FoodHACCP Newsletter

Food Safety Job Openings

11/09. QA/Safety Coordinator – Phoenix, AZ
11/09. Quality Assurance Team Leader – Aurora, CO
11/09. Assoc Quality Lab Analyst – Cincinnati, OH
11/08. Food Safety Sr Specialist - Philadelphia, PA
11/08. Food Safety & Quality Supervisor - Dallas, TX
11/08. Quality Control Mgr, Senior – Brownsville, WI
11/06. Assist Dir, Food Sfty & Cons – Olympia, WA
11/06. Director of Quality & Food Safety – Salem, OR
11/06. Food Safety Auditor – Oakland, CA

11/06 2017 ISSUE:781


Together for more food safety in Europe and its neighboring countries
Source :
By (Nov 06, 2017)
BfR publishes the fourth updated edition of the EU Food Safety Almanac and the new ENP Almanac (European Neighbourhood Policy)
"To protect consumers, the responsible public institutions have to be networked together all over the world," says Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, President of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and German representative of the Advisory Forum of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). "We are aiming to expand international cooperation with the EU Food Safety Almanac and the ENP (European Neighbourhood Policy) Food Safety Almanac". But who is doing what in Europe and its neighbouring countries? The two up-to-date reference books provide an overview of the responsible public institutions and their administrative structures in order to facilitate collaboration on food and feed safety in the European Union and neighbouring countries.
The new edition of the BfR's EU Food Safety Almanac comprises 38 country profiles which were prepared and updated with the support of the EFSA Focal Points in member and neighbouring countries and by EFSA itself. The reference work covers all of the Member States of the European Union, as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, and neighbouring European countries such as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. The 4th edition includes Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo for the first time.
Within the scope of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and in collaboration with EFSA, the BfR prepared the ENP Almanac, which is being published for the first time. It offers an overview of the structures of the authorities in neighbouring states of the European Union and covers the following countries: Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova, Morocco, Tunisia and Ukraine.
The main focus of both almanacs is on institutions active in the assessment of health risks. Each country profile contains a graphic overview of the authorities' structures along with a detailed description of the tasks and activities of the institutions. Areas of responsibility are illustrated graphically by means of pictograms. In this way, for example, the reference works can be used to find out which institutions are responsible for the health assessment of dietary supplements, veterinary drug residues or genetic engineering. At the same time, readers can identify which ministries and institutions are responsible for risk management, how risks are communicated and to what extent risk assessment and risk management are institutionally separated.
This overview of the organisational links and cooperation within the European Union and its neighbouring countries not only facilitates the search for international partners, it also helps to avoid duplication of efforts and promotes the clarification of responsibilities.
The brochure is aimed at everyone who would like to find out more about the structures and institutions of food safety, in particular food safety agency staff, the media, consumer associations, food industry representatives, scientists and politicians.
The fourth edition of the EU Food Safety Almanac is available free of charge at the BfR website in German and English. Translations into French, Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese are to follow. In addition to this, a special issue of the EU Almanac for the community of Portuguese-speaking countries (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, CPLP) was published in February 2017. The ENP Almanac on European Neighbourhood Policy is published in English.
The brochures can be downloaded and ordered under the following link:

Food Safety for People with Diabetes
Source :
By Linda Larsen (Nov 10, 2017)
People with diabetes fall into the high risk group for food poisoning. That means they are more likely to have a serious complication if they contract a foodborne illness. Diabetics must be extra careful about handling food safely and eating safe food, so the FDA has published a booklet on this topic.
A diabetic’s immune system may not work as well as others’. And their immune system may not easily recognize pathogenic bacteria, creating a deli in the body’s response to possible infection.
Diabetes can damage the cells that create stomach acid, as well as the nerves that help move food through the stomach and intestinal tract. That means the GI tract in a diabetic could hold onto food for a longer period of time, which gives pathogens time to grow. And a diabetic’s kidneys may not work properly and may hold onto toxins produce by bacteria.
The pathogens most of concern to diabetics include Campylobacter, found in raw milk and raw and undercooked meat, poultry, or shellfish; Clostridium perfringens, found in foods that are left too long at room temperature, Vibrio vulnificus, found in raw seafood. The three bacteria that can cause the most health issues are Listeria monocytogenes, found in luncheon meats, raw milk, smoked seafood, and some deli items; E. coli, found in ground beef and raw milk and juices; and Salmonella, fond in raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, and meat and raw milk.
People with diabetes must make sure they never eat undercooked ground meat, poultry, or seafood. Avoid raw milk and unpasteurized juices. Surprisingly, risky foods also include uncooked fruits and vegetables and deli foods. The risk of these foods may depend on the origin of the food and how it is processed, stored, and prepared. But any food can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria at any time.
The booklet has information on selecting lower risk options when you shop or eat out. The riskiest foods include raw or undercooked meat or poultry, raw or undercooked fish or shellfish, raw milk, raw or undercooked eggs, raw sprouts, unwashed fresh vegetables, hot dogs and deli meats, soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, and pates or meat spreads.
When shopping, check “sell by” dates on food. Put raw meat, poultry, and seafood in plastic bags. Buy only pasteurized milk, soft cheeses, and juices. And get food home promptly after shopping.
Food should always be handled according to the four basic food safety steps: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. Wash your hands well before preparing and eating, keep cutting boards and utensils clean, and wash produce. Do not wash meats. Keep raw meats, eggs, and seafood away from foods that are eaten raw and avoid cross-contamiantion when cooking. Always cook foods to safe recommended final internal temperatures. And chill foods promptly after eating; within 2 hours.
It’s also good to know the symptoms of food poisoning, especially for those with diabetes. These symptoms can appear within a few hours, such as Clostridium perfringens food poisoning, or not appear for two months, such as Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning. Symptoms usually include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and nausea. If you do get sick with these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible.

Researchers Discover How Ground Turkey is Contaminated with Salmonella
Source :
By Linda Larsen (Nov 10, 2017)
Researchers at the University of Georgia’s Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center have discovered how ground turkey may become contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. They have found that Salmonella on the bird’s skin may be a “significant contributor to ground turkey contamination.” Turkey skin is often used as a source of fat when manufacturers make ground turkey since the muscles are so lean.
The study was presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Association of Avian Pathologists. That meeting was held in the summer of 2017.
Scientist have believed that cross-contamination with fecal material on the turkeys during processing was the main cause of Salmonella contamination in ground turkey. An earlier study published in the Journal of Food Protection in May 2016 found that the high prevalence of Salmonella associated with then skin of turkey parts could be a source for ground turkey contamination.
In that earlier study, 300 samples per type of turkey parts were collected and tested for Salmonella. Salmonella was found in 13.7% of drumstick skin, 19.7% of thigh skin, and 25% of chicken wing skin.
In the current study, researchers inoculated 1-day-old commercial turkeys with a Salmonella cocktail that contained five different Salmonella Heidelberg strains. Tests for Salmonella were conducted in lymphatics, tibiotarsus (a bone in the chicken’s leg), and in breast skin.
All of the muscle-tissue and tibiotarsus samples tested negative for the pathogenic bacteria. But 30% of the breast-skin samples were positive for Salmonella Heidelberg.
Five major Salmonella Heidelberg outbreaks linked to poultry products between 2011 and 2014 prompted this study. Those outbreaks sickened hundreds of people across the country. But those outbreaks were not linked to ground turkey or ground chicken.
The 2014 Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak was the largest. Those illnesses were linked to chicken produced by Foster Farms. At least 634 people in 29 states and Puerto Rico were sickened from March 1, 2013 to July 11, 2014. Thirty-eight percent of patients were hospitalized, double the normal rate. Four of the seven outbreak strains of bacteria were resistant to several antibiotics.
A 2013 investigation by Consumer Reports fond that more than half of raw ground turkey meat and patties sold at stores in the United States tested positive for fecal bacteria, including Salmonella. The National Turkey Federation disputed those claims.
The message for consumers in all of these studies and outbreaks is to handle raw poultry, including ground turkey and chicken, with caution. These items should always be treated as if they are contaminated. Wash your hands well after handling them, make sure they do not cross-contaminate utensils, work surfaces or other foods, and cook them to safe final internal temperatures. All ground poultry should always be cooked to 165°F as tested with a thermometer.



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Survey probes food industry fears about food safety changes
Source :
By News Desk (Nov 10, 2017)
What keeps food safety and quality operators up at night? Its a question about feelings not usually included in an industry survey, but the folks at The Acheson Group and Safety Chain Software asked it in their 2017 Food Safety & Quality Operations survey.
The Acheson/Safety Chain probe into these fears found the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) are about time and resources, but not as much understanding. The survey had about 400 respondents from mostly large companies in the U.S and Canada with 74.5 percent involved in manufacturing.
Anxiety is present in the survey findings.
“In rating the biggest barriers to getting a good night’s sleep, resources and time were the most significant challenges, with 80 percent of respondents indicating that both were either big barriers or somewhat of a barrier,” says the survey report.
“Conversely, 50 percent of the respondents indicated that regulatory compliance and understanding best practices and requirements were not a barrier to getting a good night’s sleep.”
Other topics covered in the survey involved supplier compliance, audit preparedness and overall performance of day-to-day company operations. About 95 percent of the survey respondents are either wholly or partially responsible for meeting both regulatory and non-regulatory requirements.
About half think they are achieving success with 48 percent saying their programs are being implemented to plan and 59 percent reporting that tasks are not being missed or delayed.
Just below 70 percent of the respondents said their company falls under FSMA regulation. A little over 10 percent were not sure, and 20.8 percent claimed they were not subject to the law. “This indicates that companies are likely still struggling with understanding FSMA rules apply to them,” said the survey report.
The report also said the survey turned up a broad “level of variance on degrees of preparedness.” One in four respondents said their company has yet to do a “GAP assessment” to determine where they stand.
The survey did find 73 percent of the respondents are certified or in the process of becoming of becoming GFSI certified. “Since GFSI standards are well aligned with FSMA Preventive Control Rule, this puts GFSI certified companies in a very good place for FSMA compliance,” the report says.
Half of the survey respondents reported finding it challenging to keep their GFSI programs up to date with current code requirements.
The Acheson Group (TAG) and TAG Canada is a global consulting service for the food and beverage industry. San Rafael, CA-based Safety Chain Software provides food safety and quality management for inspections, inquiries, and audits.

Food Safety Attorney Calls for Bartaco to Repay County for Hepatitis Vaccinations
Source :
By Bill Marler (Nov 9, 2017)
Posted in Foodborne Illness Outbreaks
Nationally-known food safety attorney Bill Marler calls for Bartaco to reimburse Westchester County for the hepatitis A vaccinations issued by county health officials over the past month. According to press reports, the vaccinations have cost the county between $75,000 and $210,000, which will end up coming out of taxpayer’s pockets.
“Hepatitis A is the only vaccine-preventable foodborne illness.  Bartaco should have offered hepatitis A vaccines to all of its employees and avoided this outbreak,” said Bill Marler. “Bartaco should now step up and reimburse the department of public health for the cost of vaccinating over 3,000 people.  Other companies in similar situations have paid for their error and relieved the taxpayers of the cost burden.”
Marler Clark has already filed a class action lawsuit against Bartaco, representing those who have received shots. The firm is working to recover costs for those who received shots privately.  Marler Clark has also been retained by some of those who actually contracted hepatitis A.  Those cases will be handled individually.
Hepatitis A is one of five human hepatitis viruses (hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E) that primarily infect the liver and cause illness. It is a communicable (or contagious) disease that spreads from person-to-person through fecal-oral contact, often from an infected food handler contaminating food. The cases the Marler Clark hepatitis A lawyers have been involved in have generally resulted from contaminated food or water.
An estimated 80,000 hepatitis A cases and an estimated 100 deaths due to acute liver failure brought on by hepatitis A occur each year in the U.S. The rate of infection has dramatically decreased since the hepatitis A vaccine was licensed and became available in 1995. Despite the decrease in hepatitis A cases nationally, Marler Clark has represented clients young and old who have become ill with hepatitis A after eating contaminated food or who were exposed to the virus and had to receive an injection to prevent illness.
•Alta Restaurant Hepatitis A Exposure Class Action lawsuit – New York (2013)
•Carl’s Jr. Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits – Washington (2000)
•Chi-Chi’s Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits – Pennsylvania (2003)
•Chipotle Grill Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits – California (2008)
•D’Angelo’s Deli Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits – Massachusetts (2001)
•Friendly’s Hepatitis A Exposure Lawsuit – Massachusetts (2004)
•Genki Sushi Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits – Hawaii (2016)
•Houlihan’s Hepatitis A Exposure Lawsuit – Illinois (2007)
•Maple Lawn Dairy Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuit – New York (2004)
•McDonald’s Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits – Illinois (2009)
•McDonald’s Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuit – Washington (1998)
•New Hawaii Sea Restaurant Hepatitis A Outbreak (2013)
•Olive Garden Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuit – North Carolina (2011)
•Quizno’s Hepatitis A Exposure Lawsuit – Massachusetts (2004)
•Red Robin Restaurant Hepatitis A Exposure Class Action lawsuit – Missouri (2014)
•Soleil Produce Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits – California (2005)
•Subway Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits – Washington (1999)
•Taco Bell Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits – Florida (2000)
•Townsend Farms Organic Frozen Berries Hepatitis A Outbreak – Multistate (2013)
•Tropical Smoothie Cafe Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits – Multistate (2016)
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.

Canadian raw milk crusader serving 60 days — on weekends
Source :
By News Desk (Nov 9, 2017)
Canada’s best known raw milk crusader, Ottawa’s Michael Schmidt, was sentenced Wednesday to 60 days in jail after being found guilty of obstructing a peace officer.
His conviction last month stemmed from an Oct. 2, 2015, incident at his Durham area farm when Schmidt and others confronted officers executing a valid search warrant.
Schmidt’s confrontations with authorities over raw milk have been ongoing for 22 years. The first raid of Schmidt’s farm related to its raw milk production was in 1994.
Walkerton Judge R. Menard said he was sentencing Schmidt to jail because interference with a peace officer is a serious offense. By sending Schmidt to prison the general public will understand that people must abide by the law, the judge said.
Schmidt was in custody for processing, but the court is permitting him to serve his time intermittently on weekends. His first day of incarceration is scheduled for Nov. 10.
Schmidt and other owners of dairy cows kept on his farm confronted representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Natural Resources in 2015 to prevent them from collecting items outlined in the warrant. Local peace officers accompanied them.
Charges were dismissed against Schmidt’s supporters. Under Canadian law, Schmidt could have been jailed for up to two years for an obstruction conviction.
Schmidt is also the subject of proceeding in a Newmarket court regarding the distribution of raw milk. The last hearing in that case was in June, but a judge has yet to announce a decision.
The Canadian Food and Drugs Act states:
“No person shall sell the normal lacteal secretion obtained from the mammary gland of the cow, genus Bos, or of any other animal, or sell a dairy product made with any such secretion, unless the secretion or dairy product has been pasteurized by being held at a temperature and for a period that ensure the reduction of the alkaline phosphatase activity so as to meet the tolerances specified in official method MFO-3, Determination of Phosphatase Activity in Dairy Products.”
According to Health Canada, the number of food poisoning incidents from milk has dramatically decreased since pasteurization of milk was made mandatory by Health Canada in 1991. Canada’s raw milk ban does not apply to cheese.

WHO Recommends Farmers Stop Using Antibiotics to Promote Growth, Prevent Disease
Source :
by Linda Larsen (Nov 8, 2017)
The World Health Organization issued a news release on November 7, 2017, recommending that farmers and the food industry stop using antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals to help control the development of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics that are important for human medicine are used in food animals.
The effectiveness of antibiotics is reduced when used on farms. In some countries, “approximately 80% of total consumption of medically important antibiotics is in the animal sector, largely for growth promotion in healthy animals,” according to the news release. WHO has been campaigning for these actions to help combat antibiotic resistance for years, and has warned that we are close to an age when antibiotics may become ineffective against human infections. Antibiotic resistant bacteria already sickens 2,000,000 Americans every year.
The release states that over-use and misuse of antibiotics in animals and humans is “contributing to the rising threat of antibiotic resistance.” Some kinds of bacteria that can cause serious illnesses in people have developed resistance to most or all available antibiotics. There are very few options in the research pipeline.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO said in a statement, “A lack of effective antibiotics is as serious a security threat as a sudden and deadly disease outbreak. Strong, sustained action across all sectors is vital if we are to turn back the tide of antimicrobial resistance and keep the world safe.”
A review that was published in The Lancet Planetary Health found that interventions that restrict antibiotic use in food animals reduced antibiotic resistant bacteria in these animals by up to 39%. This research is the underpinning of WHO’s new guidelines.
WHO wants to see the complete restriction of these antibiotics for promotion of growth and for disease prevention when there is no diagnosis of an illness. And healthy animals should only be given antibiotics to prevent disease if that illness has been diagnosed in other animals in the same flock, herd, or fish population.
Instead they want to see sick animals tested to determine the most effective antibiotic to use. And the medicine used in food animals should only be selected from those WHO has listed as being “least important” to human health endnote from those listed as “highest priority critically important.” The latter are often the last line used to treat serious infections in people.
The antibiotics that are considered highest priority include quinolones, 3rd and higher generation cephalosporins, macrolides and ketolides, glycopeptides, and polymyxins (also known as colistin). Those drugs are essential last-resort treatments used in multidrug-resistant human infections. WHO has published a list of “critically important” antimicrobials every year. The drugs are classified into three categories: important, highly important, and critically important.
Dr Kazuaki Miyagishima, Director of the Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses at WHO said in a statement, “Scientific evidence demonstrates that overuse of antibiotics in animals can contribute to the emergence of antibiotic resistance. The volume of antibiotics used in animals is continuing to increase worldwide, driven by a growing demand for foods of animal origin, often produced through intensive animal husbandry.”

Top Thanksgiving food safety tips
Source :
By Cox Media Group National Content Desk (Nov 8, 2017)
Thanksgiving is one of the most anticipated meals of the year, so make it memorable for the right reasons. Thanksgiving food safety guidelines include tips on proper storage, food preparation and temperature recommendations and will prevent your guests from ending up with food poisoning.
Follow these Thanksgiving food safety tips from the United States Department of Agriculture from the first trip to the grocery store to the final serving of leftovers.
Buying a turkey: If you are going to serve a fresh turkey, buy it no more than two days before Thanksgiving. Keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook it, on a tray that can catch any juices that may leak.
Thawing the turkey: The USDA recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator, but you'll need plenty of time since refrigerator thawing requires 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds. You can also resort to the microwave, following the manual's instructions very carefully, or the cold water method, which takes 30 minutes per pound.
"Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter," the CDC warns. "A frozen turkey is safe indefinitely, but a thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature.”
Be sure to remove the giblets after thawing and before cooking, and to cook the thawed turkey immediately if you defrost it using the microwave.
Cooking a turkey: Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before touching any food you’re preparing to prevent infection or illness spread. But don't wash the turkey! That only spreads pathogens onto kitchen surfaces. Keep raw turkey separated from all other foods and use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils to handle raw turkey.
Cook the turkey until it reaches 165 °F, using a food thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the thigh and the innermost part of the wing.
Practice safe stuffing: Even if a stuffed bird is a family tradition, the safest way to avoid food poisoning is to cook stuffing outside of the turkey in a separate casserole dish, where you can make sure it is cooked to a temperature of 165°F at its center (use a meat thermometer to check.)
If you choose to stuff your turkey, noted the USDA, you can still prepare the ingredients ahead of time, but you should keep wet and dry ingredients separate and chill the wet ones. Add the wet ingredients to the dry right before filling the turkey cavities and cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to assure the center of the stuffing cooks to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
The right way to handle Thanksgiving leftovers
For many foodies, Thanksgiving leftovers are the best part of the meal. They'll make gourmet renditions like crispy mashed potato and stuffing patties. But even if you just microwave green bean casserole and put together turkey sandwiches, the proper handling of leftovers is an important part of Thanksgiving food safety.
"Clostridium perfringens are bacteria that grow in cooked foods left at room temperature," the CDC notes. "It is the second most common bacterial cause of food poisoning. Symptoms can include vomiting and abdominal cramps within six to 24 hours after eating."
To prevent food poisoning from leftovers, follow this advice from the USDA :
•Get leftovers into a refrigerator within two hours to keep bacteria from growing on the food.
•Store leftovers in shallow pans or containers so they'll cool faster and spend less time at the unsafe temperatures between 40 °F to 140 °F.
•Never store stuffing inside a leftover turkey; store meat and stuffing separately.
•Don't eat leftovers that have been in the refrigerator more than three or four days. Consider Tuesday as the toss date. Freeze leftover turkey up to four months, the USDA recommends.
•Discard turkey, stuffing or gravy that has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours, or more than an hour in temperatures above 90 °F.
•Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
For more information about food safety (in English and Spanish), call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854. . It's available 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

Dairy surrenders license because of contaminated raw milk
Source :
By Coral Beach (Nov 8, 2017)
The owners of Pride & Joy Dairy have voluntarily surrendered their raw milk license because DNA testing showed that Salmonella infections in people who drank it matched bacteria in the dairy’s unpasteurized milk.
The move by Cheryl and Allen Voortman is a reversal of their plan to fight a license suspension imposed by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) on Oct. 6. Since February, the couple has repeatedly said there was nothing wrong with their unpasteurized milk and that they were being unfairly targeted. They suggested the “big dairy” industry had influenced state officials.
Top officials with WSDA signed off on the “Final Order” in the licensing proceeding on Monday. The Voortmans had signed the “Agreed Order” on Nov. 2. The couple can still produce milk and they retain their organic certification, Hector Castro of the WSDA’s Administrative Regulations Program staff told Food Safety News on Wednesday.
Neither the Voortmans nor an attorney who has been advising them had responded to Food Safety News’ requests for comment as of 6 p.m. EST today.
Gonzales said the Pride & Joy owners can still sell raw milk to processors for pasteurization and retail sales. The final order only applies to retail sales of their unpasteurized, raw milk. Washington state is one of the few states that allow sales of raw milk by retailers.
“Before the department will approve a complete application for a milk processing plant license at 56721 U.S. Highway 97 in Toppenish, WA, Pride & Joy must submit a written plan of action approved by the department,” according to the order signed by Candace Jacobs, assistant director of WSAD’s Food Safety Program, and Administrative Regulations Manager Elizabeth McNagny.
“Before the department will approve a complete application for a milk processing plant license, … Pride & Joy must submit a written plan of action approved but he Department that contains the following information:
•Specific investigative steps taken to identify the cause of the presence of pathogens in its finished, bottled retail raw milk product;
•Specific findings for its investigative steps taken; and
•Specific corrections Pride & Joy has taken to reduce the risk of producing and processing adulterated retail raw milk products.”
Timeline of events in Final Order
Washington State’s Department of Health (DOH) informed the WSDA on Jan. 27 of two cases of Salmonella Dublin in people who consumed Pride and Joy’s raw milk. (Editor’s note: The dairy’s on-hand milk in February did not test positive for Salmonella Dublin, but it did test positive for E. coli bacteria. Samples of milk consumed by the sick people was not available for testing.)
The WSDA sent a food safety officer to the dairy to secure a sample of Pride & Joy retail raw milk on Sept. 18. The sample was a half-gallon container with a “pull date” of Oct. 4. The sample was sent to the health department’s laboratory for testing. On Sept. 27 the lab determined the sample Salmonella.
The agriculture department also secured four one-gallon samples of Pride & Joy retail raw milk on Oct. 2. The samples had a pull date of Oct.18. On October 9, the health department lab determined the sample contained, Salmonella.
The health department laboratories used pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to confirm the specific serotype as Salmonella Dublin. Salmonella from the Sept.18 retail raw milk sample is indistinguishable from the Salmonella Dublin isolates detected in lab samples collected from two people who were infected in January.
(Editor’s note: On Sept. 28 the WSDA issued a public health alert about Pride & Joy raw milk because the dairy owners refused to initiate a voluntary recall.)
On Oct. 6, the agriculture department issued a “Summary Suspension” of Pride & Joy’s milk processing plant license.
The health department lab used PFGE to confirm that the Salmonella Dublin isolate from each of the four retail milk samples collected Oct. 2. The isolate “was indistinguishable from the Salmonella Dublin isolates collected and reported by DOH.” The health department informed the agriculture department of the PFGE results on Oct. 20.
On Oct.25 the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its whole genome sequencing test results for the seven total isolates collected during the investigation. The final interpretation provided by CDC indicated that all five isolates appeared to be related “within zero to two Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms.”
Pride & Joy chose to surrender its milk processing plant license in lieu of contesting its summary suspension and a revocation proceeding and signed an agreement Nov. 2.

Top Reasons to Pursue a Food Safety Management System
Source :
By Roberto Bellavia (Nov 7, 2017)
Top Reasons to Pursue a Food Safety Management System
Designing and implementing a compliant food safety management system (FSMS) can help organizations improve in many areas beyond the system’s defined tasks. It is critical for management to align the food safety objectives with the business needs for a successful and meaningful program implementation. Here are some of the top reasons why companies that work in the food industry may want to pursue developing and implementing an FSMS:
10. Identify and categorize the organization’s food safety risks.
Once this information is known, management can prioritize and decide how to eliminate or reduce business risks and liabilities to acceptable levels. These risks are often better controlled through strict management accounting. As a bonus, employees will become more attuned to thinking about risks and helping management improve overall operations.
9.  Develop work instructions and/or procedures to guide employees’ actions and to ensure that each food safety task is completed in a disciplined manner and approved by management.
This will reduce the risk to an organization of an employee accidently making a food safety mistake that causes the employee or others to be harmed (or worse). It also reduces the company’s risk of government inspections, fines, poor public perception, and loss of business due to a possible recall.
8. Assure management that they, in fact, know and understand the regulatory food safety requirements that must be met daily.
These requirements can be a driver of continual improvement by ensuring that the company has up-to-date procedures and work instructions for employees to follow every day.
7. Develop meaningful goals and objectives that drive food safety performance improvements and possibly reduce additional costs.
Each business will have different goals and these goals will likely change each year. Goals assure continuous improvement in food safety performance for the business over time.
6. Create a strong training and educational program that stems from well-written procedures and work instructions and the clearly defines the company’s requirements.
A well-trained workforce is a motivated and happy workforce. Turnover is reduced, accidents and incidents are reduced and production efficiencies increase. Employees are very aware when an organization takes time to ensure that each job requested is completed in the safest manner possible.
5. Develop appropriate monitoring and measurement practices.
Once all food safety requirements are known and understood, the organization will be able to gauge food safety performance based on scientific data and regulations and guide the organization’s actions in a direction of continuous improvement and compliance.
4. Verify that the FSMS is functioning as designed and implemented.
By continuously auditing each food safety program and function, the organization will discover issues of concern and nonconformances prior to an incident or agency/certifying body finding. Routine, nonbiased audits allow the company to choose a timeframe that will help improve the situation without undue influence by outsiders.
3. Monitor and trend issues of concern and/or non-conformance and the actions used to rectify each identified situation through a fully functioning corrective/preventive action program.
As employees watch management fix problems, they will learn that management is concerned about continuous improvement. This will prompt employees to start making their own improvement suggestions. These suggestions will further drive improvement in areas outside the original FSMS.
2. Evaluate the business model and the FSMS in a holistic fashion.
By using this self-reflection and identifying improvement opportunities, management can direct responsibilities for improvement actions across many departments of the company. Each of these improvement opportunities has the potential to help the bottom line and reduce the possibility of a food safety liability now or in the future.
1. Know and believe that the company has done everything possible to maintain the business in a manner that meets all food safety rules and regulations.
The last and most important benefit for an organization that goes through the process of designing and implementing a compliant FSMS is knowing that the organization has done everything possible to maintain its business in a manner that meets all food safety laws, regulations and statutes every day the doors are open for business. To a business owner, that knowledge is priceless. This is how brands are built and how they maintain the promise of food safety to consumers.
Roberto Bellavia is a senior consultant with nearly 20 years of experience working in the food industry as a quality assurance professional. He is currently a project manager for Kestrel’s food safety-related projects.

Technology’s Role in Eradicating Foodborne Illness
Source :
By Mahni Ghorashi (Nov 6, 2017)
Technology’s Role in Eradicating Foodborne Illness
Food recalls cost an average of $15 million per incident and cause significant harm to brands’ reputation and credibility. They can also cause significant harm to individuals. In the U.S. alone, foodborne illnesses make 48 million people sick and are responsible for 3,000 fatalities every year.[1] Investment in best practices, effective consumer education, and responsible regulation continue to be vital to combating these costly outbreaks.
We’re also entering an era in the history of food safety when new technologies hold more promise and transformative potential than ever before. Technology is poised to help the food industry finally realize the long-term goal of nearly eradicating foodborne illness.
While we’re seeing advancements in many exciting places, three technologies in particular—Blockchain, the industrial internet of things (IoT), and next-generation sequencing (NGS)—will radically help the industry strengthen their food safety programs, deter food fraud, and improve tracebacks and recalls.
Blockchain: Food Safety as a Cooperative Effort
The number of companies and governments announcing tests or deployments of blockchain technologies dramatically surged over the course of 2016. It’s a market that is expected to reach $7.74 billion by 2024.[2]
The compelling use-case for blockchain technology is that it gives organizations the ability to record and secure arbitrary and disparate kinds of data. There are obvious use-cases for medical records, transaction processing, identifying management and banking. Food safety, too, is poised to benefit from this new method of data management.
In late October, Walmart began testing a blockchain co-developed by IBM. The goal? To create a far more efficient and effective way to monitor its food supply chain and mobilize quickly when something goes wrong.
But IBM and Walmart aren’t the only ones trying to take advantage of this new technology. We’re already starting to see several start-ups enter the space, including Provenance and, both companies empowering brands to be more transparent and connected across the supply chain.
If we look at traceability done well in the food industry, we see examples where it is possible to identify—down to a specific time and location—where the problem happened and isolate the products that need to be recalled.
Blockchain will exponentially amplify this traceability. The ability to securely share and track data across organizations, across continents, from farm to processing plant to grocery store shelves, means the food safety industry will gain unprecedented insight into exactly what’s going on in our supply chains.
Industrial IoT: Data from Farm to Table
The rise of the industrial internet of things has helped prompt widespread innovation in sensor technologies that accurately and consistently capture and communicate data. Advances in networking, storage, and processing have created a mass market for sensors delivering real-time data from across the food supply chain.
We’re starting to see commercially viable sensors that not only advance computer vision but also enable machines to hear, feel, taste, and even smell. These new categories of sensors now allow us to tap into whole new layers of data.
In agriculture, sophisticated sensors are becoming an increasingly key component of precision agriculture or site-specific crop management. A recently founded startup, Raptor Maps, creates harvest monitors that make sense of drone imaging and thermal sensor data to empower farmers to make better decisions about the fertilizers and other inputs they apply to their fields.
Aromyx is using synthetic DNA and advanced robotics to build sensor systems and a platform for the digital capture, indexing, and search of scent and taste data. The company’s EssenceChip™ is a taste and scent sensor in the form of a disposable biochip consisting of human olfactory and taste receptors. The sensor actually outputs the same biochemical signals that the human nose or tongue sends to the brain when smelling or tasting a food or beverage.
Aromyx is also building an online database of taste and scent data that can be leveraged to train new machine-learning models and generate new insights relevant to food manufacturers.
There’s every reason to believe that the net-new data gathered by innovative sensors will be leveraged to build safer food manufacturing plants that will operate more efficiently, monitor for unintended contamination, and protect against food fraud. Each one of these potentialities would strengthen food safety programs and help brands identify problems more accurately and earlier.
NGS: Proactive Food Safety
NGS is another technology poised to have a major impact on food safety. The costs and turnaround times of NGS have decreased to the point where this technology is fast becoming commercially viable. As the food industry continues to adopt NGS, we’ll continue to see dramatic improvements in food safety testing.
NGS is something of a catchall term describing the most modern, parallel, high-throughput DNA sequencing available. NGS has greatly reduced the time and cost of DNA and RNA sequencing, revolutionizing both the study and application of genomics and molecular biology.
It can sequence hundreds of samples at a time and generates up to 25 million reads per a single experiment. This level of information makes it possible to identify pathogens at the strain level even in mixed-ingredient and packaged foods.
NGS-based food tests and software analytics have potential to significantly improve the scalability and accessibility of food safety and quality measures.
A study conducted by the American Proficiency Institute that analyzed the results from 39,500 food proficiency tests conducted between 1999 and 2012 found that routine pathogen testing with NGS detected 100 percent of target genomes, while PCR or antigen/antibody based methods detected 98 percent to 99 percent of target genomes. At scales of hundreds of thousands of tests per year, the reduction in number of false-negative rates, each a potential recall, is substantial. Furthermore, conversations with global food testing labs confirm false positives can range anywhere from 5 percent to 50 percent of the time. While not a food safety concern, false positives are a nuisance and can result in operational and inventory holding costs, as well as short-supply penalties.
NGS is now poised to replace PCR and antigen-based methods as the standard in food safety testing. PCR-based tests have higher limits of detection and cannot be used to distinguish between closely related species. NGS-based tests, on the other hand, have very low limits of detection; the increased sensitivity of NGS produces more accurate results along with much higher levels of specificity and resolution in a single unified test. This results in more actionable information, faster and at lower costs.
The result of NGS adoption will be bulletproof food safety testing programs that provide unprecedented insight into supply chains at a rate and scale never experienced before.
The food industry is home to farmers, manufacturers, commodity brokers, distributors, retailers, consumers, geneticists and entrepreneurs, among others. In most cases, moving food from farm to table is an incredible feat of horizontal integration.
We’ve never had as much data as we do now, but for the most part, our data remain siloed and underutilized.
To have a chance at eradicating foodborne illness, the food industry needs to not only leverage today’s data collection technologies, testing capabilities and analytics but also coordinate our efforts to build a comprehensive view of food safety across the global food industry.
The technologies outlined here will enhance food safety in vastly different ways. What they have in common is their power to bring unprecedented levels of transparency and insight. On the foundation of increased transparency, we will build a safer food future. These technologies give hope that we’re already moving in the right direction.
Mahni Ghorashi is the co-founder and CCO of Clear Labs, where he leads product, sales and marketing.
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Meat Industry Not Pleased with New San Francisco Ordinance
Source :
By Staff (Nov 6, 2017)
Meat Industry Not Pleased with New San Francisco Ordinance
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently passed Ordinance No. 170763—Environment Code: Antibiotic Use in Food Animals—that will require large grocery stores to submit reports that detail the use of antibiotics in the livestock they use for meat and poultry products.
The ordinance reads:
Ordinance amending the Environment Code to require certain retailers of raw meat and poultry to report the use of antibiotics in such products to the Department of the Environment, and require City departments to report the use of antibiotics in raw meat and poultry purchased by the City to the Department of the Environment.
Specifically, the ordinance will require grocery stores to report the following:
•the different purposes for which antibiotics are used
•whether or not the use has a Third-Party Certification
•the average number of days of antibiotic use per animal
•the percentage of animals treated with antibiotics
•the number of animals raised
•the total volume of antibiotics administered
•Which antibiotics used are “medically important”, vs. the ones used that are not
Feedback across the meat industry has been largely unfavorable.
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) released a statement calling San Francisco’s ordinance “expensive” and “duplicative.” The statement also says that FMI is “disappointed that in the passage of this ordinance, the Board did not take into consideration the concerns of the city’s grocers, their customers, or the commonsense modifications proposed by FMI to exempt products marked as USDA certified organic, ‘Raised without Antibiotics’ or an approved variation of this nomenclature.” 
The North American Meat Institute calls the ordinance “a recipe for disaster.”
Overall, say that the work required to keep up with the new ordinance will be expensive, ultimately causing meat and poultry prices to increase. Another criticism is that the ordinance will have no obvious benefit on the state of public health. Others say that livestock recordkeeping and reporting requirements already put in place by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (and suggested by FMI) are sufficient, making San Francisco’s ordinance unnecessary.
FMI says that despite their disappointment with San Francisco’s ordinance, they will continue to play a role in the rule-making process.

Food Safety and Security Initiatives Being Driven Around the Globe
Source :
By (Nov 4, 2017)
As the food industry continues to expand its global footprint and capacities, numerous initiatives are being driven by public and private stakeholders and partnerships. Following are a few of the most recent from sources around the world:
Africa, Asia and Latin America. Syngenta and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support agriculture and food security activities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
This renewed collaboration, which started in 2013, aims to promote food security among smallholder farmers by cooperating on improving research and development, technology adoption and farmer know-how to boost farm productivity, while also tackling new challenges like the recent invasion of the fall armyworm pest in Africa.
A key focus will be to improve the capacity of smallholder farmers to trial, adopt and safely use inputs to boost their yields as well as identifying and equipping young men and women interested in farming as a business. Selected projects will incorporate the use of advanced digital and satellite technology to enhance pest prediction and surveillance, support decision making and improve project evaluation. Programs on environmental sustainability and smallholder capacity training will further underpin Syngenta’s Good Growth Plan.
“We place great value on our continued partnership with USAID, which has helped us reach and train more smallholder farmers across the world than we would have been able to achieve alone,” said Syngenta CEO Erik Fyrwald. “USAID’s work in supporting partnerships like this helps deliver real change for farmers in terms of sustainability and profitability.”
South Asia. The current food regulations in South Asia were developed four to five decades ago. They are based on inspection of the end product and laboratory analysis which are simply unable to cope with the latest WTO requirements. However, all member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) except Nepal have modernized and harmonized their national food legislations with Codex Alimentarius (Food Code) guidelines. A proactive or preventive aspect of food safety management is neither covered by the regulatory mechanism nor practiced by manufacturers and agribusiness enterprises. Such aspects of preventive mechanism and quality assurance measures are indispensable for the sustenance and survival of agro-food trade in the international market. Therefore, an SPS Agreement compatible regulatory framework plus massive education and awareness programs for all the stakeholders in production, processing and marketing operations is needed. Read more - Kathmandu Post.
Ghana. Nestlé Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Nutrition Society has held a nutrition workshop to foster stronger collaboration to address micronutrient deficiencies in Ghana.
The workshop which was organized on the theme, “Building Nutritionally sound Partnerships through Food Fortification Agenda”, created a platform for stakeholders to dialogue on nutrition issues, raising awareness, and finding solutions to undernutrition in Ghana. The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) were present to speak on “Observing Regulations and Standards: means to contributing to Healthier Lifestyle” and “Food Quality and Safety Measures – FDA’s Perspective” respectively. Read more - GhanaWeb.
Punjab. The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) sealed a confectionery unit for failing to meet food standards laid down by the authority by PFA during an operation against substandard food suppliers and manufactures in the provincial metropolis. The PFA also issued notices to 42 food points and imposed a fine of Rs 31,000 to many other eateries. Read more - Daily Times.



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