August 25, 2019

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...]

Salmonella Carrau Melon Outbreak: How To Prepare Safe Melons

Ever since the huge and deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that was linked to whole melons produced by Jensen Farms in Colorado, I have been wary of cantaloupes, honeydew, and watermelon. While I did sometimes purchase precut melons, that ended when a Salmonella outbreak linked to precut melons sickened dozens in 2018. The current Salmonella Carrau melon outbreak has increased my resolve. How do you prepare safe melons in this day and age? The problem with this fruit is that the surface of melons is the perfect space for bacteria to grab onto and hold on. Melons, especially cantaloupe, have deep crenelations and a webbed, rough surface. Bacteria love to hide in those nooks and crannies. Even worse, some pathogens can produce a biofilm that covers bacterial colonies, protecting … [Read more...]

FDA Warns Homeopathic Drug Producers For Violations of CGMP

The FDA has sent warning letters to four homeopathic drug producers for "significant violations of current food manufacturing practice (CGMP) regulations." These products are labeled as homeopathic and marketed without FDA approval. The homeopathic industry has grown tremendously in the past several years. The government acknowledges the need to address situations where these products are marketed for serious diseases and the product has not been shown to offer clinical benefits. Products labeled as homeopathic have not been approved by the FDA for any use and may even not meet standards for quality and safety, according to the FDA. These products may be made from plants, healthy or diseased animal or human sources, minerals, and chemicals. They are marketed as natural, safe, and … [Read more...]

Did the Last Thing You Ate Give You Food Poisoning?

Whenever anyone gets sick with a foodborne illness, the question is what food made them sick. Did the last thing you ate give you food poisoning? The answer, surprisingly, is probably not. Bacteria that cause food poisoning have incubation periods. During that time, the bacteria grows and some produce toxins and your immune system starts to respond. The response is what causes the symptoms. It can take some time for the symptoms of food poisoning to develop, depending on the pathogen. These incubation times are one reason why tracking the source of a food poisoning outbreak can be so difficult. First, investigators must interview patients and ask them what they ate in the past week. And second, it's difficult for patients to remember what they ate in the past week. These are … [Read more...]

Mexican Papayas Still on Import Alert For Salmonella Contamination

Mexican papayas are still on the FDA Import Alert list for possible Salmonella contamination, after a 2017 outbreak that sickened at least 251 people across the country with nine strains of the pathogen, including Thompson, Kiambu, Anatum, Agona, Gaminara, Urbana, Newport, Infantis, and Senftenberg. That outbreak began in March 2017 and ran through October 2017. Another Salmonella outbreak, that time Salmonella Agona, linked to Mexican papayas sickened more than 100 people in many states. Mexico produces 11% of the world's production of papayas, but about 65% of all of the papayas imported into the U.S. are from Mexico. The fruit is imported from the Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, Chiapas, and Veracruz. The FDA document state that "Evidence shows there is widespread … [Read more...]

What Are the Long Term Consequences of Food Poisoning?

Since 48,000,000 Americans are sickened with food poisoning every year, it's a safe bet to say that every American has had food poisoning at least once during their life. We are all aware of the symptoms of these illnesses, from E. coli O157:H7 to Salmonella to Listeria monocytogenes. But when you recover, should you still be concerned? Yes. All of these illnesses can lead to long term consequences. And each pathogen has its own set of health issues that can arise weeks, months, or years after recovery. That's why it's a good idea to have these illnesses recorded on your medical chart. E. coli O157:H7 This pathogen can cause the most serious illness. If a person contracts this infection, they may develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. Shiga … [Read more...]

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