FoodHACCP Newsletter

Food Safety Job Openings

02/04. Quality Assurance Manager - Marathon, FL
02/03. Produce Inspector QA – Monterey, CA
02/03. Quality Assurance Tech – Aurora, CO
02/03. Regulatory Compliance – Pacoima, CA
02/01. Senior Food Safety Specialist – Omaha, NE
02/01. Food Safety Technologist – Kinston, NC
02/01. Food Safety Auditor II-San Francisco, CA
01/30. Quality Control Supervisor - Carson City, NV
01/30. Corp Food Safety & Sanitiation Spec - Dallas, TX
01/30. Mgr Raw Mat’l Food Safety & Qual – Salinas, CA

02/06 2017 ISSUE:742

Outbreak at Science Olympiad at Florida Gateway College
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By Linda Larsen (Feb 07, 2017)
At least 28 children and 2 adults were sickened after eating a catered lunch at the middle school Science Olympiad at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office had a notice posted on its Facebook page that those sickened were taken to hospitals for suspected food poisoning. The event was held on Saturday, February 4, 2017.
Ambulances were called from several counties to help transfer patients to Lake City Medical Center and Shands Lake Shore. Health officials in Columbia county and from the Florida Department of Health are investigating the outbreak. All of the patients were treated and released by Saturday evening.
A meal served at the event is being investigated as the potential source of the illnesses. Officials collected leftover food samples right after the event. The food is being tested at the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories in Jacksonville.
Two bacteria are capable of causing foodborne illness this quickly: Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus. They cause symptoms similar to the symptoms those sickened experienced, including vomiting and stomach cramps. Both bacteria produce toxins in food that make people sick in a short time period. Symptoms usually subside within about 24 hours.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria itself does not cause illness, but the toxins it produces does. The toxins are heat resistant and are not destroyed by cooking. Illness occurs 30 minutes to 6 hours after investing the toxins.
Many types of foods are associated with both bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus food poisoning, including meats, casseroles, gravies, rice, potatoes, pasta, and cheese. Puddings, soups, pastries, and salads are other foods that are often contaminated with these two pathogens..
If you or a family member attended this event and were sickened, please contact Marjorie Rigdon, Director of Nursing of the Florida Department of Health in Columbia County. Her number is 386-758-1334. If you were sickened, stay hydrated, rest, and see your doctor if your symptoms become severe.
Scientists Kill Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria with Brute Force
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By Linda Larsen (Feb 07, 2017)
New research at University College London (UCL) has found that antibiotics can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria with brute force. The study was published in Nature Scientific Reports.
In order to kill bacteria, antibiotics have to bind to the cells in the pathogens. Bacterial resistance can be caused by molecular changes to the surface of the bacteria.
Dr. Joseph Ndieyira of UCL Medicine said, “Antibiotics have ‘keys’ that fit ‘locks’ on bacterial cell surfaces, allowing them to latch on. When a bacterium becomes resistant to a drug, it effectively changes the locks so the key won’t fit any more. Incredibly, we found that certain antibiotics can still ‘force’ the lock, allowing them to bind to and kill resistant bacteria because they are able to push hard enough. In fact, some of them were so strong they tore the door off its hinges, killing the bacteria instantly!”
Since antibiotics exert mechanical force on bacteria, researchers used equipment to measure those forces. They tested bacteria that were still susceptible to antibiotics and bacteria that had developed resistance against the drugs. Researchers tested vancomycin, which is a “last resort” treatment for MRSA and other infections, and oritavancin, which s a modified version of vancomycin.
All of the susceptible bacteria received the same amount of ‘force’ from the antibiotics, but the force exerted on resistant bacteria varied. Dr. Ndieyira continued, “We found that oritavancin pressed into resistant bacteria with a force 11,000 times stronger than vancomycin. Even though it has the same ‘key’ as vancomycin, oritavancin was still highly effective at killing resistant bacteria. Until now it wasn’t clear how oritavancin killed bacteria, but our study suggests that the forces it generates can actually tear holes in the bacteria and rip them apart.”
The oritavancin molecules stick together and form clusters, that dig into the surface of bacteria cells. As they do this, they push apart, creating force that tears the bacteria’s surface.
A mathematical model developed by the research team predicts and describes how antibiotics behave in this way, which could be used to screen new antibiotics. And this research could be used to create a new generation of antibiotics.



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OSU Scientists Make Progress in Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria War
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By Linda Larsen (Feb 06, 2017)
Scientists at Oregon State University have made progress in the war against antibiotic resistant bacteria. More and more pathogenic bacteria are developing resistance against antibiotics, even our last-ditch drugs. Researchers have found that a molecule can neutralize bacteria’s ability to become resistant to antibiotics. The study was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
This study is very important, since in September 2016, a woman in Nevada died from a bacterial infection that resisted every type of antibiotic we have in our arsenal. The death was reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week. Scientists think that antibiotic-resistant bacteria will kill 10 million people by 2050.
The molecule that the scientists at OSU constructed is called PPMO (short for peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer). It works against an enzyme made by NDM-1, a gene found in antibiotic-resistant bacteria that produces New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase. That enzyme destroys antibiotics.
Dr. Bruce Geller, professor of microbiology at OSU’s College of Science and College of Agricultural Sciences, said, “we’re targeting a resistance mechanism that’s shared by a whole bunch of pathogens. It’s the same gene in different types of bacteria, so you only have to have one PPMO that’s effective for all of them, which is different than other PPMOs that are genus specific.”
In vitro, the new PPMO retired the ability of an antibiotic to fight three different genera of bacteria that express NDM-1. A combination of the PPMO and meropenem, an ultra-broad-spectrum member of the carbapenem class of antibiotics, successfully treated mice that were infected with a pathogenic strain of E. coli that is NDM-1 positive. Researchers hope that PPMO will be ready for human trials in about three years.
“We’ve lost the ability to use many of our mainstream antibiotics,” Geller continued. “Everything’s resistant to them now. That’s left us to try to develop new drugs to stay one step ahead of the bacteria, but the more we look the more we don’t find anything new. So that’s left us with making modifications to existing antibiotics, but as soon as you make a chemical change, the bugs mutate and now they’re resistant to the new, chemically modified antibiotic.”
The NDM-1 enzyme that bacteria produce destroys carbapenems. When someone has an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection, doctors have had to use colistin, an antibiotic that is toxic to the kidneys that hasn’t been used in years because it has such adverse side effects.

