Mitigation of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Meats Using Lactic Acid Bacteria
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/december-2016january-2017/mitigation-of-ilisteria-monocytogenesi-in-ready-to-eat-meats-using-lactic-acid-bacteria/
By Byron D. Chaves, Ph.D., and Mindy M. Brashears, Ph.D.
Nothing like a series of disease outbreaks and food recalls to put a pathogen at the forefront of the media and make processors fear the worst. Listeria monocytogenes has given us a lot to talk and think about over the last 5 years. Outbreaks of listeriosis associated with the consumption of contaminated caramel apples, ice cream and cantaloupes, as well as several multi-state recalls of bagged salads, frozen vegetables, school lunches, frankfurters, corn dogs and ready-to-eat (RTE) meals, among others, remind us of how far we are from having a full understanding of the ecology, transmission and control of L. monocytogenes in foods and food processing environments.
A Well-Founded Scare
We all know that L. monocytogenes can be a challenging pathogen to control. First, it is a common bacterium in natural environments, including vegetation, agricultural soils and livestock, so it may be brought into the plant in raw animal and plant materials, dust, water and even through plant employees. Secondly, it typically finds its niche in cold, humid environments, making it a potential nightmare to control in RTE meat processing facilities once it has established itself on the premises. Its ability to form biofilms and persist in this protective microbial community is one of the most common reasons for its difficult eradication, despite aggressive cleaning and sanitizing. Lastly, L. monocytogenes can survive and even grow in refrigerated, packaged RTE products, including those packed under low-oxygen conditions.
Unlike produce handling and processing facilities, where Listeria spp. is somewhat expected to be present from time to time, companies that process RTE meats cannot afford to have L. monocytogenes. Postlethality-treated product that comes in touch with contaminated direct-contact surfaces or product that is directly contaminated after a lethality treatment becomes adulterated as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Food Safety and Inspection Service’s “zero tolerance” rule under 9 C.F.R. Part 430—“Control of Listeria monocytogenes in post-lethality exposed ready-to-eat products.” The rule requires that manufacturers of medium- and high-risk RTE meat and poultry products develop written programs to control L. monocytogenes, followed by robust testing as a means of verification, and encourages plants to use new technologies and methods to eliminate or reduce the growth of L. monocytogenes, hence minimizing the risk of postlethality product contamination.
On average, an estimated 1,600 people are sickened by foodborne L. monocytogenes every year in the U.S., but this translates into nearly 19 percent of annual foodborne-related deaths. Furthermore, Listeria imposes an estimated $2.8 billion in economic burden in a typical year. Almost all of this, $2.1 billion, is due to deaths. RTE meat and poultry products continue to be highly implicated in the transmission of foodborne listeriosis. The L. monocytogenes/deli meats pathogen/food combination is estimated to take the lives of 89 people in the U.S. every year and to cost $902 million per year in illness cases, ranking third in terms of economic burden of illness, surpassed only by Campylobacter in poultry and Toxoplasma gondii in pork.
Control of L. monocytogenes in RTE Meats
As food safety scientists, we have come to a consensus that no single antimicrobial intervention will ever be perfect in eliminating the risk for a given pathogen, that is, risk cannot be zero given our current technological and knowledge limitations. The control of L. monocytogenes in RTE meat products, especially high-risk ones such as hot dogs and deli meats, relies on the use of intensive environmental sanitation programs, thermal processing, such as cooking or in-package pasteurization, and the incorporation of antimicrobial agents as part of the ingredient formulation (e.g., nitrites, acetates, citrates, diacetates, lactates and proprionates) and sometimes as surface sprays (e.g., lauric arginate and essential oils). Irradiation of RTE products has been explored extensively, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has deemed this technology safe for use in meat and poultry; however, it is not widely used mostly due to consumer distrust of irradiated foods. High hydrostatic pressure has also been evaluated for the control of L. monocytogenes in RTE meats with promising safety results but still compromised quality parameters. Are there any other options that we may want to explore as an industry? What about biocontrol?
Biocontrol, or biopreservation, refers to the use of natural or controlled microorganisms, or their antimicrobial products, to extend the shelf life or enhance the microbiological safety of foods. Outside the food realm, biocontrol has seen multiple applications using predatory microbes and insects for the control of undesirable organisms, particularly in agricultural fields and urban environments. In foods, biocontrol is typically done by two groups of biological agents: bacteriophages, or viruses that specifically infect bacteria, and lactic acid bacteria (LAB). This heterogeneous group of bacteria may exert their antilisterial effect by means of two processes:
Competitive inhibition: When LAB products such as bacteriocins and other antimicrobial peptides, as well as organic acids from carbohydrate fermentation, create an inhospitable environment for Listeria to thrive, hence reducing its numbers.
Competitive exclusion: When LAB occupy space that Listeria may use for attachment or colonization, leaving the pathogen without a physical site to anchor and multiply.
Despite some research exploiting competitive inhibition and exclusion for the control of L. monocytogenes in RTE meats, there is a lack of published information on this topic. In the following paragraphs, we summarize two representative studies that exploited the competitive inhibition activity of LAB against L. monocytogenes. This is neither a comprehensive nor detailed list, but provides a good overview of recent work.
Amézquita and Brashears screened a series of naturally occurring LAB in RTE meats for antilisterial effects. Three particular microorganisms—Pediococcus acidilactici, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus paracasei—were added to frankfurters and cooked ham co-inoculated with L. monocytogenes, vacuum-packaged and stored at 5 °C for 28 days. Bacteriostatic activity (cells growing slower) was observed in cooked ham, whereas bactericidal (cells dying) activity was observed in frankfurters. Numbers of L. monocytogenes were 4.2 to 4.7 logs and 2.6 logs lower than controls in frankfurters and cooked ham, respectively, after the 28-day refrigerated storage. In all cases, numbers of total LAB increased by only 1 log cycle. The authors indicated that P. acidilactici was possibly a bacteriocin producer, whereas the antilisterial activity of the two other strains was due to the production of organic acids. Further studies over a 56-day period indicated that there was no impact on the quality of the product. The authors concluded that this method represents a potential antilisterial intervention in RTE meats, because it inhibited the growth of the pathogen at refrigeration temperatures without causing sensory changes.
