5/18
2004

ISSUE:
118

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FSIS To Host Small Plant Training Workshops May 14, 2004

Source of Article: http://www.meatami.com/
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will host a series of workshops, "The E. coli O157:H7 Directive Updates, Advancing Public Health Workshops" for small and very small establishments. The first workshop will be held on May 22, in Toledo, Ohio.The workshops will provide an opportunity to receive answers to questions related to implementation of Directive 10,010.1, Revision 1, "Microbiological Testing Program and Other Verification Activities for E. coli O157:H7 in Raw Ground Beef Products and Raw Ground Beef Components and Beef patty Components," Directive 6420.2, "Verification of Procedures For Controlling Fecal Material, Ingesta, and Milk in Slaughter Operations," and Directive 5000.2, "Review of Establishment Data By Inspection Program Personnel."

The Toledo workshop is scheduled from 8:30 am - 2:00 pm at the Hilton ?Toledo. Individuals interested in attending this workshop must pre-register by calling (202) 690 - 6520 or email to: renee.ellis@fsis.usda.gov.

FSIS intends to host the following additional Saturday workshops:

June 5 Los Angeles, Calif.
June 12 Miami, Fla.
June 19 San Antonio, Texas
June 26 Boulder, Colo.
July 10 New York, N.Y.
July 17 Sacramento, Calif.
July 24 St. Louis, Mo.
July 31 Montgomery, Ala.
August 28 Philadelphia, Pa.
September 11 Amarillo, Texas

Workshop pre-registration information and specific meeting sites will be included in upcoming issues of FSIS's Constituent Alert. For more information visit the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov

Survey shows public's food safety fears
17/05/2004 - 16:02:45

http://breaking.examiner.ie/
Excellence Ireland Quality Association (EIQA) and safefood, the Food Safety Promotion Board have called for more businesses to apply for the Hygiene Mark as a survey showed major food safety concerns among the public.

The call came as research by safefood revealed there is a growing concern among consumers about food safety issues.

The study found 75% of people in the Republic of Ireland are concerned about food safety.

Take-aways top the list of establishments where hygiene is of particular concern, with 63% of people concerned about hygiene in such premises.

Martin Higgins, Chief Executive, safefood said, "We have been monitoring consumer attitudes and behaviour towards food safety on an ongoing basis for some time and we have found that there is a clear need to reassure consumers about the level of hygiene in food outlets."

The National Hygiene Mark programme is unique to Europe and has been established since 1978.

The programme provides detailed guidance to its members on the standards of hygiene and food safety required to ensure consistently safe food to customers.

Food Irradiation Update is published by the Minnesota Beef Council

Article in New England Journal of Medicine Says Irradiation is Necessary;Business Media, Inc. (May 3, 2004): BOSTON - A report the latest edition of
the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that food irradiation is critical to ensuring food safety but the technology is vastly underused.

Author Dr. Donald W. Thayer, writing in the April 29 edition of the prestigious journal, presented a convincing argument that physicians and
other healthcare professionals, as health advocates, should also be advocates for the irradiation of foods to prevent the transmission of infection.

Thayer said the recent approval of irradiated hamburgers for school lunch programs in the United States has been met with unfounded claims by groups opposed to food irradiation that children are being used as experimental animals.

Commenting on the article, Dr. George Chang, an expert in food safety at the University of California at Berkeley, observed: "There is great fear of irradiation and I think people have great images of science fiction movies, and things like that, and maybe something turning us into mutant ninja
turtles or something." However, Chang continued, irradiation is safe, and that the technology can dramatically cut down on deadly pathogens in food.

