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07/31 2017 ISSUE:767

 

Seattle-King County Investigates six Salmonella Stanley cases
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/07/seattle-king-county-investigates-six-salmonella-stanley-cases/#.WX66eIjyiUl
By NEWS DESK (July 29, 2017)
Seattle-King County Public Health Friday announced it is investigating a salmonellosis outbreak caused by Salmonella Stanley, an uncommon strain of Salmonella bacteria.
Six persons infected with Salmonella Stanley were reported to Public Health during July 17–July 24.
On July 26-27, genetic fingerprinting results for four of the six cases became available, and all had the same genetic fingerprint, suggesting that they have some common source of infection; genetic fingerprinting for the other two cases is pending.
This fingerprint has only been seen twice before in King County where two to six cases of Salmonella Stanley have been reported annually over the past several years. Public Health is attempting to interview each case to gather information about possible risk factors for infection.
The source of the outbreak is still under investigation.
The median age of the cases is 21 years; three cases are female and three are male. None of the cases are known to have been hospitalized. Additional details on the investigation will be posted as they are available.
Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that is often spread through the fecal-oral route, through contaminated food and water, or through contact with animals and their environments. Symptoms of salmonellosis include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever, chills, and abdominal cramping. Illness typically lasts several days and people can spread infection to others even after symptoms resolve.
To prevent Salmonella infection:
Wash hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, touching animals, and before eating or preparing food.
Cook all meats thoroughly, especially poultry.
Wash cutting boards and counters used for meat or poultry preparation immediately after use to avoid cross contaminating other foods.

New York Hard Hit by Deadly Papaya Salmonella Outbreak
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/new-york-hard-hit-by-deadly-papaya-salmonella-outbreak/
by News Desk (July 28, 2017)
The deadly multistate Salmonella Kiambu outbreak linked to imported papayas has sickened at least 13 people in New York State. And the death in this outbreak occurred in New York City.
That outbreak has sickened at least 47 people in 12 states. The case count by state is: Iowa (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Maryland (5), Massachusetts (1), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (12), New York (13), Pennsylvania (4), Texas (1), Utah (1), and Virginia (6) as of July 27, 2017. Twelve people have been. hospitalized in this outbreak.
The outbreak first came to attention in Maryland. An illness cluster was identified there. Interviews with patients revealed that they ate Caribeña brand Maradol papayas purchased from the same grocery store. Salmonella Kiambu and Salmonella Thompson bacteria were isolated from patients. The Maryland Department of Health then collected papayas from that grocery store. They isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Kiambu. Another sample yielded Salmonella Thompson, but officials aren’t yet sure whether or not people sickened with that strain of Salmonella are part of this outbreak.
Grande Produce, the company that distributes the papayas in question, issued a limited recall of Caribeña brand Maradol papayas on July 26, 2017. They are recalling fruits sold between July 10 and July 19, 2017. But since some of the patients live in states where that company does not sell papayas, the CDC and FDA are telling consumers to avoid eating any Maradol papayas from Mexico until the investigation is completed.
People started getting sick on May 17, 2017. The illnesses recorded so far by the CDC started on dates ranging from that day to June 28, 2017. Officials expect that the outbreak case count numbers will grow, since it takes a few weeks between when someone gets sick, they see their doctor, they are diagnosed, and the illness is reported to public health officials.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and a fever. People start feeling ill within six to 72 hours after consuming contaminated food or water. While most people recover without medical treatment, some patients develop sepsis, an infection of the bloodstream, or have such serious diarrhea that they need to be hospitalized.
Most cases of Salmonella are not reported to public health officials. Health departments use what is called a “multiplier” to try to estimate the actual size of an outbreak. The multiplier for Salmonella outbreaks is 30.3. That means that as many as 1,424 people could be sick in this outbreak.
If you have eaten papayas, especially Maradol papayas imported from Mexico, and have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor. Salmonella infections can have lifelong consequences, including reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel syndrome. Your doctor should know about this illness so he or she can monitor your health.

