7 Types of Sargento Cheese Recalled for Listeria

Eating the bacteria can be potentially fatal.

 

Hold the nachos. Sargento just recalled seven of its cheeses for a potential listeria contamination. An outbreak at one of its suppliers affected shredded and sliced varieties, including colby, jack and taco cheese.

Both the Ultra Thin Sliced Longhorn Colby and Chef Blends Shredded Nacho & Taco Cheese are possibly contaminated. Eating food with listeria can cause a serious infection, with symptoms like fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal problems. According to the CDC, about 260 people die of listeriosis every year. Pregnant women, newborns and the elderly are especially vulnerable. So far, no known illnesses are associated with this recall.

The supplier, Deustch Kase Haus in Middlebury, Indiana, makes cheese for other stores as well. Meijer is recalling its Meijer Brand Colby Cheese and Colby Jack Cheese, which was sold at deli counters between November 10 and February 9. Shoppers are encouraged throw it away or return it for a full refund.

Cheese from Sara Lee and Amish Classics as well as salads from Taylor Farms have also been affected, so double-check your lunch before chowing down.

Group Finds More Fake Ingredients in Popular Foods

By JIM AVILA and SERENA MARSHALL | Good Morning America –

 

ABC News Video

It’s what we expect as shoppers—what’s in the food will be displayed on the label.

But a new scientific examination by the non-profit food fraud detectives the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), discovered rising numbers of fake ingredients in products from olive oil to spices to fruit juice.

“Food products are not always what they purport to be,” Markus Lipp, senior director for Food Standards for the independent lab in Maryland, told ABC News.

In a new database to be released Wednesday, and obtained exclusively by ABC News today, USP warns consumers, the FDA and manufacturers that the amount of food fraud they found is up by 60 percent this year.

USP, a scientific nonprofit that according to their website “sets standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide” first released the Food Fraud Database in April 2012.

The organization examined more than 1,300 published studies and media reports from 1980-2010. The update to the database includes nearly 800 new records, nearly all published in 2011 and 2012.

Among the most popular targets for unscrupulous food suppliers? Pomegranate juice, which is often diluted with grape or pear juice.

“Pomegranate juice is a high-value ingredient and a high-priced ingredient, and adulteration appears to be widespread,” Lipp said. “It can be adulterated with other food juices…additional sugar, or just water and sugar.”

Lipp added that there have also been reports of completely “synthetic pomegranate juice” that didn’t contain any traces of the real juice.

USP tells ABC News that liquids and ground foods in general are the easiest to tamper with:

  • Olive oil: often diluted with cheaper oils
  • Lemon juice: cheapened with water and sugar
  • Tea: diluted with fillers like lawn grass or fern leaves
  • Spices: like paprika or saffron adulterated with dangerous food colorings that mimic the colors

Milk, honey, coffee and syrup are also listed by the USP as being highly adulterated products.

Also high on the list: seafood. The number one fake being escolar, an oily fish that can cause stomach problems, being mislabeled as white tuna or albacore, frequently found on sushi menus.

National Consumers League did its own testing on lemon juice just this past year and found four different products labeled 100 percent lemon juice were far from pure.

“One had 10 percent lemon juice, it said it had 100 percent, another had 15 percent lemon juice, another…had 25 percent, and the last one had 35 percent lemon juice,” Sally Greenberg, Executive Director for the National Consumers League said. “And they were all labeled 100 percent lemon juice.”

Greenberg explains there are indications to help consumers pick the faux from the food.

“In a bottle of olive oil if there’s a dark bottle, does it have the date that it was harvested?” she said. While other products, such as honey or lemon juice, are more difficult to discern, if the price is “too good to be true” it probably is.

“$5.50, that’s pretty cheap for extra virgin olive oil,” Greenberg said. “And something that should raise some eyebrows for consumers.”

Many of the products USP found to be adulterated are those that would be more expensive or research intensive in its production. “Pomegranate juice is expensive because there is little juice in a pomegranate,” Lipp said.

But the issue is more than just not getting what you pay for.

“There’s absolutely a public health risk,” said John Spink, associate director for the Anti-Counterfeit and Product Protection Program (A-CAPPP) at Michigan State University. “And the key is the people that are unauthorized to handle this product, they are probably not following good manufacturing practices and so there could be contaminates in it.”

Spink recommends purchasing from “suppliers, retailers, brands, that have a vested interest in keeping us as repeat customers.”

Both the FDA and the Grocery Manufacturers Association say they take food adulteration “very seriously.”

“FDA’s protection of consumers includes not only regulating and continually monitoring food products in interstate commerce for safety and sanitation, but also for the truthfulness and accuracy of their labels,” the FDA said in a statement to ABC News.

Most recently the FDA issued an alert for pomegranate juice mislabeled as 100 percent pomegranate juice, as well as one for the adulteration of honey.

