WBEZ | food safety http://www.wbez.org/tags/food-safety Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Advocates say new food cart rules taste bittersweet http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/advocates-say-new-food-cart-rules-taste-bittersweet-112955 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Fruit cup 3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-114682cd-d82b-5f16-81bf-bc8775e48e21">This week, Chicago Alderman Emma Mitts did something she&rsquo;d never done before: She ate her first elote, the grilled corn on the cob that&rsquo;s a popular street food in Mexico.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A little hot, but it was good, and I see why the kids like it,&rdquo; she said at a City Council hearing Wednesday.</p><p dir="ltr">But that bite of corn on the street wasn&rsquo;t just tasty &mdash; it was also illegal.</p><p dir="ltr">According to advocates, there are nearly 2,000 vendors pushing carts of fresh fruit, elotes and other snacks around Chicago, despite laws forbidding it. But Wednesday, a City Council committee passed an ordinance that&rsquo;s long been in the works to not only license these vendors, but to punish those who operate illegally.</p><p dir="ltr">Sponsoring Alderman Roberto Maldonado (a self-proclaimed fan of elotes) called the License and Consumer Protection Committee&#39;s support for his ordinance &ldquo;historic.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;At a time when the national debate has turned toward demeaning our immigrant population, we must strengthen our laws to bring our immigrant entrepreneurs out of the shadows and give them the respect and legitimacy they deserve,&rdquo; Maldonado said.</p><p dir="ltr">The <a href="https://chicago.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&amp;ID=3755517&amp;GUID=AEE49835-4E57-409A-81D2-80965444258D">ordinance</a> would legitimize most of what push cart vendors do already. It would allow them to sell fresh fruit or food on carts around the city&rsquo;s neighborhoods, as long as they take classes, get permits and pay fees: $350 for a business license and more than $300 in shared kitchen fees over two years.</p><p dir="ltr">But what bothers advocates most is the provision that forbids vendors from preparing food on the cart, meaning all food would have to be cooked, cut, seasoned, packaged and sealed before vendors leave licensed kitchens.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think we&rsquo;ve reached a great compromise. Like always no ordinance is [ever] perfect but it&rsquo;s a work in progress, something that we&rsquo;re all willing to start with,&rdquo; Maldonado said.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The prepackaged and pre-seasoned provision comes as a response to concerns from the Chicago Department of Public Health. Although the department acknowledges there has never been a single reported incident of foodborne illness connected to the food carts, it insists that on-cart prep is dangerous.</p><p dir="ltr">The agency is &ldquo;committed to ensuring the food Chicagoans eat is safe&hellip;[Because] food carts are not required to have hand washing capabilities on them. Having food that is not prepackaged would be unsanitary and unsafe,&rdquo; the department said in a statement.</p><p dir="ltr">Still, for many, the fresh preparation and customization of condiments (chile, salt, lime, cheese) are part of the appeal.</p><p dir="ltr">Vicky Lugo, who serves as the vice president of the Association of Mobile Vendors, knows the rules are less than ideal.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I am not in favor of this product being pre-cut because products that are pre-cut and sold in stores are not fresh,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;But right now [vendors] will take whatever the city will approve because as it is now there is no license for them.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The plan, says Lugo and others, is to start here and then move toward fresher options later.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We are trying to push for a last prep step where vendors could possibly cut the fruit at the cart and for the corn add the mayo and cheese and that stuff,&rdquo; she said.</p><p dir="ltr">Beth Kregor of the Institute for Justice on Entrepreneurship has been working on this issue for years. She notes that the licensing rules, if passed by the full council, could apply to all sorts of foods.</p><p dir="ltr">Vendors would be allowed to sell pretty much anything they, or others, prepared &mdash; as long as they were packaged in a licensed kitchen. During the hearings she spoke eloquently about the measure&rsquo;s potential.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We should pass this ordinance because those vendors will be the next immigrant who earns her way in this country,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo; The next business owners serving up culture, cuisine and commerce in our community spaces, one customer at a time. And the next parent who built a better life for his child by working hard and following the rules.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">A <a href="https://www.illinoispolicy.org/reports/chicagos-food-cart-ban-costs-revenue-jobs/">recent survey by the Illinois Policy Institute</a> estimated that the 1,500 food-cart vendors in Chicago make an estimated $35.2 million in annual sales.