Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Superbugs, Antibiotic Resistance, and Foster Farms Chickens

The term “Superbug”, a label coined by the US media, refers to those bacteria that cause serious disease in humans. Infections from these pathogens are difficult to treat in that those organisms have resistance to a number of commonly used antibiotics (multi-antibiotic resistance). Every time the discussion of superbugs comes up, people immediately identify food as the/a major issue. Primarily they identify meat and poultry as a source in the development and dissemination of superbugs. While there are antibiotic resistant bacteria associated with meat and poultry, the following facts should help clarify some of the myths associated with multi-drug resistant pathogens.
  • According to the CDC, the most important source of antibiotic resistant organisms is in hospitals. Along with this, is the over prescribing of antibiotics to people by doctors.
  • The use of antibiotics in animals is regulated - the administration of those drugs if limited to prevention and control of illness in the herd or flock, and that administration provides sufficient time so that there are no residues in the meat at the time of slaughter. The use of antibiotics for growth is not permitted.
  • The classes of antibiotics used in animals are generally different than those used in people.
  • Having antibiotic resistance does not necessarily mean an organism is a superbug - many organisms can have resistance to antibiotics and not cause illness, or in other cases, pathogens can have resistance to antibiotics that are not normally used to treat human illness.
  • Many bacteria have naturally occurring antibiotic resistance, so to have raw meat or poultry with no antibiotic resistance microorganisms is impossible.
  • If people properly handle and prepare / cook meat, they will eliminate all potential pathogens that may be present. Antibiotic resistance does not give organisms the ability to survive proper cooking or cleaning.
Now this is not to say that people can’t get ill from multi-antibiotic resistant pathogens. There has been the ongoing case of Foster Farms chicken in California that had been a source of severe illness. Some product was recalled – that was product that was cooked at a Costco store and then most likely mishandled leading to cross contamination. Foster Farms, the producer of the chicken, has what appears to be an on-going issue with consumers getting ill from the raw chicken parts that are purchased by consumers through retail stores. While USDA has worked with the facility to put in an action plan, it did not force the company to issue a recall.   
Much of the debate is whether Salmonella should be considered an adulterant. To this point in time, it is not considered an adulterant provided the company has safe handling instructions labeled on the product, and the company is following standard accepted practices. But will consumers properly handle and cook poultry?
There is a push to make those multi-antibiotic resistant strains of Salmonella an adulterant, but this is a slippery slope. Not all multi-antibiotic strains are responsible for making people ill. In fact, the Salmonella strain in the Foster Farms case have antibiotic resistance to antibiotics that are rarely used to treat people for salmonellosis. So what can the science support? What is practical, considering that Salmonella has been associated with birds much longer than modern man has been around?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hemp - coming to a store near the way of Canada

 Hemp, a variety of cannabis , has been highly restricted for being grown in the United States because the other varieties of cannabis, marijuana, are illegal...and it is not always obvious which form one is growing.   

But hemp, the varieties with lower THC levels, can be used for a variety of products including hemp seed foods, hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, paper, and fuel.  In fact, there is a long history of using hemp for making fiber and paper.

As for nutrition (as per Wikipedia)
Approximately 44% of the weight of hempseed is edible oils, containing about 80% essential fatty acids (EFAs); e.g., linoleic acid, omega-6 (LA, 55%), alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 (ALA, 22%), in addition to gamma-linolenic acid, omega-6 (GLA, 1–4%) and stearidonic acid, omega-3 (SDA, 0–2%). Proteins (including edestin) are the other major component (33%). Hempseed's amino acid profile is "complete" when compared to more common sources of proteins such as meat, milk, eggs and soy.[11] Hemp protein contains all nutritionally significant amino acids, including the 9 essential ones[12] adult bodies cannot produce. Proteins are considered complete when they contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities and ratios to meet the body's needs. The proportions of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid in one tablespoon (15 ml) per day of hemp oil easily provides human daily requirements for EFAs.

A Canadian firm has taken a lead in moving the hemp hearts, a highly nutritive component into the US.  According to the Bloomberg article below, the company is looking to triple its production to meet the increasing demand. 

