FoodHACCP Newsletter

Food Safety Job Openings

07/06. Manager Food Safety & EHS - Pearl City, HI
07/06. Occupational/Food Safety Specialist - Butner, NC
07/06. Food Safety Manager - San Francisco, CA
07/04. Food Safety Specialist - Salinas, CA
07/04. QA & Food Safety Specialist - Tigard, OR
07/04. Food Safety & Sanitation Super - Romulus, MI
07/02. Food Safety Officer - Austin, TX
07/02. Food Safety Auditor - Nashville, TN
07/02. Food Safety Administrator - Vina, CA


07/09 2018 ISSUE:816


Unfinished business: Keeping the focus on food safety
Source :
BY MICHAEL TAYLOR (July 9, 2018)
In just the past few months, outbreaks involving romaine lettuce, pre-cut melons and Honey Smacks cereal have reminded us that the work to more effectively prevent foodborne illness is far from complete. People are still getting sick and dying, and markets are still being disrupted. Make no mistake, the commitment and effort are there among food safety professionals who work every day on farms, in factories and in retail settings to provide consumers safe food. And people at FDA and in state governments are working hard to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
But, I am concerned that leaders in Washington have lost their focus on food safety.  The best evidence of this is the lack of follow through to fully fund implementation of FSMA. The president’s 2019 budget request for the Food and Drug Administration, now pending in Congress, is essentially flat for food safety, which means a decrease in actual purchasing power due to rising costs for delivering services.
In contrast, for FDA’s medical product programs, the 2019 budget requests an increase of more than $400 million. This imbalance in investment priorities occurs despite the fact that Congress has appropriated only about half of what the Congressional Budget Office estimated would be needed to successfully implement FSMA.  
This funding shortfall will have consequences in at least three strategically crucial areas. 
Imports — Congress mandated a new import safety system that includes new accountability for importers and many more FDA inspections of foreign facilities. FDA has put key pieces of the new system in place but is far short of the resources needed to fully implement the FSMA import mandate. 
Federal-state partnerships — FSMA envisions a true operational partnership between FDA and the States on produce safety. FDA has prioritized this, but success requires continued investment to build the capacity of states to provide the education and technical support to farmers, coupled with the high-quality inspection and enforcement, needed to prevent illness outbreaks in this crucial sector of our food system.
FDA’s public health transformation — FDA is on a path to transform its oversight of food producers and processors and its approach to outbreak response to focus more intensely on the public health goal of preventing foodborne illness by using new technological and regulatory tools. But the needed modernization and melding of how FDA’s headquarters experts and field forces work together to deploy FSMA’s new tools for prevention and response is unfinished business that requires sustained focus and investment. 
It was my privilege to lead FDA’s food program from 2010 to 2016. This leaves me with the greatest respect for the people working there now, at all levels. Their commitment to public health is beyond question. I also understand the complexity of the daily and strategic challenges they face. 
In my current role with Stop Foodborne Illness — the consumer organization that for 25 years has represented and supported individuals directly affected by foodborne illness — I have had many conversations with people who were key to the consumer-industry coalition that supported the enactment of FSMA in 2011. This broad community’s passion and commitment to food safety remains as strong as ever and as necessary as ever.
We now need our leaders in Washington to do their part by following through on funding and on the public health transformation FSMA envisions.
About the author: Mike Taylor is co-chair of the board of the non-profit consumer advocacy group Stop Foodborne Illness. Before that served as FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine from 2010 to mid-2016. His first tour in government began as a staff attorney at FDA, where he worked on seafood safety and nutrition labels. Later Taylor worked for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, where he became acting under secretary for food safety. Taylor was the government official who, after the deadly 1992-93 Jack in the Box hamburger outbreak, ruled that the pathogen E. coli O157:H7 is an adulterant in meat. Taylor also practiced law in the private sector.

Will Del Monte Cyclospora Outbreak Continue to Grow? Lawyer Explains
Source :
By News Desk (July 9, 2018)
Will the Del Monte Cyclospora outbreak that has sickened at least 212 people, mostly in Minnesota and Wisconsin this summer, continue to grow? Attorney and food safety expert Fred Pritzker, who is representing many clients with lawsuits in this outbreak, explains that the answer may be yes.
At least 152 people in Wisconsin and 54 people in Minnesota are sick in this outbreak. At least 2 people are ill in Michigan, and five in Iowa. While these numbers are current as of July 5, 2018., any illnesses that began after May 24, 2018 may not have been reported to government officials yet.
“It takes time for word of these cases to reach public health officials,” Fred said. “A person has to get sick, decide to visit a doctor, get tested, and then the test results must be evaluated. And doctors, especially in the upper Midwest, don’t routinely test for Cyclospora cayetanensis infections.
“The FDA and CDC have warned health care professionals in these states to be on the lookout for cyclosporiasis patients,” Fred added. “But it’s possible that some people who are part of this Del Monte cyclospora outbreak haven’t been diagnosed yet.”
Del Monte has recalled three different sizes of their Fresh Produce Vegetable Trays. The six ounce size has UPC number 7 1752472715 2; the 12 ounce size has UPC number 7 1752472518 9, and the 28 ounce size has UPC number 7 1752478604 3. These products were sold at these locations: Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Demond’s, Sentry, Potash, Meehan’s, Country Market, FoodMax Supermarket, and Peapod in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
The “best if enjoyed by” dates on these products are June 17, 2018. But it’s possible that some people have frozen the vegetables in these products. Freezing does kill this parasite, but the food must be frozen for 24 to 48 hours at a temperature between 24.8°F and -4°F.
The symptoms of cyclosporiasis include diarrhea that is watery and explosive, abdominal cramps, gas, nausea, bloating, fatigue, weight loss, and loss of appetite. “If anyone is sick with these symptoms and they ate the recalled product, they should see their doctor,” Fred said. “This illness is treatable. Without treatment, people can be ill for months.”

Food safety: What you should know
Source :
By Joan Mbabazi (July 08, 2018)
To avoid food from getting contaminated, it needs to be stored using the right preservative methods. Nutritionists advise on the best ways to do so.
Dieudonne Bukaba, a nutrition expert at Avega Clinic Remera, says that one way to do this is by acidifying food as it lasts longer if dipped in vinegar. Some of the foods that last long in vinegar include cucumbers, carrots, green beans, and peppers.
He says that food should be stored in a cool and dry room with ventilation.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), food safety is everybody’s concern, and it is difficult to find someone who has not experienced a foodborne illness at least once. Foodborne illnesses may result from the consumption of food contaminated by microbial pathogens, toxic chemicals or radioactive materials.
Also, food safety starts with production; at the farm level where the misuse of agro-chemicals, including pesticides, growth hormones and veterinary drugs may have harmful effects on human health. The microbial and chemical risks could be introduced at the farm-level, for example, using water contaminated by industrial waste or poultry farm waste for irrigation of crops, therefore, good agricultural practices should be applied to reduce microbial and chemical hazards.
Bukaba says, “Canning is a great way to preserve many fresh foods. However, you ought to do the canning appropriately because improperly canned foods can make you sick. Water-bath canning is the simplest canning method as it helps to preserve acidic foods like tomatoes, but for non-acidic foods, you will need to rely on the more complex system of pressure canning.”
Rene Tabaro, a senior nutritionist and dietician at King Faisal Hospital in Kigali, says food should be preserved from the production stage till the time it is eaten to avoid microbes from contaminating it. Do not put food on the floor, rather, lay it on something because there are germs on the floor.
Bukaba notes that fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits can be preserved in a fruit basket, but you ought to wash them and vegetables properly before preserving them. Boil all home canned foods for 10 to 15 minutes before eating them. While you are boiling the food, look out for mould, foam or a bad odour.
“You can put salt as it preserves anything from meat, poultry, and fish, to desserts and vegetables because it removes moisture and reduces the amount of water available for bacteria to breed. Any salt can preserve meat, however celtic sea salt, or maldon sea salt are the best choices because they are unrefined,” he says.
Tabaro says that refrigeration also keeps food for long; you have to know which temperature to freeze a certain type of food. Keep high-risk food (ready to eat food, raw and cooked meat, poultry like chicken and turkey, dairy products like eggs and egg products, and sea food salad) at five degrees Celsius or below, or above 25 degrees Celsius to avoid the temperature danger zone. Store raw foods below cooked foods. However, as you freeze food, store it in suitable, covered containers.
He warns against consuming foods like meat, fish, chicken, and milk if you don’t know how they were preserved or period of preparation. Also, freezing thawed food is dangerous but Tabaro advises to check and observe the use-by dates on food products.
Bukaba explains that you should not conserve fruits or vegetables with damages; you need to ensure that there are no insects hiding in the foods you want to preserve.
Tabaro says that food should be packaged properly but you should also add additives like chemicals such as citric acid and others to increase their life span.
He adds that some of the conditions that can occur due to consuming contaminated food include typhoid, diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and headache among others.
Political awareness and consumer education on food safety can help strengthen enforcement of food standards, improve hygienic practices, and prevent foodborne illnesses, WHO states.
Keys to safer food recommended by WHO include; keeping food surfaces clean, washing all utensils as soon as used, separating raw food from cooked food, cooking food thoroughly at the appropriate temperature, keeping food at safe temperatures, both for serving and storage and using safe water and raw materials.






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Company stops production at frozen vegetable, fruit facility
Source :
By JOE WHITWORTH (July 6, 2018)
Production is on hold at the Hungarian plant of the company linked to a deadly outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes from frozen vegetables in five European countries.
A spokesperson for Greenyard, a producer of fresh, frozen and prepared fruit and vegetables, told Food Safety News that the company is awaiting more data, information and analysis from the local authorities and EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority). The company is looking into alternative sourcing possibilities to supply customers.
“We have decided to put production on hold and are determined not to restart or release the freezing lines until we have found the root cause, and external experts, the local authorities and Greenyard are satisfied with the results of the further tests,” it said. 
“The full stop of the production will allow us to do a further in-depth review of the facility to find and eliminate the root cause.”
The outbreak has infected at least 47 and killed nine people in Finland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark and Austria. The suspected food source was initially believed to be just frozen corn but has now been expanded to include other frozen vegetables.
Eighteen of the cases have been reported this year, with the most recent person becoming sick in May. The outbreak is believed to have begun in 2015.
Greenyard said it has hired an external microbiologist as well as Campden BRI to advise and assist in taking appropriate measures, including environmental swabs and tests, dismantling and deep-cleaning of all equipment.
Campden BRI does not discuss work it is doing with clients because of corporate confidentiality.
Greenyard is also continuing to work with external laboratories and the authorities to further test and analyze the Hungarian plant following accredited methods (ISO 11290).
“All of our tests prior to June 29 were executed according to accredited methods (ISO 11290) and have been performed and analyzed by external laboratories since March 2018, and supervised by an external PhD microbiologist. In addition to this, our customers also perform their own respective tests and the authorities also conduct their own food safety tests,” said the company.
“We endorse the advice to cook frozen products until it has reached 70 degrees C and stayed at that temperature for at least two minutes. As a producer of frozen vegetable products, we recommend our customers to include cooking instructions on each packaging.”
Mitigation measures taken or ongoing include revision of the hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) system at the site, product labeled with clear instructions on the need to heat treat, a review of the water supply system, and revision of the microbiological control plan.
Listeria monocytogenes IVb sequence type (ST) 6 that matches the outbreak strain from victims was isolated from frozen spinach and frozen green beans sampled at the facility in Baja. It was also isolated in a sample from a floor drain at the packaging area confirming the environmental contamination of the Hungarian processing plant.
Since March this year, the factory has been under increased official control and no frozen vegetables from the 2018 production season have been distributed.
In late June, the Hungarian Food Chain Safety Office banned the marketing of certain frozen products made by the plant between Aug. 13, 2016, and June 20, 2018. Authorities also ordered a product withdrawal and recall.
The plant is operated by 100 employees, excluding seasonal workers. The Greenyard spokesperson said “part of these” are working on the further testing, cleaning and disinfecting of the processing facility.

