Tag Archive: Norovirus


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Transmission electron micrograph of Norwalk virus. The white bar = 50 nm

EPA  …Wikipedia.org

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Food Safety News

Raw oysters imported from Korea and sold in bulk to distributors and food establishments in Hawaii are being recalled.The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) said the individually quick frozen (IQF) packaged under the Dai One Food Company label, with shellfish harvest dates of Feb. 10 -13, 2015, with shellfish tags on all shellfish cases are subject to the recall.rawoyster_406x250The department has already conducted product tracebacks and embargoed all of the suspect product on Nov. 24 at various local shellfish distributors and restaurants, said Peter Oshiro.

“Although this product is not sold directly to the public, a recall has been issued as an additional safeguard to further notify anyone who may possess the product that it is unsafe and should be destroyed,” he said.

 

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The Ottawa County Department of Public Health is investigating a gastrointestinal illness outbreak associated with the Wild Chef Japanese Steakhouse Grill and Bar in Holland Township, Michigan, according to WWMT.com. The restaurant closed voluntarily on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 after a number of customers reported becoming ill.

Hibachi

More than 100 cases are associated with the restaurant. Public health officials are investigating, and waiting for lab results to pinpoint what is causing the illness and if a particular food is responsible. Symptoms reported included nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and fever.

 

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Cruise virus outbreak one of worst in 20 years, CDC says

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Bayonne, NJ (John Makely / NBC News)</p><br />
<p>The Explorer of the Seas cruise ship returns to port after hundreds of passengers b...
John Makely / NBC News
The Explorer of the Seas outbreak was caused by norovirus, one of the worst outbreaks in 20 years, the CDC said.The Explorer of the Seas cruise ship returns to port after hundreds of passengers became ill.

Federal health officials confirmed on Friday that norovirus was the culprit that sickened nearly 700 people on a cruise ship this week, and said it was one of the biggest norovirus outbreaks in 20 years.

But the source of the outbreak on the Royal Caribbean ship Explorer of the Seas, which returned early to New Jersey on Wednesday, may never be known, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

“CDC has been investigating the outbreak since last Sunday but no particular source has been identified and it’s quite possible a source won’t be identified,” the CDC said in a statement.

The report comes after passengers streamed off the Caribbean Princess Friday morning, the second cruise cut short this week amid reports of illness on board.

The ship, operated by Princess Cruises, returned to Houston a day early with a confirmed outbreak of norovirus. “The ship was forced to return to Houston one day early because we were informed that dense fog was expected to close the port for much of the weekend,” the company said in a statement.

“The ship did not return early because of the increased incidence of norovirus on board, despite some media reports.”

At least 178 people on board became ill during the cruise, according to the cruise line and the CDC. Sick patients were quarantined to their rooms, and other passengers said they no longer had access to buffet tongs as crew members handed out hand sanitizer.

A man passes the Caribbean Princess cruise ship being used as official accommodation for attendees of the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet...

Toby Melville / Reuters / REUTERS
A man passes the Caribbean Princess cruise ship, which reported an outbreak of norovirus on board.

CDC health officials met the Caribbean Princess at the Bayport Cruise Terminal in Pasadena, Texas. The vessel launched on a seven-day cruise to the western Caribbean on Jan. 25 and had been scheduled to return on Saturday.

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Earth  Watch Report  –  Epidemic Hazards

oriana

Oriana (Photo credit: Captain Smurf)

 

English: Norovirus particles

 

 

 

 

Norovirus Particles

 

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Today Epidemic Netherlands North Holland, [Oriana Crouise Ship (P and O liner), Coastal area] Damage level
Details

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Epidemic in Netherlands on Thursday, 13 December, 2012 at 14:22 (02:22 PM) UTC.


 

Description
Passengers on a luxury cruise where illness has struck said it has been like sailing on a plague ship. Those aboard the P and O liner Oriana on a 10-night Baltic cruise out of Southampton have reported as many as 400 passengers being struck down with the norovirus winter vomiting bug. A spokeswoman for P and O’s parent company Carnival said there had been “an incidence of a mild gastrointestinal illness” among the passengers. She added that as of today, of 1,843 passengers, “the number of passengers with active symptoms is six”. But passenger Paul Gilman, 62, told the Daily Mail: “It has been outrageous from start to finish. People were falling like flies, yet the crew were trying to insist everything was fine. “Everyone is saying, ‘this is a plague ship’. It’s a living nightmare.”

Another passenger, Brian Weston, 67, from the Isle of Wight, told the Daily Mail: “It’s been a shambles from start to finish. Passengers became ill almost immediately we set sail and the outbreak swept like wildfire through the ship. “At one stage there were dozens and dozens of people falling ill, though the ship’s senior officers were trying to play it down.” His wife, Denise, 60, told the newspaper: “A viral specialist who is a passenger told us the ship should not have set sail for 48 hours and should have gone through a deep clean.” Oriana left Southampton on December 4, with passengers paying up to L1,400 for their voyage. The Carnival spokeswoman said today: “Enhanced sanitation protocols have already been implemented to help minimise transmission to other passengers. These comprehensive disinfection protocols have been developed by P and O Cruises in conjunction with UK and US public health authorities. “The safety and comfort of passengers and crew is always our number one priority. “As is currently standard procedure across our fleet, all the ship’s passengers were provided with a precautionary health notice advising of widespread norovirus activity and the health measures to avoid contraction and spread, both on board and while ashore.”

Biohazard name: Norovirus
Biohazard level: 2/4 Medium
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that cause only mild disease to humans, or are difficult to contract via aerosol in a lab setting, such as hepatitis A, B, and C, influenza A, Lyme disease, salmonella, mumps, measles, scrapie, dengue fever, and HIV. “Routine diagnostic work with clinical specimens can be done safely at Biosafety Level 2, using Biosafety Level 2 practices and procedures. Research work (including co-cultivation, virus replication studies, or manipulations involving concentrated virus) can be done in a BSL-2 (P2) facility, using BSL-3 practices and procedures. Virus production activities, including virus concentrations, require a BSL-3 (P3) facility and use of BSL-3 practices and procedures”, see Recommended Biosafety Levels for Infectious Agents.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

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Food Safety Report

Food Safety :  Food Borne Illness

Vomiting virus hits thousands of German children

(AP)—German health authorities say the number of children that have fallen ill with vomiting and diarrhea after eating food from school cafeterias and daycare centers has risen from about 4,500 to 8,400.
Authorities in Berlin and the surrounding eastern German states reported the new gastroenteritis cases Saturday, while laboratory investigations to determine the exact cause of the outbreak were still under way. Berlin’s health department says the sicknesses are moderate and most children recover within two days without requiring to be hospitalized. In Saxony state, at least 16 cases of norovirus, a mostly food- or water-borne illness, were proven, according to German news agency dapd. The government-affiliated Robert Koch Institute said Friday that all facilities where the illness occurred likely received food from a single supplier.

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.

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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.
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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:
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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.

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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.

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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.
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Undeclared Allergen in Chicken and Yam Pies Prompts Recall

Opinion

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

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

Chopped Onions with Possible Listeria Contamination Trigger More Recalls

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

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

Stop & Shop Recalls Calico Bean Salad for Listeria

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

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

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

BBQ Chicken Salad Recalled for Potential Listeria Contamination

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

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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Tyson Chunk Chicken Recalled for Undeclared Allergen

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

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

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

 

 

San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Company Recalls Products

July 29, 2012 By

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

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

Read Full Article Here

Colombian Style Cheese Recalled for Potential Staph Contamination

Same cheese recalled one week earlier for improper pasteurization

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

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

Read Full Article here

 

 

Publix Recalls Sub Sandwiches Made with Gills Onions

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

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

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Spartan Stores Recall Products Containing Gills Onions

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

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

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

Smoked Salmon Recalled for Botulism Potential

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

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

Ken’s Foods Recalls Dressings and Sauces for Possible Listeria

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

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

Read Full Article here

 

 

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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.

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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

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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.

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“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.

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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

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

China Sneaks its Chicken in on Man’s Best Friend

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

by Tony Corbo | Aug 01, 2012
Opinion

The Chinese chicken saga continues…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Government Releases Food Safety Manual for Pregnant Women

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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.

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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

 

 

 

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.
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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.

 

 

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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.
 

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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.
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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.

 

 

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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

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Recalls

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.
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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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. “

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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.

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

 

 

Food Safety

South Carolina Investigating 11 Cases of E. Coli Infection

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

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

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

 

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Another Illness Added to Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Dog Food

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

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

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

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

 

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

Congressional query follows IATP report on distillers grains fed to animals

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Australia Relaxes Code to Permit Some Raw Milk Cheeses

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

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

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

 

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Regulatory Leapfrog is Underway

FSIS Trumps Some Aspects of FDA Regulations and FSMA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Read Full Article Here

 

Under The Sea: Oysters and Norovirus Outbreaks

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

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

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

 

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Organic Pastures Outbreak Is Fifth Raw Milk Outbreak This Year

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

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

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

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

 

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CDC Tracking 5 Overlapping Turtle Salmonella Outbreaks in 27 States

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

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

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

 

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Recalls

 

 

Jonnly Fruits Recalls Several Beverages for Undeclared Milk Derivative

May 12, 2012 By

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

Product details:

 

Read Full Article Here

 

Whole Foods Market Recalls Cupcakes for Undeclared Walnuts

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

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

Product details:

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

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

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

Product details:

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

Read Full Article Here

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Articles of Interest

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

Susan Aarde
Activist Post
plane spraying corexit

© Apalachicola Bay Corexit Poisoning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food Safety

Breakthrough Offers Promise of Improved GMO Testing

Does this food contain genetically modified organisms?
That’s what many consumers, including overseas trading partners, want to know about the food they’re buying.
A prime example of that is the recent initiative in California, dubbed the “Right to Know” campaign, which calls for food manufacturers in the Golden State to identify genetically engineered ingredients on the labels of food products sold in that state.

