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Two Tons of Pistachios Recalled After Possible Salmonella Contamination

Two Tons of Pistachios Recalled After Possible Salmonella Contamination


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Several varieties of pistachios may be affected—here’s where they were sold.

Pistachios are a delicious and healthy snack that many people keep in their pantries—but if you live in the Northeastern region of the United States, there's a chance your salty snack might be contaminated with salmonella. One popular manufacturer and distributor, Bazzinil LLC, is recalling 4,000 pounds of various pistachios after they tested positive for salmonella.

The nut manufacturer posted a recall notice last week in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration warning consumers that several varieties of their pistachios could be tainted with the potentially life-threatening bacteria. According to the release, BazziniI says the nuts in question came from a third-party supplier—these pistachios have been shipped to retailers in multiple states, and were made available for purchase online as well.

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Shoppers living in New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Virginia, Massachusetts, and Vermont should check their pistachios to be sure they're not affected. Five different products are being recalled, including varieties that are still in their shell, with expiration dates extending into July 2019. For a full list of affected products provided by the FDA, including their UPC and date codes, click here.

More tips for keeping your kitchen safe:

“The recall was initiated as the result of a routine sampling program by the company which revealed that the finished product may contain the bacteria,” the public notice reads. “Consumers who have purchased any of the listed pistachios are urged to return (them) to the place of purchase for a full refund.”


Opening new chapter, Spain exhumes Gen. Franco’s remains

A man carries a wreath of flowers at Mingorrubio’s cemetery, outskirts of Madrid, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Forty-four years after his demise, the remains of Spanish dictator Gen. Francisco are to be dug out of his grandiose resting place outside Madrid and taken to a small family crypt, finally satisfying a long-standing demand of his victims’ relatives and others who suffered under his regime. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)


Feed aggregator

Drawing on lessons learned from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Safety Summit continues its 23-year commitment to deliver mission-critical technology and methods to food safety professionals throughout the supply chain. As the industry prepares to move forward in the wake of the global pandemic, keeping the food supply safe for consumers remains a top priority. The unique challenges of the times will certainly call for new innovations and require the industry to come together to collectively solve complex problems.

In the continued commitment to prioritize the health and safety of the attendees, exhibitors, speakers, and staff, the Food Safety Summit will be presented as a virtual event this May 11–13. With the enthusiasm that BNP Media, producers of the event, received from the food safety community after the October 2020 virtual Summit, we are excited to improve on the success of the robust virtual platform to deliver the most effective food safety solutions in a safe and engaging format!

“We look forward to providing the same quality content, exhibitors and networking you expect from the Summit in our ‘best in class’ virtual environment. Food safety professionals will be able to attend sessions live and on demand, interact and ask questions with speakers, visit with top solutions providers in the virtual exhibit hall, and network with exhibitors and attendees using a new video chat feature,” said Scott Wolters, chief events officer of BNP Media, producer of the Food Safety Summit.

The education sessions will focus on the unique challenges of the “new normal” in four topic areas: COVID-19 and Beyond Regulatory and Legal Issues Tools and Technology and Support for Food Safety Professionals. The summit offers a stellar line up of experienced speakers including food safety professionals from Costco, The Wendy’s Co. The Cheesecake Factory, FDA, CDC, USDA, AFDO, Sysco Corp., as well as academicians from North Carolina State, Illinois Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, and Michigan State, to name a few.

As chairman of the Food Safety Summit Educational Advisory Board, Gary Ades had a chance to ask several icons of the food safety community to discuss the importance of the summit and the value of participating in the upcoming event. In the following exchange, hear from Donna Schaffner, M.Sc., Associate Director Food Safety, QA & Training at the Rutgers University Food Innovation Center, and Joan Menke-Schaenzer, Chief Quality Office for Van Drunen Farms/FutureCeuticals:

Gary Ades: Why do you think it is important to bring the food safety community together during the ongoing global pandemic?

Donna Schaffner: Food safety is an on-going priority and should not be overlooked while public focus is on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joan Menke-Schaenzer: The pandemic brings increased complexity and pressure for the food safety professional. Bringing the food safety community together will enable: Care and comradery…being together with others who speak the same language and have similar challenges. Designated time to learn and think outside your zoom calls and/or onsite pressures of the day. The opportunity to meet new people and expand your network.

Gary: What food safety lessons have you learned from the global pandemic and what new innovations do you think will stick around even after the pandemic?

Donna: While government inspections of food production facilities were less frequent due to the pandemic, some companies prioritized worker safety over food safety and left gaps that need to be addressed ASAP. Virtual training is here to stay in-person inspections and in-person consulting visits will seem to be more “expensive” to companies that have gotten used to “virtual” services.

Joan: The top food safety lessons learned from the global pandemic that will look to stay around post pandemic are: 1) Remote audits: they can work effectively: customer, organic, Kosher, GFSI, etc. 2) Wellness screening and increased hygiene: help build a food safety culture and improve GMP’s. 3) Remote QA work can be done effectively and with enhanced customer support there is no reason to be in the office. (Note: QC work does still need to be done on site.)

Gary: Why do you think the Food Safety Summit is an important event for you to share your knowledge?

Donna: The Food Safety Summit is a premier event that attracts participants with a focused interest, so it is certainly the place I want to be!

Joan: The Food Safety Summit is a terrific event that focuses on bringing solutions to the food safety professional. I prefer to share my knowledge at the FSS because it delivers value to each attendee by making one’s job (including my own) a little easier.

Gary: What sessions will you be presenting at during the upcoming Summit in May?

Donna: I will be leading a session on “Pivoting the Message to Fit Today’s Concerns.” Basic food safety concerns in the food processing industry don’t change based on whether they are top-of-mind for the public. During the initial months of the pandemic, a number of major public policy decisions were made that greatly impacted the ability of food processing facilities to continue producing food. Learn how food safety training had to pivot its message to address the unintended consequences of COVID-related decisions that had the potential to increase food safety issues.

Joan: I will lead a panel on “Managing COVID-19 across the Food Industry: We Can’t Mandate until We Educate.” This session will offer an honest dialogue of what worked and what didn’t work to manage COVID-19 across the food system. History has shown that educating workers about the “why” is far more effective in driving change than issuing mandates. Looking at what worked and did not work also facilitates deep learnings. Come hear lessons learned from industry experts who are fighting the COVID-19 battle and managing its effects on their businesses each and every day.

To download the full digital brochure and register for the Food Safety Summit, visit www.foodsafetysummit.com.

Editor’s note: The author, Amy Riemer, is the education director for the Food Safety Summit.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here.)

Coriander suspected as source of 2018 Shigella outbreak

An outbreak of Shigella in England in 2018 was likely caused by contaminated coriander, according to researchers.

The national food poisoning outbreak highlights the potential for a multi-drug resistant strain of Shigella sonnei to be transmitted via a food vehicle that is distributed across a wide geographic area, according to the accepted manuscript in the journal Epidemiology and Infection.

It was linked to food at multiple restaurants in different areas that were not part of a franchise. Whole genome sequencing helped the identification of potential links between the restaurants.

Poor hygiene practices during cultivation, distribution or preparation of fresh produce were likely contributing factors to the contamination, said researchers.

Found to be related incidents
In March 2018, Public Health England was told of Shigella sonnei infections in people who had eaten at three different catering outlets in England. The outbreaks were initially investigated as separate events but whole genome sequencing showed they were caused by the same strain.

A total of 33 patients, linked to seven different venues specializing in Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine were identified. Five outlets were linked to two or more patients. All outlets used fresh coriander, although a shared supplier was not found.

Two-thirds of confirmed cases were male. The age of patients ranged from 12 to 59 years old. Symptom onset dates for the bulk of them ranged from March 26 to April 3, 2018. Four people were hospitalized for between two and five nights.

Patients were exposed at the implicated venues between March 24 and 31, 2018. The earliest exposure was at a site in Bedford, followed by venues in the West Midlands and two sites in Bradford.

Environmental health officers noted poor temperature control and cleaning standards plus a lack of hand hygiene facilities at one of the West Midlands outlets. It had a food hygiene rating of 1. Following the outbreak, the restaurant was refurbished, and given advice on kitchen routing improvements.

Food traceback investigations revealed fresh coriander leaves were the only common ingredient supplied to all venues attended by patients. In total, 86 percent of cases in the cohort study reported eating dishes containing coriander.

Three venues purchased fresh coriander from local markets and the other bought it from a national supermarket chain. It was not possible to identify where the coriander was grown.

Likely point of contamination
The outbreak control team said the most plausible explanations for the outbreak were either coriander was contaminated at the point of production or during wholesale distribution.

Bulk supplies of coriander entering the wholesale market are broken down into smaller batches or bunches at multiple locations. This is done by hand, providing an opportunity for contamination by an infected food handler. There was no evidence infected food handlers contaminated the coriander in restaurants as none were known to be sick.

Because of the time-lag between local identification of outbreaks and confirmation by WGS, coriander leaves were not sampled as part of initial outbreak investigations.

Food samples were collected six and nine days after patient exposures, making it unlikely that they were the same batch as people had consumed prior to onset of illness.

Analysis of WGS data also demonstrated a close association between the outbreak strain and isolates from UK cases with recent travel to Pakistan.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here.)

More than a ton of pasta products under recall for lack of inspection

Avanza Pasta LLC is recalling 2,200 pounds of meat and poultry pasta products that were produced without the benefit of federal inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

“FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.,” according to a recall notice posted today.

The meat and poultry ravioli and tortellini items were produced on various dates from Oct. 5, 2019, through March 12, 2021. The products subject to recall can be found here:

The products subject to recall do not bear an establishment number nor the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to restaurants, distributors, and retail locations in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

The problem was discovered by FSIS during in-commerce surveillance activities.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Pavlos Loumbroukos, operations manager for Avanza Pasta LLC, at 847-584-2891.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here.)

Yersinia outbreak linked to imported iceberg lettuce

An outbreak of Yersinia in Sweden has ended with iceberg lettuce as the suspected source of infection.

From January until the beginning of February this year, twice as many people fell ill with Yersinia infection as did during the same period in a normal year.

From 53 cases of Yersinia enterocolitica, 33 lived in Stockholm, Västra Götaland and Halland. Isolates from 24 of these cases were typed by whole genome sequencing and 16 outbreak patients with clustered isolates of sequence type 18 could be identified.

Of these 16, eleven were women and five were men aged 7 to 34 years old. All fell ill between Jan. 4 and 18.

Managing resources
Rikard Dryselius, a microbiologist at Folkhälsomyndigheten (Public Health Agency of Sweden), said collection and typing of Yersinia isolates is not done routinely in the country.

“Instead, individual counties can ask for help with typing Yersinia when they see a need. Alternatively, we may ask the laboratories to send in isolates if we see an increase in cases nationally that should be investigated,” he said.

“Due to the strained situation for infection control units and clinical laboratories during the pandemic, we chose to request interviews/questionnaire responses and collection of isolates only from the counties where the increase was highest. It is therefore very likely that there were more than 16 outbreak cases but the lack of additional isolates to sequence means that we cannot confirm this.”

Folkhälsomyndigheten, infection control units in the Stockholm, Västra Götaland and Halland regions and Livsmedelsverket (Swedish Food Agency) investigated the incident.

Health officials interviewed sick people and compiled questionnaire responses about what and where they ate before illness onset.

A case-case study where questionnaire responses from outbreak cases were compared with answers from people with Yersinia infection that did not belong to the outbreak was done.

Restaurant and iceberg lettuce link
The investigators found the outbreak cases had, to a greater extent, visited a certain restaurant chain. Follow-up interviews about what they had eaten led to iceberg lettuce being suspected as the source of infection.

According to the trawling questionnaire sent to outbreak cases, seven out of 12 mentioned they had visited the restaurant chain before falling ill while seven out of 72 cases with yersiniosis who responded to the same questionnaire in 2019 mentioned that they had done so.

The suspicion of a contaminated batch of iceberg lettuce distributed to a restaurant chain was strengthened by the outbreak timeline, which suggested that a product with a wide geographical spread and a limited shelf life was the underlying cause.

Sweden has no significant production of iceberg lettuce at this time of year and attempts are being made to trace the country of origin.

Meanwhile, investigations are ongoing to find the source of a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak in the country. It is not related to the Salmonella outbreak in Norway linked to meat from Germany.

The first person fell ill at the end of December 2020. There are 25 confirmed patients across 14 regions in southern and central Sweden.

Almost three quarters of patients are children younger than 10 years of age and four are older than 70.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here.)

FDA warns against ‘Real Water’ as health officials investigate hepatitis outbreak

State and federal officials are investigating an outbreak of non-viral hepatitis traced to “Real Water” brand bottled water. Health officials are warning the public to not drink the water. The company has not initiated a recall.

Five children were hospitalized in late 2020 in Clark County, but all of them have recovered, according to a Southern Nevada Health District investigation report. The water is apparently still being sold. The health district, based in Las Vegas, received initial reports of the five cases of acute non-viral hepatitis in November 2020.

“The patients lived in four different households. Six additional people have reported experiencing less severe symptoms that include vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue. These patients include three adults and three children,” the health district reported.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending that consumers, restaurants, and retailers discontinue drinking, cooking with, selling, or serving “Real Water” alkaline water to minimize the risk of contracting liver disease.

An investigation update this afternoon from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the consumption of “Real Water” brand alkaline water is the only common link identified among all of the patients. Real Water Inc., headquartered in Mesa, AZ, owns the “Real Water” brand of alkaline bottled water.

Photo courtesy of FDA

As of this afternoon, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had not posted any information on its work in the outbreak investigation.

The implicated water was distributed in four states in 5-gallon bottles via home delivery subscriptions and nationwide in smaller containers via online sales, according to the FDA.

The 5-gallon containers are delivered to homes in the following areas, according to the firm’s website:

  • Honolulu, HI, through Aloha Water
  • Orange County, CA, through Paradise Bottling Co.
  • St. George, UT, through Real Water Southern Utah
  • Tucson, AZ, through Aqua-Pure
  • Ventura and Santa Barbara, CA, through Real Water Gold Coast

Additionally, according to the firm’s website, Real Water is sold in 1 gallon, 500 mL, 1 liter, and 1.5-liter plastic bottles and in a 750 ml glass bottle.

The FDA is investigating the company’s facility, according to the update today. The agency is in the beginning stages of this investigation, and there may be additional products connected to this outbreak.

The Nevada health district is continuing to monitor for cases of acute non-viral hepatitis.

As part of the state investigation, the regional health district has posted an online survey to obtain information to identify possible sources of the pathogen.

“We are administering this brief questionnaire to ask you about you and/or your household member’s possible exposures, symptoms, and other information relating to this investigation,” the survey page states. “If you and/or your household members had acute non-viral hepatitis-related symptoms after consuming alkaline water, please take this survey.”

Acute non-viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can be caused by exposure to toxins. Although, hepatitis can have other causes, according to the state update. Symptoms often include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain, or yellowing of the skin or eyes. Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms should contact their health care provider.

For additional information about the outbreak and non-viral hepatitis, please see the health district’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here.)

Letter from the Editor: Polis has brisket rub recipe and food freedom credentials

Jared Polis is governor of Colorado. He is an interesting fellow.

We called him to the attention of readers of Food Safety News when he was serving in Congress because of his association with the Food Freedom movement.

