Friday, June 23, 2017

US Stops Imported Beef from Brazil for Food Safety Concerns

The US has stopped all importation of fresh beef from Brazil for food safety concerns.  Brazil is the fifth largest exporter of beef to the US.  Since an investigation into the Brazilian meat industry in March, the US has been inspecting all meat products from that country, refusing 11% of those shipments due to "public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues."

USA Today
US bans Brazil beef imports over food safety concerns
Roger Yu , USA TODAY
Published 8:39 a.m. ET June 23, 2017 | Updated 0 minutes ago

Drain Decontamination Using Chlorine Dioxide Pods

Our good friend Dr. Mark Berrang shared his recent research on decontaminating floor drains with chlorine dioxide pods.  This may be useful for many facilities beyond the poultry processing facilities where the research was conducted, especially those facilities that have problems with drain backups. This method was able to achieve a 8.7 log reduction in the drain water and 6.7 log reduction of cells attached to drain piping.

Contact me if you want a copy of the paper or the supplier contact used in this research. (we of course, are not endorsing any one supplier).

JAPR Research Report

Self-contained chlorine dioxide generation and delivery pods for decontamination of floor drains

Thursday, June 22, 2017

NY Nut and Fruit Processor Source of Listeria Related Recalls

Over the past several days, many of the listeria - nut/dried fruit recalls have been linked to a company called HVF, Inc. AKA - Hudson Valley Farms. This includes the recent hummus recall due to pine nuts from HVF as well as other recalls such as protein bars from GoMarco, granola products from New England Bakers, and Protein Bars and Bits from Bulletproof 360. It is hard to tell what the ultimate source of these recalls, but clearly HVF is a major link, if not the primary source.

Here again is what appears to be an ingredient supply issue that triggers recalls among a number of further processing facilities.  In this case, the ingredient was produced by a very small processing facility - what kind of supplier controls were in place?  How legitimate is this supplier?

One concern was that the supplier information was not readily available online.  No website was present - was it there and taken down, or was there never one to start?  Wouldn't it be better to have a supplier who is there when there is an issue and to state the nature of the issue on their website?

It was difficult to tell the scope of the operation. According to a story in the Miami Herald, HVF is a company of 10 people or less. Looking further, it appears to be part of a larger group with the parent appearing to be a company called Bedemco, an importer of nut and fruit products.  HVF may just be a packing facility for this family run company.

Hummus Product Recalled For Potential Listeria in Pinenut Topping

 A TN company, House of Taller, is recalling hummus product with pine nut toppings after the pine nut topping after they were notified by the pine nut supplier that Listeria may be present on that ingredient.   The supplier is HVF (Hudson Valley Farms) /Bedemco.

Recalled House of Taller product is under the Marketside label which is sold at Walmart, the Fresh Foods Market Artisan brand and Latana brand. (What qualifies something as artisan? Nothing really, just our next overused marketing label.)
FDA Recall Notice
House of Thaller Recalls Selected Pine Nut Hummus Products Because of Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
June 19, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

CDC Report - National Botulism Surveillance Summary 2015

CDC released the summary of botulism cases for 2015.  Botulism is the disease caused by the toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum.  The toxin is a neurotoxin that stops neurotransmission resulting in paralysis, or loss in muscle function.  Botulism poisoning can result in death if not treated.  In most cases, it will result in hospitalization with the patient on a breathing apparatus due to loss in the ability to breath (paralysis of diaphragm).

The type we are most familiar is foodborne botulism where the organism grows in the food producing toxin.  But there is also infant botulism where the organism becomes part of the intestinal microflora of an infant.  A similar issue can happen in adults when their intestine is subject to colonization due to illness associated with antibiotic administration and decline of normal intestinal microflora.  Wound botulism occurs when the organism gets into a would and begins to grow.

The largest amount of cases reported in 2015 were infant botulism (141).  No deaths were reported.

There were 39 confirmed cases of foodborne botulism.  The one outbreak occurred when improperly canned potatoes were used to make potato salad at a church potluck dinner.  This resulted in 27 cases.
Another outbreak was associated with fermented seal flipper (4 cases), and then another was associated with beets roasted in aluminum foil and kept at room temperature for several days then made into a soup (2 cases).

National Botulism Surveillance Summary 2015
An overview of national botulism surveillance is available at:

Pet Treats Recall Expanded to Include Private Label Products - Controlling Overseas Co-packers

United Pets is expanding their initial recall of raw hide pet treats to now include private label products including Companion, Dentley's, Enzadent or Dentahex, Essential Everyday, Exer-Hides, Good Lovin' or Petco, Hill Country Fare, and Priority Pet.  The products are being recalled because the foreign manufacturing facility sanitized the product with quaternary ammonium or Quat.  Quat is a surface sanitizer and is not made to be used directly on food for dogs (or humans).

This case points out the concerns for companies who have another company co-pack their product in facilities outside the country.  One would have expected contracted company, in this case United Pet, would have been controlling those facilities to a point where product produced was compliant with US regulations, or even generally accepted practices.  As the purchasing clients, completing a hazard analysis to take into account unexpected, unacceptable practices can be difficult to impossible without an onsite visit by a trusted, knowledgeable auditor.

FDA Recall Notice
United Pet Group Expands Voluntary Recall of Multiple Brands of Rawhide Chew Products for Dogs to Also Include Private Label Brands Due to Possible Chemical Contamination
For Immediate Release
June 16, 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Amazon Acquires Whole Foods announced that it was purchasing Whole Foods Markets today.   The food landscape continues to change in surprising ways.

Produce News
Amazon to acquire Whole Foods in $13.7 billion deal
June 16, 2017

Various Nut Based Products Recalled Due to Listeria

There have been a number of recalls over the past week for nut based products for Listeria.  All recalls state that there was a supplier issue.  One would guess that most, if not all recalls are related to the same supplier.
  • NOW Health Group, Inc. (NOW), of Bloomingdale, Illinois, is expanding the voluntary recall of various nut butters.
  • NEW ENGLAND NATURAL BAKERS of Greenfield MA, is issuing a voluntary recall of various granola products.
  • The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today announced it has expanded the recall of its 12 oz. packages of Simple Truth Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts
  • Wildway LLC is voluntarily recalling certain grain-free granola
  • GoMacro, of Viola, Wis., is recalling a limited number of MacroBars and Thrive Bars
  • Bulletproof 360, Inc. (“Bulletproof”) of Bellevue, Washington is recalling five Collagen Protein Bar and Bite products
Another recall that may be related is one for dry fruit products.

  • Publix Super Markets is issuing a voluntary recall for Publix Tropical Medley Mix because it may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes. Publix received notification of the potential contamination from our supplier of dried apricot.

Dry products listed here will not support the growth of Listeria, so then the question of risk is based on the amount of Listeria present.  Therefore, this probably represents a low risk.
NOW Health Group Inc. Expands Voluntary Recall of Ellyndale® Nutty Infusions™ Because of Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
June 16, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Breading Recall for Milk Allergens Due to Cross Contact in Processing

Newly Weds Foods issued a statement that their recall for breading, which caused a number of food processors to issue a recall, was due to cross contact in the manufacturing practice at their Massachusetts manufacturing facility.  The issue was discovered by one of their seafood customers. There were other meat and poultry recalls that resulted with more than 1.3 millions pounds of product.
Newly Weds Foods issues statement on breading-related recalls