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With almost as many as 1 million signatures gathered on the petition in time  for the April 22 deadline, organizers predict that the measure will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. (The state requires just over a half million valid signatures for an initiative to qualify to be on the ballot.)
On a global level, 40 countries, including all of Europe, Japan and China, require labeling of foods, or of certain foods, containing GMOs. The U.S. has resisted labeling, and in 1992 the Food and Drug Administration established a policy declaring there is no substantial or material difference between genetically engineered foods and foods that haven’t been genetically engineered.
Sleuthing for GMOs 
The question arises: How in the world do scientists determine if foods contain GMOs?
There are technologies that can do that, of course. But the conventional method, referred to as a PCR system (polymerase chain reaction), has some distinct disadvantages. It requires complex DNA extraction procedures, relatively expensive equipment, and assays that need to be carried out in a laboratory. It has also proven difficult to design cost-effective portable devices for PCR.
In what has been called “a major breakthrough” in GMO detection and monitoring, scientists at Lumora Ltd. in the United Kingdom have developed a method they say is far more practical because it’s simpler, quicker, more precise and less expensive than PCR.
An article about this breakthrough, which uses a combination of two technologies — bioluminescence and isothermal DNA amplification — was recently published in BioMed Central’s open access journal, BMC Biotechnology.
Lumora’s bioluminescence technology, known as BART, uses luciferase, the same enzyme that lights up fireflies  As part of the detection procedure, the luciferase is coupled to DNA detection so as to light up when it detects specific DNA and RNA sequences. By using DNA signals that are specific to genetically modified crops, the system can detect even low levels of contamination.
Lumora CEO Laurence Tisi told Food Safety News that compared to a lab-based PCR system, “Lumora’s hardware is probably a lot less than 1/10 the cost.”
He also said that Lumora’s new system can detect even very low levels of GMO ingredients.
Another advantage of this technology is that GMO detection can be done out in the field as well as in a food processing center.
As such, it may offer the advantage of being a “field-ready” solution for monitoring genetically modified crops and their interaction with wild plants or non-GM crops, as well as in food processing facilities.
Tisi said that the technology detects DNA and because all plants have DNA, it can detect GMO from any plants.
This comes as good news for those who want, or require, labeling for genetically engineered crops or for processed foods that contain genetically engineered crops. While genetically modified foods may be relatively safe by science-based approaches to risk assessment, the issue of labeling GMO foods is about public confidence and also about market protection.
Tisi said that people want to know what they are eating, for all sorts of reasons. Being able to assess where their food comes from from has value to consumers, buyers and others, he said, since it means “they can be confident they are getting what they pay for.”
He pointed out that where there are regulations on food labeling, the producers need to be sure that their products comply with regulations. This varies from country to country, but in order to be able to state that a crop is non-GMO it is necessary to show that less than a certain percentage of the product contains any GMOs. In the European Union, for example, that percentage is 0.9 percent.
Lumora’s new technology can recognize GM presence as low as 0.1 percent in corn.
“In fact,” Tisi said, “there are DNA signatures in plants that can even tell you what variety the crop is and sometimes even where it came from.”
The work that Lumora has done on GMO detection was part of a much bigger EU-wide consortium known as Co-Extra, a project that looks at the co-existence and traceability of genetically modified crops.
“This project came to be as a direct consequence of the desire to better regulate GMO material in the EU,”  Tisi said.

Read Full Article Here

How to Minimize Risk When it Comes to Imports

Opinion
As a result of major recalls in recent years, the FDA has stepped up its inspection of imports at the time of entry.  There are many things that the supplier and importer can do to minimize the risk of a detention – or even worse – a refusal of a shipment.
Bioterrorism Act

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It is important that both the supplier and importer have an FDA Registration Number if they manufacture, pack, process or hold foods or beverages for consumption.
The newly enacted Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will expand on these requirements.  First and foremost, the registration will have to be updated every two years in the last quarter of every “round” year.  The first update or renewal is scheduled for the fall of this year.
The foreign supplier must also be sure to submit a Prior Notice before shipping the product to the US.  The FDA has established timeframes that must be followed in order to avoid a problem for a missing notification.  NOTE:  This is in addition to Customs requirements already in place.
These are the only FDA requirements that also include alcoholic beverages although these products still fall under the jurisdiction of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau.
No FDA Label Approval Process and Preventing Detentions

Oysters At New Orleans Restaurant Cause Norovirus

Fourteen people became ill with norovirus after eating Gulf oysters at a New Orleans area restaurant on April 28 and 29, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) announced Tuesday.
As a result, DHH has closed a key harvesting area on the Gulf coast west of the Mississippi River and recalled oysters harvested from those areas since April 26.  The recall includes all shucked, frozen, breaded, post-harvest processed oysters and oysters for the half shell market.
None of the 14 illnesses was life threatening and none required hospitalization.
oysters-halfplate-406-thumb-240x240-13785.jpgEpidemiologists and sanitarians from DHH traced the outbreak to Louisiana oysters from harvest area 23 consumed at the same restaurant.
The illnesses came on during the first weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest, annually one of the largest musical events in the U.S., which brings  thousands of visitors to the Crescent City.
Norovirus causes what many call “stomach flu,” or vomiting and diarrhea. Norovirus usually begins 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the fecal organisms. Symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping.
Sometimes people also have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a general sense of tiredness. The illness is usually brief, with symptoms lasting a day or two. People can get norovirus several ways, including eating foods or drinking liquids that are contaminated by infected food handlers.

Exploring the Link Between Animal Health and Food Safety

There’s growing pressure for animal agriculture to change its practices, whether it be utilizing gestation crates or feeding antibiotics, but a new paper cautions that these changes may negatively impact food safety.

pigs-inhumane-350.jpgThe discussion paper released by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology — a research group that includes the Farm Bureau and the American Veterinary Medical Association —  this week identified some of the factors now being discussed that impact animal health, including: antibiotic use, economies of scale, housing, local production and sustainability.

Scientists have long known there is a link between animal health, stress levels and pathogen shedding, but as CAST and others have noted, more research is needed.

“In addition to overtly ill animals, there is a growing body of evidence showing that chronically, previously, and not visibly ill animals are more likely to be contaminated with foodborne pathogens after processing in the abattoir (slaughterhouse),” the researchers write. “These animals, however, may go unnoticed during antemortem (live animal) inspection, and thus questions arise concerning the potential impacts of these animals entering the food supply on public health risk from foodborne pathogens.”

The paper discusses past research that has found animals under stress or sick for a long period of time are more likely to carry key foodborne pathogens, especially Salmonella. Studies have also shown that animals with abscesses or “other significant lesions” that need extra trimming have a greater chance of being cross-contaminated because of the extra handling required.

Many of the buzzwords being discussed in the food movement, and by an increasing number of consumers: “organic,” “all natural,” “antibiotic-free,” or “pastured” have direct animal health implications — many sustainable food advocates argue that these changes lead to healthier animals. But CAST gives some examples of how these methods could have the opposite effect.

Read Full Article Here

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Recalls

Diamond Pet Foods Salmonella Outbreak and Recall – Food Safety News Consumer Alert

Published on May 9, 2012 by

Complete list of recalled pet food products:
http://efoodalert.net/diamond-pet-foods-etc-recalls-2012/

Latest outbreak information:
http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/dog-food-05-12/index.html

Diamond Pet Foods recall notice:
http://www.diamondpet.com/information/

How to report a pet food complaint:
http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm…

For continued recall coverage:
http://www.foodsafetynews.com

At least 14 people in 9 states have fallen ill in a Salmonella outbreak linked to several brands of dry pet food made by Diamond Pet Foods at a facility in Gaston, South Carolina.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation the cause of the contamination, Diamond Pet Foods has issued a recall of 14 brands of pet food formulas manufactured between December 9, 2011 and April 7, 2012.

Those brands include:

– Natural Balance
– Kirkland Signature
– Diamond
– Diamond Naturals
– Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
– Premium Edge
– Professional
– 4Health
– Taste of the Wild
– Country Value
– Canidae
– Solid Gold
– Apex
– Wellness Complete (puppy chow)

Humans can contract Salmonella from contaminated dog food by handling tainted kibble or having contact with a pet that has eaten it. Health officials recommend always washing your hands after handling pet food or pets, especially if you plan to handle food or feed children.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said there have been no confirmed pet illnesses because it is very rare for pets’ stool samples to be tested for gastrointestinal bacteria such as Salmonella. The FDA, however, has received an unspecified number of complaints from pet owners about sickened dogs and cats.

Pet owners are advised to check their pet food for recalled products and to not feed recalled food to pets or handle it themselves.

According to the FDA, pets with Salmonella infection may appear lethargic and have diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will only have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

If your pet shows signs of Salmonella infection, contact your veterinarian.

 

 

Q&A on the Diamond Pet Foods Recall and Salmonella Outbreak

Routine tests on dry dog food revealed the outbreak of human illnesses that so far has sickened at least 15 people in nine states and in Canada, and led to a huge recall of dry dog food sold under various brand names but all manufactured at Diamond Pets Food production plant in Gaston, SC.

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Here are some questions and answers about the recall and outbreak.
How many people are sick?
As of May 3, at least 14 people in the U.S. were infected with the same strain of Salmonella Infantis that was found in samples of dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods’ manufacturing plant in Gaston, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five of the U.S. outbreak victims required hospitalization. Canada reports one outbreak-related case in Quebec.
However, most foodborne illnesses occur in individuals who are not part of recognized outbreaks because they have not sought medical care or submitted a specimen for laboratory testing, so likely there are more people sick in this outbreak. For every confirmed case of Salmonella poisoning in an outbreak, the CDC estimates 29 others go unreported.

