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News and Resources Roundup
31st October | Food Safety News and Free Resources |
Hazelnut was detected in a “popular beer product” in Ireland. How it got there was not explained. The beer was urgently recalled.
A peer-reviewed survey of leafy green produce sold in Spain found 31 percent of the 129 samples had Giardia duodenalis oocysts or Cryptosporidium oocysts. Organic produce was worse than conventionally grown produce. Products sold in Italy were also tested in a separate study. Sweden is also experiencing an outbreak of Crypto with an as-yet unknown source.
“WHO has assembled and reviewed the available data published up to December 2021 and assessed the risks to human health from exposure to microplastic particles from the environment.”
📌 Food Fraud News 📌
This week’s food fraud news includes
the kombucha company accused of concealing the true alcohol content of its products,
a newly published very comprehensive resource for food fraud mitigations, test methods and enforcement activities,
dangerous drugs found in dietary supplements.
Become a paid subscriber to access The Rotten Apple’s food fraud news.
Pesticide Residues (free resource)
The WHO have published a new ‘fact sheet’ (which is actually a web page) on pesticide residues in food.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says: “Watch the recording to learn how WHO and partners are working to support Member States in the implementation of the [global food safety] strategy. In this webinar, you can learn about the implementation phases and the ideas on how different stakeholders can engage to reduce the burden of foodborne diseases."
Note, to watch the recording you will be asked to log into the Food Safety COP website and will need to become a member (free).
The Quality Assurance Director at the manufacturer of Kellogg Honey Smacks has pleaded guilty to causing the introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce.
In doing so he admitted to keeping the Kellogg Company, the customer of his employer, Kerry Inc, in the dark about food safety problems, and to changing his facility’s environmental monitoring program so that unsanitary conditions were not revealed.
New Guidance from FDA On What Constitutes a Refusal to Inspect by a Foreign Food Establishment
This guidance helps interpret the foreign inspection rules.
This webinar recording is presented by Amanda Evans-Lara, who delivers practical, helpful advice with no fluff. Hosted by IFSQN and delivered by YouTube, so no pesky registrations are required (yay!).
Learn about the 10 principles of sanitary design and how these principles build a better foundation for industrial food equipment. Hosted by IFSQN.
24th October | Food Safety News and Free Resources |
Mandrake plants have toxic leaves. Mandrake leaves contaminated a spinach harvest that was sold in greengrocers in Naples. Ten people who ate the contaminated spinach needed hospitalisation and one needed intensive care. Symptoms include stomach pains, vomiting, hallucinations and loss of consciousness.
The products have been recalled because of faulty seals, which could lead to spoilage and illness
UK: Change to API access for the FSA Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (for Software Applications/Developers)
Learn more about the change to data access here: https://www.food.gov.uk/news-alerts/news/fhrs-api-v1-update
The nutrition portal provides access to nutrition databases including a micronutrients database and growth/malnutrition database.
The new EU rules for food safety management systems, published in September, and more properly called “COMMISSION NOTICE on the implementation of food safety management systems covering Good Hygiene Practices and procedures based on the HACCP principles, including the facilitation/flexibility of the implementation in certain food businesses (2022/C 355/01)” include guidance on how to audit food safety culture, and even includes a checklist for “competent authorities” (=regulatory auditors) to use to check the food safety culture at a food business. See chapter 8.
This short blog post in a SQF newsletter is quite helpful and includes ideas for vulnerability assessments and mitigation plans.
Mushroom Poisonings – Europe
It’s the season for mushroom poisonings in Europe. There were 60 cases in France in September. According to this article by Food Safety News, most mushroom poisonings in France last year were from wild-harvested mushrooms, although “some cases” were from commercial sources. No further information was provided about the commercially-sourced hazardous mushrooms.
This article by a cybersecurity expert appeared in Food Safety Tech Magazine but is probably more useful to food company IT departments than to food professionals. For example, it includes advice like “Analyse [computer/software] logs for suspicious activity” and “Keep systems patched and current”. However, point one (quoted below) is pertinent to us all.
“One of the most effective countermeasures to cybercrime is building a culture of cyber defense and awareness that empowers all employees to ask for guidance and speak up when they see a suspicious situation. Educate employees on how they can prevent nefarious activity on their computers by:
Identifying suspicious applications with warnings and popups
Flagging suspicious emails with hyperlinks, attachments or unknown senders
Not clicking on links or ads from unfamiliar sources
Verifying the trustworthiness of a site before inputting credentials
Limiting activities on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks
This helps employees not only avoid breaches, but identify and report suspicious activity to help prevent cyber attacks.
Training should be top-down, beginning with the executive suite and department heads. This ensures that there is always someone accountable for implementing and maintaining security measures. From there, the rest of the team can be trained to assess and prevent cybersecurity threats and risks.”
Free 4 day online event including quality management, regulatory, for food and consumer goods
This free event has dozens of sessions for food professionals. It is hosted by Veeva, which provides cloud computing solutions for life sciences.
Provide feedback on the Food Law Code of Practice (UK)
The FSA is seeking the views of “local authorities, food business operators, unions and interested groups on the proposed changes to the Code in England.”
Submissions are open until 9th January 2023.
💥 🕷️ Tick-borne brain virus spread by food 🕷️ ⚠
A virus that causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and that is usually only transmitted by tick-bites caused a food-borne illness outbreak that sicked 43 people in France in 2020. These were the first alimentary-transmitted tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) cases in France. Investigators found that the virus had been transferred to goats by ticks while they were grazing outdoors. The viral particles were secreted in goat’s milk that was used to make raw (unpasteurised) goat’s cheese. This raw cheese was the source of the outbreak.
Viruses such as TBE do not survive pasteurisation, so this is a hazard only in raw milk and raw milk cheese.
As if we needed another reason to conclude that raw milk is risky!
For more on Foodborne TBE, check out this comprehensive review of outbreaks in Europe over 3 decades.
The World Health Organization has just published a new report from the ‘Expert Meeting on Food Safety for Seaweed’. The report identifies food safety hazards linked to the consumption of seaweed and aquatic plants.
This live webinar explains measurement solutions for edible oil production, including the advantages and disadvantages of different technologies and process automation. Hosted by Khrohne.
An investigation into a hepatitis A outbreak in New Zealand has genetically matched the virus to an outbreak in Europe in 2020 and 2021 which may have been caused by frozen berries from Serbia.
17th October | Food Safety News and Free Resources |
Authorities in Germany have issued a food safety alert for animal feed because it is contaminated with amphibole (“easily inhaled”) asbestos.
Yoghurt-in-single-serve-pouches has been recalled in Australia because of contamination with sanitising solution.
In our September news round-up, we reported that “More than 28 children have died in recent months from kidney failure blamed on E. coli or paracetamol medicines, the cause is not yet known – Gambia”
The problem has now been investigated and traced to cough syrups. The syrups are suspected of being contaminated with diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol. These could be present due to fraudulent adulteration of glycerine, an ingredient in oral liquid medicines. The dangerous glycols can reportedly be added to the glycerine, to ‘bulk it out’ and save money.
A new regulation, European Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/1616 on recycled materials which are in contact with foods, came into effect on 10th October.
The new regulation defines recycling processes and technologies that can be used, including for post-consumer PET. It also introduces new requirements related to the validation of quality systems for plastic recycling.
The Institute of Food Science and Technology has launched a (free) food safety knowledge hub with guidance for small-medium food businesses, large food businesses, consumers and educators.
Free Webinar: Target and non-target approaches for quality and safety testing of foods and beverages
Discover the latest GC (GCxGC) applications in food quality and safety, including honey authentication, aroma profiling of meat and dairy alternatives, measuring fatty acid content, and fumigant residue testing in this free webinar hosted by Select Science magazine
November 15, at 16:00 GMT / 17:00 CET / 11:00 EST / 08:00 PST
The 4th Edition of the Industry Handbook for Safe Processing of Nuts has been published by the (US) Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association. It contains updated food fraud information and new chapters on food safety culture and traceability.
More Antibiotic-resistant Campylobacter in Chicken in UK
The UK Food Standards Agency has published a report on antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter in chicken, which shows it has increased over the last 20 years.
Spain: Food Alerts Report for 2021
The Spanish food alert system recorded its highest number of notifications for a year in 2021. A summary of the issues has been published by Food Safety News.
The FDA is extending the enforcement ‘discretion’ period for some imported infant formulas from November to January 2023.
Try these quick icebreaker and energizer activities to start your online meetings or training sessions. Thanks to Ken at Hospo Reset – the email newsletter for hospitality businesses – for this sharing this link.
10th October | Food Safety News and Free Resources |
Clusters of Hep A infections caused by genetically related strains of the virus are occurring in the United Kingdom and Europe, and authorities warn that more illnesses are likely. Food source(s) and person-to-person transmission have both been implicated. Frozen berries have been recalled in recent months after being linked to Hepatitis A illnesses.
Report: Barriers to Implementing [Food Safety] Intervention Strategies for Retail Food Safety Risks (USA)
About this report: “The National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Conference for Food Protection partnered to conduct a study of local retail food regulatory programs’ risk factor intervention strategies. The study focused on Retail Program Standard 9 and risk factor studies by local retail food regulatory programs enrolled in the Retail Program Standards.”
