Tag Archives: sickness

Another day, another recall!

listeria monocytogenes
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)

Food Recalls 9/19

queso fresco
Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

Del Bueno de Grandview, WA is recalling 16 oz. packages of queso fresco cheese due to possible listeria monocytogenes contamination. Dates marked on the label show September 14 2011. Make sure to dispose of this product and carefully clean the area in which it was kept.

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Food Recall: Cargill Ground Turkey.. again.

honeysuckle_white
Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

For the second time in barely a month, Cargill has voluntarily recalled ground turkey due to tests showing the presence of Salmonella, and has temporarily suspended ground turkey production at its Springdale, AR, processing plant.

Cargill announced the recall of 185,000 pounds of turkey that was processed at the Arkansas plant on Aug 23, 24, 30 and 31, 2011, after a random sample collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Aug. 24 tested positive for the same Salmonella Heidelberg strain that sickened more than 100 people in 31 states earlier this summer. Twenty-seven people were hospitalized and one person died.

The Springdale plant was closed again Friday, and the recall announced at about 2 a.m. (PDT) Sunday as the nation prepared to observe the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are acting quickly in response to USDA’s sample testing,” said Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill’s turkey business, in a prepared statement. “Although there are no known illnesses associated with this positive sample, it is the same Salmonella Heidelberg strain that resulted in our voluntary recall on Aug. 3.”

Food safety attorney Bill Marler, publisher of Food Safety News, said it is significant that Cargill is recalling Salmonella-tainted ground turkey without evidence of human illness. “In essence, Cargill is treating Salmonella like it is in fact an adulterant. For that Cargill should be commended.”

Sunday’s recall is small compared to the August 3 recall of 36 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey produced over a period of more than five months.

Following that recall, the Springdale plant was cleaned and the company installed an “enhanced food safety plan” designed to be “the most aggressive and advanced program in the poultry industry,” Cargill spokesman Mike Martin said at the time. The plant was reopened two weeks later, on Aug 18, having increased the level of antibacterial treatment in its turkey processing line.

“The measures that we put in place were showing encouraging results,” Martin told Food Safety News on Sunday. “We were seeing lower numbers of Salmonella positives since those new measures were implemented.”

However, some authorities had remained skeptical. Oregon epidemiologist Bill Keene was sufficiently concerned that he bought 15 packages of Cargill ground turkey in the Portland area and had them tested. Six of the 15 packages tested positive for Salmonella.

Last week’s FSIS test appears to confirm Keene’s suspicions that contaminated ground turkey remained on the market.

“As we all know, Salmonella is a naturally occurring bacteria which is ubiquitous in the environment,” Martin said. “It’s indicative of the challenges the food processing industry faces trying to get its arms around this problem.”

After two consecutive recalls, the Springdale plant might be considered suspect. But that plant is located in the heart of Arkansas poultry country, and it has been producing ground turkey for more than 20 years, Martin said. “And, prior to August 3, it had never had a recall.”

One alternative for safer ground poultry and other meats, which effectively kills bacteria without affecting the meat, Martin said. But the industry fears that consumers won’t accept irradiated food, which must be labeled as such.

Meanwhile, the latest recall “strengthens our resolve,” to ensure that its ground meat is not contaminated, Martin said.
cargill_logo
The recalled products are:

Fresh Ground Turkey Chubs (chubs are cylinders, or rolls, of ground turkey):
– 16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Fresh HEB Ground Turkey 85/15 with Use or Freeze by Dates of 09/12/2011, 09/13/2011, 09/19/2011 and 09/20/2011

– 16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Fresh Ground Turkey with Use or Freeze by Dates of 09/19/2011, 09/20/2011 and 09/21/2011

Fresh Ground Turkey Trays:

– 19.2 oz. (1.2 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey with Use or Freeze by Dates of 09/10/2011 and 09/12/2011

– 48.0 oz. (3 lb.) trays of Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh 85/15 with Use or Freeze by Dates of 09/17/2011, 09/18/2011 and 09/19/2011

– 48.0 oz. (3 lbs.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey Family Pack with Use or Freeze by Dates of 09/11/2011, 09/12/2011, 09/13/2011, 09/15/2011, 09/17/2011 and 09/18/2011

– 16 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey with a Use or Freeze by Date of 09/11/2011

Fresh Ground Turkey Patties:

– 16.0 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey Patties with a Use or Freeze by Date of 09/18/2011

– 16 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Kroger Ground Seasoned Turkey Patties Fresh 85/15 with a Use or Freeze by Date of 09/17/2011

When available, the retail distribution list will be posted on the FSIS website. Consumers who purchased the recalled ground turkey may return them to the retailer. Questions may be addressed by phoning Cargill’s consumer relations toll-free telephone number: 1-888-812-1646.

The company urged consumers to take normal precautions when preparing and cooking ground turkey and other meats. That includes cooking ground poultry to an internal temperature of 160 degrees, as measured by a tip-sensitive food thermometer, and washing with warm, soapy water hands, cutting boards, dishes, utensils or anything else that has come in contact with raw poultry. Keep raw poultry away from foods that won’t be cooked.

“We all need to remember bacteria is everywhere, and we must properly handle and prepare fresh foods,” Willardsen said in his prepared statement. “USDA food safety guidelines can be found on the USDA website.”

The earlier Cargill recall included fresh and frozen ground turkey produced between February 20 and August 2. It followed the determination by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that more than 100 people had been sickened and one had died from Salmonella poisoning attributed to Cargill’s ground turkey.

The CDC estimates that for every illness reported in such outbreaks, more than 30 cases go unreported, meaning that more than 2,000 people may have been sickened over the five months that the Cargill meat was being sold.

(Ross Anderson- FoodSafetyNews.com)

Foodfacts.com looks into How To Protect Yourself From Food Poisoning

food_poisoning_symptom
Foodfacts.com looks into how to protect yourself from food poisoning. The CDC estimates that roughly 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from food-borne illnesses each year. E. coli outbreaks continue to be a public health problem, both in the States and abroad, especially since our food supply has gone global and we’re able to have fresh produce year-round by importing fruits and veggies. Now, E. coli outbreaks are happening on a never-seen-before scale in Germany with more than 2,500 infections and more than 25 deaths reported since last month. Experts aren’t sure exactly which vegetable triggered the outbreak (though many are pointing to organic sprouts at the moment), or even which country it originated from.

“This particular outbreak shouldn’t affect Americans because it’s rare that perishable produce will make it across the Atlantic, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t risk of an outbreak here in the States,” says Keith R. Schneider, Ph.D, Associate Professor in the Department of Food Safety and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida. Dr. Schneider points out that we’ve had multiple outbreaks in the States, from the salmonella incident linked to Jalapeño peppers in salsa to the E. coli outbreak connected with spinach.

“It’s hard to find the exact source of a food-borne illness because it typically takes two to three days for the first symptoms of an infection to appear, and longer for people to actually visit a doctor. By then, you can’t remember exactly what you ate last Tuesday,” says Dr. Schneider. “Moreover, contamination might not be from a specific farm or food, but from a point of distribution. It might be from one guy named Eddie who isn’t washing his hands while packaging food.”

Still, the health benefits of eating fresh produce far outweigh the risk, says Dr. Schneider. “You’re much more likely to get sick from meat than you are from produce. You can find pathogens on poultry 50 percent of the time. That’s not even a reason for alarm because all it takes is cooking meat fully to completely kill the bacteria.”

The key to avoiding food-borne illnesses is safe handling practices, says Francisco Diez, Ph.D, Professor of Food Safety and Microbiology in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. “Since poultry is especially likely to have salmonella or another pathogen called campylobacter that normally lives in the intestines of birds, it’s important to cook meat to the proper temperature,” says Dr. Diez.

He recommends using a food thermometer to cook the center of any type of meat or fish to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. “This temperature has sufficient heat to destroy harmful bacteria without overcooking so the meat stays tender and juicy.” Also wash your hands before and after handling meat, and avoid cross contamination by using separate cutting boards and knives for meat and produce.

When it comes to fresh produce, there are certain types that may be more susceptible to pathogens. Here is Dr. Diez’s list of top five at-risk produce, and how to protect yourself from illness.

alfalfa-sprouts-5901. Sprouts.

This type of plant, especially alfalfa sprouts, has been linked with E. coli and salmonella. It grows in wet, humid environments that make it easy for bacteria to thrive. The more bacteria on a plant, the greater your chances of getting sick.

How to stay safe:

Rinsing well may lower the bacteria count but not eliminate it. “If you’re healthy, your immune system can fight off small amounts of pathogens,” says Dr. Diez. He recommends those most susceptible to food-borne illness avoid sprouts, which includes children younger than 8, people older than 65, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. If you eat sprouts, keep them refrigerated between 35 and 40 degrees to curb bacteria growth.

iceberglettuce2. Lettuce.

Though it’s not exactly clear why it may be more susceptible to contamination, one explanation is that the textured surface of lettuce leaves makes it easier for microbial cells to attach compared to smoother leaves, such as cabbage.

How to stay safe:

Remove the outer leaves on a head of lettuce before eating, and wash it thoroughly. You should submerge the entire head in a bowl of water and soak for a few minutes to loosen any soil, and run under regular water to help rinse away remaining particles.

3. Tomatoes.tomato

The juicy red fruit has been linked with regular but small outbreaks of salmonella, and experts aren’t sure exactly why. “Some people argue that the tomatoes might have been pre-washed with contaminated water that then got into the produce,” says Dr. Diez. “I wouldn’t recommend eliminating tomatoes from your diet because you can take precautions to prevent possible infection.”

How to stay safe:

If you’re eating tomatoes raw, be sure to wash thoroughly in plain water and use a towel to help to wipe away any remaining bacteria. Also, don’t buy tomatoes that are at all cut or bruised. When the skin of any vegetable is damaged, there’s more of a chance for bacteria to get into the product, and then there is no way to eliminate it unless you cook it to ensure pathogens get killed.

4. Melons.melon

Melons have a rugged surface, and pathogens may be more easily trapped in nooks and crannies. Plus, people often forget to wash this fruit since the fleshy part that you eat isn’t readily exposed to germs.

How to stay safe:

Bacteria gets transferred inside the flesh by knives when people cut through the rind of unwashed melons. Before you enjoy your summer cantaloupe or watermelon, be sure to thoroughly wash and scrub the outer surface with a soft produce brush.

5. Spinach.baby_spinach

Like lettuce and melons, spinach leaves‘ crinkly surface may make it more susceptible to bacteria. Also like other produce grown close to the ground, it may come into contact with contaminated animal feces.

How to stay safe:

Submerge spinach leaves in water and dry with a paper towel before eating to reduce your risk of pathogens, or serve cooked as a healthy side dish.

Information provided by Prevention.com