Turn the clock back to 2015 when then-Congressman Polis, D-CO, was a proud member of the Food Freedom Caucus led by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-KY. They campaigned for national raw milk bills and the Processing Revival and Interstate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act. It would have allowed states to permit the intrastate distribution of custom-slaughtered beef, pork, or lamb to individual consumers and restaurants and retail outlets directly serving the public.

Polis and Massie even rolled through Denver and found a restaurant to serve them on the edge of the law the very meat and raw milk they were attempting to make legal in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-CO, and U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-KY, shared some “forbidden food” at a Denver restaurant in 2015.

Polis and Massie had fun pushing the Food Freedom bills, but they did not get any passed. His “food freedom” warrior days seemed over when Polis was elected governor.

He became Colorado’s chief executive just in time to take over management of the coronavirus pandemic. He gets almost all the blame or credit for what’s happened to Colorado during the past year.

That’s because 40 years ago, a Republican Legislature decided to invest all power in the governor during such an emergency. His grade for COVID-19 is in the B-range. From what he knew at the time, he did okay. There were some bumps in the vaccine distribution, but overall the numbers are pretty good.

But that does not mean there were not some ugly moments, like pulling state licenses from restaurants to force them to comply with this or that order.

But Polis stepped in it when he signed this year’s “Meatout” proclamation, calling for Coloradans to go meatless on tomorrow’s big national vegan day.

But a meatless Saturday is not going to help Colorado’s struggling restaurants, which are finally back open with enough capacity to start a recovery. And Colorado’s farm and ranch country couldn’t believe their governor had turned against them.

The mistake Polis likely made was to sign the meat-out proclamation as it was provided with provisions that blame meat consumption for all kinds of offenses. It was no wonder producers were pissed.

Before things became too acidic, however, came the idea to turn lemons into lemonade. As pushback, “Colorado Meat Producers Day” or “Meat-In” Day was also declared for tomorrow, Saturday, March 20.

Rural counties in Colorado made it official with a long list of proclamations on their own. They cited facts and figures like the $40 billion economic impact of the state’s meat industry, representing 10 percent of the state’s total export sales.

And on Saturday, meat celebrations are being held all across the state. Many are free BBQs. (Just search the internet for “meat-in” events.)

And guess what? Polis is coming to the party.

In an op-ed, entitled “Food freedom a core part of Colorado and America,” the governor said he is an “enormous booster of all Colorado products and our state as a whole.”

Polis then did what Coloradans always do when talking about meat he brought up his own experience. “Personally, I order beef for our family directly from Colorado ranchers,” he wrote. “Our kids are rather conveniently fond of popular cuts, including chuck, round steak, and brisket.”

He went on to share his brisket rub “for the first time in public.” And he confessed that his favorite snack is beef jerky.

“As a strong and avid supporter of our ag community, I’ve always felt that supporting Colorado’s agriculture industry is about more than economic opportunity and jobs it’s about our values and our way of life,” he added.

Polis said he was proud that Colorado was one of only a few states to hold a state fair in 2020. He said that showed “our Colorado grit.”

Polis said “Food Freedom” is the “right to eat whatever we want.”

He said that dinner with Massie he had in Denver in 2015 included hemp biscuits, raw milk, kombucha, farm eggs, and two cuts of beef his Republican friend contributed to the meal.

The governor said federal regulations that govern food are too archaic and nonsensical. He said the two congressmen avoided breaking the law in 2015 because there were no charges. He says a sale would have made their meal a crime.

Finally, here’s the Governor’s Famed Brisket Rub:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary (crumbled)
  • Rub the brisket and refrigerate for 12-24 hours before cooking. How long to cook it depends on how large a brisket you’ve got, but it’s usually around six hours at 250 in the oven.
  • About halfway through cooking, open the oven, flip over the brisket, and pour some Worcestershire sauce and/or ketchup on the brisket after flipping it over. Then cook it for the remaining time.

His parting words: “Colorado ranchers are tough. They certainly aren’t threatened by the dietary choices some Coloradans make to be vegetarian or vegan.”

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here.)

COVID-19 measures see decrease in gastro diseases in parts of Australia

An Australian state has recorded a decline in gastrointestinal diseases during the period measures were in place to control the coronavirus pandemic.

The study covered communicable disease surveillance in Central Queensland for six months after the introduction of physical distancing and wider lockdown measures in Queensland.

Data from April to September 2020 was compared with the average for the same months during the years 2015 to 2019. Findings were published in the Communicable Diseases Intelligence journal.

Noticed decline
In the six-month period, reports decreased compared to the five year average for cryptosporidiosis from 40 to five in 2020 and Yersiniosis was down from 15 to eight patients.

The five year average for campylobacteriosis was 158, which fell to 145 in 2020. Salmonellosis also dropped from the average of 122 to 90 in this past year. Shigellosis went up from the five year average of four to eight in 2020.

The 2015 to 2019 average for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) was one and only a single infection was recorded in 2020. Only two cases of Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) had been reported in the past five years but two were also seen in 2020.

Limitations of the work include a potential decline in seeking healthcare by people fearful of exposure to patients with COVID-19. Also, the report says there might have been a reduction in testing for other communicable diseases because of high numbers of COVID-19 test requests.

It suggests the wider lockdown, overseas travel restrictions, social and physical distancing and hygiene etiquettes may have contributed to the reduction in transmission of cryptosporidiosis and other diseases in Central Queensland.

“Long term investigation into pattern of disease notifications may provide additional information on the impact of the implemented measures on notifiable diseases in Central Queensland,” said researchers.

An earlier analysis in Australia found diseases, including foodborne infections, declined after public health measures were introduced because of the pandemic.

Norovirus in Victoria
Another study, published in the same journal, found a reduction in enterovirus and norovirus infections during the pandemic in a different Australian state.

Researchers examined referral data for enteroviruses and noroviruses in Victoria. Fecal specimens from gastroenteritis outbreaks are referred to the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) to test for the presence of noroviruses.

The enterovirus specimen positivity rate was down by 84.2 percent in 2020 compared to the previous decade, while the norovirus outbreak positivity rate declined by 49 percent.

Norovirus outbreak referrals for 2020 were down beginning in March compared to 2010 to 2019, but the positivity rate reduced sharply from April onwards, with only one outbreak identified from May to September, coinciding with the initial high-level restrictions.

From January 2010 to September 2020, VIDRL received fecal specimens from 2,582 gastroenteritis outbreaks for norovirus testing, of which 1,585 had norovirus RNA detected in at least one specimen.

In 2010 to 2019, the average number of norovirus outbreaks referred each year from January to September was 183.3, but in 2020 it declined to 51. The norovirus positivity rate reduced from an average of 61.5 percent of outbreaks in January to September 2010 to 2019, to an average of 31.4 percent in 2020.

Norovirus showed a significant reduction in incidence in Victoria in 2020 compared to the previous decade, according to the study.

“The most likely explanation is the concurrence of social restrictions, physical distancing, personal hygiene awareness and international and domestic border closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It remains to be seen whether infectious diseases, other than COVID-19, increase in incidence when restrictions are eased,” said researchers.

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FDA investigating 4 outbreaks including non-viral hepatitis linked to bottled water

The table below shows outbreak investigations being managed by FDA’s CORE Response Teams so far this year. The investigations are in a variety of stages. Some outbreaks have limited information with investigations ongoing, others may be near completion.

The Food and Drug Administration will issue public health advisories for outbreak investigations that have resulted in specific, actionable steps for consumers — such as throwing out or avoiding specific foods — to take to protect themselves, according to the outbreak table page.

Not all recalls and alerts result in an outbreak of foodborne illness.

Outbreak investigations that do not result in specific, actionable steps for consumers may or may not conclusively identify a source or reveal any contributing factors, according to CORE’s outbreak table page. If a sources and/or contributing factors are identified that could inform future prevention, FDA commits to providing a summary of those findings, according to CORE officials.

This week the FDA added a non-viral hepatitis outbreak to its investigation table. The ongoing outbreak is linked to bottled water. Click here for more information on this outbreak.

To use active links represented in this table, please click here to go to the current table on the FDA’s website. Outbreaks from Nov. 18, 2020, through the end of 2020 are listed in a separate table on the same web page.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here.)

WHO searches for consultant to help with foodborne estimates

The World Health Organization (WHO) is looking for a consultant to help update estimates on the burden of foodborne diseases.

The agency’s Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) published the first global report on this subject in 2015. This showed foodborne diseases caused 600 million illnesses and 420,000 deaths in 2010.

This past year, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution requesting WHO to monitor regularly, and to report to member states on, the burden of foodborne and zoonotic diseases at national, regional and international levels.

It also asked WHO to prepare a new report on foodborne infections with up-to-date estimates of global foodborne disease incidence, mortality and disease burden in terms of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) by 2025.

Role requirements
The Nutrition and Food Safety (NFS) Department is addressing the burden of disease from physical, chemical and microbial hazards in food and unhealthy diets, maternal and child malnutrition, and obesity.

The consultant needs a university degree in public health, life science, food safety or related areas. The role is intended to start in May and will run through Dec. 31, 2021. Work will be done remotely. For a full list of requirements follow this link.

The consultant will support work to estimate the global burden of foodborne diseases and country level activities to assess the national burden assist work to develop the global food safety indicators and support organization of a technical consultation on innovative approaches to accelerate data collection and analyses.

Interested applicants should send their resumes to [email protected] with a short cover letter by April 9.

A call for experts was advertised in 2020 to establish new members of FERG and closed at the end of the year.

WHO is also updating the global strategy for food safety and aims to deliver a new plan by 2022.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

New multi-state Salmonella outbreak possibly linked to turkey products

Federal officials are investigating a new multi-state foodborne illness outbreak with turkey products identified as the likely source.

In a four-word listing on its outbreak investigation table, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service revealed the outbreak: “Salmonella Hadar, turkey suspect.” A spokesman for the FSIS told Food Safety News this afternoon that additional details would have to come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A spokeswoman from the CDC confirmed that the agency is investigating the outbreak, which involves Salmonella Hadar infections. She told Food Safety News that as of March 15 there had been 22 patients reported across nine states. She did not indicate when the investigation began or when the first person became ill. The agency has not posted an outbreak notice.

“People are reporting eating a variety of turkey products but a specific brand or type has not yet been identified. CDC is collecting additional data to determine the source of infections,” according to the spokeswoman for the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.

Turkey has increasingly been identified in food poisoning outbreaks in the United States in recent years. Outbreaks in 2018 and 2019 involved Salmonella Reading and Salmonella Schwarzengrund, respectively. The 2019 outbreak sickened at least seven people in three states according to the CDC.

The 2018 outbreak sickened at least 358 people in the United States across 42 states. One death was confirmed, according to the CDC’s outbreak information. The illnesses were linked to raw human and pet foods from a variety of sources, including Jennie-O. That company recalled products. At the same time in 2018, officials in Canada investigated an outbreak of Salmonella Reading linked to poultry products. Testing showed the same outbreak strain on both sides of the border.

About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten any turkey products and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here.)

Some leafy greens added to Dirty Dozen, strawberries still at top of the EWG’s list

This year’s Dirty Dozen list from the Environmental Working Group opens with a statement about COVID-19 and food safety, encouraging consumers to continue to eat fresh fruits and vegetables during the pandemic.

Officials with the non-profit organization also say certain leafy greens, including kale and spinach, are among the fresh produce commodities most contaminated with pesticides. First-timers on the list include collard greens, mustard greens, bell peppers and hot peppers. Strawberries are in the No. 1 spot on the list, which was released March 17. The Environmental Working Group’s data analysis is not peer reviewed.

Despite the results of the organization’s analysis of pesticide data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the importance of eating fresh produce continues to be a top agenda item for the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The group also published its “Clean Fifteen” list on St. Patrick’s Day. Along with the “Dirty Dozen” it is the basis for the annual “Shoppers Guide” from the EWG.

The two lists are based on USDA’s pesticide analyses, which EWG says “are not comprehensive.” The government agency rotates which fruits and vegetables it tests each year, and it doesn’t test for all pesticides. Still, the EWG says, overall the best diets include fresh produce.

“Whether organic or conventionally grown, fruits and vegetables are critical components of a healthy diet,” said EWG toxicologist Thomas Galligan. “We urge consumers who are concerned about their pesticide intake to consider, when possible, purchasing organically grown versions of the foods on EWG’s Dirty Dozen, or conventional produce from our Clean Fifteen.”

The group’s 2021 “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce” ranks the pesticide contamination of 46 fruits and vegetables. It is based on results of USDA and Food and Drug Administration tests of more than 46,000 samples of produce.

“This year, the USDA’s tests found residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides on nearly 70 percent of the non-organic fresh produce sold in the U.S. Before testing fruits and vegetables, the USDA washes, scrubs and peels them, as consumers would, according to the EWG.

Nearly 99 percent of the products sampled through the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program had residues below EPA tolerances, according to the agency’s 29th annual report issued in October 2020. Ultimately, if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines a pesticide is not safe for human consumption, it is removed from the market, according to the USDA report.

The key to the difference in the percentages reported by the EWG and the USDA is that the government only includes samples that test positive for levels of pesticides that exceed federal limits. The EWG numbers include positive tests for samples with lower levels as well.

Both the USDA and the EWG have said the coronavirus pandemic shouldn’t influence consumers’ decisions about eating fresh fruits and vegetables. “There is no evidence that people can be exposed to COVID-19 through food,” according to the EWG’s officials.

There is, however, a danger to human health, the EWG’s announcement says, because of pesticide residues — even if they are within EPA tolerances.

“EPA’s tolerances are often far higher than what many scientists believe is safe – particularly for pregnant women, babies and young children,” said EWG president Ken Cook. “EWG releases our Shopper’s Guide each year so consumers can make informed decisions that will let them reduce their family’s exposure to toxic pesticides while allowing them to eat plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables.”

Fresh produce commodities that deserve extra caution from consumers include leafy greens, peppers and citrus fruit. Citrus didn’t make the Dirty Dozen list, though. The EWG focused on the commodities as follows.

Leafy greens
A total of 94 different pesticides were found on leafy greens, including neonicotinoids, or neonics. One sample of mustard greens had 20 different pesticides, and some kale and collard samples had as many as 17. Spinach came in second overall on the Dirty Dozen list.

On kale, mustard greens and collard greens, the pesticide most frequently detected by the USDA was DCPA, sold under the brand name Dacthal. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies DCPA as a possible human carcinogen, and the European Union banned it in 2009.

Neonics are the fastest-growing class of insecticides, despite a decade of research making it clear that they are highly toxic to honeybees and other pollinator species. Some studies on human health also suggest that exposure to neonics may be harmful to the developing fetus and to children.

Peppers
Bell peppers and hot peppers, tested for the first time since 2012 and 2011, respectively, are included in this year’s list at No. 10. The USDA found 115 pesticides on peppers — the most, by far, on any item.

Bell peppers and hot peppers contain concerning levels of acephate and chlorpyrifos, respectively, which are organophosphate insecticides that can harm children’s developing brains and are banned from use on some crops in the United States and from all uses in the European Union.

Citrus
Although no citrus fruits landed on the Dirty Dozen, this year’s Shopper’s Guide highlights the concerning levels of toxic pesticides found on these fruits, not only in USDA tests but also in independent laboratory tests commissioned by EWG.

Imazalil, a fungicide linked to cancer and hormone disruption, was detected on more than 95 percent of tangerines tested by the USDA in 2019. In independent tests commissioned by EWG, nearly 90 percent of all the oranges, mandarins, grapefruit and lemons sampled contained either imazalil or thiabendazole, another endocrine-disrupting fungicide. More than half the samples had both. Almost all of the tests were conducted on conventionally grown fruit.

About the EWG: The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment, according to the group’s website. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action. Visit www.ewg.org for more information.

Expert says COVID-19 guidance from FAO and WHO is ‘misleading’

The WHO and FAO interim guidelines on COVID-19 and food safety are flawed, according to one expert who is hoping a planned update will solve the problem.

Roger Cook said the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) interim guidance published in April 2020 suggested COVID-19 was a food safety issue.

“That guidance as it’s written now is blatantly and simply wrong, it’s misleading, we told them so last year, the UK, US, EU, Australia, Canada and ICMSF have all told them the same but they’re only now looking at an update. It will be interesting to see what that says and how far it goes,” he told attendees at the 18th annual UK Association for Food Protection (UKAFP) conference.

“It’s our conclusion, and we agree with the ICMSF and most other regulatory risk assessment groups, that there is no direct food safety risk from food or food packaging. Since the WHO investigators have been to China, they have been suggesting that is the case as well. There doesn’t seem to be a risk but that’s not what the guidance says.”

The event was held virtually this past week with “Global Food Safety in a COVID Era” as the theme.

“There is no definitive evidence that SARS-COV 2 virus can be transmitted on food or its packaging. There has not been one case reported anywhere that definitively links the consumption of food or contact with packaging to a human case,” said the president of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).

“You might argue that it’s hard to see them, especially in countries where person-to-person spread in the community is rampant. But what about in New Zealand where the virus has virtually been eliminated from the community? If it’s transmitted by food or packaging, and we import a lot of food into New Zealand from countries were COVID-19 in the community is rampant, then we would expect to see cases and clusters randomly turning up in the community but we don’t.”

Trade problems
Cook, who is manager of food science and risk assessment at New Zealand Food Safety, part of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), said some trading partners have taken the interim guidelines literally and say it is a food safety problem and frozen and chilled food is the issue.

“That is non-peer reviewed science, poor epidemiology, poor risk assessment and unfortunately those trade barriers are escalating. Despite being COVID free, having risk proportionate controls and no community cases we are still being told we can’t export to these countries and we are getting this from the importers, who are getting it from the ports, unless our exporters test their workers for COVID and that puts a huge strain on our testing capabilities,” he said.

“They want the product and packaging tested, they want to disinfect the packages and to implement cleaning programs that are stronger than any we would put in place for Listeria, which is a far trickier organism to control.”

Cook said this is being demanded because the interim guidelines doesn’t specify any difference in risk level.

“It’s just one size fits all and I’m sorry but one size doesn’t fit all. We need a risk-based, escalating, region based regulation of procedures and that’s what we’ve put in place. We’re hoping the new updated FAO/WHO guidelines may state that and then we’re hoping trading partners will reverse what they’ve been doing and trade in food will continue and the price won’t go up to cover what are inappropriate mitigation strategies. Trade is being disrupted and we may see more disruption over the next six months until the FAO/WHO guidelines are made to represent a proper risk and regionalization basis,” he said.

Regulator’s view on trust
Rebecca Sudworth, director of policy at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), also presented at the event.

Sudworth said trust in the FSA is high and has risen over the years but younger age groups and people from non-white backgrounds tend to have a lower level of trust in the agency.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important it is that people trust the information they receive. Trusted information will be acted on. But the sources people trust are not always reliable,” she said.

“The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the potential consequences when some people trust public health advice less than others. This is a wake-up call to all regulators, we must treasure trust we hold were it is high and build trust were we can do better. It is important in risk communication to be clear about what we don’t know so what is the level of certainty or uncertainty we have in relation to the available evidence.”

Rebecca Sudworth, speaking at the event

Having a trusted food safety regulator is an important foundation for trade deals, said Sudworth.

“So if our trading partners and consumers in other countries trust our food is safe and produced to high standards then this will promote international trade. Regulation provides the level playing field for industry and it means consumers can have trust in what they eat. The economic role of a regular is often overlooked. Regulators are not just about telling people what they can’t do. They are at the heart of building consumer and business confidence.”

Sudworth also acknowledged the pressure on local authorities to use their scarce resources in the most effective way.

“This has included changing guidance so they can concentrate on the most important interventions. For lower risk businesses, if they have a Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) score of 3 or higher, we’ve advised some planned interventions could be deferred. Some businesses have been waiting longer for their FHRS rating – whether it’s a new rating or re-inspection. We’ve advised local authorities where appropriate to prioritize new ratings. After a sharp drop in March when lockdown started we have now seen numbers of new ratings increase steadily but not yet back to pre-pandemic levels,” she said.

“The food industry asked for more flexibility in applying certain labeling regulations so some products could be repurposed to maintain supply and reduce food waste. As retail demand surged products designed for catering and hospitality remained unsold as businesses had to suspend trading and the supply chain was disrupted. The FSA agreed some temporary flexibilities but we also laid out some red lines to protect consumers.”

Online food sales
Home delivery was already a growing trend before COVID-19 but now it has come to fore, said Sudworth.

“Food eaten outside the home is also a growing category. There is a trend away from people preparing fresh cooked meals themselves and a move towards people having food prepared by somebody else. Which is quite an important shift,” she said.

“On ghost and dark kitchens – if there is a business that is unregulated and operating under the radar that is unacceptable and something we want to stamp out. But the idea of these new facilities to serve the delivery market, they are regulated depending on the arrangement. This is where as regulators we need to keep in touch with new developments to know how we regulate environments like that. It is an opportunity to get information about pop-up businesses to pass that along to local authorities and enforcement agencies.

“The rate of change on these new styles of business is different depending on the location. In urban centers there can be a bigger growth and they can be in places where you would not normally expect to find a food business. We have been scanning the publicly available information, like looking on delivery platforms to see who is listed there and checking that against the businesses that are registered. We’ve found in general we do know about most things and people want to do right thing and are engaging with local authorities to go through the right processes.”

Sudworth added it was too soon to tell if a decline in lab confirmed infections reflects an actual fall or if the reporting or testing dropped. The FSA is trying to understand more but it will take months or years to gauge the pandemic’s impact.

How OSI handled the pandemic
Other presenters included professor Ben Chapman, professor Kali Kniel, professor Donald Schaffner, and Danièle Sohier from Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Sharon Birkett, director of quality and regulatory affairs at OSI Group, ran people through how the firm handled the pandemic. This included controls at all sites and staggered shifts with 30 minutes gaps to ensure the first shift left before the second arrived on the floor.

“We had employees enter on a single file pattern to collect their temperature. We were trying to avoid them congregating in around areas like the time clock, hygiene stations, or in the canteen. We reduced the number of people allowed in the changing room at one time and put in place a lot of visible markers to help them understand better social distancing and what was important,” she said.

“In places where we couldn’t keep social distancing we put in physical barriers or provided eye protection in the form of goggles or a face shield. In the operating space we put barriers in place because in many places they were in close and constant contact for eight hours.”

No OSI site was closed by local authorities due to COVID clusters but the company did shut three plants in the US for this reason.

“During the initial lockdowns in Europe, OSI had more than 1,000 metric tons of product in the market, either in restaurants, in distribution or in storage and this was worth more than €5 million. Most of the product was frozen and had a shelf life of between 90 and 120 days. We had so much product on the market we had no need to continue to produce so we suspended operations in eight plants in the EU because of the level of inventory, most restarted in May 2020,” said Birkett

“We didn’t want to waste food so we did agree with our customers to extend the best before shelf life for most products in the market. We agreed with local authorities and that customer on how to visualize the new longer shelf life. We didn’t want to move it back to our sites and repackage it just so it would have a new longer shelf life. In the end, 90 percent of our products received new longer shelf lives.

“When we restarted operations in May for those plants that were closed, typically these machines run hard every day and now they’ve stopped for three months, so we went back through and started our lines up slowly and we had to retrain our employees on how to use the PPE.

“All of our food service products sold frozen received new best before dates and we did not waste food. Dates were extended by 15 to 60 days. Our refrigerated products moved through the market as there was a high demand for retail. All the extensions on the best before dates were validated based on data we already had at the sites.”

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U.S.-Canada pact to promote pork trade in event of swine fever breakout in feral hogs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have developed a protocol to help ensure bilateral trade will continue if African swine fever (ASF) is detected in feral swine in either country, while still absent from domestic swine.

The intent of the protocol is to protect swine populations in both countries during an outbreak of ASF in feral swine while minimizing impact on the trade of live swine, swine products, and other swine commodities. Upon an ASF feral swine detection, all trade between both countries would initially stop. Then, according to the protocol, the trade would resume in three, progressive phases with increasingly reduced restrictions on live swine, swine germplasm, and untreated swine commodities.

“Continuing trade with Canada in the event of a feral African Swine Fever detection is important to our stakeholders, and this trading protocol provides the necessary guidance to minimize the impact to the swine industry,” USDA Chief Veterinarian Dr. Burke Healey said. “This collaborative effort uses a science-based approach to ensure trade between both countries resumes as quickly as possible.”

How quickly the U.S. and Canada establish initial control areas, initiate surveillance/case findings and removal in feral swine, and start surveillance in captive swine, will determine when they enter phase two of the protocol. During the third and final phase, trade restrictions are reduced to the boundaries of the established control area.

APHIS and CFIA are continuing to work with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that both countries have the processes and procedures in place to fully implement the protocol.

USDA continues to work with a wide range of partners including the swine industry, our producers, other government agencies, and neighboring countries to keep ASF out of North America. At the same time, officials say there need to be response plans in place and incident management teams ready to deploy in case ASF does reach the United States. More information on ASF, partner resources, and additional resources for producers and veterinarians are available on the APHIS ASF webpage.

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Singapore plans bill to manage food safety risks posts updates on outbreaks

Singapore is to introduce a bill on food safety and security later this year to better manage new and emerging risks.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA), formed in 2019, will propose the act to consolidate and strengthen official powers that are currently in several pieces of legislation.

Desmond Tan, minister of state for sustainability and the environment, revealed the plans at the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE)’s Committee of Supply debates earlier this month.

Rules will provide greater clarity on the regulatory framework for novel foods, including mandating a pre-market safety assessment is done before approval for sale is granted. SFA will also inspect and sample novel food products, as is done for other food items.

The bill would continue to impose existing requirements for companies on packaging labels to indicate the true nature of the food and help consumers make informed choices.

Food delivery companies are not licensed by the agency because they are not involved in food preparation or processing. SFA is looking at whether these companies need to indicate hygiene and cleanliness information on their platforms.

Amy Khor, senior minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, said that gastroenteritis incidents affected more than 1,200 people in 2018 and 2019.

Outbreak updates
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Singapore Food Agency are investigating an outbreak that has sickened 82 people.

People reported gastroenteritis symptoms after eating food prepared by Chilli Api Catering Pte, at Bedok North Street, between March 10 and 12. Fourteen people are currently hospitalized and in stable condition.

SFA suspended operations at the food business in mid-March until further notice.

Finally, a food poisoning outbreak linked to a restaurant in the country earlier this year affected more than 100 people.

Officials received reports of gastroenteritis involving 101 people who had consumed food from Eng’s Heritage between Jan. 6 and 9. A dozen people were hospitalized but have since been discharged.

The operating license was suspended by the Singapore Food Agency from Jan. 13 to Feb. 26. The authority has since lifted the measure at Eng’s Heritage in Northpoint City mall. The SFA said it would continue to place the restaurant under close surveillance to ensure it adheres to food safety requirements.

It was initially reported that 26 people were sick and six needed hospital treatment. An investigation into the cause of illness is ongoing, said the SFA and Ministry of Health.

Eng’s Heritage disposed of all ready-to-eat and thawed food, food ingredients and perishable items, and also cleaned and sanitized their premises, including the equipment and utensils.

Staff involved in food preparation have since re-attended and passed a food hygiene course. Eng’s Heritage has also assigned another trained food hygiene officer to replace the previous one.

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CFIA warns consumers about certain apricot kernel products that may cause cyanide poisoning

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a warning about certain apricot kernel products packed by Wah Yan Tong, as they contain excessive amygdalin which may cause acute cyanide poisoning. This warning was triggered by CFIA test results.

Earlier this month the Canadian agency announced a recall of other apricot pits.

Apricot kernels, the pit of the fruit, naturally contain amygdalin, which can release cyanide after being eaten. The human body can eliminate small amounts of cyanide, but larger amounts can result in cyanide poisoning, which could lead to death. Some health officials in other countries say as few as three small pits can cause poisoning.

Products included in warning:

Brand Product Size UPC Codes None (Chinese characters only) Bitter Apricot Kernels 150 g 6 28110 69950 3

2021/09/30 None (Chinese characters only) Sweet Apricot Kernels 150 g 6 28110 69948 0

As of the posting of this article, there have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Consumers should check to see if you have the affected products in their home. If the affected products are in their home, they should not be consumed.

If a consumer thinks they became sick from the product, they should call their doctor immediately.

Cyanide poisoning
Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include weakness and confusion, anxiety, restlessness, headache, nausea, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, seizures and cardiac arrest.

A 2016 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinion found eating more than three small raw apricot kernels, or less than half of one large kernel, in a serving can exceed safe levels. Some sellers promote them as a cancer-fighting food and promote intake of 10 and 60 kernels per day for the general population and cancer patients, respectively.

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Pew’s Sandra Eskin named as USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety

The new administration in Washington has yet to name an Under Secretary for Food Safety, but it has named a “power player” as Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. She can take office immediately as Senate confirmation is not required for the USDA job.

Named in the secondary role at USDA’s Office for Food Safety (OFS) is Sandra Eskin, (above) long known as the food safety project director for The Pew Charitable Trusts. In that role, Eskin was known for bringing diverse parties together to work on common solutions for food safety challenges.

She’s led Pew’s work on food safety in the charitable trust’s campaign to reduce health risks from foodborne pathogens by working with the federal government, industry and other stakeholders to improve food safety.

Until the president nominates and the U.S. Senate confirms a USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety, Eskin will head the OFS, which is charged with carrying out the Biden Administration’s food safety priorities.

Although multiple deputies have served in the past, it’s likely Eskin will replace former Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Administrator Paul Kiecker, who was “acting deputy” during the transition.

Working closely with stakeholders and food safety partners across government, the OFS provides leadership and vision for its sole agency, the FSIS, to ensure that the nation’s supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome and properly labeled.

Before joining Pew, she was a public policy consultant to consumer and public interest organizations, providing strategic and policy advice on a range of consumer protection issues, including food safety, dietary supplement safety, and food and drug labeling and advertising

Eskin also was a federal government staff attorney, legislative representative for the Consumer Federation of America, deputy director of the Produce Safety Project — a Pew initiative at Georgetown University — and has served on numerous federal advisory committees.

