Publisher’s Platform: For babies’ sake, make Cronobacter sakazakii reportable


The Abbott infant formula recall could have been prevented. The FDA had reports of safety failures months before the contaminated formula sickened babies and caused two deaths.

I sent these T-shirts to the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, which is tasked to make recommendations as to what pathogens are reportable.  I also sent this message: “I hope that these T-shirts will be a reminder of the awesome responsibility that this council has to protect the public.”

The head of the FDA said in testimony to congress months ago:

“The CDC receives reports on foodborne disease outbreaks from state, local, and territorial health departments. On average, CDC receives two to four Cronobacter case reports annually; however, because Cronobacter infection is not reportable in most states, the total number of cases that occur in the United States each year is not known.”

Here is a bit of history … Read more

Salmonella outbreaks study finds adulterant declaration might help prevent illnesses due to certain chicken products

The not ready-to-eat breaded, stuffed chicken products that are the target of new USDA regulations to declare Salmonella as an adulterant have often been the source of Salmonella outbreaks.

According to a new study, from 1998–2022, 11 Salmonella outbreaks linked to these products were reported; 57 percent of samples per outbreak from patient homes and retail stores yielded Salmonella. Outbreaks continue to occur, although fewer patients reported cooking the product in a microwave after labeling changes.

The number of patients who became ill from these products is likely much higher than that indicated by outbreak reports, the authors said. Many persons regularly eat these products: in a U.S. population survey, 7.4 percent reported eating these products in the previous week.

The researchers’ findings include the fact that outbreaks have continued despite consumer-based interventions and that additional control measures for Salmonella contamination by manufacturers could reduce Salmonella-involved illnesses associated with these … Read more

Letter From The Editor: Is the Dutch government going to say it’s sorry?

On the 150th anniversary of the Irish Potato Famine, where starvation killed one million Irish, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a statement that was taken as an apology by Her  Majesty’s Government, for turning a potato blight into a human disaster.

The Blair statement blamed “those who governed in London” for the tragedy inflicted on the Irish. “The famine was a defining event in the history of Ireland and Britain. It has left deep scars,” Blair said. “That one million people should have died in what was then part of the richest and most powerful nation in the world is something that still causes pain as we reflect on it today. Those who governed in London at the time failed their people.”

In history, famine has often been the result of government policies gone wrong. Governments often make silly stupid decisions even while thinking they are the smartest … Read more

Publisher’s Platform: Here we go again — Panera, Chipotle and Taylor Farms linked to another E. coli romaine lettuce outbreak and it is covered up by CDC and FDA


Repeat offenders – You have to wonder if the DOJ is paying attention (see far below)?

In 30 years of food safety litigation I have prided myself that our firm takes on well-researched and scientifically-based cases. We get dozens of emails and calls a day from people who believe that they have been sickened by food or drink. We vet all and take on perhaps 10% for further investigation. Most of the cases appear to be isolated, but sometimes they are part of a larger outbreak that makes it to the public conscious. Far too often, however, we uncover an outbreak (defined as more than two people) that for one bad reason or another the CDC, FDA or FSIS decide that the public does not have a right to know about. Here is one of those cases.

An outbreak of E. coli O121:H19 occurred in November 2021 … Read more

Letter from the Editor: Taking it to the cleaners


Everybody should be familiar with the story so far.

U.S. Department of Labor investigators in late 2022 and in early 2023, found more than 100 minor children doing mostly overnight work in slaughterhouses for some of the best-known meat and poultry brands. But in every case, the youths were contract workers employed by Packers Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI) with no direct employment by any of the meat plants.

In other words, PSSI has contracts to provide sanitation services and provides its employees who clean meat and poultry facilities. Because contract employees were involved, it was PSSI that ended up paying the $1.544 million in fines for these 13 locations, which were contracting with Packers Sanitation Services for work that resulted in the provision of child labor for critical food safety jobs: 

Name of processorCityStateAffected minorsPenalties Assessed
George’s Inc.BatesvilleAR4$60,552
Read more