Beach Beat: A thank you note for the crew at the FDA
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/10/beach-beat-a-thank-you-note-for-the-crew-at-the-fda/#.WeWc9E66yUl
By Coral Beach (Oct 14, 2017)
It’s not unusual for this column to kick a little sand at the FDA. It’s not unusual for Food Safety News reporters and editors to grill the FDA’s staff and administrators. And, at the risk of sounding like Tom Jones, it’s not unusual for our publisher to cut to the chase when he opines about the agency.
That’s what the big guy did Thursday night when he got word that online retailers were still selling a contaminated peanut butter substitute — marketed as I.M. Healthy soy nut butter and recalled more than seven months ago when a multistate E. coli outbreak was traced to it.
“What the Hell?” was the headline on the Publisher’s Platform, quickly and passionately penned by Bill Marler. He posed a more specific question in the column: “So, FDA, companies, what are you doing?”
In less than 24 hours the agency responded, not to Marler, but to us all.
A public reminder telling consumers to double check their pantries and to not buy any of the flavors of I.M. Healthy branded soy nut butter or granola went live on FDA’s website yesterday afternoon. The notice included a reminder for retailers, in cyberspace and down the street from your home, that it is against federal law to sell recalled food.
It might seem like the least the agency could do, especially to the 32 outbreak victims across a dozen states who were sickened by E. coli O157:H7.
I might agree with that sentiment.
However, credit is due to the crew at the Food and Drug Administration, “crew” being the operative word there. I’ve no doubt that the FDA’s communications and outbreak investigation staffs spent many of the hours between Thursday night and Friday afternoon trying to persuade higher ups to do something. After all, they were grilled in early September after a food safety researcher in California reported she had ordered and received some of the poison non-peanut butter from Amazon.com during the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Then, in late September, there was a report from the mother of one of the outbreak victims, an 8-year-old California boy who ate the contaminated I.M. Healthy soy butter. He spent 25 days in the hospital as the infection ravaged his entire body and sent him into kidney failure. They don’t know yet if he has permanent kidney damage. What they do know is that he has several symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including attacks of anxiety and fear at mealtimes.
Erin Simmons said a friend of the family let her know during the last week of September the product that had sent her son to ICU was still on grocery store shelves in the Bay Area.
She couldn’t believe it.
Neither could I.
We were both just as stunned at the FDA’s generic comment that suggested the bad guys were the businesses, not the government.
“Thanks for bringing this to our attention,” an FDA spokeswoman said in an email response to questions from Food Safety News in late September.
“The FDA is investigating and can confirm product has been removed. We continue to follow up with online retailers and businesses as we become aware of recalled products being offered for sale. It is the responsibility of a recalling firm to ensure that a recall is effective.”
If it looks like a pile, and it smells like a pile …
Given that recent pile of steaming evidence, demonstrating the less-than-effective recall policies and procedures in place, I’m betting the FDA serfs had a relatively easy time getting the bureaucrats to OK the detailed public reminder posted yesterday afternoon.
I commend the government workers who championed the public reminder through the red tape, blue suits and legal eagles.
I condemn the money-grubbing individuals and business entities that haven’t pulled the poison from the stream of commerce and destroyed it.
I condemn the appointed and elected officials who continue to put profit above the public. Their trickle down approach has never worked for the greater good. We all know what trickles down: See above reference to steaming piles. These officials, who wrap themselves in the flag while helping to unravel the fabric of America with so-called deregulation they claim will give us safer and higher-quality goods and services, need to get a clue. An unregulated free market rewards business for providing the least and charging the most at the expense of the public.
I commiserate with the rank and file and middle managers at FDA. Their behind-the-scenes efforts through these kinds of episodes reminds me of one of a handful of quotes I retained from Western Civ 101. Actually, it’s the misquote of Voltaire’s original French thought that applies in this instance. I hope it gives the agency serfs some comfort. Their efforts are good more often than not:
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
How you can help FDA help all of us
Just as I believe business and government have obligations to operate with the greater good as a guiding principle, so do I believe individuals have the same obligation.
There are a couple of questions that I pose repeatedly to FDA employees. It doesn’t matter what they are. The answer is the important part. Unfortunately, because of the fear of reprisal, the answer has been off the record; until yesterday.
If you’ve got a question or concern about something under FDA’s umbrella, file a consumer complaint. That bears repeating.
If you’ve got a question or concern about something under FDA’s umbrella, file a consumer complaint.
