8/31
2004

ISSUE:
131

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Japan could remain closed to U.S. beef until 2005
August 30, 2004
Meatingplace.com
Brendan O'Neill
Due to continued disagreements of whether all slaughtered cattle in Japan must be tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, rumors are swirling that the Japan border will remain closed to U.S. beef for the remained of this year, according to U.S. beef officials.
"I heard there is not going to be any change in the Japanese [beef] markets now until after the first of the year," Larry Pope, president and chief operating officer of Smithfield Foods Inc., told Wall Street analysts during a conference call last week.
In a report by Reuters late last week, a Japanese government source, who asked not to be identified, said that "tough negotiations" were ongoing with the United States over the issue of beef trade and it was impossible to pinpoint when trade might resume.
"In putting two and two together in terms of when USDA is going to go back over to Japan and how long is it going to take to make changes, you come up pretty close to the end of the year [before trade might resume]," a U.S. industry official said in the Reuters story.
In contrast, during last Thursday's press conference to discuss agriculture and conservation issues, Agriculture Department Secretary Ann M. Veneman said the negotiations looked positive.
"The discussions with the Japanese continue," she said. "We are having, as we indicated, good progress on the technical discussions that ended in July. In addition, we have concluded out of those technical discussions that we will move forward with an agreement with the Japanese where they will not require testing of all ages of animals.
"There are still a number of details to be worked out, but we are in regular contact with Japanese counterparts, and we are confident that we will continue to make progress in these negotiations towards opening up the market, hopefully very soon," Veneman said.
USDA spokeswoman Julie Quick told Meatingplace.com that there had not been any official statement regarding if or when the Japanese border may be opened beyond what was said in last week's press conference.

IFT UPDATES PATHOGEN REVIEW

Source of Article: NFWPA Food Safety News
August 27, 2004

The 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.
org/pdfs/sss/bacteria.pdf to view the document.
Source: IFT Daily News 8/24/2004

FMC FoodTech to provide InfinityQS quality control software

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

8/30/2004-FMC 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 productivity.
"InfinityQS' SPC software provides a robust platform for our LINK Process Analysis solution which has been developed for data collection, storage and analysis to improve yield, throughput and productivity while ensuring traceability and food safety," said Thomas Lundquist, product line manager for FMC FoodTech.

[New Zealand] Food safety agency says no recall for baby-killer formula
28 August 2004

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.


The premature baby died after being fed infant formula in Waikato Hospital, made up from powder contaminated with a bacterium, Enterobacter sakazakii.

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.

Food handling rules are not new
August 25, 2004
Simcoe Reformer
4
Glen Steen, Program Co-ordinator, Health Environment Team, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, Ontario, writes regarding the article in the Reformer, Aug. 18, 2004, "Food rules may cook fundraiser," to say it needs some clarification.
Steen says that the two weeks notice for special events is an error. That was in reference to special events such as Friday the 13th where the health unit needs to know how many vendors will be attending an event and what they are selling and how they are preparing it. The vendor needs health unit approval to get a vendors permit. It is not for"special" events at a church or community hall.
There are no new regulations being enforced in Haldimand and Norfolk counties by the health unit. The Food Premises Regulation 562 states in section 2. "(1) This Regulation applies to all food premises except,.....(c) churches, service clubs and fraternal organizations that,
(i) prepare and serve meals for special events for their members and personally invited guests, and
(ii) conduct bake sales. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 562, s. 2 (1)."
However, a church group, service club or fraternal organizations cannot have a potluck dinner and serve to the public where hazardous food products are prepared in members' homes and transported to the church or other facility. Once the public, other than members or invited guests are involved, the Food Premises Regulation 562 applies. This is not a new policy, it was meant to be a clarification of the requirements of the food premises regulations. A church group, service club or fraternal organization can serve food to the public if the food is prepared in a facility that complies with the food premises regulations. Many churches and service clubs do have facilities that comply. As stated above, bake sales are exempt from the regulation.
The concern is hazardous food products which are defined as food products that support bacterial growth i.e. meat, dairy, poultry, etc. We can't have, for example, 10 people cooking turkey, ham, roast beef, casseroles, potato salad etc. in their own homes and then transporting it to the church or community hall to sell to the public. The health unit does not know where or how the food was prepared, stored, handled or how it was transported. All these conditions could potentially lead to a food poisoning if done improperly.
Bake sales are exempt from the regulation as baked goods are not considered hazardous in the truest sense of the definition. Meat pies, sausage in pastry etc. are not considered baked goods as they contain hazardous food products. Cakes, cookies, pastries, fruit pies etc. are baked goods and are exempt. However, the regulation is not specific on the type of baked goods, but cream pies should be avoided as they may support bacterial growth if not properly refrigerated.
The health unit offers a Food Handlers Certification Course for $40 per person. It is a nine-hour course over three days consisting of eight hours of instruction and one hour examination. A public health inspector can make an hour or so presentation on food handling to any groups who would like to have presentation at no charge.

We can end food allergies, researchers claim
By Karyn Miller

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.

Fighting food allergies
New efforts are making school a safer place for kids

F.Birchman / MSNBC.com
By Francesca Kritz
MSNBC contributor

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
Labels are not the only improved feature for kids with food allergies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated its policy guidelines on medications in schools to recommend that some children with certain medical conditions, including food allergies, be allowed to carry their medications with them to class. For kids with food allergies, that medication is epinephrine, usually in the form of an injectible EpiPen, which can reverse an allergic reaction.

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.

Avoiding problems
If you're the parent of a child with food allergies, some additional tips can help you swerve around potential problems, says Dr. Clifford Bassett, a pediatric allergist at New York University Medical Center in New York City:

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.

The 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.

 

Gastroenteritis, multiple causes - USA (Ohio)
August 25, 2004
A ProMED-mail post
http://www.promedmail.org
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases
http://www.isid.org
Source: Ohio News Network [edited]
http: //www.onnnews.com/
Possible source of Lake Erie illness found
The number of people who have gotten sick at Lake Erie's Put-in-Bay resort has now reached nearly 900. That's up from just 78 a week ago [3rd week of August 2004]. But, the State Health Director said investigators have identified the source of the outbreak.
On Tue 24 Aug 2004, the state health director, Dr. Nick Baird, announced that they had found the source of a mysterious gastrointestinal illnesses. Dr. Baird said, "we're able to determine it's water related, and now we're focusing on epidemiological [investigation] and analysis of that information so we can move forward with solutions."
Dr. Baird said that water samples are being sent to 3 state labs, and, if he feels that it is necessary, he will hire private labs to help. Governor Bob Taft said that health is priority number one, but he understands the worries about the effect of the outbreak on the resort's economy that South Bass Island area officials are feeling. Some local merchants say they haven't seen a drop in their business. Meanwhile, health experts suggest that visitors to the island take along bottled water.
[2]
Source: Toledo (OH) Blade [edited]
http://www.toledoblade.com/
As of late yesterday, 24 Aug 2004, officials at the Ottawa County health department, who are receiving state and federal help with their investigation, reported conducting nearly 900 interviews with people who said they experienced gastrointestinal illnesses after visiting the tourist island, where Put-in-Bay is located. Health officials have not determined a source of the illnesses -- which typically involves nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and diarrhea -- and said that they have yet to interview another 162 people who have claimed the same illnesses.
To date, state officials have confirmed that 11 people, who complained about illness after visiting the island, had campylobacter bacteria in stool samples, while 3 had norovirius, and one had salmonella bacteria. They are hoping to conduct more tests on stool samples, if they become available.
While health officials say they are moving as quickly as possible to find a source, Mr. Bernard McCann [the mayor of Put-in-Bay] disputed that there remains a mystery on the island about how people are becoming ill. He said that the problem, which he attributes to water that tested positive for _E. coli_ bacteria at 2 Put-in-Bay township wells outside his village, has been corrected. The mayor also said the village's own water supply is safe and has passed all recent tests. A spokesman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that recent tests of the village's water supply have not detected any problems.
To indicate their confidence in the water system, village leaders passed out freshly bottled Put-in-Bay water at a press conference yesterday [24 Aug 2004], urging visitors to take a drink. Mr. McCann, a longtime business owner on South Bass Island, made his comments inside the village's town hall, where local residents, and business owners, showed up to learn more about the ongoing investigation. Outside the hall, signs of tourism were sparse on the hot, late August day. Marinas were barren of many boats. Business owners chatted outside their largely unpopulated establishments, and streets were void of much activity, namely the typical hum of passing golf carts.
The outbreak has caught the attention of area leaders, including USA Congressional Representative Marcy Kaptur (Dem, Toledo), who was briefed in person at the county health department yesterday afternoon, 24 Aug 2004. Afterward, Miss Kaptur said she had the utmost confidence in the people heading up the investigation, including epidemiologists with the CDC. "There has never been an outbreak like this in the history of the county," she said.
[Byline: Kim Bates]
[The numbers of reported cases of gastrointestinal complaints continue to grow. As noted in the 2nd piece, it appears that very few (15) of the cases have been diagnosed, specifically, 11 campylobacter, 3 norovirus, and one salmonella.
Water may well be the culprit here. We await more information. - Mod.LL]
[At the risk of being a provocateur, one can't help but wonder if the single salmonella isolate might have been related to the outbreak of salmonellosis associated with convenience stores in the USA (see refs below) and is a "red herring" in this current outbreak. The convenience stores involved in the outbreak were located in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Ohio, so travellers to this resort island may well have stopped off at a convenience store en route. Information on the typing of the salmonella isolate would be of interest. - Mod.MPP]
[see also:
Gastroenteritis, multiple causes - USA (OH) (03) 20040824.2364 Gastroenteritis, multiple causes - USA (OH) (02) 20040823.2346 Gastroenteritis, multiple causes - USA (OH) 20040822.2333 Campylobacteriosis - USA (OH) 20040820.2304 Viral gastroenteritis update 2004 (27) 20040818.2284 Salmonellosis, tomatoes, convenience stores - USA (09) 20040811.2218 Salmonellosis, tomatoes, convenience stores - USA (Multistate) (08) 20040808.2183]

Study shows free-range chickens may be more susceptible to salmonella

by Ann Bagel on 8/26/04 for Meatingplace.com

Source of Article: http://www.meatingplace.com
Consumers who think free-range chickens are at a reduced risk for food safety problems should think again, according to a study recently released by an Agriculture Department scientist.
J. Stan Bailey, a research microbiologist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service, examined 110 processed free-range chickens from three producers. Approximately 25 percent of the birds tested positive for salmonella ?a number slightly higher than those found in previous studies of conventionally grown chickens. "Don't buy free-range because you think it has less salmonella," Bailey said. "My evidence shows it doesn't."He added, however, that his research should not prevent people from buying free-range chicken if they "think it tastes better or is more humane."

4.7 Million Federal Grant to Protect California's Food Supply
August 23, 2004

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.


Media contact(s):
Jerry Gilllespie, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, (530) 757-5757, jrgillespie@ucdavis.edu
Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843, pjbailey@ucdavis.edu
Sylvia Wright, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-7704, swright@ucdavis.edu

Oxoid Products Detect and Confirm Antibiotic-Resistant Organisms

With 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.
Many hospitals routinely screen patients for MRSA and use Oxoid's ORSAB (Oxacillin Resistant Screening Agar Base) for the detection of the organism from swab samples. ORSAB provides exactly the right conditions for MRSA to grow and so even if it is present in low numbers it can be recovered and detected. Laboratories find ORSAB particularly simple to use - if MRSA colonies are present they turn an intense blue colour (see picture) making visual identification easy. This is of particular significance when a large number of samples are examined as part of a hospital's screening programme.
Once MRSA has been detected, confirmation can be undertaken using Oxoid's PBP2' Latex Agglutination Kit. The test confirms the presence of Penicillin Binding Protein (PBP2' - the protein encoded by the MecA gene in MRSA). Sample is simply added to a card onto which latex particles sensitized with a monoclonal antibody against PBP2' are pre-dried. If MRSA is present the latex will agglutinate into easily visible clumps.Oxoid's culture media are used in the detection of Vancomycin-resistant organisms. Brain Heart Infusion Agar medium and vancomycin supplement can be used for the detection of vancomycin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus. Oxoid VRE selective medium has been specially formulated for the detection of vancomycin resistant enterococci.

Current USDA/FDA NEWS
FGIS Issuance Change: revised pages to the FGIS Aflatoxin Handbook
Raw Ground Beef - E. coli Testing Results
Statement by APHIS & FSIS: OIG Report Regarding Enhanced BSE Surveillance Program
Leslye M. Fraser, S.M., J.D., Named Director of FDA¡¯s Office of Regulations and Policy, CFSAN
Note to Firms that Produce Seed for Sprouting and to Firms that Produce or distribute Fresh Sprouts
Raw Ground Beef- E. coli Testing Results
Microbiological Results of Raw Ground Beef Products Analyzed for Escherichia coli O157:H7
Ready to Eat Meat & Poultry Results
Baseline Data
Frequency of Foreign Inspection System Supervisory Visits to Certified Foreign Establishments

CFSAN 2004 Program Priorities: Accomplishments through June 2004
Prior Notice of Imported Food Contingency Plan for System Outages; Availability
FDA Offers Information for Hurricane Aftermath
National Advisory Committee On Microbiological Criteria For Foods To Hold Public Meeting
Questions and Answers Regarding Registration of Food Facilities (Edition 4)
USDA CONSUMER ALERT: Keeping Food Safe During An Emergency
National Advisory Committee on microbiological criteria for foods
22nd Session of the Codex Committee on processed fruits and vegetables
USDA Awards More Than $12 Million In Integrated Food Safety Grants
Joint FDA-CBP Plan for Increasing Integration and Assessing the Coordination of Prior Notice

Current Outbreaks

08/30. Gastroenteritis, multiple causes - USA (Ohio)
08/30. Gastroenteritis, multiple causes - USA (Ohio)
08/29. [UK] TRAGEDY OF CHOC GIRL, 13
08/29. FDA Not Finished with Salmonella Probe
08/28. Produce Supplier Says FDA Cleared It In Salmonella Outbreak
08/27. Food Poisoning Delays Minor League Game
08/26. Botulism, smoked fish - Russia (Buryatia)
08/26. Gastroenteritis, multiple causes - USA (Ohio)
08/26. Cases of travel-associated hepatitis A in Germany: internati
08/26. Hundreds Sickened at Ohio Resort Island
08/25. Put-in-Bay mayor doubts all illnesses connected
08/24. Scope of illness outbreak complicates probe
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8/23. Food poisoning, fatal - Kenya (Mombasa): request for informa
08/23. Vibrio parahaemolyticus, oysters - USA (AK)
08/23. [CAN] Waterpark closed after kids fall ill
08/22. Salmonellosis, human, turtle - USA (WI, KS ex WI)
08/22. 'I'm still a bit wobbly': 4-year-old at home recovering from
08/22. [AK, USA] Vibrio outbreak halts oyster sales
08/21. Mystery illness strikes 510 at lake resort
08/21. Mystery illness strikes Caston schools
08/21. Airline passengers suffer food poisoning
08/20. Petting zoos linked to E. coli illnesses in B.C.
08/20. Toddler who contracted E.coli dies
08/20. [Kenya] 4 people die after eating rotten fish
08/20. Team will battle back from illness

Current New Methods
08/30. Product of the week: Industrial Controls¡¯ Foamatic hand-drye
08/30. NEW RAPID PATHOGEN DETECTION
08/29. Triple Wrapped Prepared Media Plates for MAS-100 Air Sampler
08/28. MAS-100 Air Sampler for Cleanroom Environments
08/27. BioVeris Products Used for Security at Olympic Games
08/27. Enhanced Microbial Identification and Characterisation for Veterinary Laboratories
08/26. Riverbank filtration pulls pollutants from drinking water
08/25. PURE Bioscience's Axen30 Guards Against E. coli; Groundbreak
08/25. OSU working on antimicrobial food wrap
08/24. Electric Aquagenics to Beta Test Empowered Water(TM) Generat
08/23. Indexing E. coli: Genetic code library gives clues about water contamination sources
08/23. Nanoscale chemical sensors
08/22. We can end food allergies, researchers claim
08/21. Oxoid Products Detect and Confirm Antibiotic-Resistant Organisms
08/21. Study Shows Effectiveness of Spectral Diagnostics EAA Sepsis Assay
08/20. Grape extract - a future tool for extending shelf life?
08/20. Remnants of Winemaking Can Preserve Food
08/19. Researcher Invents Way to Remove Arsenic from Water

Current Food Safety Informaiton
08/30. New advisory group on the food chain created
08/30. Japan could remain closed to U.S. beef until 2005
08/30. Agriculture minister argues case for opening U.S. border to
08/30. safefood urges parents and kids to kick start the new school
08/30. No to irradiation
08/30. Guess who's coming to dinner: Salmonella, giardiasis and E.
08/30. Raw hamburger bigger E. coli threat than petting zoos
08/30. BC-US-Japan-Mad
08/30. News short: Korea
08/30. IMPORTED FRUIT DELAYED BY SECURITY

08/29. IRRIGATION WITH SEWAGE WATER POPULAR ABROAD
08/29. IFT UPDATES PATHOGEN REVIEW
08/29. Japan Won't Have U.S. Beef Anytime Soon
08/29. [China] Food store establishes recall system
08/29. 'Sausage King' Trial Continues
08/29. Riviera fruit firm fails inspections

08/28. FMC FoodTech to provide InfinityQS quality control software
08/28. USDA RESPONDS
08/28. Proposed California law calls for public disclosure in meat
08/28. AAMP asks Congress to investigate FSIS overtime practices
08/28. North American bovine products under scrutiny
08/28. Interest in Irradiated Meat Continues In U.S. and Canada
08/28. Foodtech 2004: Serious About Food Safety And Production
08/28. GIPSA Revises Alftatoxin Handbook Concerning Procedures for
08/28. Canada and U.S. politicians to hold BSE meeting
08/28. [Canada] Firm wants to test all its cattle for BSE
08/28. BSE behind new vet school
08/28. Preserving your garden's bounty
08/28. Tracking superbug boosts workload for doctors in Quebec

