News in Food Safety

Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Hardees Earn Top Customer Experience Ratings

Quality Assurance Mag - March 27, 2017 - 2:17am
Chick-fil-A, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Hardees deliver the best customer experience in the fast food industry, according to the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, an annual customer experience ranking of companies based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers. 

Chick-fil-A took the top spot out of the 24 fast food restaurants included in this year's ratings, earning a score of 83% and coming in 2nd place overall out of 331 companies across 20 industries. Chipotle and Hardees tied for second place, each with a rating of 82% and an overall rank of 4th.

The ratings of all fast food restaurants in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings are as follows:

1.   Chick-fil-A: 83%

2.   Chipotle Mexican Grill: 82%

2.   Hardees: 82%

4.   Subway: 81%

5.   Arby's: 80%

5.   KFC: 80%

7.   Baskin Robbins: 79%

7.   Dairy Queen: 79%

7.   Starbucks: 79%

10. Dunkin' Donuts: 78%

10. Papa John's: 78%

12. IHOP: 77%

12. Little Caesar's: 77%

12. Panera Bread: 77%

15. Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen: 75%

15. Sonic Drive-In: 75%

17. Burger King: 74%

17. Panda Express: 74%

17. Wendy's: 74%

20. Pizza Hut: 73%

21. Domino's: 72%

21. Jack in the Box: 72%

22. McDonald's: 71%

22. Taco Bell: 71%

"It's impressive that every single fast food company we looked at delivers a customer experience that's either "good" or "excellent," said Bruce Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group.

Overall, the fast food industry averaged a 76% rating in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings and came in second place out of 20 industries. The average rating of the industry improved by five percentage-points between 2016 and 2017, going from 71.1% to 76.5%.

The ratings for all fast food restaurants increased between 2016 and 2017, except for Taco Bell, whose score decreased by two percentage points. Baskin Robbins and KFC improved the most, each gaining 12 points in the last year.

To generate the ratings, Temkin Group asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to evaluate their recent experiences with a company across three dimensions: success (Can you do what you want to do?), effort (How easy is it to work with the company?), and emotion (How do you feel about the interactions?). Temkin Group then averaged these three scores to produce each company's Temkin Experience Rating. In these ratings, a score of 70% or above is considered "good"; 80% or above is "excellent"; below 60% is "poor."

The 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, along with other ratings, can be accessed at the Temkin Ratings website, www.TemkinRatings.com. The free report, "2017 Temkin Experience Ratings," is available for download at the Customer Experience Matters blog (ExperienceMatters.blog) and at the Temkin Group website, www.TemkinGroup.com.

 

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Categories: News in Food Safety

FDA, Federal Partners Issue New Food Safety Analytics Strategic Plan

Quality Assurance Mag - March 27, 2017 - 1:46am
The FDA, CDC, and USDA/FSIS FDA issued a new Strategic Plan for 2017-2021 last week as part of the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC).

IFSAC was created in 2011 to improve coordination of federal food safety analytic efforts and address cross-cutting priorities for food safety data collection, analysis, and use. Its projects and studies aim to identify foods that are important sources of human illness. IFSAC focuses analytic efforts on four priority pathogens: Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), and Campylobacter. CDC estimates that together, these four pathogens cause 1.9 million cases of foodborne illness in the United States each year.

Under the new strategic plan, IFSAC will focus on continuing to improve estimates of the sources of foodborne illnesses and developing methods to estimate how these sources change over time. The three goals of the new strategic plan are to improve the use and quality of new and existing data sources; improve analytic methods and models; and enhance communication about IFSAC progress.

The strategic plan outlines key objectives to achieve those goals, including:

  • Enhance the collection and quality of relevant source data;
  • Enhance the use of existing regulatory and foodborne illness surveillance data;
  • Incorporate genomic data and other novel data sources;
  • Explore ways to address key gaps in data quality, methods and models;
  • Develop new analytic approaches and models to maximize use of existing data;
  • Expand the availability of technical and scientific expertise through collaboration with internal and external partners;
  • Enhance relationships and engagement with internal and external groups; and
  • Improve the synthesis, interpretation and dissemination of analytical findings for multiple audiences.

The plan also highlights accomplishments from IFSAC’s first five years, and the group’s intent to continue engaging with stakeholders on future work.

For more information on IFSAC, please visit the collaboration’s website.

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Categories: News in Food Safety

Raw milk, tap water on survey about Nebraska outbreak

Food Safety news - March 26, 2017 - 10:01pm

Nebraska health officials want the public’s help with an investigation of a possible outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses in and around the Beaver City.

Even people who have not been sick are being asked to complete a survey, which includes questions about consuming unpasteurized milk, sources of tap water and dining at area restaurants.

“If your residence has a Beaver City address and zip code, we are asking each person in your household to complete the following survey — parents should fill out the survey on behalf of each child in the household. Also, we would like surveys from others whose workplace has a Beaver City address and zip code,” according to a notice from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) and Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department.

