Brexit could be bad news for British food safety, experts warn
Source : https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/46331/brexit-food-safety/
By George Smith (Nov 14, 2017)
Brexit could have serious implications on the UK food manufacturing industry which is already struggling to maintain consistent levels of food safety compliance, two leading North-East specialists have cautioned.
At the 2017 European Food Safety & Standards Conference in Greece, Dr Derek Watson, from the University of Sunderland and John Husband, a director of Stockton-based food safety training specialist at Totrain, outlined the impact of leaving the EU on the food manufacturing industry.
They argued that the number of accidents or incidents in the sector is already a cause for concern but could become even worse after Brexit. This forms the basis of their paper entitled ‘Brexit and the Implications of Food Safety Cultural Compliance in the Food Manufacturing Sector.’
Dr Watson said: “Food safety is a critical measurement, not just for economic and legal reasons but also for the moral integrity of the organisation. However, in reality the number of accidents or incidents in the food manufacturing sector is very worrying.
“The recent 2 Sisters Food Group case is just one example of what can happen when a positive food safety culture, moral values and ethics of an organisation are compromised in the name of profit.
“The problem is further compounded with the onset of Brexit. Given the floundering UK governments negotiation talks it has resulted in a climate of uncertainty, a devaluation of currency and economic instability.
“Food manufacturers, along with other commercial businesses are reluctant to further invest until the economic future is more transparent. In consequence, food manufacturers are seeking efficiency saving, whilst aiming not to compromise food safety compliance.
“Whilst there are areas of best practice, sadly there are an increasing number of examples in which failure to comply to food safety is resulting in loss of business, serious injury and in certain cases fatalities.”
To support their paper, Dr Watson and Mr Husband will share research that was conducted as part of the launch, by Totrain, of ‘enlighten’ its innovative online training product which, for the first time, enables food manufacturers to measure food safety culture in the workplace.
Mr Husband said: “We consulted five UK food manufacturers and the data collected clearly indicates a commitment to food safety compliance.
“However the majority of organisations struggled to maintain consistent levels of food safety compliance despite implementing costly training and development initiatives.
“Their strategic and operational drive to both enhance and maintain a positive food safety culture was also undermined with the uncertainty of economic pressures and the quagmire of Brexit.”
Among the recommendations Dr Watson and Mr Husband made at the conference in Athens on November 13 and 14 was for organisations to consider the utilisation of the enlighten model in the pursuit of enhanced and sustained cultural compliance within the food manufacturing sector.
Faces of Food Safety: Meet Maria Frazier of FSIS
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/11/faces-of-food-safety-meet-maria-frazier-of-fsis/#.WhuMu0pl-Ul
BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (Nov 26, 2017)
Editor’s note: This is a recent installment in a series of employee profiles being published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service, republished here with permission.
Most people know about foodborne illnesses, but how many people have had their lives drastically affected by one? Maria Frazier, an import inspector in the Alameda district, knows three such people. Her personal brush with foodborne illness at a young age made such an indelible mark on her that she chose food safety to be her life’s work.
“When I was barely a teenager, I saw my 25-year-old cousin, Romulo, suffer for five years with trichinosis from eating undercooked pork. He would scream in pain because his head would hurt,” Frazier said. “During that time, I learned that food could cause diseases and death. Later, I saw firsthand how an inspector can help keep food safe, which began my path toward a career in food safety.”
If family and friends become ill and don’t know why, Frazier strongly encourages them to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Frazier recalls two more recent incidents related to organisms that cause foodborne illness.
“I lost my uncle, Spartaco, three years ago in Ecuador because he was sickened with E. coli. He complained about his stomach hurting a lot, so I kept telling him to go to the doctor. When he finally went, which was three weeks later, he died. Before this, he was a healthy 50-year-old man. It affected me deeply,” Frazier said. “I also have a friend who lives in Spain. He thought he was having a stroke because one of his eyes was droopy. I insisted that he see his doctor. When he did, he learned he had two Trichinella roundworms and their eggs in his brain. Luckily, doctors were able to remove the worms and the eggs. My friend is doing better now.”
From South America to FSIS
Frazier credits her drive to achieve and to care for others to the wise adages she would hear her mother say about dealing with hardships while growing up in an impoverished country.
“My father died eight days after I was born and my mother taught me that when you’re on the bottom the only choice you have is to go up,” Frazier said. “Mom also taught me that in the face of adversity only the strong survived. I was a weird kid with interest in animal feces and she said that was OK.”
It took Frazier, her sister and her mother 11 years to emigrate to the U.S. from Guayaquil, Ecuador. Their new home was Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and it was there that Frazier’s food safety career began. She obtained a position as an assistant supervisor in a large poultry plant, which eventually led her to FSIS.
Her life’s calling
Her personal experiences with foodborne illnesses, along with the knowledge she’s gained in her 10 years of experience with FSIS, motivate Frazier as she performs her job duties every day.
“My re-inspection duties consist of verifying that product labels are legible and correct; package containers are not dented, damaged, swelling or leaking; and products contain appropriate certifications. I also prepare product samples for testing,” Frazier said.
“Beef from Australia, New Zealand and Brazil; chicken from Chile; pork from Poland and Mexico; processed egg products from the Netherlands and Canada; and Siluriformes fish from Vietnam and China can be found on Americans’ dinner tables on any given day or at any given time. It is my mission to keep people from getting sick, or worse.”
Frazier likens the entire FSIS workforce to superheroes. “We may not use a cape to save people’s lives, but I do believe we make a difference to the American consumer,” she said. “All the hard work that we do is worth it, if we can save just one person. I know we make a difference.”
Making food safety a family affair
Frazier considers educating Spanish-speaking consumers about being food safe an added bonus to her day job. She volunteers and conducts outreach events far and wide, and has encouraged her entire family to get involved.
“Since 2013, I have been visiting Rivera Middle School in Pico Rivera, California (close to Hollywood), speaking with students and teachers about using food thermometers and food safety, in general,” Frazier said
Over the summer, Frazier and her husband, Kevin, an FSIS consumer safety inspector in the Alameda district, along with their kids, Wesley, 19, and Kristen, 12, volunteered to staff the USDA’s Food Safety Discovery Zone.
“We didn’t mind driving four hours each way from our home in Pico Rivera to Las Vegas, and then five hours to and from home to Sacramento,” Frazier said. “We did it because educating the public about food safety is a passion of mine, and I take the extra step to inform people about protecting their households.”
On a personal note
In her free time, Frazier enjoys searching for celebrities while visiting Hollywood. She’s had a fascination with celebrities since childhood. “Watching TV and dreaming about movie stars were the only outlets I had because I grew up in complete poverty and they allowed me to dream of something better for my life,” she said.
Frazier has spied Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Harrison Ford, Cameron Monaghan and Elijah Wood, to name a few.
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Hepatitis A outbreak reaches Kentucky; vaccine running low
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/11/hepatitis-a-outbreak-reaches-kentucky-vaccine-running-low/#.WhuM-kpl-Ul
BY CORAL BEACH (Nov 23, 2017)
Kentucky has become the fifth state to declare an outbreak of hepatitis A, reporting the 31 cases so far this represent a 55 percent increase over the annual averages for the past 10 years.
California was the first to identify an outbreak, followed by Michigan, Colorado and Utah. Outbreak updates are inconsistent across the five states, but the most recent statistics as of Nov. 21 show 1,350 cases with 41 deaths. California reported 21 deaths as of this week and Michigan has reported 20.
Though Michigan officials are referring to the outbreak there as being in “Southeast Michigan,” there are confirmed cases in other parts of the state. Most of the California cases, 553 out of 649, are in San Diego.
In Kentucky, 31 cases of acute hepatitis A, defined partially by the rapid onset of symptoms, had been confirmed as of Tuesday. Of those, 19 are in Jefferson County, which includes Louisville, KY, making it the most populated and most urban county in the state. The state usually records an average of 20 cases annually, according to a health alert from the Kentucky Department of Public Health.
“… laboratory specimens from recently diagnosed cases have been sent for specialized genetic testing of the hepatitis A virus at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta,” according to the Kentucky alert.
“Thus far test results match the genotype associated with an acute Hepatitis A outbreaks in California.”
As in California, Michigan and other states, health officials in Kentucky are working to vaccinate adults, focusing on homeless people and substance abusers. Since its approval in recent years, most children have received the hepatitis A vaccine as part of standard preventive care, so adults are generally considered at higher risk of contracting the infection.
In California about two-thirds of confirmed victims are substance abusers and/or homeless. In Michigan about three-fourths of confirmed cases fall into those categories. The remaining cases in both states and a number of victims on other outbreak states are neither homeless nor substance abusers.
San Diego County alone has administered more than 100,000 doses of hepatitis A vaccine in California. For at least three months, health officials there have been strategically scheduling vaccination efforts in areas with large numbers of homeless people to reach those most at risk of contracting the viral infection.
A similar plan is in the works in Kentucky, according to state Epidemiologist Dr. Jonathan Ballard of the Department of Public Health (DPH).
“DPH is working with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and other local health departments to develop an emergency vaccine distribution plan for the area most impacted by the outbreak,” Ballard said in the Kentucky health alert.
In addition, DPH is activating the State Health Operations Center to Level 3 status to help coordinate the public health response in Kentucky.
CDC says vaccine supplies ‘constrained’
Federal officials have been working with state and local health departments for several months to address the need for the hepatitis A vaccine. Local media outlets in several parts of the country have reported that public health officials are struggling to secure enough of the vaccine to meet needs.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has included updates on its vaccine supply website, posting “notes” in mid-October and Wednesday this week. Both notes state that demand for the hepatitis A vaccine for adults has “increased substantially over the past six months.”
The two CDC vaccine supply notes are virtually identical, citing efforts by the federal agency to work with states to “provide guidance about how best to target vaccine distribution.”
“In addition, U.S.-licensed manufacturers of adult hepatitis A vaccine are exploring options to increase domestic supply and are working collaboratively with CDC to monitor and manage public and private vaccine orders to make the best use supplies,” according to the CDC vaccine supply update this week. “Of note, the constraints described in this footnote do not apply to the pediatric hepatitis A vaccine supply in the U.S.”
Advice to the public
Other than vaccination, the best way to keep from contracting hepatitis A infection is to wash your hands using warm water and soap, to handle uncooked food appropriately and to fully cook food, according to the Kentucky health alert.
“Always wash your hands before touching or eating food, after using the toilet and after changing a diaper. When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers,” Kentucky officials recommend, echoing advice offered in recent months by federal, state and local officials across the country.
“The virus is found in the stool of people infected with hepatitis A and is usually spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth, even though it might look clean, that has been contaminated with the stool of a person infected with hepatitis A.”
Anyone with symptoms of hepatitis A should seek medical attention. Anyone who has had close contact with someone infected with the virus should also seek medical attention to determine if they should receive the post-exposure vaccine.
Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark-colored urine, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and fever.
Not everyone with the acute hepatitis A virus infection will develop symptoms, however, if symptoms do develop, they may include fever, jaundice or yellowing of the skin, vomiting, fatigue, and grey-colored stools. Persons with symptoms should seek medical care for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Government to restrict terms like 'fresh', 'natural' in food ads
Source : https://retail.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/government-to-restrict-terms-like-fresh-natural-in-food-ads/61768718
By IANS (Nov 23, 2017)
"A food containing additives and/or subjected to packaging, storing or any other supply chain processes that control freshness shall not be termed as "freshly stored" or "freshly packed".
