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03/10. Food Quality Specialist – N. Sioux City, SD
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03/05. Corp Food Safety & QA - Howey in the Hills, FL
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03/05. Food Safety/QA Manager - Valparaiso, IN

03/12 2018 ISSUE:799



A Spoor-Marler team plans class action for South African listeria victims
Source :
By News Desk (Mar11, 2018)
Prominent American food safety attorney Bill Marler went to South Africa as a conference speaker on the country’s listeria outbreak, but he’s returning to the USA in his familiar role as an advocate for the victims.
South African human rights lawyer Richard Spoor says he teamed up with Marler and the food safety law firm of Marler Clark to bring a class action lawsuit against Tiger Brands on behalf of those sickened in the world’s most massive listeria outbreak.  Marler Clark attorneys are not licensed to practice law in South Africa but will serve as food safety consultants in the litigation.
Richard Spoor told South African media that he expects to launch the class action in two to three weeks. Marler Clark will bring its expertise to the Richard Spoor Incorporated Attorneys in South Africa.
Previously Spoor led legal action against gold mine owners on behalf of miners with the fatal lung disease silicosis, requiring the companies to pay $425 million in compensation. Marler Clark has won about $650 million for victims of foodborne illness in the United States.
The listeria outbreak has rocked South Africa, sickening nearly 1000 people and resulting in at least 180 deaths. After months of investigation, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on March 4 said two brands of polony by Tiger Brands Enterprise Foods and Rainbow chicken were likely source of the listeriosis.
Tiger Brands CEO Lawrence MacDougall has made a point of saying there is no link between his company’s products and any of the deaths. Its production facilities in Germiston and Polokwane remained closed, and the company has participated in the processed meat recall as suggested by the government.
And, on March 9, the government provided Tiger Brands with documentation of the presence of the outbreak strain, ST6, in the Polokwane plant.
Spoor says National Institute of Communicable Disease research conducted over many months leaves he and Marler “absolutely convinced and satisfied that we have a very strong case against Tiger Brands.” He says the goal of the class action lawsuit is to bring “justice to the victims.”
In addition to his role as managing partner of the Marler Clark law firm, Bill Marler is also the founder and publisher of Food Safety News.

Salmonella Lawyers Win $6.5 Million Verdict Against Foster Farms For a 5-Year-Old Client
Source :
By News Desk (Mar 9, 2018)
The Salmonella lawyers at Pritzker Hageman won a $6.5 million verdict in a lawsuit against Foster Poultry Farms (Foster Farms). The firm’s client is a 5-year-old child who suffered brain damage after contracting a Salmonella infection. The child was part of the Foster Farms Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak the CDC investigated in 2014.
The case was tried in Arizona federal court (2:15-cv-02587-DLR). The lawyers on the case were Eric Hageman, Brendan Flaherty, David Coyle, and Kate Flom. The family was featured in the Frontline investigation documentary “The Trouble with Chicken.”
The little boy had to undergo brain surgery after he developed a massive brain abscess that doctors determined was triggered by bacterial meningitis caused by a Salmonella infection. Fluid removed from the abscess during surgery revealed Salmonella bacteria that matched one of the strains in the Foster Farm’s outbreak.
That outbreak sickened at least 634 people in 29 states and Puerto Rico. Fifteen percent of those patients developed blood infections; in most Salmonella outbreaks, only about 5% of patients develop this serious complication.
Among the 350 ill persons interviewed, 260 said they ate chicken prepared at home before they got sick. Among those who knew the brand of chicken they ate, 152, or 87%, said it was Foster Farms brand chicken or another brand that was likely produced by that company.
Testing conducted by the Washington State Public Health Laboratories identified one of the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg in one unopened package of raw Foster Farms Chicken that was collected from a patient’s home in that state. Two samples of leftover rotisserie chicken collected by the California Department of Public Health from the home of two patients yielded one of the outbreak strains. And six of the seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg were isolated from raw chicken samples that were collected from the three Foster Farms establishments in California.
Attorney Eric Hageman was interviewed by Bloomberg and said, “They hammered away that this chicken had the stamp of approval from the USDA, and that it therefore couldn’t be adulterated.” While most chicken products are contaminated with Salmonella, Hageman said that Foster Farms “knew its product had a dangerous pathogen and did nothing about it. The tests showed that the chicken had more than 200 times more of this Salmonella than found at other poultry plants. The jury in this case said enough is enough. Clean up your act.”
This case is groundbreaking and sets precedent for food safety. Even though the USDA doesn’t consider Salmonella to be an adulterant on raw chicken, and that the bacteria can be killed through cooking, these lawyers showed that chicken producers can be held responsible for this contamination.
The jury found that Foster Farms was negligent and that the outbreak was linked to the company’s chicken through microbiological and epidemiological evidence. The jury attributed 30% of the fault to Foster Farms and 70% to the family for their handling and preparation of the chicken. The family’s net verdict is $1.95 million.
Hageman added that the verdict “showed that Foster Farms cannot simply hide behind USDA’s ‘approval of its chicken.'” And, he continued, “the verdict is a rejection of the argument that poultry companies can produce contaminated product and then blame consumers who get sick from eating it.”
Pritzker Hageman, America’s food safety law firm, successfully helps and represents people hurt by adulterated foods in outbreaks throughout the United States. Its lawyers have won hundreds of millions of dollars for foodborne illness patients and their families, including the largest verdict in American history for a person harmed by E. coli and hemolytic uremic syndrome. Pritzker Hageman lawyers are often interviewed as experts on the topic by major news outlets including Bloomberg, the New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal.

Chicken salad Salmonella cases more than double; more likely
Source :
By Coral Beach (Mar 8, 2018)
The number of confirmed victims in a multi-state Salmonella outbreak traced to chicken salad has more than doubled since federal officials first reported on the situation.
There are now 170 confirmed cases across seven states, according to an update today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those people for whom complete details are available, 62 have had symptoms so severe they required hospitalization. No deaths have been confirmed.
It is likely that additional illnesses will be confirmed because of the two-to four-week lag time between diagnosis and reports reaching the CDC, according to the agency. Illnesses that began after Feb. 12 probably haven’t all been reported to the CDC yet.
Fareway Stores Inc. retailers sold the implicated chicken salad from Jan. 4 to Feb. 9 in their deli departments at stores in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. The chain pulled the chicken salad from its stores Feb. 9 after the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals contacted the company about illnesses.
However, the producer, Triple T Specialty Meats Inc., did not recall the chicken salad until Feb. 21, when it pulled 20,600 pounds of chicken salad made Jan. 2-Feb. 7 and packaged for Fareway.
The Iowa Department of Public Health issued a public alert on Feb. 13 urging consumers to throw out any unused portions of the chicken salad.
Investigators in Iowa collected chicken salad from two Fareway grocery stores in Iowa for laboratory testing. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium was identified in both samples.
The CDC did not acknowledge the outbreak until Feb. 22 and had not posted any updates until today. Its initial report indicated 65 people had been confirmed ill in five states.
“Another 105 ill people from six states were added to this investigation since the last update on Feb. 22,” according to the CDC’s Thursday update. “The newly reported ill people likely bought contaminated chicken salad before it was recalled. Public health agencies receive reports on Salmonella illnesses two to four weeks after illness starts.
The most recent illness began on Feb. 18. Two more states have reported ill people, one in Indiana and two in South Dakota, CDC reported.
Other states reporting confirmed outbreak cases and the number of people sick, according to the CDC, are:
•Illinois, with 9;
•Iowa, with 149;
•Minnesota, with 3;
•Nebraska, with 5; and
•Texas, with 1.
Advice to consumers
Anyone who has eaten any chicken salad from Fareway stores and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the bacteria.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start six to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria. However, in some people, it takes two weeks for symptoms to develop.
Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually last for four to seven days. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious, extended illness. Severe cases can cause life-long health problems and sometimes death.
Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show any symptoms, but they are still be able to spread the infection to others.





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Another Listeria death recorded; Australian ‘discussion’ is weak
Source :
By Dr. Douglas Powell (Mar 8, 2018)
Editor’s note: This opinion column was originally posted on on March 7, 2018.
I’ve always believed in don’t complain, create.
When I didn’t like the university newspaper I was editor of, I created my own — along with others.
When I didn’t like my higher education, I created my own path to a PhD.
I created my own professoring job — with lots of help from others — and have sorta done my own thing.
So while I’m somewhat beaten with the broken ribs, I still have some spirit.
With Listeria-in-cantaloupe spreading across Australia, I got excited and wrote an op-ed on Monday before lunch.
Amy (Doug’s wife) edited, just like the old days, and I sent it off to the Sydney Morning Herald.
They said they were interested and then — nothing.
Today, with news of a fourth death and more illnesses, I asked again if they were interested.
That’s cool, I have a nostalgia for print and the smell of ink, and I have no doubt print is vanishing. That’s one reason why we made our own publishing outlet,, in 2005 because, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” to quote  A. J. Liebling.
Here’s the op-ed. And yes, PR flunkies should be paying me for this advice.
On Sept. 9, 2011, reports first surfaced of an outbreak of Listeria linked to cantaloupe – known as rock melons in Australia — grown in Colorado. Already two were dead and seven others sick.
By the end of the outbreak, 33 people were killed and at least 140 sickened.
On Aug. 17, 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced an outbreak of Salmonella linked to cantaloupe that ultimately killed three people and sickened 270 in 26 states.
In Australia, a fourth death has now been linked to the Listeria-in-rockmelon outbreak, and the number of sick people has risen to 13.
Already, an Australian rockmelon grower is saying “misinformation” about the listeria outbreak will have a negative impact on growers.
Rather than misinformation, there is a lack of information required to regain consumer confidence and trust.
Sadly, the number of dead and sick will probably grow, because Listeria has an incubation period of up to six weeks. The melon you ate five weeks ago could make you sick with listeriosis tomorrow.
 This is not misinformation, it’s biology.
Australian media reports that the Listeria contamination is on the rockmelon surface but I have yet to see any verification of that statement. Under a microscope the exterior of a rockmelon looks like a lunar surface of hills and craters, a soft porous skin which microbes can easily cross.
Regardless of how careful a consumer is while cutting rockmelon, bacteria like Listeria, on the outside or inside, are going to be in the final product.
This means everything has to be done to reduce the risk of contamination beginning on the farm.
On a trip to the local Woolies this morning, I found no rockmelon, however some was available in fresh-cut mixed fruit packages. Shouldn’t those also have been pulled? I asked a stocker where the rockmelons were and he said there were none because of the recall. There was no information posted in the shelf-space that previously held rockmelon.
Us mere mortals, those who like rockmelon, have no information on the size of the farm involved in the outbreak, how often water was tested for dangerous bugs, what kind of soil amendments like manure may have been used, whether the melons went into a dump tank of water after harvest to clean them up, whether that water contained chlorine or some other anti-microbial and how often that water was tested, whether there was a rigorous employee handwashing program, whether the crates the melons were packed in were clean, whether melons were  transported at a cool temperature — won’t help with Listeria, it grows at 4 degrees Celsius — and so on.
These are the basic elements of any on-farm food safety program, which my laboratory started developing over 20 years ago for fresh produce in Canada.
These are the questions that need to be answered by any supplier of rockmelon before I would buy again.
The 2011 and 2012 U.S. outbreaks were the result of familiar factors to food safety types: seemingly minor issues synergistically combined to create ideal conditions for Listeria or Salmonella to contaminate, grow and spread on the cantaloupe. There was no overriding factor, and there is no magic solution, other than constant awareness and diligence to the microorganisms that surround us.
Eric Jensen, the fourth-generation produce grower at the centre of the 2011 Listeria-in-cantaloupe outbreak told a reporter once the outbreak was “something Mother Nature did. We didn’t have anything to do with it.”
I’ve yet to see divine intervention as a cause of foodborne illness. Instead, illnesses and outbreaks are frighteningly consistent in their underlying causes: a culmination of a small series of mistakes that, over time, results in illness and death. After-the-fact investigations usually conclude, why didn’t this happen earlier, with all the mistakes going on?
So while retailers ask themselves, why did we rely on such lousy food safety assurances, it would bolster consumer confidence if there was any public indication that Australian rockmelon growers had learned anything from past outbreaks, at home and abroad.
A table of rockmelon-related outbreaks is availabe at In Oct. 2006, 36 Australians were sickened with Salmonella in rockmelon.
Tying a brand or commodity – rockmelon, lettuce, tomatoes, meat —  to the lowest common denominator of government inspections is a recipe for failure. The Pinto automobile also met government standards but that didn’t help much in the court of public opinion.
The best growers, processors and retailers will far exceed minimal government standards, will proactively test to verify their food safety systems are working, will transparently publicize those results and will brag about their excellent food safety by marketing at retail so consumers can actually choose safe food.
Douglas Powell is a former professor of food safety at Kansas State University who publishes the food safety blog, from his home in Brisbane.

