The U.S. Department of Agriculture has banned one of the biggest food inspector groups in the nation from operating in China, reports the New York Times, because of conflict of interest concerns. It turns out the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) was using employees of a Chinese government agency to inspect Chinese government-owned farms, which sort of misses the point of independent certification entirely. [More]
If you thought the FDA had the power to recall dangerous food already, you’d be mistaken. Apparently, they need to “coax” the company into it. Changing this and increasing the agency’s budget are among the changes recommended by a new report by The Institute of Medicine, says Reuters. [More]
Oil from the explosion of Deepwater Horizon is flooding the waters of some of the most productive coastal fishing areas in the world, says ABC News, so how will the FDA ensure that no oily fish make it into the food system? They’re gonna smell it. With their noses. [More]
Yesterday the USDA announced new poultry safety rules intended to slightly reduce the number of poisonings annually from salmonella and campylobacter. An agency official says that the new rules should prevent about 65,000 cases of food sickness a year, which is only a fraction of the over a million cases annually. However, most of the other food products that contribute to that number fall under FDA regulation, so the USDA can’t say anything. “This is something we can do, so we’re doing it,” the spokesman told the Los Angeles Times. [More]
Wherever Craig lives, that’s where the most Hamburgler-proof McDonald’s in the country is located. He says he was there the other night and a police officer got up from the seating area, went around behind the counter, and prepared his order for him. When Craig asked why the officer was also a McDonald’s employee, the officer followed him outside and asked why he cared. That officer probably thought you were the Hamburglar, Craig. [More]
Last month, we posted about a Slate article encouraging people to depend on their senses and instincts when deciding whether food is safe to eat, rather than going solely by printed expiration or “sell by” dates. “Is the food slimy and smelly?” that post proclaimed. “Don’t eat it.” But if you doubt your own judgment and are unsure of the exact level of smelliness and sliminess that is acceptable for you and your family, the Livejournal community Can I Eat This? is here to help you navigate the scary world of your own refrigerator. [More]
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is a flavor enhancer, similar in composition and tastiness to the much-maligned monosodium glutamate, that is seemingly unavoidable. Thanks to salmonella contamination in the HVP paste at Basic Food Flavors, Inc. in Las Vegas, the FDA has recalled every food containing the product, ranging from salty snacks to salad dressings to soup and gravy mixes. The list of recalled foods containing the product is still growing, and encompasses familiar brand names ranging from Walmart’s Great Value brand to McCormick to Trader Joe’s. Now we now get to find out exactly how complex our food supply is and how widely used an additive HVP is. [More]
It may seem like a minor inconvenience when you’re home sick with some kind of foodborne illness, but the overall cost of these illnesses to our economy is huge–and staggering when you consider how many foodborne illnesses are preventable. A new study from the Produce Safety Project, a Pew Charitable Trusts initiative, shows that foodborne illness costs $152 billion nationwide each year in medical care and quality of life. [More]
If you’re eating a hot dog, or thinking about eating a hot dog, you may want to know this. The American Academy of Pediatrics thinks your frankfurter is a choking hazard and it should be packaged with a warning label. They also want some brainpower invested in redesigning the tasty treats so as to make them less deadly. [More]
Last week the Senate cooked up a Scooby Snack for the FDA. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved a bill that will make the FDA run around all hyper and bestow it with super strength and ghost-catching ability, the LA. Times reports, though not in those words. [More]
Nick didn’t notice the label on this package of ground beef until after he brought it home. Seeing how he bought it on November 20, 2009, and the label claims that it was packaged on August 8, 2004, he’s a little confused.
This list of the 10 riskiest foods might surprise you at first, because there’s no mention of any sort of meat or poultry. But that’s because it’s from the FDA, which doesn’t regulate those two food categories. When it comes to produce, dairy, eggs and seafood, here’s what to watch out for, listed in order from most outbreaks to least.
The USDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) today unveiled a new website focused on food safety at foodsafety.gov. It’s got lots of info on how to keep food from spoiling, but better still it’s a good launching pad for filing complaints, or keeping track of what’s going on in your state (check the “state agency” widget in the bottom right column).
The House of Representatives just passed the bipartisan Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. If enacted, the legislation would strengthen the FDA, increase inspections of food facilities, and hopefully ensure that tragedies like the Peanut Corporation of America salmonella outbreak become a thing of the past.
China is itching to sell their processed chickens directly to the U.S. market, an idea that doesn’t exactly thrill our regulators or representatives. Congress banned the import of processed Chinese chickens in 2007, ruffling Beijing’s feathers to the point where they’re now considering a retaliatory ban on U.S. chickens. Since we’re in a recession and Congress doesn’t want domestic chicken exporters to lose over a half-billion dollars next year, they may let the Chinese chickens come here to roost.
Yesterday, we reported that production at the ConAgra facility where Slim Jims are manufactured will not resume until fall due to damage from the horrific explosion in June. This information is incorrect. Employees will return to work on July 19, and production will resume on July 27. [WRAL] (Thanks, Lon!)