Tag Archives: food safety

Listeria – Safeguarding Food Operation

Listeria – Safeguarding Your Food Operation


The following webinar is presented by Dr. Bob Strong, instructor for SAI Global, and a driving force in food safety operations in the area of GMP – Good Manufacturing Practices.

SAI Global Webinar on guarding you food operations from listeria.

Listeria Monocytogens

This is a genus of bacteria that, until 1992, contained 10 known species, each containing two subspecies. As of 2014, another five species were identified.

This bacteria is incredibly difficult to track: When people eat food that’s tainted by Listeria, the incubation period varies from 3 to 70 days.

Listeria is the name of a bacteria found in soil and water and some animals, including poultry and cattle. It can be present in raw milk and foods made from raw milk. It can also live in food processing plants and contaminate a variety of processed meats.

Listeria is unique among many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator. It can be killed by cooking and pasteurization.

Listeria Sources
Ready-to-eat deli meats and hot dogs
Refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads
Unpasteurized (raw) milk and dairy products
Soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk, such as queso fresco, Feta, Brie, Camembert
Refrigerated smoked seafood
Raw sprouts

Symptoms of Infection
Fever, stiff neck, confusion, weakness, vomiting, sometimes preceded by diarrhea.

If you are very ill with fever or stiff neck, consult your doctor immediately. Antibiotics given promptly can cure the infection and, in pregnant women, can prevent infection of the fetus.

Preventing Listeria Infection

Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk, and do not eat foods that have unpasteurized milk in them.

Wash hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.

Rinse raw produce thoroughly under running tap water before eating.

Keep uncooked meats, poultry, and seafood separate from vegetables, fruits, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods.

Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as meat, poultry, or seafood to a safe internal temperature.

Consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.

Persons in higher risk groups should heat hot dogs, cold cuts, and deli meats before eating them.

CDC Definition and consideration

USDA Information about this


The Ten Foods Most Likely to Make You Sick


Can eating a salad make you sick? Believe it or not, salad greens are at the top of the list of America’s riskiest foods.

Examine the statistics: Leafy greens cause a full 30 percent of the estimated 76 million food-borne illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

The Washington-based Centers for Science in the Public Interest tracked data from 1990 and 2006 and revealed which foods caused the most food-poisoning outbreaks during that period:

1. Leafy greens, 363 outbreaks. Greens were found to contain various pathogens, including E. coli, norovirus and salmonella. They often can become contaminated during harvesting or during the pre-washing process for bagged lettuce.

2. Eggs, 325 outbreaks. Most of these outbreaks were from salmonella due to improper handling and cooking. Restaurants were the worst offenders, serving eggs too raw or leaving them too long on buffet tables.

3. Tuna, 268 outbreaks. The primary culprit is something called Scombroid poisoning, a toxin released when fresh fish is stored above 60 degrees F. It can cause headaches, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, palpitations and loss of vision.

4. Oysters, 132 outbreaks. Norovirus is common in tainted oysters and usually comes from the waters in which these delicacies are harvested. A bacterium called Vibrio is also present in oysters, and it can infect the bloodstream and be life-threatening.

5. Potatoes, 108 outbreaks. Outbreaks occur most frequently from contaminated or improperly refrigerated potato salad. The most common causes of potato-linked illnesses are E. coli and salmonella.

6. Cheese, 83 outbreaks. Salmonella is the most common cheese hazard. Although most cheese is made with pasteurized milk, California officials have warned that many Latin-American-style cheeses may be made by unlicensed manufacturers using milk that could contain harmful bacteria. Pregnant women should be cautious about eating soft cheeses like Brie or Camembert, which can carry Listeria. Listeria can cause miscarriage, say experts.

7. Ice cream, 75 outbreaks. Salmonella and staphylococcus, most often from raw eggs in homemade ice creams, were the biggest threat.

8. Tomatoes, 31 outbreaks. Tomatoes were implicated in four multistate outbreaks of salmonella. Restaurants were responsible for 70 percent of tomato-related illnesses.

9. Sprouts, 31 outbreaks. Sprout seeds can become contaminated with salmonella or E. Coli during storage. Because sprouts pose a contamination hazard, the FDA recommends that people with compromised immune systems, the elderly and the very young do not consume raw sprouts.

10. Berries, 25 outbreaks. Berries can be contaminated with hepatitis A or Cyclospora. In 1997 more than 2.6 million pounds of contaminated strawberries were recalled across several states when students became ill with hepatitis A, possibly from an infected farm worker.

Dr. Ellen Kamhi, author of The Natural Medicine Chest, tells Newsmax Health that even the most careful eaters can get food poisoning.

“My advice is to make sure your digestive system is in order because that’s where 70 percent of your immune system is stored,” she says. “Take a probiotic supplement daily to help you ward off food poisoning if you get it. Studies have shown that this can reduce the severity and symptoms.”

Dr. Kamhi also suggests thoroughly washing produce, even if it’s labeled “prewashed” on the package.

