FoodHACCP Newsletter



Food Safety Job Openings

08/25. Sanitation – Chem Sales Intern – St. Paul, MN
08/25. QA Sensory Technologist – Conyers, GA
08/25. Food Quality Consultant - Boone, IA
08/23. Dir of Food Safety – Kansas City, MO
08/23. Food Safety Director – Celina, OH
08/23. Sr. Dir Qual & Reg – Jackson, MI
08/21. Food Safety Specialist 1 – Ohio
08/21. Supplier Food Safety Auditor – Green Bay, WI
08/21. QA/Food Safety Specialist – Greeley, CO

 

08/28 2017 ISSUE:771

Food Safety Is the Story Now, but Convenience Is the Future for Chipotle
Source : http://host.madison.com/business/investment/markets-and-stocks/food-safety-is-the-story-now-but-convenience-is-the/article_773727a3-4f0b-5a70-b61f-c7be61e4e9ae.html
By newsfeedback@fool.com (Daniel B. Kline) (Aug 27, 2017)
Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) has spent more than a year battling back from the damage the 2015 E. coli scandal did to its brand.
Even though the company has taken strong steps to protect its customers and address its food-safety issues, even minor health concerns can send its share price tumbling. That was evident in July, when a Norovirus outbreak forced the chain to close a Virginia store. That incident, in which more than a dozen people got sick, was caused by an employee coming to work while ill, even though the company offers paid sick days.
The company acted decisively in closing the affected location for a deep cleaning, but any hint of a food-safety problem sends its shares tumbling. Chipotle stock opened at $395.25 on July 18, the day of the incident, and has fallen steadily since closing on Aug. 22 at $305.51, a 22.7% drop.
That shows how vulnerable the company remains to any hint of food safety. Eventually, these wounds will fade. And food safety will stop being the lens through which investors view the company.
Image source: YCharts.com.
What's next for Chipotle?
It's hard to know when the Mexican chain will put its food-safety problems fully in its rearview mirror. Eventually, though, history has shown us that Chipotle will put these issues to rest. In reality, the company has taken strong steps to keep its customers safe and suffers from a perception problem that will eventually fade.

