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Health Highlights: July 13, 2015

Food Safety Violators Face Prosecution: Justice Department Official Barber Foods Recalls Stuffed Chicken Breasts Blue Bell Ice Cream Returning to Stores

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Food Safety Violators Face Prosecution: Justice Department Official

Food companies could face prosecution for food illness outbreaks, the U.S. Justice Department warns.

"We have made a priority holding individuals and companies responsible when they fail to live up to their obligations that they have to protect the safety of the food that all of us eat," Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery told the Associated Press.

The Obama administration has recently increased criminal enforcement in food safety cases. Most of the food in the United States is safe, but "even a tiny minority" can cause harm, Delery noted.

"The criminal prosecutions we bring should stand as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of disregarding danger to one's customers in the name of getting a shipment out on time -- of sacrificing what is right for what is expedient," he told food manufacturers at a safety meeting in Dallas last month, the AP reported.

Food safety regulation and enforcement is supported by the food industry.

"Product safety is the foundation of consumer trust, and our industry devotes enormous resources to ensure that our products are safe," said Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the leading trade group for the industry, the AP reported.


Barber Foods Recalls Stuffed Chicken Breasts

About 1.7 million pound of frozen, raw stuffed chicken breasts are being recalled by Barber Foods due to possible salmonella contamination.

An initial recall of about 58,000 pounds of the chicken breasts produced on Jan. 29, Feb. 20 and April 23 was was announced on July 2 after an outbreak of salmonella cases was linked to the products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said.

Since then, two more cases of salmonella linked with the chicken breasts have been confirmed, leading to an expansion of the recall to include products produced between Feb. 17 and May 20.

The recall is for 2-lb. 4-oz. cardboard boxes containing 6 individually pouched pieces of "BARBER FOODS PREMIUM ENTREES BREADED-BONELESS RAW STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS WITH RIB MEAT KIEV" with use by/sell by date of April 28, 2016, May 20, 2016 and July 21, 2016, and Lot Code number 0950292102, 0950512101, or 0951132202.

The recalled products have the establishment number "P-276" inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were shipped to stores across the United States and Canada.

For more information, contact Portland, Maine-based Barber Foods at 1-844-564-5555.


Blue Bell Ice Cream Returning to Stores

Blue Bell Creameries is prepping this month for a return of its products to grocery stores, after the Texas-based company halted production in April due to a listeria outbreak.

The outbreak was linked to 10 illnesses, including three deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The company said it has retrained all its workers and improved food safety measures, ABC News reported.

"We have been working diligently to prepare our facilities to resume test production, and our focus throughout this process has been to ensure the public that when our products return to market, they are safe," Greg Bridges, Blue Bell's vice president of operations, said in a statement.

He added that production would resume on a "limited basis" at one plant to confirm "that new procedures, facility enhancements and employee training have been effective," ABC News reported.

No firm date has been set for the return of Blue Bell's ice cream to grocery stores.

Consumer News