Friday, May 27, 2011

Food Safety News Items for 5/27/11

USDA Revises Recommended Cooking Temperature for All Whole Cuts of Meat, Including Pork, to 145 °F - while foodservice (FDA regulated) has been at 145ºF, USDA just lowered the consumer recommended temperature to 145ºF (from 160ºF). However, USDA also recommends a 3 minute hold time after cooking.

Cucumbers May Be Culprit in Massive E. coli Outbreak in Germany- This strain, E. coli O104:H4 (not O157:H7) has caused over 200 cases of HUS in Europe with at least 2 deaths . It is believed that these organic cucumbers were fertilized with improperly treated manure. Demonstrates the importance of following GAP principles.

USDA Urged to Prohibit Antibiotic-Resistant Salmonella in Ground Meat and Poultrya consumer group is pushing to have USDA prohibit antibiotic resistant strains of Salmonella. This action is controversial in that it would add a huge burden for USDA to test and for companies to monitor, considering the low level of issues we have seen. A broad scale risk assessment should be first completed.

A cluster of Listeria monocytogenes infections in hospitalized adults, Midlands, England, February 2011Prepackaged sandwiches made by an outside purveyor the likely cause, however the investigation found issues within the hospital kitchen as well.Eurosurveillance, Volume 16, Issue 20, 19 May 2011

Studies Focus on Feed Ingredient's Effects on Levels of E. coli O157:H7 in CattleStudy that shows a higher prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in cattle fed with distillers grain in the feed compared to those fed without distillers grain. More work is needed to see if the distillers grain included in the feed is having any selective properties. Part of the push to discover and eliminate this organism upstream in the food chain.

Spuds, on the Verge of Being Expelled, Start a Food Fight in the CafeteriaTaking potatoes away from kids? So on empty stomachs, kids can go home and eat candy and drink soda.

USDA Approves LISTEX as Processing Aid Against ListeriaFor those who do not live in Geekdom, this product is a phage,( or virus that attacks bacteria), that is added to food products to kill Listeria. Phage are very specific to their host, in this case, Listeria. I will be interested to see how consumers respond when they find out that companies are treating their food products with ‘viruses’.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Food Safety News Items for May 6, 2011

Here are a few interesting headlines from the week ending May 6. Happy Friday from sunny (finally) State College. Titles and links. MB

CDC: Over 50? Heat cold cuts to 165 degrees to avoid Listeria – If pregnant women are asked to avoid deli meats, should older people also avoid them? Certainly if older people are classified as high risk due to conditions, it is probably something to consider, or even choosing products with certain preservatives. But not a huge risk when we consider the low prevalence and the good health of most 50 to 70+ year olds. It is also a good idea not to hold that store sliced deli meat for more than 3 or 4 days.

Importance of Hygiene, Surface Cleaning Underscored by Listeriosis Outbreaks – Staph (MRSA) is a concern in hospitals, so it is not hard to imagine that Listeria can be a large concern as well, especially preparing food for high risk populations. It is time for Hospital HACCP.

FDA issues first new rules under Food Safety Modernization Act – The first two rules of FSMA – 1) Give FDA more authority to detain suspect food, or food produced under unsanitary conditions, and 2) Require importers to report if a food has been previously rejected by another country before it can be imported into the US. Nothing here as far as new requirements, but will increase FDA’s willingness to hold food products made in less-than-good facilities.

Florida: Grape Tomatoes Are Recalled – a single lot of tomatoes tested positive for Salmonella. No illnesses reported. However, has resulted in a CA salad company conducting a rather large recall.

Feds finally catching up with California farmers’ food safety standards – USDA adopting CA Leafy Greens standards for nation.

CSU Report on Extending Shelf Life of Meat – A free report from Colorado State on practices for extending shelf-life of meat products. Not yet reviewed, but worth a look.

Click here to access the report.

Food For Thought: US Squanders Energy On Food Chain – “Between 1997 and 2002, in fact, over 80 percent of the increase in annual U.S. energy consumption was food related.” This is a good read, although the term “squanders’ seems a little overstated.