Bloomburg BusinessWeek
Hemp Enters the Mainstream
By Matthew Boyle May 22, 2014

The sachets of hemp hearts on the shelves at Costco (COST), Safeway (SWY), and Whole Foods Market (WFM) are Mike Fata’s last laugh. The founder of Manitoba Harvest has spent the past decade working to transform hemp—a variety of cannabis—from the butt of weedy jokes into a supermarket staple. Fata’s investors are particularly happy about the mass-market breakthrough. “Our customers are bright enough to know that it does not have dope in it if Costco’s selling it,” says Jim Taylor, a founding partner of Avrio Capital, a Calgary-based venture capital company that was one of Manitoba Harvest’s early backers.

Looser cultivation restrictions and the food industry’s hunger for produce that packs a protein punch have helped distance hemp from its more notorious relative. Hemp contains less than 0.5 percent of the mind-bending compound tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, that gives marijuana its potency. Earlier this year the U.S. government finally recognized hemp as distinct from cannabis. A federal ban on commercial cultivation, however, is still in force.

Walnuts Recalled Due to Positive Listeria Test

 FDA released three recall notices for walnuts after FDA testing found a sample positive for Listeria at the supplier, Golden State Foods.  Walnuts from California, were sold in MO, KS, and IL.

 Walnuts would not be considered high risk for Listeria - walnuts are shelf stable - dry (low moisture) are stored at ambient temperatures.  It is unlikely that Listeria would support the growth of Listeria, but if walnuts were used an ingredient in a higher moisture product, such as a salad, then the walnuts could be a source of Listeria.

It is hard to tell why walnuts were tested in the first place outside the fact that it may be used as an ingredient in a moister refrigerated RTE product.

 What we don't know was the level of contamination on the walnuts to start.  Generally absence/presence testing is done.  Do the level of contamination may have been low and thus the associated risk would be low.  According the FDA Risk Assessment for Listeria , there would be very low risk, even for susceptible populations, when the contamination rate is less than 100 CFU/meal.  Certainly testing will be able to detect below this level

FDA Recall Notices

Sherman Produce Recalls Bulk and Packaged
Walnuts Due to Possible Health Risk

Contact Consumer: 314-231-2896

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 21, 2014 - St. Louis-based Sherman Produce is voluntarily recalling walnuts comprising of 241 cases of bulk walnuts packaged in 25 lb bulk cardboard boxes and Schnucks brand 10 oz trays with UPC 00338390032 with best by dates 03/15 and 04/15 because the products are potentially contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Using Yelp Reviews to Help Fight Foodborne Illness

A study was done to use Yelp, a restaurant review website, as a way to identify restaurants that may have caused foodborne illness.  Investigators went through about 300,000 reviews using word identification software to identify roughly 500 that may have had an illness. From this, investigators further refined the list to 129, of which 27 individuals agreed to answer a survey.

 Great?  I am not seeing it that way.
  1. People are not always truthful when writing reviews, especially if they had a bad experience. What a better way to exact revenge on a mean restaurant owner then to complain that you got ill from eating there.   Could this explain the low level of people willing to answer a survey?  Seriously, if you had gotten sick from eating at a restaurant, and then authorities asked me if you would answer a survey, I think most would be more than willing to provide some information.
  2. Competitors will also write fake reviews.
  3. People attribute illness to the last thing they ate, or an memorable event where they ate, but this is not necessarily what made them ill.   Granted the survey tries to take this into account, but not may miss one way or the other.
  4. Yelp is just one of the review investigators would need to expand the search to include a number websites.
Here is an idea...why not place a health department link on these review websites where one can report an illness if they feel they get it from a certain establishment.  So instead of taking a passive approach that requires numerous employee hours (spending tax payer dollars) to evaluate hundreds of thousands reviews for certain key words that may indicate illness, we add a link to those review websites that states....'If you believe you have gotten ill from eating at this specific restaurant, or have noticed a situation that could lead to foodborne illness, please click on this link'.

No one will report unless that really feel the restaurant was truly at fault.  In fact, a person reading the reviews and seeing a claim of illness could see if someone was truthful enough to actually report the illness to that is something you would take that pretty seriously when reading reviews.     I am sure that the review websites  (Yelp, TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon, etc) would be happy to help.

