EdNet December 2012
EdNet, the National Food Safety Educator’s Network, is a monthly, multi-agency electronic news journal from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). EdNet provides up-to-date information about food safety and nutrition programs and activities for educators, consumer advocates, government officials, and industry representatives.
If you have questions or comments about this issue of EdNet, send e-mail to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA).
In this issue:
Advisories, Alerts, and Warnings
- USDA Offers Food Safety Tips as Winter Storm Strikes Central U.S., Moves Eastward
- FDA Investigates E. coli O157:H7 Illnesses Linked to Organic Spinach and Spring Mix Blend
Resources for Educators
- Blog by: FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., on Improving the World Through Improved Food Safety
- U.S., China Agree to Continue Cooperation on Food Safety
- Blog by: Camille Brewer, M.S., R.D., Director of International Affairs at FDA’s Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, on China Takes Steps to Strengthen Food Safety
- FSIS Updates Research Priorities to Address Emerging Food Safety Concerns
- Consumers, Industry Benefit Under FSIS Hold and Test Implementation
- USDA Announces New Prevention-based Efforts to Improve Safety of Poultry Products and Protect Consumers
- FDA: Helping Consumers Reduce Sodium Intake
- FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney Infections Linked to Peanut Butter made by Sunland Inc., Updates
- FDA: Rapid Response Helps Contain Outbreak Linked to Peanut Butter
- Blog By: Jason Bashura, M.P.H., R.S., Health Scientist, Food Defense Oversight Team at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition on Helping Authorities Prepare for a Food-Related Emergency
- FDA: Energy Drinks and Supplements: Investigations of Adverse Event Reports
- FSIS Resources: AskKaren
- FDA: Fresh and Frozen Seafood: Selecting and Serving it Safely
- FDA’s CFSAN Education Resource Library
- Amber Waves Magazine – December 2012 (USDA)
- New Podcasts (FSIS)
Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops
- National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection to Host Public Meeting
- Register Today for the USDA 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum!
- FDA Requests Information on Food Allergens
- FDA Recognizes New Zealand as Having a Comparable Food Safety System
- FDA Issues Guidance Documents Regarding Food Facility Registration and Biennial Registration Renewal
- Federal Judge Approves Consent Decree with Minnesota Drug and Dietary Supplement Company
- FSIS Policy Updates
On December 21, 2012, the USDA issued a news release providing recommendations for safe food handling to those affected by the winter storms and other types of severe weather.
Read this news release:
The FDA’s top priority is protecting consumers and ensuring the safety of our food supply. The FDA, along with the CDC, and state authorities are investigating an outbreak of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 infections linked to Wegmans brand Organic Spinach and Spring Mix blend. The CDC reports a total of 28 ill persons infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O157:H7 have been reported from five states. The number of ill people identified in each state with the outbreak strain is as follows: Connecticut (2), Massachusetts (2), New York (22), Pennsylvania (1), and Virginia (1). No deaths have been reported, but 10 people have been hospitalized. Two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Read more about this investigation:
Resources for Educators
Blog by: FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., on Improving the World Through Improved Food Safety
FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., blogs about the first Global Food Safety Partnership Conference, held this week in Paris by the World Bank. She writes about how partnership members from all over the world are committed to working collectively for the stronger food safety systems that are critical for public health, economic development, trade, and the alleviation of poverty.
On December 11, 2012, the FDA announced that it has renewed an agreement with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine of China (AQSIQ) to enhance cooperation between the U.S. and China on food and feed safety. The two countries entered into the original agreement in 2007, and this announcement extends the agreement for an additional five years.
Read more of this Constituent Update at:
Blog by: Camille Brewer, M.S., R.D., Director of International Affairs at FDA’s Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, on China Takes Steps to Strengthen Food Safety
An important message came through loud and clear during FDA’s whirlwind visit to China this month: China is determined to strengthen its food safety system. I had not visited China in nearly 10 years and I was struck by the extraordinary progress in the cities we visited. The towering skyscrapers, tree-lined boulevards, and the obvious signs of a rising middle class demonstrate the reality of an economy that has grown by leaps and bounds. That growth has led to rising consumer expectations, and China is clearly working hard to meet consumer and global expectations for safe food.
