notice updates BSE surveillance program
Montana, Oregon, Washington Washington State University Animal Disease Diagnostic
Florida , Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee,
Virginia Athens Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, University
Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey,
New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont NY State College of Veterinary Medicine,
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Cornell University
Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, Puerto Rico, West
Virginia USDA, APHIS, National Veterinary Services Laboratory
NFPA 2004 Graduate Student Scholarship Award
of Article: http://www.nfpa-food.org/graduate.htm
1. Only graduate students doing research projects in the area of food technology/food science leading to a M.S. or Ph.D. shall be eligible.
2. The awardee shall have a special interest in food technology/food science research together with demonstrated scientific aptitude.
3. The awardee shall be a full-time enrolled student in a U.S. accredited, academic institution that is conducting scientific investigations designed to advance the field of food technology/food science.
4. In the event that an awardee stops conducting food science research, substantially changes the scope or direction of his or her planned research program, or discontinues full-time study in food technology/food science, he or she must return the unused portion (based on progress toward completion of research plan) of the lump sum payment. It is the responsibility of the awardee and the department head to notify NFPA immediately if any of these events occur.
STUDENT APPLICATION PROCEDURES
1. Applications must be completed in English. Applications are available from NFPA and must be returned by September 17, 2004 to the following::
Greene, Office Assistant
2. The head of the department (food science or other) must sign the completed application before it is returned to NFPA.
3. The applicant must provide all information requested in the application form to be considered for the award.
The scholarship will be awarded at the NFPA spring meetings, 2005. Scholarship payment will be made in one lump sum payment of $3000 to the student at or immediately following the NFPA Convention. There shall be no scholarship renewals. Each student must submit a new application each year. Any qualified student can reapply for a scholarship - even a previous NFPA awardee.
TO OBTAIN AN APPLICATION FORM
Food Poisoning Could Become Thing of the Past
with vaccines that fight foodborne illnesses show promise.
May 26 (HealthDayNews) -- Imagine the day when you can eat any food you like anywhere
without worrying about food poisoning.
"What we've developed is sort of a versatile vaccine-delivery system that you could plug in any antigen of interest for any organism that you're interested in developing a vaccine to," said John Gunn, lead author of one of the papers and an associate professor at the Center for Microbial Interface Biology at Ohio State University.
An antigen provokes the immune system to produce antibodies against it.
The paper Gunn presented showed that one vaccine conferred 100 percent protection against the bacteria salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in mice for six months.
In the future, he added, "we hope to be able to load up multiple antigens in the system so that one vaccine would be protective against a number of different organisms."
In this case, Gunn and his colleagues used modified salmonella bacteria to deliver a protective antigen for L. monocytogenes. "We cloned that into the vaccine-delivery system so it's salmonella expressing this one protein from listeria," Gunn explained.
The salmonella was engineered so it was missing genes needed to make and transport a certain amino acid. "It's sort of crippled unless you give it this amino acid," Gunn said. "It can't obtain the amino acid in the host so it dies after it goes through the intestine. We want it to die and not cause any diseases but we want it to survive long enough to deliver antigens to the immune system."
The next step would be to test the vaccine in primates and, if all goes well, in humans.
Another group of researchers is working on an edible vaccine against a form of Escherichia coli.
There may be some public policy implications to these advances, warned other experts.
"The opportunity to protect people from a foodborne agent by immunizing them against the agent decreases societal insistence that food products themselves be pure," said Dr. Robert Sprinkle, an associate professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and editor-in-chief of Politics and the Life Sciences. "In other words, if everyone's immune, then do we really need to pay so much attention and spend so much money eliminating a particular organism from food products themselves?"
The answer appears to be yes. The issue, Sprinkle pointed out, is that no immunization program can expect to be universally successful. You will always have people who don't "take" to the vaccine, who refuse to get it for whatever reason or who are simply overlooked.
"If you rely on vaccination to deal with an industrial hygiene problem then you're going to protect many people very well but other people will not be protected at all so you would then tend to concentrate difficulties," Sprinkle said. "If you come to rely on vaccination of the population rather than maintenance of strict hygiene standards in the food industry, then any vulnerable person might actually be at increased risk."
"This policy concern is not an argument against pursuing this very promising research, but it is a caution and it's one that there are analogies elsewhere in food policy these days," he continued.
The U.S. government has information on food safety (www.foodsafety.gov ) and on "Bad Bugs".
pork to get traceability labels
Japan plans to introduce a labeling traceability system for pork similar to what the country applies to beef, according to Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The new label will allow pork to be traced back to its origin by entering a number on each label on a Web site, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Similar labels have been installed on beef since December 2003, following concerns over food safety brought on by the discovery of cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the country in 2001.
The ministry said it is also considering similar labels for poultry, rice and vegetables, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.
New Strain of Bacillus cereus Contains Anthrax Toxin Genes
For the first time, researchers have found anthrax toxin genes in a naturally occurring microbe other than Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax.
The microorganism that contains those anthrax genes is a newly identified strain of the soil microbe Bacillus cereus that was isolated from a patient with severe pneumonia similar to inhalation anthrax.
The significance of this strain was first noted during a CDC retrospective research study on Bacillus isolates associated with severe disease. TIGR then sequenced the complete genome of the B. cereus isolate that caused the anthrax-like illness and compared its DNA sequence to those of previously-sequenced strains of B. anthracis and B. cereus, which are closely related bacteria.
