WHO chiefs discuss local food safety issues

Regional World Health Organization (WHO) leaders used World Food Safety Day to highlight topics important in their countries.

Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said traditional markets are a key part of the food system.

“They play an important economic, cultural and social role in the Asia Pacific region and are a source of livelihood for millions of people in both urban and rural areas. Healthy and safe traditional food markets can be achieved by implementing measures based on risks identified in the market. When managed properly they provide access to safe, healthy, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and they play a role in promoting health and preventing diseases, especially among vulnerable groups,” he said.

When managed improperly, food markets can be unsafe environments and even pose health risks related to food safety and zoonoses threats.

“Whether you’re a consumer or work in a food market there … Read more

Foods to avoid this Independence Day and tips to avoid holiday food poisoning

It’s the Fourth of July weekend and with that comes the expectation of lots of food, time with friends and family and fireworks. Prep for the heat, review firework safety and read the following food safety tips to keep everyone safe this Independence Day. 

Holiday events are often inter-generational affairs, which means that those most vulnerable — elderly parents, pregnant women and young children — to food poisoning will be enjoying the holiday spread. Because of this, it is best to go the extra mile to make sure the food is safe for everyone.

Foods to avoid if you want to be extra safe this holiday weekend:

Click on image to enlarge.

Starting with the obvious, unpasteurized or so called raw milk should be avoided. Cows can be infected with all types of bacteria, and though some argue that milk loses nutrients during pasteurization, this is false.

Similarly, raw juice … Read more

Salmonella contamination not unusual in chicken

One-third of samples tested by Consumer Reports showed Salmonella contamination of ground chicken, including product from one of the nation’s largest producers.

The investigation by the non-profit consumer watchdog group included testing of 75 samples of ground chicken from Perdue and other companies. Purdue sells under its own brand and supplies chicken to Trader Joe’s and Wholesome Pantry. Consumer Reports also found Salmonella in samples from Isernio’s, Walmart and Whole Foods. Overall, no single brand stood out as being statistically better or worse than another, and CR found no difference between ground chicken from organic and conventionally-raised birds.

“Dangerous salmonella is far too common in chicken and sickens hundreds of thousands of people every year,” said James E. Rogers, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. “The USDA has pledged to reduce illness from salmonella contamination for more than a decade, but CR’s tests show that more … Read more

FDA doesn’t name food behind outbreak, but Daily Harvest company president does

The FDA is investigating an outbreak of “adverse events” related to a frozen food that has been recalled, but the investigation notice does not identify a specific product.

As of June 29 there have been107 people who reported what the Food and Drug Administration is referring to as adverse events. Traceback, testing and on-site inspections are ongoing in addition to the recall of the product.

All facts — including a statement from the company’s CEO — point to the product being Daily Harvest brand frozen French Lentil + Leek Crumbles.

“We have spent the past ten days working with the FDA, state agencies and multiple independent labs, as well as experts in microbiology, food safety and toxicology to conduct testing. These tests cover common foodborne pathogens, toxins, and allergens,” Daily Harvest founder and CEO Rachel Drori said in a written statement released June 27.

She said the company has used … Read more

Infant formula plant remains closed for flood cleanup; no word on how long it will take

It is unclear what actions an infant formula manufacturer is taking to clean its production facility after it was inundated recently with floodwaters.

Abbott Nutrition shut down operations at its Sturgis, MI, plant the third week of June when floodwaters surged in after local storm drain systems were overcome by torrential rains.

At that time Abbott officials said the plant would be cleaned and sanitized but did not say how long it would be before production at the infant formula plant would resume. They also did not provide any details on which parts of the plant were affected or how cleaning would be accomplished. Floodwater is known to carry many contaminants and it is particularly difficult to clean buildings and surfaces exposed to it.

As of June 28 the plant remained closed and company officials remained close mouthed about its status.

“Abbott hasn’t shared any updates since our public posting … Read more