08/27. Calgary doctor leading research to eliminate hospital superb
08/27. Officials zeroing in on water
08/27. [New Zealand] Would you like rat hair with your toast, sir?
08/27. 'That's just gross' comes with the job for restaurant inspec
08/27. Novel Processes for Reducing Bacterial Levels in Foods (Vol. I)
08/27. [Ghana] Ensure food safety - Botwe
08/27. [N Zeal] Food safety agency says no recall for baby-killer formula
08/27. Cargill Foods Expansion Focuses on Food Safety Enhancements
08/27. Concerns raised over food service at golf courses
08/27. Training class for food handlers highlights the dangers of a

08/26. Food handling rules are not new
08/26. Events
08/26. Side events at the upcoming 2nd FAO/WHO Global Forum of Food
08/26. Fish Advisories Rising Due to Mercury Risks
08/26. Japan, US Beef Trade Deal Seen Delayed Until Sep - Kyodo
08/26. [UK] Butcher fined for filthy shop riddled with dirt
08/26. CHINA EXCLUSIVE
08/26. APHIS, FSIS pleased with OIG report on BSE surveillance
08/26. Study shows free-range chickens may be more susceptible to s
08/26. Japan Must Rewrite Rule, Not Law, To Resume US Beef Trade
08/26. No Spanish bulls allowed at Chinese bullfight
08/26. Nagoya meat wholesaler questioned over BSE subsidies
08/26. Watchdog raises meaty concerns

08/25. UK Bans Ghana Palm Oil
08/25. Little Caesar"s Enterprises Using the TAP Series Food Safety
08/25. [Nassau] Food safety top priority for Doctors Hospital
08/25. Suspected Vietnam serial killer on trial
08/25. Kerry support of packer livestock ban 'misguided': AMI presi
08/25. Ag minister to push for end to cattle ban
08/25. Irradiated food not proven to be safe
08/25. Irradiating food a good idea

08/24. EFSA report differs from Harvard Risk Assessment
08/24. Health Canada to recommend irradiation of more food, says Le
08/24. Growth in lupin flour hampered by allergen shadow?
08/24. [BSE] RISK LEVELS CHANGED
08/24. NFPA President and CEO John Cady to Retire In Early 2005
08/24. Heading off CWD
08/24. Kachemak oysters get limited OK
08/24. Beef recall affects Applebee's
08/24. 4.7 Million Federal Grant to Protect California's Food Suppl
08/24. European authority sets safety levels for boron
08/24. Stop & Shop Provides Lunchtime Food Safety Tips as Students
08/24. BJ's sued over meat it sold
08/24. Irradiated beef on school menus

08/23. Australia is mad cow disease-free: EU
08/23. AMI foundation's annual listeria control workshop details be
08/23. Carnegie Mellon scientists reveal ways of studying, resolving PCB
08/23. Food safety and customer service focus of FMI's award-winnin
08/23. FVO - Food Hygiene
08/23. [Canada] Beef industry still besieged
08/23. Health Canada studied impact of hormone thoroughly
08/23. BC-DPJ-Mad
08/23. [CAN] Meat packer fights to keep federal documents sealed
08/23. Lanark farmers to set up protest market: Producers to defy f
08/23. Food Irradiation Education Activities
08/23. FOOD IRRADIATION UPDATE
08/23. American National CattleWomen (ANCW) Irradiation Education I
08/23. [MA, USA] School to pay family in peanut allergy case
08/23. We can end food allergies, researchers claim

08/22. Weston allergy fair educates on the fatal dangers of food
08/22. USDA document cites young mad cow cases
08/22. Creekstone continues standoff with USDA
08/22. U.S. groups ready defenses against agro-terror threat

08/21. Salmonella Stalks Free-Range Chicken, Too
08/21. Certain symptoms may predict fatal foodborne botulism
08/21. Food authority raises US risk assessment on BSE
08/21. Quotable Quotes
08/21. New Training Aid for Microbiology Labs

08/20. FDA's 'solution' to SRMs in feed only increases problems
08/20. Japanese meat industry and consumers divided on BSE testing
08/20. Outbreak of illness totals 300 victims
08/20. [IL, USA] Restaurant scores now on Web site
08/20. [Australia] Baxter food to be examined
08/20. Panel Says Mad Cow Likely in U.S. Herd
08/20. EU fears new Canadian cases of mad cow
08/20. Fighting food allergies
08/20. State agents step in to prevent sale of bad food in Charley'
08/20. China to hold its annual conference on food security

Current Recall Information