Every hour of every day people around the world are living with and working to resolve food safety issues. Here is a sampling of current headlines for your consumption, brought to you today with the support of iwaspoisoned.com.

FDA launches new site for key FSMA dates
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), described as the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, is designed to shift the country toward a preventative approach to food safety and includes new rules for the seed-to-store chain.

The rules, which range from pathogen testing for water used in fresh sprout growing operations to requirements about retailers’ recordkeeping as it relates to food safety. With staggered implementation an compliance dates, many in the food chain have asked the Food and Drug Administration to provide a one-stop shop for information.

A new FDA web page lists compliance dates for FSMA rules. A graphic timeline on the page lists key compliance dates by year. Additionally, the web pages for the two preventive controls rules — which had the first major compliance dates — have been updated.

This NASA image of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 6 shows the massive Category 5 storm as it dwarfs Puerto Rica, outlined left of center. Two weeks later Hurricane Maria slammed the island.

Puerto Rico’s pathogen problems piling up
Hurricane Maria’s victims in Puerto Rico are not only continuing to struggle with power outages that increase the chances of foodborne illnesses because of a lack of refrigeration, they are in the midst of disease outbreaks because they don’t have clean water for cooking and dishwashing.

Among the illnesses related to contaminated floodwater are at least 74 cases of leptospirosis, with four deaths possibly caused by infections from Leptospira bacteria. The bacteria is found in water of foods that have been contaminated with animal urine. Virtually any food that has come into contact with the floodwater on the island is unsafe. Some canned foods were not compromised.

Some of the victims developed the infections after drinking and cooking with local stream water, which was contaminated when floodwaters covered the island. More than a third of the island is still without running water.

The symptoms of leptospirosis are wide and varied, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and can include high fever, jaundice, red eyes and body pain. In extreme cases, some people can develop severe infection with bleeding or hemorrhage, kidney failure, meningitis and hepatitis.

U.K. sampling results show poultry progress
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published results from its annual survey of campylobacter contamination in fresh, UK-produced supermarket chickens.

From August 2016 through July 2017, across the entire market, 6.5 per cent of chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination, a decrease from 19.7 per cent in 2014-15 when the testing program began.

In the most recent period of the third annual survey — ranging from April to July 2017 — a total of 1,437 chickens were sampled.

The FSA reported 5.9 per cent had high levels of campylobacter of over 1,000 cfu/g, what was down from 20.1 per cent for the same period in 2014.

Brucellosis risk in Iraq and beyond in wake of ISIS
Nearly 1 million head of livestock are believed to be at risk for carrying diseases and bacteria, specifically Brucella, because they have not been vaccinated since the city of Mosul was seized in 2014 by ISIS terrorists.

Iraqis recently took back control of the large city, and together with the United Nations, launched a campaign to vaccinate the animals, many of which are intended to be used as human food or for milk production.

Public health officials with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently reported the animals in Iraq pose a threat that reaches across the country and beyond its borders to other herds and people.

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