Salinas, CA - USA; July 1, 2015: Seasonal field workers cut and box romaine lettuce.

Traceability and water quality are key areas: Empty produce shelves greeting consumers at grocery stores after the recent romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak show how much work lies ahead to modernize the nation’s food safety laws. In retrospect, passing the Food Safety Modernization Act)eight years ago was the easy part. The recent outbreak — the third in the past year — put an alarming spotlight on two key areas where implementation lags: Traceability and water quality. READ MORE

What about the 27 other recalls? It’s a relief to have some romaine back on the shelves again, now that federal health investigators have narrowed the source of the latest E. coliO157:H7-contaminated lettuce outbreak to the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California. But what about the other 27 food recalls this month? READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Violations lead to shut-down: Owners of a Michigan food company have agreed that they will not reopen their business, Saranac Brand Foods Inc., which had repeatedly been found to be contaminated with potentially deadly Listeria after a federal judge approved a consent decree between the U.S. government and Saranac Brand Foods. The business is being dissolved and assets sold to pay debts. READ MORE

And a prison sentence: The former owner of a fast food outlet in England linked to a Salmonella outbreak last year has received a suspended six month prison sentence. Eight people had acute food poisoning and one patient’s symptoms were so severe that he suffered renal failure, needed critical care, and spent two weeks in hospital. The owner was sentenced for serious food hygiene breaches. READ MORE

DoJ charges food contractors: The Department of Justice has charged three defense contractor execs with defrauding the government after they received an $8 billion contract to supply food to troops in Afghanistan. To get the contract, they took fake pictures of a construction site to make it appear that warehouse construction was further along than it really was, and then sought to increase profits by shipping materials through Iran instead of going through more costly but legal routes. READ MORE
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CYBER SECURITY

Calling Google out: Seven European consumer groups filed complaints against Google with national regulators Tuesday, accusing the internet giant of covertly tracking users’ movements in violation of an EU regulation on data protection. The complaints cited a study by the Norwegian Consumer Council that concluded the Internet giant used “deceptive design and misleading information, which results in users accepting to be constantly tracked.” READ MORE

TARIFFS

Some hope on tariffs: President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping have agreed to slow the escalation of tariffs as the two countries accelerate trade talks, the White House announced over the weekend. The two leaders met during the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Carbon monoxide causes restaurant evacuation: A Chicago-area Red Robin restaurant was evacuated and closed after 24 customers became sick because of high levels of carbon monoxide Friday evening. Two dozen customers reported feeling sick and having headaches while dining at the restaurant. Four people were taken to local hospitals and another 20 were treated by paramedics on scene, authorities said. READ MORE