‘Better think about the consequence of (temperature abuse) actions’ Over 700 sick from C. perfringens at one Chipotle

Chipotle’s head of food safety, Jim Marsden, has been conspicuously silent after at least 647 patrons at a single Chipotle restaurant in Powell (no relation), Ohio, were sickened with Clostridium perfringens.

As one of my colleagues said, Preventing C. perfringens is kind of like food safety 101. They must’ve had a massive temperature abuse situation.

In response, CEO Brian Niccol said Chipotle will start retraining all restaurant employees on food safety and wellness protocols next week.

Uh-huh.

#MeToo

How the hell would I know? 395 sickened by Cyclospora linked to McDonalds salads

There was this one time, in 2010, I got a phone call at 6 a.m. from the esteemed Michael Osterholm of the Minnesota food safety system.

My wife does a better Minnosotan accent, spending her yute in Albert Lea, eh?

He didn’t like the photo, right, made by the creative couple of Heather and Christian, who used to work in my lab, and opened the conversation with, “How could you print that?”

I said it was an accurate description of what had been publically known about the leafy greens folks since the E. coli O157 spinach outbreak of 2006 (I’m old, waiting for news on the birth of my third grandson).

He then told me he was a consultant for Fresh Express and that they had an excellent food safety system.

I said great, make it public, so people can judge on their own.

Fresh Express has now been linked to 395 cases of Cyclospora through their lettuce served at McDonalds.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., is pressing Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb for specifics about the investigation of the cyclosporaoutbreak linked to product sold by Fresh Express.

In an Aug. 3 letter her office released to the media, DeLauro said she wrote the letter “out of concern about the current outbreak of cyclosporiasis as well as the transparency and timeliness of your agency’s ongoing investigation.”

“Although once rare in the United States, parasitic outbreaks caused by cyclospora have become more common over the last several decades,” she said in the letter. “Many of these outbreaks have continually been found to be associated with imported fruits and vegetables.”

The recent outbreak is currently responsible for 395 infections — including 16 hospitalizations — across 15 states.

The parasite was first found when the FDA conducted testing on an unused package of Fresh Express salad mix, distributed to a McDonald’s restaurant, containing romaine lettuce and carrots.

The FDA states as of July 13, McDonald’s decided to stop selling the salads at restaurants impacted in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan. Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota. Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri.

In a July 20, statement, McDonald’s said the health and safety of their customers is their top priority.

“The health and safety of our customers and the people who work in McDonald’s restaurants is always our top priority. The additional states identified by the FDA and CDC are among the same states where a week ago we proactively decided to remove our lettuce blend in impacted restaurants and replace it through a different supplier. McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality and we continue to cooperate and support regulatory and public health officials in their investigations. For those seeking additional information about Cyclospora, we encourage them to visit the CDC and FDA websites.”

Uh-huh.

Cyclospora sucks. My aunt, my mom’s sister, got it in Florida from basil, about a decade ago.

(Doesn’t she look amazing at 80, left.)

Cyclospora isn’t one of those things doctors routinely check for. Then you’re sick for about six weeks until some bright doc figures it out.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued an alert to the public on “beef, pork and poultry salad and wrap products potentially contaminated with Cyclospora that were distributed by Caito Foods LLC, of Indianapolis,” Indiana.

USDA also released a public health alert after Indianapolis-based food distributor Caito Foods “received notification from their lettuce supplier, Fresh Express, that the chopped romaine that is used to manufacture some of their salads and wraps was being recalled.”

“Fresh Express follows rigid food safety requirements and preventive controls throughout our supply chain that are carefully designed to mitigate against potential health risks. Working together with public health officials, we are hopeful a definitive source of the outbreak clusters will be identified soon.”

Uh-huh.

Still here, Mike. You can call me in Australia through Google voice 785-532-1925 and tell me what Fresh Express is doing, and why they are importing lettuce in the middle of North American summer.

The silliness of academia: ‘I’m excited for the vivid dimensionality, impactful synergies, and collaborative challenges of this meta-disciplinary discourse opportunity’

I despised Mike Souliere.

He was sieve Souliere, I was porous Powell when we played as goaltenders for AAA peewee hockey in Brantford, a lifetime ago.

He was better than me.

And now Mike and I exchange notes on facebook.

Mike, and Amy, both pointed out that my facebook messages were getting weird.

I hate facebook.

I hate text.

I’m one of those cranky old guys who wonders how a whole generation missed e-mail.

I’m done. My brain is mush.

I’ll try to write a book or two, but I need to pay attention to myself and my family.

Marler hiring Joe, telling me to fuck off (not that I cared about that) and me not getting paid for 18 months, translates to, I give up.

I’ve been doing this for 25 years.

And I never met a lawyer who couldn’t appropriate a good idea.

I’ve got grandkids to go see.

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool. … Be honest and unmerciful.”

I need to be honest, with my failings and successes.

Shazam to let Chiquita reach shoppers via stickers

We – meaning my former lab – advocated that if Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers were going to undertake all those food safety steps back in 2000, they should brag about it.

Specifically through urls on product (youtube didn’t exist back then, but we still took lots of video and didn’t know what to do with it; fortunately, when the family and I tried to drive to Georgia for IAFP 2000 where I was to give the Ivan Parkin lecture – nice job, this year, Gary – we had the camera so was able to dial it in) we wanted to see all the efforts greenhouse growers were taking to enhance microbial food safety.

They eventually went with third-party auditors, because, like politicians and those in biz, they don’t lead, they see which way the wind is blowing and follow.

I’m old, awaiting the birth of my third grandson.

Almost 20 years later, for four weeks this summer, Chiquita stickers will be co-branded with a Shazam code that shoppers can scan to see videos of how bananas move through the supply chain from Latin American farms to U.S. grocery stores.

The program will start in mid-July and aims to draw attention to the company’s sustainability efforts.

“Fifty million Chiquita blue stickers will feature the Shazam code on a weekly basis, with five different experiences where consumers can follow the journey of a banana from the farms in Latin America, to the port facility, right across the Atlantic and all the way to the consumer’s kitchen table, without having to leave the grocery store,” said Jamie Postell, director of sales for North America. “This new partnership with Shazam and the latest technology in immersion allows consumers to learn about Chiquita’s commitment to sustainability and discover what Chiquita does, day after day, in order to deliver the promise that stands behind the blue sticker.”

Could you include some food safety instead of following trends?

 

 

Food safety culture jumped the shark years ago

This short document is based on the content of the GFSI full position paper “a culture of food safety”. It includes the key definitions and a short description of the dimensions and critical components of food safety culture developed in the full paper.

This may therefore be a helpful aide-memoire. Crucially (who writes like this and expects attention from minimum-wage, front line staff? Where’s the Pink Floyd?), the full paper places emphasis on: 1. The essential role of leaders and managers throughout an organisation, from CEO to farm, field and shop floor supervisors, from local ‘Mom and Pop’ grocery stores to large franchise restaurant organisations. 2. Why regular communication, education, metrics, teamwork and personal accountability are vital to advancing a food safety culture. 3. How learned skills including adaptability and hazard awareness move important safe food practices beyond a theoretical conversation to live in “real time.

Get used to ‘food authenticity’ Irish minister launches food safety strategy

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has launched a three-year food safety and food authenticity strategy, which aims to help guarantee food safety as the agri-food sector grows.

“Our future plans for food safety and food authenticity are ambitious, but we should not fear the breadth of our ambition as we dedicate our resources to improvement,” Minister Creed stated.

The Department will be working closely with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to deliver the strategy.

Dr Pamela Byrne of the FSAI said, “Assuring authenticity, monitoring the food chain, detecting fraudulent and deceptive practices and continually developing the best food safety systems, aligned to new and emerging food safety legislation, is embedded in our organisation’s DNA.”

British Virgin Islands: Stop using deodorizers on preparation surfaces

The Environmental Health Department has sounded an alarm on the use of deodorizers on food preparation surfaces, and is calling on food handlers and establishments that serve food to put a halt to the practice.

Chief Environmental Health Officer Lionel Michael, said his department observed the practice during a number of inspections at local restaurants, bars, delis, grocery stores, and supermarkets in the territory.

He told BVI News his department also received a number of complaints about the practice.

Deodorizers such as air fresheners, aerosols and disinfectants are used to remove unpleasant odours from an area.

Michael said these deodorizers should not be used to clean equipment, stoves, tables, countertops, table mats, microwaves, can openers, refrigerators, or any other food preparation area.

“Deodorisers are not cleaning agents for food surfaces. Deodorizers are for floors and bathrooms – their purpose is for deodorising floors and walls but not on food surfaces. Deodorizers can leave a residue, and chemical contaminants on food surfaces can get on food and cause chemical contamination and chemical poising. It can lead to foodborne illness,” Michael told BVI News.

Everyone’s got a camera: Maryland bakery with rats edition

Dana Hedgpeth of The Washington Post reports the video depicts a rat crawling over cookies, pastries and pies at a Maryland bakery.

The incident unfolded Friday at Buttercup Bakery at Lexington Market in Baltimore. The bakery was shut down by city health officials, and so was another bakery nearby — Berger’s Bakery, which was closed for a fly infestation after an inspection, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The video has been viewed on Facebook more than 800,000 times. At one point in the video, the rat crawls onto cakes and then gets into a pile of cookies. Customers can be heard shouting. Someone yells, “Just grab him by the neck!”

Some customers of the Lexington Market, an indoor market that has operated since 1782, told the Sun that the area has had a longtime rodent problem.

The Sun said the video was taken by Milton Mitchell, who stopped by Buttercup Bakery on Thursday to buy cookies for his wife. He said he heard a noise as he neared the bakery, and another person pointed to the rat in the display case of desserts and pastries. Mitchell, according to the Sun, took out his phone and recorded it.

He told the Sun, “I never thought it would get this big, but I’m glad it did,” adding that he wanted to “let the public know what kind of situation Lexington Market is in.”

According to WBAL, the Buttercup Bakery general manager said an employee may have left a door open, possibly letting the rat inside.

Food fraud: Raids in Spain uncover expired meats about to be placed back on the market

Javier Arroyo of El Pais reports that Spain’s National Police and Civil Guard have seized hundreds of tons of expired jamón and other meat products that were about to be placed back in the market – in some cases, they were already back on sale.

In three separate raids conducted over the course of a few weeks, officers found that individuals and companies were apparently tampering with seals and labels to extend the shelf life of expired food products.

Sources at the Civil Guard and the Health Ministry said that the operations were independent from each other, but that further investigation is being conducted to determine whether there is a link between the cases.

The problem is no longer about lower-quality ham being passed off as gourmet or “pata negra,” a designation used for top pork products. This has been a more or less habitual scam that producers of real Iberian meats have been trying to eliminate through quality regulations established in 2014, as well as seals indicating the animal’s breed and feeding method.

This latest fraud involves taking expired food products that should legally be destroyed, altering their labels, and putting them back on the market.

100 sick from Salmonella in 33 states: Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal still suck and still being sold

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has become aware that recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal are still being offered for sale. All Honey Smacks cereal was recalled in June 2018.

Retailers cannot legally offer the cereal for sale and consumers should not purchase Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal.

The FDA has learned that some retailers are still selling this product. The FDA will continue to monitor this situation closely and follow up with retailers as we become aware of recalled products being offered for sale. Additionally, the public is urged to report any product being offered for sale to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their region. More information about the recall can be found at FDA.gov.

The FDA, CDC, along with state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka infections linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks sweetened puffed wheat cereal.

The CDC reports that 100 people in 33 states have become ill. There have been 30 hospitalizations and no deaths.

Following discussion with FDA, CDC, and state partners, the Kellogg Company voluntarily recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. The recalled products were distributed across the United States including Guam and Saipan and internationally. Consumers should not eat any Honey Smacks cereal.

As this is an ongoing investigation, the FDA will update this page as more information becomes available, such as product information, epidemiological results, and recalls.

The FDA provided a more detailed a list of foreign countries to which the Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal was distributed.. Here is the list of the foreign countries: Aruba/Curaçao/Saint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles), the Bahamas, Barbados, Tortola (British Virgin Islands), Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and Tahiti (French Polynesia).

The FDA is advising consumers to not eat and to discard any Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. This is regardless of size or “best if used by” dates. The recall notice accounts for all of the product that is on the market within the cereal’s estimated one year shelf-life. However, Honey Smacks products with earlier dates could also potentially be contaminated.  

The FDA quickly initiated an inspection at the contract facility where Kellogg’s Honey Smacks is manufactured. As part of the inspection, investigators collected environmental and product samples. Analysis of the environmental samples is now complete, and they were found to be a match to the outbreak strain. In addition, product samples collected and analyzed by state partners were positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella Mbandaka. As of June 12, 2018, the manufacturing facility is no longer producing product. The FDA continues to work with the firm to address corrective actions.

When the Miami Herald filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the inspection of the facility, the FDA denied the request. The agency claimed two exemptions: “disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings” and possible disclosure of “trade secret and confidential commercial information.”