June 5, 2020

What Is Happening to FDA and USDA Food Recalls?

If you have been a longtime reader of Food Poisoning Bulletin, you may have noticed that food recalls have decreased substantially in the past few months. The USDA has issued three recalls since January 24, 2020: One was issued on February 8, 2020, and two were issued on April 10, 2020. The FDA has had more recalls, with seven in the month of April 2020(including three recalls for enoki mushrooms as part of a Listeria Monocytogenes outbreak), but that is far below normal. What is happening to FDA and USDA food recalls? Food Poisoning Bulletin contacted the USDA about this. issue. This was their response: "To answer your question about recalls for products under FSIS’ regulatory jurisdiction, a recall is a firm’s voluntary removal of distributed meat, poultry, or egg products from … [Read more...]

FDA Releases More Info About Pandemic Food Shopping

The FDA releases more info about shopping for food during the coronavirus pandemic. Information about the virus keeps changing as scientists learn more about it. The first statement is, "We want to reassure consumers that there is currently no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This particular coronavirus causes respiratory illness and is spread from person-to-person, unlike foodborne gastrointestinal or GI viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food." FDA also says that although your local grocery store may be temporarily out of some products, there are no nationwide shortages of food since food production and manufacturing is spread … [Read more...]

FDA Warns Maker of Chlorine Dioxide Products Used for COVID-19

The FDA has issued a warning letter to Genesis II Church of Health and Healing that markets fraudulent and dangerous chlorine dioxide products for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. The company makes a product called "Miracle Mineral Solution." The FDA has warned consumers not to purchase or drink chlorine dioxide products that are sold as medical treatments online. There is no scientific evidence supporting this compound's safety or effectiveness. These products also pose significant risks to patient health. FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn said in a statement, "Despite previous warnings, the FDA is concerned that we are still seeing chlorine dioxide products being sold with misleading claims that they are safe and effective for the treatment of diseases, now including … [Read more...]

Fuji Foods Sushi Facility Receives FDA Warning Letter For Listeria

Fuji Foods sushi facility has received an FDA warning letter for Listeria contamination in their facility. That company, located at 121 Liberty Street in Brockton, Massachusetts, recalled ready-to-eat sushi, salads, and spring rolls under the brand names Trader Joes and Okami on November 27, 2019 for Listeria monocytogenes contamination. No illnesses were reported in connection with that recall. The warning letter states that environmental samples from different areas in the facility, including food-contact surfaces and areas near food, tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. The FDA also found serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation during the inspection. Because of the results of the inspection, the company's … [Read more...]

Gourmet Catering to Go Warning Letter Details Roaches, Rodents, and Mold

The FDA has sent the company Gourmet Catering to Go a warning letter detailing the violations of Good Manufacturing Practice after an inspection in September and October 2019. That facility is located at 801 Hanger Lane in Nashville, Tennessee. Inspectors found mold, rodent excreta pellets, and dead cockroaches at the facility. The company makes ready to eat meals and food for the airline industry. Based on the FDA's findings, the ready to eat products made in that facility are adulterated "because they were prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health." The FDA issued a Form-483 listing all of the deviations that were uncovered during the inspection. Gourmet … [Read more...]

FDA Releases 2020 Leafy Greens Action Plan After Romaine E. coli. Outbreaks

The FDA has released its 2020 Leafy Greens STEC Action Plan after the E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce in the past few years sickened hundreds. In fact, in 2019 alone, there were three E. coli O157:H7 romaine lettuce outbreaks that sickened more than 170 people and hospitalized more than 85 patients. Between 2009 and 2018, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 40 foodborne outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections in the U.S. with a confirmed or suspected link to leafy greens. This illness can cause serious and life-threatening complications, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. Part of the problem is the nature of leafy greens and especially romaine lettuce. Most are grown … [Read more...]

FDA Lists Jimmy John’s Sprout Outbreaks in Warning Letter

The FDA has finally sent a warning letter about Jimmy John's sprout outbreaks in the wake of the latest one: an E. coli O103 outbreak that has sickened at least 22 people in Iowa that is lined to raw clover sprouts produced by Sprouts Unlimited of Marion, Iowa. There are five food poisoning outbreaks linked to that restaurant chain that go back to 2012, and more earlier than that. These are the outbreaks listed in the FDA warning letter: The current E. coli O103 outbreak is linked to 15 Jimmy John's restaurants in Iowa. Clover sprouts from Sprouts Unlimited are the culprit. At least 22 people are sick. Illness onset dates range from November 21, 2019 to December 14m 2019. In 2018, at least 10 people were sickened with Salmonella Montevideo infections after eating raw sprouts … [Read more...]

FDA Addresses Issue of China Coronavirus and Imported Products

On our Facebook page recently, one person asked if anyone should be concerned about the safety of products arriving from China as the coronavirus outbreak continues. The virus has been named COVID-19, as it is a virus causing coronavirus disease that was first identified in 2019. Is there a danger regarding coronavirus and imported products? The FDA is working to surveil the medical product supply chain and is using enforcement tools to oversee the safety and quality of FDA-regulated products. The FDA isn't able to conduct inspections in China now, as the U.S. State Department's Travel Advisory is not to travel to China because of the outbreak. Here's the takeaway line: "Fortunately, currently, we are not seeing the impacts of this outbreak resulting in an increased public health … [Read more...]

Supermarkets Are Failing To Post Food Recalls, Says U.S. PIRG

A new report by the U.S. PIRG (public interest research groups) has found that most supermarkets are failing to post food recalls and don't make it easy for consumers to find out about recalled products. The report is titled, "Food Recall Failure: Will your supermarket warn you about hazardous food?" It gave a failing grade to 84% of the nation's 26 largest supermarket chains. Some of the chains that received a failing grade include Aldi, Publix, Whole Foods, Safeway, Albertsons, HEB, Meijer, Stop & Shop, Trader Joe's, Food Lion, and Walmart. Those supermarkets are failing to post food recalls. U.S. PIRG Education Fund Consumer Watchdog Adam Garber said in a statement, "Supermarkets should be our best recall notification system, but instead, we found that shoppers must go on … [Read more...]

FDA Alerts Consumers to Dangers of Cesium Salts in Supplements

The FDA Is issuing a public health alert about dietary supplements that contain cesium salts, primarily cesium chloride. This ingredient has significant safety risks, including heart toxicity and potential death. The FDA is also alerting health care professionals about the risks of cesium salts, which are sometimes promoted as alternative treatments for cancer. Cesium salts have never been proven to be safe and effective to treat cancer or for any other use. While only a few dietary supplements on the market contain this ingredient, consumers should not purchase those products. According to the alert, there have been"multiple clinical case reports and non-clinical studies show significant safety concerns related to the use of such products, including potentially fatal cardiac … [Read more...]

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