Category: Food Forensics Investigations


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Food Poisoning Bulletin

dove-snowflakes-recall

 

Dove Snowflakes, recalled for the undeclared allergens peanuts, wheat and egg, were sold at Walmart. Consumers with sensitivities or allergies to these ingredients should not eat them as they could experience a serious reaction.

 

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Food Poisoning Bulletin

In Canada, Bothwell Cheese Recalled for Listeria

Bothwell Cheese Inc. is recalling shredded cheeses for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Consumers who have purchased these cheeses should not eat them as Listeria can cause serious illness.
bothwell-cheese-recall
The recalled cheeses were sold in Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. They include: White Cheddar Shred, Old Cheddar Shred, Mild Shred and Old Shred in 10kg packages with Lot # 151030. And Mozzarella Blend Shredded Cheese in 340g packages with lot number Lot # 160626 Best Before JUN 26 16 and UPC 0 58898 34082 1.
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Public Health Wales

Salmonella is a bacterium of which more than 2400 different types (called serotypes) have been identified. The bacterium can be found in the gastrointestinal tract of wild and domestic animals, birds (especially poultry), reptiles, amphibians (for example, terrapins), and occasionally humans.
Infection with salmonella can cause watery and sometimes bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Salmonella is one of a number of organisms that gives rise to illness collectively known as ‘food poisoning’
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Food Safety News

Bravo Recalls Pet Food for Possible Salmonella Contamination

Bravo pet food labelBravo Pet Foods of Manchester, CT, is recalling a select lot of Bravo Chicken Blend diet for dogs & cats with a best-used-by date of 11/13/16 due to the possible presence of Salmonella. Bravo is also recalling three additional items that did not test positive for Salmonella but were manufactured on the same day.These products were sold to distributors, retail stores, Internet retailers, and directly to consumers in the U.S.The following product is being voluntarily recalled because of the possible presence of Salmonella:

Product Item # Size Best Used by Date UPC
Bravo Blend Chicken diet for dogs & cats – chub 21-102 2 lb.(32oz.) chub 11-13-16 829546211028

 

The recall was initiated after routine testing of a 2-lb. chub of Bravo Chicken Blend diet for dogs and cats (Item #21-102) by the Colorado State Department of Agriculture and collected at a single retailer revealed the presence of Salmonella. Two hundred and one cases of this product were sold to distributors, retail stores, and directly to consumers in the U.S. between 11/21/14 and 1/15/15.

 

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Norwalk.jpg
Transmission electron micrograph of Norwalk virus. The white bar = 50 nm

EPA  …Wikipedia.org

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Food Safety News

Raw oysters imported from Korea and sold in bulk to distributors and food establishments in Hawaii are being recalled.The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) said the individually quick frozen (IQF) packaged under the Dai One Food Company label, with shellfish harvest dates of Feb. 10 -13, 2015, with shellfish tags on all shellfish cases are subject to the recall.rawoyster_406x250The department has already conducted product tracebacks and embargoed all of the suspect product on Nov. 24 at various local shellfish distributors and restaurants, said Peter Oshiro.

“Although this product is not sold directly to the public, a recall has been issued as an additional safeguard to further notify anyone who may possess the product that it is unsafe and should be destroyed,” he said.

 

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TPP Deal Finally Revealed

Details of the long-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership are public at last: it will undermine the safety of our food supply, make medicine more expensive, and give power to the biotech monopoly. Action Alert!

A few weeks ago, the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal was finally released after many years of closed-door negotiations between officials from the US and eleven other countries, all of whom border the Pacific Ocean. Its provisions were apparently kept secret from all but the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

Leaked documents during the trade negotiations provided reason to be concerned about the final agreement. And now, a review of the deal’s twenty-nine chapters and five thousand pages proves these early concerns were completely justified. The final package now awaits a vote in Congress, which is likely to take place in Spring 2016.

Here are some of the most pressing concerns for natural health advocates:

It Undermines the Safety of the Food Supply

The TPP contains a number of provisions that threaten current food safety laws.

Generally speaking, passage of the TPP would mean that any US food safety law concerning things like pesticides, food additives, or labeling that is more stringent than “international standards” may be considered an “illegal barrier” to trade, and subject to enforcement. We have learned to beware of such “international standards.” They are largely determined by global special interests.

The TPP expands corporate power in other ways. The deal includes an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system in which multinational corporations can challenge a host company’s regulations in an international court. ISDS has been a fixture in other trade treaties, including NAFTA (the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement), and has been used to challenge countries’ economic policies, anti-smoking efforts, and environmental preservation laws. It is another giveaway to Big Food and other powerful multinational interests—a recurring theme throughout the TPP document.

The trade agreement also undercuts US efforts to inspect food imports. The agreement limits food import inspections at the border “to what is reasonable and necessary,” and if an issue arises, a country must also provide an “opportunity for a review of the decision.” This provision, referred to as the Rapid Response Mechanism, may give exporting countries the right to challenge basic food safety provisions in the US.

It Gives New Patent Protections to Big Pharma

The TPP contains an entire chapter on intellectual property rights, with many provisions relating to pharmaceutical patents. No doubt heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, the trade deal will force signatory countries to accept many of the same patent laws that have kept drug prices so astronomically high in the US.

The deal would extend and broaden certain patent and data protections for the pharmaceutical industry, which Big Pharma can then use to keep prices high and delay competition from generics. It is a wonderful gift to the pharmaceutical industry—but a grave loss to patients in developing countries looking for access to affordable drugs.

The TPP also allows a practice known as “evergreening,” which lets drug companies extend a patent on an old drug when it can be used to treat a new condition—another boon for Big Pharma’s monopoly power.

Even when Big Pharma loses in the TPP, it wins. One of the more controversial topics in TPP negotiations concerned patent and data protections for biologic drugs—medicines derived not from inert chemical compounds but from living organisms. Big Pharma wanted twelve years of exclusivity— they already have this in the US—and US trade officials pushed hard in the negotiations to make this the standard. Instead, the deal grants them at least five years of exclusivity and as much as eight.

It’s Also a Gift to Biotech Seed Companies

Finally, the TPP deal expands biotech’s monopoly over the seed industry. The deal requires all twelve countries to join a number of global intellectual property treaties. One of these treaties is the 1991 International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV91), which emphasizes the rights of seed companies over farmers. Among other things, UPOV91:

  • Requires intellectual property (IP) protection for all plant species;
  • Provides IP protection for 20 to 25 years; and
  • Stops farmers from exchanging seeds—a common and important practice in many developing nations and indeed throughout human history.

In countries that have not already turned agriculture over to the biotech industry, this could mean a substantial rewrite of regulations meant to protect farmers.

Other treaties that signatory countries are compelled to join make it easier to apply for patents—making it very likely that more plants and seeds will be patented.

If these gifts to industry were not enough, President Obama moved earlier this summer to have the deal “fast-tracked”—that is, Congress will be given a fixed period to review the agreement, after which time legislators must make a yes/no vote without the possibility of amending the deal. Essentially, it’s “take it or leave it.”

We say: leave it. And if the US does reject it, do not worry about losing the reduction of tariffs that is already included. There will just be a second (and, we hope, a better) version to replace it.

Action Alert! Write to your members of Congress and urge them to oppose the TPP deal, which undermines consumers and farmers and extends monopoly rights to major industries. Please send your message immediately.

Take-Action

 

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Natural Blaze

5 Debilitating Health Conditions Linked To M&M’S Candies

MM-BulkBy Amanda Froelich

With a crunchy shell and sweet, milk chocolate inside, M&M’S are a tempting treat few can refuse. Unfortunately, the sweet candies are far from healthy and are created with ingredients that are linked to a number of debilitating health conditions.

As Living Traditionally reports, ingredients used in the manufacturing of the candies are linked to everything from cancer, migraines, and hyperactivity to allergies and anxiety. 

The chocolaty treat has an intriguing history. Created by Mars Inc., the candies were dreamt up in 1941 as a way to allow soldiers to carry chocolate without worry of it melting.

Over the years, its iconic logo and humorous advertising have made it a favorite in over 100 countries. With ingredients that have been found to adversely affect health, however, it’s time consumers get educated on what they’re actually consuming and opt for healthier cacao treats if a sweet fix is in order.

An Original M&Ms bag lists the following ingredients:

Milk chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, skim milk, milk fat, lactose, soy lecithin, salt, artificial color), sugar, cornstarch, >1% corn syrup, dextrin, artificial colors (Blue 1 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2), gum acacia.

 

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Food Poisoning Bulletin

Rhino dietary supplements are being recalled because they contain undeclared drugs and may be a health hazard. FDA analysis found that the products contain undeclared desmethyl carbondenafil and dapoxetine. Desmethyl carbondenafil is a phosphodiesterase PDE-5 inhibitor, a class of drugs used to treat male erectile dysfunction, making these products unapproved new drugs. Dapoxetine is an active ingredient not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). No reports of adverse effects have been received to date.

Desmethyl carbondenafil can interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs such as nitroglycerin and may lower blood pressure to life-threatening levels. Dapoxetine has not been approved for use by the FDA. This chemical is an SSRI used to treat depression, which can increase the risk of suicidal thinking and ideation in children, young adults, and adolescents.

 

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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued a consumer advisory for Uncle John’s Old Fashioned Apple Cider produced by Uncle John’s Cider mill in St. Johns, Michigan because it may be contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria. A random sample collected by a government inspector tested positive for the pathogenic bacteria. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with the consumption of this product.

 

Apple Cider

 

The recall is for about 1,200 gallons of cider produced on October 17, 2015. The cider was sold at the cider mill from the retail cooler, packaged in various sized plastic jugs with a sell-by date of October 30, 2015, or served directly to consumers by the cup as cold cider, frozen cider slushes, and hot cider from October 18 through October 21, 2015. The company has stopped selling cider while awaiting more test results.

 

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Hotdogs   Jersyko

Wikimedia.org

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  • Analysis examined 345 samples from 75 brands sold at ten food retailers
  • DNA was in two per cent of all samples, predominantly in veggie products 
  • Found ten per cent of vegetarian hot dogs and sausages contained meat
  • Clear Food study found 14.4 per cent of hot dogs or sausages had issues
  • Americans spent more than $5.5billion on hot dogs and sausages in 2014

A study exposed some issues with veggie hot dogs

Human DNA – or deoxyribonucleic acid – has been found in two per cent of hot dogs and sausages, a major study of popular brands has revealed

Tests on 345 samples from different 75 brands also revealed ten per cent of vegetarian hot dogs contain meat.

Out of the samples that tested positive for DNA (seven), 66 per cent (four) were vegetarian.

The genetic material that was found could have come from a hair, a fingernail, a dribble of spit or a drop of blood.

Twenty-one vegetarian products were tested overall.

The genetic testing analysis carried out by Clear Food, which looked at major brands and regional favorites being sold by ten retailers, did not specify which brands contained the human DNA or what caused the contamination.

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Food Poisoning Bulletin

Restaurant photoThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has taken the lead in the investigation of a multi-state Salmonella outbreak linked to Fig & Olive restaurants. The agency is working in collaboration with health officials in various states.

The Washington DC Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) are among the agencies collaborating on the investigation. DFS has collected and tested food and environmental samples taken from Fig & Olive in DC’s CityCenter. So far, 45 food samples and 15 environmental samples have been negative for Salmonella. Results on 10 other tests are still pending.

DOH has interviewed 135 people who became ill after eating at the restaurant. Those who became ill are from DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois and Alabama. Fourteen cases of salmonellosis have been confirmed. Interviews are ongoing.

Some of those who became ill ate at the restaurant over Labor Day weekend. After illnesses were reported, the restaurant closed for six days and was cleared to reopen September 16 after it had been sanitized, employees debriefed, food discarded and problematic menu items retired. Case patients reported eating truffle fries or mushroom croquettes, those items have been removed from the menu. Since the reopening, DOH has made two visits, September 16 and September 18, to monitor employee training and food handling procedures.

 

 

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Food Poisoning Bulletin

Fig & Olive DC Salmonella Outbreak Includes Cases From MD, PA, VA, IL & AL

Restaurant kitchenThe Salmonella outbreak at the Fig & Olive in Washington DC’s City Center sickened more than 60 people in five states and the District of Columbia. Case patients were from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois and Alabama, health officials told Food Poisoning Bulletin today.

The outbreak, which began over Labor Day weekend, may have sickened as many as 150 people. Several people were so sick they required hospitalization.

The DC location was closed for six days for cleaning and staff training. When it reopened, two items were no longer on then menu, truffle fries and mushroom croquettes.

Fig & Olive operates several restaurants in NewYork, two in California, one in Chicago and one in Washington DC. Health officials in New York City, Chicago and Newport Beach, California told Food Poisoning Bulletin that no illnesses have been reported in association with Fig & Olive restaurants in those locations. But Salmonella illnesses were also reported in association with the California restaurant on Melrose Place in West Hollywood.

There are nine confirmed cases and three suspected. Of the confirmed cases,  six are patrons and three are employees. Truffle oil is a suspected food source in the California outbreak as well. Fig & Olive makes its own truffle oil.

 

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