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FSIS seeks input for new website on food technologies
June 18, 2004
For more information visit http://www.meatami.com/
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is requesting input on the kind of information it posts on its new Web site addressing the use of new technologies in the production of meat, poultry, and egg products. The agency intends to post information about new technologies that it is currently reviewing, or has already reviewed. FSIS is seeking public comment about the benefits to the public and the possible negative effect posting the information could have on the company owning the technology. FSIS is hoping this effort will help small and very small establishments identify and implement new technologies. Comments are due to the agency by July 19, 2004

World Meat Congress: Countries spar over BSE trade barriers
by Brendan O'Neill on 6/18/04 for Meatingplace.com
Source of Article: www.meatingplace.com
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA ?The hot topic at the 15th World Meat Congress Wednesday was how major beef export markets are dealing with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and how this issue affects international trade.

"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.

Revised rules on the culling of animals potentially affected by BSE
June 17, 2004
European Commission- Press Release MEX/04/0617
A European Commission proposal to revise the BSE eradication rules was agreed by the Member States through the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. The revised rules will reduce costs for farmers and industry while maintaining the EU's high level of protection against BSE. Until now, Regulation (EC) 999/2001 required the slaughter and destruction of all bovine animals on the same holding as an animal having died of BSE, as well as any recent calves. In addition, all animals of the "cohort" (animals of the same age born or reared in the same herd as the BSE case, having received the same potentially infected feed when they were calves) had to be destroyed. According to the revised rules, 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. In fact, most Member States were already using a derogation to limit culling to the cohort rather than destroying the whole herd. The new rules will clarify this situation 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 (EFSA) and with the animal health code of the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health).

Accurate food labels for allergens
Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator.com/news/news-NG.asp?id=52911
- 17/06/2004 - In a matter of months food manufacturers operating in Europe face tough new rules on food allergens that put an end to the 20 year old ?5 per cent?rule, aiming to provide the consumer, increasingly stricken by food allergies, to easily identify potential allergens. But in the US this week scientists say they have designed a raft of sensitive new tests to detect potentially fatal nut traces in food.

Scientists 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.
An estimated 4 per cent of adults and 8 per cent of children in the European Union ?the total population tops 380 million - suffer from food allergies, according to the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients?Associations.

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
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml

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

6/16/2004-Laura 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.
As director, Dr. Tarantino will head the FDA's food additive safety program and will oversee all aspects of CFSAN's petition review processes for food and color additives, consultation and notification process for GRAS substances, food contact substances, and foods and ingredients derived from recombinant DNA biotechnology.
"Her strong scientific background will help FDA meet its commitment to making sure that food additives are safe," said Dr. Lester M. Crawford, Acting FDA Commissioner. Dr. Tarantino received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cornell University.

NFPA Applauds House Subcommittee Markup of Food Allergen Labeling Legislation

Source of Article: http://www.prnewswire.com/
WASHINGTON, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to the markup today by the
Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce of a bill
mandating changes to the labeling of allergens in foods, Mason Wiggins, Vice
President of Federal Government Affairs for the National Food Processors
Association (NFPA), made the following comments:

"NFPA's applauds the Health Subcommittee's markup of this legislation,
which already has been passed by the Senate. While this legislation is not
perfect, it is a step forward for clear, consumer-friendly food allergen
labeling, and we urge that the House of Representatives move promptly to pass
the bill, and that it be signed into law by President Bush.
"The bill's provisions related to allergen labeling, in part, reflect what
many companies already are doing. The food industry has taken the lead role
on providing information to consumers on allergens in foods, through the
labels on food products. In 2001, NFPA and the Food Allergy Issues Alliance
-- composed of industry associations and consumer organizations -- created
guidelines to help food processors diligently inform food-allergic consumers
about the presence of major food allergens in their products in clear, simple
The full Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to markup this
legislation next week.

NFPA is the voice of the $500 billion food processing industry on
scientific and public policy issues involving food safety, food security,
nutrition, technical and regulatory matters and consumer affairs.

SOURCE National Food Processors Association
Web Site: http://www.nfpa-food.org

More than 240 report being 'violently' ill
CBS 4 Denver

June 18, 2004
More than 240 people have, according to this story, contacted health officials in the past two days to complain they were sickened after eating at a Fort Collins restaurant, the Texas Roadhouse, part of a national chain based in Louisville, Ky.
The story says that the outbreak is so large that 10 Larimer County employees have been assigned to the investigation of what happened.
Health officials were cited as saying Thursday that the restaurant has been closed temporarily and the company has hired a private contractor to disinfect the restaurant.
People who ate at the popular steak house were cited as saying they experienced cramps, nausea, chills, diarrhea, vomiting and other symptoms within 48 hours of their meals. Some were treated at Poudre Valley Hospital, said Ann Watson, spokeswoman for the county health department.
Last year, the restaurant was rated "good" in food inspections. In 2002, it was declared "excellent," according to county records.
Ed Shemm, the county's assistant director of environmental health, was cited as saying the problems appear to involve people who ate at the restaurant Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Health investigators are asking people what they ate and when they ate it and have taken samples from people for testing. Based on interviews, officials say the virus appears to be a norovirus, which is fairly common and easily transmitted, Shemm said.

Revising BSE Cull Rules
Source of Article: http://www.meatnews.com/
The European Commission wants to reduce the culling of cattle associated with BSE-infected animals.
The European Commission issued a proposal revising its bovine spongiform encephalopathy eradication rules. Under the current law -- Regulation (EC) 999/2001EC member states must slaughter and destroy all bovine animals on the same holding as an animal having died of BSE, as well as any recent calves. In addition, all animals of the "cohort" (animals of the same age born or reared in the same herd as the BSE case, having received the same potentially infected feed when they were calves) have to be destroyed.

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.

Oxoid Involved in Major Campylobacter Project
Oxoid Limited, one of the world's leading manufacturers of microbiological culture media and diagnostic tests, are pleased to announce their participation in CAMPYCHECK, a shared-cost three year project within the EU Fifth Framework "Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources" programme, entitled "Improved physiological, immunological and molecular tools for the recovery and identification of emerging Campylobacteraceae in the food and water chain" (QLK1 CT 2002 02201).

The 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.
A risk assessment model for emerging Campylobacteraceae in food and water will be generated which will be a major benefit to both the food and water industries and public health bodies alike.

The CAMPYCHECK research project's aim is to address the limitations of current isolation and identification methods. It also aims to establish the prevalence of these micro-organisms in patient and animal faeces and the food and water chain in Europe, USA and South Africa.
The Oxoid CAMPYCHECK project team is led by Peter Stephens, R & D Manager. "I am delighted that Oxoid are involved in this important project that aims to develop routine methods for isolation, detection and typing of emerging Campylobacteraceae from food, water, environmental and clinical specimens", says Peter. "As well as proving invaluable in epidemiological studies the new methods will also allow us to look at the survival of these pathogens in the food chain and examine issues that affect pathogenicity and virulence. We also expect that practical strategies for control of the pathogen in the food and the water industry will be developed during the course of the project," concludes Peter.

CAMPYCHECK 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.
For Further details of the CAMPYCHECK project and partners please visit www.campycheck.org.

New Technology Website Contents
Produce Safety From Production to Consumption: A Proposed Action Plan

IKE Scenario 04-04 Instructional Statements on Raw Ground Beef Components or Raw Beef
Dr. Laura Tarantino Named Director of FDA's Office of Food Additive Safety, CFSAN
Produce Safety From Production to Consumption: An Action Plan to Minimize Foodborne Illness
Food; Current Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations; Public Meetings
Announcement of OMB Approval; Food Labeling Regulations
Substances Prohibited From Use in Animal Food or Feed
Public Meeting on the 2004 Produce Safety Action Plan; June 29, 2004
Meeting Registration for Public Meeting on the 2004 Produce Safety Action Plan, June 29, 2004
Focus Area 10: Food Safety Challenges, Barriers, Strategies and Opportunities
Current Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations; Public Meetings

Current Outbreaks
06/21. [Colorado] More than 240 report being 'violently' ill
06/21. Arsenic Poisoning Sparks Health Crisis in Indian State
06/21. Investigating a multi-state outbreak of salmonellosis
06/20. VIETNAM: Poisonous octopus kills two, 85 sick
06/18. [Texas] Food illness toll up to 240
06/18. [China] Officials warn of unhygienic summer atery after school emer
06/17. Sanitary doctors close one of Nestle factories in Russia
06/17. Baby milk poisoning
06/17. [UK] Killed by a curry
06/17. Eateries don't worry about impact on business
06/16. Ninety Fall Ill in Southern China
06/16. [UK] Nearly killed by a spoonful of cheese
06/16. Illnesses blamed on food poisoning
06/15. Fast-food beef tacos blamed for multi-state E coli outbreak
06/14. Salmonella bovismorbificans: Oregon and Washington States
06/14. Clostridium difficile: Montreal
06/14. China recalls toxic baby milk
06/14. Local grocer linked to salmonella contamination
06/13. [Australia] Salmonella cases jump in NSW
06/12. China Province Recalls Milk Powder After Poisonings

Current New Methods
06/21. Basophil Test Supplements Standard Food Allergy Diagnosis
06/21. Biotrace Acquires Tecra Holdings
06/21. Oxoid Involved in Major Campylobacter Project
06/20. New Oxoid Medium for Catabolism Studies
06/20. Biotrace Expands Hygiene Monitoring Products With New IBP Range
06/19. The Rapid Isolation and Identification of Listeria species from Food Samples
06/18. Britain has live test for mad cow: Can detect BSE in animals
06/18. Corn research aims at eliminating aflatoxin
06/18. Essential oils to fight food bacteria
06/17. New tests for nut allergens
06/16. Multisorb Technologies¡¯ FreshMax inhibits the growth of pathogens
06/16. Trojan to provide Cornwall with tasty, clean water
06/16. Hand washing machine does the work for you
06/16. Strategic Diagnostics Announces Launch of Its Listeria Product
06/14. Freedom EVOlyzer Offers Fully Automated Microplate Processing
06/14. New External Camera Range for ProtoCOL Allows the Analysis of Bioassay Plates and
06/13. Neogen Introduces New ATP Monitoring Device

Current Food Safety Informaiton
06/21. Prison abattoir assailed: Security lax, report says
06/21. Calgary company fined for illegal meat shipment from Alberta
06/21. Ontario importer fined for changing brand name
06/21. Dirty restaurant open in spite of violations
06/21. FSIS seeks input for new website on food technologies
06/21. Cattle producers doubtful U.S. border will open soon
06/21. Farmington, Maine, School District votes out irradiated beef
06/21. Restaurant inspections fall short; health unit says it needs
06/21. $4000 in fines levied for sale of ungraded eggs
06/21. EU: EU invests in food safety research
06/21. Japan considers allowing import of U.S. veal

06/20. Detecting packaging quality
06/20. Lactoglobulin, albumin, and livetin? That’s just nuts
06/20. ID plans offers safety on the hoof
06/20. Nation's expanded BSE testing program slow to gear up
06/20. FSAI launches food business start-up pack

06/19. Biotrace extends food safety range
06/19. S. Korea's Food Watchdog Checking Safety of Dumplings
06/19. Hygiene concerns over culled deer
06/19. What Can You Catch From Restrooms?
06/19. [Trinidad] Rahael warns: Beware of food-borne disease

06/18. World meat and dairy experts discuss rising prices and anima
06/18. Another tampered jar of baby food
06/18. Revising BSE Cull Rules
06/18. World Meat Congress: Countries spar over BSE trade barriers
06/18. Japan May Admit Veal First in Eased U.S. Beef Ban, Asahi Say
06/18. Japan says no move yet to lift U.S. beef ban
06/18. Daschle wants public hearings into Canadian beef imports
06/18. Promoting public health by protecting the food supply
06/18. Mad Cow tests spark debate at world meat congress
06/18. Nigeria destroys 'killer' noodles
06/18. CSPI Endorses Durbin Bill On GE Foods

06/17. Biological safety - Food irradiation
06/17. Novel Foods
06/17. Food quality and safety: EU awards ¢æ192 million to new resea
06/17. Revised rules on the culling of animals potentially affected
06/17. Canada must take lead on food safety, Maple Leaf CEO tells W
06/17. Food Safety Expert to Join UFFVA Staff
06/17. Baby food producers deny use of genetically modified product
06/17. BSE: A Global Challenge
06/17. BSE politics dominate opening day of World Meat Congress
06/17. Accurate food labels for allergens
06/17. Oxoid on bacteria trail
06/17. Food intolerance is generally less severe than allergy
06/17. Significance of the discovery of anthrax toxin genes in a na
06/17. How safe is your favorite restaurant?
06/17. USAID Fact Sheet on Assessing Biotech Crops for Safety
06/17. New Survey Reveals Americans Need to `Beef Up' Food Safety a
06/17. Bad eggs in Chaffee run afoul of laws, feds say

06/16. Eggs hold key to food safety
06/16. Sheep farmer faces heavy fine for supplying illegal blow-tor
06/16. Food safety and fair trade issues dominate the opening of th
06/16. Irradiated ground beef's popularity isn't sizzling
06/16. BSE tests waste of resources: Vet wants only older cows chec
06/16. FDA to hold meeting on produce safety
06/16. FDA names new director of food safety
06/16. Alberta gave $294 million in compensation for BSE
06/16. New allergy labelling law in the US passed
06/16. Mad Cow Tests Spark Debate at World Meat Congress
06/16. NFPA Applauds House Subcommittee Markup of Food Allergen Lab
06/16. American food is generally safe, but could it be safer?

06/15. Food Irradiation Education Activities
06/15. Irradiation Education
06/15. 2-Dodecylcyclobutanone does not induce mutations in the Salm
06/15. Letter to Minnesota School Superintendents From MN Commissio
06/15. Consumers Turning To Irradiation For Food Safety
06/15. Quotable Quotes
06/15. Produce safety from production to consumption: an action pla
06/15. IMS urges US and Canada to resolve BSE related trade issues
06/15. What are marine shellfish toxins?
06/15. eMerge Names Charlotte L. Perkins, Executive Vice President,
06/15. Dallas restaurants may be forced to post inspection scores
06/15. [Korea] School Meal May Not Be Safe
06/15. Clostridial Infections

Current Recall Information

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.

However, activation by an allergen changes the cell surface proteins of basophils, increasing the expression of the marker protein CD63. This is the
basis of the BAT, Dr. Honzova explained. Using flow cytometry, it is possible to measure the changes in CD63 expression and therefore pin down the presence or absence of an allergic reaction.

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.