Meat Safety: More Than Just E. coli
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/februarymarch-2018/meat-safety-more-than-just-e-coli/
By Emefa Monu, Ph.D.
Meat Safety: More Than Just E. coli
When a recall occurs due to a food safety issue, the first thing that enters most people’s minds is pathogenic organisms, such as Listeria, Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Second would be extraneous material such as metal or plastic fragments. Although these are serious issues, in recent years, the majority of food safety-related recalls have actually been due to the undeclared presence of foodborne allergens.
In the U.S., eight major food allergens cause more than 90 percent of food allergies: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. Worldwide, sulfur dioxide/sulfites, celery, gluten-containing grains, mustard, sesame seeds and lupine are also significant allergens. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined there was an 18 percent increase in food allergies between 1997 and 2007 in children under the age of 18, and it was estimated in 2014 that 4 percent of adults and 5 percent of children in the U.S. suffer from food allergies, although some studies have put that number as high as 8 percent. This increase has spurred more research into the area, with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases intending to award more than $42 million to a Consortium of Food Allergy Research to treat these types of allergies.
For those who suffer from food allergies, symptoms can range from mild to severe, and even life threatening. As there is no known cure for food allergies, avoidance is the only major approach sufferers have to prevent these attacks. For this reason, it is key that food companies provide accurate ingredient information on their product labels.
In July 2017 alone, there were 14 U.S. Food and Drug Administration-related food recalls (not including dietary supplements). Of these 14 recalls, 8 were due to undeclared allergens, including eggs, milk, nuts and soy, in products ranging from cookies and protein bars to beverages, soups, dips and beans. Although no meat or poultry is considered a major food allergen, meat and poultry products are not immune to this type of recall. A variety of processed meat products, such as breaded cutlets, nuggets, hot dogs and meat sauces, may be formulated with ingredients considered allergens. Many of these products include milk powder or wheat protein, and therefore these ingredients and any other included major food allergens must be declared on the label.
Recalls and Repercussions
The consequences of a major food recall are illustrated by an incident in mid-2017. In June, Tyson Foods Inc. had to recall approximately 2,485,000 pounds of a variety of ready-to-eat breaded chicken products because of the presence of milk, which was not declared on the product labels. This was, in fact, part of an even larger recall caused by one ingredient supplier, which involved nine food processing companies and more than 3,780,000 pounds of product by the end of June. The products ranged from breaded chicken products to chicken salad, spaghetti and meatballs, sausages and a variety of other beef products.
This incident highlights many issues pertinent to modern-day meat safety. First, the recall was due to an allergen. As already mentioned, consumers (and often processors) are most worried about foodborne pathogens when it comes to meat safety because of the severity of infections caused by pathogenic bacteria and the media coverage of such cases. For example, more than 20 years ago, an E. coli outbreak caused by undercooked hamburgers served at Jack in the Box led to 171 hospitalizations and four deaths (primarily children) and so is still remembered vividly. The meat industry is not immune to the hazard of food allergen-related recalls, however.
Second, the sheer size of the recall was staggering and significant. Over the years, companies have expanded product distribution, which has increased the number of multi-state recalls. Companies have also been able to manufacture food more efficiently because of new equipment and automation, enabling them to generate product at a rapid rate. The size of the recall was due to the fact that the underlying cause was an ingredient supplier rather than a company that produced a final product. This means that the recall affected not just one company but several. As meat companies expand their businesses to include more further-processed foods with myriad ingredients rather than solely the raw meat cuts sold in the past, there is increased reliance on the trustworthiness of suppliers for product safety as well as quality.
So what can the meat industry do to reduce these kinds of expensive recalls? The easiest option is to keep track of labels and update them as needed. In several cases, recalls have been caused by incorrect, obsolete labels being affixed to the product after a change in formulation, or by misprinted labels. Having personnel check the labels before they are loaded into the labeling machine as well as matching outgoing product against the current ingredient formulation will mitigate this. It is also important to have a good relationship with your approved supplier. If communication occurs regularly with the supplier, it is more likely they will inform the processor of changes in formulation in a timely manner. This may also include requesting current specification sheets and occasional visits to the supplier plant.
In short, food allergens are a major safety concern for a segment of the population, yet it is not always possible to completely avoid including any of the eight major food allergens in a product. The key is declaring their presence clearly on the product label. In the short run, a company will save the money and the manpower that will be devoted to recalling the product. In the long run, being careful about checking labels for allergens will save the brand from the negative publicity generated by the kinds of headlines about yet another food recall that consumers have come to both expect and dread in equal measure.
Emefa Monu, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of food science at Auburn University.