All those people from the agency who have endured my repeated questions have told me the FDA’s policy of investigating and responding to consumer complaints is strictly enforced — and the best way of getting action in motion at the agency.
The public reminder about the recalled I.M. Healthy brand soy nut butter reinforces that message.
“The FDA will continue to monitor this situation closely and follow up with retailers as we become aware of recalled products being offered for sale. Additionally, the public is urged to report any product being offered for sale to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their region,” according to the reminder.
Editor’s note: Seattle attorney Bill Marler is managing partner of Marler Clark LLP, a law firm that focuses on civil cases involving victims of foodborne illnesses. The firm is representing victims of the I.M. Healthy soy nut butter E. coli outbreak.
Nearly 400 Hepatitis A Illnesses and 15 Deaths in Southeast Michigan
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/nearly-400-hepatitis-a-illnesses-and-15-deaths-in-southeast-michigan/
By Patti Waller (Oct 14, 2017)
Posted in Food Poisoning Information
Public health officials and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are continuing to see an elevated number of hepatitis A cases in the City of Detroit, and counties of Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Wayne, and St Clair.
Since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2016, public health response has included increased healthcare awareness efforts, public notification and education, and outreach with vaccination clinics for high-risk populations.No common sources of food, beverages, or drugs have been identified as a potential source of infection. Transmission appears to be through direct person-to-person spread and illicit drug use. Those with history of injection and non-injection drug use, homelessness or transient housing, and incarceration are thought to be at greater risk in this outbreak setting. Notably, this outbreak has had a high hospitalization rate.
E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak At Bread & Butter Farm in Vermont
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/e-coli-o157h7-outbreak-at-bread-butter-farm-in-vermont/
By News Desk (Oct 13, 2017)
An E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Vermont has been announced in a recall notice on the USDA’s website today. Two people were sickened after eating cooked beef burgers at an event at Bread & Butter Farm located in Shelburne, Vermont. FSIS was notified about this outbreak on September 30, 2017.
Traceback information indicates that both patients ate ground beef products at that farm during an event that was supplied by Vermont Livestock Slaughter & Processing in Ferrisburg, Vermont. Illness onset dates ranged from September 18, 2017 to September 23, 2017. FSIS is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Vermont Department of Health to investigate this outbreak and will release more information as it becomes available.
Vermont Livestock recalled 133 pounds of their ground beef products after this outbreak was discovered. The recalled product is 1 pound vacuum sealed packages containing Bread & Butter Farm Ground Beef with lot codes #072517BNB and #072417BNB. The beef was produced on July 24 and 25, 2017. The ground beef has the establishment number “EST. 9558” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were sold at the Bread & Butter Farm in Vermont.
There is no information on the status of the patients, their age, or whether they were hospitalized or developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a serious complication that can occur after Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections that can destroy the kidneys.
If you purchased this product, do not eat it, even if you plan to cook the ground beef thoroughly. Juices from the product can contaminate surfaces in your kitchen, utensils, and other foods. Throw it away in a sealed container or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Wash your hands well with soap and water after handling this product.
Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients sickened with E. coli and HUS said, “No one should ever get seriously sick just because they ate a hamburger. Producers and retailers have a responsibility to make sure the food they offer to the public is safe.”
If you ate at an event in September at Bread & Butter Farm, and have experienced the symptoms of an E. coli infection, see your doctor. Those symptoms include dehydration, severe and painful abdominal cramps, a mild fever, and diarrhea that is often bloody and/or watery. These symptoms usually begin 2 to 8 days after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria.
Ground beef is a risky food and should always be cooked to well done (160°F). Any bacteria on the surface of the intact cut used to make this product will be mixed all through it when the meat is ground. Then, when someone makes burgers using that ground beef and doesn’t cook the interior thoroughly, bacteria will survive that can make you very sick.
Children under the age of 5 are most likely to suffer serious complications, including HUS, after an E. coli infection. The symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, easy bruising, lethargy, pallor, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. If anyone is experiencing those symptoms, they should be taken to a doctor immediately.
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Live insect in dessert among Food Safety Authority complaints
Source : http://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/live-insect-in-dessert-among-food-safety-authority-complaints-1.3254256
By (Oct 12, 2017)
Food fraud included mislabelling of meat and poultry and wine sold as prosecco
A complaint about a live insect in a dessert and another about a deli worker sneezing into his hands and then making sandwiches were among more than 3,200 received by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland from the public last year.
