June 24, 2018

What Do You Need to Know About Salmonella Bacteria?

There are currently two Salmonella outbreaks in the United States making people very sick. The first is a Salmonella Adelaide outbreak that is linked to precut melons. The second is a Salmonella Mbandaka outbreak that is linked to Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal. So what do you need to know about Salmonella bacteria? First, this pathogenic bacteria is everywhere. Salmonella is found in animal guts, in people, and in the environment. Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to chickens, eggs, pistachios, raw tuna, sprouts, nut butter, pork, and cucumbers. About 1,000,000 people are sickened with Salmonella infections every year in the U.S. Contaminated foods do not look, smell, or taste different, and there is no change in the texture of the product. Any food can be contaminated with … [Read more...]

FDA Seeks Injunction Against Company Selling Unapproved Hand Sanitizers

One part of food safety is keeping your hands clean. That's why food safety experts tell consumers to wash their hands before they prepare food or before they eat. That can be difficult when you are away from home. That's why hand sanitizers are so popular. But one company is selling unapproved hand sanitizers that claim to prevent infections from many different pathogens, so the FDA is seeking a permanent injunction against that company. The company is BioDefense Inc. of Lake Forest, California. The product is Zylast topical antiseptics. The company claims that the hand sanitizer is effective against pathogens such as norovirus, rotavirus, flu virus, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), and Ebola. These are drug claims, and so the product is regulated by FDA as a … [Read more...]

FDA Warns Companies to Stop Selling Highly Concentrated Caffeine Products

The FDA is warning companies that make two highly concentrated caffeine products to stop making them, because the government considers them a threat to public health. The companies are Liquidcaffeine and Dual Health Body and Mind. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, "Despite being informed of the dangers of highly concentrated and pure caffeine, we’re still finding companies that are disregarding consumer safety by illegally selling products with potentially dangerous and lethal amounts of caffeine. The FDA recently took action to explain which pure and highly concentrated caffeine products cannot be lawfully marketed because they pose an unacceptable risk to consumers. We’ve already seen at least two deaths linked to pure or concentrated caffeine, and we’ll be enforcing the law to … [Read more...]

Oxycodone Traces Found in Puget Sound Bay Mussels

Traces of oxycodone have been found in Puget Sound mussels, according to research from the Puget Sound Institute. The native bay mussels were harvested from the Seattle and Bremerton area harbors. These shellfish were part of the state's Puget Sound Mussel Monitoring Program. Scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife transplant uncontaminated mussels from an aquaculture source on Whidbey Island to different locations in Puget Sound to help them study levels of pollution. Mussels, like other shellfish, are filters feeders, so they concentrate chemicals, bacteria, and other contaminants from the environment into their tissue. After a few months, the mussels are collected, and scientists analyze the contaminants. The areas where the tainted mussels were … [Read more...]

Feds File Consent Decree Against Michel Cordon Bleu

Michel Cordon Bleu, a business in California that processed and distributed ready to eat fish products, was enjoined against preparing, processing, and distributing food by the U.S. District court for the Central District of California. The injunction forces the company owner to implement consumer safety measures before resuming business. The Department filed the  complaint on October 3, 2017, at the request of the FDA. Michel Cordon Bleu prepared processed, packed, held, and distributed refrigerated vacuum-packed, ready-to-eat cold, and hot smoked fish or fishery products. The hazards presented by the food, according to the complaint, include the risk of Clostridium botulinum and Listeria monocytogenes, It also stated that the food was adulterated because it was prepared or held … [Read more...]

FDA Sends Warning Letter to Maker of Necco Wafers and Sweethearts

The FDA has sent a warning letter to the maker of Necco Wafers and Sweethearts about the conditions in their facility. The letter was sent to the New England Confectionary Company in Massachusetts. The inspection conducted late last year found "serious violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation." The violations included "significant evidence of rodent activity and insanitary conditions" throughout the facility. That means the candy products are adulterated. FDA inspectors found evidence of rodent activity in the food storage areas of the facility. Rodent excreta pellets that were too numerous to count and evidence of widespread rodent activity were found in "multiple areas" throughout the … [Read more...]

FDA Takes Action Against OTC Teething Products That Contain Benzocaine

The FDA is warning consumers that over-the-counter (OTC) teething products that contain Benzocaine pose "a serious risk to infants and children." The agency announced that those products containing that pain reliever should no longer be marketed, and is asking companies to stop selling these products. If the companies do not comply, the FDA will initiate a regulatory action to remove those products from the market. The FDA is also asking that companies add warnings to all other benzocaine oral health products to describe some serious health risks. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, "The FDA is committed to protecting the American public from products that pose serious safety risks, especially those with no demonstrated benefit. Because of the lack of efficacy for teething and the … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Tips for Safe Grilling This Summer

The USDA is offering tips for safe grilling this summer. With Memorial Day over, the summer grilling season has begun. Foodborne illness tends to rise during the summer months, because temperatures are warmer, and people tend to travel with food. Properly handling perishable foods during travel, by making sure all food is kept at a safe temperature, avoiding cross-contamination between raw meats and poultry and foods that are eaten uncooked, and using a food thermometer when grilling can all help prevent food poisoning. If you are traveling to a location where you will grill, perishable foods must be handled in a special way. Bacteria grow quickly in warm weather. Perishable foods must be kept at 40°F or below to reduce bacterial growth. Any perishable food, cooked or not, that … [Read more...]

Rep. DeLauro Sends Letter to USDA Expressing Concern Over Chinese Chicken

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has written a letter to Sonny Perdue, the Secretary of the USDA, expressing concern over reports suggesting that the government is planning to let China export its own poultry products to the United States. Food safety and consumer advocates have long opposed such a move to import Chinese chicken, citing serious food safety concerns about food from that country and many deadly outbreaks that have occurred there. According to the letter, Chinas General Administration of Customs Under Secretary met with a Chinese deputy director to discuss agricultural trade. DeLauro states, "given China's longstanding and well documented food safety problems, it is appalling to me that officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection … [Read more...]

Food Safety and Consumer Groups Want FDA To Establish Rapid Traceability Of Produce

Food safety groups and consumer groups are calling on the FDA to establish requirements for rapid traceability of produce within the next six months. Nine organizations sent a letter to the FDA on May 24, 2018, after government officials have not solved the deadly multistate E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak linked to romaine lettuce. The groups that signed the letter include Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, Food and Water Watch, STOP Foodborne illness, Consumers Union, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and three others. They want the FDA to implement "long overdue provisions of the 2011 FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA)" that require the FDA to establish record keeping requirements for high risk foods that will enhance … [Read more...]

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