4 sick, link to 2015 berry outbreak: Creative Gourmet frozen berries recalled again over Hepatitis A in Australian

From Jan.-April 2015, at least 34 people in Australia developed Hepatitis A linked to frozen, ready-to-eat berries.

This followed several outbreaks in frozen berries in the EU, grown in various places.

On Friday, Creative Gourmet berries in Australia were once again linked to 4 cases of Hepatitis A.

Food-types think the berries are the same ones from the 2015 outbreak.

Yes, berries are good, yes companies will source the cheapest supplier where night soil may be rampant, and yes this story is weird.

Here’s what happened:

In 2015 Creative Gourmet’s Mixed Berries and Nanna’s range of frozen
berries were owned by the same company.

Ivone Ruiz, the General Manager of Entyce Food Ingredients told Choice magazine, “We purchased the Creative Gourmet brand and some existing stock reserves from Patties in late 2015. The stock had been extensively tested by independent accredited laboratories, all of which cleared the batch for traces of the hepatitis A.”

Testing is a necessary evil, but doesn’t tell anyone much about safety.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand suggests the batches are related. “These cases have an identical sequence [of hepatitis A] to that of the cases from the 2015 outbreak,” says a spokesperson. “This product was not in the market at the time of the 2015 recall.” A representative from the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria suggests how the batch could have evaded testing. “There is a possible link. They came in at a similar time to [Nanna’s] berries, but they came in before the test-and-hold [procedures were] put in place at the border,” spokesperson Bram Alexander tells Choice.

Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries contain strawberries, raspberries and blackberries from China, as well as blueberries sourced from Canada.

The berries are packaged in China before being shipped to Australia and are then repackaged in Melbourne.

Entyce says it’s decreasing its reliance on berries sourced from China having recognized “a level of concern that exists in the community.”

“When we took over the Creative Gourmet brand, over 95 percent of the fruit was sourced from China; we have brought this figure down to 5 percent,” Entyce’s Ruiz tells Choice. “With a number of sourcing contracts expected to cease shortly, 100 percent of all fruit used in the Creative Gourmet brand will be sourced from Canada, Chile, Brazil and Vietnam.”

The food safety regulator issued the “precautionary” recall on Friday, asking anyone who had bought the Creative Gourmet Frozen Mixed Berries 300-gram product with a best-before date before January 15, 2021 to return it immediately to the supermarket for a refund.

About 45,000 packets of the berries are affected. The berries were sourced from Canada and China and packed in Australia.

Entyce stopped sales of the suspect berries after the 1st reported case on 4 May 2017, but the actual recall did not start until a month later on 3 Jun 2017.

Someone’ got some explaining to do.

Frozen berries are a staple in our household.

I’ve taken to boiling the berries in the microwave for a couple of minutes – on the advice of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland – but it’s unclear how effective this is.

Then they sit in the fridge overnight, ready for breakfast.

Vaccines work, and my family is all vaccinated against Hepatitis A.

Companies, please be clear about where you get your food so consumers can choose (yes, I know it’s another fairy tale).

E. coli in Australian fetta

Gallo Farms Pty Ltd has recalled Gallo Marinated Fetta in Far North QLD only, due to microbial (E.coli) contamination. Food products contaminated with E.coli may cause illness if consumed. Consumers should not eat this product. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice. The product can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.

marinated-fettaDate notified to FSANZ

02/11/2016 

Food type

Marinated Fetta in oil with added parsley and pepper

Product name

Gallo Marinated Fetta

Package description and size

Plastic tamper-evident tub, 250g

Date marking

All best before dates between 06.11.16 and 30.11.16

Country of origin

Australia

Reason for recall

Microbial (E.coli) contamination

Distribution

Selected IGA supermarkets and small grocery stores in Far North QLD.

Consumer advice

Food products contaminated with E.coli may cause illness if consumed. Consumers should not eat this product. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice. The product can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Contact

Gallo Farms Pty Ltd

07 40 952 388

www.gallodairyland.com.au

Don’t drink the jello: Organic online business fined for selling toxic apricot kernels as food

Giselle Wakatama of ABC News Australia reports the sale of apricot kernels as food was banned in December by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), killing the $600,000 a year industry.

apricot-kernelBefore the ban, FSANZ said about 20,000 kilograms of apricot kernels were sold for human consumption in Australia each year.

Since the ban, inspectors from the New South Wales Food Safety Authority have been keeping an eye out for illegal sales.

The authority has revealed a Singleton-based online company, Fourbody, has been fined nearly $900 for selling the kernels illegally.

The company’s online website said it sourced the kernels from Turkey.

Fourbody did not respond to the ABC’s requests for comment.

Another supplier, Heal Yourself Australia, operating from Greenacre in Sydney, was fined the same amount for selling the kernels illegally earlier this year.

It too was found to have sold food that did not comply with the requirements of the Food Standards Code.

Consumer group Choice has previously said the apricot kernels, which are found inside the fruit’s stone and look similar to almonds, can be toxic.

Choice reported the apricot kernels had been sold as a miracle cancer cure since the 1950s, under the misguided premise that the cyanide targeted only cancerous cells, leaving healthy cells alone.

It’s a thing: Hemp milk

Marty McCarthy of ABC (the Australian version) reports Stuart Larssons, a soybean grower at Mallanganee in northern New South Wales, wants to produce hemp milk.

5779714-3x2-340x227“If you’ve tasted hemp milk it’s a lovely mild product to drink, high in omega sixes and threes, all the good things in there,” Mr Larssons said.

Hemp is a species of cannabis although, unlike marijuana, it has low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Hemp milk is made by crushing the seeds and mixing them with water.

The milk is already sold overseas, although it cannot be sold legally as a food product in Australia yet.

In 2015 food and health ministers in Australia and New Zealand rejected an application by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to permit the sale of foods made from low-THC hemp seeds.

Authorities were worried about the impact eating or drinking hemp products may have on roadside drug testing.

They also thought legalising hemp seed products would send a confusing message about the safety of its controversial cousin, cannabis.

Commonwealth, state, territory and New Zealand food ministers have asked FSANZ to address these information gaps, and then work on a proposal that would reconsider low-THC hemp being legally designated as a food.

If they do, Mr Larssons, who made a name for himself in the soy milk market, is keen to replicate that success in the hemp milk market.

“It’s like anything new, it has got to be tested and proven there’s nothing wrong with the product, so we’ve just got to wait for what the food authorities say,” he said.

Name change? 86 sick with Salmonella from Red Dirt Melons in Australia

Sorenne had scooter day today at school.

It’s all part of the active lifestyle thingy the school does – and our school is really good at it, because driving just doesn’t makes sense for the locals – but Sorenne’s scooter has seen better days and now she’s an avid bike rider.

cantaloupe.salmonellaShe still got a sausage on white bread – breakfast of champions – and some fruit for her efforts.

The fruit this morning consisted of watermelon and orange slices. I asked the co-ordinator if she considered rockmelon — otherwise known as cantaloupe – and she said, I did last week, but then just didn’t.

And then I heard the news last night.

Food safety Doug, who ruins all the fun for the other kids, gave her a big thumbs up.

Later today, it was confirmed that at least 86 people in Australia have contracted an “exceedingly rare” form of salmonella linked to the consumption of rockmelon.

Red Dirt Melons – a Northern Territories-based supplier – is recalling its rockmelons after Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) launched an investigation into a spike in salmonella cases in a number of Australian states. 

Whole rockmelons, as well as pre-sliced melons, can carry the bacteria, and should be avoided, health authorities said. 

There have been 86 reported cases of Salmonella Hvittingfoss (S. Hittingfoss) nationally – 43 cases in NSW – in the two weeks to August 1.

It’s a sizeable jump compared to the two cases per month on average in NSW over the last five years.

The people affected by the recent outbreak range in ages, but 49 per cent of cases in NSW were children under five years old.

Victorian authorities are investigating eight suspected cases of salmonella poisoning that may be linked to the fruit.

Red Dirt Melons have begun a recall of their rockmelons after the Salmonella bacteria was detected by health authorities in South Australia on August 2.

