Mad Cow: No Problems Found in Feed Records
Investigators found no irregularities in the feed records at the California dairy where a 10-year-old cow last month was confirmed to have had bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease), the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated in a follow-up report this week.
The May 15 report
to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) also said units of all the feed suppliers to the dairy showed they were in compliance with regulations.
Salmonella Paratyphi B Outbreak Grows
The Salmonella Paratyphi B case-count associated with contaminated starter culture used in raw tempeh products sold by Smiling Hara, an Asheville, NC-based company, continued to grow last week, with the number of Salmonella Paratyphi B cases reaching 83 on Friday.
According to the Asheville Citzen-Times
, 62 of the cases were counted among residents of Bruncombe County, NC.Smiling Hara purchased the contaminated spore culture from Tempeh Online, a Maryland-based Company that has since taken down its web page and deleted all but one of its Twitter posts
ABC Finds Illegal Antibiotics in Imported Shrimp
Traces of illegal antibiotics are lurking in America’s favorite seafood, according to a new report by ABC World News
. The news outlet tested 30 imported shrimp samples from grocery stores across the country and found three were positive for antibiotics that are banned in the United States.Though the sample size was small, the fact that 10 percent were found to contain illegal drugs is significant considering Americans annually eat 1 billion pounds of shrimp, 90 percent of which is imported from halfway across the world — mostly from Thailand, Indonesia, Ecuador, and China.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration physically inspects less than two percent of imported seafood shipments and even smaller percentage are sampled for drug residue testing. In fiscal year 2009, for example, the FDA tested .1 percent of all imported seafood products for residues, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
ABC, which has ramped up its coverage of food issues, sent the shrimp samples to the Institute of Environmental and Human Health food lab at Texas Tech University for testing. In the three positive samples, lab technicians found banned antibiotics enrofloxacin, chloramphenicol, and nitrofuranzone, which is a known carcinogen.
“About 10 percent of them showed evidence of pharmaceutical residue in the muscle tissue alone, which people eat,” Dr. Ronald Kendall, the director of the Institute told ABC. Kendall said two samples from New York averaged 28 and 29 parts per billion (ppb) of nitrofurazone. If FDA were to find 1 ppb of the drug in seafood, the product would not be allowed on the market.
Sampling Report Praises Beef Industry & USDA
To steal a phrase from former President George W. Bush, USDA’s meat inspectors are “doing a heck of a job” knocking down E. coli at big beef plants.
The latest 51-page report from the OIG is the second and final part of an investigation into USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS’s) N-60 sampling procedure. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-CT, who was then chair of the House Agriculture-FDA Appropriations Subcommittee, requested the investigation in 2009.
DeLauro continues to serve on that powerful subcommittee, which is now chaired by Rep. Jack Kingston, R-GA. He did not comment on the OIG report, she did.
“This report further questions the integrity of the N60 sampling program. Even a well-designed sampling program is only useful in protecting consumer health if it is performed accurately,” DeLauro said. ”Yet, the Inspector General’s report indicates this sampling program may be both inadequately and improperly performed. Critically, it also highlights other weaknesses in our food safety system that need attention, such as meat inspections performed by states and the clear need for an improved response to ‘high event.’”
USDA Takes Meat and Poultry Labeling to the Web
A new web-based label approval system that will streamline the agency’s review process for meat, poultry and egg product labels was introduced Monday by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Called the Label Submission Approval System (LSAS), the new approval system will make it possible for food manufacturers to submit label applications electronically, will flag application submission errors that could delay the approval process, and will allow users to track the progress of their submission.
”This new system will expedite and simplify the review process for meat, poultry and egg product labels,” said Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, under secretary for food safety. “Reducing the review times for labels will enhance the agency’s ability to ensure that accurate information is applied to product labels and reaches consumers quickly.”
The “Leaders Conference” of the National Meat Association was briefed on the new web-based labeling system last week in Washington D.C. by Phil Derfler, FSIS deputy administration.
“Based on what we heard,” says Jeremy Russell, NMA’s director of communications and government, “I’d say we’re cautiously optimistic that it will streamline the process and increase efficiency.”
FSIS reviews labels on the products it regulates to ensure they are truthful and not misleading.
