Thursday, June 30, 2016

Company Considers Changes After Sunflower Seed Recall

The company responsible for the sunflower seed / Listeria recall, SunOpta, is looking at long term options for the company. One immediate change was to move the Quality function out of operations.

 
Star Tribune
http://www.startribune.com/pressed-by-big-shareholder-sunopta-taps-adviser-to-review-options/384758211/
Pressed by big shareholder, SunOpta selects adviser to review options
Firm shifts quality assurance duties, hires strategic adviser in wake of sunflower nut troubles.
By Kristen Leigh Painter Star Tribune
June 28, 2016 — 9:08pm

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bolthouse Farms Recalls Protein Drinks Due to Spoilage Issues

Bolthouse Foods is recalling 3.8 million bottles of their protein drinks after spoilage issues occurred in the field.  The issue came to the company's attention through consumer complaints including illnesses.




FDA Recall Notice

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm508221.htm
Bolthouse Farms Voluntarily Recalls Protein Beverages Due to Possible Spoilage
For Immediate Release
June 22, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

More Recalls Announced for Listeria Contamination Potential in Frozen Peas

Dutch Treat of Michigan is recalling its Sweet Pea Pasta Salad, Pinnacle and JR Simplot are recalling frozen peas.  All are linked to the National Frozen Foods Recall of frozen peas for Listeria.


http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm507885.htm
Dutch Treat Foods Recalls Sweet Pea Pasta Salad Because of Potential Health Risk
For Immediate Release
June 21, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Protein Drink Recalled Due to Premature Spoilage

HP Hood is recalling 14oz plastic bottles of Muscle Milk due to premature product spoilage.  A packaging defect may be responsible.


FDA News Release
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm507529.htm
HP Hood LLC Voluntarily Recalls Protein Drinks From Its Sacramento Facility Due To Premature Spoilage
For Immediate Release
June 17, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

Employee Faces Charges for Tampering After Company Recalls Product for Foreign Matter

A Minnesota firm is recalling 55,000 pounds of product for foreign material and announces that a company employee has been fired for product tampering.  The material, verified to be soil and sand, was found in some of the products.


Meating Place
http://www.meatingplace.com/Industry/News/Details/66992?loginSuccess
GNP recalls chicken tampered with foreign matter, fires employee

School Lunch Provider Recalling Sandwich Items After Positive Listeria Environmental Samples

A California foodservice provider, one that specializes in providing school lunches, is recalling sandwich products after FDA  environmental sampling found Listeria monocytogenes on multiple food contact surfaces,  The products were distributed nationwide but it is unlikely that any of the school districts still have product.

A few things that are icky about this:
1) A place making packaged sandwiches for kids in LA and shipping them nationally.  You would think that someone locally could make sandwiches.  They would probably be fresher.  I wonder what kind of shelf-life they have on this product.
2) A facility making sandwiches for kids does not have a solid food safety program.  Perhaps better stated....they had a bad food safety program because FDA found multiple LM positive food contact surfaces.  Seriously, that is nasty.
3) It is unlikely that these products would be reheated sufficiently, if at all, to destroy the pathogen.

FDA Recall Notice
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm507583.htm
Let's Do Lunch, Inc., dba Integrated Food Service, Voluntarily Recalls Certain Ready-To-Eat Sandwiches Because Of Possible Health Risk

Frozen Peas Recalled Due to Listeria Positive Test Result

A Washington state frozen food company is recalling frozen peas and blends of frozen vegetables that include peas after testing found the product may be contaminated with Listeria.  There have been no reported illnesses.

This recall affects a number of private label brands including those sold through Walmart (Great Value) and Target (Market Pantry).

New York based HelloFresh is also recalling product with peas.  HelloFresh is a mail order company that sends food kits to people for in-home food preparation.   Being that this company direct ships to their customer, making direct contact with those individuals should be easy.

Peas are normally blanched before freezing, and so the Listeria contamination most likely occurred someplace between blanching and packaging.  While frozen peas are normally cooked by the consumer before eating, which if done according to validated cooking instructions posted on the package, would eliminate the pathogen.    However, many use peas as a ready-to-eat ingredient in salads and dips, so in those cases, Listeria could be present.  There is, also a chance that people would not heat the peas sufficiently.

