FoodHACCP Newsletter



Food Safety Job Openings

03/18. QA Director - Formula – Van Nuys, CA
03/18. Director, QA & Food Safety - San Diego, CA
03/18. Food Safety & Sanitation Mgr – Long Island City, NY
03/16. Food Safety Field Inspector - Charlotte, NC
03/16. Quality Assurance Manager - Northeast, NJ
03/16. Food Safety Specialist 1 – Ohio
03/16. Contract Seafood Auditor – Chicago, IL
03/14. Food Safety & Brand Std Spec - Vallejo, CA
03/14. Quality Supervisor – Enid, OK
03/14. Quality Manager – Walton, NY

03/28 2016 ISSUE:697

Eating those Easter Eggs? Follow These Tips from the FDA
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/eating-those-easter-eggs-follow-these-tips-from-the-fda/
By Carla Gillespie (Mar 27, 2016)
Coloring eggs and eating them is an Easter tradition for many families. But because eggs are a common source of Salmonella, it’s important to prepare, store and handle them safely.
Every year, about 79,000 people are sickened by Salmonella from eggs and 30 people die, according to the FDA.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, which include diarrhea that can be bloody, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting, usually develop between six and 72 hours of exposure and last about a week. For some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is required. These patients are at risk for more severe illness caused when the infection spreads from the intestines to the bloodstream. Those most at risk include children, seniors, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems such as transplant patients, and people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and diabetes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has compiled the following tips to help everyone stay healthy.
Buy only eggs sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case, check that shells are not cracked before purchasing. At home, store eggs in their original carton in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or below. Use a refrigerator thermometer to check. Use them within three weeks of purchase for best quality.
Eggs can be frozen, but not in their shells. To freeze them, beat yolks and whites together or freeze egg whites by themselves in a plastic, freezer-safe bag. Use frozen eggs within 1 year.
Hard-cooked eggs should be kept refrigerated and eaten within a week after cooking. Never leave cooked eggs or egg dishes that have been out of the refrigerator for more than two hours or for more than 1 hour when temperatures are above 90° F.  Bacteria can grow quickly at these temperatures. For school or work lunches pack them with a small frozen gel pack or a frozen juice box.
Fried eggs should be cooked until yolk and the white are firm. Scrambled eggs should not be runny. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked until a food thermometer indicates they have reached a temperature of 160° F. Leftover cooked egg dishes should be refrigerated and used within four days.
Pasteurized eggs should be used for recipes that call for raw eggs such as Caesar salad dressing and homemade ice cream.

Blue Bell reports on root causes of five-year Listeria outbreak
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/03/blue-bell-reports-on-root-causes-of-five-year-listeria-outbreak/#.VvjT6U7yWUl
By Dan Flynn (Mar 27, 2016)
The iconic Blue Bell ice cream is again being supplied to a large area of the southeast, including most everything south of a line stretching from New Mexico to the Carolinas. Not all of the 66 flavors are back that were available before Blue Bell was associated last year with a multi-state outbreak of Listeriosis the resulted in three deaths.
The privately-held Brenham, TX-based manufacturer reacted to the outbreak by recalling products that were currently on the market and that were made by any of its facilities including ice cream, yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks.
The outbreak was both complex and unusual in that the ten illnesses over four states spanned the period fro 2010 to 2015. All involved hospitalizations and three died. In addition to withdrawing their products from the market in 2015, Blue Bell shutdown its production facilities in Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas, depriving its customers of what many consider to be the nation’s best ice cream.
But the fourth largest ice cream producer was back in business by year’s end, and by now its back in most of its old territory.
However, the work of coming back from a major outbreak continues. In “root cause assessment reports” to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Blue Bell officials reported recently on the steps taken at its Brenham, TX, and Broken Arrow, OK, facilities to identify and fix Listeria problems.
Listeria was found in ice cream products made in both the Texas and Oklahoma facilities.
“After the discovery of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in certain ice cream  products manufactured by our Brenham facility, we began investigatory, sampling, and remediation efforts to control the situation, ultimately choosing to voluntarily shut down operations,” Bell Blue’s root cause assessment reports says.
While operations were suspended, Blue Bell focused on the potential sources of the Listeria, bringing in outside experts to assist. The company’s officials say their goal has been to control and eliminate potential sources of Listeria inside their facilities.
The report on the Brenham facility says efforts focused on areas where it found Listeria, on equipment and facility design, and employee practices. Some equipment was “disassembled and throughly cleaned.” Other equipment was removed from the facility and apparently replaced.
The report on the Broken Bow facility was similar.
“We focused critical attention on any equipment associated with presumptive positive environment findings for finished product, as well as on equipment and facility design and employee practices,” Blue Bell officials reported.
In Oklahoma, Blue Bell also discovered a drain in a room where equipment was stored after cleaning was emitting Listeria. “In sum, we believe that Listeria likely entered the facility through various potential sources and eventually became present in the draw system,” the company report says.
After suspending production at all three facilities, Blue Blue opted to work on bringing its two smaller facilities in Sylacauga, AL, and Broken Arrow, OK, back ahead of its largest facility in Texas. No illnesses were associated with the Alabama facility, but Listeria contamination was found inside the plant.
Blue Bell ice cream production resumed in 2015 before the holidays. It is now being made at all three of the facilities. A test-and-hold procedure has been put into place to check ice cream for contamination before shipping.

Chipotle E. coli Outbreak Tops 60
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/chipotle-e-coli-outbreak-tops-60/#.VvjUIk7yWUl
By Bruce Clark (Mar 27, 2016)
The initial, larger STEC O26 outbreak was first detected by public health officials in Washington and Oregon through local foodborne disease surveillance. In late October 2015, officials in those states detected an increase in illness and after interviewing ill people, they determined that illness was likely linked to eating at multiple Chipotle Mexican Grill locations.
PFGE results from ill people in Washington and Oregon indicated that people were infected with a rare strain of STEC O26. A search of the PulseNet database identified illnesses in other states, and these ill people were added to the total case count.
A total of 55 people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O26 were reported from 11 states. The majority of illnesses were reported from Washington and Oregon during October 2015. The number of ill people reported from each state was as follows: California (3), Delaware (1), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (3), Oregon (13), Pennsylvania (2), and Washington (27).
Among people for whom information was available, illnesses started on dates ranging from October 19, 2015 to December 1, 2015. Ill people ranged in age from 1 year to 94, with a median age of 21. Fifty-seven percent of ill people were female. Twenty-one (38%) people reported being hospitalized.
In December 2015, a second outbreak of a different, rare strain of STEC O26 was identified. A total of five people infected with this strain of STEC O26 were reported from three states. The number of ill people reported from each state was as follows: Kansas (1), North Dakota (1), and Oklahoma (3).
Among people for whom information was available, illnesses started on dates ranging from November 18, 2015 to November 26, 2015. Ill people ranged in age from 6 years to 25, with a median age of 22. Eighty percent of ill people were female. One (20%) person reported being hospitalized.
The epidemiologic evidence collected during these investigations suggested that a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants was a likely source of both outbreaks. The investigations did not identify a specific food or ingredient linked to illness in either outbreak.

 

 


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150-plus Peter Pan restitution claims possible in ConAgra case
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/03/150-plus-peter-pan-restitution-claims-possible-in-conagra-case/#.VvjUS07yWUl
By Dan Flynn (Mar 24, 2016)
Since a Salmonella Tennessee outbreak was traced to Peter Pan and certain Great Value peanut butters almost 10 years ago, the government has been looking for victims. That search has delayed the plea hearing and sentencing of ConAgra Grocery Products Co. LLC, which produced the contaminated peanut butter in Sylvester, GA, back in 2006-07.
This past July 22, U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands ordered government attorneys to conduct the search for victims under the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act.
At least 425 people across 44 states were confirmed with the outbreak strain, according to the final report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Graham A. Thorpe, assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, says the government “has sought to identify potential victims pursuant to a nationwide advertisement in USA Today, as ordered by the Court.”
In addition, Thorpe said the government has used a Department of Justice (DOJ) website to further locate and identify potential victims. The DOJ also sent victim notification letters to known potential victims.
“In these ways potential victims were advised of their rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and that they could sent in a Victim Impact Statement,” according to a report Thorpe prepared for Sands.
The government has received about 150 Victim Impact Statements, including those that assert claims for court-ordered restitution. Anyone filing a statement is also being asked to complete a more detailed questionnaire. Thorpe provided the court with a copy of the questionnaire.
About 100 completed questionnaires have been submitted. Questions include names and ages of anyone in the victims’ families who were sickened, along with detailed medical information. Anyone who has already been compensated is being asked to provide that information, too.
The Victim Impact Statements and the completed questionnaires were recently furnished to the U.S. Probation Office, which will provide Sands with specific recommendations before any restitution hearings.
According to Thorpe’s March 23 report, the victim information has not yet been made available to the defense attorneys for ConAgra.
“Counsel for the government and counsel for the defendant intend to file a joint motion to disclose the claims information and Victim Impact Statements to the defendant at the appropriate time,” Thorpe wrote.
“After U.S. Probation and counsel for the Defendant have had an opportunity to address restitution claims, the parties will be in a position to move this court to schedule the plea hearing and sentencing hearing.”
If the judge goes along with the May 2015 plea bargain between the government and defense attorneys, he’ll accept ConAgra’s guilty plea to one misdemeanor count and will impose fines of $8.01 million and forfeitures of $3.2 million.
The total restitution amount is not yet known.

