FoodHACCP Newsletter

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10/06. Quality Assurance Manager - Burien, WA
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10/09 2017 ISSUE:777


E. coli and Cryptosporidium Cases Rise in Michigan
Source :
By Linda Larsen (Oct 9, 2017)
Cases of E. coli and Cryptosporidium increased this summer in two counties in Michigan, according to the Health Department. Jennifer Morse, medical director of three regional health departments in that state said in a statement, “These increases are concerning because the resulting illness can be life-threatening. With the investigations that have been completed thus far, the major source seems to be coming from farm animals.” These illnesses occurred in Mecosta and Newaygo counties in Michigan.
Goats-Petting-Zoo-2This is important information, since we are approaching the time when many farms open their gates to tourism. Apple picking season is here.
Deadly food poisoning outbreaks linked to farms have increased in the past few years. In fact, in 2013, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak at Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton, Minnesota sickened a child. She developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and suffered severe kidney damage. The law firm of Pritzker Hageman won a $7.55 million verdict for her in court. At least seven people were sickened in that outbreak.
Ecotourism on farms is problematic, because animals that live on those farms carry pathogenic bacteria in their intestines. The bacteria are shed in the animals feces. Those feces can get on the animal’s hides, their bedding, railings, gates, and on the ground.
E. coli is ubiquitous in the environment. In fact, this bacteria is one of the most common bacteria on earth. Many kinds of E. coli bacteria are harmless, but some, known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, can cause serious illness and death.
Cryptosporidium is a parasite found in animals and humans. This parasite causes watery and explosive diarrhea that can last for months.
Both of these pathogens are spread when a person ingests a tiny bit of feces. This can happen when a child touches a farm animal, then puts her fingers in her mouth or eats a bite of a caramel apple. The Michigan press releases states that, “The local cases this summer point toward the host being farm animals that infected humans that had contact with these animals. There is often an increase of these infections in summer as humans come in more direct and frequent contact with farm animals. This period is when contact between humans and animals is most frequent given seasonal events such as county fairs, petting zoos and farm tours.”
To protect yourself and your family, do not eat or drink in areas where animals are housed. Always wash your hands well with soap and water after interacting with animals, particularly farm animals. If you do choose to go to a petting zoo or farm with your kids, watch them carefully to make sure they don’t put their hands in their mouths when they are around animals.
When you arrive, look around. Farms and exhibitions should look as clean as possible. Animal bedding should be changed frequently. And these facilities should have signage posted to remind visitors to not eat in barns and wash their hands after they leave. If you don’t see evidence of these actions, leave.
Don’t let your child kiss or hug animals. This is difficult, since baby animals are so cute.
Keep sippy cups, small toys, and pacifiers away from your kids when they are around these animals. They should be secured in a backpack or purse. These items often fall on the ground and can become contaminated.
Don’t take baby strollers into animal housing areas. The wheels can become contaminated, and then spread bacteria to your car or back into your home. When you get home, wash all clothing with hot soapy water, and clean the bottoms of shoes and strollers with soapy water.
All of these attractions should have hand washing stations, and those stations should be equipped with clean running water and soap. Use them when you leave the barn or animal area. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are acceptable, but not as effective as soap and water.
It’s important to know that young children are more seriously sickened with pathogens because their immune systems are underdeveloped. The elderly, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses, and those with compromised immune systems are also more susceptible to food poisoning.
The law firm of Pritzker Hageman helps people sickened at petting zoos,  farms, and fairs protect their legal rights, and get compensation and justice. Our lawyers represent patients and the families of children sickened with bacterial infections in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against these facilities, along with retailers, food producers, food processors, restaurants, schools, and others. Attorney Fred Pritzker recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed because she developed hemolytic uremic syndrome after she contracted an E. coli infection at an apple farm. Class action lawsuits may not be appropriate for outbreak victims because the cases are very unique.

Hepatitis A vaccinations available Monday at Ann Arbor restaurant
Source :
By NEWS DESK (Oct 8, 2017)
Washtenaw County Public Health and Cardamon, a casual eatery in Anne Arbor, MI  serving modern and traditional Indian Cuisine, are offering another opportunity to get hepatitis A vaccination.
The vaccinations will be available for a $20 fee from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday at Cardamon, the restaurant at 1739 Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor. Washtenaw County Public Health has confirmed a case of hepatitis A in a person on Cardamon’s restaurant staff.
Washtenaw County Public Health is providing information to alert residents and guests to the possible exposure and to recommend prompt hepatitis A vaccination or immune globulin (IG) to potentially exposed individuals. Anyone who ate at the restaurant or had carry-out food between September 16 and October 3 may have been exposed.