That is the case with associated recalls for product sold through Whole Foods where Green Cuisine is initiating a voluntary recall of “Pesto Pasta Salad with Arugula”.  Another company is recalling wraps because the peas were used.   And then a Portand Oregon company is recalling Macaroni Salad made with peas.  What supplier arrangement was in place...did the manufacturer agree on the use of this product as an ingredient in RTE food.

Allowing the frozen peas to thaw and then sit at refrigerated temperatures (or higher) for a number of days could allow the Listeria, if present, to increase in number.  This could be an issue with mail order products such as those delivered through HelloFresh.

FDA Recall Notice
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm507535.htm
National Frozen Foods Corporation Recalls Frozen Green Peas and Frozen Mixed Vegetables Because of Possible Health Risk

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Whole Foods Takes Warning Letter on the Chin for February Inspection

FDA issued a warning letter on June 8, 2016 to Whole Foods for an inspection completed back in February.  While Whole Foods responded to the inspection findings in March, the Warning was issued this week (June 8th), because FDA did not find the response acceptable.
"We do not consider your response acceptable because you failed to provide documentation for our review, which demonstrates that all your noted corrective actions have been effectively implemented. This documentation may include photographs, invoices, work orders, voluntary destruction records of any affected products, certification of actions performed by contractors, and/or any other useful information that would assist us in evaluating your corrections."

The initial inspection found a number of issues, nothing overly serious. but mostly what could be considered sloppy procedures.  This included multiple condensation issues, improper sanitation procedures with instances where too high a sanitizer concentration was used, potential cross contamination issues, inadequate handwashing water temperatures, and improperly marked sanitizing agents.  Environmental sampling of 100 samples was negative for Listeria monocytogenes, but one sample was positive for a non-pathogenic species of Listeria.

Clearly some bad vibes going on between the agency and the plant.  If issues were so bad, why did a follow-up inspection not occur, or why wasn't this letter issued in March?  A lot to take away from this.

  • Tighten up procedures now rather than having an agency inspector tell you.  Inspections are rarely perfect, but the number of issues seen here show a lack of attention to detail.
  • Ensure corrective actions to inspection reports are completed as soon as possible.Those corrective actions must be detailed / documented to cover each and every element addressed in the inspection and be able to demonstrate that the risk issues have been adequately  addressed .  Overkill in documentation support was needed here rather than glossing over.  



Boston Globe
https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/06/14/whoole-foods-kitchen-everett-hit-with-food-safety-violations/U2oSoRitbt1FeV9s3hFf4K/story.html
FDA inspectors find evidence of Listeria at Whole Foods kitchen
By Megan Woolhouse Globe Staff June 14, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

General Mills Flour Tests Positive for E. coli O121

FDA has confirmed that a sample of recalled General Mills flour has tested positive for E. coli O121.  This comes as General Mills is recalling 10 million pounds of flour after 38 people have gotten ill.

So if you have this flour, either dispose of it or return it if it has not been opened.


General Mills Website
http://www.generalmills.com/flour
Flour recall
Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wondra, and Signature Kitchens flour recalled due to possible E. coli O121 contamination

June 11
Update:
The FDA has alerted General Mills that it has confirmed one sample from our recalled flour has now tested positive for E. coli O121. The positive test was in flour from the recalled time period noted in the recall below:

More Recalls Associated with Sunflower Seed Recall

(This is a updated re-issuance of the June 9 posting to include added recall notices).
A number of companies are recalling sunflower seed containing food items after SunOptima has expanded their recall  to include all product produced since last May.

  • Honey Bunchie, LLC Recalls a Limited Number of Gourmet Honey Bars That Contain SunOpta Sunflower Kernels due to Possible Health Risk
  • Creative Snacks Co. Issues Further Expanded Recall on Sunflower Seeds and Trail Mixes Including Sunflower Seeds Due to Possible Health Risk
  • Bounce USA Recalls Apple Cinnamon Protein Punch Energy Balls Because of Possible Health Risk
  • NoGii Voluntarily Recalls Nuts About Berries Paleo Bars Because of Possible Health Risk Related to Sunflower Seeds
  • Post Consumer Brands Voluntarily Recalls Limited Quantity of Great Grains Protein Blend – Honey, Oats & Seeds Cereal Due to Possible Listeria Contamination
From June 9
  • Hershey Issues Voluntary Recall of SoFit Products Due to Expanded Supplier Recall of Sunflower Seeds
  • Rucker's Wholesale and Service Co. Recalls Sunflower Kernel, Sweet & Salty Mix, Cajun Hot Mix
  • Taylors Candy Inc. Recalls "Stuckey’s Sunflower Kernels" Because of Possible Health Risk
  • SunOpta Announces Second Expansion of Voluntarily Recall on Market District Pre-Packaged and Bulk Sunflower Seeds Sold at Market District Stores [Giant Eagle]
  • Maranatha Brand Voluntarily Recalls Certain Lots of Sunflower Seed Butter
  • Brown & Haley Expands Voluntary Recall of Mountain Thins “Trail Mix” Flavor
  • Kashi Company Expands Recalls of Impacted Products
  • Harvest Expands Recall of Certain Sunflower Kernel Products
  • Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. Issues Voluntary Recall of Sunflower Seed Containing Products
  • Hy-Vee Voluntarily Expands Recalls to include One Salad Topping and Additional Trail Mix Products 
  • First Source Expanded Recall Of "Various Products Containing Sunflower Kernels 
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.

New Recall Information below
Leak to Earlier Recall Information listed here: http://pennstatefoodsafety.blogspot.com/2016/06/companies-issue-recalls-after-sunflower_9.html

More Snack Items Recalled Due to Peanut Allergen Contamination in Flour

Kellogg Company is recalling selected Keebler, Famous Amos, and Kellogg brand items because the flour used to make those items may have peanut allergen.  This is part of the Grain Craft recall of flour that also forced the recall of products by Frito Lay and Hostess last week.  (Frito Lay updated their recall to include additional products.)

 Mars Chocolate also issued a recall for Combos.

FDA Recall Notice
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm506487.htm
Kellogg Company Voluntarily Recalls Certain Snacks for Potential Undeclared Peanut Residue Due to Flour Supplier Recall
For Immediate Release
June 13, 2016

Monday, June 13, 2016

Display Case LED Lighting Negatively Impacts Milk Quality

Researchers have found that LED lights now being used in more display cases may have a negative impact on milk quality.  As the industry moves to LED lighting for energy savings, milk producers will need to look at packaging materials that will prevent the specific wavelengths that can cause deterioration.

In the release it states that "Riboflavin and other photosensitive components in milk are activated when struck by light energy, releasing a cascade of electrons that can degrade proteins and oxidize fats........LED lighting produces a pattern of wavelength that differs from the fluorescent bulbs that have been used to illuminate display cases. LEDs typically emit in the blue spectrum, around 460 nanometers, and produces a broader emission peak than fluorescents. That peak in LED light is near the narrow band where riboflavin absorbs light, a fact the researchers surmise could be selectively destroying the nutrient and damaging the perceived quality of the milk."

So is LED lighting having an impact on other food products?

EurekAlert
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/cu-cso060916.php
Consumers sour on milk exposed to LED light
Public Release: 9-Jun-2016
Cornell University

Friday, June 10, 2016

Introduction of Peanuts During Infancy Reduces Risk of Peanut Allergies

Research has shown that the introduction of peanuts during infancy can reduce the risk of developing peanut allergies later in life.  NIH released findings that this strategy will not have an impact on infant health or eating habits including breast feeding.

This should be an important consideration for new mothers in preventing a potentially life-threatening allergenic reaction for their children

National Institutes of Health
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/peanut-allergy-prevention-strategy-nutritionally-safe-nih-funded-study-shows
Peanut allergy prevention strategy is nutritionally safe, NIH-funded study shows
Friday, June 10, 2016

Thursday, June 9, 2016

FDA Recall Program Performing Poorly?

The US Office of Office of Inspector General for HHS is conducting an audit of FDA's recall program.  In their preliminary report, they found that FDA was not acting fast enough.  In this report this statement was made:
"We found that FDA did not have an efficient and effective food recall initiation process that helps ensure the safety of the Nation’s food supply. Specifically, FDA did not have policies and procedures to ensure that firms or responsible parties (collectively referred to in this document as "firms") initiated voluntary food recalls promptly. This issue is a significant matter and requires FDA’s immediate attention."
In response, FDA issued a statement, and in that, wrote:

"FDA oversaw thousands of food recalls, with an average time for recall initiation of less than a week. A small number of these recalls fell well outside of that average, with months passing before all impacted products were taken off shelves, even though the FDA notified the companies involved of a contamination as soon as it had evidence."



