Monday, September 25, 2017

This Week in Mislabeled Product - 9/22/17

A CA company is recalling Tasty Treats Nonpareils Milk Chocolate because it contains undeclared milk.  Yep, a milk chocolate product and forgot the milk on the label as an ingredient and as an allergen.  Note though, the label did have a precautionary statement that says processed in a facility that processes milk products, but it need to claim milk as an ingredient.  The problem was caused by a temporary breakdown in the company's label review process.

A NY firm is recalling the following products because an allergenic ingredient, milk, was not declared in labeling. CFIA detection initially found this issue, and we are voluntarily recall the similar ingredients of other products

FDA Recall Notice
First Source Issues Allergy Alert On Undeclared Milk In Tasty Treats Nonpareils Milk Chocolate
For Immediate Release
September 20, 2017

Nacho Cheese Sauce and Botulism - Case Findings and Recommendations

In May of 2017, there was a botulism outbreak involving nacho cheese sauce served at a California gas station.  It is easy to see from this that the gas station did not monitor temperature, so likely that the units were possibly shut off.  This is a TCS food item, and with that, strict temperature control is required.   Unfortunately, this type of nacho cheese sauce if often treated as a shelf-stable item.   In the recommendations below, it states that the cheese can be hot held for up to 6 much for me eating nacho cheese on anything served on a food bar...not that I have eaten it ever in the past.

The California Department of Public Health released a memo regarding their findings and recommendations (abridged here, in full below).

Chicken Sashimi - Eating Raw Chicken is a Risk

Chicken sashimi is a raw chicken item being prepared by a few restaurants here and in Japan.  With chicken having a high prevalence of  Salmonella and Campylobacter, this product poses a high risk for foodborne illness, even if the surface is quickly heated.  

Buzz Feed
Chicken Sashimi Exists, And Americans Are Freaking Out
Literally everyone on Twitter: "No."
Michelle No
BuzzFeed Staff

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Mexico - Meth Contamination Reported in 7Up

In Mexico, there has been one reported death and several illness from Methamphetamine, or meth, adulteration in bottles of 7Up soft drink.  This product tampering issue occurred in the Mexicali area, which is south of the Mexican border with California.

Washington Post
WorldViews Analysis
Travelers beware: Meth-laced 7Up reportedly causes death in Mexico
By Rachel Chason September 23

Friday, September 22, 2017

Cyber Security for Automated Food Processing Equipment

A recent article in Food Safety Magazine discusses the concern of cyber attacks on the supply chain.  Basically, the issue would be when somebody gains control over your automated processing equipment.  This could result in processing changes or formulation changes that can lead to contamination issues.

A division of Homeland Security, ICS-CERT (Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team), monitors and reports such attacks.  In April, they reported such an attack on a food processing system.  In 2016, this group reported 3 incidents on the food and agriculture sector.

As a food safety professional, this is just another concern to keep you awake at night.
Of course, the big concern is that somebody turns your automatic palletizer into this:

Damn, that Skynet software package.

Food Safety Magazine
Signature Series | September 14, 2017
When Food Safety Meets Cyber Risk

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cold Brew Coffee Recalled for Botulism Concerns

A NY company is recalling its canned cold brewed coffee after it was determined that the product may be conducive to the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the causative agent of  botulism.  The product's name, interesting enough, is Death Wish.  Probably appropriate.

In canned beverages such as juices and teas, pH is often used as a control for preventing Clostridium botulinum growth.  For this, the pH is kept below 4.6.  The pH of coffee can vary widely from 4.2 to 5.2 or higher depending upon the type of coffee.  In making a canned product such as this, it would be important to adjust pH to a value below 4.6, if pH is used as a control.  Other controls may be used.

FDA Recall Notice
Death Wish Coffee Co. Announces Recall of Nitro Cold Brew Cans From Retailers, Online Sales
For Immediate Release
September 19, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dirty Deeds: Recent Food Safety Crimes from Modern Farmer

This is reprinted from Modern Farmer and thought it a nice summary of recent cases where company owners received prison sentences for shipping tainted product.  The reasons listed below are a little short in terms of the details, but it is a nice review.

Modern Farmer
Dirty Deeds: Recent Food Safety Crimes
By Brian Barth on September 20, 2017

Early Exposure to Allergens is a Good Thing - Let Those Babies Play in the Dirt, Eat Peanuts

A study released by NIH (National Institutes of Health) shows that infants that lived in dirtier conditions had a lower risk of asthma. From the release, "Higher concentrations of cockroach, mouse and cat allergens present in dust samples collected from the children’s homes during the first three years of life (at age 3 months, 2 years and 3 years) were linked to a lower risk of asthma by age 7 years." This is not surprising. Also recently, FDA recognized that the introduction of peanut allergies before the age of three reduced peanut allergies later in life.  So FDA "announced they would allow updated labels on some peanut-containing foods that they may reduce the risk of allergens.

So it is a delicate balance.  Introducing children to allergens early, but not particularly harmful agents such as the bacterial pathogens Listeria or Salmonella.  As parents, there is a tendency to keep infants from playing in dirty conditions, but the exposure to allergens in those dirty conditions is important for exposure.  Not exposing kids to allergens early means that when they are exposed to them later in life, they are more likely to have abnormal reactions to them in the form of allergies.

So let those little kids play in the dirt.  Buy them a puppy.  Visit a friend who has a cat, is less tidy and has roaches(ewww).  Have you ever considered the reason why there is an increasing percentage of children with allergies is nothing more than the fact that we are too risk averse to giving them certain foods or that we are too clean?

As the adage goes - The key to a healthy immune system is a constant challenge. But perhaps better stated - The key to a healthy immune system is an early challenge.

NIH Release
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Exposure to pet and pest allergens during infancy linked to reduced asthma risk
NIH-funded study may aid development of asthma prevention strategies

Monday, September 18, 2017

WA Establishment Recalls Cooked Meat Products Due to Process Deviation with Potential for Staph Toxin

A WA establishment is recalling sausage and other cooked meat products due to "a possible processing deviation that may have led to staphylococcal enterotoxin contamination."  "The problem was discovered on Sept. 14, 2017, by FSIS Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) when they observed a possible processing deviation while reviewing records."  If one would guess, during the smoking cooking process, product remained in the temperature danger zone for an extended period, probably before reaching lethality. If Staphylococcus aureus was present at this time, there would be the potential for growth and toxin formation.  Further heating would not remove the toxin.

USDA FSIS Recall Notice
German Sausage Haus, LLC, Recalls Meat Products Due To Possible Processing Deviation and Staphylococcal Enterotoxin Contamination
Class I Recall 102-2017
Health Risk: High
Sep 17, 2017