While it still struggles with those issues, Chipotle has also been moving forward. The company has invested in improving its app, offering mobile order and pay, and adding a second production line to serve its increasing digital order base. CEO Steve Ells addressed the ongoing food-safety issues, albeit not directly, and the chain's path forward in its Q2 earnings release.
"Recent events, however, have shown that we still have a lot of opportunities to improve our operations and deliver the outstanding experience that our customers expect," he said. "We will continue to strengthen our teams, enhance our technology, and expand our menu offerings in order to delight every customer who visits us."
Chipotle has taken steps to improve safety and technology at its restaurants. Image source: Chipotle.
Technology is key
Chipotle built its business by offering a higher-end but still a fast quick-serve alternative to fast-food chains such as McDonald's (NYSE: MCD). That worked for a while, but the Golden Arches has turned around its own fortunes by focusing on convenience and technology.
The company has shown strong early results from expanding delivery in the U.S., even though its food doesn't travel particularly well. That's a model pioneered by Domino's -- offer decent, familiar food but make it really easy to get.
Chipotle has never been about convenience. In fact, the high level of customization it offers generally slows down service. Ordering by app for production on a second food-assembly line solves that problem. In theory, app-based ordering lessens the amount of people in line as well, which improves the experience for all customers.
Offering better food may eventually win the day for Chipotle if it also matches the convenience that lower-end chains such as McDonald's offer. Improving technology represents the best chance the Mexican chain has to recapture its former glory. While it's not the main news story about the brand now, those efforts do give it a brighter future.
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Letter From The Editor: Remembering Cecil Andrus: he did not fear debate, nor do we
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/08/letter-from-the-editor-remembering-cecil-andrus-he-did-not-fear-debate-nor-do-we/#.WaYqX8hJaUl
By DAN FLYNN (Aug 27, 2017)
OPINION
The four-time Governor of Idaho who was Secretary of the Interior for President Jimmy Carter is someone I knew, not well or close. I first met him in a confessional at a Catholic church in South Idaho.
He was in his second term as governor and was at the church to debate a popular, powerful state senator who knew more, at that time, on water law than did the governor. I sought out a quick interview with Gov. Cecil Andrus as the noisy crowd was arriving and there was still time to spare before the first round.
It was Andrus who suggested we duck into the confessional for privacy and noise reduction. I remember asking him not about his decision to debate the Republican state senate’s top water law expert —vigorous debate was not unusual then. We did it in high school and college on a competitive basis.
No, I wanted to know his tactics. Why was Gov. Andrus willing to travel so far from the state capitol to take on his debate opponent on his home turf before what looked to be a hostile crowd.
Responding, he said it never occurred to him that he could be walking into an ambush. Reading my face, he added, “And I don’t lie, especially when I am sitting in a confessional.”
We both enjoyed his witticism, and then the fireworks over Idaho water policy began.
Andrus won the debate with the senator that night as a visitor.
Technically speaking, the senator probably did know more, but the governor had a vision about water and public lands. After that debate,  Andrus was the state’s top water policy expert. He’d picked the hostile venue on purpose.
I spent the next five years writing about politics and breaking news for daily newspapers in Idaho. I ran across Andrus only a few more times after that as he was off being Secretary of the Interior. I remember first seeing the “Lock up Andrus, Not Alaska” bumper stickers when he was doing the land deal for the 49th state. I knew he’d be smiling every time he saw one of those.
Also ending this past week, Food Safety News hosted the second of competing opinion-editorials on the mandatory country-of-origin labeling or MCOOL. Thomas Gremillion from the Consumer Federation of America argued the pro side, posted on Aug. 15, and Craig Uden with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, followed with con arguments on Aug. 25.
Food Safety News is grateful to both gentlemen for their contributions. Both generated a good number of comments, and there’s not much doubt about our readers preferring more information to less when it comes to their food. Most of their comments involved making strong intellectual arguments in the respective tone that we’ve come to expect.
And then there were the others. I am not going to quote any of them. You can go back and look at them if you wish. I am hoping that it’s still only a tiny fraction of people who are so warped and so misguided that they cannot do any thing other than throwing a hissy fit when someone is making an argument they do not want to hear. The ones that hurl rocks at Food Safety News for presenting multiple sides to a genuine food safety issue just make me shake my head.
I was telling myself to ignore them as nothing more than a few birds on a wire. Charging Food Safety News with being a corporate tool of the food industry does not pass the laugh test on any of the seven continents. Saying someone’s arguments should not be heard just takes me back to Gov. Andrus.
Cecil Andrus, who died last week at age 85, embraced the value of debate and free speech and he never lived in fear of either. He knew that free and vigorous debate was not just a good thing. It is an American thing.
Food Safety News will continue in that tradition.

 

 

 

 


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Food safety tips for Hurricane Harvey
Source : http://www.chron.com/news/houston-weather/hurricanes/article/Food-safety-tips-for-Hurricane-Harvey-Houston-11956465.php
By Fernando Ramirez, Chron.com / Houston Chronicle (Aug 25, 2017)
NEED TO KNOW: Food safety tips for Harvey
Hurricane Harvey will soon be making landfall on the Texas coast. Here's what you need to know in order to stretch your food through the storm.
See food safety tips for Hurricane Harvey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
NEED TO KNOW: Food safety tips for Harvey

Hurricane Harvey will soon be making landfall on the Texas coast. Here's what you need to know in order to stretch your food through the storm.
See food safety tips for Hurricane Harvey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
If Harvey does decide to  park itself on top of Houston like Allison did, residents should prepare for the long haul — which not only means buying plenty of food and water, but also being efficient and conservative with limited fridge space and cold temperatures.
To stay updated on weather alerts and conditions for Hurricane Harvey, visit Chron.com's weather page.
See above for food safety tips for Hurricane Harvey.

Packed Lunch Food Safety
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/packed-lunch-food-safety/
By Linda Larsen (Aug 25, 2017)
As the new school year gets underway, parents need to know how to pack lunches safely. Food poisoning can be very serious for young children, so their food needs to be as safe as possible.
The FDA has more information about safe bag lunches.  Know that all perishable foods, including meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, and eggs, should be kept cold at all times. Any of these foods should not be left at room temperature longer than 2 hours – 1 hour if the air temperature is over 90°F.
Wash your hands well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before you start to prepare the food and pack the lunch. Sanitize a lunch box that hasn’t been used in a while by wiping it with a solution of 1 tablespoon liquid chlorine, unscented bleach in 1 gallon of water.
Advance planning is one way to help you get lunches ready efficiently with an eye on safety. You can prep fruits and vegetables the night before, and even make sandwiches ahead of time. Wrap them in plastic wrap or put them in ziplock bags and get them refrigerated until it’s time to pack the lunch box. Don’t put the prepared foods in the lunch until it’s time to leave the house. And if you do prepare food ahead of time, such as a pasta salad, make sure it has time to chill completely in the fridge before packing into the lunch.
A frozen water bottle or frozen ice pack must be in each lunch box to keep foods out of the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F. In fact, two sources of cold are even better; use both. Make sure that the lunch boxes you buy are insulated so they will keep the food inside cold.  If there’s a refrigerator at school, your kids can store the insulated bag there, but leave the lid or bag open so cold air can circulate around the food.
And the converse – keep hot lunches hot. A thermos or another insulated container can keep soup, chili, and stew hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and put in the hot food.
Try to pack just the amount of food your child will eat.  But if there are leftovers, teach your kids the all leftover food should be thrown out after lunch. Insulated lunch boxes and bags can keep food cold, but they are not able to rechill foods to safe temperatures. Make sure that you clean out the lunchbox after each use.

Arkansas Salmonella outbreak centers on Stuttgart restaurant
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/08/arkansas-salmonella-outbreak-centers-on-stuttgart-restaurant/#.WaYrTshJaUl
By NEWS DESK (Aug 24, 2017)
Epidemiological work by the Arkansas Department of Health suggests an outbreak involving as many as 30 people in the Stuttgart, AR, is likely centered on the local Chuck Wagon Restaurant.
In a statement Wednesday, the department (ADH) said it has four confirmed cases of salmonella in the outbreak, which it began investigating Aug. 18. The department’s medical director, Dr. Gary Wheeler, told THV-TV Channel 11 news on Wednesday that “several people” have been hospitalized as a result of the outbreak.
“The ADH is taking steps to address this outbreak,” the statement said. “We are collecting biological specimens from patients that are ill. In addition, we are collecting information about where they have eaten and any other common exposures they might have had. This may include animal or work site exposure.
“The ADH has inspected the site that has been identified as a common food source for these individuals and identified risks were removed. We have received cooperation from the site and have provided additional food safety training to all employees. The ADH will be conducting a follow-up inspection.”
State health officials are requesting that people who ate at the restaurant on or around August 14-16 and are experiencing food poisoning symptoms contact their healthcare providers first, and then the Department of Health either at 501-537-8969 or by email at adh.foodsafe@arkansas.gov.
Medical Director Wheeler told local media that the state health department collected samples of food served on the day that outbreak victims had eaten at the restaurant.
The ADH Outbreak Response team will continue to investigate the Stuttgart outbreak. The team includes staff from Environmental Health Services, the Outbreak Control Branch, the Epidemiology Branch and the Public Health Laboratory. In addition, the ADH has been working with local physicians and laboratories.
The ADH encourages everyone to help prevent the spread of infectious disease by practicing good hygiene and washing hands thoroughly and regularly.
Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days. For more information on Salmonella infection visit www.cdc.gov/salmonella/index.html.

Salmonella Outbreak Associated with AR Chuck Wagon Restaurant
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/salmonella-outbreak-associated-with-ar-chuck-wagon-restaurant/
By News Desk (Aug 24, 2017)
A Salmonella outbreak that may have sickened 30 people is associated with the Chuck Wagon Restaurant in Stuttgart, Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. There are four confirmed cases of Salmonella in this outbreak so far.
The press releases states that “Epidemiological information suggests that the Chuck Wagon Restaurant in Stuttgart, AR is the likely site of the outbreak.” Public health officials are investigating, collecting biological specimens from ill persons, information about where they have eaten, and any other possible common exposures, including animal or worksite exposure. The site has been inspected. Officials have identified a common food source “and identified risks were removed.” A follow-up inspection will be conducted at the restaurant.
Anyone who ate at that restaurant on or around August 14 to 16, 2017 and are experiencing the symptoms of a Salmonella infection should see a doctor, and then contact the Arkansas Department of Health. You can call 501-537-8969 or email adh.fooddsafe@arkansas.gov.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, and sometimes vomiting. These symptoms usually begin 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. Most people are sick for four to seven days, and most recover without medical treatment. Some people, however, do become so sick, from sepsis or dehydration, they must be hospitalized. There is no information on whether or not anyone has been hospitalized in this particular outbreak.
To prevent a Salmonella infection, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom, taking care of someone who is sick, or changing diapers. Always cook meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures, wash produce thoroughly and avoid problematic foods such as raw milk and raw sprouts.

