EdNet - September 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
Resources for Educators
- USDA Highlights MyPlate: Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables
- FDA Confirms “Listeria monocytogenes” on Jensen Farms’ Rocky Ford-brand Cantaloupes
- FSIS Announces Strategic Plan for FY 2011-2016
- USDA Takes New Steps to Fight “E. Coli,” Protect the Food Supply
- FDA Seeks Public Comment on Approaches to Reducing Sodium Consumption
- Statement by Ted Elkin, Director, Office of Food Defense, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, on “Agro-Defense: Responding to Threats Against America's Agriculture and Food System”
- CFSAN News for Educators: Food Safety for Back-to-School
- FDA Establishes Foodborne Illness Outbreak Response Network
- FDA: Apple Juice is Safe to Drink
- Questions & Answers: Apple Juice and Arsenic
- Letter from FDA to The Dr. Oz Show Regarding Apple Juice and Arsenic (09/09/2011)
- FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis
- FDA Consumer Health Information -- Kids 'n Fiber Video
- USDA: "Referee a Safe Tailgate Party"
- FDA: Pilot Projects to Enhance Ability to Trace Sources of Foodborne Illness
- Consumers Urged to “Cook It Safe” When Preparing Convenience Foods (USDA)
- FDA: Import Alerts Guard Against Unsafe Products
- FDA Goal: Quickly Tracing Tainted Foods
- New Podcasts (FSIS)
- “Amber Waves Magazine,” September 2011
Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops
- USDA to Hold Public Meeting to Address Agenda Items for the 19th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems
- USDA Announces Webinars for Nutritional Labeling
- National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection to Meet on Pre-harvest Measures
- National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods to Hold Public Meetings
- Improving FDA’s Efforts to Achieve an Integrated Food Safety System and Implement FSMA
- FDA: Minnesota Companies Agree to Halt Sale of Amino-acid Products with Unapproved Claims
- Jeff Farrar, DVM, MPH, PhD, Associate Commissioner for Food Protection FDA Office of Foods Issued Letter toThe Packer
- FSIS Policy Updates
Advisories, Alerts, and Warnings
The FDA is warning consumers not to eat tapenade or spreadable dried tomato paste manufactured by the French food company La Ruche. French health authorities have reported an outbreak of botulism in France linked to the company’s products sold under the brand names “Les délices de Marie-Claire,” “Terre de Mistral” and Les Secrets d’Anaïs.” Eight adults are currently suffering from respiratory failure as a result of eating foods containing the neurotoxin produced by “Clostridium botulinum.” French authorities have ordered production halted at the company’s facility in France and have directed that all products sold under those brand names be recalled. Products of the brands noted above are considered a severe threat to public health and should not be eaten. If consumers purchased any of these products, either while traveling in France or online, throw them away. If consumers have recently eaten any of these products and have symptoms of botulism, see your healthcare provider immediately.
To read this FDA News Release, go to:
On September 26, 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined local leaders and nutrition advocates to encourage Americans to 'Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables,' the first themed message supporting the new MyPlate food icon. Vilsack also announced that support for MyPlate reached a historic milestone with more than 4,000 organizations joining the MyPlate Nutrition Communicators Network – double the number of partners announced in July. Vilsack urged partners across the nation to keep the enthusiasm and momentum going by participating in the MyPlate Fruits and Veggies Video Challenge. USDA is encouraging all individuals and teams to submit inspiring and instructive videos that provide innovative, easy, and practical tips on how to 'Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables.'
Read the entire news release:
FDA Confirms “Listeria monocytogenes” on Jensen Farms’ Rocky Ford-brand Cantaloupes
On September 19, 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it found ”Listeria monocytogenes” in samples of Jensen Farms’ Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupe taken from a Denver-area store and on samples taken from equipment and cantaloupe at the Jensen Farms’ packing facility. Tests confirmed that the “Listeria monocytogenes” found in the samples matches one of the three different strains of “Listeria monocytogenes” associated with the multi-state outbreak of listeriosis. Jensen Farms recalled its Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes on September 14, 2011, in response to the multi-state outbreak of listeriosis. Cantaloupes from other farms in Colorado, including farms in the Rocky Ford growing area, have not been linked to this outbreak. To date, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention reports that 35 people in 10 states, including four deaths, have been infected with the outbreak strains of “Listeria monocytogenes.”
For detailed information about the recalled cantaloupes, visit:
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service released its 5-year strategic plan which outlines goals aimed to prevent foodborne illness and protect public health. This long-range plan provides the American public, food safety stakeholders and FSIS employees with clear goals and specific actions to protect public health.
