Food safety in the summertime
Source : http://www.thedailyreporter.com/news/20170709/food-safety-in-summertime
By .thedailyreporter.com (Juyl 9, 2017)
During the lazy days of summer, rates of foodborne illness increase because bacteria love hot, humid weather and because people are doing more outdoor activities where food is involved.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture Food Inspection Service, each year foodborne illness sickens one in six Americans, results in 128,000 hospitalizations, causes 3,000 deaths and costs the U. S. economy $15.6 billion.
Those most at risk are babies and young children, pregnant women, older adults and those with weakened immune systems.
The most effective ways to help keep you and your family safe from food borne illness is by following the four basic food safety steps that are supported by Michigan State University Extension:
•Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds.
• Pack moist towelettes for a picnic.
• Rinse produce well and dry with a paper towel.
• Do not wash raw meat and poultry before cooking.
• Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood away from other foods.
• Use plastic bags at the grocery store to keep raw meat and poultry separate from other items in your shopping cart.
• When grilling, use separate plates/utensils for raw meat or poultry and ready-to-eat foods.
• Never place cooked food on the same plate that held raw meat or poultry.
• Cooking to a safe internal temperature will destroy food poisoning bacteria.
• Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness and so always use a food thermometer.
• Eat leftovers in 3-4 days.
• Freeze cooked leftovers that you won’t be eating.
• Put cold foods that you purchase at the grocery store in a cooler or insulated bag, with an ice pack or bagged ice. Do not eat ice used to keep food cool.
• Keep your refrigerator at 40ºF or colder and your freezer at 0ºF or below.
• Chill all raw and cooked foods promptly to avoid The Danger Zone (40 – 140 °F)
• Don’t leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours (or one hour if the temperature is above 90 °F).
• Put appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer so that you know your refrigerator and freezer are keeping your food at the right temperature.
None of us should be wasteful with food. Taking care to handle food safety goes a long way to prevent food waste and foodborne illnesses.
Always remember this phrase: Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot, but when in doubt throw it out.
— Jeannie Nichols is a food safety educator for Michigan State University Extension. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 439-9301.
Food Safety Management System: Management Review
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/enewsletter/food-safety-management-system-management-review/
By Roberto Bellavia (July 07, 2017)
In developing and implementing a food safety management system (FSMS), most standards repeatedly refer to top management as having numerous responsibilities to assure the program’s success. One area the standard may highlight for top management attention is called management review.
Assuring Ongoing Effectiveness
The management review requirement states that top management shall review the organization’s FSMS on an established frequency. The review assures the ongoing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the FSMS. This review also assesses opportunities for improvement and the need to change or update the FSMS to help the organization meet all food safety requirements and goals.
The management review process requires that necessary information is collected so management can carry out this evaluation appropriately. The review must be documented in terms of what topics are discussed, what decisions are made and who within the organization is responsible for completing assigned tasks.
Management reviews must address possible changes to the food safety policy, status of goals and objectives for the year, and any other element within the FSMS to assure continuous improvement and compliance.
Topics covered in a management review typically include the following:
• Review of inputs such as:
• Internal audits results
• Third-party and regulatory audits findings
• Status of corrective actions and preventive actions
• Training requirements
• Follow-up from previous Management Review implementation requirements
• New or updated food safety rules or regulations and their impact on the organization
• Changing food safety circumstances that may affect the organization (positive & negative)
• Discussion on outputs such as:
• Management recommendations for improvement
• Review of any notices of violations
• Any other issues that impact the compliance and incident prevention aspect of the program
• Additional needs of resources
By having top management review of the FSMS on a regular basis, the entire management system will constantly be improving and demonstrating management commitment:
• By reviewing suitability, the organization assures that it is meeting all standard requirements.
• By reviewing adequacy, the organization assures that it is meeting all internal business requirements.
• By reviewing effectiveness, the organization assures that employees with “boots on the ground” understand and follow all food safety requirements as documented in organizational procedures, work instructions and checklists.
This is key to improve the food safety and employee stewardship for an organization. An organization can have the best of intentions, but without an objective look at itself on a regular basis, it will not find out its deficiencies until after an incident. The management review provides the means of participation and involvement to ensure the preventive purpose of the program, because once an incident occurs, it is too late.
Roberto Bellavia is a senior consultant with nearly 20 years of experience working in the food industry as a quality assurance professional. He is currently a project manager for Kestrel’s food safety-related projects.
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Color-coded placards report food-safety status
Source : https://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/color-coded-placards-report-food-safety-status/
By Special to The Enterprise From page A8 (July 07, 2017)
Starting July 1, Yolo County food-safety inspectors began posting color-coded placards to rate food-safety inspection results at restaurants, grocery stores, delicatessens, school cafeterias, licensed health care facilities and other permanent food businesses, as well as on food trucks.
Consumers will know now if their favorite restaurant has passed its health inspection by simply looking at the color-coded placard near the front door.
“We chose the green-yellow-red placarding system because it is simple to understand and similar to programs in other Northern California counties that have been successful in reducing food-borne illness and improving compliance,” said Leslie Lindbo, director of planning, building and environmental health for Yolo County.
This new programs issues a green (pass) placard if no more than one major violation is observed during an inspection. A yellow (conditional pass) placard is issued if two or more major violations are observed. A red placard is issued, and the facility closed, if a major violation is observed and cannot be corrected during the inspection.
Re-inspections are conducted within three business days to convert a yellow placard to a green placard if the major violations are permanently corrected. Examples of major violations include food not at proper temperature, vermin infestation or sewage backing up into the kitchen.
The placards are posted near the front entry or other easily visible location and have a QR code that the public can scan with a smartphone to bring up Yolo County Environmental Health’s database of food facility inspection reports, at https://yoloeco.envisionconnect.com/#/Food/Food/search.
As part of implementing this program, Yolo County Environmental Health has been providing free “How to Get a Green” classes to all restaurants and food facilities. These classes educate operators and owners on safe food handling practices, major violations and the placarding program.
Keep food safety in mind this summer
Source : https://www.thespec.com/living-story/7409775-keep-food-safety-in-mind-this-summer/
By Susan Selasky (July 06, 2017)
This summer, there will be a whole lot of outdoor cookouts and parties going on.
With plenty of food being served from creamy salads to dips to chicken and burgers, there's one thing you want to avoid: the potential for food-borne illness because you didn't cook something to a safe temperature or left something out too long.
To make your holiday a food-safe one, keep these tips in mind from the United States Department of Agriculture foodsafety.gov arm.
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold
Follow the two-hour rule. Perishable food should not sit out for more than two hours. If the temperature goes above 32 degrees Celsius (or 90 Fahrenheit), the food should stay no more than one hour.
Serve cold food in small portions, and keep the rest in the cooler.
Once meat and poultry are cooked, keep them hot (60 C or 140 F or higher) until you serve them.
Use your grill rack to keep food hot without overcooking it.
'Pro' grilling tips
P — Place the thermometer. Make sure your food is ready by checking the internal temperature. Find the thickest part of the meat and insert the thermometer. For thin pieces of meat (chicken breast, hamburgers) stick the thermometer from the side and make sure the probe reaches the centre of the meat.
R — Read the temperature. After inserting the thermometer, wait about 10 to 20 seconds for an accurate reading. Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts, and chops) the temperature should be 63 C (145 F) with a three-minute rest time. All ground meats (beef, lamb, pork and veal) need to reach 71 C (160 F). For whole poultry, poultry breasts, and ground poultry the internal temperature should be 74 C (165 F).
O — Off the grill. Once the meat and poultry reach their safe minimum internal temperatures, take the food off the grill and place it on a clean platter. Never put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry.
Detroit Free Press
Wedding food safety
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/wedding_food_safety
By Lisa Treiber, Michigan State University Extension (July 05, 2017)
Wedding plans can go awry if food safety isn’t factored into the big day.
Summer is a busy time for many, and if you are a bride and groom planning a wedding, it is even busier. A lot of planning goes into organizing everything for the big day, including food, and ensuring it is coming from a safe source should be a priority.
There have been numerous stories of wedding dinners where guests left with a foodborne illness, putting a large damper on what should have been a happy memorable day. In 2014, 74 out of 190 guests at a wedding reception in Rhode Island fell ill with gastrointestinal symptoms. Norovirus was later confirmed through diagnostic tests. Two years later in 2016, 100 people became ill with salmonella gastroenteritis, after consuming chicken at a catered wedding dinner in Alabama. 22 of these people were hospitalized, the catering company is currently not practicing. These stories are not something you want people to remember about your wedding. It is important to put some research into your caterer for your big day.
Don’t rely just on good taste, make tasteful decisions utilizing these seven food safety questions to ask your caterer according to foodsafety.gov.
Are the staff members certified food handlers?
Ask if they are ServSafe certified. If they are certified, this means they are all properly trained on safe food handling.
How do you transport food to the venue?
You want to ensure cold foods stay cold and hot foods (pre-prepared) stay hot.
When/where is the food prepared?
If the food is prepared off-site, make sure the caterers know how to safely transport the food. If the food is prepared on-site, do the caterers have the appropriate tools they need to prepare and serve the food?
How long after food — especially meat, poultry, seafood and eggs — is cooked is it brought out to guests?
Perishable foods should not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours. It is important your caterer follows these guidelines to guarantee that guests are served a hot and, more importantly, safe meal.
How long does the buffet remain open and how will the caterer avoid the food entering the “temperature danger zone?”
Does the caterer to provide chafing dishes or warming trays to keep hot foods hot, and ice or another cold source to keep cold foods cold? Otherwise, food may enter the “temperature danger zone,” between 40 F and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, where bacteria multiply rapidly. Perishable foods should never be left in the “danger zone” for more than two hours; one hour in temperatures above 90 F. After two hours, food that has been sitting out should be discarded and replaced with fresh food.
Are there any potential allergens used in the preparation of the food?
Ask your caterer if there are any allergens in the dishes, including nuts, soy, milk, eggs, wheat and fish/shellfish. If there are, guests should be notified in some way.
Do you use a food thermometer to check that food is properly cooked?
The answer must be yes! No one – not even a caterer – can tell if meat is properly cooked by its color. They must use an instant-read thermometer.
If your family decides to cater the event themselves, consider reviewing the FSIS publication, Cooking for Groups. It offers guidelines on preparing large quantities of food. Families may also want to consider taking Michigan State University Extension’s Cooking for Crowds class. This program will provide food safety information to individuals who will be handling food for large groups. Michigan State University Extension encourages everyone involved in the special day to be aware of food safety guidelines and take them seriously. Leaving the reception with a foodborne illness is not a memory you will treasure.
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).
The future of the food biz: Preventing food safety crises
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/07/the-future-of-food-the-food-biz-preventing-food-safety-crises/#.WWMWCIjyiUl
By DON LOW (July 05, 2017)
Food safety concerns are at an all-time high and the global food industry is facing a raft of new regulations, including more frequent inspections and possibly higher compliance costs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one out of every six people is sickened by a foodborne illness every year. So it is more important than ever for food manufacturers and retailers to have a stringent and industry compliant food manufacturing process in place to ensure proper food safety.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is focused on preventing contamination to ensure food safety. The most successful companies are typically those that view the FSMA regulations as an opportunity to develop systems and practices to improve their processes and quality, while gathering better insight into the data capture necessary for regulatory reporting. Food safety begins with having visibility of your suppliers and their manufacturing and supply chain processes. To do so, retailers need a strong compliance program that makes it easy to track suppliers’ and manufacturers’ adherence to FSMA regulations.