MMWR Report
Using Online Reviews by Restaurant Patrons to Identify Unreported Cases of Foodborne Illness — New York City, 2012–2013


May 23, 2014 / 63(20);441-445

Cassandra Harrison, MSPH1,2, Mohip Jorder, MS3, Henri Stern3, Faina Stavinsky, MS1, Vasudha Reddy, MPH1, Heather Hanson, MPH1, HaeNa Waechter, MPH1, Luther Lowe4, Luis Gravano, PhD3, Sharon Balter, MD1 (Author affiliations at end of text)

While investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal disease associated with a restaurant, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) noted that patrons had reported illnesses on the business review website Yelp ( that had not been reported to DOHMH. To explore the potential of using Yelp to identify unreported outbreaks, DOHMH worked with Columbia University and Yelp on a pilot project to prospectively identify restaurant reviews on Yelp that referred to foodborne illness. During July 1, 2012–March 31, 2013, approximately 294,000 Yelp restaurant reviews were analyzed by a software program developed for the project. The program identified 893 reviews that required further evaluation by a foodborne disease epidemiologist. Of the 893 reviews, 499 (56%) described an event consistent with foodborne illness (e.g., patrons reported diarrhea or vomiting after their meal), and 468 of those described an illness within 4 weeks of the review or did not provide a period. Only 3% of the illnesses referred to in the 468 reviews had also been reported directly to DOHMH via telephone and online systems during the same period. Closer examination determined that 129 of the 468 reviews required further investigation, resulting in telephone interviews with 27 reviewers. From those 27 interviews, three previously unreported restaurant-related outbreaks linked to 16 illnesses met DOHMH outbreak investigation criteria; environmental investigation of the three restaurants identified multiple food-handling violations. The results suggest that online restaurant reviews might help to identify unreported outbreaks of foodborne illness and restaurants with deficiencies in food handling. However, investigating reports of illness in this manner might require considerable time and resources.

Trichinella Case Study 2013 - Wild Boar

 In this incident, a group of 9 people became infected with Trichinella after eating undercooked sausage made with ground meat from wild boar.

Trichnella infection used to be more common before the 1950s and was usually caused by ingestion of undercooked pork. The number of cases decreased beginning in the mid-20th century because of legislation prohibiting the feeding of raw-meat garbage to hogs, commercial and home freezing of pork, and the public awareness of the danger of eating raw or undercooked pork products. Commercially raised pork are fed controlled diets and the meat is inspected.

Today, infection is relatively rare. During 2008–2010, 20 cases were reported per year on average. Cases were related to eating undercooked meat from meat eating animals such as bear, cougar, and wild boar.

Abdominal symptoms can occur 1-2 days after infection after the parasite attaches to the lining of the intestine. These symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, and abdominal discomfort.

Further symptoms usually start 2-8 weeks after eating contaminated meat as the eggs develop into immature worms, travel through the arteries, and are transported to muscles. Within the muscles, the worms curl into a ball and encyst (become enclosed in a capsule). These include headaches, fevers, chills, cough, swelling of the face and eyes, aching joints and muscle pains, itchy skin, diarrhea, or constipation may follow the first symptoms. If the infection is heavy, patients may experience difficulty coordinating movements, and have heart and breathing problems. In severe cases, death can occur. 

USDA recommends cooking wild game (whole cuts and ground) o at least 160° F (71° C).


MMWR Report
Notes from the Field: Trichinellosis Caused by Consumption of Wild Boar Meat — Illinois, 2013
MMWR Weekly

May 23, 2014 / 63(20);451
Yoran Grant Greene, PhD1,2, Thomas Padovani3, Jo Ann Rudroff4, Rebecca Hall, MPH5, Connie Austin, DVM, PhD2, Michael Vernon, DrPH2 (Author affiliations at end of text)

On March 6, 2013, the Cook County Department of Public Health (Chicago, Illinois) contacted the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding a diagnosis of trichinellosis in a patient who had consumed wild boar and deer meat obtained by hunting at a Missouri ranch January 16–18. Trichinellosis is a parasitic infection caused by consumption of undercooked infected meat, most commonly from carnivorous or omnivorous animals (1).

Hummus and Dip Products Recalled for Potential Listeria Contamination

 A MA based company is recalling 14.000 pounds of hummus and dip products after the Texas Department of Health found Listeria during routine testing of one of the containers.  Product was shipped to Target (Archer Farms brand), to Giant Eagle, and to Trader Joes. No illnesses have been reported.

 Listeria is an organism that can become a hazard in these foods if controls are not in place.  These products are most likely cold filled, and thus have post-lethality exposure.  That is, after the product is processed, it is filled into containers.  Environmental contaminates like Listeria, if present through the absence of control, can get into containers during this time.  Because Listeria can grow at refrigeration temperatures, it can grow in the humus essentially from the time the product is shipped until the time the product is consumed.

Here again, we find a private label company having a negative impact on a larger brand, including Trader Joe's.  The processor in the case, Lansal Inc, (d.b.a. Hot Momma's Foods) had bought a hummus filler two years ago for their MA facility (according to the release below).


FDA Recall Notice
Lansal, Inc. Voluntarily Recalls Hummus & Dip Products Due to Possible Health Risk
Contact:  Consumer:  (877) 550-0694 from 8:00A.M. to 8:00P.M.
Media: Mark Kretzinger (847) 288-9183 ext. 113

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 19, 2014 - Prepared Foods manufacturer, Lansal, Inc.( d.b.a Hot Mama’s Foods), announced today that as a precaution it is voluntarily recalling approximately 14,860 pounds of hummus and dip products due to concerns about possible Listeria monocytogenes, an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ground Beef Recalled After Linked to E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

A Michigan company is recalling ground beef after that product was linked to 11 cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection.  Product was shipped to Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio, and was sold for foodservice use.
The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature of 160F (Foodservice 155F).  That means you need check those burgers with a thermometer.  Touching it with your finger or looking at color is not good enough.
With grilling season here, don't you think it is time to buy one of those nice thermometers and put it to work for the safety of your family and friends?  Yeah, you know it is.

USDA News Release
Michigan Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products Due To Possible E. Coli O157:H7
Class I Recall 030-2014
Health Risk: High May 19, 2014
Congressional and Public Affairs  Lauren Kotwicki  (202) 720-9113
WASHINGTON, May, 19, 2014 – Wolverine Packing Company, a Detroit, Mich. establishment, is recalling approximately 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

MERS - A Quick Primer

There have been three cases of  MERS found in the US.  MERS, a severe respiratory infection, is caused by a virus and can be spread person-to-person.  It originates in the Middle East, and cases found so far have been related to two who traveled to the Middle East and one who had contact with one of those travelers.

According to CDC, there is very low risk to the general public here is the US.

USDA to Begin Testing Ground Beef for Salmonella

USDA will begin testing for Salmonella in addition to E. Coli (STEC) in ground beef this summer.  Samples found to be Salmonella positive will be analyzed for antibiotic resistance.

It will be interesting to see if any recalls are issued due to antibiotic resistant Salmonella strains.

 USDA Website - Blog
Food Safety Scientists Double Up on Ground Beef Testing This Summer
Posted by Brian Ronholm, Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety, on May 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

As grilling season heats up, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is enhancing our food safety testing program for ground beef. While FSIS has a range of safeguards to reduce E. coli in ground beef, this summer we will begin new testing to improve the safeguards against Salmonella as well. Salmonella is commonly found in ground beef and, in fact, caused an illness outbreak in January 2013 in six states. Salmonella is an especially difficult bacteria for food safety experts to address because it is so prevalent in almost all food sources.

Kraft Products Recalled Due to Inadequate Storage Temperature of Ingredients

Kraft is recalling cottage cheese products due to the fact that some of the ingredients were not stored at the proper temperature.  It appears that about 10 weeks of production are being recalled, which is a reported 1.2 million cases.
While there is little information to say what happened in this case, clearly the issue was identified after the product was shipped.  Many factors can lead to this....improperly placed refrigerated ingredients in an ambient temperature warehouse, a cooler that was not operating correctly so that the temperatures were not below 41 deg F, or ingredients were received at a higher incoming temperature.  Regardless, when food products and/or ingredients are stored at an incorrect temperature for a given period of time, corrective action must be taken.  If that refrigerated food is determined to be temperature abused, there is often little recourse except for disposal.
This case is a good reminder for being firm on SOPs (standard operation procedures) regarding refrigerated food ingredients - regularly monitoring refrigeration temperature to ensure proper conditions are maintained, and ensuring that ingredients are received at the right temperature and then stored in the proper location.

Kraft Food Group News Release
May 17, 2014
Kraft Foods Group Voluntarily Recalls Select Cottage Cheese Products Due To Out-Of-Standard Storage Temperatures
Certain Knudsen Cottage Cheese, Breakstone's Cottage Cheese, Simply Kraft Cottage Cheese and Daily Chef Cottage Cheese Products Included in the Recall

NORTHFIELD, Ill., May 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Kraft Foods Group is voluntarily recalling select Knudsen Cottage Cheese, Breakstone's Cottage Cheese, Simply Kraft Cottage Cheese, and Daily Chef Cottage Cheese products. Some ingredients used in these products were not stored in accordance with Kraft's temperature standards. While unlikely, this could create conditions that could lead to premature spoilage and/or food borne illness; therefore, the company is issuing the recall as a precaution. The affected products all have code dates from May 9, 2014 through July 23, 2014.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Raw Pet Food Recalled Due to Postive Listeria Testing

A pet food company is recalling its raw pet food products after product testing indicated the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.

