Friday, May 25, 2018

What is the Risk of Opioids in Poppy Seeds

The European Food Safety Authority released their risk assessment of opium alkaloids in poppy seeds. Basically there is a small risk of having opioids, including codeine and morphine, in poppy seeds, specially unprocessed poppy seeds.
ere are a few of the summary points:
  • "Poppy seeds are obtained from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). The latex (milky sap) of the opium poppy contains up to 80 alkaloids, including morphine and codeine, which have been used for the treatment of severe pain for generations but are also subject to misuse"
  • "Poppy seeds normally do not contain opium alkaloids, but can become contaminated with opium alkaloids as a result of pest damage and during harvest."
  • "There are few reports of adverse effects arising from consumption of poppy seeds in food; however it cannot be assumed that such reactions do not occur from time to time. Morphine-like effects have been observed in humans following consumption of a single portion of a meal containing opium alkaloid-contaminated poppy seeds".
So if you are going for a drug screening, it may be worth skipping the poppy seed roll.  Although it is so darn tasty.  це дуже смачно!

EFSA - European Food Safety Authority
Opium alkaloids in poppy seeds: assessment updated
16 May 2018

This Week in Mislabeled Products for Week Ending 5/25/18

Pre-bake Egg Spray Not Accounted for on Label - New Seasons Market LLC is recalling NSM 8-pack mini butter croissants and 8-pack mini chocolate croissants because they contain undeclared egg. The recall was initiated after it was discovered that products containing egg were distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of egg. Products were slightly sprayed with egg before baking. [Label design issue]

Buffalo Chicken Calzones Labeled as Ham and Cheese Calzones - A Mass. establishment is recalling approximately 1,881 pounds of ham and cheese calzones due to misbranding - The product is labeled as a ham and cheese calzone, but the package contains a buffalo chicken calzone. [Operations packaging error]

State Lab Detects Undeclared Peanuts in Cookies - A Brooklyn, NY firm is recalling its 17.6 oz (500g) package of “Melanie Mini Cookies with Caramel Flavor”, because they contain undeclared peanuts. The recall was initiated after routine sampling by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors and subsequent analysis by Food Laboratory personnel revealed that the peanut –containing product was distributed in packages that did not reveal the presence of peanuts.
New Seasons Market LLC Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Egg in Mini Butter Croissants and Mini Chocolate Croissants
For Immediate Release
May 24, 2018

Gull Poop Source of E. coli Responsible for Water Quality Failures on Beaches

A study published by the US Geological Survey investigates the source of E. coli that results in beach closings off Lake Michigan.  The findings show that seagulls (and other birds) were the primary source.

E. coli is used as a water quality standard that is used to indicate the sanitary quality of the water for swimming.  It is a fecal marker for poop contamination.  In this case the poop is coming from the birds.  And if E. coli is there, other pathogens such as Salmonella may be present as well.

This study shows the difficulty in setting water standards, whether E. coli or fecal coliforms,  for surface waters.  Not that they don't have a basis, but the variability that can occur when a flock of seagulls, or ducks, or geese, decide to make the irrigation lagoon their toilet.  And certainly no one wants these guys pooping in your water.

Technology Networks
Cause of E. coli Beach Closures? Gulls!
News  May 25, 2018 | Original Story by Susan V. Fisk for the American Society of Agronomy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Company Issues Warning for Frozen Tilapia, Rejected During Import, Now Stolen

A Washington company issued a warning letter for frozen tilapia after that imported frozen tilapia, set for re-export back to Taiwan, was stolen.  The fish was being getting shipped back after a laboratory had found the presence of Salmonella on the product as part of the import check.  However,  the container with product was stolen as it sat in the company's container yard.  The container was recovered less than 2 weeks later.
Golden International Corporation Issues Public Safety Warning For Stolen Tilapia Because of Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
May 22, 2018

FDA Warning Letter Issued to NE Candy Company, Company Up for Auction

FDA issued a warning letter to New England Confectionary Company, or NECCO, the maker of Sweethearts, NECCO Wafers, and Mary Jane candies.
A basic summary of the findings:
  • Excessive / uncontrolled rodent activity throughout facility
  • Leaks in facility from duct work occurring in areas where product is processed
  • Improper cleaning of equipment resulting in residuals being left on equipment and utencils
  • Inadequate cleaning of non-food surfaces
  • Improperly maintained or constructed equipment that creates un-cleanable conditions
From the letter, the company had an opportunity to improve after initial inspections, and the Warning Letter was sent after inadequate response.

It seems that NECCO had filed for bankruptcy protection and  was going up for auction.  Not sure if the mice are placing a bid.

CMS # 545899
May 16, 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018

Question of the Week - Coconut a Tree Nut Allergen?

Is coconut a tree allergen?    FDA classified coconut in the Big 8 Allergen groupings as a tree nut.  Technically, coconut is not a botanical nut, but is a one seeded drupe, or a one seeded fruit.  But since it can be argued that it is a nut of sorts, it can be added with the other tree nuts.  No harm, no foul.

Coconut allergies are pretty rare, but for the few of those who are allergic, it can be serious, including anaphylaxis.  There is much less likelihood of cross reactivity from the other tree nuts to coconut in terms of allergies, although there have been a few cases.

Prevention of Foreign Material Contamination

There has been a number of food product recalls triggered by complaints.  The cost of a recall can far outweigh the cost of preventive measures.  This can include equipment such as metal detectors and X-ray equipment. or enacting more stringent procedures. 

  • Single and dual-energy X-ray equipment are becoming more within the reach of small companies in terms of price.  
  • Metal detectors and bone collection systems must be properly maintained in order to ensure effectiveness.   
  • Employee awareness and adherence to proper procedures are also critical to foreign material control.
The National Provisioner
Food Safety
Preventing foreign-material contamination in meat and poultry processing
Rich Mitchell
May 1, 2018

Ohio Company Recalls Nut Products After Positive Listeria on Production Equipment

An Ohio company is recalling bags and tubs of nut products for Listeria monocytogenes.  "This recall was initiated after Hickory Harvest staff performed routine in house environmental testing, the presence of Listeria monocytogenes on a piece of production equipment."
Hickory Harvest Recalls Certain Island Fruit Mix and Organic Nut Mix Products Because of Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
May 10, 2018

Jars of Tahini Recalled After a Sample Tests Positive for Salmonella

Ziyad Brothers Importing is voluntarily recalling certain lot codes of Ziyad Brand Tahini after testing conducted by the Michigan Dept of Health found Salmonella in a sample.
Ziyad Brothers Importing Recalls Tahini because of possible health risk
News provided by  Ziyad Brothers Importing
May 18, 2018, 14:34 ET