How a tight supply from the deadliest bird flu outbreak is hammering the egg industry

The current global outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), a form of bird flu (H5N1), began in early 2022 and has resulted in the deaths of over 58 million chickens and turkeys. This group, of course, includes egg-laying hens, and experts fear that the virus will continue to spread. The current outbreak led to a severely strained egg supply and caused skyrocketing prices and record profits for producers early in 2023. 

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Here Are the 2023 James Beard Awards Restaurant and Chef Finalists

Today, the James Beard Foundation announced its slate of finalists for its 2023 restaurant and chef awards. In addition to revealing who has advanced from the semifinalist pool revealed last month, the Foundation has also announced six recipients of the organization's Leadership Award; that Olivia Watkins and Karen Washington, co-founders of the Black Farmer Fund, would received the Humanitarian Award; and that cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey would be honored with this year's Lifetime Achievement Award. They join the America's Classics winners for 2023, which were announced in February.

This is the second awards season to reflect changes made in the wake of an extensive 2021 audit to address the longstanding biases baked into the awards process. New awards categories include an emerging chef award without an age cutoff, as well as regional best chef categories that now include separate awards for California, Texas, and New York in hopes of recognizing a broader geographic range of winners. Voting is also different than it was before the 2020 hiatus, with prior winners (a group that skews white, and male) no longer being automatically included in the voting body that determined who moved from the semifinalist to the finalist list below (and from there, who wins). The voting body has also expanded beyond traditional food media. The stated goal in the 2021 audit was also to have at least 50 percent of committee members and judges be people of color for the 2023 awards.

Media nominees — including everything from cookbooks to podcasts to TV shows — will be revealed on April 26 (Eater will update the list below accordingly). The awards ceremony will take place in Chicago on June 5.

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Chicken suspected in multi-country Salmonella outbreak

An outbreak of Salmonella has affected more than 200 people in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Salmonella Virchow outbreak started in June 2017 and most cases have been linked to local restaurants serving kebab meat. At least one person in the United States had gotten sick. A female patient from California had a travel history to Paris in 2019 and needed hospital treatment.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said the number of confirmed cases represents only a small proportion of all infections in Europe, partly due to the varying sequencing capacities of countries.

A total of 210 cases have been reported with 111 from France, 34 in the Netherlands, 32 in the UK, 26 in Germany, four in Ireland, two in Denmark, and one in the U.S.

Kebab meat products containing contaminated chicken are the likely vehicles of infections, and the bacteria has been circulating in the EU poultry meat production chain in France, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

Among interviewed cases, 10 people were hospitalized in Germany, five in France, four in Ireland, and two in the UK. No deaths have been reported. Patients range in age from younger than 1 to 92 years old with the median age from 22 to 80 depending on the country.

Johanna Takkinen, ECDC principal expert on food- and waterborne diseases, said: "ECDC encourages countries to sequence Salmonella Virchow isolates from domestically acquired human infections and interview cases with Salmonella Virchow sequence type 16 infections. Investigations should be focused on the consumption of poultry meat and related products and be carried out in close collaboration with food safety authorities."

New infections are likely in the EU affecting all age groups until further investigations identify the sources and points of contamination along the chicken meat production chain, said ECDC and EFSA.

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FDA, and CDC say flour is the source of the Salmonella outbreak; brands not known yet

Federal officials have identified flour as the source of a Salmonella Infantis outbreak that has sickened people in 11 states. Three people have been hospitalized.

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have both released outbreak notices confirming that raw flour is the source of the pathogen. The FDA first reported the outbreak on March 29.

As of the posting of the notices today, a specific brand or brands of flour have not been confirmed as being the source of the Salmonella. However, most of the patients reported eating raw dough or batter made with flour before they got sick. Flour was the only common ingredient in the raw dough or batter people reported eating. Investigators are working to identify a specific brand of flour linked to illnesses, according to the FDA.

The 12 sick people live across the country, suggesting a nationally distributed product is behind the outbreak. The patients live in Oregon, California, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, and New York.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from Dec. 6, 2022, to Feb. 13 this year. Sick people range in age from 12 to 81 years, with a median age of 64, and 92 percent are female.

The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses, according to the CDC. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

"Flour doesn't look like raw food, but most flour is raw. This means that it hasn't been treated to kill germs that cause food poisoning," according to the CDC.

"Any raw (unbaked) flour used to make dough or batter can be contaminated with germs like Salmonella, but Salmonella germs are killed when flour is cooked or baked. You can get sick after eating or tasting raw dough or batter. Children can get sick from handling or eating raw dough used for crafts or play clay."

People and kitchens can also become contaminated when using raw flour for batter such as that used for fried chicken and other fried foods.

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WSWA calls on Congress to legalize cannabis with alcohol-like regulations

 Dive Brief:

  • Alcohol trade group Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) announced its commitment to promoting federal legalization of cannabis. In a letter to Congress last week, the group said lawmakers should model legislation after alcohol laws and individual states should be able to control the laws surrounding cannabis within their borders.
  • WSWA CEO and President Francis Creighton said in a statement the success of the U.S. regulatory system for alcoholic beverages "offers a proven model for cannabis regulation, one that will promote public health and safety as well as a fair and competitive marketplace."
  • The national cannabis industry is currently in limbo because companies can only sell and make their products in states that have laws allowing cannabis to be sold and distributed. The push of a powerful lobbying group like WSWA could encourage lawmakers to act on federal legalization.
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Food Safety in Your Kitchen

When you prepare meals and snacks for yourself, your family, and your friends, it is important to follow simple food safety tips to help prevent foodborne illness, also known as "food poisoning." Whether you are a home cook, a professional chef, or a recipe writer, there are some easy steps you can take to help keep your food safe all the way from the grocery store to the kitchen table.

On this page:

Remember that food safety starts at the grocery store. Check out these lists of DOs and DON'Ts to help keep food safe from the grocery cart to the refrigerator.

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