Food Safety Scan for Jun 06, 2013

Berry-linked hepatitis
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Canada beef recall probe
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Berry-linked hepatitis A outbreak grows to 61 cases

The hepatitis A outbreak linked to consumption of a frozen berry mix distributed by Oregon company Townsend Farms affected 61 people as of Jun 5, 12 more than reported in an update Jun 4, says a notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted today. Affected patients come from seven states; there have been no deaths.

Based on epidemiologic investigation of 30 cases, 11 patients have required hospitalization, ages range from 2 to 71 years, and illness-onset dates range from Apr 29 to May 27. Twenty-two of the 30 patients purchased the product, Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, at Costco stores (Harris Teeter stores also sell the product).

Certain lots of the product have been vountarily recalled, and Costco has removed the product from stores and notified members who bought the product in late February or later.
Jun 6 CDC update

Report: Lax oversight played key role in 2012 Canadian beef recall

An independent panel that examined what led to a massive recall in 2012 of beef produced by Canada's XL Foods Inc. unveiled its findings yesterday, concluding that relaxed attitudes in applying mandatory food safety procedures by the company and by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) played a critical role in the event.

The recall of beef from the Brooks, Alberta, processor was Canada's largest, and contaminated products were linked to 18 Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections in Canada. The panel also found that the company was unprepared to handle the recall and found itself overwhelmed.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a press statement yesterday that the government accepts the panel's recommendations and is taking steps to ensure future food safety. He announced that the government is investing nearly $16 million over the next 3 years to establish inspection verification teams to monitor Canada's entire food safety inspection system.

In a separate statement, the CFIA said the report outlines several recommendations related to regulatory oversight, surveillance and analysis, incident management, and communications. The CFIA said that it, Health Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada will work together to address the recommendations, which closely align with a Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan, announced on May 17.
Jun 5 independent review of Canada's XL Beef recall
Jun 5 CFIA statement on Ritz comments
Jun 5 CFIA press release

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