Face egg shortage or adopt national standard are choices for Massachusetts

The country is ready to panic over all sorts of shortages, but Massachusetts has something specific to fear: an egg shortage. It is so bad a possibility that some call it an “Egg Armageddon.”

And unlike some of the shortages causing empty shelves around the country, the possibility of an egg shortage has Massachusetts politicians taking it seriously.

All this stems from the popular 2016 ballot measure that some saw as supportive of food safety by mandating space requirements for certain farm animals.

Egg-laying hens got 1 and 1/2 square feet of floor space under the 2016 law that was to become effective this month as regulations drafted by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey went live.

But during the summer, it became clear that few egg producers could meet the Massachusetts standard. State lawmakers jumped in with another law to reduce the minimum required for each laying hen to one … Read more

Retailer’s Campylobacter test results in maximum FSA category

Marks and Spencer has recorded the highest Campylobacter in chicken results in the most recent quarterly figures reported in the United Kingdom.

The newest data covers April to June for nine retailers on Campylobacter in fresh, shop-bought UK-produced chickens.

For Marks and Spencer, 5 percent were in the maximum category in April, 9 percent in May, and 9 percent in June based on a sample of 376 chickens taken from store shelves across the United Kingdom. This compares to 2 percent above 1,000 CFU/g in January, 3 percent in February and 4 percent in March based on tests of 292 chickens.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) maximum level is 7 percent of birds with more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) of Campylobacter.

Waitrose has not updated its results from the first quarter of this year or provided them to Food Safety News when asked to do so. … Read more

Government gets extra time to reply to Michael Parnell’s post hearing response

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Q. Langstaff is giving the government until Oct. 22 to reply to a post-hearing brief for Michael Parnell. Department of Justice (DOJ) trial attorney Speare I. Hodges for wants an extra week “due to the complexity of the issues and scheduling conflicts..”

Arguments will be closed when the government files its reply to Parnell’s post-hearing statements. Parnell, 62, prepared and submitted his Motion 2255 on Nov. 13, 2019, from his federal prison cell at Fort Dix, NJ. He is seeking to vacate his conviction and sentence.

Parnell has a little more than ten years remaining on his 20-year sentence and a projected release date of Sept.30, 2032.

A jury convicted Parnell, his brother Stewart and Mary Wilkerson in 2014. All three were associated with the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America, and PCA’s peanut processing plant at Blakely, GA. It was the source of a multistate Salmonella … Read more

Letter From The Editor: Leadership & vaccination resistance


Here’s a spoiler alert. I like vaccinations.

Two of my friends growing up, one with mean leg braces and the other confined to a wheelchair, were polio victims. I’ll be celebrating World Polio Day on Oct . 24, and I was happy to learn that we’ve achieved a 99.9 percent worldwide reduction in polio cases over the past three decades. The area  preventing total eradication of polio — the wild poliovirus areas of Afghanistan and Pakistani

Then there is sub-Saharan Africa where a half million people, mostly children, die each year from Malaria where the new RTS S Malaria vaccine is a “game-changer” and the “the most exciting news in years.” Vaccinations are important to food safety for everything from protecting food servers from hepatitis A to preventing animal diseases.

And if  I did not know better, I’d say we are doing just great with vaccinations. Take the last … Read more

Latest Cryptosporidium parasite statistics show rise in Europe

Infections from the Cryptosporidium parasite are continuing to rise in Europe, according to a report published this month by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Outbreaks associated with food and drink, such as juice, have been reported. The parasites are microscopic and do not make food smell, look or taste unusual.

For 2018, 20 countries reported 14,299 cryptosporidiosis cases, of which 14,252 were confirmed. The number of confirmed patients was more than the 11,435 in 2017. The notification rate for 2018 was higher than in the previous four years from 2014 to 2017.

Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom accounted for 76 percent of all confirmed cases in 2018, with the UK alone making up 41 percent with 5,820 infections.

Reporting was voluntary in Belgium, Greece and the Netherlands or organized differently like in the UK. No surveillance system exists in Austria, Denmark, France or Italy.… Read more