S consumers don’t trust industry food safety efforts

Why should they?

The food safety efforts are hidden behind layers of bafflegab that consumers don’t care about, with their crying kids at the grocery store, and their partners who don’t understand the stress they are under and all sorts of modern angst.

Tom Karst of The Packer writes that a new survey from food and marketing agency Charleston Orwig found that more than a quarter of consumers said they do not trust the vigilance of the food industry’s safety efforts.

In a blog post called “Food Safety in America – Time to Bolster Consumer Confidence,” the agency reported a survey of 500 consumers found:

When asked if they trusted the food industry for safe food, 48% said they do trust the food industry and 27% said they did not;

More than 77% of consumers say that cooking a meal in their own kitchens is the best way to ensure it is safe to eat; 

Restaurants were deemed the second safest, with more than 59% of consumers considering this to be a reliable option;

Just 29% of respondents consider food trucks or public vendors safe and almost 42% considering this option potentially unsafe; 

Asked to compare food safety now versus a decade ago, about 35% of consumer said food is safer and 32% said it was less safe;

The survey said 59% of consumers said they assume food from individual farmers, food manufacturers or restaurants is safe if they have not heard about a specific problem;

The survey said that having had a food-borne illness did not make a person think food was less safe than participants overall; 

49% of consumers said grains, beans and pasta are the safest foods, followed by fresh fruits and vegetables at 42%;

Leafy greens and lettuce were tied with processed food as the next category of highest concern with 45% of consumers rating them risky, according to the survey; and

55% say meat and poultry are the riskiest to eat; the blog post speculated the divide could be tied to people’s overall perception of what makes up a healthy diet.

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.”

New Food Safety Infosheet: Hepatitis A illnesses linked to frozen berries in Australia

Australian public health officials have identified an outbreak of hepatitis A and linked illnesses to consuming Nanna’s frozen berries sold by Patties Foods.

Food safety infosheet highlights:

–  Health officials have confirmed 20 illnesses to date.

– The berries were produced by Patties Foods, which has issued a recall on three products.Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 9.13.39 PM

– Officials expect cases to increase as the incubation period of the virus ranges from 15-50 days and those who are infected may not yet be showing symptoms.

Click here to download the food safety infosheet.

Contaminated ground beef linked linked to E. coli O157:H7 outbreak

Food Safety Infosheet highlights:

– Wolverine Packing Company in Detroit has issued a recall of 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products marked with the establishment number of EST.2574B.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 2.41.19 PM

– 11 ill including (2 hospitalizations) after eating at restaurants that served recalled beef.

– Cook all ground beef products (fresh and frozen) to 155ºF for 15 seconds or 160ºF. Use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer to check that food has reached a safe temperature.

– Communicate the risks of consuming undercooked beef to restaurant patrons. The information should include messages about consequences and pathogens.

This infosheet was generated as part of a large USDA grant focusing on reducing the risk of Shigatoxin-producing E. coli related to beef.

Six cases of campylobacteriosis linked to chicken liver

Food safety infosheet highlights:

-At least 6 people who consumed raw or undercooked chicken livers, mostly chicken liver pâté have been infected with Campylobacter in Washington and Oregon.Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 6.57.43 PM

– A recent study found that about 77% of raw chicken livers are contaminated with Campylobacter.

– Multiple outbreaks of Campylobacter infections linked to chicken livers have been reported in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Click here to download.

Nearly 60 ill with Clostridium perfringens at outdoor school in Oregon

Food Safety Infosheet Highlights:

– Multnomah County, Oregon, health officials, 60 students developed stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea after eating beef stroganoff.Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 12.41.18 PM
– C. perfringens spores often survive cooking but are not a problem until the food is held at an improper temperature.
– These spores can germinate into cells which then can multiply to food poisoning levels if food is held between 41°F and 135°F for more than four hours.Foodsafetyinfosheet-10-28-15
– Use a tip sensitive digital thermometer to measure temperature and monitor throughout service and cooling.

Click here to download.

New food safety infosheet: 103 cases of salmonellosis linked to North Carolina church fundraiser meal

When it comes to food safety temporary events can be problematic. Outbreaks have been linked to food festivals, community dinners and church fundraisers. The newest food safety infosheet is based on a September 2013 outbreak linked to a Shelby, North Carolina church fundraiser.Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.36.50 AM

Food Safety Infosheet Highlights:

– At least 13 individuals who ate at a barbecue event were hospitalized with symptoms including abdominal cramping, diarrhea and vomiting.
– All preparers should know safe cooking/cooling temperatures and procedures. Hold meals and ingredients requiring temperature control either below 41°F or above 135°F.
– Purchase ingredients from commercial food businesses instead of homemade/donated foods and ask about food safety systems for suppliers.
– Community dinners can be great fundraisers but are often held at temporary sites and staffed by volunteers unfamiliar with safe food handling practices for large meals.

Download the infosheet here.

Norovirus is a problem for restaurants

– The virus can be introduced into a site by ill patrons or food handlers and can remain on surface for weeks. foodsafetyinfosheet-2-19-13
– Proper handwashing, excluding ill staff (for at least two days after disappearance of symptoms), and properly cleaning and sanitizing after vomit events can reduce risk.
– Two 2010 outbreaks of norovirus were linked to an Auckland, New Zealand caterer and eventually traced to one food handler. The individual had been ill with norovirus and prepared meals soon after recovering from symptoms.

Click here to download.

Over 50 norovirus illnesses linked to ill food handlers

Food Safety Infosheet Highlights:

– Mankato, MN civic center catering company linked to virus outbreak at two separate events

– Investigators trace outbreak to multiple food handlers who were ill

– Don’t handle food while ill; especially if you have symptoms like diarrhea (when transmission is likely) or vomiting (as virus particles may be spread to hands, clothes and other surfaces).

Click here to download.