The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Siena Foods Ltd. are warning the public not to consume certain Siena brand dried meat products described below because they may be contaminated withListeria monocytogenes.

Ontario's chief medical officer confirmed on Friday that there was a “genetic fingerprint” between two recent listeriosis cases and the contaminated deli meat, making it the first match in the country since the  2008 recall by Maple Leaf Foods.

The products are affected by this alert include Siena brand Coppa sold in variable weight packages weighing approximately 300-400 g bearing best before dates 10 JN21 or no date, and Siena brand Prosciuttini or Prosciuttini Hot sold in variable weight packages weighing approximately 300-400 g bearing best before dates 10 JN20, 10JN21, 10JN22.

These products have been distributed in Ontario and Alberta. However, they may have been distributed nationally. This alert is based on positive test results for Listeria monocytogenes in a product sample and CFIA's investigation of these findings. The CFIA is aware of reported listeriosis illness in Ontario and is collaborating with Health Authorities in Ontario in their investigation of these illnesses.

The manufacturer, Siena Foods Ltd., Toronto, ON, is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

Sources: CFIA, Montreal Gazette

Canadian inspection agency scrambling to meet USDA demands

USDA auditors have found that Canadian inspections at large meat-packing plants have been too infrequent to meet U.S. food safety standards, leading the Canadian Food Inspection Agency trying to maintain an increased presence at its plants.

The additional inspection coverage for 80 plants, instituted just weeks before the first Siena Foods Ltd. recall in December, "will allow us to better meet the USDA's technical requirements for products exported to the U.S.," Cameron Prince, CFIA's vice-president of operations, wrote to meat-inspection staff last November, reports the Ottawa Citizen.

The correspondence and a two-page backgrounder, detailing how no meat inspector "will be required to work an unreasonable amount of overtime per workday or per week," was obtained by the agriculture union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

President Bob Kingston said the ramped-up inspections at meat-processing plants, including the Siena facility, were instituted after being notified of system-wide shortcomings last fall by auditors of the USDA's Food and Inspection Service.

"The USDA stepped in, and said, 'What's going on, it's always been a requirement, why aren't you doing it?'" he said of a 12-hour inspection cycle. "They have to do every 12 hours to have access to the U.S. market. It's as simple as that. There's no work around that, they can try and talk the Americans out of it. If that's their goal, it's not been successful."

After initially relying on volunteers to work overtime at plants to meet the demands of the U.S. regulator, the extra shifts are now mandatory because of a chronic shortage of meat inspectors, said Kingston.

"Our members have had it. They need some relief here."

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Jim Perdue given International Leadership Award

Gov. Martin O’Malley has presented Jim Perdue, chairman and CEO of Perdue Inc., with the Governor’s International Leadership Award. The award is given annually to an individual who leads a well-known Maryland company or institution and has shown sustained and admirable business leadership over many years.

In making the presentation, Gov. O’Malley said Perdue Farms “continues to be one of the great corporate citizens of our state.” He added that Jim Perdue himself has shown “decades of exemplary global leadership” and is someone whose counsel he values. “Jim is one of the people I turn to for advice on a variety of issues,” Gov. O’Malley said.

The Governor also called Perdue “a great man and outstanding leader,” but the honoree deflected the praise and said he accepted the award on behalf of the company’s 21,000 associates. He also thanked the independent farm families who raise chickens for Perdue and those from whom Perdue buys more than 27 million bushels of grain annually.

Perdue said it was especially meaningful to receive the recognition this year as the company celebrates its 90th anniversary. “My grandfather built our business on quality, integrity and trust,” he said, noting that while the business may have changed over the years, “values do not.” He pointed to those values as the reason behind the company’s focus on environmental issues. “Back when my grandfather was cutting the leather from old boots to make hinges for chicken house doors, he wasn’t thinking ‘reduce, reuse and recycle.’ Yet, his frugality and sense of stewardship is the foundation for our environmental sustainability initiatives that we are so proud of today.”

Perdue cited as an example his company’s first-in-the-nation partnership with EPA, the Clean Waters Environmental Initiative, which helps farmers understand how best to comply with environmental regulations and best practices.

In announcing the award earlier this year, Gov. O’Malley cited Perdue’s environmental accomplishment, saying, “Under Jim’s leadership, Perdue Farms has shown financial strength, innovation in environmental stewardship and community outreach, and is a model of successful Maryland enterprise that continues to thrive in these tough economic times.”

Source: Perdue Inc.

Asian foods recalled due to lack of inspection

CaiE Foods Limited, a Sparks, Nev., establishment, is recalling approximately 12,382 pounds of assorted Asian-style meat and poultry products, including steamed buns and oriental-style dumplings, because they were produced without the benefit of federal inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

The products recalled include various Siu Mai dumpling products, containing pork and chicken. The assorted Asian-style products were produced from Nov. 2009 through Feb. 26, 2010, and were distributed to casino restaurants and distribution centers in the State of Nevada. The problem was discovered by FSIS and is part of an ongoing investigation. FSIS has received no reports of illness due to consumption of these products.

Source: FSIS

Enchilada products mislabeled, recalled

Fernando's Food Corp., a Compton, Calif., establishment, is recalling approximately 9,400 pounds of enchilada products because they were inadvertently mislabeled and contain an undeclared allergen, milk, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced. Milk is a known potential allergen, which is not declared on the label.

The product subject to recall includes 9.84-pound cases of "Casa Solana Beef Chicken And Textured Vegetable Protein Product Enchilada." Each case contains 90 enchiladas and bears case code numbers "2103745" and "24947," as well as the establishment number "EST. 6492" inside the USDA mark of inspection.
The enchilada products were produced on Jan. 28, 2010, Feb. 16, 2010, and Feb. 28, 2010 and were sent to distributors in Ala., Ark., Calif., Tenn., and Texas. The problem was discovered by the company in a review of its inventory. FSIS has received no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

Source: FSIS

PETA attempting to spread message through trash cans

Due to budget shortfalls, the city of Colorado Springs, Colo., has turned off street lights, laid off city employees and suspended trash removal at city parks. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has stepped in with an offer to provide trash cans for the parks, featuring a lettuce-bikini-clad model with the slogan “Meat Trashes the Planet.” The money that PETA would give the gity would be enough to cover trash removal costs, the organization said.

"It's a win-win," said Kristina Addington, campaign coordinator for PETA, reports the Los Angeles Times. "We'd love to get our message out there for the public to see, and in turn help them -- so people aren't littering," she said. PETA has made similar offers in Milwaukee and Oklahoma City, neither of which accepted.

Although Colorado Springs, like lots of municipalities, is exploring corporate sponsorships of city assets, officials don't intend to accept the offer as it stands. "We'd welcome them, but not with a political message," said city spokeswoman Sue Skiffington-Blumberg. 1Nor would the city be keen on placing racy ads in "G-rated" spots, she said.

Source: Los Angeles Times