FoodHACCP Newsletter



Food Safety Job Openings

08/11. Microbiologist - San Antonio, TX
08/11. Director of Quality Control - Livingston, CA
08/11. Senior QA Supervisor - Farmerville, LA
08/11. Dir, Food Safety/Quality Systems - Chicago, IL
08/10. Food Safety & Quality Chem – Eddyville, IA
08/10. Food Safety Specialist – Houston, TX
08/10. Food Safety Specialist - Omaha, NE
08/08. Food Safety Leader – Nationwide
08/08. Dir Food Safety & Compliance – Nashville, NC
08/08. Food Safety Specialist – Charlotte, NC

08/15 2016 ISSUE:717

FDA warning: Colorado casino has seafood HACCP problems
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/fda-warning-letter-colorado-casino/#.V7JoIk4eaUl
By News Desk (Aug 15, 2016)
A warning letter posted in the most recent update by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration went out from the agency’s Denver District Office to Pinnacle Entertainment of Las Vegas.
Pinnacle CEO Anthony M. Sanfilippo was told in the July 28 warning letter that a June 6 inspection of the company’s Ameristar Casino Black Hawk in Black Hawk, CO, revealed “serious deviations” from the federal seafood HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) regulations.
The inspection, done under contract with FDA by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, found that the facility does not have a HACCP plan for vacuum-packed, cold-smoked salmon to control the food safety hazards of Clostridium botulinum toxin formation and growth of pathogens, FDA stated.
Therefore, the warning letter concluded, the firm’s vacuum-packed, cold-smoked salmon is considered adulterated under federal law.
FDA stated that, in order to comply with applicable regulations, the company “must conduct or have conducted for you a hazard analysis for each kind of fish and fishery product that you produce to determine whether there are food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur and you must have and implement a written HACCP plan to control any food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur … .”
The company was given 15 working days from receipt of the warning letter to respond in writing with the specific steps it intends to take to correct the deviations.
“You should include in your response documentation such as your HACCP plans, copies of all related monitoring records and corrective actions, or other useful information that would assist us in evaluating your compliance. If you cannot complete all corrections before you respond, we expect that you will explain the reason for your delay and state when you will correct any remaining deviations,” the warning letter stated.
Should a company not promptly correct violations noted in a FDA warning letter, the agency may initiate regulatory action without further informal notice, including the initiation of a seizure action against food products and/or action to stop the firm from operating.
Recipients of FDA warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to respond with details of the procedures they have taken, or will take, to correct the current violations and prevent them from recurring.

USDA Says Deli Listeria Pilot Project Working Well
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/usda-says-deli-listeria-pilot-project-working-well/
By Linda Larsen (Aug 15, 2016)
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released their second quarter report of a year-long pilot program that assesses whether retailers are using the government’s recommendations to address Listeria monocytogenes contamination in their deli departments. The program started in January 2016. The report states that more retail delis are following recommendations.
Listeria monocytogenes contamination is a serious issue with deli products, especially sliced meats and cheeses. There have been several outbreaks in the past few years linked to these products, particularly soft cheeses. There is zero tolerance for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in ready to eat foods.
The government surveyed 503 retail delis in the second quarter, up from 334 surveyed in the first quarter of 2016. In the second quarter, 87% of retail delis followed recommendations addressing product handling, up from 82% in the first quarter. More also followed cleaning and sanitizing recommendations (82%, up from 76%), facility and equipment controls (97%, up from 96%), and employee practices (96%, up from 92%).
You can read more about the project at FSIS “Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in Retail Delicatessens.” The program guidelines were issued in June 2016. The project includes information about regulation of meat and poultry products at retail, information about product handling and facility sanitizing, a deli self-assessment tool, and references.

Just how clean are Boston’s restaurants?
Source : https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/08/15/many-boston-restaurants-got-food-safety-last-year/qQiSRZCPimv3XXwiBdQyhM/story.html
By Matt Rocheleau (Aug 15, 2016)
Nearly four in 10 Boston restaurants racked up enough food safety violations during an inspection last year to earn the lowest possible letter grade under the city’s forthcoming rating system.
But, within a matter of days or weeks, virtually every one of the restaurants corrected enough violations to bring their marks up to the highest letter grade.
The new rating system, which will rate the restaurants “A,” “B,” or “C,” has yet to go into effect. But the Globe used publicly available inspection records, and the grading formula the city recently announced it intends to use, to calculate the letter grades that restaurants across Boston would have received.
The Globe focused on 2015, the most recent full year of data. It found:
• A total of 1,127 restaurants, or about 37 percent, of the city’s 3,000 dining establishments — including sit-down restaurants, takeout spots, and food trucks — earned the equivalent of a C for at least one food safety inspection.
• For another 695, or 23 percent, of the city’s restaurants, the lowest grade earned during any inspection was the equivalent of a B.
• The rest, 1,191, or nearly 40 percent, earned the equivalent of straight A’s for the year.
Despite that range of performance, people can expect to see mostly A’s posted on the city’s website and in restaurant storefronts when letter grades go up on the Web this year and in store windows in 2017.
That’s because restaurants that get B’s and C’s on initial inspections, which are unannounced, typically improve their grades to A’s on their next inspections, which are scheduled soon after. City inspection records show that virtually every restaurant, 99.4 percent, eventually earned the equivalent of an A at some point during 2015.
What’s more, restaurants that get a B or C on initial inspections will not be required to immediately post those grades in their storefronts, nor will the city post them online, said William Christopher, head of Boston’s Inspectional Services Department. Instead, he said, such restaurants will get one reinspection, within 30 days, to try to boost their grades before they are displayed publicly.
Behind the scenes, Christopher said, there will be incentives for restaurants to get an A on the first try.
Those that get an A on initial inspection can expect their next unannounced visit within about a year; those that get a B, within about six months; those that get a C, within about three months.
“We’re hoping that will be an incentive for restaurants to want to get an A” the first time, said Christopher.
If a restaurant fails to earn an A after both the initial inspection and the second inspection, its B or C will be displayed publicly. City inspectors will keep working with it to bring it into compliance and educate workers on best food safety practices.
To boost its grade at this point, the restaurant would have to pay the city $300 for a third inspection. The restaurant can also pay $300 for a fourth inspection, but its grade after that will be permanent until the next inspection cycle.
City officials say they hope the system will also encourage restaurants to move swiftly to correct violations.
“We have noticed in the past that we have visited some establishments numerous times before they are in compliance,” said an e-mail from ISD spokeswoman Lisa Timberlake. “Repeat visits are time consuming and take inspectors away from other inspections.”
“The end goal is for all restaurants to end up with an A grade,” she said.
While the rating system will be new, it will not cost the city any extra money because the process for inspecting restaurants will not change, officials said. And complaints about food safety will continue to prompt immediate city inspections.
“We’re just changing the way inspections are presented publicly so it’s more transparent and easier for consumers to understand,” said Christopher.
The city will use a numerical system to calculate the letter grades, with a top score of 100 and deductions for each infraction, but the city will not post numerical scores. That means C grades, which are 80 or below, could cover anywhere from 80s to much smaller numbers, even negative numbers.
The department expects to launch a pilot version of the rating system as soon as next month, pending City Council approval.
Once it launches, grades will be posted on a rolling basis on the city’s website. After the first year of grading, restaurants will be required to post in their storefronts the grades they received.
Boston’s program will resemble rating systems that New York, Los Angeles, and other cities have been using since as early as the late 1990s. Locally, Newton launched a similar program in the fall that requires numerical ratings to be displayed inside restaurants.
The practice of grading restaurants has faced criticism elsewhere, including skepticism over whether the ratings lead to improved conditions, and concerns that the ratings can be arbitrary and unfair.
Local restaurant industry leaders have worried Boston’s system could be unfair to restaurants.
The city consulted with the Massachusetts Restaurant Association to develop the new rating system.
“Food safety is every restaurant operators’ first priority,” said a recent statement from Bob Luz, the association’s president and chief executive.
Still, he cautioned, “A health inspection represents a single snapshot in time and there will need to be an educational component to the dining public in regards to this new system. We are thankful to the city for engaging in a thoughtful dialogue and exchanging of ideas to address the concerns that undoubtedly will arise as a result of changing to a letter grading system.”