Tips to Prevent Botulism Poisoning in Home Canned Goods
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/tips-to-prevent-botulism-poisoning-in-home-canned-goods/
By Kari Diehl (July 28, 2017)
With harvest season upon us, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued important information, through Foodsafety.gov, about the dangers of botulism and the steps home canners should take to prevent the proliferation of toxins in their canned goods. Armed with this knowledge, home cooks will be able to ensure that the foods they put away for the winter months are safe for consumption.
Botulism is an illness caused by the soil-based Clostridium botulinum germ. When vegetables containing the germ are improperly canned, it can grow and create a tasteless, odorless toxin that can cause deadly nerve damage and paralysis if consumed. Low-acid vegetables with a pH level greater than 4.6 are especially likely to cause botulism, since they aren’t acidic enough to inhibit the growth of the botulinum bacteria. These vegetables include: asparagus, green beans, beets, corn, potatoes, and some tomatoes. Tomatoes, especially, require supplemental citric acid or lemon juice in order to be safely canned. Other low-acid foods that may cause botulism if improperly canned are all meats, fish and seafood, and figs.
The symptoms of foodborne botulism include double vision, blurred vision, dropping eyelids, slurred speech, dry mouth, a thick-feeling tongue, difficulty swallowing, and muscle weakness. People exhibiting these symptoms should seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
If you wish to can, preserve, or ferment your own produce, you should strictly follow the canning techniques provided by the USDA and / or state and county extension services. Proper canning techniques include using pressure canning only for low-acid foods (not boiling water canners). After canning, jars that have been improperly canned and may be contaminated with the botulism toxin may appear to be bulging, swollen, cracked, leaking, or otherwise damaged. If the food inside is discolored, moldy, rancid, or if the container spurts liquid or foam when opened, the contents have possibly been contaminated and should be disposed of immediately without tasting. Any spills should be promptly wiped up with a bleach solution (.25 cup bleach per 2 cups water).

 

 


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Oysters and Vibriosis
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/oysters-and-vibriosis/
By Linda Larsen (July 28, 2017)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing information about the risk of contracting a Vibrio infection when consuming raw oysters. Summer is prime oyster season. And it’s the time of year when most illnesses from raw oysters occur. In fact, a man in Washington state recently contracted a Vibrio infection when he purchased a live fish from a fish tank.
One of the most common illnesses linked to raw oysters is vibriosis. This infection is caused by the Vibrio vulnificus or the Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria that occur naturally in seawater. Oysters are filter eaters, which means they draw in seawater and filter out the food and bacteria. The bacteria then become concentrated in the oysters flesh.
Most Vibrio infections are caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus. This illness causes diarrhea and vomiting, and most people recover without medical treatment. But Vibrio vulnificus can cause a serious infection that can lead to sepsis and even amputation if the infection is through a wound. One of three people sickened with a Vibrio vulnificus infection die.
Vibriosis causes about 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in this country every year. Most of these illnesses occur in May through October, when the water temperatures are warm. But you can get sick from eating raw or undercooked oysters any time of the year.
Vibrio bacteria cause illness two ways. You can either ingest the bacteria through contaminated food, or it can enter your body through a wound or a scrape. That’s why food safety advocates tell people to be careful when handling raw seafood, especially oysters. If you have wounds on your hands or fingers, do not touch raw seafood unless you are wearing gloves.
Unfortunately, a contaminated oyster does not look, smell, or taste different from one that is safe to eat. The only way to kill the Vibrio bacteria is to cook it and cook it thoroughly. Lemon juice and hot sauce do not kill this bacteria.
To cook oysters so they are safe, first examine each oyster. Discard any with open shells or shells that don’t close when you tap on them; that means the oyster is dead. Boil oysters in the shell until the shells open, then continue boiling for 3 to 5 minutes longer. Or you can steam the oysters in the shell until the shells open, and continue steaming for 4 to 9 minutes longer.
Then, only eat oysters that open during cooking. Discard any oysters that do not open fully after cooking.
If you are preparing shucked oysters, boil them for at least 3 minutes or until the edges curl, fry for at least 3 minutes at 375°F, or broil them 3″ from the heat for 3 minutes. You can also bake the oysters at 450°F for 10 minutes.
Make sure that you separate raw seafood from cooked, and do not let juices from raw seafood contaminate food that is eaten raw. Wash your hands well with soap and water after handling raw seafood.
The symptoms of vibriosis cause watery diarrhea, usually with abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, ever, and chills. Symptoms usually begin within 24 hours of exposure to the bacteria. People who have liver disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV, or thalassemia can get very sick if they contract this infection. In additional people who are receiving immune-suppressing therapy, take medicine to lower stomach acids, or have had recent stomach surgery are also more likely to develop a serious illness. the symptoms of a skin infection include a new infection, swelling, fever, and chills.