EWG Warns of Mercury in Seafood
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/ewg-warns-of-mercury-in-seafood/
By Linda Larsen (Mar 23, 2016)
Environmental Working Group (EWG) has produced a new study called “U.S. Fish Advice May Expose Babies to too Much Mercury.” In it, they say that “adhering to the federal government’s recommendations on seafood and mercury may be risky, potentially leading women to eat too much of the wrong kind of fish.” The guidelines were issued as a draft recommendation in 2014 that recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding eat more fish that is lower in mercury.
Their tests found that mothers who eat species of fish in the amounts recommended by the EPA and FDA may risk exposing their fetuses to harmful levels of mercury. And those species do not have enough omega-3 fatty acids that are recommended in the diet. Mercury has toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes. It is especially dangerous to fetuses developing in the womb.
Dr. Philippe Grandjean, an adjunct professor at the Harvard School of Public Health said in a statement, “when you eat seafood during pregnancy, you get the benefits from omega-3s but from mercury you have the risk of toxicity. If you get a little bit of mercury it can be offset by the omega-3s. But that means you don’t get the full benefit of the omega-3s and other nutrients in seafood.”
Environmental Working Group recruited 254 women of childbearing age from 40 states. They stated that they ate as much or slightly more fish than recommended by the FDA. Samples of their hair were tested. Almost three in ten of the women had more mercury in their bodies than the EPA says is safe.
Those women who ate seafood often had about 11 times as much mercury as a comparison group who only eat seafood rarely. That establishes that the mercury in the women’s bodies comes from fish, if the study was controlled for other factors.
FDA recommendations are that women eat no more than six ounces a week of canned albacore tuna. The species that should not be eaten because of higher mercury content include shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel.
But, alarmingly, the analysis discovered that only a small amount of mercury comes from species that the government says to avoid. Most of the toxin came from species the FDA doesn’t warn about: tuna steaks and tuna sushi.
EWG would like the FDA and EPA to update their recommendations to include the full list of low mercury and high omega-3 fish, such as salmon, that should be included in diets. And the government’s advice should be updated to inform women about the dangers of mercury and name other species they should avoid for up to 12 months before conception. Those include seabass, halibut, and marlin.
EWG offers a Good Seafood Guide you can download, which provides guidelines for those who want to limit mercury consumption and increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids. They also have a Seafood Calculator that estimates portion size and the frequency of consumption based on a child’s or adults weight. You can download a copy of their project at their site, or watch a video made about the findings and recommendations.

