FoodHACCP Newsletter



Food Safety Job Openings

08/26. Director of Food Safety - New York, NY
08/26. Associate QA Specialist – Denison, IA
08/26. Food Safety and Sanitation Mgr - Las Vegas, NV
08/24. Quality Assurance Technician – Hayward, CA
08/24. Food Safety Representative - Missouri
08/24. QA and Compliance Officer - San Diego, CA
08/22. Food Safety Specialist - Arlington, TX
08/22. QC Manager – Long Island City, NY
08/22. Food Safety & Compliance – Miami, FL

08/29 2016 ISSUE:719

Letter From the Editor: Off to Chile
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/letter-from-the-editor-off-to-chile/#.V8OXZU4eaUl
By Dan Flynn (Aug 28, 2016)
Opinion
How many times has this happened to you?
You pack up food to take up to the ski condo so on Sunday morning you can pull out the pancake and waffle mixes to make breakfast without having to go out. After all, the overnight snow has left a foot on the truck and it’s still coming down.
But then, “Oh no!”
You’ve forgotten to bring the blueberries. So you do have to go out. In the January cold, with morning wind off the Rockies and after cleaning a foot of snow off the truck and driving an unplowed road down to one of  the Kroger-owned mountain stores called City Market, you quickly pick up a couple boxes of blueberries.
Did I mention they are grown at the end of the world in Chile,  just a tad distance away from Colorado?
Chilean berries are one of those foreign products that American consumers have come to depend on. “Local” and “organic” and the many other marketing labels get most of the media buzz, but our government puts out data down to the last dime charting our preferences for foreign food products.
We’re importing about $120 billion a year in food and agricultural products. I just heard Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack say our exported food and agricultural products will top $130 billion, enough for a tiny little $10-billion surplus.
According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Chile exported food and agricultural products totaling $2.9 billion to the United States in 2015. U.S. food and agriculture exports to Chile totaled $890 million, for a trade surplus favoring Chile.
Chile is winning the food and agricultural trade game with the U.S. because American consumers are demanding a wider selection of food options. Just as with my blueberries in January example, consumers want such items as tropical fruits and vegetables, premium coffee, and a greater variety of wines, beers, cheese, grain products and preserved meats.
Imports today account for about 19 percent of food consumption in the U.S. That translates into 123 billion pounds, or 390 pounds per capita. And imported food is growing fast, roughly tripling so far during this century.
Part of the promise of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is how it will apply to both domestic and foreign food through the sections on foreign supplier verifications and third-party certification. The number of food facilities registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shows the large foreign interest in the American consumer market. While there are 88,356 domestic food facilities registered with FDA, there are an astonishing 212,183 foreign food facilities in the registry.
As we are about to reach compliance dates for various FSMA rules, we’ve been wondering about how foreign companies that import food to the U.S. are feeling about the new requirements. We are also also interested in how FDA is going about its business in these countries.
Chile seemed like a good place to look for answers to some of these questions. So when, several weeks ago, Chilealimentos A.G., the Association of Food Companies in Chile, invited us down for the organization’s annual conference coming up this week in Talca, Chile, how could we refuse?
Chilealimentos works to connect the country’s growers with world markets all in the name of “Chile, Food Power.” From my research to get ready for the trip, it’s clear that food is taking Chile to new heights. The nearly $3 billion in food exports is now roughly in balance with the country’s copper exports, its historic source of foreign exchange.
While there, I’ll be giving a little talk about food safety, mainly about how technology is driving consumer demand for transparency and how differing outbreaks drive public opinion. So it’s off to Santiago, population around 5.5 million, and then to Talca, about 160 miles farther south. It’s going to be great to see where those berries that get me through the winter come from.

Wisconsin Ag Issues Consumer Alert for Westby Cottage Cheese
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/wisconsin-ag-issues-consumer-alert-for-westby-cottage-cheese/
By Carla Gillespie (Aug 27, 2016)
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture has issued a consumer alert for 4% cottage cheese made by Westby Cooperative Creamery because it may not be properly pasteurized. Consumers who purchased the product should not eat it as it may contain bacteria that could cause illness.located in Westby, Wisconsin. The presence of active alkaline phosphatase was discovered in samples during routine testing and may indicate that the product was not adequately pasteurized.
The cheese was distributed throughout Wisconsin and in Aurora, Illinois or before August 26 and marked with the lot code 10-6-16 cc. It was packaged in  16-, 22- and 24-ounce containers and sold under the brand names Westby, Food Club, Oberweis and Shurfine.
Consumers who bought the cheese can return it to the place of purchase or discard it. At the time of the recall, no illnesses had been reported.
Symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramping fever and muscle aches. Anyone who ate the cheese and develops these symptoms should see a doctor.

New FDA food safety platform is launched to enable product tracking
Source : http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2016/08/27/476760/New-FDA.htm
By Chanda JL,Special to The China Post (Aug 27, 2016)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched a food safety platform on Tuesday for people to check information online about food businesses and seasonal holiday offers.
The FDA food safety platform will show food labeling, calories and nutrition information. People can also check whether a certain store is registered on the platform and check information about the food manufacturing system.
An updated 2.0 version of the store is still in the development stage and may include a location-based function, allowing users to look up stores near their location.
"Hopefully, it will be released in October at the latest, said FDA Division of Food Safety Deputy Supervisor Hsu Chao-kai ().
Users will also be able to look up food additives in everyday products, which the FDA will use to debunk rumors surrounding food scandals.
Hsu said people can check information about seasonal foods.
For example, the FDA released information about mooncakes on the website, allowing users to search for shops that sell mooncakes. They will also be able to access the database that outlines mooncake product ingredients, nutritional information, and results of past tests, said the deputy supervisor.
Hsu said using an interactive model to exchange information will make using the platform more convenient for the public.
"An user can rate a store based on its hygiene level, then this information can be passed to the local health departments for reference. If a certain store often receives low ratings, the department will be alerted about that store,"Hsu said.
Chiang Yu-mei (˩ڸ), director general of the FDA, said the food safety store will be a convenient way for people to research food and hygiene safety for items they are buying.
"We hope that in the future there will be an updated 2.0 version of the store, including a geographic information system where people will be able to be anywhere and track information about the food businesses in the area. They will also be able to see what items are sold in the store, and even give the store a rating," Chiang said.
Users can access the five categories on the platform at the website: http://fadobook.fda.gov.tw/foodsafetystore/.

 

 


