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

8/06/2002
Issue 11

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07/18. U OF G RESEARCHERS TESTING E. COLI O157 VACCINE FOR CATTLE

Interesting Food Safety News

Deadly salmonella strain spreads across the USA

By Anita Manning, USA TODAY A potentially lethal strain of salmonella that is resistant to at least nine antibiotics is spreading rapidly across the USA, and a congressman is calling on the Department of Agriculture to take steps to stop it. Multi-drug-resistant salmonella Newport is a "growing and serious threat," says Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., in a letter sent today to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman. Last year, at least seven outbreaks affected more than 100 people, he says. This year, 129 people have become sick, and one, a New York leukemia patient, died after the bacterium caused a massive bloodstream infection. Salmonella Newport accounts for about 10% of the estimated 1.4 million U.S. cases of salmonella poisoning each year. Tests show 26% of salmonella Newport bacteria are multi-drug resistant, up from 1% in 1998, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Several factors may be contributing to the rise, such as the practice of routinely giving antibiotics to calves to prevent infection and promote growth. A particular worry, says Patricia Griffin, chief of the Foodborne Diseases Epidemiology Section at the CDC, is the bacterium's ability to transfer its resistance characteristics to other bacteria. It is associated with dairy farms and has been found in undercooked hamburger and cheese made from unpasteurized milk. It causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, bloody stools and vomiting. It is most dangerous to very young children, the elderly and those with other illnesses. Waxman is urging studies to determine how the drug-resistant bacteria is spreading and is asking the USDA to initiate testing for it in slaughterhouses. Elsa Murano, USDA undersecretary for food safety, says testing for salmonella subtypes is "costly and cumbersome." She had not seen Waxman's letter, but says she welcomes his interest in funding new research into why the bug is becoming more common.

Water tests to cost $2.5 million
State to pay for Lake St. Clair monitoring systems
By Iveory Morris / The Detroit News Todd McInturf / The Detroit News
HARRISON TOWNSHIP -- Along Lake St. Clair, from Harrison Township to New Baltimore and in St. Clair Shores, Macomb County has some of Metro Detroit's most scenic beaches.
But Richard Smith doesn't bother going to any of them because "you just don't know" what's in the water, he says.
"We need to know what we're dealing with," said Smith 42, who has lived in St. Clair Shores for three years. "Until that happens, I have very little faith right now."
Environmentalists like Doug Martz, who lives near Metro Beach in Harrison Township, hope $2.5 million recently approved in Lansing for water monitoring will renew some of that faith.
The money will pay for monitoring systems in Lake St. Clair, throughout the Clinton River Watershed that covers much of northeast Macomb County, and in the narrow St. Clair River.
Environmentalists hope monitoring systems will track movement of contamination, like E. coli bacteria, through the water. The systems also will keep track of the levels of contamination.
"If you monitor, you can catch polluters," said Martz, chairman of the Macomb Water Quality Board. "If you don't, you can't catch anything."
Martz has been fighting for water monitoring since 1997.
"If you find the pollution, then you can point fingers at the responsible parties and get it fixed," he said. "If you're going to fix something, how do you know it's fixed if you don't monitor it before and after?"
Macomb beaches have been closed several times this summer due to high E. coli bacteria levels. The levels usually rise following downpours, when large amounts of untreated rain and sewage are pushed into rivers, streams and drains. That water eventually empties into Lake St. Clair.
Exposure to high levels of the bacteria can cause skin rashes, intestinal problems or diarrhea. Avoids local beach
Kristina Siemen, 26, of New Haven, lived nearly 15 years in Harrison Township and described Metro Beach as her back yard. Now, she avoids it.
"We have a lot of toxic junk going in there that needs to be cleaned up," Siemen said. "My kids don't go to the beach. They go right down the street to get in the pool."
But Siemen said water monitoring could convince more people to visit area beaches. "I think a lot of people who are scared to go to the beach will actually go, as long as testing shows it's OK," she said.
Grass roots groups and other agencies have urged the state for more testing of local waterways for pollution and finding quicker ways to notifying the public about contamination.
"There is a great need for better water quality monitoring throughout Clinton River and Lake St. Clair," Clinton River Watershed Council Director Jessica Opfer said. "It costs money to improve monitoring, but it guarantees a better (testing) system ... and improves the ability of counties to identify the problem and find the source of pollution."
Opfer said testing is "win-win" for Metro Detroit.
"The water flows through all of our communities," Opfer said. "Counties and communities can respond faster to bacteria levels."
Brad Wilson, Macomb County community organizer for the grassroots group Clean Water Action, is eager for water monitoring to begin at area beaches. But, he said, more work needs to be done.
"This is a step in the right direction for improving the notification for citizens for beach and service water," Wilson said. "This has been long overdue to say the least." Wilson said money for monitoring systems should be used to predict when high levels of bacteria or other pollutants are in water.
"This will help reduce the exposure of people to contaminates at our beaches, rivers and lakes," Wilson said. "The hope is that they can notify the public in a timely and clear fashion. If they don't notify the public quickly, how testing is done won't make a difference." Fights pollution
Mark Richardson prosecutes environmental cases for the Macomb County prosecutor's office. No other county in the state has a prosecutor specifically assigned to the environment. "We can't efficiently enforce the law unless you know where the problems are coming from," he said. "It's a great investment for the public because it will save a lot of time, effort and expense that we now are engaged in to track down pollution sources."
A major concern for federal, state and Macomb officials is the source of PCBs found in sediment in two St. Clair Shores boating canals and in the city's drain system. The scientific name of PCBs is polychlorinated biphenyls. They are cancer-causing chemicals used to make transformers and capacitors, as well as coolants in lubricants. Because of concerns about their health risks, PCBs have not been used since 1977.
St. Clair Shores' resident Smith wants officials to find the sources of contamination with the water monitoring system.
"It's out of hand. They need to start hitting the people who are doing the polluting," he said. "The question is how do you stop companies from contaminating the water?"

Nestle to purchase Chef America for $2.6 billion
GENEVA (AP) ?Food and drinks giant Nestle announced Tuesday it was buying U.S. food company Chef America, which makes the Hot Pockets brand of frozen sandwich, for $2.6 billion. The news came as speculation builds that Nestle is a prospective buyer of Hershey Foods, the largest U.S. candy maker, in a deal that could be worth $10 billion. "Chef America is an ideal and strategically important complement to our own frozen food activities in the United States," said Chief Executive Peter Brabeck. The Denver-based Chef America, which is privately held, expects sales of $720 million in 2002 ?an increase of more than 15% on last year. Nestle said the deal required regulatory approval but it hoped to complete the purchase within 60 days. By early afternoon, Nestle shares on the Zurich exchange were up 3.9% at 320.50 Swiss francs ($218). The purchase of Chef America is the fourth big takeover within a year for Nestle and is expected to push the company's net debt over 20 billion francs ($13.6 billion). Analysts had mixed views over whether Nestle could manage the Hershey deal on top of its other purchases. Pennsylvania's Hershey Trust Co., which owns 77% of the voting shares in Hershey Foods, disclosed last month that it is considering selling Hershey Foods in an effort to diversify its investment portfolio. Rating agency Standard & Poor's Tuesday confirmed Nestle's AAA rating after the Chef America deal but said the outlook was negative. "The acquisition will delay the restoration of Nestle's financial profile, which is currently weak for the rating category," S&P analyst Vincent Allilaire said in a report. But Rene Weber, analyst at Bank Vontobel in Zurich, said Nestle's strong cash position could help it outbid other potential buyers. "I believe the takeover of Hershey is a chance that you get only once in a lifetime and I believe Nestle could go for it," he said. Patrick Hasenboehler, of Bank Sarasin in Zurich, said the purchase of Chef America was a better deal than a takeover of Hershey would be. Chef America is a market leader in its segment, and its operating margin of nearly 30% makes the purchase price very attractive. Hershey has a relatively low top line growth, he added. Analysts said Nestle also could be in the market for Adams, the chewing gum unit of Pfizer Inc.

OUTBREAKS
08/06. E. coli strain that killed woman likely unrelated to recall
08/06. E.coli outbreak at nursery
08/05. HOLIDAY ESTATE E COLI BUG TOLL HITS 14 Aug 5 2002
08/03. TWO MORE HIT BY E.COLI OUTBREAK
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

Food Safety Daily News
08/06. Nestle to purchase Chef America for $2.6 billion
08/06. E. coli strain that killed woman likely unrelated to recall
08/06. E.coli outbreak at nursery
08/06. A VISION OF SAFE MEAT
08/06. WATER-BORNE BUG CONTINUES TO SPREAD
08/06. RESER'S RECALLS CHICKEN SALAD
08/06. Albertson's makes major move in marketing, selling kosher fo
08/06. Oregon company recalls chicken salad for listeria
08/05. Containers distributed in Alabama, Florida, George, Kentucky
08/05. State-lake tests detect 'superbugs'
08/05. Magic of soap
08/05. Deadly salmonella strain spreads across the USA
08/05. Water tests to cost $2.5 million
08/05. HOLIDAY ESTATE E COLI BUG TOLL HITS 14 Aug 5 2002
08/05. Stricter safety tests of biotech crops urged
08/05. Cattlemen lobby for re-evaluation of risks of imported cooke
08/04. Senate approves Trade Promotion Authority; Bush to sign bill
08/04. Tighter Biotech Crop Rules Proposed
08/04. Ton of Chicken Salad Is Recalled
08/03. Drug-resistant salmonella 'a growing and serious threat'
08/03. McKee Named to Lead U.S. Food Safety
08/03. USDA CONDONES USE OF RECALLED MEAT IN PROCESSED FOOD
08/03. TWO MORE HIT BY E.COLI OUTBREAK
08/03. Forum ? Meet the Food Inspection Robots
08/03. BSE, PREVENTION BY TETRACYCLINES?

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

Recall Summary
08/06. RESER'S RECALLS CHICKEN SALAD
08/05. Ton of Chicken Salad Is Recalled
08/05. Containers distributed in Alabama, Florida, George, Kentucky
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

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