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E. coli Food Poisoning Cases Drop
Common Causes of Food Poisoning Continue to Decline

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
on Thursday, April 29, 2004
April 29, 2004 -- Just in time for picnic season, the CDC has some good news about some of the most dangerous threats to food safety. A new report shows cases of E. coli O157:H7 infections, one of the most severe food-borne illnesses, dropped by 36% from 2002 to 2003. Most illnesses caused by E. coli infections are the result of eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef. "This decline is promising, but it is a one-year change and more time is needed to know whether this is going to be sustained," says Robert Tauxe, MD, chief of the CDC's food-borne and diarrheal diseases branch. "That said, overall trends suggest that efforts by industry, individuals, and certainly efforts in the regulatory arena seem to have us headed in the right direction." Overall, food poisoning cases have declined by 42% since 1996, and the incidences of three other common culprits also dropped significantly during that period: Campylobacter infections, often caused by eating contaminated poultry, dropped 28%. Salmonella cases, also frequently caused by poultry, declined 17%. Yersinia infections, commonly caused by eating infected pork, dropped 49%. However, Listeria-related illnesses, which had been declining over the last four years, did not decline in 2003 and remained relatively unchanged. Listeria is often found in undercooked meat, deli meats, shellfish, and sausages. Shigella infections, which are often the result of contact with sewage-contaminated food or water, also did not change significantly from 1996-2003.

Decline in Food Poisoning Cases
The report appears in the April 30 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and is based on preliminary 2003 data from FoodNet, the CDC's food-borne diseases surveillance network. FoodNet tracks the number of infections caused by bacteria and other pathogens found in food. Researchers say an estimated 76 million people contract food-borne and other diarrheal illnesses each year. Tauxe says the decline in illnesses caused by some of the most common types of bacteria is likely due to a combination of factors, such as using a thermometer when cooking meat and poultry, washing hands during food preparation, and better tracking of contaminated meat and poultry by producers and regulators.

Elsa Murano, PhD, the USDA's undersecretary for food safety, says the decreases in food poisoning cases reported by the CDC mirror recent declines in bacteria found in regulatory sampling of food products. For example, the percentage of contaminated samples found in 2000 was 0.86%, and in 2003 that number was 0.3%.

USDA to deploy national animal identification system

April 28, 2004
IFT Daily News
4/28/2004-Framework and funding of a U.S. National Animal Identification System (NAIS) have been announced by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Venema. Designed to help identify any agricultural premise exposed to a foreign animal disease in order to quickly contain and eradicate the disease, the system will be initially funded by $18.8 million from the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation. However, Veneman said both public and private funding will be necessary to make the NAIS fully operable.
Implementation of the system will occur over three phases. In Phase I, the USDA will evaluate and choose which current federally funded animal identification system should be used for NAIS, engage in dialogue about the operation of the NAIS, identify staffing needs, and devise any necessary regulatory or legislative proposals. Phase II would see the actual implemenation of the system at regional levels for one or more species, and in Phase III the system would be expanded to the national level.
"This framework is the result of concerted efforts to expedite the implementation of a system that meets our goals and enables farmers and ranchers to adapt existing identification programs and to use all existing forms of effective technologies," said Veneman.

University of Minnesota to lead national effort in food bio-security



Department of Homeland Security awards university-based grants
(MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL) April 27, 2004 ?The University of Minnesota has been named one of three U.S. Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence and has received a $15 million, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help develop ways to protect the nation's food supply from deliberate contamination or terrorist attack.
The university's Center of Excellence, known as the University Center for Post-Harvest Food Protection and Defense (PHFPD) is a national consortium of academic, private sector, and government partners including three other universities (Michigan State University, North Dakota State University, and University of Wisconsin Madison), experts at 12 more universities, independent research facilities, state health and agriculture agencies, professional organizations, and agriculture and food industry companies, and private sector consultants. More than 90 investigators make up the consortium.

"The breadth and depth of food security knowledge we were able to pull together for this effort is unparalleled," says Frank Busta, University of Minnesota's Department of Food Science and Nutrition and principal investigator on the grant.

"The University of Minnesota, with extraordinary strength and expertise in the health, animal and food sciences, is uniquely positioned to develop interdisciplinary collaborations," said President Robert Bruininks. "We're proud to lead this important effort and look forward to working with our partners in academia, public health, industry and government to make our nation's food supply safer."