Eskin received her bachelor’s degree in classics and semiotics from Brown University and a Juris Doctor from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

She frequently comments on food safety issues. Food Safety News has collected several examples of her written opinions that were offered during the past year, including:

  • The Food and Drug Administration’s decision late last year not to order a mandatory recall of yellowfin tuna that sickened at least 50 people in 11 states threatens to undermine a crucial tool of last resort to protect consumers from hazardous food. FDA leaders should reverse course and require that the company responsible for these products remove them from the market.
  • Foodborne Salmonella causes more than 1 million illnesses a year in the United States and is showing no sign of declining. With chicken, the most consumed meat in the U.S. and a significant source of these infections, strategies to reduce Salmonella contamination along the entire poultry production chain could reduce the impact of this disease. No vaccines exist to fend off Salmonella infections in humans, but vaccination programs for chickens and turkeys — combined with other on-farm interventions — have helped significantly reduce contamination from some of the many varieties, or serotypes, that make people sick. This progress is encouraging.
  • Effective efforts to prevent foodborne illnesses require expanded and improved collaboration throughout the food safety system to ensure that emerging pathogens can be spotted and addressed as early as possible. Increased coordination among industry and public sector stakeholders, along with dissemination of identifying information and other surveillance data that can provide critical warnings, is crucial to enhancing the United States’ response to new or growing food safety risks. Without such steps, Americans’ food supply will remain unacceptably vulnerable to contamination by new strains of bacteria and other pathogens.
  • The Food and Drug Administration unveiled a blueprint on July 13 for its plans to improve food safety over the next decade amid a host of challenges, among them recurring disease outbreaks linked to leafy greens and changes in the ways that food reaches consumers.Titled “New Era of Smarter Food Safety,” the document emphasizes the central role of root cause analysis (RCA) in developing stronger systems to reduce contamination and human illness.
  • Dangerous E. coli bacteria that caused three foodborne illness outbreaks in late 2019 most likely came from cattle that grazed near fields of romaine lettuce or leafy greens, according to a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration report. FDA’s findings make clear that growers, ranchers, and local, state, and federal agencies must work together to prevent contamination of leafy greens by pathogens commonly present in animal fecal matter. This food safety problem cannot be solved by a single industry or regulatory authority.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressed his support, saying “Sandra’s deep experience in food safety will strengthen USDA’s dedication to ensuring a safe, secure food supply for consumers and help to protect the safety of federal meat inspectors and workers throughout the food chain.”

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FSA renews chicken warning board discusses deadly Salmonella outbreak

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has for the third time warned people about breaded chicken linked to Salmonella infections and spoke about outbreaks at a board meeting.

Two strains of Salmonella Enteritidis in frozen, raw, breaded chicken products from Poland have caused almost 500 illnesses since January and at least one death. The agency previously issued consumer advice in October 2020 and February this year.

The UK has had more than 120 illnesses associated with Salmonella Enteritidis sequence type 11, which has also affected people in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden since May 2018, according to a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) assessment.

A second outbreak investigation from July 2020 showed 300 reported cases in the UK. French officials have also identified people with Salmonella Enteritidis isolates closely related to the UK strains.

An ECDC spokeswoman said the agency was unable to share any details about this second outbreak strain.

“As several strains circulate in the food chain through multiple, overlapping and crossing chains of transmissions and contamination, it is not possible to cover all details in a single assessment. Instead, we agreed with EFSA to focus on a more recent strain with strong evidence on public health risk. Nevertheless, we were able to add information about other Salmonella Enteritidis strains, and other Salmonella serotypes that were isolated along the investigations related to the selected strain, thus illustrating the magnitude of the potential public health risk,” she said.

Topic at FSA Board meeting
Those sick live mainly in England but also in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For patients where information is available, a third have needed hospital treatment. The majority of those affected are 16 years old or younger.

In a report to the FSA Board during a meeting this past week, Emily Miles, the agency’s chief executive, said there have been 40 withdrawals and eight recalls.

“We are working with retailers in the UK so that they are aware of the likely source of the contaminated chicken and can take steps with their supply chains. We suspect these illnesses are coming from undercooked products but it’s also our view that we shouldn’t be receiving chicken with Salmonella in from Poland,” she said.

“Given the long shelf life of these products and the fact that we continue to receive reports of disease caused by the outbreak Salmonella strains, we are reminding the public again about the importance of cooking and handling frozen breaded chicken products. Where there has been evidence to suggest there’s been non-compliant or unsafe product action has been taken. What’s needed now is action to be taken at sources in Poland.”

FSA and Defra have raised the problem with Polish authorities to discuss what additional controls can be put in place.

Two suppliers in Poland
Colin Sullivan, FSA’s chief operating officer, said the outbreak strains have been traced to two suppliers in Poland.

“With one of two suppliers we have a positive release procedure in place since December. Since December the chicken coming from Poland in this (breaded chicken) format has been thermally cooked,” he said.

“In the last few weeks following the thermal cooking since December onward we are seeing the numbers reduce so it was 20 cases, then down to seven and this last week there was only the one case so we think we’re getting on top of it.”

SFC has withdrawn and recalled all chicken products made before controls were put in place. Some of these have best before dates up to and including June 30, 2022.

Vestey Foods recalled some chicken nuggets this past month because of Salmonella. The product was sold at Heron Foods, B&M, and B&M Express only. Past recalls have been made by supermarkets Lidl, Aldi and Iceland.

Saheer Gharbia, head of the gastrointestinal pathogens unit of PHE’s National Infection Service, said: “While we appear to be past the peak of this outbreak, and case reporting rate has decreased in recent months, we are still detecting some cases through whole genome sequencing, so it is important that people carefully follow food hygiene advice.”

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Letter to the Editor: comply with FSMA sooner rather than later

Dear Editor,

Recently, a contributed opinion column on March 5, 2021, in Food Safety News made a case concerning food safety issues in the plant due to the FDA inspections or FSMA out of compliance issues. It listed a Top Ten list of typical challenges based on the experience of the writer as an FDA and legal expert of 42 years. The writer, Joseph Levitt, said he learned from food companies facing food safety and compliance challenges one repeated phrase came through, “I wish I’d acted sooner.” He framed “acted sooner” as calling lawyers to advise how the manufacturer should defend themselves. The law is transparent concerning compliance. FDA findings from the Top Ten list relevant to reaching a lawyer after the incident has occurred. A lawyer, at that point, is after the damage is already done. “Sooner rather than later’”means following the legal requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to implement “preventive controls.”

In this discourse, we will show how (FSMA), if strategically implemented, will be aptly designated sooner rather than later. Operationalizing the law should be done electronically as a system, with error-proofing and management by exception for executing the controls — leaving the lawyering as a last resort. The need is to have an implemented system.

Here is the Top Ten list and how each of the issues can be addressed in a thought out preventive electronic system with controls — to prevent the problems from occurring in the first place rather than after the fact — which then really requires a lawyer.

  1. Notification of Outbreak: You have been contacted by the FDA and/or CDC that your company’s product has been associated with an outbreak of foodborne illness. You need help right away, to help you determine if the product needs to be recalled and if your plant needs to be shut down, and if so, what will be needed to restart.

You should have a written recall plan, which includes what will be needed to restart. However, according to the law, there is overlapping preventive control verification — the attendant, Internal PCQI, External PCQI. Three instances of review have to be bypassed to reach the customer to necessitate a recall. Strategic means — auto alerts to management when binary or monitoring values are not met or entered by the attendant at the point of application. Management immediately knows that there are occurring issues to address to nip the said issues in the bud.

Restart will be triggered by an auto corrective action, which sends alerts when the corrective action is closed.

  1. Bad results from FDA swab-a-thon: You have been contacted by FDA and told that they took environmental swabs in your facility and found one or more positive findings of a food pathogen, such as Salmonella or Listeria. If not handled properly, this could be the beginning of bad things to come. That is because FDA will do DNA fingerprinting, called Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), of your sample, keep it on file, and if they come back a year later and find the same thing, FDA could make you recall all product made in the intervening time under the “resident strain” theory.

117.135/117.150 Preventive Control / Corrective Action

The problem is not a positive environmental swab reading, but what is done about it. Therefore, you want a method to be immediately informed to be alerted, in the first place if the prescribed test is performed, triggers a non-conformance and a corrective action, and alerts that the corrective action was completed in the statutory time of seven days.

  1. FDA sends you a warning letter: This means FDA has already determined that your product is legally adulterated or misbranded — you are officially on the naughty list — and if not remedied promptly, it could lead to any of the regulatory actions mentioned above. Note that FDA generally only sends one warning letter per facility, so just receiving it means you are in legal jeopardy.

117.135 Preventive Control

It also means — your preventive controls are ineffective. It would help if you had preventive control with binary and/or monitoring features that trigger a non-conformance when either the requirements observed are not met or the monitoring value is out of range. The system cannot proceed until the triggered non-conformances are treated and verified by the internal PCQI (Preventive Controls Qualified Individual) and External PCQI electronically.

  1. FDA invites you to a Regulatory Meeting: This is an in-person version of the Warning Letter and carries all of the same cautions and risks.

Records from the preventive control activity should be made available at the regulatory meeting, preferably electronically, which is time stamped with the people conducting the activities. Provide evidence of trained to employees to perform the activities at a specific points in the process. If the employee chooses not to treat with an auto corrective action, management is also electronically alerted.

  1. You receive a second 483 Inspectional Observations report in the same facility: This is a red flag for the FDA. It means they feel they cannot trust you to fix your problems on your own. An escalation is almost certain to follow if you do not immediately change course and nip this in the bud. How you respond to that second 483 will be very important, and an experienced food regulatory lawyer can help you put your best foot forward.

An escalation can be avoided because immediately when an out of spec or binary requirement is not met all the elements of the corrective become available, and depending on what it is, validation 117.160 and reanalysis 117.170, if required, is included in the corrective action electronic format to enable improvements to change course.

  1. You receive your first 483 for a facility, but it is long, scary or the inspection itself was verbally contentious. FDA can escalate its activities even after a single bad inspection if the agency feels it went badly enough. At a minimum, you need a second opinion from an experienced food regulatory lawyer.

117.135 Preventive Controls

Before the 483, a rule of thumb is to identify a master list of all assets and surfaces and determine if a preventive control, including monitoring, covers it. A system is needed to determine if all assets/ surfaces compare to the master list and whether the preventive control per the prescribed frequency is completed for asset/surface and receive an alert when not completed. A bad inspection triggers the corrective action. However, the preventive controls should minimize the occurrence of issues to cause a bad inspection.

  1. Your finished product testing program shows a product positive for a food pathogen – usually Salmonella or Listeria. It is highly unusual to get even a single product positive, so this is an incredibly important warning signal. If an outbreak is a 5-alarm fire, a finished product positive is still a 3-alarm fire. You need to act quickly or the house could burn down. In addition to a food regulatory lawyer, you will also probably need an external scientific consultant to help you find the root cause and take necessary remedial action.

117.135/150 – Preventive Control /Corrective Action

Once input into the system, your test results should trigger a corrective action for all product testing if product is positive.There should be an alert on the seventh day to complete and close the corrective action. If you are within the seven days, it cannot be registered as an FDA finding. Nevertheless, you need to have irrefutable records to demonstrate the timeframe because an FDA audit in the future, outside the statutory time frame — can result in a finding. Electronic real-time records will support the seven days.

  1. You have a series of positive environmental findings in your facility for Salmonella or Listeria. This is an example of: Where there’s smoke, fire may follow. Remember that FDA will have access to those testing records, so these findings will become immediately visible to an FDA inspector. You need an objective viewpoint to assess whether or not your corrective actions will be seen by the FDA as sufficient. Always best to act before the FDA inspector is in your plant.

117.135/117.150 Preventive Control / Corrective Action

The out-of-range test results should be immediately available to the attendant, triggered, and cannot be bypassed for that action, as corrective action is triggered, which must be acted upon within seven days. The fields in the corrective action should direct completing the corrective action.

A subsequent alert is sent if it is late more than seven days and when the corrective action is closed.

9. You have findings that make you question if you need to file with FDA a Reportable Food Registry (RFR) report. This is sometimes a tricky decision. If you decide not to file you should have clear written documentation as to your rationale and an objective second opinion that it is legally defensible.

FSMA never states that there cannot be a defect or non-conformance — it is the capability to manage and have the documentation to prove it. If your system captures your documentation as stated, your submittal of a file to the Reportable Food Registry will show the methodology to be correct. So with the correct method, the worst that could happen is the FDA can return it, with the confidence your methodology is intact. You are using the RTF to show off competence — less intrusion in the future.

  1. You have findings that make you question if you need to recall a product, or if you should continue to ship a product. Often this will be related to the RFR decision-making above. You may have had an adverse incident at your plant, an unexpected spike in environmental test findings, or even a foreign material or quality issue. The same principle applies — make the right decision and document it well and get experienced advice in doing so.

Properly implemented – FSMA presents layered inspections or audits. 1) binary or monitoring parameters at the point of application that triggers non-conformance 2) Internal PCQI verifies 3) External receiving facility verifies. These three layers of verification should avoid recalls. If a recall is still needed, it can be done electronically.

It is hoped that we could demonstrate the use of technology to operationalize FSMA with layered preventive controls, alerts to top management, and auto corrective actions to minimize the after-the-fact lawyering. The list of Top Ten issues can practically be eliminated ‘ sooner than later.

— Jeffrey Lewis, Fellow Chartered Quality Institute, PCQI
Director of Safety In Your Hand Inc.
fsmafoodsafety.com

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to a contributed column by Joseph A. Levitt is a former director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. He is currently senior counsel in the Washington D.C. office of Hogan Lovells US LLP The law firm handles FDA and USDA food safety and compliance matters.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here.)

Listeria infections in England fall but outbreaks steady

Despite a drop in reported Listeria infections in 2019 the number of outbreaks remained similar to previous years, according to Public Health England (PHE).

A total of 142 cases of listeriosis were reported in England and Wales compared to 157 the year before. This represents an 11.5 percent decline versus the average number in the preceding six years.

There were four outbreaks of listeriosis investigated in England in 2019. For two of them, with three and two clinical cases, the source of infection was unknown. One international outbreak involving five people from 2018 to 2019 was linked to pork products of Romanian origin.

Listeria sandwich outbreak
The other involved prepacked sandwiches served in National Health Service (NHS) hospitals. This outbreak was detected in North West England after two patients were infected with Listeria monocytogenes in the same hospital and subsequently died. Other cases were later identified across seven NHS Trusts using whole genome sequencing (WGS).

Between May 16 and June 14, 2019, nine confirmed cases associated with the outbreak were identified and seven people died. All nine received care at hospitals supplied by The Good Food Chain, the implicated sandwich manufacturer. Consumption of prepacked sandwiches from this company was confirmed for eight people.

Listeria monocytogenes isolates from chicken sandwiches and cooked chicken samples supplied by the sandwich manufacturer and a meat producer called North Country Cooked Meats were confirmed as the outbreak strain by WGS analysis.

May was the peak month for listeriosis reporting in 2019, with the outbreak influencing this result. In 2017 and 2018 numbers peaked in July, with no outbreaks in those months.

Overall, age-specific incidence rates were highest in people 80 years and over. Of 26 cases in the 10 to 19, 20 to 29 and 30 to 39 age groups, 24 were female, of which 19 were associated with pregnancy.