To read the strategic plan, go to:
On September 13, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it is taking new steps to fight “E. coli” and protect the safety of the American food supply. Six additional serogroups of pathogenic “E. coli” will be declared adulterants in non-intact raw beef. Raw ground beef, its components, and tenderized steaks found to contain these bacteria will be prohibited from sale to consumers. USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will launch a testing program to detect these dangerous pathogens and prevent them from reaching consumers.
Read this announcement:
On September 13, 2011, the FDA, with several key initial partners, launched Million Hearts, an initiative that aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. As one component of this initiative, the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are launching efforts to identify opportunities to reduce sodium in food in order to put more control into consumers' hands. As a first step, FDA and FSIS have announced the establishment of dockets to obtain comments, data, and evidence relevant to the dietary intake of sodium as well as current and emerging approaches designed to promote sodium reduction.
Read more of this Constituent Update at:
Statement by Ted Elkin, Director, Office of Food Defense, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, on “Agro-Defense: Responding to Threats Against America's Agriculture and Food System”
On September 13, 2011, Ted Elkin, Director, Office of Food Defense, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia U.S. Senate regarding “Agro-Defense: Responding to Threats Against America's Agriculture and Food System”
Read the entire statement at:
September is National Food Safety Education Month. As an educator, it's an ideal time for you to reinforce safe food handling and preparation practices. 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year — and children are among those who are especially at risk.
To read about the Four Steps to Food Safety and more, go to:
Food Safety Month is also a great time to integrate this important topic into the science classroom. Online resources for middle and/or high school students can be found at:
On September 14, 2011, the FDA announced a streamlined, integrated approach to effectively and rapidly respond to human and animal foodborne illness outbreaks: the FDA Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network. The CORE Network is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of epidemiologists, veterinarians, microbiologists, environmental health specialists, emergency coordinators, and risk communications specialists. Working full-time on outbreak prevention and response at headquarters, the CORE is complemented by trained, experienced investigators in FDA field offices nationwide. CORE will coordinate closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and state public health and agriculture agencies in human and animal foodborne illness outbreaks.
To read this FDA Press Announcement in its entirety, visit:
Arsenic and apple juice. Not words you like to see in the same sentence. There has been publicity recently over the amount of arsenic in the apple juice that many children drink. But the Food and Drug Administration has every confidence in the safety of apple juice.
Donald Zink, Ph.D, senior science advisor at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), explains that arsenic is present in the environment as a naturally occurring substance or as a result of contamination from human activity. It is found in water, air, food, and soil in organic and inorganic forms.
Read this Consumer Update at:
Questions and answers about apple juice and arsenic can be found on FDA’s website at:
To view the letter from the FDA to the Dr. Oz Show regarding apple juice and arsenic, visit:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health agencies to investigate a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis. At least 15 people infected with the outbreak strain of “Listeria monocytogenes” have been reported in Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. State and local public health officials have interviewed most of the patients and discovered that the majority of them consumed whole cantaloupes, most likely marketed from the Rocky Ford growing region of Colorado.
FDA investigators along with state health officials are working quickly to determine where in the supply chain the contamination most likely occurred and where potentially contaminated product may have been distributed. Both FDA and state public health officials have collected product and environmental samples.
For more information, go to:
Getting kids to eat the fiber they need can be a challenge. Join FDA dietitian, nutritionist, and mom Shirley Blakely—and a group of hungry kids—in a kitchen for some good-tasting high fiber foods.
To view this Consumer Update video, visit:
On September 9, 2011, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a news release titled “Referee a Safe Tailgate Party.” When it comes to football, defense matters. When it comes to planning a tailgate party, a good defense against foodborne illness matters even more. "This year, we're urging fans to follow the food safety play book at the tailgate parties they host," said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. "Large gatherings can increase the chance of becoming ill, but by following these rules, all fans can enjoy the game and their food, safely."
Read this news release:
On September 7, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced two new pilot projects that will enhance both the Agency’s and industry’s ability to trace products responsible for foodborne illness outbreaks. The “Food Safety Modernization Act” requires the FDA to establish at least two pilot projects: one involving produce and one involving processed foods. Signed into law in January, “FSMA” also directs the FDA to establish recordkeeping requirements for high-risk foods to help in tracing products.
Read more of this Constituent Update at:
FDA: Pilot Projects to Explore Ways to Trace Sources of Foodborne Illness can be found at:
On September 1, 2011,the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that, beginning in September, it will partner with the International Food Information Council (IFIC), the Food and Drug Administration, the Partnership for Food Safety Education, and organizations representing the frozen food and home appliance industries to raise awareness about the need to follow package instructions in order to fully cook pre-prepared foods and prevent foodborne illness.
Read this news release:
Keeping unsafe foods, drugs, devices and other products from reaching consumers is the Food and Drug Administration’s mission. Among the prevention measures used by FDA is the issuance of import alerts to keep potentially dangerous products from other countries out of the U.S. marketplace. More responsibility is being placed on importers to verify that the products they import are not contaminated.
For detailed information about import alerts, visit:
In the past five years, consumers have faced widespread outbreaks of foodborne illnesses tied to foods—such as spinach, peanut butter and eggs—that are staples of the American diet. The Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to prevent or shorten these outbreaks by developing the tools needed to rapidly track down foods that may be contaminated.
This Consumer Update can be found at:
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 podcasts in Spanish:
- Food Safety At Home:
- “Microwaving Convenience Foods Safely” (English, Spanish, and ASL) – September 14
- “Wattage Important to Safe Cooking” (English, Spanish and ASL) -- September 7
Check out these podcasts at:
Visit FSIS’ Food Safety page on YouTube:
For other food safety podcasts:
Videocasts in American Sign Language:
The September 2011 issue of the "Amber Waves Magazine" from USDA's Economic Research Service is now available
USDA to Hold Public Meeting to Address Agenda Items for the 19th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems
On September 27, 2011, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced it is holding a public meeting to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items, as well as to draft U.S. positions to be discussed at the 19th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS). The CCFICS will meet in Cairns, Australia from October 17 through November 21, 2011. The FSIS public meeting will be held on October 4, 2011, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the South Building at the Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 1160-S, Washington, D.C. 20520.
For more information, visit the FSIS website at:
Documents and agenda items related to the 19th Session of the CCFICS will be accessible at the Codex website at:
FSIS 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 second webinar of the series will be held on October 12 at 2 p.m. ET. Subsequent webinars will be held November 8 and December 13.
To access the webinars, log onto
and follow the on-screen instructions. For questions, contact Kristin Goodwin at (301) 504-0878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On September 15, 2011, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced a two-day public meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) to review and discuss agency pre-harvest and validation performance measures.
Read this news release:
On September 12, 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) is holding public meetings on September 27 through 30, 2011.
Read this announcement for more details:
Building an integrated national food safety system has long been a foundational element of FDA’s strategy for carrying out an effective and efficient food safety program. It is also one of the key mandates of the new FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Such a system is premised on building full strategic and operational partnerships with state and local food safety agencies – an effort in which FDA has been engaged for the last decade through the Partnership for Food Protection and other initiatives. FDA now faces several imperatives to take this effort to a higher level.
These imperatives that the FDA now faces to take this effort to a higher level and more can be found at:
On September 14, 2011, the FDA announced that two Minnesota companies have agreed to halt distribution of amino-acid products marketed to treat a number of diseases, until requirements of the “Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” are met. West Duluth Distribution Co., a corporation doing business as CHK Nutrition, and NeuroResearch Clinics Inc., both of Duluth, MN, and their owners or principals, signed a consent decree of permanent injunction, which was entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota on September 13, 2011. The complaint for permanent injunction alleges that the companies violated the “Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.” As alleged in the complaint, CHK Nutrition’s amino-acid products are marketed with claims that they may cure, mitigate, or treat diseases. The products are not the subject of approved new drug applications nor do they qualify for exemption from the premarket approval process as investigational new drugs. Therefore, the amino-acid products are unapproved new drugs within the meaning of the “Act.”
To read news release in its entirety, go to:
Jeff Farrar, DVM, MPH, PhD, Associate Commissioner for Food Protection FDA Office of Foods Issued Letter toThe Packer
On August 30, 2011, Jeff Farrar, DVM, MPH, PhD, Associate Commissioner for Food Protection FDA Office of Foods Issued a letter to “The Packer” regarding recently announced FDA fee schedule under the FDA “Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011” (“FSMA”).
Read this letter at:
FSIS issues Notices and Directives to protect public health. The following policy updates were recently issued:
- FSIS Notice 54-11: “Verification Activities for the Use and Labeling of Ingredients of Public Health Concern”
- FSIS Notice 53-11: “In-Commerce Surveillance Priorities”
- FSIS Notice 52-11: “Nationwide Raw Liquid Egg Microbiological Baseline Survey Shakedown”
- FSIS Notice 49-11: “Discontinuation of E. coli O157:H7 Testing in Certain Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Products”
- FSIS Notice 48-11: “Assessment of the Hazards Associated with Pork Barbecue with Vinegar and Pepper-Based Sauce”
All Notices and Directives are available at: