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The other Sudan crisis
April 11, 2005
American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)
Elizabeth M. Whelan, Sc.D., M.P.H.
This article originally appeared on
Although the media coverage here in the United States has been non-existent, much of the world has been experiencing one of the great food scares -- and food recalls -- of modern times.
The epicenter of this latest food scare (described by the Economist as "the biggest food scare since the last one") has been England, where over 400 products have been recalled because of a "cancer risk." The purported culprit: a red dye dubbed Sudan 1, approved for use in polishes, waxes and solvents -- but not in food (here, it is banned from the food supply by the Food and Drug Administration).
The alleged problem began when a very large batch of chili powder somehow was contaminated with Sudan 1 and then was used widely in the preparation of Worcester sauce, which, in turn, was used in over 400 prepared food products -- everything from shepherd's pie to salad dressing.
The scare and recall was not limited to Great Britain. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a "health hazard alert" for various chili sauces, and as this article is being written, the Sudan scare is heating up bigtime in South Korea and China. Indeed, the South Korean FDA has begun inspecting outlets of fast food restaurants after the Chinese operation of Kentucky Fried Chicken admitted that it had discovered traces of Sudan 1 in its cuisine. U.S. manufacturer Heinz reported traces of the dye in its Chinese products. The threat of a massive region-wide recall is becoming increasingly possible.
What is this spicy kerfuffle all about? The same old, same old.
In high dose, Sudan 1 causes cancer in rodents. Of course, as critics have pointed out, you would have to consume 800 liters of Worcester sauce every day for two years to get the amounts the rodents consumed (that is a lot of Bloody Marys). But if you believe a mouse is a little man, then you see a risk, even if the level of exposure is at a barely measurable level.
What is of great interest here is the fact that the British government -- specifically the UK Food Standards Agency -- seems to have orchestrated this scare/scam in a very self-serving, manipulative manner. Instead of telling the British people that the risk was purely hypothetical (myriad chemicals, natural and synthetic, cause cancer at high doses in rodents), the FSA appeared to hype the risk -- recommending that consumers "avoid eating any food known to be contaminated." Critics maintain that the Agency's zeal and excessive precautionary warnings represent a PR move to convince consumers that their government food watchdog agency was indeed doing their job -- and watching over their flock of nervous eaters. Similarly in Canada, the Food Inspection Agency was alarmist, warning consumers "not to consume the certain food products [which] contain a non-permitted color, Sudan 1, which is considered to be carcinogenic."
So batten down the hatches. The scariest food scare since the last one has already crossed the big pond and is looming over North America. Soon it could be playing on a grocery shelf near you.
Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan is president of the American Council on Science and Health,

Food traceability will provide safety from 'farm to fork'
April 15, 2005
National Post
Sylvain Charlebois, an assistant professor of marketing at the Faculty of Business Administration of the University of Regina, writes in this opinion piece that the discovery of the first native case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in 2003 took almost four months, from the time the ailing animal in Alberta was slaughtered on Jan. 30, 2003, until the actual BSE test was done on May 16.
Charlebois sayss this incident proved that Canada lacks efficient tools to trace food products. BSE is in no way a new disease -- it was predictable, and there were forewarnings that it could occur. The time has come to adopt an audacious new, progressive strategy to protect the beef industry, and other agricultural supply chains for that matter.
The notion of shared responsibility through the food supply chain can in no way be evaded. We have to accept that the BSE ordeal is part of a process in which conditions will always force us to enhance food safety systems already in place. The agrifood industry is as responsible for food safety as the government, and it must take appropriate control of the situation.
Charlebois says that countries like France, Belgium, and Ireland are benefiting from a food traceability system, also known as the "farm to fork" concept. Food traceability offers the ability to trace and track the origins of any product throughout the food supply chain, at any level.
For instance, in Ireland, where the government and a major retailer, Superquinn, came together in a joint project called the Irish Retail Food Safety Standard, retailers were able to reduce inconsistencies with suppliers and increase transparency between in-store operations. Using a DNA-based tracking system, all levels of the organization were involved and trained in a meticulous, team-oriented approach.
In Canada, there is definitely room for improvement. Charlebois says our food distributors and retailers are notoriously known to defy the "farm to fork" model, declaring that they already have an in-house system that was implemented years ago.
However, in implementing a more universal traceability program, one would have to consider that food retailing is one of the most competitive industries in our global economy, as it must manage disproportionate operational overhead costs, low profit margins, and a demand that is relatively elastic for many products.
The agrifood industry in Canada must equip itself, and transform itself, in order to anticipate future crises. Food traceability represents, for crises such as the BSE situation, a profitable and useful measure. By no means will it bullet-proof the industry from such problems in the future, but it will permit it to anticipate the occurrence of this type of crisis and adopt a proactive attitude throughout the food supply chain, adding value to Canadian commodities in the process.
It will also ensure more rapid containment of food catastrophes that could potentially harm the health of consumers who depend on the knowledge, the expertise and the vigilance of all of those who contribute to the Canadian food supply chain.
Charlebois goes on to say that Can-Trace, a Canadian alliance formed in July, 2003, is a collaborative and open initiative committed to the development of traceability standards for all food products grown, manufactured and sold in Canada. This group is, thus far, showing promising results with its work. However, the ideal framework for a food traceability system in Canada has not yet been found, perhaps because it is not yet being actively pursued on a large scale by the major stakeholders.