The Grocery Manufacturers of America told ABC News in a statement that “ensuring the safety and integrity of our products – and maintaining the confidence of consumers – is the single most important goal of our industry,” and that their members have “robust quality management programs and procedures in place, including analytical testing, to help ensure that only the safest and highest quality products are being offered to consumers.”

Air pollution in Beijing goes off the index

Associated Press/Alexander F. Yuan – A man flies a kite near electricity pylons on a hazy day in Beijing Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. Air pollution levels in China’s notoriously dirty capital were at dangerous levels Saturday, with cloudy skies blocking out visibility and warnings issued for people to remain indoors. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)

BEIJING (AP) — People refused to venture outdoors and buildings disappeared into Beijing’s murky skyline on Sunday as the air quality in China’s notoriously polluted capital went off the index.

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on its website that the density of PM2.5 particulates had surpassed 700 micrograms per cubic meter in many parts of the city. The World Health Organization considers a safe daily level to be 25 micrograms per cubic meter.

PM2.5 are tiny particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in size, or about 1/30th the average width of a human hair. They can penetrate deep into the lungs, so measuring them is considered a more accurate reflection of air quality than other methods.

The Beijing center recommended that children and the elderly stay indoors, and that others avoid outdoor activities.

The U.S. Embassy also publishes data for PM2.5 on Twitter, and interprets the data according to more stringent standards.

Read more of this post

Cantaloupes linked to deadly multistate Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak

— Two deaths and multiple cases of illness across 20 states have been linked to cantaloupes contaminated with salmonella, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
State and federal health officials are advising consumers to discard all cantaloupes from southwestern Indiana, as tests have found evidence of the same strain of salmonella bacteria associated with a multi-state outbreak that health officials say is still ongoing.

The outbreak, which began in July, has been linked to two deaths and sickened at least 50 people in Kentucky. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s website, a total of 141 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 20 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

The agency cautions consumers not try to wash the harmful bacteria off the cantaloupe, or cut through the outer surface, as contamination may be both on the inside and outside of the fruit.

Consumers with questions about food safety are encouraged to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the fda.gov website.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) provides these recommendations for preventing Salmonellosis

– Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets.

– Wash utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.

– Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that people in a normal state of health who ingest Salmonella-tainted food may experience diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, which typically begin within 12 to 72 hours. This may be accompanied by vomiting, chills, headache and muscle pains. These symptoms may last about four to seven days, and then go away without specific treatment, but left unchecked, Salmonella infection may spread to the bloodstream and beyond and may cause death if the person is not treated promptly with antibiotics.

Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune symptoms should practice extreme caution, as salmonellosis may lead to severe illness or even death.

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration found Listeria monocytogenes on a honeydew melon and at a packing facility in Faison, North Carolina, but no illnesses have been reported.

In 2011, the number of deaths linked to a listeria outbreak in cantaloupe rose to 29, topping a 1985 mark for the most deaths among adults and children. Experts say the third-deadliest U.S. food outbreak was preventable.

Read more: http://www.wptv.com/dpp/money/consumer/cantaloupes-linked-to-deadly-multistate-salmonella-typhimurium-outbreak#ixzz247HWdmdS

33 Sickened by Salmonella Linked to Ground Beef: CDC

A salmonella outbreak that has sickened 33 people in seven states appears to be linked to recalled ground beef produced by Cargill Meat Solutions, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers of illnesses reported in each state are: Maine (1), Massachusetts (3), New Hampshire (2), New York (14), Rhode Island (1), Virginia (2) and Vermont (10). Eleven people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

The ages of the patients ranged from 12 years to 101 years, the CDC said, and illnesses arose between June 6 to June 26. According to the agency, it takes an average of two to three weeks between the time a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported, which means that illnesses that occurred after June 29 might not be reported yet.

Federal and state investigators were able to link illnesses in five patients with ground beef productsproduced by a single Cargill Meat Solutions facility.

On July 22, Cargill recalled nearly 30,000 pounds of fresh ground beef products. The products carry the establishment number “EST. 9400” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The use-by dates of the products have passed and they are no longer available in grocery stores. Officials are concerned, however, that some of the recalled products may still be in consumers’ freezers.

Consumers should check their refrigerators and freezers for the recalled products, which were sold under different brand names and may not bear the “EST. 9400” on the labeling. The only grocery-store chain known to have sold the contaminated meat is Hannaford Supermarkets, which operates about 180 stores across the northeastern United States, according to The New York Times.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service website has a list of stores that sold the recalled products.

Preliminary test results indicate that the salmonella strain involved in this outbreak is susceptible to commonly prescribed antibiotics, the CDC said.

The agency said the investigation is continuing and updates will be released to the public as information becomes available.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about food and salmonella.

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