Health department offers food safety tips
Source : https://www.petoskeynews.com/blue/health-department-offers-food-safety-tips/article_97e22008-81fb-515e-bd51-366a85dffa79.html
By petoskeynews.com (Nov 19, 2018)
Local Health Departments across Northern Michigan are teaming up with United States Department of Agriculture to provide tips and resources for safe food preparation during the Thanksgiving holiday. With the number of things that can go wrong in the home kitchen, steering clear of food safety blunders can be challenging. A few simple steps can ensure family and guests get a delicious home-cooked meal and not holiday food poisoning.
“Thanksgiving dinner is one of the largest meals we prepare each year,” said Brandon Morrill, food program coordinator for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. “Cutting corners can put your family and guests at risk for food-borne illness, by forgetting a few basic food safety principles, such as washing your hands after handling the raw turkey and using a food thermometer to be sure its cooked to 165 degrees.”
Food poisoning is a serious public health threat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that millions of people suffer from food-borne illness each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Recent USDA research found that one in three Americans may have someone at high risk for food-borne illness in their home.
“Most food-borne illnesses can be avoided if you follow a few simple guidelines,” Morrill said. “These can keep your family and guests safe this holiday season.”
The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing is especially important when handling raw meats. However, in a recent USDA study, participants failed to wash their hands sufficiently a shocking 97 percent of the time. Without proper hand washing, a well-intentioned, home cook could quickly spread bacteria around the kitchen.
Stuffers should remember to wash their hands before and after seasoning your bird. Almost half the study participants contaminated their spice containers when seasoning poultry. Anyone that has handled a raw turkey, should make sure to wash their hands completely before seasoning, and if those spices are rubbed on the bird by hand, wash hands completely afterwards.
Do not rinse or wash the turkey. Doing so can spread bacteria around the kitchen, contaminating countertops, towels and other food. Washing poultry doesn’t remove bacteria from the bird. Only cooking the turkey to the correct internal temperature will ensure all bacteria are killed.
Don’t rely on those pop-up thermometers to determine if your turkey is safe. Take the bird’s temperature with a food thermometer in three areas — the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the wing and the innermost part of the thigh — make sure all three locations reach 165 degrees. If one of those locations does not register at 165 degrees, then continue cooking until all three locations reach the correct internal temperature. In recent USDA research, 88 percent of participants did not cook their poultry to the safe internal cooking temperature of 165 degrees.
When stuffing is cooked inside the turkey’s cavity, it must be checked with a food thermometer and reach 165 degrees as well. The density of stuffing can mean that while the turkey’s breast, wing and thigh have registered 165 degrees, the stuffing temperature can lag behind. Undercooked stuffing is a common cause of holiday food poisoning. Turkeys are tricky enough, so it’s easier to keep things simple and cook the stuffing outside the bird.
Everyone loves to graze during Thanksgiving, but when perishable food sits at room temperature, it is sitting in a temperature range where bacteria love to multiply. This range, between 40 and 140 degrees, is known as the “danger zone.” If foods have been left out at room temperature for more than two hours, they should be discarded.
For more information, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888) 674-6854 to talk to a food safety expert from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For help on Thanksgiving Day, the Meat and Poultry Hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Live chat is available at AskKaren.gov during the hotline’s hours of operation.
6 food safety lessons for operators
Source : https://www.nrn.com/operations/6-food-safety-lessons-operators
By Alan J. Liddle 1, Ron Ruggless (Nov 15, 2018)
Experts offer best practices at annual Nation’s Restaurant News Food Safety Symposium
Strategies for offering safer food through chef education and contract negotiation were among the ideas offered up to attendees to the 13th annual Nation’s Restaurant News Food Safety Symposium.
The event, sponsored by Ecolab, drew nearly three dozen operators, educators, attorneys and other food safety professionals and industry experts to the Park MGM hotel in Las Vegas Sept. 16 through 18.
The invite-only event featured keynote speeches, operator peer-to-peer presentations, regulatory and science updates and all-hands-in roundtable discussions that netted numerous safety-related best practices and other lessons. Here are six key takeaways for foodservice operators from the event.
Train chefs to think like scientists
During an educational session titled “Food Trends and Their Impact on Food Safety,” Brian Nummer, Ph.D., a microbiologist, consultant and professor with the Food Safety Extension at Utah State University, offered the mnemonic FAT TOM as a reminder of the factors that contribute to bacteria growth or demise: Food, Acidity, Time, Temperature, Oxygen and Moisture. The session touched on such food trends as sous vide and other reduced-oxygen packaging food preparation techniques, charcuterie, pickling, cask-aged cocktails and the use of fresh produce in beverages.
Referring to his experience with chefs chasing emerging food trends, Nummer said that some culinarians might reject suggestions to alter a preparation process to make something safer, arguing, “That’s the way I need to do it. That’s my art.”
However, he said, if chefs are trained initially on food safety principles, they naturally will incorporate them into their cooking.
“All of a sudden, they are going to say things like, ‘I already put lemon juice in, so I’ll just keep putting lemon juice in until I get a pH 4 [bacteria-killing level of acid],” he said. “Now we’ve made a culinary guy into a scientist.”
Develop a vetting process for new cooking techniques
Douglas Davis, senior director of global food safety for Marriott International, noted that his team places restaurant requests to use new foods or preparation techniques into three intervention “buckets.”
“One involves risky practices with third-party vendors; the second, things we’ve dealt with before or have a known risk exposure; [and] the third one covers complete anomalies, or things we’ve never seen before,” he said.
“In the first case, we do a business-case analysis with our [Marriott] risk-management partners [and] the hotels provide us with all the information about what they will be doing during the process,” Davis explained. “In some cases, we’ll say, ‘No,’ and in some cases, we’ll say, ‘Yes’ [or] ‘You need to change the process up.’”
Related to dealing with requests to try relatively new but known-to-Marriott foods or techniques, the hotel company executive said, “Our standards take care of it and we’ll say, ‘Here is our intranet resource page, follow the standards for this particular activity.’”
For methods or techniques the company has no experience with, the company will bring in a consultant or microbiologist, Davis said.
Consider using supplier contracts to help fund recall systems
The Cheesecake Factory Inc., put off by what it considered the high price of third-party systems to aid in multistore food recalls, developed its own, according to Al Baroudi, Ph.D., the company’s vice president of safety and quality assurance. During the “Outbreaks: A Supply Chain Focus” panel, Baroudi spoke of his company’s recall system that phones managers at restaurants to start a guided two-hour-targeted process to identify all possible in-restaurant locations for implicated goods; separate or dispose of those ingredients; complete and submit to headquarters a certificate of product destruction; and submit invoices for the cost of recalled foods to associated vendors.
The Cheesecake Factory executive added that whenever the recall system is initiated, the vendor whose product is involved is automatically sent a minimum $2,500 invoice, as per a negotiated clause in all supplier contracts. Referring to that invoice strategy, Baroudi noted, “We do it for two reasons: One, to help pay for the [recall] system, and two, as a way to get vendors to pay attention. You see a lot of reduction [in quality issues] after that.”
Learn to spot growers with safer production practices
Ruth Petran, Ph.D., Ecolab’s vice president of food safety, updated attendees about the federal Food Safety Modernization Act and recapped recent studies and findings, including the results of the United States Department of Agriculture’s “2015/16 Produce Grower Food Safety Practices Survey” that looked at the size of produce growers and production practices, among other factors.
“Generally, the larger facilities [growers] — those with $5 million dollars in sales and up — were more likely to have [fundamental food safety] practices already in place,” Petran said. She noted that while water quality testing requirements for produce suppliers are now being debated in regulatory circles, many of the USDA surveyed growers “already are doing this type of testing.”
The Ecolab vice president also referred to USDA survey findings that growers who used third-party facility audits spent two to 10 times more on food safety than those that did not, with the largest producers spending at the high end of that multiple. “This is another potential criterion for you to think about as you consider who to buy produce from: Do they have an audit? Because it is likely they will put in more effort responding to an audit.”
Develop “foolproof” systems — and ensure employees use them
Maintaining standards of food safety and cleanliness is an ever-changing effort, according to the event’s keynote speaker.
“You have to bring in new products,” said Richard Ghiselli, head of the hospitality and tourism management department in the College of Health and Human Services at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. “You have to bring in new suppliers. You also have new and emerging bacteria that is antibiotic resistant. We are also using technology to speed things up and help us.”
While the most common food safety violations are improper storage of toxic items and good hand-washing and hygienic practices, he said, they never fade away.
“We wrestle with that daily, even hourly,” Ghiselli said.
Companies must set standards and build them into a food safety culture, and then they must empower the employees to engage in those best practices.
“Make your systems foolproof,” Ghiselli said. “Identify the hazards and implement systems and processes to reduce those hazards.”
Newer kitchen equipment is helping operators maintain the best standards, processes and systems, he noted.
“It helps make sure we know our walk-ins, our freezers, our stand-alone refrigerators and our make lines are all at the proper temperature,” Ghiselli said. “We are now able to monitor that on our watch or our smartphones.”
Know the top five germs
Norovirus was the foodborne illness topic that dominated discussions at the recent Food Safety Symposium, with three-quarters of supply-chain and quality-assurance attendees identifying it as their chief concern and one quarter identifying Hepatitis A as a worry.
Norovirus is among the top five germs that cause foodborne illnesses in the United States, Ghiselli said. In his address, he said a list released earlier in 2018 by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta identified these five germs and their common sources:
Norovirus: Common sources are infected people touching food or contaminating surfaces and food such as leafy greens, fresh fruits, shellfish, such as oysters or water.
Salmonella: Common sources are eggs, raw or undercooked poultry or meat, unpasteurized milk or juice, cheese and raw fruits and vegetables.
Clostridium perfringens: common food sources include beef or poultry, especially large roasts; gravies; and dried or precooked food.
Campylobacter: Common food sources include raw or undercooked poultry, raw (unpasteurized milk and contaminated water.
Staphylococcus (or staph): Common sources are foods that are not cooked after handling, such as sliced meats, puddings, pastries and sandwiches.
Food safety officials stress safe handling of raw turkey
Source : https://www.boston25news.com/news/food-safety-officials-stress-safe-handling-of-raw-turkey/872861578
By boston25news.com (Nov 14, 2018)
Facebook MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Food safety officials are stressing the importance of proper handling and cooking practices amid a nationwide outbreak of drug-resistant Salmonella found in raw turkey, with Thanksgiving approaching.
The Centers for Disease Control last week said the number of reported illnesses has nearly doubled since July to 164. Minnesota has the most cases at 16. There's been one reported death , in California, linked to tainted turkey.
The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reports that the USDA hasn't named the suppliers associated with the tainted meat or identified a single, common source.
Officials say consumers should always wash their hands and all surface areas where turkey is prepared, never leave it to thaw on the counter, and use a meat thermometer to cook it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
EFSA expands simplified food safety management system
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has expanded coverage of a “simpler” food safety management approach to help small retailers and food donations.
The approach uses flow diagrams to summarize the stages of production and tables to take retailers through the food safety management process from hazard identification to control measures, in line with regulations.
Under European hygiene legislation, food businesses develop and implement food safety management systems (FSMS), usually based on prerequisite program (PRP) activities and hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) principles. This can be challenging for small food retail sites, where a lack of expertise and resources may limit development and implementation of an effective FSMS.
The simplified system means retailers do not need to have detailed knowledge of specific hazards and ranking them was not required. For example, they may know there may be a biological hazard associated with raw meat without identifying it as Salmonella.
Relevant retail personnel only need to know whether or not a biological, chemical or physical hazard or allergen might occur at each stage and that a failure to undertake key control activities, such as correct chilled storage or separation of raw from ready-to-eat (RTE)/cooked products could contribute to increased risk of illness for consumers.
Four new PRPs including “shelf-life control,” “handling returned foods,” “evaluation for food donations and allocation of remaining shelf-life” and “freezing food intended for donation” were developed and the “temperature control” PRP was modified. PRPs were based on those described by the European Commission in 2016.
Food donation presents several challenges because donations may be nearing the end of shelf-life and several parties, some on a voluntary basis, are involved in the chain with limited resources, each reliant on each other to assure food safety.
In 2015, members of the European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA) distributed 532,000 tons of food to 5.7 million people, which represents only a small fraction of the estimated volume of food waste generated annually in the EU (88 million tons).
EFSA has stated that it was important that individual establishments identify the specific stages/activities used in their establishment and tailor the FSMS to control all hazards that may occur at each stage. It also recommended authorities in each member state monitor implementation of the “simplified” FSMS and give feedback to the European Commission on how the approach may work in practice.
Vietnam’s Food Safety Regulations
Source : https://www.vietnam-briefing.com/news/vietnam-food-safety-regulations.html/
By Kyssha Mah (Oct 18, 2018)
Vietnam updated its food safety law in February, replacing Decree 38/2012-ND-CP with Decree 15/2018/ND-CP, to reduce regulatory burdens and enhance international trade of goods.
With the change, the government loosened regulations by removing various administrative procedures, with the ultimate aim to increase channels of international trade for food products. The new decree is part of a larger scheme of initiatives – like the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) – to reduce technical barriers to trade and boost foreign investment.
Decree 15 allows the government to adjust the food industry standards with international best practice by relaxing its procedural grip. The EVFTA, for example, outlines sanitary and phytosanitary measures imported food products from Vietnam must comply within the EU.
Grounds for food safety inspection were amended while the procedures for safety audits were reduced significantly: 90 percent of food shipments now enter the country without examination. Previously, all food shipments were examined before the change to the law.
Products circulating the Vietnamese market now take a major leap from pre-inspection to post-inspection, with responsibility now placed on enterprises serving or selling food to declare self-compliance with regard to food safety regulations.
Decree 15 at a glance
Before Decree 15, an enterprise had to prepare two sets of documents with 11 different kinds of papers to satisfy food safety regulations. However, vendors were able to bypass this process by buying counterfeit food safety certificates off the streets.
Now, methods of safety standards have shifted. Businesses must self-announce food safety quality and compliance, but are no longer subject to automatic customs examinations. An enterprise operating in the food industry must declare responsible food safe practice on Vietnam’s multimedia websites.
Removing impractical administrative procedures are viewed by the government as a necessary step to reduce labor costs and develop business prospects. The new decree is predicted to reduce 90 percent of administrative fees, save 2.9 million working days, and save VND$2.5 trillion or USD$107222.50.
Ensuring food safety
Frequent food poisoning and contaminated food products have been widespread issues in Vietnam, despite the requirements stipulated in previous regulations. Countless food safety incidents arising from a lack of adequate regulatory enforcement exposed food supplies to foodborne illnesses throughout the trade process.
While the removal of administrative barriers enables efficient trade and investment, companies partaking in Vietnam’s food industry should still be conscious of the harmful effects of low-quality food. The demand for high quality and dependable food products should increase as the market continues to develop, and a single food safety scandal can permanently damage a brand’s reputation.
Further, businesses must be prepared for the potential to be inspected by regulatory authorities. The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade will inspect up to five percent of total food imports per year at random.
Currently, the government is in the process of drafting a decree on fines for any violations of food safety.
Steps businesses should take
The Ministry of Health established specifications within updated food regulation standards that must be met by international importers since a duty applies to every product that enters the country.
All companies that want to export food commodities into the country must submit an appropriate certification for registration. Companies are liable for safety issues for their products.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development provides the customs office with details of organizations authorized to export products into the country. Applicable requirements issued by the Ministry of Health must be met. These include labeling requirements containing the name and details of the manufacturer, registration for food additives, advertisement for food products, and the country of origin.
Businesses that want to partake in Vietnam’s food industry need to recognize the full scope of regulatory changes. Companies should review Decree 15 to ensure products and trade practices are aligned with the update.
Maxfield Brown, Dezan Shira & Associates’ Business Intelligence Manager in Ho Chi Minh City, said “The decree is new and it still takes a while for agencies to implement new levels of regulation. It is up to the body of government interpreting the new law to enforce it—so, it is important to differentiate periods when new regulations are not enforced from periods of uncertainty. People trying to comply with the new update should be cognizant of timing and how to comply with the regulation.”
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