1. Branum, A and DO Lukacs. 2008. NCHS Data Brief No. 10.
2. Gupta, R et al. 2011. “The Prevalence, Severity and Distribution of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States.” Pediatrics 128(1):e9–17.
Michigan posts 25th hepatitis A death; restaurant worker sick
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/02/michigan-posts-25th-hepatitis-a-death-restaurant-worker-sick/#.WopT-qhl-Ul
Some patrons of Red Lobster restaurant in Novi still have time for post-exposure treatment
By CORAL BEACH (Feb 18, 2018)
Hepatitis infection can cause a yellowing of the eyes and/or skin, which is referred to as jaundice. Photo illustration
An outbreak of hepatitis A has claimed another life in Michigan. Also, another restaurant worker has tested positive for the highly contagious virus, exposing an unknown number of people who ate at a Red Lobster in the past month.
The death toll in Michigan stands at 25 as of the state health department’s most recent update, which included information up to Feb. 14. The state reported 751 confirmed cases as of that date, with more than 80 percent having required hospitalization.
Most people infected in the multi-state outbreak, which is described as having begun in California although Michigan has been tracking cases just as long, have been homeless or substance abusers. However, depending on the state, one-fifth to one-third of victims have been neither homeless nor substance abusers.
The outbreak, which includes cases in California, Michigan, Kentucky, Utah, Nevada, New York, Arkansas and Oregon, has sickened more than 1,600 people and killed at least 46.
Hepatitis A can be spread through food and beverages that are contaminated during production or by infected people during food preparation or serving. Consequently, infected restaurant employees or other foodservice workers can expose other employees or customers — often without knowing it because people are contagious before symptoms develop.
Potential exposures at Red Lobster
The most recently reported restaurant worker in Michigan who tested positive for hepatitis A potentially exposed people who ate, drank or worked at the Red Lobster restaurant at 27760 Novi Road in Novi, MI, from Jan. 15 through Feb. 14.
It is past the window of opportunity for many unvaccinated people who were at the restaurant during the possible exposure period. The post-exposure hepatitis A treatment must be giving within two weeks of exposure or it is not effective.
Anyone who ate or drank anything from the implicated Red Lobster in Oakland County and has developed symptoms of hepatitis A infection should immediately seek medical attention, county health officials said in a public advisory.
“Vaccination can prevent the disease if given within 14 days after potential exposure,” said Kathy Forzley, director of health and human services for Oakland County. “If you have eaten at this location during these dates and have not been vaccinated for hepatitis A or have a sudden onset of any symptoms, contact your doctor.”
The county had a special vaccination clinic session yesterday and has another one scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday at 1010 E. West Maple Road in Walled Lake in the Easterseals office.
Most children in the United States have been receiving hepatitis A vaccinations since the preventive became a routine recommendation in 2006. Even though it has been available since 1996, the vast majority of adults have not been vaccinated.
Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. The virus is shed in feces and is most commonly spread from person to person by unclean hands contaminated with microscopic amounts feces. Symptoms of infection may include sudden abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, headache, dark urine, and/or vomiting often followed by yellowing of the skin and eyes.
Symptoms may appear from 14 to 50 days after exposure, but usually develop about one month after exposure to the virus, according to public health officials. Some people who are infected do not become sick, but they are contagious.
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CDC says more frozen coconut Salmonella illnesses possible
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/02/cdc-says-more-frozen-coconut-salmonella-illnesses-possible/#.WopdGahl-Um
BY NEWS DESK (Feb 17, 2018)
Although the agency has posted a final investigation report on a Salmonella outbreak traced to frozen coconut, officials at the CDC are concerned that additional people could be hit by food poisoning because of the product.
“This frozen shredded coconut has a long shelf life and may still be in people’s freezers. People unaware of the recall could continue to eat the products and potentially get sick,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported the likely source of the Salmonella outbreak was Coconut Tree Brand frozen, shredded coconut.
“CDC recommends people not eat, and restaurants and retailers not serve or sell, recalled Coconut Tree Brand frozen Shredded Coconut.”
Anyone who finds they still have the frozen coconut on hand should discard it and throughly clean and sanitize freezers, refrigerators, counters and anything else the coconut contacted.
The outbreak crossed the border, with at least one confirmed victim in Canada and 27 spread across nine U.S. states. At least six people in the U.S. required hospitalization. No deaths were reported.
Public health investigators in Massachusetts were key in discovering the outbreak while searching for the cause of an illness in their state.
Foodborne Illnesses and Incubation Periods
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/foodborne-illness-and-incubation-periods/
By Anthony Marangon (Feb 17, 2018)
POSTED IN FOOD POISONING INFORMATION
Although incubation periods—the time between ingestion of a foodborne pathogen and the onset of symptoms—are only ranges, and wide ones at that, they can still be used to identify a suspect food poisoning claim. For example, the claimant who insists that an E. coli O157:H7 illness was sparked by the hamburger eaten an hour before the onset of illness does not have a viable case. The incubation period of E. coli O157:H7 is one to ten days, typically two to five days.
Incubation Periods of Common Foodborne Pathogens
PATHOGEN INCUBATION PERIOD
Staphylococcus aureus 1 to 8 hours, typically 2 to 4 hours.
Campylobacter 2 to 7 days, typically 3 to 5 days.
E. coli O157:H7 1 to 10 days, typically 2 to 5 days.
Salmonella 6 to 72 hours, typically 18-36 hours.
Shigella 12 hours to 7 days, typically 1-3 days.
Hepatitis A 15 to 50 days, typically 25-30 days.
Listeria 3 to 70 days, typically 21 days.
Norovirus 24 to 72 hours, typically 36 hours.
So, if you suffer from a foodborne illness, it is not usually the last meal you ate. Also, a stool culture for the above – except Listeria and Hepatitis A – which need blood tests – is the best way to definitively determine what “bug” has made you ill.
If you test positive in either stool or blood for one of the above bacteria or viruses, the doctor, lab or hospital is required to alert the local and state health departments, and they are obligated to interview you about the possible source of your illness.
USAID, gov’t promote food safety to boost trade
By Ghana|Myjoyonline.com (Feb 16, 2018)
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Food and Agriculture Ministry hosted a forum to review progress made on the development of a pilot food safety and certification system in Ghana.
Developing a sustainable traceability system was a crucial recommendation that supported lifting the ban on exports of five vegetables from Ghana to the European Union in December 2017.
The event brought together various participants from the Government of Ghana, development partners, farmers, and the private sector.
At the event, the Deputy Horticulture Minister from the Food and Agriculture Ministry, George Oduro and USAID/Ghana Economic Growth Office Director, Kevin Sharp delivered remarks on the importance of developing an internationally-recognized food safety system to strengthen commercial trade in Ghana.
The Forum was organized to solicit feedback from public and private stakeholders on the pilot system.
Based on recommendations from audits conducted by the European Union; USAID, in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture developed and piloted the system for Ghana’s horticulture sector.
The objective of the pilot system is to mitigate and identify when and where food safety and quality issues occur.
“Today’s forum highlights our shared agenda to foster broad-based economic growth and trade.
Our aim is to ensure that we achieve measurable impact and sustainable results—this means more competitive Ghanaian products being traded worldwide.
We know this goal would not be possible without the commitment from the Government of Ghana and both public and private actors,” remarked USAID/Ghana Economic Growth Director, Mr Sharp.
“As a result of our strong collaboration, Ghana can now resume exporting three kinds of gourds, chilli pepper and eggplant to the European Union.”
In Ghana, USAID supports the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to improve access to markets for smallholder farmers, through the U.S. Government’s Trade Africa Initiative.
This initiative strengthens trade relations between the United States and Ghana and improves the sanitary and phytosanitary compliance system for Ghanaian fruits and vegetables.
These efforts include establishing a strong food safety and certification system to identify and track problems along Ghana’s value chains.
South Africa’s Listeria Outbreak Claims 150+ Lives; Source Still Unknown
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/south-africae28099s-listeria-outbreak-claims-150-lives-source-still-unknown/
By Staff (Feb 16, 2018)
South Africa’s Listeria Outbreak Claims 150+ Lives; Source Still Unknown
On Wednesday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) issued its latest report on South Africa’s listeriosis outbreak--the worst of it’s kind in recorded history.
As of February 14, a total of 872 Listeria cases have been confirmed by the NICD. Nearly half of the cases (43 percent) involve babies under 1 month of age. To date, 164 individuals have died as the result of the outbreak.
This outbreak--which began in January 2017--is the largest documented Listeria outbreak in world history. There is still no known source that is causing these deaths and illnesses.
"So far, our epidemiological investigation team has interviewed about 60 listeriosis victims to find out what they ate, day by day, during the month before they became symptomatic, in an attempt to identify patterns of consumption and indicate what we can eliminate. None had eaten smoked fish, for example,” said NICD's Dr. Juno Thomas at a listeriosis workshop hosted by the South African Association of Food Science and Technology in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Because Listeria is destroyed when properly cooked, it is believed that the outbreak’s food source might be a raw, uncooked ready-to-eat food, fruit, or vegetable.
Since victims come from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds, it has been difficult to pinpoint one single food source that all of them consumed leading up to their illness. Some food experts say the culprit in this outbreak is probably something that South African consumers eat or drink very regularly.
Listeriosis is most commonly associated with ready-to-eat deli meats, raw/unpasteurized dairy products, raw sprouts and some smoked seafoods.
Top food safety challenges of 2018 in Europe, the US and beyond
Source : https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/article/64715/food-safety-2018/
By | Arundhati Kasbekar | Senior Manager - Regulatory Affairs
Arundhati Kasbekar of global regulatory solution provider Freyr talks us through the main safety issues that the entire food industry is expected to face over the next 12 months.
The safety of food supplies is a matter of global concern today. In today’s modern era, despite the latest technology, novel product forms, detection tools, safety certifications, regulations, compliance, monitoring, and consumer education on food safety, reports about outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have been on the rise. Safe food supplies support national economies, trade and tourism, contribute to food and nutrition security, and reinforce sustainable development.
Due to growing urbanisation, and altering consumer habits, there is an increase in the number of people preferring to buy and eat food prepared in public places. Another challenge faced by the world today is food wastage. Better food safety and quality standards can be used to reduce wastage, in ways that are still safe for human consumption from the food supply chain. On the other hand, at a consumer level, inadequate planning of food purchases and inability to use it before it expires, can also lead to avoidable food waste.
In EU, the food industry sector is one of the largest and most important manufacturing sectors. It is the second largest (after metal) in the manufacturing industry. More than 70 percent of the agricultural goods produced in the EU are later transformed into food industry products.
Over the past 20-to 30 years, food safety issues have become prominent across Europe and have led to the establishment of many “National Food Safety Agencies” in the 1990s, followed by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2002. The EFSA is the keystone of EU risk assessment regarding food and feed safety. It has resulted in a safer food supply and has greatly enhanced the science underlying food safety.
The EU Food policy and legislative framework enforces or proposes respective standards and requirements that not only ensure a high level of food quality but also position the EU in the competitive global market.
A series of evolving “challenges and risks” could put the currently successful European food system under severe stress. Some of these challenges include:
Increasing concentration of the supply chain: Food safety challenges exist along each step of the supply chain from concept to commercialisation. An increase in population is important in terms of future food demand, as it relates to sufficient food production as well as food security. Depending upon how global trade develops, the ability of the EU to set food-related standards will accordingly be influenced.
Changing diet trends: Increased consumer dependency on digital services or dietary choices
Price volatility: Food choice is driven by price, taste and convenience
Climate change: The food system is dynamic, constantly influenced and shaped by several factors such as environment, climatic conditions, global political and socio-economic situation, scientific and technological developments and consumers’ demands and preferences.
Demographic imbalances: Demographic characteristics of the EU population such as household size and ageing levels can affect eating habits and dietary needs.
Decrease in agricultural productivity: The extent to which modern technologies are taken up and applied by food chain also influences food production, in addition to the environmental and economic performance of the food chain.
Anti-microbial resistant emergence: Animal and plant production systems develop microbial resistance to disease-transmitting pathogens, resulting in a decrease in food production and food quality.
Scarcity of energy and resources/ Depletion of natural resources: The future extent of global trade liberalisation, including agriculture and food products, will affect the availability of resources and food products in EU market and might impact the structure of the agro-food industry. quantity and quality of future food supply will be constrained by limits of its main inputs, including land, water, energy, and fertilisers.
Technological innovation can aim at various food and food-related aspects, including increasing productivity, increasing shelf life as well as reducing cost and optimisation. Consequently, modern technologies may provide answers for existing and emerging challenges in food safety. However, modern technologies may also include new risks for food production.
Increased control and regulation have resulted in slower or inhibited innovation, but these are far outweighed by increased safety for consumers. All creativity, knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit and sustainable innovation pathways should be mobilised to guarantee availability and access to food for the coming generations.
United States of America (USA)
All the food facilities regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) must follow minimum standards, which are provided by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that recognises the vulnerability of suppliers.
Food safety challenges in the US:
Improve agricultural productivity, to meet the increasing demand for a long-term
Certification for high-risk foods: The U.S. FDA can request for third-party certification or another form of assurance in case of importing high-risk foods into the US
Importer accountability: Contrary to the usual norm, now it is the importer’s responsibility to verify that their foreign suppliers have sufficient preventive controls in place to ensure that the food imported is safe
Authority to deny entry: FDA can restrain imports from a foreign facility, if they deny providing access to their facility
Climatic changes, natural calamities and an increase in natural hazards
Food systems need to be made more comprehensive and robust
Food safety challenges identified globally:
Food related systems, certifications, and compliance should be adequate to have food product controls
Umpteen sources of voluntary food information and increased opportunity for false information
Lifestyle changes causes a rise in sedentary behaviour
Food safety standard being not harmonised in the third countries, there is a lot of variation in food handling and compliance with food standards.
Evolving biological risks and increased occurrence of antimicrobial resistance with appearance of new strains
Safety challenges associated with processed and pre-packaged food
Inadequate food safety and nutrition literacy, loss of food traditions and increased exposure to unreliable sources of information
Risk of overconsumption of nutrients or other food ingredients
Increased consumer dependency on digital services or dietary choices
As per the study, the top three food safety training challenges identified by the survey respondents were:
Scheduling the time for training employees;
Verifying the effectiveness of training, and
Organising refresher training
It takes just one unfortunate food incident to cause irreparable damage to people, profits, and brands. Leading companies are tackling these safety training challenges with best practices including frequent but shorter training sessions, automated learnings or seminars, and providing visual aids, videos and training tools to supervisors so they can train and coach employees directly on the facility floor.
World Health Organization (WHO) key facts sheet on Food Safety
Access to adequate quantities of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health
Unhygienic food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, causes more than 200 diseases – ranging from diarrhoea to cancers
An estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall sick from consumption of contaminated food and 4,20,000 people die per year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years (DALYs)
With 1,25,000 deaths every year, children under 5 are highly prone to foodborne diseases acting as vehicles for 40 per cent of those diseases
Leading to sickness in 550 million people and 2,30,000 deaths every year, diarrhoeal diseases are most common, which result from consumption of contaminated food
Food safety, nutrition, and food security are inseparably dependent. Unhygienic food forms a serious cycle of disease and malnutrition, especially in infants, young children, the elderly and the sick
Socioeconomic development is delayed due to foodborne diseases, by straining health care systems, and harming national economies, tourism, and trade
Food supply chains are now spread across the globe. Good collaboration between governments, manufacturers, and consumers helps, ensure food safety
WHO aims to facilitate global prevention, detection, and response to public health threats associated with unsafe food. Through this, it aims to achieve consumer trust in their authorities, and confidence in safe food supply. To do this, WHO helps the Member States build the capacity to prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks by:
providing independent scientific assessments on microbiological and chemical hazards that form the basis for international food standards, guidelines, and recommendations, known as the Codex Alimentarius, to ensure food is safe wherever it originates
assessing the safety of modern technologies used in food production, such as genetic modification and nanotechnology
helping improve national food systems and legal frameworks and implement adequate infrastructure to manage food safety risks. The International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) was developed by WHO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to rapidly share information during food safety emergencies
promoting safe food handling through systematic disease prevention and awareness programmes, through the WHO Five Keys to Safer Food message and training materials, and
advocating for food safety as an important component of health security and for integrating food safety into national policies and programmes in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR – 2005)
WHO works closely with FAO, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and other international organisations to ensure food safety along the entire food chain from production to consumption.
The food safety program appears to be robust and appropriate. However, certain elements need to be strengthened to better prepare for future challenges i.e. harmonisation and streamlining risk assessment approaches and inclusion of risk-benefit assessment, need for benchmarking system to monitor the performance of regulatory system related to food safety. Additionally, the high complexity and number of active compounds present in the foodstuffs, bear a high risk of adverse health effects due to cocktail effects. Therefore, to address the challenge of performing risk assessment related to cumulative effects, improvement, and expansion of existing in silico computational tools will be needed.
Addressing these food safety challenges will require investments in food safety certification and compliance, training, information technology (IT), end-to-end management of the supply chain and building food safety capability from the CEOs to the line operators.
Irish food safety received three complaints every day over unfit foo
Source : https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/64632/irish-food-safety-receives-3400-complaints-2017/
By George Smith (New Food) (Feb 14, 2018)
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has revealed its 2017 figures, showing a 42 per cent increase in complaints relating to non-display of allergen information.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) received more than 3,400 complaints last year, with over a third related to unfit food.
Overall, the 2017 complaints saw an increase of 6 per cent on the 3,200 reported in 2016, with the number of complaints relating to non-display of allergen information up significantly at 42 per cent. A considerable increase was also noted among complaints relating to incorrect information on food labels at 17 per cent.
The FSAI said that the majority of consumer concerns relating to allergen information included a variety of non-compliance issues such as a lack of allergen information available in restaurants; confused messages regarding the presence of particular allergens in food; lack of awareness by food businesses of the legal requirement to display allergen information; allergens not highlighted on a food label; and allergens present in a food, but not indicated or displayed.
The categories of complaints were:
1,233 complaints on unfit food
896 complaints on hygiene standards
808 complaints on suspect food poisoning
183 complaints on incorrect information on food labelling
103 complaints on non-display of allergen information
Contamination of food with foreign objects was frequently reported by consumers, which included reports of food contaminated with insects and glass, as well as other foreign objects.
Examples of complaints received included chewing gum being reported several times as being present in a number foods including sandwich wraps; scrambled egg from a breakfast buffet; and in takeaway rice. Other foreign objects found in foods were a long black hair in a sandwich; rodent droppings in a bag of crisps; a tooth in a takeaway dish; larvae in jar of beetroot; a piece of glass in a smoothie; maggots in mashed potato; and a wasp in a packet of bacon.
Of those complaints regarding poor hygiene standards in food premises, the presence of rats, mice and flies were cited. Others included poor personal hygiene habits of staff working in the food sector. Reports in this area cited staff wiping noses when preparing sandwiches; staff members picking up dropped food from the floor and then including the food to make a sandwich; and the smell of sewerage in food premises. All complaints received by the FSAI in 2017 were followed up and investigated by food inspectors throughout the country.
The FSAI’s Advice Line also offers advice and information and during 2017, there were 9,576 queries from people working in the food service sector – manufacturers, retailers, researchers, and consultants. The most popular queries were regarding legislation on food labelling requirements; requests for FSAI publications, as well as information for new food businesses setting up operations.
Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI sadi: “We welcome consumers and food businesses contacting us via our Advice Line. Having people spotting and reporting inappropriate and unsafe food and practices greatly aids our work and provides us with information that we can act upon.
“The year on year increase in our Advice Line statistics reflect a continued trend where consumers are showing they have zero-tolerance when it comes to poor food safety and hygiene standards in food products and in food premises.
“In 2017, we undertook a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the importance and legal requirement for allergen information to be displayed and communicated accurately to consumers in food service establishments. We are seeing consumers becoming more aware and having a greater understanding of what they should expect from food establishments in Ireland.”
FDA’s ‘best advice’ for food safety reflected in new Food Code
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/02/fdas-best-advice-for-food-safety-reflected-in-new-food-code/#.WopWH6hl-Ul
By CORAL BEACH (Feb 13, 2018)
The FDA has released an updated version of the federal Food Code with “significant changes” that include a section on the use of bandages among foodservice workers and revised cooking temperatures.
With the Monday release of the 2017 edition of the Food Code, officials from the Food and Drug Administration described the document as a model regulation that provides all levels of government and industry with practical, science-based guidance and manageable provisions for reducing the known risks of foodborne illness.
“It represents FDA’s best advice for a uniform system of provisions that address the safety and protection of food offered at retail and in food service,” according to a constituent update from the FDA.
The Food Code provides guidance for restaurants, retail food stores, vending operations and food service operations including those in schools, hospitals, nursing homes and child care centers. Previously updated and published every two years, the document is now revised every four years.
“(It) provides uniform standards for retail food safety, eliminates redundant processes for establishing food safety criteria, and establishes a more standardized approach in controlling food safety hazards within a retail environment,” according to the FDA’s statement.
Significant changes to the 2017 Food Code include:
Revised requirement for the “Person in Charge” to be a Certified Food Protection Manager;
New section addressing the use of bandages, finger cots or finger stalls;
Harmonized cooking times and temperatures for meat and poultry to ensure uniformity with guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service; and
Updated procedures for retail food establishment operations to continue during an extended water or electrical outage, as long as a written emergency operation plan has been pre-approved by the appropriate regulatory authority, immediate corrective action is taken, and the regulatory authority is notified if the plan is implemented.
The 2017 FDA Food Code is available on the FDA website at http://www.fda.gov/FoodCode.
Sessions clears way for food companies to ignore FDA guidance
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/02/sessions-clears-way-for-food-companies-to-ignore-fda-guidance/#.WopWSqhl-Ul
By DAN FLYNN (Feb 13, 2018)
Drugs, cosmetics, medical devices also now clear of some federal prosecutions for noncompliance
Those guidance documents the Food and Drug Administration hands out to food manufacturers and others don’t mean as much as they once did. The Department of Justice has changed its policy so government lawyers will no longer rely on guidance documents to establish civil law infractions.
The policy change was not a surprise. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called out the practice on Nov. 16, 2017, in a memorandum that said: “the department has in the past published guidance documents — or similar instruments of future effect by other names, such as a letter to regulated entities — that effectively bind private parties without undergoing the rulemaking process.”
The open market advocate Washington Legal Foundation in December reported FDA had issued more than 2,000 guidance and draft guidance documents in recent years. The foundation said guidance documents are used to cover topics that were once covered by formal regulations.
In his memo on the subject, Sessions said the DOJ would no longer engage in the practice. Actions by an associate AG on Jan. 25 made the policy change official. In the future, DOJ’s civil litigators won’t be able “convert agency guidance documents into binding rules.” And more importantly, noncompliance with any guidance document cannot be used to prove violations involving federal civil enforcement actions.
Megan E. Grossman, who chairs the life sciences practice group for the law firm of Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney in Philadelphia, is an expert on the policy change. She says FDA “routinely issues guidance documents for all areas under its control, including food, cosmetics, veterinary products, drugs, medical devices, and vaccines, blood, and biologics, among others.”
Grossman expects the new DOJ policy “will likely have an effect on the amount of governmental actions” brought against FDA-regulated companies. She thinks DOJ’s civil attorneys will be under instructions that FDA guidance documents cannot be used to prove violations of affirmative civil enforcement actions…”
In December, the Washington Legal Foundation’s chief counsel Richard Samp said FDA’s “embrace of informal rulemaking ” was imposing “significant and unwarranted regulatory burdens on affected businesses.”
Samp contends FDA was using guidance documents as an end-run around the notice and comment provisions of the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA) of 1946.
In every guidance document, FDA says the publication represents its “current thinking,” but without establishing any “rights for any person” nor binding upon the agency.
FDA Releases 2017 Food Code
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/fda-releases-2017-food-code/
By Staff, FDA (Feb 12, 2018)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today the release of the 2017 edition of the FDA Food Code, a model regulation that provides all levels of government and industry with practical, science-based guidance and manageable provisions for reducing the known risks of foodborne illness.
The Food Code is a key component of the Federal public-health focused framework for maintaining a safe food supply. It represents FDA's best advice for a uniform system of provisions that address the safety and protection of food offered at retail and in food service, and has been widely adopted by state, local, tribal and territorial regulatory agencies that regulate restaurants, retail food stores, vending operations and food service operations in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and child care centers.
The 2017 Food Code provides uniform standards for retail food safety, eliminates redundant processes for establishing food safety criteria, and establishes a more standardized approach in controlling food safety hazards within a retail environment.
Significant changes to the 2017 Food Code include the following:
Revised requirement for the Person in Charge (PIC) to be a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) (Section 2-102.12)
Added a new section that addresses the use of bandages, finger cots or finger stalls (Section 2-401.13)
Harmonized cooking time/temperature parameters for intact and non-intact meat and poultry in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) (Section 3-401.11)
Updated procedures for retail food establishment operations to continue during an extended water or electrical outage if a written emergency operation plan has been pre-approved by the Regulatory Authority, immediate corrective action taken and the Regulatory Authority has been notified upon implementation of the plan (Section 8-404.11)
The 2017 edition reflects the input of regulatory officials, industry, academia, and consumers that participated in the 2016 meeting of the Conference for Food Protection (CFP). Collaboration with the CFP and our partners at the USDA-FSIS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helps ensure the Food Code contains sound requirements that would prevent foodborne illness and injury and eliminate the most important food safety hazards in retail and foodservice facilities.
Members of FDA’s National Retail Food Team are available to assist regulatory officials, educators, and the industry in their efforts to adopt, implement, and understand the provisions of the FDA Food Code and the Retail Program Standards. Inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to a FDA Retail Food Specialist located across the country.
The 2017 FDA Food Code is available on the FDA website at http://www.fda.gov/FoodCode.
Should You Feed Raw Pet Food? Consumer Reports Weighs In
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2018/feed-raw-pet-food-consumer-reports/
By News Desk (Feb 12, 2018)
A Salmonella outbreak in Minnesota that is linked to recalled raw pet food is highlighting a question that pet owners face. Should you feed your pet raw food? Consumer Reports weighs in.
In that outbreak, two children were sickened after pets in their home were fed Raws for Paws ground turkey pet food. One of the children was hospitalized with osteomyelitis, a serious and painful bone infection that can cause fractures later in life.
Sales of raw frozen and refrigerated pet foods has grown by 263% from 2011 to 2017, but those diets are controversial. Some vets say that those products are not nutritionally balanced. The products can contain raw organ meats, whole or crushed animal or fish bones, unpasteurized milk, uncooked eggs, and raw produce.
Any raw meat can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. That’s why cooks are warned to treat all raw meat in the kitchen as a potentially hazardous food. Many serious and deadly food poisoning outbreaks have been linked to raw and undercooked meats, poultry, and seafood in the past few years. And raw milk and raw eggs have been linked to many foodborne illness outbreaks as well.
Studies bear this out. A study published in Vet Record in December 2017 showed that 28 of 35 commercial frozen raw meat diets from eight different brands were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant E. coli bacteria. Eight of those samples tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, a shiga toxin-producing strain that can cause serious illness, including hemolytic uremic syndrome, and death. Samples also tested positive for Salmonella (20% of products) and Listeria monocytogenes bacteria (54% of products). The raw pet food that was not frozen also contained parasites, including Toxoplasma gondii.
Advocates say that raw foods are better for your pet. But studies show otehwise. A paper published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association in 2001 found that home-prepared and commercial raw diets were deficient in vitamins A and E, and contained overly high doses of vitamin D. Another study in 2011 published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that 60% of homemade raw meats for dogs had deficiencies or excesses of 12 nutrients. And any food that contains raw bones could break a pet’s teeth, or puncture the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, or colon.
The FDA, CDC, and most veterinarians warn against feeding pets raw food. Michael San Filippo, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association told Consumer Reports, “These diets could expose animals and humans to dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter.”
The potential problems with a raw pet food diet are many. First, any animal who eats these products and ingests pathogenic bacteria can get sick and pass that illness on to people. Even if the animal doesn’t display signs of illness, they can shed bacteria in their feces. People can then ingest the bacteria by petting the animal and not washing their hands well before eating. Dogs and cats can also transmit pathogenic bacteria by licking your fact, or by scratching you after they step in feces in the litterbox or outside. As evidenced by the current outbreak, children are more susceptible to this method of transmission.
In fact, a study published in the journal BMC Veterinary Research found that dogs fed raw food are 23 times more likely to shed Salmonella bacteria in their feces. The feces can get onto the dogs coat. And when people clean up after their dogs, they can get the bacteria onto their skin.
Second, humans can get sick by not handling the raw pet food properly. Cross-contamination can occur between the food and other surfaces in the kitchen.
Raw pet food manufacturers claim that dogs and cats can handle raw meat, but while these animals are slightly less sensitive to pathogenic bacteria in those products, they can still get sick from it.
One other issue is that consumers may not even know they are feeding their pet raw food. The food may be freeze-dried or dehydrated, processes that pathogenic bacteria can survive. These products include rawhide chews, pig ears, cattle hooves, hearts, and puzzle sticks.
The FDA tells consumers to avoid raw pet food diets completely. Talk to your vet before you decide to feed a raw food diet to your cat or dog. And handle the food with care. Freezing doesn’t kill bacteria. Clean and disinfect everything that may have touched the raw food. Wash your hands well with soap and water after handling the food. Properly dispose of leftovers. And clean and sanitize your pet’s food bowl after every meal.
If you feed your pet raw food, don’t kiss your pet around its mouth. Don’t let your pet lick your face. Monitor children when they are around the animal, and always wash your hands and your children’s hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching your pet.
Studies Find Sea Salt is Contaminated with Plastic
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2018/studies-sea-salt-contaminated-with-plastic/
By News Desk (Feb 5, 2018)
According to The Guardian, sea salt around the world is contaminated with tiny bits of plastic. Research was conducted at the State University of New York at Fredonia.
Sherri Mason, a professor at that facility told the Guardian, “Not only are plastics pervasive in our society in terms of daily use, but they are pervasive in the environment. Plastics are ubiquitous, in the air, water, the seafood we eat, the beer we drink, the salt we use – plastics are just everywhere.” Researchers think the plastic in sea salt comes from microfibers and single-use plastics such as water bottles.
Scientists studied 12 kinds of salt purchased in U.S. grocery stores. They found that Americans could be eating more than 600 particles of plastic every year in sea salt, and that’s if they follow the recommended 2500 mg of sodium consumed every day. Since most Americans eat far more salt than that, we are probably consuming far more plastic than that.
Scientists and doctors do not know the effect of ingesting plastic on human health. One of the problems with plastic is that they are made with bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor, which has been found in the urine of most won the adult population in this country.
Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you about possible health effects of bisphenol A over the year. This compound could cause increased blood pressure, prostate cancer risk, problems in the brain,and other reproductive cancers. BPA has been tentatively linked to weight gain, heart disease, thyroid issues, liver abnormalities, and diabetes in many studies.
Back in 2012, the FDA refused to eliminate BPA from food packaging and the National Resources Defense Council objected to that. Several corporations have since stopped using BPA in their products, including the Campbell’s Soup Company.
Scientists in other countries around the world have come to the same conclusion. A study published in Scientific Reports in Nature by Spanish researchers found that “sea products are irredeemably contaminated by micro plastics.”
Sea salt seems to be more vulnerable to plastic contamination because it is made by dehydrating sea water. And eating ordinary table salt instead may reduce your plastic intake from that specific product, but plastics are also found in drinking water and beer and other products. Mason added, “We have to focus on the flow of plastic and the pervasiveness of plastics in our society and find other materials to be using instead.”
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