Public overwhelmingly favors term ‘lab-grown’ over ‘clean’ meat
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/07/public-overwhelmingly-favors-lab-grown-meat-over-industry-term-clean-meat/#.W1aCNE66zct
By News Desk (July 16, 2018)
Consumer Reports, published by the 7 million-member nonprofit Consumers Union, last week reported on survey results showing the public expects laboratory-produced meat from cultured animal cells to be clearly labeled. The results show the public favors different language that those pushing the new products.
“By an overwhelming margin, our survey found that consumers want clear labels identifying meat produced in the lab from cultured animal cells,” said Dr. Michael Hansen, senior scientist for Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports.
“Federal regulators should ensure these emerging food products are clearly labeled so consumers can make informed choices for their families and easily distinguish them from conventional meat.”
The Consumer Reports phone survey found that 49 percent said it should be labeled as “meat, but accompanied by an explanation about how it is produced,” while another 40 percent said it should be labeled as “something other than meat.”
Only five percent thought it should be labeled as meat “without any further explanation.”
This new technology, which was subject of a July 12 FDA forum, involves taking cells from a food animal and getting those cells to grow and differentiate in a suitable growth medium that contains vitamins, lipids, amino acids, and growth hormones, including fetal calf serum.
During his testimony at the FDA meeting, Hansen noted that the vats in which the lab meat is cultured contain animal cells in a large nutrient solution, which can become contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, viruses, fungi and mycoplasma.
“In addition, when given a list of seven terms and asked to choose which would constitute accurate labels, the most commonly chosen terms were ‘lab-grown meat’ (35 percent) and ‘artificial or synthetic meat’ (34 percent). The least commonly chosen terms were ‘cultured meat’ (11 percent), ‘clean meat’ (9 percent ), and ‘in vitro meat’ (8 percent),” Hansen added
Consumers Union has urged federal regulators to require pre-market safety testing of cell-cultured meat products. The consumer group warned that the lab meat industry should not be allowed to take advantage of the “generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” loophole which allows food producers to avoid getting approval for a new food substance as a food additive.
Under the GRAS process, a company that wants to introduce a new substance into food can evaluate the substance’s safety through its own small panel of scientists. The company is not required to notify the FDA of its review.
Consumers Union is not the first to subject lab-produced cultured meat, which remains largely in a research and development stage rather than production, to survey research.
According to the North American Meat Institute, the Good Food Institute hit upon “clean meat” as the marketing term for the prospective product after conducting at least 28 surveys, focus groups, and other public opinion studies.
Investors in the new lab-meat are said to include traditional meat industry giants Tyson and Cargill along with billionaires like Bill Gates and Richard Branson. One lab-grown hamburger created in 2013 was said to have cost $300,000. The first pricy lab-grown meat could reach the market in about three years.
Food hygiene for thought
Source : http://www.europeancleaningjournal.com/magazine/articles/special-features/food-hygiene-for-thought
By europeancleaningjournal.com (July 13, 2018)
Food hygiene for thought
A look at the importance of cleaning in kitchens, how cleaning should be carried out and how often. Plus ways in which food hygiene awareness can be raised among employees, to ensure they take a proactive approach to personal hygiene and daily cleaning. Luke Rutterford, technical manager at Rentokil Specialist Hygiene and Dr Peter Barratt, technical manager for Initial Washroom Hygiene write for ECJ.
The food and service industries must meet strict hygiene regulations in order to reduce the risk of contamination in their premises. As facilities managers are aware, maintaining high levels of hygiene is essential to prevent situations that could compromise the safety of customers and staff. Previous hygiene scandals in the media have shown the undesirable effects of hygiene lapses on profitability, as well as the long-term reputation of a business. This year scandal-hit food manufacturer 2 Sisters reported €43 billion in losses in 2017, amid a chicken hygiene crisis.
Managing a facility with high footfall can be hectic - and keeping the food preparation and dining areas sparkling clean is sometimes easier said than done. In such a busy environment, how can facilities managers look to ensure they keep food preparation areas clean and hygienic, preventing the spread of germs and unwanted illnesses?
