October 20, 2019

Owner of New England Meat Packing Admits Fabricating E. coli Results

According to the Justice Department, Memet Beqiri, also known as Matt Beqiri, pleaded guilty today in a Hartford federal court to falsifying E. coli test results for his business, New England Meat Packing, LLC. That company is located in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Mr. Beqiri waived his right to be indicted. According to the USDA's approved Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan for New England Meat Packing, the company must perform one generic E. coli carcass test for every 300 animals slaughtered. They must also periodically collect ground beef samples for E. coli testing. Between November 3, 2016 and September 9, 2017, Beqiri authorized the preparation and submission in the company's Lab Sample Report binder 36 documents relating to 52 separate carcass … [Read more...]

FDA Warns Against Miracle or Master Mineral Solution; Illnesses Reported

The FDA has issued a warning to consumers to avoid Miracle or Master Mineral Solution, since they have received many reports that these products have made consumers sick. The government first warned consumers about these products in 2010, but they are still being promoted on social media and sold online by independent outlets. These products are marketed under various names, including Miracle or Master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, MMS, Chlorine Dioxide (CD) Protocol, and Water Purification Solution (WPS). When these products are mixed according to package directions, they become a chemical that is used as bleach. In addition, some of the distributors are making false and dangerous claims that Miracle Mineral Supplement, when mixed with citric acid, acts as an … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Finds Listeria in Some Brands of Leafy Greens

Consumer Reports finds Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in both bulk and bagged prewashed lettuce. This disturbing discovery highlights the fact that leafy greens have been the source of many serious multistate food poisoning outbreaks in the last few years. Researchers at the company purchased 284 samples of fresh greens at several grocery store chains, including Hannaford, Whole Foods, and Costco. The samples included lettuce, spinach, and kale. The company found six leafy greens samples that were tainted with Listeria monocytogenes. Two  specific products that tested positive for the pathogen were packaged, prewashed greens made of spinach, and an organic spinach-spring mix. The remaining four products were loose heads or bunches of green kale, green leaf lettuce, spinach, and … [Read more...]

FDA Suspends Topway/Kazy’s Gourmet Food Facility Registration

Last week Food Poisoning Bulletin told you about the FDA warning retailers in Texas and Louisiana to stop selling Topway/Kazy's Gourmet salmon and tuna for sushi for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. On July 22, 2019, the FA suspended the food facility registration of the company, after seizure sanitation issues were found at that venue. Inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in that facility. Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response said in a statement "The FDA and the Texas DSHS have documented a pattern of food safety violations at the Topway facility as well as an unwillingness and disregard by the company to cease operations and correct severe violations at their facility. Topway’s unsafe practices not only violated the law, but … [Read more...]

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...]

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