Long-Time FQ&S Staffer Retires
After working 17 years on Food Quality & Safety, Ken Potuznik, senior account manager, will retire on Dec. 31, 2018, from John Wiley & Sons. During his tenure on the magazine, Potuznik was well-known for his good-natured business savvy. He developed valuable client relationships that helped create innovative media communication programs and was a fixture at all of the major food conferences for nearly two decades, freely sharing his insights about the industry. In addition to John Wiley & Sons, Potuznik’s prolific publishing career included working for Putman Media and Cahners Business Information. The Food Quality & Safety staff sincerely thank him for his dedication to ensuring the continual success of the publication.
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The U.S. FDA releases a final guidance that can be downloaded on its website regarding its mandatory recall authority under FSMA. The final guidance provides questions and answers on FDA’s process, explains what FDA considers when moving forward with a mandatory recall, and more. FDA has issued a mandatory recall order of a food product only once. In April 2018, FDA issued a mandatory recall order for all food products containing powdered kratom manufactured, processed, packed, or held by Triangle Pharmanaturals after several products were found to contain Salmonella. In two other instances, FDA started down the path of using its mandatory recall authority until the companies ultimately chose to voluntarily recall their product.
FDA also releases its findings from the initial phase of a 10-year study that is evaluating trends in food preparation practices and employee behaviors that contribute to foodborne illness outbreaks in retail. The “Report on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Fast Food and Full Service Restaurants, 2013-2014” represents the first data collection period, which will conclude in 2023. Data from the 2013-2014 collection will be used as a baseline to assess trends in the occurrence of risk factors during subsequent data collections. Key findings during this period showed there remains a need to gain better control over employee handwashing and proper temperature control of foods that require refrigeration (cold holding of foods). FDA’s National Retail Food Team will continue to work with stakeholders, such as the National Restaurant Association, National Council of Chain Restaurants, restaurant chain companies, and state restaurant associations in addressing food safety behaviors/practices in need of attention.
Sources of Foodborne Illnesses
The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) releases a report titled “Foodborne Illness Source Attribution Estimates for 2016 for Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter Using Multi-Year Outbreak Surveillance Data, United States.” IFSAC analyzed data from just over 1,000 foodborne disease outbreaks that occurred from 1998 through 2016. The implicated foods were divided into 17 categories for the analysis, and the method gives the greatest weight to the most recent five years of outbreak data (2012–2016). Of note in the report: Salmonella illnesses came from a wide variety of foods; E. coli O157 illnesses were most often linked to vegetable row crops (such as leafy greens) and beef; Listeria monocytogenes illnesses were most often linked to dairy products and fruits; and most foodborne Campylobacter outbreaks were associated with unpasteurized milk, which is not widely consumed—these outbreaks likely over-represent dairy as a source of Campylobacter illness. The updated estimates combined with other data might help shape agency priorities and support the development of regulations and performance standards, among other activities.
Thirty-one percent of diners say they would avoid eating at other locations of a chain restaurant if just one location was involved in a foodborne illness outbreak, according to Steritech’s Diners Dish e-book. The e-book includes insights from a survey that tackled consumer preference and behavior in several key revenue-driving areas, including delivery, online reviews and social media, public health and cleanliness, and foodborne illness. It also found that 41% of those surveyed say a restaurant’s health department score factors into their decision on where to dine. The e-Book can be downloaded here.