Sell food from home in New Mexico, get a permit

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that a rule change will go into effect today that requires those who sell home-based food products to have a permit issued by the New Mexico Environment Department.

That permit will allow the sale of certain foods that can be prepared in home-based food processing operations within state jurisdiction. Those foods include yeast and quick breads, cookies, cakes, tortillas, high-sugar pies and pastries, high-sugar jam and jellies, dry mixes (made from commercial ingredients), candy and fudge. Those foods do not support the rapid and progressive growth of infectious and toxicogenic microorganisms, including Clostridium botulinium, responsible for foodborne disease.

The food permit costs $100 a year. To obtain a permit to operate, a seller can submit an application to a local NMED field office. The application package is available at or at your local NMED field office.

As Ben and Brae wrote in the Wisconsin State Journal back in March, 2006, leave the umpires in the field — the health inspectors who make sure everybody plays by the rules. In this game we need to get along so it doesn’t leave a nasty and sometimes lethal taste in the mouths of players or spectators.

Moose head falls on woman in restaurant, woman sues

Moose, like other ruminants, are the natural reservoirs of E. coli O157:H7 and other verotoxigenic E. coli.

A moose head, hanging on a wall, probably lacks the water activity to support E.c oli sustinence or growth.

Raina Kumra is suing a Lower East Side bar, the White Slab Palace on Delancey Street near Allen Street
, claiming she got a concussion and other injuries after a 150-pound decorative moose head fell off the wall and slammed into her head on Oct. 4.

Bad seafood destined for Year’s Eve dinners seized by Italian authorities

Italian authorities have seized some 500 tons of bad seafood and shellfish believed to be largely destined for New Year’s Eve dinner parties.

Agriculture Minister Luca Zaia said Wednesday that worms were found in some of the fish seized across Italy between Dec. 10-23. In other cases, mussels defrosted months earlier were passed off as fresh, and fish coming from Asia was passed off as domestic.

Zaia described the food as "garbage" including brine jellyfish, and said organized crime was likely behind it.

Salmonella outbreak in New Jersey

MyFox is reporting that dozens of people got sick after a party at Iberia Peninsula in the Ironbound section of Newark Sunday night.

At least one person who was there has been hospitalized at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick. Angelo Afonso’s family says he is in the intensive care unit after suffering from severe gastrointestinal distress consistent with food poisoning.

Local health inspectors were expected to examine the restaurant and its employees on Wednesday.

Leftovers are the meal

"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found."

– Calvin Trillin, journalist and social commentator on things American

I love the leftovers. Stew, soup, Sorenne just had some lamb stock vegetable stew with lots of carrots and lima beans for lunch – ate it all up.

The New Zealand Herald reports tomorrow (today) that coked ham, with leeks and a mustard white sauce makes great pie filling and chopped into cheese muffin recipes makes for hearty transportable picnic fare at the beach or bach.

We love having Christmas in summertime. It’s part of the Kiwi way because summer is such a wonderful storehouse of seasonal fruit.

It is summer there.

New Zealand fruit and vegetable safety – good, but we’ll make sure we do better

Every time there is a food safety outbreak with fresh fruits and vegetables, some journalist or lobby group will call up and say something like, “we want to do some sampling for E. coli or Salmonella and fresh produce.”

And every time, Chapman or I will walk the person through the limitations with testing, especially in fresh produce.

New studies by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) highlight the limitations. In one, two out of 900 samples tested positive for Salmonella in lettuce, both from lettuces from the same grower.

In a related study, none of the chemical residues detected were of health concern, although NZFSA principal advisor for chemicals Dr Paul Dansted says he is disappointed with results from this year’s Food Residue Surveillance Programme (FRSP), which targets food likely to show up problems. This year’s focus was on spinach, celery, ginger and garlic.

“A significant number of samples had levels over the maximum residue limit (MRL) which is used for monitoring purposes, but it’s important to stress that dietary intake assessments on the non-compliant food showed none posed a health or food safety concern.”