Stock up and stay fresh: How to keep your food safe during a major winter storm
Source :
By Erica Chayes Wida (Mar 8, 2018)
The Northeast is getting hit hard with its second winter storm in less than a week. After Riley, some homes are still without power. But as Quinn bears down, many are preparing for potential heavy snow, strong winds and severe coastal flooding.
If you've already stocked up after a big trip to the grocery store, or you're just hunkering down with whatever leftovers made it through the last blizzard, here are seven tips to keep your food safe and your family fed during a severe storm.
1. Stock up on food that will be safe to eat without power. If you can still safely get to a store, keep in mind that easy-to-eat items such as granola bars, shelf-stable milks, cereal, water, canned beans, mixed nuts, bread and spreads like peanut butter are often available at convenience marts or drug stores. Many people might be flocking to grocery stores but you can potentially avoid large crowds.
2. Fridge on the fritz? Use the washing machine. Fill your washing machine with ice and place your perishables inside to keep food colder longer. When the ice melts, it will drain into the pipes just as water would while doing a load of laundry.
In addition to building a food safety kit with emergency food supplies and non-electric cooking devices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety recommends following these guidelines in the event of a power outage to keep food fresher longer and how to tell if food is still safe to eat.
3. If you're not eating it today, then freeze away. The USDA recommends freezing items you would typically refrigerate (like dinner leftovers, fresh meat or poultry) so they will stay cooler for longer if you do lose power.
4. Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray. This will help prevent cross contamination of thawing juices. Also, group similar foods together in the freezer to create an "igloo" effect and insulate your goods.
5. Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator super cold. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for up to two days, so you'll be able to enjoy those foods for longer.
6. Check the temperature inside of the refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (things like meat, poultry, seafood or leftovers) that has been left above 40 degrees for two hours or more. Not sure how cold your food is? The USDA recommends keeping appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer so you can easily determine whether the produce is still OK to consume.
7. Toss any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture. If it just doesn't feel, look or smell right, trust your instincts and don't eat it. If food feels warm to the touch, you should toss it. Each food item should be thoroughly checked individually before eating.

Organic Produce Distributor Composts Solid Waste into Wastewater In-House
Source :
By Power Knot (Mar 7, 2018)
Organic Produce Distributor Composts Solid Waste into Wastewater In-House
Ace Natural, a regional distributor of organic produce, switched from solid waste haulers to dispose of organic waste to a liquid food composter (LFC) installed on their property. The LFC biologically decomposes solids into grey water that drains into sanitary sewer lines. The move to the LFC eliminated the space, labor and odor associated with solid waste storage and the disposal cost of trucking the solid waste. At the same time, the LFC spares the environment of the methane and 100+ tons per year of carbon dioxide, the waste previously emitted when decomposing on land.
“Previously, we collected and wrapped outdated and damaged produce on pallets, stored it in the warehouse refrigerator, and shipped it weekly to a solids composting facility, at significant cost,” says Eddie Rodriquez, warehouse manager, adding, “Our LFC eliminates these costs and frees up valuable refrigerator space.”
Manufactured by Power Knot LLC of San Jose, CA, the model LFC-300 bio-digester uses natural microbes and enzymes, along with automated infusions of hot and cold water in the presence of oxygen, to aerobically turn solid food into liquid that drains continuously into ordinary municipal waste piping. Food waste can be added to the unit at any time and requires about 24 hours to become wastewater, allowing the company to dispose of up to 1,200 lb. (540 kg) of solid waste per day.
The unit has also enabled Ace Natural to comply with recent New York City laws enacted to divert food—a third of the waste collected by the city’s sanitation department—from landfills. Noncompliant businesses face fines.
How Solids Become Liquids in 24 hours
The LFC unit consists of a U-shaped vessel with a horizontal agitator that slowly rotates to maximize contact between solid food waste, bacteria, enzymes, air, and water boosting the rate of decomposition. Powerzyme™ proprietary blend of enzymes and microbes are housed in porous plastic chips that remain in the vessel, creating a large surface area to accelerate the rate of decomposition. The process is exothermic and raises the vessel temperature to about 108° F (42° C) which further accelerates the process.
Susanne Kauderer, northeast sustainability business development at Power Knot, notes that the Powerzyme in the digester remains effective for as long as a year before it needs to be replenished.
Liquids resulting from bio-digestion drain continuously through a screen along the bottom of the vessel, through a drain at one end of the vessel and into a standard sewer line that, in this case, is shared with an adjacent sink.
“Everyone was surprised at how easy it is to use the machine,” says Rodriquez. An employee typically loads the LFC with food waste three times a day.
The continuous process produces water and carbon dioxide, which is part of the natural cycle of carbon generation from food waste, making the process carbon neutral according to the company.
By contrast, decomposition of food waste in a landfill generates methane, which is 84 times more harmful environmentally than carbon dioxide.
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Mounted on four load cells, the LFC unit weighs the waste that is added and digested to an accuracy of +/- 1 percent. The computer on the LFC generates statistics and graphs that report on performance hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.
The machine’s touchscreen displays the current weight of waste being digested, the amount of additional waste that can be added, and when enzymes should be added,” says Kauderer.
Ace’s chief operating officer, Alberto Gonzalez checks LFC operation several times a day online from his office, while Kauderer does so daily by smartphone.
Kauderer says, “The LFC at Ace never turns off. Even if not in use, the agitator slowly rotates to digest the remnants of whatever remains, quietly and odor-free.”
Ace Natural Lightens Environmental Footprint
From the LFC’s reports, Gonzalez estimates that in the unit’s first 9 months of operation, Ace Natural reduced its carbon footprint by 78 tons (71 tonnes). Ace shares this information with customers who ask about sustainability in food disposal. The distributor hasn’t yet promoted the savings in its marketing, but may soon make it part of a promotional campaign.
“We are an environmentally and socially motivated company,” says Gonzalez. “We try and walk the walk when it comes to minimizing our carbon footprint.”
Ace voluntarily works with a Belgian organization called CO2 Logic that promotes carbon neutral certifications of global companies that meet select environmental criteria. The distributor also operates a hybrid electric fleet of 10 delivery trucks that run on biodiesel fuel, generates its own solar energy, and uses recycled paper, among other initiatives. When CO2 emissions are unavoidable, Ace purchases carbon offsets, which Gonzalez says are applied to sustainable projects in Uganda.
Ace Natural supplies organic produce from a 20,000 sq ft (1,900 m²) warehouse in Long Island City to stores, restaurants, caterers, bakeries, hotels, and distributors. It sources 80 percent of its products from the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, as well from California, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Customers are mostly in the tri-state area, although distribution extends to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida.
Ace Natural has plans to move to a larger facility in nearby Westchester County, NY.

