Photo of Phyllis Entis

Phyllis Entis is the author of "Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives" and "Food Microbiology — The Laboratory." She has been a food safety microbiologist for 35 years, and has worked both in government and industry. She believes that everyone — government regulators, farmers and ranchers, food processors, food service workers, educators and consumers — has a responsibility to ensure that the food we eat is as safe as we can make it.


Several weeks ago, food safety advocate Bill Marler launched his campaign to “Get the ‘F’ out of the FDA.”

Marler proposed that Congress split the Food and Drug Administration into two separate agencies — one with responsibility for food safety and human nutrition, and the other for drugs, cosmetics and medical devices.

While I agree with the need for a separate agency to oversee food safety and human nutrition, I believe Marler’s proposal does not go far enough.

It is time to consolidate all food safety activities at the federal level under a single umbrella.

Here’s why.

Continue Reading It is time to rebuild the U.S. food safety system


Editor’s note: This was originally posted by eFoodAlert and is reposted here with the permission of the author. To view the document from the FDA, click here.

Between December 1, 2021, and March 3, 2022, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received nine (9) reports of infant deaths among babies who were fed powdered infant formula manufactured by Abbott Nutrition in Sturgis, Michigan.

The infant death reports were included in a list of 128 consumer complaints supplied to eFoodAlert by the FDA in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. (see: Abbott Nutrition consumer complaints

Continue Reading Nine baby deaths reported to FDA during Abbott Nutrition investigation


Editor’s note: This column was originally published in eFoodAlert and is republished here with the author’s permission.

Between Sept. 1, 2019, and Sept. 20, 2021, Abbott Nutrition received 17 consumer complaints regarding multiple Similac powdered infant formula products.

Fifteen of the complaints related to infants testing positive for Salmonella after consuming a Similac product. One complaint cited an infant who was diagnozed with Cronobacter (Enterobacter) sakazakii, and one was as the result of an infant death from an unspecified cause.

This information is contained in the Sept. 20-24, 2021, Establishment Inspection Report (EIR), obtained by

Continue Reading Abbott Nutrition: The gathering storm

JBS Souderton Inc. continued to distribute pentobarbital-adulterated products to customers even after receiving formal notification of pentobarbital contamination, according to a warning letter issued on April 23 by the Food and Drug Administration.

The warning letter to JBS Souderton Inc. which does business as MOPAC was sent more than one year after pentobarbital was first discovered in beef tallow from the company’s Souderton, PA, facility.

Pentobarbital is a barbiturate used by veterinarians to euthanize animals, including companion animals, horses and cattle. According to the FDA, pet foods containing even a trace amount of pentobarbital are considered adulterated. It is against
Continue Reading JBS knowingly distributed products containing euthanasia drug

On June 8, 2018, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised the public of an outbreak of Salmonella Adelaide that eventually sickened 77 people in nine states.

Most of the outbreak victims reported eating pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon or a fruit salad mix with melon purchased from grocery stores.

According to the CDC, epidemiologic and traceback evidence pointed to consumption of pre-cut melon supplied by Caito Foods LLC of Indianapolis.

In response to the evidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performed a three-week long investigation, including a comprehensive inspection of Caito’s production facility and analysis of several
Continue Reading Caito’s response to earlier FDA inspection observations did not prevent Salmonella problem

Frozen profiteroles and mini eclairs sold in grocery stores are the apparent sources of two deaths among at least 73 lab-confirmed cases of Salmonella Enteritidis infections in Canada as of April 27, 2019, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

The outbreak, which was first announced on April 5, 2019, has spread to six Canadian provinces: British Columbia (27), Alberta (12), Saskatchewan (9), Manitoba (10), Ontario (13) and Quebec (2).

The outbreak began in early November 2018 and remains ongoing, with the most recent case having been reported in late March 2019. Outbreak victims range in age between
Continue Reading Two people dead in Canadian Salmonella outbreak linked to Celebrate brand frozen profiteroles and eclairs from Thailand

The Food and Drug Administration found multiple sanitation issues during a 2016 inspection of the Caito Foods fresh produce facility that prepared pre-cut melon products currently implicated in a Salmonella outbreak.

According to the Indianapolis company’s website, Caito specializes in fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing, selling to to customers nationwide.

The September 2016 FDA inspection was undertaken following detection of Listeria monocytogenes in a sample of cut butternut squash by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), according to documents obtained from FDA in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The company decided not to recall the
Continue Reading Caito Foods sanitation problems extend back to at least 2016

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections involving residents of six Canadian provinces.

PHAC, its provincial partners, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are collaborating in the investigation of this outbreak, which is apparently unrelated to two other outbreaks of Salmonella illnesses linked to raw chicken and raw turkey.

As of April 5, 2019, 63 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported by provincial public health authorities in six provinces: British Columbia (23), Alberta (10), Saskatchewan (8), Manitoba (10), Ontario (10) and Quebec (2).

Figure 1: Number of people infected with Salmonella Enteritidis
Continue Reading Salmonella Enteritidis sickens 63 in new Canadian outbreak

The Thogersen Family Farm (Thogersen) is recalling several varieties of raw, ground pet food due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The recall was triggered as a result of sampling by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Recalled products include two-pound packs of course ground rabbit, course ground mallard duck, ground llama, and ground pork frozen raw pet food.

The front of the packages bears a large, white square label with the company name, the product type, and product weight. No lot numbers, batch codes or expiration dates have been specified in this recall.

In addition to producing and selling raw dog
Continue Reading Listeria monocytogenes contamination triggers raw, ground pet food recall

Toxic levels of vitamin D in Hill’s Pet Nutrition (Hill’s) canned pet foods and Sunshine Mills (Sunshine) dry pet foods could have been prevented, had both companies followed their own food safety plans.

According to information obtained by Food Safety News in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, Hill’s identified Vitamin Premix as a ‘high risk’ chemical hazard and required that the ingredient “…be analyzed and be within acceptable limits prior to unloading … into the manufacturing facility.”

The company was unable to provide analytical test results for Vitamin Premixes during a February 2019 inspection.

The inspection was
Continue Reading Lax testing practices resulted in vitamin D overdoses in Hill’s and Sunshine Mills pet food