inStorebuyer - April 2012 - (Page 38)

foodsafety EXPERT ADVICE ON HANDLING FOOD Sprout Safety Few perishables items this year have drawn more attention as a food safety risk than sprouts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with public health officials in multiple states and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the recent outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections likely linked with eating raw clover sprouts. Sprouts present a unique food safety risk because the warm, moist and nutrient-rich conditions required to produce sprouts are the same conditions that are also ideal for the growth of pathogens. For these reasons, effective sanitation and rigid safety standards are all the more vital to supermarket operators that carry fresh sprouts or serve sprouts on deli sandwiches. It is imperative to wash sprouts thoroughly and keep under proper refrigeration. Also check expiration dates carefully and throw out product before it’s too late. As of early March,14 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O26 have been reported from six states, and the two newest cases reported eating at Jimmy John’s restaurants and consuming sprouts in the seven days preceding illness. Preliminary traceback information has identified a common lot of clover seeds used to grow clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants where ill persons ate. FDA and states conducted a traceback that identified two separate sprouting facilities. Both used the same lot of seed to grow clover sprouts served at these Jimmy John’s locations. On Feb. 10, the seed supplier initiated notification of sprouting facilities that received this lot of clover seed to stop using it. Investigations are ongoing to identify other locations that may have sold clover sprouts grown from this seed lot. In the latest outbreak involving sprouts, among the 14 persons for which information is available, illness onset dates range from Dec. 25, 2011 to Feb. 7. Ill persons range in age from 9 to 49 years old, with a median age of 25. All are female. The type of bacteria responsible for this outbreak is referred to as STEC. STEC bacteria are grouped by serogroups (e.g., O157 or O26). The STEC serogroup found most commonly in US patients is E. coli O157. As a result of the outbreak, awareness of sprout safety is climbing across the nation. Some health experts have gone so far as to recommend that people stop eating them. The US Food and Drug Administration, in cooperation with the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health, has created the Sprouts Safety Alliance to help sprout producers identify and implement best practices in the safe production of sprouts.  The alliance will develop a core curriculum and training, and outreach programs for stakeholders in the sprout production community. The FDA is expected to issue a proposed rule during early 2012 that would establish science-based standards for the production and harvesting of certain produce, including sprouts. The FDA is required to issue a proposed rule under section 105 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.  The alliance promises to develop training materials that facilitate industry understanding and implementation of relevant requirements in the upcoming produce safety regulation, as well as serve as a network hub and resource for the sprout industry and federal and state regulatory agencies. The alliance is composed of members from the FDA, local and state food protection agencies, the food industry and academia. For instore delis, the sprout issue will be an important one to watch to ensure food safety guidelines are met. JOHN UNREIN | 38 | inStorebuyer | April 2012 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of inStorebuyer - April 2012

inStorebuyer - April 2012
The Fresh Factor
Front Line News
Dairy-Deli-Bake 2012 Preview
Food Service Retail
Baking & Decorating
Bakery Development
Deli Development
Ahead of the Digital Curve
Cornhusker Proud
Sprout Safety
Grains & Fibers - Health & Nutrition
Know Your Cheese - Cheese Corner
Product Trends
Product Trends
Product Showcase / Marketplace Network
Marketplace Network / Ad Index

inStorebuyer - April 2012