 

 

 


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Study directly links increase in vibrio cases to global warming trend
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/study-directly-links-increase-in-vibrio-cases-to-global-warming/#.V7Jo704eaUl
By News Desk (Aug 12, 2016)
A recent study may be the first one to link a warming trend in sea surface temperatures to the spread of vibrios and the human diseases which can be caused by pathogenic strains.
“In this study, for the first time to our knowledge, experimental evidence is provided on the link between multidecadal climatic variability in the temperate North Atlantic and the presence and spread of an important group of marine prokaryotes, the vibrios, which are responsible for several infections in both humans and animals,” the researchers wrote in the study, which was published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
People can be exposed to vibrio illnesses by eating raw oysters or other raw or undercooked seafood, or by drinking or swimming in contaminated water. The incidence of such illnesses has been increasing during the past 20 years.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about a dozen species of vibrio known to cause illness in humans. The most common are V. parahaemolyticus, V. vulnificus, and V. alginolyticus.
The ones that cause the illness known as vibriosis live naturally in brackish or salt water, and those who contract vibriosis become infected by consuming raw or undercooked seafood or exposing a wound to seawater.
Most infections occur from May through October when water temperatures are warmer, according to CDC. About 100 deaths per year on average can be blamed on vibrio. The agency also reports that U.S. vibrio infections have gone from an average of about 390 lab-confirmed cases per year in the late 1990s to about 1,030 annually on average in recent years.
Lead study author Rita Colwell of the University of Maryland told ABC News that the confirmed case numbers show “a remarkable increase on an annual basis.” She noted that Alaska, where sea water is generally colder and therefore less hospitable to vibrio bacteria, has been getting cases after people there ate infected oysters.
The researchers used DNA and a 50-year database of reports on plankton, water temperatures and diseases to put together a comprehensive picture of the relationship between global warming and increasing vibrio illnesses.
“Now we have linked very directly the increase and the trend in number of cases, so it’s all coming together in great detail,” Colwell said.
CDC advises people not to eat raw or undercooked oysters or other shellfish, but to cook them before eating. Other tips from the agency to reduce the chances of vibrio infection include:
•Always wash your hands with soap and water after handing raw shellfish.
•Avoid contaminating cooked shellfish with raw shellfish and its juices.
•Stay out of brackish or salt water if you have a wound (including cuts and scrapes), or cover your wound with a waterproof bandage if there’s a possibility it could come into contact with brackish or salt water, raw seafood, or raw seafood juices.
•Wash wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and water if they have been exposed to seawater or raw seafood or its juices.
•If you develop a skin infection, tell your medical provider if your skin has come into contact with brackish or salt water, raw seafood, or raw seafood juices.