A 2009 Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pistachios
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/a-2009-salmonella-outbreak-linked-to/#.VvjUr07yWUl
By Bruce Clark (Mar 22, 2016)
On March 26, 2009 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) informed CDC that multiple samples of pistachio nuts and pistachio-containing products collected over several months from a single company were contaminated with several serotypes of Salmonella, including Montevideo, Newport, and Senftenberg.  Since that time, CDC has been actively investigating whether this contamination is linked to human illness.
FDA has provided PulseNet, the CDC database of bacterial DNA fingerprints, with the DNA fingerprints of the Salmonella strains found in association with the company’s products.  Some of the DNA fingerprints of the Salmonella strains from the pistachio products match the DNA fingerprints of Salmonella strains from recently ill persons already in the PulseNet database.  The number of recent human infections with these strains is not currently above the expected baseline in the United States.  In addition to the pistachios, some of these DNA fingerprints have been associated with other foods, and a fingerprint match does not mean that the illnesses are necessarily linked to pistachios.  CDC is collaborating with state and local public health agencies to interview persons with Salmonella strains having DNA fingerprints that match those from the pistachio products to determine whether they had eaten pistachio nuts or pistachio-containing products before their illnesses.  To date, one patient in Connecticut infected with a Salmonellastrain with a matching DNA fingerprint has reported consuming a pistachio-containing product.
Salmonella that contaminates food, including nuts, can cause human illness and is a public health concern.  CDC estimates that the Salmonella illnesses reported to the public health system represent approximately 3% of the illnesses that actually occur, because many ill persons do not seek medical care or have a specimen cultured.  Even if no reported illnesses are related to a contaminated product, it is possible that some illnesses occurred.
All of the contaminated pistachios came from a single company, Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc, California.  Setton Pistachio has stopped distribution of roasted shelled, roasted in-shell, and raw shelled pistachios from their 2008 crop and has issued a voluntary recall of those products. Companies that receive pistachios from Setton Pistachio continue to recall their products.  The contaminated pistachios may have been used in a wide range of foods, including cakes, cookies, puddings, trail mix, snack bars, and ice cream.

Feds seek closure of school, military supplier after Listeria tests
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/03/kansas-food-manufacturer-should-be-shutdown-immediately/#.VvjVBU7yWUl
By Dan Flynn (Mar 22, 2016)
A federal civil complaint filed Monday seeks to immediately stop Native American Enterprises LLC from distributing adulterated food, following positive results on Listeria tests and repeated warnings from federal officials.
The Wichita-based company produces “namely refried beans and sauces” and ready-to-eat taco meat products, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas. Customers of Native American Enterprises (NAE) include Kansas public schools, the U.S. military and restaurants, according to its website.
A fourth-generation founded in 1930, family-owned food processing company, NAE is currently owned by brothers William and Scott McGreevy, both members of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.
In addition to the company, the complaint names part-owner William N. McGreevy and production manager Robert C. Connor.
Led by the Consumer Protection Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, federal attorneys filed the action Monday after years of inspections, warnings and notices by the Food and Drug Administration.
In April 2015, FDA inspectors determined insanitary conditions exist inside the NAE facility, including the presence of Listeria Monocytogenes, or L. mono, and insanitary practices by employees.
In August 2015 FDA inspectors collected 100 environmental samples at NAE, of which 39 tested positive for Listeria: 34 were positive for Listeria monocytogenes and five others were positive for other Listeria species.
Because it can survive and thrive in refrigerated and high-salt environments, Listeria monocytogenes is a significant public health risk in ready-to-eat refined beans and sauces, federal attorneys contend in their complaint.
In addition to the FDA, the NAE facility is regulated by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) because it produces a taco filling with a meat product. The federal food safety agencies want the district court in Wichita to permanently restrain and enjoin NAE with an order to “cease” receiving, processing, manufacturing, preparing, packaging, holding or distributing any food until the facility is brought into compliance with the law.
The Department of Justice says a complaint is a set of allegations that the government would have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence if the matter went to trial.
“Insanitary conditions at food processing facilities can present significant risks to consumers and food manufacturers must take steps to minimize those risks,” said Benjamin C. Mizer, the principal deputy attorney general who heads DOJ’s civil division.
“The Department of Justice will continue to work aggressively with the FDA to combat and deter conduct that leads to the distribution of adulterated food to consumers.”
During the inspections in August 2015, FDA personnel observed leaks in the roof of the NAE facility, at 230 N. West Street in Wichita. The leak was over a packaging room for refried beans. The inspectors reported cracks and holes in the walls and floor junctures were allowing water and debris to collect, preventing adequate cleaning, and creating a potential harbor for L. mono.
During inspections in 2014, FDA noted failures to maintain equipment or conduct appropriate cleaning and sanitizing.
In addition to DOJ, the U.S. Attorney for Kansas, and attorneys for FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services are cooperating on the case against NAE.
The corporate entity NAE, McGreevy and Conner are not yet represented by any legal counsel. The case had not been assigned to a judge or magistrate as of Monday afternoon.

