Happy August, Oregon Environmental Health Professionals! There's a lot going on in the field of Environmental Health this summer, from funding opportunities to new meat inspection agreements, job openings to heat advisory resources. Here's the latest.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month
Vaccines are important for people of all ages, from childhood vaccines to COVID-19 boosters. Use the information here to raise awareness in your community! Did you know that Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that can infect a person's liver and make them sick for weeks to months? Foodborne transmission is an important means of hepatitis A infection that may be reduced through vaccination of food service workers. Read more here: Hepatitis A Information for Food Establishments | Washington State Department of Health
The 2022 FDA Retail Food Protection Seminar will be held September 19-22, 2022
Registration is now open and is free! This event is open to all interested in retail food safety, including all state, local, territorial and tribal regulators, standardized officers, industry and academia.
September 19th and 21st will include general sessions for all attendees. Highlights include:
• Keynote address from Dr. Laura Brown, PhD from the Centers for Disease Control
• Norovirus outbreak investigations
• Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative updates, Employee health intervention strategies, Verbal Judo, and much more
On September 20th attendees are invited to participate in their regional jurisdiction’s breakout session. These sessions will provide a great opportunity to connect with colleagues from the Pacific region. Sessions run staggered based on time zone, so you may be able to attend and listen to presentations from multiple sessions. All breakout sessions will be recorded and available for later viewing by all registered attendees on the meeting website.
An optional Risk-Factor Study workshop is scheduled for September 22nd. The workshop is designed to help regulatory jurisdictions that wish to conduct a risk-factor study understand the best methods to conduct such a study to produce reliable data sets. Those who are looking to meet Standard #9 will benefit from attending, however the workshop is open to everyone!
To register and learn more, please visit https://bit.ly/2022retailseminar. YOU MUST REGISTER EVEN IF YOU DON’T INTEND TO WATCH THE LIVE EVENT BUT WISH TO WATCH RECORDED SESSIONS AT A LATER TIME.
What's the latest EH news in Oregon?
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the State of Oregon have reached a cooperative agreement, under which the state inspection program may inspect meat products produced for shipment within the state. Read more here: Oregon's state inspection program is 28th in the nation | Food Safety News
Oregon-like legalization of “magic” mushrooms is the goal of the Colorado ballot measure
Two years ago, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin with the approval of Measure 109. Oregon also was the first state to decriminalize certain other drugs with 2020’s passage of Measure 110. According to a voter initiative on the November ballot, Colorado could soon decriminalize the personal use and possession of certain psychedelic plants and fungi, including “magic mushrooms,” and create a Natural Medicine Access Program. Read more here: Oregon-like legalization of "magic" mushrooms is the goal of the Colorado ballot measure | Food Safety News
National Outbreak Updates:
Here is a summary of FDA outbreak investigations from the past few months, provided by FoodSafetyNews:
Federal officials are investigating a new outbreak of infections from the Cyclospora parasite, but little information is available.
The Food and Drug Administration reports that it has begun traceback efforts in relation to the outbreak, but the agency has not revealed what food or foods are being traced. As of Aug. 3, there were 6 confirmed patients in the outbreak. The FDA did not release the patients’ age range or states of residence.
In another Cyclospora outbreak the number of patients has increased to 60, up from 51 a week ago. The FDA has begun sample collection and analysis but has not reported what food, foods or location are included in those activities.
In other outbreak news, investigation into an outbreak of infections from Salmonella Paratyphi B var. L(+) tartrate+ has ended with no source of the pathogen found. At least 14 people were sickened in the outbreak. The FDA did not report ages of the patients or their states of residence.
In an ongoing investigation of another outbreak, the FDA reports that the number of patients infected from Salmonella Braenderup has increased to 74 compared to 70 a week ago. The agency has begun traceback efforts, but has not indicated what is being traced.
The FDA has closed an investigation into an outbreak of infections caused by Listeria monocytogenes. Investigators were not able to determine a food source for the pathogen. At least 12 people were sickened in the outbreak. The FDA did not report patient ages or where they lived.
Other FDA outbreak investigations underway as of Aug. 4 include:
An investigation related to adverse effects associated with Daily Harvest brand frozen Leeks & Lentils Crumbles. The company has received more than 470 complaints of illnesses and as of July 29 the FDA had received 329 complaints. Some of the patients have gone into liver failure and at least 25 have had to have their gallbladders removed. The FDA is working on traceback efforts and has begun on-site inspection and product testing.
An outbreak of hepatitis A infections traced to fresh strawberries that has sickened at least 19 people with 13 having been hospitalized. These potentially contaminated strawberries were imported from Baja California, a state in northern Mexico, and branded as FreshKampo and HEB and distributed nationwide. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to investigate the outbreak. There have also been reports of sick people in Canada.
An outbreak of “adverse events” involving 558 patients who ate Lucky Charms cereal. The investigation is ongoing and the FDA is conducting on-site inspections and testing.
An outbreak of infections from Listeria monocytogenes traced to Big Olaf ice cream produced in Florida. A total of 25 confirmed patients have been reported with one death and one fetal loss. The patients are spread across 11 states and many of the sick people reported travel to Florida before becoming ill. Testing has shown Listeria in the manufacturing plant and in 16 of 17 flavors of Big Olaf ice cream. The company has been closed down by the state until further notice.
An outbreak of infections from Cronobacter in four infants, one of whom died. The outbreak has been determined to be over by the CDC, but is it still under investigation. The babies consumed infant formula made by Abbott Nutrition’s plant in Sturgis, MI.
Excerpted from FoodSafetyNews: New outbreak of infections from Cyclospora parasite added to FDA's investigations list | Food Safety News
Looking for a new professional opportunity?
There are multiple job openings in Oregon right now! Check them out here: Job Opportunities | OEHA (oregoneha.org)
And here is some NEHA News:
Save the Date for 2023 We look forward to seeing you next year at the 2023 AEC in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 31–August 3! NEHA Supports Inflation Reduction Act The Inflation Reduction Act (H.R. 5376) passed the U.S. Senate and will next be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives. We are dedicated to supporting environmental health professionals who are on the front lines of helping communities mitigate and adapt to climate change and support this act. The law makes the largest investment ever made by the federal government into climate change mitigation and adaptation. Read the full press release. Webinar Series: Using Environmental Health Data to Make Data-Driven Decisions We are hosting a webinar series, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, on how to use environmental health data to make data-driven decisions for private wells, health tracking, and retail food inspections. Recordings of the webinars already held will be posted online soon and there is one remaining webinar: Standardizing Private Well Data: August 11, 4 p.m. EDT Government Affairs Webinar on Environmental Justice Our Government Affairs program is hosting a webinar on environmental justice on August 30 at 2 p.m. EDT. Dr. Sharunda Buchanan, interim director for the Office of Environmental Justice, will speak on efforts of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to integrate environmental justice into its mission to improve health. We Need Your Input on the National Retail Food Safety Regulatory Training Needs Assessment We ask for your participation in a historic national survey to identify the strengths of the retail food safety regulatory community and assess knowledge gaps related to workforce needs. Results will be shared widely to bolster educational resources, reduce knowledge gaps in training materials, and improve workforce capabilities. Enacted State Legislation on Drinking Water State legislatures in the U.S. introduced 2,081 bills related to drinking water during the 2021–2022 legislative sessions. We tracked 265 bills on drinking water and of those bills, 41 were enacted into law. We have put together a summary to provide a full breakdown of state-by-state drinking water legislation. 2023 AEC Call for Abstracts Opens August 29 The 2023 AEC Call for Abstracts will be open between August 29 and September 30. The 2023 AEC will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 31–August 3. Stay tuned to our website for more details and submission guidelines. NEHA Contributes to Article on Foodborne Outbreak Rates Our team, in collaboration with others, recently published an article in the Journal of Food Protection on foodborne outbreak rates associated with restaurant inspection grading. The study found that communities where graded restaurant inspection results are posted on-site have lower reported outbreaks. Successful Training With Guam Department of Environmental Health We provided a 3-day training to the Guam Department of Environmental Health workforce on water vending and manufacturing facilities in mid-July. The training included education aimed at assisting the Guam team in regulating these facilities. Year 2 Kickoff Webinar Materials Available The NEHA-FDA RFFM Grant Program Year 2 Kickoff Webinar recording and presentation slides are now available online. The informational webinar featured a comprehensive program overview, grant types available, an application portal walk-through, mentorship options, and a Q&A session. Year 2 Application Opens August 17 The application period for Year 2 will be open from August 17–October 12. The application offers multiple 1-year grants with a 2023 project period including Development base grant funding as well as optional add-on grants for Mentorship, Special Projects, and Training. Visit the Retail Grants webpage for program resources, training options, and the latest updates. PH WINS 2021 Findings Full data and an interactive dashboard of findings from the 2021 Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS)—the only nationally representative survey of state and local government public health employees in the U.S.—is now available. The survey provides data on workforce demographics, job characteristics, training needs, intent to stay or leave, professional engagement and satisfaction, and other areas. Evaluation of Existing Retail Program Standards Networks A new issue brief from NACCHO and CFP investigates the benefits of retail food regulatory programs participating in networks aimed at achieving conformance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards. The goal was to unveil the benefits of collaborating with other jurisdictions when working toward achieving conformance with the standards and to highlight best practices. FDA Draft Guidance for Remote Regulatory Assessments FDA has released draft guidance on the expanded use of remote regulatory assessments (RRAs) and how FDA intends to incorporate this tool across all products it regulates. RRAs can help determine compliance with applicable FDA requirements, inform regulatory decisions, and verify information submitted to the agency. New Website Focused on Health Risks Associated With Extreme Heat Heat.gov is a new website that provides the public and decision makers with clear, timely, and science-based information to understand and reduce the health risks of extreme heat. The website is a one-stop hub on heat and health and is a portal to the National Integrated Heat Health Information System. Climate and Health Capacity Survey ASTHO, in collaboration with the University of Washington’s Center for Health and the Global Environment and with support from CDC, surveyed health agency staff to collect information regarding their efforts to address climate change and extreme weather. A report of the survey is now available. New Report Calls for Expanded PFAS Testing A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine calls for expanded testing of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in individuals who are likely to have a history of elevated exposure. UN Declares Healthy Environment a Human Right The UN General Assembly declared in late July that everyone on the planet has a right to a healthy environment. The resolution highlights that climate change and environmental degradation are some of the most pressing threats to our future and called on states to step up efforts to ensure people have access to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant Deadline Is August 12 The Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant, offered by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, honors a public health official or department who has made outstanding contributions to advance the public’s health and safe use of recreational waters through educational, safety, operational, and technical programs. Deadline to submit is August 12. Funding Opportunities · Strengthening U.S. Public Health Infrastructure, Workforce, and Data Systems: CDC has released a 5-year funding opportunity that will provide $3 billion for the public health workforce. Deadline to apply is August 15. · Tools, Training, and Technical Assistance for Small and Rural Wastewater Systems: U.S. EPA is offering grants to support training and technical assistance for rural, small, and tribal wastewater systems. Deadline to apply is August 22. World Mosquito Day Is August 20 World Mosquito Day is celebrated each year on August 20 to mark the anniversary of the discovery that mosquitoes transmit the parasite that causes malaria. Environmental health professionals are on the front lines of helping communities reduce the threats from mosquitoes and other vectors. Check out the NEHA Vectors and Public Health Pests webpage for resources, an interactive vector map, and more. 2022 FDA Retail Food Protection Seminar Registration for the 2022 FDA Retail Food Protection Seminar, hosted by NACCHO, is now open. This free virtual seminar will be held on September 19–22 and will provide an opportunity to explore current and emerging issues related to retail food safety. EHTER Ops Course The FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness will be delivering the Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response Operations (EHTER Ops) course in September and October. The EHTER Ops training provides operations-level knowledge and skills needed to respond to disaster incidents. There is no cost to attend for individuals from state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions. The Private Well Class Private drinking water systems provide water for up to 25% of the U.S. population. Help your community by taking the free Private Well Class and sharing what you learn with residents who use private wells. NEHA credential holders can earn up to 10 continuing education contact hours by taking the class. Upcoming Webinars and Events · How Washington State Department of Health’s Tracking Program Uses EH Data to Promote Data-Driven Decision Making for Climate and Health Program: August 10, 2 p.m. EDT · U.S. EPA Emergency Response Research Webinar Series: Remediating Premise Plumbing Following a Water Emergency or Disaster: August 10, 2 p.m. EDT · National Public Webinar: Scope of Ethylene Oxide Risks: August 10, 8 p.m. EDT · Leading Health Organizations Leverage GIS to Build Healthy Communities: August 11, 2 p.m. EDT · Standardizing Private Well Data: August 11, 4 p.m. EDT · Amplify Your Story: Environmental Justice Storytelling and Sharing: August 17, 3 p.m. EDT · Swimming With Superbugs: Exploring How Antimicrobial Resistance Moves in Our Environment: August 19, 2:30 p.m. EDT · U.S. EPA 19th Annual Drinking Water Workshop: Small System Challenges and Solutions: August 29–September 1 · NEHA Government Affairs Webinar: Environmental Justice: August 30, 2 p.m. EDT