Category: FYI

FDA Finds Avocado Skins Contaminated With Listeria

Earlier this month, the FDA issued a report saying it is now crucial to wash your avocados before eating them, because almost 18% of avocado skins tested over 18 months showed positive results for salmonella and listeria.

0.24 percent of the avocados tested were also found to have listeria within their edible portions. It’s a small percentage, but it was notable enough for the FDA to double down on this warning. Also of note: the FDA’s samplings were of both domestically and internationally grown avocados.

If you’re  wondering why this matters since we don’t actually eat the tough outer skins of avocados, here’s why it does: The knife you’re using to cut through the potentially contaminated skin can carry that bacteria into the pulp of the fruit.

In order to decrease your chances of ingesting the bacteria, recommends you thoroughly wash all hard-shelled produce that comes through your home before eating it. You can do so with “a clean produce brush, and then dry it with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.”

Cauliflower, Leaf Lettuce Recalled Amid E.Coli Fears

The California farm at least partially responsible for the most recent romaine e.coli scare is now recalling its cauliflower, as well as its red- and green-leaf lettuce, USA Today reports. The Adam Bros. Farms of Santa Maria, CA, were identified publicly for the first time by the FDA last Thursday.

The recall is for the three types of produce that were grown in particular fields and harvested between Nov. 27-30, the company said. None of the recalled products has tested positive for E. coli O157:H7.

Both red and green leaf lettuces were distributed to wholesalers in California, Colorado, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Canada, plus red leaf also went to Minnesota and Tijuana, Mexico, according to Adam Bros. Farms. Cauliflower made its way to Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Mexico, and Canada.

In a statement, the farm explained while none of the aforementioned produce has tested positive for e.coli yet, they were issuing the recall “out of an abundance of caution,” as there is a possibility it’s been contaminated with e.coli. They elaborate they “discovered that sediment from a reservoir near where the produce was grown tested positive for E. coli. Filtered and treated water from the reservoir may have come in contact with the produce after it was harvested.”

The potentially affected cauliflower was harvested in California from November 27 through 30 and shipped to wholesalers across Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, as well as to Canada and Mexico. The lettuces went out to California, Colorado, Texas, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Canada.

Late last week, the FDA announced Adams Bros. Farms were not the only ones responsible for all the recent documented illnesses, and they are still working on identifying exactly where in California all the e.coli that’s made people sick over the past few months came from.

If you have cauliflower that was harvested between those dates and came from California, you might not want to eat it or transfer it. You can throw it out or bring it back to the grocery store. Read the statement from Adams Bro. Farms in full here.

Del Monte Recalls 64,000 Cases of Canned Corn

Del Monte Foods is recalling more than 64,000 cases of incompletely sterilized canned corn that could cause life-threatening illness if consumed. Walmart and Target are among the retailers in 25 states and 12 countries that sold the recalled product, the food producer said.

The recall of 64,242 cases of “Fiesta Corn” seasoned with red and green peppers was due to under-processing, the company said in a notice posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The missed steps from the commercial sterilization process could result in spoilage and possible contamination with life-threatening pathogens, if eaten, Del Monte warned. There have not been any reports of illness as a result of the products, the company added.

A central concern with under-processing canned food is the potential growth of bacteria, including clostridium botulinum, which creates toxins that cause botulism poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2016, there were 205 confirmed cases of botulism in the U.S., with 29 illnesses, including two fatalities, resulting from tainted food, the CDC’s figures show.

The current Del Monte recall involves 15.25-ounce (432g) cans with the following UPC number printed on the label: 24000 02770.

The product will also have one of the following “Best if Used By” dates stamped on the bottom of the can: Aug. 14, 2021; Aug. 15, 2021; Aug. 16, 2021; Sept. 3, 2021; Sept. 4, 2021, Sept. 5, 2021, Sept. 6, 2021; Sept. 22, 2021, or Sept. 23, 2021.

It sold in 25 states: Alaska, Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and North Carolina. Also: New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

12 Million Pounds of Ground Beef Recalled

An Arizona company is expanding a recall for ground beef to include more than 12 million pounds of raw beef products. The items were packaged from July 26 to September 7, and were distributed to retail locations nationwide.

The recall expansion includes an additional 5 million more pounds of raw beef products due to concerns about possible salmonella contamination. The number of people who have reported becoming ill has soared to 246 patients in 26 states, federal officials said Tuesday.

The initial recall was announced by the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service in early October included 6.5 million pounds of raw beef products. Tuesday’s addition brings the total recalled amount to 12,093,271 pounds, and authorities say they’re concerned it could be in consumers’ freezers.

The affected products were produced and packaged at an Arizona facility owned by JBS Tolleson from July 26 through Sept. 7 and shipped to retailers nationwide under many brand names. Those included in the recall are Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Comnor Perfect Choice, Gourmet Burger, Grass Run Farms Natural Beef, JBS Generic, Showcase and Showcase/Walmart. See a list of the specific products being recalled here.

The recall notice didn’t provide a list of states where people were sickened. But, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case map updated as of Nov. 15, at least 66 cases of people infected with the outbreak have been reported in California, 13 in Texas, 42 in Arizona and several states, including Connecticut, Illinois and Massachusetts, have each reported one case. No known cases have been reported in New York or New Jersey.

Anyone with questions about the recall can contact JBS’ consumer hotline at 1-800-727-2333.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within three days of eating the contaminated product, and the illness can last up to seven days. While most people recover, people with weakened immune systems are more likely to need to be hospitalized.

Duncan Hines Cake Mix Causes Salmonella Outbreak

A recall was issued for four types of Duncan Hines cake mix due to possible salmonella contamination, the US Food and Drug Administration said Monday.


The voluntary recall was issued by Conagra Brands due to “a positive finding of Salmonella in a retail sample of Duncan Hines Classic White cake mix that may be linked to a Salmonella outbreak that is currently being investigated by CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and FDA,” Conagra said in a statement.
The DNA fingerprint found in that sample of cake mix matches the DNA fingerprint identified by the CDC in five cases of salmonella illness, according to the FDA.
The illnesses were reported in three states: Maryland, Ohio and Wisconsin, the CDC said Wednesday.
Several of the individuals who are sick told health investigators they consumed cake mix before their symptoms began, according to Conagra.
“Two ill people reported eating cake in the week before their illness began and one reported eating raw cake mix, but brand information was not available,” according to the CDC which added it is, “working with state health departments and FDA to determine if these ill people ate cake or raw cake mix produced by Duncan Hines.”
Symptoms of salmonella illness usually begin 12 to 72 hours after consuming something tainted with the organism and last about four to seven days. They include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most individuals recover without treatment. In some patients the diarrhea can be so severe that hospitalization and antibiotic treatment are required to prevent the illness from spreading from the intestines to the blood stream and elsewhere in the body.
The recalled cake mixes were distributed nationwide and to some international exporters. They are all 15.25 oz boxes of mix.
  • The recalled white cake mix has best if used by dates of March 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 13, 2019 and the UPC code 644209307500.
  • The recalled yellow cake mix has best if used by dates of March 9, 10, 12 and 13, 2019 and the UPC code 644209307494.
  • The recalled butter golden cake mix has best if used by dates of March 7, 8 and 9, 2019 and the UPC code 644209307593.
  • The recalled confetti cake mix has best if used by dates of March 12 and 13, 2019 and the UPC code 644209414550.

Tech Company Offers Schools Facial Recognition Technology

RealNetworks, the Seattle company best known for pioneering streaming media in the early days of the web, is deploying a controversial new product. The company said it will offer a new facial recognition technology, called SAFR, for free to K-12 schools to help upgrade their on-site security systems.

SAFR can be used with the same cameras that traditional surveillance systems to recognize students, staff, and people visiting schools. RealNetworks said that in addition to security, the tool can also help with record-keeping and “campus monitoring.” The technology is compatible with Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows.

“SAFR from RealNetworks is highly accurate facial recognition software powered by artificial intelligence,” the company explains on the SAFR site. “It works with existing IP cameras and readily available hardware to match faces in real-time. Schools can stay focused and better analyze potential threats such as expelled students, and those who pose a threat from within and outside the school.”

“We feel that’s going to enhance the security of schools but also lead to more convenience, a simple way of entering a school campus,” RealNetworks Chief Technology Officer Reza Rassool explained.

The ACLU has been vocal in its criticism of facial recognition technology and said there are big red flags with this program.

“I think often it’s put out there by well-intentioned people but the impacts are often felt by vulnerable communities,” said Shankar Narayan, the technology and liberty project director with the ACLU or Washington.

Developers said they understand those fears but said individual districts control the data. Narayan worries a system like this might keep some parents from coming to campus “what are these systems recording, who gets the data for what purpose is that data going to be used?”

Narayan said undocumented immigrants or parents with a criminal history might be hesitant to come to their child’s school.

RealNetworks said they understand that some people might be a little skittish with the technology and that’s why they believe the program should be voluntary.

Another murder in Tampa; police still fear serial killer is on the loose

Tampa, FL- According to local police, a body was found at North Nebraska Avenue and East Merry Street early Tuesday morning. Police received reports that shots were fired around 5 a.m., according to Tampa Police spokesperson Steven Hegarty.

Police responded to the area within one minute and found a man shot to death in the middle of Nebraska Ave. The victim has been identified as Ronald Felton, 60.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said the victim was crossing Nebraska Avenue when someone came up behind him and shot him. Dugan described the possible suspect as a black man with a thin build who was dressed in all black and wearing a baseball cap.

There has been a large police response to this incident due to the three recent murders in the same area. Police are searching the area on foot, searching yards with police dogs and going door-to-door. Police helicopters also are in the area.

Officers also are asking any residents who may have seen anything in the area overnight or have home surveillance cameras to contact them at (813) 231-6130.

“We need everyone’s cooperation,” Dugan said. “The neighborhood has been very engaged and extremely helpful (during the investigation). We need to talk to everyone.”

“We don’t know if this is related to the other shootings,” Hegarty said. “But we’re treating it as if it is.”

Police are asking neighbors to remain in their homes.

Three people were shot and killed in the Seminole Heights area within 10 days in October. Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was killed on Oct. 9. Two days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa was killed in a vacant lot. Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot and killed Oct. 19.

Police are still following leads, but have no suspects in these cases.

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