Defunct peanut plant to be auctioned next week after 2012 Salmonella outbreak

In fall, 2012, 41 people in 20 states contracted Salmonella from natural and organic peanut butter, produced by Sunland Inc. of Portales, New Mexico, and primarily through purchases at Trader Joe’s.

By Nov. 2012, Sunland was eager to reopen, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had other ideas, and filed a permanent injunction against Sunland.

In May, 2013, Sunland announced it was back in production and company officials said their barf-inducing coveted natural and organic butters could be back on store shelves sunland_20120925084929_320_240within a month.

By Oct. 2013 they were bankrupt.

Food safety can do that to an operation.

Now, the plant is headed to the auction block.

According to the Associated Press, the reserve price for all bidders in Thursday’s auction is $18.5 million. That’s the amount California-based Ready Roast Nut Co. already has offered to buy the defunct Sunland Inc. plant.

The sale seemed imminent when a bankruptcy trustee backed Ready Roast’s offer. But the Clovis News Journal reports another potential buyer has emerged.

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has scheduled a hearing Friday to accept or reject the best bid in the auction.

Safe because it’s organic? Link found between moose meat and Toxoplasma in unborn baby

A woman in Alaska who ate a medium-rare moose steak at week 26 of her pregnancy gave birth prematurely at 34 weeks because of a toxoplasmosis infection.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, Lauren Hamm’s 34-week moose-steaksprenatal checkup was only supposed to be 10 minutes.

But she left the hospital 96 hours later. Her son, born prematurely, didn’t leave the neonatal intensive care unit for another three weeks.

Doctors said the meat was infected with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can be found in under-cooked game meat. It causes toxoplasmosis, an infection that brings mild flu-like symptoms, like swollen glands, in adults but can be deadly to an unborn child. Hamm’s story was published in the September issue of Alaska Medicine.

Doctors said Hamm had the infection and passed it on to her unborn baby, Bennett. He was born on Dec. 13, 2011, with a heart rate of 200 beats per minute, Hamm said. He had fluid around his organs and lesions on his eyes and brain. Hamm said 45 minutes after Bennett was born, his heart rate was still irregular. Doctors used a defibrillator and shocked his heart back into rhythm.

“I had a prayer in my heart that everything was going to be OK,” she said.

Her doctor, Nelson Isada, a perinatologist at Providence Alaska Medical Center, was the senior author of the article.

Hamm said Isada wondered why Bennett’s heart rate was so irregular, and he ran as many blood tests as he could on her newborn son. moose.alaskaAccording to the article, after Isada found the lesions on Bennett’s eyes, he started to piece together that the baby might have toxoplasmosis.

Isada later tested the moose meat from the family’s freezer and found that it tested positive for Toxoplasma gondii.

According to the article, humans can get Toxoplasma gondii in three ways: by eating under-cooked meat that contains the cysts where the parasite lives, by a mother during gestation, or ingesting the cysts while they are opening in foods, soil, water or a cat’s litter box.

He said women who are pregnant can eat moose meat but they should make sure the meat is cooked all the way through. They should also cook beef, lamb and veal roasts or steaks to 145 degrees and pork, ground meat and wild game to 160 degrees.

Hamm said her husband shot the moose on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, and the family ate the steaks medium-rare, like they always do. She was 26 weeks pregnant.

She said she never considered it unsafe to eat moose meat, because it was organic.

Now, at 22 months old, baby Bennett’s lesions have healed and he is healthy.

What about the sprouts? ‘Organic’ cafe misled with veggie burger

Cancer sucks. So does foodborne illness, like for the 53 people, primarily women, who died in Germany in 2011 from eating raw sprouts.

A holistic wellness coach who says she felt “dirty” after eating a non-organic veggie burger at a Byron Bay cafe has apologized after an online “rant” about the food she was served.

‘Wellness warrior’ Jessica Ainscough vented on her blog after eating a burger she believed was 100 per cent organic, only to later discover it was organic.burger.jun.13‘not totally’ chemical-free.

The holistic health coach, who was in Byron Bay last week, follows a strict organic diet after overcoming cancer without using modern medicine.

In a June 18 post titled ‘BEWARE OF ORGANIC CAFES THAT LIE TO US’, Ms Ainscough said she was ‘pissed off’ that Manna Haven Cafe falsely claimed to be ‘vegan, raw and organic’.

The 26-year-old said she had initially been excited to find somewhere ‘safe’ for lunch and ordered the veggie Burger thinking it was organic.

