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Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption


USDA Plans to Begin Catfish Inspections in March 2016


Long-awaited U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) catfish inspections, mandated by Farm Bills since 2008, will begin next March, according to a final rule establishing an inspection program for fish in the order Siluriformes, including catfish. The final rule, which applies to both domestically raised and imported Siluriformes fish, was developed by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection… Continue Reading

CDC: 19 E. Coli Cases in 7 States Linked to Costco Rotisserie Chicken Salad


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday that, as of Nov. 23, there were 19 people from seven states sickened by the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 linked to consumption of Costco chicken salad made with rotisserie chicken. Five people have been hospitalized and two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a… Continue Reading

Safely Thawing a Thanksgiving Turkey Takes Planning


If you’re defrosting a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, you might want to start now. There are only three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. Be sure to plan ahead because birds thawed in cold water or in the microwave will have to be cooked immediately. And,… Continue Reading

USDA: Alternatives to Antibiotics to Keep Food Animals Healthy


(This article was posted Nov. 18, 2015, on the USDA blog site.) Antibiotics are lifesavers. We depend on them to treat bacterial infections and diseases, such as pneumonia, bronchitis and strep throat, as well as ear infections and infected wounds. In response to U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidance, veterinarians and producers are moving toward… Continue Reading

USDA’s FSIS Releases Food Allergen Guidelines for Producers


In an effort to reduce adverse reactions to food allergens, along with potential recalls, the  U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released a 26-page set of guidelines to assist meat, poultry, and processed egg product producers in properly managing ingredients which could trigger such problems. “Our mission as a public health agency… Continue Reading

Retired USDA Inspectors Share Concerns About HIMP Project

USDA investigating video taken at Hormel supplier

Pork plant photo

Joe Ferguson says he just couldn’t take it any longer. The former inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) spent more than 23 years monitoring operations inside pork processing plants inspecting hog carcasses for signs of anything that could translate to a food safety problem, in particular hints… Continue Reading

Harmonization in Food Safety Starts From Within



We can all agree that consumers should never have to worry whether their food is safe. Where agreement doesn’t exist, however, is in the how. How do we best monitor for chemical, biological and physical contaminants, how do we report and to whom, and how much regulation is too much? Even as industry continues to… Continue Reading

Why USDA Needs a New Program to Export Sandwiches to Canada


Which foods the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates and which foods the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates are not easy questions to answer. One oft-repeated example used to demonstrate the complexities is that cheese pizza falls under the jurisdiction of FDA, but a pizza topped with pepperoni is under USDA’s jurisdiction. Another example is that USDA… Continue Reading

Letter From the Editor: A 10-Year Term is the Vacancy Solution



It has been almost two years since Dr. Elisabeth Hagen stepped down as our most recent USDA under secretary for food safety. President Obama has not appointed, nor has the Senate confirmed, anyone to fill that vacancy since Hagen departed. It’s now also been 21 years since, on Oct. 19, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Agricultural… Continue Reading

Undercooked Burgers Likely Caused E. Coli Outbreak; Ground Beef So Far Escapes Recall


Not quite a month ago, Vermont health officials announced they were dealing with an E. coli outbreak, which would eventually grow to an estimated 11 cases in three states. It was likely caused by restaurant hamburgers made from local grass-fed beef and prepared to satisfy the tastes of its customers, no matter how rare. Inside a walk-in cooler at the… Continue Reading