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Food Safety

 

American Agri-Women
Food Safety Report by Ruth Jensen

Updated May 13, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration are in the regulatory process where the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is concerned. The comment period deadline for the first phase of regulatory language ended in November after several extensions. At this time, they are taking comments for other pieces of the Regulations. You can see which by going to this link:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm261689.htm 

 
Take a look at all the Open Dockets and see what might apply to your operation and feel free to comment. I can send you a power point produced by FDA that may help you understand this law and how it may apply to you or you can access it in the FDA Farmer’s Toolkit link below.
 

May 31 is the comment deadline for Sanitary Transportation of Food. If your operation transports food, you may want to take a look at the summary and see if this rule applies to you.
 

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UCM383764.pdf


In late November, over 75 members of Congress asked the Food and Drug Administration to issue a second draft and comment period for proposed food safety rules.
 

The letter, signed by Democrats and Republicans of both chambers, asks FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to “submit second proposed rules for public comment before issuing the final rules.”
 

“Despite your agency’s efforts to engage with stakeholders during the rulemaking process, we remain concerned about the ambiguity surrounding many aspects of these proposed rules,” according to the letter.
 

In particular, lawmakers said they have been hearing objections from growers and businesses about the cost of the produce safety regulation and the preventive controls regulation for food facilities. The comment period for proposed regulations on both rules ended in November. The one for Animal Feed ends March 15.
 

“We are concerned that the rules, as currently proposed ... will force some producers and processors to shutter their operations,” the lawmakers said.
Growers and processors are most concerned about six issues, according to the letter:
 

• Testing frequency for agricultural water;
• Restrictions placed on biological soil amendments;
• Compliance issues at mixed-use facilities;
• Requirements conflicting w/ existing USDA conservation & environmental standards & practices;
• Definitions used in the rule for “farm,” “small business,” and “very small business;” and
• The lack of consideration of the complexity of various farm ownership entities.
 

Ray Gilmer, vice president for issues management and communication for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, said the letter underscores the conviction of many in the fresh produce industry that more time is needed to consider the FDA’s approach to food safety regulations.
An FDA public affairs officials said in an e-mail that the agency would "carefully consider" all concerns raised to get the final rule right, but did not say if the FDA would issue a second set of draft rules.
 

Farmer's Toolkit http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UCM360295.pdf
 

=================================================================================

American Agri-Women
Food Safety and Hand Washing Note
 

Updated March 31, 2014
 

 

Thank you to Ms. Torres, Retired Teacher from Colorado and her Kids for submitting this excellent message on the importance of Hand Washing and it's relationship to Food Safety and children.

=========================

Hello there,

I just wanted to send you over a quick email. My name is Janelle Torres and I am a retired teacher from Colorado. I currently volunteer at an after school program and have been tutoring some middle school kids. I have discovered during my years of teaching how fast germs can circulate from kid to kid and to the teachers. Kids this age love the computer and love to use the internet so I have been looking for kid friendly articles and websites that are educational and fun for my students to learn about the importance of hand washing. The other night I was looking for some articles and links when I came across your page, http://americanagriwomen.org/food-safety-0 . I just wanted to thank you for making it. It is not only kid friendly, but also has some great links and resources.

One of my students Chris, brought to my attention an article that is full of hand washing tips, precautions and resources that I didn't see on your page, "Hand Washing Basics for Kids" http://www.bbcleaningservice.com/apartment/hand-washing-kids.html.

If it's not too much trouble, would you mind including it on your page? I'd love to show Chris that his hard work and research will help other kids learn about hand washing in a fun way. And I'm sure your visitors will also find the article useful, ! Let me know if you add it, so I can show him.

Thanks again, Janelle Torres

 

 

American Agri-Women
Food Safety Report by Ruth Jensen
 

Updated January 30, 2014
 

 

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it.
 

 

Currently, regulations related to the FSMA are being defined and it's important that AAW members get involved to ensure the regulations are not unfair and burdensome.
 

Ruth Jensen of California Agri-Women, who serves as the Food Safety Chair, shares her thoughts below and provides resources to help us better understand the issues.
 

 

From Ruth:
 

I want to take a moment to bring to your attention where FDA is in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulatory process. The comment period deadline for the first phase of regulatory language ended in November after several extensions. At this time, they are still seeking public comments for other pieces of the Regulations. You can see which by going to this link: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm261689.htm.
 

 

Take a look at all the Open Dockets and see what might apply to your operation and feel free to comment.
 

 

Unfortunately, not many in the agriculture community commented on the rules regarding fresh produce and processed foods. One of the biggest issues that some believe are unfair exemptions. But the added paperwork and new & burdensome regulations is right up there, as well. Either of the new March deadline rules could accommodate comments regarding these issues. However, since many members across the country are big in cattle, I thought I should send this out because FDA is now taking comments regarding rules that affect the animal industry. Please take a look at the summary and don't hesitate to comment. FDA said to AAW during one of our Fly-In meetings "if you don't comment, to us it means you agree with what we're doing." So even if it's just a one liner, please take the time to comment.
 

 

Here are some resources to help you understand the importance of FSMA and help you take action:
 

• Farmer's Toolkit http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UCM360295.pdf- Contains resources on the proposed rule for produce safety including the following and more:
 

• Does this Rule apply to you? What You Need to Know About Proposed Rule. http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm334554.htm
 

• Does the Preventive Controls Rule affect me as a farmer? http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UCM365377.pdf
 

• Why doesn't this Rule only target fruits and vegetables that are known to have caused outbreaks of foodborne illness? http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UCM360758.pdf
 

• FDA Answers Farmers' Questions: Interview with Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm358090.htm < /br>

• FAQs http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm247559.htm#produce_rule
 

• Additional Help: Produce Safety Alliance http://www.producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/
 

Updated November, 2013
 

The November 22, 2013 comment deadline has closed but now 75 members of Congress have asked the Food and Drug Administration to issue a second draft and comment period for proposed food safety rules.
 

The Nov. 22 letter, signed by Democrats and Republicans of both chambers, asks FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to “submit second proposed rules for public comment before issuing the final rules.”
 

“Despite your agency’s efforts to engage with stakeholders during the rulemaking process, we remain concerned about the ambiguity surrounding many aspects of these proposed rules,” according to the letter.
 

In particular, lawmakers said they have been hearing objections from growers and businesses about the cost of the produce safety regulation and the preventive controls regulation for food facilities. The comment period for proposed regulations on both rules ended in November.
 

“We are concerned that the rules, as currently proposed ... will force some producers and processors to shutter their operations,” the lawmakers said.
 

Growers and processors are most concerned about six issues, according to the letter: • Testing frequency for agricultural water; • Restrictions placed on biological soil amendments; • Compliance issues at mixed-use facilities; • Requirements conflicting with existing conservation and environmental standards and practices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; • Definitions used in the rule for “farm,” “small business,” and “very small business;” and • The lack of consideration of the complexity of various farm ownership entities.
 

Ray Gilmer, vice president for issues management and communication for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, said the letter underscores the conviction of many in the fresh produce industry that more time is needed to consider how the FDA’s approach to food safety regulations.
 

An FDA public affairs officials said in an e-mail that the agency would "carefully consider" all concerns raised to get the final rule right, but did not say if the FDA would issue a second set of draft rules.
 

Updated April, 2013

FDA Overview of Proposed Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and
Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Implementing Regulations - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been accepting comments on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Proposed Rules for Produce Safety and for the Preventive Controls for Human Food.

• May 16, 2013 is the Closing Date to submit either electronic or written comments to FDA's Division of Dockets Management for the proposed rule on Preventive Controls, see Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0920
Here are the links for you to submit your comments:


http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0920-0012
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0920-0013
 

Here is a summary of the proposal: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm334120.htm


Please take a look at this document and note that one of the controversial issues here is the exemptions. Recall when we were at the FDA during Fly-In and were told how important it is for growers to comment. Let your voice be heard on these matters or else it means that you agree.

These two pieces are just the first of several proposed rules that would establish the foundation of, and central framework for, the modern food safety system envisioned by Congress in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).


http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm334114.htm  
Fact Sheet on the FSMA Proposed Rule for Produce: Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption


http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm334115.ht
Fact Sheet on the FSMA Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food: Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food 
                                                                                                                                                                                  January 30, 2013                                                                                                                                                         Update - Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Implementing Regulations - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): Proposed Rules for Produce Safety and for the Preventive Controls for Human Food Public Meeting. The first meeting in a series of three public meetings to be held on these FSMA proposals will be held on February 28, 2013, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm and March 1, 2013, 8:30 am – 12:00 noon, at the Jefferson Auditorium, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Wing 5 Entrance, Washington, DC.
The purpose of the meeting on February 28 and March 1 is to discuss the proposed rules to establish standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce for human consumption (the produce safety proposed rule) and for current good manufacturing practice and hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for human food (the preventive controls for human food proposed rule), which are the first of several proposed rules that would establish the foundation of, and central framework for, the modern food safety system envisioned by Congress in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The meeting is also designed to solicit oral and public comments from stakeholders on the proposed rules, inform the public about the rulemaking process (including how to submit comments, data and other information to the rulemaking dockets), and respond to questions about the proposed rules.
http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FSMA/ucm334120.htm
Fact Sheet on the FSMA Proposed Rule for Produce: Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption

 

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FSMA/ucm334114.htm
Fact Sheet on the FSMA Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food: Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food
http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FSMA/ucm334120.htm
Overview of the FSMA Proposed Rules on Produce Safety Standards and Preventive Controls for Human Food
Please note the following important dates:
* February 8, 2013: Closing Date for Requests to Make Oral Comment
* February 15, 2013: Closing Date to Request Special Accommodation due to a Disability
* February 20, 2013: Closing Date for Advance Registration
* May 16, 2013: Closing Date to submit either electronic or written comments to FDA's Division of Dockets Management. For the proposed rule on Preventive Controls, see Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0920
 

 

January 29, 2013 FOOD SAFETY BULLETIN
Estimates of all Foodborne Illnesses Acquired in the U.S. Attributable to Each of 17 Food Commodities
- According to a CDC study published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, based on a final dataset which "... consisted of 4,589 outbreaks with an implicated food vehicle and a single etiologic agent, ... more illnesses were attributed to leafy vegetables (22%) than to any other commodity [while] more deaths were attributed to poultry (19%) than to any other commodity, and most poultry-associated deaths were caused by Listeria or Salmonella spp. ... The dairy commodity was the second most frequent food source for infections causing illnesses (14%) and deaths (10%) ... A relatively high number of reported outbreaks associated with raw milk compared with the quantity of raw milk consumed ... and issues related to Campylobacter spp. infection ... likely resulted in an overestimation of illnesses attributed to dairy ..." - The study notes that "... the plant commodity group accounted for 66% of viral, 32% of bacterial, 25% of chemical, and 30% of parasitic illnesses [while] the land animal group accounted for the highest proportion of illnesses for Campylobacter spp., Clostridium perfringens, Listeria spp., Salmonella serotypes Enteritidis and Heidelberg, Streptococcus spp. group A, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Trichinella spp ... Norovirus caused the most outbreaks (1,419) and outbreak-associated illnesses (41,257) ..."
Document Title: The title of the research article published online ahead of print January 29, 2013 in the CDC journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, is "Attribution of Foodborne Illnesses, Hospitalizations, and Deaths to Food Commodities by using Outbreak Data, United States, 1998–2008"
Organization: HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Source: Research article published online ahead of print January 29, 2013 in the journal "Emerging Infectious Diseases", a publication of the HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Web site: The research article published online ahead of print January 29, 2013 in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases is posted at
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866_article.htm
The January 29, 2013 CDC Media Advisory is posted at
http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/a0129_foodborne_illnesses.html
Additional information about the Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States is available at
http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/index.html
* Specifically, additional information about the Attribution of Foodborne Illnesses study is posted at
http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/attribution-1998-2008.html
Contact: The corresponding author of the article, John A. Painter, is with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia and may be reached by e-mail at John.Painter@CDC.HHS.gov

 

Summary: The following information is taken from the January 29, 2013 research article:
Abstract
Each year, >9 million foodborne illnesses are estimated to be caused by major pathogens acquired in the United States. Preventing these illnesses is challenging because resources are limited and linking individual illnesses to a particular food is rarely possible except during an outbreak. We developed a method of attributing illnesses to food commodities that uses data from outbreaks associated with both simple and complex foods. Using data from outbreak-associated illnesses for 1998–2008, we estimated annual US foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths attributable to each of 17 food commodities. We attributed 46% of illnesses to produce and found that more deaths were attributed to poultry than to any other commodity. To the extent that these estimates reflect the commodities causing all foodborne illness, they indicate that efforts are particularly needed to prevent contamination of produce and poultry. Methods to incorporate data from other sources are needed to improve attribution estimates for some commodities and agents.
************
Results
The final dataset consisted of 4,589 outbreaks with an implicated food vehicle and a single etiologic agent (Technical Appendix 3 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866-techapp1.pdf ; Technical Appendix 1 Table 1 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866-techapp1.pdf ); a total of 120,321 outbreak-associated illnesses were caused by 36 agents (Technical Appendix 1 Table 2 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866-techapp1.pdf ). Norovirus caused the most outbreaks (1,419) and outbreak-associated illnesses (41,257), far above the median for all agents (29 outbreaks, 1,208 illnesses). No outbreaks were caused by Mycobacterium bovis, Vibrio vulnificus, astrovirus, or Toxoplasma gondii. The implicated food vehicle was complex for 2,245 (49%) outbreaks (Technical Appendix 1 Table 2); the median number of commodities for complex food vehicles was 4 (range 2–13).
We applied percentages derived from outbreak-associated illnesses for each etiology to the 9.6 million estimated annual illnesses assessed and attributed ≈4.9 million (≈51%) to plant commodities, ≈4.0 million (≈42%) to land animal commodities, and ≈600,000 (≈6%) to aquatic animal commodities (Table 1 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866-t1.htm ). Produce commodities (fruits-nuts and the 5 vegetable commodities) accounted for 46% of illnesses; meat-poultry commodities (beef, game, pork, and poultry) accounted for 22%. Among the 17 commodities, more illnesses were associated with leafy vegetables (2.1 million [23%]) than any other commodity. The high estimate for illnesses attributable to leafy vegetables was many times higher than the low estimate (Figure 2 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866_article.htm#tnF2 , panel A), which indicates that leafy vegetables were frequently found in complex foods. After leafy vegetables, the commodities linked to the most illnesses were dairy (1.3 million [14%]), fruits-nuts (1.2 million [12%]), and poultry (900,000 [10%]). Norovirus comprised 57% of all illnesses.
An estimated 26,000 (46%) annual hospitalizations were attributed to land animal commodities, 24,000 (41%) to plant commodities, and 3,000 (6%) to aquatic animal commodities (Table 2 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866-t2.htm ). Produce commodities accounted for 38% of hospitalizations and meat-poultry commodities for 22%. Dairy accounted for the most hospitalizations (16%), followed by leafy vegetables (14%), poultry (12%), and fruits-nuts (10%) (Figure 2 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866_article.htm#tnF2 , panel B). Among the estimated 57,000 hospitalizations, 8% were not attributed to a pathogen, mainly because the dataset did not include data for Toxoplasma spp.
An estimated 629 (43%) deaths each year were attributed to land animal, 363 (25%) to plant, and 94 (6%) to aquatic commodities (Table 3 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866-t3.htm ). Meat-poultry commodities accounted for 29% of deaths and produce 23%. Among the 17 commodities, poultry accounted for the most deaths (19%), followed by dairy (10%), vine-stalk vegetables (7%), fruits-nuts (6%), and leafy vegetables (6%) (Figure 2 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866_article.htm#tnF2 , panel C). Of the 277 deaths attributed to poultry, most were attributed to Listeria monocytogenes (63%) or Salmonella spp. (26%). Among the 1,451 estimated deaths, 25% were not attributed to a pathogen, mainly because the dataset did not include data for Toxoplasma spp.
Most bacterial illnesses were attributed to dairy (18%), poultry (18%), and beef (13%) commodities (Table 1 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866-t1.htm ). Most chemical illnesses were attributed to fish (60%, most caused by the marine biotoxin ciguatoxin). Most parasitic illnesses were attributed to mollusks (33%) and fruits-nuts (29%); this reflects the fact that 1 simple food outbreak was caused by Giardia intestinalis (mollusks) and 1 by Cryptosporidium spp. (fruits-nuts). Most viral illnesses were attributed to leafy vegetables (35%), fruits-nuts (15%), and dairy (12%). Of the 20 outbreaks associated with simple foods and caused by norovirus transmitted by dairy, 14 (70%) were transmitted by cheese products.
The plant commodity group accounted for 66% of viral, 32% of bacterial, 25% of chemical, and 30% of parasitic illnesses (Table 1 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866-t1.htm ). This group accounted for a greater proportion of illnesses than the land or aquatic animal commodity groups for Bacillus cereus; Clostridium botulinum; enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli; Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157; non-O157 STEC; Salmonella enterica serotypes Javiana, Newport, and other (e.g., serotypes other than Javiana, Newport, Enteritidis, Heidelberg, Typhimurium, and Typhi); Shigella spp.; mycotoxins; other chemicals; Cryptosporidium spp.; Cyclospora cayetansesis; hepatitis A; norovirus; and sapovirus (Table 4 http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866-t4.htm ). The land animal group accounted for the highest proportion of illnesses for Campylobacter spp., Clostridium perfringens, Listeria spp., Salmonella serotypes Enteritidis and Heidelberg, Streptococcus spp. group A, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Trichinella spp.


 

The xTAG Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel (GPP)

On Jan. 14, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed marketing for the first test that can simultaneously detect 11 common viral, bacterial, and parasitic causes of infectious gastroenteritis from a single patient sample.


Infectious gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by certain viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Common symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, which can be more severe in infants, the elderly, and people with suppressed immune systems. Gastroenteritis can be spread easily through person-to-person contact and contaminated food, water, and surfaces.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that between 1999 and 2007 gastroenteritis-associated deaths in the United States increased from nearly 7,000 to more than 17,000 per year. Norovirus and Clostridium difficile accounted for two-thirds of the deaths.
The xTAG Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel (GPP), a multiplexed nucleic acid test, detects the following causes of gastroenteritis:


Bacteria
Campylobacter
Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) toxin A/B
Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) LT/ST
Salmonella
Shigella
Shiga‐like Toxin producing E. coli (STEC) stx 1/stx 2
Virus
Norovirus
Rotavirus A
Parasite
Cryptosporidium
Giardia
“Tests such as the XTag GPP that can detect viruses, bacteria, and parasites from one sample at the same time can help clinicians more quickly identify and treat what’s causing gastroenteritis,” said Alberto Gutierrez, Ph.D., director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiology at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The test could also allow clinicians and public health professionals to more quickly identify and investigate the source of potential gastroenteritis outbreaks.”


The FDA reviewed data for the xTag GPP through the de novo classification process, a regulatory pathway for medical devices that are generally low- to moderate-risk but are not comparable to an already legally marketed device.


The manufacturer demonstrated the performance of the xTAG GPP by collecting samples from 1,407 patients with suspected infectious gastroenteritis and comparing the xTAG GPP results to individual tests that are known to separately and reliably detect the 11 viruses, bacteria, or parasites associated with the xTAG GPP. The manufacturer also ran the test on 203 samples from patients with previously confirmed infectious gastroenteritis, and 313 additional specimens from pediatric patients with suspected infectious gastroenteritis. Results were comparable to the individual tests. Due to the risk of false positives, all positive results from the xTAG GPP need to be confirmed by additional testing.
Luminex, Inc., of Austin, Texas, manufactures the xTAG.
_______________________________________________________
 

Courtesy: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/01/fda-announces-two-long-awaited-foo...