NEW DELHI: The health ministry has proposed sweeping changes in the law to restrict the use of terms like "fresh", "natural", "traditional" and "original" in advertisements for food products.
For instance, the draft Food Safety and Standards (Advertisement and Claims) Regulation lays down that the term "fresh" can only be applied to products which have not been processed in any manner except washed, peeled, chilled, trimmed and put through other processing necessary for making it safe for consumption, without altering its basic characteristics.
The draft, prepared by the Food Safety and Security Authority of India (FSSAI), also clearly mentions that "fresh" or "freshly" shall have no other connotation than the immediacy of the action being described.
"A food containing additives and/or subjected to packaging, storing or any other supply chain processes that control freshness shall not be termed as "freshly stored" or "freshly packed".
The draft, which is with IANS, also seeks to restrict the use of the word "natural" to only food derived from a recognised source such as a plant, animal, micro-organism or mineral and to which nothing has been added.
Such products should only have been subjected to processing that would render it suitable for human consumption like smoking without chemicals, cooking processes such as roasting, blanching and dehydration, freezing, concentration, pasteurisation, and sterilisation. The packaging should be done without chemicals and preservatives.
"Natural" can also not be used for compound food products, which may be described as "made from natural ingredients".
"Compound foods shall not themselves be described directly or by implication as natural but such foods may be described as 'made from natural ingredients'. This will also apply to words such as 'real' and 'genuine', when used in place of 'natural' in such a way as to imply similar benefits. Provided, however, claims such as 'natural goodness', 'naturally better' and 'nature's way' shall not be used," says the draft proposal, which has now called for suggestions from stakeholders before it is finalised.
It says that term "traditional" can only be used to describe a recipe, fundamental formulation or processing method for a product that has existed for a significant period running over generations and should have been available substantially unchanged over time.
"The term 'original' shall only be used to describe a food that is made to a formulation, the origin of which can be traced, and that has remained essentially unchanged over time. It should not contain replacements for major ingredients. It may similarly be used to describe a process, provided it is the process first used in the making of the food, and which has remained essentially unchanged over time, although it may be mass-produced," the draft says.
The draft, which has five schedules clearly mentioning the restrictions, also deals with the health claims of products.
"Health claims for fortified food articles should be like Vitamin A for helping in preventing night blindness, Iron for fighting anaemia, Iodine required for normal growth, thyroid and brain function. Thiamine is required for normal nerve and heart function," says the draft, adding "a statement that in order to obtain the claimed benefits, the daily intake of the nutrient/ingredient (for example 3g beta-glucan) should be taken from either the same food or any other food that provides the nutrient/ingredient containing the beneficial nutrient/ingredient".
The draft says that the claim that a food has certain nutritional or health attributes shall be scientifically substantiated by validated methods of quantifying the ingredient or substance that is the basis for the claim.
"All disclaimers related to a claim shall appear in the same field of vision. No claim or promotion of sale, supply, use and consumption of articles of foods shall be made using FSSAI logo and license number. Advertisements shall also not undermine the importance of healthy lifestyles," the draft says.
"Advertisements for food or beverages shall not be promoted or portrayed as a meal replacement. Claims in advertisements shall not be inconsistent with information on the label or packaging of the food or beverage," the draft says.
Thanksgiving Meal Food Safety Tips From the Experts
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/thanksgiving-food-safety-tips-experts/
By Linda Larsen (Nov 22, 2017)
The Thanksgiving meal is the largest one most people prepare and serve every year. To make sure that your Thanksgiving dinner is wholesome and safe, Foodsafety.gov is offering tips.
The turkey is the centerpiece of the meal, and it should be handled and cooked properly to make sure it is safe to eat. First, read labels carefully when you buy the bird. The label will tell you whether the bird is fresh or frozen. If you want to serve a fresh turkey at your Thanksgiving meal, buy it no more than two days before the meal.
You should have two thermometers in your kitchen; one in the fridge to make sure that the turkey is stored at 40°F or below, and another to make sure the cooked turkey reaches 165°F, the safe final internal temperatures. Remember that the color of the meat is not a reliable indicator of doneness: see our story “Is Pink Turkey Safe?”
If you have purchased a frozen turkey, thaw it only with these methods: the microwave (for immediate cooking), the cold water method, or in the refrigerator. The USDA recommends using the refrigerator method.
You can also cook your turkey from the frozen state. This method is completely safe, and in fact can be safer because no juices from the raw turkey can cross-contaminate surfaces or other foods.
When you are ready to cook the turkey, make sure you do not wash it. Washing under running water spreads pathogens onto surfaces in your kitchen, because the bacteria can aerosolize. The only way to get of foodborne illness pathogens is to cook the turkey.
Keep the raw turkey separate from all other foods at all times. Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils when handling the turkey to avoid cross-contamination. And make sure the turkey is cooked to 165°F. Tea it in three places: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the thigh, and the innermost part of the wing. If the temperatures is not 165°F, return the turkey to the oven and continue cooking.
After the meal, be sure that you follow rules for food safety for leftovers. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of taking the food from the oven or stovetop to prevent bacterial growth. Store leftovers in shallow pans or containers to reduce the cooling time. Food that spends a lot of time in the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F can grow bacteria that can make you sick.
Do not store stuffing inside a leftover turkey. Remove the stuffing from the turkey when it has come out of the oven and has had a standing time of 10 minutes. Refrigerate the meat and stuffing separately.
Discard all leftovers within four days. Use the freezer to store leftovers you want to keep for a longer period of time. And if you are traveling home with food, or have given food to guests, make sure the food is in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs if they live more than two hours away.
The SUDA has many more tips to make sure your Thanksgiving meal is a success, including Debunking Thanksgiving Myths, Different Ways to Cook Turkey, and How to Safely Thaw a Turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!
Key Food Safety Tips You Need to Know to Have a Safe Thanksgiving
Source : http://www.contagionlive.com/news/key-food-safety-tips-you-need-to-know-to-have-a-safe-thanksgiving
By KRISTI ROSA (Nov 22, 2017)
It is estimated that over 45 million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving Day.
With individuals rushing around to get all the poultry and sides prepared and served, cooking mistakes can be made and guests can fall ill. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of poultry-associated food-borne disease outbreaks in the United States stem from mistakes made when handling and preparing food or inadequate cooking.
One study reviewed outbreaks that were reported to the United States’ Food-borne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System between 1998 and 2012, and out of 1114 outbreaks, 279 were associated with poultry—accounting for “the highest number of outbreaks, illnesses, and hospitalizations.”
Luckily, we’ve compiled a few tips that will help keep the holiday bacteria-free.
Wash your hands—not the turkey.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not recommend that consumers wash their turkeys in the kitchen sink. However, according to the 2016 Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Survey, a whopping 68% of consumers still do this. Those who wash their turkeys in the sink run the risk of splashing bacteria up to 3 feet around the kitchen, which could contaminate the environment. Washing the poultry does not eliminate bacteria; to kill bacteria you need to adequately cook the turkey to the correct internal temperature.
Safely thaw your turkey.
The CDC stresses that there are 3 safe ways to thaw your turkey: in the refrigerator, in a sink filled with cold water that is changed at 30-minute intervals, or in the microwave. While your turkey remains frozen in the freezer it is safe, but when you’re thawing your turkey, it needs to defrost at a safe temperature. You should never let the turkey defrost out on the counter because when it is left out for over 2 hours, the temperature of the turkey can become unsafe. Once the temperature reaches what the CDC refers to as the “danger zone,” 40°F to 140°F, bacteria will quickly grow.
Should you stuff the turkey?
According to the USDA, no; the safest way to cook stuffing is in a separate dish. Even though the turkey may be cooked to the correct temperature, the stuffing inside it may not have reached the same safe temperature that would eliminate all bacteria. However, if your tradition is to stuff your turkey, the CDC recommends putting the stuffing in the turkey just before cooking. Use a food thermometer to gage that the stuffing’s center has reached 165°F. Furthermore, after removing the turkey from the oven, you should wait 20 minutes before removing the stuffing from the turkey’s cavity, which gives it time to cook a little bit longer.
Cook your turkey safely.
It is important to ensure that your turkey is cooked to the correct internal temperature, which you can measure by using a food thermometer. The oven should be set to at least 325°F. The turkey should be completely thawed and placed breast side up in a roasting pan 2 to 2 ½ inches thick, according to the CDC. While the turkey is cooking, the USDA recommends testing for doneness in the following 3 areas: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the wing, and the innermost part of the thigh. All 3 areas should be 165°F.
Remember the 2-hour rule.
Do not leave any foods out on the counter for more than 2 hours because bacteria—such as Clostridium perfringens—will grow. C. perfringens, according to the CDC, is the second most common cause of food poisoning. In fact, outbreaks of this bacteria most commonly spring up around Thanksgiving and Christmas and have been linked to foods that are commonly served throughout the holiday season. Therefore, it is important to put all leftovers in the refrigerator, which should be set to at most at 40°F. Leftovers should not be left in the refrigerator for longer than 4 days.
For further information on food safety tips, visit FoodSafety.gov.
CDC Says People in Four States May be Drinking Milk Contaminated with Brucella RB51
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/cdc-people-four-states-drinking-milk-brucella/
By News Desk (Nov 22, 2017)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning raw milk consumers in four states that they may be drinking products contaminated with Brucella RB51 bacteria. Officials are telling these people to visit their doctor and ask for antibiotics to prevent illness. Several other states have issued this same warning in the past few weeks.
The statement reads, “People who bought and drank raw milk from a company called Udder Milk may have been infected with a rare but potentially serious germ called Brucella abortus RB51. While Brucella can cause anyone to become sick, women may suffer miscarriage and other pregnancy complications making it critical for pregnant women who may have consumed the raw milk from Udder Milk to seek medical care immediately.”
The CDC has known about this problem since September 2017 when a woman in New Jersey got sick after drinking raw milk from Udder Milk. That company has not given officials information about the farms that supply their milk, so the government hasn’t been able to trace the source of the infection. The states where officials think the milk has been sold are New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, and Connecticut. Officials in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have issued this warning.
So until more information is available about this raw milk, or until officials can test milk from the suspect farms, public health offices are recommend that anyone who drank raw milk or ate raw milk products from Udder Milk in the past six months visit their doctor for prophylaxis antibiotic treatment for Brucella RB51 infection.
Dr. William Bower, team lead of the CDC group that investigates brucellosis said, “Because health officials have no direct way to let people know they may have drunk contaminated milk, everyone who consumed milk from Udder Milk in the past 6 months should receive antibiotics now to avoid having long-term health effects from the bacteria.” It can take up to six months for the symptoms of this serious illness to appear.
Health officials not only don’t know the locations of the farms supply Udder Milk, but they don’t know where the company sells and distributes raw milk and other foods. The press release states, “Online information about Udder Milk points to members-only websites through which people purchase raw milk online and delivery sites that shift to avoid detection by public health officials.”
This Brucella RB51 strain is resistant to some antibiotics, so anyone who drank raw milk from Udder Milk should tell their doctor that they have been exposed to this strain. And those persons should check themselves and their children, if they were given these products, every day for a fever for one month after they last drank the milk, and watch for brucellosis symptoms for six months.
Symptoms of brucellosis include muscle pain, lasting fatigue, arthritis, depression, and swelling of the testicles. Untreated brucellosis can lead to arthritis, heart problems, enlargement of the spleen or liver, and, in some cases, meningitis. This bacteria can cause severe illness in those with weakened immune systems, and miscarriages in pregnant women.
Human brucellosis case have decreased from about 3,000 per year in the 1950s to 100 in recent years. Most of these cases are in people who travel to countries where Brucella is more common.
You can read more about raw milk and the severe health risks that can come from drinking it at the CDC web site. The CDC has conducted studies that show an increase in the number of raw milk-associated outbreaks as more states have begun legalizing the sale of unpasteurized milk.
Holiday food safety: 4 steps to ensure your Thanksgiving is memorable, not miserable
Source : http://www.good4utah.com/news/local-news/holiday-food-safety-4-steps-to-ensure-your-thanksgiving-is-memorable-not-miserable/861449576
By Emily Clark (Nov 21, 2017)
Before we can get to the biggest shopping weekend of the year, we have to get the turkey and stuffing on the table--and off the table! Andrea Gamble from the Salt Lake County Health Department, joined Emily Clark with some tips to make sure you do that as safely as possible.
Gamble says one of the first ways is to clean:
Wash hands and sanitize food preparation surfaces often. Illness-causing germs can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards. She says the Health Department recommends sanitizing with chlorine bleach: 1 Tablespoon of bleach in 1 Gallon of water; leave the surface wet for 2 minutes and let it air dry. Use immediately after mixing, as the solution loses its effectiveness over time.
Then, Gamble says to separate:
Don't cross-contaminate. Even after you've cleaned your hands and surfaces thoroughly, raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can still spread illness-causing germs to ready-to-eat foods-unless you keep them separate. That includes while shopping, in the refrigerator, and using separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils for uncooked produce and for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
The third step is to check temperatures:
Cook food to the right temperature, then keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. While many people think they can tell when food is "done" simply by checking its color and texture, there's no way to be sure without a food thermometer. Make sure food reaches its safe minimum cooking temperature (180° F for whole poultry like turkeys). Stuffing should reach 165 °F. During meal times, while food is being served and eaten, keep hot food hot (at 140 °F or above) and cold foods cold (at 40° F or below). Thaw or marinate foods in the refrigerator, never on the counter or in the kitchen sink.
Finally, be sure to handle leftovers properly:
Refrigerate promptly after eating; illness-causing germs can grow quickly in many foods at room temperature. When it's time to reheat, microwave leftovers to 165° F. Follow the 2-2-4 rule: Refrigerate prepared foods within 2 hours of cooking. Refrigerate at a shallow depth of about 2 inches. Eat leftovers within 4 days; freeze leftovers you want to keep longer.
When it comes to cooking a turkey, Gamble says many people wonder -- "to rinse or not to rinse, that is the question." Don't rinse... That is the answer! According to the FDA, washing raw meat and poultry makes it more likely for bacteria to spread to areas around the sink and countertop.
For more information on how to stay safe, you can visit SLCO.org.
Company dinner blamed for illness outbreak in Georgia
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/11/company-dinner-blamed-for-illness-outbreak-in-georgia/#.WhuQoUpl-Ul
By NEWS DESK (Nov 21, 2017)
Hundreds of people in Northwest Georgia became sick after eating a catered company Thanksgiving dinner in recent days according to local news reports out of Bartow County.
Local and state public health officials have confirmed that they are investigating an apparent foodborne illness outbreak related to a two-day catered event this past week at the Toyo Tire plant in White, GA.
“While we suspect this is a foodborne-related outbreak, that hasn’t been confirmed. Cause of the outbreak is not yet known,” according to a Monday statement from the Georgia Department of Health. “We know of two hospitalizations in Bartow, but there may have been more. We are working with Toyo (human resources) to determine how many people potentially may have been affected.
“Bartow County Health Department environmental health specialists are investigating the caterer’s food preparation and handling practices. We are investigating if there may have been other sources of food at this event and if the event caterer may have provided food to other locations.”
The public health agencies did not name the caterer, but posts on the Bartow Discussions Facebook page indicate a local Italian/pizza restaurant catered the event.
Several local media outlets reported that 1,800 people attended the company dinner, which took place over two days. Some of those reports, as well as comments on the Bartow Discussions page say hundreds of people have reported symptoms consistent with Salmonella poisoning.
The public health “situation update” posted Monday reported lab tests are pending. They hope to know this week if a foodborne pathogen such as Salmonella or Campylobacter is the cause of the illnesses.
In the meantime, Georgia health officials are urging anyone with symptoms of food poisoning to seek medical attention and tell their doctors about possible exposure to a foodborne pathogen. The situation update listed the following symptoms to watch for:
High fever with a temperature over 101.5 degrees F, measured orally;
Blood in stools;
Frequent vomiting that prevents keeping fluids down, which can lead to dehydration;
Signs of dehydration, including a marked decrease in urination, a very dry mouth and throat, or feeling dizzy when standing up; and/or
Diarrhea that lasts more than three days.
Scientific Innovation and Sustainability in Crop Production
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/enewsletter/scientific-innovation-and-sustainability-in-crop-production/
By Javier Martinez (Nov 21, 2017)
Scientific Innovation and Sustainability in Crop Production
About a decade ago, I was a graduate student working on my thesis involving hairy root tobacco cultures in central Mexico. My project was considered standard practice within my area of study in the biotechnological field. I would visit my girlfriend, now my wife, once a month at the ecology institute where she studied, which was located in a city many miles away. I remember that it was very difficult for me to explain to her colleagues that I worked with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as most of them were against that type of research, even though these originated from an adaptation of a natural process in which a soil bacterium called Agrobacterium rhizogenes would infect a wild plant through the transmission and incorporation of foreign DNA. The final intent was to produce biopesticides with that model to possibly scale up the process in the future with the use of bioreactors. This was my first real exposure to a type of false dichotomy that enables conflicting rhetoric between groups of people that goes beyond academic discourse and into the sphere of public opinion.
