24 people from 15 states became ill due to an outbreak of E. coli. 196,222 pounds of frozen chicken quesadilla are undergoing a recall by Rich Products Corporation because they could be tainted. An investigation was announced into the product beginning March 19. The frozen foods were sold across the country in stores such as Walmart and Alco. 78% of those who became ill are 21 and over, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Customers are urged to throw out the product or return it immediately. Cases of illness have surfaced in Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, according to news reports.
A food blogger wants Kraft Foods to remove artificial dye from its products. She visited the company today in order to present her case to them. She petitioned on Change.org requesting they remove two dyes, yellow #5 and yellow #6, from its food. She claims those dyes are linked to hyperactivity in children along with other health issues, while Kraft argues the product is safe. A spokeswoman from Kraft said they take the complaint seriously and follow laws and regulations. The dyes are legal in the US, but they use a different formula in Great Britain that bloggers say are safer. Many have tried getting the FDA to change their regulations. Over 270,000 signed the petition, according to news reports.
Fruit and Grain salads distributed to several states by Publix Super Markets was recalled due to the chances of a listeria contamination. The products were sold in 12-ounce containers. There have not been any illnesses associated with this product as of yet, customers are urged to get in touch with the store where they purchased the food to receive a full refund. Listeria can be very harmful for customers, leading to a possibly fatal infection. Symptoms include stiffness, abdominal pain, weakness, and high fever, according to news reports.
Due to undeclared milk, Heartland Gourmet announced a recall on Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix and Pizza Crust Mix. The items were distributed throughout several states including Texas, Indiana, Minnesota, California and Colorado. There have not been any illnesses reported as of yet. A routine sampling discovered the problem since the product was labeled “Dairy Free” yet tested positive for milk in the ingredients. A problem during the production process led to the recall, and customers are urged to return the item as soon as possible for a refund, according to news reports.
The Food Safety & Quality Control China Conference will be held June 25-26. The conference is organized by UBM and will involve many leaders in food research, innovation, marketing and technology. China is known for recent disasters in food safety including tainted milk powder, illegal food additives, along with “gutter oil” served in many restaurants. The conference will review many areas of food safety including regulations, testing and technology improvements. The leaders at this conference will develop the future of the food industry, according to news reports.
The Today Show recently gave some tips to consumers wondering whether to throw out or keep certain foods. Raw chicken can be kept in a freezer bag in a single layer for up to 6 months. It can be kept in the fridge 1-2 days. Deli meat can only be kept for up to one week, and leftovers as well, although 2-4 days is more ideal. Eggs are good 2-3 weeks after the sell-by date, with a maximum of five weeks. Snacks such as chips and cookies should be eaten either one month after opening or by the expiration, whichever comes first, according to news reports.
Between 2001-2010, E. coli, Salmonella, and other foodborne illness outbreaks decreased by more than 40% said the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Improved food safety practices, including Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, were factors in bringing down the number of cases. Foodborne illness is not reported as often, however, since those seeking treatment often don’t go to a hospital. Data for this study was collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health department reports, and the Foodborne Outbreak Response and Surveillance Unit. 4,229 cases were used to collect data, according to news reports.
This Easter, Health Canada is reminding you to handle and prepare eggs properly in order to prevent an illness. Those who consume eggs are at-risk of Salmonella, especially the young, elderly and those with weakened immune systems. When shopping for eggs, they advise getting those that are clean and not cracked. Put them in the fridge within two hours of purchasing and in the coldest part. Hard-cooked eggs can be stored up to one week in the fridge. Before and after handling eggs, wash hands, cutting boards, counters, and utensils to avoid cross-contamination, and cook thoroughly, according to news reports. If you want to eat your decorated eggs, hard boil then cool them before putting them in the fridge, use a non-toxic dye, and do not keep them out of the fridge over two hours altogether.
New regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration will help prevent consumers from becoming ill from their food. They’ll shift their attention from reacting to outbreaks to preventing them. About one in six Americans becomes ill each year due to foodborne illness, leading to 3,000 deaths and 130,000 hospitalizations. They’ll also set labeling and restaurant standards for gluten-free food products. The proposal will also address safety standards for imported food and fish labeling, according to news reports.
Health Canada and France’s Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety agreed to cooperate regarding food safety policies and information in order to address problems faster. Both countries agreed on taking similar approaches to assessing food safety risks and cooperating on determining a solution. They will exchange data, encourage scientific collaboration, and publish findings on food safety, allergies and nutrition together as part of the cooperation. The two agencies have collaborated in the past in areas such as bisphenol A and nutritional risks of sweeteners, according to news reports.