Read the entire blog posted December 11, 2012 at:
On December 10, 2012, FSIS announced it has updated its research priorities to keep pace with ever-changing issues and opportunities in food safety and public health related to the meat, poultry and egg products FSIS regulates. Scientific research and resources from outside the agency complement internal efforts to ensure that food safety inspection aligns with existing and emerging risks across the farm-to-table continuum.
Read this news release:
On December 7, 2012, FSIS announced that, beginning in 60 days, the Agency will require producers to hold shipments of non-intact raw beef and all ready-to-eat products containing meat and poultry until they pass Agency testing for foodborne adulterants.
Read this announcement:
USDA Announces New Prevention-based Efforts to Improve Safety of Poultry Products and Protect Consumers
On December 5, 2012, FSIS announced new steps to protect consumers by improving the food safety plans required for companies that produce poultry products.
Read this news release:
Most Americans consume way too much sodium, with salt (sodium chloride) being the most common form. That can be a serious health hazard, because excess sodium consumption contributes to the development and escalation of high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Research shows that Americans consume on average about 3,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium every day. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a reduction of sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg daily.
Read this Consumer Update at:
FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney Infections Linked to Peanut Butter made by Sunland Inc., Updates
The FDA, along with the CDC and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney infections linked to peanut butter made by Sunland Inc.
For updates regarding this investigation visit:
When public health agencies recognized the signs of an emerging Salmonella outbreak in early September 2012, they could tell that the bacterium was contaminating a food popular with children. And there aren't many foods more loved by kids than peanut butter. The outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney in peanut butter produced by one company has infected 41 people in 20 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The majority of those who have fallen ill with diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps are children under age 10. More people would have fallen ill if not for fast action by federal and state public health agencies. Those actions culminated on November 26, 2012, with FDA's suspension of the food facility registration for Sunland Inc., of Portales, N.M. Sunland produced the peanut butter product linked to the outbreak—Trader Joe's Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter made with Sea Salt.
Read entire Consumer Update at:
Blog By: Jason Bashura, M.P.H., R.S., Health Scientist, Food Defense Oversight Team at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition on Helping Authorities Prepare for a Food-Related Emergency
FDA has prepared a valuable tool that will help its regulatory and public health partners at the state, local, tribal and territorial levels be prepared for disasters that could compromise the safety of the food supply. The Food Related Emergency Exercise Bundle (FREE-B) is a compilation of scenarios based on both intentional and unintentional food contamination events. These table top exercises can help government regulatory and public health agencies assess their food-emergency response protocols and procedures. Additionally, tools, resources and external links are provided within FREE-B to help in response planning.
Read the entire blog posted on November 19, 2012 by FDA Voice at:
FDA is continuing to investigate reports of illness, injury or death of people who took products marketed as energy drinks or energy shots. FDA takes every adverse event report seriously, and investigates and evaluates other possible causes before deciding whether the product actually caused the medical problem. The existence of an adverse event report does not necessarily mean that the product identified in the report actually caused the adverse event. FDA assesses the relationship, if any, between a product or ingredient and the reported adverse event. So-called energy products are relatively new to the market, and manufacturers of these products have labeled some as dietary supplements and others as conventional foods. FDA regulates both dietary supplements and conventional foods under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FFDCA), but the requirements for them are different. FDA cautions consumers that products marketed as energy shots or energy drinks are not alternatives to rest or sleep.
For more detailed information about how FDA investigates adverse event reports allegedly related to energy drinks and supplements, go to:
Consumers with food safety questions, in English and Spanish, can Ask Karen, the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. Ask Karen live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is also available to consumers in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 am to 4 pm ET, Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.
Fish and shellfish contain high quality protein and other essential nutrients and are an important part of a healthful diet. In fact, a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to heart health and aid in children’s proper growth and development. As with any type of food, however, it is important to handle seafood safely in order to reduce the risk of foodborne illness, often called food poisoning. Follow these basic food safety tips for buying, preparing, and storing fish and shellfish — and you and your family can safely enjoy the fine taste and good nutrition of seafood.
Watch a Video on Seafood Safety and read the complete FDA Consumer Update at:
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 CFSAN's Consumer Related Resources Order Form.
See the full spectrum of CFSAN’s information on various topics:
The December issue of the Amber Waves Magazine from USDA's Economic Research Service is available online.
View the latest issue:
Tune in to podcasts and listen to food safety specialists provide 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:
- Egg Products and Food Safety (English, Spanish, ASL)
- Holiday Eggnog - Spanish: Ponche de Huevo para las Fiestas
- Cool Enough? (English and Spanish)
- Mother Knows Best? - Spanish: ¿La Decisión Correcta?