The not-for-profit cafe’s menu describes its Big Burger as being ‘cancer fighting rather than cancer causing’ and vegan, low glycaemic index and a superfood.

“If a cafe claims to be organic and charge prices that reflect this, we should be able to trust that what they’re serving us is just that. Otherwise, it’s false advertising and on par with green washing.”

One of the cafe’s founders Anita Carvill saying she was shocked by the backlash.

“There was nowhere that said the burger was 100 per cent organic so I’m not sure how she got that impression,” Ms Carvill said.

“The options on the sign are just options, there is no false advertising.

Ms. Ainscough respoinded that, “The word ‘organic’ is the green light that tells us it’s safe to eat. It doesn’t matter if some of the ingredients are organic – if they’re mixed with conventional ingredients the whole dish is rendered poisonous to those of us who have to be so pedantic for the sake of our health and lives.”

Then avoid the sprouts. They tend to make people barf.

87 now sick; Townsend Farms has said nothing about its food safety procedures

As the frozen berry Hepatitis A outbreak reached 87 confirmed sick people, a former U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspection contract organic inspector said berry.blend.hep.athe outbreak was preventable.

Most are.

“I was a contract inspector under the USDA’s national organic programs for five years from 1998 until 2003,” said Mischa Popoff. And he fingers uncomposted manure rather than failures in human handwashing.

Organic cherry tomatoes recalled because of Salmonella in US

Alderman Farms Sales Corporation, Boynton Beach, Florida is recalling one pint containers of Certified Organic Cherry Tomatoes because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

This recall notice is being issued out of an abundance of caution.

An Alderman Farms’ wholesale customer in Florida purchased 10 cartons containing 12 one-pint containers of the affected cherry tomatoes on 5/22/13. aldermanThere were no other cherry tomatoes sold from this lot.

The cherry tomatoes are packaged in square-shaped clear plastic clamshell containers labeled as Alderman Farms Organic Cherry Tomato, UPC number 6317195594, with a net weight of one pint and an estimated shelf life of 10 days. The carton lot number affected by the recall is 13269. The clamshell packages are distributed in cartons labeled Alderman Farms. 

No illnesses have been associated with the product.

Alderman Farms became aware of the contamination after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration collected a sample of the cherry tomatoes located at Alderman Farms’ Packing facility located in Boynton Beach, Florida. The sample of lot number 13269 found the cherry tomatoes to be contaminated with Salmonella. Alderman Farms is investigating the source of the contamination. Alderman Farms conducted an independent test on the above mentioned lot and it was found to be negative of Salmonella.


Duh: Consumers finally figure out organic is an excuse to charge more


The first time I went to Amy’s house, I didn’t ask where the bedroom was, I looked in her fridge. If you invite me over I’ll do the same thing.

She had some organic lettuce mix (and this was in 2005 before the tragic 2006 outbreak on transitional organic spinach that killed at least vomit.toiletfour and sickened 200.

I asked her why she had that shit.

She said she thought it was healthier.

So do most people.

And that‘s why microbial food safety should be marketed at retail so consumers can choose.

But it seems other Americans are figuring this out for themselves.

More than half of Americans think an organic label is just an excuse to charge higher prices even though more people are concerned about the environment, according to a new Harris Poll.

The March survey found that 59 percent of respondents thought the organic label was just a business strategy. Men were the most skeptical, with 63 percent agreeing with the statement versus 54 percent of women.

The poll also found that although 38 percent of people are worried about the state of the environment (up from 31 percent last year), only 3 out of 10 people are willing to pay more for green products. Americans were divided on how easy it was to be green, with 49 percent saying it was “difficult” and 47 percent saying it was “easy.”

Michigan organic soy processor is under court order to meet FDA food safety standards

Green Hope LLC, which does business as Rosewood Products, and owner, Phi G. Ye, of Ann Arbor, Mich., have agreed to a consent decree of permanent injunction for violations of FDA food safety regulations. The consent decree was signed by Judge David M. Lawson of the U.S. rosewood.soyDistrict Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, on January 28, 2013. 

Several FDA inspections found persistent violations involving insanitary conditions at the facility, leading to possible contamination of food. The firm manufactures and distributes organic tofu, soy milk and other products. 

Under the consent decree, Green Hope must stop operations until the FDA approves the steps taken to bring its operations into full compliance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and FDA food safety regulations. The steps include hiring an independent expert to develop a written sanitation control program and an employee training program, and assigning a Green Hope employee to implement and maintain the sanitation control program.

The FDA may at any time re-inspect the facility to ensure that these measures are being carried out. In addition, Green Hope will pay all costs of FDA supervision, inspections, analyses, examinations and reviews associated with this consent decree.

