Articles Posted in Food Recall

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a warning that a frozen mixed berry blend product may be responsible for an outbreak of Hepatitis A that spans six western states and has sickened at least 30 people.

Florida Hepatitis A OutbreakSo far, the food recall attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville Florida have not heard of any reported cases in Florida possibly linked to the frozen berry smoothie mix. The berry mix, sold under the name Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, was sold at Costco and Harris Teeter stores. Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., has recalled the frozen fruit blend – although it did so three days after the FDA and CDC announced that it suspected the product was linked to the Hepatitis A outbreak.

The Hepatitis A strain involved in this outbreak is rarely seen in North or South America, but is more prevalent in North Africa and the Middle East. An attorney for Townsend Farms admitted that the fruit blend contained pomegranate seeds from Turkey.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a viral infection. Of the 30 people who reportedly have been sickened with the Hepatitis A strain, 9 have required hospitalization. Symptoms include abdominal pain, jaundice, fatigue, dark urine and pale stool.
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Florida Foodborne IllnessA recently released survey conducted in partnership with four food safety support companies has made the shocking revelation that most food manufacturers cannot find the time to train their employees on proper food safety practices.

More than 70 percent of the respondents cited that the main obstacle to educating their employees about food safety was “scheduling time for training.”

Most of the respondents surveyed in The Global Food Safety Training Survey 2013 were from North American companies (65 percent) and European companies (22 percent). The rest of the respondents were from Australia/Oceania, Africa, Asia, and South America.

While a majority of companies responded they were satisfied with their food safety training programs (66 percent), a sizable minority (44 percent) registered lukewarm to “very dissatisfied” responses to the programs.

The survey pointed out that the average amount of training per year in the industry is between four and eight hours. Managers received the most training, while employees and supervisors received less training. Supervisors actually averaged less training time than rank-and-file employees.
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Using new powers granted to it under the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently shuttered the nation’s largest organic peanut butter processor.

Sunland Inc.’s New Mexico processing plant had been implicated in a salmonella outbreak that sickened 41 people in 20 states. The FDA investigated the facility and allegedly found traces of salmonella in 28 different areas within the processing plant. The agency suspended Sunland’s registration, which prevents the company from producing or distributing any food.

The new law allows the FDA to suspend the registration of a company if the agency suspects that there is a reasonable possibility that food manufactured there may cause serious health problems or death. Before the FSMA was passed, the FDA would have had to go to court to suspend a company’s registration.

The FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods told the Huffington Post, “Consumers can be assured that products will not leave this facility until we determine they have implemented preventative measures that are effective to produce safe products.”
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The statistics for 2011 are out and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the number of Americans falling ill from foodborne pathogens has remained largely unchanged from the latter half of the 2000s, despite federal regulators’ stated goal to greatly reduce that rate.

The CDC’s recently released foodborne illness data for 2011 showed that some instances of foodborne pathogens, like E. Coli O157, have been radically reduced. Since 1996 there has been a 256 percent drop in reported cases of the bacteria in beef. Experts attribute that drop to the beef industry’s “zero-tolerance” attitude that designates the bacteria as an adulterant and its rigorous screening to keep the pathogen out of beef. This tough approach was implemented after the 1993 Jack-in-the-Box E. Coli outbreak that sickened 600 people and killed four children.

With other foodborne pathogens, however, the numbers haven’t met expectations.
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Federal health authorities are still looking for the source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 14 people in six southern states and has been linked to one death.

Although officials have not named all six of the states where the illnesses have occurred, it has been confirmed that there have been outbreaks in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. A death was reported in New Orleans where a 21-month-old toddler died after fighting the infection for weeks at a local hospital, according to a CNN affiliate in the area.

Three people have been hospitalized. So far, Georgia has reported the most cases.

According to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the E. coli infections in the six states carry the same DNA fingerprint (E. coli 0145), indicating that the outbreak may be coming from the same source.
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Five supermarkets in Florida received some of the turkey contaminated with salmonella that was recalled last week. The stores are Winn-Dixie, Albertsons,IGA, Walmart, and Aldi. The meat was removed from store shelves. The type of salmonella identified by inspectors was Heidelberg and it was suspected to have contaminated 36 million pounds of ground turkey processed from February 20 to August 2. Cargill’s plant is in Springdale, Arkansas, though the source of the contamination was not identified by The Sun Sentinel. The salmonella Heidelberg strain is resistant to antibiotics.

One person has died and 107 from 31 states including Texas, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan were sickened from eating the turkey. There were no sicknesses reported in Florida.
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The popular weight loss liquid drink, Slim-Fast ready-to-drink cans are being recalled because of a possible bacterial contamination. Unilever issued the voluntary recall in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration Friday.

The New Jersey based company found a bacterial contamination – Bacillus cereus, a micro-organism, which may cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. The products were sold in stores nationwide the company says in a statement.
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Until now, Florida was one of seven states that did NOT have a salmonella outbreak. But now, a North Florida resident has shown signs of salmonella poisoning, according to a Florida Department of Health report issued on February 5th. There are very few details about the person or what they might have eaten to make them sick, but Florida is now the 44th and most recent state to have residents who have been sickened with the same type of salmonella that came from the Blakely, Georgia peanut processing plant. Salmonella Typhimuirium has sickened more than 550 and killed eight.

This time the resident of Bradford County was temporarily hospitalized. The city of Starke is in that county, but no other information on his/her location except that he had the same DNA match of salmonella Typhimuirium involved in the food recall.
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Grab the kids’ school lunches. The salmonella outbreak that has expanded to 43 states sickening up to 474 individuals.

Florida continues to dodge the bullet, though the peanut butter distributed in question from Peanut Corp. of America does distribute to our state. Follow the salmonella outbreak and the national picture through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page that is set up just for that purpose.

The latest report is that Kellogg, the cereal giant, is asking stores to pull its Keebler and Austin brand peanut butter crackers from shelves. Anyone with these products who would like a product refund can call the Kellogg Consumer Response Center at 888-314-2060.
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So far Florida is lucky and has dodged the bullet of the latest salmonella outbreak. A reportstates that 42 states have been struck and the King Nut Company of Ohio believes it may be responsible.

The company has issued a nationwide food recall of the peanut butter it distributes throughout the country, including to Florida. So far 399 people have been affected and they range in age from toddlers to the elderly.

King Nut distributes to food service companies and not directly to consumers. That means that any school or nursing home should check to see if King Nut distributes the type of peanut butter they serve. It could also carry the name Parnell’s Pride. It was made by Peanut Corporation of America, located in Lynchburg, Virginia. It processes the peanut butter in plants in Virginia, Georgia, and Texas.
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