Severe outcome
The outcome of listeriosis during pregnancy remains severe with a third of infections resulting in miscarriages or stillbirths. In 2019, 25, which is less than a fifth of cases, were associated with pregnancy which was comparable to previous years. Amongst pregnancy-associated cases, 64 percent of pregnancies resulted in live births and 36 percent in stillbirth or miscarriage.

There were 23 deaths among 117 non-pregnancy cases, compared to an average of 43 deaths among reported cases from 2013 to 2018.

Of the 23 fatalities, 15 were known to have listeriosis recorded as a cause on the death certificate. This represented a fatality rate of 12.8 percent, compared to 8.5 percent in the previous year.

London had the highest incidence rate with 35 infections whilst the East of England had the lowest with seven patients. Wales recorded three cases.

Incidence of listeriosis was lower in men than women, but reports among men aged 60 to 69 were seven times higher than women in this age range.

Five incidents were investigated involving sporadic cases in 2019 that were microbiologically linked to food or a food environment by detection of the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes by whole genome sequencing.

“As a predominantly foodborne infection, this severe disease is largely preventable. It remains imperative that sporadic cases of illness and clusters of disease continue to be monitored and investigated to inform the continued risk assessment of the food chain,” according to the report.

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. People with symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about any possible Listeria exposure.

It can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here.)

Marler renews call for declaring ‘outbreak serotypes’ of Salmonella as adulterants in meat and poultry

Food safety attorney Bill Marler wants to know what’s up with his petition calling on the USDA to declare specific “outbreak serotypes” of Salmonella as adulterants in meat.

He filed the petition more than a year ago, on Jan. 19, 2020, with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), on behalf of Rick Schiller, Steven Romes, the Porter family, Food & Water Watch, Consumer Federation of America, and Consumer Reports.

The petition asks FSIS to declare the following Salmonella “outbreak serotypes” as per se contaminants in meat and poultry products:

Salmonella Agona, Anatum, Berta, Blockely, Braenderup, Derby, Dublin, Enteritidis, Hadar, Heidelberg, I 4,[5],12:i:-, Infantis, Javiana, Litchfield, Mbandaka, Mississippi, Montevideo, Muenchen, Newport, Oranienburg, Panama, Poona, Reading, Saintpaul, Sandiego, Schwarzengrund, Senftenberg, Stanley, Thompson, Typhi, and Typhimurium.

Marler says reducing salmonellosis from meat and poultry “demands bold action” beyond that yet taken by FSIS. Salmonella is a leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States, causing 1.35 million illnesses, 26,500 hospitalizations, 130 outbreaks, and 420 deaths each year.

Marler wrote Paul Kiecker, USDA’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. He filed a copy with the Docket Clerk.

While diagnostic technology has improved, researchers say that does not entirely explain why Salmonella’s presence has increased.
According to the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration, food regulated by FSIS “substantially contributes” to the public health burden.

“Designing Salmonella performance standards to more closely align with the goal of reducing foodborne illness is fundamental to improving food safety,” Marler wrote.

“Currently, Salmonella performance standards measure how well an establishment is reducing the frequency with which its products test positive for contamination by any Salmonella species. FSIS verification testing may identify virulent strains of Salmonella that are linked to currently ongoing outbreaks, but the product nevertheless can go into commerce so long as the establishment has a sufficient number of ‘negative’ samples and is otherwise meeting the rules designed to show that its plant conditions are not ‘insanitary.’ This indirect approach is not working.”

“To protect the public, FSIS needs to acknowledge that certain Salmonella serotypes pose an unacceptable risk to consumers and make rules to keep adulterated products contaminated by these serotypes off the shelves,” he concludes. ” Accordingly, we invite you to respond favorably to our petition.”

After the petition was filed, this past September, the FSIS presented a “Salmonella-State of the Science” seminar. At that time, the FSIS released its most recent plan to decrease Salmonella, which it recognizes as one of the leading causes of foodborne illnesses. The “Roadmap to Reducing Salmonella: Driving Change through Science-Based Policy” outlines programs and policies that are science-based, data-driven, and promote innovation to reduce Salmonella in meat, poultry, and egg products.

“This roadmap represents FSIS’s commitment to lead with science and data in all that we do. It puts us on a course to aggressively target Salmonella and other foodborne pathogens,” USDA’s former Under Secretary for Food Safety Mindy Brashears said at the time of the seminar.

During a four-month comment period, the petition received 377 comments, including many who used a template provided by an alternative food organization.

Finally, Marler reminded FSIS that under both the Administrative Procedure Act and court decisions, agencies owe petitioners a response within a “reasonable time.” He said those responses may be compelled by the courts if an unreasonable delay has occurred.

Editor’s Note: Bill Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark LLP PS, is also the publisher of Food Safety News.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here.)


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The increasing demand for nutritious food and healthy eating habits has led to a rise in various food safety standards. These standards ensure the implementation of validated and controlled manufacturing processes, thereby reducing the exposure to contaminated food. This has led to a rise in the number of food testing laboratories that are specialized in providing food safety certifications, which is driving the growth of the global


Episode 35 - Eating Insects

Kristen is on vacation, so Kyla took the reigns on this look into the future of eating insects. This was a topic we had discussed when originally brainstorming for the show, and we’re excited to finally eat our cricket powder.

A lot of the information for this episode was taken from a 2013 paper by the FAO, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. It’s called Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security. Before this report came out, there was very little conversation happening on the subject, so this kick-started the discussion.


Downsides of Eating Insects

We have to be careful of over-doing it. Most insects are still harvested from the wild rather than farmed, so it’s possible to accidentally destroy the local insect population. From what I could find this is pretty rare, but still something to consider.

Wild caught insects are also more likely to have pesticides if they’ve been hanging around crops, which is a bad thing for us to be eating.

Because production isn’t mainstream, there needs to be more studies done on concentrations of heavy metals, pesticides, and allergens. Also, infrastructure and machinery for mainstream harvesting is still new and it’s loosely regulated or not regulated at all in most countries. It’s hard to know how safe the production process is for turning out food. If insects are being raised on farms with poor quality or straight up rotten feed, then humans are getting that nasty bacteria.

We have to be careful about introducing insects into environments where they might cause harm. It’s difficult to bring live insects into Australia, for example, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. While farms might remain mostly closed, it’s gotta be pretty hard to contain them fully.

Because farming insects is not a well understood industry, scaling it up to meet the demands of a population pushing 8 billion people will probably bring surprise issues that are difficult to see now but obvious in hindsight.

They look nasty as fuck. I read an article by Angela Skujins who tried to eat insects in every meal for a week, and it was a huge failure, she lost 4 pounds and thought she’d die of starvation.

Crickets still need to eat food. So they’ll still require crops and energy from heating their facilities (although because they like darkness, a bit of energy is saved by keeping the lights out).

Overall, if you’re looking for the most ethical diet, it’s still vegan.


117 thoughts on &ldquo Recall Update: Weekend Edition &rdquo

Well, I just tried to email Nancy Pelosi to see if she is behind Durbin and DeLauro. I want to know why she isn’t speaking out and calling attention to the problem if she is behind them, since she is Speaker. Surprise, surprise, her mailbox is full and mail cannot be delivered. Somehow, I doubt it is full of food safety inquiries.
I’m just not buying that Durbin and DeLauro are having so much trouble fighting big business. If they would take advantage of the media, they could get somewhere on this. Where I live, an educated middle-class neighborhood(no stereotypes intended, but it is a bit like Edward Scissorhands) hardly anyone knows or seems to care what is going on. It’s the land of ostriches sticking their heads in the sand. Florida. Maybe it’s flamingoes,Idon’t know anymore. Anyway, IF the pol’s would use the media, which they have access to, to tell the people how bad it really is, I think America would be even more interested than they are in Paris Hilton. I really do. So why aren’t Durbin, DeLauro, and Pelosi getting serious? There will never be a better time. Each new found contamination could only serve to strengthen their platform. Of course, there may be a better time, if things get worse.

Wow, to be turned down by China means the product must have been 1000% poo.

Don has another report from a pet owner:

The pet owner has reported lab findings of actetaminophen and cyanuric acid in Hill’s Science Diet Light Adult, a dry cat food.

Many thanks to Don for collecting this information.

More than likely there was nothing wrong with it. Its a threat meant to intimidate the US. “You keep blocking our products, we’ll start blocking yours”. Knowing the politicians who are supposed to protect our safety it will probably work since all they care about is money.

OMG, “Barany Chittenden”‘s spelling makes my eyes bleed! I loved his/her reference to unsubstantiated “allocations”. Maybe that’s their new red herring — Petsmart will be investigating “allocations” instead of “allegations”. That should prove fruitful :p

Hi, How do you add the badge to your site?

Does anyone know what petfood they found the Tylenol in?

I don’t know what to feed my kittens and surviving cat. Thanks for a great site Itchmo

ITCHMO ADMIN: Here’s where you can find the code: http://www.itchmo.com/read/fight-bad-sites_20070502

Hi Sandra, I’d recommend making your own pet foods.
They are plenty of references for recipes in the ItchmoForums. Just keep it simple and use a Crockpot.

Hopefully someone or *Itchmo Admin* will let you know about the Badge application today.

Sandra Alawine Says
Does anyone know what petfood they found the acetaminophen in?

some of the foods are talked about here–http://www.petfoodrecallfacts.com/lab.html

As for Petsmart, they sound like some polticians these days–even when hit in the face with the facts–which lab reports are–they STILL deny. I stopped shopping there a while back. All they push is Hells Science Diet & Eukanuba.

Wow, Bush & Co. just won’t stop until everything is just completely wrecked & unsafe. This administration has brought us the era of “call it what it’s NOT”–the “clean air” act, the “no child left behind” act–and now, “organic”…

USDA may relax standards for organic foods
The agency is considering a list of 38 nonorganic spices, colorings and other ingredients that would be allowed in products it deems ‘organic.’

With the “USDA organic” seal stamped on its label, Anheuser-Busch calls its Wild Hop Lager “the perfect organic experience.”

“In today’s world of artificial flavors, preservatives and factory farming, knowing what goes into what you eat and drink can just about drive you crazy,” the Wild Hop website says. “That’s why we have decided to go back to basics and do things the way they were meant to be … naturally.”

But many beer drinkers may not know that Anheuser-Busch has the organic blessing from federal regulators even though Wild Hop Lager uses hops grown with chemical fertilizers and sprayed with pesticides.

From LA Times-http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fi-organic9jun09,0,4944942.story?coll=la-tot-topstories&track=ntothtml

Um, wasn’t at least one of the positive for acetaminophen samples submitted by a manufacturer? Just because a lab is honoring their confidentiality agreement doesn’t make it untrue . . . imo.

Oh, yeah, forgot about PetSmarts connection. Masterfoods isn’t it? Makes one wonder about that there sample )

The USDA Stamp is about as reliable as FDA Approved. Betcha all the recent Beef that was recalled had the USDA Stamp of Approval.

June 9th, 2007 at 9:12 am
“Wow, Bush & Co. just won’t stop until everything is just completely wrecked & unsafe. This administration has brought us the era of “call it what it’s NOT”–the “clean air” act, the “no child left behind” act–and now, “organic”…”

I totally agree, he can’t get out of office fast enough for me.

Well, yes, it did have the USDA stamp on it, even though each pound of hamburger may have beef from many countries in that one pound! None of it actually inspected, and much of it from countries with cleanliness standards well below the U.S.

A few years ago they found kangaroo meat in boxed beef from Australia.

The Big 4 meatpackers are fighting Country of Origin Labeling because they buy cheap beef from other countries and pass it off as U.S. beef because most people don’t realize the USDA stamp does not mean it is U.S. beef, OR that it has been inspected!

Yeah, it’s a sad state of affairs all around.

Please look around at this website. LOTS of info.

Also, breed specific diets!

Elaine – thanks I didn’t know about the meatpackers.

Country of origin is what I want. The FDA and Dept of Ag can never inspect or test all food. But if I have country of origin, I can decide my own risk.

I am so sick of ‘Distributed by’

They should change that phrse to ‘Distributor Lie’
because they use that phrase to completely hide where the product originated.

I didn’t know Master Foods was related to Pet Smart. That explains too much. They are churning out pet food labels so fast I cant keep up

I am tired of being smashed from all sides from giant interests who want to force feed me their junk

good links-thanks. Also liked the Kraftyfoods link in another thread!

On the topic of labeling, can we even count anymore how many pet foods have the word “natural” somewhere on the bag–even though it may be only a small percentage natural? If anyone remembers in the 80’s when Almay came out using the word “hypoallergenic” for their cosmetics–now almost every makeup line has the word somewhere on the label–and it means NOTHING anymore. The same is happening to “natural” and next it’s “organic”…all in the name of $$$$$

I’m in agreement with your statement about distributed by!

I just went to some of the pet food websites recommended to check out their ingredients, and NONE of them stated they did not have imported ingredients in them, so I won”t try them.

If you are feeding home cooked for your pets, a good source of meat products can be found at http://www.ranchfooddirect.com . They also sell grass fed beef, buffalo, chicken, etc., and I think their ground beef is quite a bit less expensive than what you said you paid on the other thread on Itchmo.

Don’t forget there is one thing to keep in mind. The Rubber Stamp GOP Congress ended lasted Nov. It’s a start. Putting on the breaks works.

Roll Call reported this week that Republican lobbyists aren’t sure how to get anything done in a Democratic Congress.

Several Democratic and Republican lobbyists agreed GOP consultants often get it wrong with Democrats because their corporate pitch is such an easy sell in Republican offices, which already are ideologically sympathetic to businesses’ concerns.

Meeting with Democrats, some Republicans neglect to factor in a much wider array of constituencies that hold sway with the new majority, including labor, environmental and consumer groups.

“Republican lobbyists are used to walking into an office and just saying, ‘I’d like you to do this,’” said one Republican operative who regularly lobbies across the aisle. “With Democrats, you really have to hone your arguments, and you really have to sell them on policy.” (emphasis added)

Before Nov 06, corporate lobbyists had it easy. Their clients had a wish list, and the GOP majority was anxious to deliver. Now these lobbyists are finding that when they ask the Democratic majority to do something, those darned liberals want reasons. They ask pesky questions, such as, “Why?”

No matter how frustrated we may get with congressional Dems, it’s worth remembering that when it comes to running Congress, there is a difference between a Democratic majority and a Republican one.

(Source. . . .Benen @ 5:04 AM – PDT)

Turned down by China? And this means WHAT to us?
Why, use our OWN products instead of importing THEIR chit…how silly of me to think of this…and millions of others!!

*lights another cig and sips on mela-free coffee*

My list of non-purchase foods list is getting quite long. lol And on the use of the words “Natural” and “Organic” I totally agree. I have noticed a few of the Pet Food Companies (including some of companies who have recalled others) have started putting in a “Natural” Pet Food. I shake my head and laugh. Too little, too late for me.

“Distributed By” only means “Don’t Buy” to me.

Another illegal import from Taiwan brings a very nasty critter with it… way to go US GOV! 2001?

Hey, song time- name that tune: “how long has this been going on…”

HONOLULU — A pest with a nasty sting has turned up at a nursery on Oahu, state agriculture officials said.

The stinging nettle caterpillar first turned up in Hilo in 2001, officials said. It came through an illegal shipment of seedlings from Taiwan, according to officials.

