Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo Presentations

Here are links to PDF versions of the presentations I gave at Great Lakes Expo on December 9, 2015.

Sweet Cider Session – December 9 morning.  Title: “Listeria and Other Emerging Pathogens in Cider”  DOWNLOAD LINK

Food Safety Session – December 9 afternoon.  Title: Fallout of Listeria in Apples: What Did We Learn and Where Are We Now?  DOWNLOAD LINK

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Food Safety Workshop for Apple Packing Facilities – April 22, 2015

On April 22, 2015, Michigan State University Extension, in partnership with the Michigan Apple Committee, held a 1-day educational workshop for apple packers.  Presentations covered current and emerging food safety issues, characteristics and control of Listeria in food facilities, cleaning and sanitation programs, upcoming FDA food safety regulations, and sanitary design for food facilities.  More than 50 individuals participated in the program, which was held at the L.V. Eberhard Center on the campus of Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI.

Below are links to pdf versions of the workshop agenda and speaker slides from the workshop.  Links to captured presentations will be added in the coming days.

Workshop Agenda

1. Setting the Stage: Caramel Apple Outbreak and Related Incidents; Les Bourquin, Michigan State University.  Speaker Slides

2. Listeria: Characteristics and Control in Food Facilities; Elliot Ryser, Michigan State University.  Speaker Slides

3. Practical Aspects of Listeria Control in Food Facilities by Cleaning and Sanitation Programs; Ruth Petran, Ecolab.  Speaker Slides

4. The New FDA Produce Safety Regulation and other Regulatory Requirements; Byron Beerbower, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.  Speaker Slides

5. Sanitary Design in Food Facilities; Sarah Krol, NSF International.  Speaker Slides

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Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes

Hurricane Sandy has had a devastating impact in the Northeastern US, with hundreds of thousands of consumers without power and thousands of homes suffering flood damage.  The United States Department of Agriculture has published a twelve-page guide to food safety for consumers in the aftermath of severe storms and hurricanes.  The guide is available at: [requires Adobe Acrobat reader]

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Kellogg Mini-Wheats Recalled

Kellogg’s has issued a voluntary recall of some of its mini-wheat cereals after the company discovered metal fragments from mesh might have gotten into final products. The recalled products are Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size Original and Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size with the letters KB, AP or FK before or after the “Best If Used Before” date. The specific products being recalled are listed below: 


• UPC 3800031829 – 18-ounce carton with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 01 2013 KB – SEP 21 2013 KB

• UPC 3800073444 – 18-ounce carton with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 01 2013 KB – SEP 21 2013 KB

• UPC 3800031834 – 24-ounce carton with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 01 2013 KB – SEP 21 2013 KB

• UPC 3800046954 – 30-ounce carton with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 01 2013 KB – SEP 21 2013 KB

• UPC 3800031921 – 70-ounce club store carton with Better if Used Before Dates APR 01 2013 KB – JUL 29 2013 KB

• UPC 3800004961 – single-serve bowl with Better if Used Before Dates between 04013 KB – 09213 KB

• UPC 3800021993 – single-serve carton with Better if Used Before Dates between AP 04013 – AP 09213 or FK 04013 – FK 09213


• UPC 3800021983 – single serve carton with Better if Used Before Dates between FK 04013 – FK 09213

• UPC 3800035982 -18-ounce carton with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 01 2013 KB – SEP 21 2013 KB

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Strawberries Implicated in Massive German Norovirus Outbreak

Scientists from the Robert Koch institute reported on October 5th that frozen strawberries have been identified as the likely cause of the massive foodborne illness outbreak that has affected children and teenagers in almost 500 schools and day care centers in eastern Germany.  According to the latest figures, the outbreak has affected 11,200 children and teens.  Most of those who fell ill had relatively mild cases of vomiting and diarrhea, but 32 patients have been hospitalized.  The schools and kindergartens affected received food from a subcontractor of the catering firm Sodexo, which has said it will compensate victims.

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Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Cantaloupe Declared Over

The multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Newport infections linked to cantaloupe appears to be over, according to the final update published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on October 5.  In its update, CDC provided final case count numbers associated with the outbreak linked to Chamberlain Farms Produce, Inc. of Owensville, Indiana.  A total of 261 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Typhimurium (228 persons) and Salmonella Newport (33 persons) were reported from 24 states.  Ninety-four ill persons were hospitalized, and three deaths were reported in Kentucky.  The map of confirmed cases is presented below, followed by the final epi curve showing the onset of cases in this outbreak.

Outbreak Map – Salmonella Infections Associated with Cantaloupe – Final October 4, 2012

Epi Curve – Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Newport Infections Associated with Cantaloupe – October 4, 2012

On October 3, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a document that lists observations  [PDF – 2 pages] made by the FDA investigators during the inspection of Chamberlain Farms.  This inspection report details a large number of problems observed at the Chamberlain Farms packing facility including poor sanitary practices, food contact surfaces that were in poor condition and could not be adequately cleaned, standing water in the facility, and failure to remove litter and waste from the facility which could serve as an attractant and harborage for pests.  The FDA inspectors also obtained swab samples from environmental surfaces in the packing shed which confirmed the presence of Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Anatum.  Cantaloupes collected from the facility and a production field tested positive for Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Newport.

Although this outbreak now appears to be over, it does serve to reinforce existing concerns about food safety practices used in fresh produce operations.  This is the second consecutive year that major multistate foodborne illness outbreaks have been associated with domestically-produced cantaloupes (refer here for information on the 2011 Listeria monocytogenes outbreak associated with cantaloupes produced by Jensen Farms in Colorado).  The produce industry must continue to strive to improve food safety practices during production, harvest and packing of fresh produce.

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Peanut Butter Salmonella Bredeney Outbreak – Update

Peanut butter is a semi-solid and can therefor...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney noted in this blog on September 23 has expanded considerably.  In an update posted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on October 5, this outbreak is currently associated with 35 cases of Salmonellosis in 19 states.  Although the case count has only increased by a small number since September 23, the scope of the recall of peanut products has grown dramatically.

Sunland Inc. of Portales, New Mexico was previously identified as the source of the peanut butter originally recalled by Trader Joe’s in September, and numerous additional recall notifications have subsequently occurred.  On October 4, 2012, Sunland Inc. expanded its ongoing recall  [PDF – 10 pages] to include all products made in the Sunland nut butter production facility between March 1, 2010 and September 24, 2012.  More than 200 products are now on the Sunland recall list, including some products that have been included as ingredients used to produce others.  This has resulted in a significant number of secondary recalls associated with products made using ingredients originating from the Sunland facility.  The list of recalled products has also expanded beyond peanut butter to include peanuts, tahini, almond butter, cashew butter and other products.

On October 5, 2012, the FDA announced that environmental samples taken in the Sunland Inc. nut butter production facility show the presence of Salmonella.  Further analysis by FDA to identify the type of Salmonella is pending.  FDA and CDC also have noted that testing conducted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture laboratory isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney from an opened jar of Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter collected from a case-patient’s home.

CDC recommends that consumers do not eat recalled peanut butter or other recalled products containing nuts and seeds and dispose of any remaining jars of product in the home or return the product to the place of purchase.  This is especially important for children under the age of 5 years, older adults, and people with weak immune systems.  CDC’s outbreak report notes that 63% of the illnesses associated with this outbreak have been children under the age of ten years.

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