FoodHACCP Newsletter



Food Safety Job Openings

12/03. Quality & Food Safety Supervisor – Marietta, GA
12/03. Food Safety Manager – New York, NY
12/03. Food Safety Manager – Earth City, MO
11/30. Quality Supervisor – Vineland, NJ
11/30. Laboratory Technician – Salinas, CA
11/30. HACCP Coordinator/Tampa, FL
11/30. 3rd Shift Mfg QA Specialist – Stuarts Draft, VA
11/29. Quality Control - San Diego, CA
11/28. Reg & Compliance Coordinator – Tracy, CA
11/28. Food Safety Specialist – Fairfield, CA
11/28. Food Inspector – Tacoma, WA

12/05 2016 ISSUE:733

Bacterial infections traced to raw milk products in Ohio
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/12/bacterial-infections-traced-to-raw-milk-products-in-ohio/#.WEYkofmLSUm
BY CORAL BEACH (Dec 4, 2016)
An unknown number of people have been infected with Campylobacter bacteria in unpasteurized raw milk from Sweet Grass Dairy’s herd share program in Ohio.
State officials issued a public health alert about the dairy’s raw milk products Friday in connection with an investigation into foodborne illnesses, according to the alert from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).
“This alert is the result of an investigation by ODA and the Ohio Department of Health after foodborne illnesses were reported in Franklin County. Later testing confirmed a connection between the illnesses and raw milk from Sweet Grass Dairy,” according to the alert.
People can prevent such infections by consuming only pasteurized milk and milk products, the alert states. Pasteurization is the process in which milk is heated briefly to kill any pathogenic bacteria that might be present.
Raw milk has not been pasteurized to kill pathogenic bacteria and is not legally available for sale in Ohio retail stores.
The Sweet Grass Dairy is in Fredericktown, which is in Knox County, and is owned by Jacob Coleman. He provided a statement to KnoxPages.com, contending all food carries the risk of pathogens.
“Our testing levels have maintained averages lower than pasteurized products,” according to Coleman’s statement as reported by KnoxPages.com. “We are aware of the state’s issue and we are doing further lab work to check the pureness of our herdshares.
“All food has the potential for risk of food borne illness. In fact there is (sic) about 1,000 cases per week per state. It is not our intention nor desire to be apart (sic) of those figures, and we are doing all that we can to maintain a safe healthy product for our private agreements.”
Anyone who has consumed raw milk or raw milk products from Sweet Grass Dairy and developed symptoms of Campylobacter infection should seek medical attention and inform their doctors about their possible exposure.
Symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting within two to five days after exposure to the organism. Illness can last for up to a week or more and can be especially severe for those who have weakened or compromised immune systems, and for young children and the elderly.
Although most people who get campylobacteriosis recover completely, some patients do suffer long-term effects including arthritis and paralysis.
For more information about unpasteurized milk and food safety, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a dedicated website at http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-index.html.
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Smoked mackerel from Philippines could cause botulism
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/12/smoked-mackerel-from-philippines-could-cause-botulism/#.WEYkyvmLSUl
BY NEWS DESK (Dec 4, 2016)
New York officials have warned the public to not eat Phil Am branded smoked mackerel — Hasa Hasa — because it was not eviscerated and could contain spores that cause botulism poisoning.
The fish is a product of the Philippines and is sold by the Asian Supermarket Group Inc. of Albany, NY, according to the consumer alert from the state’s Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball. No illnesses had been confirmed in connection with the Phil Am brand smoked mackerel as of the posting of the Dec. 1 alert.
Consumers can identify the implicated smoked mackerel, which is vacuum-packed in clear, flexible plastic pouches by the UPC number 814487015147. The fish is sold at refrigerated temperatures and is not otherwise coded.
“Uneviscerated processed fish is prohibited under New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ regulations because Clostridium botulinum spores are more likely to be concentrated in the viscera (organs and entrails) than any other portion of the fish. Because the fish is uneviscerated, the product may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause Botulism, a serious and potentially fatal foodborne illness,” according to the consumer alert.
“The ‘Phil AM brand Smoked Mackerel (Hasa Hasa)’ was found by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets food inspectors during a routine inspection of the retail firm. Subsequent analysis by New York State Food Laboratory personnel confirmed the product to be uneviscerated.”
Anyone who has eaten any of the implicated smoked mackerel and developed symptoms of botulism poisoning should immediately seek medical attention and inform their doctors of their potential exposure. Symptoms include blurred or double vision, general weakness, poor reflexes, difficulty swallowing and respiratory paralysis.
If consumers have any questions, they can call the state department at 518-457-4492.

Food-safe inks growing in response to regulations
Source : http://www.packworld.com/trends-and-issues/food-safety/food-safe-inks-growing-response-regulations
By Anne Marie Mohan, Senior Editor, Packaging World (Dec 4, 2016)
Food packaging will grow at a faster rate than the overall packaging market from 2016 to 2021, at a 3% CAGR in real value and print area. Food-safe inks will also grow at a fast rate in the coming years, as pressure from brand owners and regulators sees them adopted in larger amounts of food packaging. That’s according to a new report from Smithers Pira, “The Future of Printing for Food Packaging to 2021.”
Says the report, special food-grade inks are increasingly used in printing for food packaging to ensure there is no contamination of the product when they are used correctly. In 2016, the market was over 250,000 tonnes costing $1.83 billion, with growth prospects ahead of the general food packaging market growing at 6% annually in volume terms to 2021 as the use of food-safe inks is adopted. The value is growing at a higher rate, showing the high cost of these materials, which is why many converters do not use them; but this is changing following pressure from brands, and growing regulation of food safety from regional and national governments.
Says report author Dr. Sean Smyth, “Food packaging developments are driven by consumer preferences, which are making brands and retailers change and refresh their offerings. Safety concerns override these trends, and have to fit in with pressures to make supply chains increasingly sustainable. This may work against safety, as work to minimize packaging materials may downgauge a barrier film, for example, making it less effective at protecting the contents.”
Food may be contaminated by migration of printed material through diffusion, setoff from a printed surface, or during use, particularly when a product is cooked at high temperature, explains the report. Food-safe low-migration inks or coatings will release levels below the accepted levels of contamination when they are properly applied and dried after printing. Using the appropriate materials is important, and following good manufacturing processes to demonstrate compliance and minimize the risks is the direction the packaging industry is taking.
Food consumption is also changing. The traditional model of large weekly shopping trips for families to sit down together for meals is becoming more rare, as household occupancy falls and new habits occur. Snacking is beginning to become a major trend among consumer groups accounting for 50% of all food and beverage consumption in the U.S., according to research from the Hartman Group published in 2016.
For packaging this means a reduction in the pack size, with more samples and designs to facilitate consumption on-the-go, and the package is increasingly acting as the serving method. This puts additional stress on the potential of migration as the consumer touches the outside of the pack as part of the eating or drinking activity. This is driving the adoption of resealable pouches and flexibles. This results in packaging being handled more during use, meaning there is less distinction between food contact and indirect packaging. Thus all food packaging has to be produced with reducing contamination risk as part of the design.

