Hauter, about chicken that is being processed in China and shipped to the United States. Food & Water Watch has requested information from the USDA about this issue. While Chinese plants can process raw poultry and ship to the U.S., the raw poultry itself can only come from "approved" sources, such as the Untied States, Canada, and Chile. Unfortunately, the USDA's 2016 audit checklist from one of the plants that slaughtered the chickens in Chile before they were shipped to China for processing "reveals serious problems at this first stop in the product's long journey." Hauter continues, "The USDA's audit of the Agroindustrial el Paico S.A. facility in Chile noted non-compliances in … [Read more...]

Scientist Develop Plastic Pouches to Make Produce Safer

The USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is assisting a company developing a small plastic pouch that is designed to make produce safer. Many food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years have been linked to contaminated fruits and vegetables. Plant pathologist Jinhe Bai and his colleagues helped develop the pouch. The company, Worrell Water Technologist of Delray Beach, Florida, wants to market the pouches to wholesalers and produce packers all around the world. The pouches are packed into shipping containers. The pouch slowly releases chlorine dioxide gas, which kills E. coli and other pathogenic bacteria on the produce. They vent chlorine dioxide gas at a controlled rate using a semi-permeable membrane. Controlled rates of the gas release is crucial, since if it is … [Read more...]

Food & Watch Watch Wants USDA to Halt Chinese Chicken

In late June, the first shipment of processed chicken from China arrived in the U.S. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, issued a statement about this event. In 2014, China completed the paperwork to certify four of its poultry processing plants so they can export these items to the U.S. The raw poultry must come from "approved sources," but food safety advocates are not convinced. The USDA has not disclosed where the raw poultry comes from. And the chicken will not be labeled, so consumers won't know if they are buying products from China. Food safety problems in China have been rampant. A scandal where companies added melamine to milk to hide dilution sickened more than 300,000 babies. Jerky pet treats imported from China have sickened and killed … [Read more...]

The Smokehouse of NY Closed By Permanent Injunction

The Smokehouse of NY, LLC entered a consent decree of permanent injunction on June 29, 2017, after a federal judge ordered them to stop selling their products until it can comply with food safety regulations. According to the FDA, the facility was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs said in a statement, "The Smokehouse of NY had several opportunities to come into compliance with the law. Through the use of modern technology, the FDA was able to establish that the company has resident strains of L. mono in its facility that it has consistently failed to eradicate. Conditions like these are unacceptable and the FDA took action to protect Americans." The complaint listed a long history of recurring … [Read more...]

FDA Finds Serious Violations at Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Facility

The FDA has sent a warning letter to officials at Evanger's Dog & Cat Food Company in Illinois, informing them that they found "serious violations of the FD&C Act and its implementing regulations." Five dogs got sick and one died after eating "Evanger's Hunk of Beef in Au Jus" product last winter. The company's products were recalled in February 2017. FDA's analysis found that the chunk meat dog foods, including Evanger's Braised Beef Chunks, Evangr's Hand Packed Hunk of Beef, and Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy were contaminated with pentobarbital, a drug used for euthanizing animals. There is no residue tolerance for this drug, so the products were adulterated. FDA inspectors also found pentobarbital in other products with different lot codes and best by … [Read more...]

Food Safety for Older Adults

The FDA has released information about food safety for older adults. Anyone who is over the age of 65 needs to be very vigilant about food safety. Many of those who become seriously ill and even die from food poisoning are elderly. The bodies of older adults do not work as well as they did decades ago. The stomach and intestinal tract hold onto food for longer periods of time, the senses of smell and taste are altered, and the liver and kidney's don't work as well to get rid of toxins. And by the age of 65, many people have been diagnosed with a serious illness. That is a double whammy, since people with chronic health problems are also at higher risk for serious complications from food poisoning. After the age of 75, many people also have reduced immune system responses. That … [Read more...]

USDA Says Grill Like a PRO

The USDA is offering tips on how to "Grill Like a PRO" this summer. That means using a thermometer to check the internal temperature of meats and poultry before you serve them. Research by the USDA and FDA found that only 24% of the public use a food thermometer when cooking hamburgers, and only 42% do so when cooking chicken. There have been many food poisoning outbreaks over the past few years linked to contaminated ground beef and chicken. Using a food thermometer is the only way to keep you and your family safe from food poisoning. P - Place the Thermometer! Put the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat. The probe should go in about 1-1/2 to 2". If you are cooking a thinner piece, such as hamburgers or chicken breasts, insert the thermometer from the side. Make … [Read more...]

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