The LSAS is suppose to reduce the time and costs incurred by both the industry and the agency. Until the launch of LSAS, companies mailed or hand delivered paper applications to FSIS, and FSIS reviewed and corrected them before returning them in hard copy.
Salmonella Concern Prompts Papaya Recall
Caribe Produce LTD Co. of McAllen, TX, is recalling 286 cases of Papaya Maradol, Caribeña Brand papayas because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.
Routine testing by the company revealed the presence of Salmonella in the papayas, according to the recall notice.
The company says no illnesses have been reported.
Burgers Recalled for Undeclared Allergens
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Saturday that J&B Group of Pipestone, Minnesota, was recalling approximately 456 pounds of steakhouse burgers for misbranding and undeclared allergens.According to a press release issued by FSIS, the steakhouse burgers contain a seasoning mix with hydrolyzed soy and wheat proteins that are not declared on the label.
J&B Group recalled the following products:
Flours, Legumes, Spices Recalled for Allergens
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Santos Agency, Inc. announced Friday that Santos Agency was voluntarily recalling Santos Brands Products for undeclared peanuts and wheat in California.
Consumers who are allergic to peanut or wheat allergens may run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume any of the products, which are affixed with a label on the front side, packed in clear, plastic bags and there are no UPC codes, lot codes, or expiration dates on the products. The labels consist of a design of a house bordered by two columns with the word “SANTOS” on the roof of the house.The following Santos Brands Products (packed in USA) were shipped to retail stores throughout California only between May 2011 and May 2012.
Diced Red Onions Recalled in Canada
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) warned consumers Friday not to consume Gills Onions brand Fresh Diced Red Onions because of possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.No reported cases of Listeria have been reported in connection with the consumption of the diced onions, which were distributed in Ontario and may have also been distributed throughout Canada.
The products being recalled include 198 g packages of Gills Onions brand Fresh Diced Red Onions, Product of U.S.A., bearing UPC 6 43550 00045 0, Best Before date 05/17/12, and lot code 51RDA1A2119. CFIA is working with Canadian importers, distributors, retailers and Gills Onions to withdraw the product from points of purchase.
River Ranch Expands Bagged Salad Recall
River Ranch Fresh Foods of Salinas, CA is expanding its earlier recall
of retail and foodservice bagged salads because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
The company says there have been no reported illnesses associated with this recall, according to the recall alert
Retail salad products under this recall were distributed throughout the United States and Canada under various sizes and packaged under the brand names of River Ranch, Farm Stand, Hy-Vee, Shurfresh, and The Farmer’s Market.
Foodservice salad products under this recall were distributed throughout the United States and Canada under various sizes and packaged under the brand names of River Ranch and Sysco.
Diamond Pet Foods Recalls More Dry Dog Food
Diamond Pet Foods
has again recalled batches of dry dog food that may be contaminated with Salmonella, this time to include its Diamond Naturals Small Breed
Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula dry dog food manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011.
The earlier Diamond Pet Foods recalls
involved various formulas manufactured after Dec. 9, 2011 at its production facility in Gaston, SC. This recall involves pet food produced in Meta, MO.
The company says no illnesses have been reported in connection with this latest recall, which presumably means no human or animal illnesses.
However, as of May 11, 15 people in nine states and one person in Canada have been reported sickened with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis from contact with contaminated dog food or infected animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
. As of May 16, the Food and Drug Administration
had confirmed two dog illnesses related to the outbreak.
Articles of Interest
Letter From The Editor: China
China was the United States’ largest supplier of goods imports in 2010 and was our 3rd largest supplier of agricultural imports at $3.4 billion.
Leading categories include: processed fruit and vegetables ($811 million), fruit and vegetable juices ($386 million), snack foods (including chocolate) ($190 million), and fresh vegetables ($132 million).
China’s food safety record is a mixed bag. Yes, China can move with swiftness and severity against those endangering food safety. Yet, the same government also jailed Zhao Lianhai, who worked for the Food Quality and Safety Authority of China.
Zhao’s “crime” was organizing parents of children like his own son, who became ill from drinking contaminated milk. Zhao was arrested November 2009, and sentenced a year later to 30 months in prison for inciting social disorder.
He went on a hunger strike, and subsequently was released last year on medical parole. He is kept essentially under house arrest in Daxing, and gets harassed by police and state security officials whenever he takes his children out or tries to go to a restaurant.
When China first started beating up one of its own food safety workers for the crime of becoming too much of an advocate for injured children, some suggested it might mark larger events to come.
The treatment of Zhao sounds familiar because it follows the playbook China was using on the blind activist Chen Guangcheng until he escaped his illegal house arrest and made it to the U.S. Embassy.
Chen, who dissents on China’s one child policy, arrived on U.S. soil this weekend with his family thanks in part to skillful handling by the U.S. Ambassador to China. (More on that below.)
Also earlier this month, China expelled journalist Melissa Chan of Walnut, CA, the first accredited foreign correspondent to be kicked out of China in 14 years. She worked for Al Jazeera English.
It is not known for certain what got Chan expelled, but had written about “black jails” for violators of the one-child policy and her press credentials were revoked just as the Chen story was breaking.
Chen was expelled for breaking unspecified “relevant laws,” according to a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry. Chan insists she broke no laws.
But these are really nothing more than incidents in a country of 1.3 billion.
The big story in China is the one that reads like the opening chapters in a Tom Clancy novel. It’s included murder, mystery and political intrigue and we know not how its going to come out.
We now know about this provincial Communist Party chief named Bo Xilai, who had ties to People’s Army and was running a sophisticated surveillance operations on top government officials. Bo was slated for the ruling circle, but now has been purged.
Will others in his network have to go too? It’s the greatest “internal crisis” for China since the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre. It is an “internal crisis” that is also being fought out in China’s upper echelons.
As for China’s growing middle class, they are said to be unhappy with certain basic government services including food safety. China might want to think about making the next Zhao a hero, not a criminal.
Utah Healthy Swimming Campaign Seems to Have Worked
In the wake of a 2007 Cryptosporidium outbreak linked to recreational swimming waters in Utah, a statewide educational push
seems to have increased residents’ knowledge about healthy swimming practices.
In the spring of 2008, state and local public health agencies launched the educational campaign in an effort to prevent a repeat of the previous summer’s outbreak
, which had sickened approximately 5,700 people. Officials also instituted new protocols for fecal incident responses and installed secondary disinfection systems at pools and water parks.
The safe swimming initiative included a website, two TV advertisements, public service radio announcements and poolside posters. One such sign warned consumers that “A Swimming Pool is Like a Community Bathtub.”
According to a Utah Department of Health survey conducted from July through September of 2008, a full 96.1 percent of respondents knew that “it is not OK to swim if you have diarrhea.”
A separate national survey taken in 2009 revealed that 100 percent of respondents in Utah and only 78.4 percent of residents of other states knew that staying out of the pool when sick with diarrhea prevents others from getting sick.
Pink slime, meat glue and more: Public reactions force Big Food to make changes
By J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Did you know a kid in junior high that, on a dare, would eat just about anything you dared him to eat, as long as you gave him your dessert? I did; the guy ate just about everything – bugs, earthworms, snails. He even ate a cockroach one time, no fooling. But he sure liked the school’s chocolate pudding. With that in mind, consider some of the things people are finding in food these days – not on a dare, but as byproducts of food preparation. Things like pink slime, food coloring…
Amnesty International Not Sure About Status of Chinese Food Safety Advocate
Amnesty International (AI) has lost track of Chinese food safety advocate Zhao Lianhai.
AI’s Alex Edwards told Food Safety News the last solid information about Zhao, 40, was in January 2011, more than a year ago.
Whether Zhao has “gone missing” as some media outlets have reported, is just lying low or is under house arrest isn’t known for certain.
In 2008, powdered milk tainted with the chemical melamine eventually killed six children and sickened at least 300,000 others in China. The tragedy put Zhao in the spotlight — he was both an official for China’s Food Quality and Safety Authority and the parent of an injured infant.
Zhao began speaking out to media and through a website helped organize other parents whose children had been poisoned. The most seriously injured infants suffered from kidney stones, raising questions of compensation for their health problems.
Zhao was arrested in Beijing on Nov. 13, 2009. Amnesty International says he was convicted on Nov. 10, 2010 by Daxing District People’s Court in Beijing for “provoking an incident” (Criminal Law article 293). He was sentenced to two and half years in prison.
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