It seems like most of the time when we hear about foodborne-illness outbreaks tied to restaurants, they’re linked to lower-priced chain eateries. So, when the Copenhagen eatery dubbed the world’s best restaurant three years running reports an outbreak of norovirus that sickened 63 guests at last count, the media takes notice.
News reports abounded about Noma’s outbreak last month of norovirus, an easily transmitted disease “that is rarely fatal but that causes millions of cases of severe gastroenteritis each year,” according to Time. Norovirus causes about 20 million U.S. cases annually, and this year may turn out worse with the spread of a new strain called GII 4 Sydney, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first hint of the Copenhagen outbreak came on Feb. 14, when a Danish couple e-mailed the restaurant, known for its locally sourced Nordic cuisine, to say they had become sick after eating there. (read more…)
In the weeks since news broke that frozen burgers and other beef meals at U.K. supermarkets were found to contain horse DNA, the scandal has spread from the original processing plants in Ireland to include food from major companies including Nestle.
For many Americans, the thought of eating horse is as unthinkable as serving up the family pet on a plate. It’s the same for many in Britain, where meals labeled as beef likely would have languished on shelves if the packages advertised horse. But for others in Europe, horse meat is a delicacy that’s in high demand, including at Khublai Khans Mongolian Restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland, as shown in this Deadline News video.
The scandal has proved positive for traditional butchers in the U.K., as consumers used to spending a significant portion of their food budget on processed and prepared meals turn to them in search of transparency and a safer beef source, according to CCTV International. (read more…)
A report out this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 1 in 5 foodborne illnesses comes from leafy greens and fully half of all 48 million annual food poisoning cases can be traced back to produce, according to multiple media outlets.
They came complete with requisite scary headlines, such as “Vegetables big culprit in food illness,” “CDC: Leafy greens most common culprit behind food poisoning” and “Leafy greens, dairy top foodborne illness causes at turn of the 21st century,” and I’m guessing you’ve not only read some of the stories but also heard about them from your restaurants’ patrons.
At first glance, it’s enough to scare any of us away from the salad bar. But not so fast — the agency isn’t telling us to quit eating our veggies, but it is reminding us to take precautions to avoid getting sick, writes ConsumerAffairs‘ Mark Huffman. While the produce is the vehicle for transmitting the pathogens, many of the illnesses that comes from the salad bowl are the result of contamination from cooks not taking proper precautions when preparing the food, the CDC report says. (read more…)
U.S. consumers spent about $30 billion on organic foods and beverages last year, up 9.4% from 2010 and significantly more than the $1 billion they spent in 1990, according to data from the Organic Trade Association. Organic food sales rose 21% in 2000 and saw strong annual growth until the recession hit in 2007; sales growth hit a low of 5.1% in 2009, before beginning to turn around the following year, but even in the tightest economic times, organic demand never declined and 78% of families now say they are opting for some organic foods.
Various studies — and sometimes different interpretations of the same studies — may differ on the nutritional benefits of opting for organic, but few argue against the idea that food raised without chemical pesticides comes to the plate cleaner. A much-quoted Stanford University Medical School study released this year found that organic foods aren’t any more nutritious than their conventional counterparts, but it did point out that it was 30% less likely to contain chemical residue. (read more…)
Last August, the nonprofits Center for Food Safety and Center for Environmental Health filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration, alleging the agency was taking much too long to formulate rules and failing to implement and enforce the Food Safety Modernization Act, the first U.S. food-safety overhaul in 70 years, which became law nearly two years ago.
In late November, the FDA filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, saying it needed more time to complete the complex process of formulating rules to regulate safety in the $450 billion domestic and imported food business, as Reuters reported.
The lawsuit claims the agency repeatedly missed deadlines for issuing final regulations, and seeks a court order compelling the FDA and the Office of Management and Budget to enforce the laws, which were created to help protect the millions of people sickened annually by foodborne illnesses. (read more…)