EdNet - November 2011
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
- FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Certain ASSI Brand Frozen Oysters
- FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Bio Gaudiano Brand Organic Olives Stuffed with Almonds
- FDA Confirms “Salmonella” on Sunrise Commodities’ Turkish Pine Nuts
- FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Wegmans' Bulk Turkish Pine Nuts
- CDC: Multistate Outbreak of Human “Salmonella” Enteritidis Infections Linked to Turkish Pine Nut
Resources for Educators
- Prepare a Safe and Delicious Thanksgiving Turkey for Your Guests (USDA-FSIS)
- Thanksgiving Recipes from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and Food and Nutrition Service
- Food Safe Families Thanksgiving Twitter Chat
- USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline Open on Thanksgiving Day
- CFSAN News for Educators: Food Safety for the Holiday Season
- FDA: Holiday Food Safety Success Kit
- FDA: Don't Be Fooled By Health Fraud Scams
- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights the 150th Anniversary of USDA
- Remarks by Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods,U.S. Food and Drug Administration Regarding “ Implementation of the ‘U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act:’ Building a Partnership for Prevention”
- FDA: Food Safety and Raw Milk
- “Agricultural Research Magazine,” November/December 2011 – Vol. 59, No. 10
- Seasonal Videos from FSIS
Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops
- FDA’s Letter to Industry – "Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance” Implementation
- Guidance for Industry: Letter to Firms that Grow, Harvest, Sort, Pack, Process, or Ship Fresh Cantaloupe
- Frequently Asked Questions Regarding FDA’s “Food Safety Modernization Act”
- FSIS Makes Available Lab Revisions to Detect Non-O157 STECs
- FSIS Policy Updates
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to eat certain ASSI Brand frozen oysters from Korea following an outbreak of illness in Washington state caused by norovirus. The frozen oyster meat (shucked; not in shell), is packed in 3-lb bags. Each bag is labeled ASSI Brand “INDIVIDUALLY QUICK FROZEN OYSTER” with a “Better if Used By” date of “2013.02.232.” Each bag identifies Central Fisheries Co. Ltd., as the packer and Korean Farms of Santa Fe Springs, California, as the distributor. These oysters, which were served in a Washington state restaurant and were eaten by three people who became ill, have been sampled and tested positive by FDA for norovirus genotypes I and II. Records indicate that this product was shipped to the states of Washington, California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, and Utah. Those who have recently purchased oysters should not eat them and should safely dispose of them in the trash or garbage disposal.
Detailed information regarding oysters linked to norovirus cases in Washington state can be found at:
FDA is warning consumers not to eat any Bio Gaudiano brand Organic Olives Stuffed with Almonds. Pure Italian LLC of Watertown, MA, the U.S. distributor, in conjunction with the manufacturer and packer, Bio Gaudiano of Italy, is voluntarily recalling all sizes and lots of Bio Gaudiano Organic Olives Stuffed with Almonds. This product has been linked to a botulism outbreak in Europe. There are no reported cases of illness related to this product in the United States. Consumers should return the product to the place of purchase or dispose of it in a sealed container in the trash so that people and animals, including wild animals, can't get to it.
To read about how this product may put consumers at risk for botulism, go to:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to eat Turkish pine nuts distributed by Sunrise Commodities, based in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, after FDA tests confirmed the presence of “Salmonella” on the product. FDA is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State public health and agriculture officials to investigate a multistate outbreak of “Salmonella” Enteritidis infections. To date, the CDC reports there are at least 42 illnesses associated with the outbreak in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
For more detailed information, go to:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to eat Turkish pine nuts purchased from unlabeled plastic bulk containers at Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. or any food items they may have prepared using the bulk Turkish pine nuts, such as pesto, salads, or baked goods. Wegmans is voluntarily recalling approximately 5,000 lbs. of Turkish pine nuts sold in the bulk foods department of most Wegmans stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland between July 1 and October 18, 2011. The pine nuts may be contaminated with “Salmonella” Enteritidis, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections. This type of infection is most dangerous to young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Consumers should check their homes, including refrigerators and freezers, for Turkish pine nuts purchased from bulk bins at Wegmans stores between July 1, 2011 and October 18, 2011.
For more information about how forty-three cases of salmonellosis have been linked to recalled product, visit:
Read Wegmans Press Release at:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in New York and other states and the FDA to investigate a multistate outbreak of “Salmonella” Enteritidis infections linked to Turkish pine nuts purchased from bulk bins at Wegmans grocery stores. Representatives from Wegmans are cooperating with public health officials. Public health investigators are using DNA “fingerprints” of “Salmonella” bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak. A total of 42 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of “Salmonella” Enteritidis have been reported from 5 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state with the outbreak strain is as follows: Maryland (1), New Jersey (2), New York (27), Pennsylvania (8), and Virginia (4).
For more updates regarding the multistate outbreak of human “Salmonella” Enteritidis infections linked to Turkish pine nuts, go to:
Resources for Educators
On November 8, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a news release titled “Prepare a Safe and Delicious Thanksgiving Turkey for Your Guests.”
Read this news release:
To ensure consumers have a safe, healthy Thanksgiving dinner, USDA’ Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) are incorporating FNS Nutrition messages and FSIS Food Safety messaging into 5 Thanksgiving recipes.
Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, FSIS’ Under Secretary for Food Safety and Dr. Janey Thornton, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services will introduce the recipes on the USDA blog page beginning November 16, 2011. Happy Thanksgiving!
The recipes for Thanksgiving Turkey, Stuffing, Baked Apples and Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Sauté, and Pumpkin Pie can be found on the USDA blog site at:
Join celebrity chef Ingrid Hoffmann, USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline, and FDA in a live Twitter question and answer session for tips on safely preparing your Thanksgiving meal. As part of the Food Safe Families campaign, food safety experts will be available to answer your questions via @USDAFoodSafety and @FoodSafetygov. To ask questions and join the conversation, follow #trkytips on Tuesday, November 22, from 1:00-2:00 pm EST.
You can check your steps at: http://www.foodsafety.gov/
Cooks needing help with turkey preparation are just a phone call away from the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHOTLINE (1-888-674-6854). The Hotline operates Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, and will operate on Thanksgiving Day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET. Speak with a food safety specialist — in English or Spanish—or listen to recorded messages 24/7.
Read more about the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at:
Consumers can also "Ask Karen," FSIS’ virtual representative, food safety questions – in English or Spanish – 24 hours a day, at AskKaren.gov. Live chat, normally available Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time will not be available on Thanksgiving Day. Visit AskKaren at AskKaren.gov or for Spanish at PreguntaleKaren.gov.
To see a list of “Seasonal Food Safety” fact sheets, visit FSIS at:
November ushers in the beginning of the holiday season ... and kicks off a long stretch of food-related events and celebrations! It's likely that every consumer you work with either has an at-risk family member, or will be entertaining one this season. As you know, safe food handling is critically important for at-risk audiences.
For more detailed information about food safety and at-risk audiences, visit:
Many people don't realize that food safety is the most important ingredient in preparing food for the holidays. The Holiday Food Safety Success Kit, developed by the non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education, provides tips on how to make sure holiday meals are safe as well as delicious. Recipes, shopping checklist, food safety tips, and children's activities are included in the multi-media program.
To view the Holiday Food Safety Success Kit, Holiday Food Safety Video, Ready-to-Cook Foods and additional information, go to: http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm188807.htm
Food Safety Tips for Food Safety Tips for Healthy Holidays can be found at:
The FDA has created a new Internet resource to help consumers recognize and protect themselves from the 21st century versions of many bogus health products. FDA’s Health Fraud Scams website pulls together videos and articles on how to avoid fraudulent schemes, and offers information about products that have been seized, recalled or are the subject of warnings from the Agency. The site also provides links to government resources on health fraud involving FDA-regulated products, such as drugs, dietary supplements, tobacco products, alternative medicines, medical devices, and cosmetics.
To view this Consumer Update, go to:
To view FDA’s Health Fraud Scams Web site, go to:
Sign up for e-mail notices of new FDA Consumer Updates at:
On November 2, 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the Old Illinois State Capitol to announce the year-long celebration of USDA's 150th anniversary in 2012. Secretary Vilsack was in the hometown of USDA's founder – President Abraham Lincoln - who signed into law an “Act of Congress” establishing the United States Department of Agriculture in 1862.