Integrating Pest Management Procedures to Protect Food Safety
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/augustseptember-2016/integrating-pest-management-procedures-to-protect-food-safety/
By Jim Fredericks, Ph.D., and Cindy Mannes
Integrating Pest Management Procedures to Protect Food Safety
Pest management is a critical component of food safety programs worldwide. Production facilities, as well as food retail facilities and restaurants, are all at risk for attracting such pests as rodents, cockroaches, ants and birds, due in large part to the very nature of their business. These facilities provide the ideal conditions many pests need to thrive: food, water and shelter.
Although they can be magnets for pests, food facilities must be vigilant in their fight against infestation, as rodents and insects can carry harmful bacteria that can contaminate food and result in widespread illness outbreaks. An infestation can have a detrimental effect on a business’s reputation with customers, employees and the community, not to mention eat away at profits by damaging food inventory, property and the chances of repeat business.
When it comes to foodborne diseases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year, roughly 1 in 6 Americans gets sick, 128,000 people are hospitalized and more than 3,000 people die from various foodborne illnesses. Different disease-causing microbes or pathogens can contaminate food and food surfaces, and can be introduced to various environments often during food processing or handling, which in turn can lead to illness.
Working with a pest management professional to develop an integrated pest management (IPM) program specific to the needs of the food facility is essential to reduce future pest problems and ultimately protect the business’s bottom line.
Government Regulations
Pest management professionals not only work to prevent potential pest problems, but they also can help food facility directors adhere to ever-changing food safety regulations. Licensed and qualified pest management professionals conduct a thorough inspection of the facility and work to identify conditions that are conducive to pest activity, helping eliminate potential problem areas and contaminants.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations aim to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. Proper pest management is a critical component in preventing contamination. As every facility that handles food has its own set of unique rules and regulations to ensure contamination is at a minimum, it is essential that programs developed to prevent contamination are particular to each facility.
In recent years, FSMA has generated numerous regulations and preventive control measures to minimize or prevent the occurrence of contamination and foodborne illness. Recently, FDA passed the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule, which could start to impact some businesses’ compliance standards as early as September 2016. This rule requires facilities to establish and implement a food safety system that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls. Under this rule, food facilities will be required to evaluate their operations, identify hazards or areas of risk, implement measures to prevent contamination and develop an action plan to counter contamination if it occurs. Largely, this rule focuses on increased documentation, accountability and corrective actions for food facilities nationwide. One of the best ways facilities can comply with this new rule is to implement a rigorous pest management program.
Overall, the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule allows facilities to identify and evaluate known or reasonably foreseeable contamination hazards that may be associated with the facility. This includes, but is not limited to, biological, chemical, physical and radiological hazards, natural toxins, pesticides, drug residues, decomposition, parasites, allergens and unapproved food and color additives.
FDA and its third-party auditors also have more access to food handling facilities and can conduct unannounced inspections under this rule. This makes it crucial for facilities to ensure that a strong pest management program is in place. An effective pest management program should include a professional pest management partner to implement an IPM program, conduct regular inspections and report on findings. These inspections should occur at least once a month in addition to proactive pestproofing measures and the development of an action plan that can be used if and when a potential infestation occurs. Pest infestations, as well as potential areas of risk, are not always obvious but can easily be uncovered by trained professionals.
Types of Food Facilities
Various types of facilities handle food products each and every day. Each facility has its own unique risks for attracting pests, as well as standards and rules that pest management professionals must adhere to when servicing these sites. As FSMA also continues to apply new rules that address ongoing contamination concerns, food facilities need to be diligent in staying abreast of these updates to ensure they are following proper protocol. Overall, there are a few segments within the food industry that are at a high risk for attracting pests.
Dry-Food Facilities
Dry-food facilities process foods and products of a dry nature that can produce airborne material. These facilities include, but are not limited to, flour mills, rice mills, mix plants, confectionary or candy production, feed mills and seed and bean processing. These facilities can attract a multitude of pests, which vary with the material being processed. In general, dry-food facilities are susceptible to pests that can survive for long periods without easy access to water, such as beetles, rodents and birds.
Dry-food facilities face a unique challenge as dust from production can accumulate along ducts, electrical panels and in cracks and crevices. This provides a food source for pests that can be difficult to remove by cleaning alone. In fact, some facilities use compressed air to clean this layer of dust; however, compressed air works by scattering the air, and therefore the dust, throughout the facility. This can disperse insect eggs or adult insects that are also in the area throughout the building and spread the infestation. Thus, compressed air is not considered an effective method of cleanup. Instead, facilities should implement a vacuuming method to collect dust and insect eggs/adult insects without spreading any mess or infestation throughout the facility.
Wet or Liquid-Food Facilities
Wet or liquid-food facilities often have a moist environment. These facilities include, but are not limited to, beverage plants, bottling plants, breweries, canning facilities, dairies and wineries. In general, the high levels of moisture in these facilities will support pests that need water to thrive, such as cockroaches and flies.
Wet or liquid-food facilities typically use wet cleanup procedures to sanitize equipment. In addition to the liquid-food products in the facility, the moisture attributed to these cleaning processes can contribute to an increased pest presence. As these cleaning processes are unavoidable, these types of facilities need to implement proper water-management systems and drainage so they can appropriately accommodate the quantities of wastewater generated in these processes. Additionally, the use of air curtains can help prevent the entry of flying insects.
Food Retail
The food retail category includes a large array of settings, such as bodegas, grocery stores and supermarkets. As these facilities vary greatly in size, they can attract a variety of pests, such as cockroaches, flies, rodents and the occasional bird or squirrel. Additionally, some pests that infest retail facilities will be location dependent.
Food retail facilities not only need to worry about the contamination of the products they sell, but they also need to be concerned about pest presence in terms of how it will affect business. A heightened pest presence, especially when noticed by customers, can negatively impact the business’s reputation and therefore impact profits. These facilities should implement prevention controls such as air curtains and door sweeps, which can help deter the entry of small flying insects.
Restaurants and Foodservice Facilities
An infestation in a restaurant setting can result in more than just food contamination. Just one pest-related incident can lead to hefty fines from health departments, damage to the restaurant’s reputation and temporary or, in more severe cases, permanent closure.
As with food retail facilities, a varied array of pests, such as cockroaches, flies, rodents and ants, tend to be of the utmost concern for restaurant operators. Restaurateurs need to implement stringent preventive controls, including a strong pest management program with regular inspections to combat potential contamination resulting from pests.
Schools and commercial kitchens also face unique challenges when it comes to pest management, as they typically feed large quantities of people and are responsible for protecting their well-being from serious health threats posed by pests.
Working with a pest management professional can help food facility managers, retail managers and restaurant owners determine areas of risk, as well as which prevention techniques should be implemented to deter potential pest infestations.
Key Pests
If they are not already, pests should be a key concern for food facility directors as they can carry viruses and bacteria, which they leave behind by touching the same food and kitchen surfaces as employees and food items. The viruses and bacteria found on pests can spread to and sicken humans. The feces and urine of pests can also spread disease, as well as cause respiratory issues for many individuals.
As FSMA focuses on preventing contamination and therefore foodborne illnesses, it is essential for food facilities, no matter the setting in which they work, to have an understanding of their unique pest risk and how to counter the risk with an effective pest management program.
Pest management in food handling facilities can be difficult as every facility and situation is different. While FSMA helps regulate the standards for these facilities, each may also have a different set of rules and regulations it needs to abide by. A licensed and qualified pest management professional can help facility management identify risk and know and understand specific pest traits that make gaining control much easier. While the types of pests that can infest these facilities vary, depending on facility as well as location, there are a few pests that should be in the crosshairs of everyone’s radar:
Cockroaches
Cockroaches are resilient pests and among the most important pests in commercial establishments. Not only are they a nuisance, but they are also known to carry many common disease pathogens and can cause allergic reactions in many people. The most common pathogens carried by cockroaches are Salmonella and Escherichia coli, which can spread to food and food preparation surfaces, sickening humans. Cockroaches thrive in cracks and crevices and will feed on practically anything of nutritional value. They are most attracted to environments where food and moisture are present.
Flies
Flies are considered one of the most visible pests and require a long-term solution that relies on prevention and sanitation. Not only are flies a nuisance pest, but many also are critical in disease transmission. For example, the common housefly has been found to carry more than 100 different pathogenic organisms.
Fly control is challenging, as their larval development sites must be located and eliminated for success. These sites are often located quite a distance from where adult flies are present.
Rodents
Rodents, such as mice and rats, can thrive in many situations and are difficult to keep out of structures. In fact, mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a dime and rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter. In addition to spreading disease, rodents can carry other organisms, such as fleas and ticks. Once inside the structure, rodents, such as Norway rats, can cause structural damage by gnawing through wires, contaminate food and introduce other pests into the facility.
Ants
Ants have been reported as one of the largest pest problems faced in food facilities. Ants are social insects that feed on practically every kind of food and are one of the most difficult pests to control in facilities. As the biology and habits of each ant species differ, it’s important to work with a licensed pest professional in the identification of ant hot spots and other factors that may be conducive to ant activity.
Birds
Birds are considered more of an occasional invader pest that can pose a serious problem in facilities. Depending on the time of year, birds may be looking for a place to nest—and food-related facilities can provide the perfect refuge. In addition to being a nuisance, birds may damage or destroy property, eat and contaminate food items and are a health concern as bird droppings are a common source of respiratory fungal disease.
Employees
Although this is not commonly discussed, employees can also contribute to introducing pest problems to food facilities as they can bring pests such as cockroaches, ants or bedbugs from home. Proper employee sanitation procedures should be implemented before and after employees touch and interact with food processing equipment to help prevent potential infestations.
Integrated Pest Management
To comply with FSMA, the best method for pest control in food facilities is to follow an IPM program whereby facility managers and pest management professionals collaborate in the identification of pest hot spots, proper sanitation practices and pest prevention procedures. Not only is IPM a method that focuses on eliminating sources of food, water and shelter, but it can also provide effective pest control in a proactive, sustainable manner. This can be especially useful for facilities that are required to follow strict regulations.
Oftentimes, pest management can be challenging on a small scale, but it may also seem overwhelming in larger instances such as in food processing facilities and warehouses. The bottom line is that working with a pest management professional is essential to handle the wide array of pest problems that can occur in various environments. Pest management professionals have the training and experience to overcome the most difficult pest problems and can help food handling facilities adhere to the strict and ever-changing regulations that ensure food safety.  

Hawaii asks Public for Hepatitis A Help
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/19072/#.V7JpbE4eaUl
By Denis Stearns (Aug 11, 2016)
Update:  Kamehameha Schools’ Kapalama Campus sent a letter home to parents telling them an employee (not a food service worker) was hospitalized for Hepatitis A.  This announcement follows similar announcements over ill food service workers at Baskin-Robbins, Chili’s, Costco Bakery, Hawaiian Airlines, Sushi Shiono, Taco Bell, Tamashiro Market, Papa John’s and New Lin Fong Bakery, as well as a Hawaii Department of Transportation employee also not involved in food service.
Numbers Continue to Grow:  As of Wednesday, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) has identified 33 new cases of Hepatitis A, bringing the total to 168.
All cases have been adults with 46 requiring hospitalization.
Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu.
Eight individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.
Onset of illness has ranged between June 12th to August 1st.
Source Still Elusive:  “It’s hard to know how close we are. We have some leads. We’re now feeling more confident that we have direction with an investigation. We’re looking at certain products, distributors,” Park said. “We’re trying to get a better sense from that. We also recognize that as we continue to work on this and put effort in, we could get to a dead end.”
Park says the source may be a product, distributed widely by multiple distributors, that is brought in to Hawaii and commonly consumed on Oahu.
Officials say identifying the source of infection is a challenge due to the long incubation period of the disease — anywhere from 15 to 52 days. This makes it difficult for patients to accurately recall the foods consumed and locations visited during the period when infection could have taken place.
They say they’re certain it’s one particular food or drink item that’s responsible. If the outbreak continues to grow, then they can at least narrow the suspected cause as something that is not a fresh product.
Public Cooperation Needed:  Here are some suggestions for the 168 (or more) sickened that I am sure HDOH officials are already using:
•Be cooperative – hepatitis A illnesses can last 2 – 6 months and victims are certainly not feeling their best, but their cooperation is vital.
•Thinking about what you ate or drank and where may well not be that productive – trying to recall what you ate or drank several weeks ago is difficult – I can hardly recall what I ate or drank a few days ago – however, try.
•Focus on where you have been eating and drinking in the 2 – 6 weeks prior to becoming ill – at home or out. Check your calendar, phone records and social media like Facebook and Twitter.
•Pull your credit and debit card purchases as well as any accounts you have at grocery stores or restaurants.
•As friends, co-workers or family what they might recall that you did over that same time.
•Keep in contact with HDOH. Its resources are stretched and it needs your support and assistance.
Health Department Asking Public for Help:
As a part of the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in our state, we are performing a survey of Hawaii residents to determine how frequently residents eat at restaurants and obtain food from grocery stores in our communities. This survey should take less than 5 minutes. Please limit survey responses to one survey per household/family. Mahalo for your help!
Hepatitis A:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks 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 Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, wo required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.
If you or a family member became ill with a Hepatitis A infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Hepatitis A attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Caterer without permit linked to Salmonella outbreak
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/caterer-without-permit-linked-to-salmonella-outbreak/#.V7JppU4eaUl
By Coral Beach (Aug 11, 2016)
A rogue caterer who has been operating without proper permits since at least 2012 has been named in a rare move by public health officials in Tacoma, WA. Operating as Mr. Rick’s Catering, Rick Stevenson’s food is the suspected vehicle in a Salmonella outbreak that could impact 175 people in multiple counties.
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department officials named Stevenson and his unpermitted catering operation Wednesday in a news release reminding the public to use caution when hiring caterers.
“The state Department of Health continues to investigate the outbreak, which could impact as many as 175 people in King, Kitsap, Pierce, Spokane and other counties,” according to the Tacoma-Pierce County release.
“While the effort to learn how many people were sickened is still underway, laboratory tests have confirmed the illness is Salmonella.”
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Health told the News Tribune newspaper in Tacoma that three confirmed cases of Salmonella infection have been confirmed among attendees of a July 2 event in Snohomish County. Julie Graham said at least a dozen more people responded to a survey of attendees, saying they also were sickened, according to the Tacoma newspaper.
“Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has notified Mr. Rick’s Catering not to operate several times since 2012, and as a result of the incident in Snohomish County, recently issued a $710 fee for continuing to operate without a permit,” according to the news release posted Wednesday.
“In the interest of protecting public health, and because the business owner continues to advertise as a viable business, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has opted to name the unpermitted caterer.”

Food Safety Testing Market by Contaminant, Food Tested, Technology, and by Region - Global Forecast to 2021
Source : http://finance.yahoo.com/news/food-safety-testing-market-contaminant-215100655.html
By finance.yahoo.com (Aug 0, 2016)
"Food Safety testing market projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.4%"
The food safety testing market is projected to reach USD 17.16 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 7.4% from 2016. The market is driven by factors such as global increase in outbreaks of foodborne illnesses and increase in regulations in developed countries. The high growth potential in emerging markets and untapped regions provides new opportunities for market players.
"GMOs is projected to be the fastest-growing segment of contaminant that is tested for through 2021"
The GMOs segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period due to the evolution in farming technology, diverse GM processed food manufacturing, and high investment in biotech R&D. The requirement to monitor and verify the presence and the amount of GMOs among agricultural crops and in products derived thereof has generated a demand for testing methods that are capable of detecting, identifying, and quantifying either the DNA introduced or the protein expressed in GM plants.
"Rapid technology led the market in 2015"
Rapid technology accounted for the largest share of the food safety testing market in 2015. The importance of this technology is increasing due to its quick, accurate, and easy-to-use characteristics. The stakeholders demand new and emerging technologies for analytical testing and ensure certification denoting the high quality of their products. This has been driving the market for rapid technology in food safety testing.
"North America led the market with the largest share in 2015"
North America was the largest food safety testing market in 2015. Governing organizations are present in the market and have enforced various food safety testing policies. The Asia-Pacific market is projected to be the fastest-growing market during the forecast period.
The breakdown of the primaries on the basis of company, designation, and region, conducted during the research study, is as mentioned below.
By Company Type: Tier 1 - 35%, Tier 2 - 45%, and Tier 3 - 20%
By Designation: C Level - 35%, Director Level - 25%, and Others - 40%
By Region: North America - 45%, Europe - 30%, Asia-Pacific - 20%, and RoW – 05%
Major players include the following:
 - Eurofins Scientific S.E (Luxembourg)
 - Intertek Group plc (U.K.)
 - SGS S.A. (Switzerland)
 - Bureau Veritas S.A. (France)
 - Silliker Inc. (U.S.)
The above-mentioned companies collectively accounted for the largest share of the food safety testing market in 2015. Other players also have a strong presence in this market. These include the following:
 - DTS Laboratories (Australia)
 - ALS Limited (U.S.)
 - AssureQuality (New Zealand)
 - ILS Limited (U.K.)
 - Covance (U.S.)
Reasons to buy this report:
This research report has focused on various levels of analyses—industry analysis (industry trends), market share analysis of top players, supply chain analysis, and company profiles—which comprise and discuss the basic views on the competitive landscape; emerging and high-growth segments of the global food safety testing market; high-growth regions; and market drivers, restraints, and opportunities.
The report provides insights on the following pointers:
 - Market penetration: Comprehensive information on food safety testing offered by the top players in the global market
 - Product development/innovation: Detailed insights on upcoming technologies, research & development activities, and new product launches in the food safety testing market
 - Market development: Comprehensive information about lucrative emerging markets; the report analyzes the markets for food safety testing across regions
 - Market diversification: Exhaustive information about new products, untapped regions, recent developments, and investments in the global food safety testing market
 - Competitive assessment: In-depth assessment of market share, strategies, products, and manufacturing capabilities of the leading players in the global food safety testing market
Read the full report: http://www.reportlinker.com/p04049457-summary/view-report.html
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Building a National Competency-Based Learning System for Food Officials
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/augustseptember-2016/building-a-national-competency-based-learning-system-for-food-officials/
By By Craig Kaml, Ed.D., Christopher Weiss, Ph.D., Susan Brace, Paul Dezendorf, Ph.D., and Gerald Wojtala
The push to improve training for government food protection professionals began in earnest at a 2008 meeting hosted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). At what was referred to as the “50-State meeting,” federal, state and local government professionals recognized that to establish a truly integrated food safety system (IFSS), the workforce at all levels of government should be afforded high-quality training. The IFSS envisioned by FDA represents a national collaborative of food protection regulatory agencies working in concert to protect the nation’s food supply. In order to achieve the IFSS concept of mutual reliance across all levels of jurisdiction and agencies, there must be comparably trained and assessed food protection professionals.
The Partnership for Food Protection (PFP) was created to oversee the projects coming out of the 50-State meeting, and a Training and Certification Workgroup was formed with a charge to develop standard curricula (and certification programs) that would promote consistency and competency among the IFSS workforce. The goal was to develop a competency-based National Curriculum Standard for the estimated 30,000 to 50,000 regulatory food protection professionals in more than 2,500 federal, state and local jurisdictions across the U.S.
The driver for the PFP Training and Certification Workgroup was a 2010 FDA vision document that called for establishing training processes and standards that would ensure a competent, integrated workforce doing comparable work. Then in 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act [in 209(a) of 21 U.S.C. 399c(a)] formally required FDA to set standards and administer training and education programs for state, local, territorial and tribal food safety officials.
Much has been accomplished in laying a solid foundation for an overall system that encompasses training processes and standards, but it can get confusing to the casual observer of the science of training. So in this article, we hope to give a high-level view of the work being done by FDA and the PFP in conjunction with other training partners including the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI).
Training System Overview
The overall collection of subsystems that make up this training space has been dubbed the IFSS Competency-Based Learning System (Figure 1). Much work has been accomplished in creating and improving many of these subsystems, which include:
•    Curricula and learning design
•    Integrated training development
•    Quality review and placement verification
•    Delivery mechanisms
•    Instructor quality systems
•    Self- and supervisor assessments and gap analysis
•    Competency coaching
•    Learning plans
•    Record-keeping and learning management
•    Evaluation
National Curriculum Standard
The National Curriculum Standard (NCS) is a training curriculum framework for regulatory food protection professionals composed of competency and proficiency statements. The NCS establishes the proficiency and quality standards for national training and the potential career pathways that are pertinent or common to all IFSS regulators. The NCS will provide these food protection professionals with a comprehensive national curriculum framework that is career-spanning, standardized and based on standards and competency.
The NCS identifies the knowledge, skills, abilities and other attitudes or attributes (KSAOs) with expected levels of performance to be able to conduct specific job activities or tasks. It is the “backbone” in identifying what the training content needs to accomplish and the conditions necessary for food protection professionals to be successful in their job. The NCS blends two methods to identify curriculum KSAOs: a competency framework approach and a job/task analysis (JTA).
The competency framework approach expresses the KSAOs expected for the job and various tasks as “competency statements.” A competency statement explains what someone should be able “to do” or “know” to do the job or perform a task and to an identified proficiency level. The competency framework process can be advantageous to task analysis for new jobs (like regulating produce farms under the Produce Safety rule) or jobs that require mostly cognitive functions to complete. The JTA method is used to “deconstruct” existing jobs and identify the duties, tasks and steps performed on a job as well as KSAOs that make up a job. This method is useful when a task requires many steps to complete. Competency statements elaborate on the expectations and further define the KSAOs identified at a high level in the JTA. Taken together, both the competency framework and JTA approaches provide a powerful foundation for the IFSS Competency-Based Learning System and the NCS.
The NCS, being championed by FDA’s Division of Human Resource Development, is the first intentionally designed, professionwide, competency-based curriculum road map of its kind that provides the blueprint for the ultimate integrated training plan. The NCS, which was designed through collaboration across jurisdictions at the federal, state and local levels, identifies need-to-know content throughout the food protection professional’s career, regardless of his or her regulatory jurisdiction or area of specialization (Figure 2). The different frameworks can be accessed at incs.ifpti.org/Frameworks/Home. (See, for example, incs.ifpti.org/Frameworks/FoodProtectionProfessionals and incs.ifpti.org/Frameworks/AnimalFood.) 
This is the first time that key performance indicators (KPIs) are being developed for competencies specific to food protection professionals at all levels, in all regulatory program areas and across all jurisdictions. Competency statements and KPIs can be used in conjunction to clearly define the performance expectations, or professional standards, within the profession. Prior to the development of KPIs, the perception across the regulatory arena was that performance expectations were unclear and ill-defined. Assessments conducted with KPIs can also be used to identify competency gaps in individuals or in groups, allowing agencies to target and scale learning experiences to address identified gaps for individual work units or an agency as a whole.
A National Curriculum
As training courses, resource materials and learning events are developed or updated to meet the NCS, in essence they become part of the national curriculum for food protection professionals to help ensure that consistent training approaches and related public health activities are being conducted to the same standards of proficiency and quality required across the country. The national curriculum is the training content (blended courses, job aids, field learning experiences, etc.) designed and developed to meet the NCS. By designing learning experiences within the curriculum framework, the training can meet the “standard.” So from the NCS process, the competency statements and JTAs are then utilized to draft the course design documents (also known as course blueprints) to then develop the course content, delivery mode, participant and instructor manuals and/or job aids.   
Through this open-source approach, FDA’s partners (associations, institutes, academia, industry, etc.) can develop and deliver equivalent training based on the standard and be a recognized part of the curriculum. The structure of the competency-based curriculum frameworks contained within the NCS also allows for the creation of career-spanning personal learning plans and aligns learning experiences (courses, field training, etc.), resulting in both the elimination of duplicative efforts and the efficient use of resources. A logical next step is to base an employee performance evaluation system on the NCS.
Interactive National Curriculum Standard
An online system (the Interactive National Curriculum Standard, or INCS) is currently being built out. You can check the progress of the INCS at incs.ifpti.org. Most of the competency work has focused on entry-level food protection professionals as well as other frameworks for animal food, retail food, manufactured food and laboratory officials. The INCS features an interactive website that allows the user to identify competency statements within each content area of the IFSS Framework, Animal Food Framework, Manufactured Food Framework and Retail Food Framework. The system also includes a course catalog that aligns learning experiences (courses, field training, etc.) with specific content areas and links out to the service provider of those learning experiences. Service providers can upload a course or other learning event into the system to be reviewed for inclusion. If successful, the provider’s course will then be placed into the national curriculum and be designated as meeting the targeted part of the standard (competencies).
A unique feature of the online system is an assessment instrument that allows individuals to assess themselves against a set of identified competencies, and allows supervisors to assess their staff against that set of competencies. The assessment feature also allows the user to create a gap report for use in competency coaching and the development of personal or group learning plans.
The National Assessment and Training Strategy
Armed with the updated tools provided by the IFSS Competency-Based Learning System, including the NCS, a National Assessment and Training Strategy (NATS) approach is being implemented. This strategy focuses on the agency (whether federal, state or local) and more specifically the field (where the job/task is carried out) as the locus of training and assessment. The concept is simple: formalize the training of employees on the job rather than in classrooms, allowing them to learn (and be assessed) while conducting work assignments. This strategy addresses the age-old problems associated with reliance on classroom training such as cost, time, accessibility and instructor quality.
The NATS methodology leverages unused organizational capacity in the form of agency personnel who may be subject-matter experts, supervisors or lead workers but at present are not a part of the training process in most agencies. These personnel have significant training experience, credibility within the agency and presumably a long-term interest in the quality and dependability of agency services. Overall, the novel NATS methodology yields a training resource multiplier effect: Existing training resources of funds and personnel will be multiplied in their impact by shifting training dollars to field-based instruction and assessment.
Implementation of NATS will standardize the training process of these field-based instructors and assessors across all food protection agencies. The focus of NATS is field-based competency training provided within a given agency by trained agency personnel who guide and mentor trainees to develop competencies directly related to job performance and in alignment with the NCS. This does not preclude the integration of field-based instructors or assessors across agencies to gain maximum efficiencies. 
Present food protection training is typically judged using attendance, user satisfaction surveys and knowledge checks. NATS will focus on behavior and job performance to measure competency attainment and proficiency; identify employee and work unit gaps; create training plans; and use field-based learning experiences supplemented as needed by alternative modalities (such as online courses and classroom training) and field-based assessment.
NATS assessment measures will be associated with specific, clearly defined and job-specific competencies that are already identified and validated in the NCS and represented by associated KPIs. These assessment measures may be quickly and directly applied by agency personnel, thus allowing anywhere, anytime assessments rather than conforming to the limitations of existing assessments. As a result, NATS shifts training from a fragmented and inconsistent approach to a competency-based NCS available across the profession, which creates a training resources multiplier that greatly increases the impact of present training budgets. Key to this approach is the ability to audit the entire system against the standards using the INCS.
FDA, the PFP and training partners have worked hard over the past few years to build out the IFSS Competency-Based Learning System components, but much work is still needed. FDA continues to show its support through funding, coordination and guidance. As these processes are developed, there will continue to be transparency and sharing with the food protection community. In fact, in September 2016, FDA will hold the second annual Regulatory and Public Health Partner Training Summit. This summit invites a diverse array of stakeholders to leverage perspectives on development, implementation and metrics for the IFSS Competency-Based Learning System. For more information, email FDA at TrainingSummit@fda.hhs.gov. 
Craig Kaml, Ed.D., is the senior vice president of the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), where he oversees curriculum design and development, course review, instructional design, course development, instructor development, course delivery, assessment and evaluation. His extensive background is in adult learning theory and application, instructional design and instructional technology. Dr. Kaml is also the creator of the IFPTI Curriculum Development Process, which FDA is utilizing to build out the curriculum frameworks, competencies and KPIs associated with the NCS. 
Christopher Weiss, Ph.D., is the director of Curriculum Framework Development for IFPTI and has facilitated the development of competency-based curriculum frameworks for a variety of regulatory audiences, including animal food control officials, food and feed laboratory professionals and regulatory food protection professionals working in the manufactured and retail food arenas.
Susan Brace is currently the project manager of the Curriculum Standard for IFPTI, where she manages curriculum framework development, oversees scheduling, logistics, pre- and postmeeting documentation, and acts as a facilitator and/or co-facilitator during the curriculum framework development meetings.
Paul Dezendorf, Ph.D., teaches master’s-level courses in health science and public administration at Western Carolina University. His teaching and research interests include the diffusion of innovations among groups, populations, organizations and societies, along with the communications relationships between government agencies and their constituencies.
Gerald Wojtala is the executive director of IFPTI, where he has overall responsibility for providing and managing organizational resources. Mr. Wojtala has an extensive background in food safety inspection, state and federal regulation and food regulatory program management. He served as the deputy director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture’s Food and Dairy Division and was president of the Association of Food and Drug
Officials.
Additional Resources
Doyle N, C Kaml and C Weiss. 2015. “Building a Competency-Based Training Curriculum for Regulatory Food Professionals.” Partnership for Food Protection Newsletter, April.
Kaml C, KJ Fogarty, G Wojtala, W Dardick, A Bateson, JE Bradsher and CC Weiss. 2013. “The Development of a Standards-Based National Curriculum Framework for Regulatory Food Safety Training in the United States.” J Environ Health 76(2):38–42.
Kaml C, CC Weiss, P Dezendorf, M Ishida, DH Rice, R Klein and Y Salfinger. 2014. “Developing a Competency Framework for U.S. State Food and Feed Testing Laboratory Personnel.” J AOAC Int 97(3):768–772.

