In brand we trust: How recalls at Trader Joe’s, Costco, can enhance customer engagement

Bryan Pearson writes in Business 2 Community that several major grocery retailers were recently given 358 ways to protect their consumers, and how they respond could determine whether shoppers will have a taste for them in the future.

trust.brandTrader Joe’s, Safeway and Costco are among the chains affected by a recall of 358 frozen food products under 42 fruit and vegetable brands. And while most headlines address the dangers of food contamination, the recall also serves as one more reminder of the highly effective role retailers and their loyalty programs could play in preventing illness.

Many people are alerted to these recalls through the news, but customer data can serve a more targeted and immediate function in notifying the public to and answering questions about such health scares.

The challenge is enabling the consumer to see that such notifications are an added benefit of loyalty program membership, not an intrusion. How to accomplish this? I can say that retailers that make customer trust a cornerstone of their strategic marketing have a superior edge, while those that do not risk getting lost in that trust shadow.

Following are four methods for responsibly alerting consumers to potential health scares, and in the process gaining trust.

  • Activate the database:Loyalty program data provides unique identifiers that enable retailers to determine which customers purchased certain items, including those on recall. Immediate notices can be sent to the loyalty members via their preferred methods of communication. Kroger Co., for example, has used its Plus rewards program data to aid in foodborne illness investigations and recalls.
  • Keep the database current:With that said, it is essential for retailers that use their loyalty data as a source of customer contact information to provide those customers good reason to keep their information current. If these names and addresses are wrong or out of date, then the retailer will be out of luck when it comes to tracking down affected individuals.
  • Reinforce trust:Regardless of how quickly they alert customers, retailers should be poised for questions about brand reliability. By offering a hotline through which questions can be answered, as well as the numbers of agencies that can provide information, the retailer can restore its foundation of customer trust. Practice sessions with customer-facing staff can ensure the company is prepared to answer questions quickly and consistently. It’s a good idea to assign a trusted team leader.
  • Get in front, but not affront:Outside of staff, all company communications should be direct, thorough and easy to access. Sending vague or hard-to-interpret messages will only dial up the concern, or panic (consider if the consumer is a new mother). In 2011, when Publix Super Markets recalled store-branded ice cream due to undeclared almond allergens, it added a red “Retail Alert” button to its website that directed visitors to a press release, product images and an explanation of the issue, with an apology (in English and Spanish).

Lastly, empathy will help guide the appropriate ways to respond to a recall. In the consumers‘ eyes, the retailer will be part of the circumstance, regardless of whether it is at fault. After-the-fact coupons won’t change that fact.

Whole-genome sequencing detection of ongoing Listeria contamination at a restaurant, Rhode Island, USA, 2014

Infection with Listeria monocytogenes, a foodborne bacterial pathogen, causes listeriosis, which can lead to severe illness, typically among persons with compromised immune systems and pregnant women and their fetuses.

listeria4The pathogen can survive at high salt concentrations and grow at refrigeration temperatures (1). These properties enable the bacteria to persist in food processing and food service establishments for extended periods. Listeriosis has a long incubation period (3–70 days), making exposure recall difficult.

Retail delicatessens are a potential source of L. monocytogenes because they hold ready-to-eat foods at refrigeration temperatures; however, a risk assessment by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service suggests that thorough sanitization of food contact surfaces, proper maintenance of equipment and facilities, safe product handling practices, and good employee practices to avoid cross-contamination can help prevent listeriosis cases associated with retail food establishments (2).

Since 1998, PulseNet (http://www.cdc.gov/pulsenet/index.html) has used pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to look at genetic differences in L. monocytogenes subtypes and to identify outbreaks. However, distantly related strains can appear indistinguishable by PFGE; thus, greater differentiation may be needed to distinguish between outbreak and sporadic cases of listeriosis. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) offers an opportunity to further discriminate between strains and identify outbreaks. WGS has historically been used retrospectively to provide additional insight into outbreak investigations (3). However, since September 2013, WGS has been performed on all clinical L. monocytogenes isolates identified in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, GA) and several state public health laboratories (4). L. monocytogenes is a good candidate for WGS because it causes a relatively rare condition that can result in serious illness, it has a small genome that is relatively easy to analyze, and epidemiologic surveillance and food regulatory program components for the bacterium are strong (5).

Data obtained from WGS has been analyzed using whole-genome multilocus sequence typing (wgMLST), a technique that examines allelic differences from thousands of loci, and ≈96% of L. monocytogenes coding sequences have been identified as loci in the wgMLST scheme (S. Stroika, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pers. comm., 2016 Jan 29). To discriminate between strains and identify outbreaks, alleles within the coding sequence (i.e., loci) are compared with ≈178 reference genomes. A unique combination of alleles at each locus specifies the sequence type, which enables comparison of isolates (6); the smaller the number of allelic differences between isolates, the more related they are.

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) attempts interviews and, when applicable, conducts environmental investigations for all reports of listeriosis. Each year during 2011–2013, RIDOH received ≈3 reports of listeriosis, most of which were sporadic cases. However, in November 2014, a cluster of cases was detected from laboratory reports and examined using WGS in conjunction with epidemiologic, laboratory, and environmental investigations. Isolates were confirmed to be L. monocytogenes and submitted for PFGE analysis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention performed WGS on clinical isolates; the Food and Drug Administration performed WGS on food isolates.

The Investigation

During October 27–November 5, 2014, RIDOH’s Center for Acute Infectious Disease Epidemiology was notified of 3 L. monocytogenes–infected persons residing in the same city. The 3 case-patients were all non-Hispanic white persons >60 years of age; 2 had an immunocompromising condition. Interviews conducted by the Center for Acute Infectious Disease Epidemiology identified a single common restaurant visited by the 3 patients. RIDOH’s Center for Food Protection performed inspections and collected food and environmental samples at the establishment.

listeria.cdc.jul.14PFGE analysis showed that clinical L. monocytogenes isolates from the 3 case-patients shared an identical, common PFGE pattern (Figure). To determine the relationship between the isolates, RIDOH collaborated with federal partners to conduct WGS. Results of wgMLST showed that the isolates were closely related (0–5 allelic differences) (Figure) and a close genetic match (median allelic differences 4) to a clinical isolate from a 2013 patient, who was reinterviewed and reported eating at the same restaurant. A sliced prosciutto sample from the restaurant tested positive for L. monocytogenes, and PFGE patterns for this isolate matched those for isolates from the 2013 and 2014 case-patients. Results of wgMLST showed that the isolate from the prosciutto differed by 0–5 alleles (median 3) from the 2014 clinical samples and by 0–11 alleles (median 4) from the 2013 clinical sample. Sequences for the isolates were uploaded to GenBank (7) (clinical isolates: accession nos. SAMN02400177, SAMN03253348–49, SAMN03253359; isolate from prosciutto: accession no. SAMN03218571).

A total of 10 food and environmental food samples were initially collected from the restaurant. Swab samples were obtained from the food slicer, preparation tables, and walk-in cooler. Environmental investigation of the restaurant identified issues related to control of L. monocytogenes: the temperature of the refrigerated unit that held sliced meat and other food items was elevated (52°F [11°C]), and cleanliness issues were observed with the preparation tables and slicer. An additional 19 environmental samples were later collected from the establishment; however, the refrigerated unit and preparation tables had been replaced, so additional swab samples could not be collected from those surfaces. The sample of sliced prosciutto was the only L. monocytogenes–positive sample identified at the restaurant; however, just 1 of the 2014 case-patients reported eating prosciutto (in an antipasto salad) at the restaurant. Other foods reported included green salad and coleslaw.

RIDOH tested a sample of prosciutto from an unopened package from the establishment and collaborated with the Food Safety and Inspection Service to see if the processing plant had recently tested positive for L. monocytogenes. The sample tested negative, and no positive tests had been reported at the plant in at least 1 year.

Conclusions

Epidemiologic, environmental, and laboratory investigation results implicated a restaurant with sanitation issues and improper sliced meat storage as the likely source of a multiyear listeriosis outbreak. A long incubation period makes WGS an effective technology to use during listeriosis outbreak investigations and to identify outbreak-associated cases originally believed to be sporadic cases. This technology can help overcome difficulties associated with investigating listeriosis cases and can be useful for the investigation of other pathogens. In this investigation, WGS (wgMLST) helped link the 2013 listeriosis case, which was originally believed to be a sporadic case, to the 2014 outbreak. Furthermore, given that the 4 isolates had a common PFGE pattern, this technology increased confidence that the restaurant, which was the only common restaurant among the 4 patients, was the source of the outbreak. The allelic differences observed are consistent with slow, spontaneous mutation occurring over a long period due to persistent contamination.

There is no set number of allelic differences used to determine whether clusters of cases are part of actual outbreaks (8). Thus, WGS is not sufficient by itself to identify outbreaks and must be performed in conjunction with epidemiologic, laboratory, and environmental investigations (8,9). In the investigation we describe, WGS was used in this supporting role. The close relationship that WGS showed between the clinical isolates and the isolate from meat provides additional evidence that the restaurant was the likely source of contamination for the cases in 2013 and 2014.

Our findings support the need to control L. monocytogenes at retail food establishments. Storing meat at <41°F (5°C) can prevent ≈9% of listeriosis cases (2). In addition, retail delicatessens and food establishments can prevent L. monocytogenes–associated illnesses among customers by controlling cross-contamination, cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces, and eliminating environmental niches.

Mr. Barkley is a public health epidemiologist at the Center for Food Protection, Rhode Island Department of Health. His research interests include understanding risk factors of foodborne illness associated with retail food establishments.

Acknowledgment

We thank the Rhode Island State Laboratory for performing confirmatory L. monocytogenes testing on clinical and food samples and for coordinating PFGE and WGS testing; the Massachusetts William A. Hinton State Laboratory for performing PFGE testing of the clinical and food samples; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration for performing WGS of clinical and food samples, respectively.

References

  1. Ferreira V, Wiedmann M, Teixeira P, Stasiewicz MJ. Listeria monocytogenespersistence in food-associated environments: epidemiology, strain characteristics, and implications for public health. J Food Prot. 2014;77:150–70.DOIPubMed
  2. United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service. Best practices guidance for controllingListeria monocytogenesin retail delicatessens. June 2015 [cited 2016 Feb 1].http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/29d51258-0651-469b-99b8-e986baee8a54/Controlling-LM-Delicatessens.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
  3. Le VT, Diep BA. Selected insights from application of whole-genome sequencing for outbreak investigations. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2013;19:432–9. DOIPubMed
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Advanced molecular detection (AMD). AMD projects: learning from Listeria [cited 2015 Oct 23]. http://www.cdc.gov/amd/project-summaries/listeria.html
  5. Jackson B, Jackson K, Tarr C, Evans P, Klimke W, Kubota K, Improving detection and investigation of listeriosis outbreaks using real-time whole-genome sequencing. Presented at: IDWeek 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; 2014 Oct 8–12.
  6. Larsen MV, Cosentino S, Rasmussen S, Friis C, Hasman H, Marvig RL, Multilocus sequence typing of total-genome-sequenced bacteria. J Clin Microbiol. 2012;50:1355–61. DOIPubMed
  7. Benson DA, Clark K, Karsch-Mizrachi I, Lipman DJ, Ostell J, Sayers EW. GenBank. Nucleic Acids Res. 2015;43:D30–5.DOIPubMed
  8. Jackson B. Everything in sequence: listeriosis outbreak investigations in the era of WGS. Presented at: Integrated Foodborne Outbreak Response and Management (InFORM) 2015 Conference; Phoenix, AZ, USA; 2015 Nov 17–20.
  9. Leekitcharoenphon P, Nielsen EM, Kaas RS, Lund O, Aarestrup FM. Evaluation of whole genome sequencing for outbreak detection of Salmonella enterica.PLoS One. 2014;9:e87991. DOIPubMed

Whole-genome sequencing detection of ongoing Listeria contamination at a restaurant, Rhode Island, USA, 2014

Emerging Infectious Diseases, Volume 22, Number 8, August 2016

Jonathan S. Barkley , Michael Gosciminski, and Adam Miller

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/22/8/15-1917_article

Raw cat food recalled

We returned to Australia, last night, staying up until 2 or 3 a.m.

sorenne.cat.trip.jun.16No hockey for me at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.