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In Whom Should We Trust? Case in Point: Red and Processed Meats
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/augustseptember-2016/in-whom-should-we-trust-case-in-point-red-and-processed-meats/
By A. Wallace Hayes, Ph.D., DABT, Claire L. Kruger, Ph.D., DABT, and Roger A. Clemens, Dr.Ph.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO) that publishes monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risk to humans, has declared red and processed meats to be probable human carcinogens. According to the IARC, “red meat” refers to unprocessed mammalian muscle meat including minced or frozen meat, whereas “processed meat” refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation. The outcome of the IARC deliberation is scheduled to appear in volume 114 of the IARC Monograph series.
In its attempt to identify the potential hazard that red or processed meat might pose in relation to colon and rectal cancers, IARC identified 800 studies that were screened for methodological consistency with only limited effort to address the underlying biology. Less than 6% of this database was deemed sufficiently useful for evaluating the putative association between meat and colorectal cancer. These studies were categorized by cohort, case control and processed versus red meat as independent variables. Results across all categories yielded a positive association in 26, with no association in 21 of the studies.
Bouvard et al.[1] suggested that consumption of 100 or 50 g per day of red or processed meat, respectively, increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 17 to 18%. This suggestion was based on the body of epidemiological data concerning colorectal cancer cited above. Interestingly, when Chan et al.[2] reviewed the same data of the 11 studies germane to red and processed meats and colorectal cancer, only 3 of the 11 studies presented a significant association, and only one of eight studies that evaluated red meat suggested a significant relationship. The dose-response curves generated in these studies with a 95% confidence interval were curvilinear, suggesting that daily consumption of red and processed meats above 140 g actually decreases the relative risk of developing colorectal cancer. The daily consumption of total red meat in 2014, based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was about 130 g per capita.[3]
It is important to remember that although a relative risk was calculated from the meta-analyses that the IARC evaluated, these findings are limited as to whether an agent is capable of causing cancer (“hazard”) and do not measure the likelihood that cancer will occur (“risk”) as a result of exposure. The distinction between hazard and risk is critical.[4] A chemical or agent may be considered a hazard if it is capable of causing cancer under some circumstances. Risk, however, measures the probability that cancer will occur, taking into account many factors including genetic predisposition, other environmental factors and the level of exposure to the agent. With regard to these studies, the WHO states: Although these risks are small, they could be important for public health because many people worldwide eat meat and meat consumption is increasing in low- and middle-income countries…With this in mind, it was important for IARC to provide authoritative scientific evidence on the cancer risks associated with eating red meat and processed meat.[5]
Cancer is a spectrum of hundreds of diseases that occur in every organ system and at every life stage,[6] involving exquisitely intricate interactions among the host and numerous environmental factors. Nothing about cancer is simple or easy, especially its etiology. As expressed by those who have lost loved ones to cancer, or who have cared for those with cancer, would that the answer were as simple as avoidance of a putative causal dietary factor. The number of flawed epidemiological studies suggests this is in fact the case highlights a global sociopolitical frustration and even desperation about the failure to effectively meet the ever-mounting challenge from this group of diseases.
The Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Multiethnic Cohort Study all report nonsignificant or inverse associations with red meat and colorectal cancer.[7,8] Ollberding and his colleagues[7] concluded that for two groups exceeding 165,000 and 130,000 subjects, respectively, there was no association between colorectal cancer and density-adjusted total meat, red meat or processed meat intake, or for total heterocyclic amine intake whether comparing quintiles of dietary exposure or using continuous variables. Bernstein et al.[8] validated these results by examining two health professional cohorts and found little evidence that higher intake of unprocessed red meat substantially increased the risk of colorectal cancer.
Much of the fervor around the alleged risk of red meat consumption seems to derive from errors in epidemiological inference in existing meta-analyses and systematic reviews. Specifically, study or author bias can confound the validity of the study conclusions, particularly the failure to appreciate the gravity of confounders or intervening variables. Ethanol and esophageal cancer or birth order and Down syndrome are classic examples. The first is a spurious association, because smoking is the intervening and more significant causal variable, whereas the latter is a forged association, because the intervening causal variable is maternal age. Birth order may be a rough proxy, but it is not the causal association.
Among heavy smokers (a significant confounder), red meat consumption and low adherence to a Mediterranean diet are associated with increased risk of lung cancer.[9] Arnold et al.[10] reported a higher burden of stomach cancer in certain indigenous populations globally in stark contrast to the decreasing global trend for stomach cancer. Policies that address improving nutrition and sanitation, and programs such as Helicobacter pylori eradication, a significant confounder in stomach cancer, are certainly approaches that have the potential to reduce inequalities in stomach cancer rates. Interestingly, the Mediterranean-style diet includes both red and processed meats, yet most dietary guidance suggests that such dietary patterns help reduce the risk of some cancers.[11,12]
So how does the IARC pronouncement regarding red or processed meat and colorectal cancer fit into the overall picture? As a hazard statement! Nonetheless, such an association should not be ignored, as statistically significant associations must be explored to determine if causality exists. The biomedical community must account for the limitations of in vitro models and the typically acute and exaggerated exposure of cell lines to putative procarcinogens dosed independently of the food matrix and, in most cases, without the presence of the many metabolic and repair processes found in the whole organism. Genomic differences between animal models and humans must be noted, and epidemiological studies need to control for variabilities in meat processing, preparation, cuts, sources, livestock feeds and genetics. Finally, in following human subjects, a high level of resolution is required to rigorously identify and quantify such factors as biometrics, lifestyle variables, and genetic and medical histories. Again, the WHO tempers the scant evidence by stating: Meat consists of multiple components, such as haem [heme] iron. Meat can also contain chemicals that form during meat processing or cooking. For instance, carcinogenic chemicals that form during meat processing include N-nitroso compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Cooking of red meat or processed meat also produces heterocyclic aromatic amines as well as other chemicals including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are also found in other foods and in air pollution. Some of these chemicals are known or suspected carcinogens, but despite this knowledge it is not yet fully understood how cancer risk is increased by red meat or processed meat.[5]
It is important to remember that without identification of the causal link, any series of epidemiological investigations where effects are shown some of the time and not at other times indicates that conflicting and inconsistent results may be due to as-yet unclassified confounders in the methodology. Observational epidemiology is hypothesis generating. Prospective studies allow investigators to define the importance of exposure to the outcome, but unlike randomized controlled trials, these kinds of studies cannot be used to establish causality. The biomedical community must exercise vigilance in not developing a policy path amid deceptively clean mathematical associations of variables that may in fact be related but in a nonlinear and noncausal fashion.  
A. Wallace Hayes, Ph.D., DABT, is a visiting scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Claire L. Kruger, Ph.D., DABT, is president of Spherix Consulting.
Roger A. Clemens, Dr.Ph., is an adjunct professor in pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, International Center for Regulatory Science.
References
1. Bouvard, V. 2015. “Carcinogenicity of Consumption of Red and Processed Meat.” Lancet Oncol 16(16):1599–1600.
2. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3108955/.
3. ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-availability-(per-capita)-data-system.aspx.
4. www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/december-2015january-2016/understanding-the-difference/.
5. who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/.
6. www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/what-is-cancer#related-diseases.
7. Ollberding, NJ et al. 2012. “Meat Consumption, Heterocyclic Amines, and Colorectal Cancer Risk: The Multiethnic Cohort Study.” Int J Cancer 131(7):E1125–1133.
8. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549221/.
9. Gnagnarella, P et al. 2013. “Red Meat, Mediterranean Diet and Lung Cancer Risk among Heavy Smokers in the COSMOS Screening Study.” Ann Oncol 24(10):2606–2611.
10. Arnold, M et al. 2013. “The Burden of Stomach Cancer in Indigenous Populations: A Systematic Review and Global Assessment.” Gut 63(1):64–71.
11. Verberne, L et al. 2010. “Association between the Mediterranean Diet and Cancer Risk: A Review of Observational Studies.” Nutr Cancer 62(7):860–870.
12. Trichopoulou, A et al. 2010. “Conformity to Traditional Mediterranean Diet and Breast Cancer Risk in the Greek EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) Cohort.” Am J Clin Nutr 92(3):620–625.

State food safety expert: No level of listeria is acceptable
Source : http://www.10tv.com/article/state-food-safety-expert-no-level-listeria-acceptable
By Glenn McEntyre (Aug 25, 2016)
Columbus-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is once again under the microscope after the Food and Drug Administration found Listeria in its production kitchen.
One of the top food safety experts in the state tells 10TV listeria can be found anywhere: from production kitchens like Jeni's, to your kitchen at home.
This is Jeni's third bout with listeria monocytogenes or listeria mono.
In April 2015, it was detected in a pint of ice cream in Nebraska and then a month later in Jeni's production kitchen in Columbus.
Despite a complete overhaul of safety and sanitation practices, the FDA said inspections early this year once again found listeria in Jeni's kitchen.
Previous Coverage
•Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Recalls Entire Product Line, Closes All Stores Due To Listeria Concerns
•Listeria Found In Jeni’s Kitchens Once Again; All Scoop Shops Temporarily Closed
•Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Finds Source Of Listeria On Pint-Filling Machine
•FDA: Jeni’s Had Poor Cleaning, Testing Before Listeria Discovery
"We want the absence of listeria mono. Any is bad,” Terry Gerhardt, Food Safety Chief for the Ohio Department of Agriculture said.
Her staff oversees and inspects more than 2,600 food manufacturing facilities and warehouses across the state, including Jeni's.
"We check them not only for sanitation but for the handling of the food, storage of the food, things like that. We also do sampling. We do random sampling throughout the year,” she said.
Listeria is found in dirt and on animals. Gerhardt said it is easily tracked inside and transferred.
"What's vulnerable are products that are not going to have a further heat step. Heat kills it, or pasteurization. So salads, raw vegetables, it's in dirt. Lunch meat can be an issue,” she said. “It's only if it's contaminated- it doesn't mean all lunch meat is contaminated. It's just that if it does get contaminated, it thrives in a refrigerated environment."
She says the best defense in your own kitchen is common sense food safety practices. Even then, listeria may grow.
"This is microbes. So you can't see it. A place can look immaculate and you could still have microbial contamination,” Gerhardt said. “Because you're clean doesn't mean you're sanitary. They're two different things."
While awareness is important, she says the system is working, and the public can feel confident their food is safe.
Additional Information
•Best practices to protect yourself and your family from Listeria: https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/prevention.html
•The FDA's findings at Jeni's: http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2016/ucm516395.htm
•Why the company remains confident its products are safe: https://jenis.com/blog/joint-blog-post-quality-leader-ceo-jeni/

Egypt investigates strawberry link to Hepatitis A cases in U.S.
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/egypt-investigates-strawberry-link-to-hepatitis-a-cases-in-u-s/#.V8OYsE4eaUl
By News Desk (Aug 24, 2016)
Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture is investigating the possibility that strawberries being exported to the United States are contaminated with Hepatitis A.
Ministry spokesman Edi Hawash said media reports from Virginia sparked the inquiry. He said Egypt has not received any official request from any U.S. government agency.
Virginia health officials suspect that 17 recent cases of Hepatitis A are linked to the Tropical Smooth Café, a smoothie chain that was using frozen strawberries from Egypt during the exposure timeframe.
Tropical Smoothie Café has stopped using the strawberries at all its locations, including those outside Virginia. It says its food handling practices at its outlets “have not been implicated in any way.”
Virginia health officials have asked that anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at any restaurant in the last 50 days watch for symptoms of Hepatitis A. Those include jaundice, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea. As of Tuesday, 17 people had been confirmed with Hepatitis A infections, according to the state health department.
Meanwhile, Egypt is taking random samples, but has yet to find any sign of the virus. The General Organization for Export and Import Control is not normally responsible for strawberries but has been working with the Health Ministry on the investigation.
Egypt exports 40 million tons of fresh and frozen strawberries to 30 countries in America, Southeast Asia and Europe.
In Egypt, the Health Ministry inspects strawberries and issues certificates stating they are ready for export. Egypt’s Union of Producers and Exporters of Horticultural Crops issued a statement Tuesday, casting doubt that the country is the source of the contamination.
Egypt is the largest strawberry exporter in the Persian Gulf. It claims to follow Good Agricultural Practices at every stage of production. Genetic testing by the Virginia Health Department shows the illnesses were caused by a strain of Hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt.
The U.S granted Egypt market access to export strawberries in February 2013. At that time, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt said Egypt was the fourth-largest strawberry producer in the world, with production valued at nearly $330 million annually.
Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the Hepatitis A virus. Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus, which can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.
Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of Hepatitis A. Vaccines within two weeks of exposure are also effective.
Virginia health officials say it is very important for people who have symptoms of Hepatitis A to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service.

FDA, CDC Join Hepatitis A Outbreak Investigation Linked to Sea Scallops
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/fda-cdc-join-hepatitis-a-outbreak-investigation-linked-to-sea-scallops/
By Carla Gillespie (Aug 24, 2016)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have joined the investigation into a Hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii that has sickened 206 people. Along with the Hawaii Department of Health, the agencies have conducted epidemiological, laboratory and traceback investigations that have identified sea scallops supplied by Sea Port Products Corp. as the source of the outbreak.
On August 18, 2016, the company issued a recall for three lots of frozen bay scallops, produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015, with lot numbers 5885, 5886, and 5887. The recalled scallops were distributed to restaurants and retailers in California, Hawaii, and Nevada.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is spread from person to person and through contaminated food and beverages. Infected people don’t always have symptoms and can be contagious before symptoms appear.
In Hawaii, all cases patients are adults, 51 of whom   have required hospitalization. Those sickened were exposed at a number of locations between June 12, 2016 to August 9, 2016. Anyone who may have been exposed should see a health care provider, put extra effort into hand washing, and watch themselves for symptoms over the next 50 days. Vaccinations can prevent symptoms of a Hepatitis A infection, but only if given within two weeks of exposure.
Symptoms of a Hepatitis A infection include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, joint pain, dark urine, clay-colored stools and yellow skin or eyes. Symptoms, which can last between three and eight weeks,  usually start 28 days after exposure, but can appear anywhere from 15-50 days after exposure.

FDA seeks comments; extends food safety deadlines
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/fda-seeks-comments-extends-food-safety-deadlines/#.V8OZEE4eaUl
By Coral Beach (Aug 24, 2016)
Today the government is scheduled to open a six-month public comment period on drafts of guidance documents that are designed to help food company operators meet new regulations — some of which have compliance deadlines in less than one month.
With the publication of the first five out of 14 chapters of guidance documents today, the Food and Drug Administration is moving closer to implementing congressionally mandated rules described in the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The draft guidance documents and a final rule that “extends and clarifies the compliance dates for certain provisions in four of the seven foundational rules” of FSMA are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register today, according to FDA officials who spoke during a news conference Monday.
Susan Mayne, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), said Monday the deadline extensions are an example of the steps the agency is taking to make the FSMA rules practical for businesses while protecting public health. She pointed to the more than 600 meetings and listening sessions FDA had during the development of the seven FSMA rules as further evidence of the agency’s commitment to making sure the regulations are realistic and will be effective in reducing foodborne illnesses in the United States.
The publication of the draft guidance documents today is another example of the FDA’s efforts to help business and industry comply with the new regulations, said Rebecca Buckner, FDA chief implementation manager for FSMA.
“The remaining nine chapters of guidance documents will be released through 2018,” Buckner said Monday.
She said a webinar on the five chapters published today is scheduled for Sept. 19. That’s also the date of the first compliance deadline related to FSMA regulations, with the largest food companies expected to have certain provisions of the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule in place at that time.
Compliance dates for large food facilities that produce human and animal foods are:
•Human food companies other than small and very small businesses will need to come into compliance with the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP), Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food rule by Sept. 19; and
•Animal food companies other than small and very small businesses will need to come into compliance with CGMP under the Preventive Controls for Food for Animals rule by Sept. 19 and with preventive controls by Sept. 18, 2017.
“The changes announced in today’s final rule impact the compliance dates for certain provisions in these four rules: the two CGMP and Preventive Controls rules for human and animal food, Foreign Supplier Verification Programs, and Produce Safety,” FDA officials said in a statement issued before Monday’s news conference.
“The changes include providing more time for manufacturers to meet requirements related to certain assurances that their customers must provide, more time for importers of food contact substances, and other extensions to align compliance dates for various other food operations or provide time for FDA to resolve specified issues. The rule also clarifies the timeframe for agricultural water testing.”
FDA’s materials specifically indicate the guidance published today “contains non-binding recommendations” and is a “draft — not for implementation.”
Businesses and the general public can submit comments on the draft guidance for the next 180 days.
“The draft guidance explains FDA’s current thinking on how to comply with the requirements for hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls and includes a discussion about establishing a food safety plan,” according to FDA’s statement.
For additional information on the compliance deadlines, draft guidance and how to comment on it, please visit the following FDA web pages:
•Food Safety Modernization Act: Extension and Clarification of Compliance Dates for Certain Provisions of Four Implementing Rules;
•Compliance Date Extensions and Clarifications for FSMA Final Rules; and
•Draft Guidance for Industry: Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food.

Egypt investigates strawberry link to Hepatitis A cases in U.S.
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/egypt-investigates-strawberry-link-to-hepatitis-a-cases-in-u-s/#.V8Oaa04eaUl
By News Desk (Aug 24, 2016)
Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture is investigating the possibility that strawberries being exported to the United States are contaminated with Hepatitis A.
Ministry spokesman Edi Hawash said media reports from Virginia sparked the inquiry. He said Egypt has not received any official request from any U.S. government agency.
Virginia health officials suspect that 17 recent cases of Hepatitis A are linked to the Tropical Smooth Café, a smoothie chain that was using frozen strawberries from Egypt during the exposure timeframe.
Tropical Smoothie Café has stopped using the strawberries at all its locations, including those outside Virginia. It says its food handling practices at its outlets “have not been implicated in any way.”
Virginia health officials have asked that anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at any restaurant in the last 50 days watch for symptoms of Hepatitis A. Those include jaundice, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea. As of Tuesday, 17 people had been confirmed with Hepatitis A infections, according to the state health department.
Meanwhile, Egypt is taking random samples, but has yet to find any sign of the virus. The General Organization for Export and Import Control is not normally responsible for strawberries but has been working with the Health Ministry on the investigation.
Egypt exports 40 million tons of fresh and frozen strawberries to 30 countries in America, Southeast Asia and Europe.
In Egypt, the Health Ministry inspects strawberries and issues certificates stating they are ready for export. Egypt’s Union of Producers and Exporters of Horticultural Crops issued a statement Tuesday, casting doubt that the country is the source of the contamination.
Egypt is the largest strawberry exporter in the Persian Gulf. It claims to follow Good Agricultural Practices at every stage of production. Genetic testing by the Virginia Health Department shows the illnesses were caused by a strain of Hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt.
The U.S granted Egypt market access to export strawberries in February 2013. At that time, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt said Egypt was the fourth-largest strawberry producer in the world, with production valued at nearly $330 million annually.
Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the Hepatitis A virus. Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus, which can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.
Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of Hepatitis A. Vaccines within two weeks of exposure are also effective.
Virginia health officials say it is very important for people who have symptoms of Hepatitis A to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service.