FDA News Release
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm505926.htm
Statement on HHS OIG Early Alert on FDA food recall initiation process
For Immediate Release
June 9, 2016

FDA Cracks Down on the Sale of Illegal Prescription Drug Sales

FDA is taking action against 4402 websites that sell drugs illegally.  It issued warning letters to operators of 53 websites, and detained 797 parcels.  Included were "110 websites that sell the chemical 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) as a weight-loss product. DNP is most often used as a dye, wood preserver, and herbicide and has never been approved by the FDA for use as a drug."

People who are looking for the edge against many ailments including depression, narcolepsy, high cholesterol, glaucoma, and asthma, look to the internet to obtain drugs not available in the US.  They must think that there is no doubt that drugs made and sold by the third world must be better than what is make in the US, or they do not investigate it enough to understand the real source of that product or danger of these drugs.

FDA News Release
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm505921.htm
FDA targets unlawful internet sales of illegal prescription medicines during International Operation Pangea IX

Adult Multivitamin Gummies Recalled After Company Fails to Complete Testing for Salmonella and Staph

Nature Made is recalling their Gummies Adult Multivitamins after they found that Salmonella and Staphylococcus testing was not properly completed on the batches those batches recalled.

It is hard to know the risk of these products without knowing the test results the company had found on a historical basis.  One would guess minimal.

FDA Recall Notice
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm505706.htm
FDA Recall Notice
Nature Made® Recalls Various Products Because of Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
June 8, 2016

Food Loss and Waste Standard Published

Food waste is continuing to become a bigger issue.  A group of 'leading' international organizations have written a standard for measuring food loss and waste.  As major retailers push for food loss and waste reductions, these standards can be used to measure that.

In the IFT release:
"In 2015, The Consumer Goods Forum, which represents more than 400 of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries, adopted a resolution for its members to reduce food waste from their operations by 50% by 2025, with baselines and progress to be measured using the FLW Standard."


IFT Weekly
http://www.ift.org/food-technology/newsletters/ift-weekly-newsletter/2016/june/060816.aspx
June 8, 2016
Organizations partner to introduce food loss, waste global standard

Snack Items Recalled After Supplier's Supplier Has Peanut Allergen Cross Contact Issue

Frito Lay and Hostess announced recalls of a number of their flour containing snacks after their supplier found that peanut allergen may be present in the flour they provided.  That supplier, Grain Craft, announced that the issue came from one of their suppliers, a flour mill in Georgia (where there are plenty of peanuts).  Hostess has reported two potential allergen issues, Frito Lay has not had any reports of issues.
 Grain Craft stated in their press release:
"These recent recalls bring to light the challenge of agricultural cross-contact, which is the result of customary methods of growing, harvesting and shipping of wheat and other agricultural products."
So was Grain Craft managing peanut allergen as a potential hazard?  It was not stated in their press release [attached below].
 
So if your company is buying bulk wheat flour, good time to assess whether peanut allergen can be a risk.  Part of that will be checking with the supplier to see if they are controlling allergens as part of their food safety procedures, especially when they are sourcing their product from various mills.
  
CNN
Rold Gold pretzels, Hostess snacks recalled for possible peanut contamination
By Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
Updated 7:01 PM ET, Tue June 7, 2016
 

Companies Issue Recalls after Sunflower Seed Supplier Expands Recall Again

(This is a updated rerelease of the June 7 posting to include added recall notices).
A number of companies are recalling sunflower seed containing food items after SunOptima has expanded their recall  to include all product produced since last May.

  • Hershey Issues Voluntary Recall of SoFit Products Due to Expanded Supplier Recall of Sunflower Seeds
  • Rucker's Wholesale and Service Co. Recalls Sunflower Kernel, Sweet & Salty Mix, Cajun Hot Mix
  • Taylors Candy Inc. Recalls "Stuckey’s Sunflower Kernels" Because of Possible Health Risk
  • SunOpta Announces Second Expansion of Voluntarily Recall on Market District Pre-Packaged and Bulk Sunflower Seeds Sold at Market District Stores [Giant Eagle]
  • Maranatha Brand Voluntarily Recalls Certain Lots of Sunflower Seed Butter
  • Brown & Haley Expands Voluntary Recall of Mountain Thins “Trail Mix” Flavor
  • Kashi Company Expands Recalls of Impacted Products
  • Harvest Expands Recall of Certain Sunflower Kernel Products
  • Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. Issues Voluntary Recall of Sunflower Seed Containing Products
  • Hy-Vee Voluntarily Expands Recalls to include One Salad Topping and Additional Trail Mix Products 
  • First Source Expanded Recall Of "Various Products Containing Sunflower Kernels 
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.
Recalls Information listed here:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Crows and Other Wild Birds Are Sources of Campylobacter and Salmonella

A recent article calls attention to the fact that crows can be the source of pathogens, specifically looking at Campylobacter jejuni where 60% of crows carried this pathogen.  Crows of course, fly far and wide, and can get into area where food is raised, harvested and stored.  And areas where people are.

This is nothing new, as many studies have found pathogens in  wild bird poop including Campylobacter and Salmonella.  One study showed that Salmonella can grow in goose poop and be present after one month.  Another study collected bird dropping from a playground and from that suggested "that feces from wild birds in playgrounds could contribute to the occurrence of campylobacteriosis in preschool children"

Something to think about as you see that stain on your car, outdoor furniture, or kid's playset.


Science Daily
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160604050954.htm
Crowds of crows spread C. jejuni: Are humans vulnerable?
Date:June 4, 2016
Source:American Society for Microbiology

Friday, June 3, 2016

Sunflower Seed Supplier Expands Recall Again

SunOptima has expanded its expanded recall for product out of it Crookston, MN facility .  This is the 3rd recall.  The initial recall on  May 3rd focused on February production and then the first recall expansion announced on May 18th increased included the size of the recall to include production from February through April.  This latest expansion now includes production before February, going all the way back to May of 2015.

FDA Recall Notice
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm504808.htm
FURTHER EXPANDED Recall Period of Certain Sunflower Kernel Products Due to Possible Contamination by Listeria Monocytogenes
For Immediate Release
June 1, 2016

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Raw Chicken Juice - Understanding the Risk for Foodborne Illness from Campylobacter

Do people understand the risk when opening that package of raw chicken breasts?  Are they concerned about safe handling of the packaging material and the associated raw chicken juice (or more technically, the exudate)?  Maybe not as much as they should.

A recent study looked at the prevalence of Campylobacter, one of the leading causes of sporadic diarrheal illness in the US, within the package as well as on the outside of the package.  They found that Campylobacter was present in the chicken juice in 60% of packages where the chicken juice was tested.   As for the packaging, none of the outer surfaces had Campylobacter, except for one of the packages that was leaking.

Campylobacter is a commonly found on raw chicken, found on the surface of both skin-on and skin-off chicken, whether parts or whole.  Within the package, it can be found in the juice that comes off the bird, the surface of the bird, and the inner packaging.  Because of this, it is important that consumers not only properly handle the chicken meat, but also the packaging and any dripping chicken juice from the bird or the package.  Drops of chicken juice should be cleaned properly as you go.   Of course, handwashing is critical after handling the meat and the package.   It is also important to purchase packages that are not leaking and to make sure that the less-than-attentive store clerk bags the raw chicken separate from the other foods (in plastic).

Since chicken juice is clear, unlike exudate from red meat which is red in color, drops are more easily missed, or perhaps, not given the same attention.  However from a pathogen standpoint, this research shows that there is a high risk level for pathogen contamination in that chicken juice.

Detection of Campylobacter on the Outer Surface of Retail Broiler Chicken Meat Packages and on Product Within 
Food Protection Trends, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 176-182, May 2016
Volume 36, Issue 3: Pages 176–182
https://www.foodprotection.org/publications/food-protection-trends/archive/2016-05-detection-of-campylobacter-on-the-outer-surface-of-retail-broiler-chicken-meat-packages-and-/

Additional Recalls Due to Sunflower Seeds with Potential for Listeria

A number of companies have announced or expanded recalls due to the potential for Listeria in sunflower seeds.    This is part of the SunOptima Sunflower Seed Recall due to Listeria.

  • Kashi is recalling certain varieities of granola bars, 
  • Back Country is expanding their recall.
  • Quaker Oats is recalling Quaker® Quinoa Granola Bars, all due to the potential of one of their ingredients to have Listeria.
  • Clif Bar is recalling various bars containing sunflower seed.
  • Jungle Jim and Windy Acres are recalling product.


