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CDC closes investigation; warns of ongoing Listeria threat

The investigation into a Listeriosis outbreak traced to frozen vegetables from CRF Frozen Foods Inc. has ended — but federal officials warn more people could still be stricken by the potentially deadly Listeria monocytogenes pathogen.

logo-CRF-Frozen-Foods“People could continue to get sick because recalled products may still be freezers and people who don’t know about the recalls could eat them,” according to an outbreak update posted this afternoon by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

“Retailers should not sell and consumers should not eat recalled products.”

Those “recalled products” include more than 350 frozen products packaged by CRF Frozen Foods Inc. under 42 brands, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Recalled products were sold across the U.S. and Canada.

“The FDA facilitated the recall of at least 456 products related to this outbreak. CRF Frozen Foods recalled 358 products and at least 98 other products were recalled by other firms that received CRF-recalled products,” according to FDA.

A complete list of the recalls linked to CRF Frozen Foods’ recall is available on the FDA website.

Production plant remains closed
CRF owners closed the Pasco, WA, plant where the food was produced after issuing recalls on April 23 and May 2. The first recall was for 11 frozen vegetable products. The second was for all organic and traditional frozen vegetable and fruit products processed at the facility from May 1, 2014, through this spring.

Today an external public relations consultant hired by CRF said the company’s owners will take their time reopening the facility. He said CRF’s business is seasonal, based on crop harvests, and with the end of summer nearing it wouldn’t make any difference if they reopened in a few weeks or a few months.

A variety of Kroger-branded frozen vegetable products are included in the recall.

A variety of Kroger-branded frozen vegetable products are included in the recall.

“The company executives are spending a good bit of time and effort focused on a new design of the plant, to ensure the company has state of the art equipment and processes, once operations resume,” said spokesman Gene Grabowski.

Officials with the privately held CRF, which is part of the R.D. Offutt Co., were pleased that the outbreak investigation was declared ended, Grabowski said this afternoon, adding that they would “continue to proceed with redoubled vigilance to ensure that nothing of this nature happens again.”

Although CRF knows how much product it shipped, its officials did not reveal those volumes in its recall notices.

“The company has no estimate of product recalled or destroyed,” Grabovski said. “Much of the recalled product has been managed by retailers, so no complete records are available.”

The victims and how they were discovered
The outbreak includes at least nine people from four states on opposite sides of the U.S. They were sickened with a strain of Listeria monocytogenes that Ohio officials coincidentally discovered in CRF frozen products while conducting routine testing of randomly collected packages of frozen foods from retail stores.

All nine people were so sick they had to be hospitalized. Three of them died, but state public health officials reported to the CDC that only one of the deaths was specifically caused by the Listeria infection.

The first known victim became sick in September of 2013. Five victims fell ill in 2015 and three were confirmed with the outbreak strain this year. The most recent case was May 3, according to the CDC.

recalled-Organic-by-Nature-frozen-peasCDC scientists detected the outbreak in March this year and linked it to frozen food from CRF’s Pasco plant using a combination of high-tech DNA testing and the oldest medical technique on the books — patient interviews.

“State and local health departments attempted to interview the ill people, a family member, or a caregiver for the ill person about the foods the ill person may have eaten in the month before the illness began,” CDC reported.

Officials were able to interview four people, three of whom reported that before they became sick they ate frozen vegetables that turned out to have been produced at the CRF Pasco plant.

“Two reported Organic by Nature brand frozen vegetables. The third ill person reported eating O Organic brand frozen vegetables,” CDC reported.

While the CDC investigators were trying to find a common denominator among the Listeria victims, staff with the Ohio Department of Agriculture were conducting routine, random product sampling of frozen vegetables from grocery stores.

The Ohio tests revealed Listeria monocytogenes in frozen organic white sweet corn and frozen organic green peas packaged under Meijer’s True Goodness brand. Both products were produced by CRF at the Pasco facility.

“Whole genome sequencing showed that the Listeria isolate from the frozen corn was closely related genetically to eight bacterial isolates from (the) ill people, and the Listeria isolate from the frozen peas was closely related genetically to one isolate from (one) ill person,” the CDC reported.

Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to compare and ultimately match the Listeria monocytogenes samples from the outbreak victims and the randomly tested frozen vegetables. PulseNet is a national sub typing network of public health labs and includes a national database of DNA fingerprints of foodborne pathogen strains.

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Food Safety News

FSIS Warns About Breaded Chicken Products Produced Without Inspection

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert because VU Foods, LLC, a Kansas City, Mo., establishment, refused to issue a recall of breaded chicken products for which there is reason to conclude that they are unfit for human consumption.

The products were considered for recall because they were produced without inspection.

The products bear the establishment number “P-45038” inside the USDA mark of inspection or on the label. Some labels state that the products were distributed by Tact Foodservice or US Foods. These products will not be identifiable to consumers because they were sent to distributors and labeled for “Use in Restaurant Only.”

The following products were shipped to distribution centers:

  • Select Cut – Cubed Chicken Breast Meat (product code: 10800)
  • Select Cut – Cubed Chicken Breast Meat (product code: 10810)
  • Cubed Chicken Breast Meat (product code: 10500)
  • Pre-Battered Chicken Tender (product code: 80022)
  • Boneless All Natural Chicken Breast Nuggets (product code: 8550)
  • Chicken Dark Meat Nuggets (product code: 20505)
  • KIKKA Boneless All Natural Chicken Breast Nuggets, packed exclusively for KIKKA RESTAURANTS

The problem was discovered by the state of Missouri, which was assisted by law enforcement to enter a warehouse location and observed products that were produced without the benefit of inspection. The state of Missouri notified FSIS of the facility operating without the benefit of inspection on July 15, 2014. On that same day, the state of Missouri began detaining the breaded chicken products produced at the facility and FSIS began detaining additional products on July 17, 2014. FSIS served a Notice of Suspension to VU Foods, LLC, on July 24, 2014. FSIS is continuing to detain the product in question and is conducting trace forward operations with distribution centers to request the product back from their restaurant customers.

The investigation enforcement actions are ongoing and FSIS is prepared to take additional actions or expand the investigation based on new evidence.

FSIS has received no reports of illness due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

Food Safety News

FDA Warns Five Dairies, Egg Producer and Seafood Ready-to-Eat Manufacturer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent warning letters to five dairy farms for selling for slaughter animals with residues of illegal drugs in their systems.

Illegal penicillin levels were found in the kidney tissues of animals sold by both Conklin Dairy Sales at Plain City, OH, and Crossbrook Farm in Middleburgh, NY. An animal sold by God’s Little Dairy near Lowville, NY, had too much cefazolin in its kidney tissue, and an animal from Willie Schmucker of Waterloo, NY, was found with the presence of sulfadimethoxine in the kidney tissue.

From the Sterling Heights Dairy Farm in Sterling, OH, an animal was found with too much desfuroylceftiofur (a marker residue for ceftiofur) in the kidney tissue.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discovered the drug residues after the animals were offered for slaughter and sale as meat for human consumption.

In other recent warning letters, Easy Moon Inc. at Ramona, CA, received word that its egg production facility was in serious violation of regulations involving prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis, or SE. Among the violations at the egg production facility were:

  • No written SE prevention plan with SE prevention measures.
  • Pullets are not monitored for SE production from movement.
  • Failed to implement a written plan, including such work items as filling rodent holes.
  • Failed to remove debris inside and vegetation outside the poultry house, including dead chicken carcasses outside dairy facilities.
  • Failed to prevent wild birds from entering the poultry facility.
  • Failed to maintain records of compliance.

“Investigators observed numerous dead rodents (58 counted) in the egg laying house, and live rodents (9 counted) walking under chicken cages and running in and out of too-numerous-to-count holes in the dirt floor of the egg laying house,” the warning letter stated. “These observations suggest that the vegetation and debris in and around your poultry house are providing harborage for pests.”

Walker’s Food Products Co. of North Kansas City, MO, also received a warning letter about “serious deviations from the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations” at its ready-t0-eat manufacturing facility.

The FDA warning letter stated that a seafood HACCP must include the company’s various salads, including pathogenic bacteria growth control abuse and allergen hazards that are associated with them. Also it stated that critical control points must be listed and a thawing process included to prevent toxic formation.

FDA also had concerns about proper labeling prior to distribution and urged the company to monitor sanitation conditions and practices. It also advised the company on proper use of employee hairnets.

