September 26, 2016

USDA FSIS Breaks Down 16 Years of Salmonella in 123-Page Report

Of the meat and poultry inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, Salmonella most commonly appears in chicken, ground beef and turkey. In that order. And Salmonella Kentucky is the most common strain of Salmonella. These are among the many findings in a 123-page report the agency compiled examining 16 years of Salmonella data. The report, entitled Serotypes Profile of Salmonella Isolates from Meat and Poultry Products January 1998 through December 2014, was published on the agency's website Friday. In the U.S., norovirus causes the most food poisoning, but Salmonella is the leading cause of bacterial food poisoning. Each year, Salmonella sickens about 1.2 million Americans. Of those about 19,000 are hospitalized and 380 die. In 2014, … [Read more...]

Gillibrand, Slaughter, DeLauro, Feinstein to USDA: Revise Pathogen Testing

The USDA must revise poultry pathogen testing methods to improve accuracy and better protect public health, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Dianne Feinstein and Representatives Rosa Luisa DeLauro and Louise Slaughter said in a letter to USDA Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack. The group penned the letter after learning from a recent report that antibacterial sanitizers used to kill pathogens on poultry carcasses may cause false-negative results for Salmonella. “We have to be vigilant when it comes to monitoring the safety of our food. This report is a reminder of the importance of good and efficient oversight when it comes to maintaining a safe food supply.” said Sen. Gillibrand, (D- NY). “We should never be placed in the position to question testing results in our poultry. The USDA … [Read more...]

DeLauro and Slaughter Criticize USDA Salmonella Standards

Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) have released a statement on the USDA's finalization of new federal standards to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in ground chicken and turkey products, as well as raw chicken breasts, legs, and wings. They are critical of the standards since they do not declare Salmonella as an adulterant. The statement from Congresswoman DeLauro reads, in part, "while the new federal standards announced by the USDA are progress in fighting foodborne illness, implementing these standards alone is not enough to keep American consumers safe. The USDA should immediately declare Salmonella as an adulterant as part of their work to protect consumers and reduce public health threats." Congresswoman Slaughter said in a statement, "the USDA … [Read more...]

Salmonella Caused Most Outbreak Hospitalizations in 2013, Thanks To Foster Farms

Salmonella poisoning was the source of most outbreak-associated hospitalizations in 2013, thanks in large part to the virulent strains of Salmonella Heidelberg linked to the Foster Farms outbreak. That finding is part of a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about food poisoning outbreaks in 2013. In 2013, 818 food poisoning outbreaks were reported, with 13,360 illnesses, 1,062 hospitalizations and 16 deaths. Outbreak-associated hospitalizations caused by Salmonella increased 38 percent from 454 in 2012 to 628 in 2013. The pathogen/food pair with the most hospitalizations was Salmonella/chicken. That was the same year Foster Farms was linked to a 29-state Salmonella outbreak that sickened 634 people with especially virulent Salmonella. More than 250 of … [Read more...]

Foster Farms Turkey Farm Has Bird Flu Outbreak

A Foster Farms turkey farm in California has been quarantined after the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu (bird flu) was discovered. The flu has been found in flocks in the Pacific Northwest. There was a spike in bird deaths at the Foster Farms facility. Foster Farms made news last year when their product was linked to a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections. In that outbreak, 634 people in 29 states were sickened. Almost 40% of patients were hospitalized, a rate much higher than usual in Salmonella outbreaks, because the seven outbreak strains of Salmonella were so resistant to antibiotics. The birds did not enter into commerce and the USDA says there is no risk to the general public. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the … [Read more...]

Foster Farms Recalls Frozen Chicken Strips for Listeria

Foster Farms is recalling approximately 39,747 pounds of frozen, pre-cooked chicken strips for possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The frozen Chicken Breast Grilled Strips product was produced August 5, 2014, and then shipped to retail warehouse locations in California, Texas, Utah, and Washington. The recalled product, Chicken Breast Grilled Strips, was sold in 3.5-lb. plastic resealable bags in freezer areas.  The affected product has the establishment number P-33901 and the "Best By" date of 08-05-15. The problem was discovered during a routine inspection. Some of the product was set aside and held, but some was inadvertently shipped.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) and Foster Farms have not received reports of … [Read more...]

FOIA Request Reveals Food Safety Violations at Foster Farms

A consumer advocacy group has made public 300 pages of USDA food safety violations at Foster Farms during the time the company was linked to a Salmonella outbreak that sickened 634 people. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) obtained the reports through a Freedom of Information Act request. Among the findings in the heavily redacted reports were: fecal material, metal fragments and unidentified foreign matter on chicken carcasses and, in the plants, mold, cockroaches and pooling water due to a floor drain clogged with chicken skin. Most surprising, according to Jonathan Kaplan, director of NRDC’s food and agriculture program, was that violations continued after October 7, 2013, when USDA issued a Public Health Alert about Salmonella on the company's chicken and threatened … [Read more...]

Costco Recalls Foster Farms Salmonella Chicken

Costco is reminding consumers that fresh chicken products sold under the Foster Farms and Kirkland brand produced in March are being recalled for Salmonella contamination. The products are linked to a huge nationwide outbreak that has been ongoing since March 2013. The recalled items have "use or freeze by" dates ranging from March 17, 2014 to March 31, 2014. The identifying plant marks on the recalled products are P-6137, P-6137A or P-7632 that should be inside the USDA mark of inspection. If you have these products in your freezer, discard immediately or return to the place of purchase for a refund. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling these products.   … [Read more...]

Study Identifies Risky Home Food Safety Practices

A new study at UC-Davis has identified many risky practices of consumers in their homes. The study looked at the preparation of raw poultry. The two most common mistakes were cross contamination and insufficient cooking. Christine Bruhn, director of the Center for consumer research at the university, who authored the study said in a statement, "the most surprising aspect of these findings to me was the prevalence of undercooking. We are now in summer, the peak season for foodborne illness, and these results come at a time when more consumers can benefit from being aware of better food safety practices." Those good practices include always washing hands with soap and water before cooking and after handling raw meat, poultry and eggs, never rinsing poultry in the sink, and always using … [Read more...]

Salmonella Illness Prompts Foster Farms Recall of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

A Salmonella illness has prompted a Foster Farms recall of boneless, skinless chicken breast produced in March. The limited recall, which now only applies to products consumers may have frozen, is the only recall the company has issued in the 10 months since it was first linked to a Salmonella outbreak that had sickened at least 574 people in 27 states by the end of May. It was issued at the request of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA's FSIS) "because this product is known to be associated with a specific illness," according to the announcement. On the packaging of recalled products, the establishment number “P6137,” P6137A” or “P7632” appears inside the USDA mark of inspection. The recalled boneless, skinless chicken products, produced March … [Read more...]

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