FDA Releases Two Long-Awaited Food Safety Rules
By Helena Bottemiller | January 4, 2013

After a year-long delay, two sweeping new food safety rules that will for the first time mandate produce safety standards and preventive controls nationwide will be released today and published to the Federal Register on Monday, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“It’s a big deal that these two are coming out because it’s the central framework for prevention,” said Michael Taylor, FDA’s Deputy Comissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, in an interview with Food Safety News. “We’re eager to get to the next phase of the process.”
The two rules were mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) — a law that aims to shift the U.S. food safety system from being primarily reactive to focusing on prevention — which President Obama signed into law, with broad bipartisan support, exactly two years ago.
Since the law was enacted, the FDA has failed to keep up with the multiple deadlines set by Congress, in large part because the measures proposed by the agency were under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of International and Regulatory Affairs for more than a year — a delay many stakeholders blamed on election politics.
It is still not clear exactly why the Obama administration’s review took so long (OMB officials have long maintained the rules are just complex and take time). According to Taylor, the OMB’s cost-benefit analysis, which will soon be posted online, found that the the economic benefits from the two new rules are much greater than the expected costs to the food industry.
“There are significant benefits that well exceed the estimated costs,” said Taylor, adding that preventing outbreaks and the health care costs associated with them is actually one small part of the expected economic benefit. “There’s a great benefit in reducing the disruption to the markets, the loss of sales, and the loss of consumer confidence each time a major foodborne illness outbreak strikes.”
The agency has made full drafts of the proposed rules, which are lengthy, available online. The public will have 120 days to comment and then the rule will go through the normal rulemaking process, which could take several months.
It will likely take time for stakeholders to review the proposed rules, as the agency has not yet released an overview of what exactly would be required under the proposal, but the early reactions were unanimously positive.
“We applaud the Administration’s release of these important proposals,” said Sandra Eskin, director of the food safety campaign at the Pew Charitable Trusts. “This is a significant step forward in reducing preventable foodborne illnesses and restoring consumer confidence in the food supply.”
The Grocery Manufacturers Association said that industry and government need to work together “to provide Americans and consumers around the world with the safest possible products” and called FSMA implementation a “role mode” for this type of cooperation.
“We are pleased that implementation of FSMA is moving forward and look forward to working with the FDA by continuing to share our food safety expertise and best practices and by evaluating and commenting on the proposed rules,” said Pamela Bailey, the president and CEO of GMA.
Joe Levitt, a partner at Hogan Lovells, which represents food industry clients, called the two new rules “form the cornerstone of FSMA.”
“They get to the very heart of the new law’s paradigm shift from reaction to prevention,” said Levitt, who formerly served as Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “As with all FDA proposed rules, public comment is a key component of the process, and the food industry and other stakeholders will review these proposals thoroughly and submit comments to FDA on how to make the final rules as beneficial and cost-effective as possible.”
The agency plans to do extensive outreach to stakeholders to have a “real dialogue” and ensure all elements of the food industry understand the new requirements.
“This is the first time we’ve ever had enforceable standards on the farm. It’s the first time we’ve tried to apply preventive controls across all types of operations,” said Taylor. “What I think we’ll see, especially in the produce community, where standards are new is that we’re going to need to work with the community to explain what we’re proposing and to explain how the flexibilities work.”
“There are many, many examples of where we’ve built flexibility into the rules so the requirements are adaptable to the particular circumstances of a farm: what they’re growing, how they’re growing it, the way they use water, and so forth,” he added.
If produce growers, for instance, are already paying attention to food safety by implementing good agricultural practices (GAPs), and doing rigorous certifications, there may not be anything new or surprising about the produce rules, according to Taylor.
One of the key elements of the proposed rule for produce focuses on water. If a farm is applying water to the edible part of the crop, it will likely have to meet a microbial standard, or explain why such a standard isn’t relevant to that specific product.
There are three other key draft rules that remain under review at OMB, two that have been there for more than a year, on foreign supplier verification and preventive controls for the feed industry, and one on third party audit certification, which was only recently submitted to the administration.
Taylor said he expects the remaining rules will be released “shortly,” but declined to provide a specific timeline. “I know people are working hard on it.”
While releasing the rules is a big step toward implementing FSMA, many stakeholders remain concerned the agency won’t have the resources to enforce them.
“We’ve said from the beginning we’ll need additional resources to fully implement this,” said Taylor. The Congressional Budget Office estimates FDA would need about $1.5 billion in additional funds over five years to do so, but so far Congress has not provided anywhere near that level of funding.
This article has been updated.
© Food Safety News
 

 

October 1, 2012 "French Researcher questions GMO - Russia Reacts by Suspending U.S. Corn Imports" This kind of sensational headline is without merit. Here are the facts: A group of primarily French researchers published a paper questioning the safety of Roundup Ready corn and glyphosate (Roundup). The scientific community has had a strong backlash against the validity of the study questioning how it was ever published.

OVERVIEW: Food and Chemical Toxicology published: Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize yesterday with claims that in a 2-year feeding study, rats fed RR corn and 0.1 parts per billion glyphosate had unusual tumor development and early death. This group of researchers have a known bias against biotechnology and have executed a deeply flawed study that even critics of biotechnology recognize as problematic. This study has been brought into the California labeling initiative campaign, causing further complexity.

 

The study is here http://research.sustainablefoodtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Final-Paper.pdf

NoProp37 response is here http://www.noprop37.com/press/no-on-37-response-to-rat-study-released-today/

 

The scientific community’s responses are here and here.

 

http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/press_releases/12-09-19_gm_maize_rats_tumours.htm

http://www.noprop37.com/press/scientific-and-academic-community-responds-to-qualification-of-ballot-measure-mandating-labeling-of-genetically-engineered-foods/

The following is a recently published review prepared by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) pointing out the major concerns.
 

Main findings of Initial Review:

The task force, whose members were drawn from the Authority’s GMO, pesticide and scientific assessment units, has outlined a list of issues about the paper that would need to be resolved before it could be viewed as well-conducted and properly-reported study.

  • The strain of rat used in the two-year study is prone to developing tumours during their life expectancy of approximately two years. This means the observed frequency of tumours is influenced by the natural incidence of tumours typical of this strain, regardless of any treatment. This is neither taken into account nor discussed by the authors.
  • The authors split the rats into 10 treatment sets but established only one control group. This meant there was no appropriate control for four sets – some 40% of the animals - all of whom were fed GM maize treated or not treated with a herbicide containing glyphosate.
  • The paper has not complied with internationally-recognised standard methods – known as protocols - for setting up and carrying out experiments. Many of these procedures are developed by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development).
  • For a study of this type, the relevant OECD guideline specifies the need for a minimum of 50 rats per treatment group. Séralini et al used only 10 rodents per treatment set. The low number of animals used is insufficient to distinguish between the incidence of tumours due to chance rather than specific treatment effects.
  • The authors have not stated any objectives, which are the questions a study is designed to answer. Research objectives define crucial factors such as the study design, correct sample size, and the statistical methods used to analyse data - all of which have a direct impact on the reliability of findings.
  • No information is given about the composition of the food given to the rats, how it was stored or details of harmful substances – such as mycotoxins – that it might have contained.
  • It is not possible to properly evaluate the exposure of the rats to the herbicide as intake is not clearly reported. The authors report only the application rate of the herbicide used to spray the plants and the concentration added to the rats’ drinking water but report no details about the volume of the feed or water consumed.
  • The paper does not employ a commonly-used statistical analysis method nor does it state if the method was specified prior to starting the study. The validity of the method used is queried and there are questions over the reporting of tumour incidence. Important data, such as a summary of drop outs and an estimation of unbiased treatment effects have not been included in the paper.
  • Many endpoints – what is measured in the study – have not been reported in the paper. This includes relevant information on lesions, other than tumours, that were observed. EFSA has called on the authors to report all endpoints in the name of openness and transparency.
     

September 19, 2012 USA Rice Federation address the November 2012 issue of Consumer Reports story on "Arsenic in your food..."

USA Rice Federation:
Rice is an important, nutritional and safe part of a healthy diet

Arlington, VA, September 19: The USA Rice Federation, which represents U.S. rice growers and
all segments of the U.S. rice industry, today issued the following statement in response to a
Consumer Reports article on arsenic in rice:

“We understand that ‘arsenic’ is an alarming word, but we believe it is important for consumers
to know that arsenic is a naturally occurring element in our air, water, rocks and soil. This is
how plants uptake arsenic. As a result, it’s always been in the food supply and is in many
healthy foods that are consumed by billions of people every day. No arsenical pesticides are
used when growing U.S. rice.

“Rice is a nutritious food and an important part of a healthy diet. Rice contains more than 15
vitamins and minerals that help protect against disease and ensure healthy growth during
pregnancy and childhood. We are aware of concerns about the level of arsenic in food, but are
not aware of any established studies directly connecting rice consumption and adverse health
effects. In fact, populations with high rice consumption are associated with less overall disease
rates and with better health, and scientific studies show that people who eat rice have
healthier diets.

“We are disappointed in today’s Consumer Reports article for failing to add meaningfully to the
public discourse about this important issue. Instead, the article is incomplete and inaccurate on
many levels: it employs an ‘arsenic content standard’ that simply doesn’t exist in federal law. It
cites federal health data to allege health risk from arsenic ingestion when that data is based on
arsenic excreted from, rather than absorbed by, the body. It offers consumption advice without
addressing all of the relevant public health issues that must be taken into account.

“The fact is that the Food and Drug Administration is not recommending consumers change
their diet based on this article. We agree with FDA that any limits set for arsenic in rice products
should be the result of a carefully conducted risk-assessment -- based on an adequate sample
of well-constructed tests -- that balances any yet-to-be-validated ‘risk’ against years of sound
research into rice’s many nutritional benefits.

“The rice industry is committed to ensuring the quality and safety of rice and rice-based
products. We will continue to work with regulators, including FDA, food scientists, nutritionists
and manufacturers as they examine the issue. Additionally, we are conducting our own
research to ensure that U.S. rice remains a safe, nutritious and affordable food for consumers.”

For more information on this subject, please visit www.arsenicfacts.usarice.com.

August 23, 2012 Washington, DC: The text of the August 22, 2012

FDA News Release follows: Fast facts

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is announcing a recall of cantaloupe by Chamberlain Farms, of Owensville, Indiana, because of possible contamination with Salmonella Typhimurium associated with a multi-state outbreak of salmonellosis. The FDA is warning consumers not to eat and to discard cantaloupe from this farm.
* After officials from the FDA, CDC and the state of Indiana briefed Chamberlain Farms on the current status of the investigation, Chamberlain Farms made the decision to recall its cantaloupe from the market place.
* The investigation into this outbreak continues in order to determine whether there are other possible sources of the outbreak.
* Records available currently indicate that this product was initially shipped to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin, although further shipment was likely.

What is the problem?

The FDA is announcing a recall of cantaloupe by Chamberlain Farms, of Owensville, Indiana, because of possible contamination with Salmonella Typhimurium associated with a multi-state outbreak of salmonellosis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a total of 178 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium from 21 states. Nationwide, 62 persons have been hospitalized. In Kentucky, two deaths have been reported.

The investigation into this outbreak continues, in order to determine whether there are other possible sources of the outbreak.

What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

However, in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Who is at risk?

Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is higher than the rate in all other persons. Young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are the most likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that approximately 400 persons die each year with acute salmonellosis.

Where was the cantaloupe distributed?

Records available currently indicate that the cantaloupe was initially shipped to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin although further shipment was likely. The FDA urges consumers in any state who are buying or have recently bought cantaloupe to ask their retailers if the cantaloupe was grown on Chamberlain Farms of Owensville, Indiana.

What is being done about the problem?

After officials from the FDA and the state of Indiana briefed Chamberlain Farms on the current status of the investigation, Chamberlain Farms made the decision to recall its cantaloupe from the market place.

Earlier Chamberlain Farms had agreed to withdraw the cantaloupe from the market, and to cease distributing cantaloupes for the rest of the growing season. However, the decision to formally recall the product will facilitate removal of the product from the market and ensure the widest possible awareness of this action.

The investigation into this outbreak continues, in order to determine whether there are other possible sources. FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) network is working directly with the FDA field offices, the CDC and state and local agencies on this incident and will continue to update the public appropriately.