Koo et al. found that the combination of three LAB strains contained in Lactiguard®—Lactobacillus animalis, Lactobacillus amylovorus and P. acidilactici—was inhibitory to L. monocytogenes inoculated onto frankfurters not containing lactate/diacetate after 8 weeks of refrigerated storage (0.6-log reduction), and when a cell-free extract (CFE) of LAB was added with LAB, even higher inhibition was obtained (1.2-log reduction). In frankfurters containing lactate/diacetate, both the LAB and the LAB plus CFE were more effective in reducing L. monocytogenes after 8 weeks of refrigerated storage (2- and 3.3-log reductions, respectively). This study showed that it is possible to use LAB as an aid to further reduce L. monocytogenes throughout storage.
Now we see that there are applications of LAB to control L. monocytogenes in the product itself, but these have not been used extensively by industry despite their technological potential. A highly related application, the control of environmental L. monocytogenes by LAB, may see greater potential in the near future due to some promising results. We present two examples representative of this area of research.
Ndahetuye et al. evaluated the attachment of three LAB strains—P. acidilactici, L. amylovorus and L. animalis—to stainless steel coupons from a deli slicer and their ability to inhibit the attachment of L. monocytogenes. L. animalis exhibited the greatest hydrophobicity (26.3%), and its adherence increased sharply from 24 to 72 hours, whereas L. amylovorus yielded the lowest hydrophobicity (3.86%) and was weakly adherent. Although P. acidilactici had moderate hydrophobicity (10.1%), it adhered strongly. Three conditions were simulated to evaluate the ability of the LAB cocktail [108 colony-forming units (CFU)/mL] to competitively exclude L. monocytogenes (103 CFU/mL) on the surface of the coupons. The coupons were pretreated with the LAB cocktail for 24 hours prior to the addition of L. monocytogenes, simultaneously treated with the LAB cocktail and L. monocytogenes, or pretreated with L. monocytogenes 24 hours before the addition of the LAB cocktail. The LAB cocktail was able to reduce the attachment of L. monocytogenes significantly, indicating a possible role for LAB as a biosanitizer in the food industry.
Zhao et al. determined that treating Listeria-laden biofilms with the two competitive exclusion isolates—Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis strain C-1-92 and Enterococcus durans strain 152—individually at either 4 or 8 °C for 3 weeks substantially reduced or eliminated listeriae in the biofilms. Treatment with L. lactis subsp. lactis strain C-1-92 and E. durans strain 152 at 4 °C for 3 weeks reduced the population of L. monocytogenes in a biofilm from 7.1- to 7.7-log CFU/cm2 to 3.0- to 4.5-log CFU/cm2 and to 3.1- to 5.2-log CFU/cm2, respectively, and treatment at 8 °C for 3 weeks reduced L. monocytogenes from 7.5- to 8.3-log CFU/cm2 to 2.4- to 3.5-log CFU/cm2 and to 3.8- to 5.2-log CFU/cm2, respectively, depending on the coupon material. The researchers combined the isolates and evaluated the control of Listeria in floor drains of an RTE poultry processing plant. The results showed that treating the drains with the isolates four times in the first week eliminated detectable Listeria from five of six drains tested, and the drains remained free of detectable Listeria for 13 weeks following the first four treatments. The authors indicated that certain bacteria, including LAB, can effectively reduce Listeria contamination in biofilms and floor drains of a plant producing RTE poultry products.
Studies performed in our food safety laboratories have further demonstrated that LAB have the ability and potential to reduce L. monocytogenes in RTE meat processing environments. We evaluated the quantitative reduction of L. monocytogenes on deli slicer stainless steel surfaces mimicking retail settings. A cocktail of L. monocytogenes at 103 CFU/mL was inoculated onto deli slicer surfaces, blades and surrounding tables. Ten milliliters of an uncharacterized LAB cocktail were sprayed after L. monocytogenes was allowed to attach to the surfaces. Reductions of approximately 0.9-log CFU/100 cm2 were estimated 1 hour after treatment of the tables, whereas no Listeria was detected by culture methods on the blades.
Conclusions and Perspectives
The use of LAB for the mitigation and control of L. monocytogenes in RTE meats and processing environments has been studied to a very limited extent. Based on current data, it is possible to infer that LAB have the ability to reduce L. monocytogenes either as an ingredient in product formulation or as part of a biosanitizing program. Certainly, this seems to be a promising alternative to physical and chemical approaches for the control of this stubborn and resilient pathogen. However, it is now the role of researchers to continue to explore this option with all its limitations and concerns, particularly the potential effects on product quality, and it is the role of industry to implement novel solutions to the recurrent problem of L. monocytogenes in RTE meats and processing environments.
Byron D. Chaves, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Animal and Food Science at Texas Tech University.
Mindy M. Brashears, Ph.D., is a professor of food safety microbiology and director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University.
2. Batz, MB et al. 2012. “Ranking the Disease Burden of 14 Pathogens in Food Sources in the United States Using Attribution Data from Outbreak Investigations and Expert Elicitation.” J Food Prot 75:1278–1291.
3. Amézquita, A and MM Brashears. 2002. “Competitive Inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Meat Products by Lactic Acid Bacteria.” J Food Prot 65:316–325.
4. Koo, O-K et al. 2012. “Antimicrobial Activity of Lactic Acid Bacteria against Listeria monocytogenes on Frankfurters Formulated with and without Lactate/Diacetate.” Meat Sci 92:532–537.
5. Ndahetuye, JB et al. 2012. “Role of Lactic Acid Bacteria as a Biosanitizer to Prevent Attachment of Listeria monocytogenes F6900 on Deli Slicer Contact Surfaces.” J Food Prot 75:1429–1436.
6. Zhao, T et al. 2013. “Reduction by Competitive Bacteria of Listeria monocytogenes in Biofilms and Listeria Bacteria in Floor Drains in a Ready-to-Eat Poultry Processing Plant.” J Food Prot 76:61–67.
No recall: Chicken served last month could still cause illnesses
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/01/no-recall-chicken-served-last-month-could-still-cause-illnesses/#.WHLh7vmLSUl
BY NEWS DESK ( Jan 08, 2017)
Anyone who ate fajita or gyro dishes made with chicken strips in restaurants in the Cleveland, OH, area in December should monitor themselves for symptoms of Listeria infection in the coming weeks.