New FDA Ruling Doesn’t Close Industry’s Favorite Food Safety Loophole
Source : http://blog.ucsusa.org/genna-reed/new-fda-ruling-doesnt-close-industrys-favorite-food-safety-loophole
By Genna Reed, science and policy analyst, Center for Science and Democracy (Aug 23, 2016)
It doesn’t seem like too much to ask for the public to be able to count on the FDA to ensure that all substances added to foods are proven safe. The FDA disappointed many interested in a safer food system earlier this month when it released its final ruling detailing its authority for the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) process. Food safety advocates saw the FDA’s request for comments in 1997 and again in 2010 as opportunities for the agency to improve the process designating new food additives as safe, by ensuring that the process was based on science and not the interests of the companies making the products. But after 20 years of rulemaking to formalize the voluntary GRAS procedure, the FDA did not make significant changes to address the biggest issues with the program, which I describe below.
Generally Recognized as Safe…according to whom?
The GRAS process was created as a part of the 1958 Food Additives amendment to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to give a regulatory alternative to the lengthy food additive process, allowing certain substances to enter the food system without pre-market approval from the FDA. For a description of the GRAS process, watch this great video by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI).
There are currently over 600 items on the GRAS list, which is publicly available and includes the letters of GRAS notification and response letters from the FDA. But because the GRAS notification process is voluntary, companies ultimately determine if a substance is safe, and then may decide whether or not to submit a GRAS notification to the FDA.
This is where the break in accountability occurs. According to Leltner et al., there are likely over 1,000 “secret” GRAS substances, the safety of which is determined by the manufacturing company and has never been reported to or affirmed by the FDA. Of those GRAS notifications that do make their way to the FDA, the odds of a GRAS determination are in the food industry’s favor, seeing as the FDA has only rejected a handful (17) of GRAS notifications since 1998.
The major change that FDA has made with the new rule is codifying the GRAS process as a voluntary notification procedure rather than a voluntary affirmation. Sound similar to you? That’s because there really isn’t much of a difference. Minor changes were made in the definitions of terms and in spelling out the requirements of the GRAS notification, but the process will not undergo substantive changes due to this ruling. The voluntary notification structure will not change the way that companies currently continue to consider a host of substances GRAS without notifying the FDA, meaning that there’s no way to track exposure to certain unlisted ingredients. Other issues that remain with the process include the way in which the food industry uses industry-friendly GRAS panels to complete safety reviews of products and the fact that the FDA still does not have a system in place for the agency to reconsider a GRAS determination if new evidence shows that a substance is harmful to human health.
Inherent GRAS conflict of interest issues
When companies submit a GRAS notification, they must provide justification that the product is safe, demonstrating a consensus among scientific experts. Some of the time, companies do this by convening an expert panel of a few scientists to review the evidence. As it stands, the FDA does not require that food companies disclose the conflicts of interest of expert panel members or require that they be unbiased.
In 2010, CPI took a look at the makeup of expert panels commissioned by industry to look at the safety of proposed GRAS substances and found that companies often select reviewers from a small pool of scientists, several of whom had prior industry interests. Of the 379 panels that had reviewed GRAS substances over 17 years, CPI found that at least one from a heavily relied-upon group of ten scientists had served on 75 percent of the panels. Four out of those ten individuals had served as scientific consultants for tobacco companies, which of course have a long history denying and manipulating scientific findings. Other researchers analyzing the makeup of GRAS expert panels have found a similar trend.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended in a 2010 report that the FDA “develop a strategy to minimize the potential for conflicts of interest in companies’ GRAS determinations.” How did the FDA respond to these concerns in its final rule? Well, the FDA plans to “issue guidance in the near future to: (1) Provide recommendations regarding the use of a ‘GRAS panel,’ including the potential for conflict of interest; and (2) remind the food industry that the same standards apply to a conclusion of GRAS status regardless of whether the conclusion is submitted to us as a GRAS notice or is not submitted to us.” Unfortunately, a gentle reminder for the industry will simply not be strong enough to make lasting improvements to the scientific integrity of the process.
Rare reconsideration of GRAS status based on new evidence of harm
There are several examples of products once deemed safe that when reexamined as new information came to light, were considered harmful. While there is FDA precedent for rescinding GRAS status from certain additives that were found to be unsafe, including a cancer-causing flavoring agent, allergy inducing sulfites, and recently trans fats, the GAO found that the FDA had not adequately developed a system for reconsidering the safety of GRAS substances as new scientific information emerges.
In lieu of its own system, the FDA should at least be responsive to the citizen petition mechanism that allows members of the public and public interest organizations to raise safety concerns with the agency. Historically, the FDA has not actively considered citizen petitions that challenge the safety of GRAS substances, only deciding on the merits of one out of 11 petitions submitted to the agency between 2004 and 2008, according to the GAO report. In its new ruling, there is no indication that the FDA will address this issue.
An example of a GRAS substance that should be reexamined and has been brought to the agency’s attention via citizen petition is added sugars. In 2013, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) submitted a petition to the FDA asking the agency to review GRAS status for added sugars (sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, invert sugar and corn syrup), considering the mounting scientific information on added sugars’ negative impacts on health at current consumption levels. The FDA provided an interim response to CSPI saying that the agency had “not reached a decision” based on the petition and has not acted further on the matter since 2013.
New rule leaves much to be desired
Several of GAO’s recommendations still have not been addressed by the FDA, so the final rule essentially codifies a flawed system. The FDA’s weak solution to process-wide issues will not solve the underlying problem of the lack of transparency and accountability of the GRAS process. It will not empower the FDA to appropriately regulate the safety of food additives, because it will remain voluntary. Safety determinations of the new ingredients added to our foods will still rely on expert panels that are likely to have conflicts of interest rather than independent reviewers. The GRAS process is just one example of how deep scientific integrity issues run through science-based decision making and why we are fighting to ensure that science, not money or power, are at the heart of decisions impacting public health and safety.