Check out these podcasts: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news_&_events/Food_Safety_at_Home_Podcasts/ (English) http://www.fsis.usda.gov/En_Espanol/Podcasts_SP/index.asp (Spanish)
Videos in American Sign Language: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news_&_events/SignFSIS/index.asp
Visit FSIS’ Food Safety Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/USDAFoodSafety
On December 19, 2012, the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) will host a 2-day public meeting to review and discuss strengthening agency verification activities pertaining to veal and categorizing FSIS regulations as public health regulations. The meeting will be held January 16-17, 2013.
Read this announcement: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/NR_121912_01/index.asp
Register Today for the USDA 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum!
You are invited to attend the USDA’s 89th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum with the theme Managing Risk in the 21st Century. The Forum is scheduled to be held on February 21 - 22, 2013, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA.
For more information, visit: http://www.usda.gov/oce/forum/
On December 13, 2012, the FDA established a Federal Register Docket requesting data and other information to determine whether the agency can safely establish threshold levels for major food allergens. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protections Act (FALPCA) of 2004 identified eight major food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans, which account for 90 percent of food allergies. To protect sensitive consumers FALPCA also requires that foods that contain any of the eight major food allergens carry a statement declaring them on the product label.
Read more of this Constituent Update at:
On December 10, 2012, the FDA and New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries signed an arrangement recognizing each other’s food safety systems as comparable to each other. This leads the way to a new level of regulatory cooperation to enhance food safety while facilitating trade between the two countries. This is the first time that FDA has recognized a foreign food safety system as comparable.
FDA Issues Guidance Documents Regarding Food Facility Registration and Biennial Registration Renewal
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), enacted on January 4, 2011, amended section 415 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) [21 U.S.C. § 350d]. The registration requirements in section 415 of the FD&C Act apply to domestic and foreign food facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States. Section 102 of FSMA amended section 415 of the FD&C Act in relevant part to provide that food facilities required to register with FDA must renew their registrations with FDA every other year, during the period beginning on October 1 and ending on December 31 of each even-numbered year.
FDA issued a guidance document stating that because there was a delay in FDA’s implementation of biennial registration renewal for the 2012 cycle, and registration renewal did not become available until October 22, 2012, FDA intends to exercise enforcement discretion with respect to registration renewals submitted to FDA after December 31, 2012, for a period of 31 days, until January 31, 2013.
Read more of this Constituent Update at:
Guidance for Industry: What You Need to Know About the Registration of Food Facilities – Small Entity Compliance Guide was updated to reflect the FSMA amendments to the FD&C Act and can be found at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodDefenseandEmergencyResponse/ucm331957.htm
See Guidance for Industry: Questions and Answers Regarding Food Facility Registration (Fifth Edition) at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodDefenseandEmergencyResponse/ucm331959.htm
A Minnesota company and its president have agreed to enter into a Consent Decree of Permanent Injunction sought by the FDA for unlawfully distributing unapproved new drugs and adulterated dietary supplements. A consent decree for permanent injunction restrains a company from distributing any products into interstate commerce, until they comply with FDA regulations and allows the FDA to assess damages against the company for any future violations of the law or the Consent Decree. U.S. District Judge David S. Doty of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota signed the injunction filed by the Justice Department against Pharmacist’s Ultimate Health (PUH) of St. Paul, MN, and its president, Stephen J. Poindexter, on November 6, 2012.
To read this News Release, visit:
FSIS Policy Updates
FSIS issues Notices and Directives to protect public health. The following policy updates were recently issued:
FSIS Notice 73-12: Changes in Testing Procedures for Product Samples Collected During Routine Risk-Based Listeria monocytogenes (RLm) Sampling and Intensified Verification Testing (IVT), and Changes to the Product Categories for ALLRTE and RTE001
- FSIS Notice 72-12: Documenting Sample Source When Collecting Samples for Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia Coli (STEC) Verification Testing
- FSIS Notice 69-12: Regulations Verified for Specified Risk Material Non Compliance Records
- FSIS Directive 6410.3: Poultry Sanitary Dressing
- Docket No. FSIS-2005-0044: Not Applying the Mark of Inspection Pending Certain Test Results
- FSIS Directive 8030.1: Communicating With the Office of Inspector General (OIG)
All Notices and Directives are available at: