FoodHACCP Newsletter

Food Safety Job Openings

05/27. Quality Assurance Manager – Nashville, TN
05/27. Food Safety Quality & Reg Lead – Swanton, VT
05/27. Food Safety and Quality Tech - Mohnton,PA
05/26. Quality Supervisor - Enid, OK
05/25. QA Supervisor, Food Mfg - Boston, MA
05/25. Food Safety & Std Brand Spec – St. Louis, MO
05/25. SR. QA Technologist - Canton, MA
05/23. Food Safety Auditor- Atlanta, GA
05/23. Food Safety Specialist - Midland/Odessa, TX
05/23. Food Safety & Quality Tech – Mohnton ,PA

05/30 2016 ISSUE:706


Sneaky: Campy in UK chickens declines, but is an artifact
Source :
By Doug Powell (May 30, 2016)
The UK Food Standards Agency says the latest data show 9.3% of chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination in this quarter, down from 21.8% for the three months from December 2014 to February 2015*.
Campylobacter was present on 50% of chicken samples, down from 71% in the equivalent quarter of the previous year. We tested 1,009 samples of fresh whole chilled UK-produced chickens and packaging this quarter.
Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the FSA, said, “One of the reasons the survey results are lower this quarter is because of the decision taken by a number of retailers and their suppliers to remove neck skin from the bird before it goes on sale. This is good news for the consumer because the neck skin is the most contaminated part of the chicken. However it is also the part of the bird that we have been testing in our survey and this means that comparisons with previous results are not as reliable as we would like.
Therefore, this quarter, we are giving an overall figure for the amount of campylobacter on chicken and not breaking the figures down by retailer as we normally do. We have also stopped this survey and will begin a new one in the summer, with a different method of testing campylobacter levels on chicken. sFirst results from this survey, which will rank retailers, are due in January 2017.”
Alex Neil , director of policy and campaigns at Which?, said: “Despite the work by the regulator and the industry to reduce campylobacter in chickens, levels remain too high and it still poses a significant risk to the public.
“We want to see much greater transparency from the supermarkets on their own testing and the action they are taking to keep their customers safe from this bug.”

FDA Recognizes Canada’s Food Safety System as Comparable to U.S. Allowing Modified FSVP Requirements
Soruce :
By (May 28, 2016)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially signed an “arrangement” with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada under which each country recognizes the other’s food safety systems as comparable. Canada’s food safety system is only the second that FDA has recognized as comparable, following New Zealand’s recognition in 2012. Reportedly, Australia and the European Commission are in process to achieve similar recognition. This arrangement will affect importers subject to FDA Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) final rule.
The FSVP final rule – promulgated by FDA pursuant to the Food Safety Modernization Act - applies to importers of food, including importers of food-contact materials. Importers of food are partially exempt from the FSVP rule when that food is imported from a foreign supplier located in a country with a food safety system that FDA has officially recognized as comparable or determined to be equivalent to that of the United States. Specifically, importers of food from those countries are exempt from most of the standard FSVP requirements, including the hazard analysis and foreign supplier evaluation and verification requirements. Importantly, however, for the exemption to apply, the regulation specifies that the imported food must not be intended for further manufacturing or processing before consumption.
The importer, however, is not exempt from the FSVP requirements related to importer identification at the time of entry and records retention. Importers of food from a country with a recognized or comparable food safety system also would need a qualified individual to document annually that the foreign supplier is within the regulatory oversight of the relevant foreign food safety authority and in good standing with that authority.
The general compliance date for the FSVP provisions is May 29, 2017.  For further information on FSVP requirements, see the article, FDA’s New FSVP Rule and the Implications for Food Packaging.

Restaurants fined for food safety and hygiene breaches
Source :
By Press Association (May 28, 2016)
Two restaurants have been fined thousands of pounds after rats were detected in the pantry of one and mouse bait was spilled near food in the other which had "filthy" preparation areas.
Portsmouth City Council brought prosecutions against the Aubergine Indian restaurant and the Family House Chinese takeaway, both in Southsea, Hampshire, after they both failed to make improvements following previous visits by health inspectors.
A spokesman for the local authority said: "When an inspector made an unannounced visit to Aubergine last July, it revealed very poor cleanliness, with dirt, grease and food debris in many areas.
"Hand-washing facilities were not being maintained and bait for mice had been spilled near stored food. The hand and food contact surfaces were filthy and there was no effective food safety management system."
The spokesman said restaurant manager Shamsul Khan did make improvements after the visit, including hiring pest controllers, but added that he had a "history of making improvements after inspections and then failing to manage the restaurant effectively".
Khan, 44, of Haslemere Road, Southsea, pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court to five breaches of food safety and hygiene regulations, both as operator of the business and as sole director of the company behind it.
He was fined £4,200 for all offences, and told to pay £1,481 in costs and victim surcharges.
Family House operator Boon Ann Goh, 59, of Sudley Gardens, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, admitted eight breaches of food safety and hygiene regulations.
He was fined £3,500 and told to pay £1,394 in costs and victim surcharge.
The council spokesman said: "An unannounced inspection last July revealed extremely poor hygiene standards. Previous advice from the council had not been followed.
"There was dirt, grease and food debris in many areas where food was being handled and stored. Hand-washing facilities were not being maintained. There was evidence of rat activity in the rear food storage area.
"The council's inspector judged there was an imminent health risk and an immediate voluntary closure of the takeaway was agreed.
"The premises were cleaned and disinfected, and proofed against rats. A pest control visit was made. The business was allowed to reopen in August."
Robert New, the council's cabinet member for environment and community safety, said: "The histories of both these cases shows that we have worked hard with the businesses to try to ensure they keep up food safety standards. However, they failed to follow advice and let standards slide. For the protection of the public we had to take legal action."






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Don’t let pathogens crash your Memorial Day picnic
Source :
By News Desk (May 27, 2016)
With the first summer holiday weekend set to begin with the end of the workday today, picnic baskets and grills are already on standby as people across America look forward to outdoor dining as part of their Memorial Day weekend activities.
Unfortunately, pathogens are poised to spoil the food and fun.
Warm weather, traditional summertime foods, family reunions and gatherings of friends far and wide can combine to create dangerous and sometimes deadly scenes, especially for elderly people, young children, pregnant women and people with suppressed immune systems. Those groups are most likely to succumb to illnesses caused by foodborne pathogens and usually suffer from more severe symptoms than healthy adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, there are simple, easy steps to help Americans stay safe as they indulge in whipped cream fruit salads, deviled eggs and grilled meat and chicken, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
“From picnics to cookouts, eating outside is a fun and tasty way to enjoy the warmer weather,” registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Torey Armul said in a news release. “Be sure to follow proper food safety practices every step of the way to keep unwanted bacteria from crashing your party.”
FSIS reminds people that barbecuing foods safely means making sure that the grill is hot enough and that frozen meats, poultry and fish are properly thawed before being cooked.
Start with clean hands
The first step to preparing a safe and healthy meal is clean hands. Always wash your hands before and after handling any foods. Be sure to wash them during food preparation, too, when switching from handling raw meat to chopping raw vegetables for salad.
When you’re eating outdoors, you may not have access to soap and water. Experts recommend using hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60 percent alcohol when clean running water isn’t readily available. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer and paper towels and then use hand sanitizer again, allowing your hands to air dry before eating or handling food.
Also, clean and sanitize coolers, picnic baskets and tote bags because they can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Separate raw meats, poultry and seafood from RTE foods
If you are planning to cook food outside, separate raw meats, poultry and seafood from other ready-to-eat (RTE) foods. Use one cooler for raw meats and another for RTE foods such as fruits, vegetables, cheese and desserts. Take two sets of plates and utensils for handling raw meats and for serving cooked foods to limit the chances of cross-contamination.
Use a food thermometer
All food must be cooked to a safe internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria, and a food thermometer is the only way to make sure that food has reached this temperature. Remember to pack the food thermometer and download a free Is My Food Safe? mobile app for a complete list of cooking temperatures.
Keep the cooler cool
Pack perishable food in a cooler to help it stay cold. Keep the cooler in the shade and the lid closed. Freeze bottles of water or juice boxes for a refreshing treat that will also help keep foods packed around them cooler. It’s also a good idea to pack a thermometer in the cooler to make sure that it stays at 40 degrees F or lower.
Refrigerate or toss after two hours — or 60 minutes if it’s really hot outside
When everyone’s had a turn in the chow line, return perishable foods to coolers or refrigerators within two hours. Experts say cut that to one hour if the ambient temperature is higher than 90 degrees F. The clock starts as soon as your food is taken off the grill or out of the cooler. Set an alarm to keep track of the time.
If you have food safety questions, FSIS recommends contacting “Ask Karen,” the agency’s 24/7 virtual representative, at, or call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline and speak with a live representative, in English or Spanish, at 1-888-674-6854. You can also visit for safety information on all types of foods.

Senate votes to end USDA catfish inspections, which just got underway
Source :
By Dan Flynn (May 26, 2016)
The U.S. Senate has voted to shut down the nation’s only catfish inspection program, a move that would put more Americans at risk of exposure to carcinogens and antibiotics from Asian white fish, such as Vietnamese pangasius.
Senators approved the Joint Resolution by a vote of 55-43 on Wednesday. It now goes to the House of Representatives.
If it passes the House, it would still have to be signed by President Obama before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) catfish inspection program would be shut down. If that happens, catfish would likely revert back to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where only 1 to 2 percent of seafood imports are inspected because of budget constraints.
The program has been in effect for both domestic and foreign catfish species only since April 15, and it may be drawing fire from Capitol Hill because it is finding dangerous carcinogens and antibiotics in fish shipments from Asian nations.
Too much of that might not be good for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an Obama legacy agenda item. U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) did not address TPP when going for the catfish inspection kill on Wednesday but referenced what he called “classic farm bill politics.” Inspection of all foreign and domestic catfish species was mandated in the farm bill.
The joint resolution terminates catfish inspection through a technical action nullifying a rule published in December 2015 that set up the mandatory inspection program.
If the House votes to cut it, the catfish inspection program would be the second USDA food safety program to be killed since President Obama won a second term. Three years ago, Obama and Congress agreed to kill the Microbiological Data Program (MDP). That ended about 80 percent of the fresh produce testing in the U.S. That $5-million program funded state agriculture labs to sample and test fresh produce in their areas. That $5 million was about 0.01 percent of the federal budget.
Catfish inspection was moved to USDA from FDA in the 2008 Farm Bill, but the transition, complete with a memorandum of understanding between the two agencies, did not occur until much more recently. While using a risk-based program for seafood, FDA only inspects about 1 to 2 percent of the food products entering the U.S. which are under its jurisdiction.
Some claim duplication of efforts
“Yes, let’s treat all catfish the same,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) shortly before the Senate vote. “Vote ‘No’ to protect American consumers from cancer-causing agents.” he added.
The duplication that existed between USDA and FDA on catfish inspection between about 2009 and 2015 often caught the attention of government accountants and brought numerous taxpayer groups into the campaign to kill the program. In a letter to Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), those groups called the USDA catfish program an “unnecessary and duplicative” bureaucracy that has been targeted for criticism 10 times by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The fiscal critics said USDA catfish inspection would cost $14 million annually, while FDA “currently spends” less than $700,000 annually to inspect catfish. USDA also reportedly spent $20 million on program development since the 2008 Farm Bill became law.
The push to kill catfish inspection could boost prospects for the TPP, the proposed free trade agreement that the president recently touted while visiting Vietnam.
Vietnam wanted the USDA catfish inspection removed as an unfair barrier to trade. Food retailers claimed the USDA catfish inspection program would take five more years to grant “equivalency” determinations to countries like Vietnam. They said the delays will keep a fifth of the “value white fish” supply off the market, increasing prices for “affordable” fish products.
Those groups — the Food Marketing Institute, National Retail Federation, and the Retail Industry Leader Association — also insist that the USDA catfish inspection program is not justified on a “food safety basis.” They say Salmonella, which is brought up in the proposed rule going back to 2011, has not been a problem with either foreign pangasius or domestic catfish. The risk, according to those who support USDA inspections, is carcinogens, such as Crystal Violet and Malachite Green, dangerous dyes which cause cancer.
Sanitary and environmental conditions in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries that sell seafood to the U.S. also concern those favoring inspections. Another recent import shipment to the U.S. was stopped for containing the antibiotic enrofloxacin.
USDA food safety programs, including the continuous inspection of meat, poultry, eggs and catfish, only account for 4.8 percent of the agency’s $25 billion of discretional spending for fiscal year 2017, or less than 1 percent of its overall annual budget of $155 billion.
The department made no response to the Senate vote.

FDA Finalizes Food Safety Rule on Intentional Adulteration
Source :
By (May 26, 2016)
In an effort to combat the intentional adulteration of food, FDA on Thursday finalized the last of seven major rules under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
For the first time, U.S. and domestic foreign food facilities must complete and maintain a written food defense plan to examine potential exposure to intentional contamination of food aimed at causing wide-scale harm to public health, the agency said in a news release.
FDA cautioned that such intentional “acts are unlikely to occur."
Under the new rule, which was proposed in December 2013, facilities must identify and implement strategies to mitigate vulnerabilities to intentional adulteration and develop food defense monitoring procedures and corrective actions, FDA said. Facilities also must confirm the food defense system is working and verify personnel receive proper training and maintain records, the agency noted.
The new rule covers 3,400 firms that operate 9,800 food facilities, and depending on the size of their business, food manufacturers have three to five years to comply. Smaller companies are exempt.
“Today’s final rule on intentional adulteration will further strengthen the safety of an increasingly global and complex food supply," said Stephen Ostroff, M.D., FDA’s incoming deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, in a statement. “The rule will work in concert with other components of FSMA by preventing food safety problems before they occur."
The six other major rules adopted by FDA under FSMA relate to preventative controls for animal and human foods, produce safety, importer verification to ensure food meets U.S. safety standards, a voluntary program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies, and sanitary transportation of animal and human foods.
“While acts of intentional adulteration may [take] many other forms, including acts of disgruntled employees or economically motivated adulteration, the goal of this rule is to prevent acts intended to cause wide-scale harm," FDA noted in a fact sheet on the intentional adulteration rule. “Economic adulteration is addressed in the final preventive controls rules for human and animal foods."

State warns people about food safety at the start of grilling season
Source :     
By Darren Kramer (May 26, 2016)
With a warm Memorial Day weekend on the way, state health officials are reminding people to keep food safety in mind when grilling this summer.
“Make sure your Memorial Day weekend is remembered for the good food you serve by taking some simple precautions when preparing, grilling and serving your food,” said Tracey Weeks, DPH Food Protection Program Coordinator. “Food safety is just as important when you’re cooking outside as it is when you’re cooking inside. Following a few simple steps can help ensure the success of your barbecues and picnics by preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses that can make your guests ill.”
Here are the state’s top tips:
Wash hands – Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water and dry your hands with a paper towel following restroom use, before preparing foods, after handling raw meat, and before eating. Be sure to wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat products and before handling other foods. Clean hands will help prevent the spread of illness-causing microorganisms.
Clean – Wash food-contact surfaces in a dishwasher and use the sanitizing cycle. Otherwise, wash with warm soapy water. Bacteria can spread and get onto cutting boards, knives and counter tops. Wash fruits and vegetables before preparing.
Separate – Be sure to use separate plates and utensils for cooked and uncooked foods. Bacteria from uncooked meats and poultry can cause illness in your guests if they contaminate cooked food. Don’t reuse marinade – discard after food is removed for cooking. If basting is required, use a freshly prepared marinade.
Take temperatures – Cook food thoroughly. The most common minimum internal cooking temperatures are 158 degrees Fahrenheit for hamburgers, 145 degrees Fahrenheit for steaks and ribs, and 165 degrees Fahrenheit for poultry. Be sure to use a food thermometer to check temperatures.
Keep it cold (or hot) – Keep cold food refrigerated until it is ready to be placed on the grill. Consume immediately or hold hot on the grill. Do not hold cooked foods at room temperature. Cooked, hot foods should be kept at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. Cold foods should be kept below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t cook if sick – Most importantly, let someone else prepare the food if you have, or recently had, symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea. Foodborne illness is easily spread from people to food when those with even mild symptoms unknowingly contaminate food.
For more information and free literature about food safety, contact the DPH Food Protection Program at (860) 509-7297 or visit

Be serious about food safety this picnic season (copy)
Source :
By Ellen Lund Tribune correspondent (May 26, 2016)
In my book, yesterday’s celebration of Memorial Day is the start of a picnic season that lasts all the way through football tailgating. If you’re eating outdoors on a table in the park or from an open tailgate with all the embellishments, you need to take food safety very seriously. Nobody wants a fun day to turn into miserable hours of not feeling well.
During this time of year, I like to use foods that I consider to be a bit more forgiving in picnic conditions. That means I use vinegar-based salad dressings and precooked meats when we head to our favorite picnic spot.
Let me be perfectly clear – the recipes I’m about to share with you don’t mean that you can skip all of the advice that food experts share to keep your picnics healthy and happy. Rachel Sinley, one of Hy-Vee’s dietitians, shares those important instructions in today’s Local Voices column. Be sure to follow them religiously.
I have a suggestion of my own that helps. I like to carry an extra cooler filled with extra ice and nothing else. If the ice in your food cooler has melted off and you are worried if the temperature is safe in some of Nebraska’s hottest summer weather, you will have plenty of additional ice to lower the temperature to a safe range. Extra ice is inexpensive compared to the cost of dealing with a food borne illness.
I suspect some of you are saying to yourselves right now, “Does that mean I shouldn’t take potato salad to a picnic?” It all depends on your recipe. If you use a mayonnaise-based dressing served over potatoes and hard-cooked eggs, I would suggest you save that treat for a time when you have a refrigerator handy and you aren’t going to be serving food outdoors. While commercially made mayonnaise is certainly safer than the homemade mayonnaise of years gone by, the eggs in the dish still make it a challenge to keep it cold enough in hot picnic weather to stay safe.
If you have a recipe that is vinegar-based and doesn’t contain eggs, you are good to go as long as you still follow safe chilling procedures. The following recipe is a wonderful substitute for traditional mayonnaise-based salad with egg. It is flavorful and easily made.
Garlic Potato Salad
6 cups of cubed potatoes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup green onions, chopped finely
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
^pBoil potatoes in salted water until tender. (This can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on the type of potato you use and how big your cubes are.) Combine garlic, onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss with potatoes. Chill about 3 hours before serving. Recipe note: If you don’t have fresh rosemary, feel free to use 1 teaspoon or so of dried. For those of you who don’t like rosemary, feel free to substitute your favorite herb. Thyme and tarragon are both good choices.
While I love a good grilled hamburger, I do worry about safely transferring raw meat in a cooler and then getting the burger cooked to a safe temperature. I feel much safer taking precooked bratwurst and then reheating them over charcoal for delicious flavor and killer grill marks.
Here’s how we do it.
Picnic Grilled Brats
1 pound bratwurst
2 cans (12 ounces each) beer
1 onion, sliced
^pPlace brats in a large skillet and cover with the beer. Add onion and simmer until brats are done. I use a thermometer and make sure they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Cool them in the refrigerator thoroughly. Transport them to your picnic or tailgate site in your cooler filled with ice. Heat your grill and simply warm the already cooked brats until they are good and hot.
The following salad is a wonderful accompaniment to your brats. It is good on top of the brat with mustard or served on the side.
Kraut Salad Deluxe
1 can (16-ounce) sauerkraut, well-drained and chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup vinegar
One-fourth cup salad oil
One-half cup sugar
^pDrain kraut well. Chop onion, celery and green pepper and mix with sauerkraut. For dressing: combine vinegar, oil and sugar. Bring to a boil and pour over sauerkraut mixture. Marinate overnight.
Quote of the Week
If you have a place where you can go and have a picnic with your family, life is good. — Anonymous

Food fraud: Police and Interpol crackdown on toxic food
Source :
By Doug Powell (May 26, 2016)
The New York Times highlights some of the toxic and counterfeit food products that police agencies have recently seized recently in 57 countries:
?food.fraud.jpg154 pounds of chicken intestines soaked in formalin, a prohibited food additive, seized in Indonesia;
?Italian olives painted with copper sulfate solutions to make them look greener;
?sugar that was cut with fertilizer in Sudan;
?customs agents and police officers in Hungary, Italy, Lithuania and Romania have discovered counterfeit chocolates, sweets and non-alcoholic sparkling wine that were headed to West Africa;
?South Korean police arrested a man who was smuggling dietary supplements that contained harmful ingredients but were advertised online as natural products;
?in Australia, a shipment of peanuts was repackaged and relabeled as pine nuts, posing a potentially deadly threat to people with serious groundnut allergies;
?police in Bolivia raided a warehouse and seized thousands of cans of sardines and the fake labels of a famous Peruvian brand that would have been affixed to them;
?police in eastern China raided two workshops that were producing fake jellyfish, which contained high levels of aluminum and chemicals (jellyfish is popular in parts of China, where it is sliced and served as part of a salad); and,
?illicit alcohol concocted in Greece, Britain or Burundi.
Criminals make millions of dollars a year peddling such products, and worse, to unwitting or reckless buyers, according to the international police agencies Interpol and Europol. Recent joint operations have netted about 11,000 tons of counterfeit and hazardous food and 264,000 gallons of bogus beverages, the agencies’ largest hauls to date.
“Fake and dangerous food and drink threaten the health and safety of people around the world, who are often unsuspectingly buying these potentially dangerous goods,” said Michael Ellis, who runs Interpol’s unit on trafficking in illicit goods and anti-counterfeiting measures.

Health officials provide food safety tips for Memorial Day weekend
Source :
By Elizabeth Simpson (May 25, 2016)
Memorial Day weekend is sure to bring out the grills, so Virginia health officials are reminding people of some food safety tips:
•Make sure foods don't spend more than one hour sitting out when the temperature is above 90 degrees, or two hours when temperatures are below that. Bacteria grows faster in warm temperatures.
•Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils and countertops.
•Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods.
•Use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145 degrees for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 160 degrees for ground meats, and 165 degrees for poultry.
•When transporting food, remember that harmful bacteria can grow when prepared food falls between temperatures of 40 and 140 degrees; perishable food transported without an ice or heat source won’t stay safe long.
•Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Keep children and pets far away from grills: declare a three-foot “safe zone” around the grill.
•With charcoal grills, only use charcoal starter fluids designed for barbecue grills and do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
•With gas grills, be sure that the hose connection is tight and check hoses carefully for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don’t light the grill.
•Keep grill clean and remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be accidentally ignited.
•Propane and charcoal grills must only be used outdoors.

FDA salutes four industry food safety initiatives in reportable food registry
Source :
By News Desk (May 25, 2016)
Four initiatives by the private sector to improve food safety are called out for recognition in the 5th Annual Reportable Food Registry Report, which has been submitted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
They include:
•Guidance on Environmental Monitoring and Control of Listeria for the Fresh Produce Industry: A guidance document was published by the United Fresh Produce Association with the intention of reducing the risk of Listeria monocytogenes in fresh and fresh-cut produce.
•Allergen Resources for the Baking Industry:  The American Bakers Association published an online list of resources to assist in the identification and management of potential food allergens.
•Spices and Seasonings Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Guidance: The American Spice Trade Association published GMP guidance as well as Principles of Physical Cleaning guidance to help ensure the production of clean, safe spices for consumers.
•Cantaloupes and Netted Melons Guidance: Developed by a broad, national coalition of industry stakeholders and government representatives, the “National Commodity-Specific Food Safety for Cantaloupes and Netted Melons” working group published online guidance to help ensure food safety in cantaloupe production.
The Reportable Food Registry (RFR), which was mandated by Congress, includes data from its first five years, covering the period from Sept. 8, 2009, to Sept. 7, 2014. It serves as an early warning tool for public health risks from reportable foods.
The FDA report states that information from RDR submissions during the reporting period helped protect public health by leading to a nationwide recall of ready-to-eat salad products due to Listeria monocytogenes.
It also led to three import alerts and increased import screening for lead in imported noodles and undeclared milk in imported chocolates. Almost half of the RFR reports for Year 5 related to undeclared allergens and most of those involved bakery products.
“Allergen mismanagement is largely avoidable by industry and often results from errors in labels and ingredient lists,” the RFR report states. It suggests more education resources to help manufacturers in controlling the hazard.
In the document, FDA notes that while the number of reportable incidents has gone down, industry is more familiar with the process now and is more cooperative with follow-up activities.
The RFR received 909 reportable food entires in Year 5, including 201 primary reports about a safety concern over food or animal feed, including specific food ingredients.

Bread’s got cancer? Food safety standards need to be upgraded and expanded on a war footing
Source :
By (May 25, 2016)
In yet another case that casts serious doubts about our food safety standards, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has found high levels of potassium bromate – identified as a possible carcinogen by WHO – and potassium iodate – which can affect thyroid functioning – in 84% of samples of common varieties of packaged bread. The use of both additives as flour treatment agents in bakery products has been banned in several countries such as the UK, EU nations, Canada, Australia and even China. However, in India both chemicals are allowed in bread-making with certain conditions.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s regulations allow use of the two additives at 50 parts per million for bread and 20 parts per million for bakery flour. Some manufacturers have cited this to defend themselves. However, it only goes to show that the standards in India need revising. This is all the more urgent because consumption of breads and other packaged food items in the country is on the rise. As is the popularity of fast foods – the CSE study also found products of five well-known multinational fast food companies selling pizza and burger to be positive for potassium bromate and iodate.
Against this backdrop, there’s a serious need for upgrading and expanding government’s food testing mechanisms. We need more laboratories, more safety inspectors and greater number of periodic tests. Plus, it’s relatively easier to enforce accountability on food companies in the organised sector. The real challenge is with testing unlabelled, locally produced food items that are sold via kirana stores and small street vendors. That said, it’s welcome that cases like the CSE bread study and the Maggi inspection last year are creating a stir. What’s needed is a wider debate on safety of the entire food ecosystem to put pressure on government to revise food safety standards periodically.

Poultry industry sustainability workshop excludes everyone who matters to sustainability
Source :
By Leah Garcés (May 24, 2016)
This week, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, the National Chicken Council, and the National Turkey Federation, will host a U.S. Poultry Industry Sustainability Workshop on May 24-25 in Atlanta. Invited attendees included key poultry integrators, retailers, food service companies and restaurants. They have shut the doors, however, to any groups advocating to create sustainable solutions with regard to workers, farmers and animal welfare.
The current trend to keep stakeholders and consumers in the dark through ag-gag policies and through exclusion, such as at this meeting, will only further work to degrade trust between the public and the poultry industry. A diverse collection of organizations banded together this week through a joint statement to request that the sustainability workshop and any future such discussion open their doors to a more collaborative process whereby those most impacted by the poultry industry are included in the discussion shaping the future, not just for the industry, but for our food and farming system.
The poultry industry has had a poor track record on three major areas of public concern: workers, farmers and animal welfare. A week does not go by without an abuse story reaching headlines. These come from a range of organizations with different interests, from Oxfam America exposing processing workers wearing diapers because they don’t get bathroom breaks, to RAFI’s work to show injustices to the farmers, to Compassion in World Farming’s work to expose inhumane treatment of chickens. The signals are clear: The poultry industry is in serious public relations trouble. Is this “sustainability workshop” nothing more than a masked effort to get ahead of these troubled waters rather than a true effort to solve these very real and serious problems facing the poultry industry?
Transparency and inclusion are critical to a sustainable food and farming system. Exclusion, on the other hand, leads to lack of trust and missed opportunities for the best outcome. Investors are increasingly watching how the food industry manages the risks in its supply chain, in particular animal welfare. The future of the industry relies on good management of these areas, and that will require a transparent and collaborative approach.
More than four years ago, the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply embarked on a similar process, one that ended in disaster for the egg industry. While the coalition defined five areas of sustainability (Animal Health and Well-Being, Food Safety and Quality, Environmental Impact, Worker Health and Safety, and Food Affordability), they, too, chose to exclude key groups that represented consumers’ concerns. The result was, when the study emerged from the coalition in favor of enriched cages, it was sharply rejected by consumer and animal welfare advocates. Today, more than 120 key food companies have gone against the coalition’s favoring of enriched cages, citing clear scientific and consumer rejection of cages. As the poultry industry embarks on a similar process as the egg industry, it would seem best practice to include, rather than exclude, groups from each of these sectors to ensure the best outcome.
If the industry does truly wish to sustain itself and be sustainable, it must consider a more collaborative process. Sustainability of the industry does not mean business as usual or speaking in an echo chamber. It means working collaboratively toward a truly sustainable practice, even when everyone is not in agreement.

Food Poisoning Cancels Trip for Benito High School Students
Source :
By Linda Larsen (May 24, 2016) A food poisoning outbreak associated with allegedly contaminated tri-tip sandwiches served to San Benito High School seniors on Thursday, May 19, 2016 has forced the cancellation of their trip to Disneyland. At least 80 students from the California high school were sickened, and at least 12 students had to go to the hospital. The day after the seniors ate the sandwiches, on Friday May 20, 2016, other students ate the leftovers and also got sick.
Health officials say that since no food is left for testing, they cannot tell what made the students sick. But they could certainly conduct stool sample testing on the ill students and run PFGE tests to identify the bacteria and to see if the same strain made all of the teenagers sick.
The symptoms of this outbreak included stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. Those are the classic symptoms of Salmonella or E. coli food poisoning. Since the students didn’t get sick until the next day, Salmonella is the most likely culprit. Symptoms of that illness usually begin 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria.
The seniors were on the bus heading to Disneyland when some of them started getting sick. The busses were forced to turn back to the high school.
The meat for the sandwiches was purchased at a Hollister Safeway store and was cooked by the student’s parents. Officials think that “poor food handling” probably caused the problem. That could range from undercooking the meat, allowing cross-contamination, letting the meat sit outside of refrigeration too long either before or after cooking, or holding the meat at a temperature that is too low. Meat is often contaminated with pathogenic bacteria.
The students will have the cost of their trip refunded to them. The trip may be rescheduled.

Food Poisoning Cancels Trip for Benito High School Students
Source :
By Linda Larsen (May 24, 2016)
A food poisoning outbreak associated with allegedly contaminated tri-tip sandwiches served to San Benito High School seniors on Thursday, May 19, 2016 has forced the cancellation of their trip to Disneyland. At least 80 students from the California high school were sickened, and at least 12 students had to go to the hospital. The day after the seniors ate the sandwiches, on Friday May 20, 2016, other students ate the leftovers and also got sick.
Health officials say that since no food is left for testing, they cannot tell what made the students sick. But they could certainly conduct stool sample testing on the ill students and run PFGE tests to identify the bacteria and to see if the same strain made all of the teenagers sick.
The symptoms of this outbreak included stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. Those are the classic symptoms of Salmonella or E. coli food poisoning. Since the students didn’t get sick until the next day, Salmonella is the most likely culprit. Symptoms of that illness usually begin 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria.
The seniors were on the bus heading to Disneyland when some of them started getting sick. The busses were forced to turn back to the high school.
The meat for the sandwiches was purchased at a Hollister Safeway store and was cooked by the student’s parents. Officials think that “poor food handling” probably caused the problem. That could range from undercooking the meat, allowing cross-contamination, letting the meat sit outside of refrigeration too long either before or after cooking, or holding the meat at a temperature that is too low. Meat is often contaminated with pathogenic bacteria.
The students will have the cost of their trip refunded to them. The trip may be rescheduled.

Manufacturers of canned crab meat, corn salsa get warning letters
Source :
By News Desk (May 23, 2016)
Pasteurized canned crab meat and black bean and corn salsa were among the foods that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was concerned about this month.
FDA sent a warning letter on May 5, 2016, to the Empire Crab Company in Philadelphia because the agency found that its pasteurized canned crab meat was adulterated, and the agency also sent a warning letter on May 3, 2016, to the House of Webster Inc. in Muskogee, OK, for the same reason regarding that company’s black bean and corn salsa.
Empire Crab, located at 3120 S. Galloway in Philadelphia, was the target of an FDA inspection in mid-March and was found at that time to be in violation of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations, the agency stated.
The FDA warning letter to Empire Crab contains numerous specific recommendations to bring the company into compliance with federal regulations. Critical control points, monitoring, verification and records were among the areas where Empire Crab needs to take corrective actions, according to the warning letter.
FDA had made some of the same recommendations following previous inspections in March 2011 and July 2015, the letter indicated.
The House of Webster’s facility, located at 1013 N. Second St. in Rogers, AR, was targeted for inspection last December and was found in violation of the regulations for acidified foods at that time, the letter noted.
The Arkansas facility has failed to process each of its acidified foods in conformity with “at least the scheduled process …,” FDA stated.
FDA expressed concern about Webster’s black bean and corn salsa regarding whether the temperature and hold processes would control maximum equilibrium pH for the product. The letter also noted the lack of records for holding and filling times.
The agency indicated concern in the warning letter about the adequacy of certain instruments for “measuring conditions that control or prevent the growth of microorganisms.” In addition, FDA found mold growth on the drums of reworked food products and on pallets used to hold food and some misbranding problems with various Webster products.

Food safety: Five things to watch out for
Source :
By Tom Airey (May 23, 2016)
The owner of an Indian takeaway in North Yorkshire has been found guilty of manslaughter after a customer with a nut allergy was served a meal containing ground peanuts.
The trial was told Mohammed Zaman had cut corners by swapping the thickening agent almond powder for the cheaper groundnut powder, which contained peanuts.
Although the vast majority of restaurants are safe, a number each year are found to have breached laws and guidelines. BBC News looks at some things to be careful of when ordering food.
Since December 2014, takeaways and restaurants have been required by law to let customers know if any of the 14 most dangerous allergens are ingredients in their food.
They include peanuts, eggs, milk, fish, crustaceans and mustard.
Paul Wilson, who suffered an anaphylactic shock after eating a meal from Zaman's business, died before the change in the law, but the trial heard he had flagged up his peanut allergy to the restaurant and his meal had been labelled as "nut free".
David Pickering, of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), said: "Some [restaurants] will have it in a book, some will give you the information verbally. If they can't give you it, don't eat there."
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says people are often still not given this information.
In a recent FSA and Allergy UK survey of more than 1,000 people, one in four said they or a family member had suffered an allergic reaction while eating out.
Chun-Han Chan, FSA allergy expert, said the food safety watchdog had translated allergy advice information into several different languages to provide the best possible guidance.
She said: "We want to stop unnecessary deaths and hospitalisations by helping food businesses provide accurate allergy information."
In 2014, the consumer organisation Which? sampled 60 takeaway lamb curries and lamb kebabs in London and Birmingham and found 40% contained other types of meat, with some containing no lamb at all.
The FSA then conducted a wider study, published in February 2015, with 84 of 307 samples containing non-declared meat.
Of these, one-fifth had used beef instead of lamb. Others contained a presence of beef, chicken, pork or turkey. The law requires food to be accurately described with fines of up to £5,000 enforceable.
The FSA described this as "one of the simplest forms of food fraud", with spicy sauces often used to "mask differences in taste".
The CTSI said the move was usually driven by the price of meat.
Mr Pickering said: "Sometimes the takeaway isn't aware of the meat they are actually getting from their supplier.
"People want to know what they're eating, mostly due to their personal preference, but more importantly for religious reasons, as pork or beef are often used as substitutes."
It is not just meat which can be substituted. Other ingredients such as oils, milk, honey and spices are commonly mislabelled to cut costs, according to research published in the Journal of Food Science.
Often, the restaurant or takeaway is helpless to spot this if it has been mislabelled by the supplier.
Saffron, a key ingredient in several cuisines, including Indian, Spanish, Turkish and Persian, is labour intensive and famously expensive.
Spanish saffron, which is known for its high quality, is sometimes actually saffron imported from other countries before being relabelled.
Mr Pickering said: "We're hoping the FSA will be more active in using international intelligence to spot where and when then these substitutes may appear."
The FSA said it monitored "shortages of raw materials and spikes in consumer demand" through its Emerging Risks programme.
Many of the nation's favourite takeaway dishes often contain artificial colour to make them look as appealing as possible.
It is a criminal offence to sell dishes containing excess artificial colour, with food vendors facing fines of up to £5,000.
The FSA has long called for the phasing out of artificial colourings, including sunset yellow (E110), allura red (E129), carmoisine (E122), tartrazine (E102), quinoline yellow (E104) and ponceau 4R (E124) because of their reported link to hyperactivity in some children.
An EU-wide mandatory warning has to be placed on the labels of pre-packed foods that contain any of these colourings, but there is no requirement for it to be stated on takeaway or restaurant menus.
These colourings produce yellow, orange and red shades, but restaurants and takeaways also use natural spices such as turmeric and paprika to provide colour.
In 2015, Walsall Council trading standards found seven out of eight chicken tikka or chicken tikka masala dishes tested contained sunset yellow (E110) or ponceau 4R (E124).
Mr Pickering said eateries often fail to "look at the label", so are not aware of maximum limits.
Green hygiene stickers are frequently seen on the front of restaurant or takeaway businesses in the UK, but it is only in Wales where they have to be displayed by law.
All eateries are subject to unannounced inspections by local environmental health officers, with a rating of 0 to 5 awarded.
The FSA provides ratings for takeaways and restaurants throughout the UK on its website. Poor food hygiene or quality can be reported to the relevant local authority.
Mr Pickering said: "We need information from people - we may not investigate each complaint, but it will help to give us a general picture if certain places crop up again and again."
Earlier in May, the BBC's 5 Live Investigates programme found almost 47,000 fewer inspections were carried out in the UK in 2014 than in 2003, due to factors including reduced council budgets.
An anonymous inspector said there were "fewer officers trying to do more inspections", with the FSA describing the situation as one of "growing concern".
?Food premises are rated from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to 5 (hygiene standards are very good)
?Inspectors look at how food is prepared and cooked, as well as reheating, cooling and storage
?They also look at the condition of the building and what the management are doing to make sure food is safe
?Premises seen as high risk should be inspected at least every six months
?Eateries are only as good as their last inspection
As many order takeaways over the phone or online, measures are being introduced to make sure the customer is always aware of hygiene ratings.
From November, takeaway leaflets and menus in Wales will have to point customers to the food hygiene ratings website and remind people they have a legal right to ask for the rating when they order.

It is expected the FSA will shortly be presenting research to the government to build the case for the mandatory display of ratings in England.



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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