Good Hygiene: A Critical Component of Your Store’s Food Safety
Source : http://www.cspdailynews.com/category-news/foodservice/articles/good-hygiene-critical-component-your-store-s-food-safety
By cspdailynews.com (Aug 23, 2016)
Four tips to build the right program for your business
Brought to you by GOJO/Purell.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionthere are more than 250 different types of foodborne illnesses. While that number is staggering, it also means that foodborne-illness outbreaks are more common than you likely think.
This also means that an outbreak could potentially happen in your convenience store at any time if proper food-safety processes are not in place and being followed. A strong food-safety program can set you apart from the competition.
So how can you get started in building a program for your c-store?
Educating employees and making sure they understand the importance of food safety is critical. One of the most important elements is the practice of good hygiene. Let’s take a closer look.
Gloving
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, gloves should be worn by foodservice workers when handling ready-to-eat foods. Gloves should be used for one task only; food workers must change gloves when switching tasks. Be sure they wash their hands before and after donning gloves.
Cleaning and Sanitizing Food Contact and Non-Food Contact Surfaces
It is important to keep clean the surfaces with which both food and hands come in contact. Be sure to use a surface disinfectant and sanitizer designed specifically for the foodservice industry. These products are designed to kill germs on surfaces, including foodborne-illness pathogens, quickly and effectively.
Consider Both the Front and Back of the House
Germs that can cause illness can also be brought in by your guests. This is why it is important to offer an alcohol-based hand sanitizer at beverage stations and fresh-food areas, so your guests can sanitize their hands before they eat and drink and after touching commonly touched surfaces and objects.
Hand Hygiene
The practice of good hand hygiene – washing with soap and water and using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer – is one of the most important steps any worker and patron can take to ensure the safety of food and reduce the risk of getting sick. In fact, it has been estimated that more than 80% of illnesses are transmitted by the hands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This demonstrates the important role hand hygiene plays in your food safety program.
There are other components of food safety c-store operators need to consider. These include having employees not come to work while ill, keeping restrooms visibly and hygienically clean and following proper cooking instructions.
Food safety is a critical part to building a culture and image of cleanliness. And by having a strong food safety program in place, your c-store demonstrates to your customers you care about their health and well-being.

USDA updates flood food safety advice for consumers
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/130874/#.V8Oa704eaUl
By U.S. Department of Agriculture (Aug 23, 2016)
Opinion
Editor’s note: As the National Weather Service continued to predict rain for already flooded areas on Monday, the USDA updated its food safety advice to consumers who are able to return to their homes. 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety recommendations for those who may be impacted flooding.
FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce the risk of foodborne illness during severe flooding events.
Food safety after a flood
Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water – this would include raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.
Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw?caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
Steps to follow in advance of losing power
Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40 degrees or lower in the refrigerator, zero degrees or lower in the freezer.
Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes so don’t overfill the containers.
Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately — this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
Know where you can get dry ice or block ice. Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours. Group foods together in the freezer — this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
Steps to follow if the power goes out
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.
Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Steps to follow after a weather emergency
Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.
Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
Refrigerated perishable foods that should be discarded:
FoodSafety.gov has a list of what foods should be discarded if a refrigerator has been held at a temperature above 40 degrees F for more than two hours:
•Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood; soy meat substitutes
•Thawing meat or poultry
•Salads: Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, or egg salad
•Gravy, stuffing, broth
•Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef
•Pizza – with any topping
•Canned hams labeled “Keep Refrigerated”
•Canned meats and fish, opened
•Casseroles, soups, stews
•Soft Cheeses: blue/bleu, Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, cottage, cream, Edam, Monterey
•Jack, ricotta, mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, queso blanco, queso fresco
•Shredded Cheeses
•Low-fat Cheeses
•Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milk
•Baby formula, opened
•Fresh eggs, hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products
•Custards and puddings, quiche
•Fresh fruits, cut
•Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish (discard if above 10°C for over 8 hours)
•Fish sauces, oyster sauce
•Opened creamy-based dressings
•Spaghetti sauce, opened jar
•Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough
•Cooked pasta, rice, potatoes
•Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinaigrette
•Fresh pasta
•Cheesecake
•Pastries, cream filled
•Pies – custard, cheese filled, or chiffon; quiche
•Vegetables: Greens, pre-cut, pre-washed, packaged
•Vegetables, cooked; tofu
•Vegetable juice, opened
•Baked potatoes
•Commercial garlic in oil
•Potato salad
•Casseroles, soups, stews
FSIS will provide relevant food safety information as a storm progresses from its Twitter feed @USDAFoodSafety and on Facebook at Facebook.com/FoodSafety.gov.
FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage. FSIS also has an infographic covering what to do before, during and after a power outage.

