May 24, 2022

Are Eggs Safe to Eat During the Pathogenic Avian Influenza Outbreak?

No doubt you have heard of the serious bird flu outbreak that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of birds, including chickens. So you may have wondered: are eggs safe to eat during the pathogenic Avian influenza outbreak? The FDA has some answers. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is a disease caused by a virus. It is often referred to as the bird or avian flu. The virus spreads naturally among wild aquatic birds around the world. It can and has infected domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. This virus does not normally infect humans, but one person who lives in Colorado recently tested positive for this virus. That person was involved in the culling of poultry and had direct exposure to infect birds. On February 8, 2022, HPAI was detected in a … [Read more...]

Whistleblower Report Alleges Abbott Lax on Contaminated Infant Formula

A new whistleblower report alleges that Abbott Nutrition was lax on concerns about contaminated infant formula, according to information released by Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). DeLauro is the House Appropriations Committee Chair. She submitted the report for the record on April 28, 2022. The whistleblower allegedly worked at the Abbott facility that produces infant formula that was recalled for possible Cronobacter contamination in February 2022. In September 2021 the FDA learned of a potential link between Cronobacter and Similac powdered infant formula. The 34-page report from the whistleblower has allegations of wrongdoing at the facility. They include: Falsification of records relating to testing of seals, signing verifications without adequate knowledge, failure to … [Read more...]

Home Canning Warning After Washington Man Dies of Possible Botulism

A home canning warning has been issued by the Gray's Harbor County Public Health Department after a man living in Aberdeen, Washington died of possible botulism. The man was 55 to 65 years old. No further information on him is available. Confirmation of the case of death is pending confirmatory results. The property owner was assisted by officials from Grays Harbor County Environment Health with the safe disposal of around 170 pint-sized jars of home-canned food and canning jars according to CDC guidelines. Home canned foods can be a risk factor for botulism poisoning, especially if strict rules are not followed during preparation. Botulism is a toxin that cannot be seen or tasted. It does not change the texture, taste, aroma, or appearance of food. The toxin is produced by … [Read more...]

FDA Takes Steps to Limit Lead Content in Juice

The FDA is taking steps to limit lead content in juice to reduce the potential exposure to toxic elements in foods. The draft action levels are for lead in single-strength (ready to drink) apple juice and other single-strength juices and juice blends. This action is in support of the agency's Closer to Zero action plan. FDA Commissioner Robert M Califf, M.D. said in a statement "Exposure of our most vulnerable populations, especially children, to elevated levels of toxic elements from foods is unacceptable. This action to limit lead in juice represents an important step forward in advancing FDA’s Closer to Zero action plan, which we are confident will have a lasting public health impact on current and future generations." The guidance outlines action levels that will be … [Read more...]

One Quarter of Participants Contaminated Salad With Raw Chicken

In an NC State University study, one quarter of participants contaminated salad with raw chicken, highlighting the risks of not understanding hand washing, cleaning and sanitizing the kitchen, and washing poultry. The study was conducted to assess the impact of washing poultry on kitchen contamination, but found that participants who did not wash poultry still contaminated salad. The study was published in the International Association for Food Production. Washing raw poultry is not recommended because the researchers thought that water from rinsing the chicken would splash and spread around the kitchen. This practice can also contaminate the kitchen sink, other foods, and other surfaces, which increase the risk of foodborne illness. Ellen Shumaker, corresponding author of the … [Read more...]

FDA Will Evaluate Food Allergens That Are Not Part of the Major Nine

The FDA is going to evaluate food allergens that are not part of the major nine allergens: milk, wheat, soy, finfish, shellfish, eggs, sesame, tree nuts, and peanuts through a new draft guidance. Those allergens make up more than 90% of the allergens that cause illness. But the agency is going to evaluate the public health importance of any allergens that are not required to be listed on food labels. Other food allergens do cause illness. There are more than 160 known food allergens, which affect millions of people living in the U.S. Companies are required to list major allergens or ingredients made from the nine major allergens in specific ways on the label. Food manufacturers are also required to prevent allergen cross contact. The new draft guidance, issued on April 18, 2022, … [Read more...]

Fall Harvested Romaine More Likely to Cause E. coli Outbreaks

Agricultural Research Scientists have found that fall harvested romaine is more likely to contain more E. coli bacteria and cause more outbreaks, according to the USDA. Between 1998 and 2019, there were 36 outbreaks traced back to lettuce, particularly romaine lettuce, that was harvested in the fall on the California Central Coast, and in late winter in Southern California and Arizona. The seasonal outbreaks are more frequently associated with commercially grown lettuce harvested at the end of the growing season. The question is why. ARS microbiologist Maria Brand, leader of the study, said in a statement, "To begin unravelling the causes of these seasonal outbreaks, our research team looked at various factors to identify conditions that may increase E. coli survival on fresh-cut … [Read more...]

Tips for Easter Egg Hunt Safety From Fight Bac

Get tips for Easter egg hunt safety from Fight Bac. Remember that eggs are perishable foods just like meat and poultry, and should be cooked thoroughly and handled with care. Even clean, uncracked eggs can, and have been, contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes bacteria and have caused many illnesses. When you are coloring eggs for AEser, only use eggs that have been refrigerated, and discard any cracked or dry eggs. To cook eggs, place a single layer in a cause pan and add cold water to cover the eggs by one inch. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, then remove the pan from the heat and cover it. Let the eggs stand for 18 minutes for extra large, 15 minute for large, ant 12 minutes for medium. Then drain the eggs and immediately run cold water over them. You … [Read more...]

Senator Murray Wants Answers on Alleged Food Safety Failures

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) wants answers on alleged FDA food safety failures after a report in Politico listed problems with that agency. Senator Murray is Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. A letter was sent to FDA Commissioner Robert M Califf, asking for answers and immediate action. The Politico report was based on more than 50 interviews with experts and former officials and found that the FDA is more focused on regulating and overseeing drugs and other medical products than food. For instance, FDA commissioners rarely have experience with food issues, but are usually medical doctors. The report lists deadly food poisoning outbreaks and the recalls associated with the contaminated foods, starkly outlining how long it can take to issue a recall … [Read more...]

USDA Tries to Facilitate Traceability During E. coli Outbreaks

The USDA tries to facilitate traceability during E. coli outbreaks by studying how the DNA of a specific population of this pathogen evolves within its natural environment, according to scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). The findings from scientists at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center at Clay Center, Nebraska is giving outbreak investigators information on specific elements of the pathogen's DNA that can narrow where to look for the outbreak source. Scientists analyzed samples collected from the USMARC closed cattle feedlot from 1997 to 2910 and then studied the genomes of different subtypes of E. coli O157:H7 that were found in these samples. Maggie Weinroth, a computational biologist with the Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit … [Read more...]

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