“So we can compare possible exposures, it is equally important for people who live both in and out of Beaver City limits to complete all questions. It is also important for people who didn’t get sick to fill out the survey too. The information provided in this survey will better help us understand patterns of illness, investigate potential causes, and prevent additional people from becoming sick.”

The survey is allowed by state law and is completely voluntary. All information is confidential. Personal information will not be disclosed or released. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department at 308-345-4223 or NDHHS Office of Epidemiology at 402-471-2937.

Specific questions on the survey include:

  • Have you experienced illness anytime since Monday, Feb 27?
  • Did you drink any unpasteurized milk during Feb. 23 to March 9?
  • Did you eat in any restaurants during Feb. 23 to March 9?
  • Apart from any chicken you might have eaten in restaurants — and reported above — did you prepare or consume any chicken during Feb. 23 to March 9 in your home or at another private residence, public gathering or event, or other location?
  • Apart from any ground beef/hamburger you might have eaten in restaurants — and reported above — did you prepare or consume any ground beef/hamburger during Feb. 23 to March 9 in your home or at another private residence, public gathering or event, or other location?
  • During Feb. 23 to March 9, did you consume food — not previously reported — at public gatherings or community events such as weddings, funerals, sporting events, family gatherings, fish fry, Lenten meal at church, etc.?
  • During Feb. 23 to March 9 did you have any contact with animals?
  • Considering your typical tap water consumption, please estimate the volume of unheated/unboiled tap water you consumed during the two week period from Feb. 23 to March 9 for various locations as listed below — home, work, school, daycare, church, restaurants, other residences, and other sources.

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Categories: News in Food Safety

Michigan sees huge spike in Hepatitis A; vaccinations urged

Food Safety news - March 26, 2017 - 10:00pm

An eight-fold increase of Hepatitis A cases in Michigan in recent months has state officials encouraging people to get vaccinated against the sometimes foodborne illness.

People who have recently been exposed to Hepatitis A and who have not been vaccinated previously should be administered a single dose of single-antigen Hepatitis A vaccine within two weeks after exposure, according to the CDC. The average incubation period for Hepatitis A is 28 days, but symptoms can appear 15 to 50 days after exposure. (Photo courtesy of the CDC)

Most children receive Hepatitis A vaccinations during infancy now, but many adults have not been vaccinated. The vaccine is given in two injections a few months apart. Hepatitis A outbreaks traced to frozen strawberries and frozen scallops in the United States sickened hundreds of people, mainly in Virginia and Hawaii in late 2016.

The spike in cases in Michigan is particularly noticeable in the city of Detroit, and counties of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

From Aug. 1, 2016, to March 21, 2017, Michigan has recorded 107 cases of lab-confirmed Hepatitis A in those jurisdictions.

“This represents an eight-fold increase during the same time last year,” according to the state health department. “Ages of the cases range from 22 to 86 years, with an average age of 45 years. Eighty-five percent of the cases have been hospitalized with two deaths reported.”

Individuals with Hepatitis A are infectious for two weeks prior to symptom onset. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms usually appear over a number of days and last less than two months. However, some people can be ill for as long as six months. Hepatitis A can sometimes cause liver failure and death.

“Together with our local health partners, we are increasing outreach to vulnerable populations to raise awareness and promote vaccination of hepatitis A,” said Eden Wells, chief medical executive of MDHHS, in the public notice.

“Those who live, work, or play in the city of Detroit, as well as Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties are urged to get vaccinated for hepatitis A and talk to their healthcare provider about their risks.”

Health department contact information
Contact your local health department if you have questions or need more information.

Macomb County residents should call the Macomb County Health Department at 586-469-5372.

Oakland County residents should contact the Oakland County Health Department at 1-800-848-5533 or email noc@oakgov.com.

Wayne County residents should contact the Wayne County Communicable Disease Unit at 734-727-7078.

City of Detroit residents should contact the Detroit Health Department at 313-876-4000.

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Categories: News in Food Safety

Letter From The Editor: ‘Ag-gag’ end game in hands of many

Food Safety news - March 26, 2017 - 10:00pm

Funny thing about the federal courts. When enough of them get involved in an issue, they can end up showing how something can be done legally that previously was on shaky ground and subject to dispute when it all began. And we are not just talking about the Trump travel ban.

Six years ago in April, then New York Times columnist Mark Bittman coined the term “ag-gag” to refer to state laws that made it a crime to engage in the undercover filming or photography of animal agriculture without the owner’s permission. The laws were largely aimed at either animal activists who obtained employment on a farm solely for the purpose of collecting evidence of abuse or by employees who turned whistleblower to do the same.

These are the judges of the 9th  Circuit Court of Appeals

This all started back in 1990-91 when North Dakota, Montana and Kansas passed such laws, but without much in the way of any prosecutions, everybody kind of forgot about them. Renewed interest in the concept began showing up after 2010. Idaho, Utah and Iowa all adopted their versions of “ag-gag” and with some variation so did Missouri and North Carolina.

A year ago, the North Carolina Legislature over-rode the Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of that state’s new “ag-gag” law with, ironically, Cooper being named as the main defendant.