 

 

 

 

 


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USDA Proposes Revisions to Nutritional Fact Panel for Meat and Poultry Products
Source : http://www.qualityassurancemag.com/article/usda-proposes-revisions-to-nutritional-fact-panel-for-meat-and-poultry-products/
By qualityassurancemag.com (Dec 2, 2016)
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has proposed an amend to the nutrition labeling regulations for meat and poultry products to parallel the FDA final nutrition regulations, which were published May 27, 2016. The proposed rule will improve the presentation of nutrition information to assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices.
"This new rule will provide more transparency on nutrition labels so that American consumers can make informed decisions about the foods they eat and feed their families," said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at Alfred Almanza. "The new nutrition facts panel will complement the many other proactive, prevention-based food policies that we've put in place in recent years."
Specifically, FSIS is proposing to:
Update the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared;
Provide updated Daily Reference Values (DRVs) and Reference Daily Intake (RDI) values that are based on current dietary recommendations from consensus reports;
Amend the labeling requirements for foods represented or purported to be specifically for children under the age of 4 years and pregnant women and lactating women and establish nutrient reference values specifically for these population subgroups;
Revise the format and appearance of the Nutrition Facts label;
Amend the definition of a single-serving container;
Require dual-column labeling for certain containers;
Update and modify several reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs or reference amounts); and
Consolidate the nutrition labeling regulations for meat and poultry products into a new Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part.
The proposal may be viewed on the FSIS website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/a8674ea1-0c26-4bf3-8413-43b6551c0680/2014-0024.pdf?MOD=AJPERES. FSIS is seeking public comment for 60 days from the publication date. Comments may be submitted: online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal; by mail to the Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700; or by hand at Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E Street SW., Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

CDC Develops FoodNet Fast For Consumers to Track Outbreaks
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/cdc-develops-foodnet-fast-for-consumers-to-track-outbreaks/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 2, 2016)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed an interactive online program so consumers can track foodborne illness outbreaks over a 20 year period. The tool is called FoodNet Fast.
The database includes confirmed cases of infection reported to FoodNet, which is the CDC’s Foodborne Disease Active Surveillance Network. It includes outbreaks from 1996 through 2015. People can search by year, pathogen, age group, sex, and race.
To develop the database, officials used surveillance from FoodNet in 10 sites for infections of nine pathogens that are commonly transmitted through food, and also for hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of E. coli infections that can cause kidney failure. The database also tracks how the rates of illness for Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli, Shigella, Virbrio, and Yersenia have changed in the last 20 years.
CDC spokeswoman Brittany Behm said in a statement, “the tool also provides information on seasonality, hospitalizations, deaths, ethnicity, international travel-associated cases and outbreak-associated cases. Users can see species or serotype information when viewing a single pathogen. An FAQ provides guidance on using the data and limitations to keep in mind.”
The database was created to help consumers, and also so that public health workers, consumer advocacy groups, the medical community, and the food industry could learn about outbreaks. Searches can be customized by pathogen, year, age group, sex, or race.
At this time, FoodNet Fast only includes information on confirmed cases. That means that the bacterium in question was isolated from a patient’s specimen. Information on probable cases will be included in the future. That includes cases with positive lab results without culture confirmation.
FoodNet Fast does not identify all cases of illness and does not give a complete picture of all of the foodborne illness cases and outbreaks in the United States. Many people who get sick do not seek medical care, and some may not be tested for a specific pathogen.

Don’t Trust Your Waiter for Food Safety Advice
Source : https://news.ncsu.edu/2016/12/waiter-food-safety-2016/
By Matt Shipman (Dec 1, 2016)
I went out for lunch recently at an upscale restaurant. Other guests wore suits, there was an extensive wine list, and the server was extremely upbeat. What she didn’t know, and I did, was that my guest for lunch was a food safety expert – and her tableside manner was being judged.
Shortly after being seated, my dining companion pointed to the bottom of the menu.
“Consuming undercooked meats may increase risk of foodborne illness,” said Ben Chapman, a food safety researcher at NC State. “It’s right there on the menu. Now let’s see if the server follows through.”
When the server returned, Chapman ordered a medium-rare hamburger. The server didn’t mention anything, so Chapman asked how the restaurant knew whether the burger would be safe to eat.
The server said that the cooks could tell whether the hamburger was safe by feeling how firm the burger was, and noted that lots of people order medium-rare hamburgers and don’t get sick. Chapman changed his order to well-done anyway, and the server left to get our drinks.
“This,” Chapman said, “is basically everything that can go wrong with how restaurant servers share food safety information with consumers: the menu gives patrons vague, but accurate, information. And the server gave us information that’s inaccurate and not based on the science.”
And Chapman knows what he’s talking about – he just published a paper evaluating how restaurants handle food safety communication, based on the experiences of “secret shoppers” at 265 different restaurants scattered across the United States. You can read more about that paper here.
So what does make a hamburger safer?
Cooking hamburgers to 155°F for 15 seconds or 160°F (for an instant kill).
Restaurants are required to cook to these temperatures in many jurisdictions unless requested to do otherwise by a customer.
Restaurants should have thermometers in the kitchen; if they don’t, you may want to reconsider your dining choice.
Don’t trust color (no red or pink) as an indicator of safety.
Just because the juices are “running clear” doesn’t mean the burger has reached a safe temperature.
The touch, feel or look of the meat are not reliable ways of determining how well cooked the hamburger is.
The study, which was performed by a team of researchers from NC State and RTI International, is published in the Journal of Food Protection.

