Food Safety Fellowships Available
Food Safety and Inspection Service (a regulatory agency of the US Department of
Agriculture) has occasional vacancies in a program for recipients of recent doctoral
degrees to serve as staff fellows in microbiology, epidemiology, biotechnology
or risk assessment to learn about and contribute to FSIS's scientific and regulatory
this URL or refer it to interested potential candidates:
Alimentarius - Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants (CCFAC)
European Community comments on the Harmonisation
of Terms (CX/FAC 05/37/12) available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/ifsi/eupositions/ccfac/ccfac_index_en.html
Community comments on Inventory of Processing Aids (CX/FAC 05/37/14) available
Community comments on Discussion Paper on Carriers (CX/FAC 05/37/13) available
Community comments on the Preamble of the General Standard for Food Additives
- Progress Report of the Working Group on the Working Principles of the GSFA (CX/FAC
05/37/7) available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/ifsi/eupositions/ccfac/ccfac_index_en.html
University of Florida, Juice & Beverage Center and the Food Science
Human Nutrition Department are co-sponsoring a Sanitation Symposium
with the Florida Section of IFT. This symposium will be held in
with Florida IFT's Suppliers Night on February 22, 2005, at
the Rosen Centre
in Orlando, Florida. The symposium will be from 8 AM
to 3:30 PM with Suppliers
Night beginning at 3:30.
The Symposium agenda can be downloaded by visiting
Co-Director, Juice & Beverage Center, and
University of Florida
up for United's food security webcast and guide: United's food security webcast
and guide to federal food safety and security inspections
United News Release
After 9/11, protecting
the food supply took on new meaning. In the past three years, Congress has passed
sweeping bioterrorism legislation and government agencies have issued new regulations
to protect the food supply from intentional contamination. Yet, listen to what
government leaders are still saying:
"For the life of me, I cannot understand
why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to
do." --Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, December 3, 2004
secure is your business, and what's your responsibility for complying with new
regulations? You can be sure government inspectors and market partners are intent
on placing liability with you. Now, United offers produce industry members the
tools you need to help understand the threats to your business and protect your
Two-Part Webcast and Guide - One Low Price!
Sign up today for
United's two-part webcast February 2-3 for only $250 ($500 for non-members), and
receive a copy of our new Guide to Federal Food Safety and Security Inspections
at no extra cost.
Webcast Part 1: The Threat of Bioterrorism to the Produce
Broadcast live from the Fresh Produce & Floral Council Luncheon
in Los Angeles, California
Wednesday, February 2, 2005
3:30 p.m. - 4:00
Part 1 of our webcast provides an introductory overview of the threat
of bioterrorism to the produce industry, and what government and industry are
doing to ensure the security of our food supply. In this innovative learning format,
internet users across the country will join with a live audience at the Fresh
Produce and Floral Council's February meeting in Los Angeles for a simultaneous
broadcast and live discussion. United's food security expert Dr. Donna Garren
will lead the discussion from Los Angeles, featuring experts from government and
the supermarket and restaurant industries, live online.
Pool, Manager, Agricultural Production & Research, Wegmans Food Markets
Ernie McCullough, Manager, Food Safety Programs, Arby's
Dr. David Acheson,
Director of the FDA's Food Safety & Security Initiative
Dr. Donna Garren,
Vice President, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, UFFVA
Webcast Part 2:
Complying With the Requirements of FDA's Final Rules
Thursday, February 3,
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST
Part 2 of our webcast convenes at the same
time the next day to go into detail on what companies must do to comply with the
final rules and regulations issued by FDA. New rules on establishment and maintenance
of record will be explained directly by the lead author of the FDA rule to ensure
your company is in compliance. And, United's outside legal counsel will explain
how your company needs to comply with all four of FDA's new regulations under
the Bioterrorism Act. Make sure your company is prepared when government comes
to inspect your facility and your records!
Beru, Director of the FDA's Division of Plant Product Safety
Esq., UFFVA Legal Counsel, Olsson, Frank and Weeda, P.C
Dr. Donna Garren, Vice
President, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, UFFVA
BONUS! -- Guide to Federal
Food Safety and Security Inspections
All webcast registrants will receive a
copy of United¡¯s new Guide to Federal Food Safety and Security Inspections developed
in cooperation with the law firm of Olsson, Frank and Weeda. This Guide will provide
a detailed review of the Bioterrorism Act, including legal compliance with the
four new regulations associated with the Bioterrorism Act.
