December 19th, 2013
11:30 AM ET
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Salmonellosis is a nasty illness. People infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, a fever and abdominal cramps that usually last for four to seven days.

The dangerous bacteria is found in the food we eat, usually chicken, beef or eggs that have been contaminated with animal feces. And a new report from Pew Charitable Trusts says the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) isn't doing enough to keep our food Salmonella-free.

"When more than 500 people get sick from two outbreaks associated with chicken that meets federal safety standards, it is clear that those standards are not effectively protecting public health," Sandra Eskin, director of Pew's food safety project, said in a statement.

Every year, approximately 42,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the actual number of infections may be much higher. The majority of outbreaks over the last two decades have been linked to live poultry.
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Filed under: Food Safety • Health News • News • Salmonella • Tainted Food


December 4th, 2013
12:15 PM ET
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Salmonella causes an estimated 1.3 million illnesses each year in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service hopes to tackle that toll with the help of a new "Salmonella Action Plan."

The ten-point strategy, announced Wednesday, outlines the steps the agency will take to address issues in meat and poultry production, which it considers "the most pressing problem it faces."
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November 11th, 2013
10:00 AM ET
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Glass Onion Catering has recalled more than 180,000 pounds of ready-to-eat salads and sandwich wrap products with fully cooked chicken and ham that may be contaminated with E. coli, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

The Richmond, California, company products, which were shipped to distribution centers in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington, may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, according to the USDA.

They were produced between September 23 and November 6, and have "P-34221" inside the USDA inspection mark.
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Filed under: E. coli • Food Safety • Health News • Tainted Food


Don't bug out, but there's 'filth' in your spices
November 1st, 2013
10:30 AM ET
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You may inadvertently be getting more than you bargained for when you put paprika in your chicken paprikash.

A new Food and Drug Administration report, "Pathogens and Filth in Spices," says that 12% of U.S. spice imports are contaminated with bug parts, rodent hairs and other ingredients more appropriate to a witches' brew than your mother's favorite recipe.

The FDA study also found that 7% of spice imports the inspectors examined were contaminated with salmonella. Salmonella are toxic bacteria that can trigger diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.
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Your broccoli salad may be tainted
October 28th, 2013
12:15 AM ET
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Taylor Farms has recalled more than 5,000 pounds of broccoli salad kit products because of possible Listeria contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

The kits were shipped to distributors and delis for consumer purchase in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. They contain dressing in packets that are the subject of a Food and Drug Administration recall.
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Filed under: Food Safety • Listeria • Recalls • Tainted Food • Vegetables


Food safety hampered by shutdown
October 13th, 2013
12:15 PM ET
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Caroline Smith DeWaal is food safety director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit watchdog and consumer advocacy group.

This week, a mother called us about her child hospitalized with a Salmonella poisoning from his day care's chicken lunch. The child's condition was tenuous, with a blood infection, and treatment was especially challenging as the bacteria was antibiotic resistant.

The mom turned to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, for information and help because key government's public health agencies and websites are shut down. Does this have an impact on food safety? You betcha!
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October 9th, 2013
06:00 PM ET
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture demanded that Foster Farms, the California company implicated in the Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak that has sickened over 250 people, respond by Thursday with how the company will fix the problem. The company has complied and submitted a plan to the agency.

In a letter obtained by CNN, a USDA official told the company since the beginning of the year “your establishment has had multiple regulatory non-compliances issued for insanitary conditions.”
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October 8th, 2013
03:05 PM ET
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In cooking, the process of clarification entails straining out extraneous muck from liquids so that they might be pure, clear and ideal for consumption. With this series on food terminology and issues we're attempting to do the same.

If it seems food safety issues are on the rise, that's because they are. About 48 million people contract some form of food poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even in the midst of a government shutdown, crises like the current salmonella outbreak occur. But the question on many people's minds is whether the federal investigators in charge of food safety are still around to protect the public, or if they too have been furloughed.

According to a Department of Health and Human Services contingency plan, the Food and Drug Administration "will be unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities” in the event of a government shutdown. However, that plan identifies approximately 700 FDA staff members who would remain to “inspect regulated products and manufacturers, conduct sample analysis on products and review imports offered for entry into the U.S. This number includes active investigators who will be needed to perform inspections.”
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October 7th, 2013
11:30 PM ET
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A Salmonella outbreak linked to a California poultry producer has sickened approximately 278 people in 18 states, health officials say. As of Tuesday morning, no recall had been issued.

Raw chicken products from Foster Farms plants have been identified as the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg.
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