The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has joined the investigation into a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Virchow that has been linked to Raw Meal brand powdered organic shake mixes distributed by Garden of Life LLC, according to Food Safety News.
Eleven people across nine states are confirmed in the outbreak, as of Feb. 1 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last posted an update.
Health officials in Utah and Oregon have reported finding Salmonella in open containers of Raw Meal products collected from outbreak victims’ homes. Test results on whether it matches the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow have not yet been reported.
Garden of Life of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., recalled some Raw Meal mixes Jan. 29 and expanded that recall Feb. 12 to include more than 30 products.
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Editors Insight: It’s good that food suppliers are able to identify the source of contaminated product. It would be better if they were able to test products before releasing them into the supply chain. Given the laboratory testing capabilities currently available, one would think the food supply chain could do a better job identifying contaminated product before recalls are needed.
Preventive testing is very expensive. But as food supply chains become larger, the food industry needs to consider preventive testing.
The Food Safety Modernization Act requires food companies to follow preventive controls. These controls are an important step in reducing the likelihood that contaminated product will enter the supply chain. But these controls alone will not prevent contaminated product from entering the supply chain. Food companies need to expand laboratory testing of product. 2-16-16 By Elliot Maras