Food Safety

Publisher’s Platform: Food Safety – It’s a Global Issue

Food products now come to the United States from over 250,000 foreign establishments in 200 countries.  Indeed, 15 percent of fruits, 20 percent of vegetables, and 80 percent of seafood come from overseas. And, with the consumption of imported foods growing, we have seen an increase in recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks linked to them.
A few days ago two meat processing plants in the United States, Lancaster Frozen Foods and G&W Inc., recalled nearly 7,000 pounds of ground beef after South Carolina state inspectors found that meat they received from an Australian packing plant was contaminated with potentially deadly E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.  Fortunately, there appear to be no illnesses linked to the meat – yet.
Then there is the ongoing Salmonella outbreak linked to tempeh made by a North Carolina company, Smiling Hara, which purchased Tempeh Starter Yeast from an online Maryland company, which has issued a recall.  As of Thursday, 76 confirmed, 6 probable, and 6 suspected cases have been recorded in five states: 80 in North Carolina, 3 in Georgia, 3 in South Carolina, 1 in Tennessee, and 1 in Michigan.  The recalled starter yeast, imported from Indonesia, was distributed by nationwide and internationally through direct mail order, according to a May 22 company statement that was posted online by the FDA.
Last week, Caribe Produce LTD Co. recalled 286 cases of Papaya Maradol, Caribeña Brand papayas because they might be contaminated with Salmonella.  Routine testing by the company revealed the presence of Salmonella in the papayas, according to the recall notice.  The company says no illnesses have been reported. The recalled Papaya Maradol, Caribeña Brand cases were distributed in the Bronx, New York in wholesale stores and through retail stores from May 14 to May 17, 2012. The papayas were packed in 35 lb. cartons marked with the brand “Caribeña” and “Product of Mexico” stamped on the side. The papayas are sold individually, and each one bears a label that states “3112 CARIBEÑA Papaya MARADOL PRODUCT OF MEXICO”.
Last month the CDC reported that a total of 316 individuals infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Bareilly or Salmonella Nchanga had been reported from 26 states and the District of Columbia. The outbreak announcement was followed by Moon Marine USA Corporation (also known as MMI) of Cupertino, CA recalling 58,828 lbs. of a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, labeled as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA. Nakaochi Scrape is tuna backmeat, which is specifically scraped from the bones, and looks like a ground product. Moon Fishery (India) Pvt. Ltd., the manufacturer of the Yellow Fin Tuna Nakaochi Scrape, also recalled its 22-pound cases of “Tuna Strips” Product of India AA or AAA GRADE because they had the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.


But, do not think that it is just food that is imported to the United States that is a problem.  Our exports have raised concerns abroad, too.

Opinion & Contributed Articles

Letter From The Editor: Blood

Big Fresh has the blood on its hands.
The big fruit and vegetable lobby managed to kill a little food safety program that cost this $3 trillion government a grand total of $5 million annually. Chump change.


Big Fresh meanwhile has its snout so far up the 2012 Farm Bill trough that it’s going to reap hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business for fruit and vegetable growers, thanks to the federal government’s willingness to take our money and put us further in debt.
But nothing for the little “trip wire” that was out there catching pathogens in fruits and vegetables – not even after last year’s cantaloupe-caused Listeria incident that killed more people than any other foodborne illness outbreak in a century.
Big Fresh, also known as the United Fresh Produce Association, through its paid lobbyists, gets the credit for the kill.

Home Grown Salmonella Outbreaks Are On The Rise

Domestically acquired cases of Salmonella enterica infections are on the rise, according to recent study published in the June issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Since the late 1990s, the incidence of Salmonella enterica infections in the U.S. has increased by 44 percent and most of them were acquired from domestic sources, according to the study.



The research team including: Shua J. Chai, Patricia L. White, Sarah L. Lathrop., Suzanne M. Solghan, Carlota Medua, Beth M. McGlinchey, Melissa Tobin-D’Angelo, Ruthanne Marcus and Barbara E. Mahon, says Salmonella infections from domestic sources are a growing problem.

The team analyzed data of Salmonella enterica reported to the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) from 1996 to 2009 and compared it with data collected from other surveillance systems.

Even the Pros Do It: Notable Food Safety Mistakes

As an advocate for food safety, I’m always on the lookout for dangerous cooking practices. I ask for well-done burgers at restaurants, I ask if the steak I’ve ordered is blade- or mechanically-tenderized, and I always order (and cook) eggs over hard or scrambled to 165 degrees F.

It’s especially difficult to see prominent chefs and cookbook authors disregard food safety rules. There are three recent notable food safety mistakes made by experts in the past few days.

Just before the Memorial Day weekend, The New York Times printed an article titled Mayonnaise: Oil, Egg, and a Drop of Magic. It should have been titled Mayonnaise: Oil, Egg, and a Drop of Salmonella. The article gave detailed instructions about how to prepare mayonnaise at home, which is of course delicious. But there was not one word on using pasteurized eggs; in fact, the article urges people to use raw eggs.

According to the CDC, raw and undercooked eggs are implicated in 80% of all Salmonella enteritidis outbreaks where a food source is identified. Eggs are contaminated in the chickens before the shell is formed, because bacteria are in hen’s ovaries. In fact, as of September 4, 2001, all packages of unpasteurized raw shell eggs sold in this country must carry this statement: SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS: To prevent illness from bacteria: Keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs throughly.

On Good Morning America this morning, Emeril Lagasse made that same mistake, singing the praises of homemade mayonnaise made with raw egg.


Read Full Article here




How to pasteurize eggs at home

Pasteurized Eggs
When recipes call for uncooked eggs, many cooks shy away from them. There is good reason for this, of course, since there is a small chance that raw eggs contain salmonella. This is a very small risk to begin with, and few recipes call for uncooked eggs (mayonnaise and some mousses, just to name a few), but you can always pasteurize your eggs to ensure that they are absolutely safe to use even when they are uncooked.

Pasteurized eggs are eggs that are cooked briefly at a high temperature and then cooled. The yolk must reach a temperature of about 138F. Eggs scramble at a much higher temperature, so it is possible to heat the yolk to pasteurize it without cooking the egg. The eggs still have the consistency of raw eggs (and can be used just like them in any recipe) but microbial growth of harmful bacteria is slowed or eliminated. You can buy pasteurized eggs at some markets, but they’re usually difficult to find and expensive. I tend to pasteurize a few eggs at a time before I use them but if you have a feeling you’ll need a lot, you can do it when you first bring eggs home from the market. You can store the pasteurized eggs in the refrigerator (as you would with regular eggs) and not worry about them again.

To pasteurize large eggs, place them in a saucepan filled with water and fitted with a digital thermometer. Turn on the heat and bring the water up to 140F.
Keep the water temperature at 140F for 3 minutes (and no more than 142F), reducing the heat on the burner if necessary. Remove eggs from hot water and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
Store in the refrigerator until needed or use right away.
Jumbo sized eggs need to 5 minutes in 140F water.

Eggs in a pot

Disclaimer: I feel compelled to mention that I cannot absolutely guarantee that this method is going to completely eliminate the 1 in 20,000 chance that an egg you have might have salmonella, although as long as your egg reaches the appropriate temperature, it should be effective.
This is a method that I, and many friends who are chefs/culinary professionals,  use to pasteurize our eggs when we need them. The vast majority of bacteria associated with an egg is found on the eggshell. The fresher your eggs are, the better they are. You can buy pasteurized eggs in some grocery stores and you can read more about egg safety here.
Naturally, I would recommend that anyone pregnant, etc. avoid raw eggs just to be on the safe side.



Nitre Powder May Have Hazardous Sodium Nitrate Levels

Hocean, Inc. of Commerce City, CA is recalling all Nitre Powder, a kind of curing salt, that has the potential to be contaminated with higher levels of sodium nitrite. Consumption of hazardous amounts of sodium nitrites can lead to life-threatening illness and/or death.


The Food and Drug Administration contacted Hocean, Inc. after receiving a complaint. When a tested sample resulted in confirmation of high levels of sodium nitrite, Hocean, Inc. agreed to recall the product.

Protein Powders Recalled in Canada for Undeclared Gluten

In Canada, two varieties of Designer Whey protein powder have been recalled because they contain undeclared gluten. Gluten can cause severe illness and reactions in those sensitive to the protein, such as those with celiac disease.

Product details:


Read Full Article Here



Articles of Interest

How pure and natural is your orange juice?

One of the reasons it’s so hard for many people
to eat smart, healthy food is the level of deception
practiced on us by the food industry.

This one has practically everyone fooled.

How “fresh” and “pure” is the orange juice sold
at your friendly neighborhood supermarket?

Uploaded by on Jun 12, 2009

Yale University Press author Alissa Hamilton fields questions from CBC’s Nancy Wilson about her new book, “Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice”, and her research on the orange juice industry.



USDA Research: Healthy Food Is Not More Expensive

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently conducted an analysis about the cost of health foods. Many people say that convenience foods such as fast food meals, and junk foods such as chips and candy, are cheaper than nutrient dense foods. The study is titled Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? It Depends on How You Measure the Price.

When measured on a price per calorie basis, that’s true. French fries or potato chips are cheaper, per calorie, than strawberries or celery. But when measured by weight, nutritive value, and portion size, the healthy foods are less expensive than junk food.

It’s a sad fact that most American diets do not meet USDA and FDA recommendations. Healthy foods are defined as foods that “contain only moderate amounts of saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium”, as well as food that contains at least half the portion size used to measure nutrients in that particular food.


Read Full Article Here




Pink Slime or Orange Oil? Orange Essential Oils Can Combat E.coli

Used in surface applications at cold temperatures, orange essential oils can inhibit the growth of E. coli O157:H7, according to the results of a new study published in a May issue of The Journal of Food Science.

The five-member research teamed included Sean J. Pendleton, Philip G. Crandall, Steven C. Ricke and Corliss A. O’Bryan from the Center for Food Safety-IFSE and Food Science Dept. at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville; and Lawrence Goodridge, from the Dept. of Animal Sciences, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

They examined the antimicrobial efficacy of cold pressed Valencia orange oil on three strains of E. coli O157:H7 at three temperatures: 37° C, 10° C and 4° C. Orange oil solutions of various concentrations were made. Results showed that after six hours:


Read Full Article Here


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