key in fighting foodborne illnesses:
- 23/04/2004 - A comprehensive review of Campylobacter in poultry processing has been published by scientists from North Carolina University, US. The report coincides with a number of food scares related to the safety of poultry.
review, published in the Institute of Food Technologists, includes a description
of the pathogen, distribution of the infection, how it spreads, and interventions
to reduce infection. Campylobacter is the leading bacterial cause of human gastroenteritis
in the US, with 40,000 cases and approximately 680 deaths documented annually.
The report says that avian species are the most common host, probably because of their higher body temperature. Research has shown that Campylobacter reach their highest populations on poultry during the warmer months when up to 97 per cent of samples tested were positive for C. jejuni. However Campylobacter outbreaks have also been associated with raw milk, contaminated water and contact with pets and farm animals.
There are several species of Campylobacter (C. jejuni, C. coli, C.lari and C. uppsaliensis) capable of causing human illness. C. jejuni is implicated in approximately 85 per cent of the cases with the remaining 15 per cent being caused by C. coli. These are referred to as thermophilic Campylobacters, being able to grow at 37oC ?42 oC.
C. jejuni has been shown to survive for more than 4 hours at 27 oC and 60 per cent to 62 per cent relative humidity on some common clean or soiled food contact surfaces. However, Campylobacter can be killed by heating to above 60 oC, and populations reduced but not eliminated by freezing. Although Campylobacter will not survive below a pH of 4.9, it is capable of growing in the pH range of 4.9 ?9.0, and grows optimally at pH 6.5 ?7.5.
The publication of the guide coincides with a number of food scares related to the safety of poultry. Last month for example, the Dutch government ordered the culling of 600 ducks on a farm after routine blood tests showed signs of antibodies to a mild strain of bird flu. There are fears of a return of the virus that devastated much of northern Europes poultry industry last year.
The agriculture ministry said in a statement that it had decided to order the culling of the ducks after antibodies showed up which could indicate the birds were in contact with the contagious virus. A follow-up test has not confirmed an outbreak of bird flu but a further test was not able to rule out a mild strain of the virus.
The safety of chicken eggs in the UK has also been challenged. The UK's Soil Association claimed that as many as one in eight eggs may contain residues of a veterinary drug that are potentially harmful to humans.
The drug in question, lasalocid, is permitted in poultry raised for meat. But the Soil Association claims that tests on eggs by the UK government's veterinary medicines directorate show residues were found in 12 per cent of egg samples last year, up from 1 per cent in 1999. This means that consumers may be eating up to three million eggs a day containing residues.
Similar drugs have been reported to cause severe illness and death in livestock such as cattle, turkeys and sheep. The Soil Association says that although there is no direct evidence of potential poisonous effects on humans from lasalocid, checks have never been made.
“Publication of this new CFA Guidance is very timely bearing in mind recently publicised incidents involving unauthorised or banned veterinary residues,?said Kaarin Goodburn, CFAs secretary general.
“We anticipate that this Guidance will prove to be aninvaluable reference tool for all involved in the chilled food chain, particularly as the European Commission is currently reviewing legislation in this area.?
Consumption of under-cooked poultry and/or the handling of raw poultry are risk factors for human Campylobacter infection. Contamination occurs both on the farm and in poultry slaughter plants.
The rest of the article goes into some detail of the critical hazard points and how use of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point HACCP system may reduce occurrence of the pathogen. The authors conclude that further effort is needed to design more efficient and effective washing systems at the processing plants.
breaking research could pave way for safer beef
review of campylobacter and poultry processing
NEWS ANALYSIS: Creekstone gains sharp edge in the spin battle for public opinion
Daniel Yovich on 4/21/04 for Meatingplace.com
Speaking at the beginning of a Monday teleconference hosted by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association ?an event scheduled on the heels of Sunday's New York Times news story and editorial about the Creekstone issue ?U.S. Premium Beef CEO Steve Hunt leveled with reporters about the real reason USDA and the larger segments of the industry oppose the Creekstone initiative: It comes down to dollars and cents.
If Creekstone is allowed to test, Hunt said, it would likely cause a "domino effect" where the nation's major processors would have no choice but to follow suit. The cost to the industry, Hunt said, could be $1 billion per year, and Hunt said he believes that cost would not be readily absorbed by consumers.
For weeks, the Agriculture Department and some of the trade associations have tried to diffuse Creekstone's arguments by stressing that the Arkansas City, Kan.-based processor's plan is not scientifically sound. But if a stream of recent editorial and opinion pieces from newspapers big and small are any gauge of that strategy's success, it would seem that line of thinking has backfired.
An editorial in Tuesday's Chicago Tribune ?a newspaper not known as a font of liberalism ?supported the Creekstone argument, noting that if foreign buyers want to pay and domestic producers are ready to sell on their terms, why in the world is the U.S. government standing in the way?
Tuesday's Los Angeles Times published an op-ed piece by George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, which noted that USDA "may be correct that testing every animal in the U.S. is unnecessary and not cost-effective."
But Turley also argued that Creekstone should be allowed to test, if, for no other reason, to find out what the market will bear, noting that the current USDA position is an affront to anyone who believes in the free market system.
"It's as if the Department of Transportation refused to allow Volvo to add air bags just to keep the pressure off other carmakers," Turley said.
An editorial in Tuesday's Salt Lake Tribune, whose readership is decidedly conservative by national standards, took out the heavy lumber to whack USDA. The editorial concluded that the "USDA action is an insult to consumers in Japan, and in Utah, who will be denied the option of voting with their grocery dollar and supporting food-safety standards that go beyond those required by government."
Creekstone also won support from columnists Tuesday at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Wisconsin's Capital Times.
Conversely, USDA and the trade associations' positions have been shut out from the nation's opinion pages this week, with news searches failing to find a single column in support of the agency's or the industry's position.
Creekstone CEO John Stewart told Meatingplace.com that the company's editorial presence is not the result of a coordinated public relations campaign orchestrated by an outside firm.
"It's just me, my phone and my laptop," Stewart said.
said, it's likely U.S. consumers will see some rebuttals penned by USDA or the
trade associations published later this week, justifying why it is not prudent
to allow Creekstone to test all of its product.
A look inside Medtrol¡¯s sanitation toolbox reveals a selection of hand sanitizers.
The Clini-Gel line features contamination-free 800 ml sealed refill bags. ¡°Simply open dispenser, insert the bag-n-box and you're ready to go,¡± the company explains. Clini-Gel is available as an unscented, clear gel and packaged 12 refills per case. Wall dispensers are available in white or black. Clini-Gel is also available in four-ounce squeeze bottles, eight-ounce counter-top pump bottles, and Medtrol's new touchless mobile dispenser.
Another Metrol product -- Clini-Sudz -- provides extra protection and is designed to complement rinseless hand-sanitizing programs. Clini-Sudz anti-microbial hand soap contains an active ingredient that kills a broad spectrum of bacteria including Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and other pathogens. Clini-Sudz is mild yet effective and like Clini-Gel, is available in easy-to-mount wall dispensers or Medtrol's touch-less mobile dispenser. Clini-Sudz is recommended for wash sink areas and lavatories, and can be used prior to applying Clini-Gel for added protection.
For more information contact Ray Gorrzynski, Medtrol Inc., 7157 Austin Ave., Niles, IL 60714; Tel: (800) 647-7180; Fax: (800) 255-3027; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: www.medtrol.com.
Web posted: April 20, 2004
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