Greenhouse innovations have drastically improved food safety
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/greenhouse-innovations-have-drastically-improved-food-safety/#.V8zMlU4eaUl
By Jim Dimenna (Sep 03, 2016)
Food safety is a key pillar of the greenhouse operations for each grower. Any type of food safety risk impacts not only the grower operations, but our competitors, and most importantly, consumers.
As seen in any produce outbreak, the entire industry suffers from the problems of one operation. It is paramount that growers make food safety the foundation of their business. We have identified three key areas as a focus to mitigate the risk of food safety: innovation, automation and control.
Innovations continue to offer better food safety support for greenhouse growers.
For example, integrated pest management, water filtration systems, best handling practices and quality control systems are some of the important elements in eliminating this risk at the grower level.
These programs allow the grower to control environmental variables and inhibit the developmental microbial growth in produce.
Automation reduces the risk of contamination and cross contamination simply by reducing or minimizing the introduction of foreign specimen.
Automation also reduces the frequency of damage to produce through the handling and packaging process. As technology advances, farms are able to increase their yield while maintaining the same greenhouse footprint to meet consumer demand.
Implementing control protocols will also improve food safety. Biometric systems benefit growers by tracking who was with plants, what was done, and when.
Once a crop is harvested, the produce is set up in a PTI (Produce Traceability Initiative) system allowing traceability from the farm to customer delivery.
Employing a stable and permanent workforce gives your greenhouse the ability to train, monitor, and enforce food safety protocols, drastically reducing the risk of human error. Educating the greenhouse workforce, ensuring a greater understanding of protocols have been successful tools for Red Sun Farms in providing better control.
“At Red Sun Farms, we operate our greenhouses with a stable workforce, and treat every day like audit day,” says Harold Paivarinta, director of sales at Red Sun Farms.
In the end, growers must focus their investments around innovation, automation, and control to ensure continued safety measures. Any investment focus in these areas will mitigate the risk of food safety to our greenhouses.
Editor’s note: Jim DiMenna is CEO of Red Sun Farms, which produces 17 million cases of fresh produce annually, and has twice been named as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies. Red Sun Farms is based in Leamington, Ontario, which is near Canada’s southernmost point and home to the highest concentration of greenhouses in North America.
Publisher’s Platform: One shot, two weeks, 81 victims so far
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/publishers-platform-one-shot-two-weeks/#.V8zMzU4eaUl
By Bill Marler (Sep 3, 2016)
What we know about the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Hepatitis A outbreak:
1.Once a person consumes human fecal matter containing the Hepatitis A virus, they have two weeks to receive treatment (one shot) or they are likely to suffer from an acute Hepatitis A infection.
2.During the last week and a half of July and the first few days of August, hundreds or thousands of Tropical Smoothie Cafe customers consumed smoothies — some containing strawberries.
3.With Hepatitis A illnesses dating back into May, the Virginia Department of Health informed Tropical Smoothie on Aug. 4 that it was likely linked to Hepatitis A illnesses apparently caused by Egyptian strawberries.
4.Tropical Smoothie recalled strawberries from its locations between Aug. 4 and Aug. 8, replacing them with strawberries sourced from the U.S. and Mexico.
5.On Aug. 19, the Virginia Department of Health and Tropical Smoothie decided to inform the public of the link between Hepatitis A illnesses and Tropical Smoothies containing Egyptian strawberries.
6.For the people who consumed strawberry smoothies the last week and a half of July and the first few days of August, it was too late to seek treatment to prevent an acute Hepatitis A infection.
Thanks to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, I do not have to write an Op-ed this week:
Recently we questioned why the Virginia Department of Health has not listed the restaurants suspected of serving products contaminated by tainted strawberries.
There is more reason to question the department than we initially supposed.
Some 55 people in Virginia have come down with Hepatitis A, a serious illness believed to have been contracted at Tropical Smoothie Cafés. Another 11 have been infected elsewhere.
Virginia’s health department will cite only the geographic regions in which the suspected restaurants are located.
Initially, while calling for transparency, we also cut the health department some slack, speculating that it did not want customers to be lulled into a false sense of security by considering themselves in the clear if the restaurant at which they dined did not appear on the list of names. It can take 50 days for symptoms of Hepatitis A to surface, so it’s important for customers to remain alert to possible symptoms.
However, the flip side is that customers may be unnecessarily subjected to fear and anxiety, and individual restaurants to suspicion, by the department’s decision to reveal nothing more than broad information.
Now a lawyer has raised an additional concern.
A bit of disclosure here: The lawyer is among a group of attorneys who have been in contact with victims and potential victims who might eventually file lawsuits. Attorneys may have a vested interest in fanning the flames of outrage, at least against the restaurant chain.
One complaint is that Tropical Smoothie franchises took up to four days to remove all of the suspected strawberries.
But by some accounts, this is an admirable record — much faster than recalls in many other cases, according to the health department.
The department’s actions, though, also raise concerns.
A health department official confirms that the agency did not notify the public until two weeks after it had notified Tropical Smoothie of the suspected hepatitis A contamination.
That’s two weeks lost during which customers could protected themselves.
“It’s a process of conducting an outbreak investigation,” explained Diane Woolard, director of the Department of Health’s Division of Surveillance and Investigation, “and there are a lot of steps involved that are all happening at once.”
She also said that — although the health department had notified Tropical Smoothie, and the chain had begun pulling the suspected strawberries — the department still wasn’t certain of the source of the hepatitis outbreak.
But attorney William D. Marler says that two-week gap was critical.
In the first couple of weeks after eating tainted food, people can stave off infection by getting a vaccine. That option was lost when the public was not warned about the possible danger.
And that means some victims contracted a serious disease who might otherwise have been forewarned and given the chance to protect themselves.
Mr. Marler says he’s going to “get to the bottom of this.”
We hope someone does.
Hurricane Hermine Prompts New USDA Food Safety Advice
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/hurricane-hermine-prompts-new-usda-food-safety-advice/
By Staff (Sep 2, 2016)
Just over a week after flood waters wreaked havoc on Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is again sharing life-saving food safety advice, this time for residents in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas as Hurricane Hermine makes landfall.
FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce the risk of foodborne illness during severe weather events.
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°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F 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.
•When in doubt, throw it out.
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.
For more information about perishable food safety and answers regarding general food safety questions, visit FSIS.USDA.gov.
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FDA Reports on Regional FSMA Import Safety Meetings
Source : http://www.qualityassurancemag.com/article/fda-reports-on-regional-fsma-import-safety-meetings/
By qualityassurancemag.com (Sep 2, 2016)
FDA reports on three regional public meetings in June 2016 on the implementation of FSMA import safety programs including the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVPs), Accredited Third-Party Certification, and the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP).\
The FDA held public meetings in June 2016 in three strategic regions (California, Michigan and New Jersey) on the implementation of import safety programs under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), including the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVPs), Accredited Third-Party Certification, and the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP).
On Friday, the agency released a report on what importers and other interested parties had to say. The meetings were designed to assess the state of importer readiness, elicit feedback, ideas, and comments regarding FSMA programs, and identify training and outreach ideas that could be helpful in supporting industry compliance with FSVP requirements.
After listening to 350 importers, food producers, and foreign and industry association representatives, and analyzing data, FDA cited three major themes that emerged from the participants’ responses including:
•Members of industry want help in understanding what is required under the FSMA provisions, including clearer, concise information from the FDA.
•Small importers and food producers are at higher risk of failing to comply with FSVP.
•Importers will likely consider cost, return on investment and effort necessary to participant when deciding whether to sign up for VQIP, which will provide expedited clearance to qualified participants.
To see the full report, visit Report on Regional FSMA Import Safety Meetings
Salmonella outbreak linked to NC cheeses appears to be over
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-nc-cheeses-appears-to-be-over/#.V8zNaE4eaUl
By Coral Beach (Sep 2, 2016)
It’s been more than a month since the last Salmonella case was confirmed in an outbreak traced to cheeses from a North Carolina company, suggesting the episode is over. Some of the implicated cheeses were made with unpasteurized, raw milk.
Chapel Hill Creamery recalled all of its cheese and ceased operations in late July.
North Carolina’s health department reports that 98 state residents have been confirmed with the outbreak strain of Salmonella typhimurium. Sixteen of those 98 required hospitalization.
Onset dates for the North Carolina victims range from April 24 through July 30, said Cobey Culton, press assistant for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The victims ranged in age from infancy to more than 90 years old.
“Salmonella was isolated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services laboratory from a sample of finished cheese product collected on July 27,” Culton said. “The isolates recovered from the cheese sample matched the outbreak strain when tested at the State Laboratory of Public Health.”
Eight people from other states also became infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella typhimurium, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“… These ill people all reported travel to North Carolina during their incubation period and were likely exposed to cheese from Chapel Hill Creamery at that time. We do not have any information to indicate that exposure to the recalled cheeses occurred in other states,” said CDC spokeswoman Kate Fowlie.
Chapel Hill Creamery distributed 15 varieties of cheeses in various combinations to retailers, restaurants and farmers markets in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Company co-founder Portia McKnight said Thursday that production has not yet resumed.
“We are working with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and with other agricultural and food safety specialists to formulate and implement a recovery plan for our business,” McKnight said.
Chile rebuilding raspberry business with food safety strategy
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/chile-rebuilding-raspberry-business-with-food-safety-strategy/#.V8zNyk4eaUl
By Dan Flynn (Sep 2, 2016)
SANTIAGO, CHILE — Chile’s raspberry producers came in for some special attention during a conference for this country’s food exporters. All who were in attendance were provided with a glossy 20-page brochure just produced for raspberry farm workers.
It’s one piece in a strategy to rebuild Chile’s place among raspberry exporters. Today, among the top raspberry producers are Poland, Serbia and Mexico, which supply much of the fresh market in the U.S. that Chile once dominated.
According to Antonio Dominguez, the Chilean who chairs the International Raspberry Organization, raspberry production in Chile reached about 60,000 tons before falling off a few years ago.
Currently, raspberry production in Chile is running between 36,000 tons and 40,000 tons, with only 1 percent of that going to fresh sales. All the rest goes to frozen and other processed juices.
Chile actually imports a small amount of raspberries these days because only 1 percent of its production is available for fresh sale.
Chile wants to regain the top spot in raspberries, but that is going to be a complicated process. It means 8,000 raspberry growers must step it up. The role of existing growers is important because most are family farmers with plots of land too small to support automatic harvesting equipment.
That’s why Chilealimentos, the organization that promotes Chili’s food exports, has focused on food safety training for raspberry farm workers. It unveiled its new Manual of Best Practices for Producers of Raspberries this week at its annual conference.
The document contains plenty of pointed illustrations with safety tips such as not using the fruit truck to also haul soil or other material that might be contaminated and keeping toilets away from the fruit. The instructional document urges farm workers to follow good production practices in working with raspberries.
Rebuilding Chile’s raspberry exports may actually be helped by the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act, which some Chilealimentos leaders believe will help the country up its food safety game, which they say is being required anyway by the market.
Chile and the U.S. run their two-way business under a free trade agreement reached in 2004 when George W. Bush was president. It phased out all tariffs, and Chile’s food exports to the U.S. tripled in about 10 years.
Chile favors the Trans Pacific Partnership because the country supports free trade in general and would like to eliminate tariff requirements in instances such as when a non-agreement pineapple is included in a fruit box.
While training the workers who produce raspberries in fields less than one hectare (about 2.47 acres) is part of the strategy, Chile really needs larger operations that can use mechanical pickers that make several passes, collecting raspberries as they are ripe and ready to harvest. Such fields will also have to be free of viruses that have troubled Chile’s production in past years.
Dominguez says food safety needs to be the focus in rebuilding Chile’s raspberry production.
“We are focused on food safety,” he says. “Nobody should die as a result of eating a raspberry.”
At this point, Chile ranks fifth in the world in raspberry production.
“We are less important than we used to be, but hopefully we can recover the lost ground,” Dominguez says.
National Food Safety Month Spotlights Foodborne Illness Detection and Protection
Source : http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-food-safety-month-spotlights-foodborne-illness-detection-and-protection-300321617.html
By (Sep 1, 2016)
In its ongoing commitment to food safety, the National Restaurant Association today announced this year's National Food Safety Month (NFSM) theme: "Notorious Virus"- how to protect against the leading causes of foodborne illness.
"Food safety and security is the top priority for America's one million restaurants," said Sherman Brown, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe food safety and handling program. "With over 130 million meals served daily, learning how to detect and protect against foodborne illness is top of mind in the restaurant and foodservice industry. This September, we'll provide the tools foodservice professionals need to protect themselves and their guests against foodborne illness."
This year's NFSM campaign will focus on protecting against some of the leading causes of foodborne illness – Norovirus and Hepatitis A. The Association will highlight the sources of these viruses and provide tips and tools on how to detect and prevent the spread of foodborne illness through proper hand washing and cleaning procedures. New training tools and resources will be made available each week including activities, posters, infographics, and videos. The themes for each week include:
•Week 1: Viruses – Know The Basics
•Week 2: Norovirus
•Week 3: Hepatitis A
•Week 4: Stop The Spread
•Week 5: Keep Your Guests Safe
For the sixth consecutive year, NFSM is sponsored by SCA, maker of the Tork® brand of Away-from-Home professional hygiene products in North America. SCA's Tork® brand is committed to food safety education and hygiene product solutions.
"We work diligently to promote best practices in restaurants and foodservice venues, helping our customers to understand the essential role that hygiene plays in food safety and healthy environments for our industry's employees and patrons." said Suzanne Cohen, Marketing Director Foodservice SCA Americas.
NFSM, held annually in September, was created in 1994 by the Association to heighten awareness about the importance of food safety education. As part of its campaign, the Association offers free resources for foodservice industry professionals.
To join the conversation, follow @ServSafe on Twitter and use the hashtag #FoodSafetyMonth.
For more information and resources on NFSM, visit: FoodSafetyMonth.com.
We’re all hosts on a viral planet: New virus breaks the rules of infection
Source : http://barfblog.com/2016/09/were-all-hosts-on-a-viral-planet-new-virus-breaks-the-rules-of-infection/
By Doug (Sep 1, 2016)
Michaeleen Doucleff of North Carolina Public Radio writes that human viruses are like a fine chocolate truffle: It takes only one to get the full experience.
At least, that’s what scientists thought a few days ago. Now a new study published Thursday is making researchers rethink how some viruses could infect animals.
A team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases has found a mosquito virus that’s broken up into pieces. And the mosquito needs to catch several of the pieces to get an infection.
“It’s the most bizarre thing,” says Edward Holmes, a virologist at the University of Sydney, who wasn’t involved in the study. It’s like the virus is dismembered, he says.
“If you compare it to the human body, it’s like a person would have their legs, trunk and arms all in different places,” Holmes says. “Then all the pieces come together in some way to work as one single virus. I don’t think anything else in nature moves this way.”
Most viruses have simple architecture. They have a few genes — say about a half-dozen or so — that are packaged up into a little ball, 1/500th the width of a human hair.
“You can think of it like a teeny-weeny tennis ball with spikes,” Holmes says.
When the virus infects a cell, the ball latches onto the cell’s surface, opens up and pops its genes into the cell.
Poof! The cell is infected. That’s all it takes. One ball, sticking to one cell.
But that’s not the case for the Guaico Culex virus. It has five genes. And each one gets stuffed into a separate ball. Imagine five tennis balls, each with a different color: a red tennis ball, a blue one, a green one, a yellow one and an orange one.
Then to get infected with the virus, a mosquito needs to catch at least four different colored balls, researchers write in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. Otherwise the infection fails.
“The fifth ball seems to be optional,” says Jason Ladner, a genomicist at USAMRIID, who helped discover the virus. Getting the fifth one could control how dangerous the virus is, he says.
Ladner and his team found the virus inside a Culex mosquito found in Guaico, Trinidad — hence the name of the virus, Guaico Culex. Culex mosquitoes are common across the U.S. and spread West Nile Virus.
The study is part of a larger project aimed at figuring out what viruses, in addition to Zika and yellow fever, could be lurking inside mosquitoes and possibly waiting to spill over into people.
Indeed, each year, scientists are finding thousands of new viruses, says Vincent Racaniello, at Columbia University. “It’s hard to put a number on it. But it’s huge.”
“We finally have the tools to find them,” he says.
But that doesn’t mean we can immediately understand what they do, or even whom they infect.
“There’s so much we don’t know about viruses,” Racaniello adds. And with viruses, really anything is possible. “We should always expect the unexpected,” he says.
Paralytic shellfish poison closes harbor to shellfish harvest
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/paralytic-shellfish-poison-closes-harbor-to-shellfish-harvest/#.V8zOOU4eaUl
By News Desk (Aug 31, 2016)
Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon-Maury Island in Puget Sound is closed to recreational shellfish harvesting until further notice because of unsafe levels of paralytic shellfish poison (PSP).
The Washington Department of Health posted the closure today for recreational harvesting, noting that the harbor remains open to commercial harvest.
The closure includes all species of shellfish including clams, geoduck, scallops, mussels, oysters, snails and other invertebrates. Crab and shrimp are not included in the closure.
“Crabmeat is not known to contain the PSP toxin, but the guts can contain unsafe levels. To be safe, clean crab thoroughly and discard the guts,” health officials said in the warning.
“Commercial beaches are sampled separately and commercial products should be safe to eat.”
PSP toxin is produced by a naturally occurring marine organism, according to the health department. The toxin is not destroyed by cooking or freezing. It is not detectable by visual inspection of the water or shellfish.
“The term ‘red tide’ is misleading and inaccurate. PSP can only be detected by laboratory testing,” the health department warns.
Symptoms of PSP usually begin 30-60 minutes after eating contaminated shellfish, but sometimes it may take several hours for symptoms to develop.
Generally, symptoms are mild, beginning with numbness or tingling of the face, arms and legs. This is followed by headache, dizziness, nausea and loss of muscle coordination. Sometimes a floating sensation occurs.
In cases of severe poisoning, muscle paralysis and respiratory failure occur, and in these cases death may occur in two to 25 hours.
If symptoms are mild, call your health care provider or Washington Poison Center (800-222-1222), and Public Health (206-296-4774).
If symptoms are severe, call 911 or have someone take you to the emergency room immediately.
Recreational shellfish harvesters are urged to call the health department’s Biotoxin Hotline at 800-562-5632 or visit the shellfish safety website before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Puget Sound.
NARMS reports antibiotic resistance in Salmonella remains high
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/narms-reports-antibiotic-resistance-in-salmonella-increasing/#.V8zOn04eaUl
By News Desk (Aug 30, 2016)
A new federal government report on antibiotic resistance in foodborne pathogens reveals that multidrug resistance in a common Salmonella serotype remains above 40 percent and that this resistance more than doubled between 2011 and 2014.
According to the “NARMS 2014 Human Isolates Surveillance Report,” this level of resistance in Salmonella l 4,,12:i:- “has been linked to animal exposure and eating pork or beef, including meat purchased from live animal markets.”
For the first time, the NARMS (National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System for Enteric Bacteria) annual surveillance report used whole genome sequencing data of bacteria from people with antibiotic-resistant Salmonella infections.
The 2014 NARMS report includes the most recent nationwide data on antibiotic resistance commonly transmitted by food, including Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, E. coli O157 and Vibrio species other than Vibrio cholerae.
“Bacterial foodborne infections are common and can sometimes be serious. In severe cases, the right antibiotic, also called antimicrobial agent, canbe life-saving,” according to the report. “Some antibiotics don’t work because the foodborne pathogen has become resistant. Understanding trends in antibiotic resistance helps doctors to prescribe effective treatment and public health officials to investigate outbreaks faster.”
Trends included in the report were gathered by comparing the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in 2014 with that from 2004-2008 and from the previous five years, 2009-2013.
The 2004-2008 reference period begins with the second year that all 50 states participated in Salmonella and Shigella surveillance and all 10 FoodNet sites participated in NARMS Campylobacter surveillance, the report notes. The additional 2009-2013 reference period allowed comparison with the more recent years.
The NARMS report calls some trends from these data “encouraging,” while others were termed “concerning.” Among the former were findings that multidrug resistance in Salmonella in 2014, which was at 9.3 percent, was similar to 2013, when it was 9 percent. It has “remained stable” over the past 1o years at 11 percent.
Resistance to the antibiotic ceftriaxone in Salmonella in 2014 was still rare at 2 percent. It was 3 percent in 2004-2008 and 2009-2013, according to the report.
Other “encouraging” findings included:
•Resistance to certain groups of antibiotics in Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Newport remained lower in 2014 compared with 2004-2008.
•No Salmonella isolates had decreased susceptibility to both azithromycin and ciprofloxacin, and none had both decreased susceptibility to azithromycin and resistance to ceftriaxone, which are important drugs for the treatment of severe Salmonella infections.
Findings deemed “concerning” included:
•Six of the 51 ceftriaxone-resistant Salmonella in 2014 had an extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) gene identified by whole genome sequencing. ESBLs are rare among Salmonella in the U.S. Many of these infections are acquired during international travel.
•Salmonella serotypes Dublin, Heidelberg, Newport and Typhimurium accounted for nearly two-thirds of isolates resistant to ceftriaxone.
•Sixty percent of serotype Dublin isolates were resistant to ceftriaxone.
•Decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin in Salmonella was higher in 2014 at 4 percent than in the baseline period of 2004-2008 when it was 2 percent and in 2009–2013 when it was 3 percent.
•Eight percent of Salmonella Enteritidis had decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin, accounting for 38 percent of all ciprofloxacin-resistant Salmonella isolates.
•Salmonella Typhi, which causes typhoid fever, also showed higher levels of decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin: 2014, 74 percent; 2009-2013, 68 percent; and 2004-2008, 53 percent.
•Campylobacter resistance to fluoroquinolones remained high, at times leaving macrolides as the only treatment option.
•Ciprofloxacin resistance in Campylobacter jejuni, the most common species isolated from humans, increased from 22 percent in 2013 to 27 percent in 2014. Resistance in Campylobacter coli was 35 percent, similar to recent years.
•Macrolide resistance decreased from 18 percent in 2013 to 10 percent in Campylobacter coli in 2014 and remained at 2 percent in Campylobacter jejuni.
•Decreased susceptibility to azithromycin increased among Shigella flexneri from 16 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in 2014.
NARMS is a partnership formed in 1996 between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local health departments. It is the only source of national information on antibiotic resistance in foodborne pathogens in the U.S.
Nine Salmonella illnesses linked to raw milk from Utah dairy
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/nine-cases-of-salmonella-infection-linked-to-raw-milk-from-utah-dairy/#.V8zO_U4eaUl
By Cathy Siegner (Aug 30, 2016)
Officials with the Utah Department of Health are investigating nine cases of Salmonella infection in people who reported drinking raw milk from a family-run dairy in Midland, UT.
Those sickened were from at least three counties along the Wasatch Front, a department spokeswoman said. Two of the nine were hospitalized but have recovered. Illness onset dates were March 20 to Aug. 14, and those who became ill range in age from 15 to 78 years.
A raw milk sample collected at Heber Valley Milk by a Utah Department of Agriculture and Food inspector tested positive for Salmonella Saintpaul on Aug. 23, the health department stated. However, the most recent tests showed no signs of Salmonella and the dairy has been allowed to resume sales.
Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Milk, said he is working with state officials to try to figure out what happened.
“We don’t know what the cause was and we’re not 100 percent sure that it’s our place,” he said. “We will do whatever we need to do to make sure we’re selling a safe product.”
In a statement posted Tuesday on Facebook, the dairy noted that six tests conducted in the past two weeks “have all tested negative for any type of Salmonella.”
“In the rare occurrence that there is a chance Heber Valley Milk is connected to any health concerns (rumored or documented), all raw milk sales are halted, until thorough testing is conducted by our farmers and the State of Utah. Food safety is the company’s top priority, and the family is doing all they can to provide safe and quality milk to their customers,” the statement read.
Infection with Salmonella bacteria can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and headache. Symptoms usually appear from 12 hours to one week after exposure and the illness can last for up to a week or more.
Most people recover without treatment. However, the infection can be serious, especially for young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those who have weakened or compromised immune systems.
“In some cases Salmonella bacteria can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites. These infections are very serious and should be treated with appropriate antibiotics,” said Dr. Allyn Nakashima, Utah state epidemiologist. “If you develop severe vomiting or diarrhea after drinking raw milk, you should consult your health care provider.”
Raw milk comes from cows, goats or sheep and has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. This raw, unpasteurized milk can contain dangerous bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli, which can all cause foodborne illnesses.
Raw milk contaminated with disease-causing bacteria does not smell or look any different from uncontaminated raw milk, and there is no easy way for the consumer to know whether raw milk is contaminated.
According to the Utah health department, since 2009 there have been 30 documented outbreaks associated with raw milk sold at dairies statewide, with more than 400 people becoming ill.
Utah allows on-farm sales of raw milk as long as the milk producer owns the store. Monthly testing for bacteria and pathogens is required, and animals must be tested before production and every six months thereafter. The bottles must be labeled as raw milk and must carry a warning label.
Public health officials warn that drinking raw milk may be dangerous, regardless where it is obtained. Raw milk should not be consumed by young children, pregnant women, the elderly, people with weakened or compromised immune systems, or anyone who does not want to become ill.
Both the health department and the dairy emphasized that those who choose to drink raw milk should follow these steps to reduce the risk of illness:
•Only buy raw milk from stores or dairies permitted by law to sell it. However, a government permit does not guarantee that raw milk will be free from disease-causing bacteria.
•Keep raw milk and raw milk products refrigerated at or below 40 degrees F.
•Transport milk from the store to your home in a cooler with ice packs.
•Do not let raw milk sit out at room temperature.
Canada trade deal threatens food safety
Source : http://www.waronwant.org/media/canada-trade-deal-threatens-food-safety
By waronwant.org (Aug 29, 2016)
EU-Canada trade deal CETA is a major threat to UK food safety, a new report published by War on Want and allies in Europe and Canada warns today.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a major trade deal negotiated in secret over five years between Canada and the European Union (EU).
Food Safety, Agriculture and Regulatory Cooperation in the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement , highlights the huge differences in food safety rules between Canada and the EU – which will lead to a reduction in standards in Europe. In addition to endangering public health through changes to food safety rules, the report highlights the threat posed to European farmers by Canadian agribusiness.
War on Want senior trade campaigner Mark Dearn said: “We cannot let our food safety rules or the livelihoods of European farmers be traded away for the sake of Canadian agribusiness profits. It is critical that the European Parliament stops this deal, which is opposed by more than 3.4 million people across Europe.
“For the UK this is of extra importance, as under CETA’s anti-democratic terms, we could still be open to being sued in corporate courts up to 20 years after leaving the EU.”
He went on: “Chefs like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have rightly highlighted the immense threat posed to food safety by TTIP. CETA is no different – it must be immediately rejected.”
CETA is a ‘new generation’ trade deal similar to the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): much like TTIP, it seeks to eradicate social, health and environmental protections which may harm corporate profits, lock-in the privatisation of public services and introduce an ‘corporate court’ system so corporations can sue governments for lost profits.
For more information contact Mark Dearn on 07804289680, or Vicki Hird on 07903478249.
FDA warning letters: Listeria, drug residues, acidified food issues
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/fda-warning-letters-15/#.V8zPQ04eaUl
By News Desk (Aug 29, 2016)
The most recently posted FDA warning letters address Listeria contamination at an ice cream plant, drug residues in slaughtered dairy cows, and an alleged failure to follow federal regulations for the safe processing of acidified foods.
FDA’s Cincinnati District Office sent a warning letter dated Aug. 9 to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams LLC to inform the company that Listeria monocytogenes had been found for the second time at its ice cream plant in Columbus, OH.
FDA’s letter also noted repeat violations of current good manufacturing practices at the facility during an inspection from Jan. 25 through Feb. 9.
Food Safety News posted a separate story on Aug. 24 about the FDA warning letter to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
Aloe Farms Inc. of Harlingen, TX, heard from FDA’s Dallas District Office in a July 15 warning letter detailing the results of an inspection of the firm’s facility in Los Fresnos, TX, from Dec. 7-11, 2015.
FDA told the company that it had failed to comply with regulations for acidified foods processing, specifically of Aloe Farms Aloe Vera Juice and Cranberry Flavored Aloe Vera Liquid Whole Leaf Full Strength Herbal Supplement. Problems involving current good manufacturing practices were also noted.
Aloe Farms processes acidified food products without being registered as such, FDA stated, and has not provided the agency with information about scheduled processes “including conditions for heat processing and control of pH, salt, sugar, and preservative level, and source and date of the establishment of the process, for each acidified food in each container size” as required by law.
Investigators also observed that a conveyor belt used to move washed aloe vera leaves from the cleaning room to the processing room had “numerous small cracks” that do not allow for proper cleaning and sanitizing.
Additional problems cited in the warning letter involved not having a sink to clean food utensils in the production room, inadequate screening against pests, insufficient plant maintenance to keep rain out of the production room, and a number of product labeling issues.
On Aug. 10, FDA’s Denver District Office sent a warning letter to O. Scott Wayment Dairy Inc. of Ogden, UT, to recount the results of an inspection done there on Feb. 17, 19, and March 24 of this year.
The letter stated that a dairy cow sold for slaughter as food on or about Sept. 16, 2015, was found to have 5.710 parts per million (ppm) of penicillin in the kidney tissue. However, FDA has established a tolerance of 0.05 ppm for residues of penicillin in uncooked edible tissues of cattle.
Other issues involved failure to maintain complete treatment records so that there was sufficient information on the identity and amount of the drug administered, route of administration, and the meat and milk withdrawal times. Animal drugs were also not used as directed by approved labeling and/or by a veterinarian’s prescription, FDA stated.
Drug residues were also the subject of a warning letter sent Aug. 10 to Phillip D. Thompson of Union Bridge, MD, by FDA’s Baltimore District Office. Inspectors who visited his dairy operation on May 2 and 11 found violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, according to the letter.
A dairy cow sold for slaughter as food on or about Sept. 17, 2015, had ceftiofur at 2.95 ppm in kidney tissue and flunixin at 0.162 ppm in liver tissue. FDA has established a tolerance of 0.4 ppm for residues of ceftiofur in kidney tissue and 0.125 ppm for residues of flunixin in the liver of cattle, the warning letter stated.
FDA also noted that the dairy did not maintain adequate treatment records for medicated animals, had no inventory system for determining the quantities of drugs used to medicate animals, and failed to maintain records on the identity of animal(s) transported and delivered for consignment at an auction yard.
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.
Help wanted: Job sites, academic programs focus on food safety
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/130707/#.V8zPfk4eaUl
By Cathy Siegner (Aug 29, 2016)
As American consumers become increasingly concerned about the quality of their food, there’s been an enhanced focus on food safety in the academic and employment fields. Programs leading to degrees and certifications in food safety are growing, along with jobs handling quality assurance in the food industry and auditing producers for compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Online job sites reflect this trend. Postings for directors of food safety, FSMA compliance coordinators, audit managers, and similar job titles dot the internet landscape. And, as FSMA deadlines near, the field will likely expand even more.
This trend hasn’t been lost on Rex Lawrence, who recently launched Joe Food Safety, a site designed to connect food safety jobs with job seekers.
“On the recruiting side, we are always looking at food safety. Things like FSMA, what’s happening within the industry. It’s heating up and it’s not going to go away. I don’t believe it to be kind of a flash in the pan. I think it’s going to do nothing but get bigger and better, and it’s going to need good people,” Lawrence said.
He said the online service, initially free to those looking to fill food safety positions, will include help writing job titles and descriptions and then filtering resumes as they come in.
“If you’re a company and you’re looking for a director of food safety, we make sure you aren’t getting a resume from a kid who’s flipping burgers at McDonald’s, let’s say,” Lawrence said.
After working for a produce company, Lawrence noticed that it was hard to fill food safety director positions. That experience led him to set up Joe Produce in 2012, which focuses on produce industry employment, and then to connect with educational and other settings where students may be entering food safety fields.
“With the heavier and overall focus on food safety and more employment in food safety, I think the money flowing into food safety is going to increase. There’s going to be more studies and more food safety research,” he said.
Universities and other training grounds are paying attention. Michigan State University in East Lansing launched an online Master of Science in Food Safety program in 2002 after a study revealed “an undeniable need on the part of the food industry, government, and public health for their employees to be specifically educated in the many aspects of safeguarding our food supply.”
MSU’s curriculum is designed to permit U.S.-based or international students to earn their master’s degree in food safety while continuing to work. Program statistics indicate there were about 400 graduates between 2002 and 2012.
North Carolina State University in Raleigh offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in science, with options to focus on food, nutrition, or bioprocessing.
“The Bureau of Labor and Statistics says that job growth for food related occupations are expected to be driven by the demand for new food products and food safety measures. Food research is expected to increase because the public is more aware of nutrition, health, food safety, and the need to keep herd animals from getting infections,” according to NC State’s program site.
Food safety-related certifications are in increasing demand, with an alphabet soup of acronyms showing up in job ads. Employers, whether farms, food processors, national distributors or international exporters, often want to see GAP, GMP, HACCP, GFSI and other specific experience and/or certifications on an applicant’s resume. There are also CFP, SQF, BRC, IFS, BAP and FSSC 22000 certifications out there to up the ante.
Helping to fill that need is the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals in Orlando, FL, which develops and maintains certification examination programs for food safety. It tests for food safety manager and HACCP certifications and offers a variety of ways to take the exams.
Those who earn food safety-related degrees and certifications can expect to pull in initial salaries ranging from about $37,000 to about $63,000 per year, according to federal government estimates. Where an individual salary lands along that range depends on whether the focus is on agriculture or food science, food service management, or some other related work.
Training is becoming more important in the food industry as companies realize they can’t just assign food safety duties to an administrative staffer who may not have sufficient background to do the job. The stakes are high since a serious recall could put a company out of business, and brand loyalty is hard to win back once it’s been tarnished.
Lawrence said that in the past big companies were usually the ones pushing for more training and certifications from employees because they had so much to lose. However, he said that smaller firms, including packers, producers and manufacturers, are now seeing the need.
“Companies are realizing this is serious,” he said. “Just to do business, they need someone with food safety certification and auditing and a certain level of certification. The smaller and mid-sized companies now are stepping up to the plate because they want to do business with the Costcos and the Wal-Marts of the world.”
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