News and Resources Roundup
24th April | Food Safety News and Free Resources1 |
💀💩 Large deadly foodborne illness outbreak in Kenya 💩💀
More than 600 people were affected by gastroenteritis, with 19 hospitalisations and four deaths in Kenya between the 1st of March and 14th of April 2023. Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) and Salmonella typhi contamination of a nearby water source is thought to be the cause of the illnesses.
⚠ 🧴 Mycotoxins in Ketchup 🧴 ⚠
A German consumer group found alternaira toxins (a type of mycotoxin) in six of twenty ketchups, with one containing worrying levels.
💀 Deaths from unpasteurized fresh cheese – Italy 💀
Unpasteurized fresh cheese that was contaminated with Streptococcus zooepidemicus caused 37 illnesses and 5 deaths in Italy in 2021 and 2022, the largest and most severe outbreak for raw cheese in Italy, with a description of the outbreak just published by researchers.
Allergens information shockingly bad for unpackaged foods – Europe
Authorities in the Netherlands checked unpackaged food suppliers including retail, hospitality and catering outlets, and found that 60 percent of the 13,000 companies inspected did not provide customers with complete or correct information about allergens. In Denmark, similar checks found much better results, while in Sweden there was incorrect information at 25 percent of businesses.
⚠ Recall Alert: Cinnamon contaminated with Clostridium perfringens – Spain ⚠
More than thirty people became sick in an outbreak linked to ground cinnamon, and a recall has been issued. Clostridium perfringens has been confirmed as the pathogen.
Quantitative risk assessment for exposure to norovirus from oysters
A new paper describes how a per-serving quantitative risk assessment was performed using norovirus and oysters, a new way of approaching exposure rather than illnesses per weight of flesh consumed.
Learnings from Germany’s biggest fish-related foodborne illness outbreak (Listeria)
A new paper has discussed the details of a large Listeria outbreak related to smoked rainbow trout fillets in Germany. Fifty-five illnesses were recorded and three of the patients died. The cases were linked using whole genome sequencing (WGS).
Chinese Food Law
A new book that systematically explores and explains Chinese food law and makes it accessible to a non-Chinese audience has been published.
🤔 Campylobacter infections from natural ‘spring’ water (one for the Darwin awards?!) 🤔
Around 20 people who collected water in Montana and drank it without treating it have contracted Campylobacter infections, with one person requiring hospitalisation. The water was collected from a man-made ‘watering point’ made from a concrete box in a creek bed, which people believe is a ‘natural spring’. Investigators found a bird’s nest inside the concrete box.
🐍 Salmonella outbreak from pets – Canada 🐍
People who have been in contact with pet snakes and the dead rodents that are their pet food have caught Salmonella infections in Canada. Forty-five cases have been confirmed to date, with nine hospitalisations and one death.
⚠ Allergens – a new risk with chia seeds? ⚠
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology discussed cross-reactivity between chia and sesame allergies at a conference and reported that more people seem to be becoming allergic to chia seeds.
5 common food additives could be banned
The food additives Red No. 3, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, probylparaben and titanium dioxide, which are banned in the European Union (except for Red 3 in candied cherries), could be banned under a new law being heard in California.
Food Safety Behaviours are Hard to Change (yup) - new research
A new paper examined the effects of a campaign that aimed to improve safe food handling in Western Australia. The public education campaign did succeed in changing people’s knowledge and ‘psychological constructs’ for food safety, but no change in behaviours was noted.
Safety thresholds for bisphenol A (BPA) revised downwards (a lot!) – Europe
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has re-evaluated the safety of bisphenol A in foods and found that the existing safety limits are too high – by a factor of ten thousand! They recommend that the safety limits be reduced from an intake of 4 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day to 0.2 nanograms. They also found that many consumers would be exceeding the new daily intake guidance. Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in some food packaging materials including polycarbonate beverage bottles and linings for metal food and beverage cans.
USA Food Safety Regulations and FDA-USDA Discussion – Webinar, 27 April
A bunch of FDA and USDA veterans are getting together to discuss the food regulatory environment in the US, and ask whether a reorganisation of the agencies would support better food safety, plus how such a reorganisation might look. One for US food safety nerds. Hosted by Regulatory Transparency Project. Free.
Produce Safety Webinar, 4th May
Farmer-to-farmer communication and co-management of food safety risks in produce farming is the topic of this webinar, which is part of a series hosted by Virgina Tech.
Free Webinar - Top unsatisfactory findings in a GMP inspection and how to avoid them, 21st April
This free webinar, hosted by IFSQN will discuss the importance of GMP inspections for food manufacturers to identify food safety hazards, program failures, and deviations from GMPs in their facilities.
Register here: https://event.webinarjam.com/register/334/kvlw0hro
Free Webinar - A Practical Look at Food Safety Culture, 7th June
AIB will be hosting free virtual training to commemorate World Food Safety Day this year. The training will emphasize practical methods that you can use to enhance the food safety culture of your company daily.
