USDA food safety department transcends national borders
The new cooperative, educational and research organization, the Food Safety Institute of the Americas (FSIA), will be based in Miami. USDA says this location will allow trans-continental experts to access each other quickly for program development. Murano said the FSIA plans to tap into a variety of existing academic, governmental and non-governmental organizations. The FSIA will utilize networks of universities and organizations within North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
"We want to bring people together and incorporate the best existing training and education programs available to promote efficiency and avoid duplication," Murano said. "By using existing expertise, we can place a greater emphasis on developing materials to fill gaps in food safety education and information." Food safety topics will be grouped into "colleges and departments" within the FSIA. Linda Swacina, the current deputy administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, will serve as the senior agency representative and federal coordinator of all FSIA activities. Swacina holds degrees in Spanish and Latin American studies and has traveled extensively throughout Central and South America on behalf of FSIS food safety programs in the past.
sues suppliers over
prion causes neurological disease in mice
E. Coli Bacteria at Their Source
Microbiologist Evelyn Dean-Nystrom and veterinary medical officer William Stoffregen of the ARS National Animal Disease Center (NADC) in Ames, Iowa, are pinpointing where microbes called enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 lurk in calves.
Also, Nystrom is helping researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., develop and test an oral vaccine that eliminates these bacteria from cattle.
E. coli O157:H7 is the most common infectious cause of bloody diarrhea in people in the United States. Hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potential consequence of its infection, is the primary cause of acute kidney failure in U.S. children.
Undercooked or raw ground beef has been implicated in many E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in humans. However, the causative bacteria have almost no discernable effect in cattle, making them hard to detect there.
Nystrom and Stoffregen found that, in addition to intestines, calves' gall bladders may be a good place to check whether an E. coli O157:H7 infection has taken place. This finding indicates that including gall bladders in samples cultured for E. coli O157:H7 may help identify infected cattle at slaughter.
The oral vaccine, developed at the Bethesda university by graduate student Nicole A. Judge, uses intimin, a protein on the outer membrane of the O157:H7 strain that the E. coli bacteria need for attaching themselves to intestinal tissue. Nystrom assisted with development of the vaccine--supervised by microbiologist and department chair Alison O'Brien--early on, by showing that calves injected with purified bacterial intimin would develop antibodies against it.
Nystrom works in NADC's Preharvest Food Safety and Enteric Diseases Research Unit, while Stoffregen works in the center's Bacterial Diseases of Livestock Research Unit.
Read more about the research in the August issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.
produce causing salmonella outbreak
and Michigan State University Join Forces To Promote Food Thermometer Use In Michigan
WASHINGTON, August 2, 2004 ? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the state of Michigan are joining forces to promote food thermometer usage when preparing meat and poultry to prevent foodborne illness with an innovative campaign called, "Is it DONE yet?"
Michigan State University's National Food Safety & Toxicology Center, the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and its Extension service are partnering with USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on a project to increase consumers' use of food thermometers, thereby preventing dangerous foodborne illnesses. The results of the program will help shape FSIS' national approach to future consumer food safety promotions as well as thermometer usage.
USDA's Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elsa Murano kicked off the "Is it DONE yet?" campaign today at the Public Museum of Grand Rapids.
"'Is It Done Yet?' is a consumer-government partnership," said Dr. Murano. "USDA is working aggressively to continue progress in preventing illness and protecting public health. Consumer awareness of basic food safety principles - especially using a food thermometer for checking meat, poultry and seafood as it cooks - can reduce the number of foodborne illnesses significantly."
The use of a food thermometer is essential to ensure that meat and poultry have been cooked sufficiently to eliminate harmful pathogens. FSIS reports that, in the case of hamburgers, even if they are brown in the middle, one in four burgers is still not safely "done yet." A food thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the hamburger can indicate if the patty has reached the safe internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This is optimal for killing the dangerous pathogen E. coli O157:H7.
"There are some basic steps that consumers can take to protect themselves, their families and their friends," says Trent Wakenight, MSU's campaign organizer. "We are very fortunate to have formed a partnership with FSIS that aims to increase food thermometer use. A large number of the estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illness per year are preventable."
Using a food thermometer to check when meat or poultry is done also ensures proper cooking lengths in order to provide peak taste and prevent overcooking.
For this campaign, USDA created a special Web site, "IsItDoneYet.gov" with information and food safety guidelines for the use of food thermometers.
FSIS' Food Safety Mobile, a 35-foot recreational vehicle decorated with food safety characters and equipped to spread the message of food safety, will be featured at campaign stops in Kent, Ingham and Washtenaw counties from August 2nd through August 15th. Interactive games, cooking demonstrations and food safety information will also be featured.
more information about food thermometer use, visit: www.IsItDoneYet.gov. For more
information in English and Spanish, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at
1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or TTY: 1-800-256-7072. The year-round hotline
can be called Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. An extensive selection
of timely food safety messages also is available at the same number 24 hours a
day. Information can be accessed on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.
E-mail inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.