We thought with a third federal lawsuit, state lawmakers would take a break to see where this was going in the courts. But, we were wrong as last week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed Arkansas House Bill 1665 into law.

There is a little irony in this one too because the new Arkansas law is not a criminal statute, but just another cause of action for filing a lawsuit. If you are in animal agriculture in Arkansas and some animal activist records pictures in your private areas, you can sue them. The irony is, I am pretty well convinced, that animal activist organizations employ more lawyers than the insurance industry.

They sued Utah and Idaho for passing “ag-gag” laws,  filing complaints alleging they were unconstitutional.

The award for being the most speedy goes to Idaho where federal Judge B. Lynn Winmill found the Gem State’s new law was unconstitutional on Sept. 4, 2014, just six months and a week after was signed into law by Gov. Butch Otter.

Judge Winmill’s 12-page ruling, which largely sided with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, was in short order appealed by the State of Idaho to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals with oral arguments now scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 12 in Seattle.

And Winmill’s ruling is not only getting read carefully in the 9th Circuit, but in district courts in Utah and North Carolina, where “ag-gag” lawsuits are moving much slower than they did in Idaho.

In the District of Utah, federal Judge Robert J. Shelby held a five-hour motion hearing in November 2016 that produced a 162-page transcript. Reading that transcript one finds ADLF v. Otter, the Idaho case, getting a thorough autopsy.

Utah Assistant Attorney General Kyle J. Kaiser summed it up this way: “And so the plaintiffs are asking for new federal constitutional rights that really, really infringe on the rights of Utah citizens and the right of the State to control private property. As we talked about a little bit, there could be pretty serious consequences. That means there’s a First Amendment right to spy. That means there’s a First Amendment right, at least a threshold right, to get access to a competitor or to a group that you disagree with so that you can try to undermine them. That means there’s a federal constitutional right maybe to hack e-mails. I think the democratic party might disagree with that.”

Kaiser added: “And so whether it’s — whether the target government agency, a conservative group, a liberal group or private property to seek that sort of constitutional protection is pretty serious.”

How one of these cases helps or hurts the other would require more expertise than we are able to apply here. However, it is certain all of the lawyers on both sides are reading all the music.

In North Carolina, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Caroline has scheduled a hearing for 3 p.m. on April 4 to consider a motion to dismiss the complaint by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, et. al. against Gov. Cooper.

In Utah, Judge Shelby’s ruling is due at any time. After that last lengthy motions hearing on Nov. 2, 2016,  he ordered both sides to still brief him on one more item — the Utah State Code on “false pretenses.”

One tweak to the May hearing is attorneys for the Animal Legal Defense Fund are giving up four of their 20 minutes of oral arguments to Dean Erwin Chemerinsky with the Irvine School of Law at the University of California. He’s going in to argue that Judge Winmill’s decision to strike down the Idaho “ag-gag” law on First and Fourteenth Amendment grounds was correct.

During the Utah hearing, there was a mention that Dean Chemerinsky took the opposite  position in litigation where similar tactics were used against Planned Parenthood. A California District Court prohibited the Center for Medical Progress going public with a video of Planned Parenthood folks talking.

“And that’s on appeal right now to the Ninth Circuit,” Utah’s assistant AG said. “Dean Chemerinsky, who wrote an amicus brief in opposition to us, wrote an amicus brief in support of the injunction in that case by saying that the Center for Medical Progress agreed when they went in the door to keep everything private, and this — that contractual right is — supercedes their First Amendment rights.  There wasn’t even a discussion of private property there, which I think is interesting, but that cut off the First — any sort of First Amendment right.

So far, the appellate routes for whoever loses at the district court level are through the 4th, 9th, and 10th Circuits.   If Arkansas is sued, you can add the 8th Circuit to that list.  Before this is all over, it means every thing is going to be on the table — like contract rights, civil actions, and yes, those problematic criminal statutes.

We are just now starting to see all the chapters, but we sure don’t know how this is going to end.

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Categories: News in Food Safety

Malaysian surimi facility comes up short at inspection

Food Safety news - March 26, 2017 - 10:00pm

A seafood processing plant in Malaysia owned by TS Food Industry Sdn. Bhd. is in serious violation of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

An FDA inspection team visited the facility Oct. 18 and 19, 2016m finding problems that the company did not adequately address. As a result, the agency sent TS Food a warning letter on Feb. 28 with specifics that must be addressed. The letter was just made public in recent days.

The facility makes air-packed surimi. The warning letter outlines the short-comings as follows:

1. The firm’s HACCP for cooked surimi does not list the critical control points for controlling the food safety hazard of pathogen growth and toxin formation, including the following processing steps:

  • ambient refrigerated temperatures for thawed frozen pasteurized thread fin bream surimi.
  • limit unrefrigerated processing time to 3 hours or less.

2. Internal temperature monitoring should be conducted every 2 hours, and chiller temperatures visually checked fairly during storage.

3. Under the corrective action plan for cooling, it is recommended moving product to another chiller and notifying maintenance.

FDA asked for a response from the Malaysian company within 15 days and without corrective actions FDA might well place the surimi under Import Alert, making it subject to detention without physical examination.

“Your response should outline the specific things you are doing to correct these violations, ” FDA wrote. “More specifically, your response should include documentation and information that would assist us in evaluating your corrections, such as documentation reflecting the changes you made, such as a copy of your revised HACCP plan, five (5) consecutive days of completed monitoring records (i.e., complete sets of monitoring records for the production of 5 production date codes of products) to demonstrate implementation of the plan, and any additional information that you wish to supply that provides assurance of your intent to fully comply now and in the future with the seafood HACCP regulation.”

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Categories: News in Food Safety

China resumes importing Brazilian meat; others appear to be following

Food Safety news - March 25, 2017 - 9:05pm

China is back buying Brazilian meat, apparently satisfied the bribes being paid to meat inspectors don’t threaten long term food safety.

“The regularization of the Brazilian meat entrance into China shows the spirit of mutual trust between the two countries and willingness to dialogue in food faith,” Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply said.

China temporarily suspended imports of meat from Brazil on March 20, an action Brazil said amounted only to “preventive measures so that we had the opportunity to offer all the necessary explanations and to guarantee the quality of our sanitary inspection.”

“We are grateful for the gesture of confidence of China, our strategic partner, in the credibility of the Brazilian system,” the statement concluded.

China is Brazil’s largest meat purchaser, accounting for about $1.75 billion of the country’s $13.5 billion in chicken, beef, and pork products exports.

A Federal Police investigation of bribes being paid to meat inspectors, known as Operation Weak Flesh, became public on March 17 as arrests were made and warrants executed in 21 Brazilian meat processing facilities.

Egypt also resumed buying Brazilian beef following a two day suspension. South Korea is also back buying poultry from Brazil’s BRF SA after just a day out of the market.

As soon as the scandal broke, Brazil began working its trading partners with assurances that the Federal Police were targeting people who took bribes, not over a sudden uptick in meat unfit for export.

Those assurances are being played out at the highest levels. Brazil President Michael Temer is expected to call Chinese leader Xi Jinping soon to express his appreciation. Brazil is the source of more than 85 percent of China’s poultry imports. Market sources in the U.S. and the European Union have been limited since 2015 because of avian flu outbreaks.

The Federal Police investigation has not entirely played out, and just how damaging its findings might be won’t be known until it unfolds in the Brazilian judiciary.

Categories: News in Food Safety

Mississippi farm recalls 1,695 pounds of catfish for residue concerns

Food Safety news - March 25, 2017 - 7:11am

Mississippi’s Lakes Farm Raised Catfish Inc., located in Dundee, has recalled approximately 1,695 pounds of catfish (siluriformes  products)  that may be adulterated with residues of public health concern, specifically Malachite Green and Leucomalachite Green, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) reports.

The catfish were processed on March 14 through 17, 2017. The recalled products include:

  • 15-lb. cardboard boxes of frozen raw “catfish” fillets identified as LAKE’S FARM RAISED CATFISH and having lot codes T-14, T-15, T-16, and T-17.
  • 15-lb. cardboard boxes of frozen raw “catfish” nuggets identified as LAKE’S FARM RAISED CATFISH and having lot codes T-14, T-15, T-16, and T-17.
  • 15-lb. cardboard boxes of frozen raw “catfish” steaks identified as LAKE’S FARM RAISED CATFISH and having lot codes T-14, T-15, T-16, and T-17.
  • 15-lb. cardboard boxes of frozen raw whole “catfish” identified as LAKE’S FARM RAISED CATFISH and having lot codes T-14, T-15, T-16, and T-17.

The recalled catfish  bear establishment number “EST. 48150” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to institutional and retail locations in Mississippi and Tennessee.

The problem was discovered on March 23, 2017, after routine FSIS sampling results revealed violative levels of the chemicals Malachite Green and Leucomalachite Green in the products.

No confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products have been received.  Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.  Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

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.

Categories: News in Food Safety

New York consumer alert: Listeria in Winters Grass raw milk

Food Safety news - March 24, 2017 - 10:01pm

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball on Friday warned consumers in Oneida County and the surrounding area not to consume unpasteurized, raw milk from Winters Grass Farm because of positive tests for Listeria contamination.

The Winters Grass Farm is on Butler Road in Sauquoit, NY.  The ag department did not yet know of any illnesses associated with raw milk from this farm as of Friday. But, one of its inspectors took a sample of the Winter Grass raw milk that has turned out to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

On March 16, the producer was notified of the preliminary positive test result. Winters Grass Farm immediately voluntarily suspended sales of the product. Further laboratory testing, completed on March 22, confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the raw milk sample.  The producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that its product is free of harmful bacteria.

The agriculture department recommends that any consumers who purchased raw milk from the Winters Grass Farm immediately dispose of it. Consumers can call the department at 518-457-1772 if they have any questions. Anyone who recently consumed raw milk from Winters Grass Farm should monitor themselves for signs of infection for 70 days.

Listeria monocytogenes causes listeriosis, an infection which can be serious and sometimes fatal, especially in young children, cancer patients, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Others may suffer only short-term, flu-like symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeriosis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.

In a statement from the commissioner’s office, the ag department said it is important for consumers to understand that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization.

Pasteurization is a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time, a process that kills the bacteria responsible for numerous illnesses and diseases such as listeriosis, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria and brucellosis. Pasteurization of milk is recognized internationally as an effective means of preventing outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, including listeriosis.

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Categories: News in Food Safety

Tainted soy butter spurs recalls one by one; FDA remains mum

Food Safety news - March 24, 2017 - 9:34pm

As federal officials remain silent on sales and distribution details about a soy-based peanut butter substitute linked to a nationwide E. coli outbreak, secondary recalls of products made with the tainted soy butter have begun, leaving consumers to wonder how long they will have to wait for companies to voluntarily reveal how many more foods are potentially contaminated.

The recalled “Yogurt Peanut Crunch” protein bars, packaged under the 20/20 Life Styles brand, were sold at Pro Sports Club locations in Washington state and nationwide via the 20/20 website, according to the recall notice posted Friday on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.

Pro Sports Club of Bellevue, WA, is recalling almost 37,000 individual bars, sold between Aug. 8, 2016, and March 10 this year at its Bellevue, Redmond and Seattle locations. The recall did not indicate the volume of protein bars purchased by online customers.

Consumers can identify the recalled “Yogurt Peanut Crunch Bars” by looking for the 20/20 Life Styles brand and the code “B.B. 22JUL17” on the wrappers of the 2-ounce bars. The recalled bars are also marked with the UPC number 78571 00052.

No illnesses had been reported in relation to the protein bars as of Thursday.

However, at least 23 people in nine states have been confirmed with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 that has also been isolated from opened and unopened jars of I.M. Healthy brand soy butter from the SoyNut Butter Co., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The recall was initiated after our manufacturer notified us that the ingredient used in the Yogurt Peanut Crunch Bars was recalled by supplier SoyNut Butter Co. of Glenview, IL, because it was found to contain E. Coli O157:H7,” according to the recall notice from Pro Sports Club.

“Consumers who have purchased Yogurt Peanut Crunch Bars are urged not to consume and to return any remaining product to the place of purchase for a full refund.”

Consumers who have eaten the bars and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the pathogen.

Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria infection include diarrhea, often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

Of the 23 confirmed E. coli victims in the soy butter outbreak, 20 are younger than 18. Ages range from 1 to 48 with a median age among victims of 8 years old.

Ten of the victims have had symptoms so severe they required hospitalization and seven of them developed HUS. Twenty of the 23 victims reported eating I.M. Healthy brand soy nut butter products in the days before they became ill.

Primary recalls, investigation
On March 7, the SoyNut Butter Co. recalled all varieties of its I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butters and all varieties of I.M. Healthy Granola products. On March 10 the company expanded its recall to include Dixie Diner’s Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter.

“CDC recommends that consumers do not eat, and childcare centers, schools, and other institutions do not serve, any variety or size of I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter, I.M. Healthy brand granola, or Dixie Diner’s Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter, regardless of the date of purchase or the date listed on the container,” according to the most recent outbreak update from the CDC.

“Even if some of the product was eaten or served and no one got sick, throw the rest of it away. Put it in a sealed bag in the trash so that children, pets, or other animals can’t eat it.”

While FDA and CDC have both named the SoyNut Butter Co., but neither agency has named the actual manufacturer of the soy paste, which is aggressively marketed to schools, childcare centers and nursing homes as a safe, non-allergic substitute for peanut butter.

Several civil lawsuits filed by victims and parents of victims have named Kentucky-based Dixie Dew Products as the manufacturer.

The FDA does not release information about food companies’ sales of products or bulk ingredients during outbreaks or recalls because of a clause in federal code that provides for such “confidential corporate information” (CCI) to be kept from the public.

“The FDA can confirm that the agency is investigating the SoyNut Butter Co. and its contract manufacturer,” according to a statement from a spokesperson at the Food and Drug Administration provided to Food Safety News on Monday afternoon.

“Consistent with law, FDA releases information, including CCI, to the extent necessary to effectuate a recall. We have no evidence at this time challenging the effectiveness of this recall.”

Editor’s note: eFoodAlert.com has begun compiling a list of retailers that sold the recalled soy nut butter products. The list will be updated as information becomes available. Click here to view it.

For additional details on the outbreak and recalls, please see:

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Categories: News in Food Safety

Lakes Farm Raised Catfish, Inc. Recalls Siluriformes Fish Products Due To Possible Adulteration

Lakes Farm Raised Catfish Inc., a Dundee, Miss. establishment, is recalling approximately 1,695 pounds of siluriformes fish (catfish) products that may be adulterated with residues of public health concern, specifically Malachite Green and Leucomalachite Green.
Categories: News in Food Safety

17 and half tons of José Olé beef taquitos recalled for ‘extraneous materials’

Food Safety news - March 24, 2017 - 8:12pm

Ajinomoto Windsor Inc., a Lampasas, TX, establishment, late Friday recalled  more than 35,000 pounds of frozen ready-to-eat beef taquito products that consumers have said are contaminated rubber and plastic, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The frozen ready-to-eat beef taquito items were produced on Dec. 30, 2016. Subject to the recall are:

  • 60-oz. plastic bags inside of a corrugated carton labeled as “José Olé brand “TAQUITOS BEEF CARNE DE RES IN CORN TORTILLAS Crispy and Crunchy,” with case codes 3366365A, 3366365B, 3366365C, 3366365D and a Best By date of Dec. 30, 2017.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “Est. M-5590” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations in California, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming.

Ajinomoto Windsor Inc. learned it had a problem when it received two consumer complaints of foreign material in its ready-to-eat beef products on March 14 and 21. The foreign materials were pieces of rubber with white plastic that originated from the establishment’s processing equipment.

Neither the company or FSIS have received any  reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

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.

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Categories: News in Food Safety

Multiple brands of fresh guacamole recalled for Listeria

Food Safety news - March 24, 2017 - 7:15pm
H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd. of British Columbia is recalling three brands of fresh guacamole from retailers because tests by the Canadian government found Listeria monocytogenes in the product. The recall, posted Thursday by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), came one day after the “best before” date of March 22 on the implicated guacamole. Retailers in British Columbia and possibly nationwide received shipments of the recalled guacamole. Consumers are urged to check their homes for the recalled guacamole. Anyone who has eaten the recalled avocado dip should monitor themselves for 70 days for symptoms of Listeria infection. Specific products subject to this recall are:
  • Chef Destinations brand, 300-gram containers with the UPC number 7 76525 90905 9;
  • Frankly Fresh Salads brand, 300-gram containers with the UPC number7 76525 90955 4; and
  • Fresh St. brand, 300-gram containers with the UPC number 7 76525 90934 9. 

“Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased,” according to the CFIA notice.

“Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, the infection can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth. In severe cases of illness, people may die.”

The 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.

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

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)
Categories: News in Food Safety

Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc. Recalls Frozen Ready-To-Eat Beef Products Due To Possible Foreign Matter Contamination

Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc., a Lampasas, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 35,168 pounds of frozen ready-to-eat beef taquito products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically rubber with plastic.
Categories: News in Food Safety

Lakes Farm Raised Catfish, Inc. Recalls Siluriformes Fish Products Due To Possible Adulteration

CDC Food Safety news - March 24, 2017 - 2:56pm
Lakes Farm Raised Catfish Inc., a Dundee, Miss. establishment, is recalling approximately 1,695 pounds of siluriformes fish (catfish) products that may be adulterated with residues of public health concern, specifically Malachite Green and Leucomalachite Green.
Categories: News in Food Safety

Nutiva Expanded Voluntary Recall for Undeclared Peanuts In All Lots of Organic Plant Based Protein Superfood 30 Shake

CDC Food Safety news - March 24, 2017 - 1:35pm
Nutiva, an Organic Superfoods company, has decided to expand its initial voluntary product recall of the Organic Plant Based Protein Superfood 30 Shake – Vanilla to include all lots of both Vanilla and Chocolate flavored products after identifying that this product may contain trace amounts peanuts. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.
Categories: News in Food Safety

Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc. Recalls Frozen Ready-To-Eat Beef Products Due To Possible Foreign Matter Contamination

CDC Food Safety news - March 24, 2017 - 12:31pm
Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc., a Lampasas, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 35,168 pounds of frozen ready-to-eat beef taquito products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically rubber with plastic.
Categories: News in Food Safety

Pro Sports Club Recalls Yogurt Peanut Crunch Bar Because of Possible Health Risk

CDC Food Safety news - March 24, 2017 - 11:00am
Pro Sports Club of Bellevue, WA is recalling 36.957 Yogurt Peanut Crunch bars because it may be contaminated with Escherichia coli H7 bacteria (E.Coli O157:H7) E Coli O157:H7 causes a diarrheal illness often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.
Categories: News in Food Safety

Metal fragments cause recall of almost 1 million pounds of chicken

Food Safety news - March 24, 2017 - 6:51am

Consumer complaints about metal objects being found in ready to eat chicken products were verified by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, leading to a recall late Thursday of approximately 933,272 pounds of breaded chicken products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials by OK Food Inc. in Oklahoma City.

The ready-to-eat (RTE) breaded chicken items were produced on various dates from Dec. 19, 2016 through March 7, 2017.  Here’s the list of recalled products:

  • 10-lb. packages containing “Smart Foods4Schools ABC – 123 SHAPED NUGGETS WITH RIB MEAT” bearing case code 133002.
  • 10-lb. packages containing “Smart Foods4Schools BREADED FULLY COOKED CHICKEN PATTIES STAR SHAPED NUGGETS WITH RIB MEAT” bearing case code 133003.
  • 10-lb. packages containing “Smart Foods4Schools BREADED FULLY COOKED CHICKEN PATTIES HEART SHAPED NUGGETS WITH RIB MEAT” bearing case code 133008.
  • 10-lb. packages containing “Smart Foods4Schools BREADED FULLY COOKED CHICKEN PATTIES SHAMROCK SHAPED CHICKEN FINGERS WITH RIB MEAT” bearing case code 133013.
  • 10-lb. packages containing “Smart Foods4Schools BREADED FULLY COOKED CHICKEN PATTIES SHARK SHAPED CHICKEN FINGERS WITH RIB MEAT” bearing case code 133014.
  • 30-lb. packages containing “CHICKENTOPIA FULLY COOKED BREADED TENDER SHAPED CHICKEN BREAST PATTIES With Rib Meat” bearing case code 133015.
  • 30-lb. packages containing “Double D Foods FULLY COOKED HERB SEASONED BREADED CHICKEN BREAST PATTY WITH RIB MEAT” bearing case code 178981.
  • 7.5-lb. packages containing “Great Value FULLY COOKED HERB SEASONED BREADED CHICKEN BREAST PATTY WITH RIB MEAT” bearing case code 201258 and “Best By/Use by” dates 3/2/2018.
  • 20-lb. packages containing “TenderBird FULLY COOKED, BREADED CHICKEN BREAST PATTIES WITH RIB MEAT” bearing case code 235384.
  • 21-lb. packages containing “Save A Lot FULLY COOKED, BREADED CHICKEN BREAST NUGGETS” bearing case code 252385.
  • 18-lb. packages containing “SPRING RIVER FARMS FULLY COOKED BREADED CHICKEN FRIES” bearing case code 252386.
  • 28-lb packages containing “Save A Lot FULLY COOKED BREADED CHICKEN FRIES” bearing case code 252386.
  • 24-lb. packages containing “Lake Liner Logo Brand FULLY COOKED BREADED CHICKEN NUGGETS” bearing case code 256385 and “BEST BY” dates 01 23 18.
  • 20-lb. packages containing “SPRING RIVER FARMS FULLY COOKED BREADED CHICKEN PATTIES WITH RIB MEAT” bearing case code 342002.
  • 20-lb. packages containing “SPRING RIVER FARMS FULLY COOKED BREADED TENDER SHAPED CHICKEN BREAST PATTIES WITH RIB MEAT” bearing case code 342015.
  • 20-lb. packages containing “SPRING RIVER FARMS FULLY COOKED Chicken Patties Breaded Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat” bearing case code 342384.
  • 20-lb. packages containing “TenderBird FULLY COOKED CHICKEN BREAST PATTIES with Rib Meat” bearing case code 342384.
  • 20-lb. packages containing “SPRING RIVER FARMS FULLY COOKED CHICKEN NUGGETS Breaded Chicken Nuggets with Rib Meat” bearing case code 342385.
  • 20-lb. packages containing “SPRING RIVER FARMS FULLY COOKED Chicken Fries Breaded Chicken Fries with Rib Meat” bearing case code 342386.
  • 20-lb. packages containing “SPRING RIVER FARMS FULLY COOKED Spicy Breaded Chicken Breast Filet with Rib Meat” bearing case code 342608.
  • 20-lb. packages containing “SPRING RIVER FARMS FULLY COOKED Crispy Chicken Breast Fillet Fritters With Rib Meat” bearing case code 342614.
  • 20-lb. packages containing “SPRING RIVER FARMS FULLY COOKED HERB SEASONED BREADED CHICKEN BREAST PATTY WITH RIB MEAT” bearing case code 342981.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-7092” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations and institutions nationwide.

The consumer complaints began coming in on March 21, 2017 .  After an internal investigation, OK Food identified the affected product and determined that the objects in all the complaints came from metal conveyor belting.

So far, no one was actually injured  due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

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.

Categories: News in Food Safety

SeaWeb Announces Seafood Champion Award Finalists

Quality Assurance Mag - March 24, 2017 - 6:00am
SeaWeb has announced 16 finalists for the 2017 Seafood Champion Awards who have demonstrated brilliance and tenacity in working across borders, language barriers and industries to change our relationship with the sea. From fish cops in East Africa to the creator of easily replicated 3-D ocean farms, and from a chef who cycled across Canada promoting sustainable seafood to a company whose solar-powered data collector puts small-scale fishing boats on the map, these champions show an inspiring level of ingenuity and commitment.

The annual Seafood Champion Awards program, now in its 11th year, recognizes individuals and organizations for excellence in promoting environmentally responsible seafood. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on June 5 at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Seattle.

“This year’s finalists have a global perspective, whether they act locally or at a broader level,” said Mark Spalding, president of SeaWeb and The Ocean Foundation. “Improving seafood’s sustainability requires addressing difficult political, technical, social and economic questions. To create change, you have to forge alliances and bring people together around a common cause. These are not easy things to do, but the Champions on this list have forged ahead and are making real progress.”

The finalists were selected by a panel of seafood sustainability experts from industry and nonprofit organizations based in Asia, Europe and North America. “Our judges bring deep knowledge and diverse perspectives to a complex evaluation process,” Spalding said. “We greatly appreciate their generosity in volunteering so much time and thought to recognizing excellence in the seafood community.”

The Seafood Champion Award for Leadership recognizes people and organizations that bring stakeholders together to improve seafood sustainability or ocean health. The finalists are:

  • Susi Pudjiastuti, Indonesia’s Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries since 2014. She has banned the use of bottom trawlers and other unsustainable catching devices; led the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in her geographically dispersed island nation; and fought against the use of forced labor on fishing vessels.
  • Wally Stevens of the Global Aquaculture Alliance. A widely admired leading light in aquaculture, he has developed the GAA as both a competitive force, with its Best Aquaculture Practices certification, and a precompetitive convener via the annual GOAL Conference, the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation, the Global Aquaculture Advocate and other initiatives.
  • Mariah Boyle of FishWise. Known for bridging divides to unite businesses, NGOs and governments in pursuit of common goals, she has led companies such as Albertsons, Target, Hy-Vee and Sea Delight to improve traceability and reduce the risk of IUU fishing and human rights abuses in their supply chains. Her efforts have positively affected more than 7,500 stores and 250 million pounds of seafood.
  • Sea Pact, an innovative alliance of nine leading North American seafood businesses. The organization uses its collective power to lead improvement throughout the global supply chain, funding projects to drive change while showcasing how competitors can work together.

The Seafood Champion Award for Innovation recognizes those who identify and apply new solutions to ecological challenges, market needs or sustainability barriers. The finalists are:

  • FISH-i Africa, a partnership of eight East African countries that combats large-scale illegal fishing by sharing information and taking collective enforcement action. FISH-i’s string of investigations and prosecutions has created a more responsible fisheries sector.
  • Pelagic Data Systems, which has developed a vessel-tracking technology based on an affordable, solar-powered data collection device for small vessels. The technology has helped combat IUU fishing in Gabon, Mexico, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Peru, Philippines, Thailand and the U.S.
  • Alan Lovewell of the 1,200-member, community-supported fishery Real Good Fish. He also runs Bay2Tray, a program within Real Good Fish that brings affordable local fish to public school districts with high poverty rates and sends fishermen into classrooms to teach about the ocean, fishing and health.
  • Karl Warr of Better Fishing. He has improved the sustainability of bottom trawling with an easily fitted cage mechanism that can free 95 percent of juvenile fish, saving fuel costs and allowing fishers to catch species selectively.

The Seafood Champion Award for Vision recognizes distinctive visions that significantly advance the sustainable seafood community. The finalists are:

  • Bren Smith, who is leading the development and promotion of 3-D ocean farms. His nonprofit GreenWave helps fishers become ocean farmers by adopting GreenWave’s open-source, replicable model, which restores rather than depletes ocean ecosystems.
  • Matthew Beaudin, executive chef of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, who moved $1 million in buying power to seafood producers within a 90-mile radius. He also is a regional and cross-border leader, developing aquaponics programs to support orphaned, HIV-positive children in Mexico.
  • The Marine Research Foundation, a three-person nonprofit in Malaysia whose work protects endangered sea turtles while making Malaysia’s shrimp-fishing industry more sustainable. The MRF overcame entrenched opposition to the use of turtle excluder devices and now anticipates a full rollout of the devices, which will save an estimated 4,000 turtles. That will open access for Malaysia to a global market hungry for sustainable shrimp.
  • The Global Ghost Gear Initiative, the first effort to tackle the problem of abandoned fishing gear on a global scale. This international, cross-sector partnership works with stakeholders from fishers to the United Nations to collect data and develop and model solutions that remove ghost gear from the ocean.

The Seafood Champion Award for Advocacy recognizes the promotion of sustainability, use of the media to raise the profile of sustainable seafood, work to strengthen public policy and resource allocations, and championing of advances in sustainable seafood. The finalists are:

  • The International Pole & Line Foundation, which spearheaded an effort by Indian Ocean countries to reform tuna fisheries management and played a central role in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s groundbreaking adoption of a precautionary harvest strategy.
  • Ned Bell, Ocean Wise executive chef at the Vancouver Aquarium and founder of Chefs for Oceans, who has made sustainable seafood his mission. In 2014, he rode his bike 8,700 km across Canada, hosting 20 events alongside some of the country’s best chefs to raise awareness of sustainable seafood.
  • Dr. Caleb Otto, former Permanent Representative of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations, who has led his small island nation to a position of leadership on the international stage through his passionate advocacy for ocean health and sustainability at the United Nations.
  • Bill Mook of Mook Sea Farm in Maine, who is modeling how shellfish growers everywhere can address the threat of ocean acidification. He has become a resource for hatchery and farm operators in the U.S. and abroad, counseling them on how to avoid losses and exchanging innovative ideas for protecting the industry.

For more information on the awards and finalists, visit www.seafoodchampions.org. For more information on the awards ceremony and the Seafood Summit, see www.seafoodsummit.org.

 

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