This short blog post contains a four step process to help you get a digital food safety system in your organisation.
This new report on the cost of foodborne illness and its sequelae in Australia estimates a cost of A$2.44 billion per annum. “The largest component of this cost is lost productivity due to non-fatal illness, followed by premature mortality and direct costs (including hospitalisations and other health care use).”
Join the World Health Organisation’s Food Safety Community
World Health Organization ’s Food Safety Community of Practice (COP) is a a peer-to-peer online forum for global professionals working on and sharing interest in food safety issues, who seek to deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area, exchange information and discuss ideas by interacting on an ongoing basis. It’s free to join by requesting an account (click “Login”) here:
This video is by the UK Government Chemist and aims to “help manufacturers, suppliers and laboratories understand the issues surrounding the use of cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, in food supplements and the difficulties likely to be encountered in testing food supplements containing CBD.”
This new report by Prof Chris Elliott discusses the top five “grand” challenges in global food safety.
The United Kingdom Food Stds Agency has published a review that compares the food safety systems of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. Import, export and preventive control rules are included as are sampling and testing requirements and resources.
Learn about technical, instrument, and regulatory considerations for chromatographic method feasibility, development, optimization, verification, validation also method transfer considerations.
3rd October | Food Safety News and Free Resources |
⚠ 💀 Suspected food poisoning kills the crew of a cargo ship 💀 ⚠
A dozen people are dead, with nine more victims in critical condition. Suspected food poisoning has killed the crew of a cargo ship off Vietnam. Unfortunately, no details of the food or the symptoms have been provided so far.
🐔 Labelling mistake leads to unusual food safety risk 🐔
A batch of whole raw chickens has been recalled in Ireland, after an inaccurate product weight was declared on-pack. Because the weight was incorrect, this meant the cooking time in the instructions was inadequate, giving rise to a food safety risk.
🦠 Botulism Risk: Underprocessed bottled chai concentrate 🦠
A process review by the Georgia Department of Agriculture (USA) has identified two batches of chai concentrate that were under-processed. Under-processing means that any spores of the deadly bacterial pathogen Clostridium botulinum that were present in the raw materials (ingredients) may not have been destroyed. This leads to a risk that the spores could grow in the liquid and form the deadly botulinum toxin, which can cause death if consumed in very small quantities.
📌 Food Fraud News 📌
This week’s food fraud news includes
plastic eggs from China
a warning about butter supplies (USA),
food supplements with unauthorised substances.
Become a paid subscriber to access The Rotten Apple’s food fraud news.
Oysters recalled for Salmonella contamination
Oysters are a risky food, but often oyster recalls are for norovirus, a contaminant that is not removed by normal oyster post-harvest purification methods, or for Vibrio species, which are natural marine organisms. Salmonella contamination of oysters is less common, and could be the result of hygiene failures in the packing/processing facility.
Norovirus from Oysters – Statistics from Finland
New information about norovirus outbreaks caused by oysters in Finland have been published.
Free Video Chat Series: Food and Retail Industry News and Trends
This new show will be “Dishing up the latest food and retail industry news and trends with serious insights and a side of humour – this heavy-hitter trio now brings deep analysis and interesting guests to you live the last Friday of each month!”
A report on Salmonella in animals and feed (UK) has been published by the UK government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency.
Four Scots nurseries have now been closed after illnesses from pathogenic E. coli were linked to them.
There are now almost 200 people affected by the same genetically related strain of pathogenic E. coli in the United Kingdom. No food (or other) source has been identified yet. No deaths and no haemolytic uremic syndrome have occurred yet.
Australia’s reputation for ‘clean’, safe food has been questioned after The Guardian reported that Australia has some of the most lax pesticide rules in the Western World. The insecticides methomyl and fenitrothion were mentioned, as was the rodenticide bromadiolone.
Scientists have suggested that official reporting of anisakiasis cases are an underestimate of the problem in Japan. Anisakiasis causes gastrointestinal symptoms when the eggs of the parasitic anisakid nematode worms are eaten in raw seafood. Some consumers are also allergic to the worms, which poses a further risk.
Researchers who artificially contaminated berries found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can persist for more than a month when the berries are frozen, but not when they are stored in the fridge.
(5th October, 11:00 am Central European Summer Time)
Aimed at lab managers, research labs and analysts, this series of three sessions address the challenges of testing for microplastics in food and food packaging. Duration: 1.5h.
This pdf was just published. It provides guidance for factory regulatory and technical managers on the basic principles behind the analytical strategies and procedures commonly used for testing food and beverages.
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