Food safety law is decade old, but it’s a long road ahead
Source : http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/food-safety-law-is-decade-old-but-it-s-a-long-road-ahead/284185.html
By tribuneindia.com (Aug 23, 2016)
Only 25 pc of food biz operators covered under it; PM urges FSSAI to work for ‘Swastha Bharat’
As the country’s food safety law completed a decade of operation today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the apex food regulator to empower consumers and work to build “Swastha Bharat” (Healthy India).
 In his message to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India which was created to regulate the sector under the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006, the PM said: “The authority now needs to focus on empowering the consumers so that manufacturers and suppliers of food become responsive to consumer needs, demands and expectations. Safe wholesome food will create a Swastha Bharat. This has to be the cornerstone of FSSAI.”
While the PM asked the food regulator to work on consumer power, ground reality reveals the regulator is far from completing its basic goal of registering all food business operators of the country. An important mandate of the Act was to bring all food business operators under its ambit and ensure quality control.
 Data, however, shows that out of India’s estimated 1.8 crore food business operators, the law has managed to cover only about 45,00000 (25 per cent) in the decade of its operation. This means it would take more than a decade more to cover the currently existing operators.
 Insiders say India’s food regulator is suffering from severe shortage of trained officers with the entire country making do with just about 5000 food safety officers when food business operators are in crores.
 An officer of the FSSAI says: “The estimate normally is that 4 per cent of the country’s population is into the food business. But we in India go by a conservative estimate and consider that around 3 pc are in the food business. That brings the number to 1.8 crore. We have covered only 25 pc of these.”
Health Minister JP Nadda in his address today at an event held to commemorate a decade of the integrated food law emphasised the need to improve registrations of operators to ensure safe food.
 But FSSAI insiders say the sector is reeling under fund crunch and ad-hocism.
 That explains several recent instances of unsafe food being sold in the country, such as nine variants of Nestle ready-to-eat foods, including Maggi and a range of breads which were found to be containing potassium bromate, a harmful additive.
“We need food safety experts to run the food safety organization but unfortunately, many critical divisions in the organization are currently headed by bureaucrats or non subject people. Professionals alone can ensure safe food. This has to be understood sooner than later,” an FSSAI official said.

GoIng to the Fair? Protect Your Family From E. coli
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/going-to-the-fair-protect-your-family-from-e-coli/
By Linda Larsen (Aug 22, 2016)
The E. coli outbreak in Washington County, Oregon that may be related to livestock at the Washington County fair is a reminder to all that attending county and state fairs can be dangerous. Officials are investigating “several” illnesses that occurred after those sickened attended the fair.
In the past few years, there have been E. coli outbreaks linked to livestock exhibits and petting zoos at fairs. And now that we are getting into autumn, the big state fairs are set to begin.
Livestock exhibits and areas where ruminant animals are gathered are the hot spots for these outbreaks. Cows, goats, sheep, deer, and elk are ruminant animals; they can carry E. coli bacteria in their intestines. The bacteria comes out in their poop, which can get everywhere, including on the animals’ coats, their feet, the pens, and surrounding areas.
So how do you protect yourself and your family? If you plan on attending a fair and are going to animal exhibits and barns, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of an E.coli illness.
First, don’t take strollers into animal barns. The stroller wheels can pick up feces and you can carry it home. Carry small children into these barns and don’t let them walk around. If your child is in a back carrier, be sure they aren’t touching things behind your back. Don’t let children touch the animals. Because young kids put their hands in their mouths so quickly and so often, it’s almost impossible to prevent any bacterial transmission.
Never carry food or drink into an animal barn or exhibit. Don’t bring in sippy cups, pacifiers, bottles, teething toys, or anything a child may put in his mouth. E. coli bacteria can become airborne.
After you leave the animal area, make sure everyone washes their hands well with soap and clean running water. Supervise children’s hand washing and make sure they scrub under their fingernails and between the fingers. Make sure hands are washed even if you don’t touch any animals.
These exhibits are supposed to have hand washing facilities and hand sanitizers available, depending on the state and its laws. If you notice that the facilities are not fully supplied, or are dirty or have problems, alert an official. It’s a good idea to bring your own sanitizers and even your own soap to these events.
In general, make sure that you wash your hands well before eating food at the fair. Wash hands after playing a game, going on a ride, or visiting an exhibit. Washing your hands should take a full 20 seconds, with lots of soap and water. Dry your hands thoroughly on clean paper towels after washing; this also helps remove bacteria.
Take a close look at the food vendors at the fair too. All should have a health department permit, look clean and sanitary, and employees should use gloves. No food vendor should be located anywhere near an animal exhibit.
If you or someone in your family gets sick after visiting a fair, see your doctor. E. coli infections can be very serious and can develop into HUS, which can be fatal, if not properly treated. This illness is a reportable disease and a public health concern.
The symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea that may be bloody and/or watery, a mild fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. The symptoms usually begin three or four days after exposure.

 

 

Internet Journal of Food Safety (Operated by FoodHACCP)
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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

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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


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


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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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