This is not the first case of a recall being issued on raw pet food products.  Bravo recalled raw pet food in 2013, in that case, it was due to Salmonella (below).

It is hard to tell whether there are interventions in place, but clearly the company acknowledges there may be harmful bacteria present.  So if people want to buy raw pet food, and they know there are pathogens present, why is the product being tested for pathogens.  It is raw, and thus the potential for pathogens will be there.

On the other side, consumers don't always read the packaging, and if they did, would not necessarily follow instructions.

From the Bravo website:

Some raw food products may contain bacteria that could cause illness to you or the animals you are feeding if mishandled. (Note all Bravo! Raw Diet products are tested by an independent lab prior to leaving our plant for the presence of selected bacteria.)

For your protection, please follow these instructions for safest use.

Keep frozen until ready to use. Keep meat and poultry separate from other foods. Wash working surfaces, utensils (including cutting boards, preparation and feeding bowls), hands, and any other items that touch or contact raw meat or poultry with hot soapy water. Refrigerate leftovers immediately.

Bravo! 2 lb. and 5 lb. and 10 lb. chubs.

2 lb. chub: Allow 24 hours to defrost a 2 lb chub in refrigerator and 3-4 hours to defrost a 2 lb chub on the countertop at room temperature.
5 lb. or 10 lb. chub: Allow 36 hours to defrost it in the refrigerator and 4-6 hours to defrost it on the counter at room temperature.
Please defrost any Bravo! chub or any packaged product on a plate or in a sealed container to avoid having any meat juices etc. come in contact with other food or contents of your refrigerator.
Thawing Tips:
If need be you can use the cold water fast thaw method on a chub:
Allow 45-60 minutes in a cold water bath for a 2 lb chub and up to 2 hours for a 5 lb. or 10 lb. chub.
Remember to place the thawing chub in a bowl or non-plastic covered container or on a plate. Do not leave the chub on the counter where the defrosting meat and juices might leak on to the counter.
We do not recommend using a microwave to defrost any size chub. 

Full-size - 4oz. or 8 oz. Burger:

 Generally a 4 oz. or 8 oz. burger will thaw and be ready to serve 6-8 hours after being placed in the refrigerator from the freezer.
Remember to place the thawing burgers on a plate or in a non-plastic covered container.
Do not remove the burger from the EZ Peel overwrap vacuum sealed package while it thaws.
Serve immediately after removing the overwrap.
Once thawed, product should be served within 1-2 days.
Carefully wash bowl or plate or any plate or storage device with hot, soapy water before reuse.
If you have thawed the burger, please do not leave it out at room temperature after it has thawed. You should be careful to serve it immediately or keep it in the refrigerator for safe storage.
If you need to do a fast thaw, do not use a microwave. Run cold tap water over the burger while it is still sealed in the package for about 5-10 minutes and serve it when it is thawed, but still chilled.

 FDA Recall Notice
Bravo® Issues Nationwide Recall of Pet Food for Dogs and Cats

Contact: Consumer: (866) 922-9222

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 14, 2014 - Manchester, CT – Bravo is recalling select lots and product(s) of Bravo Pet Food because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

However, healthy cats and dogs rarely become sick from Listeria. Animals ill with Listeria will display symptoms similar to the ones listed above for humans. People who have concerns about whether their pet has Listeria should contact their veterinarian.

The recalled product was distributed nationwide to distributors, retail stores, internet retailers and directly to consumers. The product can be identified by the batch ID code (best used by date) printed on the side of the plastic tube or on a label on the box.

The recalled products are as follows:

1) These products are being recalled because they may have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

All 2lb., 5lb., and 10lb. tubes
Product Numbers: 52-102, 52-105, 52-110
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

3 lb. box with (12) 4oz. burgers
Product Number: 31-401
Best Used By Dates: 1/07/16 and 2/11/16

2) These products are being recalled out of an abundance of caution because while they did not test positive for pathogens, they were manufactured in the same manufacturing facility or on the same day as products that did test positive.