EPA Announces Plans for Safer Drinking Water
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/epa-announces-plans-for-safer-drinking-water/
By EPA (Nov 30, 2016)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a plan that serves as a national call to action, urging all levels of government, utilities, community organizations, and other stakeholders to work together to increase the safety and reliability of drinking water.
“Ensuring that all Americans have access to safe drinking water is an absolute top priority for EPA,” says EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We must work collectively to seize opportunities for progress, partnership, and innovation in order to continue to provide our citizens with the safest drinking water in the world.”
The plan includes six priority areas and identifies proposed actions for each area:
Building capacity for water infrastructure financing and management in disadvantaged, small, and environmental justice communities: Actions include launching a national initiative to promote regional partnerships, reinvigorating training programs for system operators, sharing best practices and establishing an online water funding portal.
Advancing oversight of the Safe Drinking Water Act: Actions include electronic reporting for Safe Drinking Water Act compliance data, releasing triennial EPA reviews of state programs, and developing indicators to identify troubled systems.
Strengthening source water protection and resilience of drinking water supplies: Actions include updating and acting on source water vulnerability assessments, building collaborative local partnerships for watershed protection, developing an initiative to enhance community resilience to climate and extreme weather events, launching source water monitoring pilot projects and promoting water efficiency and reuse.
Addressing unregulated contaminants: Actions include strengthening the effectiveness of the health advisory program, prioritizing work on contaminants that pose the most significant risk, and promoting the development of low cost and innovative technologies that may remove a broad range of contaminants.
Improving transparency, public education, and risk communication on drinking water safety: Actions include strengthening transparency and public education, developing indicators to enhance how data is presented on the internet and improving risk communication tools.
Reducing lead risks: Actions include the consideration of critical options in revising the Lead and Copper Rule and continuing work to improve implementation of the current rule through enhanced oversight, identifying best practices on lead service line replacement, and revising guidance for schools.
The plan reflects input from state, local, and tribal government officials; drinking water utilities; community groups; and environmental organizations. While EPA and partners have already begun to take some actions, others will require additional resources and further stakeholder engagement. EPA recognizes that partnership and collaboration across all levels of government, utilities, the private sector, and the public will be essential to the success of the plan.
In tandem with the development of the plan, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) undertook a study on science and technology for drinking water safety. The PCAST’s recommendations complement and support EPA’s plan.
Today, Americans depend on 152,000 public drinking water systems and consume more than one billion glasses of tap water a day. EPA has established drinking water standards for more than 90 contaminants, and compliance data show that more than 90 percent of the nation’s water systems consistently meet those standards. While America’s drinking water remains among the safest in the world, the drinking water sector faces a growing array of challenges including aging infrastructure, limited funding and management capacity, emerging contaminants, pollution of source water, and the impacts from drought and other climate events. These challenges can be particularly acute in small and disadvantaged communities.

Food regulators seize adulterated milk products for food safety violations
Source : http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm531188.htm
By FDA (Nov 30, 2016)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that the U.S. Marshals Service seized more than 4 million pounds of product produced by Valley Milk Products LLC (Valley Milk) of Strasburg, Virginia. The company is owned by the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Inc. in Reston, Virginia. The seized products include dry nonfat milk powder and buttermilk powder packaged in 40- and 50-pound bags for further manufacturing and are worth nearly $4 million.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed the complaint, on behalf of the FDA, in the U.S. District Court for the Virginia Western District, alleging that the seized products are adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
During an FDA inspection of Valley Milk from July – September 2016, FDA investigators observed poor sanitary practices and reviewed the company’s records, which showed positive results for Salmonella in the plant’s internal environmental and finished product samples. FDA investigators observed residues on internal parts of the processing equipment after it had been cleaned by the company and water dripping from the ceiling onto food manufacturing equipment. In addition, environmental swabs collected during the inspection confirmed the presence of Salmonella meleagridis on surfaces food came into contact with after being pasteurized. Throughout the investigation, the FDA worked closely with the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
"The FDA urged Valley Milk to conduct a voluntary recall of the implicated products," said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. "The firm refused to recall and, as a result, we have had to intervene and seize this adulterated food to prevent it from reaching consumers who could be exposed to Salmonella from these products."
The FDA used a bacterial typing tool called whole genome sequencing (WGS) to link the samples collected in the facility over time. WGS technology can show the relationship among isolates of bacterial pathogens found in the environment, a food source or a person who became ill from consuming contaminated food. The sampling results indicate that the Salmonella strains from 2016 are nearly identical to Salmonella strains found at the company in 2010, 2011 and 2013. These findings of Salmonella meleagridis at the company dating back several years demonstrate the existence of a persistent strain of Salmonella at this facility.
Salmonella is a pathogenic bacterium that can contaminate foods and which may result in gastroenteritis or other serious clinical conditions, including septicemia, arterial infections, endocarditis and septic arthritis. Most people recover from salmonellosis in four to seven days without treatment but about one person in every thousand with salmonellosis dies.
Valley Milk is currently not producing dry powdered milk products. No illnesses linked to Valley Milk products have been reported to date. Consumers can report problems with FDA-regulated products to their district office consumer complaint coordinator.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Is that old food safe to eat? Quick tips on what's ok and what's not
Source : http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/quick-tips-old-food-heres-whats-safe-eat.html
By Melissa Breyer (Nov 30, 2016)
Past expiration dates? Fuzzy berries? Old leftovers? Some of it can be eaten, the rest not so much.
In a place where we throw out 133 billion pounds of food out every year, those of us in the United States might be seen as a bit over-eager when it comes to tossing our edibles. And although it's a tragedy, especially given that so many people in this world have so little to eat, I can see how we got here. Among other things, food is cheap and abundant; marketers and the media promote beautiful picture-perfect food, seducing us into buying too much and trashing it once it's less than flawless; and this one's hard to deny – most of us know the abysmal consequences of foodborne illness.
Fortunately, there are wafts of change in the air. Ugly fruits and vegetables are the new supermarket darlings; people are becoming more aware of food waste; and more of us are learning that older foods can be revived or used in delicious ways.
Even so, even the most stalwart of anti-food-wasters does not want to eat a rotten piece of food and suffer illness. Which is why this video from the American Chemical Society does a good job of addressing some of the more basic food safety concerns, like can you eat past the date printed on the package? Can you eat moldy berries? How about moldy cheese? (Spoiler: Yes, no, kind of.) It also goes into some of the science behind rotting food, which is pretty interesting in a know-your-enemies kind of way. Bon appetit!