Win Super Bowl Viewing Party Host of the Year with our Food Safety Tips
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By Janice López-Muñoz, Food Safety Education Staff, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA (Feb 03, 2017)
It’s coming. The most popular TV event of the year — Super Bowl Sunday!!! That means the four F’s…Fun, Family, Friends and Food. The pressure is on. You don’t want to be the Super Bowl party host that your guests call — or even worse, post to social media — saying they got foodborne illness. If that happens…Houston, we have a problem!
Some estimates put the number of hours Americans will spend preparing food for Super Bowl parties near 10 million. From the TV setup to the delicious menu, it’s all about having fun, eating and watching the game (and the half time show of course). Start planning your viewing party with our four food safety steps: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.
Washing hands frequently with warm soapy water for 20 seconds, especially after handling raw foods, is the best way to reduce the spread of germs and prevent foodborne illness. While enjoying foods, encourage party guests to wash hands before and after eating and provide disposable towelettes nearby for a quick touch up.
Your goal here is to avoid cross-contamination. When grocery shopping, separate raw meat and poultry from produce and other food items in your shopping cart. Place raw foods in plastic bags to prevent their juices, which may contain harmful bacteria, from dripping onto other foods. When preparing your Super Bowl party trays, cut your fruits and veggies on a cutting board separate from where you prepare other raw meat and poultry products. This will help you avoid cross-contamination.
Don’t Forget to Use Your Food Thermometer! It is the only way to ensure the safety of meat, poultry, seafood and egg products. If your Super Bowl menu includes chicken wings, they should reach a safe internal temperature of 165 °F, as measured by a food thermometer.
This is it! You made it! Touchdown!!!! To keep food out of the “Danger Zone” (40 °F – 140 °F) keep hot foods (like pizza and wings) hot and cold foods (like guacamole) cold. When setting food out, be sure to serve cold foods in small portions to limit them being in the Danger Zone, or use an ice bath to keep them cold, and keep hot foods in a pre-heated oven. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
By following our food safety steps, you can ensure that no one at your party will experience a food safety malfunction – not even during the halftime show.
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Preventing systematic risks is key in food safety
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By zhangrui, (Feb 06, 2017)
At the State Council executive meeting on Feb 3, Premier Li Keqiang urged related departments to prevent systematic risks when preparing food safety plans.
Local authorities should shoulder the responsibility of ensuring food safety and strengthening supervision on key targets such as campus food and vendors, the Premier said.
As for drug safety, the Premier said the government should fight fake drugs and support improvements for drug purity.
These two issues are key in the development of food and drug safety policies, Premier Li said.
At the meeting, two important national five-year plans (2016-2020) were approved by the State Council to enhance supervision of food and medicine safety and better protect public health.
The Premier also urged promoting comprehensive market supervision, which integrates the functions of different departments, on necessities, such as food and drugs.
The Premier checked the details of the two plans with officials who wrote them. “Can you really achieve the goals? If you cannot do it, then do not write it into the plan,” he said.
“Once something is written into the plan, it must be done,” the Premier said.

Acid Suppression Drugs Increase Gastroenteritis Risk
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By News Desk Leave (Feb 02, 2017)
A study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology has found that taking acid-suppressing medications increases the risk for bacterial gastroenteritis in the community and in hospital-based settings. The population-based, propensity-score matched cohort study was conducted at the University College London.
The study identified 188,323 patients from a community in Scotland who took these drugs between 1999 and 2013. Those results were compared with 376,646 matched controls from the same community who did not take the prescribed medications. The medications in question include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 receptor antagonists (H2RA).
The study’s authors reported positive test results for Clostridium difficile, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli O157 in the exposed group. Patients in the exposed group also showed increased risks of C. difficile and Campylobacter. Patients who took PPIs or H2RAs were more than twice as likely to have culture-positive diarrhea compared to those who did not take those meds.
Dr. Thomas MacDonald of the Medicines Monitoring Unit, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, U.K. said in a statement, “Users of these medications should be particularly vigilant about food hygiene as the removal of stomach acid makes them more easily infected with agents such as Campylobacter, which is commonly found on poultry.” Patients should follow safe handling instructions, avoid cross-contamination, wash their hands well with soap and water after handling raw poultry, and make sure that all poultry products are cooked to 165°F as measured with a food thermometer.
The risk of these medications in C. difficile infections is that the acid-resistant spore can convert to the vegetative form and survive in the stomach. The study also found that while gastric acid may not kill C. difficile, but it could change the growth of other bowel flora.
The researchers found a clear dose response relationship between the  meds and culture results. The study’s findings suggest that community-prescribed acid suppression medications are associated with increased rates of positive stool samples for C. difficile and Campylobacter. That suggests that acid-suppresions therapy is not relatively free from adverse effects.

Candidates for FDA top job focus on drugs, not food, so far
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BY DAN FLYNN (Feb 2, 2017)
Just ahead of the anticipated appointment of an FDA commissioner by President Donald J. Trump, there’s a bit of a buzz about a new candidate who is the fourth to be seriously considered for the job of regulating more than $1 trillion of annual economic activity.
All the candidates for FDA commissioner are focused on the processes for drug and medical device approvals, with foods and food safety getting hardly a mention. The confirmation hearings, however, are certain to bring out the Trump Administration’s plans for enforcing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Trump says his FDA appointment is coming soon, a schedule that may be falling into place now that Tom Price’s appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services, FDA’s parent agency, has cleared the Senate Finance Committee. Price’s nomination now needs only a floor vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, which is seen as likely.
The new candidate for commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration is Joseph Gulfo, executive director of the Lewis Center for Healthcare Innovation and Technology at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ. Gulfo has a reputation as an FDA critic, but one with some very specific ideas about reform. He joins these others who Trump has under consideration:
Jim O’Neill, managing director of Mithril Capital Management, a venture capital firm founded by Silcon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel.
Balaji Srinivasan, a partner in the venture capital firm Andreessen.
Scott Gottlieb, former FDA deputy commissioner who is now a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a partner with the New Enterprise Associates venture capital fund.
Like the three others, Gulfo has concerns about the length and complexity of the FDA’s drug approval processes, saying they have become so “onerous” that it is inhibiting drug development.
In numerous outlets covering the drug industry, Gulfo is getting attention for his plans to cut red tape at FDA. He’s says FDA has moved away from “safety and effectiveness” to operating out of “fear and it is not in the regulations.”
Gulfo is the co-author of a recent paper that argues FDA is “too restrictive,” going far beyond the safety and effectiveness standards required by law.
Stephen Ostroff, FDA’s commissioner for food and veterinary medicine, has been serving as acting FDA commissioner since Jan. 20, when Robert Califf stepped down. It is Ostroff’s second stint as acting FDA commissioner. He headed the agency temporarily for ten and a half months after FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg left and before Califf was confirmed to succeed her.
FDA’s regulatory authority reaches across about 20 percent of the U.S. economy, including human food, animal feed, veterinary medicines, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and various supplementals.

Seven-layer dip to die for? Keep your Super Bowl buffet safe
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By FRANCINE L. SHAW (Feb 1, 2017)
The holidays have come and gone, and many of us have started the countdown to kickoff Sunday at NRG Stadium in Houston. Like so many Americans, I get pretty excited about the Super Bowl – especially if my home team, Pittsburgh, is playing.
Now, I’m not going to profess tremendous knowledge about football, but I do know food. I love food — and the food at Super Bowl parties is to die for — well, let’s hope not.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food consumption day of the year in the U.S., ranking behind only Thanksgiving. After all, what’s the big game without nachos, chili, dip and chicken wings?
Menus nationwide vary widely: guacamole, crab dip, blue cheese dip, hummus, raw veggies, meat trays, chicken wings, nachos, chili, meatballs, and shrimp. But all of these game favorites have a common denominator. They’re all time temperature control foods (TCS), meaning they must be kept at the proper temperature to remain safe to consume. In other words, you can’t keep these items out on a buffet table all day without using warming units to keep hot foods hot or bowls of ice to keep cold foods, like shrimp cocktail, cold.
Here are a few tips to keep you and your guests safe and healthy on game day.
Keep it clean
Wash your hands with soap and warm water of at least 100 degrees for a minimum of 20 seconds before preparing, eating or handling food — especially after passing the bacteria-ridden remote control, after using the bathroom and touching pets.
Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.
Rinse all produce under running water. Fruits and vegetables with firm skins should be rubbed by hand or scrubbed with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing.
Hot stuff
Use a food thermometer to test your tidbits, like chicken wings and ground beef dishes, and any other meat or microwaved dishes on your menu.
Make sure chicken wings and any other poultry dishes reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F and ground beef dishes reach 160 degrees F.
Separate for safety
Divide cooked food into shallow containers and store in a refrigerator or freezer until the party begins. This encourages rapid, even cooling.
Hold hot foods at 140 degrees F or warmer. Use chafing dishes, slow cookers and warming trays to keep food hot on the buffet table.
Maintain cold foods, like salsa and guacamole, at 40 degrees F or colder. Use small service trays or nest serving dishes in bowls of ice, replacing ice often.
Track the time
Follow recommended microwave cooking and standing times. Realize that cold spots — areas that are not completely cooked—can harbor bacteria.
Always follow directions for the “standing time,” the extra minutes that food should stand in the microwave with the door closed to complete the cooking process. Then check the internal temperature with a food thermometer.
Toss any perishable foods that have been out at room temperature for two hours or more.
Avoid cross-contamination
Recognize that cross-contamination is a common factor in the cause of foodborne illness. If you place raw chicken on a board, and then chop vegetables on that same board, you risk cross-contamination, spreading bacteria from the raw poultry onto the vegetables. Proper cooking of the contaminated food in most cases will reduce or eliminate the chances of a foodborne illness from it, but vegetables served raw after chopping will retain bacteria from the surface of an unwashed cutting board straight to your guests mouthes.
Offer guests serving utensils and small plates to discourage them from eating directly from the bowls with dips and salsa.
If your guests have food allergies or sensitivities
Create a separate workspace or area in your kitchen to prepare allergen-free food. Make certain you clean and sanitize all work surfaces and equipment.
Avoid cross-contact, which occurs when an allergen is inadvertently transferred from a food containing an allergen to a food that does not contain the allergen — such as chopping peanuts on a board and then chopping vegetables on that same board. The vegetables have come into contact with the peanuts, which could trigger an allergic reaction in a guest with peanut allergies if they eat those veggies. Cooking does not reduce or eliminate the risk of cross-contact.
Don’t use the same oil for french fries that you use for breaded products, fish or foods containing nuts.
Beware of hidden ingredients. Did you know that dips and dressings can contain nut oils or other hidden allergens? Barbecue sauce commonly contains nuts, wheat and soy. And, Worcestershire sauce can contain anchovies. Always read the labels, and then read again before serving to an allergic person. When in doubt, do without! Desserts, especially ice cream are high risk for nut allergies. Commercial brands of ice cream are typically made on “shared” equipment.
Serve allergen-free foods on different-shaped or different-colored plates so they can be easily identified by guests.
Many hand lotions contain common allergens such as tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy; therefore they should not be kept in the kitchen or worn while preparing food.
Ensure safer leftovers
Discard any perishable foods on the buffet for two hours or more.
Divide leftovers into smaller portions or pieces, place in shallow containers, and refrigerate.
Don’t wait too long to consume your leftovers. Refrigerate them for three to four days tops. Freeze the leftovers if you won’t be eating them sooner.
Nice try, no sale
Another important item at a Super Bowl party is, of course, the beer.  While many people will enjoy a cold beer or two during the game, realize that alcohol won’t kill any dangerous bacteria that your guests may ingest. People frequently ask me about this. The answer is simply “no.”
Have fun at your Super Bowl party with your family and friends, enjoying the game — and the snacks. I’ll be attending a Super Bowl party for the camaraderie, the food and the commercials — and to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy.

Controlling and Mitigating Pathogens Throughout Production
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By Troy Smith (Jan 31, 2017)
A review of a technology for disinfection and pathogen mitigation at pre-production, during production and post-production touch points.
As the enforcement of rules, regulations and inspections get underway at food production facilities, we are faced with maintaining production rates while looking for infinitesimal pathogens and cleaning to non-detectible levels. This clearly sets demand on the plant for new and creative methods to control and mitigate pathogens pre-production, during production and post production.
As this occurs, the term clean takes on new meaning: What is clean, and how clean is clean? Swab and plate counts are now critically important. What method is used at the plant, who is testing, what sampling procedure is used, and how do we use the results? As we look at the process from start to finish, we must keep several key questions in mind: What are harboring points in the process, and what are the touch-point considerations to the product? Let’s review the overall processing progression through the factory (see Figure 1).
Now consider micro pathogen contamination to the product, as we look deeper in the process for contamination or critical control points as used in successful HACCP plans. Consider contamination and how it may travel or contact food product. It is understood through study and research of both pathogens and plant operations that contamination may be introduced to the plant by the front door, back door, pallet, product, or by a person. In many cases, each of these considerations leads to uncontrolled environments that create uncontrolled measurements throughout, which lead to cleaning procedures based on time rather than science. This is certainly not to say that creating a preventive maintenance schedule based on a calendar is a bad thing. Rather, the message is to consider a deeper look at the pathogens and how they live and replicate. From the regulatory and control measures this should be a clear message of what food-to-pathogen considerations should be taken at the plant level as well as measurement methods and acceptable levels (which is not an easy answer, as each product and environment can change this answer). A good example to consider is public schools and children. Health organizations work to help the schooling system understand what immunizations children should have based on the current health risk tolerance levels. In food production, the consideration is similar in an everchanging environment. As we see contamination levels change the methods, techniques and solutions to proper food production must account for the pathogens of concern.
Contamination, Risk tolerance, Opportunity for Growth
Contamination, risk tolerance, and opportunity for growth are the considerations when looking at a plant design or a plant modification. Modification to modernization should be a top-of-mind critical quality control measure. If there are a few things we know, it is how to produce food at high rates of speed, measure and value production rates, and delays or failures can be measured by equipment and personnel performance. In the case of quality control, we must review, comprehend, and protect process risk. From a management or non-technical viewpoint, quality control can be very difficult to understand. When discussing pathogens, our concerns are not visible to the human eye—we are beyond a dirty surface, weare looking at risk tolerance based on pathogen growth in logarithmic measurement. When combining quality control and production, the measurement control and mitigation measures complement the effort. The use of quality control is expected and should coordinate with production to ensure the product is produced at the expected quality level.

States want ‘robust partnership’ with Washington D.C. on ag
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BY DAN FLYNN (Jan 31, 2017)
Policy goals for 2017 are being set this week by one of the nation’s smallest, but most powerful agricultural groups. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) is meeting for its Winter Policy Conference, which is expected to bring together about 200 state, federal and private sector ag leaders.
The gathering is occurring during a time of uncertainty for state agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is waiting on Senate action on the nomination of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture. His answers during confirmation hearings will provide the first policy details for the nation’s farm and ranch community, which has been anxious over weak commodity prices since President Donald J. Trump was elected last November.
As the conference got underway Monday, however, the NASDA Board of Directors went ahead and established its policy for a year.
“As statewide leaders, NASDA members have a unique perspective and deep appreciation of how policies impact our farmers and ranchers, said Michael G. Strain, NASDA president and Louisiana’s commissioner of agriculture and forestry.
“Over the next 12 months we will advocate for cooperative federalism, the importance of international trade for agriculture, appropriate implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the next farm bill.”
Here’s how the NASDA policy priorities are filling out:
Cooperative federalism – NASDA wants a “robust partnership” when it comes to the role of the states in the federal policy process involving both the Administration and Congress. With its bipartisan leadership, NASDA can be critical to driving policy.
Food safety – NASDA is also looking for a cooperative spirit with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an agency also running with an acting commissioner, NASDA says “proper implementation” of the Food Safety Modernization Act is a priority. FSMA gives FDA “new authority to regulate produce growers and many animal food producers for the first time.”
International trade – President Trump has pulled out of one Asia-Pacific trade pact and announced plans to re-work the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, with Canada and Mexico. NASDA says it favors access to export markets with level playing fields for America’s agricultural products. It puts itself down as being for trade agreements, expanded market access and “strong rules of the road” for international trade. How those line up with what the president wants remains to be seen.
Farm bill – In another sign that work on the 2018 farm bill is going to start in 2017, NASDA is looking to hang clothes on its policy. It says agricultural producers, the rural economy, and communities of every size rely on a robust, forward looking and fully funded farm bill. It wants Congress to craft new tools and new opportunities. Specifically, NASDA is calling for the farm bill to addresses invasive species, block grants and specialty crop programs.  The state ag officials also call for funding research and resources for farmers to comply with FSMA in addition to fighting animal disease and working for conservation.
Today and tomorrow, NASDA will be considering amendments to its list of policy topics from members. More detail will likely be drawn up on trade, labeling, marketing claims, and dairy trade with Canada being among hot topics.
Elected or appointed agricultural officials, including directors and commissioners, from all 50 states and four U.S. territories are involved with NASDA.
The NASDA meetings will continue at the Grand Hyatt Washington through Wednesday afternoon.

Food Safety on Super Bowl Sunday
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By Linda Larsen (Jan 31, 2017)
The Super Bowl is this Sunday. No matter how you celebrate, you need to keep your food safe so you and your guests don’t get sick. is offering tips to keep the food for your bash safe. Americans eat more than a billion chicken wings on that day, and many other foods that have the potential to be contaminated with bacteria.
If you plan on frying chicken wings, make sure that the frying oil temperature is at least 375°F, measured with a food thermometer, before you start. Never fry frozen chicken wings; they should be completely thawed. Do not rinse the chicken wings before you cook them; that will only spread bacteria around your kitchen and onto you, since the spray from the water can spread up to 3 feet away from the faucet.
Pay the wings dry before you put them into the hot oil so the oil doesn’t splatter and burn you. And do not put too many wings in the fryer at the same time. Crowding will reduce the oil temperature too much and the wings can undercook, which means bacteria can survive.
It can be tricky to take the temperature of chicken wings since there is so little meat and it’s so close to the bone. To do this accurate, put a cooked wing on a clean plate covered in paper towel. Insert the food thermometer carefully, making sure you don’t touch the bone, which will throw off the measurement. The chicken should be 165°F. Measure several wings from each batch to make sure they are all cooked.
If the chicken wings are below 165°F, submerge them again in the hot oil. Make sure that the oil stays around the 350°F to 375°F point.
If you are having a buffet, of appetizers or of things like soups and sandwiches, keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Use a heat source such as a crockpot or a warming tray to make sure hot foods stay at or above  140°F. And cold foods need to be kept at 40°F or less. Use ice to keep food chilled. Remember that perishable foods, such as meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, and cheeses should not be left at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Throw them away after this time period.
And always wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds after using the bathroom and before preparing food. Never reuse paper towels. And wash your kitchen towels frequently in the hot cycle of your washing machine to kill any bacteria.

Product Pests Hurt Your Business
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By Food Safety Tech Staff (Jan 30, 2017)
Stored product insects (SPI) can cause a revenue loss of 1–9%, according to recent research by the Centre for Economic and Business Research. The following infographic outlines the impact SPIs can have, which are the world’s most expensive pests, according to Rentokil.

Nightmare prevention: Comprehensive, compliant records
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By LAURA MUSHRUSH (Jan 30, 2017)
The fourth in a four-part series brought to you by Par Technology Corp.
Area hospitals in Chicago see a string of illnesses due to E coli O157, with more cases quickly popping up across the state. A look into the sick patients’ activities reveals they all ate sprouts at a popular sandwich chain, triggering an investigation down the supply chain.
It isn’t long till the Food and Drug Administration is knocking on the door of the sprout supplier, telling company officials they have 24 hours to turn over a year’s worth of records for the outbreak investigation.
This fictitious outbreak scenario is not an unlikely one, given the propensity for fresh sprouts to be contaminated with E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella. But all food companies, not just those handling items designated as high risk foods, can relate to the frightening nature of the records request by the FDA. Such requests are fact, not fiction under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and its congressionally mandated rules.
One of the (FSMA) rules gives FDA the authority to demand two years of records in the event of “reasonable belief” that food is affected and is a risk to human or animal health — with failure to do so potentially resulting in a civil and criminal penalties.
Officials with the FDA say information required for records varies according to the rule, which includes multiple categories for businesses. Given this, the dirty details must be hashed out individually by each business.
However, Jim Gorny, vice president for food safety and technology for the Produce Marketing Association, says detailed record keeping is essential to good business management regardless of FSMA requirements.
“Record keeping is important in that it helps companies know what they’re doing when the FDA is not physically present. If they come under inspection, they can look back and see that what happened today has not only happened today, but also prior to the inspection date for some period of time,” Gorny said.
“A lot of these are operational records which will be used to run the enterprise. They are actually management tools that help managers, partners and operators know what is going in their business, particularly when business get large beyond a sole proprietor. A large enterprise requires a lot of people and the only way you can keep track of that is through paperwork because you can’t be physically present all the time at all places. The records required are key pieces that truly relate to food safety.”
One thing remains the same across the board under FSMA, and that is the option to provide records in a hardcopy or digital format, as long as they are in a legible and organized form.
Think back to the sprout outbreak scenario: While a food safety outbreak investigation is in motion, everyday business still needs to be attended to and the FDA hands out a tight timeline for mountains of detailed information that can mean the difference between getting the situation resolved quickly or being hit with court action.
Now imagine sorting through all the needed records by hand in file cabinets, and again by a short amount of time behind a desk, pulling files from a food industry record keeping computer program.
“Companies today use numerous ways to deal with paperwork. Some are still using pen and paper, and others are using electronic records more and more frequently,” said Gorny.
“Electronic records offer the ability to regulate the data, sort through big data and are better at managing the information that you get into a usable form.”
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FDA Scolds Aspen Hills Cookie Dough Facility for Poor Cleaning, Sanitizing
Source :
By Staff (Jan 30, 2017)
A letter sent to Aspen Hills from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) blames the company for not doing enough to prevent the spread of Listeria monocytogenes in their processing facility.
The letter, sent in early January 2017, specifically states that the sheer amount of Listeria found in tests of both the facility and cookie dough itself “indicates that your firm is not taking aggressive action to identify harborage sites for L. monocytogenes, to deep clean your facility effectively, and to prevent finished product contamination," The letter allotted Aspen Hills 15 days to correct the problems.
Last fall, Blue Bell Creameries recalled packages of its ice cream flavors containing chocolate chip cookie dough due to the possibility of Listeria contamination. The implicated ice creams were produced at a plant in Alabama and the products were distributed to 10 states--Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Blue Bell quickly shifted blame to Aspen Hills, the third party supplier who provided the cookie dough for the ice cream. At the time, Aspen Hills maintained that their product was not contaminated.
In late September 2016, FDA detected four positive environmental swabs at the Aspen Hills plant, and traces of Listeria were found in 10 places throughout the facility. Some of the oddest places were:
On a ladder to an upper level control room close to where cookie dough ingredients are housed.
On the wheels of a pallet jack used to transport materials
On a basket near the cookie dough processing area
One finished batch of cookie dough that tested positive for Listeria was not distributed
FDA officials also noted a number of problems in relation to the facility’s cleaning and sanitizing practices. Inspectors witnessed spraying methods that could contaminate uncovered food products, spilled ingredients tracked throughout the processing facility, failure amongst employees to sanitize protective gear after throwing away trash, equipment that showed signs of rusting, and machinery with holes from missing bolts that were instead filled with cookie dough. The agency also claims that Aspen Hills’ record-keeping could use some improvement as well. The company lacked details about manufacturing methods, testing, training and cookie dough quantities.
Despite the laundry list of issues at the Aspen Hills facility, no outbreaks or illnesses have been reported in relation to the Listeria contamination.
UPDATE: In early February 2017, the owners of Aspen Hills reportedly decided to cease operations at their Iowa processing plant. The owners are in the process of either selling their business or dissolving it in some other manner. A statement claims that operations that the cookie dough facility have been halted since the end of December.




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