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.

Consumers want straightforward recall language
Identifying potential contamination sources, and effective product removal from the marketplace relies heavily upon good product traceability; something the produce industry does with excellence. However, in the case of a recall, effective measures must be taken by companies for these efforts to reach consumers in a clear and concise manner.

Consumers need the product described to them in meaningful, but accurate words. “For example, describing a lot of recalled product in terms of ‘bushels’ may be accurate, but it won’t help consumers identify the product,” according to an update written by Amy Phillpott and published by the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.

For example, company traceability may identify 100 cartons of recalled product for a warehouse, but it’s important for companies to communicate to consumers whether the recalled product was put on store shelves in cartons, bottles or other kinds of packaging.

Recall communication templates should be drafted for the most effective, simple, consumer identification of the product, Phillpott recommended. Rather than using marketing language, detailed descriptions should be used even in the case that a PLU sticker is the only identifying information on the product at point of sale.

Effective recall communication can include unique codes on a retail pack, their ink color and the description of where exactly on the package the consumer cab find the identifying codes. A video including examples of how to describe vegetables objectively is available online.

Trendy trucks lacking attention to food safety
In a recent report on food trucks by Phoenix NBC News Affiliate Channel 12 cited temperature violations and ineffective handwashing, either of which can cause foodborne illness outbreaks.

Ralph’s Snack Bar food truck was cited after an inspector noticed incorrect holding temperatures for chorizo, corn dogs, lettuce, tomatoes, eggs, cheese and ham. Hot foods must be kept above 135 degrees, and cool foods must be stored below 41 degrees to prevent the growth of bacteria.

At the Cheese Love and Happiness food truck, cooked steak and macaroni and cheese were cited for being held well below 135 degrees. Additionally, a taco food truck was cited after an employee touched their face and continued work, without removing the gloves and washing their hands after doing so.

Proper handwashing and hand drying protocol is necessary to avoid cross-contamination, and effective disinfecting measures. See this video to ensure you are washing your hands to fight germs.

Dubious record for Crown Princess cruises
A recent gastrointestinal outbreak on the Crown Princess sickened 184 passenger, and 12 crew members during its recent cruise from Canada to Florida. From 2010 through the cruise that ended Nov.8, the Crown Princess has tallied the most outbreaks of any cruise ship operating out of U.S. ports, with a total of 21.

Holland America Line takes second place, with 18 outbreaks since 2010 according to a report by Cruise Line Law News.

“The cruise industry always blames the passengers for bringing the virus aboard, rather than its food handlers, or contaminated food or water,” Jim Walker wrote for Cruise Line Law News. “So are Princess Cruises customers the sickest and the least hygienic cruisers around? Are guests of HAL the second most unhygienic cruisers? Do they wash their hands the least of any cruisers? This seems like absurd arguments to make.”

The CDC doesn’t have time to determine the source of the norovirus outbreak, from infected food handlers or passengers, to contaminated food or water, Walker wrote, adding that the CDC has not determined the type of virus involved in the most recent outbreak on the Crown Princess.

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