There seems to be two schools of thought among scientists who are involved in agriculture: an apparent reductionist approach versus an apparent holistic approach. This divide is also apparent in many other scientific areas. Although it may seem counterintuitive at first, these two views are not mutually exclusive. The first approach includes mostly scientists from particular fields of study such as genetics, biotechnology and molecular biology; whereas the second approach includes mostly scientists from fields such as public health, sociology and ecology. This state of affairs calls for an integration between the social sciences and the natural sciences relating to agriculture, which tend to have a different methodological rigor and are almost completely separated from each other in the aforementioned ideologies.
To provide realistic and effective solutions to the environmental and public health issues that accompany food production, it’s necessary for scientists, politicians, business owners and the public to come together with a synergistic approach, which includes an open mindset to different points of view.[3,4] Food systems should combine sound technologies, such as transgenic crops, plant breeding, precision agriculture, produce washing systems and packaging processes, with sustainable practices, such as intercropping, organic inputs, integrated pest management, equitable farming and water conservation. This approach is often referred to as sustainable intensification, but it’s not well-defined and therefore requires an awareness of scientific consensus, recognition of differing views within those facts, consideration of values and possible trade-offs when applying principles to certain situations. In a more general sense, sustainable intensification is about increasing agricultural output while minimizing the ecological footprint.[2–5]
It is understandable that solutions to problems in agriculture can often generate passionate discussions. However; there are objections in the field of plant biotechnology with regard to transgenic crops where appeals to nature tend to overshadow the progress of sound technology. Not only does the transmission of foreign DNA into plants occur in nature, but the final results of this technology are the same in kind as cross-breeding, especially if mutation breeding is taken into account. The real difference would be in degree, as genetic changes are more targeted and experimentation can only be performed in research facilities with certain equipment where proper adaptations of these types of natural processes can take place.[6–8] In terms of product GMO labeling, the discussion becomes complicated, as sweet potatoes have been found to be naturally transgenic, blurring the demarcation between necessary consumer information and the inherent natural properties of the crop in question with the expected agricultural and handling practices.
A multidisciplinary team is needed to achieve such lofty goals of improving agriculture on different fronts. There is a wealth of information already available for review and enough interest from people that work in various research fields to start a more coordinated approach that can move quickly towards a better utilization of resources that can help shape the future of this world.
Javier Martinez is the food safety manager for Fresh Concepts.
1. Payne, SM. 2011. “Reductionistic and Holistic Science.” Infect Immun 79:1401–1404.
2. Rockström, J et al. 2014. “Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture for Human Prosperity and Global Sustainability.” Ambio 46:4–17.
4. Struik, PC and TW Kuyper. 2014. “Sustainable Intensification to Feed the World: Concepts, Technologies and Trade-Offs.” Curr Opin Environ Sustain 8:VI–VIII.
6. Kyndt, T et al. 2015. “The Genome of Cultivated Sweet Potato Contains Agrobacterium T-DNAs with Expressed Genes: An Example of a Naturally Transgenic Food Crop.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112:5844–5849.
7. Nester, EW. 2015. “Agrobacterium: Nature’s Genetic Engineer.” Front Plant Sci 5:1–16.
8. Oladosu, Y et al. 2016. “Principle and Application of Plant Mutagenesis in Crop Improvement: A Review.” Biotechnol Biotechnol Equip 30:1–16.
Holiday food safety tips
Source : (Nov 20, 2017)
You may have cherished memories of holiday meals with friends and family. If you’re preparing a memorable holiday meal of your own, make food safety a priority so guests don’t remember it for all the wrong reasons.
Hosting a holiday meal often means having more people at the table, serving a wider variety of dishes and perhaps tackling some unfamiliar recipes. If you’re not careful, all those ingredients can add up to foodborne illness, says Londa Nwadike, food safety specialist for University of Missouri Extension and Kansas State University Research and Extension.
With Thanksgiving coming up, Nwadike offers these safety tips for those planning to prepare a traditional turkey dinner.
“Frozen turkey must be thawed in the refrigerator or in cold water, not on the kitchen counter,” warns Nwadike. If thawing in cold water, change the water every 30 minutes so the outer layer of turkey won’t get warm enough to support microbial growth.
Don’t rinse turkey and other meats before cooking. “That will only spread those germs around the sink, which can cross-contaminate other foods,” she says. “Any bacteria that might be rinsed off the surface would be easily killed by cooking in the oven.”
To determine if the turkey is safely cooked, use a food thermometer to make sure the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast has reached a minimum temperature of 165 degrees F.
To stuff or not to stuff
“Many people love to eat stuffing. Unfortunately, microorganisms love it as well,” Nwadike said.
The safest method is to cook stuffing outside the bird. If you do choose to stuff your turkey, stuff it loosely just before cooking and make sure the stuffing is moist. Like the turkey, stuffing should be cooked to at least 165 degrees.
Side dishes and desserts
Egg dishes: Any dishes containing eggs, such as escalloped corn, should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Raw produce: Don’t chop foods that will be eaten raw on the same cutting boards you use for meats without washing the boards thoroughly between uses.
If produce is not pre-rinsed, rinse carefully and scrub off any visible soil with a produce brush.
Pumpkin pie: Pies and any other baked goods with fillings made of eggs and milk, including pumpkin pies and cheesecake, need to reach an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees. Refrigerate after baking or purchasing.
Refrigerate the turkey (with meat removed from the carcass) and stuffing separately in shallow containers within two hours of cooking. If sending leftovers home with guests who will be traveling more than two hours, make sure leftovers are packed in a cooler with ice or ice packs.