</p><p>The ordinance still needs the full city council&rsquo;s approval, which is scheduled to meet next Thursday. The law would then take effect 30 days after passage.</p><p><br /><em>Monica Eng covers food and health for WBEZ. Follow her at <a href="http://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng.</a> Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian.</a></em></p></p> Wed, 16 Sep 2015 16:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/advocates-say-new-food-cart-rules-taste-bittersweet-112955 Do new FDA actions endanger your favorite cheese? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/do-new-fda-actions-endanger-your-favorite-cheese-110802 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rush-creek.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago cheese lovers looking for some traditional French cheeses may be out of luck this year.</p><p>&ldquo;There are certain cheeses we simply aren&#39;t seeing at all at the moment, like Morbier,&rdquo; says Greg O&rsquo;Neil co-owner of Pastoral Cheese Bread &amp; Wine in Lakeview and the Loop. &ldquo;This is unfortunate, because it is a classic and a mover.&rdquo;</p><p>Newly enforced federal guidelines have <a href="http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/CMS_IA/importalert_9.html">stopped many types of imported </a>raw milk cheeses--including Morbier and Roquefort-- at the border in the last six months due to levels of non-toxigenic E. coli.</p><p>So what&rsquo;s wrong with non-toxigenic E. coli?</p><p>WBEZ asked the Food and Drug Administration and a representative sent this:</p><p>&ldquo;While these bacteria don&rsquo;t cause illness, their presence suggests that the cheese was produced in unsanitary conditions.&rdquo;</p><p>This statement runs contrary to 2009 draft guidance by the FDA stating:</p><p>&ldquo;Because of the close association of raw milk with the animal environment, low levels of <em>Escherichia coli </em>may be present in raw milk or products made from raw milk, even when properly produced using GMPs. However, the presence of <em>Escherichia coli </em>in a cheese and cheese product made from raw milk at a level greater than 100 MPN/g (Most Probable Number per gram) indicates insanitary conditions&hellip;&rdquo;</p><p>And so if, according to this 2009 FDA draft, &nbsp;non toxigenic E. coli numbers under 100 MPN can occur in raw milk cheeses under GMP (good manufacturing practices), why did the FDA move in 2010 to lower that number by 90 percent for all dairy? &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>That&rsquo;s a question the American Cheese Society posed to the FDA last week.</p><p>&ldquo;We want to know if there is research data, linkages to foodborne illnesses or a public health risk,&rdquo; said ACS executive director Nora Weiser. &ldquo;Because it&rsquo;s important for us to know if that exists and if that is why they have lowered this standard.&rdquo;</p><p>But, as of press time, the agency said it was still working on an explanation for its 2010 guideline.</p><p>The American Cheese Society is not the only entity cheesed off by the recent enforcement of the guidelines. Chicagoist writer Erika Kubick detailed her concern <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2014/09/11/the_war_on_raw_cheese_continues.php">here.</a>&nbsp;And the Cheese Importers Association of America is gearing up to confront the FDA soon.</p><p>&ldquo;The CIAA would like to reinforce our concern that the FDA is taking regulatory action without recognizing the historic safety of imported cheeses like Roquefort,&quot; the organization said in a statement. &quot;We completely agree that food safety is at the forefront of this decision. However, as was have done with the <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm400808.htm">wood board aging issue</a>, the FDA is promoting regulation without taking all factors into consideration. This action was discussed at the recent CIAA board meeting, and our concerns will be communicated to the FDA shortly.&rdquo;</p><p>If the presence of non-toxigenic E. coli in raw milk cheese posed a threat to American health, certainly the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would know about it, right? Well, not really.</p><p>The CDC had nothing on its website about the bacteria so WBEZ contacted CDC press officer Christine Pearson. She said she would try to get some information on non-toxigenic E. coli but didn&rsquo;t have an easy time of it.</p><p>She wrote back saying: &ldquo;I heard back from one of my experts that nontoxigenic is not a term that we use.&rdquo; Follow up questions last Friday remained unanswered.</p><p>This lack of clarity and explanation isn&rsquo;t just affecting cheese imports. It also prompted award-winning Uplands Wisconsin cheesemaker Andy Hatch to skip making his famous Rush Creek Reserve raw milk cheese this fall.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m intimidated by the lack of consensus or clarity,&rdquo; Hatch told WBEZ&rsquo;s Chewing the Fat food podcast. &ldquo;I think most cheesemakers are saying the same thing. We&rsquo;re not exactly sure how they&rsquo;re approaching these cheeses...And it&rsquo;s also so perishable so that if anything should hold up shipment, the window for sale is really tight, and so one little hiccup and you&rsquo;ve spoiled months of work.