The genome analysis found that the virulent B. cereus isolate included a plasmid that was nearly identical to the anthrax plasmid that contains anthrax toxin genes.
TIGR President Claire M. Fraser, Ph.D., a senior author of the PNAS paper, says the discovery of a novel pathogen such as this virulent B. cereus strain illustrates the importance of being able to quickly recognize and identify new and emerging pathogens and shows that genomics can help a public health response to novel pathogens
B. cereus, most commonly associated with food poisoning, has also been suspected to be the cause of some cases of fatal respiratory disease. Last year, two cases of such a fatal pulmonary illness in the United States were attributed to B. cereus isolates that also contained the anthrax toxin genes.
Bacteriologists consider B. anthracis to be a member of the B. cereus family of rod-shaped bacteria, and recent genome studies have confirmed that the two species share many genes. The main difference between most strains of B. anthracis and B. cereus is that anthrax bacteria have plasmids that include genes that create the toxin.
That plasmid found in the virulent B. cereus isolate has 99.6 percent of the genetic sequence of the anthrax bacillus' toxin-coding plasmid, which is called pX01. It is not known exactly how the B. cereus strain acquired the anthrax toxin genes.
While a second plasmid was also found in the virulent B. cereus isolate, it differed significantly from the second anthrax plasmid (called pX02). However, the second B. cereus plasmid does include a novel sugar capsule cluster which is not found in other strains of that species, and researchers say it could potentially play a major role in the virulence of this B. cereus isolate.
The study, "Identification of anthrax toxin genes in a Bacillus cereus associated with an illness resembling inhalation anthrax," will appear in the June 1, 2004 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Veneman Unaware of Banned Beef Shipments, USDA Says (Update1)
Source of Article: http://quote.bloomberg.com/
May 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman was not aware of a department decision allowing some beef products to be imported from Canada in violation of government bans imposed because of mad cow disease, her chief spokeswoman said.
``Secretary Veneman was not aware of additional processed product coming into the U.S.'' from Canada, Agriculture Department spokeswoman Alisa Harrison told reporters during a telephone press conference from Washington.
A total of 7.3 million pounds of processed beef products from Canada that should not have been allowed into the U.S. were shipped across the border since September, said Elsa Murano, undersecretary for food safety.
The products came from beef that in its raw form would have been allowed into the U.S. and posed no risk to human health, said Ron DeHaven, administrator of the department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. He said the decisions that allowed the products into the U.S. were made by technical working groups.
Senator Kent Conrad, a Democrat from North Dakota, yesterday called on President George W. Bush to fire Veneman over the controversy.
``The USDA has secretly and selectively violated it own publicly announced ban on the importation of processed beef from Canada,'' Conrad said in a letter to Bush. He called the incident a threat to U.S. efforts to open export markets closed after the U.S. discovered a case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, in Washington state in December.
Conrad said the incident is ``so damaging to the credibility and integrity of the USDA'' that Bush should demand Veneman's resignation.
White House Praise
The White House rejected Conrad's demand. ``She's handled the BSE matter very deftly, taking quick action to protect the American food supply,'' said White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan. ``The president thinks Veneman's been doing an outstanding job.''
The U.S. banned cattle and beef products from Canada last may after mad cow disease was found in Alberta. The ban was eased in August to allow for imports of cuts of boneless beef from animals under 30 months old. A federal judge last month blocked an Agriculture Department decision to further relax the ban.
Last Updated: May 21, 2004 13:14 EDT
Food poisoning, children - Ukraine
Food Safety Informaiton
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.
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.
Enumeration and Assessment of Antibiotic Sensitivity
article is taken from the March 2004 RMUG newsletter.
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Viruses clear bacterial contamination in chickens
Source of Article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-05/asfm-rvc051804.php
ORLEANS May 25, 2004--Researchers from Nottingham University in the United Kingdom
have developed a new method for reducing the level of contamination of chickens
by the foodborne bacterium Campylobacter jejuni. They are using bacterial viruses
to target and kill the organism. They report their research today at the 104th
General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
"Campylobacter bacteriophage are naturally present in chickens and have no recorded detrimental effect on the health of chickens or human beings," says Catherine Loc-Carrillo, a researcher on the study. "In nature a balance exists between predator and prey which allows both [the bacterium and the bacteriophage] to flourish. Here the use of bacteriophage to reduce campylobacters within the chicken gut merely involves shifting nature's balance in our favor for a short period of time. This time point should be just prior to when the birds are sent for slaughter."
This brief shifting of nature's balance, in this case, resulted in a 100- to 100,000 fold reduction in the number of bacteria in the chickens' intestines over a 3-day period. The amount of the reduction was dependant on both the particular bacteriophage used and the dose administered.
"The selection of the bacteriophage is critical for this application since not all bacteriophage are effective," says Loc-Carillo.
This study was funded by the United Kingdom Government's Food Quality and Safety Link initiative with a consortium of poultry producers and food companies.
release is a summary of a presentation from the 104th General Meeting of the American
Society for Microbiology, May 23-27, 2004, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Additional
information on these and other presentations at the 104th ASM General Meeting
can be found online at http://www.asm.org/Media/index.asp?bid=27289 or by contacting
Jim Sliwa (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the ASM Office of Communications. The phone number
for the General Meeting Press Room is 504-670-4240 and will be active from 12:00
noon CDT, May 23 until 12:00 noon CDT, May 27.