Woolworths removed all Red Dirt rockmelons from its stores on Monday evening when they were told of the possible link, a spokesman for the supermarket giant said.

The chain has also suspended any future supply from Red Dirt until the food authorities provide further guidance.

Rockmelons could become contaminated with salmonella due to water contamination, contact with fertiliser, pests or animals, or if the rockmelons were not cleaned properly before sale, The NSW Food Authority said.

Rockmelons have been linked to salmonella poisonings in the past, including in the US in the 1950s, 1960s and in 2002.

The Hvittingfoss strain turned up in Sydney and Adelaide in the past few weeks, according to the Australian Melon Association. Food Standards Australia New Zealand says authorities are investigating and has warned pregnant woman, infants and the elderly not to eat the fruit.

Industry, state and federal authorities are expected to discuss the issue in a teleconference on Wednesday afternoon.

“We want more details so consumers can find out which parts of Australia are not impacted,” melon association spokeswoman Dianne Fullelove told AAP.

“We would like to have our supply chain moving. At the moment it’s virtually stopped.”

Nicevmessage of safety and compassion.

The fruit has previously been linked to salmonella, with 50 cases linked to the Saintpaul strain reported in NSW in 2006. In America in 2011, rockmelon contaminated with listeria was linked to more than 20 deaths (33 – dp).

This chart of Salmonella-in-cantaloupe outbreaks will be updated in the next couple of days. Cantaloupe Related Outbreaks

cantaloupe.infosheet

Salmonella possibly linked to rockmelon in Australia

Rockmelon — otherwise known as cantaloupe – may be behind an increase of Salmonella in several Australian states.

Cantaloupe-listeria-outbreakFood Standards Australian New Zealand said Tuesday that, “While we wait for further information, the best advice is that consumers, especially infants, the elderly, pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems, should not consume rockmelon.”

Orgazmo? That a real name for olives? Different agency, same terrible approach to going public

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand says Orgazmo Smoked Foods has recalled Wood Smoked Sicilian Olives from Farmers Markets in NSW due Smoked Olivesto potential microbial contamination.

Food products contaminated with microbial pathogens may cause illness if consumed. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice. The products can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.

No idea what pathogen, no idea how it was discovered, no idea if anyone is sick, but if you’re buying olives of the Orgazmo brand, just sayin.

orgazmo

Has that mango been irradiated or you just happy to see me

A trans-Tasman review into the necessity of labelling food treated with ionizing radiation has drawn a mixed response from industry groups, consumers and activists.

Radura.mangoWhile most industry groups and corporations that produced submissions to Food Standards Australia New Zealand were supportive of removing the labelling, all but one of the private citizen submissions were against the idea.

The body will not propose a removal of the current labelling requirements at this stage, but asked respondents whether they thought the countries’ approach to signaling irradiated food was effective or necessary at present.

Irradiation, which is used as both a pest control method and way of extending food’s shelf life, is a rare practice in the two countries, used mainly as a final quarantine measure to prevent the spread of fruit flies.

Some mangoes are treated using irradiation.

Five FSANZ studies over the last 15 years and numerous World Health Organisation reports have found the irradiation process is safe, but food manufacturers are required to add a label informing consumers food has been processed in this way.

The wording of the labelling is not proscribed, though manufacturers can add an optional Radura symbol, the internationally recognised identifier of irradiated food.

Australian recall notices continue to suck: Listeria in pate

Once again: It only takes a few hundred times for things to sink in with the bureaucracy protecting public health in Australia.

list.pateNot the front-line workers, but the plutocracy in suits, fretting about their pensions, golden handshakes, and whether their kids will go to the best schools to meet the right people.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand says Just Entrees Pty Ltd has recalled Brandy Port and Sage Pate, Cracked Pepper Pate and Chicken Liver Pate from Coles in NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC, TAS and NT due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

How was the Liseriai detected and by whom? Is anyone sick?

These are basics that are usually covered in U.S. and Canadian press notices written by highly paid press thingies.

Not so in Australia, diving for the lowest common denominator.