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AFSAC Meeting Minutes - October 16, 2018

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In Attendence

  • Jeff Hickman – Municipality of Anchorage
  • Kate Helfrich – Section of Epidemiology
  • Dr. Brian Himmelbloom – Kodiak Seafood & Marine Science Center
  • Ryan Wiswesser – Alaska Artisanal / Alaska Food Policy Council
  • Lorinda Lhotka – DEC/FSS
  • Rachael Miller – Food Corridor / Alaska Food Policy Council / Alaska Pacific University
  • Ytamar Rodriguez – DEC/FSS
  • Brehan Kohl – DEC/FSS
  • Andrew Lanz – DEC/FSS

Program Updates - Lorinda Lhotka

  • Staffing discussion - a new EHO started in Fairbanks in August and new EHO starts in Juneau in November. Upcoming retirement in the Ketchikan office this spring.
  • FDA manufactured food contract update and scope.
  • Had a recent successful audit for the Shellfish Inspection program.
  • FSS is treating marijuana (MJ) as food, but still in coordination with AMCO on licensing. Testing MJ foods is tricky as the product is not necessarily homogenous.
  • Program will be emailing out permit renewals, follow-up USPS mail out, email permits. Split between more traditional and web-savvy owners, but hope is to get most to pay online to reduce program workload. Drew Lanz, the Food Permits Technician attended this meeting and he also assisted in taking minutes.

Presentation: YUCK Line

Brehan Kohl presented on the new YUCK line/Complaint Reporting making reporting options available in multiple formats, reports act as additional set of eyes when we can’t be everywhere. She also provided information on the program’s involvement with Twitter HealthMap for surveillance of possible foodborne illness in the state.

  • Jeff MOA complaint - requested that FSS direct user to MOA complaints entry.
  • Kate - distinction between illness reporting and sanitation complaints, hence new reporting. Epi wasn’t best point of contact. Epi sometimes hears from providers on foodborne illness, long-term care facilities most often.
  • The program received the first YUCK line complaint with a picture received from Bethel. The picture very helpful, should capture things that have already been happening between individuals on Facebook. For the Twitter HealthMap it has been interesting parsing data because Uranus (lake in Alaska) leads to junk false positive results.
  • Ytamar, Lorinda, Jeremy all email Jeff at MOA complaints. Ytamar will be forwarding these complaints going forward.
  • Kate discussed Epi results from 2015-2107 complaint report available on State Section of Epidemiology website. This is a subsection of results as Epi was primarily concerned with foodborne illness, other issues forwarded to DEC FSS. 2018 very busy year 100+ complaints likely due to new reporting tools and very public recalls lead to increased numbers.
  • Confusion on who to report to leads to under-reporting of foodborne illness. People don’t like calling, so email and texting options to increase reporting. Helps identify outbreaks, most importantly Kate discussed swag to hand out with Yuck mascot. Jeremy Ayers with FSS applying for grant to get YouTube ad in place, magnets good, chip clips.

Member Updates

Kate Helfrich

Training in May with Public Health Nurses on Foodborne Illness Investigations. SOE plans to do more travel to other locations. Soldotna training by end of year. Enhanced Regional conference in spring, whole genome sequencing vs PFGE for better identification in, CDC want that to be new standard in January. It may take more time to process results but results will be more firm, site with database of bacteria showing relationship to other bacteria. One multistate outbreak, but pretty quiet lately. Writing report on Vibrio (cases counted nationally by residence). 7 in Alaska but number is larger including non-residents (14 in total) though some had oysters from bar with many varieties from many places, probably 10 linked to Alaskan oysters.

Jeff Hickman

MOA had a new inspector start yesterday. Still out for hiring on the Program Manager. ~1800 facilities and 5 inspectors.

Rachel Miller

Pilotworks abrubtly shuttered, related to shared kitchen facilities, 5-6 different locations around country and 15 mil$ investment. Rachel brought up that there are a few shared-use kitchen in Anchorage that she is familiar with: Remade and Changepoint.

Ryan Wiswesser

Alaska Artisanal building new facility soon in Anchorage.

Dr. Brian Himelbloom - Unable to attend meeting

The Alaska Sea Grant program at the KSMSC held its annual Smoked Seafood School with Chris Sannito as the lead instructor last Thursday and Friday. It was very well attended. Next Monday, Quentin Fong begins a distance-delivered Seafood Direct Marketing Business short course The next training opportunity, in November, will be led by Chris for the week-long Seafood Processors Quality Control workshop

Topics For The Next Meeting

Discussion about dwindling participation - need more input. Work with Chamber of Commerce, put Yuck line info on permit, emphasize the text option on Yuck line, inviting Heather’s Choice, Bambino’s Baby Food. Helpful to do a presentation on food trucks? Rules in MOA slightly different to SOA; disaster preparedness and food safety as it relates to food trucks.

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