October 15, 2018

FDA Will Start Listing Retail Distribution Lists For Some Recalled Foods

According to FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA is going to disclose retailer distribution information for some types of food recalls. The USDA already provides this information. When a recall is initiated, the FDA works with companies to publicize information such as labeling, product descriptions, lot numbers, and UPC numbers, as well as photographs and some geographic info. Since supply chain information is confidential between the supplier and the retailer, the FDA has not traditionally released lists of stores where these products may have been sold. The agency also believed that, with the information they do release, consumers have enough information to either not purchase recalled foods, or to get rid of these foods when a recall is issued. But there are some … [Read more...]

FDA Sends Warning Letter to Rose Acre Farms Salmonella Outbreak

The FDA sent a warning letter to Rose Acre Farms about inspections conducted after a Salmonella Braenderup outbreak linked to their shell eggs sickened 45 people in 10 states this summer. FDA inspections at that facility found a rodent infestation, poor employee practices, and insanitary conditions. That letter, dated September 6, 2018, details information about the environmental samples taken from the shell egg processing plant. The inspections took place March 26, 2018 through April 11, 2018. Laboratory analyses of the environmental samples collected found Salmonella Braenderup in six swabs in the processing plant, and two from manure in the egg laying house. In addition, FDA inspectors found Salmonella Heidelberg in eleven samples in the processing plant, and one swab from … [Read more...]

FDA Head Describes New Method to Identify Cyclospora Outbreaks

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottleib is addressing how that agency is trying to prevent cyclospora outbreaks in the wake of two specific outbreaks this year that sickened more than 650 people in the U.S. In total, 2,173 cases of domestically acquired cyclosporiasis were reported this spring and summer. Gottlieb said that a new testing program found the parasite in American-grown cilantro this year. That's the first time the parasite was confirmed on domestically grown produce. A new FDA laboratory testing method then confirmed the presence of Cyclospora cayetanensis in salad mix distributed by Fresh Express and sold to consumers in McDonald's salads. The Foodborne Parasitology Research Program created a new, more sensitive method to identify the parasite called Real-Time Polymerase Chain … [Read more...]

New Warnings About Kratom With Unproven Medical Claims

The FDA has been warning consumers about dietary supplements containing kratom, a plant native to Southeast Asia, that contains opioids. The plant mitragyna speciosa contains substances that react in the body in a way similar to opioids. This compound is illegal and controlled in several other countries, including Denmark, Germany, and Australia. Several states and cities in the U.S. also ban it. The FDA states that "there have been no adequate and well-controlled scientific studies involving the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use withdrawal or other diseases in humans. Nor have there been studies on how this compound, when combined with other substances, may impact the body, its dangers, potential side effects, or interactions with other drugs." The FDA has sent warning … [Read more...]

FDA Tells Consumers to Avoid Point of Sale Liquid Nitrogen Products

The FDA has issued a safety alert about food items that are prepared by adding liquid nitrogen at the point of sale, right before someone eats or drinks it. These products can cause "severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidently ingested due to the extremely low temperatures it can maintain." These products are often marketed under the names "Dragon's Breath," "Heaven's Breath," or "nitro puff." Inhaling the vapor released by a food or beverage prepared in this way can cause difficulty in breathing, especially among people with asthma. While liquid nitrogen is itself non-toxic, it can damage skin and internal organs because it maintains extremely low temperatures. This safety alert advises consumers to avoid eating, drinking, or handling these foods and … [Read more...]

FDA Files Complaint Against Foo Yuan Food Products Company

The United States Department of Justice has filed a complaint against Foo Yuan Food Products Company on behalf of the FDA, to stop them from preparing and distributing adulterated seafood products in violation of federal law. The defendants prepare, pack, hold, and distributed refrigerated and frozen ready-to-eat fish balls, fried fish cakes, and fried fish balls. According to the complaint, which was fielding the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the company did not control the risk of Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation in these products. Those bacteria can cause serious and even deadly food poisoning. U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement, "When food processors ignore federal laws concerning the … [Read more...]

Consumers Union Concerned About Heavy Metals in Baby Food

Consumers Union, the organization behind Consumer Reports, is concerned about heavy metals content in toddler and baby foods. They are asking the FDA to take steps to protect children from these contaminants in their food supply. Heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead, and inorganic arsenic, can cause serious health problems in babies and toddles. The most serious issues are carcinogens, and cognitive and reproductive effects. Babies and young children can have lower IQ and behavior problems when they are exposed to heavy metals. Dr. James E Rogers, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports said in a statement, "Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable due to their smaller size and developing brains and organ systems. They also absorb more of the heavy … [Read more...]

Deadly Romaine Lettuce E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak May Be Linked to Cow Feces

The FDA just updated their investigation into the deadly Romaine lettuce E. coli O157:H7 outbreak this summer that sickened 210 people in 36 states and killed 5. Ninety-six people were hospitalized, including 27 who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. It seems that canal water in the Yuma Arizona growing region is close to a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). In other words, it's likely that cow feces contaminated with the pathogenic bacteria got into the canal water that irrigated the romaine lettuce fields in that area. CAFOs are huge cattle operations that can hold more than 100,000 head of cattle at any one time. There is a cluster of romaine lettuce farms nearby. The Environmental Assessment report the FDA is working on will be … [Read more...]

FDA Issues Public Health Alert About Salmonella in Whey Powder

Last week, there were four recalls of products for possible Salmonella contamination in the U.S. and two recalls in Canada. Those recalled products included types of Ritz Crackers, Swiss rolls, several varieties and flavors of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, and a Hungry Man frozen dinner. On August 1, 2018, the FDA issued a public health alert about possible Salmonella contamination of whey powder. The whey powder is produced by Associated Milk Producers of Minnesota. That facility voluntarily recalled its product, triggering the secondary recalls. No illnesses have been "confirmed," according to the FDA notice, but consumers should not eat any of the recalled foods. While these foods are baked or cooked before they are packaged, which reduces the risk of Salmonella … [Read more...]

FDA Confirms Cyclospora in Fresh Express Salads Sold to McDonald’s; Lawsuits Filed

The FDA has confirmed the presence of cyclospora in a salad mix produced by Fresh Express and sold to McDonald's. McDonald's salads are a possible source of a cyclospora outbreak that has sickened at least 286 people in 15 states and has hospitalized 11. The number of illnesses has not been updated in this most recent update. The analysis was completed in July 26, 2018 using a "new laboratory method." The FDA set up a multidisciplinary workgroup in 2015 to privatize the development, validation, and implementation of a method for detecting cyclospora in fresh produce. The Fresh Express salad mixes in question, containing romaine lettuce and carrots, expired on July 19, 2018. The romaine lettuce was not packaged for retail sale to consumers. And the carrots in the sampled salad mix … [Read more...]

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