FDA ordered the company to keep floors, walls and ceilings in the plant clean and in good repair at all times. Some areas were observed to be “pitted and flaking rust.”

Also observed by the FDA inspectors were frayed and heavily scored conveyors, which, along with other equipment and utensils, must be kept properly maintained.

Food Safety News

FDA Warns Five Dairies, Egg Producer and Seafood Ready-to-Eat Manufacturer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent warning letters to five dairy farms for selling for slaughter animals with residues of illegal drugs in their systems.

Illegal penicillin levels were found in the kidney tissues of animals sold by both Conklin Dairy Sales at Plain City, OH, and Crossbrook Farm in Middleburgh, NY. An animal sold by God’s Little Dairy near Lowville, NY, had too much cefazolin in its kidney tissue, and an animal from Willie Schmucker of Waterloo, NY, was found with the presence of sulfadimethoxine in the kidney tissue.

From the Sterling Heights Dairy Farm in Sterling, OH, an animal was found with too much desfuroylceftiofur (a marker residue for ceftiofur) in the kidney tissue.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discovered the drug residues after the animals were offered for slaughter and sale as meat for human consumption.

In other recent warning letters, Easy Moon Inc. at Ramona, CA, received word that its egg production facility was in serious violation of regulations involving prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis, or SE. Among the violations at the egg production facility were:

  • No written SE prevention plan with SE prevention measures.
  • Pullets are not monitored for SE production from movement.
  • Failed to implement a written plan, including such work items as filling rodent holes.
  • Failed to remove debris inside and vegetation outside the poultry house, including dead chicken carcasses outside dairy facilities.
  • Failed to prevent wild birds from entering the poultry facility.
  • Failed to maintain records of compliance.

“Investigators observed numerous dead rodents (58 counted) in the egg laying house, and live rodents (9 counted) walking under chicken cages and running in and out of too-numerous-to-count holes in the dirt floor of the egg laying house,” the warning letter stated. “These observations suggest that the vegetation and debris in and around your poultry house are providing harborage for pests.”

Walker’s Food Products Co. of North Kansas City, MO, also received a warning letter about “serious deviations from the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations” at its ready-t0-eat manufacturing facility.

The FDA warning letter stated that a seafood HACCP must include the company’s various salads, including pathogenic bacteria growth control abuse and allergen hazards that are associated with them. Also it stated that critical control points must be listed and a thawing process included to prevent toxic formation.

FDA also had concerns about proper labeling prior to distribution and urged the company to monitor sanitation conditions and practices. It also advised the company on proper use of employee hairnets.

FDA ordered the company to keep floors, walls and ceilings in the plant clean and in good repair at all times. Some areas were observed to be “pitted and flaking rust.”

Also observed by the FDA inspectors were frayed and heavily scored conveyors, which, along with other equipment and utensils, must be kept properly maintained.

Food Safety News

FDA Warns Five Dairies, Egg Producer and Seafood Ready-to-Eat Manufacturer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent warning letters to five dairy farms for selling for slaughter animals with residues of illegal drugs in their systems.

Illegal penicillin levels were found in the kidney tissues of animals sold by both Conklin Dairy Sales at Plain City, OH, and Crossbrook Farm in Middleburgh, NY. An animal sold by God’s Little Dairy near Lowville, NY, had too much cefazolin in its kidney tissue, and an animal from Willie Schmucker of Waterloo, NY, was found with the presence of sulfadimethoxine in the kidney tissue.

From the Sterling Heights Dairy Farm in Sterling, OH, an animal was found with too much desfuroylceftiofur (a marker residue for ceftiofur) in the kidney tissue.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discovered the drug residues after the animals were offered for slaughter and sale as meat for human consumption.

In other recent warning letters, Easy Moon Inc. at Ramona, CA, received word that its egg production facility was in serious violation of regulations involving prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis, or SE. Among the violations at the egg production facility were:

  • No written SE prevention plan with SE prevention measures.
  • Pullets are not monitored for SE production from movement.
  • Failed to implement a written plan, including such work items as filling rodent holes.
  • Failed to remove debris inside and vegetation outside the poultry house, including dead chicken carcasses outside dairy facilities.
  • Failed to prevent wild birds from entering the poultry facility.
  • Failed to maintain records of compliance.

