could remain closed to U.S. beef until 2005
IFT UPDATES PATHOGEN REVIEW
of Article: NFWPA Food Safety News
Institute of Food Technologists posted its Scientific Status Summary “Bacteria
Associated with Foodborne Diseases,on its website. This Scientific Status Summary
is an updated review of the bacteria of primary significance in foodborne disease,
their significance as pathogens, their association with foods, and related control
measures. The original publication appeared in the April 1988 edition of Food
Technology. Go to http://www.ift.
FMC FoodTech to provide InfinityQS quality control software
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
FoodTech, a company offering technologies to the food industry, has formed an
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) agreement with InfinityQS, a provider of
quality control manufacturing solutions. According to the agreement, InfinityQS
and FMC FoodTech will develop a version of InfinityQS's statistical process control
(SPC) software, adapted to the food processing industry. The new product, LINK
Process Analysis, will be available through FMC FoodTech. It is hoped the software
will help food processing plants maximize regulatory compliance while increasing
Zealand] Food safety agency says no recall for baby-killer formula
Source of Article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/
Food safety officials say they won't recall the batch of infant formula which killed a Waikato baby last month.
A spokesman for the hospital, Waikato District Health Board (DHB) neonatal specialist Phil Weston, yesterday declined to disclose what infant formula brand was contaminated, its batch number, or details of its packaging "as there are contractual and statutory obligations that need to be considered".
He was responding to a question about whether the DHB ?which bought large quantities of infant formula in bulk ?was seeking to return its unused stock to the manufacturer for a refund.
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) ?asked what it had done to recall the batch of infant formula contaminated with the baby-killer bug ?said: "We are not aware of any products that have been recalled in New Zealand".
The director of the NZFSA dairy and plant products arm, Carol Barnao, said that no pasteurised powdered infant formulas could be regarded as sterile, because of possible contamination during manufacture, or during reconstitution.
But contaminated baby formula did not pose a food safety risk to the "general population", she said.
The authority considered the risk management tool for this was the joint Food and Agriculture Organisation/World Health Organisation (WHO) workshop on microorganisms in powdered infant formula. It had recommended neonatal units use commercially sterile ready-to-drink liquid formulas to manage the risk.
Asked why the NZFSA issued a draft report in May which only looked at the "general population" in terms of risk from E. sakazakii in dairy produce, Ms Barnao said the report had been intended to address concerns in international markets that the bacterium posed a risk to the general population.
American doctors and hospitals were warned more than two years ago that infant formulas based on powdered milk could kill some young babies, particularly if the made-up formula was left out of a fridge for some time before being used.
The bacteri um remains viable for two years in a can of powder, and in low doses can cause neonatal meningitis or necrotising enterocolitis, commonly leading to death rates of between 20 and 33 per cent.
Surviving infants are often left crippled, or suffer retarded neurological development.
But the Health Ministry said yesterday it only became aware of the American warning when it was put on the agenda for a WHO meeting in February.
The NZFSA posted a draft report on the problem in May 2004 ?but limited its comments to dairy foods eaten by people other than infants.
Its Internet website version of that report included a link to the two-year-old health alert issued by its American equivalent, the Food and Drug Agency (FDA), on April 12, 2002, about the risk of E. sakazakii infections in hospitalised, newborn infants.
It said premature infants or other immuno-compromised infants fed powdered infant formulas were particularly at risk, and that there were concerns for such children in hospitals.
The FDA said that premature babies and others with low birthweights were fed liquid formulas which were sterile, but so-called "transition infant formulas" used for the babies after hospital discharge were available in powdered form, and these were not sterile.
"In light of the epidemiological findings, and the fact that powdered infant formulas are not commercially sterile products, the FDA recommends that powdered infant formulas not be used in neonatal intensive care settings, unless there is no alternative available," the FDA said.
The alert followed the death of a baby in Tennessee in April, 2001, after consuming a powdered formula called Portagen, a feed for infants having trouble absorbing fats.
The manufacturer, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, of Indiana, announced on March 29, 2002 that it was recalling the batch that had killed that child.
But Waikato Hospital, where a baby died last month from contaminated formula, received no advice from the ministry about E sakazakii until after the baby became infected last month, according to Dr Weston.
The Health Ministry's chief adviser on child health, Pat Tuohy confirmed the ministry had given no specific information to hospitals about the risk posed by E. sakazakii in neonatal units.