The Mayo Clinic offers these tips:

Wash hands, utensils and food surfaces thoroughly.
Keep raw foods separate from cooked food.
Cook foods to a safe temperature to kill bacteria—between 146 and 165 degrees F.
Keep foods hot or refrigerated until serving.
Defrost foods safely in the refrigerator—not at room temperature.
When in doubt, throw it out. If you aren’t sure a food has been prepared, served or stored safely, discard it.

Desk and Pens Need Cleaned and Sanitized Also

I read a recent study that the office desk in a kitchen contained 21,000 germs per inch and a seat in the restroom contained only 49 germs per squarre inch. How can this be?

Article on germs on desks and toilet seats.

Everything in the kitchen is cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis (hopefully). But when was the last time you cleaned your pen? Never, right? each time you grab it, you add germs to it which multiply, multiply, and multiply. Then when you grab it with a clean hand, you hand now has those germs on it again. You may wipe your desk top off, but when was the last time it was cleaned and sanitized like everything else in the kitchen. What about your cliip board?

Add your pens, desk, clipboard, and other things you touch on a regular basis to the list of things needing cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis.

Preventing Food Borne Illness Remains Illusive

chicken legs

Americans enjoy one of the world’s safest food and water supplies, in part due to a host of products of chemistry, from simple disinfectants such as chlorine and soap to modified atmosphere packaging.

But while dreadful diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera and tuberculosis have been virtually eliminated in the United States, there are 76 million cases of food borne illness here every year, leading to untold billions in costs, unnecessary suffering and nearly 5,000 deaths. Eradication of food borne diseases remains elusive. Disease causing microbes and pathogens are the primary culprit. That’s where chemistry can help, from farm to table.

Innovations in Food Safety

Food growers use chemical compounds to eradicate a plethora of disease carrying pests that compete for our food supply.

Chlorine disinfectants used in industrial food production penetrate the germ cell walls and membranes, bursting open the germs and leaving them unable to reproduce.

To identify disease causing “bugs” before they reach store shelves and our homes, the business of chemistry has created a DNA-based diagnosis to detect contamination in raw ingredients and finished foods. This Nobel Prize winning technology has become standard in the United States and much of the world to improve food safety.

Plastic packaging plays a major role in protecting fresh, processed and prepared food, as a trip down the grocery aisle can attest. Plastics’ unique properties allow food to remain sealed against air and grime, helping to prevent tampering while extending shelf life. Foods packaged in a modified gaseous atmosphere (replacing air with nitrogen and carbon dioxide, for example) resist mold and spoilage caused by microbes.

Modern refrigeration is made possible by plastics (insulation, liners, hoses, seals, etc.) and chemical refrigerants.

The World Health Organization estimates that diseases associated with dirty water kill at least 6,000 people every day. The most effective weapon against waterborne bacteria and viruses is chlorine chemistry, so water treatment facilities across the world rely on this basic element to clean and disinfect drinking water.

Our military makes extensive use of chemistry for its MREs (meals ready to eat)—they cook themselves through a chemical reaction, withstand extreme temperatures and are designed to last three years without spoiling, made possible by layers of resilient plastics.

Policies to Ensure Chemical Safety

Promoting the safe use of the essential products of chemistry is a shared responsibility of manufacturers, the government and those who use or sell chemical products. Manufacturers and government must work together to:

Develop, implement and comply with sound regulations so chemicals are safe for intended use.

Enhance scientific understanding of chemical safety.

Produce publicly accessible safety information.

Americans must feel confident that the federal regulatory system is keeping pace with the applications of chemistry. Our nation’s primary chemicals management law must be updated to adapt to scientific advancements and to promote that chemical products are safe for intended use—while also encouraging innovation and protecting American jobs.

The Four Types of Food Poisionings


Food poisoning can be classified as to the area where the infection occurs.

Type 1 Poisons (toxins) produced in the food
Short incubation periods.
Staphylococcus Aureus – or staph, found in open wounds and sinus infections.
Bacillus Cereus – “Fried Rice Syndrome” caused by improperly cooked or refrigerated items.
Botulism – an anaerobic (no air), bacteria caused by improper canning.

Type 2 Poisons (toxins), released in the intestines.
Clostridium Perfringens – a bacteria found in all of nature. In plants, animals, humans, air, and soil. When the thing – plant, animal, or human dies, it grows rapidly and decomposed the plant or animal. The smell of decaying vegetation and dead animals is caused by the gas produced by C Perfingens doing its natural job. This is why anything left out for over three hours has to be thrown away. There is no fixing it because the toxins it produces can not be killed.

Type 3 Infections in the intestines.
Salmonella – most common food poisioning. Naturally occuring in poultry, eggs, and all meats. If not cooked to the proper temperature, it will survive. Only a thermometer can tell you when something is done.
Campylobacter – (meaning “twisted bacteria”),Campylobacter jejuni is now recognized as one of the main causes of bacterial foodborne disease in many developed countries.At least a dozen species of Campylobacter have been implicated in human disease, with C. jejuni and C. coli the most common.C. fetus is a cause of spontaneous abortions in cattle and sheep, as well as an opportunistic pathogen in humans.

Type 4 Infections in the blood and body.
Of the over two thousand strains of Salmonella, at least three have the capability to leave the intestines and enter the blood stream. Salmonella Typhi caused Typhoid Fever, for example.