Here are some quick updates of food safety issues of ongoing food safety issues.
Sliced Apple Recall Due to Listeria - As reported by the Packer (link/story below) FDA did not find any deficiencies at the sliced apple facility that produced the pack of apple slices that tested positive for Listeria. Further, samples taken by FDA and the state were all negative. This indicated either a very low level contamination on the product. Or, should it be considered that there was the potential for lab error at the state lab?
Jenson brothers and Lawsuit Against Auditing Firm – The Packer (link/story below) is reporting that the Jensen’s have signed over a lawsuit they filed against Primus Labs to the victims. It is probably easier for the victims to extract money from the auditing firm that it is for the convicted brothers.
Foster Farms outbreak of Salmonella – CDC is reporting (link/story below) that as of November 15, 2013, a total of 389 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 23 states and Puerto Rico. USDA did not push for the company to conduct a recall.
Crunch Pak says ‘no deficiencies’ at site linked to recall 11/21/2013 12:48:00 PM
A federal inspection “found no deficiencies” at a Crunch Pak facility that produced sliced apples now under recall because of possible listeria contamination, according to company officials. Crunch Pak, Cashmere, Wash., voluntarily recalled almost 5,500 cases of sliced apples Nov. 14 after learning a random sampling by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture returned a positive result for listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported.
A company spokeswoman said Nov. 21 that the Food and Drug Administration had completed its inspection and “found no deficiencies” and no root cause at the production facility. The Food and Drug Administration has not released any details other than the initial recall notice because of agency policy regarding ongoing investigations. “Tests taken by the company, Washington State Department of Ag and by FDA have all been negative,” said Crunch Pak spokeswoman Amy Philpott. Six products are under recall, but only one sample of one product had positive results for listeria, according to information on the Crunch Pak website. “At this time, it is unclear how or where along the supply chain that the listeria monocytogenes got on this one sample,” the company states on its website at tinyurl.com/CrunchPak-recall-111413. C
Crunch Pak recalled five additional products that did not show contamination because they were produced on the same line and same day as the product that returned the positive result. “The company was notified late (Nov. 13). It was well after business hours, but they immediately began calling customers, asking them to remove products from the supply chain,” Philpott said. The plant that produced the products was not closed during the FDA inspection, Philpott said. Crunch Pak sold the products to regional distribution centers.
To identify the six recalled products both the Universal Product Code and best-by dates must be used, according to the recall notice. The UPC on the recalled products is also used for other items in the category, thus it alone will not identify the recalled products. The recalled products are: Crunch Pak Tart Apple Slices 14-ounce bag; Crunch Pak Tart Apple Slices 2-ounce bag with Low Fat Caramel Dip Multi pack of five; Crunch Pak Tart Apple Slices 2-ounce bag Multi pack of six; Crunch Pak Tart Apple Slices 3-pound bag; Crunch Pak Sweet Honeycrisp Apple Slices 12-ounce bag; and Crunch Pak Blue Raspberry Flavorz Apple Slices 2-ounce bag Multi pack of five with Monsters University.
Jensens give listeria victims control of case against Primus Labs
11/21/2013 04:48:00 PM
Following a meeting with some family members of victims of the 2011 listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe from their farm, Eric and Ryan Jensen signed over a lawsuit they filed against Primus Labs to the victims. Attorney Bill Marler, who represents 46 of the 64 victims and their families who have filed civil suits against the Jensen brothers, said Nov. 21 that he would soon file a notice of appearance in Colorado state court in the case against the Santa Maria, Calif., auditing firm.
By “assigning” the case to the victims, the Jensens have basically taken themselves out of the lawsuit against Primus Labs, Marler said. Now he and the other lawyers representing victims in civil cases against the Jensens will prosecute the Colorado case against Primus Labs. Any settlement in the Primus Labs case will be divided among the victims, Marler said. He said he could not estimate how long it would take to resolve the case. Marler will continue to represent 46 clients who have filed civil suits against the Jensens. In the suit against Primus Labs, the Jensen brothers contend the auditing firm should be liable for damages related to the 2011 listeria outbreak that killed at least 33 people.
The Jensens hired Primus Labs to do a food safety audit of their operation, but the company paid a third-party contractor to do the job. Bio Food Safety, a Texas company, sent auditor James Dilorio to Jensen Farms, Holly, Colo., on July 25, 2011, according to the Jensens’ complaint. Dilorio gave the Jensens’ operation a score of 96 out of 100. He did not raise questions about numerous issues that the Food and Drug Administration cited in its inspection report on the Jensens’ farm and packing facility after the deadly outbreak. The Jensen brothers each pleaded guilty to six federal misdemeanor criminal charges and are free on bonds, awaiting a Jan. 28 sentencing hearing in Denver. –
CDC News Release
Multistate Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Linked to Foster Farms Brand Chicken
· Read the Advice to Consumers »
· As of November 15, 2013, a total of 389 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 23 states and Puerto Rico.
o 40% of ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
o Most ill persons (74%) have been reported from California.
· Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections.
· On October 7, 2013, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) issued a Public Health Alert due to concerns that illness caused by Salmonella Heidelberg is associated with chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.
o On October 10, 2013, USDA-FSIS announced that Foster Farms submitted and implemented immediate substantive changes to their slaughter and processing to allow for continued operations.
o This investigation is ongoing. USDA-FSIS is prepared to take additional actions or expand the investigation based on new evidence.
· On October 12 and October 17, 2013, Costco’s El Camino Real store located in South San Francisco, California recalled more than 23,000 units of rotisserie chicken products due to possible Salmonella Heidelberg contamination.
o Consumers should not eat the recalled chicken products, and retailers and food service establishments should not serve them.
· The outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. This antibiotic resistance may be associated with an increased risk of hospitalization.
· It is not unusual for raw poultry from any producer to have Salmonella bacteria. CDC and USDA-FSIS recommend consumers follow food safety tips to prevent Salmonella infection from raw poultry produced by Foster Farms or any other brand.