What do consumers need to do?

Consumers who are buying or have recently bought cantaloupe should ask their retailers if the cantaloupe was grown on Chamberlain Farms of Owensville, Indiana. The FDA warns consumers not to eat this cantaloupe, and if they have purchased it, they should throw it away.

If consumers believe they have cantaloupe from this farm, they should not try to wash the harmful bacteria off the cantaloupe as contamination may be both on the inside and outside of the cantaloupe. Cutting, slicing and dicing may also transfer harmful bacteria from the fruit’s surface to the fruit’s flesh. When in doubt, throw it out.

Who should be contacted?

Consumers who show any signs of illness from salmonellosis should consult their health care provider. The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the fda.gov website.

The information in this press release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from the manufacturer and the state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation. The agency will update the public as more information becomes available.

For more information:

CDC: Salmonella
http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/
CDC: Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak
http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium-cantaloupe-08-12/index.html?s_...
FoodSafety.gov: Salmonella
http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/salmonella/

 

August 9, 2012, Ottawa: The Government of Canada released today its draft model for improving food inspection in Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is proposing a single approach to food inspection that will provide consistent and appropriate oversight across all regulated food commodities – either imported or produced domestically. “We have a world-class food safety system in Canada but we want it to be the best,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “A single inspection approach will make an even stronger system that will benefit all Canadians.”

The draft food inspection model is based on feedback from discussions with inspectors and industry stakeholders as well as feedback on a recent discussion document called The Case for Change that outlined the rationale for modernizing inspection. This initiative is part of the commitment made by the Government of Canada in Budget 2011, which provided the CFIA with $100 million over five years to modernize food safety inspection in Canada. In addition to building a consistent inspection model, this investment is being used to provide better training and more modern tools to front line food inspectors as well as building additional capacity in CFIA laboratories.

 The CFIA is seeking comments from consumers and industry stakeholders until October 31, 2012 on the following aspects of the proposed draft model: a single licensing and registration requirement for those manufacturing, importing and/or exporting food for trade outside provincial borders, more consistent oversight and inspection across all regulated food commodities, a scaled approach that adapts to the size and complexity of businesses, and the distribution of more information to consumers about compliance and enforcement activities.

The CFIA is planning extensive outreach activities on this proposed model with its inspectors, consumer associations, industry, and federal, provincial and territorial government counterparts in the fall. The model will continue to be developed based on feedback that the Agency receives.
The CFIA is carrying out a number of complementary initiatives including a review of the CFIA’s regulatory frameworks and the Safe Food for Canadians Act, tabled in June, which aims to modernize and strengthen food legislation. Together, these initiatives are part of a comprehensive effort to better manage food safety challenges and make food as safe as possible for Canadian families.
 


August 3, 2012 Washington, DC

Summary: The text of the August 3, 2012 USDA APHIS News Release follows:

Today, USDA is releasing its final report on the epidemiological investigation of a dairy cow from California that tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in April 2012. This epidemiological report is the result of months of close coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), local officials, and the associated dairy and rendering facility.

In accordance with World Organization for Animal Health guidance, USDA conducted a thorough epidemiological investigation following the BSE detection. This included on-the-ground investigations and records review from the rendering facility, the index farm, and associated premises, as well as traceback for progeny and birth cohorts of the index cow. The results of this thorough investigation confirmed that at no time was the U.S. food supply or human health at risk, and that the United States’ longstanding system of interlocking safeguards against BSE continues to be effective.

This case was found in an animal that was sampled for the disease at a rendering facility in central California. This animal was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health in the United States.

The index animal was a 10 year 7 month-old Holstein cow from a central California dairy. The animal was humanely euthanized after it developed lameness and became recumbent, and was sampled by a renderer contracted to collect samples as part of USDA’s ongoing BSE surveillance. Results from immunohistochemistry and Western blot tests at USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the animal positive for atypical BSE. Samples were also sent to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratories in Canada and England. The laboratories confirmed that the index cow was positive for atypical (L-type) BSE.

As a result of on-the-ground investigation and records review, USDA and CDFA identified only one live offspring of the cow, which was humanely euthanized and found to be negative for BSE. No birth cohorts of the index animal were found alive.

The carcass of the index animal (along with approximately 90 other carcasses being held at the renderer’s transfer station), were disposed of in a landfill in accordance with all Federal, State and local regulations. The carcass of the index animal did not enter the human or animal food chain.

In conjunction with USDA’s investigation, FDA and CDFA conducted an extensive feed investigation. Twelve feed suppliers were identified to the index premises; one of which was no longer in business. The remaining 11 were found to be in compliance with FDA and CDFA regulations and requirements. FDA has released a full report on the feed investigation. It is available at www.fda.gov .

The United States has a longstanding system of three interlocking safeguards against BSE that protects human and animal health, the most important of which is the removal of specified risk materials – or the parts of an animal that would contain the BSE agent should an animal have the disease – from all animals presented for slaughter in the United States. The second safeguard is a strong feed ban that protects cattle from the disease. The third safeguard—which led to this detection— is our ongoing BSE surveillance program that allows USDA to detect the disease if it exists at very low levels in the U.S. cattle population and provides assurances to consumers and our international trading partners that the interlocking system of safeguards in place to prevent BSE are working.

View Final Report
http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/GuidanceComplianceEnforcement/Compli...


May 30, 2012 - Washington, DC

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s pesticide residue data on fresh produce and other foods confirms that the residues do not pose safety concerns, according to the agency.

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service released the 2010 Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary on May 25. The website also features a guide about the report for consumers.

Data from the PDP, which began in 1991, has been used by the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group since 1995 to compose its “Dirty Dozen” list of produce with the most pesticide residues. Since 2010, the Watsonville, Calif.-based Alliance for Food and Farming has led industry efforts to refute consumer impressions that produce has pesticide levels that warrant a food safety concern.

USDA and other federal officials emphasized the safety of the food supply in a news release about the report.

“Age-old advice remains the same: eat more fruits and vegetables and wash them before you do so,” according to the release. “Health and nutrition experts encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables in every meal as part of a healthy diet.”

A statement from the Environmental Protection Agency said the latest PDP data confirms the agency’s success approving safer pesticides and pest control techniques.

Industry sources said the data supports advice to consumers to eat more fruits and vegetables, whether that fresh produce is conventionally grown or organic.

“The potential health benefits of increasing one’s produce intake clearly outweigh the hypothetical risks associated with the ingestion of the trace amounts of pesticides that might be associated with these foods,” Carl Keen, professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine at University of California, Davis, said in a news release from the Alliance for Food and Farming.

“United Fresh is gratified that the USDA’s 2010 PDP report verifies the safety of consuming fruits and vegetables at every meal,” Ray Gilmer, vice president of communications for Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, said in a statement.

According to the 2010 report, overall pesticide residues found on foods tested are at levels well below the tolerances set by the EPA.

Only 0.25% of samples — fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, oats, eggs, catfish, baby food, groundwater, and treated and untreated drinking water — tested at levels exceeding EPA tolerances, according to the release.

Of the 12,845 samples collected and analyzed, the USDA said 10,974 were fresh and processed fruit and vegetable commodities, 299 were oat samples, 371 were egg samples, 384 were catfish samples, 250 were groundwater samples, and 567 were drinking water samples.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

April 24, 2012 - Washington, DC

Dr. John Clifford, USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer reported today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an adult dairy cow from Central California. The carcass of the animal is being held at a rendering facility in California that collects tissue samples for testing as part of the federal government’s ongoing BSE surveillance program. “The animal did not enter the human food chain,” Clifford emphasized, “so there’s really no concern for alarm here with regards to this animal,” which will be destroyed. He added that the animal most likely did not contract the disease by eating infected feed. “We will be conducting an investigation and as we find more information, we will be transparent and open with it,” the USDA official said.

April 24, 2012 - Sacramento, CA

STATEMENT FROM CDFA SECRETARY KAREN ROSS ON USDA

ANNOUNCEMENT OF DETECTION OF BSE

California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross issued this statement following the USDA’s announcement of the detection of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a California dairy cow:

 “The detection of BSE shows that the surveillance program in place in California and around the country is working. Milk and beef remain safe to consume. The disease is not transmitted through milk. Because of the strength of the food protection system, the cow did not enter the food or feed supply. There are numerous safeguards in place to prevent BSE from entering the food chain.

 “The atypical BSE designation is important because this is a very rare form of BSE not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed. CDFA veterinarians are working with the USDA to investigate this case and to identify whether additional cows are at risk. Feed restrictions in place in California and around the country for the last 15 years minimize that risk to the greatest degree possible. We will provide additional information about this case as it becomes available.”

 The USDA announcement may be viewed at: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/04/0132.xml&...

BSE Website: http://www.bseinfo.org/
_________________________________________________________________________________

CDC study shows outbreaks linked to imported foods increasing
Fish and spices the most common sources


WASHINGTON, DC – March 14, 2012 -- Foodborne disease outbreaks caused by imported food appeared to rise in 2009 and 2010, and nearly half of the outbreaks implicated foods imported from areas which previously had not been associated with outbreaks, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, presented today at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta.


“It's too early to say if the recent numbers represent a trend, but CDC officials are analyzing information from 2011 and will continue to monitor for these outbreaks in the future,” said Hannah Gould, Ph.D., an epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases and the lead author of the study.


CDC experts reviewed outbreaks reported to CDC’s Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System from 2005-2010 for implicated foods that were imported into the United States. During that five-year period, 39 outbreaks and 2,348 illnesses were linked to imported food from 15 countries. Of those outbreaks, nearly half (17) occurred in 2009 and 2010. Overall, fish (17 outbreaks) were the most common source of implicated imported foodborne disease outbreaks, followed by spices (six outbreaks including five from fresh or dried peppers). Nearly 45 percent of the imported foods causing outbreaks came from Asia.


“As our food supply becomes more global, people are eating foods from all over the world, potentially exposing them to germs from all corners of the world, too,” Gould said. “We saw an increased number of outbreaks due to imported foods during recent years, and more types of foods from more countries causing outbreaks.”


According to a report by the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS), U.S. food imports grew from $41 billion in 1998 to $78 billion in 2007. Much of that growth has occurred in fruit and vegetables, seafood and processed food products. The report estimated that as much as 85 percent of the seafood eaten in the United States is imported, and depending on the time of the year, up to 60 percent of fresh produce is imported. ERS also estimated that about 16 percent of all food eaten in the United States is imported. The types of food causing the outbreaks in this analysis aligned closely with the types of food that were most commonly imported.


Gould warned that the findings likely underestimate the true number of outbreaks due to imported foods as the origin of many foods causing outbreaks is either not known or not reported.


