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EdNet - February 2012 | FoodSafety.gov

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EdNet - February 2012 FoodSafety.gov

In this issue:

Advisories, Alerts, and Warnings

Resources for Educators

Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops

People in the News


Advisories, Alerts, and Warnings

FDA: Grapefruit Juice and Medicine May Not Mix

Grapefruit juice can be part of a healthful diet—most of the time. It has vitamin C and potassium—substances your body needs to work properly. But it isn’t good for you when it affects the way your medicines work. Grapefruit juice and fresh grapefruit can interfere with the action of some prescription drugs, as well as a few non-prescription drugs.

To read this Consumer Update, visit: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm292276.htm

Resources for Educators

USDA Takes Next Step to Modernize Department as Part of Blueprint for Stronger Service

On February 27, 2012, as part of a continuing effort to build a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that meets the evolving needs of a 21st century agricultural economy, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack informed Congress that in 90 days he plans to approve consolidation of 131 Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices with other USDA service centers, consistent with provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill.

Read this news releease: http://www.usda.gov/2012/02/0069.xml

See also USDA Strengthens Service for America’s Agricultural Exporter: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2012/02/exporters.shtml

FDA: Questions & Answers About Dioxins and Food Safety

FDA has recently posted questions and answers that provide information about dioxins and food safety. Additional information related to dioxins is available from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

To view these Food Safety Questions and Answers about Dioxins, visit:

FDA Statement on Arsenic in Brown Rice Syrup

The FDA is committed to protecting the nation's public health from contaminants in our food supply and has been monitoring for arsenic content for more than 20 years. Because arsenic is naturally occurring in soil and was used for many years in pesticides, we know there are trace amounts of arsenic in many foods. In response, FDA has expanded its surveillance activities in rice to ensure that consumers are protected. In fact, beginning in October 2011, FDA began a further study of arsenic in rice and rice products in order to determine the level and types of arsenic typically found in these products. The study is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2012.

For more detailed information, go to:

Remarks by Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Regarding Food Safety Collaboration in a Global Food System

On February 16, 2012, Michael R.Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Foods and Drug Administration, issued remarks regarding Food Safety Collaboration in a Global Food System at the Global Food Safety Conference in Orlando, Florida.

To read this speech, visit:

FDA: Investigation of Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O26 Infections Linked to Consumption of Raw Clover Sprouts

On February 15, 2012, CDC and FDA posted announcements of a multistate outbreak of (12) E.coli O26 infections reported in five states: Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. CDC reported illness onset dates ranging from December 25, 2011 to January 15, 2012. On February 23, 2012, a total of 14 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O26 have been reported from 6 states. The two new cases have been reported from Michigan. Both new cases reported eating at Jimmy John's restaurants and consuming sprouts in the 7 days preceding illness. Among the 14 persons for whom information is available, illnesses onset dates range from December 25, 2011 to February 7, 2012. An investigation by the state of Michigan Department of Agriculture is currently ongoing, with the cooperation and support of both CDC and FDA.

To read updates on cases, FDA investigation, advice to consumers, and additional information, go to:

FDA Seeks $4.5 billion to Support Medical Product Development, Protect Patients and Ensure Safety of the Food Supply

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requesting a budget of $4.5 billion to protect and promote the public health as part of the President's fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget – a 17 percent increase over the FDA enacted budget for FY 2012. Industry user fees would fund 98 percent of the proposed budget increase. The FY 2013 request covers the period from Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept 30, 2013. In addition to recommending new user fees to support the review of generic drugs and biosimilars, the FDA budget also contains increased funding for priorities such as import safety, medical countermeasures and research facilities to protect patients and consumers.

