seeks input for new website on food technologies
Meat Congress: Countries spar over BSE trade barriers
"The risks of finding a case of BSE are so punitive that it discourages the effort to find another case," said Dennis Laycraft, executive vice president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association.
Laycraft illustrated the devastating effects of even one case of BSE, noting that in 2002, Canada was the third largest beef exporter in the world. When a single Canadian animal was found with BSE, the resulting trade barriers decimated its market.
"The international panel praised Canada, saying our investigation was to be a model for others on how to handle a BSE outbreak," Laycraft said. "The Canadian crisis was the result of knee-jerk border closures, not a lack of consumer confidence."
Offering a completely 180-degree view was Claudio Sebsay, Argentina's under-secretary of agricultural and food policies, who proudly explained that Argentina had never had an animal test positive for BSE, and due to his country's "epidemiological vigilance" in the early 1990s, "It is unlikely to find BSE in Argentine cattle."
Along those lines, Sebsay said that his country will use that to its advantage, touting Argentine beef not only as natural, organic and without hormones, but also completely BSE-free, which he said was a point of differentiation.
OIE weighs in on BSE
Alejandro Thiermann, president of the World Organization for Animal Health's animal health code commission, offered advice to those concerned about how best to prevent and limit BSE outbreaks.
"The removal of SRMs is the single most important way to prevent BSE-infected material from being consumed by humans," he said. "Prevention requires surveillance. Without surveillance you cannot make a risk-based decision."
Thiermann then stressed that all the beef bans seen recently came directly from individual governments, and said that the OIE has never recommended a ban on exports from BSE-positive countries.
"BSE guideline are based on level of risk, not the number of cases," he added.
rules on the culling of animals potentially affected by BSE
food labels for allergens
at Florida State university have discovered sensitive "marker proteins"
that can be used to detect trace amounts of nuts ?notably walnuts, cashews and
almonds - in processed foods.
Professors Shridhar Sathe and Kenneth H. Roux in Florida together with professor Suzanne S. Teuber at the University of California, Davis identified reliable markers?for the detection of trace amounts of nuts that, they claim, could contribute to more accurate food labelling.
In previous studies, the team identified specific proteins relevant to human allergies: almond major protein (AMP), cashew major protein (CMP) and walnut glutelin (WG). They then tried to change these proteins and reduce the allergic potential of the nuts by subjecting them to gamma radiation and thermal processing.
"The allergens did not change, but the study proved that the new tests could still detect allergen traces in both raw and processed nuts,"
said the scientists in a statement, while Professor Sathe warned that work was still required.
“The development of specific, reliable, sensitive and accurate tests for allergy-related proteins has significant implications for the food industry and for consumers who daily rely on accurate labelling. Therefore continued and vigorous research in developing such assays is urgently warranted," he commented.
Welcomed by allergy associations, last year Europe confronted the food industry with new rules ?to enter into force in November 2004 - on food allergen ingredients when Brussels cleared Directive 2003/89/EC, amending Directive 2000/13. Food manufacturers will have to list all sub-ingredients of compound ingredients, which means that allergens cannot be 'hidden', heralding an end to the 20 year old 25 per cent rule with all ingredients labelled, regardless of the quantity contained in the finished food.
"We are very pleased with the new rules," Susanna Palkonen of the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients?Associations told FoodNavigator.com at the time. Lobbying the Commission hard for the changes, the allergy alliance sees the amendments as a victory but remains concerned about the may contain?issue.
"Our concern is that may contain is not regulated. In the case of accidental contamination the consumer has no idea of knowing if there is a risk to eating the food product or not." The alliance is pushing the Commission to strengthen the legislation and to formulate specified thresholds for food allergens on food labels.
Providing justification for the new directive, a panel at the European Food Safety Authority earlier this year claimed there is ample evidence to justify the mandatory inclusion on food labels of the most common food allergen ingredients and their derivatives: cereals containing gluten, fish, crustaceans, egg, peanut, soy, milk and dairy products including lactose, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame seed, and sulphites.
FDA to hold
meeting on produce safety
6/15/2004-The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a public meeting to elicit information from stakeholders concerning key elements of FDA's new produce safety action plan entitled "Produce Safety From Production to Consumption: An Action Plan to Minimize Foodborne Illness Associated With Fresh Produce." The new produce safety action plan will be forthcoming and posted at http://www.foodsafety.gov/~dms/fs-toc.html prior to the public meeting. The meeting will be held in College Park, MD, on Tuesday, June 29, 2004, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For meeting registration, see http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/registe2.html.
FDA names new director of food safety
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
Tarantino, Ph.D., has been named Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied
Nutrition's Office of Food Additive Safety (OFAS), the FDA announced today. Prior
to her appointment, Dr. Tarantino was acting director of CFSAN's Office of Nutritional
Products, Labeling and Dietary Supplements for five months. Before that she worked
as the Deputy Director of OFAS for seven years.
NFPA Applauds House Subcommittee Markup of Food Allergen Labeling Legislation
of Article: http://www.prnewswire.com/
applauds the Health Subcommittee's markup of this legislation,
is the voice of the $500 billion food processing industry on
National Food Processors Association
than 240 report being 'violently' ill
BSE Cull Rules
According to the proposed revision, only the animals of the cohort will have to be destroyed and the definition of the cohort is revised to make it clear that the rules apply to animals of both the birth?and “rearing?cohort. The European Commission admitted that most member states are already using a derogation to limit culling to the cohort rather than destroying the whole herd.
The new rules should clarify any confusion on the original rules by making cohort culling the rule rather than the derogation. In addition, the revised rules will allow member state veterinary authorities to decide not to destroy certain animals of the cohort if evidence is provided that these animals did not have access to the same feed as the BSE case. The modification of the Regulation brings the BSE eradication rules more into line with the advice of the European Food Safety Authority and with the animal health code of the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health). Also, proponents of the revision say the revised rules will reduce costs for farmers and industry while maintaining the E.U.'s high level of protection against BSE.
Involved in Major Campylobacter Project
CAMPYCHECK project will focus on emerging Campylobacteraceae looking at the development
of routine isolation and detection methods which will allow effective screening
of samples in outbreak situations. Epidemiological data on the micro-organisms
will be generated that will be essential to the instigation of effective control
measures for food and water.
is co-ordinated by the University of Southampton, UK. The project brings together
European, South African and American veterinary, food and biomedical specialists
working in academia, research institutions and the food industry.
Food Safety Informaiton
Basophil Test Supplements Standard Food Allergy Diagnosis
By Michael Smith
Source of Article: http://www.docguide.com/
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS -- June 18, 2004 -- The basophil activation test (BAT) that detects allergic reactions is a good alternative to standard diagnostic tools in testing for food allergies, say Czech researchers.
Describing study findings at the 23rd Congress of the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunotherapy (EAACI), S. Honzova, MD, Centre of Immunology, Prague, the Czech Republic, said that the so-called basophil activation test (BAT) is especially valuable in patients for whom some of the standard tools ?such as the skin prick reaction test ?are difficult to use.
The usual diagnosis of food allergy uses several methods ?the skin reaction, patient history, elimination/reintroduction diets, and food challenge tests. But none of those is foolproof, except for food challenge, which is risky and often costly since it should be done in hospital to minimize risk, Dr. Honzova said.
activation by an allergen changes the cell surface proteins of basophils, increasing
the expression of the marker protein CD63. This is the
To validate the test, Dr. Honzova and colleagues enrolled 28 children with severe atopic dermatitis and clinical symptoms hinting at food allergy. As controls, they recruited 10 children with recurrent respiratory infections but no history of atopic disease.
Standard food allergy diagnosis was difficult in the 28 allergic children: the skin prick reaction test, for example, was ruled out by the dermatitis.
The children were tested with allergens from the most common foods causing disease in children -- peanuts, cow's milk, wheat flour, soy, and egg white.
The BAT showed that none of the control children was sensitive to any of the allergens. However, among the patients, 22 were positive for 1 of more of the allergens, and peanut allergy was the most common, Dr. Honzova reported.
However, the researchers also looked for allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) in each case, and here the picture was less clear. None of the controls had a positive IgE test, he said, but only 14 of the patients were positive.
The IgE test is known to produce both false positives and false negatives, Dr. Honzova reported, and the discrepancies may be a function of cross-reactivity among allergens or simply a result of non-specific reactions.
The BAT is a good supplement to routine diagnostic tools, and is "a valuable new in vitro method" that may be especially useful in patients ?such as small children ?where standard methods are problematic, Dr. Honzova concluded.