Church dinner at Legion post on Thanksgiving ends in tragedy
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/11/church-dinner-at-legion-post-on-thanksgiving-ends-in-tragedy/#.WEYmVfmLSUl
BY NEWS DESK |(Nov 30, 2016)
The Antioch, CA Thanksgiving dinner tragedy spread beyond one family to cause at least 19 illnesses including three deaths, local health officials say.
All the victims attended a Thanksgiving dinner that served 800. It was put on at the Antioch American Legion Hall by the Golden Hills Community Church with food prepared in private homes.
The event was produced without obtaining any permits, which would not have permitted food from private homes or from unlicensed facilities.
How the dinner was depicted has changed as it unfolded this week. On Monday, there were three deaths and five illnesses all limited to one family who did attend the dinner at the legion.  Health officials did not view it as either an outbreak or ongoing event.
On Tuesday, it became an outbreak with illnesses reported by nine others who attended the church dinner.
Mashed potatoes and stovetop stuffing was made at the American Legion and green beans were warmed up there, and everything else came from the homes of volunteers.
Food safety attorney William Marler suspects the source of the illneses and three deaths was clostridium perfringens, a bacteria known for occurring in undercooked meats that are left to sit for a long period of time. (Marler is also publisher of s.Food Safety News.)
Contra Costa County health officials have sent samples to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for laboratory analysis, but it could be months before results are returned.
The three deaths involve people who came to the church dinner from assisted living facilities. Taking residents to the dinner has become a tradition for the facilities,  according to a spokesman.
Dr. Marilyn Underwood, environmental health director for Contra Costa Environmental Services, says next year her department will be working with the church and she does think the event should be permitted.
Editor’s Note:   This story was last updated on Dec. 2 to add two additional victims to the count.   Health officials said the two additional cases involve people who recovered on their own.

GAO: Long wait times for FDA food safety answers
Source : http://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2016/11/28/gao-long-wait-times-fda-food-safety-answers/94565664/
By Bartholomew D Sullivan , Ventura (Nov 28, 2016)
WASHINGTON – Waiting times for answers from the Food and Drug Administration’s technical assistance clearinghouse about rules for handling produce under a 2011 federal food safety law can be long, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released Monday.
In a report sent to congressional committees overseeing aspects of the agriculture industry, the GAO said it assessed stakeholders’ concerns about implementing the so-called “produce rule” formulated to comply with provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
The produce rule governs hygiene and other standards for how produce for human consumption can be grown, harvested, packed and stored.
The rule was implemented after an E. coli outbreak involving spinach sickened 205 people and killed three in 2006 and 33 died after eating melons contaminated with Listeria in 2011. It addresses agricultural water quality, the use of soil amendments such as manure, the presence of domestic and wild animals near fields and worker training in the areas of health and hygiene.
The GAO interviewed representatives of six unidentified produce associations and one large retailer in an effort to get their views in an audit from August to November. It noted that the FDA’s Technical Assistance Network (TAN), in operation since September 2015, has received 2,626 questions on the food safety law, including 363 pertaining to the produce rule. It said 72 percent of the questions submitted had been answered.
Industry representatives “generally told us that wait times for answers from the TAN can be long, and some had not yet received answers to their questions,” the report said. “For example, representatives from one industry association told us it took four months to get an answer through the TAN.”
The FDA itself reported that, when questions required subject matter expertise, response times averaged 22 business days.
The Farm Bureau Federation of California manager of federal policy Josh Rolph released a statement in response to the GAO findings: “The produce rule for farmers is so vast and so complex that it’s really not a surprise the agency is slow to respond to more than a quarter of all questions. When the agency decided to apply the rule to all produce, regardless of risk, it opened itself up to a messy implementation process. Everyone wants to do what’s right to assure food safety, but the produce rule may stick family farmers with another regulatory burden while doing little or nothing to improve the safety of their crops.”
Farm Bureau of Ventura County CEO John Krist said the federal regulation comes on top of a whole host of compliance standards imposed by the retail industry to assure food safety, and some can be duplicative or even contradictory.
“Every grower I know has a compliance staff now,” he added. “It’s an added expense.”
Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita, whose county produced $3.2 billion worth of fruits and nuts and $24.8 million worth of vegetables last year, said there isn’t a farmer in the San Joaquin Valley who doesn’t want to produce safe food. But many believe they “don’t necessarily need a federal standard,” she said.
Most follow best management practices based on farm industry groups’ guidance, she said.
“Sometimes growers just want to be left alone to raise crops,” she said.

