FDA highlights dangers of uncooked ingredients

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ice cream, Milk, Food and drug administration

Food manufacturers have been told that incorporating an uncooked
ingredient into a ready-to-eat food that will not be cooked could
pose a serious food safety risk.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s warning comes after a recent multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium has was associated with the consumption of 'cake batter' ice cream.

During the past two months, health and agriculture officials have been investigating a multi-state outbreak of salmonellosis related to an ice cream product, with cases identified in Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan and Arizona.

As a result of these investigations Cake Batter Ice Cream, sold only at Cold Stone Creamery stores, has been recalled by the company. To date, no other flavors of ice cream have been associated with the outbreak.

Salmonella is known to occasionally be present in flour and other non-animal foods such as barley, cereal powder, and yeast. For these reasons, FDA is asking food makers to review their menus for these types of products and to either work with their suppliers to ensure all ingredients are intended to be ready-to-eat or to process their final products to eliminate microorganisms of public health concern.

In addition, a degree of uncertainty remains over the exact nature of the pathogen, making it difficult to predict. "Further efforts are needed to better understand why some Salmonella strains tend to contaminate produce during production and harvest,"​ said a recent report compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

US food and drug officials have now confirmed that the sweet cream ice cream base in question was pasteurized and the dry cake mix that was added to the ice cream base was labeled 'bake before use' by the manufacturer.

This Cake Batter Ice Cream was prepared in food service establishments. Thepreparation involved adding a dry cake mix to a pasteurized sweet cream base and thecombination did not undergo additional processing prior to freezing.

Dry cake mix is a product that has been designed to be rehydrated and then cooked. Dry cake mix should not be considered a ready-to-eat food because it has not been processed to ensure that pathogens have been destroyed or reduced in numbers to an acceptable level.

Ready-to-eat foods are typically processed to ensure that they are safe to consume withoutfurther cooking. Similar products, such as 'cookie dough' ice creams and 'cake mix'milk shakes, could also pose a serious food safety risk if they are prepared withingredients that are intended to be cooked.

The agency also says that routine precautionary measures should also be taken to prevent cross-contamination from raw products and surfaces that have not been adequately cleaned and sanitized.

Related topics: R&D

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