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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ground Beef Recalled for E. Coli

National Beef Packing Company, a Liberal, Kan., firm, is recalling approximately 50,100 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.
The following products are subject to recall:
  • 10 lb. chub of “National Beef” 93/ 7 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 0707
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureSource” 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck, Product Code 7031
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureSource” 85/15 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7054
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureSource” 90/10 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7344
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureSource” 93/ 7 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7004
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureWell 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck, Product Code 7484
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureWell” 85/15 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7454
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureWell” 90/10 Fine Ground Sirloin, Product Code 7577
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureWell” 93/7 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7404
All these products bear the establishment number “EST. 208A” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products were produced on July 18, 2013 and were shipped in 40 to 60 pound cases to retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice distributors nationwide.
The problem was discovered through routine FSIS monitoring which confirmed the E.coli O157:H7. FSIS and the company have received no reports of illnesses yet..  Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a healthcare provider.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
To Handle Raw Meat safely,  Wash hands before and after handling raw meat with warm/hot (preferred) or cold soapy running water by rubbing hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot (preferred), soapy water and clean up any spills right away. The mechanical action of vigorous rubbing of hands and utensils/surfaces creates friction that helps to dislodge bacteria and viruses from hands and surfaces.
If soapy water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations. However, sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs, including viruses.
Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be thoroughly cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry, and their juices and thoroughly cooked foods.  Thoroughly cook ground meat such as beef to an internal temperature of 160º F, as measured with a food thermometer, before eating. Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90º F).  Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.

Consumers can call 1-866-761-9472 or go to for the link to details about the recall and the company’s return and reimbursement policy.

Shrimp Recalled for Salmonella Contamination

Lipari Foods of Warren, MI is recalling Wholey peeled, cooked, tail-on 31/40 count shrimp, 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), endocarditis and arthritis.
The recalled cooked shrimp was distributed to manufacturers and retailers in the following states: Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Indiana over the course of two days: July 25, 2013 and July 26, 2013. Of the 1336 recalled cases that Lipari Foods received, only 32 cases are left in commerce that have yet to be recovered.
No illnesses have been reported to date.
The recalled product was received by Lipari Foods from a supplier in Indonesia and cleared for distribution by FDA inspectors on July, 24 2013. On July 26, 2013, Lipari Foods was informed that the FDA mistakenly released the product, which had sampled positive for Salmonella contamination. Lipari Foods immediately ceased the distribution of this product, initiated recall procedures, and contacted all customers who have received the contaminated product.
Consumers with questions may contact the company at (586) 447-3500 Monday to Friday from 8AM to 5PM.
Product Information;
Item Number: 399103
Brand: Wholey
Package Size: 1 Pound bag
UPC Number: 094776074556
Lot Numbers: 30081, 10081, 70081, 30084, and 00884

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dubai: Restaurants Breaking the Law During Ramadan

In Dubai a third of food establishments open during Ramadan have failed to implement rules for displaying and selling food during the holy month.

All outlets in the emirate were warned in advance that displaying and selling food outside their premises was banned but, after inspections during the first week of Ramadan, 30 per cent were found to be breaking the rules and were closed.

Some of the establishments were also found to be unhygienic and operating without a licence.
During Ramadan, cafes and restaurants that do not have sufficient space inside their outlets, cook inside but display iftar snacks outside to do some brisk trade from those breaking the fast.

Sultan Ali Taher, head of the food inspection section at Dubai Municipality, said: "We circulated the safety and hygiene instructions to all the food establishments doing their business in Dubai before the month of Ramadan.

"For checking if they were implemented, we carried out inspections in the first week of Ramadan during which we found 70 per cent of them practised what we instructed.
"Some 30 per cent of the food establishments were found to be in violation and were asked to stop business until they fulfil the requirements.

"Out of this 30 per cent, most of them were running businesses without the proper permit from the municipality, while a few of them failed to comply with health requirements."
The municipality also carried out inspections on Ramadan tents set up for breaking the fast. Ten per cent were found to be not complying with the rules.

The municipality's food inspection team is continuing inspections throughout the month of Ramadan.

Canada: Three more Brands of Gorgonzola Cheese Recalled

Berchicci Importing Ltd. are warning the public not to consume the Igor brand Gorgonzola Cheese described below because the products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Also affected by this alert are the above products which may have been sold in smaller packages, cut and wrapped by some retailers. Consumers are advised to contact the retailer to determine if they have the affected products.
These products have been distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. However, they may have been distributed in other provinces.
All lot codes and Best Before dates of the following Igor brand Gorgonzola cheese, product of Italy, are affected by this alert.

“Gorgonzola Dolce”
1.5 kg
2443880 014541
“Gorgonzola Piccante”
1.5 kg
“Gorgonzola Dolce DOP”
200 g
8 021398 256802
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with this bacteria may cause listeriosis, a foodborne illness. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness, however, infections during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

Igor - Gorgonzola Dolce DOP, 200 gram
Igor - Gorgonzola Dolce DOP, 200 gram - label

Bagged Salads are Thought to have Caused the Cyclospora Epidemic

Many bagged salads say pre-washed but still, standards across the industry may vary said Barbara Chadwick, Linn County Public Health Department. "It's just a good rule of thumb and a good habit just to wash them again."
Not washing bags of salad may be why hundreds of people across the Midwest became sick with the Cyclospora parasite causing them to have diarrhea for an extended period of time.
The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals says more than three quarters of the people who got sick ate a pre-packaged salad mix containing iceberg and romaine lettuce, as well as carrots and red cabbage. Officials would not specify a brand.
"We tend to see with produces that just because it has one brand name on it or one name on it doesn't mean that the same farm isn't supplying to other places so we're working our way through that process," said Steven Mandernach, Chief of the Food and Consumer Safety Bureau of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.
The good news is the contaminated bags seem to be off shelves because most people who got sick began noticing symptoms more than a month ago.
"The numbers are decreasing," said Chadwick. "That's a good sign."
Health officials say bagged salads and other fruits and vegetables are safe to eat and they encourage you to eat them because they're a part of a healthy diet. They say just make sure you wash your produce thoroughly before you eat it.

Food Safety Tips for Hawaiians Affected by Tropical Storm Flossie

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety guidance to those affected by Tropical Storm Flossie, especially those who have lost electricity as a result of the storm. Power outages and flooding that often result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, but there are steps that can minimize food waste and the risk of foodborne illness.

The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage. FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” also has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. 
FSIS will provide relevant food safety information as the storm progress from its Twitter feed @USDAFoodSafety. To get tweets about food recalls and weather-related food safety issues affecting only Hawaii, follow @HI_FSISAlert.
Steps to follow if the power goes out:
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if you keep the door closed.
  • A full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
  • If the power is out for an extended period of time, buy dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Steps to follow after a weather emergency:
  • Check the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer. If the thermometer reads 40° F or below, the food is safe.
  • If no thermometer was used in the freezer, check each package. If food still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or below when checked with a food thermometer, it may be safely refrozen.
  • Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items) that have been kept in a refrigerator or freezer above 40° F for two hours or more.
  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.
  • Thoroughly wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils that came in contact with flood water with hot soapy water and sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water.
  • Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved. Follow the Steps to Salvage All-Metal Cans and Retort Pouches in the publication “Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency.” 
  • Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters. If bottled water is not available, tap water can be boiled for safety.
  • Never taste food to determine its safety!
  • When in doubt, throw it out!
Steps to follow to prepare for a future weather emergency:
  • Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer to help determine if food is safe during power outages. The refrigerator temperature should be 40° F or lower and the freezer should be 0° F or lower.
  • Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
  • Group food together in the freezer — this helps the food stay cold longer.
  • Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately — this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.
  • Purchase or make ice and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.
  • Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
Residents  in other places that have problems with power outages and flooding may want to make a copy of these food safty guidelines.

Livestock Farms Not Cooperating to Reduce Drug Resistant Bacteria

Dr. Hua Wang, associated professor of food science and technology at Ohio State University presented her talk on drug resistances A recent study conducted by Wang and her colleagues found that the bacteria that go into the body without causing  harm might greatly contribute to the spread of drug resistant genes. Other studies have backed up that conclusion, Wang said.
“These studies show that antibiotic-resistant bacteria can persist even without direct exposure to antibiotics in the host’s system,” she said.
Scientists are having a hard time getting access to farms to study drug resistance among livestock. Instead, Wang and her team chose to collaborate with the cheese industry to get access to production facilities where they could measure for drug resistance along critical control points.
Once they found the points that made the biggest difference in the presence of drug resistance bacteria, they made a number of recommendations to the cheese industry. By following these recommendations, the industry removed  drug resistance  strains and reduced the drug resistance gene pool significantly.
“It is important to recognize that prudent use of antibiotics does not mean a ban of use or not use,” Wang said, “but knowing what, when, and how to use the antibiotics.”
In another realm, scientists are finding that drug resistance bacterial genes can be passed from the mother onto her newborn child. Infants never directly exposed to antibiotics can be shown to harbor bacteria with drug resistance genes immediately after birth.
Source Food Safety News

