Friday, October 31, 2014

Sausage Product Recalled Due to Temperature Abused Rice Ingredient

A Texas company is recalling a Boudin, a sausage product made with cooked rice, after USDA found that the company did not properly handle the cooked rice from a temperature control standpoint.

Boudin is a Cajun type product that is a mixture of cooked rice, pork, and seasonings.  It may contain onions and green peppers.  The mixture is ground and stuffed into a sausage casing.    

One of the primary risks associated with temperature abused rice is Bacillus cereus.  B. cereus can cause illness when people ingest B. cereus cells (diarrheal syndrome) or by the toxin it produces (emetic syndrome).  In this particular case, the concern would be the emetic syndrome.  With this, the spore-forming organism is not destroyed when the rice is cooked, and then grows in the temperature-abused cooked rice.  As it grows to high numbers, it produces the toxin.  When the toxin containing food is eaten, it results in severe vomiting.  This toxin is heat stable..

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Industrial Oil Recalled after Being Used in Feed.

An Ohio company is recalling Soyoil containing Lascadoil, industrial processing waste oil, which was intended for non-food product or bio-fuels but may have been used as a feed ingredient.  Use of it in feed may have resulted in the deaths of some turkeys.

Interesting is the fact that this comes as FDA looks to implement preventive control for feed for animals as a part of the FSMA regulation.

Shur-Green Farms is basically a recycler of food waste.  The website (excerpt below) positions itself as a green company taking waste and putting it to best use.  Certainly that is admirable.  But you can imagine that waste streams may be challenging.  While not sure in this case, but if a person inadvertently contaminated a waste product, and then sent it to this company for recycling, and the assumption is made that it can be used in feed...then there can be issues.


FDA Recall Notice
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm420543.htm
Shur-Green Farms Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Lascadoil/Soyoil Due to Possible Lasalocid Contamination

Contact:
Consumer:
937-459-2768

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — October 23, 2014 — Shur-Green Farms LLC(Ansonia, OH) has voluntarily recalled loads of Soyoil containing Lascadoil, industrial processing waste oil, which was intended for non-food product or bio-fuels but may have been used as a feed ingredient. This voluntary recall is the result of death in turkeys.

The recall includes load sold on or before September 17, 2014.

NJ Company Recalls Cashew Pieces for Potential Salmonella Contamination

A NJ food company is recalling bags of cashew pieces after FDA testing found the potential for Salmonella. There have not yet been any reported illnesses.

It is hard to see from the notice whether the product actually tested positive "The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing conducted by the FDA."   Never comes out to say 'A sample of the product tested positive for Salmonella',

 

FDA Recall Notice
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm420689.htm
Chetak New York L.L.C. Recalls 7 Oz., 14 Oz., & 28 Oz. Packages of "Deep Raw Cashew Pieces" Because of Possible Health Risk

Contact:  Consumer:  1-973-835-1906

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — October 27, 2014 — Edison, NJ — Chetak New York L.L.C. of Edison, NJ is recalling its 5560 packages of 7oz., 3840 packages of 14oz., & 1920 packages of 28oz. "DEEP RAW CASHEW PIECES" because they have 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. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Baby Wipes Recalled Due to Bacterial Contamination

 A PA firm is recalling baby wipes after tests showed that the product contains Burkholderia cepacia. This gram negative bacteria is considered more of a secondary pathogen in that it only causes infection in individuals with underlying health issues, especially those in hospitals. According to the CDC, B. cepacia is a hardy organism in that it is more resistant to common antibiotics. It has also been found to be more resistant to antiseptics. This might be a reason why it was found in this product, and is also a good reason for conducting a recall in that it will have exposure to a high risk group...babies.

FDA Recall Noticehttp://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm420426.htm
Nutek Disposables, Inc. Issues Alert Due to Potential Bacteria in Baby Wipes

Contact:
Consumer: 1-855-646-4351
Media: Sean Wood 1-212-445-8310
swood@webershandwick.com
Hallie Bozzi 1-212-445-8276 hbozzi@webershandwick.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Oct. 25, 2014 — MCELHATTAN, PA — Nutek Disposables, Inc. of McElhattan, PA has initiated a nationwide voluntary product recall at the retail level of all lots of baby wipes that it manufactured under the brand names Cuties, Diapers.com, Femtex, Fred's, Kidgets, Member's Mark, Simply Right, Sunny Smiles, Tender Touch, and Well Beginnings, because some packages may contain bacteria. These wipes were distributed by Nutek prior to October 21, 2014 to the following retail stores: Walgreens, Sam's Club, Family Dollar, Fred's, and Diapers.com.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Breaded Chicken Product Recalled After Linked to Cluster of Salmonella Illnesses

A Chicago based firm is recalling partially prepared breaded chicken breast product - Chicken Kiev after that product was linked to cluster of Salmonella illnesses.

