Salmonella cases in humans: assessing current EU reduction targets

After several years of decline, salmonellosis cases in the EU have flattened out.

EFSA scientists say that setting stricter targets for Salmonella in laying hens at farm level could help reduce cases of this origin by a half.

EU countries are currently required to reduce the proportion of laying flocks infected with certain types of Salmonella to 2%. EFSA experts estimate that if this target was reduced to 1% salmonellosis cases in humans transmitted via laying hens would drop by 50%.

Read entire post Salmonella cases in humans: assessing current EU reduction targets | European Food Safety Authority



FSA and PHE issue advice to prevent foodborne illnesses during the holidays

There are an estimated 1 million food poisoning cases a year in the United Kingdom. It can have serious consequences, especially for children, those already in ill-health, and older people.

FSA told consumers to check the advice on packaging and follow provided instructions when cooking turkey. Before serving, it is important to use a thermometer to check foods — especially meat, fish and poultry — to make sure they have been cooked to the proper temperature to kill bacteria, viruses and parasites. Proper defrosting is also crucial for food safety.

A turkey should not be defrosted at room temperature. A large turkey weighing 6-7 kilograms could take up to four days to defrost in the fridge. In a fridge at 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees F), allow 10 to 12 hours per kilogram. Bacteria grow at temperatures above 8 degrees Celsius and below 63 degrees Celsius (about 40 degrees F to 140 degrees F) – the “Danger Zone” for microbial growth.

> Read entire article FSA and PHE issue advice to prevent foodborne illnesses during the holidays | Food Safety News

6 airplane foods you should avoid, according to food safety experts

While on-board meals are held to strict safety standards, the risk of bacteria can be greater in the air due to the lag time between when the food is prepared and when it’s served, according to airline food safety expert Jean Dible.

In the restaurant industry, food is cooked and served without delay,” Dible says. “In the aviation industry, food is prepared at a catering company and then packed in insulated containers and trucked to airports to be put aboard the aircraft.” That can make it difficult to control the temperature of the food.

Incorrect holding temperatures is the number one reason for food-borne illness on a worldwide basis,” Dible says.

To play it safe, here are six types of foods she and other experts suggest you avoid when you’re dining above the clouds.

Read entire article 6 airplane foods you should avoid, according to food safety experts | Megan Leonhardt | CNBC

Most significant food safety change in 25 years?

In 1993, 25 years ago, we had what the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) still calls the “Western States E. coli outbreak.” Most of us call it the Jack in the Box outbreak, the one that sickened 723 victims, most of them under 10 years of age.

Four kids died and 178 persons were left with permanent kidney and/or brain damage. This was a significant food safety change in that it shocked the world into realizing that what was felt to be safe food could, in fact, be very dangerous.

It also taught us that undercooking hamburger could sicken your customers. It also resulted in E. coli O157:H7 being determined to be a ground beef adulterant, to be followed later by six more strains of non-O157:H7 STECs being added to the adulterant list.

But in my mind, while outbreak was not, in itself, a food safety change, it did result, in addition to the above, one more new tool in the tool kit of food safety that has changed the land scape forever.

Read entire article Most significant food safety change in 25 years? | Dr. Richard Raymond | Feedstuffs

Post-Brexit US trade deal risk to food safety, says ex-environment minister

Food safety in the UK and public confidence in it will be placed at risk if the government pursues a free-trade agreement with the US, a former Conservative environment minister has said.

If imports of US-standard food were allowed, “you would have a huge decline in food safety,” said Lord Deben, now chairman of the Committee on Climate Change. “Food safety is a huge issue.”

See also Brexit Resilience: Conception to GraveHe said the US would stipulate allowing exports of its agricultural products to the UK in any free-trade agreement. “I know this – I’ve negotiated with them, for the whole of the EU,” he told the Guardian.

“You have four times as much food-borne disease in the US,” he said, adding that the country’s standards on aspects of food safety, including meat and other agricultural products, were lower than those in the UK and Europe.

> Read entire article Post-Brexit US trade deal risk to food safety, says ex-environment minister | The Guardian

Food Safety after a power outage

The USDA says you should never taste food to determine safety. The agency has the following food safety tips related to power outages and says, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

During a power outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. The refrigerator will keep food safe for up to 4 hours. If the power is off longer, you can transfer food to a cooler and fill with ice or frozen gel packs. Make sure there is enough ice to keep food in the cooler at 40°F or below. Add more ice to the cooler as it begins to melt.

A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full).

> Read entire article Food safety after a power outage |  United States Department of Agriculture | Cadillac News

Canadians’ Food Safety knowledge is lacking, Federal survey finds

Canadians are becoming less aware of how to safely handle and prepare food to avoid food-borne illness and food poisoning, according to government-backed research.

The findings from the report, which cost the government $126,449, point to an overall deterioration over the past eight years in Canadians’ confidence that they can protect themselves and their families from food-borne illness and food poisoning.

The pollsters recommend the government gently target public awareness campaigns at those groups, among others, about how to properly handle food “without undermining the public’s confidence in agriculture or the agri-food industry, or Canada’s food safety system, which is reasonably good.

> Read entire article Canadians’ Food Safety Knowledge Is Lacking, Federal Survey Finds | Jordan Press | HuffPost

USDA offers Food Safety tips for areas affected by winter storms

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety recommendations for those who may be impacted by winter storms in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Western regions of the U.S.

The National Weather Service reports that widespread snow, rain and strong winds developed overnight as a winter storm developed rapidly over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S. Numerous warnings have been issued for these areas, including winter weather advisories, winter storm warnings and high wind warnings. The National Weather Service also reports heavy snow and rain across much of the Western U.S.

Winter storms can present the possibility of power outages and flooding that can compromise the safety of stored food. Residents in the path of this storm should pay close attention to the forecast. FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during this and other severe weather events.

Read more: USDA offers Food Safety tips for areas affected by winter storms | Globenewswire

Key new (and not so new) Food Safety challenges for 2018

Despite significant advances in detection tools, regulations, monitoring and consumer education on food safety, reports of foodborne illness outbreaks are expected to increase.

Posted on Food Safety Magazine
By Larry Keener

Gluten-free diets becoming more common even if celiac disease isn’t.
California adds glyphosate to list of cancer-causing chemicals.
Flour recalled over possible link to E. coli outbreak.
Huge recall of frozen fruits and vegetables after Listeria outbreak.
Brazil’s largest food companies raided in tainted meat scandal.
Recalls of organic food on the rise.
Sally the salad robot is aimed at reducing the risk of foodborne illness by assembling salads out of precut vegetables stored in refrigerated canisters.
Hurricane Harvey brings food safety challenges to millions.

As these headline news items attest, there are growing challenges in food safety that companies must address to remain innovative and grow their businesses!

Despite significant advances in detection tools, regulations, monitoring and consumer education on food safety, reports of foodborne illness outbreaks are expected to increase. More sensitive testing methods, changing consumer behaviors, climate change, modes of transportation and increasing complexity and globalization of the supply chain all contribute to this increase. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that foodborne diseases cause an estimated 48 million illnesses each year in the United States, including 9.4 million caused by known pathogens.

Food safety challenges exist along each step of the supply chain from concept to commercialization. The very name “supply chain” assumes that this is a linear relationship. However, as we all know, the complexity of the current supply chain from farm to fork makes it difficult to accurately manage the challenges facing us today, so organizations must reduce the complexities within the supply chain to enable accurate control of the process. This will involve the proactive identification of potential risks and their mitigation, resulting in brand protection and meeting ever-changing consumer needs.
Addressing these food safety challenges will require investments in information technology (IT), end-to-end management of the supply chain and building food safety capability from the CEO down to the line operators.

The following key areas must be managed to address the new food safety challenges facing the food industry.

Read entire article Key New (and Not So New) Food Safety Challenges | Larry Keener | Food Safety Magazine

What you always wanted to know about Food Crime but were afraid to ask

I’m often asked whether my job, leading the United Kingdom (UK)’s fight against serious criminality in food supply chains, has made me an anxious consumer. I always sense that my response disappoints. Because the truth is, it really hasn’t.

Sure, I try to make the right food choices when shopping, and, yes, I even occasionally glance at ingredients and nutritional information on the packaging. Counterintuitively, in the eyes of some, my experience since 2015 as Head of Food Crime at the National Food Crime Unit of the Food Standards Agency in London, has actually increased my confidence in the integrity of the food I eat.

The overwhelming majority of food and drink produced and sold in the UK and the USA is safe and what it says it is.

So I shop and dine with confidence because what I’ve seen to date leads me to believe that food production, manufacture and retail form an industry populated by honest and well-intentioned people who care about bringing high quality and interesting things to our plates. Although not every country is quite so fortunate, the overwhelming majority of food and drink produced and sold in the UK and indeed in the United States is safe and what it says it is.

The second question new acquaintances often ask concerns, what I call, the ‘Eww Factor.’ Quite understandably, people have a slightly salacious desire to know the most revolting or bizarre substance I’ve found food to be adulterated with. Again, my answer seldom lives up to the expectations of the questioner. To define food crime by its Eww Factor is to fundamentally misunderstand the way fraudsters operate.

Source: Food Safety Magazine


This is how restaurant chefs are taking risks with your food safety

A survey of more than 200 chefs reveals some questionable food safety practices in restaurant kitchens.

Whenever you eat out, you’re doing it in good faith. You’re putting trust in that establishment; acting on the assumption that staff members take food safety seriously all along the supply chain. If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you know first-hand how serious the issue is.

A new study out of the University of Liverpool has revealed some questionable food safety practices in U.K. kitchens. Dubbed the Enigma Project, the researchers surveyed more than 200 chefs and uncovered some troubling behaviour.

16% of chefs surveyed had served barbecued chicken that they weren’t sure was sufficiently cooked.

The survey has revealed that:

  • a third of chefs had worked in kitchens which served meat ‘on the turn’
  • over 30% had worked in a kitchen within 48 hours of suffering from diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • 16% had served barbecued chicken when not sure it was fully cooked
  • 7% did not always wash their hands immediately after handling raw meat or fish

“Masking the smell and taste of meat on the turn is an old industry trick, and the ability to do it means restaurants can cut costs. Showing you can do it shows a potential employer you are experienced in the industry,” Prof. Daniel Rigby, one of the study’s lead authors, told ScienceDaily.

“Foodborne illnesses impose a huge burden to the population, and these results indicate a high prevalence of behaviours which can give people food poisoning.”

Source: Science Daily

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What you should know about how eggs are monitored for food safety in the USA

Many agencies of the USDA work to keep eggs safe from farm to table.

Food safety is a major concern and responsibility of the federal, state and local governments. Safe food is an economic priority because consumers take for granted that the food for sale in grocery stores and from farmers markets is safe. Michigan State University Extension wants to insure that consumers understand food safety and the process that keeps our food system safe.

Multiple agencies with in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) monitor shell eggs and poultry farms to insure safety.  The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) inspects handlers and hatcheries to insure that eggs are “as good or better than Consumer Grade B quality standards.” They insure that the processing plant follows USDA’s sanitation guidelines and proper manufacturing processes.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) works to reduce risk of disease in flocks. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) works to ensure that eggs are kept at a temperature no greater 45 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the risk of food borne illnesses and works to educate consumers about the safe handling of eggs. The USDA also researches egg safety and egg processing through the Agricultural Research Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service collects information about the egg industry that is used in economic analyses.


The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implements the Egg Safety Rule (of 2010) which has been designed to reduce the risk of food borne illness, specifically, Salmonella enteritidis. This includes the provision that large egg-laying production facilities maintain written safety plans and comply with inspections. The FDA Egg Safety Plan also outlines the monitoring of birds for Salmonella and routinely tests flocks as pullets and either once or twice during the lay period.  According to veterinarian Eric Gingerich, “This testing keeps the producers honest and gives them an incentive to vaccinate, use products that improve gut health and perform the management aspects of Salmonella prevention.”

In cooperation with federal food safety efforts, state agriculture departments assist with monitoring the compliance of egg packers with U.S. standards, grades and weight classes. State and local health departments ensure that retail food establishments comply with health codes and applicable food codes.

To keep you and your family safe from food borne illnesses at home, read about food safety practices on The Resilience Post.

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