Regulators’ hands were tied on pet food issues observed in 2016
Source :
By Phyllis Entis (Mar 7, 2018)
Federal and state inspectors observed numerous problems with manufacturing processes during a 2016 visit to the Tukwila, WA, manufacturing facility of Arrow Reliance Inc., doing business as Darwin’s Natural Pet Products.
The regulators’ ability to take action was limited because the company was not yet required to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), according to a report by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and obtained by Food Safety News through a Public Records Request.
State inspectors worked with federal inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration on the case. However, without documentation of product adulteration, they could not act.
There are several ways FDA is able to support a finding of adulteration of an animal food under the Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act (FD&C), according to a spokesperson for FDA, including demonstration of a “poisonous or deleterious substance” in a particular food, demonstration that the food was prepared under insanitary conditions, or demonstration that the food is unfit, based on scientific test results, available scientific literature and expert opinion.
The 2016 FDA/WSDA joint inspection was triggered by a consumer complaint of foreign objects, specifically plastic, metal and bone shards, in multiple packages of Darwin Natural Selections premium dog food.
According to information Food Safety News obtained from WSDA, the consumer contacted the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and FDA after having lodged several complaints with the company without having obtained a satisfactory response.
Illinois officials forwarded the complaint to WSDA on June 8, 2016.
FDA and WSDA inspected Darwin’s manufacturing plant over a period of four days, June 22-30, 2016.
During the June 22 and 23 visits to the plant, inspectors observed that a metal detector was not working consistently, and the company did not maintain a maintenance/calibration log for the metal detector.
Inspectors also observed liquid leaking from boxed meat products that were stored on wooden pallets in the cooler.
During the inspection, samples of two products were collected by the WSDA inspector for pathogen analysis. The WSDA detected Salmonella agona in a sample of Darwin’s Natural Selection Duck with Organic Vegetables, Meals for Dogs, Lot code 3077, manufactured on June 22.
On July 29, 2016, Darwin officials agreed to destroy and dispose of the contaminated product. No recall was considered necessary, as none of the product had been shipped to customers.
The 2016 report referring to “numerous GMP-type issues” is consistent with information obtained by Food Safety News from an individual who was employed by Darwin in 2015.
Speaking under conditions of anonymity, the former employee described a reluctance on the part of company management to engage in developing and implementing food safety programs, including a sanitation program, environmental swabbing and HACCP.
As of May 31, 2017, Darwin still did not have a written Food Safety Plan, according to WSDA.
A spokesman for the company told Food Safety News on Monday that the firm is “actively updating” its Food Safety Plan in advance of this year’s Sept. 17 deadline for compliance with FSMA.
The company also has replaced the wooden pallets in its warehouse with plastic pallets, is calibrating its metal detectors “regularly” and is continuously testing its packaging materials, according to the spokesperson.
Darwin’s former employee alleges the company’s consumer complaint log did not reflect all of the complaints received, including items such as animals passing bones; plastic material in the products; and sick animals.
The company’s spokesman told Food Safety News that Darwin’s customer service staff addresses customer concerns on a “case-by-case basis.” He did not reply when asked whether Darwin conducts any routine microbiological testing of its ingredients or finished products prior to shipment.
Situations that were serious enough to warrant a product recall were ignored by management, according to the former Darwin employee, who says the company would only initiate a recall if a customer’s veterinarian documented beyond doubt the existence of a contaminant.
A review of product recalls initiated by the company since the 2016 inspection showed that each one resulted from a consumer complaint lodged with the company and/or with FDA, according to the following information provided by FDA.
•Recall initiated Jan. 17, 2016 – Darwin received a customer complaint that a dog became ill after consuming one of their products. In response, the firm tested several products and found that they were contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Darwin recalled the three products found to be contaminated.
•Recall initiated Aug. 9, 2017 – Darwin received a customer complaint that a kitten became ill and died after consuming the raw cat food Natural Selections brand frozen raw Duck Meals for Cats Lot #38277. A necropsy was performed on the dead kitten. The veterinary lab submitted animal tissues and product for culture and Salmonella was found. Independently, Darwin submitted a sample of the implicated pet food to a contract lab. The product was recalled after the contract lab reported finding Salmonella in the pet food sample.
•Recall initiated Oct. 4, 2017 – A dog owner reported to FDA that her dog became ill after consuming a variety of Darwin’s Natural Selections Raw Dog Foods, particularly the beef variety. FDA collected four samples of these foods, and two of the four samples were preliminarily positive for Salmonella. One additional sample was preliminarily positive for both Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Darwin recalled all three products.
•Recall initiated Feb. 10, 2018 – FDA received a consumer complaint in which a pet owner described ongoing sickness in her dog while feeding Darwin’s raw pet food products. FDA collected three intact samples from the pet owner, and found that two tested positive for Salmonella. Darwin recalled the two Salmonella-positive products.
Foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious, and sometimes fatal, infections in pets and the people who handle their food. Bowls, utensils, surfaces such as counters and floors, and peoples’ hands or clothing can harbor the dangerous bacteria.
Regarding the apparent increase in Salmonella contamination problems during the past six months, the company spokesman said at the time of the most recent recall, “… over 99 percent of the product had already been consumed by pets, but less than 1 percent of our customers had any issues. Of these, most were relatively minor conditions such as diarrhea.”
When asked what additional information Darwin wished to share with pet owners, the company spokesman said, “Our number one priority is providing pets with meals that are healthy and safe.”
“Our customers know that feeding raw is a very healthy way for pets to eat,” he added, “and we are committed to continuously improving all aspects of our products to make them the healthiest alternative for pets.”
Darwin uses a bacteriophage (phage) antimicrobial treatment in its manufacturing process, and claims to have conducted validation tests that showed the process to have reduced pathogens, including Salmonella, to non-detectable levels.
However, a 2017 review article published in the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology referred to several attempts to apply phages to Salmonella control in meats and poultry. Those efforts left, in general, 10 percent of Salmonella alive. Also, phage treatment was most effective when used in combination with other control methods, according to the authors of the review article.
FDA’s investigation of the “pattern of contamination” in Darwin’s pet foods is ongoing. The agency reminds consumers that pets may carry Salmonella without displaying symptoms of illness, and can pass the infection to humans without the animals being visibly ill.
The FDA encourages consumers to report complaints about this and other pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