Solid Gold Health Products for Pets Recalls Dog Food for Potential Salmonella

May 8, 2012 By

Solid Gold Health Products for Pets, Inc of California is recalling two batches of dry dog food for possible Salmonella contamination. The products were made at the facility linked to the recent recalls of Diamond Pet Foods.

Product details:

  • Solid Gold WolfCub Large Breed Puppy Food
    • 4 pound with UPC number 093766750005
    • 15 pound with UPC number 093766750012
    • 33 pound with UPC number 093766750029
    • Best Before date of December 30, 2012
    • Batch code starting with SGB1201A31X
  • Solid Gold WolfKing Large Breed Adult Dog Food
    • 4 pound with UPC number 093766750050
    • 15 pound with UPC number 093766750067
    • 28.5 pound with UPC number 093766750081
    • Best Before date of December 30, 2012
    • Batch code starting with SGL1201A32X

The Best Before dates can be found on the back of the bag in the bottom right-hand corner of the 33 pound, 28.5 pound, and 15 pound bags, and the bottom of the 4 pound bags. If you have questions, call 1-800-364-4863 Monday through Friday from 8:00 am through 5:00 pm PST.

More Frozen Tuna from India Recalled Due to Salmonella Risk

The company in India that supplied the yellowfin tuna implicated in the multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to sushi is recalling 22-lb. cases of frozen tuna strips because they, too, may be contaminated with Salmonella.

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In a news release Wednesday, Moon Fishery (India) Pvt. Ltd. said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration isolated Salmonella in a sample of tuna strips that had not yet been distributed.
As a cautionary measure, according to the company, it agreed to recall frozen tuna strips that had already been shipped, although it said none of those shipments “is from the suspect lot sampled by the FDA.”
The recalled tuna strips were shipped to four wholesalers in Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, Moon India said. Originally packaged in white boxes with black writing naming the importer as Moon Marine USA Corporation, a separate and independent company, the recalled frozen raw yellow tuna fin was identified as Tuna Strips AA or AAA, Product of India. The boxes contained several vacuum-wrapped packages with no further labeling.

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Articles of Interest

Atypical BSE Has Never Led To Human vCJD – But Could It?

There is good news and bad news about the “L-type” atypical mad cow phenotype, found in the nearly 11-year-old, dead dairy cow discovered two weeks ago in California.

milk-cow-350.jpg

The good news is no human has ever contracted variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) disease from cattle infected with atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).   vCJD is the human version of mad cow disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disorder.
The bad news is peer-reviewed findings by French neuroscientist Thierry Baron published in the January edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases indicate it is too soon to say incidents like the California cow are just a spontaneous cases. Baron found mouse lemurs may contract L-type BSE more easily than the classic version.
But with prion researchers around the world working on the topic, that likely will not be the last word. Spontaneous vCJD occurs in humans in about one in one million cases.
Dr. Michael Hansen, a Consumers Union scientist who has long tracked mad cow disease, thinks there is a possibility L-type BSE is “not necessarily a spontaneous case.”
Hansen, speaking for CU last week, called upon USDA to adopt the following steps in the wake of the atypical BSE finding in a non-ambulatory cow:
– Increase the BSE surveillance program beyond the current 40,000 tests annually that Hansen calls “very small” but USDA says is 10 times more than required by world standards.
– Allow private companies to test for BSE at their own expense. Federal courts have said USDA has power over BSE tests and so far it has blocked private testing.
– Prohibit the use of poultry litter for feed, because birds may have consumed agents harboring the infectious mad cow agent, and prohibit cow blood as a milk replacer for weaning calves.  USDA has not seen either practice as high risk.
USDA officials have said, over and over, during the past week that a system of interlocking defenses they’ve erected to combat BSE is working.   Among these are:
– Removal of specified risk materials, meaning those parts of the animal that would contain BSE if the animal had the disease. These include brain, spinal cord and digestive tracts.
– The ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban that has been in effect since 1997.
– The BSE surveillance program, which includes those 40,000 tests a year, many conducted at targeted places like the rendering transfer station in Hanford, CA where the cow infected with atypical mad cow was found.
Until recently, many prion researchers believed the L-type BSE strain is probably not posing a danger to human because it is so rare people are typically not exposed to it.
But the University of Edinburgh’s Rona Barron, a molecular biologist, has recently found that the L-type prion has a harder time infecting normal human brain protein.
There are actually two atypical BSE phenotypes, L and K. They are classified according to high and low molecular mass. Classic BSE (C-type) is thought to stem from food chain contamination by a single prion strain.

Read Full Article Here

 

A Sow’s Life May Be Improving; But Pigs Still Abused

In two separate events, Safeway this week promised to phase out the use of sow gestation crates, while a new undercover video surfaced in Wyoming pointing to animal cruelty by a pork supplier.

pig-barred-iphone.jpg

Employees at Wyoming Premium Farms — a supplier to Tyson, albeit a small one — were seen on the videotape and in photos hitting, kicking, throwing and dragging pigs.
“I am sickened and outraged by what I’ve seen, and any right-thinking person will have the same reaction,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the U.S.
Denver-based Itoham America Inc., subsidiary of a Japanese company, was reported to be the owner of Wyoming Premium Farms,  which is located about 150 miles north of Denver in Wheatland, WY. However, a Denver television station said that company filed dissolution papers with the Colorado Secretary of State on April 6.
The company is believed to be the target of an investigation into animal cruelty by the Platte County Sheriff. Tyson said Wyoming Premium does not provide pork used in its regular processing business.
Meanwhile this week, the retail giant Safeway announced it was going to “give preferences to pork suppliers who phase out individual sow housing,” or so-called gestation crates, that keep sows in a tight space for most of their lives.
“We hope that Safeway’s announcement will send a strong signal to the pork industry that confining pigs in crates so small they cannot even turn around or lie down comfortably is blatant animal abuse that will not be tolerated by socially responsible grocers,” said Mercy for Animals’ Nathan Runkle.
Last year, Iowa Select Farms, a Safeway pork supplier, was the target of an undercover video showing animal cruelty at that facility.

The Case of the Contaminated, Reusable Grocery Bag

How Oregon epidemiologists solved a norovirus mystery

Oregon state senior epidemiologist William Keene is a fan of Berton Roueché, whose books, like Eleven Blue Men, revealed the whodunnit work of epidemiology.

reusable-grocery-bag-iphone.jpg

Now Keene, of the Oregon Public Health Division, and fellow sleuth Kimberly Repp, of Oregon Health and Sciences University, have cracked a case and told a real-life detective tale worthy of Roueché.
Writing in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, available here online, Keene and Repp explain how in October, 2010, a group of Oregon soccer players, 13 and 14 years old, and some adult chaperones, came down with norovirus during a tournament in Washington state.
One of the girls apparently was infected prior to the trip, and began vomiting and suffering bouts of diarrhea late Saturday in the chaperone’s hotel bathroom. The girl, who had no contact with her teammates after she became ill, was driven home in the morning.
But a reusable grocery bag filled with snacks — packaged cookies, chips and grapes — had been in the bathroom. The rest of the group ate that food during a Sunday lunch, and other members of the team were ill by Tuesday after they had returned to Oregon.
In investigating the outbreak, Keene and Repp found no connections to any other norovirus illnesses at the team’s hotel, the tournament, or the restaurants where they had eaten. It wasn’t until they learned about the bag in the bathroom that a “coherent story” emerged, Keene and Repp wrote.
Two weeks later, matching viruses were found on the sides of the bag.
Although the first sick girl said she did not touch the grocery bag, Keene and Repp theorize that the viruses had aerosolized in the bathroom and settled on the sack and the food items inside.
“What this report does is it helps raise awareness of the complex and indirect way that norovirus can spread,” said Aron Hall, DVM, MSPH, with the Division of Viral Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in an accompanying editorial. And in what could be a blurb for a Roueché-style book, Hall adds that the study authors provide “a fascinating example of how a unique exposure and transmission scenario can result in a norovirus outbreak.”

Why I Am Not Attending or Watching ‘Weight of the Nation’

Opinion
The national hysteria over obesity has reached a crescendo this week, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosts the conference, “Weight of the Nation” in Washington, DC. If you couldn’t make it, no worries, more fear-mongering is on the way in a four-part mini-series on HBO to air next week. The show of the same name is produced in coordination with several federal government agencies. The trailer alone almost brought me to tears, seeing all the awful stereotypes of fat people.

weight-of-the-nation-275.jpg

As I wrote in my book, focusing on obesity is problematic for many reasons. One, it ensures the focus stays on the individual, instead of the food industry. What do you think when you see a fat person? That it’s their fault, they just need to eat better and exercise more. Granted, my public health colleagues are trying to change this conversation to one of the “environment” (far too apolitical a word) but as long as we keep talking about obesity, the framing is all about individual behavior change.
Next, scientific evidence shows that fat people have enough problems dealing with discrimination, bullying, etc, and the last thing they need is more hate brought to you by the federal government and cable television. All the images I have seen coming from news accounts of the conference are negative. Even while the headlines may attempt to reframe from blame and shame, the images do not. For example, this Reuters story headline reads “Obesity fight must shift from personal blame-U.S. panel” but the image is of a fat person. Journalists take note: you are adding to the problem of bias and shame by using these images. (Recently, I wrote an article for the UK Guardian about PepsiCo and they wanted to run it with an image of a fat person. I insisted they change it and thankfully they did.)
Finally, obsessing over obesity is a great gift to the food industry because this is a problem food companies can supposedly help fix. They can market healthier foods! They can help fund playgrounds and exercise programs! Indeed, the big announcement coming out of the CDC event yesterday was how the first lady’s Let’s Move program has its newest corporate partner in the frozen vegetable company, Birds Eye, which is launching a marketing campaign to encourage kids to eat their veggies. Problem solved, thanks Birds Eye. Never mind all that junk food marketing to kids, which Let’s Move ignores. (If you missed it, this recent excellent Reuters investigation explains the food industry politics at play.)

Tuna Salmonella Lawsuit Filed in Boston, MA by National Food Safety Law Firm

May 9, 2012 By

A resident of Malden, Massachusetts is fighting a severe Salmonella Bareilly infection as a result of eating a spicy tuna roll that was part of the nationwide outbreak linked to raw tuna scrape imported by Moon Marine USA Corporation. A lawsuit has been filed on that patient’s behalf by Pritzker Salmonella lawyers in United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, Boston Division (case number 1:12-cv-10819-RGS) against Moon Marine USA.

More than 258 people have been sickened in this outbreak by two bacteria, Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga. The outbreak strain of bacteria has been linked to the raw tuna imported from India called “Nakaochi Scrape” by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), the gold standard in epidemiology. Since these bacteria do not naturally occur in tuna, contamination most likely occurred during processing or shipment.

According to the complaint, the victim ate a spicy tuna roll at the Thelonious Monkfish restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 26, 2012. Two days later, she began to suffer severe gastroenteritis symptoms and sought medical treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital.

A stool sample tested positive for Salmonella Bareilly. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health conducted PFGE tests and found it to be a match to the Salmonella Bareilly outbreak cluster. Since that first positive stool sample, all of her samples have tested positive for Salmonella Bareilly, so she has been unable to legally return to work.

 

Read Full Article Here

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

Health

Dangerous Games Your Kids Should Avoid

Risks of the ‘cinnamon challenge’ and other games can include choking, lung collapse, and even death

A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but a spoonful of cinnamon… that’s an entirely different story.

It sounds like something you’d see on the television show, Iron Chef, only the seemingly innocent “cinnamon challenge” poses an alarming number of risks for kids and teens who take it on. (The goal: to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon without washing it down with water.) Over the past few months, emergency rooms and poison control centers across the country have been flooded with calls from panicked parents and concerned school nurses about this prevalent trend….

Read Full Article Here

More Than 1 in 5 Children Could be Obese by 2020

Without reducing consumption, more than one in five children will be obese by 2020

TUESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) — American youngsters have a long way to go to reach new goals for a lower childhood obesity rate, a new study shows.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set a goal of reducing the childhood obesity rate to 14.6 percent by 2020, and to do so children aged 2 to 19 would need to eliminate an average of 64 calories a day.

Without this reduction in calorie intake, the average child or teen would be nearly 4 pounds heavier in 2020 than a child of the same age in 2007. In addition, more than 20 percent of youth would be obese, up from 16.9 percent currently.

The last time the childhood obesity rate in the United States was 14.6 percent was in 2002.

“Sixty-four calories may not sound like much individually, but it’s quite a consequential number at the population level, and children at greatest risk for obesity face an even larger barrier,” study author Dr. Y. Claire Wang, an assistant professor of health policy and management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, said in a university news release…..

Read Full Article Here

Mystery sapovirus strikes nursing homes, new tests reveal

Dr. Charles Humphrey, CDC

Sapovirus, previously regarded as rare, is showing up more often as the nasty culprit between outbreaks gastrointestinal illness in nursing homes.

By JoNel Aleccia

For sheer misery, few germs can cause the chaos of norovirus in a nursing home.  The gut bug can spread rapidly through food, on surfaces or person-to-person, afflicting victims with violent diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain.

About 20 million people suffer from acute norovirus infections in the U.S. each year, health officials say, but new research suggests that the nasty germ has an equally cruddy but little-known cousin: sapovirus.

Health researchers in Oregon and Minnesota have discovered that once-rare sapovirus may be more common than thought and, worse, on the rise, particularly in nursing homes and long-term care centers….

Read Full Article Here

Out-of-whack sleep habits can cause diabetes

 By Robert Bazell
Chief Science and Medical Correspondent
NBC News

How hard is shift work on a worker’s body?

Research out Wednesday from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston demonstrates very precisely the way fighting the body’s natural sleep patterns can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

More than 21 million Americans are “shift workers,” according to U.S. Census figures. That is, they labor during the hours that most of us set aside for rest or sleep, either all or part of the time. That number is increasing 3 percent a year because of the nature of our service economy and the need for ever more people to take whatever work they can.

The sleep research team at Brigham and Women’s, under the direction of Dr. Charles Czeisler, has spent decades documenting how shift work can lead to increased obesity, heart disease, diabetes and many other health problems. In this latest research in their sleep lab they show how one mechanism creates the risk….

Read Full Article Here

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Holistic Health

The 5 best natural antibiotics and anti-virals that destroy superbugs and just about everything else

By JB Bardot,


(NaturalNews) Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the antibacterial power of the mold Penicillium notatum in 1928. Even though it was a natural healing agent effective in destroying Staphylococcus aureus and other noxious bacteria, the pharmaceutical industry got hold of nature’s bounty and it became — along with multiple other Big Pharma inventions — the nightmare of modern antibiotics, causing as many problems for mankind as they were supposed to help. Because of the overuse of antibiotics, super…

Ammonium hydroxide, health effects of “pink slime”

By Dr. Daniel Zagst,
(NaturalNews) Awareness of “pink slime” in the schools, restaurants, and supermarkets has caused quite a stir in recent days. BPI, a leading manufacturer of the stuff has subsequently shut down all but 1 of their factories. There are still slime burgers out there and BPI refuses to disclose their consumers. If it’s not the process of stripping the scraps, melting them, and spinning them that worries consumers, then it should be the ammonia gas! Effects of the gas chamber Consumers are told by the…

The anti-cancer medicine in broccoli (DIM nutrients) isn’t released until you chew them to combine two phytochemicals

By Mike Adams,
(NaturalNews) Broccoli and related vegetables such as cabbage and Brussels sprouts naturally contain a chemical known as glucobrassicin. When these vegetables are crushed by chewing, a chemical reaction transforms glucobrassicin into indole-3-carbinol (I3C). In laboratory studies, I3C has been found to have tumor-suppressing effects, which may partially explain broccoli’s cancer-fighting properties. But the story doesn’t end there: When broccoli is digested, two molecules of I3C combine to form…

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Pet Health

Breathing Difficulties in Dogs

Dyspnea, Tachypnea and Panting in Dogs

Troubled or labored breathing is medically referred to as dyspnea, and excessively rapid breathing is medically referred to as tachypnea (also, polypnea). The respiratory system has many parts, including the nose, throat (pharynx and larynx), windpipe, and lungs. Air comes in through the nose and is then carried down into the lungs, through a process referred to as inspiration. In the lungs, the oxygen is transferred to the red blood cells. The red blood cells then carry the oxygen to other organs in the body. This is all part of the physical process of a healthy body.

While oxygen is being transferred to the red blood cells, carbon dioxide is transferred from the red blood cells into the lungs. It is then carried out through the nose through a process referred to as expiration. This cyclic motion of breathing is controlled by the respiratory center in the brain and nerves in the chest. Diseases that affect the respiratory system, or the respiratory center in the brain, can bring about breathing difficulties. Troubled or labored breathing is medically referred to as dyspnea, and excessively rapid breathing is medically referred to as tachypnea (also, polypnea).

Breathing difficulties can affect dogs of any breed or age, and the problem can quickly become life threatening. If your dog is having problems with breathing it should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible…..

Read Full Article Here

Common Fleas that Affect Dogs and Cats

Siphonaptera Species that Affect Dogs and Cats

By Jennifer Kvamme, DVM

You are probably aware of the fact that fleas are the most common (and annoying) type of pest, responsible for the discomfort of our dogs and cats (and us). But did you know that there are over 2,000 species of fleas that exist around the world, and that there are more than 300 of these varieties that live in North America alone?

These small, wingless, blood-sucking insects belong to the order Siphonaptera, so named because of their siphon-like mouthparts. All variations of flea species tend to live in their own groups, and do not mix or breed outside of their species.

 

The different species all have a particular kind of host animal that they prefer to feed from over all others. However, while they may prefer a dog to a cat, most fleas will take blood from any animal that’s available (even a human) if they can’t find their preferred meal. Here we will discuss some of the most common flea species that you may find feeding from your pet.

Read Full Article Here

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Positivity Mind and Body

Wayne Dyer How To Get What You Really Want, Part 1 – 13


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Articles of Interest


Ron Paul admits in speech to public that the FDA And Big Pharma ‘are in bed together’

By NaturalNews,
(NaturalNews) Ron Paul makes a groundbreaking admission to the public on tape – that the FDA and Big Pharma are indeed “in bed together,” both building up their monopolies and only interested in making more money. The Republican presidential candidate confirms that the corrupt corporations are running the show, that the FDA is doing more harm than good and many other eye-opening admittances.
http://www.naturalnews.tv/e.asp?v=E422FE9A5D1E2C455393C681BB0E1D80&s=1

Proposed ‘Natural Health Products Bill’ in New Zealand would fine individuals $50,000 for making a cup of unapproved herbal tea

By Ethan A. Huff, April 10 2012
(NaturalNews) The health freedom of New Zealanders is under very serious threat, as the federal government there pushes to pass a bill known as the Natural Health Products Bill (NHPB), or Bill 324-1, that will bring the nation into compliance with the overbearing and authoritarian food and health restrictions found in Codex Alimentarius, the so-called world food code. If passed, NHPB will combine with the equally-threatening New Zealand Food Bill (http://www.naturalnews.com) to make it essentially…

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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.]