Pulp fiction and fact: Wood, cellulose and Parmesan cheese
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/03/124611/#.Vvjb6k7yWUl
By Jacob Harper (Mar 21, 2016)
Opinion
In recent lawsuits and media reports about the FDA’s prosecution of a manufacturer of grated Parmesan, plaintiff’s lawyers and reporters claim some Parmesan varieties have unsafe levels of certain ingredients, including “wood pulp.”
Let’s separate fact from the pulp fiction — starting with one prominent Bloomberg report, “The Parmesan You Sprinkle on Your Penne Could be Wood,” which has sparked at least one lawsuit against Kraft.
Bloomberg reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had caught Pennsylvania-based Castle Cheese Inc. “doctoring its 100% real parmesan with cut-rate substitutes and such fillers as wood pulp and distributing it to some of the country’s biggest grocery chains.”
When they say “wood pulp,” they mean cellulose. The problem is, the type of cellulose most commonly used in food products is a common plant derivative with uses ranging from adding fiber to food to preventing clumping.  And because wood pulp, also technically a plant derivative, contains cellulose, these outlets have concluded, or at least drawn readers in with headlines, claiming Parmesan with cellulose contains wood pulp.  That isn’t a fair conclusion, but it makes for catchy headlines — and, unfortunately, fodder for a new wave of food mislabeling class actions against other companies singled out in some media reports, Kraft and Walmart.
So, cellulose is not necessarily wood pulp. Nor is it inherently “unsafe,” as another media outlet, “Women’s Health,” reports in a story with a another alarming headline: “The Parmesan Cheese in Your Pantry May Contain Unsafe Levels of Wood.”
The story reports that “according to the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) in Madison, WI, cellulose is an inherently safe additive. But the problem is, it’s gotten out of control. According to the CDR, two to four percent is a generally accepted safe level of the additive, but many brands are far exceeding that measure.”
Is it really out of control? Not if you ask the FDA
Cellulose is a common ingredient, and it’s not “unsafe.”  In fact, the FDA officially classifies it as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) and FDA opinions highlight that “consumption of large amounts appear to have no effect other than providing dietary bulk.”
This official position — from the federal agency charged with regulating food safety — is a far cry from summaries of reports from lobby groups like the Center for Dairy Research.
In short, the evidence is that Parmesan is not going to leave you swallowing splinters.
And when we do have unsafe food, it’s up to the FDA — not lobby groups, the media, or the courts — to address those issues.
Take Castle Cheese Inc., which faced prosecution by the FDA over its “100% grated Parmesan Cheese.”  The FDA discovered Castle’s Parmesan cheese failed to comply with the regulatory definition and barred further sale.
The FDA, under its exclusive authority to enforce its regulations, filed criminal charges.
But it wasn’t a class action that led to FDA enforcement, and that’s the right result, because these violations are the responsibility of the FDA and not consumer lawyers trolling the news for a quick payout.
As the federal agency charged with protecting the food supply, the FDA has the science, resources, and knowledge to understand the often-complicated interplay between food safety, cost, and public health.  But remember that the FDA responds to facts and science, not fads and tacky headlines.
Jacob M. Harper has handled myriad consumer class actions and is an expert in food mislabeling claims — and especially early dismissals — for clients, some of the country’s largest grocers, retailers, and distributors. He is a graduate of The University of Chicago Law School and a member of TroyGould PC in Los Angeles.

Irish get diet-check from Food Safety Authority of Ireland
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/03/irish-get-diet-check-from-food-safety-authority-of-ireland/#.VvjcIE7yWUl
By News Desk (Mar 21, 2016)
Just ahead of St. Patrick’s Day last week, the Irish learned their diets are not putting them at risk from chemicals.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) on March 15 published the results of a Total Diet Study carried out to assess the dietary exposure of the Irish population to a number of chemicals that may pose a risk to health if consumed in excessive amounts.
The study, which examined the most commonly consumed foods in Ireland for particular chemical contaminants, is an important tool for identifying and assessing potential food safety risks to consumers. It complements existing food monitoring and surveillance programs carried out by the FSAI and other competent bodies.
Overall, the results show that the Irish population is generally not at risk from the chemical contaminants found in the diet. However, in line with international findings, potential concern is identified in relation to exposure to acrylamide, which is a chemical formed during the frying, roasting or baking of a variety of foods; aflatoxins, which are natural chemicals produced by certain fungi; and, to a lesser degree, lead.
These findings are not specific to Ireland; rather, they are of concern worldwide. Continuous efforts are being made by risk managers nationally and internationally to reduce exposure to these substances to as low as reasonably achievable, bearing in mind that zero exposure is impossible. These measures include continuous review of legislation and applying best practices in agriculture and food manufacturing.
The study assessed 147 foods and beverages representative of the normal diet consumed by the population in Ireland during the period of 2012−2014. Samples analyzed were based on the most commonly used food preparation practices.
Chemicals studied included contaminant metals: aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and tin; essential nutrients: iodine and selenium; food additives: nitrates and nitrites; food contaminants: acrylamide, mycotoxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); pesticide residues; and bisphenol A and phthalates which are present in some food contact materials.
Commenting on the results, FSAI’s Chief Executive Dr. Pamela Byrne said that continued and regular surveillance is essential to ensure the ongoing safety of food eaten, produced, distributed and sold on the Irish market.
“While the results of the study do not give rise to any immediate concerns, we have identified a number of potential areas for further monitoring and action. These risks are of a global nature and are being addressed through legislation and other targeted measures by the European Commission, working in conjunction with European food safety agencies, including the FSAI.”
“We must recognize the investment Ireland has made in robust food consumption data for all age groups. Important work like the total diet study would not be possible without the comprehensive food consumption data provided by the Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance, which is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. This information is vital for risk assessment and the protection of public health,” she added.

Iowa Suspended Egg Facility Inspections After Bird Flu Outbreak
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/iowa-suspended-egg-facility-inspections-after-bird-flu-outbreak/
By Linda Larsen (March 21, 2016)
The Des Moines Register has discovered that Iowa suspended its egg facility inspections last year in the wake of the bird flu. Public health officials feared that inspectors could spread the virus as they traveled between egg facilities. The pathogenic outbreak that killed millions of birds nationwide started in December 2014. The height of the epidemic occurred in early spring 2015.
This action is concerning for two reasons. One is that a Salmonella outbreak in Ohio at Lucky’s Taproom and Eatery, that has sickened at least 80 people, is associated with shell eggs produced at Kenneth Miller Farms that are now being recalled for Salmonella contamination. Mayonnaise, made with eggs, at Lucky’s Taproom tested positive for Salmonella contamination during the outbreak investigation.
The other is that Iowa egg producers were at the center of a huge Salmonella outbreak in 2010 that sickened at least 1,600 people. Regulations for inspections of these facilities were put into place after that outbreak.
Farmers are still supposed to follow egg safety regulations, but reports of some inspections conducted before the government stopped them are concerning. For instance, amphibians such as frogs and toads, which can carry Salmonella, were found inside poultry houses. Other facilities did not wash or store their eggs at proper temperatures to prevent bacterial growth. Rodent infestation was discovered in at least 14 facilities, and at least 14 farms did not test for Salmonella as they are required to.
The FDA suspended egg inspections for some facilities in May 2015 during the height of the bird flu outbreak. And other states followed suit, but resumed their inspections when the bird flu outbreak eased. In Iowa, the last case of bird flu was reported in June 2015. Iowa officials say they will resume inspections when the FDA does.
In the meantime, you can protect yourself against illness from shell eggs, especially if you are in a high risk group. Always cook shell eggs and recipes that contain them to a minimum temperature of 160°F to kill bacteria. Never eat undercooked or raw eggs. And avoid cross-contamination between raw shell eggs and foods that will be eaten uncooked.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection, the type of illness most commonly associated with shell eggs, include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea that may be bloody, fever, chills, headache, and muscle pains. Symptoms usually begin six to seventy-two hours after exposure to the bacteria.
Some people recover on their own after about a week, but others become so ill they need to be hospitalized. In the outbreak at Lucky’s Taproom, five people have been hospitalized as a result of their infections.

Is Flour the Link in the Pizza Ranch E. coli Outbreak?
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/18325/#.VvjjmE7yWUl
By Anthony Marangon (Mar 20, 2016)
Pizza Ranch desserts containing flour dough have been linked to E. coli O157:H7 food poisonings in nine states, federal officials say. The outbreak started in December, mainly among people who’d eaten at the Iowa-based chain’s restaurants.  The CDC reports that 13 people were sickened in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Minnesota. Nine of the people said they recently had eaten at Pizza Ranches.  Two children, in Kansas and Nebraska, suffered kidney failure (hemolytic uremic syndrome) and had to be hospitalized.
In an article in Clinical Infections Diseases dug a bit deeper into the Nestle Tollhouse Cookie Dough E. coli O157:H7 outbreak of 2009.  Seventy-seven patients with illnesses during the period 16 March–8 July 2009 were identified from 30 states; 35 were hospitalized, 10 developed hemolytic-uremic syndrome, and none died. Sixty-six percent of patients were <19 years; 71% were female. In the case-control study, 33 of 35 case patients (94%) consumed ready-to-bake commercial prepackaged cookie dough, compared with 4 of 36 controls (11%) (matched odds ratio = 41.3; P < .001); no other reported exposures were significantly associated with illness. Among case patients consuming cookie dough, 94% reported brand A. Three nonoutbreak STEC strains were isolated from brand A cookie dough. The investigation led to a recall of 3.6 million packages of brand A cookie dough and a product reformulation.
A more likely source of contamination is that a contaminated ingredient was used in the product. Ready-to-bake cookie dough is not a ready-to-eat food and contains several ingredients, including flour, pasteurized eggs, chocolate chips, molasses, sugar, margarine, baking soda, and vanillin/vanilla extract. The eggs used in brand A products were pasteurized, making eggs a less likely vehicle unless there was a pasteurization failure; this was not identified during the investigation. Molasses, sugar, baking soda, and margarine, which undergo pathogen kill steps during processing, were also considered less likely sources of contamination.
The possibility of contaminated chocolate chips was considered, because most patients reported consuming chocolate chip–containing varieties of brand A cookie dough. Although chocolate has never been linked to past E. coli O157 outbreaks, it has been implicated in Salmonella outbreaks, and Baylis et al, documented survival of E. coli O157 in artificially contaminated chocolate for up to 366 days. However, because chocolate chip varieties comprise the majority of cookie dough sales, it would not be unusual that chocolate chip varieties were reported by most patients. The chocolate chips that company A uses in its ready-to-bake cookie dough and the brand A chocolate chips sold to consumers for home baking are manufactured in the same facility, but there was no evidence of an E. coli O157 outbreak among consumers using these chocolate chips. Study results also support that chocolate chips were not the source of contamination: consumption of a chocolate chip variety of cookie dough was less strongly associated with illness compared with consumption of any cookie dough, whereas consumption of chocolate chips in non–cookie dough products was not significantly associated with illness. Flour, a raw agricultural product (ie, does not undergo processing to kill pathogens), was also considered as a possible source of contamination. Low levels of Salmonella contamination can occur in wheat flour, and flour and flour-based mixes have been implicated in foodborne Salmonella outbreaks. Generic E. coli species have also been found in flour; 1 US study found E. coli in 12.8% of commercial wheat flour samples examined. Although our investigation found no conclusive evidence that contaminated flour was the source of this outbreak, contaminated flour remains a prime suspect for introducing the pathogen to the product. Because flour is frequently purchased in large quantities by manufacturers for use in food products, if contaminated flour were responsible, a single purchase of contaminated flour might have been used to manufacture multiple lots and varieties of dough over a period of time. This would be consistent with UBDs on packages obtained from patients (23 June–11 August 2009), suggesting that product contamination occurred over several weeks.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.

 

 

 

Internet Journal of Food Safety (Operated by FoodHACCP)
[2015] Current Issues

Vol 17.64-74
Sanitation and Hygiene Meat Handling Practices in Small and Medium Enterprise butcheries in Kenya - Case Study of Nairobi and Isiolo Counties
Sharon Chepkemoi, Peter Obimbo Lamuka, George Ooko Abong’ and Joseph Matofari

Vol 17.25-31
Combined Effect Of Disinfectant And Phage On The Survivality Of S. Typhimurium And Its Biofilm Phenotype
Mudit Chandra, Sunita Thakur, Satish S Chougule, Deepti Narang, Gurpreet Kaur and N S Sharma

Vol 17.21-24
Quality analysis of milk and milk products collected from Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Shalini Singh, Vinay Chandel, Pranav Soni

Vol 17.10-20
Functional and Nutraceutical Bread prepared by using Aqueous Garlic Extract
H.A.R. Suleria, N. Khalid, S. Sultan, A. Raza, A. Muhammad and M. Abbas


Vol 17.6-9
Microbiological Assessment of Street Foods of Gangtok And Nainital, Popular Hill Resorts of India
Niki Kharel, Uma Palni and Jyoti Prakash Tamang


Vol 17.1-5
Assessment of the Microbial Quality of Locally Produced Meat (Beef and Pork) in Bolgatanga Municipal of Ghana
Innocent Allan Anachinaba, Frederick Adzitey and Gabriel Ayum Teye


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