Tag Archive: Smiling Hara Tempeh

Food Safety



Shigella Outbreak in Onondaga County, New York

Dr. Cynthia Morrow, Commissioner of Health for Onondaga County in New York state, announced on June 22, 2012 that there are 15 lab confirmed and 10 probable cases of shigellosis in that county. More cases are expected as the investigation continues.

“Shigellosis is an infectious disease called by a group of bacteria called Shigella,” she explained. “It is associated with consuming water or products contaminated with fecal matter. The incubation period is 1 – 3 days. Many people who are infected with Shigella develop fever, painful bloody or mucous diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 – 7 days. The disease is often worse in children and medical treatment is sometimes necessary in severe cases.”


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Shigella Outbreak in Onondaga County, New York Grows

Kathy Mogel, Program Coordinator of the Onondaga County Health Department told Food Poisoning Bulletin that there are 20 confirmed cases of Shigella in that county. There are news reports that there are as many as 34 cases, but we’re reporting what the Health Department tells us.

Ms. Mogel said that the age range of patients is from 2 to 84, with about 50% of the cases occurring in children under the age of 10. The Department believes that person to person transmission, also called secondary transmission, is a “significant factor” in the outbreak.

The Health Department is investigating the original source but has not pinpointed one as of June 27, 2012.


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CA Writes Food Safety Standards for Cantaloupes

California cantaloupes will soon come with the assurance that they meet strict food safety standards, thanks to a mandatory statewide program that includes both announced and unannounced inspections and certification under government oversight.
The plan is for the program to begin this season, which lasts into the fall, but approval of an audit checklist by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is still forthcoming. The goal is to get that done as quickly as possible.
A historic move, this is the state’s first mandatory food safety program implemented by a commodity board. In designing this program – which covers each step of the melon production process from the field to the produce department – the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board collaborated with Western Growers; Trevor Suslow, food safety research specialist at the University of California-Davis Extension; and food safety scientists at Intertox, a risk management firm. The goal was to come up with a program tailored to FDA-approved food safety guidelines for growing, shipping and packing conditions in California.
The board approved the guidelines earlier this month.
A heavy hitter, California provides 70 percent of the cantaloupes sold in this country. During the state’s 5-month season, the industry typically packs and ships around 30 million cartons of cantaloupes. A carton contains 12 to 18 cantaloupes.
These guideline may appear to be a bold, new move on the part of the industry, but Stephen Patricio, chairman and CEO of Westside Produce – a grower, packer and shipper of cantaloupe and honeydew melons – told Food Safety News that this heavy push for food safety is actually a continuation of “business as usual.”
“California’s shippers and handlers have been following food safety standards guidance for the past 20 years,” he said. “It’s part of our culture. We’re proud of our record.”
Patricio says he likes the new program because it has the benefit of setting California cantaloupes apart from cantaloupes from other states and countries.
“We’ve been meeting these standards with no means to distinguish ourselves,” he said. “Now we have the authority to mandate. This will give us government validation for what we’re doing.”
Auditors from the California Department of Food and Agriculture will be working under USDA authority.
Patricio describes the new program as “the right thing to do.”
“We want to be here long-term and to continue providing safe and healthy food for customers, as well as for our families and workers.”
Pointing to the 100 percent thumbs-up of the program by those voting, Patricio described that as “absolutely unprecedented.
The vote also included a thumbs-up to raising assessments from 1.2 cents per carton to 2 cents per carton to help pay for the program.
UC food safety researcher Suslow told Food Safety News that it’s always “a step forward to demonstrate through independent, objective, and standardized audits that an industry sector has the highest level of compliance with a continually evolving framework for food safety — in this case 100 percent.”
He also said that the review process is still ongoing, which means that the specifics of the final marketing order standards are not yet established.
A marketing order is a concerned group of of agricultural professionals or growers who band together to support their commodity and partner with their state’s agriculture department to make sure everything is done correctly. As such, it is a quasi state authority.
Like Patricio, John Gilstrap of Monfort Management, who manages the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board, told Food Safety News that the new program is great news for consumers.
“It will give them peace of mind about California cantaloupes,” he said. “They’ll know that they’ve been grown and handled under the safest conditions possible. It allows us to establish consumer confidence in a product. We hope it will set us apart, if and when a foodborne illness outbreak connected to cantaloupes grown somewhere else happens.”
Another plus, he said, is that “inspectors can shut a place down if they see health problems.”
He also described the program as the “gold standard” for other states, some of which are crafting similar programs.

CSPI Finds Varying Levels of Chemical 4-MI in Coke

Months after Coca-Cola reformulated its soda sold in California to reduce the level of chemical 4-methylimidazole (4-MI or 4-MEI) so that it would not need a carcinogen warning label, the company has not yet tweaked its formulation for other states and countries, new test results show.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that Coca-Cola sold abroad contains varying levels of the chemical, which is found in the caramel coloring used to make cola dark brown. The compound has shown to be carcinogenic in some animal studies and CSPI has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban 4-MI from food products.

