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Panela Listeria RecallFDA inspectors found Listeria at a manufacturing facility where cheese associated with a a deadly Listeria outbreak is made. Genomic testing has revealed that the strain found in samples taken from the plant closely resembles the outbreak strain in those who became ill.

An outbreak associated with soft cheeses produced by Karoun Dairies, Inc. of San Fernando, California has caused 24 illnesses, one miscarriage and one fatality. The most recent illnesses were reported this summer. Then health officials used genetic testing to identify cases in nine states going back to 2010. This is similar to how the Blue Bell Listeria outbreak was discovered and investigated.

Several of the case patients in  this outbreak mentioned eating Karoun cheeses before becoming ill. Investigators collected samples from Central Valley Cheese Inc., a manufacturing facility in Turlock, California that makes cheese for Karoun Dairies. Whole genome sequencing tests on two environmental samples collected this month showed they closely resembled strains cultured from those who became ill. Tests on samples collected from the same facility in 2010 also showed Listeria strains highly related to the outbreak strains. These tests establish an epdemiologic link between the illnesses and the cheeses.

Read More Here

Food Safety



FSIS: Canadian Beef Recalled for E. coli Was Used for U.S. Raw Ground Beef

groundbeefy_iphone.jpgThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food  Safety and Inspection Service is alerting the public that whole muscle cuts related to a large, ongoing Canadian E. coli O157:H7 beef recall were used to produce raw ground beef products.

The agency said it made the discovery while conducting standard recall effectiveness checks of all U.S. establishments that received the recalled beef from XL Foods, Inc. (also known as Canadian Establishment 38).

“FSIS has reason to believe, based on information provided by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), that beef from cattle slaughtered during the period associated with the recall was produced under insanitary conditions that resulted in a high event period (a period when the trim from carcasses exhibited an unusually high frequency of positive findings for the possible presence of E. coli O157:H7),” said the agency, in a release sent out early Wednesday morning. “Therefore, all products that are non-intact, such as trim and ground beef subject to the recall, as well as all cuts of beef that will be processed into non-intact product, are considered adulterated.”

FSIS has still not posted a recall on its website, but has instead chosen to use public health alerts to warn the public, a decision that has frustrated some consumer advocates.

Here’s the basic timeline of the recall, according to FSIS:

“FSIS testing of raw boneless beef trim product from Canadian Establishment 038, XL Foods, Inc., confirmed positive for E. coli O157:H7 on September 3, 2012. After alerting the CFIA of the positive results, the agencies launched an investigation including additional testing, and CFIA announced a recall by XL Foods, Inc. of a variety of ground beef products on Sept. 16. FSIS also issued a Public Health Alert (PHA) on September 20, 2012, provided updated information on September 21, 2012, conducted effectiveness checks this week, and notified the public once more through today’s PHA.  The CFIA has expanded the scope of the recall to now include the production dates of Aug. 24, Aug. 27, Aug. 28 and Aug. 29, 2012 and FSIS has determined that a slaughter date of August 23, 2012 is common to all four production dates.”

And an explanation of why there has been no recall:

“FSIS issues Public Health Alerts to make the public aware of a public health hazard. FSIS is not announcing a recall at this time because the goal of such an action is to have the establishment most directly associated with producing adulterated product remove the product from commerce.   In this case, the establishment was XL Foods, Inc., a Canadian firm, and that recall has been initiated in Canada.  CFIA is overseeing the effectiveness of the recall in Canada and FSIS is overseeing the effectiveness in the United States. FSIS continues to verify U.S. establishments’ use of primal and non-primal cuts associated with the XL Foods recall and will take appropriate action if prohibited activity is found.”

Retail locations:

“While the investigation continues, FSIS will provide information as it becomes available. The products subject to the Canadian recall were distributed to U.S. establishments in the following states: California, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.”  FSIS will continue to update the retail distribution list posted on FSIS’ website here.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.”





Sunland’s Expanded Recall List Includes About 100 Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says its inspectors are continuing their investigation at the Sunland Inc. production facility in Portales, NM.
That facility, with the capacity to produce six tons of peanut butter per hour, is associated with the current multistate outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney.
Sunland expanded its recall to include about 100 brands, including peanut butter and other products made with nuts and seeds.  Sunland announced and expanded its recall on Sept. 24 after meetings with personnel from both FDA and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A complete Sunland recall list is available here, including the brand it makes for Trader Joe’s that was originally recalled Sept. 22.
The rare serotype of Salmonella has been found in 30 people across 19 states.  Salmonella Bredeney is a serious threat to children, the elderly and those with serious infections.  Four of the confirmed cases are known to have required hospitalization.   No deaths have been reported.

Costco Strip Loin Steaks From XL Foods Added To Recall

Kirkland brand Strip Loin Grilling Steaks sold at Costco in Edmonton, Alberta — which apparently originated at the city’s XL Foods Inc. — were recalled Wednesday after the beef products were specifically linked to four E. coli cases.


The beef steak recall was limited to the Costco located at 13650 50 Street in Edmonton.  The steaks were sold between Sept 4 and Sept. 7, 2012. The four E. coli illnesses traced back to the Strip Loins sold at that location were by the Alberta Health Services.
For the past ten days, ground beef from Edmonton’s XL Foods has been recalled in ever larger amounts in both the U.S. and Canada. These events are now followed by the highly unusual report of steaks contaminated with E. coli.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been struggling to grasp what is going on at XL Foods since Sept. 3, when an E. coli test conducted by the U.S. came back positive.
One focus of the Costco investigation is the meat tenderizing process, which might have driven the pathogen further into the meat.
“It turns out some time late in August, there was an unusually high number of animals or an unusually high number of E. coli in animals, that went into the plant that were decontaminated in usual process, but it didn’t knock it down enough,” said Dr. Richard Arsenault, director of meat programs for CFIA. “It’s not about more products coming out of the facility after the initial recall, it’s about discovering more product in the distribution chain that’s already been sent to retail that was made on original day we were looking at.”
XL Foods Inc, the largest Canadian owned and operated beef processor, issued its own statement after the Costco recall outlining some of the ways it is addressing CFIA inspection findings and promising to cooperate with all the investigating agencies.
XL did say there is yet no definitive link between its products and the ill Canadians.
All beef steaks including the Strip Loin Grilling Steak prepared and sold in variable weight packages from Costco Wholesale store #156, located at 13650, 50th street, Edmonton, Alberta are affected by the CFIA alert.
These steaks were sold during the period September 4 through 7, 2012 and bear one of the following Packed On dates:
12 / SE / 04
12 / SE / 05
12 / SE / 06
12 / SE / 07
Food contaminated with the dangerous and often deadly E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled, according to CFIA.



Forever Cheese Expands Recall of Frescolina Ricotta Salata for Listeria

Forever Cheese Inc. is expanding their recall of Marte brand Ricotta Salata Frescolina cheese for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recall now includes all of the Ricotta Salata which was imported from Italy. All lots and all production codes are recalled.

The cheese was sold to distributors for retailers, supermarkets, wholesale distributors, and restaurants in AL, CA, CO, CT, D.C., FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MN, MT, NC, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, TX, UT, VA, WA between September 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012. The following lot/production codes can be found on the original wheel of cheese: T5086/440220, T5520/440315, T6048/440417, T6528/440519, T7012/440703, T7452/440601, T7939/440822, T8419/441003, T8899/441020, T9425/441202, T9962/441227, U1392/450126.

An outbreak of 15 Listeria illnesses in 12 states has been linked to this cheese.  Pritzker Olsen has been contacted by victims in this outbreak and has filed the first lawsuit in response to the illnesses. Fred Pritzker, prominent food poisoning attorney, said, “there are most likely more victims in this outbreak, since the cheese was cut and repackaged, contaminating other soft cheeses.”

Get food poisoning help here

If you or anyone you know has suffered the symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning, including a flu like fever and muscle aches, upset stomach, diarrhea, stiff neck, headache, or confusion, see your doctor as soon as possible.

The problem with this recall and the outbreak it is linked to is that the cheese was most likely recut and repackaged at several facilities. If you have purchased any ricotta salata or soft cheese in the past year, check with your retailer to see if it was part of this recalled cheese. For questions, call Forever Cheese at 888-930-8693 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm and mention “Recall”.




Gretchen’s Shoebox Express Recalls Almond Butter Products for Possible Salmonella

Gretchen’s Shoebox Express in Washington state is recalling almond butter products for possible Salmonella contamination. The products were made with recalled Sunland Inc. ingredients and were sold in Washington state.

The recalled products are Evolution Fresh Cinnamon Apple & Almond Butter Sandwich in 5.75 ounce size, with UPC number 762111926371, code date range ”Enjoy By 7/26/12 – 9/25/12″. The other recalled product is Evolution Fresh Almond Butter in 2 ounce size, with UPC number 762111-26838, and code date range “Enjoy By 8/07/12 – 10/07/12″. The products were sold to two Evolution Fresh stores in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington from 7/24/12 – 9/23/12.

The sandwich is wrapped in clear cellophane with prominent label identification. The Almond Butter is packaged in a clear plastic oval-shaped container with label identification. The company has ceased production and distribution of these items.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products. If you have purchased them, return to the place of purchase for a refund. For questions, call 206-623-8194 Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm PT.





Whole Foods Recalls Peanut Butter Cookies for Possible Salmonella

As part of the Sunland Inc. peanut butter and peanut products recall, Whole Foods is recalling peanut butter cookies for possible Salmonella contamination. Peanut butter was used as an ingredient in the cookies. Sunland products are linked to a Salmonella Bredeney outbreak that has sickened at least 30 people in 19 states.

The recalled products are sold in the self-serve pastry case and in packages in store shelves. The cookies in the pastry case are 3 ounce Peanut Butter Cookie and 3 ounce Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk with PLU number 47963. The packaged cookies are Mini Peanut Butter Cookie 12 pk sold in small, brown bags with a cellophane window on the front, an oval Whole Foods Market sticker that says, “mini peanut butter cookies” with PLU number 22096100000. The recall includes all of these cookies sold before September 29, 2012, sold in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

If you have purchased these cookies, discard them or bring the receipt to the place of purchase for a full refund. For questions, call 512-542-0060 Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm CT.



Articles of Interest




County in Florida Panhandle Sees Spike in Shigella Cases

Health officials in Okaloosa County, Florida have noticed an unusual trend this year. Instead of the average three Shigella infections the county sees each year, a full 73 cases have been reported since the beginning of 2012.

The Okaloosa County Health Department issued its initial warning to the public in early August, at which time an alarming 49 Shigella infections had been reported since the beginning of the year.
That number has risen significantly over the past two months.
“We’ve had a total of 73 reported shigella cases this year, through today, but we were not able to determine a source of the outbreak,” a spokesperson for OCDH told Food Safety News Wednesday.


The health department is asking residents to help prevent the spread of infection and to report any illnesses.
The agency has posted a notification on its website urging people to see a healthcare provider if they experience symptoms of shigellosis which include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, or vomiting.
Illness generally begins within one to three days of infection. Most people recover completely within four to seven days.
OCHD is also providing advice to prevent the spread of infection.
“People with diarrhea should stay home from work or school for at least one full calendar day after symptoms stop,” says the agency. “People who have diarrhea should not prepare food or drinks for others.”
Other recommendations from the health department include:
–  Clean hands often.  Wash kitchen utensils, plates, cutting boards, and counter surfaces during and after food preparation
– Cook meat and eggs thoroughly.
– Wash raw fruits and vegetables.
– Chill (refrigerate) promptly.
– Separate;  don’t cross-contaminate foods
– Drink only from safe water supplies.  Boil water, if in doubt.
Image from Okaloosa County Health Department


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

Food Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sprouts Remain An Unsolved Pathogen Problem

Outbreaks linked to sprouted seeds continue to crop up

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


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

USDA Looking at Antibiotics Claims on Meat Labels

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

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

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

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

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

Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Tuna Grows to 425

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

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

Case Count Rises in Upstate New York Shigella Outbreak

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

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

Paralytic Shellfish Poison Closes Recreational Harvest In Puget Sound

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

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

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



Cases of Salmonella Montevideo from Live Poultry Rise to 76

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

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

The number ill by state is as follows:

Restaurant in E. coli Outbreak Gets Cover from OC Health

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

Norovirus Outbreak Linked to Michigan Mexican Restaurant

At least 200 sickened

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

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

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

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


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


Recalls / Allergen Alerts

Cheeses, Dips and Spreads Recalled for Potential Listeria Contamination

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

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

Undeclared Allergen in Chicken and Yam Pies Prompts Recall


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

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

Chopped Onions with Possible Listeria Contamination Trigger More Recalls

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

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

Stop & Shop Recalls Calico Bean Salad for Listeria

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

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

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

BBQ Chicken Salad Recalled for Potential Listeria Contamination

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

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

Read Full Article Here



Potential Listeria Contamination Prompts Recall of Sausage Products

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

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

Read Full Article here





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

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

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

Read Full Article Here



Burch Farms Cantaloupe Recalled for Possible Listeria Contamination

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

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

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

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

Read Full Article Here



Tyson Chunk Chicken Recalled for Undeclared Allergen

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

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

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



San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Company Recalls Products

July 29, 2012 By

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

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

Read Full Article Here

Colombian Style Cheese Recalled for Potential Staph Contamination

Same cheese recalled one week earlier for improper pasteurization

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

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

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Publix Recalls Sub Sandwiches Made with Gills Onions

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

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

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Spartan Stores Recall Products Containing Gills Onions

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

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

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

Smoked Salmon Recalled for Botulism Potential

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

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

Ken’s Foods Recalls Dressings and Sauces for Possible Listeria

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

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

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Articles of Interest

‘Current Controversies’ in Food Safety Produces Lively Debate

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


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

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

CDC Releases Annual Foodborne Illness Data for 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USDA Supports Meatless-less Mondays

Agency backpedals on support following pressure from industry

by Gretchen Goetz | Jul 30, 2012


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

Thumbnail image for SaveFoodSaveSoldiers.jpg

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

Rawesome Foods Founder Arrested

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canada Kicks Off Genome Mapping of Listeria

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


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

New Data on Antimicrobial Resistance a Mixed Bag

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


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

China Sneaks its Chicken in on Man’s Best Friend

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

by Tony Corbo | Aug 01, 2012

The Chinese chicken saga continues…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Government Releases Food Safety Manual for Pregnant Women


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


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

Food Safety

FDA Inspection Likely to Further Implicate Diamond Pet Foods

Lawsuits filed against pet food manufacturer and Costco

dogpeeking-406.jpgThe results of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspection into a Diamond Pet Foods production plant may benefit the trio of lawsuits filed against the Missouri pet food manufacturer tied to a Salmonella outbreak and recall earlier this year.

That inspection, conducted six days after the first of Diamond’s eight recalls, found numerous health violations, including failures to clean and maintain equipment and a lack of contaminant screenings on raw ingredients. The evidence does not bode well for Diamond as the company faces three separate lawsuits from human victims and pet owners in the U.S. and Canada, according Benjamin England, a 17-year FDA veteran and founder of FDAImports.com, a food industry consulting firm.

On his blog last week, England highlighted Diamond’s situation as a cautionary tale for other food manufacturers. If Diamond had operated in compliance with FDA rules, England said, they would appear much less culpable and could use the favorable inspection to bolster their legal cases and public image.

Instead, it’s being used against them. The lawsuits specifically cite the inspection report as evidence of Diamond’s negligence and breach of warranty.

“It looks to me as though there’s a relationship between the violations at the facility and the adverse situations the company is facing now,” England told Food Safety News. “You can’t predict when an outbreak or recall might happen, but you can eliminate a lot of risk through compliance.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, multiple brands of Diamond pet food have sickened at least 20 Americans and two Canadians with Salmonella Infantis since March. The agency says it’s impossible to determine the number of dogs sickened, as so few pets are ever tested for gastrointestinal bacteria.

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Wire Grill-Cleaning Brushes Can Pose Food Safety Hazard

6 injuries in past year


Wire bristles from grill cleaning brushes are finding their way into people’s food — and down their throats, according to a new report.
Between August of 2011 and June of 2012, six people went to the hospital with internal injuries from wire bristles lodged in their necks or stomachs, according to this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All six of the victims reported eating grilled food before their injuries occurred. Three of them experienced immediate pain upon swallowing the adulterated food, and were later found to have a piece of wire lodged in their throats.
These three people included one woman age 46 and two men ages 50 and 64.
The other patients — three men ages 31, 35 and 50 — experienced abdominal pain shortly after eating.

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Campaign to Reduce Antibiotic Use in Animal Ag Comes Under Fire

In a letter to Congress this week, a coalition of agricultural groups sharply criticized a campaign launched this month to reduce the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals.
The letter, signed by 17 groups representing the interests of meat and poultry producers, veterinarians and feed suppliers, stressed the importance of antibiotics in animal production and said the campaign title – “Meat Without Drugs” – is misleading because antibiotics used to treat animals don’t end up in the final product.
“Our U.S. meat and poultry supply is ‘without drugs,’ say the authors. “Livestock and poultry are sometimes treated with antibiotics to prevent, control and treat diseases, but strict withdrawal periods must be followed to ensure that no residues are contained in the products we consume.”
Consumers Union began its campaign in June because it felt that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had not taken strong enough steps to regulate agricultural antibiotic use, despite growing evidence that the widespread use of antibiotics on farms is contributing to drug resistance in pathogens that cause disease in humans.


In April, the agency published a guidance on the “judicious use” of antibiotics in food-producing animals, which recommends that antibiotics be used only to prevent and treat disease among animals, but not for growth promotion. FDA has also issued draft guidance for drug companies suggesting that antibiotics used for growth promotion and to prevent disease require a prescription from a vet to administer.
Frustrated that FDA’s policies lack teeth, Consumers Union is calling on grocery stores to offer only antibiotic-free meat as a way to pressure farmers not to use antibiotics in livestock production.
But this week’s letter from industry and veterinarians says the Consumers Union campaign is misguided.
The authors take special issue with Consumers Union’s claim that animals on factory farms are raised in crowded and unsanitary conditions – thus the need for drugs to prevent the spread of disease.
“This often repeated assertion simply defies logic from an economic and good husbandry standpoint,” says the letter. “It can cost producers hundreds of thousands of dollars to erect indoor facilities – facilities designed by experts giving careful consideration to promote productivity by helping minimize economic losses caused by disease and the associated necessary treatment of sick animals.”
The letter also points out that while Consumers Union asserts that 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used to promote growth and prevent disease in factory farm animals, the widely cited 80 percent statistic actually refers to the proportion of antibiotics used in all food-producing animals for all uses, including treatment of sick animals.

Real Raw Milk Facts Makes Legislative Recommendations

With three years of experience in the information wars over raw milk under its belt, a largely academic group has decided to enter the legislative area with its own 12-page “Raw Milk Legislation Packet.”
Real Raw Milk Facts, a group that grew out of meetings sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the International Association for Food Protection, published the guide as part of their mission to counter the growing popularity of drinking unpasteurized, unprocessed milk by giving consumers information about the potential risks.The policy recommendations were drawn from the literature and information provided by the Real Raw Milk Facts website, which is run by a working group comprising scientists and public health advocates around the country.
The group founded the web-based clearinghouse for factual raw milk information. It is sponsored in part by the nationally-known food safety law firm of Marler Clark, which publishes Food Safety News.
Now the group of veterinarians and food experts is stepping into offering policy recommendations to state lawmakers.  It recommends that states:

Three Oregon Residents Contracted Botulism from Home Canned Foods

The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory this week confirmed that three residents contracted botulism from home canned foods at a private barbecue. Since botulism is not spread person to person, there is no risk to the general public. All three people had to be hospitalized.

Deschutes County Health Services, which conducted the investigation, is reminding consumers of the importance of following hygienic canning procedures to the letter. Your state extension service is an excellent source of information about this practice.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends the most current research-based metwhods for home food preservation. For instance, for low-acid foods such as green beans and meats, a pressure canner is needed. There are no safe boiling water canning options for vegetables, meats, seafoods, soups, and some food mixtures. That organization offers a free online course for consumers who want to can their own food.

Foods contaminated with botulinum toxin may not look, smell, or taste spoiled. To avoid botulism:

Read Full Article here



Aandante Dairy Cheeses Recalled

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced this week that cheeses made by the Andante Dairy of Petaluma, California were subject to a recall and quarantine order due to a lack of proper pasteurization.

In a press release, the agency stated that no illnesses had been associated with the cheese products and that Andante Dairy was cooperating with the recall.

The recalled cheeses were sold in sizes from five to eight ounces, with no code date or variety information on the packages. The cheeses were sold mainly to retail markets, restaurants and cheese shops in California, with very limited distribution in Chicago and New York.

Three varieties of Andante Dairy cheese exempt from the quarantine are Musette, Tomme Dolce, and Etude. Consumers are urged to discard any other varieties from this producer.

Store Brand Salad Mixes Recalled By BI-LO

The 206-store BI-LO supermarket chain, operating in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, has recalled of two store brand products– Southern Home® Bacon Ranch Salad Mix and  Southern Home® Creamy Parmesan Salad Mix.
The salad mixes may contain small metal fragments.


“We encourage consumers in possession of any of the recalled items to immediately discard the product or bring it back to their local BI-LO,” said Allen Reavis, BI-LO’s vice president of grocery. “As part of the company’s Satisfaction Guarantee, customers who have purchased the product may visit their neighborhood store to request a full refund.”

Buona Vita Recalls 300,000 Pounds of Meat Products for Listeria

New Jersey-based Buona Vita, Inc. is recalling approximately 324,770 pounds of various frozen, ready-to-eat meat and poultry products over concerns about Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced late Friday.The problem was discovered through microbiological testing by FSIS and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. FSIS said there are no reports of illness linked to these products, but anyone concerned about foodborne illness should contact a healthcare provider.Here is a list of products affected by the recall:

The following items were produced on May 3, 2012 and can be identified by the case code “1242” – view labels here.

-10-lb. cases of Cupino “Fully Cooked Meatballs with Pork and Beef”
-10-lb. cases of Mama Isabella “1/2 oz. size Beef and Pork Meatballs”
-10-lb. cases of Mama Isabella “1 oz. size Beef and Pork Meatballs”
-10-lb. cases of Mama Isabella “2 oz. size Beef and Pork Meatballs”
-10-lb. cases of Buona Vita, Inc. “Sapore Italiano .75 oz Baked Meatballs with Beef and Pork”
-30-lb. or 10-lb cases of Buona Vita, Inc. “Buon Gusto ½ oz Baked Italian Style Meatballs Made with Chicken and Beef”

The following items were produced on May 4, 2012 and can be identified by the case code “1252” – view labels here.

-10-lb. cases of Vincent Giordano “4 oz. Cooked Italian Style Meatball”
-10-lb. cases of Buona Vita, Inc. “Filomena 3 oz. Baked Italian Style Meatballs”
-10-lb. cases of Buona Vita, Inc. “Sapore Italiano .75 oz Baked Meatballs with Beef and Pork”
-30-lb. or 10-lb. cases of Buona Vita, Inc. “Buon Gusto ½ oz Baked Italian Style Meatballs Made with Chicken and Beef”
-10-lb. cases of Dirusso’s “Fully Cooked ½oz Meatballs”
-30-lb. or 10-lb. cases of Dirusso’s “1 oz Italian Style Meatballs Fully Cooked”
-10-lb. cases of Dirusso’s “Fully Cooked Mini Meatballs”

The following items were produced on May 7, 2012 and can be identified by the case code “1282” – view labels here.

-30-lb. cases of Silver Lake Brand “3 oz Cooked Dinner Loaf Made with Chicken and Beef”
-30-lb. cases of Argenta Pride “Cooked Dinner Loaf Made with Chicken and Beef”
-30-lb. cases of Silver Lake Brand “3oz Cooked Chicken and Beef Burger Pattie Made with Chicken and Beef”
-30-lb. cases of Argenta Pride “3 oz Cooked Chicken and Beef Burger Patty Made with Chicken and Beef”
-30-lb. cases of Silver Lake Brand “4 oz Cooked Chicken and Beef Burger Made with Chicken and Beef”
-30-lb. cases of Silver Lake Brand “4oz Cooked Chicken Salisbury Patty Beef Added”
-30-lb. cases of Silver Lake Brand “3oz Cooked Chicken Salisbury Patty Beef Added”
-30-lb. cases of Argenta Pride “Cooked Chicken Salisbury Patty Beef Added”

The following items were produced on May 8, 2012 and can be identified by the case code “1292” – view labels here.

-30-lb. cases of Argenta Pride “Cooked Chicken Salisbury Patty Beef Added”
-30-lb. cases of Argenta Pride “Cooked Dinner Loaf LS Made with Chicken and Beef”
-30-lb. cases of Argenta Pride “Cooked Breakfast Patty Made with Chicken and Beef”
-30-lb. cases of Silver Lake Brand “Cooked Breakfast Patty Made with Chicken and Beef”
-10-lb. cases of Whitsons Food Service “½ oz. Baked Italian Style Meatballs Made with Chicken and Beef”
-10-lb. cases of M&R Frosted Food Co. “.5oz Cooked Chicken and Beef Meatballs”
-10-lb. cases of Buona Vita, Inc. “Buon Gusto ½ oz Baked Italian Style Meatballs Made with Chicken and Beef”
-10-lb. cases of M&R Frosted Food Co. “1 oz Cooked Chicken and Beef Meatballs”
-10-lb. cases of Buona Vita, Inc. “Buon Gusto 1 oz Baked Italian Style Meatballs Made with Chicken and Beef”
-10-lb. cases of Buona Vita, Inc. “Buon Gusto 2 oz Baked Italian Style Meatballs Made with Chicken and Beef”

Romaine Lettuce Recalled in NV and CA for Salmonella

Pacific International Marketing is recalling 19 cases of bulk Romaine Lettuce sold at Vons and Pavilions stores in California and Nevada due to potential Salmonella contamination. The bulk Romaine Lettuce was sold in bulk produce bins from July 2, 2012 through July 4, 2012. The lettuce heads are banded with a red twist tie marked “Safeway.”The company is asking that consumers who may have purchased this product should discard it or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. According to Pacific, no Illnesses have been reported to date. The recall was sparked by a positive Salmonella test taken at the field level.

Fresh Shelled Peas Recalled in Canada for Listeria

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Thomas Bros. Farm Market issued a public health warning, asking consumers to not eat a certain variety of fresh shelled peas because the product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.The fresh shelled peas were sold from Thomas Bros. Farm Market located at 5856 Colonel Talbot Road, London, Ontario on June 27, 2012. The packages do not bear a label identifying the store name or other information.There have been no reports of illness, but consumers who have this fresh product in their homes or may have frozen it are advised not to consume it.

Arctic Zero Recalling Frozen Desserts for Undeclared Milk

Arctic Zero Inc of California is recalling frozen desserts in pints and chocolate dipped bars for relabeling. The products contain milk, which is not declared on the label. All products produced before February 2012 do not have the statement, “Contains whey protein, which is a derivative of dairy” on the label. You can see all of the product labels at the FDA site.

Product details of products sold in 16 ounce pints:

  • Chocolate (UPC:  8-52244-00300-8)
  • Vanilla Maple (UPC:  8-52244-00306-0)
  • Mint Chocolate Cookie (UPC:  8-52244-00304-6)
  • Cookies and Cream (UPC:  8-52244-00303-9)
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter (UPC:  8-52244-00301-5)
  • Coffee (UPC:  8-52244-00302-2)
  • Strawberry (UPC:  8-52244-00305-3)
  • Pumpkin Spice (UPC:  8-52244-00307-7)

Read Full Article Here

Expanded Recall of Mazuri Feed Products

The recall of Mazuri Feed Products, made by PMI Nutrition International, is expanding to include three additional varieties for elevated levels of vitamin D, which can be harmful. Symptoms of vitamin D overdose in animals include lack of appetite, weight loss, and possible joint stiffness. You can see photos of all of the products at the FDA site.

The first recall, issued July 5, 2012, included four products.

Product details:

  • Mazuri® Primate Maintenance Biscuit 25#
    • Item number 0040996
    • Lot number APR11123
    • Formula number 5MA2
  • Mazuri® Mouse Breeder 9F 50#
    • Item number 0006758
    • Lot number APR20122
    • Formula number 5M68
  • Mazuri® Primate Basix 25#
    • Item number 0062089
    • Lot number APR20123
    • Formula number 5NAA

Read Full Article Here


Articles of Interest

Codex Adopts Ractopamine Limits for Beef and Pork

Contentious 69-67 vote on key trade issue pits United States against China and the EU

After years of scientific and political stalemate, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a UN food standards-setting body, narrowly voted to advance a residue limit for ractopamine hydrochloride, a controversial veterinary drug used in food animal production.

The 69-67 vote to adopt a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) for the beta agonist — which is approved for boosting growth and increasing leanness in pigs, cattle and turkeys — is a big win for the United States’, Brazil’s and Canada’s trade interests.

Major meat exporting countries that use ractopamine have been pushing for a global standard for several years. A Codex MRL makes it easier for the U.S. and others to challenge countries like China, the European Union and Taiwan for having zero tolerance policies for ractopamine residues in meat products. With an MRL in place, the World Trade Organization is much more likely to rule against any country that has a more restrictive policy.

The Codex MRL is 10 parts per billion (ppb) for muscle cuts of beef and pork. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s limit is 30 ppb for beef and 50 ppb for pork.

Such a close and contentious vote is rare at Codex. The scientific commission adopts dozens of food safety standards each year by consensus, with well over one hundred countries participating.

Ractopamine MRLs have been stuck at Step 8, the final step before adoption, since 2008. Interests on all sides of the ractopamine issue have worried that the bitter fight over the drug could ultimately jeopardize the legitimacy of Codex.

“We are concerned that with this vote, Codex is becoming another politicized global body, rather than the science-based consensus body it has managed to be so far,” said Michael Hansen of Consumers International, which represents 220 consumer organizations in 110 countries. CI has observer status at Codex meetings, meaning they cannot vote but may have a representative present.

“In the past, Codex has avoided adopting standards where scientists disagree, or where the scientific data is lacking or insufficient,” added Hansen, in a CI statement. “We now see a situation where trade concerns are trumping science. This does not bode well for the credibility of Codex standards in the future.”

U.S. officials and agriculture interests take a different view. They praised the vote in favor of MRLs as evidence that the commission is still science-based and ultimately not swayed by politics.

Read Full Article Here

South Dakota Puts Restaurant Scores Online

Practicing a little food safety while traversing South Dakota to visit Mount Rushmore just got easier.  The state health department has now put restaurant scores online along with grades for lodging and campground establishments.
It means you can quickly check the scores for some of those famous South Dakota tourist attractions like Wall Drug (91), Rushmore Plaza (89), and the Corn Palace (91). Rushmore Plaza and the Corn Palace each had a critical violation in their last inspection.


Those are a few examples of how South Dakota is stepping up its entire inspection and licensing system. The first to benefit are residents and visiting consumers who can now access the inspection scores for South Dakota’s nearly 6,000 food service, lodging and campground establishments on the new state website.
And by this time next year, the state South Dakota Department of Health’s upgrade project calls for posting the full inspection reports. For now, the new website has the score and number of critical violations for at least the past four inspections.
Inspections are public record under South Dakota state law, and were previously made available only upon request. Moving them to the web is part of the state’s transparency program for public records.
“We needed an electronic system that would let inspectors enter real-time inspection reports, vendors submit license applications and fees, and the public to more easily access health scores so creating it was no easy task,” said SD Secretary of Health Doneen Hollingsworth.
“This should be a vast improvement over the antiquated paper-based system we’ve been using and should streamline the process for vendors and inspectors alike,” she added.

California Foie Gras Ban Turns Into a New Fight

When meat is outlawed — in this case fatty livers of geese or ducks — only outlaws will eat meat.
Foodies are hoarding all the fatty geese or duck livers they can find, while new foie gras farmers may be setting up right across the border.
Chefs are flaunting the ban on the fatty livers by serving the very French dish known as foie gras.
And California’s restaurant industry is in federal court, asking to have the ban on serving the fatty livers struck down for a long list of reasons.


All of this stems from a 2004 bird feeding law with a rather long trigger for a ban on serving foie gras, the French delicacy made from fatty livers of geese or ducks. The ban went into effect one week ago, on July 1, 2012.
The law bans the production and sale of both foie gras and its byproducts like down for jackets and comforters.The nearly eight year delay before it took effect was intended to give producers, using the gavage process involving the use of feeding tubes inserted in the throats of the poultry, time to get out of the business.
In the week since the ban went into effect, California restaurants could be subjected to fines up to $1,000 for serving foie gras. The limited supply of product remaining may be why none have apparently cited.
Former State Sen. John Burton, now chairman of the California Democratic Party, was the sponsor of the 2004 bill.  Burton told the Free Republic the law has “nothing to do with meat. It has to do with animal cruelty.”
While animal cruelty was the reason for the ban, questions have been raised about the food safety of foie gras. The argument–which is rejected by USDA–is that force-fed birds develop bacteria or toxins in their blood resulting in a disease that can prove fatal before slaughter. USDA, however, declined a request to put a notice on the label saying: “Foie gras products are derived from diseased birds.”

Spanish Farmers Paid a Price for Europe’s E. coli O104 Outbreak

The Murcia region in southeastern Spain, where the Segura River is found, is known as Europe’s orchid because of its abundant production of fruits, vegetables and flowers.
But Murcia is coming off a down year because of a variety of factors, not the least of which was the virulent E. coli outbreak last spring centered in northern Germany that resulted in some false alarms pointing fingers at produce that turned out not to be responsible for the outbreak, before European health officials finally settled on sprouts.
Before imported Egyptian-grown fenugreek seeds were found to be the source of the deadly 2011 E. coli O104:H4 outbreak, raw cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce were all suspected sources. These foods were either banned from countries outside Germany or slowed from crossing borders.

Denmark Close to Conquering Salmonella

According to new statistics, in 2011 the number of Danes contracting Salmonella infections fell to the lowest level since the 1980s. That country has a strict policy called the Danish National Salmonella Control Program that reduces Salmonella bacteria in egg-laying hens and broilers.

That program works to minimize human exposure to Salmonella from live animals and meat products. It detects, prevents, and controls Salmonella in “primary production”, or on the farm, before there is any threat to human health.

These proactive measures, as opposed to the reactive measures of recalls and relying on proper handling by consumers, has reduced the incidence of Salmonella infections to just 1,166 in 2011. And almost half of those infections were contracted by Danes traveling to Egypt, Thailand, and Turkey.

Read Full Article Here

Toxoplasmosis Parasite May Raise Mother’s Suicide Risk

A study published in the July 2012 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry has found an association between Toxoplasma gondii infections and history of suicide attempts. The study followed 45,788 Danish women who had children between 1992 and 1995. The study lasted for more than ten years.

During that time period, only 78 women tried a violent suicide attempt. That makes infected women 81% more likely to attempt suicide than non-infected women. The risk increases with increasing IgG antibody levels to T. gondii. The study’s authors want to emphasize that the risk of very small, and this study doesn’t prove a link between T. gondii infections and suicide, but means that further studies should be conducted.

Another study found a significant relationship between T. gondii infections, along with other infectious agents, and suicidal self-directed violence in younger patients who had an increased risk of schizophrenia.

Toxoplasmosis gondii infections are typically contracted through coming into contact with infected cat litter, by eating infected raw or undercooked meat, and by drinking water contaminated with the oocysts.  In fact, a recent study found that organic meats may carry an increased risk of toxoplasmosis. The infection can be passed from a pregnant women to her fetus, which can lead to brain damage, retardation, and blindness in the baby.

Read Full Article Here


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

Food Safety




Antibiotic-Free Meat Map Launched for Consumers

Coinciding with the new “Meat Without Drugs” campaign announced this week, tech start up Real Time Farms launched a crowd-sourced map to help consumers locate meat from animals raised without antibiotics.

realtimefarm_iphone.jpgThe FixAntibiotics Food Finder allows shoppers to look up retail locations, farmers markets, farms, and restaurants sourcing antibiotic-free meat using their zipcode or by zooming into a geographic area.

Real Time Farms also asks users to add to the database if they know of another location that is not listed on the map.

“This campaign, as with so many things, comes down to people voting with their wallets because government is seen as moving too slowly,” said Real Time Farms, in a blog post on Thursday.


Read Full Article Here




Illness in Louisiana Brings E. coli O145 Outbreak Count to 15

One new illness in Louisiana has brought the case count to 15 in the ongoing E. coli O145 outbreak in the southern U.S. and California, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 21-month-old girl died on May 31 after falling ill to the outbreak strain.

The source of the outbreak remains unknown as state and federal health officials continue to investigate the outbreak, but experts believe it originated in food. Four people have been hospitalized.

Artificial and Natural Trans Fats: They Are Different

June 21, 2012 By

By now, almost everyone has heard about trans fats and how unhealthy they are. In fact, studies have shown that trans fat consumption causes at least 30,000 deaths in the United States every year. The government has not set an upper limit on trans fat consumption because there is no safe intake amount.

But there are two kinds of trans fat: natural and artificial. Natural trans fats occur naturally in dairy products and meat, made by a enzymatic process in the guts of ruminant animals. Artificial trans fats are man-made by bubbling hydrogen through polyunsaturated oils, making it a solid. And scientists think that natural trans fats are good for you.



Read Full Article Here




E.coli In Aberdeen SD Drinking Water Prompts Boil Water Advisory

E.coli levels in the drinking water supply for the city of Aberdeen, SD have reached dangerous levels, prompting city officials to issue a boil water advisory.

Aberdeen residents should not drink tap water without boiling it first. Before it is safe to drink, the water needs to boil for a full minute. “Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice,” the advisory states.

Boiling kills E.coli and other dangerous bacteria that cause serious, sometimes life-threatening illness. Most at risk are small children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of an E.coli infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is sometimes bloody, nausea and headaches. Residents who develop these symptoms should seek medical attention.

Read Full Article Here






Food Safety Scandals Fuel Urban Gardening in China

Food safety concerns and increasing incomes are sparking growth in urban gardening and farming among Chinese consumers, according to China Daily.

“More urban residents, many of whom are young people between the ages of 25 to 35 living in metropolises such as Beijing, are growing vegetables and herbs on their balconies or rented farmland in the suburbs, and turning to Taobao, a major online shopping service provider in China, to start their apartment gardens,” the paper reported Monday.

According to China Daily, online searches for the Tabao have jumped 280 percent in the past year — indicating that a growing number of people are looking to buy seeds and tools to start vegetable patches.

The paper features Xue Ling, 26, who says she has been planting vegetables on the small balcony of her apartment since 2010.



Read Full Article  Here



Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Live Poultry from Missouri Hatchery

At least 66 people have fallen ill in 20 states in a Salmonella Montevideo outbreak linked to live poultry from a Missouri hatchery, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. Sixteen people have been hospitalized while one infected person in Missouri has died, though Salmonella infection was not considered a contributing factor to the person’s death.

The number ill by state are as follows:
Alaska (1 illness), California (2), Colorado (1), Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Indiana (8), Iowa (2), Kansas (10), Kentucky (1), Massachusetts (1), Missouri (22), Nebraska (5), Nevada (1), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (4), South Dakota (1), Vermont (1) and Wyoming (1).
Epidemiological and laboratory evidence have linked this outbreak to Estes Hatchery in Springfield, Missouri.

India to Implement Standards for Street Food

For the first time, street food vendors in India will soon be required to meet a set of sanitation regulations, announced the government Tuesday.
Street food is a popular option in India because it’s convenient and cheaper than offerings at hotels and restaurants.  But at the majority of stands it’s also unsafe.
One study found that, out of 50 random samples of street food taken in 2010, 47 of them – approximately 90 percent  – were contaminated with foodborne pathogens. Cooked foods were no exception, suggesting mishandling after preparation.

Raw Scraped Tuna Salmonella Outbreak Grows Again; 390 Now Ill

According to the CDC, the Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga outbreak linked to raw scraped tuna has grown again. Now 390 people in 27 states and the District of Columbia have been sickened by the contaminated product; that’s an increase of 74 new cases from the last update in May. Kansas is now part of the outbreak. Forty-seven people have been hospitalized in this outbreak.

A raw tuna product called Nakaochi Scrape imported by Moon Marine USA Corporation was recalled as the source of this outbreak. Lab tests conducted by public health laboratories in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin have isolated the outbreak strains of Salmonella from 95% of the samples taken from intact packages of that product. And in April 2012, the FDA inspected the Moon Fishery facility in India that supplied the raw tuna and found violations of their HACCP plan, which did not contain the necessary critical control points.

The numbers of new cases has declined since the peak in April 2012. The outbreak may continue for several months because some facilities may have the frozen product in their freezers and continue to serve it, since it has a long shelf-life. If you order any sushi product that contains raw ground or scraped tuna, ask the establishment if it is part of this recall.

Outbreak of Gastroenteritis at George Mason University

On June 21, 2012, according to the Fairfax County Health Department, 40 teens and young adults at the George Mason University Campus became ill with gastroenteritis. They are members of a summer camp group affiliated with the Congressional Awards Foundation. Twenty-one of the students were hospitalized.

The Health Department believes that viral gastroenteritis is the cause of these illnesses. The government is investigating whether or not food was the initial cause of the illness, but they  think the virus spread person-to-person.

George Mason University has cleaned the dorm rooms where the patients were staying and is working with state and local officials to investigate the outbreak.



Read Full Article Here





American Medical Association Calls for Testing of GMO Foods

At their annual convention in Chicago this month, the American Medical Association passed a resolution calling for mandatory testing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) foods. The organization did not call for labeling of these altered foods, as many groups want, although 19 doctors did sign a statement calling for labeling.

That statement said:

“In the face of scientific uncertainty, labeling is a common risk management tool and one that could help track any potential adverse health effects. Our support of labeling also takes into consideration the fact that consumers want to know whether there are genetically engineered ingredients in their food, and they have a right to know. We stand with the 90% of Americans who want mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.”

Other organizations that have passed resolutions calling for labeling of GE foods include the American Nurses Association, the California Medical Association, and the British Medical Association. Groups that endorse the California Right to Know Ballot initiative include Physicians for Social Responsibility, the American Medical Students Association, and the American Public Health Association.



Read Full Article Here






Ground Bacon Recalled: May Contain Cardboard and Plastic Pieces

A Los Angeles-based firm is recalling approximately 1,350 pounds of its ground smoked bacon because the food may contain pieces of cardboard and plastic.

The company – Square-H Brands, Inc. – issued a voluntary recall of the ground bacon product Thursday after the problem was discovered at a distribution facility in Hawaii. The product had been shipped there for further distribution, but inspectors from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discovered pieces of plastic and cardboard in the food.


Officials speculate that the problem occurred while the product was being transferred from a cardboard and plastic holding container to the grinder.
The product subject to recall is called “Coarse Ground Smoked Bacon Ends and Pieces” and was distributed in 25 lb. cases. It was packaged April 25 before being distributed to the Hawaii facility for further distribution and use in other products.

Sprouts Recalled for Potential Salmonella Contamination

A Florida-based company is recalling 433 cases of alfalfa sprouts because they may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

Leasa Industries Co. of Miami, FL issued the voluntary recall Wednesday after testing by a buyer revealed the presence of Salmonella on the company’s Living Alfalfa Sprouts.
The product subject to recall is sold in 6 oz. plastic containers bearing the label “LEASA Living Alfalfa Sprouts.” Packaging bears a UPC code of 75465-55912, located on the side of the label that wraps around the container. It is also marked with an expiration date of 7/2/12, located on the side of the plastic container itself.


The company’s alfalfa sprouts are sold to retailers and to food distributors, but the recall notice does not specify where the affected sprouts were distributed.
The company’s website says that “major clients include Publix Supermarkets, Winn-Dixie Stores, Wal-Mart Supercenters, Sedanos Supermarkets [and] Sysco Food Service,” although the recall notice did not say which if any of these companies may be carrying the recalled product.

Senate Passes Farm Bill

Legislation includes study on food recall insurance for farmers

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the Senate passed the farm bill on Thursday by a vote of 64 to 35. The bill, which sets the nation’s agriculture and nutrition policy for the next five years, would end direct payments for commodity crop farmers, but ramp up subsidized crop insurance to save nearly $24 billion over 10 years.

strawberry-field-iphone.jpgDuring three days of debate over dozens of amendments, the Senate touched on food safety a few times.

As Food Safety News reported Wednesday, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and John Kerry (D-MA) succeeded in repealing a 2008 farm bill provision that mandated a catfish inspection program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture — even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates seafood. Echoing concerns raised by the Government Accountability Office, Kerry and McCain argued that the program was duplicative, wasteful, and was not likely to yield a food safety benefit.

Due to opposition from livestock groups, the Senate did not consider a controversial proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would have mandated federal welfare standards for egg-laying hens.

“While I am disappointed that my amendment establishing a national standard for the humane treatment of egg-laying hens was not considered, I remain committed to this issue and will look for other opportunities to advance that legislation,” said the senator, after the farm bill passed Thursday.

But Feinstein did succeed on an amendment directing USDA to conduct a study on the feasibility of crop insurance to cover losses for producers affected by, but not responsible for, food safety recalls.

Carrot Juice Recalled for Botulism Risk

Los Angeles-based juice company Health Choice Island Blends, Inc. is recalling all sizes of its Liquid Gold Carrot Juice because they have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum.

The juice was distributed in four container sizes – 128 oz., 64 oz., 32 oz. and 16 oz – in California and sold to wholesale produce companies.
The product comes in plastic see-through containers in gallon, half-gallon and quart sizes. It bears a white label with the name “Liquid Gold” and a picture of carrots and a glass of carrot juice, and UPC code 7 63213 00130.
No illnesses have been linked to the consumption of this product to date.
Anyone who purchased the affected product is urged to return it to the place of purchase or discard it.

Eggs Recalled in Germany for Dioxin Contamination

June 21, 2012 By

More than 250,000 eggs are being recalled in the Lower Saxony area of Germany after testing found excessive levels of dioxin. Contaminated feed may be the source of the chemical.

Product details:

  • Manufacturer: 0-0356091-DE
  • Expiration date: 14/06/2012
  • Stamp number: 0-0356091-EN


Read Full Article Here




Euphoria Fancy Food Inc. Recalling Uneviscerated Fish

Euphoria Fancy Food Inc. of New York is recalling dried bream that was uneviscerated. Uneviscerated fish may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause a serious and sometimes fatal foodborne illness.

Product details:

  • Dried bream
  • Un-coded, 7.5-ounce vacuum packed plastic bag
  • Sold nationwide
  • UPC number is 7 930042 250954
  • Product of Russia

Read Full Article Here




Dole Recalls Thousand Cases of Bagged Salads for Listeria

Due to possible Listeria risk, Dole Fresh Vegetables is voluntarily recalling 1,077 cases of bagged salads, most of which are likely not on shelves any longer.

The products being recalled are Kroger Fresh Selections Greener Supreme coded N158 211B 1613 KR04 with Use-by date of June 19 and UPC 11110 91039, Kroger Fresh Selections Leafy Romaine coded N158 111B KR11 with Use-by date of June 19 and UPC 11110 91046 and Wal Mart Marketside Leafy Romaine coded N158111B with Use-by date of June 19 and UPC code 81131 02781.

Dole Fresh Vegetables said it is coordinating closely with regulatory officials and that to date no illnesses have been reported in association with the recall.

The Product Code and Use-by date are in the upper right-hand corner of the package and the UPC code is on the back of the package, below the barcode. The salads were distributed in six U.S. states (Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia).

“This precautionary recall notification is being issued due to an isolated instance in which a sample of Marketside Leafy Romaine salad yielded a positive result for Listeria monocytogenes in a random sample test conducted by the State of North Carolina,” said Dole in a release.

The company said no other Wal Mart Marketside, or Kroger Fresh Selections salads are included in the recall.



Read Full Article Here




Articles of Interest




Microbe Found in Salt Could Lead to Salmonella Vaccine

The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday that a team of University of Maryland School of Medicine scientists have spent years researching and developing salt crystals harboring microbes that could act as carriers vaccines for pathogens such as Salmonella or typhoid.

The microbe, Halaorchaea, could be grown to combat a number of diseases around the world. The team leader, Shiladitya DasSarma, first targeted Salmonella after receiving a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to do so.

Organic Standards Protection Act Introduced in Congress

Bags of Produce Marked 100% OrganicRepresentatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) have introduced the Organic Standards Protection Act to the U.S. House of Representatives to give the National Organics Program authority to make sure that foods labeled with the organic seal quality for that designation.

The Organic Trade Association and the National Organic Coalition support this bill.

The legislation would:

  • Grant the USDA the authority to stop the sales of products labeled “certified organic” when they are not organically produced or grown.
  • Streamline the recordkeeping requirements of the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act. All organic producers and certifiers would be required to maintain records and sent them to the USDA.
  • A fine of up to $10,000 per incident would be levied for those who continue to label their products organic after the USDA has revoked their certification.

The USDA does not currently have investigative authority over the organic certification program. The National Organic Program cannot stop the marketing or labeling of organic products when they have been treated with pesticides or herbicides at this time. The bill would give the program embargo and stop sale authority.

Read Full Article Here

Former BPI Employee Plans to File Suit Over LFTB Backlash

“Pink Slime” heading back into the news.

A former Beef Products Inc employee plans to file a civil lawsuit in response to the national frenzy over lean finely textured beef (LFTB), now widely known to consumers as pink slime.

webst9197.pngSioux City, Iowa-based Rauttnee Publishing Company announced it will hold a press conference on Tuesday to detail the suit to be filed by former BPI Environmental Health and Safety Officer Bruce Smith.

The company will be handing out copies of the lawsuit as well as copies of Smith’s new book, titled “Pink Slime Ate My Job.” According to an online business profile, Rauttnee Publishing Company was launched by Smith in 2004.

Study: Norovirus Infection Rates Correlate with Google Search Trends for Symptoms

norovirusstomach2-406.jpgTrends in Google internet searches for norovirus symptoms strongly correlate with rates of norovirus infection, suggesting internet searches could serve as reliable surveillance tools for diseases prone to seasonal variations, according to a study conducted by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Google Labs in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

The study, published in the July 2012 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases, tracked rises and falls in Google internet searches for certain keywords and phrases related to gastroenteritis, such as “diarrhea,” “vomiting,” and “stomach virus,” that could indicate a norovirus infection. Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S., responsible for an estimated 21 million illnesses a year.

The researchers then compared the Google data to trends in lab-confirmed norovirus infections around the nation. If the searches matched up with the rates of confirmed cases, the researchers would uncover a new method of tracking the activity of norovirus, a pathogen with very scarce amounts of surveillance up until now.

The result? The searches and the known cases matched up almost perfectly.

“I think we were surprised at just how strong the correlation was,” said Benjamin Lopman, epidemiologist at the Division of Viral Diseases at the CDC and one of the study’s co-authors. “Even having to rely on general search terms, they still match up very well with the actual outcome.”

Red Meat Allergy Likely Caused by Tick Bites

A few years ago, doctors in the southern United States started noticing an odd phenomenon: people were becoming allergic to red meat, seemingly out of the blue. What in the environment was causing this response? The answer, surprisingly, turned out to be ticks.
The researchers who figured this out came upon the answer serendipitously. Thomas Platts-Mills and his colleagues had been studying a cancer drug called Erbitux that was causing severe allergic reactions in patients – but only in southern states. The team had concluded that these people were carrying an antibody that responded to sugars in the drug.
In their findings – published in 2008 – the researchers noted that the sugars in Erbitux, which is derived from mouse cells, are also present in beef, pork and cow mllk.

lonestar tick.jpg

So the following year when it came to light that otherwise healthy people were developing meat allergies – also in the South – the team began testing samples of their blood and found that they possessed the same Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies as the cancer patients who had reacted to Erbitux.
Since people were reporting a 3-5 hour delay between ingesting meat and having a reaction, scientists guessed that the sugars triggering the response were stored in the fat of the animal, which takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates. That would explain why the reaction wasn’t immediate like most other food allergies.
But the big mystery remained: Where were these antibodies for alpha-gal (the sugars found in Erbitux and red meat) coming from?
“We thought initially that it was a parasite,” says Dr. Scott Commins, an assistant professor of medicine at UVA working on the project under Platts-Mills. “So we screened for all kinds of crazy parasites.”
Then, in August of 2009, the answer quite literally came to Platts-Mills when his own IgE to alpha-gal levels suddenly spiked days after he was bitten repeatedly by ticks while on a hike in the woods.
Out of curiosity, the researchers began asking patients if they had been bitten by ticks before their meat allergy developed.

House Budget For USDA Bans Spending on Horse Slaughter

A House committee vote may have closed the barn door before horse slaughter will ever be resumed in the United States.
The powerful Appropriations Committee has by voice vote agreed to again ban federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities. In a deal last year, President Obama and Congress agreed to lift that ban, an action that had led to proposals for horse slaughter facilities in Missouri and New Mexico.
The ban comes in the form of a successful amendment to the fiscal year 2013 Agricultural Appropriations Bill brought by Rep. Jim Moran, D-VA. The appropriations bill now goes to the floor for a vote by the full House.
“When more than 80 percent of the American population opposes this practice, it is high time that we put an end, once and for all, to industrial horse slaughter, Moran said. “Horses hold an important place in our nation’s history and culture, treasured by all for their beauty and majesty. “


Moran says horses “deserve to be cared for, not killed for foreign consumption.”
The Northern Virginia Democrat argued that it made no sense to have cut USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service budget by $9 million, and then continue to require the food safety agency to add the inspection of horsemeat for foreign consumption to its duties.
Moran said to add inspections for horsemeat for export could only be achieved at the expense of inspections for poultry, pork and beef being consumed by U.S. citizens.
It was the removal of similar language advanced by Moran last year in a House-Senate conference committee that led to lifting of the ban. Theoretically, that could still happen this year.
The last three horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. closed more than five years ago after Congress initiated the original ban in 2006. Only USDA-inspected meat processed in the U.S. may be sold across state or national boundaries.
The two groups with horse slaughter business plans have each requested USDA inspection services.  Both groups want to slaughter horses for the human consumption export market, and neither can do business without USDA inspection services. The companies planning to implement horse slaughter are:
– Unified Equine Missouri, a company headed by Wyoming lawmaker Sue Wallis, which has plans to convert a closed beef-packing plant to accommodate horse slaughter in town of Rockville, MO.
-Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM – owned by Rick De Los Santos – also wants to convert its former beef facility into a horse packing plant.


[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



FDA May Ban BPA from Infant Formula Containers

New strategy succeeds in BPA ban where others have failed


After scientific evidence failed to convince the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to outlaw BPA in food packaging, a lawmaker has spotted another way to get the agency to regulate the substance.
Ever since 2008, when new research suggested that bisphenol A – used in packaging to make plastic harder or protect metal can linings – could be harmful to humans, consumer advocates have been pushing for an all-out federal ban on containers carrying the chemical. So far this push has been successful only in the court of public opinion, where the public’s fear of BPA has caused many manufacturers to phase it out of products.
FDA has consistently said that evidence supporting the dangers of BPA is currently too weak to justify banning the substance.


Now a lawmaker has found another way to get this chemical off the market – or at least out of infant formula containers.
In March, Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) petitioned FDA to remove regulatory approval for BPA in three items: baby and toddler food packaging, small reusable household containers and canned food packaging. Markey argued that manufacturers “have abandoned the use of BPA” in these products. Legally, FDA can remove approval for the use of an additive if that use has since been abandoned.
Markey’s petition essentially asked FDA to withdraw approval for BPA in these three products on the grounds that this use is no longer practiced and therefore no longer needs approval.
On Wednesday, FDA accepted Markey’s petition to disallow the use of BPA in infant formula containers, but denied the petition as it related to small reusable containers and canned food packaging.



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Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Dog Food Has Sickened 22 in 13 States

Twenty two people in 13 states have now been infected with Salmonella Infantis linked to contaminated dog food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Multiple brands of dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a South Carolina facility have been linked to some of the Salmonella infections, which would likely have been acquired via cross contamination from feeding a pet or from contact with a sick pet.

The five new cases are from: Alabama (1), California (1), Illinois (1), New York (1), and South Carolina (1). Two others have been reported in Canada.

Of the cases CDC has detailed information about, illnesses began between October 2011 and May 11, 2012, and ages range from less than one-year-old to 82, but the median age is 46.5. Sixty-eight percent of patients are female. Of the 17 patients CDC has information about, 6, or 35 percent, were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Public health officials noted that any illness that may have occurred after May 11 might not be reported yet.

Anyone who thinks they might have become ill after contact with dry pet food or with an animal that has eaten dry pet food should consult a health care provider.


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Two Applications in For Horse Slaughter; Opposition Gears Up

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) won’t admit it has received either request, but the agency now has two formal applications for inspection of horse meat-for-export processing facilities.
As Food Safety News reported earlier, Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM previously filed the first application for equine inspection services with FSIS. The agency has now received a second application for horse slaughter from Unified Equine Missouri for an equine processing plant at Rockville, MO, according to the company.
While FSIS will neither confirm nor deny that the two applications exist, suggesting that the only way get information about them would be to file a Freedom of Information Act request to the agency, one of the most experienced animal protection attorneys in the country is already marshaling the opposition.


Both applications follow the deal by President Obama and Congress to end the 2007 ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States.  The deal clears the way for FSIS to make its continuous inspection services available for equine production.
Unified Equine’s Chief Executive Officer Sue Wallis told Food Safety News that her company is in the process of acquiring the Rockville processing plant, previously used for beef, and making necessary changes to the facility required before FSIS will conduct a walk-through inspection.
Wallis, who also serves in the Wyoming House of Representatives, says Unified Equine wanted FSIS’s input in advance, but the agency declined for legal reasons. “So we are proceeding with our plans to renovate the existing facility, which was USDA certified for beef, and to install our humane handling system designed for the unique characteristics of horses, ” Wallis said.  “Once that work is completed we will be moving forward with our grant of inspection request.”
FSIS officials, according to Wallis, have told the company that the agency is in the process of reestablishing equine inspector training and drug residue plans for horses. Congress cut spending for inspecting horse slaughter about a year before the last three equine operations closed in 2007.

McCain Takes Aim at ‘Senseless’ Catfish Inspection Program

catfishwide.jpgSenator and former presidential contender John McCain (R-AZ) is at war against “senseless” measures in the farm bill and the pending catfish inspection program is on his list of top targets.

On the floor Thursday, Sen. McCain mocked a variety of farm bill programs, including a $15 million grant program to improve the sheep industry, a $200 million overseas ag marketing program, and a $25 million initiative to study the health benefits of peas, lentils, and garbanzo beans.

“Mothers all over America that have advocated for their children to eat their peas will be pleased to know there’s a study…” joked the senior senator.

McCain also mocked a mohair subsidy, “which has been fleecing the American people since 1954.” (The subsidy was repealed in the 1990s, but was reinstated in the 2002 farm bill).

“The mohair program, which costs taxpayers about $1 million a year, may not be particularly expensive compared to most farm programs,” said McCain. “I suppose where some of my colleagues see a minor government pittance for wool socks, I see a disgraceful example of how special interests can embed themselves in a Farm Bill for generations.”

One item that seems to have McCain particularly fired up is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s pending catfish inspection program, something that was added to the 2008 Farm Bill — under the guise of food safety — to help protect southern catfish farmers from the influx of import competition.

With support from both sides of the aisle — including Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) — McCain has filed an amendment (#2199) to the 2012 farm bill to repeal the new catfish inspection program.

“As my colleagues know, USDA inspects meat, eggs, and poultry, but not seafood,” said McCain in remarks released by his office. “Thus, a whole new government office is being developed at USDA just to inspect catfish. Catfish farmers have tried to argue that we need a Catfish Inspection Office to ensure Americans are eating safe and healthy catfish. I wholeheartedly agree that catfish should be safe for consumers.”

“The problem is FDA already inspects catfish – just like it does ALL seafood – screening it for biological and chemical hazards,” added McCain. “If there were legitimate food safety reasons for having USDA inspect catfish, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

US Bans Korean Shellfish After FDA Finds Fecal Matter, Norovirus In Growing Areas

Korean shellfish is not safe to eat and Korea has been removed from the U.S. list of approved  shellfish shippers after officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered unsanitary conditions  that exposed molluscan growing areas to human fecal matter, norovirus and pollution, the agency announced yesterday.

Previously, the FDA had issued a recall of Korean shellfish imported to the U.S. after  May 1, 2012. But now the FDA says no shellfish from Korea is safe to eat. Whether they are fresh, frozen or canned; mussels, scallops and oysters from Korea may have been exposed to human fecal matter, may also be contaminated with norovirus and are not safe to eat at this time, according to the advisory.


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California Soup Makers Say Recall Was Only A Technical Foul

The Botulism warning that went out about two companies selling canned soap at California farmers markets really only amounts to a technical foul not dangerous canning practices.
That’s the push-back argument being made by Malibu-based One Gun Ranch and Santa Barbara-based Organic Soup Kitchen four days after the California Department of Health warned the public about products from the two businesses.


One Gun Ranch’s Jennifer Hozer told Food Safety News “there are no incidents or indications that any of our food products are contaminated, whatsoever.”   She said the Health Department’s public health warning and subsequent mandatory recall of the canned products was over licensing requirements by local health agencies required by state regulations.
“It was not a result of contaminated food or improper preparation of our jarred food products,” Hozer said.   She said One Gun products are prepared in commercial kitchens, which “adhere to the highest standards of operation and regulation required by CDHP.”
In addition to Hozer calling the botulism scare “a paperwork issue,” Organic Soup Kitchen’s founder Anthony Carroccio told the LA Weekly his company has fed 50,000 homeless and low-income people in the last three years “without incident.”






Raw Stuffed Chicken Breast Recalled for Undeclared Allergens

A California-based firm is voluntarily recalling 3,534 pounds of a raw stuffed chicken product because it may contain known allergens that are not declared on the label.
Antonelli’s and Sons of South San Francisco is recalling the product because it is made with milk, soy and monosodium glutamate (MSG), all known allergens that are not listed as ingredients on packaging.
The product subject to recall comes in an approximately 1 pound tray labeled “TRADER JOE’S CRANBERRY APPLE STUFFED CHICKEN BREAST,” with a Use By date of 06/13/12 through 6/23/12, located on a sticker in the upper right corner of the package.

Navy Beans Recalled For Undeclared Soy

Anyone with an allergy or severe sensitivity to soy should avoid eating Premium Navy Beans manufactured by Truitt Bros., Inc.
The Salem, OR based food manufacturer has recalled its Premium Navy Beans in 15 ounce cans for undeclared soy.   The June 15 recall notice said no illnesses had yet been reported in connection with the problem.
Truitt distributed the product with its undeclared soy in Oregon and Northern California to retail stores from Dec. 1, 2011 to June 15, 2012.  The company described the product as follows:



Articles of Interest





‘Domino Effect’ Key To Unlocking Shigella Mysteries

Diarrheal diseases are the second leading cause of death, after lower respiratory tract infections, for children under age 5. Of these deaths, a full 75 percent are from shigellosis.
Yet Shigella, the Gram-negative bacterium transmitted via contaminated food or water, does not seem to get the attention it’s due for the worldwide devastation it causes.
According to the World Health Organization, Shigellosis is responsible for 90 million illnesses and 108,000 deaths annually. And while viewed as a Third World disease, WHO says there are half a million cases each year involving military personnel and travelers from industrialized countries.
The United States sees about 14,000 shigellosis cases each year, but the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta says the actual number is probably 20 times higher, as most cases go unreported and are self-treated at home.
Now a team of researchers from three American universities, led by Dr. Erin Murphy, assistant professor of bacteriology at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, is shedding new light on this old plague.


“Our work furthers the understanding of how Shigella responds to the environmental conditions encountered within the human body to control the production of bacterial factors that increase the ability of the bacteria to cause the disease,” Murphy told Food Safety News.
“Understanding how bacteria control the production of such ‘virulence factors’ may, one day, lead to therapeutics that specifically disrupt these processes, ” she continued.  “Our work is the basic science that may support future applied studies by others.”

Animal Rights Groups Argue Against Egg Bill

On top of the infighting among animal agriculture groups over a proposed bill to set national welfare standards for egg production — which has pitted the egg industry against pork, beef, and poultry — there is some conflict among animal rights groups as well.

The Humane Farming Association, a California based anti-factory farming group, is trying to convince lawmakers to vote against what it calls the “rotten egg bill,” which has been proposed in both chambers, most recently as an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill in the Senate.

As the Senate began debate on the Farm Bill Wednesday, the group ran a quarter-page advertisement in the Washington Post calling the egg bill a price-fixing scheme that would “deprive states of the right to enforce anti-cruelty laws which prohibit battery cages.”

The legislation to slowly phase in “enriched colony housing” for laying hens, which would double the space for each bird, was the result of a landmark deal struck between the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States, two groups who had been fighting bitterly over state egg initiatives for years. The compromise seeks to give egg producers regulatory certainty, while fulfilling HSUS’ goal of giving hens more space.

But HFA and other local groups are angry that standards might preempt state laws that seek to go above and beyond the welfare standards in the HSUS-UEP deal.

New Group will Rate Congress with a Food Policy Scorecard

A new group will rate Congress with a food policy scorecard, according to the Environmental Working Group. The new group, a 501c(4) nonprofit organization, will consist of food and agriculture policy leaders.

This will be the first time an organization has rated politicians on their votes and stance on issues such as food safety, farm subsidies, farm animal welfare, organic and local food, nutrition assistance, fisheries management, and farm and food worker justice.



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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



Multi-State E. coli 0145 Outbreak Includes Alabama

E. coli Infections Can Cause HUSFood Poisoning Bulletin has learned that the multi-state E. coli 0145 outbreak includes Alabama. There  are two confirmed cases of E. coli 0145 in Alabama, bringing the total number of patients in this outbreak to 11. There is still no official word from the CDC on the outbreak.

Case count:

  • Alabama (2)
  • Florida (1)
  • Georgia (5)
  • Louisiana (2 ill, 1 death)

The Alabama Department of Public Health told us that there are some additional possible cases pending. They are waiting to see test results. The states involved are working with the CDC, which is playing a supportive role.


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Survey Finds Food Workers Are Underpaid and Work While Sick

June 7, 2012 By

Tables in a restaurantThe Food Chain Workers Alliance has released a report that states that more than half of all employees in the food industry work while sick because they can’t afford to take time off and that most food workers are underpaid. This is the first survey that studied income and working conditions of employees in the entire food chain.

Most states have prohibitions against contagious employees working with food. And restaurant and food facility owners are responsible for making sure their employees are not transmitting disease. In 2012 alone, we have reported on twelve outbreaks of foodborne illness that were traced back to a sick employee.

The survey also found that only 13.5% of employees in this industry earn a livable wage, and most jobs are very low wage. The report, titled “The Hands That Feed Us” found that “more than 86% of workers reported earning sub minimum, poverty, and low wages, resulting in a sad irony: food workers face higher levels of food insecurity, or the inability to afford to eat, than the rest of the U.S. workforce.” In fact, food workers use food stamps at double the rate of the rest of the U.S. workforce.


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AVMA, AHI Plan Public Health Panel on Capitol Hill

As the policy debate over antibiotic resistance rolls on, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Animal Health Institute, an animal drug industry group, are planning to hold a panel discussion on the critical role veterinarians play in public health, including their role in ensuring the responsible use of antibiotics.

“Veterinarians’ responsibility in keeping animals healthy is an essential part of the human health ecosystem,” read an email from AHI this week. “Whether working on a farm, in private or corporate practice, government, academic or uniformed services, veterinarians play an increasingly critical role in protecting public health.”



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Fourteen People in Six States Are Sickened in E coli 0145 Outbreak

Fourteen people in six states are sickened with E coli 0145; the same strain killed a New Orleans toddler last week. While no one source has been pinpointed, state officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to solve the case and epidemiologists suspect food may be the culprit.

The case count is as follows:

  • Alabama (2)
  • California (1)
  • Florida (1)
  • Georgia (5)
  • Louisiana (3 ill, 1 death)
  • Tennessee (1)

The CDC has released a statement about the outbreak. They say that the most recent report of illness was on June 4, 2012. The dates when patients became sick range from April 15 to May 12, 2012. Three people have been hospitalized.

Public health officials interview victims with questionnaires, asking them about exposure to different foods, restaurants, animals, and other potential bacterial sources. A petting zoo has been eliminated as the cause of the outbreak.

Food safety experts agree that it’s important to release information about these illnesses, because if someone is experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection, they need to see a doctor and be tested for the bacteria. Each patient is an important link when trying to identify a source of the contamination; information from just one person could solve the case. Patients usually develop STEC infection symptoms within two to eight days after consuming the bacteria.


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Meat Lasagna Sold Nationwide Recalled for Undeclared Allergens

An Illinois-based firm is recalling approximately 96,408 pounds of meat lasagna products because they contain undeclared allergens.
Windsor Quality Food Co. of Toluca, IL issued a voluntary recall of two types of meat lasagna Wednesday because they contain egg and soy, both known allergens, but these ingredients are not named on product labels.


The products subject to recall are:
– Retail cartons of “Safeway Select Five Cheese Lasagna,” with package code April 4, 2013
– Shipping cases of “Safeway Select Meat Lasagna” with a Best By date of April 4, 2013

Nutrition Supplement Recalled for Potential Salmonella Contamination

A Ferndale, Washington-based nutritional supplements company is voluntarily recalling 313 bottles of liquid supplements because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.
The company – Botanical Laboratories, Inc. – is recalling two of its Wellesse brand liquid supplements because the supplier of one of the ingredients in these products has indicated that the ingredient may contain Salmonella.


The products subject to recall include:
– 38 bottles of 33.8 oz. “Digestive 3 in 1 Health,” with “LOT 34552C (four-digit time code)A EXP 03/2014” jet coded on the bottom of the bottle
– 275 bottles of 16 oz. “Digestive Health 3 in 1,” with “LOT 34441C (four-digit time code) A EXP 03/2014” jet coded on the bottom of the bottle

Pasta Mix Products Recalled for Possible Metal Fragments

Bay Valley Foods is recalling about 74,000 cases of pasta mixes manufactured by its subsidiary ST Specialty Foods, Inc. A seasoning blend made by Kerry Ingredients & Flavours used lactic acid that may be contaminated with small metal fragments.

To see all of the products, retailers where they are sold, UPC numbers, and MFG lot codes, please visit the FDA site.


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FSIS Issues Notice 40-12 About non-0157 STEC Testing

Cows in the FieldOn June 4, 2012, the USDA started requiring facilities to test beef trim for six non-0157 shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria (STEC). The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued Notice 40-12 about non-0157 STEC testing to clarify some points in the new test.

On September 2, 2012, 90 days after the testing implementation, plants must re-evaluate their Hazard Control and Control Point (HACCP) systems if they have positive tests and the hazard is not addressed in their current plan.

Six non-0157 STECs, 026, 045, 0103, 0111, 0121, and 0145, cause about 110,000 illnesses in the United States every year. In fact, there is currently an outbreak of E. coli 0145 that has sickened 11 people in four states and killed a toddler in New Orleans. These bacteria produce shiga toxins that cause hemolytic uremic syndrome and other serious complications, including heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, and severe anemia.


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Legionnaires Case Shuts Down Dallas Hotel

The SuperMedia Hotel and Conference Center, a hotel near the Dallas airport, closed temporarily this week after a guest was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease. It is not yet known if the guest contracted the disease at the hotel or elsewhere, but the hotel closed temporarily while tests are being conducted.

“A guest at the hotel attached to SuperMedia’s offices was treated for Legionnaires’ disease and released from a nearby hospital. After the one case was initially reported to us, we took the precautionary step of asking our employees to work from alternate locations while the appropriate tests were being conducted. No other cases have been reported and we don’t know that this case originated from the hotel,” Andrew Shane, a  SuperMedia spokesperson, told Food Poisoning Bulletin.


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Articles of Interest



FDA and FSIS Funding Cut by House Appropriations Subcommittee

On June 6, 2012, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture voted to cut funding for the FDA and the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The bill now goes to the full House Appropriations Committee.

In this bill, FSIS will receive $9 million less than fiscal year 2012, and the FDA will receive $16.3 million less. This comes at a time when the FDA needs more resources to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. The FDA requested a budget increase of $253 million.


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Animal Disease Traceability Too Expensive, Rural Coalition Says

A coalition led by farmers and ranchers is using a last-minute strategy to stop USDA’s new Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) program. The groups involved are using economic grounds – especially the added costs that animal identification will impose on rural America.
In a 9-page letter to the Executive Office of Management and Budget, a unit of the White House, the sixteen organizations in the coalition say animal traceability could cost the U.S. cattle industry more than $1 billion a year.
The so-called ADT rule is a replacement for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which became so unpopular with rural America that Congress for 2010 cut out its funding before it could be implemented.


ADT is essentially a diet version of NAIS. It is limited to animals moved interstate, will be run by state and tribal governments, is “low tech,” and is being implemented only through transparent federal rule making.
As soon as USDA opened the new program to public comments last fall, ADT came under fire almost as much as the old NAIS had.
Now the opposition is centered on the financial impact ADT will have on farmers and ranchers, and some of the faulty reasoning it says USDA used in working up the proposal.  For example, it says USDA’s estimate that “only 30 million cattle” cross state borders each year is “contradicted by the publicly available data on the cattle industry.”
“The USDA has not done their due diligence investigating the true fiscal impact this will have on the livestock industry,” says Mark A. Kastel, senior farm policy analyst for the organic policing group called The Cornucopia Institute.  “Our concern is that the economic burden of this rulemaking, some of which is duplicative of many effective disease control programs currently utilized, will fall unfairly on family-scale farmers and ranchers.”

Harper Government Wants Tougher Food Safety Law for Canada

The federal government of Canada under Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party is pushing for a tough new food safety law with greater penalties for violators and more unified enforcement powers.
Harper’s government Thursday introduced the Safe Foods for Canadians Act, Bill S-11, to overhaul Canada’s food inspection system.
Albert Chambers, executive director of the Canadian Supply Chain Food Safety Coalition, immediately hailed the government’s new initiative as a “major step forward.”
“The Coalition is a long-time supporter of modernizing food safety legislation and regulations as a key element in the development of a national, coordinated and integrated approach to food safety,” Chambers said.


“The proposals in Bill S-11 meet many of the food safety objectives of both industry and government; they complete initiatives identified by previous governments; and, they will position Canada’s food safety regime well in the rapidly changing global regulatory environment,” he added.
His coalition includes 29 national associations, three provincial associations, and six food companies as allied members.  Together, the groups represent every link in the food supply chain from producers to distributors to retailers.

Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables: They’re Essential to a Healthy Diet

Last month the United States Department of Agriculture released its Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary which reports pesticide residues on fruits, vegetables and other foods commonly consumed in the United States. This was the 20th time this report has been published and it, in part, represents the transparency the USDA has with respect to food safety.  The report provides detailed information on the types and amounts of pesticide residues found on foods sold in the U.S. marketplace.  Consistent with previous years, when found, the levels of pesticide reported are extremely low among three government agencies — USDA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — all of whom advise consumers that the regular consumption of fruits and vegetables containing the amounts of pesticide residues reported is not thought to represent any safety risks.
This USDA report and the accompanying press release received scant media attention.  Typically, stories with good news about the safety of our food supply get minimal coverage.  Regrettably, there is a high probability that this pesticide residue report will be misrepresented by some, and consumers will be advised to shy away from certain fruits and vegetables due to allegations about “high” levels of pesticide residues. Unfortunately, this type of advice has garnered much media attention in the past.
Recent consumer research shows that warnings about the alleged dangers of pesticides may result in reductions in the overall intake of fruits and vegetables. While some could argue that providing information to consumers about pesticide residues simply fuels an increased shift from the consumption of conventionally grown crops to those grown organically, this ignores the issue that organically grown crops are typically more expensive, and higher produce costs could present a significant challenge to many in our society.  While such a challenge might be reasonable if there were well documented scientific data that supported the contention that there are different health benefits of conventionally grown versus organically grown foods, at present this is not the case.

Farmers, Ranchers and Consumers Fight USDA Animal ID Scheme

By NAIS Stinks

Washington, D.C. – A coalition of agriculture and consumer organizations from across the nation is challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to push ahead with a complicated and expensive Animal ID program. The organizations sent a joint letter to the Congressional Office of Management and Budget (OMB) this week arguing that the rule should be sent back to the USDA because of the impacts it will have on family farmers, ranchers, related businesses, and other citizens who own animals.

The letter cites research from North Dakota State University which estimated the costs for cattle as more than five times greater per animal than the USDA’s estimate, potentially creating costs of over a billion dollars per year.

The letter from the coalition also points out that USDA “arbitrarily assumed that only 30 million cattle” would be subject to the new regulatory requirements, even though this assumption was “contradicted by the publicly available data on the cattle industry.”

By underestimating both the number of animals affected and the cost per animal, the USDA estimated the fiscal impacts at under $100 million, claiming that the rule is not “economically significant” and placing it on the fast-track to be finalized after review by the OMB, which serves as the fiscal review agency for all regulatory matters.

The coalition’s critique provides additional information on the disproportionate impact on small farmers due to the on-ranch costs for equipment and labor involved in tagging and long-term recordkeeping. The coalition also notes that the agency failed to address the increased costs to livestock-related businesses, such as for certified veterinarians and sale barns.


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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.”


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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





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.”


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.


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Letter From The Editor: Sugar

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.


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.



[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

UK Imposes Moratorium on Desinewed Meat

Desinewed meat, produced with low-pressure separation equipment to remove flesh from meaty bones, is outlawed in the United Kingdom beginning tomorrow.
The UK’s Food Safety Agency is imposing what it calls a moratorium on the product it considers to be perfectly safe in order to satisfy the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office.
Nobody in the UK is happy about it, especially the way the EC’s Food and Veterinary Office in Brussels went about making it happen.   After a routine March 6-14 visit to the UK, the EC office on March 28 wrote FSA to demand that low-pressure desinewed meat be categorized and labeled as mechanically separated meat (MSM).


The UK had five days to respond, and if it did not go along, British minced meat, meat products and meat preparations could be barred from the EU market.
And the Catch 22 was that ruminant bones used in producing desinewed meat with low pressure are prohibited in anything labeled as MSM.
That brought the first moratorium, imposed on April 28, prohibiting ruminant bones in desinewed meat.  It will be extended to cover poultry and pork bones on Saturday, May 26, unless there is a last-minute reprieve.

USDA Works to Create Organic Aquaculture Standards

Consumers are likely to see much more domestic farm-raised seafood bearing an organic label in the not-too-distant future. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a memo this week about forward with developing an organic aquaculture certification program.seafoodX-350.jpgAccording to Seafood Source, “Existing U.S. rules do not allow any seafood to bear the coveted ‘USDA Organic’ label due to the lack of standards for organic aquaculture production and certification, though some seafood products are labeled as organic because they’ve been certification by a third-party outfit such as Naturland in Germany.”

Indiana Seeks Public Comment On Raw Milk

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health  (BOAH) is seeking public comment on raw milk consumption and sales that will be compiled and submitted as a report to the the Governor and the Legislative Council.

The sale of raw milk for human consumption is currently illegal in Indiana, but it is legal to sell raw milk for consumption by pets.  In January, Senator John Waterman (R-Shelburn)  added wording to a Senate bill that would have allowed small farms to sell raw milk sales for human consumption under the following conditions:

Ban on Korean Shellfish Includes Canned Shellfish

The Food and Drug Administration late Friday clarified an earlier warning that all oysters, clams, mussels and scallops from Korea should be considered adulterated and removed from the market, and said that ban includes canned products.


And earlier FDA constituent update had said the ban excluded canned products.

USDA Report Says Pesticide Residues Aren’t a Food Safety Concern

After testing 12,845 samples of fresh produce and other foods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture once again says pesticide residues are not a safety issue.
That’s according to the latest Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary released Friday by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. The report details the analysis of samples collected in 2010. The data program has been ongoing since 1991.


The conclusion: as in other years, overall pesticide residues found on the foods tested well below the tolerances levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Only 0.25 percent of samples — fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, oats, eggs, catfish, baby food, groundwater, and treated and untreated drinking water — tested at levels exceeding EPA tolerances, according to the news release announcing the report.

USDA to mask sodium benzoate preservative with new ‘anti-microbial’ label to trick consumers

By Ethan A. Huff,
(NaturalNews) Kraft Foods Global, Inc. and a food chemical company known as Kemin Food Technologies, Inc. have both propositioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in recent years to approve the use of propionic acid and salt solutions in various new food applications, including in raw meat and poultry products, sausages, hot dogs, soups, stews, salads, and brine injections. According to a recent May 7 petition filing, the Des Moines, Ia.-based…



Contaminated Beef Mars Australia’s Usually Clean Track Record

The ground beef product that was recalled last week by two South Carolina-based manufacturers was imported from Australia and contaminated before it arrived, according to one of the importers.
After testing conducted by the South Carolina Meat and Poultry Inspection Department revealed E. coli in a sample of boxed beef from Australia, two U.S. companies – G & W, Inc. and Lancaster Frozen Foods – recalled almost 7,000 pounds of ground beef products made with meat sourced from the foreign producer.
“We never sold the box that was contaminated but we went ahead and did a recall on everything that was in that lot number,” Emily Clayton, director of operations at G & W told Food Safety News.


A detailed list of those products made with beef from the contaminated lot is available here.
The boxed beef was imported in March and then stored in freezers before being processed into ground beef products, which were produced between March 2 and May 11 at Lancaster Frozen Foods and between March 2 and April 12 at G&W.
While several hundred pounds of the product had not yet been distributed, the majority of it was processed and sold, says JoAnna Clayton, vice president of G & W.

California Warns of Botulism Risk in Jarred Soups

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) director Dr. Ron Chapman warned consumers on Thursday not to eat Taste of Roux, LLC jarred vegetarian soups because they may have been improperly produced, making them susceptible to contamination with Clostridium Botulinum.


No illnesses have been linked to any of the affected products at this time.
Ingestion of botulism toxin from improperly processed jarred and canned foods may lead to serious illness and death.
Taste of Roux, LLC of Valley Village, California is recalling its Lentil, Black Bean, Tomato, Carrot Ginger, Vegetarian Chili, and Detox jarred soups.  The soups were sold under the Taste of Roux label and packaged in quart and pint glass jars with screw-on metal lids.  The product labels do not include any coding or use-by dates.

Smoked Bratwurst Recalled For Undeclared Soy

Zenner’s Quality Meat Products, Inc. of Oregon is recalling about 3,660 pounds of bratwurst because it contains soy protein, one of the major food allergens, that is not declared on the label.

Read Full Article Here

Raw Milk Aged Cheeses Are Relatively Safe, According to Study

May 25, 2012 By

According to a study published in Food Microbiology, raw milk aged cheeses are relatively safe. The cheeses must be aged at least 60 days, at temperatures not less than 35 degrees F. The aging process produces low pH, low water activity, and high salt content that renders the cheese inhospitable to bacteria, yeast, and molds.

The regulations regarding raw milk aged cheeses were enacted in 1950, ”long before contemporary pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenesE. coli 0157:H7, and Campylobacter had been recognized,” according to the study. Those bacteria can tolerate inhospitable environments such as low pH and low water activity.

In the last 20 years, “many small and several large foodborne outbreaks linked to consumption of cheese made from unpasteurized milk have occurred, both in Europe and in the U.S.” according to the study.

Read Full Article Here

Dried Shitake Mushroom Slices Recalled

L.A. Link (Huntington Beach) Corp. of of Cerritos, CA is recalling dried shitake mushrooms sold at Costco Wholesale locations in Washington, Oregon and California because they may be contaminated with chemical residues not approved for dried mushrooms.


A sample of the product tested by the Food and Drug Administration was found to be contaminated with fluoranthene, pyrene and carbendazim.


Allergen Alert

Allergen Alert: Frozen Chicken Breasts With Wheat

Mt. Airy Meat Center of Mt. Airy, N.C. is recalling approximately 100 pounds of frozen, raw chicken breasts because they contain wheat, a known allergen not declared on the label, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.
The problem was discovered by FSIS during a routine label review. In the recall alert, Mt. Airy Meat Center said it repackages chicken for individual retail sale; the company explained that the problem may have occurred due to a change in suppliers.

Allergen Alert: Bratwurst With Soy Protein

Zenner’s Quality Meat Products of Portland, OR is recalling approximately 3,660 pounds of a bratwurst because it contains soy protein, an allergen not declared on the label.

