Cyclospora Infections are up this Summer Sickening Nearly a 1,000 Persons in 36 States

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Sep 21, 2017

The CDC reported of 988 Laboratory confirmed cases of Cyclospora infected people in 36 states of the USA. The number of cases this year is significantly higher than in 2016. In the last decade, only in 2005, the number of cases came close to this year. Currently, no specific product has been connected to the infections, and it is unclear if the various cases in the different states are connected to each other. The FDA suggested in September 2016 that the lower number of infections that year correlated with the first full season that FDA’s Import Alert for fresh cilantro from Puebla was in effect. Therefore, the question should be asked why we see such an increase this year.

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FDA Commissioner Announced a Four Year Delay in Implementing Some Produce FSMA Rules

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Sep 15, 2017

In a speech in front of National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner outlined some immediate steps to facilitate the implementation of the Produce Safety Rule established by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FDA issued a proposed rule that would extend the compliance dates for the agricultural water requirements by an additional two to four years (for produce other than sprouts). The new agricultural water compliance date the FDA is proposing for the largest farms is January 26, 2022. Small farms and very small farms would have until January 26, 2023, and January 26, 2024, respectively.

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Updates: Botulism in Nacho Cheese, Salmonella in Maradol Papaya, Listeria in the Environment, and Our New Trending Page

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Sep 13, 2017

California Department of Public Health confirms that botulism outbreak was Linked to Retail Practices In May we reported on a Botulism outbreak resulting from the consumption of nacho cheese sauce served at the Valley Oak Food and fuel gas station in Walnut Grove, California. The outbreak included 10 cases of laboratory confirmed C. botulinum toxin type A. All patients were hospitalized and one death was reported. Customers spread the nacho cheese sauce on chips from a counter-top self-service warming dispenser. According to a memo from the...

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How Listeria monocytogenes can survive in extreme environmental conditions

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Sep 5, 2017

It is difficult to eliminate L. monocytogenes from post processing contamination of food production lines since this pathogen is common in various environments outside processing plants, and can endure in food processing environments. Listeria monocytogenes has better survival ability than most other food pathogens, resulting in the colonization of Listeria in food processing environment. In the recent past, researchers have identified several hypervariable (easily changeable regions) regions of the bacterial genome called Genetic Insert Stress Survival Islet 1 (SSI-1). The SSI-1 is a five-gene islet that contributes to the growth of L. monocytogenes in suboptimal conditions

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Food Recalls due to Listeria monocytogenes in the News Again

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Aug 24, 2017

Listeria monocytogenes was a major reason for recalls accounting for over 80% of the total recall cases in 2016. Currently, this trend is continuing, with many recalls due to Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria recalls include: The New York State Department of Agriculture is warning against the consumption of raw milk cheeses from Hillcrest Dairy. The FSIS/USDA announced the recall of Expresco Foods imported, fully cooked chicken skewer products. SunOpta Inc’s subsidiary, Sunrise Growers Inc issued a voluntary recall of frozen organic dark sweet pitted cherry products. Fair Oaks Farms is recalling approximately 1,134 pounds of fully cooked pork sausage patty

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Biofilm and food safety: What is important to know?

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Aug 18, 2017
By Dr. Bassam A. Annous, Eastern Regional Research Center, USDA–ARS–NEA, and Dr. Ruth Eden, BioExpert.

Biofilms are usually formed in a wet environment in the presence of nutrients. Once biofilms are formed, the cleaning of the food and food contact surfaces becomes more difficult to remove the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). Therefore, prevention of biofilm formation, using regularly scheduled cleaning and disinfecting protocols is an important first step in preventing cells from attaching and forming biofilms on surfaces. High-temperature washing can reduce the need for the physical force required to remove biofilms. Chemical cleaners suspend and dissolve food residues by decreasing surface tension, emulsifying fats, and denaturing proteins.

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The Papaya Salmonella Outbreak Expands as Number of Victims Triples

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Aug 13, 2017

Since our last report on July 23, there have been several additional recalls associated with the outbreak of Salmonella in papayas. Grande Produce issued a recall for its imported papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico. This farm seems to be the primary source of the outbreak. A second papaya recall was issued by Agroson’s LLC, for more than 2,000 boxes of Cavi-brand Maradol Papaya imported from the same Mexico farm. A few days later, a third papaya recall was issued by Freshtex Produce. A total, of 141 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Kiambu (51) or Salmonella Thompson (90), in 19 states

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Beef Products Recalled due to Possible E. coli O26 Contamination

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Aug 9, 2017

Good Food Concepts, LLC., a Colorado Springs, Colorado recalled 1,290 pounds of raw beef products, processed Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, 2017, due to potential contamination with E. coli O26. The contamination was discovered on Aug 5, 2017, by the company who had notified the FSIS inspection. A lot of carcasses received from Callicrate Ranch on July 31, 2017, were found to be contaminated with STEC (Shiga toxin producing E. coli) E. coli O26. Good Food Concepts company and FSIS are concerned that some beef may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers.

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Biofilm and food safety: What is important to know?

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Aug 2, 2017
By Dr. Bassam A. Annous and Dr. Ruth Eden

In nature, most bacteria do not exist as suspended (planktonic-free floating) cells. Bacteria live in a group (mass of bacterial cells) attached to each other and to surfaces, in a biofilm form. A biofilm is as a complex community of microorganisms, embedded in self-created extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). Therefore, the biofilm is a microbial population adherent to each other and to surfaces or interfaces enclosed in the matrix. In this complex biofilm network of EPS, the bacterial cells perform less as individual cells and more as a collective living system, frequently creating channels to deliver nutrients and water to the cells located inside the biofilm.

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A Novel Concentration Device for the Detection of Food Pathogens

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Jul 30, 2017

A new, simple novel device to concentrate and detect food pathogens shows that in volumes up to 250 mL, 55%-91% of bacteria were captured by the device in 6-7 hours. The technique employs polymer (polydimethylsiloxane) tubes (1.02 mm in diameter) coated with an antibody. The test sample is circulating through the antibody coated tubes. As a result, the pathogens present in the sample are concentrated and accumulated in the tubes. This concentration step results in a higher concentration of the pathogens in a small volume of liquid.

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