Very true! I have been having an ongoing battle with the produce department in my store. I ask them what country? And they answer with the ‘distributed by’ on the label.

I make them go look ON THE BOX the produce comes in. They don’t like it, but it’s their job and I am tired of being conned and schmoozed!

The FDA refusal actions was an interesting read. Poison wheat, unapproved rice powder, medical items! Wonder if that would make people think twice about any surgery they have for themselves and pets.

Did anyone else catch the FDA rejected breast implants? Patient to plastic surgeon, now are you sure it’s just silocne in those implants, can you prove where they’re made and with what? If our dieing and dead pets didn’t get everyone attention as it should have, maybe (potentially) toxic inported breast implants will.

has anyone seen this article about the teenage who died from over use of sports creme this is pretty scary mom doesn’t believe an over the counter item could cause a death.

June 9th, 2007 at 10:48 am
Don’t forget there is one thing to keep in mind. The Rubber Stamp GOP Congress ended lasted Nov. It’s a start. Putting on the breaks works.

We’ll see, Steve. I wouldn’t hold my breath. It took them all of 3 days to cave on the war funding without timelines. They are a pretty staunch bunch. Lots of talk…….

We let in illegal immigrants. We let in crappy food supply. We let in insects. We let in disease. Hey, don’t upset anyone and make sure all those other countries like us. Someone better upset the damn melapple cart thats full of stinging insects or this country is hosed.

Lorie – Good article, here’s another one, little kids are getting drunk off hand sanitizer, and it could kill them if they ingest enough. So, once again, a product that’s supposed to make us safe by protecting us from germs, could actually kill us. Good job, Corporate America. For the record, I never use these hand gels just like I rarely take an antibiotic, as I believe it weakens your ability to fight off infections and it is thought that all of these ‘preventative’ measures will actually result in a strain of superviruses that will someday kills us all. But of course the corporate giants want to play on immediate fears – cold & flu – and not think about what they’re doing to our long-term health.

Amy Says:
June 9th, 2007 at 12:17 pm

Drunk on hand sanitizer. I must be living in a bubble hadn’t heard that one. There was a hand sanitizer product that was on the FDA refusal list in May.

People who are home-cooking for dogs , should go to the site re Breed Specific food needs. HomeGrown provided it in her post at 10:13 am today. Also read the related articles there. Some very informative facts there, the example that Chow Chows were bred as a human meat source and can’t digest many meats. Dogs best digest what their forefathers ate, just the same as with human digestion. Thank you HomeGrown.

3FURS Says:
June 9th, 2007 at 1:51 pm

another good source is breed specific yahoo groups and other lists. I’m on the Yahoo Raw 4 Dals list because they do have specific needs. Also on a few other Dal specific lists. Great for exchanging info on more than just nutrition. There are also some very good general canine/feline feeding groups on Yahoo which are grat for support and a wider range of opinions/feeding options.

Join the Alice Army in the forums.
Link is there for filing FCC complaints.
And here it is right handy for ya- http://tinyurl.com/gc48v

You do not have to beg the media to cover this important issue, begging for the last 3 months has gotten diddly done.

Get up off your knees and let the bastids have it!

Every single TV station that blew off the citizens who begged for this to get coverage needs to get a complaint, several people complaining for that station would be nice.
Next there will be challenges to the renewal of the stations

You’re quite welcome! I like someone with integrity as he seems to have. If you look around at his site he cuts right through the crap to get to the heart of the matter.

Get the FCC complaints going, spread the word to other pet sites and blogs.

And we are having a FRIDAY SURPRISE PARTY!

And this Friday you will LIKE what is gonna happen.

Info will be posted on the Alice Army thread.

The Alice Army features no pay, no health coverage and no saluting.
It is, however, going to be a lot better than begging and tons more fun.

E….I want to be part of the Friday surprise party…..oh goody, I love parties. Earlier, I said I wanted to join EPPB (E’s Pet Parent Brigade)…..you have such great ideas & you call ’em like you see ’em…….love that.

Can’t find anything on the forum…..are you talking about HERE? I even did a search & can’t come up with anything. Pls advise…..thanks.

Thread is in the make a difference area here, called it the Alice Army because of the song and this is for doing things other than begging, which offends me, does not get results and makes pet parents look like needy beggars!

Over half the nation has pets, they need to know how bad this situation is, we are going to tell them.

And we are going to have fun too!

I think that with everything going on if I was this teens mother I would be sending that cream to a lab to find out what’s in it.

Muscle Cream Caused NYC Teen’s Death

I’m with you E.! Going to the Forum now.

Associated Press – June 9, 2007 4:54 PM ET

BEIJING (AP) – China says it has rejected a shipment of pistachios from California because it contained ants.

A state television report today showed inspectors wearing face masks and sealing the shipping container that held the pistachios.

The nuts appeared to originate from Cal-Pure Pistachios based in Lost Hills.

Saturday: BIG Ground beef recall/possible E. coli: 5.7 million pounds

California Firm Expands Recall of Ground Beef for Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination
Recall Release CLASS I RECALL
(…)
WASHINGTON, June 9, 2007 – United Food Group, LLC, a Vernon, Calif., establishment, is voluntarily expanding its June 3 and 6 recalls to include a total of approximately 5.7 million pounds of both fresh and frozen ground beef products produced between April 6 and April 20 because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture�s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.
(…) these products could be in consumers’ freezers and it is important that consumers look for and return these products if they find them.

The fresh and frozen ground beef products subject to recall were produced between April 6 and April 20 and were shipped to retail stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
(…)

File at the FTC for consumer issues too – like truth in advertising complaints, consumer protection – how much did that “safe” food cost you. Pet got sick/dued after menu or brandx pet food said safe.. deceptive advertising.
Rules of the Road – info on the FTC complaints
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/ruleroad.shtm

Maureen Says:
June 9th, 2007 at 5:58 pm

wow, that’s alotta beef! ‘specially when you add in the Texas recall!

Is this the same as the Mid-West one?

Beef is the new Pet Food Recall? perhaps?

MORE BEEF RECALLED Today- 5.7 MILLION pounds- BOING!

This one goes with the Recall from about a week and a half ago in stores like Albertson’s etc. Please Read:

Please check it out if you are making Homemade with beef. Or having yor own burgers etc.

Ann H good idea!
safe.. deceptive advertising.
Rules of the Road – info on the FTC complaints
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline…..eroad.shtm

The beef recall above is an extension of the same company’s June 3rd recall of beef for suspected E. coli comtamination (75,000 lbs).

These two recalls mean approximately 1,500,000 men, women, children and elderly people could have eating hamburgers using this beef. By the time this second recall came out today, the expiration date should have expired, so people either ate it or have it in their freezers.

Aren’t these processing plants (assuming they were processed in the U.S.) inspected by USDA? This is very scary stuff.

Maureen Says:
June 9th, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Oops. Bad math. The beef recall means that approximately 15,000,000 MILLION PEOPLE each could have eaten a hamburger made of this recalled beef.

Associated Press – June 9, 2007 4:54 PM ET

BEIJING (AP) – China says it has rejected a shipment of pistachios from California because it contained ants.

I guess the ants have decided the pistachios would be safer than getting into a bag of pet food!

The featured story on MSNBC.com home page has the recalled beef story:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19092079/

According to the MSNBC story: “The grocery stores affected included Albertson’s, Basha’s, Grocery Outlet, Fry’s, “R” Ranch Markets, Save-A-Lot, Save-Mart, Scolari’s Wholesale Markets, Smart and Final, Smith’s, Stater Bros., Superior Warehouse and Trader Joe’s.”

ok, is this beef recall number 2 or 3?!

not in terms of expanding, but in terms of manufacturer product.

we have this one and the Texas one (tyson natural beef) for sure. but is the one in the midwest the same as the current one, or was that a sep one? if so, can someone supply me links so i can do one email with all 3 recalls?

I thought this quite applicable to the times today and have included at the bottom of some of my letters to my elected officials. Not that they give one hoot, but it makes me feel better somehow to bring it to their attention.

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country…corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.”

President Abraham Lincoln

Straybaby: This is the link. this June 9 “California firm” recall (5.7M lbs.) is an extension of the same company’s June 3 recall (75k lbs).

This site has links to all these press releases announcing recalls, etc.

You’ll be able to get links to these from June:
June

* California Firm Expands Recall of Ground Beef for Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination (Jun 9, 2007)
* Texas Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination (Jun 8, 2007)
* California Firm Expands Recall of Ground Beef for Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination (Jun 6, 2007)
* New York Firm Recalls Chicken Products For Possible Listeria Contamination (Jun 5, 2007)
* Codex Seeks Comments on Sanitary and Phytosanitary International Standard-Setting Activities (Jun 4, 2007)
* California Firm Recalls Ground Beef for Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination (Jun 3, 2007)

Homegrown, what a great idea. and it sure is the truth today just as was then,.I think I feel very anxious. My body is acting crazy, because of the stress. You did a good thing to send the letters. Yeah.

The weired things is- I just told my husband that We keep doing things We say we’ll never do again. After WW2 We said, never again will there be a Genocide-Now look. After Veitnam, We said never again will We do this- and now look. How dumb can a country be that does things over and over? We may up destroying ourselves.

Elaine–have you used the ranch direct meats? The ground meats for pets are a great price, but I’m wondering about quality, fats, etc. It would be nice to feed buffalo occasionally & this is really cheap (just don’t want cheap to truly mean cheap in this case)

Ann H and Home Grown, you two are faboo!

My leter is still not on the Consumer Report yet!

Ground beef – for those who feed raw(that’s me) it’s a good idea not to use ground beef from the store unless you really trust the butcher/equipment.
You can grind meat at home yourself to be sure of its quality.Or if you are putting meals together just before they are fed you can add the chunks of meat to the other ingredients.That’s good for the dog’/cats’ teeth anyway.

Maureen Says:
June 9th, 2007 at 9:00 pm

Thanks Maureen!! You would think I would know at this point to check the gov site!! lol!

I think they’ve officially scrambled my brains!

*goes back to blending chocolate and raspberries. working on the prefect ice cream mix!*

“When your seat is so safe that you’re not concerned about perception, you become too wedded to Washington and you lose touch with your constituency, and you lose touch with your real purpose” . . . . Political strategist

Well, Americans are going to remind you what your real purpose is.

I haven’t used the Ranch Direct meat for pets, I have my own beef we raise. But somebody sent us some steaks as a gift, and they were really good!

I had just noticed on the website that the pet meat was a good price, so I thought it would be good to post.

In our area we have a local U.S. grass fed beef outlet, and every now and then they have really good sales on ground beef, and I think it is because so many people don’t cook roasts or stew and order more steak so the ground beef is really good quality, like ground round and less than 2$ a pound.

I would say to call them and ask, or order a small amount and then you would know.

Most grocery stores that cut meat and grind meat receive the meat in big boxes that come from packing plants. I would ask, if I was you, what it is they grind into hamburger.

One thing you need to remember is that in the case of e coli, the contamination occured at the slaughter facility, because the e coli is in the gut and the carcass wasn’t cleaned properly.

The store that receives the meat is not at fault. The local grocery store in my area gets boxed beef from Canada.

This form will send the letter to your Representative and to both of your Senators.

Concerns over long distance food transportation (food miles) and global warming, compounded by recent food poisoning scandals, linked to contaminated pet, poultry, and pig food ingredients from China, have taken away many Americans’ appetites for cheap imported foods. Shocked at media reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is inspecting approximately one-percent of all imported food, health-minded consumers are demanding that Congress implement mandatory Country of Origin Labels (COOL) labels on food. Federal farm policy theoretically requires Country of Origin Labeling for food. Reacting to polls indicating that 80% of American consumers want to know where their food is coming from, Congress incorporated COOL into the 2002 Farm Bill. COOL was supposed to go into effect in September 2004. Unfortunately, corporate agribusiness, Wal-Mart, and the supermarket chains bribed an ethically-impaired Congress with millions of dollars to block implementation of COOL labels. As a result, Americans are buying billions of dollars of imported foods without knowing it. In order to promote health and sustainability, and to save North American family farms, we need to restore our right to know where our food is coming from. Tell Congress we want Country of Origin Labels for both conventional and organic food, and we want it now:

STOP THE U.S. TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY ACT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
Fast Track – the outdated, outrageous law that Richard Nixon cooked up to take away Congress’ constitutional authority over trade policy
– is expiring on June 30, 2007.

Surprise, surprise. President Bush wants Congress to hand him a blank check of more Fast Track so he can do more of the same NAFTA-style deals for his big corporate buddies.

With Fast Track expiring, we have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to fix the current devastating rules of the global economy — and your voice is the only way to make a real difference!

Use the form on this web site to let your representatives know that you absolutely oppose any more Fast Track, and that it must be replaced with a better system that will help us create fair trade agreements.

This form will send the letter to your Representative and to both of your Senators.

What pet owners learned the hard way:

INFORMATION FOR CONSUMERS
FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
CENTER FOR VETERINARY MEDICINE

INTERPRETING PET FOOD LABELS
(excerpts)

Many pet foods are labeled as “premium,” and some now are “super premium” and even “ultra premium.” Other products are touted as “gourmet” items. Products labeled as premium or gourmet are not required to contain any different or higher quality ingredients, nor are they held up to any higher nutritional standards than are any other complete and balanced products.

Pet owners and veterinary professionals have a right to know what they are feeding their animals. The pet food label contains a wealth of information, if one knows how to read it. Do not be swayed by the many marketing gimmicks or eye-catching claims. If there is a question about the product, contact the manufacturer or ask an appropriate regulatory agency.

**If you have questions about your pet food, call your State Agriculture Dept and see if they have tested the foods in their feed programs. **

Some states, like Kentucky, have their Commercial Feed Bulletins online. Kentucky’s 2006 bulletin is due to be posted later this year.

Georgia, on the other hand, has no online documents and per the Agriculture department “few pet foods” are in the test results- and the reports are available to you if you go to their offices.

Individual states right now seem to be the first line of “regulation” for pet foods.

Get your Agriculture Departments involved in resolving this!

“Most grocery stores that cut meat and grind meat receive the meat in big boxes that come from packing plants. I would ask, if I was you, what it is they grind into hamburger. ”

Well,that,too.I just won’t buy any of it ground.

“One thing you need to remember is that in the case of e coli, the contamination occured at the slaughter facility, because the e coli is in the gut and the carcass wasn’t cleaned properly.

The store that receives the meat is not at fault. ”

I wouldn’t go that far but we don’t have to agree.

I’m not sure all grocery stores will do this but a friend of mine (who lives in the boonies & can’t get to the store all that often) picks out a few steaks & asks the butcher to grind them up. She refuses to buy already ground beef. I keep meaning to ask at my grocery store to see if they’ll do that for me. I like that idea so much more. At least you know what’s in it.

I found this at Pet Connection & feel it’s very appropriate:

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

Comment by MFEMFEM — June 9, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

Boy oh boy, still true today as it was back then, maybe moreso…..