FDA Recall Notice
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm504285.htm
Kashi Company Voluntarily Recalls One Variety of Kashi® Granola Bars and One Variety of Bear Naked® Granola Due to Potential Health Risk Related to Sunflower Seeds

For Immediate Release
May 31, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Growth of Listeria on Caramel Apples, not Fresh Apples

Researchers found that Listeria grew on caramel apples when inoculated on the stem end, but for fresh apples, there was no growth but only survival.  So the caramel and along with the stick help to form a microenvironment within the apple.

This is a good reason why we have not seen Listeria outbreaks associated with fresh apples.  However, since it survives, there must be controls in place for apples that will be used as an ingredient in foods that may support growth.


The Packer
http://www.thepacker.com/news/report-listeria-spreads-faster-caramel-apples-fresh-apples?
Report: listeria spreads faster on caramel apples than fresh apples
By Doug Ohlemeier May 31, 2016 | 5:15 pm EDT

Listeria proliferates faster on caramel apples than fresh apples, according to research.

Flour Recalled As Investigators Try to Link to E. coli Outbreak

General Mills is recalling 10 million pounds of raw flour as federal and state agencies are investing 38 occurrences of E.coli infections across 20 states between December 21, 2015, and May 3, 2016.  The specific type of E. coli is E. coli O121, a non-O157 STEC, that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in more susceptible people, it can cause kidney damage.   In 2013, this organism was responsible for an outbreak linked to frozen chicken quesadilla, a product that required cooking.

The outbreak investigation showed that roughly half of the 38 people infected used flour, some of them stated using Gold Medal brand.  So far, the flour has not tested positive for the organism.

So how does E. coli get into flour?  Probably from the raw material.  One study looking at a large number of samples, found that 12.8% of flour samples found E. coli (not strain specific) in raw flour. 

Of course, if the products made from the flour are properly cooked, that cooking will destroy the organism. However, people do eat raw dough products, including cookie dough. Nestle raw cookie dough was involved in an E. coli outbreak in 2009 where people were probably eating raw cookie dough.   In a report of that incident, investigators were not able to find the actual source of the E. coli. And like that case, it is not likely that they will be able to find this strain of E. coli.From that report:
Despite extensive traceback and environmental investigations and testing by regulatory agencies and company A, the source and route of product contamination remains undetermined. Possible means of contamination include introduction of a contaminated ingredient during processing, a lapse in plant biosecurity measures, intentional contamination, or cross contamination with another food processed in the plant. Although the manufacturing plant is located in a rural area in the mid-Atlantic United States, investigators did not observe any obvious breach in biosecurity that would facilitate introduction of E. coli O157 into the facility from the outside. No significant food handling or safety violations were identified at the plant that could result in cross-contamination within the plant.
In the end, don't eat raw dough, including cookie dough.  Clean up as you go, washing up any spilt flour.


Product image front label, Gold Medal All Purpose Flour 10 lb

 FDA News Release
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm504235.htm
Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wondra, and Signature Kitchens Flour Recalled Due to Possible E. coli O121 Contamination

Public Swimming Pools - Properly Maintained or Cesspool?

How clean is your public pool?  How about that hot tub?  With summer here, time to think about the sanitary quality of your pool or hot tub and how that can impact you and your family's health.  Have you considered testing the water in your community pool...maybe it is time to start.  Nothing wrong with a little paranoia.   In a summary report, CDC found that most pools surveyed (about 80%) had at least one violation.  And if that violation is a low sanitizer level, fecal oral transmission just became a lot easier.  Especially in that kiddie pool. Here are some things CDC suggests:
  • Check for inspection results online or on site before using public pools or hot tubs  [Also, ask the pool staff...if they seem disgruntled or clueless, that is not a good sign].
  • Use a test strip (available at most superstores or pool-supply stores) to determine if the pH and free chlorine or bromine concentration are correct. CDC recommends:
    • Free chlorine concentration of at least 1 ppm in pools and at least 3 ppm in hot tubs/spas.
    • Free bromine concentration of at least 3 ppm in pools and at least 4 ppm in hot tubs/spas.
    • pH of 7.2–7.8.
  • Make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible. Clear water allows lifeguards and other swimmers to see swimmers underwater who might need help.
  • Check that drain covers appear to be secured and in good repair. Swimmers can get trapped underwater by a loose or broken drain cover.
  • Confirm that a lifeguard is on duty at public venues. If not, check whether safety equipment like a rescue ring with rope or pole is available.