Although this product is partially cooked by the processor (in order to set the breading), it still needs to be further cooked by the consumer as per the cooking instructions.

But it is easy to see where consumer issues can occur regarding undercooking.   For one, the product is frozen, so when the consumer begins with frozen product, they may not cook it long enough in order to achieve the proper internal temperature. Along with this, many people do not use a thermometer in order to ensure that temperature is met. 

Another issue can be related to the fact that breaded products often look like they are fully cooked. This is because the par-cooking that sets the breading gives it a finished cooked appearance.

Salmonella enteritidis is a strain most often associated with eggs, although we can see it in chicken meat as well.
 
 
 
USDA News Release
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2014/recall-073-2014-release
Illinois Firm Recalls Chicken Products Due to Possible Salmonella Enteritidis Contamination
Class I Recall 073-2014
Health Risk: High Oct 24, 2014
Congressional and Public Affairs  Benjamin Bell   (202) 720-9113 

WASHINGTON, October 24, 2014 – Aspen Foods Division of Koch Meats, a Chicago, Il., based establishment, is recalling 28,980 pounds of chicken products that may be contaminated with a particular strain of Salmonella Enteritidis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. FSIS requested Aspen Foods conduct this recall because this product is known to be associated with a specific illness cluster.

Breaded Chicken Product Recalled Due to Presence of S. aureus Enterotoxin

A Pennsylvania firm is recalling breaded chicken product after the Colorado State Department of Agriculture discovered Staphylococcal enterotoxin present in the product during routine testing.  There have been no reported illnesses.

As you know, when Staphylococcus aureus grows to high levels in food, it can produce an enterotoxin.  A person suffers the illness when they eat the food with the toxin, not the bacteria.  The symptoms. vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea, are seen in 1 to 4 hours after consuming, but can be within 30 minutes up to 10 hours after consumption.

The toxin is heat stable, and will survive any cooking done by the consumer.

S. aureus does not grow at refrigeration temperatures, so generally, growth and toxin production is seen in temperature abused products.  The level of S. aureus to get levels of toxin needed for illness is >10E5.

In this particular case, we can assume the product was battered, breaded and then par-fried to set the breading.  Following that thinking, the organism would have either grown in the batter (which is a common issue when batter is not properly temperature controlled), or in the finished product, if that product was temperature abused.  In the first case where it formed in the batter, par-frying would have eliminated the vegetative organism leaving only the toxin.  If it formed on the finished product, again because if that finished product had been temperature abused, we would expect to see the organism as well as the toxin on the frozen product.   We are not able to tell from this report which was more likely the case.

Is Staph enterotoxin a routine test for regulatory laboratories? Not sure.


USDA News Release
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2014/recall-074-2014-release
Pennsylvania Firm Recalls Chicken Products Due to Staphylococcal Enterotoxin Contamination
Class I Recall 074-2014
Health Risk: High Oct 25, 2014

Congressional and Public Affairs  Megan Buckles  (202) 720-9113 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2014 – Murry’s Inc., a Lebanon, Pa. establishment, is recalling approximately 31,689 pounds of gluten free breaded chicken products that may be contaminated with Staphylococcal enterotoxin, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Is Poor Nutrition Linked to Children's Bad Behavior?

In this month's Food Technology (October, 2014), the feature article A Diet for a Kinder Planet lays out some of the research that indicated a link between poor nutrition and bad behavior. 

It states that omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc and tryptophan may be essential for mental balance.  These are often lacking in the diets of children.  Because of this, they suggest that be a cause of antisocial behavior.

The omega-3 fatty acids an important component in brain tissue (considering the 60% of the brain's composition is fat....I guess it is not bad to be called a fat head).   "In particular, the omega-3 fatty acid docasohexaenoic acid (DHA) makes up a significant proportion of nerve-cell membranes and synapse in the central nervous system.."  One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids is fish.