FDA warning letters: Plant problems, drug residues, seafood HACCP
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/11/fda-warning-letters-plant-problems-drug-residues-seafood-haccp/#.WEYm8fmLSUl
BY NEWS DESK (Nov 28, 2016)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s most recently posted food-related warning letters went to a produce processing facility and a dairy in Michigan, an acidified food manufacturer in Japan, and a fish exporter in Ukraine.
The agency told Pearson Foods Inc. in an Oct. 26 warning letter that a June 14-27 inspection of its ready-to-eat cut fruit and vegetable processing facility in Grand Rapids, MI, revealed “significant violations” of Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packing, or Holding Human Food regulations.
FDA wrote that adequate floor drainage must be provided in all areas where normal operations release or discharge water or other liquid on the floor.
“However, we observed standing water during the production of shredded cabbage. There was food debris on the floor in the standing water and workers walked through the water. Standing water fosters harborage of pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes,” the warning letter stated.
Other problems included pitted and eroded cement floors, which FDA noted was creating “a harborage for microorganisms,” and condensation on two metal plates and on a conduit wire above unprotected ready-to-eat coleslaw.
FDA also wrote that there were deep gouges along the entire length of the cutting table belt and also gouges intentionally cut into cutting boards to serve as a means of measurement, creating difficulties in keeping the surfaces clean and sanitary.
According to the warning letter, the company’s response stated that the cutting table belt and the floor were being replaced and that hose training would be implemented.
“We will evaluate the adequacy of your corrective action during our next inspection,” FDA stated.
A warning letter dated Nov. 15 was sent to Jack Van Drie notifying him that an investigation of his dairy operation in Marion, MI, on June 2 and 14 revealed violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
On or about Feb. 29, a dairy cow was sold for slaughter as food, and tissue samples from this animal identified the presence of oxytetracycline at 12.51 parts per million (ppm) in the kidney and flunixin at 0.35 ppm in the liver, according to the letter.
However, FDA’s established tolerance is 12 ppm for residues of oxytetracycline in the kidney of cattle and 0.125 ppm for residues of flunixin in the liver of cattle.
“The presence of these drugs in the edible tissues from this animal in these amounts causes the food to be adulterated …,” the agency stated. The warning letter also noted that the dairy operation failed to maintain complete treatment records.

A July 27-28 inspection of the Tokushima Seihun Co. Ltd. acidified food facility in Hyogo, Japan, revealed “serious violations” of the Emergency Permit Control and Acidified Foods regulations, according to a Nov. 7 warning letter from FDA.
FDA told the company that it must file scheduled processes for each acidified food in each container size to comply with federal regulations. These must include conditions for heat processing; control of pH, salt, sugar, and preservative levels; and source and date of the establishment of the process for each acidified food in each container size.
“Specifically, your firm did not provide FDA with the scheduled processes for your udon noodles, a product which our inspection revealed is an acidified food based on your process which is to add acid to the udon noodles to achieve a shelf stable hermetically sealed product,” according to the warning letter.
Other problems mentioned in the letter related to inadequate testing of pH values, insufficient container coding, no routine container testing, and not having specifically trained plant personnel at the facility.
The company’s response to these findings was found to be inadequate because requested process and procedure documents were not provided to FDA’s investigator during the inspection, the letter stated.
FDA sent a warning letter dated Nov. 7 to TOV “Universal Fish Company” in Kharkivska Oblast, Ukraine, detailing responses to the company’s HACCP plan which the agency obtained from an importer in New York.
This review revealed “serious deviations” from requirements of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point regulations, according to the letter.
“Accordingly, your herring products covered by your HACCP plan entitled ‘Herring in Oil’ are adulterated, in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health,” FDA wrote.
Specifically, the company’s HACCP plan entitled “Herring in Oil” does not list the food safety hazards of Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation, scombrotoxin (histamine) formation and allergens, according to the agency.
“Although your HACCP plan identifies the hazard of pathogenic microorganism including for example, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella, you have not identified the specific pathogen of concern, Clostridium botulinum, which is reasonably likely for products such as your products that are packaged in oxygen impermeable non-flexible pouches,” the warning letter stated.
“Also, as a scombroid species of fish, herring poses a hazard for scombrotoxin (histamine) formation as a result of time and temperature abuse. Additionally, your firm has potential allergenic substances listed in the ingredient statements for some of your herring products which pose a hazard that should be addressed,” FDA noted.
The company included a corrective action plan in its HACCP plan, but the agency responded that in order for the corrective actions to comply with federal regulations, they must address both the disposition of the affected products and the cause of the deviation.
“FDA recommends the corrective actions include holding the affected product (i.e., chilled) and evaluating the level of safety, based on the total cumulative time and temperature exposures at unrefrigerated/un-chilled conditions, including exposures at unrefrigerated/un-chilled conditions during processing. FDA also recommends the listed corrective actions address correcting the cause of the deviation by making repairs or adjustments to the cooler,” the warning letter stated.
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.

