Food Safety

"Cool entrance to The Matador - Ballard" by brewbooks is licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 bit.ly/2d9W9w5

The Washington Department of Health is still investigating this month’s E. coli outbreak that forced a Seattle restaurant to close temporarily. The Matador in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood has now reopened, but the source of the E. coli that sickened several patrons remains a mystery. Meanwhile, food safety advocates say this latest scare underscores the need for a promised restaurant grading system to be implemented quickly by public health officials.

A new label on some of the steaks in your grocery store highlights a production process you may never have heard of: mechanical tenderizing.

This means the beef has been punctured with blades or needles to break down the muscle fibers and make it easier to chew. But it also means the meat has a greater chance of being contaminated and making you sick.

The labels are a requirement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that went into effect this week.

Time to check your frozen fruit and vegetable packages: CRF Frozen Foods has expanded a voluntary recall to include about 358 products under 42 different brands because of potential listeria contamination.

A full list of the items to avoid was included in the company's press release on Monday. The recall includes all frozen organic and nonorganic fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed at CRF's facility in Pasco, Wash., since May 1, 2014.

You will never catch prominent food-safety attorney Bill Marler eating sprouts. Not on a heaping deli sandwich. Not on a freshly tossed salad. He puts them in the same category as raw milk — a food item he says is not worth the risk it carries. Unfortunately, 13 people sickened across four states have discovered that risk the hard way.

Five years ago, Congress promised an overhaul of the nation's food safety system, passing the Food Safety Modernization Act.

It took much longer than expected, but the Food and Drug Administration has now released the centerpiece — or at least, the most contested — part of that overhaul. These are rules that cover farmers who grow fresh produce, as well as food importers.

Right now, according to government surveys, about a quarter of the cut-up chicken you buy — and about half of all ground chicken — is contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

It's a surprisingly high number, and it was a surprise to the USDA's food safety officials, too, when they realized this about a year ago. Because up to that point, their efforts had been focused on whole chickens, rather than the cut-up parts.

SALINAS, Calif. — A California lettuce grower has expanded a recall of some bagged salads after routine sampling detected listeria contamination. No illnesses have been reported.

Sequim Lavender Farmers Association

The area around Sequim on Washington's Olympic peninsula is known as one of the top lavender growing regions in the nation. Most of that lavender ends up as dried flowers or scented potpourri.

Nowadays, it’s also ending up in food. The growers are meeting today (April 30th) to discuss the safest ways to make those flower buds edible, using a certification process.

U.S. officials announced a case of mad cow disease in a dairy cow in California. It is only the fourth such case detected in the U.S. since the first case was identified in 2003.

At the rate they're going, those nutritious-looking sprouts may disappear from sandwiches and salads near you in not too long. And that may be a good thing.

This week, the Beaumont, Tex.-based Jason's Deli chain announced that it would no longer serve fresh sprouts, citing frequent recalls due to bacterial contamination.