Comprehensive News List
General Food Safety News/ Outbreak News/ Recall News/ New Methods News/
/ On-Line Slides/ Job Information/ Training Network/
Internet Journal of Food Saety



Sponsorship Q/A


Listeria Training Program for All Employees
source from

Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), O157 and Non-O157
source from

Powerful Search Engine

Journal of Food Protection
Feb. Issue

JOB Openings
Job Openings

Internet Journal of Food Safety
New Article
Vol 6. 1-4.
A Preliminary Study of Kashar Cheese and Its Organoleptic Qualities Matured in Bee Wax

Vol 5. 24-34.
Effect of Coating and Wrapping materials on the shelf life of apple (Malus domestica cv.Borkh)

Vol 5. 21-23.
Prevalence of bacteria in the muscle of shrimp in processing plant

To submit your research note or articles for Internet Journal of Food Safety, click here

Food Processors who need specific tranings

Many food processors need
supplemental food safety training.
Also, there are many food safety
educators. FoodHACCP is trying to
facilitate networking between these
two groups.
View the info.

USDA/FDA Current News
Click here

New Sponsor

Dupont Qualicon, Click here to visit the sponsor

Food Products Association Calls Senate Approval of Resolution to Overturn USDA Rule ¡°A Blow to Sound Science¡±

Source of Article:

(Washington, D.C.) On March 3, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution to overturn the U.S. Department of Agriculture¡¯s rule establishing conditions under which animals and animal products could be imported from countries that present a minimal risk of introducing BSE into the United States. Commenting on the Senate¡¯s action, Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the Food Products Association (FPA), made the following remarks:

¡°The Senate¡¯s vote on this resolution is a blow to sound science. From a science-based perspective, the resolution is unnecessary given the strict requirements of the minimal risk region rule, along with the exhaustive animal and public health measures employed by both the United States and Canada. We also share USDA Secretary Mike Johanns¡¯ confidence in the underlying risk assessment that originally determined Canada to be a minimum risk region. FPA will urge the House of Representatives to oppose this resolution.

¡°FPA also is disappointed that a District Court judge has granted a preliminary injunction delaying the March 7 effective date for the minimal risk region rule. There is no legal or scientific reason to delay this rule, or to prolong the ban on imports of Canadian beef or cattle into the United States. We hope that the courts swiftly conclude their review of this case, and that international trade in beef is reestablished.¡±

Chemical safety - Food contaminants Acrylamide
March 3, 2005
European Commission
Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) is available in pdf format at here

New Time and Temperature Tables for Cooking RTE Poultry Products from FSIS
March 03, 2005

Source of Article:
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has new Time and Temperature Tables for Cooking Ready-To-Eat Poultry products available online. Notice 16-05 announces the availability of the tables but does not issue any verification procedures to FSIS personnel.
The 1999 FSIS final rule, Performance Standards for the Production of Certain Meat and Poultry Products, requires a 6.5 log10 relative reduction (6.5 log10 lethality) of Salmonella for cooked beef, roast beef and corned beef.
The time and temperature tables are available on the FSIS Web site at
click here

Source of Article:
R-CALF explains why it filed a lawsuit against USDA to block live cattle imports from Canada.
On March 2, 2005, the Ranchers-Cattlemen¡¯s Action Legal Fund, Billings, Montana, will appear before U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull, presiding over the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, to seek a preliminary injunction to block the reopening of the Canadian border to imports of Canadian beef and cattle. "I am disappointed that cattle farmers and ranchers have to resort to legal action in order to protect their industry from the inappropriate and premature actions of the United States Department of Agriculture, but these are the circumstances our industry faces,¡± Leo McDonnell, R-CALF founder and president, said.
McDonnell gave the following reasons for R-CALF¡¯s extraordinary action:* American consumers are entitled to the safest food products possible.
* The U.S. cattle industry provides the safest and most wholesome beef in the world.
* Canada now has a bovine spongiform encephalopathy problem, documented by four confirmed cases of BSE in its native cattle herd.
* USDA now has a responsibility to protect the U.S. food supply and the U.S. cattle industry from the BSE risk presented by Canada.
* USDA is not fulfilling this responsibility. The agency is not following the more stringent safeguards recommended by international science, nor is USDA following the more stringent safeguards practiced by every other country in the world affected by BSE.
* USDA's actions are placing the U.S. cattle industry at risk from a loss of consumer confidence in the U.S. beef supply.
"We have called on USDA to meet with us to find solutions to the BSE problem in Canada,¡± McDonnell continued. ¡°We have called for a solution that ensures the U.S. does not adopt BSE standards lower than international standards and lower than the rest of the world, as this would make the U.S. a dumping ground for products other countries won't accept. USDA responded on December 29, 2004, by issuing its Final Rule, a rule that fails to address the legitimate concerns posed by R-CALF USA. We hope the Court, like U.S. cattle producers, will recognize that USDA's actions present an unnecessary and avoidable risk to the United States."