To read this FDA News Release in its entirety, go to:

FDA: Sampling of Imported Juice from Domestic Manufacturers has Concluded with the February 2 Update

FDA is continuing to ensure that orange juice in the United States does not pose a safety concern due to the presence of carbendazim residues. The Agency is testing samples of orange juice shipments from all countries and manufacturers that offer such shipments for import into the U.S., as well as imported and finished product at domestic manufacturers. Based on all results we have seen to date, we remain confident that orange juice in the U.S. may be consumed without concerns about its safety due to the possible presence of such residues. FDA continues to not allow entry of any sampled shipment into the U.S. until our testing and analysis has confirmed that the orange juice product complies with our laws.

To read about FDA’s test results of imported samples of orange juice and weekly updates, go to:

FDA Sampling of Domestic Orange Juice/Juice Products for Carbendazim

The FDA has posted a chart of the Agency’s sampling of domestic orange juice and juice products for carbendazim on its Web site.

To view this chart, visit:

Vital Signs: Food Categories Contributing the Most to Sodium Consumption — United States, 2007–2008, MMWR, Volume 61, No. 5

Most of the U.S. population consumes sodium in excess of daily guidelines (<2,300 mg overall and 1,500 mg for specific populations). Excessive sodium consumption raises blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the nation's first and fourth leading causes of death. Identifying food categories contributing the most to daily sodium consumption can help reduction.

Read this report:

FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Education Resource Library

FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) Education Resource Library is a compilation of printable educational materials on topics related to food safety, nutrition (including labeling and dietary supplements) and cosmetics. These materials are intended for educators, teachers, dietitians and health professionals as well as for general consumer education. Materials are available in PDF format for immediate download and may also be ordered in larger quantities using the CFSAN’s Consumer Related Resources Order Form.

To see the full spectrum of CFSAN’s information on various topics, please visit:

Sign-up for CFSAN's News for Educators Email Updates at:

New FSIS Podcasts

Tune in to podcasts and listen to food safety specialists providing consumers with advice and up to date information on how to prevent foodborne illness through the safe handling, preparation and storage of meat, poultry, and processed egg products. FSIS has released the following new podcasts:

  • Food Safety At Home:
    • Mantén los Alimentos Inocuos en la Mesa de Bufet – (Keep Foods Safe On The Buffet Table) –Spanish: Feb 22, 2012
    • Be Smart When Cooking or Eating Out on Valentine's Day – English and Spanish: February 9, 2012

Check out this podcast:
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news_&_events/Food_Safety_at_Home_Podcasts/index.asp (English);

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/En_Espanol/Podcasts_SP/index.asp (Spanish)

Videocast in American Sign Language:

For other food safety podcasts:

Visit FSIS’ Food Safety page on YouTube:

Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops

USDA Extends Comment Period for Corn Genetically Engineered for Herbicide Tolerance

On Feb 22, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a public comment period extension through

April 27, 2012, on a petition received from Dow AgroScience LLC seeking a determination of nonregulated status for corn designated as DAS-40278-9.

Read this news release:

FSIS to Extend Implementation Date on Routine Sampling Program for Non-O157:H7 E. coli

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that it is extending for 90 days the implementation date for routine sampling of six additional Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serogroups (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121 and O145); the implementation date has been extended from March 5 to June 4, 2012. The purpose of the extension is to provide additional time for establishments to validate their test methods and detect these pathogens prior to entering the stream of commerce. On September 13, 2011, USDA announced that if the serogroups are found in raw ground beef or its precursors, those products will be prohibited from entering commerce. This policy represents a major advancement for public health. An advance copy of an updated Federal Register notice will be posted on the FSIS website as soon as it becomes available.

The September 13, 2011, USDA announcement can be viewed at:

Comment Period on FSIS Proposed Rule for Labeling Extended

FSIS proposed a rule on December 5, 2011, that will allow establishments to label a broader range of products without first submitting the label to the agency for approval. The comment period, originally scheduled to close today February 3, 2012, will now close on March 3, 2012.