The article admits that the studies to this point only demonstrate a positive correlation and do not indicate causation.  This is an interesting read.
 

Food Technology (October, 2014)
http://www.ift.org/food-technology/past-issues/2014/october/features/a_diet_for_a_kinder_planet.aspx?page=viewall
A Diet for a Kinder Planet Toni Tarver | October 2014, Volume 68, No.10

Considered essential for good health, a wholesome diet and good nutrition may also help improve the behavior and mood of society at large.

Good nutrition is a prerequisite for proper development of the human body after conception, and it is considered a crucial factor in the prevention of chronic disease. It is widely accepted that cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and other manifestations of chronic inflammation can be controlled or averted with a nutritious diet. Consequently, the food and nutrition policies of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and other wealthy countries have focused almost exclusively on how diet affects physical well-being, recommending proper caloric and nutrient intakes for a healthy heart and healthy teeth, bones, and weight. However, these policies make little or no reference to the human brain, which is the most complex part of the body.

The brain regulates the functioning of vital bodily organs, is the center for intelligence and emotional response, and consumes approximately 20% of the body’s caloric energy. The brain is also responsible for the expression of personality, mood, and behavior—all of which define humanity. Yet wealthy countries with diverse and extensive food and nutrition policies focused on healthy bodily functions and physical well-being have largely ignored the importance of proper brain function and behavioral well-being. As a consequence, Westernized countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have experienced a precipitous rise in aggression, irritability, impulsivity, and other antisocial behaviors. Are these displays simply a consequence of the extensive free will enjoyed by Americans, Britons, and others, or is something else at play? A fascinating field of research suggests that depression, aggression, impulsivity, and other displays of antisocial behavior may be the result of nutrient deficiencies in the brain and that certain foods and the nutrients they contain may curtail the expression of antisocial behavior.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Serrano Chile Peppers Recalled Due to Potential Salmonella Contamination

 A North Carolina Company is recalling Serrano Chile Peppers after they received notice that the Michigan Department of Agriculture found a positive Salmonella sample in a lot. No illnesses have been reported.

Salmonella on peppers can be an issue because these peppers are often raw when making fresh salsa. Case in point is the 2008 Salmonella Saint Paul Outbreak where the CDC stated "the investigation showed that jalapeƱo peppers were a major source of contamination and that serrano peppers also were a source".  In this case, it is believed that the diced tomatoes served to support the growth of the Salmonella when that salsa was held at room temperature.


FDA Recall Notice
Bailey Farms Inc. Recalls Fresh Serrano Chile Peppers Because Of Possible Health Riskhttp://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm419894.htm


Contact:  Consumer:  1-888-820-2545

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — October 21, 2014 — Bailey Farms, Inc. of Oxford, NC is voluntarily recalling 6,215 pounds of Fresh Serrano Chile Peppers, 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. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditic and arthritis.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Opinion - Ebola in Dallas Gets Off Easy Compared to Food

This past week Ebola got a running start in the US because it was not quarantined well enough, resulting in two health workers becoming ill with the life threatening infection, and now the potential for contamination on a cruise ship. Could you imagine the level of outrage there would have been if a similar situation occurred in a food facility where an infected food worker contaminated a food that resulted in two life threatening illnesses? Could you imagine the media generated public beating food executives would have taken if this company had overlooked symptoms that were presented to them?

Perhaps those of us who work with the food industry are a bit sensitive. And this is not to say there have not been issues, because here has. But I don’t see the onslaught of press releases condemning CDC or hospital officials, especially from the lawyer types who are so skilled in getting their news releases into the mass media channels regarding foodborne illness outbreaks. Where is the Bill Marler equivalent for the healthcare industry? Where are the proposals for enhanced regulations with stricter environmental control in hospital settings?

A case in point is environmental control for nosocomial infections being linked to food. In a recent PBS Frontline series on infections caused by antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, the focus was on whether food related transfer was responsible for the increasing number of antibiotic resistant infections.  

I do not have a problem with trying to understand the risk of this link between antibiotic usage on the farm and how it is related to infections of the general public, but where is the investigation on whether those specific strains may be originating in the hospitals and health care facilities…places where those specific antibiotics are used , where there are plenty of high risk individuals, and where environmental control is not at the same level as we see in food plants.

