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Outbreaks of salmonella infections associated with eating roma tomatoes ---United States and Canada, 2004
April 7, 2005
MMWR Volume 54, Number 13, Page 325-328
Three outbreaks of Salmonella infections associated with eating Roma tomatoes were detected in the United States and Canada in the summer of 2004. In one multistate U.S. outbreak during June 25--July 18, multiple Salmonella serotypes were isolated, and cases were associated with exposure to Roma tomatoes from multiple locations of a chain delicatessen. Each of the other two outbreaks was characterized by a single Salmonella serotype: Braenderup in one multistate outbreak and Javiana in an outbreak in Canada. In the three outbreaks, 561 outbreak-related illnesses from 18 states (Figure 1) and one province in Canada were identified. This report describes the subsequent investigations by public health and food safety agencies. Although a single tomato-packing house in Florida was common to all three outbreaks, other growers or packers also might have supplied contaminated Roma tomatoes that resulted in some of the illnesses. Environmental investigations are continuing. Because current knowledge of mechanisms of tomato contamination and methods of eradication of Salmonella in fruit is inadequate to ensure produce safety, further research should be a priority for the agricultural industry, food safety agencies, and the public health community.
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New allergen labelling rules will have implications for seafood industry
Source of Article:
08 April, 2005 -
NEW EU labelling requirements for foods that can cause allergic reactions will have implications on the way UK seafood processors label their products, the UK Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) reports.
As a result of new legislation, which will be introduced on 25 November 2005, any product that contains one of the common allergens, specified by the regulations, will need to include information on the label to help consumers make safer choices.¡°The Food Labelling regulations are designed to protect the health of consumers, ensuring they are appropriately informed about the composition of foodstuffs. Peter Wilson, Seafish legislation manager, said: "As this will have implications on the seafood processors, we have produced a guidance document to help the industry address the new regulations.¡±Guidance on Allergen Labelling for the Seafood Industry, provides a summary of the main points contained in current and impending legislation, including the types of ingredients that will require allergen labelling and details on how each ingredient should be described and presented. The full document can be downloaded from ../land/legislation.asp is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish European Fish Trader, Fishing Monthly, Fish Farming Today, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Fishermens¡¯ Federation Diary, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.

People with peanut allergy at risk of allergic reaction to lupin flour
April 7, 2005
A report in this week's issue of The Lancet concludes that adults and children with an allergy to peanuts could also be allergic to lupin flour-a substance that is used in some European countries as a potential replacement for soya flour. Food manufacturers in these countries are using it in certain specialty breads, bakery goods and catering foods, and a small number of these are finding their way into the UK. The authors suggest that people with a peanut allergy should avoid all products containing lupin flour until they can be specifically tested to see if they are susceptible.
The report details the case of a 25-year-old woman who, in August 2004, had an allergic reaction after eating a restaurant meal of chicken, French-fried potato, and onion rings. The woman knew she had a severe allergy to peanuts after a reaction to a peanut sweet when she was 15. However, peanut contamination of her food was considered unlikely. Lupin flour, an ingredient of the onion ring batter, was eventually identified as the cause of her attack.
The authors note that the prevalence of lupin allergy has increased markedly in some countries, especially France, where in 1997 the addition of lupin flour was first permitted to wheat flour. Although the food use of lupin has been permitted in the UK since 1996, few lupin-containing foods are so far on sale; the main source appears to be imported bakery and catering goods. A new directive on food labelling came into force in Europe in November 2004, requiring food manufacturers to specifically list 12 potential allergic ingredients. Lupin flour is not included on this list despite recommendation from the UK based Institute of Food Science and Technology.
Author Dr Michael Radcliffe (Royal Free Hospital, London, UK) states: "Further work will be required to establish the prevalence and significance of lupin allergy. Meanwhile those with peanut allergy, around 1% of the UK population including 250,000 pre-school children, appear to be at particular risk as up to half may be pre-sensitised. They should be advised to avoid all products containing lupin until they can be specifically tested."

OIE proposes changing safety standards for mad cow disease

Source of Article:

(Kyodo) _ The World Organization for Animal Health has proposed designating parts of cow intestines, rather than their entirety, as posing a danger of transmitting mad cow disease, Japanese government officials said Friday.
The Paris-based organization, known as the OIE, has distributed the proposal to member countries in a bid to have it adopted at its general meeting in May, the officials told a meeting of experts on the disease held by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

At its general assembly last May, the OIE adopted safety standards designating whole cow intestines as posing a danger of transmitting the brain-wasting disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Japan, where cow intestines are a delicacy and are used in certain dishes, opposed the new designation at that time, claiming there was no scientific data suggesting all intestines are a risk.

While it is not yet known why the OIE is changing the designation after only one year, the expected change is likely to allay concerns about the difficulty of procuring cow intestines.

16 Tons of Jacksonville-Bound Contamined Food Seized, Destroyed
Thu Apr 7,10:00 AM ET Local - WJXT
Source of Article:
A refrigerated food truck bound for Jacksonville was stopped Saturday for inspection, and nearly 32,000 pounds of contaminated poultry and seafood were seized and destroyed. The truck was coming from Doraville, Ga., when a routine inspection at the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement's Interdiction Station on U.S. Highway 129 in Green Cove Springs, Fla., uncovered the rotting pork, beef, chicken, duck, mussels and other food items. The food was to be delivered to Chinese restaurants. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, officers inspecting the cargo detected a strong odor of thawing meat and noted that the truck's refrigeration unit was inoperative. Among the contents found was a thawed and gutted duck carcass that had fallen out of a plastic bag, boxes of frozen mussels that had warmed to 34 degrees and cross-contamination of meat and non-meat products. A total of 2,511 containers with 16 tons of food were disposed of at the Hamilton County landfill.
"The diligence exercised by our officers and food safety inspectors have prevented these unfit food items from entering the marketplace and possibly compromising the safety of the public," said Agricultural and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson.

Listeria Precautions
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
1-888-MPHotline or visit

People at risk for listeriosis and their family members or individuals preparing food for them should:

Reheat until steaming hot the following types of ready-to-eat foods: hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, fermented and dry sausage, and other deli-style meat and poultry products. Thoroughly reheating food can help kill any bacteria that might be present. If you cannot reheat these foods, do not eat them.

Wash hands with hot, soapy water after handling these types of ready-to-eat foods. (Wash for at least 20 seconds.) Also wash cutting boards, dishes, and utensils. Thorough washing helps eliminate any bacteria that might get on your hands or other surfaces from food before it is reheated.

Do not eat soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined or Mexican-style cheese. You can eat hard cheeses, processed cheeses, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt.

Do not drink raw, unpasteurized milk or eat foods made from it, such as unpasteurized cheese.

Observe all expiration dates for perishable items that are precooked or ready-to-eat.

Testing device for unapproved GM seed
Source of Article:
06/04/2005 - Companies wanting to test their ingredients to see if they are contaminated by the unapproved genetically modified seed corn ? that was recently announced to have been let into the US food chain ? may be interested in Genetic ID¡¯s test kit, writes Philippa Nuttall.

Swiss company Syngenta recently announced that it had accidentally sold unapproved genetically modified seed corn in the US for four years, resulting in about 133 million kilograms of the corn making its way into the food chain.
Officials for the company, Syngenta, and the US Environmental Protection Agency insisted there is no danger to human health.

However, food companies wanting to perform PCR testing for their products to confirm the absence of the seed corn Bt10, may want to use Genetic ID's recently launched DNA-based test.

¡°The accidental release of Bt10 is an unfortunate situation for many companies exporting to markets already concerned about the presence of GMOs,¡± said Bill Thompson, CEO of Genetic ID.

PCR is recognized internationally as the most sensitive and accurate test for GM grains and foods, according to the company. Other methods such as ELISA and lateral flow ¡°strip¡± tests detect the genetically modified protein expressed by the GM plant, but protein expression can vary throughout the plant, making accurate GM detection difficult.

PCR, in contrast, is said to directly detect the GM DNA sequence, thus providing greater analytical accuracy.

"In the case of Bt10, protein tests cannot distinguish this GMO from Bt11, because the same protein is produced in both Bt10 and Bt11. Thus PCR is the only method capable of ascertaining the presence/absence of Bt10," said the company.

The firm offers its test for Bt10 through its laboratories in the US, Germany, and Japan, as well as through its Global Laboratory Alliance members in Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the UK and the US.

Between 2001 and 2004, Syngenta accidentally sold an unapproved corn variety called Bt 10, mistaking it for the approved variety Bt 11. Both varieties produce a bacterial toxin that kills insects, using the same inserted gene and producing the same protein. The only difference is the location of the inserted gene, according to Syngenta.

The company says it discovered the mistake for itself when it switched to a new quality control system that tests for DNA directly. Previously it had tested only for proteins, which meant the two varieties appeared identical.

In all, about 15,000 hectares in four US states were planted with the unapproved variety. This amounts to about 0.01 percent of the corn grown in the US over those four years. On average, about 70 percent of corn in the US is fed to animals, while the other 30 percent is consumed directly by people.

Preharvest food safety and security
February 2005
American Academy of Microbiology
A new report, released by the American Academy of Microbiology, points out that recent outbreaks of a number of foodborne illnesses have been linked to contamination occurring in the preharvest stage of food processing. Recommendations are made for creating an accessible international database of genetic sequences for known foodborne pathogens along with new and improved tools for detecting and cataloging pathogens on the farm.
Full report available in pdf format from here (Click here)

U.S. hiding BSE, says whistleblower
April 7, 2005
The Leader-Post (Regina)
Duncan Thorne
EDMONTON -- Dr. Lester Friedlander, a former American-government packing plant veterinarian, was cited as saying Wednesday that the United States is hiding cases of mad cow disease and that colleagues with the United States Department of Agriculture have told him of cases that the USDA has chosen not to announce.
The story says that Friedlander, who has been invited to speak to Parliament's agriculture committee next week on proposed changes to Canadian inspection legislation, refused to give details. He said the USDA employees are close to retirement and risk losing their pensions.
He has previously spoken out, however, about a Texas cow that had mad cow symptoms and went untested to a rendering plant after a USDA veterinarian condemned it at a packing plant in San Angelo.
Friedlander was quoted as saying in an interview during a speaking visit to Edmonton that, "You've found four cases (including a cow from Alberta discovered in Washington State with the disease) out of 12 million cattle and the United States has found none out of 120 million" adding that production practices in the two countries are similar enough that the USDA should be finding more BSE.
Friedlander was in charge of meat inspectors at the largest U.S. culled-cow packing plant, in Pennsylvania, until 1995. He lost his job for, in his words, "doing too good a job."
He has since become a public speaker on food and animal safety issues. He was in Edmonton as a guest of the Edmonton Friends of the North Environmental Society.
Friedlander was further cited as saying USDA's record looks worse than the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's but Canada needs a new "consumer" agency to oversee packing plant inspections, and that the USDA and CFIA both suffer from having too much influence from politicians eager to please the food industry.
His proposed consumer agency would be a government body but would have more safeguards against political influence.
Marc Richard, speaking from Ottawa for the CFIA, was cited as saying the agency enforces rules set by Parliament and does its job well and that it reports to Agriculture Minister Andy Mitchell, and a replacement government agency would have to do the same.
Friedlander also warned against intensive livestock operations such as cattle feedlots and large hog operations. He said they're ideal breeding grounds for bacteria and disease, and authorities have tended to react slowly when there's an outbreak.
John Feddes, an agricultural engineer at the University of Alberta, was cited as saying the province's confined feeding operations are generally run well, under stringent rules, adding, "Just because they're large doesn't mean they're going to be out of control."
Dr. Gerald Ollis, Alberta Agriculture's chief veterinarian, was cited as saying confined feeding operations tend to have well-educated people in charge and are big enough that they can have vets visit more often than at smaller farms.

Marler Clark Calls for Legislation to Protect Visitors at Petting Zoos

Source of Article:

Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm representing several victims of the recent Florida E. coli outbreak, is calling on legislators nation-wide to put into law requirements for the protection of petting zoo visitors. Proposed requirements include increasing signage and warnings about health risks associated with human-animal contact, providing adequate handwashing facilities at strategic locations throughout petting zoos, and designing petting zoos with the intent of reducing the risks of human contact with animal feces.

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) April 8, 2005 -- Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm representing several victims of the recent Florida E. coli outbreak, is calling on legislators nation-wide to put into law requirements for the protection of petting zoo visitors.

Proposed requirements include increasing signage and warnings about health risks associated with human-animal contact, providing adequate handwashing facilities at strategic locations throughout petting zoos, and designing petting zoos with the intent of reducing the risks of human contact with animal feces. An outline of proposed requirements is available at the Marler Clark-sponsored Web site

¡°I realize the measures we are proposing might seem extreme,¡± said William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. ¡°But we¡¯re looking at this from the standpoint of having represented dozens of children who visited petting zoos and ended up with kidney failure and life-long medical conditions.¡±
more information

Decision not to warn of killer bacteria based on wrong information (NZ)
06 April 2005
Source of Article:
Health officials who failed to warn hospital neonatal units about killer bacteria in infant milk formula based their decision on incorrect information. They decided not to pass on to New Zealand hospitals a warning issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 - partly because they wrongly believed that no New Zealand infant had contracted meningitis from the bacteria enterobacter sakazakii.
In April 2002, the FDA had said powdered milk formulas could kill babies, particularly if made up and left out of a fridge before use.
The next month, the Health Ministry told a National Women's Hospital dietician there had been no problems in New Zealand with powdered formulas such as one contaminated with E.sakazakii that killed a US baby in 2001.
"In New Zealand there had been no reported cases of meningitis from E.sakazakii, the risks of infection were regarded as very small, and the product implicated in the death in the US was not available here, so the US alerts were not passed on," the Ministry of Health said in a statement last night.
Two years after that decision, in July 2004, the bacteria killed a premature baby in Waikato Hospital.
Linnea, daughter of apprentice jockey Jamie Baillie and Tahnaha Jones, died at the hospital's neo-natal unit 16 days after being fed a powdered baby formula containing E.sakazakii bacteria that caused meningitis. more informaiton

Epidemiology of Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreaks, United States, 1982-2002
April 2005
Emerging Infectious Diseases Volume 11, Number 4
Josefa M. Rangel,*¢Ó Phyllis H. Sparling,* Collen Crowe,* Patricia M. Griffin,* and David L. Swerdlow*
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; and ¢ÓCincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Escherichia coli O157:H7 causes 73,000 illnesses in the United States annually. We reviewed E. coli O157 outbreaks reported to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to better understand the epidemiology of E. coli O157. E. coli O157 outbreaks (?2 cases of E. coli O157 infection with a common epidemiologic exposure) reported to CDC from 1982 to 2002 were reviewed. In that period, 49 states reported 350 outbreaks, representing 8,598 cases, 1,493 (17%) hospitalizations, 354 (4%) hemolytic uremic syndrome cases, and 40 (0.5%) deaths. Transmission route for 183 (52%) was foodborne, 74 (21%) unknown, 50 (14%) person-to-person, 31 (9%) waterborne, 11 (3%) animal contact, and 1 (0.3%) laboratory-related. The food vehicle for 75 (41%) foodborne outbreaks was ground beef, and for 38 (21%) outbreaks, produce.

Michigan Firm Recalls Sausage Products for Possible Listeria Contamination
Recall Release CLASS I RECALL
Congressional and Public Affairs
(202) 720-9113; FAX: (202) 690-0460
Matt Baun
WASHINGTON, April 5, 2005 - Winter Sausage Manufacturing, an East Point, Mich., firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 5,117 pounds of sausage that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. All of the products subject to recall bear the establishment number "EST. 10158" inside the USDA mark of inspection.
The products subject to recall are various sized and weight packages of: "Blue Ribbon, NATURAL CASING FRANKS." Each package bears the sell by date "5-29-05."
"WINTER'S PREMIUM DELI, Natural Casing Wieners." Each package bears the sell by date "5-29-05."
"OLD TYME DELI, SIGNATURE, Natural Casing, HOT DOGS, LIPARI." Each package bears the sell by date "5-29-05."
"The Butcher Shop, At Nino Salvaggio International Market Place, Natural Casing, Hot Dogs." Each package bears the sell by date "5-29-05."
"WINTER'S PREMIUM DELI, Fully Cooked Smoked Kielbasa." Each package bears the sell by date "5-29-05."
"WINTER'S PREMIUM DELI, Fully Cooked Smoked Italian Sausage." Each package bears the sell by date "5-29-05."
The aforementioned products were packaged on March 30, 2005, and distributed to retail stores in Michigan.
"WINTER SAUSAGE, Beef Hot Dogs, Skinless." Each package bears the date code "089." These products were packaged on March 30, 2005, and distributed to retail stores and institutional customers in Michigan.

ADDING and REPLACING New Germicidal Product from Knock-Out Technologies, Subsidiary of, Passes Efficacy Test for Eradicating Bird Flu Virus
Source of Article:

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 4, 2005--In BW5315 issued April 4, 2005: Add after last graph of release:
Safe Harbor Forward-Looking Statements

Statements contained in this release that are not strictly historical are "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The forward-looking statements are made based on information available as of the date hereof, and the company assumes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements. Editors and investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements invoke risk and uncertainties and the company's actual results may differ from these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to demand for the company's products and services, our ability to continue to develop markets, general economic conditions, our ability to secure additional financing for the company and other factors that may be more fully described in reports to shareholders and periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

GEA unveils third generation filtration technology

Source of Article:

04/04/2005 - New technology that allows for simpler, more efficient and more economical separations for dairy, food and beverage applications has been developed.

The Isoflux membrane, a patented manufacturing technique developed by Tami Industries, represents the third generation in membrane design and is, according to GEA, a viable alternative to the fouling and inefficiencies caused by gel layer formation.
GEa Filtration, which is marketing the product, claims that cross-flow microfiltration separations that are sensitive to variations in trans-membrane pressure (TMP) are more efficient, more economical, and much easier to control than technologies used to date.

In conventional microfiltration, as the product flows down the tubular element, there is a natural hydrodynamic pressure drop from the inlet to the outlet of the flow channel.

The uneven permeate flux distribution along the length of the flow channel can be very significant due to the resulting concentration polarisation effect particularly at the higher pressure inlet, and decreasing toward the outlet end. This fouling interferes with the product transmission through the membrane, decreasing the quality of the separation, shortening running time, and increasing costs. more informaiton