May 29, 2022

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...]

Toboton Creek Raw Whole Milk Recalled For Possible E. coli

Toboton Creek raw whole milk is being voluntarily recalled in Washington state for possible E. coli contamination. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with the consumption of this unpasteurized milk product. The dairy is located in Yelm, Washington. The recalled product is Toboton Creek raw whole milk with best by dates of "2/1" through "2/9" (February 1, 2022 through February 9, 2022). The milk was bottled in half gallon containers and was sold through retail stores in Yelm and Olympia, Washington and was also sold directly to consumers at the Toboton Creek Dairy farm. The recall was triggered after routine sampling conducted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) found the presence of toxin-producing E. coli bacteria in the dairy's retail raw … [Read more...]

Bacteria Killing Packaging Can Keep Food Fresh Longer

Bacteria killing packaging that can keep food fresh for a longer period of time has been developed at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the United States. The smart packaging is biodegradable, sustainable, and kills harmful pathogens. In tests, the packaging extended the shelf life of fresh fruit by two to three days. The packaging is made from a type of corn protein called zein, which was combined with starch and other naturally derived polymers. The scientists added natural antimicrobial compounds that included oil from thyme and citric acid. When the fibers in the packaging were exposed to an increase in humidity or to enzymes derived from pathogens, they released antimicrobial compounds. Those compounds … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Tests Frozen Produce For Pathogens

Consumer Reports tested 300 samples of frozen produce for pathogenic bacteria and found them to be free of pathogens. No harmful bacteria was found in the samples, according to their newly released report. But that's not the whole story. Consumer Reports researchers looked for E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella in eight frozen foods: berries, avocado, corn, mangoes, peaches, pineapple, spinach, and smoothie mixes. No bacteria that could make you sick were found in their samples. However, these findings do not meant that there is no risk from frozen produce. How these items are processed could have an effect on their safety. Most are blanched or steamed before they are frozen. Unfortunately, this does not mean these products are completely safe to eat without further … [Read more...]

Study Shows E. coli Toxin Accelerated Colon Cancer in Study Mice

A new study shows that an E. coli toxin accelerated colon cancer in study mice, raising the possibility that about two million new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed every year around the world could originate from food poisoning, even if the cases are brief and mild. The study was conducted at Johns Hopkins University/Bloomberg School of Public Health and published in the January 12, 2022 issue of the journal Cancer Discovery. Certain E. coli bacteria produce a toxin that can damage DNA in intestinal cells. The novel genotoxin is called UshA. The mice studied are genetically susceptible to developing colon cancer, called ApcMinΔ716/+  types. UshA triggers DNA damage and initiates tumor transformation during infections both in vitro and in vivo. This type of infection could … [Read more...]

What is Cross Contamination and How Can You Prevent It?

We talk a lot about cross-contamination here at Food Poisoning Bulletin. Cross-contamination is simply transfer of pathogens from one food to another, or to a surface. It is responsible for many cases of food poisoning caused by pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella every year in the United States. So what is cross contamination and how can you prevent it? There are many different types of cross-contamination. It can occur while harvesting food, processing it, during transportation, while shopping, in the kitchen, and during food service. We are mostly concerned with consumer behavior here. Direct cross-contamination occurs from food to food contact. Indirect cross-contamination occurs when bacteria are transferred from your hands or utensils from one food to another. To … [Read more...]

2021 Meat and Poultry Recalls Lower Than Average

In-depth analysis from Food Poisoning Bulletin In 2021, meat and poultry recalls rose from their all-time low in 2020 but were still well below recent averages, according to a review by Food Poisoning Bulletin. Prior to the pandemic, the four-year annual average was 128 recalls with an average of 26 recalls for bacterial contamination by one of the three major pathogens - E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria. In 2020, just 32 recalls were issued for meat and poultry and only one of them was for bacterial contamination. In 2021, there were a total of 47 meat and poultry recalls. Of those, 11 were for E. coli, Salmonella or Listeria. That’s a significant increase from 2020’s solitary E. coli recall, but it’s a 58 percent decline from the pre-pandemic four-year … [Read more...]

Schoonover Farms Raw Milk and Cream Recalled in WA For Possible E. coli

Schoonover Farms raw milk and cream are being recalled in Washington state for possible E. coli contamination, according to the Washington Department of Health. The dairy is located in Odessa, Washington. No illnesses have been reported to the company as of December 23, 2021 in connection with the consumption of these products. The products are retail raw whole milk and cream. The items have best by dates of December 23, 2021 through January 2, 2022. The milk and cream are packaged in 8-ounce, quart, half-gallon, and 1-gallon bottles. They are sold to local consumers in Odessa, and to Rosauers and Yoke's Fresh Market locations in Spokane, Washington. Retail raw milk is legal to sell and buy in Washington state, but risks to health are serious. A warning label is required on all … [Read more...]

Yearly Reminder: Don’t Eat Raw Cookie Dough or Cake Batter!

The holiday baking season has begun, and it's time for the yearly reminder: don't eat raw cookie dough or cake batter! There are two specific ingredients in those recipes that can make you very sick: raw flour and raw eggs. The only way to destroy those pathogens is with heat. Pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes are destroyed when they are heated to 160°F. While it may seem counterintuitive that a dry product such as flour can contain pathogens, flour is a raw agricultural product. It can be contaminated in the field, during harvest, or transport, or during processing just like leafy greens or other produce. There have been many recalls of flour for pathogen contamination, and several serious multistate outbreaks linked to that product. E. coli … [Read more...]

FDA Proposes Agricultural Water Safety Rule For Use on Produce

There have been multiple E. coli outbreaks linked to fresh produce, especially leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, in the past few years. In several of those outbreaks, agricultural water has been implicated as the source of that pathogen. So the FDA has proposed a new agricultural water safety rule for use on produce. The rule would require farms to conduct comprehensive assessments that will help them identify and mitigate hazards in water that is used to grow produce. This is the latest step in the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011. This proposed rule will replace some of the existing requirements for agricultural water in the Produce Safety Rule. Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response said in a statement, "There … [Read more...]

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