FSMA, Food Safety Audits and Certifications
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/octobernovember-2016/fsma-food-safety-audits-and-certifications/
By Patrick Kennedy
Demand for food safety audits has surged in recent years in response to an increasingly complex global food supply chain and expanding market requirements for supplier verification. As mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), new requirements for preventive controls and bolstering the safety of imported food were central themes of several regulations released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) within the past year.
Audits are highlighted as possible verification tools within several of the regulations, including the final rules for preventive controls for human and animal food, and the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP). The Accredited Third-Party Certification rule, on the other hand, is an auditing program with a different scope and intent. It is a voluntary program, which will accredit third-party certification bodies to perform food safety audits at foreign facilities and, if acceptable, issue certifications to these companies for the foods they produce for humans and animals. This rule is not applicable to companies located and producing products in the United States. It is applicable only to foreign companies and importers.
The role of audits within the FSMA regulations has generated many questions and sparked confusion within the food industry. The Accredited Third-Party Certification rule indicates a certification is obtained through a regulatory audit conducted by a third-party auditor/certification body accredited under FDA’s third-party accreditation regulations. While the Preventive Controls and FSVP rules refer to the use of “qualified auditors,” these rules do not require the use of accredited third-party auditors.[1,2] FDA supports “reliable” audits for produce, but to date, the agency has not defined the meaning of “reliable” in terms of produce safety audits.[3] Moreover, the FSMA rules have prompted numerous questions about the role of private food safety schemes, requirements for the use of an accredited certification body and the circumstances that would require a certification body to notify the FDA of a potential food safety risk.
The final rule for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies and related draft Model Accreditation Standards provide a structural framework for accreditation bodies and certification bodies (i.e., auditors) to ensure imported food and facilities comply with the standards of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) of 1938. Foreign suppliers will need to use accredited third-party certification bodies and obtain certifications for two reasons. The first and most common reason will be to establish eligibility to participate in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program, known as VQIP, which offers an expedited review and entry of food into the United States. The second reason will be for certain cases for which FDA requires that a high-risk food offered for import is accompanied by a certification from an accredited third-party certification body.
Due to differences in notification and reporting requirements among the various FSMA rules using audits, it is important for companies to understand which types of audits can be used in various scenarios and to clearly identify this when requesting an audit. This article will provide an overview of the Accredited Third-Party Certification rule and discuss the role of auditing as referenced within other FSMA regulations.
Accredited Certification Bodies for Imports
According to recent government data, an estimated 114,000 foreign food facilities from approximately 200 countries export food to the United States. Currently, 19 percent of the U.S. food supply is imported. The growing number of foreign food facilities and increasing volume of imported food are extending an increasingly complex U.S. food supply chain. To address critical concerns about the safety of imported food, FSMA mandated the development of regulations to ensure that imported food meets the same U.S. food safety standards as domestically produced products.
The final rule, Accreditation of Third-Party Certification Bodies to Conduct Food Safety Audits and to Issue Certifications, established a voluntary program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies to conduct food safety audits and to issue certifications for foreign facilities and food.[4] FDA released the proposed rule in July 2013, and 2 years later issued draft guidance for Model Accreditation Standards to explain how the Accredited Third-Party Certification rule would function. The draft guidance is intended as a companion document for the rule and contains expectations for third-party auditor/certification body qualifications and incorporates relevant requirements from the rule itself.
The final rule, issued in November 2015, became effective in January 2016, but implementation will not occur until finalization and publication of the final Model Accreditation Standards guidance and the final rule on user fees. The latter, currently in draft format, establishes a fee-based program for accreditation and certification bodies participating in the program to reimburse FDA for its work in administering the voluntary third-party program.
Under this rule, FDA must recognize accreditation bodies for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies. Accreditation bodies can be a foreign government or private party. The agency requires accreditation bodies to comply with specific capabilities related to a legal authority to assess third-party certification bodies’ competency and capacity; protection against conflict of interest; quality assurance; and procedures for reports and records.
Accreditation bodies will evaluate third-party certification bodies for accreditation, monitor the performance of certification bodies, conduct self-assessments and submit reports and other notifications to FDA as stipulated by the final rule.
A certification body is defined by the rule as a foreign government, foreign cooperative or another third party such as a single individual or organization. The FDA program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies will establish eligibility requirements for recognition as an accreditation body as well as eligibility requirements for accreditation as a third-party certification body. Again, this is a voluntary program for the accreditation of certification bodies to conduct food safety audits of foreign food facilities and food.
The requirements for third-party certification bodies accredited for the FDA program involve the following factors:
Competence and Capacity: A third-party certification body must have an adequate number of employees with relevant knowledge, skills and experience. The certification body must also demonstrate it has adequate financial resources for its operations.
Objectivity: The certification body must have written measures and other capabilities as defined in the rule to protect against conflicts of interest between itself, its auditors, its administrative personnel and its clients.
Quality Assurance: Third-party certification bodies must implement a written program for self-assessment of the performance of its employees involved in auditing and certification activities. This requires the identification of deficiencies and verification of corrective actions.
Record-keeping: Firms must implement written procedures to establish, control and retain records as necessary to comply with contractual and legal obligations.
FDA issued the draft Model Accreditation Standards in 2015 to provide a framework for the qualifications of third-party certification bodies. The draft also considers current practices and relevant sections of the standard ISO 17021:2011, Conformity Assessment – Requirements for Bodies Providing Audit and Certification Management Systems.
The draft standards defined a “certification body” as a “foreign government, agency of a foreign government, foreign cooperative or any other third party that is eligible to be considered for accreditation to conduct food safety audits and to certify that eligible entities meet applicable requirements of the FD&C Act.”[5] The draft states an individual or organization can be recognized as a certification body. The final version of the standards will be based on the final rule.
Although it is not stated directly, the third-party model established by FDA aligns closely with the accredited certification process followed by industry and the International Accreditation Forum, including the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and its benchmarking of private industry schemes. The difference is that FDA has expanded the certification body definition to include foreign governments and individual third-party auditors.
Who Will Need Certification?
FDA would require a foreign company to obtain certification by an accredited certification body for only two purposes: 1) eligibility to participate in the VQIP and 2) for the import of a high-risk food as determined by FDA.
The VQIP, the so-called fast lane system for facilitating the entry of imported food shipments into the United States, is expected to launch by January 2018. The VQIP would provide importers with benefits such as expedited entry into the United States, limited FDA examination and/or sampling and expedited FDA laboratory analysis of “for cause” situations or audit samples. VQIP importers must import food only from certified facilities.
Under Section 303 of the law, FDA can require a mandatory import certification when food safety risks are associated with a product, or safety risks or related concerns are associated with the food’s country, territory or region of origin. For example, if a food originated from a country or region with an inadequate food safety regulatory system or a history of food safety problems, then FDA could request certification prior to admission. The agency may refuse admission of imported food in the absence of certification to show the food complies with U.S. food standards. The import certification requirements could impact foreign food manufacturers, processors, packers, holders and importers.
Two Types of Audits
Under the rule, a food safety audit refers to either a “consultative audit” or a “regulatory audit.” Both types of audits are required and must be conducted as unannounced assessments. A consultative audit is an internal audit to determine compliance with food safety requirements and industry standards and must be conducted in preparation for the later regulatory audit. A regulatory audit would also evaluate compliance with applicable food safety regulatory requirements, but this audit will be used to determine eligibility for certification.
Both types of audits will require a records review prior to the on-site assessment of the facility, processes and food products. The records review can be scheduled, but the audit must be conducted unannounced within a 30-day time frame. Certification bodies are required to notify FDA of any condition discovered during a regulatory audit that “will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.” A certification body is not required to submit reports from consultative reports to FDA, but the reports must be available upon request. If environmental or product sampling is conducted during a regulatory audit, the accredited third-party certification body must use a laboratory accredited to ISO 17025 or an equivalent accreditation standard.
What Will Be Reported?
Audit reports must be generated for both consultative and regulatory audits, but certification bodies are required to submit regulatory audit reports directly to their accreditation body and FDA. If an entity must implement corrective actions due to findings from a regulatory audit, the certification body cannot issue a food or facility certification until the facility has submitted its corrective action plans and the certification body has verified they address the deficiencies and are being properly implemented. Once issued, the certification is active for a term of 12 months.
Section 1.652 of the final rule specifies the content required to be included in food safety audit reports completed by third-party certification bodies. For regulatory audits, the report must provide general information about the audited facility as well as information about the following issues:
•    Deficiencies: The report must identify observed deficiencies that pose a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or a potential risk for temporary adverse health consequences.
•    Corrective Actions: Certification bodies must document the facility’s corrective action plan for addressing deficiencies unless the deficiencies were resolved during the audit.
•    Sampling and Analysis: The report must document whether sampling and laboratory testing are utilized within the
    facility.
•    History: The certification body must report information about food safety recalls during the previous 2 years and document any significant changes to the facility within the previous 2 years.
•    Certifications: The report must include information about any food or facility certifications issued to the entity within 2 years of the audit. The completion of a regulatory audit and implementation of a corrective action plan (if applicable) are required before a certification body can issue a food or facility certification.
The final rule includes additional reporting requirements for certification bodies pertaining to notification of FDA, eligible entities and their accreditation body.
Scope of Accredited Third-Party Audits
Audits performed under the Accredited Third-Party Certification rule should not be confused with audits conducted as verification activities or to comply with certain requirements of other FSMA regulations.
As stated previously, FDA would require certification by an accredited certification body for only two purposes: 1) eligibility to participate in the VQIP and 2) for the import of high-risk food as determined by FDA. Under the rule, a food safety audit refers to both a consultative audit and a regulatory audit. A regulatory audit must be conducted to obtain certification under VQIP or a mandatory import certification requirement. A consultative audit must be conducted in preparation for a regulatory audit.
Accredited third-party certification bodies are not required for audits conducted for purposes other than VQIP and mandatory import certification. The Accredited Third-Party Certification rule does not apply to audits to show compliance with industry standards, audits by certification bodies not accredited under FDA’s program or audits conducted as part of a verification program for either the Preventive Controls or FSVP rule.
Audits and Other FSMA Regulations
Foreign food facilities, importers and domestic facilities have the option of using audits conducted by accredited certification bodies to comply with the supplier verification requirements of the Preventive Controls and FSVP regulations. In these rules, audits are described as an effective verification activity. Moreover, the preamble of FDA’s Produce Safety rule suggests a greater emphasis on audits by stating “third-party audits are an important component” of FDA’s overall compliance strategy.
Under the Preventive Controls rule, if there is a reasonable probability that an identified hazard will result in serious adverse health consequences or death, then an appropriate supplier verification activity would include on-site audits of the applicable suppliers. According to the rule, an on-site supplier audit must be performed by a “qualified auditor.”
Both the Preventive Controls and FSVP rules define a “qualified auditor” as a “person who is a qualified individual as defined…[within the rule]…and has technical expertise obtained through education, training or experience (or a combination thereof) necessary to perform the auditing function as required” by the regulations. All applicable training must be documented in records, but FDA is not planning to develop a training curriculum for qualified auditors or minimum standards for competency.
The food industry has relied on private audits for years as a means to comply with purchasing requirements. In fact, the preamble of the final rule for produce safety emphasized the historic reliance on audits by produce suppliers to affirm compliance and suggested “adequately rigorous and reliable private audits can be an important additional tool for fostering food safety and ultimately compliance” with the rule. The agency intends to work with “produce industry and other government and private partners to improve the rigor and reliability of private audits,” but the agency has not yet defined terms such as “reliable” or “rigorous.”
What Is the Role of Private Third-Party Audits and Certifications?
For decades, the food industry has used voluntary standards for food safety audits and certification to evaluate food safety systems and to ensure confidence in the safety of the food supply.
Industry food safety schemes recognized by the GFSI are currently the gold standard for ensuring the reliability and rigor of voluntary third-party audits for food safety.
Worldwide, many retailers and manufacturers expect suppliers to demonstrate their commitment to safe and quality products through global certification schemes benchmarked and recognized by GFSI, including SQF, BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, IFS Food Standard and FSSC 22000.
Accredited certification does not guarantee food safety, according to GFSI, but rather “provides a proven framework of checks and balances that significantly improves the rigor of the audit process and reduces the risk of food safety failures.”[6]
During FDA public meetings on the various FSMA regulations, many stakeholders asked about the role of private standards and audits by third-party auditors. A common question in public comments and meetings concerned how the use of voluntary third-party standards could be used to demonstrate compliance with FSMA regulations.
According to FDA, private schemes are outside the scope of the final rule for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies for imported food. Beyond the Accredited Third-Party Certification rule, the agency is considering an expanded role for third-party audits related to the other FSMA rules. To date, the agency has advised that third-party audits and private certification schemes should be modified to ensure compliance with FDA regulations as applicable. We know that the private schemes are indeed taking action. Those with a large presence in the United States have completed gap analyses against the requirements in the main FSMA rules and are developing tools that can be added to their scheme requirements to determine compliance.
Accreditation and certification bodies are also taking actions related to the Accredited Third-Party Certification rule as they continue to learn more about it. As previously stated, the third-party model established by FDA aligns closely with the accredited certification process currently followed by industry, so both accreditation and certification bodies already operate under a rigorous system. Adopting the requirements of the Accredited Third-Party Certification rule will require some changes, but the basic core processes are already in place.
Questions Remain
Audits are commonly recognized as important tools for ensuring food safety in today’s increasingly complex global food supply chain. Ultimately, the in-tegrity and credibility of food safety audits depend on the use of competent, unbiased auditors who audit to rigorous food safety standards.
While the use of third-party audits is referenced within several FSMA rules, the expectations for “qualified auditors” and “rigorous and reliable” audits have generated confusion among food industry stakeholders. In public comments and meetings, several industry stakeholders suggested the agency should consider private food safety schemes as criteria for regulatory audits, particularly audits related to supplier verification, manufacturing facilities and produce safety. Collaboration between FDA and industry partners is a potential means for ensuring consistency and minimizing the redundancies of multiple audits often required to comply with regulatory or market requirements.
Addressing industry concerns and questions about FSMA regulations, the agency is expected to issue new guidance later this year to facilitate industry compliance with several foundational rules of FSMA. At this time, it is unclear if the forthcoming guidance documents will address questions concerning the role of audits and third-party auditors.  
Patrick Kennedy is an information service manager for Mérieux NutriSciences. He has over 15 years of food industry experience and has written extensively on a wide range of food safety and regulatory subjects.
References
1. www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm361902.htm.
2. www.regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-2011-N-0920-1979.
3. www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm334114.htm.
4. www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm361903.htm.
5. www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/UCM455331.pdf.
6. www.mygfsi.com/images/mygfsi/schemes_certification/certification/third_party/GFSI_White_Paper.pdf.

