September 24, 2017

Why is a Product Recalled?

We tell you about food recalls every day. All foods in this country are regulated by the FDA and the USDA. Manufacturers must follow guidelines for production, label the food correctly, and make sure it won't make people sick. But when a problem occurs, a recall may be issued. And if a recalled product is an ingredient in other products, secondary recalls are issued. When a product is defective or harmful, removing it from the marketplace is the most effective way to protect consumers. Recalls are almost always voluntary. A company could discover a problem and recall a product on their own, or they could recall it after the FDA raises concerns. The FDA can also request a recall. The government oversees the recall strategy and assesses its adequacy. Food products may be recalled … [Read more...]

The FDA Weighs In on The Deadly Papaya Salmonella Outbreak

The FDA has updated its information on the deadly Salmonella outbreak linked to imported Maradol papayas. Increased testing by the FDA has found papayas from two farms positive for Salmonella strains that matched illnesses not related to the initial outbreak. So the FDA is telling consumers not to eat Maradol papayas from these farms in Mexico: Carica de Campeche in Tenabo, Campeche, Mexico; Caraveo Produce in Tecomán, Colima, Mexico; and El Zapotanito in La Huerta, Jalisco, Mexico. No papayas are currently on the market from these farms because their shelf life has passed, but the agency is continuing traceback and trace forward activities. Other importers may have sourced papayas from those farms. Three brand of Maradol papayas have been recalled:  Caribeña brand, distributed … [Read more...]

The Smokehouse of NY Closed By Permanent Injunction

The Smokehouse of NY, LLC entered a consent decree of permanent injunction on June 29, 2017, after a federal judge ordered them to stop selling their products until it can comply with food safety regulations. According to the FDA, the facility was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs said in a statement, "The Smokehouse of NY had several opportunities to come into compliance with the law. Through the use of modern technology, the FDA was able to establish that the company has resident strains of L. mono in its facility that it has consistently failed to eradicate. Conditions like these are unacceptable and the FDA took action to protect Americans." The complaint listed a long history of recurring … [Read more...]

Food Safety for Older Adults

The FDA has released information about food safety for older adults. Anyone who is over the age of 65 needs to be very vigilant about food safety. Many of those who become seriously ill and even die from food poisoning are elderly. The bodies of older adults do not work as well as they did decades ago. The stomach and intestinal tract hold onto food for longer periods of time, the senses of smell and taste are altered, and the liver and kidney's don't work as well to get rid of toxins. And by the age of 65, many people have been diagnosed with a serious illness. That is a double whammy, since people with chronic health problems are also at higher risk for serious complications from food poisoning. After the age of 75, many people also have reduced immune system responses. That … [Read more...]

FDA Offers Tips on Barbecue Food Safety

With the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaching, the FDA is offering tips for preventing foodborne illness at your backyard barbecue. Since bacteria in food multiply faster at temps between 40°F and 140°F, summer heat makes food safety implementation important. First, wash your hands well with soap and water before preparing, serving, and eating food. You should wash them for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom. If you are at a park or picnic area where there is no bathroom, use a water jug, some soap, and paper towels. Moist towelettes are better than nothing, but soap and water is best. Always keep raw food separated from cooked food. Cross-contamination is a major cause of food poisoning. Don't use a plate that held raw meat, poultry, eggs, or seafood … [Read more...]

U.S. Marshals Seize Food from Professional Warehouse and Distribution in MN

The U.S. FDA has announced that on June 15, 2017, U.S. Marshals seized food held at Professional Warehouse and Distribution in St. Paul, Minnesota. Those products are worth about $73,000 and include barley flour, spices, pasta, dried beans, tea, and cookies. A complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota alleged the foods are adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The storage conditions inside the warehouse were "simply unacceptable," according to the FDA. Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA's Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs said, "The FDA plays a key role protecting public health and ensuring not only that food is properly manufactured and labeled, but that it is handled and stored … [Read more...]

Consumer Groups Protest FDA’s Perchlorate Decision

The consumer groups Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, and others sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Gottlieb this week, objecting to the FDA's denial of a petition to remove perchlorate from food packaging. The denial was issued on May 4, 2017. Those groups claim that the FDA ignored evidenced that shows the compound disrupts brain development in infants and children. The FDA was sued by those groups to force them to act on the petition in April of 2016. Perchlorate is used in herbicides, explosives, and rocket fuel. Those groups say that the FDA's own data shows that the chemical migrates from packaging into food. Perchlorate is added to packaging to reduce the buildup of static. The letter states that "The serious flaws in the agency’s legal and … [Read more...]

FDA Releases List of Facilities that Served Hepatitis A Positive Tuna

The FDA has released a list of facilities that served frozen raw ahi tuna cubes that were recalled for possible hepatitis A contamination. In their investigation report they have added a table that includes the names and addresses of the 31 restaurants and stores that sold the product in California, Texas, and Oklahoma. This product was recalled twice. The first recall was in Hawaii only. The product is imported raw frozen ahi tuna cubes sourced from PT Deho Canning Co. in Indonesia, sold under Tropic Fish with lot codes 609149 and 609187. The current recall, which was issued on May 18, 2017 [editor's note: we cannot find this recall on any FDA page], is for frozen yellowfin tuna steaks from Sustainable Seafood Company and yellowfin tuna cubes from Santa Cruz Seafood. This recall by … [Read more...]

FDA Has Tips for Eating Outdoors and Handling Food Safely

This is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial beginning of the summer season. Many people will be barbecuing and having picnics outdoors. These events are opportunities for foodborne illness, especially since the warmer weather months can increase the chance of food poisoning. So the FDA is offering tips for eating outdoors and handling food safely. First, pack and transport the food safely. When perishable foods aren't in the refrigerator, they are at greater risk for bacterial contamination. Cold food should be kept cold. Use a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs and make sure that the temperature in the cooler is at 40*F or below to prevent bacterial growth. You can pack meat, poultry, and seafood while still frozen so they stay colder longer. Organize the cooler contents. Put … [Read more...]

Banzai Sushi Receives FDA Warning Letter

The FDA has sent a warning letter to Northwest Frozen LLC, doing business as Banzai Sushi, in Seattle, Washington. That seafood processing facility has serious violations of seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations and Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for food. The facility must conduct or have conducted a hazard analysis for each kind of fish and fishery product produced. And an HACCP plan that lists the food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur. The firm's HACCP plan for "Frozen IQF Sushi Pieces" does not list the following food safety hazards: Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation; pathogenic bacteria growth and toxin formation; and undeclared allergens. The letter states that intact vacuum-packaged seafood … [Read more...]

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