"This University of Minnesota team includes some of the brightest, most accomplished people in food production and health safety. Their recognition as a Homeland Security Center of Excellence is well deserved. I know they will make fine contributions to the protection of our national food supply," said Congressman Martin Sabo. Congressman Sabo is the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which allocates funding for and conducts oversight of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Research Goals

The U.S. food system--from farms to processing and distribution to retail food service--presents an array of vulnerable targets for terrorist attack. Intentional contamination of agricultural or food products with biological, chemical, or radiological agents could lead to potentially devastating effects on human health, as well as major economic losses to a critical sector of the economy. Historically, efforts to protect the food supply have focused primarily on preventing and reducing accidental contamination by naturally occurring agents.

"The need to protect against potential deliberate contamination now creates a demand for enhanced capabilities to anticipate, prevent, respond quickly to, and minimize the impact of such attacks," said Michael T. Osterholm, co-principal investigator and director of the University's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. "This places great importance on federal, state, and local governments and the private sector to coordinate and integrate their biosecurity activities."

One of the major strengths of the proposal lies in a unique farm-to-table private sector industry group that has been collaborating with the University for nearly two years to identify security gaps in the nation's food supply and to develop comprehensive plans to respond to those gaps.

"The University of Minnesota is ideally suited to provide a coordinated effort between academia, government, and the key food and agricultural industry players ?including producers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers," said Joel Johnson, C.E.O., Hormel Foods, Austin, Minn. "By working together with industry, as we have in the past on other initiatives, the University will provide excellent leadership in the nation on this counter-terrorism effort."

The grant was announced at a press conference today at the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Offices with DHS Secretary Tom Ridge and Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman. Naming the university a national center of excellence is an initiative of DHS's Office of University Programs. For more information on the grant process, www.dhs.gov.

Food Hygiene Laws Reviewed

source from: http://www.meatnews.com/
Commissioner welcomes completion of extensive review of food and feed controls and hygiene rules.
The Agriculture Council of the European Union has adopted key legislation on food and feed controls and hygiene rules. This completes the extensive review of these sectors proposed by the European Commission.

The Regulation on Official Food and Feed Controls, proposed by the Commission in February 2003, will streamline previously weak and scattered controls and reinforce the efficiency of control services performed by both member states and the Commission.

It clearly defines the member states responsibility to ensure that business operators apply E.U. legislation correctly and sets out the role of the Commission's Food and Veterinary Office as "auditor" of the member states' performance. Performance criteria are introduced for the Member State competent authorities and a harmonized E.U.-wide approach to the design and development of control systems is set out.

The regulation will also provide a framework to support developing countries in meeting E.U. import requirements and enable the Commission to fund activities that enhance food and feed safety. It establishes a common regime for controls on food and feed imports, basing the nature and frequency of controls on risk. This means, for example, that import conditions can be more stringent for products with a higher risk profile, such as certain nuts that may contain aflatoxins.

The hygiene package, one of the key elements of the recast of the E.U.'s food safety legislation, is composed of five parts covering general hygiene, hygiene of food of animal origin, official controls and animal health rules for products of animal origin intended for human consumption, and a directive repealing the previously existing legislation.

New rules will be introduced on the inspection of both live animals and meat and on the level of supervision in cutting plants. The hygiene package introduces the HACCP Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points principles in all sectors of the food business except for primary production on farms. For example, two critical control points in slaughterhouses that need to be managed according to the HACCP principles are the prevention of fecal contamination of carcasses and ensuring the correct temperature of carcasses during storage.

The hygiene package will merge, harmonize and simplify the E.U. hygiene legislation that was previously scattered over 17 separate directives and instead create a single, transparent hygiene policy. This policy will be applicable to all food operators and includes effective instruments to manage food safety and any future food crises throughout the food chain.

The hygiene rules allow for some flexibility for small businesses, traditional food production methods and for businesses in isolated areas. In addition, primary production for private use and the direct sale of small quantities of primary products are not covered by the hygiene rules. For example, apples or eggs sold directly at the farm gate or in local retail shops are exempted.

The regulation on hygiene requirements for animal feed completes the "farm to fork" approach, providing rules on the production, transport, storage and handling of animal feed. The Commission said that many food crises have their origin in contaminated feed, such as the dioxin crisis. Therefore the hygienic handling and production of feed is absolutely vital to ensure safe food. Also of particular importance is the liability of feed operators to pay for the costs, such as withdrawal from the market and destruction of feed, if something goes wrong with their feed as a result of infringements of the feed safety legislation.