“Consumers expect their foods to be safe,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “When foods are not manufactured under sanitary conditions, those who prepare, process and distribute those foods should expect FDA enforcement action.”

Sunland peanut butter plant closure angers New Mexico town

As the Salmonella in Sunland peanut butter outbreak that sickened 42 people in 20 states draws to a close, and as government types say their quick action averted a much bigger crisis, the people of Portales, New Mexico are pissed the sheriff showed up.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says 42 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney were reported from 20 states.

• 28% of ill persons were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported; and,

• 61% percent of ill persons were children under the age of 10 years.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration praised itself in a press release, saying more people would have fallen ill if not for fast action by federal and state public health agencies, although some are openly wondering if fast is two months after the FDA inspection that lead to the revoking bit, and two years after the last inspection found the place a bit of a dump.

But, like the XL-E. coli O157 debacle in Alberta last month, the bigger issue seems to be jobs, jobs, jobs.

“We had the best crop in years, and then these (expletives) came in and started this,” said resident and local telecomm worker Boyd Evans.

“Peanuts is, like, everything here,” said local shopkeeper Brittany Mignard.

Plant officials said they were blindsided by the FDA’s suspension on Monday. Just hours before it was announced, the plant had announced plans to start shelling the bumper crop on Tuesday. Plant officials said they had notified the FDA last week of their plans to reopen the processing operations while waiting for approval to resume making peanut butter.

The FDA said inspectors found samples of salmonella in 28 different locations in the plant, in 13 nut butter samples and in one sample of raw peanuts. Inspectors found improper handling of the products, unclean equipment and uncovered trailers of peanuts outside the facility that were exposed to rain and birds. Inspectors also said employees did not have access to hand-washing sinks, and dirty hands had direct contact with ready-to-package peanuts.

The FDA has inspected the plant at least four times over the past five years, each time finding violations. Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, said the agency’s inspections after the outbreak found even worse problems than what had been seen there before.


Oprah’s organics coming to a yuppie market near you

Lifestyle guru Oprah Winfrey is adding her weight to a popular lifestyle choice that has nothing to do with food safety by getting into the lucrative organic food biz.

The New York Post reports that according to online filings for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization, several applications for “Oprah’s Organics” were filed late last month. The filings are to use the name for bath soaps, sunscreen, massage oils, hair products — and also for organic salad dressings and frozen vegetables, soups, beverages and snack dips. Applications for “Oprah’s Farm” for a beverage and catering service and “Oprah’s Harvest” were also submitted for this

A rep for Winfrey told us: “The trademarks were filed for Oprah’s farm on Maui to enable the farm to grow and distribute produce on Maui and throughout the Hawaiian Islands.”

Botulism risk: consumers warned to not eat some soups sold at three Southern California farmers markets

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman today warned consumers not to eat soups from One Gun Ranch and Organic Soup Kitchen because they may have been improperly produced, making them susceptible to Clostridium botulinum.

Ingestion of botulinum toxin from improperly processed canned foods may lead to serious illness and death. No illnesses have been linked to any of the affected products at this time.

One Gun Ranch, a Malibu company, manufactured the following varieties of soups: Campfire Kitchen Cauliflower Soup, Heirloom Tomato Fennel Gaspacho Soup, Sequoia’s Skinny Spiced Coconut, Parsnip, and Turmeric Soup, Ossian’s Pumpkin Stew, and Freddy’s Firegrilled Meatballs. The soups were sold in 16-ounce glass jars with screw-on metal lids. Photographs of the affected soups’ packaging and labels are available on the CDPH website.

The soups were only sold at Pacific Palisades Farmers Market located at Swarthmore Avenue and Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades, CA on May 13, 2012 and June 3, 2012.

Organic Soup Kitchen, a Santa Barbara company, manufactured the following soups: Fire Roasted Yam, Curried Potato Leek, Curry Lentil Bisque, Tomato Bean and Wild Herb, and Mediterranean Chipotle Chili. The soups were sold under the Organic Soup Kitchen label and are packaged in one-quart glass jars with screw-on metal lids. Photographs of the affected soups’ packaging and labels are available on the CDPH website.

The soups were sold between June 6, 2011 and May 6, 2012, at the following farmers markets:

Calabasas Farmers Market located at Calabasas Road and El Canon Avenue, Calabasas, CA 91302 (Saturdays)
Studio City Farmers Market located at Ventura Place between Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Radford Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604 (Sundays)

CDPH is working with both companies to ensure these products are no longer available for sale.