He said the ministry would not generally provide detailed clinical advice: "Clinicians are in the best position to decide on how a patient should be managed, including their diets."
And all hospitals had infection control policies to manage risk in the preparation of infant formula, he said.
handling rules are not new
Source of Article: http://news.telegraph.co.uk/
Scientists have discovered how to neutralise the proteins in food that cause allergic reactions. It is a breakthrough that could change the lives of millions of people around the world and prevent at least 30 deaths a year in Britain.
The scientists found that when a series of electric shockwaves are passed through sesame seeds, the structures of the seed proteins alter - and 95 per cent of the proteins' allergic qualities vanish.
Now they are experimenting with peanuts and milk, and are confident that similar results can be obtained for these products too. To treat the sesame, small quantities of liquidised seeds are subjected to up to 20 pulses of 70,000 volts of electricity. Each pulse lasts for just three thousandths of a second: long enough to alter the structure of the sesame proteins, without changing the taste and texture of the product.
However, Shmuel Yannai, a professor of toxicology and food chemistry at the Technion Israel Institute of Food and Technology, admits it is still not known why the treatment works. "It is the crucial question. All we can say is what we suppose. We have found that between pulses of electricity, a very high pressure of up to 1,200 atmospheres is created inside the protein molecules. We think that this pressure does something to the molecular protein."
An allergic response is an overreaction by the body to normally harmless substances. It occurs when the body responds to a specific protein molecule, or allergen, by producing antibodies that attach to the molecules - like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle - and destroy them. This leads the body to release other chemicals such as histamine, resulting in symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath. If the shape of the protein molecule is changed, however, this process cannot occur as the allergen no longer "links up" with the antibody.
At present, sesame seeds can only be treated in a liquidised form, but Prof Shmuel aims to be able to treat solid seeds in a few months' time. Those who have tasted the treated sesame product report that the colour, taste and texture are indistinguishable from untreated products. They have yet to be tested, however, on people who are allergic to sesame seeds.
It is not yet known when products containing the treated seeds will reach the shelves, but Prof Yannai said that after the costs of the procedure are taken into account, he expects "neutralised" products to be no more than 20 per cent more expensive than their untreated counterparts.
It is estimated that one in four of the UK population is affected by allergies, and that half of sufferers are children. Nuts, eggs, seafood and milk are the most common foods that cause allergic reactions. In extreme cases, exposure to them can lead to anaphylactic shock - seizures and loss of consciousness. There are about 30 deaths in Britain every year from food allergies.
Source of Article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5594864/
Updated: 2:44 p.m. ET Aug. 20, 2004For the millions of kids with food allergies, new efforts to improve product labeling and provide easier access to life-saving medication should make getting back to school a little easier.
Just this summer, long-awaited legislation was passed by Congress that requires food companies to clearly label packages that include any of the eight most common food allergens -- wheat, soy, milk, fish, shellfish, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. Currently, many food labels list the chemical names of an ingredient that has a food allergen in it -- like hydrologized vegetable protein instead of soy -- posing the risk that a child or parent won¡¯t recognize a potentially dangerous allergen. That can be particularly important for youngsters serving themselves out of vending machines or while making choices in the a la carte line at the cafeteria.
Accidental ingestion of food allergens by allergic children and adults results in 150 to 200 deaths and 30,000 emergency room visits each year, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), an advocacy group based in Fairfax, Va.
"Food-allergic consumers depend on labels to make life-and-death decisions, yet they are forced to crack a code of complicated scientific terms for everything they eat," says Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives. "This legislation will end this dangerous game by requiring complete ingredient lists and language written for everyone, not just scientists."
Companies will be required to have their new labels in place by January 2006, but many food firms will start complying immediately, and some large food manufacturers already make the allergens clear on their labeling, says Anne Munoz-Furlong, CEO of FAAN.
Easier access to epinephrine
The academy says the permission should be given to children who have shown that they know when and how to take the medication and can be responsible for making sure they have it with them. One reason for the new policy, according to the group, is that budgets have forced many schools to cut back on the hours for school nurses, or even cut positions entirely, which means no professional is available should a child need medication.
These new steps are crucial, experts say, because food allergies in children are on the rise. Currently, they affect approximately 2 percent of the overall U.S. population, according to Dr. Henry Milgrom, a pediatric allergist at the National Jewish Center for Respiratory Diseases in Denver. But the prevalence is rising, and among school-aged children it may be two to three times higher.
Unfortunately though, Milgrom says, the only new treatments are in the experimental phase, which means the best approach is actually preventing ingestion.
That takes time and the cooperation of school officials, say parents of kids with food allergies.
Muriel Cooper, a media relations specialist with the AARP who lives in Maryland, has children in their teens with food allergies and has been dealing with their food needs since they were little.
"The best way to make sure your child's environment is safe is to notify the school administration immediately upon registering your child, work with the school's dietitian and let them know you are holding them accountable for your child's safety during the day,¡¯¡¯ says Cooper.
She says her kids have not had a bad experience at school with their food allergies, which she attributes to making the principal, teachers and medical staff aware of the kids¡¯ allergies, having lunch menus sent home so they could decide which meals the kids could buy and making special arrangements for school trips and other situations where the kids might be exposed to a food to which they are allergic.
Get your child tested. If allergies run in your family, have your youngster screened to determine which, if any foods, must be avoided since many children who are allergic to one food may be allergic to others. For example, people who are allergic to peanuts are often allergic to legumes, such as peas and beans.
Educate your child. Discourage your child from sharing food or utensils. Even though it is especially difficult for young children to stay away from foods their friends are eating, your mantra should be "No Food Sharing Allowed." An individual who has had a severe reaction to certain foods must never taste them again since reactions can become more severe with time and exposure. Teach kids to ask about ingredients if they are unsure what is in a certain dish.
Be a label detective. Bear in mind that shaving creams, moisturizers, shampoos and lipsticks may contain peanuts, almond or soybean oils that can cause allergic reactions when transmitted through kissing or hand contact. People with milk allergies often react to canned tuna, which may contain a milk protein as a preservative.
Stock up on safe foods. Keep a supply of safe snacks for home and travel, and place a small sign on the refrigerator indicating prohibited foods.
Be vigilant. Children who are prone to food allergies are more susceptible when they are suffering from colds, upset stomachs, stress or hay fever.
Know what to do in an emergency. Depending on the severity of the allergy, reactions can vary from minutes to hours. Children who have experienced severe allergic reactions should wear a Medic Alert bracelet, obtainable by calling 1-800-IDALERT (432-5378). Contact your pediatrician or allergist for a plan to follow in the event of an allergic reaction.
Get support. Unfortunately, parents with food allergic children have lots of company. Join a support group such as FAAN. Two other good sources of information are the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Become an advocate. Schedule meetings with school caregivers and offer to develop a written policy regarding food allergy issues, such as peanut-free environments. New York City, for instance, is considering implementing such a policy in its public schools. Some schools across the nation already ban peanut butter.
And you don¡¯t need to wait for all the food firms to get their labeling to change to get your child or yourself the information you need. FAAN sells $2 cards that list synonyms for the eight most common food allergens (for instance, edamame is another word for soy) and should be taken on every grocery store trip. And check the FDA web site that discusses foods that have been recalled because the label didn't list a food allergen.
Francesca Kritz is a freelance writer in the Washington, D.C. area who has written for the Washington Post, Parenting, BabyTalk and other publications.
Enhanced Microbial Identification and Characterisation for Veterinary Laboratories
The MicroLog Filamentous Fungi and Yeast database (for use with the MicroStation system available in the UK, Germany and Australia from Oxoid Limited) further enhances the microbial identification capabilities of veterinary laboratories.
Complementing the existing databases for Aerobic Bacteria (Gram positive and Gram negative) and Anaerobic Bacteria, the Filamentous Fungi and Yeast database allows accurate and reproducible identification and characterisation of many fungal species that are important in veterinary medicine.
By simplifying and improving the identification and characterisation of filamentous fungi and yeasts, the MicroStation system provides results significantly faster than traditional methods (in days rather than weeks). The database also includes a comprehensive library of microscopic and macroscopic digital photographs that can be reviewed automatically, allowing verification of identifications with morphological criteria.
MicroStation's microbial identification technology is based on patented carbon-source utilisation 'fingerprinting'. Following isolation on solid media (and, for bacterial cultures, Gram staining to determine the testing protocol) the organism is introduced to a wide variety of pre-selected carbon sources in the 96-well MicroPlate. Incubation for 4 hours or less then produces a characteristic biochemical pattern called a metabolic fingerprint. An accurate identification of the organism is then obtained by comparison with stored fingerprints for over 2000 species in the MicroLog databases.
quality of microbial identifications that can be obtained using the MicroStation
would normally involve a large panel of labour-intensive tests and in the past
may only have been performed in large reference laboratories. The semi-automated
MicroStation system has eliminated these time consuming steps, allowing all sizes
of veterinary laboratories to perform more rapid identifications and characterisations.
