FoodHACCP Newsletter



Food Safety Job Openings

09/08. QA Manager – Westlake, OH
09/08. Food Safety Manager – Atlanta, GA
09/08. Food Safety Auditor – Denver, CO
09/06. QA Supervisor – Telford, PA
09/06. Food Safety Consultant/Contractor – Boise, ID
09/06. Food Safety Manager – Madisonville, KY
09/04. Specialist, Food Safety – Pittsburgh, PA
09/04. Food Safety/QA Trainee – Kansas City, MO
09/04. Intern - Food Safety Compliance - Ripon, CA

 

09/11 2017 ISSUE:773

 

Moving the U.S. Codex Office to USDA Trade is a big mistake
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/09/moving-the-u-s-codex-office-to-usda-trade-is-a-big-mistake/#.WbdyA8hJaUl
BY BRIAN RONHOLM (SEP 11, 2017)
OPINION
One significant provision in Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s most recent realignment announcement would move the U.S. Codex Office from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to the newly created Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (TFAA) office.
While the move may seem inconsequential on the surface, this realignment will undermine the United States’ credibility in the international food policy arena, and represents yet another effort by the Trump Administration to emphasize trade goals at the expense of food safety.
Codex Alimentarius is a United Nations standards-setting body working under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) that establishes food standards that protect public health and ensure fair trade of safe food all over the world. Many countries incorporate Codex standards into their laws, which has the effect of upgrading international food safety efforts. Codex standards also establishes predictability for food traders and are used by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in settling trade disputes.
The U.S. Codex Office is comprised of a small, and very effective, staff within FSIS that manages U.S. participation in Codex by engaging other federal agencies and external stakeholders in the development of these international governmental and non-governmental food standards. Historically, the United States has been a strong presence in Codex, providing leadership in maintaining the organization’s adherence to science.  Aligning the U.S. Codex Office with trade goals within USDA will have a negative impact on this leadership status.
Within Codex, the U.S. faces challenges from other countries who are attempting to impose views of appropriate food standards that are not supported by science. While the challenges from these other countries have been formidable, the U.S. Codex Office has been able to execute a strategic outreach program that has proven successful in gaining support for U.S. positions worldwide.
The primary factor in the success of these outreach programs is the credibility the U.S. Codex Office has possessed from the public health foundation provided by being housed under FSIS. Whether warranted or not, there exists a perception among many countries that U.S. Codex positions are significantly influenced by industry trying to enhance trade opportunities at the expense of consumer and public health interests; this perception has long complicated Codex proceedings and negotiations for the U.S.
However, the U.S. Codex Office has been able to push back effectively on that narrative by virtue of its emphasis on science, and public health goals supported by its standing within FSIS.
Moving the U.S. Codex Office to the trade office within USDA may seem to make sense on the surface. However, when you factor in the nuance and complexities of Codex negotiations on the world stage, this realignment actually will undermine U.S. credibility on food safety and trade.  I hope Secretary Perdue will consider these ramifications and reconsider this particular move.
Note on the author: Brian Ronholm is now in the private sector, but he is a former deputy under secretary of food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During his time at USDA, Ronholm developed strategic frameworks and engaged in outreach activities to advance FSIS policies and initiatives impacting the meat, poultry, and processed egg industries.

USDA offers food safety tips for areas affected by Hurricane Irma
Source : http://www.jaspersuntimes.com/news/2017-09-10/usda-offers-food-safety-tips-areas-affected-hurricane-irma
By JCST staff reports (Sep 10, 2017)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has tips to protect food during a storm.
Steps to follow in advance of losing power:
Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.
Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.
Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
Steps to follow if the power goes out:
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.
Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Food safety after a flood:
Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water—this would include raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.
Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw?caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps.
Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel?type can opener.
Steps to follow after a weather emergency:
Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.
Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
When in doubt, throw it out.
If you have questions about food safety during severe weather, or any other food safety topics, call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888MPHotline or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov. These services are available in English and Spanish from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Answers to frequently asked question can also be found 24/7 at AskKaren.gov.

Food safety tips for hungry kids
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/food_safety_tips_for_hungry_kids
By Laurie Messing, Michigan State University Extension (Sep 8, 2017)
With school back in full swing, it's important to remind your children about food safety.
With the summer season winding down and school back in session, Michigan State University Extension suggests you remind your children about the importance of proper food safety practices.
These simple tips can help keep children healthy throughout the school year:
Kids should wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds once they get home from school. Consider making it a rule that handwashing is done right after school to prevent the spread of germs.
If kids are riding the bus home, keep a package of sanitizing wipes in their backpack so they can clean their hands before snacking on the bus. Also, be sure to help your children understand what foods can be kept in their lunch bag after lunch to safely snack on later, and what foods should be thrown away after lunch is over. All perishable foods (foods that must be refrigerated) must be thrown away after lunch unless the lunch bag is kept in a refrigerator, cooler or has a cold source inside that is still cold.
Some kids get off the bus to an empty house, so a great idea for safe and healthy snacking is to have an area in your refrigerator or pantry labeled as “afterschool snacks” so kids know what to eat when they get home. Make sure your children remember to keep all perishable snack foods in the refrigerator after serving themselves.
Keep your refrigerator cleaned out so kids don’t find leftover items inside that have been stored too long and could be unsafe for consumption.
If older kids are reheating leftovers or preparing simple food items, help them learn to read label directions for proper cooking and learn to use a thermometer to check food temperatures when cooking or reheating.
Keep your children’s backpacks off of food-contact surfaces, such as tables and counters, since they are exposed to germs at school such as in lockers, gym floors and bus floors.
Following these tips will help ensure you and your family avoid foodborne illness. To learn more about food safety practices visit MSU Extension’s Safe Food & Water page.
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).

 

 

 

 


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Chicken sashimi is risky; and gross
Source : http://www.barfblog.com/2017/09/chicken-sashimi-is-risky-and-gross/
By Ben Chapman ( Sepr 8, 2017)
A year ago I was in Japan for a few days and my hosts took me for sashimi every night. I think they thought it was funny taking a food safety nerd for a bunch of raw seafood. I did my best to be polite and steered towards more cooked foods. And lots of rice.
Earlier today Sara Miller at Live Science and I exchanged emails about chicken sashimi, a food that has been popular on twitter over the past couple of days. The same food that was linked to 800+ illnesses in the spring of 2016. Even Japanese public health folks were urging against eating it.
It’s not uncommon to find raw foods on a restaurant menu — think sushi or steak tartare — but if you see uncooked poultry as an option the next time you’re dining out, you may want to opt for something else.
Several restaurants in the United States are serving up a raw chicken dish that’s referred to as either chicken sashimi or chicken tartare, according to Food & Wine Magazine. Though the “specialty” hasn’t caught on much in the U.S., it’s more widely available in Japan.
Eating chicken sashimi puts a person at a “pretty high risk” of getting an infection caused by Campylobacter or Salmonella, two types of bacteria that cause food poisoning, said Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist and an associate professor at North Carolina State University.
Chapman noted that eating raw chicken is different from eating raw fish, which can be found in sushi dishes. With raw fish, the germs that are most likely to make a person sick are parasites, and these parasites can be killed by freezing the fish, he said. Salmonella, on the other hand, “isn’t going to be affected by freezing.”
Chicken sashimi is sometimes prepared by boiling or searing the chicken for no more than 10 seconds, according to Food & Wine Magazine.
But these preparations probably only kill off the germs on the surface of the chicken, Chapman said. “But even that I’m not sure about,” he added. In addition, when a chicken is deboned, other germs can get into the inside of the chicken, he said.

How Current World Threats May Impact Food Safety
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/enewsletter/how-current-world-threats-may-impact-food-safety/?EMID=
By Robert A. Norton, Ph.D.(Sep 7, 2017)
How Current World Threats May Impact Food Safety
North Korea is becoming ever more dangerous with its successes in developing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. The hermit kingdom’s lesser-known capabilities in the areas of chemical and biological weapons development are no less important to our national security, however.
Many biological weapons experts think North Korea possesses both smallpox and plague, pathogens responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of peoples over the centuries. Unleashing them could cause chaos. The other pathogens North Korea is believed to possess, however, are of more direct concern to food defense professionals. These include Brucella, anthrax and avian influenza, any one of which could cause deadly disease in animals and humans.
The U.S. already suffered a serious biological-weapons attack in the aftermath of the 9-11 attack on the twin towers and the Pentagon. A major bioterrorism event on our food supply or our agricultural systems would be expected by many experts to cost us well into the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. Food and agriculture are critical infrastructures, essential to our well-being and national security. Any looming threat to our nation will generally entail a threat at some point to our food supply.    
So what should food defense professionals do?
North Korea, like other nations have in the past ( e.g., Russia and Japan), may see the use of biological weapons as a way to help break the will of the enemy by causing maximum disruption, overwhelming response capabilities and severely damaging an opponent’s economy. To accomplish these goals, a biological attack would likely occur in many places simultaneously and perhaps involve multiple pathogens, confusing diagnosticians and compounding the damage by causing delay.  
This adversarial strategy can be countered most effectively by minimizing the delay in response, helping to contain the individual outbreaks before they spread further. A weaponized-avian-influenza outbreak for example might ultimately involve dozens and perhaps hundreds of poultry houses, but each outbreak will likely start on a single farm or small number of farms, then spread.
Early containment will be almost entirely dependent on local management, who must know how to recognize an emergency for what it is and how to respond appropriately. Diagnosis of the exact agent at that point is largely immaterial; what is important is stopping the spread of the disease. And here’s a word to the wise: Don’t expect the government to respond quickly in the early stages of a biological attack. The responsibility for early stages of containment will be entirely dependent on the people at the plant or on the farm.
Movement of anything, whether grower, equipment or animal, must be stopped immediately to prevent the potential spread of a pathogen. Animal production companies often have well-designed emergency response plans, but these plans tend to deal with emergencies that are natural in their origin. Such plans would likely fall short in responding to an agroterrorism event, where the movement would be much more swift and widespread.
Every food defense professional should consider his or her company as a potential ground zero for an agroterrorism event and start planning for widespread and swiftly moving outbreaks. That could be the reality if North Korea decides to attack the U.S. or our allies with biological weapons. 
They also need to make provisions for more complete surveillance of animal production areas and perimeter areas. All biosecurity and physical security plans should be made more robust; the level of threat justifies further investment in these security elements. 
We are no longer fortress America, and Europe has proven to be a place where bad people doing bad things can cause tragedy. We as a nation have to realize that nefarious people and the pathogens they could bring with them are able to enter our country at the speed of an international airplane flight.
If something suspicious is observed in a food production or processing plant, there is no time for timidity. Suspicions must be reported promptly; bad people wanting to do bad things may already be working among us.
At present, the U.S. has the safest, most secure and abundant food supply of any nation in the world, in large part because of the hard work of food production and processing professionals. We must be smarter and more vigilant than our adversaries to keep it that way. Food security is national security.

USDA’S Top 10 reasons to handle your food safely
Source : https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/usdas-top-10-reasons-handle-food-safely/
By Michael J. Cyganek (Special to the Saipan Tribune ) (Sep 7, 2017)
This week, the Office of the Attorney General’s “Consumer Caution Corner” outlines the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Top 10 reasons to handle your food safely.
USDA’S Meat and Poultry Hotline Consumers with food safety questions may call the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline weekdays year round with questions on the safe handling of meat and poultry products. The staff is available from 10am to 4pm Eastern Standard Time; recorded messages are available other times.
Consumers may also have their questions answered via chat at www.AskKaren.gov during hotline hours and can get answers electronically 24/7 at this site.
10: Safe food handling practices are the ones most likely to preserve food’s peak quality. Keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold inhibits growth of the microorganisms that can spoil your food or make you ill. Storage at the proper temperature also retains the fresh appearance, pleasant aroma, and agreeable texture that contribute so strongly to an enjoyable dining experience.
9: Safe food handling lets you enjoy the nutritional benefits of food. If you have taken the time to carefully select a variety of healthy foods, why not use them up or properly preserve them for long-term storage while nutrient levels are at their peak? Foods that must be discarded due to decay or temperature abuse nourish no one.
8: The safest ways to handle food are usually the most efficient. Do not take chances in the name of saving time. Thawing meat and poultry products at room temperature and partial cooking are examples of practices, which can seem like good ideas, but may actually encourage bacterial growth by keeping food in the “Danger Zone” (40°-140° F.) where bacteria multiply faster. In the case of bacteria that produce heat-resistant toxins, this becomes a problem that further cooking cannot fix.
7: Safe food handling is easy. You set a good example for others, including your children. You are the last person to handle your food before it is eaten. You may be the last person to handle food before it is served to your family or friends. Take charge! Prevention of illness may be as simple as washing your hands an often neglected but VERY important act.
6: Safe food handling inspires confidence and keeps peace in the family.
Imagine: No more family feuds because someone handled dinner in a questionable fashion. In addition, family and friends will not have to call the Meat and Poultry Hotline begging to have food safety literature mailed to your address!
5: Safe food handling can enhance your standing in the community. Food for a concession stand, bake sale, or church supper must be carefully prepared. Many of those in your community are very young, elderly, or suffering from health problems that affect their immune systems. These folks are at increased risk for foodborne illness. Protect their health and the reputation of your organization.
4: Safe food handling is the responsible thing to do. Those for whom you prepare food deserve the best, and you expect no less from those who produce and prepare food for you. You are no less important than the manufacturer, government regulator, or grocer in assuring food safety. You are an important link in the farm-to-table chain.
3: Safe food handling saves money. Foodborne illness costs billions each year in health care costs and lost wages. It is hard to throw away food you know has been mishandled. But compare the cost of the food to the cost of a bad case of food poisoning, starting with the doctor’s bill!
2: By handling food safely, you will spare yourself and your family from a painful bout of illness. Bacterial, parasitic, or viral illnesses caused by food are no fun, and they can have long-term consequences. Should we fear food? No. Microscopic organisms have always been and will always be an important part of our world. But we must store foods properly, cook them thoroughly, and keep our hands and work areas clean. Sometimes, what you cannot see can hurt you. Which brings us to the…
1 REASON TO HANDLE YOUR FOOD SAFELY: It may save a life. Safe food handling really does make a difference. Where do you start? Learn more. USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline can answer your food safety questions. Just call 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) toll-free nationwide.
Each week, the OAG’s Consumer Protection Education Program (a.k.a. “The Consumer Caution Corner”) shares Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, or USDA publications to promote education and awareness among the community while also enabling consumers and businesses with the “know-how” to identify and protect themselves from unfair and deceptive trade practices and other marketplace schemes.
If you would like to file a consumer complaint, please pick up a form at the OAG (on Capital Hill) or request a form by email from consumer_counsel@cnmioag.org. After completing the consumer complaint form, please submit it by email or in-person.
We cannot act as your private attorney. If you need legal assistance, we will recommend that you contact a private attorney or legal aid organization.
We cannot give legal advice or act as your private attorney.

San Diego Hepatitis A Emergency
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/san-diego-hepatitis-a-emergency/
By Bill Marler (Sep 6, 2017)
POSTED IN FOODBORNE ILLNESS OUTBREAKS
At a special meeting Tuesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors ratified a local health emergency declared for the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in the county.
The emergency was declared on Sept. 1 by the County public health officer to raise awareness of the outbreak and allow the County to potentially ask for mutual aid if necessary. Board action was required to extend the local health emergency beyond its initial seven-day period.
The meeting included a presentation by public health officials and public comments. View video of the entire meeting.
Since Nov. 22, 2016, 15 people have died, all of whom had underlying medical conditions.  Additionally, 279 of the 398 reported cases have been hospitalized. Approximately 65 percent of the cases have been among people who are homeless, use illicit drugs or a combination of those two factors.
The County has implemented a three-part strategy to combat the outbreak that includes immunization, sanitation and education efforts.
So far the County has immunized over 19,000 people, including approximately 7,300 to the at-risk population. There have been 256 mass vaccination events and 109 “foot teams” of public health nurses have gone out into areas with heavy homeless populations to offer vaccinations.
The public health officer has also issued new recommendations that people who handle food and health care workers get vaccinated.
Last week, 40 handwashing stations were placed in areas around the City of San Diego with high concentrations of homeless people. Steps are also being taken to sanitize areas where significant numbers of homeless people are living. Sanitation may help decrease the hepatitis A virus in the environment which may lower the likelihood of the virus spreading.
County staff have also distributed over 2,400 hygiene kits to individuals. The kits contain water, non-alcohol hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, clinic location information and plastic bags.
An education ad campaign was started in mid-August in trolleys and bus stations in the City of San Diego. That campaign will be expanding into North County. Public Health has also made over 50 presentations to local community partners, providing them with prevention information and educational materials on vaccinations and proper hand washing hygiene.
Hepatitis A is most commonly spread person-to-person through the fecal-oral route. Symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and light-colored stools.  Symptoms usually appear over a number of days and last less than two months.  However, some people can be ill for as long as six months. Hepatitis A can sometimes cause liver failure and even death.
For general information on hepatitis A, visit the HHSA hepatitis website where data are updated routinely. A hepatitis A fact sheet is also available.

Food Safety Education Month
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/food-safety-education-month/?EMID=
By Staff (Sep 6, 2017)
Food Safety Education Month
September is National Food Safety Education Month. It provides an opportunity to raise awareness about steps you can take to prevent foodborne illness.
Every year, an estimated one in six Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.
Read the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) new feature, also available in Spanish, to learn why this is especially important for the following groups of people: children under age 5, adults age 65 and older, people with weak immune systems, and pregnant women.
Join CDC in sharing social media with graphics about which groups of people are more likely to get food poisoning and what steps they or their caregivers can take to help prevent it.
Learn more at www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/education-month.html.

FDA issues warning letters to handlers of sprouts, fish products
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/09/fda-issues-warning-letters-to-handlers-of-sprouts-fish-products/#.Wbd4AMhJaUl
By KELSEY M. MACKIN (Sep 5, 2017)
A California sprout processor, a Denver fish processor and a New York seafood importer are all on notice from the Food and Drug Administration for violations of the federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. Two of the three facilities confirmed positive test results for Listeria, after environmental samples were taken during FDA inspection, and sent to laboratory analysis for pathogen testing.
The FDA sent the warning letters to the companies in May, June and August, and posted them for public view in recent days. Companies are allowed 15 working days to respond to FDA warning letters. Failure to promptly correct violations can result in legal action without further notice, including, without limitation, seizure and injunction.
Louie Foods International Fresno, CA
In an Aug. 21 warning letter to company owner and president Jay R. Louie, the FDA described violations observed during an inspection conducted from Feb. 13 to 28, 2017, at the Louie Foods International sprout operation and food processing facility. Environmental samples collected from the Fresno, CA, facility returned positive results during laboratory testing for Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes).
The company produces noodles and wonton wrappers, as well as alfalfa and mung sprout products at the facility, according to the warning letter.
The FDA collected swab samples of equipment and surfaces in the facility. Two such samples collected from the floor and the drain in the cooler were positive for Listeria monocytogenes, which is a human pathogen that can cause serious infections and death.
Inspectors observed violations of federal law that requires all people working in direct contact with food, food-contract surfaces and food-packaging materials to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) Regulations.
The FDA inspector noted several significant violations, the first was for the following “Insanitary Conditions and Practices in the Sprout Operation.”
An employee used a high pressure spray hose to rinse trays used for alfalfa sprouts on the floor. Water was observed splashing off the floors and trays onto the bottom rack of alfalfa sprouts stored adjacent to the spray area.
“We note that pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes that may be present on the floor may contaminate your alfalfa sprouts when aerosol from the floors lands on the product.”
Bins containing mung bean sprouts were stacked one on top of another so that sprouts were in direct contact with the bottom of the bin above them.
“Directly prior to stacking, the bottoms of the bins were observed coming into contact with a black plastic pallet that was soiled with dirty water and old wet mung bean seeds,” according to the warning letter.
On multiple occasions, employees were observed mixing and packaging sprouts with unwashed or unsanitized hands. Inspectors noted it was not possible for the employees to adequately wash their hands in the in the alfalfa sprout production room because the sink was not equipped with soap or paper towels.
“Employees touched insanitary objects such as street pants, control panels with build-up of debris, and a dirty spray hose that was dragging on the floor. The employees then resumed handling sprouts without first washing and sanitizing their hands. Soap, or some other surfactant, and adequate drying are essential for the removal of human pathogens from hands,” the warning letter states.
Investigators also observed problems in employee toilet facilities. One toilet facility lacked running water in the hand-washing sink, and the did not have toilet paper.
“A toilet contained fecal matter. The water from one hand sink was brownish and cold. We note, human feces are a known source of human pathogens and based on the lack of toilet paper in one toilet facility and the general lack of adequate hand washing facilities it is likely that your employees could not adequately wash the feces off their hands after using the toilet,” according to the the FDA warning letter.
The FDA also noted the following cGMP violations:
Apparent rodent excreta pellets, too numerous to count, were observed on a piece of unused equipment along the North East corner of the old tofu room approximately 5 feet away from the packaging area for noodles and wonton wrappers separated by an air curtain.
Apparent dead insects, too numerous to count, were observed on the floor along the North East corner of the old tofu room adjacent to the packaging area for the noodles and wonton wrappers separated by an air curtain.
A bird dropping was observed on the exterior surface of a folded cardboard box used to store packaged noodles. Three birds were observed flying over the boxes and perched above the noodle packaging.
Four employees with mustaches were not wearing facial coverings while in direct contact with noodle processing.
An employee was wearing an exposed bandage over a finger while directly handling processed noodles.
Etai’s Food Inc. Denver, CO
In a May 19 warning letter to co-owner Ehud Baron, the FDA cited serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HAACP) regulation at the fish processor’s operation in Denver, CO. According to the warning letter, an inspection of the facility from Oct. 4 through Nov. 10, 2016, showed the company’s ready-to-eat (RTE) products were prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health.
During the inspection, the FDA collected environmental samples from various areas in the processing facility, including areas that are in close proximity to food and food contact surfaces.
“The FDA laboratory analyses of the environmental swabs identified the presence of Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes), a human pathogen, in your facility,” according to the warning letter.
Inspectors also reviewed product labeling and found violations of “the food labeling regulations 21 CFR Part 101” that cause the products to be misbranded.
In a response letter dated Dec. 9, 2016, company officials described various actions they had taken including retaining a consultant to advise them regarding environmental sanitation design, chemical treatment, and procedures; revising their cleaning and sanitizing programs; updating their SSOP; hiring a special crew of personnel to conduct the cleaning and sanitizing after production runs; and adding a cleaning verification step involving swabbing.
However, the FDA could not evaluate the adequacy of the firm’s response because it lacked “certain information, including a copy of your updated SSOP.” The FDA will assess the adequacy of the firm’s corrective actions during its next inspection.
The FDA noted the following specific violations during inspection:
Eight environmental swabs collected from various locations within your Salad Production Room and Packaging Room were positive for Listeria monocytogenes.
The firm does not have a HACCP plan for “Garden Salad with Seafood,” which uses a vacuum packaged imitation crab ingredient to control the food safety hazard of Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism.
The firm does not have a HACCP plan for “Tuna Salad Sandwiches” in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) to control the food safety hazard of biological pathogens growth and toxin formation, specifically Clostridium botulinum and Listeria monocytogenes.
The firm’s HACCP Plans for “Drained Tuna” used in cold salads and for the “Fully Cooked 2 oz. Salmon Fillets” for use on salads do not list the food safety hazard of undeclared allergens.
Labels on “Mixed Greens with Seafood” incorrectly declare “Shellfish (snow crab)” but the “Imitation Crab Meat” product information sheet provided by your supplier indicates that it does not contain crab.
The “Mixed Greens with Seafood Salad” label fails to declare all of the sub-ingredients of the multi-component ingredient “Imitation Crab Meat.
The “Tuna on Fire” product label fails to declare the sub-ingredients of the multi-component ingredients “bread,” “tomato salsa,” and “mayonnaise.” In addition, “Tongol Tuna” is not an appropriate common or usual name provided in the Seafood List for a type of tuna fish. If the fish is actually Thunnus tonggol, the acceptable common name or market name would be “longtail tuna” or “tuna.”
Seiki Co. Ltd. New York, NY
In a June 1 warning letter to company president Kenju Kuroiwa, the FDA described violations observed during an inspection on Dec. 19, 2016, at the importer’s processing facility.
According to the warning letter, the FDA collected HACCP plans entitled “Frozen Aquacultured Yellowtail Product Group (Fillet • Loin/Smoked)” and “Refrigerated Aquacultured Yellowtail (Fillet),” which were both dated June 2, 2014. Both copies revealed serious deviations from the requirements of the seafood HACCP regulation.
The FDA reported the importer’s refrigerated and frozen vacuum packaged aquaculture yellowtail fillet are adulterated, in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health.
The following significant deviations include the following FDA observations:
The importers’s frozen aquacultured yellowtail is vacuum packaged, which generally reduces the amount of oxygen in a package and inhibits Clostridium botulinum. But the packaging should include handling instructions to state “Keep Frozen; Thaw Under Refrigeration Before Use” or similar language.
The importer failed to conduct, or have conducted for them, a hazard analysis for each kind of fish and fishery product it produces to determine whether there are food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur and have a HACCP plan that, at a minimum, lists the food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur.
The method of storage and distribution listed in the heading of the importer’s HACCP plan is not adequate. Refrigerated vacuum and reduced oxygen packaged fresh fish must be continuously maintained at temperatures of 3.3 degrees C or below to prevent the hazard of Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation during all subsequent distribution until the individual packages are opened.
The importer’s HACCP plans for “Frozen Aquacultured Yellowtail Product Group (Fillet • Loin/Smoked)” and “Refrigerated Aquacultured Yellowtail (Fillet)”, both dated June 2, 2014, list critical limits that are not adequate to control the identified food safety hazards
“To adequately control the food safety hazard of scombrotoxin (histamine) formation that is reasonably likely to occur onboard the harvest vessel, FDA recommends you include critical limits for Harvest vessel records or Histamine testing, sensory examination, and internal temperature measurements at the time of off-loading from the harvest vessel by the processor,” according to the warning letter.

Amazon today removed nut butter recalled in March for E. coli
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/09/amazon-today-removed-nut-butter-recalled-in-march-for-e-coli/#.Wbd4TMhJaUl
By CORAL BEACH (Sep 5, 2017)
Earlier today, Amazon.com was still selling I.M. Healthy soy nut butter that was recalled in March when federal officials traced an E. coli outbreak to the product.
No one from Seattle-based Amazon immediately responded to mid-morning requests for comment from Food Safety News, but by 11 a.m. Pacific time, the recalled peanut butter substitute had been pulled from the retailer’s website.
Officials with the Food and Drug Administration are investigating the situation but were not able to provide details as of mid-afternoon.
Although the outbreak was declared over in May by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that agency’s “final” report indicated additional illnesses were expected to be confirmed in relation to consumption of recalled soy nut butter products. The CDC cited the products’ long shelf life and the likelihood that some consumers still have unopened product in their homes as contributing factors to the lingering nature of the outbreak.
As of early May, the outbreak had sickened a confirmed 32 people across a dozen states. A variety of products made with soy nut butter produced by Dixie Dew Products Inc. remain under recall, including all varieties of I.M. Healthy “SoyNut Butter” products.
As of 9:45 a.m. Pacific time today, recalled I.M. Healthy brand “SoyNut Butter” was still available for purchase.
It is against federal law for anyone to sell or resell recalled products in any setting, including yard sales and thrift shops. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which became law in 2008, was used earlier this year by the Consumer Product Safety Commission against Home Depot. The big-box home improvement retailer agreed to pay $5.7 million in relation to charges it sold recalled smoke detectors, light fixtures, and other products.
After the Blue Bell Creameries ice cream recall that was linked to a deadly, multi-year Listeria outbreak, multiple sellers — many of them private individuals — offered the recalled ice cream for sale online. The auction site eBay, which has a policy against recalled items, removed all offers for recalled Blue Bell products from its offerings.
The Amazon.com website does not appear to offer a list of recalled products that it has offered for sale, as do many retailers. Amazon provides a list of government recall links and a “recall policy” that includes the following statement:
“Amazon monitors public recall alert websites and also learns of recalls directly from manufacturers and vendors. When we learn of a recall, we suspend all impacted product offerings from our website and quarantine any related inventory in our fulfillment centers. We also reach out to any customers that previously purchased impacted products (and any seller that may have offered such products) to inform them about the recall.”
Linda Harris, chair of the world renown Food Science and Technology Department at the University of California-Davis, said Monday that she ordered recalled I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter from Amazon.com during Labor Day weekend. She received the $50 shipment of three jars of the recalled product in less than 24 hours.
“The story really is about recalls and the ability in today’s world of recovering all product when you have a recall,” said Harris, who is the immediate past president of the International Association for Food Protection.
“They have sophisticated programs that set prices and figure out complicated delivery schemes – they should be able to make sure recalled product isn’t available for sale.”

CCJ Innovator: Oakley Transport takes the lead in food safety management, quality
Source : http://www.ccjdigital.com/ccj-innovator-oakley-transport-refocuses-on-food-safety-management/
By Aaron Huff (Sep 5, 2017)
In 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act expanded the domain of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration beyond regulating food producers alone.
“Everyone in the entire food supply chain is now responsible to the FDA,” says Allen Warner, director of quality for Oakley Transport (CCJ Top 250, No. 139). “The FDA had rarely walked into a trucking company before, so that puts us on a different level of inspection and responsibility.”
With the FDA’s broad authority to regulate the food supply chain, motor carriers began to investigate how the agency’s new rules would impact their organizations. The wheels of government turned slowly.
“It kept going on,” says Tommy Oakley, president and chief executive officer of the Lake Wales, Fla.-based company. “The (FDA) would pass the ball from one group to another, and it never got traction”
As the process dragged along, Oakley saw an opportunity to take the lead. Tommy, and the management team, began working with customers and trade groups such as the Juice Products Association, which represents the fruit and juice products industry, to establish standards and best practices for food safety and food defense.
Having been in the food industry since 1961, Oakley Transport had become familiar with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifications. Many of the fleet’s customers had quality management systems; most motor carriers in the food sector did not.
More than three years ago, Oakley Transport’s management team decided to earn ISO certifications without being pushed by regulations or prodded by customers. The company started on this path to get ahead of FDA and customer requirements.
 “We try to look five to 10 years ahead and see where we are at,” Oakley says.
ISO 9001 is an internationally recognized standard for quality management. ISO 22000 sets requirements for a food safety management system, but leaders saw opportunities to improve customer service, safety and other areas beyond food safety.
“The whole program is customer-focused,” Warner says.
Culture change
Soon after Oakley Transport started on this path, the company hired Warner to steer its ISO certification process. He came from a 35-year career at Pepsi, where he led quality initiatives.
“We realized we had to convert a trucking company into a food hauler of all bulk commodities,” Warner says. “It sounds simple, but the company is much different now. We are no longer just a trucking company, but we are a food transporter that is customer-focused.”
Among the first orders of business was to revamp the fleet’s training programs, focus employees and change its culture to that of a food transporter.
Whereas many over-the-road carriers will dispatch a new driver after only a couple of days of training at the office, Oakley Transport’s driver orientation training takes a minimum of five days and can last up to two weeks.
“Most trucking companies want to feed the machine and get (drivers) producing,” says Ryan Walls, director of risk management and driver relations. “We can’t do that with what we do.”
In retrospect, creating new quality management policies and procedures for employee background checks, seal security, tank washes and other areas was the easy part. The harder part was change management.
“It was pretty painstaking, because we had to change the whole culture of the company,” Oakley says. “People had to be thinking these things every day, know the processes, and if they had a problem, they had to know where to go look for it.”
Standing out
As Oakley Transport rolled out new quality management and continuous improvement programs, its customers and vendors took notice.
“The last thing we want and the customer wants is to contaminate food anywhere,” Walls says. “We absolutely work with customers to make sure their products are coming onto and leaving our trucks in pure form. That for us is the end game.”
Some shipper customers have asked Oakley Transport to certify the quality of their own private tank washes. The fleet welcomes such opportunities to audit its customers and vendors to help them be better, Warner says.
The focus on quality recently led to an alliance with one of its vendors, Quala, which operates more than 60 wash locations nationwide.
“They put in some first-class food bays for us, ” Oakley says. “We also partnered with them to put in terminals at their locations, which has created great efficiencies for us.”
Last year, the Juice Products Association, which includes many of Oakley Transport’s customers, held a meeting at the fleet’s headquarters to draft new testing specifications for the quality of tank washes nationwide.
“Food safety and defense has to be taken seriously,” Warner says. “When you help a customer or a supplier, everybody wins.
Reject reports
Unlike any food transport company, Warner says Oakley takes its customer complaints one step further and tracks its own internal errors.  The company also conducts random simulated mock recalls to insure that the processes in place are being followed. Findings are acted upon and changes are made to continuously improve its processes.
Sometimes an error or “rejection incident” may be a shipper issue such as the loading of the wrong product in a tank trailer. Also, a shipper or receiver may have a capacity issue and not be prepared to take 7,000 gallons of product upon delivery.
Any type of incident, no matter how minor, is investigated by a team to conduct a root cause analysis and come up with a solution.
Oakley Transport’s acceptance rate — or loads without a rejection incident — currently is above 99.8 percent, which represents more than a “3 sigma” in terms of quality, Warner says. “We will continue to strive for improvement everyday and serve the needs of our customers by providing on-time delivery of cargo in the same condition that it was received.”
Continuous improvement
Oakley Transport also formed a cross-functional Performance Excellence Team that meets at least once per month to review all of the company’s quality initiatives and to discuss process improvements, Warner says. Each department has a subcommittee that executes the plans.
The fleet also works with its vendors and customers on quality initiatives. Trailer seal policies are one area where improvements have been made.
“We work with suppliers and shippers to make sure food stays safe throughout the entire supply chain,” Warner says. “For instance, some might use plastic seals. We insist on using a steel cable. This is much more difficult to cut or have an issue with.”
Every time drivers make a stop along a route to fuel or for another reason, they must inspect all trailer seals and send a macro message through the in-cab computing system to verify all seals are intact.
Upon delivery, drivers can use a mobile app to scan the bills of lading with the seal numbers written on the paper. The company strives to make things as efficient as possible for drivers.
“We are continually working to streamline the process for the drivers wherever we can,” says Zane Schwenk, director of national customer service. “It makes our lives easier, and it really makes the lives of our drivers easier who have one of the toughest jobs.”
In August, Oakley Transport completed the certification process for ISO 22000:2005 and ISO 9001:2015, becoming the first liquid food grade transportation company globally to earn both.
“This process has been a challenge, but it’s been terrific,” Oakley says. “It’s the best thing we have ever done with the company.”

Food safety is human safety
Source : http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/editorial/166-editorial/14705-food-safety-is-human-safety
By .thenewdawnliberia.com (Sep 5, 2017)
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia or NPHIL, line ministries and agencies as well as local and international partners launches the National Codex Committee (NCC) in Monrovia.
The NCC, working along with various partners seeks to have Liberia’s draft food law and national standards act legislated. Liberia reportedly joined the International Codex Alimentarius in 1971. But the country had never participated in Codex activities. The Codex Alimentarius or "Food Code" is a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Com-mission or CAC, which is the central part of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program established by both institutions to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade.
We need an active food safety and national commodity standards policy in place immediate-ly, not only to protect public safety, but public health. Food and other consumables in our country should meet health and safety standards.
Over the years, Liberia seems to have become dumpsite for substandard and expired products coming from abroad, including food items and fake drugs, among others. Some of these products have contributed to the death of many persons, particularly underprivileged Liberi-ans, who rush for such items because of their cheap prices in the market.
The public should beware! Compromising health and safety for cheap price is counterproduc-tive to healthy living and human lives. What we consume as a people would go a very long way in determining the health of our society.
It is in this vine that we welcome the formal launch of the NCC in Liberia to help put in place safety and regulatory measures that would guide what is being imported here for public con-sumption.
We challenge the Ministry of Health to work along with partners to improve food safety and health across the country, particularly in the capital, Monrovia where almost everything goes. In the streets, food items – biscuits, juices, apples, energy drinks and poultry products, among others are being sold and consumed by the public regardless of their safety quality.
It appears as though relevant authorities responsible to monitor food quality for public con-sumption are non-existent in Liberia. This has to change. Lest we should forget, food safety promotes a healthy society. The soonest we can legislate the draft food law and national standards act the better it would be not only for the current generation, but the future of Liberia.

San Diego County Declares Hepatitis A Emergency
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/san-diego-county-declares-hepatitis-a-emergency/
By Linda Larsen (Sep 4, 2017)
A Hepatitis A emergency has been declared in San Diego County in California. Public health officials have been tracking this outbreak for months. As of August 29, 2017, 378 cases have been diagnosed. Fifteen deaths have been attributed to this illness, and 263 people have been hospitalized, for a hospitalization rate of 70%.
The emergency was declared on September 1, 2017. The local health emergency will stay in effect for seven days unless it is extended.
Most of those who contracted this illness, about 70%, are homeless or illicit drug uses. Some cases, however, have been neither. The outbreak is being spread person-to-person and through contact with human feces. Officials have not been able to identify a common source of food, beverages, or drugs.
The county is asking that people get vaccinated against the disease. In the Friday news release, the list of people who should be vaccinated now includes people who handle food. Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer, told Fox5, “A person who becomes infected with hepatitis A may spread the disease to others before experiencing symptoms. In an occupation such as handling food, workers may expose more members of the public than workers in other occupations.”
The vaccine is also recommended to people who work in public safety, sanitation, homeless shelters, and service providers. The vaccination can be obtained from pharmacies and doctors. County public health centers will administer the vaccine at no cost. You can find a list of vaccine locations at SDIZ.
Health care providers are being asked to be on the lookout for this illness, and to inform the Epidemiology Program if a patient has the illness, or if someone is suspected of having the infection.
The symptoms of hepatitis A include lethargy, weight loss, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), clay-colored stools, and dark urine. Most people get sick about two weeks after exposure to the virus, and can remain ill for weeks or months. The illness can be deadly to anyone with a chronic illness, especially liver disease.
Unfortunately, people are contagious before they show symptoms. And since the illness is primarily spread through contaminated food and drink, food workers can infect many people if they are ill.

 

 

 

 

 

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