May 15, 2023

Import Alert For Morel Mushrooms Imported by a Company in France

The FDA issued Import Alert 25-02 for morel mushrooms imported from a company in France on May 23, 2022 because, in the past, shipments of canned and dried mushrooms were detained because of the presence of Gyromitra esculenta, or false morel. This species can produce monomethylhydrazine (MMH), which is a toxin that can cause severe gastrointestinal illnesses and, in some cases, death. The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) identified another species, Verpa bohemica, or early morel, which can also cause illness in some people. All morel mushrooms imported from that company and false morel mushrooms, also imported from that company, in the form of fresh, canned, and dried, are subject to this import alert until further notice. Morel mushrooms are a distinctive … [Read more...]

Triple Wash Your Veggies, WVU Extension Advises

Triple wash your veggies, researchers at West Virginia University Extension advises consumers, to reduce bacterial counts and avoid food poisoning. Researcher Cangliang Shen, associate professor of human nutrition and foods at the university, has studied the microbial safety of farmers market produce, which revealed a risk for microbial contamination from pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes. Outbreaks linked to fresh produce are very common; in fact, they are more common than people think. For instance, there were 40 outbreaks linked to leafy greens from 2009 to 2018. And last year a Salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupe sickened at least 88 people in 12 states. A 2015 study conducted by Shen and graduate students KaWang Li and Wentao Jiang at the … [Read more...]

Proposal to Declare Salmonella an Adulterant in Breaded Stuffed Chicken

The USDA has released their proposal to declare Salmonella an adulterant at "very low levels" in breaded stuffed raw chicken products. The announcement that a proposal was coming was made in August 2022. These types of products have been linked to many food poisoning outbreaks in the past several years. In fact, since 1998, raw breaded stuffed chicken products have been associated with up to 14 outbreaks and at least 200 illnesses. The last outbreak was in 2021, when 28 people in 8 states were sickened after eating Serenade Foods stuffed chicken products including Kirkwood and Milford Valley brands. This proposal builds on the USDA's proposed regulatory framework to reduce Salmonella infections linked to poultry products. Salmonella causes about 1.35 million human illnesses and … [Read more...]

What Does the FDA Want You to Know About Food Recalls?

What does the FDA want you to know about food recalls? Many food recalls are issued every month, from the FDA and the USDA, depending on which foods they regulate. The FDA regulates all foods except meat, poultry, and processed egg products. Food recalls can be for undeclared allergens, for foreign material contamination, or for possible contamination with pathogens, which can include bacteria such as E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes, viruses such as norovirus or hepatitis A, or parasites such as cyclospora. All food that contains one of the nine major food allergens (sesame, milk, wheat, finfish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, and eggs) must list that ingredient on the label, as well as an allergen statement warning consumers that the product contains that … [Read more...]

How do Lead and Cadmium Get Into Dark Chocolate?

A report in Consumer Reports in 2022 said they found lead and cadmium in several brands of dark chocolate. These heavy metals can cause serious health problems. So how do lead and cadmium get into dark chocolate? Toxicologist Michael J. DiBartolomeis, PhD, studied how these metals contaminate chocolate. The metals are found in cocoa solids, which are part of the cacao bean. The levels of cocoa solids in dark chocolate are higher than they are in milk chocolate, which is why dark chocolates have more problems with contamination. The heavy metals get into the cacao bean in different ways. Cadmium is usually in the beans already when they are harvested because the plants take up cadmium in the soil, which accumulates in the beans. But lead gets into the beans after they are … [Read more...]

Food Safety Tips For Passover and Easter

These food safety tips for Passover and Easter will help you celebrate while keeping everyone safe from food poisoning. Every time a group  of people gather to eat, food safety rules are very important, especially if the group includes people at high risk for serious complications from foodborne illness. Of course, follow the rules of Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. Clean your kitchen before you start and wash your hands and utensils to avoid spreading pathogens. Separate by keeping raw meats, poultry, and eggs from foods that are eaten uncooked such as produce. Cook food to safe final internal temperatures and test with a food thermometer. Chill leftovers within two hours of taking food out of the oven or fridge; one hour if the air temperature is 90°F or higher. Eggs Eggs … [Read more...]

FDA Offers Tips to Prevent Listeria Monocytogenes Illness

The FDA is offering tips to prevent Listeria monocytogenes illnesses. There is a mystery Listeria outbreak on the FDA's CORE Outbreak Investigation Table that has sickened at least 11 people in 10 states, as well as an ongoing listeriosis outbreak that is linked to Utopia Foods and Sun Hong Foods enoki mushrooms. It's important to know that some foods are more likely to be contaminated with this dangerous and often deadly pathogen. They include ready to eat refrigerated foods such as deli meats and cheeses, unpasteurized milk, and foods made with unpasteurized milk. The people most at risk for serious complications from this food poisoning infection include pregnant women and their fetuses, the elderly, anyone with a compromised immune system, and anyone with a chronic illness, … [Read more...]

FDA on Food Waste and Food Safety: What About Expiration?

The FDA is offering information on food waste and food safety, or what do you need to know about expiration dates? Most products have a "best by" or "best if used by" date stamped somewhere on the container. What do they mean? And can you eat a food that is past that date? This information is important because food waste is a terrible problem in this country. For instance, 80% of our freshwater is used getting food on the table, along with half of our land. Organic waste, mostly food, is the second biggest component of landfills. And those landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas. Since between 30 to 40% of food in the U.S. goes uneaten, we are discarding $165,000,000,000 in food every year. Food waste and food safety are connected because … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Lists 10 Risky Recalled Foods From 2017-2022

Consumer Reports lists 10 risky recalled foods from 2017 to 2022 that you should know about. These foods were recalled because of bacterial contamination and many were linked to foodborne illness outbreaks. The 10 risky recalled foods that are listed in rank order include: Leafy Greens. These types of vegetables were linked to 50 outbreaks and recalls. There were 614 illnesses and 11 deaths as a result of E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes bacterial contamination on these products, including the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Fresh Express packaged salads that sickened and hospitalized 10 people in 10 states, and the Wendy's E. coli romaine outbreak that sickened at least 109 people in six states. Contaminated water used to irritate crops is one source of these … [Read more...]

CPSC Report Finds Spike in Child Poisoning Deaths in 2021

A Consumer Product Safety Commission report finds a 37% spike in child poisoning deaths in 2021. Fifty nine children under the age of five years died after gaining access to prescribed or illicit drugs. Nearly 12 children died after ingesting cell or coin batteries from 2017 through 2021. The agency is encouraging consumers to protect their families by taking control of all potentially harmful household products, including medications, drugs, button batteries, laundry packets, and cleaning supplies. National Poison Prevention Week, which was March 20 - 24, 2023 is the 61st year it has been observed. Tough federal laws caused a decrease of 73% in child poisoning deaths since 1972. Laws include the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 and the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act … [Read more...]

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