“Investigators observed numerous dead rodents (58 counted) in the egg laying house, and live rodents (9 counted) walking under chicken cages and running in and out of too-numerous-to-count holes in the dirt floor of the egg laying house,” the warning letter stated. “These observations suggest that the vegetation and debris in and around your poultry house are providing harborage for pests.”

Walker’s Food Products Co. of North Kansas City, MO, also received a warning letter about “serious deviations from the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations” at its ready-t0-eat manufacturing facility.

The FDA warning letter stated that a seafood HACCP must include the company’s various salads, including pathogenic bacteria growth control abuse and allergen hazards that are associated with them. Also it stated that critical control points must be listed and a thawing process included to prevent toxic formation.

FDA also had concerns about proper labeling prior to distribution and urged the company to monitor sanitation conditions and practices. It also advised the company on proper use of employee hairnets.

FDA ordered the company to keep floors, walls and ceilings in the plant clean and in good repair at all times. Some areas were observed to be “pitted and flaking rust.”

Also observed by the FDA inspectors were frayed and heavily scored conveyors, which, along with other equipment and utensils, must be kept properly maintained.

Food Safety News

FDA Warns Five Dairies, Egg Producer and Seafood Ready-to-Eat Manufacturer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent warning letters to five dairy farms for selling for slaughter animals with residues of illegal drugs in their systems.

Illegal penicillin levels were found in the kidney tissues of animals sold by both Conklin Dairy Sales at Plain City, OH, and Crossbrook Farm in Middleburgh, NY. An animal sold by God’s Little Dairy near Lowville, NY, had too much cefazolin in its kidney tissue, and an animal from Willie Schmucker of Waterloo, NY, was found with the presence of sulfadimethoxine in the kidney tissue.

From the Sterling Heights Dairy Farm in Sterling, OH, an animal was found with too much desfuroylceftiofur (a marker residue for ceftiofur) in the kidney tissue.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discovered the drug residues after the animals were offered for slaughter and sale as meat for human consumption.

In other recent warning letters, Easy Moon Inc. at Ramona, CA, received word that its egg production facility was in serious violation of regulations involving prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis, or SE. Among the violations at the egg production facility were:

  • No written SE prevention plan with SE prevention measures.
  • Pullets are not monitored for SE production from movement.
  • Failed to implement a written plan, including such work items as filling rodent holes.
  • Failed to remove debris inside and vegetation outside the poultry house, including dead chicken carcasses outside dairy facilities.
  • Failed to prevent wild birds from entering the poultry facility.
  • Failed to maintain records of compliance.

“Investigators observed numerous dead rodents (58 counted) in the egg laying house, and live rodents (9 counted) walking under chicken cages and running in and out of too-numerous-to-count holes in the dirt floor of the egg laying house,” the warning letter stated. “These observations suggest that the vegetation and debris in and around your poultry house are providing harborage for pests.”

Walker’s Food Products Co. of North Kansas City, MO, also received a warning letter about “serious deviations from the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations” at its ready-t0-eat manufacturing facility.

The FDA warning letter stated that a seafood HACCP must include the company’s various salads, including pathogenic bacteria growth control abuse and allergen hazards that are associated with them. Also it stated that critical control points must be listed and a thawing process included to prevent toxic formation.

FDA also had concerns about proper labeling prior to distribution and urged the company to monitor sanitation conditions and practices. It also advised the company on proper use of employee hairnets.

FDA ordered the company to keep floors, walls and ceilings in the plant clean and in good repair at all times. Some areas were observed to be “pitted and flaking rust.”

Also observed by the FDA inspectors were frayed and heavily scored conveyors, which, along with other equipment and utensils, must be kept properly maintained.

Food Safety News

FDA Warns Consumers About the Dangers of Pure Caffeine Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning the public to avoid pure caffeine being marketed directly to consumers after an 18-year-old high school senior in Ohio died after ingesting toxic amounts of caffeine powder.

Products such as the bulk bags available over the Internet are essentially 100-percent caffeine, and a single teaspoon is roughly equivalent to the caffeine in 25 cups of coffee. These products have the potential to cause serious adverse events, including death. People with pre-existing heart conditions should not use them.

“Pure caffeine is a powerful stimulant and very small amounts may cause accidental overdose,” FDA stated. “It is nearly impossible to accurately measure powdered pure caffeine with common kitchen measuring tools and you can easily consume a lethal amount.”

The agency wants all consumers to know about the high potency but wants parents in particular to be made aware because teenagers and young adults may be drawn to these products.

Symptoms of caffeine overdose can include rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures and death. Vomiting, diarrhea, stupor and disorientation are also symptoms of caffeine toxicity. These symptoms are likely to be much more severe than those resulting from drinking too much coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages.

If you believe that you are having an adverse event related to caffeine, stop using it and seek immediate medical care or advice.

Food Safety News

Costco Warns of Black Pepper Possibly Contaminated With Salmonella

Costco Wholesale is warning members not to use its Kirkland Signature Coarse Ground Malabar Black Pepper with a best-before date of March 2017.

NBC reports that Food and Drug Administration officials detected Salmonella Duisburg in some samples of the product in Texas. Costco has since used automated calls to inform 130,000-140,000 members of the issue. A letter from the company is expected to follow.

Salmonella Duisburg is a rare serotype of the pathogen. Only 21 cases of laboratory-confirmed infections were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2000 and 2010.

There have been several large-scale Salmonella outbreaks in the U.S. in recent years that were associated with contaminated spices. This prompted FDA to launch a major investigation into spice safety, and a study released in June 2013 found that nearly 7 percent of imported spices — which account for more than 80 percent of the U.S. supply — were contaminated with Salmonella.

When FDA released a draft of its spice risk profile last October, the agency stated that, “People’s tendency to eat small amounts of spices with meals generally lowers the probability of illness from contaminated spices relative to similarly contaminated foods consumed in larger amounts.”

Related illnesses could also be underreported because it can be difficult to make the connection in multi-ingredient foods.

Food Safety News is following this story and will update this page as soon as more information is available.

Food Safety News

Raw Milk is Ongoing Hazard, CDC Warns Public Health Workers

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention sent a letter to state and territorial public health officials with information and resources on the risks of consuming raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products.

Raw milk is a recognized source of severe infections from pathogens such as E. coli O157, Campylobacter and Salmonella, but pasteurization prevents infections.

“Adherence to good hygienic practices during milking can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of milk contamination,” states the May 9 letter signed by Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases. “Pasteurization is the only way to ensure that fluid milk products do not contain harmful bacteria.”

It’s not just CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommending that all animal milk be pasteurized. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Association of Public Health Veterinarians agree.

Pasteurization of milk became routine in the U.S. starting in the 1920s and was widespread by 1950. Transporting raw milk across state lines to sell directly to consumers is prohibited today, but it is available within many states.

“CDC data shows that the rate of raw milk-associated outbreaks is 2.2 times higher in states in which the sale of raw milk is legal compared with states where sale of raw milk is illegal,” reads Tauxe’s letter.

According to the CDC National Outbreak Reporting System, between 2007 and 2012, there were 81 outbreaks of infections due to consumption of raw milk, resulting in 979 illnesses. In addition, 59 percent of the outbreaks involved at least one person under the age of five.

Most infections were caused by Campylobacter, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or Salmonella bacteria, which come from cattle that appear healthy. Severe, long-term consequences of these infections include hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can result in kidney failure, and Guillan-Barré syndrome, which can result in paralysis.

“To protect the health of the public, state regulators should continue to support pasteurization and consider further restricting or prohibiting the sale and distribution of raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products in their states,” Tauxe wrote.

Click here to read the full letter and see the list of resources for consumers,  public health officials and health care providers.

Food Safety News

Raw Milk is Ongoing Hazard, CDC Warns Public Health Workers

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention sent a letter to state and territorial public health officials with information and resources on the risks of consuming raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products.

Raw milk is a recognized source of severe infections from pathogens such as E. coli O157, Campylobacter and Salmonella, but pasteurization prevents infections.

“Adherence to good hygienic practices during milking can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of milk contamination,” states the May 9 letter signed by Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases. “Pasteurization is the only way to ensure that fluid milk products do not contain harmful bacteria.”

