December 15, 2017

FDA Not Keeping Up with FSMA Foreign Inspection Law

A report released last week by the Government Accountability Office says that the FDA has to do more about inspecting food facilities in countries that export that food to the United States. The GAO studied the FDA's foreign offices in 2010 and found that they have a too heavy workload. A follow-up report found that the FDA is not inspecting enough facilities as mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. The FDA is supposed to inspect 600 foreign food facilities in the first year after FSMA was signed into law and, for each of the next five years, inspect at least twice the number of firms inspected the previous year. According to those calculations, the government should have inspected 4,800 facilities last year, but only conducted 1,323 inspections. The report states, … [Read more...]

Imported Pork Products Recalled for Lack of Inspection

ESS Food, in Denmark, is recalling 50,904 pounds of pork belly produced in Poland that was not presented at the port of entry for inspection. Without the benefit of full inspection, a possibility of adverse health consequences exists. No illnesses have been reported to date. The recalled product is 40 pound boxes containing 4 - 5 pieces of "Pini Polana Pork Belly Boneless." It was produced on various dates from March 3, 2014 to April 11, 2014. The products have the establishment number "10023802" inside the Polish mark of inspection. They were shipped to a distributor in Texas and a processing facility in Iowa. The problem was discovered during routine surveillance of storage facilities. An FSIS inspector observed that the products did not have USDA import inspection marks. … [Read more...]

Canada Confirms New Case of Mad Cow

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed its first case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a beef cow since 2011 and the fourteenth case since 2005. The government says that no part of the animal's carcass entered the human or animal food systems. These cases, in addition to the consumers' right to know, are one reason consumer's advocates want to see country of origin labels (COOL) on imported meats. The beef cow was from Alberta, Canada. BSE is a progressive, fatal disease with no cure. It is caused by proteins called prions that are not destroyed by cooking. The prions are also very resistant to UV radiation, disinfectants, and ionizing radiation, but can be destroyed by a combination of those treatments and time. The disease has a … [Read more...]

Omnibus Funding Bill Bans Chinese Chicken from School Lunches

The DeLauro-Pingree Amendment in the Omnibus spending bill that was just passed by Congress bans purchase of chicken raised in the United States and processed in China for school lunches. The bill was passed by the House last Thursday and the Senate on Saturday. Representative Rosa DeLauro said in a statement, "banning Chinese chicken from school meals is a common-sense step to protect our kids. China's food safety record is atrocious, yet last year USDA deemed poultry processed in China to be as safe as poultry processed here. Children are among the most susceptible to foodborne illness. We cannot take unnecessary risks with our health." Representative Pingree said, "Chinese chicken does not belong in school lunches. China has such serious food safety problems that even Chinese … [Read more...]

Lamb Products from Iceland Recalled for No Import Inspection

E&B's Natural Way of Maryland is recalling 27,948 pounds of raw lamb products because they were not presented at the U.S. border for USDA-FSIS import inspection. Without the benefit of full inspection, a possibility of "adverse health consequences" exists, according to the USDA. No reports of adverse reactions have been received to date. The recalled products were packaged on October 21, 2013, and September 2, 20, 21, and 22, 2014. They are: Lamb Packs, Lamb Bone-In Legs, Lamb Boneless Legs, Lamb Saddles, Lamb Racks, Lamb Loins, Lamb Shoulders, Lamb Shanks, Lamb Trim, and Lamb for Stew. The products have the establishment number "IS A022 EFTA" and include a label indicated "Product of Iceland." They were shipped to retail establishments in Washington and Oregon where they would have … [Read more...]

Advocates Want OMB To Finalize Catfish Inspection Rule

Food & Water Watch along with other organizations such as Consumer Federation of America and Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention called on the Office of Management and Budget to finalize an inspection program for domestic and imported catfish. The USDA drafted a final rule on this matter back in 2008 but nothing has happened since then. The FDA currently regulates catfish. Domestic processors are currently inspected just once every 5 to 10 years; only 2% of imported catfish is inspected. In 2013, Americans consumed more than 305 million pounds of catfish; about 78% of this is imported, with 95% of imported products coming from Vietnam. That country uses many animal drugs in aquaculture that are not approved in the U.S.; 32 drugs have been approved for use in … [Read more...]

Giant African Land Snails Seized at L.A. Airport

Public health officials have seized 67 giant African land snails at the L.A. airport on July 1, 2014, because they are prohibited in this country. The animals are considered a delicacy in some countries, especially Nigeria, where they are used to make stews. The snails can carry parasites that cause meningitis. These animals are a threat to public health, agriculture, and the economy. Paperwork that was packed with the snails stated they were for human consumption. This particular species is an agricultural pest. Maveeda Mirza, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture program manager said, "these snails are seriously harmful to local plants because they will eat any kind of crop they can get to." These snails have been smuggled into the country before, but only a few at a … [Read more...]

Cobblestone Farms Baby Back Ribs Recalled

Cobblestone Farms Baby Back Ribs, which were produced in Canada, are being recalled because they were not presented at the border for inspection. Skilcor Food Products in Brampton, Ontario, is recalling approximately 36 pounds of the fully cooked pork baby back ribs in honey garlic barbeque sauce which were distributed to Shop Rite stores in Brooklyn. The recalled products was sold in 1.5 pound packages labeled  “Cobblestone Farms Fully Cooked Pork Baby Back Ribs in Honey Garlic Barbeque Sauce”  with the package code “Sell By 2015-AL-08” and case code “15201” The Canadian mark of inspection with establishment number “624” also appears on the product. There have been no reports of illness. But consumers who have purchased this product should not eat it. Anyone with concerns about an … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak from Imported Cucumbers Sickened 84

A Salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers imported from Mexico that sickened 84 people in 2013 ended one year ago. The outbreak, which began in January 2013 and ended in April 2013 sickened 84 people in 18 states. Seventeen people were hospitalized. Although about 1.3 million Americans contract Salmonella infections every year, the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul was one rarely seen in the U.S. with less than five cases reported annually. Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, which include fever, diarrhea, and vomiting can last up to 10 days. But long-term health problems, such as reactive arthritis, inflammation of the heart, spine, tendons and eye membranes can also stem from these infections. Public health investigators, who used pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to … [Read more...]

USDA Relaxes Regulations for Mad Cow Beef Imports

Last week, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced its intention to publish a rule that would allow some beef to be imported from countries that have experienced cases of mad cow disease. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a progressive neurological disorder that is caused by eating a prion protein from infected beef. The prion is not destroyed by cooking. The agency says this is a "modernization" of import regulations. Food & Water Watch released a statement about this decision. Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of that agency, said, "This seems to be another case of trade trumping food safety. This development comes as the reopening of beef trade with Europe has been an issue under discussion in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment … [Read more...]

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