Association holds mock food safety audits
Source : http://www.thepacker.com/shipping-profiles/colorado-produce/association-holds-mock-food-safety-audits
By Andy Nelson (Aug 10, 2016)
Summer is the busiest time of the year for many Colorado fruit and vegetable grower-shippers.
But while growers’ focus is in the fields, a group tasked with fighting for their interests at the State Capitol in Denver continues to do just that.
“They keep activities going on while we’re farming,” said Robert Sakata, one of the prime movers behind the creation, in 2014, of the Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, and currently the group’s president.
Highlighting the group’s activities this summer, Sakata said, was its first-ever mock food safety audit, held July 12 at a Pueblo area grower’s facility.
The idea behind the mock audit, Sakata said, was to give Colorado growers a sense of how new regulations under the federal Food Safety Modernization Act will change how they do business.
“A lot of people don’t know what to expect. This will help them decide whether they want to have a third-party audit.”
Two more similar mock audits will be conducted at other Colorado facilities this year, Sakata said.
Also on tap for the association this summer, the group is co-sponsoring an event Aug. 12 with the American Culinary Federation at the Colorado governor’s mansion.
At the event, chefs from Colorado and other states will gather to create dishes using locally grown fruits and vegetables and other products.
“It’s a great chance to highlight Colorado-grown foods,” Sakata said.
The Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association began 2016 with its second annual conference in Denver, an event which drew more than 300 people, 20% more than the inaugural event.
Amy Kunugi of Center, Colo.-based Southern Colorado Farms is the group’s vice president and Marilyn Bay Wentz is its executive director on a contract basis.

Food & Water Watch urges continuation of catfish inspections
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/food-water-watch-urges-continuation-of-catfish-inspections/#.V7JrIU4eaUl
By News Desk (Aug 10, 2016)
An activist group says the rejection of 40,000 pounds of catfish from Vietnam is the best evidence possible that Congress should not kill the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new inspection program.
“The (USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service) catfish inspection program is working and needs to continue in operation because it is preventing foodborne illness in the U.S.” Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said Tuesday in a news release.
Although the FSIS had not posted information about the catfish interception as of 11 p.m. EDT Tuesday, the Washington D.C. activist group reported the government agency rejected the Vietnamese catfish because it tested positive for residues of banned chemicals.
Specifically, the fish had traces of malachite green, a veterinary drug used to treat sick fish, according to a news release from Food & Water Watch.
The inspection of catfish became part of USDA’s jurisdiction on April 15. Before that, the Food and Drug Administration handled catfish. In May FSIS blocked shipments from Vietnam and China. In June an importer recalled Vietnamese catfish products because the products had not gone through the inspection process.
“The fact that FSIS inspection personnel have been able to intercept unsafe siluriformes and catfish products both from foreign and domestic sources in such a short timeframe shows what an effective inspection program can do to protect consumers,” said Hauter.
“Many lawmakers opposed the switch from FDA to USDA, calling it unnecessary and duplicative. The Senate voted on May 25 to reverse the provision in the 2014 bill that created USDA’s catfish inspection program, but the House has not yet taken up the bill.”

How did Salmonella Hvittingfoss get on Aussie rockmelons?
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/130219/#.V7JrTE4eaUl
By Dan Flynn (Aug 9, 2016)
In the week since the New South Wales Food Authority connected “a spike in Salmonella Hvittingfoss cases” to Red Dirt Melons in Australia’s Northern Territories, there’s been precious little reported about how the rockmelons were actually contaminated.
Government and industry comments since the outbreak was announced on Aug. 3 have focused on cautioning consumers, a strategy that is not working for everyone. Doug Powell, the former Kansas State University food safety professor who now writes from Australia, for the popular Barfblog, says “the regulators seem to have come up with their own version of ‘blame the consumer.’ ”
At least 97 people, across New South Wales and throughout  Australia, have been sickened by rockmelons, known as cantaloupe in North America, contaminated with Salmonella Hvittingfoss
Salmonella Hvittingfoss is a rare strain; one of about 2,000 strains of Salmonella.  Most U.S. states might only see it once or twice a year. With 97 people testing positive for such a rare strain at roughly the same time, it’s pretty much a certainty that an outbreak is involved.
“The only way to have more microbiological safety in foods is to demand it — through media coverage, social media, and marketing food safety, backed up with data,” Powell writes. “Instead, all any growers are saying is, it wasn’t us, so please believe us when we tell you it is safe.”
He’s challenged Aussie melon growers to show consumers some data. “Back it up with something other than platitudes,” Powell continues. “And don’t fall for the organic, local sustainable, natural and GMO-free nonsense that has nothing to do with the things that make people barf.”
It’s been a costly week for Aussie melon growers as consumers reacted to news about the outbreak and held back melon purchases at peak season.
Two supermarkets, Woolworths and Coles, have said they’ve removed all the Red Dirt rockmelons from their produce departments and ceased any further orders from the grower until it is cleared by health authorities.
Australia has about 300 melon growers who produce about 217,000 tons of fresh product annually, both for domestic use and for export to New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
The Australian Melon Growers Association says all rockmelons from Red Dirt Melons have been removed from both supermarket and greengrocer shelves nationwide. “The grower is working with the Northern Territory Health Department to review its operations and will not resupply the market until the all clear has been given,” according to an association statement.
It claims all other growers on the continent “have re-tested their produce and confirmed their fruit is safe to eat.”
Queensland grower Sib Rapisarda, whose family runs Australia’s largest melon farm, says growers are “committed to producing the best quality fruit through sustainable farming practices.”
“The industry has best practice guidelines in place to prevent on-farm contamination including regular testing of fruit, soil and water, and we are audited by a range of independent third party certifiers,” says Rapisarda.
Australians who have uneaten rockmelons and are unsure of the origins are being told to “dispose of it straight away.” Positive tests for Salmonella Hvittingfoss were returned to the New South Wales Food Authority on Aug. 2. Red Dirt then undertook a “trade level recall of their product.”
Food safety precautions to reduce the risk of picking up pathogens from melons include:
•always purchase undamaged and unbruised rockmelon and if it is pre-sliced ensure it is refrigerated;
•discard sliced or peeled rockmelon that has been left at room temperature for more than two hours;
•wash hands thoroughly with warm soapy water before and after handling rockmelon; and
•use clean chopping boards and utensils when preparing rockmelon and thoroughly wash them in hot soapy water after cutting or peeling.
The last major outbreak involving cantaloupe in the United States came in 2012 when strains of Salmonella Typhimurium and Newport originating at Chamberlain Farms in Owensville, IN, sickened 261 people in 24 states. There were 94 hospitalizations and three deaths connected to the outbreak.