Eight out of 27 celery samples and four out of 24 spinach samples had residues that were over the limit. There were none over the limit in 50 samples of garlic, but ginger had 11 samples out of 39 over the limit.

“Celery and spinach can be more vulnerable to persistence of chemical residues,” Dr Dansted says. “Because of their shape, residues that wash off in the rain can collect in the base of the plant. We expected to find some problems, but this is not good enough. We will take regulatory action to ensure better compliance in future.”

Properly structured sampling programs are essential to validate that food safety programs are working. But testing is not enough.

Bye-bye BITES-l

That’s host Sammy Maudlin (right), as Dave Thomas’ drink-loving Captain Kangaroo answers the phone during the 1978 Second City TV (SCTV) satire of TV telethons.

Once a year, I ask for money to support the 2-3 X daily distribution of food safety news to tens of thousands, with consecutive posts dating back to 1994.

The funding is no longer there.

So it’s time to do something else.

We will continue to blog about food safety developments, and be relevant rather than repetitive. Tonight will be the last bites-l listserv posting. I may revisit things in a couple of months, but for now, it’s time to do something else.

Krusty Krab klosed for health violations; Sponge Bob needs food safety

Bikini Bottoms – Health officials today closed the popular eatery “The Krusty Krab,” after finding several violations.

A foodworker, Spongebob Squarepants, who has worked preparing the restaurant’s signature dish, The Krabby Patty, for nearly 10 years was found to be in violation of handwashing code. Inspectors found that during his entire employment history as a fry cook, SpongeBob had never washed his hands.

This fact was discovered after officials reviewed videos of food prep at the Krusty Krab (8 seasons) and found not only no handwashing, but no handwashing station.

Mr. Krab owner of the establishment, said,

“I can’t believe they closed me store. What good would it do if he did was he hands? Spongebob is yellow and porous and he lives under the sea. This is ridiculous.”

Other violations that prompted the closing were: jetsam and flotsam contaminating prep areas, a large school of fish found in dishwasher, and patties served at seawater temperatures.

When contacted Squarepants denied having any responsibility in the closing.

“I love the Krusty Krab. It is my life. I wouldn’t do anything to get Mr. Krab in trouble. It was all Sqidward’s fault. He trained me.” Squarepants said from his home in a rotting undersea pineapple.

Squarepant’s co-worker, Squidward could not be reached for comment.

According to health authorities the restaurant will remain closed until a staff animator draws a handwashing station, animates a proper handwashing sequence for Squarepants and erases the rest of the violations.

This kind of investigative journalism takes time, staff and money. Help us keep food safer. It’s time to make a tax-deductible contribution to

Careful with that potting soil, Eugene; Legionnaires’ death in New Zealand

One person is dead and four others have fallen ill in a recent spate of cases of Legionnaires’ Disease, with health authorities pointing the finger of blame at a humble gardening product.

The person who died is believed to have contracted the illness overseas, while four others in Canterbury are thought to have become infected since September through contact with potting mix.

Legionnaires’ Disease is a pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria that are commonly found in water and soils, including potting mix and compost.

Dr Ramon Pink, Medical Officer of Health for Canterbury, said recommendations for handling and warnings were printed on most bags of potting mix.

"It is very important to take care to avoid inhaling the dust when opening and handling the potting mix. Bags should be carefully opened in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors, and away from the face."

Food safety needs new messages, new media; bites and barfblog need you

New messages, new media. That’s become sortof our mantra here at because, as the Washington Post reiterated this morning,

“Between 1998 and 2004, illnesses reported by CDC that were caused by E. Coli, listeria, campylobacter and a few other bacteria decreased by 25 to 30 percent, perhaps because of improvements in the handling of meat and eggs. Since about 2004, however, the rate of these illnesses has basically remained steady.”

There’s lots of new media toys out there, but it’s the high-tech version of signs that say, “Employees Must Wash Hands.” Reposting press releases – especially in the absence of critical analysis — is a waste of bandwidth and resources. And there is no evidence it results in fewer sick people.

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