How To Register
today to participate in the live webcasts from your own office. No travel required!
Use your own computer to hear live presentations, view real-time PowerPoint visuals,
and ask your own questions online - without ever leaving your desk!
today for only $250 for both webcasts ($500 for non-United members), and receive
the new Guide to Federal Food Safety and Security Inspections at no extra cost.
Click here to register online, and follow the simple directions for signing onto
the webcasts. Registration price includes access to BOTH webcasts and the Guide;
webcasts will not be sold separately, although registrants can participate in
either or both sessions.
Can¡¯t Join the Webcast? Buy the Guide!
new Guide to Federal Food Safety and Security Inspections may be purchased separately
for $100 ($200 for non-United members) by clicking here. The new Guide will be
mailed to you immediately after the webcast on February 3, 2005.
Please contact United at email@example.com or call (202) 303-3400.
the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at:
send Email to:
phone or on the Web, answers to your questions on... Safe
food storage, handling, preparation
outages and much more!
food safety education
Safety In-Sight Volume 3, Number 1
TM Environ Health Associates, Inc.
Thrall / FoodHandler Inc.
Basic food safety in a restaurant kitchen is not
rocket science, but it is critically important for the crew to take the time to
learn about it and for managers to set the example each day. Customers never expect
or want to see a manager, chef, or a crew member make a very visible food safety
mistake, like not washing hands before food prep and gloving, or touching their
face or hair while prepping or handling food. Have we all seen it happen in our
restaurant or as a customer elsewhere? Certainly. Are you using some creativity
in your current training methods to help your staff ¡°get it¡±so to speak, and reflect
positive behaviors regarding food safety? Effective food safety programs tap the
psychology of how people learn and make the education fun. Your well thought out
training methods might also help reduce the employee turnover. Illustrate your
points to the crew with real life examples from your experience and use humor.
You can even use past mistakes to make a point. Food safety knowledge is such
an important factor to a restaurant¡¯s success, but think of the old simple adage
TELL ME I¡¯LL FORGET;
SHOW ME I¡¯LL REMEMBER;
ME I¡¯LL UNDERSTAND.
For each basic concept in food safety, teach the crew
¡°who, what, where, why, and when¡±. Sometimes managers stop at the ¡°show me¡± step
and don¡¯t take the time to involve the veteran crew along with a new crew member?particularly
on the most simple food safety concepts like portioning, handwashing, when to
use gloves, how to clean a piece of equipment, using a thermometer and learning
what are the correct temperatures. Use colorful signage, videos, or workbooks
to read, but don¡¯t stop there.
Positive Reinforcement --Have you done a fun
verbal quiz lately with your crew about what are the correct temperatures for
your foods? Do YOU know them and are they posted in the prep area? Positive reinforcement
affects behaviors the most, even though behavioral changes are difficult.
/ recognition for any training is needed with ongoing participation by management
and employees. Examples & key tips:
- REMEMBER ? You get ALOT more with
sugar than a baseball bat...
- Any kind of recognition improves performance
and daily?become watchful to catch the good actions
- Team building skills
are needed in food service?the veterans need reinforcement too
- Mention of
their good practices on a colorful bulletin board
- Newsletter mention or
local newspaper article about training of group
- Certificates of training
or a ¡°leader¡± job title
- Ask the local health department for training assistance?usually
it¡¯s free & onsite
- Monetary rewards, movie passes, or any kind of incentives
- THANK YOUS! They¡¯re A Biggie!! The crew needs direct involvement
in the food safety learning process ? NOT JUST DO AS I SAY.
Think a bit like
a customer and then, do even more to make that customer notice good food safety
safety education; does it work?
Food Safety In-Sight
Volume 3, Number 1
TM Environ Health Associates, Inc.
Roy E. Costa R.S.,
M.S. President Environ Health Associates, Inc.
Food safety education and training
are hallmarks of food safety interventions. Food safety education is often a first
step or prerequisite to implementing a food safety system. There are many types
of food safety education programs, many levels and a variety of reasons why an
operator might conduct food safety education and training. Legislation is the
primary motivator for food safety training in the food industry as a whole. Prior
to the trend toward mandatory food safety education, few persons received formal
training. This picture is changing dramatically, especially at the food service
and retail levels. Today, there are over 100,000 food service managers in Florida
with a professional food safety manager certification. I personally trained 25,000
managers in my role as a Training and Education Specialist with the Hospitality
Education Program at Florida¡¯s Division of Hotels and Restaurants. Not all managers
receive training however, as Florida only requires that a manager pass an accredited
exam. Many health authorities are considering legislating mandatory food safety
education and certification at the food service and retail levels and evaluating
the benefits versus the costs of enacting such legislation. The central question
remains for many, is food safety education effective? A recent survey of food
facilities conducted by the USFDA found that in facilities that had a certified
manager, risk factors for foodborne illness were less likely to be out of control.
To determine if manager certification alone is causing this effect requires more
research, but this is a positive finding. The results of formal studies conducted
to determine if food safety education is effective at changing behaviors in the
commercial kitchen are mixed. Some studies show a positive correlation between
training and sanitary conditions and others do not. Looked at another way, if
food safety education is effective at reducing the risk factors associated with
foodborne illness then eventually we should see a reduction both in cases of illness
and in the number of outbreaks in restaurants when food safety education is mandated.
Statistics from Florida seem to indicate, at least in this state, that education
is not especially effective in reducing the number of outbreaks. In 1989, mandatory
manager certification went into effect in Florida, making Florida the first state
to require manager certification for all managers under a state statute. The Florida
administrative rule requires at least one certified manager to be on duty at all
times in facilities with four or more employees. In 1999, Florida was the first
state to require all 500,000-food employees in Florida¡¯s restaurants to receive
training in food safety, however state law specifically prohibits any test. Outbreaks
and cases of foodborne illness in Florida are more or less at the same levels
they were 10 years ago in spite of these interventions, and we must ask why. The
best measure of effectiveness of training is the extent to which the information
is applied. Passive training techniques do not work well for adults and most of
the time food safety trainees simply attend a class to learn about food safety.
The required curriculum may or may not be relevant to them. Adults learn by doing.
The best food safety educational approach may be on the job training reinforced
by a basic food safety course tailored to the worker. It is important to understand
the reasons for a safety procedure, but it is far more important to carry out
a procedure safely. While a trained employee is critical, this in itself does
not assure safe food; he or she is only one component of a food safety system.
While a full-blown Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system may be
too sophisticated for some smaller establishments, every facility should have
standards, operating procedures, and oversight of employee food handling practices.
Unfortunately, the FDA Food Code does not require that an operator of a food service
establishment implement a food safety program. While FDA recommends implementation
of a food safety system, FDA does not mandate it. The FDA Food Code standards
provide a starting point for operating procedures, but an operator must integrate
the food code standards into his specific operation and then assure the standards
are applied. Food safety continues to be on the minds of Americans. Mad cow disease,
avian flu and SARS are newly identified communicable diseases related in some
way to food. A food operator that ignores food safety education is negligent in
light of the ever-increasing risk to our food supply. However, to make the most
out of training an operation must have standards and operating procedures and
management must evaluate food safety during production. It is clear that without
management commitment and an organized approach, food safety education does not
News Wed, Feb 02, 2005
Feb 1, 7:00 PM ET
of Article: http://news.yahoo.com
Infant botulism is usually seen in children under 6 months of
age. The children may receive medical attention because of symptoms such as constipation,
poor sucking action, a weak cry, and a general, progressive muscle weakness.
botulism is caused by Clostridium bacteria that live in soil and dust. These bacteria
may also contaminate foods, especially honey. Clostridium bacteria produce a toxin
(poison) called botulinum toxin, which blocks the normal messages between muscles
and nerves and affects muscles everywhere in the body. The toxin usually affects
intestinal muscles first.
botulism occurs worldwide, and 98% of cases occur in infants between 1 to 6 months
of age. In the United States, most cases of infant botulism cannot be prevented,
since the spores of Clostridium bacteria are found in soil everywhere.
with infant botulism may require hospital-based support for an extended period.