“We need better - and more - information about what foods are causing outbreaks and where those foods are coming from,” Gould said. "Knowing more about what is making people sick, will help focus prevention efforts on those foods that pose a higher risk of causing illness.”


Recently, the Food and Drug Administration has have stepped up its efforts to conduct environmental assessments to determine the root cause of outbreaks. With lessons learned from outbreaks, measures will be taken to prevent such outbreaks in the future. The newly enacted FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is also a major step in establishing a prevention based food safety system that would address domestic as well as imported foods. CDC, FDA and USDA will continue to work together to prevent foodborne illness and stop harmful products from entering commerce.
 

Additional information on CDC’s foodborne outbreak surveillance is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/outbreaknet/surveillance_data.html

March 13, 2012

*Thank you Michele Payn-Knoper for posting this valuable information!

Top 7 Myths of “Pink Slime”

This entry was posted on March 11, 2012. Bookmark the permalink.
The media has been spreading a lot of myths about what “pink slime” is. The image spreading on the internet is actually mechanically separated chicken, not beef. Read more about the top 7 myths of pink slime below.

Myth 1:
Boneless lean beef trimmings look like pink slime.

Fact:
The photo many media have used to represent pink slime is not boneless lean beef trimmings. It’s actually mechanically separated chicken.

Boneless lean beef trimmings actually looks like this.


Myth 2:
“Boneless lean beef trimmings” or “lean finely textured beef” which have recently been called “pink slime,” are just “fillers” and not beef at all.

Fact:
As their real names suggest, boneless lean beef trimmings are 100% USDA inspected beef. Imagine trimming fat from a roast or steak. There’s always some meat that is trimmed with the fat. It is this meat, trimmed from the fat, which becomes boneless lean beef trimmings. When you compare the nutrition analysis of this lean beef with 90% lean/10% fat ground beef, they are virtually identical. That’s because boneless lean beef trim is beef – period.

Myth 3:
Ground beef produced with boneless lean beef trimmings is less nutritious than other ground beef.

Fact:
A side-by-side comparison of nutrition labels for 90% lean/10% fat ground beef demonstrates this lean beef has substantially identical nutritional value as 90% lean ground beef. Lean ground beef is low in fat and is a good or excellent source of 10 essential nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins.

Myth 4:
Boneless lean beef trimmings are produced from inedible meat.

Fact:
Boneless lean beef trimmings are 100% edible meat. These trimmings are simply the lean beef removed from the meat and fat that is trimmed away when beef is cut into steaks and roasts. The meat in these trimming is nearly impossible to separate with a knife so, historically, this product only could be used in cooked beef products when the fat was cooked and separated for tallow. But now there is a process that separates the fat from the fresh lean beef, and it is this fresh lean beef that can be used in ground meat foods like hamburger and sausages. No process exists that could somehow make an inedible meat edible.

Myth 5:
Dangerous chemicals are added to boneless lean beef trimmings.

Fact:
This is a reference to ammonium hydroxide, essentially ammonia and water, both naturally occurring compounds that have been used to make foods safe since 1974, when the Food and Drug Administration declared it GRAS or Generally Recognized as Safe, the highest safety attribution the agency assigns to compounds. Boneless lean beef trimmings receive a puff of ammonium hydroxide to eliminate bacteria safely and effectively. Ammonium hydroxide is a naturally occurring compound found in many foods, in our own bodies and the environment. Food safety experts and scientists agree it is an effective way to ensure safer ground beef.

Myth 6:
Food safety advocates are concerned about the safety of boneless lean beef trimmings.

Fact:
Scientists, advocates and plaintiff’s lawyers, who in many cases are critical of the beef industry, have all stepped forward to praise Beef Products Inc. and its efforts at food safety.

Myth 7:
Because ammonium hydroxide is an ingredient, ground beef containing boneless lean beef trimmings should be labeled.

Fact:
Ammonium hydroxide is not an ingredient added to the product – rather, the product receives a puff of ammonium hydroxide gas to eliminate bacteria safely and effectively. Ammonia /ammonium hydroxide is naturally occurring and used in processing many foods today, including baked goods, cheese, chocolate, and puddings. It is used in the production of each of these foods as a processing aid and not an ingredient, so not “on the label” of those foods either. It is safe and has been approved by FDA since 1974 and specifically approved for its food safety benefits in beef processing since 2001

December 27, 2011

Last week the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a 31 page Federal Food Safety report touting "progress" on their plans to crack down on the food industry, tighten up the reporting process, and impose fees and fines and much more, in the name of "Food Safety" and the protection of the food consuming public.

Did you know that the Obama administration through HSS and its appointed Food Safety Working Group (FSWG) has been working on The Federal Food Safety Working Group Progress Report?

While a progress report has been released, the Administration says more work needs to be done. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted areas of the initiative they say are working. The Food Safety Working Group was created after the 2008 Salmonella peanut butter outbreak.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) set new Salmonella standards for poultry operations, announced a zero tolerance policy for six additional strains of E. coli, which will launch in March 2012, and a "test and hold" policy that requires facilities to hold product until microbiological testing can determine it is safe to release into commerce.  

The White House calls the working group's effort so far "a large down payment on a stronger food safety system." Vilsack, whose department is responsible for the safety of meat, poultry, and processed egg products, said that while progress is being made "a lot of work is yet to be done."

There are quite a number of new acronyms for the task forces and interagency groups that are described in the new Progress Report on Food Safety. It wouldn't hurt to get familiar with them. 

This report gives you a peek at what is just about to go down with regard to Food Safety and while it is a huge challenge when federal and state agencies must work together during outbreaks and other critical food events it is clear that the affected industries, be it production agriculture, packing houses, cooler sheds and the rest of the food chain, will be forced to participate in the documentation, auditing and tracking systems to meet the demands that will be placed on them. The report documents some of the changes that have been made in the food safety system, especially with the adoption and implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

The report can downloaded from: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/fswg_report_final.pdf

 

August 3, 2011

WASHINGTON, August 3, 2011 - Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, a Springdale, Ark. establishment, is recalling approximately 36 million pounds of ground turkey products that may be contaminated with a multi-drug resistant strain of Salmonella Heidelberg, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Wednesday, August 3, 2011,  a recall of 36 million pounds of Cargill ground turkey linked to a salmonella outbreak that caused at least 76 illnesses and one death.

The products subject to recall today bear the establishment number "P-963" inside the USDA mark of inspection, and include the following:

Ground Turkey Chubs - Use or Freeze by Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11

10 lb. chubs of Honeysuckle White Fresh Natural Lean Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings
10 lb. chubs of Unbranded Ground Turkey w/ Natural Flavoring 2 Pack
80 oz. (5 lbs.) chubs of Riverside Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring
10 lb. chubs of Natural Lean Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings
16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Fresh Lean HEB Ground Turkey 93/7
16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Fresh HEB Ground Turkey 85/15
16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring
4-1 Pound Packages of Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring Value Pack
16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Fresh Ground Turkey
48 oz. (3 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Fresh Ground Turkey

85% Ground Turkey - Use or Freeze by Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11

19.2 oz. (1.2 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey
19.2 oz. (1.2 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey Colored with Paprika
19.2 oz. (1 lb. 3.2 oz.) trays of Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh 85/15
48.0 oz. (3 lb.) trays of Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh 85/15
20 oz. (1.25 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey
48.0 oz. (3 lbs.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey Family Pack
16 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey
19.2 oz. (1.2 lbs.) trays of Honeysuckle White Seasoned Italian Style Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings
20 oz. (1 lb. 4 oz.) trays of Safeway Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings * 15% Fat
(NOTE: Sold in Texas only at Randall's and Tom Thumb, Use or Freeze by 03/12/11 through 05/05/11)

93% Ground Turkey - Use or Freeze by Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11

19.2 oz. (1.20 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey
48 oz. (3.0 lbs.) trays of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey Family Pack
19.2 oz. (1.2 lb.) trays of Fit & Active Lean Ground Turkey 93/07
19.2 oz. (1.2 lbs.) trays of Giant Eagle Ground Turkey Fresh & Premium Lean
19.2 oz. (1 lb 3.2 oz.) trays of Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh Lean 93/7
20 oz. (1.25 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey

Ground Patties

16.0 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey Patties with "Use by" or "Freeze by" dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11
16 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Kroger Ground Seasoned Turkey Patties Fresh 85/15, with "Use by" or "Freeze by" dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11
16.0 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Shady Brook Farms Ground Turkey Burgers with Natural Flavoring with the following "Use by" or "Freeze by" dates: 07/09/11, 07/10/11, 07/11/11, 07/15/11, 07/16/11, 07/21/11, 07/22/11, 07/24/11, 08/01/11, or 08/04/11

Frozen Ground Turkey - Production Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/2/11

16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring
16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Spartan Ground Turkey
48 oz. (3 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey
40 lb. Bulk Packed Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring for Food Service Use Only

These products were distributed at the retail level nationwide. Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation requests that consumers who may have purchased these products return them to the point-of-purchase. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on FSIS' website at www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/Open_Federal_Cases/index.asp.

To prevent salmonellosis and other foodborne illnesses, wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry, and cook poultry—including ground turkey—to 165° F, as determined with a food thermometer.

This recall follows a July 29, 2011 FSIS Public Health Alert that was initiated due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg that may be associated with use and consumption of ground turkey. A total of 79 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 26 states between March 1 and August 3, 2011. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg is resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. Among the ill persons with available information, 22 (38%) have been hospitalized and 1 death has been reported. As a result of the epidemiologic and traceback investigations, as well as in-plant findings, FSIS determined that there is a link between the Cargill ground turkey products and this illness outbreak. FSIS is continuing to work with CDC, affected state public health partners, and the company on the investigation.

FSIS will continue to provide information as it becomes available, including information about any further related recall activity. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

Consumers with questions about this recall should contact Cargill's consumer relations toll free telephone number at 1-888-812-1646. Media with questions regarding the recall should contact Cargill's media contact Mike Martin at michael_martin@cargill.com  or (316) 291-2126.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within six to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

Recommendations for Preventing Salmonellosis

Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away.

Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.

Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal temperature for ground meat such as beef and pork is 160° F, and 165° F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer.

Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.
_______________________________________________
 

Government officials say contaminated turkey is safe to eat if it is cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and handled properly before cooking.

The big Minnesota-based meat processing company Cargill said Tuesday it was contacted by the USDA as part of the investigation and is working with the department.

California state health officials said Tuesday the one death was in Sacramento County. The same strain of the disease has sickened 76 people in 26 states, including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Elizabeth Pash, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic, said because turkey is a processed meat, its exposure to bacteria and contamination from air or processing machinery is increased.

Pash said when battling food-borne illness, “You can’t go by smell, you can’t go by look. It’s all internal. It’s bacteria that is invisible to the human eye.”

