September 19, 2017

Food & Water Watch Opposes Poultry Slaughter Line Speeds

Food & Water Watch is opposing the National Chicken Council petition to increase poultry slaughter line speeds. The petition was filed on September 1, 2017 with the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Services. The line speed cap was set in the 2014 regulations creating the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS). Food & Water Watch opposed the final rule reacting that system, and went to court to challenge its legality. The system essentially "privatizes poultry inspection by turning most of the on-line slaughter inspection over to the companies to conduct themselves, leaving only one USDA inspector on each slaughter line." Other food safety watchdog groups have opposed NPIS as well. NPIS is based on HIMP, HACCP-based Inspection Models Project pilot study, which was widely … [Read more...]

Foods To Destroy After a Hurricane

The FDA is warning growers, distributors, and consumers that many types of food should be destroyed after a flood. After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked havoc on many areas of the southern U.S., keeping your family's food safe is critical. Some foods that have been exposed to flood waters should not be eaten. Flood waters can contain sewage, hazardous chemicals, heavy metals, parasites, and pathogenic bacteria and viruses. If the edible portion of a crop is exposed to flood waters, they must be destroyed. There is "no practical method of reconditioning the edible portion of a crop that will provide a reasonable assurance of human food safety," according to the notice. All fresh fruits and vegetables that have been in contact with flood water can't be adequately cleaned and … [Read more...]

CDC Offers Advice for Those in the Path of Hurricane Irma

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering advice for anyone who is in the path of Hurricane Irma. This is a very dangerous storm. Everyone should have a safety plan in case any natural or manmade disaster strikes anywhere. Food safety can be compromised in the case of natural disasters. Flood waters can contain pathogenic bacteria, chemicals, and even heavy metals. And the loss of power can render perishable foods unsafe. Before the hurricane, stock up on emergency supplies. Write down emergency phone numbers. And make sure that every member of your family understands the plan. If you are going to stay, make sure you have enough clean water. Every family member should have five gallons of clean water every day. You can fill clean containers with drinking … [Read more...]

Before Hurricane Irma: Food Safety Advice From the FDA and CDC

If you are in the path of Hurricane Irma, which is now a Category 5 storm, the FDA and the CDC have some advice about protecting yourself and keeping your food and water safe. If you aren't going to evacuate, make sure you follow these instructions. First, make sure that you have a plan. Make a hurricane plan for your household and follow it to the letter. Then, put thermometers in your freezer and refrigerator. If the power is off for hours or days, the thermometer will let you know whether or not the food in that appliance is safe. Keep lots of bottled water on hand. You don't need bottled water for washing or flushing the toilet; line your bathtub with plastic and fill it up to use when you need it. Keep containers of ice on hand to keep food cold, or to melt if the water … [Read more...]

Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli and Food Safety

The CDC has information about Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and food safety you should know. Earlier this year there was a multistate E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter products that sickened 32 people in 12 states. Nine people in that outbreak developed HUS, a type of kidney failure. Some people may still have some of those products in their home. All flavors and sizes of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butters and Granolas, and other products were recalled. If you have those products in your home, throw them away immediately. Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria are found everywhere; in the environment, in foods, and the intestines of people and some animals. While most of these bacteria are harmless, several types can cause serious illness and even death. … [Read more...]

Food and Water Safety After a Flood From the CDC

If you have been affected by Hurricane Harvey, or if you are in the path of Hurricane Irma, the CDC has some information you should know about food safety after a disaster or flood. First of all, always throw away any food that may have come into contact with flood or storm water. Also discard perishable foods, and those with an unusual color, odor, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out. Don't use your fireplace for cooking until the chimney has been inspected for cracks. Sparks can escape into your attic through a spark and start a fire. Remember that perishable foods, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and leftovers, must be discarded when the power has been off for four hours or more, even if they are refrigerated. Any food that still contains ice crystals … [Read more...]

Seafood Traceability Program Upheld by Court

A federal court ruled this week that the U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program is upheld. This program requires that some imported seafood that is at risk of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud is completely documented and traced from the fishing vessel or farm to the U.S. border. This program, also known as the Seafood Traceability Rule, takes effect January 2018. It will require importers of seafood such as tuna, grouper, swordfish, red snapper, and blue crab to provide specific information to border inspectors before their products can enter the country. Beth Lowell, senior director for illegal fish and seafood fraud at Oceana said in a statement, "This ruling is a huge win for U.S. fishermen and consumers who are cheated when illegally caught … [Read more...]

Much of Vashon Island Shellfish Harvest Areas Closed for PSP

King County Public Health in Seattle, Washington, has closed most of Vashon Island beaches for shellfish harvesting after Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) has been detected at unsafe levels. Quartermaster Harbor is still open for harvest. The commercial harvest is not affected. PSP is a neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine organism. The toxin is not destroyed by cooking or freezing. PSP poisoning can be life threatening. You cannot determine if the toxin is present by looking at the water or shellfish; it can only be found with laboratory testing. The toxin does not change the taste or texture of shellfish. PSP is not the same thing as "red tide." Advisory signs at beaches have been posted by public health officials. The closure includes all species of shellfish, … [Read more...]

Food and Water Safety Advice for Hurricane Harvey

The FDA is offering food safety and water safety advice for anyone affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Food can be rendered unsafe by power outages and by contact with flood waters. If the power went out and perishable food has been above 40°F for more than 2 hours (more than 1 hour if the air temperature is at 90°F or above) it must be discarded. Cooking won't make this food safe, since bacteria can produce toxins that heat will not destroy. If the items stayed below 40°F and you are sure of this, cook them thoroughly to a safe minimum internal temperature before eating. Once power has been restored, check the temperature of appliance thermometers in the freezer and fridge. If the thermometers are 40°F or below, the food in the freezer can be refrozen. If you didn't have a … [Read more...]

Packed Lunch Food Safety

As the new school year gets underway, parents need to know how to pack lunches safely. Food poisoning can be very serious for young children, so their food needs to be as safe as possible. The FDA has more information about safe bag lunches.  Know that all perishable foods, including meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, and eggs, should be kept cold at all times. Any of these foods should not be left at room temperature longer than 2 hours - 1 hour if the air temperature is over 90°F. Wash your hands well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before you start to prepare the food and pack the lunch. Sanitize a lunch box that hasn't been used in a while by wiping it with a solution of 1 tablespoon liquid chlorine, unscented bleach in 1 gallon of water. Advance planning … [Read more...]

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