February 19th, 2014
01:45 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.

At any given time the FDA is responsible for watching over some 167,000 domestic food facilities or farms, and another 421,000 facilities or farms outside the United States, according to FDA officials. But there are only about 1,100 inspectors to oversee these facilities, officials told CNN in 2012.

There is a third party audit system, where farms or facilities hire auditors to inspect their premises and provide scores. But some say the audit system is full of conflicts of interest. For instance, shortly before Jensen Farms in Colorado caused a listeria outbreak that killed 30 people, a private inspection company’s auditor gave them a “superior” grade, even after noting that they had no anti-microbial solution in place to clean their cantaloupes.

Sometimes, food slips through the cracks and makes it to the consumer marketplace, as in the recent case of the 8.7 million pounds of meat from Rancho Feeding Corporation (and their associated products like Hot Pockets) that were recalled due to "adulteration." Here's what that means.
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February 19th, 2014
05:00 AM ET
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Nestlé USA has issued a recall of two varieties of Philly Steak and Cheese Hot Pockets because they may contain meat that has already been recalled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The two brands are Hot Pockets brand Philly Steak and Cheese in three different pack sizes, and Hot Pockets brand Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese in the two pack box.
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Filed under: Food Safety • Meat • Recalls • Tainted Food


February 10th, 2014
09:15 AM ET
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Some 8.7 million pounds of meat from a Northern California company have been recalled because they came from "diseased and unsound" animals that weren't properly inspected, a federal agency announced Saturday.

The recall affecting Rancho Feeding Corporation products - as detailed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service - marks a significant expansion of one announced January 13, when just over 40,000 pounds of the company's products were recalled.

According to the U.S. agency, Rancho Feeding "processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection."
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January 13th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
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Tyson Foods has announced a recall of nearly 34,000 pounds of chicken on fears of salmonella contamination.

The United State Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service was notified of a Salmonella Heidelberg cluster of illnesses on December 12, 2013. Together with the Tennessee Department of Health, the FSIS discovered a link between mechanically separated chicken products from Tyson Foods, and an outbreak of illness in a Tennessee correctional facility. Seven people were sickened, and of those cases, two were hospitalized.
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What does the fox say? 'I don't belong in your Wal-Mart donkey meat'
January 2nd, 2014
11:30 AM ET
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Wal-Mart is recalling donkey meat in China after it was found to be contaminated with other animal products.

Wal-Mart said it was recalling the meat in Jinan, the provincial capital of Shandong. The company apologized to customers and said it would provide refunds.

State media said the product - Five Spice Donkey Meat - had been contaminated with fox meat.
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Filed under: Food Safety • Health News • Recalls • Taboos


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


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


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


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