September 26, 2023

USDA Study on Consumer Food Preparation Behavior Highlights Risks

A USDA study on consumer food preparation behavior highlights the risks of not following food safety rules. The five year study looked at how consumers prepare meals in light of the risks of food poisoning. The study was produced by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) as part of their efforts to educate the public about safe food handling practices. USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Emilio Esteban said in a statement, "These studies are important for USDA to understand consumer behaviors in the kitchen and it is timely to be releasing the latest findings during Food Safety Education Month. The results allow us to shape food safety communications and help consumers safely prepare food." The three areas the study concentrated on were handwashing, thermometer … [Read more...]

Michigan Warns Public About Unsolicited Seeds From China

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is warning the public about using unsolicited seeds from China. That agency has received reports of consumers receiving the seeds in the mail. Similar cases were reported in 2020. If you got some, do not open the package or plant the seeds. The seeds are packaged in many different types of containing, including letters to parcels in a variety of colors. Most of the recipients say they did not order anything, and the packaging was labeled as containing jewelry. Some people said they ordered seeds from Amazon and got these seeds. Mike Philip, director of MDARD's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division said in a statement, "If you receive unsolicited seeds from another country, do not open the packaging or plant … [Read more...]

Gluten-Free on a Product Label Means Something For Celiacs

Gluten-Free on a product label really means something for celiacs. The FDA regulates the claim of "gluten free" and sets standards and definitions for the food industry to use. About 3 million Americans have celiac disease, which an auto-immune digestive disorder. People with this disease must avoid gluten or they can suffer from serious health consequences, including malnourishment. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, triticale, and barley, gives bread its structure. Foods that include gluten include breads, cakes, cereals, pastas, and others including beer. In celiacs, gluten molecules attack villi in the small intestines. Those villi promote nutrient absorption. When they are damaged by gluten, nutrients can't be properly absorbed. Celiac disease is heredity, and it can … [Read more...]

Tony Downs Food Violated Child Labor Laws, Enters Consent Decree

Tony Downs Food violated child labor laws, according to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), and has entered a consent decree to comply with those laws. The company's production facilities are in Madelia, Minnesota. An investigation by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry of the company found that they employed at least eight children between the ages of 14 and 17 to operate meat-processing equipment. The children operated meat grinders, ovens, and forklifts during overnight shifts. One child was only 13 years old. State child labor laws prohibit minors from working in hazardous occupations. The audit period was from January 26, 201 through January 26, 2023. When the investigation began, DLI investigators asked the district court to issue a temporary … [Read more...]

To Avoid Bird Flu, Stay Away From Dead Birds and Wild Animals

To avoid bird flu, stay away from dead birds and wild animals, according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. An outbreak of avian influenza is killing birds on Rat Island in Washington state, which is a wildlife preserve, and nearby shores. That island has been closed because of this outbreak. While it is rare for people to contract this infection, it can happen. People are more likely to get sick after close or lengthy contact with infected animals or by touching contaminated surfaces. Dogs and other animals can also get sick from the bird flu. Bird flu is a Type A flu virus that occurs naturally in wild aquatic birds. Since January 2022, a strain of H5N1 avian influenza has been sickening and killing birds around the world. No treatment is available for wild species. … [Read more...]

FDA Food Safety Tips For the Hurricane Season

The FDA is offering food safety tips for the hurricane season, including what to do about power outages and flooding. There are lots of things to think about and do, including safeguarding medications, water, and pets. Everyone, not just people in hurricane-prone areas, should maintain a waterproof emergency kit that is stocked with non perishable food, extra medication, and hygiene supplies. Non perishable food includes shelf stable items including canned food such as tuna, vegetables, fruits, and soups, bread, peanut butter, granola bars, crackers, nuts, trail mixes, mayonnaise, mustard, dried milk, and jams and jellies. Be sure to include a can opener. Food, water, and medical supplies will be hard to find both before and after a storm. Make sure that you have enough of your … [Read more...]

Labor Day Weekend Food Safety Travel Tips From the USDA

Labor Day weekend food safety travel tips come from Jesus Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with the Food Safety Education Staff with the USDA. While many people stay at home during this long holiday weekend, others travel, especially to campsites and to go on picnics. And food safety is even more critical when you are away from home. First pack perishable foods into your cooler directly from the fridge or freezer. You can pack meat and poultry products while they are still frozen. Put an appliance thermometer in your cooler to make sure that the food stays safe and cold at 40°F or below. The danger zone, when bacteria counts can double in food every 20 minutes, is from 40°F to 140°F. Keep raw meat and poultry away from cooked foods and produce that is eaten raw, in the cooler … [Read more...]

Three Infant Food Manufacturers Get Warning Letters From FDA

Three infant food manufacturers received warning letters from the FDA after inspections were conducted at their facilities.  The letters were for violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and FDA infant formula regulations. The letters were issued to ByHeart Inc., Mead Johnson Nutrition (Beckett), and Perrigo Wisconsin LLC. The letters "reflect findings from FDA inspections of these facilities over the last several months." At each inspection, the FDA issued inspectional observations and exercised oversight of each firm as they initiated recalls, in December 2022, February 2023, and March 2023. The recalls were for infant formulas potentially contaminated with Cronobacter sakazakii, a pathogen that can cause serious illness and death in vulnerable infants. The letters … [Read more...]

Vibrio Vulnificus Death in Suffolk County, New York Prompts Warning

A Vibrio vulnificus death in Suffolk County, New York has prompted warnings to the public from Governor Kathy Hochul as well as theNew York State Department of Health. Vibrio vulnificus is a dangerous pathogen that has a 33% mortality rate. Officials are investigating to see if the deceased person contracted this infection in New York waters or elsewhere. Fatal cases of vibriosis have also occurred in neighboring Connecticut. Governor Holchul said in a statement, "While rare, the vibrio bacteria has unfortunately made it to this region and can be extraordinarily dangerous. As we investigate further, it is critical that all New Yorkers stay vigilant and take responsible precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, including protecting open wounds from seawater and for … [Read more...]

Health Canada Warns Consumers About Caffeinated Energy Drinks

Health Canada is warning consumers about the possible health drinks of consuming too many caffeinated energy drinks. These drinks are not recommended for anyone who is under the age of 14, who is pregnant or breast-feeding, or anyone who is sensitive to caffeine. These beverages or mixes contain added caffeine, usually along with other ingredients such as minerals, vitamins, herbal ingredients, guayana, Yerba mate, and taurine. In Canada, these beverages can contain up to 180 mg of caffeine per serving. There are cautionary statements on these product labels in these countries. Anyone over the age of 18 should not consume more than 400 mg of caffeine per day. Too much caffeine can have detrimental effects on your health, including insomnia, irritability, headaches, and … [Read more...]

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