Public health recommends vaccination or monitoring for symptoms for customers who either dined in the restaurant or who ate carry-out food between Sept 16 and Oct 3.
Washtenaw County Public Health is working closely with the restaurant to vaccinate all employees and to eliminate any additional risk of exposure.  The restaurant owners and employees are cooperating fully with Washtenaw County Public Health, but do not have additional information or health recommendations to provide. The individual with hepatitis A infection is not currently working and is receiving medical care.
“While hepatitis A can be very serious, we are fortunate to have an effective vaccine available,” says Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, MD, MPH, medical director with Washtenaw County Public Health. “We encourage anyone concerned about potential exposure to talk with their healthcare provider or Washtenaw County Public Health as soon as possible. Vaccination is strongly encouraged for all eligible individuals, as multiple counties in southeast Michigan have seen outbreaks of hepatitis A in recent months.”
Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG) may protect against the disease if given within two weeks of exposure. Anyone potentially exposed to hepatitis should contact their healthcare provider to be assessed for vaccination or IG. Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers, at pharmacies and Washtenaw County Public Health. People who have had hepatitis A disease or previously received two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine do not need to be vaccinated again.
Monitoring for Symptoms of Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus, and it can cause damage to the liver and other health problems.  Anyone who has consumed food and drink at Cardamom since Saturday, September 16, should monitor for symptoms of hepatitis A including fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain or tenderness, nausea or vomiting, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin (jaundice).
Most children less than six years do not experience symptoms. Symptoms typically appear 2 to 6 weeks after exposure. Individuals with symptoms should call their provider or seek care.
The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. The hepatitis A vaccine is now routinely recommended for children at one year of age. Most adults, however, may not be protected unless they did so for travel or other risk factors.
Who should get vaccinated against hepatitis A?
Persons who are homeless.
Persons who are in jail or prison.
Persons who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs.
Persons who work with the high-risk populations listed above.
Persons who have close contact, care for or live with someone who has hepatitis A.
Persons who have sexual activities with someone who has hepatitis A.
Men who have sex with men.
Anyone visiting countries with high or medium rates of hepatitis A.
Persons with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.
Anyone experiencing clotting factor disorders.
Any person who is concerned about potential exposure and wants to be immune.
Pregnant women who may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus and who are not already vaccinated against it should receive both the hepatitis A vaccine and immune globulin (IG) to prevent infection. Washtenaw County’guidance is based on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
How is it spread?
The hepatitis A virus is commonly spread from person-to-person by the fecal-oral route. Most infections result from contact with an infected household member or sex partners. Sometimes, infections result from contaminated food or drink. It is not spread through coughs or sneezes. Anyone who has hepatitis A can spread it to others for 1-2 weeks before symptoms appear.
Frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom and before handling food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking food can also help prevent infection. Freezing does not kill the virus.
Outbreak in Southeast Michigan
There have been 341 cases of hepatitis A diagnosed in Southeast Michigan since August 2016, a sixteen-fold increase compared to the previous year. As of October 5, 2017, Washtenaw County has not been identified as a part of this outbreak. Public health does not yet know if this currently diagnosed case is related to the other illnesses.





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Pride and Joy Dairy License Suspended After Salmonella illnesses Confirmed
Source :
By News Desk (Oct 7, 2017)
Two people sickened with Salmonella Dublin and hospitalized in January 2017 have been linked to raw milk samples produced by Pride and Joy Dairy in Toppenish, Washington. The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) suspended that dairy’s milk processing plant license due to “ongoing concerns about pathogens in their retail milk product,” according to the news release.
In September, WSDA told consumers not to drink any Pride and Joy retail milk products because Salmonella bacteria had been found in the beverage. Pride and Joy at first refused to issue a recall, then did so a day later. The sampling was part of routine testing of all licensed raw milk dairy operations.
The dairy can still ship milk to other processing plants for pasteurization, but cannot legally bottle and sell raw milk in the retail market. Public health officials advise consumers to avoid drinking any Pride and Joy retail raw milk products.
WSDA also issued a Notice of Correction to Pride and Joy on October 5, 2017 because of pathogens found in the milk. In February 2017, Pride and Joy Dairy products were recalled after testing and sampling found Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria in samples of their retail milk. That testing was prompted by earlier reports of the Salmonella illnesses noted above. The dairy has until October 16, 2017 to request an appeal of license suspension.