In this Frontline report, a young epidemiologist travels to Central PA to study how MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is related to pig farms. The woman put up a map showing the number of cases in relation to the location of pig farms. The match was far from perfect, but there was some overlap. However, It would have been interesting to see the overlap between MRSA cases and individuals that visited area hospitals. Or the link between wrestling teams and those cases reported. (Yeah, there is some big time wrastlin’ in Central PA….unfortunately a sport that is conducive to the spread of MRSA).

Certainly the technology exists now, especially with whole genome sequencing, to traceback these cases seem in the general population to order to discover more definitive links. But rather, there seems to be a tendency to speculate, especially where that speculation can wrangle up some big news stories. Unfortunately, the food and food related industries, they seem to be the low hanging fruit for the picking.  

Fortunately, unlike some of these antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens, Ebola is not a very hardy environmental pathogen and thus has not been linked to food…..yet.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NM Peanut Farmers Still Impacted by 2012 Peanut Butter Recall

The economic impact resulting from the 2012 Peanut Butter Salmonella outbreak is still being felt by the regional peanut farmers in New Mexico.  Farmers in this region had grown Valencia peanuts to supply to the Sunland Plant.  After the outbreak, the plant was shut down as the company went bankrupt. The plant was subsequently sold to another company, but the plant has yet to reopen.  And so the farmers have had to plant lot less peanuts, and have moved on to other crops.

These outbreaks go far beyond the cost of the recall.  There are the people who suffered from the Salmonella illness, plant workers who lost their jobs,  the transportation/warehouse providers who lost business, the impact on local businesses were the workers shop, and the suppliers, including in this case, the farmers, who lost their customer.


US News and World Report
http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2014/10/15/peanut-farmers-deal-with-fallout-from-salmonella

New Mexico peanut industry slow to rebound following 2012 salmonella outbreak, production down
Associated Press Oct. 15, 2014 | 4:27 p.m. EDT
By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — There will be significantly fewer peanuts pulled from the ground in eastern New Mexico this harvest season because of lingering fallout from the bankruptcy and sale of a peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall.

Peanut farmers are expected to bring in 6 million pounds less this year, according to forecasts released this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That represents nearly a 30 percent drop in production in New Mexico from the year before.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ebola virus - A Short Primer on Virus Survival and Disinfection

Here is a short primer on Ebola - condensed from information from the CDC website - focusing on disinfection and survival in the environment.
 
Survival in the Environment
 
According to the CDC, under ideal conditions where there is organic material (such as blood), the Ebola virus was show to survive up to 6 days in the environment.  But these viruses are susceptible to drying, UV and disinfectants.  (I is important to point out that there have been limited studies.)
 
That said, without organic material, it will die off quickly, so it is not likely to be present on doorknobs and light switches or other items that people simply touch (without blood or other organic residue).

How does this compare to Norovirus which can survive in the environment for weeks to months?  There are two categories of viruses - non-enveloped and enveloped.  All viruses are comprised of by genetic material within a protein structure or capsid....but enveloped viruses also have a lipid envelope surrounding that protein capsid while the non-enveloped virus do not.  Ebola is an enveloped virus, and that outer lipid layer, so important for attachment and entry to the cell, is more subject to environmental conditions.  Norovirus, a non-enveloped virus, is more resistant.
 
Disinfection
 
According to the CDC, Use a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered hospital disinfectant with a label claim for a non-enveloped virus (e.g., norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, poliovirus) to disinfect environmental surfaces in rooms of patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus infection. Although there are no products with specific label claims against the Ebola virus, enveloped viruses such as Ebola are susceptible to a broad range of hospital disinfectants used to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces.
 
Basically, if it is good against the more hardy viruses like Norovirus, it will be fine against Ebola.

Transmission
 
From the CDC Website (below)
When an infection does occur in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with
  • blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola 
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • infected animals
  • Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.
       
Symptoms 
  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
 
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.
 
Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 yrs

NC Company Recalls Vending-Machine Packaged Sandwiches Due to Potential Listeria Contamination

A North Carolina company that produces packaged sandwiches for vending type operations is recalling a wide variety of sandwiches after NC State found sample(s) to be positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

Ready-to-eat sandwiches like this normally have a short shelf life, and have not been subject to recalls, although these types of items can certainly be a vehicle.  Sanitation control in the processing environment is critical for controlling in order to prevent contamination, especially equipment like meat slicers, ingredient refrigerated storage, and cutting boards.