How to Prepare (and Recover) from a Food Safety Crisis
Source : https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/how-prepare-and-recover-food-safety-crisis
By Guest Author
It's key to develop a plan that outlines how to manage a crisis, minimize damage, and rebuild to be stronger and safer than ever.
Food safety became a mainstream topic in 1993 when a Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak infected 732 people, including four children who died from the incident, which was linked to undercooked burgers. The tragedy made national headlines, severely damaged the restaurant chain’s reputation, and nearly caused them to go out of business.
The media coverage around the frightening outbreak put foodborne illness in the spotlight. A decade later, a Chi-Chi’s restaurant in Pennsylvania had a hepatitis A outbreak, linked to the restaurant’s salsa and chili con queso, which killed three people and sickened 555 others. Chi-Chi’s couldn’t recover from this crisis, and has since closed. More recently, Chipotle Mexican Grill was responsible for numerous foodborne illness outbreaks, spanning multiple states and sickening hundreds. Unfortunately, there are countless examples of food safety crises due to errors in the kitchen or somewhere within the food service supply chain.
Of course, foodservice employees never intend to harm guests with foodborne illnesses, allergic reactions, health violations or other food safety issues. In fact, foodservice professionals work diligently to implement and maintain careful food safety protocols to protect their customers’ health. But sometimes—even with the most careful food safety protocols in place—there’s a crisis. Perhaps a burger wasn’t cooked to proper temperature. Maybe a health inspector found violations severe enough to shut down a restaurant’s kitchen. Regardless of the specifics, the restaurant is facing a crisis.
What happens next?
Ideally, restaurant owners and managers have thought about crisis management—and developed an actionable plan—before anything bad actually happens at their venue. All foodservice businesses should create a crisis plan before a crisis occurs to follow if the worst-case scenario happens. Food safety incidents can be terrifying for all involved, so develop a plan that outlines how to manage a crisis, minimize damage, and rebuild to be stronger (and safer) than ever.
Remember that a food safety crisis can include more than foodborne illnesses—it can be a failed health inspection, a food-allergic customer having a severe reaction, etc., so have a thoughtful plan that can serve as a guide for any possible scenario.
When creating a crisis plan, consider and implement the following:
Determine how the incident happened. Did an employee make an error in the kitchen? Did a vendor mislabel ingredients, causing an allergic reaction? Was a delivery driver holding foods at unsafe temperatures? Carefully (and promptly) pinpoint the source of the problem, and take steps to correct future issues (e.g., change vendors, retrain your employees, etc.)
Create honest, authentic and apologetic messaging. The details will, of course, depend on the specifics of the crisis situation. Regardless of what happened, honestly describe the situation, how it happened, and the solutions-focused plan that will move the restaurant forward and prevent reoccurrences.
Train (or re-train) staff on food safety protocols. Be certain that everyone is knowledgeable about food safety (e.g., how to prevent cross-contamination and cross-contact, properly prepare allergy-friendly meals, take temperatures of specific foods, read ingredient labels, etc.) to avoid similar crisis situations in the future.
Be honest and straightforward with the media. Explain what happened, how it happened, and how similar incidents will be prevented in the future. Never say “no comment.” Explain where there was a breakdown in the process and the concrete steps to fix the issue and prevent a reoccurrence.
Win back customers’ and employees’ trust. Again, be sincere and apologetic. Talk about actionable steps to prevent reoccurrences. If the issue was a failed health inspection, explain why the restaurant failed, explaining whether it was a single error vs. multiple infractions. Emphasize how/why their loyalty is so important, and vow to earn their trust again. Realize that actions speak louder than words—so do what you’ve promised to do.
Use social media wisely. Monitor social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and respond to negative and/or erroneous comments. Stay positive and solutions-focused. Don’t get defensive and don’t get sucked into toxic, negative message spirals.
Designate a media spokesperson. When facing a serious issue, the restaurant CEO/owner/president should be the spokesperson, as the public wants to see the head of the company speaking authoritatively about the incident and the plans to resolve the problem. The CEO should be working with a professional crisis management team so they don’t do more harm than good in interviews. Case in point: Chipotle CEO Steve Ells’ interview on the Today Show during the Chipotle crisis in 2015. His nervousness could have been portrayed as a lack of confidence in the brand, when he really just does not like being in front of the camera. Some practice doing interviews in front of cameras may have served him well. A good crisis management consultant would have prepared him for that interview or, perhaps, advised that someone else may have been better suited to handle the media.
Communicate consistent messages. Crisis messages should be consistent across all delivery channels.  In other words, messages to the media should be the same as messages on Facebook, customer interactions, explanations to employees, etc.
Stay calm. While it’s upsetting (and terrifying) to be in a crisis situation, remain calm while recovering from the incident. Follow the crisis plan and communicate clear, consistent messages to priority audiences (customers, prospects, employees, the media, vendors, health inspectors, advertisers/sponsors, etc.). Demonstrate the efforts that are being implemented to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Planning a bank holiday BBQ? You ought to fake it, say food safety watchdogs
Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/22/planning-bank-holiday-bbq-fake-say-food-safety-watchdogs/
By Katie Morley, consumer affairs editor (Aug 22, 2017)
Home cooks planning a barbecue over the Bank Holiday should cook meat in the oven first, food safety watchdogs have warned.
The Food Standards Agency warning comes in the wake of recent major food scandals, including a batch of supermarket sausages which allegedly cause hepatitis, and foreign eggs infected with illegal insecticide.
The FSA is also concerned about a trend for pink-in-the-middle burgers, which it warns can make people ill.
It conducted a survey which found 43 per cent of people have been served undercooked meat at a barbecue, which it said potentially contributes to the 1 million cases of food poisoning in the UK every year.
It also found that 61 per cent don’t check there is no pink meat inside meat before eating it.
As such its number one piece of advice for barbecue safety is to fake it by pre-coooking.
It said: "Consider cooking all chicken and pork in the oven prior to giving it a final ‘finish’ on your barbecue where possible.

Tips | How to safely barbecue meat
Make sure the coals are glowing red and have a grey surface before you start cooking
Frozen meat must be properly thawed before you cook it

While cooking, turn the meat regularly and move it around the barbecue
To serve, make sure the meat is piping hot even in the middle. There must be no pink meat visible
"Your friends and family will still experience that special barbecue ‘chargrilled’ taste – and you will know that you’ve cooked the chicken all the way through. This technique can also be used for sausages, burgers and kebabs if you’re cooking for large numbers."
Heather Hancock, Chair of the FSA Board said: “When you’re at a barbecue, remember that most types of meat should be cooked thoroughly to prevent food poisoning.  A beef burger, for example, isn't like a steak - it has bacteria present throughout.
"To make it safe to eat when prepared at home, it must be cooked through. Some restaurants are able to offer their customers burgers less than thoroughly cooked, but only because they have strict controls in place that are regulated and checked by enforcement officers.”
Meanwhile despite reports of a scorching heatwave this bank holiday, forecasters now expect the weather to be mixed with some rain .
A spokeswoman for the Met Office said: "It will probably be a bit mixed - most places will see some dry bright conditions but there will be some showers as well.
"There will be showers around but we're not talking about six to nine hours of rain moving across the country.
"During the second half of the weekend there might be a bit more of a north/south split across the country, so it'll be a bit more changeable in the north.
"Temperatures are likely to be in the high teens for Scotland, with highs in the early 20s in the south of England. They could reach around 24 degrees in the south east."

FDA Publishes Food Safety Plan Builder
Source : https://www.qualityassurancemag.com/article/fda-publishes-food-safety-plan-builder/
By qualityassurancemag.com (Aug 22, 2017)
The free software application guides businesses, step by step, through the creation of a food safety plan.
If you are a small business trying to get everything in order before the September 18 compliance date for FSMA’s Preventive Controls rule, you now have some extra guidance for the writing of your food safety plan. FDA’s Food Safety Plan Builder (FSPB) is a free software application that businesses can download to guide them, step by step, through the creation of a food safety plan, as required by FSMA.
Although primarily designed for use by small manufacturers, which may have limited resources, any size manufacturer can opt to use it. Manufacturers are not required to use the program, but the FDA designed this program to help companies organize their food safety information and minimize the burden of creating their food safety plan.
The user is taken through a series of sections (tabs) in the application that prompt the user to answer questions and/or fill in information specific to their business and facility. Once all the  tabs have been completed, the file may be saved or printed, and the firm will have a food safety plan to use in its operations and to provide when the FDA conducts an inspection.
To assist users, the FDA has also developed an overview video about the application, as well as individual videos that demonstrate how to navigate the various tabs.  These videos are posted on Youtube and may be accessed via the Food Safety Plan Builder webpage. The FDA has also provided a User Guide with individual chapters devoted to each tab. Manufacturers with questions about how to use the tool can access further assistance by contacting the FDA through the email address FoodSafetyPlanBuilder@fda.hhs.gov.  
The program and educational materials are modeled after the successful Food Defense Plan Builder, which was created to assist owners and operators of food facilities with developing personalized food defense plans for their facilities.

