EdNet - October 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 an e-mail to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA).
In this issue:
Advisories, Alerts, and Warnings
Resources for Educators
- FDA’s Black Licorice: Trick or Treat?
- Food Irradiation: What You Need to Know (FDA)
- FDA: Food Tampering, An Extra Ounce of Caution
- FDA’s Talking About Trans Fat: What You Need to Know
- FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Education Resource Library
- Risk Assessment: What Is It, and What Does It Have to do with My Food? (FDA)
- USDA Highlights School Nutrition Advances During National School Lunch Week
- Remarks by Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs, at the 34th Annual National Food Policy Conference
- FDA, Multilaterals Team Up for Product Safety
- High-Tech Devices Help Ensure Product Safety (FDA)
- FDA: New Transparency Report Outlines Proposals for Enforcement Data, for Public Comment
- FDA Updates on the Whole Cantaloupes Recall
- FDA Consumer Health Information – Keep “Listeria” Out of Your Kitchen
- CDC: Help Reduce Childhood Obesity, Rethink Your Student’s Drink
- “Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Associated with Jensen Farms Cantaloupe --- United States, August--September 2011,” MMWR, Volume 60, Number 39
- Visit USDA’s Blog
Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops
- USDA Announces Webinars for Nutritional Labeling
- Pre-Harvest Food Safety for Cattle; Public Meeting—Docket No. FSIS-2011-0023 (USDA)
- FDA, CDC, FSIS, ARS, and CNPP Announce a Joint Public Meeting on Approaches to Reduce Sodium Consumption
- FDA: New Guidance for Industry Regarding Administrative Detention
- Guidance for Industry: What You Need to Know About Administrative Detention of Foods (FDA)
- New Inspection and Compliance Mandates under FDA “Food Safety Modernization Act”
- FDA Issues Guidance on Determining Safety of Flood-Affected Food Crops
- FDA Requests Comments for Risk Assessment on Norovirus in Bivalve Molluscan Shellfish
- FSIS Makes Method Revisions to Detect Non-O157 Shiga-toxin producing “E. coli”
- FDA: U.S. Marshals Seize Foods Stored at Washington State Facility
- FSIS Policy Updates
FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Raw Oysters Harvested from Hood Canal Area 4 in Washington State
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to eat raw oysters harvested from an area of Hood Canal in Washington State following an outbreak of illness in that state caused by “Vibrio” parahaemolyticus bacteria. Raw oysters harvested from “growing area 4” in Hood Canal from August 30 to September 19 have been linked to three confirmed and two possible cases of “Vibrio” parahaemolyticus illness. All ill persons reported consumption of raw oysters. The Washington State Department of Health has closed the growing area associated with the illnesses. Commercial oyster harvesters and dealers who obtained oysters from this growing area have initiated a recall and notified their commercial customers in affected states of the recall.
For more detailed information, visit:
As it turns out, you really can overdose on candy—or, more precisely, black licorice. Days before the biggest candy eating holiday of the year, the FDA encourages moderation if you enjoy snacking on the old fashioned favorite. So, if you’re getting your stash ready for Halloween, here’s some advice from FDA: If you’re 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia. FDA experts say black licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root. Glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall. When that happens, some people experience abnormal heart rhythms, as well as high blood pressure, edema (swelling), lethargy, and congestive heart failure.
Read this Consumer Update at:
Food irradiation (the application of ionizing radiation to food) is a technology that improves the safety and extends the shelf life of foods by reducing or eliminating microorganisms and insects. Like pasteurizing milk and canning fruits and vegetables, irradiation can make food safer for the consumer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating the sources of radiation that are used to irradiate food. FDA approves a source of radiation for use on foods only after it has determined that irradiating the food is safe.
To read about how irradiation can serve many purposes and learn what foods have been approved for irradiation, go to:http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm261680.htm
In today's world, we're all being more cautious as we go about our daily routines. And, this caution should also extend to the foods we purchase. The deliberate tampering of food to cause major disease outbreaks is rare, particularly in the United States. However, recent news events have focused attention on the increasing possibility of such tampering. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is enhancing its surveillance of foodborne disease and increasing the inspection of domestic and foreign food-processing plants. The food industry is also stepping up safety measures to ensure that its products are produced as safely as possible.
Read how to detect product tampering at home and in the grocery store at:
“Trans” fat is a specific type of fat that is formed when liquid oils are turned into solid fats, such as shortening or stick margarine. During this process — called hydrogenation — hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to increase the shelf life and flavor stability of foods. The result of the process is “trans” fat. How can you know how much “trans” fat a food product contains? As of January 1, 2006, food manufacturers are now required to list the amount of “trans” fat on all product labels.
To learn more about trans fat and how to choose your fats wisely, visit: http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm079609.htm
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:
You’ve seen news reports about FDA tracking down contaminated foods that cause outbreaks, to get those foods off the shelves and keep people from getting sick. But did you know that FDA also has major programs meant to keep food from getting contaminated and causing illness in the first place? You might have heard of some of the ways FDA works to prevent foodborne illness; for example, we inspect food facilities and write food-safety regulations and guidance for the food industry to follow. Another way we help prevent contamination and illness, that you might not have heard of, is called “risk assessment.” In risk assessments, we figure out where the risks of contamination are, in the many steps it takes to get different kinds of foods from the farm to the table. Then we use scientific evidence and calculations to predict what the best ways are of preventing contamination by specific substances in specific foods.
You can read more about how risk assessment works at:
On October 11, 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted positive changes in the school meals programs to promote childrens' health during National School Lunch Week,
October 10-14, 2011. USDA, along with its partners, celebrate the program's accomplishments, including the achievements of HealthierUS School Challenge honorees and the enactment of the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.”
Read this news release:
Remarks by Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs, at the 34th Annual National Food Policy Conference
On October 4, 2011, Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs, delivered remarks at the 34th Annual National Food Policy Conference in Washington, DC.
Read these remarks at:
From the time you take your morning vitamin until you brush your teeth at night, U.S. consumers use many products imported from other countries. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says 40 percent of fresh produce and 80 percent of the active ingredients in medications come into the United States from outside our borders. And that doesn’t count animal feed, medical devices, cosmetics, and other FDA-regulated products that flood the U.S. from abroad. Sometimes these products may contain only one ingredient or component part from another country, while other times the entire product may come from one or many countries. Multilateral organizations are groups of more than two countries banded together to work on specific issues. Participation in these groups offers FDA opportunities to expand reach and increase knowledge.
To read how the FDA is working with three multilateral organizations on projects that aim to improve food safety, as well as the safety of medical products for people and animals, go to:
Federal regulators are testing new technologies to screen products for harmful substances in an effort to improve safety and cut inspection time from days or weeks to minutes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says portable rapid spectroscopic technologies—which analyze the dispersion of an object’s light to determine the object’s chemical or molecular composition—may hold the key to a new era of product-safety screening. These portable devices could significantly cut risks from contamination or counterfeiting of medicines, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and perhaps even foods, says FDA’s Benjamin Westenberger, deputy director of the agency’s Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis.
Read this consumer update: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm274100.htm
On October 3, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released 8 new draft proposals in a report titled "Food and Drug Administration Transparency Initiative: Draft Proposals for Public Comment to Increase Transparency By Promoting Greater Access to the Agency's Compliance and Enforcement Data." These draft proposals are focused on making FDA's compliance and enforcement data more accessible and user-friendly, and they are part of the ongoing efforts to increase the transparency of FDA's operations and decision-making.
To read this News Release in its entirety, go to:
FDA’s updates and consumer safety information on the recalled whole cantaloupes by Jensen Farms can be found at:
Be sure to also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more updates and to learn more about multi-state outbreak of listeriosis at:
If you eat food contaminated with bacteria called “Listeria,” you could get so sick that you have to be hospitalized. And for certain vulnerable people, the illness could be fatal. Unlike most bacteria, “Listeria” germs can grow and spread in the refrigerator. So if you unknowingly refrigerate “Listeria”-contaminated food, the germs could infect the other foods there and increase the likelihood that you and your family will become sick. A multi-state outbreak of listeriosis—the illness caused by “Listeria”—tied to contaminated cantaloupes has caused illnesses and deaths. “Listeria” has also been linked to a variety of ready-to-eat foods. To keep yourself and your family safe, make sure your refrigerator is set at 40 degrees F or less; carefully clean all food preparation surfaces; and wash all fruits and vegetables before eating.
Get more advice on how to keep “Listeria” and other germs at bay at:
In addition to offering your students healthier foods to eat, you can offer healthier drinks. Sugar drinks, also called sugar-sweetened beverages, are the largest source of added sugars in the diets of U.S. youth. Sugar drinks are high in calories—and consuming too many calories leads to obesity. About 55 million children are enrolled in schools across the United States, and many consume meals and snacks there. Students have access to sugar drinks and less healthy foods at school throughout the day from vending machines and school canteens, at fundraising events, school parties, and sporting events. Recent studies show that nearly two thirds of high school students report daily consumption of regular soda (non-diet), sports drinks, and other sugar drinks.
Read about how calories from drinks can really add up and how you have plenty of options for reducing the number of calories in what you drink at:
To learn how schools can improve nutrition and physical activity, visit “Health Youth Nutrition” at:
“Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Associated with Jensen Farms Cantaloupe --- United States, August--September 2011,” MMWR, Volume 60, Number 39
On September 2, 2011, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of seven cases of listeriosis reported since August 28, 2011. On average, Colorado reports two cases of listeriosis annually in August. By September 6, 2011, all seven Colorado patients interviewed with the Listeria Initiative questionnaire reported eating cantaloupe in the month before illness began, and three reported eating cantaloupe marketed as "Rocky Ford."
Every day, the USDA Blog shares something new about USDA’s expansive mission. The blog provides a rich and diverse look at the work within the department, spanning the nation–and even the world–and highlights the breadth of USDA programs and the role they play in the lives of every American.
See what’s happening within the agency and across the department. Go to:
Tune in to podcasts on selecting, handling and preparing meat and poultry products to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. FSIS has released the following new podcast:
- Food Safety At Home:
- “Babies and Food Safety” (English and Spanish) – October 12, 2011
Check out this podcast:
Check out the Spanish version of the podcast:
Visit FSIS’ Food Safety page on YouTube:
For other food safety podcasts:
Videocasts in American Sign Language:
Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced it is hosting a series of webinars to provide guidance on the upcoming rule on nutrition labeling of single ingredient meat and poultry products and ground or chopped meat and poultry products, which will take effect on January 1, 2012. The next webinar of the series will be held on Nov.18 at 2 p.m. ET. Final webinar will be held on December 13, 2012. For questions, contact Kristin Goodwin at
(301) 504-0878 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To access the webinars, follow the on-screen instructions when you log onto:
Pre-Harvest Food Safety for Cattle; Public Meeting—Docket No. FSIS-2011-0023
On October 14, 2011, a notice was issued announcing that the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), are hosting a public meeting to seek input on pre-harvest pathogen control strategies designed to reduce the likelihood that beef will be contaminated with
pathogens of public health concern, such as Shiga toxin- producing “E. coli” and “Salmonella,” during the slaughter process. The public meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 9, 2011,
on-site registration is at 8 a.m., the meeting is 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Read this notice:
FDA, CDC, FSIS, ARS, and CNPP Announce a Joint Public Meeting on Approaches to Reduce Sodium Consumption
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) are announcing a joint Public Meeting entitled, “Approaches to Reducing Sodium Consumption.” The Public Meeting will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the FDA White Oak Campus, The Great Room, Building 31, Room 1503, 10903 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20993. The Public Meeting will inform possible future action by the agencies.
Read this Constituent Update at:
Individuals must register by November 3, 2011. For registration and meeting details, go to: http://events.SignUp4.net/FDA_Sodium_Reduction
FDA is announcing the availability of a guidance for industry, “What You Need to Know About Administrative Detention of Foods,” that provides information pertaining to FDA’s authority to order the administrative detention of food for human or animal consumption under the “Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” (“FD&C Act”), as amended by the “Food Safety Modernization Act” (“FSMA”).
