FoodHACCP Newsletter

Food Safety Job Openings

01/27. Food Safety Manager - Goshen, NY
01/26. Food Safety/QA Technologist – Peru, IN
01/26. Quality & Food Safety Technologist - Miami, OK
01/26. Specialist, Food Safety - Friendship, NY
01/24. Safety/Food Safety Specialist – Bellevue, WA
01/24. Fellow, Food Processing & Safety – Wash, DC
01/24. Food Safety Specialist - Carlstadt, NJ
01/22. Food Safety & Brand Std Spec – Eugene, OR
01/22. Quality & Food Safety Prof – Northbrook, IL
01/22. Food Safety & Quality Tech – Toledo, OH

01/29 2018 ISSUE:793


Beach Beat: Breitbart, WAPO on the same page with gross news
Source :
By CORAL BEACH (Jan 28, 2018)
From Breitbart News Network to The Washington Post, a story about Costco shopping carts and raw meat briefly captured the attention of media from right to left this week in a rare alignment.
Actually, though, Costco is getting a raw deal. Only its shopping carts were involved, apparently without permission, but some people misunderstood a Friday Facebook post by Loretta Seto. The post falls into the category of “everybody has a camera,” as founder Doug Powell would say.
“Beware: Costco shopping carts (Automation Parkway in San Jose),” Seto said in her Facebook post.
“We were at the 99 Ranch Market across from this Costco and saw their vendors delivering meat with Costco shopping carts!! Talk about disgusting! I’m usually okay with sticking the kids in the seat of the basket, but this is a whole new level of gross. Beware.”
Accompanying her post are two photos showing men pushing shopping carts into what appears to be a grocery store. The “buggies” as our friends across the pond call them, are overflowing with chunks of raw meat, including whole hog legs with the feet in tact.
By last night Google searches on the topic were ranging from 5,600 to 283,000 hits, depending on what combination of key words I used and whether I limited my search to “news” sources or “all” sources. Pretty impressive for a non-political story that only had 1,846 shares 20 hours after hitting Facebook. By 11:25 EST last night Seto’s post had 589 FB comments.
Some of those comments slammed Costco. Some of them slammed the commenters who misunderstood Seto’s post and thought the pronoun “their” was referring to Costco’s meat supplier. Some of them slammed Seto because she shops at 99 Ranch.
The vast majority of those commenting were simply grossed out.
A fair number of the comments addressed the obvious food safety issues. A lot of comments expressed concern about cross-contamination of the carts. One person wants Costco to double dip them in bleach and then burn them.
Neither Costco nor 99 Ranch had posted information on their websites about the alleged incident as of last night. Objectively, the name of the grocery store is not visible in Seto’s photos. But, the carts clearly bear Costco’s name.
There is a Costco store across the street from one of the 99 Ranch chain’s stores on Automation Parkway in San Jose, so it’s not too difficult to imagine that some carts have migrated.
Newspapers in the Southwest have given the story quite a bit of ink. Iconic broadsheets including the The San Jose Mercury News and The Modesto Bee got confirmation from the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health that an investigation is in the works and a comment from a spokeswoman at the implicated meat company who said the two employees in Seto’s photos have been fired.
NBC Bay Area identified the meat vendor as Atwater-based Jim’s Farm Meat Co. The NBC News affiliate also reported that a spokeswoman from the 99 Ranch grocery chain said the store in San Jose threw out all of the pork it had on hand from Jim’ Farm.
It would seem that the facts are pretty well documented in this multi-dimensional horror story. Here’s hoping the incident results in those in the field-to-fork continuum increasing their scrutiny of trading partners and their own food safety protocols.
The only good news out of this story is the momentary break it gave us from the constant barrage of repeated, regurgitated and ridiculous commentary that so often counts as news nowadays.

Food Safety Talk 144: They Look and Taste Like Green Turds
Source :
by Ben Chapman (Jan 25, 2018)
The guys jumped right into the food safety talk this week with a discussion of the Jimmy John’s sprout outbreak. From there the conversation turns to a whole lot of listener questions and feedback: Instant Pot, more on edible gold and silver, the safety of pots left on the stove as well as refrigerator leftovers, fiddleheads, proper spatula use, burger temperatures, and food safety gadgets. There’s a little bit of popular culture talk right at the end. Below are show notes so you can follow along at home.
Episode 144 is available on iTunes and here.
Show notes so you can follow along at home:
-FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Sprouts Served at Certain Jimmy John’s Restaurants
-Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo Infections Linked to Raw Sprouts – CDC
-Sprouts sicken at least 8 linked to Jimmy John’s: It’s all happening, again – barfblog
I-AFP Food on Twitter: Meet IAFP Member Don Schaffner
-Burning Issue: Canning in Electric Multi-Cookers
-Tesco Lustre Edible Gold And Silver
--Bending the Rules on Bacteria and Food Safety – The New York Times
-Rest in peace, Dean Allen
-How long can you leave turkey broth out before it goes bad?
-USDA FSIS on Leftovers and Food Safety
-Health Canada on Food safety tips for leftovers
-UK Food Standards Agency on reheating leftovers
-USDA FSIS Appendix A to Compliance Guidelines
-Buchanan and Schaffner, FPT
-Ostrich Fern Poisoning – New York and Western Canada, 1994
-Health Canada Fiddlehead safety tips
-Gastroenteritis Associated with Consumption of Fiddlehead Ferns — Anchorage, May 2010
-7 sick from fiddleheads in Toronto | barfblog
-Single Jar Canned Pickled Goods | Vegetables | Garlic | Sausage | Eggs
-Sonic Soak: The Ultimate Ultrasonic Cleaning Tool from Indiegogo 12.8L Home Use Ultrasonic Ozone Vegetable Fruit Sterilizer Cleaner -Washer Health by Moredental: Industrial & Scientific
-Fate of Shiga toxin-producing O157:H7 and non-O157:H7 Escherichia coli cells within refrigerated, frozen, or frozen then thawed ground beef patties
-The Wrong Mans (TV Series 2013–2014) – IMDb
-Patriot (TV Series 2015– ) – IMDb



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Food Safety at Pittcon 2018
Source :
By Pittcon (Jan 25, 2018)
Analytical Technologies for Food Safety
A far reach from local greengrocers and butchers, food provision is now a global industry. The foods we buy in the supermarket may now be harvested, processed and packaged in several different countries often thousands of miles apart. Aside from the purported benefits, such as cheaper products and wider selection, this poses greater challenges to ensuring food quality and safety. It is now much more difficult for food manufacturers to know the true origins and quality of the ingredients they buy from suppliers. Furthermore, there is greater opportunity for food fraud. Some unscrupulous food manufacturers are intentionally deceiving their customers by replacing the labelled product with cheaper alternatives to achieve higher profit margins.
There has always been the risk of products becoming contaminated during preparation and so regular food analysis has long been a routine part of food manufacture. However, today there are even greater challenges to ensuring food quality. In addition to the presence of unwanted microbes, the increasing use of chemicals to increase yields has introduced the risk of pesticides and veterinary drugs entering food supplies, and fraudsters are using more and more ingenious ways to cover their deception.
Monitoring the safety and quality of food thus requires a battery of sophisticated analytical methodologies capable of discerning the presence of very similar yet inappropriate components, identifying the presence of unexpected unwanted ingredients and detecting pathogens at the lowest concentrations. Since current legislation holds food manufacturers responsible for the safety and quality of the goods they sell, there is growing demand for cost-effective, reliable food testing methods that can be incorporated into production lines. Scientists have responded to these growing challenges to food safety with the development of innovative adaptations of a range of analytical technologies.
Pittcon 2018, taking place in Orlando from 26 February to 1 March 2018, will feature exhibitions from many of the companies currently providing analytical instruments designed for use in food production, and presentations from experts in the field describing the latest techniques developed to support food manufactures in their ongoing battle against contamination and adulteration of their products.
Using NMR spectroscopy to verify authenticity
Recommendations published after the uncovering of the fraudulent incorporation of horse meat in beef supplied to food producers across Europe in 2013 have changed industry attitudes substantially. Food testing and surveillance systems are now an integral part of production lines within the food industry. In addition, the UK government has establishment of the National Food Crime Unit to help protect consumers against similar incidents occurring in the future.
Speakers at Pittcon 2018 will highlight the need for both targeted and non-targeted analysis to confirm the safety of food products and illustrate how this can be satisfied by NMR. NMR analysis is non-destructive and provides the means to screen for both known potential adulterants and unanticipated contaminants in a single process. Recent technological advances have made this sophisticated technology accessible to the food industry by enabling the production of compact NMR spectrometers whose operation can be completely automated and easily executed by non-experts.
The value of NMR analyses in detecting fraudulent activity is exemplified by the progress made in determining the origins and composition of honey. Honey has become a prime target for economically motivated adulteration, being in high demand, and short supply. Unscrupulous practices include mixing honey with cheap sugar syrups and fraudulently claiming a more desirable origin to obtain premium prices.
The Honey Profiling Consortium has complied a library of NMR spectra for honeys of thousands of different varieties and geographic origins, including honeys adulterated with various sugar syrups. Bruker’s 1H-NMR FoodScreener® platform compares results from current analyses with this library and highlights any potential discrepancies so distributers can be confident that their honey is genuine.
Increasing the sensitivity and selectivity of contaminant detection in foodstuffs
It is not only criminal activity that can impact the safety of our food. Technological advances themselves designed to improve food production processes can lead to the contamination of food. The offending compound may be present in very low concentrations, but the risk of potential bioaccumulation and potential health implications makes it important to detect their presence.
The combination of analytical methodologies has facilitated rapid screening for a wide range of food contaminants, such as pesticides, mycotoxins, veterinary drugs and plastics. For example, liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) is a rapidly developing technology being adapted for a wide range of applications in food safety and quality assessments. Using chromatography to physically separate components before analysis by mass spectrometry provides very high sensitivity, high selectivity and mass accuracy.
Examples of LC-MS being used in the food industry to detect bisphenol A in beverages packaged in plastic containers and the presence of residues of chlorine disinfection on lettuce and spinach will be presented at Pittcon 2018.
Using microsystems to enhance food safety
Nanotechnology, which uses microscopic components, is a rapidly growing area of research that has shown significant benefits across a range of industries, including engineering and medicine. Although it is a relative newcomer to the food industry, it holds tremendous potential to positively impact food safety in a variety of ways. Indeed, nanotechnology was identified as a key area of research and development for meeting the world's food needs.
Pittcon 2018 includes a session dedicated to the use of nanosensors to improve food safety. The detection of pathogens and toxins in foods has been an ongoing challenge in food production, yet it appears that microfluidic devices may provide the long-awaited breakthrough allowing single colony forming units of multiple disease-causing bacteria to be detected in foodstuffs in a single analysis. Magnetic nanoparticles conjugated to genetically engineered viruses have facilitated much earlier detection of pathogens in food stuffs.
Nanotechnology also has the potential to monitor the quality of foodstuffs during storage or track them during transit. It appears that nanotechnology is becoming a key player in ensuring food safety at every stage of its production. 
Find out more at Pittcon 2018
Researchers, along with representatives from the FDA, the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology and other esteemed institutions will be at Pittcon 2018 to present the latest research and technologies pertaining to food safety.
Numerous market-leading producers of equipment designed to enhance food screening, including Bruker, Phenomenex, Magritek Ltd and Ocean Optics will also be attending Pittcon 2018 to showcase the latest additions to their capabilities.
About Pittcon
Pittcon® is a registered trademark of The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, a Pennsylvania non-profit organization. Co-sponsored by the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh, Pittcon is the premier annual conference and exposition on laboratory science.
Proceeds from Pittcon fund science education and outreach at all levels, kindergarten through adult. Pittcon donates more than a million dollars a year to provide financial and administrative support for various science outreach activities including science equipment grants, research grants, scholarships and internships for students, awards to teachers and professors, and grants to public science centers, libraries and museums.
Visit for more information.

7 foods a food safety expert never eats
Source :
By Pawlowski (Jan 25, 2018)
The alarming food recalls keep coming: Romaine lettuce, packaged vegetables, chicken, frozen fruit, cheeses, potato chips and many more products in just the last couple of years. All were feared to be contaminated by harmful bacteria.
Bill Marler knows all too well what kind of damage tainted food can do. The Seattle attorney has represented victims of foodborne illness for 25 years — people who came close to death just by eating a hamburger. Marler’s work hasn’t put him off from eating in restaurants, but he’s more wary when he eats out.
“If I had a rule that I follow, it’s that I eat things that are well-cooked or that are cold, because bacteria tend to not do well at hot temperatures and tend to not grow at cold temperatures,” Marler told TODAY.
“There’s just some good common sense when you’re not controlling the food you consume.”
Each year, 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne diseases and 3,000 die, the CDC estimates. It names norovirus, salmonella and clostridium perfringens as the top three illness-causing germs. Bugs that are more likely to lead to hospital stays include botulism, listeria and E. coli.
E. coli cases linked to red meat are down, but Marler has been alarmed by an increase in cases of listeria, which — unlike most bacteria — can grow at refrigerator temperatures.
Based on the cases he’s been involved in, Marler has come up with a list of seven foods he never eats:
1. Raw sprouts
All types of raw sprouts, including alfalfa, mung bean, clover and radish sprouts, are at the top of Marler’s list.
“Sprouts are just a really difficult product to make safe,” he said. “Seeds get contaminated and then when you sprout things in warm water, it’s a perfect bath for the bacteria to grow.”
The Barf Blog, a website run by a former professor of food safety, has documented at least 55 sprout-associated outbreaks — or “sprout-breaks,” as Marler calls them — worldwide since 1988. Most have been caused by salmonella and E. coli.
The latest suspected outbreak has sickened eight people with salmonella in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota since December, with raw sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants “a likely source,” the CDC reports. The Illinois Department of Public Health asked the restaurant chain to remove sprouts from their menus until the investigation is complete.
Sprouts should be cooked thoroughly to reduce your risk of illness, the government advises. Children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems should avoid eating any raw sprouts, it notes.
2. “Raw” milk and juices
Whatever possible benefit you think you might get from unpasteurized milk or “raw” packaged juice, it’s not worth the risk, said Marler, who helped create a website listing some of the consequences of people drinking contaminated raw milk, including kidney failure and paralysis.
Raw milk and products made from it can contain bacteria, viruses, and parasites that pose “severe health risks, including death,” the CDC warns. Possible germs include campylobacter, E. coli, salmonella and listeria, with 81 outbreaks in 26 states linked to raw milk from 2007-2012, the agency notes.
As for raw juice, if you’re making it at home in a clean environment, washing the exterior of the fruit, and then drinking the juice right away, the risks are very low, Marler said. Just skip any packaged “raw” juice.
Marler would also stay away from “raw” water: “It’s sometimes amazing to me how we humans forget our history,” he said. “You just sort of scratch your head and wonder what people are thinking.”
3. Raw flour
Raw flour has been linked to E. coli outbreaks, so resist the temptation to eat cookie dough or taste raw cake batter.
“It’s something I think the public is pretty unaware of and we need to educate people that when handling flour you buy in the bags in the grocery store, you have to consider it a raw agricultural product that could be the source of a pathogen,” Marler said.
People often dust their kitchen counter top with flour when rolling out dough. Think about it this way: it’s not dissimilar to putting raw chicken on your counter, so wipe things down and consider using wax paper instead, he advised.
4. Pre-cut fruits and vegetables
The more you control food in your own kitchen, the less likely it is to be a problem, Marler believes. He finds it much safer to take your own apple, wash it, cut it and put it in a plastic bag for lunch than to go to the grocery store and buy an apple that was sliced a few days ago in a facility 500 miles away.
“It’s certainly convenient, but sometimes I think the convenience isn’t worth the risk,” he said. “I don’t buy pre-washed, pre-bagged products, but if I did, I would wash it again myself. It’s all about decreasing the bacterial load.”
5. Ground meat that’s not well done
Any ground meat has to be cooked thoroughly, Marler said. That’s because bacteria on the surface of the meat can get mixed throughout the product when it’s ground. Be sure to cook ground beef, veal, pork and lamb to an internal temperature of 160°F, the CDC notes.
When it comes to a whole piece of beef steak, like filet mignon, Marler would consider eating it medium or medium-well done. But chicken, turkey and other poultry has to be cooked thoroughly, he noted. The CDC recommends cooking it to an internal temperature of 165°F.
In case you’re wondering, Marler isn’t that concerned about raw fish, but he still doesn’t eat a lot of sushi.
6. Raw oysters
Marler has seen a spike in bacterial and viral illnesses linked to raw oysters in the last several years, perhaps because the water is warmer for longer periods of time, he said. Eating raw oysters is not worth the risk, he added.
7. Raw eggs
They’re still on Marler’s list, although government oversight and industry intervention have made eggs a lot safer today than they were a decade ago, he said.
But even though the likelihood of salmonella has “decreased a lot,” he still wouldn’t eat eggs raw (even from the chickens he raises at home), sunny-side-up or soft-boiled, especially in a restaurant. He always opts for scrambled eggs.


IBM: For Blockchain, Food Safety Is Just the Beginning
Source :
By Billy Duberstein (Jan 24, 2018)
As the calendar has turned to 2018, the mania around bitcoin may in fact be turning into investor interest in commercial blockchain, the technology that enables bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In my recent interview with IBM's VP of Blockchain Technologies, Jerry Cuomo, I learned a great deal about IBM's leadership in blockchain for business, the different business applications IBM's blockchain was currently serving, and the history of the Hyperledger Project.
Even more recently, I had the chance to interview Brigid McDermott, VP of food safety at IBM Blockchain. While my previous interview with Jerry Cuomo touched on IBM's company-wide blockchain ambitions, McDermott and I looked at the technology on a more micro level, digging into one of IBM's larger active networks: a food-safety blockchain network led by Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and nine other leading food companies. In addition to the Wal-Mart consortium, IBM also recently announced a new consortium in China with not only Wal-Mart, but also (NASDAQ:JD) and Tsinghua University.
Here are some of the highlights from our conversation. (Some quotes have been edited for clarity.)
Can technology really help with food safety?
I asked McDermott about the beginning of the food safety initiative and how long ago the Wal-Mart consortium started.
We started about a year ago. We were having some conversations with Wal-Mart about food safety, and it became pretty clear to all of us that this was a really good match.
The obvious applicability is blockchain, and a trusted system of record to supply chain is a great starting place. But above and beyond food safety, everyone in the industry will tell you, nobody wins when there's a food incident. ... It's not like, you know, my competitor's peanut butter is bad, I'm excited, everyone's going to buy mine. Everybody's like, OK, nobody's buying any peanut butter, they're all eating tuna fish. It's just a bad thing when a food incident happens. There are no winners. And so, the willingness of the industry to collaborate is phenomenal, to solve this problem that has been around for eons.
The main way blockchain can help limit food safety incidents, as well as the financial fallout, is by being able to instantly track where the food has been, from the farm, to the processor, to the distributor, and the retailer. In the early days of the Wal-Mart partnership, executives put the technology to the test:
In early June, the head of food safety for Wal-Mart walked into the office, took a pack of processed mangoes, put it down on the table, and said: "Test starts now. Tell me what farm this comes from." And six days, 18 hours, and 26 minutes later, his team came back and told him what farm it came from. And Wal-Mart is great at this, they're one of the best. A week is a perfectly normal response -- if not great response -- to that kind of question. And when we ran it through our system in a live demo, we were able to do it in two seconds.
In addition to saying it came from this farm, or these farms in Brazil, we were also able to say, "And it went to this cold storage facility on this date, and it went to this distribution center on this date." If there had been a problem, can we triangulate on where that problem was in two seconds? We're both addressing the -- we're trying to head off any people getting sick, and we're trying to head off the financial impact of pulling perfectly good food off of shelves. ... I live in New York City, and there was a problem with salmonella that came up May 17, 2017. It took until July 26 for them to identify that it was papayas.
Network effects
As you may be putting together, these alliances become much more beneficial as more retailers, suppliers, and distributors all buy into the same network. In my investing-oriented mind, I can imagine that would give the blockchain first-movers in this space a beneficial network effect.
Blockchain is about trust between parties. And so, what you need to build is not just the technology, but the ecosystem as well. And so, what we announced in August was, yes, we've proven that the technology works. But what we need to prove is that when you get competitors out there across the ecosystem, they trust that this is a way that their data is being used to benefit them, to benefit consumers, to benefit everybody. But not at their expense.
You don't want people on separate solutions. What you're trying to do is create a food ecosystem that allows you to look holistically at where food has been and triangulate -- it's a true big-data problem.
U.S. vs. China consortiums
In August, IBM announced a consortium in the U.S. and Europe with 10 of the biggest players in the space all buying into the IBM food safety active network: Wal-Mart, Dole, Driscoll, Kroger, Golden State Foods, McCormick (NYSE:MKC), Tyson (NYSE:TSN), Unilever (NYSE:UN), Nestle (NASDAQOTH:NSRGY), and McLane.
Then just recently in December, IBM announced a new partnership in China with Wal-Mart,, and Tsinghua University. I asked McDermott about that.
In China, what we're actually focused on is around standards. One of the things that we found as we were doing this in the U.S. was the absolute critical nature of basing what we're doing on standards. As we look at the Chinese markets we wanted with Wal-Mart and JD and Tsinghua, to really take leadership and say, as companies are thinking about blockchain and food safety, we really need to be ensuring that the market itself is one based on standards and interoperability. As is always the case with standard-setting, the more, the merrier. From our perspective, we had worked with Wal-Mart and Tsinghua and, you know, JD has real presence in the China market. We want to get it started. So, the four of us were like, let's do it. And, you know, welcoming others who are interested in helping drive standards across the industry.
I was also curious as to why IBM would have to start two different consortiums, since it seems the active networks are more helpful as more companies buy into the same system. As is often the case in many industries, China has a slightly different regulatory regime for food safety.
What we found is that in every country, there are different regulations and different usages standards. And so, making sure that we understand the differences and that we're all, you know, taking those into account is a big part of the focus. ... So, GS1 -- which I think is an important standard because it's an industry-based one -- is a country-by-country based model.
Something like Hyperledger with the Linux foundation is a global model, and so, potentially it can be easier to do globally. But I think you do have to balance the local with the global just because of existing efforts.
Beyond food
What also became clear is that the more efficient all of these processes become, the more that businesses can refocus on other priorities, such as optimization. If trust is no longer an effort, other efficiencies can be unlocked.
When you look at supply chain, right, for decades if not millennia, the three biggest problems to solve have been data visibility, process optimization, and demand management. And, if you look at bringing blockchain in, you say, OK, well, that starts addressing data visibility because I trust that I can share it, and with the permissioning, only the people who should see it, can see it. And that changes the dynamic. Once I have all of the data, not just looking at my own little silo, then I can start thinking about the process differently. I can optimize based on the end-to-end process that I'm participating in, not just the one little step that I'm in.
I then asked McDermott what she thought of in terms of blockchain's potential in a bigger-picture sense, maybe outside of food safety, or what its impacts could be long term.
Five to ten years from now, you'll see almost every industry impacted by blockchain. And, my view is, I've been doing digital transformation for a long time. And I was a little bit jaded, where you always do financial services first, and then you do other things. And that's because, when you're a digital business, like financial services, it's easy to think about digital transformation. And blockchain has been interesting because the benefits have been so clear across some industries. Where people are like, "Look, this is the missing puzzle piece that we've been waiting for."
I think you'll start seeing a lot of systems go into production in the next year. Five to ten years, I think it'll be a normal part of any kind of business process transformation.
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Salmon sushi: 5.6′ tapeworm excreted by California man
Source :
By Doug Powell (Jan 23, 2018)
Raw can be risky.
Including raw fish used to make sushi, especially if it is not frozen at sea.
Following up my chat with daughter Sorenne while strolling around Noumea, New Caledonia last week, a Fresno man with a daily sushi habit had a 5.5-foot tapeworm lodged in his intestines. He pulled it out himself, wrapped it around a cardboard toilet paper tube and carried the creature into Fresno’s Community Regional Medical Center.
Michelle Robertson, a San Francisco Gate staff writer, reports that Kenny Banh was the lucky doc on shift at the time. He recounted his experience on a recent episode of the podcast “This Won’t Hurt A Bit.”
Banh said the patient complained of “bloody diarrhea” and expressed a desire to get treated for tapeworms.
“I get asked this a lot,” the doctor said. “Truthfully, a lot of times I don’t think they have it.”
This man had it, which he proved to Banh by opening a plastic grocery bag and pulling out the worm-wrapped toilet paper tube.
Banh then asked some questions, starting with: “That came out of your bottom?”
According to the doctor’s retelling, the patient was using the restroom when he noticed what looked like a piece of intestine hanging out of his body.
 “He grabs it, and he pulls on it, and it keeps coming out,” Banh recounted. He then picks the thing up, “looks at it, and what does it do? It starts moving.”
That’s when the man realized he had a tapeworm stuck in his insides. He headed to the emergency room shortly thereafter, where Banh treated him with an anthelmintic, a single-treatment deworming medication used on humans and dogs alike.
Banh also took it upon himself to measure the specimen on the floor of the hospital. It stretched a whopping 5 feet, 6 inches — “my height,” noted the doctor.
Tapeworms can be contracted in a variety of ways, but Banh said his patient hadn’t traveled out of the country or engaged in any out-of-the-ordinary behavior. The man also professed his love of sushi, specifically raw salmon sashimi, which he confessed to eating daily.
Fresno is located an ample 150 miles from coastline and is not exactly famed for its sushi. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned last February that the rise in popularity of raw fish consumption has likely spurred
The story has attracted attention all over the world, as these things tend to do, says Peter Olson, a tapeworm expert and a researcher at the Natural History Museum’s life sciences department, who was quoted as telling The Guardian, “because they’re gross”. The worm, he says, was “almost certainly something called the broad fish tapeworm … salmon is one of the main ways you would pick it up, if you don’t cook the meat.” The life of the broad fish tapeworm involves more than one host. “A typical life cycle might include a bear that feeds on salmon, then defecates back into the river. The larvae would be passed into the environment and, in the case of an aquatic life cycle like this, it would be eaten by something like a copepod, a little crustacean. When that copepod is eaten by a fish, it would transform into a larval tapeworm and that’s what is being transmitted to a human in this case. That would go to the intestine and grow into this giant worm.”
(On one of our first dates, over 12 years ago – same age as — Amy tried to serve me grilled salmon. I whipped out my trusty tip-sensitive digital thermometer and noted a 98F reading, and said, no way. Cook it.)
The tapeworm is a monstrous and impressive creation. It has a segmented body, with male and female reproductive organs in each segment, so it is capable of self-fertilisation. It does not have a head as such – its “head” is only useful for holding on to its host’s gut, rather than for “eating” (it absorbs nutrients through its skin). In many cases, you would not know you were infected. You might spot bits of tapeworm segment in your stool – small, pale, rice-like bits – or experience stomach pain or vomiting.

There’s snow place like home, unless you’re an RV snowbird
Source :
Food safety hazards
By COOKSON BEECHER (Jan 23, 2018)
Just as feathered birds head south for warmer weather, so, too, do human snowbirds, who pack up their RVs and travel trailers they call home once they get to their sunny destinations.
But food-safety gurus warn that there’s no vacation from food safety.
“I don’t subscribe to the ‘knock-on-wood’ approach to food safety,” said Bill Flynn, food safety manager for Mohave County in Arizona.
People should follow the same food safety principles at home or in a recreational vehicle, but life on the road presents some different challenges, he said.
“Heat can exacerbate the situation,” Flynn said.
First and foremost, he said, don’t “temperature abuse” your foods. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. And beware of the “danger zone” — temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees — where bacteria grow most rapidly, making them more likely to cause illness and infection in people who eat contaminated food.
When hosting a dinner, picnicking or  throwing a potluck, it might be tempting to leave food out on tables or on the counter so people can go back for seconds. But Flynn noted that in warmer climates, especially, any bacteria that might be on the food can quickly reproduce to dangerous levels. Rule of thumb: Put the food into the fridge after two hours — one when eating outdoors and temperatures hit 90 degrees F or higher.
Bottom line: Keep cold foods on ice and hot foods over some sort of warmer if they’re left out for guests.
Cooking food in a microwave takes some food safety know-how, too, especially in the case of meat, poultry, fish or frozen dinners. Once  it’s out of the microwave, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let it “rest” for two minutes. That way it will keep cooking, which allows all parts of the food to reach the correct temperature.
Kevin Broom, spokesman for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association said RV’ers should make sure they have an adequate supply of propane to run their refrigerators when they’re on the road. RV refrigerators typically use propane when driving down the road, and electricity when hooked up to power in a campground or trailer court.
‘Danger’ foods
Nutrition experts encourage people to eat plenty of greens, but be careful with raw cut salad greens, including baby spinach. They need to be kept at 41 degrees or cooler to prevent bacteria from migrating to nutrients that are oozing out of the cuts on the greens. From there, the bacteria begin to reproduce rapidly. No amount of washing will flush all of them off fresh produce.
Then there are the ready-to-eat”foods such as hot dogs, meat spreads, freshcut cantaloupe and raw sprouts, among others.
“I wouldn’t hold them for more than several days because of listeria,” said Flynn. “There are inherent risks that come with them even if they’re refrigerated.”
Listeria can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator. It can survive freezing temperatures, too. It is killed by cooking and pasteurization. Symptoms of listeriosis are a stiff neck, confusion, weakness and vomiting, sometimes preceded by diarrhea. It can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms to develop.
Salmonella and E. coli are other foodborne pathogens that can contaminate pre-cut fruit and vegetables. According to the Australian Institute of Food Safety pre-cut fruit is one of the most common foods associated with foodborne illnesses. Eating whole fruits is obviously a better option, say food-safety gurus.
Perhaps surprisingly, a lot of raw fruits and berries carry a high risk of food poisoning, according to the institute. Listeria in particular can grow on the skins of fruits and vegetables, and Salmonella has been found responsible for more and more cases of food poisoning traced back to berries, hot peppers and tomatoes.
Melons also can be high risk, because they grown on the ground and may not be washed before eating. Harmful substances can easily be transferred to the flesh of the fruit anytime throughout the supply chain process, as well as when the melons are cut.
Rule of thumb: Wash all produce, and in the case of fruits and vegetables with hard skins such as cantaloupe and cucumbers, rub them or use a vegetable brush while cleaning them under running water. Always dry the produce with a clean cloth or paper towel after washing it and before cutting it open.
As for that leftover rice, it’s actually considered a high-risk food because it can get infected with bacillus cereus, which can actually live in uncooked rice as spores. Cooking it activates the bacteria, and moist cooked rice is the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
“Not storing cooked rice properly is one of the biggest culprits of foodborne illnesses in the world,” according to the Australian Institute of Food Safety.
“All cooked rice should be stored in the refrigerator at the correct temperature, (41 degrees or colder), to avoid the further growth of bacteria,” advises the institute. Rice that has high-risk proteins in it, for example pork or egg, carries an even higher risk of contamination.
Leftovers in general are a challenge, according to food safety professionals.
“You don’t want to hold them too long,” said Flynn, whether they’re home-cooked or from a restaurant.
And when in doubt, he said, throw it out.
Previously cooked leftovers should be heated to at least 165 degrees F. In the case of sauces, soups and gravy, USDA’s advice is to bring them to a boil when reheating.
Older adults should heat all deli-style meats, according to the the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
As in any cooking situation, it’s important to use a food thermometer to check that what you’re cooking has reached the right temperature. Food that might look well-done on the surface might not be thoroughly cooked on the inside.
Tight spaces
Tight spaces are something else RV’ers contend with — so different from being at home where there’s a lot of room.
“In tight spaces, cross contamination can be all over the place,” Flynn said.
That’s why it’s so important to keep meat and poultry away from produce and other foods you’ll be eating raw. Knives, cutting boards, counter tops, and even your own hands, can be sources of cross-contamination.
An RV veteran, who goes by the name of Timetraveler2, agrees.
“People fall in love with the idea of RVs; they look like houses,” she said. “But space is limited, and cross-contamination can be a problem.”
Don’t get ‘bugged’
Timetraveler2 also pointed out that each region of the country is different. For example, while Arizona is arid and dry, Florida’s climate is hot and humid and home to more bugs than the arid Southwest.
“You do have to watch out for them,” she said. “RVs are not like houses. It’s very easy for bugs and vermin to get into an RV and then into any food that isn’t sealed.”
She advises hiding ant and roach traps in closets; spraying RV tires, hoses and front panels with Pam to makes potential entryways slippery; and making sure RV screens don’t have any holes in them. It also goes without saying, that you need to make sure any poisons you might be using don’t accidentally end up on cooking surfaces or in food.
Recent research published in Scientific Reports reveals that house flies and blowflies carry more diseases than suspected. Many of those bacteria are linked to human infections, among them stomach bugs, blood poisoning and pneumonia.
According to the research, every step taken by a fly can transfer live bacteria.
That’s yet another good reason not to leave fruit or vegetables out on the picnic table, even though you might do that in your home dining room. That, of course, goes for meat and fish as well.
Humid climates trigger mold and mildew, which is another food safety concern.
Because RVs are generally not as insulated as houses, the temperature of the outdoor air needs to be taken into consideration.
“Your refrigerator and freezer are affected by the outside temperature,” Timetraveler2 says, adding that changing temperature settings in RV refrigerators according to weather conditions is necessary.
Vintage trailer enthusiast Cherri Aiken advises people to keep a thermometer in their RV refrigerator. Mohave County food-safety official Flynn agrees.
“Otherwise how will you know what the temperature in your refrigerator really is?” Flynn said.
Just because your chicken on the grill isn’t pink, it doesn’t mean it’s reached a high enough temperature to kill pathogens. Pack a food thermometer when RV’ing or camping to make sure your road trip doesn’t turn into a trip to the hospital.
Out in the boonies
Many RVers enjoy camping out in the boonies. Timetraveler 2 said that’s even more of a reason to be especially careful about food safety. If an emergency should arise, you’ll often be far from a hospital or medical care.
She also pointed out that many RVers are older and therefore more vulnerable to food poisoning. When in remote areas, it can be fun to cook over an open fire. But, she said, you need to know what you’re doing.
“At home you know your equipment,” she said. “It’s different from cooking over an open fire.”
She also advises that if you’re going to go fishing, make sure you know how to gut, clean and cook a fish properly.
“Take the time to do your research,” she said.
Broom said that RVers camping in remote areas should make sure to securely close cabinets, food storage areas and refrigerators, and dispose of waste securely to avoid attracting raccoons, bears or other wildlife.
Packing the food
Timetraveler2 likes to start out fresh for each trip — packing everything new.
Another tip from this veteran RVer: Once a box of dry food such as cereal has been opened, repack what you haven’t eaten into sealable airtight plastic containers. This protects the food from mildew, water damage, bugs and vermin and also helps to keep it fresh.
Avoid glass containers if possible, simply because you don’t want any broken glass to get into your food.
As for refrigerated foods, she advises they be packed as tightly as possible.
Also important: Make sure your RV is level each and every time you park so that the refrigerator will continue to operate.
RVers Al and Lori Pratt like to pack some nonfat dry milk not only because it saves space but also because they don’t have to worry about whether any liquid milk is spoiling.
Sometimes substitutes come in handy. While the Pratts like their bacon, they often pack some Spam and fry it up along with some eggs for breakfast, just in case they’ve haven’t eaten the bacon relatively soon after opening it.
The USDA advises that meat, poultry and seafood should be packed while it’s still frozen so it will stay colder longer. Another piece of advice: Wrap those foods securely so their juices don’t drip onto foods such as veggies and fruits that will be eaten raw.
It also warns never to reuse platters or utensils that have previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood until they’ve been washed in hot, soapy water. Otherwise, juices from the raw meat can get onto cooked food and cause food poisoning.
Safe water
Vintage trailer enthusiast Aiken said there are a lot of minerals in the water in some regions. “You don’t always know what the water is like,” she said.
For that reason, she buys gallon jugs of water. “They’re good to use for anything,” she said.
Timetraveler 2 warns that water in some campgrounds can be questionable. “There are a lot of water-borne illnesses,” she said.
She also pointed out that when people are traveling, they’ll be going to places with different types of water. Even if it’s perfectly safe, the water in one place might disagree with you while water in another place will be perfectly fine.
Al Pratt said that while he and Lori make sure they’re not taking any chances with food, there’s nothing all that complicated about it.
“Just use common sense,” he said. “That’s the main thing.”
Timetraveler2 would agree. “Enjoying delicious, healthy foods is one of my favorite things about RV traveling, so make eating a pleasure, rather than a problem.”

Food safety report reveals 99% of samples pass tests
Source :
By Hu Min (Jan 23, 2018)
Agricultural products, starch and related products and pastry had the highest substandard rates last year among 32 types of foods, a report on the city's food safety has revealed.
However, almost 99 percent of 207,107 food samples tested passed safety checks last year, up 0.3 percentage points from 2016, according to the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration report.
Excessive microbes, food additives, pesticide and veterinary drug residues were blamed for nearly 90 percent of substandard foods last year.
The remaining substandard items had excessive amounts of non-edible substances, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotics, ethoxyquine (a preservative), and problems with their labels.
Some vegetables, poultry, meat, fish and shrimp were found to contain excessive pesticide and veterinary drug residues, while excessive bacteria was found in salad, cooked meat, fresh beverages and uncooked aquatic products, the administration said. Excessive bacteria was also detected in boxed lunches and tableware.
Some aquatic products were found to contain malachite green dye, a synthetic dye. Sea crabs, particularly portunid crabs, were found to be contaminated with the heavy metal cadmium, while some fried noodle products were found to excessive residue of aluminum, according to the report. Exposure to a large amount of cadmium can lead to poisoning, while  excessive amounts of aluminum damages brain and nerve cells if consumed, according to doctors.
Some imported foods were detected with banned animal derived products, unreported genetically modified ingredients, food additives that don't meet Chinese standards, excessive pesticide and veterinary drug residues, substandard microbes, incorrect labels, broken packaging, or were expired, had mildew and rot and lacked production dates.
Last year, authorities received 130,699 food-related complaints, tip-offs and consultation inquiries, up 22 percent from a year earlier. Whistleblowers behind 1,037 cases received 779,100 yuan (US$119,862) in total.
Complaints and tip-offs about dining venues accounted for 40 percent, mainly about discomfort after meals, poor hygiene conditions, unclean cuisine and unlicensed operations.
About 35 percent of eateries in the city that were graded had a smiley face, with 3.1 percent crying faces. A smiling face means good food safety while a crying face indicates the opposite.
No serious food safety incidents were reported last year. Three mass food poisoning cases involving 142 people were recorded, but none involved fatalities, according to the report.
In one case, all nine outlets of LIST, a popular Hong Kong-style dim sum and dessert restaurant in Shanghai, were temporarily suspended after 71 diners became sick after meals at four branches of the restaurant in July. Salmonella was found in the food and the restaurant was found making cold pastries beyond the limits of its license.
In total, 37,256 food manufacturing and operation businesses had their licenses revoked and more than 6,700 illegal food safety cases were uncovered with 224 million yuan in fines or confiscated, according to the report.
Fake food products, the use of expired materials and smuggling and selling overseas beef containing lean meat powder were detected last year, according to the administration. The cases included the Farine bakery flour scandal and illegally adding poppy seeds to crayfish, malatang (a Sichuan-style meat and vegetable soup) and beef soup.
Some criminals were using the Internet selling counterfeit or substandard food, and there was a rise of cross regional food safety cases, officials said.
The top three food-related concerns of residents were food poisoning, bad food and pesticide residues in vegetables, the administration said. Food safety satisfaction score among residents was 76.1 last year, up 3.8 points from 2016.
The city's food authorities have taken a number of measures to curb food safety irregularities by establishing a system tracking the origin of produce, a tip-off reward system, a blacklist, and installing real-time surveillance cameras at food processing venues.

USDA Proposes New Rule for Hog Slaughter Plants
Source :
By Staff (Jan 23, 2018)
USDA Proposes New Rule for Hog Slaughter Plants
Late last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the proposal of a new rule--the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS)--that would overhaul current legislation for meat inspection at pork processing plants.
If NSIS goes into effect, the proposed rule would permit hog slaughtering plant to choose whether or not they participate in a new inspection system--one that is more efficient and modernized. NSIS would require plant workers to recognize and ultimately remove any carcasses deemed unfit as they come down the processing line. These plants that opt in to the new system would be exempt from having to abide by the maximum line speed requirement, currently set at 1,106 hogs per hour.
Consumer advocates are not pleased with NSIS, claiming that it will have negative effects on both food safety and worker safety. Since these plants will no longer have to adhere to line speed limits, they will likely be processing more hogs--and doing so much faster than before. Consumer advocates say this will put workers in serious danger of injuries, and it will increase food contamination with the processing line moving more quickly.
The other issue at hand is the reduced presence of USDA inspectors at plants that opt in to NSIS. Less oversight will leave hog slaughtering plants to govern themselves, which could lead to a number of safety issues without consistent federal guidance in place anymore.
A pilot program has already been in place with a small number of hog plants participating. However, reports claim that the program’s effectiveness is still unknown because USDA inspectors were not consistently present to document safety changes or trends at those participating plants.
USDA, however, has said that worker safety did improve during the pilot program based on data gathered between 2002 and 2015.
“There is no single technology or process to address the problem of food-borne illness, but when we focus our inspections on food safety-related tasks, we better protect American families,” says Carmen Rottenberg, USDA’s acting deputy undersecretary for food safety.

Canadian Food Safety Fund created by CPMA
Source :
By Tom Karst (Jan 23, 2018)
Created to help fund food safety research and education with a Canadian focus, the Canadian Food Safety Fund is open for business.
The board of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association decided to create the fund about a year and a half ago, and Jeff Hall, food safety specialist with the CPMA, and the association is in the process of launching the member-supported fund early this year.
“It is one of the key objectives I have had since coming on board with CPMA (a year ago) to get the fund up and running,” he said.
According to the CPMA website, the group’s food safety technical subcommittee, which reports to CPMA’s food safety committee, will review research proposals and make recommendations to the food safety committee. The committee plans to identify successful proposals and determine funding allocation.
Hall declined to give any funding goals for the group.
“I’m hoping to have all the background and operational stuff done within the next couple of months,” he said. By early spring, Hall said the fund will begin exploring possible research projects to sponsor, or existing projects in Canada or the U.S. the fund may want to support.
The fund will also be used for food safety education for CPMA members, he said.
The CPMA is beginning a series of food safety forums beginning Jan. 30 through the end of February, with events planned for Leamington, Toronto, Calgary and Burnaby in Canada and one in Salinas, Calif. The forums will cover both U.S. and Canadian food safety regulations, he said.
Hall said the Canadian Food Safety Fund will bring food safety research and educational benefits to the Canadian produce trade.

Food safety: Keep the ego in check
Source :
By Doug Powell (Jan 23, 2018)
The gap between food safety attitudes and behaviour is well acknowledged. Bridging this gap is critical in controlling foodborne illnesses.
Understanding the basis for behavioural outliers in food safety practices can be vital for persuading and transforming future unfavourable food safety behaviour(s). However, there appears to be limited insights available on this subject. This study investigates the extent to which Khebab vendors relate with the food safety attitude-behaviour gap hypothesis and whether this gap is stratified by education and training exposure. Employing interviews and non-participant observation, data was collected from 50 vendors in the Cape Coast Metropolis in Ghana.
The results indicate a significant gap between food safety attitude and behaviour, irrespective of educational status and training. It was also found that home-based food safety socialisation, customer dissatisfaction and associated consequences and egoistic tendencies accounted for outliers.
There is information in the tails: Outliers in the food safety attitude-behaviour gap
Food Control, 29 December 2017
Susana Moreaux, Charles Adongo, Ishmael Mensah, Francis Amuquandoh

Company stops selling vinyl gloves; cites food safety risks
Source :
By CATHARINE HUDDLE (Jan 22, 2018)
Citing growing scientific evidence, specialist glove supplier Eagle Protect has discontinued selling vinyl gloves.
Vinyl gloves, also called PVC gloves, contain a heavy chlorine content. PVC is a widely produced synthetic plastic polymer. The rigid form of PVC is used to make pipes.
California-based Eagle Protect is not alone.  China stopped manufacturing the gloves last year due to severe pollution. Factories have reopened if they can meet the new pollution standards. Japan banned their use in food service in 2001 because of documented adverse effects on health, Eagle Protect company officials said. In the United States, Kaiser Permanente also switched from vinyl gloves to nitrile because of the same concerns.
And, the European Union in 2008 banned the use in food safety products of at least one material used in making vinyl gloves out of concern the chemical could leach into food and be ingested. Sweden proposed restrictions on PVC use in 1995 and is working toward discontinuing it entirely.
In banning production of the gloves, China noted that factories use coal-fired boilers during manufacturing to keep costs down, resulting in increased pollution and negative environmental effects.
The problem
Manufacturing PVC releases dioxins into the atmosphere, as does burning or disposing of them in landfills. Exposure to dioxins has been shown by some researchers to cause reproductive, developmental and other health problems. At least one dioxin is classified as a carcinogen.
Vinyl gloves can also contain phthalates, which have been shown to leach from the gloves into the human body and leach into and evaporate into food, particularly fatty food. Some phthalates have been found to adversely affect human health and are on California’s list of known carcinogens.
In addition, studies have proven vinyl gloves have an increased permeability to bacteria and virus, and in some cases begin leaking as soon as they are donned. New research also shows vinyl gloves are an ineffective barrier during food handling and have three times the cross-contamination potential of quality nitrile gloves.
While vinyl gloves are less expensive than nitrile, the economics go beyond per-unit cost, according to Eagle Protect. But many glove supply companies and procurement managers don’t see it as such, failing to factor in food safety aspects, human health implications and environmental concerns.
The new pollution laws in China could affect vinyl glove cost, causing businesses and consumers to buy nitrile gloves instead.
The rundown on gloves
Latex gloves are made out of rubber and are biodegradable, but some people are allergic.
Nitrile gloves are made out of a synthetic rubber, and are an ideal alternative when latex allergies are of concern. They are also more resistant to chemicals that can compromise gloves made of other materials.
Vinyl gloves are a popular choice for the food industry and situations in which high levels of durability and protection are less of a priority. They are the less expensive option.
CDC recommendations
The Centers for Disease Control has no direct guidelines regarding what kind of gloves should be used in handling food and has not studied vinyl versus other kinds of gloves, according to Brittany Behm, a public affairs specialist in CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases.
The agency does recommend handwashing and wearing gloves when making food. Based on studies, the FDA notes that workers are more likely to wear gloves in chain restaurants, suggesting that use may be partially determined by restaurant managers.
Use of PVC in health care
Out of concern for toxic chemicals in products, health-care institutions around the world, including U.S.-based Kaiser Permanente, have opted for nitrile gloves rather than vinyl. Kaiser, the nation’s largest integrated health care delivery program and user of more than 50 million gloves a year, also has moved away from tubing made from PVC.

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