Food fraud discoveries included wine that was sold as prosecco.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland Annual Report 2016 said its advice line received more than 1,120 complaints about unfit food, more than 860 about hygiene standards and more than 740 about suspected food poisoning.
There were also more than 220 complaints about incorrect information on food labelling and 60 about non-display of allergen information.
Complaints had increased by 17 per cent on 2015, according to the report, with food poisoning complaints up 45 per cent.
Contamination of food with foreign objects was frequently reported. Allegations included food contaminated with insects and glass, as well as other foreign objects.
A live insect was allegedly found in a packaged dessert, a long black hair was found in garlic sauce and a human nail was discovered in a takeaway meal. There was also glass found in a dessert, plastic rope in a takeaway meal, and a cigarette butt in a bag of chips.
Of the more than 860 complaints about poor hygiene standards, some referred to dirty customer toilets, others to rats seen on premises, some to dirty tables and floors and one case of a staff member at a deli sneezing into his hands and then preparing sandwiches without washing them.
The report said all complaints received by the authority were followed up and investigated by enforcement officers.
Professor Michael Gibney, chairman of the authority, said they welcomed the increase in complaints from consumers because food inspectors could not be in every food premises every day.
“Therefore, we rely on consumers to inform us if they have negative experiences when purchasing and/or consuming food,” he said.
Almost 370 enforcement notices were served on businesses last year by the authority, including for dirty premises, poor personal hygiene and pest control.
The authority’s annual report for 2016 shows 94 premises were subject to closures, and more than 260 were given improvement notices.
There were 34 investigations into food fraud, including stolen animals entering the food chain, sale of meat on social media from an unregistered source, mislabelling of meat and poultry, misleading sales of craft beers, and illegal description and sale of wine as Prosecco.
There were also 39 food alerts issued, the highest number in 10 years. They resulted in either product recalls or withdrawals from the Irish market due to the presence of a foreign body or pathogens. These included amphetamine-like substances in food supplements, plastic in confectionery, Salmonella in soups and Listeria monocytogenes in prepared food dishes, snacks and milk products.
Food allergen alerts were issued by the authority 28 times last year with milk, soybeans, eggs and nuts the most common allergens incorrectly labelled or declared in 2016.
Norovirus is a Nasty Virus
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/norovirus-is-a-nasty-virus/
By Denis Stearns (Oct 12, 2017)
Posted in Food Poisoning Information
Noroviruses are the leading cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis in the world and are estimated to cause 267 million infections and 20,000 deaths each year. This virus causes severe diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain.
Although often referred to as the “cruise ship” virus in the United States, noroviruses are an expensive and serious public health problem particularly among young children, the elderly, and immune-compromised patients. Now, in a new study published in Immunity this week, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have used a mouse model to show that, even in immunized animals, noroviruses can escape the immune system and still spread by hiding out in an extremely rare type of cell in the gut.
“Current vaccines against norovirus have been ineffective despite eliciting strong antibody responses,” said senior author E. John Wherry, PhD, a professor of Microbiology and director of the Penn Institute for Immunology. “Understanding the unique norovirus characteristic of hiding from the host immune system may explain its biology and present opportunities to improve vaccines and therapeutics.”
While most infected people clear the virus within a few days, some individuals continue to shed virus for weeks to months after. Such persistently infected people may be a source of outbreaks, but it was unclear why the immune system fails to eliminate the virus in these cases.
“The cruise ship outbreaks of norovirus are high profile, but it happens everywhere – daycare centers, eldercare facilities, and more,” said first author Vesselin T. Tomov, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Gastroenterology. “Noroviruses can cause persistent infections, challenging the long-held view that they are transient pathogens.”
The Penn investigators defined and tracked T-cell responses in mice infected with either an acute or chronic strain of mouse norovirus to gain insight into mechanisms of viral clearance and persistence. At first, they hypothesized that persistent norovirus infection caused T cells to become exhausted rendering them non-functioning, similar to other chronic viral infections such as HIV or hepatitis C. To their surprise, however, T cells remained functional even after months of norovirus infection.
The team then looked at the earliest stages of response by the immune system and found two phases to that response. During the initial days after infection, T cells reacted strongly to the virus and controlled it. But, after about three days, T cells could no longer detect norovirus in 50 to 70 percent of the mice infected with the chronic strain.
