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]
Salmonella in the pepper! Salmonella in the hydrolyzed vegetable protein! Salmonella everywhere! Oh yeah, and some other stuff was recalled too. [More]
The shopper loyalty cards that your grocery store provides can have a higher purpose than giving you discounts, profiling your shopping habits, and racking up points for rewards programs. Loyalty card data can also help track down the source of foodborne pathogens, retaining records of specific brands and items that customers probably won’t remember. Trying to find the source of a mysterious salmonella outbreak, the CDC mined grocery loyalty card data to narrow the source down to specific brands of Italian cured meat. [More]
Last week, 1.2 million pounds of various cured meats made by Rhode Island’s Daniele International but sold under different names were recalled due to possible salmonella poisoning. Labels the affected meats were sold under include Daniele, Dietz & Watson, Black Bear of the Black Forest, and Boar’s Head. [More]
Turtles remain a popular pet with kids. In 1975 the U.S. banned the sale of ones smaller than 4 inches, but the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates almost 2 million were being kept as pets as of 2006. They’re also responsible for one of the slowest outbreaks of salmonella we’ve seen in recent years.
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.
The FDA has issued a new ruling that says egg producers must “test regularly for salmonella and buy chicks from suppliers who do the same,” and that eggs “will have to be refrigerated on the farm and during shipment” as well as by wholesalers and in the store. The rule is meant to cut down on the number of egg-related salmonella cases nationwide, which currently are around 142,000 a year. [Washington Post] (Photo: Andreas Kollegger)
Raw alfalfa sprouts have been linked to salmonella outbreaks across the country, according to the FDA. Recent salmonella cases have been diagnosed in Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia, and the FDA is linking this outbreak to salmonella infections a few months ago in other states, including Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. (Photo: Erin Collins)
Texas has issued the largest fine in the state’s history to the peanut company blamed in the salmonella outbreak: $14.6 million. [AP]
Peanut distributor refuses to recall peanuts On March 23rd the FDA advised consumers to dispose of any peanut or peanut containing products made or distributed by Westco or Westcott that they find in their homes. That same day it requested a formal recall of all Westco and Westcott products containing peanuts from PCA, and a few days later it requested access to some of its distribution records, but Westco refused to cooperate. [Consumer Reports]
The pistachio recall has been expanded after FDA inspectors found salmonella contamination in “critical areas” of Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Calif.
There have been quite a few “salmonella pistachio” recalls in the past few days, so the FDA has set up pistachio HQ on their website. You can search and/or browse the Pistachio Recalled Products List, learn about salmonella, and generally freak out about contaminated pistachios.
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!