It’s not just CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommending that all animal milk be pasteurized. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Association of Public Health Veterinarians agree.

Pasteurization of milk became routine in the U.S. starting in the 1920s and was widespread by 1950. Transporting raw milk across state lines to sell directly to consumers is prohibited today, but it is available within many states.

“CDC data shows that the rate of raw milk-associated outbreaks is 2.2 times higher in states in which the sale of raw milk is legal compared with states where sale of raw milk is illegal,” reads Tauxe’s letter.

According to the CDC National Outbreak Reporting System, between 2007 and 2012, there were 81 outbreaks of infections due to consumption of raw milk, resulting in 979 illnesses. In addition, 59 percent of the outbreaks involved at least one person under the age of five.

Most infections were caused by Campylobacter, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or Salmonella bacteria, which come from cattle that appear healthy. Severe, long-term consequences of these infections include hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can result in kidney failure, and Guillan-Barré syndrome, which can result in paralysis.

“To protect the health of the public, state regulators should continue to support pasteurization and consider further restricting or prohibiting the sale and distribution of raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products in their states,” Tauxe wrote.

Click here to read the full letter and see the list of resources for consumers,  public health officials and health care providers.

Food Safety News

Thailand’s FDA Warns: Mushrooms ‘Frequently Soaked in Formaldehyde’

According to a Thai Financial Post story published on Monday, the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand is urging people to thoroughly wash mushrooms before cooking them after finding that the food item is frequently soaked in formaldehyde before reaching consumers.

Dr. Praphon Angtrakun, Deputy Secretary-General of the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA), revealed this past Friday that 3 percent of the 15,000 fresh food items his agency randomly tests are tainted with formaldehyde. The rate of detection is especially high in seafood. As for vegetable produce, straw mushrooms and termite mushrooms are of special concern.

Praphon said that formaldehyde-laced produce can be identified if vegetables and other foodstuff don’t dry out or become shriveled after being put on display without the addition of moisture. With meat, identification can be made if the meat does not dry out after being put in the sun, a food preparation practice in some areas. He added that consumers should always wash or soak produce before cooking it.

Reports indicate that formaldehyde is being used by mushroom growers in some countries to keep a species of fruit fly (Drosophila) from invading the mushrooms.

A 2003 U.S. Department of Agriculture study on formaldehyde levels in raw shiitake mushrooms from China and the U.K. found that the levels observed were “the result of natural production” by this type of mushroom. However, cooking the mushrooms for at least six minutes caused a “significant reduction” in the formaldehyde, the study noted, leaving levels that were “unlikely to pose an appreciable risk to human health.”

Formaldehyde is colorless, flammable and strong-smelling chemical that is used as a fungicide, germicide, disinfectant and preservative in household products and mortuaries and medical labs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers formaldehyde to be a probable human carcinogen.

Food Safety News

Maersk warns on trade implications of Chilean port strike

Maersk warns on trade implications of Chilean port strike

The Danish company Maersk warned Chilean authorities that the port stoppage might have a serious impact on the economy and the country’s image in the world.

By April 2013, the most important global shipping firm and other global companies sent a letter to the Chilean Executive expressing their concern over the port sector strike occurred at that time.

According to Maersk Chile’s business and marketing manager, Francisco Ulloa, “the commercial consequences can be very hard for Chile, because there have been two strikes in a year.”

“Chile is in a very competitive global market. Peru has grown every year about 6 percent, with an expanding agriculture, therefore our own neighbours are our competition and they have port stability, which is vital for international trade,” the executive told El Mercurio.

Ulloa said that what worries them the most is Chile’s image abroad, as many wonder if the Chilean ports are safe or whether they have to consider other areas of the world to operate.

The government explained that although in the last 15 days no ship could anchor in San Antonio, they did so in San Vicente, in Bio Bio Region. However, they could not complete the operations and on Tuesday, one of Maersk ships had to sail from that port terminal without load.

The work stoppage at some ports of Chile is due to claims on wage rise.

“Our services and logistics in general form a chain; when you have a link that does not work, the whole chain suffers,” he continued. “The effect of a port shutdown is terrible,” he stressed.

In September 2013, Maersk had in Chile a 14 per cent market share in the shipping industry, and for the current year, the shipping company bets to “grow with the market.”

Source: fis.com

Publication date: 1/20/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Maersk warns on trade implications of Chilean port strike

Maersk warns on trade implications of Chilean port strike

The Danish company Maersk warned Chilean authorities that the port stoppage might have a serious impact on the economy and the country’s image in the world.

By April 2013, the most important global shipping firm and other global companies sent a letter to the Chilean Executive expressing their concern over the port sector strike occurred at that time.

According to Maersk Chile’s business and marketing manager, Francisco Ulloa, “the commercial consequences can be very hard for Chile, because there have been two strikes in a year.”

“Chile is in a very competitive global market. Peru has grown every year about 6 percent, with an expanding agriculture, therefore our own neighbours are our competition and they have port stability, which is vital for international trade,” the executive told El Mercurio.

Ulloa said that what worries them the most is Chile’s image abroad, as many wonder if the Chilean ports are safe or whether they have to consider other areas of the world to operate.

The government explained that although in the last 15 days no ship could anchor in San Antonio, they did so in San Vicente, in Bio Bio Region. However, they could not complete the operations and on Tuesday, one of Maersk ships had to sail from that port terminal without load.

The work stoppage at some ports of Chile is due to claims on wage rise.

“Our services and logistics in general form a chain; when you have a link that does not work, the whole chain suffers,” he continued. “The effect of a port shutdown is terrible,” he stressed.

In September 2013, Maersk had in Chile a 14 per cent market share in the shipping industry, and for the current year, the shipping company bets to “grow with the market.”

Source: fis.com

Publication date: 1/20/2014


FreshPlaza.com

FDA Warns NY Rancher About Potentially Harmful Drug Residues

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning letter to the owner of Riverview Ranch and Livestock in New York, after an investigation found that the operation sold an adulterated animal for slaughter for food.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) analyzed kidney tissue samples of a bob veal calf the ranch sold in April and found the presence of tulathromycin. FDA has not established a tolerance for residues of the antibiotic in the kidney tissue in preruminating calves.

The letter states that Riverview did not use the tulathromycin as directed by its approved labeling or by a veterinarian, resulting in the illegal drug residue.

In addition, the ranch failed to maintain treatment records of medicated animals that could keep potentially harmful drug residues from entering the food supply.

FDA directed the ranch to “take prompt action to correct the violations” and “establish procedures to ensure that these violations do not recur. Failure to do so may result in regulatory action without further notice such as seizure and/or injunction.”

Food Safety News

New Zealand Exporter Warns of Botulism in Whey Powder Sold Internationally

New Zealand’s primary milk exporter advised customers Saturday that some of its whey protein may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacteria that produces dangerous toxins.

Fonterra, the biggest processor in New Zealand’s $ 11 billion dairy industry — 95 percent of which is comprised of exports — announced that three batches of its whey protein WPC80, used as an ingredient in infant formulas and sports drinks, among other products, pose a risk of botulism.

The batches of why concentrate, produced in May 2012, were sold to eight companies, including three food companies, two beverage companies and three manufacturers of animal stock feed.

While Fonterra did not announce the companies to which the whey ingredient was sold, the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries said Saturday that Nutricia Karicare Follow-on formula for infants 6 months and older was among the products that included the ingredient.

Fonterrra exported the whey product to seven countries, including China, which has begun sourcing more of its infant formula from abroad after melamine-tained formula killed six babies there and sickened more than 300,000, raising concerns about products made in the country.

Fonterra’s chief executive, Theo Spierings, was scheduled to fly to China Saturday to address the issue with Chinese health officials, according to BBC News.

Other affected countries include New Zealand include China, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, reported BBC.

Fonterra says no illnesses have been linked to consumption of the protein concentrate to date.

None of Fonterra’s brand products, which include Anchor, Anlene and Anmum, contain the whey as an ingredient, the company said.

Food Safety News

Euro Pool System warns against staples in multi use trays

Euro Pool System warns against staples in multi use trays

Logistic service supplier Euro Pool System regularly finds staples in the trays. Stapling the multi use packaging for fresh products is prohibited, both for food safety and the personal safety of user, reports the company in a news letter. “Don’t do it.”

Publication date: 8/1/2013


FreshPlaza.com