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07/02 2018 ISSUE:815

 

Expert tips for summer food safety
Source : https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/expert-tips-for-summer-food-safety-1.3996894
By ctvnews.ca (July 7, 2018)
If you're enjoying picnics and barbecues this summer, following food and safety advice, especially with high-risk foods such as mayonnaise, can help prevent any foodborne illnesses.
As the weather heats up many of us will be planning to make the most of the sun by dining al fresco at barbecues and picnics. However, eating outdoors also brings with it the risk of food poisoning if dishes are not prepared and stored correctly, with summer's high temperatures providing the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. To help prevent foodborne illness ruining your event, here we round up some expert food safety advice for a safer summer.
Although people normally blame dishes such as potato salad for food poisoning, problems rarely arise from a food like mayonnaise alone according to Ben Chapman, a food safety researcher at North Carolina State University. For bacteria to become a problem there has to be combination of a food such as mayonnaise and other salad ingredients, plus poor hygiene and poor temperature control, which is when food isn't kept below 4 degrees C.
"For example, above 30 degree C, foodborne pathogens in potato salad increase tenfold in as quickly as an hour," Chapman says. "In ideal temperatures for bacteria, such as body temperature, bacterial populations can double in less than 20 minutes."
When it comes to meat, Dr. Ross Rodgers, an emergency medicine physician at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, advises using a meat thermometer to ensure that it is cooked to the appropriate temperature to kill any viruses or bacteria, and to always serve it hot.
If in doubt use store-bought mayonnaise
A big reason that mayonnaise rarely causes foodborne illness nowadays is because most people buy their mayonnaise, rather than making it from scratch.
"Commercially produced mayonnaise is acidified to reduce spoilage and kill off human pathogens," Chapman says. "It's really low risk on its own."
If you are making mayo at home then Chapman's advice is "Pick a recipe that uses pasteurized egg products and incorporates acid -- such as vinegar or lemon juice -- to reduce risk. And refrigeration is still incredibly important, as recipes may not incorporate enough acid to address risks."
Fruit and veggies also come with risks
Although most people know to be careful with raw meat, seafood, poultry and eggs, Dr. Rodgers says some are not aware that the same types of viruses and bacteria can be present on produce and other types of food including fresh produce.
"Fresh fruits and vegetables are responsible for more outbreaks of foodborne illness than any other type of food; they've been linked to 46 percent of foodborne illnesses between 1998 and 2008," adds Chapman.
To avoid any problems both recommend washing fruit and vegetables thoroughly. Also make sure you wash your hands and do not use the same cutting board for meats and fresh produce.

Food safety advice for the Fourth of July
Source : http://advantagenews.com/news/food-safety-advice-for-the-fourth-of-july/
By advantagenews.com (July 1, 2018)
Fire up the grill, whip up the potato salad, and know how to keep food safe for the Fourth of July holiday.  Whether you’re grilling out, packing a picnic, or getting a snack together to eat while you watch fireworks, there are simple steps you can take that will reduce the chance of getting a foodborne illness.
“One food safety essential is making sure food is at the proper temperature, whether it’s cooking it to the right temperature on the grill or keeping it cold,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah said.  “There is something called the danger zone, when food sits at a temperature between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is when bacteria grow most rapidly. Keeping food at the proper temperature, making sure there is no cross-contamination, and keeping hands and utensils clean are key to avoiding foodborne illness.”
It can be difficult to keep food cold during the summer, especially while traveling. One tip to help keep your cooler below 40ºF is to pack beverages in one cooler and food in another. Chances are the cooler with the beverages will be opened much more frequently, causing the temperature inside the cooler to fluctuate, which would be bad news for food.
Food should also be separated in the cooler: raw meat and poultry should be separate from fruits, vegetables, cheeses, salads, and even cooked foods. This will help avoid cross-contamination. The juices of raw meat can mingle with foods that are ready to eat and you could end up with a salmonella sandwich instead of a hamburger on a bun. And make sure the cooler is in the shade and out of the direct sun. This will help keep the temperature below 40 degrees.
Now it’s time to apply some heat. Whether you’re cooking on the grill or in a kitchen, make sure food reaches the proper temperature. And don’t just eyeball the color of the meat. That doesn’t always indicate the level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer.
• 145 degrees — whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal
• 145 degrees — fish
• 160 degrees — hamburgers and other ground beef
• 165 degrees — all poultry and precooked meats, like hot dogs
Make sure to use clean utensils and a clean plate when you take food off the grill. Using the same utensils and plate that you did for the raw meat could add an unintended E. coli marinade to your food.
Chances are, if you’re outside, you’ve touched something dirty — playground equipment, baseball, lake water, etc. If there is not running water and soap to wash your hands where you’re going, don’t forget to bring the hand sanitizer. Clean your hands before preparing food and eating.
Once you’ve had your fill, it’s time to chill. Make sure all leftovers are refrigerated or put on ice within two hours after cooking, or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees. Don’t let that potato salad bake in the sun and become a source of sickness.
More food safety tips or information about foodborne illnesses and symptoms can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Independence Day food safety tips
Source : https://journalstar.com/lifestyles/food-and-cooking/independence-day-food-safety-tips/article_7bb90d55-4581-514e-8eb3-08e2b3ffcaa9.html
By Senior Care Content Specialists (July 1, 2018)
Independence Day is almost here again! It is a day for our nation to pause to appreciate and celebrate our freedom. Fourth of July celebrations often include an outdoor picnic with lots of tasty treats. If you’re planning an outdoor celebration for your family and friends, make sure you take a few precautions to ensure none of your guests experience a food-related illness.
Food Safety and Summer Picnics
Many people think fireworks are the most dangerous thing about Independence Day celebrations. While they can be a hazard, they aren’t the only worry. Two others are dehydration and food poisoning.
Food-borne bacteria can be an uninvited guest at your holiday picnic. Warm or humid weather is the ideal environment for illnesses caused by these types of bacteria. The spread of bacteria is partly due to how long food is left outside during summer celebrations, especially when they are held at an area park where a refrigerator isn’t available.
Here are some guidelines you can share with loved ones as you plan your summer picnic menu:
1) Transport and serve food safely
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration says the temperature in coolers should be kept at 40°F or lower to prevent bacteria from developing. You can use ice or frozen gel packs to keep your cooler cold during your picnic. You might also want to invest in a cooler that plugs into the cigarette lighter of your car. It makes keeping food cold when you are on the go much easier.
2) Use separate coolers
You can lower the risk for cross-contamination by using separate coolers for different purposes. For example, store raw meat in one cooler and beverages in another. This also helps because drink coolers are opened more frequently, which puts other foods stored with them at risk for getting too warm.
3) Limit time food is out
The AARP says picnic food shouldn’t be left outdoors for more than two hours. If the temperature is over 90°F, that time should be cut to just one hour. Make it a practice to put any uneaten food back in the cooler once everyone finishes eating.
4) Pack plenty of hand wipes
Pack wet wipes to use for handwashing when water isn’t available. Make sure everyone who will be involved in handling food at the picnic uses them before preparing and serving food. These wipes are also an easy solution for older adults with mobility issues if the park’s bathrooms aren’t close to your picnic area.
5) Serve hydrating foods and beverages
July is often one of the hottest months of the year. That’s why it’s important to include bottled water and hydrating foods when you plan. Foods that help prevent dehydration include melons, cucumber, leafy green vegetables, and berries.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration created a free guide you might find helpful this summer. Consult “Eating Outdoors: Handling Food Safely”, which covers topics ranging from cooler organization to grilling safety.

 

Food Safety Talk 157: 1000 Jars of Jam (Live from MSU)
Source : http://www.barfblog.com/2018/06/food-safety-talk-157-1000-jars-of-jam-live-from-msu/
By Ben Chapman (June 28, 2018)             
Ben and Don travel to Michigan State University to record a live show at the Global Food Law Current Issues Conference. They talk about how the podcast started and then go into Salmonella in cereals, impacts of an outbreak on businesses and the public health burdens of hepatitis A in the U.S. The show ends with some audience questions.
The audio is a bit raw on this one, preserved for the diehard listeners.
Download the audio here or on iTunes.
Show notes so you can follow along at home:
?Mbandaka – Wikipedia
?Outbreaks > FDA Investigating Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka Infections Likely Linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal
?Malt-O-Meal Salmonella Agona – Twice from same Plant a Decade Apart
?Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Blue Bell Creameries Products| Listeria | CDC
?Food Safety Talk 150: Rambunctious Ramble in the Jungle — Food Safety Talk
?HAN Archive – 00412 | Health Alert Network (HAN)
?MDHHS – Michigan Hepatitis A Outbreak
?Cost effectiveness of vaccinating food service workers against hepatitis A infection. – PubMed – NCBI
?The Financial Burden of Public Health Responses to Hepatitis A Cases Among Food Handlers, 2012-2014. – PubMed – NCBI
?Dr. John Spink | Food Fraud Initiative
?Tylenol Murders (Entry 1354.IS2915) | Omnibus! With Ken Jennings and John Roderick

Romaine Lettuce E. coli Lawyer Discusses End of Multistate Outbreak That Has Sickened 210 People
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2018/romaine-lettuce-e-coli-lawyer-outbreak/
By News Desk (June 28, 2018)
Romaine lettuce E. coli lawyer discusses the end of the huge multistate outbreak, which is now over, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This outbreak is larger than the 2006 E. coli outbreak that was linked to fresh spinach,” said Fred Pritzker, food safety expert and attorney.
In that 2006 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, 199 people were sickened, 101 people were hospitalized, 31 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, and three people died. In this current outbreak, 210 people in 36 states have been sickened. Ninety-six have been hospitalized, 27 have HUS, and five people have died.
The case count by state in this current outbreak is: Alabama (3) Alaska (8), Arkansas (1), Arizona (9), California (49), Colorado (3), Connecticut (2), Florida (3), Georgia (5), Idaho (12), Illinois (2), Iowa (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (4), Michigan (5), Minnesota (12), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), Montana (9), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (8), New York (11), North Carolina (1), North Dakota (3), Ohio (7), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (24), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (3), Texas (4), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (8), and Wisconsin (3). The patient age range is from 1 to 88 years. The five people who died were from Arkansas, California, two in Minnesota, and New York.
Officials interviewed 166 people sickened in this outbreak. Of those patients, 145, or 87%, ate romaine lettuce before they got sick. Some of those sickened had close contact with someone who got sick from the lettuce, so the bacteria has been spreading person-to-person as well.
“This outbreak has been difficult to unravel,” Fred said. “Public health officials have been combing through tons of information from different farms, producers, processing plants, restaurants, and grocery stores. No one producer has been named, although we know that the romaine lettuce most likely came from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.”
In fact, the FDA, CDC, and state officials collected samples of water, soil, and manure in the Yuma area. They found the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in water samples that were taken from a canal in the area. That bacteria from the canal water is closely related genetically to the bacteria taken from patent isolates. Other test results are pending.
The outbreak is considered “over” for two reasons. One, the last patient illness onset date is June 6, 2018, more than three weeks ago. It takes two to three weeks before an ill persons seeks help and is diagnosed. And two, the last romaine lettuce harvested from the Yuma area was picked on April 16, 2018. That product has a 21-day shelf life, which puts the last day it should have been eaten June 6, 2018, more than three weeks ago.

9 things this top food safety lawyer won't eat at home or in a restaurant
Source : https://www.myajc.com/lifestyles/food--cooking/things-this-top-food-safety-lawyer-won-eat-home-restaurant/jOJWnwO6kHbbzqesAUUcIM/
By David J. Neal - Miami Herald (June 28, 2018)
When the pre-cut melon salmonella outbreak hit earlier this month, anybody who has had more than a few conversations with food safety attorney Bill Marler could hear his "I told you so."

Pre-cut fruit is on the list of foods avoided by Marler, one of the two name partners in Marler Clark, which claims to be the nation's only exclusively food-borne illness law firm.
In 25 years as a food safety attorney, Marler's seen how the sausage — and soup, salad, steak, etc. — is made and what happens when things go wrong (many Marler Clark clients' cases involved hospitalization or death from food-borne illness).
Upon request, Marler recently emailed the Miami Herald the list of foods you won't see on his table.
— Unpasteurized milk or juice, also called "raw milk" and "raw juice." "Raw milk directly from a cow can be infected with all types of bacteria," Marler said. "Some argue that milk loses nutrients during pasteurization, but this is patently false. Skipping pasteurization means an increased risk of contamination by bacteria, viruses, and parasites."
— Raw sprouts. "Raw sprouts are dangerous because of their growing process. The seeds are sprouted in standing water that can grow bacteria. There have been too many outbreaks to not pay attention to the risk of sprout contamination." Seven outbreaks — four salmonella, two E. coli, one listeria — since 2014 trace back to sprouts, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
— Meat that isn't well done. Steak connoisseurs will wail. Chefs might rend garments. But Marler got his start in the food safety niche working for plaintiffs whose children died in the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. So he has no problem insisting, "Meat needs to be cooked to 160 degrees throughout to kill bacteria that could cause E. coli or salmonella."
— Pre-cut vegetables. This includes packaged salads. The outbreak record speaks for itself: 79 outbreaks in the last 23 years, the most recent being this spring's romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak that sickened 197 people and killed five. That was the biggest E. coli outbreak of any kind in the United States since the 2006 leafy spinach outbreak that infected 199. In answering why romaine lettuce was involved in so many outbreaks, the FDA's Dr. Stic Harris probably covered lettuce and salads in general when he said, "It's not something that's cooked. There is no kill step (for the bacteria)."
— Prewashed or pre-cut fruits. Your grocery might pre-cut the fruit in the back. Or, it might get pre-cut fruit from a plant in another state, such as the retailers in the current pre-cut salmonella outbreak that traces back to Caito Foods' Indianapolis plant. Either way, Marler says, "The convenience is nice, but the more people handling, and processing food means more chances for contamination."
— Raw or undercooked eggs. "Raw and undercooked eggs can carry salmonella," Marler said. "Although it is much safer now than in the '80s and '90s, it is not worth the risk." It should be noted that this spring's shell-egg salmonella outbreak mushroomed not from problems in home preparation, but problems at Rose Acre Farms' Hyde County, North Carolina, facility. Among those problems: butt-scratching.
— Raw shellfish, especially raw oysters. "Food-borne illness linked to shellfish has increased dramatically in the past five years because of global warming," Marler says. "Warmer water increases microbial growth, which ends up in filter feeders such as oysters."
— Raw water. Marler says "unfiltered water can contain animal feces, Giardia, and any number of bacteria. You never know what is upstream."
— Uncooked flour. Marler says "uncooked flour can spread bacteria such as E. coli. In 2015 and 2016, 56 people developed E. coli infections from eating uncooked flour.”

Petition seeks to change rules for ‘Product of USA’ meat labels
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/06/petition-seeks-to-change-rules-for-product-of-usa-meat-labels/#.Wzr-SU66zct
By Dan Flynn (June 28, 2018)
Country of origin labeling for meat once involved lofty policy debates in Congress and international bodies like the World Trade Organization.
Now two influential groups have decided it would help domestic producers and consumers alike if USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) would change its policies. The Lincoln, NE-based Organization for Competitive Markets and the Denver-based American Grass-fed Association (AGA) have petitioned FSIS for the policy amendment.
Currently, FSIS policy permits labeling meat as a “Product of the USA” if it meets either one of two criteria.
The first is if the country to which the product is exported requires the labeling and the product is processed in the U.S. The second is if the product is processed in the U.S. (i.e., is of domestic origin.)
Instead, the two groups want FSIS to adopt new language for the second part. They want it to read:
“If it can be determined that significant ingredients having a bearing on consumer preference such as meat, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, etc., are of domestic origin (minor ingredients such as spices and flavorings are not included). In this case, the labels should be approved with the understanding that such ingredients are of domestic origin.”
OCM and AGA say the current FSIS policy allows foreign imported meat and meat products to be brought into the U.S., processed through a USDA inspected plant and labeled “Product of U.S.A.” They say that is counter to the legal authority granted to FSIS in federal law and by its regulations. As a result, they say the current policy is having the very adverse outcomes on farmers and consumers that Congress specifically stated were the consequences it intended to prevent when enacting the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).
FSIS has opted to put the petition out for public comment until Aug. 17, a sign the agency may give serious consideration to the change.
The current policy has more impact on some market segments than others. About 91 percent of U.S beef consumption is from domestic production. However, only 20 to 25 of the grass-fed beef market in the U.S. is from local suppliers. Grass-fed beef from Australia and South America make up the difference; some with a “Product of U.S.A.” labels due to FSIS policy.
“Hit hardest by misbranding of U.S. meat products are those U.S. producers who have been transitioning their operations to grass-fed beef. This market opportunity has been the one bright spot in U.S. cattle production with sales nearly doubling annually,” the petition says.
OCM is a national organization with the stated purpose of working on behalf of America’s farmers and consumers to ensure agricultural markets are fair and transparent. OCM is a public policy research and advocacy organization. OCM has been a leader in efforts to ensure consumers have the information they need to know the origin of their meat and meat products. It played a crucial role in the passage of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) in 2002.
It says the current FSIS labeling policy hinders its effort to assist U.S. family farmers in connecting with U.S. consumers who demonstrate a preference for U.S. domestic meat and meat products. AGA is the nation’s leading organization in the development of grass-fed meat production and market development for producers of grass-fed beef, dairy, and pastured pork.
Congressionally mandated Country-of-Origin labeling was repealed after the World Trade Organization (WTO) found it violated restrictions on non-tariff barriers to international trade. WTO would have permitted Canada and Mexico to imposed retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. if the COOL regulations had remained in place.

Learn About Raw Oysters and Vibriosis
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2018/raw-oysters-vibriosis/
By Linda Larsen (June 27, 2018)
Raw oysters are usually consumed in the summer months. But that particular type of seafood is linked to a disease called vibriosis that can make you very sick.
Vibrio bacteria grow naturally in salt water. The three main strains of disease-causing vibrio bacteria are Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus, and Vibrio alginolyticus. About 80,000 people are sickened by vibrio bacteria every year, and 100 people die.
Most of these infections occur during the summer months when the water is warmer. But global warming is increasing the growth of this pathogen and others, as the ocean waters warm. That is one reason why we are seeing vibrio outbreaks in Canadian oysters.
It’s important to know that, as with other pathogenic bacteria, vibrio does not change the taste, texture, smell, or appearance of the oyster. The only way to make sure that the oysters you eat are safe is to cook them thoroughly.
Oysters collect this pathogen because they are filter feeders. That means they draw in water and phytoplankton through their gills. Unfortunately, that also means they draw in bacteria.
To cook oysters, first sort over them. Discard any shellfish that are open, or that don’t close when you tap on the shells; those oysters are dead and contain even more bacteria and toxins. Boil the lobsters in the shell until the shells open; then boil 3 go 5 minutes longer. You can also steam them; steam until the shells open, then steam for 4 to 9 minutes longer. After cooking, discard any oysters that do not open fully.
For shucked oysters, boil for 3 minutes or until the edges curl. You can also Fry them for at least 3 minutes at 375°F, or broil them 3 inches from the heat for 3 minutes. They can also be baked at 450°F for 10 minutes.
The symptoms of vibriosis include diarrhea and vomiting. This infection can get into the bloodstream, and can kill. Anyone can get sick from vibriosis, but those who are more likely to get seriously ill include people with a liver disease, alcoholics, people with cancer, diabetes, and HIV. Anyone who takes medicine to lower stomach acids, has an iron overload disease, or has had stomach surgery are also at risk. Anyone in those groups should not eat raw or lightly cooked oysters.
Some oysters may be treated after harvest. This action can reduce some levels of vibrio bacteria in the oyster but does not kill all harmful bacteria.

What this food safety lawyer won’t eat
Source : https://www.detroitnews.com/story/life/food/2018/06/27/food-safety-lawyer/36432819/
By David J. Neal, Miami Herald (June 27, 2018)
When the pre-cut melon salmonella outbreak hit, anybody who has had more than a few conversations with food safety attorney Bill Marler could hear his, “I told you so.”
Pre-cut fruit is on the list of foods avoided by Marler, one of the two name partners in Marler Clark, which claims to be the nation’s only exclusively food-borne illness law firm.
In 25 years as a food safety attorney, Marler’s seen how the sausage — and soup, salad, steak, etc. — is made and what happens when things go wrong (many Marler Clark clients’ cases involved hospitalization or death from food-borne illness).
Upon request, Marler recently listed the foods you won’t see on his table:
¡áUnpasteurized milk or juice, also called “raw milk” and “raw juice.” “Raw milk directly from a cow can be infected with all types of bacteria,” Marler said. “Some argue that milk loses nutrients during pasteurization, but this is patently false. Skipping pasteurization means an increased risk of contamination by bacteria, viruses, and parasites.”
¡áRaw sprouts. “Raw sprouts are dangerous because of their growing process. The seeds are sprouted in standing water that can grow bacteria. There have been too many outbreaks to not pay attention to the risk of sprout contamination.” Seven outbreaks — four salmonella, two E. coli, one listeria — since 2014 trace back to sprouts, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
¡áMeat that isn’t well done. Marler got his start in the food safety niche working for plaintiffs whose children died in the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. So he has no problem insisting, “Meat needs to be cooked to 160 degrees throughout to kill bacteria that could cause E. coli or salmonella.”
¡áPre-cut vegetables. This includes packaged salads. The outbreak record speaks for itself: 79 outbreaks in the last 23 years, the most recent being this spring’s romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak that sickened 197 people and killed five. That was the biggest E. coli outbreak of any kind in the United States since the 2006 leafy spinach outbreak that infected 199. In answering why romaine lettuce was involved in so many outbreaks, the FDA’s Dr. Stic Harris probably covered lettuce and salads in general when he said, “It’s not something that’s cooked. There is no kill step (for the bacteria).”
¡áPrewashed or pre-cut fruits. Your grocery might pre-cut the fruit in the back. Or, it might get pre-cut fruit from a plant in another state, such as the retailers in the current pre-cut salmonella outbreak that traces back to Caito Foods’ Indianapolis plant. Either way, Marler says, “The convenience is nice, but the more people handling, and processing food means more chances for contamination.”
¡áRaw or undercooked eggs. “Raw and undercooked eggs can carry salmonella,” Marler said. “Although it is much safer now than in the ’80s and ’90s, it is not worth the risk.”
¡áRaw shellfish, especially raw oysters. “Food-borne illness linked to shellfish has increased dramatically in the past five years because of global warming,” Marler says. “Warmer water increases microbial growth, which ends up in filter feeders such as oysters.”
¡áRaw water. Marler says “unfiltered water can contain animal feces, Giardia, and any number of bacteria. You never know what is upstream.”
¡áUncooked flour. Marler says “uncooked flour can spread bacteria such as E. coli. In 2015 and 2016, 56 people developed E. coli infections from eating uncooked flour.”

Food Safety Matters Podcast Interviews Food Safety Expert Bob Brackett
Source : https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/food-safety-matters-podcast-interviews-food-safety-expert-bob-brackett/
By Staff (June 26, 2018)
Food Safety Matters Podcast Interviews Food Safety Expert Bob Brackett
Dr. Bob Brackett is the vice president of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and director of the Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH).
Prior to joining IIT, Dr. Brackett served as senior vice president and chief science and regulatory officer for the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
Before that, he served at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). His initial role there was as a senior microbiologist. After several promotions, Dr. Brackett was appointed CFSAN director, where he provided executive leadership to CFSAN’s development and implementation of programs and policies relative to the composition, quality, safety, and labeling of foods, food and color additives, dietary supplements, and cosmetics.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Brackett held professorial positions with North Carolina State University and the University of Georgia.
Dr. Brackett has been honored with the FDA Award of Merit, the FDA Distinguished Alumni Award, the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service, the International Association for Food Protection's President’s Appreciation Award, and the William C. Frazier Food Microbiology Award.
Bob received his doctorate in food microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a member of the Food Safety Magazine editorial advisory board.
You can listen to our Food Safety Matters Podcast any time right here on our website. You can also listen and subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play or Android.

Seafood facility, acidified food processor warned by FDA
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/06/seafood-facility-acidified-food-processor-warned-by-fda/#.WzsAAk66zct
By News Desk (June 25, 2018)
A seafood facility and an acidified food processor are on notice from the Food and Drug Administration for violations of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
The FDA warned both companies in June this year. The warning letters were just recently posted for public view. The FDA allows companies 15 working days to respond to warning letters. If companies fail to properly correct violations, legal action can result in seizure of products and injunctions stopping operations.
Kaltec Food Packaging Inc.
In a June 8 warning letter to company owner Harriet L. Mascara, the FDA described violations observed during an inspection Feb. 12-March 1 at the company’s facility where they manufacture acidified food products. The Port Jervis, NY, commercial processing facility engages in the thermal processing of acidified foods, according to the warning letter. Acidified food processors are required by federal law to comply with Current Good Manufacturing Practices in Manufacturing, Packing, or Holding Human Food, which includes taking effective measures to keep conditions sanitary.
Some of the significant violations cited were:
•The FDA has no acidified scheduled process on file under the firm’s registration for products processed at their facility including Jersey Tomato Sauce Marinara, Sweet and Savory Black Bean Sauce, Southeast Asian Sweet Chili, Korean Gochujang, Veggie Bolognese, Chipotle Pizza Sauce, Caramel Pumpkin Butter, Roja (Red Sauce), Verde (Green Sauce) and Blanco (White Sauce);
•The firm could not provide evidence that the scheduled processes for the acidified food product Jersey Tomato Sauce Marinara that they manufacture was established by a qualified person who has expert knowledge acquired through appropriate training and experience in acidification and processing of acidified foods;
•The firm failed to manufacture their acidified food products in accordance with the scheduled process, including: The July 21, 2015 process letter for Sweet and Savory Black Bean Sauce product provided by a process authority identified the product as an acidified food and listed a fill temperature but the firm’s batch record template used during production states a different temperature range, and The process letter also provides the ingredients and weights of each ingredient to be used but during processing the firm is using ingredients that differ from the ingredients listed in the process letter;
•The firm lacks processing records to show they are monitoring the process letter critical factor of pH in order to comply with 21 CFR 114.100(b);
•The firm’s operators are not under the supervision of a person who has attended a school approved by the Commissioner for giving instruction in food-handling techniques, food protection principles, personal hygiene, plant sanitation practices, pH controls, and critical factors in acidification, and who has satisfactorily completed the prescribed course of instruction;
•The firm failed to maintain production records of examination of raw materials, packaging materials, finished products, and supplier’s guarantees or certificates to verify compliance with FDA regulations and guidelines or actions levels; and
• The firm’s records are not maintained documenting examination of raw materials and packaging materials.
The FDA also noted that the firm sent multiple response letters, however, they failed to implement and document said revisions or include revised production records.
LNZRO Pizza Empire Inc.
 In a June 11 warning letter to company president George R. Musak, the FDA reported serious violations of the current Seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation. According to the warning letter, the firm’s ready-to-eat canned crab meat and battered/breaded haddock were prepared, packaged or held under unsanitary conditions.
A May 10-11 inspection in Syracuse, NY, showed that the company was cited for the following violations:
•The firm failed to conduct, or have conducted for them, hazard analysis for each kind of fish or fishery product that they produce to determine whether there are food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur, as well as implementing a written HACCP plan to control any food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur; “However, your firm did not have a HACCP plan for refrigerated, ready-to-eat canned crab meat to control the food safety hazard of Clostridium botulinum toxin formation.”
The firm’s June 1, 2018 electronic response letter included a copy of their revised HACCP plan for pasteurized canned crabmeat, however, “their response is inadequate because their HACCP plan did not contain, at a minimum, adequate critical limits, monitoring procedures or corrective action procedures.”
•The firm must review critical control point monitoring records within one week after the records are made, to ensure compliance with 21 CFR 123.8(a)(3); Specifically, the firm’s monitoring records at the CCP for their battered/breaded haddock were not reviewed for the last year.
The FDA acknowledged the firm’s response dated June 1, 2018 which states “The monitoring records will be maintained correctly as required,” However, the firm’s response is inadequate because they have not provided any evidence demonstrating that all monitoring records are receiving a weekly verification review by a HACCP trained individual in accordance with 21 CFR 123.10(c).
Additionally, the FDA noted that as a responsible official of a facility that manufactures/processes, packs, or holds food for human or animal consumption in the United States, the firm is responsible for ensuring that their overall operation and the products they distribute are in compliance with the law.

DOJ: Freshy Foods needs to cease operations until it cleans up
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/06/doj-freshy-foods-needs-to-cease-operations-until-it-cleans-up/#.WzsCEU66zct
By Dan Flynn (June 25, 2018)
Inspectors have repeatedly found Listeria contamination in facility, ready-to-eat foods
A listeria strain that took up residence at Louisiana’s Freshy Foods in 2013 and remains there to this day, along with multiple instances where its ready-to-eat sandwiches were poisoned with the same pathogen, spurred government action Friday.
Attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Consumer Protection Branch and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of the U.S. Circuit Court in Louisiana filed a civil complaint, seeking to put Freshy Foods out of business.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked Freshy Foods to recall products after the most recent discovery of the contamination. The company declined to do so.
If a federal judge agrees with prosecutors, Freshy Foods’ co-owners Floyd D. James and Ida M. James and their business associates would be ordered to “cease receiving, preparing, manufacturing, processing, packing, labeling, holding, and/or distributing food at or from the facility or at any other location(s) at or from which defendants, now or in the future, receive, prepare, manufacture, process, pack, label, hold, and/or distribute food, unless and until defendants bring their operations into compliance with the Act and applicable regulations, to FDA’s satisfaction.”
Government attorneys are asking for the statutory injunction under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). They want the court to permanently enjoin and restrain Freshy Foods LLC, Floyd D. James, and Ida M. James.
The Freshy Foods facility in question is at 508 Time Saver Ave., Elmwood, LA. The company’s registered address with the Louisiana Secretary of State is 365 Canal St., Suite 1470, New Orleans.
Floyd D. James is the chief executive officer, co-owner and registered agent of Freshy Foods. The government complaint says he is responsible for the company’s overall operations, including receiving, production, and distribution. He also shares responsibility in detecting, preventing, and correcting violative conditions. He works out of the Elmwood facility.
Ida M. James is the president and co-owner of Freshy Foods. She is responsible for the company’s financing, human resources, and production plans, She also shares responsibility in detecting, preventing, and correcting violative conditions. She also works out the Elmwood facility.
Freshy Foods is a manufacturer and distributor of refrigerated, ready-to-eat (RTE) food, including, but not limited to, sandwiches, wraps, salads, fruit cups and snack cups. Ready-to-eat foods fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration.
The government says Freshy Foods’ ready-to-eat foods are known to have been distributed across state lines, including in Mississippi and Florida. Freshy Foods has also used tuna imported from Thailand in ready-to-eat sandwiches, according to the federal complaint.
The Freshy Foods facility last underwent FDA inspection July 17-21, 2017. Additional samples of the resident strain of Listeria monocytogenes were collected from the facility. FDA found the food produced was adulerated, including sanchwiches, fruit and snack cups.
Government attorneys say state and federal agencies have found Freshy Foods sandwiches or facility contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes on at least six different occasions going back to 2012.
The Louisiana company has not yet responded to the June 22 civil complaint. The case has been assigned to federal Judge Jane Margaret Triche Milazzo and Magistrate Judge Michael B. North.
If the case proceeds to trial, the government is required to prove its allegations by a preponderance of the evidence. Civil complaints brought by the government in food safety cases often end with a Consent Decree favoring the agency.
“We have an obligation to make sure that foods are safe for people to consumer,” says Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA’’s Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. 
“The conditions that this company was holding ready-to-eat food in were unacceptable. FDA investigators repeatedly found Listeria monocytogenes at Freshy Foods’ facility, and the company should stop operations until they can demonstrate to the FDA that their products ares safe.”

 

 

 

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