Food safety tips for blizzards
Source :
By Julie Ruggirello (Mar 7, 2018)
tocking up at the grocery store is only half the battle when prepping for a winter storm. The other half is safely conserving everything you've stocked up on. Hank Lambert, CEO of PURE Bioscience, a company dedicated to health for food and consumer safety, shares his best tips on safely storing and preserving food if the power goes out during a winter storm:
1.Keep appliance thermostats in both the refrigerator and freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe.
2.Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm to help food keep cold.
3.Freeze refrigerator items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately to keep them at safe temperatures longer.
4.Group foods together in the freezer - this "igloo" effect helps the food stay cold longer.
5.Don't rely on putting food outside in ice or snow, because it can attract animals or thaw when the sun comes out.
6.Place meat and poultry on opposite sides of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross-contamination of thawing juices.
7.Do not open the refrigerator or freezer; a freezer that is half full will hold up to 24 hours and a full freezer for up to 48 hours. Instead, eat shelf-stable foods.
This story was originally published January 26, 2015.

$7 Billion Food Safety Testing Market - Global Forecast to 2024
Source :
By (Mar 7, 2018)
The "Food Safety Testing Market, Volume, Forecast & Global Analysis, by Contaminants, by Technology, by Regions & Companies" report has been added to's offering.
Food Safety Testing Market is predicted to be near US$ 7 Billion by the end of year 2024
When we discuss food safety it is a worldwide concern which encourages a wide range of zones of day by day life. During the time the effects, seriousness and kinds of foodborne sicknesses have changed are as yet differing crosswise over countries and communities.
Around the world, Foodborne diseases like non-typhoidal Salmonella are the public health concern in developed as well as developing countries. Apart from non-typhoidal Salmonella other diseases like typhoid fever, Cholera which is caused by pathogenic E.coli is more prominent and common disease in less developed nations. If we talk about developed nations the Campylobacter is an important pathogen.
This report studies the global food safety testing market and volume in-depth and provides an all-encompassing analysis of the key growth drivers and preventive factors, market and volume trends, and their projections for the upcoming years.
According to WHO, It stated that 1 in 10 people every year fall ill due to eating contaminated food as a result 420,000 people die each year, there is a higher risk for the children who are under 5 years of age. Around, 125,000 young children are dying due to foodborne illnesses each year.
Because of the impact of the foodborne diseases, Food safety refers to prevention of food becoming contaminated and as well as causing food poisoning. In general terms, Food Safety allude to preparing, handling and storing of the food in the best way to reduce the risk of foodborne diseases which impact on individuals becoming sick where as Food contamination allude to food which is tainted with other substance either chemically, biologically or physically.
Key Topics Covered:
1. Executive Summary
2. Global - Food Safety Testing Market & Forecast
3. Global - Food Safety Testing Volume & Forecast
4. Market Share - By Segment
4.1 By Contaminant
4.2 By Pathogen Food Testing
4.3 By Regions
4.4 By Method / Technology
5. Volume Share - By Segment
5.1 By Contaminant
5.2 By Pathogen Food Testing
5.3 Regional
5.4 By Method / Technology
6. Contaminant - Food Testing Market & Volume
6.1 Pathogen
6.2 Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Testing
6.3 Allergens
6.4 Agricultural Chemicals
6.5 Toxins
7. Pathogen - Food Safety Testing Market & Volume
7.1 Salmonella
7.2 E-Coli
7.3 Listeria
7.4 Campylobacter
7.5 Others
8. Regions - Food Safety Testing Market & Volume
9. Method / Technology - Global Food Safety Testing Market & Volume
9.1 Traditional Microbiology
9.2 Molecular Diagnostics
9.3 Immunodiagnostics
10. Growth Drivers
10.1 Food Recalls for 2016 & Customer Reaction
10.2 Regulatory Modernization
11. Challenges
11.1 Antibiotic Resistance: An Emerging Food Safety Concern
12. Companies Profile
•ALS Limited
•AsureQuality Ltd
•Bureau Veritas SA
•Eurofins Scientific
•Intertek Group plc
•Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings
•TV Nord Group
For more information about this report visit
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25 years marked by change
Source :
By Dr. Richard Raymond (Mar 6, 2018)
Editor’s note: This opinion column by Richard Raymond was originally published by and is reprinted here with permission.
Lives were lost but because of the losses many more lives have subsequently been lived happily and disease free, at least free of diseases spread by contaminated food.
Twenty-five years ago, Riley Detwiler of Bellingham, WA, died, the last of the four children who passed away as a result of the 1993 Jack-in-the-Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, sometimes referred to by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the Western states outbreak.
Riley had never eaten a hamburger. He was secondarily infected by a classmate in his preschool who had the infection but his parents did not know it yet.
There had been prior outbreaks from these bacteria, but none as extensive as this one which became infamous and made Bill Marler synonymous with foodborne illnesses.
But the past is behind us, and I want to take a few minutes on this unhappy anniversary to make note of the changes that came about in the world of food safety as a result of it. Lives were lost but because of the losses many more lives have subsequently been lived happily and disease free, at least free of diseases spread by contaminated food.
The industry and the regulators made changes, some of which, in no particular order, were:
1.Probably first and foremost, E. coli O157:H7 was declared an adulterant in ground beef, announced by Mike Taylor, then the acting undersecretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at an annual meeting of the American Meat Institute, a move which took industry by total surprise. It also assured that the then acting undersecretary for food safety at USDA would never be Senate confirmed.
2.E. coli O157:H7 was upgraded to reportable disease status at all state health departments.
3.After losing a court battle to reverse Taylor’s decision, the meat industry declared that food safety and public health measures were not proprietary properties.
4.Hot steam vacuum treatment of carcasses was invented and refined by scientists at the Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb., a very small town boasting more PhDs per capita than any other town in the U.S.
5.Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) was developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and shortly became a part of every state health department laboratory performing testing of human specimens in suspected cases of foodborne illnesses. It is also used to fingerprint bacteria grown from meat and poultry samples. PFGE allows what used to appear to be isolated cases of foodborne illnesses to be developed into clusters, enabling investigators to more quickly isolate the cause of the outbreak and regulators to remove contaminated product from stores and hopefully kitchens.
6.Food & Drug Administration increased the recommended temperature for cooking ground beef from 140 degrees F to 155 degrees. The current USDA recommendation is to cook to 160 degrees using a digital thermometer.
7.In 1997, following the Hudson Foods recall, and at the request of Nebraska’s Gov. Ben Nelson, the NCBA created BIFSCo (Beef Industry Food Safety Council). BIFSCo coordinates a broad effort to solve pathogen issues, focusing on research prioritization and information dissemination.
8.Then in 2003, BIFSCo sponsored the first beef safety summit, an annual event since then. At the first summit attendees signed an industry food safety pledge and committed to openly share data and information.
9.The National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (NCBA) created a blue ribbon task force headed by old friend Bo Reagan, then with the National Live Stock & Meat Board, a predecessor organization to NCBA where he became vice president of research and knowledge management at NCBA, to fund research into ways to reduce E coli in cattle and slaughterhouses. Bo has since retired from NCBA and now lives just a few miles north of me.
10.The USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection System (FSIS) went from the nearly 100-year-old, sniff-and-poke inspection system to one designed to prevent contamination by invisible pathogens like E. coli O157:H7 called  HACCP, Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points, that put more of the burden on the individual facilities.
11.FSIS also initiated testing for E coli O157:H7 in ground beef, later moving the testing to combo bins.
12.Industry also ramped up its own testing of ground beef in plants and could remove and cook or discard contaminated runs. Reporting of industry positives and presumptive positives has never been mandated, and few know what the exact contamination rate of ground beef is. FSIS only tests product after industry has tested and removed known problematic ground beef.
13.In spite of criticism from the industry, the FSIS introduced consumer education programs about the potential dangers in ground beef and safe handling and proper cooking instructions. Despite this effort many restaurants’ wait staff continue to this day to ask “How do you want your burger cooked” and my wife and daughter answer “medium.” AARGH!
14.Irradiation of ground beef was made routine by Schwann’s and Omaha Steaks and offered as an option at Wegman’s.
15.Safe Tables Our Priority, affectionately known as STOP, was formed representing mostly families who had lost a child to an E. coli O157:H7 infection but fighting to “prevent Americans from becoming ill and dying from foodborne illness.” The national organization is now known as STOP Foodborne Illness. Nancy Donley, who lost her only child to an E. coli infection, was the president of STOP when I was with the FSIS at USDA.
16.FSIS began identifying retail outlets where contaminated meat and poultry were sold in 2008 to help consumers be more aware if they had eaten contaminated product or still had it in their refrigerator or freezer.
17.Recently, FSIS has begun attempting to trace back to the source when a further downstream processor has a ground beef sample test positive for E. coli O157:H7
18.Six other non-O157 STECs have been added to the list of adulterants in recent years by FSIS.
19.Some packers now use a phage spray on cattle in holding pens, others use hide washes before the knock box to reduce fecal contamination.
20.E. coli vaccines have been developed and gained FDA approval, but are in limited use because of the added cost.
I am certain I have left out a few critical changes, as most were made well before my attention turned from delivering babies to food safety. Please add your thoughts in the comment section.

Blow for food safety in Vietnam
Source :
By english.vietnamnet (Mar 6, 2018)
VietNamNet Bridge – Food enterprises can now declare their products safe and hygienic, without having to apply for any official certification.
Decree 15/2018/NŠ˘-CP was put into effect last month; with the food safety change one of the most significant parts of the decree.
Under the decree, organisations and individuals producing and selling food will announce their product’s safety on multi-media, websites or at their offices themselves, instead of applying for food safety and hygiene certificates like before.
Le Thi Thu, owner of an enterprise producing pork pies, spring rolls and sausages in Bien Hoa City, the southern province of Dong Nai, told Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper that, to apply for the certificate, an enterprise must prepare two sets of documents and each set had 11 different kinds of papers.
The papers included detailed information about the products, a circulation certificate, a medical certificate, a trademark, a periodic supervising plan and a trading certificate.
 “The procedure has been abolished, helping enterprises escape a great burden,” she said.
Le Quang Hau, owner of the Quang Hau Spring Roll and Pork Pies Enterprise in Tan Phu District in HCM City, said depending on each province and city, completing the procedure could cost VND6-10 million (US$260-440). Business owners also had to travel to different offices to complete it.
Another problem, Hau said, was that the food safety and hygiene certificate dictated that the enterprise had to take responsibility for their own products.
 “It meant that food management office issues the certificate for the enterprise, but it did not take the responsibility for the certificate,” said Hau.
Truong Chi Thien, director of the Vinh Thanh Dat Food Joint-stock Company, said that to bring an egg to market, it took 15 days to complete procedures. Many enterprises had to hire more employees to do the procedures.
A survey of the Central Institute for Economic Management announced recently said that to apply for a food safety hygiene certificate, each enterprise must pay about VND10 million ($440), and VND30 million ($1,300) in some cases.
Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the medical sector’s certificates for food enterprises could not cover all of the enterprises’ work. If an enterprise has bad work, it can rely on the certificate to avoid punishment, he said.
Source: VNS

NAFTA negotiators conclude talks on food safety: source
Source :
By reuters (Mar 6, 2018)
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico successfully concluded discussions on rules governing food safety and animal health under a revised NAFTA trade deal, a Mexican source familiar with the matter said on Monday.
The chapter on so-called sanitary and phytosanitary measures, which addresses food standards as well as animal and plant hygiene, was agreed by the three sides late on Sunday, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The agreement came just before ministers from the three nations are due to meet in Mexico City to take stock of progress in efforts to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The conclusion of the chapter on sanitary and phytosanitary measures is a rare indication of concrete progress at the sluggish talks, and follows agreement between the NAFTA partners on good regulatory practices earlier in the round.
Tensions at the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations were ramped up last week by U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of NAFTA, which underpins more than $1 trillion worth of trilateral trade in the region, if it is not recast to his liking.

A robot will be cooking your food at CaliBurger
Source :
By Robert Mancini(Mar 5, 2018)
Food safety is behavior-based but what if a robot is doing the cooking for you?
Kevin Smith of Pasadena Star News reports:
CaliBurger has a new chef, but he won’t be needing a bathroom break. Or a smoking break. Or any breaks.
The “chef” is Flippy, an industrial robotic arm manufactured by Fanuc and brought to life by Miso Robotics‘ cloud-connected artificial intelligence platform. The automated kitchen assistant begins work this week at the Pasadena restaurant, and the technology is on track to be expanded to all 10 U.S.-based CaliBurger locations by the end of the year.
CaliBurger has another drive-through location in the Bakersfield area, and a Santa Clarita restaurant is opening soon.
How it works
David Zito, co-founder and CEO of Pasadena-based Miso Robotics, explained how the technology works:
“This combines thermal vision, 3D and computer vision data, and we use machine-learning algorithms,” he said. “It’s really a deep-learning technique where we can take all of that data and train Flippy to see what’s happening on the grill. He can react to it to make sure he’s cooking the burgers consistently every time.”
When a kitchen worker arranges patties on the grill, Flippy can detect where they are. The robot knows the temperature of the grill as well as the temperature of each patty, so he can turn them over at the right time and remove them from the grill when they are properly cooked, Zito said. That lets the kitchen staff know when to place cheese on top or when to dress the burgers.
The technology also enables Flippy to switch from using one spatula for raw meat to another for cooked meat. The robot can also clean spatulas while cooking and wipe the surface of the grill with a scraper, Zito said.
The process is precise, efficient, food-safe — and above all, consistent, he said.
The mind of a grill chef
“Over time, we can train Flippy to have the mind of a grill chef,” Zito said. “John has had struggles to staff the grill, and that’s an important role when you’re making the CaliBurger, their signature dish,” he said, referring to John Miller, chain chairman and CEO of the chain and related companies.
“But this is not about labor replacement. It’s about augmenting the staff that’s in the kitchen,” he added.
The robotic arms sell for $60,000 to $100,000, depending on the specific tasks a restaurant needs it to perform. Miso also charges a 20 percent fee per year for the use of its cloud-connected learning platform.
“It continually learns,” Zito said. “It gets better over time.”
The rest of the story can be found here

South Africa’s processed meats blamed in Listeria outbreak
Source :
By Dan Flynn (Mar 5, 2018)
You might say the source of South Africa’s deadly Listeria outbreak was hiding in plain sight, but it took the deaths of 180 people before the Health Minister could collect enough evidence to name the culprits.
A cold, processed meat product made by South Africa’s biggest producer of consumer foods is the cause of the ongoing outbreak, which has a stunning 27 percent fatality rate.
Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa’s Minister of Health, on Sunday announced the source of the outbreak was two unrelated brands of “polony” manufactured by the Tiger Brands unit of Enterprise Foods and Rainbow Chicken Limited (RCL).
The minister said the Enterprise and RCL polony products are being recalled, and he went further.
“We advise members of the public to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat,” Motsoaledi said.
The risk of cross-contamination is why South Africa issued the broader public warning.
“While we know that polony is definitely implicated, there is a risk of cross-contamination of other ready-to-eat processed meat products, either at production, distribution or retail,” according to the minister’s statement.
“This is because Listeria on the exterior casing (packaging) of polony can be transferred to other products it comes into contact with, including viennas, russians, frankfurters, other sausages, and other ‘cold meat’ products that are typically not cooked before eating.”
Motsoaledi said South Africa “can now conclude scientifically that the source of the present outbreak is the Enterprise Food production facility located in Polokwane.”
Ironically, Polokwane means “Place of Safety.” The city is the capital of South Africa’s Limpopo province. Enterprise’s production plant in Polokwane returned at least 16 samples that tested positive for the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak strain known as ST6. Preliminary results on samples from other Enterprise plants also show Listeria contamination, but the strains have not been confirmed.
South Africa’s National Consumer Commission ordered Enterprise to recall all of its polony, smoked russians, frankfurters, and Rainbow brand chicken products. Enterprise says it is cooperating fully.
Meanwhile, RCL says it is suspending all production of its Rainbow polony brand. An RCL production facility is under investigation in the Listeria probe.
After the health minister’s announcement, many South African supermarkets moved immediately to remove any suspect ready-to-eat meats from their coolers.
“In our constant search for the source of the outbreak and the treatment of people who are affected, a team from NICD (National Institute for Communicable Diseases) has interviewed 109 ill people to obtain details about foods they had eaten in the month before falling ill,” Motsoaledi said Sunday. It can take up to 70 days after exposure for listeriosis symptoms to develop.
Of the victims who have been interviewed, 93 of them, representing 85 percent, remember eating ready-to-eat (RTE) processed meat products. Polony was the most commonly named processed meat product, followed by Vienna/sausages and other “cold meats.”
South Africa began investigating the outbreak on Jan. 12 after a pediatrician treating nine children younger than 5 at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital suspected a foodborne disease was involved, including listeriosis.
By Jan. 27, NICD had found the same Listeria monocytogenes ST6 strain in Enterprise and RCL products as had been found in stool samples from the ill children. Motsoaledi said it was at that stage of the investigation that officials decided to “visit all food-processing sites, food-packaging sites as well as food production sites where possible.”
The health minister said preliminary results show several ready-to-eat processed meat products from the Enterprise facility located in Germiston contain Listeria monocytogenes, but the sequence type isn’t yet known.
At the RCL Wolwehoek production facility, polony products tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, but not ST6. “However, such contamination of ready-to-eat processed meat products constitutes a health risk,” said Motsoaledi.
Sunday’s public health warning and the ready-to-eat meat recalls will likely begin to contain the outbreak, but only time will tell how quickly that occurs. Lucia Anelich, a microbiologist and prominent South African food safety expert, said it is the worst foodborne outbreak “in global history.”
As of March 2, South Africa’s count of laboratory-confirmed Listeria infections since January 2017 stood at 948. A total of 659 patients involve the outbreak strain, and 180 of those died, constituting a 27 percent fatality rate.
Except for the much higher numbers, South Africa’s listeria outbreak is eerily similar to Canada’s experience in 2008. That listeriosis outbreak caused 22 deaths of mostly elderly Canadians. It involved one of Canada’s most prominent and respected food companies, Maple Leaf Foods of Toronto accepted responsibility. The fatality rate was 40 percent.
Maple Leaf found mechanical meat slicers at its ready-to-eat meat plant spread the bacteria across Canada. The problem was a design flaw that inhibited thorough cleaning.
That outbreak also led to Canada accepting 57 food safety recommendations from food safety expert Sheila Weatherill, who conducted an independent investigation. Maple Leaf CEO Michael McCain praised the Weatherill report as exceptionally thorough and comprehensive.

HACCP Principles: No. 2 identify critical control points 
Source :
By Laura Mushrush (Mar 5, 2018)
This is the second of a seven-part series on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points sponsored by PAR Technologies. There are seven HACCP principles outlined by the Food and Drug Administration to serve as a guideline for creating a systematic approach in the identification, evaluation and control of food safety hazards.
Once a hazard analysis is conduct by a company’s HACCP team, the next step is to determine where along the food production line any biological, chemical or physical components must be managed to prevent food safety hazards by establishing critical control points (CCPs).
“CCPs are the last place we can control for a particular hazard by following certain steps or procedures that either completely eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce and maintain certain elements at acceptable levels. These are a very important step in the HACCP process because if CCPs are not accurately identified, any step taken after will be compromised,” explains Donna Schaffner, independent HACCP consultant microbiologist and the Associate Director of Food Safety, Quality Assurance and Training for Rutgers Food Innovation Center.
“For example, say a ground beef processing facility is worried about small foreign material passing through the grind plate, so the product is X-rayed once it is ground. In the case, the x-ray machine is the CCP. However, if the X-ray machine was not used, the grind plate would then become the CCP.”
CCPs are diverse and can include steps such as testing ingredients or finished products for allergens, temperature control and microbiological testing. While there are multiple ways to identify CCPs, says Schaffner, her preferred method utilizing a matrix which pinpoints what areas along the production chain are high, low and mid-severity levels.
“After we’ve taken a hazard analysis, we must take a step back and decide what areas can be covered and controlled with a pre-requisite program and which ones need special management as a CCP,” says Schaffner.
“CCPs which fall in the low or high severity category are easy to make management decisions on – it’s the ones in the middle which become more complicated.”
Another popular way to identify CCPs is by using a decision tree, which walks the HACCP team through a series of questions for each production step. (See chart)

“There is no mandated method of determining CCPs, so it is important HACCP teams find a method that not only suits their expertise, but most importantly, provides the most accurate information,” adds Schaffner.




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