The regulation covers all types of feed and the entire range of feed business operators.

However, there is some flexibility for small businesses and remote regions, for which Member States may put in place appropriate solutions based on the local situation, without compromising the objective of food safety. For example, pet food is excluded from the hygiene rules, as is the trade of small quantities of feed between farmers at the local level.

David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, welcomed the Council adoption of the Regulation on Food and Feed Controls and the Regulation on Feed Hygiene, in addition to the package of food hygiene legislation, which was just recently finalized. All of these new laws will apply beginning on January 1, 2006.

"These are some of the key initiatives that I promised to deliver on as Commissioner and I am very pleased indeed to see their completion", Commissioner Byrne said. ¡°These laws will radically improve our food safety systems and involve important structural reforms. These rules significantly strengthen consumer protection in the E.U.¡±

Web posted: April 27, 2004

Northwest Food Processors Association Food Safety News
April 27, 2004
SUMMARY: The Juice HACCP regulation published January 19, 2001, requires most juice processors to comply with safety standards through implementation of a HACCP program. This article is designed to help industry understand the events that led up to this regulation and the key points of the HACCP regulation. It is
divided into three sections. The fi rst addresses the outbreak history and microbial, physical and chemical hazards associated with juice. The Juice HACCP rule was enacted because of an increase in the number of foodborne illness outbreaks caused by consumption of fresh juices during the past decade. The second section discusses
the development of juice regulations such as the HACCP rule and the requirement of a warning label on all unpasteurized or untreated packaged juice products, advising consumers of the potential risk of consuming these products. The last section deals with new and emerging processing technologies, such as ultraviolet radiation and
high-pressure processing, and measures taken to ensure that juice processors abide by the Juice HACCP rule. One approach to help increase the safety of fresh juice products is to develop a standardized training curriculum for inspectors, which the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST) has developed. This is readily available at the Center¡¯s website in pdf format or may be purchased in bound form from NCFST. For this entire article see the April 2004 edition of Food Protection Trends.
Source: Food Protection Trends 4/04

New sterilization process could bring salmon to the dry-shelf
April 26, 2004
Food Marketing Institute via FMI Daily Lead
According to this story, research being conducted in Washington is hoping to use microwave sterilization to extend the shelf-life of salmon and possibly present as a non-refrigerated item in grocery stores, though the FDA has not yet approved the process. "The quality of the product is astonishing," said one researcher, while another official noted microwaved products have been available in Europe and Japan for nearly a decade.

Multidrug-resistant strains of Salmonella enterica typhimurium, United States, 1997-1998

May 2004
Emerging Infectious Disease Vol. 10, No. 5
Therese Rabatsky-Ehr, Jean Whichard, Shannon Rossiter, Ben Holland, Karen Stamey, Marcia L. Headrick, et al.
To evaluate multidrug-resistant strains of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium, including definitive type 104 (DT104) in the United States, researchers reviewed data from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS). In 1997 to 1998, 703 (25%) of 2,767 serotyped Salmonella isolates received at NARMS were S. Typhimurium; antimicrobial susceptibility testing and phage typing were completed for 697. Fifty-eight percent (402) were resistant to >1 antimicrobial agent. Three multidrug-resistant (>5 drugs) strains accounted for 296 (74%) of all resistant isolates. Ceftriaxone resistance was present in 8 (3%), and nalidixic acid resistance in 4 (1%), of these multidrug-resistant strains. By phage typing, 259 (37%) of S. Typhimurium isolates were DT104, 209 (30%) were of undefined type and 103 (15%) were untypable. Fifty percent (202) of resistant (>1 drug) isolates were DT104. Multidrug-resistant S. Typhimurium isolates, particularly DT104, account for a substantial proportion of S. Typhimurium isolates; ceftriaxone resistance is exhibited by some of these strains.
Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no5/03-0209.htm

Sampling Services and Private Laboratories Used in Connection With Imported Food
Prior Notice of Imported Food Questions and Answers (Edition 2)
State, Local, Tribal and Federal Inspection/Training Officers Certified by the FDA
New IKE Scenario Available Online
Veneman Announces Framework And Funding For National Animal Identification System