Rather than risking it, always prepare meat at the appropriate temperature. Pash advised cooking turkey at 165 degrees to keep consumers safe, which is the only way to kill the bacteria.

Pash also suggested cleaning cutting boards and other cooking utensils thoroughly, as well as preparing vegetables on a separate cutting board from meats.

Salmonella is the most common bacterial form of food poisoning.

Symptoms of salmonella are typically severe and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight to 72 hours of eating a contaminated product. It can be life-threatening, especially to those with weakened immune systems.

Anyone suspecting they are infected with salmonella should call their doctor immediately.


Recommendations for Preventing Salmonellosis:

Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away.

Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.

Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal temperature for meat such as beef and pork is 160° F, and 165° F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer.

Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within six to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

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March, 2011

Duplication, Overlap, or Fragmentation Areas Identified in This Report:


Mission: Agriculture; Areas identified: 1. Fragmented food safety system has caused inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination, and inefficient use of resources; Federal agencies and programs where duplication, overlap, or fragmentation may occur: The Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration are the primary food safety agencies, but 15 agencies are involved in some way;


Fragmented Food Safety System Has Caused Inconsistent Oversight, Ineffective Coordination, and Inefficient Use of Resources: Why GAO Is Focusing on This Area: The fragmented federal oversight of food safety has caused inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination, and inefficient use of resources. Fifteen federal agencies collectively administer at least 30 food related laws. Budget obligations for the two primary food safety agencies--the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)--totaled over $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2009. USDA is responsible for the safety of meat, poultry, processed egg products, and catfish and FDA is responsible for virtually all other food, including seafood. Three major trends also create food safety challenges: (1) a substantial and increasing portion of the U.S. food supply is imported, (2) consumers are eating more raw and minimally processed foods, and (3) segments of the population that are particularly susceptible to food-borne illnesses, such as older adults and immune-compromised individuals, are growing.


What GAO Has Found to Indicate Duplication, Overlap, or Fragmentation: For more than a decade, GAO has reported on the fragmented nature of federal food safety oversight. The 2010 nationwide recall of more than 500 million eggs due to Salmonella contamination highlights this fragmentation. FDA is generally responsible for ensuring that shell eggs, including eggs at farms such as those where the outbreak occurred, are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled and FSIS is responsible for the safety of eggs processed into egg products. In addition, while USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service sets quality and grade standards for the eggs, such as Grade A, it does not test the eggs for microbes such as Salmonella. Further, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service helps ensure the health of the young chicks that are supplied to egg farms, but FDA oversees the safety of the feed they eat. Oversight is also fragmented in other areas of the food safety system. For example, the 2008 Farm Bill assigned USDA responsibility for catfish, thus splitting seafood oversight between USDA and FDA. In September 2009, GAO also identified gaps in food safety agencies’ enforcement and collaboration on imported food. Specifically, the import screening system used by the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not notify FDA’s or FSIS’s systems when imported food shipments arrive at U.S. ports. Without access to time-of-arrival information, FDA and FSIS may not know when shipments that require examinations arrive at the port, which could increase the risk that unsafe food could enter U.S. commerce. GAO recommended that the CBP Commissioner ensure that CBP’s new screening system communicates time-of-arrival information to FDA’s and FSIS’s screening systems and GAO continues to monitor their actions. Actions Needed and Potential Financial or Other Benefits: GAO has made numerous recommendations intended to address the fragmented federal oversight of the nation's food supply. One key recommendation in October 2001 was to reconvene the President's Council on Food Safety, which disbanded earlier that year. In response, the President created the Food Safety Working Group in 2009 to coordinate federal efforts and develop goals to make food safer. Through the working group, which is co-chaired by the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Agriculture, federal agencies have begun collaborating in certain areas that cross regulatory jurisdictions-- improving produce safety, reducing Salmonella contamination, and developing food safety performance measures. However, as a presidentially appointed working group its future is uncertain, and the experience of the Council on Food Safety, which disbanded less than 3 years after it was created, illustrates that this type of approach can be short lived. In addition, developing a results- oriented government-wide performance plan for food safety, commissioning a detailed analysis of alternative organizational structures, and enacting comprehensive risk-based food safety legislation could help address fragmentation. In January 2007, GAO said that what remains to be done is to develop a government-wide performance plan that is mission based, has a results orientation, and provides a cross-agency perspective. In July 2009, the Food Safety Working Group issued its key findings--a set of goals and actions for improving food safety. While the key findings are mission based and offer a cross-agency perspective, they are not fully results oriented. Further, the working group has not provided information about the resources that are needed to achieve its goals. As a next step, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the federal agencies that have food safety responsibilities, should develop a government-wide performance plan for food safety that includes results-oriented goals and performance measures and a discussion of strategies and resources. Without a government-wide performance plan for food safety, decision makers do not have a comprehensive picture of the federal government's performance on this crosscutting issue. In addition, the federal government does not formulate an overall budget for food safety, making it difficult for Congress to monitor the federal resources allocated to federal food safety oversight. GAO, in October 2001, suggested that Congress consider commissioning the National Academy of Sciences or a blue ribbon panel to conduct a detailed analysis of alternative food safety organizational structures. A detailed analysis has yet to be commissioned and GAO reiterated its suggestion to Congress in February 2011. GAO and other organizations have identified alternative organizational structures that could be analyzed in more detail, including:


* a single food safety agency, either housed within an existing agency or established as an independent entity, that assumes responsibility for all aspects of food safety at the federal level;


* a single food safety inspection agency that assumes responsibility for food safety inspection activities, but not other activities, under an existing department, such as USDA or FDA;


* a data collection and risk analysis center for food safety that consolidates data collected from a variety of sources and analyzes it at the national level to support risk-based decision making; and:
 

* a coordination mechanism that provides centralized, executive leadership for the existing organizational structure, led by a central chair who would be appointed by the president and have control over resources.


GAO, the National Academy of Sciences, and others have also suggested that Congress enact comprehensive risk-based food safety legislation. In May 2004, GAO reported that such legislation can provide the foundation for focusing federal oversight and resources on the most important food safety problems from a public health perspective. New food safety legislation that was signed into law in January 2011 strengthens a major part of the food safety system and expands FDA's oversight authority. However, the law does not apply to the federal food safety system as a whole and GAO reiterated its suggestion for comprehensive, risk-based food safety legislation in February 2011. The European Union adopted comprehensive food safety legislation in 2004 intended to create a single, transparent set of food safety rules. Although reducing fragmentation in federal food safety oversight is not expected to result in significant cost savings, new costs may be avoided by preventing further fragmentation, as illustrated by the approximately $30 million for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 that USDA officials had said they would have to spend developing and implementing the agency’s new congressionally mandated catfish inspection program. Subsequently, no funding was proposed for the program in the President’s fiscal year 2012 budget because of the need for considerable stakeholder engagement and regulatory development before its adoption and implementation. In addition, GAO has reported that user fees are means of financing federal services that can be designed to reduce the burden on tax payers and promote economic efficiency and equity. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that if FSIS charged user fees, federal revenues would increase by $902 million in fiscal year 2011 and could offset inspection costs. FDA has proposed user fees in its fiscal year 2011 congressional budget request that it estimates could increase revenues by almost $194 million and could enable the agency to expand its food safety efforts. GAO recognizes that reorganizing federal food safety responsibilities is a complex process. Further, GAO's work on other agency mergers and transformations indicates that reorganizing food safety could have short-term disruptions and transition costs. However, reducing fragmentation and overlap could result in a number of non-financial benefits. GAO reported in March 2004 that integrating food safety oversight can create synergy and economies of scale and can provide more focused and efficient efforts to protect the nation's food supply. In June 2008, GAO also reported that other countries that reorganized their food safety systems have experienced additional benefits, such as improved public confidence in the systems. For example, GAO reported that industry and consumer stakeholders generally had positive views of the reorganized food safety systems and said that transparency had improved.


Framework for Analysis: The information contained in this analysis is based on the related GAO products listed below. In addition, GAO reviewed relevant food safety reports and legislation, and interviewed officials from USDA, FDA, and the Office of Management and Budget. GAO also collected and analyzed information about the Food Safety Working Group, its activities, and its plan for food safety, as well as alternative organizational structures for food safety oversight. Related GAO Products are available in the full GAO report.
 

January 5, 2010

President Obama Signs The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act


The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act “modernizes “our food safety system to supposedly better prevent foodborne illness and respond to outbreaks.  Chatter in the halls of Congress is that the new Republican Chairman-Elect of the House Agriculture Committee, Frank Lucas of Oklahoma intends to omit funding for this Act.

Below is a section-by-section description of the bill.
 

Title I – Improving Capacity to Prevent Food Safety Problems
 

Sec. 101. Inspections of Records –Enables the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to access relevant records of a food processor if there is a reasonable probability food manufactured there will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.
 

Sec. 102. Registration of Food Facilities –Requires foreign and domestic food facilities to renew their registration with FDA biennially. A facility’s registration may be suspended if there is a reasonable probability that food it handled will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. Includes due process protections and allows the Secretary to reinstate suspended firms in appropriate situations. Establishments that sell the majority of their food directly to consumers at roadside stands, farmers markets, and through community supported agriculture are exempt from registration.
 

Sec. 103. Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls –All registered facilities must identify known or reasonably foreseeable hazards and implement preventive controls to significantly minimize or prevent those identified hazards. Those subject to these requirements must have a written plan describing their hazard analysis and preventive controls, which must be made available to FDA upon request. The provision provides flexible compliance timeframes for small and very small businesses, and deems facilities already in compliance with existing seafood, juice, and low-acid canned foods regulations to be exempt from this section. Standards must be science-based, and the regulations are required to be flexible and minimize the burden for small businesses. FDA is also required to publish a small entity compliance guide on the new standards. For agricultural producers that also operate processing facilities, FDA can exempt small, low risk, on-farm facilities from the requirements of this section or modify those requirements as appropriate. The Secretary must clarify under what circumstances on-farm processing activities meet the existing definition of “facility.” An alternative means of compliance is established for small businesses that either (1) meet FDA’s definition of “very small business” or (2) have food sales with an average annual monetary value of less than $500,000, and sell the majority of that food directly to consumers, and restaurants or “retail food establishments” within the same state or less than 275 miles from the facility.
 

Sec. 104. Performance Standards –Requires FDA, not less than every 2 years, to determine the most significant food-borne contaminants and, when appropriate to reduce the risk of serious illness or death, prevent adulteration, or prevent the spread of communicable disease, to issue science-based guidance documents, action levels, and/or regulations to prevent adulteration.
 

Sec. 105. Standards for Produce Safety –Gives FDA the authority to set commodity-specific standards for the safety of fresh produce. The standards must take into consideration sustainable agriculture and conservation practices; accommodate concerns about the scale of the operations; prevent adverse impact on organic agriculture; and provide flexibility for direct-to-consumer operations. The FDA must prioritize implementation of these regulations based on known risk of the fresh produce and can modify or exempt low risk commodities from the new standards. States may apply for variances from the standards due to local growing conditions. FDA is required to publish a small entity compliance guide on the new standards. Exempts farms from the requirements of this section if they (1) sell the majority of their food directly to consumers, and restaurants or “retail food establishments” that are in the same state or less than 275 miles from the facility and (2) have food sales with an average annual monetary value of less than $500,000.
 

Sec. 106. Protection Against Intentional Adulteration –Requires FDA, working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to conduct vulnerability assessments and issue regulations to protect against the intentional adulteration of food by terrorists.
 

Sec. 107. Authority to Collect Fees –Allows FDA to assess fees for compliance failures (recalls and re-inspections) and participation in a voluntary qualified importer program. Appropriations must keep pace in order for fees to be collected.
 

Sec. 108. National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy –Requires HHS and USDA, in coordination with DHS, to develop a National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy and research agenda, including specific emergency preparedness, detection, response, and recovery goals.
 

Sec. 109. Food and Agriculture Coordinating Councils –Requires DHS, in coordination with HHS and USDA, to report to Congress on the activities of the government and private sector coordinating councils for agriculture and food defense, which are designed to improve information sharing between government and private sector partners in protecting the food system.
 

Sec. 110. Building Domestic Food Safety Capacity –Requires a series of reports and actions intended to focus FDA's attention on several challenges, including information technology, data sharing, research, and government capacity.
 

Sec. 111. Sanitary Transportation of Food –Requires FDA to promulgate regulations on the sanitary transportation of food. Also requires FDA to conduct a study on the unique needs of rural and frontier areas with regard to the delivery of safe food.
 

Sec. 112. Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management for Children –Directs HHS, in consultation with the Department of Education, to develop voluntary food allergy management guidelines to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools or early childhood education programs. Provides for non-renewable food allergy management incentive grants for up to two years to assist local educational agencies (LEAs) with adoption and implementation of the voluntary food allergy management guidelines.
 

Sec. 113. New Dietary Ingredients –Directs FDA to submit information to DEA if it denies a New Dietary Ingredient notification on the grounds that the dietary ingredient may contain an illegal steroid, and FDA must publish a guidance that clarifies regulation of new dietary ingredients in 180 days.
 

Sec. 114. Post Harvest Processing of Raw Oysters –Requires FDA to conduct public health and cost assessments before issuing any guidance or rulemaking related to post harvest processing of raw oysters.
 

Sec. 115. Port Shopping –Until FDA publishes its final rule on the marking of food imports that are refused entry into the United States (as required by the Bioterrorism Act), FDA is required to notify - 2 -
DHS of all instances in which it refuses to admit a food into the United States so that DHS, acting through Customs and Border Patrol, can notify all ports in the United States and thereby prevent food that is refused in one port from being admitted into the country by another.
 

Sec. 116. Alcohol-Related Facilities –Exempts facilities that manufacture alcoholic beverages from several sections of the bill, including the preventive control requirements in section 418.
Title II – Improving Capacity to Detect and Respond to Food Safety Problems
 

Sec. 201. Targeting Inspection Resources –Requires FDA to allocate food inspection resources according to the risk profile of the facility and other important criteria. Requires FDA to increase the frequency of inspections at foreign and domestic facilities, and authorizes FDA to enter into agreements with other federal agencies to improve seafood safety. Requires FDA to submit an annual report to Congress regarding the frequency of, and costs associated with, inspections.
 

Sec. 202. Laboratory Accreditation –Directs FDA to recognize laboratory accreditation bodies that accredit food testing laboratories and establishes a publicly available registry of these bodies. Requires all laboratory testing done for FDA regulatory purposes to be conducted by either an FDA lab or a lab accredited by an FDA-recognized accreditation body.
 

Sec. 203. Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks –Requires DHS to work with HHS, USDA, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to effectively integrate laboratory networks and other relevant data sources to optimize national preparedness by quickly sharing information, conducting analyses, and alerting responders.
 

Sec. 204. Enhancing Tracking and Tracing of Food and Recordkeeping –Requires FDA, in coordination with the food industry, to establish pilot projects to test and evaluate new methods for rapidly and effectively tracking and tracing food products to prevent and mitigate foodborne illness outbreaks. FDA must establish a product tracing system within the FDA based on these pilots, and develop additional recordkeeping requirements for foods that are “high risk.” Ensures methods and requirements are appropriate for small businesses, and exempts or limits requirements for farms, restaurants, raw agricultural commodities, and fishing vessels.
 

Sec. 205. Surveillance –Requires the Secretary to enhance foodborne illness surveillance systems to improve the collection, analysis, reporting, and usefulness of data on foodborne illnesses. Establishes a diverse working group of experts and stakeholders to provide recommendations on an ongoing basis regarding the improvement of foodborne illness surveillance. Requires the Secretary to develop and implement strategies to leverage and enhance the food safety and defense capacities of state and local agencies.
 

Sec. 206. Mandatory Recall Authority –Gives FDA the authority to order food recalls when firms fail to voluntarily recall products that are either adulterated or contain undeclared allergens and which will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. This section also establishes an incident command operation to improve communication within the Department during a mandatory recall or Class I (serious) recall, and requires FDA to submit an annual report to Congress about its use of this authority.
 

Sec. 207. Administrative Detention –Allows FDA to use administrative detention to hold food for a short period of time when FDA has reason to believe that a food is adulterated or misbranded.
 

Sec. 208. Decontamination and Disposal Standards and Plans –Requires EPA, in coordination with HHS, DHS, and USDA, to develop decontamination and disposal standards and protocols to help state and local governments prepare for a food or agriculture emergency.
 

Sec. 209. Improving the training of State, local, territorial, and tribal food safety officials –Requires the Secretary to administer training and education programs for State, local, territorial, and tribal food safety official employees.
 

Sec. 210. Enhancing Food Safety –Authorizes the HHS to make grants to states, localities, and Indian tribes to improve local food safety programs, improve state laboratories and train state officials to conduct food safety inspections. University-affiliated projects are eligible to receive food safety capacity building grants, and FDA may use grants to support centers of excellence to serve as resources to public health officials in response to outbreaks.
 

Sec. 211. Improving the Reportable Food Registry –Provides for consumer notification of Class I (serious) recalls in grocery stores.
 

Title III – Improving the Safety of Imported Food
 

Sec. 301. Foreign Supplier Verification Program –Requires importers to perform food safety supplier verification activities to ensure that imported foods are as safe as those manufactured and sold in the United States. Importers required to comply with existing seafood, juice, and low-acid canned foods regulations are exempted from this section if they are in compliance with those other requirements.
 

Sec. 302. Voluntary Qualified Importer Program –Allows importers to qualify for expedited review and importation of food if they go above and beyond the minimum standards to ensure the safety of imported food.
 

Sec 303. Authority to Require Import Certifications for Food –Allows FDA to require certification or other assurance of safety for high-risk food imports. Requires Secretary to consider public health factors when requiring certifications for high risk foods, including (1) known safety risks of the food, (2) known safety risks of the country of origin, (3) inadequate government controls in country of origin, and (4) information submitted by the country of origin related to the quality of it government controls. FDA may refuse admission of a food import lacking required certification.
 

Sec. 304. Prior Notice of Imported Food Shipments –Requires prior notice for an imported food to include the name of any country that refused entry of the food.
 

Sec. 305. Building Capacity of Foreign Governments with Respect to Food Safety –Requires FDA to develop a comprehensive plan to help expand the technical, scientific, and regulatory capacity of foreign governments and their respective food industries.
 

Sec. 306 . Inspection of Foreign Food Facilities – Allows FDA to enter into agreements and arrangements with foreign governments to facilitate the inspection of foreign facilities. Prohibits entry of food from a foreign facility or country that fails to permit inspection by the United States. Also authorizes the Department of Commerce, in coordination with HHS, to assess foreign facilities that import seafood into the United States and provide technical assistance.
 

Sec. 307. Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors –Directs FDA to recognize accreditation bodies to accredit third parties to certify that foreign food facilities and foods are in compliance with U.S. food safety standards.
 

Sec. 308. Foreign Offices of the FDA –Directs FDA to establish offices in at least five foreign nations to improve the agency’s presence overseas and positively impact the safety of FDA-regulated products.
 

Sec. 309. Smuggled food –Requires the Secretary of HHS, in coordination with the Secretary of DHS, to develop and implement a strategy to better identify smuggled food and prevent its entry into the United States.
 

Title IV – Miscellaneous Provisions
 

Sec. 401. Funding for Food Safety –Increases funding for FDA food safety functions and directs the FDA to incrementally increase field staff by 2015.
 

Sec. 402. Employee protections –Prohibits retaliation by manufacturers, processors, packagers, transporters, distributers, receivers, holders, or importers against their employees who have, in relation to potential or real food safety violations, provided information to officials, assisted or testified in violation proceedings, or refused to participate in any work-related activity that they believe may be a food safety violation.
 

Sec. 403. Jurisdiction –Clarifies that amendments made by this bill do not change jurisdiction between FDA, USDA, and DHS, and that FDA retains its current food safety authority under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Public Health Service Act.
 

Sec. 404. Compliance with international agreements –Provides that nothing in the act is to be construed in a manner that is inconsistent with agreements with the World Trade Organization or other international treaties or agreements.
 

October 7, 2010

Florida Focus, September 2010
FDA expected to delay food safety rulemaking until 2011
By Vicky Boyd, Editor
With a national food safety bill stalled in the Senate, the Food and Drug Administration probably won't publish its draft food safety rule until early 2011. That's unless there are more large-scale foodborne illness outbreaks. Then the FDA could draft a rule that becomes effective 30 days after finalizing it.
Those predictions were made at the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association's annual meeting in Naples by Martha Roberts, special consultant to the University of Florida in Gainesville. "It doesn't matter about the federal legislation," she says. "The FDA feels it has fully sufficient authority to go forward with their food safety rule."  The FDA conducted a series of public listening sessions in 13 states in 2009 to gather input as it began to draft its wide-sweeping rule. The agency had intended to publish the draft rule in December 2009, but that deadline has been pushed back at least twice, Roberts says. When the agency releases its rule, Roberts says she expects the public will have at least 90 days in which to comment. The rule will cover practices from the field through packing and transportation, she says. It will focus on preventing foodborne illness outbreaks. One of the more contentious issues has been whether small-scale and organic growers should have to follow any potential rule.  Some of the smaller-scale growers contend they should be exempt because it could pose a financial hardship, and they don't pose a big risk as far as foodborne illness outbreaks. But Roberts disagrees and says it's her understanding the FDA rule will cover all operations. The rules, however, will be scable to fit the size of the operation. "I think food safety is the responsibility of everyone," she says. "Nobody should be in the practice of selling unsafe food."  She encouraged all of those involved in agriculture to follow the rulemaking process and comment on the rule once the FDA publishes it.  For more information on FDA's rulemaking, visit the Food Safety Project.
 

 

August 23, 2010 - EGG RECALL UPDATES
http://www.eggsafety.org/mediacenter/alerts/73-recall-affected-brands-and-descriptions
 

While this recall represents less than 1 percent of all eggs produced in the US, as always recommended by the Egg Safety Center and FDA, raw eggs should be handled and cooked properly with the egg yolks and whites cooked firm. Other egg brands that are not specifically in the recall list are not affected and should be safe to eat. Liquid, frozen, or dried egg products, because they are pasteurized, also are not affected by the recall and should be safe.


Consumers are reminded that properly storing, handling and cooking eggs should help prevent food-borne illness. For more information on proper handling and preparation of eggs and answers to other frequently asked questions, visit www.eggsafety.org.
 

The chance of an egg containing Salmonella is rare in the United States. Several years ago, it was estimated that 1 in 20,000 eggs might have been contaminated, which meant most consumers probably wouldn’t come in contact with such an egg but 1 time in 84 years. Since that time most U.S. egg farmers have been employing tougher food safety measures to help protect against food-borne illness.
 

HELPFUL HINTS FOR EGG CONSUMERS
 

*Don’t eat recalled eggs or products containing recalled eggs. Recalled eggs might still be in grocery stores, restaurants, and consumers' homes. Consumers who have recalled eggs should discard them or return them to their retailer for a refund. Individuals who think they might have become ill from eating recalled eggs should consult their health care providers.
 

*Keep shell eggs refrigerated at ≤45˚ F (≤7˚ C) at all times.
 

*Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
 

*Wash hands, cooking utensils, and food preparation surfaces with soap and water after contact with raw eggs.
 

*Eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm and eaten promptly after cooking.
 

*Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
 

*Refrigerate unused or leftover egg- containing foods promptly.
 

*Avoid eating raw eggs.
 

*Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or undercooked, unpasteurized eggs. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in any recipe (such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing) that calls for raw eggs.
 

*Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs should be avoided, especially by young children, elderly persons, and person with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness.
 

Growers are gearing up for Congressional debate on the Food Safety Modernization Act. Here is a brief summary:

S. 510 - FDA Food Safety Modernization Act - Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to expand the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the Secretary) to regulate food, including by authorizing the Secretary to suspend the registration of a food facility. Requires each food facility to evaluate hazards and implement preventive controls. Directs the Secretary to assess and collect fees related to: (1) food facility re-inspection; (2) food recalls; and (3) the voluntary qualified importer program. Requires the Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to prepare the National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy. Requires the Secretary to: (1) identify preventive programs and practices to promote the safety and security of food; (2) promulgate regulations on sanitary food transportation practices; (3) develop a policy to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools and early childhood education programs; (4) allocate inspection resources based on the risk profile of food facilities or food; (5) recognize bodies that accredit food testing laboratories; and (6) improve the capacity of the Secretary to track and trace raw agricultural commodities. Requires the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to enhance foodborne illness surveillance systems. Authorizes the Secretary to order an immediate cessation of distribution, or a recall, of food. Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist state, local, and tribal governments in preparing for, assessing, decontaminating, and recovering from an agriculture or food emergency. Provides for: (1) foreign supplier verification activities; (2) a voluntary qualified importer program; and (3) the inspection of foreign facilities registered to import food.

POSTED 2/18/2010

USDA, FDA COORDINATE TO ENSURE PRODUCE SAFETY
In a release today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration invited public comments to inform future produce safety rulemaking.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration are working together to achieve the goals of enhancing the safety and quality of fresh produce in ways that take into account the wide diversity of farming operations. We are committed to leveraging the expertise of our partner agencies and working together to ensure that our current produce safety and quality activities are complementary and consistent. While USDA′s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is in the midst of evaluating a proposed marketing agreement for the leafy green industry, the FDA is currently developing a proposed produce safety regulation. It is our expectation that these products will take into account the diverse nature of farming operations and that any marketing agreement would conform to any regulations that may be promulgated by FDA.

The success of these efforts depends on the feedback and comments we receive from growers and other produce safety stakeholders. AMS will continue to review the comments that have been submitted to USDA on the proposed marketing agreement. To further inform its planned rulemaking, the FDA is announcing today the establishment of a docket to receive information about current practices and conditions for the production and packing of fresh produce and practical approaches to improving produce safety. The FDA will work with AMS to have the testimony from the AMS hearings placed in the FDA docket for consideration by the FDA. The FDA encourages all interested persons to submit information they believe will inform the development of safety standards for fresh produce at the farm and packing house, as well as strategies and cooperative efforts to ensure compliance with those standards.

or further information:

Advance Display of Federal Register Notice: http://www.federalregister.gov/inspection.aspx#spec_F

FDA Produce Safety Activities page: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/Product-SpecificInformation/FruitsVeg....

Media Inquiries: FDA-Rita Chappelle, (301) 796-4672, rita.chappelle@fda.hhs.gov

USDA-(202) 720-4623

SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration

POSTED 2/2/2010

Feinstein bill seeks to mandate pathogen-free food

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Cal.) has introduced legislation that would amend three key federal food safety laws to prohibit the sale of any food that has not been certified to be pathogen free.

The Feinstein bill seeks to amend the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, according to a statement from her office.

"Food producers must be obligated to produce food that is free of pathogens," she said. "It is the responsibility of the food producer, not the consumer, to make sure our food safe to eat."

Noting the number of food recalls listed on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's and Food & Drug Administration's web sites, Feinstein said her bill would "require companies that process any kind of food - from ground beef to frozen pot pies - to test their finished products and their ingredients to make sure that they are safe to eat and pathogen free."

Her proposal comes as the Senate is poised to debate S. 510, a major food safety bill authored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) that reforms many of FDA's authorities. That bill has been advanced from the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pension committee and is awaiting floor action.

Presumably, amendments such as the Feinstein proposal could be offered and voted up or down during the floor debate.

FOOD SAFETY - AAW 2009 ANNUAL CONVENTION REPORT

According to the FDA - 2009 saw over 3900 food related recalls in the United States. Visit  www.henrythehand.com for more information and resources on Food Safety.

What is food poisoning?
Food poisoning (also known as food-borne illness) occurs when you eat or drink something that contains harmful germs (bacteria, viruses or parasites). Sometimes bacteria produce a toxin in food and it’s the toxin that causes the problem.

What are the symptoms of food poisoning?
Symptoms of food poisoning can begin hours to days after consuming the contaminated food or drink. Timing depends in part on the cause of the food poisoning and the amount of food or drink consumed.

Symptoms may include:
• Abdominal pain
• Diarrhea
• Fever
• Loss of appetite
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Weakness and fatigue

Food poisoning may affect just one person or a whole group of people exposed to the contaminated food or drink. It depends on how much of the germ or toxin each person consumed and how sensitive they are to it.

What foods are most likely to cause food poisoning?
Raw or undercooked meat or poultry, unpasteurized dairy products, raw shellfish, unwashed fruits and unwashed vegetables most commonly cause food poisoning.

Food poisoning is more common at picnics and buffets, where food (such as the mayonnaise in potato salad) is often left out of the refrigerator for a long time.

How do I avoid food poisoning?
You can take a few simple steps to avoid food poisoning:
• Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
• Clean countertops, cutting boards, knives and utensils before exposing them to different food items.
• Wash your hands and utensils often.
• Don't put raw and cooked meats on the same plate.
• If knives have been used to cut up uncooked chicken, do not use them to cut up other ingredients that will not be cooked.
• Cook meat thoroughly. Use a meat thermometer if needed and make sure beef is cooked to at least 160°F, chicken and other poultry to 180°F and fish to 140°F.
• Don't use packaged food that has expired.
• Throw away food in bulging or dented cans.
• Refrigerate leftover food if it isn't going to be eaten within 4 hours.
• Don't eat wild mushrooms.
• Don't eat soft cheeses (especially imported) if you are pregnant or have a weak immune system.
• When traveling abroad, don't eat raw fruits or vegetables that haven't been washed in an antimicrobial rinse and avoid unfiltered (or unboiled) tap water.
• When at restaurants or social gatherings, avoid foods that have been left out of the refrigerator for long periods of time.

 

 

Q. What is E. Coli
A. E. coli is short for Escherichia coli -- a bacteria (germ) that causes severe cramps and diarrhea. E. coli is a leading cause of bloody diarrhea. The symptoms are worse in children and older people, and especially in people who have another illness. E. coli infection is more common during the summer months and in northern states.
 

Q. How do people get E.Coli?
A. The most common way to get this infection is by eating contaminated food. You can be infected with the E. coli germ if you don't use a high temperature to cook your beef, or if you don't cook it long enough. When you eat undercooked beef, the germs go into your stomach and intestines.

The germ can also be passed from person to person in day care centers and nursing homes. If you have this infection and don't wash your hands well with soap after going to the bathroom, you can give the germ to other people when you touch things, especially food.

People who are infected with E. coli are very contagious. Children shouldn't go to a day care center until they have 2 negative stool cultures (proof that the infection is gone). Older people in nursing homes should stay in bed until 2 stool cultures are negative.

Q. What is salmonellosis?
A. Salmonellosis is an infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), salmonellosis causes an estimated 1.4 million cases of foodborne illness and more than 500 deaths annually in the United States. The Salmonella family includes over 2,300 serotypes of bacteria which are one-celled organisms too small to be seen without a microscope. Two types, Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium are the most common in the United States and account for half of all human infections. Strains that cause no symptoms in animals can make people sick, and vice versa. If present in food, it does not usually affect the taste, smell, or appearance of the food. The bacteria live in the intestinal tracts of infected animals and humans.

Q. How do people get salmonellosis?
A. Salmonella lives in the intestinal track of humans and other animals, including birds. Salmonella is usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces. Salmonella present on raw meat and poultry could survive if the product is not cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature, as measured with a food thermometer.

Salmonella can also cause foodborne illness (salmonellosis) through cross-contamination, e.g., when juices from raw meat or poultry come in contact with ready-to-eat foods, such as salads.

Food may also become contaminated by the unwashed hands of an infected food handler. Salmonella can also be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea. People can become infected if they do not wash their hands after contact with these feces. Reptiles are particularly likely to harbor Salmonella. People should always wash their hands immediately after handling a reptile, even if the reptile is healthy.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth E Jensen, Food Safety Committee Chair – 805-264-4476 or msjensen@comcast.net

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