Looking into the future of European food safety and nutrition policy
Source : http://phys.org/news/2016-11-future-european-food-safety-nutrition.html
By phys.org (Nov 28, 2016)
The EU legislative framework governing food safety appears to be robust and well prepared to respond to challenges in 2050, according to a new foresight study by the European Commission's science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC). However, risk assessment, early warning for emerging hazards, official controls and inspections, provision of clear food information as well as food and nutrition education are elements that could be strengthened to better address future challenges.
EU food legislation aims to provide safe, nutritious, high-quality and affordable food to the consumer and is based on an integrated and comprehensive approach that covers all steps of the food and feed chain. The food system, however, is dynamic, constantly influenced and shaped by many factors. Policy-making should, therefore, respond to slow and gradual changes on the one hand, and pressing and rapidly evolving developments on the other. This can only be achieved through preparedness, forward thinking and proactive policy-making.
To assist policy makers in ensuring a regulatory framework fit to address future challenges in food safety and nutrition, the Joint Research Centre together with the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety carried out the foresight study "Delivering on EU Food Safety and Nutrition in 2050 – Future challenges and policy preparedness". Food safety and nutrition are usually neglected in forward-looking studies that focus primarily on the food sufficiency aspect of food security. The study assesses the future resilience of the current EU food safety and nutrition policy and regulatory framework by examining potential scenarios up to 2050 and the challenges they may present, and suggests possible policy options.
Four challenging scenarios were constructed based on different combined developments of specific drivers of change that may significantly impact the food system such as global trade, EU economic growth, agri-food chain structure, technology uptake, social cohesion, food values, climate change, depletion of natural resources and world population growth. In the "global food" scenario, there is an ever more interconnected global food chain with increased global trade and a more concentrated agri-food industry, while in the "regional food" scenario food is highly valued and is produced locally or regionally employing advanced technologies. The "partnership food" scenario is characterised by an economically weak EU with close trade and food policy ties to strong global players, such as the US and Canada, while the fourth scenario, "pharma food", portrays use of functional, processed food with additions of pharmaceutical substances, driven by demand for healthy lifestyle.
For each scenario, food safety and nutrition challenges were identified and prioritised based on their importance and likelihood to occur. Scenario-specific policy options were developed to address these challenges and ensure the resilience of the future EU food regulatory framework. The study also identifies research needs and suggests a set of food-chain related indicators that could indicate well in advance whether the EU is heading towards one of the study's scenarios.
Food and nutrition education has been identified as a cornerstone of any society that aspires to have a healthy population, along with crucial backing by governance that – together with policy-makers, industry and the society – maintains nutrition and health high on the agenda.
 Explore further: Nutritionists must take a bigger piece of the pie when it comes to influencing food policy
More information: Delivering on EU Food Safety and Nutrition in 2050—Future challenges and policy preparedness. ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/publication/eur-scientific-and-technical-research-reports/delivering-eu-food-safety-and-nutrition-2050-future-challenges-and-policy-preparedness

