Idaho food bank recalls foods after cooler temperatures reviewed

A few years ago an outbreak linked to a Denver homeless shelter made it into the barfblog new and notable category. Forty folks who depended on the emergency food were affected by violent foodborne illness symptoms after eating donated turkey. Fourteen ambulances showed up and took those most affected to area hospitals.

Earlier this year while speaking at the Rocky Mountain Food Safety Conference I met one of the EHS folks who conducted the investigation and temperature abuse of the turkey after cooking was identified as the likely contributing factor.

The very folks who need food the most were betrayed by the system they trust.

I can’t imagine how hard it is to be homeless or not have enough money to feed my family. Focusing on safe, nutritious food is moot if the money isn’t available to buy groceries. Or if there’s no home to take them too.

Volunteering as a food handler at a food bank, mission, shelter or soup kitchen and having a good heart and intentions doesn’t automatically lead to safe meals. An understanding of risks and having systems how to reduce them may.

Yesterday, a recall (we’re not recall net, others can do that) popped up as new and notable. The Idaho Food Bank recalled a few items that had been distributed to pantries  community meal sites and senior centers after someone reviewing cooler documentation saw that stuff was out of temp.

The Idaho Foodbank is recalling approximately 27,000 pounds of Coconut Beverage, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Eggs, and Cheese Product.

These products are being recalled because they were not continuously maintained or stored at the required temperature due to a malfunction in the cooler. This could result in contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens, which could lead to life-threatening illness if consumed. The Idaho Foodbank discovered the problem after reviewing cooler temperature records during high heat.

Affected Products were distributed in Southwest and North-Central Idaho

The Idaho Foodbank is committed to consumer safety and takes all product quality concerns very seriously. This recall affects less than 2% of the 1.5 million pounds of food IFB distributes statewide each month. We are recalling the products out of an abundance of caution, and are instructing consumers who received them not to eat these products and to immediately dispose of them.

Don’t know what temperature the coolers got to, or for how long, but that broccoli cheddar soup stuff is the type of stuff that could lead to botulism if temperature abused for a long time.

Ashley Chaifetz did a bunch of great work in this area a few years ago:

Evaluating North Carolina Food Pantry Food Safety–Related Operating Procedures

Ashley Chaifetz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Benjamin Chapman, North Carolina State University

Journal of Food Protection

Vol. 78, No. 11, 2015, Pages 2033–2042

DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-15-084

Abstract: Almost one in seven American households were food insecure in 2012, experiencing difficulty in providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources. Food pantries assist a food-insecure population through emergency food provision, but there is a paucity of information on the food safety–related operating procedures that pantries use. Food pantries operate in a variable regulatory landscape; in some jurisdictions, they are treated equivalent to restaurants, while in others, they operate outside of inspection regimes. By using a mixed methods approach to catalog the standard operating procedures related to food in 105 food pantries from 12 North Carolina counties, we evaluated their potential impact on food safety. Data collected through interviews with pantry managers were supplemented with observed food safety practices scored against a modified version of the North Carolina Food Establishment Inspection Report. Pantries partnered with organized food bank networks were compared with those that operated independently. In this exploratory research, additional comparisons were examined for pantries in metropolitan areas versus nonmetropolitan areas and pantries with managers who had received food safety training versus managers who had not. The results provide a snapshot of how North Carolina food pantries operate and document risk mitigation strategies for foodborne illness for the vulnerable populations they serve. Data analysis reveals gaps in food safety knowledge and practice, indicating that pantries would benefit from more effective food safety training, especially focusing on formalizing risk management strategies. In addition, new tools, procedures, or policy interventions might improve information actualization by food pantry personnel.

Vietnamese factory workers go home early after refusing worms for lunch

Thousands of workers at a Chinese garment firm in Ho Chi Minh City went without lunch, on Saturday, after some reportedly found worms in their soup.

worm-soupAccording to a story that appeared in Thanh Nien newspaper, on Sunday, a number of workers at the Worldon Company in Cu Chi District vomited at the sight of the worms.

The company sent everyone home early that afternoon after a number of workers fainted and others complained of exhaustion.

This wasn’t the first sign of trouble at Worldon’s canteen.

On October 29, a lunch of ground fish, shrimp, stir-fried vegetables and cabbage soup sent 109 employees to the hospital.

Doctors held seven of the workers overnight to treat them for severe food poisoning.

In May, dozens of workers became ill after another bad lunch.

Worldon Vietnam is owned by Shenzhou International, a Chinese clothing manufacturer based in Zhejiang Province in eastern China. The company employs more than 6,000 workers.

Canadian soup recalled because of C. bot risk

Raices Food Inc. is recalling Verano Food Purveyors brand Mushroom Soup from the marketplace because it may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Consumers should not consume the recalled products.

verano.soup.botThis recall was triggered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) inspection activities. CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

55 sickened: Staph in soup sent homeless to hospital in Utah

The Salt Lake County Health Department has determined that a food item served at a dining hall was likely the cause of illnesses that sent nearly 60 people who are homeless to hospitals in Salt Lake City Sunday night.

