Category: Outbreaks

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The Egg Salmonella Sentencing: An Exercise in Imagination

Indulge me for just a moment in an exercise in whimsy. Except as will be expressly described below, any resemblance to real persons or substances, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Imagine if you will that in the processing of a particular foodstuff, unless care is taken during certain steps, the foodstuff will provide the … Continue Reading

Raw Milk Redux (and Ken Redux for an Instant)

Our former colleague and still good friend Ken Odza was in our offices last week; I was in a meeting and just had the chance to say hello.  By pure coincidence, one of Ken’s favorite topics was in the news this week. Ken had written two big pieces on raw milk for this blog, which … Continue Reading

Arsenic in Apple Juice: Strong Poison or Much Ado About Nothing?

It’s the battle of the network talking heads, M.D. division.  In this corner, Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the Dr. Oz Show on FOX, and former Oprah Winfrey contributor.  In the other corner, Dr. Richard Besser, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and now chief health and medical director of ABC News.  The issue:  … Continue Reading

Japan to World: Remember Me?

Way before Hurricane Irene, the earthquake in Richmond, the liberation of Libya, the death of Osama bin-Laden, the liberation of Egypt . . . way back in the mists of time, or, to be specific, March 11, 2011, there was an earthquake in Japan, and damage to nuclear power facilities that affected the safety of Japan’s food … Continue Reading

FDA’s Right To Photograph In Your Plant

The FDA asserts in its inspection manual its right to photograph in your plant. Yet the FDA does not have statutory authority to photograph. The manual cites the following cases as authority for its right to photograph the inside of a plant: Dow Chem. Co. v. United States, 476 U.S. 227 (1986), and United States … Continue Reading

3 New Ways FDA Will Access Your Records and 5 Things You Can Do About It

The Food Safety Modernization Act ("FSMA") significantly expands the FDA’s ability to access a food company’s records. The expanded authority is found in three places in the statute: FSMA § 101 amends 31 USC § 350c(a) and allows the FDA to obtain records related not only to a product that the FDA believes "will cause … Continue Reading

Food Companies Should Revisit Insurance Program and Other Risk Management in Light of Emerging Massive European Union E. coli Outbreak

The E. coli outbreak unraveling now in the European Union, centered primarily in Germany, is setting new records for both the number of affected persons and the number of persons diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a serious complication from E. coli infection (HUS can lead to kidney failure, brain damage and death). As of … Continue Reading

UK Foot-and-mouth Disease Study: Impacts for the Future, Not the Past

A May 6 study in Science with the banal title of “Relationship Between Clinical Signs and Transmission of an Infectious Disease and the Implications for Control,” written by a number of scientists at the Institute for Animal Health in Surrey and the Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution at the University of Edinburgh, has garnered a … Continue Reading

FDA’s Reportable Food Registry Makes a Profound Impact

Here is a link to my article, "FDA’s Reportable Food Registry Profoundly Impacts Litigation and the Food Industry," posted this week by the American Bar Association‘s Litigation Section (Products Liability). The article is a follow-on to lively discussions over the litigation impacts of the federal Reportable Food Registry ("RFR") at the ABA’s recent Food & … Continue Reading

An Update on Japan from the Perishable Pundit

This really relates to the food situation generally as a result of the earthquake and tsunami, but it was so comprehensive and well-written about the food supply situation it seemed worth linking to.  And making a donation to Second Harvest Japan. … Continue Reading

The Japanese Nuclear Incident and Food Safety

We’ve been somewhat reluctant to post anything about this, mainly because the facts seem to change daily.  But today I found a very good website from WHO, the World Health Organization, Western Pacific Region, that is updated frequently and has a lot of good information that appears to be presented reasonably.  I was particularly impressed … Continue Reading

How Regulatory Changes Affect Litigation Risks

On February 24, 2011, Lee Smith and I presented "How Regulatory Changes Affect Litigation Risks" to the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s food litigation conference. A link to the slide-deck can be found here. We discussed ways that the Reportable Food Registry (RFR) and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) are affecting litigation now and can be … Continue Reading

Beyond Statistics: What the FDA’s RFR Report Means for Food Manufacturers

Last week, the FDA issued its first annual report on the Reportable Food Registry (RFR). The report provides statistics on the first year of the RFR (2240 entries, 229 "primary reports," a breakdown of the report by hazards, etc.). Beyond the statistics, the FDA report should be noted by food companies for two reasons: Food … Continue Reading

It’s Official: The Food Safety Modernization Act Is Law. What Food Companies Need to Do Right Now

President Obama signed into law today the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Companies with facilities subject to FDA jurisdiction should  take immediate steps to review and, where necessary, modify SOPs, policies and procedures. For example, given the FDA’s expanded access to business records, companies should set SOPs that anticipate (before a crisis occurs) what records they may … Continue Reading

The Sally Jackson Cheese Recall: the Last Purely Voluntary Recall?

There are few places in the United States that have less in common than Oroville, Washington and Washington, D.C. Tucked against the Canadian border in the peaceful and beautiful Okanagan Valley, Oroville is easier to reach from Kelowna, B.C. than from Seattle. Yet events in Oroville last Friday combined with the unusual events in the other Washington … Continue Reading

Food Safety Tools and Defenses for Cheesemakers

Cheesemakers have endured a string of bad publicity recently over food safety. Cheesemakers, especially raw milk cheesemakers, are in the cross hairs of the FDA, the media, retailers and plaintiffs’ lawyers such as Bill Marler. I was interviewed last week on FDA seizure issues by the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project. Click here for the PowerPoint … Continue Reading

Multiple Occurrences in a Single E.Coli Outbreak: Double-Edged Sword for Insureds?

Marler Clark clients and the owners of the restaurant that sold MarlerClark’s clients food they claim was contaminated with E.coli O111 joined forces against the restaurant’s insurer. In the end, the peronsal injury plaintiffs and the restaurant insured convinced the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma  on a Rule 56 summary judgment motion that a … Continue Reading

Listeria Recall Toolkit

The FDA recently took the relatively unusual step of obtaining a court-issued warrant to seize all cheese products at Estrella Family Creamery, a small, family-owned artisan cheese maker in Washington State. According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, "the FDA asked Estrella to recall all cheese products. The company … Continue Reading

The Great Egg Recall of 2010: Another Review of Lessons Already Taught

You have probably heard about the great egg recall of 2010, which has required Wright County Eggs of Galt, Iowa to recall an ever-growing number of shell eggs because of fears of salmonella enteriditis.  An interesting issue here is the non-overlapping jurisdiction of USDA and FDA over eggs in the shell.  According to the FDA: … Continue Reading

Jim Prevor’s Traceability Answers

We recently asked for comments on Jim Prevor’s story about traceability.  While there was a loud silence in our comments in box (still happy to take them), today we got a long response from Jim himself in his latest Perishable Pundit.  I commend it to you.  And feel free to comment to Jim directly or, … Continue Reading

A Traceability Story: Request for Comments

Jim Prevor has an intriguing story in one of his latest Perishable Pundits, updated here and here, that frankly has me wondering.  According to Jim, Freshway Foods discovered E.Coil 0145 in some romaine and, using tracking numbers, was able to trace it to a specific lot supplied by a grower in Yuma, Arizona.  It then … Continue Reading

The Great HVP Recall of 2010: A Review of Lessons Already Taught

As Ken noted last week, there has been a widespread recall of products containing hydrolized vegetable protein (HVP), a flavor enhancer, after salmonella Tennessee was discovered in product manufactured by Basic Food Flavors of North Las Vegas, Nevada.  Consumers, who may have been unaware of the existence of HVP, are starting to learn how pervasive … Continue Reading

Where to Eat in Dodgy Places: Advice from a Real World Traveller

Joel Putnam is a world traveller in his early 20’s.  He recently reached Africa, his seventh continent in his travels around the world.  As is typical of  his generation (he is, in the interests of full disclosure, a friend of my son), he is blogging about it.  His blog is very well-written, and the captions … Continue Reading
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