March 29, 2020

History of Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreaks Linked to Meat and Cheese

The deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to deli sliced meats and cheeses has sickened 8 people in 8 states. One person who lived in Michigan has died. All eight patients were hospitalized. These outbreaks are tragic. What is the history of Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks linked to meats and cheeses? In the current outbreak, patients purchased deli sliced meats and cheeses in unnamed stores. The CDC outbreak notice did state that investigators found the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes in samples from meat sliced at "a deli" and from deli counters in multiple retail locations in New York and Rhode Island. Patients sickened in this outbreak live in Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. This outbreak demonstrates why public health officials tell those … [Read more...]

Use High Heat to Cook Meat? Rethink That Technique

A new study published in the journal Cancer has found that cooking beef at high temperatures may lead to an increased risk of developing kidney cancer. Carcinogenic compounds are created in the meat when grilled, barbecued, and pan-fried. The study was conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Renal cell carcinoma affects 60,000 new patients every year. About 14,000 people die of this illness every year in the Untied States. The incidence of this type of cancer has been increasing for decades. Dr. Stephanie Melkonian, Epidemiology postdoctoral fellow and lead author of the study said, "this study encourages us to look not only at what foods we're eating, but also how we're preparing those foods." When you cook meat with high temperature, causing charring on the … [Read more...]

Study Links Meat to Klebsiella Pathogen

A study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases links the Klebsiella pneumoniae pathogen to retail meat products for the first time. This bacteria can cause pneumonia when inhaled, and can cause urinary tract infections and infections in the lower biliary trace and in wounds. In the 2012 study, turkey, chicken, and pork meats were sampled from nine major grocery stores in Flagstaff, Arizona where clinical samples from sick people were screened for this bacteria. Ten percent of the 1,728 positive human samples and 47% of the 508 retail meat samples yielded the bacteria. Many of the strains were resistant to antibiotics. Whole genome sequencing found that the Klebsiella isolated from the meat products and the Klebsiella isolated from patients were nearly identical. In other words, … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Offers Holiday Food Safety Advice

Consumer Reports is offering food safety advice when you're cooking some type of meat for the holidays. Ham, beef and pork roasts, turkey, and duck are usually only prepared once or twice a year, so most cooks are unfamiliar with the food safety risks posed by these foods. When buying meats from a stand-alone refrigerator case, don't take the package on top. And if the packages extend above the top of the case, there's a very good chance that meat has entered the temperature danger zone above 40 degrees F. Francis Largeman-Roth, R.D., said, "those cases only keep things truly cold as far as the walls of the case go up." Store these large cuts of meat properly. A fresh turkey should be stored in the refrigerator for only one or two days.  Pork and beef roasts can be in the fridge for … [Read more...]

Gillibrand Introduces Meat and Poultry Safety Bill

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has introduced the Safe Meat and Poultry Act which aims to strengthen the country’s meat and poultry inspection system and reduce the number of foodborne illness outbreaks. Gillibrand, who is chairwoman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security, said the financial and public health toll these outbreaks have has been exacerbated by the fact that food safety legislation affecting the U.S. Department of Agriculture has not been upgraded in more than a century. One in six Americans are sickened by food poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The public health and economic cost of these illnesses is over $14 billion each year, according to the … [Read more...]

Should You Wash Your Food?

The USDA has put out a food info sheet about safe food handling and washing food. Does this practice promote food safety? Since we're told to wash our hands before preparing food, and utensils and pots and pans, it seems logical that washing food makes it safer to eat. Unfortunately, that's not true. Washing raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or veal before cooking it isn't recommended. The bacteria on these foods can aerosolize under the water, spreading three feet in all directions from your sink. That means it can get on your face and lips. Lick your lips once, and you may ingest pathogenic bacteria. In addition, some bacteria are tightly attached to the meat, so you can't remove them by washing. Cooking to a safe internal temperature is the only way to kill these bacteria. Brining … [Read more...]

Central Valley Meat Is Back On Lunch Trays

Central Valley Meat, which was ordered to suspend operations for one week in August after a video showing animal cruelty at its slaughterhouse went viral, has been re-approved for participation in the school lunch program. While experts agree that there was animal cruelty at the slaughterhouse, inspectors from the U.S. Agriculture Department's (USDA's)  Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) concluded that no food safety violations occurred. Central Valley was quietly readmitted to the school lunch program at the end of August. In the memo, FSIS also states that it  "concluded its evaluation of the extensive corrective action plan submitted by Central Valley Meat Company to correct recent humane handling violations and has permitted Central Valley Meat to resume processing. As a … [Read more...]

Nebraska Company That Sold Non-inspected Meat To School System Indicted

The owners of  a Nebraska meat company have been charged in a six-count indictment for selling meat that was not inspected or misbranded to the Omaha public school system. Paul Rosberg, age 61, and Kelly Rosberg, age 44, both of Wausa, Nebraska, who own Nebraska’s Finest Meats, L.L.C., were indicted by a grand jury for the District of Columbia. Counts two through four allege that during that same time period, the Rosbergs sold  2,600 pounds of ground beef  that was labeled "United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected,"when it was not. Each of those three counts carries a  maximum penalty of a three-year prison term, a $10,000 fine,  1 year supervised release, and a special assessment of $100. Counts five and six allege that the Rossbergs made false statements to the U.S. … [Read more...]

If Your Steak Had Some Work Done, Wouldn’t You Want To Know?

What it your steak had some work done? What if it went under the knife or the needle to become more tender? A steak that’s been mechanically tenderized, will still look like a steak and taste like a steak, but it needs to get cooked like a hamburger so it won’t make you sick. The problem is, you have no way of knowing if your steak was mechanically tenderized because that information isn’t required on food labels. But consumer advocates say it’s about time that it is. The Safe Food Coalition has been trying since 2009 to get the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to require labeling of mechanically tenderized beef products, which account for about 18 percent of beef cuts sold nationwide.  This week, the group sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to take … [Read more...]

FDA Warns Malcore Livestock of Food Safety Violations

John Malcore Livestock, LLC of Luxemburg, Wisc. has committed a number of food safety violations, according to a June 27 warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA’s investigation of the livestock operation began after the discovery that, In late December, Malcore Livestock offered an adulterated animal for sale. “Under section 402(a)(2)(C)(ii) of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(2)(C)(ii), a food is deemed to be adulterated if it bears or contains a new animal drug that is unsafe under section 512 of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360b. Further, under section 402(a)(4) of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(4), a food is deemed to be adulterated if it has been held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health,” the … [Read more...]

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