Friday, January 28, 2011

Reportable Food Registry First Year Report

One of the major regulatory initiatives for preventing foodborne illness in the US is the Reportable Food Registry.  FDA regulated companies and regulatory officials are required to report food safety issues associated with food and feed.  For example, if  Company B receives a RTE ingredient from Company A, and this ingredient  has Listeria, Company B must report it.  This registry will certainly impact FDA’s ability to get involved in cases where there is probable contamination.
In this report, there were 2240 acceptable submissions. Of this number, 229 were primary reports and the rest were subsequent reports.    Of the 229, Salmonella and allergens accounted for the majority of cases. Import products accounted for 53 of the primary reports, and the report stated that additional emphasis will be placed in this area. One of the success stories was that this registry was responsible for the recall of HVP early last year when Salmonella was detected (There were no know illnesses.  )
The Reportable Food Registry was established by FDA and requires FDA regulated companies to report any “food/feed for which there is a reasonable probability that the use of, or exposure to, such article of food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. All foods under FDA's jurisdiction, including animal feed/food (including pet food) may be reportable foods, except for dietary supplements and infant formula.”
The Reportable Food Registry is “an electronic portal by which reports about instances of reportable food must be submitted to FDA within 24 hours by responsible parties and may be submitted by public health officials. These reports may be primary, the initial submission about a reportable food, or subsequent, a report by either a supplier (upstream) or a recipient (downstream) of a food or food ingredient for which a primary report has been submitted.”

Friday, January 21, 2011

U.S. FDA to post environmental assessments of foodborne illness outbreaks

This is a great resource provided by FDA. From these investigations, we will be able to learn what led to the contamination.

In the first investigation posted, romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli non-O157 STEC which led to 33 illnesses, investigators identified the irrigation water as the probably cause.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Outbreak of Salmonella Infection Related to Raw Spouts

According to CDC, there have been 30 outbreaks of salmonellosis related to raw sprouts in the last 15 years (  Most recently, an Illinois producer of alfalfa sprouts has been implicated for 125 illnesses.  This producerTiny Greens Organic Farm of Urbana, Illinois announced a recall on December 29, 2010 (
Salmonella is a hazard associated with the raw beans.  During the sprouting process, the beans are watered in a warm environment for a number of days.  Unfortunately, these conditions also allow the Salmonella to multiply.   To control this hazard, bean sprouts are disinfected prior to beginning the sprouting process.  As history indicates however, there are still issues associated with sprouts.   Because of this, high risk populations including the elderly, the very young, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems should avoid consuming raw sprouts of any type.  Otherwise, sprouts should be cooked thoroughly.