&rdquo;</p><p>International cheesemakers whose products have been &ldquo;Red Listed&rdquo; by the non-toxigenic E. coli guidelines have already been hurt by this hiccup. The questions remains, why?</p><p>Consumers who want to comment on the FDA rules can still do so <a href="http://http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2009-D-0466-0008.">here</a>.</p><p><em>WBEZ will stay on this story and update it when the FDA responds to the American Cheese Society on the problems posed by exceeding 10 MPN per gram of non-toxigenic E. coli in raw milk cheese.</em></p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/do-new-fda-actions-endanger-your-favorite-cheese-110802 Chemical found on U.S. apples banned in Europe over safety concerns http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chemical-found-us-apples-banned-europe-over-safety-concerns-110066 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Apples.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The European Union has banned a chemical commonly found on non-organic U.S. apples due to safety concerns, according to a new analysis by advocacy organization <a href="http://www.ewg.org/release/most-us-apples-coated-chemical-banned-europe-0" target="_blank">Environmental Working Group</a>.</p><p>The compound in question is called diphenylamine (DPA) and it&rsquo;s used to keep apples fresh in storage. Tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2010 (the most recent round) found DPA on 80 percent of U.S. apples.</p><p>Since 2008 European food authorities have been looking at the possibility that DPA could produce carcinogenic nitrosamines and other harmful byproducts when it interacts with other chemicals while in storage. In 2012, regulators concluded that makers of DPA had not proven the safety of the pesticide and banned it for use on EU apples and pears.</p><p>Last month, European regulators set DPA tolerance limits at .1 parts per million for all apple imports. The rule imposes a de facto ban on most American apples, whose average DPA concentration, in 2010, was found at .42 parts per million. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set DPA concentration limits for U.S. apples at 10 parts per million.</p><p>Today, Wendy Brannen, director of Consumer Health &amp; Public Relations at the U.S. Apple Association, told WBEZ that &ldquo;all U.S. apples are safe and healthy for all U.S. consumers.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The decisions made by the EU were not based on specific findings of risk,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It was rather an assessment that certain data were not provided in the re-registration process. It is my understanding that they have since been able to gather some of that data and they still have not found there to be any safety issues&hellip;Here, in the U.S., DPA usage is highly regulated. We are well below the tolerances that are set [by EPA] and there is no safety issue.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>EWG&rsquo;s senior scientist Sonya Lunder said Thursday in a statement:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;While it is not yet clear that DPA is risky to public health, European Commission officials asked the questions that the chemicals&rsquo; makers could not answer. The EC officials banned outright any further use of DPA on apples cultivated in the European Union until they are confident it is safe. Europe&rsquo;s action should cause American policymakers to take a new look at this chemical.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p></blockquote><p>Brannen says the European market is worth about $1.5 million a year in U.S. apple exports &nbsp;(about 1.7 percent of total US apple exports) and acknowledged that the ban was &ldquo;of concern.&rdquo;<br />&ldquo;This is something that I&rsquo;m sure our industry will look at and consider if we need to make any changes,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But those changes would have nothing to do with a safety or quality issue, just a matter of &lsquo;is there something we need to do to work more symbiotically with the EU&rsquo;.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>The U.S. EPA told WBEZ earlier this week that the agency&nbsp;<a href="http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/reevaluation/" target="_blank">re-evaluated DPA</a> in September 1997 and decided that the current EPA standards met &ldquo;reasonable certainty of no harm.&rdquo; The agency says that DPA would be examined as part of its ongoing review program, but it had no timetable for that process.</p><p>A statement from EPA included this response: &ldquo;If evidence arises to challenge the safety of this registered pesticide, EPA will take action.&rdquo;</p><p>DPA has been registered for use in the U.S. since 1962 to prevent &ldquo;storage scald&rdquo; or blemishes that can develop in storage and affect other apples in the container. Brannen says it &ldquo;helps us...to properly store the apples so that they come out fresh, crisp and tasty just like when they went into storage. From that point of view it is a very necessary compound for us to use and something we use for a specific purpose.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>On Thursday, EWG president Ken Cook <a href="http://static.ewg.org/pdf/2014-Letter-to-EPA.pdf" target="_blank">sent a letter</a> to the head of the EPA&rsquo;s pesticide office urging it to &ldquo;halt the use of DPA on U.S. fruit until a rigorous analysis by EPA of the chemical can prove that it poses a reasonable certainty of no harm to consumers.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the&nbsp;</em><em><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/chewing-fat-podcast-louisa-chu-and-monica-eng">Chewing the Fat</a></strong></em><em>&nbsp;podcast. Follow her at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a>&nbsp;or write to her at&nbsp;</em><em><a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a></em></p></p> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chemical-found-us-apples-banned-europe-over-safety-concerns-110066 Sometimes meat is worth the risk http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/sometimes-meat-worth-risk-106788 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sollysbutterburger.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Original Solly cheeseburger with sirloin patty, butter, stewed onions, and American cheese at Solly's Grille in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">And the losers are: ground beef and chicken. Those are the meats most likely to make you sick with severe foodborne illness cased by bacteria according to a study released today by the <a href="https://twitter.com/CSPI"><u>Center for Science in the Public Interest</u></a>. The non-profit advocate for nutrition, health, and food safety&nbsp;reviewed more than 33,000 cases of foodborne illness over a 12 year period.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Of course this is a complex issue with infinite variables. It starts at your meat source and ends at your plate.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>How can you reduce your risk? (Other than not eating ground beef or chicken.) CSPI senior food safety attorney Sarah Klein recommends safe food handling and a thermometer.</p><p>I recommend the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002GIZZWM?ie=UTF8&amp;creativeASIN=B002GIZZWM&amp;tag=lklchu-20"><u>Thermapen on the high end ($96)</u></a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A3L614?ie=UTF8&amp;creativeASIN=B000A3L614&amp;tag=lklchu-20"><u>ProAccurate Large Dial on the low ($8.99)</u></a>.</p>Most importantly wash your hands, but not your meat. Even the <a href="http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/basics/clean/"><u>USDA says so</u></a>. By the time you&#39;ve cooked your food to <a href="http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/meat_temperatures.html"><u>the recommended temperatures</u></a>, you&#39;ve killed the bacteria that might make you sick.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But the meats least likely to make you sick: chicken nuggets, sausage, and ham.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086200/quotes?item=qt0411699"><u>Sometimes you just gotta say &#39;what the heck.&#39;</u></a>&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&mdash; <em>Risky Business</em>, Joel&#39;s father</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Follow Louisa Chu <a href="https://twitter.com/louisachu"><u>@louisachu</u></a>.</em></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sollysbutterspread.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Solly's Grille in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 23 Apr 2013 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/sometimes-meat-worth-risk-106788 A look at how Japan’s food industry is recovering a year after deadly tsunami and nuclear disaster http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-06/look-how-japan%E2%80%99s-food-industry-recovering-year-after-deadly-tsunami-and- <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-06/japan2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It's been about a year since a devastating tsunami -- and an ensuing nuclear disaster -- hit Japan. Since then, the country's food supply has been under intense scrutiny, with radiation levels in some foods spiking far beyond government safety limits.</p><p>Today, on our occasional <a href="http://www.wbez.org/foodmondays" target="_blank"><em>Food Mondays</em></a> segment, <em>Worldview</em> talks to WBEZ food blogger <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu" target="_blank">Louisa Chu</a>. She just returned from a government sponsored trip to Japan’s east coast. While in Japan, Louisa visited some of the areas hardest hit by the tsunami and nuclear disaster. Louisa tells <em>Worldview</em> how the country's food industry is recovering from disaster.</p></p> Mon, 06 Feb 2012 15:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-06/look-how-japan%E2%80%99s-food-industry-recovering-year-after-deadly-tsunami-and- Worldview 9.22.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-92211 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//episode/images/2011-september/2011-09-22/libya1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>While other countries rallied to support Libya’s Transitional National Council, South Africa remained conspicuously quiet. Only this week did the government officially recognize the TNC. We talk to journalist James Kirchick who says the reluctance was, in part, due to the country’s fondness of Muammar Qaddafi. Also, this year, women around the world are taking to the streets – sometimes in their bras and underwear – as part of the "SlutWalk" protest movement. We talk to writer Zama Ndlovu, who says “SlutWalks” seem unproductive, and culturally insensitive, in her native South Africa. Lastly, we look at China, where food safety is a serious issue. Deaths from poisonous pet food and baby milk once dominated the headlines. We speak with Minxu Zhang, a Chinese student at Lake Forest College, who was in her home country this summer to establish a direct line of purchase between Chinese organic farmers and consumers.</p></p> Thu, 22 Sep 2011 14:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-92211 FDA And Food Safety: Always Something To Chew On http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-05/fda-and-food-safety-always-something-chew-86112 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>At a time when President Obama has asked federal agencies to <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703396604576088272112103698.html">scale back</a> on imposing new regulations, the Food and Drug Administration seems to be moving full steam ahead, at least on food safety.</p><p>The FDA issued two new <a href="http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm253983.htm">rules</a> asserting its authority over the safety of the food supply yesterday. It's also one of the only agencies that has successfully fought off budget cuts in recent <a href="http://strengthenfda.org/2011/04/30/just-the-time-for-a-little-speculation/">battles</a> on Capitol Hill.</p><p>And, as if to underscore the food safety challenge, a recall of grape tomatoes found at major <a href="http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/05/more-grape-tomatoes-recalled/">supermarket chains</a> has just been expanded to include some 22,000 pounds of <a href="http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_033_2011_Release/index.asp">ready-to-eat salads</a> on suspicion of salmonella contamination.</p><p></p><p>While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has authority over meat, the FDA oversees the safety of just about every other kind of food. And it has to work with state and local agencies, who do much of the actual inspecting.</p><p>In a time of austere budgets, the FDA has been asked to shift its food safety system from one that's reactive to one that's preventive under the new <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/12/22/132255747/president-to-sign-food-safety-bill-into-law-now-what">Food Safety Modernization Act</a>. And it has been repeatedly <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/06/08/127557388/fda-faulted-for-failing-on-food-safety">hammered</a> for not being up to the job. To get there, it's going to take some dough, says FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods <a href="http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OC/OfficeofFoods/ucm196721.htm">Mike Taylor</a>.</p><p>The agency's 2012 budget request would increase resource for food safety by about $183 million, building on the $1 billion the FDA has for its entire food program, including initiatives on labeling, another <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/01/25/133218481/New-Food-Labels-May-Be-More-Confusing-Than-Helpful">hot topic</a>.</p><p>"If we got the 2012 request and we got a couple more like it over the next few years,and got our base up to about $1.5 [billion] as opposed to $1.0 [billion], that, in ballpark terms, is what we think it will take," Taylor said at a Washington D.C. <a href="http://events.theatlantic.com/food-summit/2011/">food conference</a> last week.</p><p>The new FDA rules are part of the agency's roll out of the new law. One new FDA rule makes clear the agency's authority to keep food off the market that it suspects to be contaminated, without having to wait around to negotiate with states and the food companies themselves.</p><p>"This authority strengthens significantly the FDA's ability to keep potentially harmful food from reaching U.S. consumers," said Taylor.</p><p>The other rule would require food importers to let the FDA know if other countries have refused to allow their products from entering the country. This could help the agency more quickly identify the riskiest imports, the agency says, at a time when imported food accounts for at least <a href="http://www.ers.usda.gov/amberwaves/february08/datafeature/">15 percent</a> of the food consumed in this country.</p><p>Both rules take effect July 3. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1304614628?&gn=FDA+And+Food+Safety%3A+Always+Something+To+Chew+On&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=food+safety,Policy-ish,salmonella,FDA,Shots+-+Health+Blog,Health,Your+Health,Food,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136017558&c7=1128&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1128&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110505&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=133490675,133188445,129287928,129287924,103537970&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 05 May 2011 11:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-05/fda-and-food-safety-always-something-chew-86112 Consumers Claim Safeway Failed To Tell Them About Food Recalls http://www.wbez.org/story/business/2011-02-04/consumers-claim-safeway-failed-tell-them-about-food-recalls-81769 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//grocerycards_wide_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>If you think those shopper loyalty cards weighing down your wallet or key chain are only good for special discounts, you've overlooked a completely different sort of potential benefit.</p><p>Those colorful bits of bar-coded plastic also give stores a way to <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_15264783">track your purchases</a> that can help <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/montevideo/">federal investigators</a> hunt down the source of foodborne illness. And they can be used by the retailers to quickly let you know if food you bought has been recalled.</p><p>But there are broad differences among stores on how they use the cards to shore up food safety. And two consumers, backed by the <a href="http://cspinet.org/new/201102022.html">Center for Science in the Public Interest</a>, are putting <a href="http://shop.safeway.com/superstore/default.asp?brandid=1&page=corphome&cmpid=kw_ecom_swy_ongo_free">Safeway</a>'s Club Card to the test.</p><p></p><p>They filed a <a href="http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/safeway_complaint.pdf">lawsuit</a> Wednesday in a California court alleging that <a href="http://shop.safeway.com/superstore/default.asp?brandid=1&page=corphome&cmpid=kw_ecom_swy_ongo_free">Safeway</a> failed to notify them about tainted peanut butter and eggs they bought, despite having access to their contact information through their club cards.</p><p>One mom, Dee Hensley-Maclean of Montana, bought peanut butter crackers and cookies from Safeway that were part of a nationwide recall of products tainted with salmonella. She says Safeway never contacted her about them.</p><p>"If Safeway knows that there is a problem, and they know how to get in touch with me, quite frankly I'm astonished that they wouldn't try to spare me or my children from a preventable foodborne illness," she says in a statement released by CSPI.</p><p>How did Hensley-Maclean find out about the recall? She bought some similar snacks at <a href="http://www.costco.com/">Costco</a>, which contacted her through her membership card.</p><p>(Hensley-Maclean is no relation to our blogger <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/02/01/133407592/scott-hensley-your-host-on-shots">Scott Hensley</a>, although he is prone to talking up his latest Costco finds around the office.)</p><p>A Safeway spokeswoman declined to discuss the details of the specific case, but said that company does notify customers about serious recalls in a variety of ways. "As a policy we do and have used club card data to contact customers," spokeswoman Teena Massingill tells Shots.</p><p>One problem, she says, is that not all retailers' shopper cards work the same way. Some, like Safeway's, don't require a contact number, she says. Costco, on the other hand, requires a membership and generally requires people to fork over more personal data.</p><p>Even with adequate access to personal data, the systems don't always work smoothly. Our NPR colleague Cathy Duchamp tells us she purchased some fresh spinach from the local Giant grocery store last Sunday and swiped her shopper loyalty card at checkout.</p><p>She received a robocall from the store, alerting her to a recall of the spinach on Wednesday night. That call came one day after the recall due to listeria contamination was <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm241088.htm">announced</a> by FDA.</p><p>By then, though, Duchamp's family had already eaten most of the spinach. Luckily, no one got sick. "To me, if they're collecting the information, they should have to use it," she says.</p><p>The new food safety law will require grocery stores to do a <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/12/22/132255747/president-to-sign-food-safety-bill-into-law-now-what">better job</a> notifying customers about recalls, and we're betting those shopper loyalty cards will play a big role. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1296829032?&gn=Consumers+Claim+Safeway+Failed+To+Tell+Them+About+Food+Recalls&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=food+safety,Safeway,recalls,Your+Health,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Health,Food,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=133461958&c7=1128&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1128&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110204&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=133490675,133490673,133428625,126567525,103537970,4516989,127414454,127413671,94427042,93559255,127606515,127602855,127602596,103943429&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Fri, 04 Feb 2011 07:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/2011-02-04/consumers-claim-safeway-failed-tell-them-about-food-recalls-81769