Read this news release:
Remarks by Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Regarding “Implementation of the U.S. ‘Food Safety Modernization Act:’ Building a Partnership for Prevention”
On November 2, 2011, Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued remarks regarding, “ Implementation of the U.S. ‘Food Safety Modernization Act:’ Building a Partnership for Prevention” at the China International Food Safety and Quality Conference and Expo, Beijing, China.
Read the remarks at:
Pasteurization of milk was adopted decades ago as a basic public health measure to kill dangerous bacteria and largely eliminate the risk of getting sick from one of the most important staples of the American diet. In 1987, the Agency issued a regulation prohibiting the interstate sale of raw milk. In recent years, however, a small number of Americans (less than 1 percent) have rejected pasteurization in favor of raw (or unpasteurized) milk, citing a range of taste, nutritional and health benefits they believe are associated with raw milk consumption, as well as a general preference for unprocessed food. Today, 20 states explicitly prohibit intrastate raw milk sales in some form and 30 allow it.
Learn more about food safety and raw milk at:
The November/December 2011 issue of the "Agricultural Research Magazine" from USDA's Agricultural Research Service is now available.
FSIS has three new videos, in English and Spanish, which can help consumers when handling and preparing the turkey for Thanksgiving meal, and reduce risks of foodborne illness during this holiday season.
- “Prepare a Brined Turkey” – published: November 16, 2011
- “Grilling and Smoking a Turkey” – expected publish date: November 18, 2011
- “Deep Fat Frying a Turkey” – expected publish date: November 22, 2011
Look for FSIS’ new videos at:
Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops
You are invited to attend the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum with the theme “Moving Agriculture Forward: USDA – Growing, Innovating, and Celebrating 150 Years” The Forum is scheduled to be held on February 23 - 24, 2012, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA.
For more information, visit:
FDA has received a number of inquiries regarding the implementation time frames of the Guidance for Industry titled: "Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance, Fourth Edition."
In response to these inquiries FDA has recently posted a letter to industry which can be found at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/Seafood/FishandFisheriesProductsHazardsandControlsGuide/ucm279442.htm
Guidance for Industry: Letter to Firms that Grow, Harvest, Sort, Pack, Process, or Ship Fresh Cantaloupe
The FDA or the Agency is issuing this letter to firms that grow, harvest, sort, pack, process, or ship fresh cantaloupe to enhance awareness regarding the Agency’s recommended best practices for preventing contamination of fresh produce with pathogens, including “Listeria monocytogenes.” “L. monocytogenes” is a bacterium that can contaminate foods and cause a mild non-invasive illness (called listerial gastroenteritis) or a severe, sometimes life-threatening, illness (called invasive listeriosis).
To read this letter, visit:
Foodborne illness is largely preventable if everyone in today’s global food chain could be held responsible and accountable at each step for controlling hazards that can cause illness. Under the new law, FDA will now have new prevention-focused tools and a clear regulatory framework to help make substantial improvements in our approach to food safety. The FDA has a legislative mandate to require comprehensive, preventive-based controls across the food supply chain. Preventive controls include steps that a food facility would take to prevent or significantly minimize the likelihood of problems occurring. The new law also significantly enhances FDA’s ability to achieve greater oversight of the millions of food products coming into the United States from other countries each year.
Frequently asked questions about the “Food Safety Modernization Act” can be found at:
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced its planned revision to the FSIS Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG) 5B, “Detection and Isolation of Non-O157 Shiga-Toxin Producing ‘Escherichia coli’ (STEC) from Meat Products,” to expand laboratory testing for the detection of the six targeted serogroups.
Chapters MLG 5B.01, MLG 5B Appendix 1.00, MLG 5B Appendix 2.00 and MLG Appendix 1.06 are now available at:
FSIS issues Notices and Directives to protect public health. The following policy updates were recently issued:
- Notice 59-11: “Revisions to ‘Salmonella’ and ‘Campylobacter’ End-Of-Set Letters”
- Notice 60-11: “Certifying Products Under Export Verification (EV) Programs”
- Notice 61-11: “Reviewing Establishment ‘Salmonella’ Control Programs for Raw Classes of Meat or Poultry Product”
All Notices and Directives are available at: