Most people are worried about a seatmate that takes up more than their fair share of the seats, but on one Delta plane they should be more concerned about a far tinier co-passenger. CNN reports the FDA has sent Delta a warning letter (read it here) about mouse droppings “too numerous to count” onboard one of its planes. [More]
Conditions at the two salmonella egg farms in Iowa are so bad that you’d think they were Tylenol factories, according to recent FDA inspections. Wait, I mean the first and only inspections. [More]
Apparently the Chambers Funeral Home & Crematorium in Riverdale, Maryland had more bodies for its crematorium than it could handle, so it stored them in the garage–stacked in piles, with fluids leaking out. A state investigator discovered the stash during an inspection, although to be fair he was warned by an employee, “Don’t get upset about all the bodies in there.” [More]
The House Energy and Commerce Committee just approved comprehensive food safety reform, setting it up for consideration on the House floor in the coming months. The Food Safety Enhancement Act was approved by voice vote, indicating bipartisan support and suggesting a relatively smooth passage through the entire House.
President Obama this week declared war on the Chinese Poison Train, announcing that the FDA will receive $1 billion in new funds for modern testing labs and additional food safety inspectors. Inspecting less than 5% of our food processing plants is apparently a “hazard to public health, and “it is unacceptable.” So what’s really behind the new policy shift? No, it’s not those melamine murders or salmonella outbreaks. It’s seven-year-old first daughter Sasha Obama!
Large companies routinely rely on private audits to prove that their food is safe even though private auditors are dangerously incompetent, according to a New York Times investigation. The private auditor who inspected the Peanut Corporation of America plant responsible for unleashing the massive salmonella contamination was trained to audit bakeries and repeatedly gave the plant a “SUPERIOR” rating, partly because he “never thought that [salmonella] would survive in the peanut butter type environment.”
We know there’s salmonella story fatigue setting in, but this new overview from yesterday’s Senate hearing is the best yet as far as piecing together exactly how salmonella-tainted peanut butter made it into our food supply for such a long period of time, and why it took so long to trace it back to a single rotten peanut plant in Georgia. Ultimately the blame lies with Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) for failing to maintain its factory and for not destroying lots that tested positive for salmonella, but both the FDA and the CDC had a role in it, too. One example: the FDA didn’t even know the plant produced peanut butter or peanut paste until 2007.
Peanut Corp. of America is now saying that its Georgia plant was regularly inspected by the FDA and given a “meets or exceeds” rating. This doesn’t excuse the company from its own failings, but we think it points out what President Obama recently noted, which is that the FDA inspection system doesn’t seem to work very well.
A two-year investigation has concluded that most Verizon FIOS installations fail to meet national safety standards, and could cause fires or electrocutions. FIOS is famous for house fires, but New York’s Public Service Commission first started its investigation back in 2006 after several inspectors discovered improperly grounded installations.
Between November of last year and this past January, the FDA “cited 49 areas of concern, including a failure to follow good manufacturing practices” at Merck & Co. Inc’s vaccine plant in Pennsylvania. A Merck spokesman says that most of the incidents were found and reported by Merck’s own employees, and that they occurred in the manufacturing process, not the vaccines themselves: “He stressed that no contamination was found in finished vaccines and that Merck was addressing all the problems.”
Researchers have identified the chemical in the contaminated blood thinner Heparin that killed 81 people in the U.S. and made patients here and in Europe sick:The researchers freeze-dried the heparin and used a combination of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and liquid chromatography-mass…
The AP is reporting that four Southwest passengers have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Southwest broke its contract with passengers by skipping important safety inspections… over a period of six years.
If you own a Tacoma made between 1995 and 2000, Toyota would like to inspect it free of charge—and if the rust corrosion is severe enough, they will either repair the truck on their dime or buy it back as a vehicle in “excellent condition” no matter what state it’s really in. Toyota announced this a little over a month ago and said thy would start sending letters to Tacoma owners in the weeks to come, so if you haven’t received yours yet, be on the lookout for it.
Delta will announce sometime today whether or not it will ground more of its planes to perform additional inspections, reports CNN. Yesterday, while American Airlines was grounding 200 of its planes for safety inspections, Delta also canceled an unnamed number of flights.
FAA orders more inspections of potentially sketchy older “Boeing 737 jetliners after numerous reports of fuel leaks caused by a potentially faulty bolt,” says the Associated Press. [AP]
Yesterday the FAA sought $10.2 million in civil damages from Southwest Airlines for neglecting to inspect the fuselages of 46 of its planes.
See, this is why we don’t pull apart “crackers” on Christmas in the U.S.—a New Zealand woman found a dead, partially decomposed mouse in hers earlier this week during her family’s Christmas celebration. “I had said to my granddaughter ‘what’s the smell’ and we couldn’t work it out until we pulled the cracker.” Then: Merry Christmas! There’s a dead mouse in yer lap! “It ruined my appetite for the rest of the day,” she told her local paper.