Canada’s national radio,CBC,had an interesting program just now.(maybe Serius 137 in N.A.?)
They are FINALLY talking about THOUSANDS of pets who died because of the food.The main discussion was ‘Eating Chinese’ and the problems with importing foods,inspections,COOL and so on.
Interesting information from Wenran Jiang , the director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta. “He keeps a close watch on the Chinese economy, and its implications for global politics.”
I lost it when Paul Mayers , the Executive Director of the Animal Products Directorate of the CFIA(Canadian Food Inspection Agency) made it clear that you don’t want to “confuse the consumer” by mentioning all countries involved in the product on the label.It’s complicated,he said.
Poor *customers* are always so easily confused,aren’t we?
Or could it have something to do with the food lobby in Ottawa ? The anti-COOL dudes who want to do whatever they want with our food.

June 10th, 2007 at 10:33 am

“Paul Mayers , the Executive Director of the Animal Products Directorate of the CFIA(Canadian Food Inspection Agency) made it clear that you don’t want to “confuse the consumer” by mentioning all countries involved in the product on the label. It’s complicated,he said.”

Well let me be the first to “uncomplicate” it.

Oh and here is a link from Pet Connection I think. We already have a law passed regarding COOL! But the big boys keep suspending it. Are laws worth the paper they are printed on?

By Stephen J. Hedges
Washington Bureau
Published June 10, 2007

“WASHINGTON — Amid concerns about the safety of pet food ingredients and catfish from China, consumers and even a few members of Congress are wondering why there isn’t a law that requires merchants to label where food comes from.”

“The short answer: There is. And there has been since 2002.”

You know, how is it confusing to find out where ingredients come from? I love how these clowns look at us.

Wonder if they will claim the rat was an import:

Rat bites girl at Chinese Mcdonald`s
Zeenews.com June 10, 2007

“US fast food giant Mcdonald`s was forced to pay compensation to a student who was bitten by a rat at one of its outlets in northeast China.

“The girl was bitten at a Mcdonald`s restaurant in the province of Liaoning, the Beijing Morning Post said.

“The incident happened last December and the court case was heard in April, but has only now come to light amid a growing trade dispute between China and the United States over tainted food and health products.

“A container of nearly two tons of pistachios was turned back at a port in Guangdong province due to dangers the termites posed to the local environment and to the insect`s propensity to breed quickly, the paper said.”

And now the ants have become termites. They forget about the insects which were inadvertently imported from China a few years ago which have devastated the older tree population in some cities and suburbs.

Import inspections stress FDA resources
NJ Star-Ledger June 10, 2007

“Janet Woodcock, the FDA’s chief medical officer, said the agency is equipped to inspect less than 1 percent of all products imported into the country. It also lacks the resources to adequately inspect production and processing facilities overseas, she said, and in many cases must deal with developing nations whose food, drug and device laws are lacking.

“”There has been an explosion of imports,” Woodcock said in an interview last week. “The world has globalized and all this stuff is coming in from outside the United States, but the regulations and procedures we have in place really did not contemplate this change.”

“”Our ability to inspect all the production facilities outside the United States or monitor clinical trials or the manufacture of medical products is very limited,” she said. “Are we concerned? Yes, we are concerned about this. We see this trend increasing.”

“The FDA said it will inspect only 0.7 percent of the estimated 16.3 million shipments it regulates that will come across the borders and into American ports this year from more than 230 countries.

“William Hubbard, a former FDA deputy commissioner, said food imports including fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, food ingredients and packaged foods have grown exponentially, accounting for more than half of all foreign FDA-regulated products coming to the United States.”

So until someone in the Beltway actually DOES something about it, we can continue to expect disasters to happen.

To clarify my statement that the grocery store isn’t at fault: I am not excusing unsanitary conditions in grocery store meat markets—I am just saying that IF they make hamburger from trimmings that came in a box from the packing plant, the e coli contaminated meat was already there.

It could only be a small portion that is contaminated, but grinding and mixing it with the rest of the trimmings in the box disperses the e coli throughout the hamburger.

In the case of the recent meat recalls, SOMEBODY, like maybe the USDA, should be following the meat back to the source packing plant and inspecting their processing procedures. This is where the source of the problem is, and it needs to be corrected.

The USDA HAACP program, Hazard Analysis and Control Policy (? I am not sure if I got that right,) relies on PAPERWORK, and is the same thing as the FDA saying they have limited resources so they only look where their risk analysis says there may be a problem!

Unfortunately, they do not want to find the big packing plants as the source of the problem.

Uh oh, sorry Itchmo! The link above to the Chicago Tribune Article was not at Pet Connection, I saw it HERE. I look at so much I got confused. Just wanted to give credit where credit was due. I love both sites.

According to the USDA, it’s our fault when we get sick and die from E. coli:

“Consumers should only eat ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe temperature of 160 °F. When a ground beef patty is cooked to 160 °F throughout, it can be safe and juicy, regardless of color. The only way to be sure a ground beef patty is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use an accurate food thermometer. Color is not a reliable indicator that ground beef patties have been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7. Eating a pink or red ground beef patty without first verifying that the safe temperature of 160 °F has been reached is a significant risk factor for foodborne illness. Thermometer use to ensure proper cooking temperature is especially important for those who cook or serve ground beef patties to people most at risk for foodborne illness because E. coli O157:H7 can lead to serious illness or even death. Those most at risk include young children, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems.”

Wanna do a little something today troops?

There is STILL poison on the store shelves. Still sickening and killing.

Go get a Digg account here- http://digg.com/
free and easy

and then vote for this story -http://tinyurl.com/2hwmpg
so more people will see it.

And the writer of the story , who can be contacted by an email at the bottom of the article, might like to know that we appreciate the coverage.

And maybe she could pass on to the poor people who have the sick cat that Iams is lying through their teeth.

I’m not sure if this has been posted before, but regarding organic foods, this kinda sucks

Re: The Chicago Tribune story

Did you notice that there is no one quoted whose sole reason for speaking is that he or she eats food? Has a family? Has pets? Has a conscience?

This article states that the Country of Origin Labeling met with “a cool reception.” This only applies to the suppliers, manufacturers and serial food poisoners who wish to continue with business as usual.

There are absolutely no “man on the street” interviews or polling data cited as to actual support from the U.S. public for these labels. While they are at it, they should be polling those in foreign markets who will be receiving these processed foods or raw materials as imports.

The support for this labeling from U.S. citizens is overwhelming. Lazy reporting. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

They used to tell the Publc if you want to do your best to avoid meat being contaminated, pick meat that’s been “touched” the Least. Whether by human or Machine.

Now days that’s Impossible. Unless like some have said you grind your own at home.
These boxed and shipped across the country packed meats go though so many things to get to the store shelves.

The Local Butcher looks better and better and so does buying a Side or even a quarter of beef.
Having it cut or Ground to your specs. and maybe renting a meat locker with family or friends> is a Good way to go. imho

Also on the Story of ChineseGov Rejecting things on us now, in their tit-for-tat games.
I found a story that has the FDA Comments and some replies- more coverage than the story at the top.

I Juuuust Luv the way Acheson is determined to find out WHY, these things have been rejected by China’s QA and quarrentine sector.

Wished he’d be THAT interested in OUR Food coming IN and being SERVED!
I could not Believe how “interested” he is in this “problem”.

All this over our 1% inspected and small % rejection rate.
Give me a Break China!

One thing for Sure: WE are making WAVES across the Seas and we Should Keep It UP!

Let’s keep rocking the “BOATS”!

I think it’s Better for both Countries citizens in the long run!

Why in the world would China be worried about our food, after what they eat!! there’s no way. They just want to show-off. Big deal, We won’t stop this fight until our food is right.

Yeah, not like any of us are scrambling to get Chinese imports. In fact just the opposite is true. China sending imports back to US, just helps us imo. Force our companies to step up a little also. As we have learned this isn’t all about imports from China. I think it is about corporations and flat out greed without consideration of human or animal life. I, for one, hope they choke on their money.

Homefrown- You said it! I say it too.

Sorry I spelled it wrong. I need a nap,

I Do agree Homegrown, but I also think that, there is a current from China that they Want, to Export their Toxic Waste.

In the Article is states the Chinese Gov said they destroy Some and will send Back the rest.
No skin off my nose if they do either.
I Want Our Products to Stay here. THEY just do Not get that. DUH.

And I know there are some unscrupulous US companies, but I still think, pound for pound the odds lean heavy towards China exports being or having an Issue.

We also do Not have the Water alone pollutions, alot of these products come in contact with, along their way to us through China.

For me, I’m sure Our country is ‘cleaner’ than China.
As bad as things might be Here for thstype issue, I’m sure as heck glad I’m not Under China’s Gov. for Any reason.

I hope the Citizens of Both countries Benefit from Our Voices here.

China jumped into this Export business on a Grand scale Way before it knew how or has even set up for. They just Crank it out.
If we don’t want this to grow worse and want to stop it as it is, make tings Better, we need to Keep-up on Both, the US and China To bend to Our will and Clean up their acts.

I notice in some of the Osasis reports at FDA, China repeatedly sent the SAME shipments of rejected product BACK to the USA.

In some cases the Aroma must be AMaZiNg! :-P

my opinions, down from the tainted soap box :-D

That website is http://www.ranchfoodsdirect.com. I think there is a list of restaurants that use the meat from Ranch Foods Direct, so those of you in those areas can go check it out and do a taste test.

Yes, you’re right Ya Ya, but let’s not forget that it was an Unregistered American Corp that used melamine as a binder in fish food. Even after everything that has gone on with the pet food. I would blame them for living under a rock, but I blame more the FDA and media for not getting the word out there where people will see it. More than just a hit and run article here and there, anyway. IMO The FDA and Corporations are trying their best to not alert as many people as possible and maybe in some instances it worked. But I don’t think they counted on so many recalls one after another and I believe more people found out than they would have liked. I mean really, 1 person has a sick or dead pet and all of the people in contact with that person (family, friends, co-workers, cashiers, hairdressers, etc) probably got mention of it. Word spreads, and it spreads relatively fast. Which is why I have said, they are hanging themselves with every with every delay to recall, or get the word out. Word of mouth makes companies or breaks companies. Always has, always will.

June 10th, 2007 at 12:37 pm
Wanna do a little something today troops?

There is STILL poison on the store shelves. Still sickening and killing.

Go get a Digg account here- http://digg.com/
free and easy

and then vote for this story -http://tinyurl.com/2hwmpg
so more people will see it.

E, the story didn’t show up as a link. Can you post that again?

Is there any downside to getting a digg account such as spam, etc? I am older, so I am verrryy cautious to do anything like that! In fact, it probably took me two days to get up the courage to join in on the blog!
Crazy, I know—–

I WAS A THE ASSISTANT MANAGER IN A SMALL GROCERY STORE AND I GROUND HAMBURGER. THEY USED TO COME IN BOXES AND THE GROUND BEEF WERE IN LONG TUBES. THEY GROUND THEM ONCE IN THE FACTORY AND THEN THE STORE REGROUNDS THEM WHEN THEY COME IN. BEFORE THIS WAS DONE THEY TOOK IT STRAIGHT OFF THE CARCASS. AND THEY STORED THEM IN THE STORES IN COOLING UNITS AND THEY WOULD GET HALF A CARCUSS WHAT EVER. NOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED. WAL MART STARTED GETTING THE HAMBURGER MEAT BROUGHT IN AND ALL ALL OF IT PREPACKAGED. NO MORE GRINDING FOR THE BUTCHER IN THE STORE. BUT THIS STUFF WAS TERRIBLE TO EAT TO ME. IT WAS VERY RUBBERY AND TASTED MORE LIKE A RUBBER BAND TO ME. SO.. I STARTED BYING MY MEAT AT DILLONS AFTER THAT. NOW DILLONS IS DOING THE SAME THING BECAUSE IT IS CHEAPER. I COMPLAINED ABOUT IT. I HATED THE TASTE OF THE MEAT AFTER IT SAT IN SHIPPING AND IN A BOX HEAVEN KNOWS HOW LONG. THEY NOW GROUND ONE KIND FOR ME. BUT I DON’T EVEN USE IT KNOW. I USE THE ONLY BRAND MY STORE HAS THAT IS NATURAL WITH NO PRESERVATIVE, HORMONES, ETC .

Digg is a good way to get attention for stories that are , shall we say, BETTER than the bull the FDA is feeding the public.
There is a link to digg the story on the page with the story, looked kinda cool to I investigated it.
The more people who digg a story the higher it ranks, very popular with the younger crowd.
No down side that I know of,
here is the link, I hope.
http://tinyurl.com/2hwmpg

And here is a story that will make you furious!

Comment if you like, no need to have a digg account.

What a jerk! Maybe his state board needs to review his ability to practice?, since he is obviously delusional and may very well be dangerous.

Thank You Elaine! I will definitely visit it.

Homegrown, You are So right. Something got out of control that None of them thought about and I think it was the Melamine that set this into Overdrive.

I mean how many people previously sent food to be tested?

I think they thought the Melamine would turn out to be something noone would learn about and it could get passed by on. We’ve al become Conditioned to the Idea Cats and Dogs have Kidney prblems Period Right? They die younger and younger, who was keeping “score” anyway?
BUT then *something* happened.
Whether Cyanuric Acid being Dumped in too, possibly by very un-savory/unregulated/cheap/unclean type manufacturers or in Rendered meats etc or from Where-ever
It Grew Fast and Furiously and WE began to Band together Here
Comparing notes.

Labs are being found on the Net to test privately. Then comes along other nasty ingredients. At the same time.

Was it a comfort level reached by the China suppliers to Ship the unclean ingredients.

The Binder deal I do and don not get too. HOW did a Company FIND TEMBEC.

Has Anyone been able to find Web publication on this sort of Trade in the USA? And ADvertisement in a “Magazine” for the Binder sales?
How was it advertised? As a Food binder?
How would a wood/pulp/laminat chemicals type company come in Contact with a Feed Company.

This is at least 3 years old too.

And Yes I have run across folks who are Totally Ignorant of the Pet food Issues

One was ‘half’ informed’ A secretary at an attorney’s office on the phone. Oh yeah I knew about the recalls but don’t have a pet so— Dont know anyting about any Class Action Suits! HUH? A secretary at an Attorney’s Office! Blew me away even more then others have.

Had one person say: can’t change what we can’t change so should move on. HUH?

Then there is the Facts that so many of our Own Vets won’t STAND UP on This, Join the Fight!
What are they going to lose customers for doing That?
I’d think they be even More appreciated for it!

Nor Pet Clubs. Or those types.
What are they some how Immune to sick and dead pets?

Do they All homefeed and then go to the Shows etc that are Supported by Food companies but don’t SAY they homefeed in public? Worried about Financial support only?

Of Course the Vets have Deals with “suppliers” too.
Why would they bad-mouth a Company whose got Tainted foods showing up.

The Few, the very very pitiful Few is all we see.

And the Media. Plenty of us have Sent time and again, Info on this and Nothing.

One here, one there.
BEEF Recall was Huge this Morning and last night tho!
Course that was 6 MILLION LBS! In your face facts.

I think WE could come up with even More POUNDS tha That, of Poisoned Dog and Cat Foods IF the TPTB would get off their dead stick A__ES!

Some-where back there a while ago, maybe a year or even 3 ago, someone ‘allowed’ Melamine to slip into Feeds.

Thinking WE”D NEVER KNOW. It would become business as usual.
BUT I think Melamine combining with ANYTHING Else, is Dangerous. And THAT They did not think through. PERIOD

Bad mood I guess, but still head strong today! :-P

Something that has bothered me since the start of the pet food recall is the fact that some people on fixed budgets eat pet food . This is a fact in the state where I live. I wonder if any of these people have become ill or died.