Ready-to-eat, fully cooked chicken breast strips produced by House of Raeford in Mocksville, NC, and shipped to restaurants in the Cleveland area may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, according to a Saturday warning from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
The company, which produced the implicated chicken breast strips in September 2016, discovered the Listeria problem during routine testing, according to the FSIS notice. The notice did not indicate when the testing was conducted or when the results were reported.
“A recall was not requested because it is believed that all products have now been consumed,” according to the FSIS notice. “The ready to eat, fully cooked, chicken breast strips items were produced and packaged on Sept. 29, 2016, and served to consumers in December 2016.”
Although no illnesses had been reported in connection with the ready-to-eat chicken strips as of Jan. 7, it can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms of Listeria infection to develop.
“Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food,” according to the government warning.
Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns.
Symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection sometimes spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections can occur in older adults, young children and people with weakened immune systems.
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The food safety mark of confidence
Source : https://foodmag.com.au/the-food-safety-mark-of-confidence/
By foodmag.com.au (Jan 8, 2017)
Food safety doesn’t just concern what we put in our mouths. It also involves a range of non-food products that are used in the production process. We caught up with Clive Withinshaw, Director of HACCP Australia, to discuss best practice in this area.
Food & Beverage Industry News: We see the HACCP Australia and HACCP International mark on an increasing number of products. Can you tell us something about it? What does it represent and how does it benefit food companies?
Clive Withinshaw: HACCP Australia is a food safety and food science company which provides a variety of services including food safety and Non-GMO auditing, consulting and product certification.
In answer to your question, HACCP Australia (with its overseas arm, HACCP International) operates a product certification scheme called ‘Food Safe Equipment, Materials and Services’. This is aimed particularly at non-food products which are used by the food industry and have incidental food contact or a significant impact on food safety or proper operation of a food safety management system.
The world’s leading HACCP and food safety schemes and quality systems – particularly those endorsed by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) – have developed rapidly over the last 15 years. They are very demanding and have high expectations concerning all facets of food safety.
In the early days they rightly concentrated on ingredient risks. That expanded to include packaging and logistics and they now encompass the risks that come from plant and equipment.
The world’s best food safety schemes have recognised and are emphasising the fact that many of today’s recalls are caused, not by ingredients or process, but by physical and chemical contaminants.
Essentially, food businesses now have an obligation to mitigate the risk from this source with an auditable due diligence process. Provided they have the necessary skills, they can do this themselves. Alternatively, they can rely on 3rd party certification.
This latter option is becoming more popular because the risk analysis isn’t easy and the industry has an expectation that suppliers be involved in the process.
Essentially our scheme is designed to meet that due diligence requirement and provide both the buyer and seller with confidence as to the product’s fitness for purpose.
Often the suppliers of these key products supply multiple markets. They too need assurance that the products that they supply to this specialist food sector are appropriate. I’m talking about things like kitchen wipes, lubricants, cleaning and pesticide chemicals, flooring, and lighting. Fine they might be, but ‘fine’ in an engineering shed is not necessarily ‘fine’ in a food plant.
F&B: How does the evaluation process work?
CW: There are a number of international certifications that address individual characteristics, such as food contact material or cleanability, as stand-alone criteria.
Ours is different in that we apply a risk analysis and have 10 key criteria that need to be satisfied prior to certification. In addition, we look at toxicity, batch and quality control, consequence of error, labelling, instructions and claims. Each product needs to pass each criterion and it has to make a contribution to food safety.
F&B: Who does the evaluation and where? CW: HACCP International and HACCP Australia employ a number of highly experienced and qualified food scientists – both here in Australia and overseas – who are devoted to this scheme.
Depending upon the nature of the product or service, we will examine the product itself as well as, where necessary, the quality system that supports it and the on-site performance. Products continue to be evaluated after certification and service providers are audited. It can be an extensive process and can be demanding on the product.
F&B: What is the pass/fail rate?
CW: Many of the larger companies do manufacture really good products. It is no surprise to me that the more expensive and better designed and made of these have the least problems. These people have invested in food safety.
Others struggle. I would estimate that no more than 50 per cent of applicants pass first time. However, they do often re-engineer. That is great to see and shows a commit- ment to our industry. In some sectors failure rates can be higher.
F&B: Can you give us an example?
CW: Lighting is a good one. Many food businesses are very aware of the possible foreign body contamination from lighting products – historically there has been a risk of falling nuts and bolts (or of course glass) over production zones.
The lighting industry has addressed glass but we now see many products with heat dissipating design which makes them impossible to clean and a great pest harbourage. So instead of glass falling into our food, we now have dead insects!
The makers of lights that do carry our mark, such as Thorn and Zumtobel, have really thought about their application in the food industry.
F&B: What about the standards?
CW: We have a number of both public and proprietorial standards against which products are evaluated and expectations for a vast range of products that have been developed over the last 15 years.
It has been a significant investment. HACCP International is a JAS-ANZ accredited product certifier and all our systems meet the requirements of ISO 17065 (the standards for product certification).
We are just about to release a new standard titled ‘Pest Management Services for Food Businesses’. Hundreds of hours have gone into its development governed by an impartial committee of stakeholders comprising retailers, food safety auditors, food processors and pest managers.
It is a world first in publically available standards for this sector. There are many ‘guidelines’ but our industry isn’t keen on ‘guidelines’. ‘It is or it isn’t’ is what we like!
It is available from our website at no charge and gives the food industry a really useful tool as well as an understanding as to what pest management companies that carry our mark have been audited against. It is also designed to capture all the requirements of all the international best practice and GFSI standards.
F&B: Is your scheme popular overseas? If so, where and why?
CW: We now undertake more product certification business outside Australasia than we do within.
It’s great that an Australian company has joined the ranks of exporters in a sector which isn’t one of, what I call, the ‘4C’ club – carbon, cattle, crops and cabernet!
We have staff and offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and now in the US.
While there are a number of international schemes, ours seems to have become very popular in certain markets. Among other reasons, I think this is because of the holistic nature of the certification and the alignment with best practice standards.
In Europe, for example, food contact products need, among other things, EU1935 compliance. But that in itself only addresses the material, not the design. Our scheme obviously requires the same but so much more. Furthermore, it is conducted in a way that the QA department in a food business would expect.
F&B: Can you give us some examples of products and what you look for?