Coca-Cola from Brazil was found to contain 267 micrograms (mcg) of the carcinogen in a 12 ounce can. The same product from Kenya had 177 mcg per 12 ounces. Samples taken from Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and the United Kingdom ranged from 144 mcg to 160 mcg per 12 ounces.

Thumbnail image for Coke_Main.jpg
Since the state of California recently added 4-MI to its list of carcinogens that must be labeled if found at a certain level, Coca-Cola modified its process to circumvent adding a warning label. The company said at the time that it would eventually expand the use of low 4-MI caramel coloring across the United States and worldwide.

CSPI found just 4 mcg per 12 ounces in soda from the redwood state, but found 144 mcg per 12 ounces in the same product purchased in the District of Columbia. The California law requires food companies to label their product if it would lead to consumers consuming 30 mcg or more each day.

Tempeh Salmonella Case Highlights Illnesses that Fall through the Cracks

tempeh-406.jpgStopping at a café during a trip to Asheville, North Carolina with family this past March, Mary Ann Hurtado decided to order a veggie sandwich while everyone else chose something with meat. It was a choice she regularly made — she’s not a vegetarian by any means, but she does love vegetables.

But less than a week after eating this particular dish, Hurtado found herself lying on a hospital bed back home in Jacksonville, Florida. She had been so sick she couldn’t walk across the room. Her physician decided to connect her to a potassium I.V. drip — the most painful I.V. she’d felt in her life.

A registered nurse, Hurtado spent two nights in the hospital — the same one where she works — before being released with 10 days’ worth of antibiotics. It wasn’t until a week after she was discharged that she finally learned why she got sick: She had contracted a Salmonella infection, but at the time it was impossible to say where it came from.

As it turned out, Hurtado’s sandwich contained unpasteurized tempeh — a soy-based food — from an Asheville-based producer called Smiling Hara. More than a month after she ate her sandwich, Smiling Hara tempeh was identified as the source of a Salmonella Paratyphi B outbreak that had sickened at least 89 people in 5 states. The company had already issued a voluntary recall days earlier, following suspicion its tempeh might have been the source.

“The chills were just so bad – just miserable,” Hurtado said, speaking of her illness a day prior to her emergency room visit. “I was shaking so hard in the bed that I had to move to the couch so I wouldn’t wake up my husband.”

But while Hurtado became so ill that she required hospitalization and I.V. treatment, she is not included among the 89 victim case count and likely never will be. That’s because of technicalities surrounding the identification of her infection.

The bacterial isolate that confirmed her Salmonella infection was never serotyped, meaning that the specific strain was never identified and Hurtado’s infection will never be genetically linked to the strain found in samples of Smiling Hara’s tempeh. In short, she’s in a sort of classification limbo, neither officially confirmed as part of the outbreak nor confirmed to be excluded from it — and she’s likely not alone.

29 out of 30

Considering the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 29 out of 30 Salmonella infections go unreported, Hurtado is potentially one of thousands of people sickened by the tempeh outbreak who will never be counted, either because of epidemiological technicalities or — more often — they just didn’t seek medical attention.

In Hurtado’s case, she fell through the cracks of the outbreak investigation because of where she was hospitalized. While many state health departments — including North Carolina’s — try to identify all cases of foodborne pathogen infections, some states’ do not.

Florida is one that does not typically serotype. Tests that identify bacterial strains cost additional money, which some states choose not to spend. A spokesman for the Florida Department of Health told Food Safety News that the state typically only serotypes isolates “on identified need for enhanced surveillance or suspected outbreak investigation.”

If Hurtado had been hospitalized in North Carolina, she’d likely have a confirmed serotype and been included in the official case count, according to Hurtado’s attorney Bill Marler. Marler’s law firm, Marler Clark, specializes in foodborne illness litigation and underwrites Food Safety News.

Hurtado recently filed the first lawsuit against Smiling Hara and Tempeh Online, the retailer that sold Smiling Hara the Salmonella-contaminated spore culture used to make their tempeh.

Currently, the only states considered to have cases in this outbreak are North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Michigan. New York was originally thought to have a case, but that individual was placed under the banner of North Carolina because they attend college in Asheville.

When Hurtado’s county health department learned of her Salmonella infection, they uploaded her information to a statewide infection database. From there, the Florida Department of Health likely included Hurtado’s basic information in a generalized weekly report to the CDC.

The CDC often coordinates information between states involved in multistate outbreaks, including the Smiling Hara outbreak. But without any serotype information, Hurtado’s infection would not stand out as having any connection to an outbreak. In effect, it looked exactly like the numerous other isolated infections the CDC sees on a weekly basis.

“At this point, it’s not likely [Hurtado] will be considered anything other than another Florida Salmonella case,” said Dr. William Keene, senior epidemiologist for Oregon Public Health. Keene was not involved in the Smiling Hara outbreak investigation, but is considered one of the eminent epidemiologists in public health.

“She’s got the exposure. She was in the right place when the outbreak happened, but without her isolate being compared to the outbreak strain, you can’t really know [she was infected in the outbreak] for sure,” Keene added.

Castle Farms Granted Temporary Permit To Sell Raw Milk

Castle Farms, the farm in Irving, New York that earlier this month was ordered to stop selling raw milk after random testing by the New York State Department of Agriculture  (NYDA) produced a positive result of  E.coli 0157:H7, has been granted a temporary permit to sell raw milk while it undergoes further testing, according to the NYDA.

The temporary permit was granted after a subsequent test for pathogens was negative according to and NYDA official. At least two more negative tests will be required before the permanent permit is reinstated, the official said. In New York, all farms that sell raw milk must be permitted and are inspected monthly.


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Scotland Going Independent On Food Safety

It’s not really going down like the plot of “Braveheart,” but the coming 2014 on Scottish Independence is already having large ramifications on food safety regulation in the United Kingdom.
The Scottish Government is pulling out of the UK’s Food Standards Agency, opting instead to set up its own independent Scottish food standards body. The new Scottish agency will be responsible for food safety, food standards, nutrition, food labeling, and meat inspection.


The independence move actually stems more from the 2010 decision by the UK Government to move food labeling and standards from FSA to UK’s Department of Health and Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and not necessarily in spirit of the planned 2014 Independence vote.
When that decision was announced, the Scottish Government asked Professor Jim Scudamore to conduct an independent review of its options including the stand-alone agency. The Scudamore panel took oral and written testimony from 40 stakeholders over several months, it published its report in April, calling for Scotland to go it alone.
“The changes in England removed significant capacity in the FSA’s nutrition and labeling functions for Scotland and needed to be addressed,” said Michael Matheson, Scotland’s health minister.
Matheson said the Scottish Government have accepted the Scudamore recommendations.” A new body will allow a Scottish approach to be taken to tackle poor diet and food-borne diseases and should support our food and drink industry in growing its strong, international reputation for safe, quality food.”



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Study: Salmonella’s pH Sensors Trigger Virulence


Salmonella bacteria rely on internal pH sensors to initiate their virulent traits after sensing heightened acidity in their environment, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine and the Yale Microbial Diversity Institute.
The findings, published in the June 14 issue of Nature, could someday lead to drugs that disrupt the bacteria’s ability to cause typhoid fever and foodborne illness in humans.
Here’s how the sensors work: When the bacterium senses a change into an acidic environment, it begins producing Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the “energy currency” for all living cells. This boost of ATP production creates a protein that in turn activates a number of characteristics within the bacterium, including characteristics related to survival and virulence.





Salmonella Prompts Organic Sprouts Recall

After routine sampling turned up Salmonella, Mountain Sprouts is recalling organic sprouts under the following names: 4 ounce zesty greens, 5 ounce sprout salad, 4 ounce clover, 2 pound clover, 4 ounce alfalfa/broccoli, 4 ounce alfalfa sprouts, as well as 1 and 2 pound alfalfa sprouts.

According to a company press release, the sprouts were distributed through retail stores and wholesalers in California.

The products come in a 4 or 5 ounce clear, plastic, clamshell container and a 1 or 2 pound ziplock bag with a sell by date from 6/17/12 to 7/6/12.


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Banner Mountain Sprouts Voluntarily Recalls Organic Sprouts Because of Possible Health Risks

Recalled 1lb Alfalfa Sprouts

Recalled 1lb Clover Sprouts

Recalled 2lb Alfalfa Sprouts

Recalled 4oz Alfafla Sprouts

Recalled 4oz Alfalfa Broccoli Sprouts

Recalled 4oz Clover Sprouts

Recalled 4oz Zesty Greens

Recalled 5oz Sprout Salad




Possible Listeria-Contaminated Queso Fresco in New York City

quesowarning-featured.jpgNew Yorkers were warned Friday to avoid “Queso Fresco, Fresh Cheese” products made by Mexicali Cheese Corp. in Woodhaven, New York due to a possible Listeria contamination.

The product is packaged in a “rigid” 14 oz. plastic tub that displays a plant number of 36-0128 and a code of 071512.
The product was packaged in containers bearing the following names: ‘Mexicali Queso Fresco Medicano,’ ‘Mexican Style Fresh Cheese’ and ‘Acatlan Queso Fresco, Fresh Cheese.’

Salmonella Risk Prompts Dietary Supplement Recall

cataplex.jpgStandard Process Inc. of Palmyra, Wisconsin is voluntarily recalling three dietary supplements due to potential Salmonella Contamination:

  • Cataplex ACP (Product numbers 0700 and 0750) Lot 114
  • Cataplex C (Product numbers 1650 and 1655) Lot 114
  • Pancreatophin PMG (Product number 6650) Lot 114


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Food Warnings



Alakanater Brand Tahina May Contain Salmonella

In Canada, the CFIA and Phoenicia Group Inc. are recalling Tahina (sesame seed paste) because it may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Product details:

  • Alkanater brand Tahina
  • 454 gram containers
  • UPC number 6 92551 00002 0
  • Lot code TT3N-280312
  • Codes PRO: 28/03/2012 AND EXP: 28/03/2014
  • Distributed in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec and may have been distributed nationally

No illnesses have been reported in association with the consumption of this product. For questions, call the Phoenicia Group Inc. at 514-389-6363 or the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342.


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Lettuce Caused New Brunswick E. coli Outbreak

romainelettuce2-406.jpgAn E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in New Brunswick, Canada that sickened at least 18 people in April has been linked to romaine lettuce, health officials announced Friday. Food Safety News covered this outbreak in May when it was linked to Jungle Jim’s Eatery, but the specific food responsible remained a mystery.

Ill persons ate at Jungle Jim’s Eatery in Miramichi between April 23 and 26. The lettuce was served in salads, wraps and hamburgers.


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Articles of Interest



Can Animals Make Us Sick? Yes.

Animal Health was the topic of a June 22 event on Capitol Hill called “From Fido to Food Safety: Roles, Responsibilities and Realities Veterinarians Face in Protecting Public Health,” that was hosted by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Animal Health Institute.

During his keynote address, USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford, stated that zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans, have accounted for 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases among humans over the last three decades.

Zoonotic diseases include diseases that can be contracted from contact with live animals such as rabies or Lyme’s disease and from animals used as a food sources such as Salmonella and E.coli.


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107 Treated for Gastrointestinal Illness at Notre Dame Sports Camp

At least 107 people have been treated for gastrointestinal illness in an unidentified outbreak linked to a University of Notre Dame sports camp, the university reported Wednesday afternoon.

The number of those treated rose after the university first reported that youth sports camp participants had fallen ill just hours earlier.

“Some 80 youth sports camp participants at the University of Notre Dame were treated today on campus and at local hospitals for a gastrointestinal illness. All have been successfully treated for symptoms that are typical of the stomach flu and short-lived,” said the university in a statement issued around noon on Wednesday. “The cause of the illness is unknown, though it may be related to food or a virus and was not associated with any physical activity. The University is working with the St. Joseph County Health Department in an effort to determine the cause.”


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FDA Clears Faster Blood Test for the Market

Listeria, MRSA, Streptococcus, and Enterococcus can all be identified much quicker by  the Verigene GP Blood  Culture Nuclear Acid Test (BC-GP), which got marketing approval from the U.S, Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Verigene test is manufactured by Northbrook, IL-based Nanosphere.
FDA’s decision was based on the study of 1,642 patient blood samples obtained from incubated blood culture bottles that contained gram-positive bacteria.  The study included a comparison of BC-GP and traditional blood culture laboratory methods.


The quicker Verigene test was consistent with traditional blood culture methods 93 percent of the time.

USDA Makes Progress on Alternatives To Antibiotics

USDA scientists at College Station, TX have discovered that providing sodium chlorate in the drinking water or feed of livestock will reduce the intestinal concentrations of bacteria harmful to humans.
The research is significant because it may lead to alternatives to antibiotics in animal agriculture now used to reduce or eliminate disease-causing pathogens.

Cattle Feeding Main.jpg

The findings by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Food and Feed Research Unit at College Station are being published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Animal Science.
The organic compounds could be used to check pathogen growth in pork and beef.
The researchers say sodium chlorate has been used in agricultural applications for over 100 years.
“To date, the body of literature suggests that chlorate salts are active against human pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7; that chlorate salts are very well tolerated by most species of animals; and that chlorate is metabolized in food and laboratory animals to a single, non-toxic metabolite,” the researchers wrote.  “Collectively, these results suggest that chlorate salts could be developed into a useful and safe feed or water additive for use in livestock.


[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

Mad Cow: No Problems Found in Feed Records

Investigators found no irregularities in the feed records at the California dairy where a 10-year-old cow last month was confirmed to have had bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease), the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated in a follow-up report this week.
The May 15 report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) also said units of all the feed suppliers to the dairy showed they were in compliance with regulations.

Salmonella Paratyphi B Outbreak Grows

The Salmonella Paratyphi B case-count associated with contaminated starter culture used in raw tempeh products sold by Smiling Hara, an Asheville, NC-based company, continued to grow last week, with the number of Salmonella Paratyphi B cases reaching 83 on Friday.tempeh-paratyphi-outbreak320x175.jpgAccording to the Asheville Citzen-Times, 62 of the cases were counted among residents of Bruncombe County, NC.Smiling Hara purchased the contaminated spore culture from Tempeh Online, a Maryland-based Company that has since taken down its web page and deleted all but one of its Twitter posts

ABC Finds Illegal Antibiotics in Imported Shrimp

Traces of illegal antibiotics are lurking in America’s favorite seafood, according to a new report by ABC World News. The news outlet tested 30 imported shrimp samples from grocery stores across the country and found three were positive for antibiotics that are banned in the United States.Though the sample size was small, the fact that 10 percent were found to contain illegal drugs is significant considering Americans annually eat 1 billion pounds of shrimp, 90 percent of which is imported from halfway across the world — mostly from Thailand, Indonesia, Ecuador, and China.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration physically inspects less than two percent of imported seafood shipments and even smaller percentage are sampled for drug residue testing. In fiscal year 2009, for example, the FDA tested .1 percent of all imported seafood products for residues, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

ABC, which has ramped up its coverage of food issues, sent the shrimp samples to the Institute of Environmental and Human Health food lab at Texas Tech University for testing. In the three positive samples, lab technicians found banned antibiotics enrofloxacin, chloramphenicol, and nitrofuranzone, which is a known carcinogen.

imported-shrimp406.jpg“About 10 percent of them showed evidence of pharmaceutical residue in the muscle tissue alone, which people eat,” Dr. Ronald Kendall, the director of the Institute told ABC. Kendall said two samples from New York averaged 28 and 29 parts per billion (ppb) of nitrofurazone. If FDA were to find 1 ppb of the drug in seafood, the product would not be allowed on the market.

Sampling Report Praises Beef Industry & USDA

To steal a phrase from former President George W. Bush, USDA’s meat inspectors are “doing a heck of a job” knocking down E. coli at big beef plants.
With a little constructive criticism around that edges, that pretty much sums up the findings of the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG’s) report into testing beef for E. coli O157:H7.
The latest 51-page report from the OIG is the second and final part of an investigation into USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS’s) N-60 sampling procedure.   Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-CT, who was then chair of the House Agriculture-FDA Appropriations Subcommittee, requested the investigation in 2009.
beeftrimtests-406.jpgDeLauro continues to serve on that powerful subcommittee, which is now chaired by Rep. Jack Kingston, R-GA.  He did not comment on the OIG report, she did.
“This report further questions the integrity of the N60 sampling program. Even a well-designed sampling program is only useful in protecting consumer health if it is performed accurately,” DeLauro said.  “Yet, the Inspector General’s report indicates this sampling program may be both inadequately and improperly performed. Critically, it also highlights other weaknesses in our food safety system that need attention, such as meat inspections performed by states and the clear need for an improved response to ‘high event.'”

USDA Takes Meat and Poultry Labeling to the Web

A new web-based label approval system that will streamline the agency’s review process for meat, poultry and egg product labels was introduced Monday by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Called the Label Submission Approval System (LSAS), the new approval system will make it possible for food manufacturers to submit label applications electronically, will flag application submission errors that could delay the approval process, and will allow users to track the progress of their submission.


”This new system will expedite and simplify the review process for meat, poultry and egg product labels,” said Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, under secretary for food safety. “Reducing the review times for labels will enhance the agency’s ability to ensure that accurate information is applied to product labels and reaches consumers quickly.”
The “Leaders Conference” of the National Meat Association was briefed on the new web-based labeling system last week in Washington D.C. by Phil Derfler, FSIS deputy administration.
“Based on what we heard,” says Jeremy Russell, NMA’s director of communications and government, “I’d say we’re cautiously optimistic that it will streamline the process and increase efficiency.”
FSIS reviews labels on the products it regulates to ensure they are truthful and not misleading.
The LSAS is suppose to reduce the time and costs incurred by both the industry and the agency. Until the launch of LSAS, companies mailed or hand delivered paper applications to FSIS, and FSIS reviewed and corrected them before returning them in hard copy.



Salmonella Concern Prompts Papaya Recall

by News Desk | May 20, 2012
Caribe Produce LTD Co. of McAllen, TX, is recalling 286 cases of Papaya Maradol, Caribeña Brand papayas because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.


Routine testing by the company revealed the presence of Salmonella in the papayas, according to the recall notice.
The company says no illnesses have been reported.

Burgers Recalled for Undeclared Allergens

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Saturday that J&B Group of Pipestone, Minnesota, was recalling approximately 456 pounds of steakhouse burgers for misbranding and undeclared allergens.According to a press release issued by FSIS, the steakhouse burgers contain a seasoning mix with hydrolyzed soy and wheat proteins that are not declared on the label.steakhouse-burger-recalled-allergen.jpg

J&B Group recalled the following products:

Flours, Legumes, Spices Recalled for Allergens

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Santos Agency, Inc. announced Friday that Santos Agency was voluntarily recalling Santos Brands Products for undeclared peanuts and wheat in California.bulgur-wheat406x250.jpgConsumers who are allergic to peanut or wheat allergens may run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume any of the products, which are affixed with a label on the front side, packed in clear, plastic bags and there are no UPC codes, lot codes, or expiration dates on the products. The labels consist of a design of a house bordered by two columns with the word “SANTOS” on the roof of the house.The following Santos Brands Products (packed in USA) were shipped to retail stores throughout California only between May 2011 and May 2012.

Diced Red Onions Recalled in Canada

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) warned consumers Friday not to consume Gills Onions brand Fresh Diced Red Onions because of possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.No reported cases of Listeria have been reported in connection with the consumption of the diced onions, which were distributed in Ontario and may have also been distributed throughout Canada.Gills-Red-Onions.jpgThe products being recalled include 198 g packages of Gills Onions brand Fresh Diced Red Onions, Product of U.S.A., bearing UPC 6 43550 00045 0, Best Before date 05/17/12, and lot code 51RDA1A2119.  CFIA is working with Canadian importers, distributors, retailers and Gills Onions to withdraw the product from points of purchase.

River Ranch Expands Bagged Salad Recall

River Ranch Fresh Foods of Salinas, CA is expanding its earlier recall of retail and foodservice bagged salads because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
The company says there have been no reported illnesses associated with this recall, according to the recall alert.
Retail salad products under this recall were distributed throughout the United States and Canada under various sizes and packaged under the brand names of River Ranch, Farm Stand, Hy-Vee, Shurfresh, and The Farmer’s Market.
Foodservice salad products under this recall were distributed throughout the United States and Canada under various sizes and packaged under the brand names of River Ranch and Sysco.

Diamond Pet Foods Recalls More Dry Dog Food

Diamond Pet Foods has again recalled batches of dry dog food that may be contaminated with Salmonella, this time to include its Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula dry dog food manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011.
The earlier Diamond Pet Foods recalls involved various formulas manufactured after Dec. 9, 2011 at its production facility in Gaston, SC. This recall involves pet food produced in Meta, MO.
The company says no illnesses have been reported in connection with this latest recall, which presumably means no human or animal illnesses.


However, as of May 11, 15 people in nine states and one person in Canada have been reported sickened with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis from contact with contaminated dog food or infected animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  As of May 16, the Food and Drug Administration had confirmed two dog illnesses related to the outbreak.



Articles of Interest

Letter From The Editor: China

China was the United States’ largest supplier of goods imports in 2010 and was our 3rd largest supplier of agricultural imports at $3.4 billion.
Leading categories include: processed fruit and vegetables ($811 million), fruit and vegetable juices ($386 million), snack foods (including chocolate) ($190 million), and fresh vegetables ($132 million).
USAChinamain.jpgChina’s food safety record is a mixed bag.  Yes, China can move with swiftness and severity against those endangering food safety.  Yet, the same government also jailed Zhao Lianhai, who worked for the Food Quality and Safety Authority of China.
Zhao’s “crime” was organizing parents of children like his own son, who became ill from drinking contaminated milk.  Zhao was arrested November 2009, and sentenced a year later to 30 months in prison for inciting social disorder.
He went on a hunger strike, and subsequently was released last year on medical parole.   He is kept essentially under house arrest in Daxing, and gets harassed by police and state security officials whenever he takes his children out or tries to go to a restaurant.
When China first started beating up one of its own food safety workers for the crime of becoming too much of an advocate for injured children, some suggested it might mark larger events to come.
The treatment of Zhao sounds familiar because it follows the playbook China was using on the blind activist Chen Guangcheng until he escaped his illegal house arrest and made it to the U.S. Embassy.
Chen, who dissents on China’s one child policy, arrived on U.S. soil  this weekend with his family thanks in part to skillful handling by the U.S. Ambassador to China.  (More on that below.)
Also earlier this month, China expelled journalist Melissa Chan of Walnut, CA, the first accredited foreign correspondent to be kicked out of China in 14 years.  She worked for Al Jazeera English.
It is not known for certain what got Chan expelled, but had written about “black jails” for violators of the one-child policy and her press credentials were revoked just as the Chen story was breaking.
Chen was expelled for breaking unspecified “relevant laws,” according to a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.  Chan insists she broke no laws.
But these are really nothing more than incidents in a country of 1.3 billion.
The big story in China is the one that reads like the opening chapters in a Tom Clancy novel. It’s included murder, mystery and political intrigue and we know not how its going to come out.
We now know about this provincial Communist Party chief named Bo Xilai, who had ties to People’s Army and was running a sophisticated surveillance operations on top government officials.   Bo was slated for the ruling circle, but now has been purged.
Will others in his network have to go too?   It’s the greatest “internal crisis” for China since the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre. It is an “internal crisis” that is also being fought out in China’s upper echelons.
As for China’s growing middle class, they are said to be unhappy with certain basic government services including food safety.   China might want to think about making the next Zhao a hero, not a criminal.

Utah Healthy Swimming Campaign Seems to Have Worked

In the wake of a 2007 Cryptosporidium outbreak linked to recreational swimming waters in Utah, a statewide educational push seems to have increased residents’ knowledge about healthy swimming practices.


In the spring of 2008, state and local public health agencies launched the educational campaign in an effort to prevent a repeat of the previous summer’s outbreak, which had sickened approximately 5,700 people. Officials also instituted new protocols for fecal incident responses and installed secondary disinfection systems at pools and water parks.
The safe swimming initiative included a website, two TV advertisements, public service radio announcements and poolside posters. One such sign warned consumers that “A Swimming Pool is Like a Community Bathtub.”
According to a Utah Department of Health survey conducted from July through September of 2008, a full 96.1 percent of respondents knew that “it is not OK to swim if you have diarrhea.”
A separate national survey taken in 2009 revealed that 100 percent of respondents in Utah and only 78.4 percent of residents of other states knew that staying out of the pool when sick with diarrhea prevents others from getting sick.

Pink slime, meat glue and more: Public reactions force Big Food to make changes

By J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Did you know a kid in junior high that, on a dare, would eat just about anything you dared him to eat, as long as you gave him your dessert? I did; the guy ate just about everything – bugs, earthworms, snails. He even ate a cockroach one time, no fooling. But he sure liked the school’s chocolate pudding. With that in mind, consider some of the things people are finding in food these days – not on a dare, but as byproducts of food preparation. Things like pink slime, food coloring…

Amnesty International Not Sure About Status of Chinese Food Safety Advocate

Amnesty International (AI) has lost track of Chinese food safety advocate Zhao Lianhai.
AI’s Alex Edwards told Food Safety News the last solid information about Zhao, 40, was in January 2011, more than a year ago.


Whether Zhao has “gone missing” as some media outlets have reported, is just lying low or is under house arrest isn’t known for certain.
In 2008, powdered milk tainted with the chemical melamine eventually killed six children and sickened at least 300,000 others in China. The tragedy put Zhao in the spotlight — he was both an official for China’s Food Quality and Safety Authority and the parent of an injured infant.
Zhao began speaking out to media and through a website helped organize other parents whose children had been poisoned.  The most seriously injured infants suffered from kidney stones, raising questions of compensation for their health problems.
Zhao was arrested in Beijing on Nov. 13, 2009. Amnesty International says he was convicted on Nov. 10, 2010 by Daxing District People’s Court in Beijing for “provoking an incident” (Criminal Law article 293).  He was sentenced to two and half years in prison.


[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


Salmonella Bareilly and Nchanga Raw Tuna Outbreak Updated

May 2, 2012 By

The CDC has updated the Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga outbreak linked to raw scraped ground tuna imported by Moon Marine USA Corporation.  New states now included in the outbreak include California, Nebraska, and Tennessee.

As of May 2, 2012, 258 people are sick in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Salmonella Bareilly infections total 247 persons, and Salmonella Nchanga infections have sickened 11 people. Thirty two people have been hospitalized; no deaths are reported.




Read Full Article Here


Microbiological Data Program Ignored in Budget Process

Congress is not seeking funding for the ‘tiny food program that matters’

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Microbiological Data Program will almost certainly be eliminated in fiscal year 2013 after the Senate Appropriations Committee decided to not include funding for the $5 million program in its budget bill.

The program, which was launched in 2001, currently tests about 15,000 samples of fruits and vegetables each year. Public health officials pull samples of alfalfa sprouts, cantaloupe, cilantro, hot peppers, bagged lettuce and spinach and tomatoes to gather data on E. coli (STEC), E. coli O157:H7 and other pathogens that can contaminate these products.

cherrytomatoes1_315.jpgSamples are collected from produce distribution centers in 11 states and any isolated pathogens are then sent for pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) testing and the results are uploaded into the Centers for Disease Control PulseNet, which means they can be matched against illness or outbreaks.

Dubbed “A Tiny Food Program That Matters” by the New York Times editorial board, MDP does more for produce testing than any other state or federal entity, but the program has also been criticized for being slow and housed under the wrong agency, at the Agriculture Marketing Service.

In its budget request, the Obama administration called MDP a “lower-priority program because it has a low impact and is not central to the core mission of [USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service], which is to facilitate the competitive and efficient marketing of agricultural products.”


Read Full Article Here




GMO Labeling Poised to Make California’s Nov. 6 Ballot

California — where some say state ballot initiatives are a substitute for warfare — may soon decide whether genetically engineered food should be labeled.