USDA offers cramming sessions on ‘wild caught’ catfish regs
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/08/usda-offers-cramming-sessions-on-wild-caught-catfish-regs/#.WaYtUshJaUl
By DAN FLYNN (Aug 22, 2017)
Ten days away from the beginning of full enforcement of USDA catfish inspections, the department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is doing a little remedial training for “wild-caught” producers.
The FSIS has scheduled educational meetings Thursday at the Holiday Inn Memphis Airport and Convention Center, and on Friday at the Florida Bass Conservation Center in Webster, FL.
The meetings are to “discuss the enforcement and implementation of the Final Rule on the mandatory inspection of fish of the order Siluriformes and products derived from such fish” with FSIS seeking out “participation from representatives from domestic wild-caught operations that process Siluriformes fish and fish products,” according to a notice from the government agency.
While most “wild-caught” catfish go home with those lucky enough to catch them, the FSIS rules cover some commercial operations. Under the rule, FSIS will inspect both wild-caught and farm-raised catfish processed in official establishments and test them for metals, dyes, pesticides and animal drug residues.
FSIS requires that fish harvested for human food, whether wild-caught or farm-raised, not be raised “under conditions that would render them unsound, unhealthful, or otherwise unfit for human food.”
A variety of “farm-raised,” methods including fish in pools and floating cages are covered.
The 18-month transition period for the new catfish rule ends Sept. 1. Under a Memorandum of Understanding between USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it completes the transition of catfish inspection from FDA to FSIS, as contemplated during discussions of the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills.
The domestic catfish industry — concentrated in the Gulf states — was the primary force behind the transition. Led by Indianola, MS-based Catfish Farmers of America, the industry claimed Asian catfish raised in polluted waters were unsafe and unfair competitors to American pond-raised and regulated producers. It said the foreign catfish was escaping sufficient scrutiny because FDA only inspects 1 percent to 2 percent of imported fish.
The McLean, VA-based National Fisheries Institute, which represents the broader industry, fought back for years and almost got Congress to reverse itself. Government fiscal watchdogs for several years before the FDA-USDA agreement raised questions about possible costly duplication.
Domestic catfish farmers had reason to enjoy the transition period. While USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports an ever so slight decline in the water surface area used for catfish — down 1 percent to 54.2 thousand acres — domestic catfish production is on the rebound.
Catfish operations in the three major producing states had 104 million food-size fish on hand on July 1, up 17 percent from July 1, 2016, when the total stood at 88.5 million food-size fish, according to NASS.
NASS monitors the domestic catfish production of Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi, the three largest states in the industry.
Congress gave FSIS a kind of vote of confidence when it instructed the agency to begin re-inspection of all foreign catfish arriving at a U.S. port of entry almost one month ahead of the Sept. 1 end of the transition period.
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Gambia, Guyana, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, Thailand and Vietnam are all countries “eligible to export” catfish species to the United States.
Vietnam alone has more than 60 companies on the FSIS list of plants eligible to export to the U.S.
Also on Sept. 1, FSIS is scheduled to start collecting and submitting samples of raw catfish for speciation, residue and Salmonella testing. Also, for ready-to-eat catfish, there will be tests for Listeria monocytogenes.

