IFT SUPPORTS REGULATORY LIMIT, NOT ZERO TOLERANCE FOR LISTERIA MONOCYTOGENES LEVELS
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/cms/?pid=1001089
WASHINGTON DC - The international not-for-profit scientific society Institute of Food Technologists supports the reexamination of U.S. regulatory policy on Listeria monocytogenes in food, and has submitted for the record to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration its official comments.
IFT supports recommendations to eliminate the zero tolerance policy for food that does not support the growth of L. monocytogenes, allowing more efforts and resources to be focused on areas that may have a greater health benefit. .
IFT agrees with the recent risk assessment conducted by the agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service. That analysis clearly showed that not all food represents an equal risk, and that removal of a small amount of product containing high levels of L. monocytogenes will undoubtedly have a greater positive impact on public health than removing greater amounts of product containing levels of the microorganism so low as to present virtually no public health risk.
The public comments submitted to the FDA by IFT can be read in their entirety online at www.ift.org/pdfs/LMcomments.pdf .
OZONE IN FOOD PROCESSING CONFERENCE
of Article: Northwest Food Processors Association Food Safety News
FDA POSTS 4th REVISED FOOD FACILITIES REGISTRATION GUIDE
of Article: Northwest Food Processors Association Food Safety News
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Offi ce of Regulations and Policy,
CGMP MEETINGS FOCUS ON STRICTER CONTROLS
Solution to counteract effects of irradiation
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/news-NG.asp?id=54237
19/08/2004 - Reasearchers from the Food Safety Consortium at the University of Arkansas have devised a means of using grape and green tea extract to eliminate certain side affects of irradiated chicken ?a move which could help make irradiated meats more acceptable to the consumer.
researchers claim that, where irradiated chicken is often too tough or red, a
dash of grape seed extract and the green tea extract can help to soften the texture
and reduce discolouration.
The University of Arkansas research team found that the unwanted changes were minimised by infusing grape seed extracts and green tea extracts into skinless, boneless chicken breasts before irradiation.
They also demonstrated that infusing a synthetic compound known as TBHQ into the chicken was effective in minimising oxidation, the chemical process that causes the sensory changes in the food.
"TBHQ is a pure synthetic compound," explained Navam Hettiarachchy, a UA Division of Agriculture food scientist. "Since it's a pure compound and an antioxidant, it has the optimum activity in preventing oxidation. Nobody so far has found anything as good as TBHQ."
Additionally, the findings indicate that the infusion of plant extracts does not negatively affect the chicken's colour or water-holding capacity, Hettiarachchy said. Research has shown that water-holding capacity is a critical factor for meat quality.
Although colour changes don't affect the quality of the meat itself, consumer acceptance of a meat product can be damaged if it has an unfamiliar color. The meat's texture is also said to be improved by the infusion.
The grape seed and green tea extracts are already used in a variety of food products. "Using these two extracts for improving the quality of the meat during irradiation should not be a problem," Hettiarachchy added. "The technology is available for an industry to transfer the technology."
The two extracts are also said to be cost effective because they are only 8 per cent water being introduced into the meat in very small quantities. Also, sensory tests by trained panels have indicated that the extracts at the concentrations used do not produce any off flavour in the meat.
Tests have also shown that the extracts can extend the meat's shelf life to 12 days. "The quality of the meat is maintained," Hettiarachchy said. "The quality includes the juiciness, the water-holding capacity and the succulence."
Since its introduction some thirty years ago, food irradiation has been the source of much controversy, with a number of medical studies claiming that the process induces a chemical reaction in foods which can prove to be carcinogenic. In Europe the process is largely banned, except for use with dried herbs and spices.
in America, the process is in use for a variety of meats and only last year irradiated
meats were introduced to the national school lunches programme. Such moves have
led to fierce lobbying by groups such as Public Citizen and the Center for Food
Safety to have to the process banned in the US.
Proposes Amendment to Foreign Inspection System Supervision
Source of Article: http://www.meatami.com
The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to require 'foreign inspection systems' to make "periodic supervisory visits'' to certified establishments in those countries that export meat and poultry to the United States in order to ensure that they continue to meet FSIS certification requirements. This proposal would eliminate current requirements that mandate supervisory visits occur "not less frequent[ly] than one such visit per month.''