Food safety might come up in handful of state ballot measures
Source :
BY DAN FLYNN (July 4, 2018)
State and local ballot issues involving food and agriculture sometimes push food safety onto the political stage. Not much of that is likely in 2018, however, because this year only a handful of states are going to be voting on food or agricultural measures.
According to Ballotpedia, the nonpartisan online political encyclopedia, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington are the only states where food and agricultural related measures may reach the November ballot.
Two initiative petitions are being circulated in Arizona- one involving agricultural chemicals and the other concerning industrial hemp. Both have until July 5 to turn in at least 150,642 valid signatures required to make the ballot.
The first Arizona initiative would require the state’s Associate Director of Agriculture to perform health risk assessments and analysis on agricultural pesticides to determine their impact on humans, domestic animals, and agricultural pollinators. The use of neonicotinoid insecticides would be suspended unless and until the Associate Director finds they do not have any unreasonable adverse effects on pollinators. The Associate Director would also be tasked with the long-term viability of native bees.
The second possible Arizona ballot measure would legalize the cultivation, possession, processing, selling and buying of industrial hemp containing no more than 0.4 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the state. The group Hemp Economy filed the initiative petition. The group was prompted by the Jan. 4, 2018 directive by Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an earlier federal policy that deprioritized federal marijuana laws.
The state initiative may be unnecessary because the 2018 Farm Bill, which was just overwhelmingly approved by the Senate, makes hemp legal in all 50 states. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, is behind hemp legalization even making it eligible for federal crop insurance.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla on June 22 qualified the California Farm Animal Confinement Initiative for the November ballot with almost one-half million valid signatures.
This initiative would rewrite California’s Proposition 2, adopted in 2008 with a delayed effective enforcement date of 2015. Prop 2 says that when confining veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens the must have sufficient room to stand up, turn around, lie down and fully extend their limbs.
The 2018 initiative replaces that Prop 2 guidance with specific square feet requirements– a calf gets 43 square feet, a breeding pig 24 square feet, and a laying hen 1 square foot of usable floor space.
Prop 2 left enforcement to local law enforcement, but the 2018 initiative puts the California Department of Food and Agriculture and California Department of Public Health in charge of implementation. It allows fines of $1,000 for violations, which are considered misdemeanors.
Federal courts have ruled California may impose its animal confinement regulations on out-of-state producers selling agricultural products in California. Those decisions will likely generate interest in the 2018 measure outside of the Golden State.
The National Pork Producers Council and the Association of California Egg Farmers oppose the initiative. The Humane Society of the United States funded two-thirds of the $3 million campaign to qualify the initiative.
Not all animal activists, however, are on board. The Humane Farming Association (HFA) has formed Californians Against Cruelty, Cages, and Fraud to also oppose the initiative. By late June, that committee raised $550,000.
If adopted, the new enforcement date would be 2021.
Meanwhile, in Colorado, an initiative petition is out for labeling genetically modified organisms or GMO’s in food. Matthew A. Callaway and Jonathan Leddy submitted the initiative on Feb. 21, 2018 and they have until Aug. 6, 2018, to gather 98,492 valid signatures.
In 2014, Colorado voted 65 percent to 35 percent against mandatory GMO labeling. This re-retry, if successful, would require foods with GMO ingredients to be labeled after July 1, 2020. It would put Colorado in conflict with the federal law adopted by Congress in 2016 to preempt the issue from the states.
Voters in the Pacific Northwest States of Oregon and Washington will be voting on measures that ban state and local taxes on groceries. Such a ban in Oregon requires amending the Constitution
Oregon’s Secretary of State on June 18 found enough valid signatures were turned in by proponents of the tax issue. If adopted, it will retroactively prohibit any taxes, fees, or assessments on groceries that were adopted after Oct. 1, 2017.
By definition, the initiative prevents local governments from taxing soda or sugary beverages. Major grocery chains active in Oregon are among the top contributors to “Yes! Keep our Groceries Tax Free.
Oregon does not have a state sales tax, but there is a potential for local governments to impose their own.
Across the Columbia River in Washington State, voters will likely be asked to vote on a measure that would prohibit sales and use taxes on groceries, including food, bottled water, carbonated beverages, soft drinks and their ingredients.
Backers have until July 6 to submit 259,622 valid signatures to qualify Measure No. 1635, It was submitted back on March 26 by Tim Eyman, a frequent petition filer.
The American Beverage Association, Washington Farm Bureau, Washington Food, and Beverage Association, the Korean-American Grocer’s Association, and the Joint Council of Teamsters No. 28 have combined under a “Yes! Affordable Groceries” committee. It has raised at least $3 million.
The American Heart Association, Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition and the Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition have challenged the ballot title, arguing it is really a measure to prevent the adoption of soda taxes like Seattle’s.
Initiative Measure No. 1588 also has a July 6 deadline to submit enough valid signatures in Washington State. That measure would require either taxation or license for any cultivation, possession, consumption or distribution of any plants, fungi, or cacti “in their holistic or fermented form.”

Current State of Intentional Adulteration
Source :
By The Food Protection and Defense Institute
The last century has seen significant changes in our food production and consumption. The early 1900s were met with global challenges in world wars, economic depression, and food rationing. Rapid production and technology growth in the second half of the twentieth century introduced advanced capabilities in food production including advances in preservation and packaging. These changes, along with advances in transportation, moved consumption patterns of food from local to global sourcing. Today, our global food system is a complex, integrated system of systems. While we will need to produce a lot more food to feed an estimated 9 billion people by 2050, we can’t ignore the threats to our food supply from adulteration.
With the terror attacks of 9/11 seventeen years in our rearview mirror, response structures have evolved and funding scenarios have changed. The limited economic environment at all levels of government presents new challenges for maintaining and protecting critical infrastructures, including food and agriculture. In the food and agriculture sector, a multitude of factors complicates the task of protecting and maintaining critical infrastructure. Food is produced, harvested, processed, formulated, packaged, and transported through an interconnected network from farm to fork, with challenges presented through global production, just-in-time delivery, and evolving consumer demands.
Whether at a restaurant or processing facility, intentional adulteration perpetrated by disgruntled employees, terrorists, or those motivated by money can happen at any time. No doubt you’ve seen past headlines:
“Factory worker sentenced for lacing seafood with malathion”[1]
“Woman draws jail sentence for contaminating chicken in 2016”[2]
“Michigan Man Charged With Sprinkling Poison on Food at Stores”[3]
“Extortionist seeking millions by poisoning supermarket food: German police”[4]
Intentional adulteration of food did not diminish in 2017. Adulteration cases of spices with undeclared ingredients to extend the product or boost color were documented.[5] Terrorists’ plans and food adulteration tests were uncovered and publicized.[6] As evidenced by the headline above, a German man threatened to put antifreeze in the nation’s baby food supply chain. Disgruntled employees continued to adulterate food to get revenge on their employer or coworkers.[6]
We hear about terror attacks or foiled terror attacks involving explosives with increasing frequency. However, a 2017 incident in the UK is one of the first we’ve seen where an intelligent adversary met all three conditions of the food defense triangle to present a threat—motivation, capability, and insider access to vulnerable food production.[7] In this case, two people were found guilty of preparing for a terrorist attack, including ties to a terrorist organization and the manufacture of ricin. One of the two was employed by a major food manufacturer. Inside attackers with legitimate access to our food systems exist, and even though we may not be able to influence their motivation and capability, we can certainly mitigate the vulnerabilities to the resource we depend on for life.
Given the complexity of our food system and limited transparency of supply chains from farm to fork, those willing and able to adulterate will continue to do so in 2018. Certain trends or issues like consumer demands, global supply chains, and disasters create new opportunities and motivations for adulteration or increase vulnerabilities in the food system. However, we can all work together to decrease the vulnerabilities and risks of intentional adulteration through continued research and outreach, conferences and networking, and employee and public education, and training.
Consumer Demand
We speak with our dollars spent. And food companies listen. Food production is driven by consumer purchasing, whether it is a flavor trend—sriracha-flavored almonds—or a perceived health benefit—Golden Milk (juice with turmeric). Look at your local grocery aisles and you will find an ever-increasing section of “freedom foods.” These are foods that claim to be free of something, whether it be gluten, lactose, pesticides, or genetically modified ingredients.
With increasing frequency, consumers are also asking questions about the sustainability and agriculture practices of the food they buy: How have the oceans been fished? Are my eggs from cage-free chickens? Does the food I buy protect the environment? Based on current trends, consumers will continue to spend their food dollars on flavor trends, organic, “free of,” and sustainably produced food. Consumers are willing to pay the additional costs for these items, making it a lucrative business for both legitimate food companies and fraudsters.
This means food defense needs to have a keen eye on where those with intent to adulterate could enter the market with products representing these food trends. Such opportunities may come from an evolution in technology or policy where regulation or inspection has not caught up or from the sheer demand of a trendy food product.
Cascading Events of Supply Chain Failure
Today, the food system from farm to fork is a global, highly integrated, and complex system of systems. Failure in one place has ripple effects downstream. When these infrastructure failures stack on top of each other, there are cascading effects that leave the companies without product for the market and consumers without food. For example, a sign was posted in our local grocery not long ago that read:
Sorry for the inconvenience we are currently out of bananas
The causes of the current shortages are many and complex:
•    Typical low winter production from the tropics, exasperated by both flooding and colder than normal temps in Costa Rica.
•    Abnormal Heavy seas causing vessel delays both in delivery to the US and return vessels to reload in the tropics.
•    The same weather front causing heavy seas bringing heavy rains in Guatemala.
•    Political upheaval in Honduras. In addition to unseasonable heavy rains, Honduras has been under political unrest for two months after their election. Now there are major strikes going on causing a very small amount of bananas to leave the country.
The sign single-handedly demonstrates our point. The “banana shortage” is a result of disruptions, including weather events, political unrest, and civil strikes. These precipitated a series of cascading infrastructure and supply chain failures. Extreme weather (flooding and temperature) led to low production. Choppy seas disrupted transportation of product. Political instability in one region of the world resulted in labor challenges. All these factors contribute to significant supply chain disruption. Obviously, the disruption in banana supply affects consumers, but how does it impact protecting our food from intentional adulteration?
Another recent example illustrates how easily intentional adulteration, economically motivated adulteration in this case, may occur with supply chain disruption. A major fast-food chain experienced catastrophic failure in their supply chain as they transitioned to a new transportation company. The fast-food chain has been forced to temporarily close more than 80 percent of their stores in one of their significant markets.[8] This in itself is significant, but when paired with headlines like “Workers filmed smuggling chicken through the backdoor,” damage to the brand grows even more due to the mistrust sown in the consumer mindset about the quality of product in the restaurants.[9]
Intelligent adversaries constantly look for new vulnerabilities to exploit in the food system, whether to make money (economically motivated adulteration, EMA) or cause harm to humans, animals, or brands. A significant shift in supply and demand offers an opportunity for adulteration when there is less product available in the marketplace. It is imperative that we start integrating our information and make sense of what it is telling us to make evidence-based decisions. While the banana shortage case is one example among many (e.g., transshipment of product, species substitution of meat and fish), it is a great example of predictable surprise. The concept articulated by Bazerman and Watkins[10] defines these circumstances as “an event or set of events that take an individual or group by surprise, despite prior awareness of all of the information necessary to anticipate the events and their consequences.” With data and computing power available, we can, and need to, identify these cascading infrastructure failures sooner. We can prevent and mitigate catastrophic consequences of adulterated food. This critical work of “sense making,” or putting disparate information pieces together to share a complete picture of potential or actual disruption, is the focus of projects like the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI) Focused Integration of Early Signals.[11]
Current State of Food Defense
“Food defense” is the sum of actions and activities related to prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery of the food system from intentional acts of adulteration. We have seen global expansion of food defense activities to counter all motivations of intentional adulteration (terrorism, sabotage, and EMA). Typically, there has been some intentional adulteration threat or event that has led countries around the world to change their food defense posture. In the UK, the 2013 horse meat scandal created reform to address this issue, which led to EU funding for food integrity.[12] New Zealand initiated its reform in 2015 after a blackmail case where the perpetrator threatened to lace infant formula with a pesticide. Some countries have added policies under their food safety laws and others have labeled this work as food protection.
In the U.S., the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) initiated the largest food policy reform in decades. Two of the published U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules relate to food defense activities. EMA must be addressed under the Current Good Manufacturing Practices, Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food rule. EMA is considered a hazard that is reasonably foreseeable, and companies must develop preventive controls to address the risk. The second rule related to intentional adulteration is the Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration rule, which requires, for the first time in the United States, that food companies develop a plan to defend and protect the food system from terrorism and acts by insiders with legitimate access that may cause wide-scale public health harm.
The Final Rule for Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration, also known as the Intentional Adulteration or “IA” rule, requires FDA-registered food facilities to identify specific vulnerabilities in their facilities that could allow someone with bad intentions to deliberately introduce an adulterant. This vulnerability is named an actionable process step by the IA rule. Food companies must also create a food defense plan to prevent or mitigate those vulnerabilities at the actionable process steps. The IA rule also requires that employees who work at actionable process steps in food facilities must have:
•    Education, training, and necessary experience to perform their responsibilities
•    Knowledge of the mitigation strategies at the actionable process step
•    Training in food defense awareness
Any employee who is responsible for an identified actionable process step in a food facility—and the supervisors of those employees—must complete food defense awareness training. Furthermore, any employees responsible for writing the parts of a food defense plan (e.g., vulnerability assessment, assignment of mitigation strategies, plan reanalysis) will also have to complete appropriate topical training to perform the task according to regulation and guidance.
What Can Food Companies Do Now?
Compliance with the IA rule for many food companies will be required in July 2019. To prepare, companies should take time in the next 12 months to strategize and initiate activities that will be required for compliance. One approach is to start small by taking a single food product and considering the following:
Assess: How much information is already available through past food safety and food defense planning? Identify and document where action may be needed.
Understand Hazards: Select a food product and document the hazards that may affect this product. Think outside the typical safety hazards. What could cause harm beyond the normal concerns you have? Consult incident reports, published literature, and known cases. Have you considered introduction of pesticides, undeclared allergens, or cleaning and sanitizing agents?
Assess the Supply Chain: Map the supply chain of the food product including the supply chain of ingredients. Where is the product coming from? Indicate how it travels and where there are inspection points. Can you document all the way back to “farm”?
Plan: Do you have a food defense plan? If yes, evaluate to see that it meets the requirements of the IA rule. Does it consider all hazards identified above the transportation network? Determine the last time the plan was challenged or exercised; was it more than a year ago? If no, find a resource to aid your planning (e.g., FDA Food Defense Plan Builder, U.S. Department of Agriculture, FPDI). Determine who within the food company can initiate a food defense plan and start identifying and prioritizing where vulnerabilities need to be mitigated first. Create a timeline for development and review.
Conduct Vulnerability Assessments: Evaluate the production of the food product to determine where it may be susceptible to intentional adulteration.
Determine Actionable Process Steps: From the vulnerability assessment, identify the processes during food production where mitigation strategies can be applied and are essential to substantially minimize or prevent the significant vulnerability.
Mitigate: Identify mitigation strategies for each actionable process step based on your assessment. FDA has a database of mitigation strategies13 that may be helpful. Next, determine the cost of those strategies and prioritize what strategies should be implemented first. Finally, initiate a plan to implement selected strategies.
Educate and Train: Different team members need various levels of training or awareness. Identify who will have a role in food defense and align the appropriate training. There are many training opportunities already available at the FDA Food Defense website. In addition, FPDI offers a variety of in-person food defense trainings14 as well as a food defense awareness online training15 for those looking to be trained from the comfort of their home.
The Food Protection and Defense Institute
In 2004, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created the FPDI. The institute was formerly known as the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. It was one DHS Center of Excellence established to evaluate and research the terrorist threat to the homeland. Over the past decade, the work at FPDI has evolved to consider food system disruption regardless of motivation. Today, FPDI operates with a mission of “Providing the highest impact innovation, education, and outreach to defend the global food supply.” By taking a comprehensive farm-to-table view of the food system, encompassing all aspects from primary production through transportation and food processing to retail and foodservice, FPDI’s work addresses both the vulnerabilities requiring assessment by the IA rule and vulnerabilities throughout the food system.
FPDI’s research and education programs aim to reduce the potential for contamination at any point along the food supply chain as well as the mitigation of potentially catastrophic public health and economic effects of such attacks. FPDI’s programs incorporate cutting-edge research across a wide range of disciplines, including supply chain management, logistics, epidemiology, risk assessment, economics, molecular biology, food microbiology, biomedical engineering, toxicology, information sharing, supply chain security, cyber security, and risk analysis.
FPDI education professionals and subject matter experts have extensive experience in designing, developing, and delivering a continuum of food defense training. FPDI also offers in-person programs developed to address food defense needs at all levels within an organization—entry level to C-suite—and across a variety of disciplines: national to local government, law enforcement, food manufacturing and retail, supply chain and logistics, and foodservice, catering, and restaurants.
In addition, a variety of training opportunities and course offerings are available that address FSMA IA training requirements, FSMA Preventive Controls requirements regarding EMA, increasing awareness of food defense on a global scale, understanding and applying food defense principles, identifying food defense vulnerabilities, creating tailored food defense plans, and challenging preparedness and response planning. FPDI’s programming supports industry, government agencies (law enforcement, emergency responders), nongovernmental organizations, international partners, undergraduate and graduate students, and educators. FPDI strives to provide strategies for prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery from potentially catastrophic public health and economic effects of attacks on our food supply.
Food defense is a critical aspect of ensuring the availability of safe, nutritious food on a global scale. Our food systems are a global, complex, interconnected system of systems. Defending this system, the integrity of the food produced by it, and the health of the public it feeds, from malevolent actors—both terrorist and criminal—requires engaged collaboration from all stakeholders, including domestic and international food producers, academic researchers, nongovernmental organizations, and many government agencies. This collaboration must include sharing information and robust discussion about 1) the latest scientific advances in detection, risk and vulnerability assessment, and prevention and response methods; 2) analysis of emerging threats and important evolutions in long-standing ones; and 3) emerging regulatory and policy issues. These activities, accomplished through work initiated at FPDI, are critical for advancing food defense knowledge and achieving the coordination of effort required to successfully protect the food supply and public health.   
The Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), formerly known as the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, was officially launched as a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in July 2004 at the University of Minnesota. Developed as a multidisciplinary and action-oriented research consortium, FPDI addresses the vulnerability of the nation’s food system. FPDI takes a comprehensive, farm-to-table view of the food system, encompassing all aspects from primary production through transportation and food processing to retail and foodservice.

Back to the future: Low-tech food safety training still best for some
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By George Smith (July 3, 2018)
While current training for food safety usually incorporates high-technology presentations there is a need for low-tech approaches, according to researchers.
For certain audiences, such as employees of small-scale dairies that produce artisan cheeses, old-school teaching strategies may work best.
Employees in this sector need to be well trained because of the inherent food-safety risks associated with producing speciality cheeses – mostly from raw milk.
“Investigating and proposing solutions to improve food safety in this sector is important, given that dairy farm and processing environments may be responsible for foodborne pathogens that can contaminate raw milk, cheese and other dairy products,” said Catherine Cutter, Professor of Food Science, College of Agricultural Sciences. “Little is known about the food-safety and sanitation knowledge, behaviour, attitude and skills of farmstead cheesemakers in the U.S.”
Prof Cutter, Assistant Director of food safety programmes for Penn State Extension, noted that after performing a two-year assessment of farmstead cheesemakers in Pennsylvania, her research group developed alternative training materials such as customised, richly illustrated, colour flipcharts to train workers.
“These presentations can be given on a picnic table, in a barn or on a front porch,” she said. “We saw a need to think outside-the-box for training this audience and developed a method to help them, building on previous work done by colleagues in our department.
“And while we were working with small-scale cheesemakers in Pennsylvania, what we came up with could be adapted for other similar audiences across the country.”
Lead researcher Robson Machado, now a faculty member at the University of Maine who was a doctoral student in food science at Penn State when he conducted the research, assessed the sanitation, personal hygiene and food-safety practices of 17 small-scale cheesemaking operations.
He administered pre- and post-tests to workers that addressed food-safety knowledge, attitude and behaviour, as well as an evaluation of hand-washing skills. He also tested environmental samples from the processing plants to see what microorganisms were present and where they could be found.
Then, he gave workers the low-tech food-safety training and documented how they altered their behaviour later. Afterwards, Machado measured to see if the newly trained cheesemakers’ actions improved conditions at their plants. He discovered that they had.
The curriculum Machado and Cutter developed for the training contains strategies that consider specific characteristics of small and very small dairy farms.
It includes two lessons designed to provide workers on dairy farms with the knowledge, skills and a comprehensive explanation of the food-safety rules that they need to follow at work.
The first lesson in the training describes the four steps for cleaning and sanitising and why they are needed, and the basics of cross-contamination and how it can be avoided.
The second lesson describes the importance of good personal hygiene practices and shows the correct procedure for hand washing, the correct use of gloves and other personal habits.
“Not only did the training have an impact on the food handlers themselves, but we also assessed the environment to see if we could see a reduction in microbes,” Machado said. “We saw an improvement in certain microbial populations, such as a reduction in E. coli and other indicators of hygiene.”
One troubling aspect of the research that was published in Food Protection Trends was that participating small-scale cheesemakers did not seem to know they were not following sound food-safety principles before being trained, Cutter pointed out.
“What we found is that the processors think that they are doing a great job when the reality is they’re not,” she said. “The research that Robson did in this study indicated that sanitation and personal hygiene are problems.”

In a sort of epilogue to this research, other food safety specialists in Penn State Extension are now developing flip chart-focused lessons to train Amish growers to comply with produce standards in the federal Food Safety Modernization Act.


The CO2 crisis: Food safety authorities warn of contamination risk
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By (July 3, 2018)
Food safety regulators are highlighting potential contamination issues as food business operators try to manage their carbon dioxide supply amid a shortage in the gas. The possible food safety issues can relate to the quality of “food grade” carbon dioxide, as CO2 can be a potential source of contamination in food. Therefore, carbon dioxide used in food or in contact with food must be fit for purpose, says both the Food Standards Agency of the UK and Ireland.
As the shortage of CO2 continues across Europe, many business in the soft drinks, beer and meat sectors have been disrupted and continue to be concerned. This is even though supplies are expected to slowly return to normal over the coming weeks.
Two key carbon dioxide production sites in the UK have come back online following a period of closure and now there is speculation over a bidding war between meat, soft drinks, packaging and beer industries which all need to get hold of supplies.
A UK Food Standards Agency spokesperson tells FoodIngredientsFirst that it is keeping track of the situation and is in contact with other government departments and organizations across the food and drink sector to provide advice during this period. “This includes the meat industry where we have been able to accommodate requests allowing some abattoirs to work extended hours to ensure operations are maintained."
The Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSAI) has issued advice as the current shortage of carbon dioxide throughout Europe is likely to impact the food and beverage industry in Ireland too.
“The temporary use of certain ‘non-food grade’ carbon dioxide for the stunning of poultry and pigs prior to slaughter and for use in modified atmosphere packaging of food represents a low risk to consumers,” says the FSAI.
“Nevertheless, FBOs should, in the first instance, seek to use ‘food grade’ carbon dioxide, where available, for these purposes. However, in the absence of stocks of ‘food grade’ carbon dioxide, FBO’s may substitute use of carbon dioxide with no less than 99 percent purity.”
The FSAI also reminds FBOs of their obligation under the general food law (Regulation 178/2002 Article 14) to place only safe food on the market. Therefore, FBOs need to exercise due diligence in their supply of carbon dioxide and ensure that it meets or exceeds the required specification and that it is supplied by a reputable supplier.
“Carbon dioxide delivery systems may need to be ‘cleaned’ appropriately to ensure that there is no build-up of contaminants during the use of ‘non-food grade’ carbon dioxide (>99% purity). This is a temporary allowance only applicable during the current carbon dioxide shortage and FBOs must revert to ‘food grade’ carbon dioxide as soon as it is available,” it says.
CO2 is used extensively in the food and beverage industry for a variety of food purposes such as adding bubbles to beer and soft drinks, drinks dispensing systems and extension of shelf-life with modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).
Investigation into CO2 effects on MAP
With the background of the crisis, food & beverage research association Campden BRI has launched a project to investigate the effects of carbon dioxide on the shelf-life of modified atmosphere packed (MAP) foods, to help manufacturers operating in this area to understand the effects of reducing CO2 concentration on shelf-life. This will allow them to make judgments on pack shelf-life that are based on scientific data.
The project will investigate the effects of different mixes of carbon dioxide and nitrogen on spoilage-related shelf life – ranging from 100 percent nitrogen to 70 percent nitrogen/30 percent carbon dioxide.
Three MAP packed foods will be included in the study and chosen by the club members. But these could include ready-to-eat cured sliced meat, ready-to-eat uncured sliced meat, raw meat/chicken, bakery products or ready meals.
“We have been inundated with enquiries from companies across industry asking how the carbon dioxide shortage will affect their products – in particular, the effect that a reduced level of carbon dioxide in MAP will have on shelf-life,” says Dr. Roy Betts, Head of Microbiology, Campden BRI.
“There is very little information available on the effects of reducing or eliminating the packing gas CO2 on the shelf-life of food. Manufacturers have either had to continue using the concentration of CO2 needed for their established shelf-life with the risk of running out, or reduce or eliminate CO2 and estimate the effect of this on shelf-life.”
Estimating shelf-life could lead to the food “spoiling” before the end of life (if the estimated life is too long) or valuable shelf-life being wasted (if the estimated life is too short). We have responded by launching this club project so manufacturers can base their decisions on scientific evidence.”
FBOs should not simply replace carbon dioxide in MAP with another inert gas e.g. nitrogen, without first validating the safety of the shelf-life applied to the food, stresses the FSAI.
“Where the gas mixture used in a MAP process is a critical control point (CCP) in the FBO’s food safety management system, Regulation 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs requires that CCPs are validated and verified,” continues its advice.
“FBOs should discuss problems caused by the shortage of carbon dioxide with their Competent Authority.”
Supply chain disruption
News of potential contamination issues come as businesses wait for supplies to return to normal which could still take some time.
Chief Executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), Nick Allen tells FoodIngredientsFirst that the CO2 shortage continues to cause considerable disruption throughout the meat supply chain.
“The BMPA welcomes the news that at least one plant has restarted production. It will take time for that to filter through the supply chain and we are still expecting plants to be experiencing problems over the next two to three weeks until normal supplies are fully restored,” he says.
“Plants are having to improvise, which they can do by changing packaging methods. This is being done in close consultation with their customers to try and ensure that the consumers are able to find meat in the shops and enjoy it in restaurants and other outlets.”
Allen adds that some ranges are having to be compromised on to ensure that shelves are kept full.
“Logistically it is proving very challenging for the meat supply chain and everyone is working hard to overcome the problems. Demand is particularly very high at this time for barbeque meat due to the hot weather and, of course, the football World Cup.”
‘’We are hoping that the increase in CO2 production will happen quickly. We have a number of plants that will be in difficulty by the end of the week if supplies do not materialize and it will be very difficult to keep everyone stocked with meat.’’
The CO2 shortage began to bite at one of the busiest times of the year for beer and soft drinks’ sales, just as World Cup fever gripped Britain and Europe and while many countries in Northern Europe started a heatwave.
CO2 used in food manufacture is, mainly, a by-product of the production of ammonia (for fertilizer) which is in high demand in the spring but this falls off in the summer. Several CO2 manufacturers have used this time for maintenance work on plants and operations.
By Gaynor Selby
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More confirmed with parasites linked to Del Monte vegetables
Source :
BY NEWS DESK (July 2, 2018)
To view the full sized graphic about the transmission and life cycle of Cyclospora parasites, please click on the image.
Public health officials have confirmed that dozens of more people have parasitic infections linked to trays of fresh, pre-cut vegetables that Del Monte Fresh Produce recalled in mid-June.
The case count stands at 185, having increased by more than 100 since the outbreak was announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on June 15. Seven people have been so sick that they had to be admitted to hospitals.
Additional people are likely to be added to the CDC’s case count. It usually takes 2 to 14 days after a person ingests the Cyclospora parasite for symptoms to develop. Specialized lab tests are required to confirm cyclosporiasis. Lab results must be confirmed and then reported to state officials who send reports to the CDC.
“Illnesses that began after May 17 might not have been reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported,” according to the CDC’s outbreak update. The CDC’s initial outbreak report and both since then have reported that most of the infected people said they ate items from Del Monte fresh vegetable trays.
Del Monte has recalled 6-ounce, 12-ounce, and 28-ounce vegetable trays containing pre-cut fresh broccoli, cauliflower, celery sticks, carrots and dill dip. Recalled products were sold in clear, plastic clamshell containers. All of the recalled products had best-by dates of June 17 or before.
The multi-national produce company reported it distributed the recalled products to a number of retailers, including Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Demond’s, Sentry, Potash, Meehan’s, Country Market, FoodMax Supermarket, and Peapod. The CDC continues to urge consumers to check their homes for unused portions of the recalled products and to discard them immediately.
State and federal officials continue to investigate the outbreak, but they have not yet determined the source of the parasites.
“(The Food and Drug Administration) has not identified which of the ingredients is the vehicle for this outbreak; each component of these vegetable trays is under consideration. FDA is currently reviewing distribution and supplier information related to the vegetable trays; the investigation is ongoing,” according to the FDA’s most recent update.
Anyone who has eaten anything contained on the recalled fresh vegetable trays and becomes ill should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about their possible exposure to the Cyclospora parasite. Specific tests are required to confirm infection.
The parasite infects the small intestine and typically causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, stools, according to the CDC. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal cramping/bloating, increased flatus, nausea, and prolonged fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted.
If untreated, the illness may last for a few days to a month or longer and may follow a remitting-relapsing course. The symptoms can be mistaken for flu or other viral infections.

Now that you’ve got the data, what are you going to do with it?
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By LAURA MUSHRUSH (July 2, 2018)
E ditor’s note: This is the third installment of a four-part series on how companies can use electronic record keeping to enhance food safety efforts. The series is sponsored by PAR Technologies.   
As companies transition from paper-based food safety records to digital platforms, managing the increased amount of data can become challenging, especially when passing it up and down the supply chain in a usable format.
To view a larger version of this graphic, please click on the image.
“The challenges cut across sectors and actors: There are too many systems with too many formats,” says Drew Zabrocki, CEO of software and application programming interface company Centricity Global. “A majority of resources are spent on duplication of efforts and pushing paper – digital or otherwise – instead of making a meaningful impact on food safety, sustainability or social mindfulness.”
Along with the extensive time and money resource it takes to channel multiple data collection platforms into one usable source, the issue of who owns the data and how it is shared between supply chains then comes into action.
How much should data be shared between supply chain partners?
How are supply chain partners notified when updates are made to shared data?
How does this shared data become revalidated back into different systems?
If there is a food safety compromise that happened because shared data wasn’t fully analyzed, who is liable?
According to Zabrocki, these are just a few of the many significant questions that led to the development of Trellis Framework, a collaborative brainchild between the Produce Marketing Association, Purdue University’s Open Ag Technology & Systems Group and a few select industry partners including, Centricity Global.
At first look, one of the most unique components of Trellis Framework is that it’s a decentralized open source – meaning it belongs to no one and is free to use, with data being owned and controlled by its original source. However, one of its biggest benefits is the ability to translate data from multiple platforms into one universal language and source.
“If you are a seller of products, you may have to put your data into five or ten different systems. For example, if you want to do business with Walmart, Wholefoods in the US and Tesco in the UK, you have to import your data into each of their very different systems,” Zabrocki explains. “Companies are having to manage all this data, which is typically not well organized in PDFs and spreadsheets, and are spending a lot of time resource shuffling paperwork around instead of analyzing the data that is available to them.
However, Trellis Framework can bring all the software together so that people don’t have to keep re-keying data. Most importantly, it removes the middle-man collecting fees for simply hosting the information of others.”
Making a smart transition
When it comes to finding the right provider to work with when utilizing digital records, Zabrocki urges companies to be diligent in finer details that may have a huge impact on their future business.
“In this digital age, if you don’t own exclusive rights to your data, you’ve already lost. Read the fine print and ask the questions of who owns the data, and who all owns your data,” he explains. “And remember, you don’t need to go it alone – there are multiple resources and people to help you.”

Wrap up your celebration with fireworks, not food poisoning
Source :
By KELSEY M. MACKIN (July 1, 2018)
An estimated 48 million people suffer from foodborne illness in America each year; that means 1 in 6 ill people, with roughly 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths according to the CDC. Public health and food safety urge the public to heed these tips for a happy holiday.
Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or traveling for a tasty time with friends and family, grilling in the great outdoors requires some planning precautions for a Fourth of July free of food poisoning.
Since foodborne bacteria thrives and multiples in warmer temperatures, Fourth of July festivities can be a hotbed for foodborne illness. The Danger Zone is the temperature range between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F in which foodborne bacteria can grow rapidly to dangerous levels that can cause illness. Leaving food out in the Danger Zone for too long is one of the most common mistakes that people make.
The USDA’s food safety experts from the Meat and Poultry Hotline routinely help consumers asking about perishable foods being left out too long. Below are their recommendations on how to avoid the Danger Zone this Fourth:
Without refrigeration or a heat source, perishables should not be left outmore than two hours if the temperature is at or below 90 ?F,and only one hour if the temperature is at or above 90 ?F. Since theweather will likely be very hot on July 4th, food should be returned to the cooler within an hour. If you are not sure how long food has been sitting out, throw it out immediately.
Always keep cold food COLD, at or below 40°F,in coolers or in containers with a cold source such as ice or frozen gel packs. Keep hot food HOT, at or above 140 °F, on the grill or in insulated containers, heated chafing dishes, warming trays and/or slow cookers. If food needs to be reheated, reheat it to 165 °F.
Pack an appliance thermometer in your cooler to ensure food stays at or below 40 °F. Divide large amounts of food into shallow containers for fast chilling and easier use.
Packing drinks in a separate cooler is strongly recommended, so the food cooler isn’t opened frequently. Keep the cooler in the shade, and try to cover it with a blanket or tarp to keep it cool. Replenish the ice if it melts.
Use the food thermometer to check the internaltemperature of meat, poultry and seafood, and read below for more specific information.
If you plan to marinate meat and/or poultryfor several hours or overnight prior to the event, make sure to marinate them in the refrigerator – not on the counter. If you plan to reuse the marinade from raw meat or poultry, make sure to boil it first to destroy any harmful bacteria.
To ensure safety, leftovers must be put in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerated to 40 ?F or below within two hours.
With people spending more time handling, preparing, and serving food outside, they are away from the sink, and clean food surfaces and kitchen equipment.
Many people think the inside color of grilled burgers (pink or brown) indicates if they’re safe to eat. However, the USDA has shown that one out of every four hamburgers turns brown before it has reached a safe internal temperature. Using a thermometer is the only way to know if cooked meat is safe to consume. With that being said, the FDA has found that only 23% of those who own a food thermometer use it when cooking burgers.
With consumers spending an estimated $400 million on beef in preparation for the holiday, these four food safety tips will help you keep foodborne illness away from your fun:
Clean: Make sure you clean all surfaces, utensils, and hands with soap and water.
Separate: When grilling, use separate plates and utensils for raw meat and cooked meat and ready-to-eat foods (like raw vegetables) to avoid cross-contamination.
Cook: We’ll say it again and again, cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer; the only way to know it’s a safe temperature. Remember, burgers should be cooked to 160°F.
Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly if not consuming after cooking. Again, you shouldn’t leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours (or 1 hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90° F), so if you’re away from home, make sure you bring a cooler to store those leftovers.





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