A strong compliance plan
Despite the importance of food safety to a retailer’s brand and bottom line, many retailers are failing to comply with regulations. Although most retailers have a compliance program in place, many may be unaware if their suppliers are compliant, which can lead to food safety failures.
For a successful program, compliance should focus on reporting and visibility. However, many retailers use spreadsheets and PDFs, which are often out of date. These tools are not sufficiently suited to track compliance, and record keeping alone is not enough. Retailers must understand the impact compliance has on ensuring customer safety. For example, without a proper program in place, a retailer could be shipping from facilities that aren’t approved or compliant. Fail safes should be built into the compliance system to prevent events like this from happening.
A strong compliance plan is necessary to ensure communication amongst all parties completing compliance activities, including suppliers and third-party auditors or testers. A minimum of three to four assessments should be completed in a year. These can include testing manufacturing equipment for contamination or checking that gloves are being worn in all required job functions. All compliance activity should be planned properly so everyone knows what needs to be done and when.
Once the compliance plan is in place, retailers should assess their suppliers. This includes determining which facilities are in compliance, and which ones are not. This information should be available in a central location which will allow quality assurance teams, as well as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) auditor, to upload assessment results. Most importantly, individuals like the product and quality managers will also have access to the information and can make decisions based upon the results. They may then choose to identify certain risks at a facility and monitor them closely.
Having assessment and product information available in a central location allows retailers to quickly determine the potential impact of a facility’s compliance status change. For example, a retailer may identify an issue with a supplier and realize that 20 products need to be pulled off the shelf immediately.
Public health legislation will be a focus in 2017, including a reduction in sodium initiative and a foreign supplier verification program, which will require an audit of product at the port of arrival to ensure that safe manufacturing products were used and that the product is not contaminated.
Additionally, the FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food rule became final in September 2016. It includes new requirements for maintaining and implementing a written food safety plan that includes preventive controls and corrective actions. Every facility must have a corrective and preventive action plan — a series of steps that need to be taken to collect and analyze information, identify and investigate product and quality problems, and take appropriate and effective corrective and/or preventive action to prevent their recurrence.
Plans should include:
Establishing data sources and criteria, including internal and external, such as test/inspection data, device history records and internal audits.
Measuring and analysis of data sources: Analyze processes, work operations, concessions, quality audit reports, quality records, service records, complaints, returned product, and other sources of quality data to identify existing and potential causes of nonconforming product, or other quality problems.1 Then, use a risk-based approach to rank areas and select items with major impact, i.e. product related or process related.
Improvement plans that identify which action needs to be taken, including correction, corrective action or preventive action.
Input to management.
Seeing a plan in action
In 2015, Blue Bell ice cream had to halt production and issue a massive recall for all its products due to a listeria outbreak that was linked to its products. The outbreak could have been the result of bad ingredients or contamination with manufacturing equipment that wasn’t cleaned properly.
Regardless, it’s important to note that this was a voluntary recall and possibly part of the company’s corrective and preventive action plan. Because Blue Bell acted in a socially responsible way, the damage caused by the recall could be repaired.
Centralization is crucial
With multiple sources updating many documents or spreadsheets, retailers are relying on the heroics of people spotting something to take action. The centralization of information improves efficiency and ensures things don’t slip through the cracks. Assessment and compliance plans help retailers identify issues early on. A corrective and preventive action plan guides organizations on how to deal with issues once they’re identified. A corrective and preventive action plan will not only protect a retailers’ brand, but more importantly — its customers.
Food Safety for Older Adults
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/food-safety-for-older-adults/
By Linda Larsen (July 04, 2017)
The FDA has released information about food safety for older adults. Anyone who is over the age of 65 needs to be very vigilant about food safety. Many of those who become seriously ill and even die from food poisoning are elderly.
The bodies of older adults do not work as well as they did decades ago. The stomach and intestinal tract hold onto food for longer periods of time, the senses of smell and taste are altered, and the liver and kidney’s don’t work as well to get rid of toxins. And by the age of 65, many people have been diagnosed with a serious illness. That is a double whammy, since people with chronic health problems are also at higher risk for serious complications from food poisoning.
After the age of 75, many people also have reduced immune system responses. That means that body doesn’t recognize and get rid of pathogens such as bacteria that cause food poisoning. Older adults are more likely to be sick longer when they contract food poisoning and need to be hospitalized.
The major pathogens that cause food illness include Campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli, Cryptosporidium, Norovirus, Toxoplasma gondii, and Vibrio vulnificus. Most of these pathogens are associated with undercooked food such as undercooked eggs, chicken, ground meat, or seafood, and with high risk foods such as unpasteurized milk and juice, and raw sprouts.
When you eat at home, think about cooking fruits and vegetables before you eat them. These products can be contaminated in the field, during harvest, during transport, or during storage. Many outbreaks have been linked to produce, especially leafy green vegetables. Some animal products, such as raw fish, raw shellfish, raw milk, raw milk cheese, luncheon meats, and deli-type salads can be contaminated. Avoid those types of foods. And if you aren’t sure if a food is safe or not, throw it out. Cook meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures. Always cook eggs to well done. Avoid raw sprouts or cook them, and always wash vegetables and fruits well under cool running water, even before they are peeled.
Follow the steps of Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill to keep food safe. Wash your hands before preparing food, and wash the food. Keep raw meats and poultry away from uncooked fruits and vegetables. Cook food to safe internal temperatures and always test that temperature with a food thermometer. And chill leftovers quickly.
When you shop, keep raw meats and poultry separate from fruit and vegetables. Buy only pasteurized dairy products. Make sure that eggs are clean and uncracked, and think about purchasing pasteurized eggs. Buy produce with the expiration date furthest in the future, and make sure fruits and veggies aren’t bruised or damaged. Check the “sell by” date. Only buy cut up fruits and vegetables that are refrigerated or on ice. Buy perishable foods last, and go straight home, or have a cooler in the car.
When you eat out, always ask the waiter or waitress questions if you have a food allergy. Make sure that your food is cooked to the doneness you requested. Ask if the food contains uncooked eggs, sprouts, meat, poultry, or seafood. If you want to take leftovers home, go home immediately and refrigerate the food.
Finally, know the symptoms of food poisoning and see your doctor right away if you experience them. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea that is watery and/or bloody, a fever, and abdominal cramps are signs of a problem. When in doubt, contact your doctor. Preserve the food in question, and save all packaging materials. If you are diagnosed with a foodborne illness, your doctor should contact local health authorities in case there is an outbreak.
Evanger’s proposes donating recalled pet food; FDA says no
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/07/evangers-proposes-donating-recalled-pet-food-fda-says-no/#.WWMWfojyiUl
By PHYLLIS ENTIS (July 4, 2017)
The Food and Drug Administration has vetoed a proposal by Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. to donate recalled pet food to animal shelters after conducting random spot-checks for the animal euthanasia drug pentobarbital.
The proposal was revealed in a June 29 warning letter issued by FDA, and posted on its website Tuesday.
The letter, addressed to Holly N. Sher and Joel A. Sher, President and Vice President, respectively, notifies them that FDA found “serious violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its implementing regulations” during an investigation that included supplier traceback, facility inspection, and analysis of samples collected by FDA.
In its response to the Evanger’s proposal to donate recalled pet food, FDA said that finding the contents of individual cans of food from recalled lots to be negative for pentobarbital would not provide “sufficient assurance that the remaining units are not adulterated.”
After stating that FDA’s own testing confirmed the pentobarbital contamination not to be homogeneous throughout an entire lot, the agency declined Evanger’s proposal and recommended destruction of all recalled product.
The warning letter is the most recent development in an investigation of Evanger’s that began in early January with the reported illness of five dogs in a single household and the death of one of the dogs. Lab tests conducted on the gastric contents of the dead dog and on the remains of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef au Jus canned dog food, which had been fed to all five dogs, revealed the presence of a “large quantity” of pentobarbital in both samples.
FDA opened its investigation immediately upon becoming aware of the incident. A team of inspectors began an on-site inspection of Evanger’s manufacturing facility in Wheeling, IL, on Jan. 10.
On Feb. 14, the FDA inspection team furnished Evanger’s management with a Form 483, listing a series of Inspectional Observations, including:
Pentobarbital found in a sample of Evanger’s Hand Packed Hunk of Beef au Jus, 12-ounce can with the Lot #1816E06HB13;
Pentobarbital found in a sample of Against the Grain brand Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs, 12-ounce can with the Lot #2415E01ATB12 and BEST DEC 2019 date code;
Condensate dripping throughout the facility, including into open cans in-process and onto totes of raw meat;
Pitted, cracked and damaged floors;
Peeling paint, mold throughout the facility and a live ‘fly-like insect’ in the hand-packing area during processing; and
Inadequate temperature controls.
In addition to the two pentobarbital-positive samples cited in the Feb. 14 Form 483, FDA has found pentobarbital in the following five production lots of Evanger’s dog food:
Braised Beef Chunks, lot code 2016E08BBW11 Best Aug 2020;
Hunk of Beef Au Jus, lot code 1816E14HBC18 Best June 2020;
Hunk of Beef Au Jus, lot code 1816E02HB12 Best June 2020;
Hunk of Beef Au Jus, lot code 1316E23HB09 Best Jan 2020; and
Hunk of Beef Au Jus, lot code 1816E03HB17 Best June 2020.
On March 3 Evanger’s voluntarily recalled all cans of Evanger’s Braised Beef Chuncks, Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Au Jus and Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy manufactured between December 2015 and January 2017.
In correspondence dated Feb. 2 and 21, April 4, and May 18 and 23 this year, Evanger’s addressed FDA’s Inspectional Observations, and proposed a series of corrective actions. In addition to the proposed donation of recalled product, the following actions, listed in the June warning letter, are those FDA found to be inadequate or unacceptable.
Evanger’s discontinued doing business with the meat supplier alleged by the company to be the source of the adulterated meat. However, Evanger’s was unable to supply any documentation or evidence that the indicated supplier was the only one who supplied the contaminated raw materials. Therefore, FDA was unable to evaluate whether or not this was an adequate response.
Evanger’s suggested that if pentobarbital were to be present in any of its ground loaf products, it would be “well within the range that FDA had previously deemed not to be a health or safety concern in pet foods.” FDA disagrees that grinding would dilute any pentobarbital to safe levels, and points out that there is zero tolerance for pentobarbital in pet food.
Evanger’s proposed random pentobarbital tests of finished products prior to shipment as a way to ensure that raw materials are not adulterated. FDA considers this to be an inadequate and unreliable way to ensure the safety of the finished product. FDA’s own testing has demonstrated pentobarbital contamination is not uniformly distributed throughout all cans in a production lot. Also, the agency disagrees that finished product testing can mitigate the risk of pentobarbital in the raw material.
Evanger’s now requires new and current suppliers to provide letters of guarantee for their products. But FDA points out that a letter of guarantee may not provide adequate assurance of product safety, and recommends conducting site audits and/or reviews of supplier procedures in addition to the letter of guarantee.
The FDA also warned the owners of Evanger’s that the agency is aware that some individuals at Evanger’s are involved in the operation of two other pet food companies, which FDA did not name.
“We note that the new CGMP and hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls requirements would also apply to any manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding of animal food by these firms unless an exemption applies,” according to the warning letter.
The warning letter concludes with a requirement that Evanger’s must furnish a written reply within 15 working days, spelling out the steps it has taken or will take to correct the violations and prevent them from occurring again.
The complete text of the Warning Letter can be found on the FDA website.
Chefs and home cooks are rolling the dice on food safety
Source : http://theconversation.com/chefs-and-home-cooks-are-rolling-the-dice-on-food-safety-80381
By theconversation.co (July 03, 2017)
Encouraging anyone to honestly answer an embarrassing question is no easy task – not least when it might affect their job.
For our new research project, we wanted to know whether chefs in a range of restaurants and eateries, from fast food venues and local cafes to famous city bistros and award-winning restaurants, were undertaking “unsafe” food practices. As some of these – such as returning to the kitchen within 48 hours of a bout of diarrhoea or vomiting – contravene Food Standard Agency guidelines, it was unlikely that all respondents would answer as honestly if asked about them.
This was not just a project to catch specific food professionals in a lie, we wanted to find out the extent to which the public and chefs handled food in unsafe ways. With up to 500,000 cases of food-borne diseases reported every year in the UK, at a cost of approximately £1.5 billion in terms of resource in welfare losses, the need to identify risky food handling is urgent.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is acutely aware of the problem and has instigated initiatives such as the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) that involves inspections and punishments following the identification of poor food handling behaviours in restaurants and eateries. However, such initiatives do not always manage to change the behaviour of the food handlers – and inadequate food handling practices frequently go unseen or unreported.
Dicing with destiny
Yet still, we were faced with the issue of getting honest answers to our research questions. So we rolled a dice, or to be precise, two of them. As part of our research, 132 chefs and 926 members of the public were asked to agree or disagree with the following four statements:
I always wash my hands immediately after handling raw meat, poultry or fish;
I have worked in a kitchen within 48 hours of suffering from diarrhoea and/or vomiting;
I have worked in a kitchen where meat that is “on the turn” has been served;
I have served chicken at a barbecue when I wasn’t totally sure that it was fully cooked.
Here, the dice rolling was part of a randomised response technique (RRT): interviewees secretly rolled two dice and gave “forced” responses if particular values resulted. If they rolled a 2, 3 or 4, they had to answer yes. If they rolled 11 or 12, they had to answer no. All other values required an honest answer.
Denying the first, or admitting to the other three statements would be embarrassing for members of the public, and could possibly lead to dismissal for professional caterers. Because they knew that a “yes” could have been forced by the interviewee’s dice roll, they were more willing to report a true, unforced, “yes”.
We were unable to distinguish between individuals who had given a forced response and those who had answered truthfully. But we knew statistically that 75% of the dice rolls would lead to a honest response and so were able to determine the proportion of the public and chefs who had admitted to performing one of the risky behaviours. We also looked at the results in terms of factors such as price, awards and FHRS ratings to find out how they associated with the practices.
What we found from all of the responses was that it a can be quite challenging for consumers to find an eatery where such unsafe practices are absent. Chefs working in award-winning kitchens were more likely (almost one in three) to have returned to work within 48 hours of suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting. A serious cause for concern as returning to work in a kitchen too soon after illness is a proven way to spread infection and disease.
Not washing hands was also more likely in upmarket establishments – despite over one-third of the public agreeing that the more expensive a meal was, the safer they would expect it to be.
Chefs working in restaurants with a good Food Hygiene Rating Scheme score – a 3, 4, 5 on a scale of one to five in England and Wales, or a “pass” in Scotland – were just as likely to have committed the risky practices, or to have worked with others who had.
We also found a high proportion of chefs across the board had served meat which was “on the turn”. This is equally worrying, as it is part of a long-established cost-cutting practice that often involves masking the flavour of meat that is going off by adding a sauce.
Meanwhile at home, 20% of the public admitted to serving meat on the turn, 13% had served barbecued chicken when unsure it was sufficiently cooked, and 14% admitted to not washing their hands after touching raw meat or fish.
