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Internet Journal of Food Saety

5/17
2005
ISSUE:165

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Highlighted Job Openings
Quality Services Manager - IL-Chicago
Kraft Foods

Microbiologist - MN-St Louis Park - Novartis Consumer Health

Sanitation Supervisor - US-MN-St Louis Park - Novartis Consumer Health

Quality Assurance Lab Manager - GA - Atlanta - The Coca-Cola Company

Quality Assurance Lab Technician - CA-San Diego - Jack in the Box

QA Audit Specialist - Omaha, NE - ConAgra Foods, Inc.

Sr Food Safety and Plant Reg. Spec. - Omaha, NE- ConAgra Foods, Inc.

U.S. man to be retested for human mad cow
Source of Article: http://www.washingtontimes.com/
Washington, DC, May. 13 (UPI) -- Brain samples from a California man have been sent to France to be re-tested for evidence of human mad cow disease, United Press International has learned.
Patrick Hicks, 49, of Riverside, Calif., died late last year and U.S. authorities in January ruled out variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, or vCJD, which humans can contract from eating beef products contaminated with the mad cow pathogen.
Both Hicks' family and his neurologist, Dr. Ron Bailey of Riverside Medical Center in Riverside, Calif., thought there still were unanswered questions about the final diagnosis and arranged for brain samples to be sent to experts in France.
Bailey, who initially suspected Hicks might be the first case of vCJD tied to the consumption of U.S. beef, said the man had symptoms consistent with vCJD.
The tissue will be examined by Dr. Jean Jacques Hauw at the Laboratoire De Neuropathologie at the Groupe Hospitalier Pitie-Salpetriere in Paris.

[Canada] 77 sick after buffet brunch
Source of Article: http://www.canoe.ca/
May 16, 2005
BURLINGTON, Ont. -- Dozens of people are battling a case of salmonella after apparently contracting the foodborne illness at a Mother's Day brunch in this southern Ontario city, health officials said yesterday.
The Halton Region Health Department said they know of 77 people who became ill after eating a buffet brunch at the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Three people have been hospitalized.
Officials have contacted at least 180 of the approximately 300 people who attended the buffet but were also concerned about those who may have eaten at the restaurant before and after May 8. "There exists a risk of passing the infection to others if these individuals work, while ill, in food preparation, food service, child care or health-care settings," said a health department news release.

Clostridium perfringens type A Kills Two
News in brief from eastern Pennsylvania
Associated Press
Source of Article: http://www.timesleader.com
HAMBURG, Pa. - A rare form of food poisoning, from bacteria that normally cause only mild diarrhea, apparently killed a Berks County father and son five years ago, medical investigators said.
Health officials said when Richard W. DeLong Sr., 58, and Eric DeLong, 34, died in 2000 that they might never find what caused their severe intestinal damage and their deaths. But Dr. Jeremy Sobel, an epidemiologist with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said researchers have new methods of identifying bacteria in tissue.
Dr. Kenneth J. De Benedictis, director of epidemiology and infection control at Reading Hospital, and Phyllis H. Britz, a state Health Department epidemiologist, said the DeLongs apparently ate something contaminated with clostridium perfringens type A bacteria.
That normally causes cramping and diarrhea for a day. But for some reason, in the DeLongs, it caused necrotizing enterocolitis - the death of intestinal tissue, the two told family members Wednesday at the home of Richard DeLong's wife, Jo Ann DeLong, in Tilden Township.
Richard DeLong died May 8, 2000, at Reading Hospital. Eric DeLong died June 24, at Hershey Medical Center, where he was transferred. He had five operations to remove portions of his intestine.

USDA Issues Two Biotechnology Reports

Organisms in Soil May Protect Lettuce from E. coli
14 May 2005
Source of Article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
Researchers from Norway believe that naturally occurring organisms present in soil may protect lettuce from contamination by a common foodborne pathogen. Their findings appear in the May 2005 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Several recent outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 have raised concerns that contaminated fertilizer may be affecting crops of fruits and vegetables. The bacterium is commonly found in manure used as fertilizer and can survive for extended periods of time.
In the study lettuce seedlings were planted in soil fertilized with E. coli O157:H7 contaminated manure and grown for fifty days. Although the pathogen was detected in the soil for up to eight weeks, it was determined that the bacterium did not contaminate the roots, outer leaves, or edible parts of the lettuce. Pseudomonas fluorescens, a bacterium shown to inhibit E. coli O157:H7 when tested in vitro, was identified in soil found on the lettuce roots.
"In conclusion, transmission of E. coli O157:H7 from manure to lettuce was not observed when seedlings were transplanted into soil fertilized with manure inoculated with low concentrations of the pathogen," say the researchers. "The results also indicated that some of the organisms native in the soil microflora have antagonistic effects against pathogenic bacteria introduced into soil."
(G.S. Johannessen, G.B. Bengtsson, B.T. Heier, S. Bredholt, Y. Wasteson, L.M. Rorvik. 2005. Potential uptake of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from organic manure into crisphead lettuce. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71. 5: 2221-2225.)
Contact: Carrie Patterson
cpatterson@asmusa.org
202-942-9389
American Society for Microbiology
http://www.asm.org

FDA Federal Register
Notice -Health Security and Bioterrorism

Divided court rules pair can't sue over E. coli
Associated Press
Source of Article: http://www.billingsgazette.com
May 12, 2005
CHEYENNE - In a split decision, the Wyoming Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit seeking damages against the town of Alpine for an E. coli outbreak in 1998.
At least 62 people became ill in what health officials said at the time was the country's largest outbreak of the infection linked to a municipal water source.
Investigators surmised that the bacteria came from contaminated wildlife waste washed into a spring that supplied some of the town's water.
The suit was brought by Lisa and Kim Wilson, who claimed they were poisoned while staying in the western Wyoming town on July 2, 1998. Lisa Wilson allegedly contracted hemolytic uremic syndrome, which causes kidney damage.
The couple presented a notice of claim to the town on June 7, 1999. The claim was denied, and the Wilsons sued in 2000.
In 2004, Lincoln County District Judge Dennis Sanderson dismissed the case, saying the couple had not met the Wyoming Constitution's requirement that they certify the claim with their own signatures. The state Supreme Court, in a 3-2 vote Monday, agreed with the lower court's dismissal.The majority - Justices William Hill, Michael Golden and Barton Voigt - relied on a 2001 state Supreme Court case (Beaulieu v. Florquist) and one in 2005 (Wooster v. Carbon County School District No. 1) in which the court ruled that for a claim against the government to meet constitutional muster, it must be sworn to by the claimant through a personal signature, not an attorney's signature.
Justices James Burke and Marilyn Kite dissented, saying reliance on the 2001 and 2005 cases was improper because the Wilson case was filed before each of the opinions was issued.
The case is Lisa G. Wilson and Kim Wilson v. Town of Alpine, 2005 WY 57.

Establishment and Maintenance of Records for Foods; Notice of Public Meetings

Reporting Foreign Suppliers of Raw Ground Beef Found E. Coli O157:H7 Positive

Domestic Outreach Grassroot Meetings "Ensuring Compliance . . . Bioterrorism Act"

Oman Reopens Market For U.S. Beef Products

Alberta E. coli outbreak tied to milk shakes
Amy L. Becker Staff Writer
Source of Article: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/
May 13, 2005 (CIDRAP News) ? Sixteen people have fallen sick and one is hospitalized with Escherichia coli O157:H7, most of them after drinking milk shakes at a popular drive-in restaurant in Calgary, Alta.
The Calgary Health Region traced the outbreak to a longtime employee of Peters' Drive-In, according to the Calgary Herald. The employee reportedly came to work despite being ill. She made a marshmallow milk shake mix that was served at Peters' from Apr 22 to 26, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported on May 10.
Fourteen of the 16 people identified in the outbreak had consumed marshmallow milk shakes, Judy MacDonald, MD, MCM, of Calgary Health Region told CIDRAP News today. MacDonald is deputy medical officer of health working on communicable disease control for the agency.
The CBC reported that three people were hospitalized briefly. A fourth, a 15-year-old named Sara Burgess, had a marshmallow shake on Apr 24, the Herald reported. The next day, she began vomiting and was hospitalized. She developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and has been receiving dialysis at Alberta Children's Hospital because of kidney failure. She remained in fair to serious condition today, according to MacDonald. MacDonald said it¡¯s too soon to rule out the possibility of more cases. The worker who made the milk shakes had the first case identified in the outbreak, said MacDonald. She was symptomatic before Apr 22 and continued to work until she was found to have a possible case of E coli on Apr 25. The next week, on May 2 and 3, lab tests showed several more E coli cases, MacDonald said. Because a food worker had already been diagnosed, investigators quickly focused on the drive-in and found links among 15 cases. One case has not been linked to the drive-in, MacDonald said. Using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), authorities have been able to confirm that the same strain of E coli infected at least 9 of the 16 people, MacDonald reported. She said the outbreak carries an important lesson about food safety: although E coli infections are usually associated with eating undercooked ground beef, the pathogen can get into other foods if they are handled by infected people. Some of those who fell ill in this outbreak are vegetarians, she added.
Dr. Glen Armstrong, head of infectious diseases at the University of Calgary, told the CBC that foodservice workers should stay home if they're feeling ill.
The drive-in was temporarily closed, but it has been cleaned and reopened, the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper reported on May 7.

HACCP WARNING
Source of Article: http://www.meatnews.com
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Hazard control points in U.K. meat plants are failing according to union.
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British public service trades union UNISON has warned the Food Standards Agency and the Meat Hygiene Service that Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point systems are failing to prevent contaminated meat being presented to inspectors throughout the United Kingdom.
In a survey of meat hygiene inspectors carried out by UNISON, reports show that HACCP has had very little effect on the standard of meat being presented to the union¡¯s meat inspection members.
UNISON said that the HACCP system that identifies contaminated meat at critical points within the production chain is being touted by the FSA as the government¡¯s preferred system of consumer protection. The union said that if the FSA can persuade consumers that they are being protected by HACCP, it will allow the Agency to move ahead with its plans to do away with independent meat inspection and hand over the task to the meat plants themselves.
The union added that to cope with the quantity of contaminated meat that arrives at inspection points every hour, meat inspectors have traditionally been expected to trim off any contaminated meat before the carcase is stamped as fit for human consumption.In 2004, the MHS re-issued instructions to its meat inspectors that they were not to carry out trimming as part of the inspection process as HACCP would take over the job of protecting the consumer.
In the UNISON survey, 92 percent of meat inspectors said that HACCP has made no impact on the quality of product presented for inspection at their plant and 78 percent of the inspectors surveyed said they are still unofficially expected to carry out trimming with the same percentage actually carrying it out.Ben Priestley, UNISON national officer, said: ¡°It¡¯s obvious that HACCP is not working. The MHS have said that HACCP should mean that inspectors do not have to trim meat yet they are still unofficially expected to do so. The MHS cannot realistically enforce their own instruction to staff not to trim, because it would mean the whole industry coming to a daily standstill as inspectors rejected most of the meat coming to the inspection points.¡±
He added: ¡°We have made our findings available to the FSA and the MHS. We have asked the agency for an urgent high level meeting to ask for a fundamental review of official support for a HACCP system which is not only risking public health, but which places meat inspectors in the daily position of knowingly having to disobey MHS instructions on trimming, because if they didn¡¯t the health of the consumer would be put at risk or the whole meat industry in this country would collapse.¡±

Internet Journal of Food Safety Vol. 6
Current Issues
(2005)
Vol 6. 17-22
Microorganisms in Kitchen Spnges

Vol 6. 11-16
Willingness to Adopt HACCP: Goat Producers Survey Results

Vol 6. 5-10
The HACCP Implementation and the Mental Illness of Food Handlers As the 4th Eventual Hazard

Vol 6. 1-4.
A Preliminary Study of Kashar Cheese and Its Organoleptic Qualities Matured in Bee Wax


DuPont Qualicon to Market Strategic Diagnostic Products

Strategic Diagnostics Inc., manufacturer of biotechnology-based detection solutions for a broad range of applications, have announced an exclusive distribution agreement with DuPont through its Wilmington, Delaware-based Qualicon business.
Under the terms of the agreement, SDI¡¯s lateral flow tests for the detection of food pathogens will be marketed outside the United States by DuPont Qualicon as the DuPont¢â Lateral Flow System¢â. SDI will continue to market its RapidChek¢â line of food pathogen test kits in the United States. "SDI food pathogen products, including the RapidChek¢â assay line of E. coli, Salmonella and our rapidly growing Listeria product, continue to enjoy excellent growth and market acceptance domestically," said Matt Knight, President and CEO of SDI. "This distribution agreement assures markets outside the United States will benefit from the same cost-effective, quality technology offered in the United States."

Study shows Soleris(TM) System matches accuracy of conventional microbial test method with increased speed and ease-of-use

May 10, 2005
Centrus ? Press Release
http://www.abipressroom.com/
Kingsport, Tenn.? Centrus announced the results of a study for the nutraceutical industry, comparing the accuracy of rapid microbiological testing technology with conventional plating methods. In a poster presentation at the SupplySide East International Tradeshow, May 4-6, 2005, Dr. Ruth Eden, chief scientific officer, Centrus International outlined the study, ¡°Rapid Automated System for the Detection of Microorganisms in Nutraceutical and Dietary Products¡±.
¡°The Soleris system not only matches conventional plating methods, but also provides increased speed and ease-of-use,¡± says Eden. ¡°This can allow nutraceutical processors to optimize their production capabilities, while ensuring product quality.¡±
The presentation details the accuracy and speed of the Soleris optical system for the detection of microbial contaminants in nutraceuticals and dietary products, in comparison with conventional plating test methods. The accuracy of conventional test methods versus newer, rapid microbiological test methods has long been scrutinized by the food safety industry. Test results showed greater than 95 percent agreement between the Soleris system and plating. In several of the samples, Soleris detected more contamination than the conventional method, where it was often difficult to tell the difference between microorganisms and other non-viable particulates.
The Soleris system performed all bacteria tests, including aerobic count, coliform, E.Coli, Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus in less than 24 hours, while molds and yeasts were detected in 48 to 72 hours. Conventional plating methods take up to five days to perform similar tests. In addition to increased speed, the Soleris system is an easy-to-use, automated system, requiring less hands-on labor and training to operate.
Eden also highlighted benefits to nutraceutical manufacturers that the Soleris system provides, such as:
Ensures quality of results
Increases product through-put
Reduces time and cost of employee equipment training
¡°Soleris rapid automated technology delivers results as accurate as conventional plating methods,¡± added Eden. ¡°However, Soleris also provides manufacturers of nutraceuticals and dietary products with additional benefits that bring added value to their operations.¡±
www.centrusinternational.com

Restaurant foodhandler-associated outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg gastroenteritis identified by calls to a local telehealth service, Edmonton, Alberta, 2004
Canada Communicable Disease Report
Vol. 31-10
The complete document can be downloaded from:
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/05vol31/dr3110e.html
Introduction
On 22 June, 2004, Capital Health-Public Health Division (the local public health department for the metro Edmonton, Alberta, region) received multiple reports of gastrointestinal illness among individuals who had consumed a meal, some hours before onset, at an Edmonton buffet-style restaurant specializing in South Asian cuisine. The initial reports of illness linked to the restaurant were received through two separate telephone calls to a local telehealth service (Capital Health Link). Transcripts of the telehealth calls were forwarded to the local public health department and resulted in the initiation of an outbreak investigation.
more information

Irradiated beef: What's not for dinner
May 1, 2005
American Council on Science and Health
http://www.acsh.org/
A May 1, 2005 article by Steve Wartenberg in The Morning Call mentions ACSH as a counterpoint to fears about irradiated beef:
Because of the efforts of grass-roots groups across the country, led by Public Citizen and local activists such as Szela and Stein, consumers have so far said ''no'' to irradiated beef.
''There is a big movement against irradiated meat that has had an impact on the market,'' said Wood, whose company's cold-food storage business continues to thrive.
Ron Eustes, executive director of the Minnesota Beef Council, said 18 million to 20 million pounds of ground beef and poultry were irradiated in 2004, most of it ground beef. This represents a minuscule fraction of the 9 billion pounds of ground beef that Eustes said are produced annually in this country.
''I was in shock when I heard the news [that the CFC Logistics irradiator was closing],'' Szela said.
As the phone began ringing nonstop and e-mails from around the world poured in offering congratulations, the shock was quickly replaced by sheer joy.
''You can make a difference,'' Szela said. ''A lot of people said we were wasting our time, that you can't stop this. But we did.''
In 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved irradiation as a safe way to kill E. coli, salmonella, parasites, and insects in raw meat and poultry. Several other countries and organizations, including the American Council on Science and Health and the World Health Organization, say irradiated meat is safe.

Catalytic reaction zaps bacteria
Mark Peplow
Hospitals could benefit from a tube that vaporizes microbes.
Source of Article: http://www.nature.com/14.html
Click here to see picture of apparatus: http://www.nature.com/
Air passes through this glass tube coated with titanium dioxide, and comes out clean of bugs.
Jerome Chatin
A mottled glass tube bathed in ultraviolet light may prove a great help to hospitals by keeping dangerous bacteria out of their air. Scientists have developed a simple, reusable device that can knock out more than 99% of microbes in air conditioners.
The device relies on titanium dioxide, a compound used in white pigments and found in common household products such as toothpaste. When exposed to ultraviolet light, bacteria landing on a surface of titanium dioxide are converted to a vapour of carbon dioxide and water, along with harmless organics.
Scientists have previously exploited the antibacterial powers of this illuminated catalyst by putting powdered titanium dioxide in water systems and blasting it with ultraviolet light. But in air, it was hard to ensure that bacteria would come into contact with the material.
The new system passes air through a coated glass tube filled with fingers of glass. This hugely increases the surface area of the tube, says Valerie Keller, a materials scientist at the European Laboratory for Catalysis and Surface Sciences in Strasbourg, France, who helped to develop the system.
The team tested its device using Escherichia coli, which commonly cause food poisoning. Each cubic metre of contaminated air flowing into the reactor contained about 15,000 clumps of bacteria capable of forming a colony; the outlet air contained no viable colony-forming units, report the researchers in the journal Chemical Communications1.
more information