“The USDA is letting the wolf guard the hog-house”
January 14, 2020
Several food safety advocacy organizations have filed a legal action against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for issuing New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) rules that that they say undermine pork-safety inspection in slaughter plants. Food & Water Watch and the Center for Food Safety are calling the new NSIS rules “a draconian reversal to the swine slaughter inspection system that has existed in the United States since 1906, which required meat inspectors to examine each animal before and after slaughter.”
A new report says that “systemic failures” in the U.S. food safety system have led to a sharp increase in recalls of contaminated foods since 2013.
How Safe is Our Food?, from U.S. Public Interest Research Groups’ (PIRG) Education Fund, found that many types of food recalls have increased since the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011.
The E. coli outbreak in the U.S. linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over. That’s the judgement of the CDC, which has issued a final update on the case, which resulted in 62 people in 16 states becoming ill from eating contaminated lettuce. Twenty-five people of them were hospitalized, including two people who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
In 1997, hundreds of elementary school children in Michigan contracted Hepatitis A from a contaminated strawberry dessert served in the school’s cafeteria. Immediate effects included vomiting, high fevers, body aches, headaches, and abdominal painting. Among the long-term effects: hair loss, fatigue and shingles.
The CDC is warning of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella linked to kosher chicken that has hospitalized eight people and resulted in one death. The illness – which may be linked to Empire Kosher brand chicken – has sickened 17 people in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia – so far.
According to a 2009 study by the Rutgers University Food Policy Institute, fewer than 60% of Americans have ever checked their homes for a recalled food item. This suggests that, while many Americans view food recalls as important, they don’t believe they’re particularly relevant. With food product and ingredient recalls becoming increasingly present in our daily lives, Stop Foodborne Illness presents a basic guide to orient consumers on food recalls.
The month of May means it’s nearly time for America’s favorite food lovers’ tradition: visiting your local farmers market. While the romaine lettuce implicated in the recent E coli outbreak was sold at supermarkets, food safety advocates are reminding consumers that produce from farmers markets may also harbor pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella, which are found naturally in soil as well as in manure.
…and if you’re not sure where it comes from, don’t eat it
April 30, 2018
Nearly a hundred people in 22 states have now been made sick from eating E. coli-contaminated romaine lettuce in the worst such outbreak since 2006, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than half of the 98 people affected have had symptoms so severe they required hospitalization.
The CDC is warning people to avoid taking the popular yet controversial herb kratom.
Already in the FDA’s crosshairs for its opioid properties, kratom has now been identified as the culprit behind a salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than two dozen people in 20 states. Eleven of those were affected to an extent that required hospitalization.
If you made a New Year’s resolution to improve your health by eating more produce, the folks at Stop Foodborne Illness have a few warnings for you. While a more plant-based diet can be very healthy, you still must be mindful about the risk of foodborne pathogens.