FDA Proposes Additional Rules to Ensure the Safety of Imported Food
Bioterrorism Outreach Meetings For Asia
Multidrug-resistant S. Typhimurium Infection from Milk Contaminated after Pasteurization
Evaluation and Definition of Potentially Hazardous Foods
Joint Press Release - The Third Japan-U.S. Consultation on the BSE issue
FDA Proposes Additional Rules to Ensure the Safety of Imported Food
Microbiological Testing Program for Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Raw Ground Beef Products
HACCP; Procedures for the Safe and Sanitary Processing and Importing of Juice
Need To Complete New Registration Form: Extension of date
FSIS Constituent Update/Alert: Updated April 19, 2004

Current Outbreaks
04/30. Norwalk strikes Hamilton hospital
04/29. Anthrax, human & livestock - Armenia (Shirak)
04/29. Gastroenteritis, fatal, children - Malaysia
04/29. Illness shortens 5th-grade trip
04/29. CDC helps Las Vegas address outbreak among hotel guests
04/29. Child's Death Not From Carbon Monoxide, But Perhaps Food Poi
04/28. Shipboard outbreaks of viral illness continue
04/28. McLaughlin death leads to health agency issuing alert
04/27. [India] 55 hospitalised due to food poisoning
04/27. Food poisoning outbreak: Hong Kong

04/26. 'Mad cow' ruled out in local cases
04/26. Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157, Kinshasa
04/26. [UK] Hospital dash for boy in ice cream mix-up
04/23. Courthouse virus hits judges, lawyers, clerks, inmates
04/20. Food poisoning leaves woman dead
04/20. Poisonous food leaves 115 people sick in northwest China pro
04/19. Fake milk powder kills dozens of babies in central China: re
04/16. Food poisoning fells 7 at police academy
04/16. Eight cases confirmed in a salmonella outbreak
04/16. Seventy-four down by poisoned food in NW. China province

Current New Methods
04/30. UV LEDs sterilize water spiked with bacteria
04/30. Trucker concocts superbug killing cream in his garage
04/29. Toxin Guard(TM) comes to the army's defense
04/29. Sterilox Featured at the 2004 FMI Show; Kills Harmful Bacter
04/28. BIRD FLU: Chinese scientists develop new test for virus
04/28. Fujirebio Receives Manufacturing Approval for BSE Screening
04/28. Processors Use Tech To Track Meat Progression
04/28. Bacterial Proteins Combat Campylobacter
04/26. Quick salmonella detection
04/26. BIOQUELL Cleaning Process Highly Effective against MRSA
04/26. Targeted Bacterial Destruction
04/23. Proactive Quality System Offered to Reinforce U.S. Livestock

04/23. Foodpro - A Safer And Healthier Way To Heat Food Products
04/22. Wrappers smarten up to protect food
04/22. Ability to remove pathogens from chicken manure and human waste

Current Food Safety Informaiton
04/30. Cattle industry isn't worth dying over
04/30. European Union gives Iran 40 days to solve pistachios infect
04/30. S.T.O.P. speaks up about hand washing
04/30. CCFL - Codex Committee on Food Labeling
04/30. Production of low-quality baby milk powder widespread in China
04/30. 24 national labs sign in to EU's GMO network
04/30. GUEST COMMENTARY: AMI clarifies goal of BSE prevention measu
04/30. Labels won't cure beef industry's BSE woes
04/30. Food Allergy Information Event on May 19 in Brunswick
04/30. Bush says wants 'free trade' for Canadian beef
04/30. Canada's Martin "very optimistic" about beef exports to US
04/30. Traceability in the beef industry
04/30. Fourteen hepatitis claims settle in first mediation sessions
04/30. More pork producers getting certified
04/30. FDA welcome in fight against super bugs
04/30. SEARCH FOR ANSWERS [Lead Tainted Candy]
04/30. Dirty Dining report: Golden Corral, Tampa
04/30. Millions Of Bacteria Found On Metro Shopping Carts
04/30. Common Causes of Food Poisoning Continue to Decline

04/29. Canada expects U.S. mad cow decision by early May
04/29. Residue rules: British CFA launches new guidance on veterina
04/29. British report critical of poor sanitation standards of poor
04/29. More food safety concerns: Ireland¡¯s agriculture minister em
04/29. Mussels caught for sport under quarantine
04/29. FDA BSE/Ruminant Feed Inspections Firms Inventory
04/29. Japan to open new mad cow disease research lab
04/29. NCBA encouraged by U.S./Japan beef talks
04/29. BC-Food-Label
04/29. Ex-meat inspector describes factory
04/29. FoodNet data indicate drop in foodborne infections
04/29. Identification System Identified
04/29. Midwest co-op to petition USDA to approve voluntary BSE test
04/29. E. coli O157:H7 Illnesses Drop 36 Percent, CDC Says
04/29. New IKE Scenario Available Online
04/29. Accession states prepare for EU supplement laws
04/29. DNR alters CWD plan, takes flak from hunters
04/29. Parent's Tip - Honey and newborns
04/29. M&S launches ?m drive over quality food production
04/29. U center to seek faster detection, removal of food-supply da
04/29. The Case for Food Irradiation
04/29. Controlling meat production
04/29. Steritech Upgrades Online Food Safety Management System
04/29. Recycled plastic in food packaging guidance
04/29. Food safety standards remain problem in "New Europe"
04/29. Kudos for safest restaurants
04/29. Checking candy, lead not an easy task for FDA

04/28. USDA to deploy national animal identification system
04/28. Homeland Security selects universities for ag security resea
04/28. Homeland security announces agro-security centers
04/28. Food Hygiene Laws Reviewed
04/28. When functional foods collide with infamous GMOs
04/28. USDA Will Begin Animal ID System 'Later This Year'
04/28. USDA to Try to Track Animal Disease
04/28. State firm cited in mad cow report
04/28. FDA: Most Cos. Honor Mad Cow Regulations
04/28. Sushi surprise
04/28. University of Minnesota to lead national effort in food bio-
04/28. U gets $15M for food security
04/28. Food Hygiene Laws Reviewed

04/27. FDA Proposes Additional Rules to Ensure the Safety of Imported Food
04/27. Alta. slaughterhouse packers say Japanese beef market open i
04/27. USDA official: Japan may accept U.S. beef
04/27. The University of Southern Mississippi and Toxin Alert Inc.
04/27. NZFSA releases diet survey & monitoring results
04/27. Questions and answers on hygiene requirements for food
04/27. Commission adopts a report on the implementation of beef lab
04/27. The Candy Makers
04/27. USDA vets: Documents falsified for years
04/27. 100% BSE testing might be inevitable
04/27. Experts: It's safe to eat fish, despite recent warnings
04/27. Meat hygiene directives
04/27. New sterilization process could bring salmon to the dry-shel
04/27. Scientists cook up better fish packaging
04/27. No new hepatitis A infections in Derry
04/27. Use of lead-tainted ingredients raises ethical questions
04/27. Beef farmers seek study on safer, high-end meats
04/27. [UK] Kebab seller banned from food business
04/27. Health Canada provides information on the safety of eating s
04/27. FAO conference to focus on food safety and quality
04/27. Antibiotic Alternatives Addressed
04/27. R-CALF files suit over change in Canadian import restrictio
04/27. Energy efficient food safety
04/27. Food Safety Award Presented to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxi
04/27. Milk Allergy
04/27. GM food imports imminent
04/27. Mad-cow fears quash USDA import changes
04/27. Napa eateries to earn cleanliness grades
04/27. Trial in meat cop slayings begins
04/27. EU clears last hurdle to ending gen-mod food ban
04/27. 'Nut-free' nut flavours for new labelling rules
04/27. Little done about lead-tainted candy sold to Latino kids

04/26. Multidrug-resistant strains of Salmonella enterica typhimuri
04/26. Only half of recalled meat and poultry is recovered, study f
04/26. Oysters not on the half shell, please
04/26. Microbial food safety considerations for organic produce
04/26. No free market in the meat market: USDA stymies slaughterhou
04/26. Meat standards and mad cow disease
04/26. Mercury in fish: risks too great to take
04/26. Eat, drink and be wary: Scare-provoking titles put food safe
04/26. Joint press release: the third Japan-U.S. consultation on th
04/26. On-farm food safety support available to Ontario fruit and v
04/26. Quotable Quotes
04/26. Food irradiation update: Qualipaq and CFC Logistics obtain U
04/26. Food Safety and Quality the Focus of FAO's 24th Regional Con
04/26. EU clears last hurdle to ending GM food ban
04/26. Canada updates import requirements for U.S. meat

04/25. Canada Expands Import Requirements to Include Bone-In Beef f
04/25. Progress Made in U.S.-Japan Beef Trade Talks
04/25. French Fry Freak-Out
04/25. Packers mad that USDA limits testing
04/25. Mexico to Maintain Partial U.S. Beef Import Ban
04/25. Japan, U.S. To Create Mad Cow Expert Panel

04/24. USDA targets 5,000 Iowa cattle in mad cow testing
04/24. Former Senator Wants US Ranchers to Sell Beef Tested for Mad
04/24. Japan Still Wants U.S. Mad Cow Checks After Accord
04/24. Wisconsin DNR readies changes to CWD policies
04/24. Seeing red at green markets
04/24. Rejected Food Is a Big Retail Business
04/24. Milling Primary Source of Lead in Chilies
04/24. Report: Candy sold despite dangerous lead levels
04/24. Restaurant checks fall behind
04/24. Arsenic poisonings provide insight

Current Recall Information

FDA Proposes Additional Rules to Ensure the Safety of Imported Food
The Food and Drug Administration is issuing a proposed rule covering the use of private sampling services and laboratories in connection with imported food. Once finalized, the rule will strengthen the safety and wholesomeness of the U.S. food supply by helping to assure the integrity and scientific validity of data and results submitted to FDA.

The new regulations would require samples to be properly identified, collected and maintained; mandate that private laboratories use validated or recognized analytical methods; and direct private laboratories to submit the results directly to FDA. The proposal also would require importers to provide notice to FDA about the use of a sampling service or a private laboratory to sample and test food that is subject to an FDA enforcement action.

"This is yet another of the many steps initiated by our agency to protect Americans from food that appears to be adulterated or misbranded," said Dr. Lester M. Crawford, the Acting FDA Commissioner. "When it is finalized, this regulation will add an important building block to the FDA regulatory wall that helps to keep suspect food from harming our consumers."

Imports of food are rapidly rising and last year reached more than 6 million shipments. FDA estimates that importers hire more than 100 private laboratories to generate analytical data in support of claims that imported food products comply with U.S. laws. After questions were raised in mid-1990s about the coordination between these firms and FDA, the agency conducted several meetings with stakeholders that resulted in suggestions that the FDA take the following actions:

Establish consistent and objective national standards for the format and content of analytical data that private laboratories submit to FDA;
Require independent sampling so that FDA may be assured that samples collected and tested by private laboratories are truly representative of a shipment lot and are collected properly to ensure the integrity of any samples that were collected for testing; and
Require private laboratories to report analytical results directly to FDA to assure that the results are reported fairly.
FDA's proposal embodies these recommendations by describing the obligations of persons who use sampling services and/or private laboratories to submit data to FDA, and by establishing requirements for services that collect food samples and for private laboratories that analyze them.

The proposed rule emphasizes the importance of keeping the manner and process of sample collection and analysis free of any unauthorized influence or interference in order to deter manipulation, alteration, or substitution of the tested products.

The proposal, which can be accessed at www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/98fr/04-9699.htm, is on display today at the Office of the Federal Register. The proposal provides a 90-day period for comments. Comments should be identified by Docket No. 2002N-0085 and submitted using one of the means described in the opening section of the posted document.

Bacterial Proteins Combat Campylobacter
By Sharon Durham

April 28, 2004
Proteins from harmless microorganisms can reduce Campylobacter and other pathogenic bacteria in poultry intestines, a team of Agricultural Research Service and Russian scientists has discovered.

ARS microbiologist Norman J. Stern of the Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit in Athens, Ga., used the proteins, called bacteriocins, to reduce Campylobacter numbers in bird intestines by 99.999 percent in small research trials. Large research trials will be necessary to determine if the technology is commercially feasible.

According to Stern, this is the first treatment used in the last 25 years to achieve a significant reduction of Campylobacter in research trials on chickens.

The bacteriocins reduce the numbers of Campylobacter by a millionfold when fed to chickens. Bacteriocins could provide an effective alternative to antibiotics the poultry industry uses to control pathogenic bacteria.

Foodborne bacterial infections are responsible for billions of dollars of economic losses in the United States and worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that Campylobacter is one of the most common bacterial causes of diarrheal illness in humans in the United States. CDC has identified poultry as the primary vehicle for its transmission to humans. Controlling Campylobacter in poultry would reduce public exposure to the bacteria.

Preliminary data indicate bacteriocins may be effective in reducing other foodborne bacteria such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli. The patented technology to utilize the bacteriocins is available for licensing for commercial development.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.