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Outbreak investigation hampered by lack of business records

Snarl of distribution networks, inadequate traceability stymies search for source of romaine

Public health officials continue to be frustrated by a lack of traceability information from romaine lettuce growers and their customers as the investigation into an ongoing E. coli outbreak continues. For three weeks state and federal investigators have been trying to identify the source of the implicated romaine, which has sickened dozens across 16 states…. Continue Reading

Better tests, stronger laws, more foods add up to more recalls

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) is out with a report on what might be called the “recalls gone wild” era. In a 31-page report “Trends in Food Recalls, 2004-13” the researchers parse data from the Food and Drug Administration and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The facts showed an… Continue Reading

Actionable information is foundation of Food Safety Summit

Contributed

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of articles leading up to the 20th annual Food Safety Summit. The event, from May 7-10 at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in suburban Chicago, includes certification courses; a trade show with exhibitors from industry, academia and government; an extensive list of seminars and panel discussions; and a… Continue Reading

‘Lettuce’ count the ways the feds have failed at food safety

Opinion

Editor’s note: This opinion column by Richard Raymond was originally published by feedstuffs.com and is reprinted here with permission. Yes, let us count the ways the federal government has failed to keep us safe from a foodborne illness. First is the current, growing E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to precut romaine lettuce. As of April… Continue Reading

Union’s allies in House again come out against new swine rule

About one-third of the U.S. House Democratic caucus has signed a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue demanding that USDA drop the Swine Slaughter Inspection Modernization Rule. Led by long-time food safety advocate Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-CT, 63 of the 193 members of the House Democratic Caucus came down on the union side… Continue Reading

GAO says some USDA food safety standards are outdated

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)  should carry on with its work to reduce pathogens in meat and poultry, but first, the agency needs to improve documentation, add some timelines to its tasks and check on the effectiveness of on-farm practices. Those three new recommendations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO),  the auditing,… Continue Reading

Unusually high percentage of E. coli victims hospitalized

CDC, FDA renew public warnings about chopped romaine lettuce as outbreak spreads to 16 states

An E. coli outbreak traced to chopped romaine lettuce has spread to another five states and public health officials are reporting a hospitalization rate of almost 60 percent, which is twice the usual rate. There are 53 confirmed cases spread across 16 states, as of Wednesday’s update from the federal Centers for Disease Control and… Continue Reading

State recommends hepatitis A vaccinations to curb outbreak

Kentucky’s Department of Public Health recommended on Monday that all unvaccinated people in six of the state’s counties seek hepatitis A vaccination because of an ongoing outbreak of hepatitis A infections. Of the 311 cases currently known of in Kentucky, 214 victims live in the Jefferson County/Louisville area. Additionally, Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties have each reported five… Continue Reading