Raw milk has been linked to many food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years. The milk does not undergo the pathogen kill step of pasteurization, which is the only way to destroy dangerous bacteria and make the milk safe to drink. Testing raw milk and not finding pathogens does not mean the milk is safe to drink, because the bacteria can clump in microscopic bits in the liquid. It is impossible to test every drop of milk before it is sold to consumers.
The Washington Department of Health is also warning consumers against the dairy’s products. Dr. Scott Lindquist, Washington state communicable disease epidemiologist, said in a statement, “Unpasteurized ‘raw’ milk can carry harmful bacteria and germs. Foodborne illnesses are possible from many different foods; however, raw milk is one of the riskiest.”
The unique and rare strain of the bacteria that sickened two people in January and that was found in the milk sample has been found among cattle and cattle products, including beef and raw dairy. Infants, young children, the elderly, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses, and those with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk for serious complications from these infections.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Symptoms usually begin 6 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria. Most people recover on their own, but some become so sick they must be hospitalized.
If you have drunk Pride and Joy Dairy raw milk and have experienced the symptoms of foodborne illness, see your doctor. These illnesses can have lifelong consequences.

Don’t let fall salmon run send you running to emergency room
Source :
Editor’s note: This column by Michelle Jarvie was originally published by the Michigan State University Service and is reprinted here with permission.
When I think of fall and the leaves start to turn, I think salmon fishing. September often marks the beginning of the fall pacific salmon migration in the Great Lakes.
Depending on where you are, there are three species available — king or chinook, coho, and in some places, pink. These fish have spent the majority of their lives out in the big lakes feeding, and are now returning to rivers and streams for reproduction.
Males and females migrate into the rivers and look for ideal gravelly areas to spawn. Once they spawn, their life cycle is complete and they die.
What does any of this have to do with food safety? Well, it turns out that almost as soon as these salmon enter the river systems, their bodies start breaking down. They stop feeding, and all of their energy is put into the reproduction process.
Sometimes you’ll see fish laying on redds, the term for where they lay their eggs, that have large portions of their body already “rotting” away, but their drive to reproduce is so strong that they will try until the very end.
If you are fishing and catch one of these “rotters,” and decide to take it home to eat, it can cause some food safety concerns.
Michigan State University Extension recommends the following tips to keep your catch safe this fall:
Avoid keeping fish that have visible decay, as their flesh may contain a higher number of bacteria than a fresher fish.
Keep the fish alive as long as possible. These salmon, especially if they are showing any visible signs of decay, are covered in bacteria, including their mouths. Keep your hands away from their teeth. Two hours or less between catching and cleaning is preferable to reduce additional bacteria growth.
Clean and cool the fish as soon as possible. The flesh will continue deteriorating as soon as the fish leaves the water. Have a cooler of ice ready to store your cleaned fish.
Make sure to use clean, potable water for rinsing cleaned fish. Keep cleaned fish on ice until further processing.
Use clean utensils when preparing fish.
If you’re not eating the fish right away, properly can, freeze or smoke your catch to preserve it. For more information on these processes, visit the MSU Extension website.
When cooking fish, always make sure to cook to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
Never eat raw or undercooked fish. Freezing or cooking fish kills most harmful pathogens, but there are bacteria and parasites that can survive the freezing process.
Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after handling fish.
Fall is a great time to get out there and stock up on healthy proteins found in our local fish populations, but be sure that the fish you catch is handled safely along the way to prevent foodborne illness.
About the author: Michelle Jarvie is an educator with the Michigan State University Extension Service. Her areas of focus include food safety and nutrition.

Chicken and Food Poisoning
Source :
By Linda Larsen (Oct 6, 2017)
Information about chicken and food poisoning has been posted on the website. This meat has been linked to several food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years. About a million Americans every year get sick from eating contaminated poultry. And Americans eat more chicken every year than every other meat.
Raw chicken is often contaminated with Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Clostridium perfringens bacteria. Undercooked chicken, or foods that are contaminated by raw chicken juices, can cause serious illness. You need to pay special attention when you have raw chicken in your home.
When you’re shopping, put the chicken into a disposable bag before you put it into your shopping card. I get a bag, then put my hand into it, pick up the chicken, and turn the bag inside out so I know I didn’t touch the package, because studies have shown the packages may be contaminated as well. In 2015, a study conducted by the Food Standards Agency in the UK found that 7% of package exteriors were contaminated with Campylobacter.
And always wash your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds after you handle chicken or chicken packages. Keep the chicken in the disposable bag when you put it into the fridge. Make sure that the chicken cannot drip juices onto foods underneath it.
Do NOT wash raw chicken. Chickens are cleaned before they are put into the marketplace. That doesn’t mean they are free from bacteria; it means you don’t have to wash them before they are cooked. When chickens are rinsed in a sink, bacteria aerosolize and can spread up to three feet away, contaminating countertops, utensils, other foods, and you.
Always use a separate cutting board when you are preparing raw chicken Never put cooked food or fresh produce on a plate that previously held raw chicken. Wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing raw chicken.
When cooking chicken it must always be cooked to 165°F. Raw or undercooked chicken is not safe. The trend for eating chicken sashimi is a recipe for serious foodborne illness. Use a food thermometer to check the final internal temperature of the meat. Color of the meat or juices is not a reliable indicator of doneness.
If you are cooking frozen raw chicken, such as frozen stuffed chicken breasts, consider not using the microwave oven. There have been several food poisoning outbreaks linked to these products over the years, including outbreaks in 2015 linked to Aspen Chicken raw stuffed breasts and Barber Foods raw stuffed breasts, and many recalls.
Many of those sickened in those outbreaks said they prepared the chicken as directed on the package in the microwave oven. Unfortunately, the microwave oven does not always cook food evenly and can leave cold spots. Treat frozen raw chicken just as you would fresh raw chicken: as a potential hazard.
If you think that the chicken you are eating in a restaurant or elsewhere is not fully cooked, don’t hesitate to send it back. Your health is more important than hurt feelings.
Always freeze or refrigerate leftover coked chicken within 2 hours. That number decreases to 1 hour if the air temperature is above 90°F. And remember that if you are on a picnic, coolers cannot chill warm food to a safe temperature; they can only keep cold food at a safe temperature.
Call the doctor if you have eaten chicken and have the following symptoms: high fever, diarrhea for more than 3 days, bloody stools, prolonged vomiting, signs of dehydration, including dry mouth and throat, dizziness when standing up, and producing very little urine.
Finally, always follow the four rules of Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill established by food safety experts. You can reduce your changes of getting food poisoning by following these steps.

State closes raw milk dairy; Salmonella matched to sick people
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By CORAL BEACH (Oct 6, 2017)
Health official says many foods can cause illness; however, 'raw milk is one of the riskiest'
State officials suspended the license of Pride & Joy Dairy today and again warned the public to not drink any of the dairy’s organic, unpasteurized, raw milk because lab tests have confirmed it is contaminated with a rare strain of Salmonella that hospitalized two people.
Until further notice, the dairy “may not legally bottle and sell raw milk on the retail market,” according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture, which suspended the Pride & Joy license late this afternoon.
“Health officials are urging consumers not to drink Pride & Joy Dairy organic raw milk in any container size or sell-by date,” according to the Washington Department of Health.
The dairy owners have until Oct. 16 to appeal the suspension. The state also issued a Notice of Correction to Pride & Joy yesterday because of the presence of pathogens in their milk.
“The milk processing plant, based in Toppenish, still has milk producer licenses, allowing it to ship milk to other processing facilities for pasteurization,” the ag department (WSDA) reported.
“WSDA took the step of suspending the milk processing plant license for Pride and Joy after tests by the state Department of Health confirmed that the Salmonella pathogens detected in the milk samples matched the unique strain, Salmonella Dublin, identified in illnesses that hospitalized two people this past January.
“In September, WSDA’s laboratory detected the Salmonella pathogen in samples from the dairy taken as part of the routine testing of all licensed raw milk dairy operations. Isolates from those samples were submitted to Department of Health for further testing, resulting in the confirmed linkage to the earlier salmonella illnesses.”
Dairy owners believe they are targets
The owners of Pride & Joy Puget Sound LLC were uncharacteristically quiet this evening after the Washington agriculture and health departments posted the new information. The owners, Allen Voortman, Cheryl Voortman, Ricky Umipig and Cindy Umipig, did not immediately respond to requests for comment today.
Since February the dairy operators have been denying that there are any food safety issues with raw milk in general or their operation specifically. They have posted statements on their company’s website and Facebook page saying they are being unfairly targeted by state officials, suggesting big dairy is orchestrating actions by state officials across the country to kill the raw milk movement.
Eight days ago, on Sept. 28, the Voortmans and Umipigs refused a request from the Washington State Department of Agriculture to recall a batch of their raw milk that was found to be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria during routine testing by the state. All dairies in the state are subject to such testing.
The Pride & Joy owners said no one had reported becoming ill and that the contamination could have occurred after the milk left their control — suggesting retailers, consumers, state inspectors and laboratory employees could have contaminated the unpasteurized milk.
Seven days ago, on Sept. 29, the dairy owners quietly asked retailers to pull the milk and posted a note on the company’s Facebook page telling consumers they could return the milk for a full refund. That batch of milk was produced on Sept. 13, bottled in various sized containers, stamped with a use-by date of Oct. 4, and distributed to retailers and drop-off points across the state of Washington.
Months of health concerns
Washington state officials began investigating possible contamination of the unpasteurized, organic milk being produced by Pride & Joy in January when two people with lab-confirmed Salmonella infections reported having consumed raw milk from the dairy before becoming ill.
When state inspectors collected samples of the dairy’s raw milk at that time, they didn’t return positive results for Salmonella, but they were contaminated with E. coli. The dairy owners recalled some of their raw milk, temporarily ceased sales, and worked with the state to clean and sanitize their operation.
At that time, Washington officials reminded the public that although unpasteurized milk can be sold at farm stands, drop off sites and retail stores in the state, it is considered a health hazard and is not recommended for young children, the elderly, pregnant women or people with suppressed immune systems.
The danger comes from the fact that without pasteurization bacteria and parasites that are often present in raw milk can survive, multiply and infect people. Washington state law requires raw dairy to carry warning labels to that effect.
With the confirmation today that the Salmonella found in the Pride & Joy raw milk in September matches the bacteria that infected people in January, state officials renewed their warnings.
“Unpasteurized ‘raw’ milk can carry harmful bacteria and germs. Foodborne illnesses are possible from many different foods; however, raw milk is one of the riskiest,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, Washington state communicable disease epidemiologist.
The state health officials referenced information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to back up their warnings. According to the CDC, states that allow the sale of raw milk have more raw milk-related illness outbreaks than states that prohibit raw milk sales. Federal law prohibits the sale of unpasteurized milk across state lines.
Anyone who has consumed Pride & Joy organic, raw milk and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should immediately seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms usually begin within hours, but can take up to two weeks to develop in some people.
Symptoms can include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and, in some cases, arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.

Is the Food In Meal Kit Delivery Services Actually Safe to Eat?
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By Renee Cherry (Oct 05, 2017)
Meal delivery services are definitely convenient, but there are some downsides to take into consideration.
At the rate that new meal delivery services are popping up, grocery stores could conceivably become a thing of the past. (Especially now that Amazon's getting in on the action.) There's now a meal delivery service for every dietary preference: vegan, low-carb, nut-free, you name it. It makes sense that the services are becoming so popular. Avoiding a trip to the grocery store is a small victory.
But with the overflow of these subscription services, some skeptics are asking about the negative implications—like the environmental impact of packaging and all those boxes piling up in your lobby. Another icky thought: Is the food really kept at a safe, cold enough temperature during transit? Not always, according to a Rutgers University study. Researchers interviewed more than 1,000 meal service customers and ordered 169 meal kit packages themselves. They reported that 47 percent of the food items arrived with surface temperatures above 40 degrees, which falls in the USDA's  "danger zone"—food that reaches a temperature between 40 and 140 degrees. Bacteria grows most rapidly in that range. Yikes.
The FDA has regulations to guarantee that food is kept safe while being transported, but once the food's been delivered, it's up to the customer to refrigerate or freeze it in time. The main food safety issue with meal delivery kits stems from the fact that most companies leave a large window of time for delivery and don't require a signature upon arrival, says Healthline's nutrition expert, Natalie Olsen, RD.
But before you delete your Hello Fresh or Blue Apron account, Olsen says that while the study does highlight some major food safety concerns, as long as you take the proper precautions, there's no reason to avoid these convenient services altogether. "You just want to be mindful of how long the food has been sitting outside, and if it's above 40 degrees or if there's any thawing or the meat is not fully frozen still, then that's definitely problematic and increases the risk for food-borne illness."
Basically: Only sign up for one of these subscriptions (or sign up for less frequent shipments) if your schedule allows you to promptly refrigerate the package. Olsen suggests not letting your order sit out for more than an hour or two. But regardless of how quickly you grab your package, check the temperatures of its contents. And if you notice any leaking or weird smells, don't take any chances. (Related: Do You Have a Stomach Bug or Was It That Food You Ate?)
"For the most part I think home delivery meal services are great because they help increase your nutrient variety," says Olsen. (Use these five tricks to get more nutrients out of your produce.) "You're trying new things instead of buying the same 20 to 25 foods at the grocery store. I think the positives outweigh the negatives as long as you're smart about not letting it spoil."

Clostridium Perfringens Likely Cause of Ramsey County Jail Outbreak
Source :
By News Desk (Oct 5, 2017)
The outbreak at the Ramsey County jail last month was likely caused by Clostridium perfringens bacteria, Doug Schultz of the Minnesota Department of Health told Food Poisoning Bulletin.  That outbreak, which occurred on September 9, 2017, sickened 137 inmates at the St. Paul jail.
Nurses treated inmates at the jail. No one was hospitalized in this outbreak.
Sample trays of food that were served for lunch and dinner on that day were tested for pathogenic bacteria. Clostridium perfringens was found in a sample of rice and in tamale pie.
C. perfringens causes food poisoning when foods are not properly reheated or are held at a dangerous temperature for a long period of time. Outbreaks usually occur in restaurant and institutional settings, where large containers of food are prepared, held, and reheated.
The bacteria produces an enterotoxin as it grows in food. The symptoms of Clostridium perfringens food poisoning include diarrhea and abdominal cramps Most people get sick within a few hours after eating food contaminated with the toxin. Most people recover within 24 hours without medical intervention.
This bacteria causes about 1,000,000 cases of food poisoning every year in this country. The foods that are associated with this bacteria include beef, poultry, pre-cooked foods such as rice, and gravy.
To prevent this type of food poisoning, it’s important that cooks and chefs know that foods should be cooked to safe final internal temperatures, and held above 140°F or below 40°F. That danger zone in between those two temps is conducive to bacterial growth. Large containers of food, such as rice or gravy, can get too cool or too warm in the center, and that’s when the bacteria starts growing and producing the toxin.

Are Foodborne Illnesses on the Rise? (+ Answers to 5 Other Food Safety Questions)
Source :
By Brian Barth (Oct 4, 2017)
Here’s an easy dieting trick: When you’re having cravings, head to and scroll through the headlines. You’ll quickly lose your appetite. “Papaya Salmonella cases top 200; more farms implicated.” “Chicago BBQ restaurant closes amidst Salmonella outbreak.” “More Campylobacter cases in Seattle; poultry possible source.” Chicken wings, anyone?
The food safety blog features such stomach-churning headlines nearly every day—their tagline is “breaking news for everyone’s consumption”—but stories about foodborne illness seem more and more of a staple in mainstream news outlets, as well (just ask Chiptole). But are we really having an increase in outbreaks? Or are we just talking about it more? Well, depends how you crunch the numbers.
I spent a lot of time this summer on (which I don’t recommend before dinner, by the way) while researching a story on the Food Safety and Modernization Act for our fall issue (see: Navigating the FDA’s Food Safety Maze). Proponents of FSMA, which was first passed in 2011 and is only now being implemented, bill it as a once-in-century overhaul of our nation’s food safety system that will drastically reduce the incidence of foodborne illness over time—the FDA expects to avert 331,964 illnesses per year, to be exact. But it gives the FDA unprecedented power to police the food system, which is why its detractors see it as an example of egregious government overreach.
FSMA places particular emphasis on fresh produce, specifically, how a farmer’s cultivation practices affect its safety, an arena in which the FDA was rarely involved in the past, except in the case of an outbreak. In fact, a massive E. coli outbreak that was traced back to a small farm in San Benito County, California is often fingered as the event that set FSMA in motion, and created the political will to get it passed in Congress. But as I learned this summer, there is ample room for debate about whether FSMA will actually prevent outbreaks that originate on farms—and plenty of evidence that it will cause economic distress to small, diversified growers.
Since the article raises as many questions as it answers, here’s a helpful FAQ of sorts.
How common are foodborne illnesses?
While the number of food-related deaths and illnesses are much higher in less developed countries, such as India, most Americans are surprised to learn how common outbreaks are in our hygiene-obsessed society. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million Americans, or about 1 in 6, get sick from foodborne pathogens each year. Of those, 128,000 are hospitalized and about 3,000 die.
What’s the difference between ordinary “food poisoning” and severe outbreaks that kill people?
Fifty-eight percent of foodborne illnesses are caused by norovirus—a pathogen responsible for the classic symptoms of food poisoning (debilitating, but short lived)—which often doesn’t spread beyond a single household. Extensive, multi-state outbreaks tend to be associated with more virulent pathogens, such as strains of E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. There are an average of two multi-state outbreaks each month, and while these are responsible for just 11 percent of all foodborne illnesses, they account for more the half of the deaths.
Which types of food are most associated with harmful pathogens?
Most people assume the answer is meat and dairy, which may be true when it comes to the 48 million total illnesses each year. But the CDC does not have the means to track every individual case of food poisoning and make a determination of whether it was the hamburger you ate or the salad. It does, however, try to determine the source for every major outbreak. When the agency analyzed data from the 4,600 outbreaks between 1998 and 2008, they found that 46 percent of illnesses were traced to produce, but that these rarely resulted in death. Meats are principal culprit in food-related deaths, with the largest number (19 percent) attributed to poultry.
Where do produce pathogens originate?
FSMA places an emphasis on policing produce at the farm level, but it’s unclear whether the bulk of blame lies with farmers or if we just need to make sure we wash our vegetables. The data is spotty, but there are a few clues. First, it must be noted that the CDC is able to determine exactly where in the food chain a pathogen originated only about 40 percent of the time. Between 1998 and 2008, the pathogen was found to originate on a farm about 5 percent of the time. Data from 2009 through 2012 show that number going down to around 1 percent. More detailed data is available for norovirus, which shows that 80 percent of outbreaks between 2001 and 2008 originated in places like restaurants and other commercial food facilities. Between 53 and 81 percent of norovirus outbreaks during this period were thought to stem from sick food service workers.
Are foodborne illnesses really on the rise?
Many headlines of late have suggested as much. The answer depends on exactly which types of illness you’re looking at; and the implications of the various datasets are often hard to parse. The CDC states that illnesses from six of the most common pathogens have declined by roughly one-quarter since the late nineties. But in terms of major outbreaks, the numbers seem to be on the rise. Lately they average about 24 per year, while in the early 2000s there were about 10 per year. When it comes to produce, the CDC claims that outbreaks have increased dramatically over the last several decades—455 produce-related outbreaks were documented between 1998 and 2008, more than twice the total number for the preceding 25 years.
Why are they on the rise?
That’s the million-dollar question. No one really suggests that farmers have somehow become more negligent with their hygiene practices in recent years, even though the structure of FSMA would seem to imply that. A few theories have been proposed:
Imported food is to blame. Indeed, we import more food than ever before, especially fresh produce, often from countries with less rigorous food safety rules, or at least fewer resources to enforce them. The CDC reports that outbreaks related to imported food have roughly tripled since the late nineties.
Organic produce is unsanitary. It’s true that organic produce is typically grown with manure, a common vector of foodborne pathogens, as a fertilizer. But research has not revealed a correlation between organic produce and increased levels of foodborne illness.
Excessive antibiotic use. In April 2015, 192 people were sickened by pork contaminated with an antibiotic-resistant strain of Salmonella, raising concerns that the overuse of antibiotics in livestock could make meat-related outbreaks more deadly.
Centralized food systems. Critics of industrial-scale agriculture point to the consolidation of farms and food distribution networks as the cause. It’s certainly true that an outbreak on a small farm that supplies produce to 100 families poses a much smaller threat to public health than an outbreak at a distributor that supplies produce to grocery chains nationwide.
In other words, the answers are multi-faceted, and, at this point, unclear. You’d think advances in technology would be driving these numbers down over time, but, in some ways, technology may be what’s driving them up. The ability to collect data on foodborne illness, and to link outbreaks with specific causes, has improved drastically, which may have as much to do with the increase as anything else.
One concrete example is that in 1998, when the CDC switched to electronic reporting for its nationwide Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System, the total number of reported outbreaks nearly doubled in the following year. Before the switch, the numbers had remained relatively flat from year to year. Following the initial bump after electronic reporting was introduced, the numbers also remained fairly flat, albeit higher overall. Thus, the alleged increase in illnesses may only represent an increase in information.

Here’s How the Trump Administration Is Quietly Undermining Food Safety
Source :
By Clint Rainey (Oct 3, 2017)
For a guy who likes eating fast food because it’s “very clean,” President Trump sure is blasé about making America’s food safer. (With so many important executive matters to tend to, he can’t find time?) After just nine months of controlling policy, he’s already gotten angry letters from almost every influential watchdog group — the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Center for Food Safety, the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention, Food & Water Watch, STOP Foodborne Illness, Food Policy Action, and even the nonprofit that publishes Consumer Reports.
The latest controversy? Politico reported yesterday on a “little-noticed” plan by Trump’s USDA to shift international food safety from an office where oversight makes sense (the Food Safety and Inspection Service) to a brand-new undersecretary post where it arguably does not. Ted McKinney, the guy who was given this post, which involves foreign trade, is the former head of a giant animal-drug company called Elanco, and effectively knows squat about international food safety. Critics don’t trust Big Pharma hack with America’s involvement in a joint U.N.-WHO food-safety panel known as the Codex Alimentarius Commission. A fight’s currently underway over whether to ban a cattle-feed additive called zilpaterol that Tyson refuses to use, and the European Union, China, and other countries insist is unsafe for humans. Unsurprisingly, McKinney has much more positive feelings about the drug, and food-safety officials from both the Obama and Bush administrations worry what will happen if he’s put in charge of the “food code.”