An initiative to require GMO labeling will be on the California ballot Nov. 6 if, as it now appears, the Right-to-Know campaign obtained enough petition signatures.
The campaign has four rallies planned Wednesday in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Francisco to unveil the signatures before turning over the petitions to election officials for qualification.
If adopted by voters, the measure would require food manufacturers to identify genetically engineered ingredients on the labels of food products sold in California.  Supporters predict manufacturers would avoid the cost of dual labeling by just using the California packaging throughout the U.S.
It’s also possible the dual-labeling issue could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, where GMO labeling might be struck down, as was the recent California mandate on euthanizing non-ambulatory, or “downer,” cows.
The Right-to-Know campaign says it collected at least 850,000 and perhaps as many as 1 million  signatures by the April 22 deadline  Since then, it has worked on required verification procedures.
Qualifying for ballot placement in California requires just over a half million valid signatures.  If the Right to Know campaign has 850,000 signatures in hand, its initiative should easily make the Nov. 6 ballot.
Ballot rules, however, are not simple.

Missouri House Passes Ag-Gag Bill

May 2, 2012 By

The Missouri House of Representatives has passed H.B. 1860 on a vote of 108-32. The bill would make it a crime to record undercover pictures and videos on factory farms. Animal rights organizations have used these methods to expose animal cruelty and unsanitary conditions on farms and in slaughterhouses. Now it’s up to the Missouri Senate. A Senate committee will hear the bill this week and is expected to recommend approval.

The full Senate may vote on the bill later this week. Similar bills were passed in Iowa and Utah this year and was signed into law by the governors of those states, despite whistleblower statutes that are codified into law in the United States.

The Missouri bill would create two new “crimes” in that state. “Agricultural Production Facility Fraud” would make it a Class B misdemeanor for anyone to falsify an employment application to get access to an agricultural facility. And “Agricultural Production Facility Interference” would make it a crime for anyone to take a picture or video of an agricultural operation and distribute it without the permission of the owner. Repeat violations of these laws would carry Class D felony penalties, punishable by four years in jail and a $5,000 fin

Source of Outbreak In Pueblo, Colo. Is Foodborne, Caterer Is Closed

May 1, 2012 By

The source of an outbreak that sickened 35 people who attended a community health luncheon in Pueblo, Colo. is foodborne, and the company that catered the event has been closed for multiple violations, according to the Pueblo City-County Health Department.

On Tuesday, April 24, 80 people gathered to attend the Community Health Center Annual Meeting. Afterward, 35 of them became ill. Results of a stool sample test performed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) were positive for Clostridium perfringens.

Clostridium perfringens is a bacteria that causes diarrhea and abdominal cramping if ingested. Symptoms usually develop six to 24 hours after exposure and last for about a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Read Full Article Here






Puppy Formula Part of Expanded Diamond Pet Foods Recall

Diamond Pet Foods is expanding a recall to include Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food after sampling revealed Salmonella in the product.


No dog illnesses have been reported.
According to the notice, the recalled Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food includes:
– 40 lb., production code DPP0401B22XJW, best-by 6-Apr-2013
– 40 lb., production code  DPP0401A21XAW, best-by 6-Apr-2013
– 40 lb., production code  DPP0101C31XME, best-by 11-Jan-2013
– 40 lb., production code  DPP0401B21XDJ, best-by 7-Apr-2013
– 20 lb., production code  DPP0401B22XJW, best-by 6-Apr-2013
– 20 lb., production code  DPP0101C31XME, best-by 11-Jan-2013
– 20 lb., production code  DPP0101C31XRB, best-by 11-Jan-2013
– 8 lb.,   production code  DPP0401B2XALW, best-by 7-Apr-2013
– 6 oz., samples, production code DPP0401
The recalled Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food was manufactured at Diamond Pet Foods’ plant in Gaston, S.C., and distributed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
The product may have been further distributed to additional states through pet food channels. The company says it is working directly with distributors and retailers that carry these products to remove them from the supply chain.
Pet owners, who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, or who would like replacement product or a refund, may contact Diamond Pet Foods at 800-442-0402, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, or visit www.diamondpetrecall.com.
Diamond Pet Foods announced a recall April 6 for certain batches of its Diamond Natural Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food and also announced a second recall April 26 of certain production codes of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light formula dry dog food.

Smiling Hara Tempeh Recalling All Products for Possible Salmonella

May 2, 2012 By

Chad Oliphant of Smiling Hara Tempeh has announced that the company is recalling all products “out of an abundance of caution” for possible Salmonella contamination. The recalled products were manufactured between January 11, 2012 and April 11, 2012.

This recall includes all varieties and sizes of tempeh with a Best Buy date of 7/11/12 through 10/25/12. Do not eat these products; return immediately to the place of purchase for a full refund.

For more information, contact the company at 1-828-242-1300.



[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.]