The extension was granted to allow sufficient time for industry members to: (1) develop comments comprehensively addressing important proposed changes to the prior label approval system; and (2) assemble, analyze and submit data establishments have collected on their experience with the prior label approval system and generic labeling. Individuals are invited to submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Comments may also be mailed to USDA, FSIS, OPPD, RIMD, Docket Clearance Unit, Patriots Plaza III, 355 E St., S.W., Rm. 8-164, Washington, DC 20024-3221. All items submitted must include the docket number FSIS-2005-0016.

See also FSIS’ Constituent Update:

NACMCF Subcommittee to Discuss Federal Ground Beef Purchase Program

As part of a series of public meetings held by the Subcommittee on Study of Microbiological Criteria as Indicators of Process Control or Insanitary Conditions, there will be a teleconference committee plenary meeting, on March 28, 2012, 2 to 5 p.m. (ET), where the subcommittee report is to be presented for adoption. The subcommittee has been developing recommendations for USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service related to ground beef purchase for the Federal Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs. To register, contact Karen Thomas-Sharp at (202) 690-6620 or karen.thomas-sharp@fsis.usda.gov or Jude Smedra at (202) 690-6607 or jude.smedra@fsis.usda.gov.

More about NACMCF (National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods):

People in the News

Faces of Food Safety- Learn about Jeremy Todd Reed

If you had asked Jeremy "Todd" Reed's friends to name a place where he'd least likely work, a place dealing with food safety would probably be at the top of their list, he says. They'd be shocked. Why? It is because Reed's resume puts him squarely on course for a high-level position at the Department of Defense or Homeland Security. Looking for an important and noble mission, Reed found his place with the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) almost 2 years ago. At FSIS, he serves as Chief of the Analytical Design Branch, Data Analysis and Integration Group of the agency's Office of Data Integration and Food Protection.

Learn more about Jeremy Todd Reed:


FDA’s Guidance for Industry: Questions and Answers Regarding Establishment and Maintenance of Records By Persons Who Manufacture, Process, Pack, Transport, Distribute, Receive, Hold, or Import Food (Edition 5)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently posted “Guidance for Industry: Questions and Answers Regarding Establishment and Maintenance of Records By Persons Who Manufacture, Process, Pack, Transport, Distribute, Receive, Hold, or Import Food (Edition 5)” on its website. This guidance is a revision of the fourth edition of the FDA guidance “Questions and Answers Regarding Establishment and Maintenance of Records" issued September 2006.

To view this guidance document, go to:

FSIS Nutrition Labeling Rule to be Implemented in March

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will implement a final rule in March of 2012, that will require nutrition labeling of the major cuts of single-ingredient, raw meat and poultry products and ground or chopped meat and poultry products.

The Federal Register notice and other related documents, including examples of labels, can be found on the FSIS website at:

FDA Issues Interim Final Rule on Record Access Requirements for Food Firms

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an interim final rule amending its regulations on record-keeping by food firms to be consistent with FDA's access to records. FDA's authority for access to records was expanded by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) on January 4, 2011. The new interim final rule makes the reference to records access in the food-firm record-keeping requirements under FSMA consistent with the current statutory language in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. FDA's records access and the record-keeping requirements were first established by the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.

Read more of this Constituent Update at:

Humane Handling Training Resources Available On-line

FSIS recently issued humane handling training using a situation-based approach. This training includes two modules: one focuses on animal handling from truck unloading through entrance to the stunning area and the other covers stunning and post-stunning situations. In both training modules, participants are presented with specific situations at livestock slaughter establishments.

For more information and to access the situation-based participant and facilitator guides, visit:

FSIS Makes Some Changes in its Laboratory Testing Methods

In an effort to modernize laboratory methodology for chemical residue analysis, the FSIS laboratory system will be replacing the screening aspect of the 7-plate bioassay with a multi-residue method as a screening tool. This will be referred to as the Screening and Confirmation of Animal Drug Residues by UHPLC-MS-MS (Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography - Tandem Mass Spectrometry).

Review the laboratory guidebook:

Federal Government Gains Permanent Injunction Against Raw Milk Producer

A federal court has granted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration a permanent injunction preventing Daniel L. Allgyer and his Rainbow Acres Farm from distributing raw milk and raw milk products in final package form for human consumption across state lines. U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, also ruled that Allgyer’s participation in a so-called “private buying club” does not shield him from federal oversight, and that Allgyer’s “cow share” agreements are a subterfuge for sales of raw milk. Members of the private buying club had allegedly purchased “shares” of individual cows and then claimed that their reputed ownership entitled them to raw milk from those cows. Allgyer provided the association members who lived outside of Pennsylvania with containers of raw milk, even though federal law prohibits sales of raw milk for human consumption across state lines. Raw milk sales are legal within the state of Pennsylvania. Allgyer also violated federal law by not providing any labeling on the raw milk containers sold to consumers.

For more detailed information about this permanent injunction, visit:

FSIS Posts a Comparison of Salmonella Serotype Incidence

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is featuring on its website a paper presenting data on Salmonella serotype incidence in FSIS-regulated products and salmonellosis cases from CDC’s FoodNet and outbreak databases. This document serves to present data that support that chicken products are an important vehicle for human Salmonella infections in the United States.

View the document at:

See also FSIS’ Constituent Update:

FSIS Completes Review of Some Industry Methods to Detect Non-O157 STEC

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has completed its review of the first of several

non-O157 Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) methods developed by industry that were submitted to FSIS for review. FSIS recognizes the challenges in conducting robust validation studies for non-STEC detection methodologies. Therefore the agency is providing letters of no objection to companies that provide sufficient validation data for their non-O157 STEC detection methods. These no objection letters will enable the industry to use their methods to detect and isolate non-O157 STEC in raw ground beef and beef trim. Companies that wish to obtain a letter of no object for their non-O157 STEC detection method should submit their request through AskFSIS (http://askfsis.custhelp.com). The request should include: a detailed method protocol; specificity and sensitivity of the method; the validation study design; and the validation study data.

The validation study and data should conform to standards from the FSIS Guidance for Evaluating Test Kit Performance which can be found at:

FSIS Releases Consolidation Map

The Food Safety and Inspection ServiceFSIS has released a map that shows the field structure when district offices are reduced from 15 to 10. The FSIS consolidation follows an announcement last month by Secretary Vilsack that USDA would be closing or consolidating more than 250 offices throughout the country as a cost-saving measure. In addition to reducing costs, the FSIS consolidation will allow the agency to better balance workloads among circuits and districts.

To review this map, go to:

FDA Takes Action Against New York Cheese Manufacturer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking a federal court to prevent a New York cheese manufacturer from operating because of a history of unsanitary conditions and producing cheese in a facility contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. According to a complaint for permanent injunction filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Mexicali Cheese of Woodhaven, New York and two of its officers, Edinson Vergara and Claudia Marin, produced cheese under persistent unsanitary conditions that contributed to widespread Listeria monocytogenes contamination in Mexicali Cheese's facility. In addition, the complaint, filed January 30, 2012, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, says that the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services found similar unsanitary conditions in addition to product contamination.

To read this FDA News Release in its entirety, go to:

FSIS Policy Updates

FSIS issues Notices and Directives to protect public health. The following policy updates were recently issued:

  • FSIS Notice 16-12: Nationwide Raw Liquid Egg Microbiological Baseline Survey - Update
  • FSIS Notice 15-12: Docket No. FSIS-2010-0023: Shiga Toxin Producing Escherichia coli in Certain Raw Beef Products
  • FSIS Notice 13-12: Sample Collection from Cattle under the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Ongoing Surveillance Program
  • FSIS Notice 08-12: Instructions for Verifying All Steps in the Processing of Ready-To-Eat Meat and Poultry Products

All Notices and Directives are available at:

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