Friday, February 17, 2017

Proposed Standardized Code Dating Terminology Makes Sense

The major food trade groups, FMI and GMA, are suggesting that manufacturers adopt standardized terminology in date coding.   They suggest either:
  • Best if used by - where date is limited by quality, but may be consumed after that date
  • Use by - where food safety may come into play, and should be thrown out
There are more and more date labels being used, including a recently recalled product that had an Enjoy By Date (which for this highly perishable product, should have been a Use By date.)

There are currently no legal requirements to have it stated in any particular way (with a few exceptions), but it makes sense for companies to try to adhere to some standard to make it easier for the consumer.  As part of Extension, we get tons of calls from consumers on date coding, and having this more defined will certainly be a help.

Food Safety Magazine
FMI, GMA Introduce Clearer Date Labels to Curtail Food Waste
By Staff

CDC Report - Outbreaks Associated with Imported Food

A report in Emerging Infectious Diseases investigated outbreaks associated imported foods.  "The proportion of US food that is imported is increasing; most seafood and half of fruits are imported. We identified a small but increasing number of foodborne disease outbreaks associated with imported foods, most commonly fish and produce. New outbreak investigation tools and federal regulatory authority are key to maintaining food safety."

Emerging Infectious Diseases
Volume 23, Number 3—March 2017
Outbreaks of Disease Associated with Food Imported into the United States, 1996–2014
L. Hannah Gould , Jennifer Kline, Caitlin Monahan, and Katherine Vierk
Author affiliations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (L.H. Gould, J. Kline); US Food and Drug Administration, College Park, Maryland, USA (C. Monahan, K. Vierk)
Highlight and copy the desired format. EID Gould L, Kline J, Monahan C, Vierk K.

Cheese Recall Due to Potential Listeria Contamination Continues to Cascade

The list of recalls linked to the Deutsch Kase Haus recall continue to grow.

February 16, 2017
Saputo Inc. Recalls Certain Gouda Cheese Products Due to Potential Contamination of Listeria Monocytogenes
Saputo Inc. (Saputo), is voluntarily recalling certain Gouda cheese products in the United States after having been notified by Deutsch Kase Haus, LLC of Middlebury, Indiana that some specialty Gouda cheese products that it supplied to Saputo’s Green Bay, Wisconsin facility may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

February 14, 2017
Guggisberg Cheese, Inc. Recalls Various Colby Type Cheeses due to Possible Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination
Out of an abundance of caution and with an emphasis on its customers’ wellness and safety, Guggisberg Cheese Inc. is recalling various types of Colby type cheeses and sizes due to a potential contamination of Listeria monocytogenes.
The affected products were manufactured both by Guggisberg Cheese, Inc. and by Deutsch Kase Haus, LLC under the Guggisberg label. No illnesses have been reported to date.

Biery Cheese Company Recalls Various Types Of Specialty Longhorn Colby Cheeses Due To Possible Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination
February 16, 2017
Biery Cheese Co. is voluntarily recalling specialty Longhorn Colby cheese due to potential contamination of Listeria monocytogenes.
On 02-15-17 the firm was notified by Deutsch Kase Haus, LLC of Middlebury, IN that they supplied Biery Cheese with various type cheeses that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported to date.

From February 14, 2017 on this site:
More Cheese Products Recalled Due to Supplier of Colby Cheese Recall
Two firms are calling cheese-stuffed mushroom products for the potential to be contaminated by Listeria. All traces back to the recall by the Indiana supplier, Deutsch Kase Haus, after their Colby cheese product was found to be positive for Listeria.

From February 12. 2017 on this site which details initial recall
Sargento, Mijer and Sara Lee Recall Colby Cheese Products After Supplier Discovers Listeria Contamination Issue

Did Salmonella Cause the Collapse of the Aztec Empire?

An interesting read for the foodborne illness historians in Nature - Collapse of Aztec society linked to catastrophic salmonella outbreak.  Europeans brought many diseases to the New World including bubonic plague, chicken pox, pneumonic plague, cholera, diphtheria, influenza, measles, scarlet fever, smallpox, typhus, tuberculosis, and whooping cough.  This study which looked at  DNA of the stomach bacterium from burials in Mexico and discovered Salmonella Paratyphi C which causes a typhoid-like illness.  I think it is important to point out that the method will not pick up viruses (smallpox, influenza,and measles),   Is it likely that it was just one of a number diseases brought from Europe?

Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature Collapse of Aztec society linked to catastrophic salmonella outbreak, copyright 2017
Collapse of Aztec society linked to catastrophic salmonella outbreak
DNA of 500-year-old bacteria is first direct evidence of an epidemic — one of humanity's deadliest — that occurred after Spanish conquest.
Ewen Callaway
16 February 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Spiral-Cut Vegetable Product Recalled After Sample Tests Positive for Listeria

A Texas firm is recalling Butternut Spirals (a vegetable noodle) after testing found that a sample was positive for Listeria.  This product was distributed through Whole Foods in 9 different states.

Basically, this product is just vegetables that are shredded into noodles.  The label indicates that it could be cooked, but also can be eater raw.  It is sold as a refrigerated item with an stated Enjoy By date listed, and in this case, February 23rd.  So one would guess that the shelf-life to be at least 10 days, but probably longer because of wide distribution.

This is an excellent of example of a Listeria prone product...refrigerated, ready-to-eat, long distribution chain, vegetables with neutral pH,  no preservatives. and finely cut (so equipment that is more difficult to clean along with more surface areas on the product). 

While this is the only lot currently being recalled, there may be a good chance that additional production lots will be recalled.  Of course it may not be the case if a point source of contamination can be identified that would limit contamination to this one day.

Here is the company website   Organic.  Fresh.  Some cool dude.

FDA Recall Notice
Veggie Noodle Co. Recalls Butternut Spirals Due to Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
February 15, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

More Cheese Products Recalled Due to Supplier of Colby Cheese Recall

Two firms are calling cheese-stuffed mushroom products for the potential to be contaminated by Listeria.  All traces back to the recall by the Indiana supplier, Deutsch Kase Haus, after their Colby cheese product was found to be positive for Listeria.

FDA Recall Notice
Country Fresh Recalls Various Cooking And Snacking Products Due To Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
February 13, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

FDA Updated Testing on Cucumbers and Hot Peppers Indicates Risk of Salmonella Contamination

FDA published an update of their cucumber and hot pepper testing.  "FDA has tested 1,328 cucumber samples (352 domestic, 976 imports), and 1,387 hot pepper samples (287 domestic, 1,100 imports). Of the cucumber samples, 27 tested positive for Salmonella (11 domestic, 16 imports), while the rest tested negative for the targeted pathogens. Of the hot pepper samples, 42 tested positive for Salmonella (1 domestic, 41 imports), and 1 tested positive for a strain of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli "
Cucumbers             Sampled          Positive               Percent Pos
Total                        1,328                    27                   2.03
Domestic                    352                    11                   3.12
Imported                     976                    16                   1.64

Total                        1.387                    42                   3.03
Domestic                    287                     1                    0.35
Imported                  1,100                    41                   3.73

These numbers show that cucumbers and peppers are subject to contamination.  Grown at ground level, it is easy for these items to become contaminated, and that contamination can spread through post-harvest procedures.
For consumers, this is a reminder that it is important to wash these items, especially if they are going to be eaten raw.

FDA Constituent Update
FDA Shares Data from Ongoing Sampling Program
Constituent Update
What’s New
February 13, 2017

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Canadian Firm Expands Recall of Baby Food After Reported Illness

A Canadian firm is expanding its recall of baby food.  The initial recall posted on February 3, 2017 for one product type.  Since that time, there have been reported illness(es), so the company has expanded the recall.  According to the news release, the issue was a " manufacturing error resulted in excess water in the product, which under certain circumstances could support the growth of Clostridium Botulinum and pose a health risk to consumers".   As an example of what could have happened, the acid component was over diluted with water and then when added, there was insufficient acid to lower pH to a safe range.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) News Release
Updated Food Recall Warning - PC Organics brand baby food pouches recalled due to potential presence of dangerous bacteria
Recall date:February 8, 2017 
Reason for recall:Microbiological - Clostridium botulinum 
Hazard classification: Class 1 
Company / Firm:Loblaw Companies 
Limited Distribution:National Extent of the distribution:
Retail Reference number:11182

Chicken and Pork Salad Products Recalled Due to Potentially Listeria Contaminated Cheese Ingredient

Taylor Farms is recalling its Chicken and Pork Salad products after they were notified by the supplier of the cheese ingredients, Sargento, that the cheese has the potential to have Listeria contamination. This recall is part of the Colby Cheese recall which originated with the recall by the supplier of Colby cheese to Sargento.

USDA News Release
Taylor Farms Recalls Chicken and Pork Salad Products Due To Possible Listeria Contamination
Class I Recall 012-2017
Health Risk: High
Feb 11, 2017