Tag Archives: bacteria

Friday’s Food Recalls

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Foodfacts.com brings to you the latest news on food recalls!

True Leaf Farms is voluntarily recalling 90 cartons of chopped romaine because of the potential of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The recalled product was shipped between September 12 and 13 to an institutional food service distributor in Oregon who further distributed it to at least two additional states, Washington and Idaho. The romaine affected by this recall has a “use by date” of 9/29/11.
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No illnesses related to this finding have been reported

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The recalled bags of romaine were packed in True Leaf Farms cardboard cartons and distributed by Church Brothers, LLC, and shipped between September 12 and 13, 2011. All bags carry a “use by date” of 9/29/11. Produce affected by the recall was labeled as follows:

2# bags, chopped romaine – Bag and box code B256-46438-8
Photos of the recalled product can be viewed at www.churchbrothers.com/recall. This recall includes only chopped romaine as described above.
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FDA notified the company today that a sample taken as part of a random check from a single bag of chopped romaine tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. True Leaf Farms is working with FDA to inform consumers of this recall. In addition, the company is working with its food service distribution customers to ensure that other romaine products that may be implicated are pulled from the market.

“We are fully cooperating with the FDA, and we are contacting all of our customers to ensure prompt removal of any product potentially associated with the recall,” said Steve Church, True Leaf Farms. “We are committed to conducting this recall quickly and efficiently to reduce any risk to public health.”

Anyone who has in their possession the recalled romaine as described above should not consume it, and should either destroy it or call Church Brothers, LLC for product pickup.

Consumers with questions or who need information may call Church Brothers, LLC, the sales agent for True Leaf Farms, at 1-800-799-9475, or may visit www.churchbrothers.com for updates.

(Food and Drug Administration)

Another day, another recall!

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Foodfacts.com urges all consumers to check pantries, refridgerators, and freezers for 16 oz containers of Publix Spinach Dip. This product was recently tested and found to have traces of Listeria monocytogenes. This can cause moderate to serious side-effects, and even fatalities in young children and elderly adults.
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Contact:
Consumer:
1-800-242-1227
www.publix.com

Media:
Maria Brous
863-680-5339

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 26, 2011 – Publix Super Markets is issuing a voluntary recall for spinach dip because it may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes. The problem was discovered as a result of routine microbial testing conducted by Publix. The 16 ounce containers of prepackaged spinach dip were sold at Publix retail deli departments with a UPC of 41415-00062 and use by date of OCT 10 C1.

Consumption of products containing Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infection in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The spinach dip was sold in Publix grocery stores in Florida. The following counties in Florida did not receive recalled product: Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee. Publix stores in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee are not involved with this recall.

“As part of our commitment to food safety, potentially impacted product has been removed from all store shelves,” said Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director. “To date, there have been no reported cases of illness. Consumers who have purchased the products in question may return the product to their local store for a full refund. Publix customers with additional questions may call our Consumer Relations department at 1-800-242-1227 or by visiting our website at www.publix.com.” Customers can also contact the US Food and Drug Administration at 1-888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-3366).

Publix is privately owned and operated by its 147,500 employees, with 2010 sales of $25.1 billion. Currently Publix has 1,038 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. The company has been named one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” for 14 consecutive years. In addition, Publix’s dedication to superior quality and customer service is recognized as tops in the grocery business, most recently by an American Customer Satisfaction Index survey.

(Food and Drug Administration)

Ditch Chewing Gums?

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What do you know about chewing gum? Foodfacts.com presents you with an article that quickly lists some pros and cons of this popular sticky treat. Are you a fan? Or do you stay clear of gum??

In addition to lip chap and my cell phone, gum rounds out my list of essential purse items. But when it comes to chewing gum in general, how much do we really know about these tasty, rubbery pieces we regularly munch on? Are there any benefits to chomping?

Health Benefits

Heartburn relief: In 2005, researchers found that the saliva stimulated by chewing seemed to neutralize the digestive stomach acid that had leaked into the esophagus. It also seemed to help force fluids back into the stomach and therefore provide heartburn relief. Chewing gum — sugarless, of course — for 30 minutes did the trick and can provide relief for up to three hours.

Kills bacteria and freshens breath: Chewing stimulates saliva production, and the more saliva you have in your mouth, the less bacteria you will have. Gum that is said to be sweetened with xylitol is said to increase salivation and prevent bacteria from replicating in the mouth. In terms of what flavor to go with, it’s best to stick with cinnamon, as it can actually help to decrease bacteria in your mouth — sugar-free cinnamon, naturally.

Curbs your appetite: A study at Louisiana State University took 115 people who regularly chewed gum and measured their food cravings before and after lunch. The results showed that those who chewed gum three times hourly after lunch, ate fewer high-calorie snacks and reported lower feelings of hunger and cravings for sweeter foods. And who knew that the body burns 11 calories an hour through working the jaw?

Health Risks

Aspartame and sugar content: In an effort to help make gum “healthier” by decreasing its sugar content, many gum companies began replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sorbitol, and xylitol. Although aspartame was approved in 1996 by the FDA for use in foods and beverages, there still remains many conflicting findings about the controversial sweetener. People who have a sensitivity to aspartame may experience neurological symptoms like headaches, dizziness, skin reactions, seizures, and depression. Fortunately for these individuals, there are gums like PUR that are sugar-free, aspartame-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan.

(Fit Sugar)

Natural Preservative?

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Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:
(The Telegraph)
Fresh food could be made to last for years after scientists discovered a natural preservative capable of destroying a whole class of bacteria, including E.coli and listeria.

There would also be no need to refrigerate produce treated with the preservative, called, bisin, which is produced by harmless bacteria.

They say that foods like milk, sausages and sandwiches containing the agent could be on the shelves within three years.

Ready meals, opened wine and fresh salad dressing could also be safely consumed long after they were bought, say scientists.

Researchers at Minnesota University in the US discovered the substance from a culture of a harmless bacteria, Bifodobacterium longum, commonly found in the human gut.

It is the first naturally occurring agent identified that attacks so-called gram-negative bacteria such as E.coli, salmonella and listeria.

Dan Sullivan, an Irish microbiologist who now works at the university, told The Sunday Times: “It seems to be much better than anything which has gone before. It doesn’t compromise nutrient quality — we are not adding a chemical, we are adding a natural ingredient.”

He and his team have patented the substance in the US.

Bisin is related to nisin, which attacks gram-positive bacteria, and is used in the manufacture of processed cheeses and meats. As such, it is generally recognised as safe and would not have to be pharmacologically tested.

It would not be able to prevent fruit and vegetables from rotting, however, as they decompose in a different way.

Further research is now ongoing, looking at exactly how good it is at stopping bacteria from growing.

Meanwhile, a British wholesaler has begun to make sandwiches with a two-week shelf life, by replacing all the oxygen in the plastic packaging with nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

Ray Boggiana, a food technologist who helped develop the range for Booker, which supplies convenience stores, said: “The science is not new. It’s all about using a protective atmosphere in the packaging.”

Bacteria seen in nearly half of U.S. meat

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Foodfacts.com has learned that Almost half of the meat and poultry sold at U.S. supermarkets and grocery stores contains a type of bacteria that is potentially harmful to humans, a new study estimates. Researchers tested 136 packages of chicken, turkey, pork, and ground beef purchased at 26 grocery stores in five cities around the country, and found that 47 percent contained Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), a common cause of infection in people. What’s more, roughly half of the contaminated samples contained strains of the bacteria that were resistant to at least three antibiotics, such as penicillin and tetracycline. Some strains were resistant to a half dozen or more.

Although the high contamination rates may sound alarming, the threat these bacteria pose to humans is still unclear.
“We know that nearly half of our food supply’s meat and poultry are contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those are multidrug resistant,” says Lance B. Price, Ph.D., the senior author of the study, which was published Friday in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. “What we don’t know [is] how often these transfer to people. We need more studies to quantify the public health impact.” S. aureus, and drug-resistant strains in particular, can cause serious infections and even death in humans. However, simple precautions including cooking meat thoroughly, washing hands after handling meat, and keeping raw meat separate from other foods to prevent cross-contamination are believed to neutralize the risk of infection, according to experts not involved in the research.

“Numerous studies of this type done in other countries…have generally come up with the same findings, that multidrug-resistant S. aureus are present in a variety of animal meats,” says Pascal James Imperato, M.D., the dean of the School of Public Health at SUNY–Downstate Medical Center, in Brooklyn. “But, so far, no one has been able to draw a connection between the presence of those bacteria in meats and human illness.” Multidrug-resistant bacteria strains are “always a concern for humans,” says M. Gabriela Bowden, Ph.D., a bacteria expert and assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, in Houston. “But if you follow the hygiene rules that you would follow for Salmonella or E. coli, there shouldn’t be a problem.”
The meat, which was sold under 80 different brands, was purchased in Los Angeles; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Fort Lauderdale; and Flagstaff, Ariz. The variety and number of S. aureus strains found on the samples suggest that the livestock themselves — rather than contamination during processing and packaging — are the source of the bacteria, the study notes.

Each year farmers and ranchers give millions of pounds of antibiotics to farm animals, most of them healthy, to make them grow faster and to prevent — rather than treat — diseases, says Price, the director of the Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, a nonprofit organization in Flagstaff.
The combination of bacteria, antibiotics, and livestock living in close quarters creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive and mutate, which may explain the high levels of drug-resistant S. aureus seen in the study, he adds. Virtually all (96 percent) of the S. aureus strains Price and his colleagues isolated had developed resistance to at least one antibiotic. Strains resistant to three or more antibiotics were found in 79 percent of turkey, 64 percent of pork, 35 percent of beef, and 26 percent of chicken samples.
“It’s four different meats from four different animals in different geographical areas,” Bowden says. “[S. aureus] may be more prevalent than we think.”

Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), which has been a particular menace to humans in hospitals and communities alike, was found in one package each of beef, turkey, and pork, though not chicken. This sample size wasn’t large enough to arrive at an accurate estimate of its prevalence in meat nationwide, according to the study.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture currently monitor the country’s meat supply for evidence of four major types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (including Salmonella and E. coli). The study findings suggest that S. aureus should be screened for regularly as well, the researchers say.

Article provided by Amanda Gardner