The battle against germs
Communal areas can provide the perfect breeding and distribution ground for bacteria and other germs if they are not cleaned with the necessary frequency and care. It may go without saying, but a daily cleaning routine is crucial. Ensuring employees on your premises remain up to scratch with daily cleaning procedures, and honour the cleaning itinerary, is the first step to a clean kitchen.
It is essential cleaning is carried out both proactively and reactively in food preparation areas. Proactive cleaning involves routine disinfection of shared contact points in communal areas. Reactive cleaning occurs as necessary, such as during an outbreak of illness or when a known infection is presented by an employee or customer who has visited your premises.
For example Norovirus, one of the most commonly spread illnesses, can cause sickness, stomach pain and aching limbs. An individual can become infected after encountering only a few viral particles. If staff or customers become ill, or report back with symptoms of illness, a deep clean is recommended and they should stay away from work for 48 hours after symptoms have ceased, in order to prevent recontamination.
The simplest way to prevent spread of infection in the first place is to stay on top of daily and weekly schedules for cleaning. Implementing timetables will ensure the cleaning is carried out on time and helps guarantee areas are not missed. A fortnightly, in-depth, top-to-bottom clean is also recommended in common ‘hot spots’ where pathogens are likely to be found – such as around grills, coffee machines, sinks and washrooms.
Between cleans, multipurpose biocidal cleaners can help keep treated areas contamination-free.
Going that extra mile
In addition to this, a thorough deep clean should be carried out on a regular basis – ideally twice a year and by a professional cleaning company. The best time for a deep clean is during quieter trading times when disruption to your facility can be minimised; the period before the summer rush begins would be a good time to organise this.
Grease and oil particles can coat the floors and food preparation surfaces in the kitchen of your premises – as well as the nooks and crannies that are harder to access. Routine cleaning alone will not suffice as a preventative method against deposits of dirt, dust and grease in hard-to-reach areas. These can easily accumulate on less accessible surfaces such as walls, ceilings, lights and appliance fittings − providing the perfect environment for germs to multiply.
Grease, carbon and condensation can also form in ventilation ducts in your kitchen. If allowed to build up, air flow can be restricted, causing foul smells and temperature control issues. Even more concerning is the increased risk of bacterial and fungal development in the vent. This could put your facility at risk of breaching the The Food Safety Act 1990.
Protecting your assets
As well as helping to prevent the build-up or spread of pathogens, or in order to ensure you are compliant with health and safety regulations, a deep clean can be an important precaution to protect your assets and avoid unwanted costs down the line. Maintaining high standards of cleanliness can improve the life span of your equipment.
For example, vent blockages in your kitchen may reduce output, increase costs through greater power usage and damage often expensive equipment. Overall, the benefits of specialist deep cleaning can therefore significantly outweigh any costs incurred.
Targeting vents could also help to protect the safety of visitors to your premises by reducing the risk of a fire. A deep clean removes residual carbon and oil, which can sometimes be responsible for causing fires.
A tailored solution
Each facility is different and requires a different course of action. A consultation should be undertaken that analyses several factors to determine the required frequency of in-house deep cleaning as well as how specialist disinfection should be implemented to enhance everyday infection control measures. If you are unsure of how regularly a premise requires cleaning, it is best to consult a professional who is trained to understand latest legislation requirements and how to achieve excellent hygiene standards.
Hand-ling personal hygiene
Most bacteria and 80 per cent of viruses are transmissible through touch so the extremely simple step of effective hand washing after visiting the washroom and before preparing food will help prevent employee illness and cross contamination.
Promoting good hand hygiene amongst your employees can have a noticeable impact on your business’s hygiene standards. This can be achieved through these four simple steps:
1. Wet your hands using clean, running water – preferably warm water – and apply soap, if possible using a no-touch dispenser to avoid washroom cross contamination.
2. Rub soap all over your hands, covering the front, back, fingers, thumbs and nails. This helps to remove the maximum number of bacteria and viruses.
3. Rinse your hands again with clean running water. The entire hand washing process should take around 20-30 seconds – that’s about the time it takes to sing happy birthday twice.
4. Dry your hands thoroughly. Damp hands spread 1,000 times more bacteria than dry hands, so the door handle of the washroom is likely to become contaminated if hand drying is missed.
5. Sanitise your hands. Alcohol-free hand sanitisers should be available in catering environments, as they provide an effective, long-lasting barrier to protect against microorganisms.
Minimising touch points
The layout of your washrooms can also have a direct impact on overall hygiene levels in your entire premises. Limiting the number of touch points in communal areas, for example, by reducing the number of handles in your washroom, can help to prevent the spread of germs to the kitchen. No-touch products such as taps, soap dispensers, hand dryers and sanitary bins are available, and can dramatically reduce cross-contamination.
You can also consider an odour-killing air purifier that helps to eradicate airborne bacteria. Given the vast number of surfaces and objects vulnerable to cross-contamination in cafés, it is critical that managers enforce these practices so that staff and customers are protected and their reputation remains intact.
Combining specialist deep cleaning and the latest cleaning technologies, with a willingness among staff to meticulously follow hygienic procedures, you can keep your food preparation areas sparkling, and prevent the spread of harmful germs in any facility. As a result, you’ll not only be honouring legislative requirements, but guaranteeing happier, healthier staff and visitors.
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Sudbury faces food safety issue after storm triggers lengthy outages
Source : https://www.sootoday.com/around-ontario/ontario-sudbury-faces-food-safety-issue-after-storm-triggers-lengthy-outages-983408
By Sudbury.com Staff (July 12, 2018)
SUDBURY — With hundreds of households without power for several days now, the issue of spoiled food, and how to deal with it, has become important.
Public Health Sudbury and Districts reminds residents that fridges and freezers will only keep food safe for so long without electricity.
Naturally, during a power outage, it's best to avoid opening refrigerators and freezers unless absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for approximately 48 hours, the health unit says, while a freezer that is half full will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
An unopened refrigerator will only keep for cold for approximately four hours.
Carefully inspect all food items at higher risk of spoilage and don't consume any you think it might not be safe. Discard perishable foods that have been unrefrigerated for more than two hours and those with an unusual odour or texture. Keep in mind that food contaminated with bacteria might not look or smell spoiled — when in doubt, throw it out.
However, now that several days have elapsed, many residents in New Sudbury will have spoiled food that needs to be thrown out, particularly as the heat wave lingers.
The city is offering to help. If you have a significant amount of spoiled food due to the power outage caused by Monday's storm, you can call 3-1-1 to make arrangements for a special food waste pick up.
Simply call the city to make arrangements, rather than waiting to put it out at the curb.
Training tackles direct-to-consumer food safety issues
Source : https://www.thepacker.com/article/training-tackles-direct-consumer-food-safety-issues
By Chris Koger (July 12, 2018)
As growers, distributors and others in the supply chain have prepared for Food Safety Modernization Act changes, attention has turned to possible problem areas in guarding against pathogens.
One of those areas, according to the recent annual meeting of the Association of Food and Drug Officials in Burlington, Vt., is focused on a growing trend: the rise of services delivering food to consumers’ homes.
“Food home delivery is an exploding market with both retail and restaurant chains establishing systems designed to provide consumers with convenience service solutions,” according to a news release from Ryan Systems Inc. “Along with this new demand, the AFDO expects that enforcement of ‘last mile’ food safety regulations may fall on city, county or state agencies, but that the industry has the primary responsibility to prevent food safety outbreaks.”
John Ryan, president of Ryan Systems, and Edgar Vargas, owner of Kleen Trans, created Sanitary Cold Chain to help food transporters meeting TransCert requirements.
The partnership is offering a one-hour training program to educate drivers on their responsibilities regarding preventing food safety outbreak. The training costs $20, according to the release, and it can be downloaded to PCs, tablets and phones.
“Companies seeking to improve consumer safety and reduce company liability for potential food safety outbreaks may choose one of two options designed to increase driver and transportation personnel food safety knowledge and competency,” according to the release.
Frozen vegetables recall over fears of potential contamination not expected to generate consumer backlash
Source : http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-07-10/frozen-vegetables-recall-not-likely-generate-consumer-backlash/9968574
By David Claughton, Amina Daniels, Michael Condon (July 12, 2018)
Simplot, the largest Australian manufacturer of frozen vegetables, is confident consumers here will not be put off buying the local product in the wake of the recall of imported frozen vegetables announced on Monday.
Popular brands of frozen vegetables are being recalled from supermarkets across Australia over fears of potential contamination by the listeria bacteria.
Earlier this year a listeria outbreak linked to contaminated rockmelons claimed six lives in NSW and Victoria.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) on Monday issued an alert for a number of brands of vegetable products across Aldi, Woolworths and IGA stores.
Some of the vegetables were imported from Europe, and the recall in Australia comes after recent recalls in the United Kingdom over the same contamination fears.
Only about 20 per cent of frozen vegetables sold in Australia are from overseas.
Australian frozen vegetables not affected
Simplot sells almost 40 per cent of all frozen vegetables in Australian supermarkets.
General manager of vegetables Adam Hanlon, said they had not seen a big reaction to consumer demand for their products.
"We are pretty certain there won't be any impact on our Australian grown Birds Eye brand.
"The support we have had on social media has been overwhelming," he said.
He said the company was very confident in its food safety programs for its Australian-grown produce but there was always the risk that consumers might question the [food] category.
"But we think frozen Australian vegetables are a fantastic healthy option for people.
He said the changes to the country of origin label would help the industry and help the consumer to buy locally grown produce.
"This may be a positive in pushing people back to Aussie vegetables and fruit," he said.
A spokesperson for Coles said all Coles brand frozen vegetables were Australian grown and were not included in the recall.
The peak body for Australian vegetable growers, AUSVEG, has said the national recall involved imported products only, not locally grown produce.
Chief executive officer James Whiteside he did not think growers would be overly concerned and they had faith in the ability of the public to make informed decisions about the food that they buy.
Shoppers say they will me more careful
Shoppers outside a Woolworths in Haymarket in Sydney said they were most likely to be a bit more careful in regards to what vegetables they buy.
New testing device to ensure food safety in Dubai
Source : https://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/dubai/New-testing-device-to-ensure-food-safety-in-Dubai-
By Sherouk (July 11, 2018)
The Dubai Central Lab (DCL) will introduce a new device by the end of this month to test bigger food samples and ensure public safety, officials said.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Eng. Amin Ahmed Amin, director of DCL, said the testing device will allow authorities to inspect bigger capacity of fruits and vegetables that reaches to 600 types of samples a day. "Our current system takes in up to 260 kinds. The new device, operated by latest technology, will offer different types of inspections," said Amin.
Dubai Municipality (DM) tests food to ensure it's free of pesticides and fit for consumption.
Amin said the device will detect different types of chemicals in imported fruits and vegetables more accurately and quickly. "The device will be full-fledged in terms of capacity it can receive and the bigger scope it will cover to achieve higher food safety for both traders and consumers."
Iman Al Bastaki, director of food safety department at the DM, said the civic body has been focusing on testing bigger samples of fruits and vegetables to ensure higher food safety amid virus outbreaks.
Officials were speaking on the sidelines of an MoU signing that the municipality will sponsor the 10th edition of World of Perishables (WOP) that will be held from October 1-3.
The exhibition, which is expected to see participation of 38 countries, will be a platform for fresh produce businesses to explore ways to meet the rising demand for fresh vegetables and fruit products and to discuss industry best practices, prospective partnerships and opportunities.
Bastaki said she hopes that the exhibition will allow easier information exchange about the nature of testing in Dubai and the requirement needed for food and vegetables import.
The event, she said, becomes more significant since the UAE is a regional hub for re-export of fresh produce, with the quantity of such goods rising about 710,000 tonnes in 2017 worth about $1.6 billion, according to the International Trade Centre.
Kerala fruits, vegetables being monitored
Dubai municipality (DM) is working closely with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to ensure safe fruits and vegetables importation from Kerala after the fruit and vegetables ban was recently lifted.
"Although the ban has been lifted after World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the food to be free of Nipah virus, we still ask importers for certificate that the vegetables and fruits are safe," said Iman Al Bastaki, director of food safety department at the DM.
She added: "Countries has seen recent outbreaks, which is why the ministry prefers to test samples to ensure that vegetables and fruits are free of pesticides and chemicals. The samples we receive are generally fit for consumption, but once a problem is detected in a sample, it is disposed."
Ahmed AbdulKarim, assistant director general at the municipality for general support sector, said the general trust around Dubai's food safety has been beneficial to traders. "Ensuring food quality vegetables and fruits helps traders increase their business. About 35 per cent of them have re-exported their food, thanks to the trust of other countries in Dubai's safety standards," said AbdulKarim.
He added that the aim to promote the import and export of fresh vegetables and fruits in Dubai in general and in the Dubai Central Fruits and Vegetables Market in particular. "We will gather big traders in the UAE and consumers like hotels and international traders for both to benefit and exchange trade," he said.
The 2018 edition of the exhibition, which is the only event of its kind dedicated to the region's fresh produce industry, is expected to attract experts and specialists in the field of fresh produce, food safety, fresh food trade, technical equipment, transport and logistics.
The exhibition is a strategic platform for leading global companies in distribution, import and export of fresh produce. It also aims to highlight the important role of the DM in promoting trade exchange through the Dubai Central Fruits and Vegetables Market.
Easing the growing pains of going digital with food safety records
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/07/easing-the-growing-pains-of-going-digital-with-food-safety-records/#.W1aEb066zct
By Laura Mushrush (July 10, 2018)
Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment of a four-part series on electronic record keeping enhancing companies’ food safety efforts. The series is sponsored by PAR Technologies.
It’s not a matter of “if” but “when” digital platforms will be required for food safety records, says Matthew Botos, CEO of food safety software company ConnectFood.Com. While the industry still primarily operates with paper-based records, there is a lot to be gained by being ahead of the curve in adapting more efficient and accurate practices.
“Companies must keep records of their daily processes for up to two years according to State and Federal regulations. Given the requirement to maintain records, it is time the food industry embraces that change with digital records due to several advantages,” he explains.
“Such as: real time access to product and facility information and the ability to detect problems prior to their occurrence, automated corrective action workflows, accurate electronic signatures and stamps, and a searchable database of record history. Knowing in the moment what is happening in your facility through a digital record alert system will save money and make a company more efficient.”
Premal Bhatt, QA and Food Safety SME, agrees, adding it is imperative food companies make food safety part of their mission statements, investing in the best systems to achieve this.
“Due to recent public health scares resulted primarily from broken supply chain system In the Food industry, there is urgency to go digital to maintain corporation brand name and avoid damage to company’s bottom line,” he adds.
Finding the right platform
While there are multiple food safety data management software programs on the market, when it comes to selecting which one is best, accessibility, accuracy and efficiency should be top priorities, says Botos.
“First and foremost, food safety is about a company embracing a culture of best practices. I frequently tell companies that they need a system that provides appropriate data and that works for their facility and processes,” explains Botos.
“A company should spend time analyzing what services they need: which logs are required, which records need to be managed, a way to tell the company’s story. You must be comfortable accessing the data you will collect. In the case of an inspection, audit, or product recall, the records you keep could make or break the future of the company.”
According to him, it’s also essential for digital record keeping software to be fully adopted and supported by all team members responsible for using it in order to be effective.
“Software is part art, and value is sometimes based on perception. If your team finds a solution they all see as valuable, then everyone has to get behind it and make the transition in the organization’s culture,” Botos adds.
Invest in infrastructure and training
Before companies break up with paper and go digital, they must take a step back and make any necessary structural investments and have a plan to adequately train employees.
“The transition from paper to digital record keeping will be a culture change more than anything,” explains Botos. “Before companies focus on button clicks to enter log data, they have to step back and make all the structural investments first.”
At the bare minimum, these investments include good internet access in and around critical facility areas, cohesive hardware such as tablets, an in-house or out-sourced technology support team and personnel training.
“Any time an organization switches to a new platform or installs a new piece of equipment, training is paramount. It is no different than installing a new retort system, a new oven, or moving from pasteurization to aseptics – training is the key to success,” adds Botos. “Proper investment in gaining technological efficiencies does take up-front investment, but the switch to digital record keeping will eventually save time and money on the factory floor, not to mention easily analyzing data will help make manufacturing run smoother and provide a safer food supply.”
Start simple and start now
According to both Bhatt and Botos, the industry’s transition from paper-based records to digital will be gradual.
“The transition will initially happen gradually since research and innovations in are constantly happening to achieve the most efficient digital system. Additionally, stakeholder’s participation and government policy making is slowly catching up on this aspect of doing business,” explains Bhatt. “Later on, the transition will happen rapidly.”
