Editor: D.H. Kang
Dept. FSHN
Washington State Univ.

8/2/2002
Issue 10

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Interesting Food Safety News

E. COLI O157, LETTUCE - USA: ALERT

July 29, 2002
A ProMED-mail post
http://www.promedmail.org
Source: The Seattle Times 29 Jul 2002 [edited]
http: //seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/134502705_webecoli29.html
Lettuce likely source of E. coli contamination in Eastern Washington
Scientists used genetic testing to link an E. coli O157 case in Walla Walla
with an outbreak that sickened 24 people who attended a cheerleader/drill-
team camp at Eastern Washington University, health officials said on 29 Jul
2002. [The bacteria obtained from the] romaine lettuce eaten at the cheer[leading]
camp was a genetic match for [the bacteria isolated from a case related to]
lettuce eaten by a man with no connection to the camp in a Walla Walla
restaurant, the Spokane Regional Health District said.
That connection prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today to
issue a nationwide alert about romaine lettuce distributed by Spokane
Produce [see below - Mod.LL]. The FDA said 29 people were apparently sickened by the product so far, and urged consumers to throw the lettuce away. "We have not seen any cases
outside of Washington," said Sue Hutchcroft, a spokeswoman for the FDA in
Seattle. "It's an ongoing investigation." Romaine lettuce emerged as the main suspect in two dozen confirmed cases of E. coli at the cheer camp after the health district sent a survey to all the
people who attended the 11-14 Jul 2002 gathering at EWU, said Melanie Rose,
a spokeswoman for the health district.
Health experts analyzed the 100 survey replies and narrowed down the E.
coli source to the lettuce used to make Caesar salads that were served the
first evening of the camp, Rose said.
At the same time, the state Department of Health made a genetic match of the
bacterium from the camp and a case of the disease in a Walla Walla person
with no connection to the camp, Rose said. "We narrowed it down to romaine
lettuce this person ate on a sandwich in a restaurant," Rose said. "It was
the same as the lettuce at the cheerleader camp."
The outbreak then spread to participants at a church camp last week. 7 girls
went directly from the cheer camp to Zion's Camp, near Reflection Lake in
Spokane County, Rose said.
There has been one confirmed case of E. coli at the church camp and 6
suspected cases, Rose said. The church camp did not serve Spokane Produce
lettuce, but E. coli O157 can be spread from person to person, she said.
There have been no deaths from the outbreak, but one teenager who attended
the cheer camp had her kidneys so damaged that she is on dialysis, the FDA
said. The FDA has sent investigators to Spokane Produce. A person who answered the
telephone at the business this afternoon declined comment.
Rose said it appeared the lettuce arrived at EWU already contaminated, but
it was not known whether the contamination occurred at Spokane Produce or
prior. The Spokane Produce lettuce is sold under several different brand names, and
the FDA doesn't have a complete list and isn't sure if other states received
shipments, said FDA acting commissioner Lester Crawford. The FDA urged all
consumers to throw away 5-pound bags of "Romaine Toss" sold by Spokane
Produce. Crawford said doctors are investigating another 16 people who didn't attend
the cheer camp but also are suspected of having E. coli O157 linked to the
lettuce. Most illnesses caused by E. coli O157 stem from eating undercooked ground
beef, but manure or feces-contaminated irrigation water sometimes taints
fresh produce, too. Spokane County only had 12 confirmed cases of E. coli [O157] last year.
This year there have already been 31 cases, Rose said.

US School Lunches Cause Many Illnesses: Report
Tue Jul 30, 5:31 PM ET

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020730/hl_nm/schools_lunches_dc_2NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Over the last 25 years, outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to subsidized school lunches sickened tens of thousands of students and school staff, sent hundreds to the hospital and caused one death, according to a new report. Currently, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) spends about $7 billion annually to provide food or funding for more than 33 million lunches and breakfasts served daily to American schoolchildren. "However, USDA directly provides only a small percentage of food served in schools," according to lead author Dr. Nicholas A. Daniels of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues. Roughly 83% of food served in the federal program is purchased by local schools with USDA funding, the report indicates, with the remainder donated directly to schools by the USDA in the form of beef, poultry, fruits, vegetables, grain and milk. In the current report, Daniels and colleagues evaluated information collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( news - web sites)'s Foodborne Outbreak Surveillance System between 1973 and 1997. Their findings are published in the July issue of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Journal. Outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to subsidized school lunches sickened an estimated 49,963 children and teachers, sent slightly more than 1,500 individuals to the hospital and caused one death, the researchers report. During that time, a total of 604 outbreaks of foodborne disease were reported, with the number of annual outbreaks ranging from 9 to 44. Salmonella was the most commonly identified illness-causing bug, accounting for 36% of outbreaks, the findings indicate. Salmonella can cause vomiting, diarrhea and fever in healthy adults, and can be deadly for the elderly or people with weak immune systems. Foods containing poultry (18.6%), salads (6%), Mexica-style food (6%), beef (5.7%) and dairy products excluding ice cream (5%) were most commonly identified as being contaminated. Improper food storage and holding temperatures, and food contaminated by a food handler were the most commonly reported food handling practices associated with outbreaks, according to the report. "Strengthening food safety measures in schools would better protect students and school staff from outbreaks of foodborne illness," the authors write. "Infection control policies, such as training and certification of food handlers in the proper storage and cooking of foods, meticulous hand washing and paid sick leave for food handlers with (gastrointestinal illness) could make meals safer for American students," Daniels and colleagues conclude. SOURCE: Pediatric Infectious Diseases Journal 2002;21:623-628

New rules may help speed meat recalls
Big slaughterhouses will get less benefit of doubt, officials say
By Bill Scanlon, Rocky Mountain News
July 31, 002 http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/state/article/0,1299,DRMN_21_1296951,00.html
The Department of Agriculture has issued new directives to locate the source of contaminated meat more quickly. Critics have charged that under the old system inspectors looked last at the large slaughterhouses, which contributed to the outbreak of E.coli 0157:H7 that sickened 20 Coloradans this month. Meat inspectors say the new directives will let them do what they wanted to do all along - immediately inform their supervisors of the likely source of the contamination so the meat can be recalled as fast as possible. Until now, they say, their investigations were designed to give maximum benefit of the doubt that the source was not one of the larger slaughterhouses. Under the new rules distributed to USDA district offices this week, when a meat sample is taken, the inspectors will get the names and phone numbers of the suppliers of that meat, and record the lot number and the date on which it was processed, according to the new instructions given to district offices. If E. coli is found, inspectors must immediately e-mail their district officials, who must immediately telephone the suppliers. That should be followed by written notification. Officials for the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service deny that they have been cozy with the large meatpackers, but have insisted upon stringent DNA fingerprint verification of contamination before issuing a recall. The directive to the district offices is to "make sure everyone understands the new policy," USDA spokesman Steve Cohen said. After getting feedback from the district offices, a more formal notice will go out, he said. The USDA was roundly criticized this month because 34 days elapsed between the time that contaminated meat was found in a small re-grinding plant and the time it announced a recall of 19 million pounds of hamburger at the large ConAgra Beef plant in Greeley. John Munsell, owner of a small re-grinding plant in Miles City, Montana, called Montana Quality Foods, said that if the new policy was in place in February, the trail of his bad meat would have led back to ConAgra in Greeley, rather than stopping at his doorstep. That likely would have sparked an inspection of that plant, and could have prevented the 19 million-pound recall four months later, he said. Munsell said he had extensive documentation that the bad meat came from Greeley - including an invoice showing that he was reimbursed for the bad meat. But the investigation placed the blame on his plant because there were no samples of the meat back in Greeley to get a positive DNA fingerprint. "It's a foregone conclusion that (the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service) will do all it can to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation with the big packer," Munsell said. "It's relatively easy to bully around a very small plant." The new directives represent "a 180-degree turnaround" in policy for the FSIS, Munsell said. The head of the food inspectors' union said that if the new directives have teeth, they'll make it easier for inspectors to do their jobs. "This puts it back into a black and white perspective," said Paul Johnson, acting president of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals union. Consumer groups say it's a positive step, but that there's still too much wiggle room. "It's pretty obvious they're putting a Band-aid on this gap because people got sick and the press made a big deal of it," said Felicia Nestor, Food Safety Director for the Government Accountability Project, a watchdog and whistle-blower group. Nestor said the instructions to inspectors in the field remain too vague. scanlonb@rockymountainnews.com or (303) 892-2897.

Foodborne OUTBREAKS COLLECTIONS
08/02. VIRUS TIES UP CRUISE SHIP HEADED FOR ALASKA: FOR SECOND TIME
08/02. Old Killers Return to Kazakstan
08/02. Seven hit by E.coli outbreak Aug 1 2002
08/01. ALASKA CRUISE CANCELLED AFTER SECOND VIRUS OUTBREAK
08/01. FAMILY CLAIMS CHICKEN LED TO FOOD POISONING
07/31. Parents Claim Children Sickened By School Food
07/30. LITTLE-KNOWN ILLNESS ON THE RISE LOCALLY
07/30. Health District Says Five E. coli Cases Aren't Connected to
07/30. Romaine lettuce, bacteria linked
07/30. Food poisoning turns game into disaster
07.29 FDA WARNS OF E. COLI-LETTUCE LINK
07.29 FDA ALERT: SPOKANE PRODUCE BRAND ROMAINE LETTUCE
07/29. OYSTERS SOLD IN D.C. SUSPECTED IN DEATHS
07/29. Virus leaves church campers violently ill
07/28. Church camp hit by E. coli

Food Safety Daily News
08/02. Forum ? Meet the Food Inspection Robots
08/02. BSE, PREVENTION BY TETRACYCLINES?
08/02. IN YEAST, PRIONS' KILLER IMAGE DOESN'T APPLY
08/02. $2,150 FINE LEVIED UNDER MEAT INSPECTION ACT
08/02. $2,000 FINE LEVIED UNDER PROVINCIAL AGRICULTURE ACTS
08/02. TOURISTS ALERTED TO E. COLI
08/02. E.COLI FOUND IN WATER SUPPLY
08/02. NORWALK-LIKE VIRUS--ASSOCIATED GASTROENTERITIS IN A LARGE,
08/02. JUDGE HAS BEEF WITH MEAT: MARKET CONVICTED FOR LABELLING HOR
08/02. E. COLI O157, LETTUCE - USA: ALERT
08/02. CAMP FOOD SAFETY
08/02. Deaths of three deer-eating hunters being investigated for p
08/02. Companies in Vietnam, Thailand to irradiate meat and other p
08/02. Evidence needed to connect deaths to CWD
08/02. Warm water prompts renewed oyster warning
08/02. Spokane Produce To Stay Closed for Further Inspection
08/02. Earlier Safety Reviews Proposed for Gene-Altered Crops
08/02. Is that malady stomach flu? Not likely
08/01. AIG RETAINS RQA FOR FOOD SAFETY SERVICES
08/01. N.S. SUMMER CAMP WHERE CHILDREN BECAME ILL RECEIVES THOROUGH
08/01. DEATH BY FOOD POISONING ON THE UP IN VIETNAM
08/01. Italy Unveils Cattle Database to Cut BSE Risks
08/01. Water Survey Finds High Bacteria Levels Near Farms
08/01. IRELAND LAUNCHES WEBSITE ON BEEF
08/01. USDA MULLING FOOD SAFETY MEASURES FOR MEAT PLANTS
08/01. Lettuce linked to E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Where's the outrage now?
08/01. Whoa, not so close! A kiss can lead to blistering romance
08/01. County releases bacteria warning
08/01. Virus [sic] not unique to bay, frustrated oystermen say
08/01. Concern over raw oysters spurs warning
08/01. New Hurdles Arise in Poultry Dispute
08/01. E.coli focus on water source
08/01. Miles Citian tried to alert USDA of E.coli
08/01. Regulators ensure unsafe food, products don't reach consumer
08/01. Shops fined over 'unfit' food
08/01. FDA Pressed for Action on Ephedra
08/01. Irradiated Beef- What Is It?
07/31. CLOSE EYE KEPT ON SHELLFISH TO ENSURE SAFETY: FISHERIES OFFI
07/31. GROUPS CALL FOR BETTER LABELING OF COMMON FOOD ALLERGENS
07/31. HOW BIG IS THE ACRYLAMIDE RISK?
07/31. DEBATE IS SHIFTING ON CHEMICAL COMMONLY FOUND IN FOOD
07/31. Consumer Group: Trans Fat Silently Lurking in Foods
07/31. Africa Mulls GMO as Debate Rages, Hunger Claws
07/31. US School Lunches Cause Many Illnesses: Report
07/31. Possible county link to game consumption, fatal brain diseas
07/31. 'Cancer' sweets seized in clamp
07/31. Returning home with Montezuma's revenge
07/31. New rules may help speed meat recalls
07/31. Japan Tries to Halt Use of Tainted Herbal Diet Pills From Ch
07/31. Restaurant group faults way fines are disclosed
07/30. CHINA RETURNS MERCURY-CONTAMINATED TANGLE TO JAPAN
07/30. WATER SYSTEM FIX URGED; CHLORAMINATION TREATMENT
07/30. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL HELPED CRACK BAD-BEEF CASE QUICK
07/30. Antibiotics May Be Useful Against 'Mad Cow' Disease
07/30. BELGIUM TO BAN FLUORIDE TABLETS, CHEWING GUM
07/30. OZFOODNET QUARTERLY REPORT SUMMARY 4TH QUARTER 2001.
07/30. AMI FILES COMMENTS ON USE OF MICROBIAL PATHOGEN COMPUTER
07/30. GRIT, DETERMINATION AND TECHNOLOGY
07/30. RECALL RENEWS IRRADIATION INTEREST
07/30. FSIS/INDUSTRY MEETING BRIEFS
07/30. Common Antibiotic Saps Prions' Strength
07/30. DEP bans shellfish harvest in Del. Bay
07/30. Dept. of Health issues shellfish warning
07/30. He beats salmonella infection
07/30. Bacteria's 3-Way Game
07/30. New lab thoroughly tests grocery chain's products
07/30. Why Not `Pasteurize' Ground Beef?

USDA/FDA NEWS
For full information, click on
Forum Meet the Food Inspection Robots
Machine Vision Sees the Food Contaminants We Caní»t See
OPPDE What's New Page: Updated August 2, 2002
National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods
FDA Food Labeling and Allergen Declaration; Public Workshop; Correction
U.S. Codex Office "What's New" Page: Updated July 31, 2002
Irradiation of Meat and Poultry Products
Biosecurity/Homeland Security
Detection and Quantitation of Acrylamide in Foods
Positive E. coli Test Results: Updated July 30, 2002
Integrating Accountability To Build A Safer Meat Supply
FSIS Constituent Update: July 26, 2002

Recall Summary
08/01. Midwest grocer announces beef recall
08/01. Eden Brook Fish Market Inc. Recalls Smoked Trout Pate (Lot #071202)
07/31. Recall Update: McKee Foods Has Recalled Little Debbie Snacks brand
07/31. Eden Brook Fish Market Has Recalled 12 pounds of Smoked Trout Pate' July 31
07/31. Recall Update: Interstate Brands Companies Pantry Pride brand white bread
07/31. Recall Update: Specialty Cheese La VacaRica Queso Quesadilla
07/31. Recall Update: Specialty Cheese Mexicano Semisoft Cheese Recall is Complete July 31
07/31. Recall Update: Glover's Ice Cream Food Recall is Complete July 31
07/31. Recall Update: Golden Country Oriental Food Recall is Complete July 31
07/31. Recall Update: Demoulas Supermarkets Cereal Recall is Complete July 31
07/31. Recall Update: Sara Lee Bakery Earth Grains Onion Buns Recall is Complete July 31
07/31. Recall Update: Eastwell brand SWEETENED NELON Recall is Complete July 31
07/31. Recall Update: Roy Enterprises Recall is Complete July 31
07/31. Recall Update: Badia Spices Recall is Complete July 31
07/31. Recall Update: Glover's Ice Cream Recall is Complete July 31
07/31. Recall Update: Parmalat Bakery Mrs. Alison's Tango Cookies Recall is Complete July 31
07/31. Han Sung SikPoom Has Recalled Mimi Conf. Peanut Biscuits July 30
07/30. ALLERGY ALERT - Undeclared sulphites in GOLDEN GRAIN SUPER FOOD
07/30. RHEE BROS Has Recalled 'HOMERUN BALL' BRAND 'KOREAN COOKIES'
07/30. Niki's Food Has Recalled Salad Dressing July 30
07/29. FDA ALERT: SPOKANE PRODUCE BRAND ROMAINE LETTUCE
07/29. Giant Food recalls ground beef for E.coli
07/29. Pennsylvania Establishment Has Recalled Sausage Products July 29


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