After General Mills E. coli Outbreak, Say No to Raw Dough!
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2016/after-general-mills-e-coli-outbreak-say-no-to-raw-dough/
By Linda Larsen (Nov 28, 2016)
The large E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to recalled General Mills flour sickened 63 people in 24 states this year. One person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) as a complication of that illness. And many of those sickened got sick because they ate raw cookie dough.
So the CDC is warning consumers not to eat raw cookie dough, cake mixes, or bread this holiday season, even if you are using pasteurized eggs. Raw flour is a raw agricultural product that has not been treated to kill pathogenic bacteria.
And since flour has a long shelf life, that recalled General Mills flour could still be in people’s homes. Please check the list of recalled products and make sure you don’t have one of those flour types in your pantry. The recall was expanded once, and there have been some secondary recalls of products that were made with that flour.
And if you don’t use pasteurized eggs, raw eggs can contain Salmonella that can make you sick. Eggs are only safe to eat when they are thoroughly and completely cooked.
Follow safe food handling practices when you are baking and cooking with flour, eggs, and other raw ingredients. Never taste or eat any raw dough or batter, whether you are making cookies, tortillas, pizza, biscuits, pancakes, or crafts made with raw flour such as holiday ornaments or homemade play dough. Don’t let children play with or eat raw dough, including dough used for crafts.
Always bake or cook raw dough and batter before eating. Never make milkshakes with products such as cake mix that contain raw flour. Don’t use raw, homemade cookie dough in ice cream. (The cookie dough in ice cream sold at retail has been treated to kill bacteria.)
Always follow the recipe to make sure that you are baking and cooking at the proper temperature and for the correct time. Keep raw foods such as flour or eggs separate from ready to eat foods. Flour can be difficult to keep track of, since it’s a powder that is light enough to float. Refrigerate products containing raw eggs or raw dough until they are cooked or baked.
Finally, clean up your kitchen and yourself thoroughly after handling flour, eggs, or raw dough. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling flour or raw eggs or any surfaces those ingredients may have touched. And wash bowls, utensils, countertops, the kitchen sink, and the faucet, and other surfaces with hot water and soap.
The symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea that may be bloody and/or watery, a mild fever, possible nausea and vomiting, and severe abdominal cramps. They usually appear 6 hours to two days after eating food contaminated with the pathogenic bacteria. The symptoms of HUS include little to no urine output, easy bruising, lethargy, a skin rash, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. Anyone suffering from any of these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

 

 

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