Tag Archive: hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)


Food Safety

Two Newborns Sickened with Salmonella at CA Hospital

SickBabyMain.jpgOver the past three weeks, two newborn girls have contracted Salmonella infections at a Central California hospital.

Authorities are investigating how the infants, treated at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, were exposed to the bacteria.
“We don’t have an answer yet,” said Dr. John Walker of the Stanislaus County’s Public Health Services. “However, there has been intense investigation.”

More Victims in Live Poultry Salmonella Outbreak

DucklingsMain.jpgThree strains of Salmonella linked to baby chicks and ducklings have sickened 144 people in 26 states, up from the 123 people in 25 states reported in a June 11 outbreak update.

The three types of bacteria – Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Lille –  have been traced to baby poultry from the Mt. Healthy Hatchery in Ohio, which sells chicks and ducklings through mail orders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of people sickened in each state is as follows: Alabama (4), Arizona (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (5), Illinois (1), Indiana (3), Kansas (1), Kentucky (5), Louisiana (1), Maine (4), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (2), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New York (16), North Carolina (14), Ohio (37), Pennsylvania (11), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (11), Texas (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (10) and West Virginia (7).

61 Now Ill in Ohio E. coli Outbreak at Picnic

At least 61 people are now ill with E. coli O157:H7 linked to a picnic held by Neff’s Lawn Care in Germantown, Ohio, according to the Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department.

Of those sickened, 11 have been hospitalized and 11 have tested positive for the same strain of E. coli, said Bill Wharton, spokesman for the health department.
The cause of the outbreak remains unknown as health officials continue their investigation. Between 200 and 300 people attended the event, and the health department suspects more individuals may report illnesses.
Those who attended the event and fell ill are encouraged to contact the health department at 937-225-4460.

E. coli Cases in CA Now Linked to New Brunswick Outbreak

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Back in late April, at least 18 people fell ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections after eating at Jungle Jim’s restaurant in Miramichi, New Brunswick. Two months later, when Canadian health officials finally linked the illnesses to romaine lettuce served at the restaurant, they also announced that matching infections had cropped up in both California and Quebec.
But that was all the information they provided, and it prompted a number of questions about the California connection: Did Californians travel to New Brunswick and eat at Jungle Jim’s, or did the infections occur in California? Were they infected near late April? Did the E. coli strains match genetically? Did they eat romaine lettuce?
For more than a week, no one would say. But on Thursday, the California Department of Public Health provided Food Safety News with some answers.
The California infections occurred in California — none of the people sickened had been traveling to Canada. The state health department spokesman would not say how many Californians were involved in the outbreak.
However, their infections occurred in April, near the time of the New Brunswick outbreak. The official said the cases share “common food item consumption” and that the strains implicated in California and Canada were indistinguishable from one another when analyzed through pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
In short, the evidence strongly suggests that Californians and Canadians were separately infected with the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 after contact with the same batch of romaine lettuce. The majority of romaine lettuce grown between April and October comes from California, and this lettuce may have come from packages that intermingled product from multiple farms.

Girl In Critical Condition with E. coli HUS Linked to Neff’s Lawn Care Picnic

Bill Wharton with the Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department told Food Poisoning Bulletin that a 4-year-old girl is hospitalized in critical condition with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of an E. coli 0157:H7 infection contracted at the Neff’s Lawn Care picnic in Germantown Ohio on July 3. Her condition was downgraded to critical on July 12, 2012.

So far, 62 people have been sickened in this outbreak and 13 people have been hospitalized. Public health officials have not determined the source of the bacteria. Mr. Wharton said, “there was very little, if any, food left over from the picnic.” And many people attending the picnic brought their own foods to the event, complicating matters further.

Get E. coli-HUS help here.

The health department is continuing to interview those who are ill and those who prepared the food consumed at the picnic. The investigators are also looking at food handling, storage practices, potential for cross-contamination, and food temperature controls.

Read Full Article Here

Rocky Ford Cantaloupes Are Back On Sale In Colorado

Rocky Ford cantaloupes were not exactly rolled out as planned on Friday, July 13 for their first sales following last year’s deadly Listeria outbreak.
Instead, the new Rocky Ford Growers Association (RFGA) opted to give away 450 pounds of the cantaloupe during the previous weekend at the popular Cherry Creek Arts Festival. People lined up ten deep to get their hands on the first Rocky Fords of the season.
Friday was the first day Rocky Ford cantaloupes were supposed to be available at some King Soopers stores, which make up about 35 percent of the grocery business in Colorado. Whole Foods, Wal-Mart and Safeway stores won’t get their first Rocky Ford cantaloupes until next Friday, July 20.

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June’s hot weather moved this season’s harvest forward by a couple of weeks and the crop is much smaller than a year ago because growers planted fewer acres with cantaloupe.
Growers say the hot days and cool nights experienced in the growing area along the Arkansas River produce a melon with the high sugar content that is favored by consumers.
Last year, Rocky Ford cantaloupes were pulled from the shelves on September 5 because the melons were linked to a 28-state Listeria outbreak that killed as many as 37 people and sickened at least 146.
It was the most deadly U.S. foodborne illness outbreak in a century.
The actual source of the outbreak proved to be Jensen Farms, a cantaloupe grower on the Colorado/Kansas border. While the company’s farm is located about 90 miles away from the historic Rocky Ford growing areas, Jensen still marketed its cantaloupes under the “Rocky Ford” label in 24 states.

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Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Minnesota Denny’s

SalmonellaBlueBugsMain.jpgThree people were hospitalized with Salmonella Montevideo infections after eating at Denny’s in Rochester, MN. One more case has not been confirmed but is thought to be part of the outbreak.

The three patrons became ill between July 2 and July 7 after eating at the same Rochester Denny’s between June 27 and July 5. Officials at Olmsted County Health Services are looking into how the bacteria might have entered the restaurant, and suspect that it was being carried by a customer or employee.
The restaurant has been fully cooperative throughout the investigation, taking all measures recommended by health officials. County and state health departments have discarded potentially contaminated foods, sanitized all food preparation surfaces, enforced glove use among all employees and excluded all ill or recently ill workers.

Oyster Bay Shellfish Harvest Suspended After 8 Fall Ill

Shellfish harvesting in areas in Oyster Bay, New York has been suspended after 8 people who ate shellfish from that area were sickened with Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections.

Approximately 1,980 acres on the north shore of Oyster Bay have been closed until environmental samples reveal that the danger of Vibrio contamination has passed, announced the New York Department of Environmental Conservation Friday.

The New York State Department of Health reported that 3 residents of Nassau County – where Oyster Bay is located – and 5 people from 3 other states became ill after eating raw or partially cooked shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor.
Laboratory analysis has confirmed that the infections were caused by the Vibrio bacteria, a naturally-occuring organism that thrives in warm marine water environments.
Symptoms of Vibrio infection usually occur around 24 hours after ingesting the bacteria, and include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. Symptoms usually resolve within a week. Illness may be more severe in those with compromised immune symptoms or preexisting chronic diseases.

Man’s Death May Be Linked to Last Year’s Listeria Outbreak

PulseNet’s genetic fingerprint may link Montana death to Listeria-tainted cantaloupe outbreak

twowholecantaloupe-406.jpgLast fall’s outbreak of Listeria traced to cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Colorado grew into one of the deadliest in U.S. history, causing at least 146 illnesses and 32 deaths. But as with any outbreak, health officials can never say for certain that the contaminated product did not sicken, or even kill, more than those counted.

Now, just as Colorado cantaloupes return to store shelves for the new growing season, the foodborne pathogen tracking network known as PulseNet may have connected the cantaloupe outbreak to a listeriosis death in Montana.

The connection was made when PulseNet discovered that a clinical sample of Listeria from a 75-year-old Bozeman, Montana man who died in January 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.

Benjamin Silk, Ph.D., epidemiologist for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Food Safety News that the Bozeman victim was now considered part of the outbreak, bringing the official case count to 147 people in 28 states. The CDC has stopped short of attributing the man’s death to the outbreak until health officials in Montana complete an investigation into his infection and other health complications.
“The high number of deaths associated with this outbreak have caused them to be a focal point, but it’s hard to say whether an infection caused death when it happens weeks or months after infection, especially in elderly victims,” Silk said. “The medical risk factors that lead to susceptibility for Listeria infection can also independently be linked to risk of death.”
Either way, Silk said the CDC is certain that the man suffered a Listeria infection from eating Jensen Farms cantaloupes months prior to his death. One other case in Montana has been known since early in the outbreak investigation.

The Montana death had not been linked to the cantaloupe outbreak before now because the victim’s specific Listeria infection was not associated with PFGE pattern combinations from any other outbreak victims, food samples or samples found at Jensen Farms. Following months of investigation, health officials and the public were under the impression that Jensen Farms’ cantaloupes had transmitted four different PFGE combinations of Listeria to victims, and his combination was not one of those.

Wyoming To Loosen Raw Milk Rules, Just A Bit

Proposed changes to the Wyoming Food Safety Rules put the Cowboy State no closer to allowing commercial sales of raw milk, leaving advocates for retail sales disappointed.
Wyoming is one of 20 states that bans the commercial sale of raw milk. That position is not changing, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture. Current law even bans farm families from drinking their own raw milk, but it’s never been enforced that way.
So the proposed rule is being clarified to allow producers who are the sole owners of animals to serve raw milk in their home to family members, non-paying guests, and farm and ranch employees.

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That clarification is included in revisions to the Wyoming Food Safety Rules that the department proposed last May, which are subject to a public comment period and hearing.  At a forum in Casper last week, raw milk advocates showed up to push for retail sales of raw milk as permitted in California.
A veteran of the legislative tussles over raw milk sales, state Rep. Sue Wallis (R-Recluse) sought a more simple and specific change in the rule’s language. She proposed removing the word “sole” from the ownership requirement.
Wallis, first elected to the Wyoming House in 2006, is currently seeking election to her fourth term.
The Casper Star Tribune quoted Wallis as saying, “Because people want fresh milk today, the only way they can get it is to make a deal with somebody who has the capacity to keep a cow.”
Wallis participates in a cow share agreement with someone who cares for the animal and delivers milk to her family ranch on the Bitter Creek in Wyoming’s northern Campbell County.  The department promised to have her suggestion reviewed by the Wyoming attorney general.

Oregon Takes Off the Gloves

Last year, health officials in Oregon announced they would adopt the 2009 FDA Retail Food Code, which governs safety regulations about food workers. But last week, officials said that the Oregon Public Health Division Foodborne Illness Prevention Program will not adopt the “No Bare Hand Contact” section of the Code.

Requiring food workers to use gloves is controversial. In 1999, the FDA evaluated the risks of microbiological contamination of foods by food preparation workers in 81 foodborne illness outbreaks, and found that the majority of outbreaks were caused by transmission of the pathogen to the food by worker’s hands. In 66 of the outbreaks (82%), the food worker was the source of the infection. Seventy-five of the outbreaks involved food workers were infectious at the time of the outbreak.

In 14 out of 34 outbreaks where hand contact was the method of transmission, the implicated food worker was not wearing gloves. But the study found that when workers were wearing gloves, the gloves were used improperly. And that’s the issue that restaurateurs had with the new Oregon plan.
Read Full Article Here

USDA Releases First Results for Non-0157 STEC Tests in Beef Trim

On June 4, 2012, the USDA started required testing of beef trim for six non-0157 shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria, commonly known as STEC bacteria. Today they released the first report on this new testing system. Those six bacteria, which include E. coli 026, 045, 0103, 0111, 0121, and 0145, cause more than 100,000 illnesses in the United States every year.

Out of 110 analyses of raw ground beef in federal plants, three tested positive for the pathogens. Testing revealed the presence of E. coli 0145 in one sample, E. coli 0103 in 1 sample, and E. coli 045 in one sample. A follow-up RGBC positive test result was obtained for the E. coli 0103 bacteria. Testing also revealed the presence of E. coli 0157:H7 in four samples out of 115.

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USDA Decides to Spare Produce Testing Program This Year

lettucerow406.jpgAfter an uptick in press coverage on the impending shutdown of the Microbiological Data Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided to keep the produce testing program running, at least through the end of the year.

As Food Safety News reported last week, if the program were to shut down, as it was slated to at the end of this month, public testing for pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella on commodities like tomatoes, lettuce and cantaloupes would drop by 80 percent.

“While the Microbiological Data Program does not align with USDA’s core mission, the department will continue its work with state partners using existing agreements to conduct sampling and testing through this program through the end of the year,” a spokesman told Food Safety News late Monday night.

The Obama administration did not request funding for the little-known $4.5 million program in its fiscal year 2013 budget request, arguing that the food safety program did not belong under the Agricultural Marketing Service, where it is currently housed, and Congress has so far not included the program in appropriations bills. (AMS did not respond to a question late Monday about why the Pesticide Data Program, also a food safety program, was not being targeted for elimination in the budget).

State officials who work in MDP labs, which pull produce samples in 11 states, had not been given formal notice about the future of the program as of last week, but some told Food Safety News they had been informed that regular MDP sampling would cease at the end of July. The FDA has not announced any plans to increase produce testing if MDP is cut.

Read Full Article Here

U.S. Third In Food Safety After Israel and France

Safety is almost an asterisk in the Global Food Security Index, recently released by DuPont and the Economist Intelligence Unit.
In an overall assessment of the affordability, availability and quality of food, the United States emerges as No. 1 overall, but America was bested by Israel and France in the “quality” category, where food safety was part of the score.
No surprises that the U.S., with the largest economy and most productive agricultural sector, is the most food secure country on the planet. Losing the Gold and Silver metals on quality and food safety to Israel and France is a little harder to explain.

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In the data set for food safety, the U.S. got 99.3 percent while Israel and France both earned a 100 percent score. The composite is supposed to measure “the enabling environment for food safety.”
The food safety composite was one of about 16 data sets used to create the Global Food Security Index, which covers 105 countries. The U.S., Denmark and Norway topped the overall rankings, in that order.
Commissioned by DuPont, a developer of genetically modified crops, and produced by the data-crunchers at the Economist Intelligence Unit, the new food security index offers a way to compare countries around the globe.
“We’ve always known that what get measured, gets done,” said Ellen Kullman, DuPont’s chairman and chief executive officer.
“As we talked to governments, NGOs, and farmer organizations around the world, we’ve come to realize that while we share a common goal of food security, we do not share a common language,” she said.  “To truly address the root cause of hunger, we must have a common path forward to tackle such pressing issues as food affordability, availability, quality and safety.

Mandatory Pig Traceability Coming Soon to Canada

Traceability is soon going to be a requirement for pigs raised for slaughter in Canada.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has written new regulations designed to require pork producers to identify all farmed pigs and farmed wild boars using approved methods and to record and report all movements of pigs from birth or import to slaughter or export.

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CFIA says new requirements “strengthening Canada’s livestock sector”  will protect Canada’s swine herd, and help reopen export markets in the event of an animal disease outbreak.
The Government of Canada said mandatory traceability for pigs is being required only after consultations with the swine industry, provinces and territories and other stakeholders.
Canada already has mandatory identification systems in place for cattle, bison, and sheep.

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Recalls

Whole Foods in Pittsburgh Recalls Jean Perrin Edel de Cleron Cheese

The Allegheny County Health Department and Whole Foods Market in Pittsburgh are recalling Jean Perrin Edel de Cleron cheese sold at the East Liberty Whole Foods store for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recalled cheese was packaged in clear plastic wrap with a Whole Foods Market scale label and a code beginning with 293351. The cheese was sold at the store between May 20, 2012 and July 3, 2012.

One person has become ill after eating this product. Anyone who has purchased this cheese should not eat it. Contact the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-ACHD if you still have this product in your home so it can be tested for the bacteria.

Read Full Article Here

Corn Chowder Recalled, May Contain Foreign Material

An Indiana firm is recalling 94,850 pounds of corn chowder soup varieties because they may contain foreign materials.

The company – Morgan Foods, Inc. of Austin, IN – issued a voluntary recall of 4 types of corn chowders after receiving complaints from two customers who said they found pieces of a marker pen in the product.
The soups were sold in 18.8 ounce cans, and include the following varieties:
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PMI Nutrition Expands Recall of Aquamax, Mazuri, and LabDiet Products

PMI Nutrition International is recalling AquaMax™ feed products for fish for the potential of elevated vitamin D levels. And the company is expanding its recall to include additional varieties of Mazuri® and LabDiet® feed products for the same problem.

You can see the extensive list of products, along with item number, full product description, package sizes, and lot codes at the FDA site. The products include food for guinea pigs, monkeys, rodents, frogs, leaf eaters, waterfowl, game birds, flamingos, cranes, wolves, moose, zebras, mice, parrots, insectivores, crocodiles, bears, turtles, and ornamental fish.  You can also see all of the product labels at the FDA site.

If you have purchased any of these products, return them to the place of purchase for a refund. For questions or more information, call Customer Service at 1-855-863-0421, extension 224, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm EDT.

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Articles of Interest

200 Ill With Norovirus Infections After Swimming in WI Lake

LakeWazeeMain.jpgAt least 200 people contracted Norovirus infections after swimming in a Wisconsin lake on the Fourth of July. One child who also swam in the lake was hospitalized.

The Jackson County Health Department, along with the county’s Forestry and Parks division, began an investigation into the outbreak on Monday July 9 after being notified that many people who had been swimming in Lake Wazee the previous week were experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, headache, nausea, fever and body aches, all symptoms of a Norovirus infection.

Read Full Article Here

Food Quality: An Issue As Important As Safety

Opinion
Food safety is important, but it is not the only consideration when choosing foods.
For example, for people in the U.S., the aversion to dog meat and horse meat is more a cultural matter than a safety issue. For Jews and Muslims, the aversion to pork might have begun as a safety issue historically, but now it is more a religious and cultural matter. Some people shun genetically modified foods because they fear such foods would be unsafe to eat, and some shun them for other reasons, such as their environmental or economic impacts. Some people prefer eggs from free range chickens not because it makes a big difference in the quality of the eggs, but because of their concerns about animal cruelty. Foie gras was banned in California because of concerns about animal cruelty, not food safety. Pink slime may be viewed as disgusting even if it is safe to eat. Some people might wish to avoid certain foods because they are farmed or manufactured in ways that harm the environment. No one has argued that whale meat or turtle meat is unsafe. Shark fin soup is not unsafe. Products might be shunned because they are produced under onerous conditions for workers. Some people think particular foods should be controlled because they increase the likelihood of becoming overweight.
Snack manufacturers argue that there are no bad foods, only bad diets. What should regulatory agencies do about that, especially when many people do have bad diets?
A clear distinction should be drawn between unsafe products and unsafe practices. If infants are fed with tea or cola, perhaps along with breast milk or infant formula, they might not get sick immediately, but they may experience health consequences in the future. What about the case in which, to save money, one grandmother diluted the infant formula by half, because, she said, the baby wouldn’t know the difference? Here it is not the products but the practices that are unsafe. Where does one draw the line between safety concerns in the traditional sense, i.e. pathogen contamination, and other food-related concerns?
Agencies with responsibilities for food regulation should be explicit about what is within the scope of their work, and what is excluded. They should explain how they do their work, and be plain about its limitations. This is important because non-specialists don’t make sharp distinctions between questions such as “is it safe for you?” and “is it good for you?” Many people take approval of a product by an official-sounding agency as an endorsement of that product. The manufacturers take advantage of this. They know that if they claim something has been approved by an agency, many customers will think that means it is good for you, or has other virtues. On close examination we might see that approval is actually based on little more than the manufacturers submitting the proper forms, with the agency making no independent assessment of any kind.
If the national food regulatory agency’s mandate is to look only at safety in the narrow sense of worrying about immediate harm to users, which agencies would attend to other considerations that might be important?
To illustrate, there is good evidence that long chain fatty acids in the diets of pregnant women and infants affect the child’s development, not only physically but also intellectually. Ocean fish and beef from grass-fed cows have good fatty acids in them. However, some industrially produced meats – cultured fish fed mainly with grains and cows fed with grains rather than grass – are not as rich in these crucial fatty acids. How should factors that affect consumers’ long-term intellectual development be addressed? Which government food agencies should look after them?
If infant formula manufacturers make bogus claims that synthetic fatty acids added to infant formula make important contributions to infants’ development, who will call on them to account for these claims? If these are not safety issues, what should we name them?

Biotech Riders in Proposed Farm Bill Stir Controversy

It was a battle over agricultural biotechnology that didn’t happen — at least not in the House Agriculture Committee’s July 11 markup of its version of the proposed new Farm Bill.
After a long day of discussing, and then voting on, more than 100 proposed amendments, the wearied-looking legislators finished the markup without addressing some controversial biotech riders tucked into Title X: Horticulture.
But that doesn’t mean heated debate over these riders won’t flare up as the Farm Bill makes its hopeful way toward approval in September.
Critics of agricultural biotechnology say that genetically engineered crops can be harmful to human health and to the environment. They point to warnings from an array of scientists that the artificial insertion of genetic material into plants could cause significant problems such as an increase in the levels of known toxicants in food, the introduction of new toxicants or new allergies, and the reduction of the nutritional value of food.

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On the other side of the health divide, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates recently reaffirmed its support of biotechnology in the production of safe, nutritious food. AMA also pointed to the continuing validity of federal regulation, saying that food produced through biotechnology poses no more risk than food produced in conventional ways.
In an effort to boost the public’s understanding of this new way of producing food, the International Food Information Council Foundation has released five videos featuring leading physicians in the fields of pediatrics, food allery and obstetrics who answer frequently asked questions about food biotechnology.
In 1992, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration established a policy declaring that there is no substantial or material difference between genetically engineered foods and foods that haven’t been genetically engineered.
Even so, many consumers are wary, if not downright opposed, to this new technology.
In a July 12 press release, the Center for Food Safety vowed to continue its strong opposition to the bill’s attachments, describing them as “irresponsible and unnecessary changes to USDA regulations” that would severely weaken the agency’s oversight of genetically engineered crops, and thus “fundamentally erode science-based review.”
Remaining optimistic, the Center expects the riders to be eliminated on the House floor when the full House considers the draft version of the Farm Bill, or when the House and Senate bills go to conference.
On the other side of the biotech fence, Karen Batra, spokesperson for Biotechnology Industry Organization, BIO, told Food Safety News that the organization doesn’t want to speculate on how Congress will vote on a final package, “but we are pleased with the bipartisan support shown in the committee for clarifying the US regulatory system for ag biotech.”
The fact that the provisions remain in the proposed bill is good news, she said, because they offer common-sense modifications that would benefit an approval system that has become “duplicative, unpredictable and costly.”
Summary of the Riders
According to the summary of the proposed bill, the biotechnology provisions in Title 10 reiterate that the USDA is authorized to regulate the introduction and cultivation of products of biotechnology if the products pose a plant pest risk.
When a petition for deregulation of a biotech variety is received, a comprehensive plant pest risk assessment is conducted. Once it is determined that the product poses no plant pest risk, the authority to regulate the product under the Plant Protection Act ceases and a final decision is made to deregulate the product.
Recent petitions for deregulation have taken several years, though the actual review takes only weeks, and USDA regulation provides for a maximum limit of 180 days.
The current framework of the Plant Protection Act, which is intended to ensure the safety of biotechnology crop reviews, has been impeded by numerous procedural lawsuits. Many of these lawsuits have been proven to include frivolous claims and have been based on extraneous statutes that conflict with USDA’s statutory mandate to regulate based on plant pest risk.
These challenges have strained the limited resources of the USDA, imposed millions of dollars in unnecessary costs on taxpayers and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost opportunity costs on our national economy, and endangered the United States’ leadership role in this new and beneficial field of science.
Agricultural biotechnology is an evolutionary technology with revolutionary potential to feed an ever-increasing world population, while enhancing environmental stewardship.
In conclusion, says the summary, the provisions “will ensure that the transparent, comprehensive and scientifically-based review of these products occurs in a timeframe that facilitates continued innovation and adaptation of new tools to meet the challenges of food security.”

House Farm Bill Future Uncertain

Legislation keeps catfish inspection, seeks recall insurance study

After the House Agriculture Committee completed markup and cleared its version of the farm bill late into the night on Wednesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner on Thursday told reporters that he has not made any decisions about the bill coming to the floor.

“I think Chairman [Frank Lucas (R-OK)] and the committee have done an awful lot of good work. No decisions about coming to the floor,” Boehner told reporters during a press conference. He also said he had some reservations about provisions in the bill, citing what he called “a Society-style dairy program” as an example.

The lack of a timeline is worrying for agricultural interests as current farm bill expires September 30 and there are only a handful of working days left before August recess. Politico reported late Thursday that the bill is one “republican leaders seem to want nothing to do with” and unlikely to see a floor vote — a decision that would infuriate both sides of the aisle and likely force Congress to vote on an extension of current policy.

The House version of the bill, which cleared the ag committee by a 35-11 vote, cuts $16.5 billion from food stamps, roughly $12 billion more the Senate version of the bill that cleared the upper chamber last month. While both bills eliminate direct payments — which have become increasingly controversial as both farm income and deficits soar — the House bill added a new price support system and new insurance for rice and peanut farmers who found the Senate’s safety net lacking.

Genome Sequencing of 100,000 Foodborne Pathogens Underway

New database will speed up outbreak investigations

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Over the past three years, scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have conducted whole genome sequencing on over hundreds of foodborne pathogens to get a detailed map of their DNA. Now, with the help of university researchers and a private company, they’re expanding that figure to 100,000.
The initiative, aptly titled “The 100K Genome Project,” is a private-public collaboration between FDA, the University of California Davis and Agilent, a testing technology company.
By developing this new database, FDA hopes to help health officials cut down on the time it takes to identify the source of an outbreak.
Right now, investigators are able to identify clusters of illnesses by uploading pathogens isolated from different individuals to the government-maintained PulseNet database. But the information in PulseNet can only tell which cases are related. It does not provide the genetic details needed to figure out what food the bug is coming from.
For that, investigators must question victims to see whether they ate a common food in the days preceding their illnesses.
“Humans tend to move around a lot and they don’t have a good memory of what they ate, so getting good information from humans is really hard,” explains Steven Musser, Director of the Office of Regulatory Science at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Musser, who is working on the genome sequencing project, says this new database will supplement PulseNet by providing high-resolution data, such as where an organism was found, whether it is resistant to any antibiotics and perhaps even the food on which it was found.
“In terms of resolution it would be sort of like looking at the stars with the Hubble space telescope versus looking at them with binoculars,” he explained in an interview with Food Safety News.
This new database will be comprised mostly of genetic information on pathogens isolated from food, he says, so if a human isolate is uploaded and matches a pathogen already in the database, investigators will know what region, or even business, the matching food sample came from.

Publisher’s Platform: President Obama, Tell Your Kids Not To Eat Their Fruits and Veggies After August 1st!

Food safety program started by Bush to be killed by Obama at end of July

Opinion
Sign Change.org Petition to Save the Program.President Obama, you probably do not remember my three daughters: Morgan, Olivia and Sydney, hanging out with Sasha and Malia and Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers backstage before one of the inaugural parties, but $50,000 out of my pocket does. As you might remember, I went all in for your 2008 campaign, and judging by the calls and emails that I get on a daily basis from your campaign, you want me to do it again.
Within a few months of taking office, you came face to face with what I have seen for decades – another multi-state foodborne illness outbreak. The now infamous Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella tragedy sickened several hundred throughout the United States and killed nine. I thought you got it when you were quoted as saying:
“That’s what Sasha eats for lunch probably three times a week. And you know, I don’t wanna have to worry about whether she’s gonna get sick as a consequence to having her lunch.”
True, that outbreak – and several others in proceeding years – prompted Congressional action on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – that you very, very quietly signed into law.  However, the law still remains unfunded and many of the food safety rules remain hidden away in the your White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

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And, now because of industry pressure, your administration wants to kill the $4.5M budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Microbiological Data Program (MDP).  Ironically, to this long-time democratic supporter, the program was launched under President Bush’s 2001 Food Safety Initiative, and until the end of July tested about 15,000 samples of fruits and vegetables each year, far more than any other federal or state program.
Here is how MDP works: Public health officials pull samples of tomatoes (cherry, round, roma), cantaloupe, lettuce (leaf, romaine, cut, and pre-washed), celery, parsley, cilantro, spinach (bunched and bagged and pre-washed), hot peppers, sprouts (alfalfa and clover), onions (bulb and green), and yes, even Sasha’s peanut butter, and test for pathogens that can kill your kids and mine.
The samples are collected from distribution centers in 11 states that represent about 50 percent of the United States population. Any isolated pathogens are sent for pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) testing and the resulting genetic pattern is uploaded to the Centers for Disease Control PulseNet database so that it can be matched against human isolates or outbreak patterns. MDP also tests all isolates for antimicrobial resistance and contributes data to the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring (NARMS) database.
From 2009 to 2012, MDP found Salmonella 100 times, E. coli O157:H7 twice and Listeria monocytogenes 8 times. Over the same time period, the program sparked 23 Salmonella recalls, two E. coli O157:H7 recalls and five Listeria recalls.  Of the pathogens the program identified during that time, 39 Salmonella isolates were matched to human illnesses – as were the two E. coli O157:H7 and all eight Listeria isolates.

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[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

 

 

 

Six Year Old Boy in Massachusetts Died From an E. coli Infection

June 1, 2012 By

E. coli Infections Can Cause HUSOn May 26, 2012, a six year old boy in Massachusetts died from an E. coli infection, according to the Massachusetts Department of Health and the Worcester Department of Public Health. A press release by the City of Worcester, obtained by Food Poisoning Bulletin, confirms that he died from complications of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Anne Roach, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Health, told Food Poisoning Bulletin that that agency has “confirmed the presence of E. coli 0157 in its investigation of the recent death of a child in Worcester County. The epidemiologic investigation remains ongoing and no further details are available.”

The little boy became sick the week of May 20, 2012 and, as his symptoms worsened, his parents took him to the doctor. He was hospitalized, but his condition continued to deteriorate.

Derek S. Brindisi, Director of Public Health for Worcester, said, “We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Owen Carrignan and offer our deepest sympathy to Owen’s family. The source of exposure has not yet been determined at this time. Officials are treating this as an isolated case, consistent with a food borne illness.”

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

Plant Linked To Salmonella Outbreak, Lawsuit Violated Food Safety Codes

June 1, 2012 By

The Diamond Pet Food facility linked to 10 ongoing dog food recalls,  a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 15 people in nine states, and a lawsuit filed earlier this week was in violation of several food safety codes during a recent inspection, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

During an April 2012 inspection of the Diamond plant in Gaston, S.C.,  FDA officials found  several problems with the company’s food safety practices including:

No microbiological analysis was conducted to make sure that incoming animal fat was not introducing pathogens to the  finished product.

The sampling procedure did not preclude potential for contamination after sampling or during storage at the warehouse.

Lack of hand washing facilities at needed locations.

Poorly maintained equipment that may provide harbor for bacteria.

Improper repairs to equipment that prevented them form being cleaned or sanitized.

Since April 6, 2012 the same plant has been linked to 10 dog food recalls for possible Salmonella contamination including:

 

Read Full Article Here

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Recalls

 

 

Black & Decker Coffeemakers Recalled for Injury Hazard

June 1, 2012 By

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Applica Consumer Products of Florida are recalling Black & Decker® Spacemaker™ coffeemakers because the coffee pot handle can break, causing cuts and burns. Consumers should immediately stop using this product and contact the company for a free replacement.

Product details:

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

Pork Rolls Recalled for Undeclared Allergen

A Chicago-based company is voluntarily recalling 13,200 pounds of raw and ready-to-eat pork roll products because they contain an undeclared allergen – wheat – which was not listed on packaging.

BaLe Meat Processing and Wholesale, Inc. issued the recall Friday after USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discovered the problem during labeling verification procedures at the facility.
Officials discovered that the baking powder used in the pork rolls contained wheat, but that this allergen was not listed as an ingredient.

Pork Product Recalled for Potential Listeria Contamination

A Hawaii-based firm is recalling approximately 400 pounds of ready-to-eat pork product due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.

Keoki’s Lau Lau of Honolulu issued a recall of it’s “Keoki’s Brand Kalua Pork” Saturday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discovered the problem during follow-up testing after routine sampling resulted in a positive Listeria test.
Products subject to recall include 12 oz. tubs of “Keoki’s Kalua Brand Pork” and 48 oz. tubs of “Keoki’s Kalua Brand Pork.”

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The ready-to-eat pork product bears establishment number “EST. 12429,” located inside the USDA mark of inspection. It is also marked with batch numbers 546 or 552.

 

Articles of Interest

 

 

 

Facts About Food Poisoning and the Law

Unless you or a member of your family have been struck down by a foodborne illness, you won’t know the facts about food poisoning and the law. Public reaction to a recent case of Salmonella food poisoning has made this very clear.

Many people think that food poisoning just means an uncomfortable period of time spent running to the bathroom. For most people, this is true, since 48,000,000 Americans contract food poisoning every year. But for more than 128,000 Americans each and every year, food poisoning means hospitalization, a serious illness, and the risk of developing lifelong health complications including paralysis, kidney failure, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. And for 3,000 Americans each year, food poisoning means a painful and untimely death.

Food Safety Laws

The government has established laws about the safety of the food we eat, the water we drink, and the food we feed our pets to help prevent foodborne illness. But corporations violate those laws and produce unsafe food every year.

It is illegal to sell certain food products contaminated with certain bacteria.  Manufacturers are not allowed to sell beef contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7, ready-to-eat foods contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, and ready-to-eat-foods contaminated with Salmonella. But it’s perfectly legal to sell foods contaminated with all other dangerous pathogens. Until someone gets sick from those bacteria in that product. Then the product is considered adulterated and selling it becomes illegal.

The Science of Epidemiology

Certain bacterial infections must be reported to authorities when they are diagnosed by doctors. And when two or more unrelated people are diagnosed with infections caused by the same strain of bacteria, an outbreak is declared and authorities begin investigating.

Laws requiring companies to keep records of the food they produce help the government trace the bacteria to a specific food and manufacturer or producer. In fact, the science of epidemiology is so advanced that public health officials can often trace the bacteria to a particular farm field.

Once the source of food poisoning is found, scientists conduct tests on the bacteria cultured from the patient and bacteria found in the food and/or at the facility where the food was produced. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), the gold standard test in epidemiology, can map the bacteria’s DNA. When the DNA in bacteria from a stool culture matches the DNA in bacteria taken from the food or food facility, officials have medical, biological, epidemiological, and legal proof that that particular food caused the illness.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter From The Editor: Sugar

Opinion
Alcohol and tobacco have both been the subject of a social-political war in the United States.  We went from one extreme to another on the spectrum of alcohol regulation, even doing time with prohibition.
Except for my memories of elections over “dry” versus “wet” counties in the Midwest, most of that had worked itself out, reaching the current stalemate, before I came along.
The tobacco war is a little more recent. I never smoked cigarettes, which made me more of an observer than a participant in how it all came down.
Smoking cigarettes is a nasty, dirty, dangerous habit, but I’ve always been troubled by how easily we the majority of non-smokers were able to snuff out the smokers.
But ultimately it was the public that drew that line.
Still, whenever I see smokers huddling outside in a smoking ghetto, I feel a little bit guilty.  Man, we threw them out so easily!   Yes, first we came for the smokers!
And now comes New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ration the sugar intake of soda drinkers by making it illegal to sell drinks larger than 16 ounces.  Just as I do not smoke, I do not do sugary drinks. I’ve never understood “super sizes.”
Yet the idea that government is going to dictate how much of a legal product we can purchase is troubling.   When you take the “lite fascism” road, where does it end?  And, as I’ve said here before, it is more than a little bit icky whenever a government official or scientist/lobbyist starts talking about calorie rationing.

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Meanwhile, however, the sugar war is going to be God’s gift to food writers everywhere.   Unlike the alcohol and tobacco wars, which pretty much had pro- and anti- prohibitionist sides, the sugar wars are going to be more multidimensional affairs.
It comes as the sweet-stuff makers are warring among themselves over the names that can be used for syrup and sugar. Lots of smart folks have long made the case that food makers have fattened up our human herd by putting high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in just about everything.
Just as people seemed to become wise to that, along came the Corn Refiners Association with a bold plan to just rename HFSC “corn sugar” and make things right with the world.

 

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[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

Genetic engineering: The world’s greatest scam?

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(French version — http://www.greenpeace.org/ogm)
Genetic engineering is a threat to food security, especially in a changing climate. The introduction of genetically manipulated organisms by choice or by accident grossly undermines sustainable agriculture and in so doing, severely limits the choice of food we can eat.

Once GE plants are released into the environment, they are out of control. If anything goes wrong – they are impossible to recall.

GE contamination threatens biodiversity respected as the global heritage of humankind, and one of our world’s fundamental keys to survival.

Health Officials Warn of Vibrio Bacteria in Some Massachusetts Oysters

  By massachusetts

Massachusetts health officials are warning that oysters harvested from Cape Cod Bay may be contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bacteria that causes about 4,500 cases of foodborne illness every year.

That area has tidal flats with shallow water that can become very warm during the day. In just the right conditions of warm temperatures and the water’s salt content, the bacteria grows very quickly  in the shellfish. Then when those oysters are eaten raw or undercooked, the bacteria can make people sick.

The illness is characterized by watery diarrhea, cramping, nausea, fever, chills, and vomiting. Most people recover within a few days, but some people, especially those in high risk groups, can become seriously ill. Last year, five people became very ill with V. parahaemolyticus poisoning.

Read Full Article Here

FDA: Safety Violations at India Plant Linked to Tuna Salmonella Outbreak

As the case count continues to rise in the nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to raw tuna, an inspection by U.S. health officials has revealed unsanitary conditions at the India facility that produced the implicated tuna product.

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On April 19, about a week after authorities announced that a ground yellowfin tuna product  imported by Moon Marine USA Corporation was the likely source of the Salmonella bacteria that had sickened 116 people, health inspectors began a 6 day review of the plant where the tuna – called Nakaochi Scrape –  was processed. The resulting report – issued by FDA’s Department of Health and Human Services –  details a series of 10 sanitation slip-ups.
Of the offences, four were violations of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) guidelines, which all foreign producers must comply with in order to export seafood to the United States.  A HACCP plan identifies all points in the processing where contamination could occur and outlines steps to prevent pathogens from entering food.
In this case, inspectors noted that Moon Fishery – from which Moon Marine Co. sources its tuna – was missing the following steps from its plan:

Read Full Article Here

USDA Switching to New Plant Data Inspection System

Long in the making, the start-up date for USDA’s new Public Health Information System (PHIS) is now just two weeks away on May 29.  It will replace the Performance Based Inspection System at all regulated USDA establishments and for all meat and poultry imports and exports.
Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, USDA under secretary for food safety, has hailed the coming of PHIS as a method of “arming our inspectors with a powerful tool, on the ground, to carry out USDA’s food safety mission more effectively.”

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Hagen says the new single database designed to gather, collate and use all data collected by the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS’s) entire inspection regime is not just a change out in the IT system, but an entirely new inspection infrastructure.
That new infrastructure includes more discretion for FSIS inspectors as they go about their daily work. The old Performance Based Inspection System apparently spit out a list of “scheduled” tasks for inspectors to accomplish each day.

Read Full Article Here

FSN Video: Smiling Hara Tempeh Salmonella Outbreak

by James Andrews

Smiling Hara Tempeh Salmonella Outbreak – Food Safety News Consumer Alert

  by

http://www.foodsafetynews.com

63 people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and New York have fallen ill from a rare strain of Salmonella linked to spore culture used to make unpasteurized tempeh by North Carolina food producer Smiling Hara.

The outbreak strain, Salmonella Paratyphi B, causes less severe but more contagious infections than common types of Salmonella, and it can lead to Typhoid fever in some of those it infects.

According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, Smiling Hara purchased the contaminated spore culture from Tempeh Online, a Maryland-based Company that has since taken down its web page and deleted all but one of its Twitter posts.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with state health officials to determine whether or not Tempeh Online’s contaminated culture might have been used by any other producers.

Smiling Hara has recalled all of its tempeh made between January 11 and April 11 with best-by dates of July 11 through October 25. The company promotes the probiotic traits of unpasteurized tempeh but says it has considered pasteurizing its product to avoid future outbreaks.

Always cook unpasteurized tempeh before eating it. If you have recently eaten tempeh and experienced fever, nausea, vomiting or abdominal cramps, please contact your health care provider.

GMO Labeling on California Ballot This Fall

The Right-to-Know campaign has obtained more than enough signatures on its GMO labeling petition to appear on the California ballot this fall. The petition will require GMO labeling on foods in California.

The measure would require food manufacturers to identify genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that are in any food sold in California. This may lead to nation-wide labeling so manufacturers don’t have to print two labels on the same product.

When California added the caramel coloring 4-MI to its list of carcinogens under Proposition 65 in 2009, the manufacturer of that product agreed to change it to meet California’s standards.

Food Poisoning Bulletin asked Stacy Malkan, Media Director for the California Right-to-Know 2012 ballot initiative, about this issue. She said, “consumers have a right to know what’s in the food we buy and eat and feed our children, just as we have the right to know how many calories are in our food, or whether food comes from other countries like Mexico or China.

Read Full Article Here

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)

The E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak linked to raw milk produced by Foundation Farm in Oregon has sickened at least 19 people. Fifteen of those victims are children; four of those children have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.

According to the FDA’s Bad Bug Book, it can take just 10 cells of E. coli bacteria to make someone sick. Dr. Heidi Kassenborg of the Minnesota Department of Health told us that bacteria aren’t evenly distributed in milk fluids, so milk samples withdrawn for testing may not contain any bacteria, when there actually is bacteria in the product.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a severe complication of an infection of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, usually E. coli O157. The toxins damage red blood cells, which creates small clots that clog the filtering system in the kidneys, causing HUS. The kidneys always suffer some injury in this condition.

HUS is characterized by hemolytic anemia (too few red blood cells), thrombocytopenia (too few blood platelets), and kidney failure. Complications of HUS include the following:

Read Full Article Here

HUS from an E. coli infection: 10 Things You Need to Know

E. coli Infections Can Cause HUSAn unnamed restaurant in Spartanburg, South Carolina is the suspected source of an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli. At least eleven people are ill. Of that group, two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Adam Myrick, Public Information Officer of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, told Food Poisoning Bulletin that he was not aware of any hospitalizations in the outbreak. He also said that the department does not discuss individual cases. All he would say about the restaurant is that it is a Mexican restaurant in the Spartanburg area, although there have been calls for the restaurant to be identified.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a severe complication of a Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (generally E. coli O157) infection. It is characterized by hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and kidney failure, and most HUS victims suffer a host of other medical problems. E. coli-HUS is the most common cause of acute renal failure among young children (5 years and less) in the United States.

These are 10 things you should know if your child has an E. coli infection or has been diagnosed with HUS:

Read Full Article Here

‘Supermoms against Superbugs’ Take Their Message to Washington

Thirty enthusiastic moms from across the United States gathered in Washington Tuesday to lobby for greater limits on antibiotics used in food animal production.

Organized by the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the “Supermoms against Superbugs” event included more than 50 meetings with House and Senate staff, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Each mother had a different story, a different reason for becoming an advocate. Some were chefs worried about quality and health, others pediatricians concerned about untreatable infections, but for many of the moms their activism began when a child or family member was  sickened or killed by antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

ruby&melissa.jpgFor Melissa Lee, it began when her nine-month-old baby Ruby contracted antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg from meatballs made with ground turkey. It was the first time Ruby had tried turkey. “The first and the last,” said Lee.

Ruby was hospitalized for a week and then required an IV of antibiotics for another week at home. She was part of a nationwide outbreak that sparked the largest Class I meat recall in history. Contaminated ground turkey from a single Cargill plant in Arkansas was linked to the illnesses.

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CDC’s Mahon Sees Progress in Curbing Listeria After Deadly Outbreak

Multiple tools to find and track Listeria are proving successful, even though the rare pathogen was responsible last year for the most deadly outbreak of foodborne illness in decades.

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Dr. Barbara Mahon from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday opened the 40th Annual Rocky Mountain Food Safety Conference in Golden, CO by putting last year’s deadly Listeria outbreak into some context, describing new efforts to control the strange bacteria.
Mahon said Listeria is a highly virulent pathogen that annually causes 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths. Last year’s Listeria outbreak traced back to Colorado-grown cantaloupe caused 146 illnesses and at least 32 deaths.
Listeria’s threat is best illustrated by the fact that it accounts for less than one percent of all foodborne illnesses, but causes almost 20 percent of all food illness deaths. Killing Listeria, however, is not easy. The bacteria continue to thrive when refrigerated.
Finding Listeria on whole cantaloupes was new. The dangerous foodborne bacterium is usually associated with hot dogs, deli meats and soft, Mexican-style cheeses.
Mahon said the 95 percent hospitalization rate from listeriosis, and its fatality rate of at least 16 percent, makes it a very dangerous illness for the populations it impacts the most. Those include pregnant women, newborn infants and the elderly or anyone with a compromised immune system.
CDC’s “wake up call” for Listeria came in 1985 with an outbreak in Los Angles County, CA caused by Mexican cheese that involved mostly pregnant Hispanic women, Mahon said.   Before the epidemic was stemmed, there were 28 deaths and 20 stillbirths.
Mahon said four surveillance tools set up in the years that followed – FoodNet, PulseNet, Listeria Initiative, and the Food Disease Outbreak Surveillance System or FDOSS – have combined to improve the Listeria outlook.

Read Full Article Here

New Brunswick E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Jungle Jim’s Eatery

Public health officials investigating an E. coli outbreak in the Canadian province of New Brunswick named Jungle Jim’s Eatery as the likely common link on Tuesday, according to CBC News.

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The province’s health department confirmed 13 people infected with E. coli O157:H7, while another 11 suspected cases are likely linked to the same outbreak.

Read Full Article Here
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Recalls

Cargill Recalls Some Animal Feed Products

Cargill Animal Nutrition announced a voluntary recall of some regional poultry and calf feed, and some whole and cracked corn products because of high levels of aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a mold that grows on grain that was stressed while it was growing. Exposure to high levels of aflatoxin can cause liver failure.

Read Full Article Here
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Articles of Interest

Preliminary FDA Inspection Report Cites Flaws at Diamond Pet Foods Plant

Diamond Pet Foods, the company behind a massive recall of dry dog food due to Salmonella contamination that has sickened at least 16 people, was not taking “all reasonable precautions” to ensure the safety of its product, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspection report.

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The Form 483 report, posted by the FDA late Tuesday afternoon, was the result of a week-long inspection that began April 12 after an outbreak of human Salmonella Infantis infection was traced to contaminated pet food manufactured at the Diamond Pet Foods plant in Gaston, S.C.
The report states that Diamond was using cardboard and duct tape on some of its equipment and that there were damaged paddles on the conveyor. The inspectors also noted that some surfaces at the facility were encrusted with food residues.
FDA inspectors specifically listed these four observations:

Read Full Article Here

Russia Questions Dutch Vegetable Safety

by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti)


illustration only

Russia’s food safety chief Gennady Onishchenko raised doubts on Monday over the safety of vegetables imported from the Netherlands, which he said had been experimenting with mutations of the avian flu virus.

“The Netherlands is engaged in an activity banned by international conventions. It alters properties, in particular, the properties of bird flu viruses, increasing their virulence compared with natural strains,” he said.

“Being aware of this process, we believe we must understand why this is being done and how much this threatens Russia’s national security, Onishchenko said.

Onishchenko has repeatedly claimed the European Union has failed to identify the causes of a highly pathogenic E.coli intestinal virus that claimed several lives in Europe last summer and prompted Russia to restrict vegetable imports from the EU.

Source: RIA Novosti

Related Links
Daily Russian News
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

Raw Milk Rally In Minneapolis

May 14, 2012 By

About 80 people gathered outside the Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis on May 14 to show their support for Alvin Schlangen, a farmer from Freeport, Minnesota who faces trial on six counts of food safety violations, some of which stem from delivering raw milk to members of a food club.

Laws governing the sale of raw, or unpasteurized, milk vary from state to state. In Minnesota, farmers can sell raw milk to customers, but “only if the transaction takes place on the farm and only if the sales occur occasionally,” said Mike Schommer, Communications Director for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). Minnesota does not require farmers who sell raw milk directly to customers to have a permit and therefore does test raw milk sold in these situations for pathogens.

The charges against Schlangen, who is an organic egg farmer and does not produce raw milk on his farm, include one count of selling raw milk, another for distributing food without a food handler’s license and one count for failing to maintain temperature requirements. His trial, which was scheduled for 9 a.m. today was pushed back until tomorrow.

Read Full Article Here

FDA Warning Letter to Moon Fishery

May 14, 2012 By

On April 19, 2012 through April 24, 2012 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected Moon Fishery in India, the facility that produced the recalled Nakaochi Scrape raw tuna linked to the large Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga outbreak in the U.S. The same company issued a recall of raw Grade AA and AAA tuna strips, intended for sushi, last week.

As a result of that inspection, the FDA issued a warning letter to the company detailing the violations of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan that every food facility is required to develop and follow. Parts of the letter were redacted.

In the letter, the agency states that the facility’s HACCP plan doesn’t include the critical control points (CCP) necessary for the hazards identified for the products they produce.

Read Full Article Here

Students Serve Antibiotic-Free Chicken Lunch on Capitol Hill

Healthy food advocates took to Capitol Hill last week to show lawmakers and their staff that school food can be cooked from scratch, healthy and antibiotic-free — without spending a lot of money.

cookingupchange.jpgSix high school students from the Chicago Vocational Career Academy (CVCA), who competed in the Healthy Schools Campaign’s Cooking up Change, whipped up oven-“fried” chicken, raised without antibiotics, greens, cabbage, and sweet potato salad, a meal that cost around $1 per serving and meets school lunch nutritional guidelines.

Their food was served to those attending a policy briefing on the House side and was added to the Congressional cafeteria menu last Thursday.

Read Full Article Here

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[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

South Carolina Investigating 11 Cases of E. Coli Infection

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection that may include at least 11 cases.

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According to a news release Friday, at least two of the cases have progressed to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E. coli infection that can lead to kidney failure.

The health department said the illnesses appear to be related to dining at a Spartanburg-area Mexican restaurant during the last week ……

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Another Illness Added to Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Dog Food

At least 15 individuals in 9 states have been infected with Salmonella Infantis linked to dry dog food, according to an outbreak update by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of ill persons in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), North Carolina (3), New Jersey (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (2), and Virginia (1). One new ill person was reported from Pennsylvania.

CDC said there is also one person in Canada linked to the outbreak.

Among the 10 patients with available information, 5 were hospitalized, which is an unusually high hospitalization rate. No deaths have been reported.f April, 2012.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Reps. Markey, Slaughter Press FDA on Antibiotic Use in Ethanol Production

Congressional query follows IATP report on distillers grains fed to animals

With growing concern over antibiotic resistance, public health advocates have long pushed for more responsible use of these drugs — both in human medicine and animal agriculture — but there is one piece of the antibiotics puzzle that has not received as much attention: ethanol production.

Last week, Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) wrote to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asking some tough questions about the potential link between ethanol byproducts in animal feed and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are a grave public health threat that is growing worldwide,” wrote Markey and Slaughter. “As the threat of antibiotic resistance expands, we must ensure that the unnecessary use of antibiotics in agricultural animals is minimized and FDA has the ability to limit their use if it serves to protect public health.”

cornpile_iphone.jpgThe letter follows a new report by Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, which highlights the fact that many ethanol producers routinely add antibiotics like medically important penicillin and erythromycin, as well as virginiamycin and tylosin, when mixing corn mash and warm water to ferment the ethanol.

Producers use antibiotics to keep the tanks from being contaminated with Lactobacilli, bacteria that compete with the yeast and lowers the ethanol yield. Contamination is common so tanks are often inoculated as a preventative measure.

So, what does this process have to do with food safety and antimicrobial resistance? Well, the leftover distillers grains can contain antibiotic residues and they are routinely fed to food animals.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Australia Relaxes Code to Permit Some Raw Milk Cheeses

Australia is set to OK the sale of some hard, grating cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, but Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) says raw drinking milk “presents too high a risk” to consider its commerce.

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The change for some raw milk cheese is the result of an assessment, known as Proposal P1007, which considered whether Australia’s dairy standards were too restrictive.
“Australia has a very safe supply of milk and dairy products thanks to existing regulations in the Food Standards Code that set controls to manage potential microbiological hazards,” FSANZ explained in published statements.

The agency wanted to see whether there were “feasible safety systems” for raw milk products that would preserve the integrity and public health safety of its dairy supply.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Regulatory Leapfrog is Underway

FSIS Trumps Some Aspects of FDA Regulations and FSMA

Opinion
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced a series of prevention-based food safety policy measures, including a final rule designed to make FSIS aware of adulterated or misbranded food in the supply chain that is similar to FDA’s Reportable Food Registry; a proposed rule for earlier, more expansive traceback for E. coli; and a draft guidance on validating HACCP systems.
FSIS published an advance copy of the Final Rule entitled “Requirements for Official Establishments to Notify FSIS of Adulterated or Misbranded Product, Prepare and Maintain Written Recall Procedures, and Document Certain Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points System Plan Reassessments.” The rule implements three provisions included in the 2008 Farm Bill and requires establishments to:
– notify FSIS within 24 hours that a meat or poultry product that could be subject to Class I, II or III recall has been shipped into commerce.
– prepare and maintain written recall procedures.
– document each reassessment of their HACCP plan.

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The notification requirements show some similarity to FDA’s Reportable Food Registry (RFR), however they clearly go much further in terms of what needs to be reported to FSIS. Also FSIS chose to implement a completely different system with facilities directed to notify, that is – make a phone call to – the appropriate District Office within 24 hours of “learning or determining that an adulterated or misbranded product received by or originating from the establishment has entered commerce, if the establishment believes or has reason to believe that this has happened.”  As with many rules the precise interpretation of “reason to believe” is significant.  Would this mean that a presumptive positive is a reason to believe?
In contrast, the RFR (discussed in a previous newsletter) requires FDA-regulated food facilities to report when there is “reasonable probability” that an article of food will cause serious adverse health consequences – a Class I situation. Additionally, the report is to be submitted through the electronic RFR portal as soon as practicable, but in no case later than 24 hours after determining that an article of food is a reportable food.
Although FSIS received comment suggestions to follow the standard established by RFR, or to incorporate a de minimis standard (that is, the determining of a risk level that is too small to be concerned with). FSIS chose to maintain its standard of reporting of any adulteration or misbranding stating, “If the Agency adopted the RFR standard or a similar de minimis standard, establishments may not be required to notify FSIS about product that could trigger a Class II or Class III recall.” While this is certainly true it is most assuredly “leaping” over the current FDA RFR requirements in terms of regulatory stringency.
As such, the rule assesses the public health concern or hazard presented by a product then classifies the concern as:

‘Do Pass’ Recommendation Added to Missouri Ag-Gag Bill

Only a floor vote in the Missouri Senate may stand between Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk and a bill making fraud and interference new crimes if carried out at agricultural facilities, a so-called “ag-gag” law.
House Bill 1860, adopted by the Missouri House on a 124-29 vote, now carries an important  “do pass” recommendation from the powerful Missouri Senate Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources Committee.
The “do pass” recommendation was attached to the bill on May 10, and it could have been brought up for a vote at any time since then. But for the past week, Missouri’s General Assembly was caught up in what observers called  “contentious cross-chamber negotiations” on the “Show Me” state’s new budget.

Outbreak of HUS E. Coli Linked to Spartanburg, South Carolina Mexican Restaurant

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has issued a health advisory alerting doctors and other health care providers about an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) cases linked to a Spartanburg-area Mexican restaurant.

During the last week of April, 2012, eleven people became ill with E. coli 0157:H7 infections. The restaurant has not yet been named and, according to Adam R. Myrick, Public Information Officer of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the agency “doesn’t plan to name the restaurant at this point.” The DHEC is working to determine if specific food items might be involved.

The department has interviewed three patients so far. Of those three people, two have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious illness that can lead to kidney failure and death.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

Under The Sea: Oysters and Norovirus Outbreaks

Area 23, a shellfish harvesting zone off the Louisiana coast roughly equal in size to the city of New Orleans, was closed this week after health officials linked a norovirus outbreak to its oysters.

An investigation into the outbreak that sickened 14 people who ate oysters at a Louisiana restaurant determined that the oysters were tainted before they arrived at the restaurant. Health officials issued a recall of the oysters and the temporary closure of Area 23.

Closing a harvesting zone the size of a major metropolitan area might seem like an indicator of a massive outbreak, but that’s likely not that case, according to Ken Pastorick, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LHH).

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Organic Pastures Outbreak Is Fifth Raw Milk Outbreak This Year

The Campylobacter raw milk outbreak linked to Organic Pastures Dairy in Fresno County, California is the fifth foodborne illness outbreak this year caused by raw milk.

On May 10, the California Department of Food and Agriculture issued a quarantine and recall of all  Organic Pastures raw milk, raw skim milk, raw cream and raw butter after samples of raw cream tested positive for Campylobacter.

At least 10 people have been diagnosed with confirmed Campylobacter infections after consuming raw milk products produced by the farm. Those sickened range in age from nine months to 38 years old, six of them are children.

In 2011, a total of nine foodborne illness outbreaks linked to raw milk products sickened 123 people, according to information from state health and agriculture departments. So far this year, five raw milk outbreaks have sickened 142 people. They are:

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

CDC Tracking 5 Overlapping Turtle Salmonella Outbreaks in 27 States

Five overlapping Salmonella outbreaks linked to human contact with small turtles have sickened at least 124 people in 27 states, prompting the continuation of a public health investigation that began last year. One of the outbreaks dates back to June 2011 and another to August 2011.

Two new outbreaks have unfolded since early last month, sprouting new geographic distributions of Salmonella infections that are spreading in many cases from human contact with contaminated water in the turtles’ environments.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 7 of 10 outbreak victims are children under the age of 10. In many cases the turtles are pets purchased from street vendors because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the sale and distribution of turtles in 1975

 

Read Full Article Here

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Recalls

 

 

Jonnly Fruits Recalls Several Beverages for Undeclared Milk Derivative

May 12, 2012 By

Jonlly Fruits Inc. of Puerto Rico is recalling Jonnly Fruit and Natural Tropic beverages in several flavors because they contain undeclared sodium caseinate, a milk derivative, that is one of the major food allergens. The FDA has posted this recall in Spanish. You can see all product labels at the FDA site.

Product details:

 

Read Full Article Here

 

Whole Foods Market Recalls Cupcakes for Undeclared Walnuts

Whole Foods Market is recalling its variety cupcake six-packs sold in Northern California because some of the cupcakes contain undeclared walnuts. Walnuts are tree nuts, one of the major food allergens.

One illness has been reported. Anyone with an allergy to walnuts may suffer a serious or life-threatening reaction if they eat these cupcakes.

Product details:

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Nestlé Recalls Purina Veterinarian Diets OM Canned Cat Food for Thiamine Deficiency

Kitten pawing at pet foodNestlé Purina PetCare (NPP) is recalling one lot of Purina Veterinary Diets® OM Overweight Management canned cat food because it has low levels of Vitamin B1 (thiamine).

Product details:

  • Purina Veterinary Diets® OM Overweight Management Feline Formula
  • 5.5 ounce cans
  • “Best By” Date JUN 2013
  • Production Code 11721159
  • UPC number 38100 – 13810
  • Sold by veterinarians in the United States and Canada
  • Distributed to clinics between June 2011 and May 2012 in the U.S. and Canada
  • Not sold in retail stores

Read Full Article Here

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Articles of Interest

EPA Grossly Misrepresents The Toxicity Of Corexit Used In Gulf Of Mexico

Susan Aarde
Activist Post
plane spraying corexit

© Apalachicola Bay Corexit Poisoning

Quite incredibly, the EPA issued a positive report on May 1, 2012 regarding the safety and toxicity of various dispersants used in the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Included in this assessment was the use of Corexit.

This report “indicated that all eight dispersants had roughly the same toxicity,” and all fell into the “practically non-toxic” or “slightly toxic” category. Scientists found that none of the eight dispersants displayed endocrine-disrupting activity of “biological significance.”

The same report went on to say that “dispersant-oil mixtures were generally no more toxic to the aquatic test species than oil alone.”

The first question that jumps out for those who have researched this subject with any degree of thoroughness is how this recent report fails to reconcile with previous studies performed by the EPA.

Here is some test data retrieved from the EPA website that was posted previous to the BP Gulf Oil Spill.

The dispersant (Corexit 9500) and dispersed oil have demonstrated the following levels of toxicity per the EPA website link that follows:

(1) 10.72 parts per million (ppm) of oil alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.

(2) 25.20 parts per million of dispersant (Corexit 9500) alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.

(3) 2.61 parts per million of dispersed oil (Corexit-laden) alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.

This data diverges from the recent report to such a significant degree that the results which were just posted at the EPA.gov website under the title of “The BP Oil Spill: Responsive Science Supports Emergency Response” must be seriously scrutinized.

What is the buying public to make of such conflicting data? Those who have medical conditions which require complete avoidance of toxic seafood need to know with certainty what they are eating.

Likewise, the fishermen in the Gulf need to know the true condition of their catch. Swimmers and beachgoers need to know the state of the water, as well as the beaches. Boaters ought to be informed of the relevant risk factors when out in the areas of recently sprayed waters, whether surface or deep sea.

The most serious questions to emerge from this report revolve around the issue of credibility. Can the EPA ever be trusted again to conduct the necessary research regarding anything having to do with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by BP?

Issuing such blanket statements about the relatively low toxicity associated with this spill, irrespective of location on the beach, in the waters, in the wetlands or estuaries, seems to be quite disingenuous.

Furthermore, the federal government’s declaration that the “clean up phase” of the Deepwater Horizon spill is over begs for review, especially in light of the large quantities of submerged oil unaccounted for residing in the water column, DOJ’s discovery of false flow rate numbers reported by BP and new sightings of oil slicks all over the Gulf.

In light of all that, the clean up phase is not over and further use of Corexit dispersant isn’t an effective solution.

Moreover, the fact that the EPA has approved for use a very safe bioremediation agent known as Oil Spill Eater II, but has yet to allow its use in the Gulf raises many additional questions.

From our investigation, it has become clear that Corexit has been given preferential treatment over other much safer alternatives. The Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference (GOSRC) was quoted as follows in this regard:

When we heard about Oil Spill Eater II, and the fact that it is EPA-approved (NCP listed) and has demonstrated its effectiveness at least 14 times for the BP Gulf Oil Spill, we wondered why it wasn’t being used 24/7.

The GOSRC went on to issue a press release entitled: Coalition Of Enviro, Citizens And Political Groups Demand COREXIT Use Be Stopped which pointed out the deliberate false image which has been created around the use of this toxic dispersant – Corexit 9500.

The Gulf Rescue Alliance (GRA) also made the recent observations in their press release entitled: BP Gulf Oil Spill Revisited.

Many of these studies point out the obvious; that when you mix a tremendous volume of released oil with methane gas and further mix it with a toxic dispersant like Corexit, as they have done throughout this oil spill, a chemical cocktail is created that will have as far-reaching ecological ramifications as it will profound environmental consequences.

The Earth Orgainization (TEO) has also weighed in on this issue through their release of an excellent documentary entitled: Hidden Crisis in the GULF. Barbara Wiseman, TEO President, has been an ardent advocate for safer oil remediation measures since the very beginning of this oil spill. She has said that:

At the beginning of the disaster, TEO investigated to find effective, non-toxic technologies currently available in adequate supply to clean up an oil spill of this size. Once we isolated the best solutions, we then investigated to find what the barriers to getting them implemented were. The barriers have all come down to specific people in the EPA. They are, in effect, holding the Gulf hostage and, for some unexplained reason, won’t let it be cleaned up.

Lastly, perhaps the words of Steven Pedigo reflect the voice of reason more than any other in this ongoing oil spill when he was quoted in A 2nd Anniversary Report on the BP Gulf Oil Spillas follows:

The toxic dispersants add absolutely nothing to EFFECTIVE RESPONSE. There is no scientific basis for it, and their use violates The Clean Water Act, EPA’s charter and common sense.

Corexit’s label clearly states it can cause kidney failure and death and the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) specifically warns, ‘Do not contaminate surface water with it. Additionally, toxicity testing in regards to marine species shows little tolerance by all forms of sea life; thus, applying it on spills as a preferred response method increases the toxicity of the spilled oil on which it is used.

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[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

 

Stop the giveaway to Big Ag. Support local foods in the Farm Bill!

Every five years, the federal farm bill sets our nation’s food policies — it’s the single biggest factor in determining what ends up on your plate.

But right now Congress is only providing minimal support for healthy, local and organic foods while expanding wasteful subsidies and giveaways that support the wealthiest agribusinesses — at the expense of family farmers.

Next week, the Senate Agriculture Committee will start writing its version of the 2012 Farm Bill. It’s incredibly important that Congress get this right — so CREDO Action is teaming up with Environmental Working Group to stop the giveaway to Big Ag and support food and farm policies that protect our environment and expand access to healthy food.

Tell the Senate: Stop the giveaway to Big Ag. Pass a Farm Bill that supports local, healthy and organic food.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Oregon Teen in Critical Condition from E. Coli Linked to Raw Milk

A 13-year-old, one of four children hospitalized in an outbreak E. coli infection linked to raw milk, is in critical condition, according to a spokesman from Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, OR.

fivemilkbottles-iphone.jpg

As of Thursday, the potentially fatal foodborne pathogen had sickened as many as 18 people in Oregon. Five of the cases patients have lab-confirmed cases of E. coli infection and the others have symptoms, with test results pending. All of those ill in the outbreak reported drinking unpasteurized milk form Foundation Farm near Wilsonville.
The hospitalized children, who range in age from 1 to 13, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure; information about the conditions of the other three children was not immediately available.

Salmonella Again Tops Reportable Food Registry Hazards

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday released its second annual review of the Reportable Food Registry, the program that requires domestic and foreign food makers to report potentially hazardous foods that have entered U.S. commerce.

report-iphone.jpg

The program’s second year of operation, from Sept. 8, 2010 to Sept. 7 2011, included 882 reports of hazardous human and animal foods, including 225 “primary reports” on particular food items. That compares with the 2,240 reports entered in the first year, of which 229 were primary reports. (The FDA attributed the difference to three food items that received a huge number of secondary reports the first year.)
Despite the drop in secondary reports, the FDA saw the number of “amended reports” — reports that correct or add to primary reports – increase from 139 to 174 (25 percent) this year. The increase suggests more facilities are investigating problems and following up on their causes with the FDA.
Salmonella contamination prompted 38.2 percent of this year’s reports, while undeclared allergens accounted for 33.3 percent and Listeria accounted for 17.8 percent. That compares similarly with the first year, when Salmonella made 37.6 percent, undeclared allergens 30.1 percent and Listeria 14.4 percent.
E. coli O157:H7 accounted for 0.4 percent of contaminants reported this year and 2.6 percent the year before.

30 Lawmakers Ask USDA to ‘Correct the Public Record’ on LFTB

Thirty lawmakers wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday asking what the U.S. Department of Agriculture has done and can do in the future to help stop “the campaign of the misinformation” about Lean Finely Textured Beef, now widely known to American consumers as “pink slime.”

ammoniated-ground-beef-300.jpg

Calling the media coverage and subsequent consumer revolt against LFTB “a campaign of misinformation,” members of Congress, many of them from beef states, asked USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to outline what steps it had taken to “correct the public record and educate consumers about the safety of LFTB.”

“Although we believe the USDA is in a unique position to help bring to light the facts about LFTB, we understand that Congress, too, can play a role,” reads the letter. “We will continue to do our part to educate the public about this important issue and the significant role that BPI has played in advancing food safety in America, but we also believe that we must work in concert with the USDA.”

Felony Indictment Charges Four in Tainted Cheese Conspiracy

A federal grand jury in Chicago has returned a six-count indictment against four individuals, alleging they were involved in a 2007 scheme to ship more than 110,000 pounds of contaminated Mexican-style cheese.

fda-cheese-350.jpg

The indictment does not claim that the cheese caused human illnesses or other public health consequences, according to Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. But lab analysis of the cheese showed it was adulterated with Salmonella, E. coli and other illness-causing bacteria, Fitzgerald said.
The conspiracy was complex. One defendant owned an Illinois company that imported the dried Mexican cheese to the U.S., and another defendant owned a Wisconsin company with a facility in suburban Elmhurst, IL that distributed cheese to customers nationwide.

Oh Rats! They Carry Salmonella, Too

Along with reports of Salmonella infection outbreaks involving contact with chicks and ducks, tiny turtles and pet frogs, add 46 cases of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- infection linked to handling rodents sold as food for pet reptiles and amphibians.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its April 20 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report “Notes from the Field,” says 22 states are reporting the illnesses, and that the median age of those stricken is 11 years old. More than one third of those ill are younger than 5. At least 6 case patients have been hospitalized.

live-rat-iphone.jpg

Many of the children and others infected reported handling live or frozen rats or mice, which the CDC refers to as “feeder rodents.”

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Allergen Alert

 

 

Allergen Alert: Preserved Apricots With Sulfites

Hong Lee Trading of Brooklyn, NY is recalling Peacock Brand Preserved Apricots imported from Vietnam because they may contain sulfites that were not declared on the label.

apricot-label-350.jpg

Routine sampling and analysis by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors revealed the presence of sulfites in packages of the preserved apricots.

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Articles of Interest

 

Italy’s Experience Liberalizing Raw Milk Sales: Can’t Put the Genie Back in the Bottle

Magnitude of health burden appears underestimated, or underreported

Opinion
On Jan. 25, 2007, Italy formally authorized the sale of raw milk to consumers through automatic vending devices. The decision had its legal basis in the generous interpretation  of a 2004 provision in European Union hygiene law, and followed intense lobbying from farmers and local authorities.
In fact, since 2004, local authorities had permitted sales of raw milk in their territories.
The 2007 decision requires registration of vending devices with the authorities, and authorized the placing of devices not only within farms, but also elsewhere in the same province. Pooling of milk from different farms is not permitted; each device corresponds to an individual farm.
The decision also mandates two analytical controls per month, on farm (and not in the end product), on Plate count (at 30 °C , per ml, with a limit of ≤ 100 000) and somatic cell count (per ml, with a limit of 400,000), and requires compliance with the limits, set by EU law, for the average of the two measurements. An unfortunate consequence of this requirement has been that compliance with the limits has been interpreted as proof of safety of the final product.
In the technical annex to the decision, a number of mandatory procedures are named, and the legal requirement for raw milk to be safe is repeated multiple times. In language which lends itself to multiple interpretations, analytical monitoring is required for pathogens (S. aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp, E. coli O157, Campylobacter) and contaminants (aflatoxins) on animals and milk, though no minimum frequency is mandated.
Moreover, fresh raw milk has to be supplied daily, and unsold milk from the previous day has to be collected and cannot be sold as such.
The vending devices can provide raw milk from tap, or automatically fill bottles, which need to carry the label “unpasteurized raw milk.” Moreover, raw milk has to be kept between 0 and 4 C (32 to 39 F) at all times, with an automatic mechanism to stop distribution if temperature exceeds the limits. A temperature data logger needs to be installed.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Bayer Advanced Insect Killer Plays on Consumer’s Fear of Germs

 

Posted by

Bayer’s GERM KILLER Insect spray preys on consumer’s fanatical fear of germs! Absolutely IDIOTIC!

I love to show the public how ridiculously stupid they are.

I was in Lowe’s yesterday.  I happened to notice a display of Bayer insect spray that made me (involuntarily!)  shout…, “WHAT?”  It wasn’t the Bayer name that got me; it was the fact that I saw GERM KILLER on the same label with the words “insect”.  Incredibly, the label says…

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Is Vermont’s Governor Surrendering to Monsanto?

Vermont’s governor has 2 weeks to stand with 90 percent of his constituents who favor labeling genetically engineered foods, or cave to Monsanto.
 

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has less than two weeks to either stand with the 90 percent of his constituents who support a mandatory labeling bill for genetically engineered foods — or cave in to Monsanto’s threat to sue the state if legislators pass H.722.

If the Governor’s words this past week are any indication, he’s already surrendered to Monsanto. But Vermonters, not known for backing down from a fight, are challenging legislators to take on the biotech industry. They’re even offering to raise money for the state’s defense.

Last week thousands of Vermonters flooded the Governor’s office with petitions, phone calls and emails, to make the case for GMO labeling of all food sold in Vermont and to demand a vote on the bill. Under Vermont’s constitution, the Governor can extend the state’s legislative session indefinitely, ultimately forcing a vote on the bill. If he doesn’t extend the session, or urge legislators to vote on the bill, it will die in committee.

 

Read Full Article Here

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[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.]