UPDATE 10/23/2014

The company decided to shut down the facility, laying off 84 employees.

 

FDA Recall Notice
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm418645.htm
Sunburst Foods Recalls Products Because Of Possible Health Risk
Contact: Consumer: 919-778-2151

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 12, 2014 - SunBurst Foods, Goldsboro NC is voluntarily recalling all of its SunBurst, Fresh Bites and Private labeled products which are currently in the market because these products have the potential to be contaminated with 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.

CA Company Recalls Pumpkin Seed Pesto in Jars Due to Improper Processing

A California company is recalling Pumpkin Seed Pesto, packaged for the Williams Sonoma label, after it was determined that the product may have been improperly processed, making it a Clostridium botulinum risk.   No illnesses have been reported.

This is another case of products being recalled due to improper processing / C. bolulinum risk issues.  Last month, a WA state company recalled pasta sauce.  Then there was the other CA company that recalled pesto sauce after being linked to a botulism recall.  In these cases, strict process controls are needed in properly ensuring the low acid ingredients are treated (acidified, water activity lowered) in order to prevent C. bolulinum growth.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Organic Food Safety - Fact versus Hype

In an opinion piece in the Des Moines Register, John Block writes about how consumers are mislead regarding the safety of organic foods. He references a report published in Academic Reviews (also below). In that report, conducted by independent researchers and based upon hundreds of scientific documents, researchers conclude that consumers have overpaid millions for organic foods on the false, and even misleading notion that organic foods are safer.

Should we care if people want to spend more on organic?  No.  Certainly people can choose what they want.  And it is always good to support local agriculture for those farms who have made organic their niche.  But it is a problem when people push this as safer.

While there is little support to indicate organic is more safe, in some cases, there actually may be increased risk.  Organic farmers and processors do not have the arsenal of preventive measures available that conventional farmers and processors do, so spoilage and pests can be a bigger issue.  One issue in particular...mold spoilage...that has the potential to increase the risk of mycotoxins, byproducts of mold growth that can cause serious health consequences.  Cleaning and sanitizing also becomes more difficult since there are limited choices of what can be used.  The same goes with preservatives.

As pointed out by Mr. Block, many of the organic producers and processors have pushed against having to comply with food safety regulations such as those proposed in FSMA.

It is interesting to note that many people who want organic also want to be sustainable.  However, with organic practices, there is the challenge of lower yields / higher loss, so this counters being more sustainable.  With food security being a huge issue worldwide, and even in the US, organic foods may not be the best answer.

Is organic food more nutritious than conventionally grown food?  No.  There is no evidence to support this either.

Des Moines Register - Opinion
http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/2014/10/07/john-block-consumers-misled-organic-food-safety/16840717/
Consumers are misled about organic safety
By John Block 11:08 p.m. CDT October 6, 2014

California University Recalls Chocolate Bars

A university in California is recalling candy bars that were produced by a student group in less-than-sanitary conditions.

While the story does not indicate how the contamination event occurred, if one had to guess, it would be that the student group made the product without following good sanitation procedures.  Later, a wiser individual(s) realized this (and this person(s) was probably not involved when the product was initially made) and raised questions about sanitation and allergen control.  The group was not able to answer these questions, thus putting the University at risk.  Rather than waiting for people to get ill and for a scandal to erupt, the University took a proactive posture and recalled the product.

Does this situation apply outside a university setting? Absolutely.  Anytime some genius thinks that they can produce product for sale on the fly without going through the proper channels, laying out a food safety plan, etc. This could be a temporary side operation that someone wants to do in a processing facility or a foodservice operation, or a volunteer group that thinks it can easily raise money. 

Here at Penn State, the risk management group has a strict policy regarding  products being made and branded as Penn State.  For good reason.


 The Tribune
http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/10/04/3280284/cal-poly-recalls-6-of-its-chocolate.html
Cal Poly recalls some chocolate bars because of possible contamination

Candies may contain allergens or infectious material, spokesman says

By Nick Wilson
nwilson@thetribunenews.com
October 4, 2014

Cal Poly has voluntarily recalled six varieties of its chocolate candy bars, citing possible contaminations.

The bars may have been tainted with peanut, milk or soy allergens and possibly exposed to microbial contamination, which can include infectious materials such as bacteria, yeast, or mold, the university said.

