July 12, 2024

Senator Murray Wants Answers on Alleged Food Safety Failures

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) wants answers on alleged FDA food safety failures after a report in Politico listed problems with that agency. Senator Murray is Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. A letter was sent to FDA Commissioner Robert M Califf, asking for answers and immediate action. The Politico report was based on more than 50 interviews with experts and former officials and found that the FDA is more focused on regulating and overseeing drugs and other medical products than food. For instance, FDA commissioners rarely have experience with food issues, but are usually medical doctors. The report lists deadly food poisoning outbreaks and the recalls associated with the contaminated foods, starkly outlining how long it can take to issue a recall … [Read more...]

Do You Buy Food on Facebook? You May Want to Think Twice

You may or may not know this, but you can buy food through Facebook Marketplace. Sounds like a good idea in a time of potential food shortages, right? Maybe not. Food safety experts think that buying food from "opaque" Facebook posts may lead to consumers eating adulterated or contaminated  food. Some unscrupulous people may be selling adulterated food on Facebook, which is considered an "alternative channel" for sales because the food isn't necessarily inspected before it's shipped off to the buyer. Chris Elliott, professor of food safety at Queen's University in Belfast told The Grocer, "That's where I would go [to sell food]. I'm sure a lot of what's being sold on there is good, fine food, but I would say there's also a lot of fraud happening on that particular marketplace … [Read more...]

Missouri Bill Would End Regulation of Farm Sales

A bill that may be introduced to the Missouri legislature would end regulation on farm-produced products sold directly to the consumer. House Bill 866 is sponsored by State Representative Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove). Moon has not been able to get the bill scheduled on the calendar. The bill states that the farmer "must retain the right to choose" whether the products will be regulated by the state or local agencies. If the foods sold are not inspected or regulated, a sign must be posted warning consumers that the items are not regulated. The consumer then "retains the responsibility" that the products are wholesome. Food poisoning outbreaks linked to farm-sold goods have been numerous in the past few years. For instance, the Campylobacter outbreak linked to Family Cow raw milk in … [Read more...]

UK Lets Big Food Businesses Regulate Themselves

According to Food & Water Watch, the UK Department of Food and Rural Affairs has decided to make a "significant shift" that "puts business in charge of driving reform", to "lightening needless burdens without weakening essential controls." Businesses will be able to review enforcement of regulation in their areas. The press release had a statement from Business Manager Matthew Hancock which said, "businesses will now have the power to lead the reform of counterproductive, time consuming or bureaucratic enforcement of regulation that can get in the way of growth." Food & Water Watch points out that horse meat is still present in European beef supplies, that Food Standards Agency has concerns about filthy conditions in the UK poultry industry, and salmon in the marketplace … [Read more...]

Nevada Regulations Prohibit Ill Workers From Handling Food

The Communicable Disease Protocol of the state of Nevada stipulates that restaurant employees should not work if they are ill. The protocol states that "A person excreting Salmonella spp. shall not work in a sensitive occupation unless authorized to do so by the health authority." The Salmonella outbreak at Firefly on Paradise in Las Vegas may have been caused by employees working while they were ill. Three of the 33 employees interviewed by public health officials indicated they were sick with "gastrointestinal symptoms" in the days before the outbreak began. The problem is that many people do not realize they have Salmonella infections, and continue to shed the bacteria even after they feel better and return to work.   According to NAC 441A.680, an employee sickened with … [Read more...]

Missouri Bill Would Exempt Non-Profit Dinners from Regulation

In the Missouri Senate, SB 432 was passed last week. The measure would allow non-profit organizations to prepare food without regulation, pre-empting local food codes. The bill now goes to the House, where it is being discussed in the Professional Registration and Licensing Committee. The bill would require organizations to post signs stating that the food being served is not inspected or regulated. According to the language in the bill, "the nonprofit organization shall inform the consumer by placing a clearly visible placard at the serving location that the food was prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to regulation and inspection by the regulatory authority." Republican Senator Mike Cunningham is sponsoring the bill, claiming that inspectors are acting as "food Nazis" by … [Read more...]

Canadian Government Updates Some Food Additive Regulations

The Canadian government is updating rules to regulate food additives. Last week, the Honorable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced the changes. She said in a statement, "these changes are further proof that our Government is serious about protecting the health and safety of Canadian consumers and their families." Food additives are those ingredients that affect a food's flavor, color, consistency, and texture and remain in the finished product. According to the news release, "even when scientists showed a new additive could reduce the risk of a potential serious food-borne illness outbreak, it took an additional 12 to 18 months for the regulatory process to actually change the list and make the product legal." New additives will still have to undergo safety assessments, but … [Read more...]

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