Posts from the "Microbial Contamination" category

AU: Frozen berries scare propels focus on traceability

Food Magazine: Food safety today is taking centre stage with the spotlight clearly beaming down on the need for an unequivocal, standard practice across the entire food sector.The recent 2015 frozen berries case is not the first food safety incident of its kind and it won’t be the last. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Product Safety Recalls Australia website there were 75 recalls of food and grocery items in 2014 alone.
The latest incident was preceded by other high profile cases including the Hepatitis A outbreak allegedly linked to semi-dried tomatoes in Australia in 2009, and the contamination scare that triggered a recall of Fonterra products that may have contained whey protein in a number of countries around the world, including China and Australia, in 2013.
Click here to read the full article from Food Magazine.

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AU: Illawarra Salmonella outbreak over

Illawarra Mercury: NSW Health has closed its investigation into the deadly salmonella outbreak that affected 32 people in aged-care facilities across the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and the ACT.
The rare strain salmonella bovismorbificans was found in 32 infected residents at 10 aged-care facilities operated or supplied by IRT. Two of the residents have since died.
The Food Authority shut down Betta Maid – an IRT supplier – on March 5 after traces of the rare strain of salmonella linked to the outbreak were found in food samples and on a contact surface. The Food Authority confirmed this week the Unanderra wholesale bakery remained closed.
[Ed: Note that earlier media coverage of this incident implicated leafy vegetables as a possible cause of this outbreak]
Click here to read the full article from the Illawarra Mercury.

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US: CDC report links listeria cases to stone fruit

The Packer: A listeria outbreak in the summer of 2014 was definitely linked to fruit from Wawona Packing Co., marking the first time such an outbreak has been connected to stone fruit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The company recalled everything it packed at its Cutler, Calif., facility from June 1 through July 17 in 2014, including organic and conventional whole white and yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines, plums and pluots, according to a notice on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.
Initially it was thought that no illnesses were linked to the recall, which Wawona officials said was initiated after an Australian importer discovered minute levels of listeria on fruit received from Wawona. However, the CDC reported March 20 that traceback efforts using store receipts, loyalty card data and patient interviews showed some people who developed infections from listeria monocytogenes had eaten the stone fruit before becoming sick.
Click here to read the article from The Packer.
Click here to read the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Microbial contamination seminar by Dr Trevor Suslow (UC Davis) available for viewing online

25 March 2015
Dr Trevor Suslow, from UC Davis, and Board member of the Center for Produce Safety, presented a seminar on current issues in microbial contamination of horticultural produce at the University of Sydney on Friday 20 March at 11.00am. The seminar has kindly been made available by the University of Sydney, and is available for viewing online using Adobe Connect (free download).

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AU/US: Current issues in microbial contamination of horticultural produce

20 March 2015
Dr Trevor Suslow, from UC Davis, and Board member of the Center for Produce Safety, presented a seminar on current issues in microbial contamination of horticultural produce at the University of Sydney on Friday 20 March at 11.00am

A recording of the seminar is available for viewing using Adobe Connect.

Trevor has a PhD from UC Berkley and currently is an extension specialist in postharvest pathology and microbiology of perishable horticultural commodities and lightly-processed (fresh-cut) vegetables, the role of environmental and crop production practices on postharvest quality and safety of edible horticultural crops, microbial safety and disinfection of preharvest and postharvest water, and biologically-mediated controls of postharvest diseases and pathogens of human food safety concern.

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AU: Are Supermarkets Safe? Berry Crisis Reveals Poor Food Safety Tests for Imports

Australian Institute of Food Safety: Consumer confidence throughout Australia has suffered a serious hit recently as customers question the safety of imported foods after imported berries caused 26 suspected instances of hepatitis A.
But the crisis isn’t limited to berries. Approximately 200 other imported foods destined for supermarket shelves in the last six months have been found to have contained contaminating substances capable of provoking cholera, miscarriages and other damage. What makes the news worse is that 83 of those items were already up for sale before anyone realised they had failed the food safety tests.
Click here to read the full article by Rebekah Carter at the Australian Institute of Food Safety

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AU: Onions imported from US suspected of bringing deadly strain of superbug to Australia

Jane Hansen / The Daily Telgraph writes: The highly virulent strain of Clostridium difficile (C-diff), a spore-forming bacterium which causes severe diarrhoea and is resistant to many antibiotics, swept through Europe and the US before arriving in Australia in 2009.
Thomas Riley, a professor of microbiology at the University of Western Australia, said Australian hospitals experienced a dramatic increase in the C-diff strain known as 244 towards the end of 2011.
The bug, which is now the number one cause of hospital-related diarrhoea, poses the biggest risk in hospital settings where high antibiotic use allows it to flourish in compromised patients.
Currently 150 plus patients a month are infected in NSW hospitals.
Click here to read the full story from News Corp.

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US: Settlement Reached for 66 Victims of 2011 Cantaloupe Listeria Outbreak

Food Safety News: The terms of the settlement are confidential, said William Marler of Seattle-based Marler Clark, a food-safety law firm. “The matter was resolved by mutual agreement of the parties,” Marler said.
Marler represented the plaintiffs in their lawsuits against Kroger, which sold some of the cantaloupe at its retail stores, a cantaloupe broker, and a third-party auditing company, among others. Walmart, another defendant, had already settled.
The Listeria outbreak linked to Jensen Brothers cantaloupe is one the deadliest outbreaks in U.S. history. It sickened 147 people in 28 states, resulting in the deaths of 33 people and another 10 who died later. One woman pregnant when she was sickened suffered a miscarriage.
Click here to read the full article at Food Safety News.

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AU: FSANZ releases Fact Sheet on frozen berry incident

Photo: Joe Lodge / Flickr, CC BY 2.0
FSANZ is working with state and territory food regulatory authorities, public health bodies and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture on this incident. The Department of Agriculture has asked FSANZ to provide advice about frozen berries and the risk of hepatitis A. FSANZ is now conducting a risk assessment on the matter.
Food recalls are managed by state and territory authorities and are coordinated by FSANZ. The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services is managing this particular recall. Regulatory authorities and industry have moved quickly to ensure all potentially affected products have been removed from retail sale.
All food sold in Australia must be safe and suitable and must meet the requirements of the Food Standards Code. Even with the best food safety practices issues like this will occur from time-to-time. Australia’s food recall system has been developed to manage recalls when there is a food safety issue.
Click here to read the full fact sheet from FSANZ, including links to further information on hepatitis A and information regarding the testing of imported food.

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Food safety expert says frozen berries hepatitis crisis a ‘wake-up call’ for fresh produce supply chain

Melbourne, AU. — A food safety expert has urged companies across the fresh fruit, vegetable and nutsupply chain to redouble their food safety efforts in the face of an outbreak of foodborne illness attributed to hepatitis A virus (HAV), which has left at least 10 people infected in Australia.

Richard Bennett, Technology Manager at the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia-New Zealand (FPSC), has authored a fact sheet to help both industry and consumers to understand the food safety issues and dispel some of the myths associated with the current frozen berries hepatitis crisis.

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