Meat and poultry products can only be exported to the United States from countries with inspection systems that are deemed equivalent to that of the United States system. Products imported into the United States must be determined to be safe, otherwise unadulterated, and properly labeled before permitted entry into commerce. To ensure that these requirements are met, FSIS evaluates the inspection systems, laws and regulations of foreign countries to verify their equivalency.
on this proposed change are due Oct. 18. Comments may be submitted by mail, including
floppy disks or CD-ROM's, and hand-or courier-delivered. Send to:
For more information, visit the Aug. 18 announcement in the Federal Register: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/
Calls: A tale of two vegetables (OK, a veggie and fruit) Corporate communications
key in times of crisis
By Bob Oltmanns
Source of Article: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04228/361507.stm
This is a story of green onions and Roma tomatoes and how they brought out the worst in one company and the best in another.
Both were the ingredients in prepared food products served by two local food service chains. Both were sold to these chains by outside suppliers. And both made the people who ate them terribly sick.
In the first instance, the purveyor of the green onions, the Chi-Chi's restaurant near Beaver Valley Mall, followed what surely must have been a public relations strategy developed before the Age of Enlightenment. Now, in Chi-Chi's defense, it must be noted that several critical steps were taken in the early stages of the now-infamous Hepatitis A outbreak.
Chi-Chi's immediately closed the Beaver Valley Mall restaurant, cooperated fully with the Pennsylvania Department of Health in a complete investigation of the situation and offered to make restitution to anyone who incurred medical costs from the effects of hepatitis caused by eating its green onions. But after that, its public relations strategy drove off a cliff.
From the beginning, Chi-Chi's officials were not available to the media. Any communications to reporters came through one-page statements, and when Chi-Chi's chief operating officer did finally arrive in Beaver more than two weeks after the initial outbreak, he addressed reporters briefly, took no questions and summarily left town.
And what has been the consequence of Chi-Chi's actions now that nine months have passed since the initial hepatitis outbreak? The company, already in bankruptcy when this incident occurred, recently agreed to pay $2 million in the 60 largest lawsuits to people who were sickened for no other reason than they had the misfortune to eat at a Chi-Chi's restaurant. Hundreds more claims are each expected to be settled for $35,000 or less.
In court documents, Chi-Chi's admitted to a "drastic decrease in business sales" at its Pennsylvania restaurants, as well as a significant drop in sales at virtually all Chi-Chi locations nationwide. And from the standpoint of image and perception, which is critical in the highly competitive family restaurant business, the Chi-Chi's brand will long be tainted with the mark of four deaths and 660 more cases of a terrible and frightening illness that occurred while the company stood by and remained silent.
Now contrast the Chi-Chi's hepatitis outbreak, or more to the point, the corporate response to the outbreak, to the more recent salmonella outbreak that involves another local brand name, Sheetz.
To a certain extent, the similarities between the Chi-Chi's case and the Sheetz case are remarkable. Both companies were unwitting victims of defective food ingredients provided to them by third-party suppliers. Neither company was ever accused or blamed for having allowed these health risks to have occurred recklessly. That is, good hygiene and safe food handling practices were shown to be required and followed at both Chi-Chi's and Sheetz. Both companies acted quickly and responsibly to do what they reasonably could to cut off the health risk at the source. And Sheetz' offer of restitution to more than 300 affected customers was, by and large, identical to that of Chi-Chi's.
But that's where the similarities end.
Almost immediately after news of the salmonella outbreak reached Sheetz's offices, company executives sprang into action to share all information with the public. Within hours, Steve, Stan and Travis Sheetz were meeting with the local media to answer questions. Patiently and calmly, they accommodated every question, expressed their personal concern for the welfare of their customers and pledged their commitment to do what was right for those who were affected.
And what has been the result? No Sheetz stores have closed. And while it's still too soon to tell if sales will be affected, at least so far, every indication is that Sheetz customers will remain loyal. The few talk show callers threatening lawsuits against the company are being beaten back by -- are you ready? -- the news media.
Unless something seismic happens between now and when the Sheetz salmonella story is finally a thing of the past, history will eventually show that this company's future fortunes were ensured because of its public relations strategy in the early hours after the first reported case of salmonella. Too bad Chi-Chi's didn't order from the same menu.
The lesson for companies of every size and in every industry is that you must not only be prepared for a crisis, but you also have to be responsive and accommodating to the needs of the news media right from the start. Unfortunately, even today, with so many examples to learn from and emulate, most companies practice a "wait and see" approach to crisis communications.
