Tag Archive: cantaloupe


Food Safety

Authorities Unable to Find Source of Neff’s Picnic E. coli 0157:H7 Outbreak

Food Poisoning Bulletin

Dayton & Montgomery County public health authorities have been unable to find the cause of the E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak that sickened 79 people and killed one person. Two people contracted secondary cases of the infection from person-to-person contact. The outbreak was linked to the Neff’s Lawn Care customer appreciation picnic that took place in Germantown, Ohio on July 3, 2012.

Of those sickened in the outbreak, twenty people tested positive for the outbreak strain of the bacteria and 14 people were hospitalized. Three of those hospitalized developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, and one 73-year-old man died. The investigation covered where the foods at the picnic came from, how the food was stored, handled, and maintained before and at the event, and an environmental assessment of the site.

Authorities also interviewed 117 people who attended the picnic, and conducted an epidemiological analysis of that data. In addition, the Ohio Department of health, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the USDA were involved in the investigation.

The outbreak investigation began on July 9, but by that time there were no foods left for authorities to examine. The food at the picnic was provided by the host, Neff’s Lawn Care, and by attendees who brought their own food. The food served at the picnic included two hogs that were roasted off-site and delivered to the picnic, along with hamburgers and hot dogs. None of the meat items, which are typically the source of E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria, were conclusively linked to the outbreak.

Authorities also took water samples of the wells at the picnic site, and environmental samples at the farm where the hogs were produced and slaughtered. Because there was no inventory of carried-in foods, most of the food items were not analyzed. The picnic was not a licensed event so it was unregulated, so PHDMC couldn’t verify cooking, cooling, holding, or reheating temperatures or food handling practices.

The report ends with these words: “This outbreak illustrates the importance of proper food handling as CDC estimates that about 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne illness.

Authorities Offer Advice on Cantaloupe During Salmonella Outbreak

Food Poisoning Bulletin

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies, including some university extension services, are issuing guides for consumers about cantaloupe and the recent Salmonella outbreak. The outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium announced this past week has many consumers uneasy about buying and eating melons. Because the government has not said which facilities bought the cantaloupe for resale, the CDC is telling consumers to check with their retailer if the cantaloupe came from Chamberlain Farms Produce, Inc. Supermarkets must tell you the origin of a product if you ask. Fred Pritzker, national food safety attorney, says, “I wonder when we are going to see a retail distribution list for this Salmonella outbreak?”

While stickers to identify the source are often added to produce, they sometimes won’t stick to the webbed surface of cantaloupe. That’s why it’s important to always ask about the source. And when in doubt, throw it out.

University of Iowa Extension has a fact sheet about the safe purchase and handling of fresh cantaloupe. And Purdue Extension has created a guide to help consumers stay healthy when eating cantaloupes and other produce. If the cantaloupe you are purchasing is not part of the recall, it is safe to eat as long as it is properly stored and prepared.

When you purchase cantaloupe, look for fruit with a complete rind that does not have cracks, breaks, bruises, soft spots, or mold. Always refrigerate cantaloupes to help slow the growth of bacteria. In fact, advice on keeping melons in the fridge is similar to advice for perishable foods; don’t leave sliced or cut melons out of refrigeration for more than two hours.

You should always scrub cantaloupes under running water with a brush before eating. Dry the melon before cutting it. Wash the knife after every cut from the rind into the flesh. And make sure you disinfect surfaces and utensils that come into contact with the cantaloupe rind.

But be aware that thorough cleaning will not remove all of the bacteria that may be present on the fruit. And in this particular outbreak, the FDA stated, “If consumers believe they have cantaloupe from this farm, they should not try to wash the harmful bacteria off the cantaloupe as contamination may be both on the inside and outside of the cantaloupe.”

Get a free Salmonella case review here.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing the symptoms of Salmonella, which include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting, see your health care provider immediately. If you have eaten cantaloupe recently, make sure you tell the doctor about it. Long-term consequences of a Salmonella infection can be severe, including Reiter’s syndrome, which causes reactive arthritis, and bloodstream infections.

Food Safety Advocates to USDA: Require Labeling for Tenderized Meat

Consumers should know this meat requires a higher cooking temp, group says

Food Safety News

A group of food safety advocates is calling on the Obama Administration to make good on its proposal to require labeling for mechanically tenderized meat.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Friday, the Safe Food Coalition called on the agency to require that mechanically tenderized meat bear a label that includes instructions on how to safely cook this meat.
mechanical-tenderizer.jpgIn the past, USDA has differentiated mechanically tenderized steaks–which have been probed with a series of small metal blades or needles–from “intact” steaks, which it says need only be cooked to 145 degrees F because bacteria does not penetrate into the middle of intact cuts. Mechanically tenderized cuts, however, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, like ground beef, to allow for the fact that bacteria may have penetrated further into the meat.
In January of 1999, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service listed mechanically tenderized meat as a non-intact meat in its policy on beef products at risk of contamination with E. coli O157:H7.
“Pathogens may be introduced below the surface of these products as a result of the processes by which they are made,” said the agency.
According to research from Kansas State University, approximately 3 to 4 percent of E. coli bacteria can be carried from the surface of contaminated meat to the inside of the beef product.
However, the agency does not currently require a label on tenderized steaks indicating that they should be cooked to a higher temperature.
“Without a label to identify mechanically treated meat products, along with information to help mitigate the risk, the unsuspecting purchasers of these products – whether they are restaurant cooks or consumers – will have no idea that the product that they have selected needs additional protective handling and preparation,” says the Safe Food Coalition letter, signed by member groups.
In March of this year, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) submitted a rule to the federal Office of Management and Budget suggesting that “raw, needle or blade, mechanically tenderized, meat and poultry products be labeled to indicate that they are ‘mechanically tenderized.’ It goes on to propose that tenderized meat labels “include cooking instructions that have been validated to ensure adequate pathogen destruction.”
Mechanically tenderized beef products were implicated in at least 6 E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks between 2003 and 2009. The latest – in December of 2009 – sickened at least 21 people in 16 states.
The American Meat Institute says that tenderization is not necessarily what led to contamination in these outbreaks, and that evidence shows mechanically tenderized steaks are no riskier than intact ones.
In February of 2010, AMI said it had reviewed outbreaks linked to tenderized meat and determined that all meat implicated in these outbreaks had been further altered beyond tenderization.
“From this review AMI has determined that all of the recalls due to outbreaks were related to the consumption of marinated or enhanced steak products,” said AMI Vice President of Food Safety and Inspection Services Scott Goltry.
“Because blade-tenderized steaks have been found to be comparable in safety, we don’t believe that special labeling declaring the mechanical tenderization process will provide meaningful or actionable information to consumers,” said the American Meat Institute in 2009 in response to calls for mandatory labeling of tenderized steaks.
Dr. Richard Raymond, who was Undersecretary for Food Safety at USDA from 2005-2008, says the idea of requiring a label on mechanically tenderized meat came up in internal meetings at FSIS while he was in office, but that he decided against it given the small number of illnesses that had been linked to these meats at the time and the potential damage it could do to the industry.
“I felt the risk was not significant enough to require a labeling process,” Raymond told Food Safety News.
“In theory, it is absolutely possible that you can drive bacteria into the inner part of the steak. In actuality, there haven’t been that many illnesses linked to blade-tenderized steaks,” says Raymond.
“If you choose to put it on the label people are going to say, ‘Well what does that mean?’ You have to have an explanation if you say it’s been mechanically tenderized,” he says. “A lot of people wouldn’t buy a steak that had that label on it because they’re not going to cook them well-done. It’s like putting the radura symbol on meat that’s been irradiated. It’s scary. It will make people think the product is less reliable.”
Current Undersecretary for Food Safety Dr. Elizabeth Hagen pushed for acceptance of the proposal to label mechanically tenderized meats in front of the House Appropriations committee in March.
“We do believe (mechanically tenderized meats) should be labeled. This is important information for consumers to have.”
The rule is still under review at OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Study Measures Campylobacter Contamination in Skinless, Boneless Retail Broiler Meat

Food Safety  News

A study published August 24 in BMC Microbiology by Aretha Williams and Omar A Oyarzabal reported on the prevalence of Campylobacter species in skinless, boneless retail broiler meat.

The study was conducted in Alabama between 2005 and 2011, and resulted in the findings that Campylobacter bacteria could be found in 41 percent of retail broiler meat samples on a yearly basis, with no statistical difference in the presence of bacteria from year to year during the study’s time-frame.  No statistical significance was found between the prevalence of Campylobacter jejuni from season to season, but a statistical significance was found in the prevalence of Campylobacter coli found in skinless, boneless retail broiler meat seasonally.

The study shows that the prevalence of Campylobacter coli varied by brand, plant, season, state, store and year, while the prevalence of Campylobacter jejuni varied by brand, product, state and store. Tenderloins had a lower prevalence of Campylobacter species than breasts and thighs.

The authors concluded that while the prevalence of Campylobacter bacteria did not change during the seven years of study, it did change when analyzed by brand, product and state and that additional assessment should be conducted to determine the recurrence of specific strains of Campylobacter bacteria in poultry, to help predict the risk associated with each strain.

Salmonella Outbreak In Canada Linked To Mexican Mangoes

Food Poisoning Bulletin

A Salmonella outbreak linked to mangoes produced in Mexico has sickened at least 22 people in Canada, according to the public health agency of Canada. The mangoes were produced by the Daniella company of Mexico and distributed July 12-August 14 by importer North American Produce Sales, Vancouver, BC.

So far, 17 people in British Columbia and 5 people in Alberta have been sickened by the outbreak strain Salmonella Braenderup. North American Produce Sales has issued a recall of the mangoes which were distributed to British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon. The recall is being monitored by Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

 Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause serious sometimes fatal illness if in ingested. Symptoms of an infection usually develop within six to 72 hours after exposure and last up to seven days. They include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. If the diarrhea is so severe that dehydration occurs, hospitalization wis required.  Cases where the infection moves from the gastro-intestinal tract to the the bloodstream can be fatal if not treated with antibiotics. Those most at risk are young children, seniors and people who have compromised immune systems.

The recalled were sold whole by a variety of retailers and had stickers bearing PLU# 4959. Consumers who have purchased these mangoes should not eat them. This outbreak does not include any cases patients from the U.S. The Public Health Agency of Canada says it will update the number of illnesses weekly during the course of the investigation.

California Investigating 73 Illnesses Linked to Salmonella Mangoes

Food Safety News

mangoesB_iphone.jpgCalifornia health officials are investigating 73 illnesses potentially linked to Salmonella-contaminated mangoes, the California Department of Public Health said Monday.

The news comes two days after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced a recall of mangoes imported from Mexico after several illnesses were linked to consuming the fruit.

Both California and Canada are investigating the same strain: Salmonella Braenderup.

“Preliminary data indicate that mango consumption is associated with an increase in the number of Salmonella Braenderup cases in California,” said CDPH spokesman Matt Conens. “As of today, there are 73 cases with this outbreak strain that have been confirmed.”

Of the patients who have been interviewed, 67 percent reported eating mangoes, according to Conens, but state officials said they have not yet identified specific mango brand or source yet.

The state agency said it is coordinating investigation with other states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as Canadian health officials.

Over the weekend, Canada recalled Daniella brand mangoes that were sold in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon between July 12 and August 14. The fruit, which were sold individually, may bear a sticker reading PLU# 4959.

5 of 7 E. coli Cases in Western New York Linked; Source a Mystery

Water is a suspect for five E. coli O157:H7 cases in Livingston County, New York that are related, but tests so far have turned out to be negative.
That leaves health officials in western New York State with a bit of a mystery.
As first reported on Aug. 20, 7 people in Livingston County were stricken with E. coli infections; 4 required hospitalization.  The onset of confirmed illnesses was recorded between Aug. 6 and 24 with those infected being from age 22 to 67.

Ecoliarrows_320x175.jpg

Health officials were able to identify a common outbreak strain for 5 of the 7 cases. Water in the geographic area where victims live has tested negative for E. coli contamination. While all 7 cases are geographically clustered, health officials said they do not all share the same source of public water. That includes the 5 cases linked with the common strain.
Livingston County Public Health Director Joan Ellison says the investigation is only at its halfway point and the possibility of water being a common source has not yet been ruled out.
Ellison Monday renewed a public health warning for Livingston County. The alert reminds the public that severe and persistent diarrhea, some bloody, are among the classic symptoms for E. coli infection.
The warning also makes it clear that while E. coli is a pathogen that is is harbored in the intestines of animals and normally transmitted through feces, it can also be spread by other means including by washing fruits and vegetables.

Cantaloupe Food Safety Solutions Leave Consumers Praying

Market food safety at retail

Food Safety News

Opinion
Tim Chamberlain seems like a nice enough guy. According to the Indianapolis Star he started growing cantaloupe and watermelon on an acre of land and now, 30 years later, he and his wife, Mia, have built Chamberlain Farms into a midsized melon-growing operation, with 500 acres and about 20 employees.

CantaloupeHalfMoonMain.jpg

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced earlier this week that the Chamberlains’ southwestern Indiana farm “may be one source of contamination” in the salmonella outbreak that has killed two people in Kentucky and sickened 178 people in 21 states.
The story says it’s difficult for the 48-year-old father of four to imagine that his farm could have been a source of such tragedy. He doesn’t believe his farm was the source of contamination, though he emphasized that he is not disputing anything public health authorities have said.
Dan Egel, a Purdue Extension specialist in Vincennes, Ind., said Chamberlain
has worked closely with the Extension Service over the years on disease and pest control though not specifically on food safety.
And that could be the biggest clue until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration releases its inevitable report documenting faith-based food safety.
(Updated: Dan Egel writes, “The reason that Tim Chamberlain and I never spoke about food safety is because food safety is not my specialty. I know for certain that Tim interacted with other Purdue University specialists that are experts on food safety.”)
The effect on others is staggering: Vernon Stuckwish of Stuckwish Family Farms in Jackson County said that initial stigma has “already pretty much destroyed our market.”
Like any other major outbreak, there’s lots of commentary about how the outbreak confirms preexisting notions: that more needs to be done, that federal regulations would have made a difference, that there should be more testing. After 20 years of watching and participating in this food safety stuff, the lack of imagination and creativity is staggering.
Victims and consumers remain the stray sheep in the food safety marketplace.
As pointed out by News-Sentinel.com, knowing the name of Tim Chamberlain’s farm does nothing to help consumers. All the talk of traceability is a joke and consumers have no microbial food safety choice at retail.
Hucksters who promote produce on trust alone are no better than snake-oil salesthingies:
Kelly’s Fruit Market in Madison County is taking extra steps to make sure its customers are safe. “We have the finest produce in Madison County,” explains Kelly Ratliff, owner of Kelly’s Fruit Market. “We know exactly where all of our produce is coming from and we always make sure it’s the highest quality … with most of our produce that we have and that we sell I can tell you every single growers name, who grows it where it’s grown and a little bit about their family.”
But can you tell me their water quality testing results? What soil amendments are used? The verification of employee handwashing and sanitation?
Cantaloupe growers in other parts of the country are frustrated. Probably not as much as the families of the dead and sickened, but frustrated.
Trevor Suslow, research extension specialist at the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California-Davis, said he thought more could have been done to educate growers across the country about safe harvesting, handling and distribution in the wake of last year’s deadly listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo.
“I think there was a missed opportunity,” Suslow said Aug. 23. “I wish we could have done a better job of getting existing information to county extension agents and others who were already engaged with the smaller growers.”
But what about missed opportunities over the past decade? As noted in The Packer, the 10-year anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration’s import alert on Mexican cantaloupe is near, enacted after outbreaks three years in a row (and two deaths) traced to those melons. In doing so, the FDA basically killed Mexican cantaloupes to the U.S. for a few years, giving rise to offshore melon deals in Central and South America.

cantaloupe_salmonella(27).jpg

The clampdown on Mexican growers forced U.S. import partners to work on food safety protocols for fields and packinghouses in Guerrero, the origin of the banned cantaloupes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Mexican counterpart, SAGARPA, had to sign off on each facility before it was allowed to ship to the U.S. again.
The U.S. farms central to cantaloupe outbreaks and recalls probably wouldn’t have passed similar scrutiny.
With 10 years of guidelines, endless outbreaks, the lack of solutions remains stunning.
The Packer is finally catching on to the notion of marketing food safety at retail, which we’ve been advocating since the 2006 E. coli-in-spinach outbreak.
“The unwritten rule in the produce industry is that a company should not market its product as safer than a competitor’s.
 
“The thinking is that once consumers get in their heads that a fruit or vegetable is more safe, that means another is less safe, and then maybe they’ll avoid the commodity or category altogether.
 
“But what if your company or growing region has a strong food safety record, drafted best practices documents, followed and documented them, and then suffers for the second year in a row as a different region’s product kills consumers?”
Someone could at least try marketing microbial food safety at retail. Nothing else seems to be working. And maybe Tim Chamberlain would be more accountable.
food_safe_culture_market(2)(2).jpg
This article was originally published August 25, 2012 on Barfblog. The bottom two images are courtesy of Dr. Douglas Powell. 
 

Yes on Prop 37 Addresses Myths and Facts

Food Poisoning Bulletin

Stacy Malkan of California Right to Know 2012 recently sent us a fact sheet to address some of the questions about Proposition 37. That ballot initiative would require food companies to label foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO) or genetically engineered foods (GE).

While No on 37 has stated that the American Medical Association has said GE foods are safe, they do not mention that both the AMA and the World Health Organization has said mandatory safety studies on these foods should be required. The U.S. government does not require any safety studies for GE foods, and no long-term human health studies have ever been conducted on these products.

According to WHO, there are three main issues with GE foods: “tendencies to provoke allergic reaction (allergenicity), gene transfer, and outcrossing.” In fact, WHO is concerned about the possibility of the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from GMO foods to humans. And WHO does say that GMO foods have passed “risk assessments”, and are “not likely to present risks for human health.” The WHO statement mentions that “post market monitoring” should be used to evaluate the safety of GE foods.

One of the No on 37 claims is that Prop 37 will raise the cost of groceries by hundreds of dollars a year. A study done on the economic impact of Prop 37 at Emory University School of Law concluded that “Consumers will likely see no increases in prices as a result of the relabeling required.” As to whether Prop 37 will generate lots of “frivolous” lawsuits, James C. Cooper at George Mason University of Law compared the costs of California Prop 65, which forced companies to provide warnings to consumers if their products exposed them to chemicals that may harm them, to Prop 37. He found that Proposition 37 will be unlikely to result in frivolous lawsuits.

Canadian, U.S. Recalls of Daniella Mangoes for Salmonella Expand; Outbreak Grows

Food Poisoning Bulletin

The Canadian and U.S. recalls of Daniella mangoes imported from Mexico have expanded. The mangeos were sold as individual fruit or as part of a multi-pack. The sticker on the fruit recalled in Canada has the PLU number 4959 or 4051. The mangoes were sold at various stores between July 12, 2012 and August 28, 2012. They may have been distributed nationally. The importer, Mex Y Can Trading Inc. is voluntarily recalling the mangoes from the marketplace.

Consumers are advised to contact their retailers to find out if they have the affected mangoes. Stores are supposed to know where their produce came from and they should tell you when you ask. There have been 22 people in Canada sickened by Salmonella Branderup, the outbreak strain found on the mangoes. The case count by province is Alberta (5) and British Columbia (17).

Salmonella infection symptoms include high fever, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Anyone who has eaten mangoes in the past week and is suffering these symptoms should see a healthcare provider immediately. For questions, call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342.

In the United States, the CDC has released a statement by email. In it, they say that 101 cases with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Branderup have been reported to PulseNet since July 1, 2012. Not all states have reported yet, so the number of cases per state are as follows: California (75), New York (3), Oregon (1), Washington (6), and Texas (2). About two-thirds of the California victims reported eating mangoes the week before they became ill.

Get Salmonella help here.

The California Department of Health is leading the investigation, with the CDC assisting. The PFGE pattern of the outbreak strain matches the pattern of the bacteria found on mangoes recalled in Canada. The email states, “preliminary information indicates that mangoes are also a likely source for the illnesses in the United States.”

In the U.S., stores that have recalled Mexican mangoes include: Copps, Costco, Giant Food, Mariano’s, Martin’s Food Market, Metro Market, Pick ‘n Save, Rainbow, Stop & Shop, and TOP Food and Drug. The PLU numbers of the recalled mangoes include 4959, 4051, 4321, 4311, 4961, and 4584, and 3114. Not all stores have recalled all of the PLU numbered mangoes

FDA Tests Confirm Cantaloupe From Indiana Farm Is An Outbreak Source

Food Poisoning Bulletin

Lab tests on samples of cantaloupe from Chamberlain Farms of Owensville, Indiana confirm that the melons are a source of a deadly Salmonella outbreak that has killed two people and sickened 176 others in 21 states, according to the latest information from the U.S. Food and Dug Administration (FDA). The DNA fingerprint of the Salmonella Typhimurium found in the cantaloupe samples is a genetic match to the one found in victims of the outbreak, results of the lab test show. The FDA’s sampling and testing of the cantaloupe were conducted in cooperation with the Indiana State Department of Health, the agency said.

Confirmation that the cantaloupe is a source of the outbreak comes one week after the farm in southwestern Indiana announced a recall of melons which have sickened a total of 178 people. By state, the tally of confirmed cases is as follows: Alabama (13), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (3), Illinois (21), Indiana (18), Iowa (7), Kentucky (56), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (6), Minnesota (4), Mississippi (5), Missouri (12), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (3), Ohio (4), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (2), and Wisconsin (4). Sixty two people have been hospitalized, the two people who died were from Kentucky.

Get your free consultation with an attorney here.

Prior to the recall, Chamberlain Farms had withdrawn cantaloupe from the market and stopped distribution for the rest of the growing season based on preliminary information from the FDA. The formal recall was announced to speed removal of the product from the market and raise public awareness, the agency said. A retail distribution list has not been released. However, Kroger, Marsh, Meijer, Schnucks and Walmart have all removed cantaloupe from their store shelves.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, abdominal cramps, fever and diarrhea which usually set in six to 72 hours after exposure and last up to seven days. Health officials recommend that anyone who develops these symptoms should see a health care provider.

Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 Changes School Lunch Meals

Food Poisoning Bulletin

School Lunch TraySchool starts again next week for many kids; lots of kids are already in school! While a new school year always brings changes, this year the school lunch is changing. In January 2012, one year after the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010 was signed into law, the USDA issued their final, updated standards for school meals.

The main purpose of the Act is to improve the nutrition of foods served at school to help kids achieve better nutrition and to reduce the skyrocketing childhood obesity rate. The core Child Nutrition Programs at the USDA, including the National School Lunch program, School Breakfast program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, WIC, and the Summer Food Service Programs, were reauthorized by the Act.

The Act includes the first major changes to these programs in more than 15 years. More than 32 million students each a lunch at school, and more than 12 million eat breakfast at school every day. The standards in the Act were built on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine.

Now, fruits and vegetables will be offered to kids every day of the week. Whole grain foods will be offered more often, and only fat-free or low-fat milk will be available. Proper portion size will be adhered to, and the program increases the focus on reducing saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars, and sodium.

These changes will be phased in over the next three years so it will be easier for schools to comply with the new law. To help pay for these changes, the USDA has implemented the “6-cent rule”, that gives schools an additional 6 cents for every lunch served that meets the new standards. That is the first increase above the rate of inflation in more than 30 years.

****************************************************************************************************************

Recalls

True Nutrition Recalls Whey Protein Products for Undeclared Milk

Food Poisoning Bulletin

True Nutrition is recalling some of its whey protein products because labels do not declare milk as the source of the whey. Milk is one of the major food allergens. Anyone who is allergic to milk and consumes these products may have a severe or life-threatening reaction. You can see all of the product labels at the FDA site.

The products are: Whey Protein Concentrate in 1 pound packages, with Batch/lot number 0120712, and expiration date of 05/2015. Whey Protein Isolate Cold-Filtration in 1 pound packages, with Batch/lot number 0030812 and expiration date 07/2015. Whey Protein Isolate MicroFiltrated in 1 pound packages, with Batch/lot number 0040812 and expiration date 07/2015. Whey Protein Isolate Cross-Flow Microfiltration in 1 pound packages with Batch/lot number 0730712 and expiration date 07/2015. And Hydrolyzed Whey Protein High Grade in 1 pound packages with Batch/lot number 0680512 and expiration date 05/2015.

Most people allergic to milk know that whey protein is derived from milk, but the company is recalling the products. The Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, and Hydrolyzed Whey Protein were distributed through the website True Nutrition. For questions, call Carl Manes at 760-433-5376 Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm PT.

Expired Bagged Salad Recalled by Fresh Express

Food Safety News

Fresh Express, Inc. announced Sunday that the company was recalling a limited quantity of expired 10 oz. Hearts of Romaine salad with the expired Use-by Date of August 23, 2012 as a precaution due to a positive test for Listeria monocytogenes.  Product codes associated with the recall begin with “G2222”.

According to a company press release, Fresh Express customer service representatives are contacting retailers to confirm the product was removed from their inventories and store shelves.

Thumbnail image for choppedromainelettuce-406.jpgWhile it is unlikely that consumers would have the expired Hearts of Romaine salads in their refrigerators, Fresh Express encourages anyone who finds the products to discard the salad.  The recall was issued after a sample of a package of 10 oz. Hearts of Romaine salad tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes during U.S. Food and Drug Administration random sampling.

Fresh Express stated that the UPC Code of 71279 26102, located on the back of the package below the barcode, would help identify recalled product, which was distributed in limited quantities to the following states:  AL, AR, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV.

Sausage in Canada Recalled for Possible Listeria

Food Poisoning Bulletin

The CFIA and Odra Deli and Wholesale Meat Ltd. are recalling Krakowska Sausage because it may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

The sausage was sliced and sold to customers in different weight packages from the deli counter at the Odra Deli and Wholesale Meat Ltd. in Mississauga, Ontario from August 9 to August 20, 2012. For questions, call Mike at Odra Deli and Wholesale Meat Ltd. at 416-888-5577, or the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342.

Listeria bacteria do not make foods look, smell, or taste spoiled. The bacteria may cause an illness with symptoms of high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, and nausea. Pregnant women may suffer miscarriage or stillbirth from these infections. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems can have serious complications from listeriosis.

****************************************************************************************************************

Articles of Interest

Wenonah Hauter Rips FDA’s Probe Of Contaminated Dog Treats From China

Food Poisoning Bullletin

Food and Water Watch’s Wenonah Hauter says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has failed to protect dogs from serious illness caused by contaminated jerky treats from China. In a scathing statement released Friday, Hauter, the organization’s executive director,  blasted the FDA’s handling of a five-year probe of  illnesses and deaths linked to chicken jerky dog treats from China.

Since 2007, thousands of dogs have become sick or died after eating jerky treats made in China. This week, the FDA released heavily redacted reports of  April inspections of Chinese manufacturing facilities and revealed  that China refused to let inspectors collect samples for independent analysis.”The FDA waited until it received 2,000 reports of illnesses and deaths in U.S. dogs before launching its investigation. Although the China investigation took place in April, it took the FDA four months to admit that they were denied permission from collecting samples from the Chinese facilities. As the FDA dragged its feet, the suspect treats remained on store shelves and put thousands of dogs at risk,” Hauter said in a statement.

“What’s more disgraceful than the FDA’s dawdling is the fact that it has full authority under Section 306 of the Food Safety Modernization Act to refuse shipments of these treats from China now. Enough is enough. It’s time for the FDA to issue an import alert on all pet food manufactured in China before more animals and the humans that love them suffer needlessly,” she said.

Although numerous tests have been performed on the treats over the last five years, the FDA has been unable to discover what about them makes dogs so sick.  Private diagnostic labs have now been recruited to solve the mystery, In the meantime, consumers should not buy dog or pet food treats made in China.

Salmonella Cantaloupe Lawsuits against Walmart and Chamberlain Farms Filed on Behalf of Children

Cantaloupe Recall OutbreakOne lawsuit has been filed against Walmart and Chamberlain Farms, of Owensville, Indiana, on behalf of two children, siblings, who were diagnosed with Salmonella Typhimurium after eating cantaloupe purchased at a Michigan Walmart store. Another lawsuit has has been filed against Chamberlain Farms on behalf of another child from Michigan. According to the lawsuits, the children are part of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections that have been linked to cantaloupe grown by Chamberlain Farms and distributed to retailers, including Walmart, in several states.

Kentucky has been hardest hit, with over 50 confirmed cases of illness and two deaths. To date, the CDC has reported illnesses in the following states: Alabama (13), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (3), Illinois (21), Indiana (18), Iowa (7), Kentucky (56), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (6), Minnesota (4), Mississippi (5), Missouri (12), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (3), Ohio (4), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (2), and Wisconsin (4).

These lawsuits represent the first of many that attorneys anticipate will be filed on behalf of the more than 170 victims of the cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak. “Victims of this outbreak and their families should be compensated for medical expenses, lost income, physical pain, emotional distress and other damages,” said attorney Fred Pritzker, national Salmonella lawyer and food safety advocate. “Businesses responsible for growing and selling contaminated food need to be held accountable, and these lawsuits accomplish that.”

According to Pritzker, who represents Salmonella food poisoning victims throughout the United States, these kinds of cases generally make claims under three theories of liability: strict liability, negligence and breach of contract. “Food sold for human consumption should be always be free of dangerous pathogens like Salmonella,” said Pritzker.

Valley Meats Disputes State Fine For Improper Cow Disposal

Food Safety News

New Mexico’s Valley Meat Co. is appealing a state fine of $86,400 for improper disposal of composted cattle remains.
Valley Meat gained notoriety earlier this year when it applied to USDA for equine inspection services to open a horse slaughter facility for export at its closed beef plant near Roswell, NM.

arkansasfairhorse_320x175.jpg

The New Mexico Environment Department issued a compliance order Aug 2, citing Valley Meat for failure to register as a compositing facility for property located near the slaughterhouse, and for failing to properly dispose of solid waste.
Valley Meat received the order and notice about the fine by e-mail on Aug. 14. Company attorney A. Blair Dunn said Valley Meat would file an appeal and request a hearing by state officials.
New Mexico’s order came after a 2 year stand off over Valley Meat’s failure to move a 400 ton pile of composted cattle remains because a local landfill could not receive the waste due to state restrictions.
As for registering the site, Dunn says the state lost two previous applications and then took the position that the third one was not filed in a timely manner.
After President Obama and Congress last year lifted a 5 year ban on horse slaughter inspection, Valley Meats filed an application that is still pending for equine inspection services at the closed facility it had once used for beef.
Horse slaughter opponents sought to discredit Valley Meats in its application for equine inspections by using the two-year-old problem with the pile of dead cows at the Roswell plant.
An inspector for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service had first questioned the 15-foot pile of rotting cow flesh in January 2010.
Valley may resume beef operations while it waits for action on its request for equine inspection services.

I am going to be posting this one in its  entirety along  with  comments from readers.  The  purpose  for my posting  it is that there  is  so much that  is said  and presented  from  so many  different  facets and mindsets  that  I think it  presents a  varied  look into this  very  hotly  debated  subject.  Animals  rights, humane  treatment,  failure  of  the  meat  industry  to be held responsible  for its many inhumane  practices in  their  goal to increase their  bottom line  at  any  cost, Government  responsibility,  food borne illness and the  correlation between  animal treatment  and  the safety of our  food  supply

If  you wish  to respond  directly to the comments  included here  , please do so by  visiting the  site via  the link in the title of the  article.  As these  comments  were  placed   there  rather than  here   I  feel it  would be  counter  productive   for replies to be  placed  here  on this  blog  rather than where  they belong,  on the original  article.  Thank you

Central Valley Meat Company: USDA Did its Job, OK?

Food Safety News
Opinion

On August 19, 2012, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) ordered its inspection staff at Central Valley Meat (CVM) to go home. Because the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) of 1906 requires inspection by USDA to be continuous during slaughter of cattle, this USDA action essentially shuttered the plant for the time being.

beefcattle-usda406x250.jpgThis action at CVM has been well documented at Food Safety News and many other electronic Ag and Meat journals. The reporting has been fair and complete, but the discussions that have followed have been, at times, so inaccurate and unfair that I have felt the need to respond in some detail.

I was at the USDA on February 1, 2008, when a similar action was taken at Hallmark/Westland meats. There are similarities and there are differences, but the role of the USDA was the same at both plants.

First, the similarities:

Undercover agents working at slaughter plants as undercover agents for the Humane Society of the United States (Hallmark/Westland) and Compassion Over Killing (CVM)  used hidden cameras to film egregious inhumane handling of cows.

Both animal rights groups have an agenda that includes preventing the killing of animals for human consumption. This agenda can be moved forward with disgustingly shocking videos, and by driving the cost of meat up by necessitating changes in the slaughter and fabricating processes.

Both plants slaughtered a very large number of old, culled dairy cows and sold beef to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

If you want to get the public’s attention using video, you want to go to a facility that slaughters old dairy cows and then sells the meat to the NSLP. As opposed to 20-30 month old steers that have been content to eat grain in a feedlot, these cows are often 10-12 years of age, and are often not in good enough shape to handle a ride of even a few miles in hot weather.

They sometimes are sick, they always are old, and they often lay down to rest and refuse to get up. And here lies the opportunity for video if the plant is not impeccable in its handling of these non-ambulatory or “downer” animals.

But on with the similarities:

Each plant had an inspection work force felt to be adequate to assure our meat was safe. That work force would include on-line inspectors whose only opportunity to observe inhumane handling would be coming to and going from work plus break time, time which is officially their own, not the plant’s or the USDA’s.

There might be one or two off-line inspectors with multiple responsibilities.

There would also be a Public Health Veterinarian on duty. S/He is responsible in most plants to observe animals in motion and at rest to screen for Central Nervous System disorders such as BSE and other chronic disease manifestations.

But this individual is also usually responsible for carcass by carcass inspection after the hide has been pulled off. At Hallmark, this individual was condemning about 20 carcasses per day to protect you and me.

You see, contrary to so many discussants’ uninformed opinions, this person cannot be in two places at once.

I compare the PHV to a State Trooper.

It is my job to obey the speed limit, it is the trooper’s job to be a presence at times that encourages me to not speed, not knowing when he will pop up.

It is the plant’s job to obey the Humane handling Act, and it is the PHV’s job to occasionally stroll through the pens to confirm the Act is being complied with.

If the discussants calling for USDA employee’s heads, and even the Secretary’s job, want 24/7 FSIS coverage, then go get the funding for it and watch our taxes go up.

There was one major difference, so far, between CVM and Hallmark.

In 2008, if a cow had passed antemortem inspection by the PHV, in motion and at rest, then decided to lie down and not get up, the plant could ask the PHV to come out to the pen and examine the animal.

If a cause for the non-ambulatory condition could be determined, such as a fractured leg or ruptured tendon, the animal could be euthanized on the spot and then taken to the knock box.

In the Hallmark incident, there was irrefutable evidence that non-ambulatory cattle entered the food supply without follow up inspection by the PHV. Investigations confirmed this had been going on for over one year. Not often, but on occasion.

This fact makes the meat “unfit” for consumption because rules were not followed and proper inspection not completed.

We were criticized, but why have rules like the “downer rule” if they are not a part of protection of the food supply?

The HSUS won on this count, because the USDA responded the next year by completely banning all downers and non-ambulatory cattle from getting into the food chain. Throwing away perfectly good meat is a waste, and drives up the cost of our beef.

One slaughter plant out of 800 tried to cheat the system, and an entire industry was taken to task.

The difference, so far, at CVM, is that although the video is despicable, there is no evidence these mistreated animals ever got into the facility and the food chain.

It is being said by bashers of the federal government that the USDA overreacted at CVM. There is a law, passed by Congress and signed by the President of the United States that says inhumane handling will not be tolerated and FSIS is to suspend inspection when it is seen.

USDA/FSIS was simply following the law. You don’t like it, change the law but do not drag these federal employees over the coals for doing what they had to do.

If any reader is interested, the transcript of my testimony in front of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, regarding Hallmark/Westland and the Q and A that followed can be seen online.

In closing, I expect Terry to add his two cents worth and I will point out that the risk of variant CJD from eating US beef is as close to zero as we can make it. There are many interlocking steps to keep us safe, including:

1. The ruminant to ruminant feed ban in effect for over a decade to protect our herd.

2. The removal of Specified Risk Materials in the slaughter facilities under the continuous and watchful eyes of FSIS Inspectors to protect human health.

3. The observation by the PHVs of animals in motion.

4. No downers or non-ambulatory cattle allowed in the food chain, and

5. The USDA’s ongoing surveillance of animals at high risk for BSE, assuring us that the exposure risk is almost nil.

Editor’s Note:  –Dr. Raymond Responds To Some of the Comments Below–
 
Wowser, only a blog on raw milk could stir up more vitriol and I was only stating the facts behind USDA”s action.
Shelly,  if you go to the COK web sight, the second sentence you will read is this:
 “COK focuses on cruelty to animals in agriculture and promotes vegetarian eating as a way to build a kinder world, both for humans and nonhumans.”
So please explain your first response by saying  I had lost all creditibility by calling a spade a spade?
And just so you know, the USDA will not be fining Central Valley because the law prohibits them from doing so. I know, because every year we went to the Appropriations  Committee with our budget and requested authority to fine plants for certain circumstances and every year we were denied. Again, just trying to point out the facts so people can make informed decisions and comments.
As for the comment that USDA is supposed to promote Ag, and therefore this action should get people fired? As I tried to explain, they just followed the law. And besides promoting Ag, they promote and protect animal, plant and human health, run the US Forest Service, direct food stamps and school lunches to name a few other items of business for the USDA.
Shelly, where do I “imply” the video was ‘staged”? I called is disgusting and despicable, but I meant the footage, not the technique.
I have no problems with vegans, everyone should have a choice. What I have a problem with is when others try to impose their beliefs on me by driving up the cost of meat. Oh, and yes, perfectly good meat is destroyed because the Obama Administration banned all non-ambulatory cattle, not just old culled dairy cows. 20 month old, grain fed steers break legs and rupture tendons on ice and slippery surfaces. We use to be able to eat them, now they are taken to rendering and that, my friends, is a waste and drives up costs at the grocery stores.
The animal rights activists are winning, and we are helping them with inhumane practices.
BTW, USDA shuttered 12 plants in 1997, the year before Hallmark, for inhumane handling observed by FSIS employees. They just didn’t send the videos to the Washington Post and NY Times.
                                                                                                      —
Image:  Watering cattle and providing shelter are two important ways to help keep them cooler and less stressed during heat waves. 

 
Photo by Keith Weller, USDA, ARS, Photo Library.
 

Discuss

Shelley
08/27/2012
4:42AM

“Both animal rights groups have an agenda that includes preventing the killing of animals for human consumption. This agenda can be moved forward with disgustingly shocking videos, and by driving the cost of meat up by necessitating changes in the slaughter and fabricating processes. ”

You lost any credibility–any–with this paragraph.

Yes, many in the animal welfare movement would like to end all meat consumption, but others in the movement are doing nothing more than attempting to stop the most, as you say, egregious forms of cruelty when it comes to livestock practices.

Throwing away perfectly good meat? From cows too sick to even move? Are you serious?

No wonder we have the problems we have today, if your attitude reflects the USDA’s attitude at the time you were still employed by the government. Hopefully, times have changed with you gone.

The people doing most of the blaming of the USDA in this incident are people who are also doing everything in their power to misdirect attention from the entity truly responsible for the cruel practices outlined in the video: the company that owns and operates the plant.

The lack of training and capability demonstrated in the video should give any person concerned about food safety pause, because if this level of incompetency is matched throughout the plant, then we have to wonder how safe the meat truly is.

We are all aware that the USDA is underfunded. That doesn’t mean we have to just say, “Oh well, guess we can’t do anything”. What we can do is what the undercover investigators did do: expose the acts of cruelty, and take the investigative material to the USDA for prompt action. And the action was prompt.

If, as you imply, the videos are “staged” or not conclusive, the USDA would not have acted.

So perhaps in your reactive defense of the USDA, you might consider the fact that these investigators acted in concert with the USDA, not against it.

Ted
08/27/2012
5:14AM

No, not OK Doc. Not even close to OK.

You correctly point out inspectors are to be pulled when inhumane treatment is endemic at the plant in question. Obviously your intrepid inspectors did not see with their own eyes evidence sufficient to warrant their walking off the job.

No, instead some USDA PR toadie viewed biased unofficial video images from known hostile activists, then panicked and pulled inspection from the plant, effectively destroying it.

USDA rushed into the activists’ arms, eagerly playing the stooge to their underhanded agenda.

USDA missed the play. Completely. Then covered it’s own ass against the threat of nasty public relations flak from extremists in our midst.

Screw USDA if they aren’t there for agriculture. Close the department to reduce the national debt…or rename it the United States Department of Anti-agriculture. Goddam scab bureaucrats being jerked around by the hair.

Jon
08/27/2012
6:55AM

Seems former USDAer and now Meatingplace advocate “Doc Meat” has a bone to pick with food safety scrutiny:
“The HSUS won on this count, because the USDA responded the next year by completely banning all downers and non-ambulatory cattle from getting into the food chain. Throwing away perfectly good meat is a waste, and drives up the cost of our beef.

Given a choice many consumers might not appreciate the “perfectly good meat” of “spent” dairy cows. Inbred factory dairy cows that are confined on concrete for their entire lives, drug injected, milked 3 times a day, fed farm waste products including chicken manure/bedding fed cow parts doesn’t produce a high quality or safe meat to begin with. And Doc — and Ted — feel prohibiting downers is a waste?

gmh
08/27/2012
7:44AM

Hmmm…seems to be a strange sort of consensus forming — USDA has not only dropped the ball, it has kicked it out of bounds to penalize the home team.

From meatless Mondays to kneejerk plant closings, USDA seems to be hacking away at the very agriculture they are funded to promote. Time to stop defending USDA and begin defunding USDA. Do a complete spring housecleaning — from top to bottom sweep skulking antifarm advocates on the USDA dole back out into the nonprofit sector where they belong.

Vilsack should step down. USDA programs hurtful to agriculture should be dismantled — the entire USDA can go if need be. Election year and a farm bill on the horizon — no better time than the present to set sinister out-of-whack things aright. Call and email your congressmen, insist our corrupted USDA be cleaned up or shut down. Espionage and sabotage at USDA threaten food security and so national security.

Finally, a cause everyone can agree upon!

Janet Weeks V
08/27/2012
8:04AM

No words, just utter disbelief. USDA decides: it’s cruelty as usual for California slaughterhouse, in spite of USDA policy. Humane Methods of Slaughter Act? Bah humbug! At least now consumers KNOW FOR SURE that their hamburger and dairy come from sick, lame cows who can barely walk to the kill floor and are beaten, prodded with electric prods, sprayed with scalding water, and tortured before and while they are killed. Will USDA or plant managers monitor the animal cruelty at this facility or install video surveillance? Highly unlikely. It’s cruelty as usual in spite of American values and morality. The only way to stop this insanity is to quit buying the product. No meat. No dairy. No eggs.

Go Vegan and nobody gets hurt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRS-kzgoRq0

appalled
08/27/2012
8:16AM

Let’s correct your “trooper” analogy Doc. Here’s what just happened:

Imagine for the moment I don’t care for you or the way you live so I stalk you everywhere you go, waiting for an opportunity to jam you up good. I spot a trooper who’s distracted and recognize my chance.

I run up to the trooper screaming and crying and flailing my arms and tell him I saw you roll through a stop sign and show him where I’ve published on the internet some video of some car rolling through some stop sign. I threaten to raise holy Hell with the trooper and his supervisor and his supervisor’s supervisor, and so on. That trooper thinks he isn’t paid enough, certainly not enough to protect you (and himself) from my hysteria. Not to worry; there is an expedient solution, however.

And I am gratified when the trooper immediately hunts you down and suspends your drivers license, impounds your car and prevents you showing up at your work so you get fired. I am so delighted I practically wet myself.

Consider it a weaselly form of vigilante citizen’s arrest if it makes you feel any better.

Shelley
08/27/2012
8:52AM

The plant re-opened today, after the USDA reviewed its plan for correction.

So much for destroying the plant.

I would hope that the agency at least imposes some stiff fines.

Shelley
08/27/2012
8:58AM

Perhaps better than a fine is the fact that so many companies will no longer do business with Central Valley Meat. And it can’t supply meat to the school lunch program until it proves it has mended its ways.

In the end, the videos did do what they hoped to accomplish: eliminate egregious acts of inhumane cruelty.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/08/central-valley-slaughterhouse-reopens.html

Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
08/27/2012
9:57AM

OPINION REBUTTAL Terry

Greetings,

Well Dr. Raymond, since you called me out, I must respond Sir. Yes, our children health and safety mean more to me than taxes.
Dr. Richard Raymond former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008) stated ;

“then go get the funding for it and watch our taxes go up.”
Dr. Richard Raymond former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008) stated ;

In closing, I expect Terry to add his two cents worth and I will point out that the risk of variant CJD from eating US beef is as close to zero as we can make it. There are many interlocking steps to keep us safe, including:

1. The ruminant to ruminant feed ban in effect for over a decade to protect our herd.

2. The removal of Specified Risk Materials in the slaughter facilities under the continuous and watchful eyes of FSIS Inspectors to protect human health.

3. The observation by the PHVs of animals in motion.

4. No downers or non-ambulatory cattle allowed in the food chain, and

5. The USDA’s ongoing surveillance of animals at high risk for BSE, assuring us that the exposure risk is almost nil.

Image: Watering cattle and providing shelter are two important ways to help keep them cooler and less stressed during heat waves. Photo by Keith Weller, USDA, ARS, Photo Library.

© Food Safety News

Hello Dr. Raymond Sir,

Indeed I would like to comment on some of your fallacies Dr. Raymond.

Dr. Ramond stated in 1. that ;

1. The ruminant to ruminant feed ban in effect for over a decade to protect our herd.

Sir, as late as 2007, one decade post partial and voluntary mad cow feed ban, 10,000,000. pounds of banned prohibited blood laced meat and bone meal mad cow feed went out into commerce, to be fed out. 2006 was a banner year as well for suspect banned mad cow protein in commerce. “The ruminant to ruminant feed ban in effect for over a decade to protect our herd.” that you state Sir, was merely ink on paper for the past decade. You can see for yourself here, I have listed some, but not all here ;

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Final Feed Investigation Summary – California BSE Case – July 2012

http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2012/08/final-feed-investigation-summary.html

even more disturbing now ;

Sunday, August 26, 2012
Detection of PrPSc in peripheral tissues of clinically affected cattle after oral challenge with BSE
http://vir.sgmjournals.org/content/early/2012/08/16/vir.0.044578-0.abstract
more here ;

http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2012/08/detection-of-prpsc-in-peripheral.html
Dr. Richard Raymond former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008) stated ;

2. The removal of Specified Risk Materials in the slaughter facilities under the continuous and watchful eyes of FSIS Inspectors to protect human health.

Dr. Raymond Sir, another ink on paper only phenomenon. please see the many breaches on specified risk materials here ;

a few examples, one very recently, and the following link will list more SRM breaches ;

2011

Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio Department of Health

Governor

John R. Kasich

Lieutenant Governor

Mary Taylor

ODA Director

James Zehringer

ODH Director

Theodore E. Wymyslo, M.D.

DT: July 14, 2011

TO: Health Commissioners, Directors of Environmental Health and Interested Parties

RE: Recall Announcement (ODA/ODH) 2011-076

Valley Farm Meats (DBA Strasburg Provision, Inc) Issues Precautionary Recall for Beef Products Due to Possible Contamination with Prohibited Materials

[STRASBURG, Ohio] – Valley Farm Meats (DBA Strasburg Provision, Inc) of Strasburg, OH announces a voluntary recall of an unknown amount of beef products that may contain the spinal cord and vertebral column, which are considered specified risk materials (SRMs). SRMs must be removed from cattle over 30 months of age in accordance with federal and state regulations. SRMs are tissues that are known to contain the infective agent in cattle infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), as well as materials that are closely associated with these potentially infective tissues. Therefore, federal and state regulations prohibit SRMs from use as human food to minimize potential human exposure to the BSE agent.

http://www.agri.ohio.gov/public_docs/recalls/2011/Recall_FS_76-2011.pdf

North Dakota Firm Recalls Whole Beef Head Products That Contain Prohibited Materials

Recall Release CLASS II RECALL FSIS-RC-023-2010 HEALTH RISK: LOW

Congressional and Public Affairs (202) 720-9113 Catherine Cochran

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2010 – North American Bison Co-Op, a New Rockford, N.D., establishment is recalling approximately 25,000 pounds of whole beef heads containing tongues that may not have had the tonsils completely removed, which is not compliant with regulations that require the removal of tonsils from cattle of all ages, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Tonsils are considered a specified risk material (SRM) and must be removed from cattle of all ages in accordance with FSIS regulations. SRMs are tissues that are known to contain the infective agent in cattle infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), as well as materials that are closely associated with these potentially infective tissues. Therefore, FSIS prohibits SRMs from use as human food to minimize potential human exposure to the BSE agent.

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_023_2010_Release/index.asp

Missouri Firm Recalls Cattle Heads That Contain Prohibited Materials

Recall Release CLASS II RECALL FSIS-RC-021-2008 HEALTH RISK: LOW

Congressional and Public Affairs (202) 720-9113 Amanda Eamich

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2008 – Paradise Locker Meats, a Trimble, Mo., establishment, is voluntarily recalling approximately 120 pounds of fresh cattle heads with tonsils not completely removed, which is not compliant with regulations that require the removal of tonsils from cattle of all ages, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.

Tonsils are considered a specified risk material (SRM) and must be removed from cattle of all ages in accordance with FSIS regulations. SRMs are tissues that are known to contain the infective agent in cattle infected with BSE, as well as materials that are closely associated with these potentially infective tissues. Therefore, FSIS prohibits SRMs from use as human food to minimize potential human exposure to the BSE agent.

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_021_2008_Release/index.asp

see many more SRM breaches here ;

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Final Feed Investigation Summary – California BSE Case – July 2012

http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2012/08/final-feed-investigation-summary.html

again, even more disturbing now ;

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Detection of PrPSc in peripheral tissues of clinically affected cattle after oral challenge with BSE

http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2012/08/detection-of-prpsc-in-peripheral.html

Dr. Richard Raymond former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008) stated ;

3. The observation by the PHVs of animals in motion.

Sir, you stated yourself that Public Health Veterinarian ;
> But this individual is also usually responsible for carcass by carcass inspection after the hide has been pulled off. At Hallmark, this individual was condemning about 20 carcasses per day to protect you and me.
> You see, contrary to so many discussants’ uninformed opinions, this person cannot be in two places at once.
> It is the plant’s job to obey the Humane handling Act, and it is the PHV’s job to occasionally stroll through the pens to confirm the Act is being complied with.
> If the discussants calling for USDA employee’s heads, and even the Secretary’s job, want 24/7 FSIS coverage, then go get the funding for it and watch our taxes go up.

Sir, after the Hallmark debacle, and the fact that deadstock downer cows did make it to the NSLP, and the fact of the National recall there from, I find it disturbing still that there is NO recall of the meat, if any left, from the Central Valley Meat company from last year. You Sir, nor anyone else, can guarantee now that these type practices have not occurred last year, the year before, and or the year before that at Central Valley Meat Co., and I think our children, and the fact that ;
> > > Ackerman says downed cattle are 50 times more likely to have mad cow disease (also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE) than ambulatory cattle that are suspected of having BSE. Of the 20 confirmed cases of mad cow disease in North America since 1993, at least 16 have involved downer cattle, he said. < < <
I think our childrens safety from the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy TSE prion mad cow type disease, is much more important.

don’t forget the children…

PLEASE be aware, for 4 years, the USDA fed our children all across the Nation (including TEXAS) dead stock downer cows, the most high risk cattle for BSE aka mad cow disease and other dangerous pathogens. who will watch our children for CJD for the next 5+ decades ???

WAS your child exposed to mad cow disease via the NSLP ???

HALLMARK DEBACLE HERE WITH DOWNERS AND OUR CHILDREN VIA THE USDA AND THE NSLP.

SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM FROM DOWNER CATTLE UPDATE

http://downercattle.blogspot.com/2009/05/who-will-watch-children.html

http://downercattle.blogspot.com/
DID YOUR CHILD CONSUME SOME OF THESE DEAD STOCK DOWNER COWS, THE MOST HIGH RISK FOR MAD COW DISEASE ???
this recall was not for the welfare of the animals. …tss
you can check and see here ;
http://www.fns.usda.gov/fns/safety/pdf/Hallmark-Westland_byState.pdf

Dr. Richard Raymond former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008) stated ;
4. No downers or non-ambulatory cattle allowed in the food chain, and

Sir, this the be now, if your not caught at it. that’s why some want the undercover videos banned. Also, I still think that prisoners are humans, and they are being fed pet food in some instances. could this happen with the NSLP ??? let’s hope not, but in the past, during the infamous enhanced BSE surveillance program, there was gentleman supplying the USDA, with PERFECTLY HEALTHY CATTLE BRAINS FOR TESTING, brains that he knew were free from mad cow disease. your system is far from perfect, in fact, it’s an imperfect system. it has been shown to have flaws, major flaws time and time again by the GAO and OIG, and others. these are the facts.
see Texas prisoners being fed pet food here;

http://www.justice.gov/usao/txe/News/2012/edtx-john-soules-foods-081712.html

Dr. Richard Raymond former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008) stated ;
5. The USDA’s ongoing surveillance of animals at high risk for BSE, assuring us that the exposure risk is almost nil.
I kindly disagree Sir, and so does the OIE. That’s why the USA is still classified as BSE GBR risk factor of 3. there are many flaws Sir, and because of the fact of still feeding cows to cows via banned suspect BSE feed as late as 2007, millions and millions of pounds, and the most recent atypical L-type BASE BSE in California in 2012, I think the USA BSE GBR risk factor should be raised to BSE GBR 4.

NOW, what about that mad cow BSE surveillance and testing program ???

PAUL BROWN COMMENT TO ME ON THIS ISSUE

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 11:10 AM

“Actually, Terry, I have been critical of the USDA handling of the mad cow issue for some years, and with Linda Detwiler and others sent lengthy detailed critiques and recommendations to both the USDA and the Canadian Food Agency.”

OR, what the Honorable Phyllis Fong of the OIG found ;

Audit Report

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Surveillance Program – Phase II

and

Food Safety and Inspection Service

Controls Over BSE Sampling, Specified Risk Materials, and Advanced Meat Recovery Products – Phase III

Report No. 50601-10-KC January 2006

Finding 2 Inherent Challenges in Identifying and Testing High-Risk Cattle Still Remain

http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/50601-10-KC.pdf

“”These 9,200 cases were different because brain tissue samples were preserved with formalin, which makes them suitable for only one type of test–immunohistochemistry, or IHC.”

THIS WAS DONE FOR A REASON!

THE IHC test has been proven to be the LEAST LIKELY to detect BSE/TSE in the bovine, and these were probably from the most high risk cattle pool, the ones the USDA et al, SHOULD have been testing. …TSS

USDA 2003

We have to be careful that we don’t get so set in the way we do things that we forget to look for different emerging variations of disease. We’ve gotten away from collecting the whole brain in our systems. We’re using the brain stem and we’re looking in only one area. In Norway, they were doing a project and looking at cases of Scrapie, and they found this where they did not find lesions or PRP in the area of the obex. They found it in the cerebellum and the cerebrum. It’s a good lesson for us. Ames had to go back and change the procedure for looking at Scrapie samples. In the USDA, we had routinely looked at all the sections of the brain, and then we got away from it. They’ve recently gone back. Dr. Keller: Tissues are routinely tested, based on which tissue provides an ‘official’ test result as recognized by APHIS.

Dr. Detwiler: That’s on the slaughter. But on the clinical cases, aren’t they still asking for the brain? But even on the slaughter, they’re looking only at the brainstem. We may be missing certain things if we confine ourselves to one area.

snip………….

Dr. Detwiler: It seems a good idea, but I’m not aware of it. Another important thing to get across to the public is that the negatives do not guarantee absence of infectivity. The animal could be early in the disease and the incubation period. Even sample collection is so important. If you’re not collecting the right area of the brain in sheep, or if collecting lymphoreticular tissue, and you don’t get a good biopsy, you could miss the area with the PRP in it and come up with a negative test. There’s a new, unusual form of Scrapie that’s been detected in Norway. We have to be careful that we don’t get so set in the way we do things that we forget to look for different emerging variations of disease. We’ve gotten away from collecting the whole brain in our systems. We’re using the brain stem and we’re looking in only one area. In Norway, they were doing a project and looking at cases of Scrapie, and they found this where they did not find lesions or PRP in the area of the obex. They found it in the cerebellum and the cerebrum. It’s a good lesson for us. Ames had to go back and change the procedure for looking at Scrapie samples. In the USDA, we had routinely looked at all the sections of the brain, and then we got away from it. They’ve recently gone back.

Dr. Keller: Tissues are routinely tested, based on which tissue provides an ‘official’ test result as recognized by APHIS .

Dr. Detwiler: That’s on the slaughter. But on the clinical cases, aren’t they still asking for the brain? But even on the slaughter, they’re looking only at the brainstem. We may be missing certain things if we confine ourselves to one area.

snip…

FULL TEXT;

Completely Edited Version PRION ROUNDTABLE

Accomplished this day, Wednesday, December 11, 2003, Denver, Colorado

2005

http://madcowtesting.blogspot.com/2009/02/report-on-testing-ruminants-for-tses-in.html

FINAL REPORT 2ND TEXAS MAD COW

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/hot_issues/bse/downloads/bse_final_epi_report8-05.pdf

Subject: USDA OIG SEMIANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS FY 2007 1st Half (bogus BSE sampling FROM HEALTHY USDA CATTLE) Date: June 21, 2007 at 2:49 pm PST

Owner and Corporation Plead Guilty to Defrauding Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Surveillance Program

An Arizona meat processing company and its owner pled guilty in February 2007 to charges of theft of Government funds, mail fraud, and wire fraud. The owner and his company defrauded the BSE Surveillance Program when they falsified BSE Surveillance Data Collection Forms and then submitted payment requests to USDA for the services. In addition to the targeted sample population (those cattle that were more than 30 months old or had other risk factors for BSE), the owner submitted to USDA, or caused to be submitted, BSE obex (brain stem) samples from healthy USDA-inspected cattle. As a result, the owner fraudulently received approximately $390,000. Sentencing is scheduled for May 2007.

snip…

Topics that will be covered in ongoing or planned reviews under Goal 1 include:

soundness of BSE maintenance sampling (APHIS),

implementation of Performance-Based Inspection System enhancements for specified risk material (SRM) violations and improved inspection controls over SRMs (FSIS and APHIS),

snip…

The findings and recommendations from these efforts will be covered in future semiannual reports as the relevant audits and investigations are completed.

4 USDA OIG SEMIANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS FY 2007 1st Half

http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/sarc070619.pdf

-MORE Office of the United States Attorney District of Arizona FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For Information Contact Public Affairs February 16, 2007 WYN HORNBUCKLE Telephone: (602) 514-7625 Cell: (602) 525-2681

CORPORATION AND ITS PRESIDENT PLEAD GUILTY TO DEFRAUDING GOVERNMENT’S MAD COW DISEASE SURVEILLANCE PROGRAM

PHOENIX — Farm Fresh Meats, Inc. and Roland Emerson Farabee, 55, of Maricopa, Arizona, pleaded guilty to stealing $390,000 in government funds, mail fraud and wire fraud, in federal district court in Phoenix. U.S. Attorney Daniel Knauss stated, “The integrity of the system that tests for mad cow disease relies upon the honest cooperation of enterprises like Farm Fresh Meats. Without that honest cooperation, consumers both in the U.S. and internationally are at risk. We want to thank the USDA’s Office of Inspector General for their continuing efforts to safeguard the public health and enforce the law.” Farm Fresh Meats and Farabee were charged by Information with theft of government funds, mail fraud and wire fraud. According to the Information, on June 7, 2004, Farabee, on behalf of Farm Fresh Meats, signed a contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the “USDA Agreement”) to collect obex samples from cattle at high risk of mad cow disease (the “Targeted Cattle Population”). The Targeted Cattle Population consisted of the following cattle: cattle over thirty months of age; nonambulatory cattle; cattle exhibiting signs of central nervous system disorders; cattle exhibiting signs of mad cow disease; and dead cattle. Pursuant to the USDA Agreement, the USDA agreed to pay Farm Fresh Meats $150 per obex sample for collecting obex samples from cattle within the Targeted Cattle Population, and submitting the obex samples to a USDA laboratory for mad cow disease testing. Farm Fresh Meats further agreed to maintain in cold storage the sampled cattle carcasses and heads until the test results were received by Farm Fresh Meats.

Evidence uncovered during the government’s investigation established that Farm Fresh Meats and Farabee submitted samples from cattle outside the Targeted Cattle Population. Specifically, Farm Fresh Meats and Farabee submitted, or caused to be submitted, obex samples from healthy, USDA inspected cattle, in order to steal government moneys.

Evidence collected also demonstrated that Farm Fresh Meats and Farabee failed to maintain cattle carcasses and heads pending test results and falsified corporate books and records to conceal their malfeasance. Such actions, to the extent an obex sample tested positive (fortunately, none did), could have jeopardized the USDA’s ability to identify the diseased animal and pinpoint its place of origin. On Wednesday, February 14, 2007, Farm Fresh Meats and Farabee pleaded guilty to stealing government funds and using the mails and wires to effect the scheme. According to their guilty pleas:

(a) Farm Fresh Meats collected, and Farabee directed others to collect, obex samples from cattle outside the Targeted Cattle Population, which were not subject to payment by the USDA;

(b) Farm Fresh Meats 2 and Farabee caused to be submitted payment requests to the USDA knowing that the requests were based on obex samples that were not subject to payment under the USDA Agreement;

(c) Farm Fresh Meats completed and submitted, and Farabee directed others to complete and submit, BSE Surveillance Data Collection Forms to the USDA’s testing laboratory that were false and misleading;

(d) Farm Fresh Meats completed and submitted, and Farabee directed others to complete and submit, BSE Surveillance Submission Forms filed with the USDA that were false and misleading;

(e) Farm Fresh Meats falsified, and Farabee directed others to falsify, internal Farm Fresh Meats documents to conceal the fact that Farm Fresh Meats was seeking and obtaining payment from the USDA for obex samples obtained from cattle outside the Targeted Cattle Population; and

(f) Farm Fresh Meats failed to comply with, and Farabee directed others to fail to comply with, the USDA Agreement by discarding cattle carcasses and heads prior to receiving BSE test results. A conviction for theft of government funds carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Mail fraud and wire fraud convictions carry a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. Convictions for the above referenced violations also carry a maximum fine of $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Earl H. Carroll will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

Sentencing is set before Judge Earl H. Carroll on May 14, 2007. The investigation in this case was conducted by Assistant Special Agent in Charge Alejandro Quintero, United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General. The prosecution is being handled by Robert Long, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix. CASE NUMBER: CR-07-00160-PHX-EHC RELEASE NUMBER: 2007-051(Farabee) # # #

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/az/press_releases/2007/2007-051(Farabee).pdf

Section 2. Testing Protocols and Quality Assurance Controls

In November 2004, USDA announced that its rapid screening test, Bio-Rad Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), produced an inconclusive BSE test result as part of its enhanced BSE surveillance program. The ELISA rapid screening test performed at a BSE contract laboratory produced three high positive reactive results.40 As required,41 the contract laboratory forwarded the inconclusive sample to the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) for confirmatory testing. NVSL repeated the ELISA testing and again produced three high positive reactive results.42 In accordance with its established protocol, NVSL ran its confirmatory test, an immunohistochemistry (IHC) test, which was interpreted as negative for BSE. In addition, NVSL performed a histological43 examination of the tissue and did not detect lesions44 consistent with BSE.

Faced with conflicting results, NVSL scientists recommended additional testing to resolve the discrepancy but APHIS headquarters officials concluded no further testing was necessary because testing protocols were followed. In our discussions with APHIS officials, they justified their decision not to do additional testing because the IHC is internationally recognized as the “gold standard.” Also, they believed that conducting additional tests would undermine confidence in USDA’s established testing protocols.

http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/50601-10-KC.pdf

FDA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 4, 2004 Media Inquiries: 301-827-6242 Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

Statement on Texas Cow With Central Nervous System Symptoms

On Friday, April 30th, the Food and Drug Administration learned that a cow with central nervous system symptoms had been killed and shipped to a processor for rendering into animal protein for use in animal feed.

FDA, which is responsible for the safety of animal feed, immediately began an investigation. On Friday and throughout the weekend, FDA investigators inspected the slaughterhouse, the rendering facility, the farm where the animal came from, and the processor that initially received the cow from the slaughterhouse.

FDA’s investigation showed that the animal in question had already been rendered into “meat and bone meal” (a type of protein animal feed). Over the weekend FDA was able to track down all the implicated material. That material is being held by the firm, which is cooperating fully with FDA.

Cattle with central nervous system symptoms are of particular interest because cattle with bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE, also known as “mad cow disease,” can exhibit such symptoms. In this case, there is no way now to test for BSE. But even if the cow had BSE, FDA’s animal feed rule would prohibit the feeding of its rendered protein to other ruminant animals (e.g., cows, goats, sheep, bison).

FDA is sending a letter to the firm summarizing its findings and informing the firm that FDA will not object to use of this material in swine feed only. If it is not used in swine feed, this material will be destroyed. Pigs have been shown not to be susceptible to BSE. If the firm agrees to use the material for swine feed only, FDA will track the material all the way through the supply chain from the processor to the farm to ensure that the feed is properly monitored and used only as feed for pigs.

To protect the U.S. against BSE, FDA works to keep certain mammalian protein out of animal feed for cattle and other ruminant animals. FDA established its animal feed rule in 1997 after the BSE epidemic in the U.K. showed that the disease spreads by feeding infected ruminant protein to cattle.

Under the current regulation, the material from this Texas cow is not allowed in feed for cattle or other ruminant animals. FDA’s action specifying that the material go only into swine feed means also that it will not be fed to poultry.

FDA is committed to protecting the U.S. from BSE and collaborates closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on all BSE issues. The animal feed rule provides crucial protection against the spread of BSE, but it is only one of several such firewalls. FDA will soon be improving the animal feed rule, to make this strong system even stronger.

#

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2004/ucm108292.htm
SEE FULL TEXT OF ALL THIS HERE ;
http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2012/05/update-from-aphis-regarding-detection.html
Dr. Richard Raymond former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008) stated ;
“In closing, I expect Terry to add his two cents worth and I will point out that the risk of variant CJD from eating US beef is as close to zero as we can make it. “

Dr. Raymond Sir, it is not vCJD we will find here from the atypical TSE growing in the many different species here in the USA and North America. Science that has been out for several years now shows that some cases of sporadic CJD can be linked to the atypical BSE. In fact Sir, atypical Scrapie shows many similarities with human TSE prion disease. please see ;

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seven main threats for the future linked to prions

First threat

The TSE road map defining the evolution of European policy for protection against prion diseases is based on a certain numbers of hypotheses some of which may turn out to be erroneous. In particular, a form of BSE (called atypical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), recently identified by systematic testing in aged cattle without clinical signs, may be the origin of classical BSE and thus potentially constitute a reservoir, which may be impossible to eradicate if a sporadic origin is confirmed. ***Also, a link is suspected between atypical BSE and some apparently sporadic cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. These atypical BSE cases constitute an unforeseen first threat that could sharply modify the European approach to prion diseases.

Second threat

snip…
http://www.neuroprion.org/en/np-neuroprion.html

EFSA Journal 2011 The European Response to BSE: A Success Story

This is an interesting editorial about the Mad Cow Disease debacle, and it’s ramifications that will continue to play out for decades to come ;

Monday, October 10, 2011

EFSA Journal 2011 The European Response to BSE: A Success Story

snip…

EFSA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recently delivered a scientific opinion on any possible epidemiological or molecular association between TSEs in animals and humans (EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ) and ECDC, 2011). This opinion confirmed Classical BSE prions as the only TSE agents demonstrated to be zoonotic so far but the possibility that a small proportion of human cases so far classified as “sporadic” CJD are of zoonotic origin could not be excluded. Moreover, transmission experiments to non-human primates suggest that some TSE agents in addition to Classical BSE prions in cattle (namely L-type Atypical BSE, Classical BSE in sheep, transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME) and chronic wasting disease (CWD) agents) might have zoonotic potential.

snip…
http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/e991.htm?emt=1
http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/e991.pdf

see follow-up here about North America BSE Mad Cow TSE prion risk factors, and the ever emerging strains of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy in many species here in the USA, including humans ;

http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2011/10/efsa-journal-2011-european-response-to.html

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Are USDA assurances on mad cow case ‘gross oversimplification’?

SNIP…

What irks many scientists is the USDA’s April 25 statement that the rare disease is “not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.”

The USDA’s conclusion is a “gross oversimplification,” said Dr. Paul Brown, one of the world’s experts on this type of disease who retired recently from the National Institutes of Health. “(The agency) has no foundation on which to base that statement.”

“We can’t say it’s not feed related,” agreed Dr. Linda Detwiler, an official with the USDA during the Clinton Administration now at Mississippi State.

In the May 1 email to me, USDA’s Cole backed off a bit. “No one knows the origins of atypical cases of BSE,” she said

The argument about feed is critical because if feed is the cause, not a spontaneous mutation, the California cow could be part of a larger outbreak.
SNIP…
http://bseusa.blogspot.com/2012/05/are-usda-assurances-on-mad-cow-case.html

Monday, August 6, 2012

TAFS BSE in USA August 6, 2012

BSE in USA

http://bseusa.blogspot.com/2012/08/tafs-bse-in-usa-august-6-2012.html

Monday, August 06, 2012

Atypical neuropathological sCJD-MM phenotype with abundant white matter Kuru-type plaques sparing the cerebellar cortex

http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2012/08/atypical-neuropathological-scjd-mm.html

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Behavioural and Psychiatric Features of the Human Prion Diseases: Experience in 368 Prospectively Studied Patients

http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2012/08/behavioural-and-psychiatric-features-of.html
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease Human TSE report update North America, Canada, Mexico, and USDA PRION UNIT as of May 18, 2012

type determination pending Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (tdpCJD), is on the rise in Canada and the USA

http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2012/06/creutzfeldt-jakob-disease-human-tse.html

Friday, August 24, 2012

Iatrogenic prion diseases in humans: an update

http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2012/08/iatrogenic-prion-diseases-in-humans.html

Monday, July 23, 2012

The National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center July 2012

http://prionunitusaupdate2008.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-national-prion-disease-pathology.html

Monday, August 20, 2012

CASE REPORTS CREUTZFELDT-JAKOB DISEASE: AN UNDER-RECOGNIZED CAUSE OF DEMENTIA

http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2012/08/case-reports-creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.html
Dr. Richard Raymond former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008) stated ;
In closing, I expect Terry to add his two cents worth and I will point out that the risk of variant CJD from eating US beef is as close to zero as we can make it.
Dr. Raymond Sir, I disagree with you, I think that you (USDA et al) could do much better.

I think our children and the consumer deserves better, and I don’t care how much taxes AND BSE TSE TESTING, it takes to make our food safe. …

layperson
I lost my mother to the Heidenhain Variant of Creutzfeldt Jakob disease confirmed on December 14, 1997.
my neighbor lost his mother exactly one year previously to the sporadic CJD strains confirmed, on December 14, 1996.

sporadic Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease is NOT a single strain, but multiple strains (with new type pending classifications CJD, of unknown origin, in young and old in the USA),
with route and source unknown to date.

just made a promise, all facts should be presented, not just the industry fed political science fed facts. …

kind regards,

terry

Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
P.O. Box 42
Bacliff, Texas USA 77518
flounder9@verizon.net

Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
08/27/2012
10:54AM

Monday, August 27, 2012
Central Valley Meat Company: USDA Did its Job, OK?
Opinion & Contributed Articles
by Dr. Richard Raymond | Aug 27, 2012 Opinion
Dr. Richard Raymond former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008)
snip…

In closing, I expect Terry to add his two cents worth and I will point out that the risk of variant CJD from eating US beef is as close to zero as we can make it. There are many interlocking steps to keep us safe, including:

1. The ruminant to ruminant feed ban in effect for over a decade to protect our herd.

2. The removal of Specified Risk Materials in the slaughter facilities under the continuous and watchful eyes of FSIS Inspectors to protect human health.

3. The observation by the PHVs of animals in motion.

4. No downers or non-ambulatory cattle allowed in the food chain, and

5. The USDA’s ongoing surveillance of animals at high risk for BSE, assuring us that the exposure risk is almost nil.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/08/central-valley-meat-company-usda-did-its-job-ok/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120827
OPINION REBUTTAL Terry
Greetings,

Well Dr. Raymond, since you called me out, I must respond Sir.
Yes, our children health and safety mean more to me than taxes.
Indeed I would like to comment on some of your fallacies Dr. Raymond.

Dr. Richard Raymond former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008) stated ;

snip…

see Terry full text rebuttal on Dr. Raymond and the USDA BSE surveillance, SRM, and feed ban and all the fallacies there from ;

Monday, August 27, 2012

Central Valley Meat Company: USDA Did its Job, OK?

Opinion & Contributed Articles

by Dr. Richard Raymond | Aug 27, 2012 Opinion

Dr. Richard Raymond former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008)
http://downercattle.blogspot.com/2012/08/central-valley-meat-company-usda-did.html

Jethro
08/27/2012
12:05PM

Clever distraction, Doc Raymond, baiting Terry to stop by and smother this thread with his voluminous BSE crap. I suppose you think that givesyou and your beloved USDA needed cover to slip out of the bright light of well deserved scrutiny?

Your cute political stunt only amplifies the stench of USDA’s latest evacuation of chickensh!t in the face of anti-farm terrorists. Your beloved extremists may have you by the jewels but they do not have the market cornered on outrage or tenacity. We shall see what we shall see regarding the value of USDA in upcoming policy and budgeting. It isn’t in the nature of farmers to keep a kicking cow or a biting dog. Besides, we are in desperate need of Federal cost cutting and USDA is an easy mark, ripe for plucking. We will be national heroes (except among bureaucratic hogs at the trough) when we nimbly trim most of USDA from the budget. One more obstacle to business and prosperity will be eliminated.

This isn’t over. It is just beginning Doc.

Jade
08/27/2012
12:06PM

Shelley,
You are correct in stating that most people in the animal welfare movement are doing nothing more than attempting to stop cruelty when it comes to livestock practices. However, the author was clearly talking about animal RIGHTS groups, which will go to extreme lengths to prove a point. Animal welfare organizations have a much different agenda than animal rights organizations. I have absolutely no respect for the HSUS or PETA, and if you saw earlier, the name of the animal rights group that released the video is Compassion Without Killing. I would have to say they are against animal consumption due to the “without killing” part of the name, but that is an assumption. In no way am I condoning what happend at the plant.. I think it is absolutely horrifying and the plant should suffer the consequences, and the employees commiting the crime should be terminated. However, I have no tolerance for animal rights groups that exist simply to ruin the reputation of and bring down animal processors/growers.

Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
08/27/2012
1:50PM

re-jethro

Jethro
08/27/2012
12:05PM

say there jethro,
Farmers are National Heros.

Farmers were that before the teaparty.

Farmers will be that, after the teaparty.

Finally, TSE prions know no borders, TSE prions know no age groups, TSE prions know no political party.
sadly, it is a political and industry fed disease $$$
and it is mutating, jethro’s post just proved it. …
with sad regards,
terry

Shelley
08/27/2012
2:00PM

Jethro, I haven’t read through all that Terry provided, but I respect people who take time to write a thorough reply.

Jade, I would call PETA an “animal rights” group, but HSUS is most definitely an animal welfare group. No animal rights group would have agreed to a hen colony system compromise with the egg industry, which HSUS did.

And frankly, does it matter?

The organization filmed obvious acts of inhumane treatment of cows, and then took the evidence to the USDA. The USDA then immediately acted.

In addition, the group published its undercover investigations, and companies who bought meat from Central Valley, stopped doing so.

In the end, does it matter how the group terms itself, because the end result is (we hope) significant improvements in handling of the cows at the plant.

Now, some people may view the video and decide not to eat beef. Or buy dairy products. Others, though, may continue, but look more closely at the suppliers at the products. At a minimum, we hope things improve at this plant. And that’s what matters.

Dr. Richard Raymond
08/27/2012
2:23PM

Wowser, only a blog on raw milk could stir up more vitriol and I was only stating the facts behind USDA”s action.

Shelly, if you go to the COK web sight, the second sentence you will read is this:

“COK focuses on cruelty to animals in agriculture and promotes vegetarian eating as a way to build a kinder world, both for humans and nonhumans.”

So please explain your first response by saying I had lost all creditibility by calling a spade a spade?

And just so you know, the USDA will not be fining Central Valley because the law prohibits them from doing so. I know, because every year we went to the Approps committee with our budget and requested authority to fine plants for certain circumstances and every year we were denied. Again, just trying to point out the facts so people can make informed decisions and comments.

As for the comment that USDA is supposed to promote Ag, and therefore this action should get people fired? As I tried to explain, they just followed the law. And besides promoting ag, they promote and protect animal, plant and human health, run the US Forest Service, direct food stamps and school lunches to name a few other items of business for the USDA.

Shelly, where do I “imply” the video was ‘staged”? I called is disgusting and despicable, but I meant the footage, not the technique.

I have no problems with vegans, everyone should have a choice. What I have a problem with is when others try to impose their beliefs on me by driving up the cost of meat. Oh, and yes, perfectly good meat is destroyed because the Obama Administration banned all non-ambulatory cattle, not just old culled dairy cows. 20 month old, grain fed steers break legs and rupture tendons on ice and slippery surfaces. We use to be able to eat them, now they are taken to rendering and that, my friends, is a waste and drives up costs at the grocery stores.

The animal rights activists are winning, and we are helping them with inhumane practices.

BTW, USDA shuttered 12 plants in 1997, the year before Hallmark, for inhumane handling observed by FSIS employees. They just didn’t send the videos to the Washington Post and NY Times.

Shelley
08/27/2012
4:01PM

“Undercover agents working at slaughter plants as undercover agents for the Humane Society of the United States (Hallmark/Westland) and Compassion Over Killing (CVM) used hidden cameras to film egregious inhumane handling of cows.

Both animal rights groups have an agenda that includes preventing the killing of animals for human consumption. This agenda can be moved forward with disgustingly shocking videos, and by driving the cost of meat up by necessitating changes in the slaughter and fabricating processes.”

Both animal rights groups have an agenda?

You’re too quick to dismiss animal welfare activities, or to lump them all the same. This undermined your credibility.

As for the following statement:

‘Shelly, where do I “imply” the video was ‘staged”? I called is disgusting and despicable, but I meant the footage, not the technique.’

I looked through your post and I thought I remembered reading something about the video shown online was only a few minutes, and we don’t know what the other video had.

And there was another statement, about throwing away good meat, or something to that effect.

In fact, your post seems to be different.

Did you edit your writing after you published it? Not just added the response to us–but actually changed your original writing?

Jon
08/27/2012
4:46PM

That’s the Main problem with USDA isn’t it? The meat/produce/biotech/etc food industry insists USDA is there to promote their US Agribusiness — period. The foxes are very content to run the taxpayer-fed henhouse — through revolving doors and campaign contributions and other forms of legitimized corruption.

But USDA — Really — is a Gov’t (of the people, by the people, for the people) Regulatory Agency charged with — protecting the public.

What USDA needs is the power to create Agribusiness user fees and to heavily FINE these miscreant food corporations so that we the public aren’t subsidizing all these gluttonous foxes. Looks like there needs to be some house cleaning first…..

Cyndy
08/27/2012
6:44PM

“If a cause for the non-ambulatory condition could be determined, such as a fractured leg or ruptured tendon, the animal could be euthanized on the spot and then taken to the knock box.”

OK, I’m confused about the above statement. The animal is euthanized on the spot and then taken to the knock box? Does this mean that this animal is still slaughtered for its meat? With the euthanizing drugs in the meat? Please clarify. Thanks!

doc raymond
08/27/2012
7:11PM

Nice try, Shelly, but the post has not been altered or doctored up.

minkpuppy
08/28/2012
8:35AM

Shelley,

Perhaps you misread or misinterpreted some of the comments in the article? Please consider that rather than accusing Dr. Raymond of sneakily editing the article because he you called out. It costs you nothing to admit that maybe, just maybe, you were mistaken about what you thought you read this one time rather than becoming defensive and accusing the other person of lying. It doesn’t reflect well on you or your credibility when you do so.

The article is exactly the same as the one I read yesterday, before Dr. Raymond responded to comments. I had decided I was done commenting on this issue because of the nastiness that’s being spewed by certain posters but I cannot stand by and let your comment go. My experience with Dr. Raymond is that he’s a straight shooter, always has been. People don’t always like what he says but he says what needs to be said. He has nothing to gain by changing what he wrote and pretending he didn’t.

***For the record, before the haters jump on my butt, I hide my identity for a reason. I don’t feel like getting fired over stating my opinion on my own time if it disagrees with FSIS policy and practice. It’s easier to just use a nickname than to constantly state that I don’t represent FSIS on here. The people that need to know my identity already do and I correspond with them through emails regularly.***

This video may not have been staged but it was highly edited. Some elements were certainly embellished in the narration to make it appear that the cows were actually still alive when they were hoisted up on the chain when they were clearly dead due to the slack tongues and necks. The hot shots to the face, standing on the muzzle, forcing cows to stand and multiple shots to the head were not staged and needed to be dealt with.

I have no problem with whistleblowers calling attention to abuses as long as they stick to the actual abuses and don’t misrepresent normal death responses. Posting video of normal post-stun kicking and twitching dead cow with an obviously slack neck and tongue while claiming the cow is still alive is a blatant falsehood and does nothing to help people understand the actual kill process.

Death is never a pretty sight but as horrible as it is, let’s not confuse it with abusive treatment. It’s normal to be disturbed by it even when it’s done correctly. I worry about the people that aren’t bothered by it because they are the ones that end up abusing animals and people.

As far as the cows in the COK video are concerned, many of them could not walk due to udders horribly swollen with milk because they hadn’t been milked in at least 24 hours. High producing cows have to be milked at least 3x a day or they are miserable. It’s horribly inhumane to do that to a cow just because she’s going to the kill plant. The kill plant isn’t going to milk her and neither is the sale barn. The farmers should have the decency to euthanize the cow at the farm if she’s already suffering from illness or injury. Don’t compound it by making her carry around a huge, unmilked udder.

For a look at slaughter done properly, see http://www.animalhandling.org/ht/d/sp/i/80622/pid/80622. It accurately depicts the post-stunning reponse of the cows that is often portrayed as abuse by animal rights videos and explains how to determine if the cow is dead or not.

minkpuppy
08/28/2012
8:39AM

Cyndy,

The animals are not euthanized with drugs. They are euthanized with a hand-held captive bolt stunner applied to the skull. The bolt destroys the brain instantaneously. Drugs are never used to euthanize animals at slaughter plants.

Jade
08/28/2012
8:48AM

It does make a huge difference wether or not an organization deems itself animal rights or animal welfare. One is simply for the welfare of the animals, while animal rights groups believe animals have the right to live their lives without any human interference. Animal rights groups, HSUS included, want to abolish agriciulture. They go so far as to believe that we should not keep any domesticated animals because we are controlling them against their will, and god forbid we should do anything like ride a horse or keep chickens in the back yard for eggs, or keep a goat for milk. Again, I stress that what happened at this plant is unacceptable, but I swear these animal rights activists are going to be the demise of agriculture, even organic, natural, or sustainable agriculture.

Shelley
08/28/2012
10:55AM

I checked my feed reader, and I can’t tell if the writing is edited or not. But I could find sentences that led to what I think I may have been responding to. So apologies for questioning whether the text was edited or not.

I need to remember to copy text I’m replying to when I write a comment.

Anyway, to address your comment about staged video, you wrote the following

“They sometimes are sick, they always are old, and they often lay down to rest and refuse to get up. And here lies the opportunity for video if the plant is not impeccable in its handling of these non-ambulatory or “downer” animals.”

You imply that the undercover investigator is misrepresenting what’s happening in the plant–or that what is filmed is somehow not as bad as it seems. I don’t think anyone could misrepresent what was shown in the videos for Central Valley Meat.

I could have sworn there was something about unfairly closing plants, but that could have been comments to another of the writings on this event. Anyway, you also state, in your comment

“I have no problems with vegans, everyone should have a choice. What I have a problem with is when others try to impose their beliefs on me by driving up the cost of meat. Oh, and yes, perfectly good meat is destroyed because the Obama Administration banned all non-ambulatory cattle, not just old culled dairy cows. 20 month old, grain fed steers break legs and rupture tendons on ice and slippery surfaces. We use to be able to eat them, now they are taken to rendering and that, my friends, is a waste and drives up costs at the grocery stores..”

The concern about non-ambulatory cows is based on fears of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, not based on humane handling concerns.

Though humane handling and food safety frequently go hand in hand, in this case, the ruling was based purely on food safety issues.

There’s a simple solution for milk farmers: don’t wait until cows are at death’s door to send off to slaughter. In addition, the farmers could rest the cow a few weeks, in which case it can handle the transport without collapse.

Regardless, if a cow is sick, it should not go into the food system.

Shelley
08/28/2012
11:53AM

MinkPuppy, I don’t need your lecture.

I could not find the text I thought I had responded to. It made it difficult to defend what I wrote in the first comment when I could’t find the text.

I asked if the text had been edited. It isn’t unusual for writers to edit their text, though usually they do note when the do.

Regardless, I apologized for traducing doc raymond’s honor.

Having said that, doc raymond is a big boy, I’m a big girl, we’ll work it out between us–as doc raymond demonstrated.

R.P.
08/28/2012
12:41PM

What a pathetic cluster.

Here we have smug bureaucrats and hysterical terrorists, timid patriots and belligerent scabs all stubbornly wrestling in their own ideological excrement. Meanwhile, a chickensh!t USDA serves the cause of extreme animal rights terrorists, capriciously shuttering a legitimate business AND directly curtailing their trade. Shades of more and more damage to be doled out to our food system, no doubt.

USDA has been infiltrated by anti-agriculture activist scabs. They corrupt our inspection service, our social services, our policy making.

Certainly there remain a few tried and true USDA employees but they are overwhelmed and can no longer craft intelligent rational policy. We cannot discern the good guys from the skulking activist scabs so we must purge all of them before it is too late for everyone.

There’s a new farm bill to be crafted. Let’s make it clear to congress our obsolete compromised USDA no longer supports the modern American agriculture that is so essential to our national security. Begin defunding USDA right away. Before the skunks decimate the henhouse irrevocably. Throw the creepy saboteurs out, all of them without exception, there is nothing to lose by it and everything to gain. It would be the first fiscally responsible move Congress has made in years.

Barbara Holman
08/29/2012
9:50AM

“If you want to get the public’s attention using video, you want to go to a facility that slaughters old dairy cows and then sells the meat to the NSLP. As opposed to 20-30 month old steers that have been content to eat grain in a feedlot, these cows are often 10-12 years of age, and are often not in good enough shape to handle a ride of even a few miles in hot weather.”

IOW, these animals have been so abused and mistreated that they must be further abused and mistreated.

Every time one of these undercover videos is made public, the so-called “food animal” industry tries to get us to believe that its an isolated incident. There is no reason to believe that’s the case. In fact, just the opposite is made clear every time we see this mind-numbing cruelty.

Don’t blame the messenger, as this op/ed does. Blame the industry for wanting bigger and bigger profits which is partially the reason for the cruelty – the workers cannot turn off the assembly line because it costs the company money.

This op/ed is very self-serving and defensive. He wants to believe the animals are treated well and its those bag ole animal rights people who are the real problem.

The real problem is that the consumer willingly believes these lies. They continue to buy and eat diseased “food” even though they know it will contribute to their own deaths from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease and the list goes on and on.

Go ahead and eat chunks of charred corpse but don’t pretend you don’t the truth behind how it came to be on your plate.

Minkpuppy
08/29/2012
10:14AM

Shelley,

We all let our mouths and fingers get the better of us at times. It’s not easy to tell the context when you’re reading a post or email. I apologize if you took offense.

I’m getting more than a bit aggravated with this whole fiasco and will defend my colleagues tooth and nail without regrets or apologies. At first, I was outraged as everyone else but after gather the information and seeing the video, I realized I have no place bashing the inspectors at CVM. I’ve worked in the kill plants and I know what they have to deal with. I forgot where I came from and I apologize to the inspectors at CVM for jumping on the bandwagon and assuming they weren’t doing their jobs. Sometimes we get so accustomed to what we always see that we miss what we should be seeing.

I see this fiasco as more of a failing of the meat industry and FSIS management as a whole because they have not been letting everyone know what we do that is good and right. The AMI “glass walls” project is a step in the right direction but that video should have been out years ago.

Putting a face on the inspection force would also help tremendously. Instead we have to hide behind nicknames for fear of saying something that D.C. doesn’t like or hasn’t “authorized” which would result in a witch hunt for our jobs and livelihood. FSIS needs to get its head out of its butt and let inspectors talk about what we do and how we do it so people know that we are out there protecting them.

Shelley
08/29/2012
3:42PM

I understand, MinkPuppy. You and I agree more often than not.

I must confess I was feeling very irritated because I couldn’t find text I remembered. However, I should have assumed I had a brain fart, rather than the text was edited.

(It doesn’t help that, in another web site, in a thread related to the HSUS/Ringling Brothers RICO case, Center for Consumer Freedom people were marking every one of my comments as spam. Still, that was that site, this site is different.)

As for what you’re saying, I happen to believe the “boots on the ground” do a tough job with little thanks. I’ve seen this with the USDA APHIS AWA inspectors, where they’ve actually been threatened by backwoods red necks here in Missouri. I’m currently working on one story and my favorite little graphic for the story is a snapshot of an envelope with a threat on it–I just can’t tell if the threat is to the inspectors, the USDA, or the entire country.

(I love the FOIA–you get so much good material for stories.)

I see in these posts, here at FSN (and elsewhere), industry hacks who either blame the undercover agents (as Animal Rights Extremists/Terrorists), or who blame the (Big Government Evil) USDA–anything, other than the company who allowed such egregious inhumane handling to continue.

We’ll never do better as long as these games are played. We definitely won’t have good discussions while these games are played.

As I said, MinkPuppy, we agree more often than not.

Central Valley Meat Says It’s Reopened For Business

Food Poisoning Bulletin

One week after an undercover video prompted the  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)  to suspend operations at  Central Valley Meat in Hanford, Calif., for what it described as “disturbing evidence of inhumane treatment of cattle”  the company says it is reopened for business.

“Sunday afternoon, the USDA informed us that it has accepted our action plan and we are free to reopen. With the announcement of that decision, Central Valley Meat will resume operations Monday morning and welcome our employees back to work,” the statement said. “We have worked closely with both inspectors and industry experts while developing our USDA-approved action plan. As a result, Central Valley Meat will provide better training for our workers, better monitoring of our facilities, and more frequent third-party audits of our operations. We believe these measures will establish a new industry standard for the handling of animals.”

Last week, after receiving the video, from Compassion Over Killing,  the USDA sent several teams of investigators to California  to gather information.  The inspectors found humane handling violations and suspended operations, but said that inspectors did not find any violations that posed a food safety concern such as downer cattle entering the food system.

The video prompted McDonalds, In-N-Out Burger, Costco and the USDA to announce that they would suspend purchases from the company. In response to the backlash, Central Valley Meat distributed to various media outlets a statement by renown professor of animal science, Temple Grandin, who reviewed  the video several times.

Grandin said some of the observations made by the narrator of the video are incorrect and that the cattle are stunned properly but that there was “overly aggressive and unacceptable use of electric prods with non-ambulatory cattle and in sensitive areas like the face. While there are times when prods are absolutely necessary, they must be used sparingly and never in the face or other sensitive areas. I would classify this as egregious animal abuse. This plant needs to rely less on prods and move to lower stress driving tools. Devices as simple as a stick with an inflated plastic bag on the end can be extremely effective in moving livestock. In general, cattle are handled much more easily by calm and patient handlers. The more agitated they become, the more difficult they become to move. I have advised the company about specific strategies for improving handling, like using a simple sheet of cardboard to move animals.”

Many of the animals slaughtered at Central Valley are “spent”  or, no longer productive, dairy cows, many of whom should have been euthanized on their farms, according to Grandin. “Some of the major issues in the video originate due to the poor condition of the animals arriving at the plant, many of which should have been euthanized on the farm. I urge the dairy industry to market their cows before they become weak and extremely debilitated.”

The USDA was unable to respond for requests for more information about this story by press time.

****************************************************************************************************************

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Food Safety

 

 

 

Three Outbreaks Linked to Cantaloupe in Last 19 Months

As we wait for more information about the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak linked to cantaloupes grown in Indiana, let’s look back at the outbreaks caused by this fruit in the 19 months. In 2011 and 2012, there have been three outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to cantaloupe.

This fruit is more likely to be contaminated because the thick webbed skin provides lots of places for bacteria to hide, and because the fruit lies directly on the ground while it is growing. Animals, contaminated irrigation water, improper handling, and unsanitary conditions on the farm and in packing sheds can contaminate the fruit. In fact, according to the FDA, from 1996 to 2008, there were 10 nationwide outbreaks linked to melons that caused 507 illnesses and two deaths.

In the spring of 2011, 20 people were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Panama. Three people were hospitalized; no deaths were reported. The patients lived in Arizona (1), California (2), Colorado (1), Maryland (1), Montana (1), Nevada (1), Oregon (6), Pennsylvania (1), Utah (1) and Washington (5). Product traceback information found that the cantaloupes came from a single farm in Guatemala.

In the summer of 2011, 146 people were sickened by the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes after eating cantaloupes grown and processed at Jensen Farms in Colorado. At least 30 people died in this outbreak, and one woman suffered a miscarriage. The case patients lived in these states: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (4), Colorado (40), Idaho (2), Illinois (4), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kansas (11), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (7), Montana (1), Nebraska (6), Nevada (1), New Mexico (15), New York (2), North Dakota (2), Oklahoma (12), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (18), Utah (1), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (4).  The people who died lived in these states: Colorado (8), Indiana (1), Kansas (3), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (3), Nebraska (1), New Mexico (5), New York (2), Oklahoma (1), Texas (2), and Wyoming (1).

Even though Jensen Farms passed the audit conducted by a third-party auditor, the facility had ”several major deficiencies”. The melons were not pre-cooled, the water used to wash the melons was not chlorinated, and processing equipment was designed to wash potatoes, which are cooked before eating. Anyone who intends to assert a claim against Jensen farms must file by September 14, 2012, according to the United States Bankruptcy Court.

Get food poisoning help here.

The current outbreak is caused by Salmonella Typhimurium, and is linked to cantaloupes grown in southwestern Indiana. The CDC has formally announced the outbreak, which has sickened at least 141 people in 20 states. At least 31 people are hospitalized; 2 people in Kentucky have died.

The government has not yet named the farm that grew and processed and melons, and has not named grocery stores and other facilities which have sold the fruit. The case patients live in these states: Alabama (7), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (1), Illinois (17), Indiana (13), Iowa (7), Kentucky (50), Michigan (6), Minnesota (3), Missouri (9), Mississippi (2), New Jersey (1), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (1), and Wisconsin (2).

Fred Pritzker, national food safety attorney, has called on the FDA to issue mandatory industry guidelines for melon growers and to enforce them with audits.  ”How many more people have to get sick and die before this hazard is addressed?” he asks. “We need more than non-binding safety recommendations for cantaloupe growing, handling, processing, and distribution.” We’ll keep you informed as more information becomes available.

 

 

 

E. coli in Pickled Cabbage Kills 7 in Japan

Six elderly women and a 4-year-old girl were killed earlier this month when a cabbage they consumed was contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. More than 100 were sickened in the Hokkaido area outbreak.
The Japan Times said it was the worst food poisoning outbreak to be experienced on island nation in a decade.
The women who died were residents of nursing homes in Sapporo and Ebetsu that served the bad cabbages. The girl died Aug 11, also in Sapporo. All who were sickened and died apparently ate a lightly pickled Chinese cabbage produced by a local company.
One of the elderly women ate the pickled product at her nursing home on Aug. 1 and died Aug. 18 from multiple organ failure after nine days in the hospital.
The young girl from Sapporo died five days after developing E. coli symptoms. Her family bought the pickled cabbage at a local supermarket.
Health officials told the newspaper they do not know how the bacteria got mixed with the pickled cabbage.
In 2002, Japan saw the deaths of nine people with E. coli infections from eating marinade chicken at a hospital and its nursing home annex at Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture.

USDA: No Evidence Downer Cows Entered Food Supply

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is continuing to investigate Central Valley Meat in Hanford, California after undercover video showed culled dairy cows being abused at the plant, but the agency said late Tuesday that there is no evidence that sick or lame cows were slaughtered for human consumption.

Late last week, animal rights group Compassion Over Killing gave USDA an extended version of a video they say was shot by one of their investigators who worked at the plant. After reviewing the footage, USDA determined that, while there is evidence of “egregious” humane handling violations, there is no evidence that lame animals were entering the food supply.

So-called “downer” cattle, those unable to stand or walk, are not legally allowed to be slaughtered for human consumption, in part because of the risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection service said it was conducting a “thorough investigation that encompasses food safety and will respond appropriately to its results.”

In April, the USDA confirmed that a downer dairy cow sent to a rendering plant, not a slaughter facility, tested positive for BSE. Downer cattle can be rendered into pet food or poultry feed, but are not allowed to be used in ruminant feed or human food to reduce the risk of BSE transmission.

“Our top priority is to ensure the safety of the food Americans feed their families,” said Al Almanza, Administrator of FSIS. “We have reviewed the video and determined that, while some of the footage provided shows unacceptable treatment of cattle, it does not show anything that would compromise food safety. Therefore, we have not substantiated a food safety violation at this time. We are aggressively continuing to investigate the allegations.”

As recently as 2009, Central Valley Meat was one of the top three suppliers of ground beef to the National School Lunch Program, but USDA did not respond to questions Tuesday about whether Central Valley Meat is still supplying the National School Lunch Program or about how much meat the company may be selling to federal nutrition programs annually.

ABC News reported that the company currently holds a $3.8 million, two-month contract with the government.

Shortly after learning about the video, popular fast food chain In-N-Out Burger announced they had severed ties with Central Valley Meat, which had previously been supplying between 20 and 30 percent of the chain’s beef.

The graphic excerpt of the undercover video posted online, which was reviewed by Food Safety News, shows cows before slaughter covered in dirt and feces, some of them writhing on the ground and bleeding on themselves after being bolted repeatedly, but not rendered senseless. Several cows are shown projectile vomiting, presumably from stress, while being hit repeatedly with the bolt gun.

One cow is shown being suffocated by a worker who stands on the animal’s snout. Some cows seem to survive the bolt gun and get sent down the assembly line still thrashing as they are strung upside down before being bled out. Another clip shows cows being sprayed with hot water and electrically prodded to move them.

Generally speaking, public health veterinarians are charged with observing all animals headed to slaughter — both in motion and at rest — to declare them fit for human consumption. But, as former undersecretary for food safety Richard Raymond explained to Food Safety News, “That does not mean they are out in the pens 24/7.”

While many have questioned whether the FSIS inspectors on site were doing their jobs appropriately, Raymond said it’s likely that the inspectors and the public health veterinarian on hand were doing their jobs, but perhaps were not monitoring the pens where the alleged abuse took place.

Some companies, including Cargill, are now employing around-the-clock video monitoring to ensure that there is no mistreatment of animals, especially after the 2008 scandal involving Hallmark/Westland, which was also a major supplier of the National School Lunch Program. Undercover footage shot by the Humane Society of the United States showed non-ambulatory cows being grossly mistreated, sparking outrage among consumers and animal welfare advocates. The footage prompted the largest ever meat recall in history — 143 million pounds of ground beef — after most of it was eaten.

“It’s unfortunate when something like this happens,” said Raymond, who was undersecretary during the Hallmark/Westland incident. “You would think that this particular segment of the industry would have learned their lesson from Hallmark/Westland, but they apparently haven’t. It’s bad for industry, it’s bad for agriculture, and I don’t feel bad for Central Valley Meat. I didn’t feel bad for Hallmark/Westland. It’s their responsibility to ensure these violations do not happen.”

Like Hallmark/Westland, Central Valley Meat primarily slaughters dairy cows that are no longer productive. According to Raymond, these cows have a tendency to go down because they are 10 to 12 years old, quite old compared to the 30 month old steers raised for beef production.

“They’re not in the best of the health.. and sometimes they have some mastitis,” said Raymond.

Central Valley Meat Co. responded Monday by saying that it was cooperating fully with the USDA investigation.

“At Central Valley Meat Co., ensuring that the livestock we process are treated humanely is critically important,” said Brian Coelho, president of the company, in a statement. “Our company seeks not just to meet federal humane handling regulations, but to exceed them.”

Coelho said he was “extremely disturbed” to be told by USDA of the allegations, but could not comment directly on what was in the video because it had not yet been shared with his company.

James Andrews contributed reporting to this piece.

****************************************************************************************************************

Recalls

 

 

 

California Recalls 7th Heaven Gourmet Spreads

The California Department of Public Health is warning the public to not eat some 7th Heaven Gourmet spreads because they may have been improperly produced. That means that, as canned products, they may be susceptible to Clostridium botulinum bacteria. No illnesses are linked to these products at this time.

7th Heaven Gourmet of Hesperia, California is recalling Pate Meditteraneo and Eggplant & Shitake Tapenade. The products were packaged in 7 ounce glass jars with screw-on metal lids. There are no production or date codes.

The spreads were sold between September 2011 and July 2012 at these Farmer’s Markets: Victorville Farmers Market (Victor Valley College) at 18422 Bear Valley Road in Victorville, California. Victoria Garden Farmers Market, 12505 North Mainstreet in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Palm Springs Village Fest, North Palm Canyon between Amato and Ramon in Palm Springs, CA. And The Inland Certified Farmers Market at 5261 Arlington Avenue in Riverside, California.

If you have purchased these products, discard them in the trash. Since botulism toxin is colorless, tasteless, and odorless, you can’t tell if an item contains the toxin. And further cooking is not going to inactive any toxin present.

The symptoms of botulism poisoning include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, and sore throat. Symmetrical progressive descending paralysis may follow. Additional symptoms include slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, and paralysis of respiratory muscles. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. For questions, call 916-440-7259.

 

****************************************************************************************************************

Articles of Interest

 

 

Lack of Food Safety Education for Elder Caregivers

A new study has found that older adults, along with their caregivers and health care providers, are not receiving food safety education needed to protect this vulnerable group. The elderly are part of the high risk group of people who are at most risk of developing complications after a food borne illness.

Scientists at Tennessee State University and RTI International held focus groups to study this issue. They contacted 55 people who work with the elderly, such as nurses, home health care providers, doctors, and relatives, and discovered that most do not have thorough knowledge of food safety rules. Adults over the age of 60 are more likely to suffer severe complications from foodborne illness, which can lead to hospitalization and death.

In the 2011 Listeria outbreak linked to Jensen Farms cantaloupe, most of the ill persons were over the age of 60. The median age in that outbreak was 77. And the outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 at the Neff’s Lawn Care picnic in Ohio this summer killed a 73-year-old man.

According to the FDA, as we age, our immune systems slow down and reduce the body’s ability to fight infection. This is especially true for anyone over the age of 75. In addition, many elderly people have chronic health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, or heart disease, which can further weaken the immune system.

The study found that health care providers do not have the “training, knowledge, and willingness to provide food safety information to older adults.”  For instance, the caregivers did not know that in order to prevent Listeria infections in the elderly, deli meats should be reheated to 165 degrees F, and that deli salads and other ready-to-eat processed foods such as soft cheeses and smoked seafood should be avoided. Caregivers who were relatives of the elderly patients were most likely to be well informed in matters of food safety.

Unfortunately, professional health care providers stated they do not talk to their elderly patients about food safety because there isn’t enough time during medical appointments. They were willing to provide brochures and other educational materials.  The FDA has specific food safety information for the elderly that is available at the FDA site.

 

 

 

CA Right to Know Responds to No on 37

A few days ago we told you about the “No on 37″ response to California ballot initiative Prop 37. Proposition 37 will make it illegal to sell foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO) or genetically engineered ingredients (GE) unless the label lists those foods on the package.

No on 37 said that “Proposition 37 would ban the sale of tens of thousands of … grocery products.” Stacy Malkan of CARighttoKnow.org told Food Poisoning Bulletin, ”Prop 37 does not ‘ban the sale’ of food unless it is specifically repackaged. It requires companies to add a few words to their labels. How is this going to increase the cost of food by billions of dollars? Remember, these are the same companies that told us DDT and Agent Orange were safe. Personally I don’t trust them to have our best interests at heart and I would rather make my own choices about what I eat and feed my family.”

It is true that there have been no long-term studies of the potential risks of genetically modified food. The food is changed because its DNA has been altered with the addition of genes from plants, animals, viruses, and bacteria. For instance, GMO corn produces its own pesticides. The corn is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as an insecticide, but it is sold for human consumption unlabeled.

At the same time, Plant Incorporated Protectants, as plants that produce their own pesticides are called, are “tested against human safety standards for toxicity, allergenicity, and skin and eye irritation, as well as long-term effects including cancer, birth defects, and reproductive and neurological system disorders,” according to the EPA. Scientists evaluate the exposure to pestsicides from food, drinking water, and direct exposure to determine the likelihood that the pesticides in that food would produce a health risk.

The EPA states that “based on our reviews of the scientific studies … EPA determined that these genetically engineered PIP products … would not pose unreasonable risk to human health and the environment during their time-limited registration.” But as we told you in May, Dr. Ted Labuza, food science professor at the University of Minnesota, says “if people are concerned about something it’s logical to label it. The principle of informed consent applies here. People have the right to avoid something if they don’t want to eat it.” And the American Medical Association, while it would not endorse labeling, has recommended that the FDA test GMO foods to ensure the health of the public.

 

 

 

More Salmonella Cases Linked to Chicks and Ducklings

SnugglingDucklingsMain.jpgThe number of people sickened by Salmonella traced to chicks and ducklings from an Ohio mail order hatchery has risen from 123 to 163, according to a report released Monday by the U.S.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The illnesses – linked to contact with live baby poultry sold by Mt. Hatchery of Cincinnati, OH – began in March of this year. Three strains of Salmonella – Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Lille and Salmonella Newport – have been associated with animals from the hatchery.

The 20 new cases reported since CDC’s last update on July 12 occurred in 10 states, including Illinois (2), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (2), New York (5), North Carolina (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (1), Vermont (1) and West Virginia (3).
Case totals in the 26 states affected by the outbreak are as follows:
Alabama (4), Arizona (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (5), Illinois (3), Indiana (3), Kansas (1), Kentucky (5), Louisiana (1), Maine (4), Maryland (3), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (2), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New York (21), North Carolina (15), Ohio (39), Pennsylvania (13), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (11), Texas (2), Vermont (2), Virginia (9), and West Virginia (10).

Of the 163 people sickened in these outbreaks, 33 percent have been hospitalized. Two outbreak victims – one in Maryland and one in New York – have died, but it is unclear whether their deaths were a result of Salmonella infection or due to other causes.
Over one third (34 percent) of those sickened are children aged 10 or younger.
Mt. Healthy Hatchery is the same company that was linked to illnesses from Salmonella Altona and Salmonella Johannesburg in 2011. Those joint outbreaks sickened at least 96 people.
Veterinarians from the Ohio Department of Health visited the hatchery in May of 2012 and made recommendations for safety improvement.
The 3 outbreaks currently linked to the hatchery were still causing illnesses as of July 31, 2012. Illnesses that began after July 21, 2012 may not have been counted yet due to the time delay between an illnesses’ onset and the time it is reported, notes CDC.
The agency offers the following recommendations to consumers to help avoid Salmonella infection when handling live baby poultry:
– Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
– If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer until you are able to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
– Clean any equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house, such as cages or feed or water containers.
– Do not let children younger than 5 years of age, elderly persons, or people with weak immune systems handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry.
– Do not let live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, or outdoor patios.
– Do not snuggle or kiss the birds, touch your mouth, or eat or drink around live poultry.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection can appear anywhere from 6 hours to several days after exposure, and include fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, headache and body aches.
If you think you may have contracted a Salmonella infection, contact your healthcare provider.

European Review of Aspartame Put Off Until 2013

Next month’s promised release of a new “full re-evaluation” of the sweetener aspartame is not going to happen until at least May 2013.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) asked for the extra time, and the European Commission (EC) — the governing body for the 27-country European Union (EU) — granted its request.
EFSA originally planned to do a re-evaluation of aspartame in time for a 2020 release date. The EC asked that the work be advanced by eight years and released in September 2012.
In a statement on the requested delay, EFSA said the additional time will allow for scientific experts to consider new data and compete a comprehensive risk assessment in addition to allowing time for a draft version to be circulated for comments before the new re-evaluation becomes final.

ttsweet_320x175.jpg

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that’s been involved in one of the longest running food safety controversies in history.
The low-calorie sweetener is a popular table top sugar substitute and is used in beverages, desserts, dairy products, chewing gums, energy control and weight control products.
EFSA last certified the safety of aspartame in 2009 in Regulation EU 257/2010.
Since agreeing to move up its scheduled 2020 review, EFSA has issued a public call for scientific data as part of its “thorough literature review, ” and is now doing so again.
EFSA’s Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS) is well into  the risk assessment.
In the course of its scientific deliberations, the Panel has found that there was too little data available on 5-benzyl-3,6-dioxo-2-piperazine acetic acid (DKP) and other potential degradation products that can be formed from aspartame in food and beverages when stored under certain conditions.
For that reason, EFSA is launching an additional call for data on DKP and other degradation products of aspartame.
In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved aspartame in 1974 and then rescinded its approval until 1981. More than 100 other national regulatory agencies followed FDA’s approval, permitting aspartame for human use country by country. The first approvals for European countries also came in the 1980s.
Yet controversy has dogged the product for the past 40 years. Unless the date is moved again, the review EFSA comes out with in 2013 will be its fifth. All previous works have attested to the aspartame’s safety.
The aspartame product known as NutraSweet was ready to go in 1965.  But it would be a long haul for Searle, the pharmaceutical company that did the research and development on aspartame before its own name disappeared through mergers and acquisitions.
Aspartame conspiracies would drag Searle through grand juries and 60 Minutes with most making never proven claims about the sweetener causing cancer.

****************************************************************************************************************

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

 

Food Safety

Montana Says Listeria Outbreak Victim’s Death Was Due to His Infection

CantaloupeSliceRemovedMain.jpgThe unofficial death count of last year’s Listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupes rose from 32 to 33 Wednesday as the Montana Department of Health confirmed that the death of an outbreak victim there was a result of his Listeria infection.

The victim, a 75-year-old Bozeman, Montana man who died in January, was only recently recognized as a victim of the outbreak. Food Safety News reported about the possible link. The connection was first made when PulseNet discovered that a clinical sample of Listeria from the man’s stool was indistinguishable from a rare genetic fingerprint of Listeria found on a cantaloupe from an outbreak victim’s home. PulseNet compares pathogen samples across the U.S. using a DNA mapping technique called pulsed field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE.

Earlier this month, CDC added the Montana man to the outbreak victims count, bringing the total to 147, but has not yet included him in the death count. One other case in Montana has been linked to the outbreak.

“We finished the investigation July 18 and the CDC is adding him to the death toll,” Job Ebelt, a spokesman for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services told The Packer. However, CDC told Food Safety News that it has not yet officially counted the man’s death as one of those that resulted from outbreak, and is currently only counting him as a victim.

“We’re saying at least 30 deaths and one miscarriage,” confirmed Lola Russel, a spokeswoman for the CDC. “The death count is something that’s based on us reviewing death certificates, and that’s a process. Just because a state counts it does not mean we’re increasing that number right then,” she said.

Sprouts Remain An Unsolved Pathogen Problem

Outbreaks linked to sprouted seeds continue to crop up

PROVIDENCE — For all its efforts in the last 15 years or so, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t really moved the meter that much when it comes to improving the safety of raw and lightly cooked sprouts that Americans increasingly like to eat.
Sprouts were given special attention Wednesday at the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) meeting this week in Rhode Island.

soysprouts-iphone.jpg

From 1990 until midway through 2011, there were at least 46 major outbreaks involving sprouts, said FDA’s Tong-Jen (T-J) Fu. The problem is that the conditions seeds need to grow sprouts are also ideal for growing pathogens.
Many of those outbreaks have occurred since 1999, the year FDA issued its non-binding “guidance” document to help sprout growers.  “Implementation has been an issue,” explains Fu.
Fixing the problem that good sprouting conditions are also good for growing pathogens isn’t easy.
“Whatever is good for growing the seeds is good for microbial growth,” says Mansour Samadpour, who runs a commercial food lab in Lake Forest Park, WA.
Fu says Salmonella growth is the most common contaminant for sprouts, but E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria are also known to taint sprouting seeds. In the sprouting process, seeds are often found to be the exact cause of outbreaks.
Fu also notes that people often take the seeds home for “home sprouting,” which she says could add to the risks.
On multiple occasions since 1999, FDA has also issued public warnings about sprouts, starting out with a notice warning about alfalfa sprouts. It was then amended to include a public health warning about all sprouts.
FDA’s Michelle Smith said the agency was originally concerned about raw sprouts, but has since changed that part of the warning to include “raw and lightly cooked” sprouts.

USDA Looking at Antibiotics Claims on Meat Labels

Amid growing consumer awareness about antibiotics used to raise food animals, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is taking a look at some of the claims made on meat packages, including “antibiotic free.”

ABXLABELS.jpgIn a letter responding to concerns raised by Consumers Union, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said FSIS has developed updated guidance material on labels that it will send to meat companies and the agency plans to investigate unapproved label claims.

“Under FSIS guidelines, when producers/companies request to make the marketing claim “raised without antibiotics” on their labels, we inform them that this means “no antibiotics in their feed water or injection including no ionophores” during the animal’s life,” said Vilsack.

CU sent a letter to USDA in June asking that the department look into three unapproved label claims that the group found on meat packages: antibiotic free, no antibiotic growth promotants, and no antibiotic residues. In a recent shopping survey, CU found more than 20 different antibiotic-related claims on meat packages (see the group’s list to the left).

CU points out that these claims may confuse or mislead consumers.

Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Tuna Grows to 425

spicy-tuna-sushi-406.jpgSalmonella from a recalled raw tuna product served in sushi and known as Nakaochi scrape has now sickened at least 425 individuals in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Of those ill, 55 have been hospitalized.

In its final outbreak update, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the outbreak appears to be over, though additional cases may surface in the next several months if unaware food establishments continue serving the product, which is sold frozen and has a long shelf-life.
The victims of the tuna scrape outbreak were infected with one of two Salmonella strains. In total, 410 fell ill with Salmonella Bareilly, while Salmonella Nchanga sickened 15.
The recalled Nakaochi scrape was produced by Moon Marine USA Corporation. Retailers carrying the product are asked not to serve it.
The outbreak’s epidemiological curve, featured below, shows that a significant number of victims acquired their infections after the April 13 tuna scrape recall, suggesting food establishments continued to serve it for some time.
tuna425map.jpg

Case Count Rises in Upstate New York Shigella Outbreak

ShigellaMain.jpgThe number of individuals sickened in a Shigella outbreak in Upstate New York has risen from 45 – at last report – to 69, while the source of the bacteria remains unclear.

The outbreak is affecting residents of Onondaga County, located in the central northern New York. The county’s health department announced the increase in cases Friday. Health officials there are still not sure what is causing the outbreak.
Shigella infection, or shigellosis is characterized by fever, stomach cramps and diarrhea that can be painful and contain blood or mucous. Symptoms usually appear 1 to 3 days after exposure and resolve in about a week.
If you think you may have contracted shigellosis, contact your healthcare provider.
For more information on this outbreak, see Food Safety News’ previous reports:

Paralytic Shellfish Poison Closes Recreational Harvest In Puget Sound

The Washington State Department of Health (WDH) has closed recreational shellfish harvesting in six counties near Puget Sound after dangerous levels of the biotoxin Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) were discovered. Commercially harvested shellfish are not included in the closure and should be safe to eat, according to public health authorities.

The six counties affected by the recreational shellfish harvest closure are in the central and southern areas of the sound. They are: Jefferson, Island, Snohomish, Kitsap, King and Pierce counties. Warning signs have been posted at beaches in these areas.

Shellfish included in the closure are: clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, geoduck, and other mollusks. Crab is not included in the closure, but “crab butter,” the yellow goo that clings to the inside of the shell is.

 

 

Cases of Salmonella Montevideo from Live Poultry Rise to 76

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has counted an additional 10 cases of Salmonella Montevideo linked to live poultry since last month, bringing the new case count to 76 people across 22 states. Of those ill, 17 have been hospitalized.

The live birds originated at Estes Hatchery, a mail-order hatchery in Springfield, Missouri.

The number ill by state is as follows:
poultry76map.jpg

Restaurant in E. coli Outbreak Gets Cover from OC Health

A locally owned single location restaurant in California’s Orange County is getting some valuable service from its local health department — keeping its name from being associated with an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak.
That secret involves romaine lettuce the unnamed restaurant served last April giving E. coli O157:H7 to nine of its customers, and causing the restaurant to voluntarily close for the investigation. The restaurant management was so cooperative that four months later, the Orange County (OC) Health Care Agency is still keeping the name of the restaurant a secret.
Deanne Thompson, public information officer for the OC Health Care Agency, says naming the restaurant now (it was not named then either) would “not serve a useful purpose.”
OC apparently wanted to keep the whole event secret, and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) went along.
At the time, OC Health put out nary a word about the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak and in a county where restaurant closures are an obsession; there was not a word about this one.   Thompson says it was not listed because the closure was voluntary.
OC Health — with more than 11,000 restaurants, food trucks and other food establishments under its regulation — currently lists 88 closures by its inspectors in the last 60 days.

Norovirus Outbreak Linked to Michigan Mexican Restaurant

At least 200 sickened

TummyAcheMain.jpgAt least 200 people fell ill last week with Norovirus infections connected to a Mexican restaurant in Michigan’s Ottowa County.

The Ottowa County Health Department began investigating the outbreak on Thursday of last week and by this week had linked the illnesses to Margarita’s Restaurant of Holland, MI, which was shut down after it was determined to be the outbreak source.
It is not clear whether victims included both customers and employees or only customers.
Norovirus is transmitted through the fecal-oral route. Food handlers who contract Norovirus should stay home from work 48-72 hours after symptoms end to prevent the spread of infection, says the Ottowa County Health Department.

Canada’s Raw Milk Laws Put to Test By Ontario Court of Appeal

Provincial public health and milk marketing regulations that have prevented the sale or distribution of raw milk in Canada for the past 80 years are about to be challenged in the Ontario Court of Appeal.
The often precedent-setting Ontario Court of Appeal, where same-sex marriage in Canada first got its stamp of approval, is second only to the Supreme Court of Canada. And the high federal court reviews only about 3 percent of Ontario Court of Appeal decisions.

mapleleaf_400x300.jpg

Conflicting and some say confused lower court cases over the fate of raw milk dairy farmer Michael Schmidt, who was first acquitted in 2010 and then convicted in 2011 for distributing raw milk through a cow-share successful appeal request. (Unlike the U.S., the prosecution in Canada can appeal when they lose).
Schmidt, who was sentenced on similar charges in 1994 when he was fined $3,500 and placed on probation for two years, was operating a cow share scheme for 150 families, who had paid $300 each for shares of 26 dairy cows.

****************************************************************************************************************

Recalls / Allergen Alerts

Cheeses, Dips and Spreads Recalled for Potential Listeria Contamination

A Colorado-based company is recalling a limited number of tapanades, cheeses and salsas because they may contain onions that were recalled last week due to potential contamination with Listeria.

Sartori Inspirations LLC issued the voluntary recall Thursday after Gills Onions of Oxnard, California recalled some of its diced yellow onions on July 18 because a sample had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Sartori makes some of its products with these onions.
Those products – sold at some Whole Foods Market stores – include tapanades, smoked gouda, pimento cheese, spinach feta dip and a variety of salsas packaged in both 7 oz. clear plastic and 5 lb. white plastic tubs. The following is a list of the specific products subject to recall. Code information can be found on the side of each container.
gills-recall.jpg

Undeclared Allergen in Chicken and Yam Pies Prompts Recall

Opinion

YamandChickenPies.jpgA California-based company is recalling approximately 79 pounds of chicken and yam pie products because they may have been made with a curry paste that contains shrimp, but shrimp  – a known allergen – is not listed as an ingredient.

Piccadilly Fine Foods of Santa Clara, CA issued a voluntary recall of the products Thursday after a label inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) revealed that the recipe for the pies had been temporarily changed, but that the ingredient change was not reflected on packaging.
Products subject to this recall include:

Chopped Onions with Possible Listeria Contamination Trigger More Recalls

choppedonions-406.jpgChopped yellow and white onions distributed by Gills Onions has triggered more recalls, as more food makers announced they were using the onions, which were first recalled on July 18 for possible Listeria contamination.

No illnesses have yet been reported in relation to these recalls.
1. Garden Fresh Foods, Inc. is recalling various ready-to-eat salads, slaw, salsa, bean and dip products under various brands and code dates. Products were distributed in AZ, CA, FL, IA, IL, IN, MA, MI, MN, MO, PA, TX, and WI.
2. Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC recalled its Calico Bean Salad sold in stores between July 18 and 26.
3. Spartan Stores, Inc. recalled its Three Bean Salad and 10 oz. Broccoli Stir Fry sold between July 13 and 26.
4. Publix Super Markets issued a recall of custom-made sub sandwiches that may have contained chopped onions connected to the recall, sold from July 7 through 26.

Stop & Shop Recalls Calico Bean Salad for Listeria

Northeast grocery chain Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC announced Friday that it removed Calico Bean Salad made by Costa Fruit & Produce from their stores due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The salad was sold in stores’ salad bar, but the company said no illnesses have been reported.

The company is asking that customers who purchased the product between July 18, 2012 and July 26, 2012 discard any unused portions and bring their purchase receipt to Stop & Shop for a full refund.

BBQ Chicken Salad Recalled for Potential Listeria Contamination

A California company is recalling approximately 5,610 pounds of its barbecue chicken salad because the product contains diced onions that were recalled for potential Listeria contamination last week.

Huxtable’s Kitchen of Vernon, CA issued a voluntary recall of the BBQ chicken salads Friday after another company – Gill’s Onions – announced last week that a sample of its diced onions had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Huxtable’s, which uses onions processed by Gill’s in its barbecue chicken salad, was notified of the potential contamination by a supplier and alerted USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the problem.
The Huxtable’s products subject to recall are sold in 14.5 ounce trays and labeled as “TRADER JOE’S BBQ CHICKEN SALAD” Friday.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Potential Listeria Contamination Prompts Recall of Sausage Products

SausagesinPanMain.jpgA Mississippi firm is recalling approximately 314 pounds of sausage products because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Enslin & Son Packing Company of Hattiesburg, MS, issued a voluntary recall of it’s “Cedar Grove Red Hots” Friday after the company received test results showing that the product had tested positive for Listeria. Product had already been shipped to retail establishments in Meridian and Philadelphia, MS when the company acquired the test results.

Read Full Article here

 

 

 

 

LSG Sky Chefs Latest to Recall Product With Onions Over Listeria Concerns

ChipotleChickWrapMain.jpgLSG Sky Chefs is recalling certain chicken wraps because they are made with diced onions that were recalled by another company last week after a sample of the onions tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

Orlando, Florida-based LSG issued a is voluntarily recalling about 735 pounds of ready-to-eat chipotle chicken wraps Friday after being notified of the onion recall issued by Gill’s Onions last week. LSG uses onions processed by Gill’s in the pico de gallo contained in its wraps.
This is the third recall of product made with Gill’s Onions since the initial recall was announced. Food Safety News reported on the other two in these notices:

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Burch Farms Cantaloupe Recalled for Possible Listeria Contamination

cantaloupedangling-406.jpgNorth Carolina’s Burch Farms and Hannaford Supermarkets on Saturday initiated a recall of 580 crates of whole Athena cantaloupes sent to New York due to possible contamination of Listeria monocytogenes.

The cantaloupes were shipped July 15. No illnesses have been linked to this outbreak.

The cantaloupes sport a red label that reads ‘Burch Farms’ and ‘Cantaloupe PLU 4319.’ Health officials are urging those who purchased the cantaloupes to dispose of them.

Last August, Listeria-contaminated Rocky Ford cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms in Colorado caused one of the deadliest foodborne illness outbreaks in U.S. history, sickening at least 147 and killing 33. Jensen Farms filed for bankruptcy in May.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Tyson Chunk Chicken Recalled for Undeclared Allergen

Tony Downs Foods Company of Minnesota is recalling 70,500 pounds of premium chunk chicken for mislabeling and an undeclared allergen. The products may actually contain “Beef with Gravy” that contains wheat, one of the major food allergens, that is not declared on the label.

The product is 12.5-ounce cans of “Tyson Premium Chunk Chicken.” The code date of “8965 248A 12139″ and “Best by May 18, 2015″ are ink-jetted on the bottom of each recalled can. Each label has the number “P-65″ inside the USDA mark of inspection. Correctly labeled cans are ink-jetted with the code “1392TDM4600″ and “P65″ beneath a “Use by May 18 2015″ date and are not part of this recall.

The chicken was produced on May 18, 2012 and distributed to retail establishments nationwide. There have been no reports of adverse reactions associated with the consumption of this product. If you have questions, call the Tyson Consumer Hotline at 866-328-3156.

 

 

San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Company Recalls Products

July 29, 2012 By

The San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Company is recalling 16 products for potential contamination of filth. There was a mouse infestation at the company’s Fremont warehouse. The products were sold mostly over the internet in the U.S. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the consumption of these products. For questions, call Dr. Fahimeh Niroomand at 510-770-1215 extension 115.

Each package weighs one pound. The Lot numbers are on a small, white rectangular sticker on the bottom half of the back of the package. The products recalled include:

Read Full Article Here

Colombian Style Cheese Recalled for Potential Staph Contamination

Same cheese recalled one week earlier for improper pasteurization

QuesitoMain.jpgA New York-based company is recalling a Colombian-style cheese product because it may be contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The recall comes a week after the New York State Department of Agriculture (NYSDA) warned consumers not to eat this same cheese because it had not been properly pasteurized.

Tita Corp. of Glendale, NY issued a voluntary recall of its “Queso Colombiano, Colombian Style Cheese” Saturday after samples of the product were found to contain “high levels of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The samples that tested positive for Staph bacteria were taken by an NYSDA Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services inspector on July 25, 2012, just 8 days after the Division had found that milk used to make this cheese had been improperly pasteurized, meaning that it’s possible for pathogens to survive in the product.

Read Full Article here

 

 

Publix Recalls Sub Sandwiches Made with Gills Onions

Publix Super Markets is recalling custom sub sandwiches made with recalled Gills Onions. The onions were recalled on July 19, 2012 for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recall includes any custom made sub sandwiches with sliced onions sold at the Publix Deli department from July 7, 2012 through July 26, 2012.

The onions were shipped to stores in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Publix stores in Florida are not included in this recall. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with the sliced onions.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Spartan Stores Recall Products Containing Gills Onions

In the ninth derivative recall so far, Spartan Stores is recalling two products that contain Gills Onions. The onions, which may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, were recalled on July 19, 2012.

The recalled products include Three Bean Salad sold at the deli, and 10-ounce Broccoli Stir Fry sold in the product department. There has been no “confirmation” of illnesses associated with the consumption of these products reported to Spartan Stores. If anyone has eaten these products and gotten sick, they should contact their healthcare provider.

Those products should be discarded or returned to the place of purchase for a full refund or replacement. If you have questions, you can contact Spartan Stores’ Consumer Affairs at 1-800-451-8500. You can also contact Gills Onions Customer Service at 1-888-220-0436.

Smoked Salmon Recalled for Botulism Potential

VaccumSmokedSalmonMain.jpgAn Alaskan company is recalling its smoked salmon products because they are labeled with improper instructions that could, if followed, lead to the product’s contamination with Clostridium botulinum bacteria.

Interior Alaska Fish Processors Inc., based in Fairbanks, AK, issued a voluntary recall of its “Santa’s Smokehouse” brand hot-smoked vacuum packed salmon products Tuesday because they bear a label indicating that they can be kept under refrigeration, when in fact they cannot, according to 2KTUU.com.
This misleading label implies that consumers may keep the fish in conditions that could in actuality allow for the growth of Clostridium botulinum, which produces botulinum toxins that attack the human nervous system, leading to paralysis.

Ken’s Foods Recalls Dressings and Sauces for Possible Listeria

Ken’s Foods Inc. is recalling some food service dressings and sauces that contain onions that are part of the Gills Onions recall. The onions may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Fresh Point processes the onions for Ken’s Foods; their supplier is Gills Onions.

The products recalled include these products. Ken’s Tartar Sauce in 4/1 gallon containers, with number KE0666 and MFG number 09/JUL/12. Ken’s Tartar Sauce in 100/1.5-ounce cups, with number KE0666A5 and EXP: 011313. Dickey’s BBQ Bean in 10/48-ounce pouches, with number DI2063 and USE BY date of 11MAR13. Golden Corral Tartar in 4/1 gallon containers, with number GD2517 and MFG: 17/JUL/12. Lee’s Cole Slaw in 14/40 ounce pouches, with number FQ2103 and MFG: 23JUL12. Fatz Tartar Sauce, in 4/1 gallon containers, with number FD0666 and MFG: 23/JUL/12.

Read Full Article here

 

 

****************************************************************************************************************

Articles of Interest

‘Current Controversies’ in Food Safety Produces Lively Debate

Truth be told, the lecture format of most of the symposia at the International Association for Food Protection annual meeting can get a little sleepy.
The meeting, which ended Wednesday, is not known for sharp sticks in the eye or put down quips. The one exception was the “current controversies” section that used a sort of modified college debate format to go through three food safety issues quickly with no apologies for any hard feelings.
There was one caveat. Not only were the views expressed by the debaters not necessarily representative of their organizations, they were not necessarily their own. Like good college debaters everywhere, they might have just ended up with that side or the argument.
The debaters, however, tried their best, since they wanted to sway the audience, which was polled electronically before and after both sides had their say and took questions.
The first topic was whether the pasteurization of all ground beef and ground poultry should be mandated. Speaking in favor was Kroger Company’s W. Payton Pruett; opposed was the American Meat Institute Foundation’s Betsy Booren.
Before the debate began, the audience split 71.4 opposed to the proposal, 28.6 in favor.

LecternMain.jpg

Pruett started by saying that Kroger stores have been on the receiving end of about half of all the 68 recent recalls of ground meat products, and the time has come to just accept that sampling and testing cannot substitute for good kill step.
Just as we reached a point where it was appropriate for milk, juice, and eggs to go through pasteurization, Pruett said that time has now arrived for ground meat. He said pasteurization would cut down on recalls and reduce illnesses.
Booren said the $4.8 billion local food movement, small and very small meat businesses and anyone who values choice in a country with an abundance of food would be ill served by a pasteurization mandate.
In rebuttal, Pruett said his company’s stores have already removed choice from their customers by not selling raw milk.”What we sell in our stores is pasteurized milk,” he said.  “We’ve taken away that customer choice. This is a case of where we have to take control.”

That left an opening for Booren to question whether Pruett’s company is motivated by its concern for public health or its fear of possibilities litigation over the sale of raw milk with its potential for contamination.
In raising her concerns about how pasteurization might change the taste and texture of ground meat products, Booren brought up some of the early tests on radiated meat coming out with a “wet dog” smell.
In the end, the House remained unmoved with only about 2 percent moving to the pro-pasteurization side.
In just over 15 minutes, it was all over and two more debaters had stepped up to argue about whether Clostridium difficile colitis is a foodborne illness. C. diff is a species of gram-positive bacteria, most associated with diarrheal disease picked up in hospital settings.
Going at it over this one was Glenn Songer from Iowa State University at Ames and Brandi Limbago from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

CDC Releases Annual Foodborne Illness Data for 2011

E. coli O157 falling; Salmonella, Listeria and others remain steady

applesconveyorbelt-406.jpgThe number of Americans falling ill from foodborne pathogens remained steady or marginally worsened in the latter half of the 2000s, and 2011 turned out to show little difference, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which released its annual report of foodborne illness data for 2011 on Friday evening.

While the data showed a promising five-year decline of E. coli O157:H7 and Shigella infections since 2007, infection rates stagnated or slightly grew for a number of other notable bacteria, including Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria.

As a whole, the data have some food safety advocates reemphasizing the importance of implementing measures of the Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law by President Obama in January 2011 and designed to shift the focus of U.S. food safety from a reactive system to something more preventative. Many of the act’s central rules have blown past implementation deadlines, including new food import standards and domestic preventative control requirements.

According to the data, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria continue to infect numbers well beyond goals set by the U.S. government for 2010:

For every 100,000 people, 16.5 fell ill with Salmonella in 2011 and 17.5 the year before, despite a goal to reduce that number to 6.8 by then. Similarly, Campylobacter infected 14.3 in 2011 (surpassing the 12.3-person goal), and 0.28 were sickened by Listeria (just above the 2010 goal of 0.24).

At the same time, however, E. coli O157 rates fell to 0.98, just below its goal of 1.0. That’s down from 1.20 in 2007, 1.69 in 2002 and 2.62 in 1996, the year the CDC first began compiling yearly reports on these pathogens.

USDA Supports Meatless-less Mondays

Agency backpedals on support following pressure from industry

by Gretchen Goetz | Jul 30, 2012

DogsonFlagMain.jpg

For a brief period last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture got behind the international “Meatless Monday” campaign by calling on its employees to choose vegetarian options on Mondays.
“While a vegetarian diet could have a beneficial impact on a person’s health and the environment, many people are not ready to make that commitment. Because Meatless Monday involves only one day a week, it is a small change that could produce big results,” read the USDA’s internal newsletter “Greening Headquarters Update,” dated Monday, June 23.
The piece — which pointed out that animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and uses up large amounts of resources — was revoked Wednesday after the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) roundly condemned the agency’s anti-meat stance, calling it an “animal rights extremist campaign to ultimately end meat consumption.”
“This is truly an awakening statement by USDA, which strongly indicates that USDA does not understand the efforts being made in rural America to produce food and fiber for a growing global population in a very sustainable way,” said NCBA President J.D. Alexander in a statement Wednesday. “USDA was created to provide a platform to promote and sustain rural America in order to feed the world. This move by USDA should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life on this planet.”
Lawmakers from beef-producing states also criticized the agency’s Meatless Monday endorsement.
“I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate for stupid USDA recommendation abt [sic] a meatless Monday,” tweeted Senator Chuck Grassley Grassley (R-IA) Wednesday.
Grassley’s sentiments were echoed by representative Steve King (R), also of Iowa.
“USDA HQ meatless Mondays!!! At the Dept. Of Agriculture? Heresy! I’m not grazing there. I will have double rib-eye Mondays instead,” he tweeted.
By Wednesday afternoon, USDA’s press center had tweeted the following statement:
“USDA does not endorse Meatless Monday. Statement on USDA site posted w/o proper clearance. It has been removed.”
The announcement was greeted with approval by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Thumbnail image for SaveFoodSaveSoldiers.jpg

“USDA did right by scrapping this statement and acknowledging the important role of America’s farm and ranch families in providing food for the world,” said NCBA in a statement later that day.
“USDA denouncing support of the Meatless Monday campaign is an important step in correcting misinformation about the safety and sustainability of U.S. beef production.”

Rawesome Foods Founder Arrested

dairycowcages-406.jpgIn the latest news in the ongoing raw-milk legal saga, 65-year-old James Stewart, founder of Rawesome Foods in Los Angeles County, California, was strong-armed on July 26 by a trio of tough-looking men in street clothes driving unmarked luxury cars who handcuffed him and then slammed him against the back of a car, pressing his face up against the window.

Rawesome Foods is a members-only co-op that specializes in unprocessed foods, including raw milk.

“Why are you treating me so horribly,” the visibly shaken Stewart asked, as someone videotaped what the trio repeatedly referred to as ‘an arrest.’

As he was led to the back seat of the car, Stewart, his voice breaking with emotion, told the person videotaping the scene, “They’re arresting me.”

From there, he was taken to the Ventura County Jail, where a court officer described him as a “flight risk” and refused to grant bail.

Turns out that the three men were members of a bond bailsman retrieval team, which in California have certain police powers, among them the ability to arrest people who have jumped bail. And it turns out that Stewart had, in fact, jumped bail, having failed to show up for two court appearances.

In one of cases, he was out on a $30,000 bail in Los Angeles County on charges of illegally selling raw milk. In the other, he was out of a $100,000 bail in Ventura County on charges of  illegally raising funds for Sharon Palmer’s Healthy Family Farms, according to an article in The Complete Patient.

Palmer supplies Rawesome Foods with raw goat milk and other dairy products from what is known as a ‘herdshare.’ Under a herdshare arrangement, the members don’t consider themselves as buying the milk since they own the animals. Palmer has no license to sell raw milk in California, a state which does allow retail sales of raw milk but which also has very strict laws governing raw-milk production and sales.

Adding another dimension to this drama, raw-milk dairy farmer Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw-milk producer in the nation, was the person who put up $100,000 in personal collateral for the bond in Venice County. In doing so, he put his house on the line, knowing that if Stewart failed to make the necessary court appearances, he could lose his home.

In an interview with Food Safety News after Stewart’s July 26 arrest, McAfee said that he had contacted the bond company because Stewart had told him he wasn’t going to attend the hearings.

“He refused to do that,” McAfee said. “He said he’d go into hiding.”

Stewart told Natural News that McAfee was there at the arrest and watched him being taken away by the bail-bond trio.

McAfee confirmed that, saying that he was the one who found Stewart.

“I was the one who hired the bail agents to arrest James,” he said.

According to the Complete Patient article, the bail bond agents and McAfee tried to convince Stewart both the day before the arrest and the day of the arrest to turn himself in. But their pleas were in vain.

“I didn’t want to lose my house,” McAfee said, in explaining why he had contacted and worked with the bail bondsmen.

McAfee said Stewart had fired the highly qualified lawyer working on the case and opted instead to work with what McAfee described as a “non-lawyer type” from Las Vegas. He had apparently bought into the notion of the ‘sovereign man,’ which urges people to claim their ‘Common Law Inherent Rights’ and defend themselves against “all levels of abuse from Government and Statutes.”

Canada Kicks Off Genome Mapping of Listeria

Canada is kicking off a $600,000 project to map the genome of Listeria bacteria so that more rapid tests can be developed.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Genome Canada, and Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions are teaming up to help protect consumers from the serious foodborne illness.

canada-flag5-iphone.jpg

The 18-month research initiative is being funded with $250,000 each from Genome Canada and CFIA, and $100,000 from Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions.
Currently, it takes at least five days to confirm the presence of Listeria.  Genomic mapping could improve accuracy and cut the time it takes for both the government and industry to identify Listeria contamination.
In 2008, a Listeria outbreak caused by ready-to-eat meats produced by Maple Leaf Foods in Toronto killed 22 mostly elderly Canadians. The 40 percent fatality rate was among the highest ever experience in a foodborne illness outbreak anywhere in North America.

New Data on Antimicrobial Resistance a Mixed Bag

While some Salmonella and Campylobacter strains grew in resistance, others fell, finds NARMS

MulticolorAntibioticsMain.jpg

The federal government has released its 2010 data on antibiotic resistance among Salmonella and Campylobacter in both food animals and humans. While some strains, such as Salmonella Heidelberg, became more resistant to certain drugs between 2009 and 2010, resistance among many serotypes has decreased or remained steady over the past few years.
The figures were published by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), housed at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. The program, which tracks trends in resistance among foodborne bacteria, was launched in 1996 as a collaborative effort between FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The 2010 findings varied widely from strain to strain and drug to drug, but a few trends emerged.
Resistance in Salmonella
Between 2009 and 2010, multidrug resistance – resistant to three or more antibiotics – dropped or stayed the same among most non-Typhoidal Salmonella, which are the second most common source of foodborne illness and the leading cause of hospitalization among foodborne pathogens. Overall, multidrug resistance in human isolates was at an all-time low since 1996.
The strain most commonly resistant to three or more drugs was Typhimurium (a non-Typhoidal serotype, contrary to what its name suggests); 44 percent of these isolates were multidrug resistant.
The two strains that grew in resistance between 2009 and 2010 were Salmonella Heidelberg and Salmonella Serotype I 4,[5],12:i:- (some serotypes are not named). The latter serotype has been discovered more and more frequently in humans and meat over the past 10 years, according to Dr. Patrick McDermott, Director of NARMS.
Interestingly, the presence of Salmonella Dublin in food animals has steadily increased since 1997, and this strain accounts for 55 percent of multidrug resistant Salmonella found in cattle at slaughter, which rose 6 percent between 2007 and 2009. The presence of Heidelberg in meat animals rose between 2009 and 2010.
Scientists also found that resistance to ceftriaxone – an antibiotic used to treat human Salmonella infections – was higher in 2010 among Salmonella Heidelberg isolates from both humans and poultry than it had been in 2009, with the exception of isolates from retail chicken breasts.
Ceftriaxone is a member of the cephalosporin class of antimicrobials, which the FDA limited for use in food animals in April of this year in order to “preserve the effectiveness of cephalosporin drugs for treating disease in humans.”
The action prohibits the “extra-label” use of these drugs, meaning that they may not be used at improper dosages or to prevent disease, and only those cephalosporins that are not intended for human or companion animal use may be used in food animals.
“Serotype Heidelberg is an important poultry-associated serotype where ceftriaxone resistance has gone up,” explains McDermott. “FDA will continue to monitor resistance in this serotype following implementation of the extralabel use prohibition.”
According to the NARMS data, ceftriaxone resistance among human strains rose from 8 percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2009 and again to 24 percent in 2010. Among isolates from chickens at slaughter, resistance to the drug increased from 8.5 percent in 2008 to 18 percent in 2009 and then again to 32 percent in 2010. Resistance in isolates from retail ground turkey and turkeys at slaughter increased from 3.5 percent and 13 percent, respectively, in 2008 to 10 and 33 percent in 2009, and then rose to 24 and 36 percent in 2010.
Among isolates from retail chicken breast, resistance rose from 17 percent in 2008 to 32 percent in 2009 before declining to 24 percent in 2010.
The highest prevalence of ceftriaxone resistance among these meats was found among Typhimurium strains, 81 percent of which were resistant to the drug. Indeed ceftriaxone-resistant Typhumurium has increased in overall prevalence when isolated from chicken breasts, rising from 44 percent in 2007 to 61 percent in 2010.
A similar rise in ceftriaxone resistance was observed in samples taken from animals at slaughter. Resistance in isolates from cattle and turkeys was at its highest since 1997.
In total, the number of samples tested for Salmonella in 2010 included 2,474 samples from humans, 400 from retail meats and 1,073 from healthy food animals at slaughter.

China Sneaks its Chicken in on Man’s Best Friend

Since 2005, pet food imports from China have increased five-fold

by Tony Corbo | Aug 01, 2012
Opinion

The Chinese chicken saga continues…

On July 18, I attended a meeting at the USDA to get an update on the status of poultry exports to the U.S. from the People’s Republic of China. When I returned from the meeting, I saw an email alert from the Food and Drug Administration entitled, “Questions and Answers Regarding Chicken Jerky Treats from China.” The press statement detailed FDA’s investigation into complaints from dog owners who claimed their pets got sick from eating chicken jerky dog treats imported from China. The Chinese will stop at nothing to force its dubious chicken into the U.S. market to unsuspecting consumers, I thought. What an ironic example of how screwed up our food safety system really is.

The USDA has a fairly elaborate process to approve imported meat and poultry products for human consumption. If there are no major issues with the exporting country’s food safety system, it takes about two years between the time a country applies to USDA and publication of the final regulations approving its application. Unfortunately, such a system is not in place for other imported foods that are regulated by the FDA, including pet food.

Food & Water Watch has led a campaign to prevent China to export their poultry products for human consumption since 2005 when the Bush Administration supported regulation to allow China to export processed poultry products to the United States. China first asked the USDA for approval to export its poultry products to the U.S. in 2003. Even though 2004 USDA audits turned up unsanitary conditions in several Chinese poultry plants they visited, and there had been several outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu in Chinese poultry flocks that killed thousands of animals and some humans, the Bush Administration proceeded to propose the new regulation in November 2005 anyway.

Furthermore, the slaughter facilities in China did not meet USDA inspection requirements. So, the proposed regulation restricted any poultry exported to the U.S. to products where the raw poultry came from “approved sources.” At the time, the only “approved sources” were the U.S. or Canada, which meant that North American poultry slaughterhouses could ship their raw carcasses to China to be cooked and the finished products could then be shipped back to the U.S. in order for U.S consumers to “enjoy” them. As ridiculous as that sounds, the Bush Administration approved that rule in April 2006 over the objections of most of the people who commented on the proposed rule, including Food & Water Watch. When the rule was published, USDA estimated that approximately 2.5 million pounds of this exported processed poultry from China would be consumed annually.

Since no U.S. or Canadian poultry processing company stepped forward to take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity, the Chinese stepped up pressure on USDA to permit it to ship processed poultry originating in China directly into the U.S. Then, Congress intervened. Led by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the Congress in 2008 and 2009 explicitly prohibited USDA from spending any money to implement or propose any regulations that would permit China to export processed poultry products to the U.S. In response, China filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) arguing that the U.S. was treating its poultry products unfairly. Big U.S. agribusiness put pressure on the new Obama Administration in 2009 to have the congressional ban lifted because the Chinese had threatened retaliatory action on U.S. agricultural exports to China. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative began to lobby Congress to have the ban lifted. The 2010 spending bill for USDA lifted the ban and China eventually won its WTO case against the U.S.  Even though the Chinese prevailed, it meant that USDA had to restart its review process of the Chinese food safety system.

The Chinese have been less than cooperative in this new review by USDA. According to the verbal report I received from USDA officials on July 18, the Chinese government did not permit USDA inspectors back into their poultry processing facilities until December 2010. USDA inspectors, once again, found food safety deficiencies in those plants. The Chinese wrote to USDA in early 2012 that the deficiencies identified in 2010 audit had been corrected but have yet to schedule a time for USDA inspectors verify Chinese poultry facilities themselves. Why were the Chinese dragging their feet in completing the review process when they have made it such a big trade issue? The July 18 FDA alert on Chinese chicken jerky dog treats offered a major clue. I asked Food & Water Watch’s research department to dig into the volume of pet food imports from China and this is what the found:

Government Releases Food Safety Manual for Pregnant Women

PregnantWomanHoldsAppleMain.jpg

The two federal agencies in charge of food safety in the U.S. have jointly published a manual of advice for avoiding foodborne illness during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are at higher risk for severe illness from certain foodborne pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes and Toxoplasma gondii, because hormonal changes render their immune systems more susceptible to infection. Listeria, Toxoplasma and other bugs can be dangerous or even fatal to both the mother and her unborn baby.
Food Safety for Pregnant Women” was released Wednesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture along with updated versions of five pre-existing food safety booklets for other groups of people at risk for serious illness from food poisoning. These include guides for cancer patients, transplant recipients, people with HIV/AIDS, older adults and people with diabetes.

****************************************************************************************************************

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Food Safety

 

 

E. coli Outbreak Sickens 10 in Germantown, Ohio

ecolifromusda-featured.jpgWhioTV has reported that at least 10 people have fallen ill with E. coli infections after eating at a picnic in Germantown, Ohio, according to the Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department. Approximately six people have been hospitalized, a health department spokesman said.

The exact source of the bacteria is unknown, and information on the strain has not been published. Further inquiries to the health department have not been returned as of press time.

Those ill attended a company picnic featuring 200 to 300 people. More attendees could have fallen ill who have not yet sought medical attention or been counted, the health department said.

Sixty-One Now Sickened with E. coli 0157 in Neff’s Lawn Care Picnic Outbreak

According to Bill Wharton, spokesman for the Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department in Ohio, 61 people have been sickened with E. coli 0157 after attending a picnic held by Neff’s Lawn Care in Germantown. Mr. Wharton said that 11 people have been hospitalized. Mr. Wharton said, “we aren’t releasing any information other than to say we’re investigating the outbreak.” The health department is interviewing picnic attendees and patients, looking at food sources, storage and handling practices, and cross-contamination potential.

Since 200 to 300 people attended the picnic, more cases may be reported. Doctors must report E. coli infections to public health officials. If you or anyone you know attended this picnic and have been sick, please call the Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department at 937-225-4460 to talk to a public health official.

Symptoms of E. coli infections include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea which is often bloody, a mild fever, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. E. coli 0157 infections cannot be treated with antibiotics, since that increases the risk that hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication, may occur.

 

Federal Egg Safety Rule Goes into Full Effect

LayingHensBody.jpg

The government’s Egg Safety Rule, a set of requirements designed to prevent Salmonella contamination at laying facilities, became fully fledged Monday when it went into effect for medium-sized operations after previously applying only to large producers.
Since July of 2010, companies with over 50,000 laying hens have been required to comply with these standards – set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2009 – but as of yesterday the rule now covers facilities with more than 3,000 and less than 50,000 hens.
These regulations do not apply to small producers – those with under 3,000 hens – or companies who sell directly to consumers. A separate guidance was issued for these facilities in 2010.
The rule requires all producers who don’t pasteurize in-shell egg products to test for Salmonella Enteriditis bacteria and to refrigerate eggs at 45 degrees F or less during storage and transportation, starting within 36 hours of when they are laid.
It also says that chicks and young hens may only be sourced from suppliers who monitor for Salmonella. Companies must implement biosecurity, rodent and pest control measures.
According to the rule, if Salmonella is found on eggs or in a laying facility, the eggs must be pasteurized or diverted for non-food use, and the facility must be sanitized.

Georgia Food Processors Get To Dance Around Law

Despite a tough new food safety law and more than a half million spent annually on inspections and lab work, Georgia is not achieving the food safety improvement at the state’s 740 food processing plants that its lawmakers seek.
Perhaps, some say, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black did not get the memo about how serious the Georgia Legislature is about not wanting a repeat of the poison peanut butter produced three years ago by a plant in Blakely, GA.
Black, a former president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, was elected after the Peanut Corporation of America plant produced peanut butter and peanut paste contaminated with Salmonella, killing nine people and sickening hundreds of others nationwide.
Georgia lawmakers reacted to the outbreak by passing a law requiring the state’s food processors to conduct regular internal pathogen tests and report any positive results to the Department of Agriculture now led by Black.

wholepeanutslarge.jpg

But in a performance audit released on June 29, the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts found that just seven positive results were reported during the first 30 months of the program.
As soon as the audit hit the street, Black said he was taking steps to revamp inspections and testing.
“To improve its overall effectiveness and efficiency,” the audit says, “the department should develop a risk-based inspection process.”

The inspection unit’s goal is to conduct a routine inspection of each processing facility every six months.

Study: Farmers Market Employees Rarely Wash Hands

OutdoorCookingMain.jpg

Employees serving ready-to-eat food at farmers markets may be putting consumers at risk by not washing their hands, according to a recent study from Purdue University.
Researchers observed 18 workers at different Indiana farmers markets and found that none used proper hand washing techniques when cooking or serving prepared foods to customers.
Out of the 900 transactions noted by researchers, 417 required hand washing according to state health code; however, only two attempts at hand washing were made. An “attempt” was defined as rinsing hands but not using soap or drying hands with a disposable towel, meaning that it did not constitute proper hand washing behavior.
“Compliance was practically non-existent,” note the study’s authors.
The study also found that the more tasks one employee had to perform, the more occasions arose where hand washing was needed (and missed). The authors suggest that if labor was divided among employees and each had a specific task, that risk would be minimized.
Adding employees will not help solve this problem, says the study, since those employees could still have different jobs to do.
Farmers markets are becoming an increasingly popular food source. In 1994 there were an estimated 1,755 farmers markets nationwide. By 2009 that number had grown to 5,274, and between 2009 and 2010 it increased by another 16 percent, putting the total at 6,132. The following year, over 1,000 more were established.

New Brunswick Affected By Another E. Coli Outbreak

ecoli-plate-featured.jpg

Health officials in the capital of the Canadian province of New Brunswick are trying to get ahead of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that has put two teenagers the hospital.
A total of four confirmed cases are being investigated in Fredericton. The source of the bacteria remains a mystery.
Victoria Boer, mother of one of the hospitalized teens, told CBC News that health officials are going through her daughter Micaella’s bank statements to figure out where she ate in the days before she fell ill with an E. coli infection.

Hazelnut Safety Improves in Wake of Outbreak and Recalls

Three years ago, hazelnuts started to build up a bad safety record. It began with a recall of 29,861 pounds of shelled nuts for potential Salmonella contamination at the end of 2009, followed by a smaller recall of 75 pounds in January of 2010. Later that year, an E. coli outbreak linked to in-shell filberts sickened 8 Midwesterners over the holiday season.
Before this time, no recorded outbreaks had been tied to U.S. hazelnuts.
This series of events forced domestic hazelnut producers – 99 percent of whom are situated in Oregon’s Willamette Valley – to re-examine growing and shelling processes with an eye to making a safer product.

HazelnutsFillingScreenMain.jpg

Since there are currently no industry-wide safety requirements for hazelnut production, individual producers wishing to improve product safety must make their own standards.
One company that has done this is Willamette Hazelnut Growers (formerly Willamette Filbert Growers), the company that recalled nearly 30,000 pounds of hazelnuts in the winter of 2009 after Salmonella was found on nuts processed by its shelling operation.
The recall was particularly large because the company shells not only its own hazelnuts but also those of other area growers who don’t have shelling equipment.
“The recall was a huge setback for the processing business,” explained Operations Manager Michael Severeid in an interview with Food Safety News. “We had to buy everything back at full price and pay our customers. We had to ship it back and pay for the labor of collecting all of the products. It was very expensive.”

Upstate New York Shigella Outbreak Expands to 45

Almost three weeks after health officials in Upstate New York announced they were investigating a Shigella outbreak affecting 25 people, the estimated victim count has grown to 45.

The outbreak is affecting residents of Onondaga County, which includes the city of Syracuse and is located in the northern central part of the state.
“There are currently 45 cases of Shigella,” reported the Onondaga County Health Department in a statement to Food Safety News. “This includes confirmed, probable, and what New York State Department of Health is considering suspect (cases). We continue to investigate each and every case for linkages but the source remains unknown.”
Shigella infection is characterized by fever, stomach cramps and diarrhea that can be painful and contain blood or mucous. Symptoms usually appear 1 to 3 days after exposure and resolve in about a week.
The Onondaga County Health Department is urging area residents to take the following precautions to avoid the spread of Shigella, which is transferred through food or water contaminated with fecal matter carrying the bacteria.

FDA Found Violations of Food Safety Rules on 40% of Egg Farms

Hard cooked eggsThe FDA has released a new report on egg farms it inspected in 2011. They found violations of egg safety rules used to prevent Salmonella contamination on 40% of the inspected farms, but only 3% of the issues were serious enough for the agency to take action.

Last year, the agency inspected 555 egg laying farms. On 14 of those farms, or 2.7%, inspectors found “egregious” problems that called for an official response, such as an FDA warning letter.  An additional 195 inspections, or 37.9%,  found “significant deficiencies” the agency thinks farmers should be able to correct by themselves.

The problems include the following: lack of a written Salmonella enteritidis prevention plan; failure to test for S. enteritidis during required time periods; failure to divert or test eggs after a positive environmental sample; failure to implement the S. enteritidis prevention plan, Failure to maintain required records; and failure to monitor conditions required for the plan implementation.

 

Read Full Article Here

****************************************************************************************************************

Recalls

 

Frozen Desserts Recalled for Undeclared Milk

A California company is recalling various frozen dessert products because they contain a product derived from milk, a known allergen, but milk is not listed as an ingredient.

Arctic Zero, Inc. of Escondido, CA has issued a voluntary recall of 16 oz. pints and chocolate dipped dessert bars produced before February, 2012. The products were made with whey protein, which is made from milk, but milk was not declared as an ingredient on packaging.
Products subject to recall include the following.
Eight varieties sold in 16 oz. pints:
IceCreamBars.jpg
IceCreamBars2.jpg

Carl Rittberger Sr., Inc. Recalls 9,000 Pounds of Deli Items for Listeria Risk

bolognalist-iphone.jpgOhio-based Carl Rittberger Sr., Inc. has recalled roughly 9,000 pounds of fully-cooked deli items because of a possible contamination of Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported.

The following products purchased by retailers between June 25 and July 6 have been recalled:
Spiced loaf, breakfast loaf, garlic bologna, German brand bologna, wieners, grillers, kielbasa, straight HB roll and natural casing wieners.
The bacteria was found during routine testing by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The product that tested positive never left the plant.

Winn-Dixie Recalls Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner for Small Metal Fragments

Winn-Dixie is announcing a recall of their store brand Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet Dinners because the package may contain small metal fragments. The recalled Winn-Dixie Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet Dinner product is in a 5.8 ounce package with a UPC number of 2114018080 and a sell-by date of May 14, 2013.  The recalled products were sold in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

The product was shipped to stores on or after May 14, 2012. There have not been any reports received of any injuries associated with the consumption of this product.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

Cass-Clay Creamery Recalls Peppermint Bon Bon Ice Cream

Cass-Clay Creamery of North Dakota is recalling Hornbacher’s Peppermint Bon Bon ice cream for undeclared eggs, one of the major food allergens. The recalled Cass-Clay products include the following: Hornbacher’s Peppermint Bon Bon Light (Half gallon/1.89 liter), Schroeder Pepppermint Bon Bon (1.75 quart/1.65 liter) and SunnyBrook Peppermint Bon Bon Light (Half gallon/1.89 liter). The products were distributed in Iowa, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. All code dates are affected by the recall. No illnesses have been reported to date.

A flavoring containing egg yolks was used as an ingredient in the product. Return the products to the store where they were purchased for a full refund. For questions, call the Consumer Affairs line at 1-800-441-4269.

 

 

In Canada, Fresh Peas Recalled for Possible Listeria

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is recalling fresh shelled peas from Thomas Bros. Farm Market because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The recalled fresh shelled peas were sold from Thomas Bros. Farm Market at 5856 Colonel Talbot Road in London Ontario on June 27, 2012. The packages do not have labels.

If you have purchased this product, do not eat it. If you have frozen the peas for later consumption, discard them. There have not been any reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. Food contaminated with dangerous bacteria may not look, taste, or smell spoiled. Listeria can cause listeriosis, which can cause symptoms of high fever, headache, neck stiffness, and nausea. Pregnant women may have very mild symptoms, but listeriosis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. For questions, call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342, or Thomas Bros. Farm Market at 519-671-8831.

 

Read Full Article Here

****************************************************************************************************************

Allergens

 

NIH Study Finds Children With Allergies Have Frequent Reactions

A new study conducted at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, part of the Consortium of Food Allergy Research at the National Institute of Health (NIH), has found that young children with milk or egg allergies have reactions more often than expected.

The research team followed 512 infants, ages 3 to 15 months, for three years. The children in the study had a previous allergic reaction to milk or eggs, or were thought to be allergic to those foods based on positive skin tests. At the beginning of the study, caregivers were given strategies for avoiding milk and egg products, and written emergency plans with epinephrine prescriptions.

The study found that almost 72% of the children in the study had an allergic reaction over the three year period. More than half of the children had more than one reaction. Startlingly, allergenic foods were given to the children on purpose.

Scientists aren’t sure why a parent or caregiver would give a child an allergenic food. It may be that they want to see if the child has outgrown the allergy. The study found that half of the accidental reactions were from food given to the child by parents, stressing the importance of making sure all caregivers, including siblings, babysitters, and teachers are aware of the allergies.

 

Read Full Article Here

****************************************************************************************************************

Articles of Interest

 

 

Mad Cow Disease Spreads in Nervous System Before Detection

Cows in the FieldA new study in the American Journal of Pathology has shown that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as “mad cow” disease”, spreads in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) to the central nervous system (CNS) before it can be detected. Mad cow is a fatal disease in cattle that can be transmitted to humans who eat infected tissue. There isn’t much that scientists know about the spread of the BSE prion in its early incubation period. Other studies have reported that the autonomic nervous system was affected only after the central nervous system is infected.

The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary actions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and the functions of major organs. It consists of the sympathetic ANS, the parasymphathetic ANS, and the enteric nervous system. The central nervous system is the part that controls your brain and makes up your consciousness; it consists of the brain and spinal cord. It usually takes five years from infection before the disease can be detected. But in the study, 56 calves were infected orally with BSE; samples were collected every four months for the next three and a half years. Scientists found the pathological prion (a misfolded protein that is not alive) in the gut and in the ANS but not in the CNS.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

USDA Budget Cut Could Slash 80 Percent of Produce Testing

The nation’s largest pathogen testing program may shut down this month

Public testing for pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria on fresh produce will drop by more than 80 percent if a key U.S. Department of Agriculture testing program is eliminated, according to an analysis by Food Safety News.

The USDA’s Microbiological Data Program was zeroed out in the Obama administration’s 2013 budget request and Congress is not seeking funding for the $4.5 million program next year. It is rumored that MDP is set to close down at the end of this month, but the Agricultural Marketing Service, where MDP is housed, would not confirm the program’s status.

Elimination of the testing program has become a public health hot potato. Several media outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, the Associated Press, and the New York Times have weighed into the debate. The Times’ editorial board even called it “a tiny program that matters,” an unusually high profile appeal for an obscure program with a relatively small budget.

This “tiny” program was launched in 2001 simply to collect data about fresh produce contamination, but it now regularly sparks produce recalls when participating state labs find pathogens. Perhaps more importantly, the labs upload any positive test results to the Centers for Disease Control’s PulseNet, which helps public health officials link foodborne illness cases to food products. MDP is also the only federal program that tests for non-O157 E. coli strains like the one that caused the deadly, high profile sprout outbreak in Germany last year.

Both the Obama administration and the fresh produce industry have argued that AMS is the wrong agency to house the nation’s only robust microbiological surveillance program for produce because AMS is focused on marketing, not food safety. Some believe the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has jurisdiction over the safety of produce, would be better equipped to screen produce for harmful pathogens.

FDA gave Food Safety News an overview of its surveillance testing from 2009 to 2012. The agency pulls, on average, 80 percent fewer fresh produce samples for testing than MDP. It is not clear whether FDA plans to, or has the resources to ramp up testing to fill the void that would be left by eliminating MDP testing. FDA did not respond to questions about whether the agency would ramp up testing next year.

The data graphic below compares FDA and MDP produce testing. The FDA numbers include samples collected at ports where fresh produce is imported. As much as 50 to 60 percent of produce consumed in the United States is imported, depending on the season. The numbers below do not include testing FDA may do in the event of an outbreak, which can include product testing from outbreak victims or environmental testing from food facilities.

To view specific testing numbers, hold your cursor over the images. For 2012, the FDA testing numbers are through June 15 and the MDP numbers are projected through the end of July.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

International School for Food Protection: 21st Century’s Food Industry Classroom?

Opinion
The newly opened International School for Food Protection (ISFP) was developed to provide an environment different from traditional professional adult learning experiences.
A spokesman said, “The School management team recognizes that experienced food professionals are generally well-versed in their core scientific knowledge, academic education and work experiences. We want to build on their working food industry knowledge to strengthen the critical thinking, decision making and leadership skills that are essential to be an effective food industry professional.”
The ISFP uses Bloom’s taxonomy, a multi-tiered model of classifying thinking according to six cognitive levels of complexity, as the basis for its structured learning approach.
Throughout the years, these levels have often been depicted as a stairway climbing to a higher level of thought. The basic levels are knowledge, comprehension, and application. The highest levels are analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Bloom’s learning objectives are used to define how well a particular skill or competency is learned or mastered.
To meet the complex food safety challenges facing the food industry, the ISFP curriculum was developed to go well beyond current education and training standards. Introductory courses are designed to allow students to learn the complex interdependencies that characterize the global food supply environment.  That knowledge serves as a building block to move to more advanced levels of learning.
Successive courses introduce students to the higher order thinking skills: analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Upon completion of the courses, students should gain a mastery of critical thinking, decision-making and the essential skills necessary to be an effective leader in the globalized food protection environment.
The ISFP curriculum is influenced by science and technology to reflect the changes taking place in the food industry.  It encourages people to look at old problems in new ways in order to find unique solutions. Courses teach the newest science- and risk-based methods and implementing technologies to help food enterprises increase their competitive advantage across areas including food defense, food safety, asset management and protection, bio-safety, information technology, critical infrastructure protection, business intelligence, risk management and organizational transformation.

Jensen Farms Cantaloupe Listeria Cases Must Be Filed by September 14

Jensen Farms, the company that grew and shipped the cantaloupes that caused the large Listeria outbreak last summer has filed for bankruptcy. The United States Bankruptcy Court in Colorado has approved the motion, and a date has been set for filing of claims.

All people who assert a claim based on the outbreak of listeriosis must file it by 5:00 pm Eastern Time on or before September 14, 2012. It’s important that anyone who was affected by this outbreak file a claim to receive compensation for their injuries. The court is ordering that Jensen Farms make available $4 million in settlement money, from its insurance policy, insurers of the equipment the facility used, and from the third-party auditor who failed to discover contamination at the plant just before the outbreak occurred.

The company faces seven personal injury lawsuits and 12 wrongful death suits. That outbreak was one of the deadliest in U.S. history, killing at least 35 people and sicking 146 in 28 states before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared the outbreak over on December 8, 2011 and released its final report. The outbreak began on September 2, 2011, when the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment notified the CDC about seven patients who were sick with the same strain of Listeria bacteria.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Individuals and Companies Should be Prosecuted for Foodborne Outbreaks

As one of the few food safety lawyers in America, I’m often asked whether I believe that America’s food supply is the safest in the world. The short answer is: “I have no idea” – and if you’re one of the thousands of Americans sickened each year by foodborne illness, it’s no comfort knowing that some countries have food less safe than the product that shut down your kidneys or killed your loved one.

The real questions about food safety have nothing to do with overweening national pride. In fact, there are only two questions that make any sense at all: “Can our food system be safer?” and “What steps have to be taken to make it so?”

Since no one honestly doubts that our food safety system can and should be better, let me focus on answering the second question (based on what I’ve learned litigating the failures of companies implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks). I will address these issues in the weeks to come but begin with a deficiency I find particularly galling – the failure to prosecute individuals and companies responsible for outbreaks.

If while driving a car, I go too fast, take my eyes off the road or drive while intoxicated, and someone ends up paralyzed or dead, I’m going to be prosecuted. And I should be. So why should a food producer that ignores accepted principles of food safety (or, worse, the company’s own food safety systems) not have to fear criminal prosecution when scores of Americans are sickened or killed by the company’s egregious conduct?

I can think of a number of recent outbreaks – the Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella outbreak, the Jensen Farms Rocky Ford cantaloupe Listeria outbreak and the Wright County egg Salmonella outbreak – that may have warranted criminal prosecution. Sadly, it appears that, short of declaring a company’s intent to sicken as many folks as possible, miscreant food producers have nothing to fear.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

California GMO Labeling Law Named Prop. 37

gmotomatoes-406.jpgCalifornia’s Office of the Secretary of State announced on Monday that the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, also known as the GMO labeling initiative, will appear on voter ballots as Proposition 37 for the November 6 elections.

If passed, Prop. 37 would make California the first state in the U.S. to require labeling of most foods made with genetically modified organisms — those given specific changes to their DNA through genetic engineering techniques.

Polls conducted by various organizations in recent years have found that roughly 90 percent of Californians support labeling for genetically engineered (GE) foods. But regardless of the polls, leaders of California’s GE labeling movement are still preparing for a fight on the road to election day.

“We certainly have huge support, but we’re not taking anything for granted. There’s a big effort to fight it and we’re worried about the money that will be put toward that effort,” California Right to Know campaign spokeswoman Stacy Malkan told Food Safety News.

GE labeling is already law in nearly 50 countries, including China, Japan and each European state. Alaska requires labeling of GE fish and shellfish, making it the only U.S. state with any type of GE labeling law.

Earlier this year, three-quarters of U.S. Senators rejected a federal GE labeling bill. Nearly 20 states have had similar bills turned down in congress in the past year.
Most major food corporations oppose GE labeling, citing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s requirement that GE ingredients be labeled if they’re determined to exhibit a difference in nutritional value or level of safety.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

FDA Takes Action Against WI Livestock Dealer for Drug Residues

In response to a permanent injunction filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a Wisconsin livestock company and its owner have entered into a consent decree of permanent injunction over alleged illegal drug residues in cows meant for human consumption.

According to the complaint filed, Dan Nolan Livestock LLC and its owner, Daniel W. Nolan of Bonduel, Wisc., did not maintain adequate animal treatment records concerning the drug treatment of food animals.

In a release on Tuesday, the FDA said its inspectors also found that the company and Nolan used “new animal drugs illegally, and did not adequately distinguish between medicated and non-medicated animals for sale for use as human food.”

U.S. District Judge William C. Griesbach of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin signed the consent decree on July 9, 2012.

“The FDA took the action because it is concerned about the sale of animals for human food that may contain levels of animal drugs and could have the potential for adverse effects on human health,” the agency said in a statement.

“Among other requirements, the company and Nolan must implement a system that identifies the source of each animal and whether the animal was medicated. The firm also must implement a drug inventory and accountability system and provide purchasers, receivers, and consignees with written statements describing how the animal was medicated, or stating that the animal was not medicated.”

“If the FDA finds that the defendants are not in compliance with the decree, the agency may require defendants to cease selling and delivering any food animals. Failure to obey the terms of the consent decree could also result in civil or criminal penalties.”

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Wisconsin Sizzlers Vindicated in State Supreme Court

After 12 long years, litigation stemming from one week in July 2000 when 150 customers of Sizzler Restaurants in Layton and Mayfair, Wisconsin were infected with E. coli O157:H7 and causing the death of three-year-old Brianna Kriefall is finally over.
Michael Martin, spokesman for Excel Corp, says the company is “relieved this litigation has concluded.” Excel was Sizzler’s meat supplier.

justicescales-iphone.jpgBut Sizzler’s lawyer, Fred L. Gordon, says it could have been over years ago if only

Excel would have stepped forward and accepted responsibility for the outbreak instead of digging in its corporate heels.
The irony is that Cargill-owned Excel could have saved millions by settling sooner, according to Gordon.
Gordon, the San Diego-based attorney for the two Sizzler franchises, has been representing restaurants implicated in outbreaks since the precedent-setting Jack-in-the-Box case.
After the 2000 Sizzler outbreak, plaintiffs’ lawyers filed lawsuits on behalf of the sickened customers, including a wrongful death suit on behalf of Brianna Kriefall. It would take until 2005 for all these cases to be settled, but Sizzler payed all plaintiffs’ medical bills over the year following the outbreak, which took a lot of pressure off of the victims.
In the wrongful death lawsuit, the Kriefall plaintiffs settled for $10.5 million, including $8.5 million from Excel and $2 million from Sizzler & E&B, Sizzler’s management company.
The other 138 plaintiffs were paid from a $3.5 million E&B insurance fund based on the severity of their injuries. Another $1 million went to the Kriefalls.
Money paid out to the victims, however, came ahead of the jury trial which assigned liability, so Excel wasn’t on or off the hook yet. Contaminated beef tips were only part of the story, as restaurant workers had allowed cross contamination with salad bar items including watermelon. Brianna Kriefall had eaten only watermelon.
It would be up to the jury to sort out how the businesses involved divided up the costs.

Research Linking Chicken to Bladder Infections Gets National Attention

There is growing evidence that there may be a link between bacteria on meat and antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections in people — and that link is starting to get high profile media attention.

On Wednesday, ABC ran a segment featuring the latest research on both Good Morning America and World News with Diane Sawyer, programs with a combined daily viewership of more than 10 million. ABC called the research “compelling new evidence of a direct link between the pervasive, difficult-to-cure human disease and the antibiotic-fed chicken people buy at the grocery store.”

Canadian researchers recently published a study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal that found genetic similarities between E. coli from animals sampled at slaughterhouses and the E. coli that causes UTIs and suggested that chickens were the most likely reservoir for the bacteria. Most recently, some of the same researchers published a study in the journal of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease that found retail poultry meat had the highest levels of drug-resistant E. coli.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection in the body, accounting for 8.1 million visits to health care providers in the United States each year and around $1-2 billion per year in health care costs. Around 85 percent of these infections are caused by extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli, or ExPEC, which doctors long assumed came from patient’s own intestines. New research, however, has been looking at outside sources as potentially part of the problem.

“What this new research shows is, we may in fact know where it’s coming from. It may be coming from antibiotics used in agriculture,” said Maryn McKenna, a reporter for the Food & Environment Reporting Network, which worked with ABC news on their investigation. McKenna, a leading infectious disease journalist and the author of Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA, penned an in depth piece for The Atlantic that also ran on Wednesday.

“The researchers contend that poultry — especially chicken, the low-cost, low-fat protein that Americans eat more than any other meat — is the bridge that allows resistant bacteria to move to humans, taking up residence in the body and sparking infections when conditions are right,” wrote McKenna. “Touching raw meat that contains the resistant bacteria, or coming into environmental contact with it — say, by eating lettuce that was cross-contaminated — are easy ways to become infected.”

SNAP Will Replace Food Lost in Disasters

Many who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can be in real trouble when they lose food in a natural disaster. When the power goes out for more than four hours, perishable foods become unsafe to eat and must be tossed.

Food Poisoning Bulletin contacted the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA and was told that anyone who lost food that was purchased with SNAP can request replacement coupons from their local human service office. Those requests are time-sensitive, so it’s important that recipients know about this program and act quickly. Foods that are eligible for SNAP benefits include breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, seeds for food and plants that produce food.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

 

****************************************************************************************************************

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Food Safety

 

Mad Cow No. 4 Found In U.S. Cattle Herd

by Dan Flynn | Apr 24, 2012
After six years, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has again been discovered in the U.S. cattle herd.
A dairy cow in central California dairy was recently diagnosed with BSE, commonly called mad-cow disease, according to USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford.

madcowdispute-iphone.jpg

The carcass of the animal is being held by the state of California at a rendering facility, where it will be destroyed.  In a statement issued Tuesday, Clifford said the animal was never presented for slaughter as food for human consumption and that BSE cannot be transmitted via milk.

Ban, Testing Helped in Discovery of 4th Mad Cow

Luck may have also played a role

by Dan Flynn | Apr 25, 2012
A six-year span without any bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) cases in the U.S. is over as the prion disease has again been discovered in the nation’s cattle herd.

cow-eye-ear-350.jpg

A dairy cow in a central California dairy has been diagnosed with atypical BSE —  mad-cow disease —  according to both state and federal officials.  It is the fourth such infected animal discovered since 2003.
But “there is no public health threat due to the discovery of BSE in a dairy cow,” said Dr. Ron Chap

Colorado Changes Its Cantaloupe Growing Practices

by Dan Flynn | Apr 25, 2012
The few Colorado farmers who grow the same brand of cantaloupe implicated in last year’s Listeria outbreak — the most deadly outbreak of foodborne illness in the U.S. in decades — are falling into line with growing and packing reforms that originated in California.
The California-centered U.S. cantaloupe industry is bending other growing areas to its will without anything more than the powers of persuasion.
John Salazar, Colorado’s commission of agriculture, has enlisted Colorado’s growers who want to carry on the “Rocky Ford” brand of cantaloupes into a new $150,000 state program.  The money will go for enforcement and marketing.

IMG_200x300.jpg

The growers have formed the Rocky Ford Growers Association and, for the first time since melon growing began along the Arkansas River in the 1880s, they’ve trademarked the name “Rocky Ford Cantaloupe.”
More importantly, Colorado cantaloupe growers will accept twice-a-year safety audits to be conducted by state agricultural inspectors.
The first state inspection will be announced, and designed to help growers connect their procedures with the new standards. Some time in the middle of the harvest season, the second audit will be unannounced and aimed at ensuring compliance.
Colorado State University is working with “Rocky Ford” growers to make sure cleaning and cooling practices do not bring about the sort of Listeria growth that went on at Jensen Farms last season.
Jensen Farms is 100 miles east of Colorado’s cantaloupe center — the small town of Rocky Ford.  The Food and Drug Administration said both equipment and cantaloupes in Jensen Farms’ packing shed were contaminated with Listeria. The firm was blamed for a Listeria outbreak that sickened at least 146 in 28 states. There were 36 known deaths.

****************************************************************************************************************

Recalls

 

In Canada, Health Hazard Alert for Fesikh Expanded Again

April 25, 2012 By

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has expanded the health hazard warning for fesikh, a salted and cured fish product that may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum. Whole fesikh shad has been added to the warning.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

****************************************************************************************************************

 

Articles of Interest

 

 

Health Conscious in Line for (Some) Fast Food

by Dan Flynn | Apr 25, 2012
The research firm Scarborough, a joint venture of the ratings barons Arbitron Inc. and The Nielsen Company, has profiled healthy consumers and then peeked into their dining habits.

fruit-smoothie-350.jpg

It found that health-conscious consumers were dining at the same fast food outlets as the rest of us — just not in quite as great numbers. But pretty close.
Scarborough attributes this to the success of “healthy menu options,” which the consumers researchers say have caught on at what they call quick service restaurants.
For example, Scarborough found that while 43 percent of all adults in the U.S. have patronized McDonald’s in the last 30 days, so too have 36 percent of all health-conscious consumers.

A Call for Nutritional Unity

by Andy Bellatti | Apr 25, 2012
Opinion
Every day I spend on social media, I am reminded of a growing epidemic that worries me — dietary tribalism. I’ve made up this term to refer to the many fractionated groups with conflicting dietary views who, for the most part, don’t realize just how much they have in common.

food-fight-350.jpg

This recent piece in the the New York Times, about the “challenge” of “going vegan,” perfectly encapsulates the problematic way in which we tend to discuss food and nutrition. First, the article frames the eschewing of all animal products as a “challenge.” Loaded lens, anyone? Transitioning from omnivorism to veganism is certainly an adjustment, but if done over the course of several months or even a year, it is certainly easier than attempting it cold turkey or via a “30 day challenge.” And, after a while of eating in that manner, it becomes “the norm.” Riding a bicycle was surely a challenge to most people the first few times, but it eventually becomes an action that feels like second nature.
The article also repeats a familiar, yet inaccurate, idea: that one either is “a vegan” or eats an entire cow in one sitting. This is particularly troubling because it inevitably forces people to “take sides” (i.e.: “vegan is the only way to health” and “veganism is unhealthy”). All this mud-slinging detracts from a more important conversation: Americans need to eat more plant-based foods, less processed food, and be more mindful of where their food comes from, how it is grown, how those who grow it are treated, and how dietary choices affect the environment.
These days, dietary tribalism is rampant. You have, just to name a few, the Paleo folks, the vegans, the raw vegans, the low-carbers, and the fruitarians. While there is certainly something productive and empowering about engaging and connecting with like-minded individuals, these groups often turn into echo chambers where everyone tends to agree with everyone else and, occasionally, point out how “the other group” has it all wrong. Meanwhile, Big Food continues churning out highly processed junk, children as young as four years of age are developing Type 2 diabetes, genetically modified crops are seemingly everywhere, and food injustice issues are only worsening.
In all our “no, but I have THIS mountain of research to back me up” statements, we easily overlook one critical unifying point — we all are seeking out the same goal: health.

Judge Rules In Favor of Jimmy John’s Fired Workers

April 25, 2012 By

On April 20, 2012, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Administrative Law Judge Arthur Amchan found that MikLin Enterprises, Inc, a franchisee that owns 10 Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, unlawfully fired six workers last year when they protested a sick leave policy.

The charge, tried in February 2012, claimed that the restaurant fired the workers after they posted flyers stating customers may get sick eating at Jimmy John’s because the restaurant does not offer paid sick leave. In fact, employees were disciplined if they called in sick and could not find a replacement.

According to the NLRB charge, Jimmy John’s Rule #11 in the 2010 employee handbook states: “Find your own replacement if you are not going to be at work. We do not allow people to simply call in sick! We require our employees and managers to find their own replacement! NO EXCEPTIONS!”

In March 2011, employees asked MikLin Enteprises to provide paid sick leave and change the policy; the company refused. After that refusal, the flyers were posted. Two days later, six employees who posted the flyers were fired.

The company claimed that a “new” policy began in March 2011, which said employees are “expected to be at work on time or find a suitable replacement for their scheduled shifts.” Judge Amchan ruled that this was not a substantial policy change.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

Congressmen Want USDA Chief to Campaign in Support of ‘Pink Slime’

April 24, 2012 By

One week has passed since 30 members of Congress sent a joint letter to United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking for an explanation of what the USDA has done to correct what the representatives described as widespread misinformation about lean finely texture beef, also known as “LFTB” or “pink slime.”

Vilsack has mentioned the letter in at least one public appearance, thanking the delegation for joining the USDA in defending the use of beef trimmings in mainstream food products. But there has been no publicized, official response from the secretary or the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service — the agency that regulates the meat industry.

The April 18 letter said a misinformation and smear campaign against LFTB has recklessly stifled demand for the product, caused job losses and will lead to higher consumer prices for beef. The House members wrote to Vilsack that the attacks against the quality of LFTB are coming from “a few overzealous individuals in the media.”

 

Read Full Article Here

 

****************************************************************************************************************

[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Food Safety

Gov. Dept. Works With Major Corporation to Hide Animal Abuse

U.S. Government Supports CAFOS Over Small Family Farms

As reported by ABC News, Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals, stated:

“It is deeply troubling that a governmental agency that is entrusted with monitoring and overseeing agriculture and food production is so corrupt that it’s in bed with the very corporate interests that were documented abusing and neglecting animals. The fox apparently is guarding the henhouse.”

Indeed, the U.S. government has a history of supporting these industrial confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), both by looking the other way when abuse or contamination occurs, and by directly subsidizing cheaply produced beef, and corn and soy used for feed.

As it stands, 2 percent of U.S. livestock facilities produce 40 percent of farm animals,i and these large, corporate-owned CAFOs have been highly promoted as the best way to produce food for the masses. The only reason CAFOs are able to remain so “efficient,” bringing in massive profits while selling their food for bottom-barrel prices, is because they substitute subsidized crops for pasture grazing.

Factory farms use massive quantities of corn, soy and grain in their animal feed, all crops that they are often able to purchase at below cost because of government subsidies. Because of these subsidies, U.S. farmers produce massive amounts of soy, corn, wheat, etc. — rather than vegetables — leading to a monoculture of foods that create a fast food diet. As written in the book “CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories”:…..

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/22/animal-feeding-operations-contamination-abuse.aspx?e_cid=20120322_DNL_art_2

No Quick Fixes for Outbreak Surveillance and Response

By John J. Guzewich

Many of us have experienced the frustration of learning of a foodborne disease outbreak and wondering why didn’t we know about it sooner, why we don’t know all the details we wanted to know, why the investigation wasn’t successful or…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/challenges-to-foodborne-disease-outbreak-surveillance-response/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120322

Cantaloupe Growers Invite Public to Webinars

By Dan Flynn

When the goal is to get consumers back after last year’s deadly cantaloupe outbreak, the industry’s Stephen Patricio says growers need to impose “transparent yet severe and expensive restrictions on ourselves.”And the industry groups sponsoring educational sessions for cantaloupe growers…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/when-the-goal-is-to/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120322

Safeway Drops ‘Pink Slime,’ Walmart to Offer Consumers Choice

By Helena Bottemiller

Responding to widespread consumer concern, the nation’s second and third largest grocery chains, Safeway and SuperValu, will stop selling Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB), otherwise known as ‘pink slime,’ ABC World News reported Wednesday.Safeway said “considerable consumer concern” led to…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/safeway-drops-pink-slime-walmart-to-offer-consumers-choice/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120322

Denver Defends New Restaurant Inspection Scheme

By Dan Flynn

Bob McDonald, Denver’s environmental health director, wants restaurateurs and the public at large to understand how the city now enforces inspections.McDonald met Tuesday with some of Denver’s restaurateurs who are upset because more fines are being levied after inspections.The city…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/denver-defends-new-restaurant-inspection-system/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120322

Health

U.S. travelers to Olympics may bring home measles, CDC warns

Health officials are bracing for the possibility of a measles outbreak in the USA, fueled by unvaccinated American tourists returning home from this summer’s Olympic Games.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that each measles case costs $160,000 for investigation, follow-up and possible hospitalization.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the Olympics in London, as well as the Euro 2012 soccer cup in Poland and Ukraine, will be huge draws for American travelers and will increase the risk for measles infection. The virus is much more prevalent in Europe, leading to eight deaths and 26,000 illnesses last year.

“Disease knows no borders,” said Rebecca Martin, director of the CDC’s Global Immunization Division. “We are concerned about Americans coming back from the Olympics this summer and unknowingly infecting others.”

http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/story/2012-03-19/Travelers-to-Olympics-warned-of-measles-risk-if-unvaccinated/53655170/1

If aspirin is a miracle drug, shouldn’t we all be taking it?

A small dose of the painkiller every day can reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovasular disease and blood clots.

So, did you take a mini-aspirin this morning? If not, why not? Research appears to confirm aspirin’s growing reputation as that most medicinal of cliches – a miracle drug. The study, published on Tuesday, reported that taking a low dose of acetyl-salicylic acid – the generic name for aspirin – daily for between three and five years reduces the chance of being diagnosed with cancer during that time by 19 per cent.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9158101/If-aspirin-is-a-miracle-drug-shouldnt-we-all-be-taking-it.html

Seaweed toast is same as half an hour on treadmill

Breakfasting on a slice of bread baked with ground-up seaweed could help burn more calories than half an hour on a treadmill, according to new research

Trials on nearly 80 healthy but overweight men showed those fed scrambled egg on seaweed enriched toast felt so full they consumed 179 calories less a day.

The tests at Sheffield Hallam University are the first to involve adding the entire seaweed plant to the bread mix rather than breaking it down to extract various chemicals.

The bread – served with the crusts cut off – did not include any salt at all with the seaweed acting as a total replacement.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/9160343/Seaweed-toast-is-same-as-half-an-hour-on-treadmill.html

Breakthrough in cancer detection to be tested on smokers

A simple blood test that can detect lung cancer five years earlier than conventional screening will be trialled by the NHS on thousands of high risk smokers.

The test is being trialled in Scotland in the hope it could provide the first national screening program for lung cancer as well as paving the way for better detection of other tumorous cancers such as breast, colon and prostate.

A version of the test, developed at Nottingham University, to detect breast cancer early could be ready next year.

It could revolutionize how cancer is diagnosed and mean treatment can start at a much earlier stage when the chances of success are best.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9161892/Breakthrough-in-cancer-detection-to-be-tested-on-smokers.html

Holistic Health

Indoor urban farm in New York helps feed hundreds of families

By Jonathan Benson,

(NaturalNews) Flowering displays are replacing urban decay all across America, with recent reports out of New York illustrating the power of creative, resourceful thinking in implementing successful, city-based farming initiatives. New York Daily News reports that a food pantry in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., has successfully created a 250-square foot indoor farm that produces food for hundreds of local families and their children — and many others in the area are working…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035300_urban_farms_local_food_indoor.html

Vitamin E tocotrienols work through multiple pathways to delay disease onset and extend lifespan

By John Phillip,

(NaturalNews) The result of several new research bodies that have been published all point to the powerful effect of vitamin E tocotrienols to prevent stomach cancer, reduce fatty liver disease incidences and prevent disease mechanisms that can extend natural lifespan in humans. Over the past decade, many studies have highlighted the importance of the most common vitamin E isomer known as alpha-tocopherol. While this form of the vitamin is important to lower risk of heart disease, a plethora of new…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035303_vitamin_E_disease_prevention_lifespan.html

French pine bark contains powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that ease symptoms of chronic disorders like arthritis, asthma

By Jonathan Benson, March 21 2012

(NaturalNews) An antioxidant-rich nutrient with powerful anti-inflammatory properties, French pine bark extract, also commonly known as Pycnogenol, is hailed by many as an effective treatment for asthma, osteoarthritis, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and many other chronic diseases. And based on the myriad research that has been conducted on French pine bark over the years, all of this and more appear to be true of the nutrient. French pine…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035304_French_pine_bark_pycnogenol_anti-inflammatory.html

Pet Health

Caring for Your Pet’s Skin During the Winter Season

By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have discovered that winter weather can wreak havoc on our skin. Humidity is low, the outside air is cold and windy, and we’re going in and out of cold to warm and back again throughout each day. Even in homes with great ventilation, our bodies have to struggle to keep up with the temperature and moisture changes that occur throughout the day.

It stands to reason that the body cannot always keep up the necessary balance of chemicals, oils and bacteria the skin needs to stay soft, flexible and comfortable, and the common result is dry, itchy, flaking skin. What is true for human skin is often true for animal skin, as well, and many of the same remedies are useful for both preventing and treating skin problems in dogs.

http://www.petmd.com/dog/seasonal/evr_dg_winter_skin_care?icn=HL-tab-ED-picks&icl=5_evr_dg_winter_skin_care#.T2v0DbRZfe8

Recalls

Listeria Found in Ready-to-Eat Beef Sausage

By Julia Thomas

Southside Market & BBQ of Elgin, TX is recalling approximately 2,373 pounds of ready-to-eat beef sausage products that may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Wednesday.The problem was…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/listeria-found-in-ready-to-eat-beef-sausage-1/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120322

Food Safety

Cottage Food Bill on Colorado Governor’s Desk

By Dan Flynn

Like something baked in a home kitchen, Colorado’s cottage foods bill has ended up far more puffed up than when it started.The cottage foods bill now awaiting Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature gathered some amendments as it went through the legislative process…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/cottage-food-bill-put-on-colorado-governors-desk/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120306

 

USDA’s Merrigan: No One Gets a Pass on Food Safety

By Helena Bottemiller

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan touched on the importance of food safety in the growing regional and local food movement during the U.S. Department of Agriculture Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food event at the White House on Monday. “No…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/usdas-merrigan-no-one-gets-a-pass-on-food-safety/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120306

 

Listeria Victims Call for Open Meetings on Cantaloupe Safety

By News Desk

On March 1, Joan Murphy of the Produce News wrote that produce trade organizations will be meeting to draft additional guidance to ensure the safe production of netted melons (i.e. cantaloupe).  The move is in response to the 2011 Listeria…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/listeria-victims-call-for-open-meetings-on-cantaloupe-safety/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120306

 

 

 

Sodas Contain Animal Carcinogen, Study Finds

By Gretchen Goetz

Today’s leading cola beverages contain high levels of a substance linked to cancer in animals, according to new research. An independent study commissioned by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) uncovered  4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI, in Coke, Diet Coke,…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/sodas-contain-animal-carcinogen-study-finds/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120306

 

Food Recalls

Imported Candies With Too Much Lead

Three candies are being recalled after tests conducted by the California Department of Public Health found they exceed California standards for lead.The recalled candies are:- Chef’s Pride Rewadi Candy imported from Pakistan and packaged in a 7 oz. semi-round, clear plastic container with a red twist-off lid. The front label is light brown with a green border. The oval-shaped candy…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/california-recall-for-candies-with-too-much-lead/

 

Allergen Alert: Egg in Streusel Pie Topping

By News Desk

Price Chopper Supermarkets is recalling its Price Chopper Bakery five- and eight-inch apple, blueberry, cherry and peach streusel pies because the streusel topping contains eggs, an allergen not listed on the ingredient label.The product is safe to eat for those…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/allergen-alert-egg-in-streusel-pie-topping/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120306

Allergen Alert: Cookies With Milk

Price Chopper Supermarkets is recalling its Price Chopper Bakery five- and eight-inch apple, blueberry, cherry and peach streusel pies because the streusel topping contains eggs, an allergen not listed on the ingredient label.The product is safe to eat for those not allergic to eggs.Price Chopper customers who purchased these pies are being notified via the company’s Smart Reply notification program,…

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/allergen-alert-cookies-with-milk/

Tyson Foodservice Pizza Topping Recalled

Tyson Prepared Foods of South Hutchinson, KS is recalling approximately 12,060 pounds of pizza topping because of the packaging identifies an ingredient as beef, but it actually is pork. Additionally, the pork contains soy, a potential allergen, which is not listed on the label.The discrepancies were reported by a product purchaser. There have been no reports of adverse reactions.This Class…

Health

FDA warns of poisoned cosmetics

Women in at least seven states may have been unwittingly slathering poison on their faces by using mercury-tainted cosmetics, the Food and Drug Administration warned today. The products, usually used for lightening skin, are sold as soaps, skin creams, and lotions. Full story

Superbug infections spilling out into the community

CHICAGO — Many patients infected by the deadly superbug Clostridium difficile, long thought to be contracted mainly during hospital stays, are already exposed when they are admitted to the hospital, U.S. infectious disease experts said on Tuesday.

 

Diesel exhaust in mines linked to lung cancer

WASHINGTON — There’s new evidence that exposure to exhaust from diesel engines increases the risk of lung cancer.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46619096/ns/health-cancer/#.T1cWzLQycdQ

 

‘Spice’ drug tied to kidney failure cases in Wyoming

Three young people have been hospitalized with kidney failure and a dozen others sickened in Casper, Wyoming, in an outbreak linked to a batch of the designer drug Spice, authorities said on Friday.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46619223/ns/health-health_care/#.T1cXHrQycdQ

 

Do Coconut Oil and Coconut Water Provide Health Benefits?

There are lots of claims about two components of coconuts. Here’s what we know

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/living-well-usn/articles/2012/03/06/do-coconut-oil-and-coconut-water-provide-health-benefits-2?s_cid=rss:do-coconut-oil-and-coconut-water-provide-health-benefits-2

Holistic Health

Vitamin B12 Supplements – What Type And How Much To Take?

Vitamin B12 supplements are really important for vegans, for anyone with digestive issues and for older adults. Although I would love nothing better than to tell you that all the nutrients you need are easily available from fresh, whole plant foods, B12 is unfortunately one nutrient that vegans should be getting from supplements.

And check out http://www.healthyeatingstartshere.com for the free ‘7 Secrets For Shaping Up Your Healthy Eating Habits’.

Dr. Oz answers: “What supplements do you take?”

Uploaded by on Jun 1, 2009

Here’s my first video answer to user-submitted questions on Facebook, Twitter, and mySpace. The question was: “what supplements do YOU take?” Thanks to Sony for sending over a Webbie HD Camera, which I’ve been using to film these in my office. MORE TO COME SOON! Submit new questions at facebook.com/droz, twitter.com/droz, myspace.com/droz.

DHA For a Healthy Heart

An omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil, DHA may help fight heart disease…
See More About:  omega fatty acids  herbs and supplements

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/efa/a/Dha.htm?nl=1

DMAE For Younger Skin?

A natural compound sometimes used in skin care, DMAE may help fight fine lines and smooth your skin…
See More About:  skin remedies  herbs and supplements

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/skinconditions/a/Dmae.htm?nl=1

Fighting Depression With Fish Oil

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may help boost your mood and ward off depression…
See More About:  remedies for depression  omega fatty acids

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/depression/a/fish_oil_depression.htm?nl=1

Natural Cough Relief

Look to natural remedies to help control your cough this cold and flu season…
See More About:  cold and flu remedies  herbs and supplements

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/healthconditionsdisease/a/cough.htm?nl=1