From the duh files: Corinthian Foods recalls fish nuggets mislabeled as chicken nuggets

Corinthian Trading, Inc./DBA Corinthian Foods is recalling 5 lb. retail bags of Uncooked Sweet Potato Crusted Alaska Pollack Nuggets 1 oz. with date code CF35319 due to mislabeling. The bag contains Chicken Nuggets instead of Fish Nuggets. The product is packaged in clear 5 lb. bags with a white label with black writing.

Product was distributed in the state of Michigan, and may reach consumers through retail stores.

All allergens are properly declared, and no illness have been reported.

The problem was discovered when cases were opened to put out for retail sale, and the label on the retail package did not match the label and description of the master case. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem was caused during the packaging process. The incorrect labels were applied to the product causing the product to be mislabeled.

Piping hot in Australia

I guess people think I don’t exist, but I am here, just not in the corporate-academic-producer group-government meeting mode.

I hang out at supermarkets and talk with people.

I went to my Commons this morning, and saw these ribs and bought a pack, not because I wanted ribs but because of the labelling.


What about microbial food safety? Food industry launches phone-based disclosure amid labeling battle

Phillip Brasher of Agri Pulse reports the food industry is launching a smartphone-based system that companies hope will satisfy consumer demands for information about genetically engineered ingredients, livestock production methods and other product attributes. SmartLabel system, which also will allow consumers to find the information on the web as through the phone-based QR code on package labels, is designed in part to address demands for labeling of biotech foods.

“We all have a desire to get the information that consumers want to them,” said Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “We happen to think that electronic disclosure is the very best way to do that.” 

The Hershey Co. will be the first company to adopt the SmartLabel in coming weeks.

Now adapt it for microbial food safety – the things that actually make people sick.

Food fraud nothing new: But we will survive

Historian Madeleine Ferrieres, until recently Professor of Modern History at the University of Avignon and the author of my favorite food book, 2002’s Mad Cow, Sacred Cow, said in a recent interview, “we still live with the illusion of modernity, with the false idea that what happens to us is new and unbearable. These are not risks that have arisen, but our consumer behavior has changed.”

What’s new is better tools to detect fraud, which also presents an opportunity: those who use the real deal should be able to prove it through DNA testing and brag about it.

The days of faith-based food safety are coming to a protracted close.

As Ferrieres wrote in her book,

“All human beings before us questioned the contents of their plates. … And we are often too blinded by this amnesia to view our presents food situation clearly. This amnesia is very convenient. It allows us to reinvent the past and construct a complaisant, retrospective mythology.”

I’ve quoted those words before, but increasingly find myself reinventing the past.

That’s OK, just sorta boring, so I coach and play hockey.

CBC’s (that’s the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s in Canada) Marketplace, which has always had a flair for the dramatic, broadcast an episode tonight about labeling, mis-labeling, and food fraud.

They interviewed me about 2 am my time today, probably as a follow-up; I tried to shift to a broader discussion, they were more interested in gotcha-style; bottom line, all food purchases are faith-based, no matter how well you think you know a farmer, and food fraud has been going on as long as people have sold food.

Supermarket workers are speaking out to CBC’s Marketplace about how stores tamper with best-before dates and how it can make food unsafe.

For five years, Mohammad Saffari has worked as a bakery clerk at a Loblaws store in Montreal. He says he was told to change best-before dates on fresh or frozen bakery items such as cheesecakes, muffins and pastries that were weeks or months past the best-before date.

Saffari says he was told to take cheesecakes that had passed their best-before dates and add toppings, so they would appear fresh.

He says cakes were then given a new best-before date and put back on the shelves for sale.

“I decorate it and I’m selling expired stuff for $13.99,” he says. “I won’t eat this cheesecake myself. But I sell it to you.”

‘You think other stores don’t do it?’

Saffari approached Marketplace after he became frustrated with being asked to change dates. “I couldn’t take it anymore,” he says. “I was on sick leave for three to four months because of the pressure; because what you’re doing you’re not proud of and you’re forced to do it.”

After speaking up about this on a number of occasions, Saffari decided to secretly record a conversation with his supervisor where he asks about the practice. He shared the recording with Marketplace.

“Every store does the same f—ing thing. You think other stores don’t do it?” the supervisor says on tape.

“Everyone f—s with the dates, Mo. Because at the end of the year, the managers, their bonus, you understand?”

In an email, Johanne Héroux, a senior director at Loblaws, told Marketplace:

“As a company, we are fully committed to upholding the highest standards in terms of product quality and safety. We have strict protocols in place to ensure their application across all our stores and departments.

“As for the store-specific allegations brought to our attention and in accordance with our zero tolerance policy regarding actions that jeopardize the safety and quality of our products, an investigation was undertaken immediately. Necessary actions will be taken upon completion of the ongoing investigation.”

Problems industry-wide

But Saffari is only one of a number of former and current supermarket employees who spoke out about how supermarkets change best-before dates.

Marketplace heard from people who have worked in the bakery, meat and produce departments of a number of different grocery stores, both chains and independent. They described a number of tricks that supermarkets employ to make food appear fresh.

These tactics include grinding old meat with fresher meat, marinating old meat in sauces that mask the smell, cutting mould off fruit and vegetables for party trays, and cutting cakes in half to facilitate a faster sale after the best-before has passed.

One insider also says his store took meat that had gone brown from sitting out, and dipped it in blood to make it look redder. Others said they would take mouldy fruit off custard tarts, replace it and glaze it to make it look fresh.

In each of these cases, food was put out with new best-before dates that significantly extended the shelf life.

Food treated this way can harbour microbes that can make you sick, says Keith Warriner, a microbiologist at the University of Guelph.

Best-before dates aren’t a guarantee that food is safe to eat. Other factors, such as the way food is stored, can make a big difference.

For dry food, such as cookies, crackers and pasta, best-before dates are a guarantee of freshness and flavour, and don’t mean that food past that date is unsafe to eat.

So how do you know that the food you’re buying is fresh? Employees recommend buying meat from the back of the shelf, and avoiding pre-marinated or cut foods. They also suggest buying whole cakes, pies and tarts.

Seek and ye shall find: More 5 now sick with Salmonella linked to raw frozen chicken thingies in Minn.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to raw, frozen, stuffed and breaded chicken entrees produced by Aspen Foods.

aspen-foods-recallFive people infected with two strains of Salmonella Enteritidis were reported from Minnesota with illness onsets from May to July 2015. Two of these people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

The five illnesses in Minnesota occurred after people had eaten Antioch Farms brand frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken entrees, which are produced by Aspen Foods.

On July 15, 2015, Aspen Foods issued a recall of approximately 1.9 million pounds of frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis.

Products subject to this recall also bear the establishment number “P-1358” on the packaging, and have “best if used by” dates between July 14, 2016 and October 10, 2016.

Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should check their freezers for recalled frozen, raw chicken products and should not eat, serve, or sell them.

As part of the ongoing investigation, on September 17, 2015, USDA-FSIS reported that frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken recently products produced by Aspen Foods have been confirmed as having the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis.

USDA-FSIS reports that it cannot have confidence in the safety of any of these products produced after July 30, 2015.

Clear as mud: Australia hep A outbreak sparks labeling changes but isn’t food safety

Green and gold kangaroo labels will show consumers how much of their food contains local ingredients and whether it was made in Australia, but the changes have been criticised by a consumer advocate for not requiring the origin of non-local ingredients.

MadeInAus_729pxThe new labelling system, which is expected to make food slightly more expensive, followed demands for clearer information on the origin of food products following an outbreak of hepatitis A caused by frozen berries imported from China earlier this year. 

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce unveiled the new food labels on Tuesday, saying some businesses would start using them on a voluntary basis before the end of the year.

“If a product has got the green and gold kangaroo triangle, it is made or processed in Australia,” Mr Abbott said. “If the product has the gold bar, the product is Australian.”

The gold bar will display the proportion of local ingredients used in the food product.

From next year, Australian manufacturers will be required to carry the labels, which, are the result of a four-month senate inquiry into country-of-origin food labelling laws. The review was called after 28 people were infected with hepatitis A from frozen berries imported from China in February.

Asked how the labels would help prevent similar future outbreaks, Mr Abbott was quick to distinguish the labels from food safety standards. “Different people might have different views about where you are most likely to be confident in the quality of your food. 

“But they are two separate issues. We are dealing with one. Obviously it is up to the various levels of government to deal with the other.”

Tom Godfrey, a spokesman for consumer group Choice, said manufacturers should make it clear where all their ingredients are sourced from “and take on board the option to list the main ingredients of their products”.


44 sick with Salmonella: Frozen chicken thingies strike again, in Canada

So why did it take until the end of June to report on people who became sick from between Feb. 7 and May 23?

chicken.thingies.raw.cookCanada is hopeless on some things.

Frozen and raw breaded chicken products are the culprits behind 44 recent cases of Salmonella illness in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, says the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in a notice it issued Sunday morning.

The 44 cases happened in Ontario (28), Quebec (12), Nova Scotia (2) and Newfoundland and Labrador (2). Twelve people were hospitalized as a result. No deaths have been reported.

The video below is from Mar. 2008.

Direct video observation of adults and tweens cooking raw frozen chicken thingies 01.nov.09

British Food Journal, Vol 111, Issue 9, p 915-929

Sarah DeDonder, Casey J. Jacob, Brae V. Surgeoner, Benjamin Chapman, Randall Phebus, Douglas A. Powell;jsessionid=6146E6AFABCC349C376B7E55A3866D4A?contentType=Article&contentId=1811820

The purpose of the present study was to observe the preparation practices of both adult and young consumers using frozen, uncooked, breaded chicken products, which were previously involved in outbreaks linked to consumer mishandling. The study also sought to observe behaviors of adolescents as home food preparers. Finally, the study aimed to compare food handler behaviors with those prescribed on product labels.

raw.chicken.thingies.outbreakDesign/methodology/approach – The study sought, through video observation and self-report surveys, to determine if differences exist between consumers’ intent and actual behavior.

Findings – A survey study of consumer reactions to safe food-handling labels on raw meat and poultry products suggested that instructions for safe handling found on labels had only limited influence on consumer practices. The labels studied by these researchers were found on the packaging of chicken products examined in the current study alongside step-by-step cooking instructions. Observational techniques, as mentioned above, provide a different perception of consumer behaviors. Originality/value – This paper finds areas that have not been studied in previous observational research and is an excellent addition to existing literature.


‘Only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer’ Tyson recalls beef

Guess the Brits didn’t get that line about using a thermometer.

And the freshness is guaranteed, but not the safety.

tyson.e.coli.O157.recall.jun.15Tyson Fresh Meats, a Dakota City, Neb., establishment, is recalling approximately 16,000 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The ground beef items were produced on May 16, 2015. The following products are subject to recall:

5 lb. chubs of “80% Lean Ground Beef.”

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 245C” inside the USDA mark of inspection and a “best before or freeze by” date of June 5, 2015. These products were shipped to one distribution location in New York.

FSIS discovered the problem during a routine sampling program. Neither FSIS nor the company received any reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product. FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may have been sold and stored in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume product that has been cooked to a temperature of 160° F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature,

Media with questions regarding the recall can contact Worth Sparkman, at (479) 290-6358 or Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact the consumer hotline, at (866) 328-3156.

Tennessee Harris Teeter closes meat dept. after I-Team investigation

Harris Teeter grocery stores are soon leaving the Nashville market, but they have completely shut down the meat department at the Brentwood location.

harris-teeter-storeThe Channel 4 I-Team has been investigating allegations of re-labeling and outdated meat and spoiled seafood being sold at the store.

Additional lab tests on the meat and seafood the I-Team purchased have turned up some unusual findings.

Experts said overall, the samples had 100 to 1,000 times more bacteria than typically seen on meat or fish offered for sale.

Last week, the I-Team went behind the scenes at the Brentwood grocery store and spoke to a concerned butcher who had marked packages of outdated meat to track in case it ended up on store shelves again.

The meat was re-tagged and sold against store policy.

The I-Team’s source said he also had longstanding concerns, shared with his managers, about what goes into the glass cases without any sort of date tag.

Harris Teeter would not answer the I-Team’s questions about its record keeping on meat and fish, throwing away dated boxes, the kinds of bacteria found on the products we purchased, or how we managed to buy a piece of meat that had apparently sat in storage two months past the sell-by date.
WSMV Channel 4

Fake grill marks aside, you could throw these sausages on the summer barbecue

Fake grill marks have the tendency for people to undercook things, when the only way to know is a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

sausage.dec.14Barbecue season is here and therefore sausages are on the menu. Sausages like these are popular at most barbecues, according to my daughter, and they are easy to grab and run. But they do come with some added extras such as preservatives, colors and fillers.