Tag Archive: Salmonella enteritidis

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Food Safety News

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, that Aspen Foods of Chicago is recalling approximately 561,000 pounds of frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken products that appear to be ready-to-eat and may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis.

Production codes and descriptions of the recalled products are at the bottom of this page.

Antioch Farms Chicken a la KievThis recall expands the earlier Aspen Foods recall from July 15, 2015, to include additional products sold under 19 different brands.

The FSIS announcement stated that, after further analysis, Aspen Foods chose to recall the products “in an effort to prevent additional illness.”

The frozen, raw, stuffed, and breaded chicken items that appear to be ready-to-eat (RTE) were produced between Aug. 25, 2015, and Sept. 17, 2015, with “best if used by” dates of Aug. 23, 2016, to Dec. 15, 2016.

To view a full list of products recalled as part of this expansion that are not ready-to-eat, click here. To view a full list of products recalled as part of this expansion that are part of a variety pack, click here.

The 19 brands associated with this recall expansion include:

  • Acclaim
  • Antioch Farms
  • Buckley Farms
  • Centrella Signature
  • Chestnut Farms
  • Family Favorites
  • Home Dining Selections
  • Kirkwood
  • Koch Foods
  • Market Day
  • Oven Cravers
  • Rose
  • Rosebud Farm
  • Roundy’s
  • Safeway Kitchens
  • Schwan’s
  • Shaner’s
  • Spartan
  • Sysco

Following the original recall on July 15, 2015, FSIS conducted intensified sampling at this establishment to ensure that the hazard responsible for the initial contamination had been controlled by Aspen Foods.


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Food Safety

The Vilsacks May Disagree on USDA Plan to Revamp Poultry Inspection

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Iowa congressional candidate Christie Vilsack, who have been married for almost 40 years, are publicly at odds over a controversial plan to expand a semi-privatized poultry inspection model.

chicken-carcass-350.jpgThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has proposed a rule to broadly expand the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP), which limits the number of FSIS inspectors on duty and largely turns over physical inspections to company employees while allowing plants to speed up their lines to 175 birds per minute, over the current 140 bpm limit.

FSIS says the proposal will modernize an outdated inspection system, save taxpayers around $90 million over three years, and prevent 5,200 foodborne illnesses each year. The industry is also strongly in favor of the proposal, which USDA estimates would save poultry processors more than $250 million annually.

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Tainted Dog Food Sickens 14 People

Salmonella in Diamond Pet Foods

Fourteen people have been sickened with Salmonella Infantis infections in a 9-state outbreak linked to dog food.  At least five of the individuals have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The CDC reported Thursday that multiple brands of Diamond Pet Foods dry dog food – including several that have been recalled in recent days – are the likely source of the human illnesses, either through contact with the contaminated food or through handling an animal that has eaten the tainted kibble. The dog food was produced at a single manufacturing plant in South Carolina.
How many dogs may have been sickened was not mentioned in the CDC report. In some recall notices, Diamond Pet Foods has claimed that no dog illnesses have been reported. Those recall alerts from the company did not reveal that human cases of infection were being investigated.
According to the CDC, routine tests by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development first detected Salmonella in an unopened bag of Diamond Pet Foods Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food on April 2.

Human genes engineered into experimental GMO rice being grown in Kansas

By Ethan A. Huff,
(NaturalNews) Unless the rice you buy is certified organic, or comes specifically from a farm that tests its rice crops for genetically modified (GM) traits, you could be eating rice tainted with actual human genes. The only known GMO with inbred human traits in cultivation today, a GM rice product made by biotechnology company Ventria Bioscience is currently being grown on 3,200 acres in Junction City, Kansas — and possibly elsewhere — and most people have no idea about it. Since about 2006…



Figi’s Inc Recalling Lemon Bar Bliss for Undeclared Nuts

May 4, 2012 By

Figi’s Inc of Wisconsin is recalling 51 units of Lemon Bar Bliss because it contains undeclared almonds. These tree nuts can be life-threatening if someone allergic to them eats this product. The packaging inadvertently excluded the tree nut mention.

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H-E-B Recalls Asian Ready-to-Eat Meals for Possible Undercooked Chicken

May 4, 2012 By

H-E-B has issued a voluntary recall for some Asian Ready-to-Eat meals because the chicken may be undercooked. There have been no illnesses related to this recall. Undercooked chicken may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. The problem was discovered by a customer complaint. This recall covers any product sold before 5/3/12.

These meals were sold in 40 stores in Texas at the Grab ‘N Go section in H-E-B delis. The products are available in 4-ounce, 8-ounce, 12-ounce, and 24-ounce black plastic containers with a clear lid. The UPC code is on the white stick placed on the seam of the product container.

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Articles of Interest

Lawsuit Filed Against North Carolina Restaurant

Plaintiff Alleges Eggs Benedict Made Him Ill

A North Carolina man, one of more than 10 people sickened with Salmonella infections, has filed a lawsuit against the Charlotte restaurant whose Eggs Benedict he alleges made him ill.


The complaint against the restaurant, Toast of Dilworth, was filed this week in Mecklenburg County Superior Court by the Seattle food safety law firm Marler Clark on behalf of Charlotte resident Bryan McWherter.  (Marler Clark is the sponsor of Food Safety News.)
According to the complaint, approximately 12 hours after eating at Toast of Dilworth on March 25, 2012,  McWherter became ill with a gastrointestinal symptoms, which worsened over the next several days. He sought medical treatment on March 27, but continued to suffer from severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea for the next 10 days.
Tests of a stool specimen collected were later returned with positive results for Salmonella enteritidis.

Reprieve from Criminal Prosecutions May Be Ending for Food Execs

Odwalla Inc., now part of Coca-Cola, paid $1.5 million after pleading guilty to 16 misdemeanors stemming from an outbreak of E. coli infection caused by unpasteurized apple juice that killed a child and sickened dozens of others in 1996.