"The argument whether we really need irradiation or not, that's basically a political question, and I think that's a question in a democracy that's a really healthy to have people talk about and argue about," To read entire article: Irradiationof Food - Helping to Ensure Food Safety

Beating Antibiotic Resistance

source: http://www.meatnews.com/

Strategy launched for developing and implementing a surveillance program for anti-microbial resistance in animals in England and Wales. The British Government has published its strategy for developing a comprehensive surveillance program for anti-microbial resistance in animals for England and Wales. The move follows concerns over the emergence of anti-microbial resistance as a serious problem in human medicine. This has led to increasing concern about the use of antibiotics in human medicine, veterinary medicine, animal production, agriculture, and horticulture.Animal Health and Welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw said: “The publication of this strategy underlines the importance that the government places on obtaining all of the information necessary to enable us effectively to tackle the development of anti-microbial resistance.The AMR surveillance strategy outlines a program of work that will further the Government's knowledge about mechanisms and transfer of anti-microbial resistance, detecting emergence and spread of resistant clones, and outlining requirements for further research. This program addresses issues identified by the 1999 Advisory Committee on the Safety of Food report on anti-microbial resistance.The key elements of the government's strategy to reduce the development of anti-microbial resistance in farm animals are:

* Surveillance to determine the prevalence of resistant organisms in the animal population;

* Development of guidelines to encourage the prudent use of anti-microbials;

* Promote the development of livestock management systems that reduce the use of antimicrobials;

* Review dosage regimes for authorized products and contribute to the development of E.U. guidelines that ensure regimes that delay the development of resistance are put in place for new products;

* Identify research priorities and commissioning research projects to get a better understanding of resistance;

* Ensure veterinary education -- undergraduate and continuing professional development -- reflects the importance of the issue; and

* Promote public awareness of issues relating to the use of anti-microbials in animals.
Web posted: May 13, 2004

Food Safety Improves

source: http://www.meatnews.com/

Alliance for Food and Farming Analysis reports that industry and government cooperation has made food safer.


Strict U.S. government regulations and industry's adoption of "Good Agricultural Practices," farm-associated produce outbreaks comprise only two percent of all traceable foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States, according to a new analysis commissioned by the Alliance for Food and Farming, Watsonville, California. Further, the analysis shows that most outbreaks associated with meat and produce can be avoided by improved handling at the foodservice level and better consumer education about food preparation.

The Alliance commissioned the analysis to provide industry and consumers with better information about foodborne outbreaks. Data from the Centers for Disease Control from 1990 to 2001 were examined in the analysis. While other recent reports have included similar data, the Alliance's analysis is unique because it identifies where the contamination occurred to provide needed information for farmers and consumers alike.

The analysis also found that the vast majority of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. have been traced to foods other than fruits and vegetables. ¡°Contrary to some recent media reports, 88 percent of foodborne illness outbreaks were traced to foods other than fresh produce,¡± Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming, explained. For those outbreaks traced to produce, 83 percent were associated with improper handling at the foodservice or consumer levels.

The data also showed that since the development and adoption of "Good Agricultural Practices" in 1997, produce related illnesses attributed to the farm have dropped by 131 percent. GAPs were developed jointly by industry and the government to provide guidelines that reinforce already stringent laws governing food safety on U.S. farms.

¡°Agriculture needs to continue its efforts to reduce any on-farm incidents of foodborne outbreaks by implementing processes which have been successful, such as GAPs,¡± Dolan said. ¡°However, this analysis shows we must continue to support education programs for the foodservice industry and consumers, such as Fight-Bac, to encourage careful handling of our products which are often consumed in a raw state."

Recommendations when handling fresh produce include washing hands thoroughly before touching fresh fruits or vegetables. Wash fresh produce in running tap water. And, most importantly, thoroughly wash hands, utensils, counters, plates and cutting boards immediately after they have come in contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs so that these foods do not contaminate fresh produce.

Web posted: May 11, 2004

Hepatitis spread eyed in North
May 12, 2004
Cariboo Press
Local health officials are taking preventative measures due to an increase in Hepatitis A activity across the North. Communities with recent cases include Burns Lake and area, Fort St. John and area, the Queen Charlotte Islands, and Vanderhoof.
A link has not been found between reported cases in different areas.
"To date, we have immunized over 300 people who may have been exposed," said Dr. David Bowering, Chief Medical Health Officer. "But we are concerned that infected people could unknowingly be spreading it to others. Due to this increase in Hepatitis A activity around the North, we want to alert people to the signs and symptoms of infection... and how to prevent further spread of this disease.

Outbreak of Vero cytotoxin-producing E.coli O157 linked to milk in Denmark
May 13, 2004
Eurosurveillance Weekly: Vol. 8, No. 20
http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ew/2004/040513.asp
In an outbreak which lasted from September 2003 to March 2004 in Denmark, 25 people became ill with disease caused by Vero cytotoxin-producing E.coli (VTEC) O157. The outbreak was limited to the Greater Copenhagen area. A total of 18 children and seven adults were registered: six males and 19 females. The dominant symptoms experienced were abdominal cramps and diarrhoea: there were no cases with renal failure. The isolates cultured from stool samples had the same unique genetic fingerprint.
Eleven patients who became ill after 15 January 2004 and 55 controls were interviewed. Eight of the 11 patients were probably primary cases, while three might have been secondary cases. Of the eight primary patients, seven had bought goods from a certain supermarket chain (matched odds ratio (mOR) 7.7; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.9-65). No other chain of shops was associated with increased risk of infection. On the basis of the interviews, milk from a certain dairy was the only foodstuff that was linked with an increased risk of infection. Five of the eight primary patients had drunk milk from the dairy in question, compared with five of 39 control persons, (mOR 8.7; 95% CI: 1.6-48). The last three primary patients did not remember that they had drunk milk from this dairy.
The outbreak was likely to have been caused by a foodstuff that was sold in a certain supermarket chain, which sells a large amount of milk products from the dairy mentioned. It is suspected that the milk from this dairy was contaminated with very low levels of VTEC O157. Following a press release by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (http://www.uk.foedevaredirektoratet.dk/forside.htm, 3) on 26 March, the production of milk from the dairy mentioned was temporarily stopped, the plant was cleaned and the pasteurisation temperature raised. Since then, there have been no further cases. The dairy has been investigated for VTEC O157 contamination, but these results have been negative. A further investigation of the herds supplying the dairy is planned [4].
Physicians in the Copenhagen area are still being officially advised to request a laboratory investigation for VTEC O157 when requesting cultures of stool samples for enteropathogenic bacteria from patients presenting with abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.
This outbreak caused by VTEC O157 is the first general one recorded in Denmark. Previous outbreaks of VTEC O157 linked to milk and dairy products have been reported in the United Kingdom [5,6].
References:
1. Gerner-Smidt P, M?bak K. Outbreak of VTEC O157. EPI-NEWS 2004; 12: 17 March. (http://www.ssi.dk/sw9606.asp)
2. M?bak K. VTEC Outbreak-update. EPI-NEWS 2004; 14:31 March 2004. (http://www.ssi.dk/sw10275.asp)
3. Danish Veterinary and Food Association. Mistanke om colibakterier i m?k fra Thise Mejeri. Press release. 26 March 2004 (http://www.foedevaredirektoratet.dk/)
4. Gerner-Smidt P. Personal correspondence. 13 May 2004.
5. PHLS. Cases of Escherichia coli O157 infection associated with unpasteurised cream in England. Eurosurveillance Weekly 1998; 2(44): 29/10/98 (http://www.eurosurveillance.org/)
6. O?Brien S, Smith H, Lighton L, Mellanby A. Outbreaks of VTEC O157 infection linked to consumption of unpasteurised milk. Eurosurveillance Weekly 2000; 4(23): 8/6/2004

Microbial-Vac Systems(R), Inc. Unveils Breakthrough Technology for Collection and Concentration of Biohazardous Materials

Rotary Axis Concentration System (RACS) Offers High Efficiency Bacterial
Sample Concentration, Enhancing Real-Time Detection and Same Day Testing
Results
JEROME, Idaho, May 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Microbial-Vac Systems(R), Inc.(MSI), a leader in the development of microbiological products to efficiently
collect samples of pathogens and biohazardous agents, has announced the discovery of a revolutionary technology that will significantly increase the capabilities of first responders, the military and HAZMAT teams to collect and
rapidly detect bioterror micro-organisms such as anthrax, E. coli and salmonella. The technology, known as the Rotary Axis Concentration System
(RACS), was developed in MSI's laboratories and efficiently reduces the volume of bio-hazardous liquid samples and concentrates pathogens to the point where rapid, real time detection is possible. The RACS can either be used as a stand-alone device adaptable to most rapid detection systems available on the market today or as an integral part of MSI's signature product, the Microbial-Vac (M-VAC) collection system. Armed with the understanding that better and faster detection of harmful
microbiological agents relied on gathering and distilling a much improved sample, MSI's researchers created a significantly more efficient method to prepare pathogens for testing. Real-time detection methods, which amplify the
pathogen's DNA in a sample through PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), require a
high concentration of the potentially dangerous materials in a low volume of liquid for true real-time test results. The RACS reduces liquid sample
volumes by 50 times the current standard for a concentration efficiency of at least ten times over traditional centrifugal methods in less than 10 minutes. The RACS in many instances eliminates the need for pre-enrichment and other time-consuming preparation of samples, thus reducing the total processing time and allowing for a faster, more accurate test result. "The RACS allows labs in the field significant advantages over the current
standard method of traditional centrifugation sample preparation," said MSI founder and President Dr. Bruce Bradley, Ph.D. "The rotary axis system is a
significant improvement over traditional centrifuges which require sample transfer and relatively long spin times. Improving these processes allows for
on-the-spot detection of the presence of dangerous pathogens."
About Microbial-Vac Systems(R), Inc. (MSI)
Microbial-Vac Systems, Inc., located in Jerome, Idaho, is a leader in researching methods and developing products used to detect and identify
microbiological pathogens and agents. With funding from the U.S. Army and National Institutes of Health's NIAID, MSI scientists developed the
Microbial-Vac (known as the "M-VAC"), a hand-held, none-destructive, wet or dry vacuum surface sampling device that incorporates MSI's liquid-assisted microbial detachment and capture (LAMDAC(TM)) principles to efficiently
collect surface micro-organisms from virtually any surface. MSI holds multiple patents and trademarks on its M-VAC, LAMDAC and RACS products. For
more information on MSI and its products, please refer to its site on the
World Wide Web, http://www.microbial-vac.com.

The New Gram Stain and Other Staining Methods Using Molecular Probes

By Jeanne Moldenhauer Vectech Pharmaceutical Consultants, Inc.

One of the very first things learned in the microbiology laboratory is how to perform a Gram stain. The results of the Gram stain have been critical to identification of bacteria. Most of those who have participated in a basic microbiology laboratory course have had the opportunity to have these stains on your hands, clothes and lab coats.

Microbiologists have had to learn the order of the staining procedure; the times allowed for each reagent and the purpose of each reagent in order to successfully perform the staining procedure. Fortunately, a one step system is now available.

Gram Staining
Believe it or not, a new kit has been developed for performing Gram stains, called "LIVE Bac Light Bacterial Gram Stain Kit". This technology uses a single solution, without fixatives and washes. Results are obtained in a few minutes. Syto-9 stain and red-fluorescent hexidium iodide nucleic acid stain are used. The method can be used with mixed cultures. Gram-positive organisms stain a reddish-orange and Gram-negative organisms stain green.

The fluorescent stains can be viewed/assessed using a fluorescent microscope (with a standard fluorecein long pass optical filter set) or using flow cytometry. The reagents have been designed to show low background stain (intrinsic).

Dead cells do not show a predicted staining pattern. There are also procedures specified for use with Direct Epifluorescence Filter Techniques (DEFT).

A second staining kit, "ViaGram Red+ Bacterial Gram Stain and Viability Kit," is similar to the first kit described, but it uses two stains and three colors, so that viable and non-viable cells can be readily detected in addition to knowing the Gram reaction. Plasma membrane integrity is used as the distinguishing factor for live bacterial cells. Intact membranes are detected with a blue stain, while damaged membranes stain green. The red stain is evidence for Gram-positive bacteria.

Other Stains
Additional methods are available for detecting bacteria, yeast and plankton (nucleic acid stains).

Bacterial Enumeration and Assessment of Antibiotic Sensitivity
This stain technology combined with flow cytometry has also been applied to the development of bacterial counting methods (enumeration of bacteria). A nucleic acid stain is utilized that can easily penetrate microorganisms that are both Gram-positive and Gram-negative. Calibrated microspheres are also used and allow for enumeration of the bacteria present in the sample. Since the counts can be evaluated over time, it is possible to assess the sensitivity of the bacteria in the sample to antibiotics, e.g., the population would decrease if sensitive to the antibiotic being tested.

This article is taken from the March 2004 RMUG newsletter.

Current USDA/FDA NEWS
IKE Scenario 03-04
Extension of Comment Period for Prior Notice Interim Final Rule to July 13, 2004
Update by Dr. Peter Fernandez, APHIS and Dr. Barbara Masters, FSIS
REGARDING CDC FOODBORNE ILLNESS DATA DR. ELSA MURANO, USDA
Revision of the Requirements for Spore-Forming Microorganisms
Compliance Summary Information: Prior Notice
United States and Japan To Hold First BSE Technical Working Group Meeting

Veneman Names New Member To Nat¡¯l Advisory Committee On Meat and Poultry Inspection
Remarks by Lester M. Crawford, FDA, to National Food Policy Conference
Speech by CFSAN Center Director to Food and Drug Law Institute
FDA to Determine Health Significance of Low Furan Levels in Foods
Questions and Answers on the Occurrence of Furan in Food
Furan in Food, Thermal Treament; Request for Data and Information
Furan in Food, Thermal Treatment; Request for Data and Information
Remarks by Ann Veneman to National Food Policy Conference May 7, 2004 Washington, DC
FDA Announces Modernization of Food Good Manufacturing Practices
Determination of Furan in Foods

Current Outbreaks
05/17. KENYA: Contaminated maize kills 26 in Makueni District
05/17. [UK] TODDLER IN E COLI FIGHT
05/17. China: At least 12 died from fake baby formula
05/14. Hepatitis spread eyed in North
05/14. Gastroenteritis, foodborne - Spain (Ceuta)
05/14. Outbreak of E.coli O157 linked to milk in Denmark
05/14. Nigerian govt investigates 'killer noodles', shuts factories
05/14. Westgate teachers back after food poison scare
05/13. CJD (new var.) - South Africa (Pretoria): susp.
05/13. [South Africa] Mad cow disease fears played down
05/13. Simple virus bit Ki-Be students at camp
05/13. Food-safety experts say restaurant food wasn't safe
05/12. Child hit by E. coli
05/10. [Australia] Virus strikes 130 on cruise
05/10. 94 funeral guests in hospital in China with food poisoning
05/09. To Receive Free Food Safety Newsletters by E-Mail, Click Here

Current New Methods
05/17. Microbial-Vac Systems(R), Inc. Unveils Breakthrough Technolo
05/17. The New Gram Stain and Other Staining Methods Using Molecular Probes
05/17. World's Largest Turkey Processor to Use Warnex Genevision¢â for Pathogen Testing
05/12. Bioniche E. coli 0157 Vaccine Shows Further Promise in Contr
05/12. 3M¢â Petrifilm¢â Environmental Listeria Plates
05/11. Warnex signs up world's largest turkey processing plant as G
05/10. Foil protection for food packaging
05/10. AATI Presents the RBD3000, Fully Automated Rapid Bacteria Detection System
05/10. Esco's Containment Cabinets to Feature Anti-Microbial Powder-Coatin
05/09. How to Choose an Autoclave - Unbiased, On-line Assistance from Priorclave
05/08. Rapid Micro Testing to Double by 2008
05/07. New DSM tech claims to eliminate acrylamide
05/07. Celsis reveals new contracts [milk testing]

Current Food Safety Informaiton
05/17. Chemical safety
05/17. Rural churches must update water systems or not serve food
05/17. Bus fined for poor hygiene
05/17. Beef Safety Backed
05/17. GM contamination claims 'exaggerated', claims study
05/17. NFPA: Registration of Food Facilities
05/17. New IKE Scenario Available
05/17. FSIS To Host Small Plant Training Workshops

05/16. Death on a plate
05/16. Organic crops not at risk from GMO neighbours - study
05/16. Some cattle groups, states seek to weaken ban on downer cows
05/16. 10 Dirty Foods
05/16. German Parliament Approves Gene-Food Law

05/15. Two cited for unsafe buffet food offerings
05/15. EU Safety Rules to Cost Kenya
05/15. Survey shows public's food safety fears
05/15. The 'Russian roulette' of cuisine
05/15. POISONING: When FOOD Bites back

05/14. Irradiation will do for meat what milk pasteurization did
05/14. Irradiation important tool to keep food free from bacteria
05/14. Beef Checkoff Educates Consumers About Irradiated Beef
05/14. Article in NEJM Says Irradiation is Necessary
05/14. The Role of Irradiation in Food Safety
05/14. Quotable Quotes
05/14. Cattle in state to undergo mad cow testing
05/14. Further evidence that vCJD incidence in the UK is currently
05/14. The International Commission on Microbiological Specificatio
05/14. Researchers work to make water safer
05/14. Mouse found in mother's day soup at Newport News restaurant
05/14. Life sciences plenary speaker & panel discussion: ¡°Mad cow d
05/14. Food safety is in your hands¡¦ and on your hands
05/14. Beating Antibiotic Resistance
05/14. Green light for GM foods?
05/14. UK's BSE crisis draws to an end
05/14. Food Allergies On The Rise Across Nation
05/14. National Farmers Union Asks USDA to Allow Private Mad-Cow Te
05/14. No mad cow tests at Texas firm in 2004
05/14. [UK] Beef gets a clean bill of health
05/14. Zap! 100 FW jobs [food irradiation]
05/14. Walkerton water facility confirmed
05/14. Guinn: Some common food safety questions
05/14. Food manufacturers eye processing efficiency in the east
05/14. Biotech wheat - the market decides
05/14. Lawmaker Questions USDA Mad Cow Efforts

05/13. E.U. countries facing new COOL labeling
05/13. Why risk it? safefood conference will discuss the importance
05/13. Health agency to be set up in Winnipeg, sources say -
05/13. Rule aimed at norovirus would send sick food workers home
05/13. BC-Mad
05/13. UK seen heading for lower mad cow risk status
05/13. Perspective: stay safe during the upcoming grilling season
05/13. Processor achieves certification
05/13. McGuinty government takes further action to protect Ontario'
05/13. What's natural?
05/13. Shelf-life terms
05/13. Conditions were horrid at Santos Linguisa Factory, witness s
05/13. ¡°GM milk¡± claim misleading
05/13. UNITED STATES AND JAPAN TO HOLD FIRST BSE TECHNICAL WORKING
05/13. GM foods in retreat
05/13. Experts evaluate chemical risk
05/13. U.S. - Japan BSE Technical Talks
05/13. No dairies under investigation for BSE
05/13. Campaign goal: Stop crypto early on
05/13. Food allergy policy passed

05/12. Digestive Health & Wellness: Coping with food allergies
05/12. USDA issues 'gag order' to inspectors after Texas BSE testin
05/12. Harkin challenges USDA's BSE testing plan
05/12. S. Korea opposes OIE's push for relaxed beef ban
05/12. More warnings for Chinese medicines in UK
05/12. Allergies demand vigilance
05/12. Cells 'stop talking' in allergy
05/12. Watching what they eat: Parents share tales of food allergie
05/12. [South Africa] SA authorities fail to test for mad cow
05/12. KSU lab approved for mad cow testing
05/12. New research supports theory that indirect transmission of cwd
05/12. 'Joining Hands for Health'
05/12. Food Safety Improves

05/11. 'Herbal' Viagra often chemical, study finds
05/11. International affairs
05/11. Review of establishment data by inspection program personnel
05/11. FSIS residue policy and response to comments
05/11. NMA comments on BSE interim rules
05/11. America's mad cow hypocrisy
05/11. New laws in battle to cut food allergy deaths
05/11. Cattle industry takes heart from offer by Bush
05/11. Burger theory lacks meat
05/11. Southern Alberta county opposes co-op's bid for BSE testing
05/11. Bush backs open border for beef
05/11. Two sick cows: World trade rules will never be the same
05/11. Beef recall confusion frustrates California health officials
05/11. Creekstone renews call for BSE testing approval
05/11. Just Noodles owner takes heat for not keeping ingredients co
05/11. Protect Your Children From Food Allergies
05/11. Panel to review reproductive risks of acrylamide
05/11. Mandatory labelling of GMOs Public Opinion strongly in suppo
05/11. Cattle Industry: Veneman: Tests might find more mad cow case
05/11. S. Korea Opposes OIE's Push for Eased Mad Cow Guidelines
05/11. Daschle angered over USDA's refusal on mad-cow testing
05/11. City Giving Awards To Cleanest Restaurants
05/11. County eyeing A-B-C grading
05/11. Food industry, government battle over bioterrorism protectio
05/11. Boyle Health Department releases food-service inspections
05/11. [China] Agricultural fair to pay attention to food safety
05/11. City has fish for to fry, but not to eat
05/11. Local Fish Tested For Freshness
05/11. Food poisoning from fresh produce relatively rare, farm grou

Current Recall Information

REGARDING CDC FOODBORNE ILLNESS DATA DR. ELSA MURANO, USDA UNDERSECRETARY FOR FOOD SAFETY
APRIL 29, 2004 -- WASHINGTON, D.C.

¡°Reductions in foodborne illnesses announced today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that USDA¡¯s science-based policies to combat deadly bacteria in meat, poultry and egg products are effective.
¡°The CDC, in its annual report on the incidence of infections from foodborne pathogens, noted significant declines from 1996 to 2003 in illnesses caused by E. coli O157:H7 (42%), Salmonella (17%), Campylobacter (28%) and Yersinia (49%). Illnesses caused by Salmonella Typhimurium (typically associated with meat and poultry) decreased by 38%. Most significantly, between 2002 and 2003, illnesses caused by E. coli O157:H7, typically associated with ground beef, dropped by 36%. The reduction in E. coli O157:H7 illnesses brings the U.S. very close to achieving the ¡®Healthy People 2010¡¯ goal of 1.0 case per 100,000 people.

¡°The report adds to the body of evidence indicating real progress is being made toward our goals of preventing illness and protecting public health. The data, while inclusive of all foods, generally tracks the trends revealed through random regulatory testing of meat, poultry and egg products by the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

¡°In addition to testing results, recalls for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria in FSIS regulated products also dropped from 65 in 2002 to 28 in 2003.

¡°In the past 18 months, FSIS has implemented a series of policies and directives to control E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria. They include:

¡°Mandating that all slaughter and ground beef establishments reassess their HACCP plans. The reassessments led most establishments to either implement an intervention strategy at grinding or require their suppliers to do so;

¡°The first comprehensive audits of HACCP plans for scientific validity, carried out by an expanded, scientifically-trained force of FSIS HACCP experts and epidemiologists;

¡°Elimination of the E. coli O157:H7 testing exemption at slaughter plants that did their own carcass testing. All beef plants are now subject to FSIS ground-beef sampling;

¡°Creation of a new training program, Food Safety Regulatory Essentials, to improve training of inspectors in science-based regulations;

¡°Accelerating the scheduling of in-depth reviews of plants that have exceeded their Salmonella performance standards, so that potential sanitation problems can be identified and corrected promptly; and,

¡°Publishing a final rule to control Listeria monocytogenes, based on a quantitative risk assessment, to establish mitigation strategies that would result in risk reduction at ready-to-eat meat and poultry processing plants.
¡°The CDC data provide us with a benchmark and a challenge. We can see progress but our efforts against pathogens are not finished. Through research, education and the application of effective regulations, we intend to make the safest food supply in the world even safer.¡±

Revision of the Requirements for Spore-Forming Microorganisms

 

United States and Japan To Hold First BSE Technical Working Group Meeting

 

Update by Dr. Peter Fernandez, APHIS and Dr. Barbara Masters, FSIS