But, again, this is merely the latest example of experts getting alarmed at ways the president’s administration is chipping away at food safety. Here’s a quick primer on six others:
1. During the campaign, Trump very briefly threatened to eliminate what he called the “FDA Food Police” (capitals in the original). No one took the vow seriously, including staff — who’d scrubbed it from hours after it went live. But either way, the White House’s 2018 budget would still slash the FDA’s funding for food safety by $117 million, ostensibly to rein in “burdensome regulations” that are a “source of stagnation” in the economy. Also proposed: defunding entire swaths of the CDC that exist solely to ensure that food is healthy.
2. Two words: “Sonny” “Perdue.” Trump’s Agriculture secretary is a fan of factory farms, used to sell fertilizer, doesn’t believe in anthropogenic climate change, and believes his main job is to “roll back regulations” enacted by his predecessor. He’s also the Georgia governor under whose watch America’s biggest, worst-ever food recall occurred — bad peanuts in 2008 that killed nine people and tainted over 3,900 different products in 46 states.
3. Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide routinely sprayed on strawberries, broccoli, and apples. It’s linked to brain damage in kids, among other things; use on tomatoes was banned in 2002. Obama’s EPA suggested outlawing it entirely, but Trump’s crew has changed the federal government’s mind (20 days after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met with the pesticide’s manufacturer, but that’s probably random coincidence).
4. Meanwhile, students are getting poorer nutrition under Trump with or without a potentially brain-damaging pesticide. Perdue put an official moratorium on several of Michelle Obama’s key school-lunch policies, like a plan that reduced the sodium content allowed each year. He argues that kids throw the former First Lady’s meals away because they lack “palatability.” Solution: more heavily processed bread, and chocolate milk with more fat.
5. In August, Justice Department attorneys joined restaurant trade groups that want to dismantle New York City’s calorie-label law, suddenly taking the FDA’s side this time by arguing only that agency can decide “when and in what circumstances” menu labels are enforced.
6. Immediately after this, the USDA’s own inspector general lit into the Agricultural Marketing Service because the office, which is responsible for ensuring that organic imports are compliant, let millions of pounds of fake “organics” pass through U.S. ports.

IAEA to Step up Food Safety Work with Equipment Provided by Manufacturer Shimadzu
Source :
By (Oct 2, 2017)
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be able to increase its efforts to help countries test for contaminants in food thanks to a donation of sophisticated detection equipment by Japanese manufacturer Shimadzu Corporation.
At a ceremony today in the Japanese city of Kyoto, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Shimadzu Chairman Akira Nakamoto signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in the area of food safety research. The IAEA will receive the mass spectrometry equipment, together with technical support for method development, under its Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI).
The donated equipment is an important component of the renovation of the IAEA’s nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, in a project called ReNuAL+.  
The IAEA will use the new machine to train scientists from laboratories all over the world in applying state-of-the-art analytical methods to test for contaminants, such as pesticides and veterinary drug residues, in basic food products. It will also support IAEA research on reliable methods to confirm the origin of – and test for adulteration in – food. 
“The Agency supports food safety laboratories in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America and the demand for these services is growing, so this donation is very welcome,” Director General Amano said.
Food contamination and adulteration can pose a significant danger to public health, and the loss of public confidence in food products can lead to international trade bans and severe economic damage.
While advanced research laboratories have the ability to detect different types of fraud and contamination in food relatively quickly, such capacity is often limited in many countries.
The IAEA helps countries to develop and adopt nuclear and nuclear-related techniques for the control of contaminants in food – also including antibiotics and potentially toxic chemicals – in order to increase countries’ capacity to apply regulations on foodstuffs.
The donated machine is a liquid chromatograph with triple quadrupole mass spectrometric capabilities (LC-MS/MS). It can test for multiple contaminants in food samples simultaneously, and is a key analytical tool for laboratories concerned with food safety.
“Shimadzu has a philosophy of contributing to society through science and technology, and we wish to contribute to the advancement of global health and well-being by donating to the IAEA the equipment to support research and training in this area,” said Nakamoto. The Japanese company is a manufacturer of scientific, measuring and analytical instruments.
It is the first private sector in-kind contribution of equipment the IAEA has received under the PUI, which was launched in 2010 to mobilize extra-budgetary contributions in support of projects for the peaceful application of nuclear technology, particularly in the areas of health, food and agriculture, water and environment, nuclear safety and nuclear energy.




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