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Food Safety News

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Al Almanza

USDA says activists off the mark with catfish complaints


The activist group Food and Water Watch is down as a “strong supporter” of the catfish program now underway in USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). It would, however, like to see more progress and doesn’t like the inclusion of a couple foreign establishments that FSIS has allowed to sign up for catfish inspections…. Continue Reading

Traffic through Almanza’s office didn’t slow in summer months


Who spent time this summer with Al Almanza, USDA’s deputy under secretary for food safety and its acting administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service? Industry and union representatives, foreign dignitaries, a former boss, and a few others. Almanza’s “public calendar” has been updated through September, detailing his meetings with people outside the federal… Continue Reading

IAFP 2016 — Feds channel The Stones: You can’t always get what you want

The USDA's Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza, left, answers a question from the audience as FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Stephen Ostroff, right, listens. The two top food cops gave a U.S. regulatory update Monday afternoon at the annual conference of the International Association for Food Protection. About 3,000 people are registered for the four-day event in St. Louis.  (Photo by Coral Beach)

ST. LOUIS — Neither of the top U.S. food cops on stage here had the moves of Mick Jagger, but they borrowed the sentiment from one of The Stones’ greatest hits when they summed up federal progress on the food safety front. “You can’t always get what you want,” Jagger said in 1969. But, if… Continue Reading

Animal rights mean no second chance for downer calves


For the veal calf headed to market, it’s a distinction without a difference. If all goes according to plan, the animal will go to slaughter without incident, which means the producer will be happy. If the veal calf, however, falls down and cannot get up, the animal will be “promptly euthanized,” which means the Humane… Continue Reading

Foreign officials, states and businesses want Almanza’s time


The federal government’s top food safety officials made up in the second quarter for any lapses in their first quarter in reporting of their meetings with people outside the U.S. government. The so-called public calendars disclose after-the-fact who has gained valuable face time with top decision makers. At USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS),… Continue Reading

FSIS moves establishment specific data to open government portal


Seven years in the making, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is about to begin quarterly releases of establishment-specific data for inspection and enforcement actions as well as sampling and testing results. “FSIS’ food safety inspectors collect vast amounts of data at food producing facilities every day, which we analyze on an ongoing basis… Continue Reading

More meetings disclosed on public calendars at FSIS and FDA


It’s probably just a coincidence, but the day after Food Safety News reported on the paltry reporting of 2016 meetings by top food safety officials with parties outside the federal government, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published the information for two more months. USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety and Acting FSIS Administrator… Continue Reading

FDA, FSIS slow the info flow; only one 2016 meeting reported


It looks like top officials at both the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have fallen behind in the transparency department. Both FSIS and FDA have routinely published, after-the-fact, the calendars of their top officials, showing who they’ve been meeting with outside the federal government  This… Continue Reading

Safer wings than yesterday’s for the big game next year?

wings with ranch

Standards to prevent 50,000 illnesses through reductions in Salmonella and Campylobacter set by USDA last week might just work. If they do, Americans who yesterday are said to have dined on 1.3 billion chicken wings during Super Bowl 50, are likely to take notice. And one year from now, it’s also likely Secretary of Agriculture… Continue Reading

The Year’s Top Ten Food Safety Stories


Here are the Top Ten  food safety stories  for 2015 as compiled by Food Safety News.   No. 1—The massacre on Dec. 2, 2015  of 14 people in San Bernardino County, CA mostly involved those responsible for local food safety and related county health inspections and the homicides were  carried out by Islamic extremists, including… Continue Reading