Raw milk legalization does not appear to be catching on at the statehouses

Four states that currently outlaw the retail sales of raw milk and allow only limited access to unpasteurized dairy products are finding it hard to make any progress this legislative season.

Of the four states, only Illinois currently allows for herd share agreements, which means a person has to buy a share in a herd or a single animal to receive the raw milk. On farm sales are allowed in Illinois snd Minnesota and with for milk prescriptions in Rhode Island.

Other than that, the four states are among those with controls on raw milk sales and distibution. Bills questioning that approach are currently before each state’s legislature.

But when your bill is re-referred to the assignments committee or after a big public hearing it gets deferred, it’s usually not a good sign. And for the handful of raw milk bills state legislatures are still considering this year, that’s how … Read more

Oysters linked to 170 illnesses in Finland; people sick in other countries

Contaminated shellfish are continuing to cause illnesses in several European countries and Hong Kong.

At least 170 people have fallen ill in Helsinki, Finland, after eating oysters in various restaurants in February and March. Cases have also been reported in other Finnish cities.

Norovirus has been found in nine different oyster batches with two from the Netherlands, six from France, and one from Ireland. Importers have withdrawn affected batches from the market.

Officials have tested food from restaurants and taken patient samples, finding norovirus. Some of those sick reported eating oysters.

A report on the outbreak is being prepared for the Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto) and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

Norovirus is the most commonly identified cause of foodborne outbreaks in Finland. Between 2017 and 2021, oysters caused 11 norovirus outbreaks in which more than 110 people fell ill.

Finland has published four Rapid Alert System … Read more

Raw milk bill requires Hawaii Legislature to choose between health risks or food security

Hawaii House Bill 521 reads like another attempt to weaken the regulation of raw milk until you notice that the year 3000 is currently listed as the effective date. That might be a long wait for those who want to legalize raw milk and raw milk products in the Aloha State including the bill’s powerful author.

Nevertheless, HB521 is getting serious consideration from Hawaii’s legislative committee. The bill has already been heard by the House Finance Committee and the Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce. Those two committees agree that the purpose of HB 521 is to:

1) Authorize and decriminalize the sale of raw milk and raw milk products directly to consumers for human consumption, subject to certain conditions; and

(2) Authorize the sale of raw goat milk for pet consumption, subject to certain conditions.

Hawaii’s Health Department is completely opposed to HB 521. The department’s testimony could not … Read more

Letter to the Editor: Food safety cannot wait — infant formula letter important to industry

From: Susan Mayne, Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

I am writing in response to the opinion piece published on March 13, 2023, titled “Be Best or Be Better,” by Bill Marler. The article references a letter sent by FDA on March 8 to the infant formula industry to share current safety information and call on the industry to take prompt action to improve processes and programs for the protection of our most vulnerable population. In the opinion piece, Mr. Marler charges the agency to do three things, which I would like to respond to.

First, Mr. Marler says FDA should “put an inspector in every plant 24/7”
Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the safety of the formula they sell to consumers, and it’s FDA’s responsibility to verify through the use of inspections that they are taking the appropriate steps and meeting the legal requirements … Read more

The review finds the need to improve the evaluation of food safety interventions

There are issues with how the impact and success of food safety projects are measured in developing countries, according to a review.

The study summarizes interventions evaluated in some low- and middle-income countries in Asia between 2000 and 2020 and the outcome on knowledge, attitude and practice, hazard presence, and effects on health. 

Overall, 25 studies were considered. A ‘before and after’ study design was the most frequently used.

Methods focused on training to improve knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) towards safe food or on specific technologies. Nine studies were specific as they looked at cattle, poultry, pigs, and fish value chains. All but one reported some level of success. Some food safety work targeted dedicated hazards, including Taenia solium, E. coli, zoonotic fish trematodes, fecal coliforms, and fecal Streptococcus.

How to judge success
However, there is a clear evidence gap for the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of food safety interventions … Read more