Food Safety News
SPREAD BY FARM ANIMALS
August 12, 2002
140,000 people in several areas of Glasgow have, according to this
urged not to drink local supplies after the discovery of
increased levels of
the cryptosporidium parasite.
Cryptosporidium parvum is an amoeba-like parasite
usually spread by farm
It causes about 5,000 cases of illness every
year in the UK but only a few
are linked with water supplies.
is rarely fatal but can cause severe abdominal pains, vomiting
which may last several days and sometimes weeks.
Sufferers tend to be older
people and children.
The bug thrives in the dung of farm animals and pets and
may be washed into
rivers and streams by rain.
The organism can also infect
food and be spread from person to person
through poor hygiene.
is highly resistant to disinfectant and not deterred by
But because it is quite large, it can easily be filtered
out of water supplies.
first confirmed cases of cryptosporidium in tap water in the UK emerged
1989. About 500 people were affected by separate outbreaks in Oxfordshire
Further cases have been detected since then. The most recent
more than 140 people fall ill in the Grampian region of Scotland
CONGRESSMAN TELLS COLORADANS:
'OUR FOOD IS STILL SAFE'
August 9, 2002
Editor's note: The following is
an opinion piece written by By Rep. Bob
(R-Colo.) that appeared
in the Denver Post on Aug. 4.
"No one profits from bad food. In fact,
Colorado's economy depends on safe
agriculture products and confident, healthy
consumers. That's why we invest
billions toward achieving both.
issue of improved food safety has once again found itself on the
front burner following the recent discovery of a contaminated
batch of hamburger
that slipped through the ConAgra Beef plant in Greeley.
The incident caused
the illness of at least 30 people.
"The culprit in this case is E. coli
0157:H7. It can be lethal, though it
wasn't this time.
recalls are initiated immediately after a pathogen is confirmed,
to capture and gain control of the recalled product
before it reaches consumers.
Con-Agra's recall was anything but typical. It
came too late because federal
inspectors waited nearly two weeks to alert
the company that E. coli had been
"Once notified, ConAgra promptly, voluntarily recalled all the
beef, but the delay had already added millions to the company's
doing so and sickened many.
After admitting its delay was a mistake,
the federal government then
recommended to ConAgra an additional recall of
millions of pounds of meat
that it had not tested at all.
passive-aggressive behavior has aggravated consumers,
dealing with beef producers
who are now unsure about the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's intentions, the
status of recall protocols and the future of
ambiguities are far from trivial. The regulatory authority of USDA is
afoul of the massive bureaucracy exposes a meat packer to criminal
product seizure, detention and, perhaps most effective of all,
more harsh and unforgiving than the toughest government sanction, the
brutally punishes any business that puts contaminated product
before a consumer.
That's as it should be, and it works.
"It was the market, for example,
that handed a virtual corporate death
sentence in 1997 to Nebraska-based Hudson
Foods. Contamination prompted the
company to issue the nation's largest recall
of ground beef -- 25 million
pounds. A few months later, the company was closed.
our quest to make food safer, there are a few things to keep in mind:
U.S. beef was, is and will always be safe to eat. The quality gets
day. Colorado ranchers lead the nation in the science of
providing quality products that satisfy high
expectations of domestic and foreign
consumers. Producers rely on the USDA
as much as consumers do.
It's an important
agency, and we all want to see it succeed. Anyone who
cares about food safety
should be prepared to help make USDA inspections a
higher federal budget priority.
The same goes for state inspectors.
Second, the agency should be driven by
sound science, not politics. Its Food
Safety Inspection Service should be given
the resources and precise
guidelines to upgrade its testing so inspectors can
more quickly pinpoint
the sources of pathogens and react with consistency.
It needs more money for
Third, the industry should initiate
implementation of pathogen-killing
Several well-researched measures
have been proven effective, such as
live-cattle management at feedlots, washing
carcasses with steam or acidic
sodium chlorite and irradiation. America's top
ag colleges, including CSU,
have studied this to death. If the industry won't
lead on this, government
Fourth, consumers are ultimately responsible
for food safety. No amount of
regulation and inspection will help anyone who
ignores packaging dates,
improperly handles meat, eats it raw, or worse, feeds
undercooked product to
Fifth, there is no such thing as a "zero
risk" standard for any perishable
This is an impossible goal,
a hoax perpetrated by four groups of people ?br>those who work for the government,
plaintiffs' lawyers, developers who want
to buy their neighbors' ranches and
vegetarians offended by others who enjoy
a good steak. There will never be
a regulatory body large enough to inspect
every cut of beef, stalk every distributor
or police every kitchen.
"If God didn't intend for us to eat animals,
He wouldn't have made them out
of meat. He also made us smart enough to figure
out how to eat them both
cheaply and safely."
'beamburgers' to be available at State Fair
Register Farm Editor
to the Iowa State Fair can get a taste of hamburgers that have been irradiated,
or passed under an electronic beam, to destroy harmful bacteria.
irradiation is one more step in the food-safety chain to assure consumers that
their hamburgers are safe and wholesome," said John Mortimer of Dallas Center,
manager of the Cattlemen's Beef Quarters Restaurant, which will serve the burgers.
Quarters expects to serve more than 60,000 people during the 11-day fair, which
begins today. More than 1,200 cattle-industry volunteers from 70 Iowa counties
help operate the restaurant.
Terri Carstensen of Odebolt,
production coordinator of the Beef Quarters, said one goal of serving electronically
irradiated hamburgers is to make the public and cattle producers aware of the
process and the food-safety potential it offers.
ground beef is in the market and offers families an additional choice," Carstensen
The hamburger was electronically irradiated
at SureBeam in Sioux City to eliminate harmful bacteria such as E. coli, listeria
Nancy Degner, vice president of consumer
marketing of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, said research shows that electronic
irradiation of beef, sometimes called "cold pasteurization," does not
change the meat's flavor, texture or nutritional content.
want to serve a nice, juicy hamburger, and we feel much more confident doing that
knowing that the harmful bacteria have been eliminated," Degner said.
40 Dairy Queens in Minnesota now serve electronically irradiated hamburgers.