The researchers faced a paradox because the T cells responding to the virus appeared “ignorant” or “unable to see” the virus, yet there was continuous shedding of norovirus in mouse feces. To explain this conundrum, they next hypothesized that actively multiplying norovirus had been sequestered somewhere in the gut out of reach of T cells.
Tomov conducted a series of experiments to test that hypothesis. He eventually found evidence that norovirus does hide in rare gut cells that fail to communicate with T cells and alert them of the presence of the pathogen. “We found a novel escape mechanism where norovirus becomes essentially invisible to the immune system in the intestine while still producing large amounts of virus that is shed from the intestines,” Tomov said.
Coauthors at Washington University have found that norovirus hides in specialized, ultra-rare cells of the gut lining, on the order of only a few hundred cells out of the billions that line the mouse gut. These cells act as mega factories for norovirus production, while allowing the virus to evade the immune system. The team is now working on this aspect of norovirus infection.
These findings might help explain why norovirus vaccines being tested have shown limited effectiveness and also hint that future vaccines would need to elicit immunity that acts very robustly in the first three days after infection before the virus moves into hiding. The results also dovetail with the fact that no one has yet found an animal reservoir for the virus. “There may be some people out there who are living with the chronic strain of the virus and are persistently, yet unknowingly, shedding it,” Tomov said.
Next, the researchers plan to investigate how to improve protection against this virus by combining T cell and antibody approaches for vaccines. Identifying the cellular reservoir of norovirus may also enable the development of therapeutics to help prevent or purge persisting infection. In addition, testing whether similar mechanisms occur in humans is a major goal that will not only enable better vaccine development, but also help test for a potential role of norovirus as a co-factor in other intestinal diseases.
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK T32-DK007066, NIDDK P30DK050306, U01-AI-095608, U19 AI AI082630, P01 AI AI112521, K08-DK097301).
Chili cook off illnesses in VA
Source : http://www.barfblog.com/2017/10/chili-cook-off-illnesses-in-va/
By Ben Chapma (Oct 11, 2017)
No one thinks their food is going to make anyone sick. After 15 years in food safety that’s what I’ve learned.
I’ve heard it from restaurants, processors, extension folks, event organizers. Whoever.
Turns out, that’s just wishful thinking.
If there’s an event, like say, a chili cook-off, and folks don’t know how pathogens get in food and grow, someone is probably gonna get sick.
Sorta like what happened last week in Chincoteague, Virginia.
According to Delaware.gov, Virginia regulators are looking into illnesses after a bunch of people got sick following a chili competition.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) began investigating a gastrointestinal disease outbreak shortly after a number of people who attended the event developed nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Illness in a Delaware resident who reportedly attended the event, may be linked.
VDH, reached out to neighboring states’ health departments, including the Delaware Division of Public Health, and asked for assistance in getting their residents to complete the survey, whether they became ill or not. The survey can be found at https://redcap.vdh.virginia.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=RPPDH7DWDF.
VDH estimates 2,500 attendees from multiple states were present at the cook-off. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional questions should call the Accomack County, Virginia Health Department at 757-302-4268.
Raw milk producers refuse to believe positive Salmonella tests
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/10/raw-milk-producers-refuse-to-believe-positive-salmonella-tests/#.WeWePk66yUl
By Coral Beach (Oct 11, 2017)
The showdown in Washington continues between owners of the Pride & Joy raw milk dairy and state officials in regard to pathogens that state inspectors found in the dairy’s unpasteurized organic milk.
Tuesday the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) reported its latest test results, which confirmed Salmonella in the raw milk. Friday the department suspended the dairy’s license to sell unpasteurized milk until further notice.
Dairy owners Allen Voortman, Cheryl Voortman, Ricky Umipig and Cindy Umipig are challenging the state’s laboratory results. Earlier this year when the state found E. coli in their raw, bottled milk, the dairy owners said they are and have been the target of a cooperative effort between state officials and so-called big dairy.
“The WSDA is all over the news that all 4 of the samples they took with the best buy dates of 10/18/17 were positive for salmonella,” the dairy owners said in an emailed statement to Food Safety News on Tuesday.
“We independently tested all 3 of the batches we sent out 9/30, 10/4, and 10/18. All 14 samples were negative for salmonella. This lab has the same accreditation as the WSDA and is ISO/SEC certified and ran the tests according to the protocol that the WSDA gave our attorney. There was no lab in Washington State that would test our milk.”
The dairy owners attached a copy of test results from Udder Health Systems, an Idaho company that provides testing and other services for the dairy industry. The report showed 12 samples, not 14, had been tested. The tests for Salmonella were negative, according to the report.
Despite those findings, the state agriculture department is standing by its report, as well as that of the state’s health department.
“We are aware that they (Pride & Joy owners) have challenged the validity of our testing but we are absolutely confident our results are sound and of course, in this case, the state Department of Health made additional findings,” Hector Castro, agriculture department spokesman, said Tuesday.
“We took four samples on Oct. 2 and just received results. Of four samples obtained, we confirmed Salmonella detected in all four samples collected. These will be submitted to the Department of Health for additional testing. The suspension remains in place. Pride and Joy has been advised of these results.”
The state imposed the suspension of the dairy’s license to sell unpasteurized milk on Friday. The dairy owners were not available for comment at that time.
During the weekend the dairy owners posted a note to customers on their company’s website. As they contended in February when the state agriculture department found E. coli in their bottled, raw milk, the Voortmans and the Umipigs told their customers that state officials are not playing fair.
“There is no lab that the WSDA will recognize besides their own. If they truly cared about public safety, they would make it easier for small farmers to be able to test their products before distributing. They have once again required us to come up with an action plan before they will reinstate us,” the dairy owners said in their Tuesday message to Food Safety News.
The Pride & Joy owners say on their company website that there is no proof their unpasteurized milk has sickened anyone.
However, when the state suspended their license on Friday it cited laboratory tests that showed the rare strain of Salmonella Dublin that was found in the dairy’s milk this fall has the same DNA fingerprint as the strain that infected two people in January. Those people reported drinking Pride & Joy unpasteurized, organic milk before becoming ill.
The incidence of human infections from Salmonella Dublin bacteria has been slowly increasing for decades, but cases remain rare. From 1968 through 2013, Salmonella Dublin bacteria was responsible for one-fourth of one percent — 0.25 percent — of confirmed human salmonella infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control Laboratory-based Enteric Disease Surveillance system (LEDS.)
Pride & Joy owners remain unconvinced that their milk is connected to the infections.
“A sample of milk taken Sept 18th with a October 4th pull date that WSDA originally tested positive for salmonella, they now say to have salmonella dublin. Back in January 2017, the DOH found that two individuals sick with salmonella dublin claimed to have drank our milk. They are now stating that we are somehow connected to two people who were sickened in January from Salmonella dublin,” the owners say on their website.
“… The emotional stress, strain and financial burden has been tremendous to try and prove our innocence. If it were true that we were responsible for making someone sick, it would be a very heavy burden to bear although there is still no proof of this.
“… We will be sending out more information later to those individuals that would like us to email them. We would rather do it that way as the WSDA is quietly watching our page and the media has twisted anything we have said publicly.”
FDA Complaint Filed Against Michel Cordon Bleu for Adulterated Seafood
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/fda-complaint-filed-against-michel-cordon-bleu-for-adulterated-seafood/
By News Desk (Oct 11, 2017)
The United States filed a civil complaint against Michel Cordon Bleu Inc. of Los Angeles, California to prevent the distribution of adulterated seafood products on Tuesday, October 3, 2017. This complaint was filed in the US. District Court for the Central District of California. The Court was asked for a permanent injunction to shut down the facility which is located at 3625 South Western Avenue in Los Angeles.
That company prepares, processed, packs, holds, and distributes vacuum-packed, ready-to-eat cold and hot smoked fish and fishery products.
The complaint alleges that Michel Cordon Bleu and Michel G. Blanchet adulterated seafood products by “preparing, packing, or holding them under insanitary conditions whereby the seafood may have become contaminated with filth or may have been rendered injurious to health.” The complaint was filed on behalf of the FDA.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division said in a statement, “The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that seafood processors comply with laws designed to protect consumers. The Department of Justice will continue to work aggressively with the FDA to ensure that consumers are protected from potentially unsafe food.”
The complaint states that the FDA inspected Michel Cordon Bleu’s facility on many occasions, including twice in 2016. The complaint alleges that the defendants filed to comply with the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations by, among other deficiencies, failing to adequately control the risk of Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium botulinum toxin formation in their vacuum-packed fish or fishery products.
