Here’s an update on some food safety stories we have talked about on the blog.
We’ve previously written about the debate in Oregon over wearing gloves when handling food. On July 1, 2012, the new law regulating no bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food was set to go into effect. In response, the Oregon restaurant industry banded together to fight the new law. The industry was able to get a couple of government officials to listen to their complaints.
Then restaurateurs convinced these government officials that outlawing bare hand contact with food was unnecessary. As a result, Oregon chefs can now handle food with bare hands. They cited increased waste and the disconnection chefs would have with their food if required to wear gloves. They will be convening a group of interested parties to devise a plan to combat norovirus and preventing fecal oral contamination. You can read the whole report here.
There have been debates over this rule all over the world, and this is the first time I’ve seen the restaurant industry win. Could this start a trend?
Recently, we talked about 2 outbreaks. One with salmonella-contaminated tuna scrape and another with an unknown cause. The tuna scrape outbreak eventually ran its course, causing illness in 390 people.
The E. coli O145 outbreak resulted in 18 reported cases, an increase from 15. The CDC did a very exhaustive and extensive investigation but were unable to identify the cause. Two years ago there were 2 outbreaks with E. coli O145—one for lettuce and the other for smoked meats. Read the final CDC report.
On June 4, 2012, the USDA began testing for 6 more strains of E. coli. It has tested 110 samples. Three of those tested positive for the new strains. The USDA also conducted 5 follow-up analyses of beef that had previoulsy been flagged for potential contamination. One of these 5 also tested positve, yielding a 20 percent contamination rate among the follow-up samples. You can read the results chart here.
Originally published on 7.23.12