Canada: Gorgonzola Cheese recalled for Listeria

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Agropur are warning the public not to consume the Igor brand Gorgonzola Cheese because the product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Also affected by this alert is the above product which may have been sold in smaller packages, cut and wrapped by some retailers. Consumers are advised to contact the retailer to determine if they have the affected product.
This product was distributed in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. However, it may have been distributed in other provinces.
There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product yet.
The recalled cheese is Igor Gorgonzola Igorcreme DOP 1/8 size 1.5 kg with the UPC code 2190010 014222

For more information, consumers and industry can contact: Agropur Cheese and Ingredients Division,Fine Cheese Business Unit
Customer service: 1-450-443-4838 or 1-800-668-0806; or
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with this bacteria may cause listeriosis, a foodborne illness. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness, however, infections during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.
Igor - Gorgonzola Igorcreme
Gorgonzola Igorcreme - label

Canada: More Brands of Tehini Recalled

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Clic International Inc. are warning the public not to consume the Tahina products described below because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.
There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products so far.
The importer, Clic International Inc., Laval, Quebec, is voluntarily recalling the affected products from the marketplace. The following Tahina products, product of Lebanon, are affected by this alert:
Clic Brand size 454 g Sesame Paste Tahini with lot # 1212/13 and upc code                    0 58504 74097 7
Clic Brand size 907 g Sesame Paste Tahini with lot # 1212/13 and upc code                      0 58504 74095 3
Al Nakhil Brand size 454 g Sesame Paste Tahini with lot # 1432/12  and upc code               5 287000 45900 6
For more information, contact the CFIA by filling out the online feedback form.
Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with these bacteria may cause salmonellosis, a foodborne illness. In young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, salmonellosis may cause serious and sometimes deadly infections. In otherwise healthy people, salmonellosis may cause short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

India Refuses to Ban Deadly Pesticides

Nearly a decade ago, the Indian government ruled out a ban on the production and use of monocrotophos, the highly toxic pesticide that killed 23 children this month in a village school providing free lunches under a government-sponsored programme.
Despite being labelled highly hazardous by the World Health Organisation (WHO), a panel of government experts was persuaded by manufacturers that monocrotophos was cheaper than alternatives and more effective in controlling pests that decimate crop output.
India, which has more hungry mouths to feed than any other country in the world, continues to use monocrotophos and other highly toxic pesticides that rich and poor nations alike, including China, are banning on health grounds.
Just weeks before the school tragedy in Bihar state, the Indian government advised farmers via SMS to use monocrotophos to kill borer pests in mandarin fruits and rice, records on the agricultural meteorology division's website show.
The WHO has cited a 2007 study that about 76 000 people die each year in India from pesticide poisoning. Many of the deaths are suicides made easy by the wide availability of toxic pesticides.
In the school tragedy, police suspect the children's lunch was cooked in oil that was stored in a used container of monocrotophos.
The Indian government has issued 15 pages of regulations that need to be followed when handling pesticides—including wearing protective clothing and using a respirator when spraying. Pesticide containers should be broken when empty and not left outside in order to prevent them being re-used.
But in a nation where a quarter of the 1.2-billion population is illiterate and vast numbers live in far-flung rural districts, implementation is almost impossible. For instance, monocrotophos is banned for use on vegetable crops, but there is no way to ensure the rule is followed.
According to the WHO, swallowing 1 200 milligrams—less than a teaspoon—of monocrotophos can be fatal to humans. In 2009, it called for India to ban the product because of its extreme toxicity.
"It is imperative to consider banning the use of monocrotophos," it said in a 60-page report. WHO officials say the school tragedy reinforces the dangers of the pesticide.
"We have to take decisions depending on our need, our priorities, and our requirements. No one knows these things better than us," said the government source.
For India, providing more food to its people is a national priority. According to the World Bank, nearly 400-million people in the country live on less than $1.25 per day.

Cyclosporiasis Outbreak Expanding to 16 States

There is a dramatic rise in cases in this multi state outbreak of cyclosporiasis. there are now 321 cases in 15 states. Of these there 18 in the hospital.The number of cases seems to rise every day.
As of now there are cases in Iowa, Texas, Florida, New York City, Wisconsin, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Ohio. Illinois and Kansas have also notified CDC of one case each that may have been acquired in another state.
Public health authorities have not been able to find the cause of the epidemic. Historically outbreaks have come from fresh produce.
Cyclospora is a protozoan which causes infections characterized by a watery diarrhea that lasts an average of 57 days, if untreated. Even Though most of the illnesses in the current outbreak began in mid to late June. Many people are still ill and some have had relapses.
Anyone experiencing diarrhea, or have recently had a long bout with diarrhea, should contact their healthcare provider and see if they should be tested for Cyclospora infection.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chile has recalled Chicken that was Shipped to the United States

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public notification of a recall being conducted by the Chilean Ministry of Health for chicken products. After official notification from the government of Chile of the positive result for dioxin, FSIS instructed importers to hold product, which was presented for re-inspection. FSIS has determined that 188,522 lbs of chicken may be affected and 126,082 lbs is currently being held. The agency is investigating the distribution of the remaining 62,440, lbs. and verifying if additional shipments are involved.
The Chilean Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture oversees the recall activities and investigations in Chile. FSIS is performing effectiveness checks in the United States by verifying that those companies who have received implicated product from the Chile-initiated recall have been notified and that all adulterated product is held and destroyed.
FSIS conducted an analysis of the Chilean test results and determined that the risk to consumers is negligible. FSIS continues to investigate distribution of the product and will take immediate action on new information.
Dioxins are a group of inorganic compounds that form naturally during forest fires, as well as from industrial emissions and burning trash. They are incorporated into plants and are potentially eaten by animals where they become concentrated in animal fat. People are exposed to low levels of dioxins through their diet with lesser exposure from air and soil. At very high doses for a prolonged period, dioxins can have adverse health effects. FSIS has determined that exposure to dioxin in the product is low and does not pose a health threat.

Fungicide Causing Deaths in Honey Bees

Honey bees are quickly disappearing from flowers and fields. They are succumbing to disease and colony collapse disorder. Now, scientists may have found part of the reason why these insects are dying; they've discovered that fungicides, could be responsible for bees'  unable to fight off a potentially lethal parasite.

Honey bees are an important to the ecosystem, pollinating flowers that will produce fruit and seeds. Farmers rent bees or keep bees of their own in order to help pollinate crops and produce higher yields. Over the years, these insects have begun to disappear. Researchers found that beekeepers lost 31 percent of their colonies in late 2012 and early 2013.

In order to see what was affecting these bees, researchers collected pollen from honey bee hives in fields from Delaware to Maine. They then analyzed the samples to find out which flowering plants were the bees' main pollen sources and what agricultural chemicals were being introduced into the pollen and, consequently, the honey. In addition, the scientists fed pesticide-laden pollen samples to healthy bees and then tested them for their ability to resist infection with the parasite Nosema ceranae. This parasite affects adult honey bees and has been linked to colony collapse disorder.

In the end, the researchers found that the pollen samples contained 9 different agricultural chemicals. These included fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and miticides. In addition, they discovered that sublethal levels of multiple agricultural chemicals were present in every sample; in fact, one contained as many as 21 different pesticides. The most prevalent of these were the fungicide chlorothalonil and the insecticide fluvalinate.

They didn't just find these chemicals present in the honey, though. The researchers found that bees fed pollen samples containing chlorothalonil were nearly three times more likely to be infected by the deadly parasite Nosema than bees that were not exposed to these chemicals. This is a huge finding in terms of determining exactly what may be harming these insects.
"We don't think of fungicides as having a negative effect on bees, because they're not designed to kill insects," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, one of the researchers.

Federal regulations restrict the use of insecticides while bees are foraging, but that isn't the case with fungicides. "But there are no such regulations on fungicides, so you'll often see fungicide applications going on while bees are foraging on the crop. This finding suggests that we have to reconsider that policy."