CW: Anything that has an impact on food safety but particularly those that have incidental contact or present a great risk.
Gloves are a good example. I am of the school that would rather my food was handled by a clean hand than a dirty glove, but if it is to be handled by a clean glove, we need to know what that clean glove is made of.
There are some really nasty gloves out there made from totally unacceptable material. A thin slice of the food handler’s flesh in my sandwich would be only slightly less palatable than certain glove material we have come across!
Kimberly Clark, MCP, RCR, Oates, Edco, Prochoice and The Glove Company all make some excellent products in this area. Others are listed on our website. If they are just slightly more expensive – there’s a reason.
Pest management chemicals are an unavoidable material that all food businesses need to some extent. Our certification ensures that they are all food-safe and fit for purpose.
There can be a temptation for controllers to use cheaper (or what they might call ‘more effective’) chemicals. Our certification mark ensures that this can be controlled.
The certification not only covers the product but also such things as the application method, instructions, quality control and allergens. Bayer, BASF, Bell, FMC and Syngenta are examples of manufacturers which have products that are particularly appropriate for the food market.
Our certification not only examines such products but also determines in which ‘zones’ they are appropriate. ‘Primary Food Contact’ or ‘Splash and Spill’ zones, for example, are indicated on the certification.
Flooring and walling is another product group we commonly see. Everybody knows that mistakes in these can be really expensive in terms of fit out and disruption. Our evaluation process can really help industry specifiers when selecting a food safe surfaces and hardware.
Roxset, Flowcrete, Altro, Ucrete, Clifford, Sika, Bethell, BlueScope and Blucher come to mind, but once again there are others on our site which have all invested in the food industry’s needs.
F&B: Who should those in the industry contact if they want to know more about the certification and how you do things?
CW: We really encourage food safety and quality managers to talk to us about certified products – especially when they are making purchasing decisions or if they need to know what we have looked at or how we did the evaluation.
They can usually speak to the evaluation scientist directly and, while much of the information we hold is confidential, we can usually satisfy technical enquiries. That can be a really useful for a QA or HACCP Manager.
A really effective, auditable, due diligence process is now an absolute for food businesses operating to world’s best practice food safety standards. Our scheme can really help in that way.
I did hear of a production director of one of the large Australian food processors who said, “If it doesn’t have that mark on it – you better have the facts and my express permission to bring it in otherwise”.
That’s one way of doing it!
Avoid these common food safety mistakes
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/avoid_these_common_food_safety_mistakes
By Eileen Haraminac, Michigan State University Extension (Jan 5, 2016)
Making a few changes to the way you prepare your food can help prevent the spread of bacteria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Making a few changes can help prevent the spread of bacteria. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers some common food safety tips to help you avoid getting sick.
Five of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics top food safety tips:
Avoid tasting food to see if it’s still good. Food safety proponents remind us that taste and smell are not reliable indicators of food safety. Foodborne illnesses caused by bacteria may not give off smells or off flavors For example, salmonella bacteria found in chicken generally does not affect the taste or smell of the food. Spoilage organisms that cause off-flavors would deter you from eating a food before the microorganisms that cause food-borne illness. Tasting just a small amount of contaminated food could cause serious illness.
Letting food cool before putting it in the refrigerator. The amount of time plus warm temperatures equals the growth of bacteria. Refrigerators are designed to chill food and keep it cold. So here is the best rule of thumb: don’t leave food sit out of the refrigerator more than two hours. “Illness causing bacteria can grow rapidly when perishable food are left in the temperature danger zone (TDZ) between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit”. Bacteria can double in the TDZ in as little as 20 minutes.
Washing meat or poultry. Research supported by Food Safety.gov/and Michigan State University has demonstrated that washing meat or poultry can spread bacteria in the kitchen, to countertops and even on you. “Water can splash bacteria up to 3 feet surrounding your sink, which can lead to illnesses. We call this cross contamination”. The most effective means to kill bacteria or pathogens in meat and poultry is to cook it to the proper internal temperatures as noted in the temperature chart using a meat thermometer.
Undercooking meat, poultry, seafood or eggs. Using a food thermometer is the only way to make sure that pathogens and bacteria have been killed and that food is safe to eat. The thermometer will register the internal temperature of the food.
Thawing food on the counter. There are four correct ways to thaw food and leaving food out on the counter contributes to the growth of bacteria and foodborne illness.
In a refrigerator at 41 F or below. This is one of the safest ways to thaw foods. Be sure to use a drip pan under the food being thawed so that the drippings do not contaminate other foods. Thaw raw foods below ready to eat food so that drippings do not contaminate food.
Use a microwave to thaw foods that are to be cooked immediately following the thawing process. Microwave thawing actually begins the cooking process and should be followed by cooking the food item.
As part of the cooking process, allow more time than normal to cook and stir the food more often. Check the final internal food temperature with a thermometer to determine that potentially harmful bacteria have been killed.
You can thaw food under cold running water, but limit this method to no more than two hours at a recommended water temperature of 70 F or below. A clean and sanitized food sink separate from hand wash sinks is needed. Avoid cross contamination from the water dripping off of the food or splashing onto other foods and preparation surfaces and utensils.
Avoid these food safety mistakes and help to ensure that family and friends stay healthy. For more tips on food safety, visit the Michigan State University Extension website.
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
Drug companies delete ‘growth’ uses from animal drug labels
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/01/drug-companies-delete-growth-uses-from-animal-drug-labels/#.WHLizvmLSUl
BY NEWS DESK (Jan 5, 2017)
A key plank in the FDA’s platform to slow down the development of antibiotic resistance and extend the life of medications important to humans is in place. The agency announced Wednesday it has completed the implementation of Guidance for Industry #213.
Known in the animal pharmaceutical industry as GFI #213, the Food and Drug Administration began the process of implementing the guidance in 2013. The goal is to eliminate the use of antimicrobial drugs — which include antibiotics — in animals for the purpose of promoting growth to increase production.
To achieve that goal the FDA sought industry cooperation to delete labeling references to growth or “production” uses and to switch certain medications from over-the-counter status to prescription status.
As of Tuesday, FDA reported, animal drug manufacturers are meeting the new standards for labels on “antimicrobial drugs with importance in human medicine,” also known as medically important antimicrobials. The guidance applies to drugs used in the feed or drinking water of food-producing animals such as pigs and cows.
“On Dec. 23, 2016, the agency released three Federal Register documents to update the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to reflect changes to most of the new animal drug applications affected by GFI #213,” FDA reported Wednesday.
“As of Jan. 3, 2017, all affected drug applications have either aligned with the recommendations outlined in GFI #213, or their approvals have been voluntarily withdrawn. As a result of these changes, these products cannot be used for production, e.g., growth promotion, purposes and may only be used under the authorization of a licensed veterinarian.”
FDA officials praised the cooperation of the animal pharmaceutical industry for meeting its commitment to fully align all affected products with the GFI #213 recommendations.
The agency acknowledged the role that a number of key stakeholders played in helping to prepare for this transition. Those stakeholders included veterinary organizations, animal producer organizations, feed industry organizations and various local, state and federal agencies.
“The success of this collaborative effort marks an important step forward for promoting antimicrobial stewardship in animals. The FDA realizes that some farmers, ranchers, veterinarians, and others may face challenges as they adjust to these changes and the agency is committed to continue working with stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition,” FDA officials said in a written statement Wednesday.
Of the 292 new animal drug applications initially affected by GFI #213:
84 were completely withdrawn;
93 applications for oral dosage products intended for use in water were converted from over-the-counter to prescription status;
115 applications for products intended for use in feed were converted from over-the-counter to veterinary feed directives status; and
Production, e.g., growth promotion, indications were withdrawn from all 22 applications that included such indications for use.
The FDA is committed to ongoing collaboration with key stakeholders to support antimicrobial stewardship. Moving forward, the FDA intends to focus its efforts on such issues as:
Aligning antimicrobial drug products with the principles of antimicrobial stewardship in veterinary settings;
Supporting efforts to foster stewardship of antimicrobials in veterinary settings; and
Assessing the impact of strategies intended to curb the emergence of antimicrobial resistance associated with the use of antimicrobial drugs in veterinary settings.
“Antimicrobial drugs have been widely used in veterinary medicine for more than 50 years. When used judiciously, antimicrobials can effectively fight infections and improve animal health,” according to FDA’s initiative statement.
“However, overuse of antimicrobials promotes the development of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Today, antimicrobial resistance is a worldwide phenomenon and growing problem. To slow the emergence of resistance and extend the useful life of antimicrobials, stewardship of antimicrobials in both human health and veterinary settings is essential.”
For more information about the FDA’s goals and planned activities for promoting antimicrobial stewardship, see the FDA’s CVM Key Initiatives for Antimicrobial Stewardship.
5 Super Gross Food Safety Risks Restaurants Don’t Want You to Know About
Source : http://www.organicauthority.com/5-gross-food-safety-risks-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know/
By SHILO URBAN (Jan 5, 2017)
Most Americans trust strangers to prepare their food on a regular basis – and food safety isn’t rarely at the top of their minds. If you’ve never worked in a restaurant, you probably have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. If you have – none of the following secrets will surprise you.
In college, I worked as a waitress in a popular, full-service seafood restaurant – a national chain that you no doubt have heard of. On the same day that the health department gave us a score of 97, I recall seeing a fellow server pick up a piece of fried shrimp that had fallen on the floor and put it back on the plate to be eaten.
Although the health inspector was not a witness to the shrimp resurrection, this goes to show that even restaurants with A+ food safety ratings might not be following the rules all of the time–certainly not keeping with the safety ratings.
Through years of serving tables, I learned many secrets that restaurants don’t necessarily want you to know.
5 Food Safety Risks at Restaurants
Skip the lemon wedge in your water or tea when eating out. Those lemon wedges were probably cut up early in the morning or even days before, and they are often stored at room temperature as they wait to be served. Even better, most servers are tossing the lemon slices into your drink or placing it on the rim with their bare hands. The use of tongs is indeed required. But when it gets busy, tongs are tossed aside, and servers use their grubby fingers to throw that lemon wedge into your drink.
Your server’s hands are filthy. Servers rarely to never wash their hands between bussing dirty dishes and serving fresh food – especially not for 20-30 seconds in warm, soapy water. Servers at my restaurant would work an entire shift without properly washing their hands once. They would clean off half-eaten food from a used plate and then make a salad. None of this was allowed, of course – but it happened every night. Hands will be slightly cleaner at restaurants that employ dedicated bus staff to handle dirty dishes.
Wash your hands after you order, not before. That menu you are holding hasn’t been disinfected since it was printed – for some restaurants, that means years. Give those petri dishes back to the waiter and then go you wash your hands. And keep in mind that your tabletop is not a sterile surface, either. If you drop food on it – let that bite go. Tables are wiped down after each group of guests with a rag that has been sitting in a bucket of water that was warm and sterilized at 10 am. It’s now 8 pm – that water has been cold, gross, and filled with bits of germy food for hours.
The ketchup in the bottom of the bottle has been there for a while. At the restaurant where I worked, ketchup bottles were are filled up from the top whenever they needed it. The bottle only got tossed when it became too gross-looking to sit out on a table. Condiment containers on the table (included salt and pepper) were only ever cleaned if they visibly needed it.
If you arrive two minutes before the restaurant closes, everyone will hate you. The servers, the chefs, the busboys – everyone. They will bitch about you in the back the entire time your meal is being prepared, which may not be made with the healthiest precision, either. The least you can do when eating out at the last minute is to order something that is quick and easy to prepare, apologize for your late arrival profusely, tip well, and then get the hell out of there. And most of all, be nice! It never failed to amaze me how rude people could be to strangers who are preparing their food. Horrible things might happen to the food served to people who act horribly. Don’t be horrible!
Texas team develops oral vaccine against Salmonella
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/01/texas-team-develops-oral-vaccine-against-salmonella/#.WHLjLvmLSUl
BY NEWS DESK (Jan 4, 2017)
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have developed an oral vaccine against the foodborne pathogen responsible for the most hospitalizations and deaths in the United States.
It will likely take about five years before the Salmonella vaccine is available to the public, said lead researcher Ashok Chopra, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
Salmonella is the second leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States, sickening more than a million people every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Norovirus is the No. 1 cause of foodborne illness in the U.S., with the CDC estimating annual cases at 4.5 million.
However, Salmonella infection is much more serious than norovirus, causing more hospitalizations and deaths — about 19,300 hospitalizations and almost 400 deaths annually — than any other foodborne pathogen in the U.S.
Despite public health efforts at the local, state and federal levels, the CDC reports Salmonella infection rates have remained roughly unchanged in the United States since 1996.
The researchers at the University of Texas previously developed a potential injectable Salmonella vaccine, but oral vaccines are much preferred because they are easier to administer and less invasive than injections, Chopra said.
Salmonella infection can be treated with antibiotics, but some strains of the pathogen are developing antibiotic resistance, increasing the need for a vaccine. Also, the pathogen can be used as a bioweapon, as it was in Oregon in 1984 when a religious cult contaminated restaurant salad bars, sickening more than 750 people.
The research at the University of Texas was supported with money from the federal government’s National Institutes of Health. In addition to Chopra, others involved in the Salmonella vaccine project are Tatiana Erova, Michelle Kirtley, Eric Fitts, Duraisamy Ponnusamy, Jourdan Andersson, Yingzi Cong, Bethany Tiner and Jian Sha as well as Wallace Baze from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
UK’s raw milk vending machine outbreak expands; 56 sick
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/01/uks-raw-milk-vending-machine-outbreak-expands-56-sick/#.WHLjX_mLSUl
BY NEWS DESK (Jan 3, 2017)
Editor’s note: For details on efforts in New Jersey and Texas to allow in-state sales of unpasteurized raw milk, the interstate sale of which is prohibited by federal law, please see “Raw milk advocates make the most of anti-reg mood in U.S.”
One carry-over from 2016 in United Kingdom is Campylobacter, remaining in 2017 as the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.K. It’s responsible for more than 280,000 cases of food poisoning each year with more 72,000 confirmed cases with a high proportion attributable to food sources.
And the U.K. has also carried at least one rapidly expanding Campylobacter outbreak into the new year.
An outbreak originally reported in mid-December with about six confirmed Campylobacter cases has now reached at least 56 cases. The South Lakeland District Council is investigating and has linked the illnesses to a Kendal farm’s raw milk sales from a vending machine.
South Lakeland is a local government district in Cumbria, England. The population of the non-metropolitan district at the 2011 Census was 103,658. Its council is based in Kendal.
The Low Sizergh Barn Farm and its raw milk vending machine are the targets of the investigation. The vending machine under suspicion has been shut down while testing and further investigation continues.
The South Lakeland District Council reports the owner of the Low Sizergh Barn Farm is cooperating in the investigation and has voluntarily suspended all raw milk sales.
Campylobacter bacteria are usually found on raw or undercooked meat — particularly poultry — unpasteurized raw milk and untreated water.
The incubation period between exposure and the onset of symptoms for food poisoning caused by Campylobacter is usually between two and five days, but can be up to 10 days.
Symptoms usually last less than a week. Campylobacter poisoning typically involves abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and, occasionally, vomiting.
Although not usually serious in healthy adults, it can be more serious in young children or someone vulnerable to the effects of dehydration, such as the elderly and others with compromised immune systems.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been brought in to lead the ongoing investigation at the farm. The agency is working to ensure measures are in place to prevent the public from consuming unsafe products.
“ Unpasteurized milk was removed from sale at the premises as soon as the campylobacter results were confirmed,” an FSA spokesman reported.
“Long-standing FSA advice has been that vulnerable people — that’s older people, infants, children, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems — are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning and that is why these groups should not be consuming raw milk because it has not been heat treated.”
FSA also advises that anyone who may have consumed raw milk from Low Sizergh Barn and thinks they may have campylobacter food poisoning should contact a health professional and tell them about the possible exposure to the pathogen.
Anyone who has recently purchased raw milk from the site is warned not to drink it.
China's top leadership urge more efforts to ensure food safety
Source : http://english.cctv.com/2017/01/03/ARTIg6u6fAcsLQylSjJZnKrg170103.shtml
By Zhang Jianfeng (Jan 3, 2017)
China's top leadership has called for more efforts to ensure food safety, noting there are still many problems despite an improving food safety situation.
More efforts should be made to ensure food safety for the public, said President Xi Jinping in his latest instructions on the country's food safety work.
The president called for the most rigorous standards, the most stringent regulation, the most severe punishment and the most serious accountability for improving food safety control.
He stressed administration under the law, enhancement of work at the grassroots level and professionalism of food safety inspectors, and demanded a comprehensive food safety system from farm to table.
Premier Li Keqiang said in recent instructions that food safety is an important hallmark for building an all-round moderately prosperous society and should be given a more prominent position this year.
Storms and stability ahead for food safety efforts in 2017
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/01/storms-and-stability-ahead-for-food-safety-efforts-in-2017/#.WHLjwPmLSUl
BY DAN FLYNN (Jan 2, 2017)
Food safety in 2017 will be dependent on our “complicated bureaucracies” that exist to get through transitions and times of change. Both USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are sure to be taking many “business as usual” actions in January.
Confucius taught the Ancient Chinese bureaucracies that rituals were important for times when politics and maintaining relationships were important. The lesson has not been lost on the modern era.
USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service
Just before the New Year, FSIS came out with a new five-year plan, setting “broad goals” for increased inspections, toughen food safety regulations and expanded processes for evaluating imported meat, poultry and egg products.
The $1 billion agency with 10,000 employees — more than 7,500 of them working as inspectors in the nation’s meat, poultry and egg businesses — is betting on action as the best way to meet the new administration in Washington D.C.
Specific to food safety, the FSIS plan promises to expand “the breadth, depth and frequency of its sampling” to “better address gaps in testing for pathogens and chemical residues” in the products it regulates include meat, poultry and eggs.
In “unifying testing,” FSIS plans to collect a single sample from each product with tests for multiple microbiological hazards or chemical residues. The agency plans to use new genetics-based testing technologies, just as FDA has done.
In addition to the stepped up agenda for food safety, especially as it relates to recalls and traceability, FSIS also plans additional emphasis on humane handling. This will include action on how animals are handled, restrained and stunned.
Al Almanza, the career civil servant who has run the agency for the past decade, remains in charge as FSIS administrator. He’s waiting for the Senate to confirm the President-elect’s nominee for his new boss, the Secretary of Agriculture.
Federal law calls for Trump to appoint an Under Secretary for Food Safety, an office that’s been vacant for three years. During the time there’s been no under secretary, Almanza was one of two deputy under secretaries, while he worked as acting FSIS administrator. On Jan. 20, he apparently drops the deputy under secretary and “acting” titles, and again takes up the administrator title he has held on and off since 2007.
Food and Drug Administration
While FSIS will be taking predictable actions under stable leadership, the same cannot really be said for its major food safety partner, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for watching out for about 80 percent of the food sold in the United States.
Political storm clouds are building up over the agency that regulates products worth more than $1 trillion, or 25 cents out of every dollar spent by consumers on food, drugs, vaccines, medical devices, animal feed and animal drugs.
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf is not likely to see his first anniversary on the job. A top cardiologist, Califf is reportedly willing to serve in the new administration, but it is not likely. FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Stephen Ostroff has only been on the job since June. It remains to be seen if he will survive what could be a housecleaning.
Troubles at FDA are coming from the side of the house involved with drug and medical device approvals. Unlike food and dietary supplements, drugs and medical devices require FDA’s affirmative approval before they can be marketed.
The FDA, say the critics, no longer merely rules on safety, but now considers new drugs based on their effect and even the demand that might exist in the marketplace. That’s brought FDA a mix of criticisms ranging from those who finance drug development to patients and their families waiting for approvals.
Many believe President-elect Trump will name an FDA commissioner who is sympathetic to those concerns.
While the potential shakeup looms, the food side of the FDA house does know what it is supposed to be doing. The agency will be enforcing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) as more compliance dates are reached under the new rules.
The whole purpose of the FSMA — to prevent foodborne illnesses instead of just responding to outbreaks — will be put to the test for the first time. If Ostroff remains in charge of food safety, he will probably have to deal with some push-back from the industry about FSMA enforcement activities. FDA’s tardy answers to some specific questions, especially about the FSMA produce rule, has already upset growers who by spring will be demanding specific answers to compliance and enforcement questions.
Also for all of FDA, rulemaking will now come under the thumb of Rep. Mike Mulvaney, R-SC, who Trump has named as the new director of the Executive Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB must approve all rules and regulations. Mulvaney, who helped found the House Freedom Caucus, sees regulation mostly as a burden on the economy, which comes at the expense of jobs.
One measure of rules and regulation is the production of pages in the Federal Register, which is required to hold them all. Friday was the last day of the year for the publication, which reported a record-setting 97,110 pages to hold everything produced in 2016.
One of those was the Dec. 27 announcement by FDA to extend to April 26, 2017, the comment period for the use of the word “healthy” in labeling human food products. It originally called for comments this past Sept. 28.
“In the notice, we requested comments on the term ‘healthy,’ generally, and as a nutrient content claim in the context of food labeling, we also requested comments on the specific questions contained int he notice,” the FDA’s Federal Register notice about the comment period said.
FDA is also accepting confidential comments on the issue. The comment period was to have ended on Jan. 26.
Just as the agencies will continue to do what they do, Congress will begin work on a new farm bill. The leadership of the agricultural committees apparently want to get an early start by getting underway in early 2017.
One might think there is plenty of time as the shelf life for the 2014 farm bill does not end until Sept. 30, 2018. However, the last two farm bills came together late and thus the committees called for an early start.
One debate will be whether nutrition programs like the food stamp program now called SNAP, should even be included in the farm bill. The conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, favors pulling nutrition programs from the farm bill, and the House Agriculture Committee is studying the issue.
Next to the farm bill, look for congressional action to limit or overturn changes the exiting Obama administration put forward in the obscure Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act (GIPSA) rules. The National Pork Producers Council called the last minute action “an apparent attack on rural America for its role in helping elect Donald Trump as President.”
The new rules would give USDA more power to punish companies involved in GIPSA contract disputes and open disputes to more litigation possibilities.
Top 10 Food Poisoning Stories of 2016
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/top-10-food-poisoning-stories-of-2016/
By News Desk (Jan 2, 2017)
These are the top 10 food stories of 2016. We chose them based on the impact they had on the food world and on the people who were sickened in outbreaks, and on how they changed how we look at our food supply. Many of these outbreaks were uncovered by the PulseNet system, a national database of food poisoning illnesses.
All of these outbreaks serve as a reminder that everyone needs to be careful about the foods they eat, about where they eat foods, and the importance of thorough handwashing. And this list is a reminder that food companies need to be held accountable when the foods they produce make people sick.
10. Petting Zoo Outbreaks
Petting zoo outbreaks became common a few years ago, when a huge outbreak sickened more than 100 people at the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina. In 2016, the National Zoo was put under quarantine after some of its animals were diagnosed with E. coli infections. An E. coli outbreak was associated with the Cider Mill Ciderfest in Louisburg, Kansas in October 2016 sickened at least seven people. An E. coli outbreak at the Washington County, Oregon fair in August 2016 sickened several people. And school trips to a farm in Litchfield, Minnesota in May 2016 sickened at least 10 children with Cryptosporidium infections. In April 2016, an E. coli outbreak linked to the Oak Leaf Dairy Farm in Lebanon, Connecticut sickened at least 41 people.
And in November, 2016, the law firm Pritzker Hageman, which underwrites Food Poisoning Bulletin, won a $7.55 million judgement for a child who contracted an E. coli infection in 2013 at Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton, Minnesota. The child developed hemolytic uremic syndrome and suffered severe kidney damage. Children were allowed to pet and feed cows on the property.
9. CRF Uncooperative with FDA
Vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods were linked to a multistate Listeria outbreak that sickened at least eight people in 2016. Documents showed that before the outbreak was discovered, the company was reluctant to cooperate with inspectors from the FDA. They were told that legal sanctions may be imposed if the firm did not correct serious deficiencies. Two people died in this outbreak, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not consider listeriosis as a cause of death for either person.
During a March 14, 2016 inspection of the Pasco, Washington facility, CRF did not allow the FDA to take pictures and would not provide interstate commerce documents for the purchase of onions to FDA inspectors. A number of food safety issues were found at the plant.
Raw sprouts are not a food most people should eat. Anyone who is in a high risk group should never eat them. There were three major food poisoning outbreaks linked to raw sprouts in 2016.
In early 2016, an E. coli outbreak was linked to alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & the Green Sprouts. Eleven people in two states were sickened in that outbreak.
In April, 2016, another sproutbreak was linked to Sweetwater Farms. At least 26 people in 12 states were sickened in that outbreak with Salmonella Muenchen and Salmonella Kentucky. Officials found that the seeds were contaminated and other sprouts growers also produced the sprouts.
In the summer of 2016, at least 36 people in 9 states were sickened in a Salmonella Reading and Salmonella Albony by sprouts produced by Sprouts Extraordinaire of Denver, Colorado.
And in March 2016, the FDA and the U.S. Department of Justice blocked the sale of Henry’s Farm bean sprouts because inspections revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria at the plant, along with multiple food safety violations.
7. Food Company Officials Sentenced
The year 2016 was the year the food company executives were fined and actually sentenced to jail for selling contaminated foods.
The owner of Oasis Brands, which distributed contaminated cheese associated with a Listeria outbreak in 2014, was sent to prison in November 2016. ConAgra Grocery Products, a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods, pled guilty to a criminal misdemeanor charge in December 2016 imposed over a massive Salmonella outbreak in 2006 that was linked to its peanut butter. And Roos Foods pled guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act in January 2016 after a deadly Listeria outbreak in 2014 was linked to their cheese products.
6. Secondary Recalls
Secondary recalls were a big deal in 2016. When a food manufacturer who produces ingredients for other manufacturers has to recall a product for bacterial contamination, a ripple effect occurs.
The CRF Frozen Foods outbreak and subsequent recall led to 22 secondary recalls of mixed vegetables, tamales, and frozen vegetables that were sold under many brand names.
At least 24 products that were made with dry milk from Valley Milk Products were recalled late in the year. Dry milk was recalled for potential Salmonella contamination after the feds raided the Valley Milk facility in Virginia and seized more than 4,000,000 pounds of product.
Ice cream and ice cream products were recalled for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination in late 2016 after the pathogenic bacteria was found at Dr. Bob’s of Upland. At least 15 secondary recalls were issued.
And in the summer, many secondary recalls were issued after the E. coli outbreak linked to General Mills flour was announced.
5. Blue Bell Listeria Monocytogenes
After the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Blue Bell ice cream products in 2015, the company made the news frequently. First, Blue Bell announced that it found Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in its Texas pant in January. There was confusion over this announcement, especially since the company retracted its statement the next day and said, “in our facilities, we have identified suspected areas where bacteria may be present but in no case have we confirmed Listeria monocytogenes. The entire purpose of our enhanced environmental testing is to identify locations where bacteria could be found in our facility in order to properly clean and sanitize the surface and prevent contamination.”
This company is also under investigation by the Justice Department over the outbreak that killed three people. Problems discovered at the plant included condensation dripping directly into ice cream, and unsanitary equipment and practices.
Then in December 2016, the company announced that, after implementing a strict program to control Listeria and ensure a safe product, they wanted to return to the more lax standards followed by other ice cream facilities.
4. Raw Milk Outbreaks
Raw milk continued to be an issue in 2016. There were quite a few recalls of raw milk and raw milk products for bacterial contamination, and there were six confirmed outbreaks.
In December, a Campylobacter outbreak was linked to Sweet Grass Dairy raw milk. That facility is located in Fredericktown, Ohio. The milk was purchased by consumers through a herd share program to evade the ban on raw milk sales in that state.
A Campylobacter outbreak in September sickened at least 20 people in Pueblo County, Colorado. Those sickened reported drinking raw milk from Larga Vista Ranch in Pueblo County.
In New Mexico in September, a Cryptosporidium outbreak was associated with raw milk. At least six people were sickened in that outbreak.
In August 2016, a Salmonella outbreak linked to Heber Valley raw milk in Utah sickened at least nine people. Two of those people were hospitalized because their illnesses were so serious.
In February, 2016, an E. coli outbreak linked to recalled Organic Pastures raw milk sickened six children. That dairy is located in California.
A deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in March linked to raw milk produced by Miller’s Organic Farm in Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania was discovered in January 2016. Listeria was found in the raw milk that month. The PulseNet system was used to identify patients who were part of that outbreak.
3. General Mill Flour E. coli Outbreak
From December 2015 to September 2016, at least 63 people in 24 states were sickened with E. coli infections after eating products made with General Mills flour. Seventeen people were hospitalized, and one person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
The FDA found that flour made at the company’s Kansas City, Missouri facility was the likely source of the bacteria in this outbreak. General Mills recalled several types of its flour, which triggered many secondary recalls.
This outbreak was a good reminder not to eat raw dough or batter. The median age in this outbreak was 18, most likely because teenagers and children like to eat raw cookie dough. Flour is a raw agricultural product and should be considered as potentially hazardous as raw meat.
2. Dole Salads Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak
The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to recalled Dole packaged salads sickened 19 people in 9 states and killed one person in Michigan. Fourteen people were sickened in Canada. And Food Poisoning Bulletin broke the story that Dole knew about contamination in its Springfield, Ohio plant years before the outbreak was discovered.
The company found the pathogenic bacteria in their facility in early 2014. The records we received as part of a Freedom of Information Act Report states that a 2012 FDA inspection was triggered by a recall for Listeria. The Dole plant was constructed poorly and it could not be kept clean. Once Listeria finds its way into a plant, especially one that uses a lot of water, it can be very difficult to eradicate.
The Justice Department launched an investigation into the outbreak in April 2016. No more information has been released about this investigation to date.
1. Hepatitis A Outbreaks
There were two huge hepatitis A outbreaks in 2016. The first was linked to frozen imported strawberries used in Tropical Smoothie Cafe products, and the second to imported frozen scallops served at a restaurant in Hawaii.
The hepatitis A outbreak linked to strawberries used in Tropical Smoothie Cafe products finally ended in December 2016 after sickening 143 people in 9 states. FDA investigations found that the frozen fruit was imported from Egypt by the International Company for Agricultural Products and Processing. The virus was found in multiple samples of those strawberries.
The hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii sickened 291 people from June through October 2016. Investigators found that the product responsible for that outbreak was Sea Port Bay Scallops imported from the Philippines, distributed by Koha Oriental Foods, and served at Genki Suchi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. The scallops were served raw. Several businesses also reported that some of their employees developed the infection, which may have exposed other people to the virus.
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