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food safety



RECALL: Cantaloupe from Burch Equipment

UDATED August 23, 2012The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has identified the southern Indiana farm responsible for producing the cantaloupes linked to the deadly salmonella outbreak that has reportedly infected 178 people in 21 states. Chamberlain Farms of Owensville has been named as one potential source for the outbreak that has killed two people and hospitalized 62 more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result, the farm has voluntarily recalled its melons, although the FDA nor the farm have released any information regarding the cause of the contamination. 

Another product recall has happened, so be on the look out for fruit you may have purchased on July 15 or later. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to consumers to avoid eating whole cantaloupes from Burch Equipment LLC, of Faison, North Carolina, because of possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono).

What You Need to Know
The company shipped 580 cases of whole cantaloupes on July 15 that were delivered to retail stores in New York, Maine, and possibly other states. If you have a cantaloupe with a red label and the words “Burch Farms” and referencing PLU #4319, discard it immediately.

The cantaloupes tested positive for L. mono during sampling carried out in New York by the USDA Microbiological Data Program. Following the positive result, on July 28, Burch Equipment issued a voluntary recall of 580 cases of cantaloupes. As of yet, no illnesses have been reported that would be linked to the cantaloupes.
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The Chinese Consider McDonald’s One of Their Safest Food Options

We have a lot of drama surrounding our food more so now than ever before. The news is littered with talk of pink slime, GMOs, organic, hormone-free, and local. And this is just the start of all the details we get caught up in regarding what we eat.

While these are serious issues to consider, a little perspective makes me happy that these are my most common food concerns. In China, people deal with so many issues of contamination and unsanitary cooking conditions that they have gone so far as to raise McDonald’s on a pedestal. In fact, the Chinese see McDonald’s as a trusted, safe and healthy food option.

Shaun Rein is the founder of China Market Research, and recently spoke to NPR about this perspective contrast. In America, McDonald’s really gets a bad rap. We blame them on contributing to childhood and adult obesity. We accuse them of using highly processed “nearly meat” products. All around, Americans tend to believe McDonald’s is unhealthy. But that’s not the case in China; not at all. The Chinese trust the American and Western brands far more than their own and feel that they are safest.
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Cargill Beef Recall Issued after Salmonella Contamination

Cargill Beef Solutions announced a recall of nearly 30,000 pounds of fresh ground beef. The beef came from a Pennsylvania plant and is being recalled due to potential salmonella contamination.

The beef was sold to wholesalers in 14 pound packages and eventually repackaged by stores into smaller containers with new labels. All potentially dangerous packages should still bear the establishment number “EST. 9400” and a use-by date of May 25. If consumers still have this beef, it’s assumed it is frozen in their freezers as the expiration date has long past for fresh meat.

This information can all be found in the news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). The release comes after the government has connected five cases of illness to the same strain of salmonella found in the Cargill beef. Other cases are being investigated as well to determine if the illnesses are related to the beef.
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Listeria Contamination Forces Recall of 325,000 Pounds of Frozen Meat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced over the weekend a recall of nearly 325,000 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat meat products manufactured by Buona Vita Inc. because of a possible listeria contamination. Listeria bacteria can cause listeriosis, a potentially fatal bacterial infection.

Buona Vita Inc., based out of New Jersey, makes precooked, frozen Italian food products. Products affected include meatballs, dinner loafs, salisbury patties, breakfast patties, and burger patties made with chicken, pork, beef, and turkey.

Brand names included in the recall are:

  • Buona Vita Inc.
  • Cupino
  • Mama Isabella
  • Vincent Giordano
  • Dirusso
  • Silver Lake
  • Argenta Pride
  • Whitsons Food Service
  • M&R Frosted Food Co.
  • Orefresco
  • Bullpen
  • Napoli
  • Whorle’s
  • Buonamici
  • Monabella
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California’s Push for Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods

Californians seem to be doing everything right these days. Achieving the tall and slender beach-body look, eating less than kids in other states, and now likely voting to enforce a new law that would require labeling of genetically engineered food. Is there anything they aren’t doing right? Well, maybe.

If approved, California would be the first state in the nation to require GMO labeling. And according to a recent poll by California Right to Know, it’s likely to happen as nine out of 10 California voters want the labeling to be enforced.

However, new research on the effectiveness of food labeling suggests it may not be the one-cure-fix-all solution Californians, and other health-conscious Americans, are looking for. This is because a labeling initiative may end up making it harder for consumers to know what’s in their food, since it makes the definition of ‘natural’ food very unclear.

When we think of the word natural when it relates to food, we think organic, healthy, and no artificial preservatives, flavorings or ingredients. But apparently the term natural is becoming much harder to define, especially since the federal government has refused to make the term any clearer, allowing food companies to continue labeling their food as ‘natural’ when it may very well not be.
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