Being too clean could be hazardous to your health and the environment
April 11, 2005
Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Researchers at Virginia Tech have discovered that the use of antimicrobial soaps and other products may unnecessarily be directly exposing consumers to significant quantities of chloroform. Peter Vikesland, assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, has shown in his research that when the chemical triclosan, present in many antimicrobial soaps, reacts with chlorine in tap water, chloroform is produced. Chloroform is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable human carcinogen.
Vikesland¡¯s work was reported in last week¡¯s on-line edition of Environmental Science & Technology¡¯s science news section
Triclosan is a synthetic antimicrobial agent, which is classified as a Class III drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As the result of its broad-spectrum bacteria-fighting ability, it has found increasingly popular use in personal care products, cosmetics, antimicrobial creams, acne treatments, lotions, hand soaps, and dish soaps. It is also used as an additive to plastics, polymers, textile, and implantable medical devices. Triclosan is most often used to kill bacteria on the skin and other surfaces and is sometimes used to preserve a product, including food.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has been urging the FDA to closely monitor and possibly regulate the home use of antimicrobials such as triclosan. The increasing popularity of antimicrobial products has preceded the study of the possible harmful affects of the use of such products.
Past research has shown that chloroform is produced when free chlorine reacts with organic material. ¡°This is the first work that we know of that suggests that consumer products, such as antimicrobial soap, can produce significant quantities of chloroform,¡± said Vikesland. The implications of these reactions to consumers are not known. ¡°There are numerous potential exposure pathways that can be envisioned, such as inhalation and skin exposure, when using antimicrobial soaps to wash dishes or when taking a shower. There is also risk of exposure when using triclosan laden moisturizers as they may also react with chlorine in the water,¡± said Vikesland.
Vikesland and his associates have conducted research closely mimicking conditions found when washing dishes in the home. The results show that it is possible that the chloroform produced when the antimicrobial soap containing triclosan mixes with chlorinated water could be absorbed through your skin or inhaled. Vikesland¡¯s research is funded by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) and by a National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate research fellowship to Krista Rule, the lead student on the project.
Most of the consumer products that contain triclosan eventually end up being discharged down residential drains. It has previously been shown by researchers from the University of Minnesota that the photochemical reactions of triclosan could be producing dioxins in the presence of sunlight. Dioxins do not degrade over time and they can accumulate in body tissues to cause a greater effect. Even low levels of dioxin are a problem because of their tendency to accumulate along the food chain.
Vikesland is an NSF CAREER Awardee for 2004-2009. He was an Invited Participant at the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Symposium in 2003. Vikesland was also named an American Society of Civil Engineering Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (ExCEEd) Fellow in 2002. He received his bachelor¡¯s degree in chemistry from Grinnell College in 1993. He received his master¡¯s and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in civil and environmental engineering in 1995 and 1998, respectively. His research areas of interest include environmental nanotechnology, subsurface contaminant remediation, and drinking water treatment.

CANADA: Ontario warns on unpasteurised milk after fourth E. coli case
15 Apr 2005
Source of Article:
Ontario¡¯s chief medical officer of health Dr Sheela Basrur, Ontario¡¯s has warned against drinking unpasteurised milk after a fourth case of E. coli O157 was found in the province.The first three cases were reported in Barrie earlier this week, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care said. The fourth case involves a seven-year-old child from Toronto. The child was treated in hospital and is now recovering at home. Toronto Public Health is also investigating the sibling of the seven year-old for possible E. coli infection. All individuals under investigation drank unpasteurised milk distributed in Barrie. It is illegal to sell, offer to sell, deliver or distribute unpasteurised milk, the ministry said.

¡°Drinking unpasteurised milk is dangerous for everyone. Parents need to be particularly aware that giving this milk to children can result in very serious illness and can lead to death,¡± Dr Basrur said. ¡°Anyone with nausea, fever, vomiting or diarrhoea who consumed unpasteurised milk should contact their doctor immediately.¡±Dr. Basrur also urged members of the public to report sales of unpasteurised milk

Oxoid promises quick and cost-effective food analysis
Source of Article:

15/04/2005 - Culture media supplier Oxoid has expanded the use of innovative chromogenic substrates within its chromogenic media range to provide quick and cost-effective food analysis.

These, claims the firm, have the potential to reduce or even eliminate the need for further confirmatory testing.
Chromogenic technology detects specific enzyme activity in target organisms quickly and accurately. These enzymes cleave a colourless substrate in the medium, releasing colour molecules within the colonies of interest and allowing them to be clearly seen, differentiated and counted.

Food safety can increasingly make or break the fortunes of a company. In industrialised countries, the percentage of people suffering from foodborne diseases each year has been reported to be up to 30 per cent. And in the US, for example, around 76 million cases of foodborne diseases, resulting in 325,000 hospitalisations and 5,000 deaths, are estimated to occur each year.

The food industry therefore increasingly needs cost-effective analytical methods that are safe, accurate and minimise waste to develop methods to screen, detect, and confirm multiple chemical residues and harmful bacteria, including their toxins, in foodstuffs.

The extensive selection of Oxoid Chromogenic Media available to the food industry includes Oxoid Chromogenic Bacillus cereus Agar for the selective isolation and differentiation of Bacillus cereus.

In addition, there is Oxoid Chromogenic E. coli/coliform Agar and Oxoid Selective E. coli/coliform Agar for the detection and differentiation of E. coli from other coliforms. Oxoid Chromogenic Enterobacter sakazakii Agar can be used for the enumeration of Enterobacter sakazakii in infant milk and other foods and differentiation from other Enterobacteriaceae.

Oxoid Chromogenic Salmonella Medium can be used for the identification of Salmonella species and selective differentiation from other Enterobacteriaceae, while Oxoid Chromogenic Listeria Agar can improve the isolation, enumeration and presumptive identification of Listeria species and differentiation of pathogenic Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria ivanovii from other Listeria species.

It was announced earlier this year Oxoid will be acquired by Fisher Scientific International. Oxoid was first acquired by PPM Ventures in 2000 following a secondary buyout from Cinven, but definitive agreements were reached in February for US-based Fisher Scientific International to acquire the UK diagnostic firm for ¡Ì177.5 million (¢æ262.5m).

Fisher Scientific is a $3.6 billion manufacturer and distributor of products to the scientific research, clinical laboratory and safety markets which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company¡¯s 10,000 employees located in approximately 145 countries.

IFT holds Research Summit on food defense

Source of Article:

4/14/2005-On April 3-5, IFT's fourth Research Summit brought together world-renowned scientists to identify the means by which to address the issue of food defense. Summit participants addressed actions needed to advance the understanding of how to determine what has happened and what agent was involved in the event, the appropriate course of action to protect the public and food workers, and the optimum approach to managing the recovery process. Some of the presentations have been loaded to IFT Research Summit page.

Dr. Lawrence Broxmeyer of Med America Research Finds Correlation Between Contaminated Food and Alzheimer¡¯s

April 15, 2005

Source of Article:
Could Mad Cow, Cruetzfeld-Jakob, and Alzheimer¡¯s Diseases all be caused by the consumption of meat and/or dairy products? This may very well be the case according to Dr. Lawrence Broxmeyer. While an abundance of research seems to indicate that this is a strong possibility, Congress and the mainstream medical research community are ignoring the evidence. Dr. Lawrence Broxmeyer asserts that it¡¯s high time the U.S. government demanded further research.

New York, NY (PRWEB) April 14, 2005 -- The notion that Alzheimer¡¯s, Creutzelf-Jakob, and Mad Cow Disease may be caused by the consumption of meat and dairy products has, up to now, been pretty much dismissed by the medical research community but an article written by Lawrence Broxmeyer, M.D. of Med-America Research, is beginning to turn heads. ¡°The possibility of the age-related reemergence of food borne Mycobacterium bovis (bovine tuberculosis) as a vector for Creutzfeldt?Jakob Disease (CJD or human Mad Cow Disease) and Mad Cow disease itself is very real,¡± Broxmeyer asserts.

Broxmeyer¡¯s article ¡°Thinking the Unthinkable: Alzheimer¡¯s, Creutzfeldt?Jakob and Mad Cow disease - the age-related re-emergence of virulent, food borne, bovine tuberculosis, or losing your mind for the sake of a shake or burger¡± is a well documented research study that is just now getting the attention it deserves partly as a result of a report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). .

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported last May of an outbreak of CJD linked to the consumption of meat contaminated ¡°with the agent causing¡± bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) at a New Jersey racetrack between the time frame 1995-2004. In the opinion of experts, ample justification now exists for considering a similar pathogenesis for Alzheimer¡¯s, Creutzfeldt?Jakob and the other spongiform encephalopathies such as Mad Cow disease. In fact, Creutzfeldt?Jakob and Alzheimer¡¯s often coexist and at this point are thought to differ merely by time-dependent physical changes. A recent study links up to 13% of all ¡°Alzheimer¡¯s¡± victims as really having Creutzfeldt?Jakob disease.

According to Broxmeyer, Bovine tuberculosis, which includes Mycobacterium bovis and M. avium-intracellulare or paratuberculosis, is and has always been the most prevalent threat to the cattle industry, and the USDA reports that between 20% and 40% of US dairy herds are infected with paratuberculosis alone.

The health risk for milk tainted with M. bovis has been known for decades and there was a time not so long ago when ¡®tuberculin-tested¡¯ was printed on every milk container. ¡°Schliesser stated that meat from tuberculous animals may also constitute a significant risk of infection. At the turn of the 20th century 25% of the many US deaths from TB in adults were caused by M. bovis,¡± Broxmeyer goes on to say.

¡°Dairy products aside, current research shows that when past and present meat consumption are factored in, there is three times the risk of developing Alzheimer¡¯s in meat eaters as opposed to vegetarians. The investigation into the causal trail for Creutzfeldt?Jakob, indistinguishable from Alzheimer¡¯s except for its shorter, lethal course might have grown cold where it not for Roel¡¯s and others who linked mad cow in cattle with M. bovis and related paratuberculosis on clinical, pathologic and epidemiological grounds. The southwest of the UK, the very cradle of British BSE and CJD outbreaks, saw an exponential increase in bovine tuberculosis just prior to its spongiform outbreaks,¡± Broxmeyer went on to say.

All of this brings up the unthinkable: that Alzheimer¡¯s, Cruetzfeldt?Jackob, and Mad Cow Disease might just be caused by eating the meat or dairy in consumer products or feed. ¡°It is only appropriate therefore to explore the role of bovine TB and the atypical mycobacteria in Alzheimer¡¯s, JCD and Mad Cow disease and develop better serological surveillance for these pathogens,¡±Lawrence Broxmeyer says.

Lawrence Broxmeyer believes it¡¯s time Congress take a proactive interest in additional research. ¡°In the interest of public health, it¡¯s high time our Congressional leaders take an interest in funding additional research.¡±

Dr. Lawrence Broxmeyer, an internist researcher, is currently working in conjunction with several large laboratory research centers in San Francisco and Nebraska is working on a novel technique to kill mycobacteria presently offering resistance to known antibiotics by a novel technique using the bacteriophage. He subsequently appeared as lead researcher in the Oct 2002 issue of Journal of Infectious Diseases in a paper revolving around this research. He has also written two books published by New Century Press: ¡°AIDS: What the Discoverers of HIV Never Admitted¡± and ¡°Parkinson¡¯s: Is Parkinson¡¯s Disease Caused by Bacteria?¡± Additional information about Lawrence Broxmeyer and his on-going research can be found at Dr. Broxmeyer can also be contacted by phone at (718) 746-5793.

Distribution: Lawrence Broxmeyer, Lawrence Broxmeyer, M.D., Dr. Lawrence Broxmeyer

Prebiotics may increase Salmonella infections
April 13, 2005
IFT E-Newsletter
A group at the NIZO Food Research in The Netherlands has followed up on their research concering how fructooligosaccharides decrease the resistance of the gut to Salmonella infections in rats. This seems to be because the saccharides cause an increase in the permeability of the intestinal barrier, allowing easier translocation of Salmonella to extraintestinal sites. For more information, see Journal of Nutrition 2005, 135 (4): 837-842.

Common source sought in Campbell County Hepatitis outbreak
Source of Article:
Health officials are investigating the source of a Hepatitis A outbreak in Campbell County.Seven recent cases of the virus have been confirmed so far and another three are suspected.None of the people infected are related to one another or appear to even know one another. However, most are residents of the LaFollette area.The victims are experiencing nausea, jaundice, vomiting and darkening of the urine. Officials in Campbell County are asking residents to be alert for these symptoms.The health department is looking for a common source of infection, most likely food-borne. The possiblities include restaurants, church events, and exposure to raw sewage.None of those infected is critically ill, but there is no specific treatment for the disease.

Common plastic may not be safe; Bisphenol A used in food containers
April 14, 2005
The Toronto Star
Rita Daly
Researchers at the University of Missouri were cited as saying there is overwhelming evidence that a chemical used in the plastic to make containers is making its way into the water and food and causing harm.
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is the main chemical compound used to make the hard clear plastic known as polycarbonate, one of the world's most widely used industrial materials. Some 2.7 billion kilograms of it is produced annually, and it's used in a range of products, from CDs, helmets and computers to eyeglass lenses, food containers and the popular Nalgene water bottles.
In recent years, the scientific community has debated whether BPA is harmless or poses a danger to humans.
In a report published online today in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers funded by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found that, of 115 studies on BPA over the past two years, 94 showed it caused serious harmful effects in lab animals by disrupting hormones vital to reproductive development.
Co-author Frederick vom Saal, a reproductive biologist andco-author of the report, was quoted as saying, "This chemical is so potent and we must be just constantly exposed to it because it metabolizes pretty quickly."
Plastic industry officials yesterday disputed the findings, saying other studies have concluded BPA is not a risk to humans and that the small traces leaching into food or water meet regulatory safety thresholds.
Kathleen Cooper, a senior researcher at the Canadian Environmental Law Association, was cited as saying she's convinced there is enough evidence to warrant a re-evaluation of bisphenol A, particularly in light of the potential harm to babies and pregnant women, adding,"There's a big question mark hanging over a chemical that we're all regularly exposed to. And children so often are the most seriously affected."

IAFP announces three workshops at IAFP 2005
April 8, 2005
International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Press Release
Des Moines, Iowa - The International Association for Food Protection announces three workshops to be held in conjunction with IAFP 2005 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. The workshops are scheduled for August 12-13, 2005.
more information

HACCP Certificate for Asia Countries
To get USA Haccp certificate from Asia, it is very difficult to travel to USA. Now, we are opening HACCP conference in Guam for Asia countries. Only two days training. and get USA-certificate. The conferenceplace will be Hyatt Guam Hotel (Nov. 14-15, 2005). more information

Toxic milk leads to third case of E. coli
April 12, 2005
The Barrie Examiner
A1 / Front
A probable third case of E. coli O157 infection linked to unpasteurized milk is, according to this story, being investigated by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
Two local residents were hospitalized last week with bloody diarrhea and severe abdominal cramps compatible with E. coli infection.
In those cases, one has been confirmed positive for E. coli O157 infection by the provincial laboratory. The preliminary results of the E. coli O157 infection in the second and third cases are still pending confirmation.
The health unit has been informed the families received the milk from an individual who routinely distributes it from a vehicle parked in the south end of Barrie.

Food allergy concerns

By Connie Cartmell
Source of Article:
There is likely no mom in the whole region who knows more about food allergies than Angie Lang, of Lowell. Three of her four children have been tested and diagnosed with a food allergy. "It's changed our lives," Lang said. "You read every label, that's for sure." So far, each of the Langs' three older children - aged 9, 7, and 6 - have tested positive for a food allergy and each has such severe reaction he or she is required to carry epinephrine (adrenaline) in an EpiPen, in case of anaphylactic shock.Peanuts, walnuts, pecans, fish, shrimp, crab, eggs, cow's milk all are on the Lang family's hit list. Strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the only way to prevent a reaction."If plain M&Ms are processed in the same equipment as peanut M&Ms (during manufacturing) and my son eats a plain ... he will still have a reaction," Lang said. "He is extremely sensitive."More than 3 million children in the United States have allergies to foods, according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, and the numbers are increasing. Symptoms and reactions are just as individual as the foods themselves, and the goal of the group is to educate parents and children about the concern.
more information

This test passes the test: New E. coli detection method provides better results, fewer false positives
April 15, 2005
Courtney Denard
A new detection method for E. coli-tainted foods has outstripped several of its competitors in effectiveness, says a University of Guelph researcher.
Dr. Joseph Odumeru, Laboratory Services Division, has completed a year-long study evaluating a new method that rapidly tests for the presence of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria - the most common E. coli strain related to food-borne illness in North America - and he's found the technique detected E. coli O157:H7 100 per cent of the time in foods without false negative results.
Not only that, the test differentiates between non-toxic and toxic E. coli 94 per cent of the time, generating fewer false positives and enabling food safety personnel to work more quickly in recalling contaminated products.
"The results were significant," says Odumeru. "That means fewer false positives and faster recall times for contaminated food."
Odumeru compared the effectiveness of this new bacterial detection kit, called Immunocard STAT! 0157:H7, to three other commercially available kits that food safety technicians use to detect low levels of E. coli 0157:H7 in food samples. In particular, he looked at how well each kit performed when probing food products that have been implicated in past E. coli 0157:H7 outbreaks, such as ground beef, unpasteurized apple cider, alfalfa sprouts and cheese.
Whenever food samples being tested contained the deadly bacteria, Immunocard STAT! 0157:H7 found it 100 per cent of the time. The kit also generated fewer false positive test results than the other kits. Odumeru says false positives are a common error in many detection kits, and force scientists to retest food samples numerous times to ensure food safety. That's expensive and takes up valuable time - and in food safety, wasted time can mean more food-borne illness cases.
Regular and consistent testing ensures high quality food that's safe for the general public to consume. There will always be a need for better methods for detecting food-borne pathogens and toxins, says Odumeru, and this new method will save time and money in the long run because fewer tests will have to be performed to deliver accurate information.
"Our role as scientists is to develop better methods to detect bacteria and their toxins in common foods," says Odumeru. "We want to assist the Ontario food industry in being able to show that local foods are safe by testing with the best available methods."
Next, Odumeru will determine Immunocard STAT! O157:H7's effectiveness in detecting E. coli O157:H7 in drinking water.
This research was sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.