Tag Archives: salmonella

Mondelez, Pepperidge Farm

Whey Powder and Salmonella: Mondelēz Ritz Crackers, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers Among Recalls

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Mondelez, Pepperidge Farm

Yesterday Mondelēz Global, LLC announced a voluntary recall of certain Ritz cracker sandwiches and Ritz Bits products sold in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The products contain whey powder, which the company’s supplier recalled due to concern of the presence of Salmonella.

On Friday, the USDA’s FSIS issued a public health alert for products containing whey powder manufactured by Associated Milk Producers, Inc.. The company issued a voluntary recall. The product associated with this specific alert is frozen microwavable “Hungry Man Chipotle BBQ sauced boneless chicken WYNGZ” dinners, produced by Pinnacle Foods, Inc. The issued was uncovered by the company when Associated Milk Producers notified them that its recalled whey powder ingredient was user in the ranch dressing it supplied to Pinnacle Foods. The ingredient was used in mashed potatoes as a component of the frozen chicken dinner.

More companies initiated voluntary recalls as result of the potential Salmonella contamination involving the whey protein. Pepperidge Farm recalled four varieties of its Goldfish Crackers. The company has an extensive list of the products with packaging labeling to assist consumers with identifying the product(s) of concern. Yesterday Flowers Foods recalled its Swiss Rolls and Captain John Derst’s Old Fashioned Bread.

Thus far, no illnesses related to the above recalls have been reported.

Alert

Drug-Resistant Salmonella in Raw Turkey Products: 90 Ill

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Alert

Today USDA’s FSIS issued an update about a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Reading illnesses that have been linked to raw turkey products. Thus far 90 people in 26 states have been infected with the strain. Forty people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

A single source of the outbreak has yet to be identified. However, the CDC states that this strain of Salmonella is present in live turkeys and many types of raw turkey products, so “it might be widespread in the turkey industry”.

“33 isolates from ill people and 49 isolates from food and animal samples contained genes for resistance to all or some of the following antibiotics: ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, gentamicin, and kanamycin. Testing of four outbreak isolates using standard antibiotic susceptibility testing by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory confirmed these results. This resistance likely will not affect the choice of antibiotic used to treat most people since these antibiotics are not normally used to treat Salmonella infections.” – CDC

The illnesses began on November 20, 2017 to June 29, 2018. Officials are using PulseNet to identify illnesses that might be part of the outbreak.

Kellogg's

Despite Recall, Some Retailers Still Selling Kellogg’s Honey Smacks

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Kellogg's

Today FDA issued an alert after becoming aware that some retailers are still selling Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal, which was recalled in June following a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka infections linked to the product. No deaths have been reported, but 100 people in 33 states have become ill, with 30 hospitalizations, according to the CDC.

“Retailers cannot legally offer the cereal for sale and consumers should not purchase Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal,” FDA stated in its update about the agency’s outbreak investigation.

3M Molecular detection system

USDA FSIS Awards 3M Food Safety with Contract for Pathogen Testing

3M Molecular detection system
3M Molecular detection system
3M Molecular detection system

USDA FSIS has awarded a contract to 3M Food Safety for its pathogen detection instruments and kits. 3M’s molecular detection system will be the primary method used by the agency to detect Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157. The technology combines isothermal DNA amplification and bioluminescence detection for a fast, accurate and simple solution that also tackles some of the constraints of PCR methods. Users can concurrently run up to 96 different tests for many organisms across food and environmental samples.

Clear Labs Clear Safety

Will Next-Generation Sequencing Dethrone PCR?

By Maria Fontanazza
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Clear Labs Clear Safety

Today Clear Labs announced the availability of its next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform, Clear Safety, for pathogen testing. Competing head-to-head with PCR, the product intends to bring NGS into the routine production environment. Clear Labs is launching the product at the IAFP Annual Meeting this week in Salt Lake City.

“Until the launch of Clear Safety, there was the duality between PCR and whole genome sequencing (WGS) where PCR was more applicable to routine testing and faster results,” says Mahni Ghorashi, co-founder of Clear Labs. “WGS is more expensive and slower, so the food industry has been using the technology as complementary until this time. This platform out competes PCR virtually on every level.”

Clear Safety was in the pilot phase only a couple of months ago when Ghorashi sat down with Food Safety Tech to give a brief overview of the technology. Now that the platform is officially out of pilot mode, it is accessible to all of the food industry, from third-party service labs to any food company that has an in-house lab. With less human labor involved, the platform reduces the potential for errors and does not require additional expertise. The process from sample to result has been simplified, and the bacterial enrichment and sample prep stages are identical to PCR, according to Ghorashi, who says that all a lab technician has to do is load the plates on the box and press “go”. Within 18 hours, test results are ready and can be accessed through a software platform.

Clear Labs, Clear Safety, PCR
Clear Safety is touted as the first NGS platform that can either match or outperform PCR systems as it relates to accuracy, turnaround time and cost. Chart courtesy of Clear Labs.

In discussing the capabilities of Clear Safety versus PCR, Ghorashi named a few other key differentiators:

  • Molecular profiling: The ability to drill down from species-level resolution to serotype to strain-level all in a single test within 24 hours (as opposed to today’s three-to-five-day timeframe)
  • Better accuracy and more automation, reducing human error
  • Multi-target analysis: The ability to run different kinds of pathogens at the same time
  • Software: LIMS built specifically for food safety testing

Clear Safety’s first area of focus is Salmonella. Ghorashi estimates that 90% of the poultry market, 80% of the pet food market and half of all contract service labs have piloted the platform. Next year E.coli and Listeria testing capabilities will be rolled out.

Recall

Recalls from Kellogg Company and Del Monte due to Salmonella and Cyclospora

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Recall

Kellogg Company announced a voluntary recall of Honey Smacks cereal (15.3 oz and 23 oz) after it was uncovered there may be a presence of Salmonella. The products were distributed national wide as well as in Costa Rica, Guatamala, Mexico, the Caribbean, Guam, Tahiti and Saipan. The issue was uncovered after FDA and CDC were contacted regarding reported illnesses—at that point Kellogg initiated an investigation with the third-party manufacturer of Honey Smacks. The products have a Best If Used by Date of June 14, 2018 through June 14, 2019.

Following a potential link to a cluster of illnesses related to Cyclospora contamination, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. initiated a voluntary recall of 6 oz., 12 oz. and 28 oz. vegetable trays containing fresh broccoli, cauliflower, celery sticks, carrots, and dill dip sold to certain retailers in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin).

The products were distributed to Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Demond’s, Sentry, Potash, Meehan’s, Country Market, Food Max Supermarket and Peapod, and have a “Best By” date of June 17 or earlier.

Recall

Caito Food Recalls Pre-Cut Melon Products Following Salmonella Outbreak

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Recall

An investigation of a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Adelaide infections has been traced back to pre-cut melon distributed by Caito Foods, according to an outbreak update from FDA. The agency, along with CDC and state and local officials, are investigating the outbreak involving 60 people in five states in the Midwest, and have traced it back to fruit salad mixes that include pre-cut melon. As a result, Caito Foods has issued a voluntary recall of these products, which were distributed to Costco, Jay C, Kroger, Payless, Owen’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Walmart, and Whole Foods/Amazon. No deaths have been reported.

The illnesses occurred between April 30 and May 28. The FDA is advising consumers to refrain from eating the recalled cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe and fresh-cut fruit melody products that were produced at the Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis, IN.

Eggs

Rose Acres Recalls Eggs, FDA Investigating Salmonella Link

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Eggs

Rose Acre Farms has voluntarily recalled eggs from its farm in Hyde County, North Carolina following an investigation by FDA, CDC and other agencies involving Salmonella illnesses. FDA testing determined that eggs produced from this farm are connected to 22 cases of Salmonella Braenderup infections; the CDC is confirming illness information with state health departments.

The exact amount of eggs recalled totals 206,749,248.

The eggs are sold under several brand names, including Coburn Farms, Country Daybreak, Food Lion, Glenview, Great Value, Nelms, and Sunshine Farms, as well as restaurants.

FDA is advising restaurants and retailers that they should not sell or use any recalled shell eggs. In addition, they should take measures to avoid cross-contamination of the food processing environment and equipment by washing and sanitizing display cases and refrigerators regularly, washing and sanitizing cutting boards, surfaces and utensils, and washing hands with hot water and soap after any cleaning or sanitation process. Consumers are advised not to eat the recalled eggs.

A full list of the recalled eggs are available on FDA’s website.

Francine Shaw, Savvy Food Safety, Inc.
FST Soapbox

Foodborne Illnesses and Recalls on the Rise

By Francine L. Shaw
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Francine Shaw, Savvy Food Safety, Inc.

The last word a manufacturer wants to hear is “recall”. During 2017, recalls involved everything from salad mix contaminated with a dead bat to hash browns infused with shredded golf balls.

Not all recalls are created equal. Both the USDA and the FDA have three classifications of recalls to indicate the relative degree of health hazard presented by the product being recalled:

  • Class I: A Class I recall is the most serious classification, involving a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death.
  • Class II: A Class II recall involves a potential health hazard situation in which there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from eating the food.
  • Class III: A Class III recall involves a situation in which eating the food will not cause adverse health consequences.

During 2017, there were 456 recalls recorded in the United States. The number one reason for those recalls was undeclared allergens.

Identify the weak links in your supply chain: Attend the Food Safety Supply Chain Conference | June 12–13, 2018 | Rockville, MD | Learn moreFoodborne illnesses continue to be widespread, as well. In 2017, we saw Robin Hood flour contaminated with E.coli, Soygo yogurt with Listeria, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and ground turkey tainted with Salmonella, and even shredded coconut was responsible for causing a Salmonella outbreak in the United States and Canada. Foodborne illness outbreaks can happen at restaurants, corporate events, private parties, schools and cruise ships—anywhere and everywhere food is served.

Recalls and foodborne illnesses are 100% preventable. Incidents occur because of human error, and all it takes is one weak link to cause serious—and potentially fatal—problems. That’s it. One weak link can cause the traumatic deaths and/or illnesses of customers, and cost your company billions of dollars, loss of sales, plummeting stocks, negative media coverage and a severely damaged reputation.

When there’s a recall or a foodborne illness, products must be destroyed, which is lost revenue for manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, etc. Finding the source of the contamination can be a massive undertaking. The manufacturer may need to close all of their plants for cleaning until the source is identified, which adds up to a tremendous financial burden, and also requires significant time and effort. Class 1 recalls can cost hundreds of millions of dollars or more, to identify the source of contamination, recall products, sanitize facilities, and keep consumers safe.

It takes years for companies to establish a solid reputation, and food recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks can obliterate a brand’s reputation overnight. Consumers lose confidence much faster than they gain it, and bad news travels fast (especially in this time of social media where news spreads instantly and widely). And on top of that, there may be litigation as a result of the recall, incident or outbreak, which will result in attorney fees and potential settlements that could be very significant. If the risk of massive expense and bankruptcy isn’t enough, for the past few years, the U.S. District of Justice has been issuing fines and prison terms to company leaders involved in foodborne illnesses outbreaks and food recalls.

The government, media and general public are holding companies (and their leadership) accountable now, so you’d think that recalls and foodborne illness incidents would be on the decline but, unfortunately, that’s not the case. And with advancements in technology, why are we still having so many issues surrounding the safety of our food?

Many media outlets report that foodborne illnesses have been rising considerably in the past few years. However, according to the CDC, a study showed that the six most common foodborne illnesses have actually declined in frequency by 25% over the last two decades. Having said that, though, the severity of foodborne illness outbreaks seems to be increasing, and the number of outbreaks connected to produce has risen, as well. Some experts believe the increases may be due to better reporting processes rather than an actual increase in the number of foodborne illnesses.

There are various theories as to why foodborne illnesses may be getting worse. Some government agencies indicate it has to do with farming policies. The CDC disagrees. More widely accepted beliefs are the increase in popularity of organic produce—grown with manure rather than chemical fertilizer—which can transfer bacteria to the produce. Additionally, there’s debate that the use of antibiotics can cause bacteria that causes foodborne illnesses to become resistant.

Recalls may occur for a variety of reasons. Products may be pushed beyond their shelf life by the manufacturer, or maybe the design and development around the product was insufficient (equipment, building, etc.). Is the manufacturing facility designed in a manner that can prevent contamination—structurally and hygienically? Maybe the production quality control checks failed. Did the manufacturer conduct an adequate food safety risk assessment prior to launching the new product? Profit margins are often thin—did financial incentives prevent the company from implementing a thorough food safety program?

Getting back to the basics of food safety would reduce recalls and foodborne illnesses significantly. Manufacturers must be certain about food safety as well as the integrity of the ingredients they use. They need to be honest with themselves and understand the risks of the ingredients, processes and finished products that they are handling.

Human error is a given. It’s the corporation’s responsibility to minimize the risk. Implement ongoing food safety education and training for all employees, explaining the proper food safety protocols and processes. Develop internal auditing systems, using innovative digital tools. Get rid of the pen and paper forms, where it’s more likely for errors to occur and for pencil whipping to happen. Digital solutions provide more effective internal auditing, meticulousness in corrective action systems including root cause analysis, allergen management, and controls relating to packing product into the correct packaging format—all fundamental to keeping foods, consumers and businesses healthy and safe.

Recall

FDA Orders Mandatory Recall of Triangle Pharmanaturals Kratom Products

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Recall

Earlier this week the FDA ordered a mandatory recall for all Triangle Pharmanaturals food products that contain powdered kratom as a result of Salmonella contamination. The mandatory action was issued because the company “refused to cooperate with FDA despite repeated attempts to encourage voluntary recall,” FDA stated in a release.

For more than a month, FDA has been investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections that were linked to products containing kratom, a plant native to Thaland, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Over this period of time, there have been several voluntary recalls by companies that provide products containing kratom: PDX Aromatics, Tamarack, Inc., and NutriZone LLC. All of these recalls were due to positive Salmonella product sample results.

Triangle Pharmanaturals, however, was not responsive to FDA’s requests to issue a voluntary recall, even after samples of products manufactured by the company tested positive for Salmonella. “In the course of investigating a multi-state outbreak of salmonella infections linked to kratom products in conjunction with local officials, FDA investigators were denied access to the company’s records relating to potentially affected products and Triangle employees refused attempts to discuss the agency’s findings,” FDA stated.

“Under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA has the authority to order the recall of certain food products when the FDA determines that there is a reasonable probability that the article of food is adulterated or in violation of certain allergen labeling requirements and that the use of or exposure to such article will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.” – FDA

As of March 14, the CDC reported that 87 people were infected with outbreak strains of Salmonella in 35 states; 27 people have been hospitalized. And as of April 2, 26 different kratom-containing products have tested positive for Salmonella.

FDA is advising consumers to avoid kratom and all kratom-containing products, which have been sold in several forms, including leaves, tea, pills, capsules and powder. “There is no FDA-approved use for kratom and the agency has received concerning reports about the safety of kratom, including deaths associated with its use,” the agency stated.