A look at the FDA's Produce Safety Action Plan
Source of Article: http://www.timesleader.com/
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this summer introduced its Produce Safety Action Plan. The voluntary guidelines are meant to improve the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables from farms to America's dinner tables - and to improve government responses should foodborne outbreaks occur.
Though the guidelines are voluntary for U.S. firms, the FDA can ban imports from farms and suppliers that don't comply.
The action plan has four goals:
_To prevent contamination of fresh produce, with guidelines in areas from worker hygiene to irrigation water quality at farms.
_To minimize public health impact when a food poisoning outbreak occurs, through such means as more frequent inspections of food suppliers, packers and shippers.
_To improve communication with farmers, packers and others in the supply chain, as well as federal and state health officials - including by having foodborne outbreaks reported sooner to the FDA and other agencies.
_To improve ways to detect and prevent the contamination of fresh produce, through research and education.
levels' of bacteria found in bottled water
WHO 5 keys strategy for safer food
coli O157, petting zoo - USA (NC)
E. coli Outbreak Strikes at Least 24
Yahoo! News Thu, Nov 04, 2004
of Article: http://news.yahoo.com/
PRION DISEASE SUSPECTED
Source of Article: http://www.meatnews.com
A possible victim of CJD victim could have been infected 15 years ago.
If a suspected case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in a man in Ireland is confirmed, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland believes he may have become infected 10-15 years ago from the consumption of contaminated beef products in Ireland.
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.
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
Be careful with unpasturized juices, says FDA
Source of Article: http://www.foodqualitynews.com/news/news-ng.asp?n=55814-be-careful-with
02/11/2004 - Consumers were this week reminded of the dangers associated with drinking unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices after a foodborne disease outbreak in New York was potentially linked to the consumption of unpasturized apple cider.
FDA issued the warning after the New York State departments¡¯ of Health and Agriculture
and Markets, and local health departments in northern New York suggested the recent
foodborne disease outbreak could be due to the consumption of unpasteurized apple
The FDA pointed out, however, that products that have not been treated to kill harmful bacteria, may be sold in bottles or by the glass in supermarkets, at farmers markets, at roadside stands or in some juice bars.
The government body noted that untreated products that are sold in bottles are generally displayed on ice or in refrigerated cases and are required to carry a warning label stating that the product, "may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems".
Untreated, freshly squeezed beverages that are sold by the glass are not required to carry the warning label.
The FDA last month published the final 2004 Produce Safety Action Plan aimed at minimizing the number of foodborne illnesses that are contracted each year through the consumption of fresh produce.
The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in the US each year, 76 million people
become sick, more than 325,000 people are hospitalized, and 5,000 people die from
foodborne illness, and believes that, in the 1990s, at least 12 percent of foodborne-outbreak-associated
illnesses were linked to fresh produce.
test method for poultry to Japan
FOOD SAFETY CAMPAIGN
Source of Article: http://www.meatnews.com/
WHO launches new "Five Keys" strategy form food safety in Bangkok, Thailand.
Five simple measures could significantly reduce the global incidence of foodborne disease according to the World Health Organization.
WHO said that each year, unsafe food makes at least two billion people ill worldwide, or about one third of the global population. Simple prevention techniques could significantly reduce this burden of disease, which can cause serious illness or death.
Following a meeting in Bangkok, WHO has now launched its "Five Keys" strategy -- a series of five simple actions which people can undertake at home or at work while preparing and consuming food. These are: keep hands and cooking surfaces clean; separate raw and cooked food; cook food thoroughly; keep food stored at safe temperatures; and use safe water and raw ingredients.
"The burden of foodborne disease is enormous but much of this burden can be prevented through simple techniques,¡± Dr. Jorgen Schlundt, director of WHO's Food Safety Department, said. "The Five Keys strategy is complemented by a manual which helps individuals to adopt good food-handling practices: they show how people around the world, no matter where and how they live, can protect themselves from foodborne illness.¡±
WHO has produced a basic training manual to ensure that member states can use and disseminate effectively the information contained in the "Five Keys" strategy. It is meant for food safety professionals, teachers and other interested organizations to use in training selected target groups, including food handlers and schoolchildren.
Field testing of ¡°Bring Food Safety Home: How to Use the WHO Five Keys to Safer Food¡± is now starting around the world. Countries where field testing will occur include Argentina, Bolivia, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua in the Americas and Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal, and Timor Leste in southeast Asia.
Even though the actions are applicable everywhere, WHO recognizes that the way food is prepared and the type of food which is eaten varies enormously across and within countries. The WHO said the Five Keys strategy does not set out prescriptions, and the implementing manual is a reflection of globally validated best practice, emphasizing five main messages which member states are encouraged to apply to local conditions.
U. of I. finds solution to arsenic in wells
October 29, 2004
BY GARY WISBY Environment Reporter
Source of Article: http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-arsenic29.html
Arsenic in well water has triggered political battles in Washington and worry in Chicago's suburbs, where towns and individual residents tap underground sources for their drinking water.
Now University of Illinois researchers say it may be possible to defeat the toxic metal simply by siccing friendly bacteria on it.
When the scientists analyzed water from 21 wells, all fed by the Mahomet aquifer in central Illinois, they noticed that the more sulfate they found, the less arsenic there was.
Well-water bacteria that are harmless to humans but death on arsenic were responsible, said geology professor Craig Bethke, an author of a paper to be published next month in the journal Geology.
"They breathe in sulfate and breathe out sulfide," he said. The sulfide reacts with arsenic, causing it to settle out and never reach the surface.
Just add salts
That suggests owners of wells with unhealthy levels of arsenic can simply add sulfate, Bethke said. Sulfate salts are inexpensive, readily soluble and easy to find.
Brett Coleman, owner of a restaurant in northwest suburban Gilberts, could have used that news in 2000. That was when his well tested high for arsenic and he suddenly started selling more pop and bottled water.
The Kane County town put in a new water treatment plant, and Coleman capped his well. "If I get a glass of water in my tavern, it comes out of my [bar] gun, which is now city water," he said.
Bethke and the grad student he was supervising, Matt Kirk, found arsenic levels as high as 200 parts per billion in their survey. Nearly half the wells exceeded 10 ppb.
Private wells aren't regulated, so the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency doesn't know how many there are in the Chicago area. But spokeswoman Maggie Carson said she suspects "surprisingly large numbers."
In a last gasp from the Clinton administration in January 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed slashing the federal limit for arsenic in well water from 50 parts per billion to 10 ppb.
Catching up with Clinton
But President Bush scrapped that plan, leaving 50 ppb in place pending further study. That brought screams from legislators including Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who said the health of 134,000 Illinoisans was endangered.
Arsenic at 50 ppb caused lung, bladder and skin cancer and other ailments, according to a 1999 National Academy of Sciences study.
Congress, and eventually Bush, did a turnaround and set the limit at 10 ppb, giving the states until January 2006 to comply.
New MicroLog Database Enhances Microbial Identification Capabilities of Environmental Laboratories
The MicroLog Filamentous Fungi database (for use with the MicroStation microbial identification system from Oxoid Limited) provides enhanced identification capabilities for environmental laboratories. It complements the existing MicroLog databases to provide accurate and reproducible identification of over 2000 species of bacteria, yeast and fungi.
The database was been developed in collaboration with two world-renowned mycologists, Dr John Bisset at Agriculture and Agri-Food, Canada and Dr Rob Samson at Centraalbureau Voor Schimmelcultures, the Netherlands. It was originally designed for the identification of sporulating fungal genera important in environmental monitoring, food spoilage and agriculture, and has now been extended to include clinically important strains.
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 of 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 in the MicroLog databases.
addition to providing accurate identification of individual species, the MicroStation
system is valuable in environmental analysis. The biochemical characterisation
information contained in each MicroPlate is enormous as one plate collects carbon
source utilization data for 95 different compounds. Bacterial communities can
be analyzed using the MicroPlate technology. By applying PCA (Principal Component
Analysis) to the MicroPlate data, changes or relationships between microbial communities
can be tracked. For example, the system can be used to trace individual strains
of bacteria from environmental sources to product contamination. It can also be
used for fingerprinting and tracking microbes from a variety of environmental