FoodHACCP Newsletter



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12/28. Assoc Ext Educator - Produce/FS - Moscow, ID
12/28. Regional FS Specialist Job - Southington, CT
12/28. Food Safety Auditor Positions - California
12/26. Manager, Quality Assurance - Tulare, CA
12/26. Ag Food Safety Coordinator - Selah, WA
12/26. Food Scientist/QC Manager - Edison, NJ
12/24. QA FS Superintendent - Marshall, MO
12/24. FS & QA Superv SF - South San Francisco, CA
12/24. Food Safety Spec Reviewer - Plano, TX

 

12/31  2018 ISSUE:841

 

Lethal lettuce, bad beef and tainted turkey among worst foods of a bad food safety year
Source : https://www.miamiherald.com/living/food-drink/article223754415.html
BY DAVID J. NEAL (Dec 31, 2018)
To understand how rough a year 2018 was for food safety, consider that the Centers for Disease Control investigated 24 foodborne illness outbreaks in 2018. The CDC investigated 25 in 2015 and 2016 combined.
Those are the only two consecutive combined years since 2006 that beat 2018.
So, it’s not just perception that every couple of weeks, news rang with recall alarms as E. coli, salmonella, listeria or cyclospora crept across the nation. Federal agencies advised we avoid basics of the refrigerator and pantry — chicken salad, eggs, ground beef, Del Monte produce, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, Duncan Hines cake mix.
That’s not even counting precautionary recalls, such as the shelves of snack products yanked after whey powder supplier Associated Milk Producers found salmonella in a plant. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb had to calm the masses after those recalls of Ritz crackers and Goldfish prompted emails among worried parents coast-to-coast. And many people first heard of food colossus McCain Foods when salmonella and listeria found in a McCain plant meant a monsoon of precautionary recalls from pre-packaged salads to pre-made burgers.
But there’s no question what food ranked as the worst of the worst in 2018.
? Romaine lettuce — Being the source of the biggest E. coli outbreak of the last 13 years would’ve secured this spot for romaine lettuce without the November sequel.
Canal water contaminated romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region that sickened 210 people in 36 states from Mar. 13 to June 6, hospitalized 96 people and gave 27 people hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). That’s the form of kidney failure that can make E. coli fatal. Five people died in this outbreak.
That’s why when the CDC and FDA found themselves looking at another E. coli romaine lettuce outbreak, the agencies responded like scared parents, initially recommending nobody eat or sell romaine lettuce. Eventually, the outbreak that has sickened 59 in 15 states got traced to Adam Bros. Farming in northern and central California. There’s still an advisory to avoid romaine from Santa Barbara, San Benito, and Monterey counties.

Number 2 Outbreak of 2018: JBS Tolleson Ground Beef Salmonella Outbreak
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2018/jbs-tolleson-ground-beef-salmonella-outbreak-2/
By News Desk (Dec 31, 2018)
The number two outbreak of 2018 is the JBS Tolleson Ground Beef Salmonella outbreak that is still ongoing. At least 333 people in 28 states are sick. Ninety-one people have been hospitalized.
JBS Tolleson Ground Beef Salmonella Outbreak
The company recalled 6.9 million pounds of beef products on October 4, 2018, and then recalled an additional 5.2 million pounds on December 4, 2018. The beef has the establishment number “EST. 267” that is usually inside the USDA mark of inspection, but can be found elsewhere on the package. The brand names of some of the recalled products are Kroger, Laura’s Lean, and Generic JBS. The recalled items include ground sirloin, ground beef patty, fine ground chubs, Kroger GB loaf, and ground round loaf.
The case count by state as of December 12, 2018 is: Arizona (50), California (107), Colorado (58), Connecticut (1), Hawaii (4), Idaho (3), Iowa (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Michigan (1), Massachusetts (1), Minnesota (2), Mississippi (1), Missouri (3), Montana (8), New Mexico (11), Nevada (13), Ohio (9), Oklahoma (6), Oregon (1), South Dakota (9), Texas (19), Utah (11), Washington (3), West Virginia (1), and Wyoming (5). Illnesses started on dates ranging from August 5, 2018 to November 9, 2018.
Most people, or 88% of those interviewed, said they ate ground beef at home the week before they got sick. That is significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people; just 40% ate ground beef the week before.
The recall information and outbreak information come with warnings to consumers about how to handle raw ground beef. It should never be eaten raw or undercooked. All ground beef products should be cooked to 160°F and measured for accuracy with a food thermometer. You can’t tell whether or not beef is safe to eat by appearance. And avoid cross-contamination by being careful about beef juices. Wash hands and all items that have come into contact with raw ground beef with warm, soapy water.

New Canadian food safety law starts in January
Source : https://www.thepacker.com/article/new-canadian-food-safety-law-starts-january
By Chris Koger (Dec 27, 2018)
With the Safe Food for Canadians Act and the Safe Food for Canadian Regulations going into effect in January, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has published an overview of requirements for fresh fruit and vegetables.
The online document has numerous links to specific regulations for Canada’s fresh fruit and vegetable shippers, from what’s needed to import potatoes, apples, onions and other fresh produce from the U.S., to specific labeling instructions for produce packed by itself or with other foods. The document also covers fresh-cut products.
The law goes into effect on January 15. U.S exporters will have to comply with the regulations.

Consumers Warned to Wash Avocados After Pathogens Found on Skin
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2018/consumers-warned-wash-avocados/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 27, 2018)
The FDA has released a report on avocado and hot pepper sampling, as part of  their “new, proactive sampling program,” that was adopted in 2014. The program attempts to help public health investigators identify patterns in certain foods that may help reduce microbial contamination. They found Listeria monocytogenes on 17.73% of the avocado skin samples. They found the overall prevalence of Salmonella on the samples to be about 0.74%.
That means that, if you don’t rinse the avocado before you cut into it, you will spread any pathogens on the skin into the flesh. And because this fruit is usually eaten uncooked, there is no kill step to destroy that bacteria before you eat it.
The FDA began collecting avocados in Many 2015. They collected 1,615 samples to test for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. About 70% of samples were imported, and the rest were domestically grown, which is proportionate to U.S. market shares.
The FDA notice states that pregnant women, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with diabetes or cancer, are susceptible to very small amounts of this pathogen.
AS part of the sampling process, the FDA found that some of the Listeria monocytogenes strains that were found on the skin and in the pulp of avocados sampled were “highly related to Listeria monocytogenes strains found in ill persons.” The epidemiological evidence, however, didn’t indicate whether those sick people ate avocados before they got sick.
Investigators found Listeria monocytogenes on the avocado skin in both domestic and imported product, but found Listeria in the pulp in imported avocados.
So, the next time you buy an avocado, wash it thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking. It also stated, “Even if you plan to cut the rind or peel off the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit.” In fact, firm produce, such as avocados, should be scrubbed with a clean produce brush, ten dried with paper towel to further reduce any bacteria that may be present.

Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups Recall For Possible Listeria Expanded
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2018/eat-smart-salad-shake-listeria-expanded/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 27, 2018)
Apio Inc. of Guadalupe, California is expanding their voluntary recall of Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups single-serve bowls for possible Listeria contamination. The recall is in response to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency finding Listeria bacteria in another random sample of another flavor of this product.
Salad Shake Ups Avocado Ranch Listeria Reall
The company is recalling all products that were produced on the same day, same production line, as the sample that was positive. No illnesses have been reported in connection with this issue.
The product is sold as a single-serve bowl with lot code on the side. The UPC number is stamped on the bottom.
The recalled products are all Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups single serve bowl, and the lot code is 112 356 on all of the products. All of these products have the best before date of December 29, 2018. The recalled flavors are Asian Sesame, with UPC number 7 09351 30244 2; Sweet Kale, with UPC number 7 09351 30243 5; Tropical Lime with UPC number 7 09351 30197 1; Asian Sesame with UPC number 7 09351 30241 1; Avocado Ranch with UPC number 7 09351 30177 3; Raspberry Acai with UPC number 7 09351 30178 0; Sweet Kale with UPC number 7 09351 30240 4; and Tropical Lime with UPC number 7 09351 30179 7.
These products were shipped to retailers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas. In Canada, the product was shipped to these provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.
There is zero tolerance for Listeria monocytogenes contamination in ready-to-eat products such as these salads. If you purchased any of these products with those specific UPC numbers and expiration dates, throw them away. You can return them to the place of purchase for a refund.

First Romaine E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak: Number Six of 2018
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2018/first-romaine-e-coli-o157h7-hus-2018/
By News Desk (Dec 26, 2018)
The number six food poisoning outbreak of 2018 is the first romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that ended in June. (Yes, there was a second that is ongoing, but that outbreak did not make the Top 10 List.) In that outbreak, 210 people in 36 states were sickened, 96 people were hospitalized, and five people, who lived in Arkansas, California, Minnesota, and New York, died. Twenty-seven patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. This was the largest E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to leafy greens since 2006.
First Romaine E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak of 2018
The CDC found the outbreak strain in canal water samples taken from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. Government officials are investigating to see how the bacteria got into the water in the first place and how the water contaminated the lettuce.
The last shipments of romaine lettuce from that growing region  shipped on April 16, 2018, and the harvest season is over. The lettuce that made people sick is no longer available.
This outbreak also sickened eight people in Canada. One person was hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.
The case count by state is:  Alabama (3) Alaska (8), Arkansas (1), Arizona (9), California (49), Colorado (3), Connecticut (2), Florida (3), Georgia (5), Idaho (12), Illinois (2), Iowa (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (4), Michigan (5), Minnesota (12), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), Montana (9), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (8), New York (11), North Carolina (1), North Dakota (3), Ohio (7), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (24), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (3), Texas (4), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (8), and Wisconsin (3). The patient age range is from 1 to 88 years. Illness onset dates ranged from March 13, 2018 to June 6, 2018.
Whole genome sequencing of isolates taken from patients found that the bacteria was resistant to several antibiotics, including chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, tetracycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Isolates from four patients found that the bacteria also contained genes for resistance to ampicillin and ceftriaxone. But since antibiotic treatment for E. coli infections is not recommended, because that can trigger HUS, these findings don’t affect treatment.

Food safety is a shared responsibility - FDB
Source : https://www.businessghana.com/site/news/general/178855/Food-safety-is-a-shared-responsibility-FDB
By GNA (Dec 27, 2018)
Consumers have been advised not to depend on cheep products flooding the market in this year’s Christmas season.
Madam Akuah Amposah Owusu, Principal Regulatory Officer at the Brong Ahafo Region office of the Food and drugs Board, said this in an interview with the press in Sunyani.
She urged consumers to consider the sanitary conditions of the area that they are buying their product, read the expiring dates and labels before patronizing a product.
Madam Owusuah said many product flood the market on occasions and are being sold by hawkers whose source could not be traced for questioning if the products are detected to be unwholesome.
She said food safety practice must starts from ‘farm to fork’ and should be observed as such to ensure good health.
Madam Owusu said FDB has intensified it market surveillances in the market to protect consumers from patronizing unwholesome products.
She said much of the food intake by the public especially during Christmas contribute to a lot of health concerns in the country.
She asked the public to consider what enters their stomach and not just put in anything to fill the stomach and entreated the public to have a healthy eating habit.

Food Safety Council: How long post-Christmas is it safe to eat leftovers?
Source : https://www.3aw.com.au/food-safety-council-how-long-post-christmas-is-it-safe-to-eat-leftovers/
By 3aw.com (Dec 26, 2018)
The big day is done, but the fridge is likely still overflowing with goodies, so for how long after is it safe to eat Christmas leftovers?
Lydia Buchtmann, spokesperson for the Food Safety Information Council, told Kate and Craig it depends on the food, and how long it’s been left out at room temperature.
“It’s really risky if seafood has been left out for more than two hours, don’t do it,” she said.
“Probably by now if your prawns have been out for a while, they’ll be telling you that they’re not good.
“If you’ve got a whole Christmas ham on the bone it’ll keep two weeks.”

Recalls show foodborne threats continue
Source : https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/12/recalls-show-foodborne-threats-continue/
By Coral Beach (Dec 26, 2018)
Editor’s note: Today Food Safety News takes a look back at the most significant recalls in the United States in 2018. As in past years, our year-end coverage is not merely a list of individual stories by individual writers. Generally, significant events are the other way around. Multiple stories by multiple writers are usually involved in our recall coverage, especially when illnesses or multiple companies are involved. It takes a newsroom — not solo work — to give readers the information they have come to expect from us.
Some of the biggest food recall news of 2018 didn’t come from a food producer or distributor. And, it didn’t force consumers to check their cupboards or refrigerators for potentially poisonous food. It came from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in September when he announced the agency would begin publicly disclosing retail locations that may have sold or distributed recalled food — in some circumstances.
The shift away from protecting “confidential corporate information” and toward public safety is so significant it made our Top 10 list of food safety news stories for 2018.
Another headline out of the Food and Drug Administration’s 2018 recall file was “the agency’s first-ever mandatory recall order,” Gottlieb said in a Late November statement about the FDA’s investigation of contamination of kratom products and dozens of related illnesses. The kratom situation, which included multiple recalls and a Salmonella outbreak, also earned a spot on the Food Safety News Top 10 list for the year.
Other big recall news in the “Year of the Dog” involved millions of eggs, millions of pounds of meat and poultry, an unrevealed volume of other foods under the jurisdiction of FDA and the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Here, in no particular order, are some of the most noteworthy recalls initiated in 2018.
Romaine lettuce
It wasn’t an official recall, but many growers and others in the romaine supply chain launched a voluntary “market withdrawal” of all forms and brands of the popular leafy green two days before Thanksgiving. The action was at the request of the FDA, which announced the third E. coli outbreak in 12 months on Nov. 20. Hundreds of people in the United States and Canada fell ill in the three outbreaks. At least five people died. 
Outbreak investigators found the outbreak strain of E. coli O157: H7 involved in the fall outbreak in the sediment of an irrigation pond on Adam Brothers Farm in Santa Maria, CA. The romaine harvest was well over by December when the contamination was confirmed, but in mid-December, the family-owned farm recalled red and green leaf lettuces and cauliflower in relation to the contaminated pond.
JBS beef
In October, JBS Tolleson Inc., a beef producer in Arizona that is part of the multi-national Brazilian company JBS S.A., recalled 6.5 million pounds of ground beef because of links to a Salmonella outbreak. The company expanded the recall in December to a total of more than 12 million pounds. As of Dec. 12, there were 333 people with confirmed Salmonella Newport infections across 28 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jennie-O ground turkey
Although the CDC first announced a Salmonella outbreak traced to raw turkey in July, there weren’t any related turkey recalls until Nov. 15 when Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales in Barron, WI, recalled more than 91,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products. On Dec. 21 a Jennie-O Store Sales location in Faribault, MN, recalled more than 164,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the CDC report the outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products, and live turkeys. A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified that could account for the whole outbreak. As of Dec. 21, the CDC was reporting 216 people with confirmed Salmonella infections, including one death, across 38 states.
Shell eggs
On April 13, 2018, Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, IN, recalled more than 206 million shell eggs because they were implicated in a Salmonella outbreak bacteria. Three days later Cal-Maine Foods Inc. voluntarily recalled more than 280,000 eggs it had purchased from Rose Acre Farms. The CDC reported 45 people were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella across 10 states.
In September, Gravel Ridge Farms in Cullman County, AL, recalled eggs because of Salmonella. Forty-four people across 11 states were infected. The FDA put its new policy to work, listing some retailers that carried the Gravel Ridge Farms eggs.
McCain Foods USA Inc.
At least a half-dozen companies recalled more than 755 tons of food products because they contained ingredients from a McCain Foods production facility in Colton, CA. The factory produces fire roasted caramelized or sauteed frozen fruit and vegetable products.
In a news release, McCain said it “identified a potential health risk” to its product line at Colton. The company was not exact about its problem at Colton when it originated, the volume of food involved, or where it was distributed.
The products were sold in Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Walmart, Kroger and Target stores across the country. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service reported more than a dozen food manufacturers in the U.S. received vegetables from McCain that were potentially contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.
Fresh-cut melon
When Walmart and Kroger pulled fresh-cut melon products from their shelves because they were implicated in a Salmonella outbreak, it took supplier Caito Foods 48 hours to initiate a recall of the fresh fruit. The volume of precut fruit products involved was not disclosed.
Caito distributed the fresh-cut products, packaged with generic labels, to Costco, JayC, Kroger, Payless, Owen’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Walmart, and Whole Foods/Amazon. The CDC reported 77 people were confirmed ill in the related outbreak.
Del Monte fresh vegetable trays
An outbreak of infections from the Cyclospora parasite spurred Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc. to recall vegetable trays containing fresh broccoli, cauliflower, celery sticks, carrots, and dill dip in mid-June. Neither the company nor the FDA reported how many pounds were recalled.
Del Monte distributed the vegetable-dip trays to retailers including Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Demond’s, Sentry, Potash, Meehan’s, Country Market, Food Max Supermarket and Peapod. The CDC reported 250 people in four states were confirmed with the parasitic infections.
McDonald’s salads
Also because of Cyclospora parasite infections, McDonald’s pulled an undisclosed number of salads from restaurants in 14 states in July. Ingredients for the salads were distributed by Caito Foods, but were produced by Fresh Express.
Caito Foods officials told the FDA that Fresh Express had notified it of a product recall involving romaine that could be contaminated with the parasites. FDA issued a public alert after Cyclospora was confirmed in Fresh Express product, but the romaine-carrot mix was past its shelf life at that point. When the outbreak was declared over, there had been 511 people across 16 states confirmed with Cyclospora infections.
Retailers including Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Walgreens removed salads and wraps from their shelves because of the situation.
Honey Smacks
In June the Kellogg Co. issued an international recall of its Honey Smacks cereal in relation to a multistate Salmonella outbreak. The massive recall is still active. However, the CDC declared the outbreak over in late September when the confirmed patient count was 135.
Public health officials are concerned that consumers could still have unopened boxes of the recalled cereal in their homes because of the product’s long shelf life. All Honey Smacks cereal, regardless of size, with best-by dates through June 14, 2019, is subject to the recall.
Duncan Hines cake mix
In November Conagra Foods recalled four flavors of Duncan Hines brand cake mix after federal investigators told them Oregon’s public health department found Salmonella in a box of Duncan Hines cake mix. The strain matched that of patients in a multistate Salmonella outbreak.
A spokesperson with the Food and Drug Administration told Food Safety News the manufacturing plant where the recalled cake mix was produced is in the United States. The FDA’s outbreak investigation announcement Nov. 5 reported the agency was inspecting the manufacturing plant, but did not indicate where the plant is located.
Goldfish crackers, Hungry Man dinners, Ritz crackers
Several varieties of “the snack that smiles back” were voluntarily recalled by Pepperidge Farm during the summer after the whey powder used in a seasoning ingredient was found to be contaminated with Salmonella.
In addition to the Goldfish crackers from Pepperidge Farm, several other products had to be recalled, including Hungry Man frozen dinners, Ritz brand crackers in the U.S. and Canada, and several brands of snack cakes.
Both the FDA and the FSIS reported the manufacturer of the whey powder was Associated Milk Producers Inc., but the company did not issue a public recall. Officials with Minnesota-based AMPI posted a news release in July saying none of the implicated whey powder was sold directly to consumers.

How long do leftovers last? Your guide to post-holiday food safety
Source : https://abc13.com/food/holiday-leftovers-guide-how-long-foods-last/4760501/
By Danny Clemens (Dec 26, 2018)
The joyful indulgence of a holiday meal doesn't necessarily end when everybody gets up from the table; it's a time-honored tradition to dig back into your leftovers in the days following a big holiday or even to give them new life as sandwiches or casseroles.
Leftovers, though, don't last forever, and it's important to practice good food safety habits to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses. As a general guideline, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends eating or freezing turkey and other leftovers within three to four days. For Christmas, which this year fell on a Tuesday, that means that properly refrigerated leftovers are good through Saturday.
If you're not sure what to do with leftover turkey, visit FoodSafety.gov for a list of easy leftover turkey recipes.
Storing leftovers
After your big holiday meal, refrigerate your leftovers within two hours to prevent spoilage. Any perishable food left at room temperature for more than two hours should be considered unsafe and discarded.
Contrary to popular opinion, you shouldn't let leftovers cool to room temperature before refrigerating them, according to DHHS: "Leftovers should be placed in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible, even if they still have steam or heat coming off of them."
It's best to portion out leftovers into smaller servings and store them in shallow containers with a lid, DHSS recommends, so carve your turkey instead of storing a whole bird.
Reheating leftovers
When it comes time to feast on your leftovers, make sure that you reheat them thoroughly.
"Always test reheated leftovers in several places with a meat thermometer to be sure they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit throughout. When reheating foods in the microwave, cover and rotate or stir foods once or twice during cooking," the USDA advises.
If you're reheating in the oven, the oven should be set to 325 degrees or higher, the agency added. Slow cookers and chafing dishes should not be used to reheat previously cooked dishes because they could keep food at an unsafe temperature for too long, though they can be used to keep already-reheated food warm during serving.
Freezing leftovers
Should you choose to freeze leftovers, your mileage will vary depending on the dish. The USDA's FoodKeeper app broadly advises consumers that leftover dishes containing meat, fish, poultry, or egg last two to three months in the freezer. Leftovers without meat, though, only last one to two months in the freezer.
SEE ALSO: Can I take a turkey on a plane? Holiday travel tips from TSA

USDA Food Safety Inspections Continue During Government Shutdown
Source : https://www.hoosieragtoday.com/usda-food-safety-inspections-continue-government-shutdown/
By Andy Eubank (Dec 26, 2018)
USDA’s food safety inspectors are among the essential employees who will remain on the job during the US government shutdown, so the lapse in funding isn’t halting essential USDA services. Those inspectors will be available as usual to check meat, poultry and egg products. Nearly ninety percent of the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s 9,500 employees will be on the job.
“FSIS inspectors are on site at every plant for slaughter facilities during all hours of operation,” says Acting Deputy Undersecretary Carmen Rottenberg. “A plant can’t operate in a slaughter operation without our government inspectors there on duty. And for processing establishments the government inspectors once per production shift, and that is statutory.”
Helping to ensure that meat processing activities can continue is one reason USDA inspectors are essential. Protecting American food safety is another.
“The job of FSIS inspectors is to make sure that all domestic and imported meat, poultry and processed egg products are safe and wholesome,” Rottenberg said.
More than 7,000 inspectors are spread throughout the country. Nearly seventy percent of the forest service’s 33,000 employees will continue maintaining safety at the nation’s forests. Nearly ninety percent of Agricultural Marketing Service employees will continue their grading and inspection services, as well as procuring commodities for nutrition assistance programs. Also, more than 60 percent of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service employees will be on hand to inspect fruits, vegetables and birds at borders and quarantine facilities.
Other programs not affected by the shutdown include:
Eligible households will still receive monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for January.
Most other domestic nutrition assistance programs, such as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, WIC, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, can continue to operate at the State and local level with any funding and commodity resources that remain available.
The Child Nutrition (CN) Programs, including School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk will continue operations into February. Meal providers are paid on a reimbursement basis 30 days after the end of the service month. Carryover funding will be available during a lapse to support FY 2019 meal service.
Provision of conservation technical and financial assistance (such as Conservation Reserve Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and easement programs). Some farm payments (including direct payments, market assistance loans, market facilitation payments, and disaster assistance programs) will be continued for the first week of a shutdown.
Market Facilitation Program payments.
Trade mitigation purchases made by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
Agricultural export credit and other agricultural trade development and monitoring activities.
USDA’s Market News Service, which provides critically important market information to the agricultural industry.

Chesprocott Offers Cooks Some Food Safety Tips
Source : https://www.cheshireherald.com/articles/chesprocott-offers-cooks-some-food-safety-tips/
By Cheshire Herald (Dec 26, 2018)
Christmas may be over but New Year’s is just a week away, and that means there are still meals to be cooked and celebrations to be had.
Enjoying food with family and friends is one of the highlights of the holiday season and while everyone wants to join in to help, too many cooks in the kitchen can result in an increased risk of food poisoning. As the holiday celebrating season winds down, remember to continue adhering to these food safety tips:
•Wash hands before, during and after food preparation. Proper hand washing may eliminate a large percentage of food poisoning cases. Remember to wash hands when switching tasks, such as handling raw meat and then cutting vegetables.
•Keep kitchen surfaces, such as appliances, countertops, cutting boards and utensils, clean throughout meal preparation with hot, soapy water.
•Always use two cutting boards—one for raw meat, poultry and fish and the other for ready-to-eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
•Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods at the grocery and in the refrigerator. Prevent juices from meat, poultry, and seafood from dripping or leaking onto other foods by keeping them in containers or sealed plastic bags on the bottom shelf in your refrigerator.
•Thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, in a clean sink under cold running water, or in the microwave. Avoid thawing foods on the counter. A turkey must thaw at a safe temperature to prevent harmful germs from growing rapidly. When defrosting in the microwave, cook food immediately.
•Use separate spoons and forks to taste, stir and serve food.
•Meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can carry germs that cause food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to ensure these foods have been cooked to the safe minimum internal temperature. Cook your turkey to a minimum of 165 degrees F.
•Bacteria can grow rapidly at room temperature. Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. The temperature in your refrigerator should be set at or below 40 degrees F and the freezer at or below 0 degrees F.
•Refrigerate food within two hours of serving to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. This is especially important when serving buffets.
•Use a refrigerator thermometer and make sure it’s set below 40 degrees F.
•If taking food to parties, make sure to observe the same safety habits as at home—keep foods well-refrigerated and cook them to proper temperatures.
•When baking, avoid eating foods containing raw eggs or uncooked flour, such as cookie dough or cake batter. Raw eggs and uncooked flour may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.
Use pasteurized eggs for dishes containing raw eggs. Salmonella and other harmful germs can live on both the outside and inside of normal-looking eggs. Many holiday favorites contain raw eggs. Always use pasteurized eggs when making these and other foods made with raw eggs.
For more information, visit www.chesprocott.org or call (203) 272-2761.
*These tips provided by the Chesprocott Health District.

Food Safety News readers are nice, but can you sing?
Source : https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/12/food-safety-news-readers-are-nice-but-can-you-sing/
By Dan Flynn (Dec 24, 2018)
SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN
You better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’ to town, gather all
He’s making a list and checking it twice
He’s gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
He sees you when you’re sleepin’
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake
You better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
With little tin horns and little toy drums
Rooty toot toots and rummy tum tums
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
And curly head dolls that toddle and coo
Elephants, boats, and kiddie cars too
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
The kids in girls and boy land will have a jubilee
They’re gonna build a Toyland town all around the Christmas tree
You better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
He sees you when you’re sleepin’
And he knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake
You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’
You mean, the big fat man with the long white beard
He’s comin’ to town
The Naughty and Nice list on Christmas Eve is a Food Safety News tradition. This year, we are including all Food Safety News subscribers on the Nice list. Whether you’ve been there for years or just signed up last week, please know Food Safety News values your engagement.
Our Naughty list this year includes those responsible for doing the most egregious harm to food safety in the United States. The Naughty list is led by at least four U.S. Senators: Mitch McConnell, R-KY, Chuck Schumer, D-NY, Pat Roberts, R-KS, and Deborah Stabenow, D-MI. McConnell and Schumer are the Senate leaders, and Roberts and Stabenow run the Senate Agriculture Committee.
The four share responsibility for the Senate’s failure in 2018 to confirm the nomination of Dr. Mindry Brashears as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety. Her May 4th appointment did not get a hearing from the Roberts-Stabenow-run Ag Committee until Nov. 28. And while she got a unanimous pass out of the committee on Dec. 5, but McConnell and Schumer had no time for the nation’s top food safety job for a floor vote to confirm the nomination.
The country has now gone for more than 5 years without an Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate as required by law. The post is vacant. It’s duties left to top bureaucrats. The job was created to give food safety some political clout in a department dominated by its marketing and sales functions.
As our only runner-up for this year’s Naughty list is Dt. Brenda Fitzgerald, who quit last January after a short stint as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Dr. Fitzgerald, who was Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Health from 2011 to 2017, got caught with financial holdings that just did not right for a CDC Director. Her trading shares in Japan Tobacco forced her exit from the organization known for fighting tobacco use.
Dr. Robert R. Redfield then was named as the 18th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Caterers ramp up food safety measures for festive season
Source : https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/caterers-ramp-food-safety-measures-festive-season
By David Sun (Dec 24, 2018)
When leaving cookies and milk out for Santa, take the cue from caterers and leave a sign for the "consume by" time.
As the festive season rolls around, two caterers told The New Paper that they are not taking any chances that food might go bad.
In light of the recent food poisoning cases, Neo Group and Four Seasons Group have stepped up checks and implemented strict measures.
The spokesman for Neo Group said it had been sending food samples for laboratory testing weekly during this period, and its food safety officers have also stepped up checks from twice to four times daily.
"Food safety has always been the top priority," she said.
"Each of our kitchens is assigned a qualified food safety officer who is in charge of upholding the food safety management system by conducting routine inspections and audits."
She added that the trend is for demand to rise by 5 per cent during this period.
Ms Joey Lee, the general manager of Four Seasons Group, said that demand for its catering services typically increases twofold during the festive season.
As the number of orders increases, so has the number of checks, she added.
"In working closely with our food hygiene officer, management has put in place stringent processes to maintain the group's strict stance on food safety and hygiene standards," said Ms Lee.
"Inspections are now done daily, as compared to weekly checks during normal operations."
The inspections include the checking of personal protection equipment, the cleanliness of the kitchen, and the health of the food handlers.
She said an immediate stop-work order is given the moment anyone is found to be ill.
The health authorities have also been conducting additional checks on food establishments by actively targeting those that provide catering services.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said in a statement last week that these additional checks will be completed by year-end.
"Following the recent food poisoning incidents, the authorities will continue to place implicated premises under close surveillance and work with them to improve their food hygiene practices," the statement said.
"To further safeguard public health and strengthen our food safety regime, both NEA and AVA have been and will continue to progressively tighten the penalty regime for food hygiene offences, especially by food establishments involved in significant food poisoning incidents."
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