All 2lb., 5lb., and 10lb. tubes
Product Numbers: 42-102, 42-105, 42-110
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

2lb. tubes
Product Number: 42-202
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

5lb. tubes
Product Number: 53-130
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

NET WT 2LBS (32 OZ) .91KG (Tubes)
Product Number: 72-222
Best Used By Date: 1/7/16

PRODUCT: BRAVO! TURKEY BALANCE FORMULA (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT)
NET WT 2 LBS (32 OZ) .09KG, Chub (tube)
Product Number: 31-402
Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

NET WT 5 LBS (80 OZ) 2.3KG, Chub (tube)
Product Number: 31-405
Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

5 LBS (80 OZ) 2.3KG, Chub (tube)
Product Number: 42-105
Best Used By Date: 2/11/16

This voluntary recall has been issued because the FDA has reported an independent lab detected the bacteria in a sample during a recent review. The company has received a limited number of reports of dogs experiencing nausea and diarrhea that may be associated with these specific products. The company has received no reports of human illness as a result of these products.

Bravo discontinued all manufacturing in New Zealand on October 10, 2013. Bravo will immediately start working with distributors and retailers to properly dispose of any affected product left on freezer shelves. The company will also be announcing the recall to pet owners to ensure they dispose of any affected product that has been purchased.

Bravo is issuing this action out of an abundance of caution and sincerely regrets any inconvenience to pet owners as a result of this announcement.

The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets. Pet owners who have the affected product at home should dispose of this product in a safe manner (example, a securely covered trash receptacle). They can return to the store where purchased and submit the Product Recall Claim Form available on the Bravo website for a full refund or store credit. More information on the Bravo recall can also be found at, or call toll free (866) 922-9222.

*Image of product labels for recalled items is attached.

FDA News Release - 2013
Bravo! Recalls 2 lb Tubes of Chicken Blend-Raw Frozen Food Diet for Dogs and Cats (One Lot Code) Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

Contact:Consumer: David Bogner 866-922-9222

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 13, 2013 - Bravo! is voluntarily recalling its 2 lb tubes of Bravo! Raw Food Diet Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats, product code: 21-102, batch ID code 6 14 12, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

The recall involves 2 lb. Bravo! Chicken Blend frozen raw diet tubes (chubs) made on June 14, 2012 only; no other products or sizes are involved. The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets. This batch tested negative by a third party independent laboratory prior to release for distribution to consumers, however routine testing by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture of product collected from a single retail location tested positive for presence of salmonella. While the testing discrepancy is unclear, in an abundance of caution Bravo is issuing this recall.

The company has received no reports of illness in either people or animals associated with this product.

The recalled product is distributed nationwide to distributors, retail stores, internet retailers and directly to consumers, and can be identified by the batch ID code 6 14 12 located on the white hang tag attached to the bottom of the plastic film tube.

Pet owners should return unopened frozen tubes of food to the store where purchased for a full refund. Pet owners should dispose of opened tubes of product in a safe manner (example, a securely covered trash receptacle) and return the washed plastic batch ID tag to the store where purchased for a full refund.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

In an effort to prevent the transmission of Salmonella from pets to family members and care givers, the FDA recommends that everyone follow appropriate pet food handling guidelines when feeding their pets. A list of safe pet food handling tips can be found at:

For more information on the Bravo recall, please visit, or call toll free (866) 922-9222 Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (EST).


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Increased Demand for Local Foods and Food Safety

A recent survey shows that US shoppers will pay more for local foods.  This consumer trend has, and will continue to increase the demands for local companies to supply goods such as produce, meats, and processed foods.   In order to provide safe foods, local producers and processors will have to comply with food safety practices that are becoming more stringent.  Local regulatory officials will be challenged for providing oversight to an increasing number of firms, as well as with a wider variety of products they are producing.
With increasing demand creating premium pricing, one can expect that there will be new businesses entering into the marketplace.  While this is a positive for local economies, there is the possibility for more food safety issues as new producers face the challenge of implementing food safety systems. 
One food safety lapse can bring all of this to a quick halt for that local company.  Media coverage, including social media, seems to be able to exact a high price to those whose products are involved in foodborne outbreak or a recall.
This is not just an issue for new companies, but also those established firms as they increase production or create new products.  Increased production can stress a company's food safety system to a point where potential food safety lapses can occur.
Local companies need to embrace food safety and work to enact the best practices.  It is important that companies research new products to assure that all potential food safety hazards have been identified and controlled.