Tainted pork a reminder that food safety must be taken seriously
Source : http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2001063/tainted-pork-reminder-food-safety-must-be-taken-seriously
By scmp.com (Aug 9, 2016)
Hong Kong’s food safety record may not be stellar compared to advanced countries. Our reliance on food supply from the mainland and overseas makes the need for effective regulation and monitoring all the more important. Officials in charge must do their jobs seriously lest public health is jeopardised.
The latest food scare involving tainted pork from two pig farms on the mainland has raised doubts over the surveillance mechanism. At least 40 pigs with traces of banned drugs have slipped through the system – and probably made their way to our dining tables already – after arriving from Jiangxi (˰) last week. Salbutamol and Clenbuterol are commonly used to treat asthma in humans but are also abused by farmers to enhance animal growth. Health experts have warned that such meat may cause dizziness, headaches, tremors and rapid heart rates.
Hong Kong pork vendors knuckle down to change testing, reporting procedures following tainted pigs scandal(
It has to be asked why the pigs in question were slaughtered and distributed to the market, despite preliminary positive drug test results. The public was not alerted to the problem until 20 hours later. And when a press release finally came shortly before midnight on Friday, it carried an inaccurate list of affected retailers. Some of those contacted by the media later said they had stopped sourcing from Ng Fung Hong, the city’s major supplier of meat from the mainland. The confusion has damaged reputations of some businesses and does little to keep consumers safe from contaminated food.
The apology from food and health minister Dr Ko Wing-man is a positive response to what appears to be multiple failures in the system. Currently, animal tests are overseen by the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department, while meat distribution comes under the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. The former was said to have reported the positive drug test results at around 10pm on Thursday, raising questions as to why the latter had not followed the existing mechanism to withhold the batch in question from slaughter pending further confirmation.
Admittedly, the first defence should come from farmers and food suppliers. But when the responsibility at the food source is not taken seriously, the onus falls on the next safeguard. As Ko admitted, there might have been blunders on more than one level. A thorough investigation to identify inadequacies is essential. Tracing the source of contamination across the border should not be ruled out either. Hopefully, it will further strengthen our food surveillance system and revive consumer confidence.

Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak caused by “frozen or dried or something”
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/hawaii-hepatitis-a-outbreak-caused-by-frozen-or-dried-or-something/#.V7Jr304eaUl
y Andy Weisbecker (Aug 9, 2016)
Hawaii News Now reports that the State Health Department has confirmed another case of Hepatitis A in a State Department of Transportation employee, raising the number of confirmed cases to 135.
The Department of Health said on Monday that it is getting closer to finding out what is causing the outbreak.
“The indications are that whatever it is, this is not a fresh product its probably something that keeps for a while so frozen or dried or something,” State epidemiologist, Dr. Sarah Park said.
All Department of Transportation employees, who may have been exposed have been contacted are being offered vaccinations.
Here are some suggestions for the 135 (or more) sickened that I am sure HDOH officials are already using:
•Be cooperative – hepatitis A illnesses can last 2 – 6 months and victims are certainly not feeling their best, but their cooperation is vital.
•Thinking about what you ate or drank and where may well not be that productive – trying to recall what you ate or drank several weeks ago is difficult – I can hardly recall what I ate or drank a few days ago – however, try.
•Focus on where you have been eating and drinking in the 2 – 6 weeks prior to becoming ill – at home or out. Check your calendar, phone records and social media like Facebook and Twitter.
•Pull your credit and debit card purchases as well as any accounts you have at grocery stores or restaurants.
•As friends, co-workers or family what they might recall that you did over that same time.
•Keep in contact with HDOH. Its resources are stretched and it needs your support and assistance.
Hepatitis A:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks 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 Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, wo required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.
If you or a family member became ill with a Hepatitis A infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Hepatitis A attorneys for a free case evaluation.

SafetyChain Acquires Vigilistics, Inc.
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/products/safetychain-acquires-vigilistics-inc/
By Staff (Aug 8, 2016)
SafetyChain Software has acquired Vigilistics, Inc., a provider of quality, profitability and sustainability solutions for food and beverage manufacturers.
Vigilistics’ manufacturing solutions are an ideal complement to SafetyChain’s food safety and quality management solutions. While each company’s focus has been on different aspects of the food and beverage industry’s operations, both companies’ solutions help companies increase operational visibility and optimize performance.
The Vigilistics acquisition will add three key capabilities to the SafetyChain solution suite:
1.Equipment data integration – patented technology for capturing data from Programmable Logic Controllers will allow customers to have equipment data integrated into the SafetyChain system.
2.Data visualization – expertise and solutions for robust data visualization will give greater insight and analysis of large volumes of data.
3.Expanded functionality – deepens SafetyChain’s core food safety capabilities and expands functionality for receiving, material loss, inspections and sanitization.
“Vigilistics is excited to join SafetyChain with their deep expertise and commitment in helping the food industry more effectively manage food safety & quality operations,” says Mike Stephens, Vigilistics CEO.  “Vigilistics provides the perfect complement to SafetyChain’s comprehensive food safety and management solutions as our solutions are fast to implement, deliver increased operational visibility, robust analytics, and hard-dollar ROI.”

 

 

 

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