June 17, 2019

CDC Says: Don’t Rinse That Chicken!

The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) is reiterating advice it has given before: don't rinse that chicken! Americans eat more chicken than any other meat, and chicken is often contaminated with Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Clostridum perfringens bacteria. Anyone who purchases raw chicken should handle it carefully to prevent food poisoning. Cooks and even cookbooks have told consumers to rinse chicken before cooking. But that advice is incorrect; don't rinse that chicken!  Bacteria can aerosolize under running water, and can contaminate everything within a 3-foot radius of the faucet. That means that the sink, countertop, and even you can be contaminated with pathogens if you rinse your chicken. The only thing that gets rid of bacteria on chicken is cooking it to … [Read more...]

Canada Announces Monetary Penalties For Companies Violating Food Safety Rules

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is going to begin issuing Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) for violations by food businesses that violate federal food safety rules. The penalties will range from a Notice of Violation with no monetary penalty up to a maximum $15,000 for serious offenses or repeat violators. These penalties are another option the government can use to address violations. The press release states that, "By expanding the use of AMPs across all food sectors, the CFIA will now have a consistent and comprehensive set of tools to enforce compliance with the requirements for all food in Canada." Canada has been using AMPs in the meat sector since 2015. Amendments to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (AAAMPR) … [Read more...]

FDA Warning Letter: JBS Souderton Tallow Contained Pentobarbital

An FDA warning letter dated April 23, 2019, states that the manufacturer JBS Souderton's products from its rendering plant contain pentobarbital, which is a drug used to euthanize dogs and cats in the United States. The pentobarbital was found in the pure tallow the company produces that was used to make pet food. JBS Souderton does business as MOPAC and supplies beef tallow to several animal food manufacturers. This letter is significant because pentobarbital was found in some brands of dog food last year, including canned Smucker dog food such as Gravy Train, Kibbles 'n Bits, and Skippy products. It is illegal for pet food to contain pentobarbital, because the food then contains an unsafe new animal drug. And no food can be sold in this country that is adulterated or … [Read more...]

FDA to Launch “New Era of Smarter Food Safety”

Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless and Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas are announcing a "New Era of Smarter Food Safety" to help combat increasing cases of foodborne illness in this country.  It will incorporate elements and requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 with new and emerging technologies. This program will develop a "Blueprint for a New Era of Smarter Food Safety," which will address digital technologies, traceability, and food business models. One of the tools the press release lauds as a success in this type of model is the GenomeTrakr Network, which helps with investigations into foodborne outbreaks. One of the most important areas of foodborne illness investigation is traceability. Unless a contaminated food can be identified and then … [Read more...]

Coalition Files Lawsuit Against Iowa’s Ag-Gag Law

A coalition of food safety experts and public interest groups has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa to challenge the constitutionality of Iowa's new Ag-Gag law. This law is similar to another law in that state that was struck down on January 9, 2019. Ag gag laws have been passed in many farming states around the country in response to undercover work by animal activists. Undercover videos have recorded violent animal cruelty at some facilities. In 2012, a video recorded at Central Valley Meat in California resulted in the suspension of that facility's food registration for inhumane cattle treatment. That company supplied meat to the National School Lunch Program. The Central Valley Meats video showed downed dairy cows being shot in the … [Read more...]

FDA Improves Ice Cream Production Safety After Listeria Outbreaks

The FDA announced today that they are taking steps to improve ice cream production after inspecting food facilities and collecting and testing samples from the environment where foods are produced. The notice states, "Following a string of safety issues related to a number of U.S. ice cream distributors, the FDA engaged a team to inspect and obtain environmental samples from 89 ice cream production facilities in 32 states to test for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella. The government fond that some were in violation of the law." There have been two Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks linked to ice cream in the past few years. Last year, one person was sickened after eating Working Cow Homemade ice cream. And in 2015, the CDC released information about 10 people sickened with … [Read more...]

After Romaine E. coli Outbreak, LGMA Adopts New Food Safety Practices

After the two romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks last year, that together sickened 272 people in the U.S., the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) has been amended to include more food safety practices on farms. More than 120 people were hospitalized in those outbreaks, and five people died. Scott Horsfall, CEO of the LGMA, said in a statement, "The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Board of Directors have adopted additional requirements to reduce risk when it comes to water used in growing lettuce and leafy greens. This means that every box of leafy greens placed into commerce by a certified LGMA member will now be produced under new, more stringent requirements." In the two romaine E. coli O157:H67 outbreaks, the outbreak strains of the pathogen were … [Read more...]

FDA Strengthening Process For Initiating Voluntary Recalls

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is strengthening the process of initiating voluntary recalls. These recalls remove food from the marketplace that may be contaminated with pathogens or contain undeclared allergens.  Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, is commenting on this plan. There were 382 food recalls in 2018, for undeclared allergens, pathogens, and foreign material contamination. The FDA regulates all foods except for some aspects of meat, poultry and egg products. If food needs to be recalled because it is a threat to public health, and the company will not act, the FDA has regulatory power to force a recall. The first mandatory recall order was issued for Kratom products last year. The FDA is guiding companies on the steps … [Read more...]

What Are the Common Symptoms of Food Poisoning?

Given that 48,000,000 Americans are sickened with food poisoning every year in this country, every American has most likely had food poisoning. But many people confuse the symptoms of these illnesses with the "24 hour flu" or "stomach flu." As a result, some patients could be undiagnosed and untreated, and develop the long term consequences of these illnesses without even knowing they had been sickened by these pathogens. What are the symptoms of food poisoning? At this time, there are five ongoing multistate food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S. An E. coli O103 outbreak is linked to ground beef, a Salmonella Carrau outbreak is linked to precut melons, a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak is linked to deli meats and cheeses, and a Salmonella Newport outbreak is linked to raw … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Finds Arsenic in Bottled Water

Consumer Reports has found arsenic at unsafe levels in some brands of bottled water. The organization is urging the government to recall those brands and to implement better federal standards for this product. Many people around the country rely on bottled water because their tap water doesn't taste good or they don't trust its quality. Unfortunately, bottled water can have issues and be contaminated with unsafe compounds. One of those compounds is arsenic. Arsenic is found everywhere, in the soil, air, and water, and it is found in groundwater, the source for many bottled water brands. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that, when ingested, arsenic can cause arsenic poisoning, skin cancer, developmental problems, memory problems, diabetes, pulmonary disease, and … [Read more...]

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