July 22, 2019

Retailers in TX and LA Should Stop Selling Kazy’s Gourmet Seafood For Listeria

The FDA has advised retailers and restaurants in Texas and Louisiana to stop selling or serving products from Topway Enterprises, doing business as Kazy's Gourmet Seafood Production, because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The government is most concerned about salmon and tuna produced by the company for raw consumption. These products may be incorporated into sushi. The products in questions were sold July 10 through July 13, 2019. They are sold as fillets wrapped in clear plastic wrap. These product do not have a long shelf life, although they may be frozen. These products should be discarded. Retailers and restaurants should also clean and sanitize the surfaces that these products were served, stored, or prepared on. The FDA conducted an inspection of Topway … [Read more...]

Keep Your Backyard Barbecue Safe From Staphylococcus With Tips

The USDA is offering tips to help keep your backyard barbecue safe from Staphylococcus aureus bacteria this summer.  Cooking outdoors presents special challenges, including grilling food to a safe internal temperature, and higher ambient temperatures. The press release focuses on Staphylococcus aureus, which sickens about 240,000 Americans every year. About 1,000 of those patients need to be hospitalized, and about six people die every year. A USDA scientist developed a test that detects the pathogen in foods, which is faster, more sensitive, and less expensive than other standardized tests. Reuven Rasooly, a chemist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) said in a statement, "The current test detects active toxin only 50 percent of the time compared to the test, … [Read more...]

Tamoxifen May Fight Lethality of Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli Bacteria

According to new research from the University of Texas at Austin's College of Pharmacy the drug tamoxifen may help fight the lethality of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria. That drug is already approved by the FDA for treatment of diseases such as breast cancer. Researchers think that tamoxifen may block the ability of the toxins to invade human cells. The researchers have published a paper called "Tamoxifen blocks retrograde trafficking of Shiga toxin 1 and 2 and protects against lethal toxicosis" in Life Science Alliance. Certain types of E. coli bacteria produce Shiga toxins, which enter red blood cells and destroy them. The cells then travel throughout the bloodstream until they get to the kidneys. There, they clog tiny tubes called glomeruli, which destroys … [Read more...]

FDA Revises 2017 Fish Advice For Pregnant Women, Young Children

The FDA is revising its 2017 fish advice for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and young children, given the worries about mercury in fish. Dr. Susan Mayne, director of the FDA's Center of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in a statement, "Fish and shellfish are an important part of a well-rounded diet. However, we know many consumers worry about mercury in fish and even choose to limit or avoid fish because of this concern. In fact, we have seen that women in the U.S. who are pregnant are consuming far less than the recommended amount of seafood." In 2017, the FDA released a reference chart to help consumers choose the types of fish to eat more or and less of because of their levels of mercury. The fish species are listed under Best Choices, Good Choices, and Choices to … [Read more...]

Keep Your Fourth of July Celebration Safe With Tips From USDA

Keep your Fourth of July celebration safe with tips on food safety from the USDA. Cooking outside and hosting parties pose unique food safety challenges. Millions of Americans contract some form of food poisoning even year, leading to 3,000 deaths. Before you start preparing food, wash your hands. This is the simplest way to stop the spread of pathogens around your kitchen. Use soap and water and lather for at least 20 seconds. Dry with a clean towel or paper towel. Always wash your hands immediately after you handle meat and poultry. Make sure that you cook all meats, poultry, fish, and egg dishes to safe final internal temperature, and check that temp with a reliable food thermometer. Cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal should e cooked to 145°F with a three minute rest time. … [Read more...]

Texas A&M Studying Super-Repellent Surfaces For Food Safety

Texas A&M Agrilife Research and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station were awarded a grant from the USDA to study and develop super-repellent and anti-fouling surfaces for foods. These types of surfaces could be used to help ensure the safety of fresh food products. Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, AgriLife Research food science and co-principal investigator for the project said in a statement, "There is a need to reduce those outbreaks associated with microbial contamination that may take place in different operations along the fresh produce chain. The surfaces we are designing avoid cross-contamination and reduce the risk of biofilm formation.” Some bacteria, such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes, can develop biofilms that help protect them from … [Read more...]

FDA Issues New Guidance to Improve Safety of Sprouts

The FDA has issued new draft guidance to help improve the safety of seeds for sprouting. Will it make a difference? In the past 22 years, there have been 50 outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with contaminated raw sprouts. These outbreaks have caused 2,600 cases of food poisoning. In 2018, there were two sproutbreaks which together sickened about 100 people. Last year, ten people were sickened with Salmonella Montevideo infections after eating raw sprouts in Jimmy John's sandwiches. Studies show that contaminated seed is the likely source of most of these outbreaks. It doesn't help that the conditions under which the seeds are sprouted, warm and moist, are perfect for pathogen growth. FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas said, "The FDA is … [Read more...]

Two Good Reasons to Avoid Raw Cookie Dough: Salmonella and E. coli

Most everyone, by now, knows that food safety experts say you should avoid raw cookie dough or cake batter, because of the possibility of food poisoning. The two culprits in those foods are raw flour and raw eggs. Studies have shown that both of those ingredients can and have been contaminated with pathogens. Flour can be contaminated with E. coli and Salmonella bacteria  (an E. coli outbreak that is happening right now is linked to flour) and raw eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella. But are these foods contaminated often enough to be a problem? The answer is yes, even though only a small percentage of raw flour and raw eggs may be contaminated. These pathogens have what scientists call "low infective doses," which means that just a few bacteria can make you very sick. … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Outbreaks Linked to Flour: Study Shows Raw Wheat Can Be Contaminated

In the wake of the latest E. coli outbreak linked to raw flour, a study published in the Journal of Food Protection has found that a small percentage of raw wheat can be contaminated with Salmonella, EHEC (Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli), and Listeria bacteria. The scientists conducted a baseline study from 2012 to 2014 to determine the prevalence and levels of pathogens in wheat samples taken before milling. The study authors took 5,176 samples and tested for those pathogens. Isolates were fingerprinted using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). They found Salmonella in 1.23% of samples, EHECs in 0.44% of samples, and Listeria species in 0.08% of samples. There was a high diversity for all organisms, which indicates a diverse background of naturally occurring organisms is … [Read more...]

Life Rising Dietary Supplements Seized by U.S. Marshals

U.S. Marshals seized more than 300,000 containers of dietary supplements from Life Rising Corporation in June 2019 at the request of the FDA. The seized goods included tablets, capsules, and teas. The brand names for some of the 500 products are Life Rising, Holicare, or HopeStream. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois found that there was probable cause that "the company prepared, packed, and/or held dietary supplements under conditions that do not conform to the dietary supplement current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements," according to the FDA news release. The FDA issued an Administrative Detention Order in May 2019 to prevent these products from reaching consumers until they could be seized based on these violations. Melinda K. … [Read more...]

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