Hands of Homeless Man Receiving Bowl of SoupAccording to a press release from the Salt Lake County Health Department, investigators determined that soup served at St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall contained Staphylococcal enterotoxin, which is a common cause of foodborne illness when the bacteria is introduced to improperly heated or cooled food. The bacteria is found on human skin.

“I felt like my stomach was going to actually explode — it felt like my intestines were going to explode. I started vomiting before the paramedics got there,” Mark Hofheins told FOX 13 News earlier this week.

The release states St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall has cooperated fully with the department and that investigators began observing kitchen operations Monday to ensure kitchen workers were following health regulations.

Officials stated the kitchen undergoes surprise inspections twice each year and has “consistently done well” in those.

“This incident at St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall appears to be an isolated food handling error,” said Andrea Gamble, SLCHD environmental health scientist. “Unfortunately, a single lapse in temperature controls or food-contact protocols can cause problems.”

Health Department officials said a dining hall must follow the same rules for food service as a restaurant, and as such volunteers who do not have a food handler’s permit can only serve food that has already been prepared by those at the dining hall who do have the necessary permits.

Improperly processed low-acid foods sold at Virginia farmers market; health alert issued

In 2011, a 29-year-old man was hospitalized after five days of progressive dizziness, blurred vision, dysphagia, and difficulty breathing. The patient required mechanical ventilation and botulism antitoxin. He remained in the hospital for 57 days and then spent some time in a rehabilitation facility. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he had tasted some potato soup that included botulinum toxin.

In 1977, 59 patrons of a Detroit Mexican restaurant became ill with botulism after consuming improperly canned peppers. As a result of rumors of a pending shortage of fresh peppers, the restaurant staff decided to stick lightly-cooked peppers and some water in jars and seal them.

Putting low acid foods in a jar and sealing them without either acidifying (with vinegar/fermentation) or processing using pressure is a bad idea.

According to WTVR, Corfino Foods of Richmond VA has been selling soups and sauces that were improperly processed resulting in a health alert from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.corfino-foods

These products were improperly processed, making them susceptible to contamination with Clostridium botulinum.

Corfinio Foods has already suspended production of all of its canned soups and sauces and the firm is currently working with VDACS to come into compliance with state requirements.

Although there have been no reported cases of illness associated with these products, VDACS is issuing this consumer warning so that people who have previously purchased the products do not consume them.

The soups and sauces are packaged in glass, mason style jars with metal, screw on lids and have been sold at the Brandermill Green Market. The jars are marked with the Corfinio Foods label.

The firm was made aware of the dangers associated with selling improperly processed foods of this type and is working with VDACS and the market to notify consumers of the product recall.

Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with these products should discard them immediately. They should double bag the jars in plastic bags and place in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash. Those who don’t wear gloves when handling these products should wash their hands with soap and running water after handling.


Soup producers mad California regulators didn’t tell them how to manage risks

Being public is double-edged: great benefits by electronically and almost instantly connecting with individuals and food safety types around the world, with the risk of being a bigger target for every food-related (or other) grievance.

We encourage food types take to McLuhan’s mediums, and to fight back if wrongfully implicated.

But have some data.

The most common myths that permeate public conversations are food is automatically safe if:

• the bathroom’s clean;
• it’s local, organic, sustainable, natural;
• it’s government inspected; and,
• because we’ve always done things this way and never had a problem.

In 2011, a 29-year-old man was hospitalized after five days of progressive dizziness, blurred vision, dysphagia, and difficulty breathing. The patient required mechanical ventilation and botulism antitoxin. He remained in the hospital for 57 days and then spent some time in a rehabilitation facility. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, he had tasted some potato soup that included botulinum toxin.

In 1977, 59 patrons of a Detroit Mexican restaurant became ill with botulism after consuming improperly canned peppers. As a result of rumors of a pending shortage of fresh peppers, the restaurant staff decided to stick lightly-cooked peppers and some water in jars and seal them.

Putting low acid foods in a jar and sealing them without either acidifying (with vinegar/fermentation) or processing using pressure is a bad idea.

Earlier this week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urged people to avoid and dispose of One Gun Ranch and Organic Soup Kitchen soups sold at farmers markets in California because they potentially contained botulinum toxin. The vendors involved are saying they didn’t know the rules (or the risks). And it’s apparently the regulators fault for not letting them know.

According to Squid Ink, although none of One Gun Ranch and Organic Soup Kitchen products tested positive for the toxin (fortunately), the process/procedure to limit the germination of Clostridium botulinum and toxin outgrowth wasn’t validated by anyone. And the companies are crying fowl.

The companies targeted by CDPH are reeling from the state’s actions against their products.

"We have fed over 50,000 people in three years without incident," says Anthony Carroccio, founder and director of the Organic Soup Kitchen, which feeds homeless and low-income people in Santa Barbara.

Carroccio told us that there is nothing wrong with his soups and said that the company passed its most recent county health department inspection two weeks ago. He said the company has never had a recall of any of its products: "We do everything by the letter of the law."

Asked why the state health department is suddenly taking this action against the Organic Soup Kitchen, Carroccio responded: "That’s what I wish somebody would tell me."

Malibu-based One Gun Ranch emailed a statement to Squid Ink, saying: "The mandatory recall of our products is a result of further licensing requirements by the local health department in order to comply with state regulations. It was not a result of contaminated food or improper preparation of our jarred food products. In addition, the commercial kitchens used to prepare One Gun food products adhere to the highest standards of operation and regulations required by the CDPH."

One Gun Ranch CEO Jennifer Hozer told us in a phone interview, "Our understanding is it’s a paperwork issue. … Even though we’re doing everything, there’s a process you have to go through that we weren’t aware of, that they didn’t make us aware of, where they basically observe how you do it. Once that happens, we’ll be fine. Our practices are in place. In all honesty, the way we do it is above and beyond what they require. It’s just a matter of them seeing it."

Hozer added: "We want to protect our customers as well. We understand why they had to do what they did, as far as issuing the recall. It’s just unfortunate that it had to be with a scare tactic, causing fear of the product. We’ve all eaten the food, [and] nobody’s ever gotten sick."

Double points for two we’ve-never-made-anyone-ill comments in the same story. A better answer would have been to talk about the exact processes they use to limit the potential for botulinum toxin formation and how those processes have been validated. In the absence of that info, a lack of illnesses or issues is usually luck.

The idea of prevention is to prevent – before people get sick.

Botulism risk: consumers warned to not eat some soups sold at three Southern California farmers markets

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman today warned consumers not to eat soups from One Gun Ranch and Organic Soup Kitchen because they may have been improperly produced, making them susceptible to Clostridium botulinum.

Ingestion of botulinum toxin from improperly processed canned foods may lead to serious illness and death. No illnesses have been linked to any of the affected products at this time.

One Gun Ranch, a Malibu company, manufactured the following varieties of soups: Campfire Kitchen Cauliflower Soup, Heirloom Tomato Fennel Gaspacho Soup, Sequoia’s Skinny Spiced Coconut, Parsnip, and Turmeric Soup, Ossian’s Pumpkin Stew, and Freddy’s Firegrilled Meatballs. The soups were sold in 16-ounce glass jars with screw-on metal lids. Photographs of the affected soups’ packaging and labels are available on the CDPH website.

The soups were only sold at Pacific Palisades Farmers Market located at Swarthmore Avenue and Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades, CA on May 13, 2012 and June 3, 2012.

Organic Soup Kitchen, a Santa Barbara company, manufactured the following soups: Fire Roasted Yam, Curried Potato Leek, Curry Lentil Bisque, Tomato Bean and Wild Herb, and Mediterranean Chipotle Chili. The soups were sold under the Organic Soup Kitchen label and are packaged in one-quart glass jars with screw-on metal lids. Photographs of the affected soups’ packaging and labels are available on the CDPH website.

The soups were sold between June 6, 2011 and May 6, 2012, at the following farmers markets:

Calabasas Farmers Market located at Calabasas Road and El Canon Avenue, Calabasas, CA 91302 (Saturdays)
Studio City Farmers Market located at Ventura Place between Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Radford Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604 (Sundays)

CDPH is working with both companies to ensure these products are no longer available for sale.

Is that a condom in my soup or are you just happy to see me?

Associated Press reports a California man who says he ordered French onion soup and bit into a condom instead of melted cheese has settled his lawsuit against the Claim Jumper restaurant chain.

The terms of today’s settlement were not disclosed.

Both sides say in a statement the deal indicates no admission of liability by either party.

Kitchen porter at top UK private school arrested for ‘poisoning soup with diesel’

A kitchen porter at a £27,000-a-year private school has been arrested for allegedly poisoning soup meant for pupils and teachers with diesel.

Staff raised the alarm after noticing the food had a chemical smell while carrying out routine checks at Stowe school.

A 58-year-old man was arrested at his home near Brackley, Northamptonshire, yesterday on suspicion of administering poison. He was later bailed and also suspended by the school.

A school source said students were told to keep quiet and not even discuss it with friends or on Facebook.

A pupil told the Mirror,

The guy involved has been at the school’s catering department for years. The soup was ditched straight away when another member of catering smelled it. We were told not to discuss it outside school.

Gratuitous (comfort) food porn shot of the day: tomato soup and grilled cheese

Sorenne eating lunch with dad, 11:00 a.m., Dec. 27, 2009.

It’s not always a food porn extravaganza around the Hubbell household. Sure, last night’s dinner was marinated and oven-grilled tuna steaks, with asparagus and roasted sweet potato fries, but with the snow sticking around, and Sorenne’s nose draining like a running faucet, sometimes it’s best to stick with basics.

Tomato soup made with milk in my Dad cup — because I have a daughter who goes to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario — along with a grilled cheese sandwich made with whole wheat bread, a drizzle of butter, lots of extra sharp cheddar, prepared in a frying pan, and served with a pickle and ketchup.