And Sara Lee Corporation pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge and agreed to pay $4.4 million in civil and criminal penalties for producing and distributing contaminated hotdogs and deli meats in 2001, causing 15 deaths.
But those responsible for the big foodborne outbreaks since then — the ones causing multiple injuries and deaths — have skated, seemingly not drawing or keeping the attention of federal prosecutors.
Atlanta attorney William H. Kitchens, whose practice focuses on food and drug law and government investigations at the law firm of Arnall Golden Gregory, says the lack of recent prosecutions for major food safety issues “is an enigma.”
Eric F. Greenberg, a Chicago-based food and drug lawyer in private practice, agrees there’s been a scarcity of criminal prosecutions.
“You’d have to ask FDA precisely why its use of the criminal prosecution tool is relatively rare,” Greenberg says, “though it’s easy to surmise that part of the reason is that it’s so resource-intensive.  They may believe they get substantial benefit (persuading companies to comply voluntarily) just from the threat of possible prosecution standing behind them.”
Still, some of the apparent decisions not to light the criminal fuse are puzzling.
“For example,” Kitchens told Food Safety News, “I do not understand the failure to prosecute the Peanut Corporation of American and its CEO unless there are some major issues with the evidence needed to support such a case.
“I have no independent knowledge about this case, but based on the public information available, it’s puzzling why an indictment has not been issued by now.”
The national Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak involving Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) occurred in late 2008 and early 2009, ending with 714 illnesses and nine deaths in 46 states and Canada.
At the time, FBI agents swept in to execute search warrants at PCA plants in Georgia and Texas. Shortly afterwards, Congressional investigators said PCA executives had knowingly shipped peanut butter they knew was contaminated. But there’s been nothing more on the case from official sources for more than three years.
Given the lack of recent criminal prosecutions in major outbreaks of foodborne illness, some might think the law’s big sticks are not being used to secure food safety. Kitchens says such a conclusion would be a mistake.
“I believe the most significant contributing factor is that FDA is part of HHS (Health and Human Services) and does not have the independent ability to bring its own enforcement actions in federal court,” explains Kitchens.  “FDA must rely on the Department of Justice to bring actions in federal court, and DOJ has its own priorities regarding how best to deploy the government’s enforcement resources.”
Kitchens says for DOJ career prosecutors, food safety violations may offer “less attractive returns” than “money-maker” targets such as health care fraud.
And more use of federal criminal law, not less, could be in the works. But it’s a slow and complicated process, and requires dialing back two years ago to when Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told Congress her Office of Criminal Investigation (OCI) would begin using federal misdemeanor prosecutions to hold corporate officials responsible for food and drug safety.
That announcement might have surprised some, but not FDA compliance attorneys, who knew the Department of Justice (DOJ) was working to bring back what are called “Park doctrine” prosecutions.
The doctrine allows the government to charge senior executives with federal misdemeanors without showing they had any intent to commit crimes. The tactic — used on and off for about 40 years — was employed recently to jail three executives in a medical device case that involved three fatalities.
Hamburg said FDA’s senior leadership recommended OCI increase “the appropriate use of misdemeanor prosecutions, a valuable enforcement tool, to hold corporate officials accountable.”
While the last two years have not produced much evidence that FDA is going after corporate executives for food safety violations, experts like Kitchens and Greenberg say it may be happening.
“I think it would be foolish not to expect it, given that FDA officials’ suggestions that they might dust it off was new and different from their past statements, “Greenberg said.
“FDA rarely uses its criminal prosecution power regarding food violations, and even more rare over the years has been the misdemeanor prosecution — essentially prosecuting a company head and a company for unintentional violations,” Greenberg said.
It would be quite a change for FDA to do so.  “Indeed,” Kitchens says, “that promise must be viewed in light of FDA’s history of reserving criminal prosecutions only for gross violations, and cases where the violations are life-threatening or those where injuries or death have already occurred.”
Not having to prove intent in order to punish executives with jail time and fines sounds like an advantage for the government, but there is a down side.  “Such a case has some built-in disadvantages in terms of appeal to the jury, which may be a reason it (a Park plea) is not used much,” Greenberg says.
Still he always explains to his new clients “the potential is there for criminal penalties, even in the absence of intentional fraud or other misconduct.”
“No mater how rarely FDA uses that power, you just can’t explain the framework of the law accurately without discussing it,” Greenberg adds.
Whether or not the two-year-old policy announcement is being implemented gets complicated because the FDA commissioner does not really have much power over the OCI director.
Prior to 1992, the FDA chief counsel — who was appointed by the commissioner — referred criminal filings to DOJ for prosecution. But when OCI was established, it was empowered to propose criminal prosecutions to any U.S. district attorney’s office.
For the next 18 years, FDA commissioners came and went, but OCI Director Terry Vermillion, the former Secret Service agent who was the agency’s first “top cop,” stayed on.
OCI, with about 230 agents and a $41 million operating budget, put up some impressive numbers. In 2010, Hamburg said OCI obtained 4,392 convictions resulting in $9.89 billion in fines and restitutions including over $1 billion in forfeited assets.
Criticism, however, came often because many of OCI cases were said to be busts for mere drug dealing and possession cases, not mission critical investigations for FDA involving drug tests, or medical device trials or food safety.
Congress got involved with an investigation and report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that rapped FDA for its lack of oversight of OCI. It was in response to that report that Hamburg called for an increase in filing federal misdemeanors against company officials.
Vermillion might have escaped the GAO report, but while that investigation was underway a federal “whistleblower” went to Sen. Grassley alleging misconduct involving the OCI director.
Among the more troubling charges — none of which were ever really investigated — was that Vermillion was no longer working from OCI’s headquarters in Rockville, MD, but from a new personal residence 200 miles away on the Virginia coast.
Vermillion was said to be running the investigative agency by phone. He retired as one of FDA’s highest paid employees in December 2010.
Since Vermillion retired, there has been at least one complete change over of top positions in OCI area offices and its headquarters under acting director Kathleen Martin-Weis.
Her 18-month tenure will come to an end in late June when Jeff Roth, a DOJ prosecutor, will become the second permanent OCI director in the agency’s history.


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