News Scan for Oct 25, 2013

Animal food safety
Hepatitis A exposure at churches

FDA proposes FSMA rule on safety of animal food

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued a proposed rule under the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for improving the safety of food for animals. The proposed rule is open for public comment for 120 days, the agency said in a press release.

The rule would require producers of animal feed and pet food to develop formal plans and establish procedures to prevent foodborne illness in both animals and people. They would also need plans for correcting any problems that might arise.

"The proposed rule would also require animal food facilities to, for the first time, follow proposed current good manufacturing practices that address areas such as sanitation," the FDA said in the release.

"This proposed rule on animal food complements proposed rules published in January 2013 for produce safety and facilities that manufacture food for humans to set modern, prevention-based standards for food safety," said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael R. Taylor, JD. "They also work in concert with standards proposed in July 2013 to help ensure that imported foods are as safe as those produced domestically."

The FDA will hold three public meetings on the rule:

  • Nov 21 at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, Md.
  • Nov 25 at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building, Chicago
  • Dec 6 at the John E. Moss Federal Building, Sacramento, Calif.

Oct 25 FDA press release


North Dakota warns of possible church hepatitis A exposure

A Catholic bishop in North Dakota who has hepatitis A may have inadvertently exposed hundreds of people to the virus at three masses and a priest convention in late September and early October, according to the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDH) and an Associated Press (AP) report.

The NDPH said in a statement yesterday that people who received communion at the four events in Fargo and Jamestown might have been exposed to the virus. The AP story said Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo, who attended the masses and convention, contracted hepatitis from contaminated food while attending a conference in Italy in September.

"The risk of people getting hepatitis A in this situation is low, but the Department of Health felt it was important for people to know about the possible exposure," NDDH Immunization Program Manager Molly Howell said in the statement. She said those who received communion at the events should be tested for hepatitis A only if they have symptoms.

A diocesan spokeswoman said Folda has been taking time off work since Oct 10 because of his illness and has improved greatly, according to the AP story.

The NDDH statement noted that hepatitis A is found in the stool of infected persons and can spread when people do not wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing a diaper or soiled sheets. An infected person is most likely to spread the virus during the first 2 weeks before symptoms begin, it said.
Oct 24 NDDH statement
Oct 25 AP story

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