What is food safety culture? What makes a great company culture?
How do you ensure your team is not just going through the motions?
What are the most popular food safety culture models?
How can senior-level management model a healthy food safety culture?
How do you set food safety culture goals and incentivize a strong food safety culture?
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17th April | Food Safety News and Free Resources |
💀 🐟 Deaths from Pufferfish Purchased from Fish Seller 🐟 💀
An elderly couple who purchased and ate fish without knowing it was deadly pufferfish have died in Malaysia.
https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/probe-under-way-into-deaths-of-johor-elderly-couple-after-eating-pufferfish and https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/for-some-malaysians-the-forbidden-fugu-is-a-delicacy-while-some-remain-unaware-about-toxins
UK import checks – a draft plan is out for consultation
The draft plan describes which food imports will need health certifications and which will be targeted for physical checks. The final version will be published later this year and the system will be enforced gradually, starting October 2023.
⚠ 🦠 Lettuce and salad Listeria problem expands in USA 🦠 ⚠
According to the Food Poisoning Bulletin, more fresh lettuce and salad products have been linked to a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that has not yet been announced by the FDA or CDC. Original recalls began on April 5th.
📌 In Food Fraud News this week (for paying subscribers) 📌
Updates on the adulterated cough syrup scandal
Emerging issues in sugar
Counterfeit raw chicken
Milk fraud in the USA
Very unusual food cargo discovered at a European border.
📖 Codex: A new edition of the Codex Procedural Manual has been released 📖
This manual is for member governments and delegations attending Codex meetings and sets out the rules for meeting attendees, and observers.
🤮 Masterchef Diners Get Sick in Spain 🤮
Seventy guests who were invited to attend a dinner filmed as part of the last instalment of the popular cooking reality show had an experience that one diner described as “the worst gastronomic experience I've ever had in my life”. She alleges that more than half of the diners became ill with gastroenteritis. She was so ill with uncontrolled vomiting she had to attend the emergency room.
European officials comment on cow and pig meat from Canada
Certain problems found by European officials in 2019 had not been adequately addressed by slaughterhouses or processing sites in Canada, or by the Canadian authorities by September 2022, according to a report in Food Safety News.
Trichinellosis: the 16th Annual Conference
Dates have been released for a trichinellosis conference in Belgrade, Serbia later this year.
Debate over ‘safe’ PFASs
PFAS chemicals with larger polymeric structures are said to be safer than some other PFAS chemicals, by the plastics industry. However, new research refutes this.
🥛 🦠 New milking technologies might contribute to the contamination of milk 🦠 🥛
A set of studies into the prevalence of pathogens in raw milk in Norway suggests that robotic milking systems seem to result in higher pathogen counts in the raw milk.
Company director fined after banned additive found in food (Malaysia)
A food business company director in Malaysia pleaded guilty to food offences after samples of a product distributed by the company were found to contain cyclamate, a sweetener that is banned in Malaysia. The man was fined.
🐟 Ciguatera poisoning on the rise in Vanuatu 🐟
Vanuatu has already recorded almost 30 cases of ciguatera fish poisoning, half the number of cases in 2022. Ciguatera occurs when fish eaten by the victim contain natural toxins produced by marine microalgae. No deaths have yet been recorded in 2023.
Hep A, a deadly outbreak (report)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a report on a multi-case outbreak of Hepatitis A. The report describes how one infected food handler made more than one hundred people sick and caused three deaths over the course of a year.
💥🌰 Unusual allergen recall – undeclared shea nut 🌰 💥
A food company was caught out in the USA after it did not declare the presence of shea nut as an allergen. Shea nut is listed as an allergen that must be declared on food labels in the USA.
How to avoid GMP inspection failures - free training
Experts from AIB share the main GMP problems they find during GMP inspections and explain how to avoid them in this webinar hosted by IFSQN.
10th April | Food Safety News and Free Resources |
⚠ 🦠 Tuberculosis from cat food 🦠 🐱
People have contracted tuberculosis, and cats have also contracted the disease, in cases linked to raw pet food made from ruminant animal lungs. Few details are available for this outbreak, however, it has happened before, in the United Kingdom in 2019. The recent report was for pet food from Germany and was reported by the Netherlands to the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) system.
🦠 Raw dough consumption and salmonellosis – outbreak – USA 🦠
Twelve people in 11 states were sickened by a strain of Salmonella infantis in the USA. All had consumed raw flour in raw dough or batter. Officials are advising people not to eat raw flour, but did not identity which brand of raw flour was responsible for the illnesses. Previous outbreaks linked to raw flour in the USA include four from E.coli and one possibly caused by Salmonella agbeni.
🍔 Yum! is transitioning from its own standard to GFSI standards 🍔
Last year, according to FSSC, “Yum! decided to change from their supplier audit program to GFSI-recognized third-party certification, to be reached before 2025.” FSSC 22000 is one standard that will be recognised by Yum and they have developed a transition document to assist Yum! suppliers move from the Yum! standard to FSSC 22000.
