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Posts Tagged ‘Foodborne Illness’

U.S. FBI Cost $500 Per Head in Healthcare, Losses

Posted by feww on March 3, 2010

Press Release: Safe Food for a healthy Life

Foodborne Illness Costs Nation $152 Billion Annually – Nearly $39 Billion Loss Attributed to Produce

Washington DC – Acute foodborne illnesses cost the United States an estimated $152 billion per year in healthcare, workplace and other economic losses, according to a report published today by the Produce Safety Project (PSP).

The study, Health-Related Costs from Foodborne Illness in the United States, was written by Dr. Robert L. Scharff, a former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) economist and current Ohio State University assistant professor in the department of consumer sciences. The study estimates that more than a quarter of these costs, an estimated $39 billion, are attributable to foodborne illnesses associated with fresh, canned and processed produce.

The FDA has announced that it will propose before the end of the year mandatory and enforceable safety standards for the growing, harvesting and packing of fresh produce. These will be the first nationwide safety standards for fresh fruits and vegetables.

“An up-to-date cost analysis of foodborne illnesses is critical for FDA officials and lawmakers to craft the most effective and efficient reforms,” said Jim O’Hara, PSP director. “A decade ago, we spent more than $1.3 billion annually to try to reduce the burden of foodborne illness and today we are spending even more. We need to make certain we are spending limited funds wisely and hitting our target of reducing sicknesses and deaths, and this study gives us a yardstick to measure our progress.”

Produce (fresh, canned and processed) accounts for roughly 19,700,000 of the reported illnesses documented, at a cost of approximately $1,960 per case and $39 billion annually in economic losses. California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania were the states most impacted by foodborne illness cases related to produce.

In additional to national data, the report includes data at the state level.

“The contribution of this study is that it provides more complete estimates of the health-related cost of foodborne illness in the United States by summing both medical costs (hospital services, physician services, and drugs) and quality-of-life losses (deaths, pain, suffering, and functional disability) for each of the major pathogens associated with foodborne illness,” said Dr. Scharff. “This cost includes both expenses to the person made ill such as pain and suffering losses and costs to others in society such as outlays by insurance companies that pay medical expenses.”

Scharff based his analysis on the economic principles currently used by FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) economists in their cost analyses. In addition, to account for uncertainty he utilized confidence intervals and sensitivity analysis.

The cost of foodborne illness is calculated on both an aggregate level and a pathogen-specific level. To view a full copy of the report and the state-by-state data analysis, simply visit http://www.producesafetyproject.org and click on the Health-Related Costs report.

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http://www.producesafetyproject.org.

Interactive Map: Annual Health-Related Costs of Foodborne Illness for Each State

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Posted in FDA, food hygiene, Food Regulations, food safety, salmonella | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

How old is your ecoli-burger?

Posted by feww on January 19, 2010

CLASS I RECALL – HEALTH RISK: HIGH

Another Unbelievable Mess by the Food Industry

Huntington Meat Packing Inc., a Montebello-based  Calif. company, is recalling about  393 tons (864,000 pounds, or the equivalent of about 14 million burgers) of beef products that may be contaminated with the potentially deadly E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) reported.

The tainted beef products have been  shipped mainly to California food outlets, USDA said.

The contamination was discovered during a Food Safety Assessment (FSA) by FSIS department. The FSA then determined that “a further investigation of establishment records was warranted.”

Ecoli bacteria
An image of E.coli bacteria provided by the USDA. The bacteria can cause diarrhea, dehydration, kidney failure and death.The Agriculture Department, which oversees meat safety in the US, said it concluded  “there is an association between the fresh ground beef products and illnesses in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts,” after a cluster of food-borne illnesses in New England was reported, and a New Hampshire resident had died consuming ground beef that may have been infected with the deadly E. coli bacteria. More images

Details of Recalled Products:

The following ground beef products were produced by the plant between January 5, 2010 and  January 15, 2010, are subject to recall:

  • 40 lb. boxes of “Huntington Meats Ground Beef”
  • 40 lb. boxes of “HUNTINGTON MEAT PKG. INC. BEEF GROUND FOR FURTHER PROCESSING”
  • 40 lb. boxes of “BEEF BURRITO FILLING MIX”
  • 10 lb. boxes of “IMPERIAL MEAT CO. GROUND BEEF PATTY”
  • 20 lb. boxes of “IMPERIAL MEAT CO. GROUND BEEF PATTY”
  • 10 lb. boxes of “El Rancho MEAT & PROVISION ALL BEEF PATTIES”

Each box bears the establishment number “EST. 17967” inside the USDA mark of inspection on a label. The products were produced between January 5, 2010, and January 15, 2010, and were shipped to distribution centers, restaurants, and hotels within the State of California. FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a physician.

In a subsequent inspection of the company’ss records, FSIS decided that additional products, as old as 2 years,  could have be adulterated because they may have been tainted with E. coli O157:H7. Therefore, the following products produced between February 19, 2008 and May 15, 2008, are ALSO subject to recall:

  • 40 lb. boxes of “Huntington Meats Ground Beef”
  • 40 lb. boxes of ” HUNTINGTON MEAT PKG. INC. BEEF GROUND FOR FURTHER PROCESSING”
  • 40 lb. boxes of “BEEF BURRITO FILLING MIX”
  • 10 lb. boxes of “IMPERIAL MEAT CO. GROUND BEEF PATTY”
  • 20 lb. boxes of “IMPERIAL MEAT CO. GROUND BEEF PATTY”
  • 10 lb. boxes of “El Rancho MEAT & PROVISION ALL BEEF PATTIES

Each box bears the establishment number “EST. 17967” inside the USDA mark of inspection on a label. The products were produced between February 19, 2008, and May 15, 2008, and were shipped to distribution centers, restaurants, and hotels within the State of California.

While these products are normally used fresh, the establishment is taking this action out of concern that some product may still be frozen and in commerce.

FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these recalled products. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a physician.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers (including restaurants) of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef or ground beef patties that have been cooked to a temperature of 160° F. The only way to be sure ground beef is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature.

Media and consumer questions regarding the recall should be directed to the company owner, Robert Glenn, at (888) 894-8242.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

Safety Tips from USDA

SAFE PREPARATION OF FRESH AND FROZEN GROUND BEEF

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline – 1-888-MPHOTLINE or visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov

Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water. Immediately clean spills.

Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked.

Consumers should only eat ground beef or ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160° F, whether prepared from fresh or frozen raw meat products.

Color is NOT a reliable indicator that ground beef or ground beef patties have been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7.

The only way to be sure ground beef is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature.

Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase or one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F. Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking

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Posted in Calif Beef, ecoli contamination, frozen beef, Huntington Meat Packing Inc., Montebello beef | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »