FoodHACCP Newsletter



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09/30. HACCP/QA Coordinator – Greensboro, NC
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10/03 2016 ISSUE:724

Sprouts Extraordinare Salmonella Outbreak Ends
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/sprouts-extraordinare-salmonella-outbreak-ends/
by Linda Larsen (Oct 3, 2016)
The Salmonella Reading and Salmonella Albony outbreak linked to alfalfa sprouts produced and sold by Sprouts Extraordinare of Denver, Colorado is over, according to the CDC. Thirty-six people sickened with the outbreak strains of Salmonella were reported from nine states. Seven people were hospitalized; no deaths were reported.
Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicated that alfalfa sprouts that were supplied by Sprouts Extraordinare were the likely source of this outbreak. That company recalled alfalfa sprouts from the market place on August 5, 2016.
The CDC says that this outbreak appears to be over, but warns the public that “sprouts are known to cause foodborne illness and outbreaks.” In fact, since 1996 there have been at least 30 food poisoning outbreaks linked to the consumption of raw sprouts.
The case count for this outbreak by state is: Colorado (17), Kansas (9), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1), Nebraska (3), New York (1), Oregon (1), Texas (1), Wyoming (2). Of those ill persons, 30 were infected with Salmonella Reading, 1 was infected with Salmonella Albony, and 5 people were infected with both serotypes.
The illness onset date for this outbreak was from May 21, 2016 to September 10, 2016. The patient age range was from less than 1 year to 72, with a median age of 30. Fifty-six percent of ill persons were female.
In interviews, ill persons answered questions about the foods they ate before they got sick. Of the 31 patients interviewed, 18, or 58%, reported eating or possibly eating alfalfa sprouts the week before they got sick. This proportion is significantly higher than a typical response from health people, where only 3% reported eating alfalfa sprouts on a sandwich the week before they were interviewed.
A traceback investigation from five restaurants where patients reported eating raw alfalfa sprouts indicated that Sprouts Extraordinaire supplied that product to all five of those facilities.
To reduce your risk of getting food poisoning, always cook sprouts thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria. Children, older adults, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses and those with weakened immune systems should avoid eating all raw sprouts of all kinds, including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean. When buying a salad or sandwich at a restaurant or deli, check to make sure that raw sprouts have not been added.
If you do choose to eat sprouts, ask your retailer if they buy sprouts from companies that follow the FDA Guidance for Reducing Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Sprouted Seeds. Growing your own sprouts is no protection against possible food poisoning. The bacteria can be inside the seeds. And the growing environment for sprouts is perfect for bacterial growth: warm and moist.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. The diarrhea may be watery and/or bloody. Symptoms usually appear six to seventy-two hours after exposure to the bacteria.
While most people recover on their own without medical attention after a Salmonella infection, some become so ill, from dehydration or sepsis (a blood infection) that they must be hospitalized. Even after someone recovers from Salmonella food poisoning, they can suffer long term complications, include Reiter’s Syndrome, which can cause reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Good Earth Eggs Link in Multi-state Salmonella Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/good-earth-eggs-link-in-multi-state-salmonella-outbreak/#.V_Mjhk5H2Ul
By Bill Marler (Oct 3, 2016)
CDC is working with public health and regulatory officials in Missouri, several other states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Oranienburg infections.
Eight people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg have been reported from three states. A list of states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.
Among people for whom information is available, illnesses started on dates ranging from April 23, 2016 to August 24, 2016. Ill people range in age from 1 year to 85, with a median age of 44. Sixty-three percent of ill people are female. Among seven people with available information, two (29%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
WGS showed that isolates from ill people are closely related genetically to one another. This close genetic relationship means that people in this outbreak are more likely to share a common source of infection.
The strain of Salmonella Oranienburg in this outbreak also is closely related genetically to a Salmonella Oranienburg strain from a 2015 outbreak linked to the Good Earth Egg Company. In the 2015 outbreak, 52 people infected with the outbreak strain were reported from six states. In response to the 2015 outbreak, Good Earth Egg Company recalled all of its shell eggs on January 9, 2016.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations identified shell eggs distributed by Good Earth Egg Company of Bonne Terre, Missouri as the likely source of this outbreak.
In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the six ill people who were interviewed, all six (100%) reported eating or possibly eating shell eggs in the week before illness started. Ill people reported eating eggs in restaurants as well as at home.
Federal, state, and local health and regulatory officials performed a traceback investigation from one restaurant location in Missouri where three ill people reported eating eggs. This investigation indicated that Good Earth Egg Company supplied eggs to that restaurant.
Missouri health officials collected and tested shell eggs from the Missouri restaurant location and isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg. Additionally, environmental samples taken at the Good Earth Egg Company processing facility isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg. WGS showed that the isolates of Salmonella Oranienburg from eggs distributed by Good Earth Egg Company are closely related genetically to isolates from ill people in this outbreak and from ill people and environmental samples in the 2015 outbreak. This close genetic relationship provides additional evidence that ill people in this outbreak and in the 2015 outbreak got sick from eating shell eggs distributed by Good Earth Egg Company of Bonne Terre, Missouri.
CDC recommends that consumers do not eat and restaurants and retailers do not serve or sell shell eggs distributed by Good Earth Egg Company at this time. Eggs distributed by Good Earth Egg Company were sold under different brand names. If you don’t know if your eggs were distributed by Good Earth Egg Company, ask the store where you bought them or the restaurant where they were served.
This investigation is ongoing, and we will update the public when more information becomes available. CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill people and to interview those people about foods they ate before they got sick.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.
If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

EU promotes new food safety unity as UK prepares for independence
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/10/eu-promotes-new-food-safety-unity-as-uk-prepares-for-independence/#.V_MFwk5H2Ul
By Dan Flynn (Oct 3, 2016)
In the first official reaction involving food safety in Europe since the BREXIT vote has come in the form of a new "Declaration of Commitment" that has member states reaffirming their support for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
BREXIT was the referendum process that culminated in last June's vote by residents of the United Kingdom that saw a europeanunion-406near 52 percent vote to leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to trigger the EU Article 50 withdrawal process by March 2017, meaning the UK would again be independent of the EU and its bureaucracies like the EFSA by the end of March 2019.
The coming separation has the EU feeling a little uncertain, and the "Declaration of Commitment" came up at the recent EFSA Advisory Forum(AF), which was met at Bratislava in the Slovak Republic. The AF has been around since 2003 to link mostly member states with Europe's top food safety agency.
In a statement, EFSA said in the new Declaration that member states "have agreed on a range of measures and activities that will ensure that EFSA and Advisory Forum members can together meet future challenges in the area of food safety and so protect European consumers.
The EFSA statement went on to say that Dr Zuzana Bírošová, the Slovak representative on EFSA's Advisory Forum, welcomed the signing of the declaration, which she said would help to strengthen relationships between EFSA and food safety institutions in the member states. The Declaration "promotes scientific excellence and scientific networking, allows member states to contribute to the EU risk assessment agenda and collect information on potential or emerging risks to food safety," she added.
EFSA Executive Director Bernhard Url said: "The Declaration of Commitment by the members confirms that we are moving from cooperating to a partnership between EFSA and Advisory Forum members. Our shared goal is a common EU risk assessment agenda to promote harmonization of food safety risk assessment and consistent communication in the interest of consumer protection."
EFSA says the Advisory Forum has been a "key platform for forging stronger links between EFSA and EU Member States. "This cooperation has helped to inform EFSA's risk assessment work programs, promote the exchange of information and data, develop scientific networks and shape a coherent approach to risk communication," the statement added.
Slovakia currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. The meetings there were the 61st since the Advisory Forum was founded.
In the Declaration, member states agreed to:
•Act independently in the public interest
•?Strengthen the relationships between EFSA and the food safety institutions in the member states
•Share information on risk assessments which are being planned or concluded
•Promptly inform each other about notifications of communications to the public on matters of high interest, where possible providing advance notification
•Share data, including the level of uncertainty, which would be beneficial for risk assessments
•?Pool knowledge on potential or emerging risks to food safety
•Disseminate the work program and risk assessments of EFSA
•Provide early warning of potential divergence of scientific opinion
•Work to review and resolve any real or potential divergence of scientific opinion between member states or between member states and EFSA
•Promote scientific excellence and scientific networking
•Promote the active engagement of national institutions in support of EFSA's mission, as envisaged by Article 36 of the founding regulation
•Ensure a coherent approach between member states and EFSA to the communication of science and risk assessment
•Contribute to the EU risk assessment agenda
•Identify grant and procurement opportunities to improve risk assessment across Europe
•Promote life-long learning initiatives that can strengthen the capacity for risk assessment and risk communication in the member states
•Support joint international cooperation for the improvement of food safety and risk communication?Identify areas for research on food safety and associated opportunities for collaboration
•Provide advice to the Executive Director on EFSA work program and research needs
•?Support the mission and the merging of strategic goals of EFSA and the member states in order to meet the challenges in the area of food and feed safety in all its forms

 


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Known unknown’ concerns future of food safety investment
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/10/known-unknown-concerns-future-of-food-safety-investment/#.V_MHYk5H2Ul
By Dan Flynn (Oct 3, 2016)
Whether you like him or hate him, former U.S. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld is recognized to this day for explaining reality to war-waiting reporters by saying: “There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know.”
In the past decade, food safety has been on a pretty predicable course. It was a time of “known knowns.” It was after 2006 that pressure was being brought on Congress for a new food safety law. Major outbreaks of foodborne illness were followed by Congressional hearings. By 2010, Congress and the new administration was ready to pass the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). President Obama signed it into law in January 2011. The time between then and now was taken up getting as much consensus as possible about the rules.
With that period over, the promise now is that we are going to reduce the 1-in-6 annual rate of Americans sickened by foodborne illness each year. We’ve turned a page. Thousands of large food processes are now covered by the new prevention-based FSMA regulations. Many were subject to the first compliance date, which was Sept. 19.
The Pew Charitable Trusts, which was more involved in the FSMA than any other non-governmental organization, recently reported that the FSMA now “requires companies growing and processing food (to) have an affirmative, legally enforceable responsibility to take steps to prevent contamination of their products. Many Americans may assume that these FDA-regulated businesses already had such an obligation, but in fact, they have not until now.”
Pew also reports that FDA will be able to stop a large processing facility from making or distributing tainted products if it fails to meet these requirements, before a single person gets sick. “No longer,” it says, “will the agency have to wait to act until a firm’s unsafe practices cause serious illness.”
Yet, many ‘known unknowns’ remain
The top “unknown” comes with America’s scheduled political changes. With a new President and new members of Congress months away from being sworn in, FDA, which regulates 80 percent of the food consumed in the U.S., might be under entirely new leadership.
FDA’s recent announcement to postpone some compliance dates for the various FSMA rules in the name of “education” could just end up causing procrastination by many food businesses.
Another “unknown” is the amount of business-to-business investment that will occur in the immediate years ahead to manage FSMA compliance. It’s likely this investment will shape how compliance is achieved. It’s entirely possible more investment in technology will help lessen the need for third-party review services from “pen and paper” bearing humans.
Whether a food company is clear or confused at the moment pretty much depends on size, according to The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI)
Large food companies and their original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are well on their way toward FSMA compliance, but many other food companies are still struggling to understand all aspects of the new law. The association’s latest FSMA Update Report analyzes responses from 47 food industry stakeholders on FSMA preparedness and identifies what food manufacturers need from supplier partners.
According to the PPMI report, fresh fruit and vegetable processors and small food companies are expected to have the most difficulty with compliance. With only limited regulatory oversight before FSMA, these businesses have been making more investments in new equipment to help meet compliance.
Additionally, small food companies and farms are challenged with overhead costs while those that source ingredients from foreign-based suppliers must now ensure that their suppliers comply with the law’s food supplier program.
The PMMI report notes that many managers still need clarification on deadlines, as well as specifics on what parts of the law are relevant to their facilities.
“Understanding FSMA compliance and documentation requirements present significant challenges to implementation” says Jorge Izquierdo, vice president of Market Development at PMMI.
“As a result, about 30 percent of participating companies – particularly smaller ones – plan to use OEMs as a consulting resource to help figure out how FSMA applies to their operations.”
An additional challenge with FSMA is the continuing roll-out of new documentation requirements. Some companies are still awaiting guidance on that from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Because FSMA is performance-based and does not require specific equipment designs, preparation activities focus mainly on internal staff training on new procedures and protocols, establishing preventive controls and implementing documentation procedures. Drivers for new equipment are mostly business growth and creation of new projects – but designs and services must address current food safety objectives.
This period of “known unknowns” may be dominated by food company executives deciding how much to spend on food safety investments. If the rules are clear enough, investments might follow. Many suggest that may happen because of a heightened interest in FSMA by food industry executives.
David Acheson, president and CEO of the consulting firm the Acheson Group, says interest by top food industry executives is increasing, but not because of the FSMA.
As FDA’s former associate commissioner for foods, Acheson developed the 2007 Food Protection Plan, which outlined the authorities eventually granted to FDA by the FSMA.
Acheson says food industry executives are waking up to the value of their brands and the values they contribute to the company’s economics. He sees executive suite interest in new regulatory strategies, managing supply chain risks, and responding to consumers needs such as with so-called clean foods.
Earlier this year in Phoenix, dairy industry executives met to foster a “culture of food safety.” Terry Brockman, president and COO of Saputo Cheese Division USA, told industry media he believe food safty is now at the top of each food company’s mind.
“One thing I really see with the culture of food safety is that it’s not one person’s job within organizations,” Brockman said. “It’s the organization from CEO all the way down to the janitor. Everyone now has to have input and buy-in because it’s so important.”

Ministry of Health stresses food safety
Source : http://www.stlucianewsonline.com/ministry-of-health-stresses-food-safety/
By Ministry of Health (Oct 2, 2016)
The Ministry of Health and Wellness was able to provide uninterrupted health services at key facilities, including the Victoria, St. Jude, Soufriere and Dennery hospitals and the National Mental Wellness Center during Tropical Storm Matthew.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, said that while a few facilities encountered minimal water damage, most should be fully operational today.
“Services at our Wellness Centres continue, including the Gros Islet Polyclinic which opened from 10:30 a.m. on Sep. 29, and remained open until midnight. For the St. Jude Hospital, the National Mental Wellness Centre and Victoria Hospital, we suspended the outpatient services and also the elective surgeries. Those services will be reinstituted by Friday, Sep. 29.”
Dr. George noted that of great concern to the Ministry of Health is the issue of water quality and food safety due to the interruption in the electricity and water supply.
“We are advising the public to ensure safe water use. If the water is not from the potable WASCO supply, ensure the water is either boiled or sterilized as we have indicated in other public service announcements.”
Environmental Health Officers are currently assessing food distribution outlets, Dr. George said.
“Environmental Health Officers are working with supermarkets and food distribution outlets due to the electricity supply interruption, because some frozen foods may have thawed out. So, our officers are presently on the ground doing the necessary assessments. We are asking the public to be vigilant about what they consume both in terms of water safety and frozen foods bought at various supermarkets, until we get full restoration of those services.”
Heads of Departments within the Ministry of Health met early Thursday to assess the heath institutions and strategize for the quick resumption of health services to the public.

Cyclospora cases drop after FDA monitors Mexican cilantro
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/cyclospora-cases-fall-after-monitoring-of-mexican-cilantro/#.V_MGIE5H2Ul
By Cathy Siegner (Sep 30, 2016)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is linking its program to more closely monitor fresh Mexican cilantro to a drop in domestically acquired Cyclospora cayetanensis infections.
According to a Sept. 19 update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Sept. 16 there were at least 134 confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis with illness onset on or after May 1, compared with 319 for the same period last year. There are 384 total cases reported so far in 2016.
The 134 people who became infected in the U.S. are from: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Since April 2015, FDA has been detaining fresh cilantro from the Puebla region of Mexico after it was implicated in several foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S.
FDA issued an Import Alert on Aug. 27, 2015, announcing that it would detain fresh cilantro on a seasonal basis after joint U.S.-Mexico inspections from 2013-2015 at Puebla-area farms and packinghouses revealed “objectionable conditions” that could contaminate produce with “human fecal pathogens.”
“Beginning in 2015, from April 1 through August 31, cilantro from this region has been and continues to be detained without physical examination at the U.S.-Mexican border and refused admission into the United States. The April through August time period aligns with the seasonality of previous C. cayetanensis outbreaks,” FDA noted in a Sept. 26 update on the situation.
An exception is granted for fresh cilantro from 10 Puebla-area firms on a so-called “Green List.” Inclusion on the list means that the exporting companies have met certain good production practices criteria for exclusion from detention without physical examination under the Import Alert.
FDA and two agencies of the Mexican government — the National Agro-Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality Service and Federal Commission for the Protection from Sanitary Risks — established production criteria to promote the safety of fresh and minimally processed agricultural products. They signed a statement of intent on July 24, 2014, to cooperate on a Produce Safety Partnership.
This year was the first full season that FDA’s Import Alert for fresh cilantro from Puebla has been in effect. The agency also started testing cilantro from Puebla and, along with CDC, has been reaching out to industry on strategies to control and prevent Cyclospora.
As of Sept. 14, 2015, CDC reported 546 cases of confirmed Cyclospora infection from 31 states. Of that total, 319 had experienced illness onset on or after May 1 of last year and had no history of international travel within two weeks before becoming sickened. Twenty-one people were hospitalized, but no deaths were reported.
Illness clusters linked to restaurants or events were identified in Texas, Wisconsin and Georgia, and investigations in Wisconsin and Texas preliminarily identified cilantro as a “suspect vehicle,” according to CDC.
Since the mid-1990s, foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis in the U.S. have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, including raspberries, basil, snow peas and mesclun lettuce.
CDC notes that people who live in, or travel to, tropical or subtropical areas of the world may be at increased risk of infection. Tips to avoid contaminated food and water while traveling can be found here.
Cyclospora infection is caused by a one-cell parasite spread by ingesting food or water that has been contaminated with feces. Symptoms begin on average about a week later and typically include watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, cramping, bloating, increased gas, nausea and fatigue. Less-common symptoms are vomiting and low-grade fever.
However, some people infected with the parasite do not have any symptoms, particularly if they live in an area where the illness regularly occurs.
If Cyclospora infection remains untreated, the symptoms can persist for several weeks to a month or more. Some symptoms, such as diarrhea, can return, and some, such as muscle aches and fatigue, may continue after the gastrointestinal symptoms have gone away. The infection usually is not life-threatening. There is currently no vaccine available.

Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak Grows to 282 Sick
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/hawaii-hepatitis-a-outbreak-grows-to-282-sick/
By Linda Larsen (Sep 29, 2016)
The hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii linked to frozen scallops imported from the Philippines has now sickened 282 people, according to the latest update from the Hawaii State Department of Health. That is an increase of six new cases since the last update on September 21, 2016.
All of the cases have been in adults. Seventy-one people have been hospitalized because their illness is so serious. That’s a hospitalization rate of 25%, slightly higher than the average 20% rate in a typical hepatitis A outbreak. Most of those sickened live on the island of Oahu. Five people live on the mainland or overseas.
Public health officials announced on August 15, 2016, that raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai are the “likely source” of the ongoing outbreak. The product was recalled. It is Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen) that came from the Philippines. The scallops were imported and distributed by Koha Oriental Foods. The product was embargoed and Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai, which served the scallops, were temporarily closed.
Since the incubation period for hepatitis A can be as long as 50 days, there may still be some people diagnosed until early October. Secondary infections, that is, people who get sick when they come into contact with ill persons, could continue for weeks beyond that.
Adding to the long incubation time is the fact that people who contract this virus are contagious for two weeks before they even know they are sick. And some people, especially young children, may not show any symptoms at all but can still spread the virus to others. Healthcare providers on the islands have been informed about this outbreak. They will notify the Department of Health immediately if any patients present with the symptoms of hepatitis A.
Those symptoms include jaundice, which is the main indicator of this illness, along with weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, clay-colored stools, and dark urine. Most people who get hepatitis A will recover on their own within a few weeks or months. But some people, especially the elderly and those with liver disease, can become seriously ill. And some who contract this illness can be ill for as long as six months.
In addition to those sickened after consuming the scallops, employees from five restaurants and Hawaiian Airlines have been diagnosed with the illness. The Hawaii Department of Health stresses that these businesses are not linked to the outbreak and no illnesses have been linked to those sick people. But anyone who ate at those establishments should monitor themselves for the symptoms of the disease for 50 days after those visits.
If you have experienced the symptoms of hepatitis A or have been in contact with someone who has the illness, please see your doctor. Stay home from work or school and be sure to wash your hands well with soap and water after using the bathroom and before preparing food for anyone else. Good personal hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of this illness.

Caviness Beef Packers Recall Ground Beef for Possible E. coli O103
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/caviness-beef-packers-recall-ground-beef-for-possible-e-coli-o103/
By Linda Larsen (Sep 29, 2016)
Caviness Beef Packers of Hereford, Texas is recalling about 2,100 pounds of boneless beef trim products that were made into ground beef and may be contaminated with E. coli O103. These products were sold to another firm and were then available for direct consumer purchase at retail locations in Texas.
The recalled products are 2,100 pound Combo Bin of “boneless beef trim 84L” produced on September 14, 2016 and processed into ground beef products by another establishment. The ground beef may not have the Caviness Establishment number 675, but may have another number inside the USDA seal.
Caviness Beef has control of all but 320 pounds of ground beef products. They are: 10 pound chub of 73% Regular Ground Beef with a “use by” or “freeze by” date of October 10, 2016 with UPC number 52846-48935. Also recalled is 2 to 3 pound tray packs of 73% Regular Ground Beef Products with a “sell by” date of September 28, 2016 and UPC number 2-01656-00000. Finally, 1.5 pound tray packs of 73% Regular Ground Beef products are recalled, with a “sell by” date of September 28, 2016 and UPC number 2-01654-00000.
If you purchased any of those ground beef products, do not eat them, even if you plan to cook it. Throw it away in a sealed container or take it back to the store where you bought it for a full refund. There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to the consumption of these products. FSIS are concerned that some consumers may have this product in their home freezers.
Many clinical laboratories do not test for non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria such as STEC O103 because it is harder to identify. If you ate any of these recalled products, watch yourself for the symptoms of an E. coli infection, which include severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea which is watery or bloody, and vomiting. If you do get sick, see your doctor and tell her you ate this recalled product.

FDA Updates Food Facility Registration Product Categories
Source : http://www.qualityassurancemag.com/article/fda-updates-food-facility-registration-product-categories/
By qualityassurancemag.com (Sep 27, 2016)
FDA issued guidance on September 26 updating the food product categories that companies can select when registering with the agency. The guidance includes changes for acidified and low-acid canned foods, animal food categories, and molluscan shellfish.
FDA issued guidance on September 26 updating the food product categories that companies can select when registering with the agency. The guidance includes changes for acidified and low-acid canned foods, animal food categories, and molluscan shellfish. The intention of the Food Facility Registration guidance is to will help FDA enhance its ability to respond quickly and accurately to food-related emergencies.
The changes to the food product categories made in this guidance were discussed in the July 14, 2016 rule that amended FDA’s food facility registration regulation. The rule also stated that FDA would address further amendments of the food product categories on the registration form through updates in guidance documents.
Updates include:
•Acidified foods and low acid canned foods are no longer listed as food product categories because they are now activity types
•Additions to animal food categories of botanicals and herbs, direct fed microbials, animal protein products, forage products, human food by-products not otherwise listed and technical additives (The “animal protein products” category replaces the previous “animal derived products” category, and the “processed animal waste products” category replaces the “recycled animal waste products” category.)
•Molluscan shellfish is now a food product category (previously, molluscan shellfish establishment was listed among the optional activity types)
Information about the categories of food a facility manufactures or distributes currently helps FDA conduct investigations and surveillance operations in response to food-related emergencies. These categories also enable the agency to quickly alert facilities potentially affected by such an incident if the agency receives information indicating the type of food affected.
For example, if FDA receives information indicating that soft drinks could be affected by a bioterrorism incident or other food-related emergency, the agency is able to alert soft drink facilities about the incident.
Food product categories also help FDA verify that imported products are correctly identified by where and when they were produced. Food product categories help FDA do this in connection with the prior notification requirements in 21 CFR Part 1, subpart I. For example, if the registration information identifies a facility as producing only dairy products and the FDA receives a prior notice for a shipment of nuts purporting to have been produced at that facility, the agency can examine the shipment to verify its contents based on the discrepancy between the registration information and prior notice data.
FDA issued the updated guidance in accordance with section 102 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and food companies will be required to select appropriate food product categories from the updated categories during the October – December 2016 registration renewal period. The guidance also describes certain FSMA amendments that allow FDA to determine appropriate food product categories through guidance. Specifically, under section 415(a)(2) of the FD&C Act, as amended by FSMA, a food facility must submit to FDA a registration containing information about the general food category (as identified in 21 CFR 170.3 or any other food categories as determined appropriate by FDA, including by guidance) of a food manufactured/processed, packed or held at such facility, if the Agency determines through guidance that such information is necessary.
For more information, see:
•Guidance for Industry: Necessity of the Use of Food Product Categories in Food Facility Registrations and Updates to Food Product Categories
•Registration of Food Facilities

China to lift ban on US beef instituted after 2003 BSE incident
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/china-to-lift-ban-on-us-beef-instituted-after-2003-bse-incident/#.V_MJEE5H2Ul
By News Desk (Sep 27, 2016)
Chinese officials say they will lift a ban on U.S. beef imports imposed in 2003 after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as BSE or mad cow disease, was confirmed in a Washington state cow imported from Canada.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack called Thursday’s announcement “a critical first step” following a recently concluded review of the U.S. supply system. He said he looks forward to further technical discussions to pave the way to resuming U.S. beef exports to that country.
“True access to China’s beef market — consistent with science-based, international standards for trade — remains a top priority for the United States. The United States produces the highest-quality beef in the world, and China’s 1.3 billion consumers are an important market for U.S. producers,” Vilsack said in a statement posted on a U.S. Department of Agriculture website.
Chinese officials have not given a specific timeline for when U.S. beef products will again be officially permitted into the country.
A resumption of beef exports to China is expected to buoy U.S. beef producers, who have been dealing with low prices in recent years.
“The beef industry has suffered huge losses in the last 12 to 14 months,” said Jim Peterson, a Buffalo, MT, rancher and former chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Foundation. “There are a lot of ag producers in both cattle production and farming who are looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. Calves are selling for almost half or less than half of what they were selling for last year.”
China was one of at least 17 countries to restrict U.S. beef imports after the BSE-infected cow was discovered in 2003. Japan and South Korea were two major trading partners that initially refused American beef, although both have since begun to allow importation of certain U.S. beef products.
Because of the trade bans, U.S. beef exports fell from $3 billion to $1.1 billion between 2003 and 2004. Since 2011, however, USDA reported that beef exports are back up to pre-BSE levels and had reached record values by 2014.
The agency estimates that China will import 825,000 tons of beef this year from all sources.
Despite the ban, trade experts say large amounts of American beef have continued to flow into China through backdoor routes such as Hong Kong and Vietnam.
BSE is a fatal brain disease that can affect both humans and animals and has been linked to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans. BSE was first found in 1986 in U.K. cattle and prompted the destruction of 4.4 million cows.
At least 177 people have died from BSE-related illness in the U.K., while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that four people in the U.S. have contracted the disease.

Scallops gone but Hepatitis A outbreak continues to expand
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/scallop-related-hepatitis-a-outbreak-continues-to-expand/#.V_MJSk5H2Ul
By News Desk (Sep 29, 2016)
Eight more people have been confirmed as victims in a Hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii as health officials continue to ask for help from the public, health care providers and foodservice workers to stem the spread of the virus.
The outbreak, traced to frozen scallops imported from the Philippines and served raw at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai, has sickened 284 adults. Onset dates of their illnesses range from June 12 through Sept. 16.
As of Wednesday’s weekly update from the Hawaii Department of Health, 71 of the victims have had symptoms so severe that they required hospitalization.
Although the state health department identified the scallops as the likely source of the outbreak on Aug. 15, closing the implicated Genki Sushi restaurants and embargoing the scallops, it is likely that new outbreak victims will continue to be identified.
Unvaccinated people can contract Hepatitis A from “contact” with infected people. Contact activities are detailed on the Hawaii health department web page dedicated to the outbreak updates.
Another transmission route can be infected foodservice workers who can be contagious well before they begin to develop symptoms. State and federal health officials consistently report it can take up to 50 days after exposure for Hepatitis A symptoms to develop.
As of Wednesday, Hawaii health officials had not reported any cases in the ongoing outbreak being transmitted via foodservice workers. However, the state is maintaining a rolling list of restaurants and other foodservice settings — such as commercial airlines — that have had one or more employees confirmed as outbreak victims.
 “This list does not indicate these businesses are sources of this outbreak; at this time, no infections have been linked to exposure to these businesses. The likelihood that patrons of these businesses will become infected is very low,” according to the Hawaii health department website.
“However, persons who have consumed food or drink products from these businesses during the identified dates of service should contact their healthcare provider for advice and possible preventive care. Listed businesses will be removed from this list once 50 days have elapsed from the affected employee’s last service date while potentially infectious.”
To help contain the outbreak, health officials say people who have been in contact with outbreak victims or dined at one of the restaurants on the list during exposure periods should monitor themselves for symptoms of infection.
What to watch for and what to do
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports some people — especially children — who are infected with Hepatitis A do not have any symptoms. If symptoms occur, they usually appear two to six weeks after exposure. Symptoms usually develop over a period of several days.
If you do have symptoms, they may include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, and a yellowing of the skin or eyes referred to as jaundice.
Symptoms usually last less than two months, although some people can be ill for as long as six months.
Almost all people who get Hepatitis A recover completely and do not have any lasting liver damage, although they may feel sick for months. Hepatitis A can sometimes cause liver failure and death, although this is rare and occurs more commonly in persons 50 years of age or older and persons with other liver diseases, such as Hepatitis B or C.
If you have had contact with an outbreak victim or consumed food or any beverages at one of the restaurants where an employee has been confirmed as a victim, consult a doctor immediately and specifically mention your possible exposure to Hepatitis A.
Public health officials are requesting that health care providers consider the outbreak when seeing patients with Hepatitis A symptoms and conduct appropriate tests.
People exposed to the virus who have not been vaccinated can receive a post-exposure shot that is effective at avoiding infection development. However, the shot must be administer within two weeks of exposure.
Information and resources from Hawaii health officials
•Frequently Asked Questions
•List of Vaccinating Pharmacies
•Information for Contacts of Cases
•Fact Sheet for Food Service Establishments
•Information for Healthcare Workers
•Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Information

Farmers and ranchers get their privacy back
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/farmers-and-ranchers-get-their-privacy-back/#.V_MJtE5H2Ul
By Dan Flynn (Sep 27, 2016)
Privacy was the winner in a Court of Appeals case a few days ago in the 8th U.S. Circuit with a unanimous ruling against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A three-judge panel ruled against EPA’s practice of collecting private information from farmers and ranchers and then turning it over to environmental activists and others who request it through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Personal and medical information typically is not subject to FOIA release under the act’s Exemption 6, but EPA was not letting the privacy protection stand in its way. The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Products Council sought injunctive relief in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, but were denied standing.
That judgement was reversed on Sept. 9 when the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals returned the case to the district court to enforce its orders. Defendants in the case are EPA and Gina McCarthy, its administrator.
In the appeal ruling, 8th U.S. Circuit Judges James B. Loken, Diana F. Murphy, and Steven Colleton sided with the national farm groups. The three-judge panel found the unlawful release of personal information sufficient for the “concrete and particularized injury” to have standing.
“We therefore conclude the district court erred in dismissing this case for lack of standing. We further determine that the EPA abused its discretion in deciding that the information at issue was not exempt from mandatory disclosure under Exemption 6 of FOIA,” the ruling says.
The case “is a big win for privacy in the internet world for all citizens,” said Farm Bureau’s Danielle Quist in a news release. Quest, senior counsel for public policy, said people have a “substantial private interest” in their personal information, “even when it can be found here and there on the internet.”
How it all started
EPA collects information on farmers and ranchers under the Clean Water Act, which provides for granting permits for concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. The application process is available to the public.
In 2008, the Government Accountability Office issued a report saying the state-federal CAFO system was resulting in inconsistent and inaccurate information. It recommended EPA compile a single national registry.
The same year, environmental groups sought judicial review of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, and EPA agreed to a settlement that promised it would require CAFO operators to report certain information to the agency and make it public.
Under a 2011 rule, that information would include location, acreage under control of the CAFO, type and number of animals, and contact information. Farmers and ranchers mounted an opposition and the rule was withdrawn in 2012. EPA’s next move was to enter into an agreement with the Association of Clean Water Administrators to share information on a state-by-state basis.
EPA was able to collect information on farmers and ranchers in 35 states through the agreement. By September 2012, environmental activists were filing FOIA requests for the “the legal name of the owner of the CAFO … their mailing address, email address, and primary telephone number” and “the location of the CAFO’s production area, identified by latitude and longitude and street address.”
EPA released information it had collected in 29 states in the form of Excel spreadsheets but without redacting any personal information. EPA claimed it was under no legal obligation to do so.
EPA argued that the information the agency disclosed is available through the states. EPA was not required to disclose “personal and medical and similar files” if such disclosure “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
The court found EPA was releasing personal information after receiving specific objections from farmers and ranchers. The three-judge panel said “substantial privacy interests” are involved. It found EPA’s disregard of the farmers’ and ranchers’ preferences is contrary to law.
“An individual’s interest in controlling the dissemination of information regarding personal matters does not dissolve simply because the information may be available to the public in some form,” the ruling states.
 “The agency has aggregated vast collections of data from the majority of states — much of it obtained through state-specific information requests — and provided it to requesters in a single response.”

FDA Updates Food Facility Registration Product Categories in Guidance
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/fda-updates-food-facility-registration-product-categories-in-guidance/
By Staff (Sep 27, 2016)
Source: FDA
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued updated guidance today that will help enhance FDA’s ability to respond quickly and accurately to food-related emergencies by updating the food product categories that companies can select when registering with the agency.
Information about the categories of food a facility manufactures or distributes currently helps the FDA conduct investigations and surveillance operations in response to food-related emergencies. These categories also enable the agency to quickly alert facilities potentially affected by such an incident if the FDA receives information indicating the type of food affected.
For example, if the FDA receives information indicating that soft drinks could be affected by a bioterrorism incident or other food-related emergency, the agency is able to alert soft drink facilities about the incident.
Food product categories also help the FDA verify that imported products are correctly identified by where and when they were produced. Food product categories help FDA do this in connection with the prior notification requirements in 21 CFR Part 1, subpart I. For example, if the registration information identifies a facility as producing only dairy products and the FDA receives a prior notice for a shipment of nuts purporting to have been produced at that facility, the agency can examine the shipment to verify its contents based on the discrepancy between the registration information and prior notice data.
The changes to the food product categories made in this guidance were discussed in the July 14, 2016 rule that amended FDA’s food facility registration regulation. The rule also stated that FDA would address further amendments of the food product categories on the registration form through updates in guidance documents.
Updates include:
•Acidified foods and low acid canned foods are no longer listed as food product categories because they are now activity types
•Additions to animal food categories of botanicals and herbs, direct fed microbials, animal protein products, forage products, human food by-products not otherwise listed and technical additives (The “animal protein products” category replaces the previous “animal derived products” category, and the “processed animal waste products” category replaces the “recycled animal waste products” category.)
•Molluscan shellfish is now a food product category (previously, molluscan shellfish establishment was listed among the optional activity types)
The FDA issued the updated guidance in accordance with section 102 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and food companies will be required to select appropriate food product categories from the updated categories during the October – December 2016 registration renewal period. The guidance also describes certain FSMA amendments that allow the FDA to determine appropriate food product categories through guidance. Specifically, under section 415(a)(2) of the FD&C Act, as amended by FSMA, a food facility must submit to FDA a registration containing information about the general food category (as identified in 21 CFR 170.3 or any other food categories as determined appropriate by FDA, including by guidance) of a food manufactured/processed, packed or held at such facility, if the Agency determines through guidance that such information is necessary.

WATCH: Handy tips for food safety
Source : http://www.timeslive.co.za/consumerlive/2016/09/27/WATCH-Handy-tips-for-food-safety
By WENDY KNOWLER (Sep 27, 2016)
Her engaging, user-friendly advice on how to defrost and cook meat safely, avoid contaminated cutting boards, disinfect a cleaning sponge and more recently earned her an honourable mention from The International Union of Food Science and Technology’s (IUFoST) governing council.
It began as a university assignment. “I wanted to focus on identifying those everyday habits that create an environment for microbial growth and put us at risk of food-borne illness,” she said. “It’s more common than most people realise.”
“Essentially I wanted to show consumers how to take care of their food, so it can take care of them.”
Rust’s lecturer encouraged her to submit the video after hearing about IUFoST’s student film competition.
The filming process took her three to four days and the editing another week.
“It was quite a challenge,” Rust said. “It took me about 10 attempts to encode the final video because my laptop kept crashing.”
Of course, the video needed a soundtrack - one without a copyright. “Luckily a good friend of mine, who performs under the name The Found Wonder, gave me permission to use a single he had recently released.” Problem solved.
The IUFoST recognition took Rust by surprise. “I practice photography in my spare time but I had never made any serious attempt at filming before, so I'm glad that IUFoST found it relevant and enjoyable.”

Cost of traceability negated by legal, marketing benefits
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/09/cost-of-traceability-negated-by-legal-marketing-benefits/#.V_MheU5H2Ul
By Coral Beach (Sep 26, 2016)
Editor’s note: This is the third piece in a four-part series. The final installment is scheduled to publish Oct. 3.
One step forward and one step back might be sufficient in the context of a boot scootin’ line dance, but in the context of foodborne illness outbreaks and increasingly long, complex supply chains, consumers and the federal government are demanding more in the way of food traceability.
However, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011, some of which becomes effective this month, doesn’t impose a specific traceability procedure or system. It merely requires that food companies be able to track their products, leaving the method up to industry. It also requires that traceability records of ingredients be maintained for up to two years to assist with recalls when necessary.
Consider what that means for the average hamburger. It’s not as simple as wheat flour from Kansas for a golden bun and a patty of grass-fed Nebraska beef. According to food safety technology company Roka Bioscience, the ground beef in a single package can contain meat from more than 50 cows from several countries.
Even with such a range of variables, the IoT — Internet of Things — with its plethora of interconnected devices and databases, suggests to some that traceability is easily achieved.
Scanners, smart phones, bar codes, QR codes and Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFIDs) have been in relatively wide use for several years. Global positioning software can track shipments on roads, rails, rivers and oceans. Temperature sensors can document, down to fractions of a minute, whether a perishable load has been kept cold enough while in transit.
Yet foodborne illness outbreaks are on the rise and consumers’ confidence in food is, at best, flat. At the same time, the American public is increasingly demanding year-round access to fresh produce, specialty meats and imported delicacies. To meet those demands the food industry must continue to source commodities and ingredients far and wide.
“Greater complexity leads to more interfaces, which increases the chance for error,” according to a report earlier this year from the insurer Swiss Re.
With such diversity in the food supply and distribution chain inevitably more complex to protect, there are automatically more costs for food production and sales companies, from one-off mom-and-pops to retail grocery behemoths and restaurant chains with thousands of locations.
The trick for them is to develop a food safety plan that meets the law, effectively mitigates pathogens and other risks, and documents every link in the supply chain while keeping prices low enough for consumers.
As complicated as the first part of that equation is, the second part is easy: You can’t charge more than the market will allow. That amount is ever shifting in the context of the American economy, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Americans have been on a declining path for more than 50 years in terms of the per-capita amount of disposable income being spent on food.
USDA’s Economic Research Service tracks such data, and from 1960 through 2013, the percentage of per-capita disposable income spent on food by people in the U.S. dropped from about 17 percent to less than 10 percent.
Food companies that have been ignoring the consumer trends and hoping for reveals of federal laws are likely facing quite the financial pinch now. But a number of individuals and corporations have opted to keep up.
Many in the fresh produce industry banded together several years ago to launch the Produce Traceability Initiative. The self-imposed industry deadlines of the initiative became selling points for some companies courting large retailers that were simultaneously stepping up food safety efforts, partly as liability mitigation and partly as marketing efforts.
There were more than 600 food recalls in the U.S. in 2015 and the impact to industry was costly.
A survey of 36 major international food companies by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, 55 percent of respondents said they had experienced a product recall in the five years prior. They reported the cost of many of these recalls reaching well into the tens of millions, some even costing more than $100 million.
Among the companies attempting to stay in front of the curve, activities have been wide-ranging, according to a report prepared by Cornerstone Capital Group for the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute. Highlights include:
•Starbucks has implemented a product traceability program that enables the company to trace 100 percent of the raw materials in a particular product within four hours.
•Darden Restaurants has implemented full product traceability for shelf life management and food safety crisis management with leading supply chain standards organization GS1.
•Hormel Foods and Maple Leaf Farms have implemented pork product traceability back to the individual hog.
•Wal-Mart mandated certification by GFSI and Safe Quality Food (SQF) for all suppliers and uses meat traceability systems.
•Costco manages suppliers and factory audits through its Traqtion system. Through its membership database, Costco can contact every customer who has purchased a recalled product.
•Sysco, the country’s largest food service supplier, implemented an audit system for its ready-to-eat produce customers. It also has a GS1 Standards Initiative that enables the tracing back to all raw materials.
Tracking the performance of such programs can be seen as just one more cost of operations that food businesses must calculate when developing and updating their food safety plans. It can also provide data for marketing opportunities that could negate part of those costs.
One common denominator in reports and surveys of consumers done in recent years by industry groups such as the Produce Marketing Association, the American Institute of Baking (AIB), The Packer newspaper, Supermarket News and other entities is the desire of consumers to know how their food got to the grocery store.
Moms and dads, millennials and baby boomers, the poor and the affluent, minority groups, virtually all consumers want to know more about their food. That provides a huge opportunity for savvy businesses to get more bang for their traceability bucks.
A study by the advertising agency Sullivan, Higdon & Sink showed only about a third of consumers trust food companies to provide them with the right information. That leaves a big window of opportunity wide open for forthcoming food companies.

How safe is your food?
Source : http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/238879/how-safe-is-your-food
By Pocholo Concepcion (Sep 27, 2016)
THE INCIDENCE of cancer among Filipinos has become so common today, that it’s no longer unusual for one to have a family member, a relative or a friend to be afflicted with the dreaded disease and its various forms.
There are many cancer cases whose causes cannot be directly traced. But it’s possible that these come from the food that we eat.
“It’s a problem that affects everybody; you would not like to eat something that would make you sick,” said Dr. Modesto Chua, scientist and director of the Philippine Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry (Pipac).
Critical issue
Dr. Chua spoke to Inquirer Lifestyle at the sidelines of “Symposium on Food Safety: Regulations and Food Contaminant Testing,” a two-day event held recently at the Pipac building inside the Ateneo de Manila University campus in Quezon City.
The symposium featured lectures and presentations by representatives from the Philippine Food and Drug (FDA) Center for Food Regulation and Research; Product Safety Inspection Center, Japan; Eurofins Scientific in Vietnam; Shimadzu Philippines Corp., a subsidiary of a scientific and medical equipment company in Japan, among others.
“It’s our first time to do the symposium. We decided to hold it because of the topic. Food safety is a very critical issue,” said Dr. Chua, who in 1972 founded Pipac—an independent, non-profit research and testing institute—after obtaining a grant from the Germany-based Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Antibiotic in prawns
He recalled that some 20 years ago, Philippine prawn exports to Japan were at their peak, but suddenly wavered when Japanese importers discovered the presence beyond acceptable limits of an antibiotic, chloramphenicol, in the prawns.
The multibillion-peso-a-year prawn industry, which contributed substantially to the national economy, and which took decades to develop, was suddenly crippled.
Japan and Europe went on to impose strict food regulatory requirements through the years because of the growing frequency and intensity of toxins in mass-produced foods.
Today, the Philippine shrimp industry has overcome the problem, but the issue of chemical contamination of foods remains a major concern.
“One of the aims of the symposium is to stimulate awareness among the public, the food manufacturers and the government about this problem,” said Dr. Chua, who delivered the opening remarks.
Stringent methods
Dr. Isao Saito of the Product Safety Inspection Center in Tokai, Japan, discussed the situation in his country. He said that Japan’s domestic food production supplies only 40 percent of the citizens’ needs based on calorie requirements.
Japan’s food supply is low on wheat, edible oil, animal feed, corn and beans. It imports the rest of the 60 percent from other countries such as the Philippines.
But its stringent methods of ensuring food safety have enabled the Japanese people to avoid diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Professor Chu Tham Ngoc Son, a consultant of Eurofins Scientific, an international company providing analytical testing services in Vietnam, disclosed that mislabeling and deliberate substitution of permitted food additives with cheaper but possibly harmful alternatives for profit have been detected in Vietnamese food.
Harmful stuff
Some of these harmful stuff, he pointed out, were melamine in milk and milk products; sugar syrup in honey; roasted maize or soybean in coffee; and Tinopal, a whitening agent for detergents illegally used in rice noodles.
Dr. Chua told Inquirer Lifestyle that since food contamination continue to pose a threat to Philippine exports, “the importing countries have set standards for certain contaminants that they expect from fruits, vegetables and meat. In fruits and vegetables they look precisely for the presence of pesticides.”
Pipac—whose clients include United Laboratories (Unilab) and companies involved in fish exports—is focusing on chemical contamination and chemical methods for measuring the amount of contamination.
Dr. Chua mentioned, for instance, an organic chemical compound called 3-MCPD, a carcinogen which has been detected in some soy sauce brands.
Pesticides
He said that if people become are aware, “then maybe something will be done, like the government may set up stricter regulations, for example, to limit the addition of certain chemicals, the overuse of pesticides.”
He noted that there’s available information on what kind of chemicals are used to produce more food by using pesticides.
“Pesticides are good in the sense that they remove or minimize the insects that infest fruits, vegetables and meat. But the downside is there are residues left on plants and animals which people consume,” he explained.
But of all the dangers that Dr. Chua mentioned, something that hit close to home are the growth hormones that are injected to chickens—whose eggs we consume for breakfast may contain cancer-causing agents.
The good news is, there are now chickens and eggs classified as “free range”—or devoid of chemicals and other additives—sold at the supermarket.
Call 4266072, 4266001 loc. 4856, 4857; e-mail info@pipac.com.ph; visit pipac.com.ph.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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