Food Safety Smarts for Patients With Cancer
Source : http://www.curetoday.com/community/amanda-bontempo/2017/07/food-safety-smarts-for-patients-with-cancer
By AMANDA BONTEMPO (July 27, 2017)
How fresh is your food? Know what's behind those sell-by and best-by dates
People going through anti-cancer treatments may have a suppressed immune system, making them more vulnerable to everyday exposures. The majority of patients on treatment do not get sick from food contamination, but it remains important to stay vigilant.
The list that many patients get at the start of treatment of foods to avoid during chemo looks a bit like that during pregnancy. Avoid: unwashed raw fruits and vegetables; raw or under-cooked meat and seafood; raw milk and milk products; and salad bars.
Surprisingly, eating food that has been on the shelf or in the fridge past the date on the package won't put you at high risk for foodborne illness.
Defining Dates
 The federal government doesn't require foods, other than infant formula, to carry a date label and even then, the concern is nutrients, not safety. The USDA offers these general definitions:
“Sell by”: Manufacturers suggest retailers remove the product from shelves. The goal is to assure food quality for a time period after the consumer buys it.  That can be days or weeks depending on the food. For example, assuming appropriate refrigeration, milk should last five to seven days after the sell-by date before turning sour.
“Best by” and “use by”: These terms are meant to tell a consumer when to eat (or freeze) a product by for best quality. For example, a jar of tomato sauce may start to taste bland or crackers may start to go stale. These dates are usually determined by manufacturer product testing, according to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard University. In many cases, these dates are conservative and you may notice no quality difference especially if the date is in the recent past. These dates are better used as general suggestions rather than hard-and-fast deadlines.
Food Safety Smarts
Ensuring that patients and caregivers maintain basic food safety practices are the key to reducing risk of food-related contamination.
Food shouldn't sit out.  Keep cold food cold. Keep hot food hot. Defrost meat in the fridge and cook thoroughly. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
Avoid cross-contamination. Don't let raw meat or its juices touch other foods. Wash your hands, cutting boards and utensils in warm, soapy water. I even use two cutting boards: one for produce and one for meat.
Consider avoiding high-risk foods. Deli meat is a too common source of listeria. Avoid eating deli meats and hot dogs unless they reach 165 degrees (steaming!) first. They're certainly not healthy and should at the very least be limited.
Consider a meat thermometer. Meat should reach safe temperatures prior to eating.
Use your eyes and nose. Avoid food that is obviously spoiled.
You can still eat out or get takeout foods. Just make sure that food from the outside is hot. Anything that requires vigilant washing, like cut fruit or salad should be made at home.
Patients, caregivers, friends and family should all wash hands with warm soapy water.

Food safety tips in the scorching heat
Source : http://www.shanghaidaily.com/feature/ideal/Food-safety-tips-in-the-scorching-heat/shdaily.shtml
By Ren Hanzhang (July 27, 2017)
THE China Food and Drug Administration has provided some food safety tips that have become especially important in this hottest time of the year.
Summer often features sultry and humid weather, facilitating the reproduction of flies and mosquitoes. The insects then spread a wide variety of microbes, particularly in fish, meat, eggs, and milk.
The heat can also accelerate the reproduction of bacteria and fungi once they start developing in the foods. Therefore, food can easily go bad if not properly acquired, prepared, or stored.
The FDA suggests that one should buy only fresh food and avoid going to uncertified shops that make salads, soybean products, or cooked food.
When eating out, customers should stay away from roadside vendors and choose restaurants that appear tidy and sanitary. In Shanghai, one can pay attention to the food safety inspection results posted in every restaurant in the form of emojis.
A green smiley face indicates excellent food quality, while a red frowning face signals poor food safety conditions.
When preparing a meal, one should separate raw food from cooked food and make sure that all dirt is removed. The FDA recommends that all raw foods, especially aquatic foods, should be heated at 100 degrees Celsius for more than 10 minutes. Food is best eaten soon after it is cooking.
Any leftover dishes or fruits should be stored in the fridge. Even so, aquatic foods and meat products can only stay in the fridge for 2-4 days. Any food that stored in the fridge must be thoroughly reheated.
The FDA also offered some tips on ice cream and popsicles — many foodies’ favorite during the summer. Experts suggest that one should control the amount of iced foods eaten and should never eat at too fast a pace.