If politicians think COOl is to expensive to enforce then how about stopping the money they pay to these agri businesses and use that money to enforce COOL.

Also food stamps come out of the USDA so why not stop the farm subsidizes program. Give poor people more food stamps. Perhaps they should give increase farm subsidies to organic farmers to help more people switch from conventional farming (poisoning the air , earth and food ), stop the use of pesticides GE, GMO , and pesticides.

China has become America’s leading supplier of apple juice used as a food sweetener, garlic and garlic powder, sausage casings and cocoa butter.

HOMELAND INSECURITY
Is China trying to poison Americans and their pets?
U.S. market flooded with foods unfit for humans, tainted with carcinogens, pesticides, bacteria, drugs

And the FDA just got rid of a ton of the recalled pet food on the list, so the list is now incomplete and the dying goes on.

Just makes you glad to be an American doesn’t it?

Remember g the name of certain products to create a new market and distance the product from previous recalls?
Well this is the “new” super preimum food that Walmart is toting on their site and offering free samples.

Does anyone know of this brand or who makes it?
I’ve never heard of it.

Smells fishy to me. Those of you with the researching and digging for info talents please get the low down on this new food toted as “super premium at a great value”

ugg my post cut off AGAIN.
ANYWAY THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO SAY “REMEMBER WHEN WE WERE WORRIED ABOUT PET FOOD MAKERS CHANGING THE NAME OF A PRODUCT….” THE REST POSTED PROPERLY.

THAT WAS THE FIRST SENTENCE

BIOLOGICAL WAR-FEAR
Seafood imports from China raised in untreated sewage Fish products consumed by Americans treated with dangerous drugs, chemicals

Posted: June 4, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

randy Says:
June 10th, 2007 at 6:39 pm

That URL does not work – here is one that will work

Thanks for the link. Interesting info there.

I know it is all very frustrating. That’s what I meant when I said they are going to do themselves in. Maybe everyone doesn’t know about it YET. But just wait. They screw around long enough, enough peoples pets get sick or die and word of mouth will spread like wildfire. We have all looked at news and said “That’s too bad.” but when it happens to you or you know someone it has happened to it hits closer to home and you sit up and pay attention. The big downfall for us is that more furkids will be affected. :-(
That is what breaks our hearts.

Yeah, we all expected the new foods didn’t we. Just further proof that word of mouth HAS spread and that they have lost more sales than they are letting on. Not for one minute am I buying any of the sales pitches any longer. Got my furkids on homemade and that is where they will stay. My Lab Sophie looks better than she ever has. Shiny coat, lean muscles. My older cat had a problem with oily coat and dandruff. No more. Goodbye commercial pet foods…..Hello Pet Health!

Our little FCC thing might have done some good. Within 1 hr. today I saw 2 news casts on the beef recalls and the one on even mentioned the pet food and the spinach recalls. Unfortunately like always they downplayed it by saying at the end that we still have the safest food here in the USA and that with the amount of imports we have, the recalled problems have been relatively small. Sigh….and I have a bridge to sell. Like how would they know with only 1% inspected? Would be great if someone would actually do some investigative reporting instead of what is easy.

Remember g the name of certain products to create a new market and distance the product from previous recalls?
Well this is the “new” super preimum food that Walmart is toting on their site and offering free samples.

Does anyone know of this brand or who makes it?
I’ve never heard of it.

Smells fishy to me. Those of you with the researching and digging for info talents please get the low down on this new food toted as “super premium at a great value”

According to the post at this website, it’s made by Doane, just like Ol’ Roy dry is:

RECALLS AND FIELD CORRECTIONS: VETERINARY PRODUCTS — CLASS I

PRODUCT
Multiple brands and formulas of dog food with corn as the primary ingredient:

1 Formula 100
Dura Life 21%
Feedin Time Premium Chunk Style
Golden Boy Chunk Style
Retriever Chunk Style
2. Formula 102
Ol’ Roy Premium
Sportsman Choice Original
3. Formula 103
Country Acres 21%
Wendland Chunk Style
4. Formula 104
Dura Life Puppy
Ol’ Roy Puppy
5. Formula 106
Country Acres Hi Pro 27%
Feedin Times Premium Hi Protein for Dogs
Golden Boy Hi Pro
Grand Paw High Protein
Remarkable Menu for Dogs
Retriever Hi Pro
Wendland High Protein
Winchester Hi Pro
6. Formula 107
PMI Nutrition Puppy
Feedin Time Premium Puppy for Dogs
Hill Country Fare Puppy
Remarkable Menu for Dogs
Retriever Puppy
Wendland Puppy
Winchester Puppy
7. Formula 110 – Winner Chunk Style
8. Formula 111 – Ol’ Roy Lean
9. Formula 116 – Slick
10. Formula 123
Feedin Time Krunchy Bites and Bones for Dogs
Hill Country Fare Small Crunchy Bites & Bones
Ol’ Roy Krunchy Bites & Bones
Remarkable Menu for Dogs – Bites & Bones
11. Formula 136 – PMI Nutrition Hi Protein Performance
12. Formula 137
PMI Nutrition Adult
Country Acres
Winchester Adult
13. Formula 138 – PMI Nutrition Canine
14. Formula 139 – PMI Nutrition Premium 22
15. Formula 150
Hill Country Fare Bite Size Dog Food
Remarkable Menu for Dogs – Chunk Style
16. Formula 151 – Hill Country Fare Hi-Protein Dog Food
17. Formula 171
Exceed Professional
Maxximum – Performance
18. Formula 177
Maxximum – Performance
Ol’ Roy Performance
Sportsman Choice Performance
19. Formula 180 – Wendland Meat Base
20. Formula 181 – PMI Nutrition Prime 26
21. Formula 207
Dura Life Gravy
Feedin Time Premium Gravy Style for Dogs
Hilly Country Fare Gravy Style Dog Food
Retriever Gravy
22. Formula 261 – PMI Nutrition Exclusive Adult Growth.
Recall #V-005/026-9.
CODE
Sell by dates JUL 01 99E through AUG 31 99E — All lots manufactured July 1 through August 31, 1998.

MANUFACTURER
Doane Pet Care, Temple, Texas.

RECALLED BY
Manufacturer, by telephone and press release on November 2, 1998, followed by fax and express mail letters. Firm-initiated recall ongoing.

DISTRIBUTION
Texas and Louisiana.

QUANTITY
1,362,516 bags were distributed.

REASON
Aflatoxin contamination.”

This is the 2006 MO Summary of Feed Inspections–You’ll find Maxximum Nutrition on page 159 of the 165 page pdf under Wal-Mart. Page 13 shows Doane’s average with a 94.44% rating for 18 samples taken.

Diamond’s record for 59 samples taken was a miserable 79.66%–it’s shown in full on pages 63 & 64.

Nothing new about it–as you see it’s been made by Doane for quite some time–long enough to have gotten in the 1998 aflatoxin recall. Wal-Mart’s been selling it for a while too, so don’t know whether this is an attempt to “hedge” their bets because Ol’ Roy has taken so many “hits” in wet & dry forms or what.

Whoops! Here’s the URL for the 2006 Mo Summary of Feed Inspections:


5) Meat is torture

Veg*ns. Animals have fear, feelings, and rights. Sele45 says "Plants have no pain receptors. Also, plants make about 40% more foliage than they need to live. Their fruits are intended to smell and look appetizing because when they are picked and eaten the seed is more likely to be spread. Being eaten furthers the life cycle of fruits. And foliage is produced in excess."

The way we grow animals, hold them in CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) and factory farms is inhumane. Then we cram them with grains they have problems digesting, then we cram them into slaughterhouses where they can smell and hear death, then we manhandle them just before the kill, and then we kill them inefficiently so some die slowly and in pain. Just watch the films of animal cruelty from CAFOs and slaughterhouses. CAFOs are beneath our dignity. They are inhumane prison camps. They are all about greed, not about providing cheaper food. They harm not only animals but farm workers.

Crows says "I believe that an animal raised on a small farm by a caring farmer is better off than an animal raised on a factory farm. But I do not think someone eating meat should be comforted by the fact it was raised on a small farm. If something is killed needlessly, that is wrong. I think that principle is the reason for many people becoming vegetarians/veg*ns."

Omnivores. MarcEdward says "Factory farms aren't petting zoos - I get it. Your argument is identical is to the Pro-Lifers who post pictures of abortions. Prettiness is not a basis for ethics. Factory farms are efficient - they produce the maximum amount of meat for the least cost, and consumers (especially poor people) benefit. I value all life, but I value human life over the lives of chickens and cows. The question is how much human malnutrition is worth alleviating how much suffering in animals?" But CAFOs and slaughterhouses do not have to be this way. The industry needs reform. All of these problems can be fixed. Many alternative systems are emerging. They need to be mainstreamed. Many omnivores share their distaste for the inhumane conditions in factory farms.

Drumsgirl says "I think open heart surgery is pretty gross and disgusting - and don't want to do it or have it done to me - but I still think it's a good thing society does."

Grumpyfarmer says: "Whenever this debate comes up, someone compares livestock farming to slavery, which in my mind is equating animals with people. Anyone who feels animals are on par with humans has probably not seen a sow eat her baby pigs, a bull calf earnestly trying to breed its own mother, or a hawk eating a rabbit while it is still alive. Do animals deserve humane treatment? Of course they do. But that doesn't mean it is wrong to eat them. So far the veg*ns are OK with animals eating other animals "in nature". I am an animal, and I am part of nature, and any animal I eat is killed much more humanely than any animal eaten by another. So, no guilt feelings."

Goldwyn. This debate depends upon emotion vs. science, IMHO. It seems that those who believe meat is murder draw a line on the food chain ladder, and that line seems to me to be arbitrary. That line seems to be at animals with eyes or faces. But why do eyes make one creature inedible and another edible? Veg*ns hate the smartass question omnivores always throw out about plants having rights and feelings too, but they need to answer it and they are not doing that very well below. They just dismiss it as silly. The other side makes a more powerful case in my clearly biased opinion, that plants are every bit as adept at surviving in their niche in the world as animals, that they are extremely complex individuals and societies, and it can be clearly demonstrated that they can be stressed.

Current research by scientists are discovering that plants and microbes are sentient. They display amazing abilities to communicate, they respont to stimuli, they suffer stress, many do not want to be eaten and have elaborate mechanisms to protect themselves from throns to chemicals. Dr. ML Tortorello, a renowned microbiologist told me that "Every form of life deserves respect, not just charismatic megafauna made popular by Disney. Every species has a role. Every species is integral to the ecosystem. Every species is somebody's hunter, somebody's prey, somebody's partner. To claim that animals have greater rights than plants is an assertion not based on an understanding of the biological world. Death is part of all life. A plant is as highly adapted for its niche as a pig. People who are vegetarians because they think killing animals for food is murder do not understand the biological world. But if they make their diet decision based on their emotional response to charismatic megafauna, that's fine. But it unfairly elevates some species over others."

Dr. Bonnie Bassler of Princeton has done fascinating research on the ability of microbes to communicate and work together. It is discussed in Smithsonian. An excerpt: "Bassler is at the forefront of the fast-growing field of 'quorum sensing,' the study of how microbes communicate with each other as they go about building the vast interlocking infrastructure of life on which we macrobes depend. In recent years she and other microbiologists have discovered that bacteria are not the dull solipsists of long-standing reputation, content to merely suck in food, double in size, divide down the middle and repeat ad infinitum, attending to nothing but their obtuse, unicellular selves. Instead, bacteria turn out to be the original newshounds, glued to their cellphones and Internet chat lines. They converse in a complex chemical language, using molecules to alert one another to who's out there, in what numbers and how best to behave given the present company. Bacteria survey their ranks, they count heads, and if the throng is sufficiently large and like-minded--if there is a quorum--they act. Through chemical signaling, tiny bacterial cells can band together and perform the work of giants."

If my ethics prevent me from killing sentient beings, then I could not even brush my teeth. I think that the argument that society needs to adapt the vegan lifestyle because animals are sentient and vegetables are not is hard to support scientifically.

Veg*ns. Plants don't have neurons so they can't be sentient.


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Super Colossal Salted Pistachios TryMyNuts.com

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Food Safety Enforcement News – India this week – April 30 th

In Rajasthan, samples of Saffola Gold blended edible vegetable oil were collected from Sawai Madhopur, and reportedly found sub-standard by the state authorities. Naresh Kumar Chenjara, food safety officer, Sawai Madhopur, said, “On May 9, 2016, random checking of Saffola Gold blended edible vegetable oil samples was conducted with reference to the parameters laid down by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).”

“The probe results came out on May 27, 2016. The sample was considered sub-standard, as it had an acid value of 1.12 units instead of the permitted value of 0.50units. That is, it was found to be 0.62 units higher,” he added.

The report stated, “The sample of Saffola Gold blended edible vegetable oil (loose) bearing the code number and serial number (H-875) of the designated officer and chief medical and health officer (CM&HO), Sawai Madhopur, is sub-standard, as it does not conform to the prescribed provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.”

The officer added, “In last so many years, there are hardly any products by any company which have received a clean chit when random inspections were carried out. There is always something lacking in the products, as the company fails to comply with the set parameters set by the authority.”

A similar case was reported from Bundi, Rajasthan. Giriraj Sharma, the city’s food safety officer, collected a sample of Fortune physically-refined rice bran oil for analysis on May 16, 2016. It was allegedly found to be sub-standard.

The result indicated the acid value of the collected sample was 0.67 units. The prescribed limit under the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, should not be more than 0.5 units.

When asked about the further development on the matter, Sharma informed, “The report has been already sent to higher authorities in Jaipur, but we are yet to get a response to take any further action.”

Meanwhile, such cases have also been reported in the south. A Rama Krishnan, food safety officer, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, confirmed that 200 random samples of packaged drinking water were collected for the purpose of testing.

He informed, “We had collected 200 samples of packaged drinking water brands of different companies from different parts of the region. Eleven of these were tested under the set parameters of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), of which four were found to be misleading. The report result stated that the products were categorised as misbranded, sub-standard and unsafe.”

“The label on the product was improper. The batch number and best-before date were missing from the label. The prescribed ph value of water should be between 6.5 to 8.5. However, the sample collected had a low ph value of 6. Along with these missing parameters, E coli and chlorine, which should be absent, were present in the sample,” added Krishnan.

The Chennai High Court had directed the company to withdraw their products and use the plant only for the purpose of maintenance and not for selling. Later, as per the court order, the products were retested and cleared for resale.

Not only were there reports of sub-standard food products in Maharashtra and Haryana, but there were some reports of counterfeit products from the two states as well.

Suresh Annapure, joint commissioner, Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said, “Recently, the food inspector from our region, during his routine inspection, found counterfeit samples of Amul.” He stated that the authority was considering action.

Similar reports came from Haryana, where the state FDA raided a few places in Sonepat and found counterfeit products. Naresh Ahuja, assistant commissioner, Haryana FDA, stated that a case had been registered against two persons in this regard.

And a continuous vigil is on. H G Koshia, food safety commissioner, Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) Gujarat, informed, “On a regular basis, inspections are carried out by allocated designated food safety officers in different regions. Thus, inspections of both branded as well as of non-branded products keep happening.”


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