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.

U.S. resumes posting of poultry Salmonella stats
The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service is again publicly posting the performance standards results from Salmonella tests at poultry plants in its category format.

In May of 2016 the FSIS began posting individual establishment category scores for the Salmonella performance standards for poultry carcasses. In November that year, FSIS temporarily suspended the posting of category status “to analyze the effect of the use of the new neutralizing Buffered Peptone Water (nBPW)” and to assess the implementation of follow-up sampling at operations in Category 3. FSIS has concluded the analyses and subsequently is resuming the postings.

“As discussed in the Federal Register, data support that public posting of establishment performance encourages establishments to make changes to address Salmonella (81 FR 7295-7296),” according to a notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In response to feedback from so-called stakeholders, the postings will include information on category thresholds for product classes. Not Applicable (NA) status is now being used to denote establishments for which FSIS has not yet accumulated the minimum number of samples to assess performance standards.

“Additionally, the agency intends to begin the web posting of category status relative to Salmonella for individual establishments that produce chicken parts and comminuted poultry products in June 2018 and will announce specifically when we will begin this posting in a future Constituent Update.”

RTE extra risky for pregnant women, elderly
Scientists in the European Union are reporting that consumption of ready-to-eat food (RTE) is linked to an increasing rate of Listeria infections, especially among people older than 75 and women aged 25-44.

Research recently published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) documented the link for the period from 2008 to 2015. Work on the scientific opinion started after a 2015 EU summary report identified an increasing trend of listeriosis cases from 2009-2013.

The connection between the higher rate of Listeria infections in the two demographic groups and consumption of contaminated ready-to-eat was one of the main conclusions of the EFSA scientific opinion.

“Most people get infected through the consumption of ready-to-eat foods such as smoked and cured fish, heat treated meat and soft and semi-soft cheese. However, other foods – such as prepared salads – can also lead to infections,” according to a news release from the EFSA.

Wisconsin city mandates grocery store grades
The Milwaukee Health Department has joined the list of cities and towns posting food safety inspection ratings for retail food stores.

The letter ratings are an attempt by public health officials to help consumers better understand the sanitary conditions while educating store owners about food safety rules.

After sanitary inspections, retailers that sell food will receive an “A,” “B,” or “C” letter grade:
  • A = No critical deficiencies found, food safety program is working;
  • B = Critical deficiencies found and corrected during inspection, room for continuous improvement; and
  • C = Critical deficiencies found and were not or could not be corrected during inspection, needs immediate corrective action.
According to a news release from the health department, the absence of any sign of decreased foodborne illnesses is part of the impetus for the new system.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)