Leftover turkey will keep in the fridge for three to four days, but gravy and stuffing will only keep for one or two days. You can also safely freeze leftovers, but use them within two to six months for best quality. Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees.
Editors: This news release is one in a series of holiday-related articles about food and food safety. The entire series is available at http://extension.missouri.edu/news and through the links below.
Cook and freeze now to avoid holiday stress, extension.missouri.edu/n/2933
Turkey tips: Buying and thawing, extension.missouri.edu/n/2935
Helpful hints on cooking turkey, extension.missouri.edu/n/2936
Holiday food safety tips, extension.missouri.edu/n/2934
Heed the labels on food gifts, extension.missouri.edu/n/2945
FDA Warns Consumers About Possible Brucella Risks in Raw Milk Sold by Udder Milk in NJ NY CT RI
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/fda-warns-consumers-possible-brucella-risks-udder-milk/
By News Desk (Nov 20, 2017)
The FDA is warning consumers who purchased raw milk from Udder Milk Co-Op that they may have been exposed to the RB51 strain of Brucella abortus, a pathogenic bacteria that can cause serious illness. A woman in New Jersey who drank the company’s milk has been infected with an antibiotic-resistant strain of that bacteria.
Anyone who drank or ate Udder Milk raw milk or raw milk products should contact their doctor immediately and get post-exposure prophylaxis antibiotic treatment to avoid infection. Since this bacteria is resistant to antibiotics, any illness caused by these products can be serious.
The only way to diagnose people infected with this strain of Brucella is to grow the bacteria through cultures. Most doctors do not test for Brucella when patients present with the symptoms of this infection.
In addition, if you drank or ate Udder Milk raw milk or raw milk products, check yourself for fever for four weeks. And watch for other brucellosis symptoms for six months, since they can take that long to appear. Symptoms of this illness include fever, sweats, malaise, lack of appetite, joint pain, back pain, and muscle pain. More serious symptoms and complications include arthritis, depression, neurologic symptoms, and swelling of the heart.
Udder milk says that it sold raw milk products in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The Health Departments of New Jersey and Rhode Island have issued cease and desist orders to Udder Milk. It is illegal to sell unpasteurized milk in New Jersey. And it is illegal to “transport raw milk in final packed form for human consumption across state lines and sell the milk,” according to the FDA notice.
Udder Milk is described as “a co-op on wheels,” and sells raw milk in those four states. The patient in New Jersey who is sick told authorities that she drank milk purchased from Udder Milk.
There have been only two domestically acquired brucellosis infections caused by Brucella RB51 in the United States this year. The other case is a person who lives in Texas who got sick in July. The FDA notice states that the two incidents are not related.
The strain of Brucella bacteria in the New Jersey case is B. abortus RB51, a weakened strain that is used to vaccinate young female cattle against infection with more serious strains of Brucella. Vaccinating cows helps prevent abortions in cows and reduces the risk of of more serious infections. But in rare cases, these cows can shed RB1 in their milk. Pasteurization of milk kills this bacteria and other harmful pathogens.
The New Jersey Department of Health issued a cease and desist order to Udder Milk on November 9, 2017. The Rhode Island Department of Health issued a cease and desist order to Udder Milk on November 15, 2017. Udder Milk’s web site, which had provided contact information, was inactive as of November 15, 2017. And the FDA has been unable to contact Udder Milk to request a recall.
If you bought raw milk or raw milk products from Udder Milk, do not eat or drink them. Throw them away in sealed packages. Contact your health care provider as soon as possible and tell them you may have been exposed to Brucella RB51.
Then clean out your refrigerator, and cutting boards and countertops. Sanitize them with a mild bleach solution. And wash your hands well with soap and water after you handle these products and after you clean your kitchen.
Don’t be a turkey, practice food safety for Thanksgiving meals
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/11/dont-be-a-turkey-practice-food-safety-for-thanksgiving-meals/#.WhuR3Upl-Ul
By KELSEY M. MACKIN (Nov 20, 2017)
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture more than 45 million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving Day. That’s more than 45 million opportunities for Food poisoning, not even counting side dishes.
Proper handling and cooking can prevent foodborne illness from spoiling a table of food, family, friends, and fun. Tips and tricks for a successful turkey day aren’t just for the kitchen, though
Thirsty? Do not drink water, coffee, tea or anything with ice on a plane. In an Environmental Protection Agency study, one in eight planes do not meet water safety standards. If you or your relatives are flying in for a bit of bird, stick to bottled water you buy at the gate.
Tray tables are another possible pitfall. Do not eat directly off the tray table; In TravelMath.com‘s discussion of a National Science Foundation study, tray tables house almost 10 times more bacteria than the flusher for the toilet. Use disinfecting wipes on surfaces once you buckle up, or better yet, eat out of the package or off a napkin.
Whether your turkey is at the top of your shopping list, or in your freezer, proper thawing and preparation can make or break your Thanksgiving feast. Turkey, like other meat, should never be defrosted on the counter top. The refrigerator is the safest method for thawing frozen turkey, which needs 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of weight. Once the turkey thaws it should be cooked within 1 to 2 days.
Wash your hands, not your turkey! Really, it does more harm than good. According to the USDA, 68 percent of consumers wash their poultry in the kitchen sink.
“Research shows that washing meat or poultry can splash bacteria around your kitchen by up to 3 feet, contaminating countertops, towels and other food.” The only way to eliminate bacteria is to cook your turkey to the correct internal temperature.
Always, always, always take the temperature of the turkey. No matter the cooking method, the only way to kill all bacteria is by cooking the turkey to the correct internal temperature as measured by a food thermometer.
The turkey’s temperature should be taken in three areas to make sure the entire bird is done: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the wing and the innermost part of the thigh. All three of these locations must reach 165 degrees F. If one does not, continue cooking until all three locations reach the correct internal temperature.
Mind the Danger-Zone. All perishable foods should be tossed after sitting out for longer than two hours at room temperature. After two hours, these foods reach the “Danger Zone” of temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees where bacteria multiplies the quickest. Food sitting in the Danger Zone could be eaten by unaware guests, causing foodborne illness.
Turkey can be sliced into smaller pieces for the refrigerator along with other perishable items like potatoes, gravy and vegetables. With proper storage practices, leftovers can stay safe in the refrigerator for four days. View the USDA’s refrigeration guidelines here.
Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross, Purdue Extension educator in Elkhart County, suggests planning a preparation “timetable.” Such a plan starts by cooking foods that can be prepared well in advance and then frozen. Next, prepare dishes that can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or so. Save the most perishable foods to make on Thanksgiving Day.
“Consider the number of guests, the menu and the quantities of food. Be sure there is plenty of refrigerator space, heating units and hot serving to maintain correct temperatures. I encourage you to extend cold storage by cleaning out the refrigerator,” she recommends.
Insulated coolers packed with ice are a great option for day-of storage, or if food is being transported to another location. They can keep foods cold for several hours.
Last, but not least…
Pet owners shouldn’t give in to those big doggie eyes or purrs of affection. It can be tempting to feed food off the table to begging or patient pets, but such treats could send your furry friends to the hospital. Remind your family and guests that the following popular Thanksgiving foods are a “no-no” for animals:
Turkey skin and bones — swallowing can splinter in the throat, and fatty turkey skin can cause gastrointestinal distress and life threatening inflammation in the pancreas.
Turkey twine — string can cause choking, block intestines and carry salmonella bacteria.
Corn on the cob — the cobs can cause bowel obstruction, which requires surgery.
Garlic and Onions — damage red blood cells in dogs, which leads to anemia. Common, often delayed, symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, weakness, and pale gums.
Grapes/Raisins — poisonous to dogs, can shut down their kidneys.
Gravy and trimmings — high fat content can cause gastrointestinal distress and life threatening inflammation.
Bread dough — yeast can continue to rise in a dogs’ stomachs, casuing bloating or a twisted stomach. Ethanol, a byproduct of fermenting yeast, can also be quickly absorbed into your dog’s blood stream and cause alcohol poisoning.
Chocolate — contains a chemical called theobromine, which dogs cannot metabolize. Small amounts will give your dogs vomiting and diarrhea, but chocolate in large quantities can produce seizures, muscle tremors, irregular heartbeats and sudden death.
Supplement maker warned about insanitary conditions, labels
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/11/supplement-maker-warned-about-insanitary-conditions-labels/#.WhuSKUpl-Ul
By NEWS DESK (Nov 20, 2017)
A dietary supplement manufacturer is on notice from the FDA because the firm’s products were prepared, packed, or held under conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to heath.
Staff from the Food and Drug Administration inspected the Ixonia, WI, location of Create-A-Pack Foods Inc. from Jan. 23 to April 20, and discovered “serious violations” of the Current Good Manfacturing Practice (CGMP) regulation for foods, according to a Nov. 2, warning letter, made public by the FDA in recent days.
Additionally, review of the firm’s product labels resulted in misbranding violations. “We conclude that your Herbal Cleanse 5 Day Cleansing Program Dietary Supplement boxed kit and its bottled components Herbal Cleanse Intensive Cleansing Blend and Herbal Cleanse Precleansing Blend products violate section 403 of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 343, and regulations implementing the food labeling requirements of the Act,” according to the letter sent to Glenn M. Cochrane, president of Create-A-Pack Foods Inc.
Specifically, FDA’s Division 1, West Director Michael Dutcher, noted the following observations logged during the inspection:
The firm used the ingredient “burdock root extract” that exceeded their microbiological specifications in the manufacture of their Herbal Cleanse Precleansing Blend and Herbal Cleanse Intensive Cleansing Blend Dietary Supplement products.
The firm used the ingredient nettle leaf extract lot in the manufacture of their Herbal Cleanse Precleansing Blend Dietary Supplement and Herbal Cleanse Intensive Cleansing Blend Dietary Supplement products, but the ingredient did not meet its established component specification for identity.
The firm released into distribution Herbal Cleanse Precleansing Blend and Herbal Cleanse Intensive Cleansing Blend products, for which the nettle leaf extract lot was found to not meet its identity specification because testing of the component on two separate occasions found the component to consist of nettle leaf.
The firm failed to confirm the identity of other components (not including dietary ingredients) and determine whether other applicable component specifications established are met.
The firm failed to maintain documentation of how they qualified the supplier, and periodically reconfirm the supplier.
The bottle labels fail to list the serving size in common or usual household measure, i.e., one bottle.
The box label fails to list the number of servings per container (box) of each of the dietary supplement components contained
The labels fail to bear a domestic address or domestic phone number through which the responsible person may receive a report of a serious adverse event with such dietary supplement.
The products contain extracts of burdock root, milk thistle seed, nettle leaf, and Uva ursi leaf, but the product labels fail to state that the ingredients are extracts.
The firm failed to list magnesium lactate as an ingredient, even though it is used in the product.
“Maganese” is incorrectly spelled on the Supplement Facts labels for the three products.
The FDA noted a response letter from firm on May 10, but were “unable to evaluate the adequacy of your corrective actions because you did not provide documentation showing that you have qualified your supplier or the supplier’s COA, and the third party laboratory COA does not include identity testing.” The FDA said they would evaluate the adequacy of the firm’s corrective actions at their next inspection.
Food companies are given 15 working days to respond to FDA warning letters. “You should take prompt action to correct the violations noted in this letter. Failure to do so may result in regulatory action by FDA without further notice, including, without limitation, seizure and injunction,” according to the warning letter.
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