In severe cases of infant botulism, the child may require several weeks of hospitalization
and even respiratory support.
special isolation or precautions are needed since this infection is not transmitted
from person to person.
cases of infant botulism cannot be prevented. Parents can eliminate one risk factor
by not feeding honey to children under age 1 year.
to Call Your Child's Doctor:
Call your doctor immediately if your infant has
trouble breathing or if she seems to have trouble swallowing and is drooling abnormally.
Also call your doctor if your infant does not seem to be feeding well, cries weakly,
has trouble holding her head up, or has stopped sucking normally.
it may be just a minor constipation problem, you may want to check with your doctor
if your infant has not had a bowel movement in 3 days.
Doctors make the diagnosis of infant botulism by checking the infant's
stool for Clostridium bacteria or Clostridium botulinum toxin. A child with infant
botulism is treated in a hospital, usually in an intensive care unit.
fish downs family
of Article: http://www.sunstar.com.ph
members of the family in Barangay Calmay, Dagupan City were hospitalized after
eating a certain kind of fish. The
victims were Gregorio Narnola, his wife Lolita, two children, his brother-in-law
Lito Garcia, wife Regina, and son Jeremy. Calmay
Barangay Chairwoman Evangelita dela Cruz said the victims were brought to the
Cuison Family Clinic Tuesday evening after they felt nauseous. Garcia
and Lolita reportedly ate much of the fish and were still in serious condition
at the hospital as of Wednesday afternoon. The other victims have already been
discharged after they were declared by the attending physician out of danger.It
was learned that the family got the fish from their "skylab", a fish-catching
structure in the city river. Dela
Cruz said since the "bocnoy", which the fish is called, was only few,
they decided not to sell it and instead had it for breakfast. But
after having breakfast, the family started feeling weak. They also felt nauseous.Dr.
Fausto Cuison, owner of the clinic where the victims were brought for treatment,
confirmed that they were victims of food poisoning. He opined however that the
victims could have been poisoned by red tide toxins. Cuison,
a former city councilor, cited the need to have a sample of the fish for examination
at the Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) to determine what caused
the fish poisonous. The
barangay chairwoman, a fish dealer herself, said the "bocnoy" has similar
feature as the "bonor", except it is white in color with one big black
spot and has big stomach. Both fishes are as big as a finger. Residents
of Calmay, a coastal barangay, expressed surprise why the Narnola and Garcia family
were poisoned when they usually eat "bocnoy". Dela
Cruz called on her constituents to refrain from eating "bocnoy" until
the Bfar and Department of Health (DOH) issued a bulletin declaring that the fish
is safe to eat. (FPM)
Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF)
05 available in pdf format at http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/food/rapidalert/reports/week05-2005_en.pdf
Safety and Quality Update - No.25
click here for download: ftp://ftp.fao.org/es/esn/fsq_update/25.pdf
to the twenty- fifth edition of the Food Safety and Quality Update.
all the feedback and support that we have received over the past year and welcome
any new feedback on this issue and throughout 2005 as well. We look forward to
working with all of you in the new year.
In This Issue
Information Now Available
- Call for data- Part II for JECFA 65
- Chemical and Technical Assessments
(CTA)- JECFA 61 and 63
- Update of JECFA 60 monographs
Food Business Forum¡¯s International Food Safety Conference
- Codex Executive
- Sub-regional workshop on improving the quality and safety of fresh
fruits and vegetables
- FAO/WHO Regional Conference on Food Safety for the
- Other upcoming Codex meetings
- New FAO JECFA
- Michigan State University food safety course
- FAO Senior Officer
- Newsletter archive available
offers guidelines for reporting animal diseases
by Anna Blessing
on 2/1/05 for Meatingplace.com
The Food Safety and Inspection Service
has made instructions for reporting suspected animals with diseases such as bovine
spongiform encephalopathy and avian influenza available to public health veterinarians.FSIS
Directive 6000.1 directs veterinarians inspecting these animals to contact the
district office with the type of disease suspected, name and contact information
for the animal's producer and a clinical history of the animal.