FDA’s testing of environmental samples revealed Listeria monocytogenes in multiple locations throughout the facility. Those samples were collected in January 2016 and in July 2016. The FDA alleges that the defendants did not manufactured, package, and store goods under conditions necessary to minimize the potential for growth of pathogenic bacteria. The defendants allegedly also did not monitor sanitation conditions and practices to make sure they were in conformance with current good manufacturing practices. They also supposedly failed to take corrective action that made sure that the product was not introduced into commerce.
Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs said in a statement, “When we find contaminants that can harm public health at a food manufacturing facility, we must take action to protect consumers. When necessary, we will seek legal action to ensure that manufacturers take steps to comply with food safety laws and regulations.”
Egg safety – we've cracked it, food watchdog tells Britons
Source : https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/11/egg-safety-weve-cracked-it-britons-told-by-food-watchdog
By Rebecca Smithers Consumer affairs correspondent (Oct 11, 2017)
Pregnant women, babies and elderly people can now safely eat runny or even raw eggs under new advice issued by the government’s food safety watchdog almost 30 years after the UK salmonella crisis.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it had revised its advice after a “thorough and robust” review of new scientific evidence found that those vulnerable to infection could now safely eat raw or lightly cooked eggs – provided they were produced under the British Lion code of practice – without risking their health.
A report published by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) in July last year said the presence of salmonella in UK eggs had been “dramatically reduced” in recent years.
This meant, it said, that the risks were now “very low” for eggs that carried the British Lion quality mark. More than 90% of UK eggs are produced under this scheme, recognisable by a familiar red stamp on the egg.
Advice since the late 1980s has been that vulnerable groups should not consume raw or lightly cooked eggs – or dishes containing them, such as home-made mousses and mayonnaise.
This was because the eggs could contain salmonella bacteria, which can cause food poisoning leading, in the most serious cases of infection, to death.
“The FSA has thoroughly reviewed the scientific evidence about the safety of these eggs, and we’re confident that we can now change our advice to consumers,” said FSA chair Heather Hancock.
The major reduction in the risk of salmonella in Lion mark eggs was testament to the work carried out by egg producers, she said.
“The measures they’ve taken, from vaccination of hens through to improving hygiene on farms and better transportation, have dramatically reduced salmonella levels in UK hens.”
The revised advice does not apply to severely immuno-compromised individuals who need medically supervised diets prescribed by health professionals.
“We know that the previous advice has deterred many women from eating eggs when pregnant, and from giving them to their babies, as well as denying older people the pleasure and nutritional benefits of a ‘dippy egg’ and home-made mousses and mayonnaise,” said Andrew Joret, chair of the British Egg Industry Council, which runs the British Lion scheme.
“The advice is particularly good news for these groups and will also enable care homes to put many traditional egg dishes back on their menus.”
The advice on UK eggs that do not carry the Lion mark, non-hen eggs and imported eggs from outside the UK is that they should always be cooked thoroughly for vulnerable people.
In August this year, UK supermarkets withdrew egg products from their shelves as it emerged that 700,000 eggs from Dutch farms implicated in a contamination scare had been distributed to Britain.
Fears over salmonella peaked in the late 1980s when 2 million chickens were slaughtered and pregnant women were told to avoid undercooked eggs.
In 1988 Edwina Currie, then a junior health minister, said “most” egg production in Britain was infected with salmonella. Her comments sparked a public outcry and two weeks later she was forced to resign from government.
Egg sales in the UK fell by 60%, leading to the slaughter of 4m hens, and the British Egg Industry Council called her remarks “factually incorrect and highly irresponsible”, saying that the risk of an egg being infected with salmonella was less than 200m to one.
But by early 1989 the link between eggs and salmonella poisoning was proved beyond doubt. Ten years later, the egg industry launched the British Lion code to shore up consumer confidence.
Adults opting to eat raw or lightly cooked egg are nonetheless urged to follow good hygiene practices in the kitchen – avoiding cross contamination, cleaning work surfaces, dishes and utensils and washing hands thoroughly before and after handling eggs.
The FSA said it was also important to pay attention to “best before” dates and store eggs safely in a cool, dry place such as the fridge.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Who Drinks Raw Milk Get Sick?
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/why-doesnt-everyone-who-drinks-raw-milk-get-sick/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 9, 2017)
Over the years, Food Poisoning Bulletin has received many, many messages from people defending raw milk consumption. Every one of these messages has used the claim, “I have drunk raw milk for years and I have never gotten sick.”
There are several problems with that statement: one is the logical fallacy of a small sample size. But first, some history.