Too many laws, food safety at stake
[ MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2005 07:45:00 AM ]
Source of Article:
NEW DELHI: Be it red chilli powder or any other food item, nobody can testify it's safe when it enters your home. This is because there are a great many laws trying to ensure food is safe. But almost everybody agrees none of this is enforced ? certainly not consistently. The main law which tries to tackle food adulteration across India is the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. It's enforced by ill-equipped state food inspectors who pick up "really random" samples. One official who does not want to be named says the less said about PFA departments, the better. They essentially do "fire-fighting" exercises, checking out whatever happens to be in the news ? be it cold drinks, packaged water, or chilli powder. They don't have sophistication to check for adulterants ranging from the relatively harmless used tea leaves to iron filings, saw dust, sand and even dung powder. The official store of knowledge from government's directorate of marketing and inspection details the potential, or possible, hazards of just about everything you could, or would, eat or drink in a day ? milk, flour, oil, dal, vegetables, sweets, fruit juices, water. Health impacts range from vomiting and abdominal pain to mental retardation, cardiac arrest and cancer. But nobody can tell you the extent of the problem, particularly among smaller players. When the banned cancer-causing chemical colourant Sudan-1 in Indian red chilli powder was first discovered in Britain in October 2003, Centre alerted states to be more stringent in checks of chilli powder sold in India. But they have no feedback on whether more samples failed the test or not. No doubt, there will be a flurry of activity on this front once more. What's not in doubt is that there's "huge shortage" of inspectors, says an officer. Or, that food labs aren't up to mark. In October 2003, Centre embarked on a 5-year plan to upgrade 31 labs. Now, Centre has prepared draft of Food Safety & Standards Bill, which seeks to subsume nearly 20 separate rules, lay down science-based standards for food, and regulate manufacture, import, export, storage, distribution and sale.

Allergic reaction
Tuesday, March 1, 2005
Source of Article:
A quarter-million dollars isn't peanuts.
A new law in New Jersey is treating peanut allergies as a serious public health issue. New Jersey will spend $250,000 to teach restaurant workers that serving peanuts and other nuts to people who are allergic to them is dangerous - even deadly.
Seven million Americans have food allergies - including more than a million who have severe reactions to the proteins in nuts, particularly peanuts. One hundred people die each year from nut allergies. Besides peanuts, people can be allergic to fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy products, wheat and soy. Allergic reactions include hives and itching; wheezing and shortness of breath; swelling of the face or extremities; cramps, vomiting or diarrhea; fainting and even death. Two of the law's co-sponsors backed the legislation because their grandchildren suffer from serious peanut allergies. State Sen. Joseph Coniglio said his young grandson, Devin, was at a party when his face suddenly broke out in blotches. more information

Food safety for first responders
March 2005
Emerging Infectious Diseases Volume 11, Number 3
Mary K. Afton,* Michele Nakata,* Myra Ching-Lee,* and Paul V. Effler*
*Hawaii Department of Health, Honolulu, Hawaii
To the Editor: Relatively few published reports of intentional food contamination are available (1?5). However, after the anthrax attacks of 2001, biologic terrorism vulnerability assessments have determined that intentional food poisoning is a plausible means to widely disseminate pathogens, with potentially devastating effect (6). As a consequence, food security has emerged as one of the major priorities for bioterrorism preparedness (7?10). We describe a naturally occurring incident that demonstrates the potential for premeditated food contamination to target specific populations who are critical for protecting public safety, in this instance, a city police force. Measures to mitigate the risk of this scenario type are provided.
On the evening of December 19, 1998, local hospital emergency departments notified the Hawaii Department of Health that an unusually high number of police officers were coming to the hospitals with acute gastroenteritis. Earlier that day, several police-affiliated support associations had cosponsored a holiday event. The food was catered by a food service establishment that routinely provided meals at the police department headquarters in Honolulu. Active and retired police officers and their family members participated in the event. The food service at the event consisted of "bento lunch boxes" containing luncheon meat, a hot dog, teriyaki beef, fried chicken, and rice. Approximately 1,100 lunches were distributed at the event, some of which were taken offsite to be consumed by others, including on-duty officers at satellite police stations.
Interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of 394 persons who ate the bento lunch, of which 145 (37%) reported becoming ill with diarrhea (81%) or vomiting (80%). Illness onset occurred a mean of 4 hours after eating the lunch (1.5?8 hours); the mean duration of illness was 14 hours (2?96 hours). Incapacitation of police officers and their family members as a result of the illness was substantial with 25% absent from work for a half day, 42% for 1 full day, 18% for 2 days, and 15% for more than 2 days. Staphylococcus aureus was recovered from 7 of 8 stool specimens, of which 6 were positive on S. aureus toxin testing. Analyses of the lunch items found between 18 million to 3 billion S. aureus colonies per gram in the implicated foods. Luncheon meat, teriyaki beef, and hot dogs were positive on S. aureus toxin assays. S. aureus isolates obtained from food and clinical specimens were indistinguishable by pulsed field-gel electrophoresis. The quantity of lunch boxes produced for this holiday event exceeded that which the catering facility routinely produced while adhering to recommended food-handling guidelines. A facility inspection and review of the caterer's procedures identified improper holding temperatures for potentially hazardous foods as the likely cause of the outbreak.
In this incident, prompt action by the police department, which employed an agency-wide radio communications system to warn officers not to eat lunches obtained for later consumption, reduced the number of persons who would have become ill from staphylococcal foodborne infection. In spite of this effort, the outbreak still had a considerable impact on the staff of the police department. The attack rate for those exposed was high, and three quarters of those who became ill missed >1 days of work. If an agent causing greater severity of illness, e.g., botulinum toxin, had been introduced into the bento lunches instead of S. aureus, the ensuing outbreak might have strongly compromised the department's ability to ensure public safety.
Despite modifications in food security industry regulations because of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, intentional contamination of food items on a smaller scale remains a potential danger that needs to be addressed. As the incident we described demonstrates, under certain circumstances, terrorists may be able to substantially impair first response agencies, including police departments, through a limited but targeted foodborne attack. By incapacitating first responders, terrorists might maximize the impact of a larger, coordinated event. Just as maintaining the physical security of the Strategic National Stockpile is a priority in preventing a secondary attack, reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that our emergency workforce is protected from a targeted foodborne assault.
As a result of this outbreak, we have recommended that whenever entire units, departments, or shifts of first responders in our jurisdiction are involved in shared dining activities, efforts should be made to obtain food items from more than 1 caterer for each meal. If departmentwide events necessitate using a single caterer, efforts should be taken to identify and mitigate the threat of intentional food tampering and there should be rigorous adherence to standard safe food-handling procedures to minimize the potential for naturally occurring outbreaks (7). Our recommendations here are similar to those employed by airlines to protect pilots and copilots on long flights by serving separate meals prepared in different kitchens (11).
Our intention is to share with other preparedness agencies our observation that first response assets might be compromised by something as seemingly innocuous as a holiday party. Appropriate planning may reduce the risk of intentional food contamination that targets security forces or first responders, either as an isolated strike or as part of a larger, coordinated terrorist attack.


National food standards for food safety
March 1, 2005
ABARE Outlook 2005 Conference via Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Graham Peachey
Chief Executive Officer
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Good afternoon.
Introduction and scope
Expenditure by Australians on food amounted to nearly $90 billion in 2003-04 around 46% of total Australian retail spending.Despite the drought and strengthening Australian dollar, the value of Australian food exports was $22.3 billion in the same year ? one-fifth of total Australian merchandise exports. We are a net exporter of food to the tune of some $16 billion a year.By any stretch of the imagination, therefore, the food industry is a large, integral part of the Australian economy and a major player on the world stage.
More information

Regulatory committees - SCFCAH - Toxicological safety of the food chain & general food law
March 3, 2005
European Commission
Agenda of 14 February 2005 is available in pdf format at:
click here

FDA to conduct smoked fish risk assessment
Source of Article:
3/04/2005-The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requesting comments and scientific data and information that would assist the agency in its plans to conduct a risk assessment for Listeria monocytogenes in smoked
finfish (smoked finfish risk assessment), and evaluate the provisions of the 2001 Food Code that address preventive controls for L. monocytogenes in retail and foodservice establishments. The purpose of
the smoked finfish risk assessment is to ascertain the impact on public health from the reduction and/or prevention of L. monocytogenes growth and recontamination during the manufacturing and/or processing of hot-and cold-smoked finfish. For more information, see the Federal Register of March 4, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 42, Pages 10650-10651).

