Food Safety

 

 

 

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

June 1, 2012 By

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

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

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

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

 

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Plant Linked To Salmonella Outbreak, Lawsuit Violated Food Safety Codes

June 1, 2012 By

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

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

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

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

Lack of hand washing facilities at needed locations.

Poorly maintained equipment that may provide harbor for bacteria.

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

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

 

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Recalls

 

 

Black & Decker Coffeemakers Recalled for Injury Hazard

June 1, 2012 By

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

Product details:

 

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Pork Rolls Recalled for Undeclared Allergen

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

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

Pork Product Recalled for Potential Listeria Contamination

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

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

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

 

Articles of Interest

 

 

 

Facts About Food Poisoning and the Law

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

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

Food Safety Laws

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

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

The Science of Epidemiology

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

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

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

 

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Letter From The Editor: Sugar

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

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

 

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