Pinto defense: Ferrero guarantees safety of chocolate bars based on government inspection

Ferrero clarified that its chocolate bars are safe, adding that the German government has not recalled its products from the country’s store shelves, an article from local news portal reported.

pinto,explodingIn a statement posted on its website on July 12, the firm further guaranteed that they have met all the needed food safety requirements in the countries where they exported their products.

On July 5, U.K. media outlet Daily Mail reported that Germany’s Foodwatch has found out that its Kinder Riegel chocolate bars contain high levels of mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons. This component is a byproduct of the oil refining process.

The newspaper cited that the issue has led to the recalling of the bars, as the European Food Safety Agency also commented that the product “may be carcinogenic.” further reported that Foodwatch member Johannes Heeg has recommended consumers to avoid purchasing these products.

Asked about the said mineral found, Ferrero shared that minimal traces of such oil do exist almost anywhere.

Is head lettuce safer than bagger greens; should those bagger greens be washed once home

"There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that bagged salad is any more or less risky then a whole head of lettuce." Cutting any fresh produce creates a risk of bacterial growth.

So says a spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a Wall Street Journal feature about reviving the prepared salad category; the food safety nuggets are left to the end.

Scientists don’t agree on whether bagged salad has a higher risk of illness than a head of lettuce. Some scientists say it does, because of the possibility that contaminated leaves will spread bacteria to thousands of other leaves during washing and packaging.

For prewashed packaged salads, a second wash at home isn’t recommended for preventing foodborne illness. Addressing the question in 2007, a scientific panel of food-safety experts found the risk of cross-contamination with other foods outweighed any possible benefit from washing packaged salad greens a second time at home.

When washing at home, "there’s a risk that is the sink where you just washed your chicken," says Donald Schaffner, Rutgers University professor of food science.

A table of leafy green related outbreak is available at

Sprouts are safe if they are local? Not

Since no one publicly knows anything about the supplier or source of sprouts linked to a 15-state wide salmonella outbreak with 89 sick, I have no idea why a Jimmy John’s owner in Montana thinks local is safer.

Dan Stevens, the owner of the Missoula and Great Falls Jimmy John’s, decided to share his knowledge of microbiological risk reduction in raw sprouts by e-mailing KRTV and stating,

“…the sprouts for our Great Falls store are grown right here in MT. Right outside of Billings. I would like to stress that fact. Our sprouts are a few states and over 1000 miles removed from Illinois. Sprouts have not been taken off our local menu as we have encountered zero problems since our opening over a year ago.”


Big egg farms don’t mean dirty egg farms, N.Y. Times version

A salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands and led to the recall of 500 million eggs produced under filthy conditions by two Iowa farms led Elizabeth Weise of USA Today to report on an Illinois farm that produces over 800,000 eggs per day yet has never found a salmonella-positive test result.

This morning, N.Y. Times reporter William Neuman examines the conditions at Hi-Grade Egg Farm in Indiana and finds that safe eggs can be produced on a large scale.

“(The) droppings from 381,000 chickens are carried off along a zig-zagging system of stacked conveyor belts with powerful fans blowing across them.

"The excrement takes three days to travel more than a mile back and forth, and when it is finally deposited on a gray, 20-foot high mountain of manure, it has been thoroughly dried out, making it of little interest to the flies and rodents that can spread diseases like salmonella poisoning.

“Standing by the manure pile on a recent afternoon, Robert L. Krouse, the president of Midwest Poultry Services, the company that owns the Hi-Grade farm, took a deep breath. The droppings, he declared, smelled sweet, like chocolate"

Mr. Krouse, who is also chairman of the United Egg Producers, an industry association, said

“We’ve had to completely change the way we look at things. Thirty years ago, farms had flies and farms had mice, everything was exposed to everything else. They just all happily lived together. You can’t work that way anymore"

Today the hens on Mr. Krouse’s farms come from hatcheries certified to provide chicks free of salmonella. The young birds are vaccinated to create resistance to the bacteria. And then steps are taken to keep them from being exposed to it, primarily by controlling mice and flies that may carry salmonella or spread it around.

Big ag doesn’t mean bad ag. Organic or conventional, local or global, big or small, there are good farmers and bad farmers. The good ones know all about food safety and continuously work to minimize levels of risk.

Unfortunately, consumers have no way of knowing which eggs or foods were produced by microbiologically prudent farmers and which were produced on dumps. Market microbial food safety at retail so consumers can actually use their buying power and choose safer food.

Nosestretcher alert: Illinois paper perpetuates stereotypes about local food

The reporters at the Rockford Register Star in Illinois probably meant well, with a feature about the important role of local food inspectors, but they sorta ruin it by beginning the story with:

If you haven’t grown it, cleaned it and cooked your food yourself, you’re eating at your own risk.

It is entirely possible to grow food, and clean it and cook it all by yourself – and completely mess things up and make people barf.

Back to the story, Winnebago County Health Department sanitarians Gail Goldman and Karen Hobbs and four colleagues work to cut the risk of foodborne illness by checking out more than 1,600 establishments such as restaurants, grocery stores, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, gas stations, concession stands and other places offering food and drinks for public consumption.

In 2009, the Health Department’s sanitarians performed 5,109 inspections the most important part of which, Goldman and Hobbs said, was education.

Hobbs said the last thing that made her think she has seen everything on the job was “a towel used to wipe a cutting board and then used to wipe a face. There was quite a bit of education going on that day.”

Hamburgers: fresh is not the same as safe

‘Our restaurant’s burgers are safe to eat undercooked: The meat is fresh and ground in-house.’

This is wrong, dangerous, and nothing more than food porn, the wishful thinking that bacteria will avoid certain products if prepared with enough manual labor and love.

Bacteria don’t care about love.

Shamona Harnett of the Winnipeg Free Press reported the all-too-common chat with her server as she tried to order a burger – she went with well-done. And she urged cooks to use a food thermometer to ensure the burger has reached 160 F, which is also an effective way to ensure the cook doesn’t overcook the burger. Thermometers make people better cooks.

Harnett then goes on to say that “experts say consumers should wash lettuce — even if it’s labelled pre-washed.”

No they don’t. An expert panel concluded,

"Leafy green salad in sealed bags labeled ‘washed’ or ‘ready-to-eat’ that are produced in a facility inspected by a regulatory authority and operated under cGMPs, does not need additional washing at the time of use unless specifically directed on the label. The panel also advised that additional washing of ready-to-eat green salads is not likely to enhance safety. The risk of cross contamination from food handlers and food contact surfaces used during washing may outweigh any safety benefit that further washing may confer."

Food safety is not simple.