Does your state suck at food safety? CDC releases prevention status reports

CDC has just released the latest Prevention Status Reports (PSRs), which highlight the status of state-level policies and practices to prevent or reduce problems affecting public health. The PSRs cover 10 public health topics—including food safety—and rate states on their implementation of recommended policies and practices. 


skippy.burger skippy.burgerThe reports include a new measure on state adoption of selected provisions in the 2013 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code. The Food Code is a science-based model code that states can use to develop or update their food safety rules to better prevent foodborne illness and outbreaks.

CDC identified four Food Code provisions especially important in reducing outbreaks in restaurants and other retail food establishments:

  • exclude ill food service staff from working until at least 24 hours after symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, have ended;
  • prohibit bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food;
  • require at least one employee in a food service establishment to be a certified food protection manager; and,
  • require food service employees to wash their hands.

The other two measures continue from the 2013 Prevention Status Reports. High scores for these two measures enable efficient detection and investigation of outbreaks:

  • speed of DNA fingerprinting using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) testing for all reported cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157; and,
  • completeness of PFGE testing of Salmonella.

The PSR website has been enhanced to include an interactive map that leads directly to topic reports for each state. The website also includes State Summary tables that outline the full set of policy and practice ratings for each state; a National Summary that gives aggregate ratings across states and rating comparisons for 2013 and 2015; the PSR Quick Start Guide; a fact sheet; answers to frequently asked questions; and a link to the 2013 PSRs. 

Should food safety inspectors get fired if they screw up? Welsh parents say yes

Ya can’t inspect your way to a safe food supply.

For all those in Canada and America clamoring for more inspectors, please, read the report Bill-Murray-in-Groundhog-Day impersonator Professor Hugh Pennington wrote after the 2005 E. coli O157 outbreak in Wales, which sickened 160 and killed 5-year-old Mason Jones (right).

The Western Mail reports this morning that the parents of those kids want the inspectors – the environmental health officers who failed to shut down the butcher responsible for the E .coli outbreak – fired.

Julie Price, 44, whose son Garyn, 13, was left fighting for his life after his kidneys failed when he contracted E.coli O157, said:

“At the end of the day, the buck stops with (butcher) Tudor, but these people were in place to protect our children and they didn’t. I would like to see them sacked.”

Jeanette Thomas, 37, from Mountain Ash, whose sons Garyn ,10, and Keiron ,13, both contracted the bug, said,

“These environmental health officers shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it, especially considering what these poor kids have been through."

Pennington’s report noted that the inspectors, could and should have stopped Tudor using a single vacuum-packing machine for raw and cooked meat.

The butcher was HACCP-trained, inspected and in the business for 30 years, but apparently didn’t know or care about cross-contamination between raw and cooked product. Neither did the imspectors.