Holiday food safety tips that may surprise cooks
Source : http://augustafreepress.com/holiday-food-safety-tips-may-surprise-cooks/
By augustafreepress.com (Dec 09, 2017)
Savvy cooks already know the basics of food safety: clean surfaces and utensils; separate raw meat, poultry, eggs and seafood from ready-to-eat foods and don’t contaminate plates or utensils with raw juices; cook to proper internal temperatures; and chill, i.e. keep cold foods cold and refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services advises all cooks and food handlers to go beyond the basics this holiday season, however.
“Food is a big part of the winter holidays from Thanksgiving to New Years,” said Sandy Adams, VDACS Commissioner, “and many people attempt to cook a big meal who don’t have a lot of experience in the kitchen. That leaves room for mistakes that can make guests sick. Food handling errors and inadequate cooking are the most common problems that lead to foodborne disease outbreaks in the United States.” She adds that food safety is even more crucial for infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.
VDACS lists a few safety tips below but encourages everyone involved with holiday food preparation to go to foodsafety.gov for more information:
Wash your hands, but not your turkey – Washing your hands before cooking is the simplest way to stop the spread of bacteria, while washing your turkey is the easiest way to spread bacteria all over your kitchen.
Take the temperature of the bird – The only way to avoid foodborne illness is to make sure the turkey is cooked to the correct internal temperature of 165º F as measured by a food thermometer. If you cook stuffing in the turkey (not recommended), check its temperature, too.
Consider the food safety advantages of a slow cooker – The direct heat from the pot and lengthy cooking time combine to destroy bacteria, making slow cookers a good choice for safely cooking foods.
Stuff your face but not your turkey – For optimal safety, do not stuff the turkey. Even if the turkey is cooked to the correct internal temperature, the stuffing inside may not have reached a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria. Cooking stuffing in a separate dish is safest.
Follow the two-hour rule – Don’t leave perishable foods at room temperature (on the table or countertops) for longer than two hours.
“By following these food safety guidelines, I believe everyone can have a safe and healthy holiday,” said Adams, “and I encourage shoppers to look for Virginia products when purchasing items for holiday meals.”
New Study Finds Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereal
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/arsenic-infant-rice-cereal/
By News Desk (Dec 08, 2017)
A new study conducted by Healthy Babies Bright Future (HBBF) has found that there is six times more arsenic in infant rice cereal than in other types of cereals. Arsenic is a heavy metal that can cause health problems including cancer, neurological problems, and reduced IQ.
Rice contains more arsenic than other grains because of the way it grows. Rice paddies are flooded with water, which aids the absorption of the heavy metal through the roots of the plant. Rice plants absorb ten times more arsenic than other grains while they grow. And rice is grown where arsenic is abundant in the soil. The grain is often planted in old cotton fields in the southern United States, where arsenic pesticides were sprayed for years.
Testing by Consumer Reports in 2012 first brought this issue to consumers’ attention. The report showed that there were measurable levels of arsenic in almost all of the rice products they tested. Unfortunately, there are no federal standards for arsenic in food, although there is a limit in drinking water.
In peer-reviewed scientific literature, at least 13 studies link arsenic to IQ loss. In fact, widespread exposure to arsenic in infant rice cereal shifts the population-wide IQ down.
The biggest problem with arsenic in rice is in baby food. Since babies and infants are growing rapidly, their brains and bodies are more susceptible to toxins and poisons. The Consumer Reports data showed that rice cereal and rice pasta can have more inorganic arsenic than previously thought. One serving of some of the cereals they looked at could put kids over the maximum amount of rice they should eat in a week. And it’s worth noting that there is no known safe level of arsenic exposure.
The report from Healthy Babies Bright Future states that, “FDA is, in a word, stalled.” That agency drafted a guidance document to cereal makers last year, after four years of assessment, but has not set a final limit for arsenic in rice cereal. It has also failed to finalize the proposed cap in the draft guidance.
HBBF tested 105 infant cereals. They found that non-rice and multi-grain varieties have 94% less arsenic than leading brands of infant rice cereal. The report states that, “These alternate cereals include reliable and affordable choices for parents seeking to reduce infants’ exposures to arsenic.”
Rice cereal has been recommended as the first food for infants for a reason: it rarely causes allergic reactions. It’s also inexpensive.
The report recommends that first, cereal makers must take steps immediately to reduce arsenic in their products. They can buy rice from producers with feeds with lower arsenic levels in the foil. They can grow rice strains that are less prone to arsenic uptake, and can prepare rice with more water than is needed, discarding the excess liquid. Producers can also blend rice with lower arsenic grains.
They also say that the FDA “should act immediately to set an enforceable, health- based limit for arsenic in infant rice cereal and other rice- based foods. The limit should protect infants from both cancer and neurological harm.” The report states that “In setting its 2016 proposed action level, the agency did not consider IQ loss or other forms of neurological impact, allowed cancer risks far outside of protective limits, and failed to account for children who have unusually high exposures to arsenic in rice.”
The researchers also suggest that parents can immediately lower their child’s arsenic exposure by switching to other cereals. Consider oatmeal, multi-grain, and other non-rice cereal products for your baby.
First Decline in Antibiotic Sales for Livestock in 2016
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/first-decline-antibiotic-sales-livestock/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 8, 2017)
According to U.S. PIRG, for the first time, antibiotic sales for livestock declined for the first time in 2016. This is something many advocates have been working on for decades, since misuse of antibiotics can and has created antibiotic resistant bacteria.
WHO sounded the alarm over this issue in 2014, stating that unless something was done about this issue, the world may enter a new phase in which antibiotics become ineffective for even the smallest infection. At that time, they said, “A post-antibiotic era—in which common infections and minor injuries can kill—far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century.”
Most of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. and around the world are used in food animals. This downtick comes after “numerous commitments by major food companies to eliminate routine antibiotic use from their meat supplies,” according to the U.S. PIRG report.
Matthew Wellington, U.S. PIRG Antibiotics Program Director said in a statement, “Actions speak louder than words, and the most action we’ve seen on antibiotics has come from food companies. It’s no coincidence that now we’re seeing a slight downturn in sales, and we’re cheering this good news. But we’ll need much steeper reductions in the coming years if we’re going to keep antibiotics working to heal sick people.”
The report breaks down sales of what are called “medically important” antibiotics by species. Those are antibiotics that are used to fight infections in humans. Some are “last resort” antibiotics, which means they are used when bacteria develop resistance to most antibiotics. The researchers found that chickens account for just 6% of medically important antibiotic sales, compared to swine at 37% and cattle at 43%.
Most of the food industry commitments to reduce antibiotic use have been for chicken. McDonald’s, KFC, and Chick-fil-A have decided to tell their producers they will not buy from producers who routinely use antibiotics on chicken. And chicken producers such as Tyson Foods and Perdue are making reductions in antibiotic usage.
Wellington added, “Beef and pork have been tougher nuts to crack, so to speak, and the sales numbers reinforce this problem. Subway, Panera Bread, Niman Ranch and Applegate are moving away from all meat raised with routine antibiotic use, but we need more. If more major restaurants, such as McDonald’s, commit to only purchase beef and pork raised without misusing antibiotics, we can make a dent in the amount of antibiotics sold for livestock.”
In 2013, the CDC estimated that at least 2,000,000 Americans are sickened with antibiotic resistant infections every year and 23,000 die. Those numbers are expected to rise without more action. These drug-resistant infections could kill more people around the world in 2050 than cancer kills today if antibiotic sales are not decreased.
The report states that individual states will have to pass laws that restrict the routine use of antibiotics on animals. Wellington said, “More states are going to follow the lead of California and Maryland. Given what’s at stake, it’s the clearest path forward, and as more states and food companies take action, we should see sales of antibiotics decrease. And eventually the FDA, which has not gone as far as California and Maryland, or Panera Bread and Subway, will prohibit the routine use of our life-saving medicines in the meat industry.”
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Arsenic in infant rice cereals compared with lead exposure
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/12/arsenic-in-infant-rice-cereals-compared-with-lead-exposure/#.Wi4Qhkpl-Ul
By DAN FLYNN (Dec 8, 2017)
Infant rice cereals are popular with parents because they are affordable, easy to digest, and unlikely to cause allergic reactions. Infants typically begin eating cereals when they are between 4 and 6 months old.
But, rice absorbs more arsenic from soil and water than other grains used for infant cereals; about 10 times more. Consequently, the level of arsenic in infant rice cereals is an ongoing concern among researchers and some public health advocates. Some are comparing the danger from arsenic with the dangers of children’s exposure to lead.
A new report by activist health researchers credits cereal makers for limiting arsenic levels in infant rice cereals since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s most recent study, which was for 2013-14.
Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), an alliance of scientists, nonprofits and donors, published the report. It found 85 ppb (parts per billion) of arsenic, on average in rice cereals tested in 2016-17. That’s about a 21 percent improvement over FDA’s 2013-14 average of 103 ppb.
But HBBF says arsenic in nine favorite brands of infant rice cereal is still too high in light of “growing science on arsenic’ toxicity at low levels…” Arsenic toxicity, according to the new report, causes lung, bladder and skin cancer. It also retards neurodevelopment of children exposed in utero or during the first few years of life.
The findings include an analysis by Abt Associates, an economic and toxicology research group, that shows rice-based foods are resulting in a loss of 9.2 million IQ points among 0- to 6-year-old children. Lower IQs will decrease lifetime wages for those children when they are adults, costing the United States an estimated $12 billion to $18 billion annually, according to the report.
The FDA should have already taken high-arsenic cereals off store shelves, according to HBBF.
“It hasn’t happened,” the report says. “FDA is, in a word, stalled. More than a year after issuing its 2016 draft guidance to cereal makers — the culmination of four years of assessment — FDA is falling short of protecting infants.”
HBBF says FDA has neither set a final limit for arsenic in rice cereal nor finalized the cap proposed in the draft guidance.
Arsenic levels in drinking water are strictly regulated, but there are no limits for infant rice cereal.
The new report is described as “parent-friendly” because it reviews 105 kinds of infant cereal showing non-rice and multi-grain cereals that contain as much as 84 percent less arsenic than leading brands of infant rice cereals. It says these alternatives are “reliable and affordable.”
While calling upon FDA to “act immediately to set an enforceable, health-based limit for arsenic in infant rice cereal and other rice-based foods, the report also called upon cereal makers to implement changes.
“We found no evidence to suggest that any brand has reduced arsenic levels in rice cereal to amounts comparable to those found in other types of cereal, despite at least five years of significant public attention to the issue that has included widespread consumer alerts and proposed federal action level,” according to the report.
The study — funded by the Forsythia and Passport Foundations and The John Merck Fund — warns parents to avoid rice-only infant cereals entirely. “Non-rice and multi-grain alternatives have lower arsenic contamination, and are a healthier choice,” the nonprofit organization recommends.
Additional information about arsenic is available at FDA’s main arsenic page and at Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products.
“Rice has higher levels of inorganic arsenic than other foods, in part because as rice plants grow, the plant and grain tend to absorb arsenic more readily than other food crops,” according to the FDA website.
“In April 2016, the FDA proposed an action level, or limit, of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal. This level, which is based on the FDA’s assessment of a large body of scientific information, seeks to reduce infant exposure to inorganic arsenic. The agency also has developed advice on rice consumption for pregnant women and the caregivers of infants,” according to the FDA website.
Baking this weekend? Check your flour and don’t lick the bowl
Soruce : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/12/baking-this-weekend-check-your-flour-and-dont-lick-the-bowl/#.Wi4ScUpl-Ul
BY U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (Dec 8, 2017)
For many people, the holiday season is the perfect time to spend time together in the kitchen and share delicious baked foods and desserts. Follow these safety tips to help you and your loved ones stay healthy when handling raw dough.
When you prepare homemade cookie dough, cake mixes, or even bread, you may be tempted to taste a bite before it is fully cooked. But steer clear of this temptation—eating or tasting unbaked products that are intended to be cooked, such as dough or batter, can make you sick. Children can get sick from handling or eating raw dough used for crafts or play clay, too.
Raw dough can contain bacteria that cause disease
Flour is typically a raw agricultural product. This means it hasn’t been treated to kill germs like E coli. Harmful germs can contaminate grain while it’s still in the field or at other steps as flour is produced. The bacteria are killed when food made with flour is cooked. This is why you should never taste or eat raw dough or batter — whether made from recalled flour or any other flour.
In 2016, an outbreak of E. coli infections linked to raw flour made 63 people sick. Flour products have long shelf lives and could be in people’s homes for a long time. If you have any recalled flour products in your home, throw them away.
In addition, raw eggs that are used to make dough or batter can contain a germ called Salmonella that can make you sick if the eggs are eaten raw or lightly cooked. Eggs are safe to eat when cooked and handled properly.
Don’t taste or eat raw dough
Follow safe food handling practices when you are baking and cooking with flour and other raw ingredients:
Do not taste or eat any raw dough or batter, whether for cookies, tortillas, pizza, biscuits, pancakes, or crafts made with raw flour, such as homemade play dough or holiday ornaments.
Do not let children play with or eat raw dough, including dough for crafts.
Bake or cook raw dough and batter, such as cookie dough and cake mix, before eating.
Follow the recipe or package directions for cooking or baking at the proper temperature and for the specified time.
Do not make milkshakes with products that contain raw flour, such as cake mix.
Do not use raw, homemade cookie dough in ice cream.
Cookie dough ice cream sold in stores contains dough that has been treated to kill harmful bacteria.
Keep raw foods such as flour or eggs separate from ready-to eat-foods. Because flour is a powder, it can spread easily.
Follow label directions to refrigerate products containing raw dough or eggs until they are cooked.
Clean up thoroughly after handling flour, eggs, or raw dough:
Wash your hands with running water and soap after handling flour, raw eggs, or any surfaces that they have touched.
Wash bowls, utensils, countertops, and other surfaces with warm, soapy water.
Is recalled flour in your kitchen?
In 2016, a large outbreak of E. coli infections made people sick in 24 states. Disease detectives linked the illnesses to flour sold under several brand names, including Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wondra, and Signature Kitchens.
This flour, and baking mixes and other foods containing this flour, were recalled.
Check your pantry and throw away any recalled products.
If you stored flour in a container and no longer have the package, throw out the flour to be safe. Make sure that you clean your container with warm, soapy water before using it again.
Pay Close Attention to Any Symptoms
Food poisoning symptoms may range from mild to severe and may differ depending on the germ you swallowed. The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting.
People usually get sick 3 to 4 days after swallowing the germ. Most people recover within a week. However, some people develop a serious type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
The symptoms of Salmonella infections typically appear 6 to 48 hours after eating a contaminated food, though this period is sometimes longer. Symptoms typically include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. In most cases, illness lasts 4 to 7 days and people recover without antibiotics. Illness from Salmonella bacteria can be serious and is more dangerous for older adults, infants, and people with weakened immune systems.
Gourmet Guardian: Food safety made simple (but effective)
Source : http://www.fdfworld.com/company/gourmet-guardian-food-safety-made-simple-effective-0
By DALE BENTON (Dec 07, 2017)
The Gourmet Guardian guides food businesses seamlessly through the previously difficult HACCP Certification process to achieve maximum food safety
As a food manufacturer, food distributor, chef, or a food business owner, ensuring that your food product is of the highest level of quality has always been important, however making sure that it is to highest food safety standard is also the key.
In Australia, The Gourmet Guardian does exactly that. The Gourmet Guardian has a growing portfolio of hotels, restaurant groups, catering companies and food manufacturers across the entire Australian continent (as well as in Fiji), providing cost effective and practical food safety solutions including Food Safety Programs, Food Safety Audits and a comprehensive range of accredited and non- accredited food safety training courses.
Heading up the company is Mr Gavin Buckett, the Founder and Managing Director of The Gourmet Guardian. A man who, as a chef by trade, soon discovered that his passion for food took him beyond simple cooking and preparation.
“In my last role as a sous chef at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, I was heavily involved in the internal food safety auditing and HACCP side of the business and I actually ended up enjoying that side of the work more than the cooking itself,” he says.
While still cooking, it was quite literally back to school for Buckett, earning a Diploma in Food Technology and a further Diploma in Confectionary Manufacture. After another six months, gaining the necessary approvals and qualifications, Buckett re-entered the food industry in 2004 as an approved Food Safety Auditor.
“When I finished my Diplomas I really envisioned working for an auditing company, doing regulatory audits and going into business and assessing against certain global standards,” says Buckett. “But The Gourmet Guardian has become much more than that. While we do conduct regulatory audits when needed, but now spend most of our time working side by side with a food business to look at what they are currently doing, then we help them make their product and processes safer, helping them achieve global food safety certifications including HACCP, BRC, WQAS and FSSC 22,000. The certifications not only make their products safer, but also enables them to grow as a business.”
One of the most important certifications in order for a food manufacturer or distributor business is the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Certification. This is an internationally recognised preventative management system that analyses the physical, chemical and microbiological hazards in their business - from raw material production, procurement and handling through to preparation, manufacturing, distribution or consumption.
It becomes clear then - No HACCP Certification, no business security and Buckett, through his practical experience working in kitchens (on the other side of auditing), understands the challenge of working in and managing a kitchen whilst obtaining HACCP Certification.
“A lot of people have negative feelings towards the HACCP. They think that it’s a difficult time-consuming process, that involves a lot of paperwork,” he says. “Some people actually go as far as saying that HACCP actually stands for “Hire A Consultant to Confuse People!” or “Have A Cup of Coffee and Panic!”
“What The Gourmet Guardian do is demystify HACCP, to break it down into simple manageable chunks. We then guide our clients through our tried and tested 11 step HACCP Certification process, so that we can guarantee that they receive HACCP Certification in the end.”
Don't lick the mixing bowl, food safety regulators warn
Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/06/dont-lick-mixing-bowl-food-safety-regulators-warn/
By Katie Morley, consumer affairs editor (Dec 06, 2017)
ome bakers should avoid licking the mixing bowl because uncooked flour can carry dangerous bugs like Ecoli, health watchdogs have warned.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning after an E. coli outbreak was linked to a batch of flour produced there in 2016.
Dozens of people across the US were struck down by a strain of E. coli O121 that was later traced back to a mill in Kansas City, Missouri. As a result ten million pounds of flour were recalled.
Now the UK's Food Standards Agency has echoed the same warning over eating raw flour, citing a historical outbreaks of Salmonella and E.coli in the US and New Zealand as a reason to avoid it.
It comes after raw eggs, widely thought of as the main health danger associated with raw cake or cookie mix, were declared safe to eat by the FSA.
Bacteria that can cause infections and illness is killed when flour is cooked.
Commercially made cookie dough ice-cream products use treated flour and do not pose a health risk, the FDA said.
A spokesman at the FSA said: “Whether it is safe to eat raw cookie dough would depend on the ingredients. However, we would advise that people should not eat raw cookie dough unless manufacturers’ instructions say that it is safe to do so, because dough is generally not intended to be eaten in that state and some ingredients may not be safe to eat without cooking.
"It is always advisable to follow manufacturers’ instructions when using food ingredients.
"While we are not aware of any particular current concerns in the UK with flour, we are aware that historical outbreaks of Salmonella and E.coli (in the US and New Zealand) have been linked with raw flour.
"Therefore, we do not advise eating uncooked flour or products containing uncooked flour because there is potential for it to be contaminated. Adequate cooking will ensure any harmful bacteria are killed.”
Pregnant women should keep food safety in mind this holiday season
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/pregnant_women_should_keep_food_safety_in_mind_this_holiday_season
By Christine Venema, Michigan State University (Dec 05, 2017)
The holiday season is full of special and unique foods. The holiday season is a special time to be pregnant. But, it is important to be extra cautious to protect your unborn child and yourself from foodborne illness. According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), pregnancy can weaken a woman’s immune system. For this reason there is an increased risk of contracting a foodborne illness from bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Two particularly harmful foodborne pathogens are listeria monocytogenes and toxoplasma gondii.
Listeria monocytogenes is a harmful bacterium that is found in many foods. Unfortunately, listeria monocytogenes can cause the disease listeriosis. Listeriosis can result in a miscarriage, premature delivery, serious illness or even death to a newborn baby. Foods to avoid while you are pregnant are: hot dogs, luncheon meats, bologna, and other deli meats, refrigerated pate, meat spread found at the meat counter, smoked seafood found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, raw or unpasteurized milk and milk products, this includes Brie, Camembert, feta, queso blanco, queso fresco, and blue-veined cheeses. Included in the list of foods to avoid are the in-store-made ham salad, chicken salad, egg salad, tuna, salad, or seafood salad.
Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. The parasite is found worldwide. In the United States, over 60 million people may be infected with the toxoplasma parasite. If they have a healthy immune system, they may not even realize that they have the parasite. For pregnant women and their unborn child, toxoplasmosis may cause serious health issues. Toxoplasmosis can cause blindness, hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities in infants and children. Foods to avoid are undercooked, contaminated meat from pork, lamb, and venison sources, unpasteurized goat’s milk and milk products, raw or undercooked oysters, mussels, or clams. Another potential source for this parasite is the cat litter box. Now is not the best time for a pregnant woman to be cleaning the cat litter box.
The holiday season is not the time for a pregnant woman to drink eggnog because some recipes use unpasteurized milk and raw egg, which may contain salmonella. Avoid raw or unpasteurized apple cider because there is the danger of e. coli bacteria. If you cannot pass up the holiday cheese plate, choose cheddar, mozzarella, or cream cheese, instead of the soft cheese from unpasteurized dairy sources.
Since raw fish dishes have the potential for foodborne illness bacteria and parasites, pass up the sushi or Christmas ceviche. Choose instead only fish dishes that have been cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
To protect yourself and your unborn baby, Michigan State University Extension suggests being extra cautious about your food choices this holiday season. Skip any raw or undercooked eggs, meat, poultry or fish. Make sure the eggs, meat, poultry, and fish are cooked to correct minimum internal temperatures. Skip the soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk. Stick with cheddar, Swiss, or mozzarella cheeses. Avoid deli and lunch meats unless they have been heated up to at least 165 degrees F. Have a safe holiday season.
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
Briefly: Listeria’s resurrection — Wash ’em — Deadly outbreak
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2017/12/briefly-listerias-resurrection-wash-em-deadly-outbreak/#.Wi3qrkpl-Ul
By NEWS DESK (Dec 6, 2017)
Every hour of every day people around the world are living with and working to resolve food safety issues. Here is a sampling of current headlines for your consumption, brought to you today with the support of Alchemy Systems.
Dozens dead in South Africa Listeria outbreak
More than 550 people are confirmed sick, with at least 36 dead, in an ongoing Listeria outbreak in South Africa. South Africa’s government reports the source of the outbreak is likely to be a food product consumed by people across all socio-economic groups.
From Jan. 1 through Nov. 29, reports of 557 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases had been recorded across all provinces in South Africa. Of 70 victims for whom complete information has been reported, 36 have died.
Public health officials are visiting the homes of victims and sampling suspect food when possible.
Officials have also asked the country’s 23 private food testing labs — as well as labs operated by the South African Meat Processors Association, South African Milk Processors Association, Milk South Africa, Consumer Goods Council and the National Laboratory Association — to share information about Listeria for the year to date and to provide isolate samples for testing.
As of Tuesday, two of the private labs had voluntarily provided isolates to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
Happy Handwashing Awareness Week
The holidays, colds and germs are comin’ to town. With Handwashing Awareness Week comes a reminder for how to have healthy holidays through handwashing.
Some adults ban young children from food preparation and table setting at holiday gatherings, but proper handwashing can help keep little helpers safely in the mix. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it’s the single most important step in putting a halt to the spread of germs, including foodborne pathogens.
Share this handwashing demonstration video with friends and relatives to decrease the chances of sharing more than the spirit of the season.
For the New Year, the CDC encourages people to “Create a Handwashing Campaign” at a school. The deadline to enter classrooms in the national contest for recognition is Jan. 31, 2018.
Listeria can resurrect itself in your body
A recent study of Listeria monocytogenes at AgroParis Techn and Université Paris-Saclay documented how the pathogen can remain dormant and undetectable in people, making infections difficult for doctors to diagnosis.
In this image from the Pasteur Institute, Listeria monocytogenes (shown in red) is in the process of infecting tissue cells.
Symptoms of listeriosis, the infection caused
by Listeria, can take up to 70 days after exposure to appear. The researchers found the pathogen can go undetected by diagnostic tests, because of its ability to enter “host cells” during cell division. The bacteria are viable, but in a state that prohibits cultivation during lab tests.
The scientists also determined Listeria can function differently in liver and placenta tissues. The pathogen’s protein production can come to a temporary halt, making it able to resist antibiotics. Pregnant women infected by Listeria are at risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and spreading the infection to their newborns.
These dormant forms of Listeria monocytogenes can last for weeks and months. Frequently spread by contaminated food, Listeria’s ability to hide in cells and certain tissues for such long periods of time makes the investigation of sources of contamination particularly difficult.
FDA Alerts Public to Possible Mold in Comforts For Baby Purified Water
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/listeria-monocytogenes-infections/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 5, 2017)
The FDA is alerting the public to a recall of Comforts FOR BABY Purified Water with Fluoride, sold in Kroger stores, for potential mold contamination. The product was recalled after consumers complained about seeing mold. Testing by Kroger identified the mold ad Talaromyces penicillium.
The water is sold in clear 1 gallon containers, but the mold may not be visible to the eye. The product has sell by dates from 4/26/2018 to 10/10/2018. The UPC number on the product is 0 41260 37597 2 and the plant code is 51-4140. The labels also states DISTRIBUTED BY THE KROGER CO, CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202.
The FDA is issuing this alert to reach parents and caregivers who may have bought the product and don’t know about the recall. This product is intended for infants.
It was sold to Kroger chain stores, including Food 4 Less, Jay C, Jay C Food Plus, Kroger, Kroger Marketplace, Owen’s, Payless Super Market, and Ruler stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Kroger Company has instructed its stores to remove the recalled products.
If you have purchased this product, throw it away immediately in a sealed container. You can also return it to the store for a refund.
Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores can cause allergic reactions in some people. Those symptoms can include sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and a skin rash. Allergic reactions can happen immediately after touching or inhaling the fungus or later. Molds can cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. Mold can irritate the eyes, skin, throat, nose, or lungs even in people are aren’t allergic.
Drinking water or other products contaminated with this fungus can affect infants who have HIV or other health conditions that compromise the immune system. Contact your doctor if you think your baby may be affected.
Why Do Listeria Monocytogenes Infections Take so Long to Appear? There May be Answers
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2017/listeria-monocytogenes-infections/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 4, 2017)
Whenever we have warned about food recalls for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, we add the warning that the symptoms from this illness may take up to 70 days to appear. Many people are confused by this statement. Why do Listeria monocytogenes infections take so long to appear?
Scientists may have answered at least part of that question. A study conducted at AgroParisTechn and Université Paris-Saclay showed that bacteria can enter “host cells” while these cells are dividing. That makes it possible for the pathogenic bacteria to hide and not be detected on culture media that doctors use for diagnostic tests. The bacteria are viable, but in a state that prohibits cultivation.
Scientists have known that Listeria bacteria can invade many different cells in the body. It has been found in the placenta, intestines, liver and brain.
When Listeria gets into the cell’s cytoplasm, it uses filaments called the cytoskeleton to travel and spread into other cells. That’s how it moves through the tissues in the body.
That this bacteria can hide in the placenta is why this infection is so dangerous for pregnant women. In 2015, researchers found the placental breach mechanism that Listeria bacteria employ. Listeria monocytogenes infections can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and infection of the newborn. For instance, in the Vulto raw cheese listeriosis outbreak earlier this year, a newborn was infected.
In the study, researchers worked in vitro, using cultures of human epithelial cells. They found that Listeria monocytogenes could change the way it worked when it penetrates the liver and placenta. The bacteria stop producing a critical protein that helps them spread. Since the bacteria are inside the cells, they can resist antibiotics, and can eventually regenerate themselves to start growing again.
These dormant forms can be harbored for weeks of months. This mechanism can also explain why someone with listeriosis may not be properly identified. The study showed that scientists and doctors have to develop new diagnostic tools and treatment therapies to fight this bacteria.
UA Offers New Food Safety Undergraduate Degree
Source : https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/ua-offers-new-food-safety-undergraduate-degree
By Debbie Reed, UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Dec 4, 2017)
A breach in food safety can be catastrophic to individuals and businesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in six Americans gets sick from contaminated foods or beverages and 3,000 die each year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that foodborne illnesses cost $15.6 billion annually.
Education in the food industry is becoming increasingly important as companies realize they can't just assign food safety duties to someone already on staff who may not have a background sufficient for the job. The stakes are too high. In one of the worst cases, 33 people died and 147 were sickened from a 2011 listeria outbreak traced to cantaloupe grown near Rocky Ford, Colorado. The cantaloupe had been shipped to 28 states. Even without the health implications, a serious recall alone could put a company out of business.
The need for employees trained in food safety will continue to grow as challenges to food safety continue to change. Tanya Hodges is the regional academic coordinator for the University of Arizona in Yuma and La Paz counties in Arizona and Imperial County in California. She says the demand for educated, skilled food safety professions exceeds the number of qualified individuals in those areas and across the U.S. in general. With the food production and supply chain becoming more global as foods are moved around the world, qualified graduates will be needed in all facets of the industry.
To meet this demand, the UA has created a new bachelor's degree program in food safety, which will begin in fall 2018. The program is housed in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The interdisciplinary program
includes faculty and courses from the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, ACBS and four other units in CALS: the Department of Nutritional Sciences; Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science; School of Plant Sciences; and Department of Entomology.
By bringing together experts and educators already working on food safety and its applications in each of these fields, students graduating from the program will gain knowledge of the entire food safety domain.
In her letter of support for the program, Hodges states: "The new food safety degree is vitally important in the educational preparation and workforce development that will lead students into the agriculture food safety industry. What most don't realize is that most jobs involved in food safety require advanced and very specific science and math competencies that can only be gained through very specific coursework. Food safety is a relatively new concept and profession."
In addition to the UA's general education requirements, the curriculum includes 10 core courses that make up the basis of food safety education. Students will develop an all-around perspective in food safety, epidemiology, food toxicology and legalities in the food industry.
With the help of their adviser, students also will select food safety electives based on their area of interest. Areas of specialization might include produce, animal production, public health, food science and microbiology.
"This new food safety program presents students with an opportunity to gain an education with an integrated food safety curriculum designed to provide them with the necessary knowledge and problem-solving skills to thrive in tomorrow's food safety-related 'food industry' workplace,'' said ACBS director André-Denis Wright. "Students completing this program will have a unique and highly desirable credential, which will likely provide them a competitive edge in the marketplace. Careers can be found in local, state and federal agencies, public health, academia, and industry."
To address the acute need for food safety professionals, a distance learning program in food safety will be offered in Yuma. Yuma County is the nation's third-largest vegetable producer and supplies 90 percent of the nation's leafy vegetables between November and March. The area produces more than 175 different crops and seeds, and accounts for more than a third of Arizona's total agricultural revenue. The distance learning class format is designed to accommodate working professionals in the Yuma area who want to further their careers by obtaining a food safety degree.
Distance learning students will attend UA classes in real time using Adobe Connect and D2L, giving them the same class experience as Tucson students without having to relocate. Arrangements are being made to offer classes with hands-on components at local community college facilities in Yuma.
"We are excited to be the first to offer a major that looks at overall food safety in Arizona," said Sadhana Ravishankar, ACBS associate professor and chair of the Food Safety Academic Program Planning Committee. "This program will produce scientists who can be a part of the workforce in Arizona, the U.S. and the world."
Applications for the food safety degree program are currently available.
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