Jun 12, 2009
Chicken takes the cake as the most common source of food poisoning in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released today. The report, which analyzed data from 2006's outbreaks of foodborne illnesses in the U.S., found that chicken caused 21 percent of the 27,634 reported cases of food poisoning. Leafy vegetables, such as spinach, were the second-most frequent source, and fruits and nuts were the third.
"Identification of particular food commodities that have caused the outbreaks can help public health officials and the food industry to target control efforts from the farm to the table," chief of the CDC's Diseases Epidemiology Branch, Patricia Griffin, said in a statement.
What was in all these nasty nibbles? More than half of sickened diners had gotten the norovirus, which makes its way into food when a handler doesn't wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Salmonella—the culprit in the peanut butter scare earlier this year—was the next most common. It often comes from animal feces-contaminated food that's undercooked (or not cooked at all).
Mar 26, 2009 | 1
Do you know where your food comes from—or where it's going? If you’re a food distributor or manufacturer, the answer is probably not.
That’s the conclusion of a report presented today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) inspector general, Daniel Levinson, at a House hearing on food safety. Federal law requires food manufacturers and distributors to keep records on their goods' stops along the production chain, such as the processors and packers that handle them. They're also supposed to track who transports them and what stores they end up in to make it easier for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to trace the origin of food-borne illnesses. But 59 percent of manufacturers and distributors couldn’t provide Levinson's investigators with all of that information, and 25 percent were clueless about the requirement, Levinson told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies.
Mar 14, 2009
President Barack Obama today tapped former New York City Public Health Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, 54, to head the embattled U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and announced creation of a new panel to examine and update food safety laws in the wake of an outbreak of salmonella that sickened hundreds.
Obama announced the moves during his weekly radio address in which he blamed a lack of food inspections and antiquated laws and regs for creating a "demoralized" FDA as well as conditions ripe for a string of food-borne infections over the past few years, including the recent salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter and paste churned out at a contaminated Georgia plant.
Mar 4, 2009 | 4
Coming on the heels of a sweeping salmonella scare, a bipartisan group of senators yesterday introduced legislation designed to give the feds the financial and regulatory muscle they need to protect the nation's food supply.
"Over the last year, we've seen major recalls of peanut butter spiked with salmonella, spinach laced with E. coli and chili loaded with botulism," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said during a press conference held to announce the move. "These are not isolated incidents and are the result of an outdated, underfunded and overwhelmed food safety system. [This] bipartisan bill will improve the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration's] ability to prevent food-borne illness outbreaks and ensure the FDA responds quickly and effectively when outbreaks do occur."
Jan 28, 2009
Two food-safety vets are on the short list to head up the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).
Caroline Smith-Dewaal, food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and former FSIS administrator Barbara Masters are the final contenders, unidentified union officials, reps from the food industry and experts in food safety told the Washington Post. (Thanks to the Marler Blog for alerting us to the story.) Masters, who is in her 40s, is now a senior policy adviser at the Washington law firm Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz PC.
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