September 26, 2016

Warning in Canada for Iron Cross Blister Beetles in Salads

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating the presence of Iron Cross Blister Beetles in imported leafy vegetables. Consumer complaints have alerted the agency to this issue. No illnesses or injuries have been reported at this time. The Iron Cross Blister beetle releases a chemical called "cantharidin" that can cause blisters on the skin. It has a bright red head and bright yellow markings on the wings, separated by a glass cross. This beetle should be treated with caution. Public health officials are waring consumers to wash and carefully look over their leafy vegetables throughly before serving and eating them. The beetle should be removed without touching it or crushing it. If you do find one, contact your local CFIA office. The beetle was found in pre-packaged salads … [Read more...]

Beware the Common House Fly

As anyone who has ever eaten outdoors knows, house flies are very annoying and can ruin a picnic. We've developed methods for controlling them that range from bug zappers to screen shields that cover food. But now there's even more reason for concern. A new study conducted at Kansas State University and published  in Applied and Environmental Microbiology has found that flies may be transferring antibiotic resistant bacteria from farms to people. This troubling finding turns flies from a nuisance into a health threat. Since we know farm animals carry antibiotic resistant bacteria, primarily because they are fed sub therapeutic doses of antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention, it makes sense that insects could transfer those pathogens to people. And it turns out that … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Risk Profile on Pathogens and Filth in Spices

Over the years, there have been recalls for pathogens and filth in spices. The USDA recently completed a report about the risk of Salmonella in imported spices. In that report, scientists found that about 14% of spices from Mexico were contaminated. The FDA has now released a draft profile on the risk of contamination in spices and the steps it plans to take to improve safety. Pathogens found in spices range from Salmonella, Bacillus, Clostridium perfringens, Cronobacter, Shigella, and Staphylococcus aureus. Filth adulterants include insects, excrement, hair, and other materials such as decomposed parts, wood slivers, twigs, staples, stones, plastic, and rubber bands. During the time period of 1973 - 2010, fourteen illness outbreak were attributed to the consumption of … [Read more...]

Starbucks to Phase out Cochineal Extract

Starbucks announced on April 19, 2012 that they are going to phase out the use of "natural cochineal extract" in their products. That is a colorant made from ground up insects. It's used in Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino®, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Raspberry Swirl Cake, Birthday Cake Pop, Mini Donut with pink icing, and Red Velvet Whoopie Pie. The company is going to use lycopene, the nutrient that makes tomatoes red, in their beverages, and will use another as yet unspecified ingredient in the baked products. Food Poisoning Bulletin talked to Dr. Ted Labuza of the Food Science and Nutrition Department at the University of Minnesota about this issue. He said, "the pigment is extracted from the insect's exoskeleton. It's used in food products because it’s a water-stable red. … [Read more...]

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