The seven hours in the air from Paris to Dubai, then 13 hours from Dubai to Brisbane, plus all the waiting, is a tad overrated.

This was Sorenne at noon Saturday, as we were going to go get some stuff.

She missed her cat.

And apparently sleep.

We do not feed any pets raw food.

Radagast Pet Food, Inc. (Portland, OR) has announced a voluntary recall of four lots of frozen Rad Cat Raw Diet products, sold in 8oz., 16oz., and 24oz. tubs, and free 1oz sample cups, due to the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes.

Pets with Salmonella or Listeria monocytogenes infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets may have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

5_cupsThe FDA third party contracted lab found two lots of Grass-Fed Beef tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, one lot of Free-range Chicken tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, and one lot of Free-range Turkey tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. As a precautionary measure, we are voluntarily recalling three products produced in these four lots.

All affected lot codes 62384, 62361, 62416, and 62372 and Best By dates are located on the lid of all products packaged in tubs and on the bottom of the sample cups.

The following recalled products were distributed in western Canada and all US States except in HI and MS.

Please do not return any of these recalled products to the retailer and dispose in a secure garbage receptacle. For refund claims, fill out all sections of our Consumer Claims Form which can be found on our website www.RadFood.com disclaimer icon and return this form only to the retailer where you purchased the product for a refund. Consumers may call Radagast Pet Food, Inc. for assistance in filling out the Claim Form.

RTE salad storage temps should be reduced in Sweden

Prepacked ready-to-eat mixed ingredient salads (RTE salads) are readily available whole meals that include a variety of ingredients such as raw vegetables, cooked meat, and pasta.

rte.salad.swedenAs part of a trend toward healthy convenience foods, RTE salads have become an increasingly popular product among consumers. However, data on the incidence of foodborne pathogens in RTE salads are scarce.

In this study, the microbiological safety of 141 RTE salads containing chicken, ham, or smoked salmon was investigated. Salad samples were collected at retail and analyzed using standard methods for Listeria monocytogenes, Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC), pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica, Salmonella, and Campylobacter spp.L. monocytogenes was isolated from two (1.4%) of the RTE salad samples.

Seven (5.0%) of the samples were positive for the ail gene (present in all human pathogenic Y. enterocolitica isolates) and three (2.1%) of the samples were positive for the Shiga toxin genes stx 1 and/or stx 2. However, no strains of pathogenic Y.enterocolitica or STEC were isolated.

Thus, pathogens were found or suspected in almost 1 of 10 RTE salads investigated, and pathogenic bacteria probably are present in various RTE salads from retail premises in Sweden.

Because RTE salads are intended to be consumed without heat treatment, control of the ingredients and production hygiene is essential to maintain consumer safety. The recommended maximum storage temperature for RTE salads varies among countries but can be up to 8°C (e.g., in Sweden). Even during a short shelf life (3 to 5 days), storage at 8°C can enable growth of psychrotrophs such as L. monocytogenes and Y. enterocolitica. The maximum storage temperature should therefore be reduced.

Foodborne bacterial pathogens in retail prepacked ready-to-eat mixed ingredient salads

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 6, June 2016, pp. 896-1055, pp. 978-985(8)

Söderqvist, Karin; Thisted Lambertz, Susanne; Vågsholm, Ivar; Boqvist, Sofia

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/iafp/jfp/2016/00000079/00000006/art00011

This couldn’t be any more Canadian if … Smoked Maple Syrup Salmon recalled due to Listeria

This recall couldn’t be any more Canadian unless it somehow involved fornicating in a canoe surrounded by beavers.

John Oliver has better writers, so regarding a Canadian Senate expense audit, he said, “This scandal couldn’t be any more Canadian if public money was used to get Drake to drink maple syrup on Niagara Falls.”

20160616ca_1466115557396_engAtkins Et Frères Inc. is recalling Atkins & Frères brand Smoked Maple Syrup Salmon from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product.

The recalled product has been sold at the Atkins Et Frères Inc. retail store located in Mont-Louis, Quebec.

If you think you became sick from eating or drinking a recalled product, call your doctor.

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

This recall was triggered by the company. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Another Whole Foods edition

Condensation from ceiling pipes dripping on food. Sounds like a familiar food safety risk.

whole.foodsBut nasty things like engineering concerns are of little concern to new-age companies doing its utmost to squeeze more profits by dressing up crap with adjectives.

Megan Woolhouse of the Boston Globe reports the Food and Drug Administration has warned Whole Foods Markets to resolve serious violations found at a regional food preparation facility in Everett after inspectors discovered condensation from ceiling pipes dripping on food, as well as evidence of Listeria.

Last week, the federal agency sent a lengthy letter to Whole Foods citing an extensive list of food safety violations during multiple visits in February to the company’s kitchen in Everett, which makes ready-to-eat foods for 74 stores in Northeastern states.

The agency said Whole Foods’ initial response to the violations was unacceptable because the company did not offer sufficient documentation about how it would correct the problems at the 70,000-square-foot facility and ensure compliance with health and safety rules.

“FDA has serious concerns that our investigators found your firm operating under these conditions,” according to the June 8 warning letter, which was first reported by Bloomberg.

Whole Foods’ global vice president of operations, Ken Meyer, said in a statement issued Tuesday evening that he was “honestly surprised” by the warning and that the company has taken “thorough and tangible steps” to address problems. “We’ve been in close contact with the FDA, opened our doors to inspectors regularly since February, and worked with them to address every issue brought to our attention,” Meyer said.

FDA inspectors who visited the Everett plant, known as Whole Foods Market North Atlantic Kitchen, wrote that they saw condensation dripping onto surfaces where dishes such as pesto pasta and mushroom quesadillas were being prepared or stored, as well as uncovered barrels of egg salad “that were placed in an area below the condenser. Condensate was observed to be dripping at a rate of approximately once per second.”

ass.whole.foodsThe FDA inspectors also found a type of Listeria that indicated the presence of a more severe form of the germ when they tested swabs of more than 100 surfaces throughout the facility. The letter said it found Listeria welshimeri, a form of the bacteria that the FDA said is an indicator of the probable presence of Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially deadly form of the bacteria.

In one instance, the inspectors found that a hand-washing station did not have hot water, yet was used by employees returning from a break before they began preparing food. Inspectors also said they saw an employee spray ammonium-based sanitizer on an open colander of salad greens and found sheet pans used for raw meats and ready-to-eat food products soaking in tanks with inadequate levels of sanitizer.

Yum.

The letter further cited problems with workers using improperly diluted disinfectant in heavier than necessary amounts to clean vegetables.

Whole Foods has 15 business days to respond to the FDA’s letter.

The Everett facility warning is a blow for a company that is generally known for the pride it takes in high-quality products, which typically come with a high price tag. The Austin, Texas based chain is also widely credited with helping to bring about the organic food revolution.

But fancy food ain’t safe food.

One of the most worrisome findings, said Mel Kramer, president of EHA Consulting Group Inc., a Baltimore firm that advises restaurants and food manufacturers on food safety, was the inattention to how vegetables were washed. The use of too much disinfectant, he said, can lead to serious gastric problems such as diarrhea.

“This is pretty serious from a major company that the public generally looks to as a good actor,” said Kramer, who said he had reviewed the FDA warning letter at the request of the Globe. “An inspection is a picture, and the picture during those inspections was pretty poor.”

The Everett warning also comes seven months after Whole Foods voluntarily recalled products prepared and packaged in the same Everett kitchen facility, including curry chicken salad and classic deli pasta salad, after a routine inspection found possible Listeria contamination of the life-threatening sort, according to a list of product recalls posted on the FDA’s website.

Listeria and raw milk cheese: A risk assessment involving sheep

Semisoft cheese made from raw sheep’s milk is traditionally and economically important in southern Europe. However, raw milk cheese is also a known vehicle of human listeriosis and contamination of sheep cheese with Listeria monocytogenes has been reported.

sheep.milk.cheeseIn the present study, we have developed and applied a quantitative risk assessment model, based on available evidence and challenge testing, to estimate risk of invasive listeriosis due to consumption of an artisanal sheep cheese made with raw milk collected from a single flock in central Italy.

In the model, contamination of milk may originate from the farm environment or from mastitic animals, with potential growth of the pathogen in bulk milk and during cheese ripening. Based on the 48-day challenge test of a local semisoft raw sheep’s milk cheese we found limited growth only during the initial phase of ripening (24 hours) and no growth or limited decline during the following ripening period. In our simulation, in the baseline scenario, 2.2% of cheese servings are estimated to have at least 1 colony forming unit (CFU) per gram. Of these, 15.1% would be above the current E.U. limit of 100 CFU/g (5.2% would exceed 1,000 CFU/g). Risk of invasive listeriosis per random serving is estimated in the 10−12 range (mean) for healthy adults, and in the 10−10 range (mean) for vulnerable populations.

When small flocks (10–36 animals) are combined with the presence of a sheep with undetected subclinical mastitis, risk of listeriosis increases and such flocks may represent a public health risk.

Risk assessment of human listeriosis from semisoft cheeses made from raw sheep’s milk in Lazio and Tuscany

Roberto Condoleo, Ziad Mezher, Selene Marozzi, Antonella Guzzon, Roberto Fischetti, Matteo Senese, Stefania Sette, Luca Bucchini

Risk Analysis, June 2016, doi:10.1111/risa.12649

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/risa.12649/abstract;jsessionid=519D74728E4A34E1CE300B856B99D54B.f04t04

Too much Listeria from poor training? Maybe try an augmented reality approach

Listeria monocytogenes is the causative agent of the human illness called listeriosis. The data reported in the last 15 years of scientific literature concerning the relationship between this microorganism and the catering sector showed a permanent presence of the opportunistic pathogen through the years, though with low frequencies.

listeria4Even though the pathogenic capacity of L. monocytogenes is practically circumscribed to a few risk categories as pregnant women, newborns and different kinds of immunocompromised people, given its high case-fatality rate this disease represents the second cause of death for foodborne infection in Europe.

As it emerged from the reviewed literature, L. monocytogenes was recovered in many different food categories, which testifies the widespread of the pathogen in the food chain. The main causes of L. monocytogenes presence were poor microbiological quality of raw materials, cross-contamination, inadequate cleaning practices, improper storage temperature, inadequate preparation processes, and a lack in the training of staff on food hygiene.

In particular, cross-contamination of foods can be reduced by hand washing, use of gloves, separation of raw materials from end products, sanitation and disinfection of equipment and food contact surfaces, hence, a structured training program of staff on these practices is essential.

The occurrence of Listeria monocytogenes in mass catering: An overview in the European Union

International Journal of Hospitality Management, Volume 57, August 2016, Pages 9–17, doi:10.1016/j.ijhm.2016.05.005

Andrea Osimani, Francesca Clementi

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278431916300639

Food safety training is utilized in the food industry to provide employees with the needed knowledge on how to prevent foodborne illnesses. However, although there is evidence that current food safety training is effective in increasing employee knowledge, employees’ observed behaviors often do not change and, therefore, the risk of foodborne illness is not decreased. In this review we discuss several motivational theories and propose a unique use of augmented reality for training to increase compliance of employees in regards to safe handling of foods.

Taking food safety to the next level—An augmented reality solution

Journal of Foodservice Business Research

DOI:10.1080/15378020.2016.1185872

Dennis E. Beck, Philip G. Crandall, Corliss A. O’Bryan & Jessica C. Shabatura

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15378020.2016.1185872

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Listeria in UK goat’s milk cheese edition

According to the Mirror, a top artisan cheesemaker has been forced to recall a batch of goat’s cheese after staff discovered potentially deadly bacteria in the product.

Neal's Yard DairyNeal’s Yard Dairy, which is considered the forerunner of the British wholefood movement, discovered listeria in its Hay on Wye goats cheese during routine testing.

According to the Food Standard Agency (FSA) listeria monocytogenes can cause flu-like symptoms and can even lead to deadly meningitis.

FSA inspectors were alerted to the bacteria in the unpasteurised product by staff at the Neal’s Yard Creamery cheesemaking side of the business.

Described as London’s foremost cheese store, Neal’s Yard Dairy was founded in 1979 by Nick Saunders and Randolph Hodgson as a cheesemaker’s shop.

One of their first customers to the new store was Monty Python comedian John Cleese.

As a result of the tainted cheese, Neal’s Yard Creamery recalled all the Hay on Wye range and put up signs in all stores and market stalls that were supplied with the affected product.

The tainted batch was discovered when the cheesmaking side of the business, Neal’s Yard Creamery, tested its own products produced in Herefordshire.

Around 66 affected cheeses were found to have been sold to customers and the company recalled the products on May 20, before the Food Standards Agency official told them to do so today.

Not everything is wrong in Kansas (just most things): FDA takes action against food manufacturer for Listeria violations

The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas entered a consent decree of permanent injunction today between the United States and Native American Enterprises, LLC, located in Wichita, Kansas; its part-owner, William N. McGreevy; and its production manager, Robert C. Conner.

Native American Enterprises.beansThe U.S. Department of Justice brought the action on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for significant and ongoing violations of federal food safety laws and regulations. The complaint alleges that the company’s ready-to-eat (RTE) refried beans and sauces are adulterated in that they have been prepared, packed and/or held under unsanitary conditions whereby the food may have become contaminated with filth or have been rendered injurious to health.  

Native American Enterprises, LLC is a manufacturer and distributor of a variety of food, including RTE refried beans and sauces falling under FDA jurisdiction. The consent decree prevents the company from selling FDA-regulated products until it comes into compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act).

The FDA issued a letter to Native American Enterprises, LLC in August 2013 warning the company to promptly correct its violations or potentially face legal action. The FDA conducted several follow-up inspections of the company’s food processing facility and continued to observe unsanitary conditions at the facility, including unsanitary employee practices and persistent strains of Listeria Monocytogenes(L. mono), a dangerous human pathogen that can cause listeriosis, a life-threatening illness. People with compromised immune systems, the elderly, pregnant women, and developing fetuses are particularly susceptible to listeriosis.

The FDA used Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to identify persistent strains of L. mono at Native American Enterprises, LLC. WGS technology can show the relationship among isolates of bacterial pathogens found in the environment, a food source, or a person who became ill from consuming contaminated food.

“When a company repeatedly violates food safety laws and procedures they are putting the public at serious risk,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “The FDA took action against Native American Enterprises, LLC to protect public health, and as a result, the company’s adulterated food products are prevented from entering the marketplace.”

Native American EnterprisesUnder the consent decree, the company cannot prepare, process, manufacture, pack, and/or label FDA-regulated food products until it demonstrates that its facility and processing equipment are suitable to prevent contamination. Native American Enterprises, LLC must, among other things, retain an independent laboratory to collect and analyze samples for the presence of L. mono, retain an independent sanitation expert and develop a program to control L. mono and to eliminate unsanitary conditions at its facility. Should the company be permitted to resume operations in the future, the FDA maintains oversight over such operations under this consent decree and may order the company to take corrective actions if the agency discovers further food safety violations.

To date, no illnesses have been reported from Native American Enterprises, LLC’s products. Individuals who have eaten products purchased from the company should contact a health care professional if they experience any symptoms of listeriosis.  In addition, consumers are encouraged to contact the FDA to report problems with FDA-regulated products.

The company also manufactures meat and poultry products, which fall under U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulations. While the consent decree does not apply to USDA-regulated products, the FDA and USDA FSIS have and will continue to work closely together. USDA FSIS recently performed an investigation at the establishment and the company is currently operating under an FSIS enforcement verification plan when producing USDA-regulated products.