6/07
2004

ISSUE:
121

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HEALTH ALERT ON BABY FOOD
More News | Back to home page
BY CHARLES WALKER

12:00 - 03 June 2004
Source of Article: http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/
Parents have been warned about the risks of leaving baby food standing at room temperature - after a Notts scientist said many products contain potentially harmful bugs.Dr Stephen Forsythe, a lecturer in microbiology at Nottingham Trent University, said many people mistakenly believe baby food products made from powdered formulas are sterile. But the Nottingham scientist says his work shows some contain bacteria that can reproduce rapidly once the product is made up, if it is not kept cool.The bacteria can cause a stomach upset or, in very extreme cases, meningitis in children with severely weakened immune systems."The point is, these powdered products are not sold as sterile," said Dr Forsythe.
"When you make them up, put them in the fridge or if the baby does not finish the bottle, throw it away."
Of 102 newly purchased samples of powdered milk formula analysed in the study, three tested positive for the microbe Enterobacter Sakazakii - an organism which can cause meningitis in premature and weak babies with poor immune systems.
Five of 49 samples of dried infant food, and three of 72 samples of dried milk powder also contained the bug.A number of samples were also contaminated with other kinds of common infectious bacteria.
Dr Forsythe said illness was very rare and if the baby formula was used immediately or stored in the fridge it was unlikely the bacteria would be present at a high enough level to cause a problem.He added: "Unfortunately sometimes even paediatricians and health care workers are not aware that these products are not sterile."People must be more aware of the potential risks."As a parent myself I know what the 3am scenario's like, but if you must make formula up in advance, put it in the fridge."The Nottingham Trent University research was prompted after a serious outbreak of meningitis at an infant intensive care unit in Tennessee, USA, in 2001, was traced to infant formula contaminated with E. Sakazakii.
Mandy Lowe, 25, from St Ann's, has fed two babies with baby milk formula without any problems.
She said: "If I had another baby I would bottle feed them again. I have never had any problems.
"I think it is common sense. When you make feed up keep it cold and keep it in the fridge."

Mayonnaise can help reduce salmonella risk
By Susan Krumm

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Source of Article: http://www.ljworld.com/section/food/story/171943
Don't we really have to watch out for salads that have mayonnaise in them
For decades, mayonnaise has been blamed for salmonella in potato, pasta and meat salads. To the contrary, University of Georgia food scientists have found that commercially-prepared mayonnaise actually reduces the amount of salmonella in foods.
Food scientists at the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety, working with their counterparts at the University of Wisconsin, studied salmonella and commercially-produced mayonnaise.Cases of salmonellosis linked to mayonnaise have most often occurred in Europe where homemade mayonnaise is commonly used. Europeans often make homemade mayonnaise using eggs and oil, but not enough vinegar. The eggs are unpasteurized, and the mayonnaise lacks the important acid content that vinegar provides.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the amount of acid mayonnaise makers must add to their products. This acid comes from the vinegar and lemon or lime juice.

Once these ingredients are emulsified, the final product's pH, water activity, and sodium chloride content create a hostile environment for harmful bacteria. As a result, salmonella can't survive in commercial mayonnaise. However, once mayonnaise is blended with other foods, like the ingredients for potato, pasta, or chicken salad, that's when bacteria begin to grow.In lab tests, the food scientists added mayonnaise to foods inoculated with salmonella. The number of salmonella cells declined immediately after the bacteria was added to either chicken or ham salad that contained commercial mayonnaise.Refrigerating the salads kept salmonella from growing, too. Neither the ham nor the chicken salad had increased numbers of salmonella cells up to 24 hours after refrigeration. The meat salads also were tested at room temperature. After five hours, both showed "relatively little growth" of salmonella cells.Further tests showed that salmonella growth slows as the amount of mayonnaise is increased.Overall, the research has shown that mayonnaise helps slow the growth of salmonella in most meats and poultry. Mayonnaise reduces the rate at which these bacteria can grow.
However, it is best not to hold perishable foods, even those that contain commercial mayonnaise, at room temperature for more than two hours. Mayonnaise will not maintain its acidity level very well over time when mixed with other less acid foods like meats, poultry, eggs or potatoes. Bacteria can begin to multiply if these foods are allowed to remain between 40 and 140 degrees. Always keep salads such as these at refrigerator temperature.For safety and the best quality, refrigerate the mayonnaise, too. The more times you open the jar and remove some of the product, the more chances there are for moisture, food particles or mold spores to enter the mayonnaise. This could cause changes in the mayonnaise itself, especially at room temperature. Using a clean knife or spoon each time, will make food particles less likely to get into the jar.

Does reduced-calorie mayonnaise also slow the growth of salmonella?
The University of Georgia Center for Food Safety researchers also studied reduced-calorie mayonnaise, which contains more water and less vinegar and oil. They found it also slows salmonella growth, but not as much as regular mayonnaise.

To separate the egg yolk from the white, I pass the egg yolk back and forth from shell half to shell half. Is this the best way to separate eggs?
No, it's not. Bacteria are so very tiny that, even after washing and sanitizing, it's possible that some bacteria may remain in the shell's pores. The shell might also become contaminated from other sources. When you break or separate eggs, it's best to avoid mixing the yolks and whites with the shells. Rather than broken shell halves or your hands, use an inexpensive egg separator or a funnel when you separate eggs to help prevent introducing bacteria. Also use a clean utensil to remove any bits of eggshell that fall into an egg mixture and avoid using eggshells to measure other foods.

Are soft meringue pies safe to eat?
Yes, if they are prepared properly. Bake a three-egg white meringue spread on a hot, fully cooked pie filling in a preheated 350-degree oven until the meringue reaches 160 degrees, about 15 minutes. For meringues using more whites, bake at 325 degrees (or a lower temperature) until a thermometer registers 160 degrees, about 25 to 30 minutes (or more). The more egg whites, the lower the temperature and longer the time you need to cook the meringue through without excessive browning. Refrigerate meringue-topped pies until serving. Return leftovers to the refrigerator.

Why do some hard-cooked eggs have a greenish ring around the yolk?
The harmless greenish ring is due to an iron and sulfur compound which forms when eggs are overcooked or not cooled quickly.

FDA Investigating Illnesses Associated With School Lunches Served in Massachusetts
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are actively investigating what may have caused four outbreaks of illnesses in children related to meals served at several schools in Massachusetts beginning in May 2003 and occurring in a Revere, Massachusetts school as recently as May of this year. Cases of illness have been reported among those who consumed school meals, with symptoms ranging from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and dizziness. The onset of illness has usually begun within one hour of eating these meals, and usually lasts less than one day.

In nearly every case, the meals involved contained tortillas produced by Del Rey Tortilleria, Inc. of Chicago, Ill., and distributed under the brand names ¡°Del Rey Tortilleria¡± or ¡°Pan De Oro.¡± Investigations and repeated laboratory analyses by FDA of tortillas and ingredients have not identified any particular contaminant as the vehicle for these illnesses.

FDA is continuing to work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the definitive cause of the problem and to implement measures to prevent its reoccurrence.

Individuals who believe that may have experienced the same symptoms of illness after consuming tortillas from this company are urged to contact their local health department.

Pounding Prions

Source of Article: http://www.meatnews.com/

U.S. microbiological technology firm receives a patent for a process that inactivates the suspected causative agent of BSE in bovine-based products.


The U.S. Patent Office has granted a patent to Serologicals Corp., Atlanta, Georgia, for its Ex-Cyte purification process, which inactivates infectious prions in products that contain bovine protein. Prions are defective proteins that are thought to cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,743,899, will remain in force until 2021, the company said.

Serologicals Corp. developed the patented process. ¡°More than 60 percent of pharmaceuticals now on the market have involved the use of bovine-based products at some point during their development or production,¡± the company said. ¡°We adhere to the most stringent standards of safety, such as using raw materials from younger cattle, using beef not dairy cows, sourcing animals from disease-free geographic areas, and maintaining several Certificates of Suitability,¡± David Dodd, president and CEO of Serologicals, said. ¡°However, no other company can offer a process that actually reduces the ¡®mad cow¡¯ prions while preserving the efficacy of material treated. The issuance of this patent means that with our process we ensure the highest quality of safeguards for our Ex-Cyte product.¡±

Mad Cow -
Resistant Bovine Developed

(THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Japanese and U.S. scientists have genetically engineered a bovine embryo that is resistant to the deadly mad cow disease and they plan to breed several of the cows to use them to make medicines to treat human diseases, an official said Monday.

The embryo was implanted in a cow and is expected be born early next year, said Kumi

Nakano, spokeswoman for Kirin Brewery, which diversified recently into pharmaceuticals and jointly conducted the research with U.S.-based biotechnology company Hematech.

The cows will not be bred to produce mad-cow-free meat. Instead, blood and milk extracted from them will be used in drugs to fight pneumonia, hepatitis C and rheumatic diseases such as arthritis, for the U.S. market by 2013, Nakano said.

While drugs can be safely produced from cattle infected with mad cow disease, the companies decided to develop cows with immunity because consumers may believe that medicines made from extracts of the animals will be safer to use, Nakano said.

Nakano declined to specify sales targets. But she said the company expects the market for such drugs -- estimated at 19 billion yen (US$173.5 million) in recent years -- to grow in coming years.

The announcement follows a report by South Korean researchers in December describing their success at cloning calves resistant to the brain-wasting disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

While teams in the United States and South Korea are racing to clone mad cow-free cattle, breeding genetically engineered animals for meat is seen as too costly. 6-1-04


 

Matrix launches thorough food analysis

Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/

- 04/06/2004 - A novel technique for analysing food samples to detect the presence of Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli pathogens has been developed. Whereas most conventional rapid techniques only analyse a fraction of the standard 25 g sample, Matrix Microsciences Pathatrix system is unique in that it circulates the entire sample so as to detect the target pathogens, even if there is only one present in the entire 25 g sample.

To do this requires a pump that is easy and quick to use, does not require cleaning or maintenance, and guarantees no cross-contamination between samples. Peristaltic pumping technology from Watson-Marlow was adopted to achieve this objective.
Each Pathatrix system consists of five independent testing stations within one housing, with five Watson-Marlow 313D-series pumpheads per machine. The tubing in the pumphead is only ever used for one sample, thereby eliminating the risk of cross-contamination.

One of the benefits of the Pathatrix system is that it needs only around two minutes of hands-on time, and the 313D pumpheads flip-top design and automatic tube tensioning are perfect in this respect,?said Dr Adrian Parton, Matrix Microscience managing director.

Furthermore, with the tubing made from a compliant silicone rubber, the instruments are capable of analysing an extremely wide variety of food samples, from milk and yoghurt to acidic products and solid samples ?such as ground beef ?that are homogenised with the 225 ml of liquid growth media.

Another element of the recirculated medium is the Pathatrix capture reagent, which consists of magnetic particles that are coated with an antibody specific to the target pathogen. Once loaded, the Pathatrix workstation runs for 180 minutes at the desired incubation temperature ?from 30 to 37 degrees C ?with the Watson-Marlow pump circulating the fluid within a closed loop to ensure complete incubation.

After the incubation step is finished, the target microorganisms, now captured by the reagent, are magnetically restrained while the residual debris and other unwanted material is removed when the peristaltic pump operates again for the wash step.

The capture phase is then removed from the system and is further processed so that pathogen colonies can be viewed within 16 hours of the start of the analysis. This is a significant saving compared with the two days or so that is usually required, and there is an additional benefit in that the sample is not contaminated with non-target organisms.

Matrix Microscience claims that independent tests have shown the Pathatrix system to be 221 per cent more sensitive than the standard USDA FSIS (United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service) method, as well as being quicker and requiring only minimal hands-on time, unlike the labour-intensive alternatives. As a result of the tests undertaken at Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association, the Pathatrix system has now received AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chemists) R1 Validation.

Whereas the food standards in USA are driven by the USDA FSIS, there is no equivalent body in the UK. Instead, the supermarket chains tend to lay down their own quality standards, including zero tolerance for certain pathogens, which is understandable, because Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli can all be fatal for vulnerable groups such as the young, elderly and infirm.

Furthermore, with many perishable fresh foods having a short shelf life sandwiches are a good example there is a need for cost-effective, rapid testing. Matrix Microscience has therefore developed its state-of-the-art Pathatrix system to meet the demands of the supermarket chains, as well as food manufacturers, livestock breeders and contract laboratories.

Current USDA/FDA NEWS
Administrative Detention of Food for Human or Animal Consumption
USDA Launches Web-Based Incident Command System Training for Employees
FDA Investigating Illnesses Associated With School Lunches Served in Massachusetts
Meat and Poultry Plants' Food Safety Investments: Survey Findings

Current Outbreaks
06/04. Outbreak of S. Enteritidis PT9C associated with consumption
06/04. Community outbreak of hepatitis A in southern Italy
06/04. Investigation links unlicensed cheese sales to outbreak of E
06/03. Alaska-Sick ship
06/03. Report: Chinese Milk Sickens 80 Children
06/03. Calaveras County looking for source of E. coli cases
06/03. FDA Investigating Illnesses Associated With School Lunches Served in Massachusetts
06/03. FDA investigating illnesses associated with school lunch
06/03. Chicago salmonella case may include county woman
06/02. Catfish Cut Lands Fisherman in Hospital
06/02. GRAN KILLED BY FOOD BUG
06/02. Scientist infected with Salmonella during research at RML
06/02. [Vietnam] Workers recover after food poisoning
06/01. Salmonellosis, foodborne - China (Liaoning)

Current New Methods
06/04. Matrix launches thorough food analysis
06/04. Neogen Introduces a New Sanitation Monitoring System
06/03. Pounding Prions
06/01. Mad Cow - Resistant Bovine Developed
05/30. Antigens screen for better vaccines?

Current Food Safety Informaiton
06/04. Biological safety - Salmonella and food-borne diseases
06/04. German study looks at prevalence of Salmonella in sesame see
06/04. Danish programme for control of Salmonella in poultry has re
06/04. BSE in Sheep Contingency Plan
06/04. Does stress-free livestock mean safer food?
06/04. USDA Still Working on Details for Mad Cow Testing
06/04. Scientist questions value of BSE-immune cows
06/04. HEALTH ALERT ON BABY FOOD
06/04. Babies immune to food bacteria, says food watchdog
06/04. Baby food could trigger meningitis
06/04. School bans home-made cakes
06/04. Note warns of possible baby food poisoning

06/03. Home canners steamed over new tomato rules
06/03. NUTRACEUTICALS UNDER FSA
06/03. Safefood conference hears from EU experts
06/03. Meat and poultry plants' food safety investments
06/03. Expanded BSE testing program underway
06/03. USDA denies requests for private BSE testing
06/03. Mad cow disease strategy falls short
06/03. Mad Cow Testing Faces Controversy
06/03. House Wants Mad Cow Research Coordinated
06/03. Canada Will Tighten Feed Rules After Mad Cow - Vet
06/03. State seeks local input on food safety program
06/03. Russia Tightens Up GM Food Labeling
06/03. K-State business researchers to help with major study on foo

06/02. NMA¡¯s new directives teleconference
06/02. Indonesia lifts ban on U.S. beef
06/02. Survey: Costs of HACCP regulations hit small plants harder
06/02. New ERS Report on Industry Food Safety Investments Available
06/02. Legislation would require listing foods that cause allergens
06/02. Agriculture Dept. Expanding Mad Cow Testing
06/02. Mad cow tests to begin today
06/02. Sheep BSE plan launched
06/02. Cloned cows get sane future
06/02. Mayonnaise can help reduce salmonella risk
06/02. USDA's selective screens aren't enough, say some firms, scie
06/02. Sixth E.coli case reported in Calaveras County
06/02. Chinese fears of cover-up in fake food scare
06/02. GAO recommends consolidation of food safety system
06/02. USDA won't pay for food safety training
06/02. NZ to cut number of meat plants to appease Chinese
06/02. Food Safety: Food safety a snap with expert advice
06/02. Health Inspectors Remind Everyone to BBQ Safely
06/02. Effects of Extended Storage on Eggs

Current Recall Information

Q&A FOR FSIS REGARDING ANTE-MORTEM CONDEMNED CATTLE

Meat and Poultry Plants' Food Safety Investments: Survey Findings

Fact Sheet on FDA's New Food Bioterrorism Regulation Final Rule: Administrative Detention

FDA Finalizes Rule on Administrative Detention of Suspect Food