FDA Investigation of Almond Butter Facility Involved in Salmonella Outbreak

The FDA Investigation report on the nSpired Natural Foods facility was issued. The facility was responsible for a Salmonella outbreak in August of this year where 4 people were reported to have fallen ill. The company subsequently conducted a recall of almond butter and peanut butter products.

For ease of reading, the contents of the FDA investigation were reprinted below.  If you had to summarize it, one would say that the facility floors and equipment was not cleanable due to cracks and poor welds.  Build up on equipment was noted and other procedures such as handwashing and sanitation were lax.   Of course, Salmonella was discovered in environmental samples.

This is a good learning tool for facilities where post process contamination can be a concern.

 
OBSERVATION 1
Failure to manufacture foods under conditions and controls necessary to minimize the potential for growth of microorganisms and contamination.

Specifically,
Two environmental sub-samples (INV 858387) collected on 7/16/2014 within Bakery ____ during tbe manufacturing of dried pasteurized almonds lot 5461, were determined to be positive for Salmonella. The locations of the sub-samples are listed below:

                Sub 175 Floor below cooling tower, east side, northern floor surface
                Sub 188 Floor below cooling tower, west side, southern floor surface

Trucking Industry Deploying Tracking Technology in Preparation of FSMA

 The trucking industry has begun to consider the impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) on their operations.  In order to comply, there will be greater need to track, monitor and record their loads, especially temperatures of refrigerated loads.

Trucking Info
http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fleet-management/article/story/2014/10/trailer-tracking-and-food-safety.aspx
Fleet Management
Trailer Tracking and Food Safety

New regulations will make tracking technology even more prevalent.
September 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department
by Jim Beach, Technology Editor - Also by this author

Trailer tracking technology has been around a number of years, with a growing number of refrigerated and other food-related carriers deploying the technologies. But upcoming federal regulations will make it even more important.

“Trailer tracking was used as a ‘throw-in,’ but now if you aren’t tracking trailers, you are behind the curve,” says Chris MacDonald, vice president sales, StarTrak business for Orbcomm. MacDonald estimates that up to 80% of the top 100 fleets use trailer-tracking technologies. “The ROI comes from having the ability to effectively manage your trailer community in a more cost-effective way.”

For refrigerated carriers, industry estimates say that about a third of all refrigerated units on the road use some type of telematics, says Mark Fragnito, product manager, telematics, for Carrier Transicold. “The number of refrigerated fleets that use telematics systems has been steadily growing.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Cost of Foodborne Illness for Each of the Major Pathogens

 The USDA Economic Research Service issued a series of cost estimates for the various types of pathogens such as Listeria, Salmonella, and Norovirus.

According to these estimates, the cost of foodborne illness exceeds $15 billion, and this does not include industry associated costs of recalls, loss in brand equity, etc.


USDA - ERS
http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/cost-estimates-of-foodborne-illnesses.aspx#48498

Cost Estimates of Foodborne Illnesses


The Cost Estimates of Foodborne Illnesses data product provides detailed data about the costs of major foodborne illnesses in the United States, updating and extending previous ERS research. This data set includes:
Detailed identification of specific disease outcomes for foodborne infections caused by 15 major pathogens in the United States
Associated outpatient and inpatient expenditures on medical care
Associated lost wages
Estimates of individuals’ willingness to pay to reduce mortality resulting from these foodborne illnesses acquired in the United States.

Minnesota Company Recalls Meat Meals after Listeria Positive Test

A Minnesota company is recalling meat and poultry meal products after USDA testing found a sample of the product to be positive for Listeria.  No illnesses have been reported.

The company then indicated that through their own internal testing, they found that the roasted red potatoes were positive for Listeria. These roasted red potatoes were supplied by another company, but no information was listed for the name of that company.
 
 
USDA News Release
Minnesota Firm Recalls Meat and Poultry Products for Possible Listeria Contamination
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2014/recall-068-2014-release
Class I Recall 068-2014
Health Risk: High Oct 8, 2014

Congressional and Public Affairs  Lauren Kotwicki
(202) 720-9113

WASHINGTON, Oct. 08, 2014 – Buddy’s Kitchen, a Burnsville, Minn. establishment, is recalling approximately 62,488 pounds of meat and poultry products due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.