To read this article in its entirety, visit:
This guidance document provides updated information pertaining to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) authority to order the administrative detention of human or animal food under section 304(h) of the “Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” (“FD&C Act”) [21 U.S.C. 334(h)]. Congress originally established this authority in the “Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002” (the “Bioterrorism Act”) and amended it in January 2011 as part of the FDA “Food Safety Modernization Act” (“FSMA”).
To read this guidance document and more, go to:
The FDA “Food Safety Modernization Act” (“FSMA”) enables FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. It recognizes that preventive control standards improve food safety only to the extent that producers and processors comply with them. Therefore, it will be necessary for FDA to provide oversight, ensure compliance with requirements and respond effectively when problems emerge. The “Food Safety Modernization Act” provides FDA with important new tools for inspection and compliance.
Frequently asked questions on Inspection and Compliance as well as specific implementation dates specified in the law are available at:
On October 24, 2011, the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) issued guidance to the food industry on evaluating the safety of flood-affected crops intended for human consumption. Crops can become contaminated when growing fields are flooded because flood waters often contain sewage, chemicals, heavy metals, pathogenic organisms and other contaminants. Growers of crops intended for human consumption are responsible for determining the safety of their crops when fields have been flooded. The new guidance will help growers make this determination by providing direction for assessing the safety of food crops when flood waters have contacted the edible portions of crops, and when they have not.
Read this Constituent Update at:
FDA Guidance for Industry: “Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption” can be found at:
FDA Requests Comments for Risk Assessment on Norovirus in Bivalve Molluscan Shellfish
The FDA is undertaking a collaboration with Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Environment Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, to conduct a quantitative risk assessment on norovirus in bivalve molluscan shellfish. The risk assessment will focus on contamination of oysters, clams and mussels during growth, harvest, and post-harvest processing and will examine the impact of preventive practices and controls on the level of risk. FDA, on behalf of the collaborative team, is requesting comments, scientific data and information that would assist in the development of the risk assessment. The deadline for electronic or written submission of comments, scientific data, or information is January 18, 2012.
For more information, visit:
For instructions and contact information, please consult Federal Register Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0731 at:
FSIS Makes Method Revisions to Detect Non-O157 Shiga-toxin producing “E. coli”
FSIS is revising its detection methods in the FSIS Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook, “Detection and Isolation of Non-O157 Shiga-Toxin Producing ‘Escherichia coli’ Strains (STEC) from Meat Products,” to expand laboratory testing for the detection of additional strains of the six targeted serogroups.While FSIS will post the new methods on the website, the most significant changes will be the modification of the media used to grow the bacteria and a new set of primers and probes. The effective date for the new procedures will be early November of 2011.
Preparation instructions will be available at:
On September 30, 2011, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Marshals seized food products held at the food storage and processing facility of Dominguez Foods of Washington, Inc., in Zillah, WA. The seized products had been subject to a detention order issued by FDA on September 2, 2011, following an FDA inspection of the facility that found evidence of widespread and active rodent and insect infestation in the facility’s warehouse and processing area. In a complaint filed September 29, 2011, the United States alleged that the detained food was adulterated under the “Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” (“FFDCA”) due to the conditions in the warehouse documented during FDA’s inspection. The complaint asked the Court to issue a warrant of arrest for the products, which directed the U.S. Marshals to seize the products, and requested that the Court condemn and forfeit the food to the United States. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington issued a warrant of arrest for the products the same day.
More information about the FDA inspection of the Washington state facility can be found at:
FSIS issues Notices and Directives to protect public health. The following policy updates were recently issued:
- Directive 8010.3 - Revision 3, Procedures for Evidence Collection, Safeguarding and Disposal.
- FSIS Directive 5100.3, Revision 2: “Administrative Enforcement Reporting System”
- FSIS Directive 5500.2, Revision 5. “Significant Incident Response”
- FSIS Directive 7120.1, Update: “Safe and Suitable Ingredient Used in the Production of Meat and Poultry and Egg Products”
All Notices and Directives are available at: