Friday, April 28, 2017

Ginger Powder Recalled Due to Salmonella Contamination

Lords Organics, a California  is recalling Ginger Powder due to potential for Salmonella after product testing revealed the presence of the organism.  The product was sold through, so this should make tracking the individual purchases easier.

FDA Recall Notice
Lords Organics Recalls Ginger Powder Because Of Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
April 27, 2017

Mislabeling of Milk Product Leads to Recall Due to Allergens

Urban Remedy, a CA-based, organic juice company is recalling its Golden Milk product that was labeled as apple juice.  The product is sold through Whole Foods.

Golden milk is a nut based product, like an almond milk, so it would have nut allergens.  With so many products ( that look the same, label control is extremely important, especially in a case like this where a nut-based product can be mislabeled.

FDA Recall Notice
Urban Remedy Issues Voluntary Recall of Mislabeled Non-Dairy Spiced Golden Milk Due to Undeclared Allergen
For Immediate Release
April 27, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

FDA Issues Investigation Report of NY Cheese Firm Responsible for Listeria Outbreak

FDA issued their inspection report (483) to Vulto Creamery, the small NY Cheese company responsible for 2 deaths due to listeria.

Basically, FDA found a lot of issues that indicate this facility just doesn't get it.
  • LM was all over the plant, on food contact equipment, and on product.
  • While the plant did testing and found Listeria species, they did NOTHING beyond re-clean the area. They did not do follow-up testing nor did they try to determine where the Listeria was coming from, whether is was LM, or whether it impacted product.
  • They followed poor sanitary practices including not properly washing hands
  • Poor cleaning of facility and equipment
  • Poor design and maintenance of the facility
It is amazing that this product had as wide of distribution as it did.  It is also amazing that no one advised them otherwise or inspected them with an eye on safety.  Was it arrogance that being a small, close-to-the-farm, boutique artisan cheese shop, they were beyond the rules or the need to understand the rules?  Pathogens don't read the press clippings and don't care about whether a facility is big or small, organic or conventional, or that it is considered artisan.

FDA Investigation Report (FDA - 483)
Vulto Creamery, Walton, NY
Date of Inspection 2/28/17 to 3/22/17

Florida Company Recalls Sausage Product Due to Potential for Foreign Material

A Florida company is recalling close to 140,000 lbs of smoked meat and poultry sausage products due to the potential for foreign material contamination. This represents a month or so of production.  From the report, "The problem was discovered when a metal magnet was found in the beef trim source product of the processed sausage products."

USDA Recall Notice
Uncle John's Pride, LLC. Recalls Ready-To-Eat Sausage Products Due to Possible Foreign Matter Contamination
Class I Recall 038-2017
Health Risk: High
Apr 24, 2017

Ham Product Recalled Due to the Potential for Listeria Contamination

A Menphis TN company is recalling over 4 tons of ham after a FSIS Food Safety Audit (FSA) found that Listeria may be present.

USDA Recall Notice
Fineberg Packing Co., Inc. Recalls Ready-To-Eat Ham Products Due to Possible Listeria Contamination
Class I Recall 039-2017
Health Risk: High 
Apr 25, 2017

RTE Chicken Breasts Recalled After Complaints That Product May Be Undercooked

An Alabama company is recalling over 20 tongs of ready-to-eat chicken breasts after receiving complaints that the product appeared to be under-cooked.  The product is packed for and sold to foodservice establishments.  

While there have been no illnesses reported, the issue would be that if the product is truly undercooked, pathogens such as Salmonella or Campylobacter could be present..

USDA Recall Notice
WFSP Foods LLC. Recalls Ready-To-Eat Chicken Breast Products That May Be Undercooked
Class I Recall 037-2017
Health Risk: High Apr 24, 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

Bread Recalled for a Piece of Rubber

HEB, the Texas based grocery chain, is recalling sandwich bread after a piece of rubber was found in what is stated as an isolated instance.

FDA Recall Notice
H-E-B Voluntarily Issues a Precautionary Recall H-E-B and Hill Country Fare sandwich bread with a best buy date of April 29th or earlier being recalled for potential rubber in the product

Food Safety Instructor Sentenced for Falsifying Exams

In Illinois, an approved instructor was sentenced to 18 months in prison for allowing students to get a certificate without taking the food safety class or exam.  For seven years, he took payoffs from students in exchange for him sending falsified documentation to that State that they took the 15 hour course and passed the exam, when they actually did neither.

The bribe was for $175.  Which isn't much per occurrence, but over time, could amount to a substantial amount.   Hard to tell how many people took the bribe. The fine was for only $5000, which is nothing compared to 18 months in the big house.

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois
Lynwood Man Sentenced to 18 Months for Pocketing Bribes in Exchange for Allowing Food Service Workers to Bypass Sanitation Training and Testing

Thursday, April 20, 2017

CDC Releases Surveillance Data for Foodborne Illnesses 2013 - 2016

CDC released surveillance data for foodborne diseases for the period 2013 to 2016.  This covers 10 sites in the US and is used to compare incident levels over time.

One important point made is that testing for pathogens is changing, where lab facilities are using more culture independent diagnotic tests or CIDTs.  With CIDT's they look for markers and do not isolate the organism.  According to the report - CIDTs complicate the interpretation of FoodNet surveillance data because pathogen detection could be affected by changes in health care provider behaviors or laboratory testing practices
  • Health care providers might be more likely to order CIDTs because these tests are quicker and easier to use than traditional culture methods, a circumstance that could increase pathogen detection 
  • Pathogen detection could also be increasing as clinical laboratories adopt DNA-based syndromic panels, which include pathogens not often included in routine stool culture  
  • CIDTs do not yield isolates, which public health officials rely on to distinguish pathogen subtypes, determine antimicrobial resistance, monitor trends, and detect outbreaks.
So basically, year to year numbers may be more difficult to interpret because testing is easier, especially for pathogens that were more difficult to grow or were not normally considered.  So while it looks like the incidence to certain pathogens are increasing, that is probably not the case.

Incidence and Trends of Infections with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food and the Effect of Increasing Use of Culture-Independent Diagnostic Tests on Surveillance — Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 U.S. Sites, 2013–2016
Weekly / April 21, 2017 / 66(15);397–403