Aussie farmers reduce waste with carrot vodka

As a former occupant of jail and a budding microbiologist, I know that booze can be made from anything that contains sugar or their carbohydrate predecessors.

According to Australian Food News, two Australian women on a mission to reduce food waste have launched a new vodka made using carrots.

The pair behind the drink, Gen Windley and Alice Gorman, came up with the idea knowing that carrots grown by their husbands were going to waste when they did not meet supermarket cosmetic standards.

Wanting to stop waste, the women joined with a wine maker, Jason Hannary of Flinders Park Winery, to create a vodka made from carrots.

The resulting drink has been described as a clear, slightly-sweet vodka that has a subtle hint of carrot.

“Not having done anything with vegetables before was a bit daunting, but after a few experiments we got a great result,” said distiller Jason Hannary.

It is not the first time the women and their families have found unique ways to use leftover carrots from their farms. In 2015, one of the women’s husband created carrot beer sold at a Queensland brewery.

“Alice and I have four loud and energetic sons so we decided this was the year to create an alcoholic vegetable drink for ourselves!” Gen Windley said.

Carrot Vodka will be launched at the Winter Harvest Festival which is part of the Scenic Rim Eat Local Week. The week is dedicated to promoting food and wine from the Scenic Rim region in South East Queensland.

127 sick with Yersinia in NZ: When should public health types go public with food safety risks?

Early findings into a severe gastroenteritis outbreak were withheld to avoid causing a public scare with limited information, the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says.

carrotjuiceI’ve heard the same shit for 20 years – we can’t tell the public, we know better and are paid better than the plebes, so we must know better.

We’ve worked with several farming groups over the decades with no problems.

People can handle discussions of risk.

Bureaucrats are terrified of discussions of risk.

About 127 people have been affected and 38 hospitalized by a Yersinia pseudotuberculosis outbreak since it appeared last month.

MPI deputy director general Scott Gallacher yesterday said lettuce and carrots had been associated with the outbreak in an Environmental Science and Research (ESR) draft report last week but the information was “not a slam dunk.”

Epidemiology is rarely a slam dunk.

Foodstuffs, the company that owns New World and Pak’n Save, said it had viewed the report which named two of its two products, Pam’s fresh express mesclun salad lettuce and Pam’s fresh express lettuce, as possible sources.

The company is investigating this and did not believe any of the potentially affected products were still on its shelves.

Gallacher fended off claims the MPI risked public health because it was more concerned about protecting supermarkets’ reputations.

Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey yesterday said the ESR draft report clearly identified bagged lettuce and carrots from a particular supermarket chain as the source.

Time for an epidemiology refresher in New Zealand, Or a political one; sick people vote with their barf.

Food companies not allowed to sue Ottawa over mistaken recalls, B.C. court rules

On Aug. 17, 2007, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued two warnings about LA Salad baby carrots sold at Costco because they may have been contaminated with Shigella. The Agency said at the time that the carrots had already made four people sick, which triggered a subsequent recall in the United States.

The company responded by saying CFIA’s allegations weren’t supported by scientific fact and accused them of shoddy testing. In babycarrotsdocuments filed in B.C. Supreme Court, the company claimed damages due to a continued loss of business.

Six years later, a B.C. court ruled that it and other such companies cannot sue the federal government over mistaken recalls, saying CFIA inspectors owe a legal duty to the public, not the food producers they might wrongly accuse.

The National Post reports that with regulators more often criticized for failing to keep on top of foodborne illness, the case offers a rare view from the other side: producers who, deservedly or not, suffer hugely from public alerts.

If they don’t face any liability ever, they can make mistakes and never find out which food product was actually making people sick

The food-inspection agency should be held accountable in court when it points the finger at the wrong culprit, if only to ensure the real sources of outbreaks are uncovered, said Dale Sanderson, L.A. Salad’s Vancouver lawyer.

“If they don’t face any liability ever, they can make mistakes and never find out which food product was actually making people sick,” said Mr. Sanderson. “There should be an incentive to do a really good job. … I can’t believe the CFIA won’t recall food because they might get sued.”

Colorado produce firm invests $1 million for food-safety upgrades

It’s nice that Hungenberg Produce in Colorado has spent $1 million upgrading it’s food safety prevention, and they are representative of many of the farmers I know, but how can they be rewarded by consumers for their food safety efforts? How can I differentiate their carrots from other carrots at retail?

The Greeley Tribune reports that Mike and Paul Hungenberg, who represent the fourth generation to spearhead operations at Hungenberg Produce, invested about $1 million this past year to improve the company’s food safety and sanitation measures at its carrot-packing shed north of Greeley on Weld County Road 39.

The expensive upgrades were not required by any new federal or state regulations — the Hungenbergs said they’re just not willing to leave anything to chance.

“Food safety is something we’re always looking at … it’s a very important issue,” said Mike Hungenberg, whose company grows 1,000 acres of carrots and about 2,000 acres of other vegetables, while also packaging and shipping out about 300 tons of carrots daily during the five-month carrot season. The produce goes to Walmart, King Soopers, Kroger, Safeway and Sprouts stores, and can be found across the U.S. “We had been looking at making some upgrades … and with last year’s (listeria-in-cantaloupe) outbreak, the writing was on the wall. It was time.

“We wanted to be proactive.”

Mike Hungenberg said his company brought in a representative from McCarthy Integrated Systems in California — one of the industry’s foremost experts in food safety equipment, as Hungenberg described.

After getting pointers from that consultant, Mike designed the upgrades and, with the help of his workers, installed the new food-safety equipment this past winter.

Hungenberg Produce now has automated sprayers that sanitize and disinfect conveyor belts and other equipment throughout the day — not just at the end of the day.

Mystical One Juice sucks at safety, FDA goes to court seeking closure

At the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice today filed a complaint for permanent injunction against a Jamaica, N.Y.-based beverage company to prevent it from processing and distributing juice and other products.

Hank J. Hagen and Milton S. Reid and their company, Mystical One LLC (also known as Mystical One Juice LLC), are charged with violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by failing to have a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan for certain juice products, such as the company’s carrot juice products, and by failing to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP).

The FDA requires all juice processors to prepare and implement HACCP plans that identify and control food hazards associated with their juices, and it requires all food manufacturers to follow cGMP. The FDA is not aware of illnesses associated with Mystical One’s juice products.

Among the violations observed by FDA investigators were failures to:?

• adequately heat low-acid vegetable juices to destroy or prevent growth of dangerous microorganisms;?
• properly clean food-contact surfaces; and?,
• maintain and monitor sanitation conditions at the manufacturing facility to prevent sources of possible food and water contamination.

Failure to identify and control food hazards could lead to the formation of Clostridium botulinum bacteria that can germinate in the carrot juice made by the company. The neurotoxin formed by these bacteria, when ingested in even very small amounts, could cause paralysis, difficulty breathing and death from asphyxiation. In 2006, six cases of botulism in the United States and Canada were linked to refrigerated carrot juice.

The complaint also charges Mystical One, Hagen and Reid with failing to conform to cGMP requirements for making, packing, or holding human food.

Beverage products produced under conditions that do not comply with HACCP or GMP requirements are considered adulterated under the Act.

Violations cited by the FDA involved the following brands:
• Fresh Carrot Juice,
• Magnum Food Drink,
• Pineapple Ginger Drink,
• Sorrel & Ginger,
• Sea Moss, and,
• Peanut Punch.