There is a Salmonella outbreak that was just discovered in Washington state. Raw milk from Pride & Joy Dairy has teated positive for a rare strain of Salmonella Dublin that sickened and hospitalized two people in that state in January 2017. The dairy’s license to sell raw milk was pulled by the Washington State Department of Health.
Raw milk has been consumed by people for many years. And many people have been sickened and killed by the pathogenic bacteria and viruses found in that product. Before pasteurization was developed, millions of people all over the world died of tuberculosis, scarlet fever, typhoid fever, and illness from pathogenic bacteria transmitted through raw milk.
Pasteurization was developed in the late 1890s. This process was first used in the U.S. in the 1920s; it became widespread by the 1950. Before 1938, outbreaks from raw milk comprised 25% of all food poisoning outbreaks in the United States. Now, when pasteurization is ubiquitous, milk is linked to less than 1% of all food poisoning outbreaks (1). That is a hefty drop. Pasteurizing raw milk is considered one of the biggest public health victories in modern history.
Here are the facts: raw milk is a risky food, because cows carry pathogenic bacteria in their bodies, even if they look and act healthy; and because a cow’s udders are close to her anus. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria and other bacteria such as Campylobacter live in the intestines of many cows. Those animals don’t get sick because they do not have the gene that lets the bacteria attack their intestines. Those cows will appear perfectly healthy.
The bacteria are shed in the cow’s feces. The feces get on the cow’s coat, on her udders, in her bedding, and in her environment. In other words, bacteria are ubiquitous in a barn. Of course, modern farming methods have made barns cleaner places. But it is physically impossible to completely control and eliminate pathogenic bacteria when animals are present.
It is also physically impossible to milk a cow and ensure that no pathogenic bacteria end up in the bucket. The number of bacteria that can make an adult seriously ill are invisible to the naked eye. In fact, it takes just 10 E. coli O157:H7 bacteria to kill an adult person. Hundreds of those bacteria will fit on the period at the end of this sentence.
The only way to ensure that milk is safe to drink is to pasteurize it. Pathogenic bacteria are not present in every drop of milk. Pathogens tend to stick together and cluster in tiny areas of milk, which is why taking a sample of milk and testing is is no guarantee that the rest of the milk is pathogen free. One drop of milk can contain enough pathogenic bacteria to kill someone. Can we test every drop of milk? Of course not.
So, why don’t more people get sick when they drink raw milk? One answer is that many DO get sick. Between 1993 and 2006 more than 1,500 people in this country got sick after drinking raw milk or eating raw milk cheese. In the last six years that I have been editing this site, there have been dozens of food poisoning outbreaks linked to raw milk and raw milk products, with dozens of people sickened. Some of those outbreaks have been deadly.
Many of those outbreaks do not involve huge numbers of people simply because not many people drink raw milk. If you omit people who live on farms and drink the milk their cows consume, that number drops even further.
So bacteria clump into tiny particles in milk, and not every bottle or glass of raw milk will contain pathogenic bacteria. But here’s the rub: you will never know if the glass of raw milk you are about to drink contains E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, or Brucella. That is the risk.
Fred Pritzker, the food safety attorney who publishes this site, says, “Drinking raw milk is like driving without a seatbelt. You may never need the seatbelt. But when you do need it and you aren’t wearing it, the results can be catastrophic.” Fred has represented many clients who have been sickened after drinking raw milk, including one man who was paralyzed after developing Guillain Barre syndrome when he contracted a Campylobacter infection.
Just because you never got sick from drinking raw milk (although that is a dubious claim), does not mean that no one will get sick from drinking raw milk. The sample size of you, or you and your family, is too small to draw any statistically relevant conclusions. That’s the logical fallacy.
And you probably did get sick from drinking raw milk; you just thought it was the “stomach flu.” After all, most people who contract Salmonella infections never go to a doctor. Half of all people who get E. coli infections never see a doctor.
Unfortunately, the effects of food poisoning from raw milk can be life-altering and life-ending. These illnesses are not just simple vomiting and diarrhea. People have died. They have needed kidney transplants. They have become completely paralyzed. They have had strokes and seizures.
Those who are most at risk for serious complications from raw milk are young children, the elderly, pregnant women, people over the age of 65, those with chronic health conditions, and people with compromised or suppressed immune systems. Those groups should never consume raw milk or raw milk products.
In fact, sick children are the most tragic consequences of raw milk consumption; they don’t have a choice in the matter. Kids under the age of 5 who contract E. coli infections are most likely to develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication that can destroy the kidneys and can kill. Those are some serious consequences just because your child drank a glass of milk.
You can read more about the myths surrounding raw milk at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Scientists address myths such as the supposed superior nutrition of raw milk, unproven health benefits, and issues some people have with pasteurized milk.
Of course, you are free to drink raw milk and eat raw milk cheese if you’d like. Now you know the risks of these products and can make an informed decision.
But if you do drink raw milk, know the signs of food poisoning, which can include abdominal cramps, vomiting, fever, diarrhea that can be bloody, and nausea. If you develop these symptoms, see your doctor. There can be long term consequences of those infections, including high blood pressure, reactive arthritis, kidney disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
1.Lejeune JT, Rajala-Schultz PJ (January 2009). “Food safety: unpasteurized milk: a continued public health threat”. Clin. Infect. Dis. 48 (1): 93–100. PMID 19053805. doi:10.1086/595007.
USA Beef earns permit that stymied horse slaughter in NM
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/10/usa-beef-cuts-through-nm-environmental-issues-that-stymied-horse-slaughter/#.WeWfuE66yUl
By Dan Flynn (Oct 9, 2017)
Legal horse slaughter in the U.S. made its last stand at 3845 Cedarvale Road, six miles southeast of Roswell, NM. USA Beef Packing has returned to the once-controversial location to open the state’s only beef-packing plant.
The opening came with a ribbon-cutting and a warm embrace from New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. John Mulcahy, president of the local Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp., hailed USA Beef for making $5.4 million in upgrades at the former Valley Meat Co. and for bringing 57 new jobs to the area.
Gov. Martinez support for USA Beef’s move into New Mexico included $400,000 from the state’s Local Economic Development Act funds, used for closing deals to recruit new businesses.
Not previously known for moving quickly, however, is another state agency — the New Mexico Environment Department (ED). USA Beef got its groundwater discharge permit. The final permit is dated Aug. 21, 2017, and remains in effect until Aug. 20, 2022.
From roughly 2011 to 2014, a deal President Obama made with Congress theoretically made it possible for the USDA to provide inspection services for the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Valley Meat Co. came closest, but New Mexico’s attorney general’s office blocked the opening in state court.
Issues involving the state water discharge permit were a big help in blocking the horse slaughter plant. USA Beef faced the same issues. Its permission slip in draft form ran 22 pages. It was released June 9.
The New Mexico Environmental Department received 21 comments from eight “interested parties,” who are raising issues about the beef slaughter and packing plant that is not that much different than concerns expressed about groundwater discharge from the once-planned horse slaughter facility.
New Mexico ED does not hold public hearings or conduct environmental reviews before issuing groundwater discharge permits, which mostly go to agricultural operations. In response to comments on USA Beef’s application, state officials say “the bulk of blood and manure are required to be hauled offsite and disposed of following all federal, state, and local regulations.”
Groundwater is 10 feet below the surface and less than 150 feet from the South Springs River, which in turn is one mile from the Pecos River and near the Bottomless Lakes and Wildlife Bird Refuge.
New Mexico ED says USA Beef must re-certify the structural integrity of an existing wastewater lagoon. “Synthetically lined lagoons or impoundments are an environmentally sound way to dispose of facility wastewater,” the agency said in response to one submitted comment.
A former beef plant, the Roswell facility has not been used since 2012.
The newly refurbished facility will slaughter 150 head of cattle a day. New Mexico ED says the proposed discharge volume will be sufficient to handle the effluent. The storage capacity of 4.49 acre-feet is enough to contain 8,000 gallons per day for 161 days.
Jose Madrid is the new owner of the facility that will be operated by USA Beef. New Mexico ED says there is no evidence he has any ties to the former owners.
Some commenters remain suspicious about the possibility the Roswell facility might be used for horse slaughter in the future. New Mexico ED says discharge permits are transferable, but changes in the composition of the wastewater would likely require a modification of the permit and include the public.
Don’t let fall salmon run send you running to emergency room
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/10/dont-let-fall-salmon-run-send-you-running-to-emergency-room/#.WeWf5066yUl
By Michigan State University Extension (Oct 7, 2017)
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.
Dan O’Keefe, working with the Michigan Sea Grant program, holds a male Chinook salmon during spawning season on the Pere Marquette River.
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.
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