food safety

Inspector general slams FDA handling of infant formula recall

The FDA lacked or had inadequate policies in place to identify risks to the infant formula supply chain when it received complaints about production at a plant in Sturgis, Michigan, said an inspector general’s report on Thursday. Months passed before the FDA warned consumers in February 2022 not to use some of the products made at the Abbott Laboratories plant, leading to a formula shortage.

Block sales of raw milk that may contain H5N1 virus, FDA asks states

To reduce the risk of bird flu infections, state health officials should bar the sale of raw milk to consumers if it contains the H5N1 avian flu virus, said the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday. Although the FDA has long warned that raw milk is a high-risk food that may carry disease-causing pathogens, more than 30 states allow the sale of unpasteurized milk from the farm, in retail stores, or through so-called cow shares.

FDA reorganization elevating food oversight is approved

A reorganization of the FDA that included the appointment of its first deputy commissioner for human foods has been approved after months of preparation and is targeted for implementation on Oct. 1, said the agency on Thursday.

USDA study shows cooking kills bird flu virus in meat

In tests conducted by USDA scientists, the H5N1 bird flu virus did not survive in hamburgers cooked to internal temperatures of 145 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday. “These results validate that [Food Safety and Inspection Service] recommended cooking temperatures are sufficient to kill H5N1 in meat,” it said.

CDC urges states to give PPE to farmworkers as bird flu safeguard

States should open their stockpiles of personal protective equipment for distribution to farmworkers, with top priority for dairy farms where cows are infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus, said a Centers for Disease Control official. Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department confirmed six additional cases of bird flu in cattle on Thursday, ending a 12-day pause in new cases.

‘Absolute barrier’ against spread of bird flu virus is impossible, says Califf

The agriculture and food industry is entering an era of stepped-up precautions against the spread of the H5N1 bird flu virus now that it has appeared in cattle for the first time, said FDA commissioner Robert Califf at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, there is no absolute barrier that can be created,” he said.

H5N1 virus was undetected for months in dairy cattle, researchers say

Genetic testing indicates the H5N1 bird flu virus jumped from wild birds to dairy cattle in Texas approximately four months before it was identified in late March, said a nationwide team of researchers. “Continued transmission of H5N1 HPAI [highly pathogenic avian influenza] within dairy cattle increases the risk for infection and subsequent spread of the virus to human populations.”

Bird flu virus likely travels from cow to cow via milk, says USDA

The “primary vector” for transmitting the H5N1 bird flu virus from dairy cow to dairy cow seems to be milk from an infected animal, said the USDA’s chief veterinary officer on Wednesday. Dr. Rosemary Sifford also said the USDA was considering whether to offer compensation to dairy farmers for cooperating in the investigation of the disease and for adopting stronger biosecurity safeguards.

FDA: Bird flu viral fragments in milk were dead; pasteurization works

Although fragments of the H5N1 bird flu virus were found in one-fifth of milk purchased in grocery stores, a new round of high-precision testing "did not detect any live, infectious virus" and reaffirmed that the commercial milk supply is safe, said the FDA. (No paywall)

New USDA rule limits salmonella bacteria allowed in raw breaded chicken

Raw chicken will be rejected as an ingredient in making breaded, stuffed chicken products if there is too much salmonella bacteria in the meat — a step to protect consumers from food-borne illness, said the Agriculture Department. The rule, which would take effect in a year, is the first to name salmonella as an adulterant in a class of raw poultry products.

USDA: Test for bird flu before interstate transport of cattle

Michigan officials said the H5N1 bird flu virus has infected three additional dairy herds in the state, just as the USDA recommended farmers test their herds for the virus before moving cattle between states. The tests "should both give us more ... information and should mitigate further state-to-state spread between herds," said the USDA's animal health agency.

Can Maine lead the way to a future without forever chemicals?

In FERN's latest story, published with Mother Jones, Bridget Huber explains how Maine is defining standards for allowable levels of PFAS in soil and food, while the federal government tiptoes around a growing national crisis.

Bird flu found in dairy herds in five states

Bird flu, which killed more than 82 million birds in U.S. domestic flocks in the past two years, has appeared in dairy herds in Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, and Texas, said federal officials. The outbreaks, affecting a relatively small number of cattle, are not expected to affect milk supply or prices at the grocery store.

Bird flu found in dairy cows in Texas and Kansas

The USDA announced Monday that unpasteurized milk samples from sick cattle at two dairy farms in Kansas and one in Texas, as well as an oropharyngeal swab from another dairy in Texas, tested positive for Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

Fungicides are leading culprit in new Dirty Dozen report

Four of the five most frequently detected chemicals on fruit and vegetables in the Environmental Working Group's annual Dirty Dozen list are fungicides linked to endocrine disruption and reproductive system damage in humans.

Report: Baby food is less toxic but still often contains pesticides

Non-organic baby food is less toxic than it was 30 years ago, but it still contains pesticides at least 38 percent of the time, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group. EWG researchers noted that federal agencies have made strides in regulating pesticide contamination in baby food, but advised parents and caregivers to use caution at the grocery store.

FDA will have ‘a more meaningful agenda’ on food additives, says deputy commissioner

While California took the spotlight with a new law banning four food additives, FDA deputy commissioner Jim Jones said on Monday that the agency will adopt "a more meaningful agenda" on food chemicals as it reorganizes its food safety wing. Jones, who began work two months ago as chief of human foods, has said the safe use of chemicals and dietary supplements is one of his three priorities.

FDA proposes banning brominated vegetable oil as food additive

The Food and Drug Administration moved to ban the use of brominated vegetable oil in food on Thursday, saying new tests proved conclusively that it was not safe. The agency acted a month after California outlawed BVO, along with three other food additives: potassium bromate, propylparaben, and red dye No. 3.

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