For companies looking to stay ahead of the curve and take advantage of digital benefits, Botos recommends to start simple and to start now. For those who are hesitant to make the transition, he suggests using pilot trials for different technology systems to fully see the potential advantages that can be accomplished.
“Change is always a little awkward, but if you take it slowly and investigate what works for your team and your facility, you will find a day-to-day process that works for everyone. You’ll never know what works for your company if you don’t make the effort to try. Remember, this is the future, and being ahead of the curve will be in your best interest,” concludes Botos. “Paperless record keeping is coming. It is a brave new world and from large companies to small companies there are solutions that exist. Food safety is so important and the better records we have and the more data associated with these records will only make for a safer food supply.”
Top food safety officials tell IAFP audience pathogens don’t wait
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/07/top-food-safety-officials-tell-iafp-audience-pathogens-dont-wait/#.W1aEpk66zct
By Dan Flynn (July 10, 2018)
SALT LAKE CITY — Several hundred people attending the International Association for Food Protection annual conference Monday gave up lunch to hear Stephen Ostroff’s and Carmen Rottenberg’s updates on the federal regulatory scene.
And Ostroff wasted no time in serving up the main course. The Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine at FDA is not happy about the round of outbreaks in recent months, including two E. coli O157 outbreaks that caused a total of six deaths.
“Events of the last couple of months support that we have a food safety problem in the United States,” Ostroff said, referring mostly to the produce-related E. coli O157 outbreaks, but also to several involving various Salmonella strains.
Specifically, FDA’s top food safety official expressed his concern about these outbreaks:
•Romaine lettuce – E. coli O157: H7
•Leafy greens – E. coli O157: H7
•Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal – Salmonella
•Pre-cut melon – Salmonella Adelaide
•Eggs – Salmonella Braenderup
•Kratom – Salmonella
Taken together, those outbreaks have sickened at least 622 people, sending 224 to hospitals where six died. The Salmonella Braenderup outbreak was also marked by Rose Acre Farms recalling 207 million shell eggs
Ostroff said the transition period before full implementation of certain elements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) can be blamed for the rash of outbreaks. Congress passed the Act in 2010 and President Obama signed it into law in January 2011.
“The pathogens are not waiting for us,” he said.
Ostroff told the attendees at the food safety conference that America’s food supply is becoming more and more complicated, making tracing up and down the food chain difficult.
FDA experienced that problem in spades during the E. coli O157: H7 outbreak investigation involving romaine lettuce. It was left warning the public not to consume romaine lettuce from the Yuma, AZ, growing area, but Ostroff acknowledged most consumers had no way of telling where their romaine was grown. The FDA hasn’t closed the investigation yet, and is continuing to work with Arizona officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to connect the remaining dots between the growing fields and consumers.
FDA eventually linked the romaine contamination to a Yuma area irrigation canal but does not yet know how the E. coli O157: H7 got into the water.
The FSMA’s produce rule, which includes easy greens, became effective in January this year, but only for the largest growers. FDA is also holding off on the FSMA water quality rule as it relates to testing requirements because of industry push back. FDA hopes to work out water testing protocols acceptable to farmers for implementation in 2022.
Ostroff also said there is some potential for conflict between food defense and food safety. “Food safety always takes precedence,” he said.
Rottenberg, USDA’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) administrator, spoke alongside Ostroff.
She said FSIS continues with its modernization program, which has focused on poultry and swine production.
FSIS is also working on regulatory reform, following up on suggestions from the public and industry. Rottenberg said one suggestion calls for changing how “net weight” is shown on a label. Currently, net weight must be shown in both ounces and pounds.
Eggs now classified as inferior by FDA might in the future be used if pasteurized, the FSIS administrator said. She said the idea was advanced as a method of cutting down on food waste.
Rottenberg was appointed Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office for Food Safety in August 2017. She is serving in that role until the Senate decides whether to confirm Mindy Brashears as President Trump’s appointee to the post. Rottenberg was named FSIS Administrator in May. She has held several other leadership roles in FSIS’s Office of the Administrator, including the Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff.
In those roles, she has spearheaded FSIS efforts to modernize inspection systems and implement science-based and innovative solutions to better protect consumers from foodborne illnesses. Through her leadership, she has ensured that FSIS programs are consumer-focused and delivered efficiently, effectively and with integrity. Rottenberg holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Hope College and a Juris Doctorate from American University. She will continue to serve as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety until a nominee for this position has been confirmed by the Senate.
Ostroff joined FDA in 2013 as Chief Medical Officer in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and Senior Public Health Advisor to FDA’s Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases at CDC. While at CDC Ostroff focused on emerging infectious diseases, food safety, and coordination of complex outbreak responses. Ostroff has also served as the acting FDA Commissioner on two occasions, from April 2015 to late February 2016 and again from January to May 2017.
He retired from the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service at the rank of Rear Admiral (Assistant Surgeon General). Ostroff was also the Director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Acting Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and has consulted internationally on public health projects in South Asia and Latin America.
Federal court orders remedial action by Minnesota’s Meech Dairy
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/07/federal-court-orders-remedial-action-by-minnesotas-meech-dairy/#.W1aE_E66zct
By News Desk (July 10, 2018)
The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota has enjoined Todd & Patty Meech Dairy Farm and its co-owners from introducing adulterated meat into interstate commerce pending required remedial action.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the federal court entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against the Meech Dairy Farm, located in Sebeka, MN, and its co-owners Todd Meech and Patty Meech.
The consent decree settles a complaint filed by the DOJ alleging violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and it requires the defendants to implement specific steps to ensure consumer safety before they can resume introducing animals and their edible tissue into interstate commerce.
In particular, the decree requires defendants to establish and implement a quarantine or segregation system to ensure the sharp distinction between medicated and unmedicated animals and that prevents defendants from selling or delivering for food slaughter any animals with illegal new animal drug residues in their edible tissues.
“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting consumers from unsafe foods,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will continue to work with FDA to ensure that food producers maintain processes necessary to keep food safe.”
DOJ filed a complaint in the District of Minnesota on Feb. 23, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
According to the complaint, the Meech Dairy Farm has approximately 500 cattle, including about 400 dairy cows, and sells cows for slaughter for use as food. The complaint alleged that defendants failed to abide by laws designed to protect consumers from consuming food that contained new animal drugs above legal limits.
According to the complaint, lab testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) detected above-tolerance drug residue in the liver of one of the defendant’s cows sold for slaughter. The complaint alleged that an FDA inspection confirmed the defendants did not record information regarding administered dosage, administration route, withdrawal time for meat, or the usable date for beef.
High levels of new animal drugs in animals’ edible tissues poses a significant public health risk. For example, consumers of edible animal tissues who are susceptible to antibiotics may experience severe allergic reactions as a result of ingesting food containing antibiotic levels above established tolerances.
“Poor recordkeeping practices and improper administration of drugs to food-producing animals pose a serious risk to consumers,” said United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald for the District of Minnesota. “The United States Attorney’s Office, along with the FDA, will continue to take action on these types of cases to ensure that Minnesota farmers are following the law and maintaining high food safety standards.”
Trial Attorney Monica Groat of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Siekert of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota represent the government. They are assisted by Associate General Counsel for Enforcement Jennifer Argabright of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of General Counsel’s Food and Drug Division.
Thirteen infected with Hepatitis A virus from frozen strawberries
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/07/thirteen-infected-with-hepatitis-a-virus-from-frozen-strawberries/#.W1aJYU66zct
By Joe Whitworth (July 10, 2018)
Thirteen people in Sweden have been infected by Hepatitis A virus linked to frozen strawberries from Poland.
Eleven confirmed and two suspected cases come are reported from four Swedish counties, Skåne, Blekinge, Kalmar and Gävleborg.
Nine women and four men aged 11 to 92 are affected. The most recent person to fall ill had symptoms begin on June 18.
The Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten), the National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) and local authorities are involved in the investigation. They traced the source of Hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection to frozen strawberries from Poland and informed Polish authorities of their findings.
All of the cases had smoothies or a dessert containing frozen imported strawberries that were not heated prior to consumption. The strawberries were not sold directly to consumers.
Analysis of the current lot of strawberries from Poland showed they contain the same type of hepatitis A virus, genotype 1B, that has infected the victims. Livsmedelsverket told Food Safety News that patients ate strawberries in smoothies from a juice bar and unheated strawberries in a dessert in a nursing home.
Frozen strawberries have been sold by a company in Poland to a wholesaler in Sweden. The wholesaler sold them to various caterers and restaurants. A recall is underway, and official say the products might still be on the market.
Skogsmat i Uddeholm AB, a Swedish producer and supplier of berries, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, purées and juice concentrates, imported the strawberries from Poland. Menigo Foodservice AB, a food supplier based in Sweden and owned by Sysco, distributed them.
Livsmedelsverket said the distributor has not been fined or closed because it did what it was supposed to given the circumstances.
The agency added extra checks of imported strawberries, as a general action, is not an option as it would be a breach of rules concerning the free movement of goods and products in the EU internal market.
Two outbreaks of Hepatitis A infections were noted in the second quarter of this year, according to international food safety statistics, the one referenced above and another linked to frozen pomegranate arils.
Hepatitis A virus is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person, according to the World Health Organization.
Anyone who has not been vaccinated or previously infected can get infected.
The incubation period is usually 14-28 days. Symptoms range from mild to severe and can include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-coloured urine and a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
In contaminated food, the highly contagious liver virus is killed when exposed to temperatures of mire than 185 degrees F (85 degrees C) for one minute, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Teens can learn food safety habits, but reinforcement needed
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/07/teens-can-learn-food-safety-habits-but-reinforcement-needed/#.W1aJk066zct
By Kelsey M. Mackin (July 9, 2018)
Each year, the Government of Canada estimates that one in eight Canadians get sick from a foodborne illness, for a total of 4 million Canadians. Anyone who has ever been through a bout of food poisoning will most likely never forget how terrible and traumatic it was.
Public health officials from local to federal levels often warn about how young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals are more susceptible to contracting a foodborne illness. But, what about older teenagers and college students? What about these future mothers, fathers and consumers who have a hand — literally — in food preparation and cleaning food surfaces in the spaces they share in home kitchens or public spaces?
A new study by the University of Waterloo shows that the majority of teenagers are in need of food safety education.
Taking a look at this study, a low level of awareness among youth was highlighted around the necessary, proper precautions when it comes to handling food.
The study measured 32 different food-handling behaviors among Ontario high school students in grades 10 to 12. It found that less than 50 percent of the recommended practices were followed by students. This included basic hand hygiene and simple steps to prevent cross-contamination.
The leader of the research team, Ken Diplock, said high school students represent the next generation of food handlers, but they are not well studied; “They are just starting to prepare food on their own and for others, and they’re also beginning to work in the food industry.”
Diplock believes it’s important to “get to” students before they develop bad habits.
For the study, researchers observed students in high school food and nutrition classes three times; once before the students took an Ontario standard food-handling training program, then two weeks and three months later. The program significantly helped them improve their skills, but many students continued to engage in behaviors that greatly increase the risk for foodborne diseases.
The most significant improvement found after the training course occurred with thermometer use. Using a thermometer is the only way to determine if food, especially meat and poultry, has been cooked thoroughly enough to kill pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. Student use thermometers increased from 5 percent at the first observation to 36 percent and 33 percent after two weeks and three months, respectively.
“Even though training programs have important benefits, there are obviously still gaps between knowledge and how food handlers behave,” Diplock said in the research report. He said food safety education improves knowledge and behavior, but unless the values are reinforced in other areas, “such as home life and society,” the behaviors will not always stick.
The study showed that behaviors remained consistent between the second and third observations; which is believed to be caused by students regularly handling food in the presence of teachers, who reinforced what they had learned.
Co-author and Public Health Professor Shannon Majowicz, said “we put a lot of emphasis on general food safety education as a way to protect people from getting sick; it could also make a difference if we educate students about safe food handling in high school before they are young adults living and cooking on their own and for others.”
In June, the study was officially published in the Journal of Food Protection with Waterloo with credit to Joel Dubin, Scott Leatherdale, David Hammond and Shannon Majowicz, and Andria Jones-Bitton at the University of Guelph. Diplock is now coordinator of the Bachelor of Environmental Public Health program at Conestoga College.
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