Backyard flock Salmonella victims triple, 1 dead; more expected
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/08/backyard-flock-salmonella-victims-triple-1-dead-more-expected/#.WaYtnchJaUl
By KELSEY M. MACKIN (Aug 22, 2017)
So far this year, preschoolers account for a third of the 961 confirmed victims in a Salmonella outbreak that has turned deadly and been traced to backyard poultry flocks.
There had already been more confirmed infections related to backyard flocks by Aug. 11 this year than in all of 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal agency is actually tracking 10 separate Salmonella outbreaks traced to contact with backyard poultry pens.
The CDC’s investigators expect the outbreaks to continue to expand for the next several months, according to a public warning posted Monday. Lab tests have confirmed victims in Washington D.C. and all states, except Alaska and Delaware. The CDC did not report which state reported the death, which was made public for the first time Monday.
“Contact with live poultry or their environment can make people sick with Salmonella infections. Live poultry can be carrying Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean, with no sign of illness,” according to the CDC  warning.
The federal agency is tracking 10 separate outbreaks, up from the eight reported initially reported June 1. Multiple state agencies and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) are assisting the CDC with the outbreak investigations.
“These outbreaks are caused by several DNA fingerprints of different Salmonella bacteria: Salmonella Braenderup, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i-, Salmonella Indiana, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Litchfield, Salmonella Mbandaka, Salmonella Muenchen, and Salmonella Typhimurium,” according to Monday’s update from CDC.
In CDC’s initial outbreak announcement on June 1, the agency reported it had confirmed 372 people with Salmonella infections linked to backyard poultry. Illness onset dates for those people began Jan. 4 and continued through May 25. Of those 372 people, 71 had symptoms so severe they required hospitalization.
Public health officials interviewed 228 of the sick people before the June 1 announcement. They found 190, or 83 percent, reported contact with live poultry in the week before they became ill.
By July 13, the victim total was 790. The number of hospitalizations had increased to 174, but hospital information was only available for 580 of the victims, so the CDC reported there were likely more admissions.
No deaths were reported in the July 13 outbreak update.
“In interviews, 409, or 74 percent, of 553 ill people reported contact with live poultry in the week before illness started,” the CDC reported.
In its update Monday, CDC reported interviews with 672 victims have been completed and 498 or them, or 74 percent, had contact with live poultry in the week before illness started.
Anyone who has recently been exposed to backyard poultry and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seem medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure so the proper diagnostic tests can be performed.
Symptoms for most people can include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, beginning 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria.
Illness from Salmonella usually lasts four to seven days. In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the person needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infections are more likely to be severe for children younger than 5 years, older adults and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer, diabetes, and liver or kidney disease.
The following safety tips are advised by the CDC, to avoid a Salmonella infection from backyard poultry:
Always wash hands with soap and running water for a minimum of 20 seconds after handling live poultry;
Do not allow live chickens, ducks or geese in the house;
Do not allow children younger than 5 years to handle or touch live poultry and eggs without supervision;
Never snuggle or kiss the birds or touch your face or mouth and do not eat or drink while around live poultry.
More tips for how backyard flock owners can prevent infection can be found on the CDC website.

Hope on the Horizon for Sufferers of Peanut Allergies
Source : https://www.foodsafety.com.au/news/hope-on-the-horizon-for-sufferers-of-peanut-allergies
By LINDSAY CORFIELD (Aug 22, 2017)
A new treatment can provide relief from reactions to peanut allergies for up to four years.
A treatment developed at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has delivered promising results in the treatment of peanut allergies in children. The treatment sees children with peanut allergies administered a probiotic called lactobacillus rhamnosus, with a peanut protein, once per day for a period of 18 months.
One month after the end of the treatment, over 80% of the children receiving the protein and probiotic could tolerate peanuts without suffering allergic symptoms. The same group of children were tested 4 years later and 70% were still able to eat peanuts without suffering allergic reactions.
Professor Mimi Tang of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute stated “These findings suggest our treatment is effective in inducing long-term intolerance, up to four years after completing treatment and is safe.” Professor Tang went on to say “Two thirds of the treated patients were able to continue regular peanut ingestion and more than half were ingesting moderate-to-large amounts of peanuts on a regular basis.”
How Does the Treatment Work?
The treatment changes how the body’s immune system responds to an allergen, in this case peanuts.
"The probiotic acts on the immune system, encourages the immune system to generate a protective, or tolerance, response rather than allergy," Professor Tang said. "When given regularly over time, we hope to see the immune system recognise the antigen," she said.
Food allergy occurs in about one in 20 children and in about two in 100 adults. According to the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, the most common allergy triggers are egg, cow's milk, peanut, tree nuts, seafood, sesame, soy, fish and wheat.
The majority of food allergies in children are not severe, and may be "outgrown" with time. But some, particularly peanut, tree nut, seed and seafood tend to be lifelong allergies. Researchers from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute said larger studies of the probiotic peanut protein treatment were needed to assess long-term safety outcomes.
Where can I Find More Information on Food Allergies and Intolerances?
For more information on food allergies and intolerances, watch this free video supplied by the Australian Institute of Food Safety.

 

 

 

 

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