Consequently, when a crisis does occur, they are so consumed with managing the crisis that they have no time and no clue for communicating with the people who matter most -- customers, affected victims, neighbors, local government officials and the news media -- when the need for timely and regular communications is essential.
What's more, too many companies allow their crisis response to be driven by a legal strategy aimed at minimizing their liability in a court of law, and fail to consider the long-term price to be paid in the all-important court of public opinion.
The Ashland Oil case in Pittsburgh (in which 750,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Monongahela River in 1988 when a storage tank ruptured), the Johnson & Johnson Tylenol case, the Diet Pepsi syringe case (in which a number of people falsely represented that they had found syringes in cans of Diet Pepsi in 1993) and countless others all illustrate the profound importance of planned, aggressive, and well-managed crisis communications practices.
Each of these cases has a common thread of planning and a commitment from company leadership to be ready for a crisis when it occurs, to communicate openly and frequently and to demonstrate responsible corporate stewardship of the public trust. And it seems clear that all of the companies at the heart of these successful cases knew and understood that the news media can, indeed, help you as easily as it can hurt you.
A crisis tells us a lot about a company. It tells you what kind of people are leading it, what kind of culture drives it, what its values are and how much it really cares about people, among other things. My guess is that many people have drawn their own conclusions about those in charge at Chi-Chi's and Sheetz based on their corporate response to these two crises.
But any company can be the unsuspecting victim of a crisis. What separates truly successful companies from others is that in times of crisis, the best companies control their destiny rather than being controlled by it -- a pretty simple recipe for keeping any business out of the soup.
Bob Oltmanns is the president of Skutski & Oltmanns, a public relations firm in Pittsburgh
Petting zoos linked to E. coli illnesses in B.C.CTV.ca News Staff
Source of Article: http://www.ctv.ca/
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is issuing a warning about petting zoos after six children in the province came down with E. coli infections. The centre says all the cases were linked to petting zoos."E. coli can contaminate the fur or saliva or even the environment, like hand rails and things like that," says Dr. Murray Fyfe, an epidemiologist.Children can become infected after rubbing their faces into the fur while cuddling the animals and then not washing their hands and face afterward."Which may lead to either a fatal infection or, for those that survive it, they may need to have transplantation later in life," Fyfe added, adding the latter would only occur in a small number of cases.
All of the recently infected children have visited petting zoos in North Vancouver and Abbotsford since July. The four North Vancouver cases are not serious. The condition of two young Aldergrove sisters -- whose illnesses may be related to the Abbotsford zoo -- are unknown, although they have been hospitalized.E. coli can cause serious and potentially life-threatening illness by producing a toxin that can break down the lining of the intestines and damage the kidneys.
But at Maplewood Farms, notices warning of the danger didn't keep everyone away."I don't have any concerns only because I do, I'm very specific about them washing their hands after they touch the animals," said one parent.In Vancouver, the province's largest petting zoo opens when the Pacific National Exhibition starts up.While there's never been even one case of E. coli transmission tied to the petting zoo there in the exhibition's nearly-100-year history, all visitors to the zoo will be encouraged to wash their hands.
will be very hard to get out of here without washing their hands and we've done
that intentionally," said the PNE's Laura Ballance.
M. Fraser, S.M., J.D., Named Director of FDA¡¯s Office of Regulations and Policy,
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
In this capacity, Ms. Fraser will provide leadership for FDA's food and cosmetic regulations, guidance documents and policy development and will provide management oversight for international activities.
"In the short time that Leslye has been with the agency she has made a phenomenal impact at the FDA," said Acting Commissioner Dr. Lester Crawford. "She has been instrumental in ensuring that the agency is on point in safeguarding the food supply through the development of food safety and defense regulations."
Prior to acceptance of this appointment, Ms. Fraser served as CFSAN's Associate Director for Regulations, Office of Regulations and Policy, since May 2001. Before joining FDA, Ms. Fraser was Assistant General Counsel for Regulatory Issues at the United States Environmental Protection Agency. There she provided legal counsel to senior Agency officials and led a group of staff attorneys who counseled all Agency program and regional offices on rulemaking requirements contained in regulatory statues and Presidential executive orders. She also worked at the international law firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher as an associate attorney and at a large aerospace company, TRW, as a research engineer and a section and project manager.
"Leslye has a broad background and outstanding career in federal law and rulemaking," said Dr. Robert E. Brackett, Director of CFSAN. "Her experience and expertise have been crucial to the development and implementation of major food safety and food defense regulations, particularly with the major provisions of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002."