To view the
complete directive, click here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/6000_Series-Slaughter_Inspection/index.asp
bug's life: aging and death in E. coli
of Article: http://www.eurekalert.org/
for image: What is true for E. coli is true for the elephant.?Quote by Jacques
Monod. This false color image shows a growing microcolony of E. coli, where the
cells are colored by age (in numbers of divisions). The oldest cells are red,
and the youngest blue. Photograph by Eric Stewart and Stefanie Timmermann, Inserm
U571, Facult?de M?ecine Necker Enfants-Malades, Paris, France.
here for a high resolution photograph: http://www.eurekalert.org/images/release_graphics/plos01250502.jpg
organisms such as bacteria age? The assumption has been that cells that divide
symmetrically do not age and are functionally immortal. In a study published in
the premier open-access journal PLoS Biology Eric Stewart and colleagues have
now overturned this idea by analyzing repeated cycles of reproduction in Escherichia
coli, a bacteria that reproduces without a juvenile phase and with an apparently
symmetric division - revealing that these bacteria, like other organisms, have
not escaped mortality.
coli reproduces by dividing in the middle. Each resultant cell inherits an old
end or pole and a new pole, which contain slightly different components, so although
they look the same, they are physiologically asymmetrical. At the next division,
one cell inherits the old pole again (plus a brand new pole), while the other
cell inherits a not-quite-so-old pole and a new pole. Thus, Stewart and co-workers
reasoned, an age in divisions can be assigned to each pole and hence to each cell.
The researchers used automated time-lapse microscopy to follow all the cell divisions
in 94 colonies, each grown from a single fluorescently labeled E. coli cell. In
all, the researchers built up a lineage for 35,049 cells in terms of which pole--old
or new--each cell had inherited at each division during its history. They found
that the cells inheriting old poles had a reduced growth rate, decreased rate
of offspring formation, and increased risk of dying compared with the cells inheriting
new poles. Thus, the "old pole" cell is effectively an aging parent
repeatedly producing rejuvenated offspring.
and his colleagues conclude that no life strategy is immune to the effects of
aging and suggest that this may be because immortality is too costly or is mechanistically
impossible. This may be bad news for people who had hoped that advances in science
might eventually lead to human immortality. Nevertheless, E. coli should now provide
an excellent genetic platform for the study of the fundamental mechanisms of cellular
aging and so could provide information that might ameliorate some of the unpleasantness
of the human aging process.
Stewart E, Madden R, Paul G, Taddei F (2005) Aging and death in an organism that
reproduces by morphologically symmetric division. PLoS Biol 3 (2): e45.
INSERM U571 G??ique Mol?ulaire Evolutive et M?icale
156 Rue de Vaugirard
PLEASE MENTION PLoS BIOLOGY
(www.plosbiology.org) AS THE SOURCE FOR THESE ARTICLES. THANK YOU.
safety in numbers
Restaurant patrons check ratings before eating out
DAILY Staff Writer
of Article: http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/050201/ratings.shtml
Jim and Robbie Wigginton think about sitting at a table in a restaurant to order
a meal, they check the writing on the wall. A
framed certificate that has a big number on it and is prominently displayed on
the wall of a restaurant tells a lot about its cleanliness. "Jim
and I walk in and look at the rating, and if it's below 90 we turn around and
walk out," said Robbie Wigginton of Decatur.
Morgan County Health Department has fewer inspectors and more restaurants than
it had in the past, an official said people can feel safe about eating out. Three
inspectors perform multiple duties dealing with environmental issues, but officials
said they manage to stay on top of inspecting more than 300 licensed food facilities
every 120 days. "Every
inspection is unannounced," said Public Health Environmentalist Michael Cassidy.
"We start outside and move to the kitchen. We check for a number of things,
including all the equipment, food temperatures, service display and storage."They
also check employee hygiene and storage of chemicals and cleaners to make sure
the items are properly stored away from food, Cassidy said. An
inspection has two parts. One side of the inspection form relates to food and
equipment, including appliances. The other side deals with issues like sewage
disposal, plumbing, hand-washing facilities in
restrooms, garbage disposal,
and insect and rodent control. Also, they check the construction of buildings
to make sure floors, walls and ceilings are in good shape.
doesn't get a warm welcome on every visit.
was actually locked out of one place," he said. "They saw me coming
and I guess they had some stuff in the kitchen they needed to clean up, so they
locked me out. I left and got my supervisor to go back with me and inspect it.
We talked with them about it, and they weren't happy with their new score."
rate restaurants on a 100-point system.
below 60 is immediate closure, and anything under 85 makes a restaurant subject
to inspection every 30 days until the rating increases," Cassidy explained.
are important to people like the Wiggintons who frequently dine out.
can tell much about a restaurant when you walk in and see the appearance,"
said Deborah Adams of Hartselle. "Scores are usually visible and I look at
them. Usually, we have our favorite places, so we're pretty much aware of the
Long of Harvest said she and her family look at ratings first.
check the rating, and usually if it's under 85 we'll leave and go somewhere else,"
Long said. "The rating is important to us because of food safety, especially
when you have children."
for restaurants in Decatur and the county normally range from 86 to 99. Most facilities
score 90 and above, and there are rare occasions when a few score in the 70s,
according to documents from the health department. Records show that most restaurants
score in the middle to high 90s. School lunchrooms throughout the county usually
have high ratings of 98 and 99.
DAILY publishes a list of ratings every Wednesday.
said he and other environmentalists perform inspections every day.
Veres, a manager at Princeton's in Decatur, said the restaurant wants a good score,
but cleanliness comes naturally to her. "I
try and look at it like I would my own kitchen," she said. "I'm not
going to serve anything to someone that I wouldn't want, and I try to keep the
place like I would my own kitchen, which is the first place I clean. "Of
course we want good scores; that's a given. Sometimes there are variables like
a floor tile that knock off points that has nothing to do with cleanliness or
safety of food."
current score is 90.
inspection lasts about an hour.
said years ago, inspections occurred every 90 days before the environmentalists
dwindled from 10 to three.
would like to see it go back to 90 days," Cassidy said. "With everything
else going on, it's hard to get into restaurants before 120 days." Decatur
had an influx of chain restaurants in the 1990s, increasing the workload for inspectors,
but Cassidy said environmentalists still manage to perform inspections every 120
days. In addition
to inspecting eating places, duties for environmentalists include checking septic
tanks, hotels, motels, swimming pools and tattoo parlors. They also deal with
rabies enforcement, the West Nile Virus and solid waste, Cassidy said.
health department has records of 607 food permits, and 319 are for places that
serve food to the public, according to Chandra Cochran, an environmentalist.
others include a camp, day-care food services, food processing, hotels and motels,
jails and prison food service, limited food establishments, limited retail, mobile
food service, nutrition centers, retail food stores and public school lunchrooms.
low ratings that restaurants get sometimes, Cassidy said, people can feel good
about eating out.
we didn't feel they were safe," he said, "they wouldn't be in business."
testing for BSE isn't necessary
January 31, 2005
Peter Schroedter writes that calls for the federal government
to test every beef animal destined for the human food chain are based on the false
assumption that Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) poses a human health risk
greater than other food-borne diseases.
Schroedter says that the argument for
blanket testing comes from cattle producers who are desperate to export beef at
The assumption is that consumer confidence has been shaken to the
point where only testing can restore confidence. But what is the real health risk
BSE poses for beef consumers?
The British cow herd in the mid-1970s was roughly
four million head, providing beef for more than 55 million Brits. In 1984, when
the first case of BSE was diagnosed in the U.K., the British soon started removing
infected animals, eliminating cattle over 30 months of age from the food chain
and removing high-risk material from carcasses at slaughter. But by then the BSE
cows had been out of the barn and in the kitchen for more than a decade.
the time the British took action, billions of roasts and burgers had been consumed
annually by more than 55 million Brits over more than a decade.
Once the tentative
link between BSE and a new form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease was made in 1993,
people began to suspect the worst. As late as 1996 Dr. Stephen Dealler was quoted
by CNN saying that there could be a "calamity" in which the worst case
scenario would see millions of people dying from CJDv. Then he added "or
there may be very few".
To date the total fatalities from CJDv since the
UK CJD Surveillance Unit began keeping records in 1990 is 148. Five patients are
still living with CJDv for a total of 153 cases. This in a beef-eating population
numbering almost 60 million now, who ate beef from a highly contaminated BSE herd
for more than 20 years before the testing and preventive measures were taken.
Even with a protracted incubation period lasting 20 years, BSE beef has not turned
into the "calamity" that worried Dr. Dealler and others.
So far Canada
has had four BSE cases out of the 5.5 million cattle that make up Canada's cow
herd and to date no known cases of CJDv has originated in Canada. The U.K. has
so far had 185,000 cows test positive to BSE with 34,000 BSE positive cases in
a single year when the disease hit its peak.
Schroedter says that as tragic
as each CJDv fatality is, preventive measures must be in line with the fact-based
health threats. The plain fact is, the human health risk is minute when compared
to other food-borne diseases.
While BSE is getting all the media attention
with a 20-year fatality count of 153 CJDv cases in the U.K. other food-borne diseases
annually result far more deaths annually. Proven disease risks such as E-coli
0157:H7, Salmonella and other food- borne pathogens regularly make their way through
the food-processing system and infect consumers with life-threatening diseases.
to the June 1997 California Poultry Letter, some 660 Americans die each year from
food-borne pathogens. Considering that Canada's food inspection system is comparable
to the U.S. system our statistics at one-tenth the scale will have 66 death annually
from food-borne diseases. Consumers have the right to demand safe food and in
the case of BSE and CJDv the best preventive measures are already in place. The
removal of high-risk material, eliminating downer cows from the system are the
best precautionary measures that can be implemented.
If beef consumption rates
are an indicator, consumer confidence in Canada's beef supply is stronger than
ever. Consumers are eating more beef after BSE was discovered in Canada than before.
every beef animal slaughtered in Canada has to be tested, then test it for diseases
that pose the greatest human health risk rather than testing for BSE which will
amount to little more than an empty public relations gesture instead of a real
health risk management tool.
can help stem spread of infectious diseases after disasters
University of South Florida
Biosensors developed at the University
of South Florida lab of Luis Garcia-Rubio, a chemical engineer at the university¡¯s
College of Marine Science, can detect infectious diseases in blood and bodily
fluids as well as identify pathogenic microorganisms in contaminated water. The
new sensors could be our most effective future frontline defense against diseases
emerging after disasters such as the recent tsunami, as well as help reduce the
every day, annual rates of illness and deaths caused by contaminated water and
unsanitary conditions world-wide.
¡°In the wake of the recent tsunami, it was
anticipated that infectious diseases could increase dramatically in affected areas,¡±
Garcia-Rubio said. ¡°Public health officials rightfully fear thousands more will
die from infectious water-borne and water related diseases after the tsunami.
When people are forced to live in crowded refugee camps, they are more easily
exposed to infectious diseases that spread quickly due to a lack of clean drinking
water and unsanitary conditions.¡±
The CMS research group, comprised of engineers,
physicists microbiologists and chemists, is now testing portable, miniaturized
biosensors that can - in real-time and continuously - monitor for a number of
infectious diseases using as little as a single drop of blood. The sensors then
wirelessly teleport data to a remote location for analysis..
identifying how an organism absorbs and scatters light, our new, minimally invasive
technology identifies the light wave spectrum in a sample collected on-site,¡±
explained Garcia-Rubio. ¡°Because each organism absorbs and scatters light differently,
we can analyze the light wave spectrum and scatter pattern and identify an organism
in the sample by comparing those patterns with known, cataloged samples.¡±
to now, said Garcia-Rubio, without expensive processes and highly trained personnel,
there have been no portable instruments capable of detecting and classifying either
microorganisms or cells in real time.
After patenting their technology, the
research group has moved into field experiments with confidence that in the near
future their advancement will be available to help public health officials rapidly
detect not only infectious diseases, commonplace after natural disasters like
the recent tsunami, but also waterborne pathogens that can occur in the drinking
water of developed countries, including the United States.
According to Debra
Huffman, a collaborator of Garcia-Rubio¡¯s lab, the new biosensors can detect malarial
parasites, the dengue virus that causes dengue fever, e. coli, salmonella, shigalla
and listeria as well as causes of bacterial dysentery, such as cryptosporidium
(protozoan parasites). The sensors can also identify bacillus antrhacis, anthrax
that can be weaponized by terrorists.
¡°Development and implementation of portable
cost effective technologies for the early and rapid diagnosis of pathogenic microorganisms
and infectious diseases is the best way to stem the spread of disease following
an environmental disaster,¡± said Garcia-Rubio. ¡°However, the new technology can
also help prevent the yearly illnesses and deaths resulting from contaminated
water supplies both globally and here in the U.S.¡±
It doesn¡¯t take a tsunami
to cause widespread illnesses resulting from contact with contaminated water.
¡°The World Health Organization reported in 2002 that there are nearly two
million deaths annually related to unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene,¡±
pointed out Huffman. ¡°The majority of those deaths are among children under five
years of age.¡±
According to Huffman, diarrhoeal diseases account for one-third
of illnesses globally and are the sixth leading cause of deaths world-wide.
disasters notwithstanding, one sixth of the world¡¯s population lacks good access
to safe water,¡± she said.
The new biosensors can help reduce those rates.
Session of the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling
Meeting to Address Codex Meeting on Fish and Fishery Products
nasty noroviruses, including Norwalk, may be getting nastier
Globe and Mail
Helen Branswell, Canadian Press
a matter of a few years, the term Norwalk virus has, according to this sory, become
part of the public lexicon, grounding planes and closing daycares, spreading misery
in long-term-care facilities and schools.
Infectious-disease experts were
cited as saying they think outbreaks are more common and there's something changing
in the behaviour of the nasty noroviruses.
Dr. Paul Sockett of the Public Health
Agency of Canada, was quoted as saying, "We certainly believe that what we've
seen over the last five years is an increase in the activity of this virus. And
this is early stages yet but we have some evidence which suggests that we may
have a slightly more virulent strain that's been circulating in the past couple
Dr. Sockett, who works in the agency's centre for infectious-disease
prevention and control, acknowledges the increase may be partly attributable to
the fact that public-health officials are paying more attention to noroviruses.
he believes the increase in cases reported to laboratories across the country
can't be explained away by more vigilant reporting -- there were 300 to 400 reports
a year in 2003 and 2004, up from a mere 14 in 1998.
Dr. Michael Gardam, director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's
University Hospital Network, was quoted as saying, "If you think about what's
happened to the cruise industry -- that didn't happen 10 years ago. That really
is something that seems to be fairly new. There's no doubt Norwalk seems to be
a bigger player than it was six years ago."
Dr. Gardam and others acknowledge
the sense of increased activity could be, at least in part, due to greater attention
being paid to noroviruses because of the havoc they wreak in hospital settings
and because it is now easier to study the viruses.
Until recently, there was
little incentive for doctors or hospitals to send stool samples for testing for
norovirus. They could diagnose from clinical symptoms and knew that while the
disease was miserable, it was rarely life-threatening.
And there was little
point to sending samples to the lab; the virus can't be grown in culture, so there
was no way to produce a viral isolate to study.
With the development of polymerase
chain-reaction testing, laboratories can now amplify pieces of the virus and produce
a genetic fingerprint that can be compared to the fingerprint of other noroviruses.
Allison McGeer, head of infection control at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto,
was quoted as saying, "The argument for not studying them is people don't
die from them very often . . . but from an institutional-disruption point of view,
they're expensive as all get out. And I think that means we've got to sit down
and figure out what we're doing with them."
The Public Health Agency is
trying to do just that. Last week it convened a meeting of provincial and territorial
public-health officials to try to get a handle on the problem.
was further quoted as saying, "Certainly one of the things we would like
to do is to sort of collect the different strains and catalogue them and see where
they're appearing in the country to see if there's any connect between them and
what types of evolution in those strains are taking place."
notes that the laboratories of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control
have been doing that type of tracking for the past four years, producing Canada's
first database of about 350 viral fingerprints dating back to 1994 from frozen
Dr. Judy Isaac-Renton, director of laboratory services, was
cited as saying they've seen a dominant strain, the seventh strain they typed
in 2002 dubbed 007, adding, "We always have a picture of James Bond on it
because it has the licence to ill.