That is not to say that all chefs – or members of the public – practice unsafe food handling, indeed the majority did not admit to the poor food practices. But the number of professional kitchens where chefs admit to risky behaviour is still a cause for concern and avoiding them is not easy. People opting for a “fine-dining” establishment which holds awards, demands high prices and has a good FHRS score might not be as protected, nor reassured, as they think.
Tonight on American Greed – Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/american-greed-peanut-corporation-of-america-salmonella-outbreak/#.WWMXo4jyiUl
By BILL MARLER (July 03, 2017)
Korean War veteran Clifford Tousignant served the United States of America for 22 years, earning three purple hearts along the way. In 2009, he died from eating Salmonella contaminated peanut butter.
Mr. Tousignant was one of nine people who died and 714 who were sickened in a 2008/2009 Salmonella outbreak linked to Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). The outbreak affected almost every state in the nation and cost the peanut industry over one billion dollars.
Mr. Tousignant is still dead and Stewart Parnell, president of PCA, is now serving 28 years in jail.
Federal inmate Stewart Parnell, the former chief executive and part owner of the now defunct Peanut Corporation of America, is the featured subject of a new episode of CNBC’s “American Greed.” The episode premieres at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT on Monday, July 3.
Stewart, 63, is serving a 28-year prison sentence for knowingly shipping peanut products contaminated with Salmonella, leading to thousands of illnesses and nine deaths in a foodborne illness outbreak that resulted in the largest food recall in U.S. history.
“American Greed” is narrated by stage, screen and television actor Stacy Keach, best known for his portrayal of detective Mike Hammer and for his Golden Globe-winning depiction of Ernest Hemingway.
Producers of the true crime series have worked for many months on the Parnell episode. It features on-camera interviews with such food safety advocates as attorney Bill Marler, Northeastern University food policy expert Darin Detwiler, and whistleblower Kenneth Kendrick.
“American Greed” took up the story of the deadly 2008-09 outbreak that killed nine people because Parnell knew Peanut Corporation of America peanut butter and peanut paste was contaminated with Salmonella before it was shipped.
The TV series has focused on what it calls “stories from the dark side of the American Dream” to discover how far some people will go for financial wealth, “no matter the cost to themselves and those around them.” It has looked at all sorts of real-life cases. Many involve criminal activity, including credit card scams, identity theft, counterfeiting and Ponzi schemes.
Before the Salmonella outbreak was discovered in late 2008, Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) facilities in three states were managed by Parnell from a spacious residence just outside of Lynchburg, VA. When required, Parnell piloted his private plane to the state’s with company facilities.
In 2014 jury trial, Stewart Parnell was convicted on 67 federal felony counts and his brother Michael Parnell was convicted on 29. Both received prison sentences.
Three other PCA executives and managers were also convicted and sentenced to prison time.
CNBC has provided this promotional link:
“Next On | American Greed: From Peanuts To Sick Millions | American Greed – It’s one of the biggest food poisoning outbreaks in U.S. history: Peanut Corporation of America CEO Stewart Parnell ships peanut products tainted with salmonella – killing nine, sickening thousands.”
USDA offers food safety tips for holiday weekend
Source : http://www.brproud.com/news/local-news/usda-offers-food-safety-tips-for-holiday-weekend/755153297
By Paige Vaughn (June 30, 2017)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is cautioning residents to watch what they eat during holiday season. Officials said incidents of food poisoning surge during the summer because harmful bacteria multiply more quickly in the hot and humid climate.
“About 75 percent of families do not have a food thermometer, but that's really the only way consumers will know their meet is safe,” said Carmen Rottenberg with the USDA. “You cannot tell if your meat is safe by cutting into it. And the other most common question we receive is, how long is it safe for me to keep my perishable food out? And in the hot summer months, when the temperature is above 90 degrees, food is only safe outside for about an hour after it's prepared. So after that hour, consumers need to get that food into either an ice chest that's filled with ice in order to cool it down to below 40 degrees or right back in the refrigerator.”
For more information on how to keep your food safe, log on to foodsaftey.gov.
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