PR Newswire
Second Annual A.T. Kearney Survey of U.S. Grocery Shoppers Indicates One-Third will Pay 10 Percent Premium for Local Food
Willingness to pay for local food increases to a 20 percent premium or more in key categories

CHICAGO, May 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The second annual A.T. Kearney survey of U.S. shoppers' local food buying habits finds that local food is fast becoming a necessity for attracting and retaining grocery customers. Comparing survey results to the 2013 survey, an increased number of shoppers indicate that local foods are an important factor in what they buy and where they buy it. A majority of grocery shoppers in the survey indicated that they think more highly of retailers that carry local food and will consider switching retailers to find better local food selections.

FDA Releases 4th Annual Reportable Food Registry Report

FDA released its 4th annual Reportable Food Registry Report. The Reportable Food Registry is "an electronic portal to which reports about instances of reportable food must be submitted to FDA within 24 hours by responsible parties and to which reports may be submitted by public health officials. A reportable food is an article of 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." 

So basically, it is a website for companies when companies find something bad in the food they purchase.  It has been a useful tool in that it often prevents issues from getting into the marketplace.

There were 202 original reports filed in the reporting period.  Animal food and feed accounted for the largest percentage of primary reports.

FDA Announces the 4th Annual Reportable Food Registry Report 
May 5, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today made available the 4th Annual Reportable Food Registry (RFR) Report. The report summarizes the Registry’s fourth year of operation (September 8, 2012 – September 7, 2013) and finds that it logged in 1269 reports, including 202 primary reports—initial reports about a safety concern with a food or animal feed (including food ingredients); 849 subsequent reports from suppliers or recipients of a food or feed for which a primary report had been submitted; and 218 amended reports to correct or add information to previously submitted reports. Reports were received from both domestic and foreign sources. 

Chili Powder Recalled due to the Presence of Salmonella

A California distributor is recalling chili powder after testing found a lot code of the product to be positive for Salmonella.

As we know, Salmonella can be an issue in spices that are not properly treated.  It can then survive in the dry spices for an extended period of time.   This spice appears to have directly imported from overseas, so the verification of that treatment may not have been what it should have been.

Anhing Corporation is a importer and distributor of foods manufactured in Southeastern Asia and South America.

FDA Recall Notice
Anhing Corporation Announces a Voluntary Recall of Chili Powder Due to Possible Health Risk

Contact:Consumer: 1-323-221-8003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 2, 2014 - Anhing Corporation of Los Angeles, CA is conducting a Nationwide recall of Caravelle Brand Chili Powder in 8 ounce plastic tubs lot code 560916, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

The product was distributed through retail stores.

Organic Eggs Recalled Due to Salmonella Contamination

A firm is recalling certified organic eggs distributed in Colorado after their own testing found the presence of Salmonella in some of the eggs.
To control Salmonella in eggs, careful attention must be given to controlling Salmonella in the laying flocks.  Just because they are certified organic does not automatically exempt the chickens or the eggs from Salmonella contamination.

FDA Recall Notice
 Sixdog Investments Voluntarily Recalls Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk
(970) 286-0080

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 1, 2014 - Sixdog Investments, LLC is voluntarily recalling some cases of their certified organic eggs, because of the potential they are contaminated with Salmonella. This voluntary field action was initiated because of routine testing results, and not because of illness to date from consumption.

CA Produce Company Recalls Mangos After Positive Listeria Test Result

A California produce company is recalling mangos after FDA testing found a single sample positive with Listeria.

 Salmonella has traditionally been more of an issue with mangos because of risk that surface contamination could be transferred to the inner surface of the fruit.  For Listeria to be an issue, there would probably have to be a growth opportunity for the organism in some product made from the mango or there would need to be a high level of contamination on the exterior surface.

FDA Recall Notice
Pacific Organic Produce Announce Voluntary Recall of Mangos Due to Possible Health Risk

Contact: Consumer:415-673-5555

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 5th, 2014 - Pacific Organic Produce, San Francisco, CA is voluntarily recalling a limited number of cases of organic Tommy Atkins mangos (PLU numbers 94051 & 94959) that were sold under the Purity Organic brand between the dates of April 14, 2014 and May 2, 2014 due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall and no other mangos or products under the Purity Organic brand are being recalled.