State roundup for July 5
Chicken recalled due to salmonella
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California chicken producer has issued its first recall since being linked to an outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella that has been making people sick for more than a year, company and federal food officials said Thursday night.
The U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture said it has found evidence directly linking Foster Farms boneless-skinless chicken breast to a case of Salmonella Heidelberg, an antibiotic-resistant strain of the disease that has sickened more than 500 people in the past 16 months and led to pressure from food safety advocates for federal action against the company.
As a result, Foster Farms issued a recall for 170 different chicken products that came from its Fresno facilities in March.
The USDA said its investigators first learned of the salmonella case on June 23, and the recall was issued as soon as the direct link was confirmed. The location of the case and identity of the person were not released.
Foster Farms says the products have “use or freeze by” dates from March 21 to March 29 and have been distributed to California, Hawaii, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Alaska.
The long list of products in the recall include drumsticks, thighs, chicken tenders and livers. Most are sold with the Foster Farms label but some have the labels FoodMaxx, Kroger, Safeway, Savemart, Valbest and Sunland. No fresh products currently in grocery stores are involved.
The USDA said it was working with the company to determine the total amount of chicken affected by the recall.
The company emphasized that the recall was based on a single case and a single product but the broad recall is being issued in an abundance of caution.
“Our first concern is always the health and safety of the people who enjoy our products, and we stand committed to doing our part to enhance the safety of our nation’s food supply,” Foster Farms said in a statement.
The federal Centers for Disease Control says 574 people from 27 states and Puerto Rico have been sickened since the outbreak began in 2013, leading to increasing pressure from food safety advocates for a recall or even an outright shutdown of Foster Farms facilities.
Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney who specializes in class-action food-safety lawsuits, commended both Foster Farms and the USDA for “doing the right thing for food safety.”
“Recalling product is both embarrassing and hard, but is the right thing to do for your customers,” Marler said.
The company was linked to previous salmonella illnesses in 2004 and in 2012.
New law tweaks juvenile sentences
HONOLULU (AP) — Life sentences without parole for minors are now abolished in Hawaii.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill Wednesday recognizing that children convicted of first-degree murder should be treated differently than murderous adults.
Advocates say children are impressionable and sometimes can’t get out of horrific, crime-ridden environments.
Honolulu prosecutors argued the measure isn’t fair to people who are born weeks apart from slightly younger perpetrators of the same crime.
Hawaii’s new law follows a national trend.
A group called The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth says states from Texas to Alaska have either eliminated or don’t allow life without parole sentences for juveniles.
The governor also signed a measure that aims to reduce Hawaii’s secure juvenile facility population in half over the next five years.
Oahu police must cover up tattoos
HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu residents will be seeing a little less ink from police officers, but it has nothing to do with how tickets are written.
As of Tuesday, Honolulu police officers cannot have any visible body art, tattoos or body ornaments showing while on duty.
Officers can either use makeup or wear long-sleeve uniforms to cover up the decorations.
Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu says the policy is intended to create a more professional image for officers. She also says it’s in line with other police departments and the military.
Those not in compliance will face discipline.
Guard to dedicate maintenance shop
KAPOLEI, Oahu (AP) — The Hawaii Army National Guard is opening a new maintenance shop in Kalaeloa.
The Combined Support Maintenance Shop #1 cost nearly $37 million to build. It will house repair facilities for vehicles, generators, radios, weapons and other equipment.
The previous maintenance shop was located in Diamond Head Crater and was built in 1964.
The National Guard formally dedicated the new shop Thursday with a Hawaiian blessing and the untying of a maile lei. Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Darryll Wong delivered remarks.
Caldwell fights aerial advertising
HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is urging the Federal Aviation Administration to revoke a waiver it gave to an aerial advertising company allowing it to tow banners in the sky.
Caldwell said Friday aerial advertising is illegal in Honolulu. He says the law prohibiting it has been upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He’s urging the FAA to immediately revoke its waiver. Caldwell says the waiver applies to federal regulations and not the city’s ordinance.
The mayor sent a letter to the FAA listing the legal decisions upholding Honolulu’s law.
An airplane belonging to aerial advertising company Aerial Banners North was recently spotted over Kailua, East Oahu and the North Shore trailing a banner for its website.
A company attorney has said it has done nothing illegal.
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