The software also allows users to create and update their own customised database
of organism reaction patterns, allowing them even greater identification capabilities.
multiple causes - USA (Ohio)
Study shows free-range chickens may be more susceptible to salmonella
by Ann Bagel on 8/26/04 for Meatingplace.com
of Article: http://www.meatingplace.com
Million Federal Grant to Protect California's Food Supply
Source of Article: www-pubcomm.ucdavis.edu/
Apples, tomatoes and dairy products will be the focused foods for the program.
A $4.7 million dollar grant was presented today to the University of California, Davis, to help protect the food supply of California and the nation against acts of terrorism.
The two-year grant was presented to UC Davis' Western Institute for Food Safety and Security. It will support development and delivery of training programs aimed at helping personnel in the food production system prevent, recognize and deal with potential terrorist acts directed at the nation's food supply.
"This award is a very important step toward preventing terrorist attacks on the food systems in California," said Jerry Gillespie, director of the institute and principal investigator. "Because California leads the nation in dairy, fruits and vegetables, and other specialty-crop production for this nation, and because of the state's dominance in international food trade, it is extremely important that we do all we can to ensure the safety of our food systems.
"One of the most effective strategies for achieving this goal is to have food industry employees informed and actively participating in protection strategies," he added.
Presenting the grant to the campus was Suzanne Mencer, director of the Office of Domestic Preparedness for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Mencer said that UC Davis is receiving the largest such grant awarded nationwide to 14 out of 217 applicants.
Gillespie said the training grant will enable the university and its partners to train people in the food industry to anticipate, prevent and respond to harmful acts directed at the food system -- from the farm to the consumer.
UC Davis expects the training to be a national model for bringing together food system employees, health officials, law enforcement personnel, and government officials to prepare for a prompt and effective response to agroterrorist activity.
More than three dozen biological and chemical agents are considered to be potential agricultural threats. This includes those that cause bacterial and viral diseases like anthrax, brucellosis, botulism, hantavirus and salmonella. Also included are chemical agents that range from pesticides to flammable liquids and corrosive industrial acids. Some could cause extensive illness in humans or food animals, while others could have a devastating economic impact by affecting agricultural crops or livestock.
Fresh and processed tomatoes, apples and dairy products will be the three focus food groups for the training program. These were selected because they are considered to be at risk of terrorist attack; to represent high per-capita consumption, especially among infants and children; to constitute major U.S. production, particularly in California; or to be used widely as ingredients in other foods or prepared meals.
The training program, which is expected to impact more than 1 million front-line personnel, will begin immediately, Gillespie said. It will expand existing programs that are currently offered through the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security as well as UC Cooperative Extension, University Extension and other campus academic programs.
During the first year of the grant, the training program will focus on inventorying existing programs, identifying industry-specific terrorist hazards and threats, communicating risks to industry leaders, and identifying and coordinating those personnel considered to be in the best position for identifying or responding to possible terrorist actions. During the later part of the program, communications systems will be improved, regional and national workshops and conferences held and an assessment made of the nation's level of preparedness in the area of agricultural bioterrorism defense.
The Western Institute for Food Safety and Security is dedicated to coordinating research and education efforts that address food-safety issues, drawing upon the expertise of scientists in academia, government and industry. It was established in 2002 as a partnership between UC Davis and California's Department of Food and Agriculture and Department of Health Services.
Its mission is to develop the capability to identify food-borne hazards more rapidly and accurately, and to develop effective methods to prevent natural and intentional food contamination that might lead to food-borne illnesses and outbreaks.
Collaborating with the institute on the new training grant are 14 partners representing agriculture, public health, law enforcement, and emergency services and management.
Oxoid Products Detect and Confirm Antibiotic-Resistant Organisms
continuing concern over antibiotic-resistant organisms, it is vitally important
that clinicians have the best information possible about a patient 's illness
before prescribing. Oxoid has a range of products that can be used to detect and
confirm antibiotic-resistant infections such as MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus
aureus), VRSA (Vancomycin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and VRE (Vancomycin
Resistant Enterococci) so that the most appropriate course of treatment can be
instigated as rapidly as possible.
Gastroenteritis, multiple causes - USA (Ohio)
Food Safety Informaiton