Food manufacturers call for risk/benefit analysis on acrylamide

Source of Article:
03/03/2005 - Food manufacturers need to consider a risk/benefit analysis of activities on acrylamide, a harmful chemical recently identified in carbohydrate-rich foods, conclude stakeholders after a recent meeting in Brussels,reports Lindsey Partos.
Under the aegis of the European Commission, participants from the European Food Safety Authority, the European research project ¡®Heatox¡¯, the Confederation of Food and Drink Industries (CIAA) and consumer group BEUC, and other stakeholders, gathered to discuss measures to reduce acrylamide levels in food. In April 2002, acrylamide came to the attention of the food industry when scientists at the Swedish Food Administration first reported unexpectedly high levels in fried, baked, grilled, toasted or microwaved carbohydrate-rich foods, for example chips, roast potatoes, crisps and bread.

Food Research Institute (FRI): Focus on Food Safety Series: April 26, 2005
March 2, 2005
Food Research Institute-UW
"Development and Production of Safe Process Cheese Formulations"
The first in a FRI Focus on Food Safety Series is the Development and Production of Safe Process Cheese Formulations.This full-day workshop, April 26, 2005, will provide an essential update of how to insure the safety of process cheese and related products through formulation and processing. Experienced speakers from the University of WisconsinMadison, federal and state government, and industry will discuss: food safety risks, research information, interpretation of data, implementation of production control measures, and the relevant regulatory compliance issues. Through practical and real-world examples you will obtain a better understanding of how to develop and manufacture safe process cheese and related products.
Additional information and a registration form can be obtained at:
If you have any questions contact the Conference Coordinator Jean Johnson: or 608-263-7777.

Escherichia coli O157:H7 Frequently Asked Questions
Source of Article:
An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 cases of infection occur in the United States each year. Infection often leads to bloody diarrhea, and occasionally to kidney failure. Most illness has been associated with eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef. Person-to-person contact in families and child care centers is also an important mode of transmission. Infection can also occur after drinking raw milk and after swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water. For full information

The Claim: Plastic wrap in a microwave can expose food to dioxins
March 1, 2005
New York Times
Anahad O'Connor
A widely circulated e-mail message has, according to this brief, caused fears that heating plastics in the microwave can contaminate food with dioxins, a group of carcinogens. Experts were cited as saying there is little truth to this: dioxins almost never turn up in commercial plastics.
Dr. Rolf Halden of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health was cited as adding that another substance that gives many plastics their flexibility, called plasticizers, can migrate into food in small amounts.
Plasticizers, unlike dioxins, are not known to be toxic. To be on the safe side, however, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that consumers use only plastic containers or wraps specifically intended for microwaves (usually indicated on the product or packaging). Further, they should never put fast-food trays or margarine tubs in the microwave and should avoid reusing TV dinner dishes.
Dr. Halden was further cited as saying that when covering a container with plastic wrap, always leave a little room between the food and the wrap before heating it, adding, "Plasticizers won't kill you. But why expose yourself to any chemicals you can easily avoid?"
The story says that the bottom line is that plastic wraps and containers will not expose you to dioxins, and they are safe in the microwave when used properly.

Disease risks from foods, England and Wales, 1996-2000
March 2005
Emerging Infectious Diseases Volume 11, Number 3
Goutam K. Adak,* Sallyanne M. Meakins,* Hopi Yip,* Benjamin A. Lopman,* and Sarah J. O'Brien*
*Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, London, United Kingdom
Data from population-based studies and national surveillance systems were collated and analyzed to estimate the impact of disease and risks associated with eating different foods in England and Wales. From 1996 to 2000, an estimated 1,724,315 cases of indigenous foodborne disease per year resulted in 21,997 hospitalizations and 687 deaths. The greatest impact on the healthcare sector arose from foodborne Campylobacter infection (160,788 primary care visits and 15,918 hospitalizations), while salmonellosis caused the most deaths (209). The most important cause of indigenous foodborne disease was contaminated chicken (398,420 cases, risk [cases/million servings] = 111; case-fatality rate [deaths/100,000 cases] = 35, deaths = 141). Red meat (beef, lamb, and pork) contributed heavily to deaths, despite lower levels of risk (287,485 cases, risk = 24, case-fatality rate = 57, deaths = 164). Reducing the impact of indigenous foodborne disease is mainly dependent on controlling the contamination of chicken.

Warehouse manager admits sending school bad chicken
February 25, 2005
Knight-Ridder Tribune
Michael Shaw, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A manager for a warehouse and transportation company in Madison was cited as admitting Thursday to illegally ordering that boxes of chicken be labeled and shipped without proper inspection -- including some sent to a school in Joliet, Ill., where dozens of people fell ill.
The story explains that Edward L. Wuebbels, 46, of Albers in Clinton County, is a manager at Lanter Co., which was under contract with the Illinois State Board of Education to store and ship school lunches. He pleaded guilty in federal court in East St. Louis of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of Agriculture and making false statements. He will face a sentence estimated at 24 to 30 months in prison.
According to court documents, the problem began Nov. 19, 2001, with an ammonia leak at the St. Louis warehouse of Gateway Cold Storage. Officials believed that the chicken, in sealed plastic, could be repackaged and relabeled without harm to consumers.
But Wuebbels asked Gateway to ship the product to Lanter, and ordered employees there to do the repackaging and relabeling even though it is not an approved inspection site. As a result, the product was not properly inspected.

State finishes report on Alessi Bakery sicknesses
an ABC Action News report 02/28/05
Source of Article:
TAMPA - In November, Alessi Bakery failed several state inspection reports, racking up many critical violations. That same month, dozens of customers got sick after eating food at parties catered by Alessi. Now, the county Health Department and the state have both issued their final reports

Leslie Fields celebrated her 40th birthday with a party catered by Alessi Bakery and Deli on West Cypress in Tampa. But just 24 hours after the event, she became violently ill. "I actually felt like I was in labor," she recalled. "Just as soon as the pain went away, I was in the restroom." And Leslie wasn't alone. The Hillsborough County Health Department investigated that incident and found 26 people came down with salmonella after eating Alessi's meat-stuffed potato.
Then, the county received word of a second food-borne illness outbreak a company appreciation luncheon also catered by Alessi. Inspectors say 15 of 26 people fell ill there, and the cause was salmonella linked to Alessi's stuffed potato. more information

Biological Safety -- Irradiation
European Commissio
more information

Nearly 100 become sick aboard cruise ship
March 1, 2005

Associated Press
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jennifer de la Cruz, a Carnival Cruise Lines spokeswoman, was cited as saying Tuesday that nearly 100 passengers and crew members were sickened with a gastrointestinal illness -- probably norovirus -- on a five-day Carnival Cruise Line voyage, from Jacksonville to Key West and the Bahamas aboard the Celebration, adding, "Somebody brings it on board and then it spreads. So, what we do is a very rigorous cleaning and sanitation effort to remove the virus."

Buhler to unveil advances in nanotechnology

Source of Article:

03/03/2005 - Equipment giant Buhler is set to demonstrate how nanotechnology could lead to complete contamination-free food processing and superior printing.

Two of the company¡¯s business units Grinding & Dispersion and Nanotechnology will be present at the European Coatings Show 2005 in order to unveil new systems and processes supporting manufacturers of paints & inks and of all types of fine dispersions in developing ever finer and contamination-free products.
Buhler¡¯s Grinding & Dispersion and Nanotechnology units will also unveil sophisticated new applications involving the dispersion and grinding of low-viscosity to pasty products.
Nanotechnology involves the use of materials at an extremely small scale at sizes of millionths of a millimetre and exploit the fact that some materials have different properties at this ultra small scale from those at a larger scale.
The science could soon be used in food production, for example to detect how fresh food is. Researchers in the UK were recently awarded a ¡Ì1.4 million government grant to develop a new generation of micro Rheometers to help characterise and develop liquid based products.
Furthermore, the Helmut Kaiser study, entitled ¡°Nanofood,¡± argues that in the future, food will be designed by shaping molecules and atoms. Nanotechnology could be also used to manufacture film and packaging inks. The study predicts that nanoscale biotechnology will have a major impact on the food and food-processing industries.
For example, Buhler will be demonstrating what it describes as an absolutely contamination-free grinding process. Metallic contaminants are prevented from entering the product through the use of ceramic or polyurethane coated components instead of steel.New qualities in the field of wet grinding technology will also be developed. Producers of inkjet printer inks, for example, are continuously reducing the sizes of the basic particles in order to prevent clogging of nozzles and to increase the printing quality.
The required sizes are in the range of 90 to 400 nm. Buhler bead mills with their high specific energy input and unparalleled grinding media characteristics allow efficient wet micromilling in the desired size range, also of temperature-sensitive products.
Buhler Nanotechnology will also present the Buhler-tailored Nanobatch, a nanoparticle master batch tailored to customers¡¯ needs, and the Buhler-tailored Nanoprocess, a turnkey nanoparticle process integrated in customers¡¯ production systems.
In addition, for the first time ever, Buhler Nanotechnology will display its new nanoZ product in Nuremberg. This unique nanoscale zinc oxide suspension is applied in the field of industrial UV absorption.
Buhler claims that nanoZ meets top quality standards and is characterised by its narrow particle size distribution and its transparency and durability. The European Coatings Show 2005 will run from 26 to 28 April in Nuremberg.