to impose tighter restrictions on cattle feed
Boyle added that FDAs actions, together with the additional precautions USDA announced on Dec. 30, 2003, should "reassure our international trading partners" that U.S. livestock are healthy and that U.S. beef products are safe."We therefore call upon our trading partners to act expeditiously to restore trade," Boyle said.To implement the new regulations, FDA will publish two interim final rules that will take effect immediately upon publication, although there will be an opportunity for public comment after publication.
first interim final rule will ban the following materials from FDA-regulated human
food, (including dietary supplements) and cosmetics, including:?Any
material from "downer" cattle (animals that cannot walk).?Any material
from "dead" cattle that die on the farm (before reaching the slaughter
McClellan also noted that FDA would step up its inspections of feed mills and renderers in 2004 and will conduct 2,800 inspections and work with state agencies to fund 3,100 contract inspections of feed mills and renderers that handle animal feed and feed ingredients. Through partnerships with states, FDA will also receive data on 700 additional inspections, for a total of 3,800 state contract and partnership inspections in 2004, including annual inspections of 100 percent of all known renderers and feed mills that process products containing materials prohibited in ruminant feed."With today's actions, FDA will be doing more than ever before to protect the public against BSE by eliminating additional potential sources of BSE exposure," McClellan concluded.Comprehensive information about FDA's BSE regulations and links to other related Web sites can be accessed at http://www.fda.gov
FDA's fishy standards
USDA to update biotech regulations
January 26, 2004
says discovery of infected cow was 'a fluke'
Carol M. Ostrom
Louthan says he remembers her well: an old dairy cow with specks of blood on her
tail, spooky about going down the ramp into the slaughterhouse.
But Louthan says it was "a fluke" that the Holstein, a cow he describes as "a good walker," was tested.
And even if it had been deemed a downer, under emergency rules enacted earlier this month it would have been sent to a rendering plant, where tests are not done at all.
Louthan, who killed the Holstein at Vern's Moses Lake Meat Co. on Dec. 9, says he has no doubt he remembers the right cow. "Every cow that comes in there, I kill. That kind of puts us in a relationship," said Louthan, who killed cows at Vern's for four years before he was laid off earlier this month after his bosses told him business had slowed. The plant manager, Tom Ellestad, has also confirmed that the cow was walking.
If he'd done what he should have, Louthan said, he would have taken the cow out of the truck and herded her around to a holding pen with other ambulatory animals.
But, he said, it was late in the day, the cow looked balky, and "I was cutting corners." So he shot a bolt through her head, scooped out a bit of brain, put it in a bag, labeled it with her number, and hung it on the wall with samples from others in the truckload. Later, he checked records to confirm that the "mad cow" was the cow he remembered, the balky Holstein from the Sunny Dene Ranch in Mabton, Yakima County.
If the Holstein had walked into the slaughterhouse, it probably would have been examined carefully, because it had apparent calving injuries and the veterinarian on site had tagged it for inspection.
But experts in the disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) say the inspector likely wouldn't have found anything, because the tiny protein particles implicated in the disease aren't visible to the naked eye.
Quite likely, the Holstein wouldn't have been tested for BSE, and no one would have known that the disease had been transported across the border in cows sent from Canada. Or that her meat, which was recalled Dec. 24, had found its way into the food chain.
The disease, which causes Swiss-cheese-like holes to form in a cow's brain, is fatal for humans who contract a related illness from eating infected meat.
Felicia Nestor, food-safety project director at the Government Accountability Project, a citizens' watchdog group, said investigation by her office confirms Louthan's account.
Even more troubling, said Nestor, is that the testing program is totally voluntary, and that the industry ?not inspectors ?chooses which animals are tested for BSE.
"Had this cow not given birth, and had a birthing injury, that cow would still be out in the field with BSE," Nestor said.
In another twist, emergency rules now in place would have let the Holstein fall through the surveillance net.
On Jan. 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) took emergency action banning all downer cows ?no matter what the cause of their inability to walk ?from the food supply.
Now, they're sent directly to rendering plants ?where, in this state, they're not being tested for the disease.
USDA spokesman Nolan Lemon said all resources in Washington are being used to track down the remaining cows that came with the Holstein from Canada.
"Right now, we're evaluating how our surveillance program will have to change," Lemon said. Setting up testing at rendering plants "is a possibility," he said.
If current rules had been in place when the Holstein came through, "we may not have caught that cow," said Frank Hendrix, a cattleman and Washington State University extension agent in Yakima.
But, Hendrix added, the USDA is well aware of the problem.
"I'm sure in the next couple of months, the government will get it straightened out, and start testing at rendering plants as well," he said.
Whether the infected Holstein was a downer is important, because the government's surveillance system has long concentrated on downers, deemed to be more likely to have BSE than cows that can walk.
"Downers weren't the only source of samples, but they were a high source of it," Lemon said. Out of a total of 20,277 tests last fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, 16,560 were "downers" and 3,090 were cows that had died before they arrived at the slaughterhouse.
According to USDA records, Vern's began testing in early October, gathering samples from 258 cows through December.
The veterinarian's notes from Dec. 9 at Vern's show the Holstein as "alert" but lying down on its sternum. Notes made after it was slaughtered show it had pelvic injuries, which indicate difficulties in calving, not BSE.
The department's surveillance was designed to catch the 1-in-a-million case that statisticians said would be a tip-off that there were perhaps 45 other cases in the U.S. adult cattle population of about 45 million, Lemon said.
Before the Holstein tested positive, the USDA had determined that the tests should increase to 40,000 a year to catch that 1-in-a-million case, he added.
Nestor, at the Government Accountability Project, said much of the voluntary sampling of livestock has been done at smaller facilities. "Thank goodness for us all that Vern's stepped up to the plate and was willing to take the responsibility to sample these animals," she said. "If they had not been willing to do this, then we would never have found this cow."
But, she added, such an event is financially traumatic for a plant owner, who is not protected from the economic fallout resulting from discovery of the disease. "There is no incentive for a plant to find BSE," she said.
Louthan, 44, said he's sorry to lose his job, because he enjoyed the work. "I did it because I liked to kill cows," he said. "I don't care if I'm hauling them, feeding them or killing them. As long as I'm around livestock, I'm happy. I'm a cowboy."
Food Safety Informaiton
Cryptosporidium Worse Than Thought
http://news.yahoo.com/LAWRENCE, Kan. - An outbreak of infection by a diarrhea-inducing parasite might have been more than six times worse than previously reported, a new federal report shows. The report from the federal Centers for Disease Control, made public Friday by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, shows that the cryptosporidiosis outbreak last summer in Lawrence might have infected 600 people. The report also suggests that the disease's spread could have been slowed if health authorities had alerted the community sooner. "The speed of diffusion of an outbreak like the one (in Lawrence) requires prompt and swift actions," it said. But Douglas County and state authorities said they took the correct action during the outbreak based on what they knew at the time. "Keep in mind that cryptosporidium is a fairly new disease," said KDHE spokeswoman Sharon Watson. "It's fairly easy to look back and see how things may have been done differently once you have all the information." She added: "There is no standard in place that says, 'If you have a cryptosporidiosis case in the community, you do A, B, C.'" The first cases in Lawrence were diagnosed in July. Among the initial victims was at least one member of the University of Kansas swim team. The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department came under fierce criticism because it didn't alert the broader public about the parasite until late August, when authorities closed swimming pools after 11 cases had been confirmed. The parasite is easily spread in pools and at day-care centers. Eventually, 96 cases were confirmed in northeast Kansas ?89 in Douglas County and the vast majority of those in Lawrence. More than 600 other probable, but unconfirmed, cases were identified by community surveys. Only the confirmed cases were reported during the outbreak. The source of the outbreak was not determined, CDC officials wrote, but the genotype of the parasite found in stool samples is found only in human-to-human contact, not the animal-to-human contact that often starts a cryptosporidium outbreak. CDC's investigators suggested that in future cryptosporidium cases, the community be alerted immediately when multiple, apparently unrelated cases are reported or when diagnosis is confirmed of cryptosporidiosis in any patient who has been in a swimming pool during the infection period. Either condition would have resulted in a public announcement weeks earlier than late August had the protocols been in place. "We were working with limited data at the time, making decisions as data came in," Watson said. "Not everything pointed to a specific source at the time."Authorities said they waited to alert the public because they weren't sure the cases were related. Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department Director Kay Kent said Friday her department followed traditional methods in waiting to make the announcement.
"I think the (CDC) report basically does say that there might be some difference in the future than what might be traditionally done," Kent said. "This is the first time the CDC has put that in writing, and I think that will be extremely helpful in the future."
And she pointed out that the Health Department followed many other recommendations in the CDC report during the outbreak. Among them were "hyperchlorination" of pools linked to cryptosporidium, increased public education to discourage swimmers from entering pools until two weeks after a bout of diarrhea, and waiting three weeks after the last laboratory-confirmed case before declaring the outbreak over.
Making ready-to-eat meals safer
- 27/01/2004 - New aqueous ozone technology, designed to make food safer by eliminating Listeria, has been accepted by the US Department of Agriculture’s food safety inspection service (FSIS). Manufacturer BOC claims that the anti-microbial process is proven to kill Listeria.
product is being targeted at makers of ready-to-eat (RTE) foods, since these foods
eliminate the final, in-home cooking step that can kill any Listeria organisms
that may remain on the food product. For these foods, Listeria organisms must
be controlled in the food production environment to ensure consumer safety.
"Meat and poultry processors can incorporate antimicrobial ingredients such as salts of organic acids to control L.monocytogenes growth,?said James Marsden, regent's distinguished professor at Kansas State University (KSU).
“However, with RTE products, it is also necessary to incorporate a lethality step in the production process that will reduce the levels of this pathogen and leave surviving cells injured."
While surface heat can be used to achieve the lethality required for surface L. monocytogenes contamination, it can result in undesirable changes in product quality and the capital investment costs can be restrictive. BOC claims that the new aqueous ozone technology is effective in helping processors achieve the desired lethality for surface L. monocytogenes contamination, at a lower cost and without negatively impacting the food product.
"Producers of RTE products can now have confidence that there is a proven effective, accepted and economical means of killing Listeria on food products and food contact surfaces," said BOC food safety markets business manager Mark DiMaggio.
BOC submitted its proprietary aqueous ozone technology to KSU for testing and validation. BOC then submitted the KSU results to the USDA as evidence that the technology will reduce surface contamination of L. monocytogenes and reduce the risk of this pathogen in the RTE products.
BOC provides a range of products such as ozone and UV light pathogen intervention systems, chilling and freezing technologies and modified atmosphere packaging. The group employs more than 44,500 people and had annual sales of some $7 billion in 2003.Alicyclobacillus, the Beverage Industry and the BioSys
and Negative Vials
This spore-forming soil microorganism has been a cause of spoilage problems for the fruit juice industry. Spoilage has been observed in apple, pear, orange, peach and white grape juices. It has also caused problems with juice blends, fruit juice containing drinks, tomato juice and canned tomatoes. In apple juice, the spoilage manifests itself as an off-flavor and off-odor in shelf stable products. This spoilage problem has proved to be expensive in the United States and Europe, resulting in consumer complaints and product withdrawals.
Research has shown that the off-odor defect in pasteurized apple juice is due to guaiacol, produced by ATB contamination from vanillin in the juice. The odor of guaiacol is quite distinctive and a clear sign that there is a spoilage problem due to ATB. Guaiacol detection in finished juice products is accomplished by methylene chloride extraction, concentration and analysis by GC-MS.
Studies show that Alicyclobacillus grows well in apple juice, tomato juice, white grape juice and various blends of juices (Splittstoesser, et al., 1994; Splittstoesser et al., 1998). The bacteria have been isolated from citrus processing lines and are potential spoilage agents of beverages containing citrus juices (Wisse and Parish, 1998).
Some studies have used Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA), pH 3.5 as a selective medium for Alicyclobacillus. The juice or other sample is heated at 60°C for 60 minutes prior to culturing to destroy non-heat resistant organisms such as yeasts and to activate dormant spores. The plates are incubated 5 to 7 days at 43°C. Media used by other investigators include K Media (Walls and Chuyate, 1998) and ALI Agar (Wisse and Parish, 1998). Because only low populations of the spores may be present, detection often requires culturing large volumes of juice. When the juice is filterable, several hundred milliliters may be passed through 0.45 um membrane filters. ATB can be detected in spoiled products by the pour plate method or membrane filtration method, with growth on K Agar medium. Concentrates are analyzed for Alicyclobacillus spores by treating the sample to a preliminary heat shock, followed by plating on K Agar medium. Heat resistance studies have shown that Alicyclobacillus spores can survive the usual hot fill processes that are given to commercial juices. The data also shows that increasing the Brix makes the spores more resistant to heat. The spores are less resistant as the pH is decreased and the type of organic acid can be important (Pontius et al., 1998).
Using the BioSys Instrument to Detect Alicyclobacillus
The ViV (vial-in-vial) system consists of two containers, an internal vial and an external vial. Organisms grow in the liquid medium in the internal vial and generate carbon-dioxide gas from their metabolic activity. Since the internal vial is placed unsealed into the external vial containing dye indicator, the generated gas is released from the internal vial to fill the headspace of the external vial. The generated gas travels to the surface of the indicator and interacts with its chemical compounds. The generated carbon dioxide interacts with the KOH compound to lower its pH. Thymolphthalein dye changes from purple at pH=9 (or higher) to colorless at lower pH values. The BioSys instrument records the time taken for an identified change in the absorbance. This will occur when the CO2 that is released by growing organisms is absorbed by the KOH in the external vial, resulting in a pH change and a concurrent change in dye color.
Threshold Skip Shuteye Duration Temperature
A typical curve and clear detection time in the BioSys instrument was observed for the presence of Alicyclobacillus in all cases. Typical curves obtained are shown below:
Culture Detection Time (hrs) cfu/ml
and Negative Vials
Cerny, G., W. Hennlich, K. Poralla. 1984. Spoilage of fruit juice by bacilli: isolation and characterization of the spoilage organism. Z. Lebensm. Unters. Forsch. 179:224-227.
Pontius, A. J., J. E. Rushing, and P. M. Foegeding. 1998. Heat resistance of Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris spores as affected by various pH values and organic acids. J. Food Protection 61:41-46.
Splittstoesser, D. F. 1993. Recent developments in the microbiology of fruit juices, p. 59-61. In D. L. Downing (ed), Juice Technology Workshop, Report 67, NYS Agric. Expt. Station, Geneva, NY
Splittstoesser, D. F., J. J. Churey, and C. Y. Lee. 1994. Growth characteristics of aciduric sporeforming bacteria isolated from fruit juices. J. Food Protection 57:1080.
Splittstoesser, D. F., and J. J. Churey. 1996. Unique spoilage organisms of musts and wines, p 36-41. In T. Toland and K. C. Fugelsang (ed), Wine spoilage microbiology Conference. California State University, Fresno.
Splittstoesser, D. F., C. Y. Lee and J. J. Churey. 1998. Control of Alicyclobacillus in the juice industry. Dairy Food and Environ. Sanitation 18:585-587.
Walls, I. And R. Chuyate, 1998. Alicyclobacillus - Historical perspective and preliminary characterization study. Dairy Food and Environ. Sanitation 18:499-503.
Wisotzkey, J. D., P. Jurtshuk, Jr., G. E. Fox, G. Deinhard, and K. Poralla. 1992. Comparative sequence analysis on the 16S (rDNA) of Bacillus acidocaldarius, Bacillus acidoterrestris and Bacillus cycloheptanicus and a proposal for creation of a new genus Alicyclobacillus gen. nov. Intl. J. Systematic Bacteriol. 42:263-269
Wisse, C. A., and M. E. Parish. 1998. Isolation and enumeration of sporeforming, thermoacidophilic, rod-shaped bacteria from citrus processing environments. . Dairy Food and Environ. Sanitation 18:504-509.