October 23rd, 2013
10:00 AM ET
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More than 22,000 pounds of chicken, ham and beef products are being recalled because of possible Listeria contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

The products were sent to retailers and distributors in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, the USDA said in a statement Tuesday.

The potential contamination was discovered by testing at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, officials said. "A traceback investigation and follow-up testing by (the Food and Drug Administration) at the facility determined there was potential cross contamination of products with Listeria monocytogenes from product contact surfaces."

Read - 22,000 pounds of meat recalled; possible Listeria
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Filed under: Health News • Listeria • Meat • Recalls


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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89 reported sickened by Chobani yogurt
September 10th, 2013
05:45 PM ET
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The United States Food and Drug Administration reported Tuesday that it has received at least 89 reports of people getting sick after consuming Chobani Greek yogurt that may have been contaminated by mold.

The reports have not been confirmed and do not represent any conclusion by the FDA about whether the product actually caused the illnesses. Chobani voluntarily removed the product from store shelves after receiving consumer complaints about swollen or bloated yogurt containers.

The New Berlin, New York-based company released a statement last week on its blog saying in part:

"Our thorough investigation has identified a type of mold commonly found in the dairy environment. The product in question is less than 5% of our production and is limited to products produced at our Idaho facility, which accounts for only one third of our production capacity."

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September 10th, 2013
02:30 AM ET
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Home cooks have been all a-cluck over recent guidance not to wash raw chicken before it's prepared and cooked. While it may seem counterintuitive, food safety resources like the United States Department of Agriculture's "Ask Karen" website advise:

"Washing poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. We call this cross-contamination.

Some consumers think they are removing bacteria and making their meat or poultry safe. However, some of the bacteria are so tightly attached that you could not remove them no matter how many times you washed. But there are other types of bacteria that can be easily washed off and splashed on the surfaces of your kitchen. Failure to clean these contaminated areas can lead to foodborne illness. Cooking (baking, broiling, boiling, and grilling) to the right temperature kills the bacteria, so washing food is not necessary."

The same goes for beef, pork, lamb and veal. Eggs, too, can incur an uptick in potential contamination, because according to the USDA, "the wash water can be 'sucked' into the egg through the pores in the shell."

So why did we all start bathing our birds in the first place? Probably because Julia Child, James Beard, Bettie Crocker, Fannie Farmer, Margaret Mitchell and the "Joy of Cooking" told us - and our parents and grandparents - to.
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September 4th, 2013
08:45 PM ET
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[Editor's note: The story has been updated to include developing new recall information.]

Chobani, the maker of a popular brand of Greek-style yogurt, announced that the company has voluntarily recalled some of its yogurt from store shelves in response to customer complaints about swollen or bloated packages. A statement released Thursday indicates that some instances of illness have been reported.

The New Berlin, New York-based company released a statement Wednesday on its blog saying in part:

"Our thorough investigation has identified a type of mold commonly found in the dairy environment. The product in question is less than 5% of our production and is limited to products produced at our Idaho facility, which accounts for only one third of our production capacity."

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Filed under: Dairy • Food Safety • Health News • News • Recalls • Tainted Food


August 13th, 2013
11:15 AM ET
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A farm linked to the recent outbreak of cyclospora has stopped sending lettuce to the United States, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Taylor Farms de Mexico "voluntarily suspended production and shipment of any salad mix, leafy green, or salad mix components from its operations in Mexico," the FDA website says. The company says it will not sell these products again until it receives FDA approval.
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Filed under: Cyclospora • Food Safety • Health News • Recalls • Tainted Food • Vegetables


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