2005 call for abstracts
FDA Warns Consumers About Risks Associated With Unpasteurized Juice
The Food and Drug Administration today reminded consumers of the dangers associated with drinking unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices. This warning follows reports that the New York State Departments' of Health and Agriculture and Markets, and local health departments in northern New York are investigating a recent foodborne disease outbreak possibly linked to the consumption of unpasteurized apple cider.
Under FDA regulations, most juice processors are required to use Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles to increase the protection of consumers from illness-causing microbes and other hazards in juices. But not all juice that consumers purchase comes from a facility for which HACCP is required.
In light of this outbreak, FDA would like to remind consumers that there are health risks associated with drinking juice or cider that has not been treated in any way to kill harmful bacteria. Such products may be sold in bottles or by the glass in supermarkets, at farmers markets, at roadside stands, or in some juice bars. Untreated products that are sold in bottles are generally displayed on ice or in refrigerated cases and are required to carry the following warning statement on their label:
WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and therefore, may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.
Untreated products that are fresh squeezed and sold by the glass are not required to carry the warning label statement.
FDA advises consumers that, when in doubt, look for this warning statement on bottled juice and ask if fresh squeezed juice has been treated in a way to kill bacteria.
Consumers who do not wish to risk illness from consumption of raw juices should not drink unpasteurized juices. If you cannot determine if a juice has been processed to destroy harmful bacteria, either don't drink it or bring it to a boil in an open container to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present.
additional information visit, http://www.cfsan.fda.gov.
Hepatitis A shots for restaurant staff?
health official wants vaccinations to become mandatory
Source of Article: http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/
?The head of Utah County's health department thinks asking all restaurant employees
to get Hepatitis A shots is a no-brainer. After all, an outbreak would deal a
very harsh blow to any restaurant.
A ?or what used to be known as infectious Hepatitis ?is spread hand-to-mouth after
exposure to contaminated feces. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, usually
accompanied by a fever and jaundice.
FDA, IFT TO DEVELOP FOOD SECURITY TRAINING
Source of Article: Northwest Food Processors Association Food Safety News
October 25, 2004
October 8, the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition announced that
the Agency has signed a fi ve-year contract with the Institute of Food Technologists
(IFT) to provide review and evaluation of topics in the areas of food safety,
food security, food processing, and human health. Under the terms of the
up the meat cheats
PRION DISEASE SUSPECTED
of Article: http://www.meatnews.com/
The FSAI said that this timeframe would be the typical incubation period for the disease. The Authority stressed that bovine spongiform encephalopathy controls in place in Ireland since 1996, are very strict and there are layers of robust control measures to ensure maximum consumer protection in relation to BSE.Dr. John O¡¯Brien, chief executive at FSAI said that the incidence of BSE in Ireland continues to decline in the cattle population, demonstrating that the controls introduced in 1996 and 1997 are working. There are fewer cases of BSE and the vast majority of current cases are in animals born before the introduction of these enhanced controls.¡°The main consumer protection measure has been the removal of specified risk material from the human food chain,¡± he said. ¡°SRM are the parts of an animal most likely to contain BSE infectivity if that animal is incubating the disease. This SRM removal is supervised on a day to day basis by veterinary inspectors. We are confident that the controls in place are ensuring SRM removal and thus consumers are being protected. The FSAI and the Department of Agriculture and Food have been to the forefront in the EU with the most aggressive controls to protect both animals and humans from the BSE agent.¡±He emphasized: ¡°The FSAI, DAF, and the other agencies involved in policing the food chain are working closely together to ensure full compliance and maximum consumer protection. In fact, one of the key factors for establishing the FSAI in 1996 was the BSE crisis. We base our decisions upon the best scientific data and knowledge, and develop inspection and audit controls to ensure maximum consumer protection in relation to meat and meat products. A rigorous policy of safeguards is now firmly established throughout the food chain.¡± O¡¯Brien said that the FSAI¡¯s BSE Scientific Sub-committee continuously reviews these controls and over the past five years has recommended additional control measures when appropriate.
¡°We believe that the controls are proving to be effective, but public confidence can only be maintained through continued vigilance and transparency. The FSAI will continue to be the over-arching watchdog and will sustain its independent audits of the current controls on an ongoing basis. We are confident that based on current controls, consumers of Irish beef are not being exposed to the BSE infective agent,¡± he said.
In Ireland, there is a sequence of controls for BSE along the food chain. The feeding of meat and bone meal is prohibited to all farm animals and there are stringent controls at rendering plants and feed mills. All cattle are examined by veterinary inspectors before slaughter at the abattoir and rapid BSE testing is carried out on all animals over 30 months of age. Veterinary inspectors, under service contract to the FSAI, ensure slaughtered cattle have had SRM removed. At boning plants, the carcasses are inspected again. In butcher shops, environmental health officers under contract to the FSAI inspect carcasses at this level. In addition, all butchers operating in Ireland are aware that it is illegal to sell meat products containing SRM.Web posted: November 9 [sic], 2004
Campylobacter: Unmasking the Secret Genes of a Food-Poisoning Culprit
Source of Article: http://www.rednova.com/news/display/?id=97856
Microarrays, or gene chips, enable scientists to get a quick look at thousands of genes in a single experiment. Here, technician Sharon Horn monitors robotic equipment as it imprints Campylobacter microarrays on glass slides. Photo by Peggy Greb. (K11465-1)
The "juice" that always seems to leak out of those packages of fresh chicken you bring home from the supermarket can make a big mess on your kitchen counter. But more importantly, the juice can pose a hazard to your health. Nasty microbes called Campylobacter jejuni can live in that liquid and on the skin of fresh, uncooked poultry. Thoroughly cooking chicken-by grilling, frying, roasting, or bakingkills this food-poisoning microbe. But if you accidentally splash some of the raw juice on food that you'd planned to eat uncooked, such as leafy greens for a fresh salad, you'd be wise to throw them out. Here's why: If the microbe takes hold on those greens, as it is very adept at doing, you might be in for a case of campylobacteriosis food poisoning that you won't soon forget. Campylobacter is thought to be the leading cause of bacterial food poisoning in humans and is likely the perpetrator of more than 400 million cases of diarrhea every year. Though being careful when you handle raw poultry should help keep you safe, ARS researchers want to do more to zap this microbial menace before it reaches your home. At Albany, California, scientists in the ARS Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit are making key advances in the international effort to clobber Campylobacter. The California team, based at the Western Regional Research Center, is focusing on Campylobacter's genes. Why the interest in the microbe's genetic makeup? Because investigating genes may lead to discovery of faster, more reliable ways to detect the microbe in samples from humans and other animals, food, and water.
In addition, gene-based research opens the door to simpler, less- expensive tactics for distinguishing look-alike species and strains of Campylobacter and its close relatives, such as the Arcobacters. This will enable experts to quickly finger culprit microbes in food poisoning outbreaks. Finally, the studies may lead to innovative, environmentally friendly techniques to circumvent the genes that make C. jejuni strains so successful in causing human gastrointestinal upset and in some cases paralysis or even death. Working with the Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, Maryland, the Albany scientists have decoded the makeup, or sequence, of all the genes and other genetic material in a specially selected strain of C. jejuni. Technician Guilin Wang sets the conditions for operation of an automated robotic system for purifying DNA. High-quality DNA is required for spotting onto glass slides for microarray experiments. This research represents the first time that a C. jejuni strain from a farm animal-in this case, a market chicken-has been sequenced. That's important, notes research leader Robert E. Mandrell, because chicken is the leading source of the bacterium in food. Earlier C. jejuni genome sequencing, performed elsewhere, was based on a specimen from a gastroenteritis patient and was lacking key features, such as the ability to colonize chickens, Mandrell says. The next step: Zero in on specific genes. "We're particularly interested in the genes that make Campylobacter so viable and virulent," says ARS molecular biologist William G. Miller. They're targeting, for instance, genes that carry the code for making oligosaccharides. These compounds likely enable the microbe to stick like glue to chicken skin in the poultry processing plant even though the birds are bathed and rinsed with chlorinated water. The oligosaccharides might be important in invading and colonizing the human body, as well, Miller notes.With this genome sequence information in hand, the scientists are developing microarrays, or gene chips, that make possible a quick look at thousands of genes in a single experiment. For these analyses, robotic equipment precisely places pieces of the pathogen's DNA in an array of infinitesimally small droplets on glass microscope slides. "We build and use these microarrays to compare and contrast DNA of various Campylobacter samples," explains microbiologist Craig T. Parker. "We're also using microarrays to get a snapshot of genes in action so that we can see when genes are turned on or off." For example, Parker is pinpointing the genes that are active in helping Campylobacter overcome our bodies' protective actions. By tracking the action of the microbes' genes, Parker and co-investigators may be able to determine a way to derail them. Though C. jejuni has grabbed center stage because of its known virulence, its relatives are also of interest. The Albany studies of C. coll, C. lari, and C. upsaliensis, for example, are attracting the attention of member nations in a threecontinent collaboration called "Campycheck," formed to evaluate the importance of these lesser-known or newly emerging species. The Albany scientists and colleagues from the ARS Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center, Athens, Georgia, are advisors to Campycheck. Technician Sharon Horn and microbiologist William Miller prepare samples of Campylobacter for automated analysis of the structure, or sequence, of the DNA. The colored peaks on the computer screen show the sequence of a DNA sample from an earlier run.
In clinical laboratories, these lessstudied pathogens may inadvertently be killed by the antibiotics used to identify the better-known ones. The likely result? An inaccurate picture of their prevalence and virulence. Campycheck may yield a detailed, accurate picture.The Campylobacter studies in the United States and abroad might never completely eliminate the need for careful handling of raw poultry in our homes or the kitchens of school cafeterias, fine restaurants, and other eateries. But the research can reduce our chances of ever encountering this unruly microbe.-By Marcia Wood, ARS. Research leader Robert Mandrell (left) and microbiologist Craig Parker, both of the Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit, examine an image of the results of a microarray experiment comparing over 1,700 genes of Campylobacter jejuni strains from farm animals and humans. This research is part of Food Safety, an ARS National Program (#108) described on the World Wide Web at www.nps. ars. usda.gov.
To reach scientists mentioned in this story, contact Marcia Wood, USDA-ARS Information Staff, 5601 Sunny side Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705-5129; phone (301) 504-1662, fax (301) 504-1641, e-mail email@example.com.
USDA to provide additional funding for animal ID program
John Gregerson on 10/29/04 for Meatingplace.com
In an interview in Meat Marketing and Technology magazine, Doran Junek, executive director of the Kansas Cattlemen's Association, described the $11.6 million originally earmarked for pilots as "woefully inadequate."
food allergy test
of Article: http://news8austin.com/
In young children, the foods most likely to cause allergies are cow's milk, eggs, wheat and peanuts. In older children and adults, peanut and seafood allergies are most common. Other foods that commonly cause allergic reactions include soy products and tree nuts, such as almonds, pecans, and Brazil nuts. Food challenges have long been the "gold standard" for diagnosing food allergies, Dr. Robert Wood, a pediatric allergist from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, said. During a food challenge, patients are fed increasing doses of the suspected allergen. Then, they are monitored by a physician for symptoms of an allergic reaction, including hives, coughing, difficulty breathing and vomiting. Because of the possibility of a severe allergic reaction, oral food challenges take place in a clinical setting under a physician's supervision.
However, Wood said there are no clear guidelines to determine when a food challenge should be considered. Because of that, some children who could benefit from the test may be overlooked. Now, a blood test that measures food-specific allergy antibodies can be used to help pediatric allergists with the difficult decision of when to reintroduce a food that has caused an allergic reaction in a child.
In a recent study, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Dr. Wood and colleagues outlined guidelines for using these antibody levels to determine which children should be offered an oral food challenge.
Based on results of their investigation into how well IgE antibody levels could predict children's reactions on the oral food challenge test, the Hopkins team specifically recommends that challenge tests for milk, egg, and peanut be performed on children with at least a 50-50 chance of "passing." "These findings make it clear that doing a blood test to measure IgE levels can accurately predict how a patient will fare during a food challenge, and we recommend its routine use in clinical practice to screen children with suspected allergies before a food challenge is performed," Wood said. The new guidelines outline when to reintroduce foods to children who may be allergic are critical, Wood said.
"Making inaccurate diagnosis to food allergy has huge consequences. It is for both the reason that it is really important to avoid what you are allergic to because reactions can be very severe and because it is really bad to be avoiding foods that you are not truly allergic to. If I told you that you had to go home and eliminate milk and wheat from your diet, 80 percent of everything you eat would be gone because, even if they are not the main ingredient they are a common ingredient in most foods. Avoiding foods that they are not truly allergic to puts children at risk for poor nutrition in addition to the unbelievable amount of work it takes to maintain such a restrictive diet," Wood said.
with IgE levels of 2.0 kilounits or less, who fall under the new Hopkins guidelines,
are more likely to pass a food challenge because their low IgE levels could indicate
a developed tolerance to the allergen or a previous allergy misdiagnosis. On the
other hand, when the expected pass rate for a food challenge is less than 50 percent,
or for IgE levels of more than 2.0 kilounits, Wood said it's very likely that
the patient has a legitimate food allergy and therefore does not need his or her
allergy confirmed through a food challenge, which could cause a significant allergic
Schools trained in food safety
The Urbandale district took part in a study to meet 2005 requirements.
The food service department within the Urbandale school district is getting a head start on meeting new federal food safety standards scheduled to take effect in July 2005.Department members participated in a three-year study organized by Iowa State University's Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management. Iowa State professor Jeannie Sneed, principal investigator in the study, said child nutrition programs will be required to meet a set of food safety standards.The new federal "rules really started with the space program, when food safety in outer space was being considered," Sneed said.Forty schools throughout the state of Iowa participated in the study, which first assessed each food-preparation area's general hygiene, sanitation and preparation methods.
"The baseline showed us where we are, and then how we can move forward to meet the . . . guidelines," Sneed said.After initial testing, some employees in each food department were trained to meet those standards and to effectively share that information with remaining staff members."We saw the . . . requirements coming down the pike, so we wanted to see that the groundwork was laid before the time came," Sneed said."I'm happy we were part of the testing, because it gave us a head start on the standards," said Cathy Howsare, director of food service with the Urbandale schools.She said the assessment and training reinforced important safety issues to the entire staff.
"I've had a lot of this training, but many on our staff haven't," Howsare said. "It was a great way for our hourly employees to learn more about food safety, and it didn't end up being costly for us."Sneed said that in the 1980s when federal money was cut, the system of sending inspectors out to check institutional facilities for safety changed."The shift in responsibility changed from the inspector to the processor," said Sneed, who explained kitchen employees now need to have the knowledge to test and track their own safety points and maintain records to show compliance with standards.
Howsare said her staff was positive about the assessment and training, and the three-year study improved its overall operation."I'm proud that we were one of the schools picked to participate, and that we were able to carry out and meet all of those standards," she said. "We do take food safety in our district very seriously."
ID's disease outbreak simulation proves successful
Kansas State Researchers Seek to Improve Food Safety Practices of Restaurant Employees
of Article: http://news.yahoo.com/
Scientists push boundaries of bacteria-fighting film
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/news-NG.asp?n=55638-scientists-push-boundaries
26/10/2004 - Scientists in Germany have applied a medical profession technique to create bacteria-fighting packaging that can be applied to liquid products such as milk.
is a significant step forward. There has been great interest in the food packaging
sector about coated packaging films that actively fight against bacteria could
help stop food going mouldy without the use of food preservatives.
However, discerning consumers prefer to have as few additives as possible in their food. The concept of bacteria-fighting packaging is therefore of great interest to food manufacturers eager to appeal to consumer demand for less additives, while at the same time making food products safer.
This is why scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, working in the Alliance for Polymer Surfaces POLO, have initiated a project to find out how this concept can be developed.
The researchers found that instead of adding preservatives to the food, they could coat the packaging film with them.
This places the substances directly at the surface of the foodstuff, which is where they need to act,?said group leader Dieter Sandmeier. “In that way we can cut food preservatives to a minimum.?
The coating layer is applied using special techniques and materials based on substances such as Ormocers. These plastics contain elements of inorganic glass and organic polymers.
We have managed to develop films that can protect solid products from attack by all kinds of bacteria,?said Sandmeier.Films such as these are not good enough when it comes to protecting liquid foods like milk, however. This is because the food preservatives introduced do not remain on the surface as they would on cheese or sausage. They spread through the entire product and are heavily diluted.
Packaging materials for liquids therefore need to be sterilised with hydrogen peroxide, for example, before being brought into contact with foodstuffs. But this complex procedure is performed at temperatures in excess of 70 C, which is too high for certain plastics such as PET.
The IVV researchers therefore looked to the medical profession for inspiration, and saw that doctors sterilise medical instruments with plasma, an ionised gas.
There is just one drawback in applying this to industrial packaging however; the treatment takes at least half an hour, or even up to one and a half hours ?far too long for an industrial bottling process.
The scientists however have now optimised the process so that it only takes one to five seconds. In this way they have no problem complying with environmental protection regulations, and energy consumption can be reduced by a factor of up to 1,000.
Antibacterial packaging is a growing field of research. A recently published report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that herb basil, when incorporated into plastic wrapping, can enhance food safety. The basil, which has long been known to contain bacteria-fighting properties, can be incorporated into the plastic wrapping to preserve foods.
The extracts methyl chavicol and linalool ooze out of the wrapping and slow the growth of eight types of lethal bacteria including E. coli and listeria. Experiments showed the wrapping extends the shelf life of cheese and most likely of meats, fish, baked goods, fruits and vegetables.
research scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute are presenting this and related
topics at the K fair in Dseldorf, which finishes tomorrow.
acquires innovative rapid microbial detection company takes microbial testing
from days to hours
introduces new steam pasteurizer