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Internet Journal of Food Safety
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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

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2004 FDA Accomplishments
2004 FDA Accomplishments

Food Safety Highlighted in 2005 Dietary Guidelines
April 2005
Safefood News - Winter/Spring 2005 - Vol 9 No.2/3
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are out. As a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the guidelines are reviewed and updated every 5 years to offer the most current, scientifically-based, information to the American public in the area of nutrition and health. The latest version of the Dietary Guidelines features food safety as one of the nine focal areas.
The key food safety recommendations to avoid microbial foodborne illness are:
Clean hands, food contact surfaces, and fruits and vegetables. Meat and poultry should not be washed or rinsed.
Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods while shopping, preparing, or storing foods.
Cook foods to a safe temperature to kill microorganisms.
Chill (refrigerate) perishable food promptly and defrost foods properly.
Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk or any products made from unpasteurized milk, raw or partially cooked eggs or foods containing raw eggs, raw or undercooked meat and poultry, unpasteurized juices, and raw sprouts.
There are additional recommendations for special population groups, including infants and young children, pregnant women, older adults, and those who are immunocompromised:
Do not eat raw or undercooked fish or shellfish.
Only eat deli meats and frankfurters that have been reheated to steaming hot.
Talking Points
The recommendations support the four key messages currently emphasized by the USDA's Partnership in Food Safety Education: "Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill," with the additional message to "avoid certain potentially unsafe foods." The first two recommendations address personal hygiene and prevention of cross contamination. Consumers should be instructed to "wash with soap and water all food contact surfaces before and after food preparation" and to "wash hands using soap and running warm water for at least 20 seconds, then dry with a clean towel." Additionally, all fruits and vegetables should be "rinsed under running water prior to eating." Contrary to popular belief, washing and rinsing raw meat and poultry can greatly increase risk of cross contamination and is unnecessary, since cooking destroys any bacteria on the meat.
To assure that foods are cooked adequately, consumers are advised to "use a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to safe internal temperatures." Leftovers should "be reheated to the proper internal temperature of 165¨¬F." The "chill" message emphasizes the need to chill all perishable food promptly and store at 41¨¬F or below. Foods should be defrosted in the refrigerator, under cool running water, or in the microwave, and not on the counter.
Lastly, the message to avoid unsafe foods is of particular importance to those individuals at greatest risk of foodborne disease, including pregnant women, infants, older adults and persons with medical conditions that affect immune function. The foods listed to avoid are those that can harbor pathogenic microorganisms and have been implicated in foodborne outbreaks.
Go online to view the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 fact sheet and the Food Safety section of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report.
2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report: Food Safety. Available at

Third Fair Linked To E. coli Outbreak
Yahoo! News Fri, Apr 01, 2005
Source of Article:
Several new cases of the E. coli illness are the cause of more concern for parents across Central Florida. Five more children have been diagnosed with the illness, bringing the total to 22, WESH NewsChannel 2 reported. State health officials said the number of possible cases of E. coli infection or the related kidney disease, Hemoleytic Uremic Syndrome, has jumped from 24 to 33. Also, a third fair is now being linked to the infection that has sickened so many people in Florida. Florida Health Secretary John Agwunobi said Thursday that five confirmed cases appear to have come from the State Fair in Tampa in mid-February. He also said it looks more like all of the cases are linked to the same petting zoo, Agventure Farm Shows. "The fact that we can link them, a person who went to a fair in Tampa with a person who went to a fair in Orlando or Plant City, by the DNA of their E. coli, shows us and tells us they must have come in contact with the same source," Agwunobi said.
more information

Importing imports: Canadians will incorporate Australian beef processing technology originally used in a U.S. plant
March 30, 2005 Volume 7, Issue 14
Ranchers Choice Beef Cooperative -- a farmer-owned beef processing facility under construction in western Manitoba, Canada -- will use de-boning technology imported from Australia. The equipment is being removed from a closed Ferndale Foods meat-packing plant in Ferndale, Washington. According to a report, the move will make the facility the only hot-boning beef facility in North America with the Australian technology.
"There is no other plant like this in Canada,¡± Frieda Krpan, a beef producer and secretary of the board of directors, said. ¡°And I'm not aware of one in the U.S. It's a big selling point for us. It will give our meat a lot of pluses."
Hot-boning is popular in Australia and New Zealand because it eliminates the risk of bacterial contamination, reduces carcass shrinkage, and offers a 24-hour turnaround on slaughtering and packaging.
"With everyone concerned about E. coli today this gives bacteria no chance to set in," Krpan said. "It creates a super-clean meat."
With the Australian technology, once the beef is de-boned, it is packaged instantly and "blast frozen" -- something Krpan said is also relatively new to Canada.
The CN$13-million plant, funded by producers, private capital, and government funds, is being built to fill the urgent need for in-province slaughtering after the U.S. border closed to Canadian cattle following discover of cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, preventing slaughter cattle from being exported to the United States. "I feel a very quiet anger building out there and a quiet determination that we are not going to let this happen to us again," Krpan said. The new plant is expected to be operational by late fall and create 70 to 80 jobs in the town of about 7,500. The cooperative has 3,100 members. From cows and bulls of at least 30 months of age, the end product will be boneless beef, sausage, and hamburger patties, she said.
Peggy Kent, owner of the closed former Ferndale plant said the BSE situation forced a financial reorganization and put her out of the beef-processing business. Her plant was a main outlet for cull dairy cattle and Canadian beef cattle. However, she is glad the equipment is helping Manitoba rebuild its slaughtering capacity.

New miniaturised chip dramatically reduces time taken for DNA analysis

Source of Article:

April 01, 2005
The portable device will speed up performing paternity tests, identifying bacterial infections and detecting genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

A team of researchers at the Universitat AutŠnoma de Barcelona has developed new miniature sensors for analysing DNA. The sensors have the same size and thickness as a fingernail and reduce the time needed to identify DNA chains to several minutes or a few hours, depending on each chain. These sensors can be applied to many different tasks, ranging from paternity tests and identifying people to detecting genetically modified food, identifying bacterial strains in foodborne illnesses and testing genetic toxicity in new drugs. Once mass production of the sensors begins, their cost and availability will be similar to that of pregnancy test kits found in pharmacies.

The researchers Salvador Alegret, Manuel del Valle and Maria Isabel Pividori, all of whom are members of the Sensors and Biosensors Group at the UAB's Department of Chemistry, developed the new sensors based on their experience in research with electrochemical sensors. These can identify a substance by chemically interacting with it and converting this interaction into an electrical current that they measure.

To detect DNA, the new miniaturised electrochemical genosensors have a probe containing DNA fragments that complement the DNA they aim to detect. For example, to detect Salmonella in a sample of mayonnaise, the probe has fragments of the type of DNA that complements that found in a group of genes that identify the bacteria. When the probe is submerged into the mayonnaise, some of the DNA fragments from the bacterial cells join the complementing fragments from the probe, creating a measurable electrical current. The sensor converts this current into a signal that can be seen by the person controlling the tests, making him aware there are bacteria. Also, because the sensors are very small and easy to manipulate, it is possible to assemble a set of sensors that can collect data simultaneously and deduce information about the bacteria such as which strain caused the foodborne illness.

This type of analysis already takes place in laboratories, but until now the experimental measures needed were not suitable for in situ analysis. By using the new sensors developed by UAB scientists, the time taken to identify the source of infection for Legionella would decrease from two days, as is currently the case using organic production techniques, to just thirty minutes. In trials developed with the support of the UAB's Department of Genetics and Microbiology, the new sensors have enabled Salmonella to be identified in four and a half hours, compared to three to five days using the traditional microbiological methods. This method for identifying bacteria could also be used to detect other infectious agents such as Campylobacter and Listeria, and the sensor could easily be adapted for use in medicine, environmental monitoring and the industrial sector.

Other important applications for DNA sensors include: detecting genetically modified organisms in food, either in basic ingredients or in prepared food; identifying people, either to establish blood relations or to find criminal evidence; and testing the toxicity of different drugs to establish what damage they may cause to the DNA molecule of disease-causing microorganisms and of cells in patients.

"The next step is to mass-produce the sensors", states Salvador Alegret, the director of research. "Mass production will allow costs to be reduced and the product to become as widely available as pregnancy test kits we can buy at the local pharmacy".

Electrochemical genosensors vs DNA chips

Identifying DNA chains has become increasingly important in biochemistry, medicine and biotechnology. But traditional DNA-analysis techniques are becoming outdated as demand increases for more genetic information to be found in less time and at a lower cost. An important step forward in this direction was the creation of DNA chips, in which the UAB played a leading role in Catalonia. Hundreds, or even thousands, of genetic tests can be performed simultaneously with these chips, which are now a vital part of any large-scale project, such as unlocking the genetic code of an organism. DNA chips are limited to a certain extent because of some very specific analytical problems, such as establishing the source of microbial contamination quickly and efficiently. The new miniaturised electrochemical genosensors meet the current need for DNA to be analysed at a low cost with easy-to-use devices that do not need to be supervised by highly trained scientists.

Source: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

Canada, Mexico And United States Release Harmonized North American BSE Strategy

Science Board to the Food and Drug Administration; Notice of Meeting

Joint Statement by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the USDA

Food Additives Permitted for Direct Addition to Food for Human Consumption

Kansas To Test Thousands Of Cattle For TB
(Associated Press)

WICHITA, Kan. - Kansas animal health authorities will begin testing 84,000 dairy cattle for tuberculosis Monday after animals from infected herds in New Mexico and Arizona were traced to dairies in southwest Kansas, the state's top veterinarian said Friday.Kevin Varner, chief veterinarian in charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Kansas, said no TB cases in cattle have been found in Kansas, but several dairies received animals from places where infected cows have been found - a dairy in New Mexico and a heifer-raising facility in Arizona. It is not known yet if any of the animals brought to Kansas had TB.
"It is a human health threat and an economic problem for the industry," Varner said. "We have pushed the disease almost to extinction, but we still have it at this time."
People can catch tuberculosis by drinking raw milk from infected cows, he said. Also at risk are people who milk cows or work around infected animals, he said. If an animal is found with TB lesions at slaughter plants, that carcass is condemned and removed from the human food chain.
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Supermarket extortion
April 1, 2005
Associated Press
LOS ANGELES -- David Ian Dickinson, 43, who pleaded guilty last year to trying to extort $180,000 from a supermarket chain by threatening to put poisoned baby food on store shelves, was sentenced Friday to five years in federal prison.
Dickinson was cited as saying he was under "extreme duress" when he made the threat to Ralph's supermarket chain a year ago and that he wanted money to pay for his ailing 5-month-old son's college education.
Judge Dean Pregerson called Dickinson's crime "a villainous act, a close cousin to terrorism."

Rinsing meat: Food safety help or hindrance?
April 2005
Safefood News - Winter/Spring 2005 - Vol 9 No.2/3
Historically, we equate washing with cleanliness. Why, then is one of the recommendations in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that consumers not wash meat and poultry before cooking? The reason lies in minimizing the spread of bacteria. Bacteria present on the surface of meat or poultry are easily destroyed by cooking, but bacteria spread to other surfaces and foods during the washing process may not receive the needed heat treatment.
According to USDA's Meat and Poultry hotline, bacteria from the rinsed meat is easily spread to the sink, faucet, your hands, dish clothes, and anything you touch or that comes in contact with the raw meat. Further contamination may occur if other food items such as fresh vegetables or fruits are then placed in the sink. While the bacteria on the meat will be destroyed during cooking, that on the salad ingredients will likely be served to the dinner guests.
The USDA also does not recommend washing eggs before storing or using them. Washing is a routine part of commercial egg processing and eggs do not need to be washed again. Fresh laid eggs have a natural coating called "bloom," which helps prevent bacteria from permeating the shell. Although removed by washing, egg processors restore this protection with a light coating of edible mineral oil. At home, extra handling of eggs, such as washing, could increase the risk of cross contamination, especially if the shell becomes cracked.
Fruits and vegetables do need to be thoroughly washed before eating, especially if served without further cooking. An information sheet by the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) taking aim to educate consumers about these misconceptions can be viewed at online.

Researchers team up to prevent food-borne illnesses
By BRANDON MCCOY / Aggie News Writer
Posted 04/01/2005
Source of Article:
While some may be wary of food poisoning and are cautious of devouring their favorite foods, UC Davis researchers are looking for ways to increase food safety.
With 76 million cases of food poisoning occurring annually in the United States, food safety concerns are important but often overlooked by many consumers.Various UCD researchers, along with other food experts from around the nation, are collaborating on further scientific research to help prevent food-borne illnesses from entering the food supply and to respond to food-poisoning outbreaks.Led by North Carolina State University, the newly formed Food Safety Research and Response Network is composed of 50 researchers from 18 colleges and universities across the nation, including UCD. The network is funded by a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The food-safety network is a long-term endeavor aimed at promoting awareness of food safety, as well as leveraging funding for future research.UC Berkeley is the only other California university to join the new food-safety network, which also includes institutions such as Cornell University, University of Montreal and Tuskegee University.
More information

March 31, 2005
Associated Press
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Naoko Iwanami, a researcher at the Japanese National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, was cited as saying Thursday she has identified two substances that prevent the production of an abnormal protein believed to cause mad cow disease and its human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
The substances -- sodium copper chlorophyllin and sodium iron chlorophyllin -- are chemical compounds that are close in composition to chlorophyll and are considered safe for consumption as they are already used as food additives and pharmaceutical ingredients.

Source of Article:
USDA orders a Louisiana chicken-processing facility closed after months of food safety violations.
USDA ordered the shutdown of a House of Raeford chicken-processing plant in Arcadia, Louisiana, after the company failed to respond to numerous sanitation and environmental violations, according to a Shreveport Louisiana Times newspaper article. The violations were documented over a 10-month period.

¡°They've been allowed to operate while they worked on these violations,¡± Matt Baun, a spokesman for USDA¡¯s Food Safety Inspection Service. ¡°But some of the concerns became so large we had to shut down the operation. There was a food safety risk, so we needed to take action.¡± It's uncertain when the plant, which employs 700, will resume operations.
USDA issued a 15-page letter to plant manager Larry Anders detailed specific problems, such as a lack of employee hygiene, improper product-handling practices, repetitive facility and equipment contamination, roof and pipe leaks and related condensation, and the lack of food safety plans -- all of which could result in bacteria contamination of products.
Baun said the risk of contamination of products produced at the plant and already in commerce is low. ¡°It's just the conditions under which the products were being produced in the plant led us to believe food safety would be compromised,¡± he explained.
Web posted: March 31, 2005

Tainted Tahini Warning Issued
Mar 31, 2005 11:31 am US/Central
Source of Article:
St. Paul (AP) Regulators said consumers should avoid eating "Ziyad" brand plain tahini after routine testing by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture found the sesame seed paste tainted with potentially dangerous salmonella bacteria. The Agriculture Department issued the warning for the Middle Eastern food found in specialty stores and some major grocery store chains. On Thursday, the department was investigating how widely the product was distributed. The tainted sample did not have a code date or production code, so the department said it considers all uncoded products to be potentially contaminated. The department said the product is sold in glass jars and labeled "Tahini" in green letters on a yellow background. The product was distributed by Ziyad Brothers Importing of Cicero, Ill.
Nemer Ziyad, a co-owner, said the company has asked all of its retailers to pull the product off their shelves as a precaution. He said the company has been in business for 39 years. "We've never had this happen," he said.
Ziyad said his company packages the imported paste and recent testing of the company's facilities and warehouse have found nothing wrong. He added the company had recently begun putting batch codes on its tahini. Agriculture officials said no illnesses have been reported in connection with the tahini, but the Minnesota Health Department is monitoring the situation. People infected with salmonella tend to develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after infection. Most people recover after a few days without treatment.

Researchers use semen to fight campylobacter in turkeys

by Ann Bagel on 3/31/05 for
Adding antibiotics to turkey semen may help prevent the growth of campylobacter bacteria, according to research at the University of Arkansas.

While campylobacter is commonly found in poultry intestinal tracts, a research team led by Dan Donoghue of the university's Division of Agriculture recently discovered that the bacteria also occur naturally in turkeys' male and female reproductive tracts. The problem is that artificial insemination practices at turkey farms could expand the pathogen's prevalence.

"Semen collection by nature of the tom's anatomy is predisposed to fecal contamination," Donoghue said. In addition, semen on commercial turkey farms is pooled before being used to inseminate hens, making it possible that contaminated semen could spread through entire flocks.

Donoghue and his team are considering the possibility of using antibiotics in semen extenders to fight campylobacter and other bacteria. "We're hoping to find one that is already being used that will be effective against foodborne pathogens," Donoghue said.

Another option may be cooling the semen to reduce or eliminate campylobacter. The trick, however, is to cool the semen enough to hurt the pathogens without damaging the sperm's viability.

"We are looking at different approaches and trying to eliminate that segment of the contamination or reduce it," Donoghue said.

The research project is being sponsored by the Food Safety Consortium, a coalition of the University of Arkansas, Iowa State University and Kansas State University.