EU to set acrylamide benchmarks in 2018: Don’t burn the toast
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/07/eu-to-set-acrylamide-benchmarks-in-2018-dont-burn-the-toast/#.WX68BIjyiUl
By DAN FLYNN (July 27, 2017)
The European Union and the United States are taking different approaches to a fairly recently discovered chemical that’s been in food as long as men and women have been cooking with fire.
By 2018, Europe will likely be enforcing mandatory limits on acrylamide in food. In 2016 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration came out with non-binding guidance “to help growers, manufacturers and food service operators reduce acrylamide levels in certain foods.”
At issue is what do about acrylamide in food. No one knew the chemical existed until it was discovered in 2002. It’s been around close to forever, though. The problem, according to the FDA, is that acrylamide can cause cancer in laboratory animals at high doses, and is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) classified acrylamide as a carcinogen in 2015 and found levels had not “consistently decreased” in recent years. Voluntary measures to reduce acrylamide levels varied widely in European countries.
Then EFSA successfully petitioned the European Commission to impose mandatory measures on food business operators to reduce acrylamide levels in their products. The proposal still must get through the Council and European Parliament. The Council represents the ministers of Member States and the Parliament represents the European people.
Each unit gets three months to review the proposal, which makes enforcement likely by spring 2018.
Lithuanian Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU’s commissioner for health and food safety, said the new regulation “will not only help to reduce the presence of this carcinogenic substance, but also will help raise awareness on how to avoid the exposure to it that oftentimes comes from home-cooking.”
The EU plans to set maximum allowable levels of acrylamide in certain foods once the regulation takes effect.
Acrylamide forms from a naturally present amino acid called free asparagine when it interacts with sugars in foods during high-temperature processing, such as dying, roasting and baking. It is naturally present in starchy foods when roasted, baked or fried at high temperatures.
Manufacturers of bread, breakfast cereals, biscuits, fried potatoes and coffee will be among those most effected by the pending EU regulation. Benchmark levels are being used to measure the effectiveness of mitigation measures the industry may use. The levels will be legally binding at the outset.
At the same time, so-called Belgian fries are exempted from the EU regulation, allowing the deep-fired potato treat to continue to be made in its traditional manner, which dates back to 1680. Belgian fries are twice fried, which makes them crunchier.
European consumer groups favored legally-binding limits. Other factions, like the German Baker’s Confederation and the Large Bakeries of Belgium, expressed worries about how breads were going to be categorized.
The Swedish Food Federation said it is “practically impossible to control acrylamide content in each individual package of food” because of the variability of acrylamide levels that will always occur. Others are worried about where strict enforcement will end up and the fact that the published benchmarks are described by some as being “impracticably low.”
In “Guidance for Industry: Acrylamide in Foods,” published in 2016, FDA said that “reducing acrylamide levels in foods may mitigate potential human health risks from exposure to acrylamide.”
“This guidance is intended to suggest a range of possible approaches to reducing acrylamide levels and not to identify specific recommended approaches. This guidance also does not identify any specific maximum recommended level or action level for acrylamide.”
The FDA gets very specific in its “non-binding” recommendations, including how to prepare french fries that come in frozen packages. It says both consumers and food service operators need to understand what they can do to help reduce acrylamide by following proper cooking instructions.
With frozen fries:
Cook to a light golden color. Avoid browning fries.
Avoid overcooking or undercooking.
Avoid cooking in a toaster oven to prevent overcooking.
Reduce cooking time when cooking small amounts.
Reduced acrylamide levels are achieved with that light golden color, from fries to toast.
The FDA reported it would update the guidance as needed to reflect new developments in the field of acrylamide reduction as they occur.

China to control rumor of food safety
Source : https://www.ecns.cn/2017/07-27/266898.shtml
By Xinhua Editor: Gu Liping (July 27, 2017)
China Wednesday has released a statement requiring food safety inspection authorities to disclose information and control food safety rumors.
Food inspection authorities should publicize accurate and complete food safety supervision information, said the statement.
It requires inspection authorities to identify the companies concerned in rumors and ask those companies to rectify issues quickly.
Organizations or individuals are not permitted to release reports or warnings about national food safety issues without authorization. No entities can publish or distribute food inspection reports issued by unqualified inspection institutions, according to the statement.
It also requires police to strictly punish those who start or spread food safety rumors.
Overall, the Chinese food safety situation is positive. However, rumors surface from time to time, leading to public concern. The statement was jointly released by the Food Safety Commission under the State Council together with another nine agencies.

