November 22, 2019

How to Report a Problem With Food to the FDA and USDA

Most Americans have had food poisoning at one time or another, giving that 48,000,000 Americans contract this form of illness every year. Most people think they have the "stomach flu" or a "24 hour bug" when they actually have food poisoning. How do you report a problem with food? What do you do if you think you have food poisoning? First, know the symptoms of food poisoning for various pathogens: E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella. You can report your illness to the government if you think that a problem with food (such as the Northfork Bison E. coli outbreak) purchased from a store is the problem. First, call your doctor to get necessary treatment. Many foodborne illnesses can have long term health complications and this should be noted on your medical … [Read more...]

Back to School Food Safety For Bag Lunches From the USDA

It's back to school time, and that means kids are going to be bringing bag lunches to school. Did you know that if those bags contain perishable foods, they must be handled and stored properly? The USDA has tips to help you keep your child safe.   Harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes, multiply quickly in the Danger Zone temperature range of 40 °F and 140°F; that includes room temperature. Perishable foods that are held without an ice source, or without refrigeration, won't stay safe to eat for long. So here's what to do. First, all perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, must be kept cold at all times. When you're at the store, buy those foods last, go home immediately, and refrigerate them immediately. No perishable … [Read more...]

American Beef Packers Beef Recalled: Unfit for Human Consumption

American beef Packers of Chino, California, is recalling about 24,428 pounds of raw beef products that are "deemed unfit for human consumption," according to a notice by the USDA. FSIS inspection personnel retained the carcass and collected a sample for analysis. Before the test results came back, the carcass was released and processed into raw intact and non-tact beef products which were distributed to federal  establishments in California and Oregon. The recalled beef items were produced and packaged on August 21, 2019. The recalled products, which have the establishment number "EST. 34741" are: Bulk pack combo bins containing “AMERICAN BEEF PACKERS 85 BONELESS BEEF CHUCKS” with LOT NO.110 and BIN No. 85 and BIN No. 86. Bulk pack combo bins containing “AMERICAN BEEF PACKERS 90 … [Read more...]

Keep Your Backyard Barbecue Safe From Staphylococcus With Tips

The USDA is offering tips to help keep your backyard barbecue safe from Staphylococcus aureus bacteria this summer.  Cooking outdoors presents special challenges, including grilling food to a safe internal temperature, and higher ambient temperatures. The press release focuses on Staphylococcus aureus, which sickens about 240,000 Americans every year. About 1,000 of those patients need to be hospitalized, and about six people die every year. A USDA scientist developed a test that detects the pathogen in foods, which is faster, more sensitive, and less expensive than other standardized tests. Reuven Rasooly, a chemist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) said in a statement, "The current test detects active toxin only 50 percent of the time compared to the test, … [Read more...]

Stericycle: Recalls Declined in First Quarter 2019; Shutdown to Blame?

According to Stericycle Expert Solutions, which releases a summary of recall trends every quarter, recalls of food, pharmaceutical, and consumer products declined "significantly" for the first time since 2012 in the first quarter of 2019. The press release states that "The declines were largely due to reduced oversight from the government shutdown earlier this year which stopped or limited many government safety inspections for food, pharmaceutical, automotive, medical device, and consumer products, the industries tracked in the Stericycle Recall Index. When the shutdown ended at the end of January, it took several more weeks for the regulatory agencies to ramp safety inspections back up to normal levels." The shutdown lasted for 5 weeks from December 2018 to January 2019. FDA … [Read more...]

USDA Guidance For Responding to Customer Complaints Issued

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a best practices guideline to help the meat and poultry industry respond to customer complaints about adulterated and misbranded products, in particular, reports of foreign materials in these products. This document is not regulatory. Since the beginning of 2019, there have been seven recalls of USDA-regulated food products for foreign material contamination. Those recalls have included ground beef chubs, breaded chicken products, chicken nuggets, frozen pork, and deli ham products. Corporations that have recalled these foods include Pilgrim's Pride, Johnsonville, Tyson Foods, and Bellisio. These recalls usually start because a consumer has found a material, such as glass, plastic, or … [Read more...]

GAO High Risk List Report Finds Food Plans Partially Met

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has released its 2019 report on federal oversight of food safety, and the results are mixed. Food safety remains on the High Risk List, which is updated every two years. The safety of the U.S. food supply is covered by a system that includes 30 federal laws administered by 15 federal agencies. Federal oversight of food safety was added to the high risk list in 2007. The list is used to set agendas of agencies that are charged with oversight. The report states, "For more than four decades, we have reported on the fragmented federal food safety oversight system, which has caused inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination, and inefficient use of resources. As of November 2018, two of the three recommendations to this high-risk area had … [Read more...]

Seven Recalls of Foods For Foreign Material Since January 2019

There have been seven recalls of meat food products for possible foreign material contamination since the beginning of January, 2019. This large number of recalls, which has affected more than 427,000 pounds of food. News reports are suggesting that the USDA, which regulates these foods, may make some changes to guidance for food processors. One reason could be that more automation in these meat processing plants has contributed to the contamination, since parts of the machines can break off and get into the food. These recalls are a reminder to consumers to pay attention to recall notices that are issued by the USDA and the FDA. These pieces of glass, rubber, wood, and plastic can pose a choking hazard and mouth injuries. The recalls since the start of the new year include: … [Read more...]

CSPI Wants USDA to Name Poultry Producers in Salmonella Outbreak

Center for Science in the Public Interest wants the USDA to name slaughterhouses and processing facilities who may be associated with the two recent Salmonella outbreaks tied to poultry. One of those outbreaks is ongoing. An ongoing Salmonella Reading outbreak linked to raw turkey products has sickened 279 people and hospitalized 107 in the United States. One person living in California died in that outbreak. The last update on that outbreak was issued on February 15, 2019. And the Salmonella Infantis outbreak linked to raw chicken that sickened 129 people in the United States has just ended, according to the CDC. All the USDA will say is that these pathogens have been found in "many" processing establishments, and that "raw turkey products from a variety of sources are contaminated … [Read more...]

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro Urges End to Shutdown

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) is urging the government to reopen areas that are shutdown, and end food safety risks to consumers. The shutdown is now on Day 28. Some employees at the FDA and USDA are furloughed, and others are working without pay. The FDA has brought back some workers, but they are not being paid. In her statement, she writes, "The President’s shutdown is putting our nation’s food supply at risk—a fundamental responsibility of the FDA and USDA. FDA inspectors are still working without pay, and they are only able to carry out one third of regular inspections. FDA also remains understaffed for food surveillance and food recall operations, and enforcement appears to be down. At the same time, the status of FDA’s work finalizing guidance and implementing rules … [Read more...]

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