• Posted: October 23rd, 2010 - 4:30pm by Doug Powell

    BBC News reports that polish sausages contaminated with listeria have been found on sale in Doncaster, U.K.

    The council said its food enforcement team had removed affected items from local delis and shops.

    A number of contaminated products were found, some with levels of listeria up to 600 times the legal limit.

    The products in question are Home Black Pudding Sausage or Grill Black Pudding Sausage produced by Sokolow in Poland.

    A council spokesman said: "The sausage implicated in the Doncaster investigation is cooked and although many will cook it again, which should kill the organism, it is often eaten cold straight from the pack."

    And there is the significant risk of cross-contamination in the kitchen.

    The contamination was first discovered by Bolsover District Council in Derbyshire during routine checks on a shop.

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  • Posted: October 22nd, 2010 - 1:15pm by Doug Powell

    A kosher food supplier has been ordered to pay £27,000 by the courts for selling a pot of chopped liver containing a potentially deadly bacteria.

    Bosses of Kosher Deli UK Ltd., based on the Claremont Industrial Estate, in Claremont Way, Cricklewood, admitted supplying 1kg of meat contaminated with Listeria to a residential care home in May 2008.

    An investigation into the company, lead by Barnet Council's environmental health team, was launched after an 89-year-old care home resident was diagnosed with listeriosis.

    A judge at Wood Green Crown Court on Monday said serious issues at Kosher Deli had been set out in an audit report by the Meat Hygiene Service, but accepted the offence represented a lapse over a short period of time in a business which had been operating for 74 years.

    Albert Bendahan, managing director of Kosher Deli, said it was “exasperating” that the case was brought based on one allegation from a care home resident, and insisted the family run company took every precaution to ensure food safety was maintained, adding,

    “We continuously test and monitor our products, instruct and train our staff and live up to the requirements and beyond of the Food Standards Agency Guidelines.”

    Try harder.

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  • Posted: October 21st, 2010 - 8:24am by Doug Powell

    Sometime in Jan. 2010, someone in Texas got really sick with listeria.

    By mid-May, 2010, five were sick and two were dead – all from the same strain of listeria. By Oct. 20, 2010, five were sick and five had died from the same strain of listeria. Most of the listeriosis patients were elderly with serious underlying health problems, and many were hospitalized before and during the onset of their infection.

    Health types said six of the 10 cases were conclusively linked to chopped celery sold by Sangar Fresh Cut Produce of San Antonio, so yesterday, the Texas Department of State Health Services ordered Sangar to stop processing food and recall all products shipped from the plant since January. The order was issued after laboratory tests of chopped celery from the plant indicated the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.

    Sangar President Kenneth Sanquist Jr. took issue with the state, adding in a statement,

    “The state's claim that some of our produce now fails to meet health standards directly contradicts independent testing that was conducted on the same products. This independent testing shows our produce to be absolutely safe, and we are aggressively fighting the state's erroneous findings.”

    DSHS inspectors say that in the Sanger plant, they found a condensation leak above a food product area, soil on a preparation table and hand washing issues.

    The recalled products – primarily cut fresh produce in sealed packages – were distributed to restaurants and institutional entities, such as hospitals and schools, and are not believed to be sold in grocery stores.

    For a glimpse of the Sanger plant, see the video below from Aug. 13, 2010, when Sanquist told KENS5 TV in San Antonio there should be tougher standards in the fresh-cut industry, adding,

    "All we're saying is everyone should have that standard. There is an entire process that we have to follow on a daily basis, if you miss a step or two steps or try to take a short cut...children could get very sick."

    Sanquist said many businesses only require their produce company have a recall program in place and that's simply not enough prevention.

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  • Posted: October 14th, 2010 - 8:10am by Doug Powell

    The Buffalo News reports that a Tyson meat processing plant on Perry Street has been shut down by federal regulators after inspectors found violations during follow-up testing stemming from an August recall of deli meat produced at the Buffalo facility.

    The plant suspended operations Tuesday after an inspection by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the federal agency said Wednesday.

    The shutdown was triggered by the results of sampling that the federal inspectors conducted during a food safety assessment, the agency said. That assessment was linked to the USDA’s activities at the Perry Street plant since the deli meat recall, said Gary Mickelson, a Tyson spokesman.

    The plant employs 560 workers. About 480 workers are affected by what Mickelson described as a “temporary suspension of operations.”

    In August, about 380,000 pounds of deli meat produced at the plant and sold at Walmart was voluntarily recalled after a sample tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

    The plant had two similar recalls in 2004. Tyson first voluntarily recalled 442 pounds of cooked ham in August 2004 after a sample tested positive for Listeria. In November 2004, the company recalled another 50,000 pounds of hot dogs, prompted by an unspecified customer complaint. There were no reports of consumer illnesses in either case.

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  • Posted: October 6th, 2010 - 1:30pm by Doug Powell

    Hockey goon and University of British Columbia by food microbiologist Kevin Allen found some listeria in samples of smoked salmon and said,

    "A healthy adult … likely could consume it with no consequence. However, if I was going to feed that to my daughter or son, the answer is no, I wouldn't."

    And yes, kids eat smoked salmon. Almost-2-year-old daughter Sorenne especially likes brie cheese and smoked turkey breast, along with pickles and olives. Goofy kid (that’s in a loving way; she's also apparently fascinated with money).

    CBC News reports that traces of the bacteria Listeria have been detected in samples of smoked salmon bought at a Vancouver retailer.

    Two contaminated samples — including one containing the potentially fatal strain Listeria monocytogenes — were found in chunks of smoked salmon, called salmon nuggets, purchased at Longliner Seafoods at the Granville Island Public Market.

    A total of 53 samples of delicatessen meat and ready-to-eat seafood from nine stores around Vancouver were tested by Dr. Allen.

    No Listeria bacteria were found in the deli meat .

    The sample containing Listeria monocytogenes contained a concentration of bacteria that was below the federal threshold that would have necessitated a recall, but it is still a cause for concern, said Allen.

    "It should definitely be ringing some alarm bells for these processors.”

    People with compromised immune systems, including pregnant women and the elderly, are especially vulnerable to listeriosis.

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  • Posted: September 26th, 2010 - 7:37am by Doug Powell

    There’s some shady going-ons involving11 tons of listeria and salmonella-contaminated hamburger meat in Turkey.

    Today’s Zaman has been reporting the meat scandal broke after a company, Fasdat Gıda, responsible for distributing meat to fast-food giant Burger King, cancelled its contract with a producer called TT Gıda – on grounds that the meat was contaminated.

    TT Gıda demanded that the 11.6 tons of meat be returned, but Fasdat Gıda said it had been sent to the Zeybek Solid Waste Center for safe disposal, prompting TT Gıda to file a complaint with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

    Subsequent investigations showed that the waste disposal company sent the meat to a kangal dog farm in Bursa, where 55 dogs were said to have eaten the rank 160,000 hamburger patties over a period spanning May 5 to June 7.

    The ministry’s Inspection Committee head, Metin Süerdem said that if the dogs did eat the meat, they would have been killed.

    “This shows the meat was not eaten by the dogs,” he said.

    “We got an expert to investigate this claim. It is impossible for dogs to eat such an amount of meat in two months. There is only one possibility left: This meat was on the market,” Süerdem said.


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  • Posted: September 21st, 2010 - 2:29pm by Doug Powell

    Health Canada said today while telling pregnant women to be especially careful about the 11 million cases of foodborne illness that strike Canadians each year that,

    “Many of these illnesses could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.”

    Please, please, oh please. Show us mortals the data on which that statement is based?

    And since Health Canada advises pregnant women to “make sure to cook hot dogs and deli meats until they are steaming hot before eating them,” please, please, oh please, stand up and say the advice provided by the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children Motherrisk program is complete nonsense.

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  • Posted: September 16th, 2010 - 2:40pm by Doug Powell

    Listeria in Maple Leaf cold-cuts killed 23 primarily-elderly Canadians in the fall of 2008.

    Prior to the 2008 outbreak, the advice from Health Canada was mushy:

    “Although the risk of listeriosis associated with foods from deli counters, such as sliced packaged meat and poultry products, is relatively low, pregnant women and immunosuppressed persons may choose to avoid these foods."

    The advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control was clear: Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats, unless they are reheated.

    Of course, most mortals don’t go to federal agencies for advice – they ask their doctors or nurses or medical professionals. And who knows what kind of nonsense will spew out.

    Regardless, Health Canada took to the Intertubes today to remind Canadians of the importance of food safety for older adults. Old people, listen up:

    “As you age, it becomes harder for your immune system to fight off harmful bacteria. This means that older adults can come down with a serious illness if they eat contaminated food. For this reason, it is very important to choose, handle and cook food properly before eating. It is very important for older adults or their caregivers to follow food safety steps to help reduce the risk of foodborne illness.”

    Betty White – was that wiener steaming hot?

    Health Canada now says, and has for a couple of years, that you old folks – and I’m rapidly becoming one of them, heading out for the afternoon early bird dinner specials here in Florida -- make sure to cook hot dogs and deli meats until they are steaming hot before eating them.”

    That’s nice. But Health Canada has still said nothing – at least not publicly – about the morons at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Kids, who said expectant mommies can eat all the cold-cuts they want as long as they are from reputable sources.

    Just because advice is issued, doesn’t mean that anyone pays attention. Go on, Health Canada, get dirty, engage people, even if you upset some. Or play nice, be ignored, and let more people get sick. Is that category on your annual review?

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  • Posted: August 18th, 2010 - 2:32pm by Sol Erdozain

    Sol Erdozain

    The CFIA announced yesterday that Le Belle de Jersey cheese may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. They claim that no illnesses have been reported, but we’ve all heard that one before.

    The news release doesn’t include specific information regarding the affected product, like weight, lot number or locations where it was sold; information needed to avoid the tainted product.

    Another product, also recalled yesterday, President’s Choice®Decadent Chocolate Chunk Cookies had a very different news release. The company responsible included all the necessary information to identify and avoid the product, which is not tainted with Listeria but contains metal pieces.

    The reasons for recalling the products might be different but they both pose a threat to consumer’s health. So why the difference in disclosure of information between these recalls?

    The CFIA should require specific information regarding recalled products so that there is no expanded health hazard alert informing how many people have gotten sick since the last health hazard alert release.


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  • Posted: August 15th, 2010 - 3:12pm by Doug Powell

    Veron Foods, LLC of Prairieville, La. is recalling approximately 500,000 pounds of “ready to eat” sausage and hog head cheese products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Office of Animal Health and Food Safety announced.

    The problem was discovered through a foodborne illness investigation that resulted in a product sample testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes. But just like the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and salmonella-tainted green onions, no one is saying who or how many got sick.

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