Ignore the scare stories from Remainers over chlorinated chicken
Source : https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/07/ignore-the-scare-stories-from-remainers-over-chlorinated-chicken/
By Ross Clark (July 24, 2017)
Isn’t it weird how Remainers, so keen to present themselves as pro-free trade when discussing the single market, turn into Little Englanders the moment that the subject switches to the prospect of Britain doing free trade deals with countries outside the EU? We are mad to be turning our backs on the world’s biggest market, they will say. But then remind them of the talks towards a bilateral trade deal between Britain and the EU – something which is only possible thanks to Brexit – and they start trying to scare us about the prospect of us being forced to eat chlorinated chicken from the US.
Take this from Nick Clegg – yes, that same Nick Clegg who is forever trying to paint Leave voters as small-minded xenophobes – back in January when the prospect of a UK-US trade deal took a huge step forward with Theresa May’s visit to Washington. Chlorinated chicken, he declared, ‘is bleached – bloody horrible stuff – which is not allowed in the EU, the EU has decided, through various laws…You tell me, but I suspect the good shoppers of Waitrose and Sainsbury’s and others might be a little bit shocked if, suddenly, they are having to eat this slightly white, chlorine-washed American chicken flesh.’
His words are just like those of a pub bore who moans about smelly French cheese taking over from old English cheddar or about French Golden Delicious pushing Cox’s Orange Pippin out of the shops. I dare say that if Cleggers wants to continue eating European chicken he will be able to do so – at a premium. But in trying to put us off US chicken he is wrongly trying to infer that there is a food safety issue involved. In fact, the European Food Safety Agency has passed chlorinated-washed chicken for safe consumption. As well, it might, given that it is quite happy for us to drink water which has been chlorinated in order to kill off microorganisms. At the levels used by US producers, the agency concluded, you would have to eat three whole chickens every day to risk exceeding safe limits. Even among regular consumers of US-produced chicken 99 per cent of the chlorine they ingest comes from drinking water rather than food.
What washing chicken in chlorine does achieve, however, is to kill off salmonella, which is endemic in raw chicken sold in Britain. For the consumer, the choice is pretty simple: would you rather increase your chlorine intake by one per cent – or remain at risk of salmonella poisoning through cross-contamination in the kitchen? Chlorinated chicken is banned in the EU on the pretext that washing in chlorine might be used by producers to hide other hygiene problems. But food premises are supposed to be inspected, chlorination or no chlorination – so if someone is dragging chickens through the dirt before they are sent off to the supermarket it ought to be picked up anyway. The ban is really just one more form of EU protectionism. EU chicken-producers don’t like US chicken because it retails for around 80 per cent the price of European chicken.
That brings me to another of Clegg’s scare stories: that Brexit will push up the price of food for UK consumers. But what if it results in us being allowed to buy food from around the world which is currently kept out of our shops through tariffs and other barriers? There is nothing about Brexit which forces us to lower food safety standards. What it does mean, on the other hand, is that we will be free to determine those rules ourselves, rather than have them dictated by officials acting on behalf of lobbies of European food-producers.

Pew Study Assesses Food Safety Efforts from Farm to Fork
Source : https://www.natlawreview.com/article/pew-study-assesses-food-safety-efforts-farm-to-fork
By natlawreview.com (July 24, 2017)
A Pew Charitable Trusts study released this month examines “preharvest” food safety control measures currently used on farms and feedlots and concludes that efforts to reduce contamination of meat and poultry products from harmful pathogens requires a comprehensive “farm to fork” approach.
The study specifically examined food safety control measures designed to limit exposure on farms and feedlots to pathogens such as Salmonella, Coli and Campylobacter that can affect cattle, swine and poultry.  According to the study, these pathogens accounted for a substantial portion of foodborne illnesses linked to meat and poultry consumption.  The study also reports that the annual cost of foodborne illnesses (i.e., medical costs, lost income and productivity) attributable to the consumption of such foods is estimated at $1.4 billion for beef, $2.5 billion for poultry and $1.9 billion for pork.
The study highlights the key characteristics shared by effective pre-harvest programs, including, but not limited to:
Reliance on feed safety, biosecurity, and pathogen surveillance, as well as specific pre-harvest interventions.
Combining multiple interventions, which improves the efficacy of the programs, makes use of potential synergisms between interventions, and reduces the ability of the pathogen to evolve mechanisms to circumvent an intervention.
Targeting interventions to the animal species and production system, allowing implementation when and where they work best and are successful, feasible, and cost-effective.
Importantly, the study notes that while identifying potential pre-harvest measures is a key first step in any food safety regiment, a comprehensive “farm to fork” approach is needed.  In other words, to successfully prevent against food safety hazards, it is necessary to control the spread of pathogens at the farm level, adopt consistent and effective measures throughout the animal management, slaughter and processing steps.  The complete study, including details on how several countries have successfully implemented comprehensive “farm to fork” food safety control programs is available here.

 

 

 

 

 

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