Screen shot 2012-100.jpg

FSIS and the company say they have not received any reports of adverse reactions.
The recall is of 2.25-lb. packages “Zenner’s Smoked Brotwurst” with a sells by date through 7/17/12 and the establishment number 6308.


Articles of Interest

Majority of Americans Confident in Safety of Food Supply, Survey Finds

The vast majority of Americans have confidence in the safety of the U.S. food supply, according to a new survey by the International Food Information Council, a food industry communications group.

The “2012 Food & Health Survey” shows a jump over last year’s confidence numbers, which IFIC found particularly interesting considering the survey was fielded during the first two weeks of April when food safety headlines — about Salmonella sushi, E. coli beef and new limits in antibiotics in agriculture — were widespread.

The survey found that 78 percent of those surveyed were either “somewhat confident” or “very confident” in the safety of the domestic food supply. Last year that number was closer to 50 percent.

applegirl_iphone.jpg“This year was a little higher,” said Marianne Smith Edge, the senior vice president of nutrition and food safety at IFIC, though she noted that the question was phrased differently this year. Instead of asking those surveyed if they were “extremely confident” they changed it to “very confident” on the high end of the spectrum.

Though the vast majority of Americans have thought about the safety of food and beverages over the past year — 85 percent reported giving “a little” or “a lot” of thought —  most Americans think the chances are low they will themselves come down with foodborne illness.

“What I think is interesting is that more than 50 percent think their chance is extremely low,” said Smith Edge. Fifty seven percent of consumers said they “strongly” or “somewhat agree” that the chances they will get a serious foodborne illness are extremely low. Some consumers disagreed: 27 percent “somewhat disagree” and 9 percent “strongly disagree.”

Read Full Article Here

Rand Paul Wins One in Senate Passage of FDA Bill

Kentucky libertarian Sen. Rand Paul was not entirely successful with his amendments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) User Fee Re-authorization Bill before it passed the Senate Thursday by a 96 to 1 vote.


The bill, setting user-fees to provide about half of FDA’s $4.5 billion budget for next year, showed the Senate can fully debate, amend and pass a needed law.
Paul was fully engaged in the process with multiple amendments. One – to disarm FDA agents, stop raids on natural food stores and Amish farms and end the agency’s scrutiny of truthful claims for dietary supplements – received only 15 votes.
But Paul did get his language included in the bill that forces FDA to accept data from clinical investigations conducted outside of the U.S., including the European Union, because Paul says it will speed getting life-saving drugs to the market.
Paul hailed passage of the bill because it contained some of his words.

Jensen Farms Files for Bankruptcy

Cantaloupe grower responsible for 2011 Listeria outbreak

Jensen Farms, the Colorado cantaloupe grower responsible for last year’s Listeria cantaloupe outbreak, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy filings list a number of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits filed against the farm that resulted from the outbreak that sickened 146 people and killed 36.


According to Jensen Farms’ bankruptcy lawyer, in an interview with the Denver Post, Jensen’s decision to file for bankruptcy will eventually free up millions of dollars in insurance money and other funds to pay victims.


[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

Key FSMA Rules Continue to Languish at OMB, Months After Deadline

Taylor says to expect rules out of OMB in the ‘not too distant future’

by Helena Bottemiller | Apr 23, 2012

It’s been well over a year since the monumental Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law and so far implementation has been riddled with speed bumps, not to mention funding woes.

lettucetesting-iphone.jpgFour of the most critical rules that Congress mandated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to write and put in place — preventative controls for food facilities, preventive controls for animal feed facilities, the foreign supplier verification program, and the produce safety rule — were supposed to be out in January, so that the arduous rule making process could officially begin.

The rules are under review at the White House Office of Management of Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which is a normal stepping stone for major regulations. What has stakeholders concerned is that they’ve now been there for five months, far longer than the 90-day limit.

Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, told Food Safety News in late January that the rules were not stalled, but it was simply “the logistical challenge of getting this volume of rulemaking done and out the door at the same time.”

Read Full Article Here



Pathogen Test Rapidly Hones in on Salmonella

by Gretchen Goetz | Apr 23, 2012
A new method of testing for Salmonella could shorten the time it takes to detect the bacteria in food samples.


Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service’s Quality and Safety Assessment Unit in Athens, GA are using a technique called surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), in which light from a laser is directed at a sample specimen, whose interaction with the light produces a unique spectral pattern called a “Raman spectral signature.”
Scientists postulate that each strain of bacteria has its own unique signature that acts as a badge of identity for the bug.

Currently, bacteria are most often identified by their DNA fingerprint using a technique called PFGE, or pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. These PFGE patterns are then uploaded onto PulseNet, a national database that can be used to see if the strain matches any others in the system.

Read Full Article Here



For Some Wisconsin Grocery Store Sushi Bars, It’s Business As Usual

April 23, 2012 By

At Grasch Foods, an upscale grocery store in Brookfield Wis., the tuna Salmonella outbreak caused a minor blip in sushi bar sales and then things went right back to normal, according to Seafood Manger, John Edgerton.

Tuna Sushi Salmonella Bareilly Outbreak

Some Salmonella Bareilly victims report eating spicy tuna sushi.

Grasch buys only fresh fish for the sushi bar and Edgerton does most of the processing himself, he said, so the store was not among those affected by the recall of tainted  ground frozen tuna product, called Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corp. in California.

With 14 confirmed cases of salmonellosis, Wisconsin was hit hard by the tuna sushi Salmonella outbreak, which has sickened 160 people in 20 states and the District of Columbia, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The only states with more confirmed cases of Salmonella infection are New York with 30 and Massachusetts with 23. Like its neighbor Wisconsin, Illinois has 14.


Read Full Article Here



Study: Feces on Nearly 50% of Supermarket Chickens

April 23, 2012 By

ChickenA study conducted by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) found that almost half of the chickens sold in supermarkets in the United STates are contaminated with feces.

The study looked at chickens produced by Pilgrim’s, Sanderson Farms, Perdue, and 22 other brands. The tests found that “48% of the chicken samples tested positive for fecal contamination, indicated by the presence of coliform bacteria commonly found in chicken dung.”

Furthermore, “chicken samples from every city and every grocery store chain tested positive. In Dallas, 100% of the chicken bought at the Kroger’s store tested positive for fecal matter. In Washington, D.C., 83% of the chicken bought at a Giant store and 67% of the chicken bought at a Safeway tested positive.”

The study states that on large factory farms, “chickens defecate on themselves and one another and commonly stand in feces. A typical large processing plant may slaughter more than a million birds per week. There, chickens are stunned, killed, bled, and sent through scalding tanks, which help remove feathers but also act as reservoirs that transfer feces from one carcass to another.”

The chickens are then put on a mechanical line for inspection. But those lines run at 140 birds per minute, or more than two a second, “allowing inspectors minimal time to examine each carcass for visible feces,” according to the study.


Read Full Article Here



Raw Tuna Scrape: Study Says Testing of Imported Seafood Inadequate

April 22, 2012 By

A 2011 study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the testing the FDA conducts on imported seafood is “inadequate for confirming its safety or identifying risks.”

The Salmonella Bareilly outbreak that has sickened at least 160 people in 20 states the the District of Columbia has brought this issue to the forefront. The raw tuna scrape that is linked to the outbreak was imported from India. And about 85% of seafood consumed in this country is imported. According to the study, only 2% of all seafood imported into this country is tested for contamination. The European Union tests 50% of its imported seafood; Japan inspects 18%, and Canada inspects 15%.

Food Poisoning Bulletin asked Dr. David Love, lead author of the CLF study, for his opinion about this outbreak and any possible link to the FDA’s testing methods.


Read Full Article Here



Articles of Interest



FDA Warning Letters: April 17, 2012 Update

by News Desk | Apr 23, 2012
From the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning letters posted since our April 10, 2012 udpate:


Société Fromagere de Bouvron of Bouvron, France, which imports cheese to the U.S., was warned that a December 2011 inspection of the company’s processing facility revealed, among other things, that pressure plates with foam rubber-type pads used to compress cheese curds could not be adequately cleaned to guard against Listeria.
– Panaderia El Angel of Arlington, WA, warned that a November/December 2011 inspection of the company’s Hispanic bakery revealed, among other things, that the firm was not sequencing production to prevent allergen-containing products from cross-contaminating non-allergen-containing products; now labeling foods — a container of sliced nuts that an employed identified as almonds but the baker identified as walnuts; and not thoroughly cleaning utensils and equipment. The inspection also pointed out places within the facility in need of repair as well as allergen labeling issues.
K-Brand Farms of Woodridge, NY warned that a November/December 2011 inspection of the company’s shell egg production facility found, among other things, that its Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) prevention plan was inadequate, lacking documentation that tools were being disinfected, pest traps were being maintained or that employees were not maintaining birds at home.
Theta Brothers Sports Nutrition, Inc., of Lakewood, NJ, doing business as Protein Factory, warned that an October/November 2011 inspection of the company’s dietary supplement manufacturing facility revealed, among other things, a failure to adequately clean equipment between production of batches of dietary supplements, including products containing allergens such as milk and egg whites, and a lack of documentation that finished products met specifications for identity, purity, strength and composition.




FDA Warning Letters for Color Additive Violations

April 23, 2012 By

Remember the discussion about color additives that was prompted by the Starbucks decision to stop using cochineal extract, a natural red food colorant, in their products? A few times every year, the FDA has to send a warning letter to corporations who are still using banned color additives.

Artificial food colors have a long and storied history in this country. In fact, the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act was passed in part to prohibit the use of poisonous food colors that were used to conceal rot and damage. In 1960, the Color Additive Amendment classified the 200 color additives that were currently in use as provisionally listed until scientific data established that they was safe.


Read Full Article Here




National Honey Board: Honey is Made from Nectar, Not Pollen

by Bruce Boynton | Apr 23, 2012
In the last several months various stories have resulted in misunderstanding and confusion about honey and honey filtration, leading some readers to believe that any honey without pollen is not real honey.


This is not true. Honey without pollen is still honey nutritionally and in flavor, and that is why the U.S. Department of Agriculture identifies it as such.  This misunderstanding has also led to several class action lawsuits regarding purchases of honey without pollen.
The truth is that honey is made by honey bees from nectar of flowers and plants, not pollen.  Pollen grains may end up in the exposed honey in the hive through any number of incidental or accidental ways, but it is not used by honey bees to make honey.


The Beverage that is Even WORSE than High Fructose Corn Syrup Soda

April 23 2012

By Dr. Mercola

When a new beverage comes out advertising “60% less sugar—drink it to believe it”—the challenge is on. Same taste; fewer calories to your waist? Sounds good, doesn’t it?

But before you throw that Pepsi Next into your grocery cart, Fooducate.comi suggests you complete the challenge by reading the ingredient label.

There you’ll find that, indeed, the sugar content has been reduced.

But it’s still the second ingredient after water—four teaspoons of it,  in fact, in the form of high fructose corn syrup. The secret to keeping this beverage sweet-tasting, however, comes further on down, in the form of aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose.

So, really, all that’s changed with this new beverage is that 6 teaspoons of sugar have been substituted with three sweeteners that are even worse. Yes, although I strongly recommend avoiding all soda, you would be far better off with the strictly high fructose corn syrup sweetened version.

Artificial Sweeteners have No Place in a Healthful Diet…

Artificial sweeteners are frequently recommended as a practical way of replacing sugar found in the modern diet. But the research on nonnutritive sweeteners such as these three shows they’re far from healthful alternatives to sugar. (A recent article on HealthyFellow.com lists a few of them as a hand referenceii .First of all, contrary to popular belief, research has shown that artificial sweeteners can:

  • Stimulate your appetite
  • Increase carbohydrate cravings
  • Stimulate fat storage and weight gain. In fact, diet sodas, which are well-known sources of artificial sweeteners, may actually double your risk of obesity!

So much for being a dieter’s best friend… Furthermore, aspartame (rebranded AminoSweet two years ago)—best known under the names of Nutrasweet and Equal—is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined.

The artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium (Acesulfame-K) has been linked to kidney problems, and sucralose—best known as Splenda—has been found to wreak havoc with the healthful bacteria in your gut… All in all, I believe ALL artificial sweeteners are bad news for your health.



Read Full Article Here




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