As part of her numerous accomplishments, Ms. Fraser has published technical articles in national journals. She has also received a patent for elastomeric (rubber) material, which she co-invented for spacecraft hydraulic systems.
Ms. Fraser received her Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her Juris Doctor degree with honors from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of California and the Bar of the District of Columbia.
Ms. Fraser replaces L.
Robert Lake, Esq., who retires on September 3, 2004.
Grape extract - a future tool for extending shelf life?
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/news-NG.asp?id=54259
20/08/2004 - As food processors race to meet demands for more natural means of preserving foods, Turkish researchers believe they may have found one solution in grape extract, which is said to provide an excellent antimicrobial agent for a variety of processed foods.
agent, made from grape pomace extract - grape seeds, skin and stems ?gave effective
anti-bacterial results when tested on all bacteria species at a concentration
of five per cent.
Anti-microbials prevent the growth of moulds, yeasts and bacteria in processed food. As food production has increased dramatically over recent decades, the growth of food preservatives to keep the products fresh and flavoursome has increased in parallel.
The basic idea behind all forms of food preservation is either to slow down the activity of disease-causing bacteria or to kill the bacteria altogether. There are three classes of chemical preservatives commonly used in foods: benzoates (such as sodium benzoate), nitrites (such as sodium nitrite) and sulphites (such as sulphur dioxide).
But the natural food preservatives market is gaining in pace as consumers turn towards product freshness through natural, not synthetic agents.
"At 5 to 10 per cent depending on the ingredient, the growth rate for natural food preservatives is much higher than the 3 to 4 per cent rate for the European food preservatives market as a whole," Kathy Brownlie, food analyst at market research firm Frost & Sullian tells FoodNavigator.com.
The firm estimates that the value of the European food preservative market, including anti-microbial agents - to be in the region of Euros 72m-81m. By revenue, natural sources make up just 10 per cent of the market, with tonnage considerably less due to he higher prices for the natural ingredients. "In some cases they can be up to 10 times more expensive than synthetic preservatives," added Brownlie.
The Turkish study ?published in the August issue of the Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture - set out to determine the total phenolic contents and antibacterial effects of grape pomace extracts (cultivars Emir and Kalecik karasi) against 14 bacteria, and the effects of the extracts on the growth and survival of two of the bacteria during storage.
“All the bacteria tested were inhibited by extract concentrations of 2.5, 5, 10 and 20 per cent, except for Y enterocolitica which was not inhibited by the 2.5 per cent concentration,?report the scientists.
But low concentration levels proved ineffective. “Pomace extracts at 1 per cent concentration had no antibacterial activity against some of the bacteria.?
The next step for the scientists is find the right food applications to apply the new technology. “What we need to do now is to find a suitable food to put it in. The appearance and taste of the final product must be acceptable to the consumers,?said Dr Yiu-Wai Chu, biotechnology group, Society of Chemical Industry.
In addition to being able to destroy food pathogens pomace is also a rich source of polyphenols. Phenolic substances are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer by inhibiting human low-density lipoproteins. Pomace is already used as an important by-product of winemaking in the production of foods such as vinegar and molasses.
Should the pomace reach the marketplace, the product will compete with other natural food preservatives such as sugar, honey, alcohol, antioxidants and glycerine all targeting this growing market that looks to cater for consumers concerned about product freshness and the use of synthetic chemicals in their food.
Quick Test Innovation for Diagnostic Testing of Salmonella and E. Coli O157H7
(PRWEB) August 18, 2004 -- MCC has developed new Rapid Tests for the Presence of Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7. They are the same tests that were sold during the early 1990"s for detecting the presence of those bacteria"s and through years of improvement the tests now perform within minutes, allowing for quick detection and segregation of products for confirmation.
The strips will detect the presence of Salmonella or E. coli in a prepared sample with some distilled water added or by swiping across a moist counter top etc. If there is no color development the test is negative and if there is a slightly light blue to a dark blue color change then the test is positive. The tests enable easy visual interpretation of the results within a color development time of 3 to 5 minutes for Salmonella and 10 to 20 minutes for E. coli.
Food Safety Informaiton
Intervent Offers Anti-Microbial Technologies for Food and Beverage Manufacturers
2004-08-18 14:33 ET - News Release
MURRAY HILL, N.J. -- (Business Wire) -- Aug. 18, 2004
Source of Article: http://new.stockwatch.com
the new food safety technology and