🐟 Finland seafood warning 🐟
Officials from the European Commission who reviewed seafood controls in Finland are concerned about the lack of histamine testing in seafood control plans. High histamine levels have been reported in the past. Finnish officials will update guidelines for histamine monitoring.
🍜 China HACCP achieves GFSI equivalence 🍜
CHINA HACCP, properly known as Implementation Rules for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system certification version 2021, has successfully achieved Technical Equivalence against GFSI Benchmarking Requirements version 2020. Technical equivalence is for government-owned standards and is not the same as the GFSI’s benchmarking recognition.
Precautionary allergen labelling advice (UK)
The Food Safety Agency is seeking feedback about proposed changes to two guidances about allergen labelling; one related to precautionary allergen labelling and one about Gluten Free statements. More information and links to submit feedback can be found here:
Bangladesh has new food regulations
The Bangladesh Food Safety Authority has drafted thousands of new food standards, which are based on Codex standards. The regulations are expected to be published later in 2023.
Listeria epidemiology: new research
Researchers used whole genome sequencing to review the epidemiology of Listeria monocytogenes in the Netherlands between 2010 and 2020 and found that more than half of all disease clusters lasted for more than one year. At least one cluster lasted up to ten years.
The United Kingdom Reviews its Food Recall System
Limited resources for smaller food businesses and local authorities and the loss of access to the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) system were some of the issues raised by reviewers who were commissioned to evaluate the food recall system. Food businesses that had done root cause analyses on their recalls reported that they were helpful and had led to positive changes to their purchasing, handling, labelling and training practices.
Check out our popular supplement about root cause analysis which includes a downloadable Excel template here (for paying subscribers):
Food safety (GFSI) requirements for transport services - Free Webinar, 14th April
This free webinar, hosted by IFSQN explains “more specific details about transport cleaning, cleaning stations, specific HQF certification for cleaning stations, food defense and food fraud in transporting, and many other valuable requirements that you could use in your next purchasing of transport services.”
3rd April | Food Safety News and Free Resources |
🐷 Food safety scandals in pork processing – UK 🐷
Allegations of food safety violations as well as food fraud at a pork processor are being investigated by the National Food Crime Unit and the Food Safety Agency of the United Kingdom.
🍃 Sanitation in the Harvesting of Produce – Free Food Safety Webinar 6th April 🍃
Another food safety webinar in a series by Virginia Tech (they are quite good).
· Learnings from the Dole experience from the recent outbreak which was linked to a piece of harvest equipment (investigation, findings, lessons learned);
· discussion of the produce industry’s evolution with harvest equipment sanitation and hygienic design, and where we stand today;
· observations from the field and how sanitation programs can be built to include monitoring, verification and validation activities.
📋 FSSC 22000 has been updated 📋
The latest version of the food safety standard FSSC 22000 (version 6) has been released. Enforcement begins next year (1st Apil 2024). The main changes are new requirements for food safety culture, food waste management, equipment management, allergen management and environmental monitoring. FSSC now has trading and brokering as a scope.
UK Govt review into cultured meat safety
A new review of food safety in cultured meat has been published by the UK Food Safety Authority.
Find the report here:
US FDA green-lights a second cultured meat product
GOOD Meat’s cultivated chicken, which has been marketed in Singapore since 2020 has had a “no questions” letter from the USA FDA, which is an important step towards full market approval.
Free Webinar: Food safety aspects of cell-based food
World Health Organisation, 5th April
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have issued a milestone publication entitled "Food safety aspects of cell-based food". This publication-launching webinar, engaging various food safety competent authorities and stakeholders, will discuss the safety considerations of cell-based food products.
Report: Nitrosamines and Nitrite in Cured Meats
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published another risk assessment for nitrosamines, which are formed in cured meats that have been made with nitrite preservatives. They compared exposures and dietary intakes and found that levels of exposure for all age groups are “a concern”.
Canada: New Listeria Regulations for Canadian Food Manufacturers and Importers
A new Listeria policy has been launched for Canada and will be enforced from 1st October 2023.
New Gene Editing Rules – UK
A new gene editing law has been passed in the United Kingdom: the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act . The act effectively allows gene-edited food to be developed commercially in England. This does not apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The act only permits genetic changes that could also have been achieved by traditional breeding methods. Genetic engineering methods that involve mixing genes from different species remain prohibited.
Non-typhoidal Salmonella in beef identified as a top food safety concern (USA)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has analysed outbreak data and identified non-typhoidal Salmonella as one of the top five foodborne pathogens in the USA. It says salmonellosis cases were “largely” associated with beef products